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May 25, 2006

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» Waas: Novak Promised to Protect Rove in PlameGate from TalkLeft: The Politics of Crime
Murray Waas has a new article on the Valerie Plame leaks investigation, disclosing that federal agents became suspicious of Karl Rove and Bob Novak because of a telephone conversation in which Novak reached out to assure Rove he would... [Read More]

» Waas: Novak Promised to Protect Rove in PlameGate from TalkLeft: The Politics of Crime
Update: Scroll to the bottom to see Rove Spokesperson Mark Corallo's response to Murray's article: Murray Waas has a new article on the Valerie Plame leaks investigation, disclosing that federal agents became suspicious of Karl Rove and Bob Novak... [Read More]

» Novak Covering Rove from Liberty and Justice
PlameGate is seriously jeopardizing Rove, thus the entire Bush administration. The right thing to do, in my opinion, for Bushco is to ask Rove to resign, just as Pelosi did with Jefferson. Whether all the allegations in the media are true or not, fac... [Read More]

Comments

Curious that despite judge's direction that all witnesses come in the front of the courthouse, Novak was never seen going in and it wasn't known until after the fact that he testified. So, do we really know how many times Novak has tesified? And if he can sneak in, who else, Armitage? The amount we don't know and hopefully Fitz DOES know is mindboggling. Thanks for the post, great work!

so, are these the only possibilities?

1) rove is guilty as sin but straight-shooter fitz can't see clear to indict him for the reasons outlined in waas's article

2) rove is giving fitz dirt (presumably on cheney), but it's taking forever for fitz to do anything with it - but when he does, rove will plead guilty to some minor charge

2b) same as 2, but rove gets off completely

3) rove is going the way of Lay and DeLay, but his day has has been way delayed, or waylaid by abu gonzález

Thanks, EW, I found this post really interesting.

I think that it is more and more likely that Rove is cooperating, which is why we have not heard anything about an indictment.

However, there is a second possible interpretation of Waas's article. It could be similar to when Libby leaked before being indicted that he originally learned about Plame from Cheney. Maybe Rove is trying to pre-emptively blunt the impact of the obstruction of justice charge by putting it out there before the indictment.

Not as likely as Rove cooperating and now trying to come clean, but it is a tactic that has been used before.

obsessed

I think the possibilities are:

1) Fitz is very close on the Perjury and False Statement charges related exclusively to Cooper but is deciding whether he has Obstruction and possible Suborning perjury.

2) Fitz got enough new evidence with the missing emails to finalize the obstruction, conspiracy to obstruct, and suborning charges, and he is working now to finish the cases against all the other people involved in the conspiracy to obstruct (think Susan Ralston, the IT guy, Abu Gonzales). This is my best guess of what is happening.

3) Once the emails came forward, Rove knew he was cooked, so started singing.

My biggest question is, who is Waas' source for the Rove side of testimony, and why did that person release this? Waas is usually impeccable at not getting spun, so I assume he was impeccable again this time. But there are some reasons why Team Rove might want it suspected that obstruction was coming down the pike.

However, there is a second possible interpretation of Waas's article. It could be similar to when Libby leaked before being indicted that he originally learned about Plame from Cheney. Maybe Rove is trying to pre-emptively blunt the impact of the obstruction of justice charge by putting it out there before the indictment.

Actually, I think that's a really smart interpretation.

I still think the only reason Rove might cooperate is if the Texas Mafia decided it was time to sever their relationship from the Neocon mafia. They can't legally ask Dick to leave. But Rove probably has it in his power to see Dick indicted.

Barring that, I can't see him cooperating, because he no doubt anticipates a pardon, so there's no pay-off to cooperating. So maybe it is pre-emptive expectations setting.

Though where is Isikoff's article on it? And VandeHei's?

please let it be #2 ...

Though where is Isikoff's article on it? And VandeHei's?

yeah ... the who and why of murray's sources ...

EW, I think that that is a really good point about the typical stenographers not receiving the story. And the mainstream press does not typically follow Waas's lead.

I guess that it is probably relevant to follow the arc of Waas's articles to try and figure out where he gets his information. I am guessing that EW has probably posited a theory about who are Waas's sources.

My sense is that the fact that he often relies upon Grand Jury testimony for his story says to me that he is either getting it from an FBI insider source who is familiar with the investigation or the defense lawyers.

If this story did not come from the defense, then I am a little stumped as to who would want to put it out there.

