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May 12, 2006


Thank you, thank you. I was going into Plamegate DT's.

Now we're getting somewhere. I've maintained all along that the key figuring out what really happened is figuring out why Libby (and Rove) told these particular lies. Of course, the whole NIE thing is muddled up because practically everybody in the Administration was under orders to tell Woodward everything for his book. I think that's why the Woodward/NIE stuff is pretty irrelevant.

On a side note, Bush and Cheney could certainly turn over their statements to Libby themselves. I wonder if they have. If not, why not?

That raises questions about the what happened in those interviews. Did Dick's and Bush's lawyers take notes? Or just Fitzgerald's team?

If you were their lawyers, would you let them be interviewed and not take your own notes? I certainly wouldn't.

No. But the alternative was to appear before a grand jury, where they wouldn't even have lawyers present. I just don't know. I think it most likely that their lawyers took their own transcript. But I don't know.

I totally missed the significance of Fitzgerald's statement about Libby's notes on the July 8 meeting. He's as much as saying that Cheney ordered Libby to out Plame.

William, close, and that's certainly where Shuster got the idea.

Libby was told to do something on July 8. There's evidence (I strongly suspect) that it wasn't leak the NIE. Now, the language for that muddled paragraph suggests the July 2 conversation was about Plame, though I'm not convinced. I think it's just muddled. But July 2 is mighty interesting.

And for whatever reason, Wells didn't bite, not at all.

I can understand why Fitz doesn't want to release it, but wouldn't WE benifit from being able to see the transcrips of george and dick's "interviews" ???

be a lot easier to nail the lying bastards to the wall if we had their words to throw in their faces

look how rummy reacted to having his lies thrown into his face

"I never said that"


Just you wait. It's either part of the agreement that Fitz couldn't let them go. Or he's hiding a wallop for Libby, something that Dick and Bush didn't deliver for him on.

My point on his "fast one" was that, he nearly had to turn them over, then scambled mightily (and apparently successfully) to not turn them over because they don't talk about date. There's something else in there, I wager.

EW, you wrote: We know, however, that Libby leaked the NIE materials to Woodward on June 27 (and possibly over the phone on July 23), which raises two possibilities: either that Libby leaked the still-classified document to Woodward or he leaked the NIE to Judy earlier, on June 23

Did you mean June 23 instead of July 23?

OT -- We've never been told when Fitzgerald interviewed Dick, have we? The best info I can come up with is before June 5, 2004.


On page 31 of the May 5 transcript, Fitzgerald says this (in answer to a quesiton about the relevance of the NIE declassification):

Only to the extent that if Mr. Libby had an instruction to tell information to Ms. Miller on July 8 and he's saying the instruction reflected in his notes to tell me Judith Miller refers to the NIE. He says he did not discuss Mr. Wilson's wife that day. To our understand both were discussed.

I think what this says is that Libby's notes say that he was supposed to tell Judy Miller something on July 8. Libby's testimony is that the something was the NIE. When the story of Libby's testimony about the NIE leak came out, I thought the whole thing was bogus. The bit about leaking classified bits of the NIE being so unique was especially laughable since somebody (nicknamed Scooter, I'll wager) had been leaking stuff from the NIE to Judy Miller for months (aluminum tubes, anyone?). I just couldn't figure out why Libby spun that lie. Now, it all makes sense.

I think Libby basically told the truth, with one little exception. Everywhere he said "leak the NIE" just replace that with "out Valerie Plame". Go re-read page 23 of Fitzgerald's response to Libby's motion to compel discovery (from 04/05/2006) and make that substitution and the whole thing makes a lot more sense.

I don't have time at the moment, but there is something about that July 2 meeting echoed either in an earlier court filing, or in some previous reporting. polly, any ideas?


Yes indeedee I did mean June. Thanks!


I'd have to look. But I know it's quite vague.

Still looking at that William. But here are some interesting bits. First, from Judy:

Patrick J. Fitzgerald, asked me whether Mr. Libby had shared classified information with me during our several encounters before Mr. Novak's article.

Fitz asked her about the NIE wrt more than the July 8 meeting.

And here's how Fitz described the July 8 meeting:

On or about the morning of July 8, 2003, LIBBY met with New York Times reporter Judith Miller. When the conversation turned to the subject of Joseph Wilson, LIBBY asked that the information LIBBY provided on the topic of Wilson be attributed to a “former Hill staffer” rather than to a “senior administration official,” as had been the understanding with respect to other information that LIBBY provided to Miller during this meeting. LIBBY thereafter discussed with Miller Wilson’s trip and criticized the CIA reporting concerning Wilson’s trip. During this discussion, LIBBY advised Miller of his belief that Wilson’s wife worked for the CIA.

