Still Think Valerie Plame Wasn’t Covert?

By Justin Gardner | Related entries in Blogging, The Plame Game

(NOTE: I’ve revised this one from March 16th, and included the bloggers who commented.)

Seriously. Let’s get a blogosphere show of hands.

See, the reason I’d like to hear from you is I’ve read that she wasn’t time and time again. I’ve seen people argue it in the comments sections when I’ve posted about Plame and I’ve seen it on numerous right-wing blogs. Most of the time I’d see arguments crafted like, “How could she be covert if we knew ____ about her,” and then 9 times out of 10 the conclusion was that she was not covert. And then these “facts” have been used to justify her outing.

Well, not only has Plame told us today that she was covert, but now we come to find out that CIA Director Gen. Michael Hayden has told congressmen that she was covert as well.

So here’s what I’m going to do. If you think she was covert, link to this post and I’ll put you in the COVERT section you’ll see below. If not, link to this post and I’ll put you in the NOT COVERT section. That way we’ll have one place to collect all the arguments that have been created after Plame’s testimony.

Sound good? Ready? Go!

COVERT:
Maverick Views
Political State Report
New Yorker in DC
elmachete

NOT COVERT:
(your blog here)

JURY’S STILL OUT
Flit(TM)
Judicious Asininity

UPDATE:
Well, apparently former White House press secretary Ari Fleischer got Plame’s name from Libby before Libby claims he heard the name from a reporter.

Hrmmm…

Interesting…

And here’s a story about Plame suing the CIA for potentially killing her memoir.

The saga continues…


This entry was posted on Thursday, March 22nd, 2007 and is filed under Blogging, The Plame Game. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

25 Responses to “Still Think Valerie Plame Wasn’t Covert?”

  1. bob in fl Says:

    Hey, Justin. Your link is not a link. You may want to fix it.

    Covert. No freaking doubt. She has worked undercover in foreign assignments, which is the definition of covert. If those opposing won’t take the word of a high ranking CIA officer, then I guess the best thing to do is ignore them for the fruitcakes they are.

  2. Justin Gardner Says:

    I just opened the link bob. It’s to Think Progress. You may want to try it again.

  3. TM Lutas Says:

    Either she was covert or she committed perjury when she answered that she was covert at the time of the leak. Since the leaker (Richard Armitage) is known and there is not going to be any prosecution by Fitzgerald, I remain undecided. Presumably the AG has the right to get a list of her foreign trips as a covert agent for the 5 years prior to the leak and then indict on that basis, though it’s not clear to me which of the two would be indicted and under what charge.

    I’m concerned that the video’d questioning played games with the dates, asking improperly phrased questions about her status from 5 years before the questioning, not 5 years before the leak. If the CIA or sections thereof really *is* off the reservation, an operation for Mrs Wilson to Canada a month before her testimony would have reactivated her covert status but been entirely irrelevant for “scandal” purposes. I refuse to believe the Democrat staffers are so stupid as to not phrase simple questions properly and nail things down without wiggle room. They did not and that’s just strange.

    The one exception is the question of whether she was covert at the time of the leak. She answered yes under oath and that is what is worrisome to me. If true, Armitage should be indicted and Fitzgerald should be brought up to ask why he did not indict Armitage. If she just lied to Congress, Plame should be brought up on charges.

  4. yogi Says:

    Ummm…how did her job description at the CIA read at the time? It seems like to me the CIA would have clear distinctions on the categorization of their employees.

    If the CIA job description for her says she was a covert agent, then revealing her identity is against the law.

    What matters is what the law says here, not what the TV audience’s opinions.

  5. SaneinSF Says:

    She feels used? She should be. She was used by her husband because he was pissed off he was called a low-level person.

    http://www.sweetness-light.com/archive/when-and-why-joseph-c-wilson-iv-outed-valerie-plame

    Look to the next pillow Valerie.

