Democrats Invite Valerie Plame to Testify

Valerie Plame has been invited to testify before Congress. About nothing in particular.

Democratic lawmakers are eager to hear from outed CIA operative Valerie Plame as they try to make political fodder out of the 2003 leak scandal.

Plame was scheduled to testify before a congressional committee Friday, but it was unlikely the hearing would offer any new information about the Bush administration’s discussions of her employment at the spy agency. “Valerie’s going to be talking in general about the need to protect intelligence assets,” her attorney, Melanie Sloan, said prior to her appearance before the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee. “She’s basically talking about how important national intelligence is and about how leaking is bad.”

Her prepared testimony would take about five minutes, Sloan said, and wouldn’t include any behind-the-scenes details about the CIA or the White House.

The man with that kind of information is Special Prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald, who spent years investigating the leak and interviewed President Bush, Vice President Dick Cheney and several top aides and journalists. But Fitzgerald isn’t talking, citing federal rules prohibiting such discussions. And nobody from the White House involved in the leak was scheduled to testify. Nor was someone from the State Department, where the leak of Plame’s identity originated.

The use of Congressional “hearings” as political publicity stunts are nothing new nor by any means limited to Democrats. Still, it’s rather hilarious to do so this on a four-year-old scandal that was turned over to a special prosecutor who closed his years-long investigation without charging anyone with a crime related to the subject of said investigation. (He did, however, successfully prosecute the crime of lying during said investigation. Yay.)

The upside is that Congress will get a five minute lecture on how bad leaks are. If anyone needs that, it’s Congress.

UPDATE: Richard Leiby and Walter Pincus lead their WaPo coverage of this dog-and-pony show with this jawdropper:

She has been silent nearly four years.

I guess if you don’t count the press releases, press conferences, magazine interviews ….

FILED UNDER: General, , , , ,
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.

Comments

  1. Ugh says:

    She could clear up her covert status, which Tom McGuire thinks is still a mystery.

  2. Bithead says:

    Why, James… You mean to seriously say this is going to be all for SHOW?

    Another illusion shattered….

  3. Dave Schuler says:

    Victory lap?

  4. M1EK says:

    James, anybody who supports our country should be mad at what these boneheads in your party tried to do – whether or not she was still covert; and whether or not Wilson’s story was true. Do you not get the problem here? What’s to stop President Hillary from doing the same thing if you don’t lay down the law here?

  5. James Joyner says:

    M1EK: From all indications I’ve seen, the various leaks relating to Plame’s identity were simply to point out the fact that she was the one who assigned Joe Wilson to the mission in Niger. No one doing it had any malicious intent to out a covert operative.

    Anyone who can be shown to have done so with that intent should certainly be in prison, as I stated the morning the allegations broke. Years of investigation, however, established that it didn’t happen.

  6. jaw says:

    James:

    Would you concede that the fact that Libby was convicted of perjury and obstructing justice was a possible reason why, as you state, “Years of investigation, however, established that it didn’t happen.”

    That is also what the prosecutor in the case stated. He clearly stated that there is no conclusion that there was no crime comitted, just that he couldn’t get to it because he was lied to and obstructed.

  7. James Joyner says:

    He clearly stated that there is no conclusion that there was no crime comitted, just that he couldn’t get to it because he was lied to and obstructed.

    The man had years and unlimited resources. He has the admission of the guy, Richard Armitage, who made the leak to Novak. He knows who leaked the information, when they leaked it, to whom they leaked it, and why they leaked it.

    And, frankly, absent extraordinary circumstances (think: OJ Simpson), the presumption ought to be that people who aren’t charged with crimes aren’t guilty of them.

  8. jay k. says:

    you say…”Years of investigation, however, established that it didn’t happen.”
    the facts say scooter libby obstructed justice and therefore whether it happened or not could not be established.
    why is this concept so hard for some people to grasp.

  9. not the senator says:

    At the hearing-

    The CIA seems to have confirmed once and for all that Plame was still officially covert at the time of the Novak column.

