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Saturday | September 27, 2003

CIA wants White House investigation

Still stinging from the White House's outing of CIA agent Valerie Plame, the CIA is requesting the Justice Department investigate the source of the leak.

Plame is the wife of Ambassador Joe Wilson, who exposed the administration's Yellowcake lies (you know, the forged Niger letter Bush cited as evidence of Iraq's intent to build nukes).

In retaliation, two White House officials told columnist Robert Novak that Plame was a CIA agent, a blatant violation of both the National Agentsí Identity Act and the Unauthorized Release of Classified Information Act. The outing could very well have harmed national security, exposed operations and assets involving Plame, and perhaps even endangered lives. (Here's the column.)

Wilson has already hinted the source of the leak was Karl Rove. Well, not so much hinted as accused:

AQ: Assuming that what Novak said was true, can we expect a ful FBI investigation?

[Ambassador Joseph Wilson]: First, the CIA would perform an internal investigation. The results of that would be passed on to the Justice Department for professional investigation. I don't think this will be dropped. "At the end of the day, it's of keen interest to me to see whether or not we can get Karl Rove frog-marched out of the White House in handcuffs. And trust me, when I use that name, I measure my words."

So there it is. The CIA has finished its investigation and determined laws were broken. So it has passed on those results to the Justice Department.

Will Ashcroft kill the investigation, or will he dutifully investigate these serious charges?

And if he investigates, will Rove and/or whoever else leaked Plame's identity (and as Novak noted, they were "senior administration officials") offer up sacrificial lambs to save themselves? (Though who would willingly take the fall for a felony and potential jail time?)

Do you guys realize how explosive this could be?

Time for the press to get on the ball.

Update: Sara in the comment boards gives us lessons in history and irony:

The law making revealing the identity of a covert CIA officer known is the Intelligence Identity Pretection Act of 1982. Each count gets 5 years and 50 thousand dollars.

The origin of the law is 1976 when Richard Welch, CIA officer in Athens Greece was murdered. At the time the belief was that "Counterspy" published his identity obtained from a rogue CIA officer.

At the time George Herbert Walker Bush was DCI, and he became the chief advocate for this bill. Welch had been killed under his CIA watch, and the legislation was his response.

However, after November 76, GHWBush was no longer at the CIA -- Carter had his own chief. So the legislation went no where for four years. However, in 1981 GHWBush became VP, and passing this law became his passion. The chief lobbiests in addition to Bush were his buddies, Scowcroft and Baker. The three of them had been pall bearers when Welch's remains were returned from Greece for burial at Arlington.

In 1982, Bush finally got the bill passed and Ronald Reagan signed it with ceremony. So -- in no uncertain terms, this law is Poppy's law. Folk need to be reminded of this history.

Posted September 27, 2003 03:43 AM | Comments (515)





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