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October 06, 2005

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» Empty Wheel on Plamegate from BOPnews
"Magnum opus on Plamegate".... [Read More]

» You can't know the players if you don't have a program from yelladog
As we look down the road towards Karl Rove's indictment (or perhaps where he rolls over on everyone, a la Charles "Tex" Colson. Pleaseplease....), it helps to know exactly who and what we're talking about. I am hoping my encyclopedic... [Read More]

» Lord, Howard Kurtz from Opiniatrety
HK: But [Justin] Frank loses me with this sentence: "The only thing this appointment could be about is self-protection from impeachable offenses." Um, other than the chief justice ceremonially presiding over a Senate trial, the court plays no role in... [Read More]

» Lord, Howard Kurtz from Opiniatrety
HK: But [Justin] Frank loses me with this sentence: "The only thing this appointment could be about is self-protection from impeachable offenses." Um, other than the chief justice ceremonially presiding over a Senate trial, the court plays no role in... [Read More]

Comments

Emptywheel, this is off the friggin' scale brilliant!

Thank you John.

Two things that stuck out at me, writing this up.

First, Abrams. He was a sure-fire indictee back in September 2003. But we haven't heard a peep from him since. I wonder if he was Pincus' second source?

Second, these guys are going to be indicted not just for the initial leak of Plame's identity. But they were almost certainly sharing the INR memo, complete with the paragraph marked with an [S], in October 2003. Hopefully, that will add another 5 years to their jail time!

Magisterially delicious, 'Wheel. Awesome work. Thank you.

Yay! Another installment!

As usual, Ms. Wheel, you slice at the joints.

Holy shit! Nice job. Your write up is the only one I've seen so far that makes sense.

Nobody is entitled to have a lawyer before a Grand Jury. As far as I know, nobody who testified before the GJ had one.

kaleidescope

I think the implication is that Powell has never consulted a lawyer on this matter.

Great work emptywheel, I'll be re-reading this many times over the next days, weeks, maybe months.

Brilliant, awesome x 3! About the best investigative writing I've ever read.

Another phenomenal post. I had just been re-reading the original and lamenting that it had become out of date.

Can you expound on Bolton? Why might his visit have been the catalyst for Judy's dealing and what does it mean to the possibility that Bolton himself may be indicted?

Thanks again for your massive contributions to the resurrection of the free press.

Will Rove flip? According to O'Donnell at the Huffington Post, Rove received a target letter. He writes: "Fitzgerald does not have to send Rove or anyone else a target letter before indicting him. The only reason to send target letters now is that Fitzgerald believes one or more of his targets will flip and become a prosecution witness at the pre-indictment stage."

obsessed

I'm not sure, about Bolton or Duelfer. Either of them could have said openly, I've talked to Fitz. Would that be obstruction?? I don't know.

In any case, the two of them would know of Judy's larger implication in this. Bolton, if he had dealt her the leak early, would know of the way she had been a vehicle for this information. Duelfer, if Fitz has looked into what I think might be a uranium forgery, would also be subpoenaed to figure out why he described the document inaccurately in his report, which after all is a report to Congress.

So I guess I'm saying, either of them might have way of knowing if Fitz had more dirt on Judy than just the leak. Which might make it easier for Fitz to convince Judy that in exchange for tetsimony ONLY related to Plame/Wilson, she can hide her other wrong-doing.

The biggest question, though, is what could they say without incurring an obstruction charge?

Marysz

Apparently, Rove IS testifying again.

I'd bet Fitz said he might appreciate a cooperative rather than uncooperative witness, and he might appreciate if Rove all of a sudden remembered which journalist it was whom he learned Plame's identity from.

In other words, Rove's testimony may get us to the stuff Judy was trying so diligently to hide. Boy do I think things are heated between Karl and Libby around now.

Great writeup! It occurs to me (and this may not be new) that this may answer the oft-asked question of why they didn't just plant WMD in Iraq and then "discover" them. (The easy explanation, "that would be really stupid," clearly is not enough for these clowns.) The answer could be that the failed planting of the Niger documents had spooked them so they understood they couldn't fool all of the people all of the time, no matter how smart they thought they were. They'd gotten caught once and brought a world of crap down on themselves trying to weasel out of it. Getting caught planting WMD would be much worse than failing to find them.

Redshift

I'm increasingly convinced it was the Plame outing itself which gave them cold feet.

They were already backing off--there was too much attention (both Waxman and Rockefeller called for inquiries into the intelligence in the first days of the war). But finally they realized they kept digging themselves deeper in their lies and they needed to stop.

At least with the lies on that subject.

Right after Cooper testified, Rove's assistant Susan Ralston was called to the Grand Jury, it seemed natural as Cooper discussed Rove's call screening, and she was probably the screener. It seems that after that Rove invited himself back to testify again. I am rather curious whether Ralston was confronted with unanticipated questions leading Rove to feel the need to again spin?