    Gee, I guess all those Republican talking points will have to be thrown out.

  10. David I says:

    Just some food for thought, re: criminal or not criminal to reveal Plame’s identity. Rep. Waxman just said the following:

    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 these hearings. During her employment at the CIA, Ms. Wilson was undercover. Her employment status at 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.

    Regardless of Libby’s motives for doing so, the jury found that he did knowingly lie about the White House’s handling of this matter. Perhaps an appeal will reverse this ruling, but it is the judgement of our legal system.

  11. ME says:

    “without charging anyone with a crime related to the subject of said investigation. (He did, however, successfully prosecute the crime of lying during said investigation. Yay.)”

    Uh, lying about something under investigation and getting prosecuted for it is absolutely “related to the subject of said investigation.”.

    Let me rewrite that last part:

    “(He was, however, unable to prosecute the original crime due to Libby’s crime of lying during said investigation. Yay.)”

    See how that works? Portion of comment in violation of site policies deleted.

    Editor’s note: Personal insults are not tolerated here. This is especially true when coming from anonymous commenters.

  12. Bithead says:

    the facts say scooter libby obstructed justice and therefore whether it happened or not could not be established.

    But what they were ‘investigating’ wasn’t a crime.

    So where we are at a bit of a sticky problem for the Democrats making this claim about Libby… even assuming Libby’s guilty… and I do not… we’re left with the picture of Bill Clinton lying under oath and obstructing justice about soemthing which was not a crime.

    One lands in jail, one gets priased. What’s wrong with this picture, Democrats?

  13. Robert says:

    Nice job playing YBC (Yeah, But Clinton), Bithead.

    Now just imagine Clinton’s VP outing a CIA agent to cover-up the fact lies were used to get the country to support an unnecessary war.

    Are you going to just let Clinton get away with this? It’s bad enough he lied under oath. (Granted it was during an investigation into a matter in which he was already cleared of any wrongdoing by a bipartisan commission headed by a Republican years before; but still).

    Are you just going to let Clinton get away with sending American troops to die for no good reason
    AND out a CIA agent to cover up the lies that got us there?

    If so, I’m taking away your Republican voting card–you traitor.

  14. Bithead says:

    Now just imagine Clinton’s VP outing a CIA agent to cover-up the fact lies were used to get the country to support an unnecessary war.

    Keep imagining, cause it didn’t happen here, or with Bush… and you know that, since you know WIlson is a demonstrated liar.

  15. ME says:

    “even assuming Libby’s guilty… and I do not”

    1. Legally, he is.
    2. Luckily, you weren’t tasked with determining Libby’s guilt… a jury, privy to all evidence allowed in the trial, was. And they found him guilty. You can’t even pretend to know what they know about this case, so your assertion is, for all intents and purposes, baseless and not credible.

    “But what they were ‘investigating’ wasn’t a crime.”

    Well, nice of you to make that determination.

    Unfortunately, someone who is intimately familiar with the law, and appointed by Gonzales himself to investigate, determined that an investigation was neccesary. Libby lied to him during the investigation…and you think that was “poor memory”? You do realize that these people are allowed to review all their notes, emails, etc… before testifying right? You do realize that Gonzales, breaking with stardard operating procedure, waited 8 hours to notify the whitehouse that it needed to preserve all documents, and that critical emails were mysteriously “missing”?

    The whole thing stinks to high heaven, and all you can say (after someone was CONVICTED for OBSTRUCTING JUSTICE!!!!) is that there was no “underlying crime”?

    Once again, just not credible.

  16. jaw says:

    Bithead:

    Read the comments above regarding the underlying crime. We hear from the hearings today that the CIA is saying that Plame was undercover and covert, and her outing was a crime. This, of course, was also stated by them when they originally asked for the investigation in the first place and it was ignored by the right wing spin machine then, so I won’t hold my breath that they (including, presumably, you) will listen to or believe the CIA this time around, either.

  17. Bithead says:

    And by the way, Robert… we tried that game once… You will recall Bosnia, right?
    I thought Clinton did the right thing there… even though I’m willing to bet you didn’t.

