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April 07, 2006


Btw, I'm sitting here in Schipol Airport on my layover. And I'm hearing an aparently international group of men, reading each other the news about Dick leaking the NIE. Completely aghast, they were.

Hello EW. Off to bed but just stopped in for a check (PDT). I don't know how you do it, just thankful that you do. Be safe.

Ardant (and everyone else) thanks for the safe travel wishes!

In this case, I think I've totally screwed myself over for the entire week because, instead of sleeping on the first leg, I watched Syriana instead. So now I'll be jetlagged and miserable all week long!

Here's a question I've started thinking of.

Dick authorized Libby to leak like a sieve on July 8.

About the NIE.

But did he authorize him to leak anything else? In other words, how do we know that Dick didn't unilaterally declassify Plame's identity. And only for Libby kicking sand in Fitzgerald's face do we not know?

EW - you ARE going to keep checking in, aren't you? Last time we nearly got lost in the Aspens without you!

"EW call home"

I spent the day trying to find a quote from a Republican in Congress -- any Republican in Congress -- willing to voice criticism about the President and Vice President's role in the ordering the leak of classified information. I came up empty-handed.

It's official: not a single Republican in Congress feels there's anything wrong with leaking classified information, or lying about it, so long as it's in the service of covering up a plan to go to war. Not Olympia Snowe. Not Arlen Specter. None of them, not a single Republican, not a single damn one of them.

Thanks Emptywheel. I think that thanks to you and BooMan (linked to by Jane) I'm finally getting a handle on all this.
I'm conscious that Libby said that Cheney said that George said....
Does this leave us with a potentially unresovable loop if Dick and George decide to say "Well... not exactly..." or "I don't recall saying..."?

Of course, you know all about small planes don't you?
Just kidding (I hope). Safe trip.

It doesn't say Bush was unaware of the role his National Security Adviser had. It says Bush was unaware of the role Cheney's Chief of Staff and National Security Adviser had. The plain-English reading of that is that it was Cheney's National Security Adviser being referred to.

Re Steve's comment on the National Security Advisor - I had posted a thought similar to EW's (What's up with Hadley, or Condi?) but I was bailed out by a software (or wetware) glitch, and the computer ate it.

In any event, the ubiquitous, mysterious Jeff pointed out that Libby was Cheney's National Security Advisor as well as his Chief of Staff. That can be confirmed from the indictment:

Beginning on or about January 20, 2001, and continuing through the date of
this indictment, defendant I. LEWIS LIBBY, also known as "SCOOTER LIBBY," was employed as Assistant to the President of the United States, Chief of Staff to the Vice President of the United States, and Assistant to the Vice President for National Security Affairs.

Have a safe trip - the Libby team responds to this filing by next Wednesday, but I can't imagine they will make the front pages.

told ya libby would prove the conspiricy

stupid fucker asked Fitz for evidence proving there was no whitehouse conspiricy against Joe Wilson

why lob THAT softball to Fitz ???

Libby's dying here

he all but implicated george bush in the biggest national security crime ever committed

how's that pardon looking now scooter ???

Steve is right. emptywheel misread a key sentence. The "Vice President’s Chief of Staff and National Security Adviser" was, of course, Scooter Libby.

I could never figure out why Libby is so hell-bent on proving the plame leaking was forgetful/declassified, considering that there is plenty of motive otherwise to lie (i.e. getting fired, revealing polically damaging info. about White House tactics, etc), but now we see the Libby defense a little better. It looks like Libby will claim he forgot because he knew the info. was declassified. And all others (testifying against him) did not know the info. was declassified and therefore have motive to plea out and pin it on Libby. So the questions still remain:

Was the NIE declassified?

What exactly was declassified (the whole Niger info. but not Plame, or everything)?

If something was unknowingly declassified, can Ari et al. be guilty of leaking it (even though they thought it was classified)?

Which follows, will this info. give those who were pleaing and testifying against Libby an out?

