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May 23, 2006


What about the French discovering late in the last century that abandoned mines were being worked in Africa, and that a brisk trade in smuggled uranium had developed? I found that in the comments in your last thread about the Niger forgeries. Go look.

good timing, emptywheel. I was seriously just thinking a day or two ago that I needed one of these.

thanks in advance

I didn't read it yet, but i see you got the message

FEED ME, Seymore

the plameopiles were getting a little peckish

The CIA took it upon itself to bomb Pakistan and he is now testifying for Plame. He'sputting her in jail as he does this....................................????

It was about time for another one of these. I was despairing of making sense of all the posts.

I read recently (IIRC the NY Daily News) that sources close to Armitage said that he'd been one of the first to testify to Fitz, straight shooter etc.

If that's the case, how can he be Woodward's source, seeing as Woodward said his source said something like "I have to go and see Fitzgerald now" after the Libby indictment.

EW, are we sure Grenier was fired altogether from the agency? Or that he was merely fired on February 6, 2006 from his position as CIA's "top counter-terrorism official", a position he had had for about a year? Grenier is 51 years old and a veteran of many overseas assignments. Today's New York Daily News seems to count Grenier as a current CIA employee, and I think that's still correct. I don't think he blew his whole career.

Best Plame narrative I've read so far, especially about the talking points that you ascribe to OVP in its pushback against Wilson and the CIA. I never quite got why the boondoggle scenario would be expected to have traction. Nobody goes to Niger on a boondoggle, after all, and despite what the right blogs et al say, Wilson's not a light weight that needed the work. But saying it was hedging by CIA to play it either way depending on the outcome is much more plausible -- i.e., if there are WMD, the trip can be quietly forgotten; but when the opposite turns out to be the case, Wilson is on hand to say the Admin was deaf to the intelligence. That story is much more likely to have legs. One thing about Libby and Rove, they knew how to feed the fish. Thanks for the insight.

For more on what Wilson had to say, check out his LATimes op-ed for 2/6/03. He argued that we shouldn't invade because Saddam would surely use his chemical and biological weapons on our troops.

Very nice, emptwheel. Especially impressed by the explanation of the significance of the date-fudging on Bush's authorization of Libby to leak the otherwise classified NIE. One small detail: though I can't fully reconstruct the reasoning, I've convinced myself that Armitage leaked to Woodward between June 12 and June 15 (mainly on the basis of things Woodward has said and a televised report I caught of Carol Leonnig from the Post saying that the Woodward-source conversation happened in the first two weeks of June).

I cannot believe that we have still not heard more of the full story on that January 2003 NIC memo, what happened with it at the White House, and why there is no sign of it whatsoever in either the SSCI or the Robb-Silberman report. A while back Maguire and Cecil suggested Wilson may have known about it, and I think there might be something to that. Maybe you can ask him about it if you get a chance in Vegas.

Nice job (except for the Armitage bit, I ain't buying that until Armitage 'fesses up or Fitzgerald makes that claim). It's pretty obvious to me (after a bit of wavering) that my initial instinct that the June leaks were intended to launder them through friendly journalists and set up the "heard it from reporters" cover story. I also strongly suspect that Bush and Cheney authorized the leak and Libby noted that fact, albeit obscurely, in his famous notebooks.

Hurrah for the NextHurrah!!

Interview with Colin Powell, Sharon Stone, Robert Downey Jr.
Aired October 17, 2005 - 21:00 ET

KING: What do you make of all of this Karl Rove leak story?

POWELL: I only know right now what I read in the paper. I appeared before the grand jury, the State Department. And some of us in the State Department had some knowledge of this matter. And we all immediately made ourselves available to the Justice Department and the FBI even before the prosecutor was...

KING: Was it an involved, interested grand jury?



KING: I mean, were they on tops of things?

POWELL: They were following what was going on. And I think we have been forthcoming in what was known within the department about it, the famous State Department memo that I was given by one of my staffers, which, by the way, never had the name Plame anywhere in the memo.


POWELL: No. A lot of press reports suggest the name was in the memo. It was not.




I am not familiar with that term, declination. I am sure you are and can fill me/us in on this legal lingo.

Ah, Powell taking a page from the Russert book with the cagy Mrs. Wilson/Valerie Plame parsing. Are you getting a clue to 'as if for the first time'. It is subjunctive, after all.

Declination, declination, declination, oh my stars,
You are lost and gone forever, dreadful sorrow, march of frogs.

Compassworld says:

To understand declination you must first realize that there are two North Poles. There is a True Geographic North Pole at the top of the world, and a Magnetic North Pole. The Magnetic North Pole is always moving. It has been as much as 1,200+ miles from true north, but in 2005 is only around 500 miles from the True North Pole.

