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September 05, 2006


Oh EW,


It's one thing to analyze the bits and pieces we've been privy to, to read the monumental narratives you have toiled over. But somehow, to read this, to know the absolute damage that has cost so many lives, so terribly much, is beyond horrific. Pat Fitzgerald, a prosecutor that has overreached? No, a prosecutor faced with the herculean job of piecing together into a triable case, the actions of a leadership without morals, without an ounce of patriotism.

Questions I'd like to see asked:

  • Bob Novak, do you still think you didn't do anything wrong by exposing Plame's identity?
  • Bill Kristol, you still think Libby should be pardoned?
  • The wingnutosphere, you still believe this is a partisan issue?

At his blog, David Corn plainly writes: "She was an undercover officer in charge of running critical covert operations."

I wish the Nation piece had that line in it. The Nation piece is detailed and pretty obvious, but since it never explicitly answers the question posed in it ("Was she truly undercover?") the way Corn's blog post does, Wilson haters can proceed to scratch their heads and wonder what it all means.

Our departed friend Nasty Sue, for example, seems pleased because she thinks the article shows that Plame had the pull to dispatch her hubbie on the trip.

A couple of quick comments. The Joint Task Force appears to be described on p. 262 of the SSCI report. It says the task force was established by DCI within CPD in September 2001. And the information from the sources it recruited resulted in the production and dissemination of over 400 intelligence reports, an increase from only 90 reports in 2000.

There is something unclear about the recruitment and use of the scientists and their relatives. Risen makes it sound like a defiant operation organized by Charlie Allen at odds with DO, hence with CPD. Here's p. 106, and worth asking which sources it is that say this:

CIA officials ignored the evidence and refused to even disseminate the reports from the family members to senior policy makers in the Bush administration. Sources say that the CIA's Directorate of Operations, which was supposed to be in charge of all of the agency's clandestine intelligence operations, was jealous of Allen's incursions into its operational turf and shut down his program and denigrated its results. President Bush never heard about the visits or the interviews.

Also, what, if any, relationship was there between the JTFI and the thing Robert Grenier was head of, which is called in the Post article on him the Iraq Issues Group? And what's the connection between those two and the Iraq Operations Group, detailed in Risen's book? The reason this is interesting, of course, is because Grenier was one of the early sources for Libby on Plame. And as Tom Maguire pointed out in an effort to make the rather roundabout argument that Armitage was probably the one to tell Novak Plame's name, Grenier could very well know her as "Valerie Plame," her undercover name apparently. It is, of course, true that Grenier could have told Armitage about her using her undercover, and maiden, name, though we have no concrete evidence that such a thing happened. We do, on the other hand, have concrete evidence that Grenier told Libby about Plame in June 2003, so isn't it more likely that Grenier spoke to Libby about Plame as "Plame"? One other note on Grenier: I don't know whether to make anything of this, but Grenier doesn't show up in Fitzgerald's list, in his 8-27-04 affidavit, of government officials who discussed Plame with Libby before Libby's conversation on July 10 2003 with Russert, during which, libby testified (allegedly falsely), he learned as if for the first time of Plame's CIA affiliation. Does that mean that Grenier offered his information to Fitzgerald subsequent to August 27, 2004?

It'll be interesting to see whether the wingnuts treat this with the same credibility as they did the claim that Armitage was the "primary" source for Novak.

Well, let's see - the Armitage story was both old news and "testimony against interest" in that it did not fit Corn's prefrred story line. Odds that he was embellishing it - pretty low.

The notion that Ms. Plame was covert, traveled abroad, and that national security was harmed by her outing are all news and all fit Corn's preferred story line. Odds that he is embellishing it, overweighting the sources that told him what he wants, and so forth - you make the call!

Other points I know you'll want to see covered:

(a) the Raw Story news that she was working on Iran (and the neocons had to out her because she was impeding their next war.)

(b) the Niger forgeries - she was a major figure in the CIA JTFI yet was as surprised as the rest of us by the forgeries? Suddenly I am sympathetic to all the Wilso-philes who insist he *did too* debunk the forgeries in March 2002. Of course, if he did then it is highly likely that his wife was a key part of the CIA cover-up that has managed to gull us into thinking the forgeries were only discovered in early 2003.

Well, that won't be investigated and I'm sure you have your theory explaining how Cheney and Rove engineered that as well.

Jim E

Gosh, that didn't take long. And I wonder why she isn't here searching out Jeff to "tell him she told him so"?


I dunno about the RawStory piece, but Corn does say she worked on Iran, too.


We know who covered up the forgeries--they were in WINPAC, not JTFI.

That was easy. Next?

(Though I'm glad you came over to check in--it's so much more fun sparring with you than some of your commenters; I hope you do know you're always welcome?)

I'm also intrigued to see how any tensions between Isikoff and Corn play out. I really view their partnership on this as a curious partnership, each gaining the credibility/readership of the other. It'll be interesting to see where they had to compromise to tell this story.


First, it's been reported for years that Plame was undercover anyway, just not believed. Second, when you suggest Corn might be overweighting the sources that told Corn what he wants, which of the news claims you mention do you think are consequently likely not true? That she was covert, that she was in charge of operations for the Joint Task Force on Iraq within CPD within DO, that she traveled abroad as described, or that her outing put at risk operations she had worked on and foreign agents and sources she had handled? All of them, some of them, what? I've provided some material for you to start to work with above. But I'd be curious to hear.

Also, it's interesting you parse the two stories with regard to Corn alone; what about his ever-delightful coauthor, who surely must count as among the most White House-friendly authors who has covered this story in the dread MSM, no?

How is it that Bush inspires this cult-like behavior? He and his administration can do no wrong. Out a CIA operative - no big deal. Fail to catch Osama after five years - hey, don't be so hard on the guy. Completely **ck-up planning and executing a war - it's the media's fault!

What IS it about him? I don't feel that way about any of democratic leaders. I agree with them ideologically, but I can see faults and flaws in every one of them, (especially Bill and Hillary Clinton).

It's scary. Bush could announce complete martial law tomorrow and Maguire's posters would be over here justifying it.

To assume that Corn and Isikoff don't embellish facts they don't "prefer", but do embellish facts they DO "prefer" is telling. But not about them. Does this kind of reasoning color all of your thought processes?

In answer to Raw Story's claim about Plame and Iran, please take a minute to read Corn's piece. He includes a role for Plame in Iranian WMD.

In answer to the Niger forgeries, I remember a characterization attributed to Plame that the Niger uranium deal was some "crazy idea." That is, she (and others) thought the likelihood of a uranium deal was low, even without seeing the forgeries.

