THE BIG LIE ABOUT VALERIE PLAME, by Larry Johnson

What you are allowed to think and what you do think are two different things, aren't they? That's another way of saying that this forum may be NSFW, if your boss is a Republican. A liberal won't fire you for it, but they'll laugh at you in the break room and you may not get promoted. Unless you're an engineer, of course, in which your obsession with facing reality is not actually a career-disabling disability.

THE BIG LIE ABOUT VALERIE PLAME, by Larry Johnson

Postby admin » Tue Dec 29, 2015 9:33 am

THE BIG LIE ABOUT VALERIE PLAME
by Larry Johnson
Jul 13, 2005

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The misinformation being spread in the media about the Plame affair is alarming and damaging to the longterm security interests of the United States. Republicans' talking points are trying to savage Joe Wilson and, by implication, his wife, Valerie Plame as liars. That is the truly big lie.

For starters, Valerie Plame was an undercover operations officer until outed in the press by Robert Novak. Novak's column was not an isolated attack. It was in fact part of a coordinated, orchestrated smear that we now know includes at least Karl Rove.

Valerie Plame was a classmate of mine from the day she started with the CIA. I entered on duty at the CIA in September 1985. All of my classmates were undercover--in other words, we told our family and friends that we were working for other overt U.S. Government agencies. We had official cover. That means we had a black passport--i.e., a diplomatic passport. If we were caught overseas engaged in espionage activity the black passport was a get out of jail free card.

A few of my classmates, and Valerie was one of these, became a non-official cover officer. That meant she agreed to operate overseas without the protection of a diplomatic passport. If caught in that status she would have been executed.

The lies by people like Victoria Toensing, Representative Peter King, and P. J. O'Rourke insist that Valerie was nothing, just a desk jockey. Yet, until Robert Novak betrayed her she was still undercover and the company that was her front was still a secret to the world. When Novak outed Valerie he also compromised her company and every individual overseas who had been in contact with that company and with her.

The Republicans now want to hide behind the legalism that "no laws were broken". I don't know if a man made law was broken but an ethical and moral code was breached. For the first time a group of partisan political operatives publically identified a CIA NOC. They have set a precendent that the next group of political hacks may feel free to violate.

They try to hide behind the specious claim that Joe Wilson "lied". Although Joe did not lie let's follow that reasoning to the logical conclusion. Let's use the same standard for the Bush Administration. Here are the facts. Bush's lies have resulted in the deaths of almost 1800 American soldiers and the mutilation of 12,000. Joe Wilson has not killed anyone. He tried to prevent the needless death of Americans and the loss of American prestige in the world.

But don't take my word for it, read the biased Senate intelligence committee report. Even though it was slanted to try to portray Joe in the worst possible light this fact emerges on page 52 of the report: According to the US Ambassador to Niger (who was commenting on Joe's visit in February 2002), "Ambassador Wilson reached the same conclusion that the Embassy has reached that it was highly unlikely that anything between Iraq and Niger was going on." Joe's findings were consistent with those of the Deputy Commander of the European Command, Major General Fulford.

The Republicans insist on the lie that Val got her husband the job. She did not. She was not a division director, instead she was the equivalent of an Army major. Yes it is true she recommended her husband to do the job that needed to be done but the decision to send Joe Wilson on this mission was made by her bosses.

At the end of the day, Joe Wilson was right. There were no weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. It was the Bush Administration that pushed that lie and because of that lie Americans are dying. Shame on those who continue to slander Joe Wilson while giving Bush and his pack of liars a pass. That's the true outrage.

**********

Larry Johnson

Larry C. Johnson is the Managing Partner and founder of BERG Associates, LLC, an international business-consulting firm based in Washington, D.C. BERG that specializes in counter terrorism and money laundering investigations. Prior to forming BERG, Mr. Johnson worked with the Central Intelligence Agency (1985-1989) and the Department of State's Office of the Coordinator for Counter Terrorsim (1989-1993). Since 1994 Mr. Johnson has helped script terrorism exercises for the U.S. military forces that have the counter terrorism mission. Mr. Johnson also has served as an instructor for the U.S. State Department's Anti-Terrorism Training Program, where he has lectured on Current Terrorist Threats and Trends and on International Accords for Combating Terrorism to officials from more than 45 countries. Mr. Johnson has directed or participated in the forensic audits of banks and casinos Latin America, tested procedures and systems for detecting and preventing money laundering, and directed the forensic audit of a multi-million dollar business suspected of money laundering in the Colon Free Zone of Panama. Mr. Johnson manages and directs BERG Associates investigations of international fraud and product counterfeiting, which has resulted in the confiscation of products worth one million dollars, fines totaling $500,000, and criminal penalties for the offenders.
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Re: THE BIG LIE ABOUT VALERIE PLAME, by Larry Johnson

Postby admin » Tue Dec 29, 2015 9:39 am

VALERIE PLAME
by Wikipedia

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Valerie Plame with her husband Joseph C. Wilson, photographed after her CIA identity became public knowledge.

Valerie Plame Wilson[1] (born April 19, 1963) is a United States Central Intelligence Agency officer, who was identified as a CIA operative in a newspaper column by Robert Novak on July 14, 2003. The ensuing political controversy, commonly referred to as the Plame affair, or the CIA leak scandal, led, in late 2003, to a Justice Department investigation into possible violation of criminal statutes, including the Intelligence Identities Protection Act of 1982.

Background

On April 3, 1998, Plame became the third wife of former Ambassador Joseph C. Wilson IV. Plame met Wilson, her second husband, at a Washington D.C party in early 1997. She was able to reveal her CIA role to him while they were dating because he held a high-level security clearance. At the time, Wilson was separated from his second wife Jacqueline, a former French diplomat. Wilson and Plame are the parents of five-year-old twins.

Image
Plame, date similar to photo above.

Education

Plame is a graduate of Pennsylvania State University in 1985, the London School of Economics and Political Science, UK, and the College of Europe, an international-relations school in Bruges. Soon after graduation, she started working for the U.S. government in Washington D.C. During her time at Penn State, she had worked on the business side of PSU's student newspaper, The Daily Collegian. According to an October 9, 2003 Collegian article, she previously attended Lower Moreland High School in Huntingdon Valley, Montgomery County, Pennsylvania. [2]

Career

Little is known of Plame's professional career. While undercover, she had described herself as an "energy analyst" for the private company "Brewster Jennings & Associates," which the CIA later acknowledged was a front company for certain investigations. "Brewster Jennings" was first entered into Dun and Bradstreet records on May 22, 1994, but D&B would not discuss the source of the filing. D&B records list the company as a "legal services office," located at 101 Arch Street, Boston Massachusetts.

One former CIA official, Larry C. Johnson, identified Plame as a "non-official cover operative" (NOC). He explained: "...that meant she agreed to operate overseas without the protection of a diplomatic passport. If caught in that status she would have been executed." [3] David Armstrong, an Andover researcher for the Public Education Center, believed that the Brewster Jennings & Associates cover had not been done convincingly and that other covers would have been established for her by the CIA. [4]

It has been speculated that Plame likely would have worked in the office of former CIA Deputy Director of Operations (DDO) James Pavitt.

Plame affair

In the first official criticism of the plan to invade Iraq during late 2002, Joseph C. Wilson, —Plame's husband and a Bush I administration official — wrote an Op-Ed in the New York Times in which he claimed that he had found no evidence of Iraqi pursuit of nuclear material during his trip to Africa. He also criticized the administration for using allegedly unreliable documents (Yellowcake forgery) to make its case against Iraq. The Senate Intelligence Committee Report of July 2004, however, indicates that Wilson's piece did not convey a truthful account of his findings in Africa. It is also not known whether the documents in question are genuine and, even if they are not, whether they were a substantial part of the evidence for Iraqi interest in nuclear material.

Syndicated columnist Robert Novak described Plame as "an Agency operative on weapons of mass destruction" in a July 2003 column. Other journalists have also mentioned her identity.

The revelation of Plame's identity —which some have argued was by Bush administration officials in response to Wilson's criticism —is the basis for the "Plame affair" (aka. "CIA leak scandal"). US Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald is investigating the events surrounding the naming of Valerie Plame to determine if any crimes were committed in the process.

Notes:

1. While officially named "Valerie Wilson," she has been better known in the media by her maiden name, Plame. The convention has been to refer to Valerie Wilson as "Plame," while "Wilson" refers to Joe Wilson. The New York Times reported on 5 July 2005, that her "husband said she has used her married name both at work and in her personal life since their 1998 marriage." Real estate records corroborate this. Joe Wilson told NBC's Today on July 14, 2005, "My wife's name is Wilson, it's Mrs. Joseph Wilson. It is Valerie Wilson." Robert Novak printed her maiden name, Plame, which he claims to have retrieved from Joseph Wilson's Who's Who in America entry, since Novak referenced that publication as a source of information on Joseph Wilson and his wife.
2. Vanity Fair's profile on Joseph Wilson and Valerie Plame, Vanity Fair magazine.
3. United States Federal Electoral Commission (Advanced Search)
4. Larry Johnson, "The Big Lie about Valerie Plame"
5. Ross Kerber and Bryan Bender, "Apparent CIA front didn't offer much cover", Boston Globe
6. Robert Novak, "Mission to Niger" (Syndicated column)
7. Robert Novak, "The CIA leak" (Syndicated column)
8. David Corn, "A White House Smear", The Nation (blog).
9. Joseph C. Wilson IV, "What I Didn't Find in Africa" (6 July, 2003), New York Times
10. Robert Garcia Tagorda, "Joseph Wilson's Political Contributions" (blog), September 30, 2003; references Open Secrets Donor name: wilson, Donor State: DC, Cycles selected: 2006, 2004, 2002 and Donor name: wilson, Donor State: DC, Cycles selected: 2000, 1998.
11. Larry Johnson, "The Big Lie about Valerie Plame"
12. Robert Novak, "The CIA leak" (Syndicated column)
13. Robert Novak, "Bush's enemy within" (Syndicated column)
14. Murray S. Waas, "Plame Gate", American Prospect.
15. David Ensor (contributor), et al. "Novak: 'No great crime' with leak", CNN.
16. David Johnston; & Richard W. Stevenson, "Rove Reportedly Held Phone Talk on C.I.A. Officer", New York Times.
17. A.S. "AP falsely reported Wilson 'acknowledged his wife was no longer in an undercover job' when her identity was first publicly leaked", Media Matters for America.
18. Christopher Wolf (neighbour and lawyer for Valerie Plame), "Plame Investigation Is Not a 'Game'", Washington Post (Letter to the Editor), January 18, 2005, Page A16.
19. Carol D. Leonnig, "Papers Say Leak Probe Is Over", Washington Post, Page A12.
20. Michael Isikoff, "Matt Cooper's Source", Newsweek.
21. Cliff Kincaid, "Why Judith Miller Should Stay In Jail", Accuracy In Media

References

• Gilliam, Jim (January 17, 2004). "Vanity Fair's profile on Joseph Wilson and Valerie Plame" (January 17, 2004). Jimgilliam.com.
• Seifter, Andrew (July 15, 2005). "AP falsely reported Wilson 'acknowledged his wife was no longer in an undercover job' when her identity was first publicly leaked". Media Matters for America.
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Re: THE BIG LIE ABOUT VALERIE PLAME, by Larry Johnson

Postby admin » Tue Dec 29, 2015 9:47 am

Double Exposure
by Vicky Ward
Vanity Fair
December 31, 2003

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Image
Joseph Wilson and his wife, Valerie Plame, in Washington, D.C., on November 8, 2003. When they met at a reception, in February 1997, it was love at first sight. “She did not let anyone into the conversation, and I did not let anyone into the conversation,” he says. Photograph by Jonas Karlsson.

Former ambassador Joseph C. Wilson and his wife, C.I.A. operative Valerie Plame, are at the center of controversy over President Bush’s bogus claim, in last year’s State of the Union address, that Saddam had tried to buy uranium in Africa. The Justice Department is investigating who leaked Plame’s covert status—a federal crime—to columnist Robert Novak, presumably as payback for her husband’s public suggestion that the White House’s intelligence was false. The author gives an intimate portrait of the couple that the administration has tried to “slime” in order to “defend” Bush’s Iraq policy.

On a sunny Wednesday in mid-October a mixture of journalists, lobbyists, and the odd politician were sitting down to plates of cold salad in a stuffy dining room at the National Press Club in downtown Washington, D.C., when Valerie Plame (Wilson), wearing a sharp cream pantsuit, entered the room. The occasion was a lunch given by The Nation magazine’s foundation and the Fertel Foundation to present the first Ron Ridenhour Award for Truth-Telling to her husband, Ambassador Joseph C. Wilson IV.

