Click amount to donate direct to CounterPunch
  • $25
  • $50
  • $100
  • $500
  • $other
  • use PayPal
DOUBLE YOUR DONATION!
We don’t run corporate ads. We don’t shake our readers down for money every month or every quarter like some other sites out there. We provide our site for free to all, but the bandwidth we pay to do so doesn’t come cheap. A generous donor is matching all donations of $100 or more! So please donate now to double your punch!
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

How to Out a CIA Agent

For all intent and purposes, the special prosecutor’s duty in the CIA leak case is straightforward. How the investigation ever got so complicated is beyond me. Mr Fitzgerald needs to keep it simple.

Valerie Plame was a CIA agent in July 2003, and the fact that she was a CIA officer was classified. The responsibilities of some CIA employees require that their association with the agency be kept secret, because disclosure has the potential to damage national security in ways that range from preventing the future use of the agents, to compromising intelligence-gathering methods, to endangering the safety of CIA employees, and people who they may be associated with.

Valerie’s status was not widely known. The special prosecutor verified that her friends, neighbors, and college classmates had no idea she had another life. Her cover was blown in July 2003. The first public outing was when Robert Novak published a story about Valerie and her husband Joe Wilson on July 14, 2003, noting her status as a CIA agent, and quoting senior administration officials as his sources.

The investigation really only required the answers to 3 basic questions: (1) which senior officials knew about Valerie’s employment with the CIA? (2) did the officials know the CIA was protecting her identity? And (3) who leaked her name and status to the press?

We now know that just as many people suspected, Karl Rove was one of the sources for Novak. However, he may have published the first outing, but Novak was not the first reporter to learn that Joe’s wife worked at the CIA. Several other reporters were told earlier.

Because, also just as was suspected, Scooter Libby was the other leaker, and he was the first official to leak Valerie’s name and status to the media when he told Judy Miller in June of 2003, after Dick Cheney leaked the information to him, with Bush’s full approval and knowledge.

As a condition for working with classified information, on January 23, 2001, Libby signed a ‘Classified Information Nondisclosure Agreement,’ which states in part: ‘I understand and accept that by being granted access to classified information, special confidence and trust shall be placed in me by the United States Government.’

In signing the Agreement Libby goes on to state: ‘I have been advised that the unauthorized disclosure, unauthorized retention, or negligent handling of classified information by me could cause damage or irreparable injury to the United States or could be used to advantage by a foreign nation.’

Scooter clearly violated this oath.

To begin with, it obvious that the White House did not follow the proper procedures for safeguarding Valerie’s identity. Under EO 12958, the White House should have ensured that only those with a “need to know” had access to her covert identity.

It’s a no-brainer, that as Bush’s political advisor, Rove, should not have had access to the information. What compelling “need to know” would justify revealing her identity to him?

This little problem is probably what led to Rove’s ‘promotion’ a while back, just as his up-coming arrest is probably what led to his ‘demotion’ yesterday.

As far as responding to the leak itself, under EO 12958, the White House should have taken prompt action to determine (1) whether nondisclosure agreements were violated; (2) whether individuals without security clearance obtained classified information; and (3) whether national security information was compromised.

But then no investigation was necessary because the Bush White House knew the answers to those questions before the first leak occurred.

By intentionally publicizing the fact that Valerie worked at the CIA, the administration not only destroyed her career, they compromised whatever operations she may have worked on, and whatever networks she may have established over her lengthily career with the agency and the tax dollars spent on the above went right down the sewer.

Early on in the investigation, the FBI interviewed Scooter. In addition to being Cheney’s Chief of Staff at the time, he was also an Assistant to the President and Assistant to the Vice President for national security affairs.

According to filings in the criminal case, the focus of the FBI interview was on what Libby knew about Valerie, what he said to people about her, why he said it, and how he learned of the information.

