Former CIA agent Plame sues U.S. vice president
Updated Fri. Jul. 14 2006 4:40 AM ET
CTV.ca News Staff
Former undercover CIA operative Valerie Plame, whose identity was leaked to
the press, is suing U.S. Vice President Dick Cheney.
Plame has accused Cheney, his chief of staff Lewis "Scooter" Libby,
presidential adviser Karl Rove and other White House officials of leaking
her identity to discredit her husband Joseph Wilson, a former U.S. diplomat
who questioned the reasoning behind the invasion of Iraq.
Both Wilson and Plame filed the lawsuit Thursday.
On July 6, 2003, Wilson wrote a column in The New York Times arguing that
the White House had glossed over certain intelligence reports in its
argument for the war.
Specifically, Wilson wrote that after a trip to Niger, he had concluded Iraq
did not have an agreement to acquire uranium yellowcake to produce nuclear
weapons, as was alleged.
Just eight days after Wilson's piece was published, syndicated columnist
Robert Novak wrote that it was Wilson's wife, Plame, who used her influence
as a CIA agent to send Wilson to Niger.
The lawsuit alleges that White House officials "embarked on an anonymous
'whispering campaign' designed to discredit ... (the Wilsons) and to deter
other critics from speaking out," by revealing her identity to the press.
Not all reporters who obtained Plame's identity used the information. It's a
federal offence in the U.S. to name an undercover operative.
The lawsuit also alleges that Cheney, Libby, Rove and 10 unnamed officials
endangered the Wilson family - including their children - by leaking Plame's
"This lawsuit concerns the intentional and malicious exposure by senior
officials of the federal government of ... (Plame), whose job it was to
gather intelligence to make the nation safer and who risked her life for her
country," the couple's lawyer said in the lawsuit.
The Wilsons also allege that the leak infringed on their privacy rights.
Libby faces perjury and obstruction of justice charges in connection with
the leak. He allegedly lied to FBI investigators and a grand jury about when
he discovered Plame's identity, and what he told reporters about her.
According to The Associated Press, court filings in the Libby case allege
that Cheney was active in countering Wilson's opinion piece.
Cheney apparently wrote on Wilson's article: "Have they done this sort of
thing before? Send an ambassador to answer a question? Do we ordinarily send
people out pro bono to work for us? Or did his wife send him on a junket?"
No other officials have been charged in the leak. And in June, Special
Counsel Patrick Fitzgerald said he would not take legal action against Rove.
lawsuit ignored by ABC's World News Tonight and CBS
Neither ABC's World News Tonight nor the CBS
Evening News reported in their July 13 broadcasts that
former ambassador Joseph C. Wilson IV and his wife, ex-CIA
officer Valerie Plame, had filed a
lawsuit against Vice President Dick Cheney, Cheney's former
chief of staff I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby, and White House senior
adviser Karl Rove. By contrast, NBC's Nightly News did
report on the lawsuit.
While ignoring a lawsuit against the vice president of the
United States and two top White House aides in connection with a
matter that has been the subject of great media interest over
the past three years, CBS featured a segment on the sale of an
original printing of William Shakespeare's works, and both ABC
and CBS devoted a segment to Kentucky Derby winner Barbaro's
As Media Matters for America
Wilson and Plame are accusing Cheney, Rove, and Libby of leaking
Plame's identity as a CIA operative and effectively ending her
career. Wilson and Plame contend that the Bush administration
officials were retaliating against Wilson for criticizing the
administration's justifications for invading Iraq.
From the July 13 edition of NBC Nightly News with Brian
WILLIAMS: News out of Washington this evening, Valerie
Plame Wilson, the ex-CIA agent whose cover was blown after
her husband criticized the Bush administration claims about
Iraq's weapons of mass destruction, is suing Vice President
Cheney, his former chief of staff Scooter Libby and
presidential adviser Karl Rove. This lawsuit says they all
conspired to discredit, punish, and seek revenge against the
couple. It claims their constitutional and legal rights were
violated. A spokesman for Karl Rove says the allegations
are, quote, "absolutely and utterly without merit."
Why Joe Wilson and Valerie Plame Filed
By Jason Leopold
t r u t h o u t | Report
Friday 14 July 2006
Syndicated columnist Bob Novak and officials speaking on behalf of White
House political adviser Karl Rove have attempted to convince the American
people that there wasn't a White House campaign to smear and discredit
former Ambassador Joseph Wilson three years ago for speaking out publicly
against the Bush administration's use of pre-war Iraq intelligence.
In a stunning interview Wednesday on Fox News, which came across as yet
another orchestrated Rovian crusade against the former ambassador, Novak
claimed he did not see any evidence of a White House smear campaign against
Wilson in the days prior to a column he wrote that disclosed Wilson's wife's
covert CIA status and identity.
Novak's July 14, 2003, column took Ambassador Wilson to task for accusing
the administration, in a New York Times op-ed the week before, of twisting
the intelligence during the lead-up to the Iraq war.
Novak wrote that Plame was responsible for sending her husband on a
fact-finding trip to Niger to determine if Iraq was trying to acquire
yellowcake uranium from the African country. The trip, Novak was trying to
impress upon his readers, was the result of nepotism and as such Wilson's
findings should not be trusted.
Novak, in his interview on Fox News, where he now works as a consultant,
called the disclosure of Valerie Plame Wilson's CIA status an accidental
slip by one of his sources during the course of an hour-long background
interview on foreign and domestic policy issues.
