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March 28, 2006


My theory at this point is that Karl has actually copped a plea --- FitzG had him dead to rights, but Karl pleaded "national security" to keep the plea sealed while the White House is reorganized.

Questions I have. In order for Rove to rat on Cheney's office, he had to have knowledge that #1 the emails existed & #2 how they were stored. As well, the question of when did the emails "leave the building". The assumption is that they were deleted overnight during the window of opportunity that Gonzales gave the WH. That meant a cleaning crew consisting of the band of thieves and their computer wizards had to work, probably overnight, to find & scrub the offending missives. Interestingly, the issue of Rove directing (I'm still cynical about that particular tie) Fitz to the emails, there actually being emails, leads me to think that the very operation of their coverup weighs towards not simply obstruction but back to the original charge of conspiracy to out Valerie Plame/Joe Wilson. The same band who concocted the mess was in on the cleanup, otherwise the emails couldn't have been identified and then scurbbed.


j-bob over at FDL pointed out that Card was the one who got the 11-hour notice on the investigation. Further, he is in the position to coordinate things between different corners of the Administration. So perhaps Rove ratted him out?

Amazing what these guys can remember when they're not falling back on the "I was too busy to remember all the details of my day" shit, eh?
So I take it you don't think that Rove by outting the emails, working in concert with the cabal to disappear the emails, added another link to the chain of of conspiracy? (gotta find a new word besides conspiracy, this WH has overworked the word)

Isn't it funny that certain SAOs stay a mile away from email?

I hope W has wired the Oval Office up. Nixon really helped with that one..

I still believe there is a simple explanation for what's going on. First, despite the leaks from Rove's camp, the evidence to date doesn't really suggest a concerted effort to alter evidence. If that's what happened, I think Fitzgerald's communications with the Court would have been much different. If Libby was aware of or involved in an effort to hide evidence that would go directly to the heart of the obstruction case. Here's what I think happened:

People delete email all the time. When the order came down to turn over everything relating to Wilson/Plame, individuals turned over what they had. However, the techies who searched the email backup system didn't do a very good job. Lots of relevant emails didn't get turned over. In some cases, one party to an email communication turned over a copy and the other parties didn't. As more information comes to light in the course of the investigation, emails that didn't seem particularly relevant are now critical to determining what happened. I would expect a slimeball like Rove would keep all the best potential smear material on everybody in no place other than his head (his ability to maintain this stuff in his head is legendary). In his on-going efforts to wriggle off the hook, he's "remembering" just enough to point Fitzgerald in the right direction.

One difficulty in crediting much of the recent story is the fact that on January 23, Fitzgerald stated in his letter to Libby's defense that he was aware of no evidence pertinent to the charges against Libby that had been destroyed. So I can more easily imagine that Rove double-checked all his emails to try to be helpful to Fitzgerald, and led Fitzgerald to the conclusion that the White House had not provided everything, than that Rove knew the emails were damning of OVP. If there's anything to the story, I suspect it's just another effort of Rove's to show he's being cooperative in order to fend off an indictment than Rove pointing the finger at someone else.

It was my understanding from Fitz's letter to defense & Emptywheel's post above, that Fitz had become aware that certain emails from the OVP & President's office had not been archived according to the standard operating procedures. From another source it was stated that these 250 emails were stored, not archived, in an entirely separate building, off campus so to speak where they were not available to the original team tasked with reviewing WH missives. It was only in early January when Fitz was tipped off to their existence. His subsequent letter in January was in effect giving notice. Before that time, we are led to assume, there was no mention or inclusion of the emails because Fitz and his team had been obstructed from knowledge of their existence. The emails' very existence changes the posture of Libby's defense as well as the entire WH.

Looks like April is shaping up to be an interesting month. Jason Leopold over at Raw Story is reporting that Rove or Hadley or maybe even both are in Fitzgerald's crosshairs for an indictment within the month. Somebody send Fitz some vitamins!

Perhaps, along the lines Jeff suggests, the "250 emails" is a red herring story that Larisa has headed off into the woods in chase of. Note Jason Leopold's fresh post today at truth.org. Jason cites multiple sources, one named (ex-FBI investigator, John C. Eckenrode) who say Fitz is about to pull the trigger on Rove and/or Hadley. The "250 Emails" (why does that remind me of Frank Zappa?) may be more of Rove throwing dust up for the benefit of the dustmen at Fox, etc.

emptywheel, thanks very much for posting on this. If you are interested or inclined, I am interested in any opinions you have about who is leaking this and why. Mary over at FDL last night offered that it might be Fitzgerald's office trying to "move" Libby?

I'm just thinking about Rove's early days planting "bugs" in his own office. Is there any possibility worth considering that, early on before everything unfolded, he could have dummied up some evidence-tampering that he could use later in order to (a) ensure someone else is an easier prosecutorial target or (b) trade on later for some consideration, or both? Your question about why there appear to be deleted emails but not changes in handwritten notes got me thinking about it (since it may be easier to get access to someone's computer than to their notebook (let alone their handwriting)). Am I in over my head, off the deep end?

John Casper

The sources on this are interesting--Pentagon. Pentagon got loaded up with OVP lackeys, but I can't think of any TX mafia folks over there.

It's being reported that the leaking is coming from FBI via Pentagon. No leaks from Fitzgerald diagnosed but small chance they're coming through his FBI team & contacts. They were, after all, the team that was burned by Rove et al when they didn't find all the emails for Fitz's case.

What is the significance of Andy Card leaving now? He has been reported eager to leave for awhile. One theory was that Bush couldn't be without both him and Rove, so he couldn't leave while Rove was under a cloud; this would mean Rove knows he won't be indicted. Another possibility is that it is Card who is going to be indicted, for evidence-tampering, probably.

I don't trust any of them, and there is no honor among thieves. Still, it is hard to choose whether I'd rather see Addington or even Deadeye Dick go or Rove. I'm inclined to think the Republic is more in danger from the former. Rove can be defeated in an election if the Dems get their act together, but Cheney is set in stone.

mimikatz -- I think the timing of Card's departure has been manipulated, but not necessarily for Rove's benefit. If anything it's for Bush's benefit since the entire premise of Bolten coming on board is to improve Bush's approval rating. They've had weeks to lay groundwork, knowing that Card was going to leave, to put out both sticks and carrots. Sticks, in the form of Laura "Winger-witch-on-wheels" Ingraham appearing on Today Show to bash the media for not covering The Good News! in Iraq [TM], and carrots, in the form of off-the-record discussion sessions with Bush and select reporters/media outlets.

Ockham -- there are simpler razors here. Like "accidentally" deleting an entire month's email through a "bad" backup...simple, but not fool-proof, since the system surely has built-in redundancies that make it as hard as lopping off the heads of a Hydra to kill any specific email. A single "accident" in the absence of persistent and systemic "accidents" doesn't look like one, capice?


asks my question.

is it coincidence that this info about the discovery of the missing e-mails

shows up as andrew card is resigning?

and yes e'wheel

why would the info come from the pentagon ("according to several pentagon sources close to Rove..." - raw story)

maybe rove and some generals at the pentagon are up to a palace revolt of sorts to undermine cheney/rumsfeld because of what their little adventure in iraq has done to the u.s. military and the bush presidency.

maybe cheney is on his way out too. then the presdient could say he was mislead, it was all cheny's doing, and bring the troops home fast.

not likely, huh?

