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January 12, 2007

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EW,

Your back up! Yeah!


A nit to pick. I would be very surprised if Team Fitz tries o introduce the Aspen letter. You may recall that PAt expressly gave permision to Libby to contact Judy directly and said that such conduct would not be considered obstruction.

Libby abused that permission, for sure, but I would be surprised to see Pat try to use it anyway b/c is will draws howls of "entrapment" that will muddy up the rest of his case.

That being said, I was shocked that a group of lawyers as experienced as Team Irving's would let that letter go out the door the way it was. That was a real breach of faith with the prosecution who was trying to take them at their word. In future, who--judge or opposing counsel--is going to be inclined to take any of these lawyers at their word?

In my profession, if your proffer proves worthless and in bad faith, you ability to help other clients erodes.

The indictment pretty well lays out the nature of the "hiding" that the grand jury considered to be obstructive, and it all has to do with Libby's role - not with hiding a "smear campaign" or "conspiracy involving Cheney." The issue between Libby and investigators has to do with what Libby wanted investigators conclude as to Libby's awareness that Wilson's wife worked at the CIA, at the time Libby had conversations with Russert, Cooper and Miller.

Fair enough, LHP, but that doesn't mean he can't reference the August 2003 meeting (how ironic would it be if by including that reference, Libby revealed a meeting where he and Judy had spoken about this?).

cboldt

Right--I agree the actions that served to obstruct are clear in the indictment. But the question is to why. By trying to mislead the investigators, what was LIbby trying to accomplish? What crime was he trying to hide? The Cheney stuff is critically important, as I said, because if he got the Plame info through classified channels, it means IIPA could become viable. And all the smear campaign clearly goes to intent--if Edelman was willing to leak stuff in late June, then it suggests an intent to leak stuff on the Wilsons. Again, critically important to IIPA.

LHP
One more thing. It was just Tate at that point, not quite the hard hitter the rest of the team is. He pretty clearly walked right up to the line of obstruction himself, which is why, I guess, you hire your old colleague to defend you.

I do believe Fitzgerald intended to argue that Libby obstructed justice to hide Cheney's role--at least before Libby called Cheney to testify (though I still think it's likely).

I'd think that Libby's announcement that he intended to call Cheney would make it more likely that Fitzgerald would argue that Libby obstructed to hide Cheney's role, since that argument seeks to cast doubt on Cheney's own testimony, which will undoubtedly support Libby and may even contradict the testimony of key prosecution witnesses, especially Cathie Martin. However, I suppose it's possible Fitzgerald could open with that, and then Libby's defense decide not to call Cheney, thinking that Fitzgerald might be putting himself out there with a weaker case thereby. Also, it's possible that Cheney will testify in order to a little bit draw the fire away from Libby, and Fitzgerald could play into the hands of such a strategy.

-- "By trying to mislead the investigators, what was LIbby trying to accomplish? What crime was he trying to hide?" --


I'm in the camp that doesn't think he has to be hiding a crime or a conspiracy, in order to explain his motive. Although the presence of conspiracy or risk of criminal charge provides even more motive. People lie about independent actions that aren't criminal, often. (I wasn't at the bar, honest honey).

Libby could have been on a lone-wolf on a mission to discredit Wilson, or one of several independent agents. Anyway, whatever he was trying to hide, making investigators think that he didn't know Wilson's wife worked at the CIA (except for the forgotten Cheney conversation), investigators will lose interest in Libby.

And while mixing up his various contacts with reporters is interesting, a bunch of smoke on the rumor scene is just that, smoke, a diversion from the essence of the charge. Libby wants investigators to conclude that Libby had no "official" awareness that Wilson's wife worked at the CIA. Libby's problem lies in the divergence between what official sources told him, and what he told investigators about those official sources (he only told investigators about the forgotten Cheney conversation, and that only after being refreshed with his notes).

-- if he got the Plame info through classified channels, it means IIPA could become viable. --


I personally doubt that, for many reasons. The presence of her identity on the INR results in failure of the government to take measures to preserve her "covert status." Libby would have to be aware of her holding "covert" status, and I doubt that was present either.

A few minor things.

It's Robert Grenier, not Roger. I'm very curious to see what Grenier has to say, since it appears that Fitzgerald was not aware of his role in the matter when Fitzgerald submitted his affidavit on 8-27-04.

I do believe the Edelman conversation is July 19 or after; it could've been that day, though I'm not positive on that.

I think it's been established that Martin heard about Plame from Bill Harlow at CIA.

Libby didn't exactly ask Addington for more information; he asked Addington what more information there might be at the CIA if an employee were involved in her spouse's trip abroad.

