Apologies for the all-Plame all-the-time posting. I'm working on a big post, but meanwhile pow wow has alerted me to late-game stupidity--or complicity--on the part of the AP and the WSJ. In last-ditch effort to
discredit the investigation forestall the civil trial make waves, they are asking a judge to unseal the subpoenas and the appeals court decision that forced Cooper and Judy to testify.
The Associated Press and Dow Jones, in court papers filed this week, asked for the release of the sworn statements Fitzgerald gave to justify subpoenas for New York Times reporter Judith Miller and Time magazine reporter Matthew Cooper.
“Recently the public learned that the special counsel’s pursuit of those reporters was entirely unnecessary for him to determine who leaked Ms. Plame’s name to Mr. Novak,” lawyers for the news services wrote.
I don't suppose the judge can be so dismissive as simply pointing these (ahem) esteemed journalistic institutions to a humble dirty hippy's blog. But here are some suggestions I've got for the AP and WSJ, in lieu of tying up our court system. And honest, the suggestions are a lot more constructive than the first one, which was basically that they get their head out of their collective arse.
- Read Fitzgerald's filings, such as this one, which explains:
The defendant argues that it is disingenuous for the government to argue that the defendant frustrated the investigation because the investigation was limited to discovering who leaked information to Robert Novak and was limited to whether violations of the Foreign Intelligence Identities Protections Act had occurred. Resp. at 2, 10. Of course, the investigation was not so limited and, to borrow a phrase, the defense knows this. In fact, defendant was on notice that the investigation concerned any government officials who leaked the identity of Valerie Plame to any reporters, not just Robert Novak, and that the investigation was not limited to determining whether violations of a single statute had occurred. [emphasis mine]
- Investigate--and report on--when and why Scooter Libby met with Robert Novak. After all, until we know that that meeting didn't take place before the Armitage meeting, we have no way of knowing whether it related to the Wilson leak. Or do I have to point out that Armitage would have no way of knowing whether he was the "first" source for Novak? And they can't entirely rule out the possibility that Libby pushed Novak to find out "why" Wilson got sent. Surely, someone told Novak that Wilson "never worked for the CIA," since it's not something Novak could have ascertained without classified information. Are the AP and WSJ so sure that Libby didn't tell Novak that? Perhaps they should spend their time answering that question.
- Look at a clock. After all, we know that the conversation between Judy and Scooter took place at 9 AM at the St. Regis. And we know (I think) that Armitage met Novak in the afternoon. Therefore, if Libby leaked Plame's identity to Judy at 9 AM on July 8, it would precede the Armitage leak by at least 3 hours (to say nothing of the distinct possibility that Libby leaked Plame's covert identity).
- Publish the Armitage calendar for July 8. After all, that would put some clarity to the above question--whether Libby leaked Plame's identity to Judy before Armitage revealed Plame's CIA role to Novak. And we know the AP was FOIAing Armitage's calendar pages. Are they pursuing this legal maneuver to avoid admitting that the Armitage meeting occurred after the Judy one, and may well have taken place after Joe Wilson's friend heard Novak bitching about Wilson and revealing Plame's CIA role?
- Read the existing declassified appeals court opinion. You know? The one that explains why Fitzgerald had to subpoena Judy?
Given the evidence contradicting Libby’s testimony, the special counsel appears already to have at least circumstantial grounds for a perjury charge, if nothing else. Miller’s testimony, however, could settle the matter. If Libby mentioned Plame during the July 8 meeting—and Miller’s responses to the documentary subpoena suggest she has notes from that conversation (see 8/27/04 Aff. at 19-20)—then Libby’s version of events would be demonstrably false, since the conversation occurred before he spoke to Russert. Even if he first mentioned Plame on July 12, as he claims, inconsistencies between his recollection and Miller’s could reinforce suspicions of perjury. What’s more, if Libby mentioned Plame’s covert status in either conversation, charges under the Intelligence Identities Protection Act, 50 U.S.C. § 421, currently off the table for lack of evidence (see 8/27/04 Aff. at 28 & n.15), might become viable. Thus, because Miller may provide key or contradiction of Libby’s claims—evidence obviously available from no other source—the special counsel has made a compelling showing that the subpoenas directed at Miller are vital to an accurate assessment of Libby’s conduct. [my emphasis]
Not to mention the fact that this declassified appeals court opinion has already given them everything they claim to want, with respect to Judy.
I can't really explain this action from AP and WSJ--there is no reasonable journalistic reason for it, unless it's outright stupidity and laziness. Or just a really simplistic understanding of this case. But I'd have to say that it seems just as likely that they've been pushed to take this action by someone else with an interest in the case--there's no news value to this pursuit, though there may well be a legalistic strategic reason for it.