Open Letter To Victoria Toensing


Over the past few years, you have repeatedly stated that Valerie Plame was "not covert" at the time of her outing because she "had not been stationed abroad within five years" of Robert Novak's article. In explaining this charge, you insist that Ms. Plame did not fall under the statutory definition of "covert" as defined in the 1982 Intelligence Indentities Protection Act; an act that you helped negotiate the terms of as Chief Counsel to the Senate Intelligence Committee. In her opening statement yesterday, Ms. Plame testified under oath that in addition to working in Washington, she "also traveled to foreign countries on secret missions to find vital intelligence."

It seems your argument is predicated on this crucial distinction; that in order to fall under the statutory definition of "covert," one would have to have been stationed abroad within five years of the date of disclosure.

I am not a lawyer, but I tracked down the language of the law and it reads as follows:


(4) The term "covert agent" means -
(A) a present or retired officer or employee of an
intelligence agency
or a present or retired member of the Armed
Forces assigned to duty with an intelligence agency -
(i) whose identity as such an officer, employee, or member
is classified information, and
(ii) who is serving outside the United States or has within
the last five years
served outside the United States;

I was wondering if you would be willing to explain why Ms. Plame was not "covert" despite her sworn testimony that (a) she was employed by the Central Intelligence Agency, (b) her identity was classified (as was confirmed during yesterday's hearing), and (c) she had indeed served overseas within the past five years. By the very definition of the law you helped craft, it would appear that she meets every qualification of a "covert" agent.


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