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Registered: 01/14/03
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CIA seeks probe of White House
    #1956590 - 09/27/03 06:06 AM (14 years, 6 months ago)



CIA seeks probe of White House


The CIA has asked the Justice Department to investigate allegations that the White House broke federal laws by revealing the identity of one of its undercover employees in retaliation against the woman's husband, a former ambassador who publicly criticized President Bush's since-discredited claim that Iraq had sought weapons-grade uranium from Africa, NBC News has learned.
THE FORMER ENVOY, Joseph Wilson, who was acting ambassador to Iraq before the first Gulf War, was dispatched to Niger in 2002 to investigate a British intelligence report that Iraq sought to buy uranium there. Although Wilson discredited the report, Bush cited it in his State of the Union address in January among the evidence he said justified military action in Iraq.

The administration has since had to repudiate the claim. CIA Director George Tenet said the 16-word sentence should not have been included in Bush's Jan. 28 speech and publicly accepted responsibility for allowing it to remain in the president's text.

Wilson published an article in July alleging, however, that the White House recklessly made the charge knowing it was false.

"We spend billions of dollars on intelligence," Wilson wrote. "But we end up putting something in the State of the Union address, something we got from another intelligence agency, something we cannot independently verify, in an area of Africa where the British have no on-the-ground presence."

The next week, columnist Robert Novak published an article in which he revealed that Wilson's wife, Valerie Plame, was a covert CIA operative specializing in weapons of mass destruction. "Two senior administration officials told me Wilson's wife suggested sending him to Niger to investigate," Novak wrote.

The White House has denied being Novak's source, whom he has refused to identify. But Wilson has said other reporters have told him White House officials leaked Plame's identity.

NBC News' Andrea Mitchell reported Friday night that the CIA has asked the Justice Department to investigate whether White House officials blew Plame's cover in retaliation against Wilson. Revealing the identities of covert officials is a violation of two laws, the National Agents' Identity Act and the Unauthorized Release of Classified Information Act.

When the Niger claim first arose, in February 2002, the CIA sent Wilson to Africa to investigate. He reported finding no credible evidence that Iraq was seeking uranium from Niger.

The CIA's doubts about the uranium claim were reported through routine intelligence traffic throughout the government, U.S. intelligence officials said. Those doubts were also reported to the British.

The Niger report included a notation that it was unconfirmed when it was published in the October 2002 National Intelligence Estimate, the classified summary of intelligence on Iraq's weapons programs.

The CIA had the Niger claim removed from at least two speeches before they were given: Bush's October address on the Iraqi threat, and a speech by U.N. Ambassador John Negroponte.

As the State of the Union address was being written, CIA officials protested over how the alleged uranium connection was being portrayed, so the administration changed it to attribute it to the British, who had made the assertion in a Sept. 24 dossier.

By MSNBC.com's Alex Johnson with NBC's Andrea Mitchell.

Edit: Here's a more detailed analysis from FindLaw.com that breaks down what laws were broken if these claims turn out to be true. Here's an excerpt:


Leaking the Name of a CIA Agent Is a Crime

On July 22, Ambassador Wilson appeared on the Today show. Katie Couric asked him about his wife: "How damaging would this be to your wife's work?"

Wilson - who, not surprisingly, has refused to confirm or deny that his wife was a CIA operative - answered Katie "hypothetically." He explained, "it would be damaging not just to her career, since she's been married to me, but since they mentioned her by her maiden name, to her entire career. So it would be her entire network that she may have established, any operations, any programs or projects she was working on. It's a--it's a breach of national security. My understanding is it may, in fact, be a violation of American law."

And, indeed, it is.

The Espionage Act of 1917 and the Intelligence Identities and Protection Act of 1982 may both apply. Given the scant facts, it is difficult to know which might be more applicable. But as Senator Schumer (D.NY) said, in calling for an FBI investigation, if the reported facts are true, there has been a crime. The only question is: Whodunit?

# The Espionage Act of 1917

The Reagan Administration effectively used the Espionage Act of 1917 to prosecute a leak - to the horror of the news media. It was a case that was instituted to make a point, and establish the law, and it did just that in spades.

In July 1984, Samuel Morrison - the grandson of the eminent naval historian with the same name - leaked three classified photos to Jane's Defense Weekly. The photos were of the Soviet Union's first nuclear-powered aircraft carrier, which had been taken by a U.S. spy satellite.

Although the photos compromised no national security secrets, and were not given to enemy agents, the Reagan Administration prosecuted the leak. That raised the question: Must the leaker have an evil purpose to be prosecuted?

The Administration argued that the answer was no. As with Britain's Official Secrets Acts, the leak of classified material alone was enough to trigger imprisonment for up to ten years and fines. And the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit agreed. It held that the such a leak might be prompted by "the most laudable motives, or any motive at all," and it would still be a crime. As a result, Morrison went to jail.

