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March 22, 2007

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i, for one, am glad you are persisting.

a dollar will get you ten that, before the abu gonzales/karl rove matter has run its course, the plame/wilson story will fit into a grand unified theory of white house corruption.

in this administration all roads, all paths, all visits, all phone calls, all e-mails lead either to rove's office or to the ovp.

Do we know many details of the interactions of the Defense and State with the CIA about Niger leading up to Wilson's trip?

Is it really fair to say they all had a great interest in Iraq and Niger or is this just OVP spin in June-July 2003? Were they all calling Plame's group at the CIA in February 2002 to berate analysts about reports?

It might be that the OVP had a particular interest in spreading the idea that everyone was interested in Niger, they wanted to out the Wilsons.

Very impressively researched, but I question your premise, to wit, "I'll start by showing that Novak almost certainly lied about whether Libby told him anything "useful" leading up to Novak's July 14 column.".

From the Novak column excerpt:

Novak: ...Most memorable about call, I asked Libby if he might be helpful to me in establishing timeline in 16 words. When they came in, who proposed it, sort of a consecutive account that I could put in column. I interpreted him as saying he could be helpful.

W In context of talking to Libby did Wilson's wife come up.

RN I don't remember exactly, I might have raised that question, I got no help, and no confirmation on that issue.

Dare I suggest a simpler reading - "I interpreted him as saying he could be helpful" [about the 16 Words timeline] meant that Libby could be helpful about the 16 Words timeline. Which would surely include the State/DoD info.

"I got no help, and no confirmation on that issue" [of Wilson's wife] meant Libby said nothing about the wife - no "I heard that, too", or anything. That seems more than plain to me.

Well. I think where are you are headed will be to argue that, even though my interpretation is plausible (actually, I would score it as highly plausible), some other interpretation is also plausible. The competing interpretation would seem to be, Libby was not helpful on any part of the discussion, including the State/DoD info.

Then as you forge your logical chain, you will argue that since Novak *could*, in a strained interpretation, have meant Libby gave him no info at all, and since we see info here that very probably came from Libby, we can conclude that Novak lied.

Do I need to spell out the problem with that? All you will prove is that my interpretation - Libby was helpful on some bits but not the wife - is consistent with other elements of the story. Great.

Or, you will have proved that Novak might have lied. Well, yes - that is almost always true of any bit of evidence we look at - there is almost always some competing explanation that *might* be true.

But it just does not follow that since the alternative *might* be true, the explanation on offer *must* be false.

I suppose another approach would be to insist that the only reasonable interpretation of Novak's testimony is that he flatly stated Libby gave him no help at all in any part of the discussion. Whether you can convince native speakers of English of that is, I guess, currently an open question.

Have a great weekend.

Oh, no, Marcy! Don't give it up! What would we do without your wonderful brain!?!

I have a question about what happens now on the Waxman hearing last Friday. In particular, at the conclusion, Rep. Waxman said he would leave the record open to correct Toensing's inaccuracies. Where exactly does one find said record? Who corrects it? How?

Just want to take a minute to say how much I enjoy your writing (loved your book) and appreciate your attention to detail. I have a similar job in an entirely different area, so appreciate it especially much. Keep up the wonderful work...and do more PoliticsTV!

Tom

Good to see you over here--and you raise some important points. (I'll make sure to quote most of this back at you the next time you start speculating wildly about Mitchell, Plame or anything else). Here, for example, is one sentence that devastates just about every argument you've made since the beginning of the trial:

But it just does not follow that since the alternative *might* be true, the explanation on offer *must* be false.

In any case, I'm not done with my argument, so stick around, if you wish.

And I agree--maybe he just didn't get anything useful abotu the topic that he narrowly drew up that had nothing to do with his column, about which he has said before Armi helped him on, but about which he didn't include any details either.

But that doesn't change the fact that the man's story has changed 5 times. 5. You want to explain which story of his I should treat as credible, I will do that. Until then, I will assume he has lied since his interview with Phelps and Royce--which is, of course, since the time Libby met with him, almost certainly havign been warned about what he did.

You want to defend Novak's credibility, do so. It's something Byron York won't even do. But go ahead.

I'm still confused - why was it so important for the OVP to have people believe:

The White House, State Department and Pentagon, and not just Vice President Dick Cheney, asked the CIA to look into it.

I don't think that was true. But why was it important people believe that lie? Was there anything else going on at that time (or during the prior month) that made that story important?


I'm still confused - why was it so important for the OVP to have people believe:
The White House, State Department and Pentagon, and not just Vice President Dick Cheney, asked the CIA to look into it.
I don't think that was true. But why was it important people believe that lie? Was there anything else going on at that time (or during the prior month) that made that story important?

Why would you think it wasn't true? Robert Grenier testified that "the individual" in the CPD had told him that very thing. Unless it is your contention that Grenier altered his testimony to match an OVP talking point.

As for Novak, EW, he is definitely saying in that snippet that Libby offered help with the 16 words, but not with the Wilson/wife. Otherwise, what is your reading on what Novak was referring to when he said, I interpreted him as saying he could be helpful.

At first I wondered why it was so damn important to Cheney that somebody besides him asked CIA to look into it. And he could have just issued a statement saying he didn't send Wilson. Why didn't he do that? He wanted someone else to say that they were looking into it to, that they were interested. The only thing I can figure out is that Cheney must have a lot to do with getting the bogus intel on the Niger deal in the first place, and in getting it stovepiped back in to the CIA. Last thing he wanted at the time was for people to start looking at why he had asked the CIA to confirm some lies that he knew were being sent their way.

This is a little off topic but I finally put 2 and 2 together. This week's release of the attorney purge documents showed that some of the administration were using non-WH email addresses. I think they were using NRCC addresses.

Marcy, remember that email Rove "found" about his conversation with Cooper? The one you thought was forged? Could Rove have used a non-WH email for it? Patrick Fitzgerald said that some of the material was not archieved in the normal way. I think Rove has been using different non-WH email addresses so that it isn't archived.
Wouldn't it make it much easier to "forge" the date or content if it was not archived?

kim- per the SSCI p 39 (the joint report part, not the republican addendum) on the genesis of Wilson's trip:

Officials from the CIA's DO Counterproliferation Division (CPD) told
Committee staff that in response to questions from the Vice President's Office and the
Departments of State and Defense on the alleged Iraq-Niger uranium deal, CPD officials
discussed ways to obtain additional information.

Why would you think it wasn't true? Robert Grenier testified that "the individual" in the CPD had told him that very thing. Unless it is your contention that Grenier altered his testimony to match an OVP talking point.

No, not at all. Grenier said in "not-a-transcript":

I got a response shortly thereafter.

I'm very wobbly on sequence in time.

It was probably within a couple of hours.

