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Plame's Identity Marked As Secret

Memo Central to Probe Of Leak Was Written By State Dept. Analyst
By Walter Pincus and Jim VandeHei
Washington Post Staff Writers
Thursday, July 21, 2005; A01

A classified State Department memorandum central to a federal leak investigation contained information about CIA officer Valerie Plame in a paragraph marked "(S)" for secret, a clear indication that any Bush administration official who read it should have been aware the information was classified, according to current and former government officials.

Plame -- who is referred to by her married name, Valerie Wilson, in the memo -- is mentioned in the second paragraph of the three-page document, which was written on June 10, 2003, by an analyst in the State Department's Bureau of Intelligence and Research (INR), according to a source who described the memo to The Washington Post.

The paragraph identifying her as the wife of former ambassador Joseph C. Wilson IV was clearly marked to show that it contained classified material at the "secret" level, two sources said. The CIA classifies as "secret" the names of officers whose identities are covert, according to former senior agency officials.

Anyone reading that paragraph should have been aware that it contained secret information, though that designation was not specifically attached to Plame's name and did not describe her status as covert, the sources said. It is a federal crime, punishable by up to 10 years in prison, for a federal official to knowingly disclose the identity of a covert CIA official if the person knows the government is trying to keep it secret.

Prosecutors attempting to determine whether senior government officials knowingly leaked Plame's identity as a covert CIA operative to the media are investigating whether White House officials gained access to information about her from the memo, according to two sources familiar with the investigation.

The memo may be important to answering three central questions in the Plame case: Who in the Bush administration knew about Plame's CIA role? Did they know the agency was trying to protect her identity? And, who leaked it to the media?

Almost all of the memo is devoted to describing why State Department intelligence experts did not believe claims that Saddam Hussein had in the recent past sought to purchase uranium from Niger. Only two sentences in the seven-sentence paragraph mention Wilson's wife.

The memo was delivered to Secretary of State Colin L. Powell on July 7, 2003, as he headed to Africa for a trip with President Bush aboard Air Force One. Plame was unmasked in a syndicated column by Robert D. Novak seven days later.

Wilson has said his wife's identity was revealed to retaliate against him for accusing the Bush administration of "twisting" intelligence to justify the Iraq war. In a July 6 opinion piece in the New York Times and in an interview with The Washington Post, he cited a secret mission he conducted in February 2002 for the CIA, when he determined there was no evidence that Iraq was seeking uranium for a nuclear weapons program in the African nation of Niger.

White House officials discussed Wilson's wife's CIA connection in telling at least two reporters that she helped arrange his trip, according to one of the reporters, Matthew Cooper of Time magazine, and a lawyer familiar with the case.

Prosecutors have shown interest in the memo, especially when they were questioning White House officials during the early days of the investigation, people familiar with the probe said.

Karl Rove, President Bush's deputy chief of staff, has testified that he learned Plame's name from Novak a few days before telling another reporter she worked at the CIA and played a role in her husband's mission, according to a lawyer familiar with Rove's account. Rove has also testified that the first time he saw the State Department memo was when "people in the special prosecutor's office" showed it to him, said Robert Luskin, his attorney.

"He had not seen it or heard about it before that time," Luskin said.

Several other administration officials were on the trip to Africa, including senior adviser Dan Bartlett, then-White House spokesman Ari Fleischer and others. Bartlett's attorney has refused to discuss the case, citing requests by the special counsel. Fleischer could not be reached for comment yesterday.

Rove and Vice President Cheney's chief of staff, I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby, have been identified as people who discussed Wilson's wife with Cooper. Prosecutors are trying to determine the origin of their knowledge of Plame, including whether it was from the INR memo or from conversations with reporters.

The Wall Street Journal reported Tuesday that the memo made it clear that information about Wilson's wife was sensitive and should not be shared. Yesterday, sources provided greater detail on the memo to The Post.

The material in the memo about Wilson's wife was based on notes taken by an INR analyst who attended a Feb. 19, 2002, meeting at the CIA where Wilson's intelligence-gathering trip to Niger was discussed.

The memo was drafted June 10, 2003, for Undersecretary of State Marc Grossman, who asked to be brought up to date on INR's opposition to the White House view that Hussein was trying to buy uranium in Africa.

The description of Wilson's wife and her role in the Feb. 19, 2002, meeting at the CIA was considered "a footnote" in a background paragraph in the memo, according to an official who was aware of the process.

It records that the INR analyst at the meeting opposed Wilson's trip to Niger because the State Department, through other inquiries, already had disproved the allegation that Iraq was seeking uranium from Niger. Attached to the INR memo were the notes taken by the senior INR analyst who attended the 2002 meeting at the CIA.

On July 6, 2003, shortly after Wilson went public on NBC's "Meet the Press" and in The Post and the New York Times discussing his trip to Niger, the INR director at the time, Carl W. Ford Jr., was asked to explain Wilson's statements for Powell, according to sources familiar with the events. He went back and reprinted the June 10 memo but changed the addressee from Grossman to Powell.

Ford last year appeared before the federal grand jury investigating the leak and described the details surrounding the INR memo, the sources said. Yesterday he was on vacation in Arkansas, according to his office.


