Right Wing Nut House



Filed under: Politics — Rick Moran @ 10:44 am

Like a consummate actress, Valerie Plame knows that it’s always best to leave your audience wanting just a little bit more as you take your bows. In that respect, the former covert operative for the CIA didn’t disappoint in yesterday’s hearing before the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee. Indeed, in some ways, her testimony on that grand Congressional stage raised more questions about both her and her globe trotting husband than were answered during her appearance.

Plame certainly made a compelling and sympathetic witness. No matter what side of the political spectrum you’re on, everyone must surely recognize that it was a personal tragedy for her to lose her covert status. And while some may wish to parse the meaning of “covert,” the fact is the CIA recognized her as such and plastering her name all over the newspapers of the world destroyed her career.

But missing from all the hoopla surrounding her appearance on Capitol Hill yesterday was the context in which this episode played out. There are two sides to this story. And while it is clear from the Libby trial that there was a concerted effort by the Administration to inform selected members of the press that Valerie Plame worked for the CIA, it is much less clear that Libby, Rove, Armitage, and others knew of her covert status and deliberately tried to ruin her career.

Of course, The Narrative of the Plame Affair will not brook any deviation from the “facts” as disseminated by our leftist friends. Therefore, context is out, I’m afraid. It does no good to point out that two Congressional Committees have all but called Joe Wilson a liar. Nor does it matter that the Wilson assault on the President’s credibility was not an isolated gambit; that there was a serious and concerted effort by some in the intelligence community to at first, simply try to undermine a policy they disagreed with and ended up attempting to influence the Presidential election of 2004.

The selective leaking by these unelected bureaucrats should also be seen by all sides of the political spectrum as just plain wrong. It was a violation of their oaths as well as harmful to national security. But since The Narrative of the Plame Affair ignores this aspect of the scandal, the fiction that Evil Karl and his minions carried out the outing of Plame as some kind of covert operation unrelated to anything except their lust for power and desire to destroy their enemies endures.

And I must admit that I would be much more sanguine about the left’s outrage over the outing of Valerie Plame and any potential damage done to our intelligence capabilities if I felt there was genuine concern for these issues at work. But the fact is many of these same people crying crocodile tears for poor Valerie Plame and wringing their hands over damage done to our intelligence abilities have spent most of the last 40 years trying to either destroy the CIA outright or emasculate it.

I remember being shocked when the left cheered the turncoat Phillip Agee on in his campaign to out CIA operatives and operations in Europe and Latin America (while being assisted by the KGB and Cuban intelligence). They didn’t seem to mind “outing” people and destroying their careers back then. Ironically, Agee’s assault on the agency led to the Intelligence Identities Protection Act - the same act that no one was charged with violating in Valerie Plame’s case. That bill was opposed by two of the more brazen posturers in the Plame Affair: Senator Charles Schumer and Representative John Conyers.

So this sudden interest by the left in protecting our intelligence operatives and supporting the agency’s efforts at intelligence gathering is gratifying but suspect. One wonders as the Plame Affair recedes into memory if their new found respect and admiration for our intelligence community will be maintained or whether they will resume their previous opposition to our efforts in the intelligence field.

We’ve certainly not heard the last of Valerie Plame. There will be other Committee hearings, other venues to promote her version of history. There is a book in the works that the CIA is reviewing. And we can all look forward to a TV movie of the entire affair in the not too distant future.

I fully expect that film to portray Dick Cheney with horns and a tail and Karl Rove as a Gorgon. But who gets to play Valerie? Gwyneth Paltrow? Uma Thurman?

My dollar is on Angelina Jolie with Brad Pitt playing Joe Wilson. In fact, I wouldn’t be surprised if Joe and Valerie didn’t insist on that casting decision. It would be perfectly in keeping with the low profile they’ve maintained since this imbroglio started as well as the modest way that they picture themselves.


  1. CIA officer at center of career-ending leak to tell Congress her story

    Former CIA employee Valerie Plame goes before a House committee Friday as both a shadowy figure and

    Trackback by Unpartisan.com Political News and Blog Aggregator — 3/17/2007 @ 11:43 am

  2. “There are two sides to this story. And while it is clear from the Libby trial that there was a concerted effort by the Administration to inform selected members of the press that Valerie Plame worked for the CIA, it is much less clear that Libby, Rove, Armitage, and others knew of her covert status and deliberately tried to ruin her career.”

    Do you have no concerns about all the “We’re investigating, and if we find out who leaked, they’re fired” lies?

    Does the idea that they didn’t feel that it was any concern of their to check whether her status was covert before pushing it around town.

    In fact, isn’t it just a little concerning that they were so eager to use Plame as a method of attack. What does it say about their characters, or their concern for others?

    Surely the benefit of the doubt only goes so far?

