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Liberal Oasis has a piece up on the Plame case and Miller and Cooper. It reflects the common wisdom about what is going on, ie that someone in the administration leaked Plame's name to punish Joe Wilson for questioning the administration's story on WMD. While many liberals have embraced this story I strongly suspect it is completely mistaken, a confabulation of administration revisionism and Joe Wilson's ego. The real story is a bit more interesting and explains why leaking Plame's name probably isn't a crime and why some folks in the administration may be in legal trouble anyway, and why Cooper and Miller's testimony is so important. Hint: its about the Downing Street Memos

Here is how Liberal Oasis characterizes the Plame leak:

It was the act of a White House official trying to punish a whistleblower (Plame's husband Joe Wilson, who challenged Bush's truthfulness in accusing Saddam of trying to obtain nuclear material), and in turn, intimidate potential whistleblowers.

certainly this is the story that Wilson has been telling. I'm not sure whether he believes it or thinks it is the best spin to get media coverage, but I'm pretty sure it is wrong and has confused most people about the real story.

To understand that you need to get past Wilson's ego and realize that he is a bit player in this drama, and his wife Valerie Plame has a leading role. We just never see her on screen.

All the attention has focused on Plame as victim, the CIA operative whose safety has been threatened and career compromised by being "outed" But most folks ignore her then current role, as analyst at the CIA WMD desk. Now the current revised history from the Bush folks is that the CIA is responsible for overstating Saddam's WMD capabilities. But we know better. To understand this case you need to recall the political and intelligence context of the period just before and after the start of the war.

As confirmed by the Downing Street Memos, Bush was determined to take out Saddam, and the administration was "fixing" the intelligence to provide a justification. Unfortunately the CIA wasn't helping very much. While "everyone" "knew" that Saddam had WMD, the actual intelligence we had was really poor. Experts were sure that the evidence we ended up seeing like the aluminum "centrifuge tubes" for uranium enrichment, the Niger documents and the mobile biological labs were bogus, and the CIA didn't trust the human intelligence from Chalabi's gang of informers.

Since the CIA was shooting down reasons for war as fast as Chalabi could make them up, the Bushies (paticularly Cheney and Rumsfeld) set up the Office of Special Plans at DOD to "stovepipe" the good stuff and package it for public and international consumption. There were reports of "war" within the intelligence community between the CIA regulars and the prowar DOD. Plame was a top CIA WMD analyst. She was one of the generals on the other side.

Now the timing of the Plame leak is important. When he War began in March even skeptics expected Iraq had some WMD stockpiles. While there was some surprise that none were used, we saw throughout the fighting reports about potential exposure. When Bush declared Mission Accomplished on May 1 the official line was still that we expected to find large caches which were hidden before the war. The administration was counting on those discoveries to justify their manipulation of intelligence before the war.

Wilson's story started to reach the public in early June when it was reported that the CIA had a negative report on the now discredited Niger memos a year earlier. It blew up in early July when Wilson went public, and Novak published his column outing Plame on July 14 - Mission to Niger

At the time the administration was flush with success and still confident that they would find illegal weapons. They were sorting Washington into good guys (who supported the war) and bad guys (who questioned it). When Wilson came up they asked around "Who is this guy" and learned he was married to a CIA WMD analyst. That made him a bad guy, so they share the news with Novak, as a way of discrediting Wilson. It wasn't about retaliation, it was about tarnishing Wilson by tying him to the antiwar faction at CIA. The White House knows Plame as an analyst who refused to support their prowar view. They have been fighting these internal battles for months; now that they have won the war those Saddam lovers are out. I doubt anyone even thought about her being covert.

To get a flavor of where the White House was going see this WSJ editorial from October

'Stupid' Intelligence Some of our spooks simply oppose Bush administration antiterror policy. Friday, October 3, 2003 12:01 a.m. EDT If there's a silver lining to the controversy surrounding the Valerie Plame "outing," it's that an increasingly poisonous dispute over counterterrorism policy has been outed along with her. We're talking about the disagreement between the Bush Administration and many of the career intelligence officials at the State Department and the CIA.
Josh Marshall noted at the time that the White House was climbing out on a limb that had already been cut off.
Take a look at the lead editorial in the Wall Street Journal today. I'd summarize their argument as follows … "Fine, maybe this leak did occur. But let's not let these small points obscure the big point: the war between the White House and the CIA. Once the public sees that battle for what it is, they'll side with President Bush." In part, I agree: the war between the White House and the CIA is the big story. It's the feud from which this law-breaking springs. But pushing this story out to this larger policy battle isn't going make things any better for them, only worse. Because they've already lost that battle. They just don't realize it yet. There's a cartoon from years ago --- I think from the New Yorker, but perhaps from somewhere else --- in which there's a guy sitting at his desk and he's just had his head sliced off. Only the slice came so fast and clean that his head is still sitting there on the stump of his neck. He's thinking everything's fine. He'll only find out there's a problem the first time he tries to move. That's where these folks are right now.
Fast forward a year and things have changed. The War isn't looking like a slam dunk political winner, no WMD have been found, and folks are pointing fingers about how we could have been so wrong. The last thing in the world the Bushies want is an examination of the intelligence war between CIA and DOD. No indeed turns out it was actually CIA all along that was pushing the WMD story and the White House only doing what they thought they must in response to the flawed intelligence.

So when Patrick Fitzgerald shows up to investigate the outing of a CIA operative, the White House folks have a problem. They can hardly explain that they inadvertently outed an agent because they wanted to link Wilson to a faction at CIA that thought there were no WMD because, well, that would mean the White House had manufactured intelligence to take us into an unnecessary and increasingly unpopular war. After all they were now blaming CIA for OVERstating the threat from Iraq's WMD.

What did they tell Fitzgerald's investigators? What was their Grand Jury testimony. Bet it was pretty hard to come up with a consistent story that wasn't a political disaster. How many lied?

What started as a potential case of intentionally leaking the identity of an agent has now become about perjury and obstruction of justice in an attempt to conceal White House involvement in fixing the intelligence that led to war. Cooper and Miller were all over the prewar intelligence beat, so they become keys to understanding how the White House went from propagandists fighting CIA skeptics over WMD to triumphal victors haranguing their doubtors to well meaning victims of bad intelligence. The Plame disclosure happened right in the middle of the transformation, which means that it draws attention to both the WH role in the fixing of intelligence and its efforts to deny that role.

Fitzgerald needs the reporters to contradict whatever whitewash the WH has come up with for this mess. Its not just the identity of the source, it is what the WH was saying and when that will show that they lied to Fitzgerald and the Grand Jury to cover up their manipulation of and lying about prewar intelligence. This is what happens when the administration's Orwellian alteration of history occurs in a venue where lying is a crime and providing talking points is conspiracy to obstruct justice.

Originally posted to Economaniac on Thu Jun 30, 2005 at 09:35 AM PDT.

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Comment Preferences

  •  It may have been an effort to kill (4.00)
    several birds with one stone.  Wilson could be right that punishing him was a motive, and the destruction of Plame could also have been a motive.
    •  I agree I think that Rove is the type (4.00)
      to bloody anyone's face any way that he thinks is going to be effective. Outing Joe Wilson's wife was one way. At the time that Wilson wrote that editorial, no one else had really come forward and said that this administration was full of shit. He was the first to say it and I think Rove went nuts with anger that someone would do that to him-esp in the NY times newspaper. Maybe it did have something to do with the war between the CIA and WH as well, but I think Rove was royally pissed off at Wilson. That the wife worked for the CIA was gravy.
    •  Need to Get It Public (4.00)
      I see the most dire need to get this in PUBLIC court.  My biggest fear is it will never be brought into the clear light of day in ANY fashion.

      There was obviously a war between the CIA and Bushco.  Intelligence is never (or hardly ever) a clear cut thing.  It's always open to interpretation (a la Bolton).  What's hiding in all of this is the evidence that the DSM brings to focus.  Bushco was cherry picking the intelligence to justify their actions to the public.  (As my neighbor predicted LONG before the Iraqi war started - you don't move 200,000 troops to the border and then NOT attack, it's a done deal.)

      We need to use this whole mess to bubble more bits and pieces of truth to the public.  This will not result in convictions, but it will start the ball rolling for some House investigations with real teeth.

      •  just a thought... (none)
        Did (does) Bush perhaps think that he should be able to "rule" the CIA since his Daddy was once the head of the agency? And maybe he thought he had "dirt" on some of the CIA people from past work with Daddy?
        Regardless, the bull-in-a-china-shop modus operandi of Bush towards anything and anyone perceived to be "in his way" is one of these days going to come back to bite him in the butt. And I hope the bite comes in the form of Impeachment and criminal charges. He deserves no less.

        "People seem not to see that their opinion of the world is also a confession of their character."--Ralph Waldo Emerson

        by rioduran on Thu Jun 30, 2005 at 04:45:46 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  my post in a Conyers thread: (none)
        strength in numbers... (none / 0)

        ...the Democrat Motto for '06 and '08, and on!

        PS- to be certain what minutes you need to correlate, aside from DSM, trace the futures of BP oil.

        It should match the Blair DSM timeline of opposition by MI6 behind the scenes to the flip-flop for their statement Bush cites in his State of the Union address.

        Without holding shares one cannot get such returns on their official site.(BP)

        Still the timeline key times between DSM material and any corresponding business links will be within a week of Blair's two speeches against the Iraq and in support of America.

        The timeline will be witihn the standard negotiation time for communciation along standard state channels, expedited somewhat by the rush to war and digital pace. As well will be the roughly three day time between when markets reflect the value of internal workings that result in big deals for companies.

        So there will be big moves on BP's board, and for certain by the time the full trade transaction curve on demand is met. The big moves indicate when the deals were undertaken, three days before when the deals probably went down.

        Sept. 24, 2002
        Document
        British Prime Minister Tony Blair's 50-page dossier details evidence of a burgeoning weapons program in Iraq.

        January 2003
        Document
        Second British Dossier on Iraq's Weapons of Mass Destruction.

        "In that time frame- Sept.24th 2002 to Jan.2003 Tony Blair made his move with the BP concessions increase.

        Let's say September, because this appearance really helped solidify the Rove plan- "Run on the War".

        The Downing Minutes came in response to this, there was probably a big session of head-butt backroom maneuvers and Blair's statement simply added fuel to the embers of reasoned dissent.

        The Downing Minutes most likely detail internal reaction to this September 24th speech.

        The date for one such documents proves this:

        The secret Downing Street memo

        SECRET AND STRICTLY PERSONAL - UK EYES ONLY

        DAVID MANNING
        From: Matthew Rycroft
        Date: 23 July 2002
        S 195 /02

        cc: Defence Secretary, Foreign Secretary, Attorney-General, Sir Richard Wilson, John Scarlett, Francis Richards, CDS, C, Jonathan Powell, Sally Morgan, Alastair Campbell

        IRAQ: PRIME MINISTER'S MEETING, 23 JULY

        Copy addressees and you met the Prime Minister on 23 July to discuss Iraq.

        "This record is extremely sensitive. No further copies should be made. It should be shown only to those with a genuine need to know its contents.

        John Scarlett summarised the intelligence and latest JIC assessment. Saddam's regime was tough and based on extreme fear. The only way to overthrow it was likely to be by massive military action. Saddam was worried and expected an attack, probably by air and land, but he was not convinced that it would be immediate or overwhelming. His regime expected their neighbours to line up with the US. Saddam knew that regular army morale was poor. Real support for Saddam among the public was probably narrowly based.

        C reported on his recent talks in Washington. There was a perceptible shift in attitude. Military action was now seen as inevitable. Bush wanted to remove Saddam, through military action, justified by the conjunction of terrorism and WMD. But the intelligence and facts were being fixed around the policy. The NSC had no patience with the UN route, and no enthusiasm for publishing material on the Iraqi regime's record. There was little discussion in Washington of the aftermath after military action.

        CDS said that military planners would brief CENTCOM on 1-2 August, Rumsfeld on 3 August and Bush on 4 August."

        Others have tried to posts in here saying the timeline is after the war's start.  

        Don't let the disinformation start. It dealt with response to Blair's prewar hype of the Spetember report. Why September? Election time, and 9-11 rememberances, Patriot Day.

        A classic appearance on a Karl Rove timeline, with Blair's lies becoming the sell point.

        Look for any pegged futures numbers/stockprices off BP from the last week of October, to the September dossier.

        Most likely this was the sell point, then amajor correction as MI6 refuted things in closed doors and the traditional channels moved. There will be another BP spike after such reaction that will pretty much be the moneyshot for Tony Blair's bargain on Iraqi Concessions.

    •  Is the CIA responsible for the leak of DSM? (none)
      It's worth thinking about, given the war between CIA and the Bush administration. Note that recently the Bushies have restored some power to the CIA in the so-called intelligence shake-up. It could be Bush/Rove's way of saying, apres leaks on DSM (with help of British assets), "Ok, ok. We get it. Now let up on us. No more leaks, huh?"

      See 6/29 Boston Globe article on this:

      The [new intelligence overseas] office will be modeled after a [presidential] commission [on intelligence] recommendation to establish a Human Intelligence Directorate within the CIA that would be in a position superior to the Directorate of Operations, which now runs the agency's clandestine operations abroad, officials said.

      "When minds are once aroused, they are not easily appeased." -- Voltaire

      by Valtin on Thu Jun 30, 2005 at 10:52:10 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Good Post (4.00)
    Recommended...

    I guess the understanding that you point out is probably implied in the whole matter. It's helpful to point out the perjury. Are we not privy to Fitzgerald's investigation details: ie who exactly was questioned under oath?

    I'd be curious to know more details there.

    Thanks.

    "...an admirable evasion of whoremaster man, to lay his goatish disposition to the charge of a star!"

    King Lear

    by Norwell on Thu Jun 30, 2005 at 09:42:55 AM PDT

  •  Tip Jar and blatant whoring (3.98)
    If you think this is persuasive give me some love and recs. Any good links to fill out the story would be appreciated as well
    •  Please see my post below, I meant... (none)
      it as a response to your tip jar comment and am afraid you might miss it unless I direct you to it here.
    •  Holy mother of god! (4.00)
      Did you come up with these realisations all on your own? My GOD, the insight! I'm simply... gobsmacked.

      Consider my gast... flabbered.
                                      -Janeane Garofalo

      Rage, rage, against the lying of the Right.

      by Maryscott OConnor on Thu Jun 30, 2005 at 10:41:26 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I was hoping this was snark... (4.00)
        ...then I saw you recommended this turkey.

        (?????)

        I find this diary absolutely ridiculous. It's about 99% conjecture and 1% research. It reeks of an infantile desire to "scoop" an issue - ironically so, since a scoop usually involves the presentation of fact. It makes, in the end, very little sense - especially in its assertion that the Plame outing was a preemptive strike against future "Downing Street Memos" - and, on top of that, it's badly written.

        Shall I explain?

        It wasn't about retaliation, it was about tarnishing Wilson by tying him to the antiwar faction at CIA.

        The diarist's entire argument hinges on the notion that Valerie Plame belonged not only to an "antiwar faction" within the CIA, but one whose existence the Bush Administration deemed a bigger problem than the fact that Joe Wilson had just exposed a huge lie in The State of the Union Address and was about to tell the entire nation that he'd warned the administration repeatedly to retract the "Africa" statement or he'd do it for them.

        When has it ever been established that Plame had been part of an antiwar faction within the CIA? I'd love to see a link to this. I've written extensively about both antiwar and ideologically neutral "factions" that existed during the run-up to war and I have to say the notion that an undercover operative - whose own family thought she worked for the State Department - would jeapordize her cover by taking any position on the war strikes me as odd.

        She had been a noc - non-official cover- at the time her name was leaked, a covert status CIA analyst Kenneth Pollack calls "the holiest of holies." She was not, as the diarist claims, "an analyst at the WMD Desk." Her boss, Alan Foley, might have been a desk jockey. Plame was not and was clearly in no position whatsoever to allow her opinions to filter out of the Agency. The threat to the Bush Administration's war plan, you see, existed only to whatever degree to which unfavorable information reached the public. Was Valerie Plame going to pull a Karen Kwiatkowski, go public and land herself in prison?

        In all the chaos since the start of the war, it's easy to confuse what we now know about the DOD/CIA schism with what was known in July of 2003. Three and a half months had passed since the invasion and no WMD had been found. The Bush Administration was realizing that it had a vested interest in painting a reverse picture of its relationship with the CIA. Not the one where "antiwar factions" - represented, as the diarist claims, by people like Plame - had told them the WMD stuff was bogus. Rather, the one in which the Administration had proceeded in good faith on the "slam dunk" WMD case the CIA had given them, only to find out they'd gotten "bad intel."

        Honestly, in July of 2003, as the first questions about when we were going to find WMD in Iraq began to suface, how could the Bush Administration possibly benefit from pushing the idea that Wilson shot them down because his wife represented an agency that didn't like the war?

        How?

        They were realizing at that moment that, if WMD weren't found soon, they were gonna need a fall guy and George "Slam Dunk" Tenet - Plame's Boss - was the perfect choice. Stand him up as the misinformed boob who sat behind Powell through all that bullshit at the UN and - whammo - poor Bush got suckered into a war by a bunch of overzealous pencil pushers who didn't have enough HUMINT in Iraq.

        And what better way to prevent future whistleblowers from blowing their convenient "bad intel" excuse than to demolish the first guy to poke holes in it. It was a warning. And outing Valerie Plame was just one part of their all-out assault on Joe Wilson.

        It just happens to be the part that got them in trouble.

        •  I rated your comment high (none)
          because it was interestiing and well reasoned.

          However, I also recommended this turkey because I have a taste for turkey.  

          I like to get all views on the table.  Somewhere in there then will lie the truth.  No?

        •  Excellent rebuttals. (4.00)
          I recommend many diaries -- even some really offensive ones. Sometimes the reason I recommend a diary is because I find the ensuing discussions valuable enough that I think people might benefit from them.

          God knows I haven't seen many truly good Israel/Palestine diaries -- but I always recommend them in the hope the discussion will be wide-ranging...

          Rage, rage, against the lying of the Right.

          by Maryscott OConnor on Fri Jul 01, 2005 at 06:03:44 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  Wrong ratio. (none)
          "What started as a potential case of intentionally leaking the identity of an agent has now become about perjury and obstruction of justice in an attempt to conceal White House involvement in fixing the intelligence that led to war. "  

          That rings true.  

          That said, I think you are wrong that this diarist is 99-1% speculation.  It is 100% speculation because only Fitzgerald has the facts right now.

          "And what better way to prevent future whistleblowers from blowing their convenient "bad intel" excuse than to demolish the first guy to poke holes in it. It was a warning. And outing Valerie Plame was just one part of their all-out assault on Joe Wilson."

          Also speculation.  Also rings true.

          These people can walk and commit treason at the same time.  All their treasonous criminal acts can be fact...if/when we see if Fitzgerald is in Bush's pocket, waiting for a plum appointment or such, or if he is going to deliver Bush's head on a golden platter.  (Not to mention Rove getting frog-marched....ah the day that occurs, what a day...)

          Jesus: Destroy this temple - Gospel of John

          by The Gnostic on Fri Jul 01, 2005 at 10:39:36 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  Well... (none)
          That WAS quite a snark.

          "It makes, in the end, very little sense - especially in its assertion that the Plame outing was a preemptive strike against future "Downing Street Memos" - and, on top of that, it's badly written."

          Well I guess I had better cop to badly written else you wouldn't have completely missed the point.

          I am not suggesting this was "a preemptive strike against future "Downing Street Memos""; in fact just the reverse, that when Wilson's story broke the WH hadn't digested just what the implications of finding no WMD in Iraq would be, and were still in triumphant I told you so mode. That the Plame outing was in the context of a planned purge of CIA to cleanse those folks who had refused to back administration claims about Iraq and WMD. Chief among those was apparently Alan Foley, Plame's boss.

          Sy Hirsch did a lot of reporting about nearly open warfare between the career CIA WMD folks and the DOD stovepipe gang over these issues and it was widely reported that CIA and State both viewed taking out Saddam as sheer idiocy in the context of the war on terra. If you have paid any attention at all to the modus operandi of the Bushies you would understand that made them at least objectively pro Saddam and probably little short of traitors in the eyes of the WH. So by anti war I don't mean marching in the streets waving banners. I mean flagging bogus claims in Cheney speeches at least and possibly whispering anonymously to Sy Hirsch. With connection to both Foley and Hirsch I am sure Plame was viewed as untrustworthy even if the WH had no direct dealings with her.

          I don't know where you get your claims about Val Wilson's job at CIA at the time she was outed. I have read most of the public material and I have the impression that she was no longer working in the field and had shifted primarily to an analyst role, though there is some thought that was still running agents abroad. In several reports she was described as an analyst, and in one it is reported that an assistant in the Bush NSC had worked closely with her on WMD issues. I read the evidence to suggest that while she was still NOC she was moving into a management and analytic role and the primary security concerns involved exposing current agents she had dealt with in the past. For what its worth I think the effort to spin that into a claim that her outing was no big deal is preposterous; for all I know it crippled our WMD intelligence in the MidEast. The whole of my point is that given her shift from a field operation role to a management and analyst role, it is possible that she was known as the latter to the handful of national security people all with top security clearance at the WH.

          Finally to the timing issue. Apparently word that Wilson was talking reached the WH in March, and they made plans to deal with it. Apparently they were shopping Plame's name at the end of June/early July. The serious search for WMD was just beginning at that point and we we regularly hearing about potential discoveries of stockpiles. Moreover the Bushies weren't looking to cover their collective ass they were kicking butt and taking names in the months after Mission Accomplished. Note the WSJ bit from October and you see they were still pushing the disloyal CIA line. It wasn't until late in 2003 that they began to back off claims that large quantities of WMD were still to be found and Dean made big noise as the only Dem Presidential candidate willing to suggest that the war wasn't a great idea.

