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June 29, 2006


Geez. I better get going these this weekend. Hello, ew.

The graymail initiative seems to have had partial success by setting up signposts which the prosecutor could see would border on regions he might otherwise opt to explore.

I wonder how long it would take for emails on fifteen subpoenaed topics to aggregate 250 nonstandard achival process emails in the office of the VP; I could imagine four workstations communicating with ten people on three strategems during ten minutes on each of ten mornings reaching that total. In this topology the nonstandard archival might be something like your lost RoveHadley ReCooper email hypothesis; a very discrete opting to reroute only that one item. Fitzgerald would have known for some time now that the nonstandard archival was also very specific, if, indeed, it was.

great analysis

share information with his law partner and Bush family fixer James A. Baker III. How about that! He can seek to prevent sharing of information with the press, but facilitate sharing information back to the cabal!

If the 'cabal' is Cheney, Rumsfeld, and their partisans all around the administration, Baker isn't part of it. He's from a different wing of the Republican ruling class, the Bush I oil and trade 'fixers'. Cheney comes closest of all of that crowd to being part of it, but I still think the assertion above is a huge stretch.


Yes, I thought of that assertion differently than when I first made it in November. The Neocons are (except for the quail-hunting Cheney) pretty separate from the TX mafia. More importantly, there are signs of real strain between those two factions.

Though there is one reason they might still be using the Baker Botts loophole. Libby said Cheney and Bush authorized his leaking. If that is indeed leaking Plame's identity and not the NIE, then it means that Bush at least bought off on the smear.

So I don't know that they're using that little loophole. But it exists.

Apparently in Rove's testimony on October 14, he revealed that Libby might be his source for Plame's identity

I'm not so sure about that. I think that Post article sort of gives that impression, thanks to the leak from Luskin; but in fact, I think the idea is just that Libby provided Rove with what he (Rove) took to be more confirmation about Plame on July 11. Perhaps there may be some deliberate ambiguity, and that may be part of why Libby's defense seems so worried about Rove's documents - though it is they who intend to call him at trial, for the time being. The other question is, what does Libby have on Rove?

Any thoughts on who Libby's cutout for the WSJ was? It's also worth noting that they also got a leak for their July 17 editorial on the substance of the January 23 NIO-to-NSC bs. I don't think it's quite right to suggest the casualness of Libby's NIE leaking; I think Fitzgerald is interested in showing just the opposite, how deliberate Libby was in using this stuff to shape the media narrative.

Both he and Woodward have testified that Libby leaked the contents of the NIE in June

Are you getting the claim that Libby testified about leaking the NIE to Woodward from the May 5 hearing transcript? That certainly would make sense of some of the obscure stuff in there. But then my question is, why didn't Fitzgerald pursue Woodward? Would Fitzgerald judge that that wasn't enough likelihood that Libby leaked to him about Plame too to justify subpoenaing Woodward? Unlike, say, Cooper, Miller, Kessler, to whom Libby acknowledged leaking about Plame (albeit while apparently lying about how it was done)?

Libby says he was told to leak the NIE on July 8. But he had already leaked it. Therefore, it is completely ridiculous to think he would be ordered to leak it again

It is possible, however, that he was ordered to leak it on July 8 by a Cheney who did not know that Libby had leaked it on July 2.

Any progress on who leaked to Pincus? I can't shake the feeling that it might have been Cheney, even though Cathie Martin is a perfectly plausible candidate, and we've got to account for Fleischer's being in trouble somehow. In this regard, it seems increasingly likely to me, given the dates of various subpoenas, that Pincus' source had already identified him/herself to Fitzgerald as such before Kessler testified, and Fitzgerald had Kessler testify anyway because of the Libby business and just to eliminate him as a possible candidate as the Post reporter the Post mentioned having received the leak. I believe it was reported on June 4, 2004 that Cheney had been questioned by Fitzgerald, but there has never been an exact specification of when Cheney was questioned. And Kessler was deposed on June 22 or so - not that that means anything as far as a connection goes.

I completely agree, by the way, that Fitzgerald believes that Cheney instructed Libby to leak about Plame.

Ah Jeff, I've been missing your incisive thoughts around here.

Perhaps there may be some deliberate ambiguity, and that may be part of why Libby's defense seems so worried about Rove's documents - though it is they who intend to call him at trial, for the time being. The other question is, what does Libby have on Rove?

I'm not sure Fitz believes they really want to call him. After all, the only way Rove helps Libby is if he gets up there and says, "when Libby and I talked on July 11, he said he learned of Plame from Tim Russert, and he didn't mention anything about Judy Miller." Seeing as how there's a good chance that's NOT what was said at the July 11 meeting, Libby couldn't know whether Rove would help or hurt. And IF Rove did say he learned from Libby (I agree it's unclear how strongly he worded that), then you'd risk really hurting your case.

Are you getting the claim that Libby testified about leaking the NIE to Woodward from the May 5 hearing transcript? That certainly would make sense of some of the obscure stuff in there.

