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September 16, 2007

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Here's what bothers me: I'm noticing a trend that when people talk about the need for a third political party, what they mean is a party for Hagel and Chafee types. That's what's considered to tbe the antidote for our two parties--one that's right in the middle. I keep hoping for a party that's more radical, or at least progressive, than the existing ones. If we get a third party, it's going to be for people like Lieberman to join and decry partisanship.

I'm putting together a list of Republicans who might be worth our lobbying efforts, here's the short list so far, just looking for potential new names...

I'll check back later, hope this wasn't too off topic.

The following is slightly off topic, thought you might appreciate this EW, or did I get the c=school reference wrong?...

http://www.boston.com/news/globe/magazine/articles/2007/09/16/open_campus/

Bob Barr
Bruce Fein
James Comey
Richard Clarke
Tyler Drumheller
Chuck Hagel
Olympia Snowe
Susan Collins
John Danforth
Colin Powell
Christie Todd Whitman
Lawrence Wilkerson
Kevin Phillips
Paul O’neil,Pat Buchanan
William F Buckley
Bruce Fein
John Dean
Flynt Leverett
Robert McNamara
Lincoln Chaffe

Greenspan said the war is about OIL. No big surprise there but the White house isn't happy.

Saltin

Me, now that the Democratic party has become Chafee's daddy's Republican party? I hope we rebuild the Democratic party where it should be, significantly to the left of Daddy Chafee's party.

I credit those like Hagel. I just wish he'd name the senators who most prompted his decision.
We need a spokesperson who cannot be touched legally, who can talk to the Al Qaida about their possible next goal and against further violence, and who can make sense and has no connection to the twisted mind of Bush.
For whatever reason so many Democratic senators have died in mysterious "accidents", such as Wellstone, how tragic it is now, indeed. Wellstone had courage and plenty of it. There could not have been the mass ignorance or whatever it is going on in the senate.

With luck, we may be about to hear a lot more from Hagel. If he gets going, he's a hell of a strong voice. In fact, a lot of the people on JEP's list are strong voices.

... and, by the way, there was a March yesterday with a lot of people - but not much in the way of photos in the news. Was 100,000 people not enough?

... the Greenspan link gets mew a 404 error.

Should I drive an hour and a half to see Jim Comey (and others) talking about the First Amendment and the Valerie Plame case?

Jane S - If I had the time, and it was only 90 minutes away, I would. Where is this deal and what is it?

bmaz--it is at Washington and Lee law school, http://law.wlu.edu/powell/

I was looking to see if someone I knew had commented to the press on Chemerinsky and I discovered this conference. I thought it was a little strange for Comey to be talking first amendment but he did have some involvment in the Plame case. I can't stay for the whole thing b/c I have to come home and pick up my son from preschool but it could be interesting...

Interestin. I guess for me, Comey by himself wouldn't be enough, but Chuck Rosenburg will be there and, maybe more importantly, Rod Smolla who is an interesting chap and a pretty good guy as well as campaigner for first amendment freedom.

Off, damn bold! Messin' with our Jodi detection system.

Jane S. - Yes! It sounds like they'll cover the use/misuse of classified compartmentalization, or at least take questions on it.

On the Plame Case, Libby appeared to use an 'in-house' compartmentalization scheme either designed and vetted by Addington, or at least, he had Addington's technical advice and support for it.

The way Libby used the Compartmentalization Scheme to hide his document trail is eerily similar to the way Rove used the Press' Confidentiality of Sources Privilege to hide his leaking activities.

Rove was using the Confidentiality Shield to hide an orchestrated smear campaign targeting the Wilson's, while Libby used his Make-a-Stamp Classification system to hide, among other things, the insta-declassification of an Originally "Top Secret" Memo to "Treated as Secret," apparently just before the Leak to Judy.

If they take questions, please consider asking this one: "Should a Political System of Compartmentalization [the Libby System] be allowed to over-ride, or negate, the Standard Operational System of Compartmentalization used to protect sensitive information from misuse?"