Surprisingly, given that Plame was at the center of a Justice Department investigation that could conceivably cause serious damage to the Bush administration, hardly anyone paused to take in the slim 40-year-old with white-blond hair and a big, bright smile. In July the syndicated conservative columnist Robert Novak published an item revealing that Plame was a C.I.A. “operative.” The information had been leaked to him by “two senior [Bush] administration officials,” who were trying to discredit a report her husband had done for the C.I.A.—the implication being that Wilson got the job only because his wife got it for him. Evidently the “two senior administration officials” did not realize it is a federal crime to knowingly reveal the identity of an undercover C.I.A. agent. As a result, Plame is now the most famous female spy in America—“Jane Bond,” as her husband has referred to her. However, even in Washington circles, few people yet know what she looks like. Quietly she threaded her way around the tables until she reached Wilson, a handsome man with a full head of gray hair and dressed in a Zegna suit, pink shirt, and Hermès tie.

Plame kissed her husband’s cheek fondly and took his hand. He looked thrilled to see her. They sat down side by side. Senator Jon Corzine, a Democrat from New Jersey, crossed the room to pump their hands. Suddenly necks craned and chairs swiveled as people tried not to stare too obviously at the telegenic couple who, together, have caused a maelstrom that some in the nation’s capital feel may yet rise to the level of a Watergate.

Wilson, 54, is a retired American diplomat who wrote a July 6 op-ed piece for The New York Times that told of his February 2002 fact-finding mission to Niger, taken at the behest of the C.I.A. His mission was to verify—or disprove—an intelligence report that Saddam Hussein had attempted to buy from Niger “yellowcake,” a uranium ore, which can be used to make fissionable material. The information that Saddam did try to buy it found its way into President Bush’s 2003 State of the Union address: “The British government has learned that Saddam Hussein recently sought significant quantities of uranium from Africa.” This was a key piece of the president’s claim that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction—which in turn was Bush’s main justification for going to war with that country.

But, on his trip, Wilson had found no evidence to substantiate the president’s assertion. His New York Times piece was titled “What I Didn’t Find in Africa.” Had he been wrong?, he wondered in the article. Or had his information been ignored because it did not fit with the government’s preconceptions about Iraq? On the Sunday his piece ran in the Times, Wilson appeared on NBC’s Meet the Press to discuss it.

The article and the television appearance had two results. Officially, National-Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice admitted that the sentence should not have been in the president’s speech, because the intelligence on which it was based was not good enough, and C.I.A. director George Tenet took the blame, saying that he was “responsible for the approval process in my agency.” But then he added that the C.I.A. had warned the National Security Council that the intelligence was dubious, and some days later Stephen Hadley, the N.S.C. deputy, admitted he’d “forgotten” about seeing two memos from the agency debating the veracity of the intelligence. Still, the administration could argue—and did—that, technically, none of the words in the speech were actually inaccurate, because it cited British intelligence as the source.

In fact, a tug-of-war had been building for months between the C.I.A. and the Bush administration. The latter, it was felt at C.I.A. headquarters in Langley, Virginia, had been cherry-picking intelligence to suit its own purposes and, even worse, essentially cutting the C.I.A. and other agencies out of the general vetting of raw intelligence. By early summer the rope between the White House and Langley was stretched to the snapping point.

Then it did snap, catching Wilson and Plame with its frayed ends. On July 14, Novak wrote that Wilson’s investigation was a “low level” C.I.A. project and that agency higher-ups had considered its conclusion “less than definitive.” Wilson, after all, was merely a retired ambassador who had worked in Iraq just before the Gulf War. He currently operated as a business consultant in Washington, D.C. Novak wrote that the “two senior administration officials” told him that Wilson had been sent to Africa only because his wife of five years—Valerie Plame—an “agency operative on weapons of mass destruction,” had suggested to her bosses that he go.

To most readers this information might have seemed harmless, but on July 22 Newsday’s Knut Royce and Timothy M. Phelps reported that, according to their intelligence sources, Plame was an “undercover officer.” In fact, she had NOC status, that is, nonofficial cover. NOCs are not ordinarily deskbound intelligence analysts who work inside C.I.A. headquarters. Mostly they operate abroad, frequently using fake job descriptions and sometimes fake names. According to a former senior C.I.A. officer, to blend in they often have to work two jobs: that of their “cover” and that involving their C.I.A. duties, which usually consists of handling foreign agents in the field, but can also involve recruiting them. NOCs have no diplomatic protection and so are vulnerable to hostile regimes that can imprison or execute them without official repercussions. A NOC’s only real defense is his or her cover, which can take years to build. Because of this vulnerability, a NOC’s identity is considered within the C.I.A. to be, as former C.I.A. analyst Kenneth Pollack has put it, “the holiest of holies.”

And, according to the Intelligence Identities Protection Act of 1982, leaking the name of an undercover agent is also a federal crime, punishable by up to 10 years in prison, under certain circumstances. When TV commentator Chris Matthews asked Republican National Committee chairman Ed Gillespie if he thought such a leak made by government officials was “worse than Watergate,” Gillespie replied, “Yeah, I suppose in terms of the real-world implications of it.”

After the Newsday report, Senator Charles Schumer (Democrat, New York) fired off a letter to Robert Mueller, the F.B.I. director. Still, the story seemed to gain little traction until, on September 27, it emerged—via another leak—that the Justice Department’s counter-espionage chief, John Dion, was conducting a criminal investigation into the episode. The investigation was formally announced on September 30, and later that day Dion told Alberto Gonzales, the White House counsel, that everyone in the White House would have to preserve all relevant records and, in particular, records of conversations with Novak, and Royce and Phelps.

The president’s comment, on October 7, that “this is a town full of people who like to leak information. And I don’t know if we’re going to find out the senior administration official,” hardly inspired confidence in the investigation. Schumer, the most vocal Democrat on the Judiciary Committee, called for a special counsel, questioning the three-day delay between the original announcement of the investigation and the instructions to the White House staff to preserve records, as well as the possible conflict of interest for Attorney General John Ashcroft, a fiercely partisan Republican who, among other things, had once employed White House strategist Karl Rove—whom Wilson originally suspected as the source for the leak. After all, Rove has previously been suspected of leaking to Novak—in 1992, as a consultant to the first President Bush’s Texas campaign. Novak (and Rowland Evans) then wrote about a secret meeting Republicans held about Bush’s disastrous Texas re-election effort. Rove was fired from the Texas campaign as a result.

At the Nation award lunch Wilson wept openly on the podium as he looked his wife straight in the eye and declared, “If I could give you back your anonymity … ” He swallowed, unable to speak for a few seconds. “You are the most wonderful person I know. And I’m sorry this has been brought on you.” Valerie Plame also teared up. The room was electrified.

Moments later Wilson recovered. He concluded his remarks with the climax everyone had been waiting for. “Let me introduce you to my wife, Valerie,” he said.

At dinner the night before, Valerie Plame’s main concern had been the state of her kitchen. “It’s such a mess,” she wailed after warmly greeting a reporter on the porch and retreating to fuss over her naked three-year-old twins, Trevor and Samantha, who were running around in a state of high excitement. The kitchen was undergoing renovation, but, like the rest of her house, it was immaculate. A plate of Brie, French bread, and grapes was left to nibble from while she prepared pasta and salad in the kitchen. “My wife is so damned organized,” Wilson had boomed earlier in his office as he carried out her instructions, written on a Post-It note, to schedule his children’s swimming lessons.

The Wilsons live in the Palisades, an affluent neighborhood of Washington, D.C., on the fringe of Georgetown. In winter, when the trees have no leaves, the back of their house has a stunning view of the Washington Monument. They’d first seen the house in 1998, when it was still being built, and they had instantly fallen in love with it. Even so, Plame took some persuading before they made an offer. “She’s very frugal,” explains Wilson. “My brother who’s in real estate had to fly in from the West Coast and explain that a mortgage could cost less than our rented apartment in the Watergate.”

Plame also told Wilson that she’d be moving with him into the new house only as his wife. Records show that Wilson and his second wife, Jacqueline, to whom he was married for 12 years, were divorced in 1998. By the mid-90s, Wilson says, that relationship had pretty much disintegrated. “Separate bedrooms—and I was playing a lot of golf,” he says.

He had met Plame in February 1997 at a reception at the Washington home of the Turkish ambassador. He says that when his eyes fell on her from across the room he thought he knew her. He realized as he drew near that he did not—and that it was love at first sight. From that moment on, he says, “she did not let anyone into the conversation, and I did not let anyone into the conversation.”

At the time, Wilson was based in Stuttgart, serving as the political adviser to George Joulwan, the U.S. general in charge of the European command; Plame was based in Brussels. Meeting in Paris, London, and Brussels, they got very serious very quickly. On the third or fourth date, he says, they were in the middle of a “heavy make-out” session when she said she had something to tell him. She was very conflicted and very nervous, thinking of everything that had gone into getting her to that point, such as money and training.

She was, she explained, undercover in the C.I.A. “It did nothing to dampen my ardor,” he says. “My only question was: Is your name really Valerie?”

It was. Valerie P., as she was known to her classmates at the Farm, in Camp Peary, Virginia, the C.I.A.’s training facility, where former C.I.A. agent Jim Marcinkowski noticed—as he later told Time magazine—that she showed considerable prowess wielding an AK-47 machine gun. She had chosen the C.I.A. because she was intellectually curious, had a facility for languages, and wanted to live abroad. She also came from a military family, which had imbued her with a sense of public duty. “I was in the N.S.A. for three years,” says her father, retired air-force lieutenant colonel Samuel Plame. Her parents, says her close friend Janet Angstadt, are the type who are still volunteering for the Red Cross and Meals on Wheels in the Philadelphia suburb where they live.

After Valerie graduated from Penn State, she moved to Washington, D.C., and married her college boyfriend Todd Sesler. She worked at a clothing store, biding her time, waiting for her acceptance from the C.I.A. She may have mentioned, says Angstadt, that she was going to interview with the C.I.A., but “nobody ever heard about it ever again.”

Plame and Sesler were both accepted at the agency. But, according to a friend of the couple’s, his heart wasn’t in it. “When she talks about something, you suddenly want to do what she’s doing, because it’s so infectious,” says this friend, who adds, “I think that’s what happened in this case.” According to this person, it was Plame who ended the marriage. (Sesler did not respond to calls for comment.)

Sesler returned to Pennsylvania. Meanwhile, Plame learned Greek—she can also speak French and German—and was sent to Athens. There she had what is known as “State Department cover.” The only lie Plame had to tell her friends then was that the State Department was her only boss.

After the Gulf War she was sent to the London School of Economics, and from there to the College of Europe, an international-relations school in Bruges. She stayed on in Brussels, telling friends she was working for an energy consulting firm, Brewster-Jennings (now defunct). Angstadt, who is a lawyer for the Archipelago Exchange in Chicago, says it never crossed her mind to doubt her friend’s stories. “I think she trained us not to ask questions,” Angstadt says.

When in the wake of the leak friends have asked how Plame foiled eager interlocutors, she has told them, “You just turn it around. People love to talk about themselves.… There’s nothing more exciting than to have someone go, ‘Really?’”

Angstadt was puzzled as to how her friend could so easily afford apartments and seemed to be so sure she could get a job wherever she wanted in Europe. “I would often say to my mom, ‘I just don’t get this,’” Angstadt says. She wondered if someone had given Plame money.

“Even if it meant people didn’t think well of her or just thought that she was kind of detached from the real world, she was willing to live with those assumptions. I think what is so extraordinary about her is that she’s so sure of who she is,” says Angstadt.

During an Austrian skiing trip in the mid-1990s, Plame described to her friend the kind of man she was looking for: “Somebody who’s a little older, who’s had some success in life, is worldly,” Angstadt remembers. “I’m telling you, she described Joe Wilson.”

In 1997, Plame moved back to the Washington area, partly because (as was recently reported in The New York Times) the C.I.A. suspected that her name may have been on a list given to the Russians by the double agent Aldrich Ames in 1994.

That same year, Wilson also came back to Washington, as a senior director for African affairs at the National Security Council, where, according to the Reagan administration’s assistant secretary of state for African affairs, Chester Crocker, he was the most effective person in that job during the Clinton administration. A source, however, says that Wilson was not universally popular, because of what was perceived to be too strong sympathies for the interests of the Africans and Europeans. “He’s the kind of person who would remind Americans of things they might not want to hear,” says this source.

After only one year in the job Wilson decided to retire and go into the private sector because “we wanted to have kids, and felt that it had become very difficult to live off two government salaries.” He set up a consultancy, J. C. Wilson International Ventures, with an office in downtown Washington at the headquarters of the Rock Creek Corporation, an investment firm of which little is known. Wilson’s right-wing critics have been quick to condemn the affiliation as “murky,” though Wilson does not work for Rock Creek and merely rents space and facilities there.

“I have a number of clients, and basically we help them with their sort of investments in countries like Niger,” explains Wilson. “Niger was of some interest because it has some gold deposits coming onstream. We had some clients who were interested in gold.… We were looking to set up a gold-mine company out of London.”

