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Report: Wurmser Told Libby and Hadley

Oh, and it's a hollow feelin'
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It never ends

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Raw Story Exclusive:

Those close to the investigation say that Special Prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald has been told that David Wurmser, then a Middle East adviser to Vice President Dick Cheney, met with Cheney and his chief of staff I. Lewis “Scooter” Libby in June 2003 and told him that Plame set up the Wilson trip. He asserted that it was a boondoggle because she was a CIA agent, the sources said.

Libby then shared the information with Karl Rove, President Bush's deputy chief of staff, the sources said. Wurmser also passed on the same information about Wilson and his CIA to Deputy National Security Adviser Stephen Hadley and Security Adviser Condoleeza Rice, they added.

Within a week, Wurmser, on orders from "executives in the office of the vice president," was told to leak her name to a specific group of reporters in an effort to muzzle her husband, Wilson, who had become a thorn in the side of the administration, those close to the inquiry say. It is unclear who Wurmser had spoken with in the media, the sources said, but they confirmed he did speak with reporters at national media outlets about Plame.

If true, it sounds like Wurmser, as previously reported, flipped on Cheney, Libby and Hadley. So, who's providing this new Wurmser information? It doesn't sound like it's Wurmser. It sounds like it's someone who is very angry at him.

Wurmser largely invented evidence that Iraq had close ties to Al-Qaeda and Osama Bin Laden, sources knowledgeable about his work told RAW STORY.

If Wurmser did tell Libby about Wilson and Plame in June, and if as has been reported, Libby told investigators and the grand jury he first learned of Plame from a reporter, Libby is in deep trouble. Wursmer's information also is added corroboration for Judith Miller's version of her June, 2003 conversation with Libby.

Now, what about Cheney? Raw Story is reporting that while Wurmser met with both Libby and Cheney, he only told Libby about Wilson and Plame at the meeting. But, consider this:

Ari Fleischer's July 7 Press Gaggle:

The Vice President's office was not informed of his mission and he was not aware of Mr. Wilson's mission until recent press accounts -- press reports accounted for it.

Dick Cheney on Meet the Press, September, 2003:

I don’t know Joe Wilson. I’ve never met Joe Wilson. A question had arisen. I’d heard a report that the Iraqis had been trying to acquire uranium in Africa, Niger in particular. I get a daily brief on my own each day before I meet with the president to go through the intel. And I ask lots of questions. One of the questions I asked at that particular time about this, I said, “What do we know about this?” They take the question. He came back within a day or two and said, “This is all we know. There’s a lot we don’t know,” end of statement. And Joe Wilson—I don’t who sent Joe Wilson. He never submitted a report that I ever saw when he came back.

Condi Rice press briefing on July 8:

I will tell you that, for instance, on Ambassador Wilson's going out to Niger, I learned of that when I was sitting on whatever TV show it was, because that mission was not known to anybody in the White House.

Knights Ridder, June 12, 2003:

A senior CIA official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, said the intelligence agency informed the White House on March 9, 2002 - 10 months before Bush's nationally televised speech - that an agency source who had traveled to Niger couldn't confirm European intelligence reports that Iraq was attempting to buy uranium from the West African country.

Despite the CIA's misgivings, Bush said in his State of the Union address: "The British government has learned that Saddam Hussein recently sought significant quantities of uranium in Africa."

Three senior administration officials said Vice President Dick Cheney and some officials on the National Security Council staff and at the Pentagon ignored the CIA's reservations and argued that the president and others should include the allegation in their case against Saddam. The claim later turned out to be based on crude forgeries that an African diplomat had sold to Italian intelligence officials.

One additional note: Was David Wurmser the source for Walter Pincus and/or Robert Novak? The use of the word "boondoggle" makes me think it's possible.

Background:

Just after September 11, 2001, Feith and Rhode recruited David Wurmser, the director of Middle East studies for AEI, to serve as a Pentagon consultant.

Wurmser would be the founding participant of the unnamed, secret intelligence unit at the Pentagon, set up in Feith's office, which would be the nucleus of the Defense Department's Iraq disinformation campaign that was established within weeks of the attacks in New York and Washington. While the CIA and other intelligence agencies concentrated on Osama bin Laden's Al Qaeda as the culprit in the 9/11 attacks, Wolfowitz and Feith obsessively focused on Iraq. It was a theory that was discredited, even ridiculed, among intelligence professionals....In short, Wurmser, backed by Feith and Rhode, set out to prove what didn't exist.

In an Administration devoted to the notion of "Feith-based intelligence," Wurmser was ideal. For years, he'd been a shrill ideologue, part of the minority crusade during the 1990s that was beating the drums for war against Iraq.

