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July 18, 2005

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wonderful post, emptywheel.

speaking of 'on the media' from the Note today:

THINGS WE (THINK) WE KNOW ABOUT HOWARD FINEMAN: — He is seeing his life (or, at least, his career) flash before his bespeckled eyes.

— He correlates Karl Rove's occasional antics with the traveling White House press corps with feeling "under pressure."

THINGS WE (THINK) WE KNOW ABOUT THE WASHINGTON POST AND OTHER NEWS ORGANIZATIONS WHOSE REPORTERS HAVE TESTIFIED (OR NOT):
— They are starting to subtly sneak information they obtained in confidence into the paper in some instances.

(Note hint: read closely.)

see also Brownstein on the monolithic party Rove has built... and its limitations.

The Note also calls Keil and Roberts 'well-sourced' and has stopped deriding the scandal in its tone.

It's not instant coffee ... but it is brewing.

Funny you should mention that about the WaPo, DemFromCT. Here's a funny paragraph I found in the middle of the WaPo article on the first Fitzgerald questioning--written by Mike Allen, but even a Steno Sue co-byline didn't prevent him from sneaking this in.

The White House e-mails include criticism of Wilson, the sources said. Wilson is an unpaid foreign policy adviser to the front-runner in the Democratic presidential race, Sen. John F. Kerry (Mass.), and has made campaign stops for him in Iowa, New Hampshire, Maine, New York, Massachusetts and Washington state.

[now watch how Allen veers off here, as if everyone already accepts the connection between the Niger forgeries and the Plame case]

A parallel FBI investigation into the apparent forgery of documents suggesting that Iraq attempted to buy yellowcake uranium from Niger is "at a critical stage," according to a senior law enforcement official who declined to elaborate. That probe, conducted by FBI counterintelligence agents, was launched last spring after U.N. officials pronounced the documents crude forgeries.

[and here he veers back, as if nothing had ever distracted him...]

Several sources involved in the leak case said the questioning suggests prosecutors are preparing to seek testimony from Novak and perhaps other journalists. "There's a very good likelihood they're going to litigate against journalists," one source said.

Great stuff emtywheel.

Another thing I realized when I was writing this (I had never gone back to Gannon's second INR memo post).

Gannon basically describes what happened with the memo:

A memo written by an INR (Intelligence and Research) analyst who made notes of the meeting at which Wilson was asked to go to Niger sensed that something fishy was going on. That report made it to the outside world courtesy of some patriotic whistleblower that realized that a bag job was underway.

....

The classified document that slipped out sometime after the meeting put her name before the public, albeit a small group of inside-the-beltway types, but effectively ended the notion that she was still covert.

This says several things. First, Gannon suggests the person who took the notes (or the person who wrote the memo--I don't think they're the same person) wrote the notes because he thought something was fishy. This would support my growing suspicion that there is false information in the notes on which this memo was based (because it would bring the note-taker's motives under suspicion).

Also, JimmyJeff pretty much says this memo was circulating outside of the Administration. In fact, thinking back to Clifford May's argument that he knew who Plame was already, I wonder if the memo didn't get circulated to winger columnists in the week before Novak's column. But it also suggests the search for who read the memo on Air Force One is a red herring--the memo was likely already circulating among the wing-punditry, after which point one of them leaked it back to Libby and Rove, giving them a thin sheen of plausible deniability.

Good job pulling all this together.

I wonder if, in the period January-June '04, or, more precisely, Jan-April '04, someone spilled some significant beans, as April is when the Grand Jury was empaneled. Once Fitzgerald was appointed, people interested in gettting the truth out, and people afraid of what might happen if it did, could have begun talking in a much more serious way than when they knew everything was getting back to Ashcroft and Bush. (Tenet and CIA come to mind here.)

Also, Murray Waas is not specific when Novak talked, or whether it was on one or more occasions.

And yes, it does appear that the State Dept INR memo was the chief mechanism for the leak. Powell had it on the plane to Africa, but it must have been on the computer of, or otherwise accessible to, State Dept types who were NOT on the trip (John? Fred?), and it could have been transmitted electronically, as well as by fax, from the plane or State, to the boys at home, Rove and Libby, for their mischief-making.

I suspect when this is over we will find a great many hands were inolved, and while some may not have realized the info was classified, enough did, and anyway it doesn't necessarily matter with conspiracy.

