July 12, 2005

What is Classified Information?

Looking at the media feeding frenzy, you'd have to think that George Bush was crazy to stand behind Karl Rove amid allegations in the affair dubbed "Plamegate."

Liberal bloggers and professional journalists alike are giddy with the thought that Karl Rove may be forced out the White House door. Via to the Hotline's Blogometer, we see that Armando at Daily Kos dug up a 2003 press conference in which Scott McClellan states:

"If someone in this administration leaked classified information, they will no longer be a part of this administration, because that's not the way this White House operates."

Armando then goes on to make the claim:

It can not be disputed now that Karl Rove did indeed "leak classified information."

But there is a problem Armando, because actually, it can be disputed. As a matter of fact, it might be rather easy to prove that Rove did not leak classified information.

Valerie Plame was a lot of things--a CIA employee, an Ambassador's wife, a socialite in the pages of Vanity Fair--but she was far from a secret agent who had her cover blown.

In fact not one source that I've seen has ever been able to conclusively establish that she had a secret identity to blow.

Valerie Plame was a WMD analyst who drove from her cushy estate in Georgetown through the gates of CIA headquarters at least twice a day, five days a week. "Secret agent?" I think not. Johnny English could have found her.

Karl Rove may have told a journalist that "Joe Wilson's wife" was an analyst in the CIA, but that was hardly a breach of national security. She wasn't undercover. Period.

I wondered why Rove so easily let Matt Cooper reveal his identity, and why Bush has made no effort to distance himself from what promises be a political hot potato. I'm starting to wonder if once again Karl Rove has outsmarted his political adversaries. It wouldn't be the first time, and unless there is more to this story than the media has been able to uncover so far, it may not be the last.

UPDATE: I just caught a bit of Michael Medved on Larry King Live, and he seemed to agree with my contention that Rove may not have done anything wrong. If I'm off on this, at least I'm in good company.

UPDATE2 :The beginnings of a counterattack?


"but she was far from a secret agent who had her cover blown."

The correct term is case officer. Plame worked as a counterproliferation case officer with the CIA Directorate of Operations (DO) for nearly 20 years. As a case officer she would of had various official and non-offical covers whilst operating over the years. Such is the nature of the DO overseas. Oh, and this is coming for a person with many years of experience in the community. So consider yourself fact checked.

Posted by: D. at July 14, 2005 07:56 AM

Thanks for the technical clarification, D. The media at large seem to be most often using the terminology "secret agent," which is why I used the term, though you are correct in that I doubt she'd put "secret agent" on her resume when she went looking for a new job after being outed.

Oh wait... she still works at the CIA. From what I've read, it seems she hasn't been undercover in the field for something like nine years.

When that comes out, there goes the case against Rove...

Posted by: Confederate Yankee at July 14, 2005 08:15 AM