Wilson is the son of freelance journalists who lived in California and then moved around Europe while he and his brother were growing up. He went to the University of California at Santa Barbara and characterized himself as a “surf dude” with some carpentry skills. In person, he gives off a charismatic, relaxed air, and someone who was with him in Baghdad said it’s easy to underestimate him. In 1974 he married his college sweetheart, Susan Otchis, and in 1976 went to work for the State Department. His postings included Niger, Togo—where his wife became pregnant with the first set of Wilson twins, Joseph and Sabrina, now 24—South Africa, and Burundi. It was in Burundi that Susan “decided she’d had about enough of me” and left him, he says. He remains on good terms with the family.

Also in Burundi, Wilson met his second wife, then the cultural counselor at the French Embassy there. They spent a year back in Washington on a congressional fellowship, during which time he worked for Al Gore, then a senator from Tennessee, and Tom Foley, then House majority whip. “It was,” Wilson says, “happenstance” that he worked for two Democrats. Then he returned to Africa as deputy chief of mission in the Congo Republic, where he helped Assistant Secretary of State Chester Crocker set up the process that led to negotiations for the withdrawal of the Cuban and South African troops from the Angolan Civil War.

In 1988, Wilson found himself in Baghdad as the number two to Ambassador April Glaspie, a career diplomat and an experienced Arabist. “She didn’t need somebody who knew the issues deeply, because she knew the issues deeply.… She wanted somebody who knew how to manage the embassy,” he says.

At that point Saddam Hussein was still a U.S. ally, but he was being watched like a hawk. In late July 1990, Glaspie, who had already delayed her annual vacation to America twice, packed her bags and came home, leaving Wilson in charge.

The night of August 1, Wilson had dinner with someone he describes as “Saddam’s principal arms buyer in Paris. It was so hot the air was literally shimmering right in front of the windshield. I get to this guy’s house, and it had been chilled to 45, 50 degrees … roaring fire in the fireplace and over in a corner a white baby grand piano and a guy playing classical music on it. The guy looks like a Pancho Villa figure, Mexican bandito.… We sat down to dinner, just him, myself, my wife, and five bodyguards—armed.”

Wilson got home and went to bed. The phone rang at 2:30 a.m. “I got up. It was dark out. Tripped over the dog. The voice at the other end says, ‘Mr. Wilson, I have the White House on the line.’” Stark naked, Wilson stood at attention. The line went dead. Wilson then phoned Sandra Charles, the N.S.C. Middle East specialist, who told him that the ambassador to Kuwait, Nathaniel “Nat” Howell, was looking out at gunfire and Iraqi troops surrounding the embassy there.

Wilson marched over to the foreign ministry at 7:30 a.m. and pounded on the door of Tariq Aziz, Iraq’s cigar-loving foreign minister. They proceeded to have a forceful exchange, which resulted in the restoration of the direct-dial phone capability that had been cut at the American Embassy in Baghdad. “It seems to me that with your army in Kuwait City and my navy in the Gulf we have an obligation to avoid any escalation of this crisis if we can,” Wilson told Aziz. (It was something of a stretch; just a few navy ships happened to be in the Persian Gulf.)

A member of the embassy staff who was impressed with Wilson’s political dexterity says, “I always knew Joe was bright, but he really showed here he could be quick on his feet. That was a pretty smart way to handle the situation.”

Thus began several months of negotiations with Iraqi officials—and, once on August 6, 1990, with Saddam himself. It was the last time the Iraqi president would talk to a U.S. government official. Surrounded by his coterie of advisers he stared at Wilson, who stared back, typically finding a humorous angle in the standoff. “I’m thinking to myself he must not know that I’m the father of twins, and we play staring contests.” Saddam could not outstare him.

Hussein asked him, “What’s the news from Washington?” Wilson retorted, “Well, you’re better off asking that question of your foreign minister. He’s got the satellite dish.” It was a reference to the fact that the Iraqis had not allowed the U.S. to import satellite dishes.

Hussein started to laugh. “I have a tendency to laugh at my own jokes,” says Wilson, who recalls he was also about to laugh, but suddenly remembered that the cameras were still on. His political instincts kicked in and stopped him. “It dawned on me that the last thing in the world that I wanted to be beamed around the world was a picture of me yukking it up with Saddam Hussein.” They went on to discuss the Iraqi occupation of Kuwait. Saddam wanted the U.S. to let the Iraqis stay in exchange for cheap oil.

Many more meetings with the Iraqis, concerning the treatment of the thousands of Americans trapped in Iraq and Kuwait, were to follow. One of Wilson’s tensest moments occurred while he was waiting for a convoy of dependents of the U.S. staff at the Kuwait embassy to make its way to Baghdad, a journey that ordinarily took 6 hours, but this time took 16. “You quickly learn that every car you add to a convoy slows

it by about a half-hour,” he says.

A handwritten note from George H. W. Bush, thanking him for his service in Iraq, is encased in glass on Wilson’s desk in his office. “He certainly was brave,” says Nancy E. Johnson, the embassy’s political officer in Baghdad. “One afternoon we sat in his office joking about all the different conventions they’d be violating if they harmed us. It was tense. You never knew where you were with the Iraqis.”

Wilson’s most famous moment—the one that got him in the headlines around the world—came in late September 1990, after he had received a diplomatic note that threatened execution to anyone harboring foreigners. Since Wilson himself had put up about 60 Americans at the ambassador’s residence and other places, he gave a press briefing during which he wore a noose he’d asked one of the embassy Marines to prepare that morning. “If the choice is to allow American citizens to be taken hostage or to be executed, I will bring my own fucking rope,” he said.

Wilson grins as he recalls it.

Such chutzpah inevitably didn’t win over everyone. “Grandstanding” is what someone who was with him in Baghdad calls it. “He always liked to grandstand.… They [State Department higher-ups] thought he was arrogant and demanding.”

Wilson probably did not care.

When he returned to America his face was in the news, but he was rarely quoted, and he did not give interviews. “Those who now suggest that I am somehow a publicity hound would do well to remember that when I came out from Iraq I refused all interviews,” he says, “because I had done everything I had to do.”

About 30 hours before the bombs started to fall on Baghdad, Wilson and the first President Bush took a stroll through the Rose Garden, during which Wilson was impressed by the kinds of questions Bush asked. “He’s asking about how the other side feels, what was it like in Iraq, what are the people like, how are they taking this, are they scared, what is Saddam like—the human questions that you want your leaders to think before they commit to the violence that is war.”

In 1992, Wilson was rewarded with the ambassadorship to Gabon, where, he says, he helped persuade President Omar Bongo—“the most clever politician in African politics,” according to Wilson—to have free and open elections. From there he went to Stuttgart and thence to the N.S.C., for which he would revisit Niger. In April 1999 that country had suffered a military coup and the assassination of President Ibrahim Bare Mainassara. Wilson says he advised Major Daouda Mallam Wankie, the alleged leader of the coup, to help return the country to democratic rule.

Plame teases her husband that all his life he’s had a “Forrest Gump” effect—in other words, he’s always been there when things happen, though outsiders would never know it. It’s a characterization he’s proud of.

Wilson is someone who likes to be useful—and he enjoyed it when he was asked, after his retirement from government service, to brief the C.I.A. on such topics as Iraq, Africa, and Angola. So he was not unduly surprised when, one evening in early 2002, his wife asked if he’d come in to discuss Niger and uranium—a subject he’d discussed with the C.I.A. before. He categorically denies that his wife had anything to do with the request other than her role as messenger.

At the meeting Wilson was told that the office of Vice President Dick Cheney had asked for further information about a document that was a “purported memorandum of agreement or a contract covering the sale of ‘yellowcake’ uranium by Niger to Iraq.” Wilson never saw the document, and he did not know if anyone in the room had, either.

“I went through what I knew about … uranium. I went through what I knew about the personalities.… People chimed in, and I answered them as best I could. It was a kind of free-for-all, and at the end they sort of asked, ‘Well, would you be able to clear your schedule and go out there if we wanted?’ and I said, ‘Sure.’”

The first thing Wilson did in Niger was visit Ambassador Barbro Owens-Kirkpatrick, a career diplomat who’d been posted previously to Mexico. “She said, yeah, she knew a lot about this particular report. She thought she had debunked it—and, oh, by the way, a four-star Marine Corps general had been down there as well—Carlton Fulford. And he had left satisfied there was nothing to report.” (Fulford declined to comment.) Owens-Kirkpatrick had gotten denials from the current Niger administration, but Wilson offered to go back to officials of the previous one—whom, he pointed out, she didn’t know very well. (Owens-Kirkpatrick could not be reached for comment.)

Wilson was not told precisely how much uranium the document specified, but, he says, a quantity of any consequence is not something that can be easily hidden and then whisked into the Sahara Desert. Uranium in Niger comes from two mines. The managing partner of both mines is the French nuclear company Cogema. Niger’s only participation has been in collecting tax on the mines’ revenues. “If the Nigeriens want to take the product, they would have to meet with the consortium partners, who meet once a year to establish production schedules, then meet every two months with just those production schedulers, contingent upon whatever shifts in the demand there may be for those particular countries,” he says. “Any increase of production is going to require changes in transportation schedule … changes in barrel supply … security requirements to get it down … [and] tracking requirements to get it down the railhead.”

Wilson looked at the Niger ministries that would have had to be involved in the sale, had it been done by the book—in which case the documents would have borne the signatures of the minister of mines and energy, the minister of foreign affairs, the prime minister, and quite possibly the president. It would also have been posted in the Niger equivalent of the Federal Register.

Wilson also examined another possibility: whether a military-junta leader had gone behind the government’s back and done a deal with Cogema off the books. He concluded that it would have been very difficult to do so without alerting the other consortium members, since there are up-front costs associated with mining extra products, and, again, the production schedules would have had to be shifted. “If the French really wanted to give the ‘yellowcake’ to Saddam,” says Wilson, “there would be easier ways for them to do it than to take it out of the mine in Niger.… I mean, they’ve had their [nuclear] industry up and running for 25 to 30 years.”

After Wilson returned to America, a C.I.A. reports officer visited him at home and later debriefed him. Since Wilson’s trip had been made because of Cheney’s office’s request, he assumed that the vice president had received at least a phone call about his findings. “There would have been a very specific answer provided … to the very specific question that he asked,” Wilson says. (The vice president’s office denies that Cheney heard back from the C.I.A. or knew about Wilson’s trip until he read about it in the newspaper many months later. Tenet confirmed the trip was made on the C.I.A.’s “own initiative.” )

By this point members of the intelligence community were complaining behind the scenes about pressure from the administration to find evidence of links between Saddam and international terrorism, and also between Saddam and weapons of mass destruction. According to an October 27, 2003, story by Seymour Hersh in The New Yorker, there seemed to be a tendency by Cheney’s office, among others, to bypass the analysts and use raw intelligence given directly to the administration. There was also increased reliance on intelligence provided by Ahmad Chalabi, the charismatic head of the opposition Iraqi National Congress, from Iraqi defectors. They gave a grisly picture of secret nuclear facilities, terrorist training camps, and chemical- and biological-weapons factories spread throughout Iraq, which the C.I.A. and the International Atomic Energy Agency—which had monitored Iraq until its inspectors left the country in 1998—could neither corroborate nor refute outright. The C.I.A. did not trust Chalabi or his men. Cheney and the Pentagon, on the other hand, stood firmly behind him.

Cheney and his chief of staff, Lewis Libby, visited the C.I.A. several times at Langley and told the staff to make more of an effort to find evidence of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq and to uncover Iraqi attempts to acquire nuclear capabilities. One of the people who objected most fervently to what he saw as “intimidation,” according to one former C.I.A. case officer, was Alan Foley, then the head of the Weapons Intelligence, Non-Proliferation and Arms Control Center. He was Valerie Plame’s boss. (Foley could not be reached for comment.)

In October 2002 additional documents relating to an alleged uranium sale in Niger surfaced in Italy, according to the Hersh article, where they were obtained by a journalist, Elisabetta Burba, at Panorama magazine. Burba took them to the American Embassy and made her own fact-finding trip to Niger, where she concluded the documents were not reliable. She did not even bother to write a story. Yet the documents apparently were given credence by the administration. Condoleezza Rice and Colin Powell started to talk and write publicly about Iraq’s attempts to procure uranium.

The day after the president’s State of the Union address Wilson called William Mark Bellamy (now the ambassador to Kenya) at the State Department’s African bureau and said, “Either you guys have some information that’s different from what my trip and the ambassador and everybody else said about Niger, or else you need to do something to correct the record.” Bellamy replied that perhaps the president was talking about somewhere else in Africa. (Bellamy declined to comment.)

