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In an alternate universe

In an alternate universe, Al Gore is now in his second term as president. Also in this alternate universe, my wife works for the CIA. She, like many others, is skeptical about the president's current foreign policy regarding Derkaderkastan.

So she arranges for me to go on a "fact finding" junket, to investigate some of the administration's claims that she finds particularly dubious. I return, file an inconclusive report, and then write a scathing Op-Ed piece for the New York Times in which I blast the Gore administration with a bunch of misleading half-truths and outright fabrications, beginning by making the clear implication that I had been dispatched on my mission by Vice President Lieberman's office.

The administration begins to feel the political heat as my Op-Ed piece fills the entire news cycle for several weeks, but is rightly puzzled as to how this dumb-ass blogger got the assignment in the first place.

Well just a little digging was all that was required to discover the truth. When reporters ask the obvious questions, some White House officials tell them the simple truth, on "double super secret background": my wife sent me, even though I angrily deny it.

When busted, however, I display no remorse or contrition, but rather fly into a rage, accusing the White House of "treason!" and express my desire to see leading administration figures "frog marched" across the front lawn.

Now, here's the question: Assuming this alternate universe is a "sane" one, in which the normal laws of cause and effect and human nature still work as we understand them, which outcome would you think the most likely?

A) My wife and I are in jail, or, at the very least, fired and utterly discredited, or

B) We're posing for our photo shoots in Vanity Fair, while a special prosecutor spends two years investigating whether the White House did anything wrong.

Just wonderin'....


I think you forgot a choice....

C) Some White House officials who broke the law by revealing your wife's identity and then broke it again by perjuring themselves are charged in a criminal prosecution.

BTW why do you assume that everyone offended at the outing of a CIA agent is so rabidly partisan?


So I assume you're outraged about this:


Unlike Plame, these are actual covert agents exposed.

So who should go to jail for this?

Let's hear the outrage. I'm waiting...

Scooter Libby wasn't charged under the statute that protects "covert agents." He was charged with perjury, much like Martha Stewart was for "lying about something that didn't reach the level of a criminal offense."

Plame's identity was "classified," EVERYONE'S identity with a security clearance has their identity "classified." That statute ONLY protects the identities of COVERT agents, of which Valerie Plame was NOT, at least not for nearly a decade prior to her identity being exposed.

If she'd been a covert agent, then Libby would've been charged with a felony (other than perjury) under the statute that protects those identities.


So I assume you're outraged about this:


Unlike Plame, these are actual covert agents exposed.

So who should go to jail for this?

Let's hear the outrage. I'm waiting...
Posted by at October 29, 2005 11:00 AM

Hmmm to whom am I speaking to? Whoever you are I'd ask you two things:

1. Why do you assume I am not outraged?
2. Why are you defending the outing of one covert CIA agent with a story of another? Because that is what you are doing. You don't address anything substantive about the Plame case, instead you point and say look over there.

Beyond that what was the purpose of that article? It seems some of the specific information in there regarding names points to false identities, social security number not matching birth year for example. Also how did the author of the article get so much information about Air America and it's successor Aero? It's staff? Is any of it public knowledge? I know there was a movie with Mel Gibson called Air America about that very subject? Can you provide me with some more background as to whether actual agents were outed? Whether Aero is in fact secret? How about providing me with the sources used by Scott Shane, Stephen Grey and Margot Williams?

If they in fact named actual agents whose identities were in fact classified I'll be outraged, but this article doesn't tell me if that is the case. Please do me the kindness of providing me something more than a link to a PDF file though. I'll see what I can find on my own - but you seem to have the scoop here my nebulous friend.

You shouldn't assume BTW.

JMK - I am aware of what the statute says.
Regarding whether Valerie Plame was covert or not we have your assertion that she was not and we have the CIA's assertion that she was.

Now considering that you are a NYC fireman and sometime author, while the CIA is..well the CIA the one's who actually determine what is and is not classified I tend to believe them. Sorry pal.

If you doubt that the CIA believes Plame was covert then explain to me why they called for an investigation by the justice department? You do not do that unless you believe a crime was committed. Since the investigation is to determine the source of the leak of the identity of a covert agent (Valerie Plame) and to determine if said leak was in violation of any statutes it seems abundantly clear to anyone who can reason that the CIA does in fact consider Valerie Plame covert, classified or whatever else you wish to call it.

All that is unclear is whether or not a statute was violated. That is still not decided because Fitzgerald has not closed the door on further inditements. I'd agree that it seems unlikely that they can win a case based upon the existing statutes because they don't appear to have violated the letter of the law, just the spirit.

We can debate all day over whether Plame is covert or not - but at the end of the day the CIA will always have brought the case to the justice department which means that they will always have considered her to be covert at the time of the leak which will make you always wrong on that point.

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