The Story We've All Forgotten…

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…in the wake of the Supreme Court nomination of John Roberts is, of course, the one about Valerie Plame, Joe Wilson, Karl Rove, et al.

The snoozy folks over at Factcheck.org, a site run by the Annenberg Public Policy Center at Univ. of Pennsylvania have put together a timeline of most of the big moments in Plamegate. It's online here.

Few have commented on the real irony of the jailing of NY Times' reporter Judith Miller: She was the Bush administration's greatest press friend when it came to pushing the "weapons of mass destruction" justification for the invasion of Iraq.

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  1. What the hell is wrong with Robert Novak? Is there anyone out there – anyone – who thinks it’s ok for a columnist to tell the world that somebody is a CIA agent involved with WMDs?

  2. June 10, 2004 – Bush is asked by a reporter, “[D]o you stand by your pledge to fire anyone found to have [who leaked the agent’s name]?” Bush replies, “Yes. And that’s up to the U.S. Attorney to find the facts.” ( President Bush Press Conference Following G-8 Summit, Savannah, GA, June 10, 2004).

    Except that President Bush didn’t pledge to “fire anyone found to have [who leaked the agent’s name’?”

    In September 2003, Bush said “”if there is a leak out of my administration, I want to know who it is. And if the person has violated law, the person will be taken care of.”

    As Tom Maguire has pointed out, “In June 2004, a reporter asked if Bush stood by a pledge Bush had not previously made, namely, to fire anyone “involved” with the leak.”

    More on the updating of the past here .

    It might come as a surprise to learn that Karl Rove has already been fired by President Bush for leaking information to Robert Novak.

  3. uhhmmm joe,

    But its okay because she’s just a janitor working at a hand, or no wait DESK job, or something???

  4. How is it that Rove has not been fired. The president fucked up there, big time. Well, unless nothing bad comes of it.

    I was watching a little of some hearing they had about the subject, and a couple of ex-CIA guys were saying that Bush had changed his tune and that the administrations handling of the issue is bad for national security.

    Of course, the lefty Senators/Congressfolk that were running the hearing didn’t really endear themselved to me, but there were some good points brought up.

  5. few have commented about the irony?

    obviously, you haven’t read joe conasan’s vituperation in the new york observer. here’s a sample:

    “Her coverage of Iraq and those still-missing weapons of mass destruction was marked by arrogance, incompetence and eagerness to advance the agenda of the Bush White House.”

    http://newyorkobserver.com/opinions_conason.asp

  6. No, trainwreck, it’s ok because operatives aren’t ever sent back out to re-establish contacts with people they’ve had relationships with years later. And because nobody in foreign intel and military could ever possibly think back a few years and remember something about her front company, or who used to have lunch with the pretty American from the energy company.

    I’d always assumed that Plame was pretty much a desk jockey, or that she was recruited to work the cocktail party circuit because she was married to an ambassador. But it turns out she was the real deal – a covert spook who operated overseas withou even the protection of a diplomatic passport. Went to a spook school in which the students weren’t allowed to know each others’ last names, had a decade of such work behind her before she even met Joe Wilson.

    In short, she was “the troops.”

  7. It’s good to see joe has a new hero to play Sancho Panza to… its been a while since Kerry’s boat sank.

  8. Sorry mitch, I’ll put on my leather jacket, lean against the wall, blow out lung full of smoke with an expression of sneering disdain, and mutter, “It’s all just bullshit, man.”

    You shouldn’t slander decorated veterans who walk around with shrapnel in their ass. You shouldn’t blow the cover of covert CIA operatives.

    In a sane world, these would be very, very easy rules to remember and live by.

  9. From the oh-so-evenhanded openning paragraph:

    “The disclosure of CIA agent Valerie Wilson?s identity has triggered a partisan blame game complete with distortions and misstatements by both sides. Republican National Committee Chairman Ken Mehlman said the agent?s husband Joe Wilson falsely claimed Vice President Cheney authorized his trip to Africa ? a claim Wilson never actually made. Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid said on the floor of the Senate that the leak ?put this agent?s life in jeopardy,? a claim for which no evidence has surfaced.”