  18. Bithead says:

    The whole thing stinks to high heaven, and all you can say (after someone was CONVICTED for OBSTRUCTING JUSTICE!!!!) is that there was no “underlying crime”?

    WhiteWater.
    Remember? Careful… your double standards are showing..

  19. Robert T. says:

    James- you refer to “magazine interviews”.

    Please provide a link to these interviews. I must have missed them.

  20. M1EK says:

    James, your continued support of these clowns is just reprehensible. I’ll, for this and other cases like it, never ever vote Republican again.

    An important quote from her:

    “They all knew that I worked with the CIA,” Plame Wilson said. “They might not have known what my status was but that alone — the fact that I worked for the CIA — should have put up a red flag.”

  21. Marc says:

    Mr. Joyner:
    “the presumption ought to be that people who aren’t charged with crimes aren’t guilty of them.” TRUE! But that’s not what you’re saying is it? You’re saying “THERE WAS NO CRIME.” But crimes that are not brought to trial are not non-existent. Heck, my kids watch enough “Law and Order” to know that! There was a crime, the prosecutor says that part of the reason it can’t be brought to trial is that one of the highest officers in the White House staff lied, obstructed and generally threw sand in the gears of justice. It may not come from Libby, but rest confident that HISTORY will reveal all about just how corrupt, self-serving, murderous and anti-American this administration has been in its lust for power, oil, money and more power.

  22. jpe says:

    No one doing it had any malicious intent to out a covert operative.

    That strikes me as akin to shooting someone through the head because there was a deer behind that person and then claiming that I never had any malicious intent to shoot him.

  23. Steve Verdon says:

    James- you refer to “magazine interviews”.

    Please provide a link to these interviews. I must have missed them.

    Yes, it is clear you did. I don’t have a link, but I do recall an interview, complete with a picture of Ms. Plame, in Vanity Fair. Of course, she wore the clever disguise of sunglasses and a scarf over her hed while sitting with her Husband in their Jaguar.

    You can read more here.

    An interview here as well.

    WASHINGTON (CNN) — Former CIA officer Valerie Plame on Friday said she and her husband filed their lawsuit against top Bush administration officials “with heavy hearts” but at the same time “with a renewed sense of purpose.”

    Basically, Plame has been doing a sort of “striptease” as Slate’s Chatterbox has put it.

  24. jaw says:

    Steve:

    You seem to be confused about the difference between the knowledge that Joe Wilson had a wife, and the knowledge that this person was a covert, undercover CIA operative. She didn’t live in a cave, for God’s sake. She was around town as Valerie Wilson, Joe’s wife. She also had cover employment at a company called Brewster Jennings, along with many other CIA operatives. When Novak outed that whole company in his column, he destroyed the cover and hard work of all of those people, including Valerie.

  25. Robert T says:

    Regrettably, Steve, it is you who clearly “misses it”.

    I own the referenced Vanity Fair magazine and there is certainly NO interview of Plame within. Just another candid D.C. shot. I certainly hope you understand the difference between a photograph and an interview.

    I know it is in the nature of today’s Fox-based conservatives to repeat falsehood as fact without having any idea what one is saying, but I must say it is getting past tedious.

    Anyway, back to James, I still look forward to reading about those “interviews” that you found so upsetting.

  26. Steve Verdon says:

    Jaw,

    The Vanity Fair interview and photos came out after the scandal broke. Beyond that, the rest of your comment seems to completely irrelevant to issue of whether or not she has been “nearly silent for four years”.

  27. Steve Verdon says:

    Robert,

    You clearly missed the interveiw where she announced her lawsuit against Libby, Rove, and Cheney. Here is another press release, about how she will add Armitage to the list.

    Also, there is the very long list of people speaking for her. Her husband, friends, former agents, etc. The idea that we haven’t known what Plame is doing is just ridiculous. She has been doing everything to extend her 15 minutes.

    2006 article on the book deal. Complete with a picture.

