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PlameGate Hearing Today

If you are by a computer this morning, don't miss the Valerie Plame hearing which will be webcast on C-Span as well as the Oversight Committee's website.

Chairman Henry A. Waxman announced a hearing on whether White House officials followed appropriate procedures for safeguarding the identity of CIA agent Valerie Plame Wilson. At the hearing, the Committee will receive testimony from Ms. Wilson and other experts regarding the disclosure and internal White House security procedures for protecting her identity from disclosure and responding to the leak after it occurred. The hearing is scheduled for Friday, March 16.

The witnesses are:

* Ms. Valerie Plame Wilson, former employee, Central Intelligence Agency * Dr. James Knodell, Director, Office of Security, The White House
* Mr. Bill Leonard, Director, Information Security Oversight Office, National Archives and Records Administration
* Mr. Mark Zaid, Attorney
* Ms. Victoria Toensing, diGenova & Toensing, LLP

I'm looking forward to hearing Valerie Plame Wilson tell her side of the story.

Former CIA Analyst Larry Johnson posts how he thinks Valerie Plame Wilson should answer the questions.

[hat tip to Susan Hu of Daily Kos.}

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Fitzerald to Congress: Nothing to Say About Plame

So much for those who hoped Patrick Fitzgerald would talk to a Congressional Committee about the Valerie Plame leak investigation. He says he'd rather not. Grand jury secrecy still protects those who weren't indicted and evidence beyond what came out at the Scooter Libby trial.

Rep. Henry Waxman, D-Calif., asked Fitzgerald last week to meet with members of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, which will hold hearings on the Bush administration's handling of CIA operative Valerie Plame's classified employment status.

In a letter to Waxman, Fitzgerald did not refuse to cooperate with the congressional probe but made it clear he had little to say. "I do not believe it would be appropriate for me to offer opinions, as your letter suggests the committee may seek, about the ultimate responsibility of senior White House officials for the disclosure of Ms. Wilson's identity," Fitzgerald wrote.

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Casting the Wilson-Plame Movie

The Independent reports that Richard Gere and Sharon Stone may be under consideration for the Valerie Plame - Joseph Wilson movie:

Warner Bros studios is developing a feature film based on the lives of Wilson and his wife. Reports suggest that Richard Gere and Sharon Stone may be in line to play the couple.

Who would you cast?

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Rep. Waxman to Hold PlameGate Hearing

Update: Valerie Plame will testify at the hearing.


Via Tim Grieve at Salon's War Room:

House Oversight Committee Chairman Henry Waxman announced today that he will hold a hearing on March 16 to determine whether "White House officials followed appropriate procedures for safeguarding" Plame's identity.

Rep. Waxman's announcement is here.

Waxman also wrote this letter to Patrick Fitzgerald (pdf), inviting him to share his thoughts and perhaps testify.


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Valerie Plame Case: New From Murray Waas

The intrepid reporter Murray Waas has a new article in the National Journal exposing what transpired at the grand jury investigating the leak of the identity of former CIA operative Valerie Plame.

In attempting to determine Libby's motives for allegedly lying to the FBI and a federal grand jury about his leaking of Plame's CIA identity to journalists, federal investigators theorized from the very earliest stages of the case that Libby may have been trying to hide Cheney's own role in encouraging Libby to discredit Wilson, according to attorneys involved in the case.

Key among the details is the July 12, 2003 plane trip that Cheney, Libby and Cheney aide Cathie Martin took to Norfolk. I wrote some extensive posts on it here and here.

Murray theorizes, as have many others, myself included, that Libby may have lied to the grand jury to protect Cheney. Murray writes that a senior official has confirmed to him in an interview:

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David Corn Denies Outing Valerie Plame Wilson

Lawyer and pundit Victoria Toensing has gone on the attack, accusing journalist David Corn of being the first to out Valerie Plame Wilson as a covert employee of the CIA. Corn denies it.

Here is Corn's original article from July 16, 2003.

