Plame was Covert

Joseph Wilson & Valerie Plame WilsonThe debate over the commutation of I. Lewis Libby continues to be a heated topic with my Irvine neighbors.  The central point being that “Plame wasn’t a covert operative.”  This was a position Matt Cunningham took in the comments section of OC Blog the day of the commutation’s announcement (followed of course by a rip at President Clinton for the Monica Lewisky affair; but the difference between Clinton and Libby is that Clinton was acquitted by the Senate and Libby was convicted by a jury of his peers. Everyone knows why Clinton lied under oath, but no one knows who Scooter Libby’s lies are protecting; we cna only guess its VP Cheney, Karl Rove and maybe W himself).

Valerie Plame was a covert operative of the CIA.  Here’s the proof:

By Joel Seidman
Producer
NBC News
Updated: 1:24 p.m. PT May 29, 2007

WASHINGTON – An unclassified summary of outed CIA officer Valerie Plame’s employment history at the spy agency, disclosed for the first time today in a court filing by Special Counsel Patrick Fitzgerald, indicates that Plame was “covert” when her name became public in July 2003.

The summary is part of an attachment to Fitzgerald’s memorandum to the court supporting his recommendation that I. Lewis “Scooter” Libby, Vice President Cheney’s former top aide, spend 2-1/2 to 3 years in prison for obstructing the CIA leak investigation.

The nature of Plame’s CIA employment never came up in Libby’s perjury and obstruction of justice trial.

Undercover travel
The unclassified summary of Plame’s employment with the CIA at the time that syndicated columnist Robert Novak published her name on July 14, 2003 says, “Ms. Wilson was a covert CIA employee for who the CIA was taking affirmative measures to conceal her intelligence relationship to the United States.”Plame worked as an operations officer in the Directorate of Operations and was assigned to the Counterproliferation Division (CPD) in January 2002 at CIA headquarters in Langley, Virginia.

The employment history indicates that while she was assigned to CPD, Plame, “engaged in temporary duty travel overseas on official business.”  The report says, “she traveled at least seven times to more than ten times.”  When overseas Plame traveled undercover, “sometimes in true name and sometimes in alias — but always using cover — whether official or non-official (NOC) — with no ostensible relationship to the CIA.”

Criminal prosecution beat national security
After the Novak column was published and Plame’s identity was widely reported in the media, and according to the document, “the CIA lifted Ms Wilson’s cover” and then “rolled back her cover” effective to the date of the leak.

The CIA determined, “that the public interest in allowing the criminal prosecution to proceed outweighed the damage to national security that might reasonably be expected from the official disclosure of Ms. Wilson’s employment and cover status.”

The CIA has not divulged any other details of the nature of Plame’s cover or the methods employed by the CIA to protect her cover nor the details of her classified intelligence activities.  Plame resigned from the CIA in December 2005.

Plame and her husband, former Ambassador Joseph Wilson have filed a lawsuit against four current or former top Bush administration officials, including Vice President Dick Cheney, accusing them and other White House officials of conspiring to destroy her career at the CIA.

‘I felt like I had been hit in the gut’
In March at a House of Representatives hearing, Plame testified saying, “My name and identity were carelessly and recklessly abused by senior government officials in both the White house and the State Department”

She described how it felt to see her true identity exposed in the morning paper, her career destroyed she said.

“I felt like I had been hit in the gut, it was over in an instant, I immediately thought of my family’s safety.”

Plame’s identity was leaked to reporters in 2003, after her husband began criticizing the Bush administration. She claims her constitutional rights were violated by the administration and is demanding compensation.

No leak charges
Several administration officials, including Libby, former State Department official Richard Armitage and Bush advisor Karl Rove, disclosed Plame’s identity to reporters.

No one was ever charged with the leak of Plame’s name itself, which would have been a crime only if someone knowingly gave our information about someone covered by a specific law protecting the identities of covert agents.

  23 comments for “Plame was Covert

  1. July 9, 2007 at 9:08 am

    OK, Dan — but Scooter Libby didn’t leak her name. Richard Armitage did.

    Which leaves us with President Clinton and Scooter Libby both lying under oath. You want Libby to go to jail, but Clinton’s is sentenced to enduring your disappointment.

