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December 13, 2005


yesterday I was reading that the public editor (ombudsman) was writing about how the regulars at the WaPo view froomkin especially and the washingtonpost.com site.

Political reporters at The Post don't like WPNI columnist Dan Froomkin's "White House Briefing," which is highly opinionated and liberal. They're afraid that some readers think that Froomkin is a Post White House reporter.

John Harris, national political editor at the print Post, said, "The title invites confusion. It dilutes our only asset -- our credibility" as objective news reporters. Froomkin writes the kind of column "that we would never allow a White House reporter to write. I wish it could be done with a different title and display."

Harris is right; some readers do think Froomkin is a White House reporter. But Froomkin works only for the Web site and is very popular -- and Brady is not going to fool with that, though he is considering changing the column title and supplementing it with a conservative blogger.

Froomkin said he is "happy to consider other ways to telegraph to people that I'm not a Post White House reporter. I do think that what I'm doing, namely scrutinizing the White House's every move -- with an attitude -- is in the best traditions of American and Washington Post journalism."

well, put that in context with this.

I kept thinking of all the WaPo writers who probably aren't bitching--Priest, Pincus, Milbank--either. Just a few shills who want to have their access and not pay for it with readers.

Little favor, please; who wrote and posted this entry? I can't tell. I see a comment at FireDogLake from someone that corresponds with this post, but I can't be certain it's the same source. Thanks!

add this

Rove and Libby, and to a lesser extent then deputy National Security Council (NSC) adviser Stephen J. Hadley (who is currently Bush's NSC adviser), directed these efforts. Both Rove and Libby discussed with Novak, Cooper, and other journalists the fact that Wilson's wife worked for the CIA, and that she was responsible for sending him to Niger, in an effort to discredit him.

The manner by which Rove and Libby learned of Plame's employment at the CIA before they shared that information with journalists is central to whether any federal criminal laws regarding classified information were violated. Rove and Libby have reportedly claimed they learned of the information from journalists. Rove in particular told FBI officials that he first learned of Plame's employment with the CIA from a journalist, but drew their suspicions when he claimed that he could not recall the journalist's name. Murray Waas August 13th, 2005

Hadley was clearly the link between Libby and Rove. Hadley was Cheney's eyes and ears in the NSC.

I think your previous post which connects the Vivak story to the Woodward disclosure makes an excellent point. The "important fact" that Woodward found out about that may have forced his disclosure to Downie may have been the Luskin-Vivak conversation.

Consider this scenario.... Around October 23, Rove tells Woodward that he did not remember the Cooper conversation -- that the only reason he recalled it was because Vivak had mentioned it to Luskin. Woodward, wanting to curry favor with Rove by making him look innocent, wants to report this under his own byline, and goes to Downie with the story. On October 24, as part of Woodward's sale pitch to Downie on the story of "Rove's innocence", Woodward discloses to Downie that he (Woodward) had known about Plame from another source -- not Rove, and much earlier than the Cooper conversation -- and also mentions that he told Pincus at that time.

At THIS POINT, because of the Post's involvement in Pincus's own testimony, and because Woodward's information contradicts what Pincus testified to, the Post is forced to notify Fitzgerald about what Woodward had disclosed about Pincus.... and explain why this information was being made available at this point. (i.e. the Vivak -- Luskin conversation.)

Fitzgerald contacts Luskin, asks if its true about Vivak, and Luskin says "yes." As a result, Fitzgerald's whole case against Rove/Hadley is called into question at a point where there is insufficient time to determine the facts. So Fitzgerald improvises a freestanding Libby indictment, while Luskin spins the story of how he kept Rove from being indicted at the last minute.

Rove claims that his original source of the info on Plame was journalists...but he can't remember their names.

Try this one....

Woodward's source is Hadley. Rove actually did hear about "Wilson's wife" from a journalist first -- that journalist being Bob Woodward repeating some "gossip" he'd gotten from Hadley. Rove contacts Hadley, and gets ALL the dirt on Plame.

Because disclosing Woodward's involvement in his initial knowledge about "Wilson's wife" would lead directly to Hadley -- and his (Rove's) subsequent detailed knowledge about "Valerie Plame" -- Rove has to conveniently forget precisely which journalist was his (Rove's) original source.