Though it's not 100%, it also now appears that Libby acnowledged his June conversation with Cheney from the outset of the investigation, having reviewed his notes already.

I personally doubt that, for many reasons.

Well, whether you're right or not, it's pretty clear that the investigation itself disagreed with you, though it's possible the potential violations were not of IIPA specifically but of other statutes. The indictment, p. 20, has an excerpt from the March 24, 2004 grand jury session with Libby, where Libby is asked the following question:

Did the fact that you knew that the law could turn, the law as to whether a crime was committed, could tunr on where you learned the information from, affect your account for the FBI when you told them that you were telling reporters Wilson's worked at the CIA but your source was a reporter rather than the Vice-President?

The fact that Libby's answer - No, it's a fact. It was a fact, that's what I told the reporters. - is specifically included as one of the falsities he's charged with in this perjury count indicates that it mattered too.

-- Libby is asked the following question ... --


I don't think the question can be fairly read as an unequivocal statement that Plame was covert. At most it's a statement that the investigator was looking into the possibility of a leak of classified information.


I read the question more as a question of motive for Libby to lie. "Did you lie to the FBI because you thought you might have disclosed classified information?"


Libby's answer says "No." Implying (as is clear from reading the follow-up question) "I thought it wasn't classified because I only heard it from reporters - I didn't hear it from an official source."


Whatever smokescreen the CIA has erected around Plame's actual status won't be made public - state secret. So the two opposing camps -- "She was covert," "No she wasn't" -- will have an issue in perpetuity.

Whatever smokescreen the CIA has erected around Plame's actual status won't be made public - state secret. So the two opposing camps -- "She was covert," "No she wasn't" -- will have an issue in perpetuity.

The CIA was(is) not happy apout Plame being exposed. They lost someone valuable in a place were she was needed at a crucial time. I can't imagine that the CIA will not find a way to "clear" the "smokescreen" a bit to aid in prosecution of the people who outed her...and, I still believe that Fitzgerald will end up nailing that OVP crew for treason for doing so. (I still believe in God, Santa Claus and the tooth fairy, because there has to be some justice in this stinking world.)

cboldt

The point I was trying to make is: the grand jury clearly suspected that Libby might have lied to cover up the fact that he got Plame info through classified channels and he knew that could expose him to charges on the underlying acts. That of course doesn't definitively answer whether Plame was covert under IIPA or whether Libby was indeed vulnerable to underlying charges, whether under IIPA or another statute. But the grand jury certainly suspected that Libby feared as much.

I think I agree with cboldt on this and would note that Fitz's infamous footnote 15 in his Aug 27, 2004 affy seems to support that. Unfortunately, a lot of people have glommed onto Judge Tatel's (erroneously, imho) interpretation of this footnote. For the record, here is what Pat Fitzgerald said in n15:

If Libby knowingly disclosed information about Plame's status with the CIA, Libby would appear to have violated Title 18, United States Code, Section 793 if the information is considered "information respecting the national defense." In order to establish a violation of Title 50, United States Code, Section 421 [IIPA], it would be necessary ham) were making veiled threats around indictmentto establish that Libby knew or believed that Plame was a person whose identity the CIA was making specific efforts to conceal and who had carried out covert work overseas within the last 5 years. To date, we have no direct evidence that Libby knew or believed that Wilson's wife was engaged in covert work.
(emphasis mine)

So, from this note, it seems like Fitzgerald was more interested in pursuing Espionage Act violations regarding the passing of classified info important to the national defense, rather than IIPA. Now, I don't know if he has since come up with enough evidence to prove that Libby knew Plame was covert, but I also suspect that even if he did, trying to present that kind of case in court would be incredibly susceptible to greymail attempts.

I would also submit that Fitz wasn't interested in compelling Miller's testimony to necessarily prove that IIPA was on the table again, as Tatel's opinion seems to suggest. Rather he wanted to see if Libby leaked any classified info to Miller wrt Plame's employ by the CIA, which itself was classified, in order to prosecute under Espionage act. I don't know why he specifically decided not to indict there, maybe there was confusion whether or not Cheney "insta-declassified" Plame's employ info, or again, it would just have been too susceptible to greymail.

I would also take issue with cboldt's statement, "The presence of her identity on the INR results in failure of the government to take measures to preserve her 'covert status.' " I agree with EW on the substance of the INR memo, it was a red herring. Just because someone's employ at the CIA is classified info, doesn't necessarily make them a covert agent. I'm sure there are analysts who have never done any kind of field work (and thus not protected under IIPA) whose employ at the CIA might be classified info, given their area of expertise. In other words, the INR memo tells us nothing about whether or not she was "covert" under IIPA, and thus nothing can be concluded about the govt's failure to hide her identity implying that she must never have been covert in the past.

