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October 18, 2005

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Just posted by the New York Times

No Final Report Seen in Inquiry on C.I.A. Leak
By DAVID JOHNSTON
and RICHARD W. STEVENSON

WASHINGTON, Oct. 18 - The special counsel in the C.I.A. leak case has told associates he has no plans to issue a final report about the results of the investigation, heightening the expectation that he intends to bring indictments, lawyers in the case and law enforcement officials said yesterday......

I apologize, I don't know how to link the article.

ew: What do you make of Novak's publishing of the name "Valerie Flame" in 10/03? (10/23
Novak article)

It's got to be part of the cover-up, probably an attempt to support the "I didn't leak her name" meme.

But I also think that's precisely the question Carville was going to ask on CNN. Because Who's who says Plame, not Flame. Which is clear proof Novak was full of shit in his October 2003 article.

With respect to Novak, emptywheel, I never put it together until I just read your comment to obsessed above. I thought Novak was simply stressed when he walked off the CNN set. Based on what you just wrote, Novak must have suspected that Carville's question was at least in part inspired by his neocon wife, WHIG member, Mary Maitlin sp?.
John Casper

Who sent 'John' ("...the analyst who offered to provide the documents was on leave") on leave?

The forgeries referenced here - are these the same ones Wilson dismissed? And if so, how is it that nobody in receipt of said documents noticed the most glaring evidence of forgery, that the stamped emblem was from an administration that hadn't been in power for several years?

THE NAZIFICATION OF AMERICA IS ALMOST COMPLETE. ALL THE
CIA/MILITARY NEEDS TO DO IS BEGIN BOMBING AMERICAN INSTITUTIONS AND BLAME IT ON “TERRORISTS.” THIS TYPE OF PLOY WORKED FOR HITLER. LET’S NOT WAIT TILL ANOTHER HITLER DECLARES MARTIAL LAW; THE AMERICAN RESISTANCE NEEDS TO TAKE ACTION NOW. NAZIS OUT!!! http://antichristiantroops.blogspot.com

I'm very sorry to say that I've completely lost it and freaked out on this story in following up with some reading on this FLAME name PLAME game.

I created a Diary at dKos at the link below.

Consider:

Judy spells Plame incorrectly as FLAME. Novak publishes an article about his initial outing of Valerie PLAME but in the text of the article the last name PLAME is misspelled as FLAME. In the same paragraph that contains the FLAME misspelling, Novak says he got the name from Who's Who. Novak leaves the CNN set in a bizarre incident in the presence of (we assume) a knowing James Carville married to a woman on the Vice President's staff. And, oh yes, there's a certain Who's Who volume on the interviewer's desk. What gives with Novak? Judy can't remember who she got the Valerie FLAME name from. Judy has a known relationship with Chalabi. Oh, and Newsweek's insightful Christopher Dickey, who has worked with Judy enough to have thoughts about her work, hints that he thinks Chalabi may have been involved in the PLAME outing in the same article in which he can't stop repeating the name FLAME. Chalabi is accused of turning over US secret information to the Iranians. Hannah is the contact man for Chalabi in the Vice President's office but also works for Cheney. The latest news today is that Fitzgerald flipped Hannah as a key witness inside the White House.

Dizzy yet? Yah. Me too. This may all be nothing but then again...

Here's the link:

http://www.dailykos.com/story/2005/10/18/221412/16

In the paragraph above correction needed....

"but also works for Cheney" should be

"but has also worked for Bolton"

aspTrader: And don't forget that somebody today said that there's no "p" sound in Arabic and someone speaking English with an Arabic accent might mispronounce P as F, much like a stereotypical Asian might say "Scooter Ribby".

Can anyone confirm that this bit about the F's and P's is true?

ew
have been following along for over a year but have gotten a bit lost on the "INR Memo". is this the same state department memo that powell had on the airforce 1 flight? if so, are you aware that col. powell was on larry king on mon. night? he seemed to go out of his way to point out that "never had the name Plame anywhere in the memo."

from the transcript...

KING: What do you make of all of this Karl Rove leak story?

