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Saturday, November 12, 2005

Plame's Big Identity Secret?

PipeLineNews.org reports that General Paul Vallely, former CIA officer Wayne Simmons, Andrea Mitchell, Robert Novak, and National Review's Cliff May all "have first hand knowledge that Valerie Plame/Wilson's identity as a CIA employee was commonly known in DC, especially among the socially prominent movers and shakers who frequented State Department parties and similar functions." Furthermore, none of them were contacted by Patrick Fitzgerald during his two-year investigation into the alleged leak of Plame's CIA identity.

Interviewed on the November 3, 2005 edition of ABC's John Batchelor show, Vallely asserted that he had met and discussed the status of Plame with Wilson in Fox News' "green room" before the two were scheduled to appear as guest commentators.
...
Cliff May said on Fox News "I knew this, and a lot of other people knew it."
...
Wayne Simmons said on Fox Radio "As most people now know, [Plame] was traipsed all over Washington many years ago by Joe Wilson and introduced at embassies and other parties as 'my CIA wife.'"
...
Andrea Mitchell said on NBC "[Plame's identity] was widely known among those of us who cover the intelligence community and who were actively engaged in trying to track down who among the foreign service community was the envoy to Niger...So a number of us began to pick up on that."
...
Robert Novak said ..."First, I did not receive a planned leak. Second, the CIA never warned me that the disclosure of Wilson's wife working at the agency would endanger her or anybody else. Third, it was not much of a secret."

It's amazing that in two years of investigating this case, Fitzgerald never felt it important to interview these individuals. I suspect that a Scooter Libby defense attorney might show a little more interest. I also suspect that Joe Wilson is the one who could find himself in the hot seat if this case goes to trial.

2 Comments:

Blogger glenstein said...

Looks like you have your facts wrong. http://mediamatters.org/items/200511110011
and
http://mediamatters.org/items/200511090011
"Two years into leak investigation, Gen. Vallely suddenly claims, in contradictory statements, that Wilson revealed Plame's identity to him"

Vallely November 5: "at least three, possibly five, conversations" beginning in "the spring of 2002"

November 7: "only one occasion," which "probably was in that summer, early fall"

November 8: Vallely "clarified" his story "[a]fter recalling further over the weekend ..."

And
Wayne Simmons: "Simmons was one of several Fox News commentators who made that claim on October 28 but offered no supporting evidence."

Andrea Mitchell: "But a day after NewsMax published its article, Mitchell retracted her claim."

Clifford May: "However, a Media Matters search of May's subsequent television appearances did not turn up any additional references to this claim. That absence is particularly striking given that May has used his frequent appearances on CNN to question whether Plame was a covert agent when her identity was allegedly leaked and to suggest that her CIA employment may not have been a secret.

...

For example, May appeared on the July 18, 2005, edition of CNN's American Morning -- shortly after Time magazine reporter Matthew Cooper revealed that White House senior adviser Karl Rove and Libby told him before Novak's column that Wilson's wife worked for the CIA. May suggested that Valerie Plame's CIA employment may have been a "rumor" among reporters and that Rove and Libby simply confirmed it. May did not reference his 2003 claim that he was told about Plame's employment prior to Novak's column, despite the fact that such a claim would likely have supported his argument."

2:13 AM  
Blogger Bryan Alexander said...

Sorry, Abben, but I believe the facts that I have reported here are 100% correct. I reported what these five people have said as it relates to their having knowledge of Plame's CIA employee identity being commonly known in D.C.; I also reported that none of them were contacted by Fitzgerald during his investigation. It is a fact that all five of them have claimed to have this knowledge, and that none of them were contacted by Fitzgerald.

The comments of Robert Novak which I quoted in my original post are not addressed in the Media Matters for America article, so I'll just let that one stand as written.

Allow me, though, to address what is said about the four "dubious" witnesses discussed in the Media Matters for America article. (Nothing biased about calling these witnesses dubious, is there?)

Former CIA officer Wayne Simmons

---“Simmons was one of several Fox News commentators who made that claim on October 28 but offered no supporting evidence.”

So what? He said that he knew Plame was a CIA employee and that Wilson introduced her at embassies and other parties as 'my CIA wife.' Is he telling the truth? I don't know, but the fact that he offered no supporting evidence is certainly not evidence that he is lying. The man is not a prosecutor trying to prove a case; he is simply a man who made a statement about knowledge that he claims to have had. He was under no obligation to provide supporting evidence; therefore, the fact that he did not provide evidence means nothing.

National Review's Clifford May

---“However, a Media Matters search of May's subsequent television appearances did not turn up any additional references to this claim. That absence is particularly striking given that May has used his frequent appearances on CNN to question whether Plame was a covert agent when her identity was allegedly leaked and to suggest that her CIA employment may not have been a secret.
...
For example, May appeared on the July 18, 2005, edition of CNN's American Morning -- shortly after Time magazine reporter Matthew Cooper revealed that White House senior adviser Karl Rove and Libby told him before Novak's column that Wilson's wife worked for the CIA. May suggested that Valerie Plame's CIA employment may have been a "rumor" among reporters and that Rove and Libby simply confirmed it. May did not reference his 2003 claim that he was told about Plame's employment prior to Novak's column, despite the fact that such a claim would likely have supported his argument."

