April 9th, 2006

If It Wasn’t a Leak?

OK, everyone has discussed Scooter’s revelation that Bush authorized the “information sharing” about Valerie Plame. I probably don’t have a lot to add to the discourse, but I guess I’m just confused and need your help on something. Was it a leak or not?

According to White House jester Scott McClellan, “the president staunchly opposes releasing classified information that could affect U.S. security. And he pointed out that the president reserves the right to declassify material. ” OK, simple enough I guess. We don’t release classified info that could get people killed or jeopardize our safety.

But then:

Looking at the specific 2003 case, McClellan said, “Because of the public debate that was going on and some of the wild accusations that were flying around at the time, we felt it was very much in the public interest that what information could be declassified be declassified, and that’s exactly what we did.”

Wait a second here. We don’t declassify things that could be a threat — but we do declassify things about people who can be a threat? A political threat? How very Bush-like. That, however, isn’t my question. The President DOES have the right to declassify information (and the Vice President too, thanks to GWB’s job-sharing program), I’m not arguing that at all. I want to know why the President didn’t just say — “Hey, I said it was OK. I declassified that and it’s not a security issue at all.” Why go through the song and dance about firing people, being upset, etc?

Does that make sense to you? If you aren’t trying to pull a fast one on the American public, you just tell the truth. If you say this isn’t a leak, it’s authorized information — the story dies. Instead, this mental midget of a President (or whichever Machiavellian adviser authorized his response) pulls a Clinton and has him lie to the camera.

Only there was no lady to have sexual relations with this time. The person getting fucked was America.

I just don’t get it.

Posted in Politics

19 Comment(s)

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  1. John Palcewski Says :

    I can hardly wait to see the Sunday talk shows.   The Republican fascist swine, in unison on all major networks and the cable stations, will SPIN this story to demonstrate that the media and the special prosecutor and most especially the libruls have once again given comfort to the terrists.  Yep, that’s it.  Meanwhile, the swine are hard at work dreaming up justifications for still another warmongering adventure, this time in Iran.  Yep.  The terrists need to be stopped, and RIGHT NOW.  God told Bush he’s gotta do it.  Drop some nuclear bunker busters on atomic bomb factories.  Evidence?  Well, the fascist swine have more than enough evidence to justify the move, but of course it’s secret.  Part of national security.

    Watch.  That’s how the story will be spun.  And I wonder when someone will call them on this truly sickening bullshit.

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  2. abi Says :

    No question they were trying to pull a fast one and deceive the public.  The only thing saving Bush’s ass is the Republican majority in congress.

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  3. John - agreed


    Abi - lets change that in November my friend. 

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  4. GTL Says :

    Abi is absolutely, 100% correct…  the GOP majority in our Government is protecting the President and is creating precedent which was previously unprecedented.  Spin they will, and spin they are…  it’s already just “Democrats playing politics with the issue” on the MSM.  Funny thing is, I’m not a Democrat and I have a serious problem with it.

    A house of cards is about to come tumbling down, bro…

    Buckle yer seatbelts ;-)

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  5. Tom Harper Says :

    Yup, that’s the solution.  Vote Democrat this November.  Please!

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  6. Craig R. Harmon Says :

    I don’t believe that Bush authorized the leaking of, as you put it, ‘ “information sharing” about Valerie Plame ‘. At least, I haven’t seen anything in the news reports that includes that. What was authorized was some information in the NIE that contradicted Wilson’s New York Times opinion piece. If you have a news report that says that Valerie Plame’s identification and connection to the CIA was a part of the information authorized, I’d love to see it.

    Secondly, since the President has declassification power, any information he authorizes released to the press is ipso facto not a leak but an authorized distribution of information. So the answer to your question in the title is a resounding “No!”. His authorization declassified the information. Information declassified and authorized for release by the President, by definition is not a leak.

    Thirdly, as far as I know, Bush didn’t know who had released Plames ID and employer. Since he didn’t authorize that info, that WAS a leak of classified information, was illegal, and he wanted to know who had done it and would get rid of whoever had broken the law in doing it. Again, if you have information to the contrary, I’d love to see it.

