As you know, Vice-President, Dick Cheyney's Chief of Staff, Lewis "Scooter" Libby was convicted of lieing to investigators about the "outing" of CIA operative, Valerie Plame-Wilson. Although it is true that lieing to investigators in the commission of investigating a crime is an indictable offence and any citizen should face the consequences of that action. However, my question is, what crime did Libby actually commit? I ask this because although Libby did indeed do this deed,Plame was not covert. I know she did testify to the contrary at the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform that "administration officials were the ones who destroyed my cover".
But, from what I understand, she was not covert and has no proof of documentation (as of yet) to contradict this. She was not an active agent at the time of her outing because she had not been overseas or on any mission for five years. This
may explain it better. Also,Plame herself may have perjured herself when she testified that she didn't recommend her husband for the position of ambassador due to alleged Senate committee documents saying otherwise (regardless of what the dicredited, former sportscaster and idioso-"journalist" Keith Olbermann has to say. Although, it's not like anyone' s listening to him.)
As for Carl Rove's involvement, I believe, as seems to be, he was simply not so much confirming Plame's so-called covert situation as he was agreeing with a statement by New York Times reporter, Judith Miller when Miller mentioned to him that Joe Wilson's wife worked (past tense) for the CIA, to which Rove simply answered, "You've heard that too?"
From Andrew C. McCarthey's column
from National Review Online:"Plame was identified as a covert CIA agent by the columnist Robert Novak, to whom she was compromised by an administration official. In fact, it appears Plame was first outed to the general public as a result of a consciously loaded and slyly hypothetical piece by the journalist David Corn.
Corn's source appears to have been none other than Plame's own husband, former ambassador and current Democratic-party operative Joseph Wilson — that same pillar of national security rectitude whose notion of discretion, upon being dispatched by the CIA for a sensitive mission to Niger, was to write a highly public op-ed about his trip in the New York Times. This isn't news to the media; they have simply chosen not
to report it."
From the Associated Press,
Wilson acknowledged his wife was no longer in an undercover job at the time Novak's column first identified her. "My wife was not a clandestine officer the day that Bob Novak blew her identity,"
he said. Now he may have meant that at the time he gave this interview that his wife's cover had already been blown, but I don't see it that way and he didn't exactly make that clear. For such a brew-ha-ha, you figure he would have.
As it turns out, it seems that former Secretary of State, Colin Powell's #2 at the State Department was the original leak
. Then again, does anybody really know, including Novak?
As for Wilson himself being discredited for the purposes to "sell" the Iraq war, he made have discredited himself. He claims that Iraq was not seeking "yellow cake" form Nigeria, that Saddam Hussein was simply, more or less, engaging in trade talks. But my question is, what other than uranium would Nigeria be trading to Iraq? Realistically? C'mon. Again, this may explain things better:Wowie Zahawie Sorry everyone, but Iraq did go uranium shopping in Niger.
