Thursday, March 08, 2007

L'Affair Plame - It Doesn't End with Libby

OK folks, the MSM (mainstream media) is in full Libby obfuscation mode - trying to color him as a loyal victim deserving of a pardon. Meanwhile the media is totally avoiding what we have learned from this case, namely that there was indeed a concerted deliberate centrally organized administration effort to expose a covert CIA agent to the press as an act of political vengeance, a conspiracy that included Cheney, Libby, Rove, David Addington, Richard L. Armitage, and George W. Bush.

There is something else that was revealed by the testimony in the case that hasn't been analyzed by the MSM - the timeline proves that the outing was NOT just in retaliation for Joseph Wilson's July 6, 2003, op-ed column, “What I Didn’t Find in Africa.” - the plot to expose Valerie Plame Wilson began well BEFORE Ambassador Wilson's article was published.

  • May 29, 2003 – Libby calls Marc Grossman, then an Under Secretary in the State Department, asking how and why Joe Wilson was sent to Niger about uranium.

  • “late May and early June, 2003” according to Grossman’s testimony --- Grossman gives oral interim reports to Libby that Wilson was the ambassador who went to Niger (mentioned but not named in a May 6 NYTimes piece by Nicholas Kristof, “Missing in Action: Truth”).

  • June 9, 2003, according to Grossman’s testimony – Grossman had a conversation with Wilson, who was “upset” about Condoleezza Rice’s claim the day before on Meet the Press that the White House was unaware of doubts about the Niger uranium story. (In his book, Wilson says this conversation “elicited the suggestion that I might have to write the story myself”; he got in touch with the NYTimes the same day. p.332.)

  • June 9, 2003classified documents from CIA are faxed to the Office of the Vice President to Libby and colleague John Hannah, mentioning the Wilson trip but not naming Wilson.

  • June 10, 2003 – a classified State Department memo written by State’s Bureau of Intelligence & Research (INR) gives Grossman the background on Wilson’s Niger trip, refers explicitly to Valerie Wilson as Wilson’s wife and “a CIA WMD manager.” The memo also strongly debunks the Niger uranium story.

  • June 11, 2003 – Robert L. Grenier, then “Iraq mission manager” and “point person for Iraq,” receives a phone call from Libby, then is summoned from a meeting with the CIA Director to talk with Libby about Wilson; tells Libby Wilson’s wife is in CIA. (Grenier is no longer with the CIA.)

  • June 11/12, 2003 – Marc Grossman has a “30-second discussion” about Mrs. Wilson with Libby, according to Grossman’s testimony.

  • June 12, 2003 – Libby is informed by Cheney in a phone call that Wilson’s wife is in CIA (handwritten note: “CP: his wife works in that div”).

  • June 12, 2003 – David Addington, Cheney’s government lawyer, receives the same notes from Libby’s office mentioning Wilson’s wife in CP (typed copy).

  • June 13, 2003 – Richard L. Armitage tells Bob Woodward, on tape, that Mrs. Wilson works for CIA, suggests that Mrs. Wilson sent Wilson on the Niger trip.

  • June 14, 2003 – CIA daily briefer Craig Schmall briefing of Libby at Libby’s home notes question about Wilson (“ex-amb”) and the Niger trip, notes Wilson and Valerie Wilson by name.

  • June 23, 2003 – Libby has a discussion with Judith Miller, mentions Wilson’s wife at “bureau” (CIA). (Miller had returned to the U.S. on June 8.)
  • July 6, 2003Joseph Wilson’s op-ed criticizing the Niger story finally appears in the NYTimes. (Brad Blog)

So why was the Cabal determined to punish Ambassador Wilson and burn Valerie Plame Wilson even before Joe Wilson wrote his op-ed? Some suspect it was a pre-emptive strike. But it still begs the question - why burn Plame? Finding out that an ex-Ambassador's wife is a top American spy doesn't exactly discredit him, heck, it bolsters his credibility.

Why Discredit Ambassador Wilson?

The official line in the Administration is that Ambassador Wilson had lied when he claimed the Vice President had sent him on his fact finding mission to Niger. Except that Wilson did not make that claim - he correctly stated that the Vice President's office had made an inquiry to the CIA, and that it was the CIA which then sent him to Africa. But that is such a minor detail that it is hardly worth wasting an official statement on, much less orchestrating career ending media leaks in retaliation. We should also note that Wilson was not the first to assert that the Niger yellowcake claim was bogus - that had been well known inside and outside the administration, and had been reported upon in media by Seymour Hersh and others. Wilson's voice was just another confirmation.

Why ignite a firestorm around discrediting Wilson? One of the basic tools in Karl Rove's tool chest is to bury an inconvenient story by creating a controversy on the periphery of the story - that controversy will focus all attention to itself, leaving the underlying inconvenient truth unexamined. We saw that tactic brilliantly played out in the Dan Rather epsiode where forged documents were created that revealed the truth about George W. Bush being AWOL during his National Guard service. The forgery and Dan Rather became the sole focus of all media attention, ignoring the truth of the AWOL allegations - even though they had been independently confirmed by other news sources (US News and World Report, and The Boston Globe) using only US Government documents.

