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February 02, 2007

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Marcy, I received your book from Amazon today, and it couldn't have arrived at a more perfect time. We've got wind chills way below zero this weekend, so I'm curling up with your book tomorrow.

Emptywheel, what are the odds that Rove flipped and delivered the goods on Cheney?

I've always thought there was some calculated misdirection in that Rove non-indictment story. There certainly was with the Armitage alibi. Did you have a chance to ask Byron York about that?

QS

I didn't ask Byron about that--he didn't really want to talk much. Particularly after our appearance.

But I think it's possible Rove gave Fitz enough that further charges for Dick MIGHT be possible. It wouldn't take that much from him, after all (as he could prove that Libby had the intent to leak early on). The biggest problem is that Rove almost certainly leaked Plame's covert status to Novak, so he'd be a terrible witness.

I thought that Cheney had been interviewed and that the FBI notes and/or GJ/or investigator material would be available to Fitz. If so then what ever question that Fitz might ask if Cheney were on the stand would have already been asked, and checked into.

Libby's problems are a lot of folks seem to think he told them something. He thought NOT. And then his notes seems to indicate same and he still said NOT.

I think all this talk about getting Cheney is just a pipe dream. Even if he did something, he is too smart to leave a trail. As for Libby, I and it seems many that know him don't understand what happened there. I think it was a strategy that depended on a linch pin that gave. Reporters talked.

I believe as has been said over and over that if Libby had just told the unvarnished truth he would not be being tried.

--->>> so maybe he does just have a memory fault?


EW wrote: "That's not a surprise, really—we know Armitage told Novak of Plame, so in fact Novak did know of Plame before he spoke with Libby."

Do you mean Rove, rather than Libby at the end?

Bond summarized what Libby said about Andrea Mitchell. From what I read in your liveblogging, Libby went out of his way to say that he specifically remembered that it didn't come up with Mitchell at all. I find that funny since some Libby partisans were convinced that Mitchell was in the midst of this somehow, and there goes Libby blowing that possibility to bits.

This whole time, I've been thinking that Russert is going to be Libby's biggest problem. But now, given the ludicrous statements Libby gave the investigators (and GJ), such as not even knowing Wilson's first name, I'm wondering if Libby's own voice -- on the GJ tapes -- will be his own worst enemy.

Also, do you have any opinion on why the lawyers went to sidebar when Dickerson's name came up (on a question asking Cooper if one of his sources was simply Dickierson), or why the lawyers seemed to stay away from talking about Dickerson's source?

Marcy,
I have no clue how you would hve energy to write comment, after wearing your fingers raw all week. I know you are a lawyer, but I'd swear that you trained in Court Reporting as well, and they didn't do it directly in English, back when. Your work is greatly appreciated. The inside/outside collaboration has also worked well.

Thanks for all of us.

The DOJ webpage has the edited video clips from McClellan's press conference up. Some of them are less than 5 seconds long.

Any thought as to why Fitz tried so hard to be able to show video of McClellan? Is it because he wants to get away from transcripts as much as possible and let the jury watch stuff? Because, to be honest, McClellan is not that compelling. Two of the C-SPAN clips are like 4 seconds long, and show a reporter half the time. One clip seems like it is two seconds long. Doesn't really seem like that big a deal to me, although its cool the DOJ put in on the web.

Jim E

Yeah, I meant Rove. But we will learn that Libby spoke to Novak that week (I'm fairly certain Wells said as much in the opening).

As to the sidebar, I don't know. I suspect that it had to do with the meaning of source. There was a funny sidebar when Jeffress was trying to accuse Ari of leaking to Pincus, which seems odd since if Ari were Pincus' source, it'd be admissible as impeachment. But there's still something funny with the whole Ari story that may come out if Gregory testifies.

FWIW, Dickerson was still sitting there in the media room when this occurred, insisting that Ari didn't tell them that about Plame. So Fitz may have compelling evidence from Gregory already to that effect--who knows?

And as to McC, I guess it's to make sure the "voice" of the WH gets in there. Keep in mind, it was read with Kedian reading the part of the journalists, so the jurors saw a Q&A, kind of. But yeah, it would have been a lot more fun if they would have let Fitz play the entire clip, which really was pretty impressive in toto.

Jerry

Actually, I'm not a lawyer.

She's no lawyer, she's a Comp Lit Ph.D.

I'd argue that emptywheel has better skill set thanks to her particular academic training than she would have gained from studying the law.

This is an excellent post, emptywheel. All your great work since the trial started has left me speechless. It's all I can do to keep up with the reading. Thank you.

emptywheel, off topic, but imho, something I learned from you is surfacing, the importance of James Comey. It sounds as though Scooter and I bet Addington and many others basically told the FBI a version that was a lot closer to the truth, because it was prior to Ashcroft recusing himself at Comey's demand/request (Dec. 2003). They thought they could count on Ashcroft protecting them, so why take a chance on actually lying. Plus, they were damn proud of what they had done. It's only because of Comey that we got Fitz on board and now there's another round of GJ testimony. It sounds as though Addington didn't change his testimony before the GJ, but Scooter did.

While I agree that there is far more than meets the eye, I don't see Fitz bringing any of this up. His case is tracking the indictment pretty closely and he seems to be keeping his case as simple as possible. He is finishing up with Russert, who is likely his best witness. It seems that he is looking at the indictment.

The real question, which you have hit on, is what will the defense do. I don't see this case going six weeks. I'm guessing the defense will rest without putting any witnesses on. Putting witnesses on the stand is just going to open more issues up that will embarrass the Administration and poison Libby's defense. The potential costs of putting Rove, Cheney, Bartlett, etc. far exceeds any benefits.

The costs of putting these guys on is to make this Administration and Libby's defense look even worse than it does now. And what would be the benefit? Perhaps it would distract the jury from the claim in the indictment, i.e. Libby's claim to the FBI and his testimony before the Grand Jury regarding conversations with Miller, Cooper and Russert.

Isn't Libby accused of lying to the FBI and the Grand Jury about the content of those three conversations? If so, why would any of this other stuff even be relevant, at least with respect to this trial - obviously, a CIA agent's name was disclosed and no one appears to be held responsible for it, which is the real problem in my view.

If I were Libby, I'd rest and simply argue that Miller and Cooper are mistaken. How to respond to Russert? Well, only time will tell and I'll wait to hear from you next week. Thanks for the updates. My train rides home every night have been fascinating and it's due to you.

without there . Frankly, it seems to me t

Libby: Don't Release Grand Jury Tapes

Does this mean you're not going to be able to "live blog" the tapes? Or does this mean that your "live blog" is going to be the world's only portal to these tapes?

Honestly, I never thought they were going to call Cheney. I think it was 100% for jury selection purpose. Once they offed all the Cheney haters, as so many of us are, maybe they could finally get poor scooter a fair trial.

I thought Cheney (sometime before the Nov. elections, as I recall) stated he would never appear in court (some of his unitary executive stance) and I took that to mean he would not come to Libby's. Since the law could compel him, maybe he was just expressing confidence he would never be called.

Found the news item.
Was in re: appearing before congress. Not federal court.

http://thinkprogress.org/2006/11/05/cheney-testify/

Hey, Marcy. Take a look at the date on the hand written memo, GX104 (http://www.usdoj.gov/usao/iln/osc/exhibits/0130/GX10401.PDF). Maybe my tinfoil hat is on too tight, but if you're right, Libby would not want the world to know that he knew anything on June 11th. This document image is such high resolution that you can really zoom in on the date. Notice that the initial numeral one is a slightly tipped vertical line with a half hook at the bottom. If you zoom in on the overwritten second numeral, you'll see that the 2 is written over a previous numeral with the identical tipped vertical line ending in a half hook. It also looks to me as if there was some consternation about which numeral to superimpose on the 11, because the top half of the 2 almost looks like a closed loop. Again, if you look closely you can see at least three strokes--the original 11, something that looks like the lower left-hand part of a closed loop, and the multiple iterations of the numeral 2 overtop all. Like I said, maybe the hat's a little too tight. Or I'm a bear of very little brain. One or the other.

