Friday, November 04, 2005

Press continues to refer to Valerie Plame as 'covert' and 'One Good Leak Deserves Another'

NewsMax.Com points out (HT: BizzyBlog via email) that the Press Still Insists Valerie Plame [status was] 'Covert':

A week after Leakgate Special Counsel Patrick Fitzgerald announced that his investigation had been unable to establish that Valerie Plame was a "covert" CIA agent at the time she was "outed" by columnist Robert Novak, the press continues
to refer to her using the bogus term.

In the last six days, there have been 261 references to Plame's "covert" status in mainstream media accounts, according to a Lexis Nexis search. The wave of erroneous reporting continues despite Fitzgerald's clear denials during his press conference last Friday after announcing Lewis "Scooter" Libby's indictment.
The article is referring to news reports, like the 10/31/2005 New York Time's Cheney Names Two to Fill Jobs of Indicted Aide which continues to refer to Plame in the following way:

...Joseph C. Wilson IV, whose wife, Valerie Wilson, was a covert C.I.A. officer.
Fitzgerald addressed the issue of Ms. Plame in his new conference (see transcript):

Valerie Wilson was a CIA officer. In July 2003, the fact that Valerie Wilson was a CIA officer was classified...

...Let me say two things. Number one, I am not speaking to whether or not Valerie Wilson was covert. And anything I say is not intended to say anything beyond this: that she was a CIA officer from January 1st, 2002, forward.

I will confirm that her association with the CIA was classified at that time through July 2003. And all I'll say is that, look, we have not made any allegation that Mr. Libby knowingly, intentionally outed a covert agent...
Why is that important? Because as lawyer John Hineracker of Power Line notes the Intelligence Identities Protection Act (IIPA) goes to great lengths to define that a covert agent is:

(A) a present or retired officer or employee of an intelligence agency or a present or retired member of the Armed Forces assigned to duty with an intelligence agency—
(i) whose identity as such an officer, employee, or member is classified information, and
(ii) who is serving outside the United States or has within the last five years served outside the United States; or

(B) a United States citizen whose intelligence relationship to the United
States is classified information, and—
(i) who resides and acts outside the United States as an agent of, or informant or source of operational assistance to, an intelligence agency, or
(ii) who is at the time of the disclosure acting as an agent of, or informant to, the foreign counterintelligence or foreign counterterrorism components of the Federal Bureau of Investigation; or

(C) an individual, other than a United States citizen, whose past or present intelligence relationship to the United States is classified information and who is a present or former agent of, or a present or former informant or source of operational assistance to, an intelligence agency.

The continued use of the 'covert' designation by the media implies a violation of the IIPA.

As noted in 'Investigate the CIA...', the CIA was conveniently selective in their secret designations:
  • First they ask Joe Wilson to go on a "discreet but by no means secret" mission which allows him to write his oped in the New York Times.
  • Then the CIA refers the 'leak' of Plame's classified/secret identity to Justice Department
And here's where one needs knee highs to wade through the irony...The referal from the CIA to the Justice Department to investigate the leak of Plame's status was in itself...yep you guessed it...leaked!:
...But there was another big leak that no one seems to care about: the leak of the CIA's referral to the Justice Department concerning the Plame matter. That second disclosure, perhaps even more than the initial leak, set off the chain of events that resulted in the naming of a special prosecutor and finds us now anticipating indictments of senior White House officials...


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