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Sunday, August 5, 2007
NewsBusters' Meister Just Can't Stop Lying About Plame
Topic: NewsBusters

Pam Meister begins her Aug. 3 NewsBusters post by writing, "The saying goes, if you tell a lie often enough, people will begin to believe it." She should know, since telling lies is exactly what she tries to do here.

In her attempt to disprove an assertion that Valerie Plame is an "ex-spy," Meister writes that "it's been established that Plame was not covert at the time that Robert Novak, via (as we now know) Richard Armitage, first mentioned Plame in one of his columns. Her own husband, Joseph Wilson, said as much when he appeared on CNN with Wolf Blitzer back in 2005," citing Wilson's statement that "My wife was not a clandestine officer the day that Bob Novak blew her identity." But as Media Matters points out, Wilson was saying that Plame ceased being a clandestine officer "the day that Bob Novak blew her identity."

Meister continues: "In fact, there was no violation of any laws concerning covert agents whatsoever." Her "proof" of this is a February 2005 NewsMax article repeating an assertion by conservative activist Victoria Toensing making that claim. In fact, as Media Matters also points out, the Washington Post op-ed by Toensing that NewsMax referenced makes several false or misleading claims about the case and fails to mention Toensing's longtime friendship with Novak, whcih arguably colors her perception of the case.

Meister also asserted that "Plame was not 'unmasked' as she had no cover to blow. She was, at that point, an analyst with a desk job, not risking her life undercover in Russia or the Middle East." In fact, Fitzgerald found that "It was clear from very early in the investigation that Ms. Wilson qualified under the relevant statute (Title 50, United States Code, Section 421) as a covert agent whose identity had been disclosed by public officials, including Mr. Libby, to the press. From Fitzgerald's "unclassified summary" of Plame's CIA employment history (via Media Matters):

On 1 January 2002, Valerie Wilson was working for the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) as an operations officer in the Directorate of Operations (DO). She was assigned to the Counterproliferation Division (CPD) at CIA Headquarters, where she served as the Chief of a CPD component with responsibility for weapons proliferation issues related to Iraq.

While assigned to CPD, Ms. Wilson engaged in temporary duty (TDY) travel overseas on official business. She traveled at least seven times to more than ten countries. When traveling overseas, Ms. Wilson always traveled under a cover identity -- sometimes in true name and sometimes in alias -- but always using cover -- whether official or non-official cover (NOC) -- with no ostensible relationship to the CIA.

At the time of the initial unauthorized disclosure in the media of Ms. Wilson's employment relationship with the CIA on 14 July 2003, Ms. Wilson was a covert CIA employee for whom the CIA was taking affirmative measures to conceal her intelligence relationship to the United States.

Interestingly, according to her NewsBusters bio, Meister "did her senior thesis on bias in media." By regurtitating false and misleading conservative talking points and ignoring the truth about Plame, Meister is certainly adding to media bias.

Posted by Terry K. at 10:59 AM EDT

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