We typically say that a compass points to Magnetic North, not True North. Technically, that is not exactly true. The compass actually points in the directions of the horizontal component of the magnetic field where the compass is located, and not to any single point. Knowing the difference (measured in angular degrees) between true north and the horizontal trace of the magnetic field for your location allows you to correct your compass for the magnetic field in your area.

This angular difference is called your declination.


Do you have the Leonnig article? I gave these dates because I suspect it was a response to the first Pincus article but we know it was before the second Pincus article (Woodward says when he read the second article he knew about Plame). But I'm happy to believe Woodward went to Armitage right after Pincus' first article.


No, Powell's right. The point is that someone knew Plame worked under Plame, and that she was an operative. You get neither of those from the INR memo (or the INR analyst notes). Therefore, it is not sufficient to the Novak leak.

Powell brings it up because he knows there was a lot of leakage during July 2005 meant to throw suspicion on the witnesses: himself, Ari, and Armitage. But that leakage all depended on the INR memo.

How sure are you of the meaning of the word 'operative' as Novak uses it?

Really terrific emptywheel, thanks.
OT, desertwind, thank you.


Just wanted to let you know I linked to your blog in my column on CBSNews.com today. Thanks!

If you want to take a look, here's the link: http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2006/05/23/blogophile/main1644914.shtml



Marilyn, desertwind: "Declination" also is used to describe a prosecutor's decision not to prosecute. See, e.g., here. I sure hope Kathleen Parker doesn't have any inside line (and I dont' see how she could wihtout a leak from Fitzgerald's shop, which is of course unlikely in the extreme).

EW: One small matter. I don't think there's any solid evidence that Novak received a leak of Plame's maiden name. What makes you so sure? There's a certain am

Marilyn, desertwind: "Declination" also is used to describe a prosecutor's decision not to prosecute. See, e.g., here. I sure hope Kathleen Parker doesn't have any inside line (and I dont' see how she could wihtout a leak from Fitzgerald's shop, which is of course unlikely in the extreme).

EW: One small matter. I don't think there's any solid evidence that Novak received a leak of Plame's maiden name. What makes you so sure? There's a certain am

Sorry, the dog ate the rest of the post. Here's my quearie to EW:

EW: One small matter. I don't think there's any solid evidence that Novak received a leak of Plame's maiden name. What makes you so sure? There's a certain amount of circumstantial evidence suggesting otherwise -- viz., the leakers’ apparently persistent use of "Wilson's wife" as an identifier, as well as Rove's very careful "I didn't know her name. I didn't leak her name" non-denial denial (as if that makes the outing any less blameworthy); the absence of her name from the INR memo. And, for what it's worth, for direct evidence (however impeachable the source) there is of course Novak's own suggestion that he got her name from Who's Who. Now I know people (understandably) don't want to trust a thing he says, I think it quite plausible that he received leaks concerning “Wilson's wife” and that he did indeed do his own digging to locate the name.

This is beautiful, emptywheel. I've been looking forward to a redux of the "Smear Redux" for a long time--mostly so I have a good link to send my mom when she asks me to explain "the whole Plame thing" for the Nth time: Mom context is important.

Thinly veiled blog pimping: I've been trying (through the scattered text boxes) to give the leak timeline some much-needed narrative, but I just don't see the big picture the way you do. This 3.1 post is concise, sourced, informed--all them good things. An instant classic on the Weblog Commentary and Review Papers list. Thank you, thank you, thank you.


The biggest piece of evidence he got her name is that later, when he publishes his BS disclaimer column on October 1, he first posts it using "Valerie Flame." As we know, that is something also leaked to Judy (I strongly suspect it was one of the covert names she used and that Novak used it--at the same time as he was making sure B&J was good and burned, to punish CIA for recommending an investigation). In other words, we have evidence that he was getting the same inside leak that Judy got. That is also how we know his Who's Who story is BS. As I suspect Carville was going to point out, you can find "Plame" from Who's Who, but not "Flame," which Novak also used. (Of coures, Novak didn't SAY he got the name from Who's Who--he said you could have. And to Phelps, he said they've gave it to him.)

The INR memo is completely unrelated to Rove's role, as both he and Luskin have said Rove never saw it, we have no reason to believe he saw it, and we have no evidence of it circulating to WH. In other words, the fact that Rove learned of Plame via means OTHER than the INR memo actually increases the chance that he learned from someone (like Libby) who knew of Plame's status and, presumably, name.