What did Bush and Cheney say to Fitz about the declassification issue?

But did he authorize him to leak anything else? In other words, how do we know that Dick didn't unilaterally declassify Plame's identity. And only for Libby kicking sand in Fitzgerald's face do we not know?

Slightly modified, I think this is exactly the right question. The slight modification would be to add the more general question, "Did Dick direct Libby to blow Plame's cover with Miller?" That would allow for the possibility that Dick did or did not declassify Plame's CIA affiliation. The new filing, it seems to me, points an ever larger finger at Cheney in this whole affair. My suspicion is that Fitzgerald suspects that Cheney directed Libby to blow Plame's cover, but he can't prove it, because Libby of course said no such thing and - well, what did Cheney say?

One interesting question and test concerns testimony regarding July 12. The filing confirms and adds to what Gellmann at the WaPo reported and then withdrew - that Cheney was directing the response to Wilson on July 12. Now, we know that Libby is accused of lying about what he told Miller and Cooper on July 12 regarding Plame, his knowledge of it and his source of that knowledge. So 1)what did Libby testify to regarding the pre-talk strategy session on AF2 with Cheney? 2)What did Cheney testify to about that strategy session? Specifically, did Cheney acknowledge any discussion of Plame and what Libby should say about her? And more specifically, if so, did it match or contradict Libby's allegedly false account? 3) And what did Cathie Martin, who seems to have been the only other participant in the conversation, testify to regarding that conversation?

The answers to these questions obviously don't get to what happened in preparation for Libby's July 8 conversation with Miller. But they do raise the all-important question of whether Cheney acknowledged any direction to Libby regarding Plame, and whether there is reason to doubt the veracity of that acknowledgment (or non-acknowledgment).

Just for the record, since there's been much discussion lately of stories broken in the blogosphere not being acknoweldged as such in the press, I note that I'm pretty sure I beat Gerstein of the NY Sun to the punch on the new filing, albeit rather obscurely, in a comment on ew's previous Libby thread here.

So Libby says Cheney told him that Bush told him it was ok to leak. Double hearsay. But depending on what Cheney will say he said to Libby, either Libby perjured himself or Cheney did tell him that Bush said to leak. Then, as Jeff points out, the question is what did Cheney say to federal officials? Did he lie? It is a crime even if it was not under oath.

And now we have the same problem with Cheney. If he says Bush told him, then what does Bush do? If he doesn't back up Cheney, he looks weak and not in charge. Better a leaker than a wimp.

So the GOP line seems to be, "It doesn't matter if the President selectively leaked to bolster his case for war." But that isn't going to wash with anyone but the Bushbots. Libby does really seem to have been left twisting in the wind.

I'm an amateur following along with all this, but do we know who the two senior administration officials sourced in Novak's original july column were?

I posted this over at JOM and it was universally ignored, so I'm cutting-and-pasting it here. It's really just a long lega question, and I'm interested in knowing if anyone knows the answer.
Can the president retroactively declassify something?

I ask for two reasons:
1. It seems out of character for Bush to be involved in pre-approving Libby's "disclosures" to Judith Miller. That's getting pretty deep into the weeds over a matter that seemed to bother Cheney the most, not Bush.

2. Libby testified that Cheney said "later" that Bush signed off on the disclosure. (It's unclear if "later" means a subsequent conversation, but before the Libby/Miller meeting, or if "later" means *after* the Libby/Miller conversation took place.) It seems that there's at least a chance that Bush didn't "declassify" the NIE until after Libby had already spoken to Miller. If so, is that legal?

In the absence of Emptywheel, I will give it a try. The two SAOs are widely believed to have been Libby and Rove. Rove has claimed he only "confirmed" what Novak already knew, IIRC.

There seems to be a dispute on various blogs whether there has to be a process for an official disclosure or not. See Steve Clemons for one view.

