Tuesday, July 12, 2005

Yeah, I Know...

I know this appears to be on the Republican (and Democrat) talking points but it just stumps me. Why the hell is everyone making a big deal about Valerie Plame? First off, there is quite a bit of debate as to her status with "The Agency." In order to have leaked the name of a covert operative, the operative has to be covert.

Writing with First Amendment lawyer Bruce Sanford in the Washington Post recently, former Assistant Deputy Attorney General Victoria Toensing explained that she helped draft the law in question, the 1982 Intelligence Identities Protection Act. Says Toensing, "The Novak column and the surrounding facts do not support evidence of criminal conduct."

For Plame's outing to have been illegal, the one-time deputy AG says, "her status as undercover must be classified." Also, Plame "must have been assigned to duty outside the United States currently or in the past five years."

Since in neither case does Plame qualify, Toensing says: "There is a serious legal question as to whether she qualifies as 'covert.'"

In fact, the myth that laws were violated in the Plame case began to unravel in October 2003, in a column by New York Times scribe Nicholas Kristof, who explained that Valerie Plame had abandoned her covert role a full nine years before.

"The CIA suspected that Aldrich Ames had given [Plame's] name [along with those of other spies] to the Russians before his espionage arrest in 1994. So her undercover security was undermined at that time, and she was brought back to Washington for safety reasons."

She had abandoned, or was pulled as a covert operative for safety reasons. Hmmmm.

Additionally, in the conversation cited by Cooper, the journalist in question, Darth Rove didn't even reveal her name, or that she was supposedly a covert operative, which she wasn't.

Cooper wrote that Rove offered him a "big warning" not to "get too far out on Wilson." Rove told Cooper that Wilson's trip had not been authorized by "DCIA"—CIA Director George Tenet—or Vice President Dick Cheney. Rather, "it was, KR said, Wilson's wife, who apparently works at the agency on wmd [weapons of mass destruction] issues who authorized the trip."

So, this becomes a non-issue. A non-issue that could be spun in a way that might tarnish the Bush administration. Ah, there is the story. Not that Darth Rove outed a covert CIA agent, who wasn't covert, in realiation for her husband's criticism of the administration, but rather that the liberals have an opportunity to confuse the public and discredit their great scapegoat, Karl Rove. So, I guess it's time for Dan Rather to create some more fake documents in MS Word to keep the non-issue alive.