Um, this post has no author. Could you all do a little better job of attribution?

Rayne and Melanie

Sorry about that. I was trying so hard to remember a summary I forgot myself. Literally.

Thanks, EW, wasn't sure, although it certainly "sounded" like you!

I am reposting this from FDL. The formatting is ok in Preview, we'll see how it is in Post

For what it's worth. From a WaPo chat at 11 ayem:

Lawrence, Kan.: Did Jim VandeHei misspeak on Hardball when he attributed Rove's knowledge of Valerie Plame to Hadley?

Peter Baker: Thanks for the question. Jim informs me he did misspeak. He meant to say chatter between Rove and Libby, not Hadley. That's the trick with television, it's hard to correct. Appreciate the opportunity to set the record straight here.
bush's jaw | 12.13.05 - 8:22 am |

I see that VandeHei is now retracting his "slip" about Hadley. But I don;t think this is such a big deal.

EW, you rightly, in my view, focus on the 16 words in the State of the Union speech about uranium and the events that triggered, both on Wilson's part and then on the Hadley-Rove-Libby conspiracy. It is highly probable, even without VandeHei, that they were all involved roughly as you and the NYT story recount. Tenet may not have known that anyone other than Hadley worked on his speech, but as you say, Hadley was Cheney's man at the NSC and of course Libby was Cheney's Cheney, so Hadley would go to Libby. And Rove, who has to have his finger in every pie, would come in too. And Cheney may have directed people to the Tenet statement because he thought he knew what it would have contained, being the mastermind behind it all. And remember, Hadley took the fall for the 16 words too.

Who actually told Rove isn;t as important as the underlying fact that these folks were so concerned about reporters digging into the 16 words and the Niger claim and, ultmately, the Niger forgeries and the hyping and concotion of intel to sell the war that they had to create a giant distraction through the Wilson smear. I sincerely hope that someone besides Libby and a bunch of self-important reporters goes down for this.

But this is just one more nail in the coffin of the WaPo's steno team. As Murtha said of Bush, why should we believe anything these folks say?

"But this is just one more nail in the coffin of the WaPo's steno team. As Murtha said of Bush, why should we believe anything these folks say?"

Couldn't agree more Mimikatz and I think this is the real relevance of the Hadley slip, journalistic, not legal. ReddHedd just sliced up the WaPo's clumsy retraction of the Hadley slip at FDL.

my head is still swimming with connected, and semi-connected, conspiracy dots. but it's the best--perhaps only--presentation of that case I've read.

and raw story is reporting that fitz briefed the new GJ about another WH target:

The Chicago prosecutor briefed the second grand jury investigating the outing last week for more than three hours. During that time, he brought them up to speed on the latest developments involving Rove and at least one other White House official, the sources said. The attorneys refused to identify the second person.

The only reason he admitted the speech was a mistake was because it was planted there by the CIA and leaked by Plame intentionally to use the war-its inevitable-and get rid o covert CIA WMD policy and training for all OOs which they blamed
Rice and her WMD degree for.

CIA planned all this and Plame was the intentional leaker using her husband and his history to get rid of covert WMD training and policy.

In recent days, I've persuaded myself that trying to sort out the timeline of conversations may not be the most productive way of looking at what's transpiring.

I am intrigued by Libby's Lawyers statements just after indictment indicating that they intended to litigate a first amendment case pre-trial regarding all the conversations WH staff had with reporters, re: Plame, and expected to bring them all in and take their depositions as part of their pre-trial defense strategy.

I assume that Libby has a pretty good list of the reporters contacted by WH staff in their effort to spin and smear Wilson, and at the point of the inductment, Fitzgerald had interviewed many, had testimony from some, and had made limiting deals with a good many of them. The Defense strategy announcement may have changed Fitzgerald's approach -- he has to look at the case he will be trying, and he doesn't need surprises, so in order to take this weapon away from the defense -- he has to force out the reality of the Press Corps involved in this White House effort. The Press need to be his witnesses, not Libby's.