  28. Robert T says:

    Steve-

    Perhaps you should review the definition of “interview” before posting further. Your second link, just like the first, had no content even remotely akin to an interview. The press release you referenced was not even made by Plame.

    Also, you did not even have the good grace to admit you were completely and eggregiously wrong with respect to the Vanity Fair “interview” reference. Now would be a good time to make amends, or else completely lose credibility.

    Let’s stay on topic, Steve. Find those “interviews” for me.

  29. confused us says:

    What seems to happen is there is a conservative position staked out early on and from then on the semantic/fact attack begins in earnest. They then work their way backwards to the source material taking in every new element and conforming it to the aforementioned position.
    They cannot relent at some point not because they know that they are on shaky ground but because that would confuse the us vs them paradigm. Bithead et al find themselves deeply entangled in an ego fueled need to be right.

  30. Robert T says:

    I think you are on to something here, Confused…

    They seem to have delusions of being Limbaugh-esque, but forgeting no one is screening the calls here. It must be hard to keep repeating lies when the facts are thrust right back in one’s face, I imagine. I guess some folks will carry the water for anyone.

  31. jim says:

    I would just like to address the allegation that Wilson lied. This particular GOP talking point keeps popping up like whack-a-mole.

    a) What is it that you claim Wilson lied about?

    Wilson NEVER stated that Cheney directly sent him. As I recall, Wilson said someone told him the Vice President’s office was interested in these Niger claims, so they wanted him to investigate.

    Is it something else that WIlson lied about? If so, what?

    b) What does that even have to do with the substance of Wilson’s statement – that Iraq had not been involved in Uranium negotiation with Niger, and in addition would have had no chance of getting Uranium if they did?

    To sum up, why would the Bush admin even go after Wilson’s wife? If Wilson was wrong and the Bush admin was right, why couldn’t they just prove Wilson wrong on the merits of his argument?

  32. jim says:

    In above point a), by “they wanted him to investigate”, I mean that the CIA wanted him to investigate.

  33. wrw6 says:

    James said ” . . . the presumption ought to be that people who aren’t charged with crimes aren’t guilty of them.”

    WTF?!? What world do you live in!! Does this mean that its only a crime if you are caught? I guess that’s the new (old) Republican mantra.

  34. Bithead says:

    What is it that you claim Wilson lied about?

    I’ll let Cliff May answer that one.

    For starters, he has insisted that his wife, CIA employee Valerie Plame, was not the one who came up with the brilliant idea that the agency send him to Niger to investigate whether Saddam Hussein had been attempting to acquire uranium. “Valerie had nothing to do with the matter,” Wilson says in his book. “She definitely had not proposed that I make the trip.” In fact, the Senate panel found, she was the one who got him that assignment. The panel even found a memo by her. (She should have thought to use disappearing ink.)

    Wilson spent a total of eight days in Niger “drinking sweet mint tea and meeting with dozens of people,” as he put it. On the basis of this “investigation” he confidently concluded that there was no way Saddam sought uranium from Africa. Oddly, Wilson didn’t bother to write a report saying this. Instead he gave an oral briefing to a CIA official.

    Oddly, too, as an investigator on assignment for the CIA he was not required to keep his mission and its conclusions confidential. And for the New York Times, he was happy to put pen to paper, to write an op-ed charging the Bush administration with “twisting,” “manipulating” and “exaggerating” intelligence about Saddam Hussein’s weapons programs “to justify an invasion.”

    In particular he said that President Bush was lying when, in his 2003 State of the Union address, he pronounced these words: “The British government has learned that Saddam Hussein recently sought significant quantities of uranium from Africa.”

    We now know for certain that Wilson was wrong and that Bush’s statement was entirely accurate.

    To sum up, why would the Bush admin even go after Wilson’s wife?

    You’re assuming something not entered into evidence.

    If Wilson was wrong and the Bush admin was right, why couldn’t they just prove Wilson wrong on the merits of his argument?

    Rather simple, really… the one that got sent to investigate the claims turned out to be a liar. Investigating the report after that, is problematic at best.

