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July 13, 2006 1:19 PM   Subscribe

Newsfilter: Former CIA officer Valerie Plame sues Cheney, Rove, Libby, close on the heels of columnist Robert Novak kinda-sorta coming clean about his role.
posted by bardic (78 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite

 
This will be interesting.
posted by Zozo at 1:24 PM on July 13, 2006


Civil cases only have to have a 'preponderance of evidence' rather than the 'beyond reasonable doubt' required by criminal cases...

This is for all of those Republicans who wanted a sitting President or Vice President to be sued when it was Clinton... turnabout is all too fairplay...

It will be interesting to see how far this goes...
posted by WhipSmart at 1:26 PM on July 13, 2006


That link didn't work for me, here's a Yahoo one that did, with more info than the BBC.

Still, unclear to me what the legal theory is here.
posted by ibmcginty at 1:27 PM on July 13, 2006


Good.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 1:27 PM on July 13, 2006


...who wanted to allow a sitting President...

shatner
must. learn. to. preview.
/shatner
posted by WhipSmart at 1:27 PM on July 13, 2006


USA Today has it, too.

Interesting indeed.
posted by yoga at 1:28 PM on July 13, 2006


It looks as if she's suing because the disclosure opened her and her family up to personal harm, not for lost wages.

And hey, the war on terror is a serious thing, right? Following Bush's logic, she has a point.
posted by bardic at 1:32 PM on July 13, 2006


Discovery will be interesting, to say the least. Expect the defendant to move to put the case on hold until the criminal matter is decided. This could benefit either party depending on the testimony in the trial.
posted by Ironmouth at 1:33 PM on July 13, 2006


the administration will probably say that this suit puts our troops in harm's way...

but she's suing because members of the administration put the country at risk by exposing her... but her suit puts the country at risk... because the administration put the country at risk... but the suit... Bush... war on terr... decider...

-=*TILT*=-
posted by WhipSmart at 1:40 PM on July 13, 2006


talk about taking on city hall. Geez!

Good luck to her.

Hopefully she doesn't wind up on one of "those" flights her former employer is so famous for. More likely it will be one of those "random" car accidents that happen oh so often.

I really don't see a happy ending here for her or her family.
posted by a3matrix at 1:43 PM on July 13, 2006


Maybe now we'll finally learn for certain if her job involved tracking Iran's WMD programs.
posted by homunculus at 1:49 PM on July 13, 2006


Other than atty fees what does she have to lose at this point? She's probably doing it to keep it in the public eye.

As for the troops in harm's way, aren't they already there?
posted by yoga at 1:50 PM on July 13, 2006


A far cry from a frogmarch.
posted by TetrisKid at 1:50 PM on July 13, 2006


I really don't see a happy ending here for her or her family.
x2
posted by ackeber at 1:54 PM on July 13, 2006


She's probably doing it to keep it in the public eye

I think it's more about making a point and holding certain members of the Bush administration responsible for their reckless actions...
posted by WhipSmart at 1:59 PM on July 13, 2006


A far cry from a frogmarch.

But better than nothing.
posted by oaf at 2:00 PM on July 13, 2006


She's probably doing it to keep it in the public eye

She hasn't gained anything by it so far, so I doubt it.
posted by Kickstart70 at 2:02 PM on July 13, 2006


Maybe she's doing it so that the current administration won't be so cavalier about exposing covert operatives in the future....You know, to keep the smoking gun from being a mushroom shaped cloud and all.
posted by Freen at 2:04 PM on July 13, 2006


Here's the actual 23-page complaint.
posted by Staggering Jack at 2:04 PM on July 13, 2006


If she gets hit by a bolt of lightning, there would be hell to pay.
posted by Smedleyman at 2:06 PM on July 13, 2006


Newsfilter Not-exactly-news-since-it's-been-forecast-for-several-months-filter
posted by soyjoy at 2:09 PM on July 13, 2006


I just hope they don't uncover those photos of her receiving a blowjob.
posted by NationalKato at 2:10 PM on July 13, 2006


If this survives a 12(b)(6), I'll be surprised.
posted by Makoto at 2:12 PM on July 13, 2006


If she gets hit by a bolt of lightning, there would be hell to pay.

