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Plame leak "frog march" watch

Nikita Demosthenes also wants to see someone frog-marched over the Plame case... but it's not Karl Rove.

Valerie Plame should be frog-marched out of Langley as of yesterday - together with every other person in the approval chain that sent Joe Wilson as the U.S. investigator in Niger for Iraqi uranium purchases.
The reporting I've seen indicates that Joes Wilson's wife is not a foreign spy - she's a desk jockey at Langley (with a cushy place in Georgetown) who's responsible for ... wait for it ... tracking down WMD for our country! Why on earth did someone with that very important responsbility pre-judge the Niger-Iraq-yellowcake story as "this crazy story"? I mean, its only our national security and stuff - no biggie.

How many other WMD leads has Ms. Plame given short shrift? Do you know about any more "crazy" WMD leads, Val? Maybe you should go look at those files again. Does her high security clearance prevent her from getting fired for not giving a whit about national security risks for which she's the responsbile agent?

It gets worse. Not only did Ms. Plame dismiss one of the key pieces of intelligence regarding Iraq potentially creating the Arab bomb - she successfuly recommended her gadfly husband to be the sole investigator to go check out the lead! How many millions of dollars go to the CIA for intelligence gathering each year? And yet the only person we have to send to Niger to see if Saddam is building a nuke is ... the house husband of an agent at Langley?

What's next? Will Valerie Plame send the family golden retriever to look for missle silos in North Korea?

Heh, "golden retriever." Good one.


I suppose even if all of that was entirely accurate and that Plame was an abysmal failure as an agent for our country, it somehow absolves Karl Rove of any wrongdoing.

By the way Wilson was not a house husband he was a US diplomat and ambassador. He was sent because he knew the players involved in Niger and his connections were deemed important. he also has many accomplishments to his own right. Now you may deem his account uncredible, but it's not accurate to paint him as a house husband. It twists the facts way out of focus.

I realize these aren't your words - but you are posting them aren't you?

All of this controversy and not even a mention from you that at the very least Karl Rove is pulling a Bill Clinton when he says he never named Valerie Plame by name I just named her as Joseph Wilson's husband...it's what is is all over again. But it's apparently ok to overlook these little things when one is happy with the status quo.

I realize that the facts are not all there yet - but what we know so far stinks to high heaven.

> By the way Wilson was not a house husband he was a US diplomat and ambassador.

Former U.S. diplomat and ambassador.

That's right former - I suppose that by that definition Bill Clinton is now a househusband.

So is Bob Dole.

Should I go on?

the point is that it was a deliberate mischarcterization - not by you - but by the original author. You know better than that. It's one thing to dispute someone's position, it's another to mischaracterize their credentials.

You are better than that.

Yeah, Barry, you're better than that. Wilson should have been properly characterized as an unemployed house husband. ;-)

Way to contribute something substantive to the conversation!

Bravo CRB.

I suppose Newt Gingrich is unemployed as well- since he's no longer an active politician and just an author.

But then again I said Barry was better - I never said you were.


Joe "tea sippin'" Wilson was a FORMER diplomat ambassador.

In other words - he was a house husband.


Well that's an excellent defense of your post Nikita - lol - I will give you credit for possessing the balls to address my concerns, even if the response doesn't really explain anything you said whatsoever.

But you get credit for responding. Now why don't you try something a bit more intelligent?

What seems to be overlooked in this is the fact that there may well have been no crime committed in her outing based upon the law. It seems that she had been stateside working out of Langley for fully six years. Given that, she would not fall under the purview of the law - which was written because Dems like Phillip Agee had been outing covert agents and causing enormous damage.

This little tidbit seems to have escaped the attention of both Democrats like Harry Reid who
misconstrued President Bush's words on this as well as the MSM which has decided a crime was committed when, in fact, there is no evidence that such is the case yet.

BTW, does anyone doubt that the Times would have allowed Miller to accept the waiver offered by her source had the source been Rove/

I sure don't?

I haven't discussed whether it violates the law, but I have elsewhere. You are correct Mal in that this may not go the distance if it does go to court. But it's certainly unethical.

I still don't know what to make with regard to Miller. Cooper was prepared to go to jail to protect Rove even with the waiver signed months ago. Only when Time released his e-mail and he received a reaffirmation from Rove did he decide to release his source.

So it might actually just be a question of journalistic ethics and Miller may be standing on principle. She may not be protecting Rove, but instead she might be protecting the right of a reporter to keep a source confidential.