    Can anyone think of a reason why evidence detailing the harm done by blowing a CIA operative’s cover might not be laid out on the front page of the New York Times? Anyone?

  10. And nobody knew she was a spook, except all her neighbors, her friends, her then-boyfriend (on the third date), all her neighbor’s friends, boyfriend’s friends, the guy at 7-11, and the journalist who told Rove.

    This is just like the Clinton conspiracies. Without a stained dress, certain people will refuse to buy into ant part of it. Others just KNOW he’s guilty. Drag a hundred bucks through the trailer park and…

  11. A CIA classmate and co-worker of Valerie Plame weighs in on why her cover mattered:

    http://www.tpmcafe.com/story/2005/7/22/23342/2018

  12. This traitor ought to be hung as well. He leaked an agents name in public, in front of witnesses. Unlike Rove, nobody cares or believes anything he says anyway…

    http://www.libertypost.org/cgi-bin/readart.cgi?ArtNum=101888

  13. And nobody knew she was a spook, except all her neighbors, her friends, her then-boyfriend (on the third date), all her neighbor’s friends, boyfriend’s friends, the guy at 7-11, and the journalist who told Rove.

    Right. And nobody cared, except for the CIA, who were the ones who asked for the criminal investigation in the first place, when they found out an agent had been outed. Now, why do you suppose they would do that, if everyone already knew?

    See here for a more succinct explanation.

  14. That must explain why the CIA sent three requests – three – to the Justice Department, asking that a criminal investigation be carried out about Kerry’s questioning.

    Oh, wait, that never happened. That was about Plame, again. Nevermind.

  15. You shouldn’t slander decorated veterans who walk around with shrapnel in their ass.

    Why not? They’re people, like anyone else.

    You shouldn’t blow the cover of covert CIA operatives.

    I agree. But Valerie Plame was not covert in any meaningful sense of the word. She worked out at Langley, fer chrissake. No one who commutes to CIA headquarters on a regular basis is covert.

    If anyone blew her cover, it was her husband. He write a high-profile editorial attacking the administration, based on a trip that his wife arranged for him. And its a shock when her role in arranging the trip is revealed?

  16. Few have commented on the real irony of the jailing of NY Times’ reporter Judith Miller: She was the Bush administration’s greatest press friend when it came to pushing the “weapons of mass destruction” justification for the invasion of Iraq.

    I’m not sure why this would be considered ironic, since they are completely unrelated, as far as I can tell. The jailing is about making sure no one can stand up to the power of a special prosecutor and a grand jury. As far as I can tell, the administration has nothing to do with it.

  17. joe: You shouldn’t slander decorated veterans who walk around with shrapnel in their ass.

    RC Dean: Why not? They’re people, like anyone else.

    Taken out of context, I would say the whole political spectrum just flipped a 180!

  18. “Why not? They’re people, like anyone else.”

    You are a man without honor, RC, and you will never be welcome at the table of decent people.

    “Valerie Plame was not covert in any meaningful sense of the word. She worked out at Langley, fer chrissake. No one who commutes to CIA headquarters on a regular basis is covert.” Read the link I provided, please, and find out what somebody who knows what he’s talking about has to say about that argument.

    “If anyone blew her cover, it was her husband. He write a high-profile editorial attacking the administration, based on a trip that his wife arranged for him. And its a shock when her role in arranging the trip is revealed?”

    It would appear that Mr. Wilson underestimated the depravity of the people who work for this president. While this may reflect poorly on him as a judge of character, it doesn’t seem to get them off the hook.

  19. But Valerie Plame was not covert in any meaningful sense of the word.

    sorry, that’s simply counterfactual presidental propaganda. she was covert and her outing was a big deal. moreover, it was illegal — and it really doesn’t matter under the law if she was “meaningfully” covert or just a little covert.

    but i have to say that, while rove broke the law in outing her, i somewhat doubt it was his fault. i think raimondo’s argument makes far more sense — that rove was fed what he wrongly believed to be innocuous information about a non-covert cia employee by someone in a position to know who plame was and how she could be used to hurt both joe wilson and the cia’s rival efforts in wmd intelligence.

    rival, of course, to the DoD’s in-house intelligence apparatus managed by rumsfeld, wolfowitz, feith and the rest of the neocon lot — who are also currently under investigation for being members of a spy ring.