In other words, can Bush tear open the security envelope around Valerie Plame Wilson's Classified Identity - then tell someone about it [Cheney, Libby, Judy] - and then 'hide' the fact that he did it using his own classification scheme?

The only reason we even know this happened is because 'inside' Valerie Plame Wilson's classified envelope was an even more secret envelope containing her 'Covert Status.' In the rush to smear Valerie's Classified Identity, her Covert Status blew-up in Bush's red hands.

Here's a question and a follow-up on the Wiretapping Case I'd like to see answered by Mr. Comey: 'Is it a misuse of compartmentalization to 'hide' the legal opinions used to support classified programs from those responsible for certifying those programs?' If so, what is the legal recourse for bringing those Opinions under 'outside' review?

so much better.

Washington and Lee University is three hours southwest of Washington, D.C, according to their home page. Anyway (including contributing to the cost) of getting any of our DC-based commentors to Lexington, VA? Working with FDL might just do it.

As for bold, if it is a byproduct of an early warning Jodi-detection system, I, for one, welcome it.

Radiofreewill--I'll print out your comment and take it along. I am reading the Charlie Savage book and I do sort of wonder if Ashcroft wasn't made aware of the OLC opinions on the wiretapping. Ashcroft had no love for Yoo and agreed with Goldsmith that the legal reasoning wasn't sound but why wouldn't he have picked up on it earlier?

Jane S -- It would be fascinating to hear them speak, I think. At a minimum, you get a nice drive in some beautiful country! W & L is an outstanding location. I got to spend a considerable amount of time last year and the year before in Virginia and made a number of forays out from the DC area. Lexington was one of them, and if I could live anywhere I chose, that would be the spot!

As for those leaving the Republican Party, or who are otherwise disenchanted, I am one! I bailed out a long time ago when I got tired of listening to the likes of John Cornyn defend the idiocy this regime has inflicted on our nation in the name of the Republican Party. The real tragedy is that I see NO ONE -- either Republican or Democrat -- who I feel has a real vision of where we need to be, and is capable of leading us through the coming years.

If a third party is what it takes to get a good strong moderate to run, and help heal this nation by turning off the rhetoric for a while, then I am all for it.

I have to applaud Hagel for standing up and saying what he believes in defiance of those in power. I just hope that those with a similar mind will do the same.

Who, me?

: )

It's pretty sad for any progress on constitutional crimes, warmongering, killing civilians, state secrets, etc. if Hagel is replaced with a Bob "my Positions are the same as John McCain's except I like torture better" Kerrey. *sigh*

Jane S, the symposium isn't on - and you won't get a chance to ask a question on - what I would like to see Comey answer (i.e., how you justify invoking state secrets to cover up the DOJ involvement in the torture of a torture victims act plaintiff, but here are some things that do tie in.

How does the classification executive order work as a real world matter, when it says on the one had that no illegal activities may be classified, and on the other hand the DOJ is busily at work, arguing that anything the President wants to do is legal?

On a related note, if Comey decided to describe to a reporter what the program for which he found "no legal basis" included, how would the provision of the Executive order, excluding from classification illegal activities, apply to that situation?

And here's a different approach to take as well. Just as much as "leaks" to a reporter can supposedly hurt national security, so can "plants" of information by the Executive Branch hurt the country, by allowing for political manipulation of cherry picked parts of classified information or tieing the hands of opponents from discussion and comment by wrongful use of classification.

As a result, there have been efforts to try to prevent the Executive from being able to engage in domestic propaganda, particularly of the covert kind. Like, for example, planting a story with a reporter about information in the NIE with no Executive branch attribution.

