Bozo would have been right at home yesterday at the Waxman hearings. We now have sworn testimony from the CIA's Grenier and Valerie Plame which contradict each other, not that the media will notice.
Tom Maguire neatly dissects the main point Waxman tried to make--that Plame was covert. (She testified no one told her she was, which as some wag noted today suggests the information about her status was too covert even for her to know.)
From Rep. Waxman's opening statement at his Plame show trial today:
I have been advised by the CIA that even now, after all that has happened, I cannot disclose the full nature, scope, and character of Ms. 'Wilson's service to our nation without causing serious damage to our national security interests.
But General Hayden and the CIA have cleared these following comments for today's hearing.
During her employment at the CIA, Ms. Wilson was under cover.
Her employment status with the CIA was classified information prohibited from disclosure under Executive Order 12958.
At the time of the publication of Robert Novak's column on July 14,2003, Ms. Wilson's CIA employment status was covert.
This was classified information.
First, I want a special counsel to indict Waxman for perjury - the relevant Executive Order is 13292, which amended and supplanted 12958 in March 2003, and which was effective immediately (except for section 1.6, related to markings - what are the odds the violation to which he refers is there? Groan. I want a lawyer...). But before we take Mr. Waxman away in chains, let's talk about his statement. The magic words we are all listening for are "Ms. Plame had covert status under the law as defined by the Intelligence Identities Protection Act." His failure to speak those words speaks volumes - I have no doubt he will gull the NY Times (Mission Accomplished - see below), but folks in the know will see this for the smokescreen it is.
Please - don't tell me that there would have been vast national security implications if he had said "CIA lawyers who have studied her file have assured me that Ms. Plame had covert status under the IIPA". There would have been no national security implications to his saying it, it would have strengthened his presentation to say it, yet he did not say it - what reasonable conclusion might one draw?
Telling us that the CIA considered her to be covert as per their employment practices is smoke - the WaPo understood this point this morning (but the Times never will).
Tom has several more good posts on yesterday's hearing which I urge you to read.
Plame's testimony was quite ridiculous on the subject ot whether she played a role in sending her husband to Niger. For the first time, she testified that on February 12 a colleague walked by her office, distressed that someone in the Offoce of the Vice President had questions about Niger and this unnamed person suggested that Wilson be sent; that the two of them went to her supervisor who asked her to talk to her husband and that this same supervisor asked her to write a memo suggesting Wilson for the job, one day before there is any record of the Vice President asking about Niger. (No one asked whether the same mysterious colleague had her recommend her husband for the 1999 Mission to Niger.)
In any event, her testimony contradicts the findings of the SSCI and the following testimony in the Libby trial:
From today's hearing:
REP. LYNCH: Thank you. And I want to go back to that Senate Intelligence Committee hearing. There were three Republican senators who included a more definitive statement which -- now this is a quote. It said, "The plan to send the former ambassador to Niger was suggested by the former ambassador's wife, a CIA employee." What is your reaction to that statement in the Senate report about the genesis of your husband's trip to Niger in 2002?
MS. PLAME WILSON: Congressman, it's incorrect. It's been borne out in the testimony during the Libby trial, and I can tell you that it just doesn't square with the facts.
From the Libby Trial:
Government Questions to Grenier (Testimony on January 24, 2007 Morning Session, p. 92-93):
Q: And what did this person [in the CPD] explain to you?
A: Well, the person explained to me that, in fact, we the CIA, had sent Ambassador Wilson to Niger to get information to determine whether or not Iraq had attempted to purchase uranium from that country.
Q: Did they give you any more information other than that bare fact?
A: Yes, well, in fact, explained in a fair amount of detail how we did it, when he went, where he went, who was supposed to meet with him, and a number of those details. He was also able to tell me that, in fact, while the office of Vice President had been very interested in getting more information on this topic, in fact, interest had been expressed also by the Department of State and the Department of Defense.
Q: And this information was significant to you in terms of the question that Mr. Libby had asked you?
A: Yes. I felt that I had all the information and more, in fact, that had been requested by Mr. Libby.
Q: And did the individual that you spoke to at C.P.D. [Counterproliferation Division], did they also bring up the subject of Ambassador Wilson's wife?
A: Yes. The person mentioned to me that, in fact, Ambassador Wilson's wife was working in the unit within C.P.D. that had sent Ambassador Wilson the re, and clearly indicated that that's where the idea had came from. That's why they knew about Ambassador Joseph Wilson and the fact that he had contacts in Africa.
Q: Did the individual name, to the best of your recollection, the Ambassador's wife's name?
A: No. I am certain that the person did not tell me the name, only that it was Ambassador Wilson's wife.
Questions by Defense: (Testimony of Charles Grenier, January 24, 2007, Afternoon Session, p. 55-57)
Q: When you did see Mr. Libby, two days or a day or two, three, whatever it was, after your conversation with him, did you say something to him about, you know, maybe I shouldn't have mentioned anything about Joe Wiilson's wife the other day. I hope you'll keep that confidential. Did you say something like that to him?
A: No, I don't think I did.
Q: By the way, you didn't mention the name of Wilson's wife to Mr. Libby, correct?
A: That's right.
Q: You didn't mention anything to Mr. Libby concerning whether Wilson's wife was classified or covert?
Q: And covert, in simple terms, means undercover, correct?
Q: While the CIA does have undercover employees, it has thousands of employees who are not, right?
A: That's true.
Q: When you learned that Ambassador Wilson's wife was employed by the CIA, what you heard was that she was a staff person in the Counter Proliferation Division, correct?
A: Well, no. All I heard was that she was working in that unit. So, that could have meant any number of things. It could have meant that she was a staff director of operations officer who was working in that unit. It could have meant that she was an analyst from the Director of Intelligence who was essentially on loan and working in that unit. It could have meant a number of different things, and I didn't ask for clarification.
Q: Would you turn to your second Grand Jury transcript? Would you turn the transcript to page 16 please? I'll read from Line 9.
Did you testify to the Grand Jury the second time, July 29, 2005, that the clear implication of what you learned from the person in the CPD was that Mr. Wilson's wife was "an individual who was employed as a staff person in the Counter Proliferation Division. Did you tell the Grand Jury that?
Q: Now, that did not tell you, in itself, what, even what you learned from the Counter Proliferation Division, that she was a classified or covert employee, correct?
A: No. Although, and again, a staff person in the Counter Proliferation Division, that alone as I just mentioned has a number of different, you could interpret that in a number of different ways. Could be a staff person from intelligence working with the Counter Proliferation Division. I'm sorry. What was the question again?
Q: My question was whether you testified to that in the Grand Jury.
Q: And, in fact, the person gave you no indication, the person you talked to, gave you no indication that Wilsons wife was a covert or covered employee, correct?
A: That' right.
So, who's telling the truth, the CIA's Grenier or the former CIA employer Valerie Plame both of whom testified under oath?
Victoria Toensing, a co-author of the Intelligence Identity Protection Act, testified that Plame never came within the purview of that Act, the only applicable federal crime that could justify Fitzgerald's work. It did not help that only two members of the minority bothered to show up, because the majority regularly cut short her answers,and, even if the majority sharply restricted what questions could be asked Plame, they could have allowed Toensing the courtesy of being allowed to give full responses.
The Oversight Committee's Minority won no kudos for their absence today.
Here is a pdf file of Victoria Toensing's testimony.