Valerie Plame…Who Knew?

On July 14th, 2003, Robert Novak wrote his column that formally outed Valerie Plame as CIA.

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 Wilson’s wife suggested sending him to Niger to investigate the Italian report. The CIA says its counter-proliferation officials selected Wilson and asked his wife to contact him. “I will not answer any question about my wife,” Wilson told me.

From the indictment:

page 3Joseph Wilson was married to Valerie Plame Wilson (“Valerie Wilson”). At all relevant times from January 1, 2002 through July 2003, Valerie Wilson was employed by the CIA, and her employment status was classified. Prior to July 14, 2003, Valerie Wilson’s affiliation with the CIA was not common knowledge outside the intelligence community.

I challenge the the prosecutor’s claim that the affiliation with the CIA was not well known and that she was outed by Libby or Robert Novak. In fact Joe Wilson may have outed her!

Clifford D May says:

That Wilson worked at the CIA was not widely known, but it was hardly a secret [See Cliff May at NRO)

Who is Clifford D May?

Before moving to Colorado Mr. May spent nearly a decade with The New York Times as a reporter in both New York and Washington, an editor of The New York Times Sunday Magazine and a foreign correspondent. He established the Times’ West Africa bureau and, as Bureau Chief, covered more than a score of African nations.

So the question is “Who didn’t know?”

Why would Matt Cooper, on July 12th 2003 ask the question of Libby:

Basically, I asked Libby if he had heard anything about Wilson’s wife having been involved in sending him to Niger.

Mr Russert was out of the loop according to his testimony:

Russert

told the Special Prosecutor that, at the time of that conversation, he did not know Ms. Plame’s name or that she was a CIA operative and that he did not provide that information to Mr. Libby. Mr. Russert said that he first learned Ms. Plame’s name and her role at the CIA when he read a column written by Robert Novak later that month.

Here are some others that are asking who knew about Valerie’s CIA connections?

Jeff Goldstein of Protein Wisdom

That is, Valerie Plame, it now seems, was not “outed”—at least not by Novak’s report.So I ask again: was Plame “outed”? If so, where are the charges suggesting that?
I still maintain that Plame’s CIA ties were already known publicly. She did, after all, work at the CIA. And so if she wasn’t “covert,” then how the hell was she compromised?

The issue, as a matter of law, is whether she was classified as covert by the CIA, and whether the CIA took steps to protect her identity.

In The White House, the CIA, and the Wilsons Stephen F. Hayes writes:

The promised CIA follow-up came quickly. That same day officials at the agency’s Counterproliferation Division discussed how they might investigate further. An employee of the division, Valerie Wilson, suggested the agency send her husband, Joseph Wilson, a former U.S. ambassador to Gabon with experience in Niger, to Africa to make inquiries. In a memo to the deputy director of the Counterproliferation Division, she wrote: “My husband has good relations with the PM [prime minister of Niger] and the former Minister of Mines (not to mention lots of French contacts), both of whom could possibly shed light on this sort of activity.” Mrs. Wilson would later say she asked her husband, on behalf of the CIA, if he would investigate “this crazy report” on a uranium deal between Iraq and Niger. Wilson agreed to go.

On June 14, 2003, Joe Wilson is scheduled to speak at the 2003 Iraq Forum. The website EPIC – Education for Peace in Iraq Centerhas this bio:

Ambassador Joseph C. Wilson, IV served as a member of the U.S. Diplomatic Service from 1976 until 1998. From 1988 to 1991, Ambassador Wilson served in Baghdad as Deputy Chief of Mission at the U.S. Embassy. As acting Ambassador during “Desert Shield,” he was responsible for the negotiations that resulted in the release of several hundred American hostages. He was the last official American to meet with Saddam Hussein before the launching of “Desert Storm.” Ambassador Wilson graduated from the University of California at Santa Barbara in 1972. He has been decorated as a Commander in the Order of the Equatorial Star by the Government of Gabon and as an Admiral in the El Paso Navy by the El Paso County Commissioners. He is married to the former Valerie Plame and has four children.

Again recall Wizbang:

I’m over generalizing here, but it seem like there wasn’t an outing of an agent until two non-secret bits of information were combined.Joseph Wilson’s wife’s maiden name, most would now agree, was not a secret. That Wilson worked at the CIA was not widely known, but it was hardly a secret

Plame wilson Libby

Update: Captain’s Quarters has covered this issue a number of times with Oct 30th being the latest: The Myth Of Dragging Wilson’s Wife Into The Niger Case

If anyone other than Plame bears responsibility for Plame’s outing, it’s her martyr-playing husband, Joe Wilson.

mover mike

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