Beyond what ew, commented about Rove ratting him out, my speculation about Card's leaving is informed only by the apparent fact that he "isn't going anywhere." This suggests urgency on someone's part, because Andy didn't have time to open an appropriate occupational parachute. This could mean that Andy really initiated his own departure, because he figured it's time to "abandon ship." NYT's used quotes that scapegoated Andy for Medicare, Katrina, and Dubai Ports. IMO this would support ew's suspicion that Rove ratted him out and wants to hang as many failures on Andy as he can. It was rumored that Card wanted Snow's Treasury job, so Snow must be breathing a big sigh of relief.

hop on over to talk left and read geraldine's post.

"if raw story's report is accurate, obstruction of justice charges are not far away."

I'll remind folks here of a few facts that we've discussed before. The EOP and OVP use Lotus Notes for internal email. There is a automated archiving solution that is designed to copy all emails to to another (non-Notes-based) system maintained by the National Archives. We know that in the past (Clinton administration) the archiving solution had numerous problems. This was all described in a fairly comprehensive GAO report that I have linked to in the past (I'll dig out the link again if anybody wants to read it). In my professional judgment (and I'm a software application architect when I'm not impersonating a long-dead theologian), the archiving solution was poorly designed and seriously underfunded. I've been unable to discover any evidence that the most systemic problems uncovered by the GAO report have ever been addressed.

With that as background, I'd just like to point out that the opportunities for emails to get "lost" are myriad while completely destroying evidence of particular emails is extremely difficult. Suppose for a minute you are a member of the Cabal and there is an incriminating email that you would like to have "disappeared". Let's take the simplest case, you sent the email to one person in the White House. First, you and the recipient have to trust each other and agree to "forget" about the email. Next, you have to eliminate all traces of the email from both personal computers, the email server(s), the archiving system, any hard copies that were produced, and, if it was copied to your Blackberry, your Blackberry and the recipient's Blackberry (not to mention having to worry about RIM getting subpoenaed). If you sent the email to more people, especially anyone outside the WH, the problem is even larger.

Now, I'm not suggesting that it is impossible that someone may have noticed that certain emails got lost and chose to be forgetful about them, but to base your defense strategy around that seems a bit risky.

on January 23, Fitzgerald stated in his letter to Libby's defense that he was aware of no evidence pertinent to the charges against Libby that had been destroyed.

On Jan 23, FitzG was telling Libby's team that it knew that not everything had been turned over. Fitz G. didn't have the emails in its possession at that point apparently -- and thus didn't know if there was anything "pertinent" to the specific "charges" against Libby as of that date.

Re : Pentagon sourcing....this is speculative, but it would certainly make sense that the DoD have some means of backing up stuff from the white house in case of a "national emergency".....

On Jan 23, FitzG was telling Libby's team that it knew that not everything had been turned over. Fitz G. didn't have the emails in its possession at that point apparently -- and thus didn't know if there was anything "pertinent" to the specific "charges" against Libby as of that date.

Right, so much of Rawstory's story has to go out the window, and all we are left with is the idea that Rove indicated to Fitzgerald that, perhaps thanks to the exhaustive search of emails Luskin was reported to have undertaken and his comparison with the stacks handed over to Fitzgerald, he could tell that Fitzgerald hadn't gotten everything from the White House. Here's the question. What's the timeline of events, on your rendition of what this is about? When did Rove tell Fitzgerald about the missing emails, and what did he tell him about them? From there, we can pick it up: Fitzgerald announces to Libby's defense on January 23 that there are some emails not archived properly (but on your account at that point Fitzgerald has no way of knowing whether there's anything damning in them - or damning of Libby anyway), this info is made public by a Libby filing on January 31, and on February 6 the White House hands over 250 pages of emails to Fitzgerald.

What's getting overlooked here is that Fitz has more than one source on this. Rove may arrogantly think he's leading Fitz around by the nose but there's another source, the one who relayed messages back through the FBI to Fitz of where the emails were archived. Don't forget, the FBI took the hard drives on the computers. The insanity of trying to eradicate email histories of the magnitude of 250 emails and their interconnections in what must have been a brief time period is hard to imagine. I seem to remember that Rove/Luskin "found" Rove's missing email when they discovered that they hadn't put in enough of a description for the search engine. Regardless, it seems, in my humble opinion, unlikely that Rove would take the chance of leading Fitz to the missing emails as he would simply be opening up a Pandora's box of more info that could expand his own part in this. Just doesn't work for me.

I think I'm kind of agreeing with many points you folks are raising:

1) Rove cannot be innocent in this matter. If an email between him and Hadley disappeared, then both he and Hadley would be complicit to hiding it.

2) Any further "cooperation" with Fitz is just going to dig the hole deeper. That is, unless you come clean--completely clean--then it's not going to buy you anything. And the only way Rove would have come completely clean is if he made a plea deal, but he wouldn't do THAT because it would force him to step down/stop pursuing his permanent Republican majority.

I'm frankly unconvinced by any explanation I've heard about the Pentagon sources (sorry Jeff). I just don't see anyway how anyone at DOD would have an inside track to what Rove is doing. Even the national emergency thing wouldn't work, bc it wouldn't explain the claims of cooperation.

ew - Are you expressing sorrow to me because I can imagine a stripped-down version of the story? I don't think I've offered any explanation about the Pentagon sources. And I am more impressed by Clemons and his source than Rawstory's Pentagon sources. So I'm confused.

People--go to Talkleft. She's posted the transcript of the Feb 23 session!

Our long national nightmare is over - the transcript has been posted. Some things:

1. Walton makes the point about not revealing information about individuals who may be innocent precisely because the investigation is still open. Were the investigation closed, that would not be a concern, since everyone would know that the people identified in Fitzgerald's affidavit were not going to be charged. Interestingly, it appears that the person whose reputation they're talking about protecting, as long as he hasn't been charged, could well be Rove (though it could also be Armitage).

2. The confusion over new material clarified. There are two separate sets of documents at issue: first, 250 or 260 pages of Libby's notes that Fitzgerald had inadvertently failed to turn over to the defense at the appointed time, meaning that the defense needs more time for some proceedings; second, the famous 250 pages of newly recovered emails from OVP, details on which Jason Leopold got right and the WSJ got wrong in a way that affects the overall outlook on them. The WSJ article, which comes to us via our friends at scooterlibby.com, stated categorically that the emails weren't deleted, and as evidence reported:

They were turned over to Libby's defense team on Feb. 6, Mr. Fitzgerald said in court last Friday. The emails apparently weren't archived in the normal way. As for the content, Mr. Libby's attorneys said the emails didn't contain anything pertinent to the case or investigation.

In fact, all the statements on the 250 pages of emails come from Libby's lawyers, that is, his advocates. What's more, as of the Feb. 24 hearing, the defense had not seen the emails; they were turned over to Fitzgerald, not the defense, on Feb. 6. What's more, the most Libby's attorneys could say was that

We've been led to believe it's probably not anything startling in those e-mails but again we need to review those and that also may be the subject of a motion.

It may very well be that there's nothing pertinent to the case or investigation in those emails. That remains to be seen. But there's no way that Libby's lawyers know that.

More as we go.

Fitz clarified the "everybody knows it" remark by offical one - contrary to Jeffress Fitz says this refers to Wilson as the ambassador who visited Niger, not Plame's employment (00034.12).

If I understand things correctly they're saying Woodward's taped conversation was with "official one." Or would this be of Powell in that later meeting?

Ah, I see this isn't really news (Leopold ran it a few days ago). Never mind.

Long boring argument over what the appropriate dates of Libby's notes that the defense should get, though it is clear that part of what is at stake here will be more potential claims of executive privilege.

