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More Plamegate goodies from the WSJ

Honestly, if the CIA didn't make any more of an effort than this to protect Plame's "cover," isn't their manufactured outrage more than a bit disingenuous? (emphasis mine)

First: The CIA sent her husband, former Ambassador Joseph Wilson, to Niger on a sensitive mission regarding WMD. He was to determine whether Iraq had attempted to purchase yellowcake, an essential ingredient for nonconventional weapons. However, it was Ms. Plame, not Mr. Wilson, who was the WMD expert. Moreover, Mr. Wilson had no intelligence background, was never a senior person in Niger when he was in the State Department, and was opposed to the administration's Iraq policy. The assignment was given, according to the Senate Intelligence Committee, at Ms. Plame's suggestion.

Second: Mr. Wilson was not required to sign a confidentiality agreement, a mandatory act for the rest of us who either carry out any similar CIA assignment or who represent CIA clients.

Third: When he returned from Niger, Mr. Wilson was not required to write a report, but rather merely to provide an oral briefing. That information was not sent to the White House. If this mission to Niger were so important, wouldn't a competent intelligence agency want a thoughtful written assessment from the "missionary," if for no other reason than to establish a record to refute any subsequent misrepresentation of that assessment? Because it was the vice president who initially inquired about Niger and the yellowcake (although he had nothing to do with Mr. Wilson being sent), it is curious that neither his office nor the president's were privy to the fruits of Mr. Wilson's oral report.

Fourth: Although Mr. Wilson did not have to write even one word for the agency that sent him on the mission at taxpayer's expense, over a year later he was permitted to tell all about this sensitive assignment in the New York Times. For the rest of us, writing about such an assignment would mean we'd have to bring our proposed op-ed before the CIA's Prepublication Review Board and spend countless hours arguing over every word to be published. Congressional oversight committees should want to know who at the CIA permitted the publication of the article, which, it has been reported, did not jibe with the thrust of Mr. Wilson's oral briefing. For starters, if the piece had been properly vetted at the CIA, someone should have known that the agency never briefed the vice president on the trip, as claimed by Mr. Wilson in his op-ed.

Fifth: More important than the inaccuracies is the fact that, if the CIA truly, truly, truly had wanted Ms. Plame's identity to be secret, it never would have permitted her spouse to write the op-ed. Did no one at Langley think that her identity could be compromised if her spouse wrote a piece discussing a foreign mission about a volatile political issue that focused on her expertise? The obvious question a sophisticated journalist such as Mr. Novak asked after "Why did the CIA send Wilson?" was "Who is Wilson?" After being told by a still-unnamed administration source that Mr. Wilson's "wife" suggested him for the assignment, Mr. Novak went to Who's Who, which reveals "Valerie Plame" as Mr. Wilson's spouse.

Sixth: CIA incompetence did not end there. When Mr. Novak called the agency to verify Ms. Plame's employment, it not only did so, but failed to go beyond the perfunctory request not to publish. Every experienced Washington journalist knows that when the CIA really does not want something public, there are serious requests from the top, usually the director. Only the press office talked to Mr. Novak.

Seventh: Although high-ranking Justice Department officials are prohibited from political activity, the CIA had no problem permitting its deep cover or classified employee from making political contributions under the name "Wilson, Valerie E.," information publicly available at the FEC.


Since I have afflicted this diatribe on everyone else in the known universe, it is now your turn:

Legend has it that long ago -- 1994 to be exact -- the CIA created a front company called Brewster-Jennings & Associates to serve as cover for investigating and preventing the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction.

This company, it is said, was part of the most secret and most critical operation that the CIA has conducted since the end of the Cold War. Those "operatives" and "NOCs" who risked their lives in this brave endeavor survived only because of the ultra secrecy surrounding their true identities and true mission.

There's just one little thing...Brewster-Jennings & Associates didn't exist until 1999 when it first shows up in the Federal Election Commission database as the employer of one Valerie Wilson who, it was duly noted, contributed $1000 to the presidential primary campaign of one Albert Arnold Gore. So it's kinda hard to see how this non-existant entity provided life-or-death cover for anyone, let alone an entire network of clandestine CIA operatives.