An all too willing Brit Hume, and for that matter the rest of the Washington
press corps, lapped up Novak's version of the truth, and have treated the
Wilson story as a non-issue, without so much as disclosing the documentary
proof that has surfaced during the course of a three year federal
investigation that would prove Novak and others in the media have been
peddling lies in hopes of manipulating public perception about the truth
regarding White House officials' roles in the Plame leak.
A month ago, Robert Luskin, the attorney defending Rove in the CIA leak
case, claimed he received a faxed correspondence from Special Prosecutor
Patrick Fitzgerald indicating that Rove would likely not be charged with
crimes - barring any additional evidence - related to his role in the leak.
Fitzgerald's office would not confirm that the prosecutor sent such a letter
nor would his office confirm that Rove is truly free from the burden of a
criminal indictment. But that has not stopped the media and even some naïve
bloggers from taking Luskin at his word and printing news stories with
sentences like "Fitzgerald said Rove won't be charged" when in fact
Fitzgerald said no such thing.
In helping to carry the message Rove and Novak are disseminating, the
mainstream media and a slew of extreme right-wing bloggers have helped
shield this administration from accepting responsibility for one of the most
egregious crimes that has taken place since the presidency of Richard Nixon.
Earlier Thursday, the Wilsons filed a civil suit against Rove, Vice
President Dick Cheney, and I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby, Cheney's former chief
of staff, who is the only White House official who has been indicted in the
The civil suit may help vindicate the Wilsons and hold these officials
accountable for their actions three years ago, but it's worth revisiting
some of the evidentiary findings that Fitzgerald's probe has turned up since
he was appointed Special Prosecutor in December 2003 that prove the White
House's culpability in the leak.
In April, Fitzgerald stated in a court filing related to a discovery motion
in the Libby case that his investigators have obtained evidence that proves
"multiple" White House officials conspired to discredit Wilson.
Libby's attorneys said, according to the filing, that they were entitled to
the government's evidence in order to prove Libby was not engaged in a
"plot" to discredit Wilson.
However, Fitzgerald says in the filing that long before Wilson published his
July 6, 2003, op-ed in the New York Times there were pieces of evidence
"some of which have been provided to defendant and there were conversations
in which defendant participated, that reveal a strong desire by many,
including multiple people in the White House, to repudiate Mr. Wilson before
and after July 14, 2003."
Although he made it abundantly clear that Libby is not charged with
conspiracy, Fitzgerald argues that Libby's suggestion that there was no
White House plot to discredit Wilson is ludicrous, given the amount of
evidence he has in his possession that suggests otherwise.
"Given that there is evidence that other White House officials with whom
defendant spoke prior to July 14, 2003, discussed Wilson's wife's employment
with the press both prior to, and after, July 14, 2003 ... it is hard to
conceive of what evidence there could be that would disprove the existence
of White House efforts to 'punish' Wilson," Fitzgerald wrote in the court
Moreover, this court filing describes in detail how White House press
secretary Scott McClellan came to publicly exonerate Libby and Rove during a
press briefing in October 2003, three months after Plame Wilson's identity
The filing clearly states that Libby lied about his role in the leak when
McClellan asked him about it in October 2003. Libby, with Vice President
Cheney's backing, persuaded the press secretary to clear his name during one
of his morning press briefings, and prepared notes for him to use. "Though
defendant knew that another White House official had spoken to Novak in
advance of Novak's column and that official had learned in advance that
Novak would be publishing information about Wilson's wife, defendant did not
disclose that fact to other White House officials (including the Vice
President) but instead prepared a handwritten statement of what he wished
White House Press Secretary McClellan would say to exonerate him:
And he did not leak classified information." "As a result of defendant's
request, on October 4, 2003, White House Press Secretary McClellan stated
that he had spoken to Mr. Libby (as well as Mr. Rove and Elliot Abrams) and
"those individuals assured me that they were not involved in this."
McClellan's public statement and the fact that President Bush vowed to fire
anyone in his office involved in the leak were motivating factors that led
Libby to lie during an interview with FBI investigators in November 2003,
Fitzgerald states in the court filing:
"Thus, as defendant approached his first FBI interview he knew that the
White House had publicly staked its credibility on there being no White
House involvement in the leaking of information about Ms. Wilson and that,
at defendant's specific request through the Vice President, the White House
had publicly proclaimed that defendant was 'not involved in this.'"
On September 14, 2003, during an interview with Tim Russert of NBC's "Meet
the Press," Cheney maintained that he didn't know Wilson or have any
knowledge about his Niger trip or who was responsible for leaking his wife's
name to the media.
"I don't know Joe Wilson," Cheney said, in response to Russert, who quoted
Wilson as saying there was no truth to the Niger uranium claims. "I've never
met Joe Wilson. And Joe Wilson - I don't who sent Joe Wilson. He never
submitted a report that I ever saw when he came back ... I don't know Mr.
Wilson. I probably shouldn't judge him. I have no idea who hired him."
That was a lie. Cheney knew Wilson well. He spent months obsessing about
Cheney and then-Deputy National Security Adviser Stephen Hadley led a
campaign beginning in March 2003 to discredit former ambassador Joseph
Wilson for publicly criticizing the Bush administration's intelligence on
Iraq, according to current and former administration officials.
In interviews over the past year, sources close to the case said their roles
included digging up or "inventing" embarrassing information on the former
ambassador that could be used against him, preparing memos and classified
material on Wilson for Cheney and the National Security Council, and
attending meetings in Cheney's office to discuss with Cheney, Hadley, and
others the efforts that would be taken to discredit Wilson.