On the weekend of March 8, a U.S. official admitted, “We fell for it,” about the Niger documents. A signature on one letter, dated October 10, 2000, was that of a foreign minister who hadn’t been in office for nearly 11 years. Wilson appeared on CNN and told news anchor Renay San Miguel that he believed that if the U.S. government looked into its files it would find it had known a lot more about the Niger uranium story than it was now letting on. Wilson has since heard from someone close to the House Judiciary Committee that it is believed that Cheney’s office started to do a “work-up” on him at that moment. (An official in Cheney’s office says, “That is false.”)

In early May, Wilson and Plame attended a conference sponsored by the Senate Democratic Policy Committee, at which Wilson spoke about Iraq; one of the other panelists was the New York Times journalist Nicholas Kristof. Over breakfast the next morning with Kristof and his wife, Wilson told about his trip to Niger and said Kristof could write about it, but not name him. At this point what he wanted, Wilson says, was for the government to correct the record. “I felt that on issues as important to our whole society as sending our sons and daughters to kill and die for our national security we as a society and our government have a responsibility to our people to ensure that the debate is carried out in a way that reflects the solemnity of the decision being taken,” he says.

Kristof’s column appeared on May 6. On June 8, when Condoleezza Rice was asked about the Niger documents on Meet the Press, she said, “Maybe someone knew down in the bowels of the agency, but no one in our circles knew that there were doubts and suspicions that this might be a forgery.”

Wilson immediately called a couple of people in the government, whose identities he will not divulge—“They are close to certain people in the administration,” he says—and warned them that if Rice would not correct the record he would. One of them, he says, told him to write the story. So at the beginning of July he sat down to write “What I Didn’t Find in Africa.”

While he was working, he says, he received a call from Richard Leiby, a reporter at The Washington Post, about his role in the 1991 Gulf War. Wilson told him about the Times article he was writing, and the Post, in an attempt to keep up, ran a story about Wilson on July 6. That same day Wilson appeared on Meet the Press; so did Senators John Warner (Republican, Virginia) and Carl Levin (Democrat, Michigan), who had just returned from Iraq. Both Warner and Levin commented that Wilson’s article was of interest, as did Washington Post columnist David Broder. Only Robert Novak, in a separate segment, said that it was a nonstory.

Wilson says he was prepared for the personal attacks that followed the publication of the story in The New York Times. “It’s slime and defend,” a Republican aide on Capitol Hill later admitted. On July 11, columnist Clifford May wrote in the conservative publication National Review that Wilson was “a pro-Saudi, leftist partisan with an ax to grind.” (Wilson gave $1,000 to Gore in 1999, but also $1,000 to the Bush campaign.) Former defense secretary Caspar Weinberger wrote in The Wall Street Journal that Wilson had had a “less-than-stellar record.” Wilson shrugs, citing Weinberger’s history of working for the Bechtel Corporation, a civil-engineering firm that has done much work in Iraq. “Most of the people that we were taking care of at the diplomatic quarters in Baghdad were Bechtel employees. I guarantee you, if you go and ask 58 of the 60 Bechtel employees who we were taking care of what they thought about Joe Wilson, they’d think his performance was pretty stellar,” Wilson says. Former Bechtel employee David Morris remembers, “He was always working on our behalf and stirring, so to speak, and keeping the issues in front of Saddam, and it made us feel good to know that Joe was doing that. He tried to help us feel better and keep our spirits up. … He was a most unique fellow. I really was most appreciative of him.”

But Wilson was caught off guard when around July 9 he received a phone call from Robert Novak, who, according to Wilson, said he’d been told by a C.I.A. source that Wilson’s wife worked for the agency. “Can you confirm or deny?” Wilson recalls Novak as saying. “I need another source.”

Wilson says he replied, “I’m not going to answer any questions about my wife.”

At this point, Wilson says, he and his wife thought the leak could be contained if no one picked it up.

When the Novak story ran, identifying not the C.I.A. as the source of the leak but “two senior administration officials,” Wilson says, he called Novak and said, “When you asked for the confirmation you said a ‘C.I.A. source.’” “I misspoke,” Wilson says Novak replied. (Novak declined to comment.)

In the days after the Novak column ran, a producer from ABC—Wilson will not say who—phoned him at home and said, “They’re saying things about you at the White House so off-the-wall we can’t even put them up.” NBC’s Andrea Mitchell called him that weekend, he says, and told him that sources at the White House were telling her, “The real story here is not the 16 words—the real story is Wilson and his wife.” Next, Wilson got a call from a journalist whom he won’t name—but who is widely thought to be Chris Matthews—who, according to Wilson, gushed, “I just got off the phone with Karl Rove. He says your wife is fair game. I gotta go.” Click.

Timothy M. Phelps and Knut Royce’s July 22 Newsday story quotes Novak as saying he had not had to dig out Plame’s name; rather, it had been given to him. “They [the leakers] thought it was significant, they gave me the name and I used it.”

Phelps and Royce also cited a “senior intelligence official” who said that Plame did not recommend her husband for the Niger job, adding, “There are people elsewhere in the government who are trying to make her look like she was the one who was cooking this up, for some reason. I can’t figure out what it could be. We paid his [Wilson’s] airfare. But to go to Niger is not exactly a benefit. Most people you’d have to pay big bucks to go there.” Wilson said he was reimbursed only for expenses.

In the last week of September, Novak modified his story. In an appearance on CNN’s Crossfire, he said, “Nobody in the Bush administration called me to leak this,” and also that, “according to a confidential source at the C.I.A., Mrs. Wilson was an analyst, not a spy, not a covert operative, and not in charge of undercover operatives.”

In fact, in the spring, Plame was in the process of moving from NOC status to State Department cover. Wilson speculates that “if more people knew than should have, then somebody over at the White House talked earlier than they should have been talking.”

It did not, in his mind —or in the opinion of his wife—excuse what had happened. Plame herself thought instantly that the leak was illegal. Even members of her family did not know what she did.

On September 28, The Washington Post reported that, prior to the appearance of Novak’s column, at least six other journalists (it was later revealed that they included reporters for NBC, Time, and Newsday) had been fed information about Plame. None of the six would come forward.

With the announcement of the Justice Department investigation, the hotline from the White House to the press seemed abruptly to end, but the smearing of Joe Wilson did not, Wilson feels. A self-proclaimed lifelong nonpartisan, he says he has been forced into the Democratic corner by critics who refuse to give him the benefit of the doubt. In late September he was sitting in the greenroom, waiting to appear on a CNBC show, when a friend called and told him that Ed Gillespie was on another program dismissing him as a partisan left-winger. Wilson saw him later in the greenroom and said, “Did you know that I also contributed to the Bush-Cheney campaign?” “Oh, yes, I did know,” said Gillespie. “That’s a matter of public record.” (Gillespie disputes Wilson’s account and says he has referred to Wilson’s contributions to Bush on the air.)

To some conservative pundits, it seemed incredible that Wilson could have caused such mayhem on his own without the help of some left-wing umbrella group. Clifford May received the following in an e-mail from someone who asked him to check out Wilson’s background. The e-mailer wrote:

Think how hard it is to pull off [a trifecta of a Sunday New York Times op-ed, a Sunday Washington Post story by staff writers Richard Leiby and Walter Pincus, and an appearance on one of the Sunday talk shows] even if you’re a senior member of the Senate or a top politico.

He added, “This is sheer brilliance, and it’s not Wilson’s brilliance that we’re seeing.”

Wilson has heard all the stories and says they don’t make him anxious. In fact, they merely make him more determined. In August he had been approached by Carroll & Graf Publishers to write a memoir. As his and Plame’s story hit the headlines, he still had not signed a deal. Yet he honored his oral agreement, and, according to Carroll & Graf executive editor Philip Turner, made no effort to ask for more money or conduct an auction among publishing houses. In fact, initially he did not want the publisher to take the book to the Frankfurt Book Fair to sell the foreign rights, because “I [didn’t] want to create an impression, a false impression, that [I was] trying to cash in on this,” he says. But then someone informed him that Novak had written about him finding a literary agent, implying Wilson was doing just that. He told his editor, “Go to Frankfurt! Flog that sucker. I’m entitled to make a living in this country.”

“Every time Novak trashes me, it adds to my value,” he says with a grin.

Plame seems to be dealing with the situation with characteristic equanimity. Janet Angstadt says she’s been amazed at how it’s just been life as normal in the Wilson household. “She can handle pressure very well,” says Plame’s father.

When asked at an October 28 press conference why he had not asked White House staff members to sign an affidavit that they were not behind the leak, President Bush said, “The best group of people to do that so that you believe the answer is the professionals at the Justice Department.” But, though the Justice Department investigation ground on, no grand jury subpoenas had been issued more than a month after it began.

Former federal prosecutor James Orenstein says, “They are pulling punches.… They haven’t subpoenaed reporters. When [White House counsel Alberto] Gonzales asked the prosecutor at the Justice Department for a chance to vet the information [the White House was turning over], they said yes. There may be good reason. But they can’t say that they’re not pulling punches.”

Wilson says, “The longer it appears there’s no obvious progress, the less credible it becomes, and the more it plays into the hands of those who believe an independent counsel will be necessary to get to the bottom of this. It’s appalling to me that somebody who, for their own political reasons, would see fit to compromise national security could, close to six months after that date, still be in a position of trust in the U.S. government.… What strikes me is that so few Republicans are prepared to speak up on an issue of national-security concern.”

One of the people who corresponded with Wilson is George H. W. Bush, the only president to have been head of the C.I.A.—he still receives regular briefings from Langley. Wilson will not divulge Bush’s thoughts on the matter, but the day before giving his speech at the National Press Club, Wilson said, “it [gives] me great pain” to criticize the son of a man he’d so admired and felt some bond with.

But at the press club, Wilson attacked not only the advisers but also, on the issue of the leak, the president himself. “I, for one, am frankly appalled,” he said, “appalled at the apparent nonchalance shown by the president of the United States on this.”

Vicky Ward is a Vanity Fair contributing editor and has written for the magazine on various Washington personalities, including counterterrorism expert Richard Clarke and Sharon Bush, ex-wife of Neil Bush.
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Re: THE BIG LIE ABOUT VALERIE PLAME, by Larry Johnson

Postby admin » Tue Dec 29, 2015 9:49 am

Apparent CIA front didn't offer much cover
By Ross Kerber and Bryan Bender
Globe Staff and Globe Correspondent
10/10/2003

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At first glance, 101 Arch St. seems like the perfect setting for a spy story: an elegant office building downtown with an upscale restaurant, lots of foot traffic, and a subway entrance to stage a getaway.

"It's a great place to blend in," said Rob Griffin, regional president of Cushman & Wakefield Inc., the real estate firm.

The CIA may have thought so too. Valerie Plame, an undercover CIA operative once listed as her employer Brewster Jennings & Associates. A company by that name has a listed address but no visible presence at the 21-story office tower.

Plame's exposure as an intelligence operative has become a major controversy in Washington. Former intelligence officials confirmed Plame's cover was an invention and that she used other false identities and affiliations when working overseas. "All it was was a telephone and a post office box," said one former intelligence official who asked not to be identified. "When she was abroad she had a more viable cover."

That's a good thing, considering how little work seems to have gone in to establishing the company's presence in Boston, intelligence observers said. While the renovated building houses legal and investment firms, current and former building managers said they've never heard of Brewster Jennings. Nor did the firm file the state and local records expected of most businesses.

Both factors would have aroused the suspicions of anyone who tried to check up on Brewster Jennings, said David Armstrong, an Andover researcher for the Public Education Center, a liberal Washington think tank.

At the least, a dummy company ought to create the appearance of activity, with an office and a valid mailing address, he said. "A cover that falls apart on first inspection isn't very good. What you want is a cover that actually holds up . . . and this one certainly doesn't."

Some in the real estate industry believe something was amiss, if not illegal. "It's almost like out of a spy novel -- the tenant that wasn't there," said Griffin, who once oversaw management of the tower. "And they picked a nice address."

The collapse of Plame's cover could compromise any other operatives who claimed to work for Brewster Jennings. Although former officials wouldn't confirm that Plame's cover company used the Arch Street address, they offered no other explanation of the phantom tenant.

Plame's identity as a CIA operative was disclosed July 14 by the conservative newspaper columnist Robert Novak, who implied that the information came from "two senior administration officials." Just eight days before, her husband, Joseph C. Wilson, a former US ambassador, had written in The New York Times that the Bush administration relied on discredited intelligence in alleging sales of uranium from Niger to Iraq.

Yesterday, Plame didn't return a message left with Wilson requesting an interview, but she had listed her employer as "Brewster-Jennings & Associates" in a filing when she donated $1,000 to Al Gore's 2000 presidential campaign. She listed her occupation as "analyst."

A spokeswoman for Dun & Bradstreet Inc., a New Jersey operator of commercial databases, said Brewster Jennings was first entered into its records on May 22, 1994, but wouldn't discuss the source of the filing. Its records list the company at 101 Arch St. as a "legal services office," which could mean a law firm, with annual sales of $60,000, one employee, and a chief executive identified as "Victor Brewster, Partner."