In the end, I think that absent any kind of smoking gun evidence from Cheney or Libby's notes, Fitz found IIPA prosecution fraught with too much peril and probably too susceptible to greymail. I'd be curious to understand exactly why he declined to prosecute under Espionage, especially given that he was very keen on interviewing Miller for that very purpose; I remember that a lot of prom Repubs (especially Lindsey Graham) making veiled threats about this opening up the dike to all kinds of frivolous prosecutions about passing classified info around, maybe that had something to do with it.

Here is what Fitzgerald had to say about the Espionage Act

FITZGERALD: [...]And all I'll say is that if national defense information which is involved because her affiliation with the CIA, whether or not she was covert, was classified, if that was intentionally transmitted, that would violate the statute known as Section 793, which is the Espionage Act.

That is a difficult statute to interpret. It's a statute you ought to carefully apply.

I think there are people out there who would argue that you would never use that to prosecute the transmission of classified information, because they think that would convert that statute into what is in England the Official Secrets Act.

[...]

FITZGERALD: I don't buy that theory, but I do know you should be very careful in applying that law because there are a lot of interests that could be implicated in making sure that you picked the right case to charge that statute.
Fitzgerald Press Conference 10/28/05

-- the grand jury clearly suspected that Libby might have lied to cover up the fact that he got Plame info through classified channels and he knew that could expose him to charges on the underlying acts --

I more or less agree with that. That's why they asked whether "the fact that you knew that ... whether a crime was committed, could turn on where you learned the information from" would affect his account to investigators. If he learned from a source that gives classified information, he might be charged with leaking classified information. That's one of several conditions, another being that that source gives him classified information.

The "or less" aspect would be that Libby might have lied to cover up the fact that he got Plame info through classified channels if he thought leaking Plame might expose him to charges on the underlying acts.

Libby's position with investigators short circuits all of the "did Plame's employment with the CIA have some protected status" inquiry. He claims he didn't obtain the information through channels authorized to handle classified information, except for the forgotten conversation with Cheney.

Libby's position with investigators short circuits all of the "did Plame's employment with the CIA have some protected status" inquiry. He claims he didn't obtain the information through channels authorized to handle classified information, except for the forgotten conversation with Cheney.

Admittedly, I'm slow, but this is completely baffling to me. That's Libby's claim. Investigators were probing whether it was a lie, which is obviously not exclusive of a probe into her status or anything else.

Thanks EW.

Just reread count 1 of the indictment with your backgrounder in mind. I think count 1 is going to be pretty easy for Fitz. He is going for the expansive "corrupt" of interfering with GJ's determination of the bullet points of the GJ objectives.

Signing off, Jr. Constitutional lawyer tryggth. :)

-- Investigators were probing whether [it] was a lie, which is obviously not exclusive of a probe into her status or anything else. --

[it] (the alleged lie) is that he didn't obtain the information through channels authorized to handle classified information.

And you're right, that doesn't preclude the FBI or grand jury from looking into whether or not "Wilson's wife works at the CIA" was classified information. But my hunch is that the investigators worked from a presumption that "Wilson's wife's worked at the CIA" was classified information. Otherwise they wouldn't be trying to figure out who divulged that Wilson's wife worked at the CIA.

I can't update right now--but Jeff is right, I believe, on all his corrections--thanks Jeff!

cboldt

I agree that they haven't proved an IIPA short of connecting Cheney up. My point is they obstructed the investigation that might have resulted in finding out IIPA (With Cheney, they'd have 3 of 4 criteria for IIPA, less the covert).

But my hunch is that the investigators worked from a presumption that "Wilson's wife's worked at the CIA" was classified information. Otherwise they wouldn't be trying to figure out who divulged that Wilson's wife worked at the CIA.

Still baffling. It wasn't a presumption. They were told as much by the CIA. They had evidence for that information.

If you're trying to suggest that the suspicion that Libby lied led them to the belief that she was classified, because he had to be lying about something, that's just wrong. If you're suggesting that the suspicion that Libby was lying led them not to examine carefully enough whether she was really and truly classified, and whether she was covert under IIPA, I suppose that's possible. I doubt it for a number of reason, including the fact that Fitzgerald had a component of his team whose job it was to examine statutes and their applicability, which requires examining the relevant substance of the investigation, which would include her status.