Jim E.---seems the WH press corps was interested in your 2nd question during this morning's gaggle. I can't remember who (check TPM Muckraker for the transcript), but one of the reporters was asking for a date that the NIE was declassified. Scotty kept saying it was 'made public' on July 18, but refused to answer when it was actually declassified.

I'm an amateur following along with all this, but do we know who the two senior administration officials sourced in Novak's original july column were?

One of those two was definitely Rove, and the other is widely believed to have been Richard Armitage, not Libby, as Mimikatz suggested. Though ew has a hypothesis that Libby may have talked to Novak, at the moment that is pretty speculative, and stands apart in any case from the two SAOs Novak talked about in his original column.

Anonymousliberal raised a great set of questions in a post yesterday, which hopefully we will be hearing more on from Murray Waas:

There are a number of puzzling aspects of this story. First, consider this paragraph from Murray Waas:

Although not reflected in the court papers, two
senior government officials said in interviews
with National Journal in recent days that Libby
has also asserted that Cheney authorized him to
leak classified information to a number of
journalists during the run-up to war with Iraq.
In some instances, the information leaked was
directly discussed with the Vice President,
while in other instances Libby believed he had
broad authority to release information that
would make the case to go to war.

Were these pre-war leaks authorized by the President as well, or just Cheney? If by the President, why did Libby describe the NIE incident as "unique in his recollection"? If these leaks were authorized by Cheney alone, did Cheney break the law? And if Libby acted solely on the Vice President's authority for these pre-war leaks, why was he suddenly unwilling to do so with respect the NIE? What changed?

The key questions are the last two. And remember that the relevant law or executive order governing classification is dated, as far as I can tell, in late March - which is to say that the expansion of the VP's classification and declassification powers happened after the events Waas reports on would have happened.

Good points Jeff. THat graf jumped out at me from Waas's article too. I wonder who the two (they always seem to come in pairs, no?) SGOs are who are sourced in that article. Wouldn't it be funny if one of them were Rove, twisting the knife in Libby's back? (although, I would hope Waas would know better than to report anything Rove says as being remotely near the truth)

Another thing to consider. Booman over at dKos and his own blog has been speculating that Miller is really an OVP agent planted at the NYT to distribute pre-war intel (probably originating from the OSP, my speculation) as fact to make the case for war. He thinks she was "read in" to the WHIG program, and that this whole president allowing disclosure thing is just another lie made up by Libby et al to prevent the truth of the US gov't using propaganda ops on domestic soil from coming out. Not to mention violating the ban on using journalists as cover for agents.

I don't know if he's right, but he makes a good case by juxtaposing Miller's prewar reporting with the declassified Key Judgements section of the October 2002 NIE. The similarities are quite striking.

Wouldn't THAT be intersting! Perhaps we should just rename this to Millergate instead.

Thanks for the correction, Jeff.

He thinks she was "read in" to the WHIG program, and that this whole president allowing disclosure thing is just another lie made up by Libby et al to prevent the truth of the US gov't using propaganda ops on domestic soil from coming out.

wasn't there a controversy over Miller's claim to have some kind of special security clearance?


Miller was definitely on the distribution list for WHIG materials (that has been alleged, with sources, before). Though I think Booman's column (which I admitted read after no sleep and quickly at that) is a little confusing in that it suggests Libby got it as NIE type info. Remember that OSP and WHIG were getting and using info BEFORE the IC validated it in some cases.

Someone linked to a Karen Kwiatkoski story recently (I think lukery) which noted that the Niger intell WASN'T an OSP product. THought the aluminum tubes were. I'm really beginning to think about what that means--that we can compare one intell campaign against another to see how it was leaked. But in the case of the tubes, at least, OSP was driving that.


