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August 19, 2007

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Emptywheel,
Call me crazy, but I still think that there is more to this than has been revealed on the Fitz-Plame investigation. I firmly believe that there is a whole other nasty backstory to this that hasn’t seen the light of day - yet.

If I was a covert CIA agent - I’d be pissed, but patient - and if I were Rove, I’d be nervous...

This is right on, obviously. But I would just add two minor points:

in fact, even Bob Novak doesn't claim Richard Armitage gave him "then name--that that remains one of the items in Novak's column that had a virgin birth.

Novak actually claimed that Armitage gave him Wilson's wife's first name, but not her last name. Armitage claims that he did not mention her first name at all to Novak. It's a puzzling discrepancy, and I am inclined to believe Armitage because 1)he didn't give Woodward her name when he blew Plame's cover to him back in June; 2)it is mighty convenient that Novak would say he didn't get her last name from Armitage because, assuming the basis of Armitage's knowledge was the INR memo, he would have identified her as Valerie Wilson, not Plame - and Novak would probably know in any case that Armitage would be unlikely to have used Plame; and 3)Novak might have been worried about explaining why he gave either or both Wilson's friend on the street and Rove her first name - if he knew he had done that, he'd need to account for where he got her name, since he says he didn't look in Who's Who until after all his interviews (although why he couldn't just say he looked up Who's Who before he ever talked to any of them is a good question - maybe one of his assistants was involved?).

This, I believe, is a case of Rove believing his own (or Libby and Cheney's) propaganda).

Basically agree, but worth remembering that Libby and Cheney probably got that information from the CIA, which put it that - apparently mistaken - way in their April 2003 congressional notification which both Cheney and Libby read in early June 2003, after CIA faxed it to OVP.

You should let Chris Matthews know that Rove is disputing his report. Matthews made the same statement more than once on his show. He doesn't like when he's personally discredited -- this might prompt him to take a closer look at MC Rove again.

One other thing. There were all kinds of news stories, obviously sourced to Luskin, published back in 2005 about where Rove learned about Wilson's wife before he talked with Novak. I don't see why that shouldn't be part of what Fitzgerald unredacted in his recently released 2004 affidavits.

OMG! Gregory, who used to be the only one asking REAL questions at those stupid press briefings. How the mighty have been de-balled....

Reading what Cooper had to say later on in the show made me realize something about the utter goofiness of Rove's story, which has been sort of noted somewhere (in Hubris, I think): whatever happened with respect to Rove's acknowledgment of the conversation with Cooper, Rove basically had to tell a story where, when he confirmed for Novak on the 8th or 9th, he was just passing along what he had heard about Wilson's wife and he didn't know if it was true, but then, having talked with Novak and Libby, he became confident enough to pass information about Wilson's wife along to Cooper as fact on the 11th. The story that was published back in 2005 was that Rove was uncertain where he first heard about Wilson's wife, but he thought it was in a social setting, and from a reporter or two, though Libby was involved in there somewhere (before or after was often left ambiguous), and there was the conversation with Libby. So on that basis, he felt he had learned enough to pass it along to Cooper volunteered as fact.

This is weird enough to begin with. But two further features. First, there remains the question of what Rove testified he learned from Libby, and when - did he testify that Libby was passing on information from journalists? or simply as fact? And second, this may be part of why it was significant about Novak's column going up on the 11th. Even though the timing doesn't really work, Rove may have said he learned from Novak or from Hohlt on the 11th or before that he had a column coming stating that WIlson's wife was involved in his trip and so forth, so that Rove took it as fact. The trouble with that is that then Rove couldn't claim he didn't know it could be traced back to official government sources.

Here's the thing. Let's suppose Joseph Wilson's op-ed was chock full of fabrications, distortions, false innuendos, lies and misrepresentations. That still would not justify leaking his wife's CIA identity to discredit him.

One last thing (for now): It's worth underlining, several times, just how extraordinary it is that Rove denies that he was Novak's confirming source, when the simple fact of the matter is he was.

One of the fascinating things about this is that in denying that he was, Rove is essentially compelled to be making the claim that Novak performed bad and irresponsible journalism.

But how much confidence should we put in Gregory's claim that Novak had contemporaneous notes? It sounds plausible, but as far as I know neither Novak nor anyone else has ever publicly stated as much, unless I missed it.

I wonder when the TV movie will come out?
You know, if they covered a lie per episode, the Bush Administration would make a fascinating tv series. Trouble is, it would have to run five nites a week for about ten years to get the bulk of their lies out of the way.
Well, after the next election cycle we'll probably find out more about what truly took place.
I just hope Cheney allows the next election to go ahead.

Just to add:

...according to some dedicated investigative reporters at the respected Italian newspaper La Repubblica, they [forged Niger documents] resurfaced [after they had already been discredited] before long at a very suspicious meeting. This meeting occurred in December 2001 in Rome, and included Michael Ledeen, an associate of Defense Department Undersecretary for Policy Douglas Feith and a key figure in the White House's war-propaganda program, Larry Franklin, a top Defense Intelligence Agency Middle East analyst who later pleaded guilty to passing classified information to two employees of the America Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), convicted Iraqi bank swindler Ahmed Chalabi, then head of the CIA-created Iraqi National Congress, and Harold Rhode of the sinister Defense Department Office of Special Plans, that office set up by the White House and Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld....

http://www.commondreams.org/views07/0306-38.htm

Bottom line: Rove lied shamelessly to David Gregory on MTP.

That's all a congressperson or presidential candidate needs to say about this. They need to say it clearly and confidently. Then if someone asks the appropriate next question (what lies did Rove tell?), go into the details, using Marcy's always-superb analysis as a reference.

There is no sense numbing the average listener with all the facts and maneuvers. Just let the world know that Rove lied, that he continues to lie, and that he may still be in legal jeopardy.

That there's not a laugh track playing any time one of these smarmy hair-oil salesmen opens his mouth is an indictment of TV "journalism."

How very droll that Rove was quoting Napoleon on the talk shows this morning. One of my personal favorite Napoleon quotes was a parting shot at the departing Talleyrand, a scheming political manipulator of the day:

Ah! tenez, vous êtes de la merde dans un bas de soie!

(Oh, get out of here--you are a shit in silk stockings!)

Seems particularly relevent in Mr. Rove's case.

el Kabong

Please let's not get started with that again. Those very reporters have said there is absolutely no evidence tying Ledeen to the forgeries; Laura Rozen has reported the same. The passage you cite also contains some errors. So please let's not.

Rove also had some really rather remarkable things to say on Fox News today. Interestingly, Rove does not seem to understand why he got off the hook on charges for the underlying conduct:

WALLACE: But do you think that you should even have been discussing a CIA operative?