I don't know if this has been addressed here but according to this paragraph. Rove is contending that Novak first informed him of of Plame's role:

Rove has testified that he heard more about Plame from Novak, who had originally called him on July 9 about an entirely different matter. It was only at the end of their conversation that Rove heard that Plame worked for the CIA and had some role in sending her husband on his CIA-sponsored trip to Niger, Rove has testified. Having been told this information by Novak, Rove told the FBI, he simply said he had heard the same thing.

If this is true, then who had already informed Novak of this information? Was it Armitage? How did Novak first come into possesion of this knowledge? Also, if Novak indeed informed Rove 5 days before Novak's column why did not Rove get the facts and warn Novak not to publish? Why, in fact did he pass along the "rumour" to Cooper? This is all criminal negligence and willful blindness. It is as if outing a CIA agent were a peripheral, trivial matter to these people.

I've always thought Waas had a source in the FBI and a source in the DOJ.


Well, I guess we know where Novak got the classified Wilson's trip report information.

I [Novak] was interviewing a senior administration official on Ambassador [Joseph C.] Wilson's report [on his Niger trip]
Waas 5/25/06

jk

Waas' best source appears to have been someone connected with the FBI investigation, since he got info on testimony from Fall 2003 but not any really revelatory details from the post-Fitzgerald era. He also seems to have someone privy to Ashcroft's recusal (and it should be said, James Comey is quite likely a source for Risen and Lichtblau on the NSA scandal, so it is possible he leaked the recusal details as well). Since then, according to his profile at US News, he's been working from public filings, just like we are:

It's a difficult story because sources are few and far between and reluctant to go on the record. An advantage has been that a lot of the stories have come right from public court records.

Since the records are public, are other reporters not seeing what you see or looking for what you're looking for?

They're not looking. They're not reading.

Though he had sources that gave him the Frances Fragos Townsend story (which either came from inside the investigation or the White House). And he had someone confirm that Dick authorized the NIE leak and that Dick authorized leaking in Fall 2002 as well. These may still be someone in the investigation, but it may well be someone friendly at the White House.

I raise the date question because almost all of this story could have come from his earlier reporting (in that it involves Rove's lies and Ashcroft's recusal). But this is more detail than we've gotten before on Grand Jury testimony, which I find striking.

Might Ashcroft be one of Waas' sources?:

"James Hamilton, an attorney for Novak, said he could not comment on the ongoing CIA leak probe. Ashcroft, now in private practice, did not respond through a spokesperson to inquiries for this article. A spokesman for Fitzgerald said that the special prosecutor's office would not comment on the matter."

Waas explicitly states that Novak's Lawyer and Fitzgerald's spokesman would not comment. He says that Ashcroft did not respond through a spokesman. This could be interpreted to mean he did, in fact respond. Or perhaps Waas is being sloppy.

I have to say that this goes beyond criminal negligence. This is a clear cut conspiracy between Novak and Rove to out a CIA agent. A child could see through all these obfuscations and lies. Novak and Rove should be indicted, convicted and sent to jail on conspiracy to reveal the identity of a CIA officer charges.

There are conflicting accounts of Rove's early testimony.

Rove insisted, he had only circulated information about Plame after it had appeared in Novak's column.

snip

Rove added that when he steered others in the direction of the now-disproved charges, he believed them to be true, in part because he regarded Novak as a credible news source
Waas 3/8/04


Also of interest to investigators have been a series of telephone contacts between Novak and Rove, and other White House officials, in the days just after press reports first disclosed the existence of a federal criminal investigation as to who leaked Plame's identity. I
Waas 7/12/05


Here are the striking similarities

Rove and Libby both heard about Plame from reporters.

Rove "I heard that, too,"

Libby “Yeah, I’ve heard that too.”

Offhand

Clifford May "I learned it from someone who formerly worked in the government and he mentioned it in an offhanded manner
Clifford May 9/29/03"

Novak "It was an offhand revelation"

Woodward "told him about Plame "in an offhand, casual manner"

Here's a thought.

Think about the significance of the call itself. Why would Novak have called Turdblossom to tell him he would protect him unless he needed to be protected?

"according to people with firsthand knowledge of the federal grand jury testimony of both men."

I agree that Waas is almost always scrupulous about his sources. I think he's used this particular source description before. And I believe that 'firsthand' should specifically mean one who heard the testimony in real time, or at least is part of the GJ process and read the relevant transcripts contemporaneously. Otherwise, why use the term 'firsthand'?
So this says to me that the information comes from either Fitz' office, which it doesn't; Team Rove, which possibility you have already addressed; or—directly from members of the Grand Jury.

