Monday, June 04, 2007

Was Plame Covert?

There's a lot of flim-flammery goin' on about whether or not Ms. Plame was "covert" when Bob Novak revealed her name and getting her lying sack-of-crap husband a nice little cash-paying assignment in Africa. Jay Bullock attacks P-Mac for whatever reason (it's Jay's nature, not malice...) but has far less ground to stand on than he needs.

This post helps, a bit--but as you note, the CIA and Mr. Fitzgerald are less than forthcoming.

Left unanswered is the question of when Plame has her last overseas assignment; if it was before July 1998, then by July 2003, when her identity was revealed, she would no longer have been a "covert agent" for the purposes of the Intelligence Identities Protection Act.

(Quoting James Taranto)

So by law we should have guessed that Ms. Plame's service abroad was tracked in her personnel file (OK, I did guess exactly that last February), and in fact it was.

And the rest should fall into place nicely, yes? In response to questions about Ms. Plame's service abroad, CIA lawyers or Patrick Fitzgerald and his Department of Justice investigators will cite her personnel file, which presumably has been maintained in accordance with standard CIA practice. Her file will document the most recent period for which she received credit for service abroad, thereby resolving the point about her qualification as a covert agent under the IIPA, right?

Not so fast.

Patrick Fitzgerald filed documents related to Libby's sentencing last week [Sentencing memo, Sentencing calculation, Plame employment history] which resolved the issue to the satisfaction of, well, the easily satisfied - that includes Messrs. Isikoff and Hosenball of Newsweek. And was any mention made of her service abroad as tracked by the CIA personnel department under long established CIA rules?

Uhh, no.

...her CIA personnel file has the dates for which she received credit for service abroad, so why not mention that? Is it possible that the DoJ investigators did not have access to her file? No, per footnote 2 on page 5 of the sentencing calculations, we are assured that "The investigators were given access to Ms. Wilson's classified file".

So, both the CIA and the DoJ had access to Ms. Plame's file detailing her dates of service abroad, yet chose not to present that information to the defense. Why might they do that? A suspicious mind would wonder whether they would omit that data if it were helpful to their case, or only gloss past it if her most recent date of service abroad were say, 1997, when she was recalled to the United States (as per this Vanity Fair profile).

This is not right - our legal system has discovery rules for a reason.
IF Ms. Plame's formal dates for service abroad buttress the prosecution position, that should be disclosed to the defense so that they will not waste time pursuing a false trail, or so that the prosecution can prepare arguments that the CIA formal procedures do not comport with the language and intent of the IIPA. On the other hand, if her formal dates for service abroad support the defense position, that should be disclosed so that the defense can argue that this represents the best established practice and settles the issue.

But Fitzgerald, some CIA retrogrades, and the Left have agendas (not necessarily identical.)


Headless Blogger said...

"So, both the CIA and the DoJ had access to Ms. Plame's file detailing her dates of service abroad, yet chose not to present that information to the defense."

I see some irony here. Scooter was prosecuted not for revealing that Plame was a paper pusher at CIA, but for misinforming DoJ in his disposition. Yet DoJ has ignored the rule of law by misinforming Libby's defense team without consequence and probably had no crime to investigate in the first place.

Dad29 said...

I'm not sure that Fitzgerald is (technically) representing DOJ.

As an Indy Prosecutor, he's just that--Independent of DOJ.

Worth noting that Fitzgerald and Giuliani both served in the NYC US Attorney's office.