  35. Bithead says:

    It gets better:

    As Susan Schmidt reported — back on page A9 of Saturday’s Washington Post: “Contrary to Wilson’s assertions and even the government’s previous statements, the CIA did not tell the White House it had qualms about the reliability of the Africa intelligence.”

    The Senate report says fairly bluntly that Wilson lied to the media. Schmidt notes that the panel found that, “Wilson provided misleading information to the Washington Post last June. He said then that he concluded the Niger intelligence was based on a document that had clearly been forged because ‘the dates were wrong and the names were wrong.'”

    The problem is Wilson “had never seen the CIA reports and had no knowledge of what names and dates were in the reports,” the Senate panel discovered. Schmidt notes: “The documents — purported sales agreements between Niger and Iraq — were not in U.S. hands until eight months after Wilson made his trip to Niger.”

    Wilson is a proven liar.

  36. Steve Verdon says:

    Okay Robert, I’ll concede the evidence for interviews is weak at best. However, the larger point that Plame hasn’t been silent is correct. She has made public statements, she has had people speaking for her, and the idea that she is finally telling her side of the story is just not believable. She, and her husband, have transfromed into attention seekers looking to capitalize on her fame.

  37. Anderson says:

    For starters, he has insisted that his wife, CIA employee Valerie Plame, was not the one who came up with the brilliant idea that the agency send him to Niger to investigate whether Saddam Hussein had been attempting to acquire uranium.

    That’s been exploded by today’s testimony. The Senate committee in fact knew that she *hadn’t* come up with the idea, but chose to ignore that in their report.

  38. Anderson says:

    She, and her husband, have transfromed into attention seekers looking to capitalize on her fame.

    Steve, I don’t hold any brief for the Wilsons, as opposed to being mad at the people who leaked her status. Joe in particular seems unattractive.

    But is it really that hard to imagine that, rather than wishing to “capitalize” on their fame, they’re just plain old mad as hell and wanting to get even?

    I mean, seriously: imagine yourself in Plame’s shoes, when the Novak article comes out. How would *you* feel?

  39. jaw says:

    Steve:
    I may have misunderstood you, I was referring to her not speaking out before she was outed. Even so, it seems that she hasn’t really been speaking out at all after she was outed either. And also, what would it matter if she was? Her whole career, along with the safety of other CIA agents, was destroyed by that point.

    Bithead:

    Are you actually suggesting that Saddam did attempt to buy uranium from Niger? If so, we would all love to see that evidence. Also, if Wilson had not seen the document, or talked to people about it, how could he have been dead-on accurate about the fact that it did contain wrong dates and false names? Or are you contesting that fact as well?

  40. Anderson says:

    Jaw, B-head is in fact himself a covert CIA operative, in such deep cover that he is forced to play the role of a GOP parrot. By attempting to persuade him to reason, you risk blowing his cover and violating the IIPA. Take care, sir.

  41. jim says:

    Bithead:
    As Anderson has pointed out, Valerie Plame’s testimony under oath has now disproven Cliff May’s GOP talking point in his first paragraph that you’ve quoted.

    For the 2nd paragraph:

    On the basis of this “investigation” he confidently concluded that there was no way Saddam sought uranium from Africa. Oddly, Wilson didn’t bother to write a report saying this. Instead he gave an oral briefing to a CIA official.

    And?

    Who says this is odd? Does the CIA say it’s odd? Does anyone in the WHite House say it’s odd?

    Did the CIA ask for a written report, and were they turned down? No. Does the CIA dispute that Wilson reported what he says he reported? No. Does the White House dispute it either? No.

    Oddly, too, as an investigator on assignment for the CIA he was not required to keep his mission and its conclusions confidential.

    a) What’s odd about this? This is how the CIA did it. What’s the implication here? That Wilson controls the CIA?

    b) So what if true? This has absolutely no relevance to whether or not Wilson’s claims are right.

