Behind the CIA Leak Investigation

Techniguy - 10-28-2005

In light of the current CIA leak investigation which was demanded by the CIA on behalf of Chuck Schumer and other Democrats, I think it's important to take another look at what is really going on here. Those of you who have been receiving my Newsletters for more than two years will remember the following internal memo from Democrats on the 2003 Senate Intelligence Committee investigating alleged intelligence failures in the case for war with Iraq.  If you recall, it was that previous investigation before the 911 investigation which also failed to expose the intelligence failures of the Clinton Administration.


We have carefully reviewed our options under the rules and believe we have identified the best approach. Our plan is as follows:

1) Pull the majority along as far as we can on issues that may lead to major new disclosures regarding improper or questionable conduct by administration officials. We are having some success in that regard. For example, in addition to the president's State of the Union speech, the chairman has agreed to look at the activities of the Office of the Secretary of Defense as well as Secretary Bolton's office at the State Department. The fact that the chairman supports our investigations into these offices and co-signs our requests for information is helpful and potentially crucial. We don't know what we will find but our prospects for getting the access we seek is far greater when we have the backing of the majority. (Note: we can verbally mention some of the intriguing leads we are pursuing.)

2) Assiduously prepare Democratic "additional views" to attach to any interim or final reports the committee may release. Committee rules provide this opportunity and we intend to take full advantage of it. In that regard, we have already compiled all the public statements on Iraq made by senior administration officials. We will identify the most exaggerated claims and contrast them with the intelligence estimates that have since been declassified. Our additional views will also, among other things, castigate the majority for seeking to limit the scope of the inquiry. The Democrats will then be in a strong position to reopen the question of establishing an independent commission (i.e. the Corzine amendment).

3) Prepare to launch an independent investigation when it becomes clear we have exhausted the opportunity to usefully collaborate with the majority. We can pull the trigger on an independent investigation at any time-- but we can only do so once. The best time to do so will probably be next year either:

A) After we have already released our additional views on an interim report -- thereby providing as many as three opportunities to make our case to the public: 1) additional views on the interim report; 2) announcement of our independent investigation; and 3) additional views on the final investigation; or

B) Once we identify solid leads the majority does not want to pursue. We could attract more coverage and have greater credibility in that context than one in which we simply launch an independent investigation based on principled but vague notions regarding the "use" of intelligence.

In the meantime, even without a specifically authorized independent investigation, we continue to act independently when we encounter foot-dragging on the part of the majority. For example, the FBI Niger investigation was done solely at the request of the vice chairman; we have independently submitted written questions to DoD; and we are preparing further independent requests for information.


Intelligence issues are clearly secondary to the public's concern regarding the insurgency in Iraq. Yet, we have an important role to play in the revealing the misleading -- if not flagrantly dishonest methods and motives -- of the senior administration officials who made the case for a unilateral, preemptive war. The approach outline above seems to offer the best prospect for exposing the administration's dubious motives and methods.

It was obvious at the time, and is even more obvious now, that Democrats on the Intelligence Committee who's job it was to oversee the Intelligence Community, had a clear agenda to discredit the Bush Administration on the justification for war with Iraq. When they did not get what they wanted; evidence to show that Bush lied, Democrats had Joe Wilson sent to Niger for the expressed purpose of trying to discredit 16 words in the president's 2003 State of the Union Address: "The British government has learned that Saddam Hussein recently sought significant quantities of uranium from Africa". Wilson, upon his return, wrote an op-ed piece in the New York Times in which he claimed he was sent by the office of Vice President Cheney, but Cheney denied it when contacted by the press. In ensuing conversations it was learned that Wilson had actually been recommended for the trip by his wife in the CIA and that is how the subject of Wilson's wife came up.

Naturally, now the press wanted to know who she is and through repeated phone calls with the Whitehouse staff, they find out, apparently from Scooter Libby who has admitted discussing it with the press, according to Patrick Fitzgerald. Robert Novak contacted the CIA on this matter to get confirmation for his article and they confirm the story but tell Novak not to publish her name. He does anyway and that opens this whole can of worms and gives Democrats an excuse to launch the investigation they have been planning all along.

