The most insidious of traitors and their right-wing enablers

Most people think that the Plamegate affair is settled as far as Lewis “Scooter” Libby is concerned. He has been found guilty of four counts of obstructing justice and lying to the FBI and a grand jury during an investigation into the leak of Plame’s covert identity. Libby Guilty of Lying in C.I.A. Leak Case

The only one of the 11 jurors who spoke publicly immediately after the verdict said that there was great sympathy for Mr. Libby in the jury room, but that the case presented by the prosecution was overwhelming.

Remember that the investigation itself was started at the request of the CIA in September 2003. If M’s Plame-Wilson’s identity had not been covert there would have not have been much basis for proceeding with an investigation.( At least one well known right-wing blogger dismisses that as it is his belief that the CIA is controlled by radical leftists. A convenient theory of which he and his fans never produce any proof, but such is the nature of many wacky conspiracy theories). Libby is a liar and that is irrefutable Why Libby’s Defense Failed

Instead, over the next 10 days, jurors heard the methodical drone of the prosecution’s effort to portray Libby as a liar. No fewer than four officials testified that they had told Libby who Plame was, and two reporters testified that Libby later confirmed her identity in one way or another. Fitzgerald followed those witnesses with a numbing eight hours of Libby, on tape, denying or not recalling any of those conversations.

The Justice Department and FBI officials, after talking to Karl Rove thought that he was being less then forthcoming about what, when and how he knew what he new so asked for a special prosecutor to be appointed. ( One must assume from the perspective of the right-wingers that think the CIA were part of some plot to get Cheney, Rove and Libby must also think that the FBI and the Department of Justice was also out to get the administration too. A basis for a spy thriller perhaps, but as of today no evidence has been presented by administration defenders that supports such a theory). Bush loyalist Attorney General John Ashcroft was the one that started the investigation off at DOJ, but after it was pointed out that this might be a conflict of interests with regards to Ashcroft’s past relationship with Rove, he recused himself and Republican James B. Comey as acting AG appointed Fitzgerald. To have a good conspiracy you have to have some confidence that all the moves you make will produce the desired results. If Fitzgerald is some kind of liberal mole he must also be the nation’s most talented political puppet master. Somehow we’re to believe that he manipulated Rove into making misleading statements to the FBI, then got Ashcroft to appoint Comey who in turn would appoint Fitz – who then hide information from the judge, jury and defense counsel. I think you can get used paperbacks for a quarter with plots just like this.
We know that Plame did not send Wilson to Niger, that decision was made by CIA administrators, from the original indictment,

the CIA decided on its own initiative to send Wilson to the country of Niger to investigate allegations involving Iraqi efforts to acquire uranium yellowcake, a processed form of uranium ore. Wilson orally reported his findings to the CIA upon his return.

At all relevant times from January 1, 2002 through July 2003, Valerie Wilson was employed by the CIA, and her employment status was classified. Prior to July 14, 2003, Valerie Wilson’s affiliation with the CIA was not common knowledge outside the intelligence community.

Right-wing blogger The American Thinker ( don’t laugh) in May 30, 2007, Fitzgerald, Plame, CIA Director Hayden and Scooter Libby. Swings and misses on trying to make an argument solely through an the argument from Incredulity and and a claim to knowledge that he doesn’t possess, and since his readers probably do not either he hopes to hang his hat on a wedge of doubt,

In other words, this Summary states that “covert” CIA operatives, like Plame, travel on duty overseas using, at times, their true names, and they also utilize “official cover” during such travel, that is, they travel as officials of the US Government. Just how “covert” can this really be? Are we to suppose that foreign intelligence services don’t keep tabs on US travelers — especially those traveling as officials of the US government — and don’t try to establish a profile for “covert” operatives? Such a scenario is no longer implausible, given the highly sophisticated nature of modern data tracking and mining technology.

If Thinker and other right-wing blogs want us to believe their scenario they will need to plug the holes in their stories with some shred of concrete evidence. Well the fact is that M’s Plame did have a public cover under her own name and she used her real name in conjunction with a cover business Brewster Jennings & Associates – a CIA front. Which was also exposed when Libby and cohorts exposed M’S Plame’s identity. This is a very basic fact of the Plame-Libby matter and we don’t have to use a whole lot suspension of disbelief to follow the logic. M’s Plame traveled at times on business using her real name as an employee of a CIA front company. Textbook operations really and clearly answers TAT’s question Just how “covert” can this really be?
TAT also asserts that under the Intelligence Identities Protection Act of 1982 (IIPA, 50 U.S.C. §§ 421-426 ) M’S Plame-Wilson was not covert,

Leave aside the fact that Fitzgerald now wants to sentence Libby as if Plame had been shown to be “covert” for purposes of the IIPA–without ever having presented any evidence for this very dubious assertion.

