THE PRESIDENT CANT DECLASSIFY "ESPIONAGE".
[I'm not asking anybody to believe me or in me. Doubt me. Doubt everybody, start from there. The see where the evidence leads you. Don't be lazy or loyal to any blog. Any blog that asks for your loyalty is doing truth a disservice. Be skeptical and ask questions until you see a clear picture.]
From the very beginning of this case, the public has been intentionally misled by the Bush administration and their media cronies regarding the most applicable statutes pertaining to the underlying crimes involved with the leaking of Valerie Plame's CIA employment. I can't say I was the first to mention The Espionage Act, but CS was the first blog to bring you an in depth analysis of the relevant statutes of 18 USC 793 and 794.
And more importantly, this blog is THE ONLY BLOG to have asked the critical question:
WHY WONT THE MEDIA DISCUSS THE ESPIONAGE ACT?
Instead of discussing this most relevant statute, the mainstream media and even the glorified blogs like Firedoglake, Talkleft, The Last Hurrah, Murray Waas and Digby have maintained a virtual ban on in depth discussion of it even though Fitzgerald himself has told us directly that the Espionage Act is in play.
And with the stench of the criminals' certain defense, "BUSH DECLASSIFIED PLAME'S STATUS IN THE NIE", we clearly see why the Bush cabal and their media cronies have tried to distract the public by belligerently slamming the much less relevant IIPA in our faces. In short, if the IIPA was the only statute they could be prosecuted for, they wouldn't have too much to worry about. Under the IIPA, if the info transmitted was "declassified", voila, you have a very difficult prosecution.
So, please see my previous posts for a comprehensive analysis of the applicability of the Espionage Act to the Plame outing.
Now let's hear Fitz weigh in on the Espionage Act. From the Fitz October 28, 2005 Libby Indictment press conference:
FITZGERALD: Valerie Wilson was a CIA officer. In July 2003, the fact that Valerie Wilson was a CIA officer was classified. Not only was it classified, but it was not widely known outside the intelligence community.
QUESTION: ... it's a little hazy I think for many of us -- you say that Valerie Plame's identity was classified, but you're making no statement as to whether she was covert. Was the leaking of her identity in and of itself a crime?
FITZGERALD: ...And all I'll say is that if national defense information which is involved because her affiliation with the CIA, whether or not she was covert, was classified, if that was intentionally transmitted, that would violate the statute known as Section 793, which is the Espionage Act....So there are people who should argue that you should never use that statute because it would become like the Official Secrets Act. I don't buy that theory...
Fitzgerald mentioned 793 so here it is in part (bold print is my emphasis):
(d) Whoever, lawfully having possession of, access to, control over, or being entrusted with any document, writing...or note relating to the national defense, or information relating to the national defense which information the possessor has reason to believe could be used to the injury of the United States or to the advantage of any foreign nation, willfully communicates, delivers, transmits or causes to be communicated, delivered, or transmitted or attempts to communicate, deliver, transmit or cause to be communicated, delivered or transmitted the same to any person not entitled to receive it...
(e) Whoever having unauthorized possession...(followed by same as above)
(f) Whoever, being entrusted with or having lawful possession or control of any document, writing...or information, relating to the national defense, (1) through gross negligence permits the same to be removed from its proper place of custody or delivered to anyone in violation of his trust, or to be lost, stolen, abstracted, or destroyed...
Shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than ten years, or both.
(g) If two or more persons conspire to violate any of the foregoing provisions of this section, and one or more of such persons do any act to effect the object of the conspiracy, each of the parties to such conspiracy shall be subject to the punishment provided for the offense which is the object of such conspiracy.
