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Rove and Plame: It’s not about a leak

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Unlike most Americans, I don’t watch a lot of thriller movies laden with gritty yet efficiently secretive government agents. I tend to find the idealized perfectionism of any governmental process… let’s just say, unrealistic. That being said, while I’ve always understood that agencies such as the FBI or CIA certainly possess some of the same political inefficiencies as any large organization, I’ve always assumed that by rule detrimental politics never made its way to the front lines- where agents are supposedly doing work of paramount importance, not merely, say, processing drivers license renewals.

The Karl Rove/Valerie Plame controversy sheds a little more light on the surprisingly bungled inner workings of the most powerful government in the world. But not for the reasons everyone is focusing on. The leak itself isn’t actually all that surprising. Politics is naturally and inescapably dirty business, hence we have multiple autonomous branches of government in check with each other. American democracy was built under the knowledge that, no matter what rules are in place, those in power will often tend to do short-sighted- even illegal- things for political reasons. The architecture of the system- not laws or unwritten rules- is what is supposed to keep the government from cannibalizing itself.

Sure, whoever leaked Plame’s identity- be it Karl Rove or the White House mailroom clerk- most likely did something wrong, and should be punished justly. The problem, however, is that our fetish with political scandal may cause the investigation to stop there. Taking a step back from the admittedly sexier “Yet Another Watergate Redux,” we should really be wondering how a secret agent of the CIA would ever be allowed anywhere near such a political situation.


You see, neither a Karl Rove, nor a Bob Novak, nor any individual should ever be in a situation where they could put a Valerie Plame’s CIA career- or life- in peril through an unveiling of her secretive position. Thus, it is the system that should be examined for fault first here. Unfortunately, we’re finding out yet again that our most important non-political, security-focused agencies- namely the CIA- is not impervious to the downfalls of political infighting.

This whole mess came about when Joseph Wilson, Plame’s husband, was sent to Niger by the CIA to investigate certain claims of Iraq attempting to buy uranium from the African nation. Wilson found no evidence of pending uranium sales, and reported his facts back to the CIA. Later, Wilson becomes angered by his reports being ignored by the Bush Administration, and goes off and writes an angry Op-Ed piece in the New York Times. Low and behold, a smear campaign erupted. His wife’s identity was leaked.

Beyond the leak, one of two things is very wrong with this picture: either Wilson, as a CIA operative, shouldn’t be entering the realm of political punditry, or the CIA shouldn’t be allowing their secret agents to be all that close to people who have the ear of both the New York Times and The Bush Administration.


As an opinion writer myself, I have great awe and respect for the ability our democracy affords me to share my opinions with potentially millions of people. Of course, I have always assumed that my exercising of that ability in such a public manner precludes me from having certain jobs- such as, oh, I don’t know, a CIA operative? Maybe in the movies, apparently not in real life.

Fine, so Plame’s husband himself probably required a low enough level of secrecy in his identity and actions that he could afford to take advantage of his free speech rights and not compromise anything. If this is the case, how does the CIA allow an agent- who’s identity, when unveiled, would cause a national crisis- marry or be close with a man that close to ugly Washington politics?

I’d like to assume that there are fairly strict standards to how secret agents live their personal lives. Marrying an accountant? Probably fine. Marrying a guy who has the ability and desire to play Sean Hannity/Michael Moore and send the current administration into a political tizzy? I’d think not.

Apparently, however, there is a lot less control than we think. That scares me. Will our agents in the Middle East, while attempting to capture Osama Bin Laden, be pitching book deals back in the states? Will internal FBI agents, while attempting to thwart the next 9/11, be posting to blogs about their workplace issues?


In the coming months, the media and its viewers are going to focus on the leak itself. While this was certainly a dubious political card to play, it is not the issue. The issue is how- in a world where intelligence is becoming the most important asset in international conflicts and affairs- our intelligence system can successfully be kept apart from a world where partisan political punditry and smear campaigns are becoming more prevalent. Right now it is apparently not, and that is dangerous.

So I think back to all the government agency thriller movies that I tend to skip past on television. Maybe, indeed, certain government personnel should be more like their stereotypical counterparts on the screen. No, not in the erase-your-memory-with-a-stick kind of way. Rather, in the way where every piece of their lives are held to an extremely controlled standard- a standard that doesn’t include partisan politics.

View story at THE VN/VO:
Rove and Plame: It’s not about a leak

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  • Maurice

    Great post Chris. Refreshing take on an old story.

  • Nancy

    Much as I think both Rove & Novak ought to be hanged, drawn & quartered for their collaberative efforts, I do wonder about the whole scenario: could the whole thing have been a setup by the CIA to get Bush? They haven’t been very happy with him, at all, at all, since he’s tried to make them his whipping boys for all his failures.

  • gcauthon
      This whole mess came about when Joseph Wilson, Plame’s husband, was sent to Niger by the CIA to investigate certain claims . . .

      Beyond the leak, one of two things is very wrong with this picture: either Wilson, as a CIA operative, shouldn’t be entering the realm of political punditry . . .

    Oh, great so Joseph Wilson is a CIA operative as well? Who leaked this one?

  • Nancy

    I think the writer was referring to Plame by her married name, Wilson, not to her husband the ambassador or whatever he was. I could be wrong.

  • Author here.

    Joseph Wilson was sent to Africa by the CIA. Thus, I referred to him as a “CIA Operative”. I don’t have a complete history of his position with the CIA (now, then, or before).

    I don’t think he was ever an “agent” or “secret agent”.

  • Nancy

    Odd that the CIA would send him instead of the state department, isn’t it? Or was it the CIA who recommended him to State? & why do so many insist that Valerie had anything to do with getting him ‘sent’? Last time I looked, a desk agent didn’t have that kind of pull, & certainly NOT concerning anyone there might even vaguely be a conflict of interest about – or have they forgotten that aspect of it?