By Christopher Hitchens
Posted Monday, April 10, 2006,In the late 1980s, the Iraqi representative to the International Atomic Energy Agency—Iraq's senior public envoy for nuclear matters, in effect—was a man named Wissam al-Zahawie. After the Kuwait war in 1991, when Rolf Ekeus arrived in Baghdad to begin the inspection and disarmament work of UNSCOM, he was greeted by Zahawie, who told him in a bitter manner that "now that you have come to take away our assets," the two men could no longer be friends. (They had known each other in earlier incarnations at the United Nations in New York.) At a later 1995 U.N. special session on the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, Zahawie was the Iraqi delegate and spoke heatedly about the urgent need to counterbalance Israel's nuclear capacity. At the time, most democratic countries did not have full diplomatic relations with Saddam's regime, and there were few fully accredited Iraqi ambassadors overseas, Iraq's interests often being represented by the genocidal Islamist government of Sudan (incidentally, yet another example of collusion between "secular" Baathists and the fundamentalists who were sheltering Osama Bin Laden). There was one exception—an Iraqi "window" into the world of open diplomacy—namely the mutual recognition between the Baathist regime and the Vatican. To this very important and sensitive post in Rome, Zahawie was appointed in 1997, holding the job of Saddam's ambassador to the Holy See until 2000. Those who knew him at that time remember a man much given to anti-Jewish tirades, with a standing ticket for Wagner performances at Bayreuth. (Actually, as a fan of Das Rheingold and Götterdämmerung in particular, I find I can live with this. Hitler secretly preferred sickly kitsch like Franz Lehar.)In February 1999, Zahawie left his Vatican office for a few days and paid an official visit to Niger, a country known for absolutely nothing except its vast deposits of uranium ore. It was from Niger that Iraq had originally acquired uranium in 1981, as confirmed in the Duelfer Report. In order to take the Joseph Wilson view of this Baathist ambassadorial initiative, you have to be able to believe that Saddam Hussein's long-term main man on nuclear issues was in Niger to talk about something other than the obvious. Italian intelligence (which first noticed the Zahawie trip from Rome) found it difficult to take this view and alerted French intelligence (which has better contacts in West Africa and a stronger interest in nuclear questions). In due time, the French tipped off the British, who in their cousinly way conveyed the suggestive information to Washington. As everyone now knows, the disclosure appeared in watered-down and secondhand form in the president's State of the Union address in January 2003. If the above was all that was known, it would surely be universally agreed that no responsible American administration could have overlooked such an amazingly sinister pattern. Given the past Iraqi record of surreptitious dealing, cheating of inspectors, concealment of sites and caches, and declared ambition to equip the technicians referred to openly in the Baathist press as "nuclear mujahideen," one could scarcely operate on the presumption of innocence.However, the waters have since become muddied, to say the least. For a start, someone produced a fake document, dated July 6, 2000, which purports to show Zahawie's signature and diplomatic seal on an actual agreement for an Iraqi uranium transaction with Niger. Almost everything was wrong with this crude forgery—it had important dates scrambled, and it misstated the offices of Niger politicians. In consequence, IAEA Chairman Mohammed ElBaradei later reported to the U.N. Security Council that the papers alleging an Iraq-Niger uranium connection had been demonstrated to be fraudulent. But this doesn't alter the plain set of established facts in my first three paragraphs above. The European intelligence services, and the Bush administration, only ever asserted that the Iraqi regime had apparently tried to open (or rather, reopen) a yellowcake trade "in Africa." It has never been claimed that an agreement was actually reached. What motive could there be for a forgery that could be instantly detected upon cursory examination?There seem to be only three possibilities here. Either a) American intelligence concocted the note; b) someone in Italy did so in the hope of gain; or c) it was the product of disinformation, intended to protect Niger and discredit any attention paid to the actual, real-time Zahawie visit. The CIA is certainly incompetent enough to have fouled up this badly. (I like Edward Luttwak's formulation in the March 22 Times Literary Supplement, where he writes that "there have been only two kinds of CIA secret operations: the ones that are widely known to have failed—usually because of almost unbelievably crude errors—and the ones that are not yet widely known to have failed.") Still, it almost passes belief that any American agency would fake a document that purportedly proved far more than the administration had asked and then get every important name and date wrapped round the axle. Forgery for gain is easy to understand, especially when it is borne in mind that nobody wastes time counterfeiting a bankrupt currency. Forgery for disinformation, if that is what it was, appears at least to have worked. Almost everybody in the world now affects to believe that Saddam Hussein was framed on the Niger rap. According to the London Sunday Times