  20. gm,

    Actually, the law does have a pretty specific definition of “covert” — someone who has (a) worked undercover in another country in the past [x time period–can’t remember anymore]; and (b) the CIA has taken “affirmative measures” to conceal their identity. Rove (or whoever the #1 leaker is) may have some wiggle room here, because (a) Plame hadn’t worked abroad in many years; and (b) according to Novak (I know, consider the source), the CIA didn’t try too hard to keep her identity secret. Novak says he called the CIA about Plame, and they said “no comment.” To me, “affirmative measures” would be more like, “no, we’ve never heard of her, and if you print that she’s an agent, we’ll have your ass.”

    What does all this mean? To me, it says that leaking Plame’s name was stupid, slimy, immoral and dangerous to the people she worked with when she was undercover. But it does not appear to be a crime. So, free Judy Miller!

  21. I still don’t get how Rove outed her.

    He specifically told the Time reporter that the information he was about to give was effectively confidential, deep-background, off-the-record, secret; and he never gave her name. (Double-super-secret was the writers term, I think, borrowing a line from “Animal House”.)

    Clearly there was no intention in what he said to ‘out’ anyone. IF she was outed by anyone is was either by her own husband, or by Novak.

    And YES, it is OK to make fun of a veteran with shrapnel in his ass if he’s the one responsible for putting the shrapnel in his own ass. I mean, c’mon, that’s instant Karma.

  22. It’s OK to make fun of anyone who’s running for president. Yes, John Kerry was a war hero, and a man of far more physical bravery than I. But there are many war heroes who aren’t pompous asses, and I don’t make fun of them. Kerry is like a carictature of the classic self-important, jackass Senator. How can you not mock him?

  23. I’m not sure I understand why anyone would defend the administration on this.

    …Is there some higher principle at stake here?

  24. Steve: That’s “a” law. There are others, you know. The 1917 Espionage act, last given a spin by Ronald Reagan, is a classic example of one that might bite Rove on the ass.

    As for her covert status and the bullshit spewing that “Her husband outed her”.

    It was no fucking secret who her [i]husband[/i] was. It was a fucking secret that she worked for the “CIA” and not a company called “Brewster-Jennings”.

    It’s like Novak broke your damn brain or something.

  25. Tom Crick, speaking facetiously for myself: I refuse to believe our glorious leader, or those in his administration, did any wrong. This is just another phony allegation by loopy left wing conspirators trying to bring Him down. If one allegation doesn’t work, they just make up another one. This conspiracy is vast. Its gonna take DNA evidence on a dress to convince me. And even should such evidence appear, it will only prove one accusation – the rest of my glorious leader’s words are to be taken as truth, not lies. It is his accusers who are to be doubted. Trailer trash – all of them.

    Back to reality though (taking off the Clinton-supporter spectacles now)…I think the law has a five year provision, or at least that’s what I’ve read on rightish sites putting forward the “no foul, no crime” theories.

  26. Did I miss something or did the article read that Novak “FIRST” found out about Plame from another source and Rove comfirmed the information.

    Novak will later write that he originally acquired the information from an official who is ?no partisan gunslinger.? Novak says, ?When I called another official for confirmation, he said: ?Oh, you know about it.??

    Why haven’t any discussions been about the original source and why hasn’t Novak revealed him/her?

  27. Lost: Novak originally claimed — way back before people were pointing out important laws were broken — that he had been approached by government officials and given the identity. He said, quite specifically, that they (two senior administration officials) “sought him out to tell him”.

    I think Fitzgerald compared what Novak said BEFORE there was an investigation and what he said in the Grand Jury, and suspects some people are trying to muddy the waters.

