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A really good centrist/insider view of why Plamegate is important.

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Chan790 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Oct-19-05 03:00 PM
Original message
A really good centrist/insider view of why Plamegate is important.
from the viewpoint of intelligence and security professional George Friedman of Stratfor, a private-practice intel firm based in TX.

There is an explicit and implicit contract between the United States and its NOCs. It has many parts, but there is one fundamental part: A NOC will never reveal that he is or was a NOC without special permission. When he does reveal it, he never gives specifics. The government also makes a guarantee -- it will never reveal the identity of a NOC under any circumstances and, in fact, will do everything to protect it. If you have lied to your closest friends for 30 years about who you are and why you talk to them, no government bureaucrat has the right to reveal your identity for you. Imagine if you had never told your children -- and never planned to tell your children -- that you worked for the CIA, and they suddenly read in The New York Times that you were someone other than they thought you were.

There is more to this. When it is revealed that you were a NOC, foreign intelligence services begin combing back over your life, examining every relationship you had. Anyone you came into contact with becomes suspect. Sometimes, in some countries, becoming suspect can cost you your life. Revealing the identity of a NOC can be a matter of life and death -- frequently, of people no one has ever heard of or will ever hear of again.

In short, a NOC owes things to his country, and his country owes things to the NOC. We have no idea what Valerie Plame told her family or friends about her work. It may be that she herself broke the rules, revealing that she once worked as a NOC. We can't know that, because we don't know whether she received authorization from the CIA to say things after her own identity was blown by others. She might have been irresponsible, or she might have engaged in damage control. We just don't know.

What we do know is this. In the course of events, reporters contacted two senior officials in the White House -- Rove and Libby. Under the least-damaging scenario we have heard, the reporters already knew that Plame had worked as a NOC. Rove and Libby, at this point, were obligated to say, at the very least, that they could neither confirm nor deny the report. In fact, their duty would have been quite a bit more: Their job was to lie like crazy to mislead the reporters. Rove and Libby had top security clearances and were senior White House officials. It was their sworn duty, undertaken when they accepted their security clearance, to build a "bodyguard of lies" -- in Churchill's phrase -- around the truth concerning U.S. intelligence capabilities.

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Demit Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Oct-19-05 03:14 PM
Response to Original message
1. Really really worth reading!!
I like what he said at the end--

"On a personal note, let me say this: one of the criticisms conservatives have of liberals is that they do not understand that we live in a dangerous world and, therefore, that they underestimate the effort needed to ensure national security. Liberals have questioned the utility and morality of espionage. Conservatives have been champions of national security and of the United States' overt and covert capabilities. Conservatives have condemned the atrophy of American intelligence capabilities. Whether the special prosecutor indicts or exonerates Rove and Libby legally doesn't matter. Valerie Plame was a soldier in service to the United States, unprotected by uniform or diplomatic immunity. I have no idea whether she served well or poorly, or violated regulations later. But she did serve. And thus, she and all the other NOCs were owed far more -- especially by a conservative administration -- than they got."

Thanks for posting it!
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Lexingtonian Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Oct-19-05 03:36 PM
Response to Original message
2. Its very nice and logical

but I disagree. This is an attempt to argue that the significance of the Plame stuff is that the safety and productivity of Little People in A Dangerous World amounts to the most important good and the most important framework.

That's not it, at all.
The meaning of the Plame affair lies the hubris and above-the-law behavior of the people in power. Hubris is the contempt for the value of other citizens' opinions, i.e. democracy. Above-the-law behavior is contempt for other citizens' rights and sovereignty of the laws, the concepts central to a republic. The Plame affair amounts to a crude set of deliberate and inexcusable, thought probably not objectively very harmful, violations of the core principles of the democratic republic form of government- by the people elected and tasked to run the government and pledged to uphold its Constitution.
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Chan790 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Oct-19-05 04:11 PM
Response to Reply #2
4. I looked at it as
a POV that is unassailable by the average Freeper. Ammunition for attacking their talking points. From the Law and Order, National Security standpoint (which they love) and the responsibility owed to the "men and women on the ground" they can't rebut it without arguing that the president has a right to lie and/or a right to sabotage national security for whatever reason. It's a double-edged sword, arguing against this line of thinking means arguing against the backbone of their foreign agenda and highlights a debate that conservatives are weak on maintaining the resources (human) needed to maintain a strong national security.

I think he's wrong on some things (Reading him weekly, he tends to skew toward neo-conservatism on occasion and it shows through here as well. Here he has the actions of this regime defeated and refuses to deliver the intellectual coup d' gras.), but I think it sells the treason of what the WHIG did very nicely qua the "realist" implications of their actions. It's a criticism that they abdicated their responsibility to the agents in the field and as such, regardless of their legality, are not fit to remain in any role in the government.

I think both tracks of argument against this regime on this scandal are important but we've ignored this one in favor of the legality track, we should be hammering them on both.
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crispini Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Oct-19-05 03:58 PM
Response to Original message
3. Very important. Recommended.
Imagine, if you will, working in Damascus as a NOC and reading that the president's chief adviser had confirmed the identity of a NOC. As you push into middle age, wondering what happened to your life, the sudden realization that your own government threatens your safety might convince you to resign and go home. That would cost the United States an agent it had spent decades developing. You don't just pop a new agent in his place. That NOC's resignation could leave the United States blind at a critical moment in a key place. Should it turn out that Rove and Libby not only failed to protect Plame's identity but deliberately leaked it, it would be a blow to the heart of U.S. intelligence. If just one critical NOC pulled out and the United States went blind in one location, the damage could be substantial. At the very least, it is a risk the United States should not have to incur.
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Window Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Oct-19-05 04:45 PM
Response to Original message
5. Great read.
Thanks for sharing.


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Chan790 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Oct-21-05 09:47 AM
Response to Original message
6. kick
I was really hoping for some commenatary on this. It strikes me as a different POV that has been largely overlooked.

This is bigger than just a WH that thinks it's above the law and a lies to get us into a war. It's also damaging to national security in the longer term as well. If ever there was an argument to be made that Republicans are weak on terror and weak on defense, this is it.
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