Sunday, July 14, 2013

10 Years Ago Today - Valerie Plame's CIA Cover Was Compromised FOR THE SECOND TIME

July 14, 2003:  I thought I had seen the breadth and depth of how low the Bush administration was willing to sink in defense of the lies that drove this country to go to war in Iraq.  Finally, as the promised finds of WMD failed to materialize, exposure of one of the primary lies arose in the form of Ambassador Joseph C. Wilson IV's column, What I Didn't Find in Africa, published eight days earlier.  Suddenly, the prick-waving "Mission Accomplished" crew was in damage control; first shamefacedly admitting that the infamous 16 words in the State of the Union address "should never have been included", then backtracking the regret by going into attack-the-messenger mode, which the ever-compliant mainstream media (MSM) went along with, making the headlines about Wilson's character, as opposed to the content of his message.  But it wasn't enough to just smear Wilson.  On this day 10 years ago, conservative columnist Robert Novak scraped the bottom of the barrel with this particular revelation:

"Wilson never worked for the CIA, but his wife, Valerie Plame, is an agency operative on weapons of mass destruction. Two senior administration officials told me that Wilson's wife suggested sending him to Niger to investigate the Italian report."

There was nothing in Novak's column to disprove that the Bush propaganda about WMD in Iraq was a lie; now that MSM had followed the reich-wing wurlitzer into Get Wilson gear, there was no need to even try.  But the two "senior administration officials" who told Novak that Wilson's wife is a CIA operative crossed a line they shouldn't have.  At the time of this revelation, Plame was covert.  Publicly stating her employment by the CIA compromised her cover.  As David Corn pointed out a couple days after Novak's column, by exposing Plame the Bush administration may have violated the Intelligence Identities Protection Act of 1982.  The CIA requested an investigation through the Department of Justice which, under the leadership of John Ashcroft, dragged their heels until the fall of 2003, when he reluctantly announced they had opened an investigation. 

MSM interest in the story briefly heated up around this time.  There were news accounts that Karl Rove was a possible target which noted that he had once done campaign work for Attorney General John Ashcroft.  Many Congressional Democrats pushed for a special counsel and even Republican Senator Arlen Specter said, “Recusal is something Ashcroft ought to consider.”  Press Secretary McClellan told the White House press corps that he had spoken to Rove, Vice President Chief of Staff I. Lewis “Scooter” Libby and National Security Council (NSC) aide Elliott Abrams and that each had categorically denied they had leaked information on Valerie Wilson.  Novak doubled down on his earlier damage by publishing a column in October that revealed the name of her cover company, stating that when Valerie Wilson made a contribution to Al Gore’s presidential campaign in 1999, she listed her employer as “Brewster-Jennings & Associates”.  Fascinated with these revelations and hoping to learn more from a group as interested in finding out the truth behind this story as I was, I joined Democratic Underground (DU) on October 14, 2003. Through following their Latest Breaking News forum, I found out in December that Ashcroft was indeed recusing himself and that Deputy AG James Comey had appointed Patrick Fitzgerald as Special Counsel to handle the grand jury investigation.

But in early 2004, news on the Valerie Plame case seemed to have dried up. I noticed
while the rest of MSM was more absorbed in trivialities like Howard Dean’s Scream, DU turned out to be a great place to discuss not only the news covered on TV and newspapers, but also stories from alternative media outlets.  Nobody felt compelled to shy away from stories that explored the possibility of conspiracy where the government was concerned.  It was in this manner that I first discovered the story of Sibel Edmonds while looking for stories on Valerie Plame.  I found the similarities fascinating: two beautiful women, both doing classified work for the government, both betrayed by the government during the Bush administration, both seeking justice in a court of law.  But at that time, I had no proof their stories were connected in any way.

I tried to keep abreast of any new developments in Plame’s case looking at Latest Breaking News, but rarely found news in the spring of 2004.  Often I would see people post questions in General Discussion wondering how Fitzgerald’s investigation of the case was going.  I would try participating in these threads and on days when I didn’t see one, I would type up my own OP and try to find out if there had been any new revelations.  Post by post, I began to notice it was a lot of the same posters who kept showing up at these threads about the Plame case.  They all seemed to be dedicated to the same quest for the truth that attracted me, but there never seemed to be any cohesiveness in any thread in the pursuit of information. 

