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January 29, 2007

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Thanks for that timeline (or speculative storyline). Like so many others, I've spent the week glued to your reports (although I can't get to them until early morning JST). I want to add my appreciation to the long list.

emptywheel,
I am not sure that, besides for your speculation, that shows anything more than once Cheney learns that Plame is covert, he backs off as he should have.

your quote:
"If Fitz can prove that, it's damning--it'd suggest that Cheney learned Plame worked at CIA and then made a point of figuring out where, what she did."

Nothing wrong with finding out who was involved with Wilson. Certainly not damning. Of course it does lead to the question of what he did after he found out. But again, you have said they backed off Plame when they found she was convert.

All that seems on the up and up.

Personally I wouldn't expect Cheney to attempt to "out" Plame. He only wanted to discredit Wilson and was making an attempt to find out all about him. After Mr Wilson went to the NYt, he was declared "open season." Joe and his wife must have decided that the risk was worth it to them.

:)

Of course it could be argued that you shouldn't be around Mr Cheney when he has a gun in his hands.

:)

Jodi

Did you conveniently ignore the part where Cheney ordered Libby to leak Plame's identity to Judy? Call me crazy, but I consider that pretty damning.

emptywheel,

I thought that was speculation:

your quote:

"That's when--it seems very very likely--Cheney ordered Libby to launder Plame's identity through Judy Miller in a very secret leak on July 8."

Well, they had a lot of information at the time of this note:

http://wid.ap.org/documents/libbytrial/jan25/GX52201.pdf

It seems likely this info came from something more comprehensive than just a trip report.

I thought that was speculation:

its almost all speculation, Jodi. But like the troll you are, you pick "speculation" you like and treat it as fact....

as to All that seems on the up and up.

I guess you (rather conveniently) forgot that this trial is about perjury and obstruction...

Was Condi on the plane trip to Africa- and didn't she also push reporters pretty hard to go find out more about Wilson's trip? Who do you think tasked her to do it? Was she in on the conspiracy? In your opinion, of course.

Yes, condi was on the place. Yes, she did push reporters to look for more on Wilson. At least I recall her saying that in a press conference or something, but I am not the expert here. Just buying time waiting for the trial notes to continue.

It's my humble opinion that the entire white house administration (whig) group was in on it. I believe that is why Bush made the announcement that "no one in my administration leaked" and also why the strange quote from Bush about "they may never find the leaker." Also think that is why Bush hired a criminal lawywer in 2003. Also think that the reference in Libby's note to Judy miller refers to the conspiracy...roots are joined...blah, blah, blah. I think he's referring to the idea that they must all tell the same story in order to keep the administration safe. Just my opinions...now back to the trial.

Defense at the trial is trying to imply that Cheney was pissed because news reports were implying that OVP asked to have Wilson sent to Niger to check out the yellowcake rumors.
Cheney personally writes the talking points wrt to the Wilson allegations and Cooper didn't use the full quote that Martin had given him and that upsets them.

Hmmm....doesn't it seem all out of proportion for the OVP to worry if it was or wasn't the VP's question that spurred the CIA to send someone to check out a rumor about Iraq trying to obtain yellowcake? The rumor was out there (thanks to someone seeding faulty rumors) and it was an approriate response to check it out, wasn't it? Gearing up with calls to reporters, talking points and getting Condi and others to lead reporters to seek to find out WHO sent Wilson seems a misappropriation of these important people's time.

Why didn't Cheney's office just issue a statement if they wanted to get the message out. Something like this: We don't think we were responsible for having the CIA sending someone to check out these rumors, but we are pleased to see that such rumors are checked out. That is what our CIA is suposed to do.

The ruse that they had to get so worked up to dispel the idea that THEY sent Wilson seems absurd and I hope someone calls them on it.

EW, was following your liveblogging today. You noted that Fitzgerald read part of Libby's tesimony to Martin. What was the testimony? Also Fitzgerald did not seem to bring up Cooper's testimony. Any idea why?

Martin memory is perfectly intact when she categorically testified that Libby made no mention of Plame. It suddenly becomes defective when asked about Libby's testimony and when she has no recollection of Libby's reply to Cooper's question.

This is libby testimony from the indictment concerning his convo with Cooper...so this is probably what he read...

