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October 12, 2005

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» Cheney In Trouble? from Shining Light in Dark Corners
There are rumors flying that Cheney is on the outs in the White House. Some rumors say that Cheney has become a target of the Special Prosecutor Fitzgerald investigation. The Next Hurrah Clearly, there is a lot of evidence to suggest Cheney did know of... [Read More]

» Cheney In Trouble? from Shining Light in Dark Corners
There are rumors flying that Cheney is on the outs in the White House. Some rumors say that Cheney has become a target of the Special Prosecutor Fitzgerald investigation. The Next Hurrah Clearly, there is a lot of evidence to suggest Cheney did know of... [Read More]

» JUDY MARTYR MILLER PART TWO from The Heretik
HOW MANY TIMES will Judy Martyr Miller have to go to the grand jury before she gets it right? [story] And if she got it wrong the first time, will she go to jail a second? No one has [Read More]

» JUDY MARTYR MILLER PART TWO from The Heretik
HOW MANY TIMES will Judy Martyr Miller have to go to the grand jury before she gets it right? [story] And if she got it wrong the first time, will she go to jail a second? No one has [Read More]

» JUDY MARTYR MILLER PART TWO from The Heretik
HOW MANY TIMES will Judy Martyr Miller have to go to the grand jury before she gets it right? [story] And if she got it wrong the first time, will she go to jail a second? No one has [Read More]

» Uranium from Africa: The Wilson "workup" and the March 8, 2003 DIA memo from The Left Coaster
One of the intriguing parts of the uranium from Africa/Wilson/Plame story that seems to have disappeared into the background is this: [Russert Reading From Book]: After my appearance on CNN in early March 2003, when I first asserted that the... [Read More]

Comments

Okay, silly questions:

How far afield can Fitzgerald go on this stuff? Is he limited as to the scope of his inquiries by his original definiation of task, or can he search out anything he thinks might be a crime? Will he need to empanel a new grand jury if his investigations take him further afield?

Also, as he turns the screws on more players (cough, Rove, cough), do these players gain leverage by potentially proffering other information of interest to the Justice Department, such as information material to the Abramoff investigation?

If it's true that Fitgerald did not know of the June conversations between Libby and Miller, and if therefore he has a whole lot of new questions to ask a bunch of people, wouldn't it therefore be likely that he will take more time before winding up his investigation? Could we simply be entering a new phase of this process, allowing it to take a few more months before any indictments (if any) are forthcoming?

It seems to me that we are finally getting to the big picture. This has always been about burying the evidence that Bush, or at least Cheney, knew that the evidence on which they war with Iraq was sold was bogus. The real reason Wilson was dangerous was that he knew that the uranium evidence--one of the two key pieces behind the "mushroom cloud, the other being the tubes--was bogus. And he knew that they knew before the war that it was bogus.

Of course some word of the results of Wilson's trip got back to the VP or at least his office. Libby was at the end of a very big stovepipe, and he clearly had allies at the CIA--and he went over there frequently in the months before the war.

One reason Wilson was very dangerous was that he was in a position to discredit the Niger forgeries. That, of course, would lead right back to Libby and Cheney's circle of crazy neonons. The other reason Wilson was dangerous was his ties to Scowcroft and Poppy Bush. Cheney and his group must have feared that Poppa Bush, who was known to harbor doubts about the war, might dissuade Junior from taking the final, fatal step. These two things are what make Wilson more dangerous than, say, Rand Beers, or even Richard Clarke.

So the WHIG folks tried to get info that the could use to discredit Wilson both in the press and perhaps with Junior if they needed it. This would make Valerie's outing perhaps collateral damage, but still wrong and illegal.

I do hope that Fitz is going after the whole effort to manufacture evidence and hype dubious evidence that got us into the war. The lost lives, lost treasure, squandered prestige and military strength and damage to the US in incalculable other ways are what make this a very important story and not just gossip. Thanks once again Emptywheel for advancing it a few paces more.

Great post, as usual. I have 2 questions about this. 1. If Fitz is looking at Cheney and his deceptions before Plame was outed, what could he charge the VP with? (and wouldn't it take a long time to develop that case?); 2 The WSJ, via Raw Story is reporting that Fitzgerald is examining "the inner workings of what has been dubbed the White House Iraq Group" which was formed in August 2002. Is that date significant? Is it that the month in which someone on the British cabinet wrote that the US was "fixing its intelligence"?

Pachacutec

When Comey named Fitz, he told him to go where the evidence led. In general, I don't think that'd include the Abramoff case. But we know Fitz intervened into the Richard Perle case in Chicago. If he did so for this case, he is looking at a really wide scope. In any case, there are about 5 places where this could overlap with the Niger forgeries, so that's more likely.

Kdm,

The Downing Street Memo was dated July 24, IIRC, so they were actually already fixing the intelligence before August. But by looking at WHIG, Fitz may be looking at the overall manufacturing of information to get us into war (potentially including the aluminum tubes, which were a September 2002 invention).

I'm not sure how seriously I take WHIG as a target. Not that each and every one of them isn't a target. Although it might be the reconstituted WHIG they brought back to deal with Plame. I just think WHIG is the core of what Fitz has information on, both through Libby's notes (if they haven't been doctored), and probably from someone who flipped (I tend to think Matalin).

I think the reason those other folks didn't get attacked is that their identities were less obvious and/or because they were State Dept. folks and hence protected on some level by the Powell-Armitage axis.

Excellent, excellent post, emptywheel. In your view, do you see Fitzgerald asking for an extension of the GJ to deal with all of this, or do you think, based on the material and the witnesses he has subpoenaed so far, that he may be wrapping things up?

I still don't understand how Wilson's speech at EPIC on June 14, 2003 fits into all this....basically he outed himself as the "former ambassador who went to Niger"

"“Let me just start out by saying, as a preface to what I really want to talk about, to those of you who are going out and lobbying tomorrow, I just want to assure you that that American ambassador who has been cited in reports in the New York Times and in the Washington Post, and now in the Guardian over in London, who actually went over to Niger on behalf of the government-not of the CIA but of the government-and came back in February of 2002 and told the government that there was nothing to this story, later called the government after the British white paper was published and said you all need to do some fact-checking and make sure the Brits aren’t using bad information in the publication of the white paper, and who called both the CIA and the State Department after the President’s State of the Union and said to them you need to worry about the political manipulation of intelligence if, in fact, the President is talking about Niger when he mentions Africa. That person was told by the State Department that, well, you know, there’s four countries that export uranium. That person had served in three of those countries, so he knew a little bit about what he was talking about when he said you really need to worry about this. But I can assure you that that retired American ambassador to Africa, as Nick Kristof called him in his article, is also pissed off, and has every intention of ensuring that this story has legs. And I think it does have legs. It may not have legs over the next two or three months, but when you see American casualties moving from one to five or to ten per day, and you see Tony Blair’s government fall because in the U.K. it is a big story, there will be some ramifications, I think, here in the United States, so I hope that you will do everything you can to keep the pressure on. Because it is absolutely bogus for us to have gone to war the way we did.”

the EPIC website has the audio and also states he is varied to the former Valerie Plame

http://www.epic-usa.org/Default.aspx?tabid=68&showlogin=1

Great writing, emptywheel.

