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Sunday, October 16, 2005

Victoria's Secret or

It depends on what the spelling of Plame is

Mark Kleiman makes a point which I considered obvious, but which I haen't read elsewhere.

Doesn't it seem odd that Judith Miller would get Valerie Plame Wilson's name wrong twice in her notebook? Once as "Valerie Flame," once as "Victoria Wilson."

Of course, that's exactly the sort of thing a careful reporter (with a security clearance from her "embed" service) might do when writing down in her notebook something she knew to be highly classified: write down enough to remind herself of the name, but not enough to reveal it to someone who might see the notebook if it were lost or stolen.

I assumed that Valerie Flame and Victoria Wilson were code for Valerie Plame Wilson.

Kleiman's theory is generous to Miller. In fact I think it is seriously over generous. It is clear that the notebooks contain references to "Joeseph Wilson's wife" so the Victoria Flame code wouldn't have protected Valerie Plame's cover.

It might be only because of hindsight, but I think the note is like saying "There is no sexual relationship between me and that woman" or whatever. The transparent code is not enough to obscure the identity of the woman in question, but it is enough to make it legal to say, under oath, that Libby did not reveal Valerie Plame's name.

This might be very useful to Libby, Rove and Miller if any or all are accused of perjury. My own theory was that the transparent code was, like Clinton's, planned in advance to sidestep a perjury trap. that "Somebody was calling Valerie Plame, Victoria --- Judy isn't the only one to make that mistake."

Now consider the leakers' defence "I didn't name her. I didn't know her name". Don't you think it is helpful to such a leaker to use the wrong name so as to be able to say that. It isn't enough to protect Valerie Plame's cover, but it is enough to prepare a very misleading non lie.

Tinfoil sure I love tinfoil.

The headline is short for "Victoria is secret" not "that which Victoria keeps secret"

update: Kevin Drum clearly believes that the Flame Plame switch was an error not a transparent code. I'd believe one error but not the Victoria Flame (victory fuoco) pair.

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