Testimony Given on or about March 5, 2004 Regarding a Conversation With Matthew Cooper on or About July 12, 2003:

Q. And it's your specific recollection that when you told Cooper about Wilson's wife working at the CIA, you attributed that fact to what reporters –

A. Yes.

Q. – plural, were saying. Correct?

A. I was very clear to say reporters are telling us that because in my mind I still didn't know it as a fact. I thought I was – all I had was this information that was coming in from the reporters.

Q. And at the same time you have a specific recollection of telling him, you don't know whether it's true or not, you're just telling him what reporters are saying?

A. Yes, that's correct, sir. And I said, reporters are telling us that, I don't
know if it's true. I was careful about that because among other things, I wanted to be clear I didn't know Mr. Wilson. I don't know – I think I said, I don't know if he has a wife, but this is what we're hearing.

*********

as to why he didn't read Cooper's testimony, Martin did not hear that end of the conversation, and thus could not be a fact witness to it.

"as to why he didn't read Cooper's testimony, Martin did not hear that end of the conversation, and thus could not be a fact witness to it."

You can not say that without knowing what Cooper's testimony was. At any rate, she says categorically denies Libby talked about Plame, but conveniently does not remember Libby telling Cooper that reporters were telling him that Plame worked at the CIA. Seems like perjury to me.

Martin can remember perfectly that Libby did not mention Plame. Her memory becomes defective when asked to recollect Libby's reply to Cooper's question. She either is lying about one or the other or she has an highly selective memory that just happens to faovr her boss and herself. She can not consistently say that she remembers the one thing but not the other. In order for her testimony to be consistent, she would have had to testify that she did not recall Libby mentioning Plame. She didn't. She categorically denied it. On the other hand, if she did not hear Libby answering Cooper's question, why didn't she just testify to that? Instead she is saying she has no memory of it. But she did remember perfectly well that Libby made no mention of Plame.

I haven't read all the comments here and I have this question, Is this not a treasonable offense? I was talking to someone yesterday not as angry as I who thought this was not the case..Anyone?

so if they knew they couldn't out Plame because she was covert, and they tried to pass it subtly on to Judy but Judy at that time was too stupid or lazy to put 2+2 together without being told, what changed everything and started the flood of explicit leaks? Am I right to presume it was Novak's publishing of what he got from Armitage? That that made Cheney and Libby and Ari and all the rest believe that they could now leak with deniability, because a reporter (if you can call Novak that) had said it first? I apologize if I've missed something already said.

Ari certainly seemed worried that he'd committed or observed a treasonable offense, right after reading the newspaper's description of what happened. Dead-tree media certainly has its "gotcha" moments in the visuals of this saga: Valerie reading Novakula's column, and now Ari, lawyering up with the newspaper still in his hand, thinking he'd only barely escaped into private-industry cushiness and comfort.

I recall that cheney lived at the cia for months, never learned what he learned or inserted.

What the hell was he doing?

I just figured that he had everything boiled to his satisfaction.

Bob in Petaluma

There are other inconsistencies in CM's testimony. She testified that it was at her instigation that Cooper and Time were brought into the affair. Yet she has very little knowledge, or no memory of, almost everything Libby subsequently said to Cooper. Yet, if we go by Waas, almost the whole conversation was consumed by the topic of Plame. Martin instigated this conversation yet she claims she has no knowledge of the bulk of it.

"Is this not a treasonable offense?"

I think many of us here think it is. This trial, however, is narrowly about perjury and obstruction. Fitzgerald's classic description was that a baseball umpire can't make the call at homeplate if someone throws dirt in his/her eyes. That's the point of the Libby trial. Fitz is saying, "I don't know whether to charge anyone with more serious crimes such as leaking classified information, because of the perjury and obstruction."

Christy Smith over at FDL had a nice post today about Ari's testimony about his first and only lunch with Scooter, courtesy of emptywheel's most excellent live blogging. It sure sounded to Christy, who is an attorney, as though Scooter was providing a "textbook" example of what leaking classified information looks like in the real world. That testimony is now evidence that another trial could address, but this jury is only considering charges of perjury and obstruction. HTH.

Fl President walking toward second event. Meeting with young children who were going to sing songs. A group of reporters on the side of the road. I recall I said to these reporters, If you want to know who sent Amb Wilson to Niger, it was his wife, she works there. Tamara Lippert Newsweek, David Gregory and John Dickerson, Time Magazine.

