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Who leaked the name of Valerie Plame?

Better yet, why has Bush personally retained an attorney in the widening scandal and investigation of who leaked what?

On July 14, 2003, Robert Novak wrote a column in the Post and other newspapers naming Valerie Plame, as a CIA operative. Since then, the scandal is growing deeper and deeper and there are suggestions they lead all the way up to the White House.

Joseph Wilson, a now former diplomat, was sent to Niger to sniff out information to find evidence tying to tie Niger to uranium and ultimately to Iraq.  Wilson was accompanied by his wife, Valerie Plame, who was a CIA operative.

Somewhere in the whole mess, Wilson starting becoming very critical of Bush – something Bush will not tolerate and he sees his critics as enemies of the state. Wilson goes public and says there is no connect.  In what appears to be all out vendetta style retaliation, Robert Novak picks up on a ‘tip’ that Wilson’s wife was a CIA operative.  With her cover blown, her life expectancy drops below nil.  

Questions started cropping up, who leaked the name of a CIA operative, and Novak is not talking. 

Dwight Meredith, a former journalist, wrote: “Who burned Valerie Plame? Novak sourced the information to "senior administration officials." The Post quotes a senior administration official as saying that two "top White House officials" spoke to six journalists and provided the information that Plame was a CIA operative”. ..

“The number of people who are at the White House and who qualify as both "top" and "senior" and who have security clearance needed to know the identity of covert CIA operatives is quite small”.  ..

The White House is stonewalling the investigation – as usual.  Meridith outlines that only people on the ‘inside’ could have the clearances to know who is doing what.  The CIA can be discounted because they never talk to anyone – we can leave the CIA out of this.  Our focus turns to the White House itself. 
My questions start with why Robert Novak published the story.  Punishment for disclosure of such information is rather nasty. 

Among some of the other words that can be applied is TREASON.  Novak stuck his neck out and literally threw it in the noose himself.  A true, law abiding, journalist is supposed to be above this sort of thing – it is one thing to criticize ones country, but to hand out highly classified material is quite another.  To quote:

Intelligence Identities Protection Act of 1982, codified as 50 U.S.C., Section 421 Protection of identities of certain United States undercover intelligence officers, agents, informants, and sources:

(a)   Disclosure of information by persons having or having had access to classified information that identifies covert agent

Whoever, having or having had authorized access to classified information that identifies a covert agent, intentionally discloses any information identifying such covert agent to any individual not authorized to receive classified information, knowing that the information disclosed so identifies such covert agent and that the United States is taking affirmative measures to conceal such covert agent's intelligence relationship to the United States, shall be fined not more than $50,000 or imprisoned not more than ten years, or both.

George Tenet, the Director of Central Intelligence, was abruptly let go when this thing was heating up.  So there is my second question – What did Tenet know?  Did he refuse to cover the matter up and that is why he suddenly found himself without a job? Who fired him?

The onus to call in the FBI lies squarely on Ashcroft.  But, he might have too much to lose and the last thing the White House needs is the Feds having a father and son chat with everyone.  Another reason to keep the Feds out is that if a person lies to the investigators, one is prison bound – regardless of what office they hold.  There is no immunity, even if you are the president.

MSNBC AND NBC NEWS revealed an exclusive that the CIA has asked the Justice Department to investigate allegations that the White House broke federal laws by revealing the identity of one of its undercover employees in retaliation against the woman’s husband, a former ambassador who publicly criticized President Bush’s since-discredited claim that Iraq had sought weapons-grade uranium from Africa.   Readers will remember that Bush has been trying to prove that Iraq was building a nuclear program.  Wilson, found out differently, there was no connection between Iraq and Africa, and went public with what Bush wanted to create and what the facts really were – sending Bush into maniacal, foam at the mouth, hysterics.   People who report the truth, which might be opposite to what Bush wants to hear, are branded as unpatriotic by Bush.

What seems to have infuriated Bush even more is that the ‘alleged connection’ between Iraq, Africa and weapons grade uranium, was in his State of the Union address.  He used the 16 word sentence as a pretext for the invasion of Iraq.  Now, Bush is caught between a rock and a hard place – he had just lied on national television. 

Bush also used this same home spun, “gosh I wish it were true” in a speech before the United Nations.  Now, they also think he is a liar.

Bush convinces himself as having every reason for revenge – the information he desperately wanted to have true was not, and he had just told everyone in the US, and the world, something completely opposite to what his own intelligence had discovered. 

The CIA is on Bush's short list as the CIA is not playing by Bush’s rules.  The CIA maybe many things, but liars they are not.  There are suggestions that there is a massive rift between Bush and the CIA. 

The facts are:

When the Niger claim first arose, in February 2002, the CIA sent Wilson to Africa to investigate. He reported finding no credible evidence that Iraq was seeking uranium from Niger.
The CIA’s doubts about the uranium claim were reported through routine intelligence traffic throughout the government, U.S. intelligence officials said. Those doubts were also reported to the British.

The Niger report included a notation that it was unconfirmed when it was published in the October 2002 National Intelligence Estimate, the classified summary of intelligence on Iraq’s weapons programs.

The CIA had the Niger claim removed from at least two speeches before they were given: Bush’s October address on the Iraqi threat, and a speech by U.N. Ambassador John Negroponte.

As the State of the Union address was being written, CIA officials protested over how the alleged uranium connection was being portrayed, so the administration changed it to attribute it to the British.

Unfortunately, the British intelligence report cannot be verified.  “We spend billions of dollars on intelligence,” Wilson wrote. “But we end up putting something in the State of the Union address, something we got from another intelligence agency, something we cannot independently verify, in an area of Africa where the British have no on-the-ground presence.”
He said, who said?

With the CIA asking the Justice Department, Ashcroft, to investigate means the matter is no longer under control.  Ashcroft has everything to loose on this one. 

Bush, who has not used his office to even cooperate with the investigation, also stands to lose everything, I doubt if ‘daddy’ can bail him out on this one. It is far too serious. Besides, he’d stand to lose his head too. When Bush wins the election, and it turns out he is directly linked to the leak, he would face impeachment.

And, who knows what else might be uncovered?  Not to mention this whole National Guard issue. Or the casual relationship between Bush and Bin Laden. Or did georgie boy skip his flight physical because they would have found traces of illegal drugs in his urine?

Could Cheney's head be on the block – if the FBI turns attention on him, they might find that Cheney had more than a casual relationship between the scandal laden Halliburton, or the smoke and mirror ties to the former government of Iraq when he was CEO of Haliburton. 

Another candidate is Rumsfeld – he wanted a jolly good war and now to find out that the majority of the justification was pure BS might be his undoing.  Then there is the matter of the Iraq POW abuse, and guess who was with Sad-Damn a number of times, more specifically when Sad-damn related he was having a problem with the Kurds and was leaning towards using lethal gas.  Some feel it was Rumsfeld who gave a silent approval, on behalf of the United States, to that.

Regardless, Bush is still responsible by virtue of the office he holds.  I am reminded of a saying I was heard: “Be very careful about who you screw over on your way up because you will meet them on your way down”.

Now, to level the playing field flatter than a pancake – the Anti-Terrorist Act and the Patriot Act rushed through congress by the four horse’s asses of the apocalypse – the act that authorizes the Central Intelligence Agency to investigate American citizens.  According to those two acts, the CIA does not need Ashcroft to turn the FBI loose – the CIA can do the investigation themselves.  This could make for some very interesting times ahead. You see, the CIA does not like people messin' with their own.

Michael Berglin

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