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August 22, 2006

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Sorry for the gratuitous dog picture. But a long time ago, I planned to start putting pictures of McC up every time some journalist said something stupid about this case--because even McC isn't that stupid.

Though now I think he has a cob-induced bellyache.

I'm having an impossible time growing corn this summer in Topanga Canyon, California.

When I read it, I assumed that Woodward was the anonymous source for the date of Woodward's interaction with his confidential source (and I'm still not sure that's not the case). But if it's Jeffress, that's a good point - and he will still be in trouble with Walton if it was him, regardless of having done so on background, won't he?

It's almost certainly the case Armitage didn't even know about the INR memo (and probably about Plame) until June 12 or 13, at the very earliest, since he was off earlier, and even the report that has him reading it in June has him reading it only after Pincus' article.

It's amazing to me how much better midwestern corn is than, say, corn on the east coast.

the dog picture's great.

and grown-yourself corn, yumm.

the squirrel's stripped our tiny plot before the corn got big enough to pick


a question:

some eons ago, at fdl, i seem to recall paul lukasiac arguing that woodward's last minute disclosure of a meeting with (? - armitage) seriously disrupted fitzgerald's case.

does this new revelation add anything to that particular viewpoint?

Jeff

I don't see anyway that Armitage would have revealed the date. First of all, he wouldn't have had to go to the sealed materials. Moreover, that's the detail he has guarded most carefully since the beginning.

orion

I think Woodward's revelation probably made it a lot harder to go after Rove for perjury. If Armitage is a credible witness, than you can prove that 1) either everything Armitage didn't say to Novak (including the NOC bit) Rove did, or 2) that Novak is lying about how many people he talked to. But now he's an easily impeachable witness, so you can't rely on him to prove your case.

ew - You're probably right that Woodward wouldn't have revealed the date. But then Jeffress is likely to get in trouble, no?

You pretty much have to grow your corn (a real space-eater) to experience the real fresh-picked flavor, but a reasonable facsimile is possible by buying corn still in the husk, soaking it thoroughly in cold water, and microwaving it for around 8 min for one ear, 12-13 min for two ears (this is in an older microwave, so for powerful models reduce accordingly). The flavor of the silks permeates the kernels this way. It even works for several days old corn. It is the only food I've found that is better microwaved than cooked conventionally.

I grew corn only once (because you need to devote about 40 sq ft to it), but I was absolutely entranced by how the pollen drops from the tassels and migrates down the silks to the kernel. Each developed kernel is a fertilized seed. I could see how people worshipped the corn goddess. There is really no other vegetable quite like it.

I think Fitz has signaled pretty clearly he won't be charging Novak's first source, Mr X, in light of the fact that Fitz told Novak's lawyer that that part of the investigation that involved Novak was finished.

My reading is that there are likely no more charges, but if there are are any more charges, it would be of officials in the VP's offices.

EW, I have to take issue with you for your comment "even McC isn't that stupid." My sister has a Newfoundland retriever that's quite intelligent. She (the dog) has a good vocabulary and a keen sense of human psychology. I think you belittle the dog by comparing him to the hacks and shills in the media.

I'm lucky with my corn--it's in a windy spot, so I've been able to get it to fertilize without all that much planted. Right there next to my busy road, my little corn patch. Tomatoes too. Mmmm.

Though I've become a confirmed corn griller. Maybe it's because I'm in the Midwest so my corn is all same day fresh. But I love the carmelized little kernels.

Kdm

You're right. McC is very intelligent too. He knows the days of the week and about 12 words for walk and was even learning to read walk signs (though I think he gave that up in favor of jaywalking).

But there's something effective about the phrase, "dumber than my dog." I wouldn't use it with George Allen, mind you, because he's just so much dumber that it ISN'T fair to my dog, to make the comparison. John Solomon though? He's not dumb, just shillicious.

This is the first summer I've grilled (store bought) corn. Keep the husks on, soak it in water, and put it on the charcoal Weber grill for 30 or so minutes, rotating three times. The husks are blackened (but come off easy), a few kernals are darkened, and there's a hint of a different taste to it. It's worth trying.

Actually another good way to cook corn is just throw it in the oven at 350 for 20 minutes. Sounds crazy, but the husks and silk come off really easy, and it tastes much better than boiled.

I'm not a fan of grilled corn, probably because I always forget to rotate it correctly and end up blackening half the cob.

But man, I've been loving the corn recently from the STL area. I'll be sad when August is over :(

The last couple years, I've boiled corn in the husk. Peel off the husk after, it's great every time (starting to feel like Saturday morning at firedoglake).

There's something very telling in the fact that Armitage met with Libby for 15 minutes about Pakistan and spent 1 hour to schmooze with Woodward. For those who don't recall, India and Pakistan had just agreed to normalize relations in May 2003 (after almost starting a nuclear war a year earlier) and Musharraf was coming to D.C. in about 3 weeks (June 24, 2003).

Just so everybody has this clear, let's review the Plame chronology:

May 29 - Libby calls up Grossman to ask about "the unnamed former ambassador". Why didn't he call Armitage? INR reported to Armitage, not Grossman.

June 6 - Libby meets with Armitage for 15 minutes to talk about Pakistan. Despite the fact that Libby's been getting updates from Grossman about the Wilson mission that obviously depend on information from INR, Libby doesn't raise the issue with Armitage. Grossman just happens to be in Europe/North Africa at the time of this Armitage/Libby meeting.

June 9 - Libby gets CIA fax about Wilson trip and Libby writes "Wilson" and "Joe Wilson"
June 10 - INR memo produced.

June 11 - Libby talks to Grenier(?) about Wilson's trip and Plame's employment
June 11 or 12 - Grossman meets with Libby (and others?) at the White House and briefs him on the INR memo.

June 12 - Pincus article is published. Libby and Cheney discuss Plame's undercover status.

June 13 - Armitage meets with Woodward. Somebody, presumably Armitage, tells Woodward that Wilson's wife is an analyst.

I must disagree with the crack on eastern corn. Southern New Jersey has its Silver Queen variety - exquisitely sweet small kernels so tender you can eat it raw. But I prefer the more robust variety of white corn from home in Hanover County Virginia. I'll have to try that microwave trick . . .

When's Fitzmas coming this year?

you grow corn ???

that IS news

I've got three neighbor kids growing pumpkins, sunflowers, and tomatoes

the sunflower seeds are working good

only so-so with the tomatoes

the punkins ain't doing anything

we're gonna try again next year, cept I gotta remind them so we start earlier

life goes on ...

. . . Oh, and about those labs. Smartest, most gungho dog I ever knew was a lady lab belonging to my sister. Noche loved to swim in icy rivers and do cleanup duty retrieving beer cans and old boots from the bottom. She died in a bathtub. Her charred remains were found after she woke my sister up in an apartment fire. My sister came out fine, but Noche must have lost her way in the smoke. I'm a cat guy myself, but if I ever were to get a dog, it would be a lab.

I actually just grill corn without the husks, right over the fire (always a wood fire for me, using a chimney so there's no starter fluid). I like it better than with husks. Though I haven't tried boiling in husks.

WO

You raise a good point. Why didn't Libby raise the issue with Armitage when they spoke, if it was so important. Very important question. I could suggest several answers...

always a wood fire for me, using a chimney so there's no starter fluid

As though it even needed to be stated.

I'm standing by my crack against elitist coastal corn.

Yeah, well I lived in central Illinois for a while, and I found the corn tough and unfashionable.

. . . and ubiquitous, as well.

Hello, all

There was more than one person in the room when Woodward was told by Mr. X that Plame was CIA. Remember, Woodward taped his interview. From the February transcript:

02 MR. JEFFRESS: Your Honor, there is one thing that I

03 neglected to mention and again this is subject to filings that

04 have been made under seal but there is, in fact, a transcript

05 of a tape recording that involves official one.

06 And I remind you, Your Honor, that's exactly who

07 we're talking about. In the particular transcript there is,

08 and the government filed something else yesterday, there is a

09 factual dispute as to what is said or what is meant by a

10 portion of the transcript wherein it appears the official

11 saying, "everyone knows it," referring to the wife's employment

12 at the CIA.

13 We have not heard that tape. We did to hear that

14 tape. If, in fact, as the transcript suggests that one

15 official said, "Everyone knows it," who did he mean by

16 "everyone knows it."

17 It's vitally important to us, Your Honor, number one,

18 to investigate what other reporters knew and may have mentioned

19 it. And number two, to confront Mr. Russert with what other

20 reporters knew it.

21 And remember there is another ABC reporter, Andrea

22 Mitchell, who once publicly stated the identity of Ambassador

23 Wilson's wife, the fact that she worked for the CIA was well

24 known to reporters who were covering the intelligence

25 community.

00034

01 There are many, many leads to this, Your Honor, but

02 without key information such as the identity of this person,

03 the defense simply cannot fully understand it.

04 THE COURT: Let me ask government counsel. Is there

05 anything in that transcript or tape recording whereby this

06 government official number one says something to the effect

07 that everybody in the media corps knows about this?

08 MR. FITZGERALD: Your Honor, now that we have sort of

09 burned what was sealed, my understanding of that conversation,

10 there are people talking over each other, my understanding is

11 that was a reference that everyone knows it, that Mr. Wilson is

12 the unnamed ambassador.

13 THE COURT: Right.

14 MR. FITZGERALD: Mr. Wilson didn't reveal himself as

15 the unnamed ambassador until July 6. This was prior to that

16 time. We turned it over in an abundance of caution but I don't

17 believe that says it, and frankly there is a very limited

18 number of reporters that we found out who had known it. I

19 can't represent we know every reporter because we took

20 seriously the attorney general guidelines. But any reporter we

21 knew about we give over. If the point is to find out the

22 extent of knowledge of the reporters, we can't do more than

23 tell them every reporter we know about.