And though I don't expect anyone to ever agree with me, it is my interpretation of the famous footnote in the 8-27-04 affidavit that Fitzgerald was precisely signalling his belief that he could make a strong case that Plame was covert under the IIPA. Note that that is a different claim than saying I agree with it. Not only do I not have enough information to make that judgment, obviously, but it does look like Fitzgerald has a rather aggressive interpretation of the statute, one which I am not inclined to agree with. But Fitzgerald is well-known for being an aggressive prosecutor.

-- Still baffling. It wasn't a presumption. They were told as much by the CIA. --


Call it what you want then. I'm not attached to the word "presumption." The investigator didn't investigate that angle. They took it as true. They presumed it was true. They didn't question the contents of the referral. The investigation sheds no light on the question. The investigation wasn't on that question. The indictment doesn't get to the ultimate truth or falsity of that question.


-- If you're trying to suggest that the suspicion that Libby lied led them to the belief that she was classified --


No. Quite the opposite. I'm saying the investigators "had the belief" that "Wilson's wife works at the CIA" was classified information. They "had the belief" on faith, if you will.


-- If you're suggesting that the suspicion that Libby was lying led them not to examine carefully enough whether she was really and truly classified --


I'm saying I see no evidence that they DID examine that question. The contentions are phrased "if she was."


As you pointed out, the investigators were told by the CIA - what are they going to do, call the CIA out as wrong?

-- I agree that they haven't proved an IIPA short of connecting Cheney up. My point is they obstructed the investigation that might have resulted in finding out IIPA (With Cheney, they'd have 3 of 4 criteria for IIPA, less the covert). --

Well, I don't want to taken as holding that IIPA is proved short of connecting Cheney up. I think even if Cheney is connected up, there is no violation of the IIPA, and no violation of the Espionage Act either.


But IF (that's one of those important words, I'm talking a hypothetical that I don't think exists) Plame was covert, Libby can commit an IIPA violation without hearing from Cheney.


I think that if Libby and Rove had told the truth to the FBI and the grand jury, that Fitz would have exited the scene with a "I find no violation of the law" report.


I'm not saying those things with the intention of swaying anybody to my point of view - I just took your comment as misunderstanding what my point of view is, and am simply restating my point of view on the subject in a few different ways. All of this is, for what it's worth, basically irrelevant to the charges of false statements, perjury and obstruction.

Let's try this.

If Plame was covert, Libby can commit an IIPA violation IF he leaked her name intentionally and IF he did so knowing by leaking her identity he would be leaking her identity. This is true, IF Libby learned of Plame's ID through acceptable classified channels.

Fitzgerald has emphasized in questioning that the latter (learning of it from Cheney, not journalists) is one of the key things he was asking Libby.

Ditto has Fitz emphasized that Libby's lie relates to whether he knows Plame was covert or not.

In other words, the charges focus very specifically on two of the requirements for an IIPA charge. That leads me to believe that 1) Fitz is pretty sure she was covert (though he doesn't have evidence he can introduce to prove Libby knew it), and 2) Libby told precisely the lies he would have to to avoid an IIPA violation.

It strongly suggests, I would suggest, that not only Fitz, but Libby, knew she was covert.

Most pieces of information have more than one possible application, and the only point I'm making is that the evidence we have (as observers) is equivocal on the point of "Wilson's wife works at the CIA" having some classified quality.

-- Fitzgerald has emphasized in questioning that the latter (learning of it from Cheney, not journalists) is one of the key things he was asking Libby. --

One take on this line of question is to challenge Libby's contention that "he forgot he heard about Wilson's wife." Fitz' is not saying, you'll notice, that Libby lied about hearing it from Cheney - Libby admits hearing it from Cheney. Fitz is saying "you heard it from Cheney, it's on a topic that was important to Cheney, therefore I doubt that you forgot that Mrs. Wilson works at the CIA."

-- Ditto has Fitz emphasized that Libby's lie relates to whether he knows Plame was covert or not. --

One take on this line of question is that Libby had a motive to conceal that he leaked to Miller (or any other reporter). If he thought he was in legal jeopardy for leaking "Wilson's wife works at the CIA," then he has a motive to lie, to cover up the possibility. Notice that I phrased that in terms of "he thinks [maybe] he was in legal jeopardy." Libby's state of mind was probably uncertain when he was interviewed by the FBI, somewhere on a scale from being certain she's not covert (no "avoid criminal prosecution" motive) to being certain he's outed a covert agent. Fitzgerald is trying to paint Libby closer to the "knows he outed an agent" end of that scale, in order to give Libby a motive to lie to investigators.

None of that precludes Plame being a covert agent.

Question for the author of this posting:

In your blog coverage of this trial will you also try and break some news outside of the scope of the trial or will you stick to blogging about what takes place inside the courtroom? I am interested in knowing if we may be able to discover the answers to some questions we have yet to fully understand.