He told the FBI that he was at the end of a long chain of phone calls. He spoke to reporter, Tim Russert, on July 10, 2003, and during the call, Russert said, hey, do you know that all the reporters know that Wilson’s wife works at the CIA. Scooter said that he learned this information as if it was new, and that is why it ‘struck him.’ Then, according to Scooter, he took the information from Russert and passed it on to Matt Cooper of Time Magazine, and New York Times reporter Judy Miller. He told the FBI that on July 12, 2003, two days before Novak’s column appeared in the press, that he passed the information on with the understanding that this was information he had received from a reporter, and that he didn’t even know if it was true.

However, six months later in March 2004, when he testified before the grand jury on two occasions, Scooter added a new twist to his original tale. To the grand jury, Libby said that he had learned about Valerie from Cheney earlier in June 2003, but he had forgotten all about it; and so when he had learned the information from Russert, he’d learned it as if it were new. Then Scooter said, he passed the information on to Cooper and Miller, later in the week. However, we now know that Scooter discussed the fact that Valerie worked for the CIA, at least 6 times before the call with Russert ever took place, not to mention the fact that according to Tim, they never discussed Valerie at all during that call. The bottom line is that Scooter did not learn about Valerie from Tim Russert. In the Libby indictment, Fitzgerald says that on June 12, 2003, Cheney informed Libby that Valerie worked at the CIA’s Counter-proliferation Division. The CPD is part of the operations directorate, the CIA’s clandestine services.

In fact, the indictment says that Scooter learned of the information about Valeria from other administration officials as well in June of 2003. On June 11, he learned about her from an Under Secretary of State and sometime prior to July 8, Scooter learned the information from someone else in Cheney’s office. On June 14, 2003, he discussed the matter with a CIA briefer and was complaining that the CIA was leaking information or making critical comments about the administration and brought up Joe and Valerie to the briefer. He also discussed the her at lunch with White House Press Secretary, Ari Fleischer, on Monday, July 7, 2003, which means that we have Scooter telling Ari something on Monday that he claims to not have learned from Russert until Thursday. There was also a discussion the next day on July 8, in which Scooter asked the Counsel for the Vice President what paperwork the CIA would have if an employee had a spouse going on a trip. In the end, Scooter had 7 discussions with government officials prior to the day when he claims he learned the information as if it were new from Russert.

In addition, the story he gave to the FBI and grand jury was that he told reporters Cooper and Miller on July 12. However, according to filings in the case, Scooter discussed Valerie at least 4 times with these reporters prior to July 14, 2003; three times with Miller, and once with Cooper.

The first discussion with Miller was on June 23; within days after an article was published online by The New Republic, quoting some critical comments from Wilson.

He spoke about Valerie with Miller again on July 8, in a discussion that was in background as a ‘senior administration official,’ after which he instructed Miller to change the attribution to a ‘former Hill staffer.’

During that conversation, Scooter said that Valerie was working for the CIA, and he discussed her employment status again with Miller on July 12.

In his conversations with Miller, Scooter never said this is what other reporters told me. He never said I don’t know if it’s true, or I don’t even know if Wilson has a wife, according to Miller.

So, Rove and Scooter were the 2 administration officials who leaked the information to the press and the top officials in the Bush administration knew it from day one and allowed a charade of an investigation to stretch on for years on the tax payer’s dime.

However, another cat is said to be ready to leap out of the bag and Rove’s ‘demotion’ yesterday is probably the least of his worries.

According to an article published today by investigative reporter, Jason Leopold, for Truthout.org, Fitzgerald is said to have presented more evidence alleging Rove lied to FBI investigators and the grand jury when he was asked about how he found out that Valerie worked for the CIA and whether he gave that information to the media.

‘Fitzgerald told the grand jury,’ Leopold said, ‘that Rove lied to investigators and the prosecutor eight out of the nine times he was questioned about the leak and also tried to cover-up his role in disseminating Plame Wilson’s CIA status to at least two reporters.’

Mr Fitzgerald needs to keep it simple, wrap up the investigation, and reserve a row of prison cells in Cuba.