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  7. Craig interesting points. However lets play a game called common sense. The President tells his folks to release information to contradict a political liability in Joe Wilson (a liability because the guy was poking Titanic size holes in the argument for war) and oh wow suddenly Joe’s wife is outed as a CIA agent. Now I know the man isn’t he brightest bulb on the tree, but it is beyond the realm of reasonability to assume he can’t put 2 + 2 together and say hmm maybe they took my orders a bit to literally. 

     Are you trying to argue the President didn’t have any idea that his instructions led to the leak (or not leak) of Valerie Plame?


    So where we stand is either


    1. Bush authorized the discrditing of Joe Wilson and knew about it, making his shocked and bewlidered act a bit less believable, however making the leak itself a political non issue.

    2.  Bush didn’t know how leaked or why and therefor his shock and bewilderment is genuine - but his response to the affiar (threat to fire) is now hollow and meaningless because he did not follow through on it.


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  8. Craig R. Harmon Says :

    As I understand it, Libby told Fitz that Cheney told him (i. e., Libby) that Bush had told him (i. e., Cheney) to release the portions of the NIE briefing that reinforced the intelligence concerning Iraq’s efforts to obtain nuclear material and this to counter the (in their view and mine) misleading things that Wilson had said about what he’d found out during his fact-finding mission to Niger, the information that was released generally just 10 days later. As I understand it, Bush left it up to Cheney to work out the details from there. This makes sense, to me, because it was Cheney’s former Chief of Staff that gave out the info, not Rove or someone else in Bush’s staff.

    There’s no doubt in my mind that Bush authorized the NIE info and did so to counteract what they and I view as Wilson’s disinformation in the Times so to that extent, Bush authorized the discrediting of Wilson. There is, as I say, no evidence that Bush authorized the leak of Plame’s name & employment info.

    I think that Bush did not know the details. Whether Cheney authorized the part about Ms. Plame or not, I don’t know. I wouldn’t think so, but who knows? I tend to think that that was a case of not realizing that Plame’s employment by the CIA was an actively held secret ahead of time. Fitz, in fact, refuses to say whether Plame’s place t the CIA actually was classified as Libby’s lawyer has asked for in discovery.

    There was the (mis)information that Wilson had been sent by or on the orders of Cheney. He wasn’t. There was the (mis)information that Plame had no part in Wilson’s being sent to Niger. She did. That was just more straightening out of what the WH and I believe to have been deliberate misinformation on Wilson’s part, just as was Wilson’s explanation of what he’d found in Niger had been. It’s no secret that Wilson and his wife considered the whole Niger thing to be huey from the beginning, before Wilson went. It wasn’t that Wilson found no evidence that a contingent from Iraq had met with Niger people or that a former Nigerian official didn’t believe that that meeting had been an attempt to buy yellow-cake. In fact that’s exactly what Wilson did find. It was, rather, that Wilson didn’t believe the information that he’d found so he said he’d found nothing at all.

    As for not following through, the person who actually did identify Wilson’s wife (not, I believe, by name) and employment at the CIA and her role in her husband’s being sent to Niger, when discovered, was let go/quit. What more are you after?

    I do think that the President relied on the official investigation, rather than his own attempts to discover whether someone had gone too far with his declassification instructions. After all, he could have gone to Cheney and asked, “Who’d you get to give out that NIE intel to the press because, you know, he’s probably the one who let the stuff about Plame slip and he ought to be thrown to the dogs. Do I think the President carried on a diligent effort to find out? Not at all. I don’t recall whether he actually said that he WOULD conduct an internal investigation to discover who it was. After all, there was a special prosecutor doing that.

    Are you saying that Cheney should have been canned? It may turn out that he will be if it comes out that Cheney specifically authorized the Plame leak. I haven’t seen that yet, though. Will see.

    This is a question for you, though. Do we know for sure that Ms. Plame was a covert CIA agent at the time of the leak? I mean, the statutory definition of an active covert agent includes having been out of the country within the previous five years (if I recall correctly) and I also seem to recall that Ms. Plame had been working domestically for at least the previous six years. I could have this wrong, though, I admit. Are we certain that ANYONE committed the crime of identifying a covert agent?

    I’m not saying it was an okay thing to do. That’s not my point. I’m just saying, if there never was any law broken by anyone here, why all of the calling for heads, as it were?