    Comment by Drongo — 3/17/2007 @ 2:21 pm

  3. No, Rick. I did not find her sympathetic. Sorry. Sympathetic was hearing my father moan downstairs when he heard that his son was killed in Vietnam. I will save my sympathy for the wounded and dead in this war and the wounded and dead from 9/11.

    Maybe I’m not sympathetic because as soon as this broke Val and Joe wanted to know who would play them in the movie. They are careless people, silly people and I feel much more sympathetic to Scooter Libby, who will spend time in jail because this agent was much more interested in being a DNC agent than a CIA agent.

    Sympathey, indeed.

    Comment by Kate — 3/17/2007 @ 2:41 pm


    Comment by RON DROZ — 3/17/2007 @ 4:19 pm

  5. The usual rightwing twist of turning a corupt administrations misdeeds into leftwing hypocracy. You may be right in some regards, but hypocracy charges can just as easily be made against the wingnuts. Personally, it never occured to me that our national security had been damaged to any great extent. Rather my impression was Cheney and his minions willing to sacrifice Plame and her network to protect their deception of false claims of nuclear weapons.

    The whole Niger story goes back to the forged documents that the CIA had knocked down earlier in October 02 and they bound and determined to get it back into the SOTU to ensure spport for the war already decided on.

    I’m betting Plame was telling the truth and nothing but the truth. I hope there are hearings, under oath, that gets to the bottom of all the rightwing talking points in public. Then we’ll see who the liars are.

    Best regards, NH

    Comment by neocon hunter — 3/17/2007 @ 4:51 pm

  6. You last three posts pretty much cover the Washington trifecta this week, Rick. While the leftist media is ranting about how Bush is somehow in trouble, the reality is that the Democrats have seen everything blown up in their faces. After this week, what little credibility they had left has completely evaporated for the reasons you’ve given in your posts and the links included in them.

    By all accounts, the story that should be leading every news outlet in the country is the fact the Democrats have suffered three massive self-inflicted political eviscerations.

    1) Democrats manufactured a non-scandal about Gonzales that has fallen apart. Yes, his verbal fumbling made things worse. But by no means is this a firing offense, and everything the man did was 100% legal…because the Democrats voted overwhelmingly to give the AG the power to appoint USAs with no confirmation hearings when they reauthorized the Patriot Act. If we’re talking incompetence leading to resignations, about 95% of the Senate Dems need to resign immediately. The bottom line is they look like a bunch of fools.

    2) The Democrats suffered another massive defeat this week when their Senate bill surrendering to Al Qaeda was roundly defeated. Harry Reid slunk back under his rock and cried that he wasn’t done, but the fact of the matter is the Dems’ efforts to give up Iraq to AQ and Iran is officially dead. As the evidence mounts that the new strategy in Baghdad is working, voters will remember in 08 who voted to surrender to the terrorists (the Democrats) and who voted to give victory a chance (the GOP). The political ads write themselves. This vote is eventually going to end the careers of dozens of Senate Democrats.

    and finally,

    3) The Dems put Valerie Plame under oath, where she lied to Congress a half-dozen times about her covert status and who sent her husband to Niger. There’s tons of evidence out there to dispute the timeline she put forth, and she proved herself to be a complete fraud in front of the entire country, and there’s ample evidence for the DoJ to immediately prosecute Plame for the crime. Plame’s testimony to Congress has done more to cement the fact that Scooter Libby never should have been put on trial to begin with, and that Patrick Fitzgerald was fishing for Bush White House staff all along. If anything, she’s completely destroyed her own civil case, that should be thrown out immediately as well. Nice to see she’s still got her book deal, but if OJ’s book can be pressured into being canned out of sheer outrage, Plame’s book can be too. By testifying before Congress, Plame removed any doubt that she and her husband led a political vendetta of the disgraced intelligence community that dropped the ball on 9/11 while simultaneously destroying the case against a pardon for Lewis Libby.

    The simple fact of the matter is that the Democrats self-destructed this week, not the Republicans or Bush. But the liberal media won’t share that opinion, of course.

    The rest of America however is aware of the facts. The Democrats overreached and they’re going to pay for it dearly in ‘08.

    Comment by Lightwave — 3/17/2007 @ 5:44 pm

  7. Drongo said: “Does the idea that they didn’t feel that it was any concern of their to check whether her status was covert before pushing it around town.”

    If her status was covert, and she’d done what was needed to protect it, then why would they simply happen to know she was CIA? That’s the whole point of being covert, you don’t tell people you’re CIA. Covert agents don’t put their names around town.

    The bottom line was that the hired gun couldn’t prove anything even after he figured out who did the talking.

