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May 29, 2007


Well Marcy you might have been a lawyer.

Minority of the minority!!

This subject is so convoluted and twisted and torn by the various parties that have been at each others throat (CIA, WH, State, Politicians) that it would take Alexander the Great's sword to cut through the tangled knot.

I think they will find that Waxman is a more cunning opponent than Rockefeller. It will take more than last year's wingnut stew to derail him.

The context of Memo's date is from Plame's testimony to Rep. Lynch

MS. PLAME WILSON: In February of 2002, a young junior officer who worked for me -- came to me very upset. She had just received a telephone call on her desk from someone -- I don't know who -- in the office of the vice- president asking about this report of this alleged sale of yellow cake uranium from Niger to Iraq. She came to me, and as she was telling me this -- what had just happened, someone passed by -- another officer heard this. He knew that Joe had already -- my husband -- had already gone on some CIA mission previously do deal with other nuclear matters. And he suggested, "Well why don't we send Joe?" He knew that Joe had many years of experience on the African continent. He also knew that he had served -- and served well and heroically in the Baghdad Embassy -- our embassy in Baghdad during the first Gulf War. And I will be honest. I had -- was somewhat ambivalent at the time. We had 2-year-old twins as home, and all I could envision was me by myself at bedtime with a couple of 2-year-olds. So I wasn't overjoyed with this idea. Nevertheless --

REP. LYNCH: I get it

MS. PLAME WILSON: We went to my branch chief, or supervisor. My colleague suggested this idea, and my supervisor turned to me and said, "Well, when you go home this evening, would you be willing to speak to your husband, ask him to come into headquarters next week and we'll discuss the options? See if this -- what we could do" Of course. And as I was leaving, he asked me to draft a quick e-mail to the chief of our Counterproliferation Division, letting him know that this was -- might happen. I said, "Of course," and it was that e- mail, Congressman, that was taken out of context and -- a portion of which you see in the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence Report of July 2004 that makes it seem as though I had suggested or recommended him.

It all makes sense, and you lay out the effects clearly as always. But what is the current status of the committees? and how this is being currently divided between them, that's the part that I don't know. Is Waxman done? What's the likelihood that Rockefeller might be moved aside as head of the committee? And didn't you have some kind of Feingold question about all of this?

Also, do you have any thoughts on why the SSCI report was released on the Friday of Memorial Day weekend? I think somewhere it was suggested that this may have been part of the deal with your "minority of the minority."

OT: Interesting front page article re Sen. Ted Stevens and related AK Leg/VECO scandal. Just FYI.


I hope Waxman does not back down. CIA does not get to pick which committees do oversight.

The Committees pick.

To the minority of the monority...

On July 18th, 2001 Representative Christopher Shays (R-CN) stated as Chair of the Subcommittee on National Security & Veteran's Affairs:

"The CIA's position that congressional oversight jurisdiction is limited to the Select Intelligence Committee is NOT (caps mine) supported by the law, is not supported by House Rules, is not supported by sound public policy. National security will be enhanced, not undermined by the full exercise of congressional oversight authority"

Henry, go get your copies and oversight away. Republicans agree too! It's in the congressional record!

Hard to imagine Waxman backing down.

ding7777 --
Thanks for the extended quote. It certainly explains why the memo is entitled "Iraq Related Nuclear Report Makes a Splash" -- which doesn't make sense if Plame is initiating the idea. It's not hard to intuit how and where that splash was -- it was just the sort of thing that would stovepipe well right into the Veep's office. And it's a nice slightly snarky title to boot, reflecting what must have been some impatience with the endless end runs she (and the whole CIA) surely had to deal with.

When was Cheney originally briefed on the DIA report, by whom, and what did Cheney instruct them to do on that briefing.

I've had a long-running argument with Cecil Turner over this issue, and when the 2-13-02 briefer's tasking was disclosed, I thought I had lost the argument. But then I looked at it more closely, and I'm not so sure (and when I raised these new doubts, I don't think I got a response from Cecil).

The DIA assessment was produced on February 12, 2002, it seems (see SSCI p. 38), so the only two options for when Cheney was shown it are February 12 or February 13 (assuming Cheney was right and it was the DIA assessment that he was shown). Initially, the widespread assumption was that the briefing from the 13th indicated that Cheney had seen the DIA assessment that day. However, read correctly, the February 13 briefer's tasking makes it perfectly clear that it was not during that briefer's briefing of Cheney on that day that Cheney saw the DIA assessment. ("The VP was shown an assessment (he thought from DIA) . . .") So it becomes important to know whether David Terry, the briefer, was Cheney's morning briefer. If he was, and this tasking reflects that briefing, then it almost certainly means that Cheney saw the DIA assessment the day before, the day it was produced, February 12 - the very day that Plame has testified one of her subordinates was called by someone in OVP. If, however, Terry was briefing Cheney later in the day, then it is possible that Cheney saw the DIA assessment earlier that day. (It's also possible, I suppose, that Cheney saw the material before his morning briefing that day, though I sort of doubt it.)

Uhp, whaddya know. Just noticed this in SSCI p. 38:

After reading the DIA report, the Vice President asked his morning briefer for the CIA's analysis of the issue.

That would appear to mean that either Cheney read the DIA report right before his briefing, and couldn't remember where he'd read it, and didn't have it ready to hand; or he'd read it the day before. i think I'm winning here.