That person isn't listed elsewhere. But the address is certainly known, a tower finished in 1988 at the corner of Summer and Arch streets with 405,511 square feet of office space, then housing the upscale Dakota's restaurant, since succeeded by Vinalia. Many commuters pass through the building as they exit the Downtown Crossing subway station. 101 Arch was sold last year to CB Richard Ellis Investors of Los Angeles for an estimated $90 million.

Dun & Bradstreet records on Brewster Jennings show that on June 1, 2000, "sources contacted verified information" the day before, but a D&B spokeswoman wouldn't discuss what that means.

The D&B records give a phone number for the company, but it wasn't in service yesterday. Verizon wouldn't comment. A spokesman for the US Postal Service wouldn't say whether a post office box was associated with the company.

Vince Cannistraro, the CIA's former counterterrorism chief, said that when operating undercover outside the United States, Plame would have had a real job with a more legitimate company. The Boston company "is not an indicator of what she did overseas," he said.

Brewster Jennings was the name of the president of the former Socony-Vacuum oil company, a predecessor of Exxon Mobil Corp. But the Jennings family denies any connection, said a grandson, Brewster Jennings, a real estate investor in Durango, Colo. He said that since the firm was named as a CIA front he's heard from many friends and family members who "find tremendous humor in all this."

Ross Kerber can be reached at kerber@globe.com.

© Copyright 2003 Globe Newspaper Company.
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Re: THE BIG LIE ABOUT VALERIE PLAME, by Larry Johnson

Postby admin » Tue Dec 29, 2015 9:53 am

Mission To Niger
By Robert D. Novak
uly 14, 2003

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The CIA's decision to send retired diplomat Joseph C. Wilson to Africa in February 2002 to investigate possible Iraqi purchases of uranium was made routinely at a low level without Director George Tenet's knowledge. Remarkably, this produced a political firestorm that has not yet subsided.

Wilson's report that an Iraqi purchase of uranium yellowcake from Niger was highly unlikely was regarded by the CIA as less than definitive, and it is doubtful Tenet ever saw it. Certainly President Bush did not, before his 2003 State of the Union address, when he attributed reports of attempted Iraqi uranium purchases to the British government. That the British relied on forged documents made Wilson's mission, nearly a year earlier, the basis of furious Democratic accusations of burying intelligence, though the report was forgotten by the time the president spoke.

Reluctance at the White House to admit a mistake has led Democrats ever closer to saying the president lied the country into war. Even after a belated admission of error last Monday, finger-pointing between Bush administration agencies continued. Messages between Washington and the presidential entourage traveling in Africa hashed over the mission to Niger.

Wilson's mission was created after an early 2002 report by the Italian intelligence service about attempted uranium purchases from Niger, derived from forged documents prepared by what the CIA calls a "con man." This misinformation, peddled by Italian journalists, spread through the U.S. government. The White House, the State Department and the Pentagon, and not just Vice President Cheney, asked the CIA to look into it.

That's where Joe Wilson came in. His first public notice had come in 1991 after 15 years as a Foreign Service officer when, as U.S. charge in Baghdad, he risked his life to shelter in the embassy some 800 Americans from Saddam Hussein's wrath. My partner Rowland Evans reported from the Iraqi capital in our column that Wilson showed "the stuff of heroism." The next year, President George H.W. Bush named him ambassador to Gabon, and President Bill Clinton put him in charge of African affairs at the National Security Council until his retirement in 1998.

Wilson never worked for the CIA, but his wife, Valerie Plame, is an agency operative on weapons of mass destruction. Two senior administration officials told me that Wilson's wife suggested sending him to Niger to investigate the Italian report. The CIA says its counterproliferation officials selected Wilson and asked his wife to contact him. "I will not answer any question about my wife," Wilson told me.

After eight days in Niger's capital of Niamey (where he had once served), Wilson made an oral report in Langley that an Iraqi uranium purchase was "highly unlikely," though he also mentioned in passing that a 1988 Iraqi delegation had tried to establish commercial contacts. CIA officials did not regard Wilson's intelligence as definitive, being based primarily on what the Niger officials told him and probably would have claimed under any circumstances. The CIA report of Wilson's briefing remains classified.

All this was forgotten until reporter Walter Pincus revealed in The Post on June 12 that an unnamed retired diplomat had given the CIA a negative report. Not until Wilson went public on July 6, however, did his finding ignite the firestorm.

During the run-up to the invasion of Iraq, Wilson had taken a measured public position -- viewing weapons of mass destruction as a danger but considering military action to be a last resort. He has seemed much more critical of the administration since revealing his role in Niger. In The Post on July 6, he talked about the Bush team "misrepresenting the facts," asking: "What else are they lying about?"

After the White House admitted error, Wilson declined all television and radio interviews. "The story was never me," he told me, "it was always the statement in [Bush's] speech." The story, actually, is whether the administration deliberately ignored Wilson's advice, and that requires scrutinizing the CIA's summary of what its envoy reported. The agency never before has declassified that kind of information, but the White House would like it to do just that now -- in its and the public's interest.

(c)2003 Creators Syndicate Inc.

© 2003 The Washington Post Company
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Re: THE BIG LIE ABOUT VALERIE PLAME, by Larry Johnson

Postby admin » Tue Dec 29, 2015 9:56 am

Timeline: The CIA Leak Case
July 2, 2007
by National Public Radio

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I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby, Vice President Dick Cheney's former chief of staff, is the only administration official charged or convicted in the CIA leak case. On July 2, 2007, President Bush commuted the part of Libby's sentence that involved prison time. Reuters

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Joseph Wilson. After traveling to Niger, former Ambassador Joseph Wilson said some evidence used to make the case for war against Iraq was exaggerated. Wilson and his wife, Valerie Plame, claim that administration officials retaliated by outing Plame as a CIA agent. Reuters

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White House political adviser Karl Rove was never charged in the CIA leak case. Matt Cooper, formerly of Time magazine, told a grand jury that Rove leaked to him that Ambassador Wilson's wife worked at the CIA. Jim Bourg/Reuters

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'New York Times' reporter Judith Miller. Former New York Times reporter Judith Miller testified before the grand jury after receiving what she calls a voluntary and uncoerced waiver from Libby.

Syndicated columnist Robert Novak identified Valerie Plame as a CIA operative in a column published in July 2003 — not long after Plame's husband, former ambassador Joseph Wilson, criticized the White House for exaggerating evidence in its push to justify going to war against Iraq. Novak said two unnamed administration sources had identified Plame to him.

That revelation sparked a two-year-long investigation by Special Counsel Patrick Fitzgerald into who disclosed the covert agent's identity. In October 2005, Fitzgerald indicted I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby, then-chief of staff for Vice President Dick Cheney, on charges of obstruction of justice, false statement and perjury in the CIA leak case. Libby resigned from his post and pleaded not guilty to the five counts against him. But a jury found Libby guilty on four of the five counts, convicting him of obstruction, perjury and lying to the FBI. Libby was sentenced to 30 months in prison and fined $250,000.

However, on July 2, 2007, President Bush stepped into the politically charged case by commuting Libby's prison sentence. Libby will not have to serve time behind bars, but he must still pay the fine and serve two years probation.

Following is a timeline of how the CIA leak case has evolved:

February 2002: Former ambassador Joseph C. Wilson travels to Niger at the CIA's request to check for evidence that Iraq bought uranium "yellowcake" from the African country that could be used for production of a nuclear weapon.

Jan. 28, 2003: President Bush delivers his State of the Union address. In the speech he includes the following sentence: "The British government has learned that Saddam Hussein recently sought significant quantities of uranium from Africa." Those 16 words contradicted what Wilson had reported upon his return from Niger to check out the claim. Months later they would be retracted by the White House.

March 20, 2003: The invasion of Iraq begins.

May 6, 2003: The New York Times publishes a column by Nicholas Kristof disputing the accuracy of the 16 words in the president's State of the Union address. The column reports that, following up on a request from the vice president's office, an unnamed ambassador investigated the allegations regarding Iraq's efforts to buy uranium from Niger. Kristoff writes that in early 2002, the ambassador had reported to the CIA and State Department that the allegations were unequivocally wrong.

July 6, 2003: Wilson's op-ed column, "What I Didn't Find in Africa," is published in The New York Times. In it he concludes, "some of the intelligence related to Iraq's nuclear weapons program was twisted to exaggerate the Iraqi threat."

July 7, 2003: President Bush boards Air Force One at Andrews Air Force Base outside Washington en route to Dakar, Senegal. It is the start of a weeklong tour of the continent that become overshadowed by questions about alleged Iraqi WMD.

Also onboard is a top-secret briefing book containing a memo prepared by the State Department identifying Valerie Wilson (Plame's married name) as a CIA officer and as the wife of former Ambassador Joseph Wilson.

July 9, 2003: Speaking to a White House press pool in Pretoria, South Africa, the second stop on the president's Africa tour, Press Secretary Ari Fleischer says the State of the Union address should not have included the reference to Iraqi attempts to acquire uranium from Niger. Fleischer says: "With the advantage of hindsight, it's known now what was not known by the White House prior to the speech. This information should not have risen to the level of a presidential speech."

July 14, 2003: Robert Novak, in his syndicated commentary, reveals that Wilson's wife, Valerie Plame, is a CIA operative. Novak attributes the information to "two senior administration officials."

July 17, 2003: Time magazine publishes an online article by Matthew Cooper, Massimo Calabresi, and John F. Dickerson indicating that government officials had disclosed Plame's identity to them.

July 22, 2003: At a White House news briefing, McClellan, when asked about the administration leaking Plame's name, states: "That is not the way this president or this White House operates."

Sept. 14, 2003: Vice President Cheney, on NBC's Meet the Press, is asked if he had been briefed on Wilson's findings when Wilson returned from Niger. Cheney responds: "No. I don't know Joe Wilson. I've never met Joe Wilson." Cheney adds moments later, "I don't know who sent Joe Wilson. He never submitted a report that I ever saw when he came back.

Sept. 16, 2003: McClellan calls "totally ridiculous" the allegation that presidential adviser Karl Rove was the source of the leak.

Sept. 28, 2003: CIA Director George J. Tenet calls on the Justice Department to investigate the leak.

Sept. 29, 2003: McClellan reiterates his earlier defense of Rove, adding that he had spoken to Rove about the leak.

Sept. 30, 2003: The Justice Department launches a full criminal investigation into the leaking of Plame's name. President Bush, speaking to reporters in Chicago, says, "If there is a leak out of my administration, I want to know who it is. And if the person has violated the law, the person will be taken care of..."

Oct. 24, 2003: FBI agents begin interviewing White House administration officials about the leak. Interviewees include Karl Rove and Scott McClellan.

Dec. 30, 2003: Attorney General John Ashcroft recuses himself from the leak investigation and U.S. Attorney Patrick J. Fitzgerald takes over the probe.

Jan-Feb 2004: A federal grand jury questions White House administration officials, including Scott McClellan, Mary Matalin and Adam Levine.

May 21, 2004: Tim Russert, host of NBC's Meet the Press, and Time's Cooper are subpoenaed for the grand jury investigation. Both Time and NBC say that they would fight the subpoenas.

June 18, 2004: White House Counsel Alberto R. Gonzales testifies before the federal grand jury.

June 24, 2004: Prosecutors question President Bush in the Oval Office. The questioning takes over an hour, and the president is not under oath.

Aug. 9, 2004: Cooper, refusing to reveal his confidential source, is held in contempt of court and ordered to jail by a federal judge in Washington. Judge Thomas F. Hogan also orders Time to pay $1,000 per day until the source is revealed. The decision is stayed pending an appeal.

Aug. 12, 2004: New York Times reporter Judith Miller is subpoenaed by a grand jury.

Aug. 24, 2004: The order to jail Cooper is canceled after he submits to questioning by Justice Department prosecutors.

Oct. 7, 2004: Miller is held in contempt of court for refusing to name confidential sources. Miller has not published any articles about the Plame case. Judge Hogan stays the order pending appeals.

Oct. 13, 2004: Cooper is again held in contempt of court for refusing to identify a confidential source who informed him about Plame's identity.

Oct. 15, 2004: Rove testifies before a federal grand jury for two hours. Fitzgerald assures Rove that he is not a target of the probe.

June 27, 2005: The U.S. Supreme Court declines to review appeals by Cooper and Miller.

June 30, 2005: Time agrees to turn over Cooper's notes and e-mails.

July 3, 2005: The Washington Post reports that Karl Rove spoke with Matthew Cooper in July 2003 when Cooper was reporting on Plame's husband. Rove's attorney, Robert Luskin, states, "Karl did nothing wrong."

July 6, 2005: Miller is jailed for refusing to reveal her confidential source. Judge Hogan declares that she was "defying the law." The same day, Cooper agrees to cooperate with the investigation, saying his confidential source granted him permission to comply.

July 10, 2005: Newsweek cites Rove as Cooper's source for the leak.

