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Prosecutor In CIA Leak Case Casting A Wide Net


White House Effort To Discredit Critic Examined in Detail
By Walter Pincus and Jim VandeHei
Washington Post Staff Writers
Wednesday, July 27, 2005; A01

The special prosecutor in the CIA leak probe has interviewed a wider range of administration officials than was previously known, part of an effort to determine whether anyone broke laws during a White House effort two years ago to discredit allegations that President Bush used faulty intelligence to justify the Iraq war, according to several officials familiar with the case.

Prosecutors have questioned former CIA director George J. Tenet and deputy director John E. McLaughlin, former CIA spokesman Bill Harlow, State Department officials, and even a stranger who approached columnist Robert D. Novak on the street.

In doing so, special prosecutor Patrick J. Fitzgerald has asked not only about how CIA operative Valerie Plame's name was leaked but also how the administration went about shifting responsibility from the White House to the CIA for having included 16 words in the 2003 State of the Union address about Iraqi efforts to acquire uranium from Africa, an assertion that was later disputed.

Most of the questioning of CIA and State Department officials took place in 2004, the sources said.

It remains unclear whether Fitzgerald uncovered any wrongdoing in this or any other portion of his nearly 18-month investigation. All that is known at this point are the names of some people he has interviewed, what questions he has asked and whom he has focused on.

Fitzgerald began his probe in December 2003 to determine whether any government official knowingly leaked Plame's identity as a CIA employee to the media. Plame's husband, former ambassador Joseph C. Wilson IV, has said his wife's career was ruined in retaliation for his public criticism of Bush. In a 2002 trip to Niger at the request of the CIA, Wilson found no evidence to support allegations that Iraq was seeking uranium from that African country and reported back to the agency in February 2002. But nearly a year later, Bush asserted in his State of the Union speech that Iraq had sought uranium from Africa, attributing it to British, not U.S., intelligence.

Fitzgerald has said in court that he had completed most of his investigation at a time when he was pressing for New York Times reporter Judith Miller to testify about any conversations she had with a specific administration official about Plame during the week before Plame's identity was revealed.

Miller, who never wrote a story about the matter, is in jail for refusing to comply with a court order to testify. Court records show Fitzgerald is seeking information about communications she had with the Bush official between July 6 and July 13, 2003, when the White House was attempting to discredit Wilson and his allegations.

Fitzgerald appears to believe that Miller's conversations may help him get to the bottom of the leak and the damage-control campaign undertaken by senior Bush officials that week.

Using background conversations with at least three journalists and other means, Bush officials attacked Wilson's credibility. They said that his 2002 trip to Niger was a boondoggle arranged by his wife, but CIA officials say that is incorrect. One reason for the confusion about Plame's role is that she had arranged a trip for him to Niger three years earlier on an unrelated matter, CIA officials told The Washington Post.

Miller's role remains one of many mysteries in the leak probe. It is unclear whom, if anyone, she spoke to about Plame, and why she emerged as a central figure in the probe despite never having written a story about the case. Also murky is the role of Novak, who first publicly identified Plame in a syndicated column published July 14, 2003.

Lawyers have confirmed that Novak discussed Plame with White House senior adviser Karl Rove four or more days before the column identifying her ran. But the identity of another "administration" source cited in the column is still unknown. Rove's attorney has said Rove did not identify Plame to Novak.

In a strange twist in the investigation, the grand jury -- acting on a tip from Wilson -- has questioned a person who approached Novak on Pennsylvania Avenue on July 8, 2003, six days before his column appeared in The Post and other publications, Wilson said in an interview. The person, whom Wilson declined to identify to The Post, asked Novak about the "yellow cake" uranium matter and then about Wilson, Wilson said. He first revealed that conversation in a book he wrote last year. In the book, he said that he tried to reach Novak on July 8, and that they finally connected on July 10. In that conversation, Wilson said that he did not confirm his wife worked for the CIA but that Novak told him he had obtained the information from a "CIA source."

Novak told the person that Wilson's wife worked for the CIA as a specialist in weapons of mass destruction and had arranged her husband's trip to Niger, Wilson said. Unknown to Novak, the person was a friend of Wilson and reported the conversation to him, Wilson said.

