I've talked about Cheney's and Addington's Methods. Now I'd like to inventory the sources that Gellman and Becker used for their articles, as a way to understand where the shifting loyalties of the Administration lie. One thing that becomes clear by mapping this out is the centrality of Josh Bolten to many of the more damning accusations against Cheney. Thus, while these articles may reflect the fingerprints of Poppy (likely) or Scooter (implausible, IMO), I think it is primarily an attempt by the COS and possibly Condi to bring Cheney under control, aided by former Administration lawyers they know to have soured on Cheney's ways.
The anonymous sources at the bottom serve as a way of filling out who the named sources are below. For a list of all the people mentioned in the articles, see this page.
John Ashcroft: John Ashcroft is a named source (albeit a vague one) for a key confrontation in Gonzales' office and a likely unnamed source for some of the other disputes. It'll be interesting to see if he increasingly makes such public comments, seeing as how his testimony before HPSCI the other day clearly backed up Comey's.
James Baker: Is quoted in part two and shares his notes in part one (though the notes may come from someone's library). Baker states clearly that Cheney has been about the accumulation of power.
Brad Berenson: Curiously, the designated GOP firewall defense lawyer is a boisterous source for these articles (though, from personal experience, I can attest he is approachable). He seems intent on minimizing his own role--and that of John Yoo (whom he calls a "supporting player").
Josh Bolten: Bolten seems to be an important source for these stories, which raises very interesting questions about Bush's own view of the article. The quote that best sums up Bolten's critical attitude towards Cheney's power is this one: "The vice president didn't particularly warm to that," Bolten recalled dryly. Bolten is, of course, describing how Cheney refused to play an ordinary VP role, with some apparent bemusement. There's a later quote--The White House proposal, said Bolten, the chief of staff, "did not come out exactly as the vice president would have wanted."--that sounds like Bolten gloating.
David Bowker: Source for some of the issues affecting Powell.
Bryan Cunningham: Cunningham seems to be the source for the details about how Cheney and Addington bypassed Bellinger. He has left government to go into private consulting, so presumably his loyalties may be very anti-Cheney. Note that Bellinger himself is a Rice loyalist; if he is a source for this it would lend credence that she participated in this effort.
Gordon England: England describes his dismay about Addington's maneuvers on torture.
Tim Flanigan: Flanigan offers nowhere near as many on the record comments as Berenson and Yoo. It may be he's stuck in the position of defending the indefensible, and therefore remains more quiet. His most telling comment, however, is this one:
he still believes that Addington and Yoo were right in their "application of generally accepted constitutional principles." But he acknowledged that many battles ended badly. "The Supreme Court," Flanigan said, "decided to change the rules."
That is, he's just bummed (and talking) because Addington's efforts backfired.
Mike Gerson: Mike Gerson is described as an opponent to black sites, yet describes Cheney's motives favorably. There are a few more comments that similarly criticize Cheney while treating him as honorable which may come from him.
Bob Graham: There's no surprise seeing Graham provide details about the domestic wiretap program. He is one source (potentially the only one) reporting on the first briefing on the program given by Cheney.
David Gribben: Curiously, the article describes David Gribben as a friend from grad school. It doesn't mention he was also a Defense and Halliburton employee while Cheney was in charge, or that he was instrumental in the transition. Gribben's named quote seems to defend Cheney's method of sending "messages" while firing disloyal employees, which sure suggests Gribben remains loyal. As the one named OVP staffer in the article (Matalin aside) Gribben may be the source for some of the comments about Cheney's intentions.
Mary Matalin: Matalin is one of the surrogates for Cheney and Addington (both of whom declined to be interviewed). She stresses how important Cheney is, without commenting on the legality or efficacy of what he has done.
Brian McCormack: McCormack is one of the many people that has moved from Cheney's staff eventually onto Bush's (which surely helps Cheney keep tabs). Curiously, McCormack moved through the corrupt world of Defense acquisitions before ending up in a public liaison function (which, according to Susan Ralston, works with outside constituencies, which means he may remain in the corrupt world of crony contracting. McCormack's named quote is fairly vanilla, though he seems to be one of the few people who would talk about how Cheney set up his fiefdom even before Bush v. Gore was decided.
