It may be that the people paying Libby's defense team are a little uncomfortable with the recent turn of events. Because William Jeffress (the Nixon lawyer on Libby's team, not the Iran-Contra lawyer) has released the following statement:
There is no truth at all to the story that Mr. Libby's lawyers have advised the court or the Special Counsel that he will raise a defense based on authorization by superiors. Indeed, there has never been any conference call between Mr. Libby's defense lawyers and Judge Walton. We do not know who reporters are relying on as sources for this story, but any such persons are neither knowledgeable nor authorized to speak for Mr. Libby's defense team.
Now, I gotta admit, Mr. Nixon lawyer, you're confusing me a bit here. Because I see no place in Waas' story (nor in Carol Leonnig's, which also confirms that Cheney is one of the superiors who authorized Libby to leak classified information) which alleges either that "Libby's lawyers have advised the ... Special Counsel" how they will defend Libby or that there has been a conference call between Libby's lawyers and Judge Walton.
In other words, Jeffress' rebuttal is complete and utter bullshit. It refutes a claim that--as far as I know--no reporters have made.
Then what's going on here?
Jeffress' feint could mean one of three things. It may mean that one of Waas' (and Leonnig's) sources yesterday was one of Libby's lawyers. And that this feint by Jeffress is just a pathetic attempt to continue to pursue the "I was authorized" defense strategy while trying to put the press uproar upon hearing about it back in the box. That is, Jeffress may just be making this feint in the hopes that the corporate media is as stupid as we think it is, and that they'll drop the entire story of Cheney (and, I still suspect, Bush) authorizing Libby's leaking.
But this could also be a real CYA attempt to make Jeffress' bosses more comfortable. Consider--the new information in Waas' article (as opposed to the stuff I talked about over a week ago) is that Cheney was authorizing Libby to leak classified information before the war, to justify the war. Couple that with today's Pincus article basically confirming that Bush and Cheney cherry-picked their way to a war justification, and the revelations of the last 24 hours really put a dent in the Neocon justifications. You know, the Neocons, the people employing Jeffress et al?
A comment clarice made over at Tom Maguire's place might support this interpretation. When I asked her for a link to Jeffress' statement, she helpfully said:
Contact Barbara Comstock's (Libby's press contact)office..They released it. If you have difficulty reaching her, email me your addy, and I'll ask her to send it to you.
Barbara Comstock, of course, is in charge of Libby's Defense Fund, not Libby's press contact office. So this suggests that the Neocon moneybags didn't like yesterday's big news. Maybe they've even jettisoned the greymail strategy (note, this statement came over Jeffress' signature, the guy who, in addition to being the Nixon lawyer on the team, is also the guy who shares a board room with Bush consligliere James Baker III. It didn't come from Cline, the greymail specialist.) for fear it would tax Cheney's always-fragile heart.
One final option is possible. We'll be sorting through the intra-White House politics on the Plame Affair for quite some time. But is it possible that Waas' source is someone from the Andy Card side of the White House? I mean, neither Waas nor Leonnig make the leap I've made, that a guy who works as the Chief of Staff and National Security Advisor for the Veep and as an Assistant to the President might include POTUS as one of his superiors. Is it possible the leaks to Waas and Leonnig were designed to incriminate Dick and, by association, draw attention away from Bush? Which would explain why Jeffress responded so quickly (and so oddly??)--because he realized someone had scored a few points against him.
Anyway, I don't know. But I do know either Jeffress is reading a different Waas article than I am, or this statement is complete bullshit.