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« Deconstructing Dobbs | Main | Where to put the ACC HoC? »

May 30, 2007


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"Covert" CIA agent Valerie Plame?

Because Fitzgerald said so?

Because the bureaucrats at the CIA said so, to further their own loose cannon agenda?

Don't make me laugh.

If Plame was "covert", then why did Fitzgerald not indict Armitage for the actual so-called "leak" of Plame's identity, a fact known to the special prosecutor from the earliest stages of the investigation?

More propaganda in the ongoing battle to criminalize politics when there is no crime to be found otherwise.


Here's Novak earlier on the issue.


" Waxman and Democratic colleagues did not ask these pertinent questions: Had not Plame been outed years ago by a Soviet agent? Was she not on an administrative, not operational, track at Langley? How could she be covert if, in public view, she drove to work each day at Langley? What about comments to me by then CIA spokesman Bill Harlow that Plame never would be given another foreign assignment? What about testimony to the FBI that her CIA employment was common knowledge in Washington?

Instead of posing such questions, Waxman said flatly that Plame was covert, and cited Hayden as proof. The DCI's endorsement of Waxman's statement astounded Republicans whose queries about her had been rebuffed by the Agency. That confirmed Republican suspicions that Hayden is too close to Democrats."


I'm continually amazed how facts don't even phase some people. Spin seems to be the order of the day.

Ed Cone

Same story applies to comment at previous post on Dobbs.

Never mind the clear factual statements, start spinning and hope nobody notices the difference.

Jeffrey Sykes

She obviously wasn't *covert* and Libby obviously lied to the feds. Can we move on to something else now?

Ed Cone

I guess I'm missing the part where she "obviously" was not covert.

As for moving on, the sentencing/appeal/bail/pardon issues won't disappear just because you want them to...nor will questions of accountability for Cheney and his apologists.

Jeffrey Sykes

Well, it seems like everybody in Washington, and plenty of people overseas, knew she worked for the CIA, so from an operational perspective, she obviously wasn't covert.

I dislike Dick Cheney with a deep-rooted passion and have no love for his cadre of neo-con bobbleheads. I just can't believe y'all are still going back and forth over this. Libby lied, so bye-bye Scooter.

Do we have a national sustainable energy policy yet? Just sayin'.

Ed Cone

Sykes: "[I]t seems like everybody in Washington, and plenty of people overseas, knew she worked for the CIA, so from an operational perspective, she obviously wasn't covert."

From Fitzgerald's sentencing memo: "It was apparent from early in the investigation that classified information relating to a covert intelligence agent had been disclosed without authorization."

The CIA says (second link in post), "[A]t the time that syndicated columnist Robert Novak published her name on July 14, 2003...'Ms. Wilson was a covert CIA employee for who the CIA was taking affirmative measures to conceal her intelligence relationship to the United States'... 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.'"

Jeffrey Sykes

I read that already. Still saying it doesn't make it so.

Fred Gregory

Yeah this is the buzz of left wing sites , like this one , but consider This


"I read that already. Still saying it doesn't make it so."

That's the standard on this blog.

Hence, we get this:

"I'm continually amazed how facts don't even phase some people. Spin seems to be the order of the day."

.....said Ed to the image in the mirror in front of him.

No surprise there.


From an update in the link Fred provided:

"The fact of the matter is that, contrary to what the Summary states, Plame wasn’t really 'covert' for purposes of the IIPA when she was working at the CPD, nor was the CIA taking any particular measures to conceal her intelligence relationship to the United States. That was just a story they made up to help Fitzgerald nail a high level neocon--so there’s hope that the CIA’s 'tradecraft' isn’t that bad. As Andrea Mitchell stated, “everyone” knew that Plame was CIA."

I hope the Usual Suspects here keep going on this thread. It's going to be fun watching themselves embarrass themselves.

On the other hand, we already know that our Dem/Lefty/"Progressive" pals will say or do anything in an attempt to score political points, regardless of who they have to slime or destroy.

That's all this little "announcement" on to the sorry pile of dung this political witch hunt has produced.

Where's Lex?

David Wharton

The proof of the pudding is in the tasting, and the proof of the law-breaking is in the prosecuting.

If Fitzgerald believed that Libby was guilty of breaking the IIPA, he should have charged him with it.