From live blogging. Point I would like to make. The president was with him when he talked to these reporters. Do we know that the president heard him?? No, not for sure, but he sure makes the point that this info was thrown along on the plane...and quite possibly the president was very aware. That's my take on it. I'll bet there's more.

ew-
With Martin come and gone, how do you propose any agreement between Cheney and Libby to leak to Judy would come into the trial at this point?
Judy wasn't in Martin's notes, so it seems only Libby and Cheney would know of such a plan- if it existed.

ew-

How do Gregory, Lippert and Dickerson fit into your analysis of what happened? Were you surprised by that testimony? Having followed this whole thing together with you over the years, I never saw Gregory or Lippert mentioned by any of us speculators. Where, if at all, do they fit into the 1x2x6 article?

After writing the above comment, I found this post about Dickerson from booman tribune. Who's lying?

http://www.boomantribune.com/story/2007/1/29/192549/075

Still catching up on today's live blog notes at Firedoglake.com but EW I wanted to turn your attention to commenter Fitzmas @ 30 on Libby Live: Addington today. His/her blog link

http://patrickjfitzgerald.blogspot.com/

has a great "Judy Judy Judy" collage that gave me a chuckle--although I assume you already have a photo picked out for tomorrow's star witness.

I was hoping against hope that there would be some way to put the screws upon Martin. Maybe if she is threatened with perjury charges, she'll crack. Cooper's testimony could provide the basis for it. The least she could do is provide an honest answer to what Libby replied to Cooper's question.

Everyone in this case seems to be suffering from amnesia.

Any geniuses care to weigh in on BooMan's theory that Ari may have perjured himself today?

http://www.boomantribune.com/story/2007/1/29/192549/075

Great live-blogging (thanks) and you are great on TV too. I especially liked the juicy tidbit about Valerie Flame from the videocast. Can't wait to hear what Miller has to say about it.

Dickerson's response

My Surreal Day at the Libby Trial

http://www.slate.com/id/2158157/entry/2158492/

Thanks for the link obsessed, from Boorman: ..."If he didn't think it was classified then he wouldn't be worried about off-handedly telling Dickerson about Plame. But, if he didn't give her name away as he claims, but rather, told the reporters to seek out the 'low-level person' in the CIA that was responsible for sending Wilson...then he knew the information was classified...."

I'm not sure Boorman is wrong, but his last sentence doesn't hold together for me. The fact that Ari didn't give her name away, doesn't prove that he knew her name was classified. That could just as easily be explained by the fact that Scooter told him to keep it "hush hush, QT." Scooter's "hush hush QT," is the way I would expect SAO's to characterize information provided on deep background for which no attribution will be provided. I think Ari's version is plausible, because, according to Martin's testimony, "hush hush QT," is not the way the WH talked about classified information. JMO.

Wrt to Ari perjuring himself, I think I got this from looseheadprop, "you don't often find swans in the sewer."

My fear is that we will be seeing an "exclusive" from Leopold soon that he as an "anonymous source" (Boorman's post on the tubz), who will talk only to Jason, not to any other DC reporter (Murray Waas for example), that Ari perjured himself.

I think Ari's memory is unreliable

Much of Ari's story makes no sense -- first off, the idea that he'd spent the period from July 14 to September 28th in a cave somewhere, and was completely unaware of the controversy surrounding the Novak column--and the outing of Valerie Plame as a CIA operative--- during that time.

I would suggest that Ari lawyered up only when it became clear that the CIA was intent upon getting its revenge for outing Plame -- and that Ashcroft and Gonzalez would be unable to contain the investigation. Ari thought he was going to wind up being scapegoated as a result, and demanded immunity despite doing nothing wrong -- he wasn't sure what he'd actually told Gregory and Dickinson, but knew that Libby was saying he'd heard it from Russert....so he "confessed" to telling Gregory assuming that Gregory was Russerts source.

I have heard that the reason for the Plame outing is because the "outers" wanted to expose and destroy
the CIA unit she worked for, and thus stop a source of valid information of nuclear proliferation in Iran, leaving the whole topic free for the white house spin masters. Is this possible, based on the fact that the Bruster Jennings fake corp was exposed and its utility to the agency was destroyed by the public outing? I find this site a wonder of inside information that is available practically nowhere else, and its hard to separate rumor and baloney from truth with network news and tier 1 internet sources. Thanks. ( Give me the truth no matter whos interest it serves.

