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

Sunday, July 24, 2005

Senate Panel to Examine Use of Cover by U.S. Spies - New York Times

The Senate Intelligence Committee will conduct hearings on American spy agencies' use of cover to protect the identities of intelligence officers, the committee chairman said on Sunday.

The chairman, Senator Pat Roberts, Republican of Kansas, said on the CNN program "Late Edition" that the committee was "going to go into quite a series of hearings in regard to cover." The practice of intelligence cover has come under scrutiny during the investigation of the disclosure of the C.I.A. employment of Valerie Wilson, who had worked under cover for the agency for 18 years before being publicly identified as a C.I.A. operative in 2003.

"You cannot be in the business of outing somebody" working under cover, Mr. Roberts said. He said, however, that there were questions about the depth of Ms. Wilson's cover, because after spending many years overseas, she had been based at the Virginia headquarters of the Central Intelligence Agency at least since 1997.

"I must say from a common-sense standpoint, driving back and forth to work to the C.I.A. headquarters, I don't know if that really qualifies as being, you know, covert," Mr. Roberts said. "But generically speaking, it is a very serious matter."

Ms. Wilson's C.I.A. job was first revealed in a column by Robert D. Novak on July 14, 2003, eight days after her husband, Joseph C. Wilson IV, publicly accused the White House of twisting intelligence to exaggerate the threat from Iraq and justify war. Mr. Novak used Ms. Wilson's maiden name, Valerie Plame, and attributed his information to "two senior administration officials." A special prosecutor is investigating whether anyone illegally leaked Ms. Wilson's status or lied to cover up the leak.

Two top White House officials - Karl Rove, President Bush's top political adviser, and I. Lewis Libby Jr., Vice President Dick Cheney's chief of staff - spoke to reporters about the Wilsons in the week before the publication of Mr. Novak's column. Both men have denied being the original source of the leak.

Some Republicans have minimized the significance of the disclosure of Ms. Wilson's identity, noting not only her working at C.I.A. headquarters but also the fact that she did not have an in-depth cover story: her purported employer, a shell company created by the agency, was little more than a Boston post office box. They have also questioned whether the 1982 Intelligence Identities Protection Act applied to her, because the law applies only to officers who have served overseas under cover in the previous five years.

But agency officials apparently believe that the law does apply to Ms. Wilson, possibly because she took overseas business trips during the five years before 2003. The C.I.A. sought an investigation, and the Justice Department and Patrick J. Fitzgerald, the special prosecutor, concurred in choosing to pursue the case.

A number of Ms. Wilson's former colleagues at the agency have spoken out in recent days, saying the exposure of her cover was a serious offense.

In a letter to Congressional leaders last week, 11 former intelligence officers said that even if the law was technically not violated, "we believe it is appropriate for the president to move proactively to dismiss from office or administratively punish any official who participated in any way in revealing Valerie Plame's status." The letter added, "Such an act by the president would send an unambiguous message that leaks of this nature will not be tolerated."

Larry C. Johnson, a former C.I.A. analyst who trained with Ms. Wilson and who organized the letter, said in an interview that "there are lives on the line" in the leak of a covert operative's true identity, because foreigners known to have met with the operative may come under suspicion as possible American agents.

Mr. Johnson recalled that when they entered C.I.A. training together in 1985, he knew Ms. Plame only as "Valerie P." and she knew him as "Larry J.," and he had no idea that the Valerie in the news was his classmate until another former colleague called him in September 2003 and said, "That's our Val."

Mr. Wilson said in a recent interview that before the leak many friends and relatives had no idea that his wife worked for the agency.

But another former C.I.A. officer, Reuel Marc Gerecht, called Ms. Wilson's cover "very, very soft" and said cover "is the Achilles' heel of the agency." He said both "official cover," in which C.I.A. officers pose as diplomats, and "nonofficial cover," like that used by Ms. Wilson, in which officers use nongovernmental identities, are too often easily penetrated by foreign intelligence agencies.

