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July 16, 2005


David Corn has his 'Rove Scandal: Who's Lying Now?' piece up as well.

I tell you, emptywheel, if nothing else, this certainly hasn't got folks to stop talking about Rove.

Someone's in trouble. I can't wait to find out who.

One of the delicious implications of this is that it means Armitage and Powell may have the goods on their "buddies" over in the neocon wing of the world. Interesting, too, that Carl Ford is involved.

Incidentally, the Plame investigation moved to State on 10/2/03. Carl Ford retired on 10/3/03.

One more interesting detail in the NYT article.

The prosecutors are relying on Libby's hand-written notes. I've been waiting for Abu G to be involved for his stalling before telling the White House to turn over evidence and the 2 weeks he took to review the evidence. It'd be hard to jimmy up email evidence. But hand-written notes? Easier than a tape to alter, that's for sure. Who believes that Scooter Libby doesn't carry a Palm Pilot into which he takes notes?

absent the actual text of the "memo," it is difficult to tell what caveats it may have contained. the passages being quoted and referred to by various members of the press may actually have been presented as "it is reported or rumored that..." rather than as confirmed facts.

it would be perfectly natural, if he were pressed for time, for armitage or anyone else to go directly to the guy who could shake loose a copy of the memo in a hurry on a sunday - since it presumably originated in carl ford's shop, that's where he would go. also, as to how armitage knew about the memo, it is quite likely that while the memo was addressed to grossman, copies had been circulated to other major players in the state department. that would be normal procedure on any key policy issue, so no mystery there.

the mystery is how people went from mrs. wilson, if that is how she was identified in the memo, to actually using the name valerie plame in writing about/outing her. here is where i would assume judith miller had a role. who she talked to and who mentioned yellowcake/niger/valerie wilson, whom she probably quickly identified as actually being valerie plame, who had long worked for a company called brewster jennings, and when she identified valerie wilson as valerie plame, might be important in nailing down a timeline that leads to the leaker or several leakers.

it's beginning, to me, anyway, to sound more and more like stephen hadley, who as someone at the nsc would have been best positioned to be a recipient of a copy of the memo and who might, who knows, even have called judith miller to ask what she knew about ambassador and mrs. wilson.

i would say karl rove's e-mail telling hadley he (rove) had not taken the bait about getting into a discussion re whether wilson's op-ed piece had hurt the president suggests hadley was seen as a key player by the white house political ops in handling the issue.

i hope fitzgerald is going for obstruction of justice and conspiracy charges. and i think his formulation that this is about retaliation against a whistleblower is also very interesting, because he may not even need the iip and espionage acts to indict and convict if he decides the whistleblower protection law is in play. anyone here with any expertise on that law, btw?

Laura Rozen speculates that someone in Carl Ford's shop wrote the memo to track how the Niger forgeries (which they had spotted early on) kept resurfacing in the bureaucracy, after Wilson's trip began to be talked about in the press. Then as the memo went around, someone(s) saw an opoortun ity to do some payback to the Wilsons.

I do think that if one knew that Wilson's wife was in the CIA, one could find her maiden name through Google. But who then put her name in the memos, as well as in the paper, or "in play".

Another point about Hadley: I have read that Wilson tried to get info to Condi Rice that the Niger story was bogus and should net be repeated. He was told she wasn't interested. I think that was the point when someone told Wilson that if he wanted anyone to pay attention, he had to write something, which he then did. Hadley, of course, was not only her deputy (and successor), but the one who took part of the fall for the 16 yellowcake words in the State of the Union address.

Wilson speculates that there was a document trail of his trip to Niger, consisting of four things, one of which was an internal CIA memo. Then he surmised that something had gone back to Cheney, as the originator of the question, although perhaps it only went as far as Libby. So there should be some sort of CIA memo, although why Novak would have seen it puzszles me, as these CIA folks seem to be the ones trying to keep the intel flow unpolluted.

But Novak has been all over the map in what he has said, and various people at Kos have collected all his on-the-record statements. He contradicts himself about how the leak originated, who told him, who confirmed it, etc. Obviously some of these are misstatements, some lies. He may have forgotten who he told what when.

I tend to the idea that the people from Cheney's gang who were trying to discredit anyone who tried to discredit their WMD propaganda pushed this whole scheme, and Karl jumped on it because it was so down his alley. Maybe Cheney's gang thought that Wilson was getting too close to the question of the Niger forgeries which, now that most of the questions about the INR memo have been answered, I think bears very close scrutiny.

Either I'm misreading or you have made a couple of assumptions here that may or may not be significant.

1. You say the notes were dated Feb. 19, 2002, but that's not what the Times says. It says the notes pertained to a meeting that took place on that date.

We can't assume the notes were made during or on the same day as the meeting by someone in attendence.

In fact, the phrase "apparently convened" suggests to me this was not the case. This sounds more like someone telling someone about the meeting and that second person taking notes about what s/he was told. "Apparently" is a modifier used to indicate assumptions rather than evidentiary facts. It's appearance in the notes indicates, at least to me, that the note-maker is either assuming such to be the case based on hearsay or perhaps that even the person informing the note-maker only assumed this information to be true. In other words, the informant might not have had verifiable, first-hand experience of the meeting and how it came about, either.

My second point is that the Times says the memo was based on notes by an analyst who "was involved in" the meetings -- not "attended", not "planned" or "organized" or any word that makes the degree of the note-maker's direct knowledge about the meeting concrete.

my overall point, probably none-to-clearly made, is that there's a quite a bit of indefinite language in the Times article, and I suspect it was delberately written that way.

Great job again, emptywheel.