For the past several months I have been immersing myself in the myth and legend of Brewster-Jennings & Associates, cover for the now celebrated, former clandestine CIA "operative" Valerie Plame-Wilson. And what I've found is that little of what is breathlessly reported in bloviating blogs (present company excepted) and radical radio is supported by fact. Allow me to shed some light on the subject. If you disagree with any of my assertions, by all means refute me, but please do yourself a favor and offer evidence to the contrary. Don't just repeat the left-wing rant that "there wouldn't be an investigation if there were nothing to it." Bill and Hill were investigated for four years; and what came of that?

So what did I find?

1) Did the CIA create Brewster-Jennings & Associates in 1994? This misconception appears to be based on a comment in the October 10, 2003 Boston.com (Boston Globe) article in which authors Kerber and Bender cite a spokeswomen for Dun & Bradstreet that the company was first listed with D&B on May 22, 1994. This, however, does not appear to be correct. D&B has two records for B-J&A (I purchased the report for DUNS #84-525-3764). D&B confirmed company information by calling the phone number 617 951-2529 on June 1, 2000, apparently in response for a request to be listed. The second record dated October 13, 2003 reports: "On October 13, 2003 outside sources were unable to confirm operations for XXX at XXX. The previous phone number for the company was disconnected. Directory assistance (XXX) did not have a listing for the business." (XXX's in original document)

2) Did the CIA make requisite public filings expected of any business operating in any state in the U.S.? There is no municipal, state or federal record that a business by the name of Brewster-Jennings & Associates ever existed, ever filed corporation or partnership papers, ever filed for a federal Employment ID Number, ever filed a 941 (Employers Quarterly Federal Tax Return), ever reported W2, W4 or 1099 compensation and never filed SS, withholding or FUTA taxes. If B-J&A was listed as Valerie Plame-Wilson's employer on her W2, there is no supporting evidence to that effect.

3) Did Brewster-Jennings & Associates maintain the semblance of a real, on-going business? The building managers (including management prior to 2003) at 101 Arch Street say they never heard of Brewster-Jennings & Associates and there is no evidence indicating that B-J&A ever had one square foot of floor space there or even a listing on the buildings directory. B-J&A did not list a P.O. Box as their mailing address on their D&B listing. Brewster-Jennings & Associates has never appeared on the USPS database of verified U.S. addresses.

4) As noted above, Brewster-Jennings & Associates appears in the public record for the first time on April 22, 1999 when Valerie (Plame) Wilson reported it as her employer on her FEC decleration. Let me make the implications of this very, very clear: There was no business entity to investigate, there was no location to visit, there was no address to verify, there was no phone number to call -- there was no public record of Brewster-Jennings & Associates before that date. If Valerie Plame-Wilson was using B-J&A as a cover, it was a completely invisible cover. A "front" company must have, at least, a virtual presence to serve as a cover. Brewster-Jennings & Associates didn't exist at all until Valerie Plame-Wilson needed it to cover a political contribution she made to the Gore campaign.

5) The next appearance of Brewster-Jennings & Associates in the public record was on June 1, 2000 when Dun & Bradstreet records a call to a provided phone number to confirm a request for a DUNS number and D&B listing. The information that D&B confirmed was: business address and contact phone number (101 Arch St., Boston MA, 01220, 617 951-2529); the starting date of the business (given as May 22, 1994); the form of business entity (given as a limited partnership); top executive (given as Victor Brewster, Partner); line of business (given as Legal Services, SIC 8111); number of non-principal employees (given as 1) and dollar amount of business in the previous year (given as $60,000). ANYONE can obtain a DUNS number and a D&B listing FREE OF CHARGE by simply filling out a form (now available on line).

6) I think most of you know the rest of the story by now, but there is one piece of minutia you may not have known. Brewster-Jennings & Associates has had a website in the past: October 2003 to October 2004, and again for about a month in 2005 until I blew its cover in July. The first one was plainly an anti-Bush prank site, listing the CIA as B-J&A's parent company. The newer one simulated a genuine site in an apparent attempt to add substance to the claim that B-J&A was a "genuine" fake company. According to the Whois registry database, two domains, brewsterjennings.com and brewster-jennings.com were registered by Craig Miller of Montreal Canada on July 16, 2005. After I revealed the registratant and registration date to several media outlets, the site quietly disappeard, but has returned again as a "game" site.

