Thursday, July 21, 2005

Plame memo indicated information was secret

According to the Washington Post, White House officials gained information about Valerie Plame from a memo that clearly identified as secret, a clear indication that any official who read it should have been aware that the information was classified.

The memo in question was produced for Secretary of State Colin Powell and presented to him one week before Plame’s identity was revealed by Robert Novak. Several senior WH officials including senior advisor Dan Bartlett, then-spokesman Ari Fleischer, and others.

Last week it was disclosed the senior presidential advisor Karl Rove as well as vice presidential chief of staff Lewis Libby confirmed Plame’s identity to reporters. Rove has previously stated that he first learned that Plame worked for the CIA from reporters and he continues to claim that he did not mention Plame by name or intend to disclose her identity. Rove also says he did not see the memo in question until it was shown to him by the special prosecutor investigating the leak of Plame’s identity.

Something still is not adding up here. I continue to believe that evidence significant enough to pursue criminal charges will not be found. However, I continue to believe that President Bush and the White House should come forward and address this issue to the American public rather than hiding behind an “ongoing investigation.” I also believe the president should follow through on his initial pledge to remove any individuals involved in the leak from his administration rather than raising the standard for removing individuals who leaked information to being convicted of a crime.

12 Comments:

At 12:49 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Bush has always stated that he would deal with anyone that has violated any law. This was his statement in his first press briefing after the story broke, and it is something that he has consistantly maintained.

Where did he say anything different????

 
At 1:04 PM, Blogger Joe Weedon said...

When the story first broke, the WH said that any individual responsible for the leaks would be removed from the administration. McClellan and Bush, then, both repeated that statement several days later. McClellan also said, repeatedly, that Rove had nothing to do with the leak.

A week ago, Bush raised the standard saying that anyone who is found guilty of a crime would be removed from the administration.

The president raised the burden that must be met for someone to be removed from office after it was disclosed that Rove was responsible for confirming Plame's ID.

Whether or not a crime was committed I believe Rove's actions were politically motivated and could have harmed the safety of the country. As such, he violated the trust of the nation, if not the president, and should not be serving in the WH.

 
At 2:02 PM, Anonymous kenB said...

I think it comes down to intent -- if Rove knew that he was revealing classified info, then he should absolutely go, but if he got this knowledge in an informal way (e.g. if he heard about it from a reporter) and there was no good reason for him to suspect that it was classified, then I don't see why he should be held responsible for that.

 
At 2:20 PM, Anonymous Corey said...

The problem is not with intent. The problem is how he reacted. When asked if he had anything, intentional or not, to do with the leak, he said no. Bush and Mcclellan both stood up in front of reporters and swore that Rove had absolutely nothing to do with it. Now we see evidence that he did, so it leaves 2 possibilities:

A) he lied to the president, thus causing the president to publicly say something that Rove knew was false

or

B) he put the president in a position where he had to lie to protect a memeber of his staff.

Either way, it doesn't make him look very trustworthy in the public eye.

 
At 4:52 PM, Anonymous kenb said...

B) he put the president in a position where he had to lie to protect a memeber of his staff.

Hmm. If Bush decided to lie in order to protect Rove, I would say that that's Bush's failing, not Rove's, especially in the most innocuous scenario where Rove didn't know he was revealing classified info.

 
At 5:49 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Forget Rove, he's not the "target" of the investigation.

Someone on that airplane to Africa, who had (S)ecret clearance read the memo and shared it's contents with someone who did not have (S)ecret clearance. That is when the "crime" was committed.

Who had clearance to read the memo? Powell and Bush and maybe others. Almost certainly not Ari Fleischer.

Powell was carrying the memo, prepared months in advance, to support the State Department's contention that there was no evidence that Iraq had tried to buy yellowcake, the claim that Wilson had made the day before. The memo certainly would not have made Powell mad.

But, one can imagine the rage Bush felt as he read the memo. My money, in a defensive-defiant fit of rage Bush handed the memo to Ari, who saw the Plame connection as a way to attack Wilson's integrity. And unaware what the (S) meant on the document, Ari then shared it with a few of the journalists on the plane. My money says we have an impeachment within a year.

 
At 6:52 PM, Blogger Alan Stewart Carl said...

Anonymous at 5:49--Even if your speculation was true, I seriously doubt that a Republican congress would impeach a Republican president for revealing a secret memo to a press secretary who revealed the identity of a CIA agent to members of the press.

Not to mention that prooving such a scenario would be almost impossible unless Fleischer were to testify against Bush. Even then, it'd be his word against the President.

 
At 10:01 AM, Blogger Joe Weedon said...

Let's explore the "intent" issue a bit further....

If the WH Deputy Chief of Staff is asked by a member of the media if someone works at the CIA, don't you think that he would check with someone to determine whether or not he should confirm the information? I just can't believe that Karl Rove, strategist that he is, would have made a 'mistake' on this level.

Bush in his early comments on this left no doubt that any individual who was found to have leaked the information would be removed from the WH staff - because regardless of intent the action would construe a major violation of protocol (especially in a WH that controls information like this one does -- under Rove's orders, I might add). Now after finding out Rove and Libby were involved, suddenly the standard is higher. I just don't buy it.

 
At 1:53 PM, Anonymous corey said...

kenb, you said:

If Bush decided to lie in order to protect Rove, I would say that that's Bush's failing, not Rove's

If Bush did knowingly lie to protect Rove, you can't put all of the blame on Bush (but certainly a good portion of it). Knowing that this Administration already has a credibility issue with a significant portion of the American people, don't you think that a person who really did make an innocent mistake would own up to it and insist that the administration not put itself in position to be proven completely wrong. Rove didn't do that.

The bottom line is, Rove knew he was involved, and he said nothing until he had no other option. Whether he knew at the time if her status was classified or not at this point is irrelevant. His continued presence in the Administration is a huge problem for the Bush Admins credibility.

 
At 3:51 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

alan said "Not to mention that prooving such a scenario would be almost impossible unless Fleischer were to testify against Bush. Even then, it'd be his word against the President."

Not hardly Alan. 2 people on the plane have already testified to the grand jury that Fleischer was showing the memo to reporters. The only question is, who handed it to Fleischer?

Of course the Republican House will not vote to de-peach their President - which is perfect. They'll lose control of the House in next year's election. This is not a game Alan.

 
At 4:02 PM, Blogger Alan Stewart Carl said...

I never said it was a game. If I thought it was a game, why would we be writing about it so much? Your original comment was that we'd have an impeachment within in a year. My point was that's highly unlikely with a Republican Congress. I also don't think this scandal will effect the midterms unless there is so kind of smoking-gun proof that Bush was involved. That's not to say that the Dems can't win back Congress...just that I wouldn't put all my hopes in dreams into this scandal brining down Bush. I could be wrong, but 1) I highly doubt he was involved and 2) even if he was, he's the President. He can probably wiggle out.

 
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