I give 7:2 odds she gets hit by a sudden, unexpected attack of depression that causes a tragic, autopsy-less death.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 2:12 PM on July 13, 2006


All I can say is, "Go spy lady, go!"

She's got guts, most definitely. Sometimes guts will take you very very far. This will indeed be interesting.
posted by zoogleplex at 2:14 PM on July 13, 2006


If this survives a 12(b)(6), I'll be surprised.

For the background:

• failure to state a claim upon which relief can be granted

How about damages for increased security and travel expenses?
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 2:16 PM on July 13, 2006


They need to amend and add a Privacy Act claim.

If this survives a 12(b)(6), I'll be surprised.

With all this publicity, the chances that the case would be dismissed on the pleadings are very minimal. Especially if you know the D.C. District Court.

They are bringing a Bivens claim. Unless they are claiming qualified immunity (good luck on that one for Scooter), there is very little chance of a dismissal on the pleadings. If this gets past the inevitable Motion to Dismiss, we are talking about the world's most nasty civil discovery fight evah.
posted by Ironmouth at 2:25 PM on July 13, 2006


Shrub's final act as president will be a blanket pardon of his entire administration.
posted by mischief at 2:34 PM on July 13, 2006


Wilsons' fundraising and PR site.
posted by ibmcginty at 2:35 PM on July 13, 2006


What's the importance of a Bivens claim, Ironmouth?
posted by boo_radley at 2:35 PM on July 13, 2006


From TalkingPointsMemo:

The complaint details eight causes of action, all surrounding the trio's involvement in outing Valerie Wilson as a CIA agent:

1) Violation of First Amendment Right to Freedom of Speech - because the First Amendment "prohibits government officials from subjecting any individual to retaliatory action in reprisal for the exercise of the right to speech."

2) Violation of Fifth Amendment Right to Equal Protection of the Laws - because the Equal Protection Clause of the Fifth Amendment "prohibits government officials from intentionally subjecting any individual to treatment that is different from that accorded to others similarly situated and is without legitimate basis." In other words, they singled the Wilsons out for a smear job.

3) Violation of Fifth Amendment Right to Privacy - because the Due Process Clause of the Fifth Amendment "prohibits government officials from violating any individual's right to privacy by publicly disclosing personal information."

4) Violation of Fifth Amendment Right to Property - because the Due Process Clause "prohibits government officials from depriving any individual of a property interest in employment without due process."

5) Conspiracy to Deprive Persons of Their Civil Rights - because Rove, Cheney and Libby conspired to deprive the Wilsons of their civil rights (as described in 1-4).

6) Action for Neglect to Prevent Civil Rights Violation - because Rove, Cheney, and Libby could have stopped the smearing of the Wilsons, but didn't, and then lied to investigators and the federal grand jury about their role in the leak.

7) Public Disclosure of Private Facts - because "The Defendants caused widespread publication of a private fact... in a manner that would be deemed outrageous and highly offensive to a reasonable person of ordinary sensibilites."

8) Civil Conspiracy.
posted by ibmcginty at 2:37 PM on July 13, 2006


Wilsons' fundraising and PR site.

Are their lawyers working pro bono?
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 2:43 PM on July 13, 2006


Its a suit against the federal government for deprivation of civil rights, akin to a 42 U.S.C. 1983 claim against a non-federal governmental entity. The Supreme Court created the cause of action in a case entitled Bivens v. Six Unknown Fed. Narcotics Agents, 403 U.S. 388 (1971).

Usually the Governmental official will claim qualified immunity, a type of immunity granted to government officials acting with in the scope of their duties. However, there are real problems with this defense when a clearly defined constitutional right is violated. In that case the government official's actions must be reasonably in error.