Can we get back to Armitage from corn, please?
EW - you are absolutely amazing. When you first wrote that Armitage was Woodward's source back in winter/spring, I did not agree with you at first (because my candidate was Hadley) but I warmed up to your logic and finally your convinced me.
And you have nothing but public sources and a great logical mind
(and time to think). I congratulate you.
When AP broke (???) that story yesterday, for lot of people, it might have been breaking news. For readers of this blog, it is 6-month old news.

Keep that mind sharp!


Hey, I didn't break anything, ecoast. Tom Maguire had been pushing Armitage for months (I first did a skeptical Armitage post in December), but his theory just didn't make sense with what we knew. I think what we (because the commeters here contributed as much as I did) did was understand how Armitage could simultaneously be the Woodward Novak source yet not be indicted.

Mimikatz - You sound like someone who would really appreciate the very informative new book "Omnivore's Dilemma" by Michael Pollan. As would emptywheel, I think, in her quest for healthy food (when not growing her own - love the dog pic!). Pollan has a great ability to question conventional wisdom and pursue the answers, and his investigation of the American corn crop is fascinating (he talks about the Mayans and corn, and corn's amazing fertilization process as you did above, etc.). The book is basically about where the food in our supermarkets really comes from, and how it is grown/made. We are commodity corn eaters in America today, in many, many hidden ways, to the exclusion of grass-fed, Omega-3-balanced traditional diets.

Back to the topic: Thanks for that helpful recap, William O. [One more: on Saturday, June 14th, Libby's CIA briefer's notes indicate that Libby mentioned "Joe Wilson" and "Valerie Wilson."] I'm not ready to buy the Armitage and Libby assertions about what they discussed June 6th. I have no sense of where Armitage really fits into this picture, motive-wise. It's just astonishing to me that he was both the first to reveal this information to a reporter (apparently), and also the primary source for the reporter who blew Plame's cover less than a month later, and yet he's never even hired a lawyer to defend himself throughout this process. That guy's involvement needs more digging, to my mind. So does Armitage's State Department schedule on the calendar for July 8th or thereabouts (re Mr. Novak) -- I wonder if the AP has requested that FOIA info too, and exactly when they requested the June calendar info they have apparently just received.

Chow-Ye - I read that transcript as just being Woodward and Armitage talking over each other. But you may be on to something there about - say - a Woodward aide or others being privy to the conversation as well.

Friday was (is?) really Bob Woodward day at the White House/State Department:

Friday, 6/13: Meets Armitage in person and tape-records it.

Friday, 6/20: Interviews Andrew Card (in person, I believe, and tape-records it).

Friday, 6/27: Interviews Scooter Libby in person. Taped?

Who did Bob Woodward interview Friday, June 6th, if anyone?

Why didn't Libby raise the issue with Armitage when they spoke, if it was so important.

Isn't one of Libby's defenses that in the scheme of things, it *wasn't* that important? Isn't that why he wants the PDBs?
Perhaps Pakistan was truly more important to him and Armitage in that meeting.

An attorney for Plame is saying they're thinking about whether to add Armitage to the civil lawsuit.

Swopa-centric analysis of these micro-developments can be found here.

I wonder if ew has more on Armitage than the current discussion has elicited. There might be a yet more full story there, even though there were about three very complete posts over the past year ew did on Armitage. In fact, the way I remember Tom Maguire was less complete on this topic; I do not read that blog. And the contributions here from Jeff brought balance to developing a way to consider Armitage as a real possibility. Even William of Ockham began to agree to an Armitage participation based on all pointers in the body of evidence and ew's adroit histories. For some reason the recent recurrence of E. Abrams in the Lebanon Iran strategizing in the news made me think Armitage's long years in the department may be complex. I would have to study some of the history, when I have time.

Whadda ya talk? Eastern Corn is excellent.....of course, this point of view comes from my hometown and my street where we still have one local fourth-generation gentlemen farmer(he's an engineer, by trade)who still tills the same sod as his ancesters. Only he specializes in hybrid corn varieties of 'butter and sugar', just cause it's in his blood. As soon as it stopped raining here..sometime in June..and the sun came out, we started enjoying one variety after another of sweet corn. Unfortunately, he only has 20 acres of land left to farm (down from 200 which was sold to build single family homes)and he devotes almost all of it to just growing corn. We are coming to the end of the crops, but I've lined a lot of garbage cans with corn husks in the meantime. All of it delicious!

Do you attach any special significance to Valerie Plame saying today that she's considering adding Armitage's name to her suit?

Plamegate was the whole reason I started following THN. I'm still holding hope that Fitz has some grand plan to bring us Dick's head on a platter in the end. Am I just cracked? Should I just let it go? Come on EW - give me something. Where do you currently THINK, or at least hope with the slimmest glimmer that this is going?

William Ockham has me wondering: if Cheney and Libby met on June 12th and discussed Plame's undercover status, as well as that day's Pincus column, what happened to Cheney's annotated copy?

Plame will add Armitage to the suit so they can do discovery.

But this is a dogs post. Actually quite glad this is a Dogs Blog. Too many of the Liberal Blogs are Cats -- and Elwell (Resident Siberian Husky) resents that. Elwell is named for my 13th generation back ancestor, Dutch Elwell, wife of Samuel, who was the last woman to be arrested in the Salem Witch Trials business. She was released before torture, and excaped to Rhode Island, and thence to New Jersey. I thought she deserved having a puppy named after her. "Puppy" is now six, and in the midst of semi-annual shed. She is not all that happy about my constantly approaching with the long toothed comb. Before Elwell there were five Sibs. All females, and except for the first who had hip displasia, they are all from males who lead or wheel on racing teams. Essentially I have bred my own pets.

Sib intelligence includes learning how to open the fridge when you are asleep, and pull out a feast, and learning how to turn off the old electric typewriter (those old days) when I was trying to finish my Thesis, and that conflicted with a desire to walk and play. When I got the phone call that a parent had died, my then current sib found a bone and stuck it in my mouth. Comfort I guess. But I have never never allowed them to eat anything except Iams and canned Alpo -- or boiled liver and rice, and for a time Lamb Liver and Rice. If it were less expensive, I would feed salmon, as that was their natural food. But corn cobs, Lord, I would chase down the dog and the cob, and extract from clamped jaws with total determination. Labs are also fish-eaters actually. Sibs historically had a little variety, Walrus, and Reindeer innards too.

My first Husky learned very young that Richard Nixon was a "bad man" -- the use of the term "bad" being associated with pissing in the wrong place. She lived 14 years, and every time Nixon came on TV -- she confronted the screen and barked in a threatening and nasty way. She was protecting me from him. He was "bad" she let me know when he was speaking. I've always wondered what would have happened had she confronted him in person. Dog logic still confounds me. No matter how hard I work at it, the ritual of opening first one eye, then another, they resting and listening to some news, and finally gradually moving to the coffee maker and doing coffee seems to confound them. Why the jumping before the human morning ritual is finished? Bango -- ready to roll is Husky talk, My talk is, give me half an hour with the coffee. I wish someone could tell them in doggie talk, that a half hour of ritualized stretching exercises are in order. Rather recently Elwell has come to understand that an early morning bed attack-jump is not appreciated, but a delicate approach with a roll over will get you a good tummy scratch from a half asleep Sara.

Pooch Power!!!!

Sara

Yup, like you, I think liberals need to appreciate dogs more. Though among Plame bloggers, we're all dog lovers: Jane and her poodles, Christy and her (IIRC) dauchshound, me and my MilleniaLab. McCaffrey came to me used (from the pound). I theorize that he was a frat house dog before he was abandoned (he was stray when they found him), because he knew how to do the showy things--begging on the hind legs--but not the practical things--walking on a leash. Plus, his favorite food after pie crust (which he seems to have acquired with me--but then everyone who has tasted my pie crust feels the same about it--is pizza.

QS

Good question. But I assume Fitz got a look and didn't find it to be as interesting as the annotated copy of Wilson's op-ed.

WRT Plame naming Armitage

I think they have to do that, otherwise they'll raise questions about the suit. But I suspect they may drop it after deposing him. He's not part of the central plot, after all.

Rather recently Elwell has come to understand that an early morning bed attack-jump is not appreciated, but a delicate approach with a roll over will get you a good tummy scratch from a half asleep Sara.

my golden retriever mix has taken to jumping up on the bed, and then panting in anticipation of my awakening with his head positioned inches from my face...

needless to say, its both incredibly annoying AND effective -- especially in the summer when the a drop of dog slobber is hitting me in the face every 90 seconds or so.....

He's not part of the central plot, after all.

And it's unfortunately misleading that the Wilsons' lawyer has to refer to Armitage as possibly a part of the conspiracy.

Sara, I'd like to compare notes on your dog and my Tibetan Mastiff sometime. A few similarities. Very interesting breed. Easily, his favorite food is butter.

Just to be clear, I'm still not convinced that Armitage is a source for Novak. It is possible that when he talked to Woodward he believed that Plame was an analyst (and therefore might have leaked to him), but by the time somebody leaked to Novak, Armitage had to know that Plame had been covert. Given his background, I find it inconceivable that he would have leaked to Novak.

Here is a possible explaination for Woodward's "bombshell".

Isikoff heard that Woodward had a "bombshell" about Mr. X.

