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Ear to the Ground

Plame Takes the Stand

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Posted on Mar 16, 2007
plame
washingtontimes.com

Former CIA operative Valerie Plame ripped into the Bush administration Friday for blowing her cover by leaking her identity to the press in 2003.  Plame told Congress in her first public testimony that her name and identity were “carelessly and recklessly abused by senior officials in the White House and State Department,” pointing out the “terrible irony” of the circumstances surrounding her outing.


AP:

“It was a terrible irony that administration officials were the ones who destroyed my cover,” she told the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee.

“If our government cannot even protect my identity, future foreign agents who might consider working with the Central Intelligence Agency and providing needed intelligence would think twice,” Plame said in response to a question.

The hearing was the first time Plame has publicly answered questions about the case, which led to the recent perjury and obstruction of justice conviction of Vice President Dick Cheney’s former top aide, I. Lewis “Scooter” Libby.

Her appearance was a moment of gripping political theater as Democrats questioned whether the Bush administration mishandled classified information by leaking her identity to reporters. No one has been charged with leaking her identity.

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By MarcLord, March 19, 2007 at 10:28 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Felicity @58974,

You’ve spotted the herd of caribou running through the living room.  I congratulate your common sense. 

Cheney was spying on Plame’s unit since at least late 2002, and by early 2003 would’ve had a “treatment” done on her, noting her husband as a potential weak spot. He was spying on her counter-pro unit because it had messed up a plan to ship VX into Iraq and hide it there for later discovery, and in the process scores of Office of Special Plans operatives got killed in a “friendly-fire incident” in northern Iraq. So Cheney had a major, major vendetta going against the CIA as a whole and Plame’s unit in particular.

It is possible that “everyone knew” Valerie really wasn’t an oil industry consultant. It’s also possible Cheney had the CIA Director SEND Wilson to Niger as a way to make Plame vulnerable. What was to gain? Common sense points out that by burning Plame and her operatives, Cheney removed the only organization with the authority to say that Iran is not trying to make nuclear weapons.

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By Ernest Canning, March 18, 2007 at 9:10 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

One thing overlooked by all of the previous comments, including my own, is the manner in which Dennis Kucinich linked the outing of Valerie Plame Wilson to the tactics of retribution used by the Bush administration against Paul O’Neill, Richard Clarke and just about anyone else who they see as threatening to expose the truth about the hard-right agenda.  These tactics were embodied in the copies of “The Art of Political War” by David Horowitz, each bearing an endorsement personally signed by Karl Rove, which had been given to every Republican running for Congress in 2000, courtesy of Tom DeLay. 

In “The Art of Political War,” Horowitz, a one-time Marxist, who now serves the hard-right, advises Republicans to follow Lenin’s injunction:  “In political conflicts, the goal is not to refute your opponent’s argument, but to wipe him from the face of the earth.”

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By moni, March 17, 2007 at 1:32 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

No one has been charged with “leaking the identity” of Valerie Plame.  The neo-cons must be extremely jealous that she is everything that their “best & brightest” females i.e. A. Coulter IS NOT. Intelligent, discreet, noble, humble, compassionate, good-natured and beautiful inside and out. Thank-you to the (Wilsons) for being righteous . . . you restore our confidence in the humanity of the American people.

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By Aine, March 17, 2007 at 2:36 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Let’s hear from Sibel Edmonds in an OPEN Congressional hearing too. She can fill in the blanks on the Plame case and many, many other cases.

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By Michael, March 17, 2007 at 12:24 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

The CIA has conveniently “forgotten” who recommended Wilson do the Niger mission, but they now vividly remember that it wasn’t Plame, and would like to go back and change their statement to the Senate investigation that said it was her.  I bet Libby would like to go back and change his statement too, but when a Republican does it it is perjury; when a Democrat does it it is a “correction.”

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By @m, March 16, 2007 at 5:56 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Try digging the truth that Joe Wilson blew his wife’s CIA cover at every DC cocktail party they attened for years before 2003 when he bragged about his wife’s job at the CIA. They are just another pathological lying couple cut from the same cloth as Bill and Hillary.