Walton considers January 7, 2007 - the slated opening date of the trial - to be a drop-dead date; that is, he's not flexible on that. Which is nice.

The discussion of official one -- Armitage -- is fascinating and baffling. Here's the really baffling passage with one of Libby's lawyer and the judge talking:

THE COURT: This other aspect of the issue you said in reference to Mr. Libby saying that he had heard this information, is that what you indicated?
MR. JEFFRESS: Mr. Libby said that he had heard this. One of the reporters told Mr. Libby offical one discussed Ms. Wilson. The government says one of those didn't tell him that. However, the government in the indictment has revealed another person who did tell him that. So you know we have two people but the government specifically alleges in the indictment that when Mr. Libby said that he was hearing this from other reporters that was part of the lie that's charged in this case.
THE COURT: Do we know in what form it was where Mr. Libby says he heard? Was it at the White House?
MR. JEFFRESS: He heard it, well, what he testified that is public in the indictment but I can tell you, Your Honor, yes, he heard from another official at the White House who reported to him that a reporter told me today that he knew that Ambassador Wilson's wife worked at the CIA. That's one source from which he got it. Knew that it came from a reporter. That's one. Mr. Libby was told it came from offical one.

There appears to be some inadvertent or deliberate ambiguity in Jeffress' use of "this" and "that," so that it's sometimes hard to tell if he's referring to the information that Wilson's wife was CIA or the information that official one had told a reporter as much. Did Libby really claim in his testimony that Russert told him that official one discussed Ms. Wilson? I doubt it, since Libby's defense is claiming not to know official one's identity (unless that's just as far as the proceedings themselves go, for the purposes of justifying subpoenaing Armitage). Some of the "that"s clearly refer to Plame, not official one discussing her, since the indictment makes no mention of official one. But what about the last bit on Rove's conversation with Libby? Rove told Libby Novak was saying Plame was CIA and was going to publish on that. When Libby's lawyer says, "Mr. Libby was told it came from official one," the questions are: when was he told, and by whom? Was he told by Rove himself on July 10 or 11 that Novak identified Armitage as his first source? Or was Libby told that Novak's first source was official one, the same as Woodward's, only by the prosecution in the context of this case?

As Libby's lawyer goes on, it's clear he's using "that" to refer only to Plame's CIA affiliation, nothing to do with official one per se. So maybe there's not much to this.

As we know, the judge ends up ruling against Libby on revealing Armitage's identity. One funny thing is that rightwingers have been going nuts over reports that the judge ruled against identifying official one because he has not been charged, but it appears that those reports were flatly incorrect, and conflated the earlier discussion of someone -- who may well be Rove -- who may or may not be charged and whose identity should be redacted from the published version of Fitzgerald's affidavit with this ruling, which was based entirely on materiality questions.

In any case, the next matter concerns paragraph 45 of Fitzgerald's affidavit, which specifies the four items regarding documents on reporters Fitzgerald has not produced to the defense. Three of them are in reference of official one (Armitage) and presumably include his contact with Woodward and his contact with Novak. Is there another item with regard to official one, or two items related to this set of contacts? I don't know. As for the fourth item, Fitzgerald says it has to do with a different matter that evidently took place on fall 2003. Then there is this interesting interchange between the judge and Fitzgerald:

THE COURT: I guess it depends upon whether an inference could be drawn that this individual may have known about the information earlier.
MR. FITZGERALD: And we have turned over documents showing that that person did. What I could suggest, Your Honor, is I could, there is a discreet amount of documents. I could produced to you what we produced to the defense involving that topic by timeframe and then produced to you what we haven't produced so you could just look at them yourselves.
THE COURT: I think I would because I kind of feel that maybe this might be producible but I think I would need to look at that and make that assessment but my inclination is that that may have to be produced.
MR. FITZGERALD: And it is a handful of items. My only point, I don't think it refers to conversations about the spring as much as it refers to events in the fall about the investigation.
THE COURT: I will reserve ruling on that particular item of evidence.

Is the person they're talking about a reporter? What was the discussion in fall 2003 with regard to the investigation? The most likely guess would have to be it's either Miller or Novak, but I suppose it could have to do with Woodward as well.

Enough for now.

One part I found interesting:
Jeffress, talking about "Official One": "And certainly I'm not here to tell you that official one did anything wrong whatsoever. . . . As far as we can tell from what he did, he did not commit a crime."

Perhaps this is merely polite, diplomatic language with little meaning. But given the obsession by various rightwingers (I'm thinking of the comment threads at JOM), I found Jeffress' repeated comments emphasizing Official One's apparent innocence noteworthy.

On the one hand, as Libby's lawyer, I suppose it makes sense for Jeffress to agree that merely talking about Plame shouldn't be a crime. Libby isn't charged with that, and Jeffress doesn't want him to ever be charged with that. On the other hand, why wouldn't Jeffress be making a minor stink about Official One not being charged with perjury or obstruction, like his own client? From what we know, it seems there could be a case that Official One knowingly gave false testimony and obstructed the case. Why would Jeffress go out of his way to comment about Official One's innocence?

Jim E. - Because, as you suggested, it's in Libby's interest to basically downplay the very possibility of any criminal activity in this whole matter. But the rightwingers can go nuts with hypocrisy hunting among lefties unconcerned about what strongly appears to be a case of false testimony by Armitage. For the time being, I am standing by my conviction that at the end of the day, Armitage doesn't get off scot free. And that it will be a happy day in Democraticville when another rock-solid Republican from the Bush administration is punished in this whole matter. That's just an observation about what I think will happen.

Jeff wrote: "One funny thing is that rightwingers have been going nuts over reports that the judge ruled against identifying official one because he has not been charged, but it appears that those reports were flatly incorrect."

Can you clarify this? How are the reports incorrect? Do you mean that he may still yet be charged?

I have another question that I think you can handle for me, Jeff. (I think of myself as a Plamaholic, but it's increasingly clear that I do not have much of a handle over the minutia, particularly as it relates to the legal filings.) At one point, one of Libby's lawyers complains to the judge about Fitz's ex parte submissions to the judge. The lawyer says that in a recent Fitz affadavit, 16 of the 19 pages are argument, and not consultation (or whatever--I don't know the right word). What is being referred to here? If its a secret affadavit, how does he know to complain about 16 pages? Is he referring to 16 redacted pages? How does he know enough to argue that Fitz is making an argument?

That's just an observation about what I think will happen.

Jeff - You should have won the Koufax award for best commenter - many of us out here in lunatic-land await your next post like we await the next big Murray Waas scoop.

I can't help but ask -- what ELSE do you think will happen?

I missed your quick response. So when you say the "reports were flatly incorrect," are you referring to what you think is the liklihood that Official One will be charged in the future because the case is still open?

For what it's worth, I'm in agreement with you about having zero problemo in the event of Armitage going down in this whole thing. I don't have much regard for Powell, either. But there is a perception (and in some cases, the reality) that the left is protective of Powell and Armitage.

To be clear: I'd be quite happy to see Armitage and/or Powell get burned by this whole thing if they deserved it.

Jim E. - First of all, we're Plameologists, not Plamaholics (and Plamania is just the underlying disorder).

I think Libby's lawyers are complaining about Fitzgerald's 2-16-06 affidavit and the fact that roughly 10 or 11 pages of it, all or almost all of it redacted, set out the history and state of the ongoing investigation.