And yes, Rove used the term "Wilson's wife" with Cooper as did Pincus' leaker. But Libby used specific names, as did whoever leaked the Flame and Victoria names to Judy. Furthermore, I don't think you can assume Rove treated Novak, someone Rove has found to be a reliable recipient of leaks over a several decade relationship, and Matt Cooper, someone who had just gotten the White House beat a few weeks earlier with a notable tie to his Democratic wife, the same.

Finally, Novak's "I didn't leak her name" was his fourth position, after already having to admit that 1) in fact he DID speak with someone before Novak's article came out and 2) in fact he had spoken to Matt Cooper and 3) in fact he had spoken about Wilson's wife with Cooper. So I would say the evidence weighs against giving that any credence.

Sebastian D. -- But what earthly reason did he have to write, "his wife, Valerie Plame, blah blah..." if "Plame" was not something the leakers instructed him to write? I get how he could have taken a leak of "Wilson's wife" and turned it into Plame. But why bother? She goes by "Valerie" or "Valerie Wilson." As I understand it, nobody called her "Plame" except her CIA contacts.

Novak's article would have been just as (supposedly) powerful and damning if he'd written, "but his wife Valerie is an agency blah blah blah." Somebody either told him her maiden name, or instructed him to make the column nastier by "digging up" her maiden name.


I believe that R Novak has said something to the effect of "They gave me a name, and I used it." Also, R Novak never explicitly claimed he got the name from Who's Who for his column. That seemed to be an after-the-fact head fake.

Also, if you're the same dude who got into a tiff with Jeralyn at TalkLeft, I just wanted to say that I agreed with everything you wrote and that my respect for TL went down a tad.

FWIW and only if you and or your readers find it helpful. It might help in introducing these sections to less knowlegeable readers (and those of us with ADHD) if you put the chronological interval that each section addresses, (in so far as that is possible) in the title, for example:
Anatomy of a White House Smear, 3.1
October 2002 - July 2003
or approximately October 2002 - July 2003

EW (+ Jim E. &y): Good points, all; thanks for fleshing that point out -- although I dont think the evidence is definitive either way. I also remain agnostic on the significance of the iteration of the Novak column that used "Valarie Flame"; the only one I remember having that discrepant usage was the Human Events version, which I don't think was the first publication of the piece, unless I missed some crucial evidence -- which is entirely possible. I admit, however, that it would be a truly stunning coincidence if coincidence it is.
I stress that I don't think this a critical point because I don't think a leak sans the actual name is any less blameworthy (or illegal, if done with the requisite knowledge). In fact, if the leakers took care not to reveal the name could be seen as indicative of guilty knowledge. &Y: As for the why bother, Novak might well have tracked down the name (if that's indeed what happened; I'm by no means convinced it is) jsut for compelteness. If I featured this fact in a column, I'd want to find out what her maiden name was. Question: Is there reliable evidence that Plame went by her maiden name solely in CIA circles (and not in general)? that's significant as hell if true.
Last note: Jim E. Yes, guilty as charged. Thanks for the supportive word.

Sebastian D. -- The Kleinman WaPo piece quoted here (WaPo link now dead, alas) is probably where I heard that V. Wilson didn't go by Plame except in select circles. Not necessarily the "reliable evidence" you sensibly request, but it's the best I can come up with right now.

Oops. I described the link wrong. Sorry about that. Just go look at Kevin's post and ignore my yammering about it.

It's important to remember that the concerted effort to pretend that the damaging information came from the INR memo was an effort to hide the role of Richard Cheney in all this. Plame used her maiden name in her work for the CIA. It appears (although nothing is certain about this) that the INR (and State generally) didn't know her maiden name. By far the most likely scenario is that Robert Grenier was the White House's source for "Plame/Flame". The fact that everybody in the White House went into "I didn't leak her name" mode is an indication that they knew that saying "Plame" was incriminating because that was the name she used in her covert work. Personally, I find it highly unlikely that someone like Grenier would tell Cheney and Libby about Plame without describing her as a covert operative. The big mystery is how Novak got that name (and if you believe he got it from Who's Who, well, never mind) and who told him she was an operative. Assuming that Mr. X is the one who told Novak the name, but not that she was an operative, then Fitzgerald's task is to determine if someone deliberately coordinated those two leaks. I still think the fact that Judy Miller was on a short leash (and couldn't get a story published) saved Libby from an IIPA indictment.


You are missing some crucial evidence. The Town Hall column did originally say Flame, then it was altered (I think there's a TalkLeft column that has a screen capture). And I'll reiterate. Novak first started leaking the name Brewster and Jennings at this time as well--and he did it as the same time as some SAOs were spreading the B&J name based on tax documents. That's a lot of coincidence, that BushCo is leaking info gathered from personal documents and Novak is leaking the same information at precisely the same time, and also leaking the name Flame.