I think the Libby to Novak thing is less than speculative, if we believe Waas' story on Fragos Townsend (which has been publicly reported elsewhere). In the second-to-last Libby post, I pointed out that Jeffress admitted that Libby claims to have learned from Novak about who his "source" is. And Novak, when he told Rove he'd make him happy with one thing and unhappy with another, was linking these two smear campaigns, so the timing is close (though we can't prove it was post July 7). I guess I'm saying, Libby almost certainly spoke with Novak. And then, at some point, he had a conversation with Novak about how N's sources were. It would be the easiest thing possible to have Novak claim his first leak was Armitage and second (confirming) was Rove, thereby permitting the claim that Libby didn't mention Wilson to Novak. Okay, it's speculative. But add in the telegraphing to Judy, and there is a lot of backing for it.

Jeffress admitted that Libby claims to have learned from Novak about who his "source" is

ew - Those sections of Libby's lawyer's argument in court are especially obscure, to some degree perhaps deliberately, but the way I read that is that he was saying that whatever Libby heard about Novak and his source, he heard via Rove. I also suspect that Libby didn't actually hear from Rove who Novak was saying his first source was, perhaps only that he had a first source, whom Libby's lawyer refers to by his court nickname, "official one", in order to suggest Libby knows his identity with a certainty he does not actually possess.

But a couple of things in favor of your Novak-Libby hypothesis. Novak's story is that he heard from Armitage on July 8, but he tells Wilson's friend on the street both that the administration could and/or should have taken care of it weeks earlier, which would be consistent with Novak having heard about it earlier (either from Armitage or from Libby). And, second, the rest of what Novak tells Wilson's friend ("Wilson's an asshole." etc) tracks so closely with the White House talking points, as we know them, that it would almost be surprising if Armitage were the only administration person he'd talked to by that point. The only thing I would say on that last point is that while there seems to be a consensus in the reporting now that Novak talked to Rove on July 9, it has been reported to have been July 8 as well, and I remain unsure what to believe - which is to say that it's possible that by the time Novak talked to Wilson's friend on July 8, he might already have heard and digested the White House talking points from Rove, even though both of their published accounts suggest that Rove was much more taciturn than that.

As for Miller, when was she hired at the Times? Well before the Bush administration came into power, no? I think she's just a good old fashioned sympathizer and disgraceful journalist, not a devious plant of OVP or anyone else.

Hope you're enjoying your trip.

Re: Miller,

I don't think she's a plant, per se. I think she was regarded as a sympathizer and someone they could easily dupe.

I'm also wondering (and may post on it, if I get time, but it'd be tomorrow, because I'm going to sightsee and exercise off the 17 hours of plane-sitting today) whether one of the best ways to rectify eRiposte's issue--why leak the NIE because the classified version actually refutes Bush's claims and some of the details of the Judy leak is that they lied to her about what the NIE said. Maybe they wanted Judy to source to a former Hill staffer and not SAO because they knew they were lying and didn't want the lie to be traceable back to them. Just in case the NIE got declassified, of course.

Re that section of Jeffress' testimony, here's the passage:

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.

It could very well mean the following:

Mr. Libby heard this directly. Novak told Libby Armitage discussed Plame. The government says Woodward didn't tell Libby that. However, the government has revealed another person who did tell him that.

And then it goes on:

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.

This whole exchange makes it seem like Jeffress is insisting there's more that the government doesn't necessarily have, but that Libby insists is true. THat, at the least, when Rove told Libby about Novak, he told LIbby Novak's source was Armitage. And I suspect Jeffress uses the passive in the last passage to avoid saying exactly who told Libby, Rove or (presumably) Novak.

I guess the thing is we don't know whether Jeffress is just sloppy (I doubt it, he is neither Loquacious Luskin nor Tate, who is probably the least competent lawyer in this game), or whether he's very carefully trying to parse a space between what the government knows and what can get his client in trouble. Then again, this is a transcript of an oral hearing and there are a few other errors in it, so it may not be that exact.

ew - Maybe you're right, and Jeffress is trying not to reveal too much defense strategy, including the revelation that Novak told Libby that he had heard from Armitage that Plame worked at the CIA.

