Skip to comments.STILL THE HOT TOPIC
Posted on 10/01/2003 5:50:02 AM PDT by Fighter@heart
STILL THE HOT TOPIC
The morning news stories are still hammering the White House leak story. The storyline is that some high level Bush official disclosed the name of a secret CIA spy. The trouble is, the only people saying that Valerie Plame was an undercover CIA operative are bush critics. The CIA certainly hasn't said that Plame was a spy ... that she was working undercover, and now that cover has been blown. Consider, please, that the CIA actually confirmed Plame's employment to columnist Robert Novak. Has it occurred to you that the CIA doesn't routinely confirm the employment status of undercover agents or spies? Valerie Plame was worked at a desk in Virginia researching and analyzing documents. It wouldn't affect her job one bit if her picture and name was posted on billboards around the world. She could still sit at that desk and pour over the same documents with the same degree of expertise, or lack thereof, as the case may be.
This is a $5 rocking chair story. Let' me explain:
About 15 years ago a man was arrested and charged with burglary. He had been breaking into homes and stealing items, including furniture. He was caught stealing a rocking chair and several other items from a house. The owner of the rocking chair claimed that it was an antique worth several hundred dollars. That was enough to make the burglary a felony. The accused felon made protested his felony arrest for, as he put it, stealing a five-dollar rocking chair. From that day on the media completely ignored the owner's claim that the rocking chair was a valuable antique, and made continuous references to this poor, poor man being so harshly prosecuted for sealing "a five-dollar rocking chair."
We have the same thing going on here. There is absolutely no evidence that Valerie Plame was an undercover agent for the CIA. The only person who is making that claim is her husband, Joseph Wilson, a Clintonista alumnus harshly critical of Bush. But watching CNN this morning every time the story ran Wilson's wife was identified as "an undercover CIA agent." Valerie Plame, our newest $5 rocking chari.
The Democrats are making a big deal over the fact that the Justice Department is investigating the leak. This is nothing unusual. The CIA is obsessive about privacy, and every time the CIA feels that information about one of their operations or employees has been improperly leaked they ask for an investigation, and that request is almost always granted. There are about 50 such investigations a year. The fact that there's an investigation, then, is no huge news.
Hitlary's dog-washer, Junior New York Senator Chuckie Schumer was seen yesterday pounding the "crime" drum. Schumer is taking great joy in proclaiming that someone in the Bush administration has committed a crime. But is that so?
The law in question is the Intelligence Identities Protection Act. The law imposes a 10-year, $50,000 fine for those who transgress. Here are the three elements that must be satisfied for a crime to have taken place:
The accused party must have made an intentional disclosure of the identity of the agent. They must know that the person they identified was actually an undercover agent The government (the CIA) must be taking measures to conceal this agent's relationship to the United States. Sorry ... no crime. How can you say that the CIA was making an effort to conceal this agent's relationship to the U.S. when they verified here employment to a reporter? Now ... if she actually had been an undercover agent, that relationship would never have been disclosed.
It is really going to be interesting to see how long the media is going to play footsie with the Democrats in pushing this nothing story.
This so-called "scandal" will be over as soon as Arnold grabs the CA governorship.
This last minute scandal-to-weaken-voter-turnout is not working as well as it used to.
Didn't a JOURNALIST first report this??
If there were evidence, then she wouldn't be undercover. Isn't that the point? I am interested to see how this turns out. It seems like the Dems are gunning for Karl Rove. If his fingerprints show up on this story, whether she's an "operative" or a "spy", it will be a black eye, and Rove will be jeopardized.
He has a good point here. Why would the CIA confirm her employment if she were a "spy?"
As a professional journalist with 46 years experience in Washington, I do not reveal confidential sources. When I called the CIA in July, they confirmed Mrs. Wilson's involvement in a mission for her husband on a secondary basis, who is -- he is a former Clinton administration official. They asked me not to use her name, but never indicated it would endanger her or anybody else.
According to a confidential source at the CIA, Mrs. Wilson was an analyst, not a spy, not a covert operative, and not in charge of undercover operatives. So what is the fuss about, pure Bush-bashing?
Here's today's column:
Easier yet, ask them to put you on their mailing list to receive the spy roster each time it's updated ;-)
GREAT LINE : )
During a long conversation with a senior administration official, I asked why Wilson was assigned the mission to Niger. He said Wilson had been sent by the CIA's counterproliferation section at the suggestion of one of its employees, his wife.
It was an offhand revelation from this official, who is no partisan gunslinger. When I called another official for confirmation, he said: ''Oh, you know about it.''
The published report that somebody in the White House failed to plant this story with six reporters and finally found me as a willing pawn is simply untrue."
Who and why was someone upset enough to separately call 6 reporters re: Valerie Plane?
Was it someone in the CIA because Plane recommended her husband for this very high paying assignment to go to Niger to drink sweet mint tea?..
Why doesn't W insist that George Tenet speak up then? If she indeed turns out to be just an analyst, Bush should fire Tenet for not speaking up, this is ridiculous.
First, Novak has moved from being a reporter (actually a columnist) writing about a story to being the story. One of the cardinal rules of journalism is that the reporter is not the story--the story is the story and the reporter is the background, and that's where Novak has crossed the line.
Second, Novak knows that he is going to be questioned by the FBI and possibly hauled before a grand jury. He has to be very careful about what he says because, although he's said that he will not reveal his confidential sources, his public words will be used in the investigation and he will be questioned about them. He has to carefully choose his words, because whatever he says will be scrutinized.
Third, Novak said he will protect his sources. This means that he cannot give any clues to their identities in what he says publically, or privately.
Forth, Novak wants to continue working as a journalist. Although he has been critical of the administration's policies in Iraq and Israel, he still wants to keep working, and his sources are within the current administration. He's walking tightrope. He has to diminish his role in this, because if he doesn't, his sources will dry up. OTOH, his ego says he has to play up the story and his role in it to get more publicity for his column, and for Novak, getting his column published means income.
When I come up with more, I'll let you know.
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