7) Final note on "NOCs" and "operatives." Shortly after the publication of Robert Novak's article in July 2003, I contacted the CIA's public information office for official comment and background information. At that time the public information officer told me that the agency has not used the term "NOC" in decades and, never uses the term operative.

Recently I updated my research on this mundane subject and found some additional information from declassified documents available on the CIA website. The most recent reference to NOC (Non-Official Cover) dated back to 1965 in a paper discussing why NOC wasn't worth pursuing. The gist of the document was that it just didn't work. Target entities didn't care if the CIA denied knowledge of the operation and captured agents had some value as trades.

Any claim that Valerie Plame-Wilson was a NOC is a near certain indication that the person making the claim is a liar or hasn't worked for the CIA for more than 40 years. Robert Novak's use of the term operative must be taken as exactly what he says it is: just another one of the 400 and some odd (Lexus-Nexus search) usages of that term when he didn't know the correct title of the person to whom he was referring. The CIA simply doesn't use the term "operative."


All very interesting - I don't have facts to refute any of it, so it might very well be true.

However there is one aspect of this entire thing that no amount of speculation or research has yet answered to my satisfaction.

Why did the CIA call for this investigation in the first place if in fact they did not believe that a crime was committed?

I'm not going to pretend to know how the CIA operates internally, what type of terminology they use for an agent, operative, NOC, or whatever, I'm not privy to that information.

Nor am I privy to what means they go through to establish a front company, or upon what basis they decide to assign someone for a mission such as Wilson's. While on the face of it it may sound unusual for Wilson not to have signed a non-disclosure agreement I haven't seen any evidence that it was in fact unusual. I haven't seen anyone cite any stats showing that out of x number of known cases where the CIA sent an outside contractor on an investigation they were made to sign a disclosure agreement y times. It's probably a difficult metric to come up with since much of what the CIA does isn't common knowledge.

All of these theories, and all of this research while fascinating in and of itself does nothing to explain why the CIA in effect pressed charges. The only explanation I've heard put forth is that it's all a covert CIA mission to bring down the presidency. Pardon me if I find that a bit to much of a conspiracy theory to take seriously. However if someone really does consider that a real possibility then I'd why they don't entertain opposing conspiracy theories of equal improbability?

We can sit here all day and theorize on the status of Valerie Plame - but can anyone here give me a solid explanation of why the CIA called for an investigation? Not just some theory, but something with a basis in fact.

Gee, once again, notice how many hundreds of words it takes an Apologist to explain away the simple and obvious truth -- Valerie Plame was outed, and it was done by the White House, and it was done for revenge against her husband and to intimidate any further "leaks" of the truth.

To listen to you morons, Fitzgerald must be truly retarded -- he didn't realize that Valerie Plame worked openly for the CIA and everyone already knew where she was employed ... um, except for her very own neighbors and friends.

Try using some common sense next time instead of spinning a web of intrigue.

It's pretty straight forward. Just because we happen to disagree doesn't mean we're morons. Stop being so hateful.

The Bailey has to be hateful, it's the Bailey's calling.

Google is your friend.

Godzilla -- I have to concede that the likelyhood of the CIA engaging in a plot to overthrow a legally elected head of state is as preposterous as...well...something, I guess. I think you may have missed the point of my post.

First, I never said Valerie Plame's identity wasn't classified -- I assume it was. Second, I never said no crime was committed -- leaking classified information very often (but not necessarily) is a crime. I assume that someone thought the situation was worth investigating.

My problem is with Brewster-Jennings & Associates. It is too glib by far to say that we don't know enough about CIA protocols for establishing a "front company." Even a meagerly funded pajamahadeen investigation (such as my own)quickly revealed that Brewster-Jennings & Associates was, in fact, NEVER ESTABLISHED. There could not have been a CIA front company called Brewster-Jennings & Associates, because no company called Brewster-Jennings & Associates existed. I would simply like to know how Brewster-Jennings & Associates actually fits into the story since it was obviously not a CIA front company.