One of the facts taken at face value is that Valerie Plame suggested that Joe Wilson go check out the claims. Has anyone investigated whether or not that is a cover story for getting Valerie Plame into the area? That she was the one who checked it out, and that it was her contacts that got burned by the revelation of her status?

I read somewhere, I thought it was in the SSCI or in testimony on the Hill, that CIA analysts testified that Wilson's Niger report was forwarded to Cheney's office.

Now am I getting confused between all the what if's in the blogoshere and what's fact????

thanks emptywheel for your ceaseless efforts to bring clarity on this to all of us... excellent analysis, as usual...

as for some of the questions from posters about Fitz 'adding' Whig to his scope - I think Whig has been there from the beginning. He subpoenaed documents from the group early on in the investigation, and most of its members have testified before the GJ or at least talked to Fitz. I don't for what minute think the contents of the 'notebook' come as a late surprise... perhaps just a piece of hard evidence - dropped by whom? That is the question. Lots of long knives coming out. This is a wicked bunch of folks.

In one of the comments above, the question was asked "...how far can Fitgerald go..." in this investigation? Fundamentally he is guided by a simple rule; he is legally bound to either investigate or report for further investigation anything of a potentially criminal nature that may be discovered during the course of the current investigation. If it is something of relevance to the current investigation he can included it as part of his evidence. If it is more appropriate that a seperate investigation ensue, then he can call for a new grand jury.

Considering how Ken Starr started out looking at realestate deals in "Whitewater" and ended up investigating the President's lying about how certain incriminating stains got on a certain blue dress, I think it would be very difficult for the Republicans to carp about Fitgerald going beyond his "charter."

Thanks for your response, emptywheel. Great work as usual.

I guess I was imagining the following hypothetical scenario:

1. Witness/target gets lots of night sweats and looks to make a deal

2. Witness is eyeball deep in trouble and likely to be indicted

3. Witness has goods of interest to the Abramoff investigation

4. Witness has his attorney flirt with Fitzgerald to see if DOJ might be interested in Abramoff related information in exchange for a favorable plea

5. Fitzgerald gets a sense of what might be offered and shares it with colleagues on the Abramoff investigation

6. Abramoff investigators find that such testimony might be of interest

7. Attorneys work out a deal and send a proffer letter to witnesses attorney, woking out the framework of a deal that offers a more favorable plea arrangement to the witness in exchange for this information.

I was imagining, not that Fitgerald would move into Abramoff related investigation, but that he might act as a broker on behalf of DOJ interests if a witness had something to offer and was scrambling to gain leverage against future indictment.

I'm not an attorney, so maybe I'm out of line with this speculation. But as a hypothetical, is this possible?

If it's true that Rove is getting dumped by WH folks, it's possible he or others could play this card. Pure speculation, of course, but how unrealistic is this?

Posted by: danielg | October 12, 2005 at 12:19

I read somewhere, I thought it was in the SSCI or in testimony on the Hill, that CIA analysts testified that Wilson's Niger report was forwarded to Cheney's office.

Now am I getting confused between all the what if's in the blogoshere and what's fact????

read this WAPO story on SSCI....Wilson got caught in a lot of lies and "mispeak"

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A39834-2004Jul9.html

excerpts

The panel found that Wilson's report, rather than debunking intelligence about purported uranium sales to Iraq, as he has said, bolstered the case for most intelligence analysts. And contrary to Wilson's assertions and even the government's previous statements, the CIA did not tell the White House it had qualms about the reliability of the Africa intelligence that made its way into 16 fateful words in President Bush's January 2003 State of the Union address.

The report turns a harsh spotlight on what Wilson has said about his role in gathering prewar intelligence, most pointedly by asserting that his wife, CIA employee Valerie Plame, recommended him.

The report may bolster the rationale that administration officials provided the information not to intentionally expose an undercover CIA employee, but to call into question Wilson's bona fides as an investigator into trafficking of weapons of mass destruction. To charge anyone with a crime, prosecutors need evidence that exposure of a covert officer was intentional.

The report states that a CIA official told the Senate committee that Plame "offered up" Wilson's name for the Niger trip, then on Feb. 12, 2002, sent a memo to a deputy chief in the CIA's Directorate of Operations saying her husband "has good relations with both the PM [prime minister] and the former Minister of Mines (not to mention lots of French contacts), both of whom could possibly shed light on this sort of activity." The next day, the operations official cabled an overseas officer seeking concurrence with the idea of sending Wilson, the report said.

Wilson has asserted that his wife was not involved in the decision to send him to Niger.

"Valerie had nothing to do with the matter," Wilson wrote in a memoir published this year. "She definitely had not proposed that I make the trip."

Wilson stood by his assertion in an interview yesterday, saying Plame was not the person who made the decision to send him. Of her memo, he said: "I don't see it as a recommendation to send me."

The report said Plame told committee staffers that she relayed the CIA's request to her husband, saying, "there's this crazy report" about a purported deal for Niger to sell uranium to Iraq. The committee found Wilson had made an earlier trip to Niger in 1999 for the CIA, also at his wife's suggestion.

The report also said Wilson provided misleading information to The Washington Post last June. He said then that he concluded the Niger intelligence was based on documents that had clearly been forged because "the dates were wrong and the names were wrong."

"Committee staff asked how the former ambassador could have come to the conclusion that the 'dates were wrong and the names were wrong' when he had never seen the CIA reports and had no knowledge of what names and dates were in the reports," the Senate panel said. Wilson told the panel he may have been confused and may have "misspoken" to reporters. The documents -- purported sales agreements between Niger and Iraq -- were not in U.S. hands until eight months after Wilson made his trip to Niger.


Well, after all, why WOULDN'T they know, or want to find out, who Wilson was?

Imagine for a moment an alternate universe in which an Administration is worried about Saddam, and predisposed to think he's ramping up on WMD, but is fundamentally honest and honorable.

They get word back that the CIA sent a guy, a retired ambassador with experience in the region, and he reported back that there's nada to the Niger story. It's not unreasonable for the national security team to wonder who they sent and whether he might have been some old codger who could have the wool pulled over his eyes.

To that point they're still on reasonable ground. It's what they did with the information that was dishonorable, and soon crossed the line into criminal.


On another note, have there been any hints whatsoever that Fitz might end up having to extend the grand jury? The buzz for the last few weeks has been all that he was wrapping up. But now it looks as if new doors are opening up, what with Rove dropping by for another chat, and Judy, golly gee whiz, finding notes she'd forgotten all about.

Maybe Fitz was pushing on these doors all along, and now that he's got the key he knows exactly what he'll find behind them. But it sure looks like a lot of new stuff is turning up.