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New Clues in Valerie Plame Mystery

Robert Parry at Consortium News writes that Karl Rove and Richard Armitage have a long standing friendship. They worked together to secure the nomination of Colin Powell as Secretary of State. Parry writes:

The significance of this detail is that it undermines the current "conventional wisdom" among Washington pundits that Armitage acted alone - and innocently - in July 2003 when he disclosed Plame's covert identity to right-wing columnist Robert Novak, who then got Rove to serve as a secondary source confirming the information from Armitage.

This new revelation that Armitage and Rove worked together behind the scenes also lends credence to Novak's version of his contacts with Armitage and other administration officials, both as Novak sketched out those meetings in 2003 and then filled in the details in a column on Sept. 14, 2006.

Consider this in the context of the disparate versions provided by Robert Novak and Richard Armitage of Armitage's role in the leaks investigation. It also relates to the timing of Armitage's leak to Novak -- Novak said he first got a call from Armitage in June, 2003, before Joseph Wilson's July 6 op-ed:

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Bob Novak Blasts Armitage, Wilsons Add Armitage to Lawsuit

Bob Novak has a new column today disputing Richard Armitage's version of the Valerie Plame leak.

First, Armitage did not, as he now indicates, merely pass on something he had heard and that he ''thought'' might be so. Rather, he identified to me the CIA division where Mrs. Wilson worked, and said flatly that she recommended the mission to Niger by her husband, former Amb. Joseph Wilson. Second, Armitage did not slip me this information as idle chitchat, as he now suggests. He made clear he considered it especially suited for my column.

Novak writes that June, 2003 was the first time Armitage had sought him out. Before this, Armitage had rebuffed him:

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Armitage 'Fesses Up With Permission From Fitz

In the anti-climactic news of the day, Richard Armitage received Patrick Fitzgerald's blessing Tuesday to disclose what we all knew -- that he was one of those who told Robert Novak and Bob Woodward that Valerie Plame Wilson worked for the CIA.

Armitage was rueful nonetheless, and disclosed that he had written a letter of resignation as the State Department's No. 2 official and closest adviser to then-Secretary of State Colin Powell.

"There wasn't a day that went by that I didn't feel that I let down the president, the secretary of state, the Department of State, my family and friends and for that matter, the Wilsons," he said. "I consider myself someone who's valued the ability to keep state secrets," he said. "This was bad."

But, he did not tell Novak she was an "operative" or what she did there -- or even that Wilson's wife had been responsible for the CIA sending Wilson to Niger.

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Lawyer: Armitage Was the Leaker

A lawyer involved in the Valerie Plame leak case has confirmed that Armitage was the primary source for Bob Novak's column outing Valerie Plame and the source of Washington Post Bob Woodward. [Note: Edited to reflect that the article may be referring to a lawyer involved in the case rather than Armitage's lawyer. Thanks to Patriot Daily for pointing this out to me.]

But the lawyer and other associates of Mr. Armitage have said he has confirmed that he was the initial and primary source for the columnist, Robert D. Novak, whose column of July 14, 2003, identified Valerie Wilson as a Central Intelligence Agency officer.

The Times says this ends the mystery. I disagree. The question remains of whether there was a concerted effort to use Valerie Plame Wilson's undercover or classified employment status with the CIA in an attempt to smear Joe Wilson and his public statements that Iraq was not attempting to acquire uranium from Niger, as Bush erroneously claimed in his 2003 State of the Union Address.

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Richard Armitage Named as Plame Leaker

Newsweek's Michael Isikoff and David Corn's new book, Hubris, names Richard Armitage as the leaker of Valerie Plame Wilson's identity and the source for both Bob Woodward and Bob Novak. Isikoff reports in Newsweek that Armitage realized he was the leaker when he read Novak's October 1, 2003 column describing his source as "no partisan gunslinger." Armitage then reported his suspicion

Within hours, William Howard Taft IV, the State Department's legal adviser, notified a senior Justice official that Armitage had information relevant to the case.a team of FBI agents and Justice prosecutors investigating the leak questioned the deputy secretary. Armitage acknowledged that he had passed along to Novak information contained in a classified State Department memo: that Wilson's wife worked on weapons-of-mass-destruction issues at the CIA. (The memo made no reference to her undercover status.) Armitage had met with Novak in his State Department office on July 8, 2003--just days before Novak published his first piece identifying Plame. Powell, Armitage and Taft, the only three officials at the State Department who knew the story, never breathed a word of it publicly and Armitage's role remained secret.