Since the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, the agency has come under pressure to find ways to penetrate Al Qaeda and other terrorist groups, in part by relying less on diplomatic cover and more on innovative use of nonofficial cover.

The Prosecutor: The Mystery Man - Newsweek Politics -

Patrick Fitzgerald has sent a reporter to jail and pulled back the curtain on top staffers' press chats. Does he have a case?

By Jonathan Darman and Michael Isikoff

July 25 issue - Growing up in Brooklyn, N.Y., in the 1970s, Patrick Fitzgerald was so determined to attend the prestigious Regis High School that even a rejection letter couldn't keep him away. When his carefully prepared application was denied, Fitzgerald dialed up Regis's director of admissions and protested that there must have been some mistake. Sure enough, the school had mixed up his entrance exam with that of another Patrick Fitzgerald of Brooklyn who got lower marks. The right Patrick Fitzgerald entered Regis that fall.

Now, Washington is wondering if it's gotten Patrick Fitzgerald wrong, too. For nearly two years, the special prosecutor in the Valerie Plame leak investigation has been the city's mystery man, pursuing a murky investigation whose only targets seemed to be members of the press. But as new details emerge about White House efforts to discredit Iraq-war critic Joe Wilson and his CIA agent wife, Washington insiders are seeing Fitzgerald in a new light. Maybe his hard-nosed investigation will do more than just punish reporters. Maybe Fitzgerald's leak investigation will actually uncover who leaked.

To Fitzgerald's friends, the reassessment is long overdue. They point to his record as a federal prosecutor in the Southern District of New York (he brought charges against figures ranging from the Gambino crime family to the Egyptian cleric Sheik Omar Abdel-Rahman to Osama bin Laden) as proof that he is pursuing the greater good. Mary Jo White, the former U.S. attorney who was Fitzgerald's boss in the Southern District, recommended him for his current assignment as U.S. attorney in Chicago. His strength, she says, lies in how he "exercises his power with a real recognition of how awesome it is... He has a strong sense of the nuance."

That doesn't mean he's afraid to step on some toes, especially when they belong to members of the media. Associates say Fitzgerald is wary of reporters, dating back to his days trying terrorist cases. Concerned about protecting national security, he'd go to extraordinary lengths to keep sensitive material secret, only to see it published by meddling journalists. A particularly annoying offender, coincidentally, was Judith Miller, the New York Times reporter. Fitzgerald sent her to jail earlier this month for failing to comply with a court order to testify before the grand jury about conversations she had with sources on a matter about which she never wrote a story. In an earlier, unrelated clash, Fitzgerald had accused Miller of compromising a probe into Islamic charities by phoning one of the groups just before a government crackdown. Launching a leak investigation, he tried to get ahold of Miller's phone records and those of a colleague at the Times. The Times claimed its reporters were following standard practice and that there was no evidence they compromised a federal investigation. A federal judge quashed Fitzgerald's subpoenas.

Fitzgerald is intentionally keeping reporters and everyone else guessing as to what's really going on in his head. Last week, NEWSWEEK has learned, after Time's Matthew Cooper provided grand-jury testimony on his July 11, 2003, conversation with Karl Rove, Robert Luskin, Rove's attorney, placed a call to Fitzgerald to make sure he didn't need anything more from Rove in light of Cooper's claims. Fitzgerald didn't bite: "We'll get back to you," the prosecutor replied curtly and quickly got off the line.

© 2005 Newsweek, Inc.

Atty. Gen. Gonzales Responds to Frank Rich's '12-Hour Gap' Charge

By E&P Staff

Published: July 24, 2005 11:20 AM ET

NEW YORK Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, responding to a strong charge in a column by Frank Rich in The New York Times’ today, said there was nothing improper about waiting 12 hours to “preserve all materials” after being informed by the Justice Department in 2003 that it was launching an investigation into the disclosure of Valerie Plame’s status as a CIA agent.

