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View Diary: Plame Leaked by Fake News Source? Overview: Part IV (354 comments)

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  •  A few questions (none)
    Please excuse my ignorance but I was out to lunch when the Plame/Novak thing broke.  All I knew at the time was that Novak leaked the identity of Plame as a CIA agent.  (I'm not even sure I have this right). first question is:  Could someone go over what happened and why this is such an issue? (Aside from the fact that her identity shouldn't have been uncovered.)

    My second question is:  What exactly is a "credentialed White House reporter".  Is that someone who works for the administration?  

    Thanks to anyone who can answer my questions and thanks for your patience.

    •  not gonna do a lot of details (none)
      but summary is this:

      1) A CIA field operative was 'outed' by Novak shortly after her husband openly questioned the Nigerian yellowcake buy by Saddam in the lead up to the Iraq war.

      Outing an operative is a felony.

      2) A credentialed WH reporter gets to sit in the press room and ask questions of the administration (incl. the prez) and have to be vetted for background, etc.

      Jaded Reality... I've had enough spin for today thanks...

      by spiderleaf on Sun Jan 30, 2005 at 07:04:37 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  A few more detalis. (none)
        Rove and others with classified knowledge that Plame was an operative then confirmed Novak's story to the press.  Rove or Scooter Libby (Cheney's Chief of Staff) may have also been the originators of the story, but that would be the first crime they committed.  The second was the confirmation since they had a legal duty to deny Plame was an operative after she was outed.  

        The RWCM then changed the story from a treasonous crime against the country to a story about whether Wilson lied when he said his wife didn't help him get the job.  It is possible that since Wilson was qualified he believed his wife didn't help him, but it does look like she did suggest his name for the job. But by smearing Wilson the WH got the treason monkey off its back, another stunning coup.

         There is a investigation which has seated a grand jury, but with Gonzales as AG it seems unlikely that it will be allowed to continue. Tthere have been no indictments announced by it so far.

        •  but wait (none)
          "but it does look like she did suggest his name for the job"

          Where does it look like that from? Just from the mention of a memo. There is no evidence of that memo and it has not been mentioned other than by 'Gannon'. It is just likely as that no such memo exists, and that its mention was supposed to surprise Joe Wilson into making a mistake like confirming his wife's role. I don't think Novakula mentioned a memo, he talked about sources in the administration.  

          If such a memo does exist, it may explain where the WH political goons got the CIA secrets. It could also be a fabrication meant to launder the real source of the original leak from CIA to WH.  Similar to the Rather ploy, except that the bogus document has not been released to hostile reporters.  Now that I mention this, I note that the CBS story that was displaced by the TANG trap was about the yellocake affair.

          •  Hey, I didn't want to start anything. (none)
            When all the dust settled it seemed to me that there was a connection between Plame and Wilson's appointment.   It also seemed to me that the connection was inconsequential, considering her job, his mission and his qualifications.  

            I think we agree for the most part.

            •  but it is a very interesting point (none)
              I'm not saying you are charging him with anything, just that Gannon's is the only mention of a memo as the source of the RWCM charge that Joe Wilson was appointed because of his wife. That is a pretty big point that I hadn't fully appreciated until I saw your post assuming it.
            •  I think the connection is a red herring (4.00)
              The administration needed to discredit Joe Wilson and fast.   They couldn't call him just a Demorcratic stooge since he's not and there is also the embarrasssing public record of Bush I praising him.   So what did they have.

              Well his wife was a CIA operative and if somehow paint the task that he did for the CIA as nepotism it would cast a could.   Also as Wilson says, it would scare the other whistleblowers.  If you are going to come forward and they are going to go after your wife, even though she is a security asset for the US, then you have to think twice and three times about putting your spouse and your kids through that.  

              She probably said "Why don't you talk to my husband and they met with him and saw that he knew his stuff and the region and then the higher ups, not his wife made the decision.  This would square with his account.  Only people desparate to discredit Wilson would claim "His wife hired him for the job."  If you remember it was a thankless job.

              The bigger picture going on here is the Bushies think the CIA is disloyal.  That she worked at the CIA somehow impugns her credibility.   Just as I and folks on the left would not trust someone from JINSA or PNAC as a nonpartisan source on what was happening with Iraq, the neocons feel the intelligence community was trying to sandbag Bush.  Therefore, the fact that his wife worked at the CIA adds an element of conspiracy.  "Well it's well-known the CIA hates Bush and is out to get him, that's why they would lie about the uranium.

