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July 17, 2003

At a loss for a headline. I have very little to add to this post by Kevin Drum, or to this followup by Mark Kleiman, save to note that neither Drum or Kleiman are exactly given to attacks of political paranoia. Okay, this much: I agree with Kleiman in hoping against hope that the whole story is baseless. But you should drop what you’re doing and read both posts. [07:04 AM]
Welcome to Electrolite's comments section.
Hard-Hitting Moderator: Teresa Nielsen Hayden.

Comments on At a loss for a headline.:

Chad Orzel ::: (view all by) ::: July 17, 2003, 09:55 AM:

As I think about this more, I'm starting to think that the most disturbing thing about the whole deal is just how lame the resulting attack was.

I mean, they outed Wilson's wife as a CIA agent, in order to imply that she helped him get the job of going to Niger to investigate the scam letter that made people think Iraq was trying to buy uranium. To which the only response is, "So?"

I mean how does the source of the recommendation affect his credibility? So someone at the CIA suggested an envoy-- so what? They've got an interest in having this sort of stuff checked out. Is the implication supposed to be that the CIA is all a bunch of America-hating librul types out to make Bush look bad? Yeah, that'll fly...

About the only way I can see this being an effective smear is if the goal is to have peopls sniggering behind their hands at the fact that Wilson needs his wife to help him get a job. And I have trouble imagining that being really effective among those of us who have moved beyong the 19th century...

So, it looks like they may have revealed the identity of a CIA agent-- something which is ordinarily so incredibly sensitive that we can't allow American citizens their Constitutional right to a trial by jury, lest intelligence sources be "compromised"-- in the service of one of the lamest smear attacks in recent political history.

Truly, the Bush administration shows remarkable ingenuity at finding ways to lower my opinion of them.

David Moles ::: (view all by) ::: July 17, 2003, 10:05 AM:

Wow. That’s straight out of John le Carré.

If I was Valerie Plame, and I really was a CIA operative, I’d be having a serious talk with my boss. What the hell are “unnamed administration officials” doing with that sort of sensitive information? What kind of circus are they running over there?

David Moles ::: (view all by) ::: July 17, 2003, 10:05 AM:

Er. No pun intended.

Yonmei ::: (view all by) ::: July 17, 2003, 10:13 AM:

I am speaking from a position of refreshing ignorance, as I have no idea how the CIA is organised. (I am not supposed to have any idea about how MI5 and MI6 are organised either, of course.)

I googled on news for Valerie Plame, and discovered 4 stories, one of which referred to her as a "CIA official", two as an "Agency operative", and the fourth one is The Nation.

My question is, if Valerie Plame works for the CIA, is this really in itself a major secret? What is the problem here - revealing that she works for the CIA, suggesting that she's an Agency operative, or revealing her field of expertise?

Patrick Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: July 17, 2003, 10:24 AM:

This question has come up in Kevin Drum's comment section as well. Someone called "Sven" addressed the point:

If his wife is simply a pencil pusher, then why did Joseph Wilson tell Corn "Naming her this way would have compromised every operation, every relationship, every network with which she had been associated in her entire career. This is the stuff of Kim Philby and Aldrich Ames." Now it's true he didn't say whether she is an operative 97 because he can't 97 but that seems pretty close to a confirmation.
Wilson also makes the point that this wasn't aimed at he or his wife; it's aimed at every other careerist in the CIA. In other words, it's intended to intimidate people blowing the whistle after the administration politicizes intelligence and prevent "revolts" like the one that scuttled John Bolton's scheduled slander of Syria on the Hill this week.

Graydon ::: (view all by) ::: July 17, 2003, 10:43 AM:

The thing that just this minute gave me the cave-creeps about this isn't so much the plausible stupidity, venality, or immorality of it, but the sudden sense of -- wait. Wait just a Tyr-damned minute, here. The Guy With The Button is getting close to a state of open war with his intelligence sources/security apparatus.

Say what?

Does Homeland Security get the foreign intelligence job, too, after the CIA is proven 'unreliable'? Does it just not matter who gets walloped on with the full might and fury of the US military? Is the Bush administration pushing for a state of affairs where policy dictates facts inside its own security apparatus? Too dumb to know that you can't beat your spooks into submission?

Can anyone make sense of this in a way that doesn't transform the Bush regieme from venal would-be theocrats and looters to actual madmen?

Chad Orzel ::: (view all by) ::: July 17, 2003, 10:43 AM:

I googled on news for Valerie Plame, and discovered 4 stories, one of which referred to her as a "CIA official", two as an "Agency operative", and the fourth one is The Nation.

Hitting Google News for stories featuring the exact phrase "Valerie Plame" produces six results, of which one is the Time piece, one is the article in The Nation, and four are copies of the Robert Novak article in question. All come within the last few days.

More importantly, a regular Google search on the same phrase turns up a couple of online bios of Wilson, which are notable for not mentioning that she's a CIA operative.

This isn't an incredibly scientific survey, mind, but it's hard to imagine that her status as a CIA operative was common knowledge before someone started talking about it over the weekend.

Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: July 17, 2003, 11:19 AM:

The Bush administration's petty meanness and vindictiveness is an ingrained habit. It's often been useful to them, especially domestically. No one wants to be the target. But it backfires, as when Jeffords switched parties, or the widespread sense of repugnance at Rumsfeld's vase remark.

These guys aren't good at their supposed jobs. Essentially they're freebooters, and they're good at it; but being a freebooter requires a much smaller and more primitive skill set than it takes to administer a complex modern nation.

Lydia Nickerson ::: (view all by) ::: July 17, 2003, 12:09 PM:

Well, we've had "War is peace" and "Freedom is slavery." I guess it was about time for "Ignorance is strength."

MadJayhawk ::: (view all by) ::: July 17, 2003, 12:39 PM:

Gosh darn. Who would have thought there would even be a suggestion of politically motivated paybacks in Washington of all places? My goodness, I thought we were beyond all that when the crew that had hundreds of Republican FBI files magically show up in the White House left with their vans packed with government property. I thought that the days when many of the principals in the Paula Jones case just happened to get audited by the IRS were behind us. Maybe not.

The main question to be answered by someone who knows before everyone gets writer's cramp or carpal tunnel syndrome over this: was Wilson's wife an undercover CIA operative?

Yes, then the unnamed government officials are going to have significant legal bills sometime in the near future and we, the taxpayers, will have to endure at least two congressional hearings where Democratic Presidential candidates gleefully blow some bigtime hot air at us.

No, then, as I always told upset parents when I refereed kid's basketball games, no blood no foul.

Meanwhile, blog or talk or comment in appropriate places amongst yourselves.


Yonmei ::: (view all by) ::: July 17, 2003, 12:57 PM:

Madjayhawk, it's nice to know you're a fine upstanding type who thinks CIA operatives are scum who deserve to be outed. (Which is what I get from your comment - since you appear to feel that the worst that can happen if Valerie Plame is an Agency operative is heavy legal bills for whoever outed her.) This is something that you and I have in common - speaking as a leftwing anti-American who is well aware of the scummy things the CIA has done ever since it was invented.

Oddly enough, prior to this post, I got the impression that you were a right-wing heavy American patriot who probably supported all the scummy things the CIA's done. But you never can tell, and I'm delighted you've shown your true colours.

edub ::: (view all by) ::: July 17, 2003, 01:12 PM:

Madjayhawk writes:

I thought that the days when many of the principals in the Paula Jones case just happened to get audited by the IRS were behind us.

Got a source, other than some right-wing birdcage liner?

Avram ::: (view all by) ::: July 17, 2003, 01:37 PM:

Goshdarn yourself, MadJayHawk. Where would we be without people like yourself willing to put on your World-Weary Cynic hats and tell us to consider possibilities we were already considering?

Gregory ::: (view all by) ::: July 17, 2003, 01:51 PM:

Hold on here, folks. As Mark Kleiman said more eloquently than I, it *doesn't freakin' matter* if Mrs. Wilson is CIA or not. What matters is that two -- count 'em, two -- sources in the Amdinistration told a journalist for use in publication -- in short, blew her cover. The only alternative explanation I can come up with is that Novak just made the whole thing up (in which case he's set himself up for a dandy libel suit).

If she is not a CIA agent, her professional and personal reptuations have been damaged.

If she *is* a CIA agent, her professional and personal reputations have been damaged, her value as an intel asset is now zilch, and the information may literally have put her life -- or more likely, the lives of her contacts -- in danger.

And for what?

There's simply no good interpretation to this sordid event. At the very least, Mrs. Wilson's repuation has been sullied, whether the information is true or not. But what's worse is that this Administration that is definitely obsessed with secrecy and, we're supposed to believ, concerned about national security apparently did so out of sheer pique. It's simply unforgivable.

Randolph Fritz ::: (view all by) ::: July 17, 2003, 01:55 PM:

Wow. If true, an act of betrayal worthy of Joe Stalin. Bet I know whose idea it was, too--Cheney. I keep remembering Paul Krugman's comment about how these people are users; he knows them personally, of course. Since the Reagan administration, people loyal to this crowd, but not in the inner circle, have been getting the shaft--I am thinking of David Stockman and Colin Powell.

If even a substantial minority of the public can be made to see this administration and the current Republican leadership in that light, they will go down.

the talking dog ::: (view all by) ::: July 17, 2003, 03:26 PM:

Here's the Google search: http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&ie=ISO-8859-1&q=Valerie+Plame&btnG=Google+Search


As noted above by Yonmei and others, the only mentions are Novak's article itself, and a bio of Ambassador Wilson (which leaves out that he is married to a Company Gal, though it mentions her name).

A search of the CIA's website http://www.cia.gov/search?NS-search-page=results does not show any "official" recognition of Ms. Plame's name-- so she's not evidently a publicly acknowledged official.

We can safely assume that Ms. Plame and Ambassador Wilson (and presumably their contacts) are now engaging in appropriate damage control measures, as their careers, and possibly their lives (Ms. Plame and Ambassador Wilson have 3-year old twins; what a nice touch THAT must be for the President-- oops, I should say, whoever is responsible) are now fucked.

In the end, Watergate WAS a third rate burglary, in the personal service of a president. Assuming any of this is true (and the thing is, even though I disagree with Novak a HUGE percentage of the time, I find him to be a smart, credible journalist), this all adds up to another crime:
treason (in the personal service of a president. Of course.)

LauraJMixon ::: (view all by) ::: July 17, 2003, 03:33 PM:

My parents are moderate Repubs who occasionally vote Dem: the classic swing voters. This last weekend I visited them, and they were furious at the Bush Admin, and the Repub party in general, for these attacks on civil liberties, taking us to war on a pretext, etc.

My mother says she's been polled (I assume as a critical voting demographic), and the way they force you to answer certain questions in certain ways causes the polls to be misleading. She doesn't trust the polls. They don't fully reveal this underlying groundswell of discontent.

I suspect this is part of a larger trend, and -- while I'm not willing to count on this, and plan to be as active as possible in the upcoming get-out-the-vote efforts -- I would not be at all surprised if we get quite an upheaval at the polls, come Nov 2004.

Here's hoping. These guys are _snakes_.


-l.

David Moles ::: (view all by) ::: July 17, 2003, 03:56 PM:

“I have spoken publicly and privately, countless times, about the danger of leaking classified information. It is wrong. It is against the law. It costs the lives of Americans. It diminishes our country’s chance for success.”

——Donald Rumsfeld

(I guess that memo was only circulated within the Pentagon.)

Jeff Crook ::: (view all by) ::: July 17, 2003, 05:17 PM:

I would not be at all surprised if we get quite an upheaval at the polls, come Nov 2004.

I suspect the surprise will reside with others. So don't be surprised if Bush, trailing badly in the polls, pulls off a last minute miracle victory via electronic voting machines manufactured by Bush supporters, recording votes that can't be tracked on machines that can't be audited.

So when you ask, how can the administration do this or that, see if "because the votes have already been counted" doesn't answer your question.

The only thing they really have to fear is be tossed out by Congress, but don't think your Congressperson isn't perfectly aware that their votes have already been counted, too. Why are Congressional Democrats such pansies? Because the votes have already been counted.

And like any good conspiracy, anyone who dares to expose it comes off looking like a conspiracy theorist.

Jon Stopa ::: (view all by) ::: July 17, 2003, 06:09 PM:

This has nothing to do with the thread above, but I'd like to share it with you. Erase it if you want--I stole it from the Dawn Patrol:

A Seattle man named Stefan Merken wrote back as follows to a magazine that

had rejected one of his short stories: "Please forgive me for not accepting

your rejection letter. At this time I cannot accept a rejection of my short

story. I accept more than 99 percent of the rejections I receive. Many I

don't agree with, but I realize that accepting a piece of fiction for

publication is a very subjective judgment call. My acceptance of your

rejection letter is also a subjective process and therefore I am returning

your letter to you. I did read your leter. I read every letter I receive.

Your letter was well-written, but due to time constraints from my own

writing schedule, I am unable to make editorial comments. I do make

mistakes. Don't you, as an editor, be disheartened by this role reversal.

The road of publishing is long and tedious. You need successful

publications and I need for successful publications to print my stories. I

will expect to see my story in your next publication. Good luck in the

future."

David Moles ::: (view all by) ::: July 17, 2003, 07:11 PM:

I prefer the less wordy “Your rejection didn’t grab me, alas.”

Adam Rice ::: (view all by) ::: July 17, 2003, 07:30 PM:

What strikes me as a weird side-story to all this is that Pappy was head of the CIA.

Word of this must be reaching him, and he'll probably be having a serious talk with Junior. Oh, to be a fly on that wall.

Hoodathunk that I'd ever look sympathically upon a maybe-CIA operative.

the talking dog ::: (view all by) ::: July 17, 2003, 07:41 PM:

Adam raises an EXTREMELY interesting and important point. One might get the feeling that information about certain levels of CIA operations-- like who given field operatives are at a given location-- might-- MIGHT-- make its way, IF NEEDED, to the President, the Vice President, MAYBE the Sec Def, CIA Director, and MAYBE the White House chief of staff, if that many people outside the Agency had a reason to know it.

You get the feeling that because Poppy was CIA Chief himself, the Company shared a little bit more than it might usually with the politicos at 1600, and THAT is why the information was readily available for the smear doctors to hand over to the Prince of Darkness.

Frightening. If we actually BELIEVE (and this adds credence to those, such as myself, who DO NOT so believe) that there is a real danger that the Al Qaedas of the world might be bargaining to acquire WMDs as we speak, then in the interest of someone's pique, the White House has just cut off a principal means of intelligence regarding those activities.

The good news (I guess) is that we are in far less real danger than the Bush Administration would like everyone to believe. The bad news, assuming I'm wrong on this, is that we really ARE being led by a four year old.

David Moles ::: (view all by) ::: July 17, 2003, 07:44 PM:

Me, I doubt Poppy has any influence with Junior at all. No more than Lear had on Goneril and Regan.

the talking dog ::: (view all by) ::: July 17, 2003, 08:00 PM:

ACtually, I think Gepetto and Pinocchio works better than a King Lear reference-- for a lot of reasons. But that's just me.

Chris Quinones ::: (view all by) ::: July 17, 2003, 08:10 PM:

I let my boss read the Nation article, and he doubts that she's high-level CIA because he's sure they'd never send an American woman to either the Far East or Mideast to glean confidential information, because the relevant figures wouldn't talk. He also says that they'd never put someon with young children in such a dangerous position. So he believes this is just posturing on the administration's part. (My boss is a liberal Republican who'd love to see W out on his ear, BTW.) I'm not knowledgeable to refute any of this. Anyone have any comments?

Raven ::: (view all by) ::: July 17, 2003, 08:24 PM:

I don't have any specific knowledge, but I'd like to engage in some speculation. I would agree that it seems unlikely that Mrs. Plame would run a clandestine spy ring somwhere in the Middle East, and probably her life is not put in danger.

However, from the fact that, according to Corn in the Nation, she is an "energy analyst", I would deduce that she probably had ample contacts inside energy companies and access to many people, in the US and abroad, in particular in the nuclear power industry, who would probably talk freely to her. My guess is that she regularily provided the CIA with "inside scoops" from the industry. That would fit well with the fact that she was reported to be a proliferation expert.

Her ability to do this job would certainly be compromised by identifying her as a CIA operative. All the networking she has done is now for nothing, for people who might have trusted her without knowing about her job as well as for foreign contacts who might have known but now have to be wary to talk to her.

Claude Muncey ::: (view all by) ::: July 17, 2003, 09:00 PM:

Nice point, Raven.

No question, that if you are looking worldwide for nuclear weapons, you will need some snake-eaters to jump out of airplanes and sneak across borders and such -- the kind of people (with the requisite language and cultural skills) that the CIA has had a problem recruiting in recent years. (DIA does better -- they tend to start with Special Forces types.) There are also the classic case officers that interact with "assets". Both work for the Directorate of Operations and belong to what is sometimes called the Clandestine Service.

But I have been wondering, thinking about someone working as an energy anslyst and looking for WMD's. She might be a contract analyst doing work for the Directorate of Intelligence, but the very fact that you work for the CIA is not necessarily confidential if you work for DI or DST.

No, her husband's statement sounds more like what you are saying, Raven, which would make her a slightly different kind of spy, one part agent of espionage and one part agent of influence. The information she would pass might be just as important as the information she gathered. And this kind of a "legend" would be superbly difficult and time-consuming to construct. It's a lot to blow away for a political point.

MadJayhawk ::: (view all by) ::: July 17, 2003, 11:56 PM:

There have been some nice substantive points made here about this story. Mine were a slightly off base, but it isn't the first time or the last.