But here's the thing: if Libby was told in June-July 2003 that official one was disclosing that Plame was CIA (as opposed to, Libby was told, like, last week by Fitzgerald that it came from official one), why are his lawyers spending time in court working on getting the identity of official one out of Fitzgerald?

I'm not suggesting he was told in July 2003 (that's the safe fall-back position for Jeffress.

I'm suggesting he was told in September 2003. When they were putting together their coverup. We know (from Waas) that there were a bunch of phone calls between the conspirators and Novak. I can easily imagine they said something like, "Okay, here's what we do. We say Libby's Novak conversation was about Townsend. We bury all evidence of Karl's conversation with Cooper. And we say Armitage (who actually served as a confirming source) served as source #1 (thereby hiding Libby's IIPA violation) and Novak simply confirmed what Armitage had told him. That way, we're not the the first leaker to either Novak or Cooper (even though we are)."

One of the outstanding questions is how honest Novak has been about this. I strongly suspect he testified, was pressured, and then testified again. But I do wonder whether he has testified truthfully, and if he hasn't, it is very possible they're hiding an early Libby leak to Novak.

In any case, the reason they're playing games with Armitage (in any case) is because they know more than they've said, but they can't admit that because it'd be tantamount to admitting conspiracy. So they need to get Armitage onto the stand to circulate the counter-narrative they've created. Which is effectively what Libby's lawyers have admitted.

If they can't get Armitage on the stand, whatever element of the cover-up that is still in place would be useless. And the hearing, IMO, was a big dance, with Fitz knowing they knew more, but playing the innocent accused story so that they either had to admit they knew more (as Jeffress effectively does here) or don't get to avail themselves of the cover-up. Either way they lose, unless they can get Walton to agree to bring Armitage to the stand.

Tomorrow's Wash Post points out that Bob Woodward's version of events indicates that Libby leaked what appear to be portions of the NIE to him on June 27, 2003. Woodward's notes from that meeting show that Libby used the word "vigorous" to describe the Iraqi effort in trying to obtain uranium. That's the same exact word Libby used when talking to Miller about the same subject on July 8. So this stuff wasn't declassified for Miller's benefit 10 days before the re-declassification on July 18; it was apparently declassified three weeks earlier. And Libby seems to be pretty darn scripted.

(Sidenote: I think this talk of declassification is crap. Was Libby reading only from the executive summary (the portion declassified on July 18)? If not, how do we know what he disclosed was ever declassified then or subsequently? And why was Libby bothering to leak to Woodward about this stuff in the first place? Did Libby actually believe what he was peddling, or was Libby hoping that Woodward would write an immediate article for the Wash Post--something that while not unheard of, is not that common. Also, neither Miller or Woodward wrote anything based upon Libby's "disclosure." I can only imagine how vexing this was for Libby. What did it take for the reporters to transcribe what he was saying and put it onto A1?? Ha.)

But this is the cool part of the Wash Post article:
"One former administration official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because he was discussing political strategy, said rebutting Wilson and other critics was an obsession of Cheney, Libby and many others then inside the Bush White House."

Obsession. Nice! It's been awhile since anyone near the inner circle has piped-up to undercut Cheney and Co. I don't understand the condition for granting anonymity to this source (seems the "ongoing investigation" or a "request from Fitz" would make more sense), but who cares. Makes for a nice anti-Libby and anti-Cheney push-back.

There is an interesting WaPo article for tomorrow by Smith, who's now evidently covering the legal case, and Vandehei. On first read, the early part of it was annoying in its characterization of Fitzgerald's filing, though less so on second read. But the very end of the article interestingly raises a question that has not been raised, as far as I know, since the new revelations concerning Bush's approval of Libby's disclosure of parts of the NIE to Miller: What about Woodward?

Libby also leaked information from the National Intelligence Estimate to Bob Woodward of The Washington Post prior to the date that the White House said it was officially declassified. In sworn testimony, Woodward told Fitzgerald that on June 27, 2003 -- 11 days before the Libby-Miller conversation -- Libby told him about the CIA estimate and an Iraqi effort to obtain "yellowcake" uranium in Africa, according to a statement Woodward released on Nov. 14, 2005.