O.K., I'm more confused than ever. Did the Bush/Cheney junta openly go after Ambassador Wilson with the objective of shutting down Mrs. Wilson's work at the CIA which they saw as dangerous to their oh-so-clever Iraq scheme? And as a warning to her colleagues not to contradict what the junta was broadcasting about their case for war?

The reference to Plame's impression of the initial Niger uranium claims being "crazy" was surprisingly easy to find;


"The [Senate intelligence committee] report said Plame told committee staffers that she relayed the CIA's request to her husband, saying, "there's this crazy report" about a purported deal for Niger to sell uranium to Iraq."

Without seeing the forgeries, see?


Here's an interesting (lack of) detail. The Robb-Silberman doesn't appear to mention the JTFI at all, even though the bulk of it is on Iraq intelligence. They also don't mention the report from the Jordanian interception I mentioned above, which is curious.


I think I'll post on that in the upcoming days. But I imagine a couple of things were going on. I'm sure Cheney perceived Wilson's claims that he had debunked the Niger forgeries to have been assisted by Plame--perhaps he assumed Plame told him a lot of background from her own work. That's one of the reasons it's so important that the SSCI reports that Wilson was informed of the Italian reports in his February 19 meeting. Cheney probably thought he could out Plame and justify it on her leaking him into (but he turned out to be wrong).

I also think they were particularly worried about Wilson because they had started to use the report from his trip to justify the Niger claim. Once he started telling people about it, it became clear the report was incomplete, and that they had used a report to justify this wrongly.

But finally, I would guess it comes down to two birds with one stone. They had Wilson, who had some damaging info, and they assumed he had access to the core of all the damaging info. So they tried to pretend that sending someone of Wilson's profile was unusual, precisley because it pissed Cheney off that Wilson had indirect access to all the intell that proved the war was unjustified.

Anxburns: IIRC, Bush did not inspire such abject devotion until after 9/11. It may be that a bunch of people with conservative or libertarian leanings were unhinged by 9/11 to the degree that they had to believe in an all-powerful father figure that would keep them safe from any further attacks. Bush was made to fit the bill, and any concession that he is really out of his depth as President and/or cares more about staying in power than actually governing (or keeping us safe) would send them back to that place of fear. At least that is the conventional explanation.

Some people have a greater tolerance for ambuguity than others, and Bush's 'bots seem to have less than your average Dem who, I agree, is ever ready to criticize most any Dem leader.


Though Robb-Silberman is, in general, better with its judgments and handling of the facts than SSCI, it is not nearly as detailed. The SSCI has lots of useful details, just not well handled. The bit on the JTFI is a good example, and quite useful at the moment, as it makes it sound like it was a rather robust organization.

Any idea what the Iraq Issues Group that Grenier was in charge of was? Here's the story on Grenier that mentions it, and I can't find anything else. Was this CIA, as it appears to be, interagency, what? Does it have another, more used name?

I'm still curious about the tension between Corn's account of the operation with Iraqi scientists and Risen's.

Finally, I wonder how detailed some of the information Libby and others learned was with regard to Plame's job. In particular, I wonder whether Cheney learned and told Libby back in June 2003 not just that Plame worked in CPD but more specifically that she was involved in the JTFI or some such - surely if that were the case, Fitzgerald would not have put it in the public documents.

emptywheel, I look forward to your commentary on the "two birds with one stone." In the near future we may have many questions answered if the Democrats gain a majority in at least the House. I do not want to go to my death with my country in the grip of Bush and his terrorists.

it's good to learn this new detail.


as, i read the post and comments, it seems to me something very important is missing, at least in emphasis.

i don't yet understand how chaney/bush could not have known plame was working on iraq WMDs

and i can't figure out why, knowing that, they would have exposed her cia status. why not just have her transfered or otherwise disciplined?

true, jos Wilson's nytimes editorial was a dissident public voice, but by itself it did not do, and could not actually have done, any great harm to the cheney/bush iraq-invasion selling job.

i wonder when we read that the white house believed that " v. plame (wilson) sent her husband to niger" if they were not signaling their concern that she had told her husband a great deal more (about unsubstantiated administration wmd claims)

and that her husband might again publicly call into question one or another "pillar" of the official white house line being deployed to stampede the u.s. into an invasion of iraq.

more revelations about such pre-invasion fabrications as the little tubes of terror, the buried centrifuge parts, the trailers of biological destruction, the continuing secret weapons programs, etc.

might indeed have destroyed the pre-invasion selling job.

if this speculation were substantially true, it would mean that libby, rove, bush, and cheney and gang knew a lot more, and in a different direction, about plame and internal intelligence dissent from what we have been hearing and assuming for the last couple of years. and that their attack on plame was more than just punishment for wilson's outspokeness.

maybe this (plus deference to an election time) is why fitzgerald has grown so quiet.

So it is not unreasonable to wonder whether one of those defectors, particularly one with a strong INC affiliation, might have passed some details to Judy.

Are there any Arabic speakers out there? Do such speakers sometimes confuse the F and the P sounds? Could this be the explanation for Judy's notation about "Valerie Flame"? Didn't Novak also make that mistake? Could it be that he got also some of his info from defectors?

If Chalabi could share intelligence about our code breaking with Iran, surely he and his buddies wouldn't hesitate to talk to journalists about our CIA agents. On the other hand, that would be such a clean (and deniable) way to leak the information, the fact that Libby et al still went on to speak to reporters suggests they didn't do any of the leak via the Chalabi gang.

Why have the DC Dem establishment not made a bigger deal about this?

I know the "we can't comment about a DoJ investigation". This was a political act and needs a political response.

I still think that getting clear information about her role, if she was in fact undercover, is problematic. They have to hide some aspects of her work, don't they?? I think that we have rarely been given information about spying activity. I mean, do we have anyone coming forward and addressing their spy days outwardly?? With details?? I am suspect about any information about her role. But I am certain of this. If she were not covert, we would know for sure. Since she might be covert, that suggests to me, the fact that the government has not denied her completely, that there is risk to letting us know everything about her role. It's the only thing that makes sense to me.

It also makes it look more plausible that the point man in this could be grossman?

If it was just armitage gossiping about a woman who was not covert, not undercover, and it did not ruin her career, and it did no harm to the country, why would there be an investigation to begin with?? And why would this administration be lying all over itself about it?

It still stinks...and I can't imagine that Fitzgerald had nothing on Rove. It seems impossible. And that armitage wasn't charged with anything??