No direct mention of the NIE.

This NIE go-stop-go stuff doesn't make any sense, even by Libby's own testimony.

We know that Libby supposedly testified that it was supposedly very unusual that he would have received a directive to leak the NIE stuff. He says nothing like that ever happened before, and that he went to both the VP and Addington in order to make sure it was A-OK. He was told that Bush & Cheney could declassify and that it was okay. (This always struck me as disingenuous given that Libby was probably the same guy leaking the aluminum tubes stories to Judy miller months earlier. Why would Libby all of a sudden be running around to make sure everything is legal? Yet I assume Addington could support this version of events.)

But now, according to Fitz's summary of another part of Libby's GJ testimony, Libby admits that he may have disclosed the classified NIE without authorization (Fitz: "He says maybe he disclosed it before he had the authority."). So what the heck is going on with this? Was it a memorable leak, or not?

If there is an after-the-fact cover-up consisting of more than Rove and Libby, Cheney would seem to be part of it. Cheney could vaguely tell investigators the same (false) declassification story as Libby as a smokescreen to explain all of the discreet meetings with Miller. Or something. I really don't get this, but it seems suspicious.

Wells seems pretty concerned about the NIE stuff, like he wants Fitz to promise right now that he will not bring additional charges related to it, or promise not to bring it up at trial. Happily, Fitz refuses to promise anything, mostly because I think he's worried that Wells will argue that Libby always follows the rules--which the NIE business shows is not the case.

And in terms of the July 2 date, I can't tell if it came up during Libby's GJ testimony (in which case, Libby and Wells know all about it), or if this is related to Woodward's recent revelations. I tend to think Fitz knew all about it by the time of Libby's testimony because how else could he get Libby to wonder whether he may have leaked the NIE without authorization?

Let me wonder about this - IIRC, the Miller subpoena was for meetings on Jul 8 and 12, and were were all surprised when she announced that she had looked in her notebook and found a June 23 meeting.

A reasonable presumption is that Libby had not testified to a June 23 meeting with Miller. I think that re-reading the above post with that in mind will raise some questions.

For example, Libby would not have testified that he was authorized to leak to Miller on the 23rd, since that date never came up (we think).

As to Woodward, Libby presumably testified to that.

Jim E. Can you clarify what you mean by your last sentence "I tend to think"?

I kind of think there may be two things going on on July 2. A meeting at which Libby was instructed to leak (and it may have included a warning from, say, Tenet, that they shouldn't leak Plame's name, which is the other reference here). And then a meeting with either Judy or Novak or some other journalist. So while Libby may have admitted to the July 2 instruction, he didn't admit to the July 2 meeting (with whomever). Wells is either stupid (and we know he's not), surprised by the July 2 comment, or deliberately ignoring it.

One thing I'm not sure about is, did he really leak the NIE with permission, or is that ALL a cover story. Given the aluminum tubes (as Jim E points out), I tend to believe it's a cover story, perhaps something they couldn't deny, but something that was relatively harmless (not least because they went on to declassify it a few weeks later). But if they didn't do this planned NIE leak, it suggests they may have finalized the smear Plame plan on July 2 (or maybe they had it planned in June, they were trying to back off of it on July 2, then after Wilson's op-ed, they decided to go for broke.

Frankly, I don't know WHAT to make of this yet. But I sense it's pretty fundamental. And, yeah, Wells recognizes that. But then why is Wells playing dumb on the July 2 meeting? And why can't Wells see that Fitz almost certainly has proof to counter whatever Libby will say about July 8? These guys are a lot smarter than they appeared at this hearing.


I beg your pardon. I was not surprised by the June 23 meeting.

Finally, though, this is speculation. We don't know that Judy Miller was writing an article around June 22.

But it is important nevertheless. A journalist may have already received a leak about Wilson by June 22.

(FWIW, Jeff tells me I was wrong on the logic, but damn I was eeriely right on the timing.)

Anyway, we know Libby testified to leaking the NIE to a reporter in June, so I agree, that he testified to his Woodward conversation. He apparently didn't even testify to his second July 12 conversation with Judy (the one from her home). So I think it's fair to assume he didn't testify about the June 23 one.

Rove informs the WH he will be indicted (!):


Maybe a little media foreshadowing before the big event?

emptywheel -- don't waste your time looking for more about the Cheney interview. It's not important. If it had been something you knew offhand, that's one thing. But if it requires digging, don't worry.

