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May 22, 2006


I think you're right -- they're cowards and they know there's a good chance they'll lose and create bad precedent. Plus, Wired doesn't make for a particularly good target -- they'll end up pissing off a bunch of computer hacker gearheads who can make a LOT of noise on the internets.


Gosh, I hadn't thought about the hacker angle. I keep waiting for some rebel faction to counter-hack the Diebolds. If they went after Wired, that might just spark the rebellion.

Blooming Turd Gonzales gives Mexican-Americans a bad name.

You're right, they want to avoid going in to court. Or, more precisely, they want to prevent discovery. It's probably akin to their aversion to trying terrorism cases; it would expose them to the possibility of losing, which takes away the fear and oppression angle.

This is interesting. I noticed that Cooper tells Dickerson to call him on a land line when he wanted to talk to him about the Plame story in 7/03.

In the middle of it was an e-mail from Matt Cooper telling me to call him from a land line when I had some privacy.
Slate [Dickerson] 2/7/06

pollyusa, I know this is OT and has perhaps been covered elsewhere, but what two senior administration officials pushed John Dickerson to find out who sent Wilson? Was it Karl Rove and Ari Fleischer, who Dickerson mentions in this column from October 2005?


It was Ari and Dan Bartlett.

As useful links relating to Wired's Klein's report and EW's interpretation, I first referenced Center for Democracy and Technology, knowing their group to include renowned constitutional lawyers specializing in bill of rights as interfaced with technology. I learned CDT has joined in signing a letter to Senator Specter, whose latest recension of a proposed modernization of FISA evidently is even more watered down, and continues to be retroactive for all programs. The CDT letter is the there.
Knowing of several other constitutional scholars writing on this topic, and still studying last week's transcript of the public portion of the Hayden hearings myself, I visited a Republican campus' "moderate" professor website where, among others, members of CDT, as well as former Clinton administration counsel continue to write. That Yale site is very nuanced, and, I think, one needs to know caselaw to understand the deep seated objections voiced by the diarists there. Even though the campus is Republican, that website seems more tempered, the consistent objection being not that the Bush programs were wrong to wiretap but wrong to avoid due process. With those caveats I offer the link to one article there about the possible compromised position of the leaders of congress with respect to oversight and updating FISA; and another explaining, much as EW and the early contributors upthread notice, that the wiretap programs are extrajudiciary as currently configured; the diarist's principal concerns include development of a possible parallel government, though surely I oversimplify what are complex arguments; the diary is here.

I hope this helps ameliorate the proclivity for hubris, and that the links provide a useful reference. My own opinion remains that the wiretap problem is a non-issue, but as congress continues to avoid deep assessment of it, it becomes more inflammatory. The other matter covered in some of the article II material on that website are outside the scope of my threaded comment here. As one observer on that website declared months ago the problems with article III are paramount. I think the article III dialog will begin in earnest in July 2006, after we hear how the Supreme Court opts to weigh in on some germane matters.

Last night, Olbermann had Jonathan Turley on talking about this re constitutional law, and it was Turley's opinion that Abu Gonzales was serious about prosecuting journalists "because this Administration doesn't make idle threats."

To which I completely disagree. First, they absolutely don't want to have to fight this in court, because they very well may find out that they are wrong -- especially if they get anything other than the absolute poster-child case.

In fact, it seems to me that this administration is very long on rhetoric, and very short on action. Remember, they're the ones who think they can make their own reality with a good PR campaign -- in other words, clap harder. If they can accomplish what they want by making threatening gestures, they will, but that doesn't necessarily mean any follow-through unless there's oil to be had.

But then finally, go listen to what Abu Gonzales actually says. It's all weasel-words, constructed very carefully so that it can be parsed the way they wish. He didn't exactly say that they were going to prosecute, just that the statute could be read that way, maybe. This is someone sticking his toe in the water, not his dick.


but what two senior administration officials pushed John Dickerson to find out who sent Wilson?

I think EW is most probably right (Ari and Dan Bartlett), but Dickerson never says.

I think it's a good bet that Barlett was one and I'd bet the farm on Fleischer.

This Newsweek from last summer says Barlett and Fleischer.

Then, on a long Bush trip to Africa, Fleischer and Bartlett prompted clusters of reporters to look into the bureaucratic origins of the Wilson trip. How did the spin doctors know to cast that lure?
Newsweek 7/17/05

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