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Leopold: Plame Whistleblowers Frozen Out of State Dept.

A few weeks ago, Knights Ridder reported on a reorganization within the State Department, led by Fred Fleitz and Robert Joseph, which bypassed career weapons experts.

Jason Leopold reports today that among those frozen out were whistleblowers in the Valerie Plame investigation. These experts, who prefer to remain anonymous, say their cooperation with Fitzgerald led to their changes in status.

The State Department officials requested anonymity for fear of further retribution. They said they believe they are being sidelined because they have been cooperating with Special Prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald's investigation into the outing of undercover CIA operative Valerie Plame Wilson, and have disagreed with the Bush administration's intelligence that claimed Iraq sought 500 tons of yellowcake uranium ore from Niger - an explosive piece of intelligence that was included in President Bush's January 2003, State of the Union address that was found to be based on crude forgeries, but helped pave the way to war.

The reshuffling, which has been conducted in secret since late last year, has led to a mini-revolt inside the State Department, numerous officials who work there said.

Leopold includes several details about John Bolton, including this one:

State Department officials said Fleitz was in a position to obtain Plame Wilson's status as a covert CIA operative. These officials said Fleitz had told Bolton about Plame Wilson, and Bolton then shared that information with Libby and other senior aides in Vice President Cheney's office.

As to Joseph and Fleitz, Leopold recaps:

Robert Joseph was identified last week by CIA and State Department officials as one of a handful of administration officials who was instrumental in an effort to attack the credibility of Wilson when the former ambassador started to criticize the administration's use of the Niger claims in Bush's State of the Union address.

Joseph is the former director of nonproliferation at the National Security Council who was responsible for placing the infamous "sixteen words" about Iraq's attempt to purchase uranium from Niger in Bush's speech.

As to the reorganization shuffle,

Fleitz and Joseph have been working in secret with other Bush appointees since last year to revamp the State Department by pushing out career weapons experts, many of whom have been interviewed by FBI investigators during the past two years probing the leak.

"The process has been gravely flawed from the outset and smacks plainly of a political vendetta against career Foreign Service and Civil Service (personnel) by political appointees," a group of employees told Undersecretary of State for Management Henrietta Fore on December 9, according to notes prepared for the meeting, Knight Ridder reported on February 7.

And a tidbit from the Knights-Ridder article:

"Thomas Lehrman, a political appointee who heads the new office of Weapons of Mass Destruction Terrorism, advertised outside the State Department to fill jobs in his office. In an e-mail to universities and research centers, a copy of which was obtained by Knight Ridder, he listed loyalty to Bush and Rice's priorities as a qualification.

Lehrman reportedly recalled the e-mail after it was pointed out that such loyalty tests are improper.

Who are the whistle-blowing state department officials? I'm thinking David Wurmser and John Hannah.

See, WaPo from October, 2005 on Hannah and others:

Fitzgerald has dug into the deepest corners of the administration, pressing for information about everything from the mechanics of a secretive group of officials tasked with selling the Iraq war, to the State Department officials who assembled information on Wilson, the diplomat-turned-Iraq war critic, according to people familiar with the case. The focus has been on who leaked Plame's name, and who else knew about it.

But many unknowns remain. What role did Hannah play? What, if any, role was played by former White House spokesman Ari Fleischer? Who was the second source for Robert D. Novak, the columnist who first disclosed Plame's name and role in July 2003? Who was the White House official who leaked word about Wilson's wife to The Washington Post's Walter Pincus, who has never publicly revealed his source?

Sounds like Fitz has been digging hard into the Defense Policy Board and the White House Iraq Group. More background on these players here and here.

< Bob Dole Hired in Dubai Ports Probe, Wife in Senate | The She-Pundit Strikes Again >
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  • Re: Leopold: Plame Whistleblowers Frozen Out of St (none / 0) (#1)
    by squeaky on Fri Feb 24, 2006 at 12:44:56 PM EST
    Soon all these traitors will be looking for work in Saudi Arabia and Dubai. Bolton will be tied to the helm of the ship with Joseph tied to his foot. National security or fascism?

    I'm not surprised that Bushco is freezing out the whistleblowers - that's their MO! I guess I'm surprised that folks are brave enough to come forward with the truth. They're heroes! Bushco can be pretty brutal to those who stray! Just checking in to see if there was anything new on today's proceedures. later

    Re: Leopold: Plame Whistleblowers Frozen Out of St (none / 0) (#3)
    by orionATL on Fri Feb 24, 2006 at 03:42:12 PM EST
    i thought hannah and wurmser worked in the office of the vice-president, maybe not.