There is something about this story that bothers me. Perhaps it is Robert Novak outting Valerie Plume. He did not have to. It did not have anything significant to do with the story he was writing as Klieman points out. If she was a clandinstine operative then Novak as an experienced beltway denizen would have known what the results of publishing those 2 or three lines about her would be. The safety and the job of an innocent person would be more important to most people than a couple of lines in a newspaper story. Could Robert Novak sat at his computer and casually said "Oh well" and with malice and forethought put this woman in danger? I have serious problems with him using the "I am reporter" line he uses to wiggle off the hook if she is a clandistine operative.

And why does it appear that Wilson directing questions away from his wife? Is it because she is a clandistine operative? Or is there something else involved here?

I have googled Valerie+nuclear+energy, Plame, plame+wilson and every combination I can think of. If this person was a known factor in the nuclear energy field there is nothing about her that google can find. I did find this: http://www.shtetlinks.jewishgen.org/Polonnoye/PolList.htm Polonnoye is in the Ukraine. She evidently did genealogical research on Jewish relatives that lived in Polonnoye at the time of the Holocaust. She must be Jewish. Is this information somehow significant? I do not see any significance. Plame has a 3 year old child so that means she can't be very old. 40 at best? At what point in her life would she have been an active CIA operative? Wilson has been all over the world and must be in his 60s. Is she his second wife? Is this significant?

Wilson went to Niger for the administration then turned on them like an angry dog. Why? He was anti-war and appeared in the media as an opponent to the war yet administration people trusted him enough to tap him for what looked like an unpaid, mundane assignment. Why?

And then there is the French Connection. What role did the French play in the yellowcake story and how does that fit in with Wilson's visit to Niger? Who did Wilson actually talk to in Niger? How was he convinced that Niger was not selling yellowcake to the Iraqis? Could this have anything to do with France's opposition to the war? A chronology of the events surrounding the forged documents is at http://slate.msn.com/id/2085616/. Be sure to read the last line of the post concerning where to send emails.

I know that the story can be looked at from the evil administration thugs outted a CIA operative to punish her husband angle as well so don't "Duh" me. I am just trying to look at this from all angles and am not just looking for a reason to denigrate the administration as some people do reflexively.

As an OJ expert, I enjoy real life mysteries and this story seems to me to be one. I could be wrong though.


James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: July 18, 2003, 03:53 AM:

Wilson went to Niger for the administration then turned on them like an angry dog. Why?

Presumably because they had ignored his report, embarassing the United States by publicly using bad intel.

He was anti-war and appeared in the media as an opponent to the war yet administration people trusted him enough to tap him for what looked like an unpaid, mundane assignment. Why?

I think you have this backwards chronologically. He was tapped for the assignment; at some later time he became "antiwar." Perhaps he became antiwar when he realized the war was being started based partly on a forgery?

And then there is the French Connection. What role did the French play in the yellowcake story and how does that fit in with Wilson's visit to Niger?

Niger was formerly a French colony; the forged documents were written in French. You can see some of the documents for yourself here: http://abcnews.go.com/sections/wnt/US/uranium030716flaweddocs.html

How does it fit with Wilson's visit? I can't tell what you mean by that.


Who did Wilson actually talk to in Niger? How was he convinced that Niger was not selling yellowcake to the Iraqis?

Presumably, as a former ambassador, he knew who to speak to, and had access to those people. Part of how he was convinced that Niger wasn't selling yellowcake to Iraq was that all of the yellowcake was accounted for, going to foreign firms which weren't under the control of either Niger or Iraq. In the grand scheme of things it doesn't matter exactly how he determined that the story was a fake; the whole world now sees what he determined back then.

Could this have anything to do with France's opposition to the war?

Are you suggesting that France forged the documents in order to support their non-support of the war? Unlikely at best, given the chronology -- the documents existed some time prior to February 2002, since February 2002 was when Wilson went to Niger. In February 2002 there wasn't a war with Iraq; the US was winding down its war in Afghanistan, hunting Osama, and otherwise busy. They'd be no reason for France to forge the documents at that time.

As for France's overall refusal to support the war, part of it must have been that France's intelligence service had determined that Iraq didn't present a threat. Germany and Russia, two other countries with well developed and highly regarded intelligence services, apparently came to the same conclusion. This is a classic case of "what did the dog do in the night time?"

A chronology of the events surrounding the forged documents is at http://slate.msn.com/id/2085616/.

That timeline is a timeline of journalists discovering that the documents were fakes, and starts in March of this year. Here's a better timeline: http://www.abcnews.go.com/sections/world/US/uranium030714_timeline.html

The uranium story was far more that "sixteen words" in the State of the Union address. Recall the declaration that Iraq produced, in multiple volumes, reporting on all their weapons programs? U.N. Security Council Resolution 1441 required Iraq to provide a "currently accurate, full and complete declaration" of any weapons of mass destruction. Iraq handed over its report to the UN inspection team on December 7.

Resolution 1441 is the one we went to war to defend, right? How do we know that Iraq violated 1441? Because they failed to mention their attempt to buy yellowcake from Niger in that report.

Here's a bit from the ABC timeline:

Dec. 19, 2002

The State Department says in a fact sheet that Iraq omitted its attempts to purchase uranium from Niger in its report to United Nations on its weapons program.

Jan. 23, 2003

National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice publishes a piece in New York Times, "Why We Know Iraq Is Lying," and says that the declaration of weapons "fails to account for or explain Iraq's efforts to get uranium from abroad."

Jan. 23, 2003

At the Council on Foreign Relations, Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz also faults the Iraqi report, saying "there is no mention of Iraqi efforts to procure uranium from abroad."



It would be surprising if the Iraqis had mentioned those efforts, since it now appears that the efforts were never made. CIA and State knew (or should have known) for nearly a year by then that the documents were forgeries.

It's a primary blunder to believe your own propaganda. It looks to me like Bush and his administration fell into that ancient trap.

Ken MacLeod ::: (view all by) ::: July 18, 2003, 07:34 AM:

The junta have of course done far viler things than this, but something about this story gives me the creeps in a way the other things (in this specific way) don't. This action doesn't resonate with the history of 20th century totalitarianism, riddled though that is with tales of shot messengers and spooks hung out to dry. These betrayals at least had reasons of state behind them.

This is different. It smells of ancient Rome. It smells of decadence, of whim and spite indulged at the expense of the safety of the state. It's the sort of thing that was done to Belissarius.

Perhaps someone who knows more than I do about the later Empire can run with this - Jo?

Vicki ::: (view all by) ::: July 18, 2003, 10:54 AM:

Either (as someone suggested upstream) Novak is setting himself up for a libel suit, or someone in the administration has committed a serious crime. The sort of thing that if you or I did it might get us labeled "enemy combatants."

Of course, the Atty. Genl. isn't about to subpoena Novak to testify about this.

The only good thing I can see about this is that BushCo are making it clearer and clearer that their idea of loyalty is "you do what you're told, and we hang you out to dry", and it's harder to recruit or keep followers once this becomes known.

I don't know whether Valerie Plame Wilson is connected with the CIA. But if she is, people at the CIA know it--and know that they're no safer than she was. And if she isn't, lots of people now know that the administration thinks "so-and-so is a CIA operative" is something to be casually mentioned to the press. If I were a government official with relatives who could possibly be labeled CIA, I'd be looking for a private sector job soonest.

MadJayhawk ::: (view all by) ::: July 18, 2003, 10:56 AM:

There is an interesting point made over on Just One Minute that may be worth reading.

It concerns Novak's statement:

"...Wilson never worked for the CIA, but his wife, Valerie Plame, is an Agency operative on weapons of mass destruction. Two senior administration officials told me Wilson's wife suggested sending him to Niger to investigate the Italian report. The CIA says its counter-proliferation officials selected Wilson and asked his wife to contact him. "I will not answer any question about my wife," Wilson told me. "

Just One Minute analyzes to the sentence "The CIA says its counter-proliferation officials selected Wilson and asked his wife to contact him." It appears that the CIA was the source of the news that Plame was a CIA operative.

Just One Minute may have a good point here that was overlooked in the rush to judgement that the administration outted Plame. Read it all here. http://justoneminute.blogspot.com

MadJayhawk ::: (view all by) ::: July 18, 2003, 11:21 AM:

James: excellent post. Very interesting. You have set me straight on several points. There are some questions I have about what you have written that I will have to research. (I have to mop the kitchen first though.) Thanks.

Jefalen ::: (view all by) ::: July 18, 2003, 02:17 PM:

Please, can we have less interesting and intelligent (and politically frightening) posts? I'm trying to earn a living. I realize that many of you may be self-employed or salaried workers, but some of us out here cannot spend up to three hours a day reading these things. It comes out of our pay. So please, can we have more stories about puppies with abnormally large ears or something? This goes for TNH, too.

John Farrell ::: (view all by) ::: July 18, 2003, 02:49 PM:

Jefalen, were you being sarcastic or something?

Jefalen ::: (view all by) ::: July 18, 2003, 03:48 PM:

Quite.

Except for that bit about me not making money because of this (and many other) really good websites.

But blaming the sites themselves (and their corresponding authors/contributors)? That was sarcasm ("A tool of the weak," according to A Separate Piece). In this case, it's a tool of the weak-willed: I just can't stay away.

Arthur D. Hlavaty ::: (view all by) ::: July 18, 2003, 04:02 PM:

Maybe it will turn out that the difference between Watergate and Yellowcake is that Nixon was smart enough not to mess with the CIA. If I were in the Bush administration, I would pray that no accident--however plausible--befalls Wilson or Plame in the immediate future.

Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: July 18, 2003, 04:04 PM:

No, then, as I always told upset parents when I refereed kid's basketball games, no blood no foul.

How could anyone allow you to referee kid's basketball games? Calling fouls strictly is an essential part of teaching them the game. You're not only being macho and inhumane, you're being pedagogically irresponsible.

But then, we've established in another thread that you live in a county that doesn't value humanity (in the sense of humane-ness).

Jo Walton ::: (view all by) ::: July 18, 2003, 04:08 PM:

Ken: Google on "Flavius Aetius" sometime.

People in the Roman Empire had a lot of civil rights on paper, and a lot of civil rights by default, mostly nobody cared.

Feudalism was actually an improvement over slavery and arbitrary power. Feudalism assumed loyalty went in both directions.

Dennis Slater ::: (view all by) ::: July 18, 2003, 07:05 PM:

How could anyone allow you to referee kid's basketball games? Calling fouls strictly is an essential part of teaching them the game. You're not only being macho and inhumane, you're being pedagogically irresponsible.

Excuse me. Have you ever in your life refereed or coached a 3rd grade or 4th grade basketball game? I coached basketball for 10 years and refereed for 5. And your credentials are...?

If every violation in a 3rd grade basketball game was called the game would end with a 5-3 score. The game would consist of kids standing around waiting for play to resume after the ref assessed a foul. The kids are totally out of control when the season starts usually. Our league used a running clock so the kids would not playif every foul was called. They would just stand around. It is more important at lower levels for them to learn skills than to enforce hard and fast compliance to the rules. The referee has to use common sense and strike a balance between calling everything and slowing the game down to a crawl or letting the kids play while calling enough flagrant fouls to teach them. Later in the season as kids get better refs will tighten things up. Good coaches at that level know that and work with the refs in a teaching environment. It is the parents, probably like you, that are the problem. They expect every foul on their kid to be called while we are supposed to ignore those that their kid commits. This happens even after I explain to them how I am going to call the game before the game starts. I would tell them that we would be using NBA standards for calling infractions - "no blood, no foul, they could drag a foot but no 'happy-feet or running with the ball" to lower their expectations of high school or college quality refing. Kids sports would be immensely better off with parents at home. The game is supposed to be fun. It was fun for me and that's why I was committed to it for so long.

But then, we've established in another thread that you live in a county that doesn't value humanity (in the sense of humane-ness).

You have established nothing. Just because someone lives in Maricopa County makes them someone who doesn't value humanity? The governor and everyone on down in our state government will be pleased to hear that. They all live in Maricopa County. A lot of famous people live in this county as well. Do they all not value humanity as well? Or is it just me.

You paint people you do not know with a mighty broad brush. Stereotyping people based on something they have little or no control over is ignorant and in some case racist. Do you condemn people the same way based on their races or religions?

I did not say I supported the way our county treats some of its prisoners. You would be shocked to hear of the other methods our sheriff uses if those bothered you. He has about an 85% approval rating and his life is seriously threatened about one a month.

Randolph Fritz ::: (view all by) ::: July 18, 2003, 07:28 PM:

"This is different. It smells of ancient Rome. It smells of decadence, of whim and spite indulged at the expense of the safety of the state."

And even the political goals of the actors. It does indeed smell of empire in trouble--"We're aristocrats--we don't have to care." I think you're right, Ken--this isn't "a boot stamping on a human face--forever", this is a boot stamping because the owner likes hurting people and wants to make a big noise.

julia ::: (view all by) ::: July 18, 2003, 08:57 PM:

You have established nothing. Just because someone lives in Maricopa County makes them someone who doesn't value humanity? The governor and everyone on down in our state government will be pleased to hear that. They all live in Maricopa County. A lot of famous people live in this county as well. Do they all not value humanity as well? Or is it just me.

Uh, "Dennis"?

You do realize that you've just acknowledged being "MadJayHawk", don't you?

Randolph Fritz ::: (view all by) ::: July 18, 2003, 10:06 PM:

As a footnote to this--if the empire of the west is falling, whose century is this? Japan, China, India, ...Islam?

mark ::: (view all by) ::: July 19, 2003, 12:24 AM:

julia -- well, given that his name is a hyperlink to madjayhawk.blogspot.com, it's not a terribly hidden secret...

MadJayhawk ::: (view all by) ::: July 19, 2003, 02:35 AM:

Julia,

You have outted me!! **blushing**

I use this neat little program to auto fill boxes like name, email address, etc. When the program sees the word 'name' it fills in the box with my real name which I normally change to MadJayhawk. It is annoying at times but it really saves a lot of time. The program does the same for passwords.

I have used the MadJayhawk moniker for probably 7 years while playing games on www.zone.com or participating in things like this. I went to the Univ of Kansas and lived in eastern Kansas for a number of years. And I am crazy (or Mad) most of the time. But you knew that.

Yonmei ::: (view all by) ::: July 19, 2003, 04:11 AM:

Dennis, you wrote: Just because someone lives in Maricopa County makes them someone who doesn't value humanity? The governor and everyone on down in our state government will be pleased to hear that. They all live in Maricopa County. A lot of famous people live in this county as well. Do they all not value humanity as well? Or is it just me.

On the whole, I'd agree with you, that it's unfair to judge the whole population of a county by a nutty few. However, a certain MadJayHawk claimed on another thread: We have county jails here in Maricopa County that consists of army tents surrounded by high fences. The tents are not air conditioned. It is 115 degrees today. It is probably pretty grim for those used to air conditioning 24/7. The Human Rights people are not happy with this set up, however, the voters overwhelmingly are.

So you may disagree, but this MadJayHawk certainly feels that overwhelmingly, all the voters of Maricopa County are fascistically inhumane. You should take it up with him if you disagree: we're just reporting his message to you.

Yonmei ::: (view all by) ::: July 19, 2003, 04:12 AM:

Dennis, you wrote: Just because someone lives in Maricopa County makes them someone who doesn't value humanity? The governor and everyone on down in our state government will be pleased to hear that. They all live in Maricopa County. A lot of famous people live in this county as well. Do they all not value humanity as well? Or is it just me.

On the whole, I'd agree with you, that it's unfair to judge the whole population of a county by a nutty few. However, a certain MadJayHawk claimed on another thread: We have county jails here in Maricopa County that consists of army tents surrounded by high fences. The tents are not air conditioned. It is 115 degrees today. It is probably pretty grim for those used to air conditioning 24/7. The Human Rights people are not happy with this set up, however, the voters overwhelmingly are.

So you may disagree, but this MadJayHawk certainly feels that overwhelmingly, all the voters of Maricopa County are fascistically inhumane. You should take it up with him if you disagree: we're just reporting his message to you.

Yonmei ::: (view all by) ::: July 19, 2003, 04:12 AM:

Sorry for the double post!

Keith Thompson ::: (view all by) ::: July 19, 2003, 05:16 AM:

Novak's column referred to her as an "Agency operative". A lot of the commentary here and elsewhere refers to her as a (possible) "CIA agent". Is there a significant distinction between "agent" and "operative" that we're missing? I have no idea; I know very little about the CIA, and most of that is wrong.

Claude Muncey ::: (view all by) ::: July 19, 2003, 10:06 AM:

I don't think so, Keith as neither are titles that the CIA itself uses. If Novak had use some variant of the term "officer" or "analyst", both of which are used by the CIA, that might be different. Someone has told him she works for CIA, but if they told him her job, he didn't repeat it.

David ::: (view all by) ::: July 19, 2003, 12:20 PM:

I just had a look at the Niger documents and noticed another error that doesn't seem to have been mentioned. The name of Iraq is spelt incorrectly -- in French, it's "Irak". So, for what it's worth, whoever wrote them was almost certainly not a native French-speaker, and therefore not likely to be a Nigerien diplomat or a French spy.

MadJayhawk ::: (view all by) ::: July 19, 2003, 12:48 PM:

Keith, I looked for the definition of operative too. The vast majority of the references I found used the word operative to refer to clandistine or undercover agent. The articles I saw would make it clear that the person had functioned as an undercover spy during his career in the intelligence community.

I am looking forward to some clarifications about this whole thing. I was surprised to see the serious accusations based on Novak's article come raining hard and fast down on blogdom. Now the nasty accusations of political payback and worse have been made and so many people are hanging out there with monumental conspiracy accusations I hope whether Plame is an undercover agent who has been compromised is either authoritatively confirmed or denied quickly.

