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June 06, 2007

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Great article EW I think you smacked the nail hard on Cheney being behind all of this. "source shouldn’t have had that information. Or perhaps Cheney’s source, if revealed, would prove that Cheney knew Plame was covert".

the Grenier conversation was simply an attempt to set somebody up to tell Libby, Martin, and the press the same information via a different source.

prove that and you have an IIPA conviction in the bag

that machination is proof that cheney knew it was a crime to release Valerie Plame's identity, and that he created a criminal conspiricy to do his dirty work

"Or perhaps Cheney’s source, if revealed, would prove that Cheney knew Plame was covert."

Occam's razor.

CIA has been on both sides of the question in Plame's outing....They asked for the investigation (as a show, to comfort agency employees who were angry/concerned about outing an agent?), then confirmed only post-trial that Plame was covert (giving the administration room to run its "no underlying crime" disinformation campaign). Your explanation that a George Tenet-type was Cheney's source and didn't want to become known makes perfect sense.

I've previously speculated as to the possibility that Cheney and Co. were unble to conceive of the 'wife' as an undercover agent, because of their profound sexism. So, I have to equivocate, and suggest that, PERHAPS, Cheney's source said nothing about her 'statusl at the time she was identified as "the wife," which meant that Cheney didn't find out until after the cat was out of the bag. If it was Tenet, and he neglected to inform Cheney of her 'status,' the VP would surely have known that to expose Tenet as the source would put Tenet in jeopardy for not 'protecting' her status by telling him it was classified information. But even without that as a concern, Cheney would have known that he didn't have a "need to know" her or her status, so whoever told him would have been in trouble for disclosing that information. I'd like to think that Cheney knew all along, which'd make him a felon, but by keeping 'mum' and arranging for someone else to reveal Valerie's identity, he was protecting himself and his source, regardless of who it was, and when it happened.
Does that make any sense?

If albert keeps using my razor, I'm going to have to grow a beard.

Seriously, I would like to posit a likely source for Mr. Cheney's knowledge of all three elements above (CPD sent Wilson,VPW works in CPD, and DOD/State Dept. interest in Niger story). Oddly enough, we have Senators Bond, Hatch, and Burr to thank for this. In their hatchet job on the Wilsons (Minority Views to the SSCI Phase II Report on Prewar Intelligence), they make the following statement:

The report was forwarded in an e-mail from a CIA reports officer to Mrs. Wilson and a number of recipients wih said that the DO had received a number of calls from the Intelligence Comminity about the Iraq-Niger uranium report, citin the Department of State's Bureau of Intelligence and Research (INR), the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA), and SOCOM, specifically.

So, if Cheney had a copy of Valerie Plame Wilson's memo and the attached email from the CIA reports officer, he had all that information.

So Libby calls Grenier in order to confirm the interest of State and DOD without burning Cheney's original source, and Grenier throws in the tidbit that Wilson's wife works in the department that sent Joe and was possibly the impetus for the trip. Do Libby and Cheney immediately decide that this is a better way to distance OVP from initiating Joe's trip? Do they think that Grenier's casual mention means that the information is widely known within CIA and is therefore likely to be leaked? Between Grenier and Rohn inadvertently mentioning Valerie to various SAOs, it seems to be just their bad luck that this particular administration had a penchant for criminal mendacity.

great cheney speculation, here,
EW -- as always, i come here to
learn -- and i leave, always having
some new insight. . . thanks!

so -- let me offer you one, in return:

i don't think i'll blog at all about it,
because the connect (on mine) to cheney
is just too tenous -- but team libby just filed
a rather significant correction (to my eye,
anyway) to their pre-sentence report libby
financial data
, to wit:

libby had apparently listed his house as
being worth a cool $1.1 million on the nose.

in fact, it had been recently appraised at
$1.368 million -- and that is the real estate
tax value -- again a low-ball estimate
of its actual selling price. . .

so -- he understated the value of his
home by almost 25 percent -- i wonder
if judge walton will want to re-think
the fine amount? i dunno. maybe $300k
instead of $250k?

while the letters are dated june 4, 2007,
they just turned up on PACER as document
361 -- of course, the case no. is 1:05-cr-00394.

[i just sent your mailbox a PDF of the filing.]

happy muck-raking, here!

s m i l e. . .

oh, yes -- i'm lovin' it!

Well, you have just cleared up one of the most confusing aspects of the Libby trial testimony--which was why Libby was making calls to CIA officials about Plame, if he already knew it from Cheney.

It never occurred to me it was cover-Cheney's-ass time.

Alan Simpson seems to have written the most authentic letters of them all. Libby is Loyal (capitlized and underlined). And his conviction and sentencing has emblazoned the words "The Good Soldier" upon his brow.

You did a great job yesterday--live blog typing all that legalese could not have been easy at all. But I really appreciated being able to follow all of it in almost real time.

William

Yup, that's precisely where I'm going with this--nice catch.

Though with the cable to the overseas location, they'd have it in one document. Here's what we know it to say:

both State and DOD have requested additional clarification [of the Niger-Iraq uranium report] and indeed, the Vice President's office just asked for background information.

You don't even need the reports officer.

DAmn you, now you've spoiled my next post!!

It's a NOC leak in a box, basically.

Abramoff update! Another Abramoff croney bites the dust--Italia has entered a guilty plea to tas evasion AND obstruction of justice!

Wonder if she will have to spill some serious beans in exchange for that obstruction plea?

EW, I just wanted to thank you for being our eyes and ears at the court and hearing yesterday. The live blog was so exciting. I especially liked your description of Judge Walton rolling his eyes, looking at the ceiling etc. I knew in my heart that Reggie would do the right thing. After the hearing was over I was so excited. Finally they were asking tough to the point questions. It was so refreshing to see some progress. Afer it was over I was watching everyone leaving. You never know what might happen, mics left on, questions asked by reporters. I was watching and then I saw you stand up. I laughed so hard,clapping jumping up and down. Did you hold the Judiciaries feet to the fire? Is that why it was so productive? (HA!) Thanks so much for everything.

lolo

Canuck: Not really. You're assuming that Dick Cheney wouldn't fuck over George Tenet to save his own skin. That's quite a stretch.

So has anyone else noticed that the WaPo's editorial page has been (briefly, I'm sure) stunned into silence by the Libby verdict? The silence is a bit eerie.

Fitz is still special counsel which means he can continue to pursue leads but he seems to imply that due to Scooter's obstruction he is at a dead end. Is there any new piece of information out there that could help move the ball along for Fitz?