          So yes, as you note, in July of 2003, the FIRST questions about when we were going to find WMD in Iraq began to surface. That is just after they named Plame and started pushing reporters to investigate a disloyal proSaddam clique at CIA. My hypothesis is they meant to tie Wilson to a broader group at CIA but didn't realize that in naming Plame they were outing a NOC. That that two by four hit them in the face just about the same time they figured out that the WMD weren't gonna show up after all. And that it actually worked to their advantage at least for a while because they were able to drop the whole matter of the CIA denying their WMD claims and let the focus shift to the narrow (if ugly) claims that Plame was outed to punish Wilson.

          Following this line of reasoning, the problem for the WH is that the "innocent" explanation for the leak, that they were going after a group at CIA that didn't support their WMD claims, became politically toxic almost as soon as the scandal broke, so the WH pretty much had to let Wilson run with the retaliation angle. Which gets to the real point of my post - that Fitzgerald is deposing a whole bunch of senior WH people about how they were handling the WMD issue politically just at the moment when they switched from blaming CIA for not supporting their claims to blaming them for inflating them. Some of those folks have testified under oath to Congress about those same issues. Plus they have to concoct some reasonable explanation for outing Plame that aint a capital crime. That is a lot of lies to keep straight, especially when some are contradictory. And to top it all off they were talking to reporters straight through so there is contemporaneous independent evidence about what the were saying at least.

          I really don't understand why some people think I am acting as a Republican tool here. If the CW is right and say Scooter Libby or Bolton burned Plame to get back at Wilson it is a pretty small victory. Most of that damage is done. But if Fitzgerald has half the senior security and political guys in the WH on perjury and obstruction for lying about their efforts to fix the WMD intelligence that led us to war and their subsequent efforts to unfairly blame the CIA now that is a report I would like to read.

    •  The narrative overlay (4.00)
      that you put on these events is masterful.  Whore away if you like.

      Blind faith in your leaders, or in anything, will get you killed. --Springsteen

      by gaff98 on Thu Jun 30, 2005 at 11:20:07 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Very ver y interesting (4.00)
      I find your analysis very interesting, and indeed plausible.  However, there are a couple of issues for which there is no proof in the public record:

      1. As a CIA Analyst, Valerie Plame was one of those who vigorously argued that there was no proof of any WMD's in Iraq

      2. As a CIA Analyst, Valerie Plame was known by Senior Admin Officials as one of those who vigorously argued there was no proof of any WMD's in Iraq

      If those facts are true (and I have no idea if they are), then you have a plausible and interesting theory.  However, I am still a bit unclear about the exact natures of the perjuries that would have made by senior administration officials in this scenario.  What false statements under oath, exactly, would the senior administration officials have made to prosecutors in the grand jury under this scenario?  Is that something that could be developed in more detail.

      Again, fascinating work. . .

      •  Some problems (4.00)
        As I read the comments downthread, I am having more doubts.  For instance, SusanG knocks some pretty big holes in your theory here.  Again, I admire your diary for its thoughtfulness and original analysis; however, I am far from persuaded that your version is in accord with reality.
      •  I'd give you a "4" but for ... (4.00)
        ...some reason, I can only rate about half the time.

        "The President wanted to go into Iraq in the worst possible way. And he did." -- Nancy Pelosi

        by Meteor Blades on Thu Jun 30, 2005 at 12:33:16 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Issues (4.00)
        My starting point was the public speculation that Fitzgerald's couldn't bring charges for outing an agent because the leaker didn't know Plame was covert. If that is true then the CW makes no sense. Why would leaking her identity constitute retaliation if she wasn't covert. And how could a WH political guy know about Plame without knowing she was a covert agent.

        Put that in the context of the war between the CIA WMD desk and the WH politicos and an obvious answer appears. They knew Plame as an analyst and saw her as part of the proSaddam faction at CIA. It makes no sense to out a covert agent as political retaliation, witness the firestorm they created. But it would sure fit this WH and the mood in Spring 2003 to smear Wilson as part of a treasonous clique of Saddam supporters at CIA.

        I don't know that that is right but it fits the facts I do know and the speculation coming from Washington, while the CW just doesn't add up.

        •  I also recall (none)
          the spin when all this originally came out that she "wasn't a covert agent; she was only an analyst."

          It's a plausible connection of the dots. It will be interesting to see how things play out...but if, as speculation in some other diaries here is right, Bolton was the leaker, I'll still go with the "revenge" motive as primary.

          " 'Vox populi, vox Dei' translates as 'How the hell did we get into this mess!?' "---Robert Heinlein (accuracy of quote not guaranteed)

          by mirrim on Thu Jun 30, 2005 at 04:07:04 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  she *was* a covert agent (3.83)
            She was an analyst at the time of the leak, but I think she was still under non-official cover (NOC), which is not just run-of-the-mill covert, but the highest level of covert operative.  Remember the "NOC list" from Mission Impossible?  They didn't set up a front company to provide her cover for nothing.

            Even if the other reason of the diary holds up -- and it makes a lot of sense to me -- outing Valerie Plame was still a crime.

          •  In Novak's column when he outed her (none)
            he called her a covert agent. Later, if I remember correctly, he backtracked and said that she was just an analyst, that he used the word "covert" loosely and that to him, covert meant anything. The only way that this makes sense to me (i.e. someone going after Plame) was because she had been a covert agent. Remember when Chris Matthews said that he spoke with Rove about Plame, and then he called Wilson and said " I just spoke with Rove and they are going after your wife" ? Why Plame if it wasn't in retaliation to Wilson's letter to the NY Times? Why not any other employee in the CIA-esp one that was better versed in the Middle East if this was just a war between the WH and the CIA?
            Fitzgerald may have had problems proving that Plame was KNOWINGLY outed as a undercover agent, and couldn't make that charge stick, so he's going after perjury instead.
            •  NYT documentation (none)
              If any of the documentation shows the use of the word or label "covert", Novak's sunk.

              It means he deliberately repeated what he'd been fed, that he tried to cover it up.

              I have a very, very hard time believing that Novak accidentally used the word "covert".  What a colossal slip from a person whose business is word craft.

              •  Novak Said CIA Operative (none)
                Novak later said that he uses the term "operative" loosely, e.g., political operative.  Novak then said in interviews that the CIA never told him that Plame had been a covert agent (or that anyone would be hurt if her name was revealed), but that the CIA asked him not to use her name.  Novak thought her name was newsworthy so he used it anyway.
    •  It's an interesting theory (none)
      but I am still convinced that the Bush admin knew that they wouldn't find any WMD.

      I believe this is how they gambled: the invasion & the occupation would be such shinning success that if anyone complained about the discovery of WMD, they could be made to appear as carping and irrelevant.

      The only thing that has made the WMD issue relevant popularly is the stiff Iraqi resistance and the number of USA casualties.  That's what makes Americans ask, "Why did we enter this war?"

      This was a combination of neocon arrogance (we will easily defeat them & they will throw flowers on our paths) and Rove's arrogance that the lack of WMD issue could be handled later propagandistically by focusing on the invasion & occupation's success.  

      http://delawarewatch.blogspot.com/

      by Dana Garrett on Thu Jun 30, 2005 at 01:36:30 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  But why didn't they (none)
        at least, send in special ops before the war and plant WMD evidence? Wouldn't that have avoided any questions about WMD being in Iraq? There were certainly special ops in there anyway.
        •  Because (none)
          It was never WMD, Terrorism, or a brutal regime. It was the grudge match. Doesn't everyone know that we are merely pawns in this icky Freudian/Shakespearean reality known as I'm better than Daddy.

          ..he tried to kill my Dad...George W. Bush

          •  Nevertheless (none)
            I assumed there would be "planted" WMD, and the shock of learning that the Administration never even bothered with that has yet to really sink in.

            See, the thing is, Bush et al HAD to have believed there were WMD, else they simply would have fabricated them.  On the other hand, they've had plenty of time to do so in the last year, as well; after learning that there were no WMD, that is.  It just doesn't make sense.

            The only scenario that makes sense is that Bush knew there were no WMD and didn't want us to think there were any anyway.  Why?  Who knows what the real plan is, anyway?  Maybe the goal all along was to select out disloyal liberals -- and the lack of WMD has done this.  Those who still support the war have shown themselves to have the kind of loyalty BushCo needs; the rest can now safely be liquidated.

        •  Too risky (none)
          Why plant WMD and take the chance of being caught planting WMD if a cakewalk in Iraq would make the issue of no WMD in Iraq irrelevant?

          http://delawarewatch.blogspot.com/

          by Dana Garrett on Fri Jul 01, 2005 at 05:17:35 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  Plame case is now on perjury over intelligence fix (none)
  •  Judy Miller is going to be... (4.00)
    bucking for sympaythy... We should nip that in the bud.  A meme for reporters description of Miller: "Miller, who frequently reported on Iraq's alleged stockpiles of WMDs."
    •  Judy Miller Reporting (4.00)
      And if Ecomaniac is correct, the question of Miller might be "What did you know about WMD and when did you know it?"  i.e. Judy Miller Knew all along (or, atleast, for the most part) that the WMD meme was false, but reported it any way.

      That's why she doesn't want to testify before the Grand Jury, not that she want's to "protect her source" that outed Valerie Plame.

      •  More Complex (3.75)
        Let's not go jumping past what we know.

        Bill Clinton, among others, believed that Saddam retained some WMD capability.  It's quite a leap to give Judith Miller culpability for believing what was easier to believe.  Most of us probably believed that the capability Saddam possessed was aging and not a threat to America, but it was hard to believe that if in fact he still had some capability in 1998 he would not rebuild to some very limited degree without the presence of inspectors.

        The administation people are intentionally exaggerating in 02/03 because 1) Chalabi says the weapons are there 2) They truly believe they are there, but we have no proof 3) The weapons were there before, so of course they are there. 4) The administation believes that if one story is true about Saddam's WMD capabilities, that would be enough to justify their effort.

        Judith Miller's Deep Throat was the entire administration.  If she breaks the Plame story, it probably reveals her source for most of her other WMD stories.  I believe she is a fool for spouting neo-con propaganda without questioning it, but she did not run the Plame story, Novak did.  She may be a gullible sap, but its hard to believe she didn't think she was reporting the real facts.

        •  "Beliefs" (4.00)
             None of us had any business "believing" one thing or another about the capacity of Saddam Hussein's Iraq for possessing biological or chemical weapons (it was manifest from an early point that there were no nuclear weapons there at all, hence the propagandistic use of the term "Weapons of Mass Destruction").  I never "believed" anything about them: what I always said was that they might exist, or might be a fevered imagination of the neoconservatives, but that there were no grounds for going to war and killing thousands on the basis of a supposition.  It was important not to believe but to know.  That is why there were inspectors.  Leave it to the Bush Administration to conduct faith-based policies about things that they believe; Democrats should base their decisions on things that they know.
          •  Yep ! (none)
            Right you are, sir.

            I've worked for 20 years as a surgical nurse at the University of Michigan medical center.  I can tell you that you don't try to take out brain tumors you "believe" are there.  

            Nor would you ever operate on anyone without INFORMED CONSENT.  Imagine your brain surgeon telling you that he believed you had a brain tumor, proceeded to operate, and discovered you were tumor free.  He damaged your speech center, your left eye is blind and you no longer have control of your bladder.  But the good news is: no tumor.

            This is the best analogy that I can come up with for what has happened to the American public.

        •  Bill Clinton had no reason (none)
          to believe such a thing either.  Especially if he had paid any attention to what the leaders of the inspections regimes had said, which was that they were gone and the programs ended.
          •  Agreed. And what's more... (4.00)
            ... this whole Daddy Bush-Bill Clinton kissyface act is getting creepy. I for one think he's being co-opted.. possibly because daddy Bush still has some of the goods on Bill. Who ain't no saint (notwithstanding any of your generally positive feeling about him).

            What dafcuk is this spit-swapping charade all about?  - at a time in which daddy bush's little boy Geroge is the most reviled, cheating, lying, manipulative, fascist...etc ad inifitum... antichrist EVER to inhabit the White House.

            Well?

            When dealing with the insane, the best method is to pretend to be sane. - Herman Hesse

            by jpwillis on Thu Jun 30, 2005 at 12:16:24 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  The question is ... (4.00)
              who's co-opting who in this little Clinton-Bush lovefest?

              My bets are on the Big Dog. He has a spouse with a future and he's about one of the most political savvy creatures on the planet.

              •  I also bet that Pappa Bush likes Clinton (4.00)
                better than he likes his own son.  Doesn't everybody???

                "If you are not outraged, you are not paying attention."

                by adigal on Thu Jun 30, 2005 at 02:07:05 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  Consider (none)
                  Bill Clinton is Tom Hagen

                  W. is Fredo

                  Poor H.W.   He would have gone down in history as a mediocre one term president.  Now he will be known forever as the father of the Worst President ever.  Not to mention a guy who bailed out on his buddies, leaving them to a flaming death, during WWII.

                  Does anyone other than me think that Dan Quayle was given the Veep job to help lower the intellectual bar for the eventual rise of W. ?  Daddy knew best.

            •  Daddy Bush is one thing (4.00)
              But what is even creepier is Bill Clinton on Larry King Live supporting the War and saying he likes some of Bush the Junior's policies. He was simply gushing about ALL the Bush family, not just Daddy. But I also guess he likes Daddy More because Daddy dismissed the Cheney/Rummy plan to invade Iraq in 91 as right wing lunacy...Baby Bush subscribes and carries out right wing lunacy. But still Big Dog kissing up to George W seems insane but there could be more to it..wonder if he is making Hillary look more centrist by loving the Bush family.

              I do not know what is is, but it is some disgusting spectacle to watch.

              We choose hope over despair; possibilities over problems, optimism over cynicism.-John Edwards

              by wishingwell on Thu Jun 30, 2005 at 01:21:12 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

            •  I'm sure there is a bond we cannot understand... (none)
              There's something to be said for being an ex-president...one of only three living ones. Is that right? Those two, plus Carter? Is Ford still alive? Does anyone care?

              I'm sure they both made good decisions and bad decisions...decisions they wanted to make and decisions they didn't want to make. Ones they were proud of and ones they regret. I'm sure they share some philosophies and differ in others.

              Fight terrorists wherever they be found/Well why you not bombin Tim McVeigh's hometown?? - Michael Franti

              by missreporter on Thu Jun 30, 2005 at 02:09:07 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

          •  well, "belief" is one thing... (4.00)
            It is one thing to "believe" something, it is an entirely different thing to launch a damn war over it. As much as Clinton "believed" that Saddam had WMD, he did not stray far beyond the terms of the 1991 truce with Iraq. He bombed them when they locked onto our planes in the no-fly zone, he enforced sanctions, etc.

            Bush "believed" that Saddam had WMD, cooked intelligence to support it, and launched a war that to date has killed 1,700+ soldiers.

            BIG difference.

            Republicans are the party that says government doesn't work, and then they get elected and prove it.

            by David J on Thu Jun 30, 2005 at 01:17:18 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

          •  Yet apparently, he did (none)
            Clinton told us to "Trust Tony's judgment" in his famous Guardian comment from March 18th 2003:


            On the other side, France, Germany and Russia are adamantly opposed to the use of force or imposing any ultimatum on Saddam as long as the inspectors are working. They believe that, at least as long as the inspectors are there, Iraq will not use or give away its chemical and biological stocks, and therefore, no matter how unhelpful Saddam is, he does not pose a threat sufficient to justify invasion. After 150,000 US forces were deployed to the Gulf, they concluded the US was not willing to give inspections a chance anyway. The problem with their position is that only the threat of force from the US and the UK got inspectors back into Iraq in the first place. Without a credible threat of force, Saddam will not disarm.

            Once again, Blair stepped into the breach, with a last-ditch proposal to restore unity to the UN and disarm Saddam without military action. He secured US support for a new UN resolution that would require Saddam to meet dead lines, within a reasonable time, in four important areas, including accounting for his biological and chemical weapons and allowing Iraqi scientists to leave the country for interviews.

            This does not sound like Clinton had a lot of doubt about Iraq's abilities.

            Let's not get carried away - we may not have known that Saddam had WMD before the war, but many suspected it the same way they may suspect that either the Yankees or the Red Sox will be in the playoffs this year.

            •  Excellent, my point exactly (none)
              And likewise, Miller -- although a pawn in the pocket of her neo-con sources -- had reason to suspect that, barring evidence that the weapons had all been destroyed or dismantled, there would still be some WMD found in Iraq.

              She's a pawn, but not a criminal.

              •  Miller is a criminal (none)
                Aldrich Ames was convicted of conspiracy to commit espionage in violation of 18 USC 794 and is serving a life term for outing US covert agents to the Soviets. Whoever told Miller that Plame was a NOC CIA Officer committed the same crime as Aldrich Ames by revealing that information. Miller witnessed a crime in progress, by stonewalling FitzGerald she committed the felonies of misprision of felony, and being an accessory after the fact. Had she reported what her "source" told her, then she would have committed conspiracy to commit espionage as well. Novak reported. He needs to be put in jail for life. Miller needs to go to jail for about 8 years.
    •  Miller Was A Reckless Stovepipe Who (4.00)
      might as well have been in the pay of the White House.  Her reputation was built and paid for with bogus intelligence which she had good reason to know was questionable.  However, she probably did not have ACTUAL KNOWLEDGE that it was FALSE.  There is a big difference here.  It doesn't mean that she may not have suspected that it was false, and reported it anyway.  But she had not necessarily the real expertise to know the difference.  She was acting as a scribe for the White House and Challabi.  Her payback was that they would point to her, and her editors knew that her stories should go on the front page to curry favor with the White House and regulators and advertisers who might see her reporting as critical to their interests.

      However, there is a big difference re her current predicament, and impending jail time for even peripheral involvement and protection of a government retaliating against the expression of rights that maintain our freedoms, and her right (and the New York Times' "right") to free speech.  That source of hers was breaking the law by releasing information that endangered Americans by destroying a critical WMD human intelligence network organized by a key clandestine intelligence agent, Vallery Plame.  There is NO DIFFERENCE between this and Heraldo's broadcasting the position of our troops during a battle.  In fact, What Miller Did was worse, because she is protecting people who placed us all ini much greater danger - and taht is NOT the same thing as protecting a whistleblower who is protecting the rights of the sovereign people in a democracy to not be lied to and to be protected from harm.

      Miller placed us all in harm's way, and continues to do so, in order only to protect her own career and bogus sources for bad stories that have conned the American public.  She deserves every day she will serve in prison - and MORE!

    •  Miller Meme... (none)
      ...the agent for the Iranian spy,Chalabi....
  •  Good analysis, but.. (3.93)
    It can all be true, and leaking Plame's name is STILL a federal crime. I didn't see where you made the point that exposing a cia operative could be legal after all.

    It may just be the perfect storm of subjecting the administration to prosecution and exposing one aspect of the Iraq lies publicly.

    •  Yes, it is still a crime. (4.00)
      It looks like the motivations may be slightly different from what we have been led to believe, but the criminal act remains unchanged. The way I read it, Novak's column was prima facie illegal:

      US Code, TITLE 50, CHAPTER 15, SUBCHAPTER IV, § 421(b)


          Disclosure of information by persons who learn identity of covert agents as result of having access to classified information.

          Whoever, as a result of having authorized access to classified information, learns the identity of a covert agent and intentionally discloses any information identifying such covert agent to any individual not authorized to receive classified information, knowing that the information disclosed so identifies such covert agent and that the United States is taking affirmative measures to conceal such covert agent's intelligence relationship to the United States, shall be fined under title 18 or imprisoned not more than five years, or both.

      The general readership of Novak's syndicated column would, I'm pretty sure, qualify as being "not authorized to receive classified information."

      ~~~~
      The Government of the United States of America is not, in any sense, founded on the Christian religion. - Treaty of Tripoli, 1797

      by OhioLen on Thu Jun 30, 2005 at 10:37:36 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Intent... (none)
        You should bold the next bit from your quote as well...

        "...knowing that the information disclosed so identifies such covert agent and that the United States is taking affirmative measures to conceal such covert agent's intelligence relationship to the United States"

        This is becoming the crux of the matter - whether or not Novak or the other journalists knew that Plame was acting in an undercover capacity, and whether they intended to blow her cover by reporting as they did.

        One of the issues in the parent story is that most people in Washington didn't know that Plame was acting undercover, since she also had a public and widely known role as a WMD analyst, and thus they may have inadvertently blown her cover while trying to attack her "public" persona.

        •  I addressed this downthread. (none)
          The first part which deals with "authorized access" to classified information is the key.