The Espionage Act, though thrice amended since then, continues to criminalize leaks of classified information, regardless of the reason for the leak. Accordingly, the "two senior administration officials" who leaked the classified information of Mrs. Wilson's work at the CIA to Robert Novak (and, it seems, others) have committed a federal crime.

# The Intelligence Identities and Protection Act

Another applicable criminal statute is the Intelligence Identities Act, enacted in 1982. The law has been employed in the past. For instance, a low-level CIA clerk was convicted for sharing the identify of CIA employees with her boyfriend, when she was stationed in Ghana. She pled guilty and received a two-year jail sentence. (Other have also been charged with violations, but have pleaded to unrelated counts of the indictment.)

The Act reaches outsiders who engage in "a pattern of activities" intended to reveal the identities of covert operatives (assuming such identities are not public information, which is virtually always the case).

But so far, there is no evidence that any journalist has engaged in such a pattern. Accepting Administration leaks - even repeatedly - should not count as a violation, for First Amendment reasons.

The Act primarily reaches insiders with classified intelligence, those privy to the identity of covert agents. It addresses two kinds of insiders.

First, there are those with direct access to the classified information about the "covert agents." who leak it. These insiders - including persons in the CIA - may serve up to ten years in jail for leaking this information.

Second, there are those who are authorized to have classified information and learn it, and then leak it. These insiders - including persons in, say, the White House or Defense Department - can be sentenced to up to five years in jail for such leaks.

The statute also has additional requirements before the leak of the identity of a "covert agent" is deemed criminal. But it appears they are all satisfied here.

First, the leak must be to a person "not authorized to receive classified information." Any journalist - including Novak and Time - plainly fits.

Second, the insider must know that the information being disclosed identifies a "covert agent." In this case, that's obvious, since Novak was told this fact.

Third, the insider must know that the U.S. government is "taking affirmative measures to conceal such covert agent's intelligence relationship to the United States." For persons with Top Secret security clearances, that's a no-brainer: They have been briefed, and have signed pledges of secrecy, and it is widely known by senior officials that the CIA goes to great effort to keep the names of its agents secret.

A final requirement relates to the "covert agent" herself. She must either be serving outside the United States, or have served outside the United States in the last five years. It seems very likely that Mrs. Wilson fulfills the latter condition - but the specific facts on this point have not yet been reported.

The above is an extract from my fictional novel, "The random postings of Edame".

In the beginning was the word. And man could not handle the word, and the hearing of the word, and he asked God to take away his ears so that he might live in peace without having to hear words which might upset his equinamity or corrupt the unblemished purity of his conscience.

And God, hearing this desperate plea from His creation, wrinkled His mighty brow for a moment and then leaned down toward man, beckoning that he should come close so as to hear all that was about to be revealed to him.

"Fuck you," He whispered, and frowned upon the pathetic supplicant before retreating to His heavens.

Edited by Edame (09/27/03 06:27 AM)

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Re: CIA seeks probe of White House [Re: Edame]
    #1956880 - 09/27/03 12:04 PM (14 years, 6 months ago)



Mp3 of the month: Brain Train - Me

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Re: CIA seeks probe of White House [Re: Edame]
    #1957424 - 09/27/03 04:34 PM (14 years, 6 months ago)

truly reprehensible.

these are the types of people in the bush
administration...malevolent snitches.

All I know is The Growery is a place where losers who get banned here go.

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Re: CIA seeks probe of White House [Re: Edame]
    #1958296 - 09/27/03 10:50 PM (14 years, 6 months ago)

I've read rumours that it was Karl Rove who leaked Wilson's wife name. If its true, and Rove has to quit, I don't think Bush will be able to survive without him.

Even if it wasn't Rove, this is truly a despicable crime, and whomever leaked it should be punished to the full extent of the law.

"In the United States anybody can be president. Thats the problem."

"The gray-haired douche bag, Barbara Bush, has a slogan: "Encourage your child to read every day." What she should be is encouraging children to question what they read every day."

- George Carlin

Edited by SquattingMarmot (09/27/03 10:54 PM)

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Re: CIA seeks probe of White House [Re: SquattingMarmot]
    #1958457 - 09/28/03 12:16 AM (14 years, 6 months ago)

Couldn't agree more. The (vicious, underhanded) leak of Agent Wilson and his wife's identity not only put their careers in jeapordy, but put the lives of countless American and foreign operatives with whom they've had contact with in the past in peril. I would not find it difficult to imagine that this had Karl Rove's signature on it, and I believe that he should be charged with treason for it.

It still truly boggles my mind to see the arrogance of Rove, Bush, et. al. who seemingly believe that the rules simply don't apply to them.

There is no flag large enough to cover the shame of killing innocent people.
  --  Howard Zinn

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Re: CIA seeks probe of White House [Re: Edame]
    #1958467 - 09/28/03 12:20 AM (14 years, 6 months ago)



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