Excellent summary EW -- if and when this thing breaks open those who have not been closely following will need just that sort of outline, and eventually they will have to work their way through the documents. I think much of the press has been asleep on this.

Today Larry Johnson has a good essay at Tom Paine with particular emphasis on the Forged Niger Documents. I seem to remember that when the forgery was "realized" in March, 2003, the FBI was tasked to investigate. I wonder if Fitzgerald adopted that investigation?

Wheel, you rock. Will you marry me?

blaz

I'll have to ask mr. emptywheel. I'll let you know what he says. But thanks for the vote of rock-dom!

Good, good summary, 'Wheel.

There were early reports that John Hannah had flipped. That would have pointed the finger at Libby early on. I think you are right that the real fear they had was the exposure of the Niger forgeries and the resultant unraveling of the whole rationale for the war. To this day they still claim to have been duped by Chalabi's people whom the CIA didn't properly vet or something, when they themsleves were planting evidence and ginning up alleged defectors right and left and preventing the CIA from pointing out that this "evidence" was bogus.

Rove would have had the job of spinning the war, but it was Cheney--to whom Karl deferred on issues of national security--and Cheney's minions who came up with the substance which Rove then spun. So his ire could go beyond the bungling of the outing and could be more the bungling of the faked evidence--the shoddy forgeries, for instance. Also Cheney's vanity about being connected to Wilson, which seems to have been the catalyst (along with fear of exposure) for the smear.

On Powell--I'm sure he has talked. Although people never have attorneys with them when they appear before a grand jury, I think they often do when they are interrogated by investigators from the FBI or prosecutor's office. My impression is that a lot of people sat down and spilled to investigators, then some were brought before the GJ to provide the bricks for the wall Fitz was building.

I still feel that we aren't seeing the whole picture here. The real crime was the lying and manufacturing of "intel" that got us into war on false pretences. The Plame outing was itself part of the coverup of that crime. So if there are indictments, they will be for trying to cover up the coverup and not for the substantive crime of lying us into a war that has cost almost 2000 American lives, tens or maybe even hundreds of thousands of Iraqi lives, threatens to bankrupt our country and wrecked theirs, and cost America it's image of strength and its moral capital. More's the pity if we never have that accounting.

Fantastic summary.... Thank you....

I will wait patiently for his response;)

Meanwhile, I'm interested on your take on the timing of Larry Franklin pleading guilty ie. "turning" and Judith Miller deciding to testify - the whole Libby waiver obviously a cover for the real reason - that Fitzgerald agrees to keep questions Plame related. Given that these investigations involve the same cast of characters (Franklin is also a good buddy of Ledeen), Fitzgerald may be getting information now from Franklin that he no longer needs from Miller. Correlation or coincidence?

blaz

Probably coincidence.

While I don't doubt the Franklin case and the Plame case overlap in some significant areas (and particularly, some likely targets), I'd be surprised if they had met in the middle yet.

Once they've got Harold Rhode, then I'll believe they've met halfway.

But I remain open-minded about it.

What is Rove up to?? HuffingtonPost has the quote as

"Federal prosecutors have accepted an offer from presidential adviser Karl Rove to give 11th hour testimony..."

Why does he WANT to testify further? Is he trying to de-perjure himself?

A chess game between two masters where only one plays by the rules makes me nervous.

it is wonderful to come upon this treasure of information , both in your article and, in general, the other web postings on the subject. finally, details and more details. wonderful - and essential- for figuring our yourself what happened. and missing almost completely from regular media stories.

i'm not sure i understand all this -- rephrase-- i am certain i don't understand a fraction of this -- but it seems to me there is a larger outline emerging than "did x or y act to bust up an important american anti nuclear-spread spy network. yes!! yes!! they destroyed the entire network.

It sems to me that the various levels of co-ordinated activity include Group Action With a Common Purpose (aka conspiracy) to:


-- mislead the american (and british ) public into believing Hussein 's government possessed some level of nuclear weapons capability. some believe this was specifically targeted at right wingers in republican party to elicit their concern and support.

this would include the activity to recruit and supply NYT reporter judith miller with material for her front-page stories.


-- use nuclear and other false WMD info to influence the 2002 congressional election. remember that the State of the Union address in gquestion was in jan, 2002 and the entire drum beat for war was conducted from then through nov 2002. it was impossible for candidates to get any other public issue through to the public than the war discussion.

would george bush talk up war and send troops to war for his own and his parties political benefit. certainly he would. as he said to McCain after S. Car primary: "John, it's only politics".


-- create and dissiminate forged documents to bolster the "iraq has nuclear capablity" argument.

this might include as the above article informed me, two sets of forged documents, forged i might add, by people directed by the white house.


--- act to discredit and retalitate against critics of the Bush administration's "war against iraq is necessary" arguments. this inlcudes the effort to discredit Jos. Wilson and retaliate against him by exposing his wife's CIA anti-nuclear spread activities.

there is the possiblity that this was a "simultaneous" effort by the american and british governements given the exposing in the same time frame of the british intelligence anaylyst who committed suicide.


