Was Valerie Plame “Outed”?
Two years later, and I still don’t have a freaking clue.
Question: Does Patrick Fitzgerald know? If Ms Plame was “outed,” was it intentional? If not, should the investigation even have proceeded?
I ask all of these questions in good faith, because I honestly don’t know. What I do know, however, is that what pushed this investigation is the suggestion that the White House used classified information to “out” Plame and punish Joe Wilson for writing a column—one that ostensibly “leaked” information to reporters about a “misuse of intelligence by the Bush Administration” (but which turned out to be itself based upon a bunch of self-aggrandizing puffery later shown to be untrue by a bipartisan Senate Intelligence Committee report).
These accusations, early on pushed by Wilson, the legacy media, and key figures on the left side of the blogosphere (notably Josh Marshall), led to this White House agreeing to an investigation into the allegations.
So. Was Plame “outed”? And if not, what does this say about the politicization of policy differences?
Here’s Bob Woodward, appearing on Larry King last night:
WOODWARD: … They did a damage assessment within the CIA, looking at what this did that Joe Wilson’s wife was outed. And turned out it was quite minimal damage. They did not have to pull anyone out undercover abroad. They didn’t have to resettle anyone. There was no physical danger to anyone and there was just some embarrassment.
So people have kind of compared—somebody was saying this was Aldridge James or Bob Hanson, big spies. This didn’t cause damage.
Here’s Tom Maguire, making an educated guess:
That jibes with this old Kristof column which told us that the CIA believed that Aldrich Ames sold her name to the Soviets; she was brought home in 1994, and her operations wound up as best they could be.
It also jibes with what I wrote a few days ago. The short version – the CIA was not making much of an effort to conceal her status: her Brewster-Jennings cover was not constructed with any great verve, neither she nor the CIA were exhorting her husband to keep quiet about the news (sure to be of interest to foreign spy-chasers) that he did contract consulting for the CIA, and the CIA press office did not know her status when Novak called, or exert themselves to prevent publication afterwards.
The nine-thousand word version of that is here; the full version is available on request.
Does that clear things up?
update: VP Cheney’s Chief of Staff I. Lewis Scooter Libby indicted on 5 charges: obstruction, giving false statements, perjury