Saturday, March 17, 2007

The Problem with Plame's Testimony

Valerie Plame testified yesterday that she "played no part in deciding to send her husband, former ambassador Joseph C. Wilson IV, on a mission to Niger in 2002 to assess the reliability of reports that Iraq's then-president, Saddam Hussein, was trying to buy yellowcake uranium from that country for use in a secret nuclear weapons program."

According to Deseret News, Plame countered: assertion by White House officials to reporters that she had sent her husband on the trip, Plame said one of her colleagues broached the idea after a call in early 2002 from Vice President Cheney's office seeking information about Iraqi activity in Niger. Plame said she "wasn't overjoyed" at the suggestion because a trip would leave her alone with their 2-year-old twins.

Still, she said, at the direction of her supervisor, she asked her husband whether he would come to CIA headquarters at suburban Langley, Va., to discuss the possible trip and sent a quick e-mail about the prospect to the chief of the agency's counterproliferation division, where she worked... "I did not suggest him," she said. "There was no nepotism involved. I didn't have the authority."

Gateway Pundit reminds us that Plame's claim -- that she had nothing to do with her husband's trip to Niger -- flies directly in the face of recently declassified meeting notes from 2/19/02.

During the proceedings, Plame also suggested that she was a "covert agent" at the time of the outing.

Only, the person who wrote the law -- Victoria Toensing -- testified that there's no possibility Plame was covert:

WAXMAN: I am stunned, Ms. Toensing, that you would come here with absolute conclusions that she was not a covert agent; the White House did not leak it; no one seemed to know in advance that she was a CIA agent. Do you know those facts for your own firsthand knowledge?

TOENSING: Well, lets just take those one by one. As I said, I was there. I was the chief drafter for chairman --

WAXMAN: I'm not asking for your credentials. I'm asking how you reached those conclusions. Do you --

TOENSING: That's part of my credentials is because I know what the intent of the act was.

WAXMAN: I'm not asking what the intent of the act was.

TOENSING: Well that’s the question.

WAXMAN: Do you know that she was not a covert agent?

TOENSING: She is not a covert agent under the act.

WAXMAN: Okay, so --

TOENSING: You can call anybody anything you want to in the halls of the CIA.

WAXMAN: General Hayden! General Hayden, head of the CIA, told me personally that she was. If I said that she was a covert agent, it wouldn't be an incorrect statement?

TOENSING: Does he want to swear that she was a covert agent under the act?

WAXMAN: I'm trying to say as carefully as I can. He reviewed my statement, and my statement was that she was a covert agent.

TOENSING: Well, he didn't say it was under the act.

WAXMAN: Okay, so you're trying to define it exactly under the act.

TOENSING: That's important.

WAXMAN: No, no, no, no, no, no. I'm not giving you -- I'm not yielding my time to you.

Thus, Waxman wouldn't yield his time to... the witness (*** chortle ***).

Sounds like there were a few problems with Plame's testimony.

Was the disclosure of Plame's identity a wanton, stupid act? Certainly. Was it a crime? Apparently not, if prosecutor Fitzgerald's investigation and Toensing's testimony mean anything.

But let's stop and compare this media firestorm with one that fizzled. Former National Security Adviser Sandy Berger admitted to the theft and destruction of Top Secret documents. He committed these real crimes just prior to their discovery by the 9/11 Commission's investigation. Has there been any interest expressed in the theft and destruction of material directly related to the greatest terrorist attack in history? No. The mainstream media doesn't appear to care a whit.

And the Vast Right Wing Conspiracy™ says the media is partisan.

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