The MSM Covers For Plame Once Again


The Plame affair gets even more hilarious.  Now Fitzgerald released a lengthy 30 page file purporting to prove that Plame was covert.  Of course 27 of those pages are her testimony to the Waxman show trial.  The other 3 are details from the CIA about her travel.

On 1 January 2002, Valerie Wilson was working for the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) as an operations officer in the Directorate of Operations (DO). She was assigned to the Counterproliferation Division (CPD) at CIA Headquarters, where she served as the Chief of a CPD component with responsibility for weapons proliferation issues related to Iraq.

While assigned to CPD, Ms. Wilson engaged in Temporary Duty (TDY) travel overseas on official business. She traveled at least seven times to more than ten countries. When traveling overseas, Ms. Wilson always traveled under a cover identity–sometimes in true name and sometimes in alias–but always using cover–whether official or non-official cover (NOC)–with no ostensible relationship to the CIA.

At the time of the initial unauthorized disclosure in the media of Ms. Wilson’s employment relationship with the CIA on 14 July 2003, Ms. Wilson was a covert CIA employee for whom the CIA was taking affirmative measures to conceal her intelligence relationship to the United States.

So basically what constitutes a "covert" agent within the CIA is that they travel overseas sometimes using an alias, sometimes using their true name.


Just wow.

I mean a foreign country would never keep tabs on the real names of agents would they?  But hey, she was "covert".

Either way you look at it she was not a covert agent covered by the Intelligence Identities Protection Act of 1982, this is why ole Fitz’ never brought any charges against the leaker of her name (a leaker other then her husband who tended to talk alot at cocktail parties).


Great comment at Patterico’s Pontifications:

Here’s the prosecutorial “rub” from my perspective: I don’t think the CIA’s view of who it deems “covert” neatly translates into the definition of “covert” under the statute at issue. While its in the CIA’s interest to define “covert” as broadly as possible, thereby giving maximum coverage to its assets, the statute in question recognized tension between the rights of the press and the needs of the intelligence community, and defines the term “covert” in a very non-specific manner.

The “5 Year” provision is a clear example, as is the “affirmative steps” provision.

(4) The term “covert agent” means—
(A) a present or retired officer or employee of an intelligence agency or a present or retired member of the Armed Forces assigned to duty with an intelligence agency—
(i) whose identity as such an officer, employee, or member is classified information, and
(ii) who is serving outside the United States or has within the last five years served outside the United States;

This language begs the question of what is to be the definition of “served”?

What Fitzgerald suggests in his Exhibit is that her personnel file only describes trips she took abroad on agency business during a 5 year period, not a period of time in which she was “posted” abroad. This is likely a key distinction. And, any trips she took using “official” cover — i.e., she passed herself off as a government official, just not an intelligence agent of the CIA — likely don’t count under the statute.

I found this excerpt from a USA Today article from 2005:

“The column’s date is important because the law against unmasking the identities of U.S. spies says a “covert agent” must have been on an overseas assignment “within the last five years.” The assignment also must be long-term, not a short trip or temporary post, two experts on the law say…. “Unless she was really stationed abroad sometime after their marriage,” she wasn’t a covert agent protected by the law, says Bruce Sanford, an attorney who helped write the 1982 act that protects covert agents’ identities.”

The second expert cited is Victoria Toensing. She obviously comes with an agenda, but it can’t be denied that she was at the table in 1982 when this statute was drafted, and she was advocating on behalf of the CIA’s position when it was drafted as a senior Justice Department official. She too has said that mere overseas travel in an undercover capacity is not enough to trigger the protections of the statute.

The “affirmative measures” provision of Sec. 421 is not defined in the statute, and this omission also presents some difficulties.

For example, is the taking of “affirmative measures” by the CIA negated by actions of the CIA which at the same time work to defeat those affirmative measures?

The CIA took affirmative measures in the sense that Plame had NOC cover through a front energy company which the agency created and for whom Plame ostensibly worked during her overseas postings in the 1990s.

But, when she returned to the United States in 1997, she didn’t continue to maintain the NOC cover by working at an office identified as the dummy front company. Rather, she drove through the gates of Langley every day for about 6 years on her way to a desk job at CIA HQ.

Does the fact that the CIA maintained her as “covert” on paper simply by not revealing her previous work and continuing to keep handy her NOC cover in case it might be of use (such as when need to for an occasional overseas trip for a discreet purpose) also mean that she still falls under the protections of the statute when anyone with a camera could stand on the road leading to Langley and take her picture driving in and out of the CIA?

I think these were the difficulties Fitzgerald faced in trying to determine whether he had a prosecutable case under the Intelligence Identities Act, in addition to the question of intent that you mentioned.

I think this difficulty is revealed by how much he danced around that question. He knew that the CIA wanted to assert that she was covert, but he also knew that the CIA took actions inconsistent with that assertion.