POWELL: I only know right now what I read in the paper. I appeared before the grand jury, the State Department. And some of us in the State Department had some knowledge of this matter. And we all immediately made ourselves available to the Justice Department and the FBI even before the prosecutor was...

KING: Was it an involved, interested grand jury?

POWELL: Yes.

(CROSSTALK)

KING: I mean, were they on tops of things?

POWELL: They were following what was going on. And I think we have been forthcoming in what was known within the department about it, the famous State Department memo that I was given by one of my staffers, which, by the way, never had the name Plame anywhere in the memo.

KING: No?

POWELL: No. A lot of press reports suggest the name was in the memo. It was not.

KING: What do you make of the poll that 2 percent of blacks support the president?

sorry, i don't know how to link.

John Casper

Yes, I assume Carville at least knew Novak's second column was fraudulent and was part of the cover-up. He was basically about to rip to shreds Novak's claim to have found Valerie Plame's name from Who's Who, since he had actually claimed he had found Valerie Flame's name.

Radical Fringe

Yes, these are the famous Niger forgeries. Against all normal protocol, they came into the US through Bolton's shop, rather than CIA. I have no idea why John went on leave; perhaps it's something as simple as he got the flu, although I doubt, then, he'd go from adding agenda items to a meeting to absent in less than 24 hours. Perhaps his supervisor--who might be Beth--put him on leave? Which would make it more nefarious.

And John DID note these were forgeries, immediately. But it wasn't good enough coming from him. Until WINPAC started the vetting, they wouldn't be considered officially vetted. (In fact, there is reference to a real INR supervisor, who is quite possibly the one in question, being asked whether she was told not to allow INR to weigh in on documents being vetted. The question was off the record. When asked for the name of the analyst, the Republican staffer refused to allow her to answer who the analyst was. In other words, there is evidence in the Bolton testimony that an INR supervisor was told to prevent an INR analyst from attaching INR views to a document and the example was so sensitive, the Republicans refused to let details come to light. I have no idea whether this incident related to the forgeries or not, but it would be consistent with the scenario I've drawn above.

travelite

Yes, the INR memo has never been asserted to have Plame's name in it. The actual wording, I suspect, is "Wilson's wife"--but it might even say just "the Ambassador's wife." Which is why I've been saying for months that there must be another source of Plame's name. WHich, too, would be consistent with Judy's notes--she learned of Wilson's wife's connection on June 23, and learned her name on July 8.

Obsessed--the F & P thing is NOT TRUE. I've read several debunkings in the last 24 hours. Most recently Billmon had it going for a minute there and has posted a correction.

"aspTrader: And don't forget that somebody today said that there's no "p" sound in Arabic and someone speaking English with an Arabic accent might mispronounce P as F, much like a stereotypical Asian might say "Scooter Ribby".

Can anyone confirm that this bit about the F's and P's is true?"

This is totally wrong ... Arabs sometimes get "b" and "p" confused, because "p" is really a Persian sound (hence the word "Farsi" being derived from Arabic). Same deal with "v," another Persian letter. But "f" and "v" would be a problem, not "f" and "p."

Sorry, emptywheel, if you have covered this elsewhere--you've done so much good work that I'm having trouble keeping it all available in my short-term memory bank. But--there's a thread in Dkos which is now speculating whether Plame herself was involved in work on debunking the Niger forgeries, and that the "out-her-to-get-at-her-husband" theme misses the big issue: They were out to get Her! There's no way for us to know if there's any truth in this because it would all be classified. But might Fitzgerald know?

Hey... If you folks think I've gone over the deep end with this speculation, please tell me so I don't embarress myself further.

I got a bit of sleep and have a few more thoughts that make this more interesting.

emptywheel

I'm not sure why it must be assumed that the use of Flame instead of Plame was part of a ruse. Mistakes happen, the biggest obviously here would be Novak or someone else confused about Plame/Flame in the October Human Events article.

The nexus of relationships in my posts above provide an interesting twist on some old puzzles making them easier to understand:

1 Chalabi home raid... Remember back in May 2004 when Chalabi's home was raided and it was said that he might have taken US intelligence materials and shared them with Iran... Would he REALLY still be a player if that were so? I vaguely recall the media highlighting a conflict on this raid within the US government. Well, there certainly would be conflict about this if the raid was conducted to get at Plame materials right? But, of course, the public could not be told that the raid was about Plame.