of April 9, the truth appears to be some combination of b) and c). A NATO investigation has identified two named employees of the Niger Embassy in Rome who, having sold a genuine document about Zahawie to Italian and French intelligence agents, then added a forged paper in the hope of turning a further profit. The real stuff went by one route to Washington, and the fakery, via an Italian journalist and the U.S. Embassy in Rome, by another. The upshot was—follow me closely here—that a phony paper alleging a deal was used to shoot down a genuine document suggesting a connection. Zahawie's name and IAEA connection were never mentioned by ElBaradei in his report to the United Nations, and his past career has never surfaced in print. Looking up the press of the time causes one's jaw to slump in sheer astonishment. Here, typically, is a Time magazine "exclusive" about Zahawie, written by Hassan Fattah on Oct. 1, 2003:The veteran diplomat has spent the eight months since President Bush's speech trying to set the record straight and clear his name. In a rare interview with Time, al-Zahawie outlined how forgery and circumstantial evidence was used to talk up Iraq's nuclear weapons threat, and leave him holding the smoking gun.A few paragraphs later appear, the wonderful and unchallenged words from Zahawie: "Frankly, I didn't know that Niger produced uranium at all." Well, sorry for the inconvenience of the questions, then, my old IAEA and NPT "veteran" (whose nuclear qualifications go unmentioned in the Time article). Instead, we are told that Zahawie visited Niger and other West African countries to encourage them to break the embargo on flights to Baghdad, as they had broken the sanctions on Qaddafi's Libya. A bit of a lowly mission, one might think, for one of the Iraqi regime's most senior and specialized envoys. The Duelfer Report also cites "a second contact between Iraq and Niger," which occurred in 2001, when a Niger minister visited Baghdad "to request assistance in obtaining petroleum products to alleviate Niger's economic problems." According to the deposition of Ja'far Diya' Ja'far (the head of Iraq's pre-1991 nuclear weapons program), these negotiations involved no offer of uranium ore but only "cash in exchange for petroleum." West Africa is awash in petroleum, and Niger is poor in cash. Iraq in 2001 was cash-rich through the oil-for-food racket, but you may if you wish choose to believe that a near-bankrupt African delegation from a uranium-based country traveled across a continent and a half with nothing on its mind but shopping for oil.Interagency feuding has ruined the Bush administration's capacity to make its case in public, and a high-level preference for deniable leaking has further compounded the problem. But please read my first three paragraphs again and tell me if the original story still seems innocuous to you.
Also this:Joseph Wilson IV: The French Connection
By James Lewis
November 07, 2005
There are an amazing number of French fingerprints all over the Plame—Wilson affair. While it is not easy to penetrate the dark fog of lies, there is a highly consistent pattern pointing to French government involvement with a Watergate—style assault on the American Presidency, fronted by Ambassador Joseph C. Wilson IV.
In 2002 French intelligence forged the notorious document claiming that Saddam tried to obtain Niger uranium. The Italian middle man, Rocco Martino, later confessed to French involvement in open court. Rocco Martino might sound like a small—time mafia hood from the Sopranos. Actually, he works at times for Italian military intelligence. The truth about the French connection came out when Martino confessed in court that the French had given him the forged document to peddle to various intelligence agencies. The Italians and French have had a furious war of words ever since then about who was responsible for the forgery.
The FBI just leaked a claim that Rocco did it just for the money. That is very doubtful. The French naturally deny any responsibility, but the forged document was dropped on the public at exactly the time that Dominique de Villepin, then Foreign Minister, was in New York trying to make Colin Powell believe that France was prepared to help overthrow Saddam. The French forgery was a stink bomb, designed to be exposed in public as soon as Colin Powell publicly accepted it.
At the very same time the Niger forgery showed up, France's Foreign Minister, Dominique de Villepin, was sand bagging Secretary Powell at the UN by pretending to support American efforts against Saddam — even as he got ready to pull out the rug in a surprise press conference. Reporter Kenneth Timmerman told Brit Hume for FoxNews that:
"Our administration thought that the French were with us, that French had dispatched their top general to Centcom, Chirac had promised the president (to support the United States against Saddam). Villepin the foreign minister had promised Powell. They said they were with us, and they weren't. ..."
"So then de Villepin goes outside at noontime. ... Powell is actually watching Fox News... as de Villepin goes on TV ... And that's when he announces to the world that France will never ever support the use of force against Saddam Hussein. ... Powell's jaw dropped to the floor...."
It was a carefully planned ambush. Timmerman summed it up by saying that
"Chirac lied to the president of the United States, and then he ordered his Foreign Minister Dominique de Villepin to do the same thing with Colin Powell."
And then, they pulled the plug.