Gonzales told Bob Schieffer on the CBS show “Face the Nation” that he had been given permission by the Justice Department to hold off overnight if he saw fit, which he did.

He also explained that he had not launched his own probe into the matter because “in this kind of case you want to wait to see if there is a criminal investigation.” He said he feared his own queries into the Plame leak “would hinder a criminal investigation.”

Rich had written that Gonzales was likely denied the Supreme Court nod that just went to John G. Roberts because the White House feared that he had too much “proximity” to the Plame scandal.

“As White House counsel, he was the one first notified that the Justice Department, at the request of the C.I.A., had opened an investigation into the outing of Joseph Wilson's wife,” Rich wrote. “That notification came at 8:30 p.m. on Sept. 29, 2003, but it took Mr. Gonzales 12 more hours to inform the White House staff that it must ‘preserve all materials’ relevant to the investigation.

"This 12-hour delay, he has said, was sanctioned by the Justice Department, but since the department was then run by John Ashcroft, a Bush loyalist who refused to recuse himself from the Plame case, inquiring Senate Democrats would examine this 12-hour delay as closely as an 18½-minute tape gap. ‘Every good prosecutor knows that any delay could give a culprit time to destroy the evidence,’ said Senator Charles Schumer, correctly, back when the missing 12 hours was first revealed almost two years ago.”

Asked about this by Schieffer today, Gonzales said, “It has always been my practice to work closely with investigators.” After getting notification from the Justice Department about 8 p.m. that night, he asked if he could inform staffers at the White House early in the morning , and that was okayed.

Schieffer then asked if he at least informed anyone at the White House that first night to “get ready” for the order.
Yes, Gonzales said, he told the president’s chief of staff that night, and then the president himself “first thing” the next day.

He then explained that he hadn't launched an internal probe just in case a criminal investigation was in the works.

Any regrets about how he handled all this? Schieffer wondered.

“No,” Gonzales replied, pointing how that the “strong prosecutor” in the case will bring out all the facts.

The Australian: Rove scandal chipping at Bush agenda [July 25, 2005]

Ian Bremmer

THE main reason the growing scandal around Karl Rove matters - aside from the fact that a senior White House official may have committed a felony - is that it damages George W. Bush's declining political capital.

From social security reform to Iranian nuclear proliferation, from Supreme Court nominations to US-China confrontation, a president needs domestic political capital to achieve his policy goals. Bush's chip stack is clearly shrinking.
Most second-term presidents have 18months to govern before lame-duck status sets in. Bush is already wrestling with Congress on foreign and domestic priorities. The battle over Rove's possible involvement in a felony dangerously distracts the White House and is likely to undermine support for the President's agenda.

Rove, the man credited with Bush's winning campaign strategies in 2000 and last year, has been dogged by charges he leaked the name of an undercover CIA agent to at least three journalists. One, Robert Novak, published the agent's name in his syndicated column. A second, The New York Times correspondent Judith Miller, is in jail for refusing to reveal who gave her the agent's name. The third, Time magazine's Matthew Cooper, avoided jail when Rove, his source, released him from a confidentiality deal, allowing him to testify before a grand jury. Time also handed over Cooper's notes and emails relating to the leak.

Novak says he wrote the column that outed the agent, Valerie Plame, to discredit ambassador Joseph Wilson's criticism of the Bush administration.

Wilson, Plame's husband, says he was sent to Africa by the White House to investigate claims then Iraqi president Saddam Hussein had tried to buy uranium from Niger. Wilson says he found no evidence such an attempt was ever made. But Bush made the claim in 2003 anyway as part of his effort to secure domestic support for the invasion of Iraq.

Wilson then wrote an opinion piece challenging the White House's truthfulness. Novak says he outed Plame to show the White House had not authorised Wilson's trip to Niger. But Wilson says the White House leaked his wife's name, and Novak printed it, simply to get revenge on someone who had criticised Bush.

