Byron York writes:
Fleischer testified that when he spoke to Gregory and Dickerson, he had no idea that Valerie Plame Wilson’s job status was classified. He testified that former Cheney chief of staff Lewis Libby had told him about Mrs. Wilson just before Fleischer left on the Africa trip.
So there you have it. No harm, no foul. Just like Byron has been saying from the beginning. Right? Well maybe not. Ari Fleischer did here about the identity of Mrs. Wilson from Scooter Libby. From the FireDogLake liveblogging:
Fl I don’t remember if I brought up or Libby brought up the briefing. I said I got asked about Wilson. I said what I was asked by the OVP to say. What I recall Libby saying to me, reiterated that VP did not send Wilson. Amabssador Wilson got sent by his wife, she works at CIA, Works in CPD, I recall that he told me her name. This is hush hush this is on the QT.
Fl I was asked about the briefing.
P What word did Libby use when he described Wilson’s wife.
Fl I remember him saying she works at CIA at CPD.
P Did you know what it meant.
Fl not in specific, I don’t know enough about CIA inner structure to know what it means.
P her name, how did he describe her name
Fl I believe he said Valerie Plame
Fl the news that VP had not sent him, it was the first time I ever heard it.
P what did you understand Libby to mean by hush hush
Fl I thought it was kind of odd. My sense was Libby was saying it was kind of newsie, no one knows.
P did you understand that it was classified
Fl absolutely not. There’s a very strict protocol when classified info is spread, my experience, when someone conveyed info that I was authorized to hear, it was always, “this is classified you’re authorized to hear.” When it’s oral, people always say, “this is classified you cannot use it.”
You see – Ari was not explicitly told Ms. Plame was a covert agent and that he has just learned classified information. Maybe he didn’t know that CPD stood for Counter Proliferation Division. Maybe he didn’t realize she was an undercover operations officer as noted by Larry Johnson. Maybe he just assumed that Scooter Libby would have followed this very strict protocol. If you believe all of this, I have a bridge to sell you. Here’s the problem. Scooter Libby did know Valerie Plame was an undercover agent. And Ari Fleischer as a close aid to President Bush certainly should have checked to see whether she was or was not before babbling to reporters. Of course, these types of responsibilities that are inherent in holding such privilege government positions are not the concern of those who write for the National Review. Their only concern is assisting these gang of irresponsible men from avoiding any punishment – either in court or in public opinion.