          •  Plame was lousy at nepotism (none)
            Remember, if Valerie Plame suggested that Joe Wilson could be useful as a boots-on-ground researcher in Niger, she wasn't fattening the family purse or plumping up his consulting business.  She was suggesting the CIA ask him for a favor.  

            Neither Plame nor Wilson got a dime out of it.  Neither of them expected to get a dime out of it.  There was no payola, no single-source contract crap.

            And Plame wasn't in a position to "give" the thankless gig to a fav or hers -- spouse or otherwise.  Others made that decision quite independent of her.

            NovakInc tried to make it sound improper through innuendo, but there's nothing improper about it.  It is, in fact, a legitimate and smart way to work.  You match known quantities against known needs as quickly as possible to get a job done at minimal expense to the taxpayers.

            Yes, for the wingnuts, it would have been nicer if a million-dollar contract had gone to a pundit who would have mouthed long and loud whatever the administration wished the public to hear.  To them, the Plame > Wilson referral is a horror.  How dare they conspire to consume a perfectly good patronage/payola opportunity?

            But all the CIA did was send an outsider for information (better he NOT have visible ties to the CIA in this instance, too), an outsider who'd already been through enough background checks and security clearances to be a subject the bureaucracy could process quickly and get moving into the field.

            The real death of the Yellowcake Myth was the pathetically poor job done on the forged papers sold to the intelligence community in Europe as "proof" of Saddam's nuclear designs.

            The forgeries were made by making minor changes to correspondence from another era to make it look as though a deal was in the works more recently.  

            Anyone looking at the documents for even half an hour would have doubts about their legitimacy just because of the outdated information they still contained and the antiquated letterhead.  

            In fact, those who DID look at them for half an hour had very great doubts and said as much.  It was only those who had a use for the fantasy the documents helped weave who failed to... ummmm... notice the obvious flaws.

            "Injustice wears ever the same harsh face wherever it shows itself." - Ralph Ellison

            by KateCrashes on Sun Jan 30, 2005 at 04:20:34 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

        •  Christopher Wolf (4.00)
          A January 18, 2005 Washington Post Letter to the Editor from Ambassador Joseph Wilson's attorney Christopher Wolf is helpful for solid background in this matter:

          Plame Investigation Is Not a 'Game'

          Tuesday, January 18, 2005; Page A16

          In their Jan. 12 op-ed column ["The Plame Game: Was This a Crime?"] Victoria Toensing and Bruce W. Sanford misrepresented the scope of the Intelligence Identities Protection Act, which certainly does cover former covert agents who remain at risk (along with their contacts) even after their covert operations end.

          They also said that Valerie Plame's status was allegedly known on the "Washington cocktail circuit," implying that it was widely known that she worked as a covert agent for the CIA. But columnist Robert D. Novak has said that he learned of Ms. Plame's status through a leak by senior administration officials. Even I, Ms. Plame's lawyer and neighbor, was unaware of her status until Mr. Novak blew her cover.

          The column said that Mr. Novak had suggested that Ms. Plame's husband, Joseph Wilson, was "credentially challenged" to determine whether Iraq was trying to obtain uranium in Niger. However, Mr. Wilson had served in three African nations that produced uranium, including Niger, and had been ambassador to one of them, Gabon. In all, he served in seven African countries and as senior director for African affairs in the National Security Council under President Bill Clinton. His bona fides for the trip are spelled out in the report by the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, which divulged that Mr. Wilson had traveled to Niger in 1999 at the request of the CIA to look into other uranium-related allegations.

          The Plame investigation is not a "game." Reporters may need to be protected, but calling for a halt to the investigation into the leaking of Ms. Plame's identity to Robert Novak is not the way to do that.



          The writer is the attorney for Ambassador Joseph Wilson and Valerie Plame.

          A very important nugget contained in Mr. Day's letter is:

          Robert D. Novak has said that he learned of Ms. Plame's status through a leak by senior administration officials

          The information pouring out here about "Gannon" "Talon" is endlessly fascinating and important.  

          Question: What are the identities of the senior administration officials who leaked Plame's status to Novak and most likely leaked the memo to "Gannon"?



