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October 10, 2005

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» Talking David S. Cloud Subpoena Blues from Why Are We Back In Iraq?
The other day I wrote: "Jeff Gannon never saw any freakin' internal government memo and just straight out plagiarized The Wall Street Journal when he asked Joe Wilson his infamous question." [Read More]

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I forgot to say why this matters--besides the question of whether there'll be indictments related to a later circulation of classified memos. I don't think there will be, because this wasn't the INR (if even half of the reports on it have been accurate).

But this does open up the possibility that BushCo and their winger journalists were lying--under cover of this memo--in fall 2003 so as to simulataneously throw suspicion off the documents they were using and to continue to smear Wilson and Plame.

the talking head known as tweety (Matthews) keeps saying this is politics... it's hardball... where's the crime? Presumably we soon find that out. But lying to screw someone may or may not be a crime, depending on what they're being accused of.

Tom Oliphaunt, for reasons that escape me, is all bent out of shape about a special prosecutor finding crimes where politics are practiced.

i really think maybe it is time to sit back and see what fitz' cards are.

Well, damnit, Fitz' timing is really turning out to be poor for me. Can't he turn his cards NOW??? (whiny voice...)

... Well, now I'm worried and whining too (--- enough to make a comment)! PLEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEESE DON'T STOP WRITING! I might be a quiet voice in the dark but I've been a faithful reader. Your articles (and comments too!) are the only reason I've been able to survive the excruciating pain of waiting ... waiting ... waiting for Fitzgerald to open his deck (of cards).

What else does a girl have to look forward too? Until I know for sure that, the bully regime is dethroned, I cannot --- I will not, and therefore I haven't carried on as if all were normal... Oh yeah, THANK YOU VERY VERY VERY VERY VERY VERY VERY VERY VERY MUCH! Leslie Pool

Is it possible that the discrepancies between the memos are due to the fact that there are two memos circulating?

In this scenario, the actual memo "describes interagency discussions of the yellowcake mystery: whether the reports of Iraq's uranium purchases were credible" and therefore needs to be hidden, because it is further evidence that the WH knew it's claims were bogus.

Meanwhile, the WH has cooked up a fake version (Rove hard at work?) which does not discuss the Niger forgeries. This 'memo' serves a dual purpose: it can be used against Wilson by exaggerating his wife's role in his selection for the mission, identifies and exposes her, and conveniently leaves out the damaaging info about the Niger forgeries.

mike

I think there's a very good possibility that there are two memos circulating. In fact, we pretty know there are, because Jane Harman was trying to hold an investigation into them. I've always thought this referred to the Powell circulated (dated July 6) and earlier circulated (dated June 10) version of the memo. But yeah, I think it possible that Rove was circulating something purporting to be the INR memo, which wasn't.

Although, FWIW, I think the "real" one wouldn't have the details about interagency discussions. There are too many credible State Department people who leaked about the memo and its purpose not to believe them--and they say the purpose was to lay out State's take on Niger intelligence generally, not specific to Wilson's trip.

My other thought was whether they were circulating something else (like the NSC talking points I believe existed) but had JimmyJeff say it was the INR memo when they decided they should cover their tracks better.

DemFromCT,

I noticed that, tpp, and was baffled by what he was getting at. Does he think the Dem's have skeletons in their closet? Is he trying to compare Fitz with Starr's investigation? Oliphant just seemed to be whistling in the wind about nonsense. It was a was of airtime as near as I can see. Although it does point to died-in-the-wool 'establishment liberals' who can't get out of their own way in order to project some odd idea of 'fairness'. Whatever THAT is these days. I thought better of Tom Oliphant. But no more.

Excellent. As to your broad "why wasn't this in the subpoena, because it should have been", I have no idea.

The nuts and bolts answer is in the Newsday excerpts to which you linked. Briefly, the Cloud story fell outside of the dates for the various subpoenas:

Two of the subpoenas focus mainly on White House records, events and contacts in July, both before and after the July 14 column by Robert Novak that said "two senior administration officials" told him Plame was a CIA officer.