I don't recall who I spoke to when they called back. I didn't know that person either. The person was fully knowledgable.

This person explained that in fact we, CIA, had sent Wilson to Niger to get info to determine whether or not Iraq attempted to purchase uranium.

Did they give any more info?

Explained in a fair amount of detail when he went where he went, those kind of details.

While in fact OVP had been very interested in this, interest had been expressed also by State and Defense.

I felt I had all the information and more to respond to the request by Mr. Libby.

That is the only foundation to the assertion I am aware of. But I guess there is Tenet's statement that week. Oddly, he doesn't mention State, DoD or OVP. Kinda' sucky since he was being pushed to mention all three. Go figure. Then there is Plame's Congressional testimony. Albeit, behind closed doors, not under oath and without transcript. (Shit, now I'm getting everything confused!) In any case, didn't see a lot of State and DoD action in that narrative.

Could be wrong. Maybe they were involved. But I would think you would have something harder than Grenier's second hand rendition.

Now - I will admit that Libby and OVP may have thought State and DoD were pushing based on what Grenier told Libby. But you know, I'm still confused. Why was that so important to OVP? Ostensibly to undercut the claim that Wilson went to Niger at OVP's behest. Ding Wilson's credibility. But how long did they think they could keep the charade going? These are smart people. Something went on in May and June and they were trying to keep prior lies hidden.

"kim- per the SSCI p 39 (the joint report part, not the republican addendum) on the genesis of Wilson's trip:"

Hmm, of course the "bipartisan" SSCI report is now coming under attack for being partisan in reality... so they'd naturally produce something supporting OVP talking points (cynical me).


I'm just trying to generate alternate hypothesis and I'm excited that the OVP might have known about Val in 2002. The idea that Val sent Joe appears in early June 2003 AFAIK, in addition to being untrue was the motivation for this story to mock Joe or to drag Val into the discussion (a pair of CIA schemers)?

But she was a "big secret" (quoting Woodward in his conversation with Armitage in June 2003) even though "everyone knows" (again Woodward); how frustrating, when you really want to blame her and out her, that she some sort or protected secret person. "Let's talk to Toensing and find a work around."

Why was that so important to OVP? Ostensibly to undercut the claim that Wilson went to Niger at OVP's behest. Ding Wilson's credibility. But how long did they think they could keep the charade going?

What charade?
OVP was hearing people in the media say they had sent Wilson, and yet had then ignored his report. Of course OVP were going to refute they'd sent him because it wasn't true.
OVP didn't know that Wilson went, and they didn't know why Wilson went. They were relying on the CIA to explain it to them. So they told reporters what the CIA had told them- State, Defense, and OVP had all asked about it. We know State knew about Wilson's trip. We know Wilson talked to State before he left for the trip, and we know he was talking to them in Spring/Summer 2003. Defense had generated the report that got the whole trip started, so they were interested in the Niger information as well.


kim: Hmm, of course the "bipartisan" SSCI report is now coming under attack for being partisan in reality...
Coming under attack by whom?

I'm excited that the OVP might have known about Val in 2002
What is your source for this excitement?

MayBee

Kim is right--the SSCI report is a piece of shit. Now that we can see the original documents (such as the INR memo) and the way in which the document mis-cited documents, it is clear that the editing was done with partisan intent. But that's been clear to anyone who can read, well, for two years.

As to charades:

OVP was hearing people in the media say they had sent Wilson, and yet had then ignored his report. Of course OVP were going to refute they'd sent him because it wasn't true.
OVP didn't know that Wilson went, and they didn't know why Wilson went.

First, where in the media did it say OVP sent WIlson? It's not there. There were people saying Wilson was sent in response to OVP queries. Which is true.

Also--as to OVP not knowing that Wilson was sent. Funny, when Wilson came forward, they knew where to go to see if there was a paper trail of them knowing he had been sent (they were particularly worried, in fact, that there was a reference to them using Wilson's report in May for a purpose it was not intended), which they immediately went to. That's not absolute proof. Nor are their talking points that--by the end--dodge the question of who knew what when entirely (suggesting some in OVP did know of Wilson's trip). I'd say that, contrary to their public statements, there is at least evidence they knew of the trip report.

ew,

Shouldn't this line say July "--in the form of Cathie Martin's June 10 suggestions for George Tenet's mea culpa"?

First, where in the media did it say OVP sent WIlson? It's not there.

It is exactly what Chris Matthews was saying the day Scooter Libby called Russert to complain. Rockefeller sat there and agreed with him. Kristof alluded to it, but didn't say it directly.

Also--as to OVP not knowing that Wilson was sent. Funny, when Wilson came forward, they knew where to go to see if there was a paper trail of them knowing he had been sent
They went to Grenier (actually looking for someone higher up) who was head of the Iraq Mission group. He called around to Kevin, who worked on Iraq WMD , who found out it was CPD. That narrowed it down quite quickly, and the CIA told OVP which division sent Wilson. The OVP again relied on the CIA to tell them about the CIA's business, and they did. As far as I know, that paper trail describing who chose Wilson, etc, has not yet been reported nor do we know if it exists. Except for Plame's Feb 12 memo.

Kim is right--the SSCI report is a piece of shit

we probably disagree about who was the most inaccurate in their version of events surrounding the selection of Joe Wilson, what was reported afterward, and what how the INR memo was described. I don't think reading skill is the differential, there.

MayBee

Show me the Matthews quote. And as you admit--no, Kristof didn't say that. He said behest, which is precisely what Dick Cheney said himself, according to Libby. You're now arguing that if Kristof said exactly what Cheney himself said, he was wrong?

As to the SSCI, I'm talking about verifiable facts--data changed to make OVP look better than it should. Now that may not be dispositive to you, but if it's not, you might ask why not.

And finally, no, I'm not talking about Grenier. I'm talking about the fact taht when, in May, Kristof published an article on Wilson, OVP went to Schmall and SEEMS to have said, "there's no evidence that we were involved in using Wilson's article in March to support our bogus Niger claims, is there." Lucky for them, there was no evidence (though there was evidence that Rummy did same). But the fact taht they knew to ask the question is pretty damning. And again, OVP's own talking points back off their early claims that NO ONE in OVP knew about the report. Why do you suppose they would back off of their own talking points?

Btw, you may not read so well. I said, "OVP not knowing that Wilson was sent" not, "OVP not know why Wilson was sent." Want me to explain the difference for you?

I wonder if the investigators found the tracks of sent-from-non-WH-address e-mails on the WH servers or in the computers. I'm pretty sure that those e-mails would leave a trail, even if the sending address wasn't WH, because they'd still have to go through the servers.

WO

Corrected, thanks.

"I'm excited that the OVP might have known about Val in 2002
What is your source for this excitement?"