          "Happy New Year Let's hope it's a good one Without any fear" -- Lennon, Ono

          by peace voter on Sun Jan 30, 2005 at 08:35:19 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

      •  Probably covered before, but... (none)
        Those old threads are LONG... too long.

        But it strikes me that all along, Novak's defenders were insisting that he never identified Plame as a covert operative, but simply as an operative -- specifically, he said, "an Agency operative on weapons of mass destruction" -- a distinction which they claimed meant Novak never knew with certainty that he was dealing with an actual super-secret agent type.

        Now, I see that Gannon's question to Wilson says she was, "a member of the agency for clandestine service working on Iraqi weapons issues."

        That's a lot more detail than Novak provides.

        So the timing of what Gannon knew and when he knew it might be sorta important.

        •  I agree the threads are long (none)
          way too long.

          But I'm not sure what to do about them.

          Since I can only post two diaries a day, I though I'd create a new summary in the morning and a new one in the evening.

          Yet I want them to be serviceable and easy to search for anyone who wants to do any research. Do you have any suggestions? I'd gladly take you up on them.

          And as to your post point ... yes, indeed. Gannon said a whole lot more very pointedly in the Wilson interview than Novak did.

          •  Edit the diaries (none)
            when new connections emerge from the comments, you can include the most significant of them back in the diary.
            •  It's the comments that make them long (none)
              (Which, of course, we need ... the comments).

              And I can't edit the comments, can I? Like removing dead ends in the comments that go nowhere? (And I'm afraid that I'd remove something that might have significance later.)

              If I can edit comments, that makes me like ... God or something in my own little way. What power. Whew!

              •  we could (none)
                troll rate them out of the thread?
                •  maybe not (none)
                  If we troll rate superfluous and/or redundant comments we might be messing with the "trusted user" status of otherwise well meaning dkos contributors.  

                  (I feel a bit guilty about adding this not particularly on topic post simply because it adds to the lack of managebility (sp?) of the dynamic Gannon/Talon/Plame diaries)

                  I'll try only to post when I believe I have something substantive to add - but I don't want to dampen the enthusiasm that the dKos community has for this amazing group project.


                  "Happy New Year Let's hope it's a good one Without any fear" -- Lennon, Ono

                  by peace voter on Sun Jan 30, 2005 at 09:49:12 AM PST

                  [ Parent ]

              •  But at least the best stuff would rise to the top (none)
                mea culpa, I did make some quite superfluous comments in the late-nite thread.
              •  Don't know if this helps at all: (none)
       = [ ]

                  Eberle  Bobby (ISYFUGKQUD)
                     2620 Sunday House Dr.
                     Pearland  TX 77584
                     Domain Name: TALONNEWS.COM
                     Administrative Contact  Technical Contact:
                        Eberle  Bobby

                        2620 Sunday House Dr.
                        Pearland  TX 77584
                        281-412-2184 fax: 999 999 9999
                     Record expires on 29-Mar-2006.
                     Record created on 29-Mar-2003.
                     Database last updated on 30-Jan-2005 21: 45: 34 EST.
                     Domain servers in listed order:

          •  Not blaming you, certainly! (none)
            Just giving my excuse for possibly posting duplicative observations.

            I'm sure you could get some others to donate their diary allotment -- although a dKosopedia page would be much better suited to these purposes, I think.

            •  dKosopedia isn't secure (none)
              And anyone can create an account and hack the pages.  I had thought about dKosopedia as well, until I remembered the Sinclair debacle with some freeper hacking the pages.

              We need a secure site that can't be hacked.

              We fight on. We fight for ourselves and the people who do not have a voice.

              by mlk on Sun Jan 30, 2005 at 08:32:51 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  You are doing just fine....... (none)
                The diaries are long, but if you shorten them, you might leave out something of importance that might click the memory of a reader. And we certainly do not want to cut any comments. We are the good guys and all our opinions are important. And actually, the entire 4 diaries are fascinating. They also keep this right up front in the limelight.

                I find it interesting that Feith is leaving. He is either the fall guy for Rummy, the sacrificial lamb, or maybe even behind the Jeff Gannons of the world.

                You go girl.............!

                Fix the Problems, Don't create new ones

                by BarnBabe on Sun Jan 30, 2005 at 08:58:25 AM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  I agree (none)
                  Maybe you think there are too many people uninterested in this to recommend, and I will abide by your wishes-but this is hotlist material for me. My thanks to you and all the other kosopolitans working on this.

