The defenders of Bush's leaky brain are getting desperate:

My only comfort is that probably about 80% or more of the American people don't know who Karl Rove is. And probably 90% or even more don't know who Joe Wilson and Valerie Plame are. Remember, only about 20-25% can name even one Supreme Court [justice].

This was written by Betsy Newmark, an Advanced Placement teacher of U.S. government and politics at a North Carolina high school.

How many Americans knew Archibald Cox's name in 1973, teach?

Comments

Few things:

1) Over the weekend, Andrea Mitchell (NBC) was asked: "Was Valerie Plame's identity as a CIA employee well known to the media before the Novak report", and she answered "yes"

i.e., this was an open secret long before anything Rove said

2) Plame is not an "operative". I know a bunch of people who work at NSA and CIA, and I've done consulting in the shop that Plame worked in (the IT side of it). The people who work in that area are analysts, not operatives.

i.e., they are not covert.

3) The reporting I've seen had Rover mentioning that Wilson's wife worked at CIA, but he did not mention any names. Add in the fact that she was well known to the media and... where's the scandal, exactly?

This is an example of the Dems "throwing stuff against the wall" to see if anything sticks. The Republicans went overboard this way in 1997-1998. That worked out so well for them in the 1998 mid term election...

Seems like a lot of excuses to me, James.

The investigation into the leak of Valerie Plame's identity began in October 2003. If she weren't a covert operative, don't you think Special Prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald would have closed the investigation a long time ago?

Also, President Bush took the revelation of her identity seriously enough to declare in 2003 that he'd fire the people who leaked it. I share his sentiment.

Plus it's an opportunity to get Karl Rove, the Darth Sidious of the Bush administration. I'm sure liberals are just as rabid to pin something on him as conservatives were to nail Bill Clinton. I'm guessing they'll be about as successful.

"The investigation into the leak of Valerie Plame's identity began in October 2003. If she weren't a covert operative, don't you think Special Prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald would have closed the investigation a long time ago?"

I did consulting work in the non-proliferation shop at CIA (over a decade ago now). People like Plame were my customers. Pardon me while I giggle at the idea of that crew being "covert operatives"

Here's two former CIA operatives, both registered Republicans, who assert that Plame was an undercover intelligence officer.

Here's Vince Cannistraro, a 27-year veteran of the CIA and former operations chief, stating she was undercover.

Here's a copy of the Vanity Fair piece where Plame's undercover status was described.

Countless other media accounts state that she had NOC, or "non-official cover," status.

Seems like there's a pretty strong case that she was undercover to me. Especially if all you've got is some 10-year old experiences working IT for some office in the CIA.

If the chick wasn't undercover, then why was a grand jury convened in the first place? For the fun of it?

I don't get how anyone could defend an Administration official breaking the law by exposing a CIA agent's identity.

Is this the Bush Administration's plan for winning the War On Terror? Undermining our own Intelligence officers?

Plame may or may not have been covert, but Rove did not have clearance to classified information at the time of the leak. If he is indeed the leaker, he was merely passing on gossip. Now someone with access to classified document almost certainly told Rove, but Rove himself is "clean".

Bush actually said that he would fire anyone who leaked Plume's name if it turned out the law had been broken. No access to classified documents, no broken law.

Rove will be able to pick any low-level government employee with clearence to report as the person who leaked to him, and that person will take the fall. But Rove will be cleared.

Another slick politician gets away on a technicality, and there will be no consequences for Bush.

I rather suspect that the people who described her as undercover have little or no experience in the intelligence business.

Like I said, I've done work in the shop she's been reported to be part of, and calling the analysts there "covert" is laughable at best.

As to the two "operatives" who claim she was one - I have no idea what they are smoking. The CIA has two sides - covert people (not that many of these, especially since the 1970's Church hearings) and the above ground analysts.

Plame is of the latter stripe.

Are you claiming that Vince Cannistraro has "little or no experience in the intelligence business"?

Rogers,

As I said, I did consulting work in the shop Plame supposedly works in. Either Cannistraro is:

-- clueless
-- lying
-- unaware of what goes on in that shop

The people who work in that area write reports that other people read. They aren't "covert" in any sense of the term.

Here's another question to ask yourself about this:

This whole thing dates back to the Novak report (and Cooper and Miller follow ups) in 2003. That's prior to the election.

If you believe that the NY Times and Time magazine would have sat on a story implicating Rove before the election, I have some really, really cheap land to offer you.

In a parallel reality :)

Your last comment leads me to believe that you're coming into this story late. I've been following it since David Corn first asked in The Nation, in spring 2003, whether Robert Novak's unnamed White House source outing Valerie Plame had broken the law.

What Rove did should be a firing offense, regardless of whether he's committed an indictable crime. I don't expect the president to keep his word and fire the leaker or leakers.

Pardon my French, James, but you're full of horseshit.

Full of stuff, hmm? Read this:

Outed?

Pay attention to the last paragraph. And if you think the folks at TPM have any concept of who is and isn't a covert agent, you are sadly mistaken.

From further up, I just noticed this comment:

"If the chick wasn't undercover, then why was a grand jury convened in the first place? For the fun of it?"