Well, the fun of floating a theory, and Val's testimony last Friday that someone from the OVP was berating an analyst in her group as early as February 2002 (I guess this was in Libby's testimony as well)... and the fact that Cheney and Libby are known to have gone out to Langley to pressure analysts.

(I'll make sure to quote most of this back at you the next time you start speculating wildly about Mitchell, Plame or anything else)

Feel free - I always endeavor to maintain a distinction between speculation and fact, and urge others to do the same.

And on that general point - plausible speculation *can* prove that a competing explanations is not the only explanation, so let us not underestimate its value.

In the context of a trial, that would amount to introducing reasonable doubt about guilt, rather than attempting to provide positive proof of innocence.

Well. Having exhausted my pedantry (for this minue; the well refills quickly...)

You want to defend Novak's credibility, do so. It's something Byron York won't even do. But go ahead.

Oh, don't think of it as me defending Novak's overall credibility, think of it as me defending the possibility that he is telling the truth when he says he talked to Libby and got some useful info but nothing on the wife.

Anyway, I hope you argument won't boil down to "Novak has lied in the past, therefore he is lying here, QED".

FWIW, here is Libby on Novak, from his first grand jury appearance:

A. No. I remember I had one conversation with Bob Novak in this period. My recollection of it is that when I spoke to him he had all of the basic facts that we have in our case, by which I mean the type of facts that Cathie Martin gave to Ari Fleischer that morning that the Vice President didn't request the mission; the Vice President was not informed of his mission; that we did not --that the Vice President did not receive a briefing about the mission after he returned, the Vice President nor at the higher levels; and that the, the Vice President was not aware of the mission until later on, and what we saw was actually the NIE.

I recall that that type of points Mr. Novak had. I have a note in my notes, which is dated in late July, that I spoke to Novak or something about Mr. Novak regarding uranium, and so I tend to believe that was when I had my conversation with Mr. Novak. But I don't recall --other than that, I can't fix the
time of my conversation with Mr. Novak other than to think I had only one, that's all I recall, and I have no recollection
of talking to him about the wife --

Well, Libby had the basic fact about State and DoD interest by early June from Grenier.

So. I think the goal of proving that Novak lied when he said he got nothing useful from Libby will be undermined by

(a) the apparent fact that Novak did not say that, and

(b) the fact that Libby testified to giving Novak background on the Wilson trip, including the key talking points, but nothing about the wife.

Fine, they are both lying, they coordinated their story - when Novak said he got the background from Libby and used part of it, he lied, even though it is easy to find Libby's fingerprints on the column and Libby testified that he gave the background to Novak - where is this headed?

Uncharacteristically, I expect to be around this weekend, so I look forward to seeing this freight train roll.

BTW, if I were driving the train, I would make much of the fact that Libby spoke to Andrea Mitchell (and Bill Harlow of the CIA) and then used the word "operative" to describe the CIA folks who sent Wilson in her July 8 report.

Since Novak also talked to Libby and used "operative", what does it mean?

Of course, they also both talked to Harlow and Mitchell claimed CIA sources for the "operative" tidbit, but how reliable is she, anyway?

I have a dazzling riposte to that line of inquiry, BTW, but maybe no one else will be dazzled.

Enjoy the weekend.

From tryggth:

But I guess there is Tenet's statement that week. Oddly, he doesn't mention State, DoD or OVP. Kinda' sucky since he was being pushed to mention all three.

Good point, but what does it suggest?

One possibility is that Cheney lied, and neither State nor DoD were in fact interested; this coverup then snaked past the bipartisan Senate investigation. Well done.

Another idea is that Tenet was just not being real helpful in helping OVP push back against Wilson - wouldn't declassify the NIE, wouldn't give the scoop on the Wilson story in his own statement, filed the criminal referal.

One might almost infer the CIA was at war with the OVP.

I will have the Matthews quote up shortly - it is priceless, but long. Not as long as "Who's On First", but almost as long, and almost as funny.

FYI fellow Virginians, a week from tomorrow Tom Davis will hold a series of Town Meetings -
http://gotv.blogspot.com/2007/03/petitions.html

I am in italics, just to save space, and here we go - Chris Matthews is discussing Joe Wilson's trip to Niger with Sen. Jay Rockefeller and David Gergen:

MATTHEWS: Let me go back to David Gergen on the question of who may be culpable here, because we do have a paper trail, thanks to Joe Wilson, the ambassador. He said he was sent to Niger, the government in Africa that is in question here. There we have a picture of him. He was on "MEET THE PRESS". He also wrote a letter, an op-ed piece for the "New York Times" this weekend.

He made it very clear he was sent down there at the behest of the vice president's office last year. Months, almost a year before the president's State of the Union Address, he came back with the information that there was, in fact, no deal. Isn't vice president's office responsible, right now, to come out and say why they didn't act on that information? Why the CIA, which also must sign off on presidential speeches, they didn't come out with the information and clear the president so that he wouldn't have to, in his own words, by the way, to use his words, revise history as he seems to be doing, saying that this was not a mistake.

GERGEN: Chris, it was my understanding that he went to the -- to Africa at the request of the CIA, not the vice president's office. Vice president's office was...

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS: At the behest of the vice president's office, the CIA was tasked by the vice president's office to do it. Senator, isn't that right?

ROCKEFELLER: That is correct.

GERGEN: Well, I thought what he said in "The New York Times" was -- in his piece, was that he was asked by the intelligence agencies for whom he had worked, they paid his way. He went pro bono in terms of his...

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS: At the request of the vice president's office. Right, Senator?

ROCKEFELLER: Absolutely correct.

GERGEN: Well, if that's the case, if there is a paper trail back to the vice president's office and if there were papers filed with the vice president's office, that's one thing. If it was filed with the CIA, that's quite another. And I think we should be -- I certainly accept Senator Rockefeller's characterization of the facts here, but I -- my understanding was that he was a former head - that he was a former state department person...

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS: True...

GERGEN: ... who had done CIA work...

MATTHEWS: ... he was a former (UNINTELLIGIBLE)

GERGEN: ... and he was reporting to...

MATTHEWS: That's technically how it happened. Let me ask you the big question, gentlemen. I want to get into a very important -- A lot of people watching right now may say, so what. A lot of people may say this is wild, especially the critics of the war. But, those who supported the war, what does it say to them? Senator?

Don't vex Matthews with facts! But Gergen is unrelenting, and re-emerges from his personal library a few moments later:

GERGEN: Chris, can I add one thing? I want to quote from the "New York Times" piece that Joe Wilson wrote. In February, 2002, I was informed by officials at the Central Intelligence Agency that Vice President Dick Cheney's office had questions. It strikes me from that piece -- what I understood that piece to say, was the agency was the one who requested Wilson to go make this report, not the vice president's office directly. It came from the vice president's office to the agency then to Wilson.