A former CIA official who has worked in the counter-proliferation division,
and who is familiar with the undercover work Wilson's wife did for the
agency, said Cheney and Hadley visited CIA headquarters a day or two after
Joseph Wilson was interviewed on CNN.
In the interview, which took place two and a half weeks before the start of
the Iraq war, Wilson said the administration was more interested in
redrawing the map of the Middle East to pursue its own foreign policy
objectives than in dealing with the so-called terrorist threat.
"The underlying objective, as I see it, the more I look at this, is less and
less disarmament, and it really has little to do with terrorism, because
everybody knows that a war to invade and conquer and occupy Iraq is going to
spawn a new generation of terrorists," Wilson said in a March 2, 2003,
interview with CNN.
"So you look at what's underpinning this, and you go back and you take a
look at who's been influencing the process. And it's been those who really
believe that our objective must be far grander, and that is to redraw the
political map of the Middle East," Wilson added.
But it wasn't Wilson at first who Cheney was so upset about when he visited
the CIA in March 2003.
During the same CNN segment in which Wilson was interviewed, former United
Nations weapons inspector David Albright made similar comments about the
rationale for the Iraq war and added that he believed UN weapons inspectors
should be given more time to search the country for weapons of mass
The National Security Council and CIA officials said Cheney had visited CIA
headquarters and asked several CIA officials to dig up dirt on Albright, and
to put together a dossier that would discredit his work that could be
distributed to the media.
"Vice President Cheney was more concerned with Mr. Albright," the CIA
official said. "The international community had been saying that inspectors
should have more time, that the US should not set a deadline. The Vice
President felt Mr. Albright's remarks would fuel the debate."
A week later, Wilson was interviewed on CNN again. This was the first time
Wilson ridiculed the Bush administration's claim that Iraq had tried to
purchase yellowcake uranium from Niger. "Well, this particular case is
outrageous. We know a lot about the uranium business in Niger, and for
something like this to go unchallenged by US - the US government - is just
simply stupid. It would have taken a couple of phone calls. We have had an
embassy there since the early '60s. All this stuff is open. It's a
restricted market of buyers and sellers," Wilson said in the March 8, 2003,
CNN interview. "For this to have gotten to the IAEA is on the face of it
dumb, but more to the point, it taints the whole rest of the case that the
government is trying to build against Iraq."
What Wilson wasn't at liberty to disclose during that interview, because the
information was still classified, was that he had personally traveled to
Niger a year earlier on behalf of the CIA to investigate whether Iraq had in
fact tried to purchase uranium from the African country. Cheney had asked
the CIA in 2002 to look into the allegation, which turned out to be based on
forged documents but was included in President Bush's January 2003 State of
the Union address nonetheless.
Wilson's comments enraged Cheney, all of the officials said, because they
were seen as a personal attack against the Vice President, who was
instrumental in getting the intelligence community to cite the Niger claims
in government reports to build a case for war against Iraq.
The former ambassador's stinging rebuke also caught the attention of Stephen
Hadley, who had played an even bigger role in the Niger controversy, having
been responsible for allowing President Bush to cite the allegations in his
State of the Union address.
At this time, the international community, various media outlets, and the
International Atomic Energy Agency had called into question the veracity of
the Niger documents. Mohammed ElBaradei, head of IAEA, told the UN Security
Council on March 7, 2003, that the Niger documents were forgeries and could
not be used to prove Iraq was a nuclear threat.
Wilson's comments in addition to ElBaradei's UN report were seen as a threat
to the administration's planned attack against Iraq, the officials said,
which would take place 11 days later.
Hadley had avoided making public comments about the veracity of the Niger
documents, going as far as ignoring a written request by IAEA head Mohammed
ElBaradei to share the intelligence with his agency so his inspectors could
verify the claims. Hadley is said to have known the Niger documents were
crude forgeries, but pushed the administration to cite them as evidence that
Iraq was a nuclear threat, according to the State Department officials, who
said they personally told Hadley in a written report that the documents were
CIA and State Department officials said that a day after Wilson's March 8,
2003, CNN appearance, they attended a meeting at the Vice President's office
with Cheney, Hadley and others who worked in the Office of the Vice
President and it was there that a decision was made to discredit Wilson.
"The way I remember it," the CIA official said about that first meeting he
attended in Cheney's office, "is that the vice president was obsessed with
Wilson. He called him an 'asshole,' a son-of-a-bitch. He took his comments
very personally. He wanted us to do everything in our power to destroy his
reputation and he wanted to be kept up to date about the progress."
The CIA, State Department and National Security Council officials said that
early on they had passed on information about Wilson to Cheney and Libby
that purportedly showed Wilson as being a "womanizer" and that he had
dabbled in drugs during his youth, allegations that are apparently false,
The officials said that during the meeting, Hadley said he would respond to
Wilson's comments by writing an editorial about the Iraqi threat, which it
was hoped would be a first step in overshadowing Wilson's CNN appearance.
A column written by Hadley that appeared in the Chicago Tribune on February
16, 2003, was redistributed to newspaper editors by the State Department on
March 10, 2003, two days after Wilson was interviewed on CNN. The column,
"Two Potent Iraqi Weapons: Denial and Deception" once again raised the issue
that Iraq had tried to purchase uranium from Niger.