This was a break for the Dems that they hadn't counted on but decided to take full advantage of it. Immediately, they began making unsubstantiated and unsupported charges that the Bush Administration was responsible for revealing the identity of Wilson's "secret agent" wife, Valerie Plame, who had not worked covertly for the past 7 years. Not only did the exposing of her name, either intentionally or unintentionally, not meet the criteria of the 1982 Intelligence Identity Protection Act regarding confidentiality of agents names, but it did no harm to anyone and put no agents at risk, which was the reason for the law in the first place. In reality, it was a non issue on a technical violation. Now was the time for the Dems to launch their "independent investigation", but with new charges.

Now we are at the end of this Grand Jury investigation of the outing of Valerie Plame and all we've been hearing from democrats and the press all along is "the Bush Administration is guilty, guilty, guilty!". But this was their plan all along then wasn't it? Remember the memo...

"Pull the majority along as far as we can on issues that may lead to major new disclosures regarding improper or questionable conduct by administration officials."

This clearly shows their objective is not to get to the truth, but to get the Bush Administration on anything they can.

"We can pull the trigger on an independent investigation at any time-- but we can only do so once. ...Once we identify solid leads the majority does not want to pursue. We could attract more coverage and have greater credibility in that context than one in which we simply launch an independent investigation based on principled but vague notions regarding the "use" of intelligence."

One way or another, we will find something to use to force an independent investigation of the Administration and use the media to promote it.

...even without a specifically authorized independent investigation, we continue to act independently when we encounter foot-dragging on the part of the majority. For example, the FBI Niger investigation was done solely at the request of the vice chairman...

We can discredit this report by using our CIA operatives, ie; Valerie Plame, to send her Bush hating husband to Niger on the pretense of investigating for the CIA. Wilson’s lies in his New York Times op-ed clearly show this had nothing to do with getting to the truth, but everything to do with their agenda of "gotcha" and trying to discredit the justifications for the war.

Notice how they admit to corrupting the Intelligence Committee investigation which is supposed to be a nonpartisan, joint investigation by saying "we continue to act independently". Then they suspect they can find something to discredit the Saddam-Niger connection after some phony document appears in Italy, so Plame gets her husband, Joe Wilson, to handle this charade. He in fact does find proof that Saddam had sought a business relationship with Niger (who's primary product is uranium), but lies about it in the press.

It has little been reported that it was a fellow CIA agent 8 years ago who revealed Plame as a CIA agent and Joe Wilson himself had also exposed her in a published biography. Plame has not worked under cover since. Then came the pictures of the two of them together seeking publicity in Vanity Fair Magazine. Wilson never tried to keep his wife's identity or employer a secret and it was known by many in Washington long before the Whitehouse ever learned of it. But that didn't stop the Clinton cronies in the CIA from making a federal issue of it by tying it into the Bush Whitehouse and ordering an independent investigation. Why didn't they investigate Joe Wilson for the same offense? Why was the Grand Jury investigation limited only to investigating Whitehouse staff, but not Robert Novak who had been told by the CIA not to publish Plame's name?

Ultimately, no evidence has been established or indictments issued in the matter of law violations in the outing of a CIA agent, the event simply didn't meet the criteria of the law. But in the process, a mistake was made by Libby, either intentionally or unintentionally, in his recollections and testimony of the events that occurred over two years ago. As a result, Libby has been charged with (but not convicted of) obstruction of justice, perjury, and making a false statement. His alleged crime was in telling the Grand Jury that he learned of Plame's identity from reporters, but his own personal notes showed that he learned it from his boss, Dick Cheney.

Keep in mind, this 22 page indictment is not a conviction of a crime, but rather a filing of charges against Libby who will have his day in court to defend himself against them. Interestingly, in all the 22 pages of the indictment, nowhere does it mention the crime of exposing a covert agent. In prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald's press conference today, he went on a rant about the dangers of exposing classified information and agents yet there were no indictments on those charges. In fact, he never even used the word "covert" in reference to Plame but rather used the word "classified". What this tells us is that this whole 2 year investigation was all about a non-crime. How do you justify to the American people, spending millions of taxpayer dollars and 2 years of time investigating a non-crime that should have been thrown out within 5 or 6 weeks when it became obvious that no crime had been committed? That was easy for Fitzgerald because it's his special skill according to those who work with him. You find something else to charge someone in the case with and you then have your results to justify the investigation. Libby claims he is innocent and will prove it in court.