                  Perhaps the solution to keeping the threads readably brief is for the rest of us to be really good boys & girls, voluntarily limit our comments to things that add factual substance or a truly different take on known facts? Put up a tip jar so we can cheer you on, and we'll just read, and keep our inner editorial writers in check. At least on this diary.;^)

                  As long as I count the votes, what are you going to do about it? - William Marcy Tweed

                  by sidnora on Sun Jan 30, 2005 at 10:27:10 AM PST

                  [ Parent ]

              •  But the "hacking" (it isn't hacking BTW) (none)
                ...can always be rolled back.

                dKosp[edia is the way to go on this one to save the salient facts and info.


                Mitch Gore

                Nobody will change America for you, you have to work to make it happen

                by Lestatdelc on Sun Jan 30, 2005 at 12:54:31 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

          •  Susan G (none)
            Is there some way that you can use my two daily diaries- since I just would not use them myself then?

            I'll gladly share --

            SpongeBush SquarePants: SpongeBush lives in a bubble in D.C./absorbent and shallow and porous is he! - - Maureen Dowd

            by sara seattle on Sun Jan 30, 2005 at 11:02:22 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

      •  Other important background on the outing (4.00)
        The operative outed, Valerie Plame, wife of former diplomat Joe Wilson, was NOC.

        A NOC is a "non-official cover" operative, the deepest level of operative.  Were this person "caught" by foreign entities, the U.S. would disavow this person.  It is an extremely dangerous position since protection offered by the agency would be nil.

        Someone with better knowledge may need to confirm this for me, but it is my understanding that only a handful, possibly as little as TWO people know the identities of NOC's.

        That would be the director of the CIA and the Vice President or possibly the President.  So far, all trails in the Plame Affair far lead to the office of the VP, but that could be deliberate.

        The level of cover is important for a number of reasons:

        1. The persons involved in outing Plame are at the very highest levels of the Administration;

        2. This is deliberate, not a mere slip.

        It could be defined as treason.

        This outing could have been extremely expensive to the intelligence of this country for a number of reasons:

        1. All intelligence assets that interacted with this NOC may be compromised.  Plame was NOC as the wife of a diplomat; you can imagine the nature of contacts.

        2. Plame specialized in WMD.  (It's not as if we have enough HUMINT in this field.)

        3. All other opportunities to place NOC's in the field may be challenged since even diplomatic spouses will be viewed with suspicion.

        There is at least one other peripheral reason why this particular outing was immoral:

        - Plame is the mother of preschooler; at the time her child was even younger.  Both mother and child could have been placed at risk.

        Outing of an operative became illegal under G. H. Bush administration.  If memory serves, outing an operative led to the dismissal of Karl Rove under that same administration.

        If anyone has additional information, feel free to correct me or add to this summary.  (This thread seems to be a great place to summarize what we know so far.)

        •  Good summation (none)
          but I would be even more emphatic about the damage done to Plame's contacts once her identify was compromised.

          I expect there are many people whose names we will never know, in countries whose identifies we can only guess, who were snatched off streets, went missing during their daily activities, had their doors smashed open in the middle of the night, and who have by now been disappeared, thrown in bottomless prisons, and/or killed. All because the Bushies wanted to take third-grade level revenge on someone they didn't like.

          There's a nice-ninny priest/at tea in everyone,/all cozy and chatty as auntie,/but a saint comes/and throws rocks through the window. -- John Ciardi

          by Mnemosyne on Sun Jan 30, 2005 at 11:41:11 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Why is it (none)
            that typos become visible only after one has read the Preview at least twice and only then hit the Post button, when it is too late to call it back?

            I meant, of course, "her identity" and "countries whose identities." It's all Bill Clinton's fault.

            There's a nice-ninny priest/at tea in everyone,/all cozy and chatty as auntie,/but a saint comes/and throws rocks through the window. -- John Ciardi

            by Mnemosyne on Sun Jan 30, 2005 at 11:44:02 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

        •  NOC three times on the ceiling if you want me... (none)
          The operative outed, Valerie Plame, wife of former diplomat Joe Wilson, was NOC. A NOC is a "non-official cover" operative, the deepest level of operative.