From WaPo and other sources I've seen "Fitzgerald said Libby learned Plame's identity from Cheney and discussed it with journalists. Libby says he forgot about his conversation with Cheney and, when he heard about Plame from a reporter weeks later, it struck him as new information."

I've read all of ew's great live blogs, but have I missed this or is this still the missing piece about Cheney (via Tenent?) to Scooter. Have we seen evidence of that yet? Or is this item for Congress?

Thanks, anyone.

Canuck Stuck in Muck - I'm with you on that interpretation of the note's date and its potential significance. Just posted a comment at the end of the last thread, with regard to that exhibit and the conversation that Libby has claimed it references.

Ardant: No - we've seen nothing publicly that I'm aware of with regard to how Cheney learned (independently of Libby) what he supposedly relayed to Libby on June 12 (or so) about Plame's connection to the CP unit of the CIA's Directorate of Operations.

Emptywheel - It seems everyone wants a piece of the hot pundit now! Ach, you deserve it.

I've had this thought for some time, and I have to ask whether you recall hearing something on this while doing the LBJ this last week.

Something most reality-based security types know but AEI/neocon buffoons do not is that for some years now there's been a computer program that first duplicates hard drives and then allows for the duplicate harddrive to be searched for the remnants of erased files, including erased emails, which are stored in a 'temp' file on the harddrive.

My thinking has been that with (1) Ashcroft dragging his feet in responding to the CIA's request for investigation, then (23) whatever-in-hell Abu G did with what he heard from the State Department's lawyer Taft after Taft was called by Powell and Armi, then (3) the delay while Ashcroft went all farn from the combination of severe conflict and moral brain spasm before recusing himself (resulting in Comey receiving the authority to choose the Special Prosecutor), and finally (4) whatever-in-hell Abu G did before he passed on to the White House Fitzgerald's subpoena of records, there was more than enough time for Libby, and Rove as well of course, to delete their relevant files.

It strikes me that if someone like me knows about that computer data recovery program, then someone like Luskin sure as hell would; and so would know to advise his client of it. Rove impresses me as someone who would surely hide incriminating files and emails for as long as convenient, but would never obliterate them, because such information is currency in his world.

If the time came when Luskin felt he had to advise his client that he needed a miracle to avoid indictment, then just as Rove turned to a Democratic lawyer when he really needed effective legal representation, Rove would turn to the 'miracle' he had squirrelled away for such a very rainy day - his end of the email trial, or at least the location of the harddrive from which his files had been erased. If one has that, it no longer matters what the other party to the communications has done with his records.

Back to what's been going on in court. I've read some things that support this speculation (that is, consistent with, or at least not inconsistent with, the known facts), but I've been reading so much on this case lately I don't know if anything that hints of it has come up in or around the trial. I'd be happy to spend some time 'recovering my memory' on what I've seen, but that still wouldn't provide me comfort on what if anything is going on in court.

Final thought, somewhat related: Assuming Thing thinks at the keyboard, I'd sure want to have see all his drafts of his July 14, 2003 hit before it reached his standards for publication.

Thank you pow wow.

The Insanity Defense...

Clarice Feldman’s "live blogging" is certifiable.

Dishing on fellow bloggers and NPR:

"Jeralyn Merritt has been hands-down the most conflicted person covering this case, since she is both a Bush-bashing progressive and a defense lawyer with no natural affinity to prosecutors.
Jeralyn is a very pleasant, good natured person used to hearing 2 sides of things.

EW has to me the determined mien of an old time prohibitionist. I appreciate her stenography..the rest not so much.

Dishing on fellow bloggers and NPR:
Jeralyn Merritt has been hands-down the most conflicted person covering this case, since she is both a Bush-bashing progressive and a defense lawyer with no natural affinity to prosecutors.
Jeralyn is a very pleasant, good natured person used to hearing 2 sides of things.

EW has to me the determined mien of an old time prohibitionist. I appreciate her stenography..the rest not so much.

Dishing on fellow bloggers and NPR:
Jeralyn Merritt has been hands-down the most conflicted person covering this case, since she is both a Bush-bashing progressive and a defense lawyer with no natural affinity to prosecutors.
Jeralyn is a very pleasant, good natured person used to hearing 2 sides of things.

EW has to me the determined mien of an old time prohibitionist. I appreciate her stenography..the rest not so much.
Dishing on fellow bloggers and NPR:
Jeralyn Merritt has been hands-down the most conflicted person covering this case, since she is both a Bush-bashing progressive and a defense lawyer with no natural affinity to prosecutors.
Jeralyn is a very pleasant, good natured person used to hearing 2 sides of things.

EW has to me the determined mien of an old time prohibitionist. I appreciate her stenography..the rest not so much."

http://patrickjfitzgerald.blogspot.com/2007/02/insanity-defense.html

I would take this as a compliment if you are familiar Clarice. ;)

oops, please delete that post

Then, on a long Bush trip to Africa, Fleischer and Bartlett prompted clusters of reporters to look into the bureaucratic origins of the Wilson trip.

Newsweek 7/17/05

Newsweek has the same information Dickerson reported that he received (look into the origins of the Wilson trip), probably from Lippert. Newsweek has Bartlett telling reporters as well as Fleischer .

pollyusa

Very helpful as always. It suggests perhaps that Fleischer remembered he was dissing Wilson to Dickerson, Lippert and Gregory, walked up to the line but did not identify Plame; then Lippert and Dickerson drifted off and perhaps Fleischer went over the line and blew Plame's cover with Gregory; but he didn't make the distinction in his recollection and thought he had or may have blown her cover with all of them or at least with Dickerson too.

I don't know if that's the case, but it could be. That said, there really was something weird going on in court yesterday, every time they got close to what Fleischer told Dickerson, one side or the other objected or the defense was very careful in asking. I have no idea what that was all about.

but there were reports in Fall 2005 that Rove maybe kind of remembered that maybe his source might have been Libby. Not enough to add an indictment on, but enough to make Rove a lousy witness in favor of Libby's story, since it would suggest Libby at some point un-forgot Plame's identity sufficiently to share it with Rove.

And if Rove knew Plame's identity, as Novak says, how did Rove learn it? A source close to Rove has said Rove never saw the State memo. The same source told NEWSWEEK last week that Rove "doesn't remember" where he heard the crucial information about Wilson's wife. But, the source said, Rove is "pretty sure he heard it directly or indirectly from a media source." The source close to Rove later acknowledged that Rove had been questioned by investigators about conversations he may have had with Libby, Cheney's chief of staff. Rove couldn't recall any specific exchange with Libby about Wilson's wife, the source said.
Newsweek 7/17/05


During one of his grand jury appearances, Rove was shown testimony from Libby suggesting the two had discussed with each other information they had gotten about Wilson's wife from reporters in early July 2003.

Rove responded that Libby's testimony was consistent with his general recollection that he had first learned Wilson's wife worked for the CIA from reporters or government officials who had talked with reporters.

Rove testified that he never intended any of his comments to reporters about Wilson's wife to serve as confirmation of Plame's identity. Rove "has always clearly left open that he first heard this information from Libby," said one person directly familiar with Rove's grand jury testimony.
AP 10/19/05


If Rove first heard from Libby it must be before he confirms for Novak on July 9, 2003, which is a problem for Libby since he doesn't learn again as new from Russert until July 10 or 11, 2003.

The known Libby/Rove conversation about Plame takes place on July 10 or 11, 2003 per the Libby Indictment after Rove confirms for Novak on July 9, 2003.

Jeff,

then Lippert and Dickerson drifted off and perhaps Fleischer went over the line and blew Plame's cover with Gregory; but he didn't make the distinction in his recollection and thought he had or may have blown her cover with all of them or at least with Dickerson too

Seems likely to me.

every time they got close to what Fleischer told Dickerson, one side or the other objected or the defense was very careful in asking. I have no idea what that was all about.

Bartlett? Rice? Dickerson talked to two different SAOs. Fleischer first I think.