The IIPA definition of covert is much much different then the CIA’s definition, and yes….that makes a difference.


Classic quote from Ed Morrissey:

Plame drove into the office in Langley. She traveled abroad under her own name. She helped arrange for her husband to do some fact-checking on a sensitive intelligence matter. Her husband, former Ambassador Joe Wilson, then came home and leaked his observations to two nationally-known journalists, and then wrote his own op-ed in the New York Times under his byline.

And her husband managed to list her in Who’s Who, where any journalist could look up the entry — and where Robert Novak did just that.

If that’s keeping an agent covert, it speaks volumes about the agency’s competence during the George Tenet years.

I think we know what the competence of the CIA was, and is.  Just look at the quality of people they churn out what with Plame, Larry Johnson and the rest of the ViPer’s.

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And, any trips she took using “official” cover — i.e., she passed herself off as a government official, just not an intelligence agent of the CIA — likely don’t count under the statute.

from the article:

When overseas Plame traveled undercover, “sometimes in true name and sometimes in alias — but always using cover — whether official or non-official (NOC) — with no ostensible relationship to the CIA.”

Looks pretty cut and dried.


Wow, who’d a thunk it? A professional, trained liar might need a lawyer.

Plame called on to explain varied accounts
By Richard Willing, USA TODAY
WASHINGTON — Former CIA officer Valerie Plame should explain “differences” in her various accounts of how her husband was sent to the African nation of Niger in 2002 to investigate reports Iraq was trying to buy uranium there, the vice chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee said.

Plame’s differing versions have furthered “misinformation” about the origins of the case that roiled official Washington beginning in July 2003, said Sen. Kit Bond, R-Mo. Plame gave those accounts to the CIA’s inspector general, Senate investigators and a House committee in March.

A February 2002 CIA memo released last week as part of a study of pre-Iraq-war intelligence shows that Plame suggested her husband, former State Department official Joseph Wilson, for the Niger trip, Bond said. That “doesn’t square” with Plame’s March testimony in which she said an unnamed CIA colleague raised her husband’s name, Bond told USA TODAY.

Here are Plame’s three versions of how Wilson was sent to Niger, Bond said:

•She told the CIA’s inspector general in 2003 or 2004 that she had suggested Wilson.

•Plame told Senate Intelligence Committee staffers in 2004 that she couldn’t remember whether she had suggested Wilson.

•She told the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee in March that an unidentified person in Vice President Cheney’s office asked a CIA colleague about the African uranium report in February 2002. A third officer, overhearing Plame and the colleague discussing this, suggested, “Well, why don’t we send Joe?” Plame told the committee.

CIA officials have been unable to verify Plame’s March version, Bond said. Paul Gimigliano, a CIA spokesman, said the “public record on the matter is extensive, and, at this point, I can’t add anything to it.”

Plame’s identity as an undercover CIA operative was revealed after Wilson accused the Bush administration of ignoring his Africa findings. The disclosure of Plame’s status led to a federal investigation that culminated in former White House aide Lewis “Scooter” Libby’s conviction on charges of perjury and obstruction of justice.

Libby is scheduled to be sentenced next Tuesday. In court papers made public last weekend, prosecutors recommended he be sentenced to 30 to 37 months in prison.

A spokeswoman for Sen. Jay Rockefeller, chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, said she’s not sure whether Rockefeller would support having committee investigators interview Plame. The priority for Rockefeller, D-W.Va., is finishing the committee’s investigation into Iraq war intelligence, Wendy Morigi said.

Bond said he has written to the CIA for permission to re-interview Plame.

Plame has “always been very consistent that she is not the person responsible for sending Joe Wilson” to Africa, said Melanie Sloan, Plame’s attorney.

Questioning Plame’s truthfulness now, she said, is an attempt to draw attention from the “real wrong here — a White House that outed a covert operative and undermined national security.”

Wilson, a former ambassador to Gabon, said later that he had found nothing to support the report that Iraq was trying to buy uranium for a secret nuclear program from Niger.

In July 2003, Wilson wrote a column in /The //New York Times /accusing the Bush administration of twisting prewar intelligence by including the erroneous report in the president’s State of the Union address the previous January — two months before the war began.

Days later, Plame’s CIA employment was revealed by syndicated columnist Robert Novak. Plame and Wilson said the implication that she had used her CIA status to arrange her husband’s Niger trip was false. The disclosure, they argued, was meant to discredit Wilson and his findings by suggesting that the trip was merely a junket.

It would be interesting if you were ever proven right on anything.
Interesting? I meant miraculous.

BTW, the real story here is that the Bush White House doesn’t care about weapons proliferation, terrorism, or national security.
They will sacrafice the safety of Americans to pursue their own agenda, which has nothing at all to do with national security.

Play YBC (Yeah, But Clinton…) with that!