On July 1, 2004, a member of DU with the username shraby started a thread with the title “If and when indictments come down in the Plame case."  Somehow, something struck a collective chord which generated a huge response.  When the moderator locked the thread after 311 posts, it was not to discourage activity, but to encourage it because the length of the thread was creating loading problems for users with a dial-up internet connection.  (Remember those days?!)  The second thread created by the moderator titled “If and when indictments come down in the Plame case-thread2” attracted even more members and was locked for the same reason after 295 posts.  By the time the third thread was opened, everyone there was aware of what was being referred to as “The Plame Threads.”

What was it that made these threads so popular?  There were a number of great contributions, but what really jumpstarted the first thread was a member with the username H2O Man highlighting Joe Klein’s recent article in Time magazine revealing that Valerie Plame, at the time she had her cover blown, was working on a “sting operation” regarding the trafficking of Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD).  Suddenly, there was tangible proof that Plame was no simple secretarial desk jockey, as the neo-con meme of that time went; this was a serious undercover agent in a serious covert operation.  It made the possibility of indictments seem imperative.  This, along with H2O Man’s opinion that the indictments from the grand jury proceedings would come out soon and could create a constitutional crisis unlike any in our nation’s history, was what really got the ball rolling. 
Throughout that summer until August 19, 2004, when after over 5,600 posts the moderator locked the 20th and final Plame Thread, we became a team of detectives dedicated to discovering the evidence detailing this operation.  While I got to know some better than others, the most dedicated researchers each had their own distinctive approach to fueling the collective effort.  Sometimes conflicts would erupt over the significance of certain pieces of evidence and sometimes just over personality conflicts, but for the most part the collaboration was beautiful harmony as each new revelation in DU's own organic "think tank" built upon the next.  In addition to uncovering what evidence I could by googling leads, I felt my role was to compile as much evidence by everyone from the Plame Threads as I could into a cohesive structure to illustrate the hypothesis we were testing.  In the context of trying to discover the details of the “sting operation”, many on the Plame Threads devoted their time to researching the dark underworld of WMD proliferation.  One possible lead presented in the first thread by a member with the username seemslikeadream concerned a possible connection Plame had through her cover company Brewster, Jennings & Associates tracking the nuclear proliferation network of A.Q. Khan.

Khan turned out to be the most promising lead in WMD proliferation, because VP Dick Cheney knew about Khan's nuclear black market since he was Secretary of Defense in 1989 and did nothing to stop it.  Cheney was fast becoming the Plame Threads' Most Likely Mastermind orchestrating the outing of Valerie Plame due to the wonderful Waterman Paper written by H2O Man.  After uncovering deeper financial links between Khan's chief financial officer and a subsidiary company of Halliburton, I presented my compilation of our research to explore The Waterman Paper's Goal #3: Why Cheney Exposed Plame.  I titled my paper American Judas.  Our think tank had tested the hypothesis and now had a "peer-reviewed" theory we could stand behind as we spread the word in pursuit of justice.

In the aftermath of the Plame Threads, my focus renewed on the possibility of a connection between the Plame case and Sibel Edmonds.  Through my own research and the help of other DU investigative threads between 2004 and 2007, I wrote American Judas 2nd Edition: INVESTIGATE CHENEY & UNRAVEL THE CABAL.  This was published here while the trial of I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby was still ongoing.  There had been a great amount of publicity on MSM that Dick Armitage had actually been the first person in the Bush administration to leak the CIA identity of Valerie Plame to a reporter, Bob Woodward.  Popular opinions over blame in the Plame case seemed to be divided into two camps: either the benign, "Armitage-the-gossiper-made-a-boo-boo" or the malignant, "Neo-cons-made-Plame's-CIA-cover-Fair-Game-for-hubby-criticizing-Bush."  While I always leaned toward blaming the neo-cons, I knew from my research that the reality behind this crime was something deeper.  Something darker.  Uglier.  Something like a military-industrial complex on steroids

Why did Armitage feel so secure in telling Woodward that "everyone knows" Wilson's wife works for the CIA as early as June 13, 2003?  It's important to remember his social milieu as Deputy Secretary of State, the Department's second ranking official; the third ranking State Department official was Marc Grossman, who told Libby that Wilson's wife worked at the CIA on June 11 or 12, 2003, right around the time Cheney told Libby. According to the FBI, Libby admitted that he and Cheney may have talked of outing Plame to reporters one month later.  Cheney's motive has been established, but what motive would Grossman have?  According to Sibel Edmonds, Grossman was one of three officials – the other two, she says, are Richard Perle and Douglas Feith – who had been watched by both Valerie Plame's Brewster Jennings & Associates CIA team, and by the major FBI investigation of organized crime and governmental corruption on which she herself was working until being terminated in April 2002.  Edmonds always intimated there was more she could reveal, but the multiple gag orders placed on her by Attorney General John Ashcroft prevented her from doing so.