ROVE: Look. There are 30-some-odd thousand people who work at the CIA. I did not know that — and I'm not even certain to this day whether she fit the definition of a CIA operative.

WALLACE: I want to take you back...

ROVE: I would remind you also if she were, I suspect that the special prosecutor would have done something different about both Mr. Richard Armitage, who was the person who had an extensive conversation with Mr. Novak about this, and would have done something different about me.

Two other things of particular note. Despite the fact that Rove says everything he said today was already in the public record, there is some news on what it was he told McClellan, and the President:

WALLACE: Question: Did you mislead the present and Scott McClellan?

ROVE: No, I didn't. In fact, the president said classified information. I was very clear right from the beginning on this with both the counsel's office and with the FBI.And look. If I had leaked classified information, Peter (sic) Fitzgerald would have done something different. And what I told Scott McClellan was I didn't know her name, didn't know her status at the CIA.

It's not news that Rove hung his job defense on a legalism about classified information, just as Libby tried to do publicly. But it is news that he told McClellan only that he didn't know her name, as distinct from her identity as a CIA employee, however identified (whether as Valerie Plame, Valerie Wilson, or Wilson's wife or whatever); and that he didn't know her status at the CIA, as distinct from the fact of her CIA employment. I can't wait until Maguire gets a load of that - he has spent years and years complaining about NBC's public statement about Russert's knowledge or non-knowledge about Plame, which played exactly the same games. (I know, I know, Maguire will claim the point is that the stakes whether each was being casuistic and legalistic are different in each case.)

Finally, there is this gem:

WALLACE: Matt Cooper, the second reporter you're talking about, who then worked for Time, says you told him that Joe Wilson's wife, who worked for the CIA, authorized the trip.

ROVE: Which I had been told by a reporter.

Now, either Rove is saying he had been told that by Novak, in which case something doesn't make sense: how could he have told Novak he'd heard that too and serve as Novak's confirming source if Novak was the basis for his telling that to Cooper? or alternately, Rove is claiming that he was told that originally before talking with Novak by another reporter. Who? Again, what was reported in 2005 was that Rove thought he had heard it from one or two reporters, but couldn't recall whom. We know it's not Woodward. The only other reporter we know had knowledge of Plame's CIA identity by that point (that is, before Rove talks with Novak) is Judith Miller, and she strikes me as an unlikely source for Rove. I suppose there's always Cliff May, but he strikes me as an unlikely candidate. So who?

"Gregory (as one of the people whom Ari Fleischer leaked Plame's identity to)"

FWIW, I'm not comfortable with treating this as a fact. Gregory was supposedly told as part of a group including John Dickerson of Time and Tamara Lippert of Newsweek. Dickerson and Newsweek each reported, well in advance of Fleischer's claim of the trial, consistent accounts that Plame's identity was not leaked:

Newsweek:

... on a long Bush trip to Africa, Fleischer and Bartlett prompted clusters of reporters to look into the bureaucratic origins of the Wilson tripL. How did the spin doctors know to cast that lure?
Dickerson:
The senior administration official spoke to me on background about Wilson and the president's amazing decision to blame the CIA. Other reporters wandered in and out of the conversation, but there were stretches where it was just the two of us (my tedious newsmagazine questions always had a tendency to drive other deadline-oriented reporters away). The official walked me through all the many problems with Wilson's report: His work was sloppy, contradictory, and hadn't been sanctioned by Tenet or any senior person. Some low-level person at the CIA was responsible for the mission. I was told I should go ask the CIA who sent Wilson.

An hour later, as Bush spoke at an AIDS treatment center, I chatted with a different senior administration official, also on background. We talked about many different aspects of the story—the fight with the CIA, the political implications for the president, and the administration's shoddy damage control. This official also pointed out a few times that Wilson had been sent by a low-level CIA employee and encouraged me to follow that angle. I thought I got the point: He'd been sent by someone around the rank of deputy assistant undersecretary or janitor.

At the end of the two conversations I wrote down in my notebook: "look who sent." [...]

At some time after 1 p.m. his time, I called [Matt Cooper]. He told me that he had talked to Karl Rove that morning and that Rove had given him the same Wilson takedown I'd been getting in Uganda. But Matt had the one key fact I didn't: Rove had said that Wilson's wife sent him.

So, that explained the wink-wink nudge-nudge I was getting about who sent Wilson. Matt and I agreed to point out in our files to the cover story that White House officials were going so directly after Wilson. We also agreed that I wouldn't go back to my sources about the wife business. The universe of people who knew this information was undoubtedly small. Mentioning it to other officials would potentially out Rove as Time's source to his colleagues. Plus, it was Matt's scoop and his arrangement with Rove. He had a better sense of how to get the information confirmed without violating their agreement.

Note the discussion between Cooper and Dickerson, sharing the information and deciding how to pursue it. As Russert testified at the trial, NBC didn't have any such discussions before the Novak column, because no one there knew about Wilson's wife working for the CIA.

So the circumstantial evidence seems strong that Fleischer didn't really leak about Plame on that roadside in Uganda, his testimony notwithstanding. For whatever reason, he apparently got backwards who he did leak to (e.g., Pincus) and who he didn't.

Swopa

Sorry, the italics are my fault. That's a good connection on the Fineman column and Lippert - I'd always wondered where Fineman got that. Interestingly, recall that Fineman too confirmed hearing the same thing as 1x2x6 on Hardball on September 29, 2003 (I believe that's the date). Though he sources it to someone int he White House, which is significant, whom he considers reliable, he may have been encouraged to believe the story by what he seems to have known from Lippert. And i think I agree with your point here, though it seems that Cooper testified that he thought he had a source indirectly via another reporter - though he too may have been confused and then may have been deliberately ambiguous in testifying at trial in order not to give the defense an opening it didn't want anyway. So in other words, it served everybody's purposes for Cooper to be maddeningly ambiguous at trial about whether he was told about Wilson's wife by Dickerson.

However, this puzzles me:

As Russert testified at the trial, NBC didn't have any such discussions before the Novak column, because no one there knew about Wilson's wife working for the CIA.

Given your famous 1x2x6 theory, shouldn't you be committed to the notion that someone at NBC *did* hear on July 12, since Fleischer and Bartlett divided up the calls where Fleischer was going to call the papers (apaprently meaning the Times and the Post) and Bartlett was going to call the Sunday talk shows, so they could see what they were all working on in this regard? Or will you save the theory with the notion that between them they made 6 miscellaneous calls and we don't need Bartlett's presumed call to MTP to get to 1x2x6?