2 Why did Fitz let Judy off without pressing her on the unrecalled source? Simple. The reference to "Valerie Flame" in itself gives away the source perhaps even implicating Judy without her knowing it.

3 Why would Hannah flip and why would he be the first flipper to be announced? Well, if he gave materials to Chalabi that outed Plame it seems to me that he would be in much greater jeapordy. And if a star was added at the wall at the CIA then even the death penalty would have been in play for Fitz to get leverage with.

4 "Me" at FireDogLake, who appears to have good sources, says that calls are coming in from the perps for deals. Might it be the case that the perps are thinking "sh-t, if Hannah has flipped, then, the whole house of cards is going down."

Just some thoughts. And please, again, pull me from this speculative edge if I've it's clear that I've become a blathering idiot.

EW,

"And that's one of the major reasons why the Niger forgeries were not debunked by WINPAC until March"...

I don't know about that. As I said in my analysis, the fact that the CIA took little or interest in the supposed smoking gun documents that proved their claims made it very clear that they already knew the claims were not credible.
http://www.theleftcoaster.com/archives/005001.php#5_1

Think about it this way... imagine hypothetically that you had been putting your reputation on the line making a claim about uranium from Africa and finally got copies of documents that ostensibly validate those claims. Would your reaction be to pore over it and claim success or just completely ignore it? There is only one scenario where ignoring makes sense (if it was indeed ignored) - they already knew the claims were BS. That was also the case as I discussed in my post.

Justin Raimondo reports today:

According to a source in the Italian embassy, Patrick J. "Bulldog" Fitzgerald asked for and "has finally been given a full copy of the Italian parliamentary oversight report on the forged Niger uranium document," the former CIA officer tells me:

"Previous versions of the report were redacted and had all the names removed, though it was possible to guess who was involved. This version names Michael Ledeen as the conduit for the report and indicates that former CIA officers Duane Clarridge and Alan Wolf were the principal forgers. All three had business interests with Chalabi."

Park,

The Raimondo article is [insert extreme exclamatory phrase here]! Great catch.

I look forward to reading what The Last Hurrah folks make of it.

This part stood out to me: -- "Fitzgerald asked the Italians if he could share the report with Paul McNulty," the prosecutor in the AIPAC case. --

Eriposte's point makes sense, and I believe I've made it before--one reason why there was not more interest in the results of Wilson's trip was that his findings wouldn't be news to anyone who knew the claims were bogus. And eriposte's series of last July also made clear that sometime in September 2002 it was clear to at least some in the CIA that the Niger uranium stories weren't credible, and therefore ought not to be in such things as the State of the Union speech. This was before the documents actually officially surfaced. So either CIA had seen them beforte then, or had been tipped by SISMI or someone else who had seen them that they were not credible.

And what are we to make of the statement by Marc Grossman quoted in yesterday's WaPo article that Grossman wanted the INR memo "as background for a meeting at the White House where the discussion focused on then growing criticism, of Bush's inclusion of the uranium claim in the SOTU sppech? Remwember the INR memo discussed the reasons why INR did NOT credit the Niger stories. Assuming Grossman was acting Sec of State because Powell and Armitage were on the July Africa trip, that must have been an interesting meeting.

SISMI report is big news. Ledeen as the conduit has been known for some time, but Dewey Claridge one of the forgers? Another Iran-Contra alumnus.

The documents (or reports thereof) conveniently surfaced just a month after 9/11, but the theft of the seals took place in 1999, IIRC, and some of the approaches were supposed to have been made in 1999. I have wondered if the original idea of the forgeries was somehow to embarrass the Clinton and Gore administrations for their failure to deal with Saddam. But then Bush was put in office instead. But then 9/11 would have presented a new opportunity to release the forgeries as part of the "sweep it all up, things related and not" effort of Rumsfeld and the neocons.

Found this nugget at, of all places, Fox News...

It seems Chalabi's home in Baghdad was raided back in May 2004. So, who are these guys making the raid. Hmmm. It looks like there is a difference of opinion.