With the opening of Cooper's notes, the media has moved into 24-hour Rove-watch. But there is reason to doubt the Bush confidant was the source of the leak.

The disclosure of the agent's name was too sloppy and unprofessional for someone of Rove's calibre. A recklessly large number of journalists were first approached about writing the story.

And although Novak is clearly an ideological conservative, he has criticised the administration often enough that he can hardly be considered its mouthpiece.

It was no sure thing Novak would play his assigned role. The lack of a coherent media strategy, the unnecessary urgency about placement of the story and the eagerness to use Novak all point to a leaker in the White House less media-savvy than Rove.

But if Rove didn't leak the agent's name, who did? It's sheer speculation, but smart money in Washington appears to be on Vice-President Dick Cheney's chief of staff, "Scooter" Libby, giving Plame's name to The New York Times reporter Miller - possibly with the direct involvement, or at least knowledge, of Cheney himself.

That would explain why the administration gave Cooper the go-ahead to reveal his conversations with Rove: the White House was confident Rove had broken no laws. If Miller were to reveal her sources, on the other hand, that would be another political problem entirely. Miller is accordingly likely to be the journalist who received the initial leak.

The person who gave her Plame's name may well be indictable. In other words, if Miller had revealed her source, a senior Bush official could have landed in jail - setting off a media circus of Monica Lewinsky proportions. That scandal would have potentially paralysed the administration at a time it is wrestling with high-stakes policy problems.

It's likely the scandal around Rove will grow. Because Bush values personal loyalty, and because his adviser has probably not broken the law, Rove is expected to remain in the administration. Bush knows the media would read Rove's departure as an admission of guilt and report the story as a body blow to the administration's credibility.

Ian Bremmer is president of Eurasia Group, a political risk consultancy, and senior fellow at the World Policy Institute.

North Jersey Media Group providing local news, sports & classifieds for Northern New Jersey!


WASHINGTON - President Bush is jeopardizing national security by not disciplining Karl Rove for his role in leaking the name of a CIA officer, and has hampered efforts to recruit informants in the war on terror, former U.S. intelligence officers say.

Former CIA analyst Larry Johnson used the Democratic Party's weekly radio address Saturday to reiterate comments he made Friday to a panel of House and Senate Democrats.

At that event, Johnson and others expressed great frustration that CIA operative Valerie Plame's name was made public. Plame is married to former ambassador Joseph Wilson, a critic of Bush's Iraq policy.

"Instead of a president concerned first and foremost with protecting this country and the intelligence officers who serve it, we are confronted with a president who is willing to sit by while political operatives savage the reputations of good Americans like Valerie Plame and Joe Wilson," Johnson said in the radio address.

Johnson, who said he was a registered Republican, said Bush has gone back on his promise to fire anyone at the White House implicated in a leak.

Federal law forbids government officials from revealing the identity of an undercover intelligence officer.

Rove, Bush's deputy chief of staff, told Time magazine reporter Matthew Cooper in a 2003 phone call that Wilson's wife worked for the CIA on weapons of mass destruction issues, according to an account by Cooper in the magazine.

Rove has not disputed that he told Cooper that Wilson's wife worked for the agency, but has said through his lawyer that he did not mention her by name.

In July 2003, Robert Novak, citing unnamed administration officials, identified Plame by name in his syndicated column and wrote that she worked for the CIA. The column has led to a federal criminal investigation into who leaked Plame's undercover identity. New York Times reporter Judith Miller - who never wrote a story about Plame - has been jailed for refusing to testify.

Bush said last week, "I think it's best that people wait until the investigation is complete before you jump to conclusions. And I will do so, as well."

Who told Bush what in leak case, and when was he told? / Fallout from Rove's involvement yet to be fully measured

- Richard W. Stevenson, New York Times
Sunday, July 24, 2005

Washington -- His former secretary of state, most of his closest aides and a parade of other senior officials have testified to a grand jury. His political strategist has emerged as a central figure in the case, as has his vice president's chief of staff. His spokesman has taken a pounding for making statements about the matter that now appear not to be accurate.

