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September 29, 2005



Hmmm. I tell you, Judy, DeLay, Monday it's SCOTUS, Yankees-Sox weekend... the hits just keep on coming.

So, this is all a chess game and Fitzgerald has had months to plan his moves. Did anything new come out today that gives us any further insight into his strategy?

I'm reading these articles right, Fitzgerald is making at least 2 seemingly large concessions:

1) not to use any details of Miller & Libby's meetings to charge either with obstruction

2) not to ask Judy about any of her other sources

And, there's nothing in any of the articles about immunity for Miller.

Here's what I don't understand - since this was a private conversation between Libby & Miller, what's to stop her from saying their conversation had nothing to do with Plame? Fitz would have to have some way of using the threat of a perjury charge to force her to be honest, right? Or does he have something else on her that he's agreed not to pursue if she gives him want he wants on Libby?

In any case, since he's accepting such limited scope of testimony, I guess he's got everything he needs except one more confirmation on Libby's culpability, so would you say it's likely that he may release whatever indictments he has almost immediately? Or, do you have some concern that this whole turn of events represents a backing down by Fitzgerald in terms of how far he's trying to go with this?

Very interesting... I have to wonder if this has anything to do with Bush looking like death warmed over lately, like he is mortally terrified of something.

Libby on the edge?

Fitzgerald: "I want Miller to tell me everything about your conversations."

Libby: "Ok, I'll talk to her."

Fitzgerald: "And I want you to tell me everything about what (Cheney, Rove, Bolton, Bush, etc...) know about this."

Libby: "Ok."

Well the timing makes sense to me -- throw Libby to the dogs & get the indictments out of the way during the WORST BUSHCO NEWS SEASON OF ALL TIME, nobody will be paying much attention anyway (or so they think). I'm not too happy about the fact that Judy doesn't have to reveal information about her "other sources" (I'm not even sure what that means, but if she's going to walk, he should be able to ask her anything.)

Oh and a word about David Johnston. I've known him since I was 18, he was a hard-core, muckracking liberal in San Francisco at the Bay Guardian for years. Haven't had much contact with him in a while, but he can't be comfortable with Judy Miller's Iraq "reporting" *cough* unless he's changed an awful lot in the intervening years.

A comment regarding the two week delay, until today. What if it was Fitzgerald's call, getting his way with Judy at a time of his choosing to put pressure on his other targets?

[getting kabalistic: I think Judy went to jail on the anniversary of her conversation with Libby, July 8; the WaPo article discussing deliberate administration leaking of Plame's name to 6 reporters was on September 30 of that year, I believe; the WaPo article discussing the Brewster-Jennings damage then was a few days after this]

Sorry to be overly dramatic but this seemed an interesting idea. Another great posting emptywheel.

Couple of comments.

First, I don't think Fitz needs Miller to get to her first source. I think the NYT turned enough materials over that he doesn't need her corroboration. Remember, Arianna said the NYT was getting more realistic, not Judy. They turned over earlier materials (just as Time turned over their materials) which was enough evidence to sink Judy on conspiracy if she didn't testify.

Second, I think the obstruction concerns were over conversations in jail. Not over the original conversations.

Third, Fitz is none too worried about what Judy will say tomorrow. She's had TWO WEEKS in which he has been grilling her. And I bet there's a signed statement already too. No way he let her out before he made sure he knew what she was going to testify (and if something happened to her ...)

Is there any indication that the NYT turned over notes?

>And I bet there's a signed statement already too. No way he'd let her out before he made sure he knew what she was going to testify (and if something happened to her ...)

Yikes... well, Fitzgerald just indicted those 16 "Insane Deuces" gang members, and the Gambinos before that, so I guess he's used to planning for that sort of eventuality. It's scary, really. How far will these guys go to stay in power? Or to stay out of the Alexandria Detention Center? And with the kind of power they wield, what desperate options are available to them, and how tempting is it to use them after having all these months to torture themselves about it? They're only human. Cheney's been staring down the Grim Reaper since he was in his 30's and Rove doesn't look like a healthy man. In their own minds, how long has it been since they wrote off any sense of morality?

I guess what I'm saying is: they've committed one unthinkably immoral act after another ... but now, their careers, their fortunes, and their very freedom are all at stake. They've devoted their lives to amassing ultimate power and wealth, but if convicted, they're unlikely to live out their sentences. What do people like Karl Rove and Dick Cheney do when they're cornered?

>Firedog: Is there any indication that the NYT turned over notes?

¡por supuesto!


"A Times story late on Thursday revealed that as part of Miller's agreement, one of her attorneys, Robert Bennett, gave Patrick J. Fitzgerald, the federal prosecutor, edited versions of notes taken by Miller about her conversations with I. Lewis Libby."