I disagree about Grenier, pretty strenuously. Fitz has kept any hint of a potential conspiracy and/or IIPA case out of Libby's indictment. He goes out of his way not to describe those who might be included in a conspiracy rap. So I think Grenier is a fairly pedestrian witness. Fitz has written his indictment so that the people who might be the real doozies--Tenet, for example--won't be called to testify with discovery in the trial.

I still think it likely that Bolton's crowd was involved in this, and with them Fred Fleitz. Leaking that kind of harmful information is their MO.

EW, good summary and thanks for the Plame/Flame analysis. Novak and his cabal buddies were certainly pushing back against the CIA as the investigative heat got turned up in September 2003.

You have me convinced. While I didn't find a screen capture of Novak's column from October 1, 2003, there is this at TalkLeft (with various links).

Shoot. Maybe I'm wrong about the screen caption, but I seem to remember one (looks around nervously for polly). Maybe it's even on one of the threads here.

Will keep looking. But I'm thigh deep in part two, so it's not going to be immediate.

EW: No problem -- please keep up the primary task, which is fa more important and useful than chasing my rabbitholes. My quearie is really a sideshow.
I dredged up an earlier discussion on The Left Coaster about this (coming right after the revelation that Judy's notebook contained a "Flame" reference). At that time, I had looked into Townhall and it said "Plame" (which of course does not mean it wasn't altered before I saw it). (My from-the-hip conclusion at the time was that it looked like a transcription-monkey error.) Online database search comes up with the Human Events version (October 6) as the only one with the discrepant spelling. I've always been intrigued by this, but never convinced that Novak would have used "Plame" in July only to use "Flame" (selectively) in October, and cover up the tracks on Townhall.com (but not at Human Events. All other things being equal, I would treat the Sun-Times copy as being the original as that's his home paper, and that one always said "Plame."
At any rate, thanks for all the responses. for my part I file this away as one of the many unresolved -- highly suspicious -- anomalies in this matter.

Sorry, one other thing. The Brewster-Jennings connection was (at least as the story goes) not ferreted out from tax documents (which are nonpublic) but from Federal Election Commission filings (which are public). So nobody needed to go to a non-public source for that.

Novak said he got it from FEC, yes. But after he leaked it, administration officials said it appeared on Plame's W2:

After the name of the company was broadcast yesterday, administration officials confirmed that it was a CIA front. They said the obscure and possibly defunct firm was listed as Plame's employer on her W-2 tax forms in 1999 when she was working undercover for the CIA.

So Novak leaks this, then administration officials confirm it, using tax data. They may have gotten that tax data from the CIA. Though look at what they're confirming here--she was an undercover agent and she said she worked for Brewster and Jennings when she was working undercover.

I don't see any plausible way to argue this wasn't 1) coordinated (otherwise why have the tax forms on hand?) and 2) an attempt to finalize the destruction of BJ started in mid-July.

One more interesting point about the W2 here. 1999 is, of course, the year when Wilson went to Niger the first time for the CIA. Libby had asked Addington what paperwork would appear when a CIA employee's spouse traveled overseas. I doubt that would be tax data. But it's curious that they have the 1999 W2.

Also note, this has always been one of the most damning arguments against nutter claims that Plame wasn't covered by the IIPA. The time limit is 5 years. 4 years before she was outed, she was still filing tax returns under her covert identity.

emptywheel - Alas, Leonnig was an appearance on MSNBC, and nothing that was printed. There is this from Woodward's appearance on Larry King Live:

KING: How did it even come up?

WOODWARD: Came up because I asked about Joe Wilson, because a few days before, my colleague at the "Washington Post," Walter Pincus, had a front-page story, saying there was an unnamed envoy -- there was no name given -- who had gone to Niger the year before to investigate for the CIA if there was some Niger-Iraq uranium deal or yellow cake deal.

And he goes on to say, albeit somewhat uncertainly, that Wilson surfaced a few weeks later.

I don't think there's any solid evidence that Novak received a leak of Plame's maiden name. . . . There's a certain amount of circumstantial evidence suggesting otherwise -- viz., the leakers’ apparently persistent use of "Wilson's wife" as an identifier, as well as Rove's very careful "I didn't know her name. I didn't leak her name" non-denial denial...

The questions about the Who's Who scenario are, if Novak got "Plame" from a source that described it as her maiden name, (1) why use it at all (instead of just "Wilson's wife, Valerie") and (2) why use it without identifying it as a maiden name ("the former Valerie Plame")? The name she used in 2003 was Valerie Wilson.

