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September 24, 2005


Thanks Emptywheel your posts are always great. Much of this I'll have to digest further but one question I have is could the bad analysts you've mentioned be a minority within WINPAC?

This could all be a clear case of
"stovepiping" favorable analyst opinions and then scapegoating the whole group after the fact - rather than blaming the real actors (in the White House and Boulton's group). I'd expect as much from Robb-Silberman.

It's easy to imaging Fleitz complaining to Boulton about Plame if there were frictions within WINPAC and Wilson went public about these very topics, and then the story moves on up to the West Wing.

I am getting increasingly tired of the "good soldier" mentality that keeps people like Powell (honorably mislead by those WINPAC analysts for his UN speech) and Tenet (also honorably mislead by the analysts) from shedding some light on where the truth lies.


I do think there are factions at WINPAC. And, quite honestly, Alan Foley comes of as a total space cadet. Not just on dates and stuff (he makes several mistakes in his Bolton testimony), but also in the SSCI. I don't know anything else about him, but I imagine him as a doddering old grandfather type.

With leadership like that, and hawks like Cheney and Libby and Bolton around, it can be very easy to exploit the factions that are there.

Another question I'm trying to answer is why WINPAC was established. JOhn Lauder, head of the nonproliferation that WINPAC partly absored, testified in (I think) 1999 that there should be no further consolidation of the NP function. But then Bush (I think it was Bush) went ahead and consolidated it. There was a similar new department under Bolton's authority that effectively provided him a way to sideline John Wolf, who was was trying to keep the intelligence honest.

In other words, I wonder whether WINPAC was created to make it easier to control NP functions? They created OSP to give themselves an easy way to dictate what intelligece told them. Did they do the same with WINPAC?

But this is all just a question in my mind right now--I don't know the answer.

lack of comment on my part is not lack of interest.

Still digesting! Kagro says Libby and Fleitz. Have you made your indictment list (including Rove)?

Yeah, where's your list? And no fair using logic!

I've got various versions of this floating around the internets. But here's what I think the chain of events was. Perhaps the lawyers in the crowd can help me clarify what the charges would be:

Dick, Libby, Hadley, and a few other recognised the threat of Wilson and started looking for dirt on him in March. They likely put out an APB for dirt, which if Fitz has found it is exhibit A in a conspiracy case.

Because of events marginally related, Bolton and Fleitz discovered Plame was Wilson's wife in June. Either Fleitz filled in the additional details (that Plame was NOC and her cover was Brewster-Jennings) or perhaps they put out another APB for more details on Plame's role at the CIA and David Shedd revealed to Stephen Hadley some more. I doubt that either Fleitz or Shedd are guilty of any violations--except perhaps a violation of rules surrounding Secure Compartmentalized Information, which I'm fairly confident Fleitz broke fairly commonly (more on that in my next Bolton post).

So now we've got the information, but not an official leak. I do think Bolton leaked it to--at least--Miller, in June. That would be the first real charge here, probably a violation of the IIPA.

I also think there would be a set of talking points on Plame circulated, at this point, internally. For a variety of reasons, I think this was drawn up at NSC, perhaps by Hadley who seems to have no fear of lying under oath. This document will be exhibit B in a conspiracy case. But again, its circulation internally is probably only a violation of SCI rules.

Then there was additional leaking the week of July 6, if not before. Rove is almost certainly guilty of one of these, since Cooper first found out Plame's identity from him. I suspect Libby will also be guilty, in his conversation to Russert and perhaps his conversation to Miller. I also think there's the possibility that Bartlett will have leaked Plame's identity that week, too. These will probably be generic security clearance violations, because neither Libby nor Rove nor Bartlett would have had the need-to-know Plame's identity.

During the week of July 6, I think the INR Memo only served as a talking point in Air Force 1. So it's no longer the source of the leak. But it's the document that gives Powell the material to defend his story that there was a discussion about outing Plame on Air Force 1--That is, Powell is the witness that corroborates the two earlier documents. And Powell is the witness that fingers Condi, Bush, and Bartlett in addition to all the earlier conspirers.

I suspect there is also some kind of evidence--probably some emails--that show ongoing discussions between Libby, Rove, and Hadley during this week. I think Rove's attempt to explain away his email to Hadley suggests there's something incriminating there. And I suspect George Tenet is a witness to this conspiracy in some fashion--associated with the drafting of his mea culpa. I suspect Tenet is a cooperating witness, but perhaps not as cooperative as Powell.

So you have any number of people who are implicated in the conspiracy to out a spy: Rove, Cheney, Libby, Matalin (waived for her testimony), Hannah, Wurmser, Bolton, Hadley, Bush, Bartlett, Rice, Ari (waived for his testimony). I don't think there's a chance in hell they'll all be indicted. I think a lot of it depends on whether Fitz has found Exhibits A and B.

