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July 11, 2005


Didn't stop Ken Starr from creating a media circus when he delivered a report to Congress.

Novak mentioned the WMD angle in his column, so if we're buying the angle that Rove might have seen a pre-publication version before talking to Cooper, we're still up in the air.

Yeah, here's what Novak said on WMD:

Wilson never worked for the CIA, but his wife, Valerie Plame, is an Agency operative on weapons of mass destruction. Two senior administration officials told me Wilson's wife suggested sending him to Niger to investigate the Italian report. The CIA says its counter-proliferation officials selected Wilson and asked his wife to contact him.

It seems to me that admitting he identified her as Wilson's wife is an admission of guilt. Please note what i will place between the --- lines:
§ 421. Protection of identities of certain United States undercover intelligence officers, agents, informants, and sources
. . . .

(b) Disclosure of information by persons who learn identity of covert agents as result of having access to classified information Whoever, as a result of having authorized access to classified information, learns the identify of a covert agent and intentionally discloses any information identifying such covert agent to any individual not authorized to receive classified information, knowing that the information disclosed so identifies such covert agent and that the United States is taking affirmative measures to conceal such covert agent’s intelligence relationship to the United States, shall be fined under title 18 or imprisoned not more than five years, or both.

It seems to me that Rove's lawyer has just admitted, and Cooper's email (and notes?) show, that Rove violated subsection (b) of Section 421. And it also seems to me that the identity of everyone else who worked at Brewster Jennings under NOC who was exposed as a result, and each non-American asset also thereby exposed, could act as a separate charge against Rove, for which he could receive therefore a series of 5 year sentences to be served consecutively. Does Rove really want to play chicken on this one? And why isn't the press informing the public the the identity can be exposed even if the name is not, and his intent really doesn't matter?

Note the WSJ via First read:

The Wall Street Journal says "the disclosure that Mr. Bush's top political strategist discussed the CIA employment of Mr. Wilson's wife amounts to a political embarrassment for Mr. Rove and the White House. A presidential spokesman had previously given what appeared to be an unequivocal public assurance that Mr. Rove hadn't been involved in the disclosure of Ms. Plame as a CIA operative. Discovery that earlier denials may have been carefully parsed would represent another blow to the administration's credibility..."

Now that's from a staunch Bush ally paer.

Spicy meat from Kagro and tasty speculative potatoes from DemFrom CT. What I'm panting for - two years from the day Novak's pre-publication column apparently first started circulating - is that big helping of gravy: indictments and frog-marching.

If this were a Democratic Administration during war-time, can anyone imagine that the Republicans would not be screaming at the top of their lungs: What is taking so damn long? National security was breached! The traitors must be hanged! Immediately! And nobody should get off on technicalities!

Amazing how this Administration and its backers, for whom nuance is usually assiduously avoided, are so eager to play the parsing game when it comes to §421.

Yesterday I posted this on the Rove/Nixon thread:

Have been reading the theory, espoused by Mark Kleiman and this diary at Kos, that what Fitzgerald is looking at is the Espionage Act. Sounds very plausible, and under that act it would not matter what Rove thought he was doing, or Novak, for that matter, as he is covered too. It applies even after the info has already been divulged, evidently. The Reagan Admin brought a prosecution under the Esp. Act.

The links are there, if they don't come up here. The Esp. Act is much broader in that it covers non-governmental people, and applies even if there has been a prior leak, as long as it is not so public that it no longer matters. It also has a much lower knowledge requirement.

While I don't like harkening back to WWI prosecutions, I believe that the unconstitutional and most objectionable parts of the Esp. Act were repealed, and it has been updated. Kleiman has been flogging this idea since October, 2003.

And I keep going back to J. Miller. What was the "potential use" of the information that Judge Hogan found so troubling? She didn't write anything? Why? Or did she but her paper wouldn't publish, maybe because the CIA asked it not be divulged and they paid more attention than Novak? Or were there other reasons? This is kind of like the dog that didn't bark, for me.

