Plame: there's more to come

The curious case of Judith Miller, recently released from jail to testify before a grand jury convened by Special Prosecutor Peter Fitzgerald, continues to raise questions about what really is under investigation. Many agree that the pieces we can publicly see simply don't fit together in an understandable fashion. Something may be going on inside the grand jury room about which we know little or nothing.

Although the jury is supposedly investigating the naming of Valerie Plame as a CIA agent, the actual details of the grand jury's deliberations remain secret. Speculation abounds as to why Ms. Miller ignored previous permission to testify given her by the source she was allegedly protecting, Lewis 'Scooter' Libby, Vice President Cheney's chief of staff. The story so far just doesn't make sense.

I see a bigger picture in the background, involving the CIA and conduct of the war in Iraq. I am persuaded that the CIA counter—proliferation group was incompetent, and actively involved in undermining the President's war on Iraq, working with the Kerry campaign, tacitly or not. I draw this conclusion partly from the fact that although Congress had long made regime change in Iraq a national policy, when we needed actionable intelligence we seemed to have little of value in our files at Langley; and also from the fact that throughout the runup to the war to the present, the press has been full of leaks sourced to unnamed CIA officers countering the Administration and those leaks were often — though not exclusively — related to counter—proliferation issues.

But nothing persuades me more of this than the factual record of the Wilson—Plame story. And it is my hope that this opportunity fully to  investigate what happened in that office has been taken by the Special Prosecutor and his investigation will not conclude without shedding light on this apparent perfidy.

I have reviewed all the material I can find on this case, and I return to these mysteries:

(1) Why was Wilson, with no particular knowledge or qualifications, given this task by his wife's office?
(2)Why did he deny his wife had recommended him for that job and why did his wife, knowing from the outset of this matter that this was an issue, say to the Senate Intel Committee she no longer remembered how he'd been selected?
(3) Didn't the Committee discredit both of them when they said she was the moving force in his selection?
(4)Why was Wilson's report made orally?
(5) Why was he not made to sign an oath of confidentiality respecting this work?
(6) Why did Plame's counterproliferation office not disclose his report to the CIA head Tenet, so that when he vetted the Administration's evidentiary arguments for the war, he would have had that information?
(7) Why was Wilson given classified information months after his report about the forged documents on Niger ,which the Senate Intel committee found he could not have known about when he did his mission?
(8)And why did he lie after this point was made, and say he might have been confused when he claimed to have had seen it when he said he had?
(9)And where else would he have gotten that classified information, if not from his wife?

Tom Maguire, a fine lawyer who uses citations for practically everything he says ,early on observed that it was Plame and Wilson who were not telling the truth. Here is an early report he posted online detailing Wilson's myriad lies.  And here is a list with hyperlinks to all of the legal documents in this matter. 

I cannot find in this list the text of the CIA's referral letter to the Department of Justice seeking an investigation which is dated July 30. It may well never have been made public. But the initial letter from Congressman Conyers asking about the referral received a response from Mr. Gonzales which describes it generally as a request about the leaking of classified material from the agency. The request seems broad enough to cover leaks from WITHIN the agency on everything related to the Wilson trip. (A valuable review of the timeline with hyperlinks to cites is found here.)
 
All reports from Matt Cooper, Walter Pincus, Judith Miller, Lewis Libby and Karl Rove about their grand jury testimony indicate one consistent thing: Libby and Rove did not leak any classified material to the reporters in this case. There is in the pirouette of Miller and her lawyer and Libby's a hint of what I have believed all along: it is highly likely that Miller, an expert in bio—chem warfare who seems to have had significant sources in the intelligence community, may have passed along to Libby more information than he gave her, and some of that may have been classified data obtained from leakers inside the agency.) See also this, this, and this.
 
And there is also a hint in the record that Cooper (whose wife is a Hillary Clinton consultant) was trying to set—up Rove. .

Yesterday, the Washington Post carried a piece co—bylined by Walter Pincus (whose wife held an appointed position under Bill Clinton).  It contains a weakly—sourced suggestion that the Special Prosecutor is looking into a wide conspiracy within the Administration to retaliate against Wilson. This suggestion was repeated on Fox News later Sunday by Marvin Kalb of Harvard's Shorenstein Institute. 

