Ambassador Joe Wilson talked to James Naughtieon the Today Programme November 24 2005 - extracts (warmwell transcript) See also warmwell's Niger pages
Washington Post Nov 1 2005
"Special Counsel Patrick J. Fitzgerald initially set out to determine whether any administration official had illegally disclosed the identity of undercover CIA operative Valerie Plame as part of an effort to discredit her husband, former ambassador Joseph C. Wilson IV. Wilson had harshly criticized the administration's use of intelligence in the run-up to the Iraq war. After a 22-month investigation, a federal grand jury charged Libby with lying and obstructing justice during the probe. Criminal defense lawyers say Cheney would probably be called as a witness in any trial, to verify and recount the conversation he had with Libby on June 12, 2003. At that time, Cheney allegedly told Libby that Plame worked in the CIA's Counterproliferation Division..."
Valerie Plame (born 1963) is a former American Central Intelligence Agency employee who was identified as a CIA "operative" in a newspaper column by Robert Novak on 14 July 2003. This created a political controversy and eventually led to a Justice Department investigation into possible violation of U.S. criminal law regarding exposure of covert government agents. As of April 2005 the investigation continued without apparent result.
PLAME AFFAIR TIMELINE
Feb 2002: Joseph Wilson looks into reports that Iraq tried to buy uranium in Niger
6 July 2003: Mr Wilson goes public about investigation
14 July 2003: Columnist Robert Novak writes the trip was inspired by Ms Plame - Matthew Cooper reports that he had similar information
30 September: Justice department launches probe
24 June 2004: President Bush testifies in case
15 July: Cooper and Judith Miller ordered to testify about sources
10 August: Miller and Cooper sentenced for contempt of court
28 June 2005: Supreme Court refuses to hear appeal
6 July: Miller jailed after appeals fail, Cooper agrees to testify
30 September 2005 : Miller released and names Vice-President Dick Cheney's leading aide (Lewis Libby) as her main source.
14th October 2005 : Karl Rove testifies for fourth time before Grand Jury
19th October 2005 : Independent "Every sign is that Patrick Fitzgerald, the special prosecutor, is close to wrapping up his 22-month-old grand jury investigation, in which attention has focused on two top aides - President Bush's adviser Karl Rove and Lewis "Scooter" Libby, the chief of staff to the Vice-President Dick Cheney."
3rd February 2006 ~ "Quietly, largely below the radar screen, Special Counsel Patrick Fitzgerald continues to work on the CIA leak case in which the administration decided to punish ex-ambassador Joseph Wilson for embarrassing them on Saddam's nonexistent search for yellowcake uranium by outing his wife, Valerie Plame, as a CIA agent. News on the case has been sparse indeed of late. I. Lewis ("Scooter") Libby, indicted former chief of staff for Vice President Cheney, crept back into the papers this week on a fishing expedition for CIA documents; while a single, shades-of-Watergate sentence in a brief report by James Gordon Meek in the New York Daily News indicated that "Fitzgerald… said in a letter to Libby's lawyers that many e-mails from Cheney's office at the time of the Plame leak in 2003 have been deleted contrary to White House policy." (The letter can be found at the Raw Story website.) Meanwhile, not so long ago in an investigative report at the Truthout website, the fine Internet reporter Jason Leopold indicated that Fitzgerald "has been questioning witnesses in the CIA leak case about the origins of the disputed Niger documents referenced in President Bush's January 2003 State of the Union address." ...." Tom Dispatch
24th November 2005 ~ Plame Scandal On the Today Programme today "The husband of the CIA agent whose identity was revealed by the White House, says that Tony Blair was double crossed by those in the Bush administration who wanted to go to war with Iraq regardless of the situation on weapons of mass destruction." Listen Again
" 'The British Government has recently learned that Saddam Hussein recently sought significant quantities of uranium from Africa' ....the Administration knew full well that those words weren't true..."And the interview with Mr Wilson himself: Listen Again
"...what I saw was a two year smear campaign, a campaign to assassinate my character and impugn my integrity and that reached a crescendo when a Congressman stepped forward and said that my wife, who was a complete innocent in all this, "got what she deserved"...I have always speculated that the real reason they did this was to send a signal to others..."
Extracts from the BBC recording (warmwell transcript)
23 November 2005 ~ I doubt that this intelligent lawyer with two small children will go down alone" Military.com
"....It does seem clear that Fitzgerald is intent on ascertaining and publicly disclosing where the truth lies. Fitzgerald's move of indicting Libby alone and only for perjury and not the underlying crime was a brilliant tactic. The special prosecutor has stated that his investigation remains open. The issue now is how Libby, who has retained a sophisticated white collar criminal lawyer, will respond.
Libby can simply plead guilty and take his sentence of years in prison and a hefty fine. Or Libby could go to trial on the perjury charges. In that event, we might learn the truth of what actually happened, and who else, if anybody, was involved. A third possibility is that Libby will cut a deal with Fitzgerald. In return for a lesser plea, or perhaps no jail time, he will tell the prosecutor everything that happened and who else from the administration was involved in discussions with him relating to Wilson and Valerie Plame.