-- Rick

This would fit the early efforts by Rice, and Fleicher I believe, to claim that Cheney didn't know of Wilson's trip. Rice's comment that she first heard about it on a TV show, which you mention above, wasn't believable at all to me - and surely doesn't fit with an earlier WHIG meeting about Wilson.

That SSCI report - rather, the addendum to it, which is where jmost of your quotes comes from - has been repeatedly debunked as a partisan add-on to the main report.

Great analysis Emptywheel.

One thing that confuses me about this purported expansion into WHIG and whether Dick Cheney saw Joe Wilson's Niger report and didn't tell anyone is how it relates to a commission of a crime. Fitzgerald is not a Congressional Investigative Committee. He is a prosecutor who investigates crimes. Even if Dick Cheney saw Wilson's report, and then pretended he hadn;t, how is that a crime? Why would that make him a target of a criminal investigation?

There are some pieces missing here in the reporting. Most specifically, is Fitz looking into any other criminal acts OTHER than the outing of Valerie Plame's status as a CIA asset (and other than perjury, obstruction of justice, etc. in response to the investigation).

Pontificator: Conspiracy charges make it possible to criminalize behavior that by itself would not draw a prosecutor's notice. The acts committed don't necessarily have to be criminal, just committed in furtherance of some criminal purpose.

With so many people wondering how far Fitzgerald intends to go, perhaps it's an opportune time to ask my "big lie" question again:

Is the administration covering up the lengths to which it went to prevent the exposure of its mistaken reliance on bad intelligence? Or is the administration covering up the lengths to which it went to promote intelligence developed by its own, parallel intelligence structure, a plan which required the simultaneous undermining and the destruction of the credibility of the country's established (read: authorized and legitimate) intelligence structure, which refused to give them what they wanted?

The answer to that question is the difference between "just politics," and "we're not kidding when we whisper the word 'treason.'"

Someone posed the question on Daily Kos yesterday, how is it that these schemers let someone as dogged as Fitzgerald get this key appointment? As I said there, I think they thought this could all be dismissed as "just politics."

I don't think they were prepared for Fitzgerald, because his greatest achievement has not been investigative, but imaginative. They thought they were involved in "politics as usual." Hardball, to be sure, but just politics as usual. A paradigm in which the "administration" is given a wide berth to redirect policy and reorient intelligence programs. So what if they took a few shortcuts? Surely people would understand their "decisiveness" in fighting the "global war on terror." And enemies are enemies, whether foreign or domestic.

I don't think they thought they had done anything wrong. I think they thought they were entitled to do these things. I think they thought that the level at which they were pulling these stunts entitled them to protection -- that their policy decisions (and that's how I think they regarded the Plame outing) were beyond the reach of the courts and the law. Not because they "owned" them, but because what they were doing was "political" and not justiciable.

You can be sure that like DeLay, the Bush "administration" will be complaining that the prosecutor is trying to "criminalize politics."

Actually, Rick, there is a bit of a problem with trying to figure out who Wilson was. (And this may address the question of how outing Wilson is a crime.) His identity was deliberately concealed and there was an asymmetrical confidentiality attached to Wilson's trip:

DO officials told Committee staff that they promised the former ambassador that they would keep his relationship with the CIA confidential, but did not ask the former ambassador to do the same and did not ask him to sign a confidentiality or non-disclosure agreement. (SSCI 41)

In other words, CIA was bound to keep Wilson's trip secret, but Wilson wasn't bound himself.

While I have no doubt that anyone in Cheney's office has a high enough clearance to get access to Wilson's trip, that doesn't give them access to talk about it. If they were using documents on Wilson to pull together their work-up--and shared it with people who didn't have clearance--than it was a violation of security agreements.

Other than that, I wonder if any of this falls under lying to congress or anyone else. There's the SOTU, where they deliberately kept Africa in, an earlier report to Congress (where WH bypassed State on the drafting process) that kept Niger in, and probably a ton more. That'd be a harder case to make, but it might be possible.

To Kagro's point about imagination, check this column today on Miers:

With conservative unrest toward Harriet Miers's nomination to the Supreme Court showing no signs of abating, I wondered why we haven't seen any of the Republican senators mentioned as 2008 presidential candidates come out against her, a move that would win them plaudits among the party's ideological right -- not to mention scads of press coverage.

I made several phone calls to Republican consultants and advisers to try and find answers. The overwhelming consensus was that even though President Bush's approval ratings are not stellar currently, none of the potential '08 candidates is willing to risk his wrath by making the political gambit of publicly opposing Miers.

"Nobody wants to take a sharp stick and poke it in the eye of the president no matter what his approval rating is," said Glen Bolger, a Republican pollster with the firm Public Opinion Strategies. "He is too strong with Republican primary voters and three years from now he will remember anyone who votes against his nominee."

This is 2005 with his polling numbers in the toilet. Imagine saying no in 2003 to Bush or Cheney. And imagine reporters in 2005 willing to think that Bush and Cheney might have been responsible bor 'the big lie' and be willing to say so in print. if/when indictments come, watch how "all of a sudden" imaginitive the press gets.

Two more comments.

First, re: the big lie and stovepiping intelligence. Anyone notice how none of the people with indictments hanging over their head are from Defense? The closest would be Wolfie's buddy Libby, but still. It astounds me that Defense, which was really the department tactically going after State and (the real) CIA, will avoid any penalty here.

Also, wrt picking Fitzgerald. I think it was NHL who said on these threads the other day that Ashcroft, once he realized ROve was a subject, risked obstruction charges himself. If Ashcroft were worried about obstruction charges, I can imagine he'd want to stay away from influencing what prosecutor got picked.

I will second emptywheel's point that the obvious crime to nail everyone would be, conspiracy to reveal information about a classified CIA trip.

As best I can tell, Wilson's trip was classified, so leaking about *that* is illegal, regardless of whether his wife is mentioned or not.

Now, one might note that Tenet declassified the trip by talking about it on July 11, but that does not (necessarily) excuse behavior in June.

As to the idea that Fitzgerald will indict Cheney for misleading this nation into war and having bad hair - quote me some reasonable oddds, and I may bet against you.

Now, nitpicky stuff:

But according to Murray Waas, we do know they were talking about Plame, not just Wilson.

a crucial conversation that he had with New York Times reporter Judith Miller in June 2003 about the operative, Valerie Plame, [emphasis original]

Let's continue that excerpt:

...did not disclose a crucial conversation that he had with New York Times reporter Judith Miller in June 2003 about the operative, Valerie Plame, according to sources with firsthand knowledge of his sworn testimony.

OK, tell me - how did people familiar with Libby's testimony know what he said about testimony he never gave?

Either Waas hopelessly mischaracterized his sources, or he leapt to a conclusion, and meant to say "a conversation about Wilson".

Every Times story on this says the same thing - the notebook refers to a talk about Joe Wilson.