Or can Congress do something to break the firewall - not holding my breath on that?

Bottom line is do all those that participated in the consipracy to out a covert agent go scot free to do this another day? And what about the conspiracy to lie and mislead the American people to invade Iraq based on the false pretense of Niger uranium and mushroom clouds and WMD and AQ? Will any of the top echelons who organized this conspiracy ever be held to account? Or is it like Iran-Contra where they skate to do this another day? Elliot Abrams and Poindexter anyone.

Marcy, thank you so much for the live-blogging yesterday. You're better than television.

I have an off-the-wall question for you...is there any way Rove could've been involved in this? Somehow the whole outing episode just smacks of KKKarl.

The cons all want a pardon. But what if Bush finally had a chance to rid himself of this meddlesome Cheney, hang the failures of his administration around his neck, and throw him to the wolves?

Let me be clear, if the firewall had held, this would never be a consideration. But Scooter and BigTime both failed the Boy King. And President Pissypants's legacy is looking pretty grim at the moment.

I think Scooter will be left out to dry.

EW, I think you are on to something. It is becoming clear that the big Dick was behind everthing and he needed a cover story. I think Fitz is on to him as well. He could be had if Scooter would come clean, but that seems very unlikely.

Interesting speculation that Tenet was Cheney's source. It it possible that Tenet and Cheney may have had damning information on each other that worked to protect both parties. I would also guess that there is no love loss between them.

Gary @ 18:2a, I actually doubt the neo-cons want a pardon. These calls for pardon are just for show. They're separating themselves from Bush and don't want to be beholden to him in any way. They're already setting themselves up for post-Bush administration, which they can see won't be Repub, and they're already blaming Bush for the failures of their big dreams.

I doubt Libby wants a pardon, either. He'd like to stay out of jail, of course, and probably hopes for appeal overturn, but, if he has to go, that only increases his value as "Good Soldier" for a greater cause. A little jail-time would increase his cache with these guys and adds to his vision of himself as a great man. And, of course, he'll be rolling in neo-con largesse no matter what happens.

Bush doesn't want to pardon Libby "now" because it does Bush no favors and doesn't fit into the character he thinks of himself as, Mr. Tough Guy. He might do it at the end of his term after Libby served some time and Bush can call it "compassion".

I wonder what Libby's wife thinks of all this. Letters from neighbors, etc, were compelling and it's obvious Libby has a charming side. Surely Harriet Grant is starting to realize these neo-cons are not true friends. On the other hand, perhaps she's accepted that being likeable isn't enough for Libby. That he has to be "great". Perhaps she also likes that in him and is willing to play along. We'll see what happens when the prison doors close shut.

OT - David Corn writes about Fred Thompson's take on Scooter Libby... and Republican Presidential candidates' answer to the question of a pardon. Fred and Scooter

there is one obvious reason why cheney told libby. remember that they had to destroy the iraq and iranian intelligence gathering operations to control information their propaganda campaign about the war. wonder if anyone else in her operational group has been contacted? wonder what tenet might have done to screw up her group's investigation during that period on orders of cheney? I keep wondering if we have wrongly concluded she was targeted only after her husband spoke up and made them respond?
perhaps there are other people aware of the inquiries, and perhaps, interference by higher ups at CIA, or OVP? they may not have cared about her when they first got her name in their list of operatives from their cooperative CIA people in reference to who investigates what they had to hide. these pissy little people probably did destroy her just to cripple the search, and to put fear in the hearts of any agent that would dare speak up. they were happy to the Nth degree when they got to harm Joe and Valerie at the same time

Frank: on Cheney burning Tenet, my thoughts exactly. Especially after they made Tenet fall on his sword for the 16 words- why not pin the NOC leak on him too?

What is Tenet holding over Cheney's head?

What is Tenet holding over Cheney's head?

I would say likely an awful lot.

Like maybe the full details of how Cheney not only twisted but invented intelligence as part of his PR strategy to see an occupation of Iraq(Niger forgeries????)? Wanna bet that "some" at the CIA know the entire sordid story of how they came to be etc?

The convolutions make my head hurt, but FWIW, my take has been that Amb. Wilson, Nigeria, and yellowcake are distractions: they figured in the execution of the outing operation but were not motivating factors.

Rather, Cheney would have known very well who was in charge of the team establishing the WMD intelligence for Iraq; he would have made it his business to know. Since that person was the very capable and principled VPW and could neither be bought nor coerced, she had to go.

VPOTUS tried to run an outing operation against the CIA, but he is turning out not to have been perfect in planning or execution.

EW, thank you for all your amazing efforts yesterday!

EW and William- if your conclusions are correct (which I agree they are) could this be enough to bring additonal charges against the "obvious" individuals?

It's a Wizard Of Oz moment of sorts, except we have more evidence of the "man behind the curtain" with your suggested construct...

The news that Wilson was sent at OVP’s behest is bad news for Libby and Cheney, because it means damage control is going to be more difficult. They can't just say Wilson is wrong on all counts, because CIA backs up his claim that Wilson was sent at Cheney's behest.

Where are you getting that?
Where is your source saying the CIA backs up Wilson's claim that he was sent at Cheney's BEHEST?

I lean toward the latter—it seems highly unlikely that Libby would have made up the conversation with Cheney and stuck to that story over four years and a trial. Which means the Libby-Cheney conversation happened sometime before the Grenier conversation (and therefore further suggests that, as has been assumed all along, Cheney was indeed Libby’s first source for Plame’s identity). And the Grenier conversation was simply an attempt to set somebody up to tell Libby, Martin, and the press the same information via a different source.

Two more questions:
1-Do you think Fitzgerald pursued Cheney's CIA source in his investigation? If yes, what are the implications of the fact that it went no further (no obstruction charge, no IIPA violation, etc)? If no, why not?
2-How did OVP manage to keep Grenier and Harlow from saying that Plame was covert, and her identity was top secret?
Had either one said that, their little plot would have been toast, no?

Maybee(x),

Senators Bond, Hatch, and Burr say that the CIA said that Wilson was sent at Cheney's behest. Your other questions are either founded in ignorance or completely disingenuous. Of course, there would be nothing wrong with telling the Vice-President about a NOC. I don't even understand what you're getting at with the last question. Care to explain?

The WaPo's "Free Scooter!" editorial is finally up. They want Bush to cut the baby in half:

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/06/06/AR2007060602292.html?hpid=opinionsbox1

Senators Bond, Hatch, and Burr say that the CIA said that Wilson was sent at Cheney's behest.