De Villepin's ambush triggered a giant anti—American firestorm in Europe and around the world. Germans, French, Brits and Swedes were foaming at the mouth for months and months. France was therefore extremely successful in discrediting American policy against Saddam.
But that was not enough, because Saddam was quickly knocked over by the US—led coalition forces. Somehow the media fires had to be kept alive. The "Bush lied us into war" slogan had to be kept going in the minds of the public.
Enter our hero, Joseph C. Wilson, from stage left. The French forgery about Niger led straight to Wilson's bogus trip to Africa. Wilson supposedly went there to find out the truth for the CIA. But every government involved already knew the truth about the bogus document, because it showed incorrect names of Niger officials. A single telephone call to Niger would have established that fact.
The reason why Wilson had to travel to Niger in person to "investigate," while drinking mint tea with his uranium mining friends, was to establish his bona fides — to make him an instant "expert witness" on Saddam's dealings with Niger. Did French intelligence urge Wilson to make his trip and enlist his wife Valerie to propose him? Without that trip, Joseph C. Wilson had no special claim to any expertise about Saddam's weapons. It was Valerie Plame who was the CIA WMD expert, but it was Wilson who became the front man.
Notice that the modus operandi for the Wilson trip was much the same as for the Niger forgery: a classic con game. Find a sucker, tell him what he wants to hear, and use that credulous embrance by the mark to destroy your enemy. In the first case the sucker was Colin Powell. In the second case it was the New York Times Op—Ed page. In both cases the enemy to be shafted was George W. Bush and the administration. This is how disinformation is supposed to work.
Joseph Wilson had intimate French connections for many years before his mint tea—sipping journey to Niger. In fact, he met his first wife at the French Embassy in Washington. His second wife, Jacqueline, to whom he was still married when he took up with Valerie Plame, was a former French diplomat. There is even a report that she was a 'cultural attach' in Francophone Africa, a post often used as cover for intelligence operatives, though this remains quite a murky point, as tradecraft suggests it should.
Today Wilson claims to be a business agent for "African mining companies." But Niger's mines are owned by a French consortium, which operates cheek—by—jowl with the Quai d'Orsay. Niger itself is a semi—colony of France. No uranium sales go on there without the full knowledge and consent of the French government. Valerie Plame was quoted in a CIA memo as saying that "my husband has good relations with both the PM [prime minister] and the former Minister of Mines (not to mention lots of French contacts)..." Lots of French contacts, indeed.
Wilson exploded into public view, and spent two years barnstorming around the country, giving outraged speeches to publicize the idea that he had found the smoking gun to prove Bush had lied. Moveon.org and their friends were happy to believe him.
Wilson was interviewed on PBS and NPR, and wrote a book, now thoroughly discredited, to push his anti—Bush agenda. In the process he told so many lies that he lost track of them himself. But that made no difference. The media and the Left leaped on the story like manna from heaven; or, possibly, like fine champagne from France.
Well, hypothetically just suppose for a moment that Wilson's strings are being pulled by the French. What motivates the French government? They have been very clear about that.
Jacques Chirac and his close ally Dominique de Villepin have long proclaimed France to be the strategic enemy of American power. Paris openly yearns to lead the European Union to superpower status, in order to undermine American "hegemony," and above all for the eternal grandeur of la belle France. De Villepin has written books vilifying the United States; he is an open French imperialist, who conceives of himself as a world—historic figure in the mold of his personal heroes Napoleon and Niccolo Machiavelli.
France's short—term aim for the Niger forgery was to block US actions against Saddam Hussein, or at least to discredit America in the run—up to the Iraq war. The long—term strategic purpose was to drive a wedge between the US and Europe, so that the European Union — guided by France — could be persuaded to revolt against fifty years of US leadership of the West.
This strategy succeeded, but not completely. The American action in Iraq provoked massive public fury in Europe, whipped up by the government—owned media and the Left. It caused a rift in public opinion that continues today. Had Tony Blair not gone along with President Bush against Saddam, the EU might now be going on its separate way, aiming for world domination, just as de Villepin has fervently advocated. If the EU Constitution had been approved, as the media confidently predicted it would be, Jacques Chirac might now be running to be the first president of Europe.