Alberto Mora: One of the military lawyers fighting back against Cheney, Mora is a likely source for some of the later meetings on torture.
Dan Quayle: Dan Quayle is a named source used to (humorously, IMO) depict how far out of the norm Cheney is. There are few interesting questions of loyalty in what he says.
William Taft: A Powell loyalist, Taft shows up admitting that he was an easy mark because he misunderstood the stakes of the fight.
John Yoo: Yoo is a named source for one incident where Cheney and Addington ignored his advice (not to spread the use of torture to the military). He may well be the source for some of the very detailed descriptions of the Addington/Yoo/Flanigan/Gonzales interactions.
It changed hands four times, according to witnesses, with emphatic instructions to bypass staff review. Berenson must be one source for this.
"What the hell just happened?" Secretary of State Colin L. Powell demanded, a witness said, when CNN announced the order that evening, Nov. 13, 2001. National security adviser Condoleezza Rice, incensed, sent an aide to find out. Even witnesses to the Oval Office signing said they did not know the vice president had played any part. The Powell comment must be a close aide--perhaps Taft (who is quoted) or Wilkerson. The Condi source could be her aide, or herself. And the "witnesses to the signing" must be some of the same ones used for the previous quote.
Bush works most naturally, close observers said, at the level of broad objectives, broadly declared. Cheney, they said, inhabits an operational world in which means are matched with ends and some of the most important choices are made. This is an interesting quote, described as "close observers." One of those observers might be Josh Bolten, who is quoted elsewhere. But the point seems to be to support the earlier claim that Cheney is not Bush's shadow President. In other words, these are people trying to rebut the main evidence of the article, that Cheney has usurped the Presidency.
His Secret Service detail sometimes reports that he is awake and reading at 4:30 a.m. This quote, along with the reference to Angler, suggests the authors spoke to someone in Secret Service. Perhaps this person would be so kind as to leak Cheney's visitors.
In the usual business of interagency consultation, proposals and information flow into the vice president's office from around the government, but high-ranking White House officials said in interviews that almost nothing flows out. Close aides to Cheney describe a similar one-way valve inside the office, with information flowing up to the vice president but little or no reaction flowing down. This quote is curious, as it suggests senior White House aides generally as well as OVP employees were describing Cheney's method of working information.
"There was a groan in the room that I won't forget, ever," one witness said. "It seemed like one groan from everyone" -- among them Rice; her deputy, Stephen J. Hadley; economic adviser Lawrence B. Lindsey; counselor Matalin; Cheney's chief of staff, Libby; and the vice president's wife. Cheney made no sound. "I remember turning my head and looking at the vice president, and his expression never changed," said the witness, reading from a notebook of observations written that day. Cheney closed his eyes against the image for one long, slow blink. Three people who were present, not all of them admirers, said they saw no sign then or later of the profound psychological transformation that has often been imputed to Cheney. [snip] Down in the bunker, according to a colleague with firsthand knowledge, Cheney and Addington began contemplating the founding question of the legal revolution to come: This is one of the most curious passages in the articles, because it seems to be designed to suggest that Cheney had an inhuman reaction to the fall of the towers (or, if you wear tinfoil, perhaps an unemotional one). But it's curious, too, because the primary source appears designed to be discovered. Richard Clarke described the following people to be in the bunker on 9/11: Cheney, Mrs. Cheney, Condi, Hadley, Matalin, Libby, Josh Bolten, Karen Hughes, and a Major Fenzel. Matching the two lists seems to suggest that Josh Bolten may well be the source for this curious detail, though it could be Hughes. And two more people weighed in on Cheney's response, at least one of them, presumably, an ally (Matalin?). Finally, one of the witnesses in the bunker described how Cheney and Addington immediately started rolling back the Constitution.
Before the day ended, Cheney's lawyer joined forces with Timothy E. Flanigan, the deputy White House counsel, linked by secure video from the Situation Room. Flanigan patched in John C. Yoo at the Justice Department's fourth-floor command center. White House counsel Alberto R. Gonzales joined later. We know that Yoo is a named source later in this article, so all of this might come from Yoo.
