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Yesterday in a rec'd diary I discussed the not terribly surprising revelation by Senator Rockefeller that Dick Cheney had been yanking Sen Roberts leash and blocking completely the Senates Phase II Investigation for over two years.

Never mind Impeachment, in that diary I said the T-Word.

Treason

On that point a few comments were skeptical, and it is that point which I wish to address today.  Former CIA Operative Larry C Johnson, who worked side by side with Valerie Wilson has stated the following last August.

There was nothing on the public record or in any public document identifying Valerie Plame Wilson as a CIA operative.  That information was classified.  Sending Joe on a mission to Africa does not point the finger at her.  Moreover, she did not make the decision to send him.

Continued over flip...

(Crossposted from My Blog)

Johnson continued.

Regardless of Armitage's role as an initial source for Novak, we are still left with the fact that Dick Cheney, Karl Rove, and Scooter Libby abused their power and were actively engaged in a coordinated effort to discredit Joe Wilson for his behind the scene efforts to alert the public to the falsehoods in the President's State of the Union address.

While Richard Armitage may have had no malicious intent, the same cannot be said for Cheney, Libby and Rove.  They knew exactly what they were doing.  According to The Washington Post, during the week of July 6, 2003, "two top White House officials disclosed Plame's identity to at least six Washington journalists."  Sometime after Novak's column appeared, Rove called Chris Matthews, host of MSNBC's "Hardball" and told him that Mr. Wilson's wife was "fair game."

Although the Libby Trial is ongoing and has yet to reach a verdict - can there by anyone who truly believes that the VP's Office wasn't directly involved in the leaking of Valerie Plame-Wilson's CIA identity to the press?

Even if you believe Libby's claims that "he heard her name from  Tim Russert" or other members of the media - the question remains, who told them?

Although the issue of Plame's CIA status has been left out of this trial, it is an issue we should not ignore.

In my previous diary I quoted from the testimony of the Vice Presidents CIA briefer (who told him that Plame was associated with the agency) in June 2003.

   "I thought there was a very grave danger to leaking the name of a CIA officer," the briefer from Langley, Craig Schmall, said he told Messrs. Cheney and Libby during a morning session at the vice president's residence. "Foreign intelligence services where she served now have the opportunity to investigate everyone whom she had come in contact with. They could be arrested, tortured, or killed."

Update Please note that this information was given directly to Cheney and Libby   which means they were told that Valerie's position was sensitive and secret (and should have been told this from the start or else someone else in the chain screwed the pooch - arguably the information may have been planted in the INR memo (pdf) without mentioning Plame's status to "sanitize" it - but the INR info itself was Still Classified).

My point yesterday was that this proves that revelation of Plame's identity by Robert Novak and his subsequent revelation that Plame's cover job working for Brewter-Jennings was a CIA Front Agency (which was intent on preventing Iran from going Nuclear) - were both immensely damaging to our intelligence efforts and did aid and comfort our enemies.

Anyone remember that crazy trapeze scene from the first Mission Impossible movie - where Tom Cruise steals the "NOC List"?  That list is real, it hold the names and identities of each of the CIA Deep (Non-Official) Cover agents.  Well Valerie Plame-Wilson was a NOC.

One skeptical commenter yesterday responded with...

No it doesn't. Treason is a specific crime (1+ / 0-)

in the United States that consists solely of providing aid and comfort to the enemy. Outing a CIA agent is not providing aid and comfort to the enemy because we were not officially at war with anybody when it was done. And unfortunately, if it was done by the Vice President, the executive branch has enormous leeway in declassifying information, so they probably get a pass.

Yes, we were at War, the Iraq War Resolution had been passed and signed the previous October.  Bush claims to be a 'War President" doesn't he?

Yes, the Vice President does have the ability to declassify information due to an executive order from March 25th, which was just a few weeks after Joe Wilson's second interview on CNN where he criticized the Administration Iraq-Nuclear claims.

However, the Vice President did not unilaterally declassify Plame's status.  Declassification is a very specific procedure, which requires the affecting agencies to be notified and all relevant documents to be updated and remarked.

I should know, I worked in a classified environment for a dozen years at Northrop-Grumman where the B2 Bomber was secretly developed and built during the 80's.  At the time I had a Top Secret SAR (Special Access Required) Clearance which is equivelent to that required by those currently working on the "Terrorist Surveillance Program".  SAR is used to compartmentalize information - simple having a TS clearance itself isn't enough, you have to be cleared for that specfic program.

From the above mentioned Executive Order.

