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Was the AP Snookered on WINPAC story?

The Associated Press reports that Judith Miller's notes from one of her conversations with Lewis Libby are wrong, and that the error may help Special Counsel Patrick Fitzgerald in his probe. I think this is more spin coming from Lewis Libby's team.

Miller disclosed this weekend that her notes of a conversation she had with I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby on July 8, 2003 stated Cheney's top aide told her that the wife of Bush administration critic Joseph Wilson worked for the CIA's Weapons Intelligence, Non-Proliferation, and Arms Control (WINPAC) unit.

Wilson's wife, Valerie Plame, never worked for WINPAC, an analysis unit in the overt side of the CIA, and instead worked in a position in the CIA's secret side, known as the directorate of operations, according to three people familiar with her work for the spy agency.

The AP then cites several sources who imply that the mis-information could mean Libby got his information from cocktail chatter rather than from a classified document.

It could suggest Libby thought Plame was not an undercover spy, and therefore couldn't have knowingly revealed her occupation, or that he got his information from uninformed sources, they said....

Danny Coulson, a former top FBI official who conducted several investigations of leaks, said the possibility that Libby passed on wrong information to a reporter may indicate he didn't get his information from a credible, official source. "What it tells me is he probably got his information from dinner talk," Coulson said. Presidential aides "had access to the official information and if they had used that, you would think they would have had the right stuff."

So where did the information come from and do we know it really is incorrect? In this post, I quoted Vanity Fair and its January, 2004 profile of Joseph Wilson:

Cheney and his chief of staff, Lewis Libby, visited the C.I.A. several times at Langley and told the staff to make more of an effort to find evidence of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq and to uncover Iraqi attempts to acquire nuclear capabilities. One of the people who objected most fervently to what he saw as "intimidation," according to one former C.I.A. case officer, was Alan Foley, then the head of the Weapons Intelligence, Non-Proliferation and Arms Control Center. He was Valerie Plame's boss. (Foley could not be reached for comment.)

There are a legion of reports and Senate transcripts that mention that Alan Foley was the head of WINPAC. If Valerie Plame didn't work for WINPAC, why was Alan Foley her boss?

Most of the former CIA employees who have been talking on this case, Larry Johnson and Vince Cannistrano to name just a few, have been critical of Cheney and Libby and supportive of the CIA. Who but a Pentagon source, rather than a CIA source, would now be spinning pro-Libby stories?

As I've opined repeatedly, expect the stories this week to come from the camps of those about to be indicted. This AP story sounds like it's coming from Libby's camp to me. Another hint: The AP article makes it sound like the info is coming from CIA sources, but it doesn't say that. It says the sources are "three people familiar with her work for the spy agency."

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  • Re: Was the AP Snookered on WINPAC story? (none / 0) (#1)
    by Patriot Daily on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:05:06 PM EST
    This is why I SO LOVEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE your site, tying up important issues in such a clear and concise manner that hits the nail right on the head!!!!!

    Re: Was the AP Snookered on WINPAC story? (none / 0) (#2)
    by squeaky on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:05:06 PM EST
    Fred Fleitz evidentially worked for WINPAC and was from DO not DI (most who work at WINPAC were from DI) as well as working for Bolton in the WH. Bolton wanted an inside source so that he could keep tabs and manipulate the CIA. That there were some DO people in WINPAC makes a case that Plame also worked out of that group. The empty wheel has an in depth post on Fleitz and and Bolton written prior to the news reflected above. After reviewing the lastest they still have a credible argument that that she did work for WINPAC