Gonzales "was not a law-of-war expert and didn't have very developed views," Yoo recalled, echoing blunter observations by the Texan's White House colleagues. This could be Berenson again (who had been Associate WH Counsel, so he'd know). But the statement is in the plural, so there is at least one other source mocking Gonzales' legal preparation for his job. Again, Bolten could be a candidate.
Among the excluded was John B. Bellinger III, a man for whom Cheney's attorney had "open contempt," according to a senior government lawyer who saw them often. I'm curious whether this source is a current senior government lawyer, or a former one. If the latter, it could be Berenson or Yoo or Cunningham. But if it's a current lawyer, it could be someone like Paul Clement, who got sent on a suicide mission by Addington.
"The interagency was just constipated," said one Cheney ally, who spoke on condition of anonymity. This might be Gribben, who says something similar on the record, or it could be Flanigan, who was involved in the workaround.
That draft, said one of the few lawyers apprised of it, "was very closely held because it was coming right from the top." This might be Berenson, who seems to be a source for the secrecy surrounding other issues.
According to participants, Ashcroft said that he was the president's senior law enforcement officer, supervised the FBI and oversaw terrorism prosecutions nationwide. The Justice Department, he said, had to have a voice in the tribunal process. He was enraged to discover that Yoo, his subordinate, had recommended otherwise -- as part of a strategy to deny jurisdiction to U.S. courts. Raising his voice, participants said, Ashcroft talked over Addington and brushed aside interjections from Cheney. "The thing I remember about it is how rude, there's no other word for it, the attorney general was to the vice president," said one of those in the room. Asked recently about the confrontation, Ashcroft replied curtly: "I'm just not prepared to comment on that." According to Yoo and three other officials, Ashcroft did not persuade Cheney and got no audience with Bush. Bolten, in an October 2006 interview after becoming Bush's chief of staff, did not deny that account. This passage comes from Yoo and three others, which presumably includes Flanigan and possibly Berenson. But that still leaves an extra witness to this, as Ashcroft appears not to have comment on the specifics (though appears to be a source for the larger article). It also can't be Bellinger, Rice, or Powell, who remained unaware of the work-around meeting.
Bowen objected, he told colleagues later, saying he had handled thousands of presidential documents without ever bypassing strict procedures of coordination and review. He relented, one White House official said, only after "rapid, urgent persuasion" that Bush was standing by to sign and that the order was too sensitive to delay. At least one of Bowen's colleagues repeated this story--perhaps Bellinger.
One lawyer in his office said that Bellinger was chagrined to learn, indirectly, that Cheney had read the confidential memo and "was concerned" about his advice. This is likely Bryan Cunningham, given the other pieces Cunningham appears to be the source for.
A White House lawyer with direct knowledge said Cheney's lawyer, Addington, wrote the memo. Again, the question here is, is this a current WH lawyer, or a former WH lawyer?
"It'll leak in 10 minutes," he predicted, according to a witness. This may well be Flanigan, since he is the one Addington made the comment to. Or it could be either Berenson or Yoo.
Cheney and his allies, according to more than two dozen current and former officials, pioneered a novel distinction between forbidden "torture" and permitted use of "cruel, inhuman or degrading" methods of questioning. 24 sources for this article. Some are no doubt the named sources we know: Berenson, Yoo, Flanigan, Cunningham, Mora, Ashcroft. But that leaves 18 unnamed former and current officials who have helped this story come to light.
According to a source with direct knowledge, that opinion approved as lawful a long list of specific interrogation techniques proposed by the CIA -- including waterboarding, a form of near-drowning that the U.S. government classified as a war crime in 1947. The source for this may well be Yoo himself, who is named in the next paragraph. Given his other statements here and his attempt to clarify where he believed important limits lay, he might want to clarify the content of this memo. Other possibilities are Berenson or Mora.
According to a former White House official with firsthand knowledge, they confronted Gonzales together in his office. One of my questions about this article is whether Condi was a source (the article never says she declined an interview. If so, she may well be the source for this--she is, after all, a former White House official. Otherwise, Berenson or Flanigan, as Gonzales' then associates, may be the source.