Jason L... if you're lurking here, you've just made my weekend. I hope.

just to clear something up, I think the aluminum tube story predates the NIE (it was around before the NIE was written)

From Leopold's "Rove will be indicted" article: "If an indictment is returned by the grand jury, it will be filed under seal." Why would Fitzgerald do that? Just to make me crazy? To keep others from learning the details?


It definitely was. If you believe Bob Graham, the declassified NIE was actually just talking points, the classified NIE came later. And the aluminum tubes is almost certainly a WHIG leak that probably occurred as they were finalizing those talkign points. But it is the same kind of leak, after all. Either that was usual (in which case the NIE is no big deal, which I think is the case). Or it was unusual, and the NIE story carries some weight.


Here's the reason I wrote that I tend to think Fitz knew all about the July 2 meeting by the time of Libby's testimony:

Libby told Fitz the whole song and dance about how rare the NIE leak was and how concerned he was about it prior to the July 8 meeting with Miller (talking to Cheney, Addington). But according to what Fitz says in this recent transcript (see page 34), the July 2 meeting came up during Libby's testimony and that Libby concedes he may have disclosed it before he had the authority. Based on this, I'm wondering why Libby would have his whole story down to explain the July 8 disclosure, only to (seemingly) contradict himself with the July 2 thing.

Therefore, I'm assuming/speculating (/talking out of my ass) that Fitz, after hearing Libby's account of the July 8 disclosure, then sprung a few questions about the July 2 meeting that gets Libby's memory all hazy all of a sudden to the point that, hey, he might have leaked it without authorization. If this is true, that would mean that Fitz knew about the July 2 meeting--and the substance of that meeting--before questioning Libby.

And if Fitz knew about the substance of the July 2 meeting way back then, that would mean he already talked to the reporter about it. Novak? Anyways, that's my reasoning.

Based on this, I'm left to wonder why everyone here seems to agree that Libby admitted his meetings with Woodward. I'm getting lost in the weeds in this transcript (I find it much more difficult to follow than the previous one), but when I read it, I figured that Fitz only learned about the disclosures to Woodward once Woodward came forward. I wonder if Wells was worried that Fitz would initiate a super-ceding indictment that would include additional perjury counts about the NIE disclosures (in other words, that Libby didn't acknowledge the leaks to Woodward in his testimony, which was tailored to the July 8 Miller meeting).

Not sure if I'm making sense. But I don't know why it seems to clear that Libby was forthcoming about his Woodward conversations.

I have to catch up with all the insights, and I haven't looked a second time at the hearing transcript, but I found what I was thinking about, and I'd be willing to bet this is the July 2 conversation. It's Sanger. From Libby's 5-1-06 response to the motions to quash from the media folks, p. 23 (transcribing):

To date there are at least three New York Times reporters known to the defense who have relevant testimony: Ms. Miller, Nicholas Kristof . . ., and David Sanger (who interviewed Mr. Libby on July 2, 2003 concerning the 16-words controversy).

I have to do some checking on what Sanger published that might have tipped Fitzgerald off to Libby leaking the NIE to him, or if Libby might have volunteered it. But Sanger was all over the issue in July 2003 - it was Sanger who prompted Fleischer to go completely off the rails at the press gaggle on July 7 and simulltaneously provided a kind of amazing commentary on what was happening. And I observe that it was Sanger who cowrote with Miller the NYT story (on July 23, 2003) on the eventful Hadley-Bartlett news conference of July 22, and it's that story that talks about the January 24, 2002 Walpole-to-Hadley memo that was almost certainly the third document (along with the NIE and the CIA report from Wilson's trip) that Fitzgerald says was being pressed for declassification within the administration in July 2003. I don't know whether Sanger was the person who asked Hadley and Bartlett about that document at the July 22 press conference, but someone did, and I wouldn't be surprised if it were Sanger. There is little if any other mention of this document in the press reports, as best as I can tell, and I remain curious whether it was declassified along with the NIE and just got overshadowed, or whether Sanger (or Miller) got some kind of special access to it from within the administration. The bit of their story on it on July 23, in any case, is mighty White House-friendly.

The only reason I said he testified to Woodward is because in the original incident referencing the NIE, Fitz said:

At this time, we do not intend to offer any evidence of "other crimes" pursuant to Rule 404(b). As we discussed during out telephone conversation, Mr. Libby testified in the grand jury that he had contact with reporters in which he disclosed the content of the National Intelligence Estimate ("NIE") to such reporters in the course of his interaction with reporters in June and July 2003 (and caused at least one other government official to discuss the NIE with the media in July 2003). 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. We expect that such conduct will be the subject of proof at trial in that we intend to introduce Libby's grand jury transcript in evidence and Mr. Libby has testified that the purpose of his July 8 meeting with Ms. Miller was to transmit information concerning the NIE. Our anticipated basis for offering such evidence is that such facts are inextricably intertwined with the narrative of the events of srping 2003, as Libby's testimony itself makes plain.