Plame's current CIA status seems to be the basis for all the controversy. To me what her status actually is is unclear. The job title of operative that Novak uses does not help clear things up for me.

It seems Novak was trying to use that Plame was a CIA employee to explain why the CIA went to her to recruit Wilson for the controversial trip to Niger. Perhaps Novak had simply asked the administration officials in the CIA why and how Wilson was selected to go to Niger (because that was what the article was about *) and they told him that they had determined that Wilson was the right guy to go that since his wife worked for the CIA and they asked her to ask him to go. If Plame is not an undercover employee what is the harm here?

If the government officials that gave Novak the information about Plame were CIA employees as the story seems to say, they outted their own employee if, of course, she was an undercover employee to begin with. The CIA outting one of their own sounds somewhat implausible.

* The story begins with this:

"The CIA's decision to send retired diplomat Joseph C. Wilson to Africa in February 2002 to investigate possible Iraqi purchases of uranium was made routinely at a low level without Director George Tenet's knowledge. "

Geheimbundler ::: (view all by) ::: July 19, 2003, 12:59 PM:

Those doubting Valerie Plame's (formerly) undercover status should reread Corn's article.

Wilson basically says she was, and that this is a massive betrayal. Corn says Plame's public status was "an energy analyst for a private firm." I don't think either of them would make such claims if they were not verifiably true.

MadJayhawk ::: (view all by) ::: July 19, 2003, 01:34 PM:

I just had a look at the Niger documents and noticed another error that doesn't seem to have been mentioned. The name of Iraq is spelt incorrectly -- in French, it's "Irak". So, for what it's worth, whoever wrote them was almost certainly not a native French-speaker, and therefore not likely to be a Nigerien diplomat or a French spy.

That is really interesting David. The history of that document is fascinating. Whoever forged it and tried to pass it off as authentic did not take much effort to insure it would get past a knowledgeable person. It seems that if someone were buying this document as proof of Iraqi uranium purchases they would try to authenicate it first like most 12 year olds do (or should do) when they buy expensive baseball cards.

MadJayhawk ::: (view all by) ::: July 19, 2003, 02:24 PM:

Madjayhawk writes:

I thought that the days when many of the principals in the Paula Jones case just happened to get audited by the IRS were behind us.

Got a source, other than some right-wing birdcage liner?

So bitter, so much in denial, so ignorant about how to use Google.

Is something from a left-wing birdcage liner good enough? http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/politics/special/pjones/stories/pj091597.htm
this site has mention of a New York Post article about the audits. http://www.inlandrevenue.org/irsiss10.html I cannot find the NYP article. I can't tell if this site meets your left-wing birdcage liner requirements.

Need a good laugh: http://www.paulbacon.com/politics/integritizer/The-Weekly-Standard-Magazine.htm This shows why Dave Letterman and Jay Leno really miss Bill Clinton.

peter jung ::: (view all by) ::: July 19, 2003, 09:54 PM:

The ShrubCo administration is choosing to fight its battles on very low terrain, which tells me that they are already conceding that they are in trouble.

Avram ::: (view all by) ::: July 20, 2003, 12:36 AM:

Isn't the IRS under congress's control, not the president's? How could a sitting president get the IRS to audit his enemies, especially with a hostile congress?

MadJayhawk ::: (view all by) ::: July 20, 2003, 02:02 AM:

Isn't the IRS under congress's control, not the president's? How could a sitting president get the IRS to audit his enemies, especially with a hostile congress?
The President could pick up a phone, call the director of the IRS and "suggest" that it is time for so-and-so to get an audit. Nixon, I believe, did this a lot. LBJ might have too. Someone in the White House, during the wonderful years we were privileged to have the former governor of Arkansas as president, called up the FBI and asked them to illegally send over a few, maybe a 1000, files on various Republicans. If the WH says jump usually everyone in the administration asks how high no matter if it is legal or not. There are ways to get things done. It is the big leagues and they play hardball. All administrations all do or did. Like in basketball, if you play inside with the big boys, expect an elbow or two to come your way.

Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: July 20, 2003, 07:28 AM:

Yonmei: thank you. That's exactly what I was referring to.

My 'we', of course you know, was exclusive; MJH has admitted that his fellow citizens of Maricopa County overwhelmingly support things which I and others, notably not including MJH, believe are fascistically inhumane.

I remember during the Watergate era, all the Nixonites were saying "So, Democrats all did the same thing, they just didn't get caught." It was a lie then and it's a lie now. (Well, LBJ might have. That guy was a dirty underhanded playa...as anyone who knows about the 'pigfucker' incident cannot deny.)

peter jung ::: (view all by) ::: July 20, 2003, 05:18 PM:

There are a lot of good reasons why GW Bush should be impeached, but perhaps the best one is that anybody dumb enough to pick a fight with the CIA isn't qualified to be President...

Jon H ::: (view all by) ::: July 22, 2003, 09:45 AM:

There's a new story, with a background confirmation of Plame's role at the CIA, at

http://www.newsday.com/news/nationworld/iraq/ny-uscia0722,0,6160519.story?coll=ny-top-headlines

"A senior intelligence official confirmed that Plame was a Directorate of Operations undercover officer who worked "alongside" the operations officers who asked her husband to travel to Niger."

MadJayhawk ::: (view all by) ::: July 22, 2003, 11:58 AM:

The Newsday story is interesting in the fact that it definitely says Plame was an undercover agent meanwhile her husband keeps using the words "IF what the two senior administration officials said is true" as does the article by saying this "IF their description of her employment was accurate". There is still hedging going on about Plame's employment status. Then there is also the discrepancy of Wilson saying his wife had no role in the matter and the CIA saying they asked her to speak to him.

Newsday:"A senior intelligence official confirmed that Plame was a Directorate of Operations undercover officer who worked "alongside" the operations officers who asked her husband to travel to Niger"

Time: In an interview with TIME, Wilson, who served as an ambassador to Gabon and as a senior American diplomat in Baghdad under the current president's father, angrily said that his wife had nothing to do with his trip to Africa. "That is bulls__t. That is absolutely not the case,"

So there are some loose ends to this story. I am going to reserve judgement on assigning motive and maliciousness and criminality until there are more facts on the table. Wilson acts like a wacko to me and there is something about this whole thing has an odor. Why would a CIA official come out and confirm her status in the agency? Were the two senior administration officials that originally talked to Novak from the CIA? The CIA has internal problems and apparent problems with the White House that might be related to this. (CIA problems with the WH go back to the wonderful, fantastic Clinton years - remember the bombing of the aspirn factory and the Chinese embassy?)

I'm going to wait and keep an eye on this story. It will be interesting when some substantive reporting by the NYT or WP is done. The Newsday article clarified some things but not everything for me. Somebody really needs to dig into this story. After Novak's story last week we have had stories by Time, NBC, and now Newsday. I discount Korn's anti-Bush screed in the Nation as being a serious news story. He more or less picked up on Novak's story and put in a bunch of "if-then" sentences designed to produce a negative Bush story. It will be interesting to see how this story evolves during the next couple of weeks. Is it on the media's radar yet? Maybe when they get through with beating those 14 words to death, this will be next up on their crisis-a-week agenda.

CIA org chart here: http://www.fas.org/irp/cia/ciaorg.htm

Articles about problems within the CIA Directorate of Operations: http://www.theatlantic.com/issues/98may/9805lett.htm http://www.nap.edu/issues/18.2/goodman.html http://www.globalsecurity.org/intell/library/news/1998/04/980410-cia.htm

Jon H ::: (view all by) ::: July 22, 2003, 01:37 PM:

MJH writes: "Then there is also the discrepancy of Wilson saying his wife had no role in the matter and the CIA saying they asked her to speak to him."

I think Wilson was referring to a suggestion that his wife had a *driving* role in the decision process leading to his selection, and perhaps an implication that perhaps he was selected for the job despite there being better candidates.

(I can't imagine what *other* reason there could be for the White House to bring up his wife to Novak in this context. It really seems like a non sequitur. Why bring it up? How is it relevant? Never mind that it's a bit pathetic for this White House to be accusing someone of having gotten a job due to family connections!)

Anyway, that would be a very active role in the decision process, as opposed to the very passive role of not taking a role in the actual decision process, and just passing a message along after the decision was made.

To illustrate, it's the difference between "Kill my husband" and "Tell your husband he is going to be killed". Big difference.

Lydia Nickerson ::: (view all by) ::: July 22, 2003, 02:40 PM:

MJH: Wilson acts like a wacko to me and there is something about this whole thing has an odor.

It's true he's probably a Democrat, but he's got a hell of a good CV for someone who's a "whacko." Take a look at:

http://www.ihc.ucsb.edu/events/past/winter03/wilson/

Some highlights:

"Ambassador Wilson holds the Department of Defense Distinguished Service Award, the Department of State Superior and Meritorious Honor Awards, the University of California, Santa Barbara Distinguished Alumnus Award, and the American Foreign Service Association William R. Rivkin Award. Additionally, he has been decorated as a Commander in the Order of the Equatorial Star by the Government of Gabon and as an Admiral in the El Paso Navy by the El Paso County Commissioners."
"Ambassador Wilson was a member of the U.S. Diplomatic Service from 1976 until 1998. His early assignments included Niamey, Niger, 1976-1978; Lome, Togo, 1978-79; the State Department Bureau of African Affairs, 1979-1981; and Pretoria, South Africa, 1981-1982."

As for the odor... It wasn't the CIA who outed their agent. It wasn't her husband. It was the Whitehouse. I don't know how you get around that simple fact. That is a thing that is Not Done. Period. End of sentence. The fact that it has been done, and by the Whitehouse, reeks of abuse of power. Whatever else may or may not be wrong here, that alone should be enough to make people fear the President. Which, I would guess, is the point. The message being given is, "We will stop at nothing."

As for those 16 words: I do not understand how it is possible for anyone to think that it is unimportant if the president lies about a casus belli. Not that it hasn't been done before, but when I was taught it in history, the text book made it clear that this was not America's finest hour -- though I think they tried to pin the blame primarily on yellow journalism, or some such.

If he is willing to lie about something that important (and I think that nuclear weapons are about as important as things come), then what else is he willing to lie about? If he's willing to out an agent, for whatever reason, what lengths will he go to?

Find me a benign explanation that fits the facts. I can't see one.

Yonmei ::: (view all by) ::: July 22, 2003, 03:48 PM:

Why would a CIA official come out and confirm her status in the agency?

Possibly under orders from her superiors, who are pissed at the White House for outing her and therefore losing the CIA a valuable operative. I would imagine that she wouldn't confirm her status in the agency publicly unless her superiors had admitted to her that since the White House already leaked her status, it's known, therefore she need no longer conceal it since she can no longer be a CIA operative.

I have to agree with whoever it was (further up) that said it took a really dumb President to pick a fight with the CIA. Taking out Presidents is one thing the CIA are good at - they've done it to more democratically-elected Presidents than Bush....

Yonmei ::: (view all by) ::: July 22, 2003, 03:48 PM:

Why would a CIA official come out and confirm her status in the agency?

Possibly under orders from her superiors, who are pissed at the White House for outing her and therefore losing the CIA a valuable operative. I would imagine that she wouldn't confirm her status in the agency publicly unless her superiors had admitted to her that since the White House already leaked her status, it's known, therefore she need no longer conceal it since she can no longer be a CIA operative.

I have to agree with whoever it was (further up) that said it took a really dumb President to pick a fight with the CIA. Taking out Presidents is one thing the CIA are good at - they've done it to more democratically-elected Presidents than Bush....

Yonmei ::: (view all by) ::: July 22, 2003, 03:51 PM:

Damn! Sorry about the double post - not sure how it happened...

Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: July 22, 2003, 08:03 PM:

MadJayHawk, if you don't stop throwing in completely off-topic remarks about Clinton's peccadillos (real or alleged) whenever you feel like you're losing ground in some unrelated argument, I'm going to start taking the vowels out of 'em. Seriously. They're tacky. They're also too much of a temptation to talk about the rank hypocrisy and political opportunism of his accusers, many of whom are known to have far gamier sex lives than Clinton. And then there's the matter of Paula Jones's and Monica Lewinsky's health, which as far as I know is excellent; as opposed to (say) Pfc. Lori Penistewa's, which is nonexistent.

But as I'm sure you can see, that would be a digression; and so we aren't going to do it.

Mark ::: (view all by) ::: July 22, 2003, 10:35 PM:

[spelling nitpick] Piestawa [/spelling nitpick].

MadJayhawk ::: (view all by) ::: July 22, 2003, 11:56 PM:

Teresa,

I am more than willing to ignore the facts about former President Clinton. It extremely is hard to do that when other posters say stupid, tacky, and unrelated things about President Bush who more than likely does not have a gamier sex life than Clinton. Not many people do. If they did it is none of our business unless they commit a crime.

I get tired of seeing anti-Bush BS and it brings out the deep-seated simmering hatred and anger I have in me. When someone says something like Bush is a moron or a Nazi, I do my best to stay on topic. There are trolls on this thread that try to redirect the discussion to something I said that is an example or even on another thread. Conditions in Maricopa County prisons are something I mentioned as an side comment in a discussion about prisons in Iraq and someone thought it somehow appropriate to make a personal attack on me about it in this thread. I should have ignored it.

I made a comment that included the old sports cliche 'no blood and no foul' and someone literally personally attacks me about me being a bad referee because I used that term. Talk about off topic. I was not talking about basketball refereeing at all until they showed up with a nasty personal comment about something they did not know anything about. I should have ignored it too.

My comment about Jones was totally in the context of the discussion about whether there was payback in Washington DC. She was audited by the IRS and did accuse the administration of engineering it. I did not pass judgement in that post about the Clinton/Jones lawsuit. (My opinion of it might surprise you.) Nor did I bring it up because I was losing an argument. I just pointed that out as a possible case of payback. I mentioned Nixon and LBJ in the same post. It was a legimate comment and not a comment about our wonderful former President. An uptight poster took offense to me saying anything about Jones evidently and asked me in a nasty tone of voice to prove my comment, which I did. Is Googling a foreign concept, not taught in college or elementary schools?

It seems that most people in threads on this blog want everyone to think exactly like they do. If someone appears to be conservative then they become a target for nasty personal comments. If people cannot respect everyone's viewpoint then they shouldn't be here. I honestly try to discuss the topic at hand. Sometimes I get my facts wrong or am looking at things the wrong way. I do not have all the answers but there are people here that think that they do and want me to shut up because I do not agree with their point of view - antiBush. I take it as a compliment. I must be saying something more provocative that the usual snide, disparaging, and intellectually backslapping type of remark that sometimes passes as a worthwhile post here.

It seems to me that if it is okay to call the current President of the United States a moron or a liar or a Nazi or unelected, then it is fair to point out a few actual facts about former President Clinton. However, if Clinton is off limits on this blog, what can I say? It is your blog. Please note if I mention Clinton I do not usually bring up his problems with women and sex because I have heard that silly canard from the left about the right being sex crazed so many times I do not wish to get into that discussion again. I am not sex crazed and I could care less what the man did in his personal life.

I thought the article in the Weekly Standard that I ran across was funny and thought others from either party might enjoy reading it. They had a choice whether they read it or not. I did not cut and paste it. BTW, I will remember Lori Piestewa and the sacrifice she and her family made every time I drive into Phoenix and see Piestewa Peak looming in the distance. Personal sacrifice for one's country certainly isn't what I think about when I see Jones's or Lewinsky's name.

I think you and Patrick have a great blog going here. It has interesting topics and most of the people making comments seem to enjoy a good discussion. I have learned a lot from them and enjoy the challenges of being a fish out of water. I will constructively try to add to it.

Lydia Nickerson ::: (view all by) ::: July 23, 2003, 12:29 AM:

MJH: It seems to me that if it is okay to call the current President of the United States a moron or a liar or a Nazi or unelected, then it is fair to point out a few actual facts about former President Clinton.

Calling Bush a Nazi is, I agree, out of bounds. While Ashcrfoft's tendencies are totalitarian, totalitarianism does not a Nazi make. Liar, now, Bush is a liar. The facts add up against him in the instance of the SOTUS. There are other likely lies, but they are not so well documented. Moron? It's hard to tell. There were days it was hard to tell that Reagan had Alzheimer's, too. Presidents have enough minders and keepers that it's possible Bush isn't the sharpest knife in the drawer. But I personally would 't bet on it. That "just folks" persona is great for getting oneself underestimated.

As for unelected, he was. We don't know if Bush won or lost Florida because we weren't allowed to count the votes according to Florida Law. The Supreme Court found in favor of Bush without good election results to support them. An uncomfortable fact, or even a frightening one, but he didn't win by getting all the votes counted. He won in court.

Clinton did things that people find horrifying and offensive. Mostly, they didn't bother me because they didn't seem to have much to do with running the government. No matter what Clinton did, though, has nothing to do with what Bush has done. If you can get your knickers in a twist about lying about a blowjob, how can you not get bent out of shape when the POTUS lies about major affairs of state and foreign policy? I can't see how they're related, actually. All lies are not equal. Andc it's not Clinton who's in the white house at the moment, and so any past judgments of him aren't relevant. Right now, I'm evaluating and passing judgment on the guy who's got his finger on the trigger. Clinton is a thousand years ago. Even assuming you could make an argument showing how all this is Clinton's fault (and you can't) that doesn't change the central problem, which is Bush is in charge and I think that the way he's been handling foreign policy is terrifying and dangerous, and I really didn't want to get blow up until I was 90 or 100. So I don't propose to take my eye off the ball (Bush) to watch the instant replay (Clinton). No time.