As for what was flatly incorrect about earlier reports, it's about the reason for the judge ruling against Libby's effort to get Fitzgerald to disclose the identity of official one -- which does not necessarily point in one direction or the other on whether he will be charged or not. My point was just that, as far as I can tell, the judge said nothing about protecting official one because he hasn't been or isn't facing charges, which is what the reports the rightwingers had been outraged by had indicated. Again, as best as I can tell. Beyond that, earlier in the transcript, the judge does say something about protecting someone who hasn't been and may not be charged, but it could very well be Rove, which doesn't fit well with the rightwing outrage over Walton's ruling in these regards. The flipside is that just as with Rove, the fact that official one hasn't faced charges doesn't mean he won't (though who knows if he will). And I agree that some on the left are protective of Powell and Armitage - but a lot aren't, fewer would be if Armitage were to get indicted, and fewer still should be in any case.

obsessed - Thank you very much for the double, hyperbolic compliment. As for what else is going to happen, I hate to say it, but who knows. I sort of committed myself in an open thread a few days ago to the idea that when Card resigns, we'll know that the White House really and truly considers Rove out of danger from Fitzgerald (since Bush can't afford to lose both of them). Now, of course, I'm having second and wishful thoughts about that. My suspicion is that the understated variation in Leopold's story today -- as distinct from the stronger claim of the headline and the lead -- is about right:

Hadley and Rove remain under intense scrutiny, but sources said Fitzgerald has not yet decided whether to seek charges against one or both of them.

I would add that though Hadley is the great unsung anti-hero of the twin wars against the Wilsons and against the CIA in 2003, I suspect Rove is under much more intense scrutiny than Hadley.

I'm with you on that - I think Powell, Lieberman, Feinstein, Russert, Matthews, et al are more dangerous than Bush, Cheney, Frist and Delay, who are already recognized to be idiots by even the mindless middle third of the populace.

And I forgot to mention McCain, Specter, the NYT, Time, Newsweek, CNN, MSNBC, WaPo ...

anybody ever stop to think what a Rove deal would mean, in a legal sense ???

Rover would have to plead guilty to something, and there would be no reason to hide or seal that pkea bargain

if rover pleaded guilty and provided evidence against libby, Fitzgerald would be required to inform libby's defense of rover's involvement

and the only way rover could plead guilty and still remain working in the whitehouse would be under an arangement where rover was gathering current evidence against potential targets of the investigation

rover couldn't plead unless he could deliver somebody higher on the food chain, and there ain't many people above rover on the food chain

rover didn't get a deal from Fitz, no matter what evidence rover might have accidently or intentionally supplied

Card desperately wanted to be the longest reigning Chief of Staff, and was addicted to the kool-aid. He was in a position to control and obstruct the flow of information throughout the White House, so I will not be surprised to see him indicted.

As for Rove feeding Fitzgerald leads? He is paying danegeld, hoping that the mighty Fitz will go away for a little longer. The Danes bled England of silver year after year, and conquered most of it anyway once the silver ran out. The vikings milked the situation for all it was worth, and the townsfolk thought themselves lucky to avoid battle for another season. Ultimately, the side with the most resources wins. :) Does Rove have enough information on other worthy targets to keep feeding leads when his own hide is threatened? Probably. Will Rove be able to escape completely? Unlikely, because this entire snarl of corruption ties back into itself too many times, and the more information Fitzgerald has, the more soundly the various cases will come together.


Folks, I'm late to this transcript party and am on day job deadline until this afternoon. So I'll try to read the transcript and post on it tonight.

But regarding the other matter, for which the timing of knowledge is important? Doesn't that probably relate to the purported Powell comment in Fall 2003? That is, if he says, "everyone knows Plame is CIA" in Fall 2003, it doesn't prove everyone knew that before Novak's column. But Libby's lawyers would like to prove that "everyone" knew it earlier.

Also, it seems that they're pussyfooting on Armitage's involvement for the reasons stated. But also, remember there's a difference between saying Plame works as an analyst at CIA and saying Plame works in CPD at CIA or is an operative at CIA. And all the reports of what Armitage said (certainally, Woodward's account makes this clear) say that Armitage told him something closer to the former rather than the latter two.

As far as I can tell, most of the interesting bits from the Feb. 24 specifically on Libby's morning briefing have been dealt with in published reports, plus we now know the outcome of that dispute already, the judge having ruled on it. The most interesting feature of that discussion to me is that twice Fitzgerald asserts that there were a number of unusual things about the way Libby acted during the week of July 7-14, some of which we've heard about (the weird convesation with Fleischer, meeting off premises with Miller, asking her to identify him as a former hill staffer, doing a rare interview on a Saturday with TIME, and so on) but some of which we haven't, indicating that Libby was consumed with Wilson's wife to a degree beyond what he should have, though that doesn't mean he didn't have lots of other more urgent matters on his plate.

On the question of Plame's classified status, Byron York et al seem to have missed this, where we pick up with Fitzgerald talking:

Could I offer one thing, though, judge? Next week we have our Section 4 filing due. With regard to her classified status, we were intending to make a filing to Your Honor ex parte which I believe includes a proposed substitution of some information to give to the defense. And part of dealing with this in the Rule 16 motion ahead of that it seems to me to be putting the cart before the horse because when we lay out to Your Honor what the situation is and propose what we would disclose to the defense, we may be on a better footing.
THE COURT: So you are only talking about declassification.
MR. FITZGERALD: Declassification status, not the damage assessment.
THE COURT: Do you disagree with that, Mr. Wells, that that probably may help us in that regard?
MR. WELLS: If Your Honor would want to hold it off, that piece, I'm perfectly -- we've been here a long time and I'm perfectly happy.
THE COURT: I think that makes more sense so I would defer ruling in reference to that until we get that submission.

Libby's lawyer also goes on to suggest one thing they might argue is that while she was classified, it was only in a more or less technical sense - the point being, presumably, that Libby had no real reason to suspect there was anything wrong with revealing her CIA affiliation, which in turn implies no motive to lie about the whole matter.

Walton says he'll issue rulings quickly on the issue of her classified status and also on the issue of damage assessment (and maybe the referral). I don't believe we've seen all of those rulings, though I'm not sure.

Does anybody know the origin of the "not in the White House" description of "Official One"? Libby's lawyer says that in the transcript, while maintaining that they don't know who "Official One" is. I think this is pretty important to understanding what's going on in that discussion. It's not clear to me whether the "not in the White House" refers to now or then (Summer 2003). I think everybody else (except Leopold) thinks that the description fits Armitage, but all the other potential Mr. X's not now in the White House.

Jeff wrote: "Libby's lawyer also goes on to suggest one thing they might argue is that while she was classified, it was only in a more or less technical sense."

Yes, and one gets the sense that no matter what Plame's actual status, Libby's lawyers will make that argument no matter what.

But a bit later, Libby's lawyer also says this about wanting to know more about Plame, which I found interesting: "Rule 16 is not only about learning good stuff. It's learning bad stuff that tells me as a defense lawyer stay away, don't touch, it is dangerous. So you talk about the third rail, I want to know if that third rail on this issue is on and can I get shocked by it." Libby's lawyer is at least acknowleding the possibility that Plame's status is a bigger deal than he suspects.

In terms of Official One, I think Jeff hinted at this above: it seems from the transcript that Libby knows exactly who Official One is, but the defense wants to be told officially in order to make it easier to get court orders for subpeanoas and the like.

First of all, we're Plameologists, not Plamaholics (and Plamania is just the underlying disorder).