  6. Alan Stewart Carl Says:

    There are several levels of covert. There’s the deep undercover kind we see in the movies. Then there is the pretending to be an American embassy worker but really being with the CIA. It’s never been clear to me exactly how covert Plame was. But that doesn’t matter. If the CIA says she was covert, then she was covert. And it’s illegal to out a covert agent. The law doesn’t specify how covert someone must be before it becomes a crime to reveal their CIA affiliation.

  7. Temple Stark Says:

    I’m in the, I tihnk so but don’t 100 % definitely know.

    I was thinking the same question for Political State Report, but haven’t yet.

  8. Monica Says:

    From my understanding the CIA provided Novak with confirmation that she worked at the CIA. I question how covert she could be if they’re willing to provide that information to a known journalist. Also, she wasn’t covert enough that someone could be charged for discussing her name. If there is no crime, then this situation seems hyped to me.

  9. nykrindc Says:

    Covert…

    Alan, according to most accounts she was under Non-Official Cover which, from what I understand, is the deepest type of cover the agency has.

  10. pat Says:

    No matter what her status, she wasn’t covered by the only relevant statute, the Intelligence Identities Protection Act.

    She and lying Joe probably outed her all by themselves. Anyways, I’ll just quote one of the authors of the IIPA act to have the last word:

    “No White House can prudently safeguard classified or otherwise non-disclosable intelligence information (such as covert status) unless its own intelligence agency follows the proper procedures to inform it and its Executive branch clients of that classification or status. If Plame was really covert in July 2003 (or within five years of covert), the CIA was required under the statue to take “affirmative measuresâ€Â? to conceal her relationship to the United States, particularly because the criminal law comes into play. If Plame was really covered by the Act in July 2003, why did:

    • The CIA briefer who said he discussed the fact of Wilson’s wife working at the CIA with Libby and the Vice-president, not tell them Plame’s identity was covert or classified;

    • Richard Armitage, (who, having seen Plame’s name in a State Department memo from which he gave the gossip to Robert Novak and later asserted, “I had never seen a covered agent’s name in any memo…in 28 years of government�) not know Plame’s identity was not to be revealed;

    • State Department Undersecretary, Marc Grossman, not know Plame’s identity was not to be revealed;

    • CIA spokesman Bill Harlow tell Vice-president staffer, Cathie Martin, that Wilson’s wife worked at the Agency but not warn her Plame’s identity was not to be revealed;

    • CIA spokesman Bill Harlow (who, according to Wilson’s autobiography, had been “alerted� by Plame about Novak’s sniffing around, p. 346 [App. B, p3] ) confirm for Novak that Plame worked at the CIA;

    • The CIA not send its top personnel, like the Director, to Novak and ask the identity of Plame not be published just as the government does any time it really, really, really does not want something public, e.g. in December 2005 when the New York Times was about to publish the top secret NSA surveillance program;

    • The CIA not ask Joe Wilson to sign a confidentiality agreement about his mission to Niger (a document all the rest of us have to sign when performing any task with the CIA) and then permit him to write an OpEd in the NYT about the trip, an act certain to bring press attention, when his Who’s Who biography includes his wife’s name;

    • The CIA allow Plame to attend in May 2003 a Democratic breakfast meeting where Wilson was talking to New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristoff about his trip to Niger;

    • The CIA allow Plame to contribute $1000 to Al Gore’s campaign and list her CIA cover business, Brewster-Jennings & Associates, as her employer;

    • The CIA give Plame a job at its headquarters in Langley when it is mandated by statute “to conceal [a] covert agent’s intelligence relationship to the United States�;

    • The CIA send to the Justice Department a boilerplate 11 questions criminal referral for a classified information violation when its lawyers had to know that merely being classified did not fulfill the required elements for exposing a “covert agent�?

    Such questions reveal slip-shod tradecraft, casting doubt on whether Plame’s identity was even classified, much less covert.