In an interview, Woodward said his notes, which were not released publicly but were shown to Fitzgerald, included Libby using the word "vigorous" to describe the Iraqi effort. Libby used similar language when he provided the NIE information Bush declassified to Miller at their July 8, 2003, meeting, according to Fitzgerald's filing.

The precise status of the information at the time Libby provided it to Woodward is unclear because of conflicting accounts of the declassification process provided by Libby and McClellan. Fitzgerald's court filing does not provide the date when Bush and Cheney -- who have both been interviewed by the special prosecutor -- said they authorized Libby's disclosures.

This issue should be raised with McLellan or whoever at some point in the near future. As for that last sentence, it's true, strictly speaking, but Fitzgerald's filing sure makes it sound like Libby expressed discomfort with disclosing NIE materials specifically to Miller, and that Cheney went to Bush for approval specifically in relation to Miller. That was in advance of the July 8 conversation, but why wouldn't Libby have voiced similar apprehension about Woodward?

FWIW, Jason Leopold reports that the recent e-mails turned over to Fitz show that Bush was personally in the loop on the Wilson stuff (I find this very hard to believe) and that in his interview with Fitz, Bush said he didn't declassify the NIE for selective leaks and actually went out of his way to say he thinks that would be wrong.

Either Leopold has a primo FBI source, or he's a hack relying on four-hand sources. His reporting is getting increasingly specific. So he's either in line for journalism awards, or he's desperately and unethically trying to get more publicity in front of the release of his book. Unfortunately, I can't figure out which.

It is worth noting that Leopold reported on the NIE leak to Woodward back in early March. Leopold wrote then: "The leak of the NIE to Woodward was orchestrated by Cheney and Libby in mid-June 2003 in hopes that Woodward would write a story for the Washington Post that would contradict the assertions made by Wilson." Leopold had that part of the story a month ago. Score a big one for Leopold.

Jim E - Sorry for the repetition of your point, I didn't see it before I posted. And you're totally right about that former administration official making the key point undercutting, at least by pretty clear implication, the crucial contention of Libby's defense that Plame was peripheral to his concerns. That's part of why at first I was annoyed by the article - as it not only seemed to mischaracterize Fitzgerald's filing but also give free rein to Libby's lawyer - but then saw the later undermining of Libby's defense's point.

Folks, the Woodward stuff is old news. The part from Fitz' response from back in February notes Libby leaked in July and June, and Woodward's story described getting the leak in June (and I've cited it twice now in that context). And Leopold has been making the same point for a while too.

But Jeff raises a good point--then why the big issue before the July 8 leak if Libby had already leaked it in June?

I'll repeat the assertion I made above.

Libby was almost certainly not leaking the contents of the NIE. He was leaking what they were saying were the contents of the NIE, but were lying about. As eRiposte has pointed out several times, the classified NIE was actually less supportive of Dick's claims than the tidbits that had already been declassified. So the reason they Libby went to ex-Hill staffer MAY be because he was lying.

Then again, it's looking increasingly likely that Dick didn't give him approval to leak the NIE. But gave him approval to leak Plame's ID.

Is there any chance that Jeffress' "technical" classification, regarding Plame's identity, has nothing to do with what stage of the process she was in in transitioning from NOC to simple undercover, but that Dick declassified her status for her?

yo, emptywheel, world's worst lawyer contest:

who do you vote for, Luskin or Tate ???

you can change your vote if luskin gets indicted with rover

Dick authorized Libby to leak like a sieve on July 8.

About the NIE.

But did he authorize him to leak anything else?

Does this statement in the Fitz filing indicate that Libby was claiming he was also authorised to leak Wilson's report and this January 24, 2003 document (first I've heard of this document BTW)

were not made aware of the earlier declassification even as those officials were pressed to carry out a declassification of the NIE, the report about Wilson’s trip and another classified document dated January 24, 2003

On Novak

Someone leaked information to Novak from the Wilson trip report before any part was released in the 7/11/03 Tenet Statement. Novak's original column had details from Wilson's trip report.

