Friday, March 23

Robert Novak is STILL a Total Gas-Bag!

Both emtpywheel and Larry Johnson have major diaries up about the latest drippings from Robert Novak's colostomy bag - but neither of them really give you a good and close look at just how much of a cheap hack this guy really is.

<>I mean, it's truly - seriously - stunning how he completely ignores the facts and sworn testimony of everyone in the Libby trial, Valerie Plame-Wilson and even CIA DCI Michael Hayden who he states is "too close to Democrats" simply because he confirmed that yes indeed, She. Was. UnderCover. when Novak originally outed her in 2003.

And here it is - directly from the Horse's Ass.

Republican Rep. Peter Hoekstra could hardly believe what he heard on television Friday as he watched a House Oversight and Government Reform Committee hearing. Rep. Henry Waxman, the Democratic committee chairman, said his statement had been approved by the CIA director, Michael Hayden. That included the assertion that Valerie Plame Wilson was a covert CIA operative when her identity was revealed.

The "Assertion?" Ok, put the tape on pause for a moment here. We all know from Patrict Fitzgerald's original indictment of Scooter Libby that her "employment at CIA was classified." What does this dimwit thinks that means?

Frontline recently did a four-part special on the various leaks coming out of the Bush Administration, including the Plame leak and during it they interviewed David Szady the FBI's assistant director for counterintelligence from 2001 until 2006. From that position he was actually in charge of hunting down leakers, including those involved in the Plame leak, at least until Fitz was put on the case. Here are some excepts from that interview...

How do you start a leak investigation? I mean we read about them in the paper, but we have no idea where -- actually what goes on.

Well, first of all, you have a victim agency: the owner of the information, those who classified it. What they have to do is file a report with the Department of Justice that consists of 11 questions that have to be answered.

And those questions go from, was the material properly classified? Is that information known? Was the information that leaked accurate compared to what the actual classified information is? What was the damage to national security? How many people possibly had access to that information? And several other questions.

And let me just emphasize this point. Before the investigation begins the organization reporting the leak has to document exactly how damaging the release of that information might be. There's also another key factor required among those 11 questions. The leaked information has to be true.

So this is the same kind of referral that takes place, whether it's a leak of classified information to a lobbyist or a spy as it is to a journalist?

... First of all, it's not espionage [in] the classic sense, where you're giving classified information to a foreign power. You're giving classified information here to somebody in the media, which is illegal. It's not espionage as we're talking about it here with spies. But it is worked, if you will, on a criminal investigation under the espionage statutes: unlawful possession; unlawful distribution; unlawfully giving this information to somebody who should not have access to it. ...

And the information has to be accurate?


So if you leak inaccurate information, there's no leak investigation?

Well, that's right. The determination may be made that there's no sense in investigating something because the information is not accurate. It's not real information, if you will.

So when the government announces a leak investigation and it comes to your office, it's confirming that the report in the newspaper, for example, or on television was true?

In-- yes. Indirectly, yes.

That's one way to fact check.


And just how bad could leaking the identity of a Undercover operative be?

And your office got the referral in the Valerie Plame case?

Initially, yes. There's still prosecution outgoing in there, so commenting on it is difficult.

No one's been charged under the [Intelligence Identities Protection Act] in that case as of today. What makes that particular law difficult in terms of prosecuting somebody?

Well, there haven't been that many cases involving this particular leak of information or the identity of undercover CIA officers to begin with. I don't think it would be any more difficult than anything else. I think everybody would admit and everybody would acknowledge that the leaking of the identity of an undercover CIA officer is an extremely serious matter, particularly given the world situation we live in now, and we're actually talking about life and death.


Ok, have you got that sports fans? Plame was covert. Leaking her identity not only a crime, it was a matter of life and death (and not just hers) or else there wouldn't have been a referal to Justice - and they would't have accepted it - in the first place.

Back to Novakula.

As House intelligence committee chairman when Republicans controlled Congress, Hoekstra had tried repeatedly to learn Plame's status from the CIA but got only double talk from Langley. Waxman, 67, the 17-term congressman from Beverly Hills, may be a bully and a partisan.

A bully? Compared to who - Certainly not Tom Delay who wouldn't let a single democrat bill on to the floor of the House for six years. Who twisted arms and threatened members of his own party to vote for the prescription medicare bill. Certainly not John Sensenbrener who cut off the microphones in mid-hearing when a debate about the Patriot Act went in uncomfortable directions back in 2005.

But he is no fool who would misrepresent the director of central intelligence. Waxman was correctly quoting Hayden. But Hayden, in a conference with Hoekstra yesterday, still did not answer whether Plame was covert under the terms of the Intelligence Identities Protection Act.