    For your consideration, this is from today’s Political Diary newsletter (from WSJ):

    At a Saturday question-and-answer session with Karl Rove [at the Aspen Ideas Festival], the White House aide came under fire for his alleged role in the revelation of CIA agent Valerie Plame’s name. Mr. Rove outlined his minor role in the scandal, claimed he had cooperated fully with Special Prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald and emphasized that the original leaker of Ms. Plame’s name was found to be Richard Armitage, then a top deputy to Secretary of State Colin Powell. “Remember, the underlying offense of Armitage talking to Novak was no violation. There was no indictment,” said Mr. Rove.

    At that point, Colin Powell, who was in the audience, stood up to provide his own version of the Plame affair. He agreed that no crime had been committed in revealing Ms. Plame’s name and that Mr. Libby “got in trouble for an entirely different set of circumstances.” Mr. Powell also expressed frustration with how the government’s investigation had dragged on. “The FBI knew on Day 1 of Mr. Armitage’s involvement, yet for two months after that the FBI kept investigating,” he told the Aspen audience. “They kept investigating to see who else might be involved and when they finished their investigation — they couldn’t finish it. Therefore, a special counsel was brought in, Mr. Patrick Fitzgerald, who spent another two years on it…. I think this [would have better] ended early on and not dragged out the way it has been.”

  2. RHackett
    July 9, 2007 at 9:26 am

    Jubal,

    Clinton went through the process of impeachment and was acquitted in his trial held in the Senate.

    While Powell believes no crime was committed, the CIA Director is on record as saying that Plame was indeed a covert agent with both official and non-official cover status.

    While Clinton’s perjury was indeed wrong. Armitage and Libby’s actions were potentially a threat to national security. Something Clinton haters can’t claim.

    Remember this statement?

    ‘I want to know who it is. And if the person has violated the law, the person will be taken care of.”—-George Bush, Sept. 30, 2003

    Watch for the pardon from Bush on the way out. The fine was paid a couple of days ago (paid off by donors) and the felony conviction will be pardoned on Bush’s last day.

    Commuting Libby’s sentence took away any leverage Fitzgerald had in any plans to further investigate the office of the VP. Bush’s pardon on 1/19/09 will take care of the rest.

  3. Aunt Millie
    July 9, 2007 at 9:33 am

    As Digby says,

    When playing with national security for mere political purposes and personal grudges becomes politics as usual, this country is in serious danger. These people must be stopped. Even Nixon didn’t stoop this low.

    There is no end to the underlying crimes of Cheney and his apparatchiks. They shamelessly lied to the American public about their selling of the invasion and occupation of Iraq, and Libby conspired to cover up the truth. The mainstream media pundits were their willing accomplices.

    It’s time to move on from this discussion though, to the one the nation wants to have – a move by the House Judiciary Committee to an impeachment inquiry of Cheney and Bush. It’s obvious that Bush, like his father, plans to pardon all of the criminals in his administration, and we the people need to avail ourselves of the Constitutional remedy for obscene abuse of power.

  4. Dan Chmielewski
    July 9, 2007 at 9:42 am

    Matt —
    you must have missed the acquittal in the Senate.

    Clinton never should have tesitfied in the first place; there was a statute that protected a president from civil litigation during his term in office, but the Republican Congress steamrolled over that.

    And “I did not have sex with that woman” is a far cry from outing a covert operative in a time of war.

    Colin Powell, in all due respect, is not a lawyer. And his statements directly contradict the CIA on Plame’s status.

    With all of the lies this administration has told and continues to tell in the war in Iraq, it seems only lies committed under OATH carry any weight with Republicans. Which is why this administration will do whatever it can to keep Karl Rove off the stand.

  5. Jubal
    July 9, 2007 at 10:34 am

    I didn’t miss the acquit all. But you guys always end up excusing Clinton’s perjury as nothing more than “wrong” and using the old reliable “it was just about sex” because its apparently OK for the President to lie under oath to avoid taking a hit in the polls — not to mention getting in dutch with the wife.

    Colin Powell isn’t a lawyer, Dan — but unless I’m missing something, neither are you.

    And I love watching the let’s-bug-out-of-Iraq Left suddenly employing ominous intonations of “in time of war” as born-again defenders of the clandestine services.

