Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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October 28, 2005
By: Kevin Drum

NO HARM, NO FOUL?....When Robert Novak outed Valerie Plame in his column two years ago, did it actually do any damage? Or is it a case of "no harm, no foul"? Larry Johnson was on Wolf Blitzer's show today, and Crooks and Liars has the video here. Here's a transcript:

BLITZER: I think what everyone wants to know is, was there serious damage done to U.S. national security? And I've been trying to find out if the CIA actually did a post mortem, a damage assessment. You've been looking into that as well.

JOHNSON: Yeah, CIA did a post mortem, there's no way that they could not have. They have not delivered any written report to Congress, to the House or Senate Intelligence Committees. But what they've done with this report, they had to do it internally, because....

BLITZER: Is there a piece of paper there that's written?

JOHNSON: Yeah, there's a written document within CIA, there has to be, because every time that someone like this is outed, it's not just the person. In this case it's the front company, it's other NOCs who may have been exposed non-official cover officers also other intelligence officers who were exposed to that company, as well as intelligence assets overseas who were working with Brewster-Jennings who didn't know that it was a CIA front, and some who may have been witting assets.

BLITZER: Do you know whether or not they concluded that serious damage did occur?

JOHNSON: I have heard that serious damage did occur.

BLITZER: In terms of lives lost, agents, foreign agents, U.S. allies...

JOHNSON: To that extent I don't know, but what I do know for certain is we're not just talking about Valerie Plame. We're talking about an intelligence resource, a United States national security resource, that was destroyed by these White House officials that went out and started talking to the press about this. Reckless. And they've harmed the security of this country.

Johnson doesn't give any hint of how he's heard that serious damage occurred, or what the damage was, so take this for what it's worth. But who knows? Perhaps this was part of the "voluminous classified filings" that were referred to (and redacted from) last year's appellate court ruling that eventually sent Judith Miller to jail for refusing to answer Patrick Fitzgerald's questions.

UPDATE: In comments, cld says that Bob Woodward told Larry King on Thursday night that there was indeed a CIA report but that the report showed no significant damage. I don't know who's right, but I'd take it all with a big shaker of salt for the time being.

Kevin Drum 2:21 AM Permalink | Trackbacks

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