Thursday, March 01, 2007

Why Plamegate?

No post on this site has made me prouder than yesterday's offering on Plamegate from dr. elsewhere. If you haven't read it yet, I beg you to do so now.

The doctor directs our attention to this important thread on Democratic Underground, which asks a key question, a simple question, an overlooked question: Why was Valerie Plame outed as a CIA agent? (Yes, I know that she goes by her married name, Valerie Wilson -- but by this point, "Plame" has entered the national dialog, and that nomenclature will not soon be replaced.)

The commonly-heard story never made much sense. We have been told that the Office of the Vice President (OVP) outed Plame as a CIA agent to columnist Bob Novak in order to smear her husband, Ambassador Joseph Wilson, who had published a story embarrassing to the administration. But the "smear" wasn't much of a smear. Everyone agrees that Wilson was quite qualified to go to Niger and check out the yellowcake claim. His wife's employer did not affect his credibility in any way. Besides, we now know that the OVP had targeted Wilson and his wife well before Wilson went public. So what was the OVP trying to prove?

An alternative theory is gaining traction. Before we address it directly, let's review a few facts -- and please forgive me for over-simplifying:

1. Plame worked for a CIA unit tracking Weapons of Mass Destruction and the A.Q. Khan network, which sold nuclear secrets and materials to "rogue" nations.

2. Cheney knew all about Khan in 1989 and did nothing to stop him.

3. Cheney's company, Haliburton, received a hefty fine in 1995 for selling dual-use nuclear equipment to Libya, then considered the most roguish of rogue nations. This scam would have brought Haliburton into close contact with the Khan network.

4. A Khan associate named B.S.A. Tahir, based in Dubai, was helping to supply centrifuge equipment to Libya. (Dubai front companies are used to ship American goods to "forbidden" countries.) Tahir works for a business concern called the Scomi Group. Scomi links up with Haliburton via a German concern called Cognis. The exact nature of these linkages are complex. (If you really must know all the details, go here and re-read the middle section until your eyes explode.)

5. David Kelly, the British scientist who acted as a weapons inspector in Iraq, warned of "dark actors" and predicted that he would 'probably be found dead in the woods.' On July 17, 2003, that is precisely what happened. Many people believe that he was murdered.

6. Valerie Plame was outed just a few days before Kelly died or (more likely) was killed.

7. Journalist Judith Miller of the New York Times was used by the OVP to spread disinformation. Judith Miller was also close to Kelly; she had used him as a source for an earlier book on germ warfare.

8. When the A.Q. Khan nuclear network was revealed to the public, Khan received no punishment from the Pakistani government -- and the White House did not protest.

Oh, and here's one last little factoid: After the capture of Baghdad, Ron Reagan Jr. captiously predicted that planted WMD evidence would be discovered in Baghdad. But that prophecy failed.

Consider the dog that did not bark in the night. Consider Cheney and Rumsfeld's ever-so-confident prediction that WMDs would be found: "We know where they are..."

Which brings us, at last, to the TOP -- that is, to the Theory Of Plamegate.

What if both Kelly and Plame had stumbled across a plan to plant nuclear materials -- supplied by A.Q. Khan -- in Iraq? What if Kelly told what he knew to Judith Miller, who passed the info to Cheney's office? What if Plame's unit had scuttled the scheme?

Even if the Kelly death and the Plame outing have nothing in common but the coincidence of dates, we must still ask if Plame had stumbled across evidence of nuclear smuggling into Iraq.

This theory (and there is much more evidence to favor it) has been heard, in one form or another, since 2004. But nothing (to my knowledge) has come out during the Libby trial which would force us to scuttle this idea.

Decades after the Watergate break-in, people still wonder why those burglars targeted that office. Let's make sure that people aren't asking "Why Plamegate?" decades from now.


Anonymous said...

My take has always been simple. Plame was outed so we can have an all out war. She had the goods. When she was outed, an entire network went down. CIA officers were scambled from country to country. Networks then got little to no information because contacts had to be abandoned, some killed I am sure.
My laughing point is saying A.Q.Kahn outloud... say it three times and you'll hear it.( Al Queda CON)
do I smell any sawdust yet because Americans might be thinkin????

Anonymous said...

I would direct you to this article from april of 2004:

It posits that there was an attempt to plant weapons, only that the team bringing them in was destroyed, along with the weapons, by friendly fire. Because in the early days of the war/bombing champagne, everything was a bit chaotic.

Anonymous said...

there was an attempt to bring wmd into iraq, i remember reading where the attempt was foiled by border guards. there were a few articles relating to this on the web at or about the time it happened.
The reason she was outed by the ovp is beacause she sent her husband to check out the niger theory and they wanted that out there.

Anonymous said...

That's the way they work... entrap, frame someone up, plant evidence(WMDs), Iraq, Iran, Miami 7, while letting the big players and your buddies profitting from the scam get away scott free(AQ Khan, Halliburton, Bin Laden in pakistan).

Anonymous said...

Altanmia, a company that listed WMD transfer in its company profile, was stopped the Iraq broder on the Kuwait side with falsely labeled NGO/humanitarian goods, some of which were WMD, banned ordinance, precursors.

Brewster put the stop to Altanmia.
Marving Bush is a boardmember for them, the company has the KBR fuel important subcontract for our military in Iraq.

Anonymous said...

Anyone got an angle to this regarding the anti-government types? Like some of the cranks in Texas, Arizona, Arkansas? Their possible role in pushing the U.S. into a breaking point? maybe working behind the scenes to crash the government?

Anonymous said...

Joe, you've laid it out so it all makes sense, but it still gives me a headache. I've always been partial to the theory that the OVP wasn't after Wilson for his article because that just didn't make all that much sense. I thought they were after Plame all along because she and her (CIA-owned) company were digging up info on nukes in Iran. They knew if they didn't get rid of her and the company, it would be much harder to convince everyone that Iran had nukes. Kill the truth before any one else can use it. That she might have, in the course of this activity, discovered the AQKahn plan makes sense.