December 26, 2003

The Plame Leak Investigation Continues

Michael Froomkin points to a Washington Post story about how the Plame leak investigation continues--and about how the White House continues to leak classified information, and false information, about the case:

washingtonpost.com: Leaks Probe Is Gathering Momentum: The Justice Department has added a fourth prosecutor to the team investigating the leak of an undercover CIA officer's identity, while the FBI has said a grand jury may be called to take testimony from administration officials, sources close to the case said. Administration and CIA officials said they have seen signs in the past few weeks that the investigation continues intensively behind closed doors, even though little about the investigation has been publicly said or seen for months.

According to administration officials and people familiar with some of the interviews, FBI agents apparently started their White House questioning with top figures -- including President Bush's senior adviser, Karl Rove -- and then worked down to more junior officials. The agents appear to have a great deal of information and have constructed detailed chronologies of various officials' possible tie to the leak, people familiar with the questioning said. The Justice Department has added a prosecutor specializing in counterintelligence, joining two other counterintelligence prosecutors and one from Justice's Public Integrity section.

Agents investigating the matter have been increasingly apparent at CIA headquarters in Langley over the past three weeks, officials said. "They are still active," a senior official said. But sources said the CIA believes that people in the administration continue to release classified information to damage the figures at the center of the controversy, former ambassador Joseph C. Wilson IV and his wife, Valerie Plame, who was exposed as a CIA officer by unidentified senior administration officials for a July 14 column by Robert D. Novak.

Wilson, a prominent critic of the administration over Iraq, has said that was done to retaliate against him for continuing to publicize his conclusion, after a 2002 mission for the CIA, that there was little evidence Iraq had sought uranium in Africa to develop nuclear weapons. Sources said the CIA is angry about the circulation of a still-classified document to conservative news outlets suggesting Plame had a role in arranging her husband's trip to Africa for the CIA. The document, written by a State Department official who works for its Bureau of Intelligence and Research (INR), describes a meeting at the CIA where the Niger trip by Wilson was discussed, said a senior administration official who has seen it.

CIA officials have challenged the accuracy of the INR document, the official said, because the agency officer identified as talking about Plame's alleged role in arranging Wilson's trip could not have attended the meeting...

Posted by DeLong at December 26, 2003 06:14 AM | TrackBack

Comments

Gee, I thought this was forgotten about already.

You mean we have to keep discussing things from, like more than 10 minues ago? That's even worse than High School.

This accountability thingie sounded much much more interesting on the campaign trail than in real life. Damn!

Posted by: Barry Ritholtz on December 26, 2003 08:08 AM

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You mean we are still interested in this story? Methought it was forgotten already -- its like so 10 munutes ago.

This whole accountability thing sounded so much better on the campaign trail than in real life. Damn!

Posted by: Barry Ritholtz on December 26, 2003 08:12 AM

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I'm not optimistic, but as I wrote before on this topic there must be a sheaf of career spooks that see this case as a matter of life-and-death for their profession. If they lose on this, how is this going to affect their ability to develop resources and gather intelligence?

Any and all sources will simply tell their handlers "hey any day now I'll see your name in the Chicago Tribune" then at very least jack the price up.

Anyone on the inside care to comment on this? C'mon you can post anonymously.

Posted by: Alan on December 26, 2003 09:51 AM

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More form the same WP story:

"..Capitol Hill aides in both parties said Wilson had badly hurt his credibility with his apparently enthusiastic participation in a spread in the January issue of Vanity Fair that includes a glamorous photo of him and his wife outside the White House, a scarf and dark glasses shielding her. ..."


"...The article includes Wilson's steamy account of his early romance with Plame. Congressional aides said the article bolstered the contention of Wilson's critics that no one had done more than him to draw attention to Plame, and that the couple had eagerly contributed to their celebrity. ..."

I think it is becoming a crazy world.

You can't even tell the bad guys from the good guys any more!

Posted by: Bulent Sayin on December 26, 2003 12:09 PM

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I didn't think this story was forgotten.

Hopelessly trivialized by the participants, maybe (see the glamour spread in the new Vanity Fair), but not forgotten.

Posted by: Mike G on December 26, 2003 04:16 PM

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Pay no attention to the man behind the green curtain...

Posted by: non economist on December 26, 2003 08:52 PM

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