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November 28, 2005

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» Treasongate: Rove and Ralston from The Left Coaster
In keeping with the blogosphere speculations about the significance of Viveca Novak's testimony on the Plame case, let's add this Raw Story report to the mix (emphasis mine): ...Roves former personal assistant, Susan B. Ralston -- who was also a... [Read More]

» Luskin Asked Fitz to Question His Pal Viveca from TalkLeft: The Politics of Crime
I started a post earlier that I didnt get to finish because of an intervening radio interview on Tookie Williams clemency petition, that began, Since Viveca Novak is cooperating with Fitzgeralds probe regarding her conversations with Lus... [Read More]

» Luskin Asked Fitz to Question His Pal Viveca from TalkLeft: The Politics of Crime
I started a post earlier that I didnt get to finish because of an intervening radio interview on Tookie Williams clemency petition, that began, Since Viveca Novak is cooperating with Fitzgeralds probe regarding her conversations with Lus... [Read More]

» Luskin Asked Fitz to Question His Pal Viveca from TalkLeft: The Politics of Crime
I started a post earlier that I didnt get to finish because of an intervening radio interview on Tookie Williams clemency petition, that began, Since Viveca Novak is cooperating with Fitzgeralds probe regarding her conversations with Lus... [Read More]

Comments

I'd like to suggest that if FitzG wants to ask Novak about Woodward, that Rove is not who he's after -- its Woodward.

Basically, it looks like Woodward is guilty of conspiracy to obstruct justice. (If Person W goes to person S and says "I want to tell, but I won't tell if you don't want me to", then Person W goes to Person P and says "don't mention anything about what I might know when you testify", you've got a conspiracy to obstruct, with Person W in the middle of it.)

Now, I don't think that FitzG wants to actually charge Woodward with obstruction, but he would be very willing to hold obstruction charges over Woodward's head unless Woodward fully cooperated -- and I mean fully. Woodward has all sorts of "inside" information that FitzG can use, and I have to assume that FitzG will do what he needs to do in order to get it.

Does the fact that Viveca Novak is an attorney herself change the circumstances in this case at all? Isn't she less likely than a Matt Cooper or a Judy Miller to just get sucked in by Luskin? She's got to know something about the law, after all. In fact, that's why she's assigned to the story with Cooper--to provide the legal expertise.

It seems to me there is obstruction between Rove and Hadley, for sure. How likely is it that neither of them turned over the email about the Cooper conversation without first talking to one another about it?

I'll bet Viveca Novak went to Luskin in May 2004 knowing what Matt Cooper's supervisors at Time knew: that Karl Rove leaked to Cooper first, before Cooper spoke to Libby.

As much as this is an embarrassment to Luskin, who no doubt put whatever spin he could on it to keep the truth from coming out, I suspect this will prove an even bigger embarrassment to Time...

What P. Lukasiak says. Could Viveca have been the convenient go-between for Luskin/Rove and BOTH Cooper and Woodward? Because of Viveca's seeming friendship with Woodward and professional link to Cooper. Thus she becomes important in demonstrating conscious strategy on Rove's part to keep his name OUT OF any testimony. And it seems to have worked until, basically, now.

ABC's The Note sez:
The Wall Street Journal says Novak being called to testify means the White House isn't out of the clear, and that Novak and Luskin have known each other for some time.

WSJ is subscription only, so I can't help.

I guess I'm not convinced of p luk's theory--that Woodward is obstructing in some way. If that were the case, Fitz would have his jails full of DC reporters. Woodward is only required to tell if he knows it involves a crime or if he is subpoenaed because there is no other way to get the information. Perhaps Woodward was convinced it was a crime the week of teh indictment. But it was not clear it was a crime until Fitz said so at the indictment.

But the notion of VNovak being a go between with Woodward and Cooper and Luskin is interesting. I'm trying to find the quote, but recall that Cooper's lawyer has been doing the talk shows of late. He has been saying, with apparent confidence, that Fitz is going to "go big." That may relate to VNovak being brought in, IMO.

And let's never forget that just after Novak testified in October 2004, he put himself under the wheels of AF1. I've long thought he did something that directly shielded Bush. I feel like it works into this. Just don't know how.

QuickSilver, that has the ring of truth (to my untrained ear anyway).