Swopa

I actually agree with you, completely. All of which makes it more likely that Ari was pursuing, like the others, a limited admission strategy, always drawing attention away from the leaks that matter. That is, Libby was happy to admit to leaking to Cooper (like Ari, he didn't leak to whom he said he did), because it distracted attention away frmo his leak to Judy, as well as his conversation with Novak.

But emptywheel, that doesn't make sense in the case of Ari, he was completely untouchable except for perjury, why take the risk? I'm not saying Fleischer wasn't lying, but it can't be explained by drawing attention away from the leaks that matter unless he was doing it purely and simply for the sake of others. And why would the Pincus leak be one that mattered, anyway, more than the others, that is? In Libby's case, it's clear, he pushed everything as late as possible, and drew a blank over Miller. But Fleischer claimed to have leaked earlier than he actually did (assuming he did not leak to Gregory-Lippert-Dickerson). Among other things, Libby's story meant that he was leaking only after Novak's column had already gone on the wires - and even though he testified that he did not know about Novak's column actually being out, still he may have calculated that no prosecutor is going to go after him (or the VP) for passing around information that is already sitting in hundreds of newsrooms around the country. (And he couldn't admit to knowing about the Novak column either because then he would have to admit he was aware that there were official sources for the information about Wilson's wife, not just journalistic gossip.)

Jeff

Let me distinguish between agreeing with Swopa on the "didn't leak" point and my comment that it is "more likely" that there was a more organized "admit to the leaks you didn't make" strategy.

I'm mostly thinking about suspicions on the part of some who were invovled that Ari is still lying. Mind you--Ari was COMPLETELY convincing when Jeffress asked him if he had abeen charged with perjury. He looked like shit. But then again,he's an accomplished liar.

Still, IF Ari is lying, I think the explanation would be that they all tried to confuse the issue.

Given your famous 1x2x6 theory, shouldn't you be committed to the notion that someone at NBC *did* hear on July 12, since Fleischer and Bartlett divided up the calls where Fleischer was going to call the papers (apparently meaning the Times and the Post) and Bartlett was going to call the Sunday talk shows...

I don't think Russert/NBC covered up -- or would try to cover up -- knowing about Plame before Novak's column, nor would Fitzgerald (who had Bartlett's testimony, and the AF1 phone records) build a case around Russert's lack of knowledge when there was evidence to the contrary. Thus I presume that whoever Bartlett called, he failed to talk to anyone at NBC.

emptywheel

I can easily see why people think Ari is still lying. I guess my point is the more minor one about what the explainatory motive would be - it would that Fleischer simply threw up a bunch of stuff to be confusing, as you suggest here, rather than trying to draw attention away from a specific leak. On a related note, surely one of the weirdest parts of Libby's story was his pretty detailed efforts to take responsibility for the reported July 12 leak to a Washington Post reporter by saying that yeah, he and Kessler (not even the right reporter!) might well have talked boondoggle. The only motive I can imagine for that, apart from the effort to sow sheer complex confusion, is that he might have feared that Cheney had talked with Pincus. But even that I think is unlikely.

As for Ari, it still is strangely risky if he was trying to just sow confusion too.

Swopa

Yes, that's a good case that Bartlett did not tell anyone at NBC. So either Bartlett actually called others besides the talk shows, or he didn't do his share of the leaking.

I posted a video on YouTube regarding just how deplorable of forgeries those documents were:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7NCH4CB5w3c

1. I think we ought to have a Special Counsel try to get to the bottom of this.

2. Re this:

Two appropriate follow-ups. First, "Are you saying that you told Bush that you leaked to Matt Cooper and confirmed the story for Bob Novak?"

And after Rove doesn't answer that, you ask "Did the story you told the FBI in October 2003 resemble the story you told in your fifth (FIFTH!?!?!?!) grand jury appearance in April 2006?"

I am not sure Rove ever testified to a specific memory of his side of the Cooper call; my recollection is that eventually he came in and discussed the possible meaning of his email to Hadley, but that he never admitted actually remembering the call. IIRC.

As to Novak, Rove's original story was that he may have discussed Plame with Novak but believed (during July, Aug, and Sept, anyway) that he had said too little to be the confirming source.

Murray Waas had part of that:

Rove told the FBI that when Novak mentioned Plame's CIA connection and that she might have played a role in selecting her husband to go to Niger, he (Rove) simply said that he had heard much the same information. According to sources, Novak later told investigators a virtually identical story.

This Waas story had that Rove version in which he admiited speaking to Novak but didn't think he said enough to be a source.

And, per Waas, the FBI didn't quite see how the conversation Rove described could have made him a source either, but of course they thought Rove was lying about what he said. Hey, everyone's a critic - eventually, Cooper explained that "I heard that, too" is a clear second sourcing, which may have helped Karl a bit.

3. Totally agree that Gregory is a bad choice for these interviews. Why oh why has he declined, at this point, to clarify his version of Ari's alleged leak to him?

Suspicious minds will note that Gregory would lose nothing by declaring, as Dickerson did, that Ari was wrong. OTOH, if Gregory came out and admitted that Ari was right, Russert's story that no one at NBC knew anything takes on water.

Tough to handicap, but one might infer that Gregory thinks silence is golden because disgracing the Washington Bureau chief (and his boss) is sort of unappealing.

Turk--

You nailed it.

Even if Joe Wilson lied about everything, it does not making outing a CIA agent not treason.

The Rep's continued return to the story of how they were "victims" of Wilson shows how blind they are to what that story demonstrates about their petty vindictive personalities.

One of the false assumptions used to frame the debate about who leaked Valerie Wilson's name is whose leak was published first -- Rove, Libby, etc. would all have us believe that since Armitage leaked to Novak and Novak was the first to publish, that makes Armitage the leaker. In fact, Libby gave Valerie Wilson's name to Judith Miller before Richard Armitage gave it to Robert Novak.

In addition, it makes no difference whether Armitage or Libby leaked first. The Bush administration officials and supporters associated with this episode would have you believe that there can be only one leaker, and that once you know who leaked first, anyone who did it afterwards is not culpable.

In fact, EVERYONE who leaked Valerie Wilson's name was wrong -- the fact that one person may have revealed classified information does not relieve anyone else of their responsibility to safeguard it. The proper response when a journalist was looking for a confirming source on Valerie Wilson's identity isn't "I heard that too." The correct reply would be "I have no idea what you're talking about and I can't answer one way or the other."

Why does Novak keep claiming that it was on July 8 that Rove confirmed? All you have to do is go on the internet and you will find scores of references that Novak testified the Rove confirmed on July 9. Why isn't he being investigated for perjury?

Another lie that Rove concocted was about trying to dissuade Cooper from writing about Plame. If Novak's story was laundered through the Off the Record Club via Holht and Rove, how credible does Rove thinks he is in this regard?

i like 1st repub 14th star's
comment.

who was "first" is just a defense lawyer's game and a p.r. person's distraction.

the whig's who leaked plame's name would have violated the law if they leaked her identity to their spouse, let alone discussed it with anyone who MIGHT put that name in the public domain.