    Comment by Coffeespy — 3/17/2007 @ 9:46 pm

  8. Okay Rick, why do you think the admin went after Valerie Plame? Did she want her cover blown so she could be in Vanity Fair and to write a book? I looked over the Intelligence Commission report http://www.wmd.gov/about.html & read that the administration repeatedly cherry-picked the intel info they liked and ignored or buried the intel they didn’t like. The powers-that-be did not like the information from Joe Wilson and not only wanted to bury him, but his wife too. I didn’t see those ‘more questions raised’ about Joe or Valerie you mentioned in the 1st paragraph anywhere in the rest of your statement. Instead of investigating right and wrong, you get into petty party bashing. Why are you protecting Rove et al so strongly? Wouldn’t it better to have a more open government we (& the world) could be proud of?

    Wilson McKee
    (9th gr. Alg. teacher)

    Comment by Wilson McKee — 3/17/2007 @ 10:37 pm

  9. By the way, the guys over at Sweetness & Light have a pretty ironclad timeline on the entire Plame story and why the #1 leak suspect is Joe Wilson himself.

    Comment by Lightwave — 3/17/2007 @ 10:39 pm

  10. It seems to me absurd to claim “covert” status for someone working openly at CIA HQ - as Plame did for roughly 5 years before she was “outed”. If anything, seems to me the CIA itself blew her cover by posting her to such an assignment.

    Comment by Name Withheld — 3/18/2007 @ 10:19 am

  11. “everyone must surely recognize that it was a personal tragedy for her to lose her covert status.”

    This is not even a concern to her, obviously: She has never even mentioned Aldrich Ames. She is desperately trying to keep a civil suit alive, as well as a book deal.

    Comment by Federal Dog — 3/18/2007 @ 2:03 pm

  12. It was good to see Brit Hume rip Plame apart on Fox News Sunday today:

    HUME: And the other thing that needs to be noted here is when she says that she had nothing to do with getting her husband the trip, that flies in the face of the evidence adduced by the Senate Intelligence Committee whose findings were released not on a partisan basis — the bipartisan findings of the Senate Intelligence Committee, which was that she very much did have something to do with it, that she recommended him and that she put it in a memo.

    WALLACE: So she was lying under oath?

    HUME:I think that there is reason to question her credibility on that point.

    Finally, Mark R. Levin over at The Corner made an excellent point today:

    “Imagine the damage the New York Times did when it revealed the existence of the NSA intercept program, or when the Washington Post revealed the secret CIA prisons in Europe. When will Waxman hold hearings about any of this?”

    Indeed, if the Democrats are so worried about the damage to the intelligence community cause by leaks, then they must investigate and if necessary prosecute those leakers as well.

    Will they?

    Of course not.

    The Plame testimony backfire continues.

    Comment by Lightwave — 3/18/2007 @ 8:54 pm

  13. “If her status was covert, and she’d done what was needed to protect it, then why would they simply happen to know she was CIA?”

    I don’t understand. The “They” in question are the highest members of the government. They have the security clearance to know pretty much anything, don’t they?

    Comment by Drongo — 3/19/2007 @ 10:03 am

  14. ” The Dems put Valerie Plame under oath, where she lied to Congress a half-dozen times about her covert status and who sent her husband to Niger. ”

    I guess the fact that the current Director of the CIA, confirmed Plame’s status as covert should in no way be taken to mean that yea she was actually covert or anything.

    Comment by pd — 3/19/2007 @ 10:05 am

  15. Criticising the Democrats for the whole “Plame affair” would carry more weight were it not for the obvious fact that GWB promised to get to the bottom of who leaked her information. Not only has he failed to do so, but it is clear why he never bothered. The issue that she was “not covert” as is repeated over and over was countered by her personally under oath in front of the Senate. Tell me when Karl rove and Scooter Libby apeared in front of the Senate, helping to get to the bottom of the leaker and protected the CIA covert operation protocol and then, only then, perhaps, your criticism of the Dems regarding undermining the CIA will carry some weight. You can’t have it both ways.

    Comment by Hallfasthero — 3/19/2007 @ 1:14 pm

  16. The CIA was obviously out to get the White House by requesting an official investigation as to Plame’s outing. And we all know that the Attourney Generals Office is out to get he WH because they appointed Fitzgerald to do a sham of an investigation.
    Can you believe that Plame went to a press luncheon WITH HER HUSBAND(!) — please, give me a break — if you are really covert, you don’t eat lunch. The WH knew this all along that she wasn’t covert, because they didn’t even launch an internal investigation.
    And this General Hayden,CIA Director, actually thinks he knows what a covert agent is within his own oganisation — let’s get real. And, my God, Plame has the incredible audacity to lie to Congress — under oath — about being covert on national television.
    Any right-minded person knows there is only one expert on what being covert actually is and that is the unbiased Victoria Toesing — she worked for Reagan don’t you know? Toesning didn’t even need to ask Plames employer, the CIA, about Plame’s status — she just knew — what a gal.
    I am just so tired of all the left-wing lunatics out there slandering the incontrovertable truth of the right.