That seems to make sense to me, but who knows?

Zilla, read this and ask yourself if this is unethical:

"Cooper wrote that Rove offered him a 'big warning' not to 'get too far out on Wilson.' Rove told Cooper that Wilson's trip had not been authorized by . . . CIA Director George Tenet . . . or Vice President Dick Cheney. Rather, 'it was, [Rove] said, Wilson's wife, who apparently works at the agency on WMD [weapons of mass destruction] issues who authorized the trip.' "

I take this as Rove trying to advise a reporter not to work on a false assumption, which would discredit any piece he might write.

What's your honest take?

I've already read that.
My honest take is that it is possible that Rove was trying to advise Cooper as you suggest, however he could have done it just as easily without naming his wife as a CIA operative.

The fact is that he is privy to classified information by virtue of his position and he has an obligation to keep those secrets.

Let me ask you this if it's so innocent and slips like this are so commonplace then why aren't classified pieces of information constantly being released?

My honest take Mal is that the White House couldn't refute the fact that intelligence agencies had asked them not to include the yellowcake story in the SOU address. So when Joseph Wilson added his fuel to the fire they saw him as a weak point they could attack and thereby discredit the whole Niger issue by association, because most people don't care about the details after all, unless the details involve sex.

So they began the campaign to discredit Wilson's story. I believe it's all too calculated for the release of Plame's identity not to have been intentional, but you are right in that there is the possibility that it was not. But you should remember that Karl Rove is not stupid, he knows exactly how to play the media. I just do not buy that he was so careless. I mean this is the same guy who bugged his own office to create a certain media perception.
I think the plan all along was to orchestrate a situation with plausible deniability.

Now I'm not some kind of radical. I don't believe that Rove or anyone else believed they were hurting national security by outing Plame. I don't believe they are evil, but it certainly was not ethical and it has at the very least borderline legality.

I agree that Rove (and others) were trying to discredit Wilson. Can't say that I blame them given that the egomaniac (and he definitely is that, Zilla, as you can't deny) was thoroughly enjoying a full 1/2 hour of fame thanks to the MSM's idolatry and their contempt for Bush.

But when you look at the notes of Cooper, you can see several things:

a) He was trying to prevent Cooper from attributing Wilson's selection as having come from high up, i.e. Tenet/Cheney

b) Wilson's report was discounted heavily even then by the administration and the CIA

c) He never mentioned Plame by name and wasn't even sure what she did at The Outfit

The woman who helped write the law about outing agents, Victoria Toesning, has said on several occasions that what Rove did doesn't even come close to qualifying for consideration under the rules

Joe Wilson was pretty much discredited by the 9/11 committee reports which caught him in one outright lie ('Valerie didn't have anything to do with my getting the assignment' when, in fact, they cited her memo) plus his recall of what he said in his report was nowhere as clear as what he actually said.

Add that he was proven wrong subsequently on his story as well about the yellowcake by both the committee and an investigation in GB and....

As to the SOTU, Bush carefully chose his words as you will recall. He never claimed that the CIA cited it but started with "The British Government has learned...".

Was it a slap at Tenet? Yeah, I'll cede that point.

I kind of have a problem that Rove, being as smart as he reportedly is, was "not sure" what Plame did or did not do for the CIA. And that he spoke of Joe Wilson's wife without first checking what she did? Somehow that seems less sloppy than vindictive and a sort of CYA maneuver, which fine, but regardless of anyone's personal feelings re: the Wilsons? Just wrong. I'm not saying that she is in any real danger, or, if she was ever an operative, even that her contacts are. The point is that no one could have known two years ago that that would be the case, and that seems incredibly reckless.

Can I just add something? If you work at CIA HQ in Langley, it's pretty tough to argue you're a "covert agent."

K, the problem with that is that Cooper contacted Rove to ask him a question on the economy. At the end of the two minute conversation, he switched subjects to the WMD.

I don't think Rove is smart enough to have such a response ready when the subject wasn't even supposed to be discussed.

I guess I have a little more faith in Rove's intelligence.

Incidentally, is Larry Johnson (CIA) just completely discounted as a partisan hack? I don't really know anything about him except for his response to the whole thing. And if so, does that mean people believe he is outright lying when he says that Plame was, at least at one point, a covert operative?