Given that these details are particularly testimony-specific, couldn't his sources here be 2 or more members from either of the Grand Juries? Of course it seems they've all been reluctant to speak at all, much less on the record, but I bet it's possible that a few are really interested in getting the truth out in this way, and Waas may be bringing them along slowly.

The Mike Allen 9/29/03 WaPo (link now dead) entitled "Bush Aides Say They'll Cooperate With Probe Into Intelligence Leak" is where EW found this quote

She is a case officer in the CIA's clandestine service and works as an analyst on weapons of mass destruction.
WaPo 9/29/03

This article appeared in the Monday Washington Post and may be a factor in why Novak called Rove as well.

Interesting quote in retrospective, polly, seeing as how it seems increasingly likely that Armitage is Mr. X and is also the source for the 1X2X6 article, whose primary leakee appears to be Mike Allen. That is, did Armitage explain exactly what Plame's status was when he was explaining the 1X2X6 defense?

Btw, I'm increasingly convinced that 1X2X6 included two journalists first leaked to after Novak's column, Tweety and Mitchell, and that when BushCo was seeding the leak with them (Mitchell at Ford's birthday party, Tweety on the phone with Karl), they were told to ask Armitage for more dirt. Which is why Armitage started refusing Mitchell's calls, and where he got the 6 number from: the number of people who were either sent his way (Novak, Tweety, Mitchell, possibly Cooper, possibly Miller), and those who said they had a source (Pincus).

Polly

You know, I've been wondering if Fitz's team has a "forensic talking-point analyst." It's become increasingly clear to me that their message discipline may indeed be the linchpin in any potential conspiracy indictment. Much like mutations and polymorphisms in mitochondrial DNA tells us the ancestral geography of a particular racial/ethnic group, the same words and phrasing can help us track back a talking point to its author, and potentially help illuminate a disinformation conspiracy. Having access to emails and speech drafts may also be helpful in this regard.

I wonder if this type of analysis would hold up to scrutiny during a trial.

Waas' new article helps me understand the ending to his previous article (at the end of April) -- which I never understood:

"If Rove's and Libby's accounts to the grand jury are correct, journalists wrote about Plame's CIA employment even though both White House aides said the information was unsubstantiated gossip. Both reporters have said that the information was not qualified in any way, and that they believed it authoritative enough to publish.

"Some journalism professors say that, in Washington, there is often a rush to print information.

" 'Much of what passes for news in Washington is very hurried leaks from officials in power, whether in a corridor conversation or a thirty second phone call,' said Mark Feldstein, a former investigative correspondent for CNN, who is currently a professor of journalism at George Washington University. "And the media is far too credulous of accepting the word of Washington officialdom when it comes to self-serving leaks or publishing self-serving information."

"Geneva Overholser, a journalism professor at the University of Missouri, former chair of the Pulitzer Prize board, and former editor of the Des Moines Register, went even further, questioning whether columnist Novak should have used Karl Rove as a source that Plame worked for the CIA based on brief comments that Rove made that he simply heard the same information that Novak did"

I thought at the time it sounded like a taunt at Novak -- hey, hotshot columnist/journalist, you must have had more to go on than THAT. And I'm betting Waas isn't the only one who's been sniping at Novak about this (like the famous exit from the CNN interview with Carville).

"Rove insisted, he had only circulated information about Plame after it had appeared in Novak's column. "

If this really was Rove's testimony, then he is caught in another lie:

On July 11, 2003, the same day Rove says he spoke to Libby, Rove told Time magazine's Cooper that Plame worked for the CIA. Although Rove has said he has little recollection of his conversation with Cooper, he has testified that similar to his conversation with Novak, he passed along to Cooper the same rumors about Plame he had originally heard from journalists.

Anyone know what time senior staff meetings take place?

I believe they're first thing in the morning -- say, 7:30 or 8:00 AM (for "message of the day" purposes and probably to avoid conflicts with other meetings/appointments).

I think I see why Fitzgerald would believe that Rove would have a motive to hide the Cooper conversation in particular. We know from Cooper's own reporting that Rove brought up Plame with him and told him the key info about her; and it does not appear that he passed it on as gossip from reporters or even as unsubstantiated rumor. If that is so, it is pretty implausible that Rove would do that simply on the basis of unsubstantiated rumors he'd been hearing from reporters. Hence, the Cooper conversation is a problem for Rove not simply because it happened - because Rove passed information about Plame's CIA affiliation and purported role in her husband's trip - but because it raises the likelihood that Rove did not learn this information from reporters, and that his entire story is bs. Maybe that's been obvious for a while.

