What’d I Say?

If you are a regular here you have heard me say this before, but I’m going to say it again because repeated lies need repeated correction.

As I wrote a few days ago, righties are trying to confuse the issues surrounding Libby’s Leaks by fudging the distinction between the words covert and classified. I found this again in an article in World Nut Daily, which argues that Valerie Plame Wilson (hereafter VPW) was no longer covert because she hadn’t worked outside the United States for at least five years. And since she was not covert, they’re trying to argue that Scooter et al. could not have committed a crime by leaking her identity as a CIA agent.

It may be that VPW had not taken part in overseas covert operations for some time. However, her status was still classified. The indictments brought against Scooter Libby say that VPW’s status at the CIA was classified. Apparently Patrick Fitzgerald went to great lengths to verify that her status was classified before he brought indictments, including asking her neighbors if they knew she worked at the CIA. Rightie mythology that everybody on the eastern seaboard knew she was an agent is a Big Lie.

The indictment says (page 3):

At all relevant times from January 1, 2002 through July 2003, Valerie Wilson was employed by the CIA, and her employment status was classified. Prior to July 14, 2003, Valerie Wilson’s affiliation with the CIA was not common knowledge outside the intelligence community.

Patrick Fitzgerald stated

Valerie Wilson was a CIA officer. In July 2003, the fact that Valerie Wilson was a CIA officer was classified. Not only was it classified, but it was not widely known outside the intelligence community.

Valerie Wilson’s friends, neighbors, college classmates had no idea she had another life.

The fact that she was a CIA officer was not well- known, for her protection or for the benefit of all us. It’s important that a CIA officer’s identity be protected, that it be protected not just for the officer, but for the nation’s security.

Valerie Wilson’s cover was blown in July 2003. The first sign of that cover being blown was when Mr. Novak published a column on July 14th, 2003.

Righties play with words to spread the lie that leaking VPW’s identity did not potentially harm national security. Once again, they show how easily people who call themselves “patriots” can betray their own country.

If VPW wasn’t actively working as an undercover spy, then what difference did it make to out her? Once again, it made a difference to agents who are engaged in covert operations right now. Outing VPW also outed the dummy company that had provided a cover to her and still provided a cover to possibly hundreds of over agents — until the leak.

As explained by two former agents who were interviewed by Rita Cosby:

JIM MARCINKOWSKY, FORMER CIA AGENT WHO TRAINED WITH PLAME: We‘re outraged. Betrayal—I mean, that‘s the—that‘s the lowest description I can put on it. We held this secret for 18 years until betrayed by the White House, whether we were inside the agency or outside the agency. It‘s is simply outrageous.

COSBY: You know, Melissa, do you find it sort of ironic that here you go—I know when you go for your job and your training, you‘re told, Keep these things covert. You don‘t expect the government to be the one doing the outing.

MELISSA BOYLE MAHLE, FORMER CIA SPY: No, you certainly don‘t because you know your cover is what allows to you do your job. And so since the government presumably wants you to do your job, that they‘ll also protect it.

COSBY: You know, Jim, let‘s talk about this company, I found this fascinating, a company called Brewster Jennings and Associates. It‘s been outed now by others, so we can talk about it. But explain (INAUDIBLE) sort of it was sort of a mock company under a cover.

MARCINKOWSKY: Well, that‘s exactly right. There‘s commercial covers. You‘re not protected overseas by governmental immunity, diplomatic immunity. And if you get caught under one of those kinds of covers, non-official cover, you‘re going to suffer the consequences of any other body that may be operating and conducting the espionage in a foreign country.

COSBY: But Jim, with this Brewster-Jennings, it was a business card. It was sort of a pseudo-company that folks who worked for the CIA could pretend that they worked for this company, right?

MARCINKOWSKY: Correct. And it doesn‘t matter whether it‘s just a telephone or a business card. The fact of the matter was, it was sufficient to get in and out of a country safely, and that‘s all that matters in the eyes of an agent.

COSBY: You know, and how detrimental, Melissa, when something like a Brewster Jennings is let out? Because I would imagine a lot of agents use that as their cover.

MAHLE: Well, I tell you, when you start exposing how—what kinds of covers that the CIA uses in whether business or whatever, you start setting a trail that bad guys can follow and say, Hey, let‘s look at these kind of companies and see what—you know, Maybe we can find some more agents.