Cheney appeared on Meet the Press on March 16, 2003, to respond to
ElBaradei's assertion that the Niger documents were forgeries.
"I think Mr. ElBaradei frankly is wrong," Cheney said during the interview.
"[The IAEA] has consistently underestimated or missed what it was Saddam
Hussein was doing. I don't have any reason to believe they're any more valid
this time than they've been in the past."
Behind the scenes, Wilson had been speaking to various members of Congress
about the administration's use of the Niger documents and had said the
intelligence the White House relied upon was flawed, said one of the State
Department officials who had a conversation with Wilson. Wilson's criticism
of the administration's intelligence eventually leaked out to reporters, but
with the Iraq war just a week away, the story was never covered.
Wilson said he had attempted to contact the White House through various
channels after the State of the Union address to get the administration to
correct the public record.
"I had direct discussions with the State Department, Senate committees,"
Wilson said in April in a speech to college students and faculty at
California State University Northridge. "I had numerous conversations to
change what they were saying publicly. I had a civic duty to hold my
government to account for what it had said and done."
Wilson said he was rebuffed at every instance and that he received word,
through then-National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice that he could state
his case in writing in a public forum. And that's exactly what he did.
Wilson decided to write an op-ed in the New York Times and expose the
administration for knowingly "twisting" the intelligence on the Iraqi
nuclear threat to make a case for war. Wilson wrote that had he personally
traveled to Niger to check out the Niger intelligence and had determined it
"Nothing more, nothing less than challenging the government to come clean on
this matter," Wilson said. "That's all I did."
With no sign of weapons of mass destruction to be found in Iraq, news
accounts started to call into question the credibility of the
administration's pre-war intelligence. In May 2003, Wilson re-emerged at a
political conference in Washington sponsored by the Senate Democratic Policy
There he told the New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristoff that he was the
special envoy who had traveled to Niger in February 2002 to check out
allegations that Iraq tried to purchase uranium from the country. He told
Kristoff he had briefed a CIA analyst that the claims were untrue. Wilson
said he believed the administration had ignored his report and had been
dishonest with Congress and the American people.
When Kristoff's column was published in the Times, the CIA official said, "a
request came in from Cheney that was passed to me that said 'the vice
president wants to know whether Joe Wilson went to Niger.' I'm paraphrasing.
But that's more or less what I was asked to find out."
In his column, Kristoff Had accused Cheney of allowing the truth about the
Niger documents the administration used to build a case for war to go
"missing in action." The failure of US armed forces to find any WMDs in Iraq
in two months following the start of the war had been blamed on Cheney.
What in the previous months had been a request to gather information that
could be used to discredit Wilson turned into a full-scale effort involving
the Office of the Vice President, the National Security Council, and the
State Department to find out how Wilson came to be chosen to investigate the
uranium allegations involving Iraq and Niger.
"Cheney and Libby made it clear that Wilson had to be shut down," the CIA
official said. "This wasn't just about protecting the credibility of the
White House. For the vice president, going after Wilson was purely personal,
in my opinion."
Cheney was personally involved in this aspect of the information gathering
process as well, visiting CIA headquarters to inquire about Wilson, the CIA
official said. Hadley had also raised questions about Wilson during this
month with the State Department officials and asked that information
regarding Wilson's trip to Niger be sent to his attention at the National
That's when Valerie Plame Wilson's name popped up showing that she was a
covert CIA operative.
Novak "Source" Warned Reporters About
Iraqi WMD Claims
By Jason Leopold
t r u t h o u t | Investigative Report
Wednesday 12 July 2006
Bill Harlow, the former spokesman for the CIA who syndicated columnist
Robert Novak claimed Tuesday was a source who confirmed the identity of
covert CIA operative Valerie Plame Wilson for Novak's July 14, 2003, column,
had broken ranks with Bush administration early on for telling reporters
there was no "smoking gun" that proved Iraq had weapons of mass destruction.
In his book Plan of Attack, Bob Woodward, the assistant managing editor of
the Washington Post, recounted Harlow's warnings to reporters in the months
leading up to the Iraq war.
"Well-placed officials in the administration were skeptical about the WMD
intelligence on Iraq - among them [Richard] Armitage, some senior military
officers, and even the CIA spokesman Bill Harlow, who repeatedly warned
reporters that the intelligence agencies were convinced that Saddam had WMD
but that they lacked a "smoking gun," Woodward wrote.
Fingering Harlow as one of the sources he relied upon for his column that
identified Plame Wilson parallels the White House's long-standing tactic of
shifting responsibility for all intelligence failures related to pre-war
Iraq intelligence onto the CIA.
Novak's close ties to Bush administration officials lead to obvious
questions: is Novak being forthcoming about Harlow's true role in the leak,
or is the columnist simply pulling a page out of the White House playbook by
blaming the CIA?
Writing on Tuesday about his role in the CIA leak case, Novak said that he
had relied upon three sources for the column that revealed Plame Wilson's
identity and work at the CIA: White House political adviser Karl Rove, an
unnamed government official, and "Bill Harlow, the CIA public information
officer who was my CIA source for the column confirming Mrs. Wilson's
But Harlow's account, as reported in the Washington Post on July 27, 2005,
differs dramatically and suggests that he was never truly a confirming
source for Novak.
"Harlow, the former CIA spokesman, said in an interview yesterday that he
testified last year before a grand jury about conversations he had with
Novak at least three days before the column was published," the Washington
Post reported. "He said he warned Novak, in the strongest terms he was
permitted to use without revealing classified information, that Wilson's
wife had not authorized the mission and that if he did write about it, her
name should not be revealed."
