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May 04, 2006

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Hmmm.. I wonder what the relationship was between Doe and Plame?

Here it's suggested that Doe was GS-14 (since he was about to be promoted to GS-15), whereas, correct me if I'm wrong, Plame was reported to be GS-13, by Larry Johnson, I think?

So, does that mean that Doe might have been a superior to Plame? Or at least another manager in charge of a different account over at CPD (presumably Iraq?)?

Man, an organizational chart like they have over at State would be really helpful in figuring out these mysteries. But I know that the DO keeps those kinds of details secret.

Yes, I think that's right, on the GS levels. But I get the feeling both these folks were in the field, and it seems like Plame wasn't assigned to a station, so it's unlikely he supervised her. I also wonder whether she reported through the European or the NESA side; he almost certainly reported through the NESA side. But while both have officers' ranks, they really only seem to have gotten desk jobs in 2001 and 2003 respectively. That is, they were both out managing assets, not managing each other.

Plame did go to Montreal. She met with a guy who blogged it. She was known as rogue then inside(Woolsey) and outside(Wilson's) the community. So, with Canada's history of providing nuclear reactors to anybody, anywhere, and anytime-she may have had interests in that portion of the history that Russia is now taking advantage of-its alot of cash.

Doe is pretty boring. It's all old contract work. 'Your on your own there' is known as part of that business. It can be dangerous and there ain't no one to help, unless you have a CIA badge.

EW: What do we know about Pavitt's relationship with the VP's office?

So this tends to support the notion that Plame may have been outed not to punish Joe Wilson for speaking out, but to stop Plame's work within the CIA because it was inconvenient to those who wanted to sell war.

For lack of a better place to put something Plame related but OT, you'll all be pleased to know that the Law and Order writing staff has been reading Emptywheel.

Though I don't usually watch the show (no, seriously) it was on, and they did a complete remix of the Plame story set in the Law and Order universe. All the same plot twists, except one detail where the corruption and malignant leak was from a Democratic Senator.

His chief of staff leaks the fact that a woman undercover detective is a cop (which info is published in a newspaper), to take the sting out of a harsh new book written by his Republican challenger, she gets killed by an Albanian mobster drug dealer who she's been covering. The episode seemed to be cribbed almost as exactly as they could from L'Affair Plame, right down to the vague 'exculpatory email' that turns up after charges are brought, etc.

Anyway, the reason why I wrote they've been reading Emptywheel is because, it turned out, the timestamp on the email had been altered and added to the evidence sort of covertly after the fact by someone on 'the inside'.

Not making this up, and for a second last night, all the fine details you guys have been hashing out for so long almost made sense to me. Almost. Apologies if the time stamp altered email theory is someone else's, the Law and Order writers forgot to put that in the credits.

The thing about it being Democratic law breaking kinda pissed me off, fwiw.

Apologies if the time stamp altered email theory is someone else's

No, that's emptywheel's and - it appears - all hers.

they've been setting up their Neocon moves since before Bush was put into office.

I don't get this. Who's "they" here? Surely unwarranted hawkishness on Iraq is not enough to qualify you as a neocon, right? Or am I not getting it?

LOL, no one else wants my damned timestamp theory. That's okay. No one wanted my Ari as cooperating witness theory either. So I bought stock and now I'm rich rich rich! In Plamoney.

Jeff, I've been trying to puzzle that through, myself. Here's what I answered looseheadprop over at Jane's. But the short version is, we know they were playing games with intell back in 1998 (per Ritter's most recent book). And we know INC and PNAC were actively working on this project by 1997. Heck, we also know that the Franklin leak program was started in 2000 (if not before).

So I think you raise a really good point--doesn't this 2000 date say that the gamed intell is not unique to Bush? Yes, it does. So what does that mean? Does it mean the larger project has been in place for longer than we know (yes, but not necessarily in this case). Or does it mean the CIA is just really really corrupt?

EW will you please link back to your post on your time stamp theory? My memory needs a refreshing.

Oh, and Lisa:

No, I don't know. Pavitt resigned in June 2004, a day before or after Tenet did. So the assumptions made about Tenet (that he might be testifying in the Plame case, that Bush may have finally fired the lot, that they wanted to resign before the SSCI report came out) hold. But I suspect his relations with Cheney are similar to Tenet's. Strained, but working.

Here you go, John.

The short version is:

  • We have good reason to believe they're guilty of evidence tampering (with the phone log)
  • If that's true, it's not a question of whether they would tamper with the email--but of what would give them the best benefit for the least cost
  • Given that several things about the email don't seem to make sense if it were written contemporaneously (the welfare reform comment, the fact it wasn't found, the fact that it backs off Wilson/Plame), it may have been written after the fact, perhaps during the Fall 2003 cover-up stage

      Though I gotta say, with the stated comments about the misarchived emails, I think this is less likely.

