Jurors in the trial of United States of America v. I. Lewis Libby found “Scooter” Libby guilty on four of the five charges filed against him. The overriding issue was whether Libby committed perjury and made false statements to FBI agents and had thereby obstructed justice regarding what he said to reporters concerning the identity of Valerie Plame.
Plame was the wife of Ambassador Joseph C. Wilson, IV who penned the July 6, 2003 New York Times op-ed claiming he proved a negative. Wilson wrote that Iraq had not sought yellowcake uranium from Niger contrary to one 16-word sentence in President Bush’s 2003 State of the Union address. Bush said, “The British Government has learned that Saddam Hussein recently sought significant quantities of uranium from Africa.” Aside from uranium ore, Niger’s other exports are misery, despair, and refugees.
As one of the poorest countries in the world, this landlocked nation has little to sell to foreigners other than uranium ore since it has one of the largest uranium deposits in the world. Iraqi officials had purchased sufficiently large enough quantities of uranium ore since the 1970s that they could have easily qualified for their own uranium ore frequent shopper card.
British intelligence confirmed Iraqi officials had visited Niger and other West African countries in 1999. It was this and other intelligence that led to the British conclusion that Saddam Hussein sought uranium ore from Niger. The Review of Intelligence on Weapons of Mass Destruction, chaired by The Right Honorable Lord Butler of Brockwell (the “Butler Report”), was Britain’s own “9/11 Commission Report.” The Butler Report concluded that the original British report of Iraq seeking uranium ore from Niger, which led to the 16-word sentence used in the 2003 State of the Union address, was “well-founded.” In the minds of the naysayers, however, the Iraqi officials who visited Niger in 1999 must have instead been vacationing at the desert version of a Club Med.
Wilson, a diplomat whose career apparently ended prematurely possibly owing to performance shortfalls, did not possess the necessary skills to clandestinely find the evidence to prove or disprove the British uranium report. Perhaps this explains why Wilson acknowledged in his New York Times op-ed that he spent “eight days drinking sweet mint tea” while in Niger. It is doubtful uranium ore was on the menu of any of the cafÃ©s found in Niger’s capital city of Niamey, but that apparently did not deter Wilson from conducting an exhaustive examination of the capital city’s brasseries. Wilson did not have any expertise in weapons grade uranium or in nuclear weapons systems, making him the ideal candidate to be completely useless in competently completing the task he was assigned at the urging of his wife who was safely ensconced in her Langley, Virginia office cubicle.
This brings us back to Mrs. Joe Wilson. As we now know, Valerie Plame’s name was not “leaked” to columnist Bob Novak as part of some wild-eyed conspiracy as envisioned by Wilson and the legions of Democrat party stenographers populating the media. Plame’s name was casually mentioned to Novak in a conversation with the gossiping diplomat Richard Armitage. Early in his investigation, Special Prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald reached the conclusion there was no underlying crime regarding Plame’s identity. No one “leaked” Plame’s name to the media despite wishful thinking by the Angry Left.
Moreover, even if her name had been leaked there was no crime as Plame’s identity did not fall within the scope of the Intelligence Identities Protection Act. However, for the sake of argument, let’s say that her identity was covered under the Act. The intent of the Act is the “[p]rotection of identities of certain United States undercover intelligence officers, agents, informants, and sources.”
Plame had been living in the U.S. for several years when her identity was revealed in Novak’s 2003 column. The Intelligence Identities Protection Act was crafted not to protect Plame and other classified employees from the FedEx driver, the Safeway cashier, or from threats commonly found in the school carpool line. The Act was to protect the identities of classified employees (typically known as “case officers”) and their contacts while overseas.
The first person to bust Plame’s identity was likely Plame herself. In using a commercially available data base it took me less then three minutes to learn that Plame had listed “American Embassy, New York, NY 09255” in 1991 as her official address. This, it turns out, was the APO address for the U.S. Embassy in Athens, Greece. Cover busted.
In addition, Brewster-Jennings & Associates was the name of the fictitious company she used as her cover story that she was a business consultant living and working in Europe. Another three-minute database research revealed that Brewster-Jennings reported annual sales revenues of $60,000 and a work force of only a single employee (presumably Plame). Even the most gullible foreign intelligence service would not swallow the whopper that the so-called Brewster-Jennings company could afford to send its only employee to work in Europe on total revenues of $60,000 a year.
Foreign intelligence services use databases, the Internet and credit reports to uncover the real identity of suspected U.S. case officers. There can be little doubt that interested foreign intelligence services knew almost immediately that Plame was a CIA or other U.S. government agency case officer and not a business consultant. Once a foreign government knew her real identity, then anyone she met with while on assignment was likely to have been double agents passing her bogus intelligence.