I am still attempting to grasp the activities of all those involved,such as VP Cheney. Do you think that we will begin to understand their roles in this leak better once the trial begins?

Thank you.

Respectfully,
Carl Heylin

New Waas article is up at National Journal. Good reading . . . man I've missed his Plamework. Go dig in!

http://news.nationaljournal.com/articles/0112nj1.htm

I'm with cboldt and viget. The obstruction charge is simply related to Libby's alleged lies to the Grand Jury. No need to introduce anything related to other supposed crimes.

Half the time, I lose track of what people are actually arguing about. cboldt and Jeff's discussion above on IIPA is one of them. To me, the biggest evidence that IIPA does not apply is the lack of any charges against anyone for violating it. We know that Armitage, Rove, Fleischer, and Libby spoke with reporters, yet none of them are charged. Moreover, Libby get's charged with lying, but doesn't get charged with the underlying crime? That doesn't make sense. Fitz doesn't (or shouldn't) need Libby's honest testimony to prove that Libby broke the IIPA or the espionage act, or any other law that applies. Unless I'm missing something (that's very possible), the evidence that Fitz presents to show that Libby is lying would also support the charge of leaking Plame's name, if that were a crime.

cboldt is missing the point. Liby lied about relaying the info from reporters beacause that absolves him from any guilty act whatsoever. It was already out there so he didn't commit any wrongdoing. Obviously there is a consciousness of guilt aspect here. What I find very incriminating is the former hill staffer thing. Was Libby a former hill staffer? He was trying to induce Miller to publish a bald faced lie. It proves that Libby has no compunction about lying and completely destroys his credibility.

could one of the regulars weigh in on this one: will Karl Rove's name come up during this trial? If so, in what context>

C Heylin brings up a very important point. Will this trial expose the greater conspiracy? More specifically, will the links between the Armitage leak and the OVP leaks, if there were any, be established? We know that Rove and Armitage had a much closer relationship than was previously suspected and articles have pointed out that Armitage is no gossip, but a leaker.

To be clear, Dardog, I agree more in the main with EW than cboldt. I think Fitz always INTENDED to prosecute under IIPA IF he could get the smoking gun evidence that Libby was lying regarding a)whether he knew Plame was covert and b)that he received such info through classified channels. I think he's probably got much of the evidence for b), but perhaps not enough for a, as it's awfully hard to PROVE that someone knows something when they claim they don't (i.e. you can't get inside their head), barring any written memorialization of the knowledge or contemporaneous accounts of someone else being told the knowledge. Now, Fitz kind of has that wrt Ari's "keep it on the qt" testimony, but again, that doesn't necessarily prove that Libby knew that Plame was covert.

I think where I kind of disagree with EW and Jeff is that I read the infamous footnote as saying that Fitz was pretty much convinced by Aug 27, 2004 that barring any last minute miracle (such as flipping some other witness), he wasn't going to get the evidence he needed to prosecute Libby under IIPA. I think he was still looking at Espionage at the time, though.

But the point for Fitz is this, if he can get Libby on all 5 counts in the indictment, to him that will be the equivalent of getting Libby on 1 count of IIPA, and will be "justice served."

The other possibility is, and I think EW's kind of holding out on this hope too, is that something about the testimony that some witness will give or some evidence that Fitz will introduce will be so politically damaging to Cheney and/or Bush that Congress will be forced to investigate. At least I hope that's the case. I'm sure there will be some surprises in the trial... I really can't wait.

apologies for the barrage of questions, but does anyone have insight into the old case of the missing emails? what significance did that issue have? Did these emails have information about other individuals in the White House?

could one of the regulars weigh in on this one: will Karl Rove's name come up during this trial? If so, in what context?

It could come up if the court for some reason requires a definition of "fuckwad," and Cheney hasn't appeared before the jury yet.

I know you all know this... new Waas:

http://news.nationaljournal.com/articles/0112nj1.htm

I have wondered about the missing e-mails and where they might play into the obstruction charge. I mean, holy cow!! Do you think they had a valid explanation for why they were missing? (250 of them). Also the Cheney copy of the wilson op-ed did not come forward (publicly anyway) until after those e-mails. Also there was a burst of energy after those e-mails and suddenly it seemed that Rove was in the hot seat and that's when he was suddenly going before the grand jury again. Couldn't that be considered obstruction??