Quick check of a few indexes produces the following "Intelligence" on James Pavitt.

Steve Simon and Daniel Benjamin identify Pavit as the strongest opponent in the CIA of the plan to develop the Predator armed with a hellfire missel prior to 9/11. He opposed the CIA's use of the unarmed Prediator, opposed funding the test of an armed preditator, and the week before 9/11 argued the CIA should not be identified with the effort because to do so, would risk the lives of CIA presonnel and officers around the world.

Simon and Benjamin also suggest that post 9/11 Pavitt mischaracterized the role of the CIA in Afghanistan prior to the attack. Because they don't have access to classified documents -- or can't say what they really know -- it is all phrased as just a suggestion -- but they believe the pre-9/11 covert activities in Afghanistan were very thin on the ground and that Pavitt's characterization was a bit of puffery.

Gary Brendtsen in Jawbreaker gives Pavitt more direct diss. Brendtsen, if you haven't read it -- was the leader to the paramilitary CIA group that moved in with the Northern Alliance just days after 9/11, but he had also led an earlier team in that met with Massoud pre-9/11. Apparently the CIA in Langley got intelligence that bin Laden was trying to find a way to kill the CIA team -- so Pavitt ordered them out of country. His reason was he did not want to plan and attend any more CIA funerals.

Ultimately Pavitt recruited Bendtsen for the post 9/11 CIA paramilitary insertion into the Northern Alliance. Bendtsen indicates his preference for the Lawrence of Arabia school of management, and observes that Pavitt was from an altogether different school.

Finally, Bendtsen quotes the 9/11 Commission Report identifying Pavitt as one who opposed responding to the Cole bombing, and who had consistently believed CIA could not really deal with al-Qaeda.

I believe Pavitt was one of the first fired with Porter Goss took over the agency. Several months ago C-Span had one of their late night seminars on -- tape of some sort of Honor the Retired Officer thing from the Miller Center at the U of Virginia honoring Pavitt. All the "good ole Boys" were on the panel.

Apoparently Richard Clarke did not think particularly highly either.

Now I have a huge shelf of books on CIA and Intelligence History, and I've just checked a few things not yet given a bookshelf home. But my read this far is that Pavitt is viewed in some circles as the King of Risk-Adversness. But I believe his career was about 30 years long.

"plamoney"

very nice

Thank you for excellent reads. God bless Ray McGovern.

Wow, Sara, that's worth a post in and of itself.

I actually wondered how many of the 5 things (again, if Doe is right) were related not to Iraq, but to Al Qaeda. I didn't do my redaction fill in the blanks on this, but by eyeballing, Iraq and Iran don't fit. Though Syria would.

EW

Do you think that this is part of what Fitzgerald is going after, ultimately? I've had the feeling that he was after more than just perjury and obstruction of justice with the Libby, Cheney, Rove crowd. My feeling is based on something I remember his saying at his press conference when he announced the indictment of Libby. He stressed the need for people who worked in the government to obey the laws and the Constitution and not betray the people employed by the government whose (and of course, I am very vague with the exact wording)duty was to protect the country. You may know how to link to his exact phrase. It came toward the end of his presentation or, maybe the questioning, but I was struck that he seemed to be outraged (in his inimitable understated way) by Plame having been betrayed by people at the highest levels of government.

Margaret

No, for starters because this really is a different crowd. You could impeach Cheney for pressuring intell here (though, there's the pre-2000 bit...).

But if Fitz goes for something larger than the Plame leak (and I think it possible) I think it would be concentric circles, on things involved with the Niger forgeries (I'm thinking Bolton and his crowd) plus anything related to the Iraq nuclear analyst, if anything did happen. And some witness intimidation. And then, still in concentric circles, the Chalabi stuff and so on. Though I really really doubt he'd get there. There's almost no way, for starters, he'd be allowed to accumulate that much evidence and present it before they had gotten rid of him.

Besides, the Abramoff and Hookergate scandals will be taking up the legal schedules in DC>

EW - You write:

Whereas the White House ruined Plame's career, I've always thought in retaliation against the CIA for requesting the DOJ conduct an investigation.

I don't understand. CIA requested the DOJ after WH outed Plame, not before. That's the whole point of the CIA referral.
Are you referring to something else?