Wow, great speculation. This also fits with the general gestalt during the initial investigation before Ashcroft recused himself, the media was abuzz with Libby being the leaker (at the same time he issued the general waiver), but no direct mention was made of Rove (though everyone long suspected he was somehow involved).

Clearly Rove is protecting himself, but the powers-that-be are content with putting Libby on the chopping block. Why? Does Rove know a whole lot more than Libby that could be damaging? Is he too much of a liability to go to trial?

And, we're still not clear how much coordination and information sharing was going on between Rove and Libby. My gut tells me that they aren't natural allies, that put into different circumstances they'd probably never talk to each other. But somehow they collaborated on this Plame affair, with Libby and the OVP providing the information, and Rove pulling the media manipulation strings. Was this merely a mutually beneficial arrangement (i.e. both Bush and Cheney were eager to see an invasion of Iraq)? Or did this occur on a regular basis?

I wonder if Rove is so explosive because of his blackmail potential. While Libby is a loyal NeoCon soldier, I see Rove more as a maverick RNC operative, he's a hired gun for whomever is in charge at any given time. Which to me suggests that he's smart and has blackmail material on his employer at any given time, should their arrangement no longer be beneficial to both parties. Such lack of loyalty is usually not tolerated in the Bush family, but maybe Rove was just so good at what he did (or knows where all the bodies are buried), that they agreed to give him a try. Or George W. Bush is just that naive and trusting...

guess I'm not convinced of p luk's theory--that Woodward is obstructing in some way. If that were the case, Fitz would have his jails full of DC reporters.

I think you are missing the distinction between "obstruction" and "conspiracy to obstruct".

The only real "issue" that remains is whether Woodward knew if his source had been questioned as part of the investigation into the leak. Assuming Woodward knew that to be true, Woodward's actions can only be interpreted as taking affirmative steps to allow his source to not go to Fitzgerald and tell the truth. It would be possible for the source to have forgotten his conversation with Woodward when he was questioned by the FBI (or whoever), but once he was reminded by Woodward of that conversation, he was obligated to correct the record -- and Woodward's agreeing to keep the conversation undisclosed at that point means that he conspired with his source.

(Woodward's conversation with Pincus, in which he requested that Pincus keep Woodward's name out of his deposition, could be seen as the basis of an actual obstruction charge itself).

p luk

Oh wait, I think I get it. By refusing to release Woodward, even though Mr. X has presumably signed the waiver (although Dick and Shrub have not), Mr. X engaged in obstruction. Is that it?

Oh wait, I think I get it. By refusing to release Woodward, even though Mr. X has presumably signed the waiver (although Dick and Shrub have not), Mr. X engaged in obstruction. Is that it?

More or less. I'm pretty sure that Mr. X obstructed the imvestigation simply by not going to Fitzgerald upon being reminded of the conversation by Woodward if Mr. X had told the FBI (or whoever) that he hadn't told people about Plame. But by refusing Woodward's request for a waiver, Mr. X ensured that a conversation that was relevant to the investigation would not come to light -- in essence enlisting Woodward in a conspiracy to obstruct, which would constitution another count of obstruction.


"Lawyers involved in the case said there are now indications that Fitzgerald did not initially know or suspect that Rove was Cooper's primary source for the reporter's information about Plame."

Some luv their MTV, we luv our MSM.

Not.

So. Cooper discloses previously undisclosed content between Cooper and Rove in July, 2005. A special prosecutor "did not intially know or suspect" the nature of content between Cooper and Rove before July, 2005.

Who needs bird flu? SOUND THE ALARM. IT'S A GODDAMN EPIDEMIC.

There are breathless, timeless, profoundly disturbing indications that special prosecutors do "not intially know or suspect" the nature of exclusive, undisclosed content before such content is actually disclosed.

P.luk --

Yes, I think that too. Perhaps it was Rove (or Luskin) who told Fitz about the conversation between Mr. X and Woodward. Would certainly give Fitz "pause" if he knew another reporter and a source he previously had talked to were playing a game of "don't ask, don't tell" behind his back.

Regardless of the source of this info (or maybe documents), Fitz played this masterfully. I think he didn't allege the "Libby as first to talk to the press" line in the indictment because a)he wasn't 100% convinced himself of the Woodward conversation or b)he wanted to send a message to X and Woodward that he knew this NOT to be true (if this were alleged in the Libby indictment, it would seriously hamper his obstruction charge against Libby). Or possibly it was a hunch and a gamble, and he gambled correctly.