July 11, 2005: During a contentious White House press briefing, McClellan is asked to reconcile his statements from 2003 that Rove had no involvement in the leak with new revelations that Rove had spoken to reporters about Plame. McClellan refuses to discuss the matter, citing the ongoing investigation.

July 12, 2005: The White House says President Bush continues to have confidence in Rove.

July 15, 2005: Rove attorney Robert Luskin tells the Associated Press that Rove made three appearances before the grand jury and answered all questions. Luskin also says he has been assured that his client is not a target of the investigation.

July 17, 2005: In Time magazine, Matt Cooper discusses his testimony before the grand jury investigating the leak. He says Rove never referred to Valerie Plame by name, but that Cooper did learn from that conversation with Rove that Wilson's wife worked for the CIA and was involved in WMD issues.

July 18, 2005: President Bush, during a White House appearance with India's Prime Minister Singh is asked if, regardless of whether a crime was committed, he still intends to fire anyone found to be involved in the CIA leak case. The president replies that if someone "committed a crime, they will no longer work in my administration."

Aug. 4, 2005: Novak swears in disgust and walks off the set of CNN's program Inside Politics in response to a comment from Democratic strategist James Carville. Carville tells viewers that he thinks Novak is trying to "show these right-wingers that he's got a backbone." The two were discussing U.S. Rep. Katherine Harris (R-FL), and Carville's comment was unrelated to the CIA leak investigation. But CNN correspondent Ed Henry said he was about to ask Novak about the CIA leak case when the columnist walked off the set.

Aug. 5, 2005: Novak apologizes for walking off the set of Inside Politics but says it had "absolutely nothing" to do with the CIA leak probe. "I was sorry he said that," Novak said of CNN's Ed Henry.

Sept. 29, 2005: Reporter Judith Miller is released from the Alexandria Detention Center in Virginia. Editors at The New York Times say she reached a deal with U.S. Attorney Patrick J. Fitzgerald to testify. The editors say her source in the leak probe offered assurances that he wanted her to testify and was not coerced into releasing her from a promise of confidentiality.

Sept. 30, 2005: The Times identifies Miller's source as I. Lewis Libby, Cheney's chief of staff. In Washington, Miller testifies before the grand jury. Afterwards, she declines to confirm that Libby was her source, but says the source sent her a letter and called her in prison. "I concluded from this that my source genuinely wanted me to testify," she says.

Oct. 14, 2005: Presidential adviser Karl Rove makes his fourth appearance before the federal grand jury. Rove's appearance was voluntary, but at the request of Special Counsel Patrick Fitzgerald. In a statement afterwards, Rove's lawyer Robert Luskin said Fitzgerald "has not advised Mr. Rove that he is a target of the investigation and affirmed that he has made no decision concerning charges. The special counsel has indicated that he does not anticipate the need for Mr. Rove's further cooperation."

Oct. 16, 2005: In a New York Times article recounting her testimony before the grand jury, Judith Miller writes that notes of her conversations with Lewis Libby, Vice President Dick Cheney's chief of staff, suggested that the two had discussed Plame's job at the CIA but not her name. Miller wrote Plame's name in the same notebook she used when taking notes during her interviews with Libby, but said she cannot remember who gave her the CIA operative's name.

Oct. 25, 2005: Citing lawyers connected to the case, The New York Times reports that Lewis Libby, Vice President Dick Cheney's chief of staff, first learned about Plame from a conversation with Cheney in the weeks before her identity became public in 2003. Libby's notes from that conversation, which took place June 12, 2003, contradict Libby's testimony to a federal grand jury that he first learned about Plame from journalists, lawyers told the paper. The previously undisclosed notes are now in the possession of prosecutors.

Oct. 28, 2005: Vice presidential adviser I. Lewis Libby is indicted on obstruction of justice, false statement and perjury charges in the CIA leak case. Libby resigns as Vice President Cheney's chief of staff.

Nov. 3, 2005: Libby pleads not guilty in federal court to the five-count indictment against him.

Nov. 15, 2005: Washington Post editor Bob Woodward testifies that a "senior administration official" told him about Valerie Plame and her job at the CIA nearly a month before she was first named in Robert Novak's column. The revelation would make the source, who Woodward refused to identify, the first official to reveal Plame's identity to a reporter.

April 26, 2006: Presidential adviser Karl Rove testifies for a fifth time before a grand jury. Fitzgerald says he is investigating whether Rove lied or obstructed justice in failing to initially disclose his conversation with Time magazine reporter Matt Cooper. Rove blamed a faulty memory.

June 13, 2006: A lawyer for Rove says his client has been informed by prosecutors he won't be charged with any crimes in the investigation, ending months of speculation.

January 6, 2007: Libby's criminal trial begins.

February 21, 2007: Jury receives case for deliberation.

March 6, 2007: Jury returns guilty verdict on four of five counts, convicting Libby of obstruction, perjury and lying to the FBI.

June 5, 2007: Libby is sentenced to 30 months in prison and fined $250,000.

June 14, 2007: U.S. District Judge Reggie Walton denies request to delay Libby's sentence.

July 2, 2007: A federal appeals court rejects Libby's request to remain free on bail while pursuing appeals — meaning Libby would likely have to report to prison soon. Hours later, President Bush commutes Libby's prison sentence, leaving the $250,000 fine and two years probation intact. "I respect the jury's verdict," Bush says in a statement. "But I have concluded that the prison sentence given to Mr. Libby is excessive."

Sources: NPR research, news reports, Facts on File
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Re: THE BIG LIE ABOUT VALERIE PLAME, by Larry Johnson

Postby admin » Tue Dec 29, 2015 10:04 am

A White House Smear
By David Corn
JULY 16, 2003

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Did senior Bush officials blow the cover of a US intelligence officer working covertly in a field of vital importance to national security–and break the law–in order to strike at a Bush administration critic and intimidate others?

It sure looks that way, if conservative journalist Bob Novak can be trusted.

In a recent column on Nigergate, Novak examined the role of former Ambassador Joseph Wilson IV in the affair. Two weeks ago, Wilson went public, writing in The New York Times and telling The Washington Post about the trip he took to Niger in February 2002–at the request of the CIA–to check out allegations that Saddam Hussein had tried to purchase uranium for a nuclear weapons program from Niger. Wilson was a good pick for the job. He had been a State Department officer there in the mid-1970s. He was ambassador to Gabon in the early 1990s. And in 1997 and 1998, he was the senior director for Africa at the National Security Council and in that capacity spent a lot of time dealing with the Niger government. Wilson was also the last acting US ambassador in Iraq before the Gulf War, a military action he supported. In that post, he helped evacuate thousands of foreigners from Kuwait, worked to get over 120 American hostages out Iraq, and sheltered about 800 Americans in the embassy compound. At the time, Novak’s then-partner, Rowland Evans, wrote that Wilson displayed “the stuff of heroism.” And President George H. W. Bush commended Wilson: “Your courageous leadership during this period of great danger for American interests and American citizens has my admiration and respect. I salute, too, your skillful conduct of our tense dealings with the government of Iraq….The courage and tenacity you have exhibited throughout this ordeal prove that you are the right person for the job.”

The current Bush administration has not been so appreciative of Wilson’s more recent efforts. In Niger, he met with past and present government officials and persons involved in the uranium business and concluded that it was “highly doubtful” that Hussein had been able to purchase uranium from that nation. On June 12, The Washington Post revealed that an unnamed ambassador had traveled to Niger and had reported back that the Niger caper probably never happened. This article revved up the controversy over Bush’s claim–which he made in the state of the union speech–that Iraq had attempted to buy uranium in Africa for a nuclear weapons program.

Critics were charging that this allegation had been part of a Bush effort to mislead the country to war, and the administration was maintaining that at the time of the speech the White House had no reason to suspect this particular sentence was based on faulty intelligence. “Maybe someone knew down in the bowels of the agency,” national security adviser Condoleezza Rice said days before the Post article ran. “But no one in our circles knew that there were doubts and suspicions.” Wilson’s mission to Niger provided more reason to wonder if the administration’s denials were on the level. And once Wilson went public, he prompted a new round of inconvenient and troubling questions for the White House. (Wilson, who opposed the latest war in Iraq, had not revealed his trip to Niger during the prewar months, when he was a key participant in the media debate over whether the country should go to war.)

Soon after Wilson disclosed his trip in the media and made the White House look bad. the payback came. Novak’s July 14, 2003, column presented the back-story on Wilson’s mission and contained the following sentences: “Wilson never worked for the CIA, but his wife, Valerie Plame, is an Agency operative on weapons of mass destruction. Two senior administration officials told me Wilson’s wife suggested sending him to Niger to investigate” the allegation.

Wilson caused problems for the White House, and his wife was outed as an undercover CIA officer. Wilson says, “I will not answer questions about my wife. This is not about me and less so about my wife. It has always been about the facts underpinning the President’s statement in the state of the union speech.”

So he will neither confirm nor deny that his wife–who is the mother of three-year-old twins–works for the CIA. But let’s assume she does. That would seem to mean that the Bush administration has screwed one of its own top-secret operatives in order to punish Wilson or to send a message to others who might challenge it.

The sources for Novak’s assertion about Wilson’s wife appear to be “two senior administration officials.” If so, a pair of top Bush officials told a reporter the name of a CIA operative who apparently has worked under what’s known as “nonofficial cover” and who has had the dicey and difficult mission of tracking parties trying to buy or sell weapons of mass destruction or WMD material. If Wilson’s wife is such a person–and the CIA is unlikely to have many employees like her–her career has been destroyed by the Bush administration. (Assuming she did not tell friends and family about her real job, these Bush officials have also damaged her personal life.) Without acknowledging whether she is a deep-cover CIA employee, Wilson says, “Naming her this way would have compromised every operation, every relationship, every network with which she had been associated in her entire career. This is the stuff of Kim Philby and Aldrich Ames.” If she is not a CIA employee and Novak is reporting accurately, then the White House has wrongly branded a woman known to friends as an energy analyst for a private firm as a CIA officer. That would not likely do her much good.

This is not only a possible breach of national security; it is a potential violation of law. Under the Intelligence Identities Protection Act of 1982, it is a crime for anyone who has access to classified information to disclose intentionally information identifying a covert agent. The punishment for such an offense is a fine of up to $50,000 and/or up to ten years in prison. Journalists are protected from prosecution, unless they engage in a “pattern of activities” to name agents in order to impair US intelligence activities. So Novak need not worry.

Novak tells me that he was indeed tipped off by government officials about Wilson’s wife and had no reluctance about naming her. “I figured if they gave it to me,” he says. “They’d give it to others….I’m a reporter. Somebody gives me information and it’s accurate. I generally use it.” And Wilson says Novak told him that his sources were administration officials.

So where’s the investigation? Remember Filegate–and the Republican charge that the Clinton White House was using privileged information against its political foes? In this instance, it appears possible–perhaps likely–that Bush administration officials gathered material on Wilson and his family and then revealed classified information to lash out at him, and in doing so compromised national security.

Was Wilson’s wife involved in sending him off to Niger? Wilson won’t talk about her. But in response to this query, he says, “I was invited out to meet with a group of people at the CIA who were interested in this subject. None I knew more than casually. They asked me about my understanding of the uranium business and my familiarity with the people in the Niger government at the time. And they asked, ‘what would you do?’ We gamed it out–what I would be looking for. Nothing was concluded at that time. I told them if they wanted me to go to Niger I would clear my schedule. Then they got back to me and said, ‘yes, we want you to go.'”

Is it relevant that Wilson’s wife might have suggested him for the unpaid gig. Not really. And Wilson notes, with a laugh, that at that point their twins were two years old, and it would not have been much in his wife’s interest to encourage him to head off to Africa. What matters is that Wilson returned with the right answer and dutifully reported his conclusions. (In March 2003, the International Atomic Energy Agency concluded that the documents upon which the Niger allegation was based were amateurish forgeries.) His wife’s role–if she had one–has nothing but anecdotal value. And Novak’s sources could have mentioned it without providing her name. Instead, they were quite generous.

“Stories like this,” Wilson says, “are not intended to intimidate me, since I’ve already told my story. But it’s pretty clear it is intended to intimidate others who might come forward. You need only look at the stories of intelligence analysts who say they have been pressured. They may have kids in college, they may be vulnerable to these types of smears.”

Will there be any inquiry? Journalists who write about national security matters (as I often do) tend not to big fans of pursuing government officials who leak classified information. But since Bush administration officials are so devoted to protecting government secrets–such as the identity of the energy lobbyists with whom the vice president meets–one might (theoretically) expect them to be appalled by the prospect that classified information was disclosed and national security harmed for the purposes of mounting a political hit job. Yet two days after the Novak column’s appearance, there has not been any public comment from the White House or any other public reverberation.

The Wilson smear was a thuggish act. Bush and his crew abused and misused intelligence to make their case for war. Now there is evidence Bushies used classified information and put the nation’s counter-proliferation efforts at risk merely to settle a score. It is a sign that with this gang politics trumps national security.