Section 503 of the National Security Act provides in part:


Sec. 503 (e) As used in this title, the term “covert action” means an activity or activities of the United States Government to influence political, economic, or military conditions abroad, where it is intended that the role of the United States Government will not be apparent or acknowledged publicly, but does not include

(1) activities the primary purpose of which is to acquire intelligence, traditional counterintelligence activities, traditional activities to improve or maintain the operational security of United States Government programs, or administrative activities;

(2) traditional diplomatic or military activities or routine support to such activities;

(3) traditional law enforcement activities conducted by United States Government law enforcement agencies or routine support to such activities; or

(4) activities to provide routine support to the overt activities (other than activities described in paragraph (1), (2), or (3)) of other United States Government agencies abroad.

(f) No covert action may be conducted which is intended to influence United States political processes, public opinion, policies, or media.

emph. added

This kind of covert domestic propaganda that is specifically disallowed by 503 is exactly what the Libby trial motions lay out happening. The court filings spell out that President Bush asked/authorized Cheney and Libby to covertly plant a story with domestic media for the sole purpose of influencing the US political process and public opinon and media. Not an "insta-secret declassification" but a very ordinary violation of 503(f).

As a matter of fact, once upon a time, DiFi seemed to be on to this. From Think Progress, February 6, 2006:

Gonzales Refuses to Answer Whether Bush Can Authorize Illegal Covert Domestic Propaganda


Alberto Gonzales was asked today by Sen. Dianne Feinstein whether President Bush had the authority to engage in illegal covert propaganda within the United States. Gonzales stonewalled

FEINSTEIN: Can the president suspend, in secret or otherwise, the application of Section 503 of the National Security Act, which states that no covert action may be conducted which is intended to influence United States political processes, public opinion, policies or media? In other words, can he engage in otherwise illegal propaganda?

GONZALES: Senator, this will probably be my response to all of your questions of these kind of hypotheticals. Questions as to whether or not can Congress pass a statute that is in tension with the President’s constitutional authority? Those are very, very difficult questions, and for me to answer those questions sort of off the cuff, I think would not be responsible.

So there would be a nice question IMO. Can the President leak cherrypicked classified information into the domestic press, without acknowledging his role in that leak - engage in covert domestic propaganda using classified info - and if yes, is 503 an unconstitutional infringement on the President's imperial power to lie and misinform, or if no, how was the NIE leak to Libby not a violation?

Of course, there is the possiblity that I may have used slightly biased language in a part of my question. Feel free to rephrase.

Looks like it is officially going to be Mukasey.
http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20070916/ap_on_go_ca_st_pe/attorney_general

Jane S. - Mary has set forth great areas should you decide to attend. Keep in mind that these questions need not be only for Comey, if the opportunity doesn't present itself. They are great questions for the panel to engage, which will likely also draw Comey in. As I said above, Rod Smolla and Chuck Rosenburg are also great targets to engage. Smolla is more likely to be on "our side" than Rosenburg, so it would probably elicit more useful info if it was Rosenburg that is targeted; especially since he has been knee deep in this stuff almost as much, and in some cases more so, than Comey.

Mary - What you have related above is accurate; however, as a lawyer playing devil's advocate (and Devils are big here, especially of the Sun variety), there are holes big enough to motor the space shuttle through on that. In the first place, it is quite arguably impermissably and unconstitutionally vague. In the second place, most any action, pattern of conduct or policy you would seek to curb through enforcement as contemplated above is of such a dual, or higher multiple, nature that enough of it falls within an exception or permitted conduct. Don't get me wrong, I am not defending the current bozos' actions on anything, of course I am not, just that a 503 analysis isn't worth much without other pendent grounds.

Greenspan said the war is about OIL

AZ Matt, I think he wrote was something like "what everyone knows: the Iraq War is largely about oil" [my emphasis]

Wonder who "everyone" is.

Without elaborating, he [Greenspan] writes, "I am saddened that it is politically inconvenient to acknowledge what everyone knows: the Iraq war is largely about oil."

Anyone else care to elaborate? I'll give it a go....

Greenspan is "saddened" by a war "largley about OIL." How do you think the almost 4,000 Americans who lost their lives to DEFEND our FREEDOM would feel about it? The 30,000 who lost limbs and brain function? Those who just had their tours extended from 12 to 15 months? Their families? the ~500,000 dead Iraqis? The 4,000,000,000 displaced Iraqis? The 1,000,000,000 Iraqis who fled their country?