Things that make you go hmmmmm. (old reference but boy!! hmmmm)

Now that we know just what Plame's job at the CIA was it seems quite plausible the she herself debriefed some of the Washington-based Chalabi gang "informers" who were trying to push stories about WMD in Iraq. If she had, of course, she would not have used her real name or her actual job title, but they would remember her and understand that she was somehow involved in the rejection of their information.

People like that would also very likely know Joe Wilson by sight either by seeing in Iraq or from the many pictures of him published when he made a big splash by standing up to Saddam before the first war. If someone with Chalabi who had spoken to Plame at the CIA later saw her and Wilson together around Washington they would have paid attention, easily learned that they were husband and wife, and felt that was a fact that should be noted and filed away by the Chalabi gang (who mostly are old Iraqi spooks).

So it is at least possible that the way Miller got into this story (and really really didn't want to have to talk about it) was that someone in the Chalabi gang, acting independently, used her to attempt to discredit Wilson in the same way that Libby and Rove did.


That's kind of what I'm thinking. Though it's more complicated. Remember that Woolsey was the defacto lawyer for the INC and on at least one (I think it's two, but I'd have to check my notes) introduced a defector-labeled-fabricator to Judy/DOD. So he was right there in the transition place between the time when they'd be labeled as defectors and funnelled someplace else. And of course, he and Judy were both Benador Associates members (she had to renounce her membership because it made the NYT look bad).

In other words, I'm suggesting that someone--perhaps the former head of the CIA--monitored what the CIA was doing as he was shepherding Chalabi's defectors around.

Boom! OrionAT, Your comment makes a lot of sense to me. EW - Perhaps I'm the dumbest guy in the room, but I'm beginning to feel like we are finally getting to the meat of the matter. That final nexus that makes it all make sense is now visible. Chris Mathews ran a story on hardball, and the quote on there is that Fitz is NOW deciding if he's going to press charges on Rove, but won't comment for at least a week. Isn't that interesting? Looking over the last week, feels like the pot is coming to a boil.


Who did he cite, if any, as his source?

Since I bungled the Gonzales thing, I have to take a moment to say I told you so on Grenier. In the comments to ew's Anatomy of Smear (3.1), I tried to draw everyone's attention to the importance of Robert Grenier role in all this. If we believe Corn (and I don't see any real reason not to, unless we get pushback from people who would know), here's the salient fact:

Valerie Plame was the chief of operations for the CIA's Joint Task Force on Iraq when Robert Grenier was recalled from his overseas clandestine work by Tenet to head up something called the Iraq Issues Group.

Does anybody want to make the case that Plame and Grenier (two veterans of the DO) weren't aware of each other in the summer of 2003? When Libby asked Grenier about Plame, is there really any possible scenario where Grenier would not tell Libby that Plame was undercover?

Our departed friend Nasty Sue, for example, seems pleased because she thinks the article shows that Plame had the pull to dispatch her hubbie on the trip.

and here I was thinking this new development might find her cha::grin::ned.

Damn, WO, you were more fun when you were plotting on Abu G!!

Just joking.

I don't know if these is such a scenario. But here's a question. Do you think such questions might answer Jeff's question--why Grenier wasn't mentioned in Fitz' 8/04 affy (I hadn't forgotten, Jeff, honestly!!).

Very punny irene.


No time to comment, but I did have this.

Grenier, the CIA's station chief in Islamabad, Pakistan, helped stage the successful U.S. attack on the Taliban and Al Qaeda in Afghanistan after the Sept. 11 attacks.

He then joined the CIA's Iraq Issue Group, hatching operational plans for invading Iraq.

"Bob had to go to lots of White House meetings in the runup to the war," said one colleague.

The source expressed surprise that Grenier would have discussed Plame with Libby.

This year, as CIA Counterterrorist Center chief, Grenier oversaw the failed missile strike aimed at Al Qaeda No. 2 Ayman Al-Zawahiri. Shortly afterward, Grenier was demoted.

But Vince Cannistraro, a former CIA counterterrorism chief, said Grenier lost his job over his "concerns about aggressive interrogations [of terrorist detainees] at secret sites."
NY Daily News 5/23/06

No time to comment, but I did have this.

I don't have the affidavit handy, but I would expect that the Grenier part, if it was included, would've been redacted. At that point, his affiliation with the CIA wasn't public, I don't believe. I don't think it matters very much either way.

Well, poop. Looks like I was seeing a video from May. For some reason Raw story has a story up that reads as if MSNBC has just today confirmed the Plame- Iran weapons work connection, but when you look at the date - in very fine print - It's from may. Hate it when they do that. I then punched through to a video posted on Crooks and liars. And now that I pay more attention it's old news. Sorry - My bad. The Iraq weapons work connection to Plame is however very interesting. And, I think, very illuminating.

Is your theory now that it is *more* likely Judy got Plame's name from someone other than Libby? Perhaps that she had her name and asked him about her?

I hope you do know you're always welcome?

Thank you. I sort of figured that, since we will al be together in a Plame Anonymous support group ten years from now.

From clburne:

To assume that Corn and Isikoff don't embellish facts they don't "prefer", but do embellish facts they DO "prefer" is telling. But not about them. Does this kind of reasoning color all of your thought processes?

It sure does. Do you believe everything you read, or do you consider the source?

And yes, I say a parenthetical mention of Iran - actually, I thought about filing that that under "Too good to be true", since I strongly suspect Corn was not going to rest until he had someone tell him that. But I decided to file it under "So What", since I suspect it would be very hard to study the Iraqi WMD efforts without sometimes unearthing an Iranian link of one sort or another.

My guess - we have a huge Iran team that is separate, some ops or sources overlap, and the Raw Story report was pure (but appealing) fiction.

I also happened across this old LA Times excerpt:

As for the fallout from Plame being named by Robert Novak in July 2003, here�s what the Los Angles Times reported on July 16, 2005:

�Current and former U.S. intelligence officials said it was unlikely Plame was in danger as a result of being identified. An internal CIA review concluded that her exposure caused minimal damage, mainly because she had been working at headquarters for years, former officials familiar with the review said.

That jibes with reports from Dana Priest, Andrea Mitchell, and Bob Woodward.

And while on Ms. Priest, she also wrote this:

To describe someone who was trained and worked in the DO, you have several choices: �case officer� which is too jargony, but is what the agency calls their DO people, or �operations officer,� which is slightly more generic and acceptable to all involved (many loath �operative� because it's too James Bond-like).

Gotta run.