For all that, it is still not clear what the investigation into the leak of a CIA operative's identity will mean for President Bush. So far the disclosures about the involvement of Karl Rove, among others, have not exacted any substantial political price from the administration. And nobody has suggested that the investigation directly implicates the president. Yet Bush has yet to address some uncomfortable questions that he may not be able to evade indefinitely.

For starters, did Bush know in the fall of 2003, when he was telling the public that no one wanted to get to the bottom of the case more than he did, that Rove, his longtime strategist, senior adviser and alter ego; and Lewis Libby Jr., Vice President Dick Cheney's chief of staff, had touched on the CIA officer's identity in conversations with journalists before the officer's name became public? If not, when did they tell him, and what would the delay say in particular about his relationship with Rove, whose career and Bush's have been intertwined for decades?

Then there is the broader issue of whether Bush was aware of any effort by his aides to use the CIA officer's identity to undermine the standing of her husband, a former diplomat who had publicly accused the administration of twisting its prewar intelligence about Iraq's nuclear program.

For the last several weeks, Bush and his spokesman, Scott McClellan, have declined to address the leak in any substantive way, citing the continuing federal criminal investigation.

But Democrats increasingly see an opportunity to raise questions about Bush's credibility, and to reopen a debate about whether the White House leveled with the nation about the urgency of going to war with Iraq. And even some Republicans say Bush cannot assume that he will escape from the investigation politically unscathed.

"Until all the facts come out, no one is really going to know who the fickle finger of fate points at," said Tony Fabrizio, a Republican pollster.

The case centers on how the name of a CIA operative came to appear two years ago in a syndicated column by Robert Novak, who identified her by her maiden name, Valerie Plame. The operative, who is more usually known as Valerie Wilson, is married to Joseph C. Wilson IV, a former diplomat who had publicly accused the administration eight days before Novak's column of twisting some of the intelligence used to justify going to war with Iraq. Under some conditions, the disclosure of a covert intelligence agent's name can be a federal crime.

The special prosecutor in the case, Patrick Fitzgerald, has kept a tight curtain of secrecy around his investigation. But he spent more than an hour in the Oval Office on June 24, 2004, interviewing Bush about the case. Bush was not under oath, but he had his lawyer for the case, James Sharp, with him.

Neither the White House nor the Justice Department has said what Bush was asked about, but prosecutors do not lightly seek to put questions directly to any president, suggesting that there was some information that Fitzgerald felt he could get only from Bush.

Allan Lichtman, a presidential historian at American University in Washington, said the lesson of recent history, for example in the Iran-Contra case under President Ronald Reagan, is that presidents tend to know more than it might first appear about what is going on within the White House.

"My presumption in presidential politics is that the president always knows," Lichtman said. "But there are degrees of knowing. Reagan said, keep the contras together body and soul. Did he know exactly what Oliver North was doing? No, it doesn't mean he knew what every subordinate is doing."

Although it is possible that other officials will turn out to have played leading roles in the leak case, the subordinates whose actions would appear to be of most interest to Bush right now are Rove and Libby, who as Cheney's chief of staff had a particular interest in protecting the vice president's interests.

According to accounts by people involved in the case, Rove spoke in the days after Wilson went public with his criticism in July 2003 to both Novak and Matthew Cooper of Time, the first two reporters to disclose that Wilson's wife worked for the CIA. Cooper has said he also spoke about the case with Libby.

By September 2003, as a criminal investigation was getting under way, McClellan was telling reporters that Rove had nothing to do with the leak, saying he had checked with Rove about the topic.

Around the same time, the president was saying he had no idea who might have been responsible. Asked by a reporter on Oct. 6, 2003, whether the leak was retaliation for Wilson's criticism, Bush replied: "I don't know who leaked the information, for starters. So it's hard for me to answer that question until I find out the truth."