Greenspan has a point, albeit a tad detached "it is politically inconvenient to acknowledge what everyone knows..." Yep, it's inconvenient.

bmaz/mary/sojourner/ew: first off, sorry ew that I inadvertently hijacked the comments to your post. But I am grateful for all the advice, questions, and encouragement. I do plan to go. It turns out that it is just a little over an hour and one of my friends will be there. If I get any interesting tidbits, I'll be sure to pass them along.

Mary, I appreciate your guidance that they will want the discussion to track somewhat along the first amendment. I mentioned earlier that I am about 2/3s through the Charlie Savage book and so I now know how John Yoo (or David Addington) would answer your question about the 503 violation--every answer for them is that the Congress has no power to pass laws on the executive, esp. in national security matters, so any such law is unconstitutional. Apparently Yoo believes that Madison intended the executive to be King even though Madison explicitly talks about congressional power over the executive.

bmaz--you seem well-versed on Smolla, do you know him or was he your professor?

Thanks again everyone!

Jane S. - No, don't know him personally. I have read some of his stuff and thought he had a pretty decent analytical mind and view; although what he wrote did not, unfortunately help me at the time. I have a friend who is very active in First Amendment groups and media law consortiums and he knows Smolla and likes him a lot. I don't think he is a raging liberal from what I know except on First Amendment issues; maybe more of a centrist or slightly liberal; but a good mind. From what I can tell, however, on the issues you are interested in, he should very clearly be friendly and receptive.

My posts get too long as it is, so I am not trying to submit it as a brief, but I'm comfortable that 503, which requires that efforts to sway opinion be done openly and not covertly, wouldn't deemed unconstitutionally vague in the generic or on a case in controversy analysis of the Bush-Cheney-Libby directed leak.

If you go back and look at what Fitzgerald filed, he spells out that all the prima facie elements of the violation of this statute by the President, Vice President and Libby. The NIE leak was outside his mandate, but he was generally very cagey on how he responded to whether or not it was illegal - talking about it not being charged, or that in Libby's case Gov would not be alleging it was wrongful, etc. Kind of like the Spectre questioning of Comey, at some point the next question if you were questioning him would have had to be, "well, if you won't say it was illegal, then why won't you say it was legal?" *g*

Anyway, 503(f)basically addresses dual and long standing issues and it does have a lot of exceptions, but I don't see how they apply to the Bush/Cheney/Libby decision to covertly plant leaked classified information with a sappy reporters. The first issue it addresses is that government in a democarcy is government in an open society and it is accountable to the people. It doesn't hold secret trials, star chambers, or engage the media covertly for a skull and crossbones effort to put out pro-Administration stories.

So, for example, what John Boehner did - leaking the FISA decisions, but doing it openly and with attribution to him - isn't barred by 503 (might be by other statutes, but not that one). Similarly, if the NIE statements that Bush wanted out were attributable in the story to him, Cheney, Libby, etc. then they wouldn't run afoul of 503. It is only when Government covertly plants the stories that they have an issue. Little different vehicle, but this is the same concept that got Armstrong Williams in trouble. It is the same concept that caused issues regarding the VNRs and domestic propaganda laws:
http://www.freepress.net/docs/gao_ketchum.pdf

We disagree with the Department’s contention that the prepackaged news stories are not covert propaganda because they contain only factual information. To constitute a legitimate information dissemination activity that does not violate the publicity or propaganda prohibition, the Department must inform the viewing public that the government is the source of the information disseminated.

The second prong of the issue that 503 addresses is the fundamental unfairness of having someone designate information as classified and thereby prohibiting others from speaking about it, while at the same time covertly making public parts of that information in a format where the critics cannot challenge.