Any bets she'll be getting some phone calls?

John Bolton? Ahmed Chalabi?

I think Ahmed, having had his way with her (and BushCo, and us), is not likely to call.

Actually, there is no indication NYT turned over notes. Judy did, but only those pertaining to the July 8 Libby conversation. So either the NYT somehow communicated internal discussions. Or turned over notes. Or Fitz doesn't have information on Judy's earlier sources from NYT or Judy.

I'm primarily interested in the NYT turning over notes relating to earlier sources of Judy. He has said he won't ask her about earlier sources in the GJ testimony, which makes sense to me, since he hasn't shown a judge that he could only get that information from a journalist, and therefore would not want to infringe on Judy's First Amendment. (In all cases I know of, journalists only have to expose their source if it's the only way to get the evidence.) So I'm just trying to figure out how, if Bolton is involved, he has the evidence to indict him. One option is the NYT revealing some information about the Judy's speculative earlier article. But I suspect there are other ways.

What if Fleitz had talked?

Well, well, well, what a nice thing to wake up to this morning! I hadn't even heard a hint of this yesterday evening, and now it seems that Judy is singing like a canary.

Coming on top of everything else, it's enough to make everyone break out in song, like in an old time musical.

Well, almost everyone.

-- Rick

The talk at Dkos today is that the plea by Larry Franklin to espionage charges was the ice breaker here.

If I had to place a bet, I'd say the visit from Bolton to Judy was the source of the conversation regarding potential obstruction charges for Judy -- and the reason that Bennett consulted with Fitz prior to any "negotiations" with Libby on an "uncoerced waiver." Emptywheel is absolutely right in the thread, above, that Fitz will only be asking for information that is available only through Judy in terms of her testimony -- if he can get the information elsewhere, case law requires that he get it from a non-journalistic source. Also right that Fitz wouldn't be letting Judy's butt out of jail without nailing down all the particulars of her testimony through interviews before her testimony today -- you never know what can happen...cough...to your witness once they leave your custody prior to grand jury testimony on the record. Great reporting here, as always -- guess we'll see whether or not indictments start popping out everywhere and how far into the Iraq Working Group this extends.

The WaPo story, as reprinted in the SF Chronicle this morning, adds the following:

"According to a source familiar with Libby's account of his conversations with Miller in July, 2003, the subject of Wilson's wife came up on two occasions. In the first, on July 8, Miller met with Libby to interview him about weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, the source said.

"At the time, he aasked him why Wilson had been chosen to investigate questions Cheney had posed about whether Iraq attempted to buy uranium in the African nation of Niger. Lubby, the source familiar with the account said, told her the White House was working with the CIA to find out more about Wilson's trip and how he came to be selected.

"Libby told Miller he heard Wilson's wife had something to do with sending him but he did not know who she was or where she worked, the source said.

"Libby had a second conversation with Miller on July 12 or July 13, the source said, in which he told her he had learned that Wilson's wife had a role in sending him on the trip and that she worked for the CIA. Libby never knew Plame's name or that she was a covert operative, the source said."

The "source" is probably Tate but could be Libby himself. Libby may be trying to avoid being made the fall guy. In this version he isn't the original leaker. That could still have been Bolton via Fleitz to Cheney. And that piece comes into place between July 8 and 12. And we still have the question who talked to Novak and who gave Novak Plame's name, or whether he got it from Who's Who. Libby oviously didn't hear it from a reporter, which makes it less likely that Rove did either. I still think that is the fact Fitz is trying to nail down. That, and the original leaker. But the OL is off the hook if he gave the info only to people with the requisite security clearance, as Libby almost certainly was.

The WSJ also says that Libby assumed that Miller was protecting other sources and that he thought he had given her the waiver a year ago. Which may mean he had reason to kow she had talked to others.

After reading more it looks to me like Judy didn;t find martyrdom as fun as she thought it would be and was afraid Fitz might try to extend her stay. The rest is a ruse, unless Libby is afraid of being made the (latest) fall guy and wanted his story out there.

I think Bolton, Libby and Miller agreed to say it was Libby because it was a way to protect the original leaker, John Bolton. Because State Department records show that Bolton was actively involved in creating and promulgating the State Department Fact Sheet which contained the false claim the Iraq had purchased yellowcake from Niger, used as the basis for the claim which Secretary of State Colin Powel made to the UN, it might seem clever to them to distance the leaker from the forger. In any case, the UN World Summit is over and Bolton succeeded in defeating its purpose, so maybe now Judy can sign ze papers? Mission Accomoplished.

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