ISIKOFF: No, look, this is the biggest mystery in Washington, has been really for two years and now as we come down to the deadline of tomorrow the city is awash with rumors. There's a new one every 15 minutes and nobody really knows what's going to happen tomorrow. Nobody knows what Fitzgerald's got.

I talked to a source at the White House late this afternoon who told me that Bob is going to have a bombshell in tomorrow's paper identifying the Mr. X source who is behind the whole thing. So, I don't know, maybe this is Bob's opportunity.
CNN 10/27/05

Woodward himself said he had "learned another piece of this puzzle" .

The week of the indictment I was working on something and learned another piece of this puzzle and I told Len Downie about it and I told him about the source..
Woodward CNN 11/21/05

I think Woodward learned that Armitage was Novak's source. Which is why he went to Downie and told him about his June 2003 conversation with Armitage.

Also just before the indictment someone was distancing the WH from the story. There were leaks saying Novak's source was NOT in the WH.



Another character in the drama remains unnamed: the original source for columnist Robert Novak, who wrote the first piece naming Plame. Fitzgerald, says a lawyer who's involved in the case, "knows who it is--and it's not someone at the White House."
TIME 10/24/05

Jeff,

I responded on the Pincus source in this old thread, but it looks like it was dead.

So here it is again

Hi Jeff,

My response on the paranoid question is based entirely on what I've been hearing from people this summer. Generally the CW I've been hearing is that Iran is/will be a nuclear threat, Hezbollah is the terrorist arm of Iran, Iran is the source of Hezbollah's money and arms, and Tim Russert is really smart.

The Pincus source is one of the most interesting mysteries of the Plame case. I don't think Pincus would have revealed his source to the Wilsons.

I don't think Cheney is the Pincus source, Waas has the Pincus source admitting to talking to Pincus and others.

The Bush administration official, according to attorneys familiar with his testimony, told a federal grand jury that he made the claim to the Post reporter and others in an effort to undermine Wilson's credibility, who was alleging at the time that the Bush administration was relying on faulty intelligence to bolster its case to go to war with Iraq. But the official just as adamantly denied to the federal investigators that he had ever told the Post reporter, Novak, or anyone else that Plame was a clandestine CIA operative.
Waas 4/22/05

The last sentence in the quote from the Waas article reads to me that the Pincus source also talked with Novak. We know that Pincus's source is in the WH so Armitage is out. If Pincus and Novak share a source, that leaves Rove or some other WH source who talked to Novak as well. Novak did talk to several people in the WH that week.

The logs indicate that several White House officials talked to Novak shortly before the appearance of his July 14 column.
Newsday 2/11/04

The Ford Party was on July 16, 2003.

I think the possibilities are Rove, Hadley, Fleischer or Martin. It's not exactly clear when the Pincus source came forward, but it looks to be sometime in September 2004 when Pincus was fighting his subpeona.

Meanwhile, a Bush administration official who was a confidential source for a Washington Post story about Plame and Wilson has come forward to speak with investigators.

As a result, Post reporter Walter Pincus, who had refused to reveal his source's name to prosecutors, provided a deposition in the case on Sept. 15. Pincus did not, however, name the administration official.
AP 9/17/04

Martin certainly knew what Cheney and Libby were up to on AF2 on 7/12/03, but she is the least likely possibility in my view. Martin was interviewed very early and I think she probably told all in October of 2003.

Even early in the investigation, two key people were publicly known at the time to have been interviewed by the FBI: Ari Fleischer, then-White House press secretary, and Catherine Martin, a Cheney press aide.
WaPo 11/13/05

I am leaning toward Rove, mostly based on the Waas article which sources "attorneys familiar with his [Pincus source] testimony" and has the Pincus source admitting to leaking to discredit Wilson and "admantly denied to the federal investigators that he had ever told the Post reporter, Novak, or anyone else that Plame was a clandestine CIA operative". This sounds exactly like what we have heard about Rove's testimony.

I'm now convinced that Richard Armitage met with Robert Novak, as surmised, and provided key information about Plame. The font analysis you all did so well here was pretty definitively proven accurate by this AP state department calendar information about June 13th and Woodward. If Armitage's name fit the multiple redactions to a 'T' as Woodward's source in the affidavit (which it did), it follows that the fact that Armitage also fit to a 'T' as Novak's source (which it did) in multiple locations in that same affidavit is also pretty definitive confirmation of that Novak source in fact being Armitage.

But I should clarify that I do not necessarily buy Novak's story that he got most of his information from Armitage, or even got the information he did get from Armitage 'as if for the first time.' That may be Novak's story, but with his history with Rove, I imagine he had lots of background information before he started interviewing Armitage. The judgement shown by Armitage in giving an hour-long interview and some information about Plame to Robert Novak is beyond me as well. As are firm conclusions that Armitage was either set up or on the fringes of things, provided it is true that he met with Novak the week of July 6th in addition to his earlier tip-off to Woodward. But I haven't done the research and careful analysis to back up my position the way emptywheel has repeatedly done here - I'm skimming the surface on this one, and theorizing about Armitage being some sort of cut-out Fall Guy or double dealing both-ends-against-the-middle agent, in order to try to make it all make sense... [e.g.: If Armitage was really such a skilled bureaucratic in-fighter, and so very, very loyal to Powell, why did Powell seemingly lose every single major and meaningful battle with his foes (Cheney/Rumsfeld/Armitage's PNAC pal Libby et al) in the administration, until he was apparently finally pushed out, along with Armitage?]

Regarding the June 11 or 12 White House INR memo briefing (why can't they pin that date down?) by Grossman: I believe it came out in one of the Libby case hearings or briefs that Fitzgerald has something like 6 eyewitness accounts of (what I believe is) that meeting to back up Grossman's version of events vs. Libby's. So doubtless there were more people present than just Libby and Grossman, if I'm correct that the INR memo briefing is in fact the meeting that was being referenced.

I think Woodward learned that Armitage was Novak's source. Which is why he went to Downie and told him about his June 2003 conversation with Armitage.

Completely agree, in no small part because of what Isikoff said he was hearing from someone in the White House. (How'd that person know, is an interesting question. The obvious answer is, Woodward, but I don't know.) It is worth noting that back in March, Vandehei had this:

In the course of writing a book on Bush, Woodward said, he had discovered mention of Plame in his notes just as the grand jury in the leak case was expiring last October.

(Note that there's an error, since corrected, in the next sentence of this article.) It's left unclear whether this was the cause of Woodward going back to his source, and/or going to Downie, but it could be an alternative explanation.

I really would like to know how and for how long people in the White House knew Armitage was Novak's source. And it's surprising, to say the least, that they didn't leak that information.

As for Pincus' source, I'm not sure how much can be read off of the Waas report that Pincus' source denied telling Novak she was a clandestine agent - it doesn't necessarily imply that s/he even talked to Novak about Plame. Your list of suspects, though, is sensible, though I do think Cheney deserves to remain on, even if it's a longshot.

One big question in this area is just when Pincus' source went forward to Fitzgerald. A related question is just how it happened that Pincus ended up testifying; because there is some oddness in what we know, though mostly this is chapter and verse for what you're suggesting. Here, for instance, is Pincus' account in the CJR article about him earlier this year:

In mid-2004, Patrick Fitzgerald's office issued subpoenas to Pincus and the Post, demanding details of the 2003 conversations. Pincus initially refused to cooperate, but Fitzgerald soon made clear that Pincus's source was cooperating with the investigation, and that the source was willing for Pincus to speak to the prosecutors. "I have very strong feelings about protecting sources," Pincus explains, "and particularly about protecting the identity of your sources. But once it's clear that your source has come forward to the prosecutor, I don't think you have a leg to stand on." In an oft-repeated formulation, Pincus says, "It's the source's privilege, not the reporter's." Once his source had made it clear, through their attorneys, that it was okay for Pincus to talk, and after agreeing on some ground rules -- including that the source's name would not be disclosed publicly and that Fitzgerald would not explicitly ask Pincus to confirm the source's identity -- Pincus sat down to speak with Fitzgerald.

That second sentence in particular is somewhat misleading: it was quite the fight. Not only did Fitzgerald have to subpoena Pincus, as we know Pincus fought the subpoena, and was fighting it pretty hard, at least until August 27, when Fitzgerald submitted his affidavit in his effort to put down Pincus' effort to quash the subpoena. We can assume that long before the subpoena, Fitzgerald had shown Pincus his source's written blanket waiver, if he knew who the source was, and Pincus wasn't buying; and it seems fair to assume that, unless Pincus became convinced his was a losing battle and just gave up between August 27 and September 15, which seems unlikely, it only became clear to Pincus that his source was cooperating around this time - that is, late August, early September. That's rather dramatic. To add to that, note what Pincus wrote in Niemanwatchdog about receiving the subpoena:

Fitzgerald wanted to find out the identity of my source.

This appears to mean that when Fitzgerald subpoenaed Pincus in summer 2004, he didn't know Pincus' source. It's perfectly possible, of course, that Pincus' source had testified previously, but only came forward (a la Rove via-a-vis Cooper) as it became clearer that Pincus was likely to testify. That would point to either Fleischer or Martin, and, given that neither of them is likely to have Rove's intestinal fortitude, would explain why they would cut a deal with Fitzgerald, as seems almost certainly to be the case with Fleischer, and might be the case with Martin. (There is some evidence of it with Fleischer; with Martin, there's not, but it sure seems like she's been cooperative in terms of the substance she's provided.)