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  9. Craig R. Harmon Says :

    Pigs fly!

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  10. tos Says :

    Craig- I couldn’t have put it better. It really had to be broken down the way you did. As I had said in a previous comment I don’t believe anyone really cares about Valerie Plame’s identity because she wasn’t in danger of being an overseas covert agent,which she wasn’t. But it seems to be all about control of the White House. The parties are like little kids . Jealous,envious and just ruthless and either party will go out of the way to bring down the other. We saw it with Clinton and we’re seeing it now and I’m sure we will see it again and again.


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  11. prozacula Says :

    um, valerie plame WAS a covert foreign agent, working on weapons of mass destruction.

    regardless of whether you define this as a ‘leak’ or a ‘declassification’ Bush outed an undercover CIA agent.

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  12. Craig R. Harmon Says :

    Prozacula, and a fine assertion that is, too. Worth about as much as I paid for it.

    Point me please to something, a reputable news report for instance, that says that Bush outed an undercover CIA agent. Every news report that I’ve seen so far refutes you. 

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  13. prozacula Says :

    um, try reading the transcript of Fitz’s indictment of libby.  he said something to the effect  - valerie plame WAS a covert agent.  until the leaking of this information to the press, that is.


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  14. Craig R. Harmon Says :

    Okay, this asserts that Valerie Plame was an employee of the CIA and that her employment status was classified. To wit:

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

    It does not assert that she was a covert agent. The definition of a “covert agent” is found in Title 50, US Code, section 426:

    “(4) The term “covert agent” means—

    (A) a present or retired officer or employee of an intelligence agency or a present or retired member of the Armed Forces assigned to duty with an intelligence agency—
    (i) whose identity as such an officer, employee, or member is classified information, and

    (ii) who is serving outside the United States or has within the last five years served outside the United States; or

    (B) a United States citizen whose intelligence relationship to the United States is classified information, and—
    (i) who resides and acts outside the United States as an agent of, or informant or source of operational assistance to, an intelligence agency, or

    (ii) who is at the time of the disclosure acting as an agent of, or informant to, the foreign counterintelligence or foreign counterterrorism components of the Federal Bureau of Investigation; or

    (C) an individual, other than a United States citizen, whose past or present intelligence relationship to the United States is classified information and who is a present or former agent of, or a present or former informant or source of operational assistance to, an intelligence agency.”

    In other words, a “covert agent” is more than someone about whom their CIA employment is classified. They must be living or have lived and served out of the country within the last five years (4Bi) or be an agent of or informant to the foreign counterintelligence or foreign counterterrorism component of the FBI. If either of these conditions obtained, Plame would be a covert agent. Fitz asserts that she was employed by the CIA and that her employment was classified but does not assert that she was a covert agent. This may account for the fact that no one has been indicted (yet) for breaking Title 50, section 421″Protection of identities of certain United States undercover intelligence officers, agents, informants, and sources.”

    But even if that’s just an oversight of Fitz’s indictment, where’s the Bush-Plame leak connection. I’ve read the indictment and there’s nothing in there that even implies, let alone implicates, Bush in the Plame leak or knowledge of said leak so your statement, “Bush outed an undercover CIA agent[]” remains unsupported.

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  15. 4Truth Says :

    Craig R. Harmon Says :This is a question for you, though. Do we know for sure that Ms. Plame was a covert CIA agent at the time of the leak? I mean, the statutory definition of an active covert agent includes having been out of the country within the previous five years.

    4TRUTH says: Why does the  timing of treason matter?

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  16. Craig R. Harmon Says :


    It’s not timing, it’s statute. If it ain’t illegal, it ain’t treason. Simple matter of law. 

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  17. pjordansr Says :

    “It depends on what the meaning of “is “is”, get a life 4 Lies and move on to the Muppet room.

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  18. 4Truth Says :

    Treason has no limitation - like murder. this is BUSH’s “is” except instead of a bj it is Treason.


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  19. Craig R. Harmon Says :


    You are good with the assertions, aren’t you. Why is it we have to draw even any semblance of a foundation, let alone proof, needs to be drawn out of you like a tooth?

    First you still haven’t shown that Plame’s info release amounts to treason. You haven’t shown that Bush has any connection to the release of the Plame info.

    You’ve fallen quite short.

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