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Monday, October 27, 2003

The Plame Game

Until about one minute ago I thought that Joshua Micah Marshall was overanalysing the extreme discipline with which the Bush administration refers to blowing Valerie Plame’s cover as leaking “classified information:” I found his first guess as to the motives, downplaying the offence by lumping it with the release of much less damaging secrets and attempting to focus public anger at potential future whistle blowers convincing. His later hints that, perhaps, this was the basis of a legalistic defence of the leakers seemed strange. How could the true occupation of an undercover CIA agent not be classified.

Just now I think I understand what he has in mind. Marshall is too responsible to put total speculation in cyber-print so I’ll do it myself. Maybe he considers this interpretation to be obvious given the facts he has noted. One, in the original Novak column of July 14 is that Novak sources his claims in an odd way. Novak simply asserts that Plame works for the CIA. He cites two un named high White House sources for the claim that Wilson was ignored because he only got the (unpaid) job because of a recommendation by Plame. Hmmmm the leakers might have said just that. “We ignored Wilson’s report because he only got the job because his wife recommended him.”

According to the CIA source quoted by Novak this would NOT be revealing a secret because the claim that Plame recommended Wilson is not true hence not information hence not classified information. If my made up quote of the White House sources were exact, they would not have told Novak that Plame worked for the CIA, but rather have told him enough to make his suspect that and make him able to trick the CIA source into confirming it.

If my made up quote is not exact and the White House sources said that Plame was a CIA agent, no one will be able to prove this, especially if Novak continues to cover for them (as of course he will).
The legalistic denials might be the basis of a legal defence.

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