And now 794:
(a) Whoever, with intent or reason to believe that it is to be used to the injury of the United States or to the advantage of a foreign nation, communicates, delivers, or transmits, or attempts to communicate, deliver, or transmit, to any foreign government, or to any faction or party or military or naval force within a foreign country, whether recognized or unrecognized by the United States, or to any representative, officer, agent, employee, subject, or citizen thereof, either directly or indirectly, any document, writing...or information relating to the national defense, shall be punished by death or by imprisonment for any term of years or for life, except that the sentence of death shall not be imposed unless the jury or, if there is no jury, the court, further finds that the offense resulted in the identification by a foreign power (as defined in section 101(a) of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978) of an individual acting as an agent of the United States and consequently in the death of that individual, or directly concerned nuclear weaponry, military spacecraft or satellites, early warning systems, or other means of defense or retaliation against large-scale attack; war plans; communications intelligence or cryptographic information; or any other major weapons system or major element of defense strategy.
Notice that "intent to harm the USA" is not an element of the Espionage Act. Neither 793 or 794 require "intent" to harm the country as an element of the crime.
The Espionage Act protects "classified" information, but it also protects "unclassified" information. Fitz said that "classified" information is certainly protected under the Espionage Act. But the Espionage Act, by its very definintion and clear wording, also protects information which is not officially classified but simply is "related to the national defense".
The blogosphere desperately needs to shift the debate to whether Plame's status was "related to the national defense". If you want to drive the rightwingnuts crazy, don't let them draw you into debates about "classified" vs declassified - everybody knew it blah blah blah", or "classified vs covert" or "IIPA wasn't triggered". Stick to the Espionage Act because that's where Fitz is going.
Was Plame's employment "related to the national defense"? That's a no brainer. It was. There's no way to deny it.
The question all those blogs like FDL need to be asking their readers to consider is not whether Plame's status was "classified", it was. Fitz has stated that and he wouldn't state it were it not true. Moreover, while the question of whether her status was "covert" has not yet been publicly established, The Espionage Act does not require that her status be covert, or even classified.
793 of The Espionage Act only requires, for conviction:
1. that Plame's status at the CIA was "related to the national defense"
2. that the leaker(s) had "reason to believe" such information "could be used to the injury of the United States"
3. that the person this information was leaked to was not "entitled to receive" the information
794 of The Espionage Act only requires, for conviction:
1. that Plame's status at the CIA was "related to the national defense"
2. that the leaker(s) had "reason to believe" such information "is to be used to the injury of the United States or to the advantage of a foreign nation"
Seeing as how Fitzgerald has directly stated that this Statute is in play, the public needs the Espionage Act to be debated with the same sickening repetition as the virtually irrelevant IIPA. The liberal bloggers need to stop getting into arguments about "classifed vs covert" and start hitting the phrases contained in The Espionage Act.
If her status was actually covert, then this evidence will simply provide more weight to the sentence of those convicted, but whether she was "covert" is not a necessary element for criminal violations of The Espionage Act.
Plame's job was undeniably directly "related to the national defense". The CIA was created to defend the nation. Duh. It's the espionage, stupid.
People need to stop thinking that Plame was outed to bitch slap her hubby. The President and his crime family knew this was a serious crime which might possibly bring life in prison or even the death penalty. They took a calculated risk. The real question is "why?
You might hate them, but give credit where credit is do, they are daring and highly competent criminals.
The system has not failed Halliburton and The Carlisle Group. The Bush/Neocon system works for them like a well oiled machine.
The system has failed those soldiers who are dead because of this administration's competent lies.
Saying they are idiots and picturing them as monkeys is only playing into their defense.
Plame was outed for a much more sinister reason than a bitch slap to Joe Wilson. We need to find out what that (t)reason was.
The first words out of Wilson's mouth should have been, "My wife is the victim of state sponsored espionage. Throw the book at them, throw 18 USC 794 at them".
Im still waiting for Wilson to say that. I know it's difficult for many to understand why I'm picking on Joe Wilson. But I haven't seen him target the law which will most effectively punish the criminals who outed his wife even though Fitzgerald has indicated that this law is in play.
What Wilson has done is tell the world that he doesn't believe convictions are possible under the IIPA. That really bothers me. And it ought to bother you as well. Then there's the issue of Bush 41 giving Wilson all that love. It's too strange for words and if we don't ask tough difficult questions of all the parties, then we're not really searching for the truth.
The consistent lack of attention given to the Espioage Act has me very worried about the grand scheme of this crap.