However, Pincus then goes on to give another strange account:

I refused. My position was that until my source came forward publicly or to the prosecutor, I would not discuss the matter. It turned out that my source, whom I still cannot identify publicly, had in fact disclosed to the prosecutor that he was my source, and he talked to the prosecutor about our conversation. (In writing this story, I am using the masculine pronoun simply for convenience). My attorney discussed the matter with his attorney, and we confirmed that he had no problem with my testifying about our conversation.

This again telescopes what was actually a drawn out process, and frankly I find it highly unlikely that Fitzgerald would not have alerted Pincus at the outset of the fight if his source had already gone forward to Fitzgerald, even though that's what Pincus makes it sound like here.

That's all I got, I think. I do think it makes it more likely Pincus' source is Fleischer or Martin, and s/he has a cooperation agreement with Fitzgerald to avoid obstruction-type charges.

Sorry to interrupt an important discussion, but I couldn't let this go. Do not feed your dog corn cobs. They are well known for blocking up a dog digestive system. They can kill and short of that, can make you pay for amazingly expensive surgery. It's not worth the risk.

We now return you to your regularly scheduled programming.

Thanks, wake me up--luckily he survived this one without a (ahem) hitch. I won't do it again.

Jeff and polly

I probably need to come back and read this again. While I still find the Fleischer story possible (though not the Martin one), I don't think I'd rule out Cheney at all. Of course, I have my theory that Novak talked to Dick or Libby. Dick is the most likely source for Mitchell, at the Ford party (since presumably Dick and the guest of honor, Greenspan, and his wife, would be at the same head table). Though why he'd go out of his way to call Pincus, I don't know. Then again, it seems highly likely Pincus' source was on AF2, and highly likely it wasn't Martin, therefore... Fleischer we ought to be able to rule out because 1) he DIDN'T tell Dickerson when he had the opportunity, and his Presser on the 12th preceded the AF2 trip. and 2) I forgot what 2 is--I'll have to come back.

In other words, I still think Dick is a leading candidate to be Pincus' source. Hadley is another favorite of mine, FWIW.

emptywheel

Remind my why you think Martin is so unlikely as Pincus' source?

One of the main things that makes me doubt it was Cheney is that not only is it unclear why'd he go out of his way to call Pincus, there's good reason to think he'd stay isolated from the action altogether - to say nothing of the fact that Pincus seems like just about the last reporter he'd call. The other thing is that Cheney had testified by June.

I will add that nothing I said before can rule out Hadley. He still strikes me as the most central figure about whom we have the least information.

I rule out Martin because the decision on AF2 was to pull her out of reporter communication on this.

Also, yes, Cheney did testify before June (probably even earlier). But Fitz didn't know about Pincus' source when he subpoenaed Kessler.

I'm starting to wonder if Novak's source wasn't Armitage, but the other person in the room when Armitage blabbed to Woodward (if Armitage did blab to Woodward).

It's a good point about Martin; but I wonder whether, if Martin were cooperating, Fitzgerald wouldn't gloss over her role and put things just the way he does in his April 5 filing on that point. Fleischer remains possible - and I can't decide if your point 1) above lowers the probability, because, on the one hand, there is a quite plausible explanation for why Fleischer would tell Pincus on July 12 but not Dickerson on July 11: on July 11 word went out that Novak was going to be publishing on Plame and the floodgates were open. It was that morning that Rove told Libby, and either Rove or Libby may have conveyed that information to Fleischer. Of course, if it happened that way it is very bad news for Libby. In fact, on the other hand, it would be such bad news that I doubt it happened that way!

I was looking back at the dkosopedia Plame timeline, which is really outstanding - whoever is working on that is doing a really fantastic job - and I see that Pincus was subpoenaed on August 9 2004, and presumably by the time Miller's effort to quash her subpoena (which seems to have been argued in tandem with Pincus, per the 8-27-04 affidavit) was rejected by the district court on September 9, Pincus had already received word that his source had come forward to Fitzgerald and had signaled that he would talk, which he did on September 15. (I observe that Miller's motion to quash was argued on September 3. It would be interesting to know whether Pincus' was argued that day too, or whether the matter was already moving toward resolution then, voiding the need for a hearing.)

So, if it's true that when Fitzgerald issued his subpoena to Pincus on August 9, he didn't know the identity of Pincus' source, that really would seem to mean that Pincus' source went forward to Fitzgerald and identified him/herself some time between August 9 and September 9.

I suppose there is an alternative scenario, where Fitzgerald knew the identity of Pincus' source all along, and where Pincus' case was to be decided separately from Miller's (though i doubt this strongly), and where, PIncus seeing the decision in Miller's case and the writing on the wall and wishing to avoid helping produce even more precedent that weakened journalists' claims, gave in to Fitzgerald. But I doubt this scenario.

5/14/04 Fitzgerald seeks information from Pincus.

Special prosecutor Patrick J. Fitzgerald told Post lawyer Eric Lieberman that he wants to talk to Post reporters Walter Pincus and Glenn Kessler but declined to discuss the information he is seeking
WaPo 5/15/04

8/9/04 Pincus subpoenaed


Lawyers involved in the case said it appears that Fitzgerald is now armed with a strong and unambiguous court ruling to demand the testimony of two journalists -- syndicated columnist Robert D. Novak, who first disclosed the CIA officer's name, and Washington Post reporter Walter Pincus, who has written that a Post reporter received information about her from a Bush administration official.

Pincus was served with a subpoena yesterday after Hogan's order was unsealed.
WaPo 8/10/04

9/3/04 Pincus was still fighting his subpoena

The news groups said they wanted the new arguments considered as Hogan took up the case of Judith Miller of The New York Times and Walter Pincus of The Washington Post, possibly today.
AP 9/3/04

9/15/04 Pincus deposed

As a result, Post reporter Walter Pincus, who had refused to reveal his source's name to prosecutors, provided a deposition in the case on Sept. 15. Pincus did not, however, name the administration official.
AP 9/17/04

When Pincus's source came forward is hard to tell. AP uses the the all purpose "meanwhile". The source had spoken with Fitzgerald by 9/15/04.

Meanwhile, a Bush administration official who was a confidential source for a Washington Post story about Plame and Wilson has come forward to speak with investigators.
AP 9/17/04



It's also hard to tell when Pincus knew from Fitzgerald that his source was testifing. It's possible Fitzgerald's demand that Pincus reveal his source slowed down the process with Pincus.

I understand that my source has already spoken to the special prosecutor about our conversation on July 12, and that the special prosecutor has dropped his demand that I reveal my source.
AP 9/17/04


There was alot of action in the summer of 2004 with the reporters. Kessler was deposed in June, Russert on 8/9/04, first reported that Miller was subpoenaed 8/13/04, Copper and Time were in court all summer, and Pincus.

Jeff,

On the Miller/Pincus tandem.

I don't know the date Miller was subpoenaed, but it was first reported 8/13/04.

AP has Pincus and Miller possibly going before the court on 9/3/04.

At this point ( 9/3/04 ) Pincus could have been fighting the very specific point about actually naming his source, but I doubt it.

Where did you get the information that Pincus's source had come forward by 9/9/04?

Jeff,

In the course of writing a book on Bush, Woodward said, he had discovered mention of Plame in his notes just as the grand jury in the leak case was expiring last October.

I never noticed this passage before, interesting.

Back to Pincus.

There are as always multiple running narratives. Pincus's version which you've done a masterful job of breaking down (Pincus is very good at keeping secrets), what we can find in court records (very slim on Pincus), and news accounts.

I place very high value on the 4/22/05 Waas article. It is the only place that has information about what Pincus's source said to investigators.

EW

But Fitz didn't know about Pincus' source when he subpoenaed Kessler.

I'm not sure Kessler was subpoenaed. Fitz contacted Kessler and Pincus on the same date.

I think part of what Fitzgerald was doing was checking out Libby's story when he first contacted Pincus and Kessler.

Fleischer has kept his head down for the most part, but he ( and Martin ) talked to investigators very early in 10/03.

What is interesting is this from the LATimes, Fleischer is specific on Novak. The LAT had this information in 9/29/03, but to my knowledge wasn't reported until 7/17/05.

Fleischer declined to comment for this article, referring all questions to prosecutors. But in a Sept. 29, 2003, e-mail to The Times, Fleischer denied he was the source of the leak. "I have no idea who told Novak, but it was not me," he wrote.
7/17/05 LATimes
Date verification The Note

Jeff,

I think I remember you asking long ago who initiated the Pincus/WH source call.

Here is a part of a transcript of Pincus on NPR saying the source called him.

I was called on July 12th and a WH source in effect asked why I was still writing about Joe Wilson's trip, didn't I know that his wife had arranged it.

polly

I never noticed this passage before

One of the highest honors one can achieve in Plameology.

Where did you get the information that Pincus's source had come forward by 9/9/04?

That is an inference from the fact that the judge released his opinion on Miller that day, assuming that had Pincus' case still be active, it would have been covered in that same opinion. So i am inferring that by that point Pincus had been notified that his source had identified him- or herself to Fitzgerald and that Pincus was on his way to working out the terms of his cooperation.

The interesting question is whether Pincus' source only came forward after Pincus' August 9 subpoena. It is possible that Pincus knew for a while his source had gone forward and was fighting cooperation anyway, but then saw which way the wind was blowing and gave in so as to avoid contributing to a new and damaging precedent, while offering a somewhat misleading public version in order to protect his source and his reputation and so on. But it would be so much more dramatic if Pincus' source only went forward once it was public knowledge that Pincus had been subpoenaed, especially if the source had already talked with Fitzgerald and failed to acknowledge the Pincus contact. I think I'd seen that Pincus was the one who was called - is there even another place where it is reported that the phone call was returning an earlier call of Pincus'?