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By Bert, March 16, 2007 at 5:04 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Um, ok, so if we follow the story, which is getting old, tired, and boring, somehow there was this thing where somebody said something they weren’t supposed to, and told so….wait, I’m losing the plot here. Could we please have a 10th grade creative writing student in here to clean this story up? 3 trillion dollars and countless lives/lies later, and this lady’s still news, meanwhile Halliburton makes a ‘run for the border’ with the money….ya gotta wonder what’s REALLY going on, here, and it’s ‘plame’ enough,
once again, the taxpayer’s being taken for a ride while journalists pump out the old cheap dimestore fiction scandals, and, as the Iraq war prepares to go into its’ fourth year, Congress STILL can’t muster the collective intestinal fortitude to throw the red flag…

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By Kathlyn, March 16, 2007 at 4:31 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Re comment 59005 by Joe R, “When are the American people going to demand this criminal [impeachable] activity be prosecuted?”

The Washington State legislature is working on a petition to impeach to present to Congress.  Members of the legislature have been pressured by Gov. Gregoire (D) and Sen. Murray (D) to withdraw support for the resolution.  When the people are betrayed by their own party, what’s left of the system?  So-called “centrist democrats (Clinton and Lieberman are the most visible) are fouling our country just as surely as the current repugnant administration.

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By MarcLord, March 16, 2007 at 4:25 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

What I Did Not Tell In My Testimony To Congress, by Valerie Plame

To keep things simple for the American people and their representatives, it was necessary to constrain the focus of my remarks to its immediate unclassified features, i.e., that by betraying the identities of its agents, the Administration makes their jobs impossible and their lives, on average, shorter. It would have been interesting, albeit personally indulgent, to retreat from the painting and place it in its larger, far more accurate context. I have sworn not to divulge certain things which, for future reference, must be classified for as long as the United States remains so.

I did not recount how my operatives in the CIA’s Mid-east Counter-Proliferation division repeatedly foiled pathetic, amateurish attempts by Dick Cheney’s Office of Special Plans to plant evidence linking Saddam Hussein to weapons of mass destruction.

I did not mention that my cover firm, Brewster Jennings, had been outed well before my husband went to Niger to debunk White House claims the Iraqis were trying to buy uranium ore they had no ability to enrich. I did not relate any hint of my team stopping a shipment of VX nerve gas in Turkey near the Iraqi border, nor that they were perfectly aware they were overriding the authority of the Vice President when they seized it. I made no mention of a separate OSP operation losing nearly 100 of its agents on a pre-war mission to Iraq, when they were accidentally hit by US air strikes.

And finally, I didn’t explain why or how the real target of Dick Cheney’s vendetta was not my husband, nor me, but every single uncooperative field agent, analyst, and beaurocrat in the entire CIA, DIA, and DOD. Had I done so, I would have revealed that the Message sent through the media by the Office of Special Plans was crystal clear to us all: “Cross us, and you’ll be crucified.”

http://www.smh.com.au/articles/2002/12/12/1039656171115.html?oneclick=true

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By Louise, March 16, 2007 at 3:53 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

RE: felicity smith’s question (Comment #58974)

I don’t believe, and never will believe Plame’s “outing” was to discredit her husbands disclosure of the “yellow cake” lie.

By the time all this happened, those who pay attention already knew how freely the Bush administration lies. In fact, the foreign press exposed the “yellow Cake” lie long before Bush blurted it out as fact.

I believe Plame was outed to bring her operation to a screeching halt. The bigger lie, WMD in Iraq was under the spotlight and nobody in the world knew better than the Bush administration that Saddam didn’t have any.

It worked out well. Took the CIA spotlight off Iraq WMD. Caused a ripple of doubt in Wilson’s story, and reaffirmed the administrations conceit that they could get away with anything, which they have. Actually that’s the most important thing to them.