Hosting Meet the Press must be hard, because I ve yet to see anyone worth a rats ass do it.

Karl Rove is wrong about the British Butler Commission, too.

Over on this side of the Atlantic, the uranium allegation started life as a simple deduction, based on incomplete and speculative reporting following Wissam al-Zahawie’s visit to Niger.

The British solicited and subsequently obtained fresh intelligence of questionable legitimacy in 2002 (early drafts of the British WMD dossier explicitly state that Iraq "purchased" large quantities of uranium, not that they had merely "sought" it).

MI6 did not immediately and completely discount this evidence, despite repeated warnings from their colleagues at CIA, but they agreed to tone down the language (it was all brokered with some difficulty). [2]

When the IAEA exposed the fraud at the United Nations in early 2003, the British government ran away from the fake stuff as fast as possible and the Tony Blair appointed Butler Review panel sought to lessen its significance, but it's clear enough from early drafts of the dossier and the Taylor ISC Report that the British partially based their judgment on unauthentic documents.

And contrary to what Karl Rove asserted in the interview, the Butler Committee did not say the intelligence was well-founded - they said the British government's assessment and immediate statements were well-founded, at that time.

"We conclude that, on the basis of the intelligence assessments at the time, covering both Niger and the Democratic Republic of Congo, the statements on Iraqi attempts to buy uranium from Africa in the Government's dossier, and by the Prime Minister in the House of Commons, were well-founded."

Is there a difference? Yes, a big one. Why? Because we now know that the British government received written summaries of the unauthentic documentary evidence in 2002, but the British did not get to examine the source documents upon which they were based until 2003.

Therefore, somewhat cryptically, the Butler Report concludes:

"d. The forged documents were not available to the British Government at the time its assessment was made, and so the fact of the forgery does not undermine it."

The committee's reasoning goes something like this: Even though a major plank of the British Government's case was riddled with woodworm, because British officials were not aware of the infestation at the time their assessment was made, the fact of the rot is irrelevant. Ministers acted in "good faith".

One final note. The Butler Committee was appointed by, and reported to, Tony Blair. Only one political party supported their work. Tony Blair's.

[1] http://tinyurl.com/hgj8j
[2] http://tinyurl.com/34ewjg

EW - I think you ought to send an op-ed piece to NYT and put your rebuttal in the paper of record. Rove and his minions should not be allowed to write their own version of this part of the history.

No matter how you slice it, "I heard that too" from a senior White House adviser is confirmation. Period. It is a separate disclosure of classified information. I suspect that any reporter or intelligence analyst would confirm that the confirmation is as valuable as the initial lead.

Rove goes to great lengths to imply that whatever it is he heard, he heard it from someone outside government, irrespective of whether they were authorized to be in possession of that information. That's a possible interpretation of his intentionally vague language. It is, of course, not the only meaning. Rove could have heard it from any number of people in or outside governmemt. The language, almost passive in form and certainly in intent, suggests Rove played no active part in the discovering or releasing the information. EW's timelines alone suggests that patently false.

Mr. Rove should be concerned about more than the Wilson's appeal. He should still be concerned about Fitzgerald following any leads that come to his attention, including any from Rove himself.

Fineman wrote this on Oct 2, 2003:

The moment that [Wilson] piece hit the op-ed page of the New York Times, it was all-out war between the pro- and anti-war factions, and between the CIA and its critics. I am told by what I regard as a very reliable source inside the White House that aides there did, in fact, try to peddle the identity of Joe Wilson’s wife to several reporters. But the motive wasn’t revenge or intimidation so much as a desire to explain why, in their view, Wilson wasn’t a neutral investigator, but, a member of the CIA’s leave-Saddam-in-place team.

I agree with Jeff re a possible motive for Fleischer - other than incredible team loyalty, why should he bother to lie and risk his immunity?

That said, I think he was lying, or at least conveniently confused, about a couple of points - e.g., hearing about Plame at his Libby lunch sort of mitigated his hearing about it from Bartlett while reading the CIA memo himself a few days later. It would have been even more awkward if Libby had not allegedly told him already.

Still his motive is a problem.

Funny, isn't it, how all this doesn't matter.

It wasn't Karl Rove or even Scooter Libby whose loose lips produced the 2003 Bob Novak story that first mentioned Valerie Plame as a CIA employee. It was the State Department's Richard Armitage, who was no friend of Rove or Libby or Bush.

Why did Armitage blow the whistle on Plame? Because everyone in Washington was wondering why in God's name the CIA sent that Democratic political hack Joe Wilson to Niger in 2002.

A year later, with Wilson distorting his Niger findings on Saddam seeking uranium, of course we needed to know that Wilson's wife's CIA job had at least a little to do with the CIA choosing him for that mission.

But Tom, how are you going to finesse that point? Plus, it makes no sense. It doesn't mitigate anything relevant: for Fleischer, who he heard it from first makes no difference to his legal fate, except that if he lies about it he exposes himself to criminal charges that otherwise he is utterly immune from. And for Bartlett, whether Fleischer heard from Libby prior to hearing from him makes no difference for what Bartlett did and for his possible legal exposure. Whether or not Fleischer had heard from Libby makes no difference to 1)whether Bartlett disclosed Plame's identity to reporters and with what intent; and 2)whether Bartlett either directed Fleischer to blow Plame's cover or coordinated with Fleischer to do that.

Oh, and Frank Warner is really out of it. To put it charitably.

"Sowing" confusion, Jeff?

Well, since we are making up conversations, let me try.
The bold will be Mr Rove talking.

~~So you heard that too, Mr Rove?~~

~~Why yes, I do believe so.~~

~~Well, then Marcy wants to know where you heard that!~~

~~Well actually I am not sure. You know how these things are. You hear something but you aren't quite sure where or who.~~

~~Mr Rove, Marcy thinks you are lying and wants a specific answer of source, place and time!!~~

~~Well, Marcy surely has a right to her opinion, but I just don't recall. Might I add that I read her book, and she has a future as a fictional writer.~~

Thanks for those annotations, Marcy, and for this follow-up discussion.

Here is what I wish Gregory had asked: If Wilson's op ed was so far off, why didn't someone in the Administration write an op ed in reply?

No one ever asks that.

"Sowing" confusion, Jeff?

Care to explain the scare quotes, "genius"?