Then, during the month of September, when Ashcroft tipped Rove and Libby off that there would be an investigation, Rove, Libby, and Novak organized what I'll call the second conpiracy, to get off of the charges. They all lied in conversations with the FBI, making up the story that Judy Miller and maybe some other journalists told them all and they just passed it on from there. Cooper's testimony is evidence of Rove's lying. Russert, we don't know about, wrt to Libby's lie. And I'm not sure how they're going to prove that Novak lied; I think they know he did, but Rove and Novak are the only witnesses who could testify about it.

Finally, I think Abu Gonzales may be involved in obstruction, but again, I'm not sure Fitz will be able to prove it. I would bet money that an NSC talking points document on Plame exist(s) but that Abu Gonzales skimmed it during his two week review. I also think Libby may have altered some of his hand-written notes about the WHIG, which Fitz might be able to prove if someone from the WHIG (Matalin?) cooperates. But I'm less sure these charges are going to be proven.

I agree, there are civil, though separate, remedies for Mr. and Mrs. Wilson in certain forums. My take is Mr. W's reward is his record of effectiveness and respect based on merit. He worked and they have endured much to achieve and preserve that, though one interchange at the Intelligence Committee involving him and the Chairman of that Committee was of concern with respect to thoroughness on Mr. Wilson's part if only as a report writer after the fact, which was the contentious topic on which he was grilled at that juncture. Yet, the essence seems to have been substantial, and overwhelmingly reliable. It is curious his factFinding visit to Niger was a solitary event and so brief. I wonder about the Agency followup; surely, it must have amounted to more than a glossy covered report collecting dust on a credenza. The numerous other dossiers which did not gather dust would be easily identifiable, later, in the White House, overnight, when Mr. Card did his rendition of the Oliver North Fawn Hall shredding party, if that ever took place; maybe Fitzgerald could subpoena shredding truck waybills to prove it happened. What does it take to shred a floating model Knesset, we ask.
The foregoing is replying to several recent posts of Ew over the past four months on this topic.

Thought I should also post my indictment predictions here after posting them on DKos earlier. Since emptywheel has done such amazing work on this, I wanted my predictions on record on this thread, too. Great reporting again, btw -- amazing work!


Please note that all of this is based on pure speculation on what we have actually heard or surmised from media accounts and blog posts. Sure wish we could all get a glimpse at what Fitzgerald really has. Ooooooh, to be a fly on the wall when they are talking strategy...

Anyway, here goes -- enough with the disclaimers:

IIPA [50 USC 421]
Espionage Act [37 USC 793]
and/or Patriot Act

FLEITZ: Disclosure of Valerie Plame Wilson's (VPW) NOC status to Bolton (assuming here that Bolton would NOT be at a "need to know" level in his position at State at that point -- very few people are at that level for NOC knowledge, since it is one of the most protected secrets in the entire government, for good reason).

BOLTON: Disclosure of VPW's NOC status to members of Iraq Working Group, and more specifically to Rove and Libby either (a) via FAX sent to Powell onboard Air Force One Africa trip that Ari Fleischer was seen reviewing on the flight (I would bet that Fleischer has flipped and cut a deal, based on the few public comments regarding him that we have seen in the media over the last couple of months.) and/or direct disclosure to Iraq Working Group participants who I also assume were not all on "need to know" basis. Also, potential disclosure to Judy Miller, either directly or indirectly through confirmation. (Fleitz could be a Miller source as well.)

ROVE: Confirmation for both Novak and Cooper. As I read the statutes, any identification or use of classified information outside authorized bounds is disclosure, so confirmation would be the same as directly saying that WPM was a NOC. Also, potentially an accessory to disclosure to Judy Miller, depending on level of conspiracy there with the planning.

LIBBY: See Rove's explanation above, esp. with regard to Cooper, at the least.


ROVE/LIBBY/HADLEY/FLEISCHER/BOLTON/FLEITZ/et. al: Add in possibly Novak, Miller, Condi Rice and Dick Cheney, depending on the provable facts, considering the little bits of public disclosure that we have regarding phone records after this story began to be public & Fitzgerald was appointed, especially calls made by a presumably panicked Novak to Rove and several others. Attempt to cover-up what was done for political payback purposes to Wilson. Also, obstruction for Rove's and/or Libby's potential obfuscation to FBI invgestigators regarding confirmation comments to Cooper and/or Novak. (See 18 USC 1001) Note here that if Dick Cheney had ANYTHING to do with this, I believe that an indictment would not be appropriate under current law -- a referral to Congress regarding an Article of Impeachment would be required and that would be something that would have a very, very high wall to overcome considering that both houses are controlled by Republicans and that there would, thus, need to be a high level of proof regarding specific conduct by the Vice President for this to be sustained.


ROVE, that we know of: For failure to disclose statements to Cooper and/or lying to the special grand jury about nature of his involvement. This can include being less than truthful statements and incomplete statements and is not limited to lying altogether.

