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February 12, 2006


Ohh, this is MUCH better than I thought. I didn't realize at first what Fitz was trying to say with that revelation, but when you put it together with his little off-handed bit about missing emails it's beginning to make sense: either stop playing games now and let us finish our investigation, or we're going to throw a political s*itstorm on you at trial (which makes it all the more of a shame that the trial won't be until Jan 2007). It's political blackmail at its finest (and, dare I say noblest?).

I've got to wonder if these bomblets aren't being lobbed Karl's way. I just have a gut feeling that Fitzgerald thinks that he can indict Karl on a whole lot, but Karl is still playing games with him trying to run out the clock. I think Fitzgerald's finally done with these games and is showing some of his cards now to let Karl's (and Libby's?) superiors know how serious he is, give up Karl now, or face a helluvalot of blowback later.

Yeah, I'm a little astounded this letter even got released. After all, Judge Walton hasn't ruled on whether it is proper for Fitz to bring up the NIE yet.

Whether it was purposeful or not, I do think Fitz is contemplating ways to win the PR battle. ANd these tidbits sure helped. I'd bet money that George Allen was of the "well if it's just perjury, then why indict the man" persuasion a few months ago.

One moment in all this that gets funnier and funnier to me is Judy helpfully speculating that, when Libby leaked to her, she may have still had her special classified clearance.

Did anyone ever solve the mystery of Judy's clearance? Is it possible that her clearance consisted of Libby selectively leaking classified info to her (that is, she didn't really have one)? He told Judy the reason he could do this was because she had a clearance, and she believed him, but really they were just making this shit up as they went along?

Paul Lukasiuk called that sentence one of Fitz's "bomblets" in response to the Libby team discovery requests, deliberately thrown in to make sure there were consequences for going to the judge. Not sure, but it makes sense to me, and appeals to the omniscient-Fitz motif I continue to cherish in the face of a less romantic reality.

And Jeffress, rather than letting it die down, sent out press releases saying, "No, we did not say that we wanted everyone to know that Dick routinely orders his lieutenant to leak classified information, we did not say that! We really don't want that information to be public! No we don't! Do you understand? We don't want that information to be public!!!" Now, folks are beginning to notice that our Vice President is ordering people to leak classified information. Golly, even the stupidest guy in the Senate has recognized the political advantage of calling for Fitzgerald to investigate Dick for leaking classified information! ROFLMAO

I'm not sure if they were meant for Libby (after all, I don't even think Fitz would begrudge a defendent an honest attempt at discovery), or for someone(s) else. Like Rove and Cheney. And frankly, the media. It may take Fitz several years to pack up Dick in an orange jumpsuit. At some point (as George Allen's call for investigation shows, I think) it will become politically expedient for the GOP to start throwing Dick aside. And when that happens, he will be easier picking, since the bottomless moneybags will dry up, the unquestioning support for his policies, folks will stop ignoring the other constitutional abominations, and so on.

Wouldn't it be bad for Fitz if there is a Senate investigation and Rove & Cheney & Libby are granted some sort of immunity? Isn't that what happened during Iran/Contra? I just think we shouldn't get too excited about an investigation outside of Fitz's.

The media buzz is fun though.

Allen was suggesting an investigation WITHIN Fitz' larger investigation.

Plus, the Senate would have a tough time offering Dick immunity about this when they're going to try to go after James Risen and his leakees hard.

Oops, I didn't read this as closely as I should have.

With this Senate, I wouldn't put anything past them. If Dick says he was given permission in the AUMF, they'll just roll over and say ok.

Folks, I keep telling you: Watch for the pointers Fitzgerald throws out. You can tell the man is doing everything he can to adhere to the rule of grand jury secrecy while still letting us know the direction of his investigation. His visit to Bush's personal lawyer meant something. The rather direct implication of Cheney and crew in the Libby indictment was very deliberate. He had enough facts to demonstrate quite clearly that Libby was lying without dragging Cheney into the indictment at several important (can you say 'conspiracy'?) points in the narrative.

I wonder if Cheney knew that Libby had testified about being authorized to partially leak and lie about the contents of a classified document. This was a real blunder on Libby's part. It sure makes the conspiracy charge a lot more believable to a jury. If you reflect for a minute, you'll realize that the Cheney-Libby approach to the NIE was exactly like their approach to the Plame-Wilson connection. In both cases, they peddled to the press a toxic brew of classified half-truths and dishonest distortions to shift the blame for getting us involved in a pointless war. For this crew, the buck stops with whoever happens to be the most convenient fall guy.

"We also note that it is our understanding that Mr. Libby testified that he was authorized to disclose information about the NIE to the press by his superiors."

Love that sentence! I absolutely agree with William Ockham (and the diarist, of course): this is a powerful clue to what Fitz has and what he's prepared to use.

Since Libby's two grand jury appearances preceded Miller's, I'm very curious how Fitz knew to ask Libby was spreading the classified NIE information and how Fitz knew Libby had discussed this with Miller (or perhaps others unauthorized to receive it). Any thoughts?

I think Libby said this of his own accord (perhaps in response to something in his notes, perhaps in response to questions about what paper he handed Judy).

Since Libby's two grand jury appearances preceded Miller's, I'm very curious how Fitz knew to ask Libby was spreading the classified NIE information and how Fitz knew Libby had discussed this with Miller (or perhaps others unauthorized to receive it). Any thoughts?

just a guess.... but I'd be willing to bet that Libby's accounts of his conversation with reporters included Libby relating stuff to reporters that were classified when they were being related. So, in a followup appearance, Fitz says "The last time you were here, you told us that you revealed FACT X to a reporter. Its turns out that FACT X was classified at that time. Why did you reveal classified information to reporters?"

p luk

To support your case, Judy's testimony was wrong, in that she testified the NIE had been declassified a few weeks before, when in reality it was declassified 10 days later.

EW wrote (in the comments): "I'm a little astounded this letter even got released."

Does anyone know about the legal protocol about this letter? Are their rules about what correspondence can and cannot be released? While the affadivit was officially released by the court, is the same true of this letter?

My two cents: if this letter wasn't officially distributed by the judge, we can rule out Fitz as its leaker. It would be unethical for him to do so and Libby's lawyers would scream and yell about prosecutorial misconduct. Therefore, Libby's team would be the leakers. Do you think Libby's lawyers are trying to send messages to the White House? But couldn't they find more discrete ways to do so? Or are Libby's lawyers trying to get the more eyebrow-raising disclosures into the public record so that it seems less shocking during the trial itself?

P Luk and EW -- thank you both for straightening me out.

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