....As the momentum for war began to build in early 2002, Wolfowitz and Feith beefed up the intelligence unit and created an Iraq war-planning unit in the Pentagon's Near East and South Asia Affairs section, run by Deputy Undersecretary of Defense William Luti, under the rubric "Office of Special Plans," or OSP; the new unit's director was Abram N. Shulsky. By then, Wurmser had moved on to a post as senior adviser to Undersecretary of State John Bolton, yet another neocon, who was in charge of the State Department's disarmament, proliferation, and WMD office and was promoting the Iraq war strategy there.

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  • Re: Report: Wurmser Told Libby and Hadley (none / 0) (#1)
    by Talkleft Visitor on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:05:19 PM EST
    Boon-doggle to Niger???? Maybe Rio or Vegas but Niger? Could Ms. Flame not have found a way to check out those horrible French folks in Paris...or better yet look for yellow Cake in Rome?

    Re: Report: Wurmser Told Libby and Hadley (none / 0) (#2)
    by Talkleft Visitor on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:05:19 PM EST
    WOW!!!! Thanks, TL! Could you explain "told him that Plame set up the Wilson trip. He asserted that it was a boondoggle because she was a CIA agent, the sources said. " What's a boondoggle? Relevance of Plame setting up trip (never understood this) What's relevance of Plame being CIA to Wilson going to Niger?

    Re: Report: Wurmser Told Libby and Hadley (none / 0) (#3)
    by Talkleft Visitor on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:05:19 PM EST
    "Read My Lips -- No Leakers Will Work in My Assministration." --Except for SecState Rice, 'bedded reporters, and the entire freakin'/frakin' West Wing. (YMMV. Leakers are the sole property of the Republican National Committee, and no likenesses or resemblances to actual government figures is implied, or should be inferred. Licences and qualifications do not apply; loyalty is everything. All Worship Mammon. Member BFEE).

    Re: Report: Wurmser Told Libby and Hadley (none / 0) (#4)
    by Talkleft Visitor on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:05:19 PM EST
    So Wurmser told Libbey that Plame set up the trip. Why did he actually go again and at whose request? It sounds like Wurmser told the VP's office - but isn't the allegation that the trip was initiated by the VP's office? Am I to conclude (trying to follow) that Wurmser was looking for ways to discredit Wilson at Cheney's request and reporting back to him?

    Re: Report: Wurmser Told Libby and Hadley (none / 0) (#5)
    by Talkleft Visitor on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:05:19 PM EST
    So Wurmser told Libbey that Plame set up the trip. Why did he actually go again and at whose request? It sounds like Wurmser told the VP's office - but isn't the allegation that the trip was initiated by the VP's office? Am I to conclude (trying to follow) that Wurmser was looking for ways to discredit Wilson at Cheney's request and reporting back to him?

    Re: Report: Wurmser Told Libby and Hadley (none / 0) (#6)
    by Tom Maguire on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:05:19 PM EST
    Good point about boondoggle being used by Pincus, but not being that common. And not to be critical, but bad point about a trip to Niger making less sense as a "boondoggle" than a trip to say, Disney World. Obviously, one sense of "boondoggle" covers the corporate golf outing. However, the WaPo (and, I am sure, others) use it to mean "watse of time and.or resources", whether it is fun or not. For example, from the WaPo headlines, I see "Alaska Town Says Bridge is Not Boondoggle" and "Rail to Dulles Is a Boondoggle". And it is clear from the SSCI that the analysys had serious doubts whether Wilson's trip would be if any value. Love the Eagles, by the way. I see Matt Cooper is trying to write the Plame Leak comedy; maybe the soundtrack to "Desperado" could inspire the musical. Hmm, does any else see people buying tickets to hear Judy Miller sing "You'd Better Let Somebody Love You" to Scooter? Me neither...

    Re: Report: Wurmser Told Libby and Hadley (none / 0) (#7)
    by Tom Maguire on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:05:19 PM EST
    Per Raw Story, Wurmser talked to reporters. However, we are running low on reporters towhom he might have talked. Pincus is a good pick - apparently, he did recently refine his source to "White House official", he used thw word "boondoggle", and his source had identified himself to the prosecutor. The bad news - Pincus received a leak on July 12, after the Novak storyhad hit the wires, so, one might argue, the Pincus leak was not a crime. Novak is a possibility. TIME recently hinted that "Fitzgerald, says a lawyer who's involved in the case, "knows who [Novak's original source] is--and it's not someone at the White House"; Wurmser still is there. But TIME could be wrong. However, assuming Wurmser is cooperating,

    Re: Report: Wurmser Told Libby and Hadley (none / 0) (#8)
    by Talkleft Visitor on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:05:20 PM EST
    Isn't the overarching issue here, that Plame ceased to be a covert agent after the 5 year statute of limitations had run out? So in fact, "outing" her has no legal ramifications? And Joe Wilson had claimed to have been sent by alternately, the CIA, or "someone in Cheney's office"? So in fact, the truth that it was Wilson's wife who was instrumental to his being sent to Niger is relevent and important information? And the fact that Joe Wilson attacked the President for saying that Saddam had looked for yellow cake in Africa, when Wilson had only visited Niger, makes the whole Wilson/Plame saga sordid and partisan?