  28. Considering what Wilson and Plame did, it seems like they’d be the ones guilty of violating the Espionage Act (“…interfering with national defense…”) rather than Rove. She set up his phoney trip to Niger, he lied to the administration about what he ‘found’ there, and he lied to the press about what he found there and about who sent him there. All while we were at war with the country he was supposedly investigating.
    As a 30-year libertarian I’m certainly no defender of the administration; it’s just that this whole thing seems bass-ackwards to me.

  29. So Wilson’s trip to Niger was bogus? There were a couple of former CIA guys that I heard on TV saying that she had no authorisation to send him anywhere. It had to be a CIA manager that set up the trip.

    I mean, these CIA guys could be Democrat plants (the hearing was run by 2 democrats), but they genuinely seemed pissed that an operative was outed.

    I can’t say that I’m outraged by the whole thing, but Rove should be canned.

    Nobody – you kinda cherry picked there.

    Bush: “But I want to tell you something — leaks of classified information are a bad thing. And we’ve had them — there’s too much leaking in Washington. That’s just the way it is. And we’ve had leaks out of the administrative branch, had leaks out of the legislative branch, and out of the executive branch and the legislative branch, and I’ve spoken out consistently against them and I want to know who the leakers are.”

    So even Bush knows it’s bad to leak who your ops folks are. Why isn’t incompetence (at best) and shady dealings (at worst) dealt with by the administration? Of course, I have my opinion, but can someone please tell me why these jokers have any public support??

  30. he never gave her name.

    this ridiculously presumes, mr slainte, that the only way you can out someone is to issue their full christian name. not so — plainly, rove conveyed more than enough information to blow her cover wide open. i agree with mr taylor:

    the White House and official GOPdom is fast approaching unsustainable, Clintonian “depends on what the meaning of the word ‘is’ is” territory by insisting that Rove somehow did not “name” Plame. Of course he did. And course Bush should fire Rove or else be judged a hypocrite on his pledge to fire any leakers involved in the matter.

    fwiw, i think you’ve been spun when you claim someone’s innocence in this. novak, miller, rove and others all had a hand in doing something that common sense should have stopped them from trying — but greed and its malicious derivatives overwhelmed.

  31. Considering what Wilson and Plame did, it seems like they’d be the ones guilty of violating the Espionage Act (“…interfering with national defense…”) rather than Rove. She set up his phoney trip to Niger, he lied to the administration about what he ‘found’ there, and he lied to the press about what he found there and about who sent him there. All while we were at war with the country he was supposedly investigating.

    again, mr slainte, you seem to be just a bit spun. plame had no authority to set his trip up, and attacking wilson as a hack is a tactic that has fallen to you from the white house press office, teh very tactic that got rove in hot water in the first place. wilson is politically opinionated (who isn’t in washington?) but did his job very competently — competently enough, in fact, to expose the ridiculous fraud of the yellowcake documents. but the truth is that it’s hardly relevant — rove is in this up to his hips not because of anything wilson did to him, mind you.

    are you watching fox news as though it were actual news? i’d quit, if you are. 😉 no, i’m sure you aren’t, but as an aside — i had to laugh at howard kurtz’s synopsis of the presidential counteroffensive of obfuscation to try to confuse the issue into public apathy.

  32. So RC, I guess it’s a good thing that we can extrapolate from the fact that Plame was working a desk job that every single person who was working for the CIA produced dummy company that she was a part of were doing likewise. I feel so much better now.

    Why is there any argument over this? Maybe there’s enough legal wiggle room for Rove to squeeze through, but does anyone really think that he was justified? If not, then why waste so much energy trying to defend him? Nobody here is his lawyer.

  33. I don’t know if what Rove did was illegal. I don’t even know if it rises to the level of a serious matter of national security.

    What I do know is that it was an unnecessary, stupid, and dishonorable thing to do.

    In a better world, that would be reason enough for the President to show him the door. In this world, sadly, he’ll always be a folk hero to some partisans no matter what happens.

  34. I read a report (soon it will be all over the net – sorry no link) that Wilson gave away the game on his wife in 2002.

