Sunday, March 18, 2007

Was Cheney Leaker Zero?

image credit: House Oversight Committee; converted from PDF by Cujo359

To me, this has been one of the big mysteries of Plamegate: Who is Leaker Zero? That's the person right in the big black box in the center of this chart, which I've reproduced as a plain graphic image (just click on the small image to see the full image, which is rather large). This is the person who told Dick Cheney that Valerie Plame Wilson was an employee of the CIA. While I'm sure there are folks to whom this is no mystery, a logical suspect for Leaker Zero is Dick Cheney.

Rather than try to rewrite the basis for this conclusion, I'll just quote grammamarge, a commenter at No Quarter:

I don't believe Ms. Wilson was collateral damage. I believe she was the target. The tell was during the [Kucinich] questioning. Dennis asked her whether having Cheney looking over the shoulder of a CIA officer would be considered intimidating and would that agent feel undue pressure. Valerie smiled and said yes it was. While the question did not refer to her as the officer she answered it as if it did. Cheney knew who she was and knew that she was pushing back, not confirming WMD in Iraq. He outed her and destroyed her entire operation.

Undercover, Covert, and Classified (Also Hush Hush): grammamarge's comment
[I corrected the spelling of Rep. Dennis Kucinich's name for clarity.]

OK, so maybe I'm just late to the party again, but part of this makes sense. Dick Cheney is known to have visited the CIA many times trying to scare up some evidence that Saddam Hussein had WMDs:

Two congressional panels are opening new rounds of investigations into the Administration's prewar claims about WMD. One of their immediate inquiries, sources tell Time, involves Vice President Dick Cheney's role in reviewing the intelligence before the bombing started. Cheney made repeated visits to the CIA in the prelude to the war, going over intelligence assessments with the analysts who produced them. Some Democrats say Cheney's visits may have amounted to pressure on the normally cautious agency.

Who Lost the WMD?

Valerie Plame Wilson was working on finding WMDs in the Middle East, particularly Iraq and Iran. It makes perfect sense that he could have been introduced to her or heard of her while he was doing that, although her covert status at the time makes it less likely. He apparently was interested in the analysis and raw evidence. Anything even remotely like evidence of WMDs would almost certainly have been sent to the Office of Special Plans, Cheney's own little intelligence agency at the Pentagon. The OSP, you may remember, was run by the man fellow neocon Gen. Tommy Franks honored with the title "Stupidest Fucking Guy On the Planet", Doug Feith. (I never get tired of that one). Valerie Wilson was helping to collect that raw evidence.

That doesn't prove that he was trying to destroy Valerie Wilson rather than Joe, of course. It lends credence to the idea, but it's by no means proof. My guess is that he was probably pleased that the collateral damage included her. But he certainly could have been aware of her identity, and so had no need for someone to leak that information to him.

Anyone have any other suspects?

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