See this post of mine for a plausible explanation -- Novak was leaked "Plame," but not by Rove or Fleischer/Armitage/"Mr. X."

Which ties in with this...

It appears Libby wanted Judy to "discover" Plame's identity herself and then leak it.

I discussed this in a rambling manner some months back as well. Whether it was Grenier, or Fleitz, or someone else is almost irrelevant -- Libby undoubtedly knew that some/all of the back channels by which he learned about Plame were Miller's sources (and perhaps Novak's as well). So all he needed to do was drop the hint ("I hear his wife might have been involved, but golly, for the life of me I can't figure out how") and let Judith do the rest.

Sweet Jeff!

I must have internalized that when I watched Larry King, which is about the last time my TV was turned on. But it supports my claim that it came up in the context of the Pincus article that talked about mishandling of intelligence and that Wilson's name would have given the report more credibility.


I'm going to come back at you on Grenier. I think this is really key to understanding Fitzgerald's strategy. Far from keeping the conspiracy charge out of the Libby indictment, Fitzgerald has played a really clever game with the Cabal, hewing carefully to the rules on grand jury secrecy while playing cat and mouse with the conspirators. The visit to Bush's personal lawyer, the interesting details in the indictment, the Cheney annotations on the Wilson op-ed, and the post-outing warning about the damage caused are all actions that aren't directly related to the false statements, perjury, and obstruction charges.

Now, think for a minute about who Robert Grenier is: a career undercover operative who rose as high as the head of the CIA's counterterrorism Center. How happy do you think he is after getting demoted this year? Since he hasn't resigned, he clearly wants to continue working in the DO. Do you think someone who wants to manage in that group is going to get up in open court and admit to telling Libby about Plame, but not mentioning that she was undercover?

I think you and I are arguing different things. I think Grenier probably knows and may testify that Plame was undercover. But I doubt that's how Libby learned of her identity (there was Cheney plus any possible back channel info to do that), nor am I sure that Grenier will testify he told Libby. If he had told Libby, why wouldn't Fitzgerald include that detail in the indictment when he does include the details from Libby to Ari and Libby to Edelman and Dick to Libby that show that he was told she was DO?

I also think it more likely that Fleitz, who worked in Nonproliferation, would know the Flame/Plame thing (if it does relate to cover) than Grenier. Further, the quote in the indictment, "believed responsible," suggests Grenier doesn't know one way or another firsthand (and in the world of need to know, that suggests he may not have been cleared for the comparments Plame was and therefore may not know her name).

My basic point is, though, that most of the biggest players in this conspiracy are NOT named in the indictment. Even Dick is not named by his own testimony, but by Libby's notes and Martin's testimony. By design. Yes, Fitz has intimated the indictment is there. But he hasn't named names and he's still hiding the bulk of what he knows. Which makes it less likely that Grenier is the one feeding that detail on Flame. (Particularly because the last thing Fitz wants to do is put one of Judy's sources on the stand.)

This doesn't speak directly to the dispute(s) here about Grenier, but it is a (to me) interesting observation about Grenier: as far as I can tell, Grenier is not mentioned where you would expect thim to be, among the government officials Libby discussed Plame with, in the 8-27-04 affidavit. It's paragraph 27, and while there are some redacted parts, there's no particular reason to think Grenier is under there. Plus, the paragraph starts off talking about the "as many as seven government officials" who discussed Plame with Libby before the Russert conversation, and then enumerates seven that we can see. Of course, Rove isn't included in there either, so it may be meaningless. But it would be interesting if Grenier didn't come on the scene of the investigation until subsequently.

As for the bigs who are not slated to testify, it is interesting, but there's not any specific reason to think each one is being left out for the same reason. Tenet. for instance, doesn't strike me as playing any obvious role in the legal case against Libby; and the same might be said for Hadley. Rove is obviously a different case, and is being left out at least in part because he is himself still a subject of the investigation, and, closely related, might not be expected to provide honest testimony about the July conversation with Libby. As for Cheney, I'm still a little puzzled by that one - and have we even heard that from Fitzgerald, or only Team Libby's take on the representations Fitzgerald has made, and not to us (probably in their correspondence)? I doubt it means anything like what it means in the case of Rove, since - and here I think I agree with Maguire - I don't think Fitzgerald would be releasing all this information about Cheney if he thought he had any realistic chance of going after Cheney, barring substantially new information, which I think Fitzgerald probably always knew and certainly knows now won't be forthcoming from a flipped Libby. I see Fitzgerald's willingness to release all this damaging information about Cheney as an unintended tribute to what could have been.