Alan Bostick ::: (view all by) ::: July 23, 2003, 03:10 PM:

Yonmei: Taking out Presidents is one thing the CIA are good at - they've done it to more democratically-elected Presidents than Bush....

Kennedy was more democratically elected than Bush only in the sense that that Richard Daley was democratically elected as mayor of Chicago, whereas the Supreme Court is appointed.

(Besides, it's still not clear whether Oswald was working for the CIA, the Mafia, or the Bavarian Illuminati.)

Jeremy Leader ::: (view all by) ::: July 23, 2003, 03:29 PM:

Alan, I assumed Yonmei was talking about Presidents of other countries.

I also assumed "more" was comparing the quantities of Presidents the CIA and Bush have respectively taken out, rather than modifying "democratically-elected".

But now I'm getting a verbal equivalent of one of those one-way-or-the-other optical illusions from Yonmei's post.

Either way, pissing off the CIA doesn't strike me as a good idea.

Kevin J. Maroney ::: (view all by) ::: July 23, 2003, 04:42 PM:

I'm sort of getting tired of the myth that Richard Daley threw the 1960 election to JFK. It is possible--even likely--that Daley cooked the books in Chicago to give JFK victory on Illinois, but it is not certain. And even if it were true, Kennedy still would have won the election. JFK won the election by 84 electoral votes overall; Illinois at the time had only 27 votes. If it had gone to Nixon, Kennedy would have won by 30 votes.

Graydon ::: (view all by) ::: July 23, 2003, 08:39 PM:

84 - 27 = 30?

I know the electoral college is strange, but does it really count like that, so that votes for the other guy subtract twice from your total?

Vicki ::: (view all by) ::: July 23, 2003, 09:04 PM:

No, Graydon, the math works. There was an 84-vote margin. Take away 27 votes from the winner and give them to the loser, and that reduces the margin by 2x27=54. 84-54=30. QED.

Graydon ::: (view all by) ::: July 23, 2003, 09:12 PM:

Duh.

Right. Margin.

Sigh.

MadJayhawk ::: (view all by) ::: July 24, 2003, 01:27 PM:

I always thought it was interesting and amusing to think that if Gore had won New Hampshire he would have won the election by 270-267 no matter what happened in FL. So much attention was focused on FL everyone thinks that it decided the election. Of course it played a part, but there were other states like NH, where Gore did not campaign, that played just a big of a part in a very close election. In NH Bush won only by 7,300 votes. All the neighboring states went for Gore. The fact that Nader had 22,000 votes in NH points out a serious problem for the Democrats if Nader steps into the picture again in 2004. Most of those 22,000 votes would have gone for Gore. It was Nader that cost Gore FL's electoral votes as well. Nader had 97,000 votes in FL. Just 5% of those 97,000 votes would have given Gore a victory and there would not have been the spectacle there was. Nader came close to being a factor in NV, MO, and OH as well. Gore won in NM and OR but Nader made it close in those states. Saying that the USSC gave Bush the election makes nice partisan campaign rhetoric but it isn't true. Gore gave Bush the election. Bush worked hard to earn it but the election was Gore's to lose and he lost it.

Gore didn't even win his "home" state of Tenessee (winning TN would have given him enough electoral votes to win too). Even McGovern won his home state. Dukasis won his home state. Gore didn't win Clinton's "home" state of Arkansas either. Blaming the USSC is a way to ignore the fact that the Democrats nominated someone who was the best qualified to be president but did not have the ability to run a campaign to get him the job. I think like that Gore ran the worst campaign in modern history right after Bush 41's 1992 campaign.

Gore should have realized what Bush's strategy was and the threat that Nader posed to him. Nader was 5000 pound gorilla on Gore's back. Bush had similar problems that the wacko wing of his party always poses and took care of them early. Gore more or less ignored his wacko wing and it cost him the presidency. Either he got bad advice or this was a good example of one his main character flaws.

Because it seems even after 3 years that most hard core Democrats are still reliving Gore's FL debacle they might have a hard time focusing on what needs to be done for them to win in 2004. Negativity and having Nader running will not win for them. The FL is over and complaining about chads, butterfly ballots, not counting votes etc. 24/7 will not accomplishing anything positive for the Democrats. Bush has a huge amount of money and the Presidency. The Dems need to get Nader out of the picture, find a positive non-self-serving role for the Clintons, and nominate a good solid candidate that can pull everyone together to overcome that. They are in trouble, deep trouble at this point in my opinion.

Jeremy Leader ::: (view all by) ::: July 24, 2003, 01:45 PM:

MadJayHawk, your points sound very good (I don't know enough about political strategy to judge).

But what does any of that have to do with Bush's administration exposing CIA agents for political gain?

MadJayhawk ::: (view all by) ::: July 24, 2003, 04:33 PM:

Nothing, we have beaten the main subject to death and are waiting for Patrick to come back and provide us with something else to chew on. In the meantime I took the opportunity provided by some previous posters' comments on the previous election to offer my astute opinions about it. A discussion door opens a little and I will walk in with my opinions. You are welcome to ignore it.

Mark ::: (view all by) ::: July 24, 2003, 05:25 PM:

Let me take this opportunity, then, to recommend all of the followups which both Mark Kleiman and Tom Maguire have made to their original posts on the subject. Between the two of them, I think they've largely beaten the subject to death, absent additional information (which ought to come soon, no?).

Dennis Slater ::: (view all by) ::: July 25, 2003, 02:46 AM:

I just tried to read Kleiman and it looks like he is getting almost desperate to find something that points to the White House that will call for at least a congressional hearing. He has used up a year's worth of "ifs" and "maybes" in his ruminations about this incident.

Kleiman knows, as anyone who has seriously looked into the story, that Plame's actual real life employment status at the CIA is the real key to the entire story. We, I feel as does Kleiman, do not know that at this point with absolute certainity. Once that is known we can legitimately call the motives and actions of others involved into question. Without that information about her actual employment status we are just guessing about a lot of things. My list of questions would include: job title, job duties, length of service, undercover or not, desk or field, etc.

And who are the senior administration officals? If they were CIA then the next sentence Novak writes in that paragraph makes sense. The request for this mission came out of the WH, however they did not know who was selected to carry it out. That decision rested with the CIA. If Novak was writing about how the CIA chose Wilson he would go to CIA oficials and not to the WH. The WH would probably refer him back to the CIA where the decision to send Wilson was made if he had done that. So, did the CIA out Plame? Unlikely.

It is interesting how quickly the engines of Bush hatred got revved up and rolling at the mere mention of scandal with every kind of off-the-wall, semi-plausible scenario imaginable. Kleiman isn't above that type of jumping-to-conclusions blogging himself. Apparently he is going to blame the White House of something no matter if they are guilty or not. He seems to be torturing himself with this story. He has put out quite a few false or misleading statements about it that others have picked up on. Like he said that the WH did not deny the story. They have.

Paul ::: (view all by) ::: July 25, 2003, 11:31 AM:

that Plame's actual real life employment status at the CIA is the real key to the entire story

Not really. The key is which "senior official" told Novak Plame was a CIA operative. If Plame is a CIA operative then said official is guilty of a felony. If Plame isn't an operative then said official is guilty of irresponsibly spreading disinformation which could damage Plame's career, endanger her life, and possibly impair future CIA investigations. The first is a felony; the second is grounds for a civil suit. What Plame actually does is only relevant in determining the gravity of this leak.

Novak, much as I might disagree with him, is usually a careful writer. When he wrote "senior administration officials," I suspect that's what he meant; it's common journalistic jargon for White House officials usually at the deputy level or higher, or so I understand. Anyway, you're right. We don't know enough about these matters. That's why they need to be investigated further.

James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: July 27, 2003, 11:27 PM:

To continue the digression a bit...

In NH Bush won only by 7,300 votes. All the neighboring states went for Gore. The fact that Nader had 22,000 votes in NH points out a serious problem for the Democrats if Nader steps into the picture again in 2004.

As it happens, I live in New Hampshire. Having Vermont and Massachusetts go Democrat is no very big surprise, and Maine swings both ways. New Hampshire is a strongly conservative, strongly Republican state.

In 1996, Clinton won New Hampshire with 49% of the vote, 47,402,357 to 39,198,755. But consider that Perot siphoned off over eight million votes, and those votes didn't come from the left.

The same thing happened in 1992 -- Clinton and Bush were nearly in a dead heat, with 209,040 and 202,484 votes respectively -- while Perot pulled 121,337 votes. Most of them would have likely been Bush's had Perot not been on the ballot.

Before that you'd have to go back to 1964, to Johnson v. Goldwater, for New Hampshire to give its electorial votes to a Democrat, and before that to 1944 and FDR. In the last century New Hampshire went Democrat just eight times out of twenty-five possible: twice for Wilson, three times for Roosevelt, once for Johnson, and twice for Clinton.

Did Nader's 22,000 votes in 2000 come from Gore? It's just as likely they were Republicans who couldn't bring themselves to vote for Bush. What the 2000 election did was marginalize the Greens. You've seen their high-water mark as a party in the US, when they picked up the a-plague-on-both-your-houses vote. In 2004 you'll see every hand turned against them.

Dennis Slater ::: (view all by) ::: July 28, 2003, 01:23 AM:

James:

I will comment on your digression. You made some good points.

Gore talked a lot about saving the environment, but I always felt like he was doing it out of one side of his mouth. The Greens must have felt the same way. One of the big problems that the Greens had with Gore were his comments about the huge WTI incinerator in Ohio. This article, which I admit sounds partisan, explains the Nader vote in NH as a reaction to what Gore had said about the WTI project.

"WTI hazardous-waste incinerator (world's largest) in East Liverpool, Ohio. Gore promised voters in 1992 that a Democratic administration would kill it. It was a double lie. First, Carol Browner's EPA almost immediately gave the incinerator a permit. When confronted on his broken pledge, Gore said the decision had been pre-empted by the outgoing Bush crowd. This too was a lie,... You can certainly argue that the last-minute disclosure of Gore's WTI lies prompted enough Greens to stay firm and cost him New Hampshire, a state which, with Oregon, would have given Gore the necessary 270 votes"

The entire article, which is interesting as well as somewhat shrill, can be found at http://www.commondreams.org/views/110900-105.htm. The original article is from a website called Counterpunch.

If you are from NH then you would have a better idea about the motivation of Nader voters than I would. I would imagine that if a Republican was not happy with voting for Bush he/she would have stayed home or skipped the Presidential part of the election rather than vote for someone like Nader. In Republican NH an unhappy Bush voter with a strong conscience would have been more likely to stay home because he/she knew his vote wouldn't cause the Republicans problems.

I was not that happy with Bush myself in 2000 (being from AZ I dislike McCain so this left me few choices) and only the fear of having someone like Gore in office led me to vote for Bush. I would have never have voted for Nader even though I am environmentalist.

I look at a vote for Nader as a vote by those who couldn't bring themselves to vote for Gore rather than, as you say, as a vote by those who couldn't bring themselves to vote for Bush.

I think that maybe 20%-30% of Ross Perot's vote was Democratic. He had a wider appeal than Nader did. Not everyone thought Bill Clinton walked on water in 1992 or 1996. He only got 43% of the vote in 1992 so there were quite a few Democrats going for Perot. I lived in KS at the time and knew lots of people who voted for him. I no longer speak to any of them. Just kidding, of course.

Dennis Slater ::: (view all by) ::: July 28, 2003, 02:44 AM:

that Plame's actual real life employment status at the CIA is the real key to the entire story

Not really. The key is which "senior official" told Novak Plame was a CIA operative. If Plame is a CIA operative then said official is guilty of a felony. If Plame isn't an operative then said official is guilty of irresponsibly spreading disinformation which could damage Plame's career, endanger her life, and possibly impair future CIA investigations. The first is a felony; the second is grounds for a civil suit. What Plame actually does is only relevant in determining the gravity of this leak.

Novak said "Wilson never worked for the CIA, but his wife, Valerie Plame, is an Agency operative on weapons of mass destruction." If she is not a CIA undercover operative, how can this sentence harm Plame or the CIA in anyway? If she is a CIA undercover operative whose identity is protected by the law, then it is possible that the law has been broken. That is why I say it is imperative to firmly nail down Plame's actual employment status before engaging in wild and unnecessary speculation. It does not matter which senior administration official said she was an operative unless the law has been broken.

Jeremy Leader ::: (view all by) ::: July 28, 2003, 12:06 PM:

Dennis, what "matters" depends on who you are and what question you're trying to find an answer to.

If you're a Federal prosecutor, deciding whether to investigate a possible felony, then, yes, the first question is "was Valeria Plame an undercover CIA agent"? If she was, then you investigate where the leak came from; if not, you move on to the other cases on your desk.

Those of us who are not federal prosecutors are rather interested in what our elected officials and their staff may be doing to silence informed critics. If they're committing felonies, that's pretty shocking (on the level of Watergate, except the Watergate burglars didn't do anything to impair our national security). If they're merely making false allegations to try to make their critics look bad, that's still pretty reprehensible.

So to me, the first question is "Who told Novak what?". As a second priority (to me), I hope a Federal prosecutor is investigating whether Novak's informants committed a felony.

James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: July 28, 2003, 01:57 PM:

The WTI in Ohio? That wasn't even on the radar here in New Hampshire.

What was on the radar was Clinton/Gore and their forestry policies that cost New Hampshire jobs. The Clinton forestry requirements, aimed at protecting old-growth forests out west, were nonsensical in the northeast where every acre of timberland has been logged over two or three times. The requirement that people who wanted to hike in the White Mountains buy a federal tax stamp was also vastly unpopular. Those two things hurt Gore a lot.

The big turnout for the Greens wasn't an affirmation of the Green position. No one thought Nader had a snowball's chance in hell of getting elected. A vote for Nader was a vote for None Of The Above. Rather than staying home, I see disaffected Republicans trying to send the message "Give us something better next time."

===

New subject ... you ask "If [Plame] is not a CIA undercover operative, how can this sentence harm Plame or the CIA in any way?"

Ask yourself this: how many of her foreign contacts will speak freely with her now? How many of them might now refuse to speak with her at all? How many might find their own jobs or lives in danger because they were seen with her in the past?

How many, here or abroad, will now take her advice? The question in her collegues' minds will always be, "Is this advice the opinion of an expert, or is it a plant by the CIA?"

I see her job effectiveness, indeed her employability, negatively affected by this apparent revelation.

CHip ::: (view all by) ::: July 28, 2003, 09:12 PM:

James/Dennis: the other part of the Nader-in-NH equation is how many people voted. Much as I despise Nader's attitude, I have to acknowledge that the nationwide fraction of eligible people who actually voted went up in 2000 -- not enough (from the rough figures I've seen) to account for all of the Nader & Buchanan votes (even when allowing for a steady downward trend in participation).

I'm not as sanguine as James about the fading of the Greens; too many of them seem to have a weak acquaintance with reality -- as in, this is a winner-take-all system in which getting even double-digit percentages is meaningless. Changing that would be a Good Thing -- hell, I'd settle for "instant-runoff" balloting -- but would require working within the system.

Dennis Slater ::: (view all by) ::: July 28, 2003, 11:30 PM:

I see disaffected Republicans trying to send the message "Give us something better next time." After sleeping on it, you may have something there. I am not a expert on Clinton/Gore's forestry plans but I do know if one of them had set foot in eastern AZ after the 400,000 acre wildfire we had here last year there would have been a riot. Most residents blamed the extent of the devastation on environmentalists. I agree with them to a degree, but not entirely. People who build in forests or in flood plains can expect to be burned out or flooded out at some point. I can't see spending a lot of other people's money to reimburse them for their stupidity. Some steps can be taken to protect communities in general but not individual property owners.

Back on subject at hand:

If Plame is not an undercover agent of the CIA, what is she? Without knowing what her exact employment situation was/is then it is difficult to speculate on exactly what her relationship was or will be with others in the industry. From what I have read there are a whole range of job descriptions that could be to be assigned to her. Without any further information directly from her or the CIA we are just guessing what she does and is responsible for. She could be a deep covert operative that operates totally undercover. Or she could be a desk jockey that analyzes professional literature on nuclear energy issues. Or something in between. I am not adroit at reading between the lines of what these people are writing so I do not really know much about her or her job. Her husband hasn't helped because he has been very cagey when talking about his wife's job. Someone, Plame or the CIA, has to clearly spell out her actual employment situation out. That has not been done so far. Once that is done, charges can be leveled or apologies (very unlikely) offered.

David Moles ::: (view all by) ::: July 29, 2003, 09:08 AM:

So now you’re saying it’s the CIA’s fault for not outing her, too?

Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: July 29, 2003, 09:36 AM:


So many things to say.

The core issue (as has been stated) is not whether or not Plame is an employee of the CIA, it is what the Administration has done.

For all the speculation about who said what (was it the White House, was it the CIA) I can say (with some expertise) that the odds of a member of the CIA spilling the beans on a fellow are slim, unless they were ordered to, and I can't see such orders coming from anywhere but the White House.

Given the historical record with Bush, Wilson's not being enough on board to keep his mouth shut when he disagreed (and for all the present furor the Niger claims were not well thought of in the parts of the Intel community I inhabit) was asking for some form of retribution.

And now Plame is (if she was an agent) useless, because everyone she might speak to will be on guard, so not only is such a revelation (if true) a violation of law; which endangers those who might have been helping us, though I suspect she was not running sources, but rather acting as a fly on the wall sort of passive collector) it impairs future collection.

Short sighted and petty, and those are the best things I can say about the situation (apart from my personal feelings of disgust, anger, quiet rage and betrayal... but those are not really relevant).

Terry K.

Lydia Nickerson ::: (view all by) ::: July 29, 2003, 09:47 AM:

Someone, Plame or the CIA, has to clearly spell out her actual employment situation out.