  • Jason Summers

    I agree that it’s not about the leak. It’s about the deliberate deception promoted at the highest levels of governemnt which was used to justify the war and the determination the inner white house circle to attack those who would expose this deception.

  • Great post, btw. I’ve enjoyed all your posts on BC. Hope to see more. Also, I love the design of your home blog. Very neat and organized. What software are you using for it?


  • >>Odd that the CIA would send him instead of the state department, isn’t it? Or was it the CIA who recommended him to State?< < CIA and State work very closely on this sort of thing. >> & why do so many insist that Valerie had anything to do with getting him ‘sent’?< < Because by all accounts she recommended him for the job. >> Last time I looked, a desk agent didn’t have that kind of pull, & certainly NOT concerning anyone there might even vaguely be a conflict of interest about – or have they forgotten that aspect of it?<< Plame was more highly placed at the CIA than just being some random desk jockey. She was in a higher administrative position. This is one of the reasons why the issue of blowing her cover is largely bogus, because her career had already taken her beyond the point where she would ever be assigned as a field agent again. Dave

  • Dave,

    Thanks, I appreciate the comments.

    I use custom site software that I wrote myself. Nothing else out there did what I wanted, and most of the stuff out there is bloated with stuff I didn’t need.

    I’m real, real picky about user-friendliness and the ability to do subtle design changes, etc.

  • John Wilson

    If an administration is hell-bent upon decieving the public to achieve a political and military objective and then attempt to close off all avenues available to create a discourse to challenge false assertions; what alternatives does the public have to challenge these false assertions?

    Do you wish to take away the challenges in the name (of that old saw) “National Security” to allow falsehood and deception to instigate wars?

  • Jason Summers:

    Well, sure… maybe. But a few things:

    1. Every adminstration lies to the people, and EVERY war has been started on half-truths. It is almost impossible to get the masses behind any war by telling the complicated and ugly truths that are always the REAL reasons for war.

    That doesn’t make the war right or wrong… but this war, Vietnam, and World War II were all started in the same fashion… half-truths. Sorry, its the way it is.

    2. My point is that partisan politics is partisan politics. Dems or Republicans are the same. Its ugly.

    So lets keep our CIA secret agents as far away from this as possible!

  • John Wilson:

    Read my post after yours (I was responding to someone else).

    Don’t fool yourself into thinking any war (good ones, bad ones) has NOT been started on “false assertions”)

    Read up on Lincoln, FDR, Nixon, Bush I, Clinton, you name it…

  • >>Thanks, I appreciate the comments.

    I use custom site software that I wrote myself. Nothing else out there did what I wanted, and most of the stuff out there is bloated with stuff I didn’t need.

    I’m real, real picky about user-friendliness and the ability to do subtle design changes, etc.<< It certainly works. I've been very frustrated by the lack of flexibility in the blogging packages I've tried out. Even with some programming skills it's hard to wrangle them into producing a look I'm really satisfied with. Dave

  • Dave Nalle:

    Yeah, its a massive amount of work. I’ve considered packaging it and selling it as a platform…

    But it doesn’t have the stuff that many bloggers need… comments/forums/etc… I stay away from that… no time to edit the high schoolers, crazies and spammers…


    If his wife (who is a CIA agent) suggested him for the trip (which she did) how does that change the fact that Rove violated SF-312 security paper that he signed hence committing Treason?

    I dont understand…I think people are deflecting from the issue

    Karl Rove Commited Treason, The why doesnt matter and if it does then first you have to admit he commited treason before defending treason


    That makes no sense. I am not defending treason. I am saying that is a seperate issue, but not the root of the “problem.”

    “Deflecting” the issue may be a point if I had a partisan point to make, which I didn’t.

    I tend to try to avoid partisan sides, as it brings out a bunch of uninformed, shallow analysis and discussion.

  • Bennett

    Great post Christopher!

    More please.

  • Bennett:

    Well, I have a bunch of stuff at my site, THE VN/VO.

    I try to post as much here as possible… this is one of my favorite destinations on the Web, honestly.

    I do a lot of opinion writing for national newspapers/magazines… unfortunately, I can’t re-publish those articles for a few months after they get them, and they become stale in terms of discussion on here…

  • gonzo marx

    ok, decent bit…and i can agree with most of it…

    we have the issue of folks that don’t NEED security clearances of high level, getting them because the work in the WH…and then doing stupid things with them, even though they signed off on a standard form that educates them as to how to handle the material…

    one of your better points is that, in this day and age of book deals and professional punditry, secrets will be leaked

    i have a decent idea to help stop that..how about incarcerating those that Violate the very agreements they signed?

    case in point, a book a few months ago, about many things in the CIA and written by “Anonymous”, had to be vetted multiple times by the Agency before it was allowed to be read by the editors, vetted again prior to publishing

    this seemed to work well for the Individual involved, and was passed by the Agency…so this person followed the Rules and broke no Law

    on the other hand, since it was the Agency that asked for prosecution in the Plame case, we might logically gather that security was breached…by whom and in what manner is still being determined…

    would it be safe to say, that you can agee that whenever such a breach occurs, prosecution to the fullest extent of the law, following non-partisan investigation, would help deter future offenses?

    having had a high level clearance, i know what some of those forms are, and just how detailed the training is on handling said materials…there can be NO excuse for violation

    make sense?


  • Right now we really aren’t solid on the fact that Rove was the one who originated the leak. And if he did, while it does constitute a felony, it’s not treason. Look up treason sometime.


  • PATRIOT you need a little help with the real, vice imagined one you covet, of the word “Treason.”

    ” The Constitution of the United States, Art. III, defines treason against the United States to consist only in levying war against them, or in adhering to their enemies, giving them aid or comfort. This offense is punished with death. By the same article of the Constitution, no person shall be convicted of treason, unless on the testimony of two witnesses to the same overt act, or on confession in open court.”

