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January 03, 2007

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As part of the discovery process, Libby won the right to get materials that will impeach Judy Miller...

Couldn't he just go to a library where they have the NYT archives on microfiche?

And in Judge Walton's estimation, there is at least one detail in drafts of Judy's work that will make her look less than credible on the witness stand.

"At least one"? Judge Walton has a gift for understatement. :)

Man, am I glad I'm not a juror on this case. It is enough to make anyone's head spin. There is so much to sort through, I worry that the jury will be too confused to render a convincing 'guilty' verdict.

The defense attorneys will likely generate such an overwhelming blizzard of stuff that nobody can see through it all clearly.

Ah, but that's the beauty of it, isn't it Swopa? Libby's team can't USE the most obvious material. What are they going to say:

And so, we have shown that Judy Miller is completely untrustworthy because each and every one of her WMD articles from 2003 and 2003 have been proven to be mistaken at best, and willful fabrications at worst.

At some point, that falls under the law of diminishing returns.

global yokel: I think that's one of the many areas where Fitzgerald shines as a prosecutor. He has an amazing ability to explain the real issues in layman's terms. He gets past the muck so to speak.

emptywheel: As a longtime lurker here, I'm excited about your book. Congratulations!

He gets past the muck? He passes on the whole thing!

Everyone is looking forward to the games!

The best part of the whole NIE cover story is the most obvious lie. According to Miller's notes (which as a contemporaneous account will be hard to impeach), Libby, rather than leaking the NIE, lied about it ("the assessments of the classified estimate were even stronger than those in the unclassified version"). We know now (and Libby knew then) that the classified version was full of caveats, weasel words, and dissents that were cut out of the unclassified version. When the Administration finally did declassify most of the NIE, they had nothing that made the case stronger. Is anyone willing to argue at this point that there is stuff in the still classified part that Bush and Cheney were willing to declassify via Libby, but won't declassify now?

As near as I can tell, Bush and Cheney backed Libby up on this stupid cover story. Cheney is going to testify. I have a question for someone with trial law experience. Will Fitzgerald get to ask Cheney if he authorized Libby to leak the NIE?

On the one hand, Fitzgerald agrees with Libby on this. In the 11-15-06 response to Libby's motion in limine on the NIE, p. 4, Fitzgerald says that in the conversations with Woodward and Sanger Libby "disclosed information from the NIE - specifically, the NIE's conclusion that Iraq was vigorously trying to procure uranium - which was substantially less information than disclosed to Ms. Miller on July 8."

On the other hand, while Fitzgerald is express about the ambiguity in the timing of Bush and Cheney's declassification, he is emphatic in rejecting the assertion by Libby's defense, echoing Isikoff's anonymous source (whom I suspect is Dan Bartlett), that Libby was authorized to disclose the NIE when he talked to Woodward in June. He refuses to just accept that assertion, since there is no clarity on it - and he clearly suspects it was later, since Addington testified that the conversation where Libby asked him about presidential declassification was after July 6.

That stuff that Isikoff has, by the way, which he used in Newsweek first, is classic plausible deniability strategy for Bush. It follows the Reagan pattern pretty closely. Bush said, "Get it out," but left all the specifics to Cheney and Libby. So he had no idea what they were doing, even though he thought it would be nice if reporters found out.

Jeff

Well, given Judy's testimony, in which she provides a lot of details about specious claims Libby made about Wilson as the source of all intell on Niger, we know what some of the other substantially more is, at least from her perspective.

That is--he doesn't detail whether or not the substantially more relatest to the NIE, or to something else.

emptywheel

Yes, I am taking that sentence, as constructed, to mean that he is talking about the NIE the whole time.

You got that right, emptywheel, on the NIE. Judy sure blew it!

I love that you have Cheney's handwriting on the cover of your book. Indeed, he wrote out the leading questions for the media, didn't he?

Several people have posted in recent days sentiments along the lines of "this stuff is so complicated that jurors will have a tough time figuring things out."

I get that feeling when I read TNH Plame stories. But part of that is because there is so much (SO MUCH) speculating about sources, events, chronologies, motives. Not to mention the right wing attempts to completely obscure the facts.

In trial, though, the prosecution can simply present a few facts and witness testimony. Heck, it's already clear that Libby wasn't speaking truth to the FBI and grand jury. The facts don't support him. All Libby has left is "I didn't know I was lying when my mouth opened."

The evidence alreay convicts him. It's on his team's shoulders to sway a jury that, in truth, Scooter is a swell guy, really busy, and just mispoke.