DAVID CORN David Corn is Mother Jones' Washington bureau chief. Until 2007, he was Washington editor of The Nation. He has written for the Washington Post, New York Times, Los Angeles Times, Philadelphia Inquirer, Boston Globe, Newsday, Harper's, The New Republic, Mother Jones, Washington Monthly, LA Weekly, the Village Voice, Slate, Salon, TomPaine.com, Alternet, and many other publications. He is the co-author (with Michael Isikoff) of Hubris: The Inside Story of Spin, Scandal, and the Selling of the Iraq War (Crown, 2006). His book, The Lies of George W. Bush: Mastering the Politics of Deception (Crown, 2003) was a New York Times bestseller. The Los Angeles Times said, "David Corn's The Lies of George W. Bush is as hard-hitting an attack as has been leveled against the current president. The Washington Post called it "a fierce polemic...a serious case....[that] ought to be in voters' minds when they cast their ballots. A painstaking indictment." His first novel, Deep Background, a political thriller, was published by St. Martin's Press in 1999. The Washington Post said it is "brimming with gusto....As clean and steely as an icy Pinot Grigio....[An] exceptional thriller." The Los Angeles Times called it "a slaughterhouse scorcher of a book you don't want to put down" and named it one of the best novels of the year. The New York Times said, "You can either read now or wait to see the movie....Crowded with fictional twists and revelations." The Chicago Tribune noted, "This dark, impressive political thriller...is a top-notch piece of fiction, thoughtful and compelling." PBS anchor Jim Lehrer observed that Deep Background is "a Washington novel with everything. It's a page-turning thriller from first word to last...that brings some of the worst parts of Washington vividly alive." Corn was a contributor to Unusual Suspects, an anthology of mystery and crime fiction (Vintage/Black Lizard, 1996). His short story "My Murder" was nominated for a 1997 Edgar Allan Poe Award by the Mystery Writers of America. The story was republished in The Year's 25 Finest Crime and Mystery Stories (Carroll & Graf, 1997). He is the author of the biography Blond Ghost: Ted Shackley and the CIA's Crusades (Simon & Schuster, 1994). The Washington Monthly called Blond Ghost "an amazing compendium of CIA fact and lore." The Washington Post noted that this biography "deserves a space on that small shelf of worthwhile books about the agency." The New York Times termed it "a scorchingly critical account of an enigmatic figure who for two decades ran some of the agency's most important, and most controversial, covert operations." Corn has long been a commentator on television and radio. He is a regular panelist on the weekly television show, Eye On Washington. He has appeared on The O'Reilly Factor, Hannity and Colmes, On the Record with Greta Van Susteren, Crossfire, The Capital Gang, Fox News Sunday, Washington Week in Review, The McLaughlin Group, Hardball, C-SPAN's Washington Journal, and many other shows. He is a regular on NPR's The Diane Rehm Show and To The Point and has contributed commentary to NPR, BBC Radio, and CBC Radio. He has been a guest on scores of call-in radio programs. Corn is a Phi Beta Kappa graduate of Brown University.
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Re: THE BIG LIE ABOUT VALERIE PLAME, by Larry Johnson

Postby admin » Tue Dec 29, 2015 10:06 am

Bush's Enemy Within
Robert Novak
Jul 10, 2003

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WASHINGTON -- Much of Washington was stunned last month when President Bush's chief counterterrorism expert resigned with a blast of criticism and then joined Democratic Sen. John Kerry's campaign for president. The shock among a knowledgeable few was even greater when an intimate adviser of Janet Reno as the Clinton administration's attorney general was named to a similar high-ranking terrorism post.

Defector Rand Beers's post as senior director for Combating Terrorism remains vacant. However, on May 27, Frances Fragos Townsend was named deputy national security adviser for Combating Terrorism. The announcement obscured the fact that she had been a Democratic political appointment who was partially blamed by erstwhile Justice colleagues for failure to investigate alleged Sept. 11 terrorist Zacarias Moussaoui. A White House official told me Townsend considers herself a career government employee and a "lifelong Republican," with no responsibility for the Moussaoui fiasco.

Careful political screening by the Bush operation for routine appointments seems to have broken down in filling highly sensitive terrorism posts. The Democratic establishment, probing for soft spots in the president's armor, is claiming a misdirected war against terrorism. Bush has already suffered from one enemy within, and now risks another.

Resignation of a senior national security aide on policy grounds followed by defection to the political opposition is unprecedented. The selection last August of Beers to replace resigned veteran terrorism expert Dick Clarke raised eyebrows on Capitol Hill. Career foreign service officer Beers repeatedly tangled with House Republicans over how to fight narcoterrorists in Colombia.

Beers, a registered Democrat, vigorously promoted President Clinton's cautious line on Colombian policy as his assistant secretary of state for International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs. He owed Clinton for saving his career in 1997, when White House aides wanted to sack him as a National Security Council staffer for failing to give the president FBI reports about illegal campaign contributions from China. Beers holding a highly sensitive post in a Republican administration was an accident bound to happen.

As Beers joined the Kerry campaign by attacking Bush, extreme care would have been expected in making further appointments. That is why the Townsend selection was so stunning to officials who knew her at the Justice Department.

Townsend began her government career in 1985 as a local prosecutor in Brooklyn, working under District Attorney Elizabeth Holtzman, a prominent liberal Democratic activist. Three years later, Townsend moved to the U.S. attorney's office in Manhattan -- notoriously liberal-laden amid a Republican administration. Townsend's boss and patron there was Jo Ann Harris, whose orientation was liberal Democratic.

When Attorney General Reno in 1993 summoned Harris to Washington as assistant attorney general running the Criminal Division, Harris immediately brought Townsend along as her aide. Townsend was promoted to oversee international law enforcement and then became counsel to the attorney general for terrorism and head of the Office of Intelligence Policy and Review (OIPR) -- a political Reno appointment for a supposed career slot.

The line between career and political appointments at Justice has been blurred, but Townsend was viewed by old timers at Justice as part of the Reno inner circle. Her critics partially blame Townsend for changes in operation of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) that they claim inhibited sharing of information between intelligence and prosecution.

That shortcoming was corrected by Attorney General John Ashcroft, but not before the failure to investigate Moussaoui prior to Sept. 11. The White House official told me that Townsend had tried to correct FISA shortcomings, but that is not the version by former Justice colleagues. Ashcroft sent Townsend to the Coast Guard as assistant commandant for Intelligence, where she remained until her appointment as the president's adviser on counterterrorism.

Townsend did not return my telephone calls. The White House official representing her said National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice obtained endorsements of her by Ashcroft, FBI Director Robert Mueller and CIA Director George Tenet.

"I am absolutely astonished," a former Justice Department told me when he was informed of her claims to being a lifelong Republican. With Democrats in full cry against Bush's conduct of the war against terrorism, the president can only hope Fran Townsend is not another Randy Beers.
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Re: THE BIG LIE ABOUT VALERIE PLAME, by Larry Johnson

Postby admin » Tue Dec 29, 2015 10:09 am

Plame Gate: Did Robert Novak willfully disregard warnings that his column would endanger Valerie Plame? Our sources say "yes."
By Murray S. Waas
2.12.04

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Two government officials have told the FBI that conservative columnist Robert Novak was asked specifically not to publish the name of undercover CIA operative Valerie Plame in his now-famous July 14 newspaper column. The two officials told investigators they warned Novak that by naming Plame he might potentially jeopardize her ability to engage in covert work, stymie ongoing intelligence operations, and jeopardize sensitive overseas sources.

These new accounts, provided by a current and former administration official close to the situation, directly contradict public statements made by Novak. He has downplayed his own knowledge about the potential harm to Plame and ongoing intelligence operations by making that disclosure. He has also claimed in various public statements that intelligence officials falsely led him to believe that Plame was only an analyst, and the only potential consequences of her exposure as a CIA officer would be that she might be inconvenienced in her foreign travels.

The two administration officials questioned by the FBI characterized Novak's statements as untrue and misleading, according to a government official and an attorney official familiar with the FBI interviews.

One of the sources also asserted that the credibility of the administration officials who spoke to the FBI is enhanced by the fact that the officials made their statement to the federal law enforcement authorities. If the officials were found to be lying to the FBI, they could be potentially prosecuted for making false statements to federal investigators the sources pointed out.

Novak declined to be interviewed for this article.

The two officials say Novak was told, as one source put it, that Plame's work for the CIA "went much further than her being an analyst," and that publishing her name would be "hurtful" and could stymie ongoing intelligence operations and jeopardize her overseas sources.

"When [Novak] says that he was not told that he was 'endangering' someone, that statement might be technically true," this source says. "Nobody directly told him that she was going to be physically hurt. But that was implicit in that he was told what she did for a living."

"At best, he is parsing words," said the other official. "At worst, he is lying to his readers and the public. Journalists should not lie, I would think." These new accounts, provided by two sources familiar to the investigation, contradict Novak's attempts to downplay his own knowledge about the potential harm to Plame.

Moreover, one of the government officials who has told federal investigators that Novak's account is false has also turned over to investigators contemporaneous notes he made of at least one conversation with Novak. Those notes, according to sources, appear to corroborate the official's version of events.

That the FBI interviewed the officials who warned Novak not to publish Plame's name could not be independently corroborated through federal law-enforcement authorities. That's not surprising — the investigation has been shrouded in secrecy.

Over the past several months, the FBI has interviewed more than 30 Bush administration officials and has reviewed phone logs, personal calendars, and e-mail records, according to government sources. But Attorney General John Ashcroft tightly controlled information gathered during the probe, requiring FBI agents to sign unprecedented nondisclosure agreements that say they could face immediate termination if they speak to the press. As a result, scant information about the leak investigation has appeared in the media, making it all but disappear as a political issue for the Bush administration until the disclosure last week that a federal grand jury had been convened to hear evidence in the matter.

On December 30, Ashcroft recused himself from the case so a special counsel, U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald, could take over. And on January 21, a federal grand jury in Washington began hearing evidence, re-interviewing witnesses, and notifying others that they will be called. At least four Bush administration officials have testified so far before the grand jury.

Deputy Attorney General James Comey said the secrecy surrounding the investigation would continue -- partly because "we don't want to smear somebody who might be innocent and might not be charged."

Shortly after his column appeared, Novak seemed to suggest that the information about Plame was planted as part of a White House campaign. In an interview with Newsday reporters Timothy M. Phelps and Knut Royce, he said, "I didn't dig it out, it was given to me. They thought it was significant. They gave me the name and I used it."

Then Novak started to backtrack, giving the impression that the leak was more the result of his own initiative than from a White House source. He also claimed the Newsday reporters quoted him out of context, an accusation both reporters deny. (Full disclosure: Royce is my longtime friend.)

Novak made another statement about his column during a September 29 broadcast of CNN's Crossfire. "Nobody in the Bush administration called me to leak this," he said. "In July, I was interviewing a senior administration official on Ambassador [Joseph] Wilson's report when he told me the trip was inspired by his wife, a CIA employee working on weapons of mass destruction. Another senior official told me the same thing.

"When I called the CIA in July, they confirmed Mrs. Wilson's involvement in a mission for her husband on a secondary basis ... they asked me not to use her name, but never indicated it would endanger her or anybody else.

"According to a confidential source at the CIA, Mrs. Wilson was an analyst, not a spy, not a covert operative, and not in charge of undercover operatives. So what is the fuss about, pure Bush-bashing?"

In his July 14 column, Novak claimed that Plame had played a role in the selection of her husband for a mission to Niger to investigate allegations that Saddam Hussein was buying enriched uranium. Yet White House and CIA officials have since said that Wilson, a former national-security senior director for African affairs, was chosen only because of his expertise, and that his wife had no role in his selection.

A government official also questions Novak's claims that the columnist "called the CIA" and "they confirmed Mrs. Wilson's involvement in her husband's mission." Rather, this person says, the CIA at first declined to comment. Still later, the same official contends that Novak was categorically told that Plame had played no role in the selection of her husband for the Niger mission.

"He was told it just wasn't true -- period," said the government official. "But he just went with the story anyway. He just didn't seemed to care very much whether the information was true or not."

Apparently the leak to Novak was made as senior Bush administration officials were reportedly attempting to discredit Wilson, who had been saying that the administration had relied on faulty intelligence information to bolster its case to go to war with Iraq.(President Bush had cited the Niger evidence in his 2003 State of the Union address.)

Congressional Democrats and some members of the Bush administration say the purpose of the leak was not only to discredit Wilson but also to intimidate other government officials from coming forward to question the administration's rationale for war.

Steve Huntley, the editorial-page editor of the Chicago Sun-Times, which is the flagship newspaper for Novak's syndicated column, says he "implicitly and completely trusts Bob Novak's reporting."