    No matter how much you want to believe it or spin it Rove didn’t come close to the REAL definition.

  • CeeFDubya

    Has anyone read the piece by Andrew McCarthy. It seems that Plame had been outed twice before, once by the KGB and then by the CIA. Can anyone tell me if this is true or is it just another move by the right to confuse the issue?


  • Stossel starts with: “I don’t watch a lot of thriller movies laden with gritty yet efficiently secretive government agents.”

    Then he asks: “how does the CIA allow an agent marry…”

    Since when does the US government decide who one should marry?

    “I’d like to assume that there are fairly strict standards to how secret agents live their personal lives. Marrying an accountant? Probably fine. Marrying a guy who has the ability and desire to play Sean Hannity/Michael Moore and send the current administration into a political tizzy? I’d think not.”

    The idea of the CIA setting up marriages to abide by strict standards doesn’t exactly remind us of a free democracy, does it? More like brothel some scenes from a lot of thriller movies…

  • Black Raiser:

    First of all, I’m not John Stossel. That’s an ad. Hopefully you know who John Stossel is?

    Secondly, please… I am sure the CIA has much more stringent requirements on its agents than most private citizens.

    You can’t possibly believe what you say. I am not an expert on CIA agents, and indeed movies have played them up a bit over the years… but we all know that the requirements on your personal life are MUCH stronger than any normal person.

  • Marc:

    Thanks for the clarification.

    Glad to know someone at least understands the law before they spout partisan babble about it.

    Rove, no matter what he did, did not commit “treason”. In fact, I believe only one or two people have ever actually been convicted of leaking a CIA agent name.

    As you can see by my article, I really could care less about this whole political (and that’s all it is) argument.

    If people really have a problem with what happened, they need to look at the source of the problem- CIA policy.

    Politics will always be politics. If people on the left think “their guys” don’t do the same ugly stuff that Rove allegedly did, they’re fooling themselves.

  • gonzo marx

    no offense, but what you are “sure” of, and what is fact, may not be the same thing

    questions for you in comment #20

    just asking..


  • Deciding if people qualify as agents, yes. Forcing them to quit for marrying risky partners, yes.

    Telling people who they can marry, no. That would be a Himmler tactic.

    By the way, there is one thing about the Plame incident that the press has failed to notice. But it may shoot up like a mushroom very soon.

    President Bush is NOT standing up for the CIA. This suggests to some observers that his administration is employing a clandestine intelligence network, without the approval of Congress.

  • Gonzo:

    You said:

    “that you can agee that whenever such a breach occurs, prosecution to the fullest extent of the law, following non-partisan investigation, would help deter future offenses?”

    Hmmmm. Probably not. It just doesn’t work that way in politics.

    I say the key is to keep CIA agents and non-political operatives AWAY from the political people, so to speak.

    Yeah, no one is going to say that those who do illegal acts should not be prosecuted.

    But does that solve the problem? No.

    We’ve proven over and over in our society that pure prosecution/punishment does not ever solve the root problem.

  • Black Raiser:

    You said:

    “Forcing them to quit for marrying risky partners, yes.”

    Then you said:

    “Telling people who they can marry, no.”

    You gotta pick one! Can’t have it both ways.

    And your “clandestine intelligence network”. Not to be rude, and I am truly not trying to be… but call Art Bell with that tin-foil hat stuff.

  • Mr Falvey:

    If the King of England can abdicate his throne for “matters of the heart” then US citizens should also be free to marry whoever they want, whenever they want. If it’s not compatible with their government jobs, they should be told to step down – not forced into divorce or prevented from marrying, as you seem to so brightly suggest.

    And your Art Bell joke is not appropriate. I live in Europe and here the partisan bickering of Republican vs. Democrat doesn’t phase us. We only hope Americans get their act together soon because their popularity meter is about to dip down to the 20% range. What a tragic shame.

  • Black Raiser:

    I never mentioned divorce. I think we agree, but I don’t think you read my entire article.

    I just said its wrong for them to be married… or close… or what have you, and for her to be a CIA secret operative.

    Now, in terms of the partisan bickering… “partisan” doesn’t necessarily mean the American Republican Party vs. the American Democratic Party.

    Left vs. Right partisan bickering is the same throughout the Western world. European leftists dislike American Republicans for the same reason as American leftists. And vice-versa.

  • Black Raiser:

    One more comment, because I think its important.

    The Art Bell joke was in reference to a radio show host (actually retired now, I believe) who hits on subjects like conspiracy theories and the like.

    You may very well not like Bush’s attitude or policies. I don’t like a lot of them. But, please… there is no “clandestine intelligence network.”

  • Until three weeks ago, I was all for the hunting down and political execution of Karl Rove. My how things have changed. You know what? We’re never really going to know the entire truth. I think this is something that should be left to the next Administration to investigate. As far as I am concerned this should be one of the many subjects tossed out for debate by those who want to be the next President. Mr. Rove was instrumental in securing 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue for Mr. Bush. Let Mr. Rove finish what he started. If this Administration can achieve some concrete success in the time remaining does it really matter any more who leaked what? I want our soldiers to come home after creating a free and democratic Iraq. I want our poor to have an opportunity to get real health care. I want solid campaign finance reform. I’d love to see major tort reform that takes the financial burden off of the backs of the working poor via high insurance premiums, etc.

  • gonzo marx


    so, if i understand it correctly, christopher is trying to say the problem is not the leakers, but with the Agency not doing enough to keep their folks covert?

    so you think it is ok for a political type, with no direct need to know, access to sensitive secret info, but NOT hold him accountable for safeguarding it?

    call me wacky..but i tend to blame the criminal that intentionally violates the secrecy documents they signed, and ignored the rules and regulations…now, i will readily agree that the Agency can do better…but they really have no say when it comes to the WH…the folks there have to be Responsible, and obey gthe Law as well as observe the terms they signed to gain their clearance

    personal esponsibility for your actions, and all that

    oh yeah…et tu , Silas?