EW,

personnel suits are not a reliable source of information

this one may be 100% accurate

but it would be the first one

Tenet was against Predator, testified so at a hearing shortly before he quit; I think that concept was an age-long rivalry, though, among several branches of government; his, the classical view of separation of functionality.
Fitzgerald may have been encouraging Clinton people to pursue more than they did after WTC-1; I recall a few embers of that followup investigation deemphasis in the news.
At the time Fitzgerald was mulling the option to transition from GJ-1 to GJ-2, there were articles reporting his interest in allowing greater emphasis for the international teleology of the coverup during GJ-2.

But if Fitz goes for something larger than the Plame leak (and I think it possible)

I'm pretty sure it's not possible. One of Fitzgerald's recent filings - I believe it's his response to Libby's motion to dismiss - made clear that he sees his mandate as strictly limited, and that in fact he's gotten a variety of complaints, all of which he has passed along as beyond his mandate. The point is I'm pretty sure he cannot, in his own judgment, go for something larger than the Plame leak.

What warmonger was suppressing Doe's intelligence in 2000?
=====================================

Yes, the Predator argument which went on for about three years prior to 9/11 is interesting on several levels.

Pavitt's position seems to be in line with the formal CIA Charter of 1947 -- a strict line was drawn between CIA and DOD -- CIA capabilities to do paramilitary action was to be limited to that which could remain covert, and for which the President alone had responsibility. (This changed to include the Congressional notifications post Church Committee). It was assumed that when DOD acted they did so under congressional authorization and openly. This line of demarcation was quickly fuzzed -- best Example being the U-2, which was built and tested by the Air Force, and then operated by CIA under Ike's direct command. Anyhow, within the CIA there are those who hold with the classic understanding, and here I would include Pavitt -- and then there are those who put the fuzzy line between Covert and all else -- way over on the other end of the scale.

The Predator was an example of this, particularly after the Hellfire was attached. The Air Force developed the Predator (afterall it flies) but they had no interest in it as a weapons system -- if you need a bomb dropped accurately, they prefer their B2's for that task. They were willing to transfer Preditatot to CIA for spy purposes, but only if CIA paid for the system. When CIA crash landed one of the early ones on landing, and then refused to pay the Air Force for damages -- it slowed down the program by about a year in the last days of Clinton's administration. It apparently was Condi Rice who authorized Richard Clark to demand the Airforce move on the Hellfire tests, which were successful, but even after the tests the CIA still did not want decision authority on firing off the missle. That's where things stood on 9/11. It is a classic case of not knowing where or how to draw the line between overt military operations, and covert CIA operations.

The distinction probably needs re-thinking but not until Bush is long gone. I hope for no more of his reforms or reorganizations. The distinction made sense in a world where the "Main Enemy" was the Soviet Army (DOD's responsibility) and the KGB -- CIA's target. But against something like al-Qaeda -- it perhaps does not make as much sense.

OT but related: http://www.nytimes.com/2006/04/26/washington/26cnd-rove.html?ex=1146974400&en=a1a3da6a440bab0e&ei=5070

Corrections to Kornblut's article of 4/27...

ecoast

Sorry, I should have specified Brewster Jennings. I have always believed part of the October behavior was an effort to make sure B-J was thoroughly ruined--by naming the company, by naming Plame's alias Flame. So it was a two-stage leak.

"'Once the Predator goes up, who cares where the Hellfire comes down, it's not my Department' says Mr. James Pavitt." (paraphrasing Tom Lehrer)

EW: Evidence is starting to emerge in support of my contention expressed quite some time ago, viz., Joe Wilson's op ed presented a crisis for the WH, and was seized as an opportunity by the OVP. Valerie was not "collateral damage" in Novak's column, she was the primary target. That outing the "fact" that Valerie "got Joe the job" in Niger would somehow "discredit" him I have always thought poppycock. To the contrary, it was, and is, the cover story fronted to "explain" the deliberate take down of a wing of CIA capability, Valerie Plame and Brewster Jennings.

Rove's Hadley email is interesting in this context. I think Hadley was working the crisis, going through channels to get responsibility for the "16 words" diverted from Bush and Condi to himself and to Tenet - this explains the expected "declassification" talk that was going around. Meanwhile Cheney and Libby were working the opportunity side. I suspect Rove was caught in the middle - and frankly, I suspect his dark side led him to ally himself with OVP in this instance. Thus, the Hadley email makes perfect sense in the context of July 11 - Rove "didn't take bait" and he warned Cooper not to "get too far out ahead on the story." Meanwhile he was concocting the hit and the cover in cahoots with Deadeye and Scooty Looter.

There's my theory of the case.