On a related note, that Rove-Libby conversation is also key. Since Fitzgerald does not believe that Russert told Libby about Plame, if Rove testified that Libby told him on July 11 (or 10) that he was hearing gossip from reporters about Plame, Fitzgerald is bound to see this as evidence of a cover-up featuring those two. (In light of what we've seen now of Libby's questioning in the grand jury, and the way Fitzgerald goes back over the key events in rounds of questioning, I bet Rove was questioned about the conversation with Libby this time around again.)

While Swopa's ingenious hypothesis on 1x2x6 is dead, his theory of the immaculate dissemination is alive and thriving.

Two quick things on some of polly's cites. I don't think there are necessarily conflicts in Rove's early testimony; it's just rather bizarre, especially the idea that Rove passed information to journalists after Novak's story in part because he considered Novak a reliable news source - while at the same time he was one of the major sources for that very story, even though he maybe sorta didn't realize that he had been a source for Novak, since it would be hard to imagine that Novak had taken his minimal agreement with Novak about Plame as confirmation.

Also, if Cooper has told us everything relevant that LIbby said about Plame, then that actually helps Rove and Novak, since it means another journalist (Cooper) took the very same words Rove uttered to Novak as the same kind of confirmation. Or so it seems.

Also, if Cooper has told us everything relevant that LIbby said about Plame, then that actually helps Rove and Novak, since it means another journalist (Cooper) took the very same words Rove uttered to Novak as the same kind of confirmation. Or so it seems.

True. But aren't you the one arguing Cooper has another source? Plus there's the Dickerson corroboration, which Rove presumably didn't have.

EW: Cooper does have another source. Probably the same one Pincus had.

Speaking of which...

While Swopa's ingenious hypothesis on 1x2x6 is dead...

In your dreams, research boy. :-) It's as alive as ever.

Waas may have inherited a source or a line of sources from Jack Anderson. He certainly has given Jack a couple of smiles down from Journalistic heaven, and if Jack left him with sources, they certainly wouldn't be, shall we say, of the younger set...just sayin'

Shuster on Hardball says that Rove has admitted that he had a conversation with Novak after the investigation was announced. So Murray's source could have been someone in the Rove camp, and this story could just be trying to deflect a bigger story to come. With all of the other news today, Rove's little adventure may be drowned out.

At first it was Fitzmas. Then Fitzeaster, then Fitzo de Mayo. Could it be Fizorial Day tomorrow?

THe AP weighs in with an interesting look: http://www.nytimes.com/aponline/us/AP-CIA-Leak.html?_r=1&oref=slogin

Ty Cobb?

EW

I don't know about Tweety (that's Matthews right?), but Mitchell was definitely one of the six. Since Mitchell didn't get the leak until after the Novak article, it looks like the 1x2x6 source may have had some of his story wrong.


Takoma Park, Md.: The Post said six journalists were told. Who were the five other than Novak? Is Novak the only one of the six who wrote a story based on the leak?

Walter Pincus: The one other name The post was given was Andrea Mitchell of NBC. We are checking to see who else may have carried it before Novak. There were others told who apparently did not write the story, but many carried it after the column appeared. I did not write about it until Sen. Schumer requested the FBI to look into it because I had checked the basic allegation, that it was Wilson's wife who "suggested sending him to Niger" and did not believe it was true. My own first story about Wilson going to Niger, without my naming him, that appeared June 12 was mentioned in Novak's column.
WaPo 9/29/03

Remember the Isikof story that came out in mid October 2003 knocking down the 1x2x6? The article looks like Rove wrote it, but he may be partly right about the timing.

an alternative theory is emerging among those who are directly involved in the leak case: that the “senior administration official” quoted in the Washington Post piece simply got it wrong. There were indeed White House phone calls to reporters about Wilson’s wife. But most, if not all, of these phone calls, were made after the Novak column appeared, some government officials now believe. They were placed as part of a blundering effort to persuade journalists to concentrate on Wilson’s presumed lack of credentials as a critic of pre-Iraq war intelligence rather than the substance of his critique.
Newsweek 10/8/03

Clemons had this last fall on the timing of the phone calls.