    If Scooter Libby had committed the same actions but were now a convert to the “Bush lied!” religion, the Left would be singing a different tune about jail time.

  6. Orange County Republican Centrist and Schwartzeneggar supporter
    July 9, 2007 at 11:14 am

    Jubal lives in never-never land. At the national level, the talking points the the Limbaughs and Levins of conservative talk continually hammer people with are one and the same that lower level underlings like Jubal and Fleischmann put on repeat mode and flail about like fish out of water.
    The fact that the Clinton situation is radically different from the Libby situation does not entire into their mindset. The bottom line is that Libby committed perjury by lying, not once but 8 different times (check out the number of different versions that Libby spewed) to investigators. Clinton was tried by his peers, the US Senate. He was acquitted by his peers. PERIOD. Libby was convicted of obstruction of justice by a jury of his peers. PERIOD. What I find most comical about this situation and the response by NeoKlan righties like Cunningham and Fleischman are the number of comments made by Republican judges dealing with Libby’s appeal and concluding that Libby’s appeal advanced by his attorneys has no merit. These Federal judges are Republican, Reagan and Bush1 appointees, and see themselves above the political fray as they should. To their credit, they assess the issues raised against the rule of law. They conclude that there is no merit to the Libby argument on the appeal of the decision-absent any political motivation-and it drives the NeoKlan righties crazy and they conveniently forget these elements

  7. RHackett
    July 9, 2007 at 11:14 am

    And I love watching the let’s-bug-out-of-Iraq Left suddenly employing ominous intonations of “in time of war” as born-again defenders of the clandestine services.
    What does one have to do with the other? Not sure what point you’re making.

    To quote Tom Delay in another time and place.

    April 28, 1999 — Speaking on the House floor, then-House Majority Whip Tom Delay (R-TX) “Mr. Speaker, this is a very difficult speech for me to give, because I normally, and I still do, support our military and the fine work that they are doing. But I cannot support a failed foreign policy

    If Scooter Libby had committed the same actions but were now a convert to the “Bush lied!” religion, the Left would be singing a different tune about jail time.
    Your argument is based upon a hypothetical, so it really has no merit. It only serves to deflect the point that Bush stated he wanted to find the person who violated the law in order to be punished. He’s never shown any interest in finding the guilty party and then commuted the sentence of a person who was involved.

  8. Aunt Millie
    July 9, 2007 at 11:26 am

    I’m not a lawyer either, but here’s what a career attorney with the Justice Department has to say,

    As a longtime attorney at the U.S. Department of Justice, I can honestly say that I have never been as ashamed of the department and government that I serve as I am at this time.

    The public record now plainly demonstrates that both the DOJ and the government as a whole have been thoroughly politicized in a manner that is inappropriate, unethical and indeed unlawful. The unconscionable commutation of I. Lewis “Scooter” Libby’s sentence, the misuse of warrantless investigative powers under the Patriot Act and the deplorable treatment of U.S. attorneys all point to an unmistakable pattern of abuse.

    In the course of its tenure since the Sept. 11 attacks, the Bush administration has turned the entire government (and the DOJ in particular) into a veritable Augean stable on issues such as civil rights, civil liberties, international law and basic human rights, as well as criminal prosecution and federal employment and contracting practices. It has systematically undermined the rule of law in the name of fighting terrorism, and it has sought to insulate its actions from legislative or judicial scrutiny and accountability by invoking national security at every turn, engaging in persistent fearmongering, routinely impugning the integrity and/or patriotism of its critics, and protecting its own lawbreakers. This is neither normal government conduct nor “politics as usual,” but a national disgrace of a magnitude unseen since the days of Watergate – which, in fact, I believe it eclipses.

  9. Dan Chmielewski
    July 9, 2007 at 1:13 pm

    Matt —
    You can be against the war and for the rule of law; outing a covert operative, in charge of investigating Iran’s nuclear program, during a time of war is a far cry from sex between consenting adults. Lke it or not (and I don’t), we are in war which means a couple fo things: we take care of the soldiers and their families. We make sure soldiers have the best healthcare (mental and physical) available to them to help them recover. We make sure ther soldiers in the field have what they needed to succeed. And we make sure people at the highest levels of government don’t break the law to justify their actions.

