July 13, 2005

The Plame Game or: The Least Original Post Title

Alright, I'm always hesitant to post about this type of story for a few reasons: 1) It seems so clear to me that I feel like I have much to say, 2) These stories make me angry, and you wouldn't like me when I'm angry, and 3) A natural laziness that strikes me from time to time.

Anyway, as I thought about it I figured it'd be useful if I just gave a broad overview and you all could talk about it in the comments.

1) In his 2003 State of the Union Address President Bush states that British Intelligence reports that they have proof that Iraq has been attempting to purchase uranium from "Africa" (later clarified to be yellow cake uranium from Niger.

2) July 6, 2003: Former US Ambassador Joe Wilson writes a column in the New York Times claiming the President's statements about Iraq's attempts to score some uranium are, as the kids say, "totally whack". He supports this claim with the fact that he was actually sent, by this Administration, to Africa to check it out.

3) July 14, 2003: Robert Novak writes a response column, but interestingly claims that Wilson was not sent by the Administration, but by his wife Valerie Plame, the CIA Agent. Surprisingly, this tidbit was not public knowledge, as she was undercover. Novak refuses to reveal his source, despite the fact that there has, in all likelihood, been a very serious violation of federal law. It should be noted that uncovering undercover operatives is not only an abstract danger to national security, it also endangers the life of the operative. Though Plame wasn't an agent in the James Bond/Solid Snake mold, evidently she was on somewhat sensitive missions. Also, uncovering Plame essentially stunted her career possibilities within the Agency.

4) On several occassions both White House Press Secretary Scott McClellan and President Bush stated that they were serious about discovering the source of the leak and punishing the one responsible. They went so far as to say, on at least one occassion, that the leaker would be fired "at a minimum".

5) July 6, 2005: Reporter Judith Miller was jailed for contempt of court after refusing to reveal Time reporter Matt Cooper's source in a story relating to the Plame affair. Cooper subsequently states that his source has given him permission to testify before the Grand Jury relating to the Plame case. A Time memo is discovered before his testimony which reveals that Karl Rove was Cooper's source.

6) Bush and McClellan both dodge questions relating to Rove and how much, if any, punishment he shall receive if indeed he is proven to be the leaker. The official stance is that the White House does not comment on an ongoing investigation, despite the fact that they commented plenty before the memos were discovered.

Hope that hits all the high points. If I missed something or, and I am eternally hopeful, you just want to give your thoughts, feel free to post some comments.

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