    In fact, in a curious twist, while the CIA was turning a blind eye to Wilson writing about his mission to Niger (Did he go through the pre-publication review process like the rest of us have to do?), it was sending to the Vice-president’s office documents about that same trip and these documents were marked classified. So the very subject Wilson could opine about in the New York Times was off-bounds for the Vice-president to discuss unless the person had a clearance. “

  11. nykrindc Says:

    I can’t believe that people continue to deny her covert status. This despite the fact that during this Friday’s session this was disclosed:

    CIA Director Michael Hayden approved a statement that contained the following language:

    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.

    As for this:

    • The CIA allow Plame to contribute $1000 to Al Gore’s campaign and list her CIA cover business, Brewster-Jennings & Associates, as her employer;

    Working for the CIA does not mean that your rights as an American are immediately suspended. V. Wilson was not prohibited from making political contributions to the candidate of her choice. In fact, her actions furthered her cover because it made her look as nothing more than an energy consultant working for a regular business and nothing more.

    • The CIA give Plame a job at its headquarters in Langley when it is mandated by statute “to conceal [a] covert agent’s intelligence relationship to the United States�;

    You are assuming that someone within our country would be actively watching her, trying to identify her. This would mean that her cover would have to have already been blown. That nobody in her neighborhood, or indeed, acquaintances knew where she worked (despite her commuting to CIA HQ) meant that her cover was secure.

    • The CIA allow Plame to attend in May 2003 a Democratic breakfast meeting where Wilson was talking to New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristoff about his trip to Niger;

    How does this compromise her cover in any way? As the wife to a former diplomat with many connections in the government and out this fit perfectly into her cover; An energy consultant married to a former diplomat.

    • The CIA not ask Joe Wilson to sign a confidentiality agreement about his mission to Niger (a document all the rest of us have to sign when performing any task with the CIA) and then permit him to write an OpEd in the NYT about the trip, an act certain to bring press attention, when his Who’s Who biography includes his wife’s name;

    First, again her name appearing on the Who’s who biography in no way compromised her cover as an energy consultant married to a former diplomat.

    As for the CIA not asking Mr. Wilson to sign a confidentiality agreement about his mission to Niger, that’s a different matter that has no bearing on Ms. Wilson’s covert status. After all, it was well known that he was a former diplomat and that he had married an energy consultant.

    • The CIA not send its top personnel, like the Director, to Novak and ask the identity of Plame not be published just as the government does any time it really, really, really does not want something public, e.g. in December 2005 when the New York Times was about to publish the top secret NSA surveillance program;

    I would submit to you that just as the CIA has a duty to protect the identity of its covert agents, so does the President of the United States and the people who work for him in his administration. With regard to the NSA program, the administration and the CIA both contacted the Times. As for Novak, he was told that he should not publish her name by the CIA. And as soon as her identity was disclosed the CIA referred the matter to Justice.

    • CIA spokesman Bill Harlow (who, according to Wilson’s autobiography, had been “alerted� by Plame about Novak’s sniffing around, p. 346 [App. B, p3] ) confirm for Novak that Plame worked at the CIA;

    I don’t know the details of this, but if true he should be punished just as much as anyone else involved in leaking her identity.

    • Richard Armitage, (who, having seen Plame’s name in a State Department memo from which he gave the gossip to Robert Novak and later asserted, “I had never seen a covered agent’s name in any memo…in 28 years of government�) not know Plame’s identity was not to be revealed;

    • State Department Undersecretary, Marc Grossman, not know Plame’s identity was not to be revealed;

    The first question here would be, who did the memo come from, the White House? the CIA? Another agency?

    As for Armitage, he should be punished for his transgression. I don’t think, however, that this particular law applies to him since in order for the “disclosure of a covert agent” to be illegal the person committing the act must know at the time that the agent is indeed covert. I suspect that this is the reason why Fitzgerald did not prosecute him.

    The reason he went after Libby, on the other hand was because he perjure d himself, and in doing so, obstructed the investigation into the leaking of Valerie Wilson’s name.

    She and lying Joe probably outed her all by themselves.

    She was an agent who served her country by performing some of its most dangerous work without diplomatic immunity, don’t let your political persuasion cloud your judgment. She was wronged and betrayed by people who should have known better. The administration knew she worked in the non-proliferation division of the agency and among government officials it is common knowledge that those who work in that branch of the CIA are for the most part covert agents and their identities should be protected at all costs.