          Second-deepest, I've heard. There's regular NOC where you get a name and a front company, which was her situation, and Deep Cover NOC where an entire personal background back to childhood is manufactured for you. I've also heard that she was in the field at the time of the leak. This is thirdhand info or worse, so if anyone can correct me, please do so.

          •  The day after Novak outed Plame (none)
            he went on Crossfire and he outed the company she worked for as a cover. This was when he was underfire himself. One can only guess why he would do that, was it contempt for his critics or is he just a real bastard.

            To thine own self be true - W.S.

            by Agathena on Sun Jan 30, 2005 at 11:58:59 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

          •  Also... (none)
            Novak later took it a step further and blew the cover of Miss Plame's entire CIA front organization. Here's more specific info than is in the first link to my blogposting about it. As I recall, it was possible to plug Plame's name into Google, eventually bring up the company, and put two and two together, but it was Novak who advertised this.
            •  He sited motive (none)
              I read that Novak ran her name through Democratic donor lists in an attempt to paint her and her husband as partisan hacks. He found that she had donated to dems in the past, and that her donotation disclosure included her employer's name. He then wrote a column that published the employer's name and implied that the criticism by Wilson was politically motivated. This not only endangered Plame but anyone who worked for the same company.

              As I understand the statue this is very damaging to Novak's case because the second column appeared in Sept, months after the original column outed her in July. By Sept Novak knew conclusively that she was NOC. The statue provides for acts that out CIA operatives or for patterns of acts that do the same. By this measure the second column is a slam dunk as to Novak's criminal behavior.

              The investigation is to uncover the source of the leak, not to determine the guilt of Novak. I hope the DOJ doesn't end the prosecution with the source of the leak let Novak get away free and clear.


    •  "Credentialed" (4.00)
      To be a White House reporter, you have to be the cream of the crop. It's every reporter's dream; it's a huge status issue. Top-level news outlets only put their top-level reporters there. To get "credentialed" is a big, big deal.

      Also, background checks are done to make sure you're not a loony or a criminal, so this whole credential thing raises the question of just who the White House backgrounded when it planted "Jeff Gannon."

      As to Plame's outing ... it's understood that the administration, which was pissed because her husband went to the New York Times to dispute the "yellowcake" assertion in the SOTU address, shopped her name around to various journalists in order to out her for revenge on her husband (Wilson). Only Novak took the bait, but other journalists have been supboenaed ("Gannon" among them) in order to find out who from the White House was shopping the information around.

      •  Ah,'s all coming back to me. (none)
        Thank you so much for responding.  I love you guys!
      •  Does anyone know atrios? (none)
        I mean, he's the one with the sources saying that "Gannon" is a pseudonym. Maybe he can ask his sources what Gannon's real name is? I don't hink we're getting anywhere via the domain name registration stuff.

        As I said above, the info has been changed on Gannon's site to say that the registrant (which was J.Daniels last night) is now I.Christian. It's another layer of pseudonym.

        This post kills fascists.

        by baltimoretim on Sun Jan 30, 2005 at 09:36:07 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  I'm sure it was Media Matters not Atrios (none)
          specifically that unearthed this info.

          Probably a little birdie spoke in their ear, "You know "Gannon" is not his real name.....

          •  But let's not forget mundane explanations (none)
            He may have changed his name in court for perfectly legitimate, boring reasons -- anything from wanting a stepfather's name as his own rather than that of a birth father he barely knew to wanting something easier to pronounce and remember for what he hoped would be a great career in media.

            If the new name is his legal name, WH security would have wanted that name on his credentials because it's the name that official records systems now track.

            That, in fact, may be why married correspondents who kept their maiden names only for professional purposes have to use their married names on their WH credentials.  

            If they've taken their husbands' surnames as part of their legal names, that's the version of their names being tracked as "unique identifiers" for them in the systems.  Rather than being a calculated affront to feminists, the policy may just be the result of impersonal records systems that have to be accessed quickly with little chance of error.  

            The WH has quite legitimate security concerns -- they can be manipulated and exploited for political reasons, but they nonetheless are real and shield everyone in and around what, were security lax, would be the #1 target for domestic and foreign terrorists as well as the #1 target for random acts of violence a la Hinckley.

            Meanwhile, Gannon himself may be the original source for the information about his having a "real" name other than Gannon.  

            If you're undercover, you don't let that kind of thing out -- it ends your gig if not your life.  But if you're just a fella thrilled to be in media because it lets you worship your heroes in public, you may chat about your "real" ID to others.