Let's deconstruct the Libby indictment item that refers to Grenier:

On or about June 11, 2003, LIBBY spoke with a senior officer of the CIA to ask about the origin and circumstances of Wilson’s trip, and was advised by the CIA officer that Wilson’s wife worked at the CIA and was believed to be responsible for sending Wilson on the trip.

In June 2003, Robert Grenier was the head of the Iraq Issues Group (and had been since the summer of 2002 when that group was created to prepare for the invasion). Previously, he had been chief of station in Islamabad, Pakistan and involved in the planning for the invasion of Afghanistan. It seems likely to me that a top field officer in southwest Asia would at least be aware of a field officer specializing in nuclear nonproliferation (the AQ Khan network would be the most likely link).

I seriously doubt the Libby-Grenier conversation was just some hallway gossip. Libby and Cheney had been leaning heavily on the CIA for information about Wilson (the faxes two days before and Cheney's independent verification of Plame's employment the next day show that). I fully expect Grenier to testify that he told Libby that Plame was a NOC and that some people believed that she was responsible for Wilson's trip.

OMG, EW! I NEVER made that connection with regards to both Novak and Miller having used the same name of "Flame" (dang, that rhymes), I'll be doing Dr. Suess next. I never knew that Novak had published any piece using the Flame reference, but I followed some of the links provided here and sure enough on that Town Hall site there it was:

How big a secret was it? It was well known around Washington that Wilson's wife worked for the CIA. Republican activist Clifford May wrote Monday, in National Review Online, that he had been told of her identity by a non-government source before my column appeared and that it was common knowledge. Her name, Valerie Flame, was no secret either, appearing in Wilson's Who's Who in America entry.

This is all making so much sense now. It is ridiculous to think that Novak and Miller didn't have the same source (or were cooperating with each other) when this is the one damn piece of information that only those two had.

Moreover, what it's also possible that her undercover name was actually Valerie Flame or even Victoria Flame and not Plame. This would make using the Who's Who, as you suggested, a ridiculous premise. So what if Novak's cover for his leaker was to use Plame instead and offer up the Who's Who excuse? Either way, it is so close to the actual covert name that the result is the same. She is outed.

Now Bill Harlow's testitmony can be viewed in an entirely different light. Novak uses it as an excuse as to why he went ahead, saying that if Bill had said she'd be in any danger he wouldn't have used it. However, Bill was pretty exacting without revealing that she was covert. He said DON'T USE HER NAME! It's all in the name, not the fact that she was Wilson's wife. The name was the link to covert activities and why one really begins to believe that outing her was intentional.

And also, may I say that's one bang-up job of a recap on all events. I'll be bookmarking this for fast reference.

Correction not "Town Hall" site, but Human Events.

There is an enh article in the NYObserver today, but near the bottom it does have one interesting longish quote from the oral argument between Team Libby and the media people and a shorter one introduced by a totally incomprehensible reference to the possibility of an Armitage-Miler connection:

In a hearing held to debate subpoenas issued to reporters and media outlets, William Jeffress, one of Mr. Libby’s lead attorneys, strongly hinted that at an alibi source for former New York Times reporter Judy Miller, and possibly for Robert Novak and Bob Woodward (two of the other journalists embroiled in the case) as well: someone “maybe [in the] State Department.”

“Your honor, we respectfully would submit that we think the source for Mr. Novak and Mr. Woodward, who wasn’t even in the White House—we think the fact that what he knew, which is certainly as much or more than Mr. Libby knew about Ms. Wilson, convinced him that there was nothing wrong with disclosing her name to a reporter. That she was not covert. She was not classified.”

What is an "alibi source"? An alibi for whom - Libby? And an alibi source for Miller and possibly for Woodward and Novak? I take it Libby's defense is just floating as possible the idea that their source was also a source for Miller, hoping to make their case more persuasive. Maybe that's all their doing too in asserting that Woodward and Novak have the same source, though I bet they know better on the latter point. The point they are making about Novak and Woodward's source also makes clear sense out of their insistence, back at the 2-24-06 hearing, that official one had done nothing wrong, was innocent accused, and so on. They are hoping to argue that the fact that Armitage talked about Plame is evidence that there was no reason to think Plame's CIA affiliation couldn't be discussed, and therefore LIbby had no reason to think that, and therefore Libby had no motive to lie.

Let them eat yellowcake!!!

Thanks. It's a really good narrative. As many times as I've heard it, it's hard to keep all of the loose threads from unravelling.