Asked the next day if he was confident that the leakers would be found, Bush, alluding to the "two senior administration officials" cited by Novak as his sources, replied: "I don't know if we're going to find out the senior administration official. Now, this is a large administration, and there's a lot of senior officials. I don't have any idea. I'd like to. I want to know the truth."

Republicans said the relationship between Bush and Rove was so deep and complex that it was hard to imagine the president cutting ties with him barring an indictment.

"Can you survive being involved in something you probably shouldn't have been involved in where you didn't break any laws?" Fabrizio said. "Well, you probably can, especially if you are Karl."

Fabrizio said that even if Rove left the White House, he would continue to consult with Bush "unless they put him in a tunnel."

McClellan and other White House officials have repeatedly declined to answer when asked if Rove or Libby had told the president by October 2003 that they had alluded to Wilson's identity months earlier in their conversations with the journalists.

But Bush's political opponents say the president is in a box. In their view, either Rove and Libby kept the president in the dark about their actions, making them appear evasive at a time when Bush was demanding that his staff cooperate fully with the investigation, or Rove and Libby had told the president and he was not forthcoming in his public statements about his knowledge of their roles.

"We know that Karl Rove, through Scott McClellan, did not tell Americans the truth," said Rep. Rahm Emanuel, D-Ill., and a former top aide in the Clinton White House. "What's important now is what Karl Rove told the president. Was it the truth, or was it what he told Scott McClellan?"

Bush has also yet to answer any questions publicly about what he learned from aides about Joseph and Valerie Wilson in the days after the former ambassador leveled his criticism of the administration in an op-ed article in the New York Times on July 6, 2003.

Political Affairs Magazine - "We Need the Truth": Downing Street Anniversary Sparks Demand for Investigation

"Our nation’s sons and daughters are dying and killing in Iraq out of loyalty to their country but in the name of lies from the Bush throne," charged Al Fishman, head of the Detroit Area Peace and Justice Network, in his statement as part of a panel convened yesterday in Detroit by Rep. John Conyers (D-MI) to highlight the 3rd anniversary of the Downing Street Memo.

The Downing Street Memo is the name of a document leaked to the British press last May and contains the minutes of a meeting of high-level British intelligence and cabinet officials held July 23, 2002. The memo records a discussion of meetings between British representatives and Bush administration officials on the subject of Iraq and a potential war.

The minutes show that some present at the Downing Street meeting believed that the Bush administration had already made up its mind to go to war and to "fix" intelligence about Iraq to support its cause. Further, British officials knew that the administration’s rationale for war, Iraq’s possession of WMD, its links to Al-Qaeda, and the imminence of its threat, were not supported by existing intelligence.

Other documents written by cabinet advisers in the British government dating back to March 2002 also were leaked. These documents further confirm what the British government believed about the Bush administration’s case for war. They also show the formulation of a concerted effort to develop a public relations drive to manipulate public opinion to support the war and to convince the US Congress to authorize it.

Read the memos at

Several hundred events were organized by local activists and members of Congress, including Jim McDermott (D-WA), Barbara Lee (D-CA), Maxine Waters (D-CA), and Maurice Hinchey in New York. Reps. Charles Rangel (D-NY), Xavier Becerra (D-NY), and Barney Frank (D-MA), around the country. The meeting called by Conyers was held at the Wayne State University Law School in Detroit, Michigan.
"Democracy dies in the dark. It’s time to throw open the shades and let in the light."--Rep. John Conyers (D-MI)

In his prepared statement to an overflow crowd of several hundred people, Rep. Conyers denounced a "pattern of deception in the lead-up to the Iraq war." He said that the Downing Street Memo and related documents have revealed that "the administration decided to invade Iraq, and had begun making plans to do so, long before seeking authority from both Congress and the United Nations."

Conyers linked these revelations with what he referred to as "Rovegate," the scandal surrounding Bush adviser Karl Rove and Cheney adviser Lewis Libby for leaking classified information to members of the media in retaliation against a critic of the war on Iraq.