They do? Do you have a link for that?
The closest thing I can find- from then and now- is that the CIA said a question from the VP prompted the CIA to send Wilson. That is not synonymous with "behest", and is actually quite different.

So I am asking EW where she got the information that in May or June 2003, the VP got the word from the CIA that Wilson was sent at Cheney's behest.

Your other questions are either founded in ignorance or completely disingenuous. Of course, there would be nothing wrong with telling the Vice-President about a NOC. I don't even understand what you're getting at with the last question. Care to explain?

There may be nothing wrong with telling the VP about a NOC, but one would hope that Cheney was also told she was a NOC.
Which would then mean either Cheney hid that information from Libby (for which Cheney should be in trouble), or told Libby and Libby withheld that information from Fitzgerald.
OR the CIA source withheld that information from Fitzgerald.

In any case, it seems to me Fitzgerald should be very interested in knowing that Libby or Cheney knew from the CIA that Valerie was a NOC. There is a trail there he should have followed if he was investigating IIPA violations.

If the CIA source didn't tell Cheney she was a NOC, you would expect the CIA guy to be in some trouble.

Cheney Urged Wiretaps

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/06/06/AR2007060602297.html?hpid=topnews

Cheney and his aides were more closely involved than previously known in a fierce internal battle over the legality of the warrantless surveillance program. The program allowed the National Security Agency to monitor phone calls and e-mails between the United States and overseas.

I don't even understand what you're getting at with the last question. Care to explain?

OK, the last question was this:
2-How did OVP manage to keep Grenier and Harlow from saying that Plame was covert, and her identity was top secret?

If I am correctly understanding EW, she is saying that Cheney and Libby decided to ask Grenier about Wilson so they could get information about Wilson/Plame from a 'clean' source. A source other than the one that had already told them about her, and other than Marc Grossman (who may have already told them about her).
Getting information about Plame from Grenier and Harlow only works if they don't tell Libby or Martin that Valerie's position is highly classified, or that she is a NOC. If they would have warned OVP about that, as they should have, then Cheney and Libby would no longer be able to deny that knowledge. It seems a very risky bet to me.

I really enjoy your analyses EW.

"'The ship of state is the only ship that leaks from the top.' --Sir Humphrey Appleby"

I believe that this is true for the WH and the CIA in the Plame case.

Man, its like watching Augustus Gloop. The anticipation is killing me. So while I'm waiting I'll try to work out a melody to Addington's words: "He asked me how you would know if you met someone from CIA if they were undercover."

The closest thing I can find- from then and now- is that the CIA said a question from the VP prompted the CIA to send Wilson. That is not synonymous with "behest", and is actually quite different.

A question from the VP prompted the CIA to send Wilson to investigate and answer the question. Cheney had a question. The CIA sought to get an answer by sending Wilson. To me it's not hard to understand, as long as you're willing to differntiate between Cheney wanting an answer and Cheney wanting Wilson to be the one to get it.

To me it's not hard to understand, as long as you're willing to differntiate between Cheney wanting an answer and Cheney wanting Wilson to be the one to get it.

I agree Neil. And as long as you're willing to differentiate between "behest" and asking a question that eventually, in part, leads to someone doing something.

However, if EW has some other information that the CIA told Cheney that they considered Wilson to have been sent at Cheney's behest, it would be interesting to see it.

In the meantime, I will point out this earlier observation about the word "behest" in the ~June 12 note:

Jeff

That would make a ton of sense--I didn't read back though the Krisof column. I kept wondering, about the note, why the fuck Cheney would admit to the trip being "at the behest." He wasn't. He was parroting Kristof.

Posted by: emptywheel | February 03, 2007 at 14:42

There he is. The poor guy headed for the slammer for 30 months - various times off for things.

And a 1/4 Millon fine.

But you won't let it go, and are still pounding on the dead horse.

Libby was sent to jail for trying to not have to back off his original FBI investigation answers, and getting caught in a lie.

There is no underlying crime. No IIPA crime. If there was, then they already knew the culprit at the very beginning of the investigation, even before Fitz was appointed. He went to the Justice Department himself.

If Libby had said at the trial or before. "Yes, yes, I told all those reporters about Plame just as they say," then he still would have only been charged with lying. In fact the jury found that Libby was lying, therefore that he told the reporters those things, and there was no charge for IIPA crimes.

What is the assertion of this site? That there still are IIPA crimes? Since Armitage obviously wasn't charged and the press secretary wasn't charged, and Libby who was found guilty wasn't charged, then who could possibly be charged?

Let me repeat that. Who could possibly be chargedwith an IIPA crime?

Vice President Richard Bruce Cheney is an ideal candidate to be charged with Treason, aka IIPA crime.

Treason can be punishable by execution / hanging.

what was libby lying about / for ?

what underlying crime was he covering up / concealing ?

if there were no underlying crime, then no lies needed to be spewed.

but since libby lied, then one presumes that there is an underlying crime, libby knows the perpetrator, knows what crime was, by whom and for what reason.

at whose behest was libby lying / covering up / throwing sand in the umpire's eyes ?

Mr. Thick said:

Who could possibly be chargedwith an IIPA crime?

Why, that is exactly what Mr. Libby is continuing to obstruct Justice from finding out at this very moment, in fact. That's not just what Patrick Fitzgerald says, it is what the judge strongly implied yesterday in the sentencing hearing. Maybe that is why Libby got 30 months in Federal prison when there's "no underlying crime," the crime itself having been covered up by his actions. An IIPA crime involves both knowledge (of covert status) and intent. The best witness for this state of mind information is the alleged initiator of the leak, and that's not Armitage or Libby, it is none other than Cheney. The fact that Armitage did not violate the IIPA (due to a lack of intent and /or knowledge of her covert status) is neither here nor there in determining whether someone else violated IIPA. Scooter was independently trying to get other reporters besides Woodward to print Plame's CIA identity, something that hardly gets the person who ordered him to do it off the hook for an IIPA violation.

"What is the assertion of this site?"

ROTFLMAO.

I suspect an opinion about the relative value of your comments might draw the greatest unanimity of any question.

Jodi, if there was no IIPA violation, why did Scooter perjure himself and obstruct justice?

The Libby lobby's pardon campaign

http://www.salon.com/opinion/blumenthal/2007/06/07/scooter_libby/

Having never expressed remorse for his crime, Irving Lewis 'Scooter' Libby instead enlisted his neoconservative friends to win him reduced prison time.