Take one Waas;


Mix in one Sargent;


Leaven with one Talkleft;


Fold in Corn, i.e, “…She also went to Jordan to work with Jordanian intelligence officials who had intercepted a shipment of aluminum tubes heading to Iraq that CIA analysts were claiming--wrongly--were for a nuclear weapons program...”

What have you got?

According to someone...(detail folks, help me here!! I can't remember who reported this but it seems like you all would know...) there has been no formal damage report done. An informal report was prepared for the investigation. Now, I don't know for sure what that means but when these reporters were spouting that they knew no damage was done...my thought was "how can they possible know this information" unless someone was leaking this information. Who would that leak benefit??

Wouldn't this explain why Fitz has taken this case so seriously? Wouldn't it explain why the investigation was requested by the CIA? Wouldn't it be treason if the administration did in fact go after her because they didn't like what she had to say about WMD in Iraq? I think at this point, damage speaks louder than crime committed. Let's say they can't prove where the leak originated? Let's say they just put two and two together and there was no real leak, it was all innocent?? The damage changes the landscape. Now, it's not just a silly little bit of gossip that got away from them.

Now, it's a serious breach. Now, the fact that they spread it, so throroughly to each other and the press whether innocent or not...doesn't matter. If they did it to hurt valerie or not, doesn't matter...did it hurt US. Did it contribute to the problem the US was having in regard to Iraqi intelligence? Did anyone die as a result? Rumor mill (no credible source, but where there is smoke there is sometimes fire) is that someone was killed. This has been a rumor since the beginning. But again, that would not be info that the cia would just throw out to the wolves. It would be guarded. Is it possible that the damage done is an intelligence issue and cannot be made public?

Fitz has remained so quiet. Nothing after Rove nonindictment. Nothing about the end of the investigation. Nothing about nothing. Just silence.

Tom Maguire quoted:

An internal CIA review concluded that her exposure caused minimal damage, mainly because she had been working at headquarters for years, former officials familiar with the review said.

That might seem reasonable so far as the immediate time period is concerned, though even so this assessment could be a bit too rosy; after all, Ms. Wilson was still "occasionally [flying] overseas to monitor operations," and who knows what that entailed? However, what those who know how operations work, such as the VIP agents, have written suggests that the damage from her exposure could stretch back and touch contacts from years before who, till 2003, might have succeeded in carrying out a task without notice.

Be that as it may, though, the larger point of the whole affair is still that high officials of her own government caused Valerie P. Wilson to be exposed—apparently regarding her as "fair game", in their typically ugly rhetoric—as if she and the JTFI operation were some toy that could be just smashed since it didn't do what they thought it should. So what if they lucked out. That fact, if fact is what it is, does not seem to affect the SC decision to prosecute or not. It should have no bearing on how we voters judge them.

Katie Jensen,
The detail on "no formal damage assessment done" is from Fitz.

Per FDL on 2/6/06, "Some of the Bush apologists, such as Byron York of the National Review, are still insisting that Plame's covert status is in doubt and that no damage was done by seizing on a paragraph in a recent letter from Patrick Fitzgerald to Scooter Libby's attorneys. In a December 14, 2005, letter to Fitzgerald, Libby's lawyers asked for "Any assessment done of the damage (if any) caused by the disclosure of Valerie Wilson's status as a CIA employee" in a December 14, 2005 letter to Fitzgerald. Fitzgerald's response stated, "A formal assessment has not been done of the damage caused by the disclosure of Valerie Wilson's status as a CIA employee, and thus we possess no such document."

Emptywheel is now carrying the torch on Plamegate, Fitz might have his hands tied by the legal system. However, it is currently being proved that the big brains in the blogosphere are capable of finding the truth and printing it for the masses. It's our job to diseminate it.

Keep it up EW, but don't provide the defense counsel a sounding board mock trial for their defense strategy.

Does anyone think the latest revelations are news for Libby's defense team? I know they wanted info about Plame in one of the hearings. I think Jeffress said they needed to know what paths they as lawyers should and should *not* go down. I wonder if this is news to them, or not.

No, Jim E, I think they knew this. They only had to ask either their nominal or actual client.

While it may be useful as to the PUBLIC understanding of Plame's role, I fully believe they knew already what role she played.

So it is at least possible that the way Miller got into this story (and really really didn't want to have to talk about it) was that someone in the Chalabi gang, acting independently, used her to attempt to discredit Wilson in the same way that Libby and Rove did.

Posted by: FredinVermont | September 05, 2006 at 17:58


That's kind of what I'm thinking. Though it's more complicated. Remember that Woolsey was the defacto lawyer for the INC and on at least one (I think it's two, but I'd have to check my notes) introduced a defector-labeled-fabricator to Judy/DOD...
In other words, I'm suggesting that someone--perhaps the former head of the CIA--monitored what the CIA was doing as he was shepherding Chalabi's defectors around.

Actually, if I understand you properly, this is very close to the Ariana Huffington theory I was discussing the other night.

That Judy had a much bigger source than Libby, that it was Judy asking Libby about Wilson (or spreading information to him) rather than Libby-initiated, and

This is why Miller doesn't want to reveal her "source" at the White House -- because she was the source. Sure, she first got the info from someone else, and the odds are she wasn't the only one who clued in Libby and/or Rove (the State Dept. memo likely played a role too)… but, in this scenario, Miller certainly wasn't an innocent writer caught up in the whirl of history. She had a starring role in it. This also explains why Miller never wrote a story about Plame, because her goal wasn't to write a story, but to get out the story that cast doubts on Wilson's motives. Which Novak did.


Good work, EW, good work.

Cheney, et. al., knew exactly who she was because she was probably part of the briefing team at Langley, or she prepared material for the briefing team when Cheney and Libby went to Langley to try to stare down the CIA.

For Cheney and his goons, this was a twofer. But hitting Joe Wilson, they also got Valerie Plame off their backs.

What would comprise a 'smoking gun' in this case?


It doesn't really matter who Judy got it from, Woolsey or Libby. They're part of the same cabal; it'd be hard to distinguish them.

And we know why she didn't publish a story. Because the NYT was finally trying to reclaim its credibility after having been made an ass out of by Judy and Jayson Blair.

Yep, it's a scoop all right. Good on David and Michael. We're all counting on emptywheel and eriposte to put this in context with the details - plamologists, front and center!

Parenthetically, I guess we now know the rest of why or even the main reason why Fitzgerald, in his press conference referred to the leak as retaliation on a whistleblower. At the time, we only knew for sure that Mr. Wilson was blowing a whistle, but now it seems at least possible that Mrs. Wilson might have been, also.