    Re: Leopold: Plame Whistleblowers Frozen Out of St (none / 0) (#4)
    by jimakaPPJ on Fri Feb 24, 2006 at 09:21:46 PM EST
    et al - From the post:
    and have disagreed with the Bush administration's intelligence that claimed Iraq sought 500 tons of yellowcake uranium ore from Niger - an explosive piece of intelligence that was included in President Bush's January 2003, State of the
    From the Senate Report on PreWar Intelligence
    Mayaki said, however, that in June 1999,( ) businessman, approached him and insisted that Mayaki meet with an Iraqi delegation to discuss "expanding commercial relations" between Niger and Iraq. The intelligence report said that Mayaki interpreted "expanding commercial relations" to mean that the delegation wanted to discuss uranium yellowcake sales. The intelligence report also said that "although the meeting took place, Mayaki let the matter drop due to the UN sanctions on Iraq."
    The facts are as stated by the PM Mauaki. Iraq tried. That's what was said.

    Re: Leopold: Plame Whistleblowers Frozen Out of St (none / 0) (#5)
    by squeaky on Fri Feb 24, 2006 at 09:34:53 PM EST
    PPJ just loves to repeat lies that have been corrected and repeated by the hack Sen. Roberts. Your 500 tons of yellowcake story reads Iran not Iraq. It was first printed in the WaPo as Iraq and shortly corrected to read Iran. Oh but we have gone over that many times already, here with links. Nice try propaganda minister.

    Re: Leopold: Plame Whistleblowers Frozen Out of St (none / 0) (#6)
    by jimakaPPJ on Fri Feb 24, 2006 at 10:13:24 PM EST
    Squeaky - So you are telling me that Mayaki isn't from Niger, or are you claiming that it was Iran he was talking about? Now, if that is your claim, why hasn't the US Senate corrected it? Your full of beans, dear Squeaky. And I note no links, which is typical. What did you say about your smear machine?

    Re: Leopold: Plame Whistleblowers Frozen Out of St (none / 0) (#7)
    by squeaky on Fri Feb 24, 2006 at 10:29:08 PM EST
    ppj-your regurgitated lies are not worth the effort considering that you have been given links to this issue many times. Memory problems? You are the only one left clinging to these pathetic claims. It is getting nostalgic. Take it somewhere else. Maybe someone who has been in a cave for five years will get excited about your news.

    Re: Leopold: Plame Whistleblowers Frozen Out of St (none / 0) (#8)
    by jimakaPPJ on Sat Feb 25, 2006 at 04:41:03 AM EST
    Squeaky - You live up to your claim. You can argue about some documents, but you can't argue with what the CIA is saying the ex-PM of Nigeria said. Show me some proof.

    Re: Leopold: Plame Whistleblowers Frozen Out of St (none / 0) (#9)
    by squeaky on Sat Feb 25, 2006 at 08:12:15 AM EST
    ppj-sounds like you have the smoking gun. you are gonna be famous.

    Re: Leopold: Plame Whistleblowers Frozen Out of St (none / 0) (#10)
    by Sailor on Sat Feb 25, 2006 at 08:26:45 AM EST
    bush admitted he lied during the STFU address, the cia had already withdrawn the statement, even powell refused to utter the words. Game over. Which of course has mothing to do with the fact that once again the misAdministration puts political expediency over national security.

    Re: Leopold: Plame Whistleblowers Frozen Out of St (none / 0) (#13)
    by jimakaPPJ on Sat Feb 25, 2006 at 11:06:04 AM EST
    Squeaky - You have an excellent chance to prove something here, but you back away claiming that I wouldn't read it, or ignore it. I wonder why? I repeat. My comment was specific to the statement shown in the Senate Intelligence Report, which I linked to, made by ex-PM Mayaki of Nigeria. He said Iraq. Now, if you have proof that what he actually said was Iran, let us see it. I mean such an error must have been widely reported in the MSM, or at least on a blog with a quote and a link. et al - From the post:
    In an e-mail to universities and research centers, a copy of which was obtained by Knight Ridder, he listed loyalty to Bush and Rice's priorities as a qualification. Lehrman reportedly recalled the e-mail after it was pointed out that such loyalty tests are improper.
    Why is this improper? If you are hired by a company it is expected that you will be loyal to management's goals and priorities. And while a certain amount of internal discussions, at certain levels, after a decision is taken, everyone is expected to carry out the decision. Those who don't, especially if they go public, can expect to be fired. Why should the State Dept be different? The country elected Bush and Bush appointed Rice who was confirmed by the Senate, members of which were elected. Now you may not like his polices, and so may some, or even a majority,of the SD employees, but..... It is flat out improper for professional FSO's and employees to think that they don't have to abide by the President's wishes. They do, you know, have an option. They can resign.

