Plame Game - Match Game

First I want to say I enjoy Tom Mcguire's takes on the Plame Game, although I believe that he - as the rest of the media/pundits are off in their conclusions because their premise itself was off.

For instance, if I were to take aim with my M16 on a target 300 meters away, if I'm a hair off at my firing point, I'll miss the target by yards.

Let's remember that Fitzgerald had in reality only two thing to determine. 1) Did anyone violate the IIPA when Valerie Plame's name became public. That would entail: That she was covert under the protection of the act.


2. That someone who knew that, blew her cover.

That's the reason the investigtation started, that is what Fitzgerald was assigned to determine.

Now with Judith Miller's new revelations, we know that Ms. Plame (or Flame) actually worked at WINPAC - where, actually I have a cousin working, and I could tell you their name (but I won't), but I will tell they are NOT protected nor 'covert', which is basically a cased closed on Plame meeting the definition of a covert agent for the purpose of the IIPA. A fact that most experts who worked on and drafted the act agree upon.

Subsequently, that being the case, no one could "blow her identity" and violate the act.

Therefore the premise for Fitzgerald's initial investigation would be a finding of NADA.

Oh, if life where so easy.

Yet during the "punditry" explosion over the last few months - especially since Cooper and Miller, people have been talking about "exterior charges" like "obstruction" and "perjury" and other charges that might come from this investigation, and even talk of throwing in the Espionage Act.

Good luck on that.

Truth is that a lot of this speculation (and that's all it is) comes as a result of Fitzgerald seeming to take so long to get this thing wrapped up. After all, he could have settle Plame's status right off the bat - I mean, it's not rocket science to find out her status. Again, either she was covert or wasn't and remember, that is the premise from which everything else moves.

I remember during the summer this WAPO account of CIA spokeman, Admiral Harlow taking with Bob Novak:

"Harlow, the former CIA spokesman, said in an interview yesterday that he testified last year before a grand jury about conversations he had with Novak at least three days before the column was published. He said he warned Novak, in the strongest terms he was permitted to use without revealing classified information, that Wilson's wife had not authorized the mission and that if he did write about it, her name should not be revealed.

Harlow said that after Novak's call, he checked Plame's status and confirmed that she was an undercover operative. He said he called Novak back to repeat that the story Novak had related to him was wrong and that Plame's name should not be used. But he did not tell Novak directly that she was undercover because that was classified."

You can read my take on this here, but I said at the time I said, " bullcrap". Harlow didn't have to hang up the phone, go find out Plame's status. Cripes, he had a computer right there in front of him.

So Fitzgerald could have found this out in two minutes, so why so long?

Because this is Washington! For instance, look how long the Starr investigation take? Eight years? How about that report? For all that time when it came out it was a (apologies for the pun) "ball-buster" for the Right when it came out. I remember reading it and saying, "Is this it?"

Now playing the guessing game could Fitzgerald say, "Such and such and so and so perjured themselves"? Sure. But at this point, with what I know, I doubt it. Rove conflicts with Cooper - so what? At this point I would say that Cooper has more to worry about - he didn't get a chance to clarify. But again, this is going off track of the legal mandate that Fitzgerald was given to investigate in the first place. The best prosecutors will tell you, "Avoid shooting a shotgun in the bushes".

Besides, perjury is a hard charge to prove. You don't charge someone with perjury if you can't prove they intended to perjure, subequently - aside from the movies, you don't see prosecutors using it except to "gain" cooperation from witnesses.

So what do we have? At this point - it's anyone's guess.

But I do know that while everyone is talking about the White House loosing sleep, I do know that the Agency is in a tizzy over this. For instance people were perplexed that Poter Goss decided not to persue the IG recommendation into sanctions against Tenet and others over 9/11. You heard it here - there is a connect between the two. Believe me, if the walls could talk.

Yet, there are indications that the investigation has gone outside the Whitehouse. Via Time:

"But Fitzgerald's intentions aren't the only mystery. Another character in the drama remains unnamed: the original source for columnist Robert Novak, who wrote the first piece naming Plame. Fitzgerald, says a lawyer who's involved in the case, "knows who it is--and it's not someone at the White House."

On good solid ground: Hello George?

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