          ~~~~
          The Government of the United States of America is not, in any sense, founded on the Christian religion. - Treaty of Tripoli, 1797

          by OhioLen on Thu Jun 30, 2005 at 11:31:01 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  I should also mention... (4.00)
          that the reporters in this story are bit players. Miller, Cooper and Novak aren't the real issue here. Their source is the issue. Furthermore, these reporters have no legal right to refuse to answer questions about said source since this is in the context of a national security criminal investigation:

          ...the great weight of authority is that newsmen are not exempt from the normal duty of appearing before a grand jury and answering questions relevant to a criminal investigation. At common law, courts consistently refused to recognize the existence of any privilege authorizing a newsman to refuse to reveal confidential information to a grand jury.
          - Branzburg v. Hayes, 408 U.S. 665 (1972)

          ~~~~
          The Government of the United States of America is not, in any sense, founded on the Christian religion. - Treaty of Tripoli, 1797

          by OhioLen on Thu Jun 30, 2005 at 11:43:56 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  But remember (none)
          that Novak and the other "journalists" aren't being prosecuted for violating the covert agent law. Whether or not the hacks knew about Plame's clandestine cover isn't at issue. It's the direct targets of Fitzgerald's case (cough cough Libby cough Rove cough) where not-knowing may or may not apply.
          •  Since Novak isn't in contempt, (none)
            a few possibilities emerge. Either he cooperated (which is my bet, Novak's being a coward and all) or he is a target, meaning he hasn't been called to testify. There is also the remote possibility that Novak was called and invoked a technicality known as the constitution to avoid testimony by refusing to incriminate himself. If he did that he wasn't offered immunity to force his testimony, which would mean the prosecutor wants to reserve the right to charge Novak.  
            •  I'm betting that Novak spilled the beans, too (none)
              and for the same reason you do.

              Gee, too bad Ken Starr isn't running the show, 'cause every freaking detail would've been leaked by now.

            •  From what I have heard... (none)
              Novak co-operated... But that is just speculation on a blog somewhere based on his statements (I think a few have speculated on this?)... So it ain't quotable anymore than this whole "What if?" diary...

              I think he may actually be under a "gag" to "no comment" this sitch. (More speculation but on my part based on some of his statements: "I will tell all later"... Yes, I paraphrased/mocked Novak there, lol)

              Man... Kossacks developed this out the ying-yang while I was "gone fishing"... lol

              I am glad this diary got to the top!

              a few possibilities emerge. Either he cooperated (which is my bet, Novak's being a coward and all) or he is a target, meaning he hasn't been called to testify.
              by Thistime

              IWT
              Independent World Television

              by m16eib on Thu Jun 30, 2005 at 09:00:42 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

        •  Please provide a link describing (none)
          Plame's public work as a WMD analyst. Rush spent about a month on the subject, but he didn't say where he got his information.  
          •  Today, Rush said Joe Wilson should go to jail (4.00)
            basically for being a publicity whore. He suggested Wilson and Plame didn't care about her secret identity because they did a photo spread in Vanity Fair (hey, Rush, wasn't that a year after her identity was ruined by Novak and someone inside the White House?).

            I love that this diary cracks open the question of motive. I think it's important that whatever details may be wrong in this diary, the central question remains: Have we been wrong about the real motive for outing Plame? Conventional wisdom suggests it was merely retaliation to get back at Wilson after the editorial refuting Bush's SOTU claim of Saddam trying to acquire yellowcake from Niger. What if the real reason was to get back at Wilson's wife and send a signal to the CIA that no one would be allowed to question the White House's manipulation of intelligence? What if this is part of the distortion of intelligence because Bush HAD to have his war?

            I think we need to quit saying Bush LIED. We need to focus on how the available intelligence was used, distorted and manipulated for which there is amble evidence including the DSM. We need to crack this open and question Bush's honesty with the American people and paint a case of corruption and lies that will taint the right wing in the eyes of the general public who is finally waking up from their post-9/11 fog and asking how we got here.

      •  but.... (none)
        novack (and the rest of the right) has always 'poo poo'd' the alligation that he outted a COVERT agent..instead claiming valarie Plame was well known all over DC to be an agent...

        thats never been discussed....was she covert or well known.

        does that point make any difference in a criminal case?  

        and the department she worked in was directly related to our WAR on terrorism....

        does THAT have any bearing in a legal case?  does outing a covert CIA agent to the general public carry a greater punishment during wartime?

        "Not even Revelations threatens a plague of vengeful yahoos." H. S. Thompson

        by KnotIookin on Thu Jun 30, 2005 at 11:27:30 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  contrary to Novak's lame attempts (4.00)
          to excuse himself, there is NO SUCH THING as a "well-known" CIA operative.  That's just total BS.
        •  My guess (none)
          Is that the number of people who knew she was an agent compared to to the number of people who first learned it from Novak's column is miniscule.

          If you want something other than the obvious to happen, you've got to do something other than the obvious...

          by trillian on Thu Jun 30, 2005 at 11:43:40 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  She was not "well known". (4.00)
          According to Wilson, Plame was worried about what her friends and family would think once her cover was blown because she had "lied" to them for years to be able to carry her cover.  

          If she was supposedly so well known, you would think those around her would at the least be aware.  

          Great minds have purposes, others have wishes. Little minds are tamed and subdued by misfortune; but great minds rise above them - Washington Irving

          by Stein on Thu Jun 30, 2005 at 12:29:47 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Not a well known AGENT (none)
            Well known (or at least known) at the White House as an analyst at CIA that kept shooting down their precious justifications for war. There was a cold war going on between the White House and CIA over WMD intelligence. Plame was a player at CIA. Surely the players at the WH knew who she was (in this context), especially when her husband started spouting off. Easy to see how the little fact that she was also covert and running a string of agents might not have been as widely disseminated.
            •  HOw do you know that? (4.00)
              Well known (or at least known) at the White House as an analyst at CIA that kept shooting down their precious justifications for war.

              Is that in the public record?

              The Republican Party: Redefining Oppression for the 21st Century

              by daveriegel on Thu Jun 30, 2005 at 01:14:13 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

            •  Nope. (4.00)
              She shouldn't have been known at the White House. That's part of the problem here.

              To quote Wilson:

              "The intriguing question is: Who gave the name to the White House in the first place? Who in the intelligence community offered up my wife's name and why?

              This was not an agency leak. There might have been an individual within the agency who leaked, but not the CIA as an institution."

              •  Who did Cheney meet with? (none)
                Who did Cheney meet with duuring his arm-twisting visits to Langley? It doesn't seem as though George Tenet and John Mclaughlin needed much persuading to tell the president what he wanted to hear.
              •  How they knew Plame (none)
                My starting point was the public speculation that Fitzgerald couldn't bring charges for outing an agent because the leaker didn't know Plame was covert. If that is true then the CW makes no sense. Why would leaking her identity constitute retaliation if she wasn't covert? And how could a WH political guy know about Plame without knowing she was a covert agent?

                Put that in the context of the war between the CIA WMD desk and the WH politicos and an obvious answer appears. They knew Plame as an analyst and saw her as part of the proSaddam faction at CIA. Maybe her name came up during the back and forth about the WMD claims before the war. It ain't hard to imagine Cheney demanding to know who kept redflagging his perfectly good forged documents. Maybe they learned about her as part of investigating Wilson's claims. After he came out I'm sure the WH demanded to know who he was, how he got the gig and what his connection to CIA was. When it came out that his wife was CIA on the WMD desk they put two and two together and...

                It makes no sense to out a covert agent as political retaliation, witness the firestorm they created. But it would sure fit this WH and the mood in Spring 2003 to smear Wilson as part of a treasonous clique of Saddam supporters at CIA.

                I don't know that that is right but it fits the facts I do know and the speculation coming from Washington, while the CW just doesn't add up.

            •  Why do you keep saying analyst (none)
              Do you watch nothing but Sean Hannity?

              She worked for a fake company who's cover was also blown by the leak. The CIA went ballistic when she was outed. This leak was much bigger than you imagine. Do I need to do a whole diary on what we really know about Plame and her cover?

              First the unnecessary bashing of the Ambassador and now using the Sean Hannity lie of "the analyst". I hope you're not my worst nightmare, a troll with a recommended diary.

      •  but.... (none)
        novack (and the rest of the right) has always 'poo poo'd' the alligation that he outted a COVERT agent..instead claiming valarie Plame was well known all over DC to be an agent...

        thats never been discussed....was she covert or well known.

        does that point make any difference in a criminal case?  

        and the department she worked in was directly related to our WAR on terrorism....

        does THAT have any bearing in a legal case?  does outing a covert CIA agent to the general public carry a greater punishment during wartime?

        "Not even Revelations threatens a plague of vengeful yahoos." H. S. Thompson

        by KnotIookin on Thu Jun 30, 2005 at 11:28:32 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  It wouldn't make a difference under (none)
          certain circumstances. If the leaker verified Plame's classified status he is still criminally liable, if he could make that verification based on knowledge the leaker acquired through his secure position. In other words, he leaker had a duty to deny Plame's status even if everyone else knew it.

          I think.

          •  Yes This Is True, They Must Protect Info. . . (none)
            even after a leak.  

            See my post re Bolton, in this diary:  The link to the letter from the six Democratic Congresspersons indicates that the law requires that even after top secret information is published, it is the duty of government officials to protect that information.  The laws, executive orders, etc., are all outlined in that letter to the GAO demanding an investigation.

      •  Novak is not covered by the statute. (none)
        The first part of the statute describes the individuals covered: those with authorized access to information regarding the identity of a covert operative (I don't see any way Novak fits into that category).

        The second part describes the prohibited action and places a requirement that the action was performed "knowingly," rather than some other legal standard, such as negligently or recklessly.  This is a very high standard to meet & would be the escape hatch for the administration official who actually leaked Plame to Novak.

        It would be very difficult to get a conviction under this statute.  It places no burden on the accused party to have performed any investigation into whether the agent was covert or not, a reckless standard would have done so.

        Loyalty to the country always. Loyalty to the government when it deserves it. -- Mark Twain

        by GTPinNJ on Thu Jun 30, 2005 at 11:57:13 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Convict the leaker (none)
          Novak is not the leaker...he did not have access to classified information.

          So the question comes back to WHO told Novak and the other journalists. That is the person who should be prosecuted. Was it Rove?  Was it Cheney? Was it Bush? Was it someone else with access to classified information?

          The person with the loose lips should be identified and prosecuted.

          The motivation for outing Plame may become extreemly important as the pieces of the jigsaw puzzle come together over the war and WMD...but the person who ratted out Plame should be vigourously prosecuted to discourage such behavior in the future.

          "They that can give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety." - Benjamin Franklin

          by digital drano on Thu Jun 30, 2005 at 04:09:25 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Yes, that was my point. (none)
            I was replying to the post about Novak's column being illegal...it may be, but not under the statute cited.

            Loyalty to the country always. Loyalty to the government when it deserves it. -- Mark Twain

            by GTPinNJ on Fri Jul 01, 2005 at 07:42:16 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

      •  Thanks for the actual code reference (none)
        That makes it clear to me that the person we are after definitely has or had acces to classified information, therefore, even if Fitzgerald is 'fishing', at least he gets to use big hooks :)
      •  intent is not the issue (none)
        for the person who named Plame to miller and Novack

        That person committed a crime, they are covering under Obstruction of Justice

    •  You're theorizing... (4.00)
      that this White House didn't think before it acted of all the ramifications of its actions? C'mon, you can't be serious!
  •  You say the leak probably wasn't a crime (4.00)
    but I don't see how you support that.

    You describe a slightly more nuanced view of the motivation behind the leak, which may very well be true, but it's still an intentional leak.  I don't see which facts in your narrative are supposed to make the act less criminal.

    •  Criminality (4.00)
      Not a lawyer but my understanding is that the leaker had to know that Plame was covert in order for it to be a crime. My hypothesis is that the WH saw her as an analyst, administrator type cause that is how they dealt with her. I'm sure there were lots of discussions at the WH about who at CIA was throwing cold water on the WMD stuff, and even more when the papers starting having CIA leaks questioning WH claims in the months before the war. Plus I doubt Rove's boys can even conceive of a female secret agent that isn't wearing black leather.
      •  Plame's Identity (4.00)
        I suspect you are wrong on this issue. I liked your posting a lot, though.

        I believe they, Karl, Scooter,et. al., not only knew the full story on Val Plame, but sought to, as said above, kill more than one bird with the stone they threw.

        To see Val's job as just an analyst is to not know her whole history, the network she developed and ran, and the fact that it wasn't just the analysts they were trying to intimidate. The directorate of operations was on their hit list as well, and guess who Val reported to?

        "When the only tool you own is a hammer, you see every problem as a nail." Quote unattributed but true.

        by oofer on Thu Jun 30, 2005 at 10:56:45 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Just an analyst (none)
          Sure didn't mean to suggest that. The whole premise of this diary is that Plame is the key to the whole affair, and that she was sufficiently important to be viewed known and viewed as an antagonist by political folks at the White House. I doubt those folks knew about the details of operations or operatives (if they did that probably represents a breach of security at least as big as disclosing Plame) but I'm sure they had identified the folks at CIA that were refusing to play ball.

          Outing Plame was a step from covert skirmishes toward open warfare with CIA. They thought they could go there because the success of the War had given them political capital. Shortly thereafter the complete failure to find WMD and the unexpected ferocity of the insurgency left them exposed and vulnerable. A little jujitsu move and all of a sudden the same CIA folks they were ready to fry for denying the WMD threat are now introuble for inflating it. Fitzgerald may give us a window on just how that was arranged. Or perhaps more to the point who lied about how it was arranged and who conspired to cover it up.

          •  Getting even with Joe Wilson--and Valerie (none)
            Maybe someone could post the Novack column.  As I remember it, part of Novack's point is that the WH was pissed at Valerie--hey, she's a covert agent at the CIA, and she recommended her knuckle-head husband to go to Niger,  and he not only doesn't back us on the bogus yellow cake, he goes public with the story,  making the WH look like the pigs they were and are as represented in the DSM.

            People forget that just like Tip O'Neill said all politics are local, with these guys all politics is personal.  The chief reasons W went to war in Iraq were to:

            1.  Show Saddam he couldn't try to kill his Daddy.

            2.  Show Daddy that W was a bigger man than he.

            Unfortunately for the thousands who have been killed and maimed,  it is not much more complicated than that.  The other leading motive would be:

            1.  Iraq has oil; I know (something about) oil; lets go for the oil.

            2.  Terrorism was a charade, a pawn, a stick to beat the American people and us Dems over the head with,  and always has been and always will be.

            W's whole foreign policy is built around the stance of getting one idea and running with itl no flexibility, no nuance, no backing down, apologizing, turning around.  [Sports note:  Like Chris Sabo of the Cinci Reds of the 90s, W always runs till he is out.]  No wonder he was a failure in every business venture he ever tried.

            To wind up--the motive was personal vengence.  Getting even with Wilson and Plame--trusted opeartives who turned on insecure W and his insecure administration.

            What rough beast, its hour come round at last/Slouches toward Bethlehem waiting to be born?

            by cova1 on Thu Jun 30, 2005 at 07:03:44 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Link to column (4.00)
              The column is available here.

              The key paragraph is this one, which claims that Wilson was sent based on Plame's recommendations:

              Wilson never worked for the CIA, but his wife, Valerie Plame, is an Agency operative on weapons of mass destruction. Two senior administration officials told me Wilson's wife suggested sending him to Niger to investigate the Italian report. The CIA says its counter-proliferation officials selected Wilson and asked his wife to contact him. "I will not answer any question about my wife," Wilson told me.

              That's it--no further mention is made of his wife. The point that the RW blogosphere seems to have picked up from is that there was something obviously wrong with Plame recommending her husband to do the job.

              Look out honey, 'cause I'm using technology! Ain't got time to make no apology

              by patop on Thu Jun 30, 2005 at 07:39:18 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

        •  wow..... (none)
          "When the only tool you own is a hammer, you see every problem as a nail." Quote unattributed but true.

          This quote sounds incredibly familiar to me...
          BTW, there are a lot more of us in North Carolina than one might think....

          Card-carrying member, RBC [Reality-Based Community]

          by warhistorian on Thu Jun 30, 2005 at 08:44:24 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  Really? (none)
        I would think ignorance is not an excuse for breaking the law.  Tolerance may be called for in deciding whether to prosecute, but the law was violated.  The leaker could have checked first.  But I'm no lawyer.  Just thinking I can't say "Honest officer, I didn't see the sign." and get necessarily get away with the violation.

        When the People lead, the leaders will follow..(a bumper sticker)

        by just us on Thu Jun 30, 2005 at 10:58:51 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  The "knowing" requirement in the last (none)
          portion of the statute is the loophole that would allow the leaker to escape a conviction.

          Loyalty to the country always. Loyalty to the government when it deserves it. -- Mark Twain

          by GTPinNJ on Thu Jun 30, 2005 at 11:08:53 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Nope, doesn't work that way. (4.00)
            Please note the first part of the statute I posted above:

            Whoever, as a result of having authorized access to classified information...

            Do you honestly think Novak has that kind of security clearance? Novak's column merely represents the method of breaking the law. Novak, being the tool that he is, might be guilty of a slightly lesser security breach since he is not likely to hold of a Top Secret security clearance, but both he and his source undoubtedly committed a crime.

            ~~~~
            The Government of the United States of America is not, in any sense, founded on the Christian religion. - Treaty of Tripoli, 1797

            by OhioLen on Thu Jun 30, 2005 at 11:29:07 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  I was speaking of the leaker, (none)
              i.e. the member of the administration who outed Plame to Novak.  Novak doesn't fit under the umbrella of the statute for exactly the reason you stated.

              Loyalty to the country always. Loyalty to the government when it deserves it. -- Mark Twain

              by GTPinNJ on Thu Jun 30, 2005 at 11:37:39 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  Novak cited... (4.00)
                "Two senior administration officials" as his sources. As such, these individuals would have had knowledge of exactly who Valerie Plame was and her status with the CIA's WMD proliferation division. Remember "what did he know and when did he know it?" That applies here.

                Until the identities of the leakers are revealed, I simply refuse to buy the "we didn't know she was covert" excuse from such people.

                ~~~~
                The Government of the United States of America is not, in any sense, founded on the Christian religion. - Treaty of Tripoli, 1797

                by OhioLen on Thu Jun 30, 2005 at 11:53:30 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

      •  Hmmm (4.00)
        I think your analysis is good...that the point of the leak was to discredit/ruin both Plame and Wilson. But this point doesn't make sense to me. If they didn't know that Plame was covert, then why the leak? There wouldn't have been anything to leak if they didn't think she was covert.
        •  The right's spin (none)
          The way I remember a lot of right wing talking points from the time was that since Plame worked at CIA she set her husband up to go so whatever either said was tainted (allegedly anyway) by some loose claim of inside influence/nepotism, etc. I would suggest they would use that as a claim that they were simply outing a CIA official (pretending or actually not knowing her role as undercover agent, but only her refusal to play along with distorting intelligence to justify a bullshit invasion of Iraq's oil fields) in order to show that the reason Wilson got sent instead of someone else was so that he could throw cold water on the Whte House to score political points (rememebr the claims that he gave money to Democrats were raised at this very same time to discredit Wilson). In this view, what they did was fair play... or to quote Novak, Valerie Wilson was "fair game."

          Isn't "passing state secrets" a crime, no matter what this one law everyone always sites in this case says? How does outing a WMD agent during a period when supposedly we're in a war on terrorists who might bring a mushroom cloud to Manhattan not fall under general laws regarding treason?!

      •  'operative' (none)
        Isn't that the word used in Novak's column?  Doesn't that mean covert?
        •  Yep. (none)
          I replied to another comment (upthread?  Downthread?  It's upthread for me), including a link to a Josh Marshall TPM post, in which he talks about past Novak columns.  The implication is, Novak knew full well what the word "operative" meant, as opposed to the word "analyst."  And he only used "operative" to mean someone undercover.

          (An etiquette question -- did I just "comment whore"?  My apologies if I did.  Please don't hit me.)

    •  Matt Cooper's Reporting (4.00)
      The article that Matthew Cooper wrote on July 17, 2003, , asked:

      "Has the Bush Administration declared war on a former ambassador who conducted a fact-finding mission to probe possible Iraqi interst in African uranium?  Perhaps."

      Matthew Cooper's article essentially presents Ambassador Wilson's side of the story.  Cooper contrasts the story told by Ambassador Wilson and the Bush Administration version, including Ambassador Wilson's discussion of the forged Niger documents.

      In the article, Cooper noted further:  "And some government officials have noted to TIME in interviews, (as well as to syndicated columnist Robert Novak) that Wilson's wife, Valerie Plame, is a CIA official who monitors the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction."

      Matthew Cooper never states in his article that Valerie Plame was a CIA covert operative.  Revealing the name of someone who works for the CIA who is not a covert operative is not a crime.
      The issue is whether the leaker and/or the reporter knew that Valerie Plame had been a covert CIA operative.  

      Matthew Cooper and Robert Novak may stand on very different footing here.

    •  exactly.. this is the flaw (4.00)
      Crimes generally do not take in to acount motivation. This law is to protect CIA agents while they are active, full stop. Not to protect them under certain circumstances, depending on why the name was made public. Unfortunatly everything else falls around that.
  •  Excellent summary! (4.00)
    This is why the testimony of George Tenet (and other CIA personnel) before Congressional investigators (and potentially prosecutors) is needed.  Not just about the DSM, but about the whole issue of "fixing" the intelligence pre-war.

    Tenet himself let a little bit of it slip with that planted question at the GTown forum back when he was still fighting for his job.  And Woodward's book - with the "Slam Dunk" quote - touches on it as well.

    Your key point - that it was not just a 'political slime job' but part of the pre-war intelligence battle explains this better than anything I've yet read.

    Obviously, this needs further investigation.

    •  Why Do You Suppose Tenent Got the Cosa Nostra (none)
      Kiss from Bush, and the recently renamed Presidential Medal of Freedom--Spreading? Keep your mouth shut Mr. Tenent, or we will give you a small aircraft lift.

      Democrats: The Ass You Save Is Your Own.

      by vetfordean on Thu Jun 30, 2005 at 01:21:53 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Regardless of the bigger implications (4.00)
    I believe that disclosing the name of a CIA asset is still a crime.  It endangered anyone who was in her network of informers.