Their rubber-stamp congress and the dumbed-down populace was no threat. For that matter Saddam was no threat. Bush badly wanted to be a “War President.” Whether or not that happened to kill a lot of people needlessly was of no consequence. Inherent in being War President are a multitude of precedents at abusing Constitutional Law in the name of “national security.” Becoming a dictatorial tyrant is much easier if those who you would abuse are frightened, and nothing frightens more than war. The only thing that mattered then and now was giving Bush his war in Iraq. A place that would guarantee on-going failure and ultimately pull in a multitude of other nations.

Look at everything that has happened since 9/11. From withdrawing from the International War Crimes Tribunal to re-instating the proliferation of Nuclear Weapons. From the Patriot Act to No Child Left Behind. From the memo authorizing torture (at Bush’s request) to the Military Commissions Act, and the approaching collapse of the economy and the military. A close and careful examination of EVERYTHING that this administration and their rubber-stamp congress has done ties up into a neat little package of dictatorship and despotism.

Victoria Toensing, one of today’s witness’s has criticized the CIA’s handling of the case. She was involved in the writing of The Intelligence Identities Protection Act of 1982. Her position is that “Covert” applies only to agents working out of the country, or in the country with a five year cap following foreign service. She also is a republican and a close friend of Robert Novac, who wrote the first story outing Plame.

Not to hard to figure where her loyalties are.

Toensing has been the “authority” of choice throughout the past three years when main stream media has wanted to report on the Plame story. She has consistently maintained no law was broken. A position she continued to maintain under questioning today.  But, I have to agree with her on one thing. The CIA has shown no interest in pursuing the Plame issue. Why?

There will be no real investigation, except whatever this Senate Hearing might do. Because Bush and the other Bush and Cheney and Rumsfeld have too much on the CIA and the FBI, as do they on them. We would quake in our boots if we could even begin to understand what has been done in our name, for so many years by these secret agency’s and those associated with them.

Plame is a bump in the road. A useful diversion, and a symptom of how truly sick our government has become. If her book and Wilson’s book can shed even a sliver of light onto the corruption of this administration and their ties to corruption going back decades, I say more power to them. I hope they sell well!

So what to do? The answer is in the Constitution. Clearly the main players in today’s story have not upheld their oath to protect and defend the Constitution. That gives us, we the people cause and the legal right to demand impeachment and throw them out of D.C. We need to scream louder, to put even more pressure on congress. Impeachment is the only answer.

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By Dale Headley, March 16, 2007 at 3:39 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

To correspondent Jason Cole: 
  Your comment (# 58977) might carry a little more gravitas if you had shown at least a modicum of literacy.  It’s “For a…”, not “For be a…”  It’s “whiner”, not “winer” (unless you’re suggesting she drinks a lot of wine).  It’s “know”, not “now”.  It’s “suck it up”, not “suck it” (unless you’re suggesting something of a more lewd nature).  It’s “whom” after “American”, not “where”.  It should be “can and will”, not “will and can”.  “She” should have been capitalized following “winer!”.  Finally, after the word “laundry” there should be some kind of punctuation (you know, a period, or a comma, or a semi-colon).  That’s a lot of errors to crowd into a four line paragraph.  Your fourth grade literacy level pretty much settles it: you’re a “dittohead”, right?
  I’m not sure why you chose to capitalize “FORMER”, since Plame was an agent at the time she was exposed.  I agree that Plame should have known that being (not “playing”) a spy is risky business; but I doubt that she should have been aware that the risk included being exposed by political ideologues within her her own government under the imprimatur of what you consider “freedom of speech” (imprimatur?  Look it up!).  By the way, you imply that she is not grateful to be an American; that’s odd, since she risked her life being a spy for her country, as did her husband when he faced down Saddam in Baghdad in 1991.

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By Joe R., March 16, 2007 at 3:23 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

This is just one of a string of impeachable offences that the Bush administration has committed.  When are the American people going to demand this criminal activity be prosecuted?  The Wilson’s are both hero’s who should be compensated for the treatment they have received by this group of madmen.

