The American Spectator adds more details to the puzzle of who authorized Wilson's trip and who referred the Plame non—outing to the Department of Justice:
A source who spoke on the condition of anonymity said Valerie Plame —— who suggested her husband for the Niger mission —— was too low on the CIA totem pole to have approved and paid for the mission. The source also told me that Judith ("Jami") Miscik, then the CIA"s deputy director for intelligence, was the person who signed off on the Wilson mission. Plame's WINPAC directorate was under Miscik in the chain of command. Miscik was fired by new CIA director Porter Goss late last year during Goss's housecleaning in which Deputy Director John E. McLauglin resigned and Deputy Director of Operations James Pavitt retired.
The CIA, through one of its spokesmen, declined to comment on whether it was Miscik or someone else because of pending legal proceedings. And, in context with other information, it appears that Miscik would not likely have been the one. Logically the person who approved the Wilson mission would have had to be some senior person in the Operations Directorate, possibly the now—retired Pavitt.
Regardless of who started the mission, the CIA responded to the Novak column by sending a classified criminal referral —— the allegation of criminal conduct requesting a formal investigation —— to the Justice Department. When it did so, it had to have known that Plame's status was not covert (as defined in the Intelligence Identities Protection Act of 1982) and probably knew " it is an intelligence organization, after all " that Wilson had blabbed his wife's identity around town. Why, then, was the criminal referral made? Who approved it? Such actions had to be approved at least by the CIA general counsel and probably by CIA Director Tenet or at least his deputy, McLauglin. Why did they do that knowing what they must have known?
The December 30, 2003 letter from Deputy Attorney General Paul Comey appointing Patrick Fitzgerald special prosecutor, says, in part: "I hereby delegate to you all the authority of the Attorney General with respect to the Department's investigation into the alleged unauthorized disclosure of a CIA employee's identity" What was the allegation? If it were made falsely —— say with the knowledge that Plame's identity wasn't covert or had become public —— the person who made the referral may have committed a serious crime.
Clarice Feldman 11 08 05