    And for the New York Times, he was happy to put pen to paper, to write an op-ed charging the Bush administration with “twisting,” “manipulating” and “exaggerating” intelligence about Saddam Hussein’s weapons programs “to justify an invasion.”

    So?

    He must be lying because he said bad things about the administration? Is that the argument being made here? So much for this paragraph as well.

    “The British government has learned that Saddam Hussein recently sought significant quantities of uranium from Africa.”

    We now know for certain that Wilson was wrong and that Bush’s statement was entirely accurate.

    Nope. We don’t know any such thing, because
    a) Bush’s statement was NOT entirely accurate – hence the CIA trying to get him to remove them from his very speech!!

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/ac2/wp-dyn/A9011-2003Mar22?language=printer

    b) we know the statement is not accurate now – because we know now that Saddam didn’t try to do this!

    c) In addition, the British Government did not LEARN that Saddam Hussein tried to get Uranium from Africa. Some of them THOUGHT he MIGHT have been interested in it, based on two (2) documents that indicated Saddam Hussein had tried that – documents which were obvious forgeries upon any due-diligence examination of them.

    George Tenet himself expressed reservations on this intel. The result? The Bush administration still used it – they just stated the British gov’t had learned it.

    Which clearly shows the Bush admin didn’t care if the information was good or not. They still wanted the war. So they just revised their sales pitch to the American people, by putting in a little CYA to blame it on the Brits, just in case anyone actually called them out on it.

    I wish they had been this forethoughtful in planning the entire Iraq invasion.

  42. jim says:

    Aren’t you getting tired of making excuses for these people?

    Isn’t it about time you let something bad or dumb that this administration does, actually be their fault?

    Seriously. Please, genuinely think about it. Not just to prove me wrong here. I’m not asking for any sort of response. If you want to give one, fine.

    I’m just more interested in you looking at what’s going on here. I’m guessing you’ve voted for the Bush administration twice. Look, you’re not alone. DOn’t feel bad. A lot of very smart, very pragmatic people voted for them twice. Bush has had the best and best-funded PR offensive behind him in world history. A lot of people were fooled into believing him.

    But something someday that happens, has to be his fault. He’s a grown-up man. Please let him actually be accountable for his actions, and please stop feeling the need to defend your belief in him.

    He and the rest of the GOP are playing you for SUCKERS. And they don’t deserve you or your loyalty. They are proven callous, ignorant and criminally negligent incompetents in every area except their PR.

  43. Robert T says:

    Steve-

    Thanks for the concession, I appreciate it. You’ve distinquished yourself from the many who seem fine forwarding lies with impunity.

    As for your argument that Plame and Wilson are “attention seekers”- well, I’ll be happy to look at your evidence. Plame’s mouth has been pretty much shut up to this point (as it should be, because there isn’t a hell of a lot of background she can provide without leaking national secrets anyway). Joe has responded in the way a career foreign service employee who worked for years for presidents from both parties may be expected to when his wife’s career has been trashed without remorse. He has always been a “fighter” and you can read stories about his behavior in Baghdad during Bush I’s presidency evidencing just that.

    I know they’ve negotiated a book deal and probably movie/TV rights as well on their story. More power to them- it clearly appears to me that Cheney/Rove and company messed with the wrong folks this time and I certainly don’t think they’ve done anything to date that is irresponsible in contesting the administration’s slander. If you don’t have empathy for them, I suppose that is your prerogative, but to me it represents a partisan position rather than one based on weighing the facts.

    In my opinion, Joe Wilson is more of a patriot than Cheney, Bush, Rove, Libby and Gonzales all put together. I’m sure you disagree, however.

  44. Anderson says:

    In my opinion, Joe Wilson is more of a patriot than Cheney, Bush, Rove, Libby and Gonzales all put together. I’m sure you disagree, however.

    But it must be said, that’s a pretty low standard for Wilson to have to meet. He could be selling our nuclear secrets to Tehran and still measure up to that.

  45. Steve Verdon says:

    But is it really that hard to imagine that, rather than wishing to “capitalize” on their fame, they’re just plain old mad as hell and wanting to get even?