    The revolution starts now--in your own back yard, in your own home town

    by TarheelDem on Thu Jun 30, 2005 at 09:55:14 AM PDT

    •  i read somewhere the leak cost (none)
      the lives of 30+ people, cant remember where though.
      •  Did you read more (none)
        about what types of people?

        Probably all foreigners . . .

        •  and they made a stink about Newsweek (none)
           
          They claim Newsweek's Koran desecration item cost 17 lives in Afghanistan.  But now you say their leak of Plame cost 30.  

          If you can cite a good source for that, it would be helpful when going up against people who bash the press with the Newsweek Koran desecration story.  

          Tactic:  "So, the general principle here is that people shouldn't go saying things in wartime that end up costing innocent lives?   Okay, then what about Novak, whose outing of Plame cost 30 lives, all of whom were American intel assets?"  

          Then they have to either condemn the Plame leak or their position is exposed as "do as I say, not as I do."  

  •  Atrios? (none)
    Your link is to LiberalOasis.
  •  Excellent (3.33)
    And  recommended.

    I'm wondering when you said, "...leaking Plame's name probably wasn't a crime..." if you really meant that their intention was not to out her to shut up whistle blowers, but to connect Joe with the anti-war CIA. That it really wasn't about outing her, she was just a casualty, and therefore, they didn't realize it was a crime until later???

    Ultimately, they must have clued in to their grave mistake when realizing she was covert and leaking her name was actually a crime! Then they had to scramble since their dirty politics could get them into some serious criminal shit!

    Canadians care too...

    by jbalazs on Thu Jun 30, 2005 at 10:02:03 AM PDT

  •  Recommended, with some disagreement (4.00)
    It wasn't about retaliation, it was about tarnishing Wilson by tying him to the discredited antiwar faction at CIA.

    Although I disagree with your conclusion on motivation (cited above), the rest seems persuasive hypothesis. "Tying him to the discredited antiwar faction at CIA" makes no sense from a public disclosure perspective, since the "discredited" part was only in the minds of BushCo and not the public.

    I still think BushCo's main motivation was attempting to discredit Wilson (and his accusations) by blowing smoke on the issue, and to serve as a warning shot across the bow to anyone else who might think about being a whistleblower. What your piece shed light on for me is why they considered Plame an asset they were willing to burn.

    Depending on what happens next in the whole Affaire Plame, this may be the scandal that brings down BushCo by revealing the corruption beneath the surface which took our nation to war. A lot will depend on whether Plame is called to testify  (again, if this is ever brought to court/Congress), and what she can testify to without "endangering national security".

    Certainly food for thought.

    "They may agree that failure isn't an option, but this does not mean they will necessarily avoid it." - David Manning re: BushCo in DSM

    by DavidW in SF on Thu Jun 30, 2005 at 10:03:23 AM PDT

    •  Turnabout (4.00)
      ... what she can testify to without "endangering national security"

      It is my understanding that BushCo are big fans of arresting, detaining, convicting, deporting, etc. people on the basis of secret evidence. It would be nice to see some of this shit thrown back in their faces.

    •  motivation (3.25)
      You are absolutely correct. At this point the general public had no clue about the tensions between the Cheney administration and the CIA over WMDs, so "tarnishing Wilson by tying him to the discredited antiwar faction at CIA" makes no sense at all. The conventional narrative on this makes much more sense. This diary is loopy. One interesting suggestion is that the case has grown into a larger investigation of a coverup and obstruction of justice situation, but this speculation is not necessarily dependent on the diarist's main premise (which is loopy.)
      •  it's always the coverup (4.00)
        Criminals like to coverup because they think they can get away with it. No matter their original intent or crime, the coverup is what gets them in big trouble with prosecutors, law enforcement, etc.
      •  It makes sense if (4.00)
        you can accept the hypothesis that the WH believed its own nonsense.

        I know it's hard to credit that they could believe their own constructed pseudo-reality, but they keep acting like they do.  They can't all be deluded.  Some of them must be lying.  Scary, either way.

        •  I'm not buying it. (none)
          They believe their own nonsense on a lot of stuff. One of the things they believe is that they know best and therefore the public only needs to know what they tell them. They never told the public that anyone in the CIA doubted their WMD claims. In fact they covered this up as did the media. So why would they think that some faction in the CIA that the public didn't know existed was somehow discredited in the eyes of the public. It's ridiculous.
          •  It's not about discrediting Wilson to the public - (none)
            Just to the right-wing media; by pointing out to Fox, Matthews, MSNBC, Novak, WSJ etc. that "Oh, that Wilson guy, well he's married to this b___h analyst over in Langley who's been giving us trouble, but Cheney took care of it at DoD and we're fixing the CIA anyway," you innoculate Wilson - remember, he's a hawk and a diplomat/foreign intel type - from being believed when he goes on O'Really with his yellowcake claim. Distribute talking points, turn on the machine and let 'er rip.

            It's about making sure the "base" doesn't get the wrong message - remember, this is a Rove operation, and has only an incidental relationship to intelligence, the CIA, or the war in Iraq. It's about holding Red States in line.

            This thread makes perfect sense, I'm recommending.

            I am the federal government.

            by mateosf on Thu Jun 30, 2005 at 03:53:48 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

      •  Not "tying to a discredited faction" (none)
        In the Bushies' minds, it was about discrediting Wilson by saying he was a hack who only got the job through nepotism.  It's right there in Novak's column and in the endless "drinking tea in Nigeria" nonsense you heard from the right blogosphere.

        The fact that Plame probably was an "obstructionist" just made it easier for them to rationalize outing her.

        Rumsfeld, he needs to be hit on the head. --Baghdad Bob

        by Jimmy Jazz on Thu Jun 30, 2005 at 12:38:26 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Boondoggle (none)
          Look if Wilson had got himself an expenses paid trip to Paris, I can see how the Bushies might have thought it could be played that way. But I don't think even the Bushies are so out of touch that they think Wilson can be dismissed as someone who scammed a few days in NIGER.

          Come on, can you see the cool kids like Cokie and Matthews going "oh sure I'd compromise national security to go hang in central Africa?"

          •  reality check (none)
            "But I don't think even the Bushies are so out of touch that they think Wilson can be dismissed as someone who scammed a few days in NIGER."

            But that is exactly what they did. Now you are rewriting known history.

          •  Wrong spin, Economaniac (none)
            It's not that Nigeria was supposed to be Club Med, it's that Wilson was an "incompetent hack who drank tea instead of fully investigating the story" and he was only there through the intercession of his wife.

            Rumsfeld, he needs to be hit on the head. --Baghdad Bob

            by Jimmy Jazz on Thu Jun 30, 2005 at 04:47:32 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

          •  According to Wilson... (none)
            The trip to Africa was on his own dime, so he didn't even get paid/reimbursed for it......

            Card-carrying member, RBC [Reality-Based Community]

            by warhistorian on Thu Jun 30, 2005 at 08:27:59 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

      •  Winners make history (none)
        This was a first shot in the open war against those in the CIA who had undercut the Bush WMD story. See the WSJ editorial I added to the diary.

        I realize a fairly convoluted understanding of time is required to accept that the Bushies were tarring Wilson for being part of a CIA cadre that denied WMD threats at the same time that those threats were being proved groundless. Nonetheless that is the whole thrust of my speculation, that administration officials are in trouble now because they started to go to war with the CIA for denying the WMD claims and undermining the war, then realized there were really no WMD and switched to blaming the CIA for OVERstating the WMD threat, and then had to testify about the first effort without admitting that anything was wrong with the second story.

    •  Good but (4.00)
      I think you can take it even further.

      I still think BushCo's main motivation was attempting to discredit Wilson (and his accusations) by blowing smoke on the issue, and to serve as a warning shot across the bow to anyone else who might think about being a whistleblower.

      I think that Wilson's credibility was not so much a target as his wife's career and safety. It was a typical BushCo warning shot to the head. Not only public whistleblowers would get the message, imagine what Plame's fellow WMD operatives thought. If the DOD side would burn American covert assets, well, clearly the gloves were off.
       Analysts and their reports can be swayed, but the human intelligence coming from covert sources, NOCs, is more important and harder to control. They would have the power, potentially, to torpedo the entire DOD project, in Iraq and Iran.  

      So I agree that this is about the DOD-CIA war and the OSP stovepipe for foreign disinformation, but I think that the main targets of intimidation were CIA NOCs and core intelligence operatives.

      •  Yup. (none)
        There it is.

        A covert system deeply divided.

        Potential whistle blowers all OVER the place, covert and otherwise.

        The TURNING POINT of BushCo's whole scam being WMDs. (DSM, etc. proves that. Hell, the panicked "eyes wide shut" corporate media reaction is ENOUGH to prove that, even if the DSM WAS found to be a little ...questionable. Lovely timing, though, fellas...)

        So who gets the horns? An anti-BushCo War CIA operative (Covert OR overt,.,,she's still CIA and she's still in cahoots with OTHER intel people against BushCo's plan. So's her old man, her OH so innocent "Ambassador" Wilson. He's a spook too, fer chrissake. WHAT? You think the CIA would send a CIVILIAN to check that kind of shit out? And then let him FRONT for them when the Plame stuff hit the fan!!!??? Please.)

        And..,.as usual, BushCo overplayed their hand.

        Short term gain, long term loss.

        Sound familiar?

        Just like in IRAQ...they "won" out front, but made (confirmed, actually) some SERIOUS enemies who are now taking them down one brick at a time.

        Go get 'em, boys.

        I never thought that I would be rooting for the spooks. But there it is. BushCo is WORSE. Go get 'em, fellas.  (At LEAST they're smart. That's why they call them "intelligence". Duh!!!)

        AG

         

        "Let the intelligent read and understand, and let the ignorant stay that way." From the earliest known piece of writing. A Mesopotamian shopping list. Nice.

        by Arthur Gilroy on Thu Jun 30, 2005 at 01:12:09 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Isn't it weird.... (none)
          ...finding yourself all of a sudden sympathetic with the CIA???

          Robert Redford's CIA, sure.  But George H.W. Bush's?  Porter Goss's?

          Eesh.  Go spooks?

          "The American people will trust the Democratic Party to defend America when they believe that Democrats will defend other Democrats." Wesley Clark

          by The Termite on Fri Jul 01, 2005 at 11:08:09 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  I agree with you (none)
      I think Plame being part of the 'anti-war' bunch over at the CIA gives the outing a good dual purpose.  It retaliates against Wilson, threatens potential whistleblowers and also is a little bit of a shot at the part of the CIA that might disagree with the President.

      I'm not sure about the messing with Wilson's reputation by tying him to the anti-war faction part of the author's theory.  The outing doesn't seem to be preemptory action against Wilson but instead retaliation and warning against future action by others.

      Unless new evidence comes out, which would probably have to be forced testimony, then I can't see the author's hypothesis holding much water.  It's interesting food for thought, but doesn't exactly convince me at this point.

    •  I think there IS some logic... (none)
      to 'discrediting' the no-WMD analysts....
      "Tying him to the discredited antiwar faction at CIA" makes no sense from a public disclosure perspective, since the "discredited" part was only in the minds of BushCo and not the public.
      Indeed, it makes perfect sense....They knew that if/when there were no WMD found, someone would have to be the scapegoat (we'll call it the Bush Plan for the post-war); they knew they could blame the CIA for overblowing the intel...The Wilson smear was just the early phase of a larger plan, unfortunately we, at that time, could not have seen it in that light...Hence, it is only illogical if we take as gospel that the administration believed the WMD hype....

      Card-carrying member, RBC [Reality-Based Community]

      by warhistorian on Thu Jun 30, 2005 at 08:20:39 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  I recommended this because... (3.60)
    the idea that Plame was outed merely to punish Wilson and just, in general, to discourage whistleblowers always seemed a bit simplistic.  So I think it's a good idea to consider alternative theories. However, I differ with you on one point, I think.

    If I read you correctly, you think Bush and his minions really believed that WMD would be found in Iraq. Then you say that outing Plame was "about tarnishing Wilson by tying him to the discredited antiwar faction at CIA". But I don't think the antiwar faction at CIA at that time had as yet been discredited, at least not in the minds of the public. At that point, the public still thought that WMD were going to be found and then here comes Wilson saying "wait a minute, Hussein wasn't seeking yellowcake, what's going on here?" The Bushies had to put a lid on that real fast before the public started to catch on to the fact that they had been lying during the runup to the war.

    This may or may not differ substantially from what you are saying, if I am misreading you, please let me know.

    •  This was right after Mission Accomplished (3.80)
      The White House was riding high and punishing domestic political adversaries. The White House knew they had framed Saddam but were still sure they had framed a guilty man and would have WMD evidence any moment. It was a few months yet before they would accept that there really were no WMD and there position shifted to just wait we all know they are there to blame the CIA its all their fault.

      That's why the timing was such a problem for the White House. They hadn't changed history yet so Fitzgerald's questioned were all about the old world in which the CIA was dragging its feet on the War and not the new one where they were leading the parade.

      •  I think Bush's actions on the eve of war (4.00)
        show pretty clearly the WH knew for pretty darn certain that Saddam had no significant wmds.

        I don't believe even the sociopathic Bush would been so uncaring of his troops lives to have launched that sudden cruise missile attack against a suspected residence of Saddam in an attempt to kill him ~15 min after the ultimatum deadline (when over 300K US/UK troops and support staff were all bunched [and not prewarned that Bush was going to launch the sneak missile attack, according quotes from some furious British commanders the next day that were quickly blacked out] up on the Kuwait border and sitting ducks for even a weak chemical attack), if Bush had had even the slightest doubt in his mind that Saddam had any wmd retaliation capability left.  

        •  I Agree With YOU, Shumard. Excellent Point. (4.00)
          for these reason:  The admin as far as I know NEVER acted as though they really thought WMD were available to Saddam.  Which is why they went ahead and were deperate to silence Wilson.

          I think they really believed the CIA faction that was saying "Whoa, no proof at all." and weren't knuckling under. Just didn't fit with what they wanted pulic.

          Can you provide one instance where Bushco acted as if they really believed the Chalabi twaddle, diarist? Really need to have that addressed.

          That's just one problem I have here.  Another is the assumption that Wilson was ego driven.  Doesn't strike me at all that way.  Strikes me as someone who has a strong sense of self.  Not at all like the weaklings in the BushCoGroup who depend on thuggery instead.

          I know people just like him, and I think they are not at all cut from the same cloth as the Bushpigs.

          You can't always tell the truth because you don't always know the truth - but you can ALWAYS be honest.

          by mattman on Thu Jun 30, 2005 at 12:44:51 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Mattman, On Target (4.00)
            I agree with you too, Mattman.  Which is why it now is clear why Rummy had to "go to war with the troops he had, rather than the troops he wished to have,"  and why the troops were not sufficiently armored.  Makes me ill to even contemplate their evil.
          •  I completely agree with you. (none)
            It never made sense to me that the war could have been pushed forward as it was if Bush Idiots really believed there were WMD.  It would have been disaster for them had Iraq used chemical weapons.  Neocons must have known they would never find any and thought they could bluff their way around not finding any with Americans.  Oh My God!
    •  Wilson's role (4.00)
      And I think reading Wilson as being part of the "discredited anti-war faction at CIA" is not correct.

      Wilson started out with a pretty interesting career as a diplomat and did his work for both sides of the political aisle over an extensive period.  His investigation wasn't all that out of the ordinary given his experience in the region and his expertise.

      I think what really got his dander up was when he came back from Niger, having made the trip at the request of the CIA, made his report (and as I remember, felt that report had gotten to Cheney) and then discovered that the White House was busily pushing claims that Saddam was trying to buy yellowcake from Niger.

      He didn't start out as a major war opponent.....but he began to realize that top government officials WERE fabricating intelligence to support their policy (even though he may not have known how long before the Administration had made its decision to invade Iraq).

      My sense (uninformed civilian that I am) is still that Wilson began questioning the White House's yellowcake story publicly and pretty soon afterward, BANG - Novak is running a story about his wife, including charges that SHE was the one who got him sent to Niger in the first place.

      Also, reports have been circulating that Prosecutor Fitzgerald effectively wound up his investigations last October and that he supposedly needs the Miller/Cooper testimony to possibly nail down broader charges that top officials in the Administration engaged in a carefully planned and orchestrated effort to discredit Wilson and his wife.  Don't know if that is true or not, but if so, it certainly seems to put a cause and effect between Wilson's criticisms and the subsequent attacks against himself and his wife.  Of course collaterally, such actions would also play into a CIA opposition faction battle, but I still think the motive was purely and simply to smear the Wilsons.  

      It has Cheney's fingerprints all over it to my mind.

      •  AntiWar faction (3.50)
        I didn't mean that Wilson was akin to Chomsky, just that he was affiliated with the folks at CIA that were putting the brakes on the WMD claims when the WH wanted to go full steam ahead.

        This White House sees disagreement as disloyalty and betrayal. They won the war and were demonizing and belittling those who questioned it. They were ready to do a shakeup at CIA cause they hadn't supported Bush's WMD claims, and expected the imminent discovery of WMD stockpiles to provide the context. Ironically they got to do the shakeup a year later as punishment for OVERstating the WMD threat.

        •  I might be getting it now. (4.00)
          So, you're saying that the WH didn't out Plame in order to keep other whistleblowers from popping up, they did it in order to explicitly punish those who disagreed with them. In other words, that the WH was like "yeah, we bad! We took out Saddam, were gonna find those WMD, the public is gonna love us and now we can destroy those punks like Wilson who dared question us! We rock, man! We fricking rock!"

          That does differ from the common narrative where the WH was supposed to merely be like "so, Wilson dares question us, huh? We'll show him and others what happens when they question us!" because in this scenario, the Bushies are being mean and vindictive simply because they ARE mean and vindictive, while in the former scenario, they are acting out of their innate meanness, their innate vindictivness AND their hubristic, arrogant and strutting qualities which, while not being newly acquired after the initial "Mission Accomplished" days of the Iraq war, were surely blown up to massive proportions after the victory they thought they had achieved in Iraq.

          And now, today (and actually ever since they started to realize that there were no WMD), they are like "oh, shit! Plame and Wilson were fricking right! How we gonna cover this shit up? We outed a CIA operative who knew Saddam had no WMD! If it ever gets out that we had no proof that Saddam had WMD and that we vindictively outed someone who had been saying exactly that...well then, we are screwed."

          Am I getting it yet?

          •  I'd say you got it... (none)
            Damn I wish I could write like that... ;)

            Canadians care too...

            by jbalazs on Thu Jun 30, 2005 at 11:23:50 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

          •  Except ... (4.00)
            her expertise was in Africa, not in the Middle East.

            If she'd been assigned to monitoring Iraq, this would make sense to me. But I don't see how, assigned to Africa, she would have first-hand knowledge of the state of WMD's in Iraq.

            •  I'm with you, SusanG. (4.00)
              My post above was an attempt at summarizing what I thought to be Economanic's opinion. If that is a good summary or his position or not, I don't quite agree with it. Instead, I believe that the Bushies were well aware that Hussein probably had no WMD to speak of and that they outed Plame in order to squelch any questions from coming up later on about whether or not he had them. But I agree with the Econ's idea that the Bushies got big-headed after the initial invasion and the supposed victory and that that gave them even more confidence that they could, at will, go after people like Wilson and Plame.

              As far as your point about Plame not having first-hand knowledge of WMD in Iraq, that makes sense. But Bush said in his state of the union address in 2003 that Hussein had tried to get yellowcake from Africa. The Bushies knew that was a lie and they needed to discredit Plame because she knew it was a lie. They had to squelch her because if it got out that they lied about yellowcake, then other lies would be sure to come out too.

            •  Yeahbut, Plame Would (none)
              still know whom was credible in the CIA and who were hacks, flunkies or buyable, right?

              She worked there and this is stuff she would have known.

              Pretty much everyone in the office knows who the suckups are.  She would have knoswn better than most who the losers are.  That would include Tenet.

              You can't always tell the truth because you don't always know the truth - but you can ALWAYS be honest.

              by mattman on Thu Jun 30, 2005 at 12:54:56 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

            •  Do you have a link (none)
              Describing her expertise as relating to Africa? That's something I've not heard before this week. I was under the impression she started in Europe (where, I think, she met Wilson) and had a more umbrella-like role.

              This is the way democracy ends Not with a bomb But with a gavel -Max Baucus

              by emptywheel on Thu Jun 30, 2005 at 01:23:08 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

            •  Maybe I'm wrong (4.00)
              But I thought Joe Wilson's expertise was Africa. Ms. Plame's contacts were mainly in Europe, such as Belgium and the Netherlands.She specialized in the export of special steel parts necessary for WMD. I don't think her WMD work involed sub-Sahran Africa at all.
          •  thats why i believe... (4.00)
            this entire arguement is why i believe BOLTON is involved in the outing of valerie plame...

            he was the hachet man who intell operatives who wouldnt 'play along'

            Plame and wilson 'wouldnt play along"

            "Not even Revelations threatens a plague of vengeful yahoos." H. S. Thompson

            by KnotIookin on Thu Jun 30, 2005 at 11:37:22 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

        •  re: AntiWar faction (4.00)
          This comment makes a reasonable argument much more clearly than your diary. From this comment I take it that you are arguing that part of the motivation for the Plame outing was punishment of Plame herself as well as punishment of Wilson and intimidation of potential future whistleblowers. This is plausible, yet seems to be based on pure speculation (not that I have anything against reasonable speculation.)

          Your diary says something about "tarnishing Wilson by tying him to discredited CIA" which makes no sense, since the CIA was not discredited in the eyes of the general public at that time. Most people had no idea about any CIA skepticism about WMDs because this was not reported by the corporate media.