Jason Leopold did a lot of reporting on Cheney's role a year ago and the new Waas article seems to confirm almost all of the reporting on what cheney said/did, etc. It deserves another look in light of Waas story.

http://www.truthout.org/docs_2006/020906J.shtml

While TNH was down early this am, I posted this at FDL

I was hoping someone knows whether Cheney could bolster Libby’s explanation of ‘the way it happened’(see below) when Cheney takes the stand at Libby’s trial. Or whether Cheney has already committed himself to a different story in front of Fitzgerald:

Libby claims (according to Waas’ 1/12/06 article) that Cheney annotated the Wilson NYT op-ed AFTER Novak’s column is published. This scenario conveniently dovetails with Libby’s lies that Libby learned of Plame from Russert and other journalists and explains how Cheney could be ’shocked’ to learn that Wilson had been sent on a “junket” by the wife.
See?! No IIPA violations here!

In fact, Cheney scribbling on Wilson’s op-ed AFTER Novak’s article is published IS more believable to me than the story that Cheney inked his marks on 7/6/03 at the time Wilson’s op-ed was published and at the time he initially read it.

Why? Not because I agree with Libby, but because we know now that Cheney and his OVP operatives were already well-versed (before 7/6/03)in the details he reveals about Wilson and Wilson’s wife in the margins of the Wilson op-ed. So what would be the point of documenting them on the newsprint itself?
Why not write talking points on an UNDATED, supersecret, plain piece of paper? Otherwise these details, which are not guessable from Wilson’s article alone, prove that Cheney and by extension Libby had advance knowledge of Plame/Wilson prior to Leak Week.

However, if Cheney contradicts Libby what is the fallout? If Cheney agrees with Libby, what is the fallout?

The Waas article has a true bombshell. It seems there is a smoking gun for the Libby engaged in a Cheny coverup hypothesis. Libby apparently lied to investigators about instructions he received from Cheney to leak a cable or debriefing to reporters. It turns out that when they interviewed the reporters, Miller and Cooper, neither the cable or briefing were mentioned by Libby. What he did speak to them about was, Valerie Plame! Libby is finished. Maybe Cheney too.

Carl

Understand, liveblogging is going to take 7 hours a day. Then a post summarizing it. I do plan to read the evidence submitted closely. But honestly--there are only so many hours in a day.

from ew;

If Plame was covert, Libby can commit an IIPA violation IF he leaked her name intentionally and IF he did so knowing by leaking her identity he would be leaking her identity. This is true, IF Libby learned of Plame's ID through acceptable classified channels.

he would need to both learn it through 'classified channels' and learn that it was classified - armiatge, for example, got her name in a classified document that did not properly note her classified status.

put another way, if cheney says, 'it's sunny outside', that fact does not become classified.

anyway, fitzgerald told the judges about his lack of direct evidence that libby knew plame was covert, and never indicted libby for false testimony on that point, from which i infer that fitzgerald does not think he can prove that libby knew she was covert.

sort of on-topic yet off - the latest murray waas column makes much of the investigators concern that libby meant to hide behind reporters and had invented a new faux disclosure - cheney authorized libby to leak the wilson report of his niger trip as drafted by the cia debriefers.

careful readers will be left with a question - if libby had invented this story and expected to hide behind reporters, why didn't he testify that he leaked the wilson report to miller and cooper - sorry, my shift key is broken, but that is a question.

also, waas concludes by telling us that libby brushed off a lot of this by telling investigators that they would have to ask cheney. which they did, yet cheney is not a prosecution witness. one might infer that cheney's story was a bit tighter and maybe even helpful to libby.

as to the 'hid behind reporters' notion - despite his deplorable legal advice in apparently handing over his notes without studying them first, libby did have a legal team. every reporter involved in this case either cooperated when threatened with a subpoena or litigated and lost - what advice could libby have possibly gotten telling him that reporters could fight and win/

signing off - ee cummings

msnbc hd some interesting tidbits in their coverge; i hve lost nother letter - yikes

one - the defense is suggesting tht mybe it is grenier or mclughlin; i thought grenier ws settled s the person who told libby tht plme ws involved in the wilson trip.

two - ms. mitchell hs been subpoened.

ok, this is ridiculous. i borrowed lptop, nd trouble.

if libby had invented this story and expected to hide behind reporters, why didn't he testify that he leaked the wilson report to miller and cooper

how do we know this, tom? libby did apparently testify that cheney directed him to leak the cia debriefing report on july 12.

one might infer that cheney's story was a bit tighter and maybe even helpful to libby.

yes, indeed. and? one might even imagine that part of why libby is calling cheney is to rebut cathie martin's conflicting account of what happened on af2 on july 12. no idea if that's true - we'll see soon enough - which is why it's not an inference, yet.

in solidarity with your ee cummings act.