"Harlow said that after Novak's call, he checked Plame's status and
confirmed that she was an undercover operative," the Washington Post report
added. "He said he called Novak back to repeat that the story Novak had
related to him was wrong and that Plame's name should not be used. But he
did not tell Novak directly that she was undercover because that was
What's crucial about what Harlow relayed to Novak is something that seems to
have been lost on all of the reporters who followed up on the story about
Plame Wilson: the charge that Wilson's wife was responsible for his trip to
Niger was untrue, but the charge against the administration that Wilson made
in a New York Times op-ed on July 6, 2003, was the important story - Iraq
did not attempt to acquire yellowcake uranium from Niger.
But Plame Wilson's connection to the CIA and rumors that she sent her
husband to Niger was the more salacious story for many mainstream reporters,
not the veracity of the intelligence that led this nation to war.
Harlow, a captain in the US Navy for 25 years, and a former assistant White
House press secretary for national security and foreign affairs in the
Reagan administration, would likely never be a source - confirming or
otherwise - for Novak on a story that would end up having clear national
security implications, judging by the way he worked with other reporters
over the years.
Ronald Kessler, author of The CIA at War: Inside the Secret Campaign Against
Terror, described in his book how Harlow helped transform the CIA's "no
comment" policy on news stories and instead worked with reporters to make
sure their information was rock-solid.
"If a reporter already had the glimmer of a story, Harlow worked with him to
get it straight, while denying untrue charges," Kessler wrote in The CIA at
War. "Like the best PR people, Harlow got his message across while giving
the reporter material he or she could use.Because he leaned over backwards
to be honest, Harlow had credibility." Harlow hasn't commented on whether
Novak's assertion that he was a confirming source is true. Harlow, who
retired from the CIA, has been working on a book with former CIA director
George Tenet titled At the Center of the Storm.
Tenet's publisher, HarperCollins, has promised that the book will provide
the real story as to how the infamous "16 words" regarding Iraq's alleged
interest in acquiring uranium from Niger made its way into President Bush's
January 2003 State of the Union address, which is what sparked the
controversy that led to Joseph Wilson's op-ed column in the New York Times
and Plame Wilson's outing by Novak.
"Tenet will give a privileged view of the controversial decision to go to
war - providing previously unreported context and background, including an
insider's account of how the controversial 'sixteen words' made it into the
president's State of the Union speech, the real context of Tenet's own
now-famous 'slam-dunk' comment, and the CIA's views on the rise of the Iraqi
insurgency," according to a press release issued by the book's publisher.
Tenet and Harlow's book was slated for release in October, close to what's
sure to be a contentious mid-term election. Last week, HarperCollins
announced that At the Center of the Storm has been delayed until February
Reporters could be
subpoenaed again if Plame suit advances
Conversations White House officials had with
journalists in 2003 are central to a lawsuit filed Friday by
former CIA operative Valerie Plame and her husband, Joe Wilson,
who claim the officials violated their free speech rights.
July 14, 2006 · Journalists would
likely be called to testify in federal court if a lawsuit filed
Thursday by former CIA agent Valerie Plame against Vice President
Dick Cheney and other White House officials proceeds.
Conversations those officials had with Washington Post
reporter Walter Pincus, former New York Times reporter Judith
Miller and Time magazine reporter Matthew Cooper about Plame
are at the heart of the lawsuit, which alleges that the disclosure
of Plame's identity to those reporters violated her and her
husband's constitutional rights.
The lawsuit, which also names I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby, Cheney's
former chief of staff, presidential adviser Karl Rove, and several
John Does as defendants, was filed on the third anniversary of
Robert Novak's column which identified Plame as a CIA agent.
Following Novak's column, several other journalists reported
receiving the same information.
"I would much rather be continuing my career as a public servant
than be a plaintiff in a lawsuit but I feel strongly and justice
demands that those who acted so harmfully against our national
security must answer for their shameful conduct in court," Plame
said at a press conference Friday. Plame left the CIA in January.
Plame and her husband, former Ambassador Joe Wilson, contend that
the defendants in the case destroyed her cover in retaliation for
Wilson's public criticism of the Bush administration's assertion
that Iraq had been attempting to buy uranium from Niger to make
The eight-count complaint includes allegations that the Wilsons'
First Amendment rights were violated when officials punished the
couple for Joe Wilson's public criticism of the Bush administration,
their privacy was invaded when personal information about Plame was
disclosed, and that the defendants were engaged in a conspiracy to
discredit and punish the Wilsons.
The Wilsons' attorney, Christopher Wolf, declined to comment on
the likelihood that reporters will be subpoenaed.
Who Sent Joe Wilson to Niger
Is Totally Irrelevant
July 14, 2006
A BUZZFLASH READER CONTRIBUTION
by Karl M Evans
RE: Ambassador Joseph Wilson
Something has continued to puzzle me throughout the controversy surrounding
the Plame scandal, and I have to wonder if anyone has addressed it before
now (if they have, I haven't seen it).
It is clear that the Bush administration, and Vice President Cheney in
particular, decided quite early to try and discredit Ambassador Joseph
Wilson's exposure of the complete fiction the Bush administration was
pushing that Iraq was trying to buy yellowcake uranium from Niger. These
attempts to discredit Wilson began even BEFORE he went public with the
findings from his investigative trip to Niger at the request of the CIA (an
investigation, ironically, ordered by the office of the Vice President). It
is also clear that Cheney et. al believed Wilson would be thoroughly
discredited if they could claim his wife, a covert CIA operative
specializing in WMD proliferation, was responsible for arranging the trip.