          BTW, if by "akin to Chomsky" you mean basing one's judgements soundly on facts and reality, than I would say that Wilson is indeed "akin to Chomsky" regarding these particular issues.

    •  My thoughts exactly, Seemabes (none)

      You wrote:
      ...you say that outing Plame was "about tarnishing Wilson by tying him to the discredited antiwar faction at CIA". But I don't think the antiwar faction at CIA at that time had as yet been discredited, at least not in the minds of the public.

      You saved me the trouble of composing a post with that same thought.

      The Plame case fits in very neatly with the standard Bush/Rove tactic of attacking the messenger. Such attacks have been very crude and aimed at the lowest common denominator. The "discredit Wilson by tying him to the bad guys in some intelligence community faction fighting" theory is a big stretch, IMO.

  •  Question (4.00)
    Where do you come up with the information for this statement?

    But most folks ignore her current role, as head of the CIA WMD desk.

    She has no current role; she is no longer employed by the CIA and hasn't been since her outing.

    Also, my understanding is that she was not ever head of the CIA WMD desk; she was an operative on the scene in Africa, getting information in that area only on WMD. You make it sound like she was administrative coordinator of all intelligence for the CIA on all WMD info, which I don't think is the case at all.

    •  Valerie (none)
      Here's what Cooper wrote about Plame


      And some government officials have noted to TIME in interviews, (as well as to syndicated columnist Robert Novak) that Wilson's wife, Valerie Plame, is a CIA official who monitors the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction. These officials have suggested that she was involved in her husband's being dispatched Niger to investigate reports that Saddam Hussein's government had sought to purchase large quantities of uranium ore, sometimes referred to as yellow cake, which is used to build nuclear devices.

      I haven't subsequently seen anything about her leaving CIA. She had not worked in the field in several years, but may have been managing a group of covert agents at the time of her outing.

      •  How do you get from ... (4.00)
        "a CIA official who monitors the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction" (which is true, it's what she did in Africa) to "head of the CIA WMD desk?"

        That seems like an awfully big leap.

        Also, FYI, the notion that she suggested Wilson for the trip has been denied.

        And if I get time, I'll hunt down the knowledge that she's no longer employed.

        •  how bout "analyst at the CIA WMD desk? (4.00)
          I don't think we know how high she sits in that structure. As for her "current" employment I meant at the time of the story, not the present day, perhaps contemporaneous is more accurate.

          Would love to know if she has left CIA though.

        •  Occam's Razor, anyone? (4.00)
          "the notion that she suggested Wilson for the trip has been denied."

          To me (judging from the squeals of joy that were emitted when the whole pile of crap hit the fan) the simplest explanation has been stupidity, all the way around.

          It was stupidly suggested that Plame and Wilson both could be shot down with the charge of "nepotism."  They thought this lie could be piled onto the massive pile of Pro-War lies without notice (in for a penny, in for a pound).  As with every other Pro-War lie, they scrood the pooch on this one, too.

          Men never do evil so completely and cheerfully as when they do it from religious conviction.-- Blaise Pascal

          by Pandemoniac on Thu Jun 30, 2005 at 12:05:53 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  Some background... (4.00)
          From:

          By  William Rivers Pitt
          From: http://www.truthout.org/docs_03/100603A.shtml
          t r u t h o u t | Perspective
          Monday 6 October 2003

          Officials within the United States government have determined that attacking the wife of a vocal critic in order to silence that critic, and to silence the hundreds of other analysts who know full well the breadth and scope of the lies that have been told, is acceptable behavior. In other words, wives are now "fair game."

          The wife of Joseph Wilson, Valerie Plame, was an extraordinary person doing an extraordinary job. In the lexicon of the intelligence business, she was a CIA agent with a `non-official cover,' otherwise known as a `Noc.' An Associated Press report about Plame described Noc status as, "the most difficult kind of false identity for the agency to create, often involving especially dangerous jobs." In Plame's case, her Noc status was created so she could covertly work to keep weapons of mass destruction out of the hands of terrorists.

          You might recall the Tom Cruise film `Mission Impossible,' the plot of which revolved around Cruise working to retrieve something called a `Noc List' which had fallen into the wrong hands. The `Noc List' was a list of extreme deep cover agents whose exposure would lead not only to their deaths, but to the destruction of several valuable intelligence networks. That's just the movies. The real world, Valerie Plame was on a Noc List, and now her cover has been blown by Bush administration officials. She and her husband now report that they are living in fear that Plame's life is now in jeopardy because her undercover status has been removed.

          Plame was not the only person to have her cover blown by the Bush administration's desire for petty revenge and political cover. On her W-2 tax form, Plame cited her employer as being a company called Brewster Jennings & Associates. This has since been revealed to be a CIA front company, and was likely the `employer' for a number of other deep-cover agents who have, along with Plame, been blown by the Bush administration. Robert Novak, the columnist who first exposed Plame in print, disgraced himself further on television when he said, ""There is no such firm, I'm convinced. CIA people are not supposed to list themselves with fictitious firms if they're under a deep cover -- they're supposed to be real firms, or so I'm told." Actually, Robert, the company does exist, and deep-cover operatives `work' for companies like this to keep their CIA status a secret.

    •  "Her current role ..." (3.50)
      "Her current role ..."  I took "current" to mean "current at that time".  But that points up one grammatical problem with this diary: the tenses change back and forth from past to present, sometimes in the same sentence.  This is confusing and cultivates misunderstanding.  

      Also: "inadvertantly" should be "inadvertently".  Of course we overlook these errors because the substance of the diary is important, but a well-written essay is more persuasive than a grammatically deficient one.

      When we outlaw free speech, only outlaws will speak freely. - DaveOinSF

      by Bob Love on Thu Jun 30, 2005 at 10:52:26 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  The actual leak (none)
    can't be a crime unless Fitzgerald can prove that the leaker knew she was covert with in some recent period of time and that the CIA wanted to keep her covert.
    •  Considering the classified (none)
      nature of the information the original had to know. The challengefor Fitzgerald will be to identify the originator. It could be the folks with plausible deniability on the knowing issue have built a stonewall around the person who knowingly leaked the information to them. Recent speculation about the initial source of the leak is that it was Bolton, he had motive, opportunity etc. Bolton is as good a guess as any I suppose. If it were him, he certainly met the knowingly standard for leak to have been criminal.
    •  The actual leak was a crime (none)
      It's the same crime Aldrich Ames was convicted of - outing NOC CIA Officers to the Soviets. He's doing life in prison. Take a gander at 18 USC 794, that's what Ames was convicted of.
  •  Huh (none)
    Interesting interpretation, but something tells me that this is not exactly it.  Maybe Amb. Wilson, who is a Daily Kos reader, can weigh in on all this? ;)

    "Hillary Clinton fathered a half-black child with a prostitute in Mississippi. I'll stake my reputation on it." -- Ken Mehlman, RNC Chairman

    by bink on Thu Jun 30, 2005 at 10:18:26 AM PDT

    •  I'm with you -- (none)
      followed all of this stuff in real time.  If there was an anti-war faction in the CIA, they sure didn't do much about it.  Joe Wilson could have done "What I didn't find in Niger" right after the SOTU address.  He didn't do anything until after Condi and GWB were under fire for the sixteen words in June 2003.

      What FDR giveth; GWB taketh away

      by Marie on Thu Jun 30, 2005 at 03:47:32 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  defending the CIA then? (3.50)
        Good point about the timing.  This was the first defensive movie Bushco was forced to make, and they were busily insulating themselves from blame.  

        Wilson pointed out that the lies, not in the Niger story, but in the attempted excuses for lying.  Bushco: oh no one ever told us the docs were forged.  Wilson: uh, I did this work directly at Cheney's request.  How can you say with a straight face that the WH didn't know better?

  •  I'm recommending (none)
    I agree with this analysis. Although it's speculative, the current stage of the investigation I believe is about perjury and not about leaking a NOC identity.

    Many posters here have stated their disgust with the criminal nature of the leak, political payback at the expense of national defense. I agree with this position, but the law is strangely dispassionate.

    From what I read about this case earlier, the leaking case was always going to be difficult to prove. From what I read, the difficulty to prove the charge was because the leaker could always claim "I knew Plame was over there at CIA, I leaked the name because I thought she pulled strings to get her husband to do the job, but I never knew she was NOC." That means there was no crime, the law requires intent to out a NOC to bring the indictment.

  •  Close to my own theory... (4.00)
    ...which I have put up here on Kos before: the Plame  case has been "absorbed" into a much larger investigation of the Neocons in (some formerly) the administration.

    Clues:

    1. Glenn Kessler, WaPo State Dept. reporter, was questioned and involved in both the Plame case and the Franklin case.

    2. From the opinion of U.S. District Court Judge Thomas Hogan's in discussing a sealed affidavit filed by Fitzgerald: "the government's focus has shifted as it has acquired additional information during the course of the investigation" and "now needs to pursue different avenues in order to complete its investigation"

    3. From a 9/2/04 Knight Ridder article: "Several U.S. officials and law enforcement sources said Thursday that the scope of the FBI probe of Pentagon intelligence activities appeared to go well beyond the Franklin matter.

    "FBI agents have briefed top White House, Pentagon and State Department officials on the probe in recent days. Based on those briefings, officials said, the bureau appears to be looking into other controversies that have roiled the Bush administration, some of which also touch Feith's office.

    "They include how the Iraqi National Congress, a former exile group backed by the Pentagon, allegedly received highly classified U.S. intelligence on Iran; the leaking of the name of CIA officer Valerie Plame to reporters; and the production of bogus documents suggesting that Iraq tried to buy uranium for nuclear weapons from the African country of Niger. Bush repeated the Niger claim in making the case for war against Iraq.

    "`The whole ball of wax' was how one U.S. official privy to the briefings described the inquiry."

    4)Think about it, everything goes back to OSP/Bolton/the Neocons: "fixed" intelligence, Chalabi, Curveball, etc.

    5) Most of the Neocons that were in the administration (notice how they've all been moved out/shuffled/are on their way out?) have allegations against them of leaking classified information going as far as the 1970s.

    For more info and links, you can see my Franklin Case Possible Timeline at http://litbmueller.blogspot.com/2005/05/lawrence-franklin-case-possible.html

    A bit I did on the Plame/Franklin case connections can be seen at http://www.dailykos.com/story/2005/5/20/1744/15545

  •  2 Questions: (4.00)
    1. Why did  Novak refer to Plame as "an Agency operative on weapons of mass destruction" and not as an analyst?

    2. If the goal was to associate Wilson with the no WMD "bad guys", who was the target audience of Novak's column?
  •  After Reading (4.00)
    Your links to The Liberal Oasis and re-reading your post and the comments, I think the point you were trying to make is a is a good one. Like some of the others noted a few of your statements are kindof contradictory...

    I DID reccomend though, for the simple reason that this is a bit of a fresh perspective on what MAY be going on... And worthy of some discussion.

    IWT
    Independent World Television

    by m16eib on Thu Jun 30, 2005 at 10:50:39 AM PDT

  •  From an old diary of mine... (3.91)
    Why we HAD to invade Iraq...

    The administration had to launch its war, because the inspectors were in, and if Iraq fully complied with the UN inspections, the rationale for sanctions would be removed, and instead of a "coalition" backing regime change, it would be a "disaster" because the UN would calling for sanctions to be lifted.

    The administration used WMDs as pre-text, assumed that there would be enough foot-dragging and clear evidence of violation to give them cover. Their bluff was about to be called though, and the war had to move forward before the entire house of cards came down.

    "We" invaded Iraq because of three fundamental (and conjoined) things:

    • Iraq being cleared of WMD by the UNMOVIC/UNSCOM meant Desert Storm (when Saddam went off the reservation) was over and sanctions had to be lifted.

    • Iraq had European contracts for their oil.

    • Iraq was going to trade the oil in Euros not petrodollars.
    One must remember that Bush/Saud are in effect the same thing. Never forget that BDM/Vinnel (Carlyle at the time) arm, train, equip and man the mercenaries that keeps Saud in power. Saudi crude funds the whole Bush/Saud crew. Iraq suddenly free again to sell its oil, and in Euros not dollars, not only screws Bush/Saud but would cripple the US economy along multiple fracture lines.

    First and obviously, having the 2nd largest oil reserve of accessible crude come onto the market will drive the value of Saudi crude into the basement. That Iraq would end run the rest of OPEC to make up for a decade of being starved would scatter the cartel members into the winds to fend for themselves. So what is better, to let Iraq crude take out your own operation at the knees... or take it over and roll it into the same portfolio?

    Second, because Iraq was going to devalue your assets in the first place, doing so outside our traditional partner firms and instead with European (French, Russian, German) firms, the prospect of Chinese orders for ME crude means you are not getting a dip at those petro-dollars (even in the later stages in the supply chain).

    Third, and most critical (and actually more "forgivable" in a strange circumpolar way) is that trading in Euros not petrodollars would collapse our capital market funding of our debt and deficits, both Governmental budget and general economic. If China (as its demand for oil goes through the roof in the next 10 years) starts trading with Iraq, and the Euro becomes the currency for oil (not to mention it is already on the edge of surpassing the dollar for capital markets anyway based on value as it is) suddenly China has no need to continue to buy our debt. It would get more of a return in Euros, plus it buys oil from Iraq in Euros, etc. etc.
    ...

    Through this prism, trooper-gate, travel-gate, bimbo-gate, Vince Foster's murder-gate, Ron Brown's murder-gate and then a fucking blue dress suddenly makes sense.

    Allowing the inspections to run their course, and with Wilson lobbing grenades at the fiction of yellowcake claims were a threat to the successful playing of the WMD card, which was the pre-text to finish off Iraq. Not because he (Saddam) was a "bad guy" (which he was), not because he was military threat, not because of terrorism, not of any reason other than he went off the reservation in `91, and Bush Sr. lost the White House. Under Clinton, the WMDs were removed via robust inspections, Desert Fox, and Saddam halting the programs. Saddam was de-fanged, but if sanctions ever got lifted, Bush/Saud (and even to some extent the entire US) would be be screwed.

    Saddam had to go. WMD and terrorism was a conflated pre-text to save Bush/Saud.

    There is a lot more in the diary.

    cheers,

    Mitch Gore

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

    by Lestatdelc on Thu Jun 30, 2005 at 10:55:09 AM PDT

    •  The greatest Irony (4.00)
      will be when the discover that Saddam destroyed the geology of the oil fields (overly agressive water injections?) and they can't get enough out of the ground anyway for it make much difference.

      When all else fails...panic

      by David in Burbank on Thu Jun 30, 2005 at 11:21:49 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Great Analysis (none)
      Which also explains why BushCo HAD to steal the elections.
    •  flawed third premise (none)
      "Third, and most critical (and actually more "forgivable" in a strange circumpolar way) is that trading in Euros not petrodollars would collapse our capital market funding of our debt and deficits, both Governmental budget and general economic."

      Bush doesn't care about the debt. Cheney said deficits don't matter.

      Our capital market is already collapsing, Cheney's outsourcing helps do this. Bermuda's GDP is fine right now...

      UNOCAl and the Azbeck pipeline were bigger strategic concerns.

      Iraq's was tactical-next door to Sauds.

      Both had similar objectives though, trillions in profit and  market share adjustments.

    •  Fascinating (none)
      I'm forwarding this to a friend of a friend who's in oil and energy trading.  He also happens to be a peak oil alarmist and a total tinfoil paranoiac.  But he's smart.  It'll be interesting to see how he reacts to the analysis.

      "The American people will trust the Democratic Party to defend America when they believe that Democrats will defend other Democrats." Wesley Clark

      by The Termite on Fri Jul 01, 2005 at 11:01:58 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Also, just to clarify ... (4.00)
    Wilson himself doesn't claim the outing was just about punishing him or even primarily about vengeance on him personally (although I'm sure it was a sweet side effect for this administration).

    He's gone on record as saying it was primarily meant to send a chilling effect on whistleblowers throughout the entire federal government.

    •  But Doesn't Denial of First Amendment Privilege (4.00)
      Feed right into the Bush Administration's attempts to inhibit whistleblowers.

      Many whistleblowers want to remain anonymous.  The fact that journalists may be required to disclose their sources to grand juries considering criminal indictments (Cooper/Miller/Plame) or in civil cases (Wen Ho Lee) means that whistleblowers will have less confidence that their identity will remain anonymous.

      •  Agreed (4.00)
        Which, I think, is why Wilson's statement earlier this week focused on the crimes committed by the Bush administration, not the reluctance of the reporters to talk.
      •  That's the spin (4.00)
        This really is not about whistleblowing. This is about committing a crime in disclosing the information to the press. The disclosure is the crime.

        Whistleblowers are exposing crimes going on in their organizations. Malfeasance, misuse of power or funds, etc.

        "They that can give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety." - Benjamin Franklin

        by digital drano on Thu Jun 30, 2005 at 04:50:18 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  In my current state of doubt (4.00)
    about any investigations REALLY going on, I can only hope that there is a deeper investgation going on which includes the Plame outing and other larger topics.  But color me doubtful.  Anybody here believe that this Adm. would let an investigator really produce a report on this?

    I do however, and have always, believed that Plame just happening to be a CIA analyst re WMD is just coincidental to be ignored.  They outed her, reducing her power to undermine their lies by truth no less, and sliming Wilson in whatever way they can.  And I do believe that the story of what happened in those weeks and months will be larger than Watergate and Iran Contra combined.

    Will it ever come out?  I doubt it.

  •  A point (4.00)
    I read Joe Wilson's book (a great read btw).

    As I remember ...

    Wilson had been quitely talking to reporters in early 2003 and the WH found out about it. In his book he mentioned in March of 2003, Cheney held a high level meeting. He suspected the topic was about what to do if he came out.  

    As his name became more widely known to journalists, it became more evident that Wilson's name was going to come out in the press, Wilson wrote his op-ed for the NY TImes.

    And then the smear campaign, probably hatched in Cheney's office, went into action.

    •  What was his wife's cover story (none)
      before she was outed?
    •  Not only reporters... (none)
      I had the opportunity to meet Wilson at a talk he gave last weekend....Haven't read his book yet, so I don't know if this was mentioned in it, but he stated that he had essentially discussed the problems with anyone and everyone within the government who might listen regarding the problem with the Niger info post-State of the Union....When (Rice?) went on one of the Sunday shows claiming that perhaps some low-level paper-pushers might have been made aware of the problems, but they had not been conveyed up the chain, THATS when Wilson 'got the signal' that if it was going to come out, he would have to do it himself....Thus the NYT article......

      Card-carrying member, RBC [Reality-Based Community]

      by warhistorian on Thu Jun 30, 2005 at 07:53:05 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  OUTSTANDING! (4.00)
    Thank you for sharing these amazing insights.  This makes much more sense than the original take on the outing of Valeria Plame.

    If the same media organizations that have enabled these douchebags so effectively end up burning them to the ground by exposing their all-along lies and obstruction I will enjoy months of non-stop, rib-snapping laughter...especially if they get nailed for spoon-feeding WMD bullshit to Judy Miller.  

    I just hope that NYT's highest ranks can see their way clear to turning over the evidence necessary to cinch up that part of the noose (I WAS against revealing the sources until 20 minutes ago...but this is too juicy).  

  •  TPM covered the Plame Affair thoroughly (4.00)
    and his archives and links are invaluable.

    Joshua posted a similar vein of thought in October 2003...

    ...Fine, maybe this leak did occur.  But let's not let these small points obscure the big point: the war between the White House and the CIA...

    In part, I agree: the war between the White House and the CIA is the big story.  It's the feud from which this law-breaking springs.

    But pushing this story out to this larger policy battle isn't going make things any better for them, only worse.  Because they've already lost that battle.  They just don't realize it yet.

    ...on just about every big question that's been at issue over the last year, when the facts have come in, its been a debacle for the White House...

    In any case, getting into this bigger war won't help because it will only show that they pulled these sorts of shenanigans against their own intelligence agency because of the latter's inability to prove a White House hypothesis that turned out to be completely wrong. So rather than crime without context you have crime in the service of ideological zeal and self-deception.

    One of the failings of ideologues is their inability to see that everyone else isn't necessarily an ideologue like them. So when the analysts at Langley didn't find evidence to support the White House's brainstorms, the folks at the White House assumed that the analysts were just Saddam-hugging ideologues rather than trained professionals --- albeit with their own very real biases and assumptions --- who were in most cases acting on their own inability to find any evidence to substantiate what the White House was so desperate to prove.

    Breaking the law is one thing. But delving deeper is liable to show that the administration took the public's support for a war on terror, pocketed it, and then went to war against its own intelligence agencies and, in some cases, reality.


    Our... constitutional heritage rebels at the thought of giving government the power to control men's minds. Thurgood Marshall

    by bronte17 on Thu Jun 30, 2005 at 11:09:37 AM PDT

    •  Josh is right. (none)
      The WH "went to war against its own intelligence agencies and, in some cases, reality."

      And what happened to Plame and Wilson is merely one indication of this. God only knows what other things have gone on behind the scenes in this war. I wonder who else in the intelligence and other govt agencies have been directly harmed by it?

      •  who else harmed: one example (none)
        As was reported in Time last year, someone in the Admin went out drinking with one of Chalabi's guys (Iranian spies), and leaked the fact that the US had successfully broken Iran's high-level military and diplomatic encryption systems.  

        This would have caused Iran and various other countries and subnational groups in the area to immediately change/upgrade their encryption systems.  At which point an extremely important source of signals intelligence would have gone dark.

        You can bet this caused a lot of grief at NSA, whose analysts are responsible for cryptanalysis (codebreaking) among other things.  