My only suggestion is that although we all say this in the same way you did, "Circumstantial evidence suggests that Neocons Michael Ledeen and Harold Rhode may have played a role in planting the Niger forgeries and John Bolton played a role in stovepiping the forgeries within the US Intelligence Community (IC)." I guess we're afraid to say what we believe, that the Niger Forgeries were in some way the creation of our own government - either by being planted or by being coopted. And that the Italian Government was either complicit or instrumental in the whole sham.

No matter whether one takes the soft or hard road on this question, it is a monsterous crime - dwarfing the kinds of charges being pursued. I don't think the evidence is justt circumstantial. It may not pass the test of "beyond a reasonable doubt," but it does reach the level of "very suggestive."

Thanks again for your hard work in keeping the facts and sequences straight...

Wow - New filing from Fitzgerald all about the Vice President and Libby, plus attached about 10-15 pages of Libby's actual grand jury testimony.

Still reading. I am pleased to see that Fitzgerald says the defense is wrong in asserting that the special prosecutor has made representations that Cheney would not be called to testify. Fitzgerald does not say that Cheney will testify; but he's also not saying he won't.

From Fitzgerald, p. 6 fn 5 (transcribing):

To be clear, the government's argument is not (as the defendant claims) that it is more likely that the Vice President discussed these issues with defendant merely because he wrote them down but, rather that, in light of the Vice President's annotation of the Wilson Op Ed with the words, "Did Wilson's wife send him on a junket?," it is unlikely that, as defendant testified, the issue was not discussed in defendant's repeated conversations with the Vice President during the week following the Wilson Op Ed's publication.

Where is PACER? How does it work? And is there really 10-15 pages of Libby's GJ testimony? I'd love to read more of this.

I've been trying to get closer to the date Woodward talked to his source as well.

WOODWARD: Came up because I asked about Joe Wilson, because a few days before, my colleague at the "Washington Post," Walter Pincus, had a front-page story, saying there was an unnamed envoy
CNN 11/21/05

Woodwards says that he talked to his source a few days after Pincus's 6/12/03 article (the 6/12/03 Pincus article was on page 1, the 6/13/03 Pincus article was on page 16).

The Pincus page 1 was on Thursday 6/12/03. Since Woodward says the article was on page 1 a few days before, I don't think the Woodward interview with his source could have been on 6/13 because it's only 1 day later. 6/14 and 6/15 are unlikely it's the weekend.

I went, whoa, because I knew I had learned about this in mid- June, a week, ten days before, so then I say something is up.
CNN 11/21/05

Here Woodward puts the timing at a week, ten days before the 6/23/03 Libby/Miller conversation. 6/23 is a Monday, so if you go back a week you're at Monday 6/16. Going back 10 days puts the Woodward interview on the weekend of 6/14-6/15 or on Friday 6/13 which is unlikely because it is only one day after the Pincus article.

Unless Woodward is being deliberately misleading (a strong possiblity) the date of the Woodward interview with his source would be most likely 6/16, maybe 6/17 which are 7 and 6 days respectively before the Libby/Miller conversation.

FWIW Bush and Fleischer were in Maine from the 6/12-6/16. They were back in the WH by the afternoon of the 16th. Bush and Fleischer were in the WH on the 17th.

Powell was in DC on the 13th and 16th and out of the country on the 17th.
Armitage was in DC on the 13th, 16th, and 17th.

OK, I'm looking at Libby's GJ testimony.

I would think it would put to rest, once and for all, the lame claims among the JOM commenters that Libby was merely pretending to learn it "as if for the first time" from Russert (putting himself into a super-special mindset so that he could lie to Russert), and that Fitz, the judge, and the entire GJ were complicit in indicting Libby based on their conspiratorial misreading of Libby's testimony. I won't hold my breath on that, however. Them folks think the Iraq war is over and won, so it's doubtful they'll let go of this particular theory.

Are we supposed to find it credible that Cheney cuts out newspaper articles with a pen knife and keeps them on his desk for "a long time" (Libby's words)? I mean, Libby's insinuating that Cheney kept the Wilson article on his desk til maybe September. Yeah, right. Ah, reading further, I see it's clear Fitz (or whatever prosecutor is grilling him) doesn't believe him either. I love how Fitz basically mocks the idea that Cheney would write the annotations/questions about Wilson's wife in September that were already semi-answered (to Cheney's liking) in Novak's July column.

Libby may be falling on his sword legally, but as he's falling, he's also making it pretty darn clear that Cheney was behind all of this. He must have thought he could skate through his original interview with the FBI, and once Fitz was unexpectedly appointed, he had to stick to his original lies.

Jim E

As usual, I totally agree. I even posted substantially the same thing as your first paragraph at JOM. My only disagreement is that the theory will be let go without acknowledgment. We'll just moveon.