I suspect this is what led to Woodward and Viveke Novak's coming or being pushed forward, uncomfortable for them and their editors and their understandings as it was. I also don't expect the business managers at Time and the WaPo would be all that excited about paying for Supreme Court Appeals supporting their journalists. Thus I suspect what we are seeing is the process of case building on Fitzgerald's part -- getting testimony all under oath, before the GJ if necessary -- all his property and not Libby's.

I make this argument, because I am trying to sort out what we know in terms of what Fitzgerald's trial strategy might be. I suspect what he intendes is two trials -- the first against Libby alone on the quite narrow matters in the first indictment, which is essentially about lying to Federal Officers and the GJ, for purposes of obstructing justice. He can keep that very narrow, and assuming he gets a conviction and holds 30 years over Libby's head -- then he can force Libby to be "his witness" in a second trial of the real conspiracy that would include Rove, Hadley, and perhaps others.

In fact, I think Fitzgerald may be slow rolling a bit right now so as to get the Libby Case scheduled, motions filed, and pointed toward trial. That would keep the two trials seperate (his strategy) and allow the first to feed a key witness into the second. Particularly if he is considering a Cheney indictment -- this is necessary. He has to set the conditions under which Libby would finally testify against the others.


Really smart stuff, all around. Now if I could only figure out how to turn off these italics.

somehow my italicization of the raw story passage seems to have spilled over into all subsequent text. even names and dates!

I'd like to request an independent investigation.

I think its done like this

did it work?

damn, I guess not

oh well...

fixed it with four "turn off italics" sequences...which was probably overkill :)

I think this will turn off the italics.


Sorry for just throwing the Waas article up. I ruined my keyboard yesterday and only had copy and paste.

As you know, I've long thought Hadley played a role in the effort to out Plame. This article from Waas puts Hadley in play in the "Plot Against Wilson", but unfortunately Waas stops short of linking Hadley to Plame. He only says Hadley was involved to discredit Wilson.

Hadley as usual has done a good job of keeping his head down. The press accounts of Hadley's role are few. I think you linked to everthing I had on Hadley in your post except this Waas article and three articles on Hadley being Woodward's source.

Raw Story posted two articles on Hadley/Woodward. Raw Story has had a few things wrong, but FWIW on Hadley they posted a follow up to the original claim about Woodward to say their sources were standing by their story. They also claim to have sources in two places, "attorneys close to the investigation and intelligence officials", they add that their sources have " direct knowledge of the case" in the follow-up article.

The Times (UK) also claims that Hadley is Woodward's source.

THE mysterious source who gave America’s foremost journalist, Bob Woodward, a tip-off about the CIA agent at the centre of one of Washington’s biggest political storms was Stephen Hadley, the White House national security adviser, according to lawyers close to the investigation.
The Times 11/20/05

That's all I know.

Hadley could also be the reason why Woodward gave his story to V Novak. The email at issue is between Hadley and Rove. Hadley must have known Rove talked to Cooper. Fitz likely asked Hadley if he knew of any SAO talking to reporters about Plame or Niger. Obviously Hadley said no or Fitz wouldn't have needed to threaten Cooper. So Hadley must rely on forgetting the email like Rove did. So Hadley benefits from Luskin's story with V novak leading him to look for the email. Also Hadley and Rove likely had to conspire to make search terms that didn't find the email. So if X is or at least conspired with Hadley then it would make sense to give the story to V Novak since she was already helping in regard to the email.

Res, but remember in terms of the first trial, the known case against Lewis Libby, really the only matter that concerns Firzgerald is his ability to cleanly support his position against Libby's claim that a member of the press was his source on the identity of Valerie Wilson -- which is what Libby told Federal Officers and the Grand Jury. Fitzgerald has to prove this was perjury, and Libby knew it, and given chances to change his testimony, he refused. From Fitzgerald's point of view, he is looking at a very narrow criminal issue -- not matters that open this up beyond the limits of the criminal acts themselves. The zeitguiest of the events is not important at trial -- the Jury is asked to determine, within a range of doubt, whether the Perjury is a fact. If beyond reasonable doubt they convict -- then Fitzgerald hauls Libby back to a Grand Jury and uses his arts (not to include turture) to extract from Libby real testimony.

