It Is Now Official - Valerie Plame Was a Covert Agent at the Time Her Name Was Leaked

No, she did not carry a .380 (not to my knowledge), wear leather pants, or have a wig collection. But it is now an undisputed fact that she was still under 'covert' status when her name was leaked by the White House to the press. Under the legal definition of covert, a CIA agent has to do undercover intelligence work overseas within the last four years. In the case of Ms. Plame, she was an operations officer in the CIA's Counterproliferation Division, and worked overseas, probably posing as a businesswoman. Her activities were cleverly hidden under a front company in Boston under the name Brewster Jennings & Associates.

While she cannot be specific as to where she was or when, Ms. Plame was able to confirm to the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform (Henry Waxman's committee), that she performed spying overseas less than four years prior to her name being leaked to the press in July 2003 (actually, I think she said she was overseas in 2001). Under both the CIA's own definition of an agent under "non-official cover," and the Intelligence Identities Protection Act, there should be no doubt over Valerie Plame's covert status. Nor should there be any doubt that independent prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald's investigation of the Plame affair is warranted (and compared to the Ken Starr investigation of Bill Clinton, rather inexpensive). Keep in mind that the CIA asked Patric Fitzgerald to investigate the leak. If she was not covert, then why would the CIA ask for an investigation? Obviously someone in the White House knew that leaking her name would cause severe damage to her and her husband, Joe Wilson. And that was the whole point of the leak. This is not a scandal manufactured by the Democrats. This was the result of arrogance and law breaking by one or more senior officials in the White House.

If you want to be an expert on the Valerie Plame scandal, I highly recommend Anatomy of Deceit by journalist and blogger, Nancy Wheeler. It is thoroughly researched and was written very quickly so it would stay fresh for a long time. It is still a fresh read six months after it was published, and it can be considered a definitive overview of the Plame affair. Even if Andrew Card, Dick Cheney, and Karl Rove never reveal their specific role in the leak, it is worth a read.

But you can always count on a powerful Beltway character to get in the way and try to disrupt the investigation. And it is here that we re-visit Victoria Toensing. She and her husband are very wealthy and powerful Beltway lawyers, and are the partners who run diGenova and Toensing, LLP. They are currently representing Paul Wolfowitz' girlfriend, Shaha Riza. More notably, Ms. Toensing and Mr. diGenova made regular appearances on cable TV news networks during the Clinton-Lewinsky scandal in 1998 and 1999, claiming they were the subject of a Clinton investigation that aimed to obstruct justice.

While in the Reagan Justice Department, Ms. Toensing specialized in intelligence and counter-terrorism. She was one of the lawyers who drafted the language of Intelligence Identities Protection Act in 1982. She does not believe that Valerie Plame's status was truly covert under that Federal law. And so she was invited to explain her opinion to Waxman's committee. I don't think she ever explained how Plame was not covert under the law she helped write. Clearly Toensing was engaged in a desperate attempt to prevent Plame's covert status from being verified. She was called on her bullshit, and the dark cloud hanging over Karl Rove remains. The Plame affair and the firing of 8 USAs are the two biggest open scandals hanging over Rove. Unfortunately, he will never be prosecuted and we will have to wait years before we know what role he played in each scandal.

Here is Toensing being called on her bullshit by Henry Waxman. It made me wonder why she agreed to appear before the committee in the first place. She could have simply written an op-ed. She gets paid for her opinions, and she had the arrogance to appear before a House committee and dispute the facts.

Every word spoken by Plame is confirmed true. Maybe Toensing would like to apolgize? I won't hold my breath.

And here Larry Johnson, a former colleague of Ms. Plame, points out how the defenders of the leak cannot get their arguments straight.