Prevented, that is, until August 8, 2009.  Edmonds was subpoenaed for a case before the Ohio Elections Commission; Schmidt v. Krikorian.  This was the first time during the Obama administration that an opportunity arose where her attorneys requested that Attorney General Holder review the state secrets privilege invoked in her case and reverse the decision made under former President Bush. While the FBI attempted to block her testimony with a two page letter of objection to her attorneys and the Department of Justice pressured the Ohio Commission to drop the subpoenae, ultimately no one showed up in court to stop her deposition and on August 8, 2009, she provided what any rational person would describe as explosive testimony.  MSM gave the news a complete blackout.  Too bad, they missed out on informing the world about how Valerie Plame's CIA cover company, Brewster Jennings & Associates, initially had their cover blown:

"Basically," she said, "I told them how [third-ranking State Dept. official in the Bush Admin and former Ambassador to Turkey] Marc Grossman disclosed" that Brewster Jennings was a CIA front company to the target of an FBI investigation. 

"Grossman and [Richard] Armitage, they are the only two people involved. Later on Cheney and his people may have used it, but it had nothing to do with those other things, [Brewster Jennings] was completely destroyed and gone by the summer of 2001."

Does this revelation absolve Cheney?  Absolutely not!  First, the Grossman/Armitage revelations do not change the documented links between Cheney and the A.Q. Khan nuclear proliferation network where the motive to blow Valerie Plame's CIA cover is concerned.  Second, considering both Cheney and Armitage were affiliated with the Project for the New American Century, it's quite possible Cheney already knew Plame's cover company had essentially been gutted from the inside two years prior which gave him further justification.  Third, Cheney's and Armitage's affiliation with the American Azerbaijan Chamber of Commerce (AACC), which I proved in American Judas 2nd edition, shows that they are part of the "other things" that Edmonds has elaborated on: a criminal network described by the FBI as Gladio B, whose roots trace back to 1947 under the stewardship of former Director of Central Intelligence Allen Dulles.

While the pathway to understanding the truth was long and circuituous, I think the best way to commemorate this shameful anniversary is to celebrate the contributions of everyone who participated in the Plame Threads.  I might not have uncovered the full story if not for their commitment and devotion.  There are some in particular I want to single out, though many may have left DU over the years.  First, I must give a shout out to H2O Man, who I believe still posts at DU.   Your wisdom, insight and hope provided an inspiration to everyone who dared to dream that there might be some measure of justice against the criminal Bush administration.  Pallas180: you were not only the "den mother" who organized so many of the threads, you gave me the name American Judas to describe what we had discovered.  seemslikeadream: you were one of the biggest diggers and unearthed mountains of evidence; I'm so glad our paths crossed.  arbustochupa, who I believe now posts under the name coeur_de_lion, you not only organized one of the threads, you were one of the biggest contributors and helped get the conversation flowing.  Me., you got your start at DU on the Plame Threads and did some great digging yourself.  RebelYell: you helped me distinguish valuable alternative media from trash and did some excellent detective work.  calimary: you always kept us updated with media contact info so we could alert them to our discoveries.  kohodog: you wrote a great form letter for alerting the media and many other contributions to the Plame Threads.  Finally, I want to thank shraby for starting it all and keeping the ball rolling in DU's finest moment.