On this latter point, Senator John Cornyn (R-Tex.) said recently on ABC “I think what we found out this week is that any alleged wrongdoing is really confined to a single individual.” That may be wishful thinking or a premature judgment. More likely, we're only at the beginning, not the end, of a complex legal process. Bob Woodward's late-coming revelation adds a potential twist to the situation, to say the least. If others were involved besides Libby, I doubt that this intelligent lawyer with two small children will go down alone."
17 November 2005 ~ Mr. Cheney did not join the parade of denials New York Times on Bob Woodward's surprise testimony that " a current or former Bush administration official" told him "more than two years ago that the wife of a prominent administration critic worked for the C.I.A"
This "threatened Wednesday to prolong a politically damaging leak investigation that the White House had hoped would soon be contained"
".......A senior administration official said that neither President Bush himself, nor his chief of staff, Andrew H. Card Jr., nor his counselor, Dan Bartlett, was Mr. Woodward's source. So did spokesmen for former Secretary of State Colin L. Powell; the former director of central intelligence, George J. Tenet; and his deputy, John E. McLaughlin. A lawyer for Karl Rove, the deputy White House chief of staff who has acknowledged conversations with reporters about the case and remains under investigation, said Mr. Rove was not Mr. Woodward's source. ..."Mr. Cheney did not join the parade of denials. A spokeswoman said he would have no comment on a continuing investigation. Several other officials could not be reached for comment.
4 November 2005 ~ "....People with close ties to Mr. Bush and Republicans... said there had been no discussion about Mr. Rove stepping down if he is not indicted....
....Democratic leaders again on Thursday called for Mr. Rove's resignation, citing Mr. Bush's pledge to demand the highest ethical standards from his administration.....
At the heart of the remaining investigation into Mr. Rove are the circumstances surrounding a July 11, 2003, telephone conversation between Mr. Rove and Mr. Cooper, who turned the interview to questions about a 2002 trip to Africa by Joseph C. Wilson IV, a former ambassador, who was sent by the C.I.A. to investigate claims that Iraq had sought to be buy uranium ore from Niger. In his testimony to the grand jury in February 2004, Mr. Rove did not disclose the conversation with Mr. Cooper, saying later that he did not recall it among the hundreds of calls he received on a daily basis. But there was a record of the call. Mr. Rove had sent an e-mail message to Stephen J. Hadley, the deputy national security adviser, which confirmed the conversation........
..It is not publicly known why Mr. Rove's e-mail message to Mr. Hadley was not turned over earlier, but a lawyer in the case said that White House documents were collected in response to several separate requests that may not have covered certain time periods or all relevant officials. Mr. Rove had no role in the search for documents, which was carried out by an administrative office in the White House. Mr. Rove corrected his testimony in a grand jury appearance on Oct. 14, 2004, after which Mr. Luskin said Mr. Rove had answered all questions truthfully...." New York Times
3 November 2005 ~ "Top White House aides are privately discussing the future of Karl Rove, with some expressing doubt that President Bush can move beyond the damaging CIA leak case as long as his closest political strategist remains in the administration.
"If Rove stays, which colleagues say remains his intention, he may at a minimum have to issue a formal apology for misleading colleagues and the public...
...McClellan relayed Rove's denial to reporters from the White House lectern in 2003, and he has not yet offered a public explanation for his inaccurate statements. "That is affecting everybody," said a Republican who has discussed the issue with the White House. "Scott personally is really beaten down by this. Everybody I talked to talks about this." I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby, the vice president's former chief of staff, will be arraigned today on five counts, involving three felony charges, in the leak probe. Libby also told McClellan two years ago he was not involved, a denial that was also relayed to the public." Washington Post
2 November 2005 ~ "Rove's dirty tricks on behalf of Nixon's 1972 campaign catapulted Rove onto the national stage..." From Oped.news article by Wayne Madsen
"He's America's Joseph Goebbels. As a 21-year old Young Republican in Texas, Karl Rove not only pimped for Richard Nixon's chief political dirty tricks strategist Donald Segretti but soon caught the eye of the incoming Republican National Committee Chairman, George H. W. Bush. Rove's dirty tricks on behalf of Nixon's 1972 campaign catapulted Rove onto the national stage. From his Eagle's Nest in the West Wing of the White House, Rove now directs a formidable political dirty tricks operation and disinformation mill. Since his formative political years when he tried to paint World War II B-24 pilot and hero George McGovern as a left-wing peacenik through his mid-level career as a planter of disinformation in the media on behalf of Texas and national GOP candidates to his current role as Dubya's "Svengali," Rove has practiced the same style of slash and burn politics as did his Nixonian mentor Segretti...."
