Thursday, July 14, 2005

Plame, Rove, and Cover

If we are to believe the anti-Rove hardliners, KR found out that Valerie Plame was a covert operative at CIA because he had access to classified material at the White House. It does not seem reasonable, however, to think that the name of a covert operative would be in a written report sent to the White House. That's what code names are for.

To go farther, the CIA officer would never be the source of intelligence; they would merely be the conduit. The source would be the spy, electronic bug, or loquacious bureaucrat that produced the information. Hence, the NSC might receive a top-secret report that stated that HIGHBALL, an Iraqi general in Basra, had reported that no sarin gas labs were in his city. It would be absurd for that report to say that HIGHBALL reported this information to Linda Smith a CIA officer who operated under cover as Penny Jones a German archeologist.

So it is with Plame. It does not make sense that CIA sent over material to the White House that identified her as a covert agent. Yet, if they did not share such information with the White House, then it is hard to see how Rove could have broken the law or done anything immoral.

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