  • Maddog 20/20

    It seems many have lost sight of the fact that Wilson went to Niger to find out about the yellow cake. Remember “weapons of mass destruction” and “the mushroom cloud smoking gun”? Because he didn’t agree with the administration and set out to tell Americans the truth he was smeared and his wife’s life and career were endangered. Individuals in this administration only seem interested in intimidation. Now we have over 1800 of our military people dead. Sons, daughters, fathers, mothers, brothers, sisters why did people ever buy into this when the weapons inspectors said there weren�t any weapons (Hans Blix, David Kay) Karl Rove tried to gag Wilson’s truth and free speech. Rove/Bush/Cheney and company have blood on their hands and lies on their lips.

  • And Maddog seems to have lost sight of the fact that there were 500,000 tons of yellowcake in Iraq, enough to make dirty bombs to contaminate every major city in America.


  • Not really, Gonzo. I’m just accepting the fact that nothing will be accomplished by this Administration in the dispensation of justice in the Plame matter. Rove has a get out of jail free card. Let it be the next Administration to take this matter in hand. Or better yet, let the next Congress deal with it. The problem is that Washington insiders tend to create smokescreens to take the public’s attention away from all that which totally matters. This ‘Wag the Dog’ mentality has got to come to a grinding halt. I can’t believe that this Administration has the wherewithall to become transparent. I’m choosing my battles these days and Rove is at the bottom of my list.

  • Maddog:

    Karl Rove tried to gag Wilson’s truth and free speech. Rove/Bush/Cheney and company have blood on their hands and lies on their lips.

    Oh please tell us all and educate us on what lies you refer to.

    BTW if you would spend at least as much time reading the extensive Senate Committee report on the Wilson trip and less on [Dim]ocratic talking points you might have something reasonable to say.

    Despite what Wilson wrote in his NYT op/ed his actual report to the CIA said exactly the opposite and supported Saddams designs on Niger’s yellowcake.

    But please don’t let a few facts stand in your way of a good rant.

  • Ian Walker

    Traitorgates damage to the CIA

    Hi all

    I think it is time to point our some of the dire effects that the traitors actions have had on the CIA and why they are the actions of a traitor and why this should be called traitorgate.

    Valerie Wilson’s (nee Plame), was among the deepest cover agent’s the CIA has
    For the record, Valerie Wilson’s (nee Plame), was among the deepest cover agent’s the CIA has. She worked as a so called “nonofficial cover” agent, a select group of operatives who know that if they are caught, the U.S. government will disavow any connection with them. See the link below

    Esentialy for the TV brains out there Valerie Wilson (nee Plame) role in the CIA, is similar to Jennifer Garner’s character”Sydney Bristow” in the Emmy nominated Alias series.

    Valerie Wilson’s (nee Plame) life in jeapordy
    Valerie Wilson’s (nee Plame) life and that of her family is now permanently in jeapordy from any one of the people who she ran a covert operation against; as now they will know who it was that ran an action against them and they will be looking for payback.

    Millions of dollars in training lost
    Millions of dollars are spent to train and support this select group of “nonofficial cover” agents. All those millions are now lost and irecoverable.

    What other CIA operatives were affected?
    There is then of course the question of how many other covert operatives and assets in the field have also been compromised as a result of the traitors act.

    Cover company blown in the Novak article
    The company Brewster Jennings & Associates that was used by the CIA as a cover for multiple operatives was compromised directly as a result of the leak by Novak and others in The White House. See the link below

    All agents who worked for the Cover company identities are blown by the Novak article
    All those agents who used that company as cover have now had their cover blown. There will be obvious ripple effects similar to Valerie Wilson’s (nee Plame) cover being blown for each of those agents as well.

    All covert CIA contacts and assets of Valerie Wilson (nee Plame)and the agents with her at the cover company cover blown
    All of Valerie Wilson’s (nee Plame) contacts held in security files round the world are now at risk of arrest, imprisonment and torture. Ditto all the agents who worked at the cover company will have had any of their contacts assets or agents identities blown.

    CIA’s ability to recruit foreign agents destroyed for the period of this administration
    Further the CIA’s ability to recruit foreign agents has been severely damaged because potential recruits fear coming in contact with Americans and do not trust this administration to protect their identity.

    WMD inteligence blinded when we need it most
    The key thing we have to remember about this is that the traitors have esentialy blinded the CIA to inteligence on WMD at a time when with Iran and North Korea and Al Qaida are a giant risk because the traitors have named the covert head of inteligence on WMD for nothing more than petty party political advantage.

    Osama Bin Laden himself could not have asked for better recruits than these traitors in the White House and Republican press
    For those of you who noticed a whole bunch of arrests in Pakistan and action across the middle east on Nuclear issues after the traitors blew Valerie Wilson’s (nee Plame)cover. Those were clean up activities for an after cover blown operation; trying to capture the people discoverd as a result of Valerie Wilson’s (nee Plame) work, along with the other agents who’s cover was blown as the evidence gathered was during her period as the covert head of WMD inteligence. For an Idea of what Valerie Wilson’s (nee Plame) work meant follow this link

    WMD terrorists and dealers escaped, valuable Intel lost
    God alone knows how many WMD terrorists and dealers escaped and how much intel was lost as a result of the traitors blowing Valerie Wilson’s (nee Plame) identity I imagine the shredders were working as hard in the nuclear terrrorists hideouts as they are in White House traitors lair.