The senior administration official spoke to me on background about Wilson and the president's amazing decision to blame the CIA. Other reporters wandered in and out of the conversation, but there were stretches where it was just the two of us [...] Some low-level person at the CIA was responsible for the mission. I was told I should go ask the CIA who sent Wilson.

An hour later, as Bush spoke at an AIDS treatment center, I chatted with a different senior administration official, also on background. [...] This official also pointed out a few times that Wilson had been sent by a low-level CIA employee and encouraged me to follow that angle

[...]

All administrations discredit their critics through whispers to reporters, but we hadn't seen high-level Bush people do anything like this in the past. It suggested desperation and unsteadiness in a national security team that had often been heralded for its smooth competency.
Dickerson 2/7/06

Jeffress was trying to accuse Ari of leaking to Pincus, which seems odd since if Ari were Pincus' source, it'd be admissible as impeachment.

J Did you tell Pincus that Wilson's wife worked at CIA.

Fl nossir. I would have remembered it if it happened.
EW at FDL 1/29/07

Am I missing something EW. It would seem that Fleischer flatly denies telling Pincus.

Does anyone want to speculate what Ari gave to the Grand Jury that Fitz was so eager to prevent team Libby from seeing? It would be nice if Rove eventually confirmed something Ari said about Cheney but could there be something more mundane. If Fitz is truly not planning to seek any more indictments, would he still have reason to be so protective of the parts of Ari's testimony that didn't concern Libby's perjury/obstruction?

And did eRiposte (or anyone else) ever post on that weird Plame/Plamee business?

I think it was the use of Flame/Plame that eRiposte was going to comment on (not Plamee). Sorry for that confusion.

Like LabDancer, I assumed that Rove, Libby, and Abu Gonzales actually believed that they'd deleted relevant computer files, and very likely erased files on their own workstations (without understanding network recovery processes). Personally, I hope that's what they did, and I hope someone has the evidence.

Jim E,
there are lots of reasons those DoJ video clips would be so short; some of the reasons are technical -- it looks as if the video clips were configured for transmission over dial-up connections. Think of the DoJ site as a Dodge Rambler; it's not very efficient, and it's certainly not pretty, but it serves basic needs at a low cost. McClellan was speaking ON THE RECORD for the Bush/Cheney administration, so it seems that Fitz would be remiss if those clips weren't part of the trial record in this case.

Whether Cheney testifies or not, it remains indisputable that Libby asked Judy to identify him as "a former Hill staffer " after he finally un-forgot about Plame being 'Wilson's wife". And Libby later wrote Judy some peculiar comments about aspens turning. No amount of calendar-flipping will alter those suspicious facts.

EW, you are a national treasure.

Fleischer and Bartlett may have both testified that they were instructed to "walk up" reporters to a point just short of giving Plame's name. Perhaps that's something Fitzgerald doesn't want to show just yet...

Wrote Dickerson: "The official [Fleischer] walked me through all the many problems with Wilson's report: His work was sloppy, contradictory, and hadn't been sanctioned by Tenet or any senior person. Some low-level person at the CIA was responsible for the mission. I was told I should go ask the CIA who sent Wilson." Another official [Bartlett] "pointed out a few times that Wilson had been sent by a low-level CIA employee and encouraged me to follow that angle. I thought I got the point: He'd been sent by someone around the rank of deputy assistant undersecretary or janitor."

I still don't know about Dickerson. Perversely, perhaps, I am inclined to believe Ari did mention the wife to him, even as I completely disbelieve Ari on other matters. (For example, it's implausible that Ari could turn from talking to Libby "on the q.t." over lunch to blabbing away three days later on an Ugandan roadside.)

But maybe I'm missing the bigger point: who ordered the WH press office to go heavy on the trip's supposedly questionable origins? Who demanded this emphasis on the "low level" CIA employee who supposedly ordered the trip? In my view, Cheney's annotated notes on the Wilson editorial show him designing a frame for a journalistic "walk up" which culminates in the leak of Plame's identity. It's apparent in the layout: the three questions in Cheney's left column frame Wilson's trip as something suspicious, without giving away classified information; the question in the right column is supposed to be a logical rhetorical response, "or did his wife send him on a junket?"

I think Cheney is the architect, and Bartlett and Fleischer were merely executing his plans. The fact of "walking up" journalists to her identity is in and of itself incriminating, and Fleischer did so by, at the very least, suggesting Wilson's work was sloppy and contradictory. Wife or no wife (and I'm still waiting on what Gregory and Lipper have to say about that), if Dickerson got a "walk-up" from both those men, Cooper might well have considered it a confirmation for his article.

And yes, those Dickersonian sidebars are most curious....

Ari said Wilson's report was sloppy, contradictory, and unsanctioned by Tenet and the agency. (Setting up an explanation: the junket-assigning wife.)

The collective forgetting doesn't stop at OVP - it all started with the White House 'forgetting' the CIA told them to take out the Niger uranium claims from the Cincinnati speech. Check out all these memory problems from the Bartlett/Hadley* press conference from 7/22/03:

Hadley:
"The amount [of yellowcake] is in dispute, and it's debatable whether it can be acquired from the source. The CIA memorandum said that it had told -- that CIA had told the Congress about concerns about the British claim with respect to this. And finally, the memo noted that Iraq already has 500 metric tons of uranium oxide in their inventory.

I'll tell you, as I sit here, I DO NOT RECALL that paragraph. But I will also tell you that I'm confident I received the memorandum, that I would have read it carefully and in its entirety shortly after receipt.

Today I learned of a second memorandum sent by the CIA on October 6. This is commenting on draft eight of the Cincinnati speech. And by this time, by draft eight, the reference to Iraqi efforts to acquire uranium has already been deleted from the speech, as DCI Tenet asked me to do in his telephone request. And what the memorandum does is provide some additional rationale for the removal of the uranium reference.

The memorandum describes some weakness in the evidence, the fact that the effort was not particularly significant to Iraq's nuclear ambitions because the Iraqis already had a large stock of uranium oxide in their inventory. The memorandum also stated that the CIA had been telling Congress that the Africa story was one of two issues where we differed with the British intelligence."

More Hadley:
"But the fact is that given the October 5 and 6 CIA memorandum, and my telephone conversation with the DCI Tenet at roughly the some time, I SHOULD HAVE RECALLED at the time of the State of the Union speech that there was controversy associated with the uranium issue."

Robert Joseph:
Q: Let me just ask you one other question. You said -- if I understand the conversation between Bob Joseph and Alan Foley, of the CIA, correctly, Joseph said that he wanted to cite the British report. And Foley at that point said, we told the Brits that they shouldn't be saying that.

MR. BARTLETT: That is not -- as I stated on Friday, John, that's NOT BOB JOSEPH'S RECOLLECTION -- that he specifically asked Mr. Foley that we were wanting to cite how we knew the information, we had two choices, raised concerns about citing sensitive sourcing of the National Intelligence Estimate.

Michael Gerson:
Q: So Mike Gerson also could have stopped this process, if he had remembered the memo, is that accurate?

MR. BARTLETT: He had NO RECOLLECTION of the memo. And he -- like I said, he discovered the memo and shared it. But he, himself, did not recall the memo during the State of the Union process...

Q: How many other staff members would have seen and read the memos when they came? It was addressed to Mike and Steve. But how many other staff members would it have been passed on to?

MR. BARTLETT: Well, generally, in the process -- and not being a member of the National Security Council staff, and maybe Steve can elaborate on this when he gets back -- is that information is then shared back with the speechwriters, or through the people who are in charge of those specific accounts from a substantive standpoint on the National Security Council. These documents, for example, were shown to -- the two that we have discussed today to Bob Joseph. He has NO RECOLLECTION at all of seeing these documents. And Mike Gerson himself DOES NOT REMEMBER who he handed them to, or who he discussed directly with them. But obviously, they were acted upon because the information was pulled from the Cincinnati speech.

President Bush:
Q: In October, as you all were going through these drafts, did the President see a version of the October speech that included the Niger claim?

