News and events revolving around the ousting of CIA agent Valerie Plame.

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Northern Star Online | Major leak comes from the top

Article by:
David Conard - Staff Reporter

High-level government sources leaked the name of Central Intelligence Agency agent Valerie Plame to Chicago Sun-Times columnist Robert Novak, who revealed it on July 14, 2003. Novak cited two senior administration officials.

It sounds like a Tom Clancy novel. Only this is real, so it’s criminal malfeasance, even treason, on the part of officials. Who did it? A high-level Al-Qaeda mole? A corrupt federal official on the take? I know! It was that "liberally-biased" Northern Star columnist David Conard. Better lock ole’ boyo up and throw away the key.

Nope. It was Vice President Dick Cheney’s Chief of Staff, Lewis "Scooter" Libby, wrote the Oct. 2 Chicago Sun-Times.

Also, Presidential Deputy Chief of Staff Karl Rove revealed Plame and her status to Time magazine White House correspondent Matthew Cooper, said the July 24 Chicago Sun-Times.

Rove says he only told Novak that it was former U.S. Ambassador Joseph Wilson’s wife. Gee, that’ll keep it secret, Karl. Since I don’t think Wilson is a polygamist, your statement probably let the cat out of the bag.

This story raises all kinds of disturbing issues.

First, there seems to be a complete lack of accountability in this White House. According to the 1982 Intelligence Identities Protection Act, it is a felony to knowingly disclose the identity of a CIA agent, punishable by up to 5 years in prison and a $25,000 fine. But according to CNN, "The chances of anyone going to jail for disclosing Plame’s identity may be slim at best."

Jail time aside, Bush said in 2004 that he stood by his earlier promise to fire anyone who leaked Plame’s name. He changed his mind by July 19, 2005, when CNN quoted him saying, "...if someone committed a crime, they will no longer work in my administration."

This tells me two things.

First, that Rove, Libby or both told Bush that they had leaked Plame’s name, and that’s why Bush changed his position. That sounds a lot like a cover-up to me.

I think the leak investigation will go like this: The Bush administration will split hairs over the definition of "agent" and "leaking", and neither Rove nor Libby will go to jail. They also won’t be fired.

As Sen. Joseph Biden (D-Del.) told CNN, "Anybody who’s ever made a mistake in this administration has never paid at all. Everyone who has been right in this administration has been fired."

By the way, I think the reason Plame’s name was given out was because her husband was right. Wilson was sent by the CIA to Africa in 2002 to investigate claims that Iraq tried to buy weapons-grade yellowcake uranium from Niger. Wilson found the claims to be untrue, and wrote as much in the New York Times in 2003, hurting Bush’s justification for the invasion.

So, according to CNN, "[Wilson’s] wife became important to the administration as a way to undermine Wilson’s credibility. She had a hand in sending him on a trip to Africa that provided Wilson with the ammunition he later used."

CNN also quoted Sen. Biden, who said, "The underlying issue here is, whether or not Joe Wilson said things rightly or wrongly, he was right - flat right - that Niger was not selling yellowcake to Iraq, which was a justification for going to war."

So, that’s what the Bush administration means by "You’re either with us or against us." I think they should say instead, "Either you’re on the side of any insane, unsubstantiated idiocy we come up with, or you’re our enemy, who we will destroy by any means available."

How can these clowns claim to be serious about the war on terror? They’ll invade a country for false reasons and if anyone truthfully states the reasons were false, they’ll try to destroy their credibility, even to the point of exposing a CIA agent’s identity.

I don’t think much of anything happens in the Bush White House high-level approval. This investigation could lead to the president himself. Pay attention, readers. This could be this generation’s Watergate. Write the media, write your representatives.

We can’t let this administration get away with releasing the identity of CIA agents.

Columns reflect the opinion of the author and not necessarily that of the Northern Star staff.

© 2005 Northern Star. All Rights Reserved.


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