Novak and his attorney, James Hamilton, have declined to discuss the investigation, as has Fitzgerald.

Harlow, the former CIA spokesman, said in an interview yesterday that he testified last year before a grand jury about conversations he had with Novak at least three days before the column was published. He said he warned Novak, in the strongest terms he was permitted to use without revealing classified information, that Wilson's wife had not authorized the mission and that if he did write about it, her name should not be revealed.

Harlow said that after Novak's call, he checked Plame's status and confirmed that she was an undercover operative. He said he called Novak back to repeat that the story Novak had related to him was wrong and that Plame's name should not be used. But he did not tell Novak directly that she was undercover because that was classified.

In a column published Oct. 1, 2003, Novak wrote that the CIA official he spoke to "asked me not to use her name, saying she probably never again will be given a foreign assignment but that exposure of her name might cause 'difficulties' if she travels abroad. He never suggested to me that Wilson's wife or anybody else would be endangered. If he had, I would not have used her name."

Harlow was also involved in the larger internal administration battle over who would be held responsible for Bush using the disputed charge about the Iraq-Niger connection as part of the war argument. Based on the questions they have been asked, people involved in the case believe that Fitzgerald looked into this bureaucratic fight because the effort to discredit Wilson was part of the larger campaign to distance Bush from the Niger controversy.

Wilson unleashed an attack on Bush's claim on July 6, 2003, appearing on NBC's "Meet the Press," in an interview in The Post and writing his own op-ed article in the New York Times, in which he accused the president of "twisting" intelligence.

Behind the scenes, the White House responded with twin attacks: one on Wilson and the other on the CIA, which it wanted to take the blame for allowing the 16 words to remain in Bush's speech. As part of this effort, then-deputy national security adviser Stephen J. Hadley spoke with Tenet during the week about clearing up CIA responsibility for the 16 words, even though both knew the agency did not think Iraq was seeking uranium from Niger, according to a person familiar with the conversation. Tenet was interviewed by prosecutors, but it is not clear whether he appeared before the grand jury, a former CIA official said.

On July 9, Tenet and top aides began to draft a statement over two days that ultimately said it was "a mistake" for the CIA to have permitted the 16 words about uranium to remain in Bush's speech. He said the information "did not rise to the level of certainty which should be required for presidential speeches, and the CIA should have ensured that it was removed."

A former senior CIA official said yesterday that Tenet's statement was drafted within the agency and was shown only to Hadley on July 10 to get White House input. Only a few minor changes were accepted before it was released on July 11, this former official said. He took issue with a New York Times report last week that said Rove and Vice President Cheney's chief of staff, I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby, had a role in Tenet's statement.

The prosecutors have talked to State Department officials to determine what role a classified memo including two sentences about Plame's role in Wilson's Niger trip played in the damage-control campaign.

People familiar with this part of the probe provided new details about the memo, including that it was then-Deputy Secretary of State Richard L. Armitage who requested it the day Wilson went public and asked that a copy be sent to then-Secretary of State Colin L. Powell to take with him on a trip to Africa the next day. Bush and several top aides were on that trip. Carl W. Ford Jr., who was director of the Bureau of Intelligence and Research at the time and who supervised the original production of the memo, has appeared before the grand jury, a former State Department official said.

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Seems like Rove has a 'which came first' element to his story.
Did his mother commit suicide because she couldn't live with the knowledge that she had created such an evil son...or did Karl become evil due to his upbringing by an insane mother? Was the murkiness of his real father a factor? We'll probably never know...

Rove's mother committed suicide because she knew that Rove was spawned by Satan himself...and when she realized that, she couldn't even bear to look at what she unleased upon the world.

Personally I think we have men in the Bush government that think there above the LAW.
I think they stepped into power thinking they could do what ever they wanted and use the get out of jail card for themselves and there bandits!
My question, can men get a pardon from treason?

The Sundance Channel is showing Bush's Brain this Saturday AM (31 Jul) Quite a sickening eye-opener...It shows just how amoral Bush & Rove are...eg, Rove bugged his own office and blamed in on an opponent.

