I didn’t feel like covering the latest example of Democrat outrage, increasingly called “Leakgate” by the media, but since it is being misreported and people do not seem to understand what it is all about, I thought it was time to chime in. Several items about this whole issue smell very fishy to me.
It all started July 14, 2003, with the publication of Bob Novak’s article called Mission to Niger, about Joseph Wilson’s trip to Africa to investigate allegations of Iraq buying yellowcake uranium. Notice that this was written in July. Why did Wilson start freaking out about this article months later? The response delay does smell fishy, does it not?
Novak was curious to discover why Wilson was chosen to investigate the alleged sale of uranium. After all, Wilson was an ambassador, not an investigator. He is a Democrat, staunchly anti-Bush and firmly against the war in Iraq, so how did he get sent on a critical mission to investigate the claims that Iraq was seeking uranium? Novak wanted to uncover why, and he believed he found the reason in the person of Wilson’s wife.
Here is the offending paragraph that has bunched the Dem’s undies:
Wilson never worked for the CIA, but his wife, Valerie Plame, is an Agency operative on weapons of mass destruction. Two senior administration officials told me Wilson’s wife suggested sending him to Niger to investigate the Italian report. The CIA says its counter-proliferation officials selected Wilson and asked his wife to contact him.
The Democrats are screaming that revealing Wilson’s wife’s status in the CIA violates a law about revealing the identity of undercover intelligence officers. They are hoping this will be the wedge they can use to pry open the White House and oust President Bush. Who it was that told Novak about Plame is not known, because Novak refuses to identify his sources. His article says “senior administration officials,” but this does not necessarily mean the White House. It could apply to any senior bureaucrat serving anywhere in the executive branch of government. In fact, on Crossfire Novak said, “Nobody in the Bush administration called me to leak this.” But that hasn’t stopped liberals from pointing the finger of blame right at the White House.
Here’s a typical bit of liberal ranting found on one Bush-bashing site: “The intentional leaking of the name of a CIA operative by Senior White House Officials (AKA Karl Rove), was most certainly politically motivated.” Are there any facts in this sentence? Here they have changed Novak’s description to cast aspersions on the White House, and have specifically named Karl Rove, Bush’s chief strategist. These are not the only people to direct their anger toward Rove. Wilson himself did this before an audience in Seattle. He said he wanted “to see whether or not we can get Karl Rove frog-marched out of the White House in handcuffs.” Later on ABC’s Good Morning America, Wilson had to shamefacedly confess, “I don’t have any knowledge that Karl Rove himself was either the leaker or the authorizer of the leak.” That should clear Rove, right? But Wilson went on to state, “I have great confidence that, at a minimum, [Rove] condoned it and certainly did nothing to shut it down.” He offers no proof, just the same type of baseless assertion that he gave in Seattle and later retracted.
But regardless of who passed the information about Plame to Novak, the Democrats say this was a violation of law. Even Bush is calling this leak a “criminal matter,” but I must disagree. Granted, I am not a legal scholar, but I do not see how this leak actually violates the law. The law in question states that the United States must take affirmative measures to conceal a covert agent’s relationship with the United States. So, did the CIA hide the matter of Plame’s employment? I cannot see how the CIA could be taking “affirmative measures to conceal” if they confirmed to Bob Novak, and columnists Clifford May and Josh Marshall, that Plame was a CIA employee. If the CIA had been trying to hide her employment, they could have denied that she worked for them or repeated the standard “we can neither confirm nor deny” routine. But they chose neither of these options. It seems pretty clear that the CIA took no measures to conceal Plame’s employment.
So Plame works for the CIA, as freely admitted by the CIA itself. If she is a covert agent or some other secret operative, instead of the analyst the CIA claims she is, whose fault is it that her employment with the CIA was uncovered? Clearly it is the CIA’s fault for confirming her employment. Do you see the liberals barking after the CIA, asking for heads to roll or people to be frog-marched out? Are you silly? Their target is Bush, and they will stop at nothing to hammer away at him. Democrats have called for a special prosecutor to investigate this matter. They are all excited about the need for a special investigator because they know that their ox will not be gored. If a prosecutor is called, then the investigation will continue through the upcoming election year, muddying the waters and giving the Democrats ample ammunition with which to attack Bush.
But one thing should be very noticeable in this whole manufactured, inflated brouhaha: Bush is not dragging his feet in this investigation. He has informed the White House staff that they will cooperate fully with the Justice Department. Gone are the days of the Clinton administration, of declarations of executive privilege and shameless stonewalling. Staff members are willingly handing over documents, rather than letting them appear mysteriously years later in the residential part of the White House.
Addendum: CIA suspected that Soviet spy, Aldrich Ames gave Valerie Plame’s name with others to the Russians in 1994. They were certain enough that he had handed over her name, so they recalled her back to Washington. So she’s not been a covert agent since at least 1994. This information was posted on Oct. 11th by Nicholas Kristof in the New York Times.
So why did the CIA send someone known to be a rabid Bush hater to Africa to scope out the veracity of this story, especially since Wilson has no experience being an investigator? In his own words, he spend his time “investigating” by talking with government officials in his hotel while sipping sweet mint tea. So when they said they absolutely did not sell yellowcake uranium to Iraq, he believed them. Some great investigator.
Did the White House send him? Originally he said his mission came from Vice President Cheney’s office, but they have no record of this. So someone in the CIA, and most certainly a Democrat who wanted to embarrass Bush, sent Wilson. And Bob Novak wanted to know why someone like Wilson was given this assignment when he had no experience in this area. The simple answer is that his wife played a key part in his selection. See how it all ties together?