Joe Wilson: My Wife Wasn’t A Clandestine Officer When Novak Blew Her Identity

Was Valerie Plame a covert agent when her name originally came out? I think this should settle the whole debate once and for all:

Wolf Blitzer: But the other argument that’s been made against you is that you’ve sought to capitalize on this extravaganza, having that photo shoot with your wife, who was a clandestine officer of the CIA, and that you’ve tried to enrich yourself writing this book and all of that.

What do you make of those accusations, which are serious accusations, as you know, that have been leveled against you.

Joe Wilson: My wife was not a clandestine officer the day that Bob Novak blew her identity.”

Advantage Rove!

*** Update #1 ***: As if that wasn’t enough, here’s another nail in the coffin for the whole “covert agent” claim:

“The federal code says the agent must have operated outside the United States within the previous five years. But Plame gave up her role as a covert agent nine years before the Rove interview, according to New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof.

Kristof said the CIA brought Plame back to Washington in 1994 because the agency suspected her undercover security had been compromised by turncoat spy Aldrich Ames.”

That clinches it. Even if Rove would have held a press conference to tell the whole world Valerie Plame’s name, there would have been nothing legally or ethically wrong with it because Plame wasn’t a covert agent.

That means unless Rove did something illegal and dumb, like commit perjury or obstruct justice, he’s completely in the clear. So at this point, there’s nothing much left to do but wait until Patrick Fitzgerald’s investigation is finished….

*** Update #2 ***: Here’s a breaking story from the New York Times that I’m going to translate for you, because the NYT has written it in a very confusing way. Basically what they’re saying is:

“Karl Rove has told investigators that he learned Valerie Plame’s name from Robert Novak. Novak called Rove, afer he had already talked with another White House official and after hearing Mr. Novak’s account, Mr. Rove told Novak: “I heard that, too.”

Incidentally, that seems to gibe fairly well with the account Robert Novak gave in a follow-up to the column that outed Plame:

“During a long conversation with a senior administration official, I asked why Wilson was assigned the mission to Niger. He said Wilson had been sent by the CIA’s counterproliferation section at the suggestion of one of its employees, his wife. It was an offhand revelation from this official, who is no partisan gunslinger. When I called another official for confirmation, he said: “Oh, you know about it.” The published report that somebody in the White House failed to plant this story with six reporters and finally found me as a willing pawn is simply untrue.”

Rove is apparently the “Oh, you know about it guy”.

*** Update #3 ***: As if that wasn’t enough — from the Washington Times:

“A former CIA covert agent who supervised Mrs. Plame early in her career yesterday took issue with her identification as an “undercover agent,” saying that she worked for more than five years at the agency’s headquarters in Langley and that most of her neighbors and friends knew that she was a CIA employee.

“She made no bones about the fact that she was an agency employee and her husband was a diplomat,” Fred Rustmann, a covert agent from 1966 to 1990, told The Washington Times.

“Her neighbors knew this, her friends knew this, his friends knew this.”

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