Here is the honor roll:

Thread 1 - shraby, LosinIt, fizzana, seemslikeadream, ewagner, tnlefty, GreenPartyVoter, gandalf, billybob537, Cyrano, Rosco T., are_we_united_yet, H2O Man, chiburb, lancdem, sniggles, merh, redstateliberal, frank frankly, truth2power, Eloriel, Fla Dem, goclark, TNOE, lil-petunia, Jazzgirl, dweller, juajen, Political_Junkie, FoeOfBush, calimary, burrowowl, kgfnally, scottxyz, scarletwoman, mzmolly, maxpower, Jim Sagle, thinkingwoman, TreeHuggingLiberal, jubug3, Waverley_Hills_Hiker, 2dumb2beprez, serryjw, Stephanie, LizW, Ugnmoose, Dookus, jmowreader, cryingshame, TruthIsAll, iconoclastic cat, Disturbed, wrate, Marianne, Generator, shimmergal, NRK, birdbrain, LeftHander, TWiley, Ripley, hansolsen, KoKo01, PATRICK, StandUpGuy, alfredo, Bush_Eats_Beef, KYDEM, loudsue, hedda_foil, arbustochupa, leftchick, Cheswick, oasis, Oaf Of Office, HootieMcBoob, Dems Will Win, tableturner, Zynx, 0007, FrustratedDemInNC, SharonAnn, Kimber Scott, vidali, kohodog, faithnotgreed, VoteDemocratic2004, cease_fire, floda, Pallas180, flpeach, Rockholm, TacticalPeak, mopaul, nolabels, Wilber_Stool, Moderator

Thread 2 - steviet_2003, Lone_Wolf, Ewan I Bushwackers, ClassWarrior, RainDog, Zan_of_Texas, Swamp_Rat, TheStranger, wtmusic, Crisco, AlinPA, Tellurian, Roon, ABB_15501, RFSea, Mallove Fan 71, bigskydem, Crachet2004, RightDem, Hippo_Tron, Lars39, party_line, Bleachers7, ktf23t, Pobeka, myrna minx

Thread 3 - newyawker99, azmesa207, legolassie, dansolo, OhMyGod, spokane, Kool Kitty, starroute, Zorra, Tight_rope, cthrumatrix, amBushed, Beetwasher, rman, fedupwithbush, xocolatl, mdmc, Papa, jumptheshadow, Snazzy, daria_g, Lestatdelc, LibertyorDeath

Thread 4 - beam_me_up, Kanary, juslikagrzly, GoreN4, catlawyer, librechik, SpiralHawk, robertpaulsen, yodermon, NewJeffCT, flutter by

Thread 5 - RatTerrier, spotbird, Cassandra, lanparty, AZDemDist6, ramblin_dave, nannah, johnfunk, salin, tblue37, JellyBean1, pbl, demgrrrll, KleverKittie, tjfreeman, Me.,

Thread 6 - swag, 7th_Sephiroth, Prodemsouth, progressivebebe, wurzel, Mike Niendorff, FascistAdder, milkyway, alilenas, DeepModem Mom, liberalnproud, KansDem, TacoUnderpants, Langis

Thread 7 - doctorbombeigh, Elginoid, jbutsz, DavidFL, leesa, donkeyotay, ralps, wishlist, RebelYell, Timefortruth

Thread 8 - Jacobin, BeFree, yowzayowzayowza, warrior1, saywhat, ozymandius, TheCentepedeShoes, huckleberry

Thread 9 - MidwestTransplant, liburl, sadiesworld, bobbieinok, sal, midwayer

Thread 10 - Trajan, seventhson, mandyky, sampsonblk, Gregorian, zidzi, lastknowngood, maggrwaggr, zydeco

Thread 11 - LunaC, mountainvue, DrBB, SayitAintSo, bezdomny, Sugarbleus

Thread 12 - NightOwwl

Thread 13 - ayeshahaqqiqa, wolfgirl, snippy, SilasSoule, skip fox, shockingelk, ignatius 2, tom_paine, sheelz

Thread 14 -  Scagbearer, crozet4clark, napi21, linazelle

Thread 15 - PDittie, carols, gtrump, maryallen, grasswire, muriel_volestrangler

Thread 16 - democrat_patriot, pacoyogi, bobbyboucher, Roy Robertson, stepnw1f, donhakman, dist22dem

Thread 17 - teryang, drfemoe, Minstrel Boy, wiggs, proud patriot, FizzFuzz

Thread 18 - whistle, LiberalSam, slutticus, Dr_eldritch

Thread 19 - Tweedtheatre, tishaLA, peace4allpeople, sgr2

Thread 20 - buycitgo, Sophree

I salute you all!


Unknown said...

Great article on the Plame case and what an interesting insight on how you became a part of an internet community to do personal research to get to the truth. "The Truth is Out There!"

Robert Paulsen said...

Thanks Madonna! It was quite a time and I hope everyone who participated is proud of what they did. We found the truth!