  12. nykrindc Says:

    As for the IIPA, read this from Larry Johnson:

    …According to the Intelligence Identities Protection Act:

    (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; or

    (B) a United States citizen whose intelligence relationship to the United States is classified information, and�
    (i) who resides and acts outside the United States as an agent of, or informant or source of operational assistance to, an intelligence agency, or
    (ii) who is at the time of the disclosure acting as an agent of, or informant to, the foreign counterintelligence or foreign counterterrorism components of the Federal Bureau of Investigation; or
    (C) an individual, other than a United States citizen, whose past or present intelligence relationship to the United States is classified information and who is a present or former agent of, or a present or former informant or source of operational assistance to, an intelligence agency.

    ….IA Director Hayden approved a statement that said in part:

    Ms. Wilson served at various times overseas for the CIA. Without discussing the specifics of Ms. W’ilson’s classified work, it is accurate to say that she worked on the prevention of the development and use of weapons of mass destruction against the United States.

    …..Although Valerie only told a handful of people about her cover status the IIPA also states:

    (d) Disclosure by agent of own identity
    It shall not be an offense under section 421 of this title for an individual to disclose information that solely identifies himself as a covert agent.

    You see? It was okay for Valerie to tell her husband where she worked. And Joe, who had been in charge of CIA officers when he was Ambassador, understood that you had to protect the identity of people undercover.

    …The State Department INR memo, which was written in response to a request from Vice President Cheney’s office, listed Valerie’s name in a paragraph that was classified SECRET.

  13. GN Says:

    Covert, period. There is no need for long explanations when the Admin. is so casual for so long. They represent the nation … and their proclivity for secrets makes it seem that we have a covert West Win g.

  14. GN Says:

    BTW, the missing letter in the last word of my post is covert.

  15. machete Says:

    covert.

  16. Chris O Says:

    SaneinSF – you guys really need to stop spreading that Sweetness and Light link around. Basically, it’s the ravings of a right wing blogger, who spins theory after theory with absolutely no facts to back them up.

    Wilson (the theory goes) met with various reporters to peddle his story, but he had no credibility. In order to get them to believe him, he outed his wife’s identity. And the proof? Why, it just makes sense.

    Here’s some of the weasel words that are sprinkled throughout that post:
    “To see how this may very well have happened”

    “it seems quite obvious”

    “Who else would he be calling?”

    “And it’s highly probably (sic)”

    “it has been regularly suggested”

    “And there was another motivation possibly at work here as well.”

    In addition the blogger repeats the latest right wing distortion: that Wilson was calling reporters all over town to tell them his wife worked for the CIA.

    Armitage told Woodward that Wilson was calling reporters. It’s clear that he was just picking up bits and pieces of gossip, gossip that was made accessible because the White House had disseminated her identity to a ridiculously wide circle of people. But nowhere does Armitage offer any backup for his assertion. Funny how the right has always seen Armitage as a lying blowhard, but on this point he’s an unimpeachable witness.

    The fact that the author includes a whole dubious chronology in order to somehow give a scholastic patina to his or her post doesn’t change the fact that there’s nothing there that’s different from any other fact-free screed a commenter could write on this blog. Linking to a right wing blog that does nothing more than offer fantastical scenarios is a weak way of saying you’re incapable of articulating your argument yourself.

    I’m dwelling on this site because it seems to be the link of choice for right wing bloggers.

    And pat, “I’ll just quote one of the authors of the IIPA act to have the last word” Really? I think it’somewhat disingenuous of you to identify the author of that quote simply as “one of the authors of the IIPA act.” I’m assuming (since you didn’t identify the author) this was written by Victoria Toensing, who was just one of the attorneys who worked on the act, but who is also a Bush White House mouthpiece, purporting to talk about the legislation, then launching into all of the right wing talking points about which she has no special knowledge. She’s passing judgement on whether Plame was covert, ignoring the fact that she may know something about the law, but she’s in no position to know anything about what Plame has been up to in the last five years. She’s just repeating the same right wing lies a million bloggers are parroting. I’d hardly call that the last word.

