Monday, June 02, 2008

Novak Outs McClellan

“The Valerie Plame affair” was never really about blowing the cover of a CIA operative.

How can you blow the cover of a CIA employee/operative/whatever whose been commuting by car from her DC home to CIA headquarters at Langley, VA for the past five years?

And the “investigation to determine who leaked Plame’s identity as a CIA operative to Bob Novak” was never really about “finding the leaker.”

Special Prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald knew from the beginning the leaker was Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage.

The “Plame affair” has always been about partisan politics; specifically, “get Bush and those around him” politics.

Bob Novak reminds us of that this morning in his column which begins:

In Scott McClellan's purported tell-all memoir of his trials as President George W. Bush's press secretary, he virtually ignores Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage's role leaking to me Valerie Plame's identity as a CIA employee. That fits the partisan Democratic version of the Plame affair, in keeping with the overall tenor of "What Happened."

Although the media response dwelled on McClellan's criticism of Bush's road to war, the CIA leak case is the heart of this book. On July 14, 2003, one day before McClellan took the press secretary's job for which many colleagues felt he was unqualified, my column was published asserting that Plame at the CIA suggested her Democratic partisan husband, retired diplomat Joseph Wilson, for a sensitive intelligence mission.

That story made McClellan's three years at the briefing room podium a misery, leading to his dismissal and now his bitter retort.

In claiming he was misled about the Plame affair, McClellan mentions Armitage only twice.

Armitage being the leaker undermines the Democratic theory, now accepted by McClellan, that Bush, Vice President Dick Cheney and political adviser Karl Rove aimed to delegitimize Wilson as a war critic. McClellan's handling of the leak by itself leads former colleagues to suggest he could not have written this book by himself.

On page 173, McClellan first mentions my Plame leak, but he does not identify Armitage as the leaker until page 306 of the 323-page book -- then only in passing.

Armitage, anti-war and anti-Cheney, cannot fit the conspiracy theory that McClellan now buys into. When Armitage after two years publicly admitted he was my source, the life went out of Wilson's campaign.

In "What Happened," McClellan dwells on Rove's alleged deceptions as if the real leaker were still unknown.

McClellan at the White House podium never knew the facts about the CIA leak, and his memoir reads as though he has tried to maintain his ignorance. He omits Armitage's slipping Mrs. Wilson's identity to The Washington Post's Bob Woodward weeks before he talked to me.

He does not mention that Armitage turned himself in to the Justice Department even before Patrick Fitzgerald was named as special prosecutor.

McClellan writes that Rove told him this about his conversation with me after I called him to check Armitage's leak: "He (Novak) said he'd heard that Wilson's wife worked at the CIA. I told him I couldn't confirm it because I didn't know."

Rove told me last week he never said that to McClellan. Under oath, Rove had testified he told me, "I heard that, too." Under oath, I testified that Rove said, "Oh, you know that, too."

McClellan writes, "I don't know" whether the leaker -- he does not specify Armitage -- committed a felony. He ignores that Fitzgerald's long, expensive investigation found no violation of the Intelligence Identities Protection Act, if only because Plame was not covered. (all emphasis added)

Nevertheless, McClellan calls the leak "wrong and harmful to national security" -- ignoring questions of whether Plame really was engaged in undercover operations and whether her cover long ago had been blown. . . .

The rest of Novak’s column’s here.

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Comments:

The “Valerie Plame affair” is important because:

1) It demonstrates how eager many Democrats and their MSM flacks are to distort the truth in order to damage the President and our government.

2) It’s an example of prosecutorial abuse by Fitzgerald who ignored his charge to “find the leaker” and instead spent years and millions of taxpayer dollars conducting what amounted to a perjury entrapment operation.

Those are my thoughts.

What do you think?

Hat tip: Realclearpolictics.com

7 comments:

Anonymous said...

John: My question: if the Plame affair was contrived and Armitage was the real leaker, why did Libby fall on his sword and accept a conviction? Something stinks here, but I can't tell where the stink cones from.
First, Plame was not undercover at the time of the leak, and probably hadn't been in a deep cover position for several years, if at all. Second, knowing this, why didn't the Bush White House launch a vigorous campaign against both Plame/Wilson and the special prosecutor? All the Bushies acted like they had something to hide, didn't they? Plame and Wilson are opportunists, but I can't help thinking there's a hell of a lot more to this than anyone could guess.
Tarheel Hawkeye

Anonymous said...

1:32,

Exactly.

Archer05 said...

In my opinion, the true information was always there. The MSM chose not to report it. At the time, I thought, a crook can get off because of entrapment, but Libby never even got the benefit of the doubt.

I think this was a liberal’s idea of a payback for the Clinton/Monica circus.

I don’t think Libby would have ever received justice. It would have just dragged him, and our VP through the mud, without an end in sight.

I am not sure why [he fell on his sword] but, maybe as with a poor poker hand, know when to fold them.

Anonymous said...

Archer05: This still doesn't explain why the Bushies laid down for the special prosecutor when they knew that the leak was Armitage and Libby was just the goat. If they knew Libby wasn't guilty, why didn't they launch a counter-offensive? I didn't hear a single thing that indicated the administration was even concerned. As I said, something stinks.
Tarheel Hawkeye

Anonymous said...

FITZGERALD: Valerie Wilson was a CIA officer. In July 2003, the fact that Valerie Wilson was a CIA officer was classified. Not only was it classified, but it was not widely known outside the intelligence community.

Valerie Wilson's friends, neighbors, college classmates had no idea she had another life.

FITZGERALD: The fact that she was a CIA officer was not well- known, for her protection or for the benefit of all us. It's important that a CIA officer's identity be protected, that it be protected not just for the officer, but for the nation's security.

Valerie Wilson's cover was blown in July 2003. The first sign of that cover being blown was when Mr. Novak published a column on July 14th, 2003

Anonymous said...

Anon @1249:
What Fitzgerald said and what is true are two entirely different things. When the Plame incident first broke, reporters went into Plame's neighborhood and interviewed her neighbors; they all knew she worked for the government in some secret agency. They may not have known she worked for the CIA, but her job was known. Her car bore a CIA parking pass and she commuted daily to and from Langley. When I lived in the Northern Virginia suburbs, one of my neighbors was actually a CIA officer under cover; I spotted him in about two minutes. Every time we had occasion to meet, I would make reference to things only a CIA officer would know and watch him redden up.
Having worked under shallow cover for some years, I know how the system really works--when you're under cover, you don't go anywhere near your employing agency, you work in a cover facility which has an innocuous title. Get one thing straight: Plame was not under any cover; she was a CIA analyst PERIOD.
Tarheel Hawkeye

Anonymous said...

WASHINGTON -- David and Victoria Tillotson knew Valerie Plame as a neighbor and friend for more than five years. Plame was, the Tillotsons believed, an international economic consultant, taking occasional trips abroad while looking after her young children in an upper-class enclave of Northwest Washington.

Then, one morning in 2003, David Tillotson read a Robert Novak column that quoted two unidentified administration officials as saying Plame was a CIA operative. ''I was stunned," Tillotson said.

http://www.boston.com/news/nation/washington/articles/2005/10/27/the_spy_next_door_left_couple_in_dark/