Put by one position paper in this way:

Disclosure of classified materials has been recognized as a serious problem, and has appeared in a particularly dramatic guise in cases involving the news media. While massive releases such as that of the Pentagon Papers command the greatest attention, the practice of selectively releasing classified information to recipients who publicize a partisan position, while denying opponents access to the same information for purposes of verification or rebuttal appears equally troublesome.96

Put by longtime intel committee Congresswoman Harman in this way:

"Leaking classified information to the press when you want to get your side out or silence your critics is not appropriate. The reason we classify things is to protect our sources - those who risk their lives to give us secrets. Who knows how many sources were burned by giving Libby this 'license to leak?' If I had leaked the information, I'd be in jail. Why should the President be above the law?"

"The President has the legal authority to declassify information," continued Harman, "but there are normal channels for doing so. Telling an aide to leak classified information to the New York Times is not a normal channel. A normal declassification procedure would involve going back to the originating agency, such as the CIA, and then putting out a public, declassified version of the document. I am stunned that the President won't tell the full the Intelligence Committee about the NSA program because he's allegedly concerned about leaks, when it turns out that he is the Leaker-in-Chief."

IIRC, Fitzgerald's filing was that the info was being put out to counter allegations that Bush and Cheney had manipulated the country into war. So Bush and Cheney met to determine how to covertly sway public opinion for political purposes, in an election year. They came up with the gameplan of cherrypicking classified info and then covertly planting that information in the domestic media without attribution. They were found out later, but only because of the Libby litigation. I still think that's the most direct blow anyone landed to Bush - walking the NIE political leak, covertly planted in the media, back to Bush's office.

Libby has testified to a Grand Jury that he, the Vice President and the President, covertly orchestrated and pursued to completion the activities that, on their face, appear to be a violation of Section 503(f). We haven't had an investigator who could look into that issue yet - but even so, Fitzgerald managed to pull the rabbit out of the hat to get us this far. That testimony is now in the public record. Seems to me like someone should do something with it. Sure, there are a lot of arguments to be made and facts to be dickered over, but the nature of what went into Fitzgerald's filins makes a prima facie case for violation IMO. And then you get to the exceptions - and I only think you can claim any IF you can prove the version Fitzgerald entered into his record is incorrect. Then you get to the Constitutional arguments of vagueness and prohibitions on activity. The burden placed on government officials - that statements they plant in the media be attributable to their offices - isn't really all that high a hurdle IMO. Especially with all the outs.

Anyway - fwiw. I'm sure the discussion will hinge much more on other things and it'snot the kind of frolic and detour that would be welcomed.

Mary--I think the 503 issue is very interesting and it certainly tracks with the topic. If I have an opportunity, I'll try, I hope that I can do it justice. If they are going to talk about the Plame leak case, I think the NIE leak turned out to be a pretty pivotal revelation. And it is clear that Fitz found the "de-classification" process, Bush whispers in Cheney's ear who whispers in Libby's ear who whispers in Judith Miller's ear a little unsavory.

And bmaz, I'll listen closely to Smolla, I always appreciate a good mind, which is why I'm always hanging out here!

Mary - Oh no, I was not intimating that Jane ought to start going into this part of it; that is why I seperated the two responses. I agree with you ideologically, but if I were defending someone on this, I see a lot of areas to work. Also, without looking a lot deeper thatn I am currently inclined (nice summer storm outside, good football on inside); I don't think a defendant would have to "prove the version Fitzgerald entered into his record is incorrect" in order to argue applicability of one or more of the exceptions. That would constitute, at least on my quick first impression here, a impermissable shift of the burden of proof to the defendant. I would also think that any vagueness argument would be determined early on through a Motion to Dismiss well before any trial and attendant imposition of the exceptions as affirmative defenses.

UM, Lions and Pats. EW gets a hat trick. Isn't there some tradition up there requiring the throwing of octopi or something?

bmaz,

Why can't it be Lions and Christians? Admittedly the fans might get upset if the lions forgot the stupid ball and started gnawing on downed opponents, but they could be trained to move the ball down the field before celebrating. If we are going to have bread & circuses and bloodsports in arenas, we might as well be honest about it.