Here, tough to say. Don't know about the constitutional dimensions of the right to privacy. If it is clearly defined, it will be hard to get a dismissal on the pleadings (on the complaint before discovery). Look for a 12(b)(6) motion, followed by an interlocutory appeal by the government. The high profile aspect of the case will make a judge reluctant to dismiss right away. Regardless, it will go all the way to the Supreme Court. They might not grant cert though.
posted by Ironmouth at 2:46 PM on July 13, 2006


You can bet that the lawyers are NOT working pro bono on this one. Wilson had a book deal and they have some funds. They will try to offset them though.
posted by Ironmouth at 2:50 PM on July 13, 2006


I wonder how her employment contract with the CIA reads.
posted by mischief at 2:55 PM on July 13, 2006


If she gets hit by a bolt of lightning, there would be hell to pay.
But I'm a superstitious man. And if some unlucky accident should befall him...if he should get shot in the head by a police officer, or if he should hang himself in his jail cell, or if he's struck by a bolt of lightning, then I'm going to blame some of the people in this room. And that I do not forgive.
/everythingyouneedtoknowisinTheGodfatherfilter
posted by kirkaracha at 2:56 PM on July 13, 2006


Wilsons' fundraising and PR site.

Anybody else find it odd that their legal fund is using a Hotmail account?
posted by TetrisKid at 3:00 PM on July 13, 2006


I'd love to see some actual justice here, for once, even if it's only monetary compensation, but to be honest I think Plame's case is a fairly weak one, especially in light of the recent judicial swing towards granting the Executive branch pretty much anything it wants, the important exception of Hamdan noted.

Then again, a nasty, drawn-out civil suit involving pretty much everyone in the White House can't be good news for Bush II. At the very least, the recent attempt to blame the NYT and leakers for all that is wrong with US intelligence is now dead in the water, since we're back in the ambiguous world of "good vs. bad leaks," a bizarro-world that Bush and his lawyers helped to create.

Live by shady legalisms, die by shady legalisms.
posted by bardic at 3:01 PM on July 13, 2006


I doubt seriously that there is an employment contract with the CIA. Most government employees do not have one.
posted by Ironmouth at 3:01 PM on July 13, 2006


And if some unlucky accident should befall him

Like this guy -- Enron witness found dead in park ?
posted by ericb at 3:09 PM on July 13, 2006


she came in just under the 3-year wire (and Novak did too)
posted by amberglow at 3:11 PM on July 13, 2006


I got to hear Joe Wilson give a talk several months ago, it was very interesting indeed. In particular, his knowledge of the regulatory process in Niger and his confidence that any attempt by Hussein to obtain yellowcake couldn't possibly take place without an extensive paper trail. I don't remember exactly, but it was something along the lines of the fact that the mining is regulated to the ounce. Seemed like a reasonable guy in general.
posted by rollbiz at 3:12 PM on July 13, 2006


If she was a normal employee, then her rights were pretty limited already.
posted by mischief at 3:13 PM on July 13, 2006


If she was a normal government employee, then her rights were limited already.
posted by mischief at 3:14 PM on July 13, 2006


My parents were both "normal government employees" at one point or another. They were never involved in state secrets regarding the development of nuclear weapons.

What's your point, oh trollish one?
posted by bardic at 3:22 PM on July 13, 2006


She is not a normal government employee. CIA employees are pretty different from other employees in the Federal Government. However, Federal Government employees have far better rights than just about every private employee in the country. I'd be out of a job if they didn't.
posted by Ironmouth at 3:28 PM on July 13, 2006


She's about due for a heart attack at her Colorado ranch, no?
posted by doctor_negative at 3:38 PM on July 13, 2006


That's sort of my thought regarding it--by making the suit, and staying "visible", the Wilsons are in fact safeguarding themselves. Retribution of the worst sort rarely comes when the target is at its peak of attention--it's done later, when few people will notice and even fewer will care.
posted by trigonometry at 3:48 PM on July 13, 2006


a3matrix: "I really don't see a happy ending here for her or her family."