Just as a followup, here's the passage I was thinking of that basically rules out Fitzgerald expanding his investigation. It's from Fitzgerald's 3-17-06 affidavit in support of his response to Libby's motion to dismiss (and the fact that Walton, as he ruled in Fitzgerald's favor, said that this and Comey's accompanying affidavit stating ex post their earlier understanding of Fitzgerald's appointment were basically worthless does not undermine the point of the facts Fitzgerald is stating here):

I always understood that any expansion of the subject matter - which I have never sought - would have to come from the Acting Attorney General. I have never had any understanding to the contrary. In fact, when I received letters asking me to expand my jurisdiction to cover other allegations, I have referred those letters to other Department of Justice officials because i did not think it was my mandate to decide whether the subject matter of the investigation should be expanded.

I've always been curious who sent those letters and what the substance of the other allegations were. Was it just a cranky TNHer telling Fitzgerald he should look into who forged the Niger documents? Or was it CIA folks who would know something? Or someone else who would know things, like the disclosure of other classified information by White House folks?

Whatever the case may be, it's clear that Fitzgerald is not going to expand his investigation, unless the Acting Attorney General tells him to, and I'd bet against that any day of the week.

As for ew's unique claim to the altered email theory, I'm well aware of your history of vindication of far-out claims. But this one still strikes me as a bridge too far. But we'll see.

Thanks for that, Jeff. I hadn't read that. Though I would say, some (though obviously not Chalabi) of what I mentioned above wouldn't be an expansion. If BushCo harrassed someone in Fall 2003 to intimidate them against testifying, then it would fall into the same kind of obstruction crime as Libby's lies.

I strongly suspect/remember vaguely that the Dems in Congress (probably Conyers) asked Fitz to look into some other areas. So they're not totally nut cases, at least.

Yeah, I realize the email theory is sketchy. And p luk almost converted me the other day, almost. The thing is, none of the explanations I've heard for the existing email make sense to me--they either inadequately explain why you'd lie to Hadley or inadequately explain what Rove said. I'm certainly still open-minded about alternative explanations, though.

Jeff: I believe Reps. Maurice Hinchey (D-NY) and Conyers (D MI) have sent letters to Fitz asking him to extend his investigation.

ew and Lisa - Thanks, that would make sense that Fitzgerald was referring to those letters from congresspeople.

ew - I do think more of this investigation has had to do with actions in the fall of 2003 than has been publicly clear. But I do think all that other stuff - Niger forgeries, Bolten, Chalabi, even Jerry Doe - is beyond Fitzgerald's jurisdiction.

Meanwhile, it's not Rove, but it's very good news: Goss resigning as CIA chief. Hookers in the White House? Kickbacks with Cunningham? Disastrous management? Who knows? But it's good.

Jeff

I'd warrant that Bolton is not. Not at all. Tenet and Dick still dispute how Cheney learned of Plame's ID. And so long as the INR memo is important for the pre-July phase of this, Bolton (and Fleitz) remain well within the scope of Fitz' investigation. And don't forget Shuster's claim (retracted after State balked) that Bolton testified.

ew - Agreed, I was just referring to Bolten in the context in which you originally mentioned him (as I understood it), in connection with the Niger forgeries. If Bolten was involved in the Plame business, then obviously his conduct would fall within Fitzgerald's jurisdiction.

That's an interesting read on Tenet-Cheney. Are you saying Cheney says he learned about Plame from Tenet, and Tenet denies it - which is sort of what we've heard - and your inference is that maybe Cheney is covering up where he did hear it? If so, the only trouble with that is Libby's contemporaneous notes suggesting Cheney heard at least from the CIA if not specifically from Tenet - and that fact appears to be a good part of what Libby was seeking to explain away with his alleged lies.

I'm not sure, Jeff, it's just a thought I've been percolating on now that I've seen the INR memo. What I've seen of the memo, IMO, makes it much more likely that Bolton (note the spelling--the "e" is Josh the COS)/Fleitz is involved in this. Which is something I've suspected for a while, but really, that memo is just too suspicious.

Add in the fact that Cheney apparently testified Tenet was his source, but Tenet denies it.

Add in the fact that that detail got turned over by Libby at all (that's the details that I've been amazed about, that makes me wonder why Libby didn't alter his notes).

But if you had gotten the information via some other means--via Fleitz/Bolton, for example (who would probably have seen the memo by the time Dick is reported to have told Libby), then how might you hide it. You hide it at Dick. No one is going to question the Veep about something like this, right? And besides, he's allowed to know these things. So you say Tenet told you (particularly if you testify just after Tenet resigns). And voila, you've hidden the tracks of the deliberate search for this information.

Anyway, just a speculation. (Btw, I'm not suggesting Libby altered his notes; I'm saying Dick told him to say CIA from the start.)