K, I don't think anyone is denying that Plame had worked undercover in the past. But it's a bit farfetched to claim that you're still NOC when you're commuting back and forth to the Langley HQ every day. Larry Johnson fudges this point, probably deliberately. If Plame was under cover at the time of the leak, it was the worst cover in the history of spydom it would seem. She'd have been better off with a pair of Groucho glasses and the pseudonym "Mata Hari."

Mal - I agree that Bush did choose his words very carefully in the SOTU speech by citing British intelligence. However it's also true that the CIA asked that he remove it from the speech because they believed the story was false. That has nothing to do with Wilson.

It's also true regarding Plame that Rove carefully worded all of his responses to say things such as "I never gave her name" when now we know he did give up her identity, if not her name (just id'd her as Joe Wison's wife).

My biggest problem is that in these two cases (and many others that I won't go into) I sense a pattern from the White House. Always telling us something that is technically true, but misleading. Because when Rove is asked if he outed Plame noone cares if he did it by saying her name, saying her husbands name, or pointing her out in a crowd. The question was meant to find out if he had conveyed her id. It's a deliberate deception.

Same with the SOTU speech. If anyone had known that the CIA disagreed with the brits it wouldn't have the same effect. Once again intentionally omitting key pieces of information.

Now I'm not naive enough to believe these guys are the first to be deceptive, but I do think they've taken it to a whole new level. And they don't have any problem admitting it to your face.

If someone looked me in the eye and said to me that they didn't name Valerie Plame, they just named her as Joe Wilson's wife, I'd have to imagine they either thought I was stupid or they were fucking with me.
Or that they didn't care what I thought because I couldn't do a damn thing about it.

I doubt Rove will be convicted of anything. I think the law in question has too many loopholes to squeak through. But the problem is that Bush has been very vocal about how he didn't know who did this. He said he wanted to get to the bottom of it, and if the person broke a law they'd be punished. That last line is telling. I think he knew all along - hence that escape clause at the end.
But maybe he didn't know. Either way the point is that when Bush made those statements it was my understanding that whoever leaked the information would be dealt with, not legally, but certainly they would be asked to resign. I really doubt that will happen here, but it still bothers me all the same.

Zilla, where to begin?

Let's start from the back-end.

Despite what Dems have claimed Bush said, I have actually heard it on numerous occasions and am struck at how either obtuse or liberal the Dems have been in interpreting the words. He said that if anybody in his adminstration was found to have violated the law, he would fire them.

By your own admission, he hasn't.

What you call loopholes are what others would call a high threshhold, Zilla. Remember, this law was enacted after James Agee, a liberal Democrat, went around the world outing CIA operatives and their contacts in divers countries which resulted in a devasting personal and intelligence loss.

That was why the law is as it is. Not for some 'gotcha' politics by disgruntled pols and the MSM.

Again, Zilla, I urge you to revisit Cooper's notes and recall:

a) HE contacted Rove, not the other way around under the pretense of discussing welfare reform

b) Cooper, not Rove, changed the conversation to Wilson. I think that Rove, knowing Tenet was preparing a rebuttal to Wilson's claim as having been approved by both Tenet and Cheney, was cautioning Cooper not to buy into Wilson's bombast - a warning which Cooper should have heeded in retrospect.

The problem you guys have with Rove is that you consider him to be both omnipotent and Rasputin-like. Zilla, as Cooper pointed out, the guy was leaving for vacation and devoted all of two minutes to this topic - hardly a case for a prepared assault on Wilson and Plame. Again, it was COOPER who brought up the subject, not Rove.

As to your plaint about the WH and its style, can you tell me it's different from any other WH approach, Dem or GOP?

After 8 years of Clintonian begging of the question, equivocation and evasion which drove us nuts, I can only say:

Welcome to our world.

"What you call loopholes are what others would call a high threshhold" - Mal

Thanks Mal, I didn't really like loophole there and I was thinking more along the lines of what you said. But it was a long frustrating day at work (you're an accountant so I know you can relate) and I was to fried to correct myself. And this lousy blog doesn't have an edit feature!!

j/k :) I love the Cynical Nation. It's my favorite tribe.

You're right in what you point out, about the WH and it's previous tenants. I don't disagree that this type of deception and doublespeak is nothing new. I said as much. I just think that in certain aspects it's gotten even worse. Of course that's somewhat subjective I'll admit.

The bottom line for me is I have a thorough distrust of most politicians. I do however believe some are worse than others. Even in the last election I was under no illusions that either candidate was a winner. It's always a game of the lesser evil with me.

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