MATTHEWS: The vice president went to the CIA to get some answers, and they used Mr. Wilson to get the facts.

GERGEN: Exactly.

MATTHEWS: I think that's the chain.

ROCKEFELLER: If I can interject...

MATTHEWS: Yes, Senator.

ROCKEFELLER: I don't think there is any question but the vice president asked the CIA to send him over. And this is a man who had served as an ambassador under Clinton as well as President Bush.

MATTHEWS: Thank you very much, Senator Jay Rockefeller of West Virginia, vice chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, and David Gergen, an expert on the presidency.

Interesting that Rockefeller was so wrong when he said this:

ROCKEFELLER: I don't think there is any question but the vice president asked the CIA to send him over.

One mihgt be intrigued by the fact that Joe Wilson had met with some Senators in early May (where he also met Nick Kristof); one might also be intrigued to remember that Joe Wilson had briefed a Senate panel in June.

Odd that after two possible encounters with Joe himself, the Senator could be telling people that "the vice president asked the CIA to send him". Doesn't he read the papers?

Tom

Your point about what Libby testified to actually helps my point, immensely, thank you. Will be sure to credit you for it. Ditto your seeming agreement that that talking point didn't come from CIA--though I think it's possible it did. You've been a splendid help this morning!! I wasn't convinced of where I'm going with this, but you're convincnig me slowly that I am right.

Also, did you notice the reference to Mitchell in the Cathie Martin notes above? You might want to figure out a good answer for it--your Mitchell stuff is example one of where your speculations offer a less plausible explanation than the one staring you in the face, backed by the available evidence. But anyway.

I'm also curious about how you believe this Matthews clip proves your point. Again, according to Libby's note, VP told Libby that Wilson was sent at OVP's behest. And here's Matthews:

He made it very clear he was sent down there at the behest of the vice president's office last year.

You guys keep showing me evidence of people using precisely the same term the VP himself used--behest, behest, behest--and claiming it is wrong!! So which is it? VP was wrong when he informed Libby that Wilson was sent at OVP's behest, along with Joe Wilson and everyone else? Or that everyone who said WIlson was sent at Cheney's behest were actually right, and therefore OVP's leaking of Plame's name was not, in fact justified?

Few people believe Novak. The title of Novak's latest article should have been "Am I Delusional?" The comments section to Novak's article have now been unlinked from the article, but can be reached at this link There are 21 pages of responses which are overwhelmingly negative towards Novak.

An honest reading of the comments Novak made to Royce and Phelps in the immediate aftermath of his original article which outed Plame - leave no doubt that two senior administration officials came to Novak, they thought that the information was significant (and not offhand), they gave him the name "Plame", and that Novak did not have to dig up the name (from Whos' who).

Why Fitzgerald threatened Royce and Phelps with a subpoena, and did not follow up is a mystery to me.

Chris Matthews has often mentioned on his show:


I asked George Tenet, the CIA director, to explain why the vice president never got a report on a CIA fact-finding trip that was triggered by his inquiry. Tennet’s reply was “Ask him!”

OT3: Maybe Card could preempt the backup routine by rewriting the 200 emails to the server that kept the Radack archive. Caveat, controversial material is on the web about the Radack matter; nice to see CMC and PJEv noticed some similar news, though sources currently tend to be disparate and she herself writes in the cited article she suspects a funny archival process is available at her former office, or files got lost, misplaced and excuses were plentiful why. The link, above, is to an article five weeks ago.
OnT; Tenet may have to put one chapter in abeyance as the publication dates slide for Eye of Storm, and information enhancing background continues to emerge.

The thing that I find most interesting about Robert Novak right now is his naked attempts to blame this whole scandal on Richard Armitage. It's one thing the identify a source with their permission. It's quite another to repeatedly bash that source and try to shift all of the blame onto them. I'm not sure I'd call it unethical, but it's certainly unprofessional. He's doing his damndest to shield Karl Rove, but he doesn't seem to be doing a very good job of it. Based on his shifting stories, I'd guess that Rove was Novak's first source, and Armitage was his confirming source. After the scandal broke, Novak and Rove decided that their story would be that it was the other way around. That explains, quite nicely, all of Novak's shifting explanations on how this whole thing went down. The Woodward tape destroyed Armitage's credibility, which I think is part of why Fitz didn't charge Rove. Team Rove could have just called Armitage to show that even a cooperative witness can totally forget betraying a CIA agent to the media.

"The thing that I find most interesting about Robert Novak right now is his naked attempts to blame this whole scandal on Richard Armitage."

I agree, and what did Carville say that got Novak freaked and running off of CNN? It's hard to imagine that "Armitage" was the cause of that, considering the way Novak disparages Rich today.

Based on his shifting stories, I'd guess that Rove was Novak's first source, and Armitage was his confirming source.

Remember, the only thing Novak said Armitage/Rove were his sources for is the info that Plame suggested Wilson. Not that she was covert, and not her name.

Interesting information from Tom Maguire about Libby's GJ testimony: that we did not --that the Vice President did not receive a briefing about the mission after he returned

So it seems that someone from the Vice President's office did receive a briefing about the mission, because Libby felt it necessary to correct his earlier statement.

Also could someone clarify - Libby seems to be saying to the Grand Jury that he talked to Novak in late July. Also Libby seems to be saying that by time Libby spoke to Novak, Novak already knew all the VP talking points.

Pete

Yes, Libby said he had a note that he spoke with Novak around about the time of the Phelps and Royce article. Just like his lawyer talked to Judy, when she was subpoenaed, and he spoke to Russert and asked him to speak to his lawyer after he signed a waiver and it became clear they were goign to get Russert's testimony.

It sure looks like he tried to coach all three journalists who could hurt him the most.

But what you need to know is that Libby and Novak tried to hide their July 9 conversation--both in their approach to testimony and by hiding their records about it. They hid it for years.

But folks like Tom Maguire want you to think that conversation was perfectly innocent.

And yes, someone in OVP was definitely briefed about the Wilson meeting--that's what I'm suggesting with the discussion about them knowing that Wilson's report had been used for purposes it wasn't intended for. THEY KNEW. Is there proof Cheney knew? No. But if Libby didn't know, then I guarantee you Eric Edelman did.

Based on his shifting stories, I'd guess that Rove was Novak's first source, and Armitage was his confirming source.

Based on Fitzgerald's apparent inability to track down phone records (cf Cathie Martin/Harlow), I would guess it is possible.

However, the Rove/Novak cover story about the Frances Fragos Townsend chat was nicely done, complete with supporting files and testimony from Rove's staff as well as a column on Townsend by Novak.

...according to Libby's note, VP told Libby that Wilson was sent at OVP's behest.

Normally I delight in your sense of fun, but I wonder whether everyone else is in on the joke.