Evelyn Pringle can be reached at: evelyn.pringle@sbcglobal.net

 

 

More articles by:
October 23, 2018
Patrick Cockburn
The Middle East, Not Russia, Will Prove Trump’s Downfall
Ipek S. Burnett
The Assault on The New Colossus: Trump’s Threat to Close the U.S.-Mexican Border
Mary Troy Johnston
The War on Terror is the Reign of Terror
Maximilian Werner
The Rhetoric and Reality of Death by Grizzly
David Macaray
Teamsters, Hells Angels, and Self-Determination
Jeffrey Sommers
“No People, Big Problem”: Democracy and Its Discontents In Latvia
Dean Baker
Looking for the Next Crisis: the Not Very Scary World of CLOs
Binoy Kampmark
Leaking for Change: ASIO, Jakarta, and Australia’s Jerusalem Problem
Chris Wright
The Necessity of “Lesser-Evil” Voting
Muhammad Othman
Daunting Challenge for Activists: The Cook Customer “Connection”
Don Fitz
A Debate for Auditor: What the Papers Wouldn’t Say
October 22, 2018
Henry Giroux
Neoliberalism in the Age of Pedagogical Terrorism
Melvin Goodman
Washington’s Latest Cold War Maneuver: Pulling Out of the INF
David Mattson
Basket of Deplorables Revisited: Grizzly Bears at the Mercy of Wyoming
Michelle Renee Matisons
Hurricane War Zone Further Immiserates Florida Panhandle, Panama City
Tom Gill
A Storm is Brewing in Europe: Italy and Its Public Finances Are at the Center of It
Suyapa Portillo Villeda
An Illegitimate, US-Backed Regime is Fueling the Honduran Refugee Crisis
Christopher Brauchli
The Liars’ Bench
Gary Leupp
Will Trump Split the World by Endorsing a Bold-Faced Lie?
Michael Howard
The New York Times’ Animal Cruelty Fetish
Alice Slater
Time Out for Nukes!
Geoff Dutton
Yes, Virginia, There are Conspiracies—I Think
Daniel Warner
Davos in the Desert: To Attend or Not, That is Not the Question
Priti Gulati Cox – Stan Cox
Mothers of Exiles: For Many, the Child-Separation Ordeal May Never End
Manuel E. Yepe
Pence v. China: Cold War 2.0 May Have Just Begun
Raouf Halaby
Of Pith Helmets and Sartorial Colonialism
Dan Carey
Aspirational Goals  
Wim Laven
Intentional or Incompetence—Voter Suppression Where We Live
Weekend Edition
October 19, 2018
Friday - Sunday
Jason Hirthler
The Pieties of the Liberal Class
Jeffrey St. Clair
A Day in My Life at CounterPunch
Paul Street
“Male Energy,” Authoritarian Whiteness and Creeping Fascism in the Age of Trump
Nick Pemberton
Reflections on Chomsky’s Voting Strategy: Why The Democratic Party Can’t Be Saved
John Davis
The Last History of the United States
Yigal Bronner
The Road to Khan al-Akhmar
Robert Hunziker
The Negan Syndrome
Andrew Levine
Democrats Ahead: Progressives Beware
Rannie Amiri
There is No “Proxy War” in Yemen
David Rosen
America’s Lost Souls: the 21st Century Lumpen-Proletariat?
Joseph Natoli
The Age of Misrepresentations
Ron Jacobs
History Is Not Kind
John Laforge
White House Radiation: Weakened Regulations Would Save Industry Billions
Ramzy Baroud
The UN ‘Sheriff’: Nikki Haley Elevated Israel, Damaged US Standing
Robert Fantina
Trump, Human Rights and the Middle East
Anthony Pahnke – Jim Goodman
NAFTA 2.0 Will Help Corporations More Than Farmers
Jill Richardson
Identity Crisis: Elizabeth Warren’s Claims Cherokee Heritage
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail