View Full Version : Top GOP Fictions on the White House Leak Case Refuted

08-04-2005, 07:56 AM
The Right-Wing Attack Machine is running at full speed to defend Karl Rove, Scooter Libby, and other Bush Administration insiders implicated in the leaking of CIA officer Valerie Plame's identity. It should come as no surprise that Karl Rove's defense is being scripted from his own playbook: distort, distract and divide. The attacks confuse fact with fiction. Here's how.

Fiction: Valerie Plame's identity could have been discovered by looking at the almanac, Who's Who in America, thus somehow allowing Bob Novak to have discovered who she was on his own.

Fact: Not only does the Almanac not list Valerie Wilson's employer as the C.I.A., Novak's latest version of events contradicts his previous assertions that he received the information of her identity from others.

"Novak, in an interview, said his sources had come to him with the information. "I didn't dig it out, it was given to me," he said. ?They thought it was significant, they gave me the name and I used it.'" [Newsday, 7/22/03]

Fiction: Rove and Libby weren't really leaking because their statements were made to steer reporters away from bad information, not to blow Plame's cover.

Fact: There was nothing bad about the information. Wilson returned from Africa with no evidence that Iraq had tried to purchase uranium from Niger, findings now admitted to be true.

* The White House formally repudiated the President's claim, in his 2003 State of the Union address, that Iraq had sought to purchase uranium from Africa. [MSNBC, 9/26/03]

* CIA Director George Tenet later confirmed the uranium story was false. [CNN.com, 7/11/03]

* Condi Rice did too. [CNN.com, 7/11/03]

* And Stephen Hadley. [Associated Press, 7/23/03]

* According to a recent Gallup poll, 51% of those surveyed now believe the Bush Administration deliberately misled the American public about Iraq's weapons of mass destruction. [CNN/USA Today/Gallup poll, June 22-24, 2005]

* And maybe they have good reason: no weapons of mass destruction have been found in Iraq.

Furthermore, the reason for the leak ? even had it stemmed from concern for accuracy in journalism -- doesn't matter.

* The Intelligence Identities Act makes it a crime to intentionally reveal the identity of a covert officer. [Congressional Research Service Report "Intelligence Identities Protection Act," October 2003]

* The Espionage Act makes it a crime to willfully disclose classified information -- like, say, from a State Department memo labeled "Top Secret" -- that could be used against the United States Government. [18 USC ยง793(d) and (e)]

* The non-disclosure agreement signed by Executive Branch employees who handle classified information states that it is a violation of the agreement to confirm information without first checking to see that it is no longer classified. Even if you do so only negligently. [Standard Form 312, "Classified Information Nondisclosure Agreement" and accompanying booklet]

Keep that in mind as you re-read Matt Cooper's recollection of his conversation with Karl Rove:

Rove told me material was going to be declassified in the coming days that would cast doubt on Wilson's mission and his findings...Rove did, however, clearly indicate that she worked at the ?agency' -- by that, I told the grand jury, I inferred that he obviously meant the CIA and not, say, the Environmental Protection Agency. Rove added that she worked on ?WMD' (the abbreviation for weapons of mass destruction) issues and that she was responsible for sending Wilson. This was the first time I had heard anything about Wilson's wife." [Time, July 25, 2005]

Fiction: Valerie Plame wasn't really covert or undercover.

Fact: Valerie Plame was a covert officer of the CIA.

* Since her exposure two years ago, the CIA has consistently said that she was a covert officer. [NY Times, 7/28]

* The CIA wouldn't have referred the case to the Justice Department if Plame was not a covert employee. [CIA submits a standard 11 part questionnaire used by the DOJ to determine whether an investigation is warranted -- Washington Post, 10/1/03]

* Former CIA officers have testified that she was covert from her first day at the Agency:

I worked with this woman...She has been undercover for three decades. She is not, as Bob Novak suggested, a CIA analyst...people she meets with overseas could be compromised. When you start tracing back who she met with, even people who innocently met with her, who are not involved in CIA operations, could be compromised. For these journalists to argue that this is no big deal, and if I hear another Republican operative suggesting that well, this was just an analyst, fine, let them go undercover." [Larry Johnson on Newshour, PBS, 9/30/03]

There are thousands of undercover CIA employees who drive through the three gates at CIA Headquarters in McLean, Virginia everyday. [Larry Johnson]

* Even Plame's neighbors had no idea she was CIA. [USA Today, 7/24]

* It's simply not credible to believe that the Special Prosecutor would still be investigating so aggressively if Ms. Plame was not covert.

Fiction: Joe Wilson's wife sent him to Niger on some sort of nepotistic junket.

Fact: This ignores CIA guidelines and what the Agency itself has said, not to mention the question of choosing Niger as a holiday destination.

* Plame didn't have the authority to send her husband to Niger. [Testimony of Larry Johnson, DPC Hearing 7/22]

* Wilson wasn't paid for his services. [NY Times, 7/6/03]

* Wilson, who has served as Senior Director for African Affairs at the National Security Council and as Ambassador to multiple African countries, was not an illogical choice to send on the mission. ["Ambassador Joseph C. Wilson, IV ? Our Team," Corporate and Public Strategy Advisory Group website, 7/26]

* Niger has been in the news for another reason recently: its population faces the risk of mass starvation and resulting epidemics. Some junket. [Voice of America, 7/29]

Fiction: Joe Wilson is a liar who said Cheney sent him to Niger when he didn't.