I think what threw Fitzgerald was not Novak, but Woodward who apparently had been told things before Judy Miller was told anything. But not to worry -- Fitzgerald now has testimony from Woodward's source who called him and "remembered" the matter, and then gave Woodward a release to talk about it with Fitzgerald. Then he put Woodward under oath, and took Woodward's Testimony. We may not know who Woodward's source was -- but we know Fitzgerald does.

Most depositions end with "clean-up" questions, and I would imagine Woodward's ended with some asking him if in the relevant period -- say, mid May of 2003 until Bob Novak's column appeared -- did he, Woodward, discuss Wilson, Wilson's Wife and/or her job, Niger, Niger's Uranium (etc., etc.) with any other White House Staff members or others in the Bush Administration. It would be interesting to know how Woodward answered such a question which is designed, by the way, to cut off any value Woodward might have should Libby try to claim Woodward was his source in the press for his statements to Federal Officers and the Grand Jurry. I think this is really the point of what Fitzgerald is doing right not -- tightening up his case for trial, cutting off the various avenues Libby might attempt to use in defense. Woodward's early knowledge was clearly one of these.

Fitzgerald may well have been taking depositions recently from other members of the press. Note that he is more than willing to do the depositions in the privacy of a reporter's own lawyer's suite of offices -- no need to come to the public court house. He has offered the "house call" service to both Novak and Woodward -- maybe he offered it to others? Unless the defense generates other information beyond his work that contradicts his indictment and supports Libby's perjury, he may well be able to move that additional reporters discussions with each other, with various lawyers and all -- is not material to the case and the rules of evidence would exclued it. Giving Libby very narrow parameters in the first trial would be very classy strategy, given that Fitzgerald's interests are to convict Libby, and turn him into a witness against others.

Sara, thank you for a very very helpful post. I was particularly impressed by this sentence which I had not known was a possibility.
"Unless the defense generates other information beyond his work that contradicts his indictment and supports Libby's perjury, he may well be able to move that additional reporters discussions with each other, with various lawyers and all -- is not material to the case and the rules of evidence would exclued it." John Casper


The email that Hadley received makes no mention of Plame. It is not known if Hadley turned over the email or told Fitz about the receiving the email.

One other thing on Sara's strategy. I've long wondered why Fitz didn't go after Judy's other sources. At the very least, she has admitted to doing interviews between June 23 and July 8 on this. And if we assume Judy is a lying sack of shit, then it may be that Libby was not her source (as I said with the Woodward bombshell, Fitz seems to have started "smoking out" some remaining journalistic threads). But if he got Woodward's source back in, and Woodward's source is one of Judy's other sources, then he might also ask, "oh, and this phone call to Judy Miller on June 17, what did you talk about??"

I decided to do a little lunch time research to see if I could discover anything about the White House email system. Here's what I found. Back in the Clinton administration there was a little dust-up about missing emails from the OVP. As a result, the GAO did a nice bit of research and published it on the web (http://www.gao.gov/new.items/d01446.pdf) While emptywheel and other addicts may want to go read all 55 pages, here's what I deduce from it. When the current President came into office, the WH was using Lotus Notes. I've found no evidence that there has been any change, so I think we can assume that that is still true. There is what sounds like to me (as a software application architect) a very clunky mechanism for copying email records to a VMS-based automated records management system (ARMS). I'm willing to bet that the email searchs in the Plame case were performed against ARMS. I think (I just had time to skim through the GAO report) that ARMS has a lot of other data in it besides WH email. Looking at the issues this system had under Clinton, I not at all surprised that the Rove-Hadley email was missed in the initial searchs, but at the same time I'm extremely sceptical of Rove's ability to pull off a forged email.