And just to be clear, your theory is that Armitage deliberately blew her cover? And were Rove and Libby similarly motivated when they disclosed Plame's CIA identity to reporters? And also just to be clear, assuming you think so, since you seem committed to the notion that Plame's CIA employment was indeed a relevant part of the story about Wilson, you are completely at odds with Libby's legal defense, yes? Which claimed that Libby either did not mention Plame to reporters or forgot about it because for him she was not at all part of the story, or at best an extremely marginal part not worth mentioning. Care to "answer"?

Jeff, I think I would have left it at "Frank Warner is really out of it". Jeebus, even a casual Libby post attracts the loons like crazed ants to a picnic.

But the motive wasn’t revenge or intimidation so much as a desire to explain why, in their view, Wilson wasn’t a neutral investigator, but, a member of the CIA’s leave-Saddam-in-place team.

By the way, Tom, this point, going all the way back to fall 2003, is patently untrue. If that was the point the White House wanted to make, all they had to do was make the point that the CIA had sent Wilson. After all, if the CIA were such a team as described here, wouldn't the simple fact, asserted publicly by Fleischer on July 7, among others, that Wilson was sent by the CIA enough to identify him as, you know, a member of the CIA team?

It's also funny, because as far as I can tell from Hubris, Plame was not exactly (that is, not at all) a part of any such purported leave-Saddam-in-place team.

But it is really interesting that Fineman was essentially confirming the original 1x2x6 story, and as I mentioned, he had said essentially the same on TV, on Hardball, on September 29. So who do you think his source was? Adam Levine?

BIGBROTHER says:
Hello;
There is no IRAQ anymore. Bush have divided it back to the pre 1920 British model. An article in the NYT by seven 82nd Airborne non coms gives the most realistic evaluation of the American occupation of Iraq, the dissolving of their government the tribal/religious fractionalization and the emergence of a possible Shite state aligned with Iran who were defined as the "Axis of Evil" by the Bush administration. Bushco has caused the political demise of a nation, destroyed the infrastructure and caused 4 million people to be homeless, 600,000 Iraqis slaughtered not to mention the death of 3831 of our brave troops doing their duty. He has elevated nuclear tensions an armed the disarranyed factions. Worse even yet he has destabilized the whole region, caused Americas international and national reputation to be in the sewer with torture and disregard for the Geneva Convention, and wasted our national treasury creating a mountain of debt unparalleled in our history. He has politicized our Judiciary and all branches of government illegally and against the Constitution. In deregulating the economy by appointing industry corporate officials the foxes guarding the hen house, he has pushed the economy to the brink of recession ("It's the economy stupid"). He has brought our military to the breaking point while threatening to start another war with Iran. He has let escape Osama Bin Laden the chief of Jihad terrorism against USA and the instigator of 9/11. He has reduced our liberties and spying on us by satellite and our daily telecommunication which may be available to the RNC we do not know as he has thumbed his nose at Constitutional Congressional oversight by invoking "Executive Privilege" to stonewall thc U.S. congress and has installed an Attorney General and the Justice department as a "Firewall" against 'We the People". We are now more at peril of terrorism than ever and he has ignited the wrath of the 1.5 billion Muslims throughout the world. In doing this he has destroyed the reputation of the "grand old party". Republicans of Barry Golwater ilk such as Jon Dean are schocked at their neocon right-wing extremists who show no restraint in stooping to political "dirt tricks". If this administration is not held accountable a signal will be sent to future administrations that "the rule of law" is no restraint against immoral, unethical behavior and crimes against humanity. If extremism of the East is met with extremism from the West then the future of civilization is at the brink of annihilation.
This administration has shown no willingness to stop these actions. Impeachment by the US House of Representative, whether the Senate convicts or not, is now the only way for the American public and the US Congress to get to the bottom of who did what and what were criminal activities. This is an indictment of the far right who has united church and state against the wishes of the founding fathers who understood what devisiveness that has created. If we wish to continue to be controlled by a corporate oligarchy then Impeachment is off the table. If we wish to go back to democratic principals of transparent government by the people then we must Impeach this out of control administration who has abused their power and usurped even more power toward executive dictatorship.

hey, Frank, that argument is several months out of date.
Libby got convicted for his perjury, the question is why didn't Karl Rove get convicted for his.

Also your argument seems to boil down to Richard Armitage committed treason, but it was necessary treason.

Rove is trying to take attention away from him - while trying to keep his spin doctor intact.

Oh, and this converstaion is perhaps better.
Again Mr Rove in bold.

~~Mr Rove didn't you say "Oh, you know that, too."~~

~~Well, yes I did.~~

~~Well, isn't that confirmation of what the reporter was saying?~~

~~He could have taken it like that.~~

~~Well, how did you know it Mr Rove?
Did Dick Cheney or the President tell you?~~

~~Well, actually I didn't know it. I was just trying to appear to be knowledgeable. You know. Everyoone expects me to know everything. I was just trying to live up to my hype. It is really tough trying to be a legend you know. Also, I was fishing for information from the reporter, trying to find out what he thought was going on. ~~

Unless we truly believe the "pig in the poke" description of how Fleischer received immunity, it doesn't take much imagination to see that Fleischer would have had to hint at something worth giving immunity for. So perhaps he was pinned into his lunch with Libby story before he received immunity. Much of his story doesn't conform with what other say. Why would he lie about his lunch with Libby? Why would he lie about Dickerson and Gregory? Why would he lie about not telling Pincus?

As to the headline of this post, I agree. How silly for Gregory to not explain his part in this at this time. His "source" has confessed, so what is he hiding?
Anyway, it will be hard to convince me there aren't other reporters (and other sources) out there sitting on more of the story. We only know Woodward was sitting on a source because he talked. We only know about Gregory because Fleischer talked. We don't know who talked to Miller (or to whom Miller talked) and I doubt we'll ever know who all Novak spoke with (I still suspect a CIA source). In a way, it's like trying to do a paint by number without all the paint colors.

From Jeff:

But Tom, how are you going to finesse that point? Plus, it makes no sense.

The idea that Fleischer would deliberately lie to protect anyone or anything does not make much sense.

However! I think his story was helpful to Bartlett; in another universe, Fleischer would have said he first learned of Plame from Bartlett and leaked at his direction; since Bush and Bartlett are joined at the hip, one might wonder what Bush's involvement was.

Fortunately, Fleischer first learned of Plame from Libby, agent of the Dark Nemesis himself (Cheney, for the uninitiated). So that sort of frees up Bartlett to tell a slightly different story about what he told Fleischer, and lets Fleischer claim he leaked on his own initiative rather than at Bartlett's direction.

Emphasis on "sort of". As much as Fleischer's story may look like a convenient misdirection play to point at Cheney and protect Bush, there is still the puzzle of why he would risk his immunity. And there is no accounting for Pincus - why lie about that?