This site isn't searchable?

I'm sure that I've posted here that Judy almost certainly got her information about Valerie Plame from her good friend and source David Kelly.

Is there any possible way that Kelly and Plame wouldn't have crossed paths while tracking down suspect shipments of WMD-parts at some point in their careers?


And we know why she didn't publish a story. Because the NYT was finally trying to reclaim its credibility after having been made an ass out of by Judy and Jayson Blair

Oh, I didn't realize that was something you knew. I thought it was a theory you had.
Anyway, the idea is Arianna Huffington and her sources at the NYTs, not mine.
I misunderstood your post, however, to imply that Judy had a source other than Libby she was trying to protect. Perhaps you are saying in your conspiracy idea it doesn't matter who she got the name from, but I would say it makes a difference to Scooter Libby and it should make a difference to Fitzgerald.

I'm not sure if all news is good.

On the plus side:
1) It makes it almost certain that Plame met the IIPA definition of covert. Tom Maguire is already starting to wonder whether "served" means "stationed". As silly as it sounds - served means served.
2) I think that this explains why Cheney reacted like he did. It wasn't just the Wilson trip, it was all the other supporting information related to the Iraqi WMDs that could be off the lid. If Plame's team had raised flags on Iraqi WMDs, then the Bush administration would react to Wilson the way they have.
3) There may already have been bad blood between Cheney (who wanted a certain outcome) and a certain section of the CIA (which wanted to be objective). I think that the description "killing two birds with one stone" is quite appropriate.

On the negative side I am bothered by the possible conflict of interest in the association between one of the CIA's Iraqi WMD manager and the person sent to investigate a possible Iraqi nuclear link. Especially so when Plame was predisposed to one outcome. I am willing to accept that Plame did not suggest or recommend Wilson, and I fully accept that Wilson was qualified for the job. There is something in the back of my mind that does bother me, though I cannot articulate well what it is.


very interesting, as usual

but try as hard as I can, I still cannot figure out even the big picture

what strikes me most is that all of this is so shrouded in murky detail that there was never any reasonable fear that the media would catch up with the story


for some reason, Libby and Rove were extra careful to play it cagey

Tenet was willing to seek an investigation, publicly

someone started that 1x2x6 stuff

and someone got Ashcroft to blink, and along came Fitz

something big was going on, something that some folks in intellligence (certainly not Tenet on his own) thought was worth throwing down the gauntlet over

somehow, I think, a GROUP of people in intellligence community became convinced that entire future of intelligence was at stake

not Plame, not her network, not the 2004 election

the rebellion seems to big for that


maybe something about the Cheney/Libby etc. crowd -- and their goals -- really scared the group


and if something big was in the air, how innocent was Armitage? did the group target Powell?

Wilderness of Mirrors

Emptywheel ,
Re: your post at 1615 - It is well known that Cheney felt there was a significant group within the CIA who were working hard to oppose him personally. From what I have read of the story, taken from Cheney's position the JTIF headed by Valerie Plame could well have been viewed as such a political group within the CIA attempting to thwart his activities. They were the group normally tasked to verify the leaks and info from Chalabi's INF, and consistently discredited it.

Then when Cheney used that Chalabi-based "Intelligence" in public reports, suddenly the husband of the JTIF (which was already a major thorn in his side within the CIA) writes a series of public reports discounting the Niger yellow-cake report which was a major part of the effort Cheney was using to push for the Bush/Cheney preemptive invasion of Iraq.

It seems to me knowing Cheney's long-term belief that the CIA opposed him personally by discrediting the extreme right-wing (fantasies to us, data to the NeoCons) could have viewed the Wilson propaganda effort as an out-of-channels attack on Cheney by the CIA and the JTIF within it.

If that's the case, then the Cheney-inspired efforts to shop Valerie Plame to six reporters (of whom only Novak published it, and he had an independent source for the report from Armitrage) could well have been the Cheney effort to shut down the CIA spooks who were out to disrupt him. This scenario would have made the outing of Valerie Plame as a direct attack on Valerie Plame and the rogue elements of the CIA who were working to thwart Cheney's operations.

So, EW, does this seem like a reasonable scenario to you?

It removes the apparent indirection involved in attacking Wilson through exposing his wife (which has always seemed to me to be too subtle and rapier-like for the hammer-swinging NeoCons), and simplifies the entire story to another part of the well-known on-going bureaucratic war between Cheney and the CIA that has gone on since the Nixon administration.

Seems to me that concerns one might have about family members being involved in such an operation could be mitigated by the fact that they were deployed in separate lines: she didn't send him, so he didn't report to her. Also, she seems not to have been in line to evaluate his results, or at least not to put the final stamp on them.

It might not be one's desired protocol, to be sure. But given various time and other pressures that were apparently operative, and the relatively small community, it appears, who could be called on for such a mission reliably and on short notice and conditioning on the uncrossing lines of authority, this doesn't seem so damnable.

Remember, too, that Amb. Wilson was to confirm or not the results of two or three other U.S. officials —then-current Amb. Kirkpatrick, who I believe made two separate inquiries at some point, and the EUCOMM commander Gen. Fulford. So while his report was presumably important, it would not necessarily have been the only or the critical report considered in making the final assessment; nowhere has it been suggested that the other reports were discounted.

But in the end, even if the CIA procedures were in the matter of assigning this one report a bit non-U, how could it trouble one's sleep more than the blowing up of the operation and the careers of some of the involved--as it happens, of some involved who did not even orchestrate the decision to pursue the inquiry in the way it was done? There still is an Inspector General at the Agency, I believe.

Could Judy have been musing on a way of disguising her name? Could 'Valerie Flame' have been her own invention, in her own notebook?


I think every CIA official would take this personally. Especially the undercover ones. They work in dangerous situations where when overseas, they are not protected by the government and could face death, kidnapping or imprisonment. To work for your country and then be exposed by political operatives. I think they consider themselves to be a better class of human being and far more patriotic than someone like Karl Rove. Remember what W's father said:

“I have nothing but contempt and anger for those who betray the trust by exposing the name of our sources. They are, in my view, the most insidious of traitors.” [George H.W. Bush, Speech at CIA

I think that attitude is still prevalent at the CIA. Tenet would have face a bureau wide revolt if he didn't stand up to protect his people.