A couple of other related things of note in Bond's new views. 1)It turns out CIA originally told the Committee that it was a question from the Vice President that prompted CIA's CPD to discuss ways to obtain additional information about the reporting. That's interesting because it certainly supports the notion that Wilson was relaying that information in good faith, having been told that by CIA (just as the INR person who produced their assessment that there was nothing to the Niger story was told that it was in response to interest from OVP).

2)It looks to me like the interest from DoD and from State that contributed to CPD coming up with the mission - which the first SSCI report noted; and which Grenier indicated to Libby, who took it as an important talking point - was all within the IC, assuming that the reference on p. 208 of Bond's views is the same: "The [February5 2002] report was forwarded in an e-mail from a CIA reports officer to Mrs. Wilson and a number of other recipients which said that the DO had received a number of calls from the Intelligence Community about the Iraq-Niger uranium report, citing the Department of State's Bureau of Intelligence and Research (INR), the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA), and SOCOM, specifically."

Hi, EW. Forgive me for being pedantic, but I think I've detected a persistent spelling error in this piece: it's "moronity," not "minority." Even a bear of little brain can pick up such an easy transposition!

Isn't this all based on the premise that there is something fishy about sending the former ambassador to Niger to investigate something related to the government of Niger.
You know what? It doesn't even make sense that Cheney outed Valerie Plame primarily to "get back at" Wilson for writing the op-ed piece. That's a cover story which for different reasons seems to suit both sides. The reasonable picture is that they outed Plame deliberately to bust up her anti-proliferation covert Brewster Jennings operation.
"Intelligence sources would not identify the specifics of Plame's work. They did, however, tell RAW STORY that her outing resulted in "severe" damage to her team and significantly hampered the CIA's ability to monitor nuclear proliferation."

"While it's well known that the war party's fateful "outing" of CIA agent Valerie Plame was partly revenge against her husband, Joseph Wilson, for his 2003 New York Times article, it may have also been motivated by a desire to neutralize Plame's investigations into rogue nuclear trafficking."

Isn't this all based on the premise that there is something fishy about sending the former ambassador to Niger to investigate something related to the government of Niger.

He wasn't ambassador to Niger: he was simultaneously ambassador to Gabon and São Tomé & Principe. But the general point holds: diplomatic posts in that unfashionable part of west Africa are dumped on career officers, and the big regional issues (instability plus uranium mining) cross borders.

Regardless of what the bouffanted one might say, the memo suggests that Valerie Wilson was weary of the CIA's reliance upon her husband's contacts and experience. Admittedly -- and this has long been my retort to the 'boondoggle' brigade -- the list of people with experience in both Iraq and francophone Africa among government workers is likely to be small. But there's a definite 'oh no, not again?' tone to that memo that fleshes things out.

Still, the main point holds: it's up to the SSCI minority minority to keep the zombie lies going.

OK, OK! I'll try to be serious. It's not that hard considering who's sitting in the Oval Office. I think it may well be as priscianus jr says at 16:13, that Agent Plame Wilson was the target all along. However, the way in which they chose to script the affair is straight-down-the-line Bush & Co. The administration's emphasis on the presumptive junket/boondoggle aspect of this whole affair is right in line with the ethos these people illustrate with their every act. And I'm fairly certain that, from its roots on up to its topmost branch tip, it's the product of a bunch of people who evince unexamined, unconscious homophobia. I know it's been said before, but Bush, Cheney, Rove and their cronies are nothing less than schoolyard bullies. And, like those bullies whose greatest satisfaction comes from painting their victims as emasculated, they aim to humiliate and marginalize them by holding their sexuality up to question.

Sadly, this has been a most potent weapon for disempowering their perceived domestic "enemies." Rove could care less whether or not Agent Plame Wilson was acting unethically in sending Ambassador Wilson to Niger--conflict of interest was the last thing on his mind when he concocted this "push-back" for the 7/6/03 op-ed. Instead, their attempt to discredit Amb. Wilson was purely and simply an effort to bring down upon him the scorn of their base--white, male, Christian Supremacists and the women who've swallowed the Christianist extremist ideology. And the easiest way for the White House to achieve that aim was to call Wilson's sexuality into question, just as they have done prominently in recent days with "pretty" John Edwards and the overpriced haircut (or, for that matter, Barack Obama--who's just too pale to be the sexual threat that "black men" usually present to phallically challenged white males, and by that logic not a "real" man, at all). By suggesting that Agent Plame Wilson sent her husband on this mission, they clearly hoped to imply that he was unable to make it on his own, and needed his CIA "mommy" to get him a job. She not only "wore the pants" in that relationship, she worked for the uber-manliest outfit of all, the CIA. Her husband, on the other hand, was unemployed, and under-qualified, even for the job his wife arranged for him.

It wouldn't surprise me a bit to learn that nobody in the WH even knew Agent Plame Wilson was under cover. And here's why. In their world, women, especially women "with a desk in Langley," are not secret agents. Instead, they are stenographers, or human resources specialists, or convenient fodder for illicit adulterous relationships, but they certainly aren't capable of male-worthy work. Nor should we let them play rough, either, lest we risk having them be set-upon by enemy rapists. I truly wonder if it ever occurred to them that she could have risked her life daily for her country.

I think I'll leave you all with that thought.
Keep fighting the good fight.

Interesting how that played out -- they probably knew nothing more about Valerie than what she did for the CIA and who she was married to when they outed her, but the sexual inadequacy calculation probably came back to bite them when it turned out that she was not only a secret agent, but blonde, glamorous and beautiful. By my reckoning that makes Joe Wilson James Bond.

I'd say Valerie Plame was James Bond, making Joe Wilson Honey Ryder.

Thanks, EW!

Or Pussy Galore?

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