-- what advice could libby have possibly gotten telling him that reporters could fight and win --


I figure he didn't need or solicit advice as to the reporter's chance of success in the event they were subpoenaed and resisted. He can have some degree of "expectation of confidentiality" based on history. Pressing reporters to testify is a relatively recent development. The DOJ guidelines themselves indicate that calling a reporter to testify is an action not to be taken lightly, etc. The whole point of reporter shield, which is fought pretty hard, is to preserve sources' expectation of confidentiality - even if the source gives a waiver. Obtaining reporter's testimony in the Libby case seems to be more of an aberration or a new development in reporter confidentiality law. Likewise the Miller/Holy Land Leak case, and the baseball steroids case.


Not saying Libby didn't expect the reporters to roll over, but I think his expectation on that point is quite arguable, and further, it's my opinion that it's more likely he expected confidentiality than he didn't expect confidentiality.


Russert and Cooper didn't have any evidence that they considered damaging to Libby, because Libby didn't leak to them. Their testimony is exculpatory or neutral to a charge of disclosing classified information.

The Waas article has a true bombshell

Waas says Libby "said absolutely nothing at all" about the Wilson debriefing report.

During both of those conversations, according to the federal grand jury testimony of both Cooper and Miller, Libby said absolutely nothing at all about the March 8, 2002 CIA debriefing report regarding Wilson. Waas 1/12/07

According to Miller's account, Libby DID talk about the "Wilson report" during the Libby conversation on 7/12/03.

My notes of this phone call show that Mr. Libby quickly turned to criticizing Mr. Wilson's report on his mission to Niger. He said it was unclear whether Mr. Wilson had spoken with any Niger officials who had dealt with Iraq's trade representatives. Miller NYT 10/16/05

Cheney blustered to Russert that he never saw Wilson's report.

And Joe Wilson - I don't who sent Joe Wilson. He never submitted a report that I ever saw when he came back."

Someone's pants are on fire.

According to Miller's account, Libby DID talk about the "Wilson report" during the Libby conversation on 7/12/03.

I take that back. It was probably Wilson's op-ed that Miller was referring to as noted by a commenter at JOM.

An intriguing tidbit from an AP report previewing Libby's trial:

Special Prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald spent three years investigating that claim but filed no charges based on the leak itself. He says his work is done except for trying Libby, who resigned after being indicted in October 2005.

Fitzgerald does not talk to the press, and he has made no such statement either in the press conference or in any of his pleadings. So he must have said it in one of the hearings the transcript of which I have not seen. Unless AP got it wrong.

ok, i erred in libby's testimony -bout the wilson report.

however, i'm not sure polly ought to t-ke it b-ck - here is w--s --


Cheney believed that this particular CIA debriefing report might undermine Wilson's claims because it showed that Wilson's Niger probe was far more inconclusive on the issues as to whether Saddam attempted to buy uranium from Niger. The report said that Wilson was restricted from interviewing any number of officials in Niger during the mission, and he was denied some intelligence information before undertaking the trip.

-nd miller, reprised --

My notes of this phone call show that Mr. Libby quickly turned to criticizing Mr. Wilson's report on his mission to Niger. He said it was unclear whether Mr. Wilson had spoken with any Niger officials who had dealt with Iraq's trade representatives.


the middle ground is th-t libby lifted the specific criticism of the wilson report re cont-ct with niger offici-ls but did not identify it -s such to miller, so she thought she w-s receiving the generic wilso-phobic speech -bout the op-ed.

More w--s --

During both of those conversations, according to the federal grand jury testimony of both Cooper and Miller, Libby said absolutely nothing at all about the March 8, 2002 CIA debriefing report regarding Wilson.

Instead, both testified that Libby discussed the fact that Valerie Plame was a CIA officer, and that she had been responsible for sending her husband on his mission to Niger. The discussion between Libby and Cooper was the first that the then-vice presidential chief of staff and the Time correspondent spoke of Plame.


th-t just does not jibe with miller's version, where libby obviously did deploy some non-wife linked wilson b-shing, linked -t - minimum to the op-ed -nd -t m-ximum to the 2002 report.


Well, props to polly - re-re-ding miller's testimony might h-ve ocurred to me eventu-lly.

-- Well, props to polly - re-re-ding miller's testimony might h-ve ocurred to me eventu-lly. --

Miller's testimony re: July 8 discussion includes mention of "Wilson's cable" and other raw material - material other than Wilson's op-ed, that is. If Libby discussed these raw materials with Miller before July 12, how does that impact Waas's point?

Here is how Miller described the c-ble mention for July 8 (Hey, I'm shifting... GOOD-BYE, EE CUMMINGS).