The third subpoena repeats an informal Justice Department document request to the White House last fall seeking records about staff contacts with Novak and two Newsday reporters, Knut Royce and Timothy Phelps, who reported on July 22 that Plame was a covert agent and Novak had blown her cover.

That initial document request was made on Sept 30 and covered (among other things) "copies of
the following documents, created during the time period February 1,
2002, through September 30, 2003, inclusive..."
.

So mechanically, the Cloud story was passed over. And one might argue that, by October, "everyone" was in on the act.

Second idea - maybe the DoJ let their subscription to Lexis/Nexis lapes - note that the first document request overlooked Cooper and his TIME colleagues. I had a theory about that at the time that personal pride will not let me repeat. (Well, if I spent all my time unearthing my old errors, I wouldn't have time to make new ones...)

Tom:

Good explanation. My only question is--how would JimmmyJeff's records be subpoenaed and not Clouds.

Although I'd love to be the red-faced Harriet who had to explain that ALL of WH communications with JimmyJeff had to be included.

emptywheel,

The real mystery to me is why Fitz hasn't asked for Cliff May's testimony considering he has publicly said he knew of Plame's career before Novak published. Of course, he was probably lying, but...

Also, did you know that Miguel Estrada has been talking up Fitzgerald?

http://www.usatoday.com/news/washington/2005-10-10-fitzgerald_x.htm

Re Gannon - hmm. The obvious guess - although we first see him in the WaPo story and associate him with the Oct 17 WSJ story, maybe he really did show up in WH phone logs earlier.

And why would he not have earlier WH contacts, if he really was some sort of WH friendly stooge (lefty view), or even a self-promoting right-wing Drudge aspirant (my view)?

Now, that is a strand that might be worth pulling on, although I don't imagine you will be able to find much behind it.

And to compound my frustration - the Editor and Publisher link to their post-outing interbiew with Gannon has moved behind their subscription wall. An excerpt:

Guckert said that contrary to many press reports, he was never subpoenaed by the special prosecutor and has never testified before a grand jury in the case. But he said he was interviewed by two FBI agents in his home for about 90 minutes last year.

"I answered their questions truthfully and honestly, but I would prefer not to say more,” he said. “I assume the information was routed back and that is why I was not called to testify."

Well, E&P asked him about the Cloud story, but per that excerpt, we don't know if the FBI asked him about that, or something else.

There's a lesson - I assumed that the FBI was asking him about that. Well, per the Left Coaster story, maybe they were.

One more thing. The lack of interest (if that's what it is) is particularly disconcerting given allegations that there are a series of phone calls between the WH and Novak right before his story changed. Because at precisely that time, May's story changed too; that's when he started saying Plame's identity was well-known. Given that May seems to be on the same leak schedule as Novak (July, then late September), you'd think he'd be a person the FBI would want to talk to.

Then of course, maybe they did.

One broader issue I've been wondering about as I read the fascinating series of recent posts by EW, Reddhed and Jane:

The possibility that this investigation will extend into the substance of the Yellowcake fraud is what gets pulses really racing. But there seems to be an assumption that Fitz is motivated to expand his investigation rather than keep it focused on the original brief, strictly speaking.

Isn't that rather contrary to prosecutorial best-practices? I don't even look like a lawyer, much less play one on TV, but I thought one of the major concerns in getting a conviction is to not let the case get too diffuse. I think particularly of the prosecution of the Oklahoma bombers, where the prosecutors seemed quite intent on bracketing off evidence of wider conspiracies beyond the two principal targets.

There seem to be a number of posters and commenters with real legal experience around, so I thought maybe someone could address this. In my own head, I thought one reason Fitz might have accepted Judy's demand for restricting questions was not to trap her, but because he saw it as serving his own interest not to let the case get out of hand.