The fact is that in the July 18 edition of CNN's American Morning, May was not talking about knowledge of Plame's employment with the CIA; he was talking about her status as a CIA employee, about whether or not Plame was a covert agent.

---But the involvement we're talking about is whether the identity of a covert agent, a secret agent, a top-secret operative was revealed. It doesn't appear that Rove, or that Matt Cooper, as he says at this point, or Libby or any of them, understood that Valerie Plame, Wilson's wife, was a covert agent. And in fact, she wasn't at that time. She probably hadn't been for five years. That's according to Wilson himself. The reporters went to these guys and said, "I hear a rumor that the reason Wilson was sent to Africa was because his wife works at the CIA, may have sent him." That happens to be true, and that was established by a bipartisan committee. They said, yes, we've heard that rumor, too, and that rumor was true. So what you have here are officials telling the truth to reporters. That's unusual behavior, but probably not criminal behavior.

It makes sense that May would not have referenced his earlier claim that he knew that Plame was a CIA employee because that is irrelevant to the discussion he was having here: that of Plame's non-status as a covert agent.

General Paul Vallely

---"Two years into leak investigation, Gen. Vallely suddenly claims, in contradictory statements, that Wilson revealed Plame's identity to him"

Vallely November 5: "at least three, possibly five, conversations" beginning in "the spring of 2002"

November 7: "only one occasion," which "probably was in that summer, early fall"

November 8: Vallely "clarified" his story "[a]fter recalling further over the weekend ..."

The Media Matters for America article says that Vallely made "contradictory statements." But if you look a little more closely at what Vallely said on November 7, you'll see he said that "in the spring of 2002" Wilson revealed his wife's CIA employment "over the course of at least three, possibly five, conversations."

Now when you think about it, how could someone reveal something like that over the course of three to five conversations? As soon as information is revealed, it is revealed. It cannot continue to be revealed. Therefore, it would be impossible for Wilson to reveal his wife's CIA employment over the course of several conversations. More than likely, what Vallely meant to say was that sometime "over the course of at least three, possibly five, conversations" that he had with Wilson, Wilson revealed his wife's CIA employment. The actual revelation would have occurred in one of those conversations. This is, in fact, how Vallely clarified his story when, according to the Media Matters for America article, he "changed his story."

---After recalling further over the weekend his contacts with Wilson, Vallely says now it was on just one occasion -- the first of several conversations --that the ambassador revealed his wife's employment with the CIA and that it likely occurred some time in the late summer or early fall of 2002."

As far as changing the time from spring to the late summer or early fall of 2002, if any of us were asked about a conversation that we had with someone three years ago, we might say that the conversation took place in the spring, and after thinking about it awhile, decide that, "No, it was probably late summer or early fall." That would be especially likely to happen if we were trying to recall one particular conversation out of several that had occurred. The fact that Vallely didn't recall exactly when the conversation took place is certainly not evidence that the conversation did not take place at all.


NBC's Andrea Mitchell

---"But a day after NewsMax published its article, Mitchell retracted her claim.

Media Matters for America should have said, "Mitchell tried to retract her claim." Let's look at her original quote, and her "retraction."

On Oct. 3, 2003, Alan Murray, host of CNBC's "Capital Report, asked Mitchell:

---"Do we have any idea how widely known it was in Washington that Joe Wilson's wife worked for the CIA?"

To this question, Mitchell replied:

---"It was widely known among those of us who cover the intelligence community and who were actively engaged in trying to track down who among the foreign service community was the envoy to Niger. So a number of us began to pick up on that."

When Don Imus of MSNBC's Imus in the Morning later asked her about that statement, Mitchell replied:

---"I - I - I said it was widely known that an envoy had gone - let me try to find the quote. But the fact is what I was trying to say in the rest of that sentence - I said we did not know who the envoy was until the Novak column."

That's not what she was saying in October, 2003. Look again at the original question and at her original answer. Mitchell was asked "how widely known it was in Washington that Joe Wilson's wife worked for the CIA." Her answer was that it "was widely known among those of us who cover the intelligence community." She did not say that it was widely known that an envoy had gone, as she tries to claim in her so-called retraction.

That's almost as pathetic as Bill Clinton explaining to the Grand Jury, "It depends on what the meaning of the word is is.

Compare the believability of the Vallely clarification with the believability of the Andrea Mitchell clarification. It's amazing that Media Matters for America, and you apparently, believe that the Vallely clarification, which makes sense, is evidence that he is not telling the truth, while the Mitchell clarification, which is absurd, is evidence that she was simply misunderstood the first time.

Nice try, Abben, but you'll have to do better than this if you're going to make anyone fall for the left-wing campaign of misinformation.

3:57 PM  

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