I don't know - the way this administration massages the truth, you can bet someobody ordered the "happy ending."
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 3:50 PM on July 13, 2006


Nobody is going to order them dead. That's ridiculous. Lay wasn't ordered dead either, he had a regular old heart attack and died. There's nothing in it for anyone.
posted by Ironmouth at 3:56 PM on July 13, 2006


Isn't it appalling that many of us think it likely that members of the US Government are going to "liquidate" a CIA agent for being "inconvenient?" And that to protect herself she has to keep her name in the news?

It's like a bad TV show plot. Except it's real people.
posted by zoogleplex at 4:01 PM on July 13, 2006


Ironmouth: "Nobody is going to order them dead. That's ridiculous. Lay wasn't ordered dead either, he had a regular old heart attack and died. There's nothing in it for anyone."

You talking to me, Ironmouth? If so: HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA! Oh, yeah. *wipes tears from eyes* Someone want to explain it to him? If not, well, um - nevermind.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 4:04 PM on July 13, 2006


I think its kind of cool (in a geeky law school sort of way) that Chemerinsky is helping out.
posted by Pacheco at 4:40 PM on July 13, 2006


Seriously. Who benefits from Plame or Wilson being dead? The time for that being useful is long past. They are also Americans. You see, you must be arab to be singled out for killing or torture.
posted by Ironmouth at 4:44 PM on July 13, 2006


Erwin!!!!!! I love Prof. Chemerinsky!!!!!! He did the Con law sections for my BarBri. Terrible jokes, so bad they were good.
posted by Ironmouth at 4:45 PM on July 13, 2006


Massage the truth. Ordered. "Happy Ending." [Text NSFW]
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 4:49 PM on July 13, 2006


I think its kind of cool (in a geeky law school sort of way) that Chemerinsky is helping out.

Erwin just argued a case in front of the court for which I clerk. He was awfully impressive; he did the entire argument without notes, or even a single scrap of paper. He knew the record and case law cold, and gave the judges several page and paragraph number references without batting an eye. Oh, and his legal analysis was pretty good, too.
posted by monju_bosatsu at 5:01 PM on July 13, 2006


Knowing the anathema of questioning the "Hang 'Em All - Guilty or Not" MeFi groupthink, some of the points of this lawsuit seem spurious.

Anyway, was she fired or did she voluntarily quit?
posted by mischief at 5:05 PM on July 13, 2006


Mark Corallo, a spokesman for Rove, said, "Without even having had a chance to review the complaint, it is clear that the allegations are absolutely and utterly without merit."

Did that strike anyone else as amusing? It's about what I would expect, but still.

Good luck to you, Ms. Plame.
posted by Brak at 5:13 PM on July 13, 2006


Anyway, was she fired or did she voluntarily quit?

Since her status as a "non-official cover operative" (NOC) was blown her ability to continue in her career was shot. The time, energy and money that went into training her -- and in structuring the various "covers" for her (i.e. junior consular officer role at the American Embassy in Athens, Brewster Jennings & Associates, etc.) ended up being wasted and potentially put others who had worked with her and under similar cover at risk.

“But within the C.I.A., the exposure of Ms. Plame is now considered an even greater instance of treachery. Ms. Plame, a specialist in nonconventional weapons who worked overseas, had ‘nonofficial cover,’ and was what in C.I.A. parlance is called a Noc, the most difficult kind of false identity for the agency to create.”

[New York Times, 10/5/03]
posted by ericb at 5:19 PM on July 13, 2006


Link to NYT's citation.
posted by ericb at 5:20 PM on July 13, 2006


BTW -- regarding her status at the CIA be sure to check out yesterday's AskMe thread.
posted by ericb at 5:23 PM on July 13, 2006


So, was she fired or did she voluntarily quit?
posted by mischief at 5:35 PM on July 13, 2006


And losing her job is only part of the MO here--from what I can tell, it seems like her primary complaint is that the lives of her and her family were put in jeopardy by selecting her for an outing (not to mention the security of other agents, and of the United States in general).