OK, I am going to wear out my welcome with that last bad link.

On the question of when Gannon interviewed Wilson, here is a data point that folks may have missed. From Part 3:

TN: Nicholas Kristoff wrote in the New York Times recently that the CIA believes that Aldrich Ames may have betrayed your wife to the Russians prior to his arrest in 1994. That would make her not an undercover operative for the CIA in effect.

Wilson: I don't know where Kristoff got that. I think that there is a fair amount of material in the public record to suggest that there is a lot of concern that Mr. Ames betrayed a number of American operatives during his spying.

That was an Oct 11 2003 column by Kristof.

Tom's find me led me to find another one.

I just noticed this too from the Gannon interview:

TN: Earlier this month, the Washington Post ran a lengthy article on the Wilson/Plame family. The writer decribes her family and goes on to say "a few months after that July evening, her name and her occupation would be published and broadcast internationally. In the public imagination she would become Jane Bond as her husband later put it. A clandestine operative isn't supposed to be famous, but her identity was leaked to journalists by administration officials for what Joe Wilson alleged was retaliation for his criticism of the White House's Iraq policies."

That was a reference to this October 8th WAPO article: The Spy Next Door.

I willfeel that this is all justified if an UPDATE is titled "Cloud Coverage". Or maybe, "Clouds, with Clearing".

EW,

I wouldn't be entirely surprised if Cliff May did not get a subpoena, just like the case of JimmyJeff. The FBI must have interviewed May and determined from his responses that no subpoena is required. As far as I can tell May was making things up and may not really have had any sources that told him what he claimed he had heard.

The one aspect that interests me greatly is what Nicholas Kristof and David Sanger said. After all these are likely to be the two NY Times contacts who may have had some contact with Judith Miller.

The key thing is that Fitzgerald was after Cooper and Miller because he felt there wasn't much of a case without their testimony. If we work back to that using the knowledge we have today, it becomes clear that he was after them for the following reasons:

1. Rove had changed his story with the grand jury which made it clear that his words could not be trusted. He spoke to Novak and Cooper and Novak was a serial fabricator in cahoots with Rove who could not be trusted. Cooper was the only person who could shed light on whether Rove's latest narrative was true or not. Hence his appeal to the court to force Cooper to testify.

2. Libby testified on all his contacts with the Press, but Fitzgerald must have heard from another witness that Libby left out at least one meeting with a reporter (Miller) - in June 2003. That must have made it apparent to Fitzgerald that unless he gets Miller to testify to that meeting, he could not prove that Libby hid something from the grand jury. Hence his push to force Miller to testify.

So, here's a question. Who might have known about the Miller/Libby meeting in late June 2003? Is it likely to have been a NY Times colleague who was interviewed or subpoenaed?

eRiposte

See my new post. I think it might be Johnston. He was one of the two journalists (with Broad) who was buddied up with Judy to prevent her from hurting herself, her reputation, or the grey lady anymore. And it's POSSIBLE he's been telegraphing details all this time.

And if you or Tom Maguire (sorry about earlier spelling errors, btw) have speculation about the Pincus bit, I'd love to hear it.

DID ACE WHITE HOUSE PRESS REPORTER AND STUD-WHORE, JEFFY GANNON, PUBLISH A CIA "OUTING" STORY ON VALERIE PLAME IN TALON NEWS? WAS HE "IMBEDDED" WITH TURD BLOSSOM ROVE? WAS HE CALLED TO TESTIFY BEFORE THE FEDERAL GRAND JURY? DOES TURD BLOSSOM ROVE HAVE A "GET OUT JAIL FREE" PASS FROM "THE CHIMP"?? Lwayno
"Who Knows what evil lurks in the mind of Turd Blossom Rove" The "Toy Boy" Jeffy Gannon does!!!

p.s. The best scientific evidence to support the Theory Of Evolution is George "The Chimp" Bush, a.k.a. Austreopisses Texanus. Quote from Lwayno

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