As Larry Johnson has already explained Hayden couldn't comment on the issue to Hoekstra while he was chairman because the Libby trial was pending. That's over now. Libby lost, so when Waxman asked - he got an answer.

This isn't a partisan issue, it's a Fact Issue -- but then again we all know that "Reality has a Liberal Bias" (© Copyright Stephen Colbert 2005)

Case in point.

The former CIA employee's status is critical to the attempted political rehabilitation of former ambassador Joseph Wilson and his wife.

The Wha? Rehabilitation? Gee, seems to me that Joe was hailed as a conquering hero at YearlyKos. He seemed pretty visible and pretty vocal on Olbermann after the Libby verdict was read.

The Democratic target always has been Karl Rove, President Bush's principal adviser.

Actually no, the target is the President - but Rove makes for a nice side-dish.

The purpose of last week's hearing was to blame Rove for "outing" Plame, in preparation for revoking his security clearance.

Hey bunky - Congress can't revoke KKKarl's clearance. Only the President can, and since he promised to do it years ago ("If anyone in the White House was part of this leak") and still hasn't - I don't think that door's gonna fly open anytime soon.

And didn't Novak testify that Rove was his confirmation source? Yes, I think he did.

W Fair to say Armitage was primary source. Did you have confirming source?

RN That was Karl Rove. In 2003 he was senior advisor to Pres on a wide variety of subjects. He had a lot to do with political strategy.

W To make sure they stayed in office?

RN MOre than that, that they were successful.

W That they were re-elected?

RN He was trying to do a good job for country.

W Personal Friend?

RN I wouldn't call him friend, I'd say very good source.

W When did you speak with Rove?

RN I called as soon as I returned, I can never remember getting him back right away, I think it was that day he returned the call.

W Conversation the next on July 9?

RN When we had that conversation–it could have been July 8, I haven't been able to pin it down. Mainly I was interested in Rove, I'm sorry, mostly Wilson mission to Niger, Asked him about that and policy. Near the end, I asked about Wilson's wife, I asked if he knew, I commented, I had been told that she was an employee of CPD of CIA and had suggested mission. He said, "oh you know that too."

W Did you take that as confirmation?

RN I took it as confirmation

Information like this, which was provided anonymously on "Super Double-Secret Background" would not be printed by any respectable gas-bag journalist unless it was confirmed by a second source. Although Armitage's leak was apparently inadvertant, and he was unaware that Plame was covert at the time, there is a strong likelyhood that Rove knew damn well that reporters like Novak would need two independant sources before they could go to print.

And by the way - who the hell told Rove in the first place? Libby?

Anyway, more blather from the Dark One.

Claims of a White House plot became so discredited that Wilson was cut out of Sen. John Kerry's presidential campaign by the summer of 2004. Last week's hearing attempted to revive a dormant issue. The glamorous Mrs. Wilson was depicted as the victim of White House machinations that aborted her career in intelligence.

Right sure, there was no plot - Cheney and Libby and Martin and Harlow had all those discussions and talking points about how to respond to Wilson simply because March Madness was already over and they needed something to keep themselves busy.

From FDL/emptywheel.

By my reading, Cheney took his own notes on at least four documents pertaining to Wilson. It appears likely that, after learning that Plame worked at CIA from Libby or Martin, he went out and found out precisely where she worked, then he reported it back to Libby. Cheney directed Libby on at least three occasions (with Judy, with David Martin and Mitchell, and with Cooper et al) to personally intervene with journalists. And Cheney remained actively involved in crafting the response to Wilson all week during leak week. In addition, it seems clear that Cheney was pushing the Wilson attacks after the Novak article.

But gee, it wasn't like a plot or anything...

Anyway, Novakula seems to have some interviewing advice for Waxman and those damn dirty DemocRATS.

Waxman and Democratic colleagues did not ask these pertinent questions: Had not Plame been outed years ago by a Soviet agent? Was she not on an administrative, not operational, track at Langley? How could she be covert if, in public view, she drove to work each day at Langley?

According to Plame's own testimony, she had been on at least one overseas undercover trip between 2002-2003, as litagatormom has pointed out in her wonderful punking of Victory Toensing - that means she was covered by the IIPA.

Larry Johnson has noted that the head of the DO (Directorate of Operations aka the TOP SPY AT CIA) "drives to work everyday at Langley" and they can only refer to him as "Jose". Johnson...

In fact, there are thousands of undercover personnel who drive thru the gates everyday.

OOhh Snap!

I for one during the dozen years that I worked for defense contrator Northrop-Grumman drove through the gates of a "Black Site" smack dab in the middle of deep deep East Los Angeles along with 20,000 other people where unknown to anyone for at least the first 8 years - we were building the B-2 Stealth Bomber!

