PlameGate: Cliff May Makes a Point – Sort of

Be patient with the following point/counterpoint as it comes from two of Karl Rove’s favorite excuse makers: Cliff May reporting on something Brit Hume said.

I know I keep making the same point over and over re the Plame/Wilson case. I can’t help myself. On Fox just now, Brit Hume said that the only significant leak was Dick Armitage’s leak to Bob Novak, which led Novak to write that Valerie Plame was a CIA operative. But Armitage did not tell Novak (and Novak did not believe or write) that Plame had undercover status. Both thought (as did others around town) that Plame was simply a CIA analyst working in an office at CIA HQ in Langley – which indeed she was. So the one other significant leak was the fact that Plame was (or had been) a NOC, an agent with Non-Official Cover.

Sentence 2 was false, but sentence 3 pointed this out. Sentence 4 is one of Cliff’s often repeated lies, but sentence 5 pointed this out. The rest of this is simply one lie after another:

Who first revealed that? David Corn did. What was his source? It was almost certainly Joe Wilson himself. So there were two significant leaks: one by Armitage to Novak, one by – presumably – Wilson to Corn. (No significant leaks came from Rove, Libby or others at the White House.)

Corn’s article ran on July 16, 2003 and even Cliff has said we knew Valerie Plame was a NOC as of July 14, 2003. But I’m being rude by ignoring Cliff’s question:



Footnte on the Rustman Rouse: This is truly funny. Rightwingers (as in our troll) who wish to claim Valerie Plame was not a NOC are pointing to the July 15, 2005 piece from the rightwing rag known as the Washington Times:

A former CIA covert agent who supervised Mrs. Plame early in her career yesterday took issue with her identification as an “undercover agent,” saying that she worked for more than five years at the agency’s headquarters in Langley and that most of her neighbors and friends knew that she was a CIA employee. “She made no bones about the fact that she was an agency employee and her husband was a diplomat,” Fred Rustmann, a covert agent from 1966 to 1990, told The Washington Times. “Her neighbors knew this, her friends knew this, his friends knew this. A lot of blame could be put on to central cover staff and the agency because they weren’t minding the store here. … The agency never changed her cover status.” Mr. Rustmann, who spent 20 of his 24 years in the agency under “nonofficial cover” – also known as a NOC, the same status as the wife of Mr. Wilson – also said that she worked under extremely light cover. In addition, Mrs. Plame hadn’t been out as an NOC since 1997, when she returned from her last assignment, married Mr. Wilson and had twins, USA Today reported yesterday. The distinction matters because a law that forbids disclosing the name of undercover CIA operatives applies to agents that had been on overseas assignment “within the last five years.” “She was home for such a long time, she went to work every day at Langley, she was in an analytical type job, she was married to a high-profile diplomat with two kids,” Mr. Rustmann said. “Most people who knew Valerie and her husband, I think, would have thought that she was an overt CIA employee.”

Wow – her supervisory? But what did Rustman say? First of all, he never talked to the neighbors of Joseph Wilson and his lovely wife Valerie. He was her supervisor up to 1990 when she clearly was a NOC. No one denies she was a NOC at least for another seven years AFTER Mr. Rustman left the agency. This is the basis of the rightwing’s excuse that Valerie Plame was not an undercover agent?