It is very unlikely that Plame could, even if she wanted to. People that work for the Company are often not allowed to admit that they do so. If she is/was an undercover agent, then she is certainly not allowed to say anything. The CIA generally maintains secrecy about its employees, even many of those who are not in the field. That "senior official" put the CIA in an uncomfortable position -- possibly an unprecedented uncomfortable position.

Your attempts to be judicious and fair look to me to be an attempt to split hairs so that you can find ways to cast ambiguity on a situation which is, when taken in its entirety, completely unambiguous. Burning an agent is never acceptable. The situation presents a few possible reasons why the Administration may have done so, and all of them are terrible ones.

George Bush is responsible for the actions of the Administration. No matter how much distance the Bushites attempt to put between themselves and the yellowcake, between themselves and burning Plame, Bush remains the person with whom the buck should stop. Is he accepting responsibility, and attempting to protect against a repeat? No, he is not. He's throwing scape goats to the media, but there's no essential change in his style.

Paul ::: (view all by) ::: July 29, 2003, 10:03 AM:

Without knowing what her exact employment situation was/is then it is difficult to speculate on exactly what her relationship was or will be with others in the industry.

Well, of course. This is exactly why the nature of Plame's actual employment is largely irrelevant to this matter. We don't know what Plame does. What we do know that someone is circulating the story that she's a "CIA operative" an action which is at best irresponsible and at worst criminal. And we do know approximately where that story started. Anyone who actually wanted to answer these questions instead of merely obfuscating them would start by finding the source of the story and continuing from there. Unsurprisingly, neither the administration nor its camp-followers seem eager to do that.

Dennis Slater ::: (view all by) ::: July 29, 2003, 05:02 PM:

This is exactly why the nature of Plame's actual employment is largely irrelevant to this matter. We don't know what Plame does. What we do know that someone is circulating the story that she's a "CIA operative" an action which is at best irresponsible and at worst criminal.

So from what you are saying, if someone said that you were a "CIA operative" that would be irresponsible and perhaps criminal?

It is very unlikely that Plame could, even if she wanted to. People that work for the Company are often not allowed to admit that they do so. If she is/was an undercover agent, then she is certainly not allowed to say anything. The CIA generally maintains secrecy about its employees, even many of those who are not in the field. That "senior official" put the CIA in an uncomfortable position -- possibly an unprecedented uncomfortable position.

From what you are saying, since we cannot get answers to pertinent questions from people that actually know the answers we should assume the worst and hang the dirty bastards in the press or on blogs? How can you call asking for facts that are germane to the whether she is actually a covert CIA agent hair splitting? Saying that it doesn't matter is nothing but a cop-out. You use fuzzy terms like "often not allowed" and "generally maintains" to mask the fact you, along with 99.78% of the population, do not actually know what the CIA's policy is. I think what Plame does for the CIA is pertinent to whether or not someone broke the law or somehow compromised our intelligence gathering apparatus.

I bet the CIA has never been in an "unprecedented uncomfortable position" before. Sounds pretty ominous.

Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: July 29, 2003, 05:41 PM:

Dennis, if a public figure announced that I was a CIA agent, that would be irresponsible.

If the same public figure in the same venue said the same thing, and I really was a CIA agent, that would be criminal (assuming the PF knew the facts; if not, we're back to irresponsible).

Dennis Slater ::: (view all by) ::: July 29, 2003, 11:33 PM:

Dennis, if a public figure announced that I was a CIA agent, that would be irresponsible.

Sure... If we marked a big red "I" on everyone in Washington who was irresponsible we would run out of ink in about 15 minutes. Everyone there has been irresponsible at one time or another. That does not, of course, excuse anyone from being held accountable for their irresponsibility if that were the case.

Perhaps the person who orginally talked to Novak had no idea Plame was a covert operative if she was. Maybe there is a innocent explanation for what happened. Mark Reimann certainly beat this subject to death and came up with many different explanations of what might have happened. Myself, I cannot conceive of anyone being so stupid as to violate the law so blatantly in the name of political payback. That is why I think that there has to be more to it. If there is a cabal of some kind in the administration out to get Wilson or to pay him back for a few petty, unkind remarks he made on a TV talk show 6 months ago, it seems that the method they chose to use against him is rather coarse.

Why do we have to get into tortured conspiracy theories about everything? I have just be trying to get people to exercise a little caution before they throw the hanging rope over the limb. Let's at least have a fair trial before we hang someone.

James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: July 30, 2003, 12:24 AM:

"Let's at least have a fair trial before we hang someone."

Would you extend that to the prisoners at Guantanamo Bay?

"Myself, I cannot conceive of anyone being so stupid as to violate the law so blatantly in the name of political payback."

Myself, three or four names come instantly to mind.

And what Wilson is getting the payback for isn't "a few petty, unkind remarks he made on a TV talk show 6 months ago" (do you have a reference for that?), it's his New York Times Op-Ed piece and appearance on "Meet the Press" on 06 July of this year, barely three weeks back.

The petty, unkind remarks he made were: "I have little choice but to conclude that some of the intelligence related to Iraq's nuclear weapons program was twisted to exaggerate the Iraqi threat. A legitimate argument can be made that we went to war under false pretenses."

Lydia Nickerson ::: (view all by) ::: July 30, 2003, 12:37 AM:
It is very unlikely that Plame could, even if she wanted to. People that work for the Company are often not allowed to admit that they do so. If she is/was an undercover agent, then she is certainly not allowed to say anything. The CIA generally maintains secrecy about its employees, even many of those who are not in the field. That "senior official" put the CIA in an uncomfortable position -- possibly an unprecedented uncomfortable position.


From what you are saying, since we cannot get answers to pertinent questions from people that actually know the answers we should assume the worst and hang the dirty bastards in the press or on blogs? How can you call asking for facts that are germane to the whether she is actually a covert CIA agent hair splitting? Saying that it doesn't matter is nothing but a cop-out. You use fuzzy terms like "often not allowed" and "generally maintains" to mask the fact you, along with 99.78% of the population, do not actually know what the CIA's policy is. I think what Plame does for the CIA is pertinent to whether or not someone broke the law or somehow compromised our intelligence gathering apparatus.

What I wrote was that it was extremely unlikely that Valerie Plame would be able to answer questions about her employment. Either, she is what she is and the claim is some nasty game beling played with her name and reputation, which means that the only thing she can do is reaffirm her current position, or she is a covert operator, in which case, the only thing she can do is reaffirm her current position. She can only break that cover under orders.

I knew a guy once, real bright, that disappeared into the army for a while. He was a very gentle man, quiet and a bit vague. Studied physics. 20 years later, if you asked him what he had done in the war, he'd say that it was classified, he couldn't talk about it

As for the people who actually know the answers, we've already been given them. The numbers check out, it all fits into place. This isn't a careless comment that has been taken out of context. This is a statement of fact made by someone in the loop.

I completely approve of asking for facts -- the more facts the better. Who was that senior official, anyway? Who knew what, who spilled the beans, all that noise. The thing's a revolting mess. However, so far, no one has come up with even a reasonable hypothesis of how outing Valerie Plame could possibly have been done with any motivator other than political or personal ones. I just howp that she wasn't playing for keepsies -- those boys play rough

Dennis Slater ::: (view all by) ::: July 30, 2003, 01:30 PM:

James:

I have been trying to think up excuses all morning for my sloppy mistake about Wilson's rant venue. Best I can come up with is say it was raining last night with heavy lightning and that was worrying me. You are right.

Would you extend that to the prisoners at Guantanamo Bay?

I have no problem with that.

Lydia:

I completely approve of asking for facts -- the more facts the better.

Mark Kleiman has finally adjusted his medications and looked at the law and has almost come to the same conclusions about this matter that I have. There seems to be an element of doubt creeping into Kleiman's last post replacing the heavy-handed, strident voice he had been using in most of his previous posts.

However, whether Valerie Plame Wilson was a 93covert agent94 for the purposes of the statute is less clear, and may depend on the definition of 93service outside the United States.94

and

Whether someone whose duty station was in the U.S. but traveled abroad on intelligence business counts as 93serving abroad94 isn92t obvious from the text. No one has yet published any information about Valerie Plame Wilson92s postings or travels.

and

Glenn, whose silence I have been criticizing, expresses a sentiment I fully agree with: "My sense on this story, and the underlying matter, is that there's a lot more going on than meets the eye. Usually I have some idea what that might be, but this time I don't."

I agree with Mr. Kleiman. We don't have enough information about Plame and until we do everything that is written about this incident is nothing but spectulation. It may turn out that those rabid partisan hounds frantically gnawing and gnashing at they thought was treed fox very well might have been barking up the wrong tree.


Kevin J. Maroney ::: (view all by) ::: July 30, 2003, 10:48 PM:

Dennis said: "We don't have enough information about Plame and until we do everything that is written about this incident is nothing but spectulation."

Just out of curiosity, does this count as information?

Intelligence officials confirmed to Newsday Monday that Valerie Plame, wife of retired Ambassador Joseph Wilson, works at the agency on weapons of mass destruction issues in an undercover capacity -- at least she was undercover until last week when she was named by columnist Robert Novak.

--Newsday, 25 July 2003

Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: July 30, 2003, 11:16 PM:

I think that makes Robert Novak an irresponsible journalist, and I hope they find some statute to try him under (but freedom of the press may trump national security WHEN it's on the side of the regime).

I certainly hope they can scare the bastard into revealing his source -- because THAT person deserves a long prison term. At least.

Claude Muncey ::: (view all by) ::: July 31, 2003, 12:58 AM:

Xopher, the statute that makes revealing the identity of a clandestine officer specifically exempts the press -- it prevents a lot of constitutional brouhaha. The sources, though are fair game.

Dennis Slater ::: (view all by) ::: July 31, 2003, 10:49 AM:

Intelligence officials confirmed to Newsday Monday that Valerie Plame, wife of retired Ambassador Joseph Wilson, works at the agency on weapons of mass destruction issues in an undercover capacity -- at least she was undercover until last week when she was named by columnist Robert Novak.

"undercover capacity"?

What does that exactly mean?

Who are these "Intelligence officials"?

Did these so-called intelligence officials work for the CIA?

In what capacity?

How did they know about Plame's job duties?

Newsweek's description is very similiar to what Novak said in his article. Novak said that senior administration officials said she was an agency "operative"? Operative is a general term that could describe positions that include undercover work.

I see nothing new and exciting about Valerie Plame's job description in Newsweek's article.

Ulrika O'Brien ::: (view all by) ::: July 31, 2003, 12:56 PM:

"undercover capacity"?

What does that exactly mean?

That the work she did was under a cover, be it official cover (public cover story claiming she was engaged in embassy work, usually) or unofficial cover (i.e. with a public cover story about her reasons for being where she was and doing what she did which neither refered to the CIA, nor to any official governmental position). This seems fairly self-explanatory. Do you not follow what a cover is?

Given the circumstances of the story, i.e. one where detailing specifics of her job may still constitute a federal crime, expecting the level of detail you seem to want as information seems as stranely disingenuous as a government demanding to see WMD's it doesn't actually believe exist, and then pulling out inspectors when they seem to be making good progress toward demonstrating that, in fact, they don't.

Yonmei ::: (view all by) ::: July 31, 2003, 01:07 PM:

Oh hell, why are we all bothering? It's clear that Dennis Slater is never going to admit that it's a criminal offence to out a CIA operative (if that's what Valerie Plame was) and it's grossly irresponsible to say someone's a CIA operative (if Plame wasn't).

This issue has been discussed fairly extensively for a fortnight. Anyone who wasn't clued up on the issues when it started has had plenty of opportunity to learn more about it. As for Dennis Slater, to quote the late great Michael Callahan, you can lead a whore to culture but you can't make him think.

Simon ::: (view all by) ::: July 31, 2003, 01:44 PM:

Wasn't that the more late, greater Oscar Wilde?

Yonmei ::: (view all by) ::: July 31, 2003, 03:18 PM:

Actually, it's ascribed to the later, greater, and cuter Dorothy Parker. My bad.

Dennis Slater ::: (view all by) ::: July 31, 2003, 04:41 PM:

Yon:

it's a criminal offence to out a CIA operative (if that's what Valerie Plame was) and it's grossly irresponsible to say someone's a CIA operative (if Plame wasn't).

1. It could be a matter of law once all the facts are in. The facts aren't in unless your standard for facts is about the same as the National Enquirer's.

Is there another way I can say that we do not definitively know whether Valerie Plame is an undercover agent or officer as defined in Intelligence Identities Protection Act of 1982, codified as 50 U.S.C., Section 421 and that the US was taking affirmative actions to conceal her relationship with the CIA to make it any clearer to you? I believe Kleiman agrees with me that we have no idea what Plame's status is. You don't know what her status is either.

2. Whether it is a grossly irresponsible act depends on what Valerie Plame's status is. It is safe to say whether anyone regards what Novak reported a senior administration official as saying as grossly irresponsible will be influenced by their political affiliations and because of that can be appropriately discounted.

Please answer these simple questions with authoritative references:

Was Valerie Plame an officer or agent with the CIA whose identity was a classified secret?

Was Valerie Plame serving in official capacity as a CIA agent outside the United States?

Has she served within the last five years outside the United States?

Kleiman has said in answer to two of these questions: "No one has yet published any information about Valerie Plame Wilson92s postings or travels." Let's see what you can find.

Again, I will wait for the facts before passing judgement on whether, as so many people here have said, someone should go to jail or be considered irresponsible. If being prudent is a major commenting crime to you, I am guilty. Since you already have passed judgement on the administration, blog on my friend.

Alan Bostick ::: (view all by) ::: July 31, 2003, 05:17 PM:

Dennis Slater: It could be a matter of law once all the facts are in.

And the facts won't all be in until I take my fingers out of my ears. Lalalalalala ... I can't hear you!

Lydia Nickerson ::: (view all by) ::: July 31, 2003, 05:46 PM:

t could be a matter of law once all the facts are in. The facts aren't in unless your standard for facts is about the same as the National Enquirer's.

The journalistic integrity of Time and Newsweek are no better than the National Enquirer's? And the color of the sky in your world is...?

This is the sort of accusation that should have caused instant investigation within the White House, hopefully to establish that Novak was hallucinating, and if not, to hang out to dry the guilty parties, possibly salvaging Plame's cover, if possible. We saw _no_ attempt to do that. That lack of action is informative. The perception that the administration would out an agent is terribly damaging, and whether or not they did it they should be worried about at least finding plausible deniability. But Gerald Ford taught us all that Presidents may lie and cheat and break the law with impunity, and that presidents have always done so and always will do so, and so what's the fuss?

P.S. Would you care to share with us your definition of the word fact, since it appears that what you mean by it is nothing like its usual meaning?

Simon ::: (view all by) ::: July 31, 2003, 06:35 PM:

This is amazing. Yon didn't say what Plume's status was; he just outlined the various possibilities as he saw them, identifying each with the clear word "if". Yet Dennis is trying a variant of the classic "show me the scientific references that prove the Sun rises in the east" technique.

Yonmei ::: (view all by) ::: July 31, 2003, 07:01 PM:

It's not amazing, you know: it's pretty much what Dennis has been doing all down the line.

Paul ::: (view all by) ::: July 31, 2003, 10:21 PM:

Whether it is a grossly irresponsible act depends on what Valerie Plame's status is.

Unless you think that there's nothing irresponsible about "senior administration officials" identifying Americans as CIA operatives, regardless of their actual status, no it doesn't. The choices here range from appallingly incompetent to knowingly irresponsible to criminal. Take your pick.

But I think it would be simpler, Dennis, if you just decided that none of this ever happened at all. Maybe Novak made everything up or maybe he never wrote his column at all. Maybe Wilson and Plame are figments of our imaginations. No doubt this will make life easier for you and probably keep you from developing carpel-tunnel syndrome.

Dennis Slater ::: (view all by) ::: August 01, 2003, 01:04 AM:

Yon, Lydia, Paul and Simon,

Please answer these simple questions with authoritative references for me:

Was Valerie Plame an officer or agent with the CIA whose identity was a classified secret?

Was Valerie Plame serving in official capacity as a CIA agent outside the United States?

Has she served within the last five years outside the United States?

Thank you.

Lydia Nickerson ::: (view all by) ::: August 01, 2003, 01:30 AM:

Dennis,

Please explain what relevance you think these questions have. Valerie Plame's behavior is not at issue. It is the behavior of the administration that is at issue.

Thank you.

Dennis Slater ::: (view all by) ::: August 01, 2003, 02:19 AM:

Lydia,

I was not asking about Plame's behavior. Her behavior is irrelevant.

If you read my questions closely you will see that they pertain to the nature of her position with the CIA and not her behavior. Her actual position with the CIA and where she was posted is very relevant as to whether a crime was committed.

Thank you.

Yonmei ::: (view all by) ::: August 01, 2003, 03:53 AM:

Dennis, I'm impressed. I consider your last post to Lydia virtually an open acknowledgement that if Plame is a CIA operative, whoever outed her to Robert Novak committed a crime. That's a big step.

The next step is for you to acknowledge that if Plame isn't a CIA operative, whoever in the Administration told Novak that she was was grossly irresponsible. Are you ready for that step, or would you prefer to go away, have some "quiet time", and think about it for a while?

Ray Radlein ::: (view all by) ::: August 01, 2003, 03:59 AM:

Xopher, the statute that makes revealing the identity of a clandestine officer specifically exempts the press -- it prevents a lot of constitutional brouhaha. The sources, though are fair game.

FWIW, I believe that there is an exception to the exemption, for cases where the journalist makes a habit of repeatedly outing agents. When I heard about that, I immediately decided that it was a Phil Agee exception (and subsequent reading has seemed to validate my hunch).