Thanks for doing the work. I'll take a look.

consider THIS:

Rove tells Cooper the line "this will all be declassified soon" at the same time he is working to convince Tenet to declassify the Plame info

that would indicate that Rove was conspiring to cover up his criminal act by eliminating the declassifed status of the materials he disclosed

and that wipes out the "I Forgot" defense

btw emptywheel, you're being extremely generous when you say that Rove "remembered" these things later. Better to say that Rove conceeded that he "KNEW" these things

not remembering things because you have your fingers in your ears and chanting "I don't remember" isn't a defense

"The email that Hadley received makes no mention of Plame. It is not known if Hadley turned over the email or told Fitz about the receiving the email."
Fitz deposed Hadley. Fitz would have asked Hadley many questions about Wilson, Niger, as well as Plame. The WH email search was not just for mentions of Plame but also of Niger and Wilson. So Hadley was probably asked if he knew of any administration official talking with reporters about Wilson and Niger. It seems inconceivable to me that Hadley wasn't asked something like this. We know Hadley either wasn't asked or said no. We know this because if he had said "Yes I got an email from Rove saying he was talking to Cooper about Niger, and perhaps about Plame" then Fitz would have gone straight to Rove and asked him.
So Hadley perjured himself or wasn't asked. But I think this comment of sarah's also applies to Fitz asking Hadley:
"Most depositions end with "clean-up" questions, and I would imagine Woodward's ended with some asking him if in the relevant period -- say, mid May of 2003 until Bob Novak's column appeared -- did he, Woodward (or Hadley being asked this same question by Fitz), discuss Wilson, Wilson's Wife and/or her job, Niger, Niger's Uranium (etc., etc.) with any other White House Staff members or others in the Bush Administration."

But Hadley must have known in the course of the investigation the email was important, and obstructed by not phoning Fitz and telling him. So Hadley either really forgot the email or pretended to.
So Luskin's setting up V Novak as an excuse for a search saves Hadley too. Fitz must know this which is why one may flip against the other.

"I'm willing to bet that the email searchs in the Plame case were performed against ARMS. I think (I just had time to skim through the GAO report) that ARMS has a lot of other data in it besides WH email. Looking at the issues this system had under Clinton, I not at all surprised that the Rove-Hadley email was missed in the initial searchs,"
I don't see any evidence WH techies designed the search criteria, nor of Fitz specifying this. I think various officials probably worked out their own search key words. All Hadley and Rove had to do was leave out search terms that found the email and pass them on to the techs.
There seems to be one way to demonstrate this. A search of an email database (I'm a sysadmin) can be done to list any emails to or from a list of reporter names or email addresses. No need for key words and no mistakes can occur. Irrelevant emails can be removed from this search later.


Did you read the GAO report? It's pretty obvious that the searches would have been done by technical staff, not the individuals involved. There is a lot of information in that report (and much more that you can deduce by reading between the lines) about how the process would have worked in this case.

Remember the Rove-Hadley email was about the phone call from Cooper. There was no metadata that would have tied it to Plame case. If what we know about the contents is accurate and complete, only a full-text search for Cooper and/or Niger would have turned it up.

EW -- What we know about the scope of Judy's testimony really isn't totally clear.

We know that the deal that got her out of Jail included agreement that Fitzgerald would not ask her about other sources.

However, it appears that when she went before the GJ initially, she did not expect to answer questions about her earlier meetings with Libby in June. She had not disclosed them, nor had Libby. But she got caught because one of those meetings was in the EOB, and Secret Service had her sign in sheets indicating a June meeting with Libby.

So, she found her June Notes, and then spent a lovely eight hour day with Fitzgerald and his curious question askers. Then she went back to the GJ and cured her incomplete testimony. Now the question is when Fitzgerald found she had given incomplete testimony the first go-round, did that change the deal they had about the scope of what he could ask about? Perhaps in that Eight Hour period, some of the questions did involve other sources. Perhaps faithless testimony the first time round screwed the limiting deal they had negotiated. We simply don't know.

But I think we can safely assume that Fitzgerald got what he wanted and needed, and I think he left Judy with a new respect for the powers of a prosecutor to demand and get the truth. In fact, within a few days the Times and Judy went their separate ways, and I suspect that was largely because Judy was not up front with the Times and its lawyers. The Judy saga cost them several million at least -- and maybe a million more in the buy-out of her contract.

I suppose one of these days the truth about those 8 hours with Fitzgerald will surface. I rather suspect the special counsel vamped about long years in a really tough Federal Pen, somewhere a long way from her famous face visiting lists -- hard labor in the salt mines and all that -- and Judy went through a metamorphosis from being a lying witch-bitch to a truth telling witch-bitch. For the right dramatic actress it would be a bang up one woman show.

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