Is Alan Foley the Senior CIA Officer? And Why the Answer Matters to the Niger Forgery Case

There’s still one identity in Libby’s indictment that is totally obscure–the Senior CIA Officer mentioned in Paragraph 7 (PDF; see, I’m very slowly working my way through this thing today, paragraph by paragraph).

7. On or about June 11, 2003, LIBBY spoke with a senior officer of the CIA to ask about the origin and circumstances of Wilson’s trip, and was advised by the CIA officer that Wilson’s wife worked at the CIA and was believed to be responsible for sending Wilson on the trip.

I think guesses that this is Fred Fleitz are totally wrong. With all due respect to Steve Clemons’ much greater knowledge of Washington bureaucracy than me, it’d be a stretch to consider Fleitz a senior CIA officer. Consider, for example, that Alan Foley (PDF), the Director of WINPAC, didn’t even know what Fleitz did at WINPAC when Bolton came asking for him.

Mr. Foley: I think he [Fleitz] worked in WINPAC. But, you remember,WINPAC was put together early in the Administration, and I think Fredwas with the Nonproliferation Center, one of the — John Lauder’s oldorganization — and we were all, sort of, reorganized into one groupthen. That’s what I remember. But I couldn’t tell you where Fredexactly worked at the time. (7)

So he couldn’t be all that senior.

There are some other possibilities: Tenet, McLaughlin, James Pavitt (head of the DO). Tenet, McLaughlin definitely testified; I believe Pavitt did so as well. But I doubt any would say precisely what this person said to Libby, that "Plame was believed to be responsible for sending Wilson." Indeed, Pavitt almost certainly wouldn’t have said that, since DO seems to be sure Plame wasn’t responsible for sending Wilson.

I’m going to make a suggestion I’ve not seen mentioned elsewhere. I think Alan Foley is this senior CIA officer mentioned in this passage. And I think it’s relevant to the larger question of the Niger forgeries.

  1. Anon says:


    I posed a question for you in another thread, that I haven’t gotten a reply to. http://thenexthurrah.typepad.c…..t-10715356

    The reason I am raising those issues can be seen in the following from Fitz’ press conference

    It’s critical that when an investigation is conducted by prosecutors, agents and a grand jury they learn who, what, when, where and why. And then they decide, based upon accurate facts, whether a crime has been committed, who has committed the crime, whether you can prove the crime and whether the crime should be charged.

    Agent Eckenrode doesn’t send people out when $1 million is missing from a bank and tell them, Just come back if you find wire fraud. If the agent finds embezzlement, they follow through on that.

    QUESTION: Do you anticipate needing to empanel a new grand jury in order to wrap up?

    FITZGERALD: I’m not going to comment.

    QUESTION: Do you need a new grand jury? Would you need to empanel a new one if you needed to bring further charges?

    FITZGERALD: I can’t charge myself, so if we wanted to bring charges we’d need a grand jury to do that. But I don’t want to comment beyond that.

    Here’s what I’m trying to convey: We’re not quite done, but I don’t want to add to a feverish pitch. It’s very, very routine that you keep a grand jury available for what you might need.

    And that’s all I can say because of the rules of grand jury secrecy, and that’s it.


    So For example, if in the investigation, they came across other crimes being committed (for example, the Niger forged document), wouldn’t it be binding on a prosecutor to bring those crimes to a grand jury also?

  2. emptywheel says:

    Sorry that I didn’t answer, Anon. It’s an interesting idea, but I imagine there’d be some jurisdictional reasons why he’d have to work with a GJ in Chicago. Besides, if even half of his witnesses were asked to testify before a grand jury in Chicago, we’d know about it–they’re just too visible to fly to Chicago without getting noticed.

    I think there’s a chance he has something in his back pocket (more indictments, the ability to get someone to admit to a crime which would save him from going before another grand jury). But otherwise, I suspect he’ll have to present all the information to a new grand jury.

  3. Mimikatz says:

    As I recall, a crime has to be charged in the jurisdiction in which it was committed. The Grand Jury charging a crime has to sit in the jurisdiction that has jurisdiction over the crime. No crimes committed in DC can be charged in Chicago, unless it is conspiracy with an overt act in Chicago.

  4. CaseyL says:

    â€Via Laura Rozen, Knight-Ridder acknowledges something I’ve alleged before–that WINPAC played a critical role in the acceptance of the Niger forgeries.â€

    Hello; what?

    WINPAC said the forgeries were valid?? WINPAC pushed the forgeries??

    But isn’t WINPAC the part of the CIA that Cheney or Libby erroneously stated Plame worked in?

    This puts a very different, and odd, spin on things.

    In fact, it puts a thoroughly crazy spin on things. Let me explain:

    There’s already been speculation that Plame, not Wilson, was the real target of the smear; that her career and network were deliberately ruined. That speculation suggests that Plame was with the CIA faction pushing back against use of bad intel, and that’s why she was outed.

    But, let’s say that when Cheney or Libby or whoever it was said Plame was with WINPAC, they weren’t being disingenuous. Let’s say they really thought she was.

