Oct 07 2005

Plame, Miller, Fitzgerald

Published by at 10:57 am under All General Discussions,Plame Game

I have come to really respect Tom Maguire while we and Captain Ed followed the apparently disappearing Able Danger story. I know he is the expert on the documentation trail of the Plame investigation and issue. But I still tend to have a tangential theory as to where all this is going – and I say the prosecutor is heading towards Plame, Wilson and possibly Plame’s CIA compatriots who supported the Wilson Niger trip.

I make the case here here through a listing of potential classified information we have been told during this incident. And now we have the good Mr. Maguire completing the puzzle as new events unfold at the end of the grand jury deliberations:

The NY Times updates us on the Judy Miller situation, tells us that Libby and others may be called back, in addition to Rove, answers the burning “Where’s Rove” question, and gives us a statute under which Fitzgerald may attempt an indictment.

Tom links to Dan McLaughlin, the Baseball Crank, for the statute:

One new approach appears to involve the possible use of Chapter 37 of the federal espionage and censorship law, which makes it a crime for anyone who “willfully communicates, delivers, transfers or causes to be communicated” to someone “not entitled to receive it” classified information relating the national defense matters.

Under this broad statute, a government official or a private citizen who passed classified information to anyone else in or outside the government could potentially be charged with a felony, if they transferred the information to someone without a security clearance to receive it.

Not to toot my own horn, but I too have been saying the most likely indictments would be ones associated with the transfer of classified information (beyond telling some one Plame’s employer). The case surrounding the exposure of Plame’s employer has been weak in too many ways to be worth two years of a grand jury and jailing Miller. And recall, Miller only left jail after Fiztgerald agreed to limit his questions to her discussions with Libby so she could protect other sources.

Of course this is a trap if you are not careful. If she did discuss classified information with Libby, where she was the source, then the prosecutor is allowed to follow that line of evidence – even if it leads to her other sources. And Tom has an interesting snippet along those very lines:

Meanwhile, Mr. Fitzgerald has indicated that he is not entirely finished with Judith Miller, the reporter for The New York Times who recently testified before the grand jury after serving 85 days in jail. According to a lawyer familiar with the case, Mr. Fitzgerald has asked Ms. Miller to meet him next Tuesday to further discuss her conversations with I. Lewis Libby, the vice president’s chief of staff.

Now let’s be clear here. A reporter cannot be considered to have passed on classified information if that reporter was unaware the information they obtained was classified. I know Mac at Mac’s Mind has his sites on Cooper (and this may still be a valid element of the grand jury results), but my guess is you need to start at the source.

The details on CIA methods for collecting information, contacts in specific countries, and details on the nuclear ambitions of countries (e.g., Iraq) all come from Wilson, who learned much from Plame and her cohorts. And when the press came into to verify Wilson – who did he refer them to? Not Libby or Rove!

Now, if the reporters knew the information was classified and they passed it on to the general public that could be a serious issue – though getting the media on this is nearly impossible as history has shown.

In summary:

(1) An indictment regarding leaking Plame’s employment at CIA is highly doubtful. It is very likely many people knew where she worled in the social circles of DC and Northern Virginia, making it an open secret. Plus, the person passing the information on must know she was covert and with intent to do harm to her work (not her) and the CIA’s mission

(2) An indictment for obstructing justice is also not likely since everyone on the administration side has been cooperating openly and easily.

(3) Indictments agains journalists are hard to come by – doubt that will happen.

(4) Leaving the only possible indictments to be against Plame, Wilson and Plames CIA cohorts.

(5) And Fitzgerald, realizing this is a high profile case and has to be air tight if he wants to go against the administration – may punt.

7 responses so far

7 Responses to “Plame, Miller, Fitzgerald”

  1. MaidMarion says:


    I’ve only been reading you for the last month or so, but your suspicions have been mine from day one.

    Way back even before Novak’s article, Joe Wilson was all over the place discussing how Bush “didn’t listen to his analysts” on the issue of Iraqi WMD. C-Span covered lots of the conferences on this subject and Wilson was a panel member on many of them; this was after he went public and identified himself as having gone to Niger, etc.

    I remember distinctly the question being posed from an audience member as to what the Administration’s reaction was when they read his Trip Report. He went to great pains to say that he didn’t write a trip report, which to me indicated he went on a classified collection mission for the CIA. This means someone else wrote the report, i.e., the case officer who sent him on the trip. Wilson also went to great pains to say that he had never read any report which was written about his trip. Not only would the report, which I suspect his wife wrote, have been classified, but the information was the property of the U.S. government since they paid for Wilson’s transportation and lodging.

    It’s not as though he had gone to Niger on a private business trip, happened to obtain some interesting national security information, decided to give CIA a debrief when he returned to D.C., and then spill his guts to the world. Aside from obviously knowing the contents of his classified trip report, and apparently even the contents of broader WMD NIEs, I have never understood how he was allowed to publicize the fact that the CIA sent him on the Niger trip.

  2. John says:

    This frantic parsing of every flying piece of straw on the Affaire Plame plus the odd ”off the nuttiness charts” assertion by some respondents is rather amusing. At the end of the day it is all speculation and at the moment however you try tell it the facts would appear to point to some sort of action by Fitzgerald against several people in the white house. Several of my conservative and liberal lawyer friends believe some sort of indictments are inevitable. One issue that seems to be getting almost no attention is the role of Novak in all this. There is obviously little doubt he has testified to Fitzgerald despite his refusal to discuss it. Since he broke the story where would one go first. Is it possible, likely?, that in fact months ago he blew the whistle on Libby and Rove and all the subsequent maneuvering has really been about building a case on the leaking issue and maybe perjury, obstruction of justice, conspiracy, etc. That the white house who did not expect this degree of persistence and thoroughness have simply walked into a trap. All speculation of course, and the denoument will probably happen in the next couple of weeks. It will be interesting to see if the Rove attack machine goes after Fitzgerald if there are indictments, it has been curiously silent so far.

  3. Great post, AJ! Thanks for following this so well…

  4. BurbankErnie says:

    Ha, I just read in the L.A. Slimes that Miller has “discovered” some notes she took while kavetching with Libby back in June 2003, One Month before Wilson’s Lie was printed as fact in the N.Y. Slimes.

    Can this investigation be any fuzzier? How many tangents are we going to get sidetracked on? Wasn’t this GJ to look into if any Admin. Officials had leaked? Wouldn’t another GJ have to be called to investigate other “theories”?

    This is getting wackier then AD, which is a mockery by any stretch. What’s next, shelve the 2 1/2 CIA Report on 9/11 espionage failings? What? we did shelve the report? Porter Goss, Bush’s handpicked man to reform the CIA, has cleard all involved? More Bush covering for Clinton ineptitude? Just like AD?

    I smell bullshit from EVERY Investigation we are going to get from the Govt. boys and girls. I am not much on conspiracy crap, but we are not going to find out the big picture on anything which shows lapses of judgement (a nice way of saying ‘fuck ups’) from anyone thanks to Kind Hearted George.

    Keep digging everybody!

  5. Snapple says:

    I don’t know anything about Grand Jury investigations except that they are supposed to be secrets.

    How do we know that the leaks are anything close to the truth?

    I think we will just have to wait and see.

  6. […] As I have pointed out before, the actual leaking of classified information was the leaking of the intel, methods and conclusions surrounding Saddam’s nuclear intentions (here and here). […]

  7. Rove Was On The Grassy Knoll, Update IX

    And as I have been saying for some time now, I believe the left is going to sorely disappointed when Wilson, Plame and her cronies are indicted instead of Rove and Libby. It’s appearing more and more that this was a operation against the Presid…