            Scenario A.  He meets a correspondent he recognizes but her credentials show another name.  "Wow, you look just like Tiffany Famous."  "I am Tiffany Famous," she says. "The Secret Service just makes me use my married name on the stupid tags."  He laughs.  "My name's Jrfdrtjfrz Gndjkzwbrntr, but I guess cuz I went to court to change it, they're letting me use Jeff Gannon.  Didn't think Jrfdrtjfrz Gndjkzwbrntr was going to work so well in broadcasting."  Word filters around that his "real" name is a killer.

            Scenario B.  He meets a correspondent from the great nation of Hmjkdbritistan, where vowels are considered a waste of space and "H" is pronounced like the English "Zdw."  Jeff is wowwed.  "Hey!  My dad's family is from Hmjkdbritistan!"  The Hmjkdbritistaner looks at "Gannon" on Jeff's tag and cocks an eyebrow.  "Originally Gndjkzwbrntr -- Jrfdrtjfrz Gndjkzwbrntr.  Glad to meetcha, pal!" says Jeff.  Word filters around about the jaw-breaker.

            The Great Gannon Identity Crisis will, I hope, produce shocking revelations.  But it may just... y'know... Well, the real story may be another telling example of the many ways Bushcorp has invented media sheep because the establishment media wasn't sheepy enough to keep The Base deluded.  

            Best of luck to the Kossack trackers, though!  No answers come if questions are not asked -- something that's plagued this nation for 5 years now.

            "Injustice wears ever the same harsh face wherever it shows itself." - Ralph Ellison

            by KateCrashes on Sun Jan 30, 2005 at 05:00:33 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  pseudonym implies not his legal name (none)
              If he changed his real name and is reporting under his legal name, then he is not using a pseudonym.

              Anyhow, I suspect Media Matters doesn't do a lot of work over the weekends, and I expect this was intended as a teaser of a future revelation.

      •  Remember how the press villified (none)
        Joe Wilson after the 9/11 report came out and there was an addendum which quoted that memo, the same one Jeff Gannon used in the interview.

        The right wing were calling Wilson a liar etc. discrediting his book, his service, his life over that CIA memo.

        To thine own self be true - W.S.

        by Agathena on Sun Jan 30, 2005 at 12:02:32 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  hmmm.... (none)
        And what kind of media backlash would there be if it were found this jeff gannon person did not deserve WH credentials because he's not a journalist?

        A lot of companies might be silent because they think they will lose their access.  but if this precious "access" is being given to propaganda peddlers, then maybe it will lose it's value to the media and real investigative journalism can begin to come back in style.  maybe?  possibly? please?

        Sorry, I have nothing else to add to this conversation.

        by DawnG on Sun Jan 30, 2005 at 12:18:48 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  Plame's Idenditiy was TOP SECRET (4.00)
      She was the sort of operative who, had she been caught in another country spying, could expect the US government to deny that she worked for them.  Revealing who she was and thet she worked for the CIA put in danger the lives of people she had met with all over the world.

      Revealing that sort of info is a crime (as well as very un-America), provided you knew what you were revealing.  

      I suspect that this fake news guy could take the blame put not have to pay any price for revealing th info first (if he did if first, then later revelations are moot, a ploy THEY tried on us already.)

      When all else fails...panic

      by David in Burbank on Sun Jan 30, 2005 at 08:00:25 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  What about Novak? (4.00)
        I do not understand why Novak is not charged. I mean, if it's against the law to out an agent, then that means for a news organization or reporter to out an agent is still against the law. This is not Freedom of Speech. This is a broken law.

        How come Rather got busted but Novak didn't?  And why is Novak still on TV? He is so boring and gives a bad name to the good reporters.

        Fix the Problems, Don't create new ones

        by BarnBabe on Sun Jan 30, 2005 at 09:04:57 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  That *is* a curious thing. . . (none)
          Obviously, the original crime was committed by the "senior administration officials" who let out the information.

          But major crimes carry penalties for those who "aid and abet". Surely, Novak is guilty of "aiding and abetting" those "senior administration officials" in their commission of the crime? So, why has he not been arrested/charged as an accessory?

          I don't think he can pass this off with "I didn't know that what they were telling me was classified". The identity of CIA operatives is by its very nature classified information. That's right up there with Steve Martin's old chesnut: "I . . . forgot . . . that murder was illegal".