Fact: As many times as the Republican talking heads put words in Joe Wilson's mouth, it doesn't make them true.

* Wilson never said he was sent by Cheney. Period. [Salon.com, 7/13]

* The White House has shown a persistent unwillingness to consider intelligence that conflicted with what it wanted to hear. If Cheney and other high-ranking officials didn't end up getting Wilson's report after asking the CIA to investigate, it says more about the Bush Administration's approach to intelligence than it does about Wilson's mission to Niger.

Fiction: The special prosecutor is engaged in some sort of crusade to infringe upon the First Amendment rights of reporters.

Fact: Reporter Judith Miller is in jail, for which the source who refuses to provide a specific waiver bears sole responsibility.

* But regardless of what one thinks of a federal shield law for journalists, it doesn't yet exist. And if a common law privilege existed, all three D.C. Circuit Court judges who considered the case have said that it would be an exception to that privilege. [In re Grand Jury Subpoena (Miller), 397 F.3d 964 (D.C. Cir., 2005)]

Fiction: Alberto Gonzales's decision to inform Andy Card of the opening of an investigation at least 12 hours before White House staff is completely justified by the fact that he had the ok of the Justice Department to delay his disclosure.

Fact: Ashcroft had to recuse himself in December 2003 from the investigation and Alberto Gonzales was on record saying that the investigation raised issues of separation of powers issues.

* The New York Times reported in 2003 that senior criminal prosecutors and FBI officials criticized the Attorney General's failure to recuse himself or to appoint a special counsel. The officials, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, said that whether the Attorney General should step aside has been discussed in the department and by his own senior advisors. They "fear Mr. Ashcroft could be damaged by continuing accusations that as an attorney general with a long career in Republican partisan politics, he could not credibly lead a criminal investigation that centered on the aides to a Republican president." [NY Times, 10/16/03]

* When Alberto Gonzales was White House Counsel, he claimed that Congressional suggestions about how to handle the leak were unconstitutional: "We believe it is inconsistent with the constitution's separation-of-powers principles for members of Congress to direct the president's management of White House employees." [Reuters, 10/15/03]

Fiction: The Senate is now finally going to investigate.

Fact: Senator Roberts has said he will first ask whether the CIA really knows what "covert" means, then investigate the investigation. [Reuters, 7/25/05]

* Senator Roberts's parroting of the RNC talking points show he's simply not serious about getting to the bottom of what happened. If he was serious about these issues, he would have begun the Phase II intelligence hearings months ago. [See Boston Globe, 7/27]

Fiction: The House is now finally going to investigate, starting by asking how we can strengthen our laws regarding classified information.

Fact: Laws already exist, they're just not being enforced.

* If Rep. Hoekstra really wants to talk about laws protecting classified information, shouldn't he begin by asking why the President hasn't enforced Executive Order 12958, the law already on the books?

Fiction: When Democrats raise questions about this breach of national security they are launching political attacks.

Fact: This case is about national security.

* Just ask Col. W. Patrick Lang (ret'd), former director of the Defense Human Intelligence Service, why this case matters. Here's what he'll tell you:

[When] the major country in the world, deliberately, and apparently for trivial and passing political reasons, decides to disclose the identity of a covert officer, the word goes around the world like a shock [that], "The Americans can't be trusted ? the Americans can't be trusted. If you decide to cooperate clandestinely with the Americans, someone back there will give you up ? someone will give you up, and then everything will be over for you." So you don't do it. [DPC Hearing, 7/22/05]

Fiction: The refusal of the White House to act or give any explanation to the American public is justified by the ongoing criminal investigation.

Fact: Bush could demand accountability from his staff now.

* The White House used to comment despite the ongoing investigation ? when they had more favorable things to say. [White House Press Briefing, 9/29/03]

* Executive Order 12958, which the President signed in March 2003, says the White House has an affirmative legal obligation to investigate any leaks and punish those responsible. If they didn't have reason before Matthew Cooper's article in Time, they do now.

* It's not like the White House isn't talking, it's just not issuing its statements directly. The consistency of the statements coming from Rove and Libby's defenders shows a coordinated communications effort. It's just not happening on the record by White House spokespeople. [White House Press Briefing, 7/11/05 ? Present Day.]

Fiction: The President can be trusted to get to the bottom of this.

Fact: The President and his spokesman repeatedly said they wanted to get to the bottom of things, but they have expressed shifting standards of accountability as the investigation has developed to include high level officials.

* McClellan - September 29, 2003: "The President has set high standards, the highest of standards for people in his administration. He's made it very clear to people in his administration that he expects them to adhere to the highest standards of conduct. If anyone in this administration was involved in it, they would no longer be in this administration." ? Scott McClellan [White House Press Briefing, September 29, 2003]

* George Bush : "I don't know of anybody in my administration who leaked classified information. If somebody did leak classified information, I'd like to know it, and we'll take the appropriate action." ? [Press Pool, Chicago, Illinois, September 30, 2003]

* McClellan - October 7, 2003: "Let me answer what the President has said. I speak for the President and I'll talk to you about what he wants." and "If someone leaked classified information, the President wants to know. If someone in this administration leaked classified information, they will no longer be a part of this administration, because that's not the way this White House operates, that's not the way this President expects people in his administration to conduct their business." ? Scott McClellan [White House Press Briefing releases/2003/10/20031007-4.html, Savannah, Georgia, June 10, 2004]

* Bush: "If someone committed crime, they will no longer work in my administration." [USA Today, 7/18/05]