Monday, July 26, 2004
Via Cursor, the latest defense angle in the Valerie Plame case (and please don't ask us whose defense): it wasn't a crime to out Plame to Bob Novak because her undercover status as a CIA operative had previously been compromised! Must be true, or the Rev. Moon wouldn't print it:
Mrs. Plame's identity as an undercover CIA officer was first disclosed to Russia in the mid-1990s by a Moscow spy, said officials who spoke on the condition of anonymity.
In a second compromise, officials said a more recent inadvertent disclosure resulted in references to Mrs. Plame in confidential documents sent by the CIA to the U.S. Interests Section of the Swiss Embassy in Havana.
The documents were supposed to be sealed from the Cuban government, but intelligence officials said the Cubans read the classified material and learned the secrets contained in them, the officials said . . . .
[After the leak to Novak] The Justice Department then began an investigation of the disclosure under the 1982 Intelligence Identities Protection Act, which makes it a crime to knowingly disclose the name of a covert agent.
"The law says that to be covered by the act the intelligence community has to take steps to affirmatively protect someone's cover," one official said. "In this case, the CIA failed to do that."
A second official, however, said the compromises before the news column were not publicized and thus should not affect the investigation of the Plame matter.