Besides, Falwell, Haggard, Robertson and the rest would cease their hate-filled preaching if they were dodging octopi and outrunning lions. It is difficult to run off at the mouth and the feet at the same time. ;)

bmaz - I didn't mean "prove incorrect" as in a defendant having the burden shifted; I just meant that what the filings have in them currently IMO states a prima facie case that does not fall within an exception. Technically, when you have a prima facie violation and want to avail of an exception I think that the burden does shift for you to show that you were within the exception, but I don't think bare statements, even in a signed brief, in an unrelated case, act as any kind of collateral estoppel against someone not a named defendant, so while I think the statements lay out a prima facie case in a hypothetical sense, I would agree that they do not of themselves in any way "prove" a prima facie case.

Jane, if you go, don't worry about trying to do it justice, just toss it out there and they will decide if they want to not get into something like that and just give it a surface answer, or if they want to go further.

Other simpler options that would be interesting too (IMO) would be

1(bet this one comes up on its own) Plame's first amendment rights to include references to her CIA employment in her book, especially now that govt officials and reporters have outed her, a trial has been held on that, the prosecutor and head of CIA have both publically stated she was a covert employee, etc. - at what point is classification used as a retaliatory weapon against an ex-employee exercising first amendment rights and what is their recourse?

2. Not Plame related, but first amendment/current events/classification oriented - The new book out, Merchant of Death, describes the Dept of Defense's use of arms deal Victor Bout AFTER the President had publically entered an order making him officially "Bad Guy, Terrorist Supporter" If the information for the book had been in documents stamped classified, but there was the prior public Exec order and a myriad of laws that would make dealing with him illegal, what is the legal effect on the writer of the fact those docs were marked clasified?
(Personally, I'd speculate about the effect of a private, classified Exec Order that allowed dealings with him in the face of a public order that prohibited them, but I wouldn't go there. )

It will be interesting to hear your thoughts after the symposium. I'll be honest - despite the fact that I think Fitzgerald did an excellent job on the Libby case, in hindsight I wouldn't have supported the jailing of Miller and threats to Cooper if I had known that he really wasn't going anywhere other than perjury/false statements with them. While it appeared that he was going somewhere where the actual discussions with the reporters was a crime(identities act violation), then I was ok with making them reveal the statements. But when the ultimate use of the reporters was just to have them cough up that their source told them something different from what he told investigators (and what he told them, they didn't even write about) then my personal opinion is that we're in slippery slope territory that I can't easily support.

You don't know where you will go with charges until after investigation, though, and as long as there was a good faith argument that he was looking at identities or espionage act violations, then to me we have a different situation. But the ultimate use - just for nailing a source for false statements and perjury because he told reporters something different than he told investigators - I find that troublesome. To me, it opens the door to jailing journalists over their sources pretty willy nilly. So, Ms Priest, so and so gave a statement to FBI investigators that he didn't speak with you about black site prison and deaths of detainees from interrogation tactics. We'd like you to confirm under oath that he was not your source and if you aren't willing to talk, off to jail with you

I'm not sure the Libby case was worth that potential cost - especially for a case that left so many ultimately wondering why only Libby faced charges. So I have to admit, I see a lot of grey area and the talk may be very interesting on that front. If that's where we are, now, after the Libby case and the AIPAC rulings - then I think we are basically relying, for our free press to operate freely, on the kindness of strangers loyal Bushies at DOJ and in the OVP and WH. That bothers me and it won't bother me less when Clinton is in office. So I'm torn and I hope you come away with some good and reassuring insights.

Re: third party, Chafee and Hagel, and such--

Angus King, an unusual politician and former Maine Gov., is part of this attempt to form a middle-ground entity. It might be exactly where bluedogs are now, plus the extinct moderate wing of the GOP. I would imagine King would find Hegel and Chafee attractive for their effort.

http://www.unity08.com/founderscouncil

Personally, I find the current "middle" to be right of center, believe the left wing should be rebuilt. But best of luck pulling the Dems. to the left. They are not there ideologically imo, and they don't want to go there.

