You cannot rely on the antique media to give an appropriately detailed report of what is happening in the Libby case. Luckily Byron York, who does pay attention, attended Friday's hearing and notes that the Prosecutor is resisting turning over evidence as to whether Plame was classified as an undercover agent, whether that classification was erroneous, the referral material from the CIA, and any information about harm to national security...even though in his press release and indictment Fitzgerald has made specific allegations as to these issues.
At that point, Wells introduced what was the Libby side's most extensive statement to Wells's speculation about Wilson's status matches up with descriptions of Wilson's employment offered by some knowledgeable sources. There appears to be no doubt that Wilson was a covert CIA agent at the beginning and during much of her career; people who trained with her and who served with her attest to that. But there are questions about whether Wilson was in any practical way operating undercover in the years leading up to her exposure in the Novak column. The Libby team seemed to be suggesting that Wilson's classified status, if that is what she had, was vestigial — that her undercover days were over and she only retained that status on paper.
One knowledgeable source suggests that might be the case, but maintains that being technically undercover was still being undercover. "She was definitely undercover by agency standards at the time in question," the source says. "That was a classified bit of information, and is sufficient as far as the agency is concerned to bring it to the attention of the Justice Department. You can argue whether she should have been, but as far as the agency was concerned it was classified."
One document that might shed light on the situation is the referral sent by the CIA to the Justice Department after the publication of the Novak column. Libby's lawyers have asked for it, but Fitzgerald is refusing that request, too. On Friday, Fitzgerald said he would address the subject later in his sealed filing. But in a letter to the Libby team last Tuesday, Fitzgerald's deputy, Kathleen Kedian, said the special prosecutor will not give up the referral — and that Libby simply did not need to know what was in it. "After consultation with the CIA, we advise that we view any such documents in our possession as not discoverable," Kedian wrote. "The documents remain classified and contain information compiled for law enforcement purposes that is neither material to the preparation of the defense, nor exculpatory as to Mr. Libby."
In the end, the judge decided to put off a ruling on the issue until after Fitzgerald files his sealed document, and after Libby's lawyers have a chance to respond to it. What Walton will ultimately decide is unclear. But it is clear what Fitzgerald wants: a CIA leak trial in which the defense is forbidden from learning some critical facts about the CIA leak. [Emphasis added].
Of course, the agency was exhorted in an Executive Order dated March 2003 to avoid misclassifying its employees.(Yet another example in this case of the Agency operating under its own rules.)
The old pop tune lyrics "Answer me Oh my love Just what sin have I been guilty of " keep replaying with each new revelation in this case.
h/t: Just One Minute
Clarice Feldman 2 27 06