"Rovegate," Conyers stated, "shows us that the White House would rather compromise the security of the United States and the safety of an undercover agent to discredit someone who successfully questioned its justifications for war."

These events are neither isolated nor are they the inventions of the Democratic Party, Conyers added. "They are the increasingly troubling chapters of a single larger narrative – a story of manipulation and deception, of preoccupation with war and disregard for the American public."

Conyers called on Bush to stop ignoring the popular demand for an investigation of his plans before the war and to force Rove to explain his role in the CIA leak case. "Democracy dies in the dark," Conyers concluded. "It’s time to throw open the shades and let in the light."

Local radio personality Tony Trupiano followed Conyers remarks with a moment of silence for the service men and women killed in Iraq.
"I refuse for another child to die over lies and ignorance."--Lila Lipscomb

Trupiano then called on the people to demand the truth from the administration about its war policy and use of intelligence. Trupiano added a denunciation of the war, especially the cost to the local communities. Describing the misleadership into an unnecessary war as "heinous," Trupiano concluded that "we can no longer wait while evil and decay infiltrate our community."

Lila Lipscomb, the mother of a career Army sergeant killed in Iraq and featured in the popular anti-war documentary, Fahrenheit 9/11 by Michael Moore, added her call for an end to the war.

After thanking Conyers for honoring her son with his courage in taking up this fight, Lipscomb criticized the administration for deceiving the public and for claiming to know what is best for us. She asked the attentive audience, "Aren’t you tired of being treated like you’re stupid and don’t know anything?"

Lipscomb also weighed in on the failure of the administration to reconstruct war-torn Iraq. She said that in her many communications with soldiers currently in Iraq, the main construction seems to be on US military bases. "Is that an exit strategy?" she wondered.

Urging the people to demand the truth about the war, Lipscomb added that it is our responsibility to bring the troops home safely. "I refuse for another child to die over lies and ignorance."
"We need the truth to save the lives of hundreds of American service men and women, as well as thousands of Iraqi lives. We need the truth to preserve our Constitution and Bill of Rights. We need the truth to stop the destruction of our communities. We need the truth to save the very soul of our nation."--Al Fishman

Lipscomb’s remarks were followed by those of Al Fishman, who heads the Detroit Area Peace and Justice Network, which is a local affiliate of United for Peace and Justice, the largest national peace coalition.

Since September 11th, the peace movement rejected war as a solution and called for immediate action against terrorism, a reevaluation of US Middle East policy, and the rejection of attacks on Arab Americans and civil liberties in the guise of a "war on terror," Fishman said.

Fishman called on the people to urge their member of Congress to co-sponsor a Resolution of Inquiry introduced to the House last week by Rep. Barbara Lee (D-CA), to convince Michigan’s senators to sign a letter authored by Sen. John Kerry and 9 other senators urging the full investigation of the use of intelligence by administration policymakers, and support for a national antiwar march in Washington, DC on September 24th called by United for Peace and Justice.

"We need the truth," Fishman concluded, "to save the lives of hundreds of American service men and women, as well as thousands of Iraqi lives. We need the truth to preserve our Constitution and Bill of Rights. We need the truth to stop the destruction of our communities. We need the truth to save the very soul of our nation."

Other speakers included: Ken Marcinkowski, a former CIA agent, discussed the national security implications of the Rove leak and administration’s higher concern its political agenda than for national security. Bankole Thomspon, a reporter for the Michigan Citizen, decried the failure of the media to investigate the intelligence in the lead-up to the Iraq war and challenged the Democratic Party to be a party of opposition. Dr. Robert Sedler, a Constitutional law professor at Wayne State University, discussed the historical meaning of "high crimes and misdemeanors" in the impeachment clause in the US Constitution.