Hubris [Corn's new book, written with Michael Isikoff] contains new information undermining the charge that she arranged this trip. In an interview with the authors, Douglas Rohn, a State Department officer who wrote a crucial memo related to the trip, acknowledges he may have inadvertently created a misimpression that her involvement was more significant than it had been
Corn 9/6/06

Seems the tectonic plates are shifting beneath our feet. At any moment, a cataclysm.

NYT editorial:

While this page opposed calls for reviving the special prosecutor law for this case, we did say that someone outside the White House orbit should be in charge, rather than Attorney General John Ashcroft. Like most others, we saw Mr. Fitzgerald as a good choice. Now we fear he has succumbed to the prosecutor’s foot-dragging disease. He kept the case open after I. Lewis Libby, Mr. Cheney’s chief of staff, was indicted. At the time he hinted that he would have more to say on the original crime he was investigating. That was last October.

It’s time for Mr. Fitzgerald to provide answers or admit that this investigation has run its course. Otherwise, he risks being lumped in with the special prosecutor who spent a decade investigating the former Clinton cabinet member Henry Cisneros, and wound up with nothing more than his conviction that he had yet to get to the bottom of things.

I like to think Fitz is saving something for an October surprise. Just in time for the mid-terms, when a huge sea-change will occur.

Payback's a bitch, eh?

To all of the ideas floated about Cheney seeing this group as personally opposed to him, yes, I agree with that. But I would go one further. THese were not just operative who could oppose Cheney's future plans. These were people who could expose Cheney's past activities.

Remember, the war had already started. While they were drumming up support for an Iran war, they were probably optimistic they coudl game the intell on that. Unless it became clear that the Iraq was was a total lie.

And remember that they had Hadley do a review (sometime during this period, in fact) to figure out precisely what Bush had been informed--to figure out whether it could be proved that Bush knew the intell claims were bogus. With Bush, only the aluminum tubes could be traced back to him (but consider--Plame was right in the middle of the aluminum tube claims, from Corn's description).

But the senior management intell reports included a lot more detail which should have dissuaded them from going to war. And, after all, this is a fairly typical approach with CIA assets. You make sure you've got some way to discredit someone whose knowledge can hurt you (think of the child porn attack on Scott Ritter), so when she comes out with the truth, no one will listen.

So it was not just a vague animosity that motivated Dick. At the time when people were beginning to whisper that the intell had been bad, Dick Cheney needed to destroy those who knew that best--to prevent them from exposing that Cheney went to war knowing the intell had been gamed.

Rather odd editorial from the NYT today calling for Fitzgerald to provide answers or admit that the investigation has run its course. Aside from the fact that I can't even tell what it is they're recommending, they commit some real howlers, saying that the INR memo was prepared not - as the Times incorrectly said the other day - for Libby but for Cheney. Presumably this is a misunderstanding of the fact that the memo was prepared for Grossman at least in part because he wanted to have answers to give Libby to Libby's queries about Wilson and his trip. They also appear to refer to Karl Rove as "the second, unknown source cited in Mr. Novak's column" - although maybe they're endorsing emtpywheel's reminder that there's still a lot we don't know about Novak's sources! They also go on to suggest that when Libby was indicted, Fitzgerald hinted that he would have more to say on the original crime he was investigating. If only! Funny, I don't remember that part of the press conference. And to whatever extent Fitzgerald did so hint, it must have had to do with Libby; and of course we have learned a good deal about the underlying activities Libby was engaged in, thanks to Fitzgerald's filings and the hearings.

Overall, the Times takes a more moderate position than the silly WaPo editorial board and others, and in part they seem to be offering Fitzgerald advice for responding to such silly attacks. But they too express impatience. Maybe we should try to build a bipartisan consensus that Fitzgerald should release a public report: I will provide the argument, using Fitzgerald's own arguments in his response to the motion to dismiss, that he was wrong when he stated at the press conference that he did not have the authority to issue a report; and then we can offer arguments from left and right that he should exercise his discretion and release sush a report, from the left so we can learn what happened and from the right so they can go on to bash Fitzgerald's investigation as he attempts to justify his own efforts.

Okay. I know that saying this is fanning flames and emotional and not scientific but god bless america...is that not treason??? Especially given the current state of affairs. To me, it explains why they cannot admit there is a civil war. It just gets worse and worse for them. They can't admit that Rummy is incompetent, because all of this serves to make the damages from the Treason more evident.

Too bad that peace doesn't look like a short term money maker. Peace is a long term investment that pays all of mankind over time. War, well that costs lots of poor folks and gets rid of some of the riff raff, but it creates more war over time. It has a self propagating effect...like peace. But there is so much more up front money in war times.

This is also why they were willing to cheat at election time. It was imperative that the dems did not get hold of the house and senate. I mean in a desperate way. The kind of desperation that makes a mockery out of democracy. It makes you realize that there is no level that this administration will not go. Freemen, Crispin Miller out of the university of pennsylvania...makes a clear case for election fraud using many different means. People have been unwilling to buy that that this administration would stoop so low as to mess with our democracy. But if the reports are true, the desperation of the cabal is obvious. They could not afford to have the dems come out of top...they were not just winning an election...they were saving themselves from potential prosecution because they clearly lied us into the war...and there was the chance that it could be proven.

Katie J.

You make a good case for Republican desperation. Each effort they have made to win elections and to start or continue wars, and more recently to cover up those previous desperate efforts, now comes down to the real crunch.

This year's October Surprise is going to be a doozy. They have never been as threatened, and their only way of dealing with that desperation is to get more extreme in their lies, fear-mongering, and (I'll agree) their criminality and even treason.

Er, I don't want to be the party pooper, but it's probably not a good idea to expect an October Surprise (not much of a surprise if it's expected) or any other Fitz movement. The Corn/Isikoff thing is very interesting and relevant, but just because we're reading about it in Sept 2006 doesn't mean anything. We--the general public, that is--have merely learned more about something that Fitz presumably knew back in 2003/04. It's new and exciting to us, but it's all a big yawn for Fitz's team.

I think the Corn/Isikoff disclosures help explain why Fitz got judges to go along with throwing Miller in jail, but otherwise, the article doesn't indicate that Fitz has uncovered anything new in the last several months, which is what matters in terms of the legal front.

So confused.


Speaking to reporters on Air Force One on his way back from Baghdad, Mr. Bush told reporters: "It's a chapter that has ended. Fitzgerald is a very thorough person. I think he's conducted his investigation in a dignified way. And he's ended his investigation."

Oh wingnuts of little faith, what's with all the calls for Fitz to end his investigation?

ew - I agree with your conclusion about Cheney being afraid about his past activities being exposed. Who better to do that than someone in Plame's position.