Finally the story is getting "some" attention now. Pincus is so cautious not to step on any toes though. He almost sounds like Scott McClellon on the news circuit interviews, afraid to say something of substance. I hope he has the guts to keep investigating and not start getting paid off to write propaganda by the Bush Bunch like Cooper and Miller. We can only pray.

I feel the best motto for our country now is "Support our Troops, Impeach Bush!"

How about, "Your Comander-in-Chief Lied to You" ?

. . . and can someone PLEASE explain to me Bush's fetish about
making his staff "salute" the "Commander-in-chief" at their
White House meetings??? I don't recall any other presidents
(please correct me if I am wrong here) needing to establish
that kind of Patriarchal Dominance before. Is this guy psychologically "fit to command?"

Is he fit to command.........hummmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm,let me think..............NO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

One thing I have learned by studying "predators" is that they come up
with something and keep doing it until it doesn't work for them any more. Is there a possibility that the PNAC NEO CONS are revving up
for another "Ollie North & Friends" show before congress to get
everyone "pardoned" in exchange for their "testimony?"

I have no idea about the credibility of this story, but I feel the point he makes is valid.

(--begin attachment--)

"July 26, 2005 -- Sen. Pat Roberts (R-Kan.) intends to interfere in Fitzgerald probe. Senator Pat Roberts, chairman of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, announced that his commitee will be "reviewing" the criminal probe by special prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald of the White House leak of the identities of covert CIA agents.

If Roberts is serious and not just grandstanding, this may indicate that the White House is looking to give Fitzgerald's targets (Karl Rove, Lewis "Scooter" Libby, and others) congressional general immunity from prosecution in return for their testimony before Roberts' committee. This was the method by which John Poindexter and Oliver North were able to avoid jail time for their roles in Iran-contra, their convictions being overturned by a federal appeals court because of their previously granted congressional immunity." (http://waynemadsenreport.com/)

(--end of attachment--)

I suffered through the PNAC NEO CON Iran Contra farce (funny, how
these same guys just keep doing this stuff, ain't it?) back in the
80's. With the "alternative press" all but dead, we watched the hearings and posted to bulletin boards over 1200 baud modems. Some
of us were playing with this new thing called, "e-mail." We tried
to get the word out, but it was a lost battle.

My point is that I HOPE we, the INTERNET USERS, will be able to join forces to expose these guys if they try this tactic again. Back then, we just couldn't compete with Ollie North in his military uniform pleading, "When American lives were in danger . . ." and
the newly co-opted main stream media was all over the new "Patriots."

(Sorry, it still pisses me off everytime I think about the fact
that a fellow "fool", Tommy Chong, had to go to prison while John
Poindexter got off scott free and eventually PROMOTED!!! As we say in North Carolina , , , "That just ain't right!!!")

Anyone have a take on this? Is this something to be preparing for?

peace.

Pat Roberts of Kansas needs to be besieged with emails and calls to his office informing him of the public being aware of the ploy he intends to use to get Rove off the hook. Let him know that his career will be scrutinized and this ploy will have it's self-inflicting rammifications. Bush, Rove, Cheney and Condi are not fit to run the United States. Why are these madmen still in office? Time is precious and it's wasting. And why aren't those Born-Again Christians so wrapped up in Bush's shit volunteering along side our troops? They are nothing but a bunch of chicken shit cowards and hide behind the rhetoric of the sickness that has gripped them. Fanatics. IMPEACH NOW.

What else would you expect from the representative of a state that wants to insert creationism into its school science curriculum.

You are soooo right on with this one!!

You're right, this could be a similar set up to whitewash and pardon. However I think people were willing to brush aside Iran-Contra as not that big a deal for America. The stakes are significantly higher with the lies and treachery that created this Iraq mess.

I'm anxiously waiting for more cracks to appear in the GOP solidarity. I just simply cannot see the saner Republicans continuing to play along with the whole neocon charade once the indictments are handed out later this fall and Bush's approval rating starts bottoming out somewhere between 20-30%.

Trident

The difference between then and now is we're much better connected via email, discussion boards, blogs, etc. And, that uniform tactic (or similar ones) won't work anymore for many people.