    Which means they thought she was with the part of the CIA that had sold them the bad intel.

    So, okay, they got their war with Iraq, and they were happy about that, but maybe they weren’t so happy that they based an important part of their case on what turned out to be forgeries. Maybe they believed the forgeries, and maybe they felt like they’d been had – maybe they even felt as though the country had been had.

    If that were the case, then there’s a faint possiblity they outed Plame in retaliation for WINPAC’s selling them bad intel – not because of anything Joe Wilson did. But of course they couldn’t say that, because they weren’t ready to fess up to selling a war on lousy forgeries. So they ruin her by disclosing her identity in what seems to be a smear of her husband. A double-carom shot instead of the single-carom shot we’ve been assuming.

    Except that they were wrong, and Plame wasn’t with WINPAC. She was in the other Directorate. Oops!

    But they still can’t come clean about it.

    I know that sounds completely nuts. But it answers the so-far unanswered question of why they went after Wilson and Plame the way they did, when the truth of the forgeries was coming out or had come out anyway.

  5. antiaristo says:

    How can you comment on Alan Foley without mentioning the final meeting with Robert Joseph?
    You know, where he agreed that, since the British Government were indeed making the claim, it would not be untrue to state that â€The British Government have learned…..â€

  6. Anon says:

    A case could be made that the jurisdiction is anywhere in the US, since the publishing of the Plame identity was on National TV, and in National Media. Also, regarding the Niger forgery, a similar case could be made.

  7. orionATL says:

    with respect to â€is alan foley the senior cia officer..â€

    the question that keeps coming back to me is:

    why is it assumed that valerie wilson’s exposure was â€collateral damage†from exposing hubby joe wilson? (â€collateral damageâ€, a nice verbal example of the banality of evil).

    is it not possible that she was the target all along because she was known to oppose the niger claims or assumed to be behind her husband’s vist to niger and his subsequent leaking (and then writing) about the niger urnaium claims?

    she was after all an expert in nuclear proliferation. would she not have had a professioanl opinion on that and expressed it within the cia, possibly within winpac? might she not have had a professioanl aversion to characters like fleis or the v-p and expressed it internally?

    if valerie wilson were â€obstreperous†within her proliferation uint with respect to the likelihood that saddam h. had nuclear capability , then she might herself be the real target.

    the cia is most like a university. it is the scene of endless quarrels and acts of vengance. anyone outside of or opposing a power clique is assured of being attacked if they criticize the clique. this goes double if the clique includes the office of the vice president.

    some info i would like to know but can’t pin down (it keeps shifting):

    is winpac in do or not?

    was valerie plame in winpac or not?

    in additon, from this post,:

    would foley have been valerie wilson’s boss?

    who was wilson’s direct supervisor?

    who above him?

    would valerie wilson have taken part in any internal debates over the reliability of assessments of saddam’s nuclear capability or of the niger uranium claims?

    where, if anywhere, did foley fit in valerie wilson’s command structure?

    it’s not, of course, like the cia prints organizational charts with names, but, after all, we already know a lot about the cia’s role in this matter.

    it makes at least some sense to speculate that the ovp’s prime target was valerie wilson, not joseph. the ovp did, after all, pass on the info that she was responsible for her husband’s trip to niger. the general asumption has been that this info was intended to belittle joseph wilson. that always seemd a thin explanation to me. why not assume she was attacked because she was known to be or assumed to be an important opponent within the cia and arranged her husban’s visit to prove her point?

  8. emptywheel says:


    An interesting thought. I’d have to put some thought to it (note, I think Plame’s affiliation with WINPAC, if any is secondary). But it’s creative at least.


    Yeah, Foley bought off on the stupid Joseph parsing. I tend to focus on the Niger part of that exchange because I think there is a part (the unreleased SOTU drafts) that are more nefarious than the Britain claim. But the whole thing is shameful. Like I said, I can’t figure out whether Foley is senile or a liar. Or perhaps just easily duped (not what you’d expect from career CIA though).


    Best as I can guess (and these are all guesses), here’s what I think.

    Plame’s first affiliation was the Counter Proliferation unit of the DO. I don’t know who was in charge of CP–he would have been her boss. But James Pavitt, the Deputy Director of Operations, almost certainly knew of her and vouched for her side of the story.

    Now, like I’ve said, I’m not sure whether WINPAC was strictly an analytical thing or whther it was an umbrella operation that included some DO people. Or, equally likely, Plame was fulfilling a dual role, reporting primarily to CP running the BJ organization, but also providing analysis to WINPAC. Many well-informed pieces describe her as playing this dual role. Which would make sense. It has always sounded like BJ is the kind of cover you could run from the US (I travel a medium amount to foreign countries, and could imagine someone who travels as much as me–about 2.5 months a year this year–could maintain â€business†contacts that were really assets.

    Anyway, I think one of the problems both for Plame’s reporting structure and for her unit is that it seems like it was kind of ambiguous. As a NOC, it’s probably likely to be that way.