I go with "oldtree". I think the real object of the exercise was to get VPW, she was the only one who could thwart the whole Iraq/Iran scenario. The fact that JW was involved is a bonus, Libby will play forever with "righteous indignation" and nothing will go anywhere - maybe not until 2009 (if then).
Unless there is one honest man in the State Dept, the CIA or DoJ who can blow the whistle on the whole plan you might as well pack up our tents and go back home. Congress can't even get Gonzales impeached. As a foreigner, I am absolutely amazed that all these scandals have not led to resignations.
In Europe most of the players would have been long gone - once public opinion goes against them, most politicians resign - even if the case is doubtful. Look up Willy Brandt and Resignation if you want a prime example.
To quote KO - Goodnight - and good luck.
PS: Despite this, I think Marcy and FDL have done a wonderful job exposing just how deep the corruption goes.

MayBee

Well, it's Libby who said that CIA said that Wilson was sent at Cheney's behest. Those are his words, and match with his testimony (as I've said in a post since the one citing Kristof you cited). And Libby's actions after he heard that--telling Pincus that an aide (presumably meaning himself) asked, which caused Wilson to be sent, suggests that Libby either treated it as sufficiently credible or knew it to be true that he took a interim face-saving position, rather than deny it outright.

And to be clear to all of you--I think this makes it highly unlikely that Tenet was Cheney's source, as I'll lay out in a post later this week.

I have read the pardon letters. They paint a picture of a very smart man, with the ability to manage huge amounts of information about complex matters. The writers, almost all of them, say that the convictions are inconsistent with the Libby they know, most of them from long work relationships, and the rest from long social relationships. He was nice to everyone he met, including very junior people and the aides and drivers who attended to him and the VP. He remembered them, and helped them over long periods of time. Even allowing for the context of requests for mercy, they are impressive.

The only way to make the conviction consistent with the character the writers give Libby is to assume that he lied on purpose. He had some goal in lying that to him was more important than his honor and his family. It is hard for me to believe that a person would consider lying to protect Cheney or the Bushies from disclosure of the facts would be enough to risk jail, but I don't see any other option.

During the trial, several people pointed out that his wife seemed really upset about things, and that it seemed to be directed to Libby, not his lawyers. Several of the social friends were women who say that Libby and his wife were close. I think she knows what happened and why. I wonder if she could plead a spousal privilege to refuse to testify before Congress.

Maybee(x),

Did you even read the prior comments on this thread? Do you even know what the word "behest" means? Nobody is claiming that Cheney asked for Joseph Wilson by name. That's just silly. Behest means either "an authoritative command" or "urgent request". Cheney made a clear "behest" of the CIA to find out more information about the Niger story. That "behest" lead directly to the CIA asking Joseph Wilson to go to Niger. Ergo, the CIA sent Joe Wilson to Niger at Cheney's behest. End of story.

The rest of your questions are premised on a complete misunderstanding of ew's post. I recommend you actually read the comments on this post prior to yours. In particular, pay attention to my first comment and ew's response.

Who could possibly be chargedwith an IIPA crime?
Posted by: Jodi | June 07, 2007 at 02:31

Libby knows... too bad for him he won't tell the truth to the FBI, to the grand jury under oath, in the court of law at his own trial. Obstruction of justice works like that.

About the dead horse, he's still kicking until the law breakers face justice.

I know what you're going to say: What's a little IIPA violation among senior White House officials?

It was clear from very early in the investigation that Ms. Wilson qualified under the relevant statute (Title 50, United States Code, Section 421) as a covert agent whose identity had been disclosed by public officials, including Mr. Libby, to the press. -Fitz

Did you even read the prior comments on this thread? Do you even know what the word "behest" means? Nobody is claiming that Cheney asked for Joseph Wilson by name. That's just silly. Behest means either "an authoritative command" or "urgent request". Cheney made a clear "behest" of the CIA to find out more information about the Niger story. That "behest" lead directly to the CIA asking Joseph Wilson to go to Niger. Ergo, the CIA sent Joe Wilson to Niger at Cheney's behest. End of story.

I think you are torturing the language, but on the basics we agree. The CIA sent Joe Wilson in part because Cheney asked for more information. I don't think anyone, including Libby and Cheney, dispute that. What they did dispute was the idea that they directly requested him/someone to go, as evidenced on p41 of Libby's GJ testimony. He asked Schmall if there was a direct request from OVP to send Wilson, and Schmall reported there was not.

The rest of your questions are premised on a complete misunderstanding of ew's post. I recommend you actually read the comments on this post prior to yours. In particular, pay attention to my first comment and ew's response.

Not all of my questions are premised on a misunderstandingof ew's post. There is no explanation for why Grenier and Harlow would provide information to Libby and Cheney without mentioning that Plame was covert. If OVP were looking to get information from a quotable source- which is a large part of her post- then depending on CIA sources to forget to mention their agent's NOC status does seem ridiculously risky.

As for whether Cheney obtained Plame's cable, who knows? On the one hand, it would explain why he didn't think she was NOC. A NOC should certainly not be sending international cables regarding CIA business. It would also let him know, indisputably, that the trip was not taken at his behest. He would know other departments had asked.

EW: telling Pincus that an aide (presumably meaning himself) asked, which caused Wilson to be sent,

Isn't this part of Plame's current story?

Estimates suggest that Mr. C has placed 100-200 of his people throughout the federal bureaucracy. His daughter and son-in-law are (or were) only the most visible. Most are highly placed and influence policy directly. They also channel information to Mr. C, who then supports or scuttles initiatives "to serve his pleasure". That gives Mr. C, despites the Deciderer’s protestations, an independent parallel bureaucracy, a network of Soviet-style apparatchiks. Moscow on the Potomac.

Among them would undoubtedly be a few people at NSA or CIA willing to tell him "need to know" things on the QT. Even run-of-the-mill career bureaucrats learned early that they gave Mr. C whatever he asked for or got their walking papers the next day. Having integrity doesn’t mean you can skip a mortgage payment.

In one sense, telling the VP something he tells you the P wants to know is just following orders. If nothing else, it doesn't automatically suggest it's going into the wrong hands – he is the government - or that it would be used illegally. But it is being disclosed outside of normal channels. So, anyone voluntarily or involuntarily a member of this network would tell Cheney it was NTK in order to protect him (in connection with his future use of the intel) and themselves.

Very few people would have known Valerie was a NOC in 2003, or that she had been earlier in her career. More would have known she was then at CPD, still a hush, hush business requiring that her identity not be handed out like smokes at a Christopher Hitchens’ soiree.