1st November 2005 ~ "Vice President Cheney's former chief of staff, I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby, is expected to plead not guilty to charges that he lied
and obstructed justice in the CIA leak probe when he is arraigned Thursday, setting the stage for a possible courtroom fight in which Libby's interests could collide with those of the Bush White House, according to several Republican officials...If Libby's case goes to trial, Addington and Hannah are only two of the many White House officials -- including Cheney himself -- who could be forced to testify about how they handled intelligence, dealt with the media and built the argument for the Iraq war." Washington Post
28th October 2005 ~ White House Braces for Indictment; Rove Said to Be Spared for Now
(Washington Post) "White House officials braced for the possibility that Vice President Cheney's chief of staff would be indicted in the CIA leak case today, while the lawyer for Karl Rove said the presidential confidant's case is still under investigation. "The Special Counsel has advised Mr. Rove that he has made no decision about whether or not to bring charges and that Mr. Rove's status has not changed," said Rove's attorney, Robert Luskin, in a statement released this morning. "Mr. Rove will continue to cooperate fully with the Special Counsel's efforts to complete the investigation. We are confident that when the Special Counsel finishes his work, he will conclude that Mr. Rove has done nothing wrong."
Special Counsel Patrick J. Fitzgerald's office announced it would release information on the grand jury about noon today and would hold a press conference at 2 p.m. EDT. Fitzgerald has one indictment in hand, according to a source close to the investigation.
Rove provided new information to Fitzgerald during 11th hour negotiations that "gave Fitzgerald pause" about charging Bush's senior strategist, said a source close to Rove. "The prosecutor has to resolve those issues before he decides what to do." This raised the possibility of a new grand jury getting the case because the term for the current grand jury expires today."
27th October 2005 ~ "Leak-gate" is not another Watergate in the sense that, as far can be seen, neither Mr Bush nor Mr Cheney is directly in the line of fire. But for the administration, the stakes are enormous.
Independent ...The investigation into who leaked the name of CIA operative Valerie Plame to the media has zeroed two of the administrations most powerful officials, Karl Rove, the White House deputy chief of staff, and Lewis "Scooter" Libby, chief of staff to Vice-President Cheney. Two sets of charges are possible: one involving the leak itself, a criminal offence under US law, the other covering perjury or obstruction of justice arising from discrepancies in the grand jury testimony of the two aides...."
20th October 2005 ~" Col. Lawrence Wilkerson, has spoken publicly about the way Vice President Richard Bruce Cheney hijacked US foreign policy and instituted a secret policy-making cabal that cut the State Department out of the deal. ." Juan Cole in devastating form.
Justin Raimondo has developed a source in Washington who has named for him three US citizens who were involved in cooking up the forged documents that alleged recent Iraqi purchases of Niger yellowcake uranium. (In fact, the Iraqis had never had the capacity to do anything serious with yellowcake.)(The Raimondo article says, " Perhaps without knowing it, Wilson – in taking an interest in this subject – was getting too close to the enormous fraud at the center of the War Party's propaganda campaign.....version names Michael Ledeen as the conduit for the report and indicates that former CIA officers Duane Clarridge and Alan Wolf were the principal forgers. All three had business interests with Chalabi.....")
The mystery is still how the forged documents got into the hands of Rocco Martini, a former operative of Italian military intelligence. But after all that wouldn't have been so hard.
Also, a chief of staff to former US Secretary of State Colin Powell, Col. Lawrence Wilkerson, has spoken publicly about the way Vice President Richard Bruce Cheney hijacked US foreign policy and instituted a secret policy-making cabal that cut the State Department out of the deal. The fact of it has long been obvious. It is interesting to have an insider testify to it publicly. But., Col. Wilkerson apparently can now expect his wife to be smeared by Richard Bruce Cheney and Irving Lewis Libby."
19th October 2005 ~ "...now we are told that Fitzgerald not only is pursuing Cheney, but has been for months"
blogs.citypages.com "This only underscores the folly of pretending to know where or on whom Fitzgerald's investigation will land in the end: As recently as two weeks ago, 95 percent-plus of blog and media speculation on the case concerned an endgame that was all about Scooter Libby and Karl Rove. I think it will be exceedingly hard to fit Cheney with a noose. I'm also a little dubious as to what Fitzgerald's got, ultimately, on Karl Rove. But it sure looks like Scooter Libby is as good as indicted...."
15th October 2005 ~ George W. Bush's top political adviser, Karl Rove, testified at length on Friday for a fourth time before a grand jury
Reuters "Rove spent 4 1/2 hours at the federal courthouse and was told by prosecutors they had yet to decide whether he should face charges, Rove's attorney, Robert Luskin, said. Legal sources said that could soon change. Friday's testimony appeared to be Rove's last opportunity to convince grand jurors that he did nothing illegal following the disclosure that he had spoken to two reporters about CIA operative Valerie Plame and her husband, despite earlier White House denials. Prosecutors have told Rove, the most powerful and controversial political strategist in Washington, that they can not guarantee that he would not be indicted. ............. People close to the case said Rove's unusually lengthy grand jury appearance on Friday suggested prosecutors scrutinized his earlier testimony for inconsistencies and confronted him with new information from witnesses. "Being in there that long after testifying three times before can't be viewed as a particularly positive sign," said a legal source in the case. But Zachary Carter, a former U.S. attorney in New York, warned against reading too much into the length of Rove's appearance alone. "We're not talking about a neutral witness. We're talking about someone who is under investigation," he said. ..."
