Tuesday, September 30, 2003

PLAME-UPDATE: Here are the latest developments in the Plame-affair:

  • Questions have arisen on Valerie Plame's exact position. Was Plame a covert CIA agent or just an analyst behind a desk in Langley? Kevin Drum makes a decent and compelling case, but the best I've heard is by Larry Johnson, a former CIA analyst and counterterrorism official at the State Department. He appeared on Jim Lehrer's Newshour:
    Let's be very clear about what happened. This is not an alleged abuse. This is a confirmed abuse. I worked with this woman. She started training with me. She has been undercover for three decades, she is not as Bob Novak suggested a CIA analyst. But given that, I was a CIA analyst for four years. I was undercover. I could not divulge to my family outside of my wife that I worked for the Central Intelligence Agency until I left the agency on September 30, 1989. At that point I could admit it.

    So the fact that she's been undercover for three decades and that has been divulged is outrageous because she was put undercover for certain reasons. One, she works in an area where people she meets with overseas could be compromised. When you start tracing back who she met with, even people who innocently met with her, who are not involved in CIA operations, could be compromised. For these journalists to argue that this is no big deal and if I hear another Republican operative suggesting that well, this was just an analyst fine, let them go undercover. Let's put them overseas and let's out them and then see how they like it. They won't be able to stand the heat.


    I say this as a registered Republican. I'm on record giving contributions to the George Bush campaign. This is not about partisan politics. This is about a betrayal, a political smear of an individual with no relevance to the story. Publishing her name in that story added nothing to it. His entire intent was correctly as Ambassador Wilson noted: to intimidate, to suggest that there was some impropriety that somehow his wife was in a decision making position to influence his ability to go over and savage a stupid policy, an erroneous policy and frankly, what was a false policy of suggesting that there were nuclear material in Iraq that required this war. This was about a political attack. To pretend that it's something else and to get into this parsing of words, I tell you, it sickens me to be a Republican to see this.


    You do not -- it is not up to the journalists to decide which officer they are going to out. We saw this in the 70s with Marchetti and others and Philip Agee who outed officers and they were killed. I don't want to wait until we get a body count. The principle's established: do not divulge the names of these people. In my own career trainee class I did not know Joe's wife last name; we went by our first initials.


    I was in the same class with her. I was Larry J. In fact, when I first saw her last name I didn't recognize her until one of other my classmates who's out now called me up and said, hey. To realize this is a terrific woman, she's a woman of great integrity and other people that don't know her were trying to suggest that she is the one that initiated that. That is such nonsense. This is a woman who is very solid, very low key and not about show boating.
  • As I mentioned yesterday, the Department of Justice has ordered the F.B.I. to investigate. But the chance of finding the alleged culprit is small. Can Robert Novak, or any of the other 5 reporters be ordered to testify? Eugene Volokh makes the case. I'm not convinced the full 100% though.

  • Atrios informs that the Guardian's D.C. correspondent Julian Borger tells us that reporters are privately acknowledging that Karl Rove was the leaker. Because I rate the Guardian's credibility not as high as the Washington Post's, I remain skeptical of this claim. (Borger is the one of the first to report on Rumsfeld's Office of Special Plans.

  • Alberto Gonzales, Counsel to the President, has sent two letters to the White House staff. Josh Marshall has them.

    As the scandal grows, I'll be sharing images like the one below. Enjoy.


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