I'd never noticed that Fleischer's denial to the LATimes was on September 29, 2003, the day after (or of?) 1x2x6.

polly

Speaking of things never noticed before, I followed that link to the Note, and found this:

THINGS WE (THINK) WE KNOW ABOUT THE WASHINGTON POST AND OTHER NEWS ORGANIZATIONS WHOSE REPORTERS HAVE TESTIFIED (OR NOT):

— They are starting to subtly sneak information they obtained in confidence into the paper in some instances.

(Note hint: read closely.)

Intrigued, I went back and looked at the Post reporting from around that time, and lo and behold, from Vandehei and Allen's 7-17-05 WaPo piece:

But in late September, a senior White House official was quoted as telling The Post at least six reporters had been told of Plame before Novak's column, "purely and simply out of revenge."

1x2x6 was in the White House. I'd been thinking for a while that 1x2x6 might well be an ally of Armitage's in the State Department. I was just saying as much to someone today. But no, it looks like s/he's in the White House. And it is extremely unlikely that this is a mistake, since Allen is one of the coauthors of the piece, and he was of course a coauthor of both of the fall 2003 WaPo pieces that quoted 1x2x6.

Who could it be other than Card? Hadley - that would be hard to believe, no?

I suppose 1x2x6 could also have been McClellan, which would be quite interesting and odd.

A few excerpts regarding the 2004 Miller and Cooper/Time court decisions from the government's Supreme Court brief, in case the timing of the decisions sheds any light on the Pincus source timeline:

...During the period January through May 2004, the grand jury conducted an extensive investigation. Miller Pet. App. 5a. Beginning in May 2004, it was determined that it was necessary to obtain testimony and documents from a limited number of reporters, including Matthew Cooper of Time Inc. (Time), and Judith Miller of the New York Times, in connection with the investigation. Gov't C.A. Br. 3, 7-8, 10. In accordance with Department of Justice guidelines on the issuance of subpoenas to members of the news media, 28 C.F.R. 50.10, the Special Counsel first sought Cooper's and Miller's voluntary cooperation. However, the reporters refused to provide the requested information voluntarily. Gov't C.A. Br. 3.

[snip]

On July 6, 2004, the district court denied Cooper's motion and, on July 20, 2004, it issued a written opinion and order. Miller Pet. App. 87a.1 In the July 20, 2004 opinion, the district court concluded that this Court, in Branzburg v. Hayes, 408 U.S. 665 (1972), had rejected any reporter's privilege rooted in the First Amendment or common law in the context of a grand jury acting in good faith (Miller Pet. App. 90a), and that, even were the court to determine that the reporters did possess a qualified privilege, the Special Counsel's ex parte evidentiary submission "would be able to meet even the most stringent of balancing tests" (id. at 96a). In addition, the district court held that, while it was not convinced that the Department of Justice guidelines "vested any right" in the reporters, the guidelines were "fully satisfied" by the facts presented by the Special Counsel. Ibid.

A subpoena was issued to Time for the same documents requested from Cooper. Miller Pet. App. 5a. Time moved to quash the subpoena, and its motion was denied on August 6, 2004. Ibid.

Despite the denial of their motions to quash, Cooper and Time refused to comply with the subpoenas. Miller Pet. App. 5a. On August 9, 2004, after a hearing, the district court found that Cooper and Time had refused to comply with the subpoenas without just cause, and held them in civil contempt of court. Cooper Pet. App. 98a.

After being held in contempt, and after filing notices of appeal, Cooper and Time agreed to comply with the subpoenas, as limited by the Special Counsel, with the Special Counsel explicitly reserving the right to seek additional testimony and documents from Cooper and Time, if necessary. Miller Pet. App. 5a. Cooper indicated that his rationale for agreeing to provide testimony and documents pursuant to this agreement was the fact that the source had stated that he had no objection. Ibid. After Cooper and Time fulfilled their obligations under the agreement, the district court's contempt order was vacated, and Cooper's and Time's notices of appeal were voluntarily dismissed. Ibid.

b. On September 13, 2004, the grand jury issued a second set of subpoenas to Cooper and Time seeking testimony and documents relating to "conversations between Matthew Cooper and official source(s) prior to July 14, 2003, concerning in any way: former Ambassador Joseph Wilson; the 2002 trip by former Ambassador Wilson to Niger; Valerie Wilson Plame a/k/a Valerie Wilson a/k/a Valerie Plame (the wife of former Ambassador Wilson); and/or any affiliation between Valerie Wilson Plame and the CIA." Miller Pet. App. 5a-6a.

[snip]

4. On August 12 and August 20, 2004, grand jury subpoenas were issued to reporter Judith Miller and the New York Times, seeking documents and testimony related to conversations between Miller and a specified government official occurring between on or about July 6, 2003 and on or about July 13, 2003, "concerning Valerie Plame Wilson," whether referred to by name or by description, "concerning Iraqi efforts to obtain uranium." Miller Pet. App. 115a-119a. Miller refused to comply with the subpoenas and, instead, moved to quash them on the same grounds previously asserted by Cooper and Time. Id. at 6a. The New York Times indicated that it was in possession of no documents responsive to the subpoena. Gov't C.A. Br. 10.

After briefing and a hearing, the district court denied Miller's motion to quash, on the grounds set forth in its July 20, 2004 opinion. Miller Pet. App. 80a-86a. Like Cooper and Time, Miller persisted in refusing to comply with the subpoenas, and the district court therefore held her in civil contempt of court as well. Id. at 78a-79a...

http://www.usdoj.gov/osg/briefs/2004/0responses/2004-1508.resp.html

WRT 1X2X6,

Remember, Fleischer wasn't a WH employee anymore.

I actually think McClellan is a lot more possible than Card. Remember that Card was involved in the 4 day then 11 hour delays (DOJ told Abu Gonzales told Card told the WH). So he seems more central to things. Whereas McClellan was spouting a "we didnt' know" line at the time of the investigation announcement, but he was TOTALLY hesitant to make a statement exonerating Libby.

Both are, of course, possible. And both, of course, got canned at about the same time as this whole case went funky. In fact, I keep saying, if there's a fricking sealed indictment, it's probably Card rather than Rove...it would make far far more sense.

But remember that batch of emails came in chunks of time. Not just one chunk, but more than one. Also remember that McClellan was basically saying the WH only had to turn over emails they were in possession of.

I'm babbling. But McClellan to know about the 1X2X6--particularly if it involved post-leak leakage that Karl did. I don't know why he would have talked to the WaPo. (Maybe he was pissed at Libby?) But it's a suggestoin.

emptywheel

Right, so Fleischer is ruled out.

When you talk about batches of emails, are you talking about when the investigation started, or those newly found emails this year?

For me, it is a big discovery just to see that 1x2x6 was not at State. But could it have been Card trying to undo his rival, Rove? And if there's a sealed indictment against Card, would it be that Card is not cooperating, or is? I don't get it.

It would just be wild if it were McClellan.

And I just can't imagine who beyond those two it could be.

Nice catch, Jeff.

If true, it sure puts things into a new perspective. As I recall, my first response on learning of the source's statements wasn't so much related to where the person might be employed, as it was that this was someone with at least a few principles and a conscience. Which, pretty quickly I think, became the assumption that therefore this was someone at the state department who was also telling the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth to the investigators. So Grossman (an old acquaintance of Wilson's), maybe, or someone decidely not in cahoots with Libby and Rove, at any rate became the default candidate. Because, like you, I cannot think of too many (if any) high-level employees of George W. Bush or Dick Cheney with principles and a conscience.

Based on his getting the unwelcome boot just as Rove was getting his feet back under him this year, I'd think I'd have to guess Andrew Card, at the moment. McClellan isn't high-level-sounding enough, or principled enough, at least compared only to Card. But then - was Card in on the e-mail hiding scheme? Hmmmm.

I'm talking about both. Go back to this post of mine.

From the October 7 briefing (the self-imposed deadline to submit the requested material):

Q No, I understand that. I'm just saying how would this work? Let's say I remember -- I'm an official, I remember sending some email about this, but I've long since deleted it. How --

MR. McCLELLAN: Understood. And that's why --

Q -- how do I get access to that --

MR. McCLELLAN: That's why I look at the request and employees are expected to go back through all the information that they possess. That's what's expected of the White House employees. There's other requests of the White House and staff, as well.

Q So in other words, the Justice Department request would ask the White House to provide materials --

MR. McCLELLAN: Well, look back at the specific request. I didn't bring the actual memo out here from the Department of Justice.

Q I just want to be clear, though, the White House is obligated to provide emails that may have been deleted by the individual but are still archived by the White House --

MR. McCLELLAN: Look back -- it said what is in the possession of, I believe, in the White House, the employees and staff. So I'll look back at that. But we are doing everything to make sure we are responsive to everything that the Justice Department requested, because we want to get to the bottom of this, and we want to help those career officials get to the bottom of this.

See, McClellan seems to know then, on October 7, that they're not going to provide the ones archived offsite. Hell, maybe Abu G and Ashcroft wrote the subpoenas that way.

And then later, there's this bit.

But here's another curious detail. In 2004, when Fitzgerald took over the case, they re-subpoenaed the same information--disinguishing this second document request from the earlier "informal" one.

The third subpoena repeats an informal Justice Department document request to the White House last fall seeking records about staff contacts with Novak and two Newsday reporters, Knut Royce and Timothy Phelps, who reported on July 22 that Plame was a covert agent and Novak had blown her cover.