        Probably it will take a couple of years to break whatever Iran et. al. are using now.  There are a lot of math PhDs at Fort Meade who are probably bloody pissed about the Administration screwing up their work for them.  

        And probably, while we're waiting for a break in the new systems, the Admin will use the lack of intel from Iran as part of its campaign to stir up fears that Iran is secretly plotting to build nuclear weapons.  

        Meanwhile, the leaker has not been caught or punished.  Though the item about the FBI investigations that "include how the Iraqi National Congress, a former exile group backed by the Pentagon, allegedly received highly classified U.S. intelligence on Iran..." (LTBMueller's posting above) may be referring to this.  If so, good, someone needs to go to prison for a long damn time for that item.  

    •  Thanks this is exactly to my point. (none)
      Will add to the main diary.
    •  is bronte17 (none)
      an alternate login for Maryscott O'Connor. I see similarities of style, here and elsewhere.
      •  Sorry, wrong guess --bronte17 is a solo (none)
        and doesn't need another alter ego on Kos.

        Besides, Maryscott is vivacious and loves everybody.  I don't.

        Our... constitutional heritage rebels at the thought of giving government the power to control men's minds. Thurgood Marshall

        by bronte17 on Thu Jun 30, 2005 at 06:17:53 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  A problem with your diary (4.00)
    is that Plame was a covert agent. By referring to her as merely an "analyst," it's easier to suggest that the actual outing wasn't a crime at all, but in fact what happened to Plame is exactly what the law was designed to prevent.

    Your thoughts that this involved more than retaliation against Wilson are really interesting, but saying that the outing of Plame probably isn't a crime diminishes it.

  •  Mostly agree (3.00)
    I think you're right that whoever leaked didn't intend to out Plame--they may or may not have known about her previous covert work.  I think the intention was to discredit Wilson--basically implying that he was chosen for the mission, not because he was particularly well-qualified for the job, but because of his relationship to her. It seems like the typical ignore the facts and smear the messenger approach this administration so enjoys.

    I also think you're right that the investigation is not about who leaked but about the cover-up of the leak.  Wouldn't it be delicious irony if it all falls apart not because of the action but because of the lying about the action--hoist by their own petard!

    •  They intended to out her (none)
      Her name is Valerie Wilson.  That is the name they would have used to discredit her.  Valerie Plame was outted.  I suspect in retaliation as well as to send a message to any other agents who were "in the cold"...don't cross them.
  •  Here's A Thought: (4.00)
    Plame knew who forged the Niger documents.

    "The use of federal dollars to destroy life is something I simply do not support" -- George W. Bush

    by Irfo on Thu Jun 30, 2005 at 11:23:35 AM PDT

    •  Oh man... (4.00)
      You're killin' me! I wish there was a big, thick, juicy novel out there with all of this intrigue in it... what a great read. But trying to figure it out as we go along is giving me brain cramps! But I still love it...

      You have hit on something that always seems to get through the cracks (as with the National Guard memo forgery): Who forged it? Somebody did, and if we knew the answer to that, every piece of the puzzle would fall into place...

      But why do we never ask the right questions? The news is always, "Don't beleive that document, it was a forgery!" and then rambles on about the falsity of the contents because it's forged. But shouldn't the news be about the forgery itself and who did it and why? Why is that never explored I wonder?

      Canadians care too...

      by jbalazs on Thu Jun 30, 2005 at 11:32:57 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  exactly (4.00)
      ever since josh marshall's abortive series on SISMI, the niger docs, the OSP and all the rest, i have assumed that the whole reason to out plame in the first place was either to prevent her from uncovering the network used to forge and then stovepipe the docs by disrupting her covert investigation, or just to take her out at the kneecaps for having done so.

      man, i hope fitzgerald knows what the hell he's doing.

      crimson gates reek with meat and wine/while on the streets, bones of the frozen dead -du fu (712-770)

      by wu ming on Thu Jun 30, 2005 at 11:45:32 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Maybe Fitzgerald does know. (4.00)
        And maybe that's why even after Novak sang like a canary - oh, by the way, perhaps I should tell you that I believe Novak has already spilled his guts - Fitzgerald still wants to hear all from Cooper and Miller. He doesn't want to just go with one uncorroborated source.
        •  As I understand it (none)
          Fitzgerald almost certainly knows who the two 'sources' are that Novak cited in his article. Novak testified and supposedly spilled his guts. But Fitzgerald also needs to have Cooper and Miller testify about what the leakers told them. If the leakers told the reporters one thing and the Grand Jury something else, Fitzgerald has a perjury conviction. That's why their testimony is important even if they didn't write anything.

          I don't think Fitzgerald is actually pursuing the 'outing-a-CIA-agent' strategy because it will be too hard to prove Plame was covert and the leakers knew it. Perjury is simpler once he has the testimony from the reporters. Miller and Cooper must know this. Once the Grand Jury indicts the perjurers, they'll be called on again to testify in court. What do you think that'll do for their street cred?

          Nothing unconnected ever occurs. -- E. Swedenborg

          by TerraByte on Thu Jun 30, 2005 at 06:26:30 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  I agree... (none)
          I think that Novak has cowered and spilled his beans but most likely, Fitz either wants more corroborating evidence or additional people may be involved.  If more are involved (and I find it likely given Fitz determination to jail Cooper and Miller), it certainly becomes more plausible that this was not an isolated incident, but a coordinated operation instead.  The type of people with access to this type of information are few.  Covert CIA agent names arent known by just anyone much less those looking for WMD after 9-11.  

          One thing comes to my mind.  Remember all the reports about Cheney strong-arming analysts for WMD intelligence?  Id bet the Bush daughters boobs that he had to have come across Plames name on several of those reports.  Maybe this thing does go higher than any of us ever thought?

      •  HE DOES! (none)
        "man, i hope Fitzgerald knows what the hell he's doing."

        Just ask (soon to be indicted) Mayor Daley of Chicago, or (already indicted) former IL Gov. George Ryan.

        They both now know ALL TOO WELL how good Mr. Fitzgerald is...And lots of other IL politicians are wetting their pants as they wait their turn under his microscope!

        Tom DeLay is so corrupt...<HOW CORRUPT IS HE?>...He's so corrupt that when he takes the Oath of Office, he holds his hand OUT instead of UP!

        by mlkisler on Thu Jun 30, 2005 at 10:45:57 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  source forge (none)
      ...and, by extension, who forged the CBS docs
      cough rogerstone cough
  •  The chickens always come home to roost! (none)
    Oh what a tangled web we weave when first we practice to deceive!

    Hopefully Bushco will get what they deserve no matter which way the crime was committed.  For my part, I'd just as soon see it be obstruction of justice...  

    "All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing." - Edmund Burke

    by CyberDem on Thu Jun 30, 2005 at 11:27:33 AM PDT

  •  occums razor (4.00)
    interesting read, but i think occums razor hold true. the simplest is the truest here.

    If this were true, then Matt Millers stories would have at least hinted to this, and they didnt, they wove a story similar to Wilsons.

    I simply think they wanted to shut up wilson, and someone had the brainchild ot out his wife...then when they realized that was a potential felony - a bunch got together ot try and cover it up.

    Let the Democratic Reformation Begin

    by Pounder on Thu Jun 30, 2005 at 11:32:30 AM PDT

  •  Unconvincing (4.00)
    You made no strong argument that it was about "tarnishing" Joseph Wilson rather than punishing him, in fact it was rather weak. Wilson wasn't a nobody when this happened, he was in the news as a whistleblower. And your regular reference to "Wilson's ego" with absolutely nothing like evidence as to why we should believe it is overblown is also weak.

    I'm not saying that these things aren't true; I have no idea what the hell happened behind the scenes and I won't be surprised to be totally surprised. But the wording and timing of Novak's column that exposed Plame points much more to an attack (though a rather ridiculous one) on Wilson's credibility about the Niger case than to a simple "tarnishing" of a bit player, as you put it. It would be quite a coincidence that they "just happened" to leak his wife's name after what he did.

    Anything by Loudon Wainwright III

    by Earl on Thu Jun 30, 2005 at 11:39:34 AM PDT

    •  My point is that the focus on Wilson is mistaken (none)
      The CW is that Wilson is the heart of this story and Plame's role is merely as victim. That they hurt her to punish him and she being CIA was important only in that they could harm her by disclosing her identity and in that doing so was illegal.

      If it was that simple and the leaker knew that he was compromising both Plame's safety and covert ops then Fitzgeralds job is pretty straightforward and the illegality is clear. Moreover that assumes a level of sheer stupidity even I won't credit to this White House. What kind of idiot do you have to be to blow up WMD intelligence post 911 intentionally and publicly in order to stem some bad press about WMD intelligence?

      It just makes a lot more sense to me that the White House saw the success of the war as license to take out the whole bunch at CIA that challenged their war  justification and got caught mid purge when it turned out that there were really no weapons at all.

      •  But Wilson (none)
        as another commenter pointed out, made it clear that he didn't think it was "all about him." He thought he was being used to scare other people from talking--and a pretty powerful message. The focus is correctly "on him" at this point because it should be. It can broaden when the facts come in.

        To on sight go with the simpler version of the story is logical. That simplicity would not by any means necessarily make Fitzgerald's case any easier, nor less important, nor less in need of evidence. The attempt to infer more, especially when it's in the realm of fantasy land for lefties, is much less logical and difficult to support with anything but guesses right now.

        And to say that this admin is not that stupid I think is easily argued with historically. They've done countless stupid things (the war, the WMD claims, the Mission Accomplished sign...) out of sheer arrogance. I think they get well ahead of themselves very often, but just continue to bluster on and are allowed to, inexplicably. Maybe this time they went to far (although I doubt that anybody high up made any of the calls anyway).

        All this being said--I don't have a clue and your scenario could turn out to be exactly right. I'm just speaking to your case and its presentation. (Hey--you didn't respond to the unsubstantiated "ego" claims.)

        Anything by Loudon Wainwright III

        by Earl on Thu Jun 30, 2005 at 01:46:21 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Outing Plame was to punish *her* + anyone like her (none)
          I think the original premise is true.  

          The truth could be quite simpler: outing the agent was an attack against her first, and her husband, second.  

          People haven't grasped the true and vile ruthlessness of what the Darth Cheney Empire is really doing.

          Here's the message that the White House was sending to the CIA's people:

          If you disagree with the White House line, regardless of actual facts, you and your contacts will be put in personal mortal danger as a consequence.  We will circumvent your agency chain of command and break any necessary laws to enforce this.

          There could be numerous other analogous circumstances that we know nothing about so far.

          This is tyranny, not a simulation thereof.

  •  bad intel (none)
    you know you have a bad intel community when we can't match the hostage takers of the Iranian occupation of the US Embassy with the, now, president of Iran.

    That is pretty pathetic.

    The best quote from StarWars III - "So this is how liberty dies; with thunderous applause."
    read my blog!

    by hfiend on Thu Jun 30, 2005 at 11:56:13 AM PDT

    •  Bad Intel (4.00)
      Story about Iranian president is quintasential Carl Rove.  

      Do you know why the Iranians took over the embassy in the first place class?

      Could it be that when we threw out their democractically elected president and intalled the Shaw, we used our embassy to organize the coup and that the Iranians thought we might try to fuck them again so they took control of our embassy.

      Would you also believe that President Roosevelt's cousin and General Swchartzcough's father were the perpatrotors.

      Gosh, when you leave out the other person's point of view you can eat american pie and raise your hand to god as you smash another's face into the dirt.

      Let's all go to Washington and take back our country!

      "Who do you believe, me or your own two eyes?" - Groucho Marx

      by MrEdward on Thu Jun 30, 2005 at 02:06:51 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Plame's cover job was in an energy outfit. (4.00)
    Was she aware that Saudi Arabia was exaggerating the size of its petroleum reserves?
  •  I think you are on to something (4.00)
    The rationale that the leak was to punish Wilson never made sense.  They try to get back at a guy by ruining his wife's covert career?  It was just too out there even for these guys.

    I've always felt that there was an inside baseball story to why this was leaked.  My sense originally was that the info was leaked to Novak to show bias on the part of Wilson.  Basically, I thought that this arose out of the White House waging an intra-administration war with the CIA.  I felt that the administration's logic was that by showing that Wilson being sent to Niger because of nepotism with the CIA, Wilson was therefore biased.  It would be like Pat Leahy appointing his son as special prosecutor into Dick Cheney's Halliburton scams.  So I thought the leak was targed at his credibility and bias.  But since few people understood the warfare between the White House and the CIA at the time, this really didn't stick.

    Of course, if Plame was not just a CIA agent, but was one of the "generals" directly involved in the Iraq WMD claims, then we get an even deeper story.

  •  Incompetence from start to finish (4.00)
    This administration and its tools are so incompetent...

    How incompetent are they?

    They are so incompetent that they invaded Iraq on a pretext - which they had to know was shaky at best - and then, once they had control of the country, they still failed to plant a credible cache or three of WMD's for later discovery. That's pretty darn incompetent.

    </snark>

    Rumsfeld resign! Not kidding.

    The sleep of reason produces monsters. Francisco Goya

    by Dire Radiant on Thu Jun 30, 2005 at 12:01:12 PM PDT

  •  Safire's back (4.00)
    Look who's come out of retirement (as far as I know not writing a single opo-ed since January) but William Safire the silver-tongued whore of the neocon right, to protest violation of the shield law while tossing lots of mud on Fitzgerald and his 'fishing expedition' in the process.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2005/01/24/opinion/24safire2.html?ex=1120276800&en=985a0ceabd2160ea&e i=5070

    They gotta be worried to call this old bastard back.

    Darkness washed over the Dude...darker than a black steer's tookus on a moonlight prairie night...there was no bottom

    by moon in the house of moe on Thu Jun 30, 2005 at 12:05:42 PM PDT

  •  This take, if true, would be bigger ... (3.60)
    ...much bigger ... much more politically significant than a mere act of political retribution against an opponent.  If this case can help to expose what most in this blog community suspect -- that the administration purposefully and willfully twisted intelligence in order to  inflate the case to go to war -- then we've got a "Pentagon Paper" type exposure.  

    I've said for some time, now, that this Plame business could be the key to unpeeling the onion.  My thoughts had been that it might lead to the Office of Special Plans, and all of those machinations, which eventually led to war.  My thought process being that someone in that office would be targeted, turned, and then point fingers.  This is not quite that take, actually, in that it is the post-hoc rationalizations/lies that may be unpeeling the onion.  But if it is unpeeled, by the work of a special prosecutor, the significance would be impossible for the press to ignore; it would buttress the main allegation of the DSM and really add some significant nails to this story's coffin.

    If true, I think this could be huge!  

  •  Interesting angle to contemplete here ... (4.00)
    I have no doubt that the DSM is closely tied in with the Plame mess in some way.

    I am however troubled by one phrase: "the discredited antiwar faction at CIA." "Discredited" is too ambiguous a word.

    It may have been that they were "disbelieved" (the first meaning for "discredited") by the other CIA faction and the DOD but the word has the taint of disgrace and destroyed integrity.

    It may be more fitting to say that Plame belonged to the disfavored or discountenanced faction at CIA.

    "You don't lead by pointing and telling people some place to go. You lead by going to that place and making a case." - Ken Kesey

    by Glinda on Thu Jun 30, 2005 at 12:18:55 PM PDT

  •  How ironic (none)
    It's not the act. It's the lies told to cover up the act.

    It got Nixon, Clinton, and Martha.

    Nothing unconnected ever occurs. -- E. Swedenborg

    by TerraByte on Thu Jun 30, 2005 at 12:21:24 PM PDT

  •  To the Tune of My Boyfriend's Back (4.00)
    Safire's back
    He's gonna save my reputation
    Hey la de la
    Safire's back

    Just when you thought
    He took a permanent vacation

    Safire's back
    and you're gonna be in trouble
    he la de la
    Safire's back

    you see him comin
    better cut out on the double

    you been catching my lies
    that I was untrue

    so look out now
    cause he's comin after you
    Wahoo Safire's back

    Hey he knows that you've been trying
    to indict me for my lyin
    Wahoo... Safire's back

    He's been gone for such a long time
    Wahooo

    Now he's back and things'll be fine
    Wahooo

    You're gonna be sorry you were ever born
    Wahoo

    Cause his brain is kinda big and his words are awful strong

    Hey he knows that I was cheatin
    Now you're gonna get a beatin'
    What made you think you could uncover all my lies
    Waooo Waooo

    You're a big man now
    but he'll cut you down to size
    Wasooo
    wait and see

    Safire's back!

    Darkness washed over the Dude...darker than a black steer's tookus on a moonlight prairie night...there was no bottom

    by moon in the house of moe on Thu Jun 30, 2005 at 12:24:33 PM PDT

  •  How Does This Version Square With (none)
    Subsequent to the publication of Novak's article there was a second wave of the White House pushing the story, calling the press and saying, "The real story here is Wilson and his wife, it's not the 16 words." I got a call from a journalist who said, "I just got off the phone with Karl Rove, and he said to me, `Wilson's wife is fair game.'"

    Are you more bitter now than you were four years ago?

    by CountAsterisk on Thu Jun 30, 2005 at 12:41:19 PM PDT

  •  Excellent post (3.00)
    which suggests that those (who I doubted) claiming there is some resemblance to Watergate may be right: other, more serious crimes may emerge here.

    My big question, assuming the thinking in your post is solid, is what strategies can be employed by mass and underground media so that the Fitzgerald investigation and accompanying (we hope) charges are seen for what they are. If the press doesn't dig in and run with it then there can be no "Watergate"--the  White House can simply dismiss it as a damaging but relatively insignificant sideshow.

    I'm also curious about Fitzgerald and how he sees the case. His own relative zeal and conviction will be crucial variables.

  •  Very interesting diary I must say. (2.50)
    A general observation if I may...

    I think too much isbeing read in to the Machievellian motives of those who leaked her name.

    For one it ascribes too much "scenario-specific" malice aforethought to the case when MALICE is a kneejerk par for the course in the White House.

    And thus this was probably just an "unsanctioned" kneejerk "fcuk-him" reaction that has spun somewhat out of their control.

    Two - when you're running one or two kneejerk smear operations a day which you sincerely believe you have the moral right to do - answering as you do to a higher purpose...... the specifics of any one in oarticular tend to get lost somewhere in the frenetic haze between the breakfast prayer meeting and the after dinner gay sex orgies.

    Anyhow - Dubyaisn't running things in the WH. He's just a puppet employed initially for his name recognition.. trained and medicated appropriately to read his script between trips to buzz-saw away the ever present brush down on the ranch.

    I beleive the MAJORITY of CIA were anti this war and a cabal infiltrated it, co-opted its output and is at war with the Pentagon - similarly co-opted by a civilian cabal.

    So you have a scism in both Pentagon AND CIA. And therein perhaps lies America's salvation. If, that is, some pressure can be brought to bear on the criminals - by the good guys.

    Perhaps that's where the FBI come in. Forcing THEM to relinsuish power OR ELSE face the consequences. The death of O'Neill - in 911... is in this respect A MOST OMINOUS clue as to what really went on. Ditto Sibel Edmond's contribution. Ditto Karen Kwiatkowski (who answers polite emails most graciously BTW).

    Back to the Pentagon - the stony faced silence in the Fort Bragg PhotoOp MIGHT.. just.... be the outward signs of the beginnings of an internal revolt.

    My final point in this unconnected jigsaw puzzle diatribe:-

    So what was this war all about?

    1. Oil Supply? - not directly. There is also a schism amongst the oil companies.

    2. Israel? No. Not IMHO. They (via their Mossad) may however have played a part in facilitating 911 .

    3. A strategic response to terrorism. (Perlease.... spare me this canard).

    4. The opening shots in the endgame with China? Possibly. Especially when you add Russia to China to India and S.E. Asia and call it Eurasia..... home to 3.5 billion souls with an ever increasing appetite for energy.

    5. An End-Times Christian Evangelical Islam vs. Us Crusade? (I don't buy that either. Though those that do BUY it... comprise a significant block of gullible voters to engage and co-opt)

    6. All of the above to one degree or another - a grand strategic game coked up by the white Anglo-Saxon's to sustain their global hegemony for as long as they can - in the face of Friedman's Flat Earth observations? - supported by their willing Likudnik accomplices in TelAviv etc.

    And IMHO Bin Laden's a legend. A cut out.

    I vote #6

    So back finally to Ms. Plame. The story will underwhelm. It has insufficient meat on the bones IMHO. Because if it did... we woldn't havebeen waiting a year or more to resolve it And by theFriday Evening the "news" comes out.... the MSM will be able to dismiss it as "democrats" unpatriotically beating up on the WH and what's more... it's OLD NEWS. Which it, in some respects, will be by then.

    When dealing with the insane, the best method is to pretend to be sane. - Herman Hesse

    by jpwillis on Thu Jun 30, 2005 at 12:49:47 PM PDT

  •  I have a interesting question.. (none)
    I've been investigating a possible connection between the Larry Franklin indictment, the ongoing vetting process with Iran's nuclear program, and the DSM/pre-Iraq intelligence debacle.

    Do you think it is at all feasible that the Plame investigation could be connected at some point to Franklin, and thus to Downing Street?

    (I suppose I should also ask.. who are the US intelligence figures that Dave Manning met with - meaning do we know their names yet?)

    Joe Lieberman and Lincoln Chafee are ON NOTICE - John Orman and Sheldon Whitehouse for Senate 2006!

    by Scoopster on Thu Jun 30, 2005 at 01:10:34 PM PDT

  •  Oops.. where's my journalistic ethics.. (none)
    As of yet I have no solif proof of a connection between DSM and Franklin. Sorry about that miscue - I keep my goals a bit too far in front of me.

