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July 15, 2005


What? The Bush administration compromised an ongoing investigation with a premature comment? My goodness! I'm pretty sure I heard that they were against that. I know I heard it somewhere. I just don't think I can find it on Google, though.

What? The Bush administration compromised an ongoing investigation with a premature comment?

I've heard of things like this happening in the Albuquerque Police Department.

That says it all. The Bush administration is just as inept as the some of the APD brass. Only people from Albuquerque will understand that insult ;-)

Krugman sums it up. Nothing new, but nice to see it in the newspaper of record.

The NYT article link (above) provides a key piece of information, that Rove confirmed something that Novak already knew. Sounds like Rove's defense is that Novak is a sucker. Cooper, too.

So that makes it pretty clear that Fitzgerald is after the original leak--somebody had to leak it first in order to prompt reporters to call Libby and Rove for confirmation about it. It does sound like a conspiracy, and I wonder if that is what Fitzgerald is pursuing--certainly to do that he would need to map out who called who and when.

They are getting a taste of their own medicine here. It is very difficult to turn something like this around, even when the truth is on one's side (a point I'm not conceding). The chord has been struck and the damage is done. It is now more of a distraction than anything else. [Sound familiar?]

The lesson Democrats should learn here is that Mandy Grunwald (Cooper's wife, and a Democratic campaign consultant) should guide the next presidential campaign. Until Rove misplayed her (sorry, Matt, but we know who's really calling the shots), this whole thing was going nowhere: Cooper would have gone to jail, Fitzgerald would have come out with his report, somebody would have taken a fall, and both sides would have responded, spinning like mad and it would have been a wash in the end.

But now it's a phenomenom with a life of its own. I think the words historians will highlight are Luskin's to the WSJ:

"If Matt Cooper is going to jail to protect a source, it's not Karl he's protecting."

That was the moment when Rove overstepped and all hell broke loose.

Let me elaborate using poker:

Rove was bluffing, and Grunwald called his bluff. Grunwald wasn't bluffing: Cooper really would have gone to jail. Now the cards are on the table and the hand just plays out. Grunwald has a much better hand (Cooper's testimony vs. Rove's dissembling, which reminds me of the famous Poker with Dick Cheney blog post) so the odds are in her favor.

But we'll have to wait and see. Rove could still get lucky.

Scarborough gives the ultimate R defense on Imus this AM: 'Rove didn't do it because I can't believe any public official would. There's no crime, he was just repeating what Judy Miller told him, or whatever. And since Rove isn't going anywhere, there's no story. Yawn.'

The spin is amazing. You really have to watch for it everywhere.

Gee, I can't imagine this WH fucking up. They never have before.

I remember that and thought at the time that Kerry and the Dems should have mase a lot of this akin with the Wilson mess - these people put politics ahead if National Security. And why not pound Bush on his sorry performance on 9/11 when it was obvious that he hadn't a clue as to what was happening. No Kerry should have spent the month of August raising dounts as to the Adminisreation's conduct of the "War on Terror" but instead they went wind-surfing and sat back while the Swift-Liars libeled him. Now we have a second chance. Don't blow it.

Unfortunately, I don't think the British connection will go anywhere - it involves furriners, and is not "high concept" enough in Hollywood terms. I hope I'm wrong!

Meanwhile, the spin this morning is that Rove learned about Plame from a reporter. There's been speculation for several days that Miller might have learned her identity, and told Rove, though "a lawyer familiar with the case" - probably Rove's lawyer, Lufkin - now seems to be implying that Novak told Rove.

If Rove learned her identity from a reporter, he's off the legal hook for burning an agent. He's not necessarily off the hook for conspiracy/obstruction, and not at all off the hook for gross irresponsibility - if you, as a top government official, learn a covert agent's identity from a reporter, do you pass it on to every other reporter in town? No, you call the CIA and tell them, "you've got a problem. Someone burned one of your people."

There's still the very interesting question of the OTHER "top WH official" who evidently talked to Novak, and also of what, exactly, Fitzgerald is investigating.

-- Rick Robinson

Yeah, they're maintaining the bluff even though the cards are on the table. Basically just standing there with their fingers crossed. We're playing Texas Hold 'Em, and Miller is an Ace on the Turn (the penultimate card that can be used by all players to make their hand). She's not going to talk. Meaningless unless you have an Ace in your own hand. Grunwald does, Rove doesn't.

And don't believe the spin from Rove's lawyer about getting assurances from Fitzgerald that Rove is not a target of the investigation.

Don't these people watch Law and Order?

The London thing may not go anywhere. But it'd be a delicious way for the press corpse to raise questions about putting politics ahead of security. I see the exchange like this:

Gregory: Scottie, does the President think Ridge's leaking of Khan's arrest last fall prevented the British from avoiding the recent bombing attacks in London.

Scottie: I won't comment on an ongoing ... um, uh, I mean, I've commented on this last fall.

Gregory: Doesn't this show a pattern, though, with the leak of Plame's identity and also the leak of Khan's identity? Doesn't it suggest this Administration consistently puts politics ahead of national security.

Scottie: And I'm not going to comment about why 98% of the Homeland Defense funds assigned to transportation have gone to the airlines. Not gonna comment.