[snip]

The subpoena with the [February 6] production date repeated the Justice Department's informal request to the White House last fall for documents from Feb. 1, 2002, through 2003 related to Wilson's February 2002 trip to Niger, to Plame and to contacts with journalists. [my emphasis]

Though when they subpoena the documents this second, "this time we mean it" time, Abu Gonzales includes the instruction that turning them over was "mandatory."

All three subpoenas were sent to employees of the Executive Office of the President under a Jan. 26 memo by White House counsel Alberto Gonzalez saying production of the documents, which include phone messages, e-mails and handwritten notes, was "mandatory" and setting a Jan. 29 deadline.

In other words, they hadn't gotten everything related to the Wilson communications at that point. They had to go back and re-subpoena them. Now, presumably (since Fitz did the re-subpoenaing), he'd be aware of the issue. But it seems very odd that 1) the original deadline was treated as optional and 2) Scottie and at least on reporter seemed to know they'd only turn over stuff "in the possession" of the White House.

Now, if Scottie were 1X2X6, and Fitz got back into the missing emails subsequent to 2/5 (when he received them), Scottie and Card would be two of the first he'd talk to. It's not unreasonable to think it would have taken him 2 months to get around to really talking to them, or getting them to cooperate, or not.

I just keep thinking (and have, for some time) that maybe when Scottie was crying when he "gave his resignation" to Bush, maybe it wasn't just leaving the WH he was sad about. If he had betrayed the Texas mafia, for example, that might make him cry.

Oh, and about sealed indictments. I don't put much stock in that. But note that even Leopold's sources only said the sealed indictment was "related" to Karl. Given the timing, something related to Card or Scottie would make a lot more sense than Rove (and something related to terrorism would make just as much sense). In which case, the argument would be that the sealed indictment is there to get whomever--Scottie or Card--to keep talking cooperating for the investigation.

A funny thing, probably nothing to make of it, but Waas' early article from March 2004 that talked a bit about 1x2x6 also talked a lot about McClellan, though it is mainly by way of contrast. But the article makes it sound like at that point, investigators didn't know who 1x2x6 was, and that jibes with some things Fitzgerald said in some filings describing the investigation, to the effect that they spent a lot of time trying to track that down. Which frankly is surprising to me.

The thing that remains baffling to me is that Fitzgerald only knows of four reporters who were told by White House officials.

Only four before 7/14. We know Tweety was pushed, and probably Mitchell. Though there are probably 2 more for the 1X2X6 theory.

Very good catch, I also had the 1 at State. I'll have more time tomorrow to comment on Jeff's fascinating find...I rememeber reading "The Note" and wondering what they were alluding to.

Remember Pincus said flat out that Mitchell was one of the 6 in the 1x2x6.

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



Why not Martin for the 1, didn't Swopa have some idea about Bartlett.

Swopa's got to read this thread.

From the early Waas that Jeff linked

Rove is said to have named at least six other administration officials who were involved in the effort to discredit Wilson.
Waas 3/8/04

Who are the six?

Pincus also said that The Post was only given one other name of the 6, Mitchell. So The Post had Pincus, Novak, and Mitchell.

Walter Pincus: The one other name The post was given was Andrea Mitchell of NBC.

A couple of quick thoughts. Without going back and looking at the stories now, I've always gotten the sense that the Post got Mitchell's name as a recipient from Wilson, not from 1x2x6, and jumped to the conclusion, more or less, that she was one of the 6 because the stories seemed to match up. But if 1x2x6 actually gave the Post Mitchell as one of the recipients, that would appear to be pretty definitive evidence for what emptywheel is suggesting, that the source was confused about what happened before and what after Novak's column.

Here is a thought: would Matalin count as a SAO? Was she still around in September 2003? I don't think Martin would, so she is out, assuming that SAO description sticks.

And as for how 1 would have learned about 2x6, how about the Situation Room meeting in September where Powell supposedly was saying things like, "Everyone knows"? Maybe they went through a kind of catalogue of who was doing what and how to best strategize their way through it, and whoever became the Post's source learned that way?

So let's see now:

1. "A senior White House official" anonymously told the press that "two top White House officials called" and told "at least six reporters...of Plame before Novak's column." [Source: 9/28/03 and 7/17/05 Washington Post stories co-authored by Mike Allen.]

2. The "two top White House officials" presumably/evidently are Karl Rove and I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby.

3. The "six reporters" are presumably:

Walter Pincus of the WPost (the identity of his #2 caller has not been made public - I vote for Scooter Libby...);

Andrea Mitchell of NBC (the identity of her #2 caller has not been made public);

Matthew Cooper of Time (the identity of his #2 caller is now known to be Karl Rove);

Judith Miller of the New York Times (the identity of her #2 caller is now known to be Scooter Libby);

That leaves two - where I'm speculating:

Bob Woodward learned of Plame from Richard Armitage and not from a #2 source;

Robert Novak learned of Plame from Richard Armitage and not from a #2 source;

Are there two (or more) others who also learned of Plame - one from Rove and one from Libby? [So that Libby and Rove (and Armitage?) each called the same number of people.]

pow wow

It's a steeper climb than that. If we take the Post at its word and count the number of reporters who were called we'd have to rule out Cooper, since he made the call to Rove. Pincus also called his source, but I think it was returning a call, so that might get in under the wire. The other thing, though, is that unless Rove is Pincus' source, which seems unlikely, it wasn't one of these two, since we know it wasn't Libby.

But if we stick with who was offered the Plame information unsolicited from the White House before Novak's column, we've got Miller from Libby, Cooper from Rove and Pincus from his (probably distinct) source. Not doing so well. We can add Mitchell and others if we turn to post-Novak, but then where's the fun in that? I mean, it may have been illegal still, and it was bad, in the sense that the story really wasn't Wilson's family, as Rove tried to persuade Matthews was the case. But it's just not as fun as the thought of those officials telling all manner of reporters when her blown cover had not yet been publicly revealed, as it was by Novak's column.

Yes, I'm inclined to assume for now that there were at least six reporters contacted before Novak's column - partly because even though Newsweek tried to discredit the timeline of #1's leak to the Washington Post about a week after it was printed - that Isikoff-co-written Newsweek piece is spin to protect the guilty, and not actual reporting of any significance. In addition, Mike Allen doesn't back down a bit from his source's statement about six pre-Novak-column reporter contacts in his July 17, 2005 piece that you cited above - which is almost two years after Newsweek tried to claim that #1 must have gotten his/her dates wrong.

Excuse my skimming over the details of why Libby can't be Pincus's source. I just noted that Libby let Cooper off the hook to testify at about the same time that Pincus was let off the hook by his source. [When Libby subpoenaed the Washington Post along with the other media outlets - was he looking for records from Bob Woodward's source contacts and also from Walter Pincus's? Woodward's information satisfied the subpoena at any rate.] I can believe that Rove told Pincus, again only on the face of it and without proper vetting.

The other thing about 'called and told' six reporters is that this statement implies phone conversations only. But apparently Judy Miller got the information face-to-face first. So I imagine calling to set up an in-person meeting would still qualify as 'calling and telling.' But I think dropping the information into unexpected calls received from reporters (like Cooper's) might qualify as well. Especially if their plot was calculated to look as unlike a plot to deliberately get this information out as possible - which it seems to have been.

Even Judy Miller has question marks in her notes making it appear that Libby hedged the information as he gave it to her - indicating he'd heard this rumor, but she'd have to find out if it was really true. And the Libby/Miller conversations seem to have been the most clear-cut, intentional and pre-planned set of Plame leaks:

Pincus's source changed the subject to toss it in, seemingly to get him off the main story by diverting to a side issue (Pincus probably checked with Joe Wilson and therefore didn't take the bait).

Cooper's source "said too much" in just a two-minute phone conversation, on Rove's way out the door to vacation.

Novak's source 'inadvertently happened to mention it in passing' in the midst of an hour-long talk about other matters.

Woodward's source casually in 'an off-hand manner' mentioned it as they were gossiping at the close of their hour-long interview. [Just realized - this set hour-long interview time slot that Novak likewise had with his source also tends to finger Armitage as the Novak source.]

So what if #1, the "senior White House official" didn't quite know the whole story, and therefore missed one of the active participants outside the White House: Armitage. We'd have Armitage, Libby, and Rove all conveying this information to two (or so) media contacts each. They each picked their favorites (and the ones they could trust most to cover for them), but if a stray call came through in the meantime they took the opportunity to get the word out that way (or at least Rove did). The ground rules were to make it look as casual, unintentional, and off-handed as possible. And the same three acted as secondary sources for each other [Mitchell trying to reach Armitage, Cooper reaching Libby, Miller doubtless talked to Rove, Woodward apparently didn't follow-up, Pincus may have checked with Wilson and so didn't follow-up, Novak reaching Rove]. Their secondary confirmations were similarly 'innocently' couched: 'Oh, you heard that too' or 'You know that too,' etc.

This "intel" was white-hot stuff, and they knew it. Only a select few were trusted to do the disseminating, and then only under very careful guidelines that were closely followed in order to disguise their intent, as they released the core classified (but clothed as idle gossip) facts to the media.

FWIW, the Mike Allen "senior White House official" attribution Jeff mentions was extensively discussed on some disreputable website in July 2005, just after the Allen-VandeHei article was published. Glad to see y'all are catching up. ;)

Although I took the possibility of Andy Card very seriously in that post, I now think the attribution was either an error or a bit of "former Hill staffer" misdirection -- all the other circumstantial evidence points too strongly at Colin Powell, IMO.

Regarding the source for Pincus, here's something I noted in reading the linked stories above.

