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CIA Politics (How Waxman Claimed CIA Called Plame Covert When She Wasn't)
Human Events ^ | 4/12/07 | Robert Novak

Posted on 12/04/2007 6:35:47 AM PST by freespirited

Seated at the Washington Gridiron dinner March 31, I was interrupted by a man crouching at my feet who was dressed Air Force formal with the four stars of a full general. It was CIA Director Michael Hayden, who complained to me profanely that my column had misrepresented him in the Valerie Plame Wilson case. Denying he favors Democrats, Gen. Hayden indicated to me he had not authorized Democratic Rep. Henry Waxman to say Mrs. Wilson had been a "covert" CIA employee, as he claimed Hayden did, but only that she was "undercover."

Keeping busy at a Gridiron evening supposedly devoted to frivolity, Hayden made similar points with Rep. Peter Hoekstra, the House Intelligence Committee's ranking Republican; Republican lawyer Victoria Toensing, expert in national security law; and White House Counsel Fred Fielding. Yet, 10 days later, the CIA and its director asserted to me that the wife of Bush critic Joseph Wilson indeed had been "covert." The designation could strengthen erroneous claims that she came under the Intelligence Identities Protection Act.

Nobody ever will be prosecuted under the act for revealing Mrs. Wilson worked for the CIA. But Hayden has raised Republican suspicions that he is angling to become intelligence czar -- director of national intelligence -- under a Democratic president. While Hayden proclaims himself free of politics, his handling of the Valerie Plame case is puzzling.

Waxman, as House Oversight and Government Reform Committee chairman, sought to breathe political life into the affair with a March 16 hearing featuring Mrs. Wilson. Waxman made news by declaring Hayden "told me personally . . . that if I said, she was a covert agent, it wouldn't be an incorrect statement." I reported that this revelation stunned Hoekstra, who as Intelligence Committee chairman spent years unsuccessfully seeking Mrs. Wilson's status from the CIA.

At the Gridiron, I heard Hayden tell me he actually referred to Mrs. Wilson only as "undercover." He apparently said the same thing to Toensing, who testified as a Republican-requested witness at the March 16 hearing. On April 4, she wrote Hayden that in three Gridiron conversations "in front of different witnesses you denied most emphatically, that you had ever told" Waxman "that Valerie Plame was 'covert.' You stated you had told Waxman he could use the term 'undercover' but 'never' the term 'covert.'"

That contradiction concerned Toensing, a former Senate staffer who helped draft the 1982 Intelligence Identities Act. At the hearing, Waxman menacingly challenged Toensing's sworn testimony that Mrs. Wilson was not "covert" under the act. Accordingly, she asked Hayden to inform Waxman "you never approved of his using the term 'covert.'"

The confusion deepened when I obtained Waxman's talking points for the hearing. The draft typed after the Hayden-Waxman conversation said, "Ms. Wilson had a career as an undercover agent of the CIA." This was crossed out, the hand-printed change saying she "was a covert employee of the CIA."

Who had made this questionable but important change? Hayden told me Tuesday that the talking points were edited by a CIA lawyer after conferring with Waxman's staff. "I am completely comfortable with that," the general assured me. He added he now sees no difference between "covert" and "undercover" -- an astounding statement, considering that the criminal statute refers only to "covert" employees.

Mark Mansfield, Hayden's public affairs officer, next e-mailed me: "At CIA, you are either a covert or an overt employee. Ms. Wilson was a covert employee." That also ignores the legal requirements of the Intelligence Identities Act.

The CIA gave me a lot more than either Toensing or Hoekstra received. Toensing's letter to Hayden has gone unanswered. On March 21, Hoekstra again requested the CIA to define Mrs. Wilson's status. A written reply April 5 from Christopher J. Walker, the CIA's director of congressional affairs, said only that "it is taking longer than expected" to reply because of "the considerable legal complexity required for this tasking."

Mike Hayden was brought into the CIA as an intelligence professional when President Bush fired Porter Goss, who had retired from Congress to go to Langley at the president's request. Goss thought he had a mandate to clean up an agency whose senior officials delivered private anti-Bush briefings during the 2004 campaign. The confusion over Valerie Plame's status suggests the CIA gave Waxman what he wanted, even if the director of central intelligence seemed confused.


TOPICS: News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: henrywaxman; michaelhayden; plamegate; valerieplame
The RATS play Bush administration officials like a violin--again. It couldn't be more obvious from this that she was not covert, yet the Administration allows the notion to persist.

BTW, this appeared in April. I just came across it and it didn't come up on search, so I decided to post it.