7th October 2005 ~ Karl Rove will testify for a fourth time in the Valerie Plame case - and prosecutors are saying there's no guarantee he won't eventually be charged with leaking the former CIA agent's name to reporters..
In a possible danger sign for Bush's political guru, Special Prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald "indicated no decision had been made whether or not to bring charges against Mr. Rove," said Rove's attorney Robert D. Luskin. "There never has been any guarantee he wouldn't be indicted," added Luskin.....several people directly familiar with the investigation told The Associated Press that Fitzgerald sent a letter to Rove with the warning that prosecutors could no longer guarantee the presidential aide wouldn't be indicted. The prosecutor did not give Rove similar warnings before Rove's three earlier grand jury appearances, according to the report. NYU law professor Stephen Gillers said the notion that Rove isn't facing a serious new threat was "whistling in the dark," adding that "Fitzgerald has upped the ante during his endgame. It's a new warning." Newsday.com
3rd October 2005 ~ "The implication is that Bush and Cheney took part in discussions with Karl Rove, Lewis Libby and other administration spinmeisters" Plame case Informed Comment
" ...... Wilson watched with amazement and outrage as the Bush administration went on relentlessly to hype Iraq's alleged nuclear program as a basis for the Iraq War that they got up. By May of 2003, Wilson had had enough, and he went public with an editorial in the New York Times, in which he told his story.
The whole point of Bushism is to punish dissidence within the ranks immediately and ruthlessly. Wilson, a former State Department official, had to be destroyed for having stepped out of line. ......
... when the awful truth was dawning that there was no WMD in Iraq, Rove, Libby, W. and the big Bruce huddled together with others in the administration to think how to discredit Wilson. They care only about image, not substance. It didn't matter to them that Wilson had been proved right. In their world, you only lose if the public sees the truth. The mere discovery of the truth in some obscure quarter is irrelevant. They had to prevent the public from seeing Wilson's truth.
So they would leak it that Wilson's wife was CIA and moreover had had something to do with having him sent on his mission. Apparently among the peculiar tribes that inhabit the press offices in Washington, this information would be enough to tag Wilson as unreliable..." Read in full
Oct 1 2005 ~ "An investigation into a White House intelligence leak was nearing its conclusion yesterday
after a New York Times reporter, jailed in July for refusing to testify, identified Vice-President Dick Cheney's leading aide as her main source. Judith Miller was released from a prison in Virginia, where she had spent 12 weeks, and appeared in a federal court in Washington yesterday to give her account of a scandal that has been hanging over the administration for two years.
Speaking to journalists after the closed-door hearing, she said she had been permitted to testify by her source. "This was in the form of a personal letter and, most important, a telephone call to me at the jail. I concluded from this that my source genuinely wanted me to testify," she said.
Miller did not name that source in public, but lawyers in the case named Lewis Libby, the vice-president's chief of staff, as the government official she had spoken to in July 2003, about a CIA undercover agent, Valerie Plame. ....." Guardian Read in full
August 7 2005 ~ " .....reminds us of what the real Rove scandal might be here
Southern Illinoisan "....After Rove's lawyer confirmed his leak to Time magazine, McClellan also clammed up, except to come up with endless variations on "no comment" while White House reporters impatiently bombarded him with questions. Perhaps he could use his Nixon's Press Secretary Ron Ziegler's memorable line from a Watergate-era briefing: "This is the operative statement. The old statements are inoperative." And that reminds us of what the real Rove scandal might be here:: This administration's willful pattern of shutting up any dissenting voices like Wilson's and shutting out any disagreeable facts, like the ones he presented to the CIA, in the administration's headstrong run-up to war with Iraq. That's not an indictable offense, as far as I can tell, but it's worth investigating. It's worth looking back at how our country got into Iraq, now that we're trying to find a way out."