June and July. Granted, this was early this year, therefore after the Woodward revelation. But it seems to say Libby testified to leaking in June and July.

"'If an indictment is returned by the grand jury, it will be filed under seal.' Why would Fitzgerald do that?"

Typically, an indictment will be sealed so that the coppers can arrest the bad guy before he flees, but that almost certainly wouldn't be the reason here. The possibility I prefer is that the indictment would be sealed to protect an on-going investigation.

Thank you for that citation. You could be correct. Of course, Libby may have been admitting to leaks with reporters other than Woodward. In any case, my overly long post above appears off the mark. I still don't understand why Libby, who is no stranger to leaks, would come up with such a hand-wringing story regarding the NIE stuff.

Anyways, following up on Jeff's thought that Sanger was a leak recipient, I went hunting and came up empty. Sanger didn't write about any NIE stuff between mid-June and July 13, 2003. In a July 8 story, he did write a sentence regarding the Niger forgeries that might be based on a June conversation wtih Libby: "In an interview late last month, a senior administration official said that the news of the fraud was not brought to the attention of the White House until after Mr. Bush had spoken."

Not particularly relevant or interesting. Like I said, I came up empty on Sanger.

I'm still looking for June stories on the NIE that have unnamed White House sources.

All I've found is pretty weak stuff, mostly from July 8 and later. If Libby was leaking NIE stuff in late June and early July (as in July 2), it appears no one was writing about it. We already knew that was the case with Miller and Woodward, but I can't find anything in my admittedly quick search that is turning up any senior administration official as sources on NIE matters.

Jim E. - Like you, I'm having trouble wrapping my head around this part of the transcript. And like you, I looked and came up empty with regard to Sanger's July 2003 reporting. We know for a fact that Sanger interviewed Libby about the 16 words on July 2; but the fact that Sanger doesn't seem to have reported on it raises the question of how it came up in Libby's questioning with the grand jury. One guess is that perhaps there was some indication about telling Sanger about the NIE in Libby's notes, and he was confronted with that after testifying about telling Miller on July 8. If it was Sanger on July 2, I'm not sure what the implications are for emptywheel's intriguing suggestion that the point for Fitzgerald is that there is some doubt about what Libby's notes on the instructions on what to tell Miller on July 8 refer to. Presumably, it being Sanger on July 2 is helpful for Libby. Even if that's so, however, the seemingly clear fact that Fitzgerald has some doubt about the meaning of Libby's noted instructions is yet another indication of his persuasion (which may have passed its highwater mark, prosecution-wise, as per Tom Maguire) that Cheney was a central player here.

Jim E. - This is not helpful in the search for NIE leaks in June, but it is interesting that Pincus' July 8 piece for the WaPo, which reports the stunning July 7 White House admission of error, refers to a pretty clear NIE leak on the uranium stuff from a senior administration official on July 7:

A senior administration official said yesterday that a classified version of a U.S. National Intelligence Estimate on Iraq's weapons programs, completed last September, contains references to intelligence reports that Iraq had attempted to buy uranium from three African countries, not just Niger. The other two countries are Namibia and Gabon, according to intelligence sources.

Namibia and Gabon? Hilarious. Anyway, I wonder whether this SAO and this event isn't the other government official Libby allegedly caused to release the information, and I wonder who it was. I presume Cathie Martin doesn't count as an SAO. I wonder if it could have been Fleischer, talking with Pincus after being caused to leak the NIE by Libby at their lunch that day.

I love the idea that this is primariy about Judy. She was working on an NIE article to support the war. I wouldn't be surprised if it was all planned earlier on with WHIG after Wilson started talking on the TV in March.

Wilson scooped Miller on July 6 because Kristof tipped him off to Judy's scheme.

The NIE article was killed and she was pissed.

A bunch of people lied about it and now are in trouble. Heads will roll.

Wow. A wealth of information where you don't expect it: a new filing from Fitzgerald on what articles the government intends to introduce, and I was wrong about my guess about Libby causing anothing government official to leak the NIE.

Cheney annotated Wilson's July 6 op-ed.