After reading this Digby post I wonder if there is a way to bring in the prohibition against directing propaganda at the American people. There has been no way to get someone to be held responsible for all the other dollar-shills, even while the GAO admits using them was breaking the law. Now that we have a prosecutor already, can he address that statute? It'd be tough to make it the centerpiece. But it is a restriction the legislative branch has placed on the executive branch. Just like the Boland Amendment. And I guarantee you the attempts to avoid the restriction on disinformation resembled the attempts to get around the Bolan Amendment. Hell, they even brought back two of the experts!!

Tom

Yeah, I think Waas MAY have been sloppy there, as he was further on when referring to Miller-Libby's July 8 conversation.

Although if he knows how Libby knew of Wilson, then he may have reason to know that Plame was involved. That is, if he knows Fitz has Miller receiving the INR memo in June, then he would feel justified in saying Plame.

It should come as no surprise that I find the NYT untrustworthy on this story. They themselves may be in legal jeopardy and may be adapting their stories accordingly. At the very least they're trying to regain some shred of respectibility out of this.

I think it important to remember there are two Wilson reports on the Niger trip involved here. Wilson makes it clear in his narrative that as soon as he was asked by CIA to undertake a mission, he consulted with the Department of State, (Assistant Sec. of State for African Affairs -- Walter Kansteiner) essentially asking for concurrence that he should undertake the CIA mission. He also made clear he would not travel to Niger without the approval of the then Ambassador, Owens-Kirkpatrick. Both of them approved his trip.

On his return, Wilson met with the Reports Officer on the State Department Africa Desk -- and dictated his trip notes for the State Department files.

Wilson's report was not the only State Department source. They had also requested that Owens-Kirkpatrick investigate and report on the intelligence that Iraq had attempted to acquire Yellow Cake from Niger -- and in addition, NATO sent a 4 Star Marine General, Carleton Fulford to examine the issue through the Niger Military. All three reports concurred that there was no evidence a Yellow Cake transaction had occurred. If State's reporting was cut out of the policy process it may well be because they had covered all bases, and nixed the intelligence based on the forged documents that apparently was the basis of the intelligence behind Cheney's office interest.

Fitzgerald may well have had another route through which to explore all this. He has talked with -- and perhaps called to the GJ, Greg Thielman, who retired from State in the fall of 2002, in part over the "fixing" of intelligence issue, and specifically over the Niger-Uranium caper. Thielman was a lead anaylist in State's Research and Analysis Division -- and in the winter of 2003, as a recent retiree, he took the lead in criticizing Colin Powell's UN speech. Through Thielman Fitzgerald would have a quite independent line into the whole Niger issue, and how reporting into Cheney's operation transpired. He's probably had that since shortly after he began his investigation. It could well be that Bolton's operation served to keep I & R's reports out of the materials sent to Cheney's office, Reports that would have offered grave doubt regarding the intelligence they were "fixing" so as to support the invasion decision.

Now -- if as many of us suspect, Fitzgerald is looking at a Conspiracy Charge -- evidence as to how the normal flow of intelligence and analysis was preverted would be critical at trial. Essentially the same pattern of cutting off sources of critical doubt applies to both CIA and State. Those who actively supported this cut off could well be named as parties to the conspiracy. And if as it appears, Colin Powell may will be a straight up witness -- this is a very significant and powerfuul case.

Investigative journalism done superbly, I.F. Stone-style, all of it from the publicly available record with a hefty dose, of creative speculation. Obviously, Fitzgerald isn't the only one who applies an imaginative approach to this task. Kudos, once again, emptywheel.

windansea, if we're going to quote WaPo stories making claims about Wilson, let's allow Wilson to reply, shall we?

From his July 17, 2004 letter to the WaPo editor about the story you cite:

For the second time in a year, your paper has published an article [news story, July 10] falsely suggesting that my wife, Valerie Plame, was responsible for the trip I took to Niger on behalf of the U.S. government to look into allegations that Iraq had sought to purchase several hundred tons of yellowcake uranium from that West African country. Last July 14, Robert Novak, claiming two senior sources, exposed Valerie as an "agency operative [who] suggested sending him to Niger." Novak went ahead with his column despite the fact that the CIA had urged him not to disclose her identity. That leak to Novak may well have been a federal crime and is under investigation. Click here!

In the year since the betrayal of Valerie's covert status, it has been widely understood that she is irrelevant to the unpaid mission I undertook or the conclusions I reached. But your paper's recent article acted as a funnel for this scurrilous and extraneous charge, uncritically citing the Republican-written Senate Select Committee on Intelligence report.

The decision to send me to Niger was not made, and could not be made, by Valerie. At the conclusion of a meeting that she did not attend, I was asked by CIA officials whether I would be willing to travel to Niger. While a CIA reports officer and a State Department analyst, both cited in the report, speculate about what happened, neither of them was in the chain of command that made the decision to send me. Reams of documents were given over to the Senate committee, but the only quotation attributed to my wife on this subject was the anodyne "my husband has good relations with both the PM (Prime Minister) and the former Minister of Mines (not to mention lots of French contacts), both of whom could possibly shed light on this sort of activity." In fact, with 2-year-old twins at home, Valerie did not relish my absence for a two-week period. But she acquiesced because, in the zeal to be responsive to the legitimate concerns raised by the vice president, officials of her agency turned to a known functionary who had previously checked out uranium-related questions for them.

But that is not the only inaccurate assertion or conclusion in the Senate report uncritically parroted in the article. Other inaccuracies and distortions include the suggestion that my findings "bolstered" the case that Niger was engaged in illegal sales of uranium to Iraq. In fact, the Senate report is clear that the intelligence community attempted to keep the claim out of presidential documents because of the weakness of the evidence.

The facts surrounding my trip remain the same. I traveled to Niger and found it unlikely that Iraq had attempted to purchase several hundred tons of yellowcake uranium. In his 2003 State of the Union address, President Bush referred to Iraqi attempts to purchase uranium "from Africa." Between March 2003 and July 2003, the administration refused to acknowledge that it had known for more than a year that the claim on uranium sales from Niger had been discredited, until the day after my article in the New York Times. The next day the White House issued a statement that "the sixteen words did not rise to the level of inclusion in the State of the Union address." Those facts are amply supported in the Senate report.

-- Joseph C. Wilson IV

Ashcroft, once he realized ROve was a subject, risked obstruction charges himself. If Ashcroft were worried about obstruction charges, I can imagine he'd want to stay away from influencing what prosecutor got picked.

Murray Waas has told the story of the Justice Dept. backstage drama that forced Ashcroft to recuse himself. See here and here for relevant information.

The short answer is that Ashcroft screwed up and picked an honest man (James Comey) as his #2, and in combination with the honesty of career Justice Dept. staff, that sealed the Bushites' fate.

Sara,

Agree with everything you're saying. Except that I suspect if Wilson's trip report was intercepted, it was by WINPAC. There's a bit of inter-CIA factionalism involved here too.