    Besides, Bush and Cheney have both lied us into war. But because its not under OATH, it’s OK?

    You’re right. I’m not a lawyer. Nor am I a judge.

  10. RHackett
    July 9, 2007 at 1:48 pm

    Clinton waived executive privilege for the hearing and allowed his aides who participated in the Rich pardon discussion to testify, no holds barred.

    Apparently Bush doesn’t believe in similar actions.

    The latest news is that Bush is invoking executive privilege and refusing to let his aides testify under oath.

  11. Jubal
    July 9, 2007 at 2:45 pm

    Dan:

    I’ve read Left blogosphere commentary about the War in Iraq. You guys have no problem setting down an explicit deadline, complete with dates, for troop withdrawal — which only helps our enemy “in a time of war” — but get puffed up and in full-harrumph mode over the Plame affair. This rage at Libby is driven by hatred of Bush and the Iraq War, and to me all this”time of war” outrage rings hollow.

    And all this spin about Clinton’s acquittal overlooks the inconvenient fact that he perjured himself under oath and was disbarred as a result. Just because super-majority of the Senate didn’t want to convict him doesn’t mean Clinton didn’t lei under oath. He did.

    You Lefties will rationalize and make excuses for Clinton’s perjury until the bitter end, so it’s hard to take your outrage seriously.

    And give it a rest with the baloney about “they lied us into war…” That’s Left-wing revisionist B.S. I pray the GOP holds on to the White House if for no other reason than we don’t have a Demo President being pressured by the Left to sell out the Iraqis the way the Left drove the sellout out of the Vietnamese.

  12. RHackett
    July 9, 2007 at 2:51 pm

    Jubal,

    How did we sellout the Vietnamese? We committed significant amounts of both blood and treasure. We left behind a functioning democracy. We left behind a nation that at one time was the fifth best equipped military force in the world.

    What else should we have done?

    The abandonment of the Vietnamese is one of the great myths perpetrated by the right wing.

    At some point in time the people who live in a country need to bear the responsibility for their own sovereignty.

    You’re not happy with the outcome of the Clinton impeachment proceedings, yet you tacitly approve of the Libby commutation. As Dan pointed out. You either believe in the rule of law or you don’t. Your rationalization is so much cherry picking.

  13. Dan Chmielewski
    July 9, 2007 at 2:59 pm

    Matt —
    a lie is a lie if its under oath or not. You honestly believe Bush and Cheney didn’t lie on the road to building a case for war?

    How many times did we hear that Saddam Huessin was in league with Al Qaeda?

    Revisionist history belongs to the Reeps; first it was WMDs, then it was to topple a dictator and then it was bringing democracy to the middle east.

    You know Matt, I think OJ Simpson is guilty of killing his wife. But when I heard the LAPD planted evidence, I was no longer sure of it beyond a reasonable doubt. And he got off. Clinton did lie. No one is disputing that. But the source of his lie was a personal matter than had nothing to do with running the country or our national security. Libby’s lies had consequences; a plan to out a covert CIA operative involved in Iran’s nuclear build up. That’s a little more serious than what Clinton did.

    Back to the point of the post. Plame’s status was covert. She was outed. People who worked for her in Brewster-Jennings, the CIA front firm, were put at risk for politics. Libby obstructed justice, lied (under oath) and was found guilty by a jury of his peers ..many of whom felt the Vice President of the United States should have been on trial.

    I pray we get a Dem president to clean up the awful mess left behind by the Bush Cheney administration.

  14. Northcountystorm
    July 9, 2007 at 3:02 pm

    Jubal–time for a tactical retreat. Usually your forays into Blue County resemble those of Nathan Bedford Forest but this one resembles Forest’s results at the Battle of Franklin.

    Just leave the field of battle(like most Republican’s on this issue except when they are in front of a GOP County Committee)now with your hypothetical point in tow(yeah, some on the left would flip on your hypo but so what? Most would not. The conduct of the Administration in this case from start to the pardonable finish(so much for respecting that jury)
    is a disgrace. Comparing it to Clinton’s lie just exposes your flank. Its honorable for you to want to rally around the flag but go home and fight another day when the equities are more in your favor.