MR. BARTLETT: I wouldn't be surprised if he did, because many drafts he's looking at -- and he's looking at them for different purposes. But also what is very common in speeches of this size is that -- because we go through many drafts. You all always ask how many, 28 drafts, 29 drafts. He is very aware that there's going to be additions and subtractions. He was not -- HE HAS NO MEMORY of this subtraction being made during the Cincinnati process itself. But it is highly likely, and I'm almost positive he received -- again, it didn't say Niger.

'Everybody':
Q: So the CIA tried to wave you off and the memos had slipped everyone's memory and, therefore, you put it in, even though had you seen those memos or remembered them, you would not have put it in?

MR. BARTLETT: Yes. That's it. They tried -- they did wave us off and it did come out of the Cincinnati speech. So it was in a different speech.

Q -- in the Cincinnati speech, though?

MR. HADLEY: So there's two points. There's the one you just made. HAD WE RECALLED those memos, had we seen them we would have raised the red flag or taken it out. That's obviously one failure. The other failure is, it's in the speech. The vetting of the State of the Union speech is a separate process, it goes out to all Agencies and at the end of the day, nobody raises their hands and says, take it out. That's the problem. There were, in fact, two failings here.

'Nobody':
MR. HADLEY: No. Let's see what happened here. Remember, in connection with the Cincinnati speech, George Tenet does have concerns about the British report. And that's what we learned from the memorandum. It's partly on the basis of those he says to take it out. The problem is, within the clearance process three-and-a-half months later, with respect to the State of the Union, NOBODY RAISES A HAND AND SAYS, REMEMBER, we had problems with British reporting, you need to take this out.

President Bush:
Q: And the President was not told that that passage was taken out of the Cincinnati speech?

MR. BARTLETT: That's correct. HE HAS NO MEMORY of that.

Robert Joseph:
Q: The CIA has suggested that the conversation between Foley and Joseph was more extensive than you all have. I just want to make sure on this question of how the CIA signed off on the attribution to the British intelligence, Joseph's position is, he doesn't recall that Foley raised any concerns about the British intelligence. So it's -- he's not saying it didn't happen, he's saying he does not recall --

MR. BARTLETT: He has no memory of it. He said that the conversation was -- this is not just pick up and talk.

Q But it's an important distinction.

MR. BARTLETT: It is.

Q Tell me which one is his position, that he says it did not happen, or that he does not recall?

MR. BARTLETT: I'll tell you what he believed the conversation to be. He believed the conversation, as we're going through a series of citations on the WMD account, which is where his expertise was, and we're trying to do public citations of our sourcing, and when they got the issue of uranium -- again, they have gone through all of these. It was not just this issue. They're going through several different issue. They talk, I'm sure, all the time on issues such as this, particularly during a fact-checking process -- that the discussion was, what could we cite? There was classified, sensitive information which there was not a comfort level citing. He said, so can we cite the British intelligence? And the answer to the question was, yes. And he has no memory of them raising any specific concerns about the British intelligence.

http://www.whitehouse.gov/news/releases/2003/07/20030722-12.html

If anyone has been reading eRiposte's 'Two Streams' posts on the SSCI report, the Lord Butler report, and the Libby evidence I suggest reading the Hadley/Bartlett transcript above. It's pretty clear that the press was almost on the scent of the origin of the Niger claims (forgeries from...who?) and the White House was in a frenzy to waive them off. The British sourcing being treated as different is key. The Bush administration is citing the authority of British intelligence to prevent people calling them liars at the same time they are doing a mea culpa for ignoring the CIA for telling them the British intelligence was questionable.

*Remember when Hadley had those Sally Jessie Raphael glasses? That was fantastic.

Here's some of the reporting that triggered the Hadley/Bartlett presser on 7/23/03.

Knight-Ridder, Landay and Strobel, 7/18/03:

"Senior CIA officials told a closed Senate Intelligence Committee hearing Wednesday that, before Bush gave the speech, they discussed the reliability of intelligence about Iraq's alleged attempts to buy uranium in Africa with National Security Council aide Robert Joseph, according to two senior U.S. officials. Joseph, a top aide to Bush national security adviser Condoleezza Rice, coordinates policies to prevent the spread of nuclear weapons.

The two U.S. officials spoke on the condition of anonymity because the hearing was classified.

Sen. Richard Durbin, an Illinois Democrat and an Intelligence Committee member, said Thursday on ABC News that Tenet told the committee that a White House official - whom Durbin didn't identify - was "insistent" that the uranium reference be in Bush's address. Later, two U.S. officials confirmed to Knight Ridder that Joseph was the White House aide Durbin described.

That alleged push from Joseph puts a different light on the controversial allegation, distinct from Bush's emphasis last Friday, when the president stressed that the CIA had approved the wording of his speech. Tenet later issued a statement saying he had done so, though in retrospect he shouldn't have, because the intelligence underpinning the allegation was suspect."

http://www.commondreams.org/headlines03/0718-02.htm

And here is the link to eriposte's 'Two Streams' report on the bogus UK claims of separate credible sourcing of Iraq seeking yellowcake from Niger. Keep up the great work emptywheel and eriposte! The truth is coming out....finally.

Part 1 - http://www.theleftcoaster.com/archives/009725.php
Part 2 - http://www.theleftcoaster.com/archives/009763.php

polly

That AP article from 10-19-05 almost certainly makes no sense, and is probably just bs floated by Rove's people throwing Libby under the bus, so to speak. That is, if you look at it, it says a number of things that are almost certainly inconsistent, or else it leaves out any detail on the crucial pre-July 9 LIbby-Rove conversation about Wilson's wife that supposedly is one possible original source for Rove's knowledge of Plame. See what I mean? The article says Rove has always left open the possibility he heard first from Libby; that he thinks he heard it from reporters first; that he heard it twice, he thinks, in casual social settings first; that he talked with Libby two days after talking with Novak.

I just think Luskin threw a bunch of stuff at the reporter to make Rove look innocent and Libby look guilty.

Plus it makes it sound like Rove really just said he couldn't remember much. Which was a smarter grand jury strategy than Libby's, evidently.

As for Dickerson, I'm pretty sure if you line it up, he talked to Bartlett first and Fleischer second.

I agree it appears that Fleischer just denies having been Pincus' source. And somehow I doubt the prosecution would have asked that question if it were merely setting Fleischer up to categorically give information that was false, even if Fleischer simply didn't remember.

Marcy --

Thanks for everything you do! Can't wait to dig into my copy of Anatomy of Deceit.

According to Novak, Harlow was another source. How does this figure into this mess?

http://www.crooksandliars.com/posts/2006/07/11/novak-names-bill-harlow-as-a-confirming-source

"I have revealed Rove’s name because his attorney has divulged the substance of our conversation, though in a form different from my recollection. I have revealed Harlow’s name because he has publicly disclosed his version of our conversation, which also differs from my recollection. My primary source has not come forward to identify himself."

mickey

AFAIK, the tapes issue relates just to our ability to get Scooter's voice--and max remixes of it. Swopa will liveblog the transcripts. And then they'll be released as evidence.

Canuck

Yes, I'm working on a post on that. It was acknowledged that Libby wrote over this date (and, perhaps, wrote the cedilla on top to imply vagueness). What are you saying the original date was?

polly

As to Fleischer to Pincus, yes, he flatly denies it. Then Jeffress shows him some kind of roundtable transcript. Ari blanches, visibly. Fitz objects. Jeffress has to withdraw the transcript question. And Fleischer says, "Can I just say one thing about that transcript?" But he does not get an opportunity to do so.

Your guess as to what that means is as good as mine. We know Ari talked to Pincus on the 12th. But it was not as part of that that Jeffress tried to get him to admit he had. Nor was it Pincus' testimony (and remember, the time of the call was a key detail in that).

Ken

Don't know--it could just be Fitz' care about not exposing any GJ testimony. But I think it also possible that the Ari and Bartlett calls were at the order of WH, and Fitz may be leaving that behind.

Jeff

That was clearly a Luskin special (it is Solomon, after all). But I think it possible that Rove refreshed his memory in the face of imminent indictment. Doesn't mean Fitz would want him as a witness, but it might solidify his case.