Picture this,
On the one hand, you have covert agents getting very close to linking members of our White House/family/friends, to what was/is going on re; Black Market *weapons movements* ;) and OTHER curious connections with international crime/terror etc, etc.
And;
On the other hand, you have a well respected, EX-Ambassador who pointed out 'the White House was being 'misleading' over several facts relating to Iraq' and also who pointed out that ''this' White House continued to mislead, even after they knew their 'facts' to be wrong.'
As far as the White House/friends/family went, all Mr and Mrs Wilson had to do was CLAP, and the whole thing starts to unravel.
Yep, picture that.....:)

Slightly off topic, and this is kind of a noob question, but can anyone tell me whether Fitzgerald has closed the leak investigation or does it remain open while these perjury charges are pursued?

It's my humble understanding that Fitz's investigation remains open.

L Hickey, a lot of commenters have speculated that injuring the CIA's CPD made life easier for DeadEye. My own guess is that first DeadEye wanted to discredit Wilson, injuring Brewster Jennings and CPD was just an add on.

We know that Bush/cheney had plans to go to Iran. I think that Plame was fighting back on the nuclear proliferation front, in that she could verify (that at least back then) that the nuclear build up was not a reality. I think Bush's behavior then escalated the arms race with Iran after he went into Iraq. I think that they went after both Wilson's because they were both trying to get the truth out to the American people that this was a war of choice. It's is my humble opinion that the whole administration is culpable in the leak and that the two sides have split cheney and Bush. I think that Cheney wanted Libby protected "like Rove". I think that was not the strategy chosen and as Libby attempts to save his ass, Rove is going to be muddied and that will result in muddying the Pres. In the end like to very bad boys each pointing the finger at each other this administration will go down in the conspiracy. It's my hope, and I think there is at least some evidence to support this notion.

worst comma ever -

You ask: "... can anyone tell me whether Fitzgerald has closed the leak investigation or does it remain open while these perjury charges are pursued?"

I'm reminded of the "50 Jokes About My Own Nose" scene in Steve Martin's "Roxanne". Here are 7 responses.

1) Curt

No.

2) Offical

The investigation remains open.

3) For The Record

Fitzgerald has never indicated the investigation ended, and there have been a number of filings by the prosecution in U.S. v. Libby which specifically indicate the investigation 'is continuing'.

4) Cautious

Were I among those involved, or if I think there is any basis at all for why it might appear to a reasonable third party that I might have been involved, in ordering, directing, planning, executing on or intentionally and knowingly complying with the deliberate use of Valerie Plame Wilson's employment to discredit her husband; or in ordering, directing, planning, executing on or intentionally and knowingly complying with deliberate efforts to cover up things criminal and arguably criminal acts in use of VWWilson's employment to discredit her husband; or in lying to investigators, perjury or obstructing the investigation in relation to both the 'use' investigation and the 'cover up' investigation, I would be concerned.

5) Infinity ... and Beyond!

For how long would I be so concerned?

For so long as Fitzgerald remains both living and a federal prosecutor.

While some possible crimes are subject to statutes of limitations currently ticking, every time the investigation gets active (and, at least arguably, so long as the investigation remains open), the dates for such limitations to expire are extended.

By way of example, Scooter Libby is currently before a jury facing one charge of lying to investigators in one part of his statement to the FBI, another charge of lying in another part of the same statement, a charge of perjury for lying to a grand jury in the same terms as the first alleged lie to the FBI, another charge of perjury for lying to the same grand jury in the same terms as the second alleged lie to the FBI, and obstruction of justice in those two lies and two perjuries.

Should Scooter Libby choose to testify in this trial, and tells the same story in which one finds the two things he is alleged to have lied and committed perjury about, and is convicted by this jury on all 5 counts, then it stands to reason that the jury has said to him "Well, you lied and perjured yourself again, for the same reason.", leaving Fitzgerald in the position of being able to ride Scooter ... and again ... sort of like a carousel at All-U-Kin-Eat-R-Us, theoretically never-ending prosecutions for lying, perjury, lying and perjury, perjury on top of perjury, perjury-on-top-of-perjury-on-top-of-lying, ad infinitum.

6) Who They Are Dealing With Here

If past is prologue, U.S. v. Libby is the first in a series of prosecutions somehow connected to the deliberate use of Valerie Plame Wilson's employment status with the CIA to discredit her husband.

Fitzgerald has a certain style and approach to prosecuting that in my experience is particularly effective in the prosecution of members of racketeering gangs.