"Behest" was the word used by Nick Kristof in his June 13 column:

That was not just a case of hyping intelligence, but of asserting something that had already been flatly discredited by an envoy investigating at the behest of the office of Vice President Dick Cheney.

And although I do not claim to be able to interpret his every squiggle, I am quite certain that in the upper right hand corner of Libby's note from *about* June 12, I see the words "Kristof / NYT article"

Just a mad guess here - the bit with the phrase "behest" is a summary of the key points from the Kristof article to which Libby plans to respond.

And I didn't even peek first - here is Libby describing the note to the grand jury, same link as above:

A. It [the top line] says that I was --this, this was a note that I took after I took the note, sometime after I took the note, and it's putting down that this was a note of a phone call between me and the Vice President about uranium and Iraq, the Kristof New York Times article.

Uncanny, that. Here is a bit more:

And so the note for some time read just like that, without the top line. And I went back later and added the top line when I came across the note. And that's my recollection anyway. I

And what, what it says after that is, I am writing down here something that the Vice President had told me someone had told him, although it doesn't reflect that which he usually would, that's what this is. And it says, took place at our behest, dash, functional office. And then --

A. And then below that it says, debriefing took place here, meaning D.C., I assume.

[Skip a Bit, and...]

And then [Cheney] switched from debriefing mk about what someone had told him to giving me the points that he thought I
should make in talking to the press.
Q. Okay.
A. And he said, didn't know about the mission, didn't get a report back, oh, and didn't have any indication of a forgery.

Should we keep debating whether the "sent at our behest" was a talking point Cheney wanted to push out there? I think my view, that it appears in Libby's notes as a point to rebut following the use in the Kristof column,has better support.

Ditto your seeming agreement that that talking point didn't come from CIA--though I think it's possible it did.

The "operative" talking point? "Seeming agreement" is the key here - I am quite satisfied it came from the CIA.

Tom

Either you're being deliberately dishonest or just plain stupid. You've just misquoted me and misread your own quote.

First, here's what I said:

VP told Libby that Wilson was sent at OVP's behest.

Now, I did not claim that it was a VP talking point. I claimed that it was a word Cheney gave to Libby. Please don't misquote me (you and MayBee seem to be having a real problem with that today).

Now here's what you quoted to me from Libby's testimony:

And so the note for some time read just like that, without the top line. And I went back later and added the top line when I came across the note. And that's my recollection anyway. I

And what, what it says after that is, I am writing down here something that the Vice President had told me someone had told him, although it doesn't reflect that which he usually would, that's what this is. And it says, took place at our behest, dash, functional office. And then --

Libby's own testimony says 1) Kristof was an afterthought (and incidentally one that the FBI didn't seem too convinced by). And 2) Libby says clearly that Cheney told him someone told him the trip was done at the behest of OVP. (As he likewise says that the same person told Cheney that Plame was CPD.)

Now do you honestly want me to believe that if this was just based on Kristof, entirely, (along with the info Kristof didn't print about CPD) he would have submitted it as evidence of Cheney being his source? Hah!!

Read the document. Read Libby's testimony. Read what I've written. It is clear--at least according to Libby's testimony--that the word "behest" came from somneone telling Cheney about the trip and about Plame. Anything else is a misreading of Libby's own explanation of the note.

Ergo, Cheney, Kristof, and Matthews, all reporting the same information. You can't blame Kristof and Matthews for reporting the same information Cheney himself reported to Libby. It'd reach new heights of dishonesty.

Oh, and one more thing Tom--you're putting words in my mouth again, when you're suggesting I'm saying the word "operative" comes from CIA.

I'm not sure if you read the post. The post argues that the talking point--that State and Defense and White House were also interested in the Niger intell--came from OVP.

How you get from there to "operative"? Crazy conservative illogic, I guess. No. I'd be willing to agree that it's possible the State/Defense/WH talking piont might come from CIA, not OVP, but if it does, it's positively damning.

Tom, I love that you post here. But won't you have to forego the "true believer" badge everyone else is sporting?

Pincus and Priest reported on July 18th:

The FBI is also considering opening a counterintelligence case if it suspects a foreign government created the forgeries about the alleged Iraqi uranium purchase to influence U.S. foreign policy.

Next week, the Senate intelligence committee will hold a closed-door hearing to question the CIA's inspector general, who has been investigating the agency's handling of nuclear-related intelligence on Iraq.

Now, maybe its just me... but this State-CIA IG thing probably didn't start on July 6th. Must of been an interesting time because in the timeframe:

29. On or about March 18, 2003 , in a conversation with a member of the media about the classified draft internal policy document, ROSEN stated, "I'm not supposed to know this," and that it was a "considerable story." He encouraged the member of the media to pursue the story.

30. On or about May 30, 2003 , in a conversation with another member of the media, ROSEN discussed the classified draft internal policy document and internal United States government deliberations about the document.

31. On or about June 3, 2003 , WEISSMAN called FRANKLIN and left a message. Without naming the country, he said that he and ROSEN wanted to meet and talk about "our favorite country."

32. On or about June 24,2003 , WEISSMAN called FRANKLIN and asked FRANKLIN to obtain a document for him. While the document itself was not classified, WEISSMAN told FRANKLIN that he knew "the Agency" had a copy. FRANKLIN told WEISSMAN he would try to get WEISSMAN a copy and that he had a friend at the CIA if he could not get it anywhere else.

So we have the joint IG asking questions - perhaps not of the OVP because of executive priviledge - about what the story was about the stale forgery fuck-up while there was active surveillance of Franklin. Now, was OVP and the WH aware of that monitoring? Almost thing they have to be. Consequences might be too great to not inform of the potential of close in espionage.

Anyway. It was an interesting time.

Novak may or may not have gotten 'useful' information, but it's inconceivable that he didn't give 'useful' information. He's a loudmouth, talking to people on the street like Wilson's friend. Surely he talked about Plame to Libby on the ninth. That's a day before the fictitious Russert 'surprise' revelation. Ergo Novak was another conversation about Plame before Russert [not that any more were needed for conviction].

Oh, and one more thing Tom--you're putting words in my mouth again, when you're suggesting I'm saying the word "operative" comes from CIA.

I understand it has been a long day and we can all appreciate that there have been some embarrassing plot twists along the way.

However, I really suspect I am going to drop any remaining pretense of politeness, if only to match your tone.

As to the "talking point", in fact, I had no idea what you meant by this:

Ditto your seeming agreement that that talking point didn't come from CIA--though I think it's possible it did.

Just a reminder - I wrote this upthread:

BTW, if I were driving the train, I would make much of the fact that Libby spoke to Andrea Mitchell (and Bill Harlow of the CIA) and then used the word "operative" to describe the CIA folks who sent Wilson in her July 8 report.

Since Novak also talked to Libby and used "operative", what does it mean?