    Sadly Walker

  • The Fact Police

    My, this Stossel effort takes a long time to get to the point. Mr. Stossel proves himself to be a clever writer, the kind who can engage at length and not say anything at all. But sooner or later, he is forced to make a point, and ultimately that is that Valerie Plame married poorly for a CIA agent and should not have been allowed to do so. How could she marry, asks Stossel, a man “that close to ugly Washington politics?” This is almost a satire of the kind of deception that echoes endlessly in the right-wing echo chamber. Before this incident, life was more beautiful than ugly for Wilson. But they made it ugly for him indeed when they outed his wife. Everyone in the intelligence community knows that revealing the identity of a spy during or after his or her employment increases the risk of intimidation or assassination, especially when there is unprecedented turmoil in the Middle East. More so her contacts. At the least, the unmasking of Plame’s undercover company and everyone known to be associated with it — perhaps the worst side effect of the Plame outing �- should be considered treason until proven otherwise. What counter-evidence could exonerate the White House given the facts so far? Cooper lied under oath? The State Department memo that made the rounds of Air Force One wasn’t really stamped Top Secret? The CIA wasn’t pressured to back some discredited jerk’s notion that the aluminum tubes were centerfuge components? There lies your motive for Stoseel carefully avoiding the facts. They paint an ugly picture.

    It�s painful to watch a principled libertarian make a stab at emulating a party hack. Shame on you, Stossel. Thou betrayest even the religion of thyself.

  • The Fact Police:

    I am Christopher Falvey, not John Stossel! Second time I’ve mentioned that. The John Stossel above is an advertisement. Happens on every page of this here site.

  • Let me just say this. As the writer of this article, its somewhat disheartening that all comments degrade into partisan talking-point bickering. The article is completely non-partisan, yet that’s ignored.

    Something tells me I could have put the words “Rove,” “Plame,” and “Leak” in a headline, and then just babbled on about my four cats for 800 words… and the reaction would be the same.

    Look. It doesn’t count as an intelligent thought if you got it off a memo from the GOP or DNC. That’s called politics. If you’re a pawn in that game, you’re a pawn and nothing else.

    Politics is separate from policy. Hell, politics is separate from reality. Politics is ugly. If you can’t accept these things, and *gasp* cannot believe that all of our politicians lie all the time, and don’t understand why they have to much of the time, and why its not a bad thing most of the time… then you need to, I don’t know, quit arguing about it and re-read your history books.

    My point in the article is that politics is ugly. Sometimes ugly to an illegal level. While I’d hope anything illegal gets prosecuted, its also best to keep our CIA and FBI agents as far away from it as possible.

    The CIA has very stringent rules on what their agents can and cannot do. It goes with the territory. Many high-ranking CIA agents know they are giving their lives up to the CIA. So it should be easy for them to make sure no one is marrying or previously married to a person who is involved in politics.

    So cut out the partisan talking points. We’ve all heard them before- on both sides- and there is nothing unique about it.

  • gonzo marx

    umm…not “all”…i take exception there..

    i think what i am trying to talk about here is the baseline postulates of your Article, not the political bits surrounding it

    you seem to be placing a lot of the problem in the lap of the CIA, rather than those that violate their secrecy agreements and policies to further their own political Agendas

    since the CIA has civilian oversight, which culminates at the White House, and the incident we are speaking about as an example revolves around information leaked from the White House…what is your proposed answer?

    that the CIA hide information from the Executive branch and bypass oversite?

    not acceptable, then you get an american KGB running rampant with no control

    i have stated that making very public examples out of those that violate secrecy policies and prosecuting them with maximum punishment is the best we can do…unfortunatly, it rarely happens since it IS the White House policing itself, and with the same political party controlling both House and
    Senate getting any non-partisan investigation is almost impossible

    so, what is your proposed solution?


  • gonzo marx:

    Not only did I not propose hiding any information, I also did propose one small solution. (And there are lots of problems with “politics” entering our intelligence arenas… which was a lot of the reason we didn’t figure out 9/11 until 9/12.)

  • gonzo marx

    fair enough, i was not attempting to accuse you of anything, but genuinly curious as to your proposed solution to the problem..i do note that you agree the perpetrators of any leaked info should be punished

    what i am concerned with are what other measures you propose to both prevent more occurences, yet still supply needed oversight

    hope that helps


  • o phuhque – another ‘realist’

    basic social covenant – don’t lie

    but above – “all of our politicians lie all the time, … they have to much of the time, and … its not a bad thing most of the time”

    it’s probably a good thing much of the time to covet thy neighbor’s ass too

    politics might be ugly but not so ugly as its apologists

    take your sweet sounding Machiavellian self off my bridge


  • gonzo marx:

    Yeah, criminals should be prosecuted. Of course.

    My proposed solution is to remove politics from inside the CIA (at least the most important staff… higher-ups, agents, etc.)

    I’d be willing to bet that the CIA would not, back in the 50’s, allow an agent to marry a Russian businessman who had potential ties to the KGB. I was shocked to find out that a SECRET agent (“secret” is the important word here) can marry a guy who has direct links to the President and is out there writing Op-Eds in the 3rd largest paper in America.

    Information stops flowing BECAUSE of politics (read: 9/11). Internal politics, and external politics.

  • troll:

    Yes, troll… don’t lie, don’t steal, don’t kill.

    Of course, as a realist, I stay away from the most dangerous neighborhoods of my city (Chicago) at night.

    I wish that merely wishing that people would follow that whole “don’t kill people” rule would be enough. But guess what, its not. People do.

    So… as an opinion writer… I can sit there and harp on the fact that sh*t happens, or give an opinion on how to avoid this sh*t).

    Both are valid points. One is a little more realistic.

  • but must you extol the sh*t as the real therefore necessary?


  • gonzo marx

    problem here, Wilson is not some russian busnissman..but was a US ambassador, and often worked for the State Department

    again, you keep faulting the CIA for a violation of secrecy laws…i understand your being upset, but you also admit you don’t know what the Agency was up to…none of us does…is it possible that it was helpful to have the two of them married and thus able to achieve objectives for the Agency neither could alone?

    we don’t know..nor should we…poor form to attempt second guessing of intelligence operations that are unknown to us..

    but we DO know that secrecy policy was violated…and THAT is where our attention and outrage should focus

    all else merely distracts from the ACTUAL problem and violation of Law that threatens the Intelligence process…

    nuff said?