  15. Jubal
    July 9, 2007 at 3:18 pm

    How did we sellout the Vietnamese? We committed significant amounts of both blood and treasure. We left behind a functioning democracy. We left behind a nation that at one time was the fifth best equipped military force in the world.

    You’re kidding, right? How about preventing the Ford Administration from honoring the promises we made under the Paris treaty? How about the left-wing Watergate babies of 1974 — a number of whom are now senior , powerful congressional Democrats — voting to cut-off all aid to the South Vietnam? Congressional Democrats made it very clear they wouldn’t lift a finger to help our South Vietnamese allies — which was not lost on North Vietnam.

    If the Left had it’s way, we’d have bugged out of Iraq yesterday, consequences be damned — leaving our Iraqi allies at the tenders mercies of the enemy “in a time of war.”

    As for Clinton, It’d be refreshing to hear a Lefty condemn his perjury without making excuses for it. You guys rationalize a President lying under oath, so it’s hard to take it seriously when the Left clamors for prison time when a senior staffer lies under oath. Regardless of why he did it, it’s pretty damn serious when a President lies under oath.

    You guys slam the Bush Administration for firing a few U.S. Attorneys, but it was silence from the Left when the Clinton Administration fired every single U.S. Attorney immediately after taking office.

    When Reagan and Bush Sr. held the Presidency, the Left loved the Independent Counsel law and sneered at conservative criticisms that it violated the separation of powers. But once the Independent Counsel law started taking bites out of the Clinton Administration, the Left was suddenly crying “with hunt!” and condemning the Independent Counsel Act as tyrannical.

    This hue-and-cry over Libby is more of the same situational outrage from the Left.

  16. Dan Chmielewski
    July 9, 2007 at 3:42 pm

    “You guys slam the Bush Administration for firing a few U.S. Attorneys, but it was silence from the Left when the Clinton Administration fired every single U.S. Attorney immediately after taking office.”

    The wholesale firing of attorneys, while having nothing to do with this post, is SOP at the start of new administrations.

    OK Matt, I’ll bite. I think Bill Clinton lying under oath was a deplorable thing to do. I think his cheating in his wife with Monica Lewinsky was a horrible thing to do. I don’t think he had any meaningful contact with Paula Jones. But the guy was investigated by the Republicans for one thing after another which turned up precious little. WhiteWater was a wash (one conviction and it was Webster Hubbell, right), the Paula Jones case should never have gotten to the deposition stage. I will also note the martial hypocrisy of people like Henry Hyde, Newt Gingrich and Bob Livingstone in leading the charge for impeachment.

    I also think its pretty damned serious when the president lies; as President Bush did in telling the American people that anyone convicted in the Plame case would be taken care of. I think the American people thought that phrase meant somehting else. And I believe a majority of the American people think Scooter should have done time while a majority of the American people were also against Clinton’s impeachment.

  17. RHackett
    July 9, 2007 at 3:54 pm

    You’re kidding, right? How about preventing the Ford Administration from honoring the promises we made under the Paris treaty? How about the left-wing Watergate babies of 1974 — a number of whom are now senior , powerful congressional Democrats — voting to cut-off all aid to the South Vietnam? Congressional Democrats made it very clear they wouldn’t lift a finger to help our South Vietnamese allies — which was not lost on North Vietnam.

    It might be those Congressional Democrats represented the will of the American people who believed after almost ten years, almost 60,000 dead, countless more wounded and MIA and who knows how many billions of dollars said “Enough.’

    Or are you going to say all those in the American populace who recognized the futility of that foreign policy nightmare and elected those who would represent them were uninformed.

  18. RHackett
    July 9, 2007 at 4:00 pm

    With what’s known about that dismal failure, it’s even more amazing that anyone would support the same stupidity again. Of course, you will blame it all on anyone but yourselves. If you just had more time…more bullets…more blood…more destroyed lives…etc. The party of personal responsibility will blame everyone but themselves.

  19. July 9, 2007 at 8:27 pm

    Matt (Jubal);

    You have brought up a number of times that President Clinton lied under oath in a civil trial while he was President. You have also indicated that his disbarment was the only punishment he received.

    Actually, his disbarment was related to a separate case. Clinton was disbarred from his Arkansas law license for five years and ordered to pay $25,000 in fines to that state’s bar officials. The agreement came on the condition that Whitewater prosecutors would not pursue federal perjury charges against him. This was a plea deal, plain and simple.

