Tuesday, July 19, 2005

More Plamegate Revolations

It appears that the White House did know Valerie Plame's name, and may have know that the information about her work was deemed to be sensitive and whould not be discussed. The Wall Street Journal is reporting on a classified State Department memo that

...may be pivital in the CIA leak case made cleat that information identifying an agent and her role in her husband's intelligence-gathering mission was sensitive and shouldn't be shared... Investigators are trying to determine if the memo, dated June 10, 2003, was how White House officials learned that Valerie Wilson was an agent for the Central Intelligence Agency

The article goes on to state:

News that the memo was marked for its sensitivity emerged as President Bush yesterday appeared to backtrack from his 2004 pledge to finre any member of his staff involved in the leaking of the CIA agent's name... The Memo's details are significant because they will make it harder for officials who saw the document to claim that they didn't realize the identity of the CIA officer was a sensitive matter.

The article goes on to say that while the memo was classified, the level of classification is not yet known. In any event, the information was clearly not supposed to be shared with journalists.

Additionally, in an L.A. Times story today,Bush Again Vows to Act if Aides Are Guilty of Leaks, it may not matter that Bush is now trying to set the bar higher for the firing of Karl Rove. The fact that Rove initially lied to the FBI investigators may be a crime itself.

Although it is a violation of federal law to intentionally disclose the identity of a covert intelligence agent, Rove's position — that he learned Plame's identity through journalists — appears to undercut any prosecution of him for that offense, which requires that the accused have knowledge of the agent's protected status, legal experts said.

On Monday, a person familiar with the investigation confirmed a report in the latest issue of Newsweek magazine that, when first interviewed by the FBI about the leak, Rove did not mention a conversation he had about Plame with Time magazine reporter Matthew Cooper in the days before Plame's name surfaced in the news media.

The source said Rove later mentioned the conversation to investigators, who did not appear to be aware of it when Rove made the revelation.

It is not known whether Rove initially mentioned a conversation he had with Novak days before Novak published his column unmasking Plame.

Failing to disclose material facts to investigators can, under some circumstances, be a violation of federal law.

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