Re: releasing he audio tapes of Scooter's GJ. During the Openig Statements. PatFitz played 3 excerpts fromt the tapes in chronological order. In the snippet from the Scooter's first GJ appearance you could hear the hesitaion and uncertainty in his voice. The puases in the middle of the sentences were weird. He sounded like a guy making things up on the spot.

The snippet from the 2nd GJ was a lot smoother.

By the 3rd appearnce he sounds convincing.

NONE OF THAT will come through in a transcript. As a litagator I know that the way the dynamics play out in a deposition or a GJ appearnce that is NOT video or audio tapyed, can be manipulated in such a way that the transcript presents a very different impression of what happened.

All good litagators know this. You come back from aday of tesimony and chat with the gut in the office next door about some drama that happened that day, and his reply will always be "Yeah, but what will the transcript look like?"

WHen I heard those snippets during the Opening, and I watched the juy's reaction, I thought to myself, SCOOTER is the gov't's best witness and he has hung himself.

The audio is incredibly powerful and damning. And I cannot think of any reason tey should not come into evidence. Or be released to the public once they do.

I will be shocked if Walton rules otherwise b/c I cannot think of any reason why he would be authorized to do so.

I'm sure Fitz and Co are writing furiously as we speak (er, type).

And I cannot think of any reason tey should not come into evidence. Or be released to the public once they do.

At this point, I don't believe there's any dispute that the tapes will be played for the jury. The dispute, I believe, is over whether they will be released now to the public, or whether they will be held back until after the trial is over. And Walton appeared to be pretty sympathetic to the defense's argument they should be held back.

EW, I'm not sure if there is a record of "Plame" being declassified (no one has ever admitted to this, given the uproar). Have you seen anything to suggest otherwise?

EW,

did anyone mention what a fantastic job you are doing? let me be the first, and get the jump on the crowd

Anyway, I love the details, though I cannot really follow the possibilities. But keep teasing me.

Big picture, though, the public will shrug, and the big media journalists will rationalize that it was all a mountain out of a mole hill, if Libby is acquited.

What is your take on the jury? Will all the truth get buried?

I guess I have always assumed that the 250 emails were found in this way...by someone cleaning the computer hard drives. That kind of investigation takes time and would explain why it was later in the game when discovered. But then I would think there would be other obstruction charges. My assumption (since I was married to a computer analyst who worked worked in the white house and pentagon-no he never told me secrets, but I have always been aware that you cannot erase anything from your computer without someone literally "cleaning" the hard drive), has been that they dumped or erased as many e-mails as possible during the time they had been abu getting the info and his official pass to the crew. My assumption has been that Fitz had at least some of the hard drives confiscated and "cleaned" in which case "signs" of said dumping would be obvious. In which case, Fitz went back to the crew and said..."something is amiss."

I could be wrong here...but that's what I have always assumed about the 250 e-mails.

I don't know whether Cheney will testify or not. My guess is he will, but who knows. I don't see any risk to him testifying if we assume IIPA is not applicable. Even if it is, I don't think the July 12 conversation puts anyone at risk. Cathie Martin has already testified that she thought is was a good idea, but the idea was rejected. If the VP testifies he can say "I don't remember discussing this" (release of wife's involvement), or he can say " I recall discussing it, but we decided it didn't add anything to our message". If you evaluate the case from the standpoint of "IIPA is not applicable" a lot of the mysteries are easily explained.

"EW, I'm not sure if there is a record of "Plame" being declassified (no one has ever admitted to this, given the uproar). Have you seen anything to suggest otherwise?"

In his Pox News exclusive with Brit Hume to explain why he shot his friend Harry in the face, DeadEye wanted to get it on the record that he had the authority to declassify. The Shrub signed an Executive Order to that affect and at the time, it certainly sounded as though DeadEye was trying to send a message that is relevant to Traitorgate. Most of what I recall of the discussion at FDL is that declassification is a process that leaves a paper trail. The idea that anyone can selectively declassify information for narrow political gain is pretty anathema iirc to the declassification regulations, e.g. declassifying something to one reporter. It doesn't make any sense.

Canuck

Big forgery in GX 104. What do you make of it?

Marcy,
I have no clue how you would hve energy to write comment, after wearing your fingers raw all week. I know you are a lawyer, but I'd swear that you trained in Court Reporting as well, and they didn't do it directly in English, back when. Your work is greatly appreciated. The inside/outside collaboration has also worked well.

Thanks for all of us.

Posted by: Jerry Fear | February 02, 2007 at 21:15

ABSOLUTELY!!!!!!!!!!

Q: to ew: What would it take to have FDL/TNH hire an official court reporter to give us verbatim postings throughout the day, which would allow you the time and freedom to provide analytical postings throughout the day. Like, explain the signficance of what was just said and how this latest statement plays out in the overall scheme. I LOVE the realtime reporting on the trial, but I get so wrapped up in the minutiea (sic?) that I lose all overall perspective. You, ew, on the other hand seem to process all new data into realtime analysis. I have no clue HOW you do that...but I'm grateful!

I believe that ew's and FDL's work product during this trial has created a new "paradigm" (I hate that word!) in media reporting...on a national level! Talk about leaving footprints!

Back to the court reporter thing.....how much $$$ would FDL/TNH/"The Progessive Blogosphere" have to raise to get a court reporter? Any FDL'ers out there who could perform such a service? Add this cost onto the cost of FDL safehouse in DC, of course.

You guys have already proven the value of this type of reporting, but how can we take it to the next level?

You guys have already proven the value of this type of reporting, but how can we take it to the next level?

Posted by: clueless | February 03, 2007 at 11:00

To continue on this theme.....I would tend to think that other progressive bloggers (Kos, Atrios, Digby, et al) would assist in this fundraising. The blogoshpere, and the MSM increasingly, are recognizing the incredible value that this Libby Live Blogging project has provided to the world.

What I'm proposing is to take this incredible concept up to the next level -- realtime trial reporting and analysis. I reckon the lazy-ass media types will take your analysis and "can" it into conventional wisdom and reporting. Talk about "framing" an issue, "getting out ahead" of an issue, etc. Also, talk about getting the MSM to follow OUR lead rather than the rightwing wackos' lead!

BTW, I figure this type of project is too big to put into effect during this Libby trial. However, I have no doubt that there will be future trials and/or Congressional Hearings into serious matters that will benefit greatly from the sunshine that this live blogging provides.

"declassification is a process that leaves a paper trail. The idea that anyone can selectively declassify information for narrow political gain is pretty anathema iirc to the declassification regulations"

I agree that there'd have to be a paper trail, I'd think even Bush couldn't declassify an agent's ID without checking with Tenet (Cheney might not have any ability to but W would provide a CYA retrospecitvely). But I've never read of a paper record of this happening, probably because no one wanted to take the blame. My bias has been that this is why Tenet dramatically resigned in June 2004 with Bush and Cheney immediately hiring private lawyers.

emptywheel,
I want to thank you so much for what you are doing. I cannot wait to buy your book.
Teaching high school during the day only allows me to check in periodically, but all I can say is YOU ARE AWESOME in your reporting.
John Casper,
With regard to the declassification process and the insta-declassification without informing Valerie Plame, the CIA, or maybe even Tenet.
I thought that there had to be Agency approval, a time stamp, and notification to all concerned?
There has to be some process in place where the VP just cannot declassify for political purposes, then reclassify on a whim right?
I know that we are talking about the abuses of the Bush Administration, but even this goes too far imho.
Sure would like to see the paperwork in all this mess of what Bush/Cheney claim is their rightful privilege.

kim @ 11:46,
You said it much better than I did.
I did not see your comment having dropped down after reading John Casper's comment.
I should read all the way to the bottom before commenting in the future.