Mary

I'm fairly certain that Fitzgerald 1) used the language he did about the NIE because the President's ability to declassify something is absolute (so he COULDN'T charge it), but because he knew Libby was lying about what he said about the NIE, though he didn't have the evidence to prove it and 2) the way to get to an IIPA charge was to get Libby to flip. It is ridiculous, at this point, to say, "he shouldn't have jailed Judy" because he didn't charge IIPA when he might have done so had things worked out differently. (And having Rove charged would have been helpful, too.)

I'm with EW on Fitz - had the Libby firewall broken down with a flip, it was ovah - they would have charged IIPA, and it wouldn't have been Libby.

However, I do hope that one of these days, Fitz gets his due as a truly great prosecutor for 'pulling the rabbit out of the hat,' like Mary says. It's going to take a while before people can really appreciate just how deftly he reached the long arm of the Law into the Kingdom and tagged the King.

I think it's precisely because Fitz 'revealed the Magic' behind Bush's sleight of hand on the Secret Mission, that a bombshell revelation yet to come out is that 'pulling that rabbit out of the hat' got Fitz put on The List.

Also, I think Mary has layed out a tour de force 503f violation brief-ette on the Plame Leak, but unfortunately actual daily reality seems to suggest that BushCo has Industrialized 503f violations across the board - it's a tautology with them.

How could this be? If the Big Secret is that Bush is acting as the UE, and everyone 'in the know' about it - ie, 'in the Kingdom' - is sworn to secrecy, then the Monica's, Kyle's, Alvin's, Rove's, Miers' and Gonzo's, etc are empowered to Lie to Protect the Big Secret.

Bush and his legal emmisaries would argue that having 'the secret of the UE' immunizes all the knowers of 'the secret' from 503f.

Of course, this sets-up mutual finger pointing with the People arguing that 503f contemplates eradicating the very basis upon which BushCo claims the secret right to operate from.

Erwin's not busy - I wonder if he would see the merit in EW's collapsed firewall argument, Mary's clear 503f violation and use them to pole-vault to the basic 'most inherent' powers - People or UE - SCOTUS arguments?

This line of argument begs the question: Is it possible, in America, to 'know' a secret that immunizes 'the knower of' from the Rule of Law?

Mary - Ah, that makes things much more clear. i didn't think you really meant to go burden shifting, but that was the way it read to me. As to both your and EW's discussion on the relative merits of Ms. Blew Lies (I am with the others, that name is a keeper); Fitz sure has a lot more discretion than I do. I would also have indicted at a minimum Rove, and I might well have have had counts for more than dishonesty; whether they were for IIPA or other disclosure violations would depend on the evidence adduced from the Bush and Cheney interviews, which we don't know. Just because I told Mary that I think they could be defended doesn't mean they couldn't properly be charged. I will say also this, I think I am not alone here, by my estimation, Fitz is about the only prosecutor in the land that would not have done a lot more charging. The standard is not that a prosecutor knows beyond a reasonable doube that he can prove a charge to a jury for conviction; just a reasonable belief he can. I think such a belief would have been reasonable for several more counts and defendants. Back to Judy; in most all cases, I am on the reporter's side. Due to the type of conduct she was protecting, and the outlandish stakes involved and resulting from said conduct, I am not positive I would have jailed her, but I don't have a giant problem that she was.

EW - you, Jane, Christy and others you so choose really ought to consider establishing the 'Mother' of all Class Action Lawsuits yourselves.

I bet the ACLU and other Support-the-Constitution Advocacy Groups would join in on a Well-Put Question of Ultimate Authority along the lines that are getting sorted-out in this thread.

You ladies are standing on the highest ground of Freedom here, and claiming it for the People. I think the Supremes would agree with you, on behalf of all of US.

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