In any case, it certainly made Woodward paranoid enough to contact X given your obstruction/conspiracy to obstruct scenario. I also wouldn't be surprised if X himself might have had perjury exposure if he testified in front of the GJ; I could see him saying something along the lines of "I discussed Wilson's wife and the CIA with Scooter, but never talked to the press. Scooter's the first person to talk to the press as far as I know."

As it stands, it clearly makes sense for both X and Woodward to cooperate now. As I see it, Fitz is potentially holding over X at least 4 counts: 1 of false statements, 1 of perjury (if he testified to GJ), 1 of obstruction (the non-waiver waiver, the same charge he held over Libby back in September), and 1 of conspiracy to obstruct with Woodward. And Woodward potentially has 2: 1 of conspiracy to obstruct and 1 of obstruction (if your Pincus scenario is correct, which I have to admit I favor since Pincus's memories and Woodward's don't seem to match up.)

I also wonder if Pincus himself is not being 100% honest or forthright with his cooperation and if he'll be seeing the GJ before long too.

viget...

Pincus and Woodward's story do match up...now.

It turns out that Woodward's claim that Pincus knew from him about Plame consisted of (according to Woodward):

1) Woodward saying something to Pincus as he passed Pincus's desk.

2) Pincus responding by saying "What?"

Woodward says he interpreted that "What" as "that's really interesting", but now acknowledges that Pincus could have just been saying "I didn't hear what you said." Pincus stands by his story, and Woodward's version supports it in full.

***********

Woodward may, or may not, have gone to Rove with his information, but I'm fairly certain that the Post went to Fitzgerald with Woodward's story immediately after they Downie heard it.

The Post's lawyers helped negotiate Pincus's special arrangements that allowed his deposition, and were probably there when Pincus testified. That made them "responsible" for Pincus's testimony, which doubtless included statements by Pincus which asserted that he first heard about Plame from an administration source.

Woodward's disclosure placed the reliability of Pincus's testimony in serious doubt -- and given the fact that indictments were about to be handed down based on Pincus's testimony, the Post HAD to tell FitzG right away.

"Woodward says he interpreted that "What" as "that's really interesting", but now acknowledges that Pincus could have just been saying "I didn't hear what you said." Pincus stands by his story, and Woodward's version supports it in full."

But surely this is a story they made up between themselves. Are they likely to stick to this story in front of a GJ though? In both interpretations of "What?" Pincus sounds like he is requesting WW to repeat or to elaborate. If WW is charged with obstruction he might flip and give up Pincus.

There's a diary on dkos right now about
Novak,V. and Luskin being friends. You might want to look, thanks y'all.
http://www.dailykos.com/story/2005/11/28/222138/07

Two things here: First we need to keep on this Woodward connection because the timing of the V Novak deposition is too close to Woodward's testimony to likely be a coincidence. Since the conversations relate back to 2004 this could/would have come out long ago if it wasnt for a recent relevation. So what is the Woody connection? It must have been something he told Fitz.

Second, my gut feeling on this is its not what Luskin told V Novak but what V Novak told Luskin. As Quicksilver points out Novak probably knew what Cooper knew (either from Cooper or her editors). But when Luskin was leaking to her maybe she asks him something about Rove's conversation with Cooper. This also would explain her relative silence on bylines -- since she knew too much.

But surely this is a story they made up between themselves. Are they likely to stick to this story in front of a GJ though? In both interpretations of "What?" Pincus sounds like he is requesting WW to repeat or to elaborate. If WW is charged with obstruction he might flip and give up Pincus.

actually, the story sounds right to me, and I don't see it being contradicted. Woodward thought that "What?" meant that Pincus had gotten the message, and kept walking, i.e. that no further explanation was necessary.

Furthermore, any other information requires that Pincus both lied under oath and (more importantly) failed to disclose the Woodward conversation to Downie. There was no reason for Pincus to hold back that information---Pincus isn't going to risk perjury for Bob Woodward's sake.

"actually, the story sounds right to me, and I don't see it being contradicted. Woodward thought that "What?" meant that Pincus had gotten the message, and kept walking, i.e. that no further explanation was necessary."