Jodi

Is it your position that if Libby had come out on October 7 2003 and said, "I learned from Vice President Cheney, at least one CIA official, and Cheney's press aide, at least, that Joe Wilson's wife was a CIA employee; I also told Judith Miller that information, with increasing detail over time, on three separate occasions, as well as indicating, on the basis of those officials sources, that I'd heard that information to Matt Cooper, and as well as also telling the White House press secretary about Wilon's wife - though by that time, I knew her name to be "Valerie Plame" - while at the same time indicating to him that the information was hush-hush and on the q.t. And oh yeah, I knew from Rove that Novak had learned the information and was going to be publishing about it. Plus all that week in July we in OVP were dealing with Wilson, and the VP again indicated his knowledge of Wilson's wife to me, in the context of the exact critique of her role in Wilson's trip that started this whole thing," then LIbby not only would not have been charged with anything, but would not have lost his security clearance, his positions, and indeed his job?

As usual, I'm just trying to get clear on the coherence of your position and its openness to evidence.

pow wow and CSiM

I was also struck by how closely Libby's note from June tracked what we've heard about his interaction with Grenier, though my initial thought was that it was puzzling how you could tell from the note that it reflected something Cheney told Libby in their conversation rather than something Libby told Cheney or noted down during his conversation with Cheney, which is slightly different from what I think you're suggesting. There is also something funny going on with the dating of it, as emerged from Bond's testimony, where it appears Libby said he wrote it up shortly after the fact and back-dated it. But for the life of me I can't figure out why Libby would use Cheney as a cover story to paper over having heard from Grenier, especially if he testified, as I believe he did, that his understanding was that Cheney got the information from the CIA, Tenet specifically.

Apple Canyon 2--

That is, precisely IMHO, what I think happened. I think as EW suggests, should push come to shove with Cheney, we will see documents saying that Plame's ID was insta-declassified by Cheney, leaked, then insta-reclassified so as to cover their tracks (and which, by the way, also allows them to refuse to declassify now so Plame's status cannot be admitted into evidence). The problem for Cheney, of course, is that while that might all be legal, politically it is suicide. I am sure that Cheney will then be forced to resign if that comes out.

I will further posit that there is a legal memo from Addington that claims that Cheney had the power to do this pursuant to the EO of March 2003. And that document has not been unearthed as it was probably protected under "executive privilege"

The reason I think this, is that this is almost certainly what happened with the NIE, Cheney insta-declassified it, Libby leaked it, and Cheney reclassified it. Then Hadley found out, probably went ape about it and decided that since the horse is already out of the barn, why not declassify the parts that helps them make their case against Wilson.

Seeing that they already got away with murder once, why not try it again? Desperate times call for desperate measures.

Jeff,

As for Dickerson, I'm pretty sure if you line it up, he talked to Bartlett first and Fleischer second.

Fleischer First

Dickerson has other reporters at the first conversation (which would lend support to the idea that Fleischer was the first SAO Dickerson interviewed since Fleischer says other reporters were there) and Dickerson says no other reporters at at the second conversation.

Fleischer Second

The Fleischer account has the conversation with reporters taking place during the second event that day, so that would have Fleischer as the second SAO Dickerson talked to since Dickerson says that conversation took place at a second event.

P Were you in Uganda. Can you tell us if you had an occasion to talk to reporters by the side of the road.

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.
EW at FDL 1/29/07



Barlett or could the second SAO be Rice (national security team whispers to reporters)??

All administrations discredit their critics through whispers to reporters, but we hadn't seen high-level Bush people do anything like this in the past. It suggested desperation and unsteadiness in a national security team that had often been heralded for its smooth competency.

Dickerson 2/7/06

Re: Will Judge Walton release to the public the tapes of Libby's testimony before the Grand Jury?

I think some here may be confused about the nature of Judge Walton's concern and what it is he appears to be considering.

First, the goings on in this trial are being reported on by MSM types, as usual and, by live bloggers, as unusual; but, either way, it's a public trial. So, the actual tapes are simply the raw version of what is spun by those reporting to the public. That's the essence of the unbroken line of precedent, and I haven't seen anything from Judge Walton that suggests he is interested in breaking new ground.

Second, as Judge Walton is only too aware, while the selection process for juries tends towards the result that most if not all members have never evinced any interest in the subject matter before the trial, the trial itself engenders a type of focussed interest that's comparable to , well, bloggers. By this point in the progress of this trial, most if not all jurors and alternates (and none knows which she/he is) are not just deeply engrossed in the subject matter, but suffer the same hunger pangs for MORE, MORE, MORE as do we.

The way I read emptywheels LBJ and the (of course less reliable) MSM reports today on the 14 media outlets seeking the tapes, Walton's concern is that if he were to release the tapes NOW, the members and alternates of this jury may find it that much more difficult to live up to their oaths to judge this case just on what goes into evidence in court. As in: "Hey Dad, I know you can't tell us what's going on, but my friends and I've been reading the live blogging at FDL, and, WOW, all you have to do is go over to TNH, and you should see all the neat stuff this emptywheel has posted!"

To wit, Judge Walton is concerned that releasing the tapes before this jury has come to its decisions on the charges is potentially problematic. As a fan of the LBJ and bloggers' comments, I'd like the tapes out as widely as possible. But as someone wishing for the jury to arrive at a "true" verdict on each charge, and not just justice but the appearance of justice, as hard as I am on a lot of how Judge Walton is reffing this contest, I have to say I am sympathetic to this concern.

Jeff - I'm assuming (until a better reason comes along) that the protection from contradiction that was likely via executive privilege and complicit knowledge on Cheney's side was seen as safer to Libby than admitting to having heard from Grenier - with Grenier's testimony an unknown. There does still remain the question of where Libby and Cheney learned about the name "Plame" though - I don't believe Grossman testified to giving that name to Libby (Grenier was not given her name by the CP unit).

I'm not sure I understand the part of your sentence dealing with who told whom what in Libby's note. [I can't personally tell anything from Libby's note about who was involved in relaying the information in the note, except that Libby obviously wrote the note. It is only because Libby has testified that his note is a result of a talk with the VP, that anyone else can assume that, seems to me. It's far too cryptic a note, otherwise. And yes, the Grenier testimony detail seems to fit it remarkably well.]

EW - I wanted to alert you (and Jeff) to Document #261 filed today by the government, for lots of details on the two newspaper articles that your last post discusses. Both were printed off the internet, and one was turned over by Libby in February, 2004 and the other by Jenny Mayfield in March, 2004. The government filing specifies which portions of the Washington Post's 10/12/03 article were underlined (that's the article Libby turned over), and gives other such details as part of its argument.

pow wow

You got the point of what I was saying. Let me add, as I did to the new post, that the really curious thing about Libby's note is that it in effect cites the lede of Kristof's June 13 (not his May 6) piece, that Wilson was sent at Cheney's behest, which would seem to suggest that the note was written after that article appeared (unless Kristof contacted OVP and asked them about the claim beforehand, which I really doubt). This was the key claim that would continue to bother OVP.

What does this mean? I have no idea.

I saw the motions in limine from both sides regarding those two WaPo articles, thanks.

Did you see Fitzgerald's response to DOW, which cboldt posted?

The 1/17 response? Yes, belatedly, thanks, when cboldt alerted me to it last weekend. I'm grateful to cboldt for tracking that down. I was impressed by the refusal on the government's part (James Fleissner's, I think) to "take the bait" that was offered up in the Dow Jones/AP motion to unseal, and I'd actually like to see the Circuit Court slap down that motion in some way to send a bit of a message about the obviously politically-hostile, disingenuous and poorly-timed filing by the three attorneys representing Dow Jones/AP.

My theory about the "behest" language in the Libby note, is that Robert Grenier actually used that language, or the equivalent, to tell Libby that yes, in fact, Joe Wilson was sent as a result of inquiries from the OVP (among others). That's assuming, of course, that this note reflects that conversation. Which would just reinforce emptywheel's point in her new post, that the CIA continued to be pressured by Libby/OVP about questions that someone there had already answered for him/them (not to mention that Kristof would have just about gotten the darn thing right by using the word "behest" in his 6/13 article, after all).