That “dubious assertion was made by the CIA and General Hayden has confirmed to Congress that she was – CIA Director Hayden: ‘Wilson Was Covert’ and Valerie Plame Wilson testified before Congress that she was covert. If she was lying, even though they are now the minority party Republicans could make a motion that she be found in contempt of Congress, but no such motion has been made ( three Republicans have said they would like to question her again – which seems odd since they would have access to the classified report on her status). At that last link is a partial list of right-wing pundits that have made blatantly false statements about Plame’s status and to date none have issued corrections or apologies,

Washington Post editorial: “The trial has provided…no evidence that she was, in fact, covert.” [Washingotn Post, 3/7/07]

Mort Kondracke: “I frankly don’t think since Valerie Plame was not a covert officer that there was a crime here.” [Fox, 3/9/07]

Sean Hannity: “She did not meet the criteria, in any way, shape, matter or form as a covert agent.” [Fox, 3/6/07]

Robert Novak: “No evidence that she was a covert agent was ever presented to the jury.” [Fox, 3/6/07]

Brit Hume: “Whether the woman was covert, Valerie Plame was covert within the meaning of the law, remains at this point, still unclear. Unlikely she was.” [Fox, 3/6/07]

Victoria Toensing: “Plame was not covert. She worked at CIA headquarters and had not been stationed abroad within five years of the date of Novak’s column.” [Washington Post, 2/18/07]

We await their apologies and statements of correction.

UPDATE: On September 30, 2003, National Review editor Jonah Goldberg claimed, “Wilson’s wife is a desk jockey and much of the Washington cocktail circuit knew that already.” But today Plame rebutted Goldberg, stating, “It was not common knowledge on the Georgetown cocktail circuit that everyone knew where I worked.”

An unclassified summary of outed CIA officer Valerie Plame’s employment history at the spy agency

Plame worked as an operations officer in the Directorate of Operations and was assigned to the Counterproliferation Division (CPD) in January 2002 at CIA headquarters in Langley, Virginia.

The employment history indicates that while she was assigned to CPD, Plame, “engaged in temporary duty travel overseas on official business.” The report says, “she traveled at least seven times to more than ten times.” When overseas Plame traveled undercover, “sometimes in true name and sometimes in alias — but always using cover — whether official or non-official (NOC) — with no ostensible relationship to the CIA.”

Former deputy secretary of State Richard Armitage is still touted out as another supposed reason that Libby shouldn’t have even been prosecuted, much less sentenced just like any other criminal. Fitzgerald Says Plame Was a Covert Agent MSNBC

Libby’s trial earlier this year established that at least three other Bush administration officials—former deputy secretary of State Richard Armitage, White House deputy chief of staff Karl Rove and former White House press secretary Ari Fleischer (who testified under a grant of immunity)—also disclosed information about Valerie Wilson’s identity to journalists. But Fitzgerald contends that Libby’s disclosures—primarily to New York Times reporter Judith Miller—were made “deliberately and for the purpose for influencing media coverage of the public debate concerning intelligence leading to the war in Iraq” and, according to Libby’s own testimony, “may have been sanctioned by the Vice President.” ( Using FindLaw or other sources we can all play lawyer – intent and maliciousness are traditionally part of establishing degrees of guilt and innocence. We’ve all seen enough evening news and cop shows to know that intent can make the difference between being charged with manslaughter and first degree murder)

The Armitage angle is so simple and such an obvious red-herring that it shouldn’t even have to be addressed. It is possible the the Right doesn’t understand the principles involved or the dates, but as we can see from that list of pundits lying for the cause isn’t optional, they seem to encourage each other to do so; what has justly come to be known as the Right-wing Noise Machine. Regardless of what Armitage said or when he said it, that in no way made it legal or justifiable for Libby to lie to the grand jury. At this point moderate Americans are the one’s entitled to a little incredulity. We’re all supposed to believe that Libby’s attorney’s knew that Armitage and what he said or did could have been used to get their client off and they didn’t use that information and by the way the Brooklyn Bridge is on a forty percent off sale this week only.

“Even though I’m a tranquil guy now at this stage of my life, I have nothing but contempt and anger for those who betray the trust by exposing the name of our sources. They are, in my view, the most insidious of traitors.”
— George Herbert Walker Bush, 1999