Democrats have been successful now in criminalizing politics and can have their celebration party. Their charges against the Bush Administration of revealing the identity of a covert agent were not supported but they did, in the process, find some success in their agenda of "gotcha". That, after all, is what it was all about from the start. Something they can use to undermine the Republican administration and to politicize in the media in hopes of gaining public support for their party in coming elections. They didn't get what they wanted, Carl Rove's head on a platter, but they did win the consolation prize and got Libby removed on another charge. Sadly, this is going to have serious consequences for the country and discourage good people from getting involved in politics in the future. It sends a message to Washington officials to not talk to the press, or anything you say can and will be used against you in a court of law.

Why would Libby allegedly lie about this to the Grand Jury? It doesn't make sense. It was perfectly lawful for him to be discussing this issue, including the identity of Plame, with the Vice President. Both had top security clearances and were entitled to the information. It is highly unlikely that anyone in the Administration knew Plame was considered to have covert status at the time and if this was the case, it would not have been a crime for Libby to reveal her name to the press, which seems to have been confirmed by the lack of any charges on that issue. There would seem to be no reason for him to lie about it to the Grand Jury, and especially when he had turned over all his personal notes to the prosecutor which documented his conversations with the Vice President.  Why would he lie and contradict his own notes?

Perhaps if Libby did know that Plame's status was still listed as covert, and knew he broke the law when he revealed it to reporters then that might explain it.  But then why wasn't he charged with that crime? Something here just doesn't add up. Maybe the simplest explanation is the correct one; that Libby simply couldn't remember accurately what was said to whom and in what sequence nearly two years ago. That he would have done this intentionally just doesn't make any sense. Libby is a smart man and a lawyer who knows the laws well. He is also an honest and dedicated public servant who would not have knowingly violated the law in his position and would be well aware of the consequences of doing so. We have heard only one side of the story so far, and that side of the story just doesn't add up and make good sense.

To me, this whole thing stinks of conspiracy. And it's not just the Plame issue, it's the whole intelligence failure issue. Democrats were just too eager to conclude that intelligence information used by the president was erroneous and that there were no WMD in Iraq. Not even one of them bothered to ask, "where are they now?" No, they seemed certain that the WMD reported by the CIA didn't exist and by God, Bush lied about it. Let's just assume for the moment that they are right that the WMD didn't exist and are not now hidden in Syria.

Consider this scenario:

For nearly a decade, the Dems had been loosing power in Congress and then in 2000, they lost the presidency too. They realize there is a growing conservative movement in the country and know the only way to get back into power is to try to discredit the Republican Party. 911 happens and President Bush wants to know who is responsible. It is decided that the blame lies with Osama Bin Ladden and President Bush has to deal with that since Clinton never did when he had the chances. But Bush also knows that it is not just Osama that is a threat to America, but radical Islamic terrorists all around the world. He is concerned particularly about Saddam Hussein in Iraq with his weapons of mass destruction, terrorist ties, and his nuclear ambitions and programs.

The CIA has over two decades of intelligence information on Saddam and his WMD and is still staffed with Clinton cronies. They collect it all into a case for war against Iraq but omit recent intelligence that shows that the WMD stockpiles have been greatly reduced or destroyed. They present the case to the president and Congress with the intent of persuading the president to go to war, but knowing all along that the WMD will not be found. George Tenet even tells the president "it's a slam dunk" when Bush asks for verification of the information. They are successful. The president invades Iraq and no WMD are found. Now they can make their case that it was President Bush who fabricated the case for war on false pretenses, and for ulterior motives. They conveniently forget every single justification for the war except weapons of mass destruction and swamp the media with that view, hoping the public will also forget that it was much more than just WMD that took us into Iraq. Democrats make their case to the press and the public that Bush lied, they are happy and expect to win the next election. This is a hypothetical theory, of course, but one that I have pondered for the past two years.

Democrats refuse to understand the war on terror or see the bigger picture that made the invasion of Iraq necessary. They remain "stuck on stupid" and drag the media right along with them. And it's been working to some extent too. I've had personal experience with people who have forgotten the reasons for going to war in Iraq and could only remember it was about WMD until I reminded them of the larger picture. I won't go into all that here, but if you too have forgotten why we are in Iraq, I suggest you read my article written last year called The Iraqian Example in which it is all laid out.

Now Democrats have two reasons to celebrate this week.  They got a member of the Bush Administration to step down, and the score hit 2000 deaths in Iraq.  Congratulations Democrats, you're on a winning streak, but not with the majority of the American people. 
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