Tuesday, July 12, 2005
Your One-Stop TreasonGate Resource
Gentle Readers: Keep this post bookmarked. You'll want to use it in the days and weeks ahead as your one-stop resource for the truth about TreasonGate. (I'm considering getting website space so that this can go onto a separate webpage.) The Bush White House is so desperate to bury the news about Karl Rove's involvement in the outing of career covert CIA agent Valerie Plame that they're having trouble keeping their stories straight. Conservative commentators like P.J. O'Rourke and Victoria Toensing, taking a cue from the mix of new and old smears issued by Ken Mehlman at the Bush White House, are acting as if they really think we're stupid. On the one hand, they falsely claim that Valerie Plame couldn't have been an undercover agent because she had a "desk job"; on the other hand, they repeat Rove's infamous lie to Matthew Cooper that she was so powerful that she, and not her boss George Tenet and Dick Cheney, authorized her husband Joe Wilson's WMD-researching trip to Niger. (That lie, along with most of the others told by Bush White House personnel about Valerie Plame, was debunked by Joe Wilson himself, right here.) Here's the truth: Valerie Plame was, for twenty years, an undercover CIA agent of the highest and most secret (and dangerous) category: The "non-official cover", or "NOC". (See here and here for more details.) NOCs do the CIA's most delicate (and, especially in the 1960s and 1970s prior to the reforms following Watergate, its most reprehensible) work, both overseas and at CIA headquarters in Langley, Virginia. They have large networks of intelligence contacts, many of whom are operating in places where their lives would be forfeit if it were known they were in contact with the CIA. For this reason, NOCs are so secret that even after the NOCs no longer have NOC status, the CIA will admit their identity only in cases of extreme duress. This is why it's a felony to reveal an undercover operative's identity. Plame's most recent CIA task involved managing a network of operatives, both inside and outside Iraq, that were looking to see if Saddam was successfully developing new WMD, or if he still had any left from the WMD stockpiles President Ronald Reagan gave him during the 1980s. The answers in both cases turned out to be 'no'. But the Bush White House, eager to justify its planned invasion of Iraq, wouldn't take 'no' for an answer. In 2002, Plame told her husband Joseph Wilson, longtime State Department diplomat and onetime ambassador to Gabon, that Dick Cheney's office wanted him to go to Niger and investigate claims and documents that allegedly showed that Saddam was getting 'yellowcake' - the raw uranium material that can be refined and then used in nuclear weapons - from Niger. The claims and documents turned out to be obviously bogus. But that didn't stop Bush from citing them in his 2003 State of the Union address, despite the CIA's efforts to keep him from doing so Tenet essentially agrees with Wilson in his conclusive Niger statement from July 11th, 2003. "Legitimate questions have arisen about how remarks on alleged Iraqi attempts to obtain uranium in Africa made it into the President’s State of the Union speech. ... These 16 words should never have been included in the text written for the President." Shortly after Joe Wilson went public in the New York Times saying the claims were bogus, his wife's cover was blown by the Bush White House and her longtime network of operatives placed in extreme danger. UPDATE #1: TalkLeft finds out how Fitzgerald found out that Miller and Cooper were involved: Through White House phone records and other government phone logs. UPDATE #2: Josh Marshall shows that the "Rove isn't a subject of the Plame investigation" talking point is no longer operative -- if it ever really was. UPDATE #3: Larry Johnson, Plame's classmate at the CIA, blows away all of the right-wing spin in one devastating post. UPDATE #4: TalkLeft from July of last year debunks various smears directed against Joe Wilson. UPDATE #5: Aw, the heck with it. MEC's got a much better list. Go visit her Failure Is Impossible site and read it.
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