As far as agency terminology is concerned: I used nothing that was not in the public domain. No need to be privy to any internal CIA information.

Brewster-Jennings & Associates was created to hide in Bill Clinton's closet and sniff his cigars so that his all-important sex life could be exposed for all the world to see. That's what CIA stands for, Clinton's Intercoursal Activities.

Bailey, you might be right about that -- I mean it's pretty clear that B-J&A wasn't created as a front company for clandestine agents.

But this could all be cleared up on Monday with a simple statement from the CIA confirming that Brewster-Jennings & Associates was, in fact, a creature of the agency. I'm not asking for details of how the agency conducts clandestine operations or even how B-J&A fit into those operations.

I just want the CIA to end its silence on the matter and tell us definitively whether they created B-J&A or not. Whether it was a CIA front company or not, it certainly can't be considered a secret anymore.

Google ois your frined. The Boston GLobe looked into this:


"...A spokeswoman for Dun & Bradstreet Inc., a New Jersey operator of commercial databases, said Brewster Jennings was first entered into its records on May 22, 1994, but wouldn't discuss the source of the filing. Its records list the company at 101 Arch St. as a "legal services office," which could mean a law firm, with annual sales of $60,000, one employee, and a chief executive identified as "Victor Brewster, Partner."

That person isn't listed elsewhere. But the address is certainly known, a tower finished in 1988 at the corner of Summer and Arch streets with 405,511 square feet of office space, then housing the upscale Dakota's restaurant, since succeeded by Vinalia. Many commuters pass through the building as they exit the Downtown Crossing subway station. 101 Arch was sold last year to CB Richard Ellis Investors of Los Angeles for an estimated $90 million.

Dun & Bradstreet records on Brewster Jennings show that on June 1, 2000, "sources contacted verified information" the day before, but a D&B spokeswoman wouldn't discuss what that means.

The D&B records give a phone number for the company, but it wasn't in service yesterday. Verizon wouldn't comment. A spokesman for the US Postal Service wouldn't say whether a post office box was associated with the company.

Vince Cannistraro, the CIA's former counterterrorism chief, said that when operating undercover outside the United States, Plame would have had a real job with a more legitimate company. The Boston company "is not an indicator of what she did overseas," he said...."

1. Just because 1994 was the first time the D&B listed B-J&Co. does not mean anything. D&B listing is optional.

2. Just because it "first showed up in the FEC database in 2000" doesn't mean it wasn't active before then.

3. We DO Know for sure that Valerie PLame was a CIA operative.

4. We DO know for sure that shew was associated with B-J.

5. We DO know for sure that B-J was a CIA front company.

6. We DO know for sure B-J looks to have been set up years ago, even if we cannot agree or can't find out exactly when. It was DEFINITELY before Novak published in mid-July 2003.

Keep spinning, guys. I think next year Cheney's going to retire "for medical reasons" and "to spend more time with his family".

And then as soon as Dems gain control of the House in 2006, we can begin the Bush impeachment. And I am not too sure GW Bush will still be President in October, 2008.

I am. Where does all the hate come from? I mean this in all seriousness. There was never this amount of hatred for Clinton by the republicans. But liberals seem to be absolutely foaming at the mouth whenever Bush is even mentioned. Can someone tell me why?

Anonymous poster -- Sorry you didn't read my original message; I discussed the Boston Globe article at length. I specifically discussed the significance of the 1994 date.

Remind us again how we "know for sure that B-J[&A] was a CIA front company." The CIA has never confirmed that.

Google is your friend. Unless you're a right-winger bent on deceit.

Jim VandeHei and Walter Pincus, as solid a team of reporters as you'll find anywhere, reported that it was confirmed BY BUSH ADMINISTRATION OFFICIALS themselves:


"...The leak of a CIA operative's name has also exposed the identity of a CIA front company, potentially expanding the damage caused by the original disclosure, Bush administration officials said yesterday.

The company's identity, Brewster-Jennings & Associates, became public because it appeared in Federal Election Commission records on a form filled out in 1999 by Valerie Plame, the case officer at the center of the controversy, when she contributed $1,000 to Al Gore's presidential primary campaign.