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The Undersecretary for POLITICAL affairs ordered the production of the document?

The bigger question is WHY the State Department would have ordered a "work up" on Joe Wilson and his wife. WHY did Cheney's co-conspirators order this done? Was it to make our country more safe? Was it to fight the terrorists?

The genesis of the crime was in the ordering of the work up in the first place. What ligitimate reason could possibly be given to have tasked someone to produce this document in the first place?

The only reason to order such a document was for the purpose of a smear campaign against a POLITICAL enemy. This was the sole reason for the document. Cheney ordered it, and in doing so, broke the law.

What happened to the list of documents the White House won't give Senators' Biden and Dodd pertaining to Bolton's nomination.

What this Post artcle tells me is that this administration is very, very sloppy in how they handle documents. I wonder if it was passed around.

A further thought...

If the logic trail leads to the fact that it was Cheney who ordered the HIT on Wilson as retaliation for his coming public with the truth, and if THIS is the actual focus of Fitzgerald's investigation, the RNC is digging Cheney's grave for him.

The RNC's disinformation co-conspirators are all over the airwaves reciting their talking of which is that Joe Wilson was politically motivated to come forward with the facts about the Yellow Cake lie.

How Joe Wilson voted in the last election is his business. The man did his job.

By emphasizing the alledged POLITICAL nature of Wilson's actions, it shines a very bright light on Cheney's REACTION. If the allegation was that Wilson (as a private citizen acting within his rights) made a political statement in the writing of his op-ed letter (their claim, not mine), one can only surmise that any reaction by the other party would be politically motivated.

One problem...

Any American citizen has the right to speak his/her mind about politics - but when the Vice President orders the State Department to do a "Work-Up" for the sole purpose of enabling a smear campaign to destroy a political's JAIL TIME!

What was the purpose of the work-up, DICK?

Note that the State Department had ALREADY CONCLUDED that the Niger/Yellow Cake claim was bogus PRIOR to Wilson being sent there. Cheney ordered that Wilson be sent there in the first place in order to develop evidence in opposition to that in Powell's Office. When Wilson came back with a conclusion reinforcing that of Powell's, Cheney went balistic, and broke the law.

Leave Bush out of this one (always assume they gave him plausible deniability and Cheney was the Hit Man). Go after Cheney and ALL of the co-conspirators who set this plan in motion, and then, covered it up. It may be that the only one not involved was Bush. Taking out Cheney and all of the Neo-Con co-conspirators on this particular issue would be enough to bring down the whole administration.

We don't know what Valerie Wilson's position was with respect to Iraq's possession of WMD, but since it was her job to know, and since Iraq had none, it is pretty safe to surmise that her position stood in stark contrast to the "facts" that the administration wished to portray in their rush to war. Cheney saw the chance to kill two political opponents at the same time, and took it.

Cheney Done It.

And hopefully Rove, if he didn't do it, winds up as collateral damage.

Even if he didn't do this, he's guilty of something.

From the Washington Post - July 21, 2005

-A classified State Department memorandum central to a federal leak investigation contained information about CIA officer Valerie Plame in a paragraph marked "(S)" for secret, a clear indication that any Bush administration official who read it should have been aware the information was classified, according to current and former government officials.

-It is a federal crime, punishable by up to 10 years in prison, for a federal official to knowingly disclose the identity of a covert CIA official if the person knows the government is trying to keep it secret.

You can twist these words and spin as much as you want but we are getting closer to the truth. You know the truth. You are hiding behind a wall of lies and we are tearing it down! It would behoove you to come clean now if you desire to save face. If this drags out any longer then you can rest assured that we the people will scream for long prison terms befitting the crimes your people have committed in our collective name! America, our great country, deserves no less.

Fire Karl Rove!,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,

They don't need web bots spitting porn ads at them!


I remember the steady daily drip-drip-drip of the Watergate scandal like it was yesterday. There are many parrallels here. The most obvious is the "spin machine" throwing out mountains of minutiae as smoke screens. There are PAID posters on all sites getting cramps in their furiously-typing fingers as we speak. Don't take your eye off the ball. With Nixon, he could have escaped the THIRD-RATE BURGLARY, but chose the COVERUP.

fit in seemed a bit more "spinnier" (than the usual "ranting troll".)

Good observation!

This latest information effectively neutralizes the majority of GOP talking points.



Please remove or edit the post with all of the email addresses of the representatives. With their email address posted, email harvestors (spammers) will pick this up and send spam to their email accounts thus flooding their accounts.

Thanks "The Truth" for the thought of making it easier, but this will hurt more than help. If you want the email address of your representatives, I'll go get the (government) link and post it here for other concerned citizens.

Concerned Citizen

Here is the link, it was listed on the right side of your browsers screen labeled Email Congress
Concerned Citizen

I am no political person whatsoever....but I believe that no matter whether is was Rove, Libby, Cheney....President Bush also knew everything that was being done!!! But if heads roll on this...and I do say "if"....will anyone spill everything to save themselves?

Has the White House lost control over the news cycle and spin agenda?

Here's a VERY interesting article on the background of all this, by a man who knows way more than most of us...

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