All of which strongly supports EW's suspicion that "someone" told Cheney very early on in the game where Valerie worked and that her identity was not for distribution. Whoever it was, Tenet, Foggo or someone else, they would stay mum because they gave NTK intel to someone who didn't have a NTK, and so would Cheney. (Otherwise, his private network would dry up like the water table in Los Angeles.)

Hence, Mr. C's need to have that same information disclosed to him through another channel, preferably more than one. That method also exactly matches how they distributed the "word" about Valerie and her purported boondoggle for her out of work older husband (to use the derogatory mindset of Big Dick). I think EW is hot on the trail.

Cheney didn't tell the CIA to send "Joe" to Niger to find out more. He tasked an intel agency with finding out more intel. He cared about who went only when they didn't come back with what he wanted. He got excited only when Wilson outed his lies.

Cheney's view is that all govt bureaucrats are out to scuttle the Herculean, public-spirited programs of their political masters. He also thinks they're all clock watching pencil pushers or, worse, uncontrollable experts who might credibly dissent from his fantasies. Cheney reverse engineered the intel, starting with Wilson's OpEd, to see who "screwed him", and to select a cast of characters to blame.

Cheney needed to have the press think that CIA responded to multiple requests for more information in order to keep the trail from coming directly back to him for the same reason that fish school and birds flock: it makes them harder to catch. That also would allow him to obfuscate about whether he or his OVP received Wilson's trip report. If he could credibly claim he hadn't, he could more credibly claim he didn't know his later statements were lies; it would also give him one more stick with which to beat his favorite bureaucrats.

Don't engage the troll. That is all.

The repeated statement that Libby lied is used to infer all kinds of misdeeds.

First let us clear up the matter. It is simple.
1. Libby works for or is a Politician.
2..Libby is a Lawyer.
,therefore (of course) he lies.

That doesn't mean he violated IIPA.

All Fitz had to do since he had this jury in his pocket was to charge Mr Libby for committing a IIPA violation by telling these reporters about Ms Plame. The same jury that said Libby lied when Libby said he didn't tell the reporters would have convicted Libby.

In fact they were chomping at the bit to do it. It was a normal DC jury.

That is my main evidence that there wasn't a IIPA violation. Mr LIbby was caught in a lie about talking about Ms Plame and wasn't even charged by this blog's hero, Mr Fitzgerald.

Maybee,

None are so blind as those who will not see.

Take a look at this:

http://www.gwu.edu/~nsarchiv/NSAEBB/NSAEBB8/ch27-01.htm

Do you still want to maintain that NOC's don't send cables to CIA HQ?

I had thought you were really interested in understanding what happened. If not, then I'm done responding. You are entitled to your own opinions, but not your own facts nor can you, like Humpty Dumpty in Alice in Wonderland, decide that words mean what you say they mean.

The repeated statement that Libby lied is used to infer all kinds of misdeeds.

First let us clear up the matter. It is simple.
1. Libby works for or is a Politician.
2..Libby is a Lawyer.
,therefore (of course) he lies.

That doesn't mean he violated IIPA.

All Fitz had to do since he had this jury in his pocket was to charge Mr Libby for committing a IIPA violation by telling these reporters about Ms Plame. The same jury that said Libby lied when Libby said he didn't tell the reporters about Plame would have convicted Libby.

In fact they were chomping at the bit to do it. It was a normal DC jury.

In fact that is my main proof that there wasn't a IIPA violation.

Sorry about the repeat. Something untoward happened.

Tokyo Jodi, I had such high hopes after I saw you actually provide a link. Not only do you not have "proof" you don't have any "evidence."

Just because you choose to ignore questions, doesn't mean they go away.

"Jodi, if there was no IIPA violation, why did Scooter perjure himself and obstruct justice?"

Jodi: I am a lawyer. Lots of people on this site are lawyers. We aren't liars. You draw your talking points from stupid one-liners by bad comedians.

someone wrote, "Well, it's Libby who said that CIA said that Wilson was sent at Cheney's behest. Those are his words, and match with his testimony "

--

I don't think our current understanding of the evidence tells us whether Cheney knew Valerie Plame was NOC or whether he specifically requested Joe Wilson go to Niger. However, if you add in a couple of other bits of information the ideas rumbling around in the administration heads might become more clear.

First, Armitage told Woodward that sending Wilson was "perfect". What's so perfect about him? It was only with him they could roast Plame without it appearing they were specifically focusing on her for her work in the Middle East.

Second, there were a couple of other reports from Niger, indicating no yellowcake uranium was sold to Iraq. This means they couldn't use the famous State of the Union "16 words". How to get around that? Send someone whose report they could discredit (Wilson). They'd still have to cover-up or disregard the other two reports! I'm still curious to know if someone prompted him to write his NYT article which the Bushies jumped on. Was that part of their plan to discredit him and make fair game out of Plame at the same time?

I'd guess the entire WH was working on ways to build the case for war and to get rid of Plame, who was interfering (or could interfere) by disclosing their plans to infiltrate nukes into Iraq (to be discovered later).

This IS the stuff of movies.

I would be surprised if anyone submitting comments on this blog had more information than the CIA regarding whether their employee, Valerie Plame Wilson, was covert or served abroad within the meaning of applicable statutes. We are all engaged in more or less informed speculation. Emotional denials that Shooter couldn't be sooo guilty because the blogger just knows that Plame couldn't have been covert are wishful thinking.

Most of it is also beside the point, as Fitz and Judge Walton made clear. It was obstructing the investigation into whether IIPA or other statutes were broken that got Libby into trouble. Like Rove, he could have come clean, gone back to the grand jury for a fourth or fifth time, and "suddenly" remembered what the press were about to come out with. He didn't.

Whether Plame was formally covert, she and her colleagues engaged in dangerous intelligence work, trying to find out what our enemies know or have with regard to nuclear materials and weapons of mass destruction. Using a scarce resource like that as some kind of political ping pong ball is reprehensible, regardless of what laws may have been broken. Cheney and Libby know it; that's why they are working so hard to hide it, like a husband caught with yet another mistress when he should have been taking his son to his Scout meeting.

But for some bloggers, their favorite politician, like the pope, is inherently incapable of being wrong. Woe unto them.

I'm not a troll and I know that Plame was covert. But, how do u answer the critics that say that she drove to CIA headquarters every day? If that's true, it does give them an argument. I'm really looking for info. How do you respond to that?