Imagine if you told someone something, and they said "what?". Why wouldn't you either repeat what you said or elaborate on it? If WW was in too much of a hurry then why blurt this out rather than waiting until later? If it was so unimportant why tell Pincus at all? If it was important then why not tell Pincus properly?

Technically it could be true but it requires an extremely unusual set of circumstances. It had to be just important enough to mention but not important enough to explain. I don't recall ever having had a conversation like that. WW had to be in too much of a hurry to come back and talk properly about it to Pincus but not in too much of a hurry to blurt it out while walking past. I can't imagine what kind of hurry that would be.

Then Pincus had to be exactly curious enough to ask "what?" but not curious enough to ask WW again what he said. Like Schroedinger's Cat it is both alive and dead: a conversation and not a conversation, WW was telling Pincus something and not telling him anything, WW was too busy to stay and not too busy to talk, Pincus was interested enough to ask "what?" and not interested enough to ask again when he saw WW leaving and follow him, WW and Pincus were close enough for WW to share privileged info from a source but not close enough to talk about the source or Wilson, "What?" sounds like a request for information and not really interested, etc.

I have never witnessed a conversation like this in my life, and I personally doubt anyone could say they have. It's one thing to say it's plausible but another to say it happens. If someone told you something surprising would you say "what?". I have never heard this expression ever said by anyone in this context, maybe "wow", "where did you hear that", "what do you mean", "excuse me?", "say again?", etc.

I have never witnessed a conversation like this in my life, and I personally doubt anyone could say they have.

I have. it happens all the time.

you are reading far, FAR too much into things, and insisting instead on a bizarre conspiracy theory.

I admit this could have been Woodward's snarky way of telling Pincus, "I know something you don't know!" sort of a drive-by leak if you will. I'm sure there's a bit of healthy competition between the two that goes way back.

Maybe Woodward's comment caused Pincus to dig deeper. If so, is it kosher to ask Pincus to talk with Fitz again regarding this supposed conversation? I can't imagine that Pincus didn't catch at least part of this comment (you know, like CIA, Wilson, wife or Plame?). It may also reveal a common source that could corroborate or refute other testimony.

If nothing else, I can't imagine that Pincus totally blanked out and didn't hear any of this comment (if that's how it really happened). Even when somebody says something in passing and I say, "What?" because I didn't hear them, on some level I retain some idea of what was said even if I didn't get the whole story. And I'm sure that if a comment included "CIA" that would get my attention. But then, maybe I'm paranoid. :)

If Woodward was so concerned about protecting his source that he did not tell his editor, why would he tell a reporter who was covering the story? If there is a logical explanation, surely Woodward would have insisted on secrecy in that first conversation, in which case Pincus would have remembered. He sounds like he's trying to establish a time by coming up with a contemporaneous conversation that only he remembers.

It may seem off the wall, but could Woodward, with his ultra insider status, have been part of Phase 2 of the Outing of Plame Project, like damage control? If he waited until after the indictment, they could just make up an earlier date so that WW would be the first, if that matters? WW's remarks on Larry King Live were just too much like the party line to be purely innocent.

To me he sounded like Armstrong Williams hawking the adminstratrion position during a time when they were claiming to not be commenting on an ongoing investiagtion. He may not have been paid 1/4 mil like Armstrong, but his access is a sellable commodity worth far more than that. And don't tell me that WW doesn't know outing a covert CIA agent is crime.

Here's another scenario. WW gets off the phone to Mr. X and goes and talks to Pincus. He tells him about Wilson's wife and they discuss it. They both decide not to tell Downie for the same reasons WW didn't tell Downie, because they didn't think it was important. Then Pincus has to talk to Fitz. WW asks him not to talk about this, and they both think that being reporters no one will ever find out, because it was an innocent remark by X not related to a crime. Also they think they wouldn't be compelled to testify over something like this.

So later when Libby is indicted Pincus realises he has perjured himself. He talks to WW and they concoct this "what?" conversation because they figure if they both stick to it nothing can happen. Also there is no underlying crime for Fitz to try to get to. Also WW can pretend with X the leak was an innocent remark.

But then WW might face obstruction and Pincus might have to talk to Fitzgerald again. If one of them flips over the made up conversation then the other could be in trouble.

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