"Apparently convened" a meeting is a long way from the kind of involvement the Senate Intelligence Committee suggested was the case in its "U.S. Intelligence Community's Prewar Intelligence Assessments on Iraq" issued on July 7, 2004:

[Deleted] Some CPD officials could not recall how the office decided to contact the former ambassador, however, interviews and documents provided to the Committee indicate that his wife, a CPD employee, suggested his name for the trip. The CPD reports officer told Committee staff that the former ambassador's wife "offered up his name" and a memorandum to the Deputy Chief of the CPD on February 12, 2002, from the former ambassador's wife says, "my husband has good relations with both the PM [prime minister] and the former Minister of Mines (not to mention lots of French contacts), both of whom could possibly shed light on this sort of activity." This was just one day before CPD sent a cable [deleted] requesting concurrence with CPD's idea to send the former ambassador to Niger and requesting any additional information from the foreign government service on their uranium reports. The former ambassador's wife told Committee staff than when CPD decided it would like to send the former ambassador to Niger, she approached her husband on behalf of the CIA and told him "there's this crazy report" on a purported deal for Niger to sell uranium to Iraq.

[Deleted] The former ambassador had traveled previously to Niger on the CIA's behalf [deleted]. The former ambassador was selected for the 1999 trip after his wife mentioned to her supervisors that her husaband was planning a business trip to Niger in the near future and might be willing to use his contacts in the region [deleted]. Because the former ambassador did not uncover any information about [deleted] during this visit to Niger, CPD did not distribute an intelligence report on the visit.***


Good points. I've noted the points in my post.

Don't know if you say this comment DHinMI made about Stevenson. But he wrote the NYT story as well--and it was specified that he wrote it. So if it is deliberately vague, that may be why.

Thanks for pointing me to DHinMi's comment, emptywheel. I hadn't paid attention to Stevenson's byline before, but I will now.

The always excellent Stygius takes us down memory lane, bringing Bolton back into the mix here.

Armitage's knowledge of the memo is nonremarkable. When interagency controversy erupted over the Sixteen Words (and who would end up holding the bag), a lot of traces were retraced, a lot of cages were rattled, and a lot of senior officials had to become familiar in detail with the course of events as best reconstructed by their best sources.

As to Plame's involvement in Wilson's trip, there's an ocean of ambiguity between "suggested" sand "selected". Revelations to date are murky as to what initiated the chain of events that ultimately punched Wilson's ticket to Niger.

there's an ocean of ambiguity between "suggested" sand "selected". Revelations to date are murky as to what initiated the chain of events that ultimately punched Wilson's ticket to Niger.

The point is, why does it matter? Even in the unlikely event that Plame had EVERYTHING to do with Wilson's going on that trip, and the fact that Wilson had been an ambassador to Niger and actually knew governmental officials there had nothing to do with it, what does that have to do with anything?

Excuse me for being pedantic, but there's a name for the argument that this point's salience rests upon: circular reasoning (actually, AFFIRMATION OF THE CONSEQUENT also applies here).

This is pure bullshit, pure mousefarm filth. It is changing the subject, as Podesta rightly pointed out on 'Meet Duh Press' today. The Republican spin mongers can come up with crap like this all day, day after day. They know that reality-based people love quaint concepts like 'empiricism' and can't resist setting records straight by the yard. IT DOESN'T MATTER.


The reason Armitages' and Grossman's and Powell's involvement is intersting is because State was already embarrassed by their gullibility on the Niger documents and investigating how they got to be so gullible.

In other words, three of the guys most threatening to the neocon project in the Administration were involved--somehow--in simultaneously discrediting them AND helping to silence one of their critics. ???

I think Mimikatz' point a couple threads up makes a lot of sense: documents mutate along the way, particularly easily nowadays when it's all electronic.

As far as the idea of Powell and Armitage successively or even simultaniously helping and hindering the neocon/hard-ass wing, that was pretty much par for their course, no? It's reminiscent of the 'oral sex/sexual relations' distinction of yore. I don't suppose they had a whole lot of choice, though...


To answer your point a few comments back.

The reason I'm looking at the language is because it seems really suspicious that this memo came out of State at all. Even more suspicious that the people involved weren't intimitely involved in the first place. It looks increasingly like OVP somehow managed to get info inserted into the memo writing process (I'd guess at the note-writing stage, perhaps by Fleitz) which is how they managed to create the myth that Plame started the trip. The difference in language is one piece of evidence that shows you've got a conspiracy from the start.

In other words, it's not what Rove said to Cooper. It's why Cheney obstructed all normal reporting on Niger, created documents to change the story, all to hide ... what? The fact that they created the larger Niger story as part of their case to go to war.


I gotcha. Sorry I missed your point and frothed off so.

Great thread. And I don't mean to be flip in the light of all this learned scholarship ... but does it amuse anyone else that the greatest of all spin machines may get taken down by a CLASSIFIED FORGERY?

the greatest of all spin machines may get taken down by a CLASSIFIED FORGERY?

Ah, would that it would! 'Bonfire of the vanities' indeed!

kainah, great point.

And it's not the Niger forgeries. It's the forgeries of our spy documents.

Update 3 Rove apparently told Matt Cooper that something was going to be declassified shortly that would clarify Wilson's involvement.
Rove told me material was going to be declassified in the coming days that would cast doubt on Wilson's mission and his findings.
I suspect that's the famous memo (given Novak's reference to it). So they intended to use the memo as pushback in 2003. They may have released it to Gannon and some folks at WSJ, but not until October 2003. Why did they wait?
I agree with you guess that what was about to be declassified is this memo or one just like it. That also proves that Rove got his information from a classified document and not a reporter.
The plan to declassify the memo also points to the fact that a meeting must have taken place where it was decided how to deal with Wilson and declassifying the memo was part of it.
Finally it was not declassified because the CIA disagreed with its content.

I've been telling you this for months

welcome to my world

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