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By Dale Headley, March 16, 2007 at 2:38 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

The right wingers still persist in claiming that not only wasn’t Plame a covert agent, but that Joseph Wilson is a liar and there really was an attempt by Saddam to buy uranium from Niger. But I don’t see any of them volunteering to testify under oath, as Plame has, about this evidence they have yet to produce.  Neocon Clifford May, in an op-ed piece for Scripps Howard today, says all this and more.  He asks, rhetorically, “Who is this Joseph Wilson guy?”  Well, Mr. May, he is the former Ambassador to Iraq who courageously stood up to Saddam back in 1991 when the dictator threatened to hold Americans residing in his country as hostages to prevent an invasion.  Wilson told Saddam that if he did that he would have to include himself among those hostages.  That forced Saddam to back down.  Wilson returned to the U.S. to an outpouring of gratitude from the Bush Administration - the Bush Administration that had an honorable man at the helm - which honored him for his brave devotion to his country.  That’s who this “Joseph Wilson guy” is, Mr. May.

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By the ruminator, March 16, 2007 at 1:08 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

boy bush is a rich kid who does nothing but act upon his spoiled ego drives. in outing plame he served this impulse by:
1. defying his father, who said that outing a CIA agent was the most cowardly treason…
2. wrecked all legit ops in the middle east, blazing the trail for his forcing fictional findings upon the intimidated, corpo-fascist press, ala iraq.
3. attempting to emasculate joseph wilson, not only for being ” his dad’s ambassador “, but since the neocons are all ugly soft gray skinned white shits, for having such a fox for a wife.
4. pure power play ( all he does is this. the boy never relaxed in his life );s&m.
5. just as the yalie, billionaire white supremacist ayn rander church of satan people claim that the ” bearer of bad news ” is satan ( convenient for them, eh ? ), they have always had the blowing up of iran scheduled as their last move to claim the world.
busted, boy. gp to jail, and be alone with your own unimaginative thoughts forever. you’re just a snotty little thief, torturer and killer, and we demand you get the fuck out of our lives.

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By gryphyn, March 16, 2007 at 1:05 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I’m heartened at the fact that this story is being told.  Unchecked secrecy in government can and will lead to its downfall, and never in a good way.  The fact that the CIA had to okay Plame’s book makes me very uneasy- just how much of an expose can we expect here.  Seems like the fox guarding the chicken coop here.

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By GW=MCHammered, March 16, 2007 at 12:57 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

God, strong women are sexy! Especially when seen trampling the weakest of men.

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By Steve Hammons, March 16, 2007 at 12:27 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Plame was an intelligence officer who worked undercover and without benefit of official diplomatic cover (a “NOC” operative) that could offer her protection overseas. A NOC operative is more exposed and vulnerable if they are compromised.

She and her associates overseas worked to gather intelligence on weapons of mass destruction. Their intelligence network was undoubtedly severely damaged by the release of information about her work for the CIA.

Neocon chicken hawks in the Bush administration exposed her status as a CIA operative. Most of these chicken hawks, inside and outside the Bush-Cheney administration, have never put themselves in the kind of danger that Plame did in her overseas work. Most of them have not put themselves in significant danger in our military either.

Chicken hawks have proven to be dangerous to our troops, our intelligence community, all Americans, our nation and to international peace. For more, see:

“Chicken hawks are real and dangerous”

By Steve Hammons
Columnist, PopulistAmerica.com
Populist Party of America
November 26, 2006

http://www.populistamerica.com/chicken_hawks_are_real_and_dangerous

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By Jason Cole, March 16, 2007 at 12:21 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

For be a FORMER CIA operative she sure is a winer! she of all people should now playing spy is risky business.  She talks as though her life is over. Suck it and be thankful for being an American where others will and can air your dirty laundry it’s called freedom of speech, so move on. 

Some say she was put out in the cold, I say she’s just out digging for gold.

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By felicity smith, March 16, 2007 at 12:08 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Something I have never read and continue to wonder about is why nobody trying to nail the Administration’s role in the Plame affair has asked why Plame’s name even came up in relation to Wilson’s trek to Niger. Afterall, do we know the names of other men’s wives, be they married to spooks, senators, reps, cabinet appointees…

True she works for the government but there are many, many married couples who both collect pay checks from the government.

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