[As a quick aside, Phil Agee went to the same High School as I did (albeit well before me). When I was writing articles about Jesuit for the special Anniversary Edition of our school paper, I took a certain perverse delight in reminding our High School of its connections with not only favored son Lou Piniella, but also Phil Agee and Santo Trafficante. Which was not nearly as eyebrow-raising as my discovery, using a process not entirely unlike investigative journalism, of just how much of Tampa was owned by Tampa Jesuit.]

Lydia Nickerson ::: (view all by) ::: August 01, 2003, 10:07 AM:

Her actual position with the CIA and where she was posted is very relevant as to whether a crime was committed.

You've palmed another card. While your questions may be relevant to whether or not a prosecutable offense has been committed, it still has exactly nothing to do with the propriety of the behavior of the administration. It is their propriety which is under discussion. If they lied to Novak, and thereby to the people at large, that is appalling behavior, even if you can't throw them in jail for it. If they told the truth, it is even more appalling behavior, may put lives in jepordy, and may be illegal. But all of this is a matter of degree, not a matter of kind. There is no such thing as a little bit pregnant.

Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: August 01, 2003, 10:54 AM:

The question Lydia is asking is more important than Plame's actual statuts.

If she is a clandestine employee of the CIA, she can't talk about it, and barring a subpoena (and the subsequent sealing of the court records) no one else can either.

Which is what makes it such a potent way to a: slap her husband... becuase now they have to think about how, and where they travel, and with whom they speak and b: a way to warn other agents not to disagree with the official story in public.

Which makes such a thing reprehensible. It may not have been criminal, but the odds of anyone ever knowing (other than a judge and the principals) are slim.

Dennis is asking those who disagree with him to prove the fundamentally unprovable (was she an employee of the CIA) and he refuses to admit that any wrongdoing may attatch if the action was not illegal.

His opinion seems to be the morality of it is irrelevant.

Terry K.

Dennis Slater ::: (view all by) ::: August 01, 2003, 10:44 PM:

Lydia

While your questions may be relevant to whether or not a prosecutable offense has been committed

Thank you.

If they told the truth, it is even more appalling behavior, may put lives in jepordy, and may be illegal.

You just said that her status is relevant to the legality and now you are saying "if they told the truth" about her status. Without knowing what her actual status is we do not know whether the officials told the truth or not in the sense that they revealed her secret status in the CIA. They did tell the truth when they said she worked for the CIA.

If they lied to Novak, and thereby to the people at large, that is appalling behavior, even if you can't throw them in jail for it.

You have already agreed that alleged appalling behavior is separate issue from the legality of the matter. However, you say again while making a case for irresponsible behavior on the part of the officials: "If they lied". They did not lie. She is an CIA employee. They may have somehow misrepresented her status within the agency. But since we do not know what her actual status is we have no idea if they misrepresented her status or not.

In order to pass rather severe judgement on unknown people, I would like to have a more information about Plame's employment status with the CIA which might make what they said either a perfectly understandable or a frightening revelation.

You are saying that if the officials said she was a CIA agent and she wasn't that would be dangerous to her and her family. How is that? Would some foreign country whack her because of a cloudy newspaper story? That seems unlikely to me. Do foreign governments really go around killing people based on information like that? What does she do that would make a foreign power interested in killing not only her but her family as well? We do not know.

I do not rule out the possibility of the mysterious officials attempting to do what you are trying to charge them with, but before I make accusations about someone's character and motives, even if I have no idea who they are, I want to be very sure that what I am saying is true. Too many people are assuming the worst motivations for the "senior administration officials" (whoever they are - we do not know much about them either). Then these people say that Plame is a covert agent without any authoritative proof of what her status with the CIA is. And finally they say, based on those possibly incorrect assumptions, some pretty ugly things about the officials and the administration. Now that is definitely irresponsible from where I sit.

Not that it matters, but did you know how many kids Plame has and how old they are? Did you know that she is may be Jewish and her family may be from the Ukraine? Some of her family may have been killed or imprisoned by the Nazis in WWII. I googled her name and came across this information but it may or may not be actually about her. I have no way of knowing for sure.

This is a total guess: I think that there is a possibility that she either lived in Israel or was posted there by the CIA at one time.

James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: August 01, 2003, 11:39 PM:

Dennis, would you agree that there are exactly two possibilites in re Ms. Plame?

a) She was, at the time the remarks were made, a CIA officer under the meaning of the act, or,
b) she was not.

If there's a third possiblity, could you tell me what it is?

Dennis Slater ::: (view all by) ::: August 02, 2003, 11:03 AM:

Ummm. She is not now a CIA agent under the meaning of the act but had been in one the past?

Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: August 02, 2003, 11:11 AM:

Assuming that by 'now' you mean 'at the time the remarks were made', that would be case b).

James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: August 02, 2003, 03:12 PM:

Dennis, I'm talking about the moment at which the "two senior administration officials" talked with Mr. Novak. I don't see a third possiblity for her other than that she was a) a CIA officer on that day or b) she wasn't.

Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: August 02, 2003, 04:53 PM:

You are saying that if the officials said she was a CIA agent and she wasn't that would be dangerous to her and her family. How is that? Would some foreign country whack her because of a cloudy newspaper story? That seems unlikely to me. Do foreign governments really go around killing people based on information like that?

Dennis Slater


Well, there are governments who will do that very thing, it is part of why outing an agent is a federal offense.

It is also because the act of naming agents of the CIA is damaging to foriegn policy (there is lots of stuff we classify, not because no one knows it, but because official acknowledgement would be embarrassing.

As for this comment, "I do not rule out the possibility of the mysterious officials attempting to do what you are trying to charge them with, but before I make accusations about someone's character and motives, even if I have no idea who they are, I want to be very sure that what I am saying is true..."

I have seen you make comments on the previous holder of the office of the President, and I wonder how you have managed to verify those, to the level of certainty you are demanding of those who are appalled at the implications of Novak being correct in both his reportage, and the allegation.

Terry K.

Lydia Nickerson ::: (view all by) ::: August 02, 2003, 10:53 PM:

You have already agreed that alleged appalling behavior is separate issue from the legality of the matter.

Not so much agreed as insisted that you stop trying to distract from the issue at hand: is the Bush government behaving in unacceptably unethical ways?

They may have somehow misrepresented her status within the agency. But since we do not know what her actual status is we have no idea if they misrepresented her status or not.

Wrong again. We do, in fact, know enough to start making some judgements about the injudiciousness of the "senior officials." Newsday confirmed the initial report. Here's the quote:

Intelligence officials confirmed to Newsday Monday that Valerie Plame, wife of retired Ambassador Joseph Wilson, works at the agency on weapons of mass destruction issues in an undercover capacity

-- Newsday, July 21, 2003

Please note the use of the word "undercover". Outing her as a CIA undercover agent ipso facto blew her cover. As we've determined, whether or not that is a crime is not the issue at stake. Blowing her cover means that the administration eradicated an asset of theirs in the "War Against Terror" (those are intended as scare quotes, by the way), indicating exactly what kinds of priorities the administration has. Shitty ones. Priorities that do not, in fact, consider my safety or the safety of my country to be more important than personal pique and ambition.

You are saying that if the officials said she was a CIA agent and she wasn't that would be dangerous to her and her family.

Could isn't would. I have no idea exactly what kind of relationships and contacts she was maintaining, either professionally. Several well-regarded newspapers in the Unitied States report that Mrs. Wilson is an undercover CIA agent. The administration doesn't deny it. Her husband not only doesn't deny it, but accuses the administration of using that information to ruin her career. She doesn't deny it. The only nay-sayers are people like you, who base their suggestion that she may not have been an agent on the lack of information. If you were an intelligence agency, wouldn'[t you believe that Valerie Plame Wilson was a CIA operative? There are countries and organizations that could take lethal exception to the belief that they've been deceived by the CIA.

It's not just her life that is potentially in danger. In fact, it's far more likely that this put her foreign contacts into danger. They are within the reach of the government that believes it has been betrayed. Why should a paranoid government believe that the person that Mrs. Wilson has been working with for the last five years (random guess) is not also a CIA agent? Do you understand that intelligence gathering is done by creating a network of personal relationships? The type of intelligence gathering that Mrs. Wilson was doing was dependent upon personal networking. Burning her is like taking the keystone from the arch. Not only do you bring her down, and those next to her, but any half-way competent intelligence agency will start looking for other connections and patterns. The more paranoid they are, the more they'll find. Imagine the kind of blood-bath that would have caused in Iraq had this happened while Saddam Hussein was in power. Iraq was not the last brutal dictatorship in the world.

What does she do that would make a foreign power interested in killing not only her but her family as well?

Do you know any paranoids? Some of the worst world leaders appear to have clinical cases of paranoia. I'm not joking. Would they kill the twins? If the twins happened to be in the vicinity and there had been a decison to take out Valerie or Joe or both, probably. I don't see why anyone would target the kids in particular. It is possible for a foreign intelligence agency to decide things would be better for them if Mrs. Wilson couldn't say anything more. It's not what's really going on that's important here, it's what the other side thinks is going on. God knows what various foreign intelligence agencies are making of all this.


Not that it matters, but did you know how many kids Plame has and how old they are? Did you know that she is may be Jewish and her family may be from the Ukraine? Some of her family may have been killed or imprisoned by the Nazis in WWII. I googled her name and came across this information but it may or may not be actually about her. I have no way of knowing for sure.

This is a total guess: I think that there is a possibility that she either lived in Israel or was posted there by the CIA at one time.

Would you please explain to me very quickly what this is all about and why you wrote it? The only meanings I can dredge up are all frightfully anti-Semitic. If that is what you mean, and I do hope it isn't, please fuck off and die. Otherwise, as I said, please explain to me what this is about.

Dennis Slater ::: (view all by) ::: August 02, 2003, 11:22 PM:

Terry:

Well, there are governments who will do that very thing, it is part of why outing an agent is a federal offense.

I have never heard of CIA agents and/or their families being murdered because their status was publicly revealed except in movies and novels. Do you have some examples of this happening?

It could be that it is federal offense because revealing the identity of an agent would jeopardize on-going intelligence operations or that reveal information about past operations.

Everything I have said about any of the former presidents is true. Discussions of former presidents is not encouraged on this blog because we have beat that subject to death so email me about any questions you might have about what I have said in the past. I do not wish to antagonize the kind and generous owner and his viligant moderator any more than I have already. Thanks.

James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: August 03, 2003, 11:29 AM:

Talk about killing families is overly dramatic, I think.

What is less dramatic is loss of employment.

At one time in my life I had a clearance. If it came out that a colleague, a fellow who had gone to dinner with me, with whom I had discussed matters of mutual professional interest, was a KGB agent, I could see me losing my clearance.

If one of my colleagues had been revealed to be a KGB man, I certainly would have dropped him from my Christmas Card list, stopped taking his phone calls, and returned his letters unopened. Safer all the way around for me, in light of my desire to keep my employment, and avoid those messy and troublesome "investigation" things. They never turn out well for the subject of the investigation. Without a clearance I'd have to find a new line of work entirely.

Even if I kept my clearance there would always be that taint on me, of course, and if I didn't get the nice assignements, and didn't get the promotions afterward, well, that kind of thing happens.

Dennis Slater ::: (view all by) ::: August 03, 2003, 11:33 AM:

The only meanings I can dredge up are all frightfully anti-Semitic. If that is what you mean, and I do hope it isn't, please fuck off and die.

Excuse me? That has to be some kind of joke doesn't it?

You are delusional. 90% of what you write is evidence of your delusion. Get professional help.

For you to even "dredge up" that I am "frightfully anti-Semitic" from a simple declarative sentence I made is pretty good evidence of delusion. If I said the Pope is Catholic does that make me anti-papal in your little world? Get help.

Dennis Slater ::: (view all by) ::: August 03, 2003, 12:11 PM:

Talk about killing families is overly dramatic, I think.

What is less dramatic is loss of employment.

I agree. We do not need all the cloak and dagger extrapolations based on the last spy novel someone has read.

We do not have any evidence that Plame's employment situation has changed or will change at this point. We do not know what Plame's conditions of employment are. That 2 or 3 news media reports say she works for the CIA may or may not jeopardize her employment status. If she is a deep undercover operative that revelation could be disasterous for her and the agency. If she is not then how her employment situation changes depends on CIA rules and procedures. I do not know what whose are.

I am looking forward to Senator Schumer's investigation clearing all this up. What I think Senator Schumer did was tell everyone to calm down and he will find out what the facts are. I applaud his efforts.

Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: August 03, 2003, 02:21 PM:

Dennis, Lydy is not delusional. And when she says she doesn't understand something, she's always telling the truth.

Jeremy Leader ::: (view all by) ::: August 03, 2003, 07:33 PM:

Dennis, what point were you trying to make with the Israel reference? I assume you thought the suggestion was relevant to the conversation somehow. Of all the other things you've said, I've agreed with some, and disagreed with others, but I've always been pretty confident I understood what you were saying, until you posted that message.

Were you trying to suggest that Ms. Plume had some sort of connection to Israeli intelligence? That was the most plausible interpretation I could come up with, but I can't figure out whether you think that's good or bad, or how you think it's relevant to the current discussion.

I suspect you've left a lot of people wondering what you were trying to say. Some may have jumped to possibly incorrect conclusions. When you end a post about someone by saying "She might have been to Israel", that suggests you think going to Israel says something significant about that person, either positive or negative. I can't figure out what the positive signifigance might be to you; if I make the assumption (which isn't justified by the evidence so far) that you're anti-semitic, then I can clearly see the negative signifigance such a fact could hold for you.

Jeremy Leader ::: (view all by) ::: August 03, 2003, 07:35 PM:

Drat!

s/Plume/Plame/g

Yonmei ::: (view all by) ::: August 03, 2003, 07:59 PM:

Dennis, I didn't understand what the hell you meant by your comment about Plame's possible residence in Israel, either. It seemed completely irrelevant to the present discussion, unless you intended some kind of anti-Semitic comment by it, which seemed unlikely.

But I still think we're all wasting our time on you: you don't seem to be able to bring yourself to admit the two key points: If Plame was a CIA agent when the two senior figures in the Administration outed her to Novak, that was a crime: if she wasn't a CIA agent, telling Novak that she was, was grossly irresponsible.

Mark ::: (view all by) ::: August 03, 2003, 08:26 PM:

Or at the very least, in the former scenario, it _may have been_ a crime; we don't know enough about her exact circumstances to tell if her case fit the precise wording of the law. On the other hand, "not technically illegal" isn't exactly exculpatory, either.

Dennis: you say that we don't know what her employment status is, whether it's changed, what CIA's rules are, etc. Does that really matter? If Yonmei's latter case is correct, then _someone_ in the Bush Administration or in CIA took an action which they could reasonably expect to screw her over w/regard to her job and her personal life (as for how, cf. James MacDonald's post on the subject).

The fact that we don't know if that's actually happened yet doesn't affect that. Even if it _doesn't_ happen, there's a decent chance that it would have; that chance alone makes the action irresponsible. Since you evidently feel that this is not the case, I'd be interested in hearing your reasoning. (I'd also be interested to know why you brought in Israel, if you don't mind).

Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: August 03, 2003, 08:27 PM:

Outing CIA operatives is also contrary to the national security interests of the United States. Doesn't that carry any weight with you, Dennis?

Dnns Sltr ::: (view all by) ::: August 04, 2003, 12:06 AM:

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Mark ::: (view all by) ::: August 04, 2003, 12:47 AM:

Just one more comment on irresponsibility: to be honest, I don't think you've fully addressed the points that have been made on this issue. It started with the actual physical risk to Plame and her contacts, etc. You argued that this was improbable, too cloak-and-dagger, etc. Fine. Whatever. I really don't know enough about the way the game is actually played to have a strong opinion.

But then the issue shifted slightly to employment (cf. James MacDonald's recent posts). All you've said in response to that issue is that a) Plame hasn't been fired yet, b) whether or not she gets fired (or has her career derailed, or becomes the office pariah, etc) probably depends on internal CIA rules and procedures.

A couple of points in response 1) That response to some extent assumes she actually is a CIA agent (which rather misses the point of the irresponsibility accusation anyway). If she is CIA, one would think that being outed as an undercover operative would in some way affect one's career, regardless of the letter of the procedures, no?

2) If you look at the rest of your response, your entire argument seems to be the bare assertion that being (falsely) outed as CIA would not really affect her job circumstances (looking in particular at your post of 12:11 PM on 8/3). That doesn't really seem to answer the points being made; do you really think that her co-workers (in the _energy_ industry, after all) would look at her the same way after she got outed as being a CIA agent? Care to back this one up?

Re: Lydia Nickerson/anti-semitism. I don't really feel like getting into an extended pointless argument about how your words came out (though when four or five people all tell you the same thing about how you're being received, you may want to pay attention). I will only say that there is no particular reason for you to be offended by what Lydia said, because she was quite careful to phrase her statement _as a conditional_. Given that you are _not_ anti-semitic (and I see no reason not to take that as given), what then is the problem?

Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: August 04, 2003, 12:47 AM:

Never tell me you were surprised.

Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: August 04, 2003, 12:49 AM:

Dennis, I meant. Mark posted while I was busy doing what I do.

Mark ::: (view all by) ::: August 04, 2003, 12:49 AM:

Teresa, would it be too much to ask that his vowels be returned to him?

Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: August 04, 2003, 12:54 AM:

That's an interesting question. Why?

Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: August 04, 2003, 12:59 AM:

I'm not going to do it tonight, no matter what. I have to go to bed now. No doubt there'll be more on this later.