Maybe it was just honest confusion by Fleischer (or maybe the motive to lie about Pincus was to lay the groundwork for a "complete confusion" defense). But I would feel better if Fitzgerald had even attempted to sort it out by calling Dickerson and Gregory. Oh, but I forgot - neither Gregory nor Mitchell wanted to testify. Judy Miller, by way of contrast, presumably wanted to spend some quality time in jail.

Just to be clear, then, Tom, you're signing up for the White-House-v-OVP defense which, alas, never came to fruition from Team Libby. (I wonder why.) I want to make sure I'm clear about a couple of things about your theory:

1. Why, on this theory, did Fleischer acknowledge learning from Bartlett at all?
2. On this theory, Bartlett and Fleischer coordinated their stories before Bartlett testified, correct? As well as before Fleischer testified, of course.
3. On your theory, how did Fleischer learn not just that Libby knew about Plame, but that he specifically knew that she worked in CPD? One possible chain: Addington to Gonzales - they shared documentary evidence before turning it over, and we know the Libby note from June 2003 indicating Libby's knowledge that Plame was CPD was turned over early on - to Bartlett to Fleischer. If this is the road you want to go down, you're pretty soon going to implicate many senior members of the White House in some very serious obstruction of justice allegations.
4. On your theory, even with the qualification, you're committed to some version - not impossible to believe - that Fleischer took his chances with his own personal incarceration in order to protect Bush, because in fact there was good reason to believe if not to know that Bush was involved. Hoo boy.

Tom

Nothing on Rove's unbelievable parsing? Nothing? He misled the press and the American people for several years by telling McClellan that he didn't know her name and didn't know her CIA status. If I'm not mistaken, this is the precise parsing from Russert that drove you nuts. The only difference is that Russert wasn't parsing - he didn't know that Wilson's wife, however identified, worked at the CIA before Novak's column. Or at least, so he testified under oath. Whereas Rove effectively used McClellan - who perhaps was a willing participant, fair enough - to lie to the American public for several years. Where's the outrage?

Oh, and paging the esteemed Mr. Warner. Come back and explain your nonsense.

Here's what Cooper said yesterday:
I didn’t know Ambassador Wilson even had a wife until I talked to Karl Rove and he said that she worked at the agency and she worked on WMD.

Considering he and his partner were talking to Wilson at the time, and considering that Cooper had to get confirmation on this before he could print (per Time editors), wouldn't he ask Wilson if he did have a wife? Why not try to get confirmation from Wilson himself?
I recall Pincus also has said he didn't even know Wilson had a wife, but then he didn't believe that the wife sent Wilson AND he didn't try to go to print with that scoop.
I would have loved Gregory to ask Cooper if he told Wilson that Rove was talking about his wife. Wilson went right for Rove with the frogmarching comment.

wouldn't he ask Wilson if he did have a wife? Why not try to get confirmation from Wilson himself?

We have empirical evidence of what Wilson said when journalists called asking about his wife after being told by senior administration officials that WIlson's wife was CIA and involved in his trip. He told Robert Novak, "I don't talk about my wife," or words to that effect, refusing to confirm Novak's question about whether his wife was CIA. Keep trying, though, MayBee. Eventually, you'll find some shred of evidence that Wilson told someone he wasn't supposed to. Maybe Pincus at that July 4 barbecue? Eh, eh? Wasn't that the going theory for a while?

Speaking of Pincus:

I recall Pincus also has said he didn't even know Wilson had a wife, but then he didn't believe that the wife sent Wilson AND he didn't try to go to print with that scoop.

Right, because he talked with his prodigious CIA contacts - I'd bet on Harlow, among others - and he didn't believe it. Keep trying, though.

I would have loved Gregory to ask Cooper if he told Wilson that Rove was talking about his wife. Wilson went right for Rove with the frogmarching comment.

Could be. But Wilson pointed to broadcast journalists telling him that Rove was going after the Wilsons, post-Novak. And that jibes with Wilson backing down a bit, because he didn't know for sure that Rove had blown his wife's cover pre-Novak column, though of course it turned out that he had, twice (at least).

Keep trying, though. I'm sure the liberal media did it.

Gregory obviously knew that TraitoRove was lying about Wilson's op-ed but he let him lie. Gregory also obviously knew that even TraitoRove's admission of what he told Novak amounted to confirmation of Plame's CIA status. And, Gregory knows full well that the dismissal of the civil suit was based upon the Wilsons' status as public figures, not the vindication of the traitors who leaked her undercover status.

After the way Gregory went after McClellan at the press conference about McClellan's earlier false assurances that TraitoRove had nothing to do with this, Gregory's failure to skewer that lying traitor was especially disappointing. Gregory could have at least forced Rove to admit he lied to McClellan.

Someone please slice and dice this scumbag Rove over his easily proven lies.

And, why no questions about TraitoRove's boytoy Jeff Gannon?

Does anyone in the MSM have the balls to expose Rove?

Keep trying what?

I don't disbelieve that Rove mentioned Wilson's wife to Cooper. I just wonder if, and find it likely that, Cooper would have asked Wilson about it for at least an attempt at confirmation. As I said, Pincus didn't believe the story, and you are probably correct that it is due to his CIA contacts. As for the 4th of July article, do you want me to use every theory ever brought up on this blog or FDL on you? I don't even know why you brought it up- I'm certainly not casting aspersions on Pincus. I'm comparing what he did to what Cooper did.
After all, Novak and Miller have been scrutinized pretty prodigiously, while there seems to be little curiousity about Cooper's motives and methods.
Knowing how Wilson responded to Novak (after Novak called him an asshole) doesn't satisfy my curiousity about how he would respond the second time he's asked about his wife, by a more friendly source. Novak was never going to write War on Wilson?, was he. It certainly doesn't satisfy my curiousity about Cooper's motives and methods, which is what I was asking about here.

MayBee

Keep trying somehow or other to blame it on Wilson and/or the media. This is just the latest effort, all unavailing, to find somehow that Wilson inappropriately discussed his wife with members of the media. And the obvious reason Cooper hasn't received the same scrutiny as Novak and Miller is, well, obvious, which is that Cooper was not in sympathy with the senior administration officials who were disclosing PLame's CIA identity the way Novak and Miller were. Why your purported curiosity is relevant to the discussion here is not entirely clear to me. It's just idle curiosity, is that it? But I would add that you're just wrong that Cooper's interactions with the senior administration officials who blew PLame's cover haven't been examined closely.

And again, you want to talk how Wilson dealt with friendlier reporters, if his response to Novak isn't enough evidence for you that he was not going to comment on his wife? He certainly didn't disclose his wife's CIA connections to Walter Pincus during their evidently ample discussion(s) before July 12, 2003, when Pincus learned about Wilson's wife for the first time.