Decision time came in a heated meeting in Gonzales's corner office on the West Wing's second floor, according to four officials with direct knowledge, none of whom agreed to be quoted by name about confidential legal deliberations. Four sources: Berenson is almost certainly one, Flanigan and Yoo are candidates to be included. The big question is--did Ted Olson also serve as a source here? He was willing to resign to put some limits on the domestic wiretap program; he may well be willing to serve as an anonymous source. Brett Kavanaugh is another possibility, though he appears not to have been directly involved in the meeting. Finally, John Ashcroft is named--does "not providing details" include saying that there was a contentious meeting?
Cheney's office insisted on sending Olson's deputy, Paul Clement, on what Justice Department lawyers called "a suicide mission": to tell Judge Michael B. Mukasey that he had erred so grossly that he should retract his decision. Clement may be a source here which would (as some have pointed out) make him an excellent candidate to be Sidney's official at the height of power. More interesting is the suggestion there are more lawyers involved, some of whom may still be at DOJ.
Olson could make Cheney's argument that courts had no jurisdiction, but he wanted to "show them that you at least have some system of due process in place" to ensure against wrongful detention, according to a senior Justice Department official who closely followed the debates. This senior official could be someone like Comey himself or Jack Goldsmith. [Update: William Ockham argues that this must be a present official, making it likely that it's Paul Clement.]
"OVP plays hardball," said a high-ranking former official who followed the episode, referring to the office of the vice president. "No one would defend Philbin." This might be any of the senior DOJ officials named in the previous sections: Olsen, Goldsmith, or Comey, or even Ashcroft.
"Rumsfeld made clear, emphatically, that the vice president had the lead on this issue," said a former Pentagon official with direct knowledge. This person may not be antagonistic to the VP--it could just be someone noting the detail. Though does Mora count?
Without normal staff clearance, according to two Bush administration
officials, the vice president's lawyer added a paragraph -- just before
publication on July 21, 2005 -- to the OMB's authoritative guidance on
the 2006 defense spending bill. One source here is likely Bolten again--since he was head of OMB at the time.
Bush's advisers spent days composing a statement in which the president would declare support for the veto-proof bill on detainee treatment. Hours before Bush signed it into law on Dec. 30, 2005, Cheney's lawyer intercepted the accompanying statement "and just literally takes his red pen all the way through it," according to an official with firsthand knowledge. This is an interesting quote, because it suggests someone fairly close to Bush (and Bolten doesn't seem possible). I'd say it was Michael Gerson, then Bush's speechwriter, but he's a "former" official.
Like his boss, Addington disdained what he called "interagency treaties," one official said. He had no qualms about discarding language "agreed between Cabinet secretaries," the official said. Another interesting quote, since it seems to come from a present official.
Top officials from the CIA, Justice, State and Defense departments unanimously opposed the substitution, according to two officials. One of these might be Gordon England.
With Cheney's weight behind it, White House counsel Harriet E. Miers sent Addington's version to Bush for his signature. "The only person in Washington who cares less about his public image than David Addington is Dick Cheney," said a former White House ally. This one is really fascinating. It could be as simple as Berenson (who was long gone by the time this happened). But given the close proximity of the mention of Harriet, it raises the possibly that the SCOTUS justice scorned has now gotten cranky with her former boss.
Cheney and Addington, according to a former official with firsthand knowledge, favored a one-page bill. This one is interesting, since by the point this happened, the earlier sources--Berenson, Flanigan, and Yoo--were out of office. Both Haynes and Yoo, though, are described as continuing their contact with Addington, and Yoo is quoted about something that happened in 2006.
For all the apparent setbacks, close observers said, Cheney has preserved his top-priority tools in the "war on terror." After a private meeting with Cheney, one of them said, Bush decided not to promise that there would be no more black sites. This could be Bolten, but it kind of undermines his apparent purpose in this article. It could also be someone like Matalin, whose on-the-record statements in this article mirror this line--that Cheney remains powerful.
Cheney and his aides "didn't circumvent the process," one participant said. "They were just very effective in using it." This appears to be either a Cheney loyalist or someone admiring his nasty handiwork.
Two officials said the vice president has deadlocked the [torture] debate. This may be one of the people named just recently: Gordon England or Condi, who is still fighting this battle. It could also be Bolten.