This is not surprising, because his career as a prosecutor began with prosecuting drug dealers. That lead him into prosecuting the Gotti gang. He was the prosecutor on criminal charges related to the World Trade Centre basement bomb incident from the early '90s on. That led him to being the prosecutor consulted by the CIA and FBI WRT to the early stages of their investigation following 9/11.

By then his reputation was such that Sen. Peter (no relation) Fitzgerald (R-Ill.) used a custom of privilege to have the White House nominate him as federal attorney for the southern Illinois district, I expect in hopes he would prosecute political corruption in Chicago and the immediate area, Chicago local politicals historically being dominated by nominal Democratic Party members. That is precisely what he proceeded to do.

More recently, Fitzgerald has used against crooked business executives much the same approach he used in prosecuting political corruption in Chicago as he used against drug dealers, the Gotti gang and crooked politicians in and around Chicago.

Which is - 1. Use a grand jury investigation to find someone at the mid-level who is most vulnerable to a charge of complicity in the crime(s). 2. Indict that person. 3. Make a plea bargain with that person for a lesser penalty based on full cooperation in testifying against others, if necessary prosecuting that person to the full extent of the law until the right bargain is made. 4. Repeat steps 1 through 3 until there is a strong case against the higher ups. 5. Repeat steps 1 through 4 until everyone involved is convicted and jailed.

7) Nature's Lessons

Just because a crocodile ain't moving don't mean it's dead.

Slightly off topic, and this is kind of a noob question, but can anyone tell me whether Fitzgerald has closed the leak investigation or does it remain open while these perjury charges are pursued?

it remains open.....mostly, IMHO, as a way of letting everyone who testifies that Fitz has every intention of bringing perjury charges against anyone who lies during the trial....

I continue to believe Rove put Armitage up to calling Novac out of the blue, when Armitage had been putting him off for two years. It seems clear to me, from the interchange, in which Chaney says it's not fair to hang Libby to protect Rove, that Rove has been very busy on the same project of discrediting Wilson. Novac says he didn't dig the story out; it was handed to him.

Duberstein is sourced as being the person who arranged the Novak/Armitage meeting.

Looks like court is winding down for the day. I've got to believe Bolton is one of the sources Judy is protecting.

John Casper is a homo

Casper

leopold has been providing transcripts to the JOM because they/we treat him with respect you ingrate

CONSTITUTION OF THE UNITED STATES, Article III. Section 3

Treason against the United States, shall consist only in levying War against them, or in adhering to their Enemies, giving them Aid and Comfort. No Person shall be convicted of Treason unless on the Testimony of two Witnesses to the same overt Act, or on Confession in open Court.

--
This is a heinous crime, but it is not treason. They were not making war on the United States, nor were they adhering to our enemies. They were pursuing their own personal ojectives, money and power, when they outed Valerie Wilson and when they covered it up. These people may hang for war crimes, but they will not hang for treason.

Nice theory, katieJ - It dovetails in nicely with the throughline of this admins objectives. No doubt they saw this as a twofer.

As far as treason goes, where do we get two witnesses to Bush deciding to let Bin Laden go. I still think OBL was given a hall pass at the behest of the Sauds

Has firedoglake.com been knocked out?
"Cannot connect to www.firedoglake.com:80: Connection refused 12.20 EST

You forgot to mention that Richard Armitage was the first discloser to Woodward and then later to Novak. Darn that Armitage. He should be in the dock too.

Just before the Iraq war- late 2002. I distinctly recall that Saddam WAS then allowing UN inspectors even into his palaces, everywhere. the IAEA left because the US was doing the pre-war bombing, but
the often repeated saw that Saddam defied the UN is not correct. I cant find using google any evidence
to back up by memory about this, but I clearly remember it. Also just before the invasion, Saddam gave
a huge amount of documentation about his destruction of his poison gas and other such things he had dating from the time of
the 1991 war, and the whole huge pile was ridiculed as a "document dump", and the contents were not taken with even a passing glance. This seems to me to be the smoking gun about no caring about WMD. I knew at the time this was a lie, and an excuse to invade Iraq so we could menace the strategic enemies of Israel, Iran and Syria. This was the game from the start- Iraq was - do-able - and we got the US boots on the ground- the neocon plan from the start. My question is, I can't find any information about the pre-war document dump or
Saddams burst of tolerance for inspectors anywhere in Iraq. Any ideas how I can get some time machine to show skeptics that I remembered this correctly?

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