First I want to mention that The Baltimore Chronicle put Leopold's story on it's website under his byline. That is the first time he's been published in a major paper that I know of.

Second, Leopold has the first information that I am aware of Hadley's testimony. Leopold also has Hadley talking to both the FBI and the GJ.

Neither Hadley nor Rove disclosed the existence of the email when they were questioned by FBI investigators or when they testified before a grand jury, the sources said, adding that Rove testified he found out about Plame Wilson from reporters and Hadley testified that he recalled learning about Plame Wilson when her name was published in a newspaper column.
Baltimore Chronicle 3/28/06

Third, here's a possiblity in light of the Rawstory article yesterday. Rove and Luskin have been in front of the story in the past. Get it all out at once and spin the story.

Here is how they did it in July 2005, when knew Cooper would testify and that TIME would turn over their documents last July. Cooper didn't testify until 7/20/05. (remember until this point there wasn't anything in the public domain about Rove.)

On 7/15/05 Luskin revealed and leaked the Novak/Rove call. Rove wasn't Novak's source he only said "I heard that too"

On 7/16/05 Luskin reveals and spins the Cooper call, Rove was being helpful to Cooper, warning him not to get to far out on Wilson. Then the RNC spin begins.

On 7/16/05 Luskin reveals and takes that Hadley/Rove email out for a spin. "The White House turned the e-mail over to prosecutors,

On 7/23/06 Luskin reveals and spins the missing phone log of the Cooper call.

I think it's possible that Rove is getting in front of the story again and that the leaks to the 3/26/06 Rawstory "Rove said cooperating in CIA leak inquiry", were indirectly from Rove. You know Rove is so cooperative and all.

I wonder what impact on discovery an investigative agency's member would have if (during the course of the wiretap effort and pushback from the agency which felt overloaded by having to chase too many tentative positives) it became known that somehow the omnivorous datavacuum accidentally picked up Blackberry traffic between Card and someone outside the WH, or Rove and Novak, or Bolton in NY and persons still in his old office in WA-DC; or if the datamining accidentally archived a set of telephone, ftp or https communications among people coordinating the 2x6xn or whatever the distribution pattern was. Pretty far fetched; and there could be a question of whether it would be admissible; FISC and Specter are bemoaning that very issue, tainted evidence; it gets tangled in precedential argument. There might be a neo-blank 18.5 minutes, this time instead of on reel to reel tape, instead on Cray tape. No one would know what to do with that kind of archive except erase it; after all, the wiretap is about security but not politics; yet, if the existence of inadvertent archival of WH coms were bruited, that might induce a lot of folks who abetted 2x6xn to be a little more forthcoming about their minor contributions to the overarching plan. ONLY TINFOIL. Maybe; certainly. It helps to think of what extrinsic events might shape your basic pretrial discovery process. I appreciate Jeralyn's post of that transcript, six attorneys plus the judge. We are fortunate this judge is trying to keep as much as possible in the public forum.

re: polyusa, interesting that Rove/Luskin would again get their story out moments before Card raggedly bows out Tuesday morning (the RS story wasn't in response to anything)? Boulton seemed the only relaxed guy in the room at that announcement, IMO.

NYT has interesting profile of Bolten today.


No offense intended, but I disagree that the Baltimore Chronicle is a "major" newspaper.

It is interesting speculation that Luskin/Rove are spinning ahead of major news breaking in the case. We shall see. But a few crucial things are missing in your above timeline: Laurence O'Donnell started the Rove talk by comments he made on the McLaughlin Group. Also, you wrote that "remember until this point there wasn't anything in the public domain about Rove." Actually, a quick search shows a July 3 WashPost story on it, and the Daily News on that same day says point blank that Rove was one of Cooper's sources. Similar coverage, aided by Miller's arrival to jail that same time, continued in the following days. Between O'Donnell's comments, the blog coverage, and the traditional media coverage, the Rove story had been relatively hot for two weeks before your first July 15 example.

No. it's not the first time I was "published" in a major newspaper.

I was the Los Angeles bureau chief of Dow Jones Newswires where I lead the coverage of the California energy crisis. I then broke stories on Enron which were picked up and published in the The Wall Street Journal, our sister publication. Also, published in the Financial Times, the San Francisco Chronicle.

I was the city editor at the LA Times.

I worked for Associated Press.

I work for TruthOut now. Why? Because I believe passionately about independent media and hope that my contribution will help establish indy media as a source for the same type of hard-hitting reports you would find in traditional publications

I think the question you all should be asking is why the reporters at the WaPo and the NYT aren't writing about this. I was told that they won't do any investigative reporting on this story because they, and their editors, are afraid of being subpoenaed.

That leaves the door wide open for me to find out what is going on.

My last four stories (prior to the one published yesterday) were based entirely on the transcript of Feb. 24. I purchased that transcript from the court reporter. I was his only customer. Not a single news outlet bothered to obtain it. And there was a lot of revelatory information in there aside from the 250 pages of emails that I first reported. That's what is truly unbelievable to me. No one in the mainstream cares. So if you want to know what's happening on this story you'll be hard-pressed to find anything in the papers or on cable. There are really only a few of us that have been working this "beat." I am one of them. And I am grateful that I have been able to report the news. Some have called it scoops. I just think it's news.

Also, there has been some who have said that I or Larisa at Raw Story or Raw Story was responsible for the "22 indictments" story being handed up last year and some have used that in an attempt to discredit my reports. Well, here is the genesis of that "22 indictment" story. I had nothing to do with it nor did Raw Story. http://www.radarmagazine.com/the-wire/2005/10/05/breaking-plame-indictments-imminent.php

Please pass that link on to anyone who wants to tie me or Raw Story to that disinformation.

I decided to respond here because I like the well-thought out theories. Also, I have come to realize that my readership is all of you so I felt that maybe I should say hello.

Lastly, I am a very accessible person. In fact, I welcome questions and comments and would urge anyone to send me an email if you have questions about this story or any other: it's jason@truthout.org

See ya

Oh, I forgot. I was called the "Outrage of the Week" by Bob Novak in October 2002.

Since I am on a roll here. I might as well out myself and say that, yes, I am the "harry shep" that posted comments here that were inflammatory and rude and obnoxious and mean and crude and were directed toward some of the people who run this site. It was a cowardly thing to do and I apologize. I acted impulsively because I had interpreted some of the analysis to be a direct "hit" on one of my stories. However, it became obvious to the people who run this site that my pseudonym was not a good cover because the IP address revealed my true identity. It was a total immature reaction and there was truly no excuse for it. So to the people who run this site I sincerely apologize for being such an immature, thin-skinned prick. I hope you can forgive me.


Cool of you to make an appearance (if you really are who you say you are). Also, thanks for the radar mag link -- you're right that you and RawStory have been remembered for "breaking" that bit of news.

With that said, I believe pollyusa's comment about you being published in "major" newspapers was meant in terms of Plame coverage. And in fairness to those of us who aren't sure whether or not to trust your sourcing, I think there are more reasons as to why you don't currently work for any of the big media outlets than that you "believe passionately about independent media." Like I said, I read your stuff faithfully, but I am hesitant to place a great deal of trust in what you report (no offense) given your past. (Not to mention this harry shep business.)

I do have a question for you. In an article from last week, you wrote that news reports have increasingly focused on Armitage as the source in recent weeks "based solely" on Bradlee's comments to Vanity Fair. That's true as far as the print media. But you failed to mention that another simple reason that Armitage has been focused on as of late--at least on the blogs--is that "Armitage" fits the redacted spaces in court documents while "Hadley" is too short. That's a huge factor that I haven't seen you acknowledge.