Mr. Libby also told me that on the basis of these two reports and other intelligence, his office had asked the C.I.A. for more analysis and investigation of Iraq's dealings with Niger. According to my interview notes, Mr. Libby told me that the resulting cable - based on Mr. Wilson's fact-finding mission, as it turned out - barely made it out of the bowels of the C.I.A. He asserted that George J. Tenet, then the director of central intelligence, had never even heard of Mr. Wilson.


Th-t "lost in the bowels" ws Condi's f-mous phr-se from June. There does not seem to be -ny new content provided by Libby re the cble other thn the non-news tht Wilson provided -n overlooked report.

I see too, Miller said the following about Wilson's op-ed ...



I interviewed Mr. Libby for a second time on July 8, two days after Mr. Wilson published his essay attacking the administration on the Op-Ed Page of The Times.



Our meeting, which lasted about two hours, took place over breakfast at the St. Regis Hotel in Washington. I told Mr. Fitzgerald that I almost certainly began this interview by asking about Mr. Wilson's essay, which appeared to have agitated Mr. Libby. As I recall, Mr. Libby asserted that the essay was inaccurate.

In other locations, Miller refers to "report," not to "essay." At best, the reference to "Wilson's report" in a July 12 discussion is ambiguous, but most indicators say it is not the same thing as the Wilson essay.

And later, after describing her July 12 meeting, Miller recapitulates her testimony on a related matter ...

I told the grand jury I was annoyed at having been beaten on a story. I said I felt that since The Times had run Mr. Wilson's original essay, it had an obligation to explore any allegation that undercut his credibility.

If Libby misremembers Cheney's instructions,and these misrememberings are getting very tedious, then what were Cheney's instructions July 12? And how does the Miller angle affect the Cooper angle?

Miller's testimony re: July 8 discussion includes mention of "Wilson's cable" and other raw material - material other than Wilson's op-ed, that is. If Libby discussed these raw materials with Miller before July 12, how does that impact Waas's point?

It would make my brain hurt to dig up the old Needlenose post on this, but I recall that because Libby didn't 'fess up to the June 23 meeting with Judy, he "postdated" his testimony -- claiming that things they talked about on June 23 happened on July 8, and things they discussed on July 8 happened on July 12.

How many "misrememberings" is Libby going to get away with before the jury gets fed up and concludes that Libby is just plain lying?

Jeff Outed at JOM!

http://justoneminute.typepad.com/main/2007/01/libby_trial_nea.html#comments

And it's among the most convincing theories I've seen there! Think about it ... has anyone ever seen Jeff and Murray W in the same room??

I read in an article today that Fitz has said that all that's left of his work in the CIA leak investigation is to try Libby, nothing more. Is there going to be more, IYO?

cboldt - good point -bout 'ess-y' v. 'report'.

Polly - c-n we get you to t-ke b-ck your t-keb-ck? I think the W--s story -s - re-l hole in it here.

Tom

I kid you not when I say that, as though in sympathy with your plight, yesterday a two-and-a-half-foot tall creature swooped down on my keyboard and ripped out the "a" key. I can still use it, but man is it a pain (in my forearm, to be specific).

In any case, I've long suggested that the relevant passage from Miller appears to represent a real misunderstanding on her part. The substance of Libby's comment - "He said it was unclear whether Mr. Wilson had spoken with any Niger officials who had dealt with Iraq's trade representatives." - sounds as much like a take-back as a criticism of Wilson's report. In any case, I have a feeling MIller's introductory comment about Libby criticizing Wilson's report may represent a gloss on her part, and nothing overtly reflected in Libby's comments.

Tom

How can you blog without a shift key? You should apply for some right wing foundation money and get yourself a shift key.

Agree, he would have to find out that she was classified. My point is just that the other aspects are all aspects that Fitz asked about directly.

As to the following discussion--I apparently was working the same angle you guys when when they came and shut off my Internet Tubes. I agree--at the least, Judy's July 8 testimony allows Libby to claim he was confused about the date.

I could not, until some of the testimony was made public, understand why Cheney would take offense at Wilson's comments. It seems to me that things begin to make sense if the reason for Cheney's ire was that Cheney knew that the Niger claims were not true and he could only keep them alive by discrediting Wilson. Additionally, since Plame's task was to produce evidence of WMD, and her investigations concluded that they were nonexistent, she, too, was an obsticle to Cheney's narrative for going to war. Therefore, knocking off both Wilson and Plame became imparatives. The plan that Cheney and Libby hatched of whispering her name to reporters, who could be counted on to protect sources, was quite ingenious.

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