    Joe Lieberman and Lincoln Chafee are ON NOTICE - John Orman and Sheldon Whitehouse for Senate 2006!

    by Scoopster on Thu Jun 30, 2005 at 01:19:16 PM PDT

  •  Talk about a stretch (4.00)
    You ignore the pretty obvious and go way out on a limb to find another motive. And claim that motive makes it not a crime. Um.. the motive behind treason is irrelevant. There was a guy named Benedict Arnold whos motives ,if looked at from His perspective, werent what most people think (he thought of himself as a professional soldier). He was still a traitor. Treason is treason.

    And it's a bit curious you find it necessary to repeatedly attack Joe Wilson. To understand that you need to get past Wilson's ego . The man whos only crimes here seem to be that he was married to an honest CIA Agent and t hat he criticised Bush. I wonder why you'd feel that urge?

    Remember: there's no sense in talking to them. Talk to your base first, the middle second, and the amoral and lying right never.

    by cdreid on Thu Jun 30, 2005 at 01:27:13 PM PDT

    •  Stretching (3.25)
      I'm just trying to fit together the pieces I have seen.

      The "word" from Washington is that Fitzgerald doesn't have a case against the leaker for outing Plame because he didn't know she was covert, but that the investigation has focused on perjury and obstruction. The prosecutor wants Cooper's notes, not just who leaked. The conventional story just doesn't add up for me.

      On the other hand I distinctly remember talk about war between CIA and DOD over WMD intelligence. Plame had to be in the middle of that. Doesn't it make more sense that the White House, pumped up on victory in the war decided that the time had come to out the little nest of Saddam lovers at CIA just before.. oops no WMD guess will have to blame CIA for overselling the intelligence.

      As for Wilson I can speculate about why he framed the story the way he did. His position mirrored the WH. When the story first broke, Wilson was criticising a popular president and a popular war. Making the story about retribution and outing an agent gave it teeth without putting it in the context of the fight over intelligence. Maybe he even needed to take the focus off Plame because of her job. When I wrote this it was an idle speculation I hoped would get some people thinking and I tried to be provocative so somebody might notice. If I knew it would sit atop the rec list all day I might have been a bit more circumspect.

      •  Novak called her (3.33)
        an "operative" in his column. Here's what Media Matters had to say about his "I didn't know she was covert" defense:

        "While theoretically possible, this is highly implausible. As journalist Joshua Micah Marshall wrote Friday in his online Talking Points Memo, the July 14 column by Robert Novak that outed Plame said she was an agency operative. "In the intelligence community, the word 'operative' is a term of art. And it means someone who is undercover. It doesn't refer to an analyst," he wrote, adding that "a review of all of Novak's columns in the Nexis database shows that he always uses the term in this way."

        And since when is not knowing that it was a crime a defense for a crime? Sheesh.

        Anything by Loudon Wainwright III

        by Earl on Thu Jun 30, 2005 at 02:05:23 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Or (4.00)
        When the story first broke, Wilson was criticising a popular president and a popular war. Making the story about retribution and outing an agent gave it teeth without putting it in the context of the fight over intelligence. Maybe he even needed to take the focus off Plame because of her job.

        Or maybe a courageous man who stood up against a corrupt, lying president was targetted through his wife for retribution.

        You wonder why people are afraid to stand up for democrats? Its' the daggers from behind.

        Remember: there's no sense in talking to them. Talk to your base first, the middle second, and the amoral and lying right never.

        by cdreid on Thu Jun 30, 2005 at 02:46:25 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Your theory fails on the point (2.50)
        that it was well known that Plame was CIA. That is false, which is why you haven't been able to provide an example that isn't speculation by a right wing editorialist.  
        •  Well known (none)
          I have answered this a couple times. I am not suggesting that she wasn't deep cover, only that the handful of top political and security names at the WH might well have been aware she was currently working as a WMD analyst at CIA (and getting in their way) without also knowing that she was a NOC. I don't think that makes outing her any less awful. Heck my thesis is the WH made up the WMD intelligence, planned to purge the CIA for not supporting their claims and then did purge the CIA claiming they were responsible for the bad intel and then engaged in mass perjury and obstruction to conceal the whole mess.

          My understanding is that the specific statute that makes revealing her name a crime requires proof that the leaker knew she was covert. It seems likely that her name was revealed a the handful of WH players who had top clearances (VP, Sec Defense, Rove Scooter) without the info that she was covert, and so when they passed it along they weren't intentionally outing a covert agent and so didn't violate that statute. I ain't a lawyer so I don't know if that is a correct reading of the law, or if the disclosure violated other criminal statutes. Just going by what I have read.

      •  A four (none)
        to counteract the one someone gave you. Absolutely nothing even close to trollish in your posts.

        Remember: there's no sense in talking to them. Talk to your base first, the middle second, and the amoral and lying right never.

        by cdreid on Fri Jul 01, 2005 at 10:38:39 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Quick clarification please... (none)
    I haven't kept up with everything on this story so i have a question:

    Why isn't Novak being asked to reveal his source? He published the agent's name, did he not?

    •  maybe he told (none)
      All we know is that Novak testified to the Grand Jury.  We have no idea what they asked him, or what he told them, because no charges have yet been filed and the information is not yet public - it's still just an investigation.  So speculation about what Novak has been asked about, and what he did or did not say, is just speculation.  Maybe he revealed his source, we don't know.
    •  My guess is . . . (none)
      Novak must be a NSC asset. How else could a fat ass bafoon like him stay afloat in a world awash in talent?

      "Who do you believe, me or your own two eyes?" - Groucho Marx

      by MrEdward on Thu Jun 30, 2005 at 01:59:39 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  The motive for the outing (none)
    The most surprising feature of this article, for me, is that we forgot what the motive for outing Plame was.  I recall very clearly that at the time, the story going around the blogs, and which I found entirely plausible, was that Plame was outed specificaly to discredit Wilson as a source of information.  "Revenge" came later, and seemed like an insignificant and speculative add-on.  I thought it was very very clear that Plame was outed as part of a narrative that "Wilson only got sent to Niger because of his wife who was at the CIA", strongly hinting that meant Wilson was biased from the start and was sent there to find that the Iraq story was unfounded.

    All along, I thought that's what we all believed the motive was.

    So that's the big surprise here: The point of view this article is written on, that we all believe the motive was something other than that, but that in fact it is that.

    Did I miss something?  Did we all forget?  I'm really puzzled.

    •  Down the memory hole (none)
      The Biased from the start angle only makes sense if CIA was DENYING Saddam's WMD. Once that was nonoperative and the CIA was responsible for inflating the WMD treat, we needed a new story that fit the new reality.

      Your problem is that you have not properly adapted to the new reality.

      WE HAVE WAYS OF FIXING THAT.

      My point in offering the diary was first to remind folks that had forgotten that this was once about big issues and not just some nasty political shot, and second to suggest that the legal problems of the administration might arise precisely from the difficulty of explaining their behavior from the old context while maintaing the present historical revision.

      Still it is nice to know that I am not the only one that notices when they change history. It feels a bit less SciFi now.

  •  outstanding (none)
    thank you.
  •  Shit is reaching critical stench (4.00)
    All the loose ends are coming together.  06 midterms have even loyal Republicans looking for a whipping boy.  They will all cry in unison, "we were deceived".  Dems will take control of the house and then we'll have two years of trials.  Meanwhile, the great oil fields in Saudi Arabia will begin producing salt water rather than oil. Several thousand hippies burning old french fry oil in oregon will launch the final assault on Washington D.C.  Jesus will resign his post in the military and start his own security outsourcing corp.

    "Who do you believe, me or your own two eyes?" - Groucho Marx

    by MrEdward on Thu Jun 30, 2005 at 01:57:43 PM PDT

  •  They knew what they were doing! (4.00)
    I believe that the government employee to whom you refer is named Valerie Wilson  The agent they outted is named Valerie Plame.

    Even members of her family didn't know the nature of her work
    They knew what she was doing when they outted her.

  •  Wait wait wait! I may be wrong! (4.00)
    Empty wheel up above asked me to provide a link to show Plame was an African specialist ... and now I can't.

    I've spent a bit of time trying to find it on the internet(s) and can't ... my only thought is that it might be in Wilson's book, "Politics of Truth," -- buy it! You'll love it! -- but both my copies are lent out right now and I can't check it.

    Googling Plame and Africa is pointless since the searches come back with all the stuff relating to Wilson's trip.

    So this notion may have been fed into my head by demons in the night or when I was smoking crack or something and not have any substance in reality (unless it's in the book). In other words, I may be wrong!

    In which case, this scenario by Economaniac makes more sense.

    So please please please, unless someone else can verify it, look at my Africa comments above as possible disinformation and continue speculation based on that.

    I just can't spend any more time Googling right now.

    •  I'd like kossacks to notice this... (4.00)
      a fellow kossack is actually admitting that they may be wrong after doing some checking (though my memory supports susang's stance on this)...

      If more of us would behave like this, dailykos would be a better place (not to say it's bad...it would just be even better).

      Thanks, Ms. G

      •  What I wish ... (none)
        is that he'd put it in an [UPDATE] ... SUSAN WAS STUPID!!! ...

        Because I clearly derailed the discussion up above, sounding know-it-all and everything when there's the distinct possibility I'm talking out my ass.

        Economaniac, feel free to put something up high in the text of the diary if you like that I may be wrong. I'd advise you to put "BREAKING" all over it except it's probably not breaking news to anyone that I'm stupid sometimes.

        I'm really sorry I got the discussion going in the wrong direction ... although I swear there's something noodling in my head about Plame being an Africa specialist (probably just brain worms).

        •  Susan was stupid (3.50)
          I don't think you derailed anything as this diary has sat atop the recommended list all day. Anyway a few facts are always welcome. I have skimmed Wilson's book and read several interviews he gave, but not read the whole thing so for all I know you are right.

          For what its worth I don't think Valeries exact position at CIA is important to my hypothesis. My starting point was the public speculation that Fitzgerald couldn't bring charges for outing an agent because the leaker didn't know Plame was covert. If that is true then the CW makes no sense. Why would leaking her identity constitute retaliation if she wasn't covert? And how could a WH political guy know about Plame without knowing she was a covert agent?

          Put in the context of the war between the CIA WMD desk and the WH politicos and an obvious answer appears. They knew Plame as an analyst and saw her as part of the proSaddam faction at CIA. Either they engaged her in the give and take over the WMD claims or her name came up when Wilson started to go public. It makes no sense to out a covert agent as political retaliation, witness the firestorm they created. But it would sure fit this WH and the mood in Spring 2003 to smear Wilson as part of a treasonous clique of Saddam supporters at CIA.

          I don't know that that is right but it fits the facts I do know and the speculation coming from Washington, while the CW just doesn't add up.

          •  susanG didn't derail anything (none)
            the point she raised about africa was discussed, and shot down, it appears to me, arriving rather late to the thread.  not sure where the africa thing came from - probably mixing up wilson's area of expertise with his wife's.

            the plame affair was what originally brought me to dkos, about two years ago, months before it hit the press.  our information at the time was that she was a NOC who had previously been in the field, but was then back at langley managing contacts in foreign governments who had access to WMD intel.  can't find a direct source for that right now, but it's out there in late 2003/early 2004.  here's one description of what she was doing, but its provenance isn't clear.

            this piece originally from WaPo has some more info about her, and this one has a bit of support for your theory that the WH already knew who she was:

            Mrs. Wilson s identity was apparently known to the White House inner circle: a senior national-security aide with responsibility for intelligence matters had worked closely with Wilson s wife at the CIA s Counter-Proliferation division.
            however i remember kicking this theory around (here's a billmon thread discussing a similar line of reasoning, pay attention to the comments), and most of us came to the conclusion that it didn't matter.  

            plame's identity was closely-guarded secret by the CIA, as one of the most restricted secrets is specifics of identities of covert operatives.  remember that this information is not just classified by a level of secrecy but by need to know and when it comes to these identities, only a handful need to know.  so if the fact that she was CIA was being bandied about the WH, they had incredibly lax handling of classified info.  that's a crime in itself, outside of breaking the intelligence identities act.  

            also, novak's original article clearly referred to her as an "operative," which JMM points out is a term of art for an undercover agent, and novak used her professional name instead of merely saying "wilson's wife" which he could have done if he merely wanted to make the nepotism charge. putting the info the way he did it seems clear someone wanted her identity and status broadcast.

            we also know that the CIA filed an official complaint about the leak of classified information to DOJ shortly after novak's article, which they would not have done if she were not actually covert.

            bottom line:  her identity was highly classified and compartmentalized, and somebody got it out to the public.  that means that ipso facto a crime was committed.  it may not have been a violation of the IIA, or the crime may not have been committed by the people who gave the info to novak (it could have been the person who gave it to the leakers, e.g.), but a crime was committed.

            l'homme est né libre, et partout il est dans les fers

            by zeke L on Thu Jun 30, 2005 at 06:39:03 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  state actor v. non-state actors (none)
              one more thing - if you want the real origin of the argument between the CIA and the neocon/vulcans you need to go even farther back, at least 10 years.

              it didn't start as a fight over the invasion of iraq between the cheney/feith/rumsfeld axis and the company (which you oddly term "anti-war" and even more bizarrely "pro-saddam"; i assure you the only people pro-saddam were today's neocons back when they were working in the reagan administration).  back in the 90's when the cold war had ended and the national security crowd was casting around for a new enemy, terrorism looked like a good prospect.  but there was a fundamental ideological divide between people who believed that terrorism was carried out by "non-state actors" (the IRA, al qaeda, basque separatists) and those who believed that all terrorism could ultimately be tied back to a nation-state.  

              the state actor and non-state actor models have clear implications for self-interest and funding.  if all terrorism can be traced back to other nations, you need a military solution, so this is the model the pentagon and the so-called "vulcans" espoused.  non-state actors would need spooks and skullduggery of course, so the CIA pushed that model.  since the neocon/vulcan group belonged to the state actor school and dominated the white house, it shouldn't surprise anyone that both rummy and bush were pushing to connect 9/11 to iraq before the rubble of the WTC had even settled.

              l'homme est né libre, et partout il est dans les fers

              by zeke L on Thu Jun 30, 2005 at 06:55:36 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  You're right of course (none)
                I am casting things from the White House perspective in which anyone who doesnt support their talking points is objectively pro Saddam. On the other hand my impression is that most serious people thought that Saddam was serving a useful role post 911 and that taking him out before we secured Afghanistan and bin Laden was truly stupid, and that that position was well represented at CIA hence much of the friction with the neocons.

                As for the state/non state actor thing I didn't think that level of detail was useful for this diary, but I agree it explains some of the disagreement. I also think the WH got it all wrong.

                Finally to answer your previous objection about how many folks at the WH knew Valerie Plame, I will be pretty shocked if it wasn't common knowledge that Wilson's wife was a CIA WMD analyst by June 2003. I don't know if her name was brought up only after Wilson started to talk or if they had her on the enemies list before that, but these guys (Cheney Rumsfeld, Bolton, Skippy Rove etc) don't strike me as the types that would let a little thing like security keep them from sharing the names on their s**t list. I sure don't mean that her name was coffee house gossip in DC, just that if Cheney wants to know who is pissing in his beer I figure he and the rest of the crew find out. I also didn't mean to suggest that it was no big deal that she was exposed, only that I think it is possible that her name was widely aired in the context of being an analyst that wasn't supporting their lies without most folks also knowing she was a NOC.

              •  good article on Plame (none)
                no Africa....can't believe Susan goofed...happens to the best of us...

                but she worked specifically for the Weapons Intelligence, Non-Proliferation and Arms Control Center under Alan Foley:

                VAnity Fair

                •  thanks (none)
                  yeah i remember reading that last year.

                  doesn't have the info on plame managing foreign contacts, but it does have this:

                  In fact, in the spring, Plame was in the process of moving from noc status to State Department cover. Wilson speculates that "if more people knew than should have, then somebody over at the White House talked earlier than they should have been talking."
                  that militates against the argument that she was hanging around langley attending meetings on iraqi WMD with the cheney gang, IMO.

                  l'homme est né libre, et partout il est dans les fers

                  by zeke L on Thu Jun 30, 2005 at 09:21:44 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

            •  I understood Wilson to say (none)
              That Plame was his wife's professional name. People who didn't need to know did not know her by that name. Is that correct?

              War is not an adventure. It is a disease. It is like typhus. - Antoine De Saint-Exupery

              by Margot on Thu Jun 30, 2005 at 10:09:28 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  not quite (none)
                i believe it was her maiden name, and they'd only been married a couple years, so most friends and family would know it.

                to me 'professional name' implies that it was the name she used in her cover identity as an fake energy consultant.  so i picture some counter-espionage guy in pakistan or somewhere keeping an eye on his nuclear scientists who would be very interested in which americans might be CIA or not.  embassy types are obvious - high potential for official cover agents.  

                now if novak had said "valerie wilson" she's never visited that country or had contacted people with info, as far as he knows.  but "valerie plame,"  now wait a minute, there was a lady at that conference in brunei last year...

                does that make sense?

                l'homme est né libre, et partout il est dans les fers

                by zeke L on Thu Jun 30, 2005 at 11:48:19 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  Yes, that makes sense (none)
                  That name might also be her professional name as in, the one her contacts abroad knew her by.  That is what I remember reading.

                  War is not an adventure. It is a disease. It is like typhus. - Antoine De Saint-Exupery

                  by Margot on Fri Jul 01, 2005 at 12:14:48 AM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

        •  OK Susan.... (none)
          As I recall Valerie was working in the Middle East with cover as an energy analyst for Brewster-Jennings.

          I'll have to Google some more.<g>

  •  Interesting theory but (none)
    I still think the Admin's prime motive was to hit Wilson hard and fast for 2 reasons: It would discourage any other insider from contradicting the Bush line; and Bush, who views loyalty to himself as a requirement for government service, saw Wilson's op-ed as disloyal.

    We should not forget that even though Plame was by that time at a desk job, outing her still put in danger those contacts that she made over the years, who became vulnerable through the revelation that the person they had been working with was a CIA agent. (This point was made at the time, but has since been allowed to slide.) So, yes, I would hold that the outing does constitute a crime in itself.

    In addition, I think that Bush and his minions really believed that Saddam had WMDs and really expected to find them. I can see the WH punishing Plame for not going along with their line. What I can't follow is your argument that the WH outed Plame as part of a plan to cover up the way the WH and the DoD fixed the intelligence over the CIA's objections. How did the WH expect the Plame outing to help their case?

    You write a very good narrative, and connect a lot of dmaning dots. I just don't see this particular one in there.

    •  Almost there (2.50)
      see immediately above for most of my response.

      As to the cover up. I believe they outed Plame as part of a planned purge of proSaddam folks at CIA, before they realized that they weren't gonna find WMD in Iraq. They hadn't realized she was covert so they had to deal with the firestorm over that, before they could return to the disloyal CIA angle, and by that time they needed a scapegoat to blame for the WMD claims so they abandoned the proSaddam line and instead blamed CIA for inflating the WMD threat.

      The coverup of fixing the intelligence happened afterward, and required that all the above went down the memory hole. My premise is that Fitzgerald's investigation took him right in the middle of that and administration officials committed perjury and obstruction of justice trying to keep their stories straight. Remember a bunch of these guys have testified before Congress under oath that it was all the CIAs fault, so they can't be forthcoming about their efforts to punish the CIA for denying the WMD claims.

  •  I hope to God you are not right (none)
    but deep down I fear you just may be.

    What a time we are living in.

  •  Plame Was An Operative, Not An Analyst (4.00)
    Of course, you are pointing to really interesting internal politics that get lost in the discussion of the outing of Plame in other stories.  That is probably true, re the interesting issues it raised when various officials were deposed by Fitzgerald and the likely lies because they wanted to cover-up the stovepiping of fake intelligence into the media.  However, that information was also likely not directly related to the actual crime being investigated, so it's probably not material, anymore than many questions asked of Clinton during the Monica Lewinsky investigation.  Of course they are pertinent to our democracy, just not to the specific crime that Fitzgerald is investigating.

    The notion that it was inadvertent and that many people knew that Plame was a CIA agent is nonsense however.  Most top officials throughout the government and the White House would NOT HAVE EVER KNOWN THIS AT ALL, even with top security clearances.  Also, Plame was NOT, as you state, "an analyst at the CIA WMD desk".  As I understand it, she was a top secret OPERATIVE, who was running human intel ASSETS all around the world.  There is a big difference here.  That means she was NOT INTERACTING in the battles you describe and that would not be her role.

    She was a deep cover agent, working for "private companies/agencies" - and the only persons who would likely have a need to know would be people consuming work directly performed by her.  That might not even be the President or Vice-President on most days, but of course it could have come up at some point.

    As I understand it however, the most likely people who would have had any inkling of her cover at the White House would have been Cheney, Bush, Rice and by osmosis, though not necessarily appropriately, Karl Rove and various assistants to these persons.  This knowledge may have only come after digging in an effort to discredit Wilson, since we know it is highly unlikely that she recommended him for the job, as the White House initially falsely claimed to discredit Wilson.  The notion that everyone knew she was a CIA agent, and all they were trying to do was draw the link between Wilson and her to discredit him is actually directly from the initial White House spin right after that incident.  Also, this is exactly what Novak also says.  Lastly, it buys the line that it was knowledge that Plame recommended her husband (Wilson) that led to the exposure.  But Plame's wife never recommended him and knowledge of their connection to these matters was extremely secret and beyond the reach of almost everyone in the White House but the highest officials - and again, on a need to know basis.  The notion that she was engaged in some sort of policy debate with these people, and was labeled a bad guy, seems extremely flawed by these presumptions which are likely flatly false.  By accepting this notion implicitly in this argument, one buries the White House logic into the assumption and the White House doesn't have to assert a lie to win the PR battle.  