FWIW,

I'll reiterate two pieces of claims I have made before. While Scottie is a new candidate, he definitely knew of both Rove and Libby's involvement--at precisely the time of the 1x2X6 article, because he was prepped to respond to it.

Second, the Isikoff spin WAS spin, but it tried to spin ALL of the calls as post-Novak. I still think it highly likely that the source was including pre- and post- leak leaks. In which case you'd have to include Tweety. And Mitchell.

Now, working on the non-Scottie angle. Pretend for a second that my "Armitage as confirming" or "patsy" theory made sense. Then you could explain how he would know of some of the others.

One thing is true about post-Novak leaks: all of the drama is out of them, because the information is already public. I wouldn't think they would register nearly as clearly and uniquely for recipients, or for those in the administration aware of them, as would the pre-Novak leaks. In fact they aren't really leaks anymore, just reiteration and emphasizing of the point of view expressed in Novak's article (which is of course why the guilty parties want to pretend their calls went out post-Novak). For example, Rove's "[Wilson's wife is] fair game" comment to Matthews doesn't need further elaboration for Matthews because he already knows there is a wife, knows her name and where she works, and knows why Rove is using her the way he is, all because of Novak's (and soon Time's) column, and not because of anything Rove has personally told him (in fact Rove's justification to Matthews with that comment might have explicitly been Novak's already-published column).

So Swopa scooped Jeff, eh? I need to read up on your Colin Powell theory, Swopa - thanks for the links.

I'm between Fleischer and Rove (long odds Hadley) for the Pincus source.

I'm finding the old articles well worth another look. New information gives new perspective.

Fleischer

Pincus could be the "person who provided an account of Mr. Fleischer's role" in the 7/27/05 NYT Swopa sourced in his lastest Plame entry. Just that fact that the NYT (David Johnston contributed) is saying Fleischer had a "role" is worth some weight toward Fleischer as Pincus's source. If Fleischer is the Pincus source, who would be the "others" Waas has Pincus's source telling?

In the leaks from Fleischer friendly sources (including Fleischer himself) the denial is specific to Novak, which is interesting and helps make the case that Fleischer might have told someone other than Novak.

One person familiar with Mr. Fleischer's testimony said he told the grand jury that he was not Mr. Novak's source
NYT 7/27/05

Fleischer declined to comment for this article, referring all questions to prosecutors. But in a Sept. 29, 2003, e-mail to The Times, Fleischer denied he was the source of the leak. "I have no idea who told Novak, but it was not me," he wrote.
7/17/05 LATimes
Date verification The Note

Against Fleischer as the Pincus source is that fact that in the Waas account the Pincus source is adament that he did not tell that Plame was a "clandestine CIA operative", the Fleischer leaks never mention that point.

All Fleischer references I have (except court filings) are here.

Rove

It's the plural "others" along with the general description of the testimony of Pincus's source that keeps me coming back to Rove (add a bit of wishful thinking to the mix).

This description of the testimony given by Pincus's source sounds very similar to Luskins version of Rove's testimony (the strong protest that Rove told anyone Plame was covert). That this version of Pincus's source's testimony mentions Novak with Pincus lends some weight to the Rove as the Pincus source theory.

But the official just as adamantly denied to the federal investigators that he had ever told the Post reporter, Novak, or anyone else that Plame was a clandestine CIA operative.
Waas 4/22/05

On the other hand it's possible the source for the Waas article threw Novak in the denial because Novak was the reporter most associated with the Plame leak.

Who is telling the LATimes about what prosecuters were told? This passage could be referring to several sources, but clearly one of the sources is most likely a person who talked to prosecuters (less possibly a source in the prosecuters office).

This source is not friendly to Rove or Libby here, could it be the 1 of the 1x2x6.



Prosecutors investigating whether administration officials illegally leaked the identity of Wilson's wife, a CIA officer who had worked undercover, have been told that Bush's top political strategist, Karl Rove, and Cheney's chief of staff, I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby, were especially intent on undercutting Wilson's credibility, according to people familiar with the inquiry.

Although lower-level White House staffers typically handle most contacts with the media, Rove and Libby began personally communicating with reporters about Wilson, prosecutors were told.

A source directly familiar with information provided to prosecutors said Rove's interest was so strong that it prompted questions in the White House.
LATimes 7/18/05

If Powell is #1 he would never implicate Armitage, so 1:"2":6. I also find it hard to believe that Armitage would not have told Powell about any conversations with Novak re:Plame. Would Powell mislead the Post about Armitage, if he knew Woodward had also talked in June with Rich about Wilson? Maybe Armitage just isn't Novak's source - we haven't seen a diary entry, yet, showing that they talked.

BTW, isn't pow-wow's court transcript not from Woodward's interview with Armitage, isn't it a NSC meeting or something like that?

One of the most puzzling things is that Waas' article definitely says that Pincus' source talked to others about Plame to undermine Wilson's credibility. That description sounds most like Rove's account of talking with Cooper.

On the other hand, a unified theory that makes the State Department look bad would be: 1)Armitage was Pincus' source, and Pincus undertook a bit of Bob Woodward-like misdirection when he changed his description of his source, around October 2005, to White House official, instead of the more generic administration official. 2)Armitage was also 1x2x6, and the Post again egaged in Bob Woodward-like misdirection when it redescribed the source as a White House official, instead of administration official or senior administration official.

I will add that my impression has always been that the LAT is particularly well-sourced in the State Department. But I do find it hard to believe that the Post would engage in all that deliberate misdirection and deliberately falsify its sourcing. Why not just leave it alone?

Kudos to Swopa, by the way, for picking up in a more timely way the Post's changed description of 1x2x6. It's funny, I remember reading that Post very clearly and I completely missed its significance.

That said, was there ever any indication that 1x2x6 had direct knowledge of 2x6, in the sense that s/he witnessed it? Isn't is possible that 1's knowledge was second-hand, albeit perhaps directly from 2 themselves? I imagine a leading candidate for how this happened might be, as I mentioned, the purported September 2003 Situation Room meeting that Libby's defense tried, and failed, to get any documents on with regard to what Powell supposedly said. (They failed, among other reasons, because the OSP has no such documents.)

Qualifying what i said about the LAT (that they seem well-sourced at State), it does look from the description in polly's post that the source for that particular article has to be in the White House.

Why not just leave it alone?

Exactly. Same goes for Pincus, he said WH in the 10/05 NPR interview and the WaPo put it out as well in October 2005 that Pincus's source was in the WH.

I think the 1x2x6 and the Pincus source are in the WH.

Woodward using misdirection, I would believe.

was there ever any indication that 1x2x6 had direct knowledge of 2x6, in the sense that s/he witnessed it

Here is how the original 1x2x6 appeared, no indication if #1 was present for the calls.

Yesterday, a senior administration official said that before Novak's column ran, two top White House officials called at least six Washington journalists and disclosed the identity and occupation of Wilson's wife
WaPo 9/28/03

kim - I think you mean Chow-Ye's court transcript? I believe they are referring, in that transcript, to the tape recording Woodward made when he interviewed Armitage. I don't know of another taped and transcribed meeting that was discussed during a Libby case court hearing.

pollyusa - I do wonder too whether the person who confronted Rove about why he was going after Wilson so aggressively ('because he's a Democrat') might be the same person who became #1 a few months later. It seems likely that #1 at least witnessed that questioning of Rove by someone else, if he/she wasn't in fact the actual questioner.

Remember with regard to July 12th, that Karl Rove apparently left for vacation sometime on July 11th.

I have some suspicions about the timing of the AP's release of Armitage's June 13th state department calendar. The Chicago Tribune yesterday had this on a blog of theirs:

http://newsblogs.chicagotribune.com/news_theswamp/2006/08/forget_bob_wood.html

In that blog piece, the Tribune posts pdf links to both the full June 13th calendar for Armitage [and for June 12th; speaking of Situation Room meetings - note the schedule for the middle of June 12th, the day Pincus's article came out and Cheney told Libby re Plame/the CPD], and also to a state department copy of the letter that Tom Cruise wrote to Armitage that resulted in Cruise's June 13th private appointment with him. Okay, so the AP gets their FOIA request (whenever it was filed) fulfilled sometime this past week "apparently" (since that is when they broke the story). Does it make sense that background letters like Cruise's would also have been requested, and would have accompanied, the calendar? Or did someone have to get the calendar first, and then request, and wait for, further details like that letter? There is no FOIA dating on the calendar - but there seems to be an April 5, 2006 dating on the letter with regard to the FOIA process. And, obviously, the week of July 6th is a very key week for FOIA requests about calendars... Does the AP already have that week's calendar information too, or are they still waiting for it, I wonder.

To clarify:

Does it make sense that general background material like Cruise's letter would have been requested WITH, and therefore could have simultaneously accompanied the FOIA release to the AP of, the state department calendar information itself?

In other words, it'd be nice to see the Associated Press itself interviewed (E&P?) about the FOIA requests they've made in this matter, and to learn exactly what the AP received in return, and when they received it.

Sorry pow-wow, I did mean Chou Ye. I think that transcript is from the "September 2003 Situation Room meeting" that Jeff's referred to. As I recall there were more than three people at that meeting and this is why Fitz comments that "there are people talking over each other." Woodward is supposed to have a recording of his interview with Armitage but I'm pretty sure that hasn't been made public.