I don't think there's actually much in the way of new news for junkies, aside from detailing rather more concretely than we've seen how and how much Libby and Cheney worked on the Wilson thing. But I do think the significant thing is that it's pretty clear that Fitzgerald specifically thinks one of the reasons Libby lied is because Cheney likely directed Libby to leak Plame's CIA affiliation. Doesn't mean Fitzgerald is going after Cheney. In fact, rather on the contrary, as I said before, I doubt Fitzgerald would be so open with the Cheney evidence if he was still going after Cheney actively, and independent of someone or other flipping. And that's not going to happen with Libby (and it was obvious to me that it never was going to).


In the indictment Fitz lays out 8 government officials who talked to Libby about Plame between early June and July 10 or 11, 2003.

In March 17, 2006 motion, Libby's lawyers are asking for information from the government on and discuss 7 out of the 8 government officials at great length.

The Libby motion names the following governement officials named in the indictment. They paraphrase the indictment paragraphs (in very interesting ways) and include the names in brackets. (the indictment identifies the officials by title)

[Vice President Cheney]
[possibly Robert Grenier or John McLaughlin]
[Marc Grossman]
[possibly Craig Schmall]
[Ari Fleischer]
[Cathie Martin]
[David Addington]

There is one government official mentioned in the indictment that the motion never mentions by name or title. The document is searchable, I searched for Edelman and Principal Deputy neither appears in the motion.

13. Shortly after publication of the article in The New Republic, LIBBY spoke by telephone with his then Principal Deputy and discussed the article. That official asked LIBBY whether information about Wilson's trip could be shared with the press to rebut the allegations that the Vice President had sent Wilson. LIBBY responded that there would be complications at the CIA in disclosing that information publicly, and that he could not discuss the matter on a non-secure telephone line.
Libby Indictment

I didn't notice this before but the Libby defense was very clever in this motion, they rewrite the indictment paragraphs mostly leaving out information damaging to Libby.

The Libby motion states "The indictment contends that:", then they paraphrase the indictment paragraphs. Here are a couple of examples.

16. On or about July 7, 2003, LIBBY had lunch with the then White House Press Secretary and advised the Press Secretary that Wilson's wife worked at the CIA and noted that such information was not widely known.
Libby Indictment

On or about July 7, 2003, Libby advised the White House Press
Secretary [Ari Fleischer] that Wilson’s wife worked for the CIA;
Libby Motion

11. On or about June 14, 2003, LIBBY met with a CIA briefer. During their conversation he expressed displeasure that CIA officials were making comments to reporters critical of the Vice President's office, and discussed with the briefer, among other things, "Joe Wilson" and his wife "Valerie Wilson," in the context of Wilson's trip to Niger.
Libby Indictment

On or about June 14, 2003, Libby discussed “Joe Wilson” and “Valerie Wilson” with his CIA briefer [possibly Craig Schmall], in the context of Wilson’s trip to Niger;
Libby Motion


Just to be clear, the point is that one possible implication of the fact that Grenier is not mentioned in the 8-27-04 affidavit is that Grenier was not questioned as part of the investigation until after that time.

Also, I'm pretty sure that Team Libby included Edelman among the people whom the subpoenas to the news organizations and reporters named as contacts of interest.


Why do you think Libby would leave Edelman and only Edelman out of the March 17, 2006 THIRD MOTION OF I. LEWIS LIBBY TO COMPEL DISCOVERY?

I don't see Edelman by name or title in the Libby's response ro the Media motions to quash dated 5/1/06. Part1 and Part2

But I think this might be Edelman at the end of 5/1/06 Part 1

his subordinates at the Office of the Vice President OVP - to testifiy that they were too intent rebutting Mr. Wilson's critisms "on the merits" ; that they saw his wife's affiliation as a periperal issue (at most); and they were never instructed by Mr. Libby to diseminate information regarding Mrs. Wilson's CIA affiliation to the press

The indictment puts it a little differently

That official asked LIBBY whether information about Wilson's trip could be shared with the press to rebut the allegations that the Vice President had sent Wilson. LIBBY responded that there would be complications at the CIA in disclosing that information publicly, and that he could not discuss the matter on a non-secure telephone line.
Libby Indictment


Libby does include Edelman in the journalist subpoenas (at least Judy's).

Do you have the link EW, all I have on Miller's subpoena is this.

That's the one. Edelman is the third name listed in item 8.

Ew - Thanks

I just did the search for Edelman on the Miller Subpeona and it doesn't come up because that document is some kind of image. I should have just read it, it's one of the shortest documents around.

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