I am just a casual reader of all this. Very entertaining.

My main beef with you is the photo with the cigarette.


Jason - how do we know you're really Jason and not Harry Shep posing as Jason? But seriously, you can redeem yourself by answering a few questions! The good ones will come from ew and jeff, but for starters, aside from Jim E.'s excellent one above:

1) how confident are you that Hadley and not Armitage is Mr. X?
2) how do you reconcile the two most recent stories? - RawStory says Rove cut a deal - you say he's got a date with an indictment.

well, I've said this before, but I'll say it again.

I think the 22 Plame indictments story was accurate --- at the time it was being reported. In the interim, Bob Woodward goes to Len Downie (on October 24) and tells him that Walter Pincus knew that Plame was CIA before he talked to anyone in the White House ---

And because Post lawyers had negotiated the arrangements under which Pincus was deposed by Fitzgerald, and Pincus never bothered to mention this to Downie, the Post Lawyers, or FitzG, Downie and the Post lawyers knew that FitzG had to be told immediately....

As a result, Walter Pincus's testimony to the grand jury is never mentioned in the indictments -- and it was Pincus' testimony that was key to the "conspiracy" indictments that would have involved Rove, Hadley, etc.... and would have added up to "22" or so.

(Of course, it turns out that Pincus testified truthfully, but FitzG didn't know that on Oct 26 or 27 when the Post told him about Woodward's disclosure--- FitzG had to improvise an indictment for the 28th without Pincus's testimony, and the only guy he could nail without Pincus was Libby...)


Jim E is correct. I was only refering to the Plame coverage, I should have made that clear, my apologies.

Jim E is also right about the Rove story breaking with the O'Donnell referece on "The McLaughlin Group" on 7/1/05.

Luskin is not acknowledging that Rove mentioned Plame in this time frame. See here for more Luskin links and timeline.

Rove's lawyer said Rove never identified Plame to Cooper in those conversations. More significantly, Robert Luskin said, Fitzgerald assured him in October and again last week that Rove is not a target of his investigation.

"Karl did nothing wrong. Karl didn't disclose Valerie Plame's identity to Mr. Cooper or anybody else," Luskin said. Luskin said the question remains unanswered: "Who outed this woman? . . . It wasn't Karl."
7/3/05 WAPO

Cooper got his waiver on July 6, 2005.

Newsweek breaks the contents of the email on 7/10/05, then Luskin gets busy spinning.

I do think that Rove and Luskin wanted got the details on out on their own terms.

When Luskin leaked the Hadley email, they had Mehlman in the wings. The leak and the Mehlman quote appear in the same article.

"What it says is, Karl Rove wasn't the leaker, he was actually the recipient of the information, not the provider," Republican National Committee chairman Ken Mehlman said on Fox News. "So there are probably a lot of folks in Washington who have prejudged this, who have rushed to judgment who are trying to smear Karl Rove."
AP 7/16/05

Amateur contribution: Bob Novak just published this in humaneventsonline under the title: Karl Rove Supreme: "Everybody in Washington's Republican political community was well aware that any changes George W. Bush made in his White House staff would not constitute a shake-up. What nobody expected was that Josh Bolten, in essence a professional bureaucrat, would be promoted to chief of staff. Yet, this selection becomes understandable as a confirmation of Karl Rove's supremacy in the White House."
I only comment it here, because I thought it might be relevant to the question of whether Rove flipped or was indicted. It sounds to me as though Novak's column comes down as evidence that Rove "flipped."

P. Lukasian

For the slow-witted among me, could you go into a little more detail on your comments about Pincus and the alleged 22 indictments? Specifically how Pincus' testimony was the linchpin and why Woodward's 11th hour revelations short-circuited it and what you mean by "it turns out Pincus testified truthfully". Are you saying that FitzG suddenly doubted Pincus? And where does that leave us with the broader conspiracy scenario?

John Casper

Likewise - could you flesh out why you think Novak's assertion of Rove's continuing dominance is evidence that he flipped?

Sorry for being so thick - but there are probably many more reading this who are equally clueless but not posting their questions.

obsessed, I am thrilled when ever I can just stay close enough to eat your intellectual dust. What I have always heard is that Rove and Novak have been very close for a very long time. I wouldn't depend too much on anything Novak writes, but I doubt he would write a piece about Rove being "supreme" if he thought Rove was going to be indicted soon, that was all I was trying to say, more about what Novak appears to know than about what is real.
Here's Novak's last graph:
"Prior to Tuesday's surprise announcement of Bolten-for-Card, a Republican parlor game was trying to guess the 21st-century counterparts of Howard Baker & Co. named by Reagan in 1987 to save his presidency. It is not an easy task to come up with good names, but it is highly unlikely that Bush and Rove made such a search. Their implicit message is that no shake-up is needed because they had nothing to do with the parlous condition of the administration and the Republican Party."
OT: My speculation is that Novak is shilling for Rove and Bush and blaming the Republican party and people like Card for all the problems. Novak/Rove/Bush know that Republicans are distancing themselves from the WH as midterms approach. What Froomkin called the "Card Sacrifice" is text book Rove, nothing is going to change, Rove just wanted a very public scapegoating of Card so he could blame someone else for all his failures.
Hope the timba is going well.

OK, what do you guys think of this possibility.

Regarding the exchange on 2/24/06 between Fitz and Jeffress, first reported by Leopold on 3/21/06, is it possible that the transcipt under discussion includes several people?

Jeffress: "Your Honor, there is one thing that I neglected to mention and again this is subject to filings that have been made under seal but there is, in fact, a transcript of a tape recording that involves official one,"

"In the particular transcript there is, and the government filed something else yesterday, there is a factual dispute as to what is said or what is meant by a portion of the transcript wherein it appears the official saying, "everyone knows it," referring to the wife's employment at the CIA," Jeffress added. "We have not heard that tape. If, in fact, as the transcript suggests that one official said, 'Everyone knows it,' who did he mean by 'Everyone knows it?'"

Fitzgerald: "Your Honor, now that we have sort of burned what was sealed, my understanding of that conversation, there are people talking over each other, my understanding is that was a reference that everyone knows it, that Mr. Wilson is the unnamed ambassador," Fitzgerald said. "Mr. Wilson didn't reveal himself as the unnamed ambassador until July 6. This was prior to that time."

I'm probably wrong, but Jeffress says the transcipt involves Official One and then Jeffress states "the official saying" instead of Official One was saying, which could imply there was another official in the room.

Jeffress restates and says "that one official said", which could also indicate there was more than one official in the transcipt.

Additionally, Fitz says there "there are people talking over each other".

This is most probably a transcipt of a Woodward interview.

For the slow-witted among me, could you go into a little more detail on your comments about Pincus and the alleged 22 indictments? Specifically how Pincus' testimony was the linchpin and why Woodward's 11th hour revelations short-circuited it and what you mean by "it turns out Pincus testified truthfully". Are you saying that FitzG suddenly doubted Pincus? And where does that leave us with the broader conspiracy scenario?

This is one of those "hard to explain" things, because its all about what didn't happen, not what did happen.

The first thing you have to keep in mind is that Pincus testified under oath and that Downie and Post lawyers were involved in the negotiations that allowed Pincus to testify (and avoid jail time, etc). The Post lawyers were probably even present during Pincus' deposition.

Now, it seems pretty obvious to me Pincus let FitzG know (either in testimony, or through his lawyers as part of the deal that allowed Pincus to be deposed) that the first time he heard about Plame being CIA was from his White House sources.