(b) It is presumed that information that continues to meet the classification requirements under this order requires continued protection. In some exceptional cases, however, the need to protect such information may be outweighed by the public interest in disclosure of the information, and in these cases the information should be declassified. When such questions arise, they shall be referred to the agency head or the senior agency official. That official will determine, as an exercise of discretion, whether the public interest in disclosure outweighs the damage to the national security that might reasonably be expected from disclosure.

All Secret Material must be marked with a caveat denoting the level of clearance required, and project id, either at the top or sides of the document.  This would be true of any documents mentioning Plame's Status with CIA, and if that information were to be declassifed - all those documents would have to be changed.

That didn't happen with Valerie Wilson's status prior to Novak's column - despite Bush's cryptic claims otherwise.

Just like Rove, Libby and Cheney in 1982 I signed a Classified Information Non-Disclosure Agreement.

Which states that an person who has been trusted with classified information not confirm or deny the validity of that information even with members of the press.

   Question 19: If information that a signer of the SF 312 knows to have been classified appears in a public source, for example, in a newspaper article, may the signer assume that the information has been declassified and disseminate it elsewhere?

   Answer: No. Information remains classified until it has been officially declassified. Its disclosure in a public source does not declassify the information. Of course, merely quoting the public source in the abstract is not a second unauthorized disclosure. However, before disseminating the information elsewhere or confirming the accuracy of what appears in the public source, the signer of the SF 312 must confirm through an authorized official that the information has, in fact, been declassified. If it has not, further dissemination of the information or confirmation of its accuracy is also an unauthorized disclosure.

Under this agreement and the law, classified information can not be shared with anyone who does not have the appropriate clearance to receive the infomation.

Sometime around June 2003, Cheney's CIA briefer told him that Plame worked for the agency - it would have also been incumbent upon the briefer to let Cheney know the classification level of this information. (That info should have been SAR level at least IMO, but since I've never worked directly with CIA data I could be mistaken on this detail)

Either way Cheney couldn't possibly share it with anyone else  without a clearance or declassifying it before hand.  Libby had a clearance, Rove had a clearance - but Robert Novak and Judith Miller did not.

Let's get back to the point, anyone sharing classified information with the specific intent of doing harm to this nation and/or aiding our enemies - is guilty of Treason

18 USC § 2381.

Whoever, owing allegiance to the United States, levies war against them or adheres to their enemies, giving them aid and comfort within the United States or elsewhere, is guilty of treason and shall suffer death, or shall be imprisoned not less than five years and fined under this title but not less than $10,000; and shall be incapable of holding any office under the United States.

It can not be doubted that revealing the identity of a NOC and her front agency working an Nuclear Proliferation does give aid and comfort to our enemies particularly Iran and North Korea - who both happen to now have very strong Nuclear programs, something that some members of the Bush Administration have been secretly rooting for.

This astonishing revelation was buried in the middle of a Washington Post story published yesterday. Glenn Kessler reports from Moscow as he accompanies Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice:
   

Before North Korea announced it had detonated a nuclear device, some senior officials even said they were quietly rooting for a test, believing that would finally clarify the debate within the administration.

Until now, no U.S. official in any administration has ever advocated the testing of nuclear weapons by another country, even by allies such as the United Kingdom and France.

This is clear indication of intent - this is motive for the crime.

Hiding the fact that this information has been illegally shared as Sen Roberts did is Misprision of Treason...

18 USC § 2382

Whoever, owing allegiance to the United States and having knowledge of the commission of any treason against them, conceals and does not, as soon as may be, disclose and make known the same to the President or to some judge of the United States, or to the governor or to some judge or justice of a particular State, is guilty of misprision of treason and shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than seven years, or both.

In 1953 Julius and Ethel Rosenberg were executed for Espionage after they revealed Nuclear Secrets to Russia.

If you want an example of taking this view too far, last June Rep Peter King has argued that the New York Times Staff should be tried under the Espionage Act for revealing information about the secret tracking of Banking Transactions.  Never mind the fact that this information had already been released by the government itself, and the fact that the Espionage Act would apply to the government employees who revealed the information - not the Times who was cleared to receive it in the first place.

In the 80's one co-worker of mine at Northrop named Thomas Cavanaugh (although I didn't know him) was sentenced to two life sentences for attempting to smuggle classified information to Russian agents in order to help pay off his enourmous credit card debt.

How can we hold Government Agents such as Rove, Libby and Cheney to a lower standard than we held the Rosenbergs or Cavanagh?

Clearly what they have done - is Treason.

It's well past time we started calling this situation exactly what it is - if only to start opening moving the Overton Window a crack.

Vyan

Originally posted to Vyan on Sat Jan 27, 2007 at 12:16 PM PST.

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