I spoke to a well-informed and connected Washington Post reporter recently with some familiarity with these national security topics, and this source -- who did not state that he/she was familiar with the Priest/Allen source -- did suggest that sources can get wobbly. In this particular case, according to the person to whom I was speaking, a source might have become "confused" as to what occurred before the Novak article and what after.
TWN 11/23/06

If the 1x2x6 source and Woodward's source are one and the same, it's hard to reconcile the tone of the leaks. The 1x2x6 leaker who said it was clearly "meant purely and simply for revenge" seems disgusted with what was done to Plame and the Woodward leaker was was offhand about Plame.

Maybe Armitage knew Woodward wouldn't talk and felt comfortable telling him about Plame and then became angry when he realized what Rove and Libby were doing.

polly,

yeah, I'm arguing that Tweety (Matthews) and Mitchell came after the leak.

What I'm suggesting is that if either before or after Novak's conversation with Armitage (remember, Libby keeps saying he had a conversation with Novak, though I've never seen it verified) Libby figured out Armitage could be useful to him, then he might have sent people Armitage's way. (Imagine, for a second, if Woodward either forgot or lied about telling Libby about Armitage?). So Libby sends people to Armitage for comment and, he hopes, so that Armitage will tell them about Plame so he doesn't have to. With Novak, Armitage begins to get hip to the process. (But assume Judy came before). Then Cooper calls, Tweety and Mitchell try to call. Armitage has figured out at this point that Libby's sending people, and that he--Armitage--fucked up by saying as much as he did to Novak. She he refuses Tweety's and Mitchell's calls, but he still counts their phone calls pre-leak as one of the six.

Wait a second, I guess I'm arguing that Tweety and Mitchell TRIED to get Armitage the week of July 7, but he was hip to the game so he refused their calls.

Indispensable as always, Polly. But wasn't that Isikoff story in turn refuted by the Pincus 10/12 story (which struck me as a direct response by the 1x2x6 SAO)?

I think, though, that you've helped me understand a flaw of the original 1x2x6 story. I'll save the explanation for a Needlenose post, assuming it pans out upon further study.

Yep, it panned out. There's an interesting link between the three quotes Polly cites. And 1x2x6 is alive and well.

See a tongue-in-cheek visual of the plan by Rove and Novak to keep their little secret quiet...here:

www.thoughttheater.com

Experts may skip this post. It treats a few ideas discussed upthread, though.
There is a field in linguistics called morphology which is like the new DNA lineage tracing; it is usually correlated with other known anthropologic factors such as neighborhood history, migrations. Perhaps the insideTheBeltway media frequent the same wireservice so much tht wordstreams may be traced the way some of these analyses have; inductively, many times in the past year, these disassembly modalities have clarified the network topologies: who was speaking to whom, whose talking points were the basis of the communication.
Of which I think the VP's news article annotations were talking points, or meditation themes for Libby, possibly extending beyond Libby; as in photocopy and distribute to cadre for 1x2x6 defense; or, put the talking points in an email and distribute to cadre; then Fitzgerald finds a few of those nearly identical emails.
On Waas' lexis, I find his prose fairly peerless; but, heck, he has the honesty to discuss some of his own lapses, at least by allusion, even in the name of his own website to which he rarely posts, whateverAlready.

But aren't you the one arguing Cooper has another source? Plus there's the Dickerson corroboration, which Rove presumably didn't have.

Both good points. But Cooper has said that he took it as confirmation, I believe. That said, it remains possible that there was more to their conversation than we have heard about so far.

So Swopa, for whom polly is always indispensable but I'm "research boy," I can't wait for the long-promised, long-deferred salvation of your ingenious 1x2x6 hypothesis, its flaw revealed and the hypothesis redeemed. On a more serious note, while I'll be happy for emptywheel's idea to be right, I'm inclined toward the view that if Armitage is 1x2x6, he was distracting attention from himself and toward the White House at a key moment. On this view, the fact that he would have pushed back again after Newsweek's story would not be surprising or much of a refutation, rather than just a reassertion.

But I think I recall the last time I tried out this hypothesis, there was some reason that Swopa and/or emptywheel thought it was flawed, which I was impressed by. What was it?

So Swopa, for whom polly is always indispensable but I'm "research boy"...

Apostasy does have its downside.

I pointed out that if it was meant as distraction, it got instead an immediate counter-attack (and possibly sparked the attack on BJ and Flame/Plame.