I think it is time to lay out what a Conspiracy indictment would look like in this case -- and if you have not read John Dean's comments on Conspiracy, I suggest a read.

What I think we have here is a Conspiracy that begin in the first week of March, 2003 at a meeting called by Libby in Cheney's office (we don't know if Cheney attended or knew of the meeting) where the agenda involved what to do about Joe Wilson, who had just appeared on CNN saying the WH knew a good deal more about the flaws in the WMD argument than they were saying. Wilson appeared because the UN and IAEA experts had made public the fact the documents regarding Yellow Cake from Africa were forged, and State had addimited "we were fooled." -- But Wilson knew they had a good deal more reason early on to be sceptical than they let on. (His Mission, the report from the Niger Ambassador, the NATO 4 Star Mariene General). Anyhow, they were all lined up and ready to go to baghdad in early March, 2003 -- and there was Wilson on CNN making big time problems.

So the meeting in Cheney's office was about how to destroy Wilson. It would not be a criminal conspiracy to plan how to criticize what he had to say -- but if the plan was to "destroy" him, his reputation and all -- that could indeed be criminal. According to Wilson, they decided to do a "workup" -- to find out stuff about him so as to smear him.

His book lists several pages of bits and pieces of what he found out the "workup" included, and much of it involved misappropriating Government documents for the purposes of the proposed smear. It went in all sorts of directions. That's probably where discovery of Valerie's status came from, and from that point, the elements of the smear were cast as narrative to be used as needed.

In Conspiracy prosecutions, all the persons party to the planning are exposed, and those who act -- talk to a reporter regarding an element in the narrative -- they ar acting in furtherance of the conspiracy and can be indicted. If, for instance, someone commits perjury in furtherance of the conspiracy, they are not only exposed to a perjury charge -- but to being party to the conspiracy.

Now a smart Prosecutor -- and I think Fitzgerald is such,== will dangle the possibility of "unindicted co=conspirator" status in front of some participants so they will testify against others. This could actually be Rove's status --he could remain unindicted if he testifies against Libby, for instance, or ther others in that March meeting -- or even Cheney. (Remember we have the Agnew precident that a VP can be indicted while in office).

If, as some suggest, Miller may have been a source to some on Plame's status -- and she dies not talk, I would not be surprised to see her hit with a Criminal Conspiracy charge. By protecting critical information about the conspiracy -- she exposes herself to this charge. The deal could be if she talks, and gives decent evidence, she gets unindicted co-conspirator status.

Rove is important, and I would personally be delighted to see him indicted and frog marched, but it might be more interesting to see him compelled to testify against others in the Bush Administration.

In the end, I suspect the knives will be out among Bush's inner circle as to who gets off without a felony charge -- but has to testify against others -- and who gets indicted.

The Iraq war was a PNAC project "fixed onto" the need to deal with al-Qaeda. Lies were told to do this all around -- and in order to maintain one fiction as to why invading Iraq was essential, destroying Joe Wilson became necessary. So Conspiracy was born. That's the case that gets tried.

Here's something curious about Miller, if she does have a role in this. IIRC Fitz subpoenaed only details of discussions Miller had with WH officials the week this broke, between July 6 and July 14.

But if Miller is indeed involved deeper in this, then he would have needed to subpoena further details, perhaps of conversations as far back as March. And, if it's true that she passed the message to Rove (let's call it table tennis), then she is wrongly claiming journalistic privilege. She passed information, rather than receiving it.

Now, I suspect Fitz either has reason to believe Miller was receiving, rather than passing, information. Or there's a reason he limited his subpoena in the way he did. Then again, if Fitz has evidence Rove spoke to Judy Miller early in that week, then I imagine there'd be some interesting questioning about that conversation. Rove's stand-ins have claimed he "can't remember" who passed him the information. I wonder if phone records will sufficiently jog his memory.

What's really despicable about the Noor Khan business was on ABC News last night: among the "ones who got away" after Khan's arrest was publicized was the guy who is considered "the 5th man" of the London bombing - the guy who planned, organized and coordinated it.

So Karl Rove has the blood of everyone who died last Thursday on his hands.

Kevin Drum, speaking of Douglas Feith, quoted General Tommy Franks that Feith was "the fucking stupidest guy on the planet." Drum then said that stupidity and ballsiness (referring there to Feith's comments on leaving the Pentagon regarding the WMD claims that he used to get us to go to war and laying the blame now on the CIA) were the two defining characteristics of the Bush Administration. He's right.

Karl Rove is no genius. He's got the low cunning of the standard-issue guttersnipe, which is all he ever has been, is now, or ever will be. That he would commit such stupidity as outing Plame, publicizing Noor Khan's arrest, etc., to score mere political points is totally outrageous.

But what's TRULY mindboggling is this: I have it from a friend who is in a position to know people who know what they are talking about, that after Rove gave out the name of the company Plame worked for, a NOC agent working at the company, who was in "unfriendly territory" when the information came out, was grabbed by the local intelligence service and executed.

Not only has he traded the good of the country for his political scores, he has allowed Americans to die to make those points.

Fucking traitor!!!

What? The Bush administration compromised an ongoing investigation with a premature comment?

I've heard of things like this happening in the Albuquerque Police Department.

That says it all. The Bush administration is just as inept as the some of the APD brass. Only people from Albuquerque will understand that insult ;-)

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