For decades France has conducted major industrial espionage in the United States. Having Wilson as a source on Clinton's National Security Council would be an obvious boon for that purpose. Had John Kerry won the 2004 election, Wilson might now be back in the White House, perhaps helping his good friends abroad. He was therefore a very good prospect for French intelligence to cultivate, especially given the lax security standards of the Clinton years. And if Wilson and Plame do succeed in bringing down George W. Bush, Chirac and de Villepin would be overjoyed.
French hatred of American power is the reason why France pressured Turkey (anxious to enter the EU) to block the US IV Infantry Division from crossing Iraq's northern border to help knock over Saddam Hussein. Had the IV ID hit Saddam from the North while Tommy Franks attacked from the South, the current Iraqi insurrection might have been crushed even before it got started, the Baathist hardcore unable to flee north to the Sunni Triangle and entrench itself among the small percentage of Iraqis who benefited from Saddam's rule. The original plan envisioned just such a pincer movement. We therefore owe many of our 2,000 soldiers' deaths to deliberate and malicious French sabotage, with thanks to Dominique de Villepin and Jacques Chirac.
There is every reason to believe that France desperately wants this White House to be weakened or overthrown. They would be happy with Hillary Clinton or any other Democrat as president, because the Euro—socialist, non—interventionist base of that party is compatible with French policies and strategies. European emphasis on the United Nations as the forum for handling international conflicts plays to France's strongest asset in world affairs, its veto—wielding Security Council seat, and its large number of Francophone former colonies, each with a vote in the General Assembly. A strong America wielding its mighty military force is de Villepin's worst nightmare.
What about France and Wilson? While we do not know all the facts, there is no question that Joseph Wilson has acted precisely as we might expect from an agent provocateur. He worked fervently to undermine the Bush White House with plainly false accusations, putting the Niger forgery to very good use. Joe Wilson calls himself a business agent for unnamed "African mining companies." We can reasonably guess that he made those contacts during his several postings in Francophone West Africa, possibly when he was Ambassador to Gabon, another former French colony, at the culmination of his State Department career.
Wilson claims credit for persuading Bill Clinton to make a heavily hyped trip to French Africa, tossing millions of US aid dollars to the local dictatorships, including, possibly, some of Wilson's friends. So Wilson apparently works as a consultant for French—owned mining companies in Africa, which would allow him to be openly paid by those companies. None of this makes for a smoking gun, but it is certainly, at minimum, an interesting coincidence that a man with such extensive and intimate French connections should be conducting a ferocious nationwide crusade against the President of the United States, who also happens to be hated by the French government.
Was Wilson acting on his own in planting the Times Op—Ed? Were Valerie Plame and her friends at CIA pulling strings? Or was it other Democrats? There is plenty of evidence for CIA backing of Wilson and Plame, as many have previously noted. There may be nothing more to it than a failed CIA WMD intelligence group covering itself with a manufactured diversionary scandal.
But for someone with Wilson's ego, simple flattery by the "sophisticated" French might be a powerful tool of manipulation. He has all the appearance of a wounded narcissist, someone who needs the attention of the world to make up for his inner deficiencies. When the Soviet KGB ran agents all over the Western world they rarely bothered to pay them. They were "idealists" whose vanity could be easily manipulated.
Is all that tangled enough for you? Keep in mind that the whole affair may be a classic disinformation campaign, run by the pros who make their living doing just that. Just as Watergate showed how Mark Felt learned how to make damaging leaks from J. Edgar Hoover, the modus operandi of the Plame—Wilson affair reflects professional intelligence methods.
For now, there are only questions, not answers. Maybe someone with the power to subpoena and compel testimony under oath ought to be investigating. Whoever is guiding Joseph C. Wilson IV seems to specialize in dangerous intrigue. We have not seen the end of them yet.
So through all this, why was Libby convicted of this crime when there was no original crime committed?
Again, there was no covert agent to "out".
So did he really lie to investigators, or did he really not remember where he first heard that Plame was a CIA agent?
...to be continued.
To one of my readers in particular:
There ya go Grip.