As I already said, I don't think the case has all that much of a shot, but it does seem to have enough traction to last well past November, if not all the way until the 2008 Presidential election. Which is fine by me. More trial lawyers get richer (nothing new), and Americans are further reminded of the laxity with which the Bush Whitehouse actually takes security matters. I'm happy to hear Bush wax philosophical as to why some leaks are bad bad bad and some of them, like this one, are perfectly acceptable.

Decided on, decider.
posted by bardic at 5:43 PM on July 13, 2006


*Decide on, decider.
posted by bardic at 5:44 PM on July 13, 2006


Ironmouth writes "I doubt seriously that there is an employment contract with the CIA. Most government employees do not have one."

Don't most US federal employees belong to a union? Do they not work under a collective agreement?

Ironmouth writes "That's ridiculous. Lay wasn't ordered dead either, he had a regular old heart attack and died."

Not to say that I believe Ken's death was a hit, but surely you don't think the goverment lacks the resources to murder someone and make it look like a heart attack?
posted by Mitheral at 5:47 PM on July 13, 2006


"/everythingyouneedtoknowisinTheGodfatherfilter"
posted by kirkaracha

Sokath, his eyes uncovered!
posted by Smedleyman at 5:51 PM on July 13, 2006


Most federal government employees do not belong to a union. However, they have a constitutional right to their job, something the rest of us don't get. If they arefired or are suspended for more than 14 days, they may appeal their case to the Merit Systems Protection Board. Some cases have moved from that body all the way to the Supreme Court.

As for whether she was fired or quit, read the complaint. She's not suing for her job. She's suing for the privacy violations. As a federal employee, one does not go to district court to sue for one's job,unless one wants to lose, that is.
posted by Ironmouth at 6:28 PM on July 13, 2006


CIA employees are most likely statutorily barred from belonging to a union. I'd have to check to be sure, but certain classes of employees, and all supervisors are generally barred from union membership.
posted by Ironmouth at 6:29 PM on July 13, 2006


mischief: It was sorta like "Stop, or else you might get killed". I don't know what you'd call that, nor why the question of whether she quit or was fired is even relevant.
posted by Freen at 6:53 PM on July 13, 2006


"Nobody is going to order them dead. That's ridiculous. Lay wasn't ordered dead either, he had a regular old heart attack and died. There's nothing in it for anyone."

Don't forget David Kelly's suicide.
posted by tvjunkie at 8:36 PM on July 13, 2006


So, was she fired or did she voluntarily quit?

Retired, apparently.
posted by dhartung at 9:05 PM on July 13, 2006


Ken Lay, dead? You believe that? First thought in my mind, is where did Mr. Lay get the body.

As for Ms. Plame: Go, go go!
posted by Goofyy at 12:20 AM on July 14, 2006


"Former CIA officer Valerie Plame and her husband, former Ambassador Joseph Wilson, said Friday they decided to sue Vice President Dick Cheney and presidential adviser Karl Rove because they engaged in a 'whispering campaign' to destroy her career.

Plame told a news conference that "I and my former colleagues trusted the government to protect us in our jobs' and said it 'betrayed that trust. I'd much rather be continuing my career as a public servant than as a plaintiff in a lawsuit.'

Said Wilson: 'We are under no illusions about how tough this fight will be. But we believe the time has come to hold those who use their official positions to exact personal revenge accountable and responsible for their actions.'

[Associated Press | July 14, 2006]
posted by ericb at 8:57 AM on July 14, 2006


Former President and former CIA Director, George H.W. Bush:
“I have nothing but contempt and anger for those who betray the trust by exposing the name of our sources. They are, in my view, the most insidious of traitors.”

[Speech at CIA | April 26, 1999 |Video]
posted by ericb at 9:19 AM on July 14, 2006


Valerie Wilson Press Conference
posted by homunculus at 12:19 PM on July 14, 2006


“No administration official however powerful is above the law and I have confidence in the American system of justice.” vs. “The president is always right”
posted by Smedleyman at 12:56 PM on July 14, 2006


Plame Lawsuit Could Be Extremely Damaging To Bush Administration -- After President Leaves Office
posted by ericb at 3:21 PM on July 14, 2006


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