Thursday, July 21, 2005

Classified 2003 State Department Memo Gives Clear Indication That Plame Was Covert

A classified State Department memorandum central to a federal leak investigation contains information about CIA officer Valerie Plame in a paragraph marked "(S)" for secret, a clear indication that any Bush administration official who read it should have been aware the information was classified, according to current and former government officials.

The Wall Street Journal first reported the three-page memo's existence in its July 19 edition. A story in today's Washington Post provided greater details.

The June 10, 2003 memo refers to Plame by her married name, Valerie Wilson. According to a source who described the memo to the Post, Plame is mentioned in the memo's second paragraph.

The paragraph is clearly marked to show that it contained classified material at the "secret" level, two sources said. The CIA classifies as "secret" the names of officers whose identities are covert, according to former senior agency officials.

Anyone reading that paragraph should have been aware that it contained secret information, the Post's sources said. It is a federal crime, punishable by up to 10 years in prison, for a federal official to knowingly disclose the identity of a covert CIA official if the person knows the government is trying to keep it secret.

Prosecutors attempting to determine whether senior government officials knowingly leaked Plame's identity as a covert CIA operative to the media are investigating whether White House officials gained access to information about her from the memo, according to two sources familiar with the investigation.

Karl Rove, President Bush's deputy chief of staff, has testified that he learned Plame's name from Novak a few days before telling another reporter she worked at the CIA and played a role in her husband's mission, according to a lawyer familiar with Rove's account. Rove has also testified that the first time he saw the State Department memo was when "people in the special prosecutor's office" showed it to him, said Robert Luskin, his attorney.

Rove and Vice President Cheney's chief of staff, I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby, have been identified as people who discussed Plame with Time reporter Matthew Cooper. Prosecutors are trying to determine the origin of their knowledge of Plame, including whether it was from the memo or from conversations with reporters.

***

Meanwhile, eleven former intelligence officers spoke up on behalf of Plame yesterday, saying that leaking her identity may have damaged national security and threatens the ability of U.S. intelligence gathering.

In a July 20 statement to congressional leaders, the former officers said the Republican National Committee has circulated talking points that incorrectly state that Plame was not undercover, and thus did not deserve protection.

There are thousands of U.S. intelligence officers who work at a desk in the Washington, D.C., area every day who are undercover as Plame was when her identity was leaked, the statement added.

"Intelligence officers should not be used as political footballs," the statement read.

7 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

The one thing notably absent from this was any reference that Rove actually saw that memo.

J.D.

12:06 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

That's what the prosecutor has to determine. But there's definitely something stinking up the joint.

11:22 AM  
Blogger Michael said...

Connect the dots...

July 6, 2003: Joe Wilson's column, "What I Didn't Find in Africa," is published in The New York Times. In it he concludes, "some of the intelligence related to Iraq's nuclear weapons program was twisted to exaggerate the Iraqi threat."

July 7, 2003: President Bush is onboard Air Force One along with a top-secret briefing book containing a memo prepared by the State Department identifying Valerie Wilson as a CIA officer and as the wife of former Ambassador Joseph Wilson.

July 11, 2003: According to Time reporter Matthew Cooper, Karl Rove told him, "I've already said too much" after revealing that the wife of administration critic Joseph Wilson apparently worked at the CIA.

July 14, 2003: Robert Novak reveals that Wilson's wife is a CIA operative, attributes "two senior administration officials."

July 22, 2003: At a White House news briefing, McClellan, when asked about the administration leaking Plame's name, states: "That is not the way this president or this White House operates."

Do I need to draw a picture for you, J.D.?

Thanks to NPR

11:52 AM  
Anonymous alias: "cutiepie" johnson said...

Good pick-up, Dissident.

No one wants to jump to conclusions, because we've all seen times where a conclusion seemed obvious but never came to be (think O.J., Robert Blake, etc.)

But it amazes me how conservatives are trying to suggest this is a liberal witch hunt. The freakin' CIA wanted the investigation because they knew that Plame was covert.

It's just so much noise from conservative pundits. Fortunately, I think in this case, the majority of Americans think something is very wrong.

12:43 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The claim that Ojay Simpson leaked the name of a covert CIA operative seems to be a stretch, cutiepie.

1:45 PM  
Anonymous alias: "cutiepie" johnson said...

I'm going to assume you're kidding, and not just an incredible moron.

Let me rephrase: Most people though O.J. was guilty, but he was ultimately found innocent. A reasonable percentage of people (don't know if it's a majority) think Rove is guilty. We'll see if he winds up getting prosecuted.

3:34 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sorry, Cutie - that was meant as a joke. Though that doesn't necessarily preclude me from being a moron as well :-)

5:48 PM  

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