    Re: Leopold: Plame Whistleblowers Frozen Out of St (none / 0) (#14)
    by squeaky on Sat Feb 25, 2006 at 11:46:12 AM EST
    ppj- Links have been provided countless times to shed light on your genius 'smoking gun' point about Iraq and yellowcake. It is not worth engaging with you on this point any more. Since you have such a wonderful archive of all the lovely comments made in response to your continual stream of BS, go and find the links yourself, that is if you are remotely interested. I am not as I know the facts and am not your girl friday.

    Re: Leopold: Plame Whistleblowers Frozen Out of St (none / 0) (#12)
    by squeaky on Sat Feb 25, 2006 at 01:10:44 PM EST
    deleted

    Re: Leopold: Plame Whistleblowers Frozen Out of St (none / 0) (#11)
    by jimakaPPJ on Sat Feb 25, 2006 at 01:13:16 PM EST
    Squeaky - My link was not to the WaPost. Try reading it. sailor - The CIA was referring to another document, not the Mayaki statemnt. And no, I have never seen a statement by Bush that he was lying. Do you have a link? No?

    Re: Leopold: Plame Whistleblowers Frozen Out of St (none / 0) (#15)
    by jimakaPPJ on Sat Feb 25, 2006 at 03:22:54 PM EST
    Squeaky - So the answer is you can't prove your claim. Okay, that work's for me.

    Re: Leopold: Plame Whistleblowers Frozen Out of St (none / 0) (#16)
    by jondee on Sat Feb 25, 2006 at 06:31:21 PM EST
    Sqeaky - He's not "remotely interested" and has never been able to summon the b*lls or integrity to admit that the "threat" was even slightly exaggerated or sold to the public. Too painful for him to admit that he's been on the wrong side of history - and reality - again.

    Re: Leopold: Plame Whistleblowers Frozen Out of St (none / 0) (#17)
    by Sailor on Sat Feb 25, 2006 at 06:52:56 PM EST
    et al, engaging with some commenters only leads to madness ... and being deleted or banned. We should just admit it; iraq had weapons of mass destruction, they were in league with AQ, they did purchase yellow cake from Nigeria, we were greeted with hearts and flowers, iraq isn't in a civil war, torture wasn't approved at the highest levels, the NSA doesn't spy on Americans without a court order and george bush is king because 9/11 changed everything. There. See how easy that was? TL had the best advice, ignore ppj. If you can't do that you'll eventually be deleted and/or banned.

    Re: Leopold: Plame Whistleblowers Frozen Out of St (none / 0) (#18)
    by jimakaPPJ on Sun Feb 26, 2006 at 08:31:48 AM EST
    et al - My point was very simple, and I provided this link which goes to the Senate Report to back it up. What the link says is that the ex-PM of Nigeria say that Iraq tried to purchase yellowcake. That's all. Nothing complex. Clear as a bell. And that's why I like it. Now I didn't address the so-called forged papers, nor did I address what the British said, although they retain their claim. To me all of that is mox nix. So what did you folks do? You start talking about what I didn't claim. Your logic reminds me of this. Joe: Bill said that Paul tried to rob WalMart. In fact, he was the cashier. Sam: What? Don't you know the article was forged??? Joe: So? Bill was there. Sam: How dare you! It was forged. Forged I tell you! Joe: Yeah, but Bill saw the attempt. He was the cashier that Paul tried to rob... Sam: But the news article was forged.. etc. etc., etc. I repeat. If you have a link that refutes Mayaki's claim, let's see it. No? Game. Set. Match.

    Re: Leopold: Plame Whistleblowers Frozen Out of St (none / 0) (#19)
    by jondee on Sun Feb 26, 2006 at 01:36:05 PM EST
    Wrong side of history and reality. Again.

    No? Game. Set. Match.
    Gee, too bad we were playin' golf, Jim.

    What the link says is that the ex-PM of Nigeria say that Iraq tried to purchase yellowcake. That's all. Nothing complex. Clear as a bell. And that's why I like it.
    Yeah, that tends to be the hallmark of a lot of good fiction. If it was so clear, convincing and compelling, why didn't they use it? That's what I thought.