August 6 2005 ~ In 1992 Rove was fired from the state campaign to re-elect President George H.W. Bush on suspicions that Rove had leaked damaging information to Novak about Rob Mosbacher
"... In 1992, in an incident well-known in Texas, Rove was fired from the state campaign to re-elect President George H.W. Bush on suspicions that Rove had leaked damaging information to Novak about Rob Mosbacher, the campaign manager and the son of a former commerce secretary. Since then, Rove and Novak have denied that Rove was the source, even as Mosbacher, who no longer talks on the record about the incident, has never changed his original assertion that Rove was the culprit. But the episode, part of the bad-boy lore of Rove, is a telling chapter in the 20-year friendship between the presidential adviser and the columnist. The story of that relationship, a bond of mutual self-interest of a kind that is long familiar in Washington, does not answer the question of who might have leaked the identity of the CIA officer, Valerie Plame, to reporters, potentially a crime..." Houston Chronicle
August 5 2005 ~ "...Another thing that has been totally lost in the media translation of this mess, is that the White House didn't out Plame just to get back at her husband Joseph Wilson.."" - they were really going after the CIA more generally, as the Agency was countering some of the rhetoric coming out of the Bush PR machine - i.e. Rove and Scooter Libby - about Saddam's potential WMD... threats...." Counterbias
July 21 2005 ~ From Informed Comment ~ "....a tribute of sorts to Rove the master of spin and propaganda."
" Walter Pincus and Jim VandeHei have dug around and discovered that the State Department memo mentioning Valerie Plame (Wilson) as a CIA operative is itself stamped "Secret" and makes it clear she is undercover and that the cover should not be blown.
The memo was on Air Force One during a trip to Africa and may be the way that Karl Rove and Scooter Libby found out about Plame. That it says "Secret" on it singlehandedly gets rid of all kinds of false assertions of the Republican noise machine, that Plame's identity as an undercover operative was widely known, etc.
Rove and Libby later outed Plame to the press, hoping to discredit Wilson by doing so.
On the other hand, that Pincus and VandeHei have to go to so much trouble to prove that the identity of a CIA operative working on Weapons of Mass Destruction was secret and shouldn't have been blown by Rove is a tribute of sorts to Rove the master of spin and propaganda." juancole.com posted by Juan @ 7/21/2005 06:31:00 AM
July 19 ~ he seemed to subtly alter the standard for ousting the friend and longtime adviser who masterminded his two winning presidential campaigns.
Boston.com "..''If there is a leak out of my administration, I want to know who it is. And if that person has violated the law, the person will be taken care of," Bush said at a campaign stop in Chicago in October 2003. McClellan, speaking to reporters just before the campaign appearance, said, ''If anyone in this administration was involved in it, they would no longer be in this administration."
Bush, asked directly in June 2004 if he would dismiss someone who leaked the agent's name, responded: ''Yes." But yesterday, as the drama over Rove's possible involvement escalated, he seemed to subtly alter the standard for ousting the friend and longtime adviser who masterminded his two winning presidential campaigns...."
July 17 2005 ~ Did Rove say that she worked at the 'agency' on 'WMD'? Yes."
"Writing in the current issue of Time after testifying in court last week, Cooper said: "So did Rove leak Plame's name to me, or tell me she was covert? No. "Was it through my conversation with Rove that I learned for the first time that Wilson's wife worked at the CIA and may have been responsible for sending him? Yes. Did Rove say that she worked at the 'agency' on 'WMD'? Yes." ..." BBC
July 14-15 2005 ~ Valerie Plame: The Washington Post editorial casts doubt on the honesty of both sides
- not to mention the real facts behind the Niger claim. "......Whether Mr. Rove or others behaved in a way that amounted to criminal, malicious or even merely sleazy behavior will turn on what they knew about Ms. Plame's employment. Were they aware she was a covert agent? Did they recklessly fail to consider that before revealing her involvement? How they learned about Ms. Plame also will matter: Did the information come from government sources or outside parties?
It may be that Mr. Rove, or someone else, will turn out to be guilty of deliberately leaking Ms. Plame's identity, knowing that it would blow her cover. Or officials may have conspired to cover up a leak or lied about it under oath. For now, however, it remains to be established that such misconduct occurred...."
July 14-15 2005 ~ "smear campaign launched from the West Wing of the White House"?
