Friday, September 29, 2006

Viget on Plame, etc.

"I still think the Fitzgerald investigation is important for the reasons I highlighted, namely the leaking of classified info for political gain. Has it been done before? Almost assuredly.

But never with the brazeness and callousness that Cheney and co displayed. That kind of thinking and behavior needs to stop. Information is either classified or not for national security concerns, not to hide evidence of a crime or to score political points. And I think that's where Pat Fitzgerald wants to take this case.

I don't know if I agree in toto about conceding the fact that Libby, Rove, etc., may not have blown any sensitive info with their leak. That's too easily spun by the news cycle as "nothing to see here folks," and will diminish the import of the investigation IMHO. The point is that they were perfectly willing to out an American spy for political gain. Whether or not she was useful for practical considerations, I think, is a moot point. Certainly she had tons of experience in the agency, and was a valued asset in terms of her managerial experience. And I'm sure she could still be used in some covert capacity, albeit in a much reduced role.

But Libby and company deprived the CIA of her usefulness by outing her to the American public and shutting down her unit. Perhaps there were some NOCs in her unit that were under deep cover that hadn't been found out yet, but once it was definitively demonstrated that Plame was CIA, and the world saw the flap over that, foreign intel services, black market interests, terrorists, etc., might have decided to basically treat everyone she had contact with as a potential spy. And also Joe Wilson's contacts too.

Who knows what kind of damage might have been done? The CIA still hasn't done a formal damage assessment. (at least, not that we know of)

I'm sure we'll never know the whole picture, it'll all be classified and/or squelched by higher interests in the IC. Thought I too share your desire to see this black market operation shut down. But it seems like it's just too profitable for multinational players for that to happen. Too many people are playing both sides of the fence against each other.

Hopefully there is still a DoJ/CIA investigation on Perle/Feith that's active and is highly classified. Perhaps we'll know more if the dems take back the congress.

I agree with you in that it seems like Perle/Feith always are at the center of this spider web; certainly a number of active DoJ investigations seem to peripherally involve at least Perle (the AIPAC scandal and the Lord Black/Hollinger case are two that immediately come to mind).

For all we know, Fitzgerald may himself be coordinating some of these investigations. I can only hope he's at least sharing info with trusted careerist prosecutors who desire to see us rid of these rats!"
Thnx Viget.

re the damage assessment, this from Larisa:
"Intelligence sources would not identify the specifics of Plame's work. They did, however, tell RAW STORY that her outing resulted in "severe" damage to her team and significantly hampered the CIA's ability to monitor nuclear proliferation.

Plame's team, they added, would have come in contact with A.Q. Khan's network in the course of her work on Iran.

While Director of Central Intelligence Porter Goss has not submitted a formal damage assessment to Congressional oversight committees, the CIA's Directorate of Operations did conduct a serious and aggressive investigation, sources say.

Intelligence sources familiar with the damage assessment say that what is called a "counter intelligence assessment to agency operations" was conducted on the orders of the CIA's then-Deputy Director of the Directorate of Operations, James Pavitt.

Former CIA counterintelligence officer Larry Johnson believes that such an assessment would have had to be done for the CIA to have referred the case to the Justice Department.

"An exposure like that required an immediate operational and counter intelligence damage assessment," Johnson said. "That was done. The results were written up but not in a form for submission to anyone outside of CIA."

One former counterintelligence official described the CIA's reasons for not seeking Congressional assistance on the matter as follows: "[The CIA Leadership] made a conscious decision not to do a formal inquiry because they knew it might become public," the source said. "They referred it [to the Justice Department] instead because they believed a criminal investigation was needed."

The source described the findings of the assessment as showing "significant damage to operational equities."

Another counterintelligence official, also wishing to remain anonymous due to the nature of the subject matter, described "operational equities" as including both people and agency operations that involve the "cover mechanism," "front companies," and other CIA officers and assets.

Three intelligence officers confirmed that other CIA non-official cover officers were compromised, but did not indicate the number of people operating under non-official cover that were affected or the way in which these individuals were impaired. None of the sources would say whether there were American or foreign casualties as a result of the leak.

Several intelligence officials described the damage in terms of how long it would take for the agency to recover. According to their own assessment, the CIA would be impaired for up to "ten years" in its capacity to adequately monitor nuclear proliferation on the level of efficiency and accuracy it had prior to the White House leak of Plame Wilson's identity."
re an investigation in to Feith and Perle, Madsen says:
"U.S. law enforcement sources confirm that Feith remains under a DoD IG investigation that is being spurred by North Carolina Republican Rep. Walter Jones"
Does anyone know if Jones is a good guy?

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