Thursday, July 21, 2005

Treason in the White House

Looks like the Roberts announcement didn't divert the press attention too far from Rove/Libby.

The Washington Post today carries a front-page story about a memo that likely has formed the basis for the Fitzgerald investigation - and it's a stunner.

A classified State Department memorandum central to a federal leak investigation contained information about CIA officer Valerie Plame in a paragraph marked "(S)" for secret, a clear indication that any Bush administration official who read it should have been aware the information was classified, according to current and former government officials.

Plame -- who is referred to by her married name, Valerie Wilson, in the memo -- is mentioned in the second paragraph of the three-page document, which was written on June 10, 2003, by an analyst in the State Department's Bureau of Intelligence and Research (INR), according to a source who described the memo to The Washington Post.

The paragraph identifying her as the wife of former ambassador Joseph C. Wilson IV was clearly marked to show that it contained classified material at the "secret" level, two sources said. The CIA classifies as "secret" the names of officers whose identities are covert, according to former senior agency officials.

Anyone reading that paragraph should have been aware that it contained secret information, though that designation was not specifically attached to Plame's name and did not describe her status as covert, the sources said. It is a federal crime, punishable by up to 10 years in prison, for a federal official to knowingly disclose the identity of a covert CIA official if the person knows the government is trying to keep it secret.

So, someone in the White House "knowingly" leaked the identity of a CIA operative. Who? Well, here's a suspect:

The memo was delivered to Secretary of State Colin L. Powell on July 7, 2003, as he headed to Africa for a trip with President Bush aboard Air Force One. Plame was unmasked in a syndicated column by Robert D. Novak seven days later.

We know Powell wasn't the culprit. Could it have been Bush ordering Rove to leak the information? Could this be why Bush is standing by Rove, and not fulfilling his earlier promise to fire anyone "involved" with the leak?

It certainly is getting interesting...


Blogger Mudpuppy said...

I had the thought yesterday, "What if the leak came from Colin Powell?!" I realize it's next to impossible, but it would be like finding out that Santa Claus stomps on puppies or something.

10:55 AM  

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