  • Nancy

    Politicitians do NOT “have to lie most of the time.” No one does. No one should. And there are no acceptable excuses for it, especially from politicians. Apparently they’re all too stupid & congenitally venal to understand that if you don’t lie, cheat, steal, or do other illegal/immoral/unethical things, you don’t have to worry about being exposed, altho you do have to worry about opponents lying about you, a la Smirk & his pet maggot, Rove.

    Ref, being ‘allowed’ or not ‘allowed’ to marry, etc., can’t speak for the CIA, but the agencies DO have ways to make employees/agents toe the line in just about every aspect of their behavior, including associates, friends, relatives, relationships, & even religious matters, not to mention just about every other part of one’s life – and that goes for time OFF the clock (i.e. your private life) as well as work life. When you buy into one of these agencies, it’s for 24/365 for as long (and sometimes longer) as you’re with them. At least the one I worked for.

  • >>I’d be willing to bet that the CIA would not, back in the 50’s, allow an agent to marry a Russian businessman who had potential ties to the KGB. I was shocked to find out that a SECRET agent (“secret” is the important word here) can marry a guy who has direct links to the President and is out there writing Op-Eds in the 3rd largest paper in America.<< Back in the height of the cold war they would have ENCOURAGED a field agent to marry a KGB operative if they thought it might mean turning that agent or at least gathering information inadvertently or getting access to secrets. That's the kind of things that spies do. Dave

  • Nancy:

    Well the “lying” point we’ll have to disagree on our approaches to that.

    But, you’re right about the 24/365 commitment. This is the point I am making. Thus, assuming that, the CIA shouldn’t have allowed Plame near a figure like Wilson.

    It has nothing to do with his Leftist or Rightist stance.

    Chances are they shouldn’t let her marry Hugh Grant either, considering that everything he does it outted in the press as well.

  • Dave Nalle:

    Oh, I know. Yes, that is correct. I was just using a quick example.

  • Christopher:

    “Look. It doesn’t count as an intelligent thought if you got it off a memo from the GOP or DNC.”

    You forgot one. That trash Ian pulls from Wikipedia of all places.

  • Marc:

    It kind of reminds me of when I was on the debate team in High School (many years ago)… and kids would use dictionary definitions as proof or examples.

    “MW defines ‘arms trade’ as X-Y-Z….”

  • gonzo marx

    as opposed to distract, obfuscate and attack?

    nuff said?




    Violation of allegiance toward one’s country or sovereign, especially the betrayal of one’s country by waging war against it or by consciously and purposely acting to aid its enemies.

    A betrayal of trust or confidence

    He violated SF-312 which equals Treason

    and you said

    >>>>I’d be willing to bet that the CIA would not, back in the 50’s, allow an agent to marry a Russian businessman who had potential ties to the KGB. I was shocked to find out that a SECRET agent (“secret” is the important word here) can marry a guy who has direct links to the President and is out there writing Op-Eds in the 3rd largest paper in America<<<< 1) Wilson was appointed by George Bush (Bush's Dad) 2) Both Wilson and his wife gave equal amounts to both parties UNTIL she was outed by Rove (hence the ugly politics that didnt happen until he wrote the Op-ed...So following your logic they should've never married because of the possibility of Wilson writing a Op-ed and the possibility that she was fair game. Thats alot of thinkin ahead and not realistic) 3) You cannot be serious about wanting to silence ppl because of thier job Lets say that everyone who worked in high level jobs could not write op-ed pieces...Do you mean any op-ed piece or just one that goes against what that current admin believes? Anywho...The fact that you not only expect lies but also accept them is the worst part of your article. How bout I borrow money and lie to your face that I'll pay it back...you'd be pretty pissed...now lets say that I borrowed money to send your family to war and they got killed...I think you'd be a little more pissed about that dont you think? Fact remains.... Rove and Scooter Leaked the names in violation of Federal form SF-312 The downing street memo tells us that the "facts were being fixed around the policy" (Which Tony Blair confirmed their authenticy)and this is another example and the Memo that was aboard Air Force one which identifies Plame as (s) for secret SUGGESTS (suggests) that Bush himself saw and knew about it also Those are the facts and this was another attempt to "fix the facts around the policy"

  • All of this debate can easily be settled in November, 2006. Elect a Democrat Congress, folks. Now this isn’t a blanket endorsement of the Democrats but it seems to me that it is the only mechanism we have to force the truth out of the White House once and for all.

  • Silas Kain:

    Ummmm… Democrats tell as many lies as Republicans.

  • Yes, that is quite true, sir. However the homogenous Federal government in power today is not serving the people well. It’s time to stir up the pot. The closest we will ever come to getting any real truth out of our government will happen when we revamp our campaign finance system and make it as transparent as James Dobson’s agenda. How’s that for baiting?


    Wilson had ties to politicians. I don’t care if it was Bush I or Clinton or Lady Bird Johnson.

    I’d prefer that our *secret* agents don’t get too personally close to anyone near fame and/or politicans.

    I like to think our CIA as a non-political agency. Not having a political allegiance spin. Just doing their best and following orders.

    If it is really a big deal that her name got leaked (and I reckon people on either partisan side don’t ACTUALLY care… they just want to see their opponent get roasted)… then the focus should be on that.

  • Silas Kain:

    Its slightly more homogenous than at other times, but most of our government processes don’t work off simple majority. So just being over 50% doesn’t mean absolute control.

    I don’t understand what campaign finance reform will help anything. And it has nothing to do with the subject at hand here.



    How could’ve Mrs Wilson known before marriage that her potential hubby would one day be ambassador?