  17. Barrie G. Says:

    What I don’t understand is why doesn’t someone just say: What was wrong or off about Wilson’s findings that the documents were a hoax? What difference does it make who sent him? He went and discovered a hoax–and his findings were ignored. End of story. Everything else is a distraction…also I do support discovering who was behind the outing & what damage was actually caused.

    Be well & happy,
    Barrie

  18. nykrindc Says:

    TM Lutas says: I’m concerned that the video’d questioning played games with the dates, asking improperly phrased questions about her status from 5 years before the questioning, not 5 years before the leak. If the CIA or sections thereof really *is* off the reservation, an operation for Mrs Wilson to Canada a month before her testimony would have reactivated her covert status but been entirely irrelevant for “scandal� purposes. I refuse to believe the Democrat staffers are so stupid as to not phrase simple questions properly and nail things down without wiggle room. They did not and that’s just strange.

    This is a canard. How could Ms. Wilson traveling a week before her testimony to Canada reinstate her covert status? Once her cover was blown in 2003, it was blown, it can’t be covered again, her career as a covert agent was over. Obviously, the questions referred to the five years before she was outed by Novak’s column.

    The other non-argument is that the questions were limited and vague. Well, there’s a reason for that, Ms. Wilson was so deep in cover that the CIA will not even admit that she worked for the agency before 2002. They asked Congress to limit their questions only to matters that she could discuss publicly.

    As for Armitage not being prosecuted, I believe the explanation, which I wrote above: As for Armitage, he should be punished for his transgression. I don’t think, however, that this particular law applies to him since in order for the “disclosure of a covert agent� to be illegal the person committing the act must know at the time that the agent is indeed covert. I suspect that this is the reason why Fitzgerald did not prosecute him.

    He likely was able to prove that at the time he leaked her name, he did not know or realize that she was covert which the act specifically requires. Be that as it may, Armitage should be banned from holding a security clearance in any future administration.

  19. Justin Gardner Says:

    He likely was able to prove that at the time he leaked her name, he did not know or realize that she was covert which the act specifically requires. Be that as it may, Armitage should be banned from holding a security clearance in any future administration.

    Agreed.

  20. TM Lutas Says:

    A factual note, Snapping Turtle is the name of the collective host that houses several blogs including mine. The note should say Flit(TM). The other blogs on that server may or may not agree with me. In fact many days they don’t so I don’t think that they should be implicated.

  21. TM Lutas Says:

    Nykrindc – My understanding is that her covert status was winding down because her name (among many, many others) was included in the list of agents whose covers were blown by the traitor Aldrich Ames. His treason was discovered in 1995. So if “once you’re blown, you’re blown” is the standard, she could not have been covert in 2003 under any circumstances and this is entirely a partisan tempest in a teapot. I suspect that this is *not* the standard so the question remains open and you owe at least a small correction recognizing that someone in good faith could hold my position given her prior betrayal by Ames.

  22. nykrindc Says:

    TM Lutas,

    You seem to move from one argument to another without missing a beat, though I note you don’t argue against the points I’ve raised with regard to your arguments above. I’ve heard the Ames story on the blogosphere, but have not actually seen anything from the CIA or any reliable source on the matter stating that Valerie Wilson’s cover had been compromised.

    In fact, Gen. Hayden said that at the time she was outed, Ms. Wilson was covert and her identity was classified. Gen. Hayden is no left-wing ideologue, last time I checked, and he, along with the CIA say she was covert. I mean, what else do you need?

    As for this being nothing but a partisan tempest in a teapot…this is about the outing a covert CIA agent, someone who sacrificed themselves for their government by going abroad and spying on foreign governments without diplomatic immunity (she was under non-official cover, the deepest and most dangerous cover there is) and was betrayed by politicians! In so doing, they also likely exposed many of the agents she had recruited over the years with the agency to reprisal from their governments, if not death. That is a serious matter, not merely partisan politics.