    It would seem, if we were to buy these assumptions and arguments that, while  it might still lead to interesting information, we would be buying the White House defense on this case, hook, line and sinker.  I'm not ready to do that.

    Now doing so might suggest there is other interesting stuff to get down the road, but grand jury testimony is secret, and perjury is not necessarily going to take place for issues not pertinent to a criminal conviction.  So this seems like a poor tack to take if one wants to see anything at all come of this outrageous act of treason and corrupt practice at the heart of our government and intelligence/defense nexus.

  •  Is this a typo? (none)
    Seems like an important sentence that shouldn't say what it appears to say (if that makes any sense):

    No indeed turns out it was actually CIA all along that was pushing the WMD story and the White House only doing what they thought they must in response to the flawed intelligence.

    Are you saying it turns out that the CIA, not the White House, was pushing the WMD story?

    Seems it should logically say the opposite.

    Am I having a brain burp?

  •  Recommended (4.00)
    Recommended not because I fully believe the premise the diary author proposes but because of the interesting comments this diary has spawned.  

    I can't accept Ambassador Wilson is an egomaniac.  Patriot, I believe is more accurate.

    •  I read Wilson's memoir (none)
      and I don't think he has an outsized ego.  He does have lots of experience as a diplomat in Iraq and Africa and is very credible.  His observations of April Glasspie (sp?), Saddam, and the first Iraq war are quite interesting in light of all that has happened since.
  •  Outing of Plame (none)
    I followed this case closely before the war. No one that I considered an expert thought there were WMD in Iraq. Ray McGovern, Mel Goodman, and the Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity stated clearly that they did not believe Iraq had WMD. Weapons inspectors like Scott Ritter and others also stated so. A story that contains these kinds of falsehoods most likely has many other errors.
    •  Noone thought there were WMD (none)
      While it was obvious that the US proof was complete BS, it was also widely thought that there had to be at least some aging stockpiles of chemical weapons that hadn't been properly disposed of. Lacking that they figured Bush would plant some. If the Dems had really believed that we could invade Iraq and not find ANYTHING they would have been a lot bolder in opposing the war. The CW was that Bush was framing a guilty man and that something would turn up that could be spun as justification for the war.

      In any event I don't think Sanity and the Rove political operation should be expected to have anything to do with one another.

  •  everyone thought there were WMD (3.50)
    No one in the world thought there were WMD in Iraq before the war. Before the war 18 million people marched worldwide, not only in protest of the war, but because they did not believe the B. S. of the Bush Administration. Only the ignorant U. S. citizenry thought there were WMD in Iraq.
    •  Most Importantly, UNSCOM, Security Council & (none)
      the UN's International Atomic Energy Agency did not believe there were demonstrated WMD's or WMD programs that would justify the actions we took . . . there simply was NO EVIDENCE of it, contrary to all of the baseless assertions made over and over again.  The DSM says that our government knew there were virtually none, and that the UK government knew it as well.

      The French, Russians, Chinese, hundreds of other nations and the majority of the population of the planet - the jury of world popular opinion - all agreed - there was no credible proof or threat.  It wasn't a matter of WHO you believed or WHO you listened to, it was a matter of world consensus - absent the wise guys appointed to run things at the top of this government.

      The key fact finders to justify legal action, the UN bodies and Security Council did not agree with our assertions, and 2/3 or more of the US' key agencies in charge of these matters did not agree with the administration's assessments.  That is assuming that the CIA agreed with the assessments, but that too seems doubtful, absent the support of Tenet - who appears to have overruled his advisors and experts with executive decisions and the removal of caveats in key documents and assessments.

      The UN's International Atomic Energy Agency, the US Department of Energy and the State Department Intelligence Bureau also failed to believe the hype regarding the nuclear threat.  So it wasn't just Wilson.  In fact, Colin Powell AND Condi Rice are both quoted as thinking otherwise previous to 9/11 - and there is video tape of their statements, hidden about in various places and rarely shown.

  •  When will Seymour Hersh (none)
    write about this I wonder?  A lot of his sources are CIA, no?
  •  Novak Wilson Plame Affair (none)
    How do we know we can trust Fitzgerald? The Bush Crime Family's network is extensive and I for one, do not trust anyone appointed by a John Ashcroft.
  •  Nice theory (3.66)
    I don't see why you had to keep bashing Wilson and his "ego" to present your largely unsubstantiated though probably largely correct theory.

    Afterall, it was his column in the Times that most certainly prompted the leak and, something you conveniently fail to mention, the full scale assult on him. And when I say full scale assault I mean what they did to every other whistleblower: opposition research, smear campaign, and leaking his wifes identity.

    It is this context of a full scale assult in progress within which the leak occurred. So it requires no egocentrism on Mr Wilsons part to correctly assume that the leak was part of the assault.

    Now, none of this really detracts from your thesis that the even larger context was an ongoing battle with the CIA and State and that that resurfacing of that battle due to the leak investigation would be unpleasant for the administration. I enjoyed this part of your analysis.

    But I strongly object to your attacking Joseph Wilson. Much less on clearly unsubstantiated grounds. Or in other words, Wilson's my homey bitch. Back off.

    :)
    cheers

    •  Hear, hear! (4.00)
      Joe Wilson's a stand-up guy.  The "ego" stuff was uncalled for, and seems to be an inaccurate assessment to boot.

      "They may agree that failure isn't an option, but this does not mean they will necessarily avoid it." - David Manning re: BushCo in DSM

      by DavidW in SF on Thu Jun 30, 2005 at 08:27:23 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Joe's story (none)
      The point of the diary was that the focus on Wilson had made this a case of simple retaliation stripped of the context of the intelligence war between CIA and DOD and that context might explain some of what we hear (that the leaker didn't know Plame was covert, and that broader perjury and obstruction might have happened anyway). Clearly Wilson is largely responsible for that focus.

      However as I have thought about it I think Wilson may have played this out pretty well. When the story broke, the WH WANTED this to be about the CIA war and how a cadre of disloyal CIA agents were working to undermine US interests. Wilson's story of revenge shifted that focus to a petty act of political retaliation that endangered national security and broke the law. Now the story has lasted long enough to involve a federal prosecutor and enmesh WH officials in possible obstruction of justice as they try and reconcile their then intention to punish those who denied Saddams WMD threat with their subsequent blaming those folks for inflating the intelligence. He has made the fixing of intelligence and the fixing of blame a matter for grand jury investigation.

      In many ways this reminds me of the tactics that the right used against Clinton. They constantly threw out claims that they knew wouldn't hold up but would focus attention in places Clinton wouldn't like. Eventually they found paydirt. I don't doubt that Wilson believes his wife was endangered by the WH outing and he is pissed. I am sure however that he knows all about the broader context of conflicts between career CIA and the administration and he skillfully steered the story away from them. I think it is time they came back to the fore, and I suspect that Fitzgerald's investigation is going to put them there.

      •  Well, like I said (3.50)
        Your theory, though probably true, is just that, a theory. Supposition. It works for me. But it's hard to push that without corroboration. At least on TV.

        What isn't a theory is that the WH was out to get him and within a week of his column, two administration officials, not one, were leaking his wife's CIA status.

        Not to keep beating a dead horse, but it's just that your larger context point may not have been quite as obvious then as it seems now. At least not to the angry husband. Think about it. If it was your spouse, you may have taken it a bit personally too.

        While it may be true that the focus on retaliation has distracted from a larger issue, you can't knock the guy for seeing his situation from the inside out. Being human and all.

        So, again, make your case and lay off the Ambassador. He's good people.

        And one more thing, it was a crime to leak the identity of Plame. Some lawyer's  concoction, which if you'll remember was spun on the right-wing radio and Fox, that they didn't know she was covert may fly in front of a Republican committee, but that defense would be any prosecutor's dream in front of a real jury. Please stop propagating Republican talking points.

        No one outside of the intelligence community knew Plame was CIA. The CIA went postal for a reason. They burned a covert operative. Plain and simple. You saying it wasn't a crime, as though you had any idea what the leakers knew, undermines the severity of this case.

        If I gave troop positions to the Taliban, I don't think the stupidity defense would be very viable. Nor should it be in this case. Heraldo Riverra? OK.

  •  the site you link (none)
    that avoids specifics on Novak's exact dates, also links a Hillary bashing site.

    Can you really take a site that photoshops her face to something hidous as being accurate?

    From such misinformation comes flawed premise results to creat more confusion. Another 9-11 no jet hit the pentagon mess...

    •  ... Another 9-11 no jet hit the pentagon mess ... (none)
      Actually, a jet did hit the Pentagon, but only military members of DoD working in the building died that day--there were no civilian casualties. That's why all the post-9/11 "honoring the attacked" benefits (like store discounts, free family tickets to sports events, and a one-day admission to Busch Gardens, Williamsburg, during the following Spring) excluded DoD civilians, even those with Pentagon badges. <Major snark here, guys, from an eyewitness of that tragedy who's also a long time Pentagon civilian. Under hypnosis, I'm sure I could tell you exactly how many cabin windows that distinctly Boeing-shaped "bat out of Hell" had as it streaked to the left of me just short of the Navy Annex on Arlington Ridge. But I haven't a clue what the impact explosion sounded like--my ears for some reason did not hear it. Although, in a strangely healing way, I've found that the "Daily Kos" logo at the top of the page comes closest to the oily black and fiery red mass which boiled up at least 300 feet above the building following the crash.>

      My opinion of W was sealed by his actions during and post-9/11, as I got the impression Rummy had to shame him into coming over to the Pentagon to show his support to us (W's focus was already clearly on his impending destiny in New York).

      We were manipulated and lied to ... and our domesticated press bears a good deal of the blame

      by Robert de Loxley on Fri Jul 01, 2005 at 12:29:14 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I have a friend... (none)
        ...whose father died in the Pentagon on 9/11.  She doesn't have many kind words for the no-plane crowd.

        Thanks for your words.

        "The American people will trust the Democratic Party to defend America when they believe that Democrats will defend other Democrats." Wesley Clark

        by The Termite on Fri Jul 01, 2005 at 10:52:38 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Robert, (none)
        Do you remember the doctor who set up the triage at the Pentagon that day? That is a captain from my town who's also a neurologist, a Vietnam war vet.  Now he's in the Middle East somewhere. He was supposed to be in a meeting in the Pentagon but stopped at the last minute to get a ballcap for his son from the gift shop.

        War is not an adventure. It is a disease. It is like typhus. - Antoine De Saint-Exupery

        by Margot on Fri Jul 01, 2005 at 04:42:39 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Great Post. (none)
    You're doing Yeomans' work with the nitpickers.  Ignoring the motives, and who-knew-what, this post is a response to a very important question, and it is refreshingly well-written.  I thought I read my last Plame diary.

    You're pointed all-at The Stovepipe Intelligence Service as the source that these reporters have to give up.  I seem to remember Bolton was involved in the actual stovepiping...  But it could be several others as well...

    It just would be WAY too sweet if this were the case, but if it is, you wrote it, or insinuated it ;) first...

    •  no leaks by Fitzgerald (none)
      right wing sites all point to leaks after '03

      so does the SCLM

      how much do you want to be there are signed directives which indicate retirubiton against whistleblowers BEFORE WILSON WAS SELECTED as part of the usual war games scenario response development process?

      It would prove intent, and high level executive directive authority.

  •  Olbermann just called out Novak (none)
    He featured him as the worst person in the world, and then played the Bach riff associated with Bela Lugosi's Dracula.

    Novakula.

  •  And about that "ego" charge ... (4.00)
    First of all, that's a right-wing talking point, straight from their agenda.

    Secondly, read this:

    As acting ambassador to Iraq in the run-up to the first Gulf War, he was the last US diplomat to meet with Saddam Hussein, in 1991.
    He very publicly defied the Iraqi strongman by giving refuge to more than 100 US citizens at the embassy and in the homes of US diplomats - at a time when Saddam Hussein was threatening to execute anyone who harboured foreigners.
    He then addressed journalists wearing a hangman's noose instead of a necktie.
    He later told the Washington Post newspaper that the message to Saddam Hussein was: "If you want to execute me, I'll bring my own [expletive] rope."

    I'd like to point out that after his famous face-down with Hussein, Wilson was besieged by requests for interviews upon his return to the United States, which he turned down. If ever there were a time for someone to bask in some ego-stroking, it would have been then.

    Thirdly, what he's done in speaking out so consistently against this administration is the truest act of patriotism and courage I can imagine. His ego isn't one-tenth as large as the right wing makes it out to be and in my opinion it should be 100 times larger. He's done something with his life in the past few years I see very few people doing - he's not shutting up, no matter what shit they throw at him.

    The ego charge is just right-wing smoke. He's a hero. And you do your reasoning - and Wilson - a disservice when you repeat it.

  •  Naming Plame was a Chilling Game (3.66)
    I saw the whole thing as a one-two punch on the part of whomever in the Bush Administration:

    It was an easy swat at Joe Wilson.

    More importantly, I think that naming Plame was an effort to chill the idea that might have been occurring to others who worked with Plame (in the Non-Proliferation Group that was reporting to Scooter Libby and thus up to Cheney and Bush) to leak the details of those weekly visits Cheney and Scooter were making to the NPG, wherein they were asking the CIA to sculpt their intelligence reports to fit the foreign policy agenda of the neo-conservatives who were interested in Pax American, starting in Iraq.

    Outing Plame would send a clear warning to the others that if they openned their mouths, their careers would be ruined and their lives placed in jeopardy.

    It was a real corporate-style shark attack!

    But that's just my idea, but what do I know?  I'm just a housewife in Connecticut, reading the internets!

  •  Oooooh (none)
    That's what it's about.

    Clinton was impeached for much the same thing.  (He was only responsible for an occasional 'little death', but the legal aspect is the same.)  It's the lying about not lying that got him.  Bush's house of cards will fall when they have to admit that they lied about why they lied about Plame and the Weapons of Mass Destruction.

    To al the Clinton and Hussein confusion above, I'll add. Bill's a messed up guy in a lot of ways.  He's just not homicidal like Bush.  (That's George "I'm not going to hit a camel in the ass" Bush.)

    1984: Orwell wrote a cautionary tale. George Bush mistook it for a manifesto.

    by mungley on Thu Jun 30, 2005 at 11:22:22 PM PDT

  •  My Best Guess - It's About Primary Sources (none)
    After carefully reviewing the real legal issues here, particularly the issue of Plames' COVERT role as an OPERATIVE, not an analyst, I've come to the conclusion that what Fitzgerald is looking for is the ORIGIN of the inteligence leak that exposed Plame's role withink the White House.  It's not just about the "leaker" to the journalists, but tracing the root source of this carefully guarded information - which may have originated from an illicit source at the heart of our executive branch.

    As I analyzed this in live time here and looked at the legal issues in the post directly attached to that comment, it seems apparent that the fact is, NO ONE SHOULD HAVE KNOWN of Plame's covert role within the White House and probably they all testified rather that they all knew of her status because "EVERYBODY KNEW".  Of course, the notion that "EVERYBODY KNEW" is clearly a lie: 1) because of laws and procedures preventing that and 2) because they probably can't point to anyone to validate this explanation but Robert Novak and the journalists they called - who probably didn't know before those phone calls.  Thus, by holding back, the journalists in question may be both upholding their pledges of secrecy AND also complicit in a conspiracy to obstruct justice.  The prosecutor cannot know until the journalists' notes and full testimony as to sourcing are available and vetted for truthfulness.

    The likelihood is that NO ONE IN THE WHITE HOUSE - had an actual NEED TO KNOW because no one was a direct end user of Plames' raw intelligence data - with her identity linked to it.  Of course it is possible that Cheney or Rumsfeld got that info, but then, they would be shown as consumers of those reports in some sort of document tracing who had access to that information directly.  My GUESS is that they NEVER HAD ACCESS to those reports, and that that is likely very clear from the evidence.

    Then the question comes, where and who was the source of the TOP SECRET information that everyone is claiming was ubiquitously available everywhere in DC?  The only people probably fingered are the members of the press who in fact were called by the political operatives.  But the press members can't say who their sources were at all, so the political operatives can't be fingered to the prosecutor as the source for the journalists.

    Thus the notion that EVERYBODY KNEW becomes much more critical to the defense than just spin.  It may be the only real defense.  The only way to prove that it's not true, however, is to directly source how each public source (journalist) actually got the information.  If it all traces back to White House personnel, then only they can finger who the source was.  If it doesn't, or the information cannot be had, then that source can't be determined.

    This seems to me to likely be where we are.  Once Fitzgerald gets the information from the reporters, he still might not get to the ORIGINAL source of the information, because the political operative probably won't squeal on Bolton, or Cheney, or Bush - (or whoever we might speculate could be the source) though they might squeal on Rove (not likely - more likely another scape goat).  Hence the need to make the information appear to have been ubiquitously available (Everyone Knew) rather than top secret. If everyone knew, then the primary source is no one.  If no one knew, and there is a singular primary source, it might point not only to an incredibly stupid individual at the heart of government, but also to an entire operation to subvert our government and it's orderly operation, and to commit treason for reasons as yet not fully comprehended (because we do not yet have any real confession as to the reason we went to war in the first place).  It's also possible that the ultimate reasons can so be confounded with executive privilege and constitutional authority that it will be impossible to legally pursue these issues down the rabbit hole from whence they came.

    The key question is, does Fitzgerald have the power or the fortitude to stick it out?  I would guess not.  But we will see.

    •  I agree completely. (none)
      The theory that the leaker was Bolton also fits well. Even if Bolton (or whoever the leaker is) can't be identified the others may not be off the hook, they can be tried for obstruction of justice. Once one of them is charged Fitzpatrick will need security to protect himself from the stampede of defendants who are willing to cut a deal to stay out of jail.

      They say it's not the crime it's the cover-up, but in this case both are quite serious.

    •  This comment (none)
      Is probably the best thing I've read today, and yesterday, about this case.

      This is what I've been trying to figure out: who had need to know?  as well as the rest of it, but I'd like to start there.

      War is not an adventure. It is a disease. It is like typhus. - Antoine De Saint-Exupery

      by Margot on Fri Jul 01, 2005 at 04:57:25 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Er... (none)
      The likelihood is that NO ONE IN THE WHITE HOUSE - had an actual NEED TO KNOW because no one was a direct end user of Plames' raw intelligence data - with her identity linked to it. Of course it is possible that Cheney or Rumsfeld got that info, but then, they would be shown as consumers of those reports in some sort of document tracing who had access to that information directly. My GUESS is that they NEVER HAD ACCESS to those reports, and that that is likely very clear from the evidence. You seem to have forgotten a previous controversy. Both Cheney and Libby personally made trips to Langely to speak directly to the analysts there about WMD intelligence during the run up to the Iraq war. Granted, if either or both the vice-president and his chief-of-staff were in direct contact with Plame at that time it would have been with Plame the analyst not Plame the operative. However this has the potential for being quite problematic for the vice-president's office.
  •  I thought the same thing! (none)
    It took me a while to get to this diary, so I'm late to the party, and probably this will be ignored.

    I have had the same thought all along, although not with the clear narrative that you have given it.  The savage battle between the neocons and CIA in latter 2003, early 2004, was much analyzed, especially by Josh Marshall, as I recall.  The outing of Plame was such a particularly vile incident that I have felt all along that the intent was not to only to defame Joe Wilson, but to:

    1) Tarnish/intimidate the CIA lifers that weren't on board with the neocons, who were feeling ballsy  and arrogant after Mission Accomplished,

    and/or

    2) Punish Plame or somebody close to her INSIDE CIA, not just Wilson, discrediting anything else they might be thinking of revealing.

    I understand, this is all speculative, but we know so little at this point that speculation is called for.  

    I understand the theory that Wilson was the target, and certainly Joe Wilson seems to believe that.  It is a little weak, though.  Would outing Valerie Plame really hurt Joe Wilson enough to make him sorry for writing his op/ed?  Who would have thought so?  I understand about nocs and fronts and the expenses involved and the way revelations can affect careers, but it just seems way too subtle a way to punish Wilson.  If you want to punish him, it's better to do it by attacking him in a defamatory manner.

  •  But does it matter? (none)
    So you're saying they didn't like Plame anymore than they liked Wilson. It helps explain the motive. But can Fitzgerald make hay out of the CIA/OSP feud legally? I don't see it as part of his narrowly defined case against Libby, Cheney or whoever. But then Lewisnksi had nothing to do with Starr's Whitewater case either. All being equal Fitzgerald as a Repub probably isn't interested in blowing this thing open but then again if he's ambitious or has a conscience (I know a Repub with conscience?) he might.    
  •  you've kept this diary (none)
    up a long time. i agree with that decision.  if the full story is aired i think the diarist will be proved substantially correct.

    he that hath no stomach to this fight let him depart

    by 2nd balcony on Fri Jul 01, 2005 at 07:39:14 AM PDT

  •  This foots with what I heard back in 2001 (none)
    In November of 2001 I was in a store in Los Angeles. There were only 2 others with me - the owner of the store and another customer. The radio was on and coverage of the war in Afghanistan was on. I said something out loud about how the war was going. The other customer then told me that what was happening in Afghanistan was nothing compared to what was coming in Iraq. She told me she had just left the state department and one of the reasons why was that there was already an internal agreement (which she disagreed with) to go to war in Iraq. This foots with the July 2002 leaked Downing Street Minutes. This post has connected the dots - and also opened my already opened eyes to the enormity of the lies. I am no expert, but certainly the magnitude of misinformation that led us into war must be grounds for impeachment.
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