Just to be clear, then, Tom, you're signing up for the White-House-v-OVP defense...

I don't know if I am signing up for it, but I am certainly flagging it as a scenario which was under-explored by most, including Fitzgerald. Also, it intersects nicely with the notion that Fitzgerald/Comey/Aschcroft were all part of a Get-Cheney uprising - to outward appearances Fitzgerald did steer clear of vigorously investigating State and Powell, as well as the Fleischer/Bartlett/Bush path.

1. Why, on this theory, did Fleischer acknowledge learning from Bartlett at all?

Too many witnesses on AF1, but see next.

2. On this theory, Bartlett and Fleischer coordinated their stories before Bartlett testified, correct? As well as before Fleischer testified, of course.

Not necessarily - Bartlett may have told a favorable tale, then told Ari and asked him to play ball.

3. On your theory, how did Fleischer learn not just that Libby knew about Plame, but that he specifically knew that she worked in CPD?

Well, the press people know everything - certainly by January 2004 it should have been obvious to a WH insider that Libby had been researching Wilson and heard about Plame (e.g., Cathie Martin knew), even if his leaking was not clear.

As to implicating senior WH people - maybe Bartlett was protecting his own derriere and figured no one would believe denials of Bush's involvement even if they were true.

And maybe Fleischer's motive was to protect his own access for a book deal, lobbying, or some such.

But yes - if Fleischer and Bartlett cooked up a story to get Libby, that is pretty serious. Maybe Fitzgerald investigated that.

Nothing on Rove's unbelievable parsing? Nothing? He misled the press and the American people for several years by telling McClellan that he didn't know her name and didn't know her CIA status. If I'm not mistaken, this is the precise parsing from Russert that drove you nuts.

1. I would like to think I was nuts long before Rove blessed our lives.

2. If Rove was the most trusted man in something or other and constantly told stories about the Catholic nuns who schooled him and his earnest, honest dad, I would be a bit more exercised by his duplicity here.

Re Cooper's " I didn’t know Ambassador Wilson even had a wife" - that actually is pretty funny. Andrea M had Wilson's home phone, the WaPo crew was out for the 4th of July barbecue, but the TIME guy knows nothing.

Whatever - Cooper is not well-positioned to bemoan power couples and probably wishes the whole topic would go away.

We have empirical evidence of what Wilson said when journalists called asking about his wife after being told by senior administration officials that WIlson's wife was CIA and involved in his trip.

Hmm, Wilson's self-serving statements to David Corn are "empirical evidence"? Who knew?

But I would add that you're just wrong that Cooper's interactions with the senior administration officials who blew PLame's cover haven't been examined closely.

And I would add that failing to call Dickerson (then of TIME) hardly meets a standard of "close" examination. Then again, Fitzgerald had the dates wrong in his letter to the defense (the same letter where he forgot to include Gregory with Dickerson), so maybe he didn't investigate because he thought the Fleischer leak was later in July. Or August, maybe.

He certainly didn't disclose his wife's CIA connections to Walter Pincus during their evidently ample discussion(s) before July 12, 2003, when Pincus learned about Wilson's wife for the first time.

Interesting - Pincus has specifically denied knowing about Ms. Plame's CIA affiliation, but Nick Kristof has not.

Just to grind gears for a moment, since oddball theories are on the table, how about this one from the post:

Shorter Rove: If I apologized, that lawsuit would get put back into play faster than you can say "Valerie Plame is a CIA spy."

But not faster than I can finish laughing. I suppose even the reality based are entitled to a fantasy life but please - that lawsuit was never alive and is now dead. In any case, Rove was just one of many parties to the lawsuit - the employee immunity enjoyed by the others is hardly affected by a Rove apology.

But more importantly, does any lefty seriously think that Rove is (a) interested in apologizing to lefties?, or (b) worried that righties think he owes the Wilson's an apology? C'mon - if Rove apologized, the folks he listens to would be furious and the folks who hate him would still hate him.

If he did want to apologize (as if!) it would be easy enough to deliver something devoid of legal implications. He didn't apologize because it is not his style and because righties would be annoyed, not because of any legal fantasies enjoyed by the Wilso-philes.

1. Why, on this theory, did Fleischer acknowledge learning from Bartlett at all?

Too many witnesses on AF1

But they didn't witness the part where Bartlett directed Fleischer to leak?

Bartlett may have told a favorable tale, then told Ari and asked him to play ball.

So Bartlett just took his chances that his ex-colleague would agree to lie in order to protect not himself - on the contrary, to expose himself dramatically by committing a definite crime - but someone else, either Bush or Bartlett himself. So if Fleischer refused to play ball, Bartlett was up a creek. So that was Bartlett's effort to protect himself and the President?

certainly by January 2004 it should have been obvious to a WH insider that Libby had been researching Wilson and heard about Plame (e.g., Cathie Martin knew), even if his leaking was not clear.

Non-responsive, since my question was how Fleischer would know precisely that Libby knew that she worked nowhere other than CPD. Did Cathie Martin know that by January 2004? I suppose Jenny Mayfield may have. Tell me how it got from her to Fleischer? I still like my Gonzales connection as your best bet.

And maybe Fleischer's motive was to protect his own access for a book deal, lobbying, or some such.

And Fleischer decided to lie under oath for that, when if he told the truth he was off scotfree?

But yes - if Fleischer and Bartlett cooked up a story to get Libby, that is pretty serious. Maybe Fitzgerald investigated that.

Yeah, and maybe you seem to know a lot more about Fitzgerald's investigation than anyone else does. There's a lot about Bartlett we don't know. Not to say he did investigate that. But if there were too many people around Fleischer and Bartlett for them to deny they talked about Plame on AF1, how did they get away with the lie about deciding together or one directing the other to blow Plame's cover?

If Rove was the most trusted man in something or other and constantly told stories about the Catholic nuns who schooled him and his earnest, honest dad, I would be a bit more exercised by his duplicity here.

Ok, so it's not the duplicity that bothers you, it's the hypocrisy? So you don't mind that Rove lied for years to the American people. You mind more that Russert is a sanctimonious prig? And anyway, isn't - or wasn't during the entire period of the investigation - Rove the most trusted man in Republican politics? Doesn't that count for something?

Hmm, Wilson's self-serving statements to David Corn are "empirical evidence"? Who knew?

Confirmed by Novak. Two sources, baby, two sources. Or alternately, 100% of the participants in the relevant colloquoy.

but Nick Kristof has not.

Ok, so you are staking out the position that you believe Plame or Wilson told Kristof that she was CIA?

As for the general point, I find this funny and nicely shaved:

to outward appearances Fitzgerald did steer clear of vigorously investigating State and Powell, as well as the Fleischer/Bartlett/Bush path.