    In the case of Libby, he lied under oath on 8 separate occasions in a successful effort to obstruct justice in the investigation of the revelation of Valerie Wilson’s status as a covert agent for the CIA. Libby refused to tell the truth and was tried for his obstruction of justice and perjury and was convicted of those crimes.

    Any comparison of the two cases is ridiculous.

    Further, since you seem to be fixated on the matter of a sitting president lying under oath, as required under Article II, Section I of the United States Constitution the elected, (in this case fraudulently elected) President swears an Oath of Office that is binding upon him throughout his term. That Oath:

    “I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully execute the office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.”

    By pardoning I. Lewis “Scooter” Libby, President Bush has failed to uphold the Constitution and Laws of the United States of America to conceal crimes of his administration. He has in effect lied under oath.

    Therefore, since I believe you consider yourself to be a person of integrity and that you value the integrity of a President as one of the highest moral standards, I await your call for the Impeachment of George W. Bush and his Vice President Dick Cheney for their failures to adhere to their Oaths of Office.

    I’m not holding my breath, I’m just patiently waiting for a small amount of integrity from you.

  20. Dan Chmielewski
    July 9, 2007 at 9:18 pm

    But back to the original point of the post; Valerie Plame was covert. It doesn’t matter who outed her. It doesn’t matter what Bill Clinton did. It doesn’ matter what Scooter Libby did or didn’t do. The point is, the woman was a covert CIA operative and she was outed by members of our government and that is shameful.

  21. RHackett
    July 9, 2007 at 9:39 pm

    I believe the case can be made that Bush lied to the American people when told them he wanted the leaker found and “taken care of.” Maybe I misunderstood, but I believe the majority of the American people had a different thought on what “taken care of” meant.

  22. July 9, 2007 at 10:48 pm

    Sorrry Dan,

    Again, Matt managed to suck me in to the diversion. Spinning tornados have that effect on things.

    Valerie Plame Wilson was a non-official-cover agent of the CIA. The disclosure of her identity by Richard Armitage and Karl Rove to multiple reporters was an action the destroyed a CIA cover operation, exposing numerous CIA assets to discovery. This has been officially confirmed by the CIA.

    From Glenn Greenwald Salon.com May 30, 2007

    An unclassified summary of outed CIA officer Valerie Plame’s employment history at the spy agency, disclosed for the first time today in a court filing by Special Counsel Patrick Fitzgerald, indicates that Plame was “covert” when her name became public in July 2003. . . .

    The employment history indicates that while she was assigned to [Directorate of Operations - Counterproliferation Division], Plame, “engaged in temporary duty travel overseas on official business.” The report says, “she traveled at least seven times to more than ten times.” When overseas Plame traveled undercover, “sometimes in true name and sometimes in alias — but always using cover — whether official or non-official (NOC) — with no ostensible relationship to the CIA” . . . .

    The unclassified summary of Plame’s employment with the CIA at the time that syndicated columnist Robert Novak published her name on July 14, 2003 says, “Ms. Wilson was a covert CIA employee for who the CIA was taking affirmative measures to conceal her intelligence relationship to the United States.”

    The right-wing noise machine spent the last two years repeatedly, continuously and emphatically telling their followers the exact opposite.

    The above story about Plame’s covert status is based upon the CIA’s own internal documents which make clear she was covert. That conclusion is consistent with the initial 2003 determination of the CIA that she was covert, the subsequent confirmation from the current CIA Director (handpicked by Bush and Cheney) that she was covert, which in turn was confirmed by Plame herself when testifying under oath, all of which led the Republican federal prosecutor to emphatically state this in court.

    So Matt, please put your Ruby Slippers back on, click you heals together three times and say, “there’s no truth but W., there’s no truth but W., there’s no truth but W. Just close your eyes and drift off into your little Republican dream world, spinning like a tornado and traveling along the the vast wasteland of your mind. Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain… It’s only Uncle Dick playing around.

  23. Anonymous
    July 10, 2007 at 9:35 pm

    All I know is that I wanna get Valerie Plame under my covers. That is one hot Bond Girl in my book. (insert woof whistle here)

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