I know it’s feeding the troll [sorry, Jodi], but permit me to reprise something I posted a while back on FDL:

“DC is 8% Hispanic and 60% Black.
DC denizen Pachacutec [of FDL] reported during jury selection that ‘the pool looks a lot whiter than DC, and this is true of the 100 people who answered the jury summons ... for whatever reason, this is kind of a sea of whitey.’
If I understood Pachacutec correctly, black potential jurors were surprisingly few to begin with, and were excused for cause in far greater proportion than whites for agreeing to Wells’ suggestion during jury selection that BushCo and Cheney are not credible.
‘Beyond a reasonable doubt’ is a high standard, particularly in a trial where the defendant brings Libby’s resources. Libby needs only one hold-out.”

After the verdict, several of the mostly white jurors said that they thought Libby seemed like a nice guy, and that they held no personal animus towards him.

I know it’s feeding the troll [sorry, Jodi], but permit me to reprise something I posted a while back on FDL:

“DC is 8% Hispanic and 60% Black.
DC denizen Pachacutec [of FDL] reported during jury selection that ‘the pool looks a lot whiter than DC, and this is true of the 100 people who answered the jury summons ... for whatever reason, this is kind of a sea of whitey.’
If I understood Pachacutec correctly, black potential jurors were surprisingly few to begin with, and were excused for cause in far greater proportion than whites for agreeing to Wells’ suggestion during jury selection that BushCo and Cheney are not credible.
‘Beyond a reasonable doubt’ is a high standard, particularly in a trial where the defendant brings Libby’s resources. Libby needs only one hold-out.”

After the verdict, several of the mostly white jurors said that they thought Libby seemed like a nice guy, and that they held no personal animus towards him.

The above at 19:03 was in response to Jodi's assertion at 13:23: 'In fact they were chomping at the bit to do it [convict Libby]. It was a normal DC jury.'

solai, I would start with emptywheel's book ANATOMY OF DECEIT, especially Chapter 4.

Also, CIA Director Michael Hayden sent a letter to Henry Waxman confirming that she was covert when Novak's column outed her. Hayden cia plame covert

William Occam-
What am I seeing there? Is that a cable written by a NOC, or a cable written by someone the NOC reported to?
Do you think in this day of electronic surveillance, that a NOC writing a cable from CIA headquarters about CIA business is a *good* way to keep her protected? I don't.
I'm not saying I know she wasn't a NOC. I am saying nobody, including and especially the CIA, was being very careful with her cover.

MarkH:

Your comment at 15:53 June 7 07 is one that has always been at the back of my mind as an alternative motivation for this treasonous act against this NOC. I have been very hesitant in raising it though because of the dearth of corroborating evidence/information to provide it with credibility beyond sheer suspicion/hunch. One of the things that the Libby trial has done is to help provide such information, and I must admit it is appearing more and more to me like a viable explanation for what was the true motivating reason for this betrayal. Thank you for writing such a clear and well structured comment on this possibility, it is something I do not think can be ignored/forgotten/ruled out, no if anything the last few years have given me cause to take this from remote to damned near equal weight with discrediting Joe Wilson, not a small shift.

When you factor in the presence of the intelligence network Cheney had available to him as so eloquently described by earlofhuntington at 12:29 June 7 07 then this underlying motive gains indeed. This is something I preferred not to take as the more likely from the outset given that with this Administration just knocking back Wilson with it is certainly plausible and easily seeable given their history. It is looking more and more likely to me that the Plame betrayal and the destruction of her networks and those affiliated with her networks was to accomplish exactly that, and that the Wilson media attacks by the husband of the chief of the operations unit on WMD in Iraq/Iran has to be seen as damned near the perfect cover for such given that plausibility I mentioned about it already. This is something I feared was possible since the moment I heard about the outing, but I never wanted it to be true, I actually preferred the banality of the use of her as political cover over the 16 words in the 2003 SOTU than I wanted to see such ruthless disregard for the very foundations of the intelligence/national security community/resources shown by those running the government. Treason is most definitely the correct word to describe such, and over time the case for that being the case is gaining strength I think rather than losing it.

This is *NOT* something I ever wanted to be seeing, and even while writing this comment I have cold chills going down my spine from the sheer scope of such contemptuous treasonous conduct as is being discussed here.

In the meantime, I will point out this earlier observation about the word "behest" in the ~June 12 note:

Jeff

That would make a ton of sense--I didn't read back though the Krisof column. I kept wondering, about the note, why the fuck Cheney would admit to the trip being "at the behest." He wasn't. He was parroting Kristof.

Posted by: emptywheel | February 03, 2007 at 14:42

MayBee

For the record, it's pretty clear that that attempt to understand the note was wrong. Surely you don't think Libby was lying when he testified that the note came from before Pincus' article, do you? And changed the date and all?

Isn't this part of Plame's current story?

Nope, the lie about the aide that Libby told PIncus specified that it was at a briefing, and that presumably means it was an allusion to the February 13 briefing where Cheney in fact asked about the Niger story. Plame's current story is that someone from OVP called a colleague at CPD (and presumably JTFI) on February 12 to express OVP's interest in the Niger story.

Oh, a different aide called Plame to express OVP's interest. Who was that?
When Libby was looking to get an explanation about how Wilson was sent to Niger, do you think anybody at the CIA told him about the aide's call to Valerie's underling?

***Oh, a different aide called Plame to express"

Sorry, the first sentence should read Plame's associate...

Maybeex

So it's your position that the aide Libby was talking about, presumably himself, called CPD and expressed interest in the Niger story, and that's what Libby was talking about when he told Pincus, though he told Pincus that it took place at a briefing?

If not, what is your position, exactly? Did Libby lie or did Libby not lie when he told Pincus that an aide to Cheney asked about the Niger report in a briefing, and that was the OVP's role in prompting Wilson's mission?

Jeff: Surely you don't think Libby was lying when he testified that the note came from before Pincus' article, do you? And changed the date and all?

From the Grand Jury transcripts about the June 12 note:

Q. And starting in the upper left corner it has a date.
24 What do you read the date to be? I
25 1 A. Well, it's a little -- it gets a little confused. I read it to be 6-12-03, but over the 12 is a symbol that I-use which means that I dont t know that it's a 12. It's on or
about the 12th, or it's a guess basically.
MR. FITZGERALD. Okay. And we might -- do we....

Q. And then what is the -- why don't you interpret for
us what the first line says?
I A. It 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.
Q. And then continue down to the next entry which

---
I see admitted confusion about the date, at a time when we know OVP was talking to both Pincus and Kristof for articles that came out June 12 and June 13.

If not, what is your position, exactly? Did Libby lie or did Libby not lie when he told Pincus that an aide to Cheney asked about the Niger report in a briefing, and that was the OVP's role in prompting Wilson's mission?