Plus, he has to counter the fact that he had tremendous motive to lie to the FBI and grand jury (just think of all the bad things that would happen if it became publicly known that the VP's right hand was outing secret agents, at a time of war--regardless of whether it was an 'accident').

Seriously, this only gets complicated when the wider picture is considered (such as Cheney's role, Rove's complicity, the source of forgeries, etc). This trial is just a beginning.

Over 3,000 american military dead, and the public can no longer deny the character of those in charge. Despicable liars who put politics before national security.

Quicksilver

I did make a concerted effort to get the "junket" part included but it didn't work.

here's scooter's problem in a nut shell

There are a lot of reasons why Libby's team is going to attack Judy, hard--not least the fact that she will testify that he was leaking Plame's identity two days before he learned it again "as if it were new."

all of the discussions about the NIE are useless padding

scooter libby claims that he learned it again "as if it were new.", the "It" being the identity of Valerie Plame

and judyjudyjudy ain't the only person who discussed Valerie Plame with scooter before novakula's column was published

this trial isn't about leaking classified information

this trial is about lying to the FBI, Lying to a Grand Jury, and Obstruction of Justice

scooter libby's defense against the charges in the actual indictment seems to be an open admission that scooter committed the crime that scooter claims never happened

Patrick Fitzgerald can explain all of this to a jury in a simple and cogent narrative

and then scooter gets up and tries to confuse the issue by admitting he leaked classified information, but not the classified information that Fitzgerald is supposed to be investigating

anybody ever seen a trial jury get really pissed off at a defendant ???

most people in Washington DC ain't as simpleminded as jodi and the yokel

this is gonna result in a slam dunk guilty verdict, in record time

EW, are you going to publish an excerpt of "Anatomy" here, at FDL, or god forbid, in one of the old media publications? I'm tempted to buy your book, but I would like to see if the style of your writing in the book differs from what we see here in a regular post? At the very least, can you get Amazon to share the table of contents with us and mabye the first two pages?

I will ask. And I believe we're posting an excerpt for the books salon at FDL on January 14.

I can't wait to get my copy -- I ordered from Barnes & Noble online late last week tho' I wish I could have ordered from your independent bookseller.
And how are you planning to cover the trial? I can't wait to hear the commentary --
Thanks for all you do to keep the world sane and rational -- and aware of the backstory. That was the suppertime gift my Dad gave us for years -- a trenchant analysis that went behind the scenes to give us with a glimpse of the big picture. Down to earth. Real. Coherent. And that's what you do for us.

Very interesting, as always. I've never been more prepared for a trial in my life.

And now he was going to go further with Miller than he had with Woodward in revealing the contents of the NIE. He would be feeding sensitive information to a reporter whose stories had bolstered the WMD case for war--and who had an interest in defending the prewar claims.

I suppose "to go further with Miller than he had with Woodward" could mean, release more information.

I don't have any trouble reading it as "taking a bolder, more consequential step" - leaking to Woodward does not count as contemporanreous news management, since his eventual book won't come out for months or years.

Leaking to a reporter who is firmly on one side of a raging public debate is a lot more likely to lead to a helpful and immediate front page story.

Of coure, my alternative explnantion fails to advance the plot line.

Tom

How do you explain Sanger on July 2, then? It obviously was ALSO contemporaneous news management. And frankly more unique because he hadn't already been leaked much of this, as Judy had been.

And Tom, remember, the challenge is to find something that, for two journalists, apparently doesn't merit making sure you're authorized to leak; the other merits presidential insta-declassification. So you've got to find a thing that distinguishes the Sanger leak from the Miller leak legally.

EW
I ordered a copy of the book from BArnes And Noble. They already have a shipment on order. hey told me that even if the shipment comes in before that (and they expect it to) that they cannot release the book until the 1/28 publisher's release date unless the publisher contacts them and says it's OK to pre-release.

FYI

lhp

I've checked, and they will ship when they get it, but we've done a followup just to make sure.

Marci....

I ALMOST ordered from Amazon, but when I saw that it wouldn't be shipped until Jan. 28th, I didn't....

I really want a copy before the trial starts as sort of a "study guide".... so if you could get in touch with Amazon as well.... (maybe just change the "official" publication date)....

p luk

The book leaves Ann Arbor on Jan 12, so it should be in your hands shortly after the trial starts (before Jan 28).

EW,
It's not the shipping date that is the issue, it is the RELASE DATE

The books stores and AMazaon may have it sooner, but they won't let the readers have it sooner unless the publisher moves up the release date

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