Infact the latest revelation from Corn goes a long way in explaining the motivations of the White House.

Jeff - I wish I could share your enthusiasm about the right wanting a full report from Fitz. They would not longer be able to control the narrative if everything was out.

But Pete, I will appeal to their outraged sense that Fitzgerald had better try to explain himself, and to their belief - deluded, in my judgment, but whatever - that he won't be able to.

Jim E

That's an important point. We know from the Armitage "scoop" that this stuff isn't anything that hasn't been out there for months (Isikoff first reported on Armitage as Novak's source last year).

Corn posted the press release for his new book with Isikoff, which I'm hoping to pick up later today, complete with a list of some of the purportedly new disclosures in the book. I'm sure there are some new and interesting things and lots of lard. But this little minor one caught my eye:

* Karl Rove and his lawyer did not turn over a critical piece of evidence in the CIA leak case (a document covered by a subpoena from the special prosecutor) for nearly a year. (pp. 377-378, 401-402)

I presume this refers to Rove's email to Hadley. If that's right, this will help to fill in the story of how Rove got off the hook, and something I've wondered about. Rove turned over the email to Fitzgerald in October 2004 - October 14, 2004, if memory serves. Luskin's story is that Viveca Novak alerted him to the fact that Time reporters were saying Rove was a source for Cooper at the beginning of 2004. So what is "nearly a year"? Did Rove already have knowledge of the email when he testified in Ferbruary 2004? And anyway, why didn't they turn the damn thing over right away?


Early on the White House was parsing the subpoena--saying that it only covered items in White House possession. (A journalist even asked Scottie about this, and he basically reiterated this stance, that it only covered stuff in the possession of the White House.) Which would mean the email, if it was archived offsite, would not have been turned over. (And of course, Card had warning of the subpoena details...)

Then, when they subpoenaed again in January, they included the original subpoena terms again--in this case, stuff related to Wilson. Abu G even sent out instructions to the effect that suggested this time, the subpoena was not optional.

The timing of Rove's decision to push the fake 9/11 narrative on ABC at this point in the pre-election runup seems to me to be a foolish and potentially very risky strategic move in this context. It constitutes a very public attempt to push attention away from what Bush knew by smearing knowledgeable insiders including Berger, Albright, and by implication their entire counter-terrorism team.

I can't help but wonder if this will blow up in Rove's face, as they directly invite these latest targets of their scorched earth smear campaign to begin to leak facts in contravention of the unraveling narrative. Including hopefully some of the answers to the great questions being posed here.


Oh yeah, I was sufficiently enlightened by your post on the subject to recall that. I am curious to see the account of when and how Luskin found the email, and why they didn't go to Fitzgerald with it immediately, waiting instead until right before Rove testified again in October 2004. According to an old Isikoff piece I just looked at, Luskin's claim is that the relevant conversation with VNovak was some time between October 2003 and January 2004. We'll see what the book says, but the teaser suggests Luskin found the email shortly after that conversation, which means before Rove's first and second time testifying to the grand jury, and possibly even before some of his testimony to FBI investigators. What's up with that? And just how did Rove get off again?

I found this bit of the Hubris press release at Corn's site interesting. According to the book, Rove told Chris Matthews that the Wilsons "were trying to screw the White House so the White House was going to screw them back."

This, along with info about JTFI, gets us back into the revenge category. Legally speaking, I have no idea what the big difference is between "discrediting" a source and seeking "revenge" on a source, but it appears the White House was doing both.

A few days back on this site, Tom Maguire seemed to think there was something of import between discrediting a source ("there's nothing wrong with pushing back") and seeking revenge on that source. I wonder if TM would care to comment on that purported Rove quote. (Of course, TM distrusts Corn, ignores Corn's Ann Coulter approved co-author, and is under the misapprehension that Chris Matthews has always been a huge Bush-basher, so I'm sure he'll come up with more euphamisms to say that Matthews, aided and abetted by Corn, is totally lying.)

Here's one of my favorite tidbits from the press release:

What Messrs. Corn and Isikoff reveal, among other things, is that the first official to reveal Valerie Wilson’s covert identity as a C.I.A. operative to columnist Robert Novak in June 2003 was Richard Armitage, who then served as Deputy Secretary of State.

This was reported somewhere else in the past (I'm trying to remember where). But it reveals that they were worried about proving the case when they realized there were no WMDs.

And this bit is a point that supports some of the arguments I've made about Judy's role as a cut-out.

CIA analysts, over the objections of other intelligence community analysts, rigged a post-invasion report to show that a trailer found in Iraq was a mobile bioweapons lab.

Much of the rest of the WMD conclusions seem to come from the SSCI, though (the Niger forgeries and the aluminum tubes).

Oh, and rawstory has the details on the email. The printout Rove handed to Fitzgerald was dated November 2003. He handed it over in October 2004.

I'm not sure how this fits into the my point about the "White House in possession of" story. But it doesn't look good. How did Turdblossom get off???

All I can say is, I wonder what form the gold bars have taken this time. Jeezus.

Corn: "Another issue was whether Valerie Wilson had sent her husband to Niger to check out an intelligence report that Iraq had sought uranium there. Hubris contains new information undermining the charge that she arranged this trip. In an interview with the authors, Douglas Rohn, a State Department officer who wrote a crucial memo related to the trip, acknowledges he may have inadvertently created a misimpression that her involvement was more significant than it had been."

Wait and see about this part of it.

It appears to be the case that the JTFI is also referred to as the Iraqi Task Force, and maybe even sometimes as the WMD Task Force, in the SSCI. It plays a significant role in a part of the Curveball episode, starting around p. 155 and then again, especially, starting around p. 247. I can't be sure about this - and you know the SSCI report - but putting together everything that's said, it looks to be the same thing.

And I was wrong about it not appearing in Robb-Silberman. It does, as the Iraqi Task Force (as you've probably figured out).

"How did Turdblossom get off???"

By ratting on Cheney. Fitz has Rover by the nads. Luskin won't release the so-called 'exoneration' letter from Fitz, because it details what FatKarl must testify to in order to get his sealed indictment dismissed.

... sand castles being built on the beach!!

Jim E said it. Fitzgerald knew all this (what is true and what is hoped for) long, long ago.

People that gamble don't usually keep track of their losses, but every time they win it becomes indelible in their hearts a long, long time. Is that the way it is with these wild conjectures?