Last time I did my list of indictments, I said I thought Fleitz might come out clean. I don't think I buy that anymore--unless he flipped he could be in the middle of it all.

Great post and comments once again!

So what if they took a few shortcuts? Surely people would understand their "decisiveness" in fighting the "global war on terror." And enemies are enemies, whether foreign or domestic.

I don't think they thought they had done anything wrong. I think they thought they were entitled to do these things.

This rings true. In a crisis situation, 'adrenaline'-legitimacy is thrust onto whoever is in power, so, for this and other reasons, this admin. certainly felt powerful at the time, and the 'we know best/for their own good' shit is sincerely their model for weilding power. It's not always easy to see the commonalities between Bush and Cheney, but a basic one seems to be an authoritarian conception of democracy. The rumor is that Dick really does (or did) sit around with his first term WH pals reading Plato (which is to say, Strauss) and farting together (manly virtues, don'tcha know).

As another Dick said 30+ years ago, it's not illegal if the 'p' does it. It's alarming that Bush's lawyers/DOJ can say the same thing now, and people have to 'think it over', a la: 'well, what if...OK, there's a bomb set to blow up at the Mall of America, and you only have 12 minutes left in the show, excluding commercial breaks, and...'. SHEESH!

'Criminalize politics'! HA. The varmints just don't like it when politics tilts out of their favor. Classic bullies, as Billmon says.

BTW, don't miss Billmon's post on Card, 'House of Card'. Lots to read lately, but it's a goodie.

Posted by: Meteor Blades | October 12, 2005 at 15:05

"windansea, if we're going to quote WaPo stories making claims about Wilson, let's allow Wilson to reply, shall we?"

Wilson is very clever..but he can't fool all of the people all of the time

http://www.dailyhowler.com/dh072004.shtml

read the WHOLE thing

FINALLY: At the end of last week, many readers sent us Joe Wilson’s letter to the chair and vice chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee, a copy of which had appeared in Salon. Readers praised Wilson’s refutation of charges made in last week’s Committee report.

But Wilson’s letters have been quite disingenuous. (He also wrote to the Washington Post, published Saturday). In fact, both Wilson letters evaded the claims that were made in the Senate Committee report. He set up (and knocked down) pitiful Straw Men, as he did when he appeared on Sunday’s Late Edition. Sorry, but we can’t share our readers’ assessment of Wilson’s performance last week.

For the record, one charge against Wilson strikes us as fairly trivial. Several charges are more serious. But, since readers asked us to comment on his brilliant rebuttals, we do so below.

http://www.dailyhowler.com/dh072004.shtml


Kagro,

I think you're a off on this point:


Someone posed the question on Daily Kos yesterday, how is it that these schemers let someone as dogged as Fitzgerald get this key appointment? As I said there, I think they thought this could all be dismissed as "just politics."

I’ve read in a few places that Deputy AG James Comey made the decision on hiring Fitzgerald, and that Aschcroft wasn’t involved, let alone anyone in the VPs office or Rove. See this WaPo article:
http://www.washingtonpost.com/ac2/wp-dyn/A55560-2005Feb1?language=printer

I’ve posted this thought elsewhere, but I’d be really interested to learn exactly what kind of relationship Comey had with Ashcroft. Did Ashcroft choose Comey when he first took over at Justice? Was he an administration insider? Connected to the GOP some other way? It’s obvious at this point that Comey knew very well that if there was any wrongdoing involved that Fitzgerald would be making life extremely uncomfortable for the administration. And, when the Fitzgerald appointment was made, there was more than enough information about the affair in the press that everyone knew some serious wrongdoing did in fact occur. Of course, having access to the preliminary DOJ investigation, Comey knew a lot more than anybody how bad things were. He could have chosen some Republican hack to whitewash the whole thing. But no, he appointed the most tenacious prosecutor he knows. Anybody else get the impression that Comey didn't like what he saw going on during his tenure with the administration?

Windansea,

The Daily Howler has been almost consistently wrong and poor in his fact checking on the uranium from Africa saga. The specific items mentioned in the Howler post you have cited have been refuted before.

For example, here:
http://www.theleftcoaster.com/archives/005126.php

and here:
http://www.theleftcoaster.com/archives/004870.php
(scroll down to roughly the middle of the post)

Bling, I could be wrong, of course. Nobody knows what's going on in the heads of the depraved criminals who make up this "administration." But I'm not talking about how it is that Comey came to be in charge of naming the special prosecutor, nor how Comey came to find a place in the DoJ. Nor even how or why Ashcroft decided to recuse himself.

We've had some good guesses about why Ashcroft might have felt it necessary. My interest is in why he thought everything would still work itself out. Why the rest of the "administration" apparently never even gave a moment's thought to steering the job to someone else.

They're still not all that concerned about it, it seems to me. Indictments, as embarrassing as they are (or would be to people concerned about maintaining the dignity of their offices), are a long way from convictions. And I've gotta believe that they believe that this will all end up on the scrap heap of history, alongside Iran-Contra, as one of those nasty imbroglios about which the bulk of the American people retain darkish, vague memories, but no real resentment, because after all, nobody really did anything wrong or they'd be in jail. Nevermind that they were all pardoned by the president who oversaw and orchestrated their subversive activities.

Emptywheel, it's so plausible, but how does your theory square with the reports that the reference to the Niger documents was deleted from the draft of the speech Bush gave in Cincinatti in October 2002 because it was known to be bogus? If Cheney had deliberately ignored intelligence, doesn't it follow that the October 2002 speech never would have been revised?

Rick --

They get word back that the CIA sent a guy, a retired ambassador with experience in the region, and he reported back that there's nada to the Niger story. It's not unreasonable for the national security team to wonder who they sent and whether he might have been some old codger who could have the wool pulled over his eyes.

To that point they're still on reasonable ground. It's what they did with the information that was dishonorable, and soon crossed the line into criminal.

I have to disagree. They're only on reasonable ground there if you accept that "assuming the CIA are idiots and a bunch of political appointees know more about intelligence than people who've spent their careers working in it" is reasonable ground. If they thought the CIA as incompetent enough to screw this up, then reasonable ground is either asking for justification of their confidence in their man, or developing a case that they've screwed up.

I only see two possible scenarios for responding to a CIA investigation by asking "who is this guy":

1. You've already decided you're right, and are looking for a reason to discredit rather than evaluate evidence to the contrary, or

2. You know the evidence is weak and want to cover it up by discrediting critics

I suspect there was probably a mix in the White House between the stovepipers who were sure the Niger case was real and wanted to ignore contrary evidence, and the infallibles who were sure that war with Iraq was right, and didn't care about the truth of any evidence as long as it supported their case, but also didn't want it undermined.

As eriposte points out, widnansea, the Daily Howler was spectacularly wrong on this issue, and, for a site that touts itself as correcting misinformation and exploding disinformation, spectacularly egregious in the Wilson case. I'm still a fan of the DH, but I take its take with a saltshaker in hand these days.