Later I wrote this and, (echoing Matt Cooper), do note the question mark:

The "operative" talking point? "Seeming agreement" is the key here - I am quite satisfied it came from the CIA.

See that squiggly vertical line after "point"? That helps convey uncertainty on my part as to your meaning. Or does in normal English usage.

As to the Kristof thing, I am going to cool off a minute - there is absolutely no good reason for you to be talking to me about dishonesty or stupidity, except perhaps as a confessional.

As a debate tactic, I understand it - your original post was rubbished by my very basic reading skills (and your lack thereof). When an argument is going badly, start screaming. Yeah, yeah, we all know the tactic. I'm not particularly interested in playing along, so as I said, I am going to reflect for a moment.

To avoid any suspense, however, my gist will be that you are reading Libby very selectively (or carelessly) and applying no common sense at all.

Let me just repeat this from your more recent answer:

It is clear--at least according to Libby's testimony--that the word "behest" came from somneone telling Cheney about the trip and about Plame. Anything else is a misreading of Libby's own explanation of the note.

Ergo, Cheney, Kristof, and Matthews, all reporting the same information. You can't blame Kristof and Matthews for reporting the same information Cheney himself reported to Libby. It'd reach new heights of dishonesty.

First, Libby says he added the Kristof notation at a later date to remind himself that he and Cheney were discussing the Kristof column. You want to disbelieve that. Whatever.

Second, I certainly can blame Kristof and Matthews for reporting false information.

Third, the suggestion inherent in the construction you chose - "for reporting the same information Cheney himself reported to Libby" - seems to me to be an attempt to imply that Cheney is *endorsing* this information. He is not.

If Cheney reported false info to Libby, particularly in the context of "look at the false info being written about me", I can certainly criticize Matthews and Kristof for also reporting it. How should I characterize your insistence that I cannot - dishonest, or stupid?

Fourth, about this:

Read the document. Read Libby's testimony. Read what I've written. It is clear--at least according to Libby's testimony--that the word "behest" came from somneone telling Cheney about the trip and about Plame.

The specific word "behest" came from where? Some possibilities:

(1) "Behest" came from someone reading the Kristof column to Cheney and talking with him about it (after which Cheney discussed that chat with Libby, hence the Libby note of "Kristof/NYT article"), or

(2) Someone told Cheney, gee, Dick I have been telling Kristof that Wilson was sent at your behest - was that wrong or right?

Or

(3) by eerie coincidence, Kristof used a word for a June 13 column that Cheney heard from someone else "around" the 12th. Possible - maybe someone used the magic word with both Kristof and Cheney's chat partner.

So, for (2) or (3), who in the world might that someone have been? Grossman? Armitage? Powell? Grenier? Tenet? Joe Wilson himself? The only plausible candidate would be Joe (did any of the others think Wilson was sent at Cheney's behest?), and I am sure you would prefer to exclude him. So who was telling this to Cheney?

Of the three theories, I find mine - Cheney and whoever, then Cheney and Libby were discussing the Kristof column and its annoying use of "behest" - more likely to the point of considering the alternatives as I understand them to be absurd.

And obviously, the column was only a launching point for Cheney's discussions, so no, the info about the CP Division did not come from Kristof or his column. Again, was that suggestion of yours dishonest or just stupid? Let me just quote you so no one thinks I am putting words in your mouth:

Now do you honestly want me to believe that if this was just based on Kristof, entirely, (along with the info Kristof didn't print about CPD) he would have submitted it as evidence of Cheney being his source? Hah!!

Hmmph. I wrote this:

Just a mad guess here - the bit with the phrase "behest" is a summary of the key points from the Kristof article to which Libby plans to respond.

I would honestly like you to believe that Libby noted some of the objectionable points of the Kristof column on the same piece of paper that contained the follow-up notes on how to respond, just as he said or as common sense would suggest, or as my words would indicate.

Now, I suppose you can start shouting that I am being dishonest or stupid for failing to grasp some subtlety of your theory - feel free.

But before you walk that road, you might want to wonder why you are so hard to understand today - did we all get stupid suddenly, or are you just not making sense?

Big Finish - just re-read this from you:

You guys keep showing me evidence of people using precisely the same term the VP himself used--behest, behest, behest--and claiming it is wrong!! So which is it? VP was wrong when he informed Libby that Wilson was sent at OVP's behest, along with Joe Wilson and everyone else? Or that everyone who said WIlson was sent at Cheney's behest were actually right, and therefore OVP's leaking of Plame's name was not, in fact justified?

I just can't read that as meaning anything other than:

(a) either Cheney said "Wilson was sent at OVP's behest" but made an error, or;

(b) everyone who said Wilson was sent at Cheney's behest were actually right.

Your subsequent writings seemed to have backpedaled from that point, and quite sensibly I should add.

However, that paragraph has certainly compounded my confusion - you see, I actually thought you meant what you wrote when you wrote it, i.e., Cheney intended to endorse the idea that Wilson was sent at behest of OVP.

Oh well - maybe you can present yet another version and scream at me for misrepresenting your views. Third time's a charm.

Ranting about my illogic, dishonesty, and stupidity can be an effective tactic, for a certain audience anyway. I'm a bit surprised to think it would work here, but the day has been full of surprises.

I think that covers the main points. Enjoy the weekend.

But won't you have to forego the "true believer" badge everyone else is sporting?

Now don't be that way! I happen to believe that Marcy and a number of the commenters here are very well-informed on this topic; I will keep some of my other beliefs to myself just now.

Anyway, it is interesting to think about the ways in which there might be an AIPAC overlap but if I don't make a bit of headway on my taxes the next trial I focus on will be my own.

I guess the overwhelming point is that your evidence that Wilson wasn't sent at Cheney's behest has ... no evidence to support it. You have spent years saying that it's not so only because OVP said it wasn't so--and here's evidence that OVP said it was so! So rather than assuming that maybe they were all working off the same kind of information--that someone actually was telling people, including Kristof and Cheney, that Wilson was sent at OVP behest--you invent this story--throwing out all rules of grammar as well as Libby's own testimony--to defend your foundational principle. Sorry if I consider that dishonest. But you've got no evidence, just the selective reading of Libby, to go on, and you base it on a stubborness that Libby said something that he didn't say.

Now I'll admit that Libby may well have been lying in his description of this note (I think it likely, even, but as I said, that opens up some other possibilities that you might not like, but I'm not sure you've considered them yet).

But the evidence--the explanation that Libby has offered--say that someone told (note Libby's word) Cheney that Wilson was sent at OVP behest and the same person told Cheney that Plame was CPD. Now jsut the yoking of CPD and "behest" here argue against your interpretation--Kristof didn't say that Plame worked at CPD, after all. And we've seen abundant evidence that Libby has a sytem with his notes that keeps subjects on the same line--that is, Libby's note-taking habit is very systematic and would say he wouldn't mix Kristof with the CPD source.