The attack on Wilson served to draw attention away from the forged Niger yellowcake document. That it was a forgery became a given, all reporting examinined the storm around Ambassador Wilson. Media attention was drawn away from the forgery itself - and its source. That is the essential element; no one should examine how and when the poorly forged document came into being.

We can trace this story back to January 1, 2001, when Niger's Rome embassy was broken into, but only inconsequential items were stolen, among them a wristwatch, perfume, worthless documents, embassy stationery, and some official stamps bearing the seal of the Republic of Niger. That break-in has been linked to former Italian intelligence operative Rocco Martino, who had close ties to Karl Rove's national security advisor Michael Ledeen and has been alleged to have been working for him.
Ledeen was an early point man in the Adminsitration's efforts to 'fix the facts' in favor of an Iraq war even before Bush took office. According to Italian sources the items Martino stole were used in making the forged Niger document.

In October 2001 Italian Prime Minister Silvio Burlusconi presented the forged document to George W. Bush - but the State Department and CIA immediately identified it as a fake. Not to worry, Ledeen had a plan to make it useful - he convened a December 2001 meeting in Rome between his Italian connections and top Administration 'fact fixers':
This is where the plot thickens, though. A team of investigative reporters in Italy, working for the respected newspaper La Repubblica, learned that a group of people, allegedly including Michael Ledeen, Defense Department Undersecretary for Policy Douglas Feith, Defense Intelligence Agency Middle East analyst Larry Franklin, Pentagon Office of Special Plans member Harold Rhode and convicted bank swindler and Iraqi National Congress leader Ahmed Chalabi, met secretly in Rome. Also present, reportedly, were Pollari and the head of the Italian Department of Defense. The La Repubblica reporters, led by investigative reporter Carlo Bonini, claim that it was at this unusual meeting that a plan was hatched to recycle and launder the bogus and discredited Niger documents through British intelligence, so that they would come back to the White House as "new evidence" of Hussein's nuclear ambitions.
Dave Lindorff

Clearly the Administration could not stand up to exposure of its role in manufacturing false evidence. By making Ambassador Wilson the center of the story attention was diverted from the White House's complicity in the creation and dissemination of the forgery. They were then able to stick to their story of being duped by the forgery, and of using it later by mistake - without confronting inconvenient evidence of their complicity in creating it.

Why Burn Plame?

Valerie Plame ran an extensive CIA cover operation out of the Boston brass plate firm Brewster Jennings and Associates. Brewster Jennings' cover was as an energy consulting firm, its role was to investigate, infiltrate, and compromise the trade in Weapons of Mass Destruction (CIA Counter-Proliferation Division).

Brewster Jennings was a NOC operation - Non Official Cover - that means that the CIA employees working for Brewster did not have diplomatic cover, and if exposed would have no protection. These are your basic "mission impossible" rules where "if you are captured, you will be disavowed". In other words - dead meat.

By burning Plame, the White House also burned Brewster Jennings & Associates, and exposed all its overseas operatives, their contacts, and families to arrest and retaliation by foreign powers, mafias and terrorist networks. Unofficial reports are that the fallout in lives was extensive - including the assassination of at least one CIA agent, and that prosecutor Fitzgerald may have received a detailed damage assessment account of Brewster Jennings exposure from the CIA, but was not permitted to use it or place it into evidence.

Why in the world would the White House deliberately destroy a premiere counter-proliferation operation?

Perhaps because the CIA operation had foiled a White House plot to salt Iraq with WMD's just prior to the war, so that they could be found by our troops.

November 11, 2005 -- New aspect of Valerie Plame/Brewster Jennings exposure revealed. According to U.S. intelligence sources, the White House exposure of Valerie Plame and her Brewster Jennings & Associates was intended to retaliate against the CIA's work in limiting the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction.

WMR has reported in the past on this aspect of the scandal. In addition to identifying the involvement of individuals in the White House who were close to key players in nuclear proliferation, the CIA Counter-Proliferation Division prevented the shipment of binary VX nerve gas from Turkey into Iraq in November 2002.

The Brewster Jennings network in Turkey was able to intercept this shipment which was intended to be hidden in Iraq and later used as evidence that Saddam Hussein was in possession of weapons of mass destruction.

U.S. intelligence sources revealed that this was a major reason the Bush White House targeted Plame and her network.

CIA counter-proliferation network prevented a WMD "salting" operation by Bush White House in Iraq.

In fact, U.S. intelligence sources report that the first shipment of VX nerve gas to Saddam Hussein was carried out between 1988 and 1989. The gas was shipped to Iraq by a U.S. company that was established in 1987 -- The Carlyle Group. Washington Post Blog
So ...

Who thinks the Plame story is all over now?

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