Just as Wilson blew the game when he lied about when he saw the forged report on yellowcake (which the Administration had never relied on), I maintain that Pincus has given away the game here. That is, it is obvious that Cooper and Pincus have a dog in this fight and it inclines them to smearing, not honest reporting.  I am not alone in seeing this as a continuing press campaign to deflect from Wilson's lies and harm the Administration with false reporting

VandeHei and Pincus fail to note a few things in their article, chief among them that Joseph Wilson serially leaked secret government material and lied about its contents. The Senate Select Committee on Intelligence reached that conclusion in its report on Iraq War intelligence, and names Pincus himself as one of the dupes Wilson used to get out his misinformation. Why didn't Pincus bother to mention that? And why isn't Fitzgerald investigating Wilson and Plame for those leaks (the other dupe was NY Times Nicholas Kristof) for a possible CIA conspiracy to illegally undermine the foreign policy of the duly elected American government?
 
The Post also claims that the Niger intelligence "was central to the White House's rationale for war," when plainly it was not. The vast majority of the intelligence from most Western nations had concluded that Saddam still had WMD, and that his lack of compliance with the sixteen UN resolutions on full, verifiable, and permanent disarmament demonstrated that he still retained that capability. Moreover, the trip that Wilson took actually corroborated that conclusion, as the prime minister of Niger told Wilson that the only purpose of a secret Iraqi delegation he could divine was to trade for yellowcake uranium —— which Wilson admitted to the SSCI bolstered, not undermined, the case for war against Iraq.
 
If indeed Fitzgerald has decided on this strategy, then he has embarked on a foolish and dangerous expansion of conspiracy law. The Washington Post, meanwhile, continues to embark on its policy of half—truths on the Wilson—Plame story in order to cover up its position of supine gullibility in regards to Joe Wilson. Why Walter Pincus has remained on this case as a reporter is anyone's guess, but as long as the editors of the Post continue to use him in such a fashion, their reporting will continue to be suspect

Is the press merely being partisan? Are they just terminally gullible? Or are these people covering up a role they played in a conspiracy hatched at Langley?  Blogger macsmind says that if there is anyone indicted in this" he'll be wearing press credentials."

From what I know and understand Mr. Pincus as well as possibly David Corn, and especially Matt Cooper should be contacting Judy to see what the food is like....

Valerie conspired with her husband and other anti—regime change ops in the CIA to discredit the President of the United States. Yes I do have evidence that this is in fact the case, but for now a re—read of this article will suffice.

Will we ever learn the truth? We await further word from the Special Prosecutor.

The curious case of Judith Miller, recently released from jail to testify before a grand jury convened by Special Prosecutor Peter Fitzgerald, continues to raise questions about what really is under investigation. Many agree that the pieces we can publicly see simply don't fit together in an understandable fashion. Something may be going on inside the grand jury room about which we know little or nothing.

Although the jury is supposedly investigating the naming of Valerie Plame as a CIA agent, the actual details of the grand jury's deliberations remain secret. Speculation abounds as to why Ms. Miller ignored previous permission to testify given her by the source she was allegedly protecting, Lewis 'Scooter' Libby, Vice President Cheney's chief of staff. The story so far just doesn't make sense.

I see a bigger picture in the background, involving the CIA and conduct of the war in Iraq. I am persuaded that the CIA counter—proliferation group was incompetent, and actively involved in undermining the President's war on Iraq, working with the Kerry campaign, tacitly or not. I draw this conclusion partly from the fact that although Congress had long made regime change in Iraq a national policy, when we needed actionable intelligence we seemed to have little of value in our files at Langley; and also from the fact that throughout the runup to the war to the present, the press has been full of leaks sourced to unnamed CIA officers countering the Administration and those leaks were often — though not exclusively — related to counter—proliferation issues.

But nothing persuades me more of this than the factual record of the Wilson—Plame story. And it is my hope that this opportunity fully to  investigate what happened in that office has been taken by the Special Prosecutor and his investigation will not conclude without shedding light on this apparent perfidy.

I have reviewed all the material I can find on this case, and I return to these mysteries:

(1) Why was Wilson, with no particular knowledge or qualifications, given this task by his wife's office?
(2)Why did he deny his wife had recommended him for that job and why did his wife, knowing from the outset of this matter that this was an issue, say to the Senate Intel Committee she no longer remembered how he'd been selected?
(3) Didn't the Committee discredit both of them when they said she was the moving force in his selection?
(4)Why was Wilson's report made orally?
(5) Why was he not made to sign an oath of confidentiality respecting this work?
(6) Why did Plame's counterproliferation office not disclose his report to the CIA head Tenet, so that when he vetted the Administration's evidentiary arguments for the war, he would have had that information?
(7) Why was Wilson given classified information months after his report about the forged documents on Niger ,which the Senate Intel committee found he could not have known about when he did his mission?
(8)And why did he lie after this point was made, and say he might have been confused when he claimed to have had seen it when he said he had?
(9)And where else would he have gotten that classified information, if not from his wife?

