America got a terrific look at a classy lady yesterday when Valerie Plame testified before Henry Waxman's Government Reform and Oversight Committee about the events surrounding her betrayal by the Bush Administration. And America got a disturbing look at a Republican party devoid of reason and just plain common sense when Georgia Congressman Lynn Westmoreland and Libby loyalist Victoria Toensing did the intellectual equivalent of declaring, THERE IS NO SUN.
You see, it was rainy and cloudy in Washington, DC yesterday. Since they could not see the Sun there was in fact no Sun. They had to see it to believe it. Okay. I'm making that part up. Westmoreland and Toensing were far more obtuse and stupid than a person who would insist the Sun did not exist because they could not see it. Westy and Toenag demonstrated a level of stupidity and obtuseness that one usually only encounters among schizophrenics hospitalized with the criminally insane. Despite Valerie's sworn testimony and a statement endorsed by the current director of the CIA, these dopes droned on and on that Valerie Plame was not undercover when she was exposed in Robert Novak's July 2003 ill-fated column.
I find it absolutely mind boggling that adults like Westmoreland and Toensing can be so out of touch with reality and still allowed to walk around without a straight jacket keeping them under control. It would be one thing if we were arguing about the color of Valerie's hair color in 1989 and had only a black and white picture as evidence. Such a discussion would truly be one based on one's own opinions. But that is not the case here folks. It is a simple question. Was Valerie a covert officer when her name appeared in Bob Novak's column in July 2003?
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Before Valerie's testimony on Friday the CIA had never put anything on the public record regarding her status. Yesterday the CIA came out of the closet. CIA Director Michael Hayden approved a statement that contained the following language:
During her employment at the CIA, Ms. Wilson was under cover.Got it? The Director of the CIA confirmed in public for the first time that Valerie Plame Wilson was undercover, was covert and that this information was classified. What is it about English that goober Congressman Westmoreland and ditzy Vicky Toensing don't understand?
Her employment status with the CIA was classified information prohibited from disclosure under Executive Order 12958.
At the time of the publication of Robert Novak's column on July 14,2003, Ms. Wilson's CIA employment status was covert.
This was classified information.
But hell, you do not have to believe General Hayden. Believe Valerie. She testified under oath. The results of the Lewis "Scooter" Libby trial still fresh in her mind, she is asked under oath about an objective fact that, if wrong, can be easily disproved. She minced no words: "I was undercover".
The twit Victoria Toensing continued to insist however, along with other Bush apologists, that Valerie was not covert per the Intelligence Identities Protection Act. Well, once again, here are the damn facts. According to the Intelligence Identities Protection Act:
(4) The term “covert agent” means: (A) a present or retired officer or employee of an intelligence agency or a present or retired member of the Armed Forces assigned to duty with an intelligence agency—
(i) whose identity as such an officer, employee, or member is classified information, and (ii) who is serving outside the United States or has within the last five years served outside the United States; orYou do not even have to be a lawyer to figure this out. You only need a brain. The first question is whether or not Valerie worked for the CIA. Newflash--she did!! Well, that's what Robert Novak was told by two Administration officials.
(B) a United States citizen whose intelligence relationship to the United States is classified information, and—
(i) who resides and acts outside the United States as an agent of, or informant or source of operational assistance to, an intelligence agency, or (ii) who is at the time of the disclosure acting as an agent of, or informant to, the foreign counterintelligence or foreign counterterrorism components of the Federal Bureau of Investigation; or (C) an individual, other than a United States citizen, whose past or present intelligence relationship to the United States is classified information and who is a present or former agent of, or a present or former informant or source of operational assistance to, an intelligence agency.
Point two--Was Valerie's indentity classified information? Yesterday CIA Director Michael Hayden said yes. Valerie, while under oath, also said yes. And we also have statements on the record by U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald and that of her fellow CIA colleagues--Jim Marcinkowski, Michael Grimaldi, Brent Cavan, and me--who are also on the record stating she was undercover and her identity as a CIA officer was classified.
Point three--Did Valerie meet any of the criteria set out above (i.e. A, B, or C)? The answer is yes, per subsection A. Valerie served outside the United States in the five years prior to July 2003. Valerie, under oath, said so. CIA Director Hayden approved a statement that said in part:
Ms. Wilson served at various times overseas for the CIA. Without discussing the specifics of Ms. W'ilson's classified work, it is accurate to say that she worked on the prevention of the development and use of weapons of mass destruction against the United States.If there is any lingering doubt among the mentally challenged Republicans simply subpoena her retirement record. The CIA recorded every date she traveled overseas.
Now Vicky Toensing, oblivious to the facts, insists that when she helped write the law this section was intended to mean you had to live overseas. BULLSHIT! Toensing is is now just making shit up. She has not been briefed by the CIA about Valerie's status nor has she been given access to classified information on Valerie's career. But it is not surprising that Toensing pretends to know what she has no way of knowing. She also claims to be a principal author of the IIPA. Not true. Just ask Brent Budowsky. Budowsky was Senator Lloyd Bentsen's chief staffer at the time and he was one of the principal drafters. Brent tells me that you did not have to live overseas to be considered covert. That is why they drew the distinction between sub-paragraph A and sub-paragraph B of the definition. (Right wingers should go get a friend to explain this portion to them. I realize it is complicated and involves some two syllable words, but you can grasp this is you try.)
Oh, and one more thing. Although Valerie only told a handful of people about her cover status the IIPA also states:
(d) Disclosure by agent of own identity It shall not be an offense under section 421 of this title for an individual to disclose information that solely identifies himself as a covert agent.You see? It was okay for Valerie to tell her husband where she worked. And Joe, who had been in charge of CIA officers when he was Ambassador, understood that you had to protect the identity of people undercover.
It was very sad watching the Georgia Congressman, Lynn Westmoreland, give the rest of America reason to believe that the South is inhabited with folks who are retarded versions of Gomer Pyle's cousin, Goober. He seems to have trouble accepting the fact that folks who work inside a classified facility like the CIA, don't walk around the halls like Wallmart greeters saying, "howdy, I'm Valerie and I'm undercover". When you join the CIA you are briefed on the fact that most of the folks you will be working with are undercover and that this information is classified and that you do not talk about people by name outside of Headquarters.
Oh, and another thing. The State Department INR memo, which was written in response to a request from Vice President Cheney's office, listed Valerie's name in a paragraph that was classified SECRET. Got it? If the information in the paragraph is not SECRET then it should be classified UNCLASSIFIED or U. But that did not happen here. Here name was listed in a classified paragraph. Boys and girls, that means the information in that paragraph is classified. Now, if someone can come up with a picture book for Congressman Goober that can penetrate the in-bred glaze covering his eyes I'll give you a special prize.
What did we learn in school today? UNDERCOVER = COVERT = CLASSIFIED. Valerie Plame was UNDERCOVER, COVERT, AND CLASSIFIED. And Valerie Plame was betrayed by Bush Administration officials who played politics with her classified identity. Val put that on the record and is willing to go to jail if she lied. But she told the truth, at great personal cost. Speaking of jail, I wonder if Scooter Libby longs for a big, beefy roomate or prefers the Charles Manson variety? Just wondering.
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