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What did Libby know?
From: David Farber <dave () farber net>
Date: Fri, 14 Apr 2006 15:53:24 -0400

Begin forwarded message:

From: "Hitchens, Ralph" <Ralph.Hitchens () hq doe gov>
Date: April 14, 2006 10:23:11 AM EDT
To: dave () farber net
Subject: What did Libby know?

Dave, for IP if you wish.

Re. this quote in Ronda's post:
"In that context, defendant proceeded to tell the FBI that he had merely passed information from one reporter (Russert) to other reporters while disclaiming any knowledge of whether the information he passed was true, and certainly unaware that he knew this classified information from government channels." This is reaching back to basics with regard to this case. As a card- carrying member of the Loyal Opposition I've certainly experienced schadenfreude over the legal troubles of high-level WH staffers, but I admit to "reasonable doubt" about whether Libby's disclaimer is indeed a falsehood. I spent 20 years in the intelligence community, including a few years detailed to the Agency, and learned early on that there are two types of CIA employees: those in cover status, and those not. The former, including many who worked in "open," non- covert jobs like Ms. Plame's at WINPAC, were identified with an alphabetical suffix after their names in various internal documents -- rosters, lists of attendees at interagency meetings, and the like. We all knew when we saw a specific letter after someone's name that his/her identity was to be protected. But I don't have any idea how far such knowledge extended. Since Joseph Wilson had worked at the NSC, there was undoubtedly an awareness among many people in and around the White House that his wife worked at CIA, but how many of these people would have known that she was in cover status? And how likely is it that high-level intelligence "consumers" such as Libby and his boss would have known this fact? The law in question only extends to people in cover status, I believe. I have no qualms about mentioning to anyone the names of some CIA acquaintances, like my techno-visionary friend Carol Dumaine (star of a Washington Post op- ed piece not all that long ago) or ex-analyst turned sausage maker Stan Feder (recently profiled in the Food Section of the Post), but there are others I came to know whose names always appeared with that particular suffix and will therefore not be mentioned. It's one thing to know the law, but another to know to whom the protection afforded by that law extends.

Ralph Hitchens

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