Now, I believe that Pincus is the glue that held FitzG's "conspiracy" case together -- he's the guy who was able to say that his sources were both Rove (original source) and Libby (confirming source). FitzG had a very nice, elegant, "obstruction" and "perjury" case ready to go against Rove, Hadley, Libby, and maybe one or two others.

But, with less than a week before the grand jury expires, Woodward goes to Downie and says "I was told about Valerie Plame before anyone else, and I told Pincus about it right away." Since Pincus never mentioned this to Downie or the Post lawyers, its looking like Pincus committed perjury at this point. In order to protect itself, the Post has no choice but to go to FitzG and say "Pincus' testimony may not be reliable....". If the Post withheld the information at that point, it could be held in contempt -- or charged with conspiracy to obstruct, because the Post had, in legal terms, vouched for Pincus's testimony.

Now, without Pincus's testimony, most of FitzG's case falls apart--- the connections on the obstruction case aren't there any more, because Pincus was the link between Rove and Libby.

Remember, all of this went down the week before the grand jury expired. FitzG didn't have time to investigate, so all he could do was treat Pincus's testimony as tainted, because he wasn't sure if it was tainted or not, and he didn't have time to find out.

Of course, afterwards --- AFTER Woodward publicly accuses Pincus of lying to the grand jury, Woodward finally admits that he only mentioned Plame to Pincus while he (Woodward) passed Pincus's desk, and Pincus' entire response was "What?".

Woodward's story was based entirely on the assumption that "What?" meant "WOW! Really!", and not "What did you say? Were you talking to me?" as Woodward kept walking....

Woodward's story, in fact, is complete bullshit. Woodward and Pincus agree that Woodward asked that Pincus keep Woodward's name out of his reporting....but that doesn't explain what happened with Pincus's testimony.

If Woodward really thought that Pincus knew about Plame from Woodward, he would have known that Pincus would have told Downie (and the Post lawyers) about it. Pincus had no reason to hide that kind of info from Downie or the Post lawyers ---
it was one thing to keep Woodward's name out of Pincus' story, and another thing entirely to keep it from Downie and the Post Lawyers. If Woodward believed that Pincus knew about Plame because of what Woodward had told Pincus, Woodward HAD TO HAVE assumed that Pincus would have told Downie and the lawyers --- and that there was no reason to keep it a secret from Downie. And, Woodward knew that Downie would have asked about it, if Pincus had said something about it.

But Woodward kept it a secret from Downie -- Woodward knew that Pincus never told Downie, because Downie never asked Woodward about it.

So, I think its safe to assume that Woodward lied about telling Pincus. Woodward KNEW that if he'd told Pincus, that Pincus would tell Downie, and Downie would ask Woodward about it --- especially since the lawyers were involved.

Like I said, this is one of those "hard to explain" things, because its all about what didn't happen, not what did happen. I should probably finish the flow chart I started on this :)

polly - I'm pretty sure that Cooper testified on July 13, 2005 and not July 20. It's confusing because the official date for an issue of TIME is way (seven or eight days) past the actual date that the magazine's content is published. Cooper did the talk show rounds the weekend of July 16-17.

That bit from the hearing is intriguing, particularly what Fitzgerald says about people talking over each other. But I do suspect that just reflects his effort to be as vague as possible about what is going on; after all, Fitzgerald indicates that Libby's lawyer has kind of blown it, mentioning in open court something that was not supposed to be so mentioned. Also, if there were more than one official present, Woodward would have been seriously misleading in his own account of events, where he pretty clearly rules out other officials besides the relevant three he tells us he talked to (Armitage, Card, Libby).

I will also observe that what seems to have prompted Luskin to go to the NYT and the Post for the 7-15-05 stories was the fact that he learned from Waas that Waas was working on a revealing story, I believe breaking the news of the Rove-Novak connection, as well as the fact that investigators at a certain point believed there might be a fall 2003 cover-up involving Rove and perhaps even Novak himself. Knowing that Waas is nobody's pawn, Luskin asked him to hold off on publishing a little, and proceeded to double-cross Waas and his scoop by going on Thursday, July 14, to both the Post and the Times to get the story out on more, shall we say, friendly terms. So while Luskin was surely controlling the terms the story got out on, this was not such a proactive move, but rather an act of relative desperation to fend off an unfriendly version of Rove revelations from Murray Waas.


I agree on the Waas article, I'm guessing you might be the one who pointed that out to me elsewhere. Waas had the Novak story and the Cooper account was coming so they got their version out first. Why do you think they put out the information about the Hadley email and the phone log, just to get it all out at once?

You're right, I was using the published date for TIME. Looking around the blogs, Cooper's account in TIME was first seen on 7/17/05. Cooper appeared on MTP on July 17th and he testified on a wednesday so the 13th it is.

On the transcript referred to in the 2/24 hearing, could there be another [not Woodward] transcript that would involve Official One?

P Luk:

Thanks - that was much clearer. So in this scenario FitzG knew pretty quickly that the hunt was back on, but it was too late for the original GJ, so now, 5 months later ... all of this delay is just the wheels of justice grinding slowly?

pUSA, E+P had the most complete reporting of Cooper's remarks outside the GJ building after his testimony. It is behind the subscriber firewall at E+P now there. For some reason my note says the date was July 24, 2005. A few thread remarks within the past few hours are on topics about which EW posted complete diaries, but I believe EW is still elsewhere at the moment; perhaps later; depending on all our dayjobs.


Remember that Cooper thought Rove may have been trying to coach his testimony. We have very good reason to believe Libby did this with Judy. With Cooper it's less clear. But by including details of the email, you can try to get Cooper to spin your story.

Thanks - that was much clearer. So in this scenario FitzG knew pretty quickly that the hunt was back on, but it was too late for the original GJ, so now, 5 months later ... all of this delay is just the wheels of justice grinding slowly?

that's my theory.... I just have to believe that the Post went to FitzG as soon as Woodward started talking about Pincus.


Do you think the Fitz visit to Bush's lawyer's office the day after the Libby indictment could be related to the Woodward disclosure?

Mr. Fitzgerald was spotted Friday morning outside the office of James Sharp, Mr. Bush's personal lawyer. Mr. Bush was interviewed about the case by Mr. Fitzgerald last year. It is not known what discussions, if any, were taking place between the prosecutor and Mr. Sharp
NYT 10/29/05


Luskin did get some spin out there before Cooper testified. He focused on how cooperative Rove has been and that the Rove didn't disclose Plame's identity or name.

Rove's lawyer said Rove never identified Plame to Cooper in those conversations. More significantly, Robert Luskin said, Fitzgerald assured him in October and again last week that Rove is not a target of his investigation.

"Karl did nothing wrong. Karl didn't disclose Valerie Plame's identity to Mr. Cooper or anybody else," Luskin said. Luskin said the question remains unanswered: "Who outed this woman? . . . It wasn't Karl."
7/3/05 WAPO

Newsweek had published the contents of Cooper's email to his editor on 7/10/05 [7/18 edition]. It looks like Isikoff got the email from someone at TIME.

Luskin did respond to the Newsweek article in the 7/11/05 WaPo, he did the 'not a target' thing and spins the Cooper converstion... Rove was just helping Cooper out.

Instead, Luskin said, Rove discussed the matter -- under the cloak of secrecy -- with Cooper at the tail end of a conversation about a different issue. Cooper had called Rove to discuss other matters on a Friday before deadline, and the topic of Wilson came up briefly. Luskin said Cooper raised the question.