    What you’re really sayin is CIA agents shouldn’t marry or if they do marry then thier spouses should avoid working for or talking to any politicians in ANY capacity

    thats just being unrealistic

  • In my mind the entire Plame matter is all about politics. Wilson criticized this White House. The Plame revelation was retribution. The majority of those who ‘serve’ in elected federal office got there thanks to the corrupt finance system in place.

    Cleaning up the government begins and ends at the door of campaign finance reform. Mr. Falvey, it is from this premise that I believe campaign finance reform is appropriate to this discussion.


    Well, then there were perfectly “realistic” reasons why internal politics allowed 9/11 to happen here in America. I suppose that “them’s just the breaks?”

  • gonzo marx

    the subject at hand here still remains that you seek to shift blame from whatever criminal leaked secret information to those affected, and suggest that the CIA is also respopnsible , why..i am still uncertain..

    what more do you want from the Agency other than to classify the Information and control who has access?

    you have previously agreed that leaking said information IS in violation of various secrecy acts and a punishable crime…so we can agree there..

    my confusion stems from what appears to be a desire to shift focus from those that commit the crime , to those that it was perpetrated AGAINST…

    blaming the CIA for this leak is akin to blaming the store owner that gets robbed because he doesn’t have a moat stocked with hungy alligators, even though he locked his doors and set the alarm…

    as i stated before, once classified documents are in thge hands of the WH, it is THEIR responsibility, both ethically and legally, to control access…

    if memory serves, the Chief of Staff is in charge of such things…

    i think we can all agree that things can be done better to guard our Nations secrets…but i don’t see how shifting focus from the perpetrators of the crime to the victims is the answer in any but a political sense…

    not being snarky, trying to understand…


  • Silas Kain:

    Well, we won’t agree on the need for campaign finance reform. But I’d ask you this:

    Why do you think an administration that ran a $3 Million campaign will automatically be better than one that runs a $75 Million campaign.

    If we had limits on spending, and Bush and Kerry could only spend $3 Million each (or whatever, quick example)… guess who would be president?

    George W. Bush.

  • gonzo….

    I am not shifting the blame. I am just focusing on a more “global” perspective to the whole “problem.”

    Like I’ve said many times. If someone commits a crime, they should be punished.

    Just because I want to discuss a different angle doesn’t mean I disagree or am ignoring yours.


    I dont follow what you’re tryna say

  • gonzo marx

    understood, and i do appreciate the clarification…

    part of my point is that none of us have access to all the variables involved in this…

    that is some of my difficulty with a few of your postulates…not neccesarily with the principles of many points you raise…

    hope that helps



    I am saying that extraordinary situations require extraordinary measures.

    Removing politics (internal and external) from agencies like the CIA and FBI may require some stringent policies for their employees that a normal citizens don’t require.

    I always THOUGHT this was true, even before 9/11. It is apparently not.

    You can be a secret agent and still be married to a guy who writes Op-Ed columns in a national newspaper.

  • Neither would be President. Presidential elections aren’t about real issues anymore. They’re about who raises the most money and galvanizes the special interest groups. There were at least 3 candidates in the last election who would have been far superior to Bush or Kerry. Instead of a campaign based on ideas and the real issues we were hoodwinked into believing that the queers had to be stopped from getting married. But that’s water over the dam. We can’t change the past but learn from the mistakes that have been made.


    So…Secret agents shouldnt be allowed to marry ppl that maybe someday might possibily write an OP-Ed piece?

    Or ppl married to agents shouldnt be able to write Op-eds?

    Or is it that ppl married to agents shouldnt be critics of things they know is untrue?

    I dont get it

  • She’s been working at Langley for the past 6 years. Her name has been leaked twice before.

    Her life was not in danger from this leak.


  • gonzo marx

    no John…the CIA itself requested the investigation on the grounds one of their covert operatives identities had been compromised

    one would think they know better than yuo, eh?

    end of Grand Jury will be the conclusion of Chapter 2

    plenty more Story to go, i know that is uncomfortable for you…but you don’t get to do anything more than try and spin it

    i’ll wait for the results of the Grand Jury…you know, like the Rule of Law says to…


  • Interesting how the CIA didn’t request investigations of the two previous leaks which were essentially their fault.


  • deep six

    Is there enough evidence to show that the administration lied to Congress about WMD in Iraq, provoking a decision to go to war?

    Is it against the law to lie to Congress?

    Is there a penalty for lying to Congress?

    Does Congress care?

    — Strangely, I posted the above comments on an article at the Moderate Voice (found by google news: keyword “plame”). Within 12 hrs, the article did not simply move down the search hierarchy but had completely disappeared from the same google search for at least the next ten pages that I checked. Cue Twighlight Zone music —


    Funny thing is, is that if this wasnt so important and her life wasnt in danger and blah blah

    Why have they been doin an investigation brought about by the CIA for 2 years over nothing.

    That doublethink got ppl crazy

  • Maddog 20/20

    Bush’s poll numbers are dropping like a rock. People are waking to the fact that he’s not the honest Christian he portrays. His “morals” are false. Many service people have lost their lives for his ambitions. Dave Nalle – If there were 500,000 tons of yellow cake in Iraq don’t you think that this administration would be trotting it out for the media to justify their claims and actions? I guess your going to say they can’t find it, but they could find a man hiding in a “spider hole”. I figure if Saddam happen to weigh say 500,000 tons they wouldn’t have found him. Marc – you might want to check out what Hans Blix and David Kay had to say. Bush Inc. used lies to make their case to go to war. Wilson’s op/ed piece threatened that. Rove tried to smear him. This is old hat for Rove. He got caught. Rove doesn’t have the guts to resign and Bush won’t be a man and stick by his word. I served in Kuwait in the first Gulf war. I have many friends over there now. The Bush Inc. house of cards is built on a foundation of lies.