    I can understand that, but if I were mad-as-hell and wanting to get even, I don’t think one of my first stops would be the pages of Vanity Fair. I can’t help but think they see a “golden opportunity” and are taking it. Maybe they are both mad-as-hell and attention seekers, but I still find that the latter undermines their claims of damage and being angry.

    But who knows maybe what really has Mrs. Wilson really steamed is the book deal falling through.

    I mean, seriously: imagine yourself in Plame’s shoes, when the Novak article comes out. How would *you* feel?

    Pretty peeved, but again I don’t think I’d be doing photo shoots with a major magazine, shopping a bood deal, and so forth. Heck, I’ve even seen talk of a (television?) movie deal, although I don’t know if Plame would benefit from that. The lawsuit is pretty much what I’d see as the first step.

    And also, what would it matter if she was? Her whole career, along with the safety of other CIA agents, was destroyed by that point.

    I think you answer your own question here. If her safety and the safety of others is put into question then capitalizing on that strikes me as rather…well questionable is about the most polite I can come up with.

  46. Steve Verdon says:

    In my opinion, Joe Wilson is more of a patriot than Cheney, Bush, Rove, Libby and Gonzales all put together. I’m sure you disagree, however.

    Well I try to avoid calling people’s patriotism into question as a general rule. I don’t doubt that Bush et. al. are quite willing to play hard ball, but it seems that the Wilson’s are too. But going from there to being unpatriotic or even anti-American strikes me as jingoistic rhetoric.

  47. Robert T says:

    Well I try to avoid calling people’s patriotism into question as a general rule.

    Yet you challenge the motives of a distinguished public servant and his CIA employed spouse of blown cover? Interesting distinction…. Now that you know Plame had NOTHING to do with Wilson being sent to Niger, do you feel duped?

    I think you answer your own question here. If her safety and the safety of others is put into question then capitalizing on that strikes me as rather…well questionable is about the most polite I can come up with.

    Have you ever participated in the setup or execution of a covert op? Do you have any personal experience in espionage? Reading Tom Clancy or Ludlum doesn’t count, by the way. If not, what then do you draw upon to support your skepticism with Jaw’s position?

  48. JAW says:

    Steve:

    Don’t you think that the act of outing her and endangering other operatives, not to mention hindering their mission of WMD counter-proliferation, is a high crime regardless of how she or her husband handled it? That issue seems to me to be about #1000 on my list of importance of this story. Are you saying that it is much higher? If so, why?

  49. Peter in Hastings says:

    JAW –

    You’re the first to raise this issue in point-blank simplicity. A covert agent working EXACTLY in the area of greatest concern to this country has her cover blown. Her operation, the company she works for has its cover blown, and everyone she ever worked with has their cover blown, and anyone who ever met them is now a suspect in the target countries. Jesus! That’s the highest of treason.

    The President holds NO ONE accountable. Not a single soul. Though half his White House was blabbing her name all over the street, not a SINGLE person is held to account.

    Can you imagine the hypocrisy, all this is the name of what? The treason?

    That’s what happened happened. There’s no putting lipstick on this pig or diverting attention. Four years have gone by AND NOTHING, no one accoutable.

    It’s beyond disgusting, un-American, treasonous. And people defend this Administration over a naked act of treason.

    Honestly. It isn’t any more difficult to understand. I can’t believe people obfuscate the simple truth here.

  50. trrll says:

    In the Orwellian world of the neocons, Wilson lied by telling the truth.

    He said that he was told by the CIA that his trip was motivated by Cheney’s inquiries regarding the supposed Niger deal. This has been confirmed to be true. There is no meaningful dispute.

    He went to Niger, and came back and reported the TRUTH–that there was no evidence of any deal for Saddam to get uranium, and it would be very difficult to make such a deal work if it did exist. Again, there is no serious dispute.