"Coalition officials in Baghdad portrayed the raid as one in which the United States did not have a major role. Coalition spokesman Dan Senor said it was led by Iraqi authorities with support from the U.S.-run Coalition Provisional Authority (CPA)."

"Senior Department of Defense officials told Fox News that early reports that U.S. troops were involved in the actual raid itself were untrue. Instead, they said, soldiers provided a security perimeter but didn't accompany Iraqi police inside the Chalabi house."

"He [Chalabi] said that more than five Humvees, filled with what he alleges were FBI and CIA officers and American civilians, came to the house where he and the defense minister live and forced their way in."

"A U.S. official told Fox News that while the FBI and the United States Marshals Service were involved in Thursday's action, the CIA was not.

Well that last statement obviously can't be true. The raid had to do with Chalabi providing secret US intelligence to Iran and the UN Oil for Food Program right? So, to say that US Marshalls and the FBI were involved but the CIA was NOT is ridiculous, right?

Hmmm. Could one of the documents retrieved in the raid contain the name of a certain "Valerie Flame"?

Feel free to try to cool down this speculative fever I'm experiencing. I'd love to stop spending time on this if there are others more informed than I who know I'm barking up the wrong tree.

Let's think about this for a minute...

The perceptive Christopher Dickey of Newsweek in his latest online post after Judy's testimony tells us a couple things...

1 his best theory of the crime is that Chalabi is the source

2 he enjoys writing out the name "Flame"

Mr. Dickey works for Newsweek. He cannot post an article that sketches the whole of his best theory. But he can hint.

I know, I know. But my fever is running hot. Cool me down.

So, now I have an opinion about the "P" versus the "F" distinction in Plame/Flame was an oral communication error or a document error. This opinion is based on a couple of so far not well explained Novak and Miller episodes.

It seems to me that the mistake of the "F" instead of a "P" for both Miller and Novak had nothing to do with not correctly hearing the pronunciation of a native speaker of english or arabic.

The error, whether purposefully made or not, was in a document.

First the Novak story.

We can presume it was a document because it makes no sense that Novak would make the spelling mistake in his Human Events article if it weren't. He's on TV all the time. He can think on his feet. He doesn't make errors like that much. He or, more likely, someone working for him, copied the spelling of Plame/Flame from the wrong document.

See, even smart perps make mistakes.

Carville also knew there was a document. He probably also knew whether it had turned up or not. So, he knew that Novak would not be able to say that it was merely a typo.

Carville, being the playful guy that he is, arranged in some way to have a Who's Who on the interviewer desk...

And the rest is, um, er, WAS Bob Novak's history. His bizarre behavior is explained by the fact that he knows there's document out there to be deathly afraid of. Hence, quick side exit.

And then there's Miller...

I have not yet heard a good explanation of why Fitz let Judy Miller off the hook on the unexplained source. The fact is, if there is a document that describes a "Valerie Flame" and Fitz has it in his possession, he didn't let her off.

With all due respect, are the conduits (Ledeen?) and sources (Chalabi?) really relevant in light of Raimondo's article suggesting that the work of two Federal prosecutors, Fitzgerald and McNulty, could converge into a single giant prosecutorial effort?

And now heeerrrre's The Pat and Paul Show!

After all, Tropical Depression Wilma went from a Category 1 to the most powerful hurricane ever overnight.

We've all heard about the confluence of Art and Life before, but Politics and Hurricanes? Perfect Storms, anyone?

Does anyone remember the story, around the time of the raid on Chalabi's Baghdad home, that a drunken "high xxx official" (I don't remember what agency/office he was supposed to be with) told Chalabi about the US breaking an Iranian code? Chalabi apparently told the Iranians, seriously impairing our intelligence-gathering abilities. I don't recall anyone ever being named. What ever happened with this? Is it in some way related?

JiO - It may indeed become the Perfect Storm. It's already the best October. Surprise. ever.

aspTrader - I don't know enough to disuade you, and the confluence is certainly plausible given the incestuous nature of Aspens. Months ago I read that Judy & Ahmed were romantically involved for a number of years. Can anybody tell me if it is a (sadistic & literally ugly) rumor or if it's true?