It's a prosecutorial cheap shot to assert Libby's guilt for a crime with which he was not charged in a sentencing brief for a different crime.

Fred Gregory


You asked the question the other day. No coherent answers as yet. Byron York brings us up to date:

Where Is The Plame Indictment ?


The fact of the matter is that Plame was covert and no matter how much Bush loving apologists say otherwise, it doesn't change this. If she wasn't covert and "everyone knew" she worked for the CIA in the counter-proliferation department, then the CIA would not have requested an investigation after the Novak column in the first place.

In addition, all of the dummy companies set up by the agency overseas, all the additional covert agents that had to be recalled, all would have remained in their positions. They did not.

Unlike some, I don't pretend to know why certain people have not been convicted of the actual crime of leaking the info rather than the perjury charge. I leave this to the individuals who actually are familar with the case to decide, I'm not an armchair analyst. The difference here is that some people think they can get away with saying it's night our when it is plainly daytime and I for one am tired of it.

David Wharton

I honestly now have no idea whether Plame was covert; the applicable law is apparently very complex.

But Ged, not only was Libby not convicted of breaking that law, he wasn't even charged with it.

It's extremely disingenuous for the very person who decided not to charge Libby under that law to assert elsewhere that he was guilty of breaking it.

Fred Gregory


Wow are you ever conflicted and confused here. On the one hand you state as an absolute certainty that Plame was "covert ". Why ? Ah ah. It is clear. Fitz says it ( although no evidence was offered at trial on this issue ),then the left wing blogs repeat it, Ed Cone like a good soldier follows and you "no spin" Ged march right along.

On the other hand you confess doubt and uncertainty regarding the non-indictment for her false testimomy before the Senate. Your claim of not being an armchair analyst rings a wee bit conviently disengenous.

Get a grip. It is simple enough. Go back up and read David Wharton's comment.

Then pretend you are in Dean Wormer's office listening attentively as he tries to pound some good advice into your invincible head: " Predictable and un-original is no way to go through life , son " *

( * Protien Wisdom )

Ed Cone

US Attorney Fitzgerald said it unequivocally and repeatedly in an official memorandum.

The CIA allowed the prosecution to proceed on the grounds that Plame was covert, and says so now.

You can call all the names you want, and try to make it into a left-right issue, but it seems to be a factual and definitional issue, and one upon which the relevant parties agree.

Trying to pin this on "left wing blogs" is kind of sad, really. The primary source is the sentencing memo from the US Atty. The story is being widely reported in the press.

DW, Fitzgerald says he didn't prosecute because Libby's perjury muddied the waters; some have speculated that the intent required for prosecution was not clear; neither reason contradicts the covert op story.

Not for the first time, I find the self-identified conservatives in these threads to be anything but conservative when faced with serious issues that are politically inexpedient for them.


"The fact of the matter is that Plame was covert."

As if.....

"US Attorney Fitzgerald said it unequivocally and repeatedly in an official memorandum."


He's wrong. Or a liar. Or a political hack.

Probably all three.

Perhaps some of our attorney bloggers can inform us: Are there such things as sanctions for Special Prosecutorial misconduct?

Worked in the Nifong case, and it needs to be used here.

Ed Cone

If you can't beat 'em, smear 'em, Bubba?

Fitzgerald bio.

More here.

To recap the score: CIA and US Atty say Plame was covert.

A handful of people who don't want her to have been covert shout, "nuh-uh."

What a challenge of discernment for those of us trying to figure out the actual facts.


"What a challenge of discernment for those of us trying to figure out the actual facts>"

Cut the wholier than thou crap. You don't rate it.

The fact that Fitzgerald and the CIA "say so" does not constitute any particular authority in this matter.

Fitzgerald's actions are reprehensible.

The bureaucrats at the CIA are trying to take one more swipe at the Bush Administration in the long-standing battle.

Dems/Lefties/"Progressives" are absolutely slobbering with glee.

No amount of babble, dribble, drool and spew is going to turn Plame into "covert" under any applicable law, or any applicable use of reason and logic.

"Smear 'em" indeed!

That's exactly what people like you are trying to do.


Stating that the CIA has no "particular authority" in the matter of whether Plame was covert is a wholy dishonest statement at best. At worst it's the remarks of a partisan hack who is desperately spewing misinformation to buttress your crumbling side of the argument. The agency has *particular* authority in this matter in regards to her covert status and you ignoring it doesn't change that fact.