Even now, despite the documented fact that Valerie Plame was NOT responsible
for sending her husband to Niger, nor held the authority to arrange such a
mission, Cheney and his minions continue to push the meme that Wilson's
mission was a frivolous case of nepotism.
The facts are in. They have been in for some time. The Cheney "scenario" of
Wilson's trip is complete nonsense. Quite literally - the argument makes no
sense. Who sent Wilson is totally irrelevant. But for the sake of argument,
let's pretend for a moment that Valerie Plame did arrange for her husband to
go to Niger.
SO. . . FRIGGIN. . . WHAT?
How exactly is that supposed to discredit Wilson's findings? Was Plame
otherwise qualified to be involved in the CIA investigation of the
yellowcake claims? She was a veteran CIA WMD proliferation specialist - of
COURSE she was qualified.
Was Ambassador Joseph Wilson qualified to investigate an alleged transaction
between Niger and Iraq? Let's take a look. Wilson was a member of the US
Diplomatic Service for 22 years. His very first assignment was to the
mission in Niger. Following assignments included the U.S. missions in Togo,
South Africa, Burundi, and the Congo as well as the State Dept Bureau of
African Affairs. He was appointed Ambassador to Gabon and to Sao Tome and
Principe. He also held the positions of Special Assistant to the President
and Senior Director for African Affairs at the National Security Council
where he was responsible for the coordination of U.S. policy to 48
sub-Saharan African countries. And finally, he served as Deputy Chief of
Mission at the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad - and became acting Ambassador during
Joseph Wilson had first-hand knowledge of who the main players were in both
Niger and Iraq. He had direct knowledge of who would have to be involved on
both sides in a transaction such as that being claimed by the Bush
Administration. He possessed expert knowledge of who to talk to to get to
the truth - who was reliable and who wasn't - who's information was good and
who's was suspect. And, in fact, his expertise DID uncover the truth - that
the Niger documents were forgeries and that the entire episode was a work of
If there were anyone MORE qualified to conduct the CIA's investigation, I
don't know who they could possibly be.
So again, even if, just for shitz-n-giggles, we were to accept Cheney's
fantasy that Wilson's well-qualified wife was responsible for sending her
outrageously-qualified husband on this investigation, how does that in any
way bring any of Wilson's perfectly-qualified conclusions into doubt?
Obvious answer: It doesn't.
Karl M Evans
A BUZZFLASH READER CONTRIBUTION
Stab at the Truth
By Dan Froomkin
Special to washingtonpost.com
Friday, July 14, 2006; 1:26 PM
There are some hugely important aspects of the Bush presidency that remain
insufficiently examined, and the most important are about the run-up to war
Polls show that a majority of Americans believe President Bush and his
associates intentionally misled the public in making their case for war.
It's a terribly serious charge, if true. In fact, it's hard to imagine a
more serious charge against a president.
Did Bush, Vice President Cheney and others know the intelligence they were
citing wasn't reliable? Did they purposefully understate the considerable
doubts within the intelligence community? Did they consciously exaggerate
the extent of the findings?
And after the war, when critics began to emerge, why were they so obsessed
with discrediting anyone who suggested as much, rather than just responding
with a factual defense?
With a few partial exceptions , the media has proven itself unable to answer
these questions definitively.
There were once two promising official lines of inquiry. Special prosecutor
Patrick J. Fitzgerald, by all accounts, has collected a considerable amount
of related information in the process of investigating the leak of CIA agent
Valerie Plame's identity during a White House drive to discredit her
But it looks as though he's not going to make public most of what he's found
out, apparently having decided to limit himself to a narrowly defined
obstruction-of-justice case against former vice presidential chief of staff
And the Senate Intelligence Committee long ago ostensibly committed itself
to investigating the administration's use of the faulty intelligence. Senate
Minority Leader Harry Reid even shut down the Senate eight months ago to
force Republicans to speed up the investigation.
But as Tim Starks writes for Congressional Quarterly, the committee's
efforts remain, charitably speaking, "in limbo."
Yesterday's filing of a civil lawsuit in the CIA leak case is quite possibly
a legal dead-end, and arguably a thinly veiled attempt at political
harassment. Nevertheless, it offers what may now be the most possible avenue
of uncovering the truth.
Plame and Wilson say the defendants conspired to "discredit, punish and seek
revenge against the plaintiffs that included, among other things, disclosing
to members of the press Plaintiff Valerie Plame Wilson's classified CIA
Eric M. Weiss and Charles Lane write in The Washington Post, "legal analysts
said the civil lawsuit could open new avenues for extracting information
from the administration, because Plame and Wilson could conduct discovery if
the U.S. District Court in Washington lets the suit proceed.
"Plame and Wilson might be entitled to demand documents from Cheney and
others, as well as to require them to sit for sworn depositions, much as
President Bill Clinton had to answer questions under oath in Paula Jones's
sexual harassment lawsuit.
"And, because the accusations in the suit are separate from the issue
Fitzgerald was looking into -- whether anyone violated a federal law against
disclosing CIA officers' identities -- Plame and Wilson 'could go out and
look into a lot of things that Fitzgerald didn't look into,' said Eugene
Volokh, a law professor at the University of California at Los Angeles."