    Comment by drew phillips — 3/20/2007 @ 2:42 am

  17. “Why weren’t Rove and Cheney charged with the crime of exposing a covert agent? Why? Why? Why? ”

    Well, presumably because he didn’t find enough evidence for a prosecution.

    “WHy was scooter Libby prosecuted for outing a ……..er, faulty memory?”

    That’s an easy one. He was indicted and convicted for lying to a grand jury which was trying to determine if there was any crime to be prosecuted.

    I don’t get why people are so quick to ignore perjury.

    “Its not about Nukular weapons, but about Saddam seeking Yellowcake uranium in Niger. You don’t even know what the central issue is about – do you?”

    That was, of course, nothing to do with the conviction for perjury. Perjury is lying under oath you see.

    Besides, I continue to wonder about your judgement of the “We’ll get to the bottom of this!” statement by your President followed by obviously not investigating it and not simply asking his closest advisors if they knew anything about it.

    maybe your just getting so used to being lied to that you don’t notice it anymore.

    Comment by Drongo — 3/20/2007 @ 6:49 am

  18. We should not feel one jot or tittle (well OK, maybe a little tittle) of sympathy for a woman who made a living out of telling lies to help her country, and is now teling lies to hurt it!
    Plame is a honey-trap; Wilson is pimp; and Richard Armitage, the self-defined “last honest man in Washington” (yes! he said that to the 9/11 Commission!) was the rejected guy who was never allowed to grab the gusto which sweet Val was dishing out, willy-nilly, to the rest of washington!

    Comment by eliXelx — 3/20/2007 @ 11:33 am

  19. I definitely see a made for TV movie coming out of this. They’re just waiting to see how the story ends.

    Comment by PoliticalCritic — 3/20/2007 @ 7:39 pm

  20. “They have the security clearance to know pretty much anything, don’t they?”

    For someone to seek information that is classified, two things must be present before the information can be granted.

    The first is the appropriate security clearance. You must have a clearance equal to or greather than the information is rated. A person with a Secret Clearance cannot have access to Top Secret material.

    The second, and the one area most misunderstood by the public is “Need To Know”. Just because you have a clearance does not allow you to rifle through the files perusing the information that is there. You have to have a legitimate “need to know” in order to access any classified material. People who work with classified materials over time stay away from such material whenever they can. I have held as high as a Top Secret clearance and to tell you the truth, I did not want to know. If the information was material to my job - that was one thing. If it was not - keep it the hell away from me! The hassles with dealing with classified material and the penalties for mishandling such material minimized any curiosity I may have had.

    Comment by SShiell — 3/21/2007 @ 10:07 am

  21. “The second, and the one area most misunderstood by the public is “Need To Know”.”

    OK, so in this context the people involved (according to the story) would have said that they wanted to know.

    Frankly, when you are talking about the President and Vice President, there aren’t any limits to what they could know if they wanted to, are there?

    Comment by Drongo — 3/21/2007 @ 1:32 pm

  22. “Want to Know” and “Need to Know” are two completely different things. How would Libby have known Plame was undercover? Does he have a folder in his office that’s labeled “Undercover CIA Officers”? No. He would have to contact someone over at the CIA and ask about her status. Any hint of that come out in any of the reports or discussions of this so-called outing? Not that I have heard about. From Libby or Armitage or anybody else for that matter.

    Could Libby have known she worked at the CIA? Yes - even I can access various publications and find a name and a phone number. Those directories are available all over DC for the various agencies. And just because someone works at the CIA, it is not a “Red Flag”. I should know because my wife worked there for 20 years and never held a clearance above Secret but she was not “covert” and worked in an office full of people who were not “covert”. I even have an old phone directory of the CIA dated 2001 and guess what - Valerie Plame’s name, office and phone number is in there! Any star or special symbols by her name to indicate she was covert? Uh, No.

    You can also call over at the CIA and ask for a phone number - guess what - there is a directory assistance over there that will give you a person’s phone number essentially if it is available through the same printed directory. Call it - the number is (703)482-0623. The website is also really easy - http://www.cia.gov - and the same phone number is posted there and they even a point of contact available “To Verify a CIA Employee’s Employment” if you are a mortgage company, creditor or potential employer.

    As far as any limits to what the President or VP has access to, there are none that I know about. But i can tell you that any inquiry by anybody on the White House staff start fevers boiling all over DC. A staff member from the White House calls over for some information and entire staffs are called out in lock step formation, if necessary, to return the info. I have seen General Officers in the Pentagon in a veritable slather trying to get information to a member of the National Security Office and if you are tasked with a “Presidential Inquiry” you have Cart Blanche throughout the entire building.

    So the thought of someone on the White House staff calling around and to quietly get some information is patently bullsh*t. It doesn’t happen that way.

    Comment by SShiell — 3/21/2007 @ 5:10 pm

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