    Re: Report: Wurmser Told Libby and Hadley (none / 0) (#9)
    by The Heretik on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:05:20 PM EST
    Re: Report: Wurmser Told Libby and Hadley (none / 0) (#11)
    by Talkleft Visitor on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:05:20 PM EST
    Posted by Robert Kessler: "So in fact, "outing" her has no legal ramifications?" Mrs. Wilson is just one spy. By outing her, the administration outed Brewster Jennings, and potentially HUNDREDS of spies, THOUSANDS of informants, and TENS OF THOUSANDS of covert contacts carried out as ordinary 'business.' The administration also obviously intended to COERCE silence from ALL intelligence workers, and indeed from the entire bureacracy. Go against us, the Bush Mafia says again and again, and we will do to you what happened to Paul Wellstone, three years ago Tuesday. This kind of threatening of public officials and exposing of intelligence agents and fronts, is illegal. It is illegal on a whole raft of laws, any plank of which is more than enough to counter R strategic diminishment, made famous by Rumsfeld when he announced, in order to excuse the total failure of the occupation to maintain peace, that free people loot. And don't forget that C. Rice gave the NYT the name of the AL QAEDA agent who UK-intel flipped into an informant. Outing that mole, who was in contact with AQ terrorists INSIDE THE US who are planning an attack, forced the UK into an ad hoc raid that endangered their agents and destroyed yet another slab of OUR national security. His name wasn't classified -- HIS IDENTITY WAS. Mrs. Wilson should never have been attacked. I hope some of the felons who attacked her are brought to the bar Tuesday, which I will take as a requiem for Paul Wellstone -- THE FIGHT GOES ON.

    Re: Report: Wurmser Told Libby and Hadley (none / 0) (#12)
    by Talkleft Visitor on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:05:20 PM EST
    OCT 25 -- Paul Wellstone Justice Day -- a day every year for the (legal or free speech) indictment of public officials for acts against their oaths of office.

    Re: Report: Wurmser Told Libby and Hadley (none / 0) (#13)
    by Talkleft Visitor on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:05:21 PM EST
    Paul, For your accusation of the outing of thousands of agents to hold water, there would have to be a corresponding law prohibiting the public discussion of any agent's identity at any time. There isn't. There's a five year statute. So perhaps your argument is an attempt to say "Well, no laws were broken, but we're still going to accuse someone of something". Kind of like what's happening to Tom Delay, don't you think?

    Re: Report: Wurmser Told Libby and Hadley (none / 0) (#14)
    by squeaky on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:05:22 PM EST
    RK-Why do you and your wingnut pals feel good about traitors running the WH. Are you so deluded to nit pick, when it is clear that the Bush Admin deliberately outed a spy as either payback, or because Brewster Jennings was getting too close to AIPAC/WH shenanigans. You are a dupe as these guys could give a rat's ass about you; they do as they please. tristero articulates ,quite eloquently, why all Americans should care about Plame's outing.

    Re: Report: Wurmser Told Libby and Hadley (none / 0) (#15)
    by Talkleft Visitor on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:05:22 PM EST
    Posted by Robert Kessler: "For your accusation of the outing of thousands of agents to hold water, there would have to be a corresponding law" That is a non sequitur, Robert. For the accusation to hold true, all that has to be the case is that it is true. The legal ramifications are not the same as the crime itself. "prohibiting the public discussion of any agent's identity at any time. There isn't." What a lying canard. Outing Brewster Jennings is not 'discussion of any agent.' It is the outing of tens or hundreds of agents, as I said. So now you go back to your canard, and hide behind it. Outing a large portion of our spy network is TREASON. The Patriot Act probably increases penalties for such acts.

    Re: Report: Wurmser Told Libby and Hadley (none / 0) (#16)
    by cpinva on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:05:22 PM EST
    RK, you assume that the only applicable law is the 1982 one, it isn't. the espionage act of 1917 is also applicable, and there's no time limit on it. i'm sure there are other applicable statutes as well, but i'll leave that to mr. fitzgerald.