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In Order to Smear Valerie Plame, Brit Hume Implies That She Perjured Herself

Reported by Marie Therese - March 23, 2007 -

Last Sunday (March 18, 200) on FOX News Sunday Chris Wallace and the All-Star Panel of Brit Hume, Mara Laisson, Bill Kristol and Juan WIlliams discussed the explosive testimony given by Valeria Plame during last week's Senate hearings. During the segment Brit Hume dropped all pretense of being an impartial journalist and repeated lies in order to defend the administration. (With video.)

CHRIS WALLACE, host: "Well Mrs Wilson told a Congressional panel that she was a covert officer, that she was still making secret missions shortly before she was outed. Putting aside the legalities of this case, putting side the whole question of whether Scooter Libby lied or not, Brit, doesn't this raise a serious question for the White House of whether they chose political pushback over protecting CIA agents?"

Brut Hume, FOX Senior Washington Correspondent, launched into a string of GOP talking points, including the now-discredited statement that Valerie Plame was instrumental in sending her husband to Niger: "No. It doesn't raise that at all. What had happened is that Valerie Plame Wilson's husband had come back from a mission that she, according to documents uncovered by the Senate Intelligence Committee, and evidence uncovered - testimony to that committee - had gotten, a mission to Niger. He came from the mission in Niger and reported, according to the CIA, that he had found no evidence that any uranium acquisition deal had been completed or done by Saddam Hussein's government in Niger but, nonetheless, one - an effort had been made. That is what the President said, quoting British intelligence ..."

At this point Chris Wallace interrupted Hume, somewhat of a rarity on FOX News Sunday, suggesting that Hume was not answering the question about Valerie Plame. Not one to be deterred from reciting his laundry list of distortions, Hume crossed the line into lying, saying: "So, so, the question naturally arose is (sic) when this guy comes back and misrepresents his findings in the editorial pages of The New York Times, the question arose is (sic) how in the world did this guy ever get hired for this job? He had no particular qualifications for it and the answer was his wife was CIA."

Well, let's just look at the resume of former Ambassador Joseph Wilson. In my opinion the list below shows Joseph Wilson to be far more qualified to go to Niger than for Brit Hume to call himself a "journalist."

* 1976-1978: General Services Officer, Niamey, Niger
* 1978-1979: Administrative Office, Lomé, Togo
* 1979-1981: Administrative Officer, U.S. State Department, Washington, D.C.
* 1981-1982: Administrative Officer, Pretoria, South Africa
* 1982-1985: Deputy Chief of Mission (DCM), Bujumbura, Burundi
* 1985-1986: Congressional Fellow, offices of Senator Al Gore and Representative Tom Foley
* 1986-1988: DCM, Brazzaville, Republic of the Congo
* 1988-1991: DCM, Baghdad, Iraq (where he faced down Saddam Hussein and gave refuge to 100 Americans in the Embassy even after Hussein threatened to kill anyone who sheltered foreigners)
* 1992-1995: Ambassador to Gabon and São Tomé and Príncipe
* 1995-1997: Political Adviser to Commander in Chief U.S. Armed Forces, Europe EUCOM, Stuttgart, Germany
* 1997-1998: Special Assistant to President Bill Clinton and Senior Director for African Affairs, National Security Council, Washington, D.C.

And now for his awards:

* Secretary of State Distinguished Service Award
* Department of State Superior Honor Award
* Department of State Meritorious Honor Award
* University of California, Santa Barbara Distinguished Alumnus Award
* American Foreign Service Association William R. Rivkin Award (1987)

So, clearly Brit Hume was lying or had never bothered to research Amb. Wilson's public service records when he claimed that Wilson had "no particular qualifications" for the assignment to Niger.

Hume kept talking (a big mistake) and dug hiumself in even deeper:

HUME: "Now, the CIA's a big place. There's no evidence that Karl Rove or Richard Armitage even - who's the person by the way who made the only leak that mattered. (shot of Juan Williams making a disgusted face and shaking his head) There's no evidence that they knew she was covert or thought she was covert and there's no evidence that she was covert under the meaning of the law that has to do with outing agents. So, the answer to your question (which everyone had forgotten by this time) is that I think not."

Wallace, looking angry, aired a clip of Valerie Plame testifying that the revelation of her name "jeopardized" CIA agents in the field and "destroyed entire networks of foreign agents."