“I mean a foreign country would never keep tabs on the real names of agents would they?”
Hey dumbass! Foreign countries wouldn’t know Plame’s “real name” unless it was, say, LEAKED!
You people are unbelievable. You make this too easy. Keep it up!

The pathetic efforts to mischaracterize Fitzgerald’s filing would be laughable if they were not so inordinately wrong-headed.

Plame acted under NOC – non-offical cover. Subsequent to Jan 1 2002 she traveled outside the country at the behest of the CIA seven times to 10 countries. If captured, she would not have been protected by diplomatic immunity. Her life and liberty were at risk when she was on assignment – but blowhard bloggers and idiots like Victoria Toensing – pronounced her “not covert” without any knowledge of the details of her comings and goings, all in a failed effort to deflect attention away from the treasonous behavior of Scooter Libby – who will soon be serving time in a Federal prison – and Dick Cheney – the well-known draft dodger and drunk driver.

If, in fact, Val Plame continued to work at the CIA as a “covert” agent after her identity had been compromised, twice before Novak wrote a word, one is left to believe that Val Plame was either one of the bravest or one of the stupidest “covert” agents at the CIA.

I think it was either the latter or none of the above.

Tenet, Plame and Fitzfong, the three stooges of the intel world. Wilson is the ‘streight guy’, not smart enough to be a comedian.

Looks pretty cut and dried.

Yup, CIA believed her to be covert while she is not covert via IIPC…cut n dried.

It would be interesting if you were ever proven right on anything.

Read the blog daily, instead of when the yahoo’s at salon or tbogg links to me and you will find out I’m right plenty, including Jamil.

BTW, the real story here is that the Bush White House doesn’t care about weapons proliferation, terrorism, or national security.
They will sacrafice the safety of Americans to pursue their own agenda, which has nothing at all to do with national security.

Puhlease. A story about Plame becomes a DummiesU talking point. Gag.

Hey dumbass! Foreign countries wouldn’t know Plame’s “real name” unless it was, say, LEAKED!

Oh really jerkoff? All they had to do was look at the who who’s book. Ignorance everywhere when it comes to you salon and tbogg readers.

Bobdevo…get it straight, her status was NOT covert as covered under the IIPC. You can believe she was all you want, you can stomp your feet on the ground while wailing “she was covert dammit!” but it does not make it true.

If she was covert as covered by the IIPC there would have been someone charged for that crime, because we all know who leaked it…cough Armitage cough….but she wasn’t covert so no crime. Instead he spends millions to get a perjury charge. Pathetic.

but blowhard bloggers and idiots like Victoria Toensing

That is classic. The person who drafted the IIPC is now an idiot.


Can’t get any better then that.

How the hell would the CIA know if she was a covert agent?

I’ll go with Curt’s opinion. After all, he can type.

Yup, going overseas on official CIA business using her real name….some covert operative. Secret spy stuff there…wow.

Either way you lefties are a dense bunch. CIA believed she was covert, the IIPC doesn’t. Which one matters?

One guess…..

Yup, the IIPC.

But we all know how much you value no one leaking sensitive information don’t we?

Friggin hypocrites.

This is my favorite “Plame was covert” retort so far:

Hey dumbass! Foreign countries wouldn’t know Plame’s “real name” unless it was, say, LEAKED!

Whoever would have heard of Plame’s name in the context of CIA employment? Well I guess whoever Aldridge Ames leaked it to. Then of course there was that fax to the Swiss consulate in Cuba…

Finally, and this is of course the best one, the CIA’s own PR person (Obey I believe was his name) confirming her employment to Mr. Novak.

I don’t know for certain about the legal case. The words of the statute should definately take precidence over Toensing’s “legislative intent”–& those who craft a bill or statute should do so in such a way that the intent is contained in the wording, not in the interview days/weeks/years later–which makes this another “depends on the meaning of “is” situation. Were I miss Toensing, I’m not sure I’d so freely admit I had anything to do with such a poorly worded, vague statute. Hopefully someone will define the terms and get that intent in there.

But whether or not she was legally covered by IIPC, the CIA claims she was covert (as they define it) at the time she was outed. There’s no doubt that she (that is, her name in connection with her CIA status) was a secret that wasn’t supposed to be released, or that that secret was released, perhaps by people who were (& in some cases still are) in the White House. Whether or not it was an intentional act or classified as a crime, that release of secret info should concern everyone who cares about the security of this country.

Often, it doesn’t seem that it does, however…

There’s no doubt that she (that is, her name in connection with her CIA status) was a secret that wasn’t supposed to be released,

tell that to her husband who put it into the Who’s Who’s book…the fact of that matter is that the only thing that matters is the law. She was not covert.

Be that it may, it’s quite ironic that after libby is convicted for perjury we now find out plame perjured herself. Just can’t make this stuff up.