Monday, February 13, 2006

Ten Years Down the Plame Drain 

Via Zemblan patriot K.Z.: Mr. Goss had better get busy and plug those CIA leaks before the pipes start rattling and the main explodes. A few of his disgruntled employees have given Raw Story the likely answers to several questions we were asking last week:
The unmasking of covert CIA officer Valerie Plame Wilson by White House officials in 2003 caused significant damage to U.S. national security and its ability to counter nuclear proliferation abroad, RAW STORY has learned.

According to current and former intelligence officials, Plame Wilson, who worked on the clandestine side of the CIA in the Directorate of Operations as a non-official cover (NOC) officer, was part of an operation tracking distribution and acquisition of weapons of mass destruction technology to and from Iran.

Speaking under strict confidentiality, intelligence officials revealed heretofore unreported elements of Plame's work. Their accounts suggest that Plame's outing was more serious than has previously been reported and carries grave implications for U.S. national security and its ability to monitor Iran's burgeoning nuclear program . . . .

Plame's team, they added, would have come in contact with A.Q. Khan's network in the course of her work on Iran . . . .

While Director of Central Intelligence Porter Goss has not submitted a formal damage assessment to Congressional oversight committees, the CIA's Directorate of Operations did conduct a serious and aggressive investigation, sources say.

Intelligence sources familiar with the damage assessment say that what is called a "counter intelligence assessment to agency operations" was conducted on the orders of the CIA's then-Deputy Director of the Directorate of Operations, James Pavitt . . . .

One former counterintelligence official described the CIA's reasons for not seeking Congressional assistance on the matter as follows: "[The CIA Leadership] made a conscious decision not to do a formal inquiry because they knew it might become public," the source said. "They referred it [to the Justice Department] instead because they believed a criminal investigation was needed" . . . .

Three intelligence officers confirmed that other CIA non-official cover officers were compromised, but did not indicate the number of people operating under non-official cover that were affected or the way in which these individuals were impaired. None of the sources would say whether there were American or foreign casualties as a result of the leak.

Several intelligence officials described the damage in terms of how long it would take for the agency to recover. According to their own assessment, the CIA would be impaired for up to "ten years" in its capacity to adequately monitor nuclear proliferation on the level of efficiency and accuracy it had prior to the White House leak of Plame Wilson's identity.
In other words, the Cheney brain trust saw the chance to promote a war against an enemy who posed no threat by undermining our ability to deal with one who did (and does) -- so naturally, they jumped on the opportunity. It's rather like missing the quail because you had the shotgun barrel in your own mouth.

UPDATE: One reason why Bush's approval rating is at 39%:
Americans are nervous about the prospect of a nuclear-armed Iran, but also worry about the ability of the United States and the United Nations to deal with the situation, a CNN/USA Today/Gallup poll released Monday suggests.

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