Thanks for the comment RadicalFringe. I am in no ways certain about this but wanted to be checked if the more informed thought this was a waste of time.

After doing a bit of Googling, what's clear is that both Hannah and Wurmser had a working relationship with Chalabi. And I'm pretty sure I read somewhere that both were interviewed about the intelligence leaks of 2004. Certainly Wurmser was.

Here's a great backgrounder written in July 2005.

http://blogenlust.typepad.com/blogenlust/2005/07/ive_speculated_.html

If you think about it, exposing Plame was safer to do through Chalabi than directly to Miller. I mean, supboenas can't be served and FBI agents and US Marshals are not going to show up in Iraq during wartime to collect the evidence of the leak right? Oh, I guess they can (see the Fox link). And, oh, I guess getting a subpoena in Iraq during wartime is a bit easier. 8-)

I'm trying to remember now what the best explanation for Novak's behavior in the CNN/Carville/Who'sWho episode turned out to be. Was there ever a good explanation settled on?

The whole "Plame/Flame" thing is a red herring. Amb. Wilson has said that his wife used the name "Valerie Wilson" at the CIA, not "Valerie Plame."

Best explanation of Plame is that Novak did in fact look Wilson up in Who's Who and he found the name Plame there. Miller got the name from Novak.

Thanks for the reply Cal Gal. You might be right that this PLAME name FLAME game is just a red herring. And certain events I've yanked into the fleshing out of this speculation can be explained in other ways.

On the other hand, as I've written before, the theory that the use of the name "Flame" is significant explains two episodes that have unsatisfactory explanations otherwise:

1 Novak's sensitivity to the Who's Who volume on the CNN interviewer's desk while sitting next to Carville.

Does anyone now believe that the INTERVIEWER had the idea of putting the Who's Who volume on the desk? What would have been the point? Novak's said in his article that he got the name from Who's Who and sure enough the name is in Who's Who. Big deal. Flame instead of Plame? "No big deal," Novak would have said, "you know how typos can take place. I'm not a good typist."

But if it wasn't the interviewer's idea, who would have thought to do it? Our man James-Hand-em-an-anchor-Carville? Why would he suggest that for a mere typo? But if the "Flame" name is of significance, how would Carville have known? Can anyone think of a way? 8-)

2 Fitzgerald lifting the contempt citation from Judy Miller even though she couldn't "recall" her initial source.

Fitzgerald got three judges to agree to put two reporters in jail for not giving up their source because of the national security implications of his evidence. And Miller went to jail until she agreed to cooperate. And then she says she can't remember the source for her first encounter with the "Valerie Flame" name. And, then, are you ready for this: Fitz agrees to let her leave the courthouse?

The theory that the "Flame" name is important is the only explanation I know of that (1) has Judy Miller telling the truth that she said she couldn't recall the source name and (2) that she is now free of contempt... and (3) Fitz has everything he wanted (evidence of the source) in the first place.

In my last posted paragraph, (1) should read as follows:

"(1) has Judy Miller saying that she couldn't recall the source name and"

There are some other grammatical and/or stylistic problems with my posts... but I'd rather get the idea out and move on to other things I really need to get done than spend too much time refining. Hope you understand.

emptywheel,
Sorry to bother you with this, but perhaps you can forward to webmaster, because it is a technical issue about to whom posts are attributed. According to the The Next Hurrah, "Radical Fringe" posted something in all caps about Nazi's. IMO the real author of this post is "Dean Real American" who receives attribution for the post that immediately follows the one about the Nazi's. Based on my knowledge of previous posts from "Radical Fringe" I am confident s/he is not the author of the post about "Nazi's."
All your posts are overflowing with insight, humor, and informed passion. I and a lot posters can only appreciate a small fraction of it, but if we study hard and pursue your links, we can learn a lot and appreciate a greater fraction.
Posted by John Casper

On Aspen Middle East Strategy Group Conference and the Jackson Hole followup (vacation/rodeo). Check out
http://blog.ltc.arizona.edu/beyondmes/

aspTrader here...

I've worked to rewrite and rework a few points I've made before and make clearer how we might surmise that the Valerie Plame name "Flame" is important.

...regarding the origins and significance of the Valerie Plame name "Flame"...