But any explanation you offer to say that this wasn't what Cheney said is rank speculation, based on the assumption that what Libby says there isn't what Libby means there. Like I said, i think it's possible, but if you're going to argue it, you'd need to argue that Libby is lying--which leaves open the distinct possibility that he's lying about his entire explanation of the note. Certainly, his admission he wrote the Kristof notation and the date and the changed date at some vague point after he wrote the note would support that argument, But again--that might take you to places you might not want to go.

So which is it, Tom? Cheney was told that Wilson was sent at OVP's behest, reported to Libby as information passed along along with the CPD information (which is what Libby said happened). Or Libby was lying (or mistaken) about some--and possibly many--facts about this note? One or the other is true. You can't have it both ways, as you are trying to do here. Either Libby was lying about the note, or someone TOLD Cheney that Wilson was sent at OVP's behest.

someone TOLD Cheney that Wilson was sent at OVP's behest

This appears to be another example of the "heard that too" being used as confirmation.

Maguire seems to agree that "someone TOLD Cheney that Wilson was sent at OVP's behest". Maguire proposes that Cheney factually disagrees with that telling. IOW Cheney himself did not in fact behest Wilson.

"IOW Cheney himself did not in fact behest Wilson."

Wouldn't that be true if Wilson was choosen to go before Cheney asked anyone to check out the story?

NRO's Byron York: http://tinyurl.com/3b8wqo

"Either Libby was lying about the note, or someone TOLD Cheney that Wilson was sent at OVP's behest."

Kristof TOLD Cheney that Wilson was sent at OVP's behest via the fact Kristof TOLD everyone who read his article in the NYT that Wilson was sent at OVP's behest.

EW

Why is it so difficult for you to even entertain the possibility that the same person told Cheney that Kristoff was saying Cheney behested AND that mrs wilson was CPD? Say a person who monitored all articles AND had spoken to Harlow? Say a person like, oh, C. Martin?

I guess the overwhelming point is that your evidence that Wilson wasn't sent at Cheney's behest has ... no evidence to support it. You have spent years saying that it's not so only because OVP said it wasn't so--and here's evidence that OVP said it was so!

No evidence? Yet if any newspaper writes that the VP sent Wilson, every lefty blogger will write (after they get off their fainting couch) that Wilson never said that. And per his op-ed, he did not say it.

I suspect that on occasion you have said that yourself, as, for example, upthread with this:

First, where in the media did it say OVP sent WIlson? It's not there. There were people saying Wilson was sent in response to OVP queries. Which is true.

And how did Cheney's role get overlooked in your "Indictment of Cheney"?

Well. Your new idea is that based on trial evidence we all saw last month, the world now knows that in fact the VP *did* send Wilson? That merits a blog post, yes? And we can dispense with Grenier's idea that State and DoD expressed interest, as well as the bipartisan SSCI. Write it up, please.

My goodness. I covered the possibility that someone did tell Cheney that in my evaluation upthread, and wondered who it might have been. Any guesses? Or, if "someone" did but no one actually makes sense for the role, does that give us a hint as to the likelihood of that scenario? That was the logic I was using, but do fill us in.

Just to help - for simplicity, my favored scenario is that someone, in discussing Ms. Plame with Cheney, said (along with whatever else was discussed) two things as referenced in Libby's note:

(1) wait until you get a load of what Kristof wrote - he says Wilson went at your behest, as if!

(2) BTW, Ms. Plame is with the CPD.

I hope that is clear.

Let's look at your big finish:

But any explanation you offer to say that this wasn't what Cheney said is rank speculation, based on the assumption that what Libby says there isn't what Libby means there. Like I said, i think it's possible, but if you're going to argue it, you'd need to argue that Libby is lying--which leaves open the distinct possibility that he's lying about his entire explanation of the note. Certainly, his admission he wrote the Kristof notation and the date and the changed date at some vague point after he wrote the note would support that argument, But again--that might take you to places you might not want to go.

So which is it, Tom? Cheney was told that Wilson was sent at OVP's behest, reported to Libby as information passed along along with the CPD information (which is what Libby said happened). Or Libby was lying (or mistaken) about some--and possibly many--facts about this note? One or the other is true. You can't have it both ways, as you are trying to do here. Either Libby was lying about the note, or someone TOLD Cheney that Wilson was sent at OVP's behest.

Re: "One or the other is true. You can't have it both ways, as you are trying to do here" - Nonsense. Cheney tells Libby "Hey, I was just told that Kristof wrote the following about "behest" - can't spell behest without BS" (A little joke from Dick, there).

That is totally consistent with this from Libby's testimony:

And what, what it says after that is, I am writing down here something that the Vice President had told me someone had told him, although it doesn't reflect that which he usually would, that's what this is. And it says, took place at our behest, dash, functional office. And then --

A. And then below that it says, debriefing took place here, meaning D.C., I assume.

[Skip a Bit, and...]

And then [Cheney] switched from debriefing mk about what someone had told him to giving me the points that he thought I should make in talking to the press.

Help out everyone paying attention - point to the lie there. Tell us all why that can't mean just what I say it means.

And tackle this from Libby:

A. It [the top line] says that I was --this, this was a note that I took after I took the note, sometime after I took the note, and it's putting down that this was a note of a phone call between me and the Vice President about uranium and Iraq, the Kristof New York Times article.

Your theory is that Libby didn't actually discuss the Kristof article with Cheney, but only added that note later as a lie of some sort? Why - to cover "behest", because he knew that was key to the controversy?

Geez, if Libby was going to tamper with evidence why not just chew the note up and tell the world that he didn't remember ever discussing Ms. Plame with Cheney?

Oh, well - find someone who might have been telling Cheney that Wilson was sent at Cheney's behest. I guess the rest of your theory must be that everyone backed down, including Wilson, after Cheney huffed and puffed at them to change their story - the Senate Intel went along, CIA DO officials lied to the Senate (p. 49 of 521 p .pdf), Grenier perjured himself when he said State and DoD were interested, etc.

Write it up, this is huge.

Well. Please get back to us on who might have told Cheney that *in fact*, Wilson was sent at Cheney's behest.

Or, go ahead and invent yet another argument. So far you have told us that:

(a) there is nothing in the media saying Wilson was sent at Cheney's behest;

(b) the trial evidence confirms that Cheney was told that Wilson was sent at Cheney's behest.

I am sure you can hit a trifecta here.

Wow, a titanic Plame debate between the opposing Team Captains! I've read this all through, again, and I'm just not familiar enough with the testimonies, Libby's note-taking style, etc... to comment meaningfully on the debate.