Mara Laisson pointed out that the destruction of these carefully cultivated networks is the very reason for the inquiry in Congress. Ever the accomodating paid contributor, she then adopted the FOX News/GOP party line stating that "I don't think that there's evidence that they purposely outed her to punish him."

Wallace - who really did a credible job in this discussion - asked the obvious question, i.e. wouldn't it have been incumbent upon the administration to check with the CIA first to determine her exact status and to determine if the operation she ran was important to the national security?

Shot of Brit Hume looking absolutely dyspeptic, shaking his head as if Wallace had somehow committed a mortal sin. (He probably had deviated from his script here, more power to him.)

WALLACE (to Bill Kristol, editor of the Weekly Standard): "I guess the question I have, Bill, is couldn't they have pushed back against Joe Wilson without outing a CIA operative?"

The next section of the discussion could be called "squirm, baby, squirm" as both Kristol and Hume tried to deny Plame's testimony. Kristol went so far as to imply that Plame outed herself to New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof and later Brit Hume came close to accusing her of perjury.

Chris Wallace brought up that fact that Valerie Plame in her testimony categorically denied sending her husband to Niger and showed a clip of her testifying thusly: "No. I did not recommend him. I did not suggest him. There was no nepotism involved. I didn't have the authority."

Juan Williams noted that Joseph Wilson had gone on other missions for the CIA, that someone else suggested him for the trip and all she had done was to let a few people know about the Niger trip. Williams continued, saying "In addition to which Mike Hayden head of the CIA has said that she was a covert agent at the time. That's what he said. He's classified her as such (shot of Hume looking gaunt and somewhat vacant) and yet this argument continues. Whether or not she had lunch or dinner with a reporter - that doesn't mean she's compromising herself. The action that was taken damaged the whole network, as she said, and, it seems to me, that's the hard point - I don't understand how you can try to ignore it by saying she had lunch with somebody."

Kristol's response to this shows how deeply distorted the extreme right-wing has become. They've spend so many years demonizing certain people and institutions - like Kristof and the NY TImes - that they can easily convince themselves, as Kristol did last Sunday, that merely appearing in public with a member of the NY Times staff constitutes treason.

BILL KRISTOL: "What do you mean 'somebody'? CIA covert operatives are not supposed to have breakfast with reporters with their husband and discu - Kristoff later reported that two sources, knowledgable about what had happened, gave an account of Wilson's - this is before Wilson had gone public - this is before Scooter Libby had talked to anyone. This is before Richard Armitage spoke to Bob Novak. She compromised her own situation."

JUAN WILLIAMS: "But Kristoff didn't report. She didn't say to him 'I'm a CIA operative and you're free to report it.' CIA operatives are sources all over this town!"

When Mara Laisson agreed with Williams, Hume reacted with total disgust as he sighed, shook his head and said "Oh, oh stop." He abandoned all pretense here and showed his true face, that of loyal a GOP party hack, as he launched into a snide diatribe claiming that Karl Rove only told one reporter that he had heard that Plame was a CIA operative. Like a petulant little spoiled brat who always gets his way, Hume went on to imply that Valerie Plame's testimony was a lie because it contradicted the "evidence" contained in the 9-11 Commission report.

HUME: "She says that she had nothing to do with getting her busband the trip. That flies in the face of the evidence deduced (note his choice of words here) by the Senate Intelligence Committee (run by Republicans in an all-Republican Congress) were released not on a partisan basis - the bi-partisan findings of the Senate Intelligence Committee - which is that she very much did have something to do with it. That she recommended him and that she put it in a memo!" (italicized comments are mine)

When asked by Chris Wallace if he was accusing Valerie Plame of committing perjury, Hume answered, saying "I think there is reason to question her credibility on that point."

Juan Williams noted that it was important to question President Bush's credibility. Bush promised that anyone associated with the leak of Plame's name would not longer be in his White House. Yet testimony has shown that he did not do an investigation as he promised he would nor did he fire those whose names have been verified as having participated in the leak.

When Hume defended ther White House claiming that Richard Armitage, the original leaker, is no longer working in the government, Juan Williams came back with a great line.

WILLIAMS: "So it's only the first knife into the back that counts? All the other knives, that's OK!!"