  23. ChrisO Says:

    It’s interesting when you take a close look at the nuggets repeated as fact by the right about this case, how many of those nuggets have no factual basis, or have certainly never been supported by any evidence. Case in point: Plame couldn’t be covert because she drove through the gates at Langley every day. I’ve seen liberals argue that she could go to work there and still be covert. But to back up a bit, who says she drove to Langley every day? It may be true, but I’ve asked this question on several right wing blogs, and I’ve yet to see any backup to that claim.

    I bring this up because the right wing arguments are largely made up of bunches of these little factoids. The right wing strategy of repeating the lie until it becomes conventional wisdom is on full display here. Of course, a few of their arguments can be supported by facts. But the right wing information mixmaster throws in stuff like “Wilson claims Cheney sent him” and “the bipartisan Senate Intelligence Committee said Plame sent Wilson” and “everyone in Washington knew she worked for the CIA” and “her cover was blown when they put her name in Who’s Who” and then just scatters the results like confetti through the blogosphere.

    And I’m the idiot who keeps geting in running arguments on those blogs, as if the actual facts do any good at all.

  24. TM Lutas Says:

    nykrindc – Your arguments were addressed or were so diaphanous that I didn’t think they deserved direct address. Since you protest, I’ll be more explicit for this round.

    1. This is a canard.
    Just an insult, no meat here to address.

    2. How could Ms. Wilson traveling a week before her testimony to Canada reinstate her covert status?

    As answered before, if you travel to a foreign land (Canada qualifies) under cover (they make nice passports at the CIA I hear), say “Valerie Smith” and do some minimal work for the CIA over a few days, you change status. If her cover was blown by Ames in 1995, as I said before her subsequent trips had to reestablish covert status after being “blown”, otherwise she wouldn’t have been covert since at least 2000 and arguably since 1995.

    3. Once her cover was blown in 2003, it was blown, it can’t be covered again, her career as a covert agent was over.

    If your point here is correct, her “once in a lifetime” covert agent cover was blown in 1995 by Ames and could not have been blown in 2003 thus there is no scandal. You’re arguing against your own point here. If, by contrast, she could go back and forth, her Ames inspired outing would not necessarily have let Armitage or Novak off the hook and there is a potential scandal as well as a potential monkeying with the facts going on right now.

    4. Obviously, the questions referred to the five years before she was outed by Novak’s column.

    I did not address this because it is flat out not true and I was being kind. Listen to the clip again. Most timing questions are 5 years “from today” not five years before Novak’s column (and shouldn’t that be 5 years before Armitage leaked?). This use of “from today” is the heart of what is bothering me. If she pulled a Clinton on the stand and was finely parsing the meaning of the word covert in order to mislead Congress and the american public (by shifting from one of its several technical meanings to another without making it clear which one she’s using at any given moment), she should burn.

    5. The other non-argument is that the questions were limited and vague. Well, there’s a reason for that, Ms. Wilson was so deep in cover that the CIA will not even admit that she worked for the agency before 2002. They asked Congress to limit their questions only to matters that she could discuss publicly.

    I simply did not make this argument so you’re flailing at a straw man here. My argument actually is that aside from the one critical question of whether she was covert at the time of the 2003 leak, all the other questions use the improper and irrelevant time frame of 5 years prior to the date of testimony. There is no reason of national security I can imagine why such a time frame should be relevant to the discussion.

    6. He likely was able to prove that at the time he leaked her name, he did not know or realize that she was covert which the act specifically requires. Be that as it may, Armitage should be banned from holding a security clearance in any future administration.

    If Scooter Libby can legitimately be nailed on perjury by the special prosecutor, Armitage could have be nailed for improper handling of classified material which is a far more relevant charge and conviction of which should take care of Armitage’s security clearance. That wasn’t done. In other words, if the special prosecutor had successfully gone after Armitage, the public would be assured that Armitage was out. Since Fitzgerald hasn’t touched Armitage, either Armitage didn’t improperly handle classified material and thus there is no scandal or Armitage did and we’re depending on the judgment of a future administration that hasn’t been elected yet to keep Armitage out in the cold. That’s a very thin reed to base hopes on.

