Skip to comments.Senate Report Clouds Leak Investigation
Posted on 07/19/2004 8:58:47 AM PDT by OESY
Sparring Over Veracity Of CIA Operative's Husband Could Delay Indictments Past Election
WASHINGTON -- A long-running Justice Department investigation into which Bush-administration official leaked CIA operative Valerie Plame's name is back where it started: Her husband, former diplomat Joseph Wilson, is finding his credibility under severe assault. And that could have implications for how the leak case is resolved.
The Senate report and a similar one by British authorities released this month make clear that the question of whether Iraq sought uranium in Africa is a murky one that may never be fully resolved. The reports show that intelligence agencies from both countries have multiple unconfirmed reports that Iraq made such an attempt in Niger and elsewhere. French and British intelligence separately told the U.S. about possible Iraqi attempts to buy uranium in Niger, the U.S. report said. There were other unverified reports as well. As a result, the 511-page British report backed the U.K. government's claim that it had intelligence that Iraq had sought uranium in Africa, and said Mr. Bush's claim on the subject and a similar one by British Prime Minister Tony Blair were "well-founded."
But the U.S. report criticizes the CIA for "inconsistent and at times contradictory" reports to policy-makers on the uranium issue. It says it was reasonable for the agency to think the Niger purchase attempt may have occurred until October 2002, when the U.S. government received documents purporting to describe Iraqi purchase attempts but which were clearly forgeries. Even so, the report says, the CIA didn't warn Mr. Bush against raising the issue in his State of the Union speech. Only later, on June 17, 2003, did the agency conclude in an internal memo that "We no longer believe there is sufficient other reporting to conclude that Iraq pursued uranium from abroad."
A former U.S. ambassador to Gabon and National Security Council Africa expert, Mr. Wilson was sent to Niger to check out reports that Iraq had sought to buy yellowcake, which is milled uranium oxide that is refined to make nuclear-weapons material. A year later, after the U.S. invasion, Mr. Wilson wrote a newspaper opinion piece asserting that the intelligence on Iraq and yellowcake had been "twisted" to exaggerate the Iraq threat.
Disclosure of Ms. Plame's identity prompted former CIA Director George Tenet to ask for a Justice Department investigation. Federal law makes it a crime to knowingly disclose the identity of a covert intelligence officer with the intention of damaging national security. It is also a felony for any U.S. official with a security clearance to disclose an intelligence officer's identity to anyone not authorized to receive such information.
Prosecutors are still trying to determine who leaked Ms. Plame's identity and why. The question, says a law-enforcement official, is whether the individual had a security clearance that gave him or her access to Ms. Plame's identity -- and also leaked her name to damage national security. "We still have to prove that, and it's not easy to do," the official says. "That's why nothing ever happens with these cases."
Dozens of White House employees, including the president and vice president, have been interviewed. Most recently, several reporters have been subpoenaed to appear before a grand jury. Mr. Novak has repeatedly declined to say whether he has been subpoenaed.
Under Justice Department guidelines, prosecutors must show they have pursued nearly all other means of obtaining information before calling a reporter before a grand jury, a Justice Department official says. Because it is considered a last resort, sending subpoenas to journalists may indicate the investigation is winding down, Justice Department and FBI lawyers say.
(Excerpt) Read more at online.wsj.com ...
There are recent stories of the Defence Department moving a lot of uranium from Iraq to the U.S.
Where did that uranium come from if Iraq wasn't seeking it from abroad?
Anyone still have that link?
SECURITY ALERT!!!! Valerie Plame may be subject to getting caught in a classic honey trap!!
I believe that uranium load came from Libya. IIRC, GW was just in Tennessee at Oak Ridge, and was shown the stuff brought in.
"Plame's link to the CIA was one of the worst kept secrets in Washington. You didn't need a security clearance to know it, and revealing it had no bearing on national security."
Then why did Tenent and the CIA request the investigation?
"I would bet the ranch that this investigation will lead to NO indictments."
I agree, as does almost eveyone else - it's the usual outcome of this type investigation.
If Joe Wilson testified in this matter,he should be indicted.
Aldrich Ames, a decade earlier?
What this article doesn't mention is that there is no question that Iraq sent a "trade" delegation to Niger in I believe '99 - Wilson himself verified this point.