Guess we'll see once Fitzgerald and his crew and the Special Grand Jury get finished and begin issuing indictments. Also, keep in mind that a person who helps someone else to commit a crime, either through facilitation of communication or otherwise can be imputed to have committed the actual crime as an accessory -- either before or after the fact. There could be some question on where individual conduct falls as direct criminal conduct, conspiratorial conduct in furtherance of the crime, or as accessory chargeable as a crime. This gets complicated, and Fitzgerald's task in all of this is unenviable.

Wow, emptywheel. Another amazing post. I just got finished reading the Judy Miller in Iraq series again -- I'm afraid my meager brain can only take in so much at any given time before it overloads.

And thanks so much for your predictions in the comments. I have to wonder about two things, namely, that Fitz is after documents Miller either gave OR received. Do you think she was a recipient of Exhibit B? Given that Tenet is reportedly upset that Miller might skate, it implies that he thinks her involvement in the whole thing may have been a bit more active than, say, Matt Cooper's, relative to spreading the information.

Further, to Novak: Early on in the process, he had an incredible swaggering arrogance which made me think at the time he thought he was protected, and I wondered if in fact he may have cut some sort of deal with Ashcroft (pre-Fitzgerald). As time went on, Novak seemed to break down, and by the time he walked off CNN he looked like whatever safety net he thought he had just disappeared. Based on psychology alone, I think the investigation took some sort of turn relative to him, either he became a target or Fitzgerald got him on perjury and he now had to rat out his buddies.

I certainly do hope Powell's mea culpas regarding the UN are his attempt to set the stage for a giant rat-out of the whole bunch.

That's me buying popcorn for October.

Well, let's hope Arianna's got another good source on the story that Judy is getting ready to deal. But as I've said before, NYT was only asked for materials relating to this case relating to the week of July 6. And for a variety of reasons, I think they felt safe they had nothing--in fact they were safe, because some pretty pissed off judges and a hardnosed prosecutor bought their explanation. But if they were subsequently asked if they had ANY materials relating to the affair, starting in March and ending now, then they may not have had such an easy legal dodge.

In other words, if the NYT is willing to hand over earlier materials, Judy's going to want to deal, I imagine.

I think Novak lied his ass off in Fall 2003 when interviewed by the FBI. His lies would have worked if 1) there wasn't enough other evidence out there that would undermine his lie (perhaps it was something as small as references to the INR memo in the SSCI report; the report reportedly gave Fitz' investigation new life) and 2) Cooper (and maybe) Judy talked.

Rove was relying, utterly, on the structure of journalism in this country in which leaks are sacrosanct and protected, we like to believe, by the First Amendment. Rove spent a lot of time setting up an economy where only completely obedient journalists could get these leaks.

I think one of Rove's critical mistakes was his conversation with Cooper. He obviously didn't leak the whole story he was shopping (he didn't mention the NOC status). But he leaked to a guy who was new, only a couple of weeks at the WH, and who he hadn't properly brow-beaten into submissiveness. And once Cooper talked it became clear Rove was lying.

I agree substantially with Redd-Hedd's indictment list, with one exception -- if they have anything on either Cheney or Bush -- but specifically on Cheney, I think Fitzgerald will rely on the Agnew case wherein the Congressional Leadership took the position that a VP did not have to be impeached before indictment. Agnew was taking pay off's both before and after he became VP -- in fact they were delivered by hand to his EOB office. But rather than complicate the whole case, Fitzgerald could follow the Jaworski pattern, and name Cheney (and possibly Bush) as unindicted co-conspirators which would make their acts potential evidence at trial, but keep Congressional impeachment out of the normal inductment - trial process.

Slightly changing emphasis -- does anyone think it possible that Bush's great disconnect from Katrina, and his furious effort to be "relevant" with Rita, might be the result of a vacition in Crawford that was quietly and secretly about how to deal with the impending indictments?

Re: Bush's vacation, I think you might be right.

Recall that Bush didn't mind that Cindy Sheehan was camped on his doorstep until Condi and Rummy showed up. I suspect someone else attended that meeting that they wanted to hide. Now, it could just as well be a strategy session on Iran as a strategy session on burying the Plame indictments. But when you throw in the Rove-as-rebuilding-czar, I've got to believe they dreamt up a pathetic plan to appear irreplacable.

Forgive me if you covered this but is it established that Plame worked at WINPAC? I thought that was bit in Judith Miller's notebook was incorrect? Here's the key bit from Reuters, 10/18/05:

"According to Miller's account of a meeting with Libby on July 8, she wrote in her notes that Wilson's wife worked for the CIA's Weapons Intelligence, Non-Proliferation, and Arms Control, or Winpac, unit, which tracks unconventional arms.

A former intelligence official said Plame did not work at Winpac but for the CIA's clandestine service. The former official, who is familiar with Plame's CIA activities, spoke on condition of anonymity because of the matter's sensitivity."

* * *

Oops. I didn't see that this post predates the Miller story. I'll leave my comment above without adding anything beyond "Thank You" for all your fine work. You were definitely on top of things with Fleitz.

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