"Rove did not mention her name to Cooper," Luskin said. "This was not an effort to encourage Time to disclose her identity. What he was doing was discouraging Time from perpetuating some statements that had been made publicly and weren't true."
7/11/05 WaPo

Cooper tesified on 7/13/05. Luskin revealed the Hadley email on the 7/16/05 AP story, after Cooper testified, but before any inofrmation about Copper's testimony was known. Cooper told his version on 7/17/05 on MTP and his TIME article was available on the 17th as well.


Jeff is correct, Cooper tesified on July 13, 2005.

A Time magazine reporter has testified before a grand jury investigating the leak of a CIA officer's identity.

Matthew Cooper says he testified "openly and honestly" during Wednesday's two-and-a-half-hour appearance in Washington, but isn't providing any details about what happened.
AP 7/13/05


Remember that by leaking the email, Luskin was leaking the welfare reform excuse. From Cooper's version of his testimony:

A surprising line of questioning had to do with, of all things, welfare reform. The prosecutor asked if I had ever called Mr. Rove about the topic of welfare reform. Just the day before my grand jury testimony Rove's lawyer, Robert Luskin, had told journalists that when I telephoned Rove that July, it was about welfare reform and that I suddenly switched topics to the Wilson matter. After my grand jury appearance, I did go back and review my e-mails from that week, and it seems as if I was, at the beginning of the week, hoping to publish an article in TIME on lessons of the 1996 welfare-reform law, but the article got put aside, as often happens when news overtakes story plans. My welfare-reform story ran as a short item two months later, and I was asked about it extensively. To me this suggested that Rove may have testified that we had talked about welfare reform, and indeed earlier in the week, I may have left a message with his office asking if I could talk to him about welfare reform. But I can't find any record of talking about it with him on July 11, and I don't recall doing so.

Also, don't forget Byron York's post, the day before Cooper testified, claiming Luskin was saying Cooper burned Rove:

In an interview with National Review Online, Luskin compared the contents of a July 11, 2003, internal Time e-mail written by Cooper with the wording of a story Cooper co-wrote a few days later. "By any definition, he burned Karl Rove," Luskin said of Cooper. "If you read what Karl said to him and read how Cooper characterizes it in the article, he really spins it in a pretty ugly fashion to make it seem like people in the White House were affirmatively reaching out to reporters to try to get them to them to report negative information about Plame."

Which would easily be interpreted as a threat, an attempt to influence testimony.

"Rove did not mention her name to Cooper," Luskin said.

The funny thing about that, of course, is that even as it supposedly bolsters Rove's case that he was not trying to get Cooper to publish about Plame, it makes more plausible that Rove, who at that point knew her name, deliberately did not mention it, and one possible explanation for that is because he knew it was sensitive. In other words, if Rove didn't know there was anything sensitive about it, what difference does it make whether he mentioned her name or not?

"By any definition, he burned Karl Rove," Luskin said of Cooper. "If you read what Karl said to him and read how Cooper characterizes it in the article, he really spins it in a pretty ugly fashion to make it seem like people in the White House were affirmatively reaching out to reporters to try to get them to them to report negative information about Plame."

I don't particularly think that was an effort to influence Cooper's testimony, though it might have been. Part of the reason I don't think so, and instead think that it's just spinning things to make Rove look better and Cooper worse, is because it's just not true. If you look at Cooper et al's original July 17, 2003 article, it disinguishes the attacks on Wilson into public and private attacks -- Tenet's and Fleischer's are the main public attacks, and government officials noting to TIME that Wilson's wife was involved in the genesis of the trip is the main private attack. Thus the fourth sentence of the piece starts:

Since then Administration officials have taken public and private whacks at Wilson

It introduces Tenet's and Fleischer's attack and then the bit about Wilson's wife's role in the genesis of the trip. It then gives Wilson a chance to respond to the part about his wife, and then reinforces the point that the claim of nepotism is the private attack as it moves back to the public attacks:

Government officials are not only privately disputing the genesis of Wilson's trip, but publicly contesting what he found.

So Cooper et al are crystal clear that Rove et al were reaching out to reporters to get them to report negative information about Wilson, not Plame, by using the information about Plame privately with reporters. There was no indication that the government officials were trying to get Cooper to publish Plame's name or identity. So Luskin is simply mischaracterizing Cooper's piece in order to make Rove look like a victim. Sure, this might have been meant as an effort to cow Cooper a little. But mostly I think it was just an effort to cast Rove in as positive light as possible.


You raise good points. The reason I think it might have been intimidation, though, is the use of the word "Burn." Cooper in no way burned Rove. But York is suggesting as much to create the appearance that Cooper talked even though he shouldn't have, that he burned a source, rather than misrepresented what he said. So I suspect it was more an attack in response to the way Cooper finagled a waiver from Rove then anything else (and Luskin would have reason to be pissed about that, of course, because he was the one who opened his big fat trap to say that Cooper wasn't protecting Rove).

ew - I suspect you're right about the last part. The thing is, if I were Luskin looking to influence Cooper's testimony, I would do two things: 1. bring up welfare reform as the subject of the conversation (which Luskin may have done); 2. instead of mischaracterizing Cooper's article, I would characterize it correctly, and say, "As Cooper's article itself indicates, the discussion of Wilson's wife was a private matter, which shows that Rove was not trying to out Plame. It was intended only to warn reporters off of Wilson."

I do suppose Luskin might try to argue that even mentioning the content of their conversation at all in print was inappropriate on Cooper's part.

But Cooper ended up judging that there was a behind-the-scenes effort to discredit Wilson that included bringing up his wife. I wonder if that had to do in part with Cooper's other source.

PolyUSA: Sorry for typo not 24, meant to type 14, as E+P posted their coverage late nite on 13th postdated to the next day. E+P was consistently one of the most complete and verbatim reporting sources around the weeks in which Miller and Cooper both finally testified at GJ, reasonably so, given the limelight on two major news organizations, Time, NYT, at that moment.


Regarding Cooper's original July 17, 2003 article, you lay it out very well. Dickerson had this

I saw the final piece only moments before it was closed. By then, Matt had talked to Scooter Libby, who confirmed Rove's tip. The attack on Wilson had not been included....

Since the attack on Wilson was not included in the printed magazine that came out Monday, Cooper thought we should put it online...

Our editors delayed publication of the Web piece, uncertain there was enough evidence the White House was trying to undermine Wilson's credibility. That was frustrating, since by that time the White House spokesman, Fleischer, was undermining him on the record. Bob Novak's story revealing Plame's name had come out, but those of us working on the story in Washington, which now included Massimo Calabresi, thought we still had a few facts Novak didn't. Our piece finally ran on the Web on July 17, 2003, six days after Cooper had learned about Wilson's wife.
Dickerson 2/7/06

JohnLopresti, thanks. I agree on E&P, unfortunately everything goes behind the subscription wall.

Pollyusa, I know you are the recensions expert. The quote you post about timing is interesting, as well. I was thinking about the Time website Cooper does, too; sometimes articles appear only in hardcopy, sometimes online. The online material is difficult, as you know, as it evanesces in various ways. EW has been good about subscriptions to keep the TNH research state of the art. The extra in the E+P was only a little more than AP published. I was keeping the two Time publishing modes in mind while reading again thru Rove's red herring excuse about the topic of the Cooper meeting being welfare, but I think Cooper's shelved and then finally published article on that topic appeared in the magazinestand version of the mag.

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