COSBY: Well, that‘s what I was going to say. There‘s a huge rippling effect, right, Melissa?

MAHLE: Yes, and I think that‘s one of the things that really concerns the CIA because we need to protect our agents and our officers if we‘re going to be able to achieve our mission. …

Righties don’t actually care about the security of the United States. They only care that their tribal leaders in the Bush Regime don’t have to suffer the indignity of being held responsible for anything.

The Fruits of Torture

Via Dr. Atrios, here’s an update to the last post, which describes how a Mr. Ibn al-Shaykh al-Libi gave testimony about al Qaeda-Iraq collusion that the Defense Intelligence Agency strongly suspected wasn’t true, but the Bush Administration charged ahead and based arguments for invading Iraq on his bogus testimony anyway —

Michael Hirsh, John Barry and Daniel Klaidman wrote about Libi in the June 21, 2004, issue of Newsweek:

Ibn al-Shaykh al-Libi was America’s first big trophy in the war on terror: a senior Qaeda operative captured amid the fighting in Afghanistan. What is less known is that al-Libi, who ran Qaeda training camps, quickly became the subject of a bitter feud between the FBI and the CIA over how to interrogate terror suspects.


At the time of al-Libi’s capture on Nov. 11, 2001, the questioning of detainees was still the FBI’s province. For years the bureau’s “bin Laden team” had sought to win suspects over with a carrots-and-no-sticks approach: favors in exchange for cooperation. One terrorist, in return for talking, even wangled a heart transplant for his child.

With al-Libi, too, the initial approach was to read him his rights like any arrestee, one former member of the FBI team told NEWSWEEK. “He was basically cooperating with us.” But this was post-9/11; President Bush had declared war on Al Qaeda, and in a series of covert directives, he had authorized the CIA to set up secret interrogation facilities and to use new, harsher methods. The CIA, says the FBI source, was “fighting with us tooth and nail.” …

…Al-Libi’s capture, some sources say, was an early turning point in the government’s internal debates over interrogation methods. FBI officials brought their plea to retain control over al-Libi’s interrogation up to FBI Director Robert Mueller. The CIA station chief in Afghanistan, meanwhile, appealed to the agency’s hawkish counterterrorism chief, Cofer Black. He in turn called CIA Director George Tenet, who went to the White House. Al-Libi was handed over to the CIA. “They duct-taped his mouth, cinched him up and sent him to Cairo” for more-fearsome Egyptian interrogations, says the ex-FBI official. “At the airport the CIA case officer goes up to him and says, ‘You’re going to Cairo, you know. Before you get there I’m going to find your mother and I’m going to f— her.’ So we lost that fight.” (A CIA official said he had no comment.)

Although the article doesn’t say exactly what was done to Libi, as explained in the previous post Libi told his interrogators a bunch of made up stories that the Bushies repeated to the American public as reasons we had to invade Iraq.

Kevin Drum calls this episode “one of the first test cases for Dick Cheney’s campaign to introduce torture as a standard interrogation technique overseas, replacing the FBI’s more mainstream methods.”

Kevin continues,

As Mark Kleiman points out, this is the pragmatic case against torture: not only is it wrong, but it doesn’t even provide reliable information anyway — and it makes Cheney’s relentless moral cretinism on the subject all the worse. Larry Wilkerson, who investigated this back when he was Colin Powell’s chief of staff, confirms that “there was a visible audit trail from the vice president’s office” that authorized the practices that led to the abuse of detainees, and Cheney continues to vigorously support the use of torture to this day, pressuring Congress behind closed doors not to pass John McCain’s anti-torture legislation.

Andrew Sullivan writes,

He’s still furiously lobbying Senators to protect his right to torture. A man who avoided service in Vietnam is lecturing John McCain on the legitimacy of torturing military detainees. But notice he won’t even make his argument before Senate aides, let alone the public. Why not? If he really believes that the U.S. has not condoned torture but wants to reserve it for exceptional cases, why not make his argument in the full light of day? You know: where democratically elected politicians operate.

Like cockroaches, Cheney and his minions are more active in the dark. I’m starting to wonder what would happen to them if they were drug out into the sunlight. Would they burst into flames?