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September 20, 2005


So, has anybody asked Armstrong whether he talked to Miller? Can we ask him? Can we get someone else to?

And have any of the journos in the spotlight ever been asked whether they ever had any written communications with administration officials? Like, receiving a faxed copy of the talking points? I wonder if anyone's testimony been couched in those terms, as in, "Rove never spoke to me."

Gosh, that would be the way to figure out whether Armstrong spoke to Judy, wouldn't it.

FWIW, recall that the SFRC tried to keep Armstrong's name secret throughout these hearings (but then blew it--go figure). I believe he's overseas right now, perhaps under light cover?

Isn't the question of whether one had talking points in hand one of the questions everyone is asking about Judy? Recall she said she didn't receive a document when she spoke to Libby. So perhaps when it involves outing NOCs, they only let you look at the talking points?

Here's the question I am constantly asking myself: we're all sitting around, pissed off about this leak and its implications for national security, slogging through tiny bits and pieces in news articles (or enormous mounds of testimony like emptywheel clearly did on this -- awesome work! Again!), and trying to put all the pieces of this puzzle together. The media articles that I keep reading or hearing from the MSM in print or on tv are surface level crap and insipid at least 3/4ths of the time. Is the real journalism being tamped down by the corporate folks -- or is the real journalism just not being done? The recent WaPo article on Judy's parade of buddies visiting her in the pokey is a classic example. I mean, I live nowhere near DC, I have no contacts "in the know" on this, all I have is my experience as a lawyer in the criminal justice system and as a prosecutor, and it's just become a sort of obsessive hobby for me because whoever leaked the information on Valerie Wilson is scum and a traitor and that pisses me off. But so many of the journalists who have the contacts are doing so much less work than what emptywheel has done in this single blog entry. Does this seriously piss off anyone else, or am I alone in this feeling?

btw, I think Fleitz is a really good call. It just gets more and more interesting, doesn't it?

There's something about doing something professionally that makes you want to dog it, if you can, and still get paid. It's the hobbyists who do their work for the love of the sport who do it best.

Excellent point. But I have to say, the best prosecutors I have ever worked with were also the ones who did it because the work needed to be done, and well, for the public good, as their own personal obsession. I have always had the feeling that Fitz was one of those guys, so I am still very, very hopeful that indictments will be handed down. My disappointment, I suppose, is in the lack of real intellectual curiosity in so many of the members of the Fourth Estate regarding a serious breach of national security from someone high in the current Administration -- breaking this story wide open would make a career for a young, ambitious journalist. I keep wondering when that break is going to happen, but I expect it to come from a blogger at this point. Dunno -- I guess I'm just pining for some Watergate-level digging -- thank goodness for blogs, I suppose, or I'd be truly disgusted.

Some people are lucky enough to do what they love for a living. It's rare, though.

Excellent timing. Check this out from Huffington on Fleitz and Bolton and Miller and Plame.

Ahead of the pack again, emptywheel, multiple kudos. Of course, as ReddHedd notes, there isn't a pack.

There's a lot of laziness and cowardice on the part of top journalists. There's also the reality that any journalist with a beat who wants to take on something like this has to jump through all sorts of hoops to be assigned the job, or must spend her spare time doing the job the way emptywheel has done. And then, unless you find something an editor will buy, you may not even get to run what you've got unless you can nail down every single loose board.

When I was an alternative newspaper journalist ages ago, I often spent 40-50 hours a week in addition to my usual 40 or 50 hours of regular work trying to piece together investigate stories. Sometimes it was me and a colleague putting in these hours. This could go on for months. Of course, that was in the days before you could dredge up testimony on the Internet, but even with the wwwWorld at your fingertips, it's still a huge amount of work with often limited pay-off because most leads arrive at dead-ends, and most editors are freaked out by the possibility that a negative story about high officials will bring brimstone down on her or his head (or publication).

So, they let the prosecutors do their work for them.

Here are some more thoughts on Armstrong, in response to Kagro's comment.

Armstrong testified at the Bolton hearings via video. But his testimony was not included among that testimony declassified (or, at least it doesn't appear in Steve Clemons' collection). There was much stink at the hearings about trying to keep Armstrong's name out of it, since was at the time of the hearings overseas under light cover.

But as Attaturk pointed out, the CIA wasn't doing a very good job at keeping him under cover.

I'm going to try to chase down instances of where the WH smeared Armstrong with allegations of a relationship to Castro. I suspect that is what Miscik is referrring to. ANd I suspect they really smeared him over Venezuela intelligence, which BushCo is as we speak gaming in the same way they gamed the Iraq intelligence.

But I wonder if they made the big deal about him being under cover to prevent him from being available for questioning. Let me put it this way. If I wanted to call him to get the question about who leaked to NYT answered, I probably couldn't get that info directly from Armstrong. Because he's undercover (well, in any case, but particularly because he's undercover) some bureaucrat at CIA would get to say what he was allowed to say or not.


ok you got me curious. Especially the leak that never landed.

Is it possible that this:

Mr. Armstrong, during May of 2002, campaigned against the speech, telling people within the policy community, and with Congress, and we believe, in the media, that the speech was not cleared, and misrepresented the Intelligence Community.

corresponds to something like this WaPo article from the same day as the NYT's Carter-Cuba piece (the text of which I couldn't find -- could you?):

A Bush administration official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said Cuba has "a number of projects that are what could be dual-use things, but they're probably not. . . . It's a question more of them exciting suspicions by not being open. I don't know of any tangible stuff that shows yes, they are making anthrax [or anything else]. There is stuff we don't know about."

Did you already run across that anonymous refutation of the Bolton speech?


I only looked in the NYT, since Hutchings specified the NYT. That anonymous refutation could be Armstrong. But would they say Bush Administration official, or CIA official? Further, I suspect the jist of Armstrong's refutation (given what else is said in the Bolton testimony) would be that the intelligence community had questions about the veracity of the intelligence.

I got the Carter-Cuba text no problem--except I had to pay to get in the archives, which unfortunately makes me look like a Times Select fan.

Yeah, I had the same reservations. On the other hand, there was only one reference to NYT specifically, right?, and the other just to the media. I guess I imagined these guys can be a little sloppy and might say the wrong paper's name... or happen to know that the leak was to both, and forgot which paper actually ran it. Isn't it contrary to the Little Leaker Handbook to only leak to one outlet, rather than spreading the love around?

And I had the same thought that the attribution was fishy. But who knows. Mostly I wanted to draw your attention to that other refutation, if you hadn't already found it, since whoever that anonymous source was -- Armstrong or not -- seems possible to at least be in the same boat as Armstrong.

I get NYTimes at home so I theoretically get TimesSelect for free (in fact I see that even if you just subscribe to only the Book Review, you get TimesSelect free) but I have more chance of unravelling the Bolton-Plame threads than of figuring out how to log in to it. Their site has me going in circles. Anyway... from your link above, I just get to an 87-word summary of the Carter-Cuba article, not the full text -- and can't find the links to purchase or go to archives. Even if I wanted to buy it I don't think I could figure out how to -- way to go, NYT, you really have invented a new business model.

Actually, there is at least one more reference, from someone else entirely, to the NYT.

But now that I think of it, if these guys are both saying the NYT, then it was common knowledge (or they're part of the Neocon crowd too). While they're both political appointees, they don't strike me as that partisan.



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