It was during a conversation concerning Mr. Pincus' inquiries [for his June 12 article] that the Vice President advised the defendant that Mr. Wilson's wife worked at the CIA.

Also an answer to Tom's question about that notice to Libby and someone else about the damage from outing Plame:

The July 14 Chicago Sun Times column by Mr. Novak is relevant because on the day the article was published, a CIA official was asked in the defendant's presence, by another person in the OVP, whether that CIA official had read that column. (The CIA official has not.) At some time thereafter, as discussed briefly at the March [sic: should be "May"] 5 oral argument, the CIA official discussed in the defendant's presence the dangers posed by disclosure of the CIA affiliation of one of its employees as had occurred in the Novak column. The evidence directly contradicts the defense position that the defendant had no motive to lie because at the time of his interview and testimony the defendant thought that neither he nor anyone else had done anything wrong. Moreover, the evidence rebuts the defense assertion that the defendant could have easily forgotten his conversations with reporters Cooper and Miller on July 12 if he learned of the potential consequences of such disclosure as a result of the publication of the Novak column on July 14.

And so on, including:

In addition, there will be evidence that the defendant discussed aspects of the Novak article at other relevant times after July 14 but prior to his FBI interview and grand jury testimony.

And this, in connection with iterated interaction with Cooper:

The defendant testified to the contrary - that he did not think that Ms. Plame played any role in sending Mr. Wilson on the trip prior to reading the Novak article. The defendant testified that he thought Mr. Wilson to be fully qualified for what he did. The defendant's gran jury testimony indicates that he did not express any belief to Mr. Cooper on July 12 that Mr. Wilson was sent on the trip because of his wife and had not thought about that possibility until he read Novak's July 14 column.

And so the significance of the alleged lie about the Cooper conversation becomes clearer.

Rather, the defendant claims that he told reporters that he was not sure Mr. Wilson even had a wife. Mr. Cooper, to the contrary, testified that the defendant had advised him on July 12 that the defendant had heard that Mr. Wilson's wife was involved in sending Mr. Wilson on the trip to Niger. (This conflict in testimony heightens the relevance of the annotations on Exhibit A concerning whether Mr. Wilson's wife had sent him on a "junket.")

Oops, my guess tonight about who that other government official was that Libby caused to leak the NIE was wrong. Here we go:

In addition, the government's evidence at trial (including the defendant's grand jury transcript) will refer to a July 17, 2003, Waal Street Journal editorial entitled "Yellowcake Remix," which contained quotations from the 2002 National Intelligence Esstimate ("NIE"). This editorial resulted from the defendant's trasmittal, through another government official, of a copy of portions of the NIE to the Wall Street Journal shotrly before the editorial was published.

Libby and others in OVP also annotated multiple copies of an October 2003 New Yorker article by Hersh.

As for the annotations of Wilson's op-ed, it looks like what we've got are a bunch of underlines and, at the top, the following handwritten note:

Have they done this sort of thing before? Send an Amb[.?] to answer a question? Do we ordinarily send people out pro bono to work for us? Or did his wife send him on a junket?

Jeff, do you have a link on that new filing from Fitzgerald, which apparently shows Cheney annotating Wilson's Op Ed? That's explosive stuff. Where can I read it?

An interesting point.

I just checked when the alleged conversation with Andrea Mitchell happened. But turns out Libby on subpoenaed conversations starting on July 6. And going until October 3.

Go figure.


Sanger would have come up because information on conversations with him were subpoenaed in the second batch of subpoenas. Presumably, the investigators asked him about all the reporters on the list with whom he had had contact.


They're over at Tom Maguire's place: http://justoneminute.typepad.com


In response to your above excerpt of the Pincus article:

Yeah, I saw that. But I notice that the second sentence is attributed to intelligence sources, while the first one is attributed to a senior administration official (which does sound like Libby). The thing that struck me is that while Pincus lists Namibia and Gabon, I believe the Sanger article from the same day lists Somalia and Congo as the other two countries, which is weird.

Anyways, I'm going to peruse the new Fitz stuff.

Namibia and Gabon, of course, ARE uranium producing countries (and note, when Wilson asked someone at State what countries Bush was referring to with the 16 words, he was told Namibia, Gabon, or South Africa, the sum of the African uranium countries in addition to Niger; so Namibia and Gabon are presumably what a smart person would say). So they would make sense. The Somalia and Congo almost certainly comes from the NIE, because those are the countries mentioned.


Gabon used to be a uranium producer but stopped production in 1999. Namibia is a uranium producer.

I hadn't seen this claim before. Clearly, someone was making stuff up as they leaked to Pincus.

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