After the name of the company was broadcast yesterday, administration officials confirmed that it was a CIA front. They said the obscure and possibly defunct firm was listed as Plame's employer on her W-2 tax forms in 1999 when she was working undercover for the CIA...."


Did you want the name of the CIA case officers, the name of the CIA supervisor in charge, the name of the department head, the names of the other CIA field operatives employed by the firm so they can be outed too?

I'm sure you meant to say Walter Pinkus and Mike Allen, not Jim VanderHei, but that's OK, everyone makes mistakes. Pinkus, by the way, was, according to Joseph Wilson (for whatever that's worth), the Washington Post reporter who warned Wilson that "they are coming after you" apparently meaning the White House.

No, I'm not satisfied, and I won't be satisfied until "administration officials" make an on the record statement to that effect. Unnamed sources will not do in this case. Especially since I so easily found information contradicting the supposed acknowledgement. Wouldn't you like to know who in the administration is leaking private tax information about individuals?

Calling the White House to confirm a W-2 doesn't sound like much of cover to me. I would think you would want some public records out there for cover. Why don't you Google up, for us, some of those public records I said don't exist. Then you would have something of an argument against me.

Google is, indeed, a useful friend at times, but I found an even better friend recently: FOIA.

That's PINCUS, not Pinkus, and it WAS Mike Allen, not VandeHei.

But Mike Allen carries even more stature than VandeHei as a reporter in my book. Hah!

They got the story right: B-J & Co. was a CIA front company. I've never heard anyone in the Bush White House or anyone other than you contest this fact.

And maybe the reason YOU couldn't find corroborating evidence as to whether it was an "established company" or not may just have to do with your definiton of "established", or maybe simply the way the CIA had it set up.

If you're looking to impugn or question the assertions of the CIA in this case, or looking to support, in a popular right-wing tactic these days , the case that the CIA looked to undermine or actively sought to attack the Presidency, (I do believe Rove and Sean and Rush and Levin have picked on Victoria Toensing to conduct this offensive offensive) I think you'll have to bring a little more than the suspicious LACK of corroborating information to the table.

You and the rest of the right wing oughta move on, this line of inquiry is just about dead.

For a guy who has spelled "is" with an "o" and "she" with a "w" right here in this very thread, you're mighty intolerant of other people's typos. Pincus with a "c", not Pinkus with a "k." I got it, thanks. As long as I spell Nielsen right, I'm OK.

That's right: I'm pretty much alone in challenging the accuracy of uncorroborated reports identifying Brewster-Jennings & Associates as a CIA front company. Just think: You can say you heard it here first. And, for what it's worth, I'm not trying to impugn the CIA here. I'm frying a smaller fish.

But the issue isn't so much whether or not I can find any corroborating evidence vouching for the B-J&A as an "established company," the issue is that nobody else has presented any evidence that B-J&A was an "established company." Every piece of evidence that has surfaced to date argues that B-J&A was a slapdash construct of someone with absolutely no experience setting up a fake company.

If I'm wrong about this, show me some evidence. There should be plenty of evidence that B-J&A was in some way "established." The whole purpose of a front company is to provide cover for covert operations. If the cover evaporates as soon as it is inspected, what purpose does it serve? A letter sent to B-J&A at 101 Arch Street would have been returned "Address Unknown." A call to directory assistance would have revealed that no phone had ever been listed for B-J&A. A check with the Secretary of State of Massachucetts would have revealed that no address of service had ever been registered.

A call to Dun & Bradstreet would have revealed that Brewster-Jennings & Associates, a legal services firm in business since 1994 had never had more than one non-executive employee and never made more than $60,000 in one year. A call to Dun & Bradstreet before June 1, 2000 would have yielded no information at all, since that was the first confirmation of listing information. Anyone familiar with Dun & Bradstreet knows that they call the telephone number you give them to verify basic information within 30 days of receiving your request for listing.

I think reports of this line of inquiry's demise are greatly exaggerated.

What's the URL of the old Brewster Jennings site? Have you run it through the Internet Archives (Wacky Way Back Machine) for the dates it was in operation before it became a prank site? Lots of stuff is still available via this service.

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