Valerie Plame/Karl Rove case - "A few paces off the Senate floor, Plame's husband, a former diplomat, criticized Bush's deputy chief of staff and chief political strategist in personal terms. ``I made my bones confronting Saddam Hussein. ... Karl Rove made his bones by dirty political tricks,'' said Joseph Wilson, who served as U.S. ambassador to Iraq during the first Persian Gulf War. At the news conference hosted by Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., Wilson said he has been targeted by a ``smear campaign launched from the West Wing of the White House.'' Guardian
July 12 2005 ~ the White House refused on Monday to answer any questions
"Nearly two years after stating that any administration official found to have been involved in leaking the name of an undercover C.I.A. officer would be fired, and assuring that Karl Rove and other senior aides to President Bush had nothing to do with the disclosure, the White House refused on Monday to answer any questions about new evidence of Mr. Rove's role in the matter. With the White House silent, Democrats rushed in, demanding that the administration provide a full account of any involvement by Mr. Rove....the recent disclosure of evidence... Mr. Rove had, without naming Ms. Plame, told a Time reporter about the same time that Mr. Wilson's wife "works at the agency," ......"New York Times
Arthur Sulzberger Jr., publisher of The New York Times, spoke for an entire industry in courageous fashion. "We are deeply disappointed by Time Inc.'s decision to deliver the subpoenaed records. We faced similar pressure in 1978 when our reporter Myron Farber and the Times Co. were held in contempt of court for refusing to provide the names of confidential sources. Mr. Farber served 40 days in jail, and we were forced to pay significant fines. Our focus is now on our own reporter, Judith Miller, and in supporting her during this difficult time." see below
"some senior administration officials who spoke to Matt Cooper and Judy Miller today cravenly stand by while the two journalists face jail time because of a conversation they had with them. It is an act of extraordinary cowardice that those officials not step forward to accept responsibility for their actions." Ambassador Joseph Wilson, husband of former CIA operative Valerie Plame http://www.editorandpublisher.com June 28 2005
"It's frankly frightening that just for doing my job and talking to government employees about public issues, I may be deprived of my freedom and family," Judith Miller
"... Ironically, Miller is being persecuted for a story she never wrote, and Cooper's piece appeared only after columnist Robert Novak identified Plame as a CIA operative. Her name may have been leaked in revenge after Plame's husband had criticized President Bush for matters involving Iraq. .." see below
"William Safire wrote in The New York Times this week that Novak, known for writing opinion columns favorable to the Bush administration, owed fellow journalists an explanation for how his sources "managed to get the prosecutor off his back." A hearing is set for July 6 to decide sentences against Miller, Cooper and Time..." see belowLatest News - July 1 2005Time's surrender disappoints http://www.denverpost.com/opinion/ci_2833935
Time Inc. abandoned its protection of a confidential source yesterday with its capitulation to an overbearing federal prosecutor. The company agreed to hand over documents to a grand jury probing how CIA agent Valerie Plame's identity was leaked to the media.
Time magazine reporter Matthew Cooper was facing jail time after refusing to divulge his source, and the magazine lost an appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court. Time Inc. was facing a hefty penalty, and top editor Norm Pearlstine cited the high court's ruling to justify the betrayal of a long-standing principle of American journalism.
Cooper and New York Times reporter Judith Miller were ordered Wednesday to comply with the court ruling by U.S. District Thomas F. Hogan in Washington. Miller and The Times remain steadfast; they fly the banner of public service in their decision to defy the prosecutor who has so zealously sought to imprison reporters, though that is far removed from the purpose of his investigation.
Ironically, Miller is being persecuted for a story she never wrote, and Cooper's piece appeared only after columnist Robert Novak identified Plame as a CIA operative. Her name may have been leaked in revenge after Plame's husband had criticized President Bush for matters involving Iraq.
Novak has not been threatened with jail time, and the speculation is that he answered questions voluntarily. He has said he will write on the matter once it clears the courts. Indeed, it is beyond high time that he do so. Among other things, the motives of his source are of public interest.
Explaining the Time Inc. decision, Pearlstine told The Associated Press, "The court concluded that a citizen's duty to testify before a grand jury takes precedence over the First Amendment. I do not agree with that, but I have to follow the laws like every other citizen." In fact, too many journalists have made the opposite decision in order to protect the identity of a source. They do so for good reason. Sources privy to government conduct or misconduct might be reluctant to talk if reporters were at the beck and call of government prosecutors.
Arthur Sulzberger Jr., publisher of The New York Times, spoke for an entire industry in courageous fashion. "We are deeply disappointed by Time Inc.'s decision to deliver the subpoenaed records. We faced similar pressure in 1978 when our reporter Myron Farber and the Times Co. were held in contempt of court for refusing to provide the names of confidential sources. Mr. Farber served 40 days in jail, and we were forced to pay significant fines. Our focus is now on our own reporter, Judith Miller, and in supporting her during this difficult time."
This case underscores why a federal reporters' shield introduced in the Senate needs to become law. Thirty-four states, including Colorado, already have such laws.
On Wednesday, outside court, Cooper told reporters that he hoped the magazine wouldn't turn over the requested documents. It was his word that was at stake. Shame on Time Inc.
Time to disclose sources in U.S. press freedom case
By Claudia ParsonsThu Jun 30, 1:50 PM ET
Faced with jail for one of its reporters, Time magazine agreed on Thursday to hand over his notebooks to a grand jury probing the leak of a covert CIA operative's name, in a move that raises questions about press freedom in America.
The decision came just a day after a judge gave Matthew Cooper of Time and Judith Miller of The New York Times a week before sentencing them for refusing to reveal their sources to the grand jury.
The move, which the New York Times said in a report appeared to be "without precedent in living memory," appeared to be over Cooper's objections.
Cooper was not available for comment but on Wednesday his lawyer said he was prepared to accept jail and would not testify. Cooper also said then he would rather Time did not hand over the papers, but conceded that "a corporation is different than a citizen (and) has different obligations."
The case is an important test of reporters' refusal to identify confidential sources when asked by a court -- something seen as inherent in the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution that guarantees freedom of the press.
