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July 30, 2005


I hope Ari meant it seriously when he said "I'm cooperating with the investigators," because if he is, than Fitzgerald knows all about this.

What a tangled web we weave---the problem with lying is that at some point it just becomes too hard to remember what you said, and you can't rely on memories of the actual event.

There are a lot of details here, but let's make it crystal clear what all this disassembling is covering up: They lied about Saddam reconstituting his nuclear program. The "mushroom cloud" was a lie. If they only found out at the time of the Cincinnati speech that the Niger story was bogus, they still knew three months before the State of the Union and kept telling the lie.

But they probably knew months before that, after Wilson's and Ambassador Kirkpatrick's and General Fulford's reports on their investigations in Niger. Hell, they probably knew in Spetember, 2001 when they began cooking up the whole sorry mess.

Bush lied. Almost 2000 US troops, and thousands upon thousands of Iraqis have died. The country is in chaos, about to devolve to the Shi'ites, Iran's allies. Our military is hollowed out and no one wants to join up. Our budget is busted for the next decade, between the war and the tax cuts and the giveaways. And Osama is free and laughing somewhere as we slowly bleed.

So, yes, lets explore the minutiae. I'm as hooked as the next person. But let's not forget the big picture, and lets keep saying it loud and clear:

The plans were laid in early 2002. The intelligence was fixed around the plans. Saddam never had a nuclear program and he was no threat to us. They lied, they lied, they lied.

And America as we knew it died.

If we put anything under the forensic microscope, it should be the Administration's rapid-fire tangle of excuses for the Sixteen Words.

This will shed light not only on the Iraq War backstory, but on dereliction of duty by a somnolent press, Intelligence Community and Congress.

Dig here, and sift finely.

I agree with you Mimikatz--we need to keep reminding ourselves what this covered up.

But I'm particularly interested in pointing to the places where there are probably documents that provde BushCo lied repeatedly. Yeah, they're probably holding back these documents from Fitzgerald, just like they seem to have done on the SSCI. But let's catalog them, including what they say, and we'll be able to reconstruct a lot more than we currently can.

That was not meant as a criticism. This story operates on two levels--and there has to be a fairly simple narrative to drive it for the larger audience. That larger frame is why the details are important, especially the 16 words. Wilson's great sin was to show that they knew the 16 words--and the whole Niger claim--was bogus before the war and before the SOTU, well before. The details make the case, and the overall case is why the details matter.

Just keep reminding me. I'm seeing lots and lots of trees, and it helps to be reminded that one is standing in the middle of a vast and gloomy forest.

Forgive me if this theory has previously been dispensed with, but could Rice have been a/the source for Novak?

Rice could have been. Although presumably they'd have a good idea of it since she was in Africa, Novak wasn't, at least not July 7 when he SAID he started looking into this.

Condi could more likely be Pincus' source. Because Fitzgerald clearly knew about that one--he knew Pincus' source before Pincus testified. But that would mean Condi was cooperating with Fitz, something I doubt the loyal SOS would do.

DHinMI, some discussion of Rice as source in this thread Thursday, following a commenter's posting of this link.

emptywheel, could you draw up some kind of ballgame scorecard for those us trying to keep track at home? Wasn't there some kind of scoresheet that used to come inside the boardgame Clue? "It was Karl Rove on Air Force One with the memos."


Any thoughts on those strange three paragraphs about Miller dropped into the middle of Jehl's NYT article the other day about Miller?

For all the world, the in-house questions Jehl reports asking his superiors --In e-mail messages this week, Bill Keller, the executive editor of The New York Times, and George Freeman, an assistant general counsel of the newspaper, declined to address written questions about whether Ms. Miller was assigned to report about Mr. Wilson's trip, whether she tried to write a story about it, or whether she ever told editors or colleagues at the newspaper that she had obtained information about the role played by Ms. Wilson. -- make it sound like he was following up on the theory you floated on the 24th, among other things. In any case, I wonder what prompted just those questions.

There are a lot of details here, but let's make it crystal clear what all this disassembling is covering up

Mimikatz, I'm on that beat, but I'm trying to give it a wider scope than just lying our way into war. Every specific incident that emptywheel uncovers that illustrates the lengths to which this "administration" went to accomplish its ends gives me more reason to make the leap right past "they lied" and look instead toward the question of "what distinguishes a bungled but well-intentioned administration from an intentionally anti-constitutional one?"


Someone named Auriga put a comment in that thread about those paragraphs. She (he?) made some pretty insightful points.

As I said there, I don't think this is an attempted exoneration of Miller or a response to (exclusively) Arianna's piece.

Now that you ask, though, Jehl might be telegraphing the timing. By explaining what Judy was supposed to be writing, he points out the timing. Miller didn't write much in June and July:

FOREIGN DESK | June 7, 2003, Saturday $
Some Analysts Of Iraq Trailers Reject Germ Use
I still remember this article. It comes as close as any article Judy wrote in admitting error. And I recall the silence afterwards, too. I thought maybe they had finally shut her up.