Richard B. Schmitt writes in the Los Angeles Times: "Though legal experts
were divided over the strength of the allegations, the suit is likely to
become a rallying point for administration critics -- in a similar manner,
perhaps, to the focus by partisans a decade ago on Paula Jones' sexual
harassment litigation against President Clinton. In this case, the charges
are rooted in one of the most divisive and intensely debated issues of the
Bush presidency: whether the administration twisted the intelligence it used
to justify the war in Iraq."
Neil A. Lewis writes in the New York Times: "But the suit is also likely to
face major hurdles, notably the issue of whether the officials have any
immunity for their actions. The general standard from a 1982 Supreme Court
case is that federal officials may be sued for violating someone's
constitutional rights if a reasonable person would believe they had violated
'clearly established law.'"
Toni Locy writes for the Associated Press: "Mark Corallo, a spokesman for
Rove, said, 'Without even having had a chance to review the complaint, it is
clear that the allegations are absolutely and utterly without merit.'"
The Wilson's have set up a Web site for the Joseph and Valerie Wilson Legal
Novak vs. Waas
Earlier this week, syndicated columnist Robert Novak broke his long and
unseemly silence on the case, in a column and several appearances on Fox
Novak didn't say much we didn't know already. But some of what he said just
Justin Rood of the liberal TPM Muckraker Web site noted yesterday: "Trying
to dodge criticism for his role in outing Valerie Plame, columnist Bob Novak
last night attacked a National Journal story by Murray Waas on Fox's Hannity
and Colmes. 'I know that the Murray Waas piece in the National Journal,
which interestingly was not picked up by anybody, was totally wrong and a
total lie,' he said. . . .
"In truth, two major news outlets confirmed the National Journal story the
same day it was published, May 25. . . .
"The story is particularly damaging to Novak because it raised concerns that
Novak and Rove coordinated their grand jury testimony, even possibly
developing a 'cover story' for themselves. At the very least, the
conversation was inadvisable and unethical -- and, if a false story was
concocted, against the law."
And I just heard Novak assert on Fox News that it was "well known around
town" that Plame was a CIA operative before his column came out. While this
has been a right-wing talking point for ages, it has never been confirmed.
What does the White House want? Senators trying to some sort of way to bring
terror suspects to trial in the wake of the recent Supreme Court decision
invalidating Bush's unilateral approach are seeing clear signs of divisions
within the administration.
R. Jeffrey Smith and Jonathan Weisman write in The Washington Post: "Three
days of congressional testimony this week by senior Bush administration
officials about U.S. treatment of detainees in the war on terrorism have
made clear that the administration remains deeply divided on the issue and
unsure how to replace a key policy that the Supreme Court declared illegal
two weeks ago.
"Interagency divisions normally kept hidden from public view have been on
unusual display as officials from the Justice Department and the Pentagon
have offered starkly different accounts of the administration's reaction to
the court's opinion, baffling members of Congress and other interested
parties about U.S. intentions.
"The testimony has shown that the Justice Department -- which had insisted
on the legality of the existing policy -- is eager to sharply limit the
impact of the Supreme Court's decision, while military lawyers and some
other Pentagon officials are celebrating it as a vindication of their
long-held concerns about U.S. detainee policy."
Kate Zernike writes in the New York Times: "The top lawyers from the Army,
Navy, Air Force and Marines contradicted the Bush administration on Thursday
on how to bring terror suspects to trial, endorsing an approach that extends
more human and legal rights to detainees than one that administration
lawyers have pressed Congress to authorize. . . .
"Senators complained that they were hearing mixed messages from the
administration. Even as administration lawyers have been publicly urging
Congress to ratify the president's plan for trials that offer few rights,
they said, other White House officials have privately said that they would
go along with an approach similar to what the military lawyers support,
offering broader protection for detainees.
"Senator John W. Warner, Republican of Virginia, the committee chairman,
said he was 'somewhat perplexed' by the testimony of administration lawyers
this week, given his conversations with some White House advisers. 'I do not
believe we in Congress have received the last words by any means,' Mr.
Maura Reynolds writes in the Los Angeles Times: "White House officials
offered little clarity Thursday, saying that they preferred a tough approach
but that 'no doors are closed.'
"'Terrorists don't deserve the same rights as the troops in uniform,' White
House Deputy Press Secretary Dana Perino said while in Germany with
Zernike also notes: "Pentagon and White House officials took issue with an
editorial in The Wall Street Journal on Thursday that cited sources saying
Mr. England's memorandum [acknowledging that detainees were entitled to
those rights under Common Article Three] 'was issued without any wide
deliberation with, or even particular awareness by, the White House
counsel's office or the Justice Department.' A senior Defense Department
official said the memorandum 'was coordinated across the interagency.'
Perino would say only that 'the White House was notified' and not whether
the president himself was informed."
Here are some of the aspects of the deal negotiated between Senate Judiciary
Committee Chairman Arlen Specter (R-Pa.) and the White House over the
administration's warrantless domestic wiretapping program, as best I can
* Bush voluntarily will request a ruling from a secret court the function of
which historically has been to approve individual wiretap warrants, not
assess the constitutionality of a massive, warrantless wiretapping program.
* It's not clear if the court actually will hear arguments from anyone
outside the administration.
* The court's decision could be kept secret, and if the court decided to
strike down the program, the administration could resubmit it for approval
over and over again.