New York Times Publisher Arthur Sulzberger Jr. said the newspaper was "deeply disappointed by Time Inc.'s decision" and he would support Miller. She was not available for comment but has repeatedly vowed to go to prison rather than testify.
The newspaper itself is not facing contempt charges apparently because it does not have any of the relevant documents but Time had faced a fine of $1,000 a day.
The Supreme Court on Monday let stand a ruling that the two should be held in contempt of court. An appeals court had ruled they should be jailed for refusing to testify in the probe of who leaked the name of CIA operative Valerie Plame in 2003 to journalist Robert Novak, who identified her in a syndicated column. Plame's husband had criticized the Bush administration during the Iraq war.
"The Supreme Court has limited press freedom in ways that will have a chilling effect on our work and that may damage the free flow of information that is so necessary in a democratic society," Time Editor in Chief Norman Pearlstine said.
But he said Time had decided to hand over the documents because the Constitution also "requires obedience to final decisions of the courts and respect for their rulings."
Pearlstine rejected a suggestion by the Wall Street Journal that the decision was influenced by a clash between journalistic standards and the financial concerns of parent company Time Warner Inc.
"The suggestion that there was any corporate influence is ridiculous," Pearlstine said in an interview with Reuters, adding that he had complete editorial independence and had made his decision on the grounds that journalists are no more above the law than anybody else.
"Once the Supreme Court had spoken ... we had no choice but to adhere to the law," he said. Pearlstine said he believed the decision would remove the need for Cooper to testify "and certainly removes any justification for incarceration."
Plame's husband, Joseph Wilson, a career diplomat engaged by the Bush administration to investigate whether Iraq had sought nuclear weapons, accused the White House of being responsible for the leak. He said officials did so because Wilson had publicly disputed a claim by President Bush about Iraq's attempts to secure such weapons.
Interviewed by CNN this week, Novak declined to say whether he had cooperated with investigators in the case.
William Safire wrote in The New York Times this week that Novak, known for writing opinion columns favorable to the Bush administration, owed fellow journalists an explanation for how his sources "managed to get the prosecutor off his back."
A hearing is set for July 6 to decide sentences against Miller, Cooper and Time.
(Additional reporting by Carol Vaporean)
White House braced for latest assault by hardback
Mr Wilson and his wife, Valerie Plame, are a glamorous fixture in the more liberal
circles of Washington and he has been held up as someone who dared expose ...
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... Lawrence Franklin espionage scandal in the Pentagon) could tie to an ongoing
Justice Department criminal investigation into the outing of Valerie Plame" ...
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Warmwell - other news
White House/Joseph Wilson/Valerie Plame Affair ... Wilson's wife, CIA agent
Valerie Plame, was "outed" by administration officials in retribution for ...
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The controversy centers on the disclosure that Valerie Plame, the wife of Joseph
Wilson, a former US ambassador to Gabon, was an undercover CIA operative ...
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Aug 30 2004 ~ Murkier and murkier... The linking of the Pentagon spy case with the outing of Valerie Plame and the forged documents on Niger and uranium about which the UK government has never changed its stance See Iraq page
Reaction/response to Plame "leak"
Immediate Internet reaction
David Corn had predicted that the investigation would die in the CIA -- that George J. Tenet would protect the Bush White House through his purported loyalty to it. Anonymous political weblog Just One Minute (JOM) writes: "Evidently not. One guess - Mr. Tenet, pondering Bush's declining poll numbers and faced with in-house annoyance, decided to do the right thing. One presumes that, with Congress back in town, Mr. Tenet checked with his supporters on both sides of the aisle before proceeding." Both Mark Kleiman and Josh Marshall have made recent comments on the matter, according to JOM.
September 30, 2003
- 30 September 2003: "White House Counsel's Memo on Leak Probe", New York Times: "Text of an e-mail to White House staff Tuesday from counsel Alberto R. Gonzales about the Justice Department's investigation about the leak of a CIA officer's identity."
- 30 September 2003: "Remarks by President Bush to the Travel Pool After Meeting with Business People" in Chicago, IL:
- "I know of nobody -- I don't know of anybody in my administration who leaked classified information. If somebody did leak classified information, I'd like to know it, and we'll take the appropriate action. And this investigation is a good thing.
- "And again I repeat, you know, Washington is a town where there's all kinds of allegations. You've heard much of the allegations. And if people have got solid information, please come forward with it. And that would be people inside the information who are the so-called anonymous sources, or people outside the information -- outside the administration. And we can clarify this thing very quickly if people who have got solid evidence would come forward and speak out. And I would hope they would.
- "And then we'll get to the bottom of this and move on. But I want to tell you something -- leaks of classified information are a bad thing. And we've had them -- there's too much leaking in Washington. That's just the way it is. And we've had leaks out of the administrative branch, had leaks out of the legislative branch, and out of the executive branch and the legislative branch, and I've spoken out consistently against them and I want to know who the leakers are."