Waas in his Frances Fragos Townsend article also has this regarding Libby's probable conversation with Novak. Novak talked with Rove on 7/9/03 according to Waas, it's likely Libby also talked with Novak on this day.

“The virtually simultaneous [with Rove] White House insider campaigns to leak information on Townsend and Plame”
Waas 12/16/05

I'll stick to my major feeling about this case (aside from Matalin being in the loop) -- that Tenet was Novak's first source, maybe Woodward's also.


He trusted both reporters not to publish about her job at CIA, but Novak did after talking with Rove, hearing/sensing declassification, and then checking back at the CIA about Plame's status and getting no firm pushback.

(Maybe DCI Tenet would fit in the redaction analysis people did earlier?)

I'd say Tenet was furious that Novak did this and that the WH was mixed up in it (perhaps Plame wasn't an initial part of the WH strategy but someone took initiative after Novak called, the cover up is good enough for Fitz however).

Tenet has assisted Fitzgerald from the start of the investigation,that's how Fitzgerald learned early on who the source was.

Tenet is being withheld by Fitz in the Libby trial because Tenet is willing to implicate Cheney in burning CIA assets/agents/secrets through illegal leaks, Hadley and Rove will support this.

Perhaps Tenet was fired/quit after he told Bush he's cooperating with Fitz, Bush lawyered up instantly after.

Maybe Tenet is also Leopold's source, as some of those emails were also sent to him (involving declassification?)?

Last fall the Washington Times had an op-ed describing how Tenet would not be used as a scapegoat and would respond to this by telling "what the President knew and when he knew it." This seems quite apt regarding this week's news:


Tenet will be writing a book to be published by HarperCollins, where some CIA wives work, he apparently never signed a deal announced earlier with *Crown* books, alas.

Enjoy the trip EW, it sounds like great fun but I'm sure you're missing Plameworld.

i'll ask here a question i've asked elsewhere.

why did he do it?

and why now?

fitzgerald has been very careful and rather bland is what he has released to the public (or more precisly, what he knows the public will be able to read in court documents) until recently.

he has to know that the facts in this latest court document would have a major impact on the bush presidency.

so why did he do it?

why tell the public now that bush authorized libby’s leaking to miller, et al.?

what is fitzgerald after?

is he tired of libby’s lawyers playing games with him and the court?

is he trying to flush out some more conspirators?

is he protecting himself? or comey?

any guesses?

Some redacted information was deliberately revealed by Libby's lawyers in court recently (Fitz's comment was "now that we have sort of burned what was sealed").

My reaction to this release was: 1)what exquisite timing, release it on Thursday for maximum effect on the Friday and Sunday news shows, and 2)Fitz can release damaging information too, and he plans to follow up on it.

You can see the reaction to new Libby/Plame news is growing with each release, the pressure on the WH from this must be intense -- in addition to the specific inplications for the individuals involved.

It has become Battle Leak, ironically, between Iron Chef Fitz and Libby's side. I don't put much weight on the "Comey authorization" distraction put out by Jeffress and the JustOneMinute crowd.

Shit I need to catch up on the Comey authorization.

Why now, why do it? Great question, Orion.

I think two reasons. One, as Jerry said, Libby's team has leaked some information that makes Armitage, if it is Armitage seem guilty. They've broken the rule of innocent accused, which Fitz takes very seriously, even for people like Hadley.

But I suspect he's trying to prove to someone that this will bring Bush and Cheney down, or at least Cheney. If Fitzgerald can weaken Cheney's position sufficiently so that someone currently wavering becomes more forthcoming, voila! You've got not only Dick in a frogmarch but probably the larger conspiracy. It would go along with the strategy of taking the perjury case--something they can't fight head on, as Libby's folks seem to be trying to do, to weaken up targets for the much bigger case.