Ty Cobb?

Thanks for catching that! There's a great line somewhere in his being a federal prosecutor, but I haven't figured it out yet.

JohnLopresti & viget

I find your ideas very interesting. I've noticed a couple of other words used in this story that aren't often found in general speech. I've been looking around thinking there must be a clue about one of the leakers, if an usual word shows up in different places.

Boondoggle

Boondoggle starts with Wurmser according to the following accounts and makes it's way to Pincus and Wilson's friend via Novak.

Pincus used boondoggle in his account of what he was told. "it was set up as a boondoggle by his wife"

Wilson says that "Libby evidently seized opportunities to rail openly against me as an "asshole playboy" who went on a boondoggle "arranged by his CIA wife""

Rawstory attributed boondoggle to to Wurmser in a meeting with Libby and Cheney. "He asserted that it was a boondoggle, the sources said"


Dispatched

First appears in the INR Memo in the INR Analyst's Notes. The word dispatched does NOT appear in the INR Memo only in this attachment. (aside: these notes were misquoted in the SSCI creating an entirely different meaning)

Either Cooper loves the word dispatched or maybe one of his sources knew what was in the INR Memo attachment.

Meeting apparently convened by Valerie Wilson, a CIA WMD managerial type and the wife of Amb Joe Wilson, with the idea that the agency and the larger USG could dispatch Joe to Niger to use his contacts there to sort out the Niger/Iraq uranium sale question.
INR Analyst Notes (attachment to the INR memo) - Niger/Iraq uranium Meeting CIA, 2/19/06

Source "some government officials"

these officials have suggested that she was involved in her husband's being dispatched Niger to investigate
7/17/03

Source "A source close to the matter"

A source close to the matter says that Wilson was dispatched to Niger because Vice President Dick Cheney
TIME 7/17/03

Source Cheney's staff

They say the Vice President merely asked routine questions at an intelligence briefing and that mid-level CIA officials, on their own, chose to dispatch Wilson.
TIME 7/17/03

Or maybe dispached and boondoggle are common Washington lexicon.

"Suggested", is another word I've been following around.

There are regional lexicons, as well as caste cliche words, pollyusa. It is language but sometimes people reveal more than they think is apparent. However, lots of speakers utilize speechwriters, as well; think 'decider', no, someone else, but that is the idea.

I was looking for an article, I thought I remembered in 10/03 that has a reference to the 1x2x6 and reread this interesting Allen and Pincus 10/04/03 WaPo.

I wonder who was talking to Wilson numerous times in the WH?

For some officials, the task is a massive one. Some White House officials said they had numerous conversations with Wilson that had nothing to do with his wife, so the directive is seen as a heavy burden at a time when many of the president's aides already feel beleaguered.
WaPo 10/04/06

Hmmm. Maybe that "with" should have been "about." (If any had conversations with Wilson that did involve his wife, I'm sure Irving would be very interested in knowing about them.)

Swopa

This looks like the 1x2x6 source with a new quote in the Allen and Pincus 10/12 WaPo (my favorite Plame article BTW). I would say that this is the knock down of the Isikoff 10/8/03 Newsweek article.

"It was unsolicited," the source said. "They were pushing back. They used everything they had."
WaPo 10/12/03


I also ran into (in one of your ancient posts) Fineman backing up the 9/28/03 WaPo, he has someone (1x2x6?) in the WH saying that the WH did the leaking.


MATTHEWS: Well, the “Washington Post” is a very credible organization in Washington, D.C. Is that the main source that everybody is pegging this to? Their report from a Saturday source, apparently, that the administration or two people in the White House were making these calls to leak this information about Joe Wilson‘s wife, Howard?

FINEMAN: Well, it was in the Sunday “Washington Post.” Yes, that‘s the main thing that got this going again. But in my own calling around, I have some people inside the White House telling me the same thing. They‘re making the allegation, not for attribution, that yes, in fact, there were people inside the White House leaking, inside the White House complex. And, you know, these are people that I‘ve talked to before who know what they‘re talking about, usually.