And, while there are reporters at the WaPo who I hold in high regard, the newspaper has a boatload of sloppy reporting - including reporting that was nothing but talking-point spin - to account for when it comes to the Iraq Debacle.

And I've gotta believe that they believe that this will all end up on the scrap heap of history, alongside Iran-Contra, as one of those nasty imbroglios about which the bulk of the American people retain darkish, vague memories, but no real resentment, because after all, nobody really did anything wrong or they'd be in jail. Nevermind that they were all pardoned by the president who oversaw and orchestrated their subversive activities.

I'm with you on that one....

LOl...eriposte...meteorblade

too busy watching you get owned by TM here....

http://justoneminute.typepad.com/main/2005/10/check_the_times.html#more

Cooper's attorney just said on Hardball what we are all saying: that people have not been forthcoming to the gand jury, that Fitzgerald is unlikely to end without indictments, and that Libby and Rove appear to be in real jeopardy. He said or agreed to all these statements with the charactieristic reserve of a defense attorney, but he said it.

For you skeptics, you may want to share your kool aid with a member of the defense bar who is likely to know a good deal more about the inside machinations of this investigation than any of us are.

I am reminded of Judge Tatel's several pages of redactions... he had no qualm about locking up JudyJudyJudy --- obviously he considered the possible crime involved to be pretty big.

I think Comey was aware of that too. We all wear labels of various descriptions - white, black, democrat, repub, agnostic, rich, poor, smart --- those are labels we use to communicate with each other. Bottom line we are each whatever we are and when the question of a crime involving national security or even treason is involved, it's 'standup' time. Ashcroft chose to stand down --- Comey stood up. Simple as that. And he left Margolis as Fitz' supervisor. Check out Margolis... he's a bulldog too, I understand.

I respect Fitzgerald. He is an independent politically. He is honest and some say brilliant. Above all he is a true patriot... I trust him to handle this investigation in the best possible way. If he wants and gets an extension, it's fine with me. Hard as it is to wait this thing out, I've got confidence in him.

And Gary whomever --- you insult your own intelligence by going from blog to blog and proclaiming such nonsense as "Fitz has nothing on Rove" --- do you get paid to say that? Namaste

Ah, yes, windansea, Swift Boat Vet fan Tom Maguire can always be counted on for objectivity.

Re: Wilson's speech at EPIC and his bio on the website naming himself and Valerie Plame. That is a current page that sells the tapes and transcripts of the various speakers after the fact.

With the handy help of the Internet Wayback Machine -
http://web.archive.org/web/20030603180523/epic-usa.org/epicevents/iraqforum2003.php - we discover that there was no mention of Joseph Wilson, nor a bigraphy of him, nor a mention of his wife before the event and there wasn't a mention as late as June 24, 2003.

I also posted this in the comments at firedoglake.

This bit about all the information about Wilson and Plame being publicly available at the time is nonsense and is popping up in other places.

...Cheney did know of Wilson's trip when it happened.
...
But if Cheney knew of Wilson and ignored his intelligence--then lashed out precisely because Wilson could prove that he deliberately ignored intelligence that proved the case for war was fraudulent, it would be damning enough.

DING DING DING! Good. You are getting the big picture in focus now. Cheney totally knew about the Niger trip and knew the Niger documents were bull. He didn't have a problem with it until the NYT fingered him as ordering the trip. Bad news, because he knew that would come back on him when the WMD story (aided by Judy's many correction-requiring stories) ran its course. So he picked up the phone to the CIA to clear his name and find someone else, who turned out to be Plame, to pin it on.

Cheney = The Big Lebowski

There never was any threat from uranium, tubes, yellowcake, etc. He set the whole thing up! It was all just an excuse to make some money disappear. No surprise there.

Jim Vandehei of the WaPO (did I get thqat name right?) just reported on Countdown that Judy is apparently now in the clear after her testimony today.

Any thoughts?

"Now -- if as many of us suspect, Fitzgerald is looking at a Conspiracy Charge -- evidence as to how the normal flow of intelligence and analysis was preverted would be critical at trial. Essentially the same pattern of cutting off sources of critical doubt applies to both CIA and State. Those who actively supported this cut off could well be named as parties to the conspiracy. And if as it appears, Colin Powell may will be a straight up witness -- this is a very significant and powerfuul case." (emptywheel @ 14:41).

We can hear the deeper resonance of emptywheel's passing comment if, and only if, we can also bear in mind Colin Powell's native dignity, intelligence, and formidable experience as a bureaucratic infighter, along with the endless and brutal humiliation he received at the hands of the Rumsfeld/Cheney machine. To which we should also add his position and standing in the summer of 2003: marginalized and emasculated by the machine, he was still the one and only "go-to" guy of any consequence for State, for the CIA, for the FBI, and for the uniformed military opposing the war in Iraq. In my view, there had been, throughout 2002 and 2003, an urgent need for these various elements to co-ordinate their resistance to Cheney/Rumsfeld, and their strongest point of common contact was Powell. As I see it, he was crucial to the developments of July-October 2003, in which an apparently minor infraction (Novak's outing of Plame), would become a lever for destroying the destroyers. (I also suspect that FBI--meaning Mueller--was essential in the the enlisting of Fitgerald--FBI having taken at least as much abuse as State and CIA over the preceding two years, and being in the best position of any element at DOJ to influence the choice of a prosecutor.) All these folks knew they had a case, along with the testimony to support it--a case strong enough, in effect, to beat the Conspiracy into the ground before the end of Bush's second term. And when they found their man Fitzgerald, it was only a matter of time, concentration and support for this thing to bear fruit....I should add that Cheney and Rumsfeld must have certainly known what they were up against by September or October of last year: whence the purging of CIA and State directly after the election. But the purges came too late, and they finally haven't achieved much of anything at all. In today's paper, for example, we read (1.) a CIA report denouncing the Conspiracy in detail (it wasn't classified, which is interesting), and (2.) the news that CIA has retrieved its HUMINT franchise supposedly lost to DOD last winter (we should rexcall that Negroponte is Powell's ally and friend)....Ironically, the purging of Powell--for he too, as we know, was purged last winter--has freed him up to do the one thing that surely matters to him most--to testify, as emptywheel puts it so nicely, "straight up" for a change....

From at least one point of view (my own) the indictments and trials will come as something of an anti-climax, because the blood has already been drawn and the bad guys have no standing any more. Even before its publication the story is everywhere; and Katrina, shall we say, has given Bush a new "gulf" war to play with--now that he has to walk away from the old one (just as he walked away from that Arbusto oil adventure).

I don't know if anyone saw Chris Matthews today but he had Victoria Toensing on, who I can't stand.

She went on about Novak being a whistleblower on nepotism in his article outing Plame etc... but at the end Matthews ran by her the theory described here - that Cheney's people pretend he never knew about Wilson's trip -- and got a great huge gulp out of Toensing (from my perspective at least)! That was great.

a new "gulf" war to play with--now that he has to walk away from the old one

It will be interesting to see, with the indictments closing in, how quickly "peace" comes to Iraq if this "constitution" is approved on the 15th and we suddenly stop fomenting a civil war and actually start helping the people there.