And finally, anytime 'we the people' can smoke out some of the media 'ho-s and force them to start asking the hard questions, that's saying something-I believe! Hang in there; there were many who thought nothing would come of Watergate and Irangate, but it did (at least it did with Watergate).

Heads may not roll to the degree they did with Watergate, but I believe if we keep the pressure on, they will not be able to continue to ignore our outrage-and I AM outraged! Sorry about that; I did say "and finally" a paragraph ago didn't I?

Mr. Blackburn ; I also lived thru the Iran Contra farce and remind people that the gang is back.I may be more cynical than most, I still blame Ragen for selling missiles to terrorists . I have believed from the start that history repeats itself,and we do have a Bush in place to repeat the pardoning. Rove and North are interchangable , and I believe the plan is the same one used sucessfully before.

I wrote my sister yesterday about my activist roll in trying to get bush impeached because he had lied to the people here in the USA about Iraq and sent our soldiers into an illegal war. I got an e-mail this morning from her tellin me that I am Quote, "Out of my mind" un-quote! I just wrote her that I am in good company then because there are several people calling for his impeachment including some Republicans which she is and she only watches Fox News for her news about what is happening or not happening.

I get the same response, even from people who are "on our side". View this as an opportunity to educate her. Direct
er to one or two websites where you are getting your information, and explain to her that if she wants REAL information, she will have to GO GET the information. AND, the support for investigation into whether W committed impeachable offenses is growing rapidly, so it is not limited to a "few" people. Look at the latest poll:

"For the first time, a majority of Americans, 51%, say the Bush administration deliberately misled the public about whether Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction — the reason Bush emphasized in making the case for invading. The administration's credibility on the issue has been steadily eroding since 2003." This means that 51% think he LIED. Read the rest of the article at www.michaelmoore.com.

And don't get discouraged, this is part of our work. You are not alone!

Anonymous we have the same sister. Welcome to the family. FOX is her channel and the Washington Times (Rag) is her Bible. And skippy (aka bush) walks on water.

How I wish I could find a way to enlighten her!

The people are making a financial killing off this war-- Bush family oil buddies, Cheney's Halliburton, Blackwell's Diebold (cooking the Ohio election results and upcoming elections) are laughing their way to the bank.

Why should they be bothered with a little Rove tomfoolery? Gee-- a Rove "slip-up"-- possibly endangering the cover of hundreds of agents in the field?

So what. Rove will be a rich man. Guess who's making the money off this. Its not CIA agents. Its the richest two hundred Americans, including this administration and cabinet.

They are laughing at you. They are laughing at Democracy. They are laughing their way to the bank.

IMPEACH THEM ALLb

Wait for the National Economic Security and Reformation Act to be announced. www.NESARA.US

On 9/11 at 10.am from Tower 1 was scheduled the announcement of NESARA on CNN an other channels. The downloading of the new banking system was supposed to start. The Illuminati blew up the towers and sabotaged it. The Pentagone was hit by a missile exactly where a special NESARA team had its offices. The Pensylvania plane crashed on a secret underground used by the NESARA secret service.
Now it is back on track and will succeed. Let's be patient we're almost there.

The funny part here will be when Rove discovers that he is the one being sacrificed. And if by chance he doesn't decide to 'go along' with the plot, then its going to be another "Arkancide" in the true spirit of Vince Foster.

When I read the above article, I walked away with more questions than answers. I was expecting there to be more of a discussion/analysis in the article about "what changed" and "what is new". It didn't seem all that clear.

As I was reading the article, I thought of some questions that others might be interested in looking into; and I thought I would share my reactions to the WaPo article [and the questions I have] with the you and the DSM coaltion.

Maybe you know someone in the media who might want to look at the issues. I don't have any answers.

seems more an more the memo that accompained senior staff with bush to africa is key....if the info on plame that lead to the leak origanetes here ...puts protecting the prez in a much more diffucult and brighter light...before this it looked like some subordinates acting out alone , with no guidance or blessing from above... if the leak is from the memo then bush is very close to the original leak source ....an really how many times do rove and cheney work hand in hand on a project ,(it seems these two do not get along on the surface at least) not often it seems ..so the only person that could make (or order) that to happen is the prez...i wuld watchte storm around that memo

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