I notice that Armitage has dropped out, and of course Rove is not on your list. The notion of the Get-Cheney cabal as far as Fitzgerald is concerned is ludicrous, unless you're prepared to explain where Armitage and Rove fit. Also, I'm inclined to think Fitzgerald paid as much deference to Cheney as to Bush, everything we know considered.

And the obvious reason Cooper hasn't received the same scrutiny as Novak and Miller is, well, obvious, which is that Cooper was not in sympathy with the senior administration officials who were disclosing PLame's CIA identity the way Novak and Miller were.

I know you are not implying that a reporter that is unsympathetic to the administration wouldn't be interested in slanting the story. If you are saying he hasn't received the same scrutiny from left-leaning bloggers, I understand. That doesn't explain, however, why he wouldn't receive scrutiny from Gregory or another interviewer. Which leads me to....

Why your purported curiosity is relevant to the discussion here is not entirely clear to me. It's just idle curiosity, is that it?

Because the title of this post is "why you don't have guys that are part of the story...." covering the story. Gregory not pressing Rove for the full story is as egregious as Gregory not pressing Cooper for the full story. Why should anyone just take either of them at their word? Neither one has been indicted, after all (unless it's been done secretly and/or rejected by Fitzgerald), and both have strong reason to slant their story against the other. Furthermore, Gregory not pressing himself is equally egregious.

Gregory not pressing Rove for the full story is as egregious as Gregory not pressing Cooper for the full story.

What a joke. Rove was the story, on Sunday and in 2003, in a way that Cooper was and is not - and that's not an artifact of some liberal media bias or blindness. Furthermore, Rove in fact has to concede the story to Cooper, since Rove's (non-credible but nevertheless) story is that he has no recollection of discussing Plame with Cooper, and he in fact concedes to Cooper's documents explicitly. Furthermore, Cooper has no strong reason to slant his story against Rove. Gregory should be forthcoming about his own role about the case. But it is not equally egregious to Rove lying to the press and the American public for years on end about his own role in the case, for multiple reasons beginning with the fact that a reporter not being forthcoming is quite different from the President's closest advisor lying publicly.

And oh yeah, I thought I remember this, and just checked. TIME did in fact ask Wilson about his wife:

In an interview with TIME, Wilson, who served as an ambassador to Gabon and as a senior American diplomat in Baghdad under the current president's father, angrily said that his wife had nothing to do with his trip to Africa. "That is bulls__t. That is absolutely not the case," Wilson told TIME. "I met with between six and eight analysts and operators from CIA and elsewhere [before the Feb 2002 trip]. None of the people in that meeting did I know, and they took the decision to send me. This is a smear job."

As I recall (though I don't have my documents with me), it was Calabresi who talked with Wilson, though again I don't recall whether it was before or after Novak's column came out.

angrily said that his wife had nothing to do with his trip to Africa. "That is bulls__t. That is absolutely not the case,"

heh.

And if he had said otherwise you would accuse him of confirming what Rove had told Cooper and therefore outing his wife. heh.

And if he had said otherwise you would accuse him of confirming what Rove had told Cooper and therefore outing his wife. heh.

Well, that Wilson denial followed the Novak outing.

Back to my theories:

But they didn't witness the part where Bartlett directed Fleischer to leak?

Bartlett's venting may have been obvious to all and sundry but it does not follow that Fleischer never had a quiet moment with his boss, Bartlett.

So if Fleischer refused to play ball, Bartlett was up a creek. So that was Bartlett's effort to protect himself and the President?

Depends entirely on what Bartlett testified to. Suppose he said that he couldn't remember if he discussed Plame with Fleischer but remembered thinking (and might have said, to Fleischer or someone else) that it would be great if that story got out, assuming there were no sensitive issues.

Fleischer's truth is that he then ignored the implicit warning and leaked - did he commit the felony, or did Bartlett? Remember, Fleischer had *use* immunity, bot full immunity - if Fitzgerald could make the case without his testimony, Fleischer could be charged.

So maybe Fleischer figured it would be easier for both him and Bartlett if he didn't remember discussing Plame with Bartlett. And who was a jury going to believe - the actual leaker telling a self-serving story about his boss maybe instructing him to do it, or Bartlett? Not an easy call.

As noted, it was *use* immunity. Although Fitzgerald's willingness to grant that suggests he wa snot seriously going after Ari.

Non-responsive, since my question was how Fleischer would know precisely that Libby knew that she worked nowhere other than CPD.

Who knows? There are surely a variety of possibilities, so why choose?

And anyway, isn't - or wasn't during the entire period of the investigation - Rove the most trusted man in Republican politics? Doesn't that count for something?

Trusted to win elections and annoy Democrats.

Ok, so you are staking out the position that you believe Plame or Wilson told Kristof that she was CIA?

I have long believed that Kristof might have known, and have long argued that he delivered a classic non-denial on Oct 11, 2003. As to whether I believe that it actually happened, that is a different question. Meanwhile, no reporter or prosecutor has darkened Kristof's day.

More later...

Well, that Wilson denial followed the Novak outing.

Interesting. How do you know that? MayBee seemed to be suggested that she suspected TIME went to Wilson for confirmation about his wife before the Novak column.

it does not follow that Fleischer never had a quiet moment with his boss, Bartlett.

Right but why testify about talking with Bartlett about calling reporters on July 12 at all?

Remember, Fleischer had *use* immunity, bot full immunity - if Fitzgerald could make the case without his testimony, Fleischer could be charged.

Are you sure about that? I thought that Fleischer could only be charged with perjury; otherwise he was home free. Even if not, though, I think you've got the incentives exactly backward (see under, most recently, "Monica Goodling"): if you've got use immunity as you describe it, your incentive is to cop to the incriminating parts, to convince your potential accuser that he's not going to be able to convincingly argue that he got you without your testimony.

Who knows? There are surely a variety of possibilities, so why choose?

Because you are making a completely unconvincing case, on multiple grounds, that Fleischer lied about Libby telling him that Wilson's wife was CIA/CPD on July 7 2003.

Trusted to win elections and annoy Democrats.

I am warming to the Tom Maguire view of Republican politics: "Sure, maybe our #1 party guy is a duplicitous liar, but hey that's why he annoys Democrats! Plus, he wins elections! Now let's get mad at the duplicitous liars in the MSM who proclaim their Catholic virtues of humility and so forth!"

I'd love to hear from Kristof too, and Cliff May . . .

Karly-boy dances like a fat little pig before his cute little house of Kards fully confident(in his Bush-league-backed squealings) that the Big Bad Wolf will never blow his house down. That Wolf is well known to all the many stench-holders in politics. His name is Truth!

But Tom, you promised more later.

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