Victoria Toensing
Suck it, b!tch. You, Ann Coulter, and Michelle, all three fascist-apologist flaks at once. Under a dueling Patrick Fitzgerald-Anderson Cooper golden shower. That is all.

kim's comment gives me license to compare emptywheel's obsession with one of my own: Novak outs Plame, but really, he's a "whistleblower" on nepotism! Manuel Miranda steals Democratic Judiciary Committee computer files, but really, he's a "whistleblower" on obstructionism!

This car, officer? Well, no, it's not mine. But I "borrowed" it from a guy who leaves it idling in his driveway in the morning, and what with our oil dependency increasing by the day, well, I just figured...

I've had a question all along about this that has never been mentioned/addressed. What if Joe Wilson was not THE true target of the White House What if the target all along was Wilson's wife? After all, she, given her particular line of work, was the one with the most access to classified and/or secret information about whether Iraq's (alleged) WMDs were real or a Bush fiction. The question would then become: WHEN did the White House cabal learn that Valerie Plame was "Wilson's wife"? And that she, more effectively than Joe Wilson, was capable of exposing Bush's WMD lie? By "outing" her, and disparaging Joe Wilson's trip, Bush and cohorts kill two dangerous birds with one stone.

I would think the investigation will lead wherever it leads. Kinna like Ken Starr. So if Fitzgerald finds criminal activity beyond his intial scope, he is duty bound, as an officer of the law, to pursue and prosecute.

Now having said that, I ain't no lawyer, so I could be dead wrong and Fitzgerald may be limited in scope.

Of course, we all know, it meaningless. Like Ecclesiastes said more than a thousand years ago. Everything under the sun is meaningless. And Bush will pardon anyone who might have a hint of felony on his brand.

I don't think Bush can afford Pardons unless we are talking 11 AM EST Jan 20, 2009.

One needs to always remember that Joe Wilson and his wife, Valerie, have a private cause of action. No matter what happens, they can sue for what was done to them (How more private can you get than a NOC?) assume Fitzgerald's record, take their own depositions, and Bush's power to pardon has no influence on all this. As people kidded Joe Wilson a couple of years back -- what will you do with your Ranch in Texas -- I'd add, What will you do with your weekend estate in Maryland?

I suspect that will preclude pardons, because I don't think Wilson will act unless Bush tries to circumvent the legal process. He is more interested in Orange Jumpsuits and frogmarching than in $$$$. On the other hand, shoud GWB pardon, I suspect Wilson could call him as a witness if it is after 12:01 Jan 20, 2009.

Anyhow EW, I think Joe Wilson was always out there from summer 2002 onward. In his book he discusses his conversations with Scowcroft, Eagleburger and others -- how they recommended him to the Middle East Institute, How that crowd booked him on TV panels and all, how he appeared on panels at think tanks about the war, and his many consultations. How could the Condi circle in the WH have missed all that action? It was only a few days after his July 6 op/ed that Corn took him to an Editorial Board meeting at The Nation, and introduced him as "the Establishment," even though Wilson confesses he was not a regular reader of The Nation.

If anyone wants to do a comic novel that could become a woodie allen type screen play out of all this, I would suggest it begin with the outing of Valerie, the implications for her work, and continue through the conversion of Joe to anti-Establishment The Nationhood.

I've tried to summarize answers to questions that have bothered me about the Scope and Legal Security of the Fitzgerald investigation at the link below.

http://www.dailykos.com/story/2005/10/13/32749/653

Sara,

Ish. Not Woody Allen. I don't do well with Woody Allen.

aspTrader,

Thanks for doing that--I grew absolutely calm the first time I read Comey's statement, but a lot more people need to be calmed simiarly round about now.

EW -- in all of woodie allan's films, all the characters have obvious flaws. What I want to avoid is another "All the President's Men" that led to a 30 year hunt for the Deep Throat identity -- meaning that much else about Watergate and its flawed characters got ignored. Watergate was not resolved when Deep Throat stepped forward. I've taught it to kids born in the 70's -- and they don't get it.

Patrick...re your comment as follows

Re: Wilson's speech at EPIC and his bio on the website naming himself and Valerie Plame. That is a current page that sells the tapes and transcripts of the various speakers after the fact.

With the handy help of the Internet Wayback Machine -
http://web.archive.org/web/20030603180523/epic-usa.org/epicevents/iraqforum2003.php - we discover that there was no mention of Joseph Wilson, nor a bigraphy of him, nor a mention of his wife before the event and there wasn't a mention as late as June 24, 2003.

I also posted this in the comments at firedoglake.

This bit about all the information about Wilson and Plame being publicly available at the time is nonsense and is popping up in other places.

here's an archived EPIC page from June 12 2003....nonsense huh?????

The summer begins June 14-17 2003 with EPIC’s Iraq Forum and Lobby Days in Washington DC. Speakers include PHEBE MARR, author of the Modern History of Iraq; JUAN COLE, expert on the Shi'a of Iraq; STEPHEN ZUNES, author of Tinderbox: U.S. Middle East Policy and the Roots of Terrorism; 27-year veteran CIA analyst RAY MCGOVERN; and AMBASSADOR JOE WILSON, the last U.S. diplomat to serve in Iraq


// FILE ARCHIVED ON 20030612033301 AND RETRIEVED FROM THE
// INTERNET ARCHIVE ON 20051013064145.

the webpage doesn't matter anyway...fact is he gave a PUBLIC SPEECH outing himself as the former ambassador who went to Niger a month before Novak's column

Sara

Ah, I see your point. Isn't there someone else we can get, who does flawed characters? John Sayles, maybe?


Matalin not flipped?

from The Note: Mary Matalin on Imus went with the "nobody knows a thing" analysis of the investigation and said she is too busy to really follow what is going on in something that is "utterly meaningless."