I'd still like to see Waxman's Committee determine if Libby and Cheney had learned about Val before Kristof's May 2003 article, if there are more relevent details available about the OVP calling Plame's group in Feb 2002 for instance. I'm also looking forward to Waxman further investigating the informal declassification procedures used by the OVP and WH.

No evidence? Yet if any newspaper writes that the VP sent Wilson, every lefty blogger will write (after they get off their fainting couch) that Wilson never said that. And per his op-ed, he did not say it.

Kristof's May 2003 article did not use the word "behest", and states very clearly that the VP's office asked for an investigation of the uranium deal, so Wilson was sent.

Kristof's June 2003 article uses "behest" once:


That was not just a case of hyping intelligence, but of asserting something that had already been flatly discredited by an envoy investigating at the behest of the office of Vice President Dick Cheney.

The statement itself is not as clear cut as some of Libby's defenders want to make it to be. The investigation could be at the behest of the OVP, not necessarily the choice of Wilson.

I have no problem saying that the investigation was done at the behest of OVP, and that VP/OVP did not send Wilson.

Moving towards agreement!

Why did the CIA send someone?
Because OVP (and others) wanted more information.*

Why did the CIA send Joe Wilson?
Because someone at the CIA knew Joe's resume.**

What did Joe learn?
That a meeting actually did take place.***

*Would someone have been sent if OVP hadn't asked? Seems likely.

**Did Valerie know her husband's resume?

***For his op-ed Joe slyly changes the question from whether a meeting took place to whether an uranium was actually bought.

What did Joe learn?
That a meeting actually did take place.***

What meeting are you referring to? Place? Time? What was discussed?

Assuming we are refrring to the same thing - In 1999, in Algiers Niger's Prime Minister met an Iraqi delegation and there was no discussion of uranium/yellocake in that meeting. Hardly the proof of anything that calls for a pre-emptive war.

Back to the issue of Novak. After much searching. something that had been in the back of my mind got found, namely the story on Page 329-330 of Suskin's "One Percent Doctrine" -- it has to do with how a CIA report researched and written by Paul Pillar, who in 2004 headed the Near East and South Asia intelligence analysis and commissioned by Cheney, published as classified in September 2004, got leaked in a Novak Column.

The sequence Suskin lays down is of interest. Pillar's report apparently totally predicted that the then current insurgency in Iraq was headed toward complete Civil War. This was the first post invasion request by the WH for an assessment by CIA.

The CIA report leaked to the media in the midst of the 2004 campaign, and Bush was questioned on content. He claims not to have read it, but said it was it was not a factually based assessment, just guesses.

A few days later, Robert Novak used his column to identify Pillar as the source of this report, suggesting that it was discussed by Pillar at a private dinner in California, where Rice was Present, by Pillar who was the featured speaker.

Novak's column then became the predicate for firing the whole top leadership of CIA within the next few weeks. (That's when Foggo came onboard).

On how many other occassions during the Bush years has a Novak column been a predicate? Don't know, but it seems this is the first known time that Bush rejected the possibility that Iraq could turn into Civil War, and Novak's column provided him the seed for rejecting that idea as a "CIA Guess."

EW -- please do not get mired in the mud of Woodstock Typewriter worn typefaces manufactured in the 1920's, but used in the mid 30's. It ain't worth the effort. Libby is in tow as a Convicted Felonious Liar, and we need to get on from there. Having found the Suskin story, (and I had forgotten it was a Suskin story, a problem of too many books that reveal pieces), we need to ask -- on how many other occassions has Novak used his column to set up a subject against which Bush or Cheney or others could posture? When you say that the CIA just makes "guesses" when it spends -- what 40 Billion a year -- it is a bit of a downer you know.

And, Paul Pillar was fairly correct, it is a Civil War. Pillar is not someone to be so easily discredited. He wrote the seminal book on integrating counterterrorism theory into US Foreign Policy prior to 9/11 -- see Brookings, 2001; "Terrorism and US Foreign Policy" -- and that was after retiring from CIA. He was brought back after 9/11 as a necessary expert on the Arab World and Counterterrorism -- from whence I gather he delivered his various pieces of guesswork, which Bush confessed while campaigning, he had not read, and didn't plan to read, but still considered just a guess.

Good points Sara. For the Bush administration everything that supports their viewpoint are facts, and everything that does not support their viewpoint is guesswork. The reason the Bush administration has so little credibility to all but the Kool aid drinkers is that the reality has not matched the vision proposed by the Bush administration.

The Bush administration's selective use of "classifying" information is at the very least unethical, dishonest, and immoral. There was another pre-war report from the CIA which said that the only way Saddam would use WMDs is if he was cornered and attacked. This was never mentioned by the Bush administration, even though the information was very relevant to the issue of invading Iraq.

Their mode of operation is to feign ignorance about reports that do not support them. Cheney claims not to have read the just-declassified Senate Intelligence Committee report that revealed that intelligence linking Iraq to 9/11 was in fact highly disputed before the invasion. To me the biggest indicator of their dishonesty is how they know every little detail that supports their case for war, but are ignorant of anything that does not support their case for war.

Given the normal and wide distribution given to Wilson's report how is it possible that Cheney did not know about it? There are already signs emerging that Defense and OVP knew about it. Lets see if Tenet's book (if it ever comes out) has any additional details.

There was some interesting information on Novak and Rove that came out in the Libby trial - namely that Rove got a heads up that Novak's column was being published. That may explain why Rove then leaked details to Cooper.

Tom

I'll just say this, as I'm working on a post to addrss this issue.

"Sent at the behest of" is not the same as "sent by."

The reason we got into this back and forth is that Victoria Toensing went under oath and said that Wilson said OVP sent him. I objected to that--he never said it, never even said he was sent at the behest of.

So when challenged on that point, you all came back and said, "Joe did too say he was sent by OVP! See!!!" and you threw behest behest behest--you made behest=sent to argue Toensing was not inaccurate in her sworn testimony. Never mind that we don't know whether Wilson was a source for Kristof on June 13, nor Matthews, nor anyone else. Someone was saying WIlson was sent at the behest of Cheney's office--but it doesn't appear to be Joe.

But "sent at the behest of" is actually a fair (though somewhat misleading) description for what we now know to have happened. Someone at OVP called CPD for more information, and in direct response to that call, someone in CPD (not Valerie) suggested sending Wilson. Schmall basically tells Cheney as much--that they've sent someone to find out more info in response to Cheney's earlier request for info and, probably, Bolton's.

Did Cheney sit Joe Wilson down and order him to go to Niger? No. But no one ever argued that--though Toensing would like to claim they did to justify Cheney ordering Libby to out Plame.

But did CIA send Joe after someone in OVP asked for more information? Yup.

BTW - In his latest article Novak claims that some insider told him that Bush will not pardon Libby. I don't believe it for a second.

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