Punk-Bitch of Darkness Continued...

What about comments to me by then CIA spokesman Bill Harlow that Plame never would be given another foreign assignment?

What about the fact that the CIA Warned Your Punk Ass not to reveal her ID, and you did it anyway?

What about testimony to the FBI that her CIA employment was common knowledge in Washington?

That would be the testimony of someone who was found by a 12 person jury to be a LIAR and PERJUROR wouldn't it?

Instead of posing such questions, Waxman said flatly that Plame was covert and cited Hayden as proof.

Yeah, well that's because it was TRUE - and he also had Plame as proof too.

Hayden's endorsement of Waxman's statement astounded Republicans whose queries about her had been rebuffed by the agency. That confirmed Republican suspicions that Hayden is too close to Democrats.

(Forehead SLAP!!!)

No, it simply confirmed that Libby is now a CONVICT - dipstick.

These issues were not explored by the only two Republicans who showed up at last week's hearing. Virginia Rep. Tom Davis, the committee's ranking Republican and former chairman, is a skilled legislator but is not prone to roughhouse with Waxman. Unwilling to challenge Plame's covert status, Davis blamed the CIA instead of the White House for her alleged exposure.

Yeah, ok - that's right it was Richard Armitage over "at CIA" who first told you about Plame, while Karl Rove "at C.I.A." confirmed it - meanwhile Scooter Libby "at C.I.A." was talking to Judith Miller and Matt Cooper trying to get them to write stories about it, and Ari Fleischer "at C.I.A." was telling reporters about it while on a trip with Air Force One.


The other Republican present -- Rep. Lynn Westmoreland, a second-termer from metro Atlanta -- seemed awed by the beautiful woman facing him. "If I seem a little nervous," he began, "I've never questioned a spy before."

Davis had e-mailed the committee's other Republicans requesting their presence. Where were they? I asked Rep. Christopher Shays, who during nine previous terms in Congress had proved a tenacious questioner at hearings. "We felt the committee is so biased," he replied, "we would do better to just stay away."

Translation: They knew damn well that their lame talking points weren't going to work so they chose not be tragically embarissed on national Tee Vee.

Unlike Novak who seems to have no problem being publically embarrised in a national news paper.

That decision left the field to such partisan Democrats as Rep. Chris Van Hollen, chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. Rep. Diane Watson, Waxman's fellow Californian, mimicked the chairman's inquisitorial style.

That's because she was inquiring - y'know asking questions of ah - shock and awe - witness!!

She repeatedly interrupted lawyer Victoria Toensing, the lone rebuttal witness granted the Republicans by Waxman.

That's because Toensing was - how shall I say it? Oh yeah Full of CRAP!

Toensing testified that Plame was not a covert operative as defined by the Intelligence Identities Protection Act, which she had helped draft as a Senate staffer in 1982, if only because she was not stationed overseas for the CIA the past five years. Waxman hectored Toensing, menacingly warning that her sworn testimony would be scrutinized for misstatements.

The IIPA doesn't say anything about being stationed overseas. That is not a requirement of the act and Toensing stubborn and illogical insistence that she somehow knew who was and wasn't covert while the Director of the CIA didn't - is flat-out laughable.

The act states that a Covert Agent covered by the act is one...

(ii) who is serving outside the United States or has within the last five years served outside the United States;

Novak in his entire column never mentions Plame's own testimony where as litagatormom noted:

[A]ccording to her own testimony, she engaged in covert intelligence operations on assignments outside the United states within five years of TODAY -- that is, within a YEAR of when she was exposed.

I would venture to argue, and I have, that IIPA violations were not sought because a) Libby's Lies blocked the investigation and b) to violate IIPA the person must have explicit knowledge that the agent is covert.

Their isn't any evidence currently on record that Libby was specifically told that "Wilson's Wife is a Covert Agent" although there is evidence that he very likely suspected this was the case, and took steps to avoid being identified as a leak source specifically because he thought he might have been in violation of IIPA.

The evidence for this view was revealed in court by Libby's question to David Addington about "How can you tell if someone is covert at CIA?"

Addington told him - you'd have to ask around and specifically asking if "Joe Wilson's Wife is Covert" would have exposed what he and Cheney were up to, as well as completely destroyed his "willfully ignorant" defense.

No, Libby then just like Novak simply prefers to stick their fingers in their ears and loudly sing "LAA llaaaa LAAAA LAAA" (like Janet Parshall) while they undermine our nations security, ruining the efforts of hundreds of undercover assets at Brewster-Jennings and weakening our ability to counter the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction - All For partisan gains.

Libby is damn lucky he got off as lightly as he has.

So is Novak.


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