As for the movie version, I agree that John Sayles is perfect, having already done a great job with Bush & Rove in Silver City. Here's my list of suggested cast members (in progress):

All the Preznit's Women How 4 intrepid reporters brought down the most corrupt admnistration in history

Judy - Judy Davis - no question whatsover on this one!
Rove - Richard Dreyfus
Bush - Chris Cooper (or Bonzo) (Dreyfus and Cooper already played these two roles brilliantly in Silver City)
Fitz - Tom Hanks
Libby - William Macy
Cheney - Anthony Hopkins (or John Doman from The Wire)
Novak - Dan Hedaya or Martin Scorcese

Reddhedd - Juliana Moore
Jane - Jane
EmptyWheel - no one could live up to the legend of ew - she'll have to be the narrator with only her hands typing shown

Chief Warrant Officer González - Erik Estrada
Curveball - Cheech Marin
Yankee Fan - Baghdad Bob
Ahmed Chalabi - Mel Brooks
Gucky - Evan Handler
Bolton - Mike Myers
Ari Fleischer - Stanley Tucci
Andrew Card - Alan Alda
Matt Cooper - Michael Kostroff (of the Wire)
Tim Russert - Kelsey Grammer
Hadley - Sean Penn
Joe Wilson - Michael Douglas
Abu González - Gregory Sierra
Colin Powell - Morgan Freeman?
George Tenet - Danny Aiello
Arthur Sulzberger - Tim Robbins
Bill Keller - Tom Skerritt
Valerie Plame - Kim Cattrall
Condoleezza - CCH Pounder
Karen Hughes - Glen Close
Scott McClellan - ?
Dan Bartlett -

Assisting with the credits roll, above, I have been thinking about Porter Goss and Patrick Murray planning in 2002 for the September 2004 transction from McLaughlin to a more loyal politically attuned officialdom in Langley. EW is vivid on these matters and has a more full dramatis personnae than we might imagine. Vice President Cheney seemed slightly moderate during Iran Contra, and now perhaps slowed as if hoping to begin ranching in earnest rather than participating in yet a fourth administration, though you researchers probably will know the history better than I: of how close the linkage was between Rep. Goss and VP Cheney during the time of Wilson's fact-finding, followed by the eighteen month period which culminated in the Novak article if that was a culm.

I think EW is on to something re lying to Congress.

Significant is not only that the Niger reference was taken out of the October 2002 speech, but also that it got put back into the SOTU.

There's a statute against propaganda? Boy did they violate that one!

Can they get Condi for "the aluminum tubes have no other purpose..."?

How sweet it would be if he could go after the whole blanket of lies the Admin used to convince Congress to let them try to persuade the UN to let them invade Iraq.

(And isn't that what Congress voted on? Not invading Iraq, but going to the UN to try to enforce the "sanctions.")

windansea - for those who want to look at the page mentioning Wilson's appearance at EPIC in June of 2003, the link is here: http://web.archive.org/web/20030612033301/http://epic-usa.org/

True, he gave a speech naming himself as the "angry former ambassador" sent to Niger. Nobody denies that. The point that is getting mixed up with that is the outing of Valerie Plame, not Joseph Wilson. People are using the current bio of Wilson on the EPIC site that mentions Plame as evidence that her identity and her job were publicly known,

What's being investigated is the revelation of Plame's status as a CIA NOC, not that Joe Wilson was the guy who went to Africa. The conflation of the two is either sloppy or dishonest.

Speaking of outing Wilson, has anyone entertained the notion that Wilson himself may be (or may have been) a spook? Hell, isn't ambassador the most frequent job title for official cover spooks? It's not of course of central relevance, and likely unknowable in any event, but it's an interesting notion to noodle with as we await the issuance of charging instruments.

Patrick...correct...but upstream in this thread or another there was speculation that it's now about who outed Wilson....it's clear he did himself...and when the admin started countering his claims that he was sent by Cheney...or "the government as he claimed in the EPIC speech....this started the whole "who outed Plame" circus....you can parse his exact words on this either way...but any DC reporter could have found out who is wife is easily during this period...everyone knows this is the case....

Windansea
"outing" Wilson is an unfortunately inexact way to make the point that the WHIG was involved in a "work up" on him well before his speech or the NY Times op-ed.

Whether the identity of his wife was easy to find out or not is debatable - and beside the point. Her identity as a covert CIA was not even known to the Wilsons' neighbors.
It should not even have been an issue - and wasn't one - until the White House elves decided to make it one, distorting her involvement in sending him to Niger as a means to question his manhood and credibility. At minimum, it was shabby; at worst, it was illegal.

Whether the identity of his wife was easy to find out or not is debatable - and beside the point. Her identity as a covert CIA was not even known to the Wilsons' neighbors.

LOL...their neighbors??? please....we are talking about reporters with like...telephones...and contacts...and maybe a who's who on their desks

Can someone explain Miller's real connection to the whitehouse.
We know that she wrote several front page exclusives announcing the discovery of WMD or close to it.
We know those are now fabrications.

Did she know they were fabrications?
If so, what was her motivation? Exclusivity? Is she a radical idealist who believed Iraq must be taken over? What is it?

Is there any evidence that she knew they were fabrications?

I'll take my answer off the air.

Who's Who doesn't mention she was CIA. It merely mentions her name.

This argument is the flipside of the "I never mentioned her name" defense - no, they just mentioned Wilson's wife worked at the CIA.

The new excuse is "everybody knew she was CIA so revealing it was no big deal".

Who knew? Name one reporter. Get linky with it.

Patrick

world-wide-web's Archives, aptly named the "WayBack Machine," reveal that at least six months before Robert Novak's July 14, 2003, column which Joe Wilson (Joseph C. Wilson, IV) claimed had "outed" the identify of his wife, Valerie Plame, as a "covert agent" for the CIA, the February 8, 2003 version of Wilson's own website touting his foreign relations expertise as a former U.S. Ambassador as well as a former advisor on the National Security Council staff during the Clinton Administration had identified his wife as "the former Valerie Plame"

http://web.archive.org/web/*/http://www.cpsag.com/our_team/wilson.html

nonsense eh?? patrick

Patrick

Who knew? Name one reporter. Get linky with it.


"Sources who have reviewed some of the testimony before the grand jury say there is significant evidence that reporters were in some cases alerting officials about Plame's identity and relationship to Wilson -- not the other way around.

I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby, Vice President Cheney's chief of staff, has also testified before the grand jury, saying he was alerted by someone in the media to Plame's identity, according to a source familiar with his account. Cooper has previously testified that he brought up the subject of Plame with Libby and that Libby responded that he had heard about her from someone else in the media, according to sources knowledgeable about Cooper's testimony."
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2005/07/15/AR2005071500036_pf.html

"Libby has testified that he learned about Plame from NBC correspondent Tim Russert, according to a source who spoke with The Washington Post some months ago. Russert said in a statement last year that he told the prosecutor that "he did not know Ms. Plame's name or that she was a CIA operative" and that he did not provide such information to Libby in July 2003."
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2005/07/22/AR2005072201830.html

"Another character in the drama remains unnamed: the original source for columnist Robert Novak, who wrote the first piece naming Plame. Fitzgerald, says a lawyer who's involved in the case, "knows who it is—and it's not someone at the White House.""
http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,1118313,00.html?promoid=rss_top

This should prove to be a grand spectacle!
In an interview yesterday, Wilson said that once the criminal questions are settled, he and his wife may file a civil lawsuit against Bush, Cheney and others seeking damages for the alleged harm done to Plame's career.

If they do so, the current state of the law makes it likely that the suit will be allowed to proceed -- and Bush and Cheney will face questioning under oath -- while they are in office. The reason for that is a unanimous 1997 U.S. Supreme Court decision ruling that Paula Jones' sexual harassment suit against then-President Bill Clinton could go forward immediately, a decision that was hailed by conservatives at the time.

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