My position is that Libby may well have lied to Pincus. Or he may legitimately misunderstood the information Schmall told him. The GJ testimony from Libby says this:
Q. Okay. If you go down, the fourth entry, the fourth
tick mark, do you see the same reference there, Craig --
A. Yes, I do, sir.
Q . -- no OVP request for uranium procurement?
A. Yes, sir.
F
Q. And under that does it say, Scootert Libby or Vice
President? I
A. Yes, sir.
Q. And under t h a t , was DR request in 3-03?
Q. And above uranium procurement, what does it say
----
So it is possible, since Libby had no first hand knowledge of why Wilson was sent to Niger, that he was wrong about who asked. OVP or VPotus. Or it is possible that he lied to Pincus. So what?
Now...why do you think nobody from the CIA ever mentioned the OVP person that called Valerie's co-worker and made her cry?
I think she's lying about that.

I see admitted confusion about the date, at a time when we know OVP was talking to both Pincus and Kristof for articles that came out June 12 and June 13.

If you read the GJ, Libby is quite clear in asserting that the note was from before June 12, as it was related to preparing to talk to Pincus for his article. And I now think that is so.

So what?

You're the one who started making a deal out of it. I take it to be interesting that he would lie to cover for the VP to Pincus in June 2003.

why do you think nobody from the CIA ever mentioned the OVP person that called Valerie's co-worker and made her cry?
I think she's lying about that.

Good for you, you think she's a habitual liar, on what basis I have no idea. You don't seem to care that LIbby lied egregiously, systematically and with lawyerly caution and even scrupulousness as far as attention to the lie went. Good for you. As for why, as far as we know, nobody from the CIA ever mentioned the OVP call to Valerie WIlson's co-worker, don't you think the obvious answer is because the people who were asked did not know about it? If you assume it actually happened that way, is there any reason to think the relatively senior people who were called and who inquired would ever get in touch with this relatively junior person? I wouldn't think so.

Also, the notion that the call made her cry is a prejudicial presentation of it on your part. Obviously, the point was that this relatively junior person was taken aback and rather unsettled by the fact that she was called by the Vice President's office, especially if the idea was to express the interest of the VP himself in some matter they dealt with. But you just keep on presenting everything to do with the Wilsons as prejudicially as you can.

Let's see. Have you signed on to the notion that Walton is part of the liberal conspiracy to get Libby? And that he's worried about the appeals process because he's a liberal who did stuff he knows to be untoward?


If you read the GJ, Libby is quite clear in asserting that the note was from before June 12, as it was related to preparing to talk to Pincus for his article. And I now think that is so.

I just quoted you the GJ testimony. Kristof's 2nd article came out the next day. We know both Kristof and Pincus were talking to OVP about their upcoming articles.

So what?
You're the one who started making a deal out of it. I take it to be interesting that he would lie to cover for the VP to Pincus in June 2003.

No, it wasn't me that started making a big deal of it. I didn't bring it up.

Good for you, you think she's a habitual liar, on what basis I have no idea. ...

I think she is a habitual liar because her story has changed as new facts came out. I know you dont' think she's a liar, but I'm just being honest. You previously accused me of hiding the fact that I thought she was a liar, so I thought I'd avoid that.

As for why, as far as we know, nobody from the CIA ever mentioned the OVP call to Valerie WIlson's co-worker, don't you think the obvious answer is because the people who were asked did not know about it? If you assume it actually happened that way, is there any reason to think the relatively senior people who were called and who inquired would ever get in touch with this relatively junior person? I wouldn't think so.

I think that could be, but coupled with the fact that this story never appeared until Libby trial testimony showed her memo was written before Cheney's briefing, and the fact that this person has never been interviewed or named (even to the SSCI), I think it is more likely it just didn't happen. I know you differ on this.

For the record, I think the Wilsons and Libby should get exactly the same treatment for their lies. Political embarrassment. No more than that.

Also, the notion that the call made her cry is a prejudicial presentation of it on your part.

Oh, you are right. It was someone else that came to her practically with tears in his eyes, the guy she says wasn't allowed to be reinterviewed by the committee.

Let's see. Have you signed on to the notion that Walton is part of the liberal conspiracy to get Libby? And that he's worried about the appeals process because he's a liberal who did stuff he knows to be untoward?

No. I don't even know about that notion. I think Walton is a great admirer of Fitzgerald, not a great admirer of Libby's team. Partially because of that, his judgments have skewed toward Fitzgerald. All honestly and in good faith.

I would be interested to hear what you think of EW's theory in this post.

Sorry

Jeff:Good for you, you think she's a habitual liar, on what basis I have no idea. ...

Maybee:I think she is a habitual liar because her story has changed as new facts came out. I know you don't think she's a liar, but I'm just being honest. You previously accused me of hiding the fact that I thought she was a liar, so I thought I'd avoid that.

Jeff: As for why, as far as we know, nobody from the CIA ever mentioned the OVP call to Valerie WIlson's co-worker, don't you think the obvious answer is because the people who were asked did not know about it? If you assume it actually happened that way, is there any reason to think the relatively senior people who were called and who inquired would ever get in touch with this relatively junior person? I wouldn't think so.

MayBee:I think that could be, but I don't think that's the obvious answer. Coupled with the fact that this story never appeared until Libby trial testimony showed her memo was written before Cheney's briefing, and the fact that this person has never been interviewed or named (even to the SSCI), I think it is more likely it just didn't happen. Finally, her email makes no mention of a superior recommending Plame write it. I know you differ on this.

For the record, I think the Wilsons and Libby should get exactly the same treatment for their lies. Political embarrassment. No more than that.

Jeff: Also, the notion that the call made her cry is a prejudicial presentation of it on your part.

MayBee:Oh, you are right. It was someone else that came to her "practically with tears in his eyes", the guy she says wasn't allowed to be reinterviewed by the committee.

Jeff:Let's see. Have you signed on to the notion that Walton is part of the liberal conspiracy to get Libby? And that he's worried about the appeals process because he's a liberal who did stuff he knows to be untoward?

MayBee:No. I don't even know about that notion. I think Walton is a great admirer of Fitzgerald, not a great admirer of Libby's team. Partially because of that, his judgments have skewed toward Fitzgerald. All honestly and in good faith.

I would be interested to hear what you think of EW's theory in this post.

I know you differ on this.

