Tuesday, October 25, 2005

"Big Time" (and "Slam Dunk")

So now we know it was the Vice President who told Scooter Libby the name of Joe Wilson's wife ... but who told him?

Larry Johnson fills in the back story:

It also seems pretty clear that the notes show that Libby lied to the grand jury when he claimed he learned the name from reporters. ... Although the NY Times story reports that Libby's notes indicate that George Tenet told Cheney about Plame, there are some intriguing unanswered questions. For starters it is highly unlikely that George Tenet showed up at the White House and just happened to know the name of Valerie Plame. Someone at the White House asked for it first. Tenet clearly came prepared to respond to a White House request. I'm sure the prosecutor, Patrick Fitzgerald, knows who called CIA to ask the question.

I also doubt that Tenet used the name "Plame". Since Valerie married Joe Wilson she went by 'Valerie Wilson'. Someone introduced "Plame" into the equation. Who did the subsequent work up on Mrs. Wilson? Only Scooter? Unlikely. Look for other names to emerge in coming days that will reveal who helped work out the "background" info on Valerie Wilson.

Find the excerpt above here and here.

The situation is worsening quickly. Where does this lead from here?

Steve Clemons thinks there may be a connection to John Bolton:

The question is how did Libby then churn up more info on Wilson without other parts of the "untrusted" bureaucracy spitting in his face or reporting his sins?

My hunch is that he went to trusted spear-carriers for Vice President Cheney -- the office and staff of Under Secretary of State John Bolton. Fred Fleitz, Bolton's chief of staff, maintained his CIA WINPAC portfolio and access as an active duty CIA staff member while he operated as Bolton's "acting" chief of staff. We know that Fleitz was a key part of the intelligence cherry-picking/stove-piping operation when it came to both the intel and policy response to various global WMD concerns -- in North Korea, Libya, Iran, and Iraq.

We also know that David Wurmser and John Hannah, who have both apparently cooperated after threats of legal action (i.e., time behind bars) with Special Prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald worked both for John Bolton's operation and the Vice President's office.

I recently consulted with a number of senior State Department officials about the level of interaction between Vice President Cheney's office and John Bolton's office -- and was informed that there was "intense" exchange between them, constant. One said that "Bolton and his team were operatives of Vice President Cheney inside the State Department establishment -- there to subvert Armitage and Powell wherever they could, and if not subvert, then there to spy on the them and report back.

I'd just like to know if the President gets a pass because we all believe he's too stupid to have known any of this was going on.

Update: The Bolton connection -- specifically Bolton's chief of staff, Fred Fleitz -- was detailed by Arianna Huffington last month. Sheesh, I gotta keep up.

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