--Joel Wendland can be reached at

Buffalo News - Probe in CIA leak shifts to question of perjury


WASHINGTON - The special prosecutor in the CIA leak investigation has shifted his focus from whether White House officials violated a law against exposing undercover agents to determining whether evidence exists to bring perjury or obstruction of justice charges, according to people briefed in recent days on the inquiry's status.
Patrick J. Fitzgerald, the special prosecutor, and his team have made no decision on whether to seek indictments, and there could be benign explanations for differences that have arisen in witnesses' statements to federal agents and a grand jury about how the name of Valerie Plame, a CIA agent who had worked undercover, was leaked to the media two years ago.

The investigation focused initially on whether Bush administration officials illegally leaked the identity of Plame, the wife of former Ambassador Joseph C. Wilson IV, in a campaign to discredit Wilson after he wrote an op-ed article in the New York Times criticizing the administration's rationale for going to war in Iraq.

According to lawyers familiar with the case, investigators are comparing statements to federal authorities by two top White House aides, Karl Rove and I. Lewis Libby, with testimony from reporters who have acknowledged talking to the two officials.

The sources also said prosecutors are comparing Rove's various statements to the FBI and the grand jury.

Rove, who is a White House deputy chief of staff and President Bush's chief political strategist, in his first interview with the FBI did not mention a conversation he had with Time magazine reporter Matthew Cooper in July 2003, according to lawyers involved in the case.

Rove has been interviewed twice by the FBI and made three appearances before the grand jury, they said.

While no one has suggested that the investigation into who leaked Plame's name has been shelved, the intensity of the inquiry into possible perjury charges has increased, according to one lawyer familiar with events, who spoke on condition that he not be identified because he did not want to anger Fitzgerald.

The investigation's change in emphasis comes amid indications that Fitzgerald's inquiry has gone well beyond scrutinizing the actions of top White House officials, such as Rove and Libby, who is chief of staff for Vice President Cheney, to searching for the potential source of the leak in other parts of the White House and other executive branch agencies.

A former senior State Department official acknowledged that he testified before the grand jury in Washington, D.C., and a congressional source confirmed that Robert Joseph, who was a senior expert on weapons of mass destruction on the White House National Security Council, told the Senate Foreign Relations Committee he had been questioned by the special prosecutor.

Karen Hughes, a former top aide to Bush, also told the committee that she had been questioned, the source said.

In addition, a senior U.S. official said that several State Department officials, including then-Secretary of State Colin L. Powell, were questioned several months ago about the creation and distribution of a classified memo that mentioned Plame. Prosecutors are interested in the memo because it might have been a vehicle for spreading Plame's name.

Disclosing the name of a CIA undercover agent is a crime in some circumstances.

Plame first was identified as a CIA operative by Robert Novak, the syndicated columnist, in a July 14, 2003, article, eight days after Wilson's op-ed piece challenged administration claims that Iraq had tried to acquire uranium for its nuclear program from the African nation of Niger.

An official close to the investigation said Fitzgerald is concentrating on what happened in the White House and other parts of the administration in those eight days.

Rove and Libby spoke with reporters during the crucial eight-day period.

Rove has said that he first learned Plame's name from Novak, according to Rove's attorney Robert Luskin. Novak has refused to discuss his testimony, but investigators are believed to be focusing on possible variations with Novak's account.

Writing in Time magazine, Cooper said that he had telephoned Rove to ask about Wilson's column and that Rove disclosed that Wilson's wife worked for the CIA.

But Cooper said that he did not learn her name until he read it in Novak's column several days later or that he might have learned it from a computer search.

But Rove, according to lawyers involved in the case, told the grand jury that Cooper had telephoned him about a welfare issue and that Wilson came up later.

Libby, according to a person familiar with events, told investigators that he learned Plame's name from a reporter, apparently Tim Russert of NBC.

But Russert, who last summer spoke with Fitzgerald after Libby released him from a pledge of confidentiality, said he did not give Plame's name to Libby, according to a statement issued by NBC at the time.