- 30 September 2003: "Heads-Up-Gate" by Wyethwire bloggers: "The first rule of scandal is that the cover-up is worse than the crime. With that in mind, we ought to be looking to see if any effort was made to prevent the CIA from requesting a Justice Department investigation. And we ought to find out who warned the White House Counsel that something was up, so that Alberto Gonzalez could warn the White House staff in his now famous e-mail."
- 1 October 2003: "The CIA leak" by Robert Novak, Townhall.com.
- 1 October 2003: "Probe targets White House. Bush ordered his staff to cooperate as the Justice Dept. announced a full-scale inquiry into the CIA leak. Justice left open the possibility of a special counsel by Ron Hutcheson and Shannon McCaffrey, Philadelphia Inquirer: "The developments raised the prospect of a full-blown White House scandal while Bush is sinking in job-approval polls, struggling to win international help in Iraq, and grappling with Congress over his request for $87 billion more in war-related spending."
- 1 October 2003: "Iraq puts Cheney in harsh spotlight. Role: His broad influence on White House policy makes the low-profile vice president a high-profile target for Democrats" by Susan Baer, SunSpot.net: "CIA Director George J. Tenet says Dick Cheney was not briefed on Wilson's conclusions. Nor has Cheney been tied to accusations that the White House punished Wilson for his role in forcing the retraction by blowing his wife's cover as a CIA operative."
- 1 October 2003: "Leak inquiry is a chink in Bush's moral armor" by Warren P. Strobel, Philadelphia Inquirer: "...revelation of a Justice Department criminal investigation into whether administration officials - believed to be at the White House - leaked the name of a CIA officer to get at a Bush opponent."
- 2 October 2003: "Investigating Leaks," Op-Ed New York Times: "Attorney General John Ashcroft has put himself and the president in a very dangerous position with his handling of the Justice Department's investigation into how Robert Novak got the name of a C.I.A. operative for publication in his syndicated column. After career lawyers conducted a preliminary investigation into the leaking of the officer's name, Mr. Ashcroft chose to proceed with a full investigation within the Justice Department. He did so despite department guidelines that would have permitted him to appoint an outsider, who would serve at Mr. Ashcroft's discretion but could make independent decisions. Instead, Mr. Ashcroft has decided to leave the investigation under the authority of the department's counterespionage office. That office employs career lawyers who routinely investigate this sort of leak and have the security clearances to do so with dispatch."
- 2 October 2003: "Attorney General Is Closely Linked to Inquiry Figures" by Elisabeth Bumiller and Eric Lichtblau, New York Times: "Deep political ties between top White House aides and Attorney General John Ashcroft have put him into a delicate position as the Justice Department begins a full investigation into whether administration officials illegally disclosed the name of an undercover C.I.A. officer." Names of inquiry figures associated with Ashcroft are: Karl Rove and Jack Oliver.
- 2 October 2003: "FBI Narrowing List of CIA Leak Suspects" by Curt Anderson, AP.
- 2 October 2003: "FBI Creates Team to Investigate CIA Leaks", AP: "Overseeing the investigation is John Dion, a 30-year career prosecutor who has headed the counterespionage section at the Justice Department since 2002."
- 2 October 2003: "Outside Probe of Leaks Is Favored" by Dana Milbank and Mike Allen, Washington Post: "Confronted with little public support for the White House view that the investigation should be handled by the Justice Department, Bush aides began yesterday to adjust their response to the expanding probe. They reined in earlier, broad portrayals of innocence in favor of more technical arguments that it is possible the disclosure was made without knowledge that a covert operative was being exposed and therefore might not have been a crime.... At the same time, administration allies outside the White House stepped up a counteroffensive that seeks to discredit the administration's main accuser, former ambassador Joseph C. Wilson IV, whose wife was named as a CIA operative. Republican National Committee Chairman Ed Gillespie gave a string of television interviews with the three-part message that the Justice Department is investigating, that the White House is fully cooperating and that Wilson has a political agenda and has made 'rash statements'."
- 3 October 2003: "More vicious than Tricky Dick" by John Dean: "I thought I had seen political dirty tricks as foul as they could get, but I was wrong. In blowing the cover of CIA agent Valerie Plame to take political revenge on her husband, Ambassador Joseph Wilson, for telling the truth, Bush's people have out-Nixoned Nixon's people. And my former colleagues were not amateurs by any means."
- "Regardless of whether or not a special prosecutor is selected, I believe that Ambassador Wilson and his wife -- like the DNC official once did -- should file a civil lawsuit, both to address the harm inflicted on them, and, equally important, to obtain the necessary tools (subpoena power and sworn testimony) to get to the bottom of this matter. This will not only enable them to make sure they don't merely become yesterday's news; it will give them some control over the situation."
- 4 June 2004: "The Serious Implications Of President Bush's Hiring A Personal Outside Counsel For The Valerie Plame Investigation" by John Dean.
- JustOneMinute Timeline.
- Valerie Plame - SourceWatch article
- White House Counsel Questioned in CIA Leak
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