MSNBC confirms: Outed CIA agent was working on Iran
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Monday May 1, 2006
On Chris Matthews' Hardball Monday evening, just moments ago, MSNBC correspondent David Shuster confirmed what RAW STORY first reported in February: that outed CIA officer Valerie Plame Wilson was working on Iran at the time she was outed (Watch the video of Shuster's report here).
RAW STORY's Larisa Alexandrovna broke the story earlier this year, which went unnoticed by the mainstream media (Read our full story).
According to current and former intelligence officials, Plame Wilson, who worked on the clandestine side of the CIA in the Directorate of Operations as a non-official cover (NOC) officer, was part of an operation tracking distribution and acquisition of weapons of mass destruction technology to and from Iran.
Reports Shuster in this rush transcript: "INTELLIGENCE SOURCES SAY VALERIE WILSON WAS PART OF AN OPERATION THREE YEARS AGO TRACKING THE PROLIFERATION OF NUCLEAR WEAPONS MATERIAL INTO IRAN. AND THE SOURCES ALLEGE THAT WHEN MRS. WILSON'S COVER WAS BLOWN, THE ADMINISTRATION'S ABILITY TO TRACK IRAN'S NUCLEAR AMBITIONS WAS DAMAGED AS WELL."
MSNBC transcript follows (we apologize for the caps; they were in the original).
Matthews: Ever since the White House/CIA leak scandal erupted, the nation has seen photographs here and there of Valerie Wilson, the CIA operative whose identity was blown. Now, thanks to a black tie event Saturday night, we have some video. Hardball correspondent David Shuster brings it to us and has the latest on the CIA leak case.
FOR THE FIRST TIME SINCE BUSH ADMINISTRATION OFFICIALS REVEALED HER UNDERCOVER IDENTITY AND RUINED HER CAREER --- FORMER CIA OPERATIVE VALERIE WILSON... ACCOMPANIED BY HER HUSBAND JOE WILSON, STEPPED IN FRONT OF THE TELEVISION CAMERAS. AND THEIR RED CARPET APPEARANCE SATURDAY NIGHT AT THE WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT'S DINNER COULD NOT HAVE COME AT A MORE DRAMATIC MOMENT IN THE CIA LEAK INVESTIGATION ITSELF.
PROSECUTOR PATRICK FITZGERALD IS WEIGHING WHETHER TO INDICT TOP PRESIDENTIAL ADVISOR KARL ROVE, OTHERWISE KNOWN AS BUSH'S BRAIN. AND, WHITE HOUSE SUPPORTERS ARE STEPPING UP THEIR ARGUMENT THAT UNVEILING WILSON'S IDENITY WAS NOT A CRIME. JOE WILSON'S RESPONSE?
Wilson: "Well the CIA I think has responded first by asking the Justice Department to open an investigation and my judgment the leak of national security information is a betrayal a minimum of one's security clearance and certainly of the public trust and I for one can't understand how Mr. Rove remains on the payroll of the US Government."
EARLY IN THE CASE, ROVE ADMITTED TO INVESTIGATORS THAT HE OUTED VALERIE WILSON'S IDENTITY TO COLUMNIST ROBERT NOVAK -- NOVAK WAS THE FIRST JOURNALIST TO PUBLISH WILSON'S IDENTITY AND THE FIRST TO TALK ABOUT IT TO INVESTIGATORS.
AND LAST WEEK, KARL ROVE TESTIFIED AGAIN HE MAY HAVE SPOKEN ABOUT THE WILSON'S WITH TIME MAGAZINE'S MATT COOPER.
ROVE SAID HE DENIED THAT UNDER OATH FOR THE FIRST YEAR OF THE INVESTIGATION BECAUSE OF MEMORY PROBLEMS. A CASE OF BAD MEMORY IS SCOOTER LIBBY'S DEFENSE.
BUT IN REGARDS TO KARL ROVE, LAWYERS IN THE CASE SAY PROSECUTOR FITZGERALD IS STILL TROUBLED BY THE TIMING OF ROVE'S ROLLING DISCLOSURES: IT SEEMS THAT ROVE'S MEMORY PERKS UP WITH EVERY NEW INDICATION SOMEONE ELSE WILL EXPOSE HIM. WHEN ROVE FINALLY BEGAN TO UPDATE HIS TESTIMONY IN OCTOBER 2004... IT WAS JUST DAYS AFTER COOPER WAS FIRST HELD IN CONTEMPT FOR REFUSING TO DISCLOSE CONFIDENTIAL SOURCES. AND ROVE DID NOT GIVE COOPER A CLEAR WAIVER TO TESTIFY UNTIL AFTER COOPER'S APPEALS HAD BEEN EXHAUSTED 9 MONTHS LATER.
IN ANY CASE, AS PROSECUTOR PATRICK FITZGERALD CONSIDERS WHETHER TO CHARGE KARL ROVE WITH PERJURY, OBSTRUCTION OF JUSTICE, OR WORSE... MSNBC HAS LEARNED NEW INFORMATION ABOUT THE DAMAGE CAUSED BY THE WHITE HOUSE LEAKS.
INTELLIGENCE SOURCES SAY VALERIE WILSON WAS PART OF AN OPERATION THREE YEARS AGO TRACKING THE PROLIFERATION OF NUCLEAR WEAPONS MATERIAL INTO IRAN. AND THE SOURCES ALLEGE THAT WHEN MRS. WILSON'S COVER WAS BLOWN, THE ADMINISTRATION'S ABILITY TO TRACK IRAN'S NUCLEAR AMBITIONS WAS DAMAGED AS WELL.
THE WHITE HOUSE CONSIDERS IRAN TO BE ONE OF AMERICA'S BIGGEST THREATS.
President George W. Bush: "the Iranians should not have a nuclear weapon, the capacity to make a nuclear weapon, or the knowledge as to how to make a nuclear weapon. And now that we've got the goal in mind, we're working on the tactics."
BUT THE TACTICS ARE NOT AS CLEAR IN THE MIDST OF RECORD LOW APPROVAL RATINGS AND A DIPLOMATIC AND MILITARY PLAYING FIELD LIMITED BY THE U-S WAR IN IRAQ.
Madeleine Albright: "The world is in total turmoil right now. Worst I've ever seen it. (reporter) How do we get out of it? Whats the number one issue as far as whats related to that turmoil? (Albright) Iraq. (reporter) What do we do about it? (Albright walks away)
THE IRAQ WAR IS THE BACKDROP FOR THE CIA LEAK CASE. JOE WILSON HAD CRITICIZED THE ADMINISTRATION'S CASE FOR THE IRAQ WAR... AND THE WHITE HOUSE TRIED TO UNDERCUT HIM BY LEAKING, AMONG OTHER THINGS, INFORMATION ABOUT HIS CIA WIFE.
Shuster: THE WILSONS SAY THEY'VE SPOKEN TO PROSECUTOR PATRICK FITZGERALD TWICE SINCE THE CASE BEGAN... AND THE LAST TIME WAS SEVERAL MONTHS AGO. SO, THEY ARE WAITING, LIKE EVERYBODY ELSE, FOR SOME SORT OF ANNOUNCEMENT FROM FITZGERALD'S OFFICE ABOUT ROVE. KARL ROVE'S ATTORNEYS SAY THEY'VE BEEN TOLD BY FITZGERALD THAT NO DECISION WILL BE MADE FOR AT LEAST ANOTHER WEEK. CHRIS?