    In his newspaper article, he stated that the Niger claim was bogus (it was), that the CIA knew that it was bogus (they did), and that they had presumably conveyed this information to the White House (they had). The White House has admitted that there was no justification for the inclusion of the claim in the President’s speech

    He said that he was not sent by his wife. This is obviously true, since his wife had no authority to make such a decision. At most, she could recommend him as qualified–and it seems that he was, in that he reached the correct conclusion, that the supposed deal was bogus.

    He and his wife stated that his wife was a covert CIA operative. This has been confirmed by the CIA, by Fitzgerald, and recently stated under oath by Plame in her testimony to Congress.

    Plame undertook potentially dangerous covert missions for her country. Wilson, a man with a long history of courageous service who has risked his life in service to his country, left his wife and babies to carry out a fact-finding mission for his country. They deserve to be celebrated for their service and courage. But for the neocons, truth is lies, lies are the truth, and patriots are enemies of the state.

  51. AnneW says:

    Victoria Toensing testified under oath that Plame wasn’t covert…by her standards. She also implied that the CIA should put out a list of covert operatives so this mistake couldn’t happen again. Yeah, that’s a great idea.

    General Hayden finally came out and said that Plame was covert and was classified. I think that should end all discussion, but obviously it won’t. Hayden also had to approve whatever Plame spoke about under oath. You can hardly accuse Hayden of being a partisan liberal, a Democrat, an Al Gore supporter, or whatever else people want to attack the Wilson’s for.

  52. tgibbs says:

    I can understand that, but if I were mad-as-hell and wanting to get even, I don’t think one of my first stops would be the pages of Vanity Fair. I can’t help but think they see a “golden opportunity” and are taking it. Maybe they are both mad-as-hell and attention seekers, but I still find that the latter undermines their claims of damage and being angry.

    Generally, people who are mad-as-hell seek attention–they have a complaint, and they want it listened to.

    Calling somebody an “attention seeker” as an excuse for dismissing what they have to say has always seemed particularly irrational to me. Clearly, anybody who has anything to say which they believe to be important is by definition seeking attention. They may be wrong or right in that belief, but it has nothing to do with the fact that they are seeking attention for their point of view.

    Wilson and his wife clearly believe that individuals in our administration have not merely endangered them personally and injured them financially and professionally, but also endangered out country’s critical intelligence-gathering apparatus in order to promote what turned out to be erroneous intelligence that led the US into a war that has cost thousands of American lives and hundreds of billions of dollars. If they are correct in this belief, it is very important that the public learn about it, and Wilson and Plame would be irresponsible if they were not “seeking attention.”

  53. jim says:

    In any case, Wilson and Plame are the people who have been damaged by this administration’s actions. [In addition to all of us as a nation, for the damage we sustained to our national security system, and its assets that we can’t even begin to know of…but that’s all secondary fallout from the primary attack on Wilson and his wife.]

    So we shouldn’t be blaming the victims for trying to get some justice. We should be trying to help them find out who actually committed the crime.

  54. Peter in Hastings says:

    On top of the treason involved in blowing an agent’s covert cover, let’s talk about another act of treason (one of ommission): the effort, or more accurately, complete lack of one, on the part of the White House to uncover WHO had leaked Plame’s cover. It would have required poking your head in on any number of people in the Vice President’s office and simply asking, but that did not happen. Nothing happened. Nothing. A covert agent doing work exactly where it matters most (WMDs in the Mid East) has her cover blown, clearly by someone in the White House, and NOTHING happened.

    Can you IMAGINE what would have happened if a Democratic administration had allowed that to happen? The Republicans would have, APPROPRIATELY, asked for the Administration to step down and face treason. But no, nothing happened.

    Reminder: these guys were elected because they were going to be “accountable”. What a joke. What a treasonous, horrible joke.

  55. John Ryan says:

    Its always amusing to hear someone who is ideologically joined to a buffoon attempt to justify their incompetence.

  56. Robert T says:

    James-

    It has been over three days since you refered to Plame’s “press releases, press conferences, magazine interviews”.

    I asked you last week for some type of substantiation of your claims.

    What is taking you so long?

    Could it be you made it all up??