Patrick Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: August 04, 2003, 01:07 AM:

Just to remind those who may be unclear on the concept: Teresa is the moderator of this comment section, not me. I haven't even read the last eighty or so posts in this thread, having had other things to do. (Like visiting with family members I haven't seen for years. If you have a problem with this, bite me.)

Patrick Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: August 04, 2003, 01:41 AM:

However, having now (34 minutes later) read all these posts, it seems to me that Teresa was, if anything, a forbearing God.

Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: August 04, 2003, 01:44 AM:

I'll see what Mark has to say. And now, really and truly, it's time for bed.

Mark ::: (view all by) ::: August 04, 2003, 01:45 AM:

Mostly because I didn't think he really went over the line in that last post. Or to be more precise: The bit where he said how he was offended by what Lydia said about him (and how she should have asked him to explain, etc) is pushing it, mostly because he ignored what she actually said.

But the rest? He made a comment, several people asked him to explain it, and he explained it. Was there a shade of histrionics to it? Maybe. Does that really bother me? Not really; it wasn't really insulting, per se, to the rest of the people on the thread, and I could easily see how someone could (non-maliciously) respond the way he did. It did imply that our responses to his comment were not the swiftest (which is a sin shared by a whole lot of other posters on this thread, put it that way), but if you're disemvowelling for that, there are a lot of people who are going to be very unhappy soon.

I guess what it really comes down to is that I didn't feel like the discussion was _quite_ done (and I freely concede that I may be overoptimistic here), and that disemvowelling him would have the effect of shutting things down. Or to put it another way, I still had one more question for him, and I wanted to see if he would answer it (or not), without him being possibly driven away by disemvowellment.

I hope the above makes sense and doesn't unintentionally ruffle any feathers. If it does, I apologize; it's late and I'm tired, etc. It is obviously your call, but I figured I'd throw in my $0.02.

Dnns Sltr ::: (view all by) ::: August 04, 2003, 10:12 AM:

n rgrds t my bng dsmvwld: Th nl mnngs cn drdg p frm bng dsmvwld r ll frghtfll Nz-lk. f tht s wht mdrtr mns t d, nd d hp t sn't, hp sh fcks ff nd ds.


Mark ::: (view all by) ::: August 04, 2003, 11:18 AM:

Add another qualifier or two, and that might actually be a decent imitation of what Lydia said. Of course, in doing so, you completely miss the difference in contexts between her remark and yours, which rather ruins the satire.

Would it be too much to ask that you answer the question I asked? (The one I asked in my post of 12:47; and no, I don't think you've actually dealt with this one yet).

Jeremy Leader ::: (view all by) ::: August 04, 2003, 01:01 PM:

Dennis, you keep focusing on Valerie Plame and her situation (is she a CIA agent, did the disclosuer affect her employment, etc.).

Unless Ms. Plame is a fictional character, the issue is not about her, it's about what was said about her, and the _potential_ those statements had to harm her, and the _threat_ that conveys to undercover intelligence agents.

If you were a juror on a case of alleged attempted armed robbery, would you focus solely on the absence of bullet wounds and whether the victim actually had any money or not as evidence of innocence?

That's why I was so baffled by your gratuitous display of your search engine skills. If the key issue is "who said what to Novak and why", as it seems to be to the most of the posters here, then random facts about Ms. Plame's nationality, ethnicity, religion, or travel history are irrelevant. Given that we're not that interested in Ms. Plame, I have a hard time understanding your concern about details of her family background. Your speculation about Israel was especially baffling, given its complete lack of connection to anything in this discussion. From what you posted, it's just about as likely that at some point she lived in or was posted to the Ukraine. There are a couple hundred other countries she might have lived in or been posted to. Is there something about the Niger/Yellowcake case, or Novak's story, or the discussion here, that makes a connection to Israel particularly relevant?

Oh, and for the record, I did my best to re-emvowell your post, and I don't know exactly what about it Teresa objected to. However, I suspect that "pnt-hdd ntllctl" might push a few buttons around here. Even though you were just using it to describe your opinion of what you thought we thought of you. Or something.

Michelle ::: (view all by) ::: August 04, 2003, 02:17 PM:

Two brief comments:

First, I see the danger of outing a CIA operative as not physical danger to her (assuming she is in the US and not undercover somewhere) but to those with whom she has worked. The US has a history of executing spies, so it would not seem beyond reason for a dictatorial regime to see association with a known US CIA operative as proof of guilt of treason.

That's my view anyway.

Second, I am always shocked by people who say rude things to Teresa and Patrick. Talk about biting the hand that feeds you. This 'forum' is provided at their expense, at no cost to us, so why should they not have the right to demand a certain level of respectfulness?

And so I hope that last comment wasn't out of line.... (Thank you Patrick and Teresa for Electrolite and Making Light.)

Dennis Slater ::: (view all by) ::: August 04, 2003, 04:53 PM:

Mark/Jeremy:

That response to some extent assumes she actually is a CIA agent (which rather misses the point of the irresponsibility accusation anyway). If she is CIA, one would think that being outed as an undercover operative would in some way affect one's career, regardless of the letter of the procedures, no?

It seems to me whether you talk about Plame's job within the CIA or her contacts with other people in the industry you have to start making assumptions. Any assumptions that you make are based on the likelihood of what you are saying is plausible. You (and everyone else) have not suggested one implausible scenario. All the scenarios I have seen proposed, however, are based on many things we do not know. We do know that she works for the CIA. We do have a good indication that she is/was a undercover operative although we have no idea what the exact nature of her job is/was. We do not know what her actual status or relationship was in the industry. We do not know what the exact nature of any blowback from her status being revealed will have on her career on her status within the industry. The details about her job is important to determine whether the law was broken. We know that law concerning outing a CIA undercover operative is pretty straightforward and that, given the information we have now, we cannot say with certainty, at this point, that the law applies to her. We need more information.

To address the irresponsibility part of your question(s), let me say that we, unless someone here has detailed information about the CIA/nuclear industry, do not have first hand knowledge of the culture and the policies/procedures within the CIA and/or the nuclear industry that she is said to be working in. Therefore, we will, when we say that someone was irresponsible, again, be making bald-faced assumptions about the effects of outing her will have on her career or industry standing. These assumptions could be 100% accurate or 100% off-base or somewhere inbetween. Whether a particular assumption is more reasonable than another is just an opinion. It is nature to think that your assumptions are better than the next person's, but that isn't always the case.

If there is an adverse effect on her career within the CIA or the industry because of these remarks, of course it would be irresponsible for someone to have revealed her identity if the assumptions everyone seems to want to make, based on what?, gut-feeling?, are true. There has not been anything in the media but the bald-faced statements that it would affect her career. Again, we do not know actually what the effect any of this will be on her career. We can only make assumptions.

If I were on a jury and the only evidence that a crime had been committed was a couple newspaper articles quoting anonymous sources, several meta-journalistic articles, and some late-in-the-game statements by the victim's somewhat over-wrought husband who may have an agenda, I certainly would ask the prosecution for a little more evidence before I voted to execute the perpetrator(s).

It would helpful to me, as a jurist, to know:

from the revealers: what was their actual motivation? Did anyone tell them to reveal Ms. Plame's identity?

from Ms. Plame and others: what are the actual effect of the revelations on Ms. Plame's, career going to be? What have they been thus far?

from the CIA: what was Ms. Plame's actual status in the CIA and where was she posted? What will be the reprecussions for Ms. Plame?

before passing judgement about guilt or innocence.

In real trials, of course, the accused are innocent until proven guilty, however in unreal foaming-at-the-mouth political media-based 'trials' we (Repubs and Dems) always assume that the accused is guilty until proven innocent. Hopefully, Senator Schumer's investigation, which I applaud by the way, will help us out.

random facts about Ms. Plame's nationality, ethnicity, religion, or travel history are irrelevant

You are right. They are. That is why I prefaced my gratuitous display of my search engine skills that might be of interest to someone else with the phrase "Not that it matters" and used the phrases "I have no way of knowing for sure." and "This is a total guess." During your overwhelming bafflement while reading all that irrelevant material, you must have overlooked those well-hidden qualifiers.

In cases like the CIA-Plame affair, I like to investigate the entire matter rather than just accept what is spoon-fed to me by a journalist or a blogger so I google things to death in interesting cases whether they are totally revelant or not. I do not really trust journalists that much. Most of them have an agenda. And many times they are either too lazy or under too much time pressure to really dig into a story. I did the same for the OJ Simpson trial during which the media totally disgraced itself and I am in the process of doing the same for an episode about a former president where the media played a big role and again totally disgraced itself. Many times my investigations change my original opinions about the matter entirely. Sorry if I confused you. I hope this explains it. I sincerely tried to make it clear what I was doing at the time. Will do better next time.

It is also getting off the topic for some people, for some reason, making me and what I say the issue instead of the facts of the matter. I really do not appreciate little snide remarks, implied or direct, about me personally and, I, unfortunately, feel compelled at times to strike back. I am beginning to like the way Patrick seems to deal with people that annoy him. "Bite me." is a nice concise way of handling interpersonal problems. "Bite me" gets the anger and frustration out while cutting off a lot of unnecessary, unproductive discussion and, at the same time, adding a touch of levity. It seems to work and it always invokes a smile from me.

Thanks for the efforts to disemvowel my post. I actually enjoy being disemvoweled. It means someone has read my post and got passionate one way or the other about what I said. That is fine. I enjoy the discussion no matter what the moderator's standards are any given day. It is their bandwidth and we are all just uninvited guests. At least I seem to be.

Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: August 04, 2003, 05:06 PM:

Mark, I understand your desire to finish the conversation, but I had come to seriously doubt that the discussion was going to come to any kind of satisfactory end no matter what I did.

Jeremy, you're right that that was a contributing factor. Not recognizing attempted acts of communication was another. But as usual, what clinched it was that I decided it was clinched.

Also as usual, he thinks I did it for some other reason. One of these days I should compose an explanatory form letter to send to people who get disemvowelled. Or maybe not.

Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: August 04, 2003, 05:07 PM:

Dennis, what's your clearance?

Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: August 04, 2003, 05:41 PM:

Dennis, being disemvowelled doesn't mean anyone got passionate about any content you presented (if any; I can't read disemvowelled posts). It just means you crossed the line and left the realm of polite discourse.

It's nothing to be proud of. It means you've let yourself get carried away, and forgotten (temporarily, I hope) how to discuss things in a courteous manner.

Dennis Slater ::: (view all by) ::: August 04, 2003, 07:55 PM:

Teresa,

I guess I didn't have enough phoney qualifiers in my poor attempt at satire?

Below is a sampling of the kind of responses I get to my posts. Not everyone responds this way. Mark, Jeremy, James, Terry and CHip give thoughtful and respectful replies to everyone's posts including mine and I have to work hard to match the quality of their ideas and wording. That is the way it should be. Other posters seem to be more interested in posting "You are stupid" type of posts. I do not see you disemvoweling the kind of BS as shown below yet you drop the dime on me without so much as a word of explanation. That is why I take issue with your apparent lack of consistency. Disemvoweling me does not really say as much about me or what I have said as it does your view of my ideas.

As our beloved, respected 43rd President said, "Bring it on".

Seriously, I am trying to ignore the insightful intellectuals that post the personal slights shown below but sometimes I am weak and give into my baser instincts. From now on I will just draw Patrick's trusty "Bite Me" sword when offended and wield it against those who attack me and not my ideas and go on from there. I hate to have to whine like I have here.

Please note that I only responded to 3 of these snide, rude, offensive, and personal remarks that were obviously written to goad me into a verbal food fight.

--------------------------------------------

His opinion seems to be the morality of it is irrelevant.

it's nice to know you're a fine upstanding type

I'm delighted you've shown your true colours.

Got a source, other than some right-wing birdcage liner?

Where would we be without people like yourself willing to put on your World-Weary Cynic hats

How could anyone allow you to referee kid's basketball games? Calling fouls strictly is an essential part of teaching them the game. You're not only being macho and inhumane, you're being pedagogically irresponsible.

But then, we've established in another thread that you live in a county that doesn't value humanity (in the sense of humane-ness).

The only meanings I can dredge up are all frightfully anti-Semitic. If that is what you mean, and I do hope it isn't, please fuck off and die.

Are you ready for that step, or would you prefer to go away, have some "quiet time", and think about it for a while?

And the facts won't all be in until I take my fingers out of my ears. Lalalalalala ... I can't hear you!

Oh hell, why are we all bothering? It's clear that Dennis Slater is never going to admit

But I still think we're all wasting our time on you:

As for Dennis Slater, to quote the late great Michael Callahan, you can lead a whore to culture but you can't make him think.

And the color of the sky in your world is...?


Would you care to share with us your definition of the word fact, since it appears that what you mean by it is nothing like its usual meaning?

Yet Dennis is trying a variant of the classic "show me the scientific references that prove the Sun rises in the east" technique.

n rgrds t my bng dsmvwld: Th nl mnngs cn drdg p frm bng dsmvwld r ll frghtfll Nz-lk. f tht s wht mdrtr mns t d, nd d hp t sn't, hp sh fcks ff nd ds.

- And that is just the ones on this thread!

Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: August 04, 2003, 10:53 PM:

Believe it or not, Dennis, a lot of the postings you've objected to were, more than anything else, attempts to get through to you and establish a common understanding.

I can't tell whether it's your ear or your attitude. It could be that you have no idea how puckered your tone has been during much of your time here. On the other hand, it could be that, as the bear said, you're not here for the hunting. Would it have killed you to answer a few of the more persistent questions?

Be indignant if you want. I certainly can't stop you. Just don't imagine that you got zapped on account of your politics.

Dennis Slater ::: (view all by) ::: August 05, 2003, 01:20 AM:

Teresa,

We will continue to disagree on the reasons for zapping. It does not matter.

Just a couple of points before moving on. If you look back at the source of those quotes you will find that they were made to me mostly because I did not agree with them not because I did not answer their questions. I will not usually answer those questions or posts framed in such a way to personally provoke me. Nor will I answer questions that are the same lame post after same lame post. I have repeatedly said in response to questions that we do not know what Plame's actual status is with the CIA. Sure the news reports say she is a CIA agent but is that enough to charge some one with breaking the law? With the information we have I do not feel that it is. Some here wanted to charge the officials with breaking the law after reading the Novak article and not having any idea what the law actually said. I have explained this in answers to questions many many times. I feel like I have done my best to answer questions even though they have been repeated over and over. I think that many, not all, here are not used to dealing with someone who has a different viewpoint than their own. When you look at those quotes I posted it is as almost as if the authors of those quotes are shouting "How dare you not to think the way we do!!" I tried to refine my viewpoint and my way of expressing it with each post and as I got more information from Kleiman, posts at CalPundit, and posts here, etc..

James introduced a different slant that I answered several posts later. I regret that I did not immediately respond to it because he comes up with good, logical, intelligent posts with interesting points in them and he deserves our full attention. His posts are usually very difficult to respond to casually.

My pucker-o-meter did not go off so I was unaware that I was sounding puckered. Defensiveness will do that to me. And sometimes what may be perceived as puckerness is actually a veiled or silly attempt at sarcasm. I view myself as a master of sarcasm.

As your guest here, I will try my best to be respectful of others and to participate with the suggestions that you have made in mind and will expect others will do the same. And I will overhaul the pucker-o-meter and make use of Patrick's potent and effective "Bite Me" weapon when offended instead of going off the deep end. Thanks.

Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: August 05, 2003, 11:46 AM:

""Well, there are governments who will do that very thing, it is part of why outing an agent is a federal offense.""

"I have never heard of CIA agents and/or their families being murdered because their status was publicly revealed except in movies and novels. Do you have some examples of this happening?"


At the risk of seeming snarky, none that I can publicly relate.

Terry K.

Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: August 05, 2003, 11:55 AM:

Dennis:

"If I were on a jury and the only evidence that a crime had been committed was a couple newspaper articles quoting anonymous sources, several meta-journalistic articles, and some late-in-the-game statements by the victim's somewhat over-wrought husband who may have an agenda, I certainly would ask the prosecution for a little more evidence before I voted to execute the perpetrator(s).

It would helpful to me, as a jurist, to know:

from the revealers: what was their actual motivation? Did anyone tell them to reveal Ms. Plame's identity?

from Ms. Plame and others: what are the actual effect of the revelations on Ms. Plame's, career going to be? What have they been thus far?

from the CIA: what was Ms. Plame's actual status in the CIA and where was she posted? What will be the reprecussions for Ms. Plame?"


The only one of those questions which seems to be relevant to a jury is whether or not the she was an agent.

If she was the rest are not an issue, because the statute takes none of them into account.

Statutory rape is not about the consensuality of the event, and can be successfully prosecuted if the, "victim," was the initiator.

I chose that as the analogy because I see a correlation to this with rape, if she was an agent, a harm was done to her, and aspects of her private, professional life were violated.

The rest of your questions are only relevant in a Civil Trial and for that to take place a public knowledge of her status has to be pre-supposed, which, de facto, means a federal statute has to be admittedly violated.

Terry K.


Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: August 05, 2003, 12:00 PM:

Dennis:

"To address the irresponsibility part of your question(s), let me say that we, unless someone here has detailed information about the CIA/nuclear industry, do not have first hand knowledge of the culture and the policies/procedures within the CIA and/or the nuclear industry that she is said to be working in. Therefore, we will, when we say that someone was irresponsible, again, be making bald-faced assumptions about the effects of outing her will have on her career or industry standing. These assumptions could be 100% accurate or 100% off-base or somewhere inbetween. Whether a particular assumption is more reasonable than another is just an opinion. It is nature to think that your assumptions are better than the next person's, but that isn't always the case."

