Saturday, July 21, 2007

No Smoke, No Plame

This past week, a Federal Judge threw out the Lawsuit filed by Valerie Plame and her husband Joseph Wilson IV. Valerie is a Former CIA Operative and Joe is a Former Ambassador. Together Valerie and Joe have tried repeatedly, to besmirch the reputation of the Bush White House. In addition to the President, the Wilsons have targeted Presidential Adviser Karl Rove, VP Dick Cheney and Mr. Cheney's Chief of Staff I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby.

A considerable amount of innuendo, rumor, gossip and lies by team Wilson and their backers, have caused the General Public to suspect there must be some fire with all the apparent smoke. The smoke was really just dust. But, the din of protestations rallied the Political Anti-Bush groups to demand the appointment of a Special Prosecutor, Patrick Fitzgerald. Not even this extraordinary event helped. Other than Mr. Libby's faulty memory of events and subsequent peripheral felony conviction, the Bush Administration has not been proved to have done anything illegal or even unethical.

What has taken place up to now? Joe makes an 8 day trip to Niger in late February 2002, at the request of the CIA, to determine if Saddam Hussein had attempted to purchase refined "Yellow Cake" Uranium. Valerie suggests her husband for the trip on February 12, 2002. One day later, VP Cheney requested information from the CIA about attempts by Iraq to purchase Uranium. The Wilsons have hinted that Joe went due to the VP request. In July 2003, Mr. Wilson wrote an op-ed piece for the New York Times Editorial Section. This article claimed that President Bush had politicized intelligence, because Ambassador Wilson found no evidence that Saddam Hussein had attempted to purchase Uranium in Africa.

Later in July 2003, Robert Novak wrote a column which named Wilson's wife as CIA Agent Valerie Plame. Mr. Novak also asserts that Valerie suggested Joe for the trip. Joe later claimed that Valerie had no role in his selection and that the President had manipulated the facts for political reasons to justify going to War in Iraq. The bi-partisan Senate Select Intelligence Committee found Wilson wrong on all counts, and that it was Wilson who manipulated the facts. Concurrently Special Prosecutor Fitzpatrick was appointed to investigate allegations of criminally leaking the name of a Covert CIA Agent.

Joe and Valerie have maintained that the Bush White House had a deliberately and illegally outed Valerie Plame as a Covert CIA Agent in retaliation for Joe's editorial piece. However, Deputy Secretary of State, Richard Armitage, was the source of Mr. Novak's information about Valerie's employment. Special Prosecutor Fitzgerald did not fine enough evidence to charge anyone with illegally revealing a Covert CIA Agent. In Fact Valerie was not a Covert Agent under the law.

Now, if this is not convoluted enough the Wilsons filed a Lawsuit in Federal court naming VP Cheney, Libby, Rove and Armitage as defendants. The claim according to an article (PLAME GAME LIMPS ON) in the "New York Post" dated July 21, 2007 is that the Wilsons Constitutional rights were violated by the defendants when they "outed" Plame.
They claimed a political conspiracy was hatched at the top levels of the White House to discredit Wilson for his criticizing the administration's pre-war Iraq policy - and that "outing" Plame violated the couple's constitutional rights.
Judge John Bates rejected the suit in a 41 page decision.
But the judge cited several reasons why the lawsuit shouldn't go forward - including the fact that these officials are legally immune from such suits, and that it was filed under an inapplicable act.

Judge Bates also made some substantive, non-technical points. Key among them: "Speaking with members of the press is within the scope of defendants' duties as high-level Executive Branch officials."
The Wilsons should give it up. They have been proved wrong in every aspect of this mess. It is time to fade away, before they do themselves any more damage. But I'm betting we will hear from them again. The Post article and I agree. It is Joe and Valerie Wilson who are Politicizing Intelligence.

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