Tom Maguire, a fine lawyer who uses citations for practically everything he says ,early on observed that it was Plame and Wilson who were not telling the truth. Here is an early report he posted online detailing Wilson's myriad lies.  And here is a list with hyperlinks to all of the legal documents in this matter. 

I cannot find in this list the text of the CIA's referral letter to the Department of Justice seeking an investigation which is dated July 30. It may well never have been made public. But the initial letter from Congressman Conyers asking about the referral received a response from Mr. Gonzales which describes it generally as a request about the leaking of classified material from the agency. The request seems broad enough to cover leaks from WITHIN the agency on everything related to the Wilson trip. (A valuable review of the timeline with hyperlinks to cites is found here.)
 
All reports from Matt Cooper, Walter Pincus, Judith Miller, Lewis Libby and Karl Rove about their grand jury testimony indicate one consistent thing: Libby and Rove did not leak any classified material to the reporters in this case. There is in the pirouette of Miller and her lawyer and Libby's a hint of what I have believed all along: it is highly likely that Miller, an expert in bio—chem warfare who seems to have had significant sources in the intelligence community, may have passed along to Libby more information than he gave her, and some of that may have been classified data obtained from leakers inside the agency.) See also this, this, and this.
 
And there is also a hint in the record that Cooper (whose wife is a Hillary Clinton consultant) was trying to set—up Rove. .

Yesterday, the Washington Post carried a piece co—bylined by Walter Pincus (whose wife held an appointed position under Bill Clinton).  It contains a weakly—sourced suggestion that the Special Prosecutor is looking into a wide conspiracy within the Administration to retaliate against Wilson. This suggestion was repeated on Fox News later Sunday by Marvin Kalb of Harvard's Shorenstein Institute. 

Just as Wilson blew the game when he lied about when he saw the forged report on yellowcake (which the Administration had never relied on), I maintain that Pincus has given away the game here. That is, it is obvious that Cooper and Pincus have a dog in this fight and it inclines them to smearing, not honest reporting.  I am not alone in seeing this as a continuing press campaign to deflect from Wilson's lies and harm the Administration with false reporting

VandeHei and Pincus fail to note a few things in their article, chief among them that Joseph Wilson serially leaked secret government material and lied about its contents. The Senate Select Committee on Intelligence reached that conclusion in its report on Iraq War intelligence, and names Pincus himself as one of the dupes Wilson used to get out his misinformation. Why didn't Pincus bother to mention that? And why isn't Fitzgerald investigating Wilson and Plame for those leaks (the other dupe was NY Times Nicholas Kristof) for a possible CIA conspiracy to illegally undermine the foreign policy of the duly elected American government?
 
The Post also claims that the Niger intelligence "was central to the White House's rationale for war," when plainly it was not. The vast majority of the intelligence from most Western nations had concluded that Saddam still had WMD, and that his lack of compliance with the sixteen UN resolutions on full, verifiable, and permanent disarmament demonstrated that he still retained that capability. Moreover, the trip that Wilson took actually corroborated that conclusion, as the prime minister of Niger told Wilson that the only purpose of a secret Iraqi delegation he could divine was to trade for yellowcake uranium —— which Wilson admitted to the SSCI bolstered, not undermined, the case for war against Iraq.
 
If indeed Fitzgerald has decided on this strategy, then he has embarked on a foolish and dangerous expansion of conspiracy law. The Washington Post, meanwhile, continues to embark on its policy of half—truths on the Wilson—Plame story in order to cover up its position of supine gullibility in regards to Joe Wilson. Why Walter Pincus has remained on this case as a reporter is anyone's guess, but as long as the editors of the Post continue to use him in such a fashion, their reporting will continue to be suspect

Is the press merely being partisan? Are they just terminally gullible? Or are these people covering up a role they played in a conspiracy hatched at Langley?  Blogger macsmind says that if there is anyone indicted in this" he'll be wearing press credentials."

From what I know and understand Mr. Pincus as well as possibly David Corn, and especially Matt Cooper should be contacting Judy to see what the food is like....

Valerie conspired with her husband and other anti—regime change ops in the CIA to discredit the President of the United States. Yes I do have evidence that this is in fact the case, but for now a re—read of this article will suffice.

Will we ever learn the truth? We await further word from the Special Prosecutor.