One other impression I get from the Grenier testimony is that his lack of knowledge (as Iraq Mission Manager) about the Wilson mission when Libby reached him, followed by the details Grenier gleaned for Libby by contacting the CP unit, would qualify as the background to the later "low-level operatives acting on their own without the 'important people' at the CIA's knowledge" line that was disseminated in Africa and elswhere a month later by the White House.

polly

Once again, you've made a really important discovery. You're totally right, at least as Dickerson tells it to Hubris - pp. 271-272 - he talked to Fleischer first while Bush was meeting with Museveni in Uganda. And then he talked to his second source, Bartlett, at the second event.

In other words, if Dickerson's recollection of who he talked to when and where is accurate, he likely wasn't even present for the conversation by the side of the road walking toward the second event. That is, there's a decent chance Dickerson wasn't even present for the conversation that Fleischer and apparently Gregory were present at.

Jeff,

Libby is charged with 5 (I believe) mistatements to the FBI, to the GJ, to a Prosecution Investigator.

Now use a little logic. If Fitz believes Libby lied about some crime, then why wasn't he charged for the crime, not just for mistatements/lying/perjury about the crime?

There was no crime other than the mistatements!

A simpler example might be:

Prosecutor: "Did you murder the man?"
Defendant: "No, I did not murder the man."

... and then the prosecutor tries the defendant for lying, but not for the murder. ??What is wrong with this statment Jeff??

Get real Jeff!

Jodi

You sorta answered one part of my question, and not the other. Do you think Libby would have kept his job if he had come out and said all those things - the truth, which you think he really just honestly forgot or confused?

As for the part you answered, it's actually you who is failing to use logic. Let me put it this way: it's not called obstruction of justice for nothing. Also, there are other considerations, other interests to consider, as Fitzgerald suggested at his news conference. Furthermore, your analogy does not work, because obviously when we're talking about words about words - which is all that the act constituting the underlying crime would have been - it's a lot closer call under any circumstances than a murder.

In any case, though, for what it's worth, I believe that if Libby had made the statement I brought up, he would have been arrested on the spot.

Jeff,

I have to agree with Jodi. How can you have overwhelming evidence of a crime and only charge perjury because the guy won't admit to it?

Let's review your scenario:
1.I learned from Vice President Cheney,
Evidence: Libyy FBI interview and notes
2. I learned the same information from at least one CIA official, and Cheney's press aide>
Evidence: Testimony of CIA official and press secretary
3I also told Judith Miller that information, with increasing detail over time, on three separate occasions.
Evidence: Testimony of Miller
4. I confirmed this information to Cooper.
Evidence: Testimony of Cooper.
5. I also told the White House press secretary about Wilson's wife - though by that time, I knew her name to be "Valerie Plame" - while at the same time indicating to him that the information was hush-hush and on the q.t.
Evidence: Testimony of Ari Fleischer
6. I knew from Rove that Novak had learned the information and was going to be publishing about it.
Evidence: GJ Testimony of Rove
Plus all that week in July we in OVP were dealing with Wilson, we evne discussed whether we should use the information that Wilson's wife sent him.

Evidence" Cathie Martin's testimony and Libbby GJ testimony.

Seems like an open and shut case to me. Why no charges?

"How can you have overwhelming evidence of a crime and only charge perjury because the guy won't admit to it?"

Dardog, why haven't you bought emptywheel's book? If you had read it or tnh over the last year, you would know.
Transcript of Fitzgerald's PC, please pay special attention to the "umpire" analogy. Fitz explain in great detail why he can't indict beyond perjury and obstruction.

Dardog and Jodi

Look, there are a couple of distinct questions, and you're being evasive on the question that Jodi actually got started. Jodi's consistent claim has been that Libby did not lie. She claims as evidence that he really would have gotten off scott free if he had told the truth. The obvious challenge to this - which I tried to pose - is whether you think Libby would not have been fired had he told the truthful story I spelled out in October 2003. Neither of you has yet to address that, as far as I can see.

This is, of course, just part of the motive that Fitzgerald is attributing to Libby. He's also suggesting that Libby had consciousness of guilt.

As for why no underlying charges, I think you're oversimplifying the considerations that go into charging decisions - especially, from what I've gathered from my lawyer friends, where federal prosecutors are concerned. They have much more discretion, from what I've gathered, to charge only the charges they feel really most confident they can win on, for instance. I also think Fitzgerald took a look at the competing interests implicated by various underlying charges, including First Amendment concerns.

Jeff,

First of all, I'm not in lockstep with Jodi on this. It appears to me that Libby lied about his interest and his involvement in the Joe Wilson matter. It remains to be seen whether the government can prove this beyond a reasonable doubt.

To address your specific question,IMHO I don't think Libby would have been arrested if he had admitted the facts above. It's easy to say this because we will never know what would have happened and so we can discuss this without any danger of being proven wrong. FWIW let me give you my basis for this conclusion.

1. Armitage admitted that he learned the information from government channels and he passed it on to two reporters.
2. Harlow learned the information from official government sources and admitted he confirmed to Novak Ms. Wilson's employment at the CIA.
3. Carl Rove admitted he told Matt Cooper this information. Do we know where Karl got the information. Surely it is from a government source.
4. Libby admitted to telling Matt Cooper and some other reporter (Kessler??).
5. Ari did it as well, but of course he had immunity.

None of these individuals were charged. Does it strike you as odd that a CIA spokesman confirmed that a classified employee works for the Agency to a reporter and doesn't lose his job (Please correct me if I'm wrong). If we take the BDS view, that in itself was a treasonous act. Why isn't Harlow in prison? Has Grenier been reprimanded for passing classified information to Libby without explaining that it was classified?


If Libby had come clean, how do you think Fitz would explain his decision to prosecute only one of two (four if you count Rove and Harlow) leakers? Can you imagine the press conference.

Fitz: Today DOJ indicted Mr. Libby for leaking the name of Ms. Wilson to two press reporters. Mr. Libby is charged with leaking this information to Judith Miller and Matt Copper. We believe that these indictments will result in proper justice for the release of Ms. Wilson's name.
Reporter: What about the original leak to Novak?

Fitz: That leak was done by Dick Armitage who also provided the information to Bob Woodward. Mr. Armitage has cooporated fully with us and is not being charged.

Reporter: Are you saying that Mr. Libby did not cooporate?

Fitz: No no. Mr. Libby was completely forthcoming as well. However, we have decided to prosecute him for this egregious act.

Reporter: Are there any differences in the two situations.

Fitz: Not really. Both of them learned the information through official government channels. Both of them were not aware of her classified status, and both of them provided the info to reporters because they thought it added context to why Joe Wilson was chosen for this assignment.

Reporter: Thanks Fitz. That seem reasonable.

Jeff, as my parody above showsand given what we now know, I can't see why Libby would have been in jeopardy while Armitage wasn't. I look foward to your explanation.

Jeff,
a lot of what you have presented is assumption, speculation, and then you run with it.

You couch the events in terms that you believe are very culpable, and flesh them out further as really damning, and then you assume further that I am agreeing with what you have said, and therefore I am saying that if Libby had admitted to "high crimes and misdemeanors" or worse he should still go free.

NO. The mistatements of Libby (as charged) go only to some inconsequential timing, and some idle gossip.

No, again as Dardog spoke to and I said, the question is whether IF the mistatements (and that is where the obstruction charges came from, so don't just change the title to indicate that I left something out) that Fitz charged Libby with, had been modified to such as "yes I did speak about the woman Plame to so, and so" , but didn't out her because ..., and I learned about her and Wilson early on, ..., THEN LIbby wouldn't be charged.

My own assumption is that Cheney and Rove did do what I just said Libby could have done as far as giving out timing and "spoke to" detail, and you see they are not charged.

Now if you want to believe and state that there are great conspiracies and misdeeds just behind some barely tenuous curtain that you personally and others as well see through, and that I just can't, I have to say that I personally see a lot of wishful thinking.

But hear me Jeff, if they broke the law, then hang them. They are big boys.

You ask whether Libby should keep his job because he "leaked", well that goes to whether Cheney or Rove, or others should keep their's since they leaked or at least it seems to be the case.
That is politics, Jeff. Bush and every other politician including those you love and worship are liars. It is a part of the game. Again, get real.

And finally as Dardog questioned, why didn't those who did "out" Plame get charged.

