So that settles that. I hope the wingosphere can finally stop bleating about how she wasn’t “really” covert and there was no harm in what Libby et. al. did.
On another note, this probably means I was wrong about the reason Fitzgerald didn’t try to prosecute anyone for leaking Plame’s name. (Libby was tried only for perjury, not for outing a covert agent.) I figured it was because Plame had been working inside the U.S. for six years at the time of the leak, and one of the technical elements of “covert” under the IIPA Act is that the agent has “within the last five years served outside the United States.”
But obviously she had been working under cover outside the U.S. quite extensively during the previous five years, which means that Plame almost certainly qualified as “covert” under the specific definitions outlined in IIPA. Nonetheless, for some reason Fitzgerald decided not to bring outing charges against anyone. This suggests that Mark Kleiman has been right all along: Fitzgerald’s decision had nothing to do with technical aspects of IIPA, but rather with its scienter requirements. That is, the leakers had to know that leaking Plame’s name could be damaging, and Fitzgerald didn’t think he had the evidence to make that case. That might have been especially true since the leaks seem to have been authorized at very high levels, something the leakers could have used in their defense at trial.
Of course the wingnuts aren’t admitting they were wrong; they are clinging to their delusions more fiercely and frantically than ever. My favorite so far is the Flopping Ace, who draws upon his vast personal experience in espionage to write,
So basically what constitutes a “covert” agent within the CIA is that they travel overseas sometimes using an alias, sometimes using their true name.
I mean a foreign country would never keep tabs on the real names of agents would they? But hey, she was “covert”.
They still haven’t figured out it wasn’t her “name” that was a secret. It was her “job.” They still insist that Plame wasn’t “covert,” even though the CIA says she was, because (they claim) she doesn’t meet the criterion of “covert” under the Intelligence Identities Protection Act of 1982. And they know this because Victoria Toensing and other Faux Snooze media personalities told them so. And in their minds, since (they think) the Intelligence Identities Protection Act of 1982 was not violated, then there was “no underlying crime,” even though Mr. Fitzgerald’s original indictment discussed allegations that other laws may have been been violated, such as “Title 18, United States Code, Section 793, and Executive Order 12958 (as modified by Executive Order 13292).” Those don’t count.
My understanding has been all along that the reason Mr. Fitzgerald didn’t charge anyone with revealing classified information under any of the several statutes discussed in the indictment is that he couldn’t prove intent. He also couldn’t determine for certain if the people who “outed” Plame fully appreciated that her status as a CIA employee (not her “name,” wingnuts) was classified. My understanding of the various statutes is that to be convicted of spilling classified beans the prosecution must prove the spiller knew the beans were classified. Fitzgerald couldn’t put together a strong enough case to bring this charge to trial, and one reason he couldn’t put this case together is that Scooter Libby wouldn’t tell the truth.
But try explaining that to a wingnut. Just try.
Elsewhere on the wingnut-o-net I’m seeing replays of the whole Plame mythos, including the “she sent Joe Wilson to Niger and lied about it” tale, which has been debunked so many times I’ve lost count. It doesn’t matter; you know Faux Snooze and Rush Limbaugh and the rest of the Echo Chamber are pushing the same old lies and misinformation as hard as they can today. And nobody’s minds will change. We’re way past the point that fact matter to these people.