Several theories exist about it's origin. I have no idea what the true origin was. It's fun and useful to make a list of the theories until one emerges that's clearly true.

But, IMO, the origin of the Flame name is not the important issue. The important question, I think, is this: Has the Plame name "Flame" MEANT ANYTHING to participants in TraitorGate? The question is NOT whether WE think the name has some meaning. We're actually lucky that the question can be... Did any participants, by their behavior, demonstrate that the name had meaning for them.

I believe that the behavior of 3--yes three-TraitorGate participants tells us that the Plame name "Flame" is a critical piece of the TraitorGate puzzle.

One of these participants took dramatic action TO AVOID any part of a a public discussion of the Plame name "Flame". A second participant, I now believe, set up this first participant, perhaps playfully, just to see what would happen.

Of course, I mean Robert Novak and James Carville respectively.

Bob Novak had an article in Human Events that contained the name "Flame" in the same paragraph in which he said that the name appeared in Who's Who. But the name appearing in Who's Who was Plame not Flame. So, that's no big deal right?

Look, I type for a living. So, I'm not unfamiliar with the inevitability of typos. But remember, the question is NOT the meaning of the episode for me or you; it's the meaning of the episode and the typo, in this case, for Novak.

It's Bob Novak's sensitivity to the Who's Who volume on the CNN interviewer's desk while sitting next to Carville that TELLS US that the Plame name "Flame" means something.

Again, we don't know why the Plame name "Flame" is important. But we know that Novak, perhaps, thinks it's important.

Novak's willingness to lose his long-standing gig at CNN by walking off the set TELLS US that he KNOWS the name is important.

OK, what about Carville?

Think about it.

Is it believable that a CNN interviewer or producer had the idea to put the Who's Who volume on the desk?

What would have been the point TO THE INTERVIEWER? Novak wrote in his Human Event's article that he got the name from Who's Who and sure enough the name is in Who's Who. No big deal. Flame instead of Plame?

"What?" Novak would have said. "That's no big deal. You may not know this because you're a TV personality. But I'm a reporter and I have to type my own articles. And, even after all these years, I'm not a very good typist."

Is a CNN interviewer going to spend HIS precious air time on CNN in THAT kind of game with Novak?

Hmmm. Me thinks the answer is no. The interviewer would never, ON HIS OWN, put the Who's Who volume on the desk.

But if it wasn't the interviewer's idea, who would have thought to put the volume on the desk?

Could it be our man James "Hand-'em-an-Anchor" Carville?

But why would Carville suggest putting the book there? He would only do that if HE (Carville) thought it was important. But if the Plame name "Flame" is significant, how would Carville have known? Can anyone think of a way? 8-)

My bet? I'll bet that Carville himself went out and bought the book and playfully suggested that the interviewer put the book on the desk to see what Novak's reaction would be!

So, now we have a second TraitorGate participant (ok, once removed, sorry James) behaving as if the Plame name "Flame" is important somehow.

But there is still a third TraitorGate participant whose behavior tells us that the name means something. And it's the behavior of the player that has now become the most important player in the drama.

Fitzgerald got three Federal judges to agree to put two reporters working for national publications in jail for not giving up their source because of the national security implications of his undisclosed evidence. Judy went to jail until she agreed to cooperate.

And then--buckle your seatbelts--she says she can't remember the source for her first encounter with the Valerie Plame name "Flame".

Oh, and then--get ready for dramatic action--Fitz lets her leave the courthouse in, whoa, wait, something other than handcuffs?

Can't be. Let's rethink this from the beginning. Fitz is after Judy's first source. Three judges say he can put some really important reporter type folks in jail to get whatever source(s) exist. And Judy can't remember. And Fitz let's her go?

Wait. Something's not quite right. Fitz MUST, in some way, have got the information he wanted. That must be it.

Whatever information Fitzgerald DID get had to have been ENOUGH to identify the source(s).

But WHAT did he get? Well, he got the Valerie Plame name "Flame". My bet? He knew that THAT was what he was looking for. Evidently that's all he needed.

Epilog

We don't know yet WHY the Valerie Plame name "Flame" is important. We just know that it is.

So that's the next puzzle piece for us to figure out.

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