Will "Fitzmas" be a Disappointment?

Sunday, October 23, 2005
It seems a little to nice, and pat, to be true, but macsmind has a very interesting line of speculation going. His notion: that Fitzgerald is not going to indict Libby or Rove, but might indict CIA people involved in a purposeful attempt to run a rogue operation intended to contravene the aims of the President's foreign policy and prevent his re-election.

It sounds crazy, but think about it:
  • The President's father is a former DCI. He knows what the CIA bureacracy can do.
  • The late DCI, George Tenet, insead of becoming the "fall guy" for 9/11, was allowed to retire and even received a Presidential Medal of Freedom. Despite the fact that he was appointed by the previous president, and had Democratic political connections.
  • The notion that "outing Valerie" was the major issue depends on increasingly narrow, peculiar interpretations of various laws, not the least of them being the "Agee law" --- the "identities protection" provisions of the Intelligence Act of 1980. Syl and I have had a running discussion on this elsewhere, but I persist in thinking that Plame was not "covert" under the terms of the Act. Mark Kleiman seems to feel that the Espionage Act applies, but …
  • the example of Daniel Ellsberg and a thousand leaks by a hundred legislators seem to suggest that applying the Espionage Act to a leak to a member of the press would be nearly impossible. (Judges, whatever else they may be, are still men. The political pressure would be intense, bipartisan, and bicameral.)
  • However, the possibility that indictments might be made against CIA members under the Espionage Act seems rather better. Cliff Kincaid at the National Ledger makes a similar argument.
If one were writing a political thriller, it would have some attractive aspects. The President, under attack by a cabal of politically connected CIA members and activist Democrats, maybe motivated by a combination of outrage at a "stolen" election, a strong sense of their superior understanding of the situation, and a narcissistic sense of entitlement. The President's father, ex-Director of Central Intelligence and as much of a bureaucratic insider as his son is an outsider. The then-current DCI, given a choice of aiding the President by becoming the president's "mole" and getting to retire, or opposing him and being fired and blamed for 9/11 --- and very possibly just as personally angry about it as the President would be, since it appears he was blindsided by the Wilson op-ed as much as anyone else.

A pseudo-scandal initially arising from a CIA request to the Justice Department.

A "covert operative" who turns out to be an analyst in WMD areas --- and her husband, who lied about the way he got the assignment, lied in print about his findings, and who was apparently a source for many poeple at the New York Times.

In a novel, the denouement of this story would be when the Marshalls and FBI arrive, arresting the rogue diplomat, his beautiful co-conspirator wife, and one or a few more people higher up in CIA, along with some powerful political operatives of the opposing party --- on testimony of the ex-DCI, a journalist who was burned by her sources, and with circumstantial evidence provided by disinformation injected into information flow and nicely tagged to reveal who learned it and from whom.

It's neat. Almost too neat. Unlike fiction, real life is often neither dramatic, nor believable.

But the rumors persist that the indictments won't be what's expected.

Update: Chris Matthews, who's as connected as anyone in Washington I'll bet, is making the Ellsberg connection. He does so in the context of what Nixon's people did to discredit Ellsberg, but ... why Ellsberg and not McGovern?

Further Update:JustOneMinute has more interesting ideas and speculation.


MeaninglessHotAir said...

Alternatively, they'll just drag Rove out of the White House in handcuffs.

David Thomson said...

Mark Kleiman’s interpretation of the Espionage Act is most disturbing. It is similar to throwing the book at someone for going 55 1/8 miles per hour in a 55 mile zone. No society could survive if the law was regularly enforced in such a hyper-legalsitic manner. Why does Kleiman not see the obvious? That is because he intensely despises President Bush. People like him are unwittingly willing to bring down our system of justice merely to destroy the current resident of the White House.

I have long pointed out the leftist CIA plot to destroy the president. Many of the employees of this intelligence organization attended “elite” universities. They have an utter contempt for red state America. Patrick J. Fitzgerald should probably indict a number of them---but will he? My concern is that he is not immune from the pressures of the Washington DC leftist establishment. I hope my pessimism is unwarranted.

Syl said...

I like it. I like it.

The CIA plots against the CIA plotters.

And here I thought Wilson conspired to out his own wife to get the administration in trouble.

Same plot. Different plotters.

Hot damn.


In a way, I wish it would stay today forever. With optimism that the lying SOB will get his comeuppance.

I have no idea what will happen next week.

I take that back.

I have plenty of ideas about what will happen next week. I just don't know which, if any, will come true.

Syl said...

I just want to add two points.

1) We only have public information about dear Valery. Brewster-Jennings and even the name 'Valery Plame' could possibly be red herrings.

We are also assuming that she hasn't traveled overseas in the last few years. I have not heard anybody who has the official capacity to confirm (or deny) that information address whether she has or not.

That still doesn't cover every point in the those provisions of the Intelligence Act. I'm just saying we may be assuming too much.

I don't think we are, but, hey, I'm just preparing myself in case.

Anyway, if 'Valery Plame' no longer means anything and she uses a different name these days, then why such a stink over the name? If it still 'matters', it was officially outed before, so it doesn't matter.

2)her official status was NOC. And anyone in the adminstration is required by procedure to be sure her status isn't classified before confirming she even works at the CIA.

Violating that procedure by not confirming first, however, is not criminal.

But if they knew her status and still let people not aurhorized to know that she was CIA, then they passed on classified info.

I guess that's where the Espionage Act would come in. And, again, more people would be angered and affected by indictments on that score than not.

Syl said...

Oh, one more thing.

The info on Valery that became public was exactly what division she worked for in CIA.

It happens to be on the covert side. And of course is classified.

Seneca the Younger said...

The info on Valery that became public was exactly what division she worked for in CIA.

Syl, can you point me to something that documents this? Novaks' own column just says "Wilson never worked for the CIA, but his wife, Valerie Plame, is an Agency operative on weapons of mass destruction."

RogerA said...

I am still inclined to believe this was CIA campaign designed to cover their intelligence failures--I do hope Novak has another source who could point in that direction.

Syl said...


I may have misremembered about the Novak column.

Anyway, clarice has been troubled by Wilson's change from 'loyal opposition' who supported the fact that Saddam had WMD as late as Feb. 2003. But by sometime in March had totally turned on the administration and Bush.

It was during that time that both Beers and Richard Clarke left, and went off to join the Kerry campaign (wasn't that a bit early?). Wilson joined too.

If it turns out Wilson caught a terminal case of BDS from those two ... well, that could very well mean that the whole Niger trip was legit and the CIA shenanigans as far as this specific caper are concerned, are meaningless.

Wilson the anti-Bush crusader.

Today I'm not too hopeful. The lefties are gloating all over the blogs. Nothing's even happened yet.

Syl said...

On the other hand UPI reporting (they don't know a thing, just guessing) that Fitzgerald's investigation has widened to include the Niger forgeries.

However they basically say the forgeries were used to discredit Wilson and this won't look good for the administration.


flenser said...


The first person to claim that Wilsons wife was a "covert operative" was David Corn.

The questions of what he knew, when he knew it, and how he knew it, would seem highly relevant.

Now, who do we know who could question him on this ....

terrye said...

I have no idea what happened. But I am getting tothe point that I just wish it was over.

The idea that Wilson could come back here and shoot his mouth off to anyone who would listen to him and then claim his ife was "outed" strikes me as absurd.

If not for the Wilsons themselves, who would ever have heard of the Wilsons?