I think the 1x2x6 and the Pincus source are in the WH.

polly, I am strongly inclined to agree, but it's worth keeping mind that it is not unknown for reporters to do this sort of thing - Woodward is famous for misdescribing Deep Throat in order to divert attention away from the actual person. However, in this case, since it is a matter of changing a previous description, you'd have to imagine the Post was very strongly motivated to do that, and it's unclear what that motivation would be.

kim - I can't remember how that idea got started, but the point is that Fitzgerald's comment at one of the hearings about people talking over each other refers to the Woodward-Armitage meeting. if I remember correctly, the idea is that Libby's defense received a transcript of the tape that Woodward made, and they wanted the actual tape, or in any case there was a dispute over interpreting some of it. (Fitzgerald obviously didn't want to give Libby the tape since that would identify the source, and as far as the case goes, he remains officially unidentified.) But again, there is nothing we know of regardingi the purported September 2003 Situation Room meeting - no tape, no transcript, nothing that we know of, and nothing that Fitzgerald has indicating that Powell said what Team Libby claimed (more or less) he'd said.

And there were, it seems quite clear, only two people at the Armitage-Woodward meeting, they were talking over each other, and Fitzgerald used the vague wording he did, which left open the possibility that he was talking about more than two people, because he wanted to give away publicly as little as possible about it, and he was annoyed that Team Libby had burned something that had been under seal, the information about the transcript.

pow wow

That is a nice bit to have from the Tribune blog, and nicely done on catching the April date. My very strong suspicion is that State is releasing stuff to the AP serially, and we're going to hear soonish that Armitage had a private appointment with Robert Novak on his calendar for July 8. I will be curious to see what time it was, and then match it up with the time on that day that Wilson's friend chatted with Novak on the street. The reason I'm interested is because the time between those two events is the window Novak would have had to look up Wilson's Who's Who entry and find out that he was married to a woman named Valerie, a name he used with Wilson's friend on the street. Unless Novak's story is that he looked up Wilson's Who's Who entry beforehand, finding out what he could about Wilson, and registered the fact that his wife's name was Valerie.

Of course, one of the things that makes Novak's story about learning her name from Who's Who unbelievable is that he would actually have learned that Wilson's wife's name was Valerie Wilson, and her maiden name was Valerie Plame.

Huh, ok, I surrender. Sorry again pow-wow, thanks Jeff.

Just as a reminder with regard to 1x2x6, Fitzgerald said a couple of interesting things about it in his 8-27-04 affidavit. First (footnote 3 on p. 3) in the course of describing the investigation, Fitzgerald noted:

In seeking to determine the sources for these disclosures [in July 2003], and the motive for the disclosures, the investigation also necessarily has sought to determine whether, as was reported in The Washington Post in September 2003, administration officials called a number of other members of the media in order to reveal information about Ms. Plame.

Pretty noncommital on the accuracy of the report; but I take it this serves in part to explain and justify the fact that the investigation went beyond just the sources for Novak. Then, near the end, in the process of explaining that he considered, when deciding to go after journalists,

whether the "source" to be identified appears to have leaked to discredit the earlier source (Wilson) as opposed to a leak who revealed information as a "whistleblower" (e.g. the source for the September 28 Washington Post column).

Fitzgerald goes on to call Wilson a whistleblower as well, but he also gives an interesting characterization of him, as he describes the possible crime committed in going after

a person such as Wilson who, correctly or incorrectly, sought to expose what he perceived as misconduct by the White House.

I take the implication of this point with regard to 1x2x6 to be that we can't read off of Fitzgerald's application of "whistleblower" to 1x2x6 much more than that s/he perceived misconduct by the White House. So it remains unclear how much of the story is accurate. However, would Fitzgerald characterize 1x2x6 this way if s/he didn't actually perceive misconduct by the White House, if, say, the story were inaccurate and 1x2x6 knew it and 1x2x6 were an ally of Armitage's? I take it the answer to that has to be no. But that leaves open just how much of the story is accurate.

I just looked at the KOS timeline and see that Woodward talked to someone in the WH on June 20, and his notes include a question about "Wilson's wife." This could be where the WH learned about Armitage or, at least, that reporters knew of Mrs. Wilson.

If a conspiracy/plot was hatched for "revenge" against the Wilsons it seems this interview might point to its source in the WH. I wonder if BobW has a tape of that interview handy?

Regarding the excellent redaction analysis done here several months ago, am I right that none of those redactions apply to Novak's source?

No need to 'surrender' an apology to me, kim! Easy mistake to make.

I imagine Bob Woodward does have a tape recording of his Friday, June 20th interview of Andrew Card handy - but a transcript must exist at least. I'm not sure, but I believe Woodward has not publicly indicated that he actually asked Card the question he had ready for him based on his pre-interview list of questions. It would be quite interesting, indeed, if in fact Woodward asked Card about Mrs. Wilson. The following Monday was the day that Judy Miller met Libby in his office and wrote "wife works in bureau?" in her notebook during the interview. Bob Woodward also spoke with Libby by phone Monday, June 23rd (it's not clear who called whom), apparently to arrange things for their Friday, June 27th interview and to discuss getting questions answered by Dick Cheney.

The excellent affidavit redaction analysis done here actually covered BOTH Woodward's and Novak's sources, and multiple instances of same. The name of Richard Armitage in various permutations fit like a glove as the source for BOTH Bob Woodward and Robert Novak.

The name of Richard Armitage in various permutations fit like a glove as the source for BOTH Bob Woodward and Robert Novak.

But so did the name of Ari Fleischer. (The names "Fleischer" and "Armitage" are almost exactly the same width in Times New Roman.)

With regard to the commercial, corporate-friendly and White House-friendly media in this country, how does this comparison strike you [is it advice from in-house corporate lawyers, or is it something else?]:

1. The New York Sun published on April 17, 2006 the July 7, 2003 declassified State Department INR Memo. They said this version "was obtained by the New York Sun on Saturday." In their April 17th article they note that the New York Sun filed a FOIA request for this document in July, 2005. Here's the thing. This document has the exact same format of notation on the bottom of its first page, as does Tom Cruise's just-released letter to the State Department (see above URL for a pdf link). To wit:

"UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF STATE
REVIEW AUTHORITY: XX[NAME]XX
DATE/CASE ID: XX[DATE]XX XX[NUMBER]XX"

In the case of the INR Memo, the details are:

Review Authority: Sharon E. Ahmad
Date/Case ID: 31 MAR 2006 200503144

So: On a FOIA request made in July, 2005, the document in question is dated 31 March, 2006, and publicly released by its requester within a month, on April 17, 2006.

2. The Tom Cruise letter to Richard Armitage at the State Department was publicly released for the first time on August 25, 2006, as the result of a FOIA request. Who requested it (apparently the AP), and when, is unknown*. But we now know that the date notation at the bottom of declassified State Department documents under the FOIA are NOT dated based upon when the FOIA request is received, but rather close to when the final review and approval for release is made.

In the case of the Tom Cruise letter, the details are:

Review Authority: Frank H. Perez
Date/Case ID: 05 APR 2006 200505088

This letter, but much more importantly the state department calendar FOIA request to which it seems to relate, which identifies Richard Armitage as the likely Bob Woodward source, was not publicly released by the Associated Press/Chicago Tribune, for more than four months... WHY?

*The Case ID Number seems to include the calendar year of receipt of the FOIA request at the beginning, based on the New York Sun information. If true, that means that the Tom Cruise/Armitage appointment calendar FOIA request was also made in 2005, at some point later than July.

P.S. One note about a declassified President's Daily Briefing document from the CIA: the "Bin Ladin Determined To Strike In US" document that was released (to the 9/11 Commission I believe) has this (and no other additions) on each page:

"Declassified and Approved
for Release, 10 April 2004"

Again, dated not when a request for declassification comes in, but when a final release is granted.

WHY? Because the Associated Press was too afraid to 'go first' until they found out that this was coming:

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/14533384/site/newsweek/

Whoa, Whoa, Whoa.

"The Man Who Said Too Much

A book coauthored by NEWSWEEK's Michael Isikoff details Richard Armitage's central role in the Valerie Plame leak.

By Michael Isikoff
Newsweek
Updated: 2 hours, 45 minutes ago

Sept. 4, 2006 issue - In the early morning of Oct. 1, 2003, Secretary of State Colin Powell received an urgent phone call from his No. 2 at the State Department. Richard Armitage was clearly agitated. As recounted in a new book, "Hubris: The Inside Story of Spin, Scandal, and the Selling of the Iraq War," Armitage had been at home reading the newspaper and had come across a column by journalist Robert Novak..."

[Sorry, Swopa...!]

As long as I post on it before EW does, all is not lost. :)

As long as I post on it before EW does, all is not lost. :)

Mission accomplished!

Good job SWOPA, I must admit. IMO we need to know, now, who Woodie interviewed in the WH... because this person started the conspiracy against the Wilsons, and pointed Novak toward Armitage... the rest is history.

For many of us, of course, it is not news that Armitage was Novak's first source.

What is a little bit of news is:

1. the apparent confirmation of the fact that Armitage got his information on Plame from the INR memo. The article is not really definitive about it, but that's the suggestion.

2. Armitage was aggressively investigated by Fitzgerald - which, if true, I'm pleased to hear. He deserves it.

3. a litle bit more about the beginnings of the investigation - State went forward right away, and offered Gonzales the minimum info they could get away with.

4. Armitage's story is that he didn't realize until October 2003 that he was probably Novak's first source - which is total bullshit.

In this corn discussion: I found out over 25 years ago that corn doesn't require as much square footage as we've been led to believe. I had a narrow terraced area backed by a low wall and I decided to experiment. The trick was to have more than just one row. Two will work and three is better. I guess it's for cross-pollination purposes when there's a breeze. Plant the seeds closer. Tend it like you normally would and it makes corn. It's been a long time since I did that, but we were giving corn away and freezing it.

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