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September 02, 2006

Comments

Jim E

I don't know the answer to that question, sorry. Which suggests it is very possible that Fitz was pursuing the cover-up, but any leads dried up, and now he has just dropped it for lack of admissible evidence.

Any idea whether Judy tried to get the story approved by the Executive Editor of the NYT? Hmm. No, I doubt you have any idea, not least since the NYT has totally suppressed who was in charge of the paper at that point--Joseph Lelyveld. Their diligence in obscuring any mention of Lelyveld in their coverage of this suggests that Abramson may not be the right--or only--person to ask whether Judy tried to get a story published.

Hmm. well yes I doubt either of us has any idea. I didn't say I did. Who is supressing Lelyveld, and from what?
I have no idea whether Judy actually tried to get the story published. I know that when she went to prison she was hailed as a hero by Keller and Pinch, and when she testified she was shunned for her "entanglements with the administration" and lost her position. I have no trouble believing anything positive she might have wanted to write about the admin might have been quashed, I also have no trouble believing she would alter her story (saying she planned to write a story) to protect whoever she felt needed protecting. Herself, Libby, or another source. Who knows?

WRT the Armitage as Judy source.
As I said, it could have been anyone. Armitage, Bolton, Hadley...I've got no idea. She's had sources on Iraq WMD longer than Armitage, Bolton, or Libby have been in power.
Judy was on Hardball all the time, maybe she got Wilson's number from Matthews. My point was really that we have no idea who Judy talked to and when, and her deal to testify for Fitzgerald about Libby didn't really answer that. Anything she said afterward is going to be (at least partially) self-serving. She had a job to keep and perjury to avoid.

Sue - I cannot tell you how astonishingly childish and petty I find this.

I know. You aren't the first around here to call me childish. I've learned to live with it.

Just out of curiosity...why here? Why not next door where I really tease the hell out of you? Nevermind. I think I know already.

Sue, reading through the comments I initially thought that it might have been a trifle harsh to call you a troll. But then this:

I guess your definition of troll and mine are different. I didn't realize a troll was someone who disagreed with you.

Just out of curiosity...why here? Why not next door where I really tease the hell out of you? Nevermind. I think I know already.

If you are suggesting, Sue, that I choose more friendly territory to acknowledge a quite minor I told you so, which has no bearing whatsoever on the facts of the case, I will take that as a major compliment, since the implication is that, given my rather robust engagement "next door", I am on quite strong ground there almost all of the time. Thanks. And I agree, of course.

I also have no trouble believing she would alter her story (saying she planned to write a story) to protect whoever she felt needed protecting.

This makes no sense. How would saying she planned to write a story protect a source?

MayBee
The point of raising Lelyveld is that the whole question of whether Judy could publish an article or not is the wrong question. She was on disciplinary status, and during the time Lelyveld was at the helm, she published just a few articles, one where the NYT tried to balance her earlier MBL reporting, the rest all related to stories she had reported on in the past (Hatfill and Kelly).

And your point about the Judy's sources is fine--but why do you think Armitage is as likely a source--even though he is not a known source for Judy nor would he logically be--as those sources who (as you point out) she used even before BushCo were in power. Her relationship with Bolton is extensive and proven.

This makes no sense. How would saying she planned to write a story protect a source?

It would protect Judy more than a source. You can't forget that at the time, people were speculating that Judy was the source to the admin, and she got the scoop from her intelligence people. Or similarly, I guess this could be that she was protecting a source, but not a source for a particular story but an intelligence source that had fed her over the years. Arianna Huffington was all over that. The Arianna story was Judy knew about Plame and was the one telling Libby et al about her. So she came out saying, "oh no! I wasn't a source! I was writing a story!" I'm not saying that's true, I'm just saying that's the atmosphere in which Judy wrote that piece.

I did jump in last night and left what I think was a polite comment.

I agree.

I'm never too compelled to comment here, figure this is your world...but I have to say a few of the very, very regular EW drop-ins at JOM - never miss an opportunity to snark or derail the conversation. In fact, a few EW commenter use other alias's over at JOM - just so the comments can be extra snarky.

If you have any names or tnh handles, I will be happy to convey your concerns, when I see them at tnh.

So she came out saying, "oh no! I wasn't a source! I was writing a story!"

Still makes no sense, even aside from the fact that it would be mighty odd that she would testify under oath to something in order to respond to Arianna Huffington. But maybe you should suggest to Libby's defense that they should take up Huffington's claims.

EW-
I don't know if Armitage is as likely a source as anyone else. I see no reason to imagine Judy had a