And what‘s of interest to me here is that you seem to have a fight going on behind the scenes to see who, if anybody, is going to come forward and admit something. Who‘s going to actually finger somebody else on the record.
Hardball 9/29/03



I've got something on the Deputy's Committee, seems Armitage is only one that is not a Cheney guy according to Brown and Mitchell

Ms. MITCHELL: Well part of Cheney's power is ideas. He has sold his ideas to his principle, George W. Bush. A part of it is loyalty and the fact that he has no presidential ambitions of his own. Part of it is that all of the people who you see, the key players on the Deputy's Committee--this is the super powerful group that decides a lot of international security olicy--they all, with the one exception of Richard Armitage, who works for Colin Powell, they all worked for Dick Cheney in other lives. And who did Dick Cheney work for, whom did he work for? Donald Rumsfeld.

MATTHEWS: He has people throughout the government and they're at the secondary level...

Ms. MITCHELL: They're all connected.

MATTHEWS: ...and his chief of staff is enormously influential, a great bureaucrat, and I--I just wonder--Campbell, you served at the White House so
long, covering it, do you have a sense of how his power worked, Cheney,inside?

Ms. BROWN: Well I think Andrea hit the nail on the head, meaning that everyone on the inside, with the exception of Armitage, was a Cheney guy. Now there is a hitch, and--and we've been talking about this, but Joe Wilson, Ambassador Joe Wilson, has a book that's out now, which goes after Cheney's
Hardball 5/04



Looking to seeing your new post on the 1x2x6.


Ty Cobb has been in the news recently for another reason. Guess who he's been representing? Murray Waas knows. Perhaps Cobb makes a point of showing up in leak-related news every month on the 25th.

Apostasy does have its downside.

Well, anytime you're ready to grace us with the long-deferred revamped 1x2x6 hypothesis, let me know.

I pointed out that if it was meant as distraction, it got instead an immediate counter-attack (and possibly sparked the attack on BJ and Flame/Plame.

I completely agree that you've been right in seeing Novak's 10-1-03 column as a response to the 1x2x6 story, and in particular that it served to make it sound like Rove was not Novak's source. But 1x2x6 really catapulted the story, it seems to me, and made it more of an exclusively White House-centric story than it appears to have been - unless, of course, your Armitage-as-stooge story is entirely right. So the distraction worked, insofar as Armitage and State more generally were off people's radar until quite recently, even though it looks like Novak's 10-1-03 column did more or less exactly what Novak supposedly told Rove he was going to do, make it sound like Rove was not a source for him.

I can't post over at talkleft, so I'm going to post here about it. Jeralyn has a post on the Rove-Novak business that now includes a response to her from Mark Corallo, Team Rove's spokesman. She has been regularly posting responses from him and/or Luskin. First, I think she's being played by Team Rove. They are taking advantage of the fact that, after promoting Leopold's evidently inaccurate story and, during her foray into reporting, inappropriately calling Luskin at 10 p.m. on a Saturday night, she has been bending over backward to give them their say. Now they know they have a direct line into the left blogosphere to say whatever they want and have it presented with the imprimatur of talkleft. People too are, understandably, a little timid in the wake of the Truthout mess. But it's really unfortunate.

Case in point, Corallo today, special delivery to the left blogosphere via talkleft:

"Karl Rove has never urged anyone, directly or indirectly, to withhold information from the Special Counsel or to testify falsely. No one has ever said or implied to Karl Rove that he intended to do so. The Special Counsel has never suggested that there is any evidence to support such an allegation. Frankly, it is hard to think of anything less reliable or less relevant than what investigators may or may not have speculated before they had started collecting evidence. Circulating such speculation now is nothing short of irresponsible."

The first three sentences are just today's talking points - indeed, the first one appears, almost verbatim, in Waas' article - and are much as you would expect, except that the third sentence is a little slippery. But the fourth and fifth sentences are just downright bs. Does doing interviews with the principals involved count as "collecting evidence" or is Corallo just being deeply misleading? Because here's what the article says:

Ashcroft was advised during the briefing that investigators had strong reservations about the veracity of the Novak and Rove accounts of the July 9 conversation.

In other words, investigators were not speculating without any knowledge. They were affirmatively suspicious at least in part precisely because of what Rove and Novak said to investigators.

It is perfectly possible that Fitzgerald is not, and has not ever, pursued this angle, either because he does not believe it accurate, or becuase he knows he's not going to crack the Rove-Novak nut. But the story is on the actual course of the investigation, not some speculation before evidence was collected.

So Corallo is just getting a valuable platform for spouting his nonsense at no cost. It's a shame.

Ms. MITCHELL: They're all connected.

At the roots?

polly

This:

And what‘s of interest to me here is that you seem to have a fight going on behind the scenes to see who, if anybody, is going to come forward and admit something. Who‘s going to actually finger somebody else on the record.