And since Niger's only export is uranium, it seems pretty obvious to all concerned exactly what it is the Iraqis were seeking.
To say this question is "murky" is disingenuous at best.
She did it herself by her listing in Who's Who.
If he and/or wifey was/were the Beeb's source for the yellowcake stories, the Feds ought to tack that on, too.
As I told you, I'm pretty sure the investigation is looking at other issues of this story, and the focus is the Wilsons. (so goes my theory, which the Senate Committee only helped to buttress)
BTW, not only is it my surmise about Plame's status, Cliff May (I know, I know, you disdain the source, but look at his reasoning) also suspects she was not working undercover:
Now that we know that Mrs. Wilson did recommend Mr. Wilson for the Niger assignment, can we not infer that she was working at CIA headquarters in Langley rather than as an undercover operative in some front business or organization somewhere?
If Joe Wilson testified in this matter,he should be indicted.
as Martha Stewart has just found out, you don't have to testify under oath to be guilty of a crime. Merely lying to investigators is a felony, even if there is no underlying crime, the lie itself is a crime.
I think there should be, and will be, indictments coming out of this investigation. Joe Wilson will almost certainly be indicted for lying to the FBI, probably for lying to a grand jury and hopefully for lying to Congress.
Now, if I were the Federal Prosecutor working on this case, I'd offer Joey a deal. Flip on the dim operatives who staged this whole thing, particularly the ones planted by Clinton in the CIA and the State Department. Then we'll give him a reduced sentance and agree not to charge his wife (but she will have to resign and lose her security clearance).
It would be interesting to see how high the conspiracy goes inside the Democrat party? Little Tommy? McAwful? Date I say it? The Toons? Of course, Arkancide would happen long before anything like that came out. In fact, I wouldn't be at all surprised if Joey began taking long walks in Fort Marcy park to clear his head.
"It seems to me Val was not undercover, as I've opined to you even before the Senate Committee revealed the memo."
I thank you for your continued educational efforts.
From the WSJ "A long-running Justice Department investigation into which Bush-administration official leaked CIA operative Valerie Plame's name is back where it started:"
I beleive the WSJ more than I do your source, Cliff May.
I don't believe this representation of the report is accurate or correct. The report states the record accurately--that the documents were not analyzed by intelligence until after the speech. When that is clear, it is no mystery why they "failed" to "raise the issue".
The sequence (which is no "new news"):
Thursday, July 17, 2003
The State Department (search) obtained the fraudulent documents alleging Iraq sought uranium in Africa months before President Bush made the claim, but U.S. intelligence analysts did not examine them closely enough to determine they were forgeries until after the president's disputed speech, U.S. officials say.
"We acquired the documents in October 2002 and they were shared widely within the U.S. government, with all the appropriate agencies," said State Department spokesman Richard Boucher.
But an intelligence official said the CIA didn't obtain the documents from the State Department until February 2003. It was unclear why the CIA did not obtain the documents when the State Department said it had them available.
I'll offer a theory: The counter-proliferation arm of the CIA was involved in this Wilson scheme on their own iniative. I am getting more and more suspicious of the Wilsons' involvement in concocting the forged documents.
What the hell is wrong with reporters that they can't keep the facts straight. It is not complicated. I get easily confused, but these facts have been out there literally since the Wilson story began.
Now, the question is how the State Department might be involved. Note this interesting tidbit from the New York Times from last October:
Second, as Mrs. Wilson rose in the agency, she was already in transition away from undercover work to management, and to liaison roles with other intelligence agencies. So this year, even before she was outed, she was moving away from "noc" which means non-official cover, like pretending to be a business executive. After passing as an energy analyst for Brewster-Jennings & Associates, a C.I.A. front company, she was switching to a new cover as a State Department official, affording her diplomatic protection without having "C.I.A." stamped on her forehead.
So, how much influence did Mrs. Wilson wield over at State?
Not everything you read in the Journal is above suspicion:
after all, Al Hunt has a column there!
For those who may be puzzled at your observation, I refer them to my second link in post #17 for the sourcing on Ames.
Too bad this piece makes a bit of a mish mash of the factual record...I would be reluctant to form opinions based on such.
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