Hmm - is it the case then that every special prosecutor must be on the trail of something serious simply because a grand jury exists? Does the commenter who said that want to assert that past prosecutors - Starr comes to mind - must have been on the trail of something serious?

There's a reason that the special prosecutor act was allowed to lapse, with both Dems and Repubs happy - they recognized that prosecutors - when given an unlimited budget and a target - tend to get into a "justifying their own existence" mode of operation.

Arguing that this "must be serious" simply because a grand jury exists is absurd. If you think that, I expect you'll mount a post-facto defense of Ken Starr next.

There sure are a lot of people who just happen to know for sure that Plame was "undercover." Kind of defies logic. And if we're going to punish people for making such info public, why just Rove? Why not Miller, Vanity Fair and everyone else? You can't attack one as a traitor and defend the others as brave journalists.

And you'll forgive me for writing this Rogers, or I hope you will because I love you in a not terribly gay way, but I think it's the liberals that are getting desperate. It must be very tempting to go after the Evil Empire in any way available, but it looks kind of silly from the outside.

And if we're going to punish people for making such info public, why just Rove? Why not Miller, Vanity Fair and everyone else?

One of the three requirements of the Intelligence Identities Protection Act, as described by Slate, is that a person must have "authorized access to classified information that identifies a covert agent" before they reveal it.

For this reason, Rove and other government officials who might have revealed Plame's identity are the only ones in jeopardy of breaking it.

Yeah, James - Starr was initially brought on to investigate a potential crime - Whitwater. And ultimately that led us to a different crime, Clinton committing perjury. Unlike you, I have no problem acknowledging facts no matter whether they benefit my party or not.

By the way - I was wondering how long it would take you to bring this around to Clinton. The drink-the-Kool-Aid neocons can't help but try to bring everything back to Clinton.

As to your comment that this whole thing started before the election, so it must be no big deal, I remind you that the first Watergate story broke June 17, 1972 and Nixon got reelected - and the Independent Counsel against Clinton was appointed on January 12, 1994 and Clinton got reeelected.

Hey, just because you know the law and did your homework doesn't make you right. Oh wait, I guess it does. Bastard.

But I'm not wild about Rove being fired/indicted and everyone else getting away with it on a technicality. Seems extraordinarily hairsplitty. And was Paul correct in his claim that Rove didn't have authorized access? Not that it would have kept him from knowing, but since we're dealing in technicalities ...

And to think I promised myself I wouldn't get involved in politics this year. Oh my.

Bourne,

I don't think that Starr's investigations had much (if any) merit. He was perhaps the perfect example of the flaws inherent in unlimited special prosecutors with unlimited budgets.

What I find amusing is that the Left loves this investigation, when it looks (to me) to be the same kind of unlimited stupidity hunt that Starr went on.

In both cases, what we have is a political disagreement being played out under the guise of a legal investigation. In both cases, it's stupid.

Which reminds me - it didn't work politically for the Republicans in the 1998 mid term election, did it?

What little that has come out of Special Prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald's investigation indicates that it still has an extremely narrow focus: the outing of a CIA agent.

As for the charge that this is politically motivated, Fitzgerald is a registered Republican who was appointed by President Bush in 2001 as United States Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois at the recommendation of a Republican senator from that state.

Rogers,

He was appointed in 2003 in order to push any news out until after the election. It's political in the sense that the administration used the appointment of a special prosecutor to "kick the can down the road".

I still maintain the Occam's Razor position - if the NY Times or Time magazine had something solid on Rove in 2003 - and it's not as if Miller and Cooper have anything now that they didn't have then - they would have published early and often. Before the election.

Time published its first article about top-level Bush Administration officials outing Plame back on July 17, 2003.

The article was written by Cooper, and he almost went to prison protecting his source for the article... which Newsweek is reporting was Karl Rove.

Here it is:

www.time.com

Here's two former CIA operatives, both registered Republicans, who assert that Plame was an undercover intelligence officer.

Here's Vince Cannistraro, a 27-year veteran of the CIA and former operations chief, stating she was undercover.

For shame Rogers, the first article above has two guys answering leading questions about the convening of a Senate meeting. They assert nothing in the article.

The Cannistraro article explicitly states that an agent that works in an analyst position was outed. Where does the undercover operative part come in?

Riddle me this Batman, if Rove is the source and he has signed an explicit document allowing any reporter he spoke to complete freedom to divulge what he said to the grand jury; apparently telephoned Matthew Cooper and explicitly told him he could release their conversations, who is Judith Miller sitting in prison for?

There is your story, not this witch hunt.

Apparently, the waivers freeing reporters to talk were signed by numerous White House officials at the behest of the special prosecutor.

Because anyone who did not sign such a waiver would immediately be suspected of being the leaker, Miller and the Times argue that they were compulsory and are therefore not to be accepted as permission to reveal the person's identity. Cooper wrestled with this too.

I don't know how true this is, because Miller's an oily character, but it does make some sense.

So Karl Rove was covering his ass because the prosecutor told him to? The stories I have read seem to imply that Rove signed his voluntarily.

It still leaves unanswered who Miller is protecting.

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