          When only the government lacks virtue, there remains a resource in the people's virtue; but when the people itself is corrupted, liberty is already lost.

          by Robespierrette on Sun Jan 30, 2005 at 10:38:43 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Speaking of aiding and abetting, (none)
            the federal torture statute, 18 U.S.C. 2340A, attaches stiff penalties (capital punishment if death results) not only to torture, but also to conspiracy to commit torture.
            •  Thanks for the digression, (none)
              Even though not on point to the post,the criminal behavior at the highest levels of BUSHCO cannot be underscored enough now.

              "No one else could ever be admitted here, since this gate was made only for you. I am now going to shut it."- Franz Kafka, "Before the Law"

              by normal family on Sun Jan 30, 2005 at 02:13:05 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  I think you all are forgetting (none)
                Perhaps I am missing something, but when I hear people want to jail Novak because he won't reveal a source, I tend to wonder which side they are really on.

                Who will ever leak of the gov't can force reporters to reveal their sources?

                In this case it's a right-wing douchebag being protected, but I still think reporters and sources are vital to information.


        •  The law applies to federal employees not the press (none)
          The law was written after a CIA employee, in what seemed to be an act of revenge,  wrote a book giving away the identities of CIA operatives. The 1982 law is the Intelligence Identities and Protection Act

          Another applicable criminal statute is the Intelligence Identities Act, enacted in 1982.  It applies to insiders privy to classified material.  The standards for outsiders and the press are more lenient and have a much greater burden of proof.

          The Act primarily reaches insiders with classified intelligence, those privy to the identity of covert agents. It addresses two kinds of insiders.

          First, there are those with direct access to the classified information about the "covert agents." who leak it. These insiders - including persons in the CIA - may serve up to ten years in jail for leaking this information.

          Second, there are those who are authorized to have classified information and learn it, and then leak it. These insiders - including persons in, say, the White House or Defense Department - can be sentenced to up to five years in jail for such leaks.

          If you are into the legal questions, go to and search for Plame, they have a lot of stuff.  John Dean argues that:
          "But even if the White House was not initially involved with the leak, it has exploited it. As a result, it may have opened itself to additional criminal charges under the federal conspiracy statute. "

          I highly doubt we would ever see a conspriracy charge, though.  It's too much of a reach.

        •  The law excepts reporters (none)
          In the interests of journalism and free speech, the law gives a pass on reporters.  If it were a crime for a reporter to out an agent they were told about, then they couldn't do anything about, say, someone leaking that there was a covert agent infiltrating American labour unions or something.  In this case, freedom of the press is considered the greater good.

          However, there is an exception to that as well.  If the reporter engages in a pattern of outing agents (ie, some investigative journalist is making a career out of identifying covert agents, not in the interest of a specific story but just to out agents), then they can be charged.

          So Novak is covered.

    •  Why it's a big deal (4.00)
      A large part of why it's a big deal is what Plame worked on.  She was an undercover op working on weapons proliferation issues.  She was out there in nasty places risking her life helping stop real terrorists from getting real weapons of mass destruction.

      The fact that the Bush Administration outed her through Novak almost certainly resulted in the death of many of the people who had been working for her or providing information to her in foreign countries.  Those of her contacts who were not killed are probably no longer providing any information to us.  Shutting her work down and (probably) killing her contacts undeniably resulted in setbacks to our country's work in preventing the proliferation of WMD, making our country less safe.

      This is a big deal because the Bush Administration, in an attempt to discredit people (e.g. Wilson) who were revealing the lies they told to get the US into Iraq, where there were no WMD, committed treason in a way that specifically
      decreased our government's ability to prevent the spread of real WMDs.  With one hand, the Bush Administration spread bumfoggery about fake WMDs, while with the other they acted to encourage spread of real WMDs.  

      It's also a big deal because someone, probably someone very close to Bush, has commited an act which is not only evil and harmful to national security, but clearly treasonous.  With the election coming up, if the identity of the traitor in the bosom of the Bush White House were revealed, political hay would be made by the forces of Democracy.

      Now that the election is over, and Il Duce remains secure beneath the fasces in the talons' grip, the urgency is lessened.  Anybody want to bet the traitor is no longer there?  Say, just escorted out the back door recently?  Say, FEITH?

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