I can state that I have some first-hand knowledge of that (CIA) culture, and so I am not making as many assumptions as it might seem.


"If there is an adverse effect on her career within the CIA or the industry because of these remarks, of course it would be irresponsible for someone to have revealed her identity if the assumptions..."

There would be an adverse affect on the career of someone so outed, and that effect would be to end it. As someone pointed out earlier, those whom she might be percieved to work with face sanction, in some places with extreme prejudice. On a personal note, her clandestine function (if it exists) is now gone and the work she was doing she can no longer do. In effect she has been fired.


"...everyone seems to want to make, based on what?, gut-feeling?, are true. There has not been anything in the media but the bald-faced statements that it would affect her career. Again, we do not know actually what the effect any of this will be on her career. We can only make assumptions."

See my statments above.

Terry K.

Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: August 05, 2003, 12:15 PM:


Lordy, but being away for a few days means I am posting a choking number of sequential posts.

Dennis says (for which I thank him for it) that I manage to be polite in my responses. That he thinks I am not bad with words is pleasing, as I merely see that I fail to rise to the level of so many others, but I digress.

Which makes it amusing that words I said to him are the first word he quotes when accusing people of posting, "snide, rude, offensive, and personal remarks that were obviously written to goad me into a verbal food fight.

--------------------------------------------

His opinion seems to be the morality of it is irrelevant"


For the record, it was not intended as any of those things. I meant it exactly the way I wrote it. You seem to argue that the moral aspects of this are not meaningful questions (and being that I have known covert agents, I have some strong feelings, not completely subject to reason on the issue of fealty to agents, but I digress again).

Since the facts of the matter cannot be stated (there is no-one who can come forward to admit or deny the charge) the facts cannot be determined.

But the question we have been debating, at cross-purposes, IS the morality of outing a covert agent, or of accusing someone who isn't an agent of being one; when there is no way to resolve the claim (if Plame were to say she was not such an agent, who will believe her? If she admits to it, she is committing a crime... no win situation for her).

So to say the only issue of importance is if the law was actually broken is disingenuous, as there is no way to resolve it. To repsond with such an claim, time and again, is to say the question we are debating (i.e. the moral aspects) is, in fact, not relevant.

Terry K.
(who hates to be misrepresented)


Dennis Slater ::: (view all by) ::: August 05, 2003, 03:41 PM:

Terry: Excellent posts.

Since the facts of the matter cannot be stated (there is no-one who can come forward to admit or deny the charge) the facts cannot be determined.

This seems to parallel the point I have been making that how can we judge whether the officials committed a crime or were irresponsible without more facts.

What you seem to be saying, agreeing with others, is that no matter what Plame's status is, the administration official is wrong either legally or morally or both. I have found it difficult to accept that idea because only way for that underyling suppositions to be true, it seems to me, is to construct a basis consisting of labyrinth of qualifying statements in such a way to make the basis worthless. Again, whether the supposition is true or not, basically boils down to Plame's actual employment status and whether she would be materially harmed by such a revelation and we do not know any of that yet. I have conceded in a previous post that if the culture of the CIA and the industry that she works is such that she may be punished in some fashion for either being a CIA or not being one but being described as one then the administration officials were irresponsible. I do not know what the actual climate is within the industry or the CIA so I cannot say for certain that she will be materially damaged by statements made by officials. I think guessing about these things is not productive.

Reading back over that I think I am repeating myself. If I am, I am sorry. Time for me to move on.

Statutory rape is not about the consensuality of the event, and can be successfully prosecuted if the, "victim," was the initiator.

I chose that as the analogy because I see a correlation to this with rape, if she was an agent, a harm was done to her, and aspects of her private, professional life were violated.

I like your analogy. Tough to respond to. I understand that statutory rape is an illegal activity involving lack of legal consent. Assuming that the CIA informed her of the effects and possibilities of intended or unintended relevation of her covert status when she was hired, any claim that she was not aware of the possibility of her status being revealed and what would happen to her if it was would be certainly shaky. I do not know if I can effectively argue whether her knowledge of the possibility of being outed is the same as thing as consent in this case. (the lady,naked,bar,lying on pool table, 'I was raped.' type of argument) Whether what happened was an illegal activity is debatable as well.

On a humorous? note: Therefore, accepting everyone's arguments but my own, it would be possible for me to get rid of my super obnoxious neighbor with 3 dogs by getting a friend with an appropriate clearance to anonymously tell the media that my neighbor works for the CIA and my neighbor would have abolutely no defense from this revelation even if he did work for the CIA? He then would lose his job and have to sell his house and move or some foreign agent would show up at 3:00am and whack him? OMG, this better than knowing someone in the mafia, I'll be right back. ** dialing **

Lydia Nickerson ::: (view all by) ::: August 05, 2003, 04:22 PM:

Therefore, accepting everyone's arguments but my own, it would be possible for me to get rid of my super obnoxious neighbor with 3 dogs by getting a friend with an appropriate clearance to anonymously tell the media that my neighbor works for the CIA and my neighbor would have abolutely no defense from this revelation

Hmm. Find a friend with the appropriate clearance, and see if you can persuade him to do that. I'll bet you dollars to donuts that you can't.

Yonmei ::: (view all by) ::: August 05, 2003, 07:43 PM:

Dennis, I'm really somewhat taken aback. I do not know if I can effectively argue whether her knowledge of the possibility of being outed is the same as thing as consent in this case. Are you seriously arguing that "knowledge that bad things can happen to me" can ever be regarded as remotely related to "consent for these bad things to happen to me"?

I know that I can be burgled. This is not the same thing as giving consent to being burgled. I know that I can be raped. This is really not the same thing as giving consent to being raped. And I'm stunned that you should think the two bear any relation to each other. (You're presumably aware of bad things that can happen to you - does that mean that you've given consent to any or all of them happening to you?)

Dennis Slater ::: (view all by) ::: August 06, 2003, 01:21 AM:

Lydia:

Hmm. Find a friend with the appropriate clearance, and see if you can persuade him to do that. I'll bet you dollars to donuts that you can't.

It was a joke. See the --------> "On a humorous? note"

Yon:

Are you seriously arguing that "knowledge that bad things can happen to me" can ever be regarded as remotely related to "consent for these bad things to happen to me"?

Forgive me, I was having a difficult explaining what I meant by consent. I am not sure what I said about consent has merit or not either. Since I did say this in my post "I do not know if I can effectively argue whether her knowledge of the possibility of being outed is the same as thing as consent in this case." I can claim that I knew I was on shaky ground and just wasn't being completely stupid. Consent is probably not the right word in this case. I was trying to hard to respond to Terry's great analogy. Erase what I said and let me try again with my own simple analogy.

If you sign an agreement with an insurance company that absolves them of any liability if your house burns down because of, oh let's say an elephant turns over a lantern on your porch, then if that happens you knew that that possibility existed when you signed the insurance document. When you signed you accepted the unlikely possibility** of a big old ugly elephant wandering onto your back porch and turning over the lantern and when it did happen you should smile, take the loss, and move on if what the elephant did was not illegal or negligent.

(Analogy assistance for the analogically challenged: you = Plame, insurance company = CIA, knocking over a lantern = outing, and elephant = administration official or other evil person) Note: this is a small attempt at some levity which is ruined by pointing this out.

Does that analogy help explain what I was trying to say? Is the nasty old elephant absolved of the responsibility (criminal or moral) for knocking over the lantern? I think I would say "it depends" as you howl in anger or with laughter.


** I think this might be a form of consent. A legal mind could probably define the term I want to use to describe this for me in a jiffy. Maybe I am confusing assent with consent?


I like my trial analogy that I posted on 4:53 and Terry dismissed. Do you see any logical problems with what I said there?


Yonmei ::: (view all by) ::: August 06, 2003, 06:44 AM:

Dennis, I get your analogy, and thank you for explaining: it does make more sense than what I originally thought you were saying. What I think you're saying is that if being outed as a CIA agent is one of the risks of being a CIA agent, then if Plame is a CIA agent, being outed is just a risk that came with the job.

I disagree. Let me offer you an analogy of my own. When people join the army and become soldiers, one of the risks they accept with the job is that they may be killed by the enemy. That risk will go up or down depending what kind of soldier they are, what tasks they perform, where they're assigned, so on and so forth: but the risk exists, and it's a known factor that goes with the job of being a soldier: so I think it's fair to say that they have small right to complain about the risk of it happening. That's what they signed up for, and if Plame had been outed by an enemy of the US, that would have been part of what she signed up for.

But when soldiers are put needlessly at hazard by their commanding officers, then the rest of us have a right to complain that their commanding officers are showing an appalling lack of respect for human life. (This was done most dramatically in Alfred Lord Tennyson's "Charge of the Light Brigade", 1864.)

This goes even more strongly for the risk of being killed by "friendly fire". (The majority of the British casualties in the 1991 Gulf War were killed by Americans.) Being killed by your own side may be a known factor that goes with the job of being a soldier, but it's not one that I think either soldiers, or the rest of us, should ever accept meekly as an inevitable hazard. Whenever it happens, it's something to protest.

Finally, just because someone's signed up to be a soldier, does not mean their life is meaningless and they deserve to die. If a general walks over to an enlisted soldier under the general's command and shoots her in the head, just because her husband offended the general, that is not an acceptable risk of warfare: it's barbarity.

You appear to be arguing that Valerie Plame's at-risk status is like the at-risk status of a soldier who may be killed by the enemy. I would argue that, at the very least, this falls into the "needlessly at hazard" category of risk. Nothing useful is accomplished by outing Plame, she's merely put at greater risk than she deserves to be by her own side. I think that the real equivalent is "friendly fire": and if Plame was outed intentionally to punish her husband, it falls into the worst category: it is pure barbarity.

Jeremy Leader ::: (view all by) ::: August 06, 2003, 10:15 AM:

Dennis, to put it in the terms of your analogy, you're confusing the elephant ('s owner) and the insurance company. Because you signed the contract, the insurance company doesn't owe you any money on your claim of "damage by elephant". The elephant's owner, however, is probably liable. I believe that even if the insurance company owns the elephant, they still owe you compensation; not as an insurer, but as the responsible party whose actions or negligence caused you harm.

In other words, any harm that might come to Valerie Plame by being outed isn't the fault of the CIA, it's the fault of the people who outed her.

Or as Yonmei puts it, a general who intentionally shoots at his own troops has done something wrong, even though soldiers generally expect to get shot at during battle.

Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: August 07, 2003, 10:54 AM:

Regarding the abilty of we, the jury, to assess the nature of wrong done to Plame is undone by the nature of whatever outing may have been done.

I was pondering this, as I wandered yesterday and the crux of the difficulty is the actor who might try to rectify such a wrong.

The only agency which can bring such a case to trial is the Gov't. Nature of the beast, only the Gov't can admit she was an agent of the CIA. As the apparent cause of her outing seems to be the Gov't (is we stipulate, for sake of argument that she is/was such an agent) there is no one who will bring the charge, as it seems she was outed to further an agenda of the Gov't.

Which is morally wrong, as it means we have people who will break the laws of the land to engage in spite.

And spite is all I can attribute it to, looking at the way in which the outing was done.

If she was not an agent, then she has been harmed, because the only thing which makes her being such an agent plausible is that she does legitimate work in that field, and now she is handicapped in doing such work (which seems to be part of her livelihood) because there will be few places which do not think she is an agent of the CIA from this point on.

As far as consent goes, I suppose one might argue that an agent accepts that his status might be revealed if it was beneficial to the foreign policy of the U.S., but I can't see how this applies in this case, as all that has been done here is after the fact, and seems to bolster the statements of Wilson, as regards the claims of Niger being a source for yellowcake to Iraq.

No, from where I sit the point still seems to be a warning to other agents that allowing it to be known that the administration has tweaked the evidence to fit the way they want the facts to look is going to get one burned.

And that, more than anything else seems criminal, and irresponsible to me.

Terry K.

James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: August 26, 2003, 06:45 PM:

Joseph Wilson has apparently named Karl Rove as the high-level person who either did or did not commit a felony by naming Valerie Plame as a CIA officer.

See this for details.

Lydia Nickerson ::: (view all by) ::: August 27, 2003, 07:58 AM:

Well and well. What does it all mean? Karl Rove is hardly a surprise. What I don't understand is the way Joseph Wilson has been behaving throughout this incident. I am not critical, just confused. It is impossible that he's stupid (go look at his cv) and it is impossible that he doesn't understand security and secrecy (ibid). His initial article that set this off was either brave or disloyal or vengeful, or something. I like to think that he did it in pursuit of truth and peace. However, his progressive hints to the media, and now this quasi-accusation... I would have thought that an accusation like this would be precisely the sort of thing one didn't want to go public with until the FBI had all the goods and was about to, um, put handcuffs on Karl Rove and frog-march him out of the White House.

Presumably, there are several political games being played simultaneously with the same pieces. I don't remember where I read it, but one reporter said that covering the Bush White House was like Kremlinology, where you looked at who was standing next to whom, and who was and wasn't in the pictures, and tried to guess who was and wasn't in favor in that particular week. Hell of a way to run a government, if you ask me. It wouldn't surprise me if the CIA is gunning for the White House, despite the fact that it was always fond of W's daddy.

Arghhh. I shake my head. I'd also like to know why there wasn't more speculation as to whether or not Kelly's death was really a suicide. I know that I said that I refused to live in a Le Carre novel, but I would be more comforted if the news people would be more suspicious and spend a little more energy proving it to me.

Graydon ::: (view all by) ::: August 27, 2003, 11:14 AM:

Lydia -

It is going to take lots of clout to get a conviction for this, right? It's a core member of the Bush administration, whoever it is.

Wilson can't comment in the specific, or they will arrest him. (and then hold him incommunicado, probably, for security.)

What he can do is speculate in the subjunctive; that doesn't get him anything but minimum notice, because there is no media/public push over this, it's all political. (There should be massive public outrage, but if you can't get that over a fraudulent casus belli you won't get it over an unlawful carreer knifing that puts foreigners at risk of torture and death.)

So he more or less has to make sure the awareness of the crime in question has political legs and enough publicity, and then give the people who are in a position to maintain pressure on/provide political cover for the nominally impartial professional law enforcement aparatus a worthwhile public target after it is clear that the issue has political legs -- the careersists aren't willing to be called off, the general feeling is that this is indeed worth a fight, there is at least public unease with the idea of outing an agent for domestic political gain, the prospective return on political capital is worthwhile, and so on.

(It's also a very embarrassing thing for the Bushies, since as an act it's entirely contrary to most of their public rhetoric. Rove is from the theocratic faction, though, not the imperialist or corporatist factions.)

The idea is presumably to get Rove tossed off the sleigh in the run up to the election; that would be entirely worthwhile from the political end. It's also very handy that the individual responsible (apparently) is Rove, since if there start being signs that he is going to go down, there are a lot of people who would want to get a boot in, many of them Republicans.

Graydon ::: (view all by) ::: August 27, 2003, 11:17 AM:

Oh, and about Kelly --

There is plenty of speculation about Kelly's death not being suicide; it's just not making it into major media anywhere.

David Moles ::: (view all by) ::: August 27, 2003, 11:52 AM:

That line about “keen interest” and “frog-marched” is absolutely beautiful.

Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: August 27, 2003, 06:47 PM:

I'm a liberal (and unashamed) and have various family members who have been CIA members -- one was a co-founder of the CIA, and Deputy Director of National Estimates for a long time. He was one of the people with egg on his face for the Cuban Missle Crisis, for example. If you look at his book (STRATEGIC INTELLIGENCE FOR AMERICAN WORLD POLICY, Sherman Kent, Princeton University Press), you'll find a well-reasoned, thoughtful analysis of what intelligence is about. It's a good book for anyone who is interested in why governments might collect information on either their own or other countries.

One phrase that keeps coming to mind from it for me is (quasi-quote because my copies of the book are in Seattle and I'm in Daly City): "The CIA must never get in the business of generating substantive primary intelligence [that is, creating an organization that will collect its own information and generate conclusions from information it collects itself]. If it does, it will put itself in competition with the other intelligence agencies, and they will have a vested interest in seeing it fail."

I believe the CIA did exactly what he argued against, and the other agencies did exactly what he said they would.

Even though I'm a card-carrying liberal, I don't believe all CIA agents, or the entire CIA, are evil. I know, respect, and like some of the rank-and-file. They do their job, and get shafted by a few people at the top in too many cases.

The CIA (and the NSA) is not a monolith. When someone shafts an agent, it's not a good thing.

Cheers,
Tom

Yonmei ::: (view all by) ::: August 28, 2003, 05:49 AM:

The thing about David Kelly's death, though, is the horrible kettle of mixed feelings it stirs up, in me, at least: I cannot speak for other Brits.

Bubbling in the kettle: (1) Compassion for Kelly, and for his family. (2) Anger at both government and BBC for stressing Kelly to the final point where he committed suicide (and I do think that suicide is the most likely possibility) (3) A kind of horrid satisfaction that one thing has finally happened that the government cannot squelch or claim to be unimportant: a man in their service has died, and the inquiry into his death has far more power to demand answers than the Parliamentary committee set to look into the rights and wrongs of the UK joining the invasion of Iraq - we may finally get some truths out of Whitehall about what happened. (4) A sense of outrage that what it took to get the the truth out of Whitehall was one man's suicide, when the thousands of Iraqi deaths made no difference at all.

And those are just the main ingredients. There's a lot more stirring in the pot.

Yonmei ::: (view all by) ::: September 27, 2003, 04:07 AM:

Dennis Slater kept demanding more authoritative sources, evidence that Valerie Plame really was a CIA agent, before he would acknowledge that the Bush administration really had committed a crime. I don't know if he's still around, but if so, hey Dennis, look at this...