I'm willing to wait and see, in fact. I think you're on weaker ground on the latter claim, that is the notion that somehow you can tell from Plame's email whether or not she was asked by her superior to write it up and send it. I think on the former question, you don't seem to be factoring in the fact that Plame had just about nothing to say about the whole thing in public, apart from when she filed her suit, until the investigation was effectively over. And clearly, she told a different but perfectly consistent story to the SSCI - she couldn't remember very well - but as we learned in the Libby trial, people's memory improve for all sorts of reasons. People have bad memories, people's memories get better, etc. We saw it with witness after witness. And that's also, by the way, why the notion that Libby was convicted for a bad memory or different memory from others is so ludicrous.

Ok, so you think Walton is personally biased to Fitzgerald and that explains it, rather than politically biased.

As for EW's theory here, I'm not sure I get the punchline. My sense is that Grenier's testimony fits perfectly with the notion that Libby seized on Grenier's comments about DoD and State interest (and I wonder, by the way, whether the evidence for their interest can be traced back to Plame's email) and wanted the agency to say that because of what Cheney had told him in that regard.

But I am more interested, personally, in the behest notes. It's not unambiguous to me whether "our" in Libby's notes refers to OVP or to CIA. In either case, though, assuming Libby was not lying about when he produced the note, I think it is very strong evidence that Kristof did not derive his lede about the mission being at the OVP's behest from Wilson. I have given internal evidence for that in the past - namely, the actual substance of the account of Wilson's mission in the column is much more accurate and careful, and that almost certainly is derived at least in part from Wilson. In the past, I assumed that Kristof's lede was his own summary and was just imprecise or whatever, though not really that bad. However, that would now require that it was just a coincidence that everyone was talking in terms of whose behest the trip was at.

If it was not a coincidence, two major possibilities, then: 1)Libby's notes reflect what Cheney said directly, which means "our" refers to OVP, and that suggests that Kristof got the notion that the mission was at OVP's behest from CIA too. Which means, among other things, don't blame Wilson. 2)Libby's notes reflect what Cheney was reporting CIA said, which means "our" refers to CIA. That makes it more likely, it seems to me, that Kristof heard the same thing from CIA, and then heard a story of what happened that he took to be inconsistent with that from others - including Wilson - and decided, again at his own behest, so to speak, to rhetorically if implicitly contest what he'd heard from CIA (and possibly others) in the lede to his piece. In that case, we're back to blaming Kristof.

how do we know Kristof spoke with OVP?

how do we know Kristof spoke with OVP?

I believe Cathie Martin said it- that she was trying to wave him off the story and he mocked her. I'm also remembering a Kristof column discussing it.
I'll look for the cites, but it's early Saturday morning and I'm not awake yet.
The rest of your analysis is fair and good. Thanks for writing it up...

OK, I found Cathie Martin's EW not-a-transcript. I presume you have the actual transcript :-)

W Let's take the article down. Is it fair to say that the next time that the Wilson allegations was on or around June 8-9-10 when Pincus started calling about an article that was published on June 12.

M I think that's correct.

W puts in Pincus article. It was this article that sharpened the focus on VP's office.

M I beileve Rice is asked about this.

W On June 8

M So it gains prominence THERE.

W Okay, Kristof, June 8, she is confronted with questions, after that it kind of became a big issue. Mr. Pincus on June 12 2003, right after Pincus wrote his article Mr. Kristof wrote a second article.

M I've since seen the second one.

Wells introduces Kristof's second article.

3:52

Wells goes through Kristof's article: starts with Rice, then goes to OVP learning of its role in Wilson's trip from Kristof's article.

M It was either Scooter or me that revealed that to Kristof.

W Your reply wasn't being accepted.

M By Kristof.

W "Kristof was mocking you."

MayBee

That's actually should read "Pincus" where it reads Kristof. It relates to Kristof's June 13 article mocking OVP for what Pincus' June 12 article reported with regard to when OVP learned of Wilson's trip - and it's that point that Martin testifies either she or Libby told Pincus, not Kristof.

So in other words, it appears that Kristof did not speak with OVP for the June 13 article, or at least, there's no evidence here to indicate he did.

All of it should say Pincus?
Their reply wasn't being accepted by Pincus?

Anyway, I found the bit of Kristof I was referring to earlier:
More Kristof:

"Incidentally, when the White House did once raise the issue of my Niger reporting with me, the senior official who complained did not argue that any of this was incorrect. Rather, he noted that Bush's reference in the State of the Union address was to "Africa" rather than to Niger -- and that even if the Niger connection was fraudulent, there were possible linkages to other African countries like Congo that could have made Bush's 16 words technically correct. That was a very flimsy branch, and the official gave up the argument pretty quickly."

So again, hard to know when or who he talked to. Maybe I just find it hard to believe Krisof wouldn't have called them for comment.

All of it should say Pincus?

No, just in the line you bolded.

Maybe I just find it hard to believe Krisof wouldn't have called them for comment.

I don't know whether he did. But remember two things we learned at the trial. One, the standard OVP practice was not to respond to requests for comment. And two, as Martin complained, reporters stopped calling them for comment. This is one of the things that left OVP beleauguered in July 2003 - reporters had gotten so used to getting nothing out of OVP that when OVP wanted to change that practice, the reporters weren't calling for their side of the story! So maybe Kristof called and got no comment. Maybe he followed what at that point was conventional practice among reporters and didn't call, more or less certain that he would get nothing.

I thought we learned that Scooter Libby didn't like to respond on the record to request for comments, not that OVP wouldn't respond.
After all, they were talking to Pincus, right? Not to mention all the other reporters that have been named just in this case alone.

In any case, it still seems to say that Cathie Martin's reply was not being accepted by Kristof.
I guess we just don't know. Kristof hasn't exactly been Mr. Forthcoming.

In any case, it still seems to say that Cathie Martin's reply was not being accepted by Kristof.

That's right, but that's simply reading the Kristof column's reaction to what Pincus had reported. It has nothing to do with direct contact between Kristof and Martin or anyone else in OVP.

I thought we learned that Scooter Libby didn't like to respond on the record to request for comments, not that OVP wouldn't respond.

As for Libby, yes, it is also the case that it was unusual for Libby not just to give on the record comments but to be so involed in press strategy altogether and talking to so many reporters. I take it that might be the meat grinder that Libby was asked - probably by the President - to stick his head or neck in. (Pincus in June was evidently because OVP, including both Martin and Cheney, seem to have felt that it was particularly important for Libby to talk to him.)

As for OVP, when the press stopped calling, it seems that sometimes it was because a narrative had become established as fact even if OVP wanted to contest it, but more generally the press would stop calling them for comment.

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