No, actually I'm taking it from Fitz' original reference to the NIE, where he says "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." I suppose Libby could have testified to leaking to Judy (though, again, I'd wonder why Fitz didn't subpoena that June meeting from the start). I rather suspect he didn't go after Woodward because he only subpoenaed people whose testimony he absolutely needed. Since the NIE leak is secondary here, I'd think he wouldn't want to go after it. And as it happens, he didn't have to!

I, too, am curious whether Pincus' source couldn't be Cheney. Though Pincus never says his source admitted to leaking Plame's name, did he? He also never said his source asked him to testify, just that he said he could. Remember, too, that Pincus is probably the person mentioned in Fitz' August subpoena, so it looks like Fitz went after it pretty hard. I think it much more likely Pincus' source didn't reveal leaking Plame's ID.

Which means Martin is unlikely (because if she lied, she'd be a lousy witness). Fleischer is still definitely a possibility, if only for Swopa's sake. Though I'm pretty sure that the "look at what Ari said" has more to do with his presser (remember, that's the one Fitz subpoenaed), particularly since the NYT version of the July 12 story says they directed reporters to Tenet's statement.

So if it's not Martin and not Fleischer, that leaves (IMO) three people: Hadley, Rove, and Cheney. I think Rove is unlikely (Pincus wouldn't likely go to Rove on a security related question). I think if it were Rove, Fitz would have included the Kessler conversation in the indictment (to build the "hiding Rove" story). So I think it's likely either Hadley or Dick.

If Libby is indeed pulled out of the mix by a pardon from Bush by year end or thereabouts, and if indeed Fitz wants to continue his (I'm hopeful) pursuit of Cheney, can Libby still be used as a witness ... against Cheney? Or will this throw a monkey wrench into the whole sequence of Fitz's carefully laid out hunt to the point where he can't move forward?

Ah Jeff, I've been missing your incisive thoughts around here.

yeah, well, it gets kinda boring saying, "Another great post!" over and over. And that's not very incisive anyway.

Thanks for the reminder on the source of the claim about leaking the NIE in June. My point about going after Woodward is that I would have thought leaking the NIE was enough reason to suspect that Libby had also leaked about Plame, making Woodward 1 of the 6. Unless maybe Fitzgerald already knew that Armitage had leaked to Woodward, but thought it happened later than it did - but, again, my presumption has been that Fitzgerald would go after all the reporters he knew had been leaked to. I've got to reread the May 5 hearing transcript in light of your reminder about what Fitzgerald said in the letter in January.

When you say

I think it much more likely Pincus' source didn't reveal leaking Plame's ID

could you spell out what you mean by Plame's ID here. Her name? Her covert status? I don't get your point exactly. Do we know that Pincus' source did in fact leak her name to Pincus? (I think we might know that rather indirectly, from the CJR article about Pincus, but I'm not sure.)

Jeff and emptywheel,

Actually Pincus says directly in the October 2003 article that the source did not mention Plame's name:

On July 12, two days before Novak's column, a Post reporter was told by an administration official that the White House had not paid attention to the former ambassador's CIA-sponsored trip to Niger because it was set up as a boondoggle by his wife, an analyst with the agency working on weapons of mass destruction. Plame's name was never mentioned and the purpose of the disclosure did not appear to be to generate an article, but rather to undermine Wilson's report.

Thanks, William.

Yeah, I was being casual--Pincus gets the may actually be legal leak. But I still think his source originally lied about it.

And wrt Woodward. I just think Fitzgerald didn't go after ANYONE that he didn't know was directly linked to a Plame identity leak (remember, he even dropped his pursuit of Phelps and Royce, who DID get a direct leak).

great work ew.

re JohnLopresti's point about the 250 emails, I've never been sure about whether there were 250 emails, or 250 pages of emails - but jeffrees specifically says "approximately 250 pages of documents that are emails." Do we think that there is (approx) one email per page?

I doubt it, lukery, I think there were likely fewer emails. But also note that Jeffress is talking about just those that related to OVP. Presumably, there were a bunch of WH emails that wouldn't directly mention or relate to Libby that Fitzgerald doesn't have to turn over.

Apart from Rove and Libby who in the White House are known to have leaked about Plame? Today I heard Pelosi say that the White House promoted a leaker in the Plame case. Did the White House promote Rove or Libby? Or was she referring to someone like Hadley?

Pete - That could be something interesting, but it may just be a reference to Rove, who got promoted after Bush got reelected. The only White House officials we know for sure to have leaked about Plame are Rove and Libby, although we know for certain that there is at least one other White House official out there who leaked, to Walter Pincus on July 12. Above emtywheel gives reasons for thinking it might be Hadley, or Cheney, and we should probably throw Cathie Martin back into the mix. As you say, Hadley did get promoted, and I think Cathie Martin might have as well, though I'm not sure; I'm also not sure why Pelosi wouldn't share her knowledge of publicly unknown leakers in the White House, if she had it. So I suspect she's referring to Rove.

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