FOREIGN DESK | July 19, 2003, Saturday $
AFTER THE WAR: INTELLIGENCE; British Arms Expert at Center of Dispute on Iraq Data Is Found Dead, His Wife Says
Article one of two about Kelly. Judy's probably involved because she can write a profile on him without even thinking about it.

NATIONAL DESK | July 2, 2003, Wednesday $
AFTER THE WAR: BIOLOGICAL WARFARE; Subject of Anthrax Inquiry Tied to Anti-Germ Training
This article was reported and written by William J. Broad, David Johnston and Judith Miller. (NYT) 1830 words
Steven Hatfield. Recall that he designed some mobile trailers, like we thought Saddam would use. One more interesting, probably tangential thing about this is that the in October, the guy who took over Hatfield's case, Washington FBI bureau head Michael Mason, took himself off the list of people who could see Plame evidence.

FOREIGN DESK | July 20, 2003, Sunday $
AFTER THE WAR: UNCONVENTIONAL ARMS; A Chronicle of Confusion in the U.S. Hunt for Hussein's Chemical and Germ Weapons
By JUDITH MILLER (NYT) 1961 words
I think this is a result of some of the absolutely BS activities Judy was involved in. But I need to check it again.

FOREIGN DESK | July 21, 2003, Monday $
AFTER THE WAR: INTELLIGENCE; Scientist Was the 'Bane of Proliferators'
By JUDITH MILLER (NYT) 848 words
Another profile on Kelly.

FOREIGN DESK | July 23, 2003, Wednesday $
AFTER THE WAR: THE QUARRY; For Brutality, Hussein's Sons Exceeded Even Their Father
By JUDITH MILLER (NYT) 931 words

NATIONAL DESK | July 23, 2003, Wednesday $
AFTER THE WAR: INTELLIGENCE; National Security Aide Says He's to Blame for Speech Error
Joseph falls on his sword.

Only one article in June, when I speculate Judy's getting leaks from Bolton on this. The other remarkable thing, of course, are the two articles on David Kelly. Recall that Miller hid her relationship with Kelly when writing those articles, even though an email to her was one of his last communications.

There's also an interesting typo--at least I think it's a typo--in Jehl's article.

Ms. Miller never wrote a story about the matter. She has refused to testify in response to a court order directing her to testify in response to a subpoena from Mr. Fitzgerald seeking her testimony about a conversation with a specified government official between June 6, 2003, and June 13, 2003.

Not June. July. Right?


I'm working on something like that. But it's taking a long time. I actually have to do more than just rip apart someone's front-page leak-happy article!

It would be useful to set a timeline for where Judith Miller was in the late Winter - Early Spring of 2003.

I don't have exact dates, but know that she spent most of the actual invasion period in Kuwait, and then entered Iraq with the military team with which she was inbeded that had the mission of finding WMD -- and she spent about 3 weeks in the field with the unit. Since Baghdad was occupied in the second week of April, that might take her up into May with the WMD search unit.

Apparently Miller's specific embed was personally signed off on by Rumsfeld himself. I don't think he personally organized reporters assignments for any other reporters.

There is considerable controversy regarding Miller's behavior while with the inspection unit. (google news using Judith Miller, and the article ought to still be available).

What it looks like to me is that the top Brass were using Miller to confirm her own stories from the build up to the war regarding WMD. I notice that efforts were made to keep other reporters away from Judy's turf, and it was treated as her exclusive story. Again, it might be interesting to see what others managed to cover and report. Knight Ritter did apparently get one story.

Of course the real story in this period should have been that we did not have nearly enough troops to properly protect all sorts of sites where military ordinance of all sorts was discovered. Bush was refusing to let the UN inspectors return and secure the materials they had put under seal and there was no plan in place to assemble found materials and make them either safe or blow them up.

But I think the Miller story in early 2003 was about an exclusive mission to validate her earlier reporting based on INC sources. But she didn't produce the proof from Iraq. Anyhow, I wonder if the Kristoff column in mid-May backgrounded by Wilson might have been the first "shot across her bow" when she returned to the Times empty handed.


Thanks -- but where is the thread you're talking about with comments from Auriga? I can find it neither here nor at kos. Also, the Times did mistakenly put in June rather than July, and noted its error in yesterday's times. I was surprised by that at the time, especially since it went on to talk immediately and correctly about July. I wonder whether jehl got his wires crossed looking at the very stuff that Time is reporting on today -- the bustle of activity in the early part of June prompted by Pincus working on his article, which appeared on the 12th of June.

Sorry, Jeff, just two doors down.

Glad to see NYT corrected themselves. Did they also say, "goodness gracious, why were we so naive as to believe Novak's claim that his first source was "not a partisan gunslinger"?

Hmm. Guess not.

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