    I hope that this rehash settles that I did, in fact, address your points and your accusation that I did not was entirely baseless. So quit it.

  25. nykrindc Says:

    With regard tot he canard, this is what I was referring to: If the CIA or sections thereof really *is* off the reservation, an operation for Mrs Wilson to Canada a month before her testimony would have reactivated her covert status but been entirely irrelevant for “scandal� purposes.

    The reason, because it couldn’t have. Once identified by Novak in his column it would not be possible for her to travel as a covert agent anywhere, mainly because people now knew who she was. I know you are arguing from the perspective of someone who believes that her cover was blown by Ames, however, you have provided no evidence of this to be the case so I have to take the facts as they are. If you present evidence that her cover was indeed blown by Ames, then I would have to reevaluate at that time.

    As answered before, if you travel to a foreign land (Canada qualifies) under cover (they make nice passports at the CIA I hear), say “Valerie Smith� and do some minimal work for the CIA over a few days, you change status. If her cover was blown by Ames in 1995, as I said before her subsequent trips had to reestablish covert status after being “blown�, otherwise she wouldn’t have been covert since at least 2000 and arguably since 1995.

    This sounds like a stretch. What you seem to be missing is the fact that Gen. Hayden already stated that at the time her cover was blown, she was a covert agent. You keep going back to the Ames affair, but provide no links or evidence for your assertion.

    If your point here is correct, her “once in a lifetime� covert agent cover was blown in 1995 by Ames and could not have been blown in 2003 thus there is no scandal. You’re arguing against your own point here.

    I’m not arguing against my point, unless of course we assume to be the case that which you have yet to prove (which I am not)…mainly, that Plame’s cover was compromised by the Ames affair. An assertion you keep making without providing any proof.

    Obviously, the questions referred to the five years before she was outed by Novak’s column.

    You are correct here, I got ahead of myself…and yes, the questions referred to the five years prior to her testimony before Congress. Even so, that would put at least two years prior to her outing under the question. Since her cover was blown in 2003. Also, since the CIA due to the type of work she did for them, has refused to acknowledge that she worked for them prior to 2002, that would hamper the questioner from asking her about a time period longer than the 2 years prior to her outing…I agree with you, however, that the question in this case should have been more specific as in “prior to August 2003, were you a covert agent of the CIA?” That said, the CIA (including Gen. Hayden) have already said she was.

    If Scooter Libby can legitimately be nailed on perjury by the special prosecutor, Armitage could have be nailed for improper handling of classified material which is a far more relevant charge and conviction of which should take care of Armitage’s security clearance.

    I agree with you that Armitage should be punished, however, as I said earlier, I do not believe he can be charged under the IIPA because the law says that in order to be charged with the crime of outing a covert agent, you have to know at the time, that this agent is actually covert. While I think that this is a stupid requirement and the standard should be, if you out them knowingly or not, it is a crime. That said, Armitage likely proved that he did not know she was covert at the time, in which case, he can’t be charged under the relevant law. I don’t know what law applies to him, but I suspect that the punishment would be mostly administrative as in “revoking his security clearance,” of course you can only do that if he is still working for the administration. Perhaps someone could enlighten me on this.

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You must ALWAYS fill in the two word CAPTCHA below to submit a comment. And if this is your first time commenting on Donklephant, it will be held in a moderation queue for approval. Please don't resubmit the same comment a couple times. We'll get around to moderating it soon enough.


Also, sometimes even if you've commented before, it may still get placed in a moderation queue and/or sent to the spam folder. If it's just in moderation queue, it'll be published, but it may be deleted if it lands in the spam folder. My apologies if this happens but there are some keywords that push it into the spam folder.


One last note, we will not tolerate comments that disparage people based on age, sex, handicap, race, color, sexual orientation, national origin or ancestry. We reserve the right to delete these comments and ban the people who make them from ever commenting here again.


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