Hours after the jury convicted Lewis "Scooter"
Libby of obstructing justice – preventing Special Prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald
from finding out whether a crime had been committed in the outing by columnist
Bob Novak of CIA operative Valerie Plame – Joseph C. Wilson IV told reporters
that the CIA was holding up publication of Valerie Wilson’s book.
Tentatively entitled Fair Game, her book reportedly
not only chronicles the consequences to Valerie Wilson of the outing of Plame
by Novak, but would also reveal some things about the life of Valerie Plame,
the CIA operative Novak outed.
According to Mark Mansfield, a CIA spokesman, Valerie Wilson’s book is still
under review because of concerns "that the manuscript, as it was originally
submitted, would cause additional damage to operational matters."
Well, you see, as far as the CIA is (officially) concerned, Valerie Wilson
first became a CIA employee on January 1, 2002. As far as the CIA (officially)
is concerned, they’ve never heard of Valerie Plame, the "CIA operative"
Novak "outed" on July 14, 2003.
And the CIA has certainly never (officially) heard of Brewster-Jennings
& Associates, Valerie Plame’s employer, which Novak deliberately "outed"
as a CIA "front" on CNN on October 3, 2003, almost a month after the
Justice Department had announced it had begun – at the request of the CIA –
an official investigation to determine if a crime had been committed in Novak’s
outing of Valerie Plame.
By the time this column appears, Valerie Wilson will (probably) have already
testified before the House Oversight and Government Affairs Committee, which
is investigating "issues raised" by documentary evidence of conduct
or misconduct by Bush-Cheney administration officials, introduced by both prosecution
and defense during Libby’s trial.
Because Valerie Wilson is – and young Valerie Plame was – a beautiful woman,
Chairman Waxman will almost certainly allow some of her testimony to be made
publicly. But because of CIA concerns – which according to Prosecutor Fitzgerald
and Judge Reggie Walton are warranted – most of the questions Waxman wants answered
about the outing of Valerie Plame and Brewster-Jennings will probably have to
be asked and answered in closed sessions.
Recall that in a Truthout
column written on the eve of Libby’s trial, Jason Leopold noted that
"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 War story."
The conventional wisdom is that WHIG somehow got Novak to out CIA operative
Valerie Plame in retaliation for Joe Wilson’s July 6, 2003 op-ed piece, which
"Did the Bush administration manipulate intelligence about Saddam Hussein's
weapons programs to justify an invasion of Iraq?
"Based on my experience with the administration in the months leading
up to the war, I have little choice but to conclude that some of the intelligence
related to Iraq's nuclear weapons program was twisted to exaggerate the Iraqi
But evidence was introduced at Libby’s trial that WHIG began its campaign to
discredit "a former US ambassador to Africa" two months before, almost
immediately after Nicholas Kristof had this
to say in his May, 6 2003 column:
"Consider the now-disproved claims by President Bush and Colin Powell
that Iraq tried to buy uranium from Niger so it could build nuclear weapons.
"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."
Evidently, initially, WHIG didn’t know the ambassador was Joe Wilson. And they
certainly didn’t know "Wilson’s wife" worked at the CIA.
And they sure as hell didn’t know about "CIA operative" Valerie Plame.
Or did they?
Recall that the Cheney Cabal had managed to get prominently featured in the
National Intelligence Estimate on Iraq’s WMD capabilities, hastily constructed
in the summer of 2002, an allegation – hotly disputed within the intelligence
community – that Saddam Hussein had attempted to import thousands of aluminum
tubes, which, according to then National Security Advisor Condi Rice were "only
really suited for nuclear weapons 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.
"She 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."
Since, according to the CIA, Valerie Wilson only became an "official"
CIA employee on January 1, 2002, how could she have overseen the operation in
2001 that intercepted these tubes, confiscated them and sent them "back
to the CIA"?
As we now know, in 2001 and for years before, she was Valerie Plame, an employee
of Brewster-Jennings – a company the CIA says it has never heard of (officially)
– and she has W-2 forms to prove it.
We also now know that at the 2-hour meeting Libby had – at the direction of
Vice President Cheney – with WHIG media-sycophant Judith Miller to provide her
with classified information contained in the 2002 NIE on Iraq, Libby referred
to Valerie Plame. (Miller wrote "Flame" in her notes.)
This Valerie "Flame" disclosure by a member of WHIG came on June
22, 2003 – weeks before Novak’s column of July 14, 2003, "outing"
Valerie Plame as a CIA operative.
So, suppose Waxman cites the report by David Corn and Michael Isikoff and asks
Valerie Wilson if it’s true that she intercepted the aluminum tubes, and if
so, did she intercept them as Valerie Plame, an employee of Brewster-Jennings,
or as a "CIA operative"?
If he does ask her that, you might want to pay close attention to her response,
if and when it is rebroadcast on C-SPAN.