Fred Hiatt, the editorial-page editor of The Washington Post, which also ran Novak's column, declined to comment. Previously, though, he told his newspaper's ombudsman, Michael Getler, "In retrospect, I wish I had asked more questions, and I wish Bob had informed us and his readers that he had considered, and rejected, a CIA request to withhold her name."

(After Novak's column appeared, an anonymous administration official said the CIA warned Novak of "security concerns" that would arise if he were to publish Plame's name. Novak has disputed that account as well.)

In an online column, "Take Three Steps to Avoid Future Novaks," Aly Colón of the Poynter Institute, a nonprofit, educational organization for journalists, writes, "There's an old adage that claims journalists are only as good as the sources that feed them. Here's a new one: Journalists are only as credible as the ethics that guide them. By disclosing the identity of a CIA operative, Novak provoked a Justice Department investigation of his sources and raised serious questions about his ethical conduct."

What if Novak indeed purposely mislead readers of his column-- as the two administration officials have asserted to the FBI?

In an interview, Colón, while saying he could not speak to the specifics of this particular story said: "Any time a journalist purposely deceives his readers, he undermines the newsperson's or [his or her own] news organization's credibility" and "threatens the trust between the reader and reporter."

Murray Waas is a Washington journalist (read more at http://www.waasinfo.com ). Research assistance for this article was provided by Thomas Lang.
Copyright © 2004 by The American Prospect, Inc. Preferred Citation: Murray S. Waas, "Plame Gate Did Robert Novak willfully disregard warnings that his column would endanger Valerie Plame? Our sources say "yes."," The American Prospect Online, February 12, 2004
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Re: THE BIG LIE ABOUT VALERIE PLAME, by Larry Johnson

Postby admin » Tue Dec 29, 2015 10:11 am

Rove Reportedly Held Phone Talk on C.I.A. Officer
By DAVID JOHNSTON and RICHARD W. STEVENSON
JULY 15, 2005

NOTICE: THIS WORK MAY BE PROTECTED BY COPYRIGHT

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Correction Appended

WASHINGTON, July 14 - Karl Rove, the White House senior adviser, spoke with the columnist Robert D. Novak as he was preparing an article in July 2003 that identified a C.I.A. officer who was undercover, someone who has been officially briefed on the matter said.

Mr. Rove has told investigators that he learned from the columnist the name of the C.I.A. officer, who was referred to by her maiden name, Valerie Plame, and the circumstances in which her husband, former Ambassador Joseph C. Wilson IV, traveled to Africa to investigate possible uranium sales to Iraq, the person said.

After hearing Mr. Novak's account, the person who has been briefed on the matter said, Mr. Rove told the columnist: "I heard that, too."

The previously undisclosed telephone conversation, which took place on July 8, 2003, was initiated by Mr. Novak, the person who has been briefed on the matter said.

Six days later, Mr. Novak's syndicated column reported that two senior administration officials had told him that Mr. Wilson's "wife had suggested sending him" to Africa. That column was the first instance in which Ms. Wilson was publicly identified as a C.I.A. operative.

The column provoked angry demands for an investigation into who disclosed Ms. Wilson's name to Mr. Novak. The Justice Department appointed Patrick J. Fitzgerald, a top federal prosecutor in Chicago, to lead the inquiry. Mr. Rove said in an interview with CNN last year that he did not know the C.I.A. officer's name and did not leak it.

The person who provided the information about Mr. Rove's conversation with Mr. Novak declined to be identified, citing requests by Mr. Fitzgerald that no one discuss the case. The person discussed the matter in the belief that Mr. Rove was truthful in saying that he had not disclosed Ms. Wilson's identity.

On Oct. 1, 2003, Mr. Novak wrote another column in which he described calling two officials who were his sources for the earlier column. The first source, whose identity has not been revealed, provided the outlines of the story and was described by Mr. Novak as "no partisan gunslinger." Mr. Novak wrote that when he called a second official for confirmation, the source said, "Oh, you know about it."

That second source was Mr. Rove, the person briefed on the matter said. Mr. Rove's account to investigators about what he told Mr. Novak was similar in its message although the White House adviser's recollection of the exact words was slightly different. Asked by investigators how he knew enough to leave Mr. Novak with the impression that his information was accurate, Mr. Rove said he had heard parts of the story from other journalists but had not heard Ms. Wilson's name.

Robert D. Luskin, Mr. Rove's lawyer, said Thursday, "Any pertinent information has been provided to the prosecutor." Mr. Luskin has previously said prosecutors have advised Mr. Rove that he is not a target in the case, which means he is not likely to be charged with a crime.

In a brief conversation on Thursday, Mr. Novak declined to discuss the matter. It is unclear if Mr. Novak has testified to the grand jury, and if he has whether his account is consistent with Mr. Rove's.

The conversation between Mr. Novak and Mr. Rove seemed almost certain to intensify the question about whether one of Mr. Bush's closest political advisers played a role in what appeared to be an effort to undermine Mr. Wilson's credibility after he challenged the veracity of a key point in Mr. Bush's 2003 State of the Union speech, saying Saddam Hussein had sought nuclear fuel in Africa.

The conversation with Mr. Novak took place three days before Mr. Rove spoke with Matthew Cooper, a Time magazine reporter, whose e-mail message about their brief talk reignited the issue. In the message, whose contents were reported by Newsweek this week, Mr. Cooper told his bureau chief that Mr. Rove had talked about Ms. Wilson, although not by name.

After saying in 2003 that it was "ridiculous" to suggest that Mr. Rove had any role in the disclosure of Ms. Wilson's name, Scott McClellan, the White House press secretary, has refused in recent days to discuss any specifics of the case. But he has suggested that President Bush continues to support Mr. Rove. On Thursday Mr. Rove was at Mr. Bush's side on a trip to Indianapolis.

As the political debate about Mr. Rove grows more heated, Mr. Fitzgerald is in what he has said are the final stages of his investigation into whether anyone at the White House violated a criminal statute that under certain circumstances makes it a crime for a government official to disclose the names of covert operatives like Ms. Wilson.

The law requires that the official knowingly identify an officer serving in a covert position. The person who has been briefed on the matter said Mr. Rove neither knew Ms. Wilson's name nor that she was a covert officer.

Mr. Fitzgerald has questioned a number of high-level administration officials. Mr. Rove has testified three times to the grand jury. I. Lewis Libby, Vice President Dick Cheney's chief of staff, has also testified. So has former Secretary of State Colin L. Powell. The prosecutor also interviewed Mr. Bush, in his White House office, and Mr. Cheney, but they were not under oath.

The disclosure of Mr. Rove's conversation with Mr. Novak raises a question the White House has never addressed: whether Mr. Rove ever discussed that conversation, or his exchange with Mr. Cooper, with the president. Mr. Bush has said several times that he wants all members of the White House staff to cooperate fully with Mr. Fitzgerald's investigation.

In June 2004, at Sea Island, Ga., soon after Mr. Cheney met with investigators in the case, Mr. Bush was asked at a news conference whether "you stand by your pledge to fire anyone found" to have leaked the agent's name.

"Yes," Mr. Bush said. "And that's up to the U.S. attorney to find the facts."

Mr. Novak began his conversation with Mr. Rove by asking about the promotion of Frances Fragos Townsend, who had been a close aide to Janet Reno when she was attorney general, to a senior counterterrorism job at the White House, the person who was briefed on the matter said.

Mr. Novak then turned to the subject of Ms. Wilson, identifying her by name, the person said. In an Op-Ed article for The New York Times on July 6, 2003, Mr. Wilson suggested that he had been sent to Niger because of Mr. Cheney's interest in the matter. But Mr. Novak told Mr. Rove he knew that Mr. Wilson had been sent at the urging of Ms. Wilson, the person who had been briefed on the matter said.

Mr. Rove's allies have said that he did not call reporters with information about the case, rebutting the theory that the White House was actively seeking to intimidate or punish Mr. Wilson by harming his wife's career. They have also emphasized that Mr. Rove appeared not to know anything about Ms. Wilson other than that she worked at the C.I.A. and was married to Mr. Wilson.

This is not the first time Mr. Rove has been linked to a leak reported by Mr. Novak. In 1992, Mr. Rove was fired from the Texas campaign to re-elect the first President Bush because of suspicions that he had leaked information to Mr. Novak about shortfalls in the Texas organization's fund-raising. Both Mr. Rove and Mr. Novak have denied that Mr. Rove had been the source.

Mr. Novak's July 14, 2003, column was published against a backdrop in which White House officials were clearly agitated by Mr. Wilson's assertion, in his Op-Ed article, that the administration had "twisted" intelligence about the threat from Iraq.

But the White House was also deeply concerned about Mr. Wilson's suggestion that he had gone to Africa to carry out a mission that originated with Mr. Cheney. At the time, Mr. Cheney's earlier statements about Iraq's banned weapons were coming under fire as it became clearer that the United States would find no stockpiles of chemical or biological weapons and that Mr. Hussein's nuclear program was not far advanced.

Mr. Novak wrote that the decision to send Mr. Wilson "was made at a routinely low level" and was based on what later turned out to be fake documents that had come to the United States through Italy.

Many aspects of Mr. Fitzgerald's investigation remain shrouded in secrecy. It is unclear who Mr. Novak's other source might be or how that source learned of Ms. Wilson's role as a C.I.A. official. By itself, the disclosure that Mr. Rove had spoken to a second journalist about Ms. Wilson may not necessarily have a bearing on his exposure to any criminal charge in the case.

But it seems certain to add substantially to the political maelstrom that has engulfed the White House this week after the reports that Mr. Rove had discussed the matter with Mr. Cooper, the Time reporter.

Mr. Cooper's e-mail message to his editors, in which he described his discussion with Mr. Rove, was among documents that were turned over by Time executives recently to comply with a subpoena from Mr. Fitzgerald. A reporter for The New York Times, Judith Miller, who never wrote about the Wilson case, refused to cooperate with the investigation and was jailed last week for contempt of court. In addition to focusing new attention on Mr. Rove and whether he can survive the political fallout, it is sure to create new partisan pressure on Mr. Bush. Already, Democrats have been pressing the president either to live up to his promises to rid his administration of anyone found to have leaked the name of a covert operative or to explain why he does not believe Mr. Rove's actions subject him to dismissal.

The Rove-Novak exchange also leaves Mr. McClellan, the White House spokesman, in an increasingly awkward situation. Two years ago he repeatedly assured reporters that neither Mr. Rove nor several other administration officials were responsible for the leak.

The case has also threatened to become a distraction as Mr. Bush struggles to keep his second-term agenda on track and as he prepares for one of the most pivotal battles of his presidency, over the confirmation of a Supreme Court justice.

As Democrats have been demanding that Mr. Rove resign or provide a public explanation, the political machine that Mr. Rove built to bolster Mr. Bush and advance his agenda has cranked up to defend its creator. The Republican National Committee has mounted an aggressive campaign to cast Mr. Rove as blameless and to paint the matter as a partisan dispute driven not by legality, ethics or national security concerns, but by a penchant among Democrats to resort to harsh personal attacks.

But Mr. Bush said Wednesday that he would not prejudge Mr. Rove's role, and Mr. Rove was seated conspicuously just behind the president at a cabinet meeting, an image of business as usual. On Thursday, on the trip with Mr. Bush to Indiana, Mr. Rove grinned his way through a brief encounter with reporters after getting off Air Force One.

Mr. Bush's White House has been characterized by loyalty and long tenures, but no one has been at Mr. Bush's side in his journey through politics longer than Mr. Rove, who has been his strategist, enforcer, policy guru, ambassador to social and religious conservatives and friend since they met in Washington in the early 1970's. People who know Mr. Bush said it was unlikely, if not unthinkable, that he would seek Mr. Rove's departure barring a criminal indictment.

Correction: July 16, 2005, Saturday Because of an editing error, a chart on Friday describing events that led to a criminal investigation of the leak of Valerie Wilson's work under cover for the C.I.A. misstated her whereabouts at the time her husband, Joseph C. Wilson IV, traveled to Niger in February 2002. She was at the agency's headquarters in Virginia, not in Niger.

Correction: July 16, 2005, Saturday Because of an editing error, a chart on Friday describing events that led to a criminal investigation of the leak of Valerie Wilson's work under cover for the C.I.A. misstated her whereabouts at the time her husband, Joseph C. Wilson IV, traveled to Niger in February 2002. She was at the agency's headquarters in Virginia, not in Niger.

Correction: July 19, 2005, Tuesday A front-page subheading on Friday with an article about the disputed involvement of Karl Rove, the White House senior adviser, in leaking the name of a C.I.A. officer omitted attribution for an account of Mr. Rove's words to the columnist Robert D. Novak. The conversation was described by someone who had been officially briefed on the matter. According to the account, Mr. Rove said "I heard that, too" after hearing about the officer from the columnist. The subheading should not have attributed the account of that comment directly to Mr. Rove.

David E. Sanger contributed reporting for this article.
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