1 posted on 12/04/2007 6:35:49 AM PST by freespirited
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To: freespirited

so it looks like Waxhead took it upon himself to change it to covert and got away with it?


2 posted on 12/04/2007 6:47:53 AM PST by RDTF ("Courage is resistance to fear, mastery of fear - not absence of fear". Mark Twain)
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To: RDTF

The article attributes the change to a CIA lawyer. Who knows if that is true, or if it is, whether said individual did it without prompting. Since the CIA is full of RATS trying to take down the adminstration it is certainly possible.

Also possible is that this was done in conjunction with Waxman’s office.

Regardless of who is responsible, they did get away with it BIGTIME. Not to mention that we have a CIA Director who does not understand the distinction between undercover and covert—or is a terrific actor.


3 posted on 12/04/2007 6:55:25 AM PST by freespirited (I'm voting for the GOP nominee.)
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To: freespirited

Waxman can’t see past his nose.


4 posted on 12/04/2007 6:58:41 AM PST by bmwcyle (BOMB, BOMB, BOMB,.......BOMB, BOMB IRAN)
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To: RDTF
so it looks like Waxhead took it upon himself to change it to covert and got away with it?

The confusion deepened when I obtained Waxman's talking points for the hearing. The draft typed after the Hayden-Waxman conversation said, "Ms. Wilson had a career as an undercover agent of the CIA." This was crossed out, the hand-printed change saying she "was a covert employee of the CIA."

Who had made this questionable but important change? Hayden told me Tuesday that the talking points were edited by a CIA lawyer after conferring with Waxman's staff. "I am completely comfortable with that," the general assured me. He added he now sees no difference between "covert" and "undercover" -- an astounding statement, considering that the criminal statute refers only to "covert" employees.

5 posted on 12/04/2007 7:00:32 AM PST by Tallguy (Climate is what you plan for, weather is what you get.)
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To: freespirited

Novak COULD have saved us ALL by reporting who “OUTED” that B@tch Plame....the DICK ARMITAGE!! Novak has a HUGE responsibility in this.


6 posted on 12/04/2007 7:04:15 AM PST by Ann Archy (Abortion: The Human Sacrifice to the god of Convenience.)
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To: Tallguy; freespirited

I smell a RAT big time. Or is it a piggy?


7 posted on 12/04/2007 7:16:21 AM PST by RDTF ("Courage is resistance to fear, mastery of fear - not absence of fear". Mark Twain)
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To: freespirited
Since the CIA is full of RATS trying to take down the administration

All to true, but it is Bush's fault. He should have cleaned house in the CIA when he got in, but, instead, he left Clinton appointments as a "bipartisan" gesture. The naivete of such a move is appalling beyond belief.

8 posted on 12/04/2007 7:17:49 AM PST by Seņor Zorro ("The ability to speak does not make you intelligent"--Qui-Gon Jinn)
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To: freespirited

“Covert” is defined by statute. As a lawyer, Waxman knows that a person would have to fit the definition of “covert” exactly in order for it to be a crime to expose them. He would also know better than to take the word of an unidentified CIA attorney on that question.


9 posted on 12/04/2007 7:19:00 AM PST by popdonnelly (Get Reid. Salazar, and Harkin out of the Senate.)
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To: freespirited
Why was he crouching?

a man crouching at my feet who was dressed Air Force formal with the four stars of a full general.

10 posted on 12/04/2007 7:25:22 AM PST by DManA
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To: RDTF

A lawyer would know that the legal definition of a term can often be at variance with the commonly accepted definition. All through the Plame-controversy the Dems have been playing fast & loose with definitions, interchanging the words “classified” with “covert”, often within the same statement. They knew that the only way to keep the controversy alive was to keep as many people as possible believing that she was covert, when a fair reading of the law suggested that she was not.


11 posted on 12/04/2007 7:25:34 AM PST by Tallguy (Climate is what you plan for, weather is what you get.)
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To: RDTF
If ANY face ever should be "covert", this is one:


12 posted on 12/04/2007 7:26:06 AM PST by traditional1 (Thompson/Hunter '08)
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To: freespirited

So was she covert, or undercover?

Lets make it easy. Novak confirmed her employment at CIA by calling CIA and asking. If CIA gives you up over the telephone to someone calling in who would just like to know, you are neither covert nor undercover.


13 posted on 12/04/2007 8:22:49 AM PST by marron
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To: Tallguy
All through the Plame-controversy the Dems have been playing fast & loose with definitions, interchanging the words “classified” with “covert”

Nobody was guiltier of this than Fitzfong himself.

14 posted on 12/04/2007 10:21:37 AM PST by freespirited (I'm voting for the GOP nominee.)
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