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November 04, 2005

Investigate Plame & Wilson

A couple of weeks ago I read for the first time that Joe Wilson had not been signed to a confidentiality agreement when he was sent on his Niger mission.

Why was that, I wondered? I speculated on this site and on the webcast show that he wasn't asked to sign a routine confidentiality agreement because the little cabal of domestic black-baggers who put him up to the frame-job intended from the beginning for him to take his predetermined, agreed-in-advance "findings" public, with the imprimatur of the CIA.

Maybe obvious, but I did say this a while ago.

Now other people are saying it as well. Victoria Toensing writes about this in the WSJ. Subscription is required, but Powerlineblog seems to have quoted most of the good bits:

• First: The CIA sent her husband, former Ambassador Joseph Wilson, to Niger on a sensitive mission regarding WMD. He was to determine whether Iraq had attempted to purchase yellowcake, an essential ingredient for nonconventional weapons. However, it was Ms. Plame, not Mr. Wilson, who was the WMD expert. Moreover, Mr. Wilson had no intelligence background, was never a senior person in Niger when he was in the State Department, and was opposed to the administration's Iraq policy. The assignment was given, according to the Senate Intelligence Committee, at Ms. Plame's suggestion.

• Second: Mr. Wilson was not required to sign a confidentiality agreement, a mandatory act for the rest of us who either carry out any similar CIA assignment or who represent CIA clients.

• Third: When he returned from Niger, Mr. Wilson was not required to write a report, but rather merely to provide an oral briefing. That information was not sent to the White House. If this mission to Niger were so important, wouldn't a competent intelligence agency want a thoughtful written assessment from the "missionary," if for no other reason than to establish a record to refute any subsequent misrepresentation of that assessment? Because it was the vice president who initially inquired about Niger and the yellowcake (although he had nothing to do with Mr. Wilson being sent), it is curious that neither his office nor the president's were privy to the fruits of Mr. Wilson's oral report.

• Fourth: Although Mr. Wilson did not have to write even one word for the agency that sent him on the mission at taxpayer's expense, over a year later he was permitted to tell all about this sensitive assignment in the New York Times. For the rest of us, writing about such an assignment would mean we'd have to bring our proposed op-ed before the CIA's Prepublication Review Board and spend countless hours arguing over every word to be published. Congressional oversight committees should want to know who at the CIA permitted the publication of the article, which, it has been reported, did not jibe with the thrust of Mr. Wilson's oral briefing. For starters, if the piece had been properly vetted at the CIA, someone should have known that the agency never briefed the vice president on the trip, as claimed by Mr. Wilson in his op-ed.

It's illegal to reveal the name of a CIA agent?

You know what else is illegal?

For a group of CIA agents to run a covert operation against any government without the express authorization of the President... especially the government of the United States itself.

Zell Miller notes that the Wilsons found a little subversive loophole: what would have been blatantly illegal for Valerie Plame to do was kinda-sorta legal for Joe Wilson to do (with his SuperSpy Wife's connivance and assistance, of course).

Why wasn't a trained and competent CIA weapons expert sent on this mission?

Because such an agent wouldn't have been allowed to write his "findings" up for the New York Times.

And such an agent would have been vetted and wouldn't have been a political partisan whose "findings" could be predicted (as they were pre-determined).

No-- for this job, they needed someone outside the CIA. And they needed a crony for the operation, because they had to know his thinking, his politics. They had to know they could rely on him to knock down this "crazy little theory."

Enter liberal Democrat Valerie Plame's liberal Democratic hack husband.

And Rush Limbaugh's talking about it too. But, you know-- debuted on Hoist the Black Flag.


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posted by Ace at 01:30 AM

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