TM distrusts Corn, ignores Corn's Ann Coulter approved co-author, and is under the misapprehension that Chris Matthews has always been a huge Bush-basher, so I'm sure he'll come up with more euphamisms to say that Matthews, aided and abetted by Corn, is totally lying

But Jim, I help little old ladies across the street.

I don't need to be under any misapprehensions about Chris Matthews full career to know that he has picked a specific side in the Plame discussion. Just for example, is it common practice for a reporter to tell Source B (Wilson) exactly what Source A (Rove) told him, and identify the person? How does that work - I protect my sources unless I'd rather not?

Anyway, in full spin mode, although the phrase "...screw them back..." is in quotes I am not even clear whether Corn is quoting Matthews *quoting* Rove, or whether Corn is *quoting* Matthews *paraphrasing* Rove. And guess what - I don't exactly trust either Matthews or Corn to make that crystal clear (although maybe the book will help). And since the source for that may be Joe Wilson describing Matthews' description of his chat with Rove, the "screw them" "quote" has been through several biased filters.

FWIW, here is the relevant passage from the press release:

Richard Armitage, the deputy secretary of state, was the original leaker in the CIA leak case. But as he was disclosing information to columnist Robert Novak, Karl Rove, Scooter Libby and other top White House aides were engaged in a fierce campaign to discredit Joseph Wilson. Rove even told MSNBC anchor Chris Matthews that the Wilsons "were trying to screw the White House so the White House was going to screw them back."

As to "discrediting" versus "revenge" - "Joe Wilson is wrong to suggest Cheney sugested Wilson's Niger trip, it was his wife's idea" looks like pushback, especially since Grenier of the CIA told Libby something just like that; "Ignore Joe Wilson, his State Dept file shows he has a drinking problem and was on the receiving end of three sexual harassment complaints" looks like revenge. Clear?

Can't resist:

As silly as it sounds - served means served.

Fine - does a general who tours Iraq get a service medal for having "served" in Iraq? I don't know, but it shouldn't be hard to check (I bet the anser is "no").

Now, the military definition of "served" may not be applicable here, but it would be worth finding the rules that are (the IIPA has never been litigated, s othat won't help). If Pete's notion is that neither the law nor the US government rules ever lead to "silly" results, well - its a happy day.

You know there is a fine line between telling the truth and being a hero and telling a lie and being a schmuck. None of this matters in the end. The bottom line is that we all have our opinions, fears and concerns. My concern is that my president "may have" (I don't have the complete proof, but by God, I want to know) lied to get the american people to support the killing of innocent human beings. (war--murder by any other name).There are situations where murder might be the only humane solution. If we are not willing to be in deep reflection regarding this issue, then we as a nation are lost.

If that is true, I want my president prosecuted for treason. When it comes to war, you don't lie. The investigation, the questions are patriotic and america at its best. If we do not ask the questions we are no different and no less accountable than the wife who gets in the car beside her drunk husband as he drives her home. If there are consequences she will share them. So, will a good guy like you beg the republicans to be "willing" to answer the questions and follow the facts. Will the republicans role model accountability please?? The republicans are losing credibility because they are refusing accountability. They won't even consider the questions. It is the response that is discrediting the party. If instead, republicans could validate that true patriots have a duty to ask these questions then perhaps the response wouldn't be what it is. I don't pretend to know for sure what happened, but I know that my job as a good american is to ask.

God bless you, but please look to answer not defend, please look to be willing instead of willful, please look to validate the kernal of truth rather than deny it, please look to be compassionate than to attack. In my book, that is how true christians behave. I know true christians, and my friend, Bush is no true christian, (if I pay attention to his actions instead of his words.) That's why he has lost credibility. There is a disconnect between what he says and what he does.


Do you have a source for this claim:

Grenier of the CIA told Libby something just like that; "Ignore Joe Wilson, his State Dept file shows he has a drinking problem and was on the receiving end of three sexual harassment complaints" looks like revenge

That's a pretty incendiary charge to throw out without any backup.

. Darn it, I fat fingered the tags again.

You've completely misread TM.

You are correct about wondering about the directness of the quotes. At best, it would be Chris Matthews repeating what Rove said. However, do know that Isikoff is also a co-writer of the entire book. (For some reason, you choose to smear the entire book on Corn's back alone.) Also, say what you will about Corn, I am unaware of his reporting -- being somewhat distinct from his opinionating -- being discredited in the past, or him being purposefully deceitful about matters of fact. While you might have your political differences with the guy, I believe he has a solid reportorial reputation, much in the same way Curt Caldwell (aside from his lies about Wellstone's funeral) has widespread respect dispite his well-known political sympathies. You're acting as if Michael Moore or Maxine Waters co-wrote the book. (On the other hand, I hesitate to go out of my way to bolster Isikoff's reputation. He's not someone I necessarily trust all the time. I figure Corn and Isikoff have incentive to keep each other in line, if only to keep their own reputations intact.) I have no idea why you know that Matthews was supposed to protect Rove as a source, or why it matters for this discussion.

I was responding to this comment you previously made: "IMHO that first quote, 'purely and simply for revenge', gets walked back quite a bit after the source 'elaborates' for the Oct 12 piece - they were 'pushing back', it was part of a 'broader case', and so on - nothing wrong with pushing back." I find your colorful (and extreme) hypothetical totally unenlightening regarding the significant of the sourece "walking back" (your words) from the "revenge" statement. I have no idea what you're really talking about in terms of "revenge" -- in the context of teh WashPost piece -- at this point. (Given your definition, though, it appears you'd agree that the administration--or those sympathetic to it--sought revenge on Scott Ritter, right?)

I'm not even sure there's a meaningful difference between push-back and revenge in this instance, but it seemed to matter to you, which is why I asked about it. Your response takes us pretty far afield, however. For whatever it's worth, the statement generally attributed to Rove seems pretty clearly motivated by revenge to me. (It's also consistent with his "We'll f--k him like he's never been f--ked before" line.)

But now that we know what you think constitutes "revenge": why in the world did you ever feel the need to seek "revenge" on Bill Richardson? Just because he has a 'D' as opposed to an 'R' after his name?

Tom Maguire - I guess it all boils down to what "served" means :)

Corn mentions: "Wilson, too, occasionally flew overseas to monitor operations. She also went to Jordan to work with Jordanian intelligence officials who had intercepted a shipment of aluminum tubes heading to Iraq that CIA analysts were claiming--wrongly--were for a nuclear weapons program."

This does mean that Valerie served our intelligence agency outside the United States during the five years in question.

Judge Tatel seemed to be satisfied that doing covert work overseas within the last five years satisfies the IIPA definition of covert.

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