Again, good job.

One more thing--Judy Miller DID write a story on 7/23/03 about the 16 words in the SOTU and about Tenet and Hadley taking the fall. See this Kos diary for a discussion.

Maybe they are looking at the connection to the 16 words as it goes to motive, and thinks she knows more, or maybe she does and is afraid they will get to it if she submits to any questioning. Or maybe someone just said they talked to her.

"I wonder if the memo didn't get circulated to winger columnists in the week before Novak's column." That's an intrguing an entirely plausible point. I wonder if Fitzgerald is pursuing it. Speaking of him, I started wondering why he hasn't filed any injunctions yet. Is he still unsure of whether he has a case? Or is he trying to nail down a case of which he is fairly sure? I hope it's the latter: the possibility that 7 years after Kenneth Starr a Republican specail prosecutor could dismantle part of the Right Wing is tantalizing.

Man, this becomes a lot to keep track of! Excellent work, emptywheel!

But what really stands out is the way the WH machine is off its rhythm, and continues to be, e.g., peddling last week that the Rove-Cooper exchange was just a by-the-way after a discussion of welfare reform, which Cooper now has shot down.

Other parts of the right seem a bit rattled as well. I only recently discovered redstate.org. Last week they had a long and surprisingly rational (if not quite reality-based) discussion of the Plame Affair. When I looked last night they were sort of foaming at the mouth about it.

-- Rick Robinson

mimikatz

the link for the dailykos diary does not seem to work

Mimikatz,

Judy Miller was only subpoenaed for conversations the week of July 6. Could they spring the earlier story on her?

Kdm,

I suspect Fitzgerald is weighing what to do about Miller (as well as writing up his indictments). He may not have enough without Miller's testimony. Or, he may want to hold off for a while to see if she'll talk while still under civil contempt (if he files indictments, then the Grand Jury is considered done and Judy Miller goes free). Or, he may be trying to figure out how to make the case for criminal contempt of Judy Miller.

Rick,

I'm increasingly convinced this is creating a split among Republicans. Way back in September 2003, someone decided to talk to journalists. Either Tenet or Powell is likely, but I think it was Powell. And I think that suggests the True Conservatives (Powell and his deputies) have been furious about this ever since--note that Chuck Hagel was calling on Bush to take this seriously at about the same time, and this is when Carl Ford quit State. Plus, if there really is animosity between Rove and Libby, the even the wingnuts are scrambling to guess who will end up on top (Rove or Cheney) or, for that matter, who will survive. The wingnuts know they need to show unquestioning loyalty right now--they just don't know who they should show that loyalty TO.

Latest ABC (?) poll numbers, came out right while Bill Schneider was bloviating on CNN Inside Politics:

75 percent believe Rove should resign if he leaked classified information

25 percent believe WH is cooperating fully

53 percent following the story closely

about 40 percent following it "very" closely.

It was absolutely hilarious watching Schneider, because he was caught literally in the middle of explaining how this was such a complicated story that Real People [TM] could never follow it, when the poll numbers were handed to him.

"Sobering," Schneider said. :)

-- Rick Robinson

(Note, it seems like the WH was trying to declassify this memo back in July; they may have mentioned it to Novak and Cooper.)

I don't think Rove was talking about the memo, I think he was talking about the NIE, parts of which were declassified on July 18, 2003.

In light of what we now know, and what I've suspected, the quote from Gannon about the author of the memo (who I don't think is the note taker) sensing 'something fishy' is quite interesting, to say the least.

Well done, emptywheel. It helps a lot to see this laid out.

Also, JimmyJeff pretty much says this memo was circulating outside of the Administration. In fact, thinking back to Clifford May's argument that he knew who Plame was already, I wonder if the memo didn't get circulated to winger columnists in the week before Novak's column. But it also suggests the search for who read the memo on Air Force One is a red herring--the memo was likely already circulating among the wing-punditry, after which point one of them leaked it back to Libby and Rove, giving them a thin sheen of plausible deniability.

I think it did get circulated and I speculate how it may have happened here.

http://ancapistan.typepad.com/unfairwitness/2005/07/is_there_a_norq.html

Thanks for putting together this excellent summary. It's especially helpful in piecing together the lull between Novak's column and the renewed onslaught in September.

Tex MacRae

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