Might explain the September comment of Powell's that Libby's team is hot and bothered to use. If they had a fight at the principals' meeting over who was going to take the fall for this, and everyone tried to push Armitage, then I can imagine 1) that Libby would learn of it, and 2) that he would try to introduce it to suggest Armitage was the primary leaker.

Jeff

It doesn't really bother me to see Corallo's denunciations at TalkLeft. If any place is appropriate, it's there--as a defense lawyer I think Jeralyn has reminded more than once that even Rove has criminal rights. Besides, I think it can be useful.

The last line is pretty harsh, the irresponsible attack. While Corallo might still be BSing, with his apparent anger at Waas, his quote suggests one of two things. First, it suggests that Corallo is pissed about this. Which, if true, would also suggest Rove's team isn't that thrilled to have this out there. But it also suggests Corallo is trying to do just what you're arguing--suggest this story derives from the early day of the investigation.

That's part of the reason I'm so interested in the date of the GJ appearance here. Waas could have written this story on all the reporting he did earlier on (though Summar 2004 would be the earliest possible date). Which is what Jeralyn speculated in response to my post.

But Waas didn't write it two years ago, he wrote it now. Which suggests there's some current reporting on it. Which may suggest the GJ appearance is the most recent one.

In other words, Corallo's statement might mean either that this happened recently and they're trying to hide it (but then who is Waas' source), or that it happened recently and they wanted it out (to telegraph the cover-up is under active investigation) but they want to give the impression that it happened much earlier.

Polly

If you're still tracking terms, one that might be productive is "bowels of the agency." Condi uses it on June 8, but it is used rather frequently thereafter (Libby uses it with Judy, for example, though Judy may have just picked up the term from press coverage).

polly

I had never seen either of those quotations from 9-29-03, the one from Pincus or the one from Fineman. They're great. Thanks. It's particularly interesting to see Fineman saying his sources in the White House already knew about colleagues leaking. And both the Post and Fineman had just enough information consistent with 1x2x6 to find it plausible, even though, so far, it hasn't panned out. That is, Fitzgerald only knows of four reporters who were told by White House people, and only three of them were told by our pair, who I assume were named by 1x2x6 to the Post off the record.

emptywheel

I am fully sympathetic to talkleft's concern for rights of the accused. In fact, I am fully in sympathy with some of the complaints coming from Libby's allies about the prosecution - I just think the problem has nothing to do with Fitzgerald per se, but rather are completely conventional prosecutorial conduct, and point to problems with those conventions and the criminal justice system that enables and allows them. And maybe you're right that Corallo's bs is instructive bs. I still think talkleft is being taken advantage of.

Did Novak call his other source and promise him the same thing?

If it turns out he did not doesn't that point to collusion (or maybe the waters are muddied by Novak's history of the 1992 leak to Rove)?

Well, anytime you're ready to grace us with the long-deferred revamped 1x2x6 hypothesis, let me know.

Oooh! Using my own procrastination against me ... that's a low blow. (And, um, one to which I am particularly vulnerable.)

But just to clarify -- the "flaw" I mentioned was in the WaPo's original 1x2x6 story, not my hypothesis. ;-)

Yeah, normally Swopa, when someone mentions a post, it exists already.

And don't worry, we didn't expect you to suggest your own theory had a flaw!! ;-p

Many of my best posts are still in my head. :)

the "flaw" I mentioned was in the WaPo's original 1x2x6 story, not my hypothesis.

Now I can't wait. It's not the hypothesis, it's the data that's the problem! My prediction: if only the SAO had told the Post it was one White House official and one reporter, then Swopa's theory can be salvaged, at least for the time being. Ari Fleischer called Walter Pincus from AF1 on July 12! 1x2x6 lives on as 1x1x1!

Let's just hope that Pincus' source wasn't Cathie Martin. Then your theory is really in trouble.

Just to throw a couple more teasers onto the pile (since I won't write the post until later today): I do believe that Steve Clemons talked Pincus, and there was a source that did "get wobbly."

EW: one that might be productive is "bowels of the agency." Condi uses it on June 8, but it is used rather frequently thereafter

Point woman for triggering dispersed talking-points spouters? Primary signaller of the next meme? IIRC, Condi was also the first back in 2001 to claim that the terrorists might use public statements by journalists or their own lawyers and such to send messages to sleepers. And, of course, she seems to have been the first to refer to that mushroom cloud, no?

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