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Sunday, November 6, 2005
Covert vs. Classified
Topic: Newsmax
NewsMax has a bee in its bonnet over the proper description of outed CIA operative Valerie Plame.

On Oct. 29 and again on Nov. 4, NewsMax insisted that special counsel Patrick Fitzgerald, who is investigating Plame's outing, said that Plame was not "covert," meaning that any reference to her as such -- NewsMax came up with "more than 3,100" in a Nexis search -- is erroneous.

But the Fitzgerald quote NewsMax uses to support this claim, from his Oct. 28 news conference, doesn't say that Plame wasn't covert:

"I am not speaking to whether or not Valerie Wilson was covert. And anything I say is not intended to say anything beyond this: that she was a CIA officer from January 1st, 2002, forward . . . We have not made any allegation that Mr. Libby knowingly, intentionally outed a covert agent. We have not charged that. And so I'm not making that assertion."

In other words, contrary to what NewsMax is putting into his mouth, Fitzgerald has made no determination as to whether Plame was covert.

NewsMax did admit that Fitzgerald said that Plame had "classified" status -- a statement which NewsMax, for some reason, did not want to quote directly; it was replaced by the ellipsis in the above quote -- but then discounted it as "a security status enjoyed by almost everyone who works at the agency."

In the Oct. 29 article, NewsMax adds: "Surely the press will begin issuing its Leakgate retractions any minute now." That statement might have more resonance if NewsMax retracted its claim that it never reported that U2 was holding a fund-raiser for Rick Santorum. C'mon, NewsMax, set an example.

Posted by Terry K. at 12:26 AM EST

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