This doesn't end the discussion. Isikoff has been speculating about Armitage since 2005. As Needlenose, who has followed the case closely writes:

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Novak on Meet the Press: Retract and Spin

Crooks and Liars has the video of Bob Novak's appearance on Meet the Press this morning. Christy at Firedoglake provides her view.

Shorter version: Novak now claims he made a mistake when he told Newsday one week after his infamous column in which he outed Valerie Plame that his primary source gave him Valerie Plame Wilson's name.

Novak, in an interview, said his sources had come to him with the information. "I didn't dig it out, it was given to me," he said. "They thought it was significant, they gave me the name and I used it." [my emphasis]

Memories weaken upon the passage of time, they become comingled with post-event information --things the person experiencing the event later hears and reads about the case -- so that often it is no longer possible to distinguish between their original memory of the event and the blended memory that is created by what they heard, observed or later learned from others. Novak's memory is undoubtedly a mish-mosh now, but it wasn't one week after the event.

I'm going with what Novak said then: his primary source, who is no partisan gunslinger, not only told him Joseph Wilson's wife had a role in sending him to Niger but supplied her name.

Here's one post from last week on Novak Then vs. Novak Now.

Update: Editor and Publisher has the majority of the transcript.

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Media Reporting on Joe and Valerie Plame Wilson Suit

Media Matters has a round-up of the reporting on Joe Wilson and Valerie Plame Wilson's lawsuit against Rumsfeld, Rove, Libby and others as yet unknown. Prime offenders:

  • ABC's World News Tonight and CBS Evening News ignored the lawsuit while devoting airtime to Shakespeare and the Kentucky Derby.
  • On CNN, John King and Darren Kagan repeated false statements by Republicans about Wilson's trip to Niger. echoed Republican falsehoods on Wilson's trip to Niger. [corrected on my part to reflect John King, not the other King.]

Crooks and Liars has the video of the Wilsons' news conference yesterday. It's the first time Valerie Plame Wilson has spoken publicly about the damage done to her by the leak of her identity and employment, and she's very impressive. If you'd like to lend a hand to the Wilsons, contributions to the Joseph and Valerie Wilson Legal Support Trust can be given here or sent to P.O. Box 40918, Washington, D.C. 20016-0918.

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The Timing of the Wilsons' Lawsuit in PlameGate

I've been wondering why the Wilsons chose today to file their civil lawsuit against Cheney, Libby, Rove et. al. (Background here.)

I figure it has to do with the statute of limitations. July 14, 2003 was when Bob Novak's column outing Valerie Plame was published. So, there must be a three year statute of limitations lurking somewhere.

It's not that easy to determine. The lawsuit is a Bivens federal civil rights lawsuit. Bivens is a judicially created remedy that does not have its own statute of limitations. Usually, Bivens actions borrow the limitations statute in the state where the action arose. And, while state law establishes the statute of limitations, federal law determines when the federal Bivens claims accrued.

Under federal law, the statute of limitations on a Bivens claim "begins to run when the plaintiff knows or has reason to know of the existence and cause of the injury which is the basis of his action." This would seem to be the date Novak's column was published.

Some of the Wilsons' claims allege a violation of their 5th Amendment due process rights. The Supreme Court has recognized the due process clause and its equal protection component as being valid for Bivens claims.

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Joseph and Valerie Wilson Sue Cheney, Libby and Rove

On July 14 at 10:00 am Joseph and Valerie Plame Wilson will announce the filing of civil lawsuit against I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby, Vice-President Richard Cheney and Karl Rove. Via Christy at Firedoglake.

Update: Here is the Wilson's latest press release, the lawsuit has been filed, you can read the complaint here.

Also, if you'd like to lend them a hand.

Contributions to the Joseph and Valerie Wilson Legal Support Trust can be given here or sent to P.O. Box 40918, Washington, D.C. 20016-0918. [link fixed]

Some excerpts from the complaint:

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