    I do not think it is possible to convict some one for revealing a secret that is not a secret. But, who knows?

  35. It is my opinion that “I heard that too” may not rise to the level of outing depending on who Rove heard it from. If he was being told that by other reporters – no crime. Just a repetition of gossip.

    I think you need to keep in mind that when it was found out that Wilson had fudged what he actually said in his report Wilson was put in the Kerry memory hole. Wilson’s www site was deleted and unlinked from the Kerry campaign.

    If a stand up war hero like Kerry wanted no connection with Wilson after his disembling came out what are us mere mortals to think?

  36. OK, let me get this straight.

    Rove knows that Cheney never ordered Wilson to Niger, even though Wilson is telling the press that it was Cheney. By the time he talks to the Time reporter — under confidentiality — Rove also knows that Wilson’s wife is the one who urged the CIA to send Wilson.

    So he makes a carefully worded remark (never mentioning her by name) that Wilson’s wife had a hand in sending Wilson to Niger. He makes this remark in order to warn the reporter that the reporter will make a fool of himself if he pursues the Cheney angle. At no time in this conversation does he suggest that Plame’s name ought be revealed to the public.

    Okay, granted that Rove has no love for Wilson and would like to see Wilson’s lie exposed. And granted that he’s angry with Plame for helping to arrange the trip, and angry with the CIA for sending Wilson. (Gee, didn’t Tennet get canned?) But if that’s the whole of what Rove did to ‘out’ Plame, there was no outing. Not in the sense of “Hey this Plame lady is a CIA agent and I want everybody to know about it.”

    C’mon — “unneccesary, stupid and dishonorable”. Give me a freakin’ break. IF Rove is the one who spoke to Novak and urged Novak to out Plame, then I’d agree that Rove ought to be canned. But so far, that has not been established.

  37. Slainte, how much does the administration pay you for licking their boots?

  38. Will Joe Wilson please go away? This drama queen has somehow hoodwinked the media into keeping his name in print for nearly two years now. If your wife really is was a spy, and she had something to do with you getting a high profile job, and you use this high profile job to write a high profile, and completely unfair (yes, whether the administration claims turned out correct or not, Joe Wilson certianly didn’t have the information to refute anything Bush said) article attacking the administration, then you probably shouldn’t be surprised that when her name comes out in the media feeding frenzy that ensues.

  39. There’s nothing wrong with ‘her name coming out’ as long as her identity as a CIA operative doesn’t come along with it.

    So he should have known that she was going to be outed and it’s all his fault (but the person that leaks her name is innocent)?

    When you’re done licking their boots do you spit or swallow?

  40. why waste so much energy trying to defend him? Nobody here is his lawyer.

    in a phrase, mr shem: politics as religion.

  41. never mentioning her by name

    again, mr slainte, this parsing is irrelevant — and frankly, a sad fox-news-type spin tactic. it hardly matters. there are a number of ways to blow a cover, all of them illegal.

    if that’s the whole of what Rove did to ‘out’ Plame, there was no outing. Not in the sense of “Hey this Plame lady is a CIA agent and I want everybody to know about it.”

    it may not rise to the standard of your personal moral judgment of “wrong”, but it likely does fit the legal standard of wrong.

    the question i might ask you is why you (or anyone) see fit to keep that distance between the legal standard and your standard — and whether or not you would apply the same personal standard if this were james carville instead of karl rove. i would submit that this would be a better-run government if we, as a public, could keep our political religions from clouding our judgment of illegality. lawless is lawless, republican or democrat.

  42. The key really isn’t whether he mentioned her by name. It is whether he knew she was some sort of undercover operative. If he knows she works at the CIA, knows she got Wilson sent to Africa, and tells all this to a reporter, it isn’t a crime. The only crime is if he knew she was an undercover. The conspiracy theorists seem to think Rove is omnipotent, but the likelyhood he would have known this particular fact seems minimal. The most likely explaination is that Plame was inadvertantly outed in the media firestorm that erupted after her husbands article.

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