I'm not sure, Jeff, it's just a thought I've been percolating on now that I've seen the INR memo. What I've seen of the memo, IMO, makes it much more likely that Bolton (note the spelling--the "e" is Josh the COS)/Fleitz is involved in this. Which is something I've suspected for a while, but really, that memo is just too suspicious.

Add in the fact that Cheney apparently testified Tenet was his source, but Tenet denies it.

Add in the fact that that detail got turned over by Libby at all (that's the details that I've been amazed about, that makes me wonder why Libby didn't alter his notes).

But if you had gotten the information via some other means--via Fleitz/Bolton, for example (who would probably have seen the memo by the time Dick is reported to have told Libby), then how might you hide it. You hide it at Dick. No one is going to question the Veep about something like this, right? And besides, he's allowed to know these things. So you say Tenet told you (particularly if you testify just after Tenet resigns). And voila, you've hidden the tracks of the deliberate search for this information.

Anyway, just a speculation. (Btw, I'm not suggesting Libby altered his notes; I'm saying Dick told him to say CIA from the start.)

Maybe Goss has received a Fitzgerald request for documents to check how the mea-culpa was developed. The likely resolution would be one involving mutual respect, but, I understand there is another thread on this.

One endnote on the humility statement by Fitzgerald which Jeff reproduced, above: my recollection, of course, was the current events discussions such as here at TNH at the time, though I graze and browse much more widely. Fitzgerald made a discrete mention of his prospective scope for GJ 2 during a press conference October 28, 2005 at p5,para6: "This Grand jury's term has expired by statute. It could not be extended. But it's an ordinary course to keep a Grand jury open to consider other matters and that's what we'll be doing."

Disclaimer: I should add I visit The Next Hurrah precisely to read the dispassionate view, and avoid the other kind of blog, fecund though the other sort may be, as I am very pressed for time in my work elsewise. It is a pleasure to join here.

ew - But isn't that an awfully high-risk strategy - and for what? to protect Bolton? to cover the actual conspiracy banking on the investigation never going after Cheney? and putting Cheney in a position where if he did ever get questioned, he was compelled to lie, when, as you suggest, Cheney getting it from Bolton or wherever is no problem in and of itself? Wouldn't Libby just take the fall for Cheney sooner? Or am I missing your point?

I believe that John Hannah and David Wurmser, both co-operating with Fitz have testified that John Bolton is who told Darth Cheney about Valerie Plame. John Bolton was also actively involved in getting the infamous 16 words into the State of the Union address. This was stated in a letter from Rep. Henry Waxman to Rep. Chris Shays, on March 1, just a few days before Bolton was nominated, outlining Bolton's role in getting those 16 words into the SOU address and the likelihood that he lied to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee about being questioned in a criminal investigation.

Rep. Maurice Hinchey wrote a letter to Fitz asking that he expand his investiagtion to cover the Niger forgeries. The letter was signed by 40 Congressmen.

Further, I think discrediting Joe wilson was the 'nice offical" reason for outing Valerie Plame. The real reason was to purge the CIA of any experts who could convincingly refute Busholini on WMD's in Iraq and Iran. James Risen, in his book State of War, mentions that the entire undercover CIA WMD operation was outed by a computer glitch. Was that before or after Plame was outed? Who was responsible for that "glitch"? What, if anything, happened to them, given the swift retribution Mary McCarthy suffered? I don't believe it was a glitch.

I think we are on the brink of some real live home grown disaters. The combination of domestic warrantless wiretapping, the stacking of the Supreme Court and the recent contract awarded to Halliburton to construct "detention camps' means that Martial Law is just around the corner. No need to worry about electroniuc voting machines and paper trails then, we just skip the whole messy process, while the NeoNutzis laugh their way to the bank.

Addendum: The usually reliable Steve Clemmons of Washington Note was corroborating the New York Ave NW expansion of the WA-DC office for OSC last October, but there is a rescission available at that link now; ancient history, that. And, in re-reading Fitzgerald's characterization of the purpose for requesting formation of a new GJ after the first GJ's term ended, it is possible to read it as less expansive and more narrowly defined. However, now in May 2006, it remains likely, to me, that the substrate of the illegalities Fitzgerald is describing involves foreign affairs as much as it encompasses US-bound law. Of course, all these spheres (e.g. international law, treaties signed and nullified) are contentious at the moment, or, I should say, have been so ever since Reagan, Bush-1, and thru to Bush-2. Concurrently it has been interesting to note the hullaballoo over presidential signing statements has modern roots in those three administrations; though the latter topic is nuanced, and there are other more specialized websites where that discussion is occurring in a historical context.

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