I'm also curious about orionATL's list of questions, to which I would add:

1) did Team Libby force Fitz into releasing these new revelations or could he have easily gotten through this latest round of legal filings without creating the recent Bush/Cheney furor?

2) was Team Libby expecting Fitz to handle it this way?

3) did Team Libby intend for Fitz to handle it this way?

4) if so, was Team Bush expecting/intending for Team Libby to handle it this way? (On surface it seems like PR disaster to be avoided at all costs, but maybe it's part of their larger "lesser of evils" game plan)

The Jan 24, 2003 document is almost certainly a DIA report issued on that day that focused on the uranium claim (see SSCI page 64).

We need to keep in mind that Libby was leaking the junk to Woodward and Miller even after he was told by the CIA that the CIA no longer believed the uranium claim to be credible since the forgeries had gotten exposed (this was the June 17, 2003 CIA report). This makes it more likely that he was deliberately lying about the validity of the uranium claim and was selectively picking stuff out of whatever he could get his hands on (the report on Wilson's trip and the body of the NIE) and then portraying, falsely, some of it as having come from the key judgements of the NIE.

Now, there's another angle I'd like to see the media explore further - the DIA and its use by Scooter, Shooter and Leaker-in-Chief. The June 17, 2003 CIA report came out 5 days after a DIA report that continued to peddle the uranium claim using an unreliable Nov 2002 NCIS report that the CIA did not consider credible. Incidentally, not many people are aware of this, but even the uranium claim in the NIE got picked up from a Sep 2002 DIA report, not from a CIA report. I mentioned this last year and also in my post this week:

Ahhh, so if eriposte is right, that means the uranium claims WERE probably originated with OSP, no? Though if Karen Kwiatkowski has categorically denied this, I'd tend to believe her.

eriposte and viget:

recently, in wapoop or NYtwiTimes,

there was a story about two army analysts,

both named in the story,

who had been given

performance awards

for their findings on the "little tubes of terror", i.e., the anodized aluminuum rocket tubes that were depicted by the wh as uranium centrifuge material.

the news story pointed out that other analysts (at DOE and State) had explicitly rejected the centrifuge possibility.

since the analysts names were given,

would it not be possible to trace them to their office in dod?

also a state department analyst (maybe on weapons or proliferation)

complained of being penalized by transfer for questioning some aspect of the administration's "iraq is a threat" war cry

and two cia analysts (unsure of specialty label for these two) have sued the gov't on grounds of being penalized by cia for arguing against some aspect of "iraq is a threat".

pretty loose stuff here

but two legs of the same creature might be

-- cherry pick intell and feed it to journalists so their stories appear to be independent second sources

and, at the same time,

--suppress and punish intelligence professionals within govt

who might offer threatening alternative realities to the white houses's invade iraq advertising campaign.

orionATL, I think you're certainly right. this sort of discussion is highly suppressed by the relevant agencies so there is little coverage on the web. i'll recommend wayne madsen as a very interesting blogger in these areas - with the caution that these stories are hard to verify/research. there's also a guy named doug farrah and whatreallyhappened.com (ignore the truely far out stuff IMO) which I check regularly.


I think you're right. I think that's the big elephant in the room that may or may not come out. That essentially every bit of intel that was "declassified" and used in the runup to the Iraq war can initially be traced back to OSP. And when other papers characterize it as "most agencies agree" that that's a lie, and the heads of the respected agencies were twisted by WHIG to insert that kind of language (we already know Tenet was accomodating enough to fall on his sword over the 16 words, why wouldn't he also capitualte on misrepresenting what CIA analysts acutally thought?).

But, as we know, Powell doesn't play that game (unless it's before the UN security council), so INR refused to kowtow to the OSP stovepiped intel.

Which may be the neocons perverse way of justifying the declassification. They knew it was bogus anyway, so releasing it wasn't going to compromise any sources or methods.

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