  • >>Dave Nalle – If there were 500,000 tons of yellow cake in Iraq don’t you think that this administration would be trotting it out for the media to justify their claims and actions?< < I think I'd be doing it, but for reasons I can't begin to comprehend they aren't doing it. There's no question the Yellowcake is there. I've seen pictures, it's been cataloged by the UN IAEA, and all of the transactions which got it there in the first place are well documented as well. You can read up on the history of the Yellowcake in Iraq at the IAEA Website.

    >> I guess your going to say they can’t find it,<< Nope, they found it all. It's possible they're avoiding the issue because of embarassment associated with the fact that they lost 1.8 metric tons of it at one point, but that missing material was accounted for. There's also some controversy over some civilian exposures to the Yellowcake that was misplaced. Dave

  • Maddog 20/20

    Went to the IAEA site you linked. Good site. Lots of dates there mostly 80’s, before the first war, before the weapons inspectors and all the stuff they destroyed. The yellowcake story was bogus and Wilson knew it and so did the administration. I went to read it carefully now I invite you to read it carefully, all of it.

    “I think I’d be doing it, but for reasons I can’t begin to comprehend they aren’t doing it. There’s no question the Yellowcake is there.”

    According to the IAEA site it is NOT there.

    7 March 2003

    “Based on thorough analysis, the IAEA has concluded, with the concurrence of outside experts, that these documents – which formed the basis for the reports of recent uranium transactions between Iraq and Niger – are in fact not authentic.

    We have therefore concluded that these specific allegations are unfounded.”

    UN nuclear inspector Mohamed ElBaradei’s report to the UN Security Council

    BBC NEWS http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/americas/3051709.stm

    As of 16 December 1998, the following assessment could be made of Iraq’s clandestine programme:
    • There were no indications to suggest that Iraq was successful in its attempt to produce nuclear weapons. Iraq’s explanation of its progress towards the finalisation of a workable design for its nuclear weapons was considered to be consistent with the resources and time scale indicated by the available programme documentation.
    • Iraq was at, or close to, the threshold of success in such areas as the production of HEU through the EMIS process, the production and pilot cascading of single-cylinder sub-critical gas centrifuge machines, and the fabrication of the explosive package for a nuclear weapon
    • There were no indications to suggest that Iraq had produced more than a few grams of weapons-grade nuclear material through its indigenous processes.
    • There were no indications that Iraq otherwise clandestinely acquired weapons-usable material
    • All the safeguarded research reactor fuel was verified and fully accounted for by the IAEA and removed from Iraq.
    • There were no indications that there remains in Iraq any physical capability for the production of amounts of weapons-usable nuclear material of any practical significance.

    Took custody of all known imported compounds and indigenously produced uranium compounds
    All known indigenous facilities capable of producing uranium compounds useful for fuel fabrication and for isotopic enrichment were destroyed during the Gulf War; IAEA inspected and completed the destruction of facilities; IAEA monitored the sites as part of their OMV activities.
    IAEA http://www.iaea.org/OurWork/SV/Invo/factsheet.html

  • >>According to the IAEA site it is NOT there.<< Just a sec, I never said the deal Wilson went to investigate was concluded. Where did you get that idea? Iraq had planned to buy more in the late 90s, but the deal fell through. I'm referring to the enormous amounts of Yellowcake which are documented to have been bought earlier from Niger and elsewhere and which were partially processed into higher grade uranium suitable for dirty bombs, and which were subsequently found when we invaded Iraq. I never said one word about the yellowcake they ended up not actually buying later. Dave

  • Maddog 20/20

    Sorry Dave, I know it’s hard to keep a firm footing on shaky ground.

  • gonzo marx

    according to you link , Mr Nalle..it was all found and destroyed or confiscated by the Inspectors in 1998

    so, the inspectors and others processes put in place during the 90’s were working, according to what you have linked to…

    this material had been there, but was now dealt with…7 years ago…

    i fail to see how this is relevant to Administration statements made from 2002-2005



  • Found and destroyed or confiscated by 1998? Come again? If that was the case, how was it possible for the coalition forces to lose and then find 1.8 metric tons of it during the invasion?

    If you read more closely you will see that it was ‘secured’, which meant putting identifying labels on the thousands of barrels of Yellowcake and leaving it in Iraq at a couple of locations. The destruction applied to some of the equipment. It’s also not clear from their report when the Yellowcake was ultimately accounted for. It could well have been after the invasion.

    Check this article from the BBC

    What I find particularly shocking from the IAEA report is how far the Iraqis were towards having a working bomb. They had enough fissionables for more than one bomb, and had actually formed a sphere of enriched uranium. From that point even I know how to make a working bomb, so I bet the Iraqis could too.


  • I love how in an article about how the real “problem” of an issue is not being discussed…. all the discussion devolves into the precise thing that the author (that’s me) is explaining is NOT the issue.

    Oh, well.

  • After a certain time these threads take on a life of their own. Hopefully that at least keeps people reading the original article.


  • gonzo marx

    Christopher..the difficulty is that not all agree on your definition of what the real “problem” is…

    from what i understand, your “problem” is with the Agency , which allowed an Agent (Plame) to marry someone in the State Department (Wilson)who, after leaving government service, wrote an OP-Ed…which pissed off the Administration…which then leaked info about his wife (the covert agent) in political retaliation…

    your position here is that it is somehow the Agency’s fault, and that there procedures should be tighter…

    myself, and some others, state that the REAL problem lies with whomever leaked the “secret” information afer being trained in and signing off on the needed secrecy and security documents

    no real argument as to the facts…you agree that those who have violated the Law and/or their secrecy agreements should be punished

    one position lays blame and Responsibility squarely on the shoulders of those that violated Law, Policy and Ethics….the other is trying to lay it on the Victim…


  • deep six

    This is not about a leak. It is about an administration who ignored, hid, and doctored the intelligence facts because the facts did not support or rather, justify, the policy.