-- act to hide the involvement of senior white house aides libby and rove (at least. but quite a few others, including Bolton, seem to have had both opportunity and motive to join in the play) in the exposing the CIA activities of Amb Wilson's wife, Valerie Plame.

more serious than iran-contra? sounds like it to me.

sounds like a major manipulation of the american (and possibly british) political process.

so what are we going to do when george pardons Cheney and all trhe others?

EW, great work as usual. It's a pleasure to know someone who takes the trouble to sift through details to try and find the bigger picture :-)

Look forward to more of your excellent work in the future.

Where does Condoleeza fit into all this? IIRC, she has testified before the GJ. Surely she was part of the Hadley/Franklin (Dept State-NSC)network.

Cherokee:

I'm not sure. First, it will be difficult to pin anything on her because of the protection accorded NSC, including the NSA. Recall that Iran-Contra happened largely in the NSC because it had more legal protection from Congressional scrutiny than CIA. They've appealed to that standard repeatedly in other investigations (the SSCI and 9/11 investigations, for example). Usually, what they have done, is refused to hand over any documents from NSC, then had Stephen Hadley go in and lie about the content or existence of those documents. I have no way of knowing whether Fitz has fought that.

But with Rove testifying again, presumably with Fitz knowing that the leak happened internally rather than externally, then I think Fitz might begin to get Hadley. And if he gets Hadley, then he might get more detail on Condi.

Although ultimately, I think she'll end up with a conspiracy charge (based on her participation in conversations on AF1 and on her false statements that week--although keep in mind, she actually accidentally told the truth in one of those speeches!) Which is the same conspiracy charge Bush will be associated with as a co-conspirator, if that happens.

"...Although ultimately, I think she'll end up with a conspiracy charge (based on her participation in conversations on AF1 and on her false statements that week--"

EmptyWheel:
As I believe Condi is being groomed aggressively by the RNC for the 2008 Presidential, this is cause for early celebration!

Thanks for your indefatigable sleuthing and brilliant analysis.
-- cherokee

This is really the best summary by far of the thing I have seen. I plan to point people to it who are not up on the subject. Towards that end, I would like to suggest one wee enhancement. There are a couple of places where it is assumed the reader already has basic knowledge of the case. For example, the first time you refer to Judith Miller you simply call her "Judy" with no elaboration of who she is. We political types, of course, know who "Judy" is in this context, but you will lose some people at that point. Also, a brief explanation of NOC could be helpful. I think this is something teachers should be using in Current Events type classes.

Martin

Good suggestion. I'll try to make it more user friendly some time this weekend.

I'm curious to know what Wilson means by "the lie that was in the State of the Union address." Perhaps he is refering to this assertion: "The British government has learned that Saddam Hussein recently sought significant quantities of uranium from Africa." If so, I would like to know either: 1)How it is that Wilson knew/knows that the British government did not have such information, or 2)Why it is that anything Wilson purportedly learned during his trip to Niger should nullify intel which the British subsequently reaffirmed?

In any case, these sixteen words seem to me rather inconsequential given Saddam's obsession with WMD, his intransigence in abiding the terms of the Gulf War cease-fire and subsequent U.N. resolutions, as well as the innumerable human rights violations of which he is guilty. Not to put too fine a point on it, there were other reasons put forward to remove Saddam beyond those sixteen words, not the least being that it had been official U.S. policy to remove Saddam since Congress passed, and Clinton signed, the Iraq Liberation Act in 1998.


CORRECTION

if the weekend is a great time to ship out bad political news to the world , perhaps the same is true for embarrasing corrections.

with respect to the post above that begins :

"it is wonderful to come upon this treasure of information...."

and the paragraph within that post that begins:

"use nuclear and other false WMD info to influence the 2002 congressional elections...."

as all but the author surely knew, the state of the union address wherein Bush asserted iraq was trying to obtain uranium ore was in January, 2003, not January, 2002 as the author wrote.

memory and passion are a volatile mix. in particular it seems more appropriately humble not to ask others to "remember" what oneself cannot accurately remember.

that said, the drums of war did begin to beat in the spring of 2002 (as I remember!!!), and did drown out other discourse. i believe that was, indeed, a deliberate strategy to use war (and desire for revenge)to influence the outcome of the congressional elections in favor of the republican wing of the sourthern democratic party.

the conspiracy against wilson and wife were a part of this larger process that began in sept, 2001 and will end with US withdrawal from iraq, probably before bush leave's office, once this little scandal weans him from rove, and cheney's henchmen.

my apologies.

It was Cheney's intern! An unfortunate brunette, I think , who fucked up the whole thing by her SHODDY FORGERIES. She was expendable, invisible, etc., so fewer fingerprints all over it. But you get what you pay for...

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