Was there ever a crime Jeff? And please don't try to fool me with obscure and oblique Fitz strategy. He is only a bulldog. His strategy, is grab/bite, hold, worry, ..., and don't let go. That can work where the defendants don't have money available for defense, or where he has a better case.

Of course with a (naturally biased Democratic) Washington, DC jury, and a defendant of a Republican adminstration, and a despised Republican president, it may work in this case, no matter what the charges are.

And finally as Dardog questioned, why didn't those who did "out" Plame get charged.

Short answer, as Fitzgerald explained, in this as in other cases, you've got to look at acts as well as the intention/state of mind of those doing the acts. Evidently Fitzgerald made the judgment that Armitage, when he blew Plame's cover, did not have the requisite state of mind for a violation of one of the statutes.

And Jodi, you're still evading my question. I did not ask you

whether Libby should keep his job because he "leaked",

I asked you whether, had Libby come clean in October 2003 as I described - and that is not assumption, speculation, that is what I took you to accept was the truth which Libby honestly forgot, the very premise of your own position - he would have kept his job or been fired (or forced to resign). So I'd still like an answer. And just to spell it out for you, the point is that you claim that LIbby just forgot, and had no motive to lie, so I am asking you whether he had a motive to lie to keep his job. For your position to hold up, you pretty much need to say that had he come clean, he not only would not have been charged ever at all, but he also would not have lost his job - or else that he would have been honest even at the cost of losing his job. So?

You tell me to get real, but it appears to me you understand very little about politics or this particular prosecution. You just make easy assertions - all politicians are liars! sweep it away! Fitzgerald is just a a bulldog! there's no point in paying attention to the actual case!

Get all the latest Libby CIA leak trial news, legal documents, timelines and other essential materials at:
"The CIA Leak/PlameGate Resource Center."

Jeff,

one more time in yet another way.

It seems to me (note I am not all knowing like some here) that Libby, Cheney, Rove and a lot of other people were leaking worse than an orange crate in a hurricane. I believe that Bush would not have fired anyone if they had all confessed immediately. That would make him a liar, or reneger, or worse a politician.

Second, I don't say that Libby honestly forgot. Again I am not all knowing. I just say that it is possible but it is also possible, and I mentioned it, that he undertook a strategy different from Cheney and Rove and lied 5 times to keep himself further away from the mess, expecting that the reporter linch pin of not revealing source would hold, but it didn't. On the other hand it could have been that there was confusion amongst all the involved, Libby, and the reporters and they are protecting themselves and he is falling into the crack. Again I don't know. But neither does anyone on this site or in the prosecutors office.

But what I don't think happened is that for some dumb reason, Cheney and Libby tried to expose a covert agent. Now did they consider her NOT covert, did they only want to show that Joe was a pawn for the CIA through his wife, or that he was relying on his wife to get him a job? The law says some quite specific things have to occur to break the law. I would imagine that they skirted that law, and that the "foul deed" was done by others who didn't know as much. Say Armitage.

Yes, Jodi, anything is possible.

So we are all trying to make judgments of probabilities. The trouble, for me, is that you only seem selectively interested in doing that, and mostly seem interested in making idly provocative comments at things that bother you, while in fact criticizing others for making judgments of probability because they are not certain knowledge.

I'm aware of the specific things the law (IIPA) says. Aside from the fact that, as Fitzgerald has repeatedly underlined, the grand jury was not limited to investigating IIPA violations - there were other statutes that might have been broken by the underlying conduct - I don't have any idea what you mean in saying they skirted the law while the foul deed was, you imagine, done by others who didn't know as much like Armitage. So you believe they understood what they were doing but skirted the law; while Armitage didn't know, but broke IIPA? Is that what you're imagining?

For what it's worth, Bush having suggested one day that anyone involved in this - even if "this" is "classified information leaks" - if Libby had publicly confessed as per your initial claim, I think bush would not have been able to do anything but accept Libby's resignation, at least. Same goes for Rove - regardless of whether they broke the law or not.

But in general, it won't really do for you to point out that anything is possible in response to a claim of probabilities, just because it sounds too certain to you.

One, there's little incentive for Fitzgerald to tie things up quickly -
up to November 2006 there was no chance of impeachment and a high likelihood
of quick pardons all around (who would have complained if they didn't complain
about torture and withdrawal of habeas corpus?). Fitzgerald's climbing up a high
cliff and is simply looking for toe-holds, not trying to reach the top immediately.
If he drags this out past January 2009, even better - perhaps the Supreme Court gets
to finally decide whether preemptive pardons are really legal (not that the current
SC is a foe of GWB). But for now, he's sticking with the tight road of the indictment
and letting it pull out what it may.

Two, the talk about Plame already being out is CYA spin - you can bet if anyone
else had revealed CIA identities in any sort of fashion, the DoJ would be on them
like white on rice, especially post-9/11 (Cheney won't even reveal who works in
his office, ferchrissakes). The testimony has already made it pretty clear that
Valerie's status wasn't universally known (hell, most of the people who did know
apparently immediately forgot according to their testimony, so how could it be
common knowledge?)

Three, the Cheney post-shooting announcement that he has immaculate de-classifying
power would likely have no legal weight. There's probably no legal precedent for this,
there's no legal standard where anyone could be reasonably judged for a Red Queen-type
pronouncement - "In my head, I just retroactively classified the statement you just
uttered, so know you are guilty of high treason, please go to jail/the gallows, not
even a need for a trial". Even the twistings of the last 6 years haven't brought us
(yet) to this absurd end. "When I say a word it means exactly what I intended it to
mean, nothing more, nothing less". Unfortunately there hasn't been enough attention
to the OVP's obtaining carte blanche power to classify in the first place. Yes, this
has been a long torturous process of abrogating constitutional rights and duties from
all sides (the SC, the President, Congress, Dems, the people), not to empower an imperial
Presidency, it seems, but to empower an imperial vice-presidency. Little known to us all
was that Cheney's hero was Spiro Agnew, and that we longed not for a family dynasty but
for a return to a grouchy old father figure telling us all to shut the fuck up.


Jeff,

all I have done is point out that the very positive conjectures made here against Libby and the VP are fraught with fragility. That many don't hold up very well, though they are usually spoke of as gospel..

And that there are other possibilites at least as plausible and sometimes more so, that go against the grain of the popular thoughts/(wishful thinking) on this site.

Then I also go to the core and say that there is a lacking of a purposeful premisis for all this skullduggery that the Bush Administration is accused of by the Plamics.

Now granted in a drunken/drugged stupor and rage many heinous deeds are wrought, so I will accede to the point that anything is possible but that goes to both sides of this mess. The accused, and those desperate to prove they are wronged.

desider,

the longer Fitz goes on, without something substantial, the more this event looks like the classic case of a Special Prosecutor run amok. Do you think he wants that on his resume? He seems to young to retire and write his memoirs.

And as for pardons, since you bring it up, a pardon covering an action still beneath unbroken judicial ground is considered by most to be quite legal.

Don't let your fixation on Cheney obscure your vision too much!

Jodi

Let me suggest that the contradiction between your knowing cynicism - all politicians are liars, get over it, stop being so naive! you say - and your constant reassertion of your conviction that Libby was probably just in a state of honest confusion and forgetfulness suggests you're not operating in good faith here.

Furthermore, in fact you don't do what you say you do. No doubt there are people here who are overly confident in their conviction of Libby's wrongdoing and so on. But you make no distinction between that and people who proportion their beliefs to the evidence; you just scold with a sweeping gesture.

My point about anything being possible was directed to you in the first place. You seem to mistake that point for being able to pick and choose which possibilities you prefer to hold on to and which you prefer to scold. What you don't do is engage in a look at the evidence.

Jeff

i have sought to look at and keep track of the evidence objectively...

I will readily admit that I am not perfect and so may make mistakes,
I will admit that I could be naive, or fooled like anyone else including the good citizens of this site.

However I don't see why you are saying I am "not operating in good faith here". How is it that you are able to honestly make such a personal and damning statement about me?

I am surprised at you Jeff.

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