While we labor to get the dragnet around our favorites like Bolton and "Gannon" ... any good spec on the story behind Ashcroft's 2003-12-30 recusal?

There are some fascinating tidbits in this NYT story.

First, I" rel="nofollow">

But the other three reporters - Glenn Kessler and Walter Pincus of The Washington Post and Tim Russert of NBC - all said afterward that they had not discussed Ms. Wilson with Mr. Libby. Mr. Cooper was more cryptic. According to a statement from Time, the earlier testimony focused "entirely on conversations Mr. Cooper had with Mr. Libby."

I wonder if Cooper's "cryptic" conversation is the reason Fitz subpoenaed him further? Is it possible that Cooper is the one who told Libby?

Also, it looks like Cooper's "waivers" to testify aren't as clear as he says. First, Libby's lawyer:

Mr. Cooper's statements on Wednesday echoed his rationale for testifying last summer. "Mr. Libby," a statement issued by the magazine at the time said, "gave a personal waiver of confidentiality for Mr. Cooper to testify."

In an interview Friday, Mr. Libby's lawyer, Joseph A. Tate, disputed that.

"Mr. Libby signed a form," Mr. Tate said. "He gave it back to the F.B.I. End of story. There was no other assurance."

Cooper says he called Libby specifically, but Libby seems to think the waiver wasn't any more serious than the original one.

And Rove's lawyer may have got his client in trouble with his blabbing about Rove having signed a waiver.

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

That provided an opening, Mr. Cooper said. "I was not looking for a waiver," he said, "but on Wednesday morning my lawyer called and said, 'Look at The Wall Street Journal. I think we should take a shot.' And I said, 'Yes, it's an invitation.' "

In court shortly after 2, he told Judge Thomas F. Hogan of the Federal District Court in Washington that he had received "an express personal release from my source."

That statement surprised Mr. Luskin, Mr. Rove's lawyer. Mr. Luskin said he had only reaffirmed the blanket waiver, in response to a request from Mr. Fitzgerald.

What I find most interesting about this is that, Cooper effectively accepted Libby's waiver as sincere (although he did follow up with a phone call). But that he didn't accept Rove's waiver as sincere. And, presumably, he called Rove in the interim, as he did with Libby. At the very least, this story casts doubt on the argument that Rove must not be guilty or he wouldn't have given Cooper the waiver.

What do we make of the intense interest of "Party of the Purple?"

Pretty special. Reminds me ofwhen I posted multiple times on Frist.

I thought Bob Somerby was on point today, not so much as to the detail-focused crowd here at TNH, but maybe as to some of our friends.

What amuses me is when we have a week like last week, with repeated laments that the WH press corps is falling down on the job (5 straight days with no Rove questions) and then when they finally succumb to the pressure, there's a veritable avalanche, like what occurred today. This scandal is going to be everywhere now.

It goes to show you, though, how large the difference is between a politically-motivated prosecution with daily leaks of salacious information (Starr) and a diligent prosecutor actually doing his job without attempting to try the case in the press (Fitzgerald).

let me add a thought, also offered at dkos

One thing floating around is that Rove supposedly "learned" about Plame from seeing Novak's column pre-publication, before he talked to Cooper, and thus he was only discussing what was in public domain. Further, his lawyer has made a big deal that Rove didn't use her name, and supposedly has said that didn't even know her name.

Boy, I hope he has made both of those statements to authorities -- FBI, Fitgerald's lawyers -- and/or the grand jury. Both statements cannot be true, since Novak's column had Plame's name right in it. If Rove made both of those statements to authorities, wouldn't it be a slam dunk case of perjury?

Teacherken (should we just call you Ken?), does it depend what the meaning of "know" is?

you can call me Ken, you can call me teacher, you can call me Teacherken, just don't call me late for dinner.

Kagro X,

The meaning of the word "know" in the biblical sense is QUITE a bit different than the conventional meaning of the word, "know." So my question is what (or maybe who) did Judy Miller "know?"

Since you went there, I'll just say that it probably wasn't Jeff Gannon.

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