* In return, Congress would ban any other legal action on the issue; would
relax eavesdropping rules generally; would recognize officially Bush's
dubious assertion of expanded presidential power, and would gut the law that
made Bush's program illegal in the first place.
One could argue that the big-talking Specter has been outfoxed again by the
wily White House. But a press corps so used to the White House completely
and utterly refusing to agree to anything is seeing this as a historic
David E. Sanger writes in a New York Times news analysis that, just as the
detainee tribunals might end up very similar to the ones Bush proposed, when
all is said and done "American spy agencies might still have as much
latitude to listen in on calls that originate or end in American territory."
But that's not the point, because "in both cases something dramatically
different will have happened: Congress will have played a major role in
setting the rules."
Charles Babington and Peter Baker write in The Washington Post that "the
accord is a reversal of Bush's position that he would not submit his program
to court review. . . .
"Although the deal represented a clear retreat by Bush, White House aides
traveling with him in Germany put an upbeat face on the move. . . .
"'The bill recognizes the president's constitutional authority and
modernizes FISA to meet the threats we face from an enemy that kills with
abandon and hides as they plot attacks,' said spokeswoman Dana M. Perino. .
"The White House balked at an early draft that would have mandated the
president submit the NSA program to the FISA court for review. Specter
agreed to make it voluntary as long as Bush promised to submit the program
if Congress passes the bill. Aides privately acknowledged it was a big
concession by a president who until now has resisted judicial interference
in how he wages war against terrorists."
Eric Lichtblau of the New York Times notes that not absolutely everyone saw
it as a significant reversal.
"Representative Jane Harman of California, the ranking Democrat on the House
Intelligence Committee, said she saw the Specter-White House agreement as an
'end run' around the FISA law requiring the approval of individual
"'I have great respect for this guy,' she said of Mr. Specter, 'but he
hasn't been briefed on this program, and he's giving away in this
legislation a core Fourth Amendment protection by basically saying that the
FISA court has permission to bless the entire program, which will abandon as
best I can tell the requirement of individualized warrants.'"
Julie Hirschfeld Davis writes in the Baltimore Sun: "It's too early to tell
how far-reaching or lasting Bush's shift is, analysts cautioned.
"'When there's some push-back from another branch, then they will respond
somewhat, and the big question is the extent to which they're being
responsive now,' said Carl W. Tobias, a University of Richmond law
professor. . . .
"Michigan Sen. Carl Levin, the top Democrat on the Senate Armed Services
Committee, said neither of this week's moves were concessions from Bush.
"'They'll be as unitary as they can get away with,' Levin said."
Davis also quotes former associate White House counsel: "Despite the
appearance of some about-faces, the administration's overall approach has
remained very consistent, and that is to do everything possible based on the
president's authority alone, and then make adjustments only when forced to
do so by outside factors -- whether that's an adverse court ruling or an
obstreperous Senate chairman."
Foreign Policy Watch
Reuters reports: "President Bush wants Israel to minimize the risk of
casualties in its campaign in southern Lebanon, but will not press it to
halt its military operation, the White House said on Friday.
"White House spokesman Tony Snow told reporters that the U.S. leader spoke
by telephone to Lebanese Prime Minister Fouad Siniora and other Middle East
leaders as he sought to defuse a crisis between Israel and Hizbollah
guerrillas in Lebanon."
Yochi J. Dreazen writes in the Wall Street Journal: "The surge in Mideast
violence means conditions are deteriorating in the very places -- Israel,
Palestinian territories, Lebanon and Afghanistan -- that President Bush had
been able to point to as bright spots for his policies."
Peter Baker writes in The Washington Post: "President Bush and his top
diplomats scrambled Thursday night to quell spiraling violence in the Middle
East and protect the new democratic government in Lebanon as Israeli forces
escalated their strikes."
Jim Rutenberg writes in the New York Times: "Even as he cautioned Israel to
be careful not to destabilize the young democracy in Lebanon, Mr. Bush's
position immediately put him at odds with European nations just before the
annual summit meeting of the Group of 8 economic powers."
Paul Richter, Josh Meyer and Sebastian Rotella write in the Los Angeles
Times: "The Bush administration was quick to pin responsibility on Iran and
Syria when Hezbollah militants captured two Israeli soldiers this week. Yet
those countries may not have specifically planned and ordered the raid that
has brought the Middle East to the edge of war, U.S. officials and terrorism
The Democratic Policy Committee held a hearing this
afternoon to examine the manipulation of pre-war Iraq intelligence. Rep.
Walter Jones (R-NC), who previously
disavowed his vote for the war, attended the hearing and asked the
panelists why a small number of individuals in the administration “had
more influence…than the professionals.”
Lawrence Wilkerson, former chief of staff to Secretary of State
Colin Powell, said he only needed three words.
Watch it.: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W-6ibicKl50
AUDIOS: SENATE CMTE
HEARING ON IRAQ PRE-WAR INTELLIGENCE 6/26/06
The War They Wanted, The Lies They Needed
By CRAIG UNGER
Flash Player Download Center
Leak-Gate Part 1: The Lies
Leak-Gate Part 2: The Leak
Leak-Gate Part 3: ‘more leaks, call the plumber'
George Galloway vs. The US Senate
movie clip & transcript
9/11 Attack on America Part 1
The Irregularities of 9/11
9/11 Attack on America Part 2
Omissions & Distortions
(David Ray Griffin)
This White House Scandal
Finally Tips the Scale!
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