Within hours of the verdict that Lewis "Scooter"
Libby had "obstructed justice" – had prevented Special Prosecutor
Patrick Fitzgerald from finding out whether a crime had been committed in the
"outing" of CIA Non-Official Cover operative Valerie Plame and her
& Associates, and if so, who had committed it – the Cheney Cabal and
its media sycophants were vehemently attacking Fitzgerald, accusing him of prosecutorial
misconduct for even attempting to find that out.
The Cabal argument is that Fitzgerald "knew" going in that then Deputy
Secretary of State Richard Armitage was syndicated columnist Bob Novak’s "primary
source" for the "outing" of CIA operative Valerie Plame.
However, no evidence has yet surfaced that Armitage was the primary
In fact, on the basis of a taped conversation that Armitage had at that time
with Bob Woodward of the Washington Post, introduced into evidence at
Libby’s trial, it appears Armitage didn’t even know the name of "Wilson’s
wife," much less that she was a NOC CIA agent whose cover was Brewster-Jennings.
As of this writing, Fitzgerald still doesn’t know who leaked that information
to Novak, nor does he know if the leaking was a deliberate attempt to destroy
the career of NOC Valerie Plame and hundreds – perhaps thousands – of her Brewster-Jennings
For, make no mistake, if the seemingly authoritative revelations about Brewster-Jennings
are basically correct, serious damage has been done to our intelligence community
and to our National Security by that outing.
So, was the outing of Plame and Brewster-Jennings deliberate, or not?
In a Truthout column
written on the eve of the trial Jason Leopold noted that –
"A list of potential witnesses released by Libby's defense attorneys and
Patrick Fitzgerald, the special prosecutor trying the case, reads like a who's
who of pre-war Iraq planning. It not only may offer the first on-the-record
account of the details that led to the leak of the CIA officer, but may also
provide a window in which to see how the Bush administration manipulated intelligence
to make a case for war – a war that has resulted in the deaths of more than
3,000 U.S. soldiers and tens of thousands of innocent Iraqi civilians.
"Many of the officials identified as potential witnesses were members of
the White House Iraq Group (WHIG), which came together in August 2002 to
publicize the threat posed by Saddam Hussein. WHIG was founded by Bush's
chief of staff Andrew Card and operated out of the vice president's office.
The WHIG was not only responsible for selling the Iraq War, but it took
great pains to discredit anyone who openly disagreed with the official Iraq
Great Zot! WHIG operated out of the vice president’s office and was responsible
for discrediting anyone – in and out of government – who openly disagreed with
the Cheney Cabal plan to invade and occupy Iraq?
Well, the Cheney Cabal had managed to get into the National Intelligence
Estimate on Iraq’s WMD capabilities a hotly disputed allegation that Saddam
had attempted to import thousands of aluminum tubes, which, according
to National Security Advisor Condi Rice were "only really suited for nuclear
weapons programs ... centrifuge programs."
Now, according to David
Corn and Michael Isikoff,
"A shipment of the tubes was seized in Jordan under an operation headed
by Valerie Plame Wilson. She oversaw the operation that intercepted these
tubes that were then shipped back to the CIA."
Valerie Plame had reportedly "left" Brewster-Jennings and had become
Valerie Wilson, an official CIA employee, on January 1, 2001.
"She [Wilson] actually was Chief of Operations for the Joint Task on Iraq.
It's part of the Counter-proliferation Division which is part of the super-secret
Operations Directorate. So she was actually in charge of overseeing and
running operations for two years prior to the invasion that were designed to
find evidence of Iraq's WMD's."
What happened to the aluminum tubes Valerie Wilson seized?
CIA analyst – later code-named "Joe
Centrifuge" to protect his identity – came to the conclusion that these
tubes could only be used for a nuclear centrifuge to enrich uranium for a nuclear
But an internationally recognized expert on uranium-enrichment, David
Albright, publicly questioned – on technical grounds – the suitability of
such aluminum-tubes for centrifuges as early as September 2002.
(As did experts at the International Atomic Energy Agency.)
National Security Council and CIA officials told Leopold that Cheney had visited
CIA headquarters and asked several CIA officials "to dig up dirt on Albright,"
and to put together a dossier that would discredit his work that could be distributed
to the media.
Now, Joseph C. Wilson IV, without revealing his mission to Niger a year earlier,
had been openly discrediting the Cheney Cabal war plan. He had even written
an article in the
March 3, 2003 edition of The Nation.
"The upcoming military operation also has one objective, though different
from the several offered by the Bush Administration.
"This war is not about weapons of mass destruction. The intrusive inspections
are disrupting Saddam's programs, as even the Administration has acknowledged.
"Nor is it about terrorism. Virtually all agree war will spawn more terrorism,
not less. It is not even about liberation of an oppressed people. Killing innocent
Iraqi civilians in a full frontal assault is hardly the only or best way to
liberate a people.
"The underlying objective of this war is the imposition of a Pax Americana
on the region and installation of vassal regimes that will control restive populations."
Then, on May 6, 2003, Nicholas Kristof dropped this bombshell:
"I'm told by a person involved in the Niger caper that more than a year
ago the vice president's office asked for an investigation of the uranium
deal, so a former U.S. ambassador to Africa was dispatched to Niger. In
February 2002, according to someone present at the meetings, that envoy
reported to the CIA and State Department that the information was unequivocally
wrong and that the documents had been forged."
Vice president's office?
Well, that tore it. Go WHIG! Find out who that former Ambassador was. Dig up
dirt on him! Discredit him!
Who was it? Joe Wilson? The guy who's been questioning for months our
motives in print and on TV?
Result? A Top
Secret memo [.pdf] prepared for Under-Secretary of State Marc Grossman,
who was, according to the Libby indictment, responding to a request from Scooter
Libby for an explication of Wilson's mission to Niger and the consequences thereof.
"In a February 19, 2002 meeting, convened by Valerie Wilson, a CIA WMD manager
and the wife of Joe Wilson, he previewed his plans and the rationale for going
It was basically this memo that Secretary Powell shared with others aboard
Air Force One on Bush’s trip to Africa, which began on July 7, 2003.
Notice that it makes no mention of Valerie Plame.
In fact, insofar as the evidence introduced at Libby’s trial is concerned,
there is only one place where the name "Valerie Plame" occurs
prior to Novak’s column of July 14, 2003.
In Judith Miller’s notes of her 2-hour long meeting of 8 July, 2003 with Scooter
Libby has testified that the vice president directed him to meet with Miller
on that date and personally wrote out the points he wanted Libby to make.