And Fred, thanks for your concern for my "invincible head", I appreciate it, but I like my head the way it is. Thanks so much.


Curt at Flopping Aces covers it quite adequately:

"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 a lot at cocktail parties)."

Look at the comment from Curt's link to Patterico:

"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."

This whole bit of nonsense is designed to do three things:

-- take another shot at smearing Bush and Cheney

-- give the Nutroots (and anyone else who is dumb enough to buy in to the nonsense) something to talk about in their attempt at keeping reality out of their little fantasy world.

-- give Fitzgerald some phony issue to use in pushing for a stiffer sentence for Libby....based on information not even pertinent to the crime for which Libby was prosecuted.

I'm still waiting for Plame's indictment for perjury, as established in one of the above links.


"The agency has *particular* authority in this matter in regards to her covert status and you ignoring it doesn't change that fact."

No it is not.

Pay attention.

Read the material in the link regarding the use of "covert".

Ed Cone

Ah, yes, Curt of Flopping Aces -- a reliable source indeed -- certainly any reasonable person would value his analysis over that of US Attorney Fitzgerald and the agency that employed Plame.


LOL! Look whose using "smear tactics" now.

I'm proud of you Ed.

You become desperate when you can't win an argument on its merits, don't you?

Meanwhile, this comment from Just one Minute covers the technicalities of why this farce doesn't fly.


"At the meeting on Feb 19, 2002, (1) Plame identified herself as working for the CIA without any indication to any meeting participant that her CIA affiliation was classified; (2) Plame identified the former ambassador that the CIA wanted to send to Niger as her husband, a fact which no one at the meeting had any work-related need to know. (3) At no time over the subsequent 15 months were any meeting participants notified in any way shape or form that the CIA affiliation of the wife of the former ambassador sent to Niger was in any way shape or form classified or sensitive."

"Before the FBI interviewed Scooter Libby for the first time, they already knew how Valerie Plame's name and CIA affiliation ended up in the newspaper: it was unclassified information, relayed by gossip, started from Valerie Plame to at least one State Dept employee on Feb 19, 2002, from that State Dept employee to other State Dept employees in late-May/early-June 2003, from another State Dept employee to a journalist in late-June, 2003, from the journalist to the wires on July 11, 2003. The FBI knew (or should have known) that Plame was not covert as soon as they traced the custody of information about her CIA affiliation from it's appearence in the media back to it's clearly unclassified source, the Feb 19, 2002, meeting."

I love the line about the Rule of Law as opposed to the Rule of Prosecutorial and Bureaucratic Wishful Thinking.

She should have added quite a few other words ahead of "Wishful Thinking".

Like "Word Up", obviously.

By the way, where was Fitzgerald's citation of case law to support his opinion?

Fred Gregory


The Flopping Aces " meal memo " thing which you imply diminishes his credibility is di minimis. Your Tu Quoque takes nothing away from the salient points in that link and makes you appear desparate for logical arguments.

Ed Cone

The logical arguments and factual summaries have been presented, Fred, and they remain on the table.

You guys have jerked yourself into knots over this thing, and all the Latin phrases and laughingstock bloggers you can quote seem unlikely to convince anyone who was not already convinced that the highly-regarded, Bush-appointed US Attorney is actually a dishonest politically-motivated rat.

Me, I usually follow Occam's Razor. The simplest explanation for the case going forward with the support of the CIA and the leadership of a straight-edge like Fitz was that a case of some sort was there to be made. Now that Fitz and the agency have said explicitly that Plame was covert, it seems to me that Occam has gained considerable supporting evidence.

Apparently this does not convince or even give pause to some folks. That's fine, I guess.

Fitzgerald has made his case, and filed his memo. What happens next is what happens next.

Me, I'm considering a seasonal shift to gin and tonics. Good night.


Blah blah, woof woof.

The only people who were jerking anything were people like you who tried to make this into something about nothing without bothering to examine any of the factors that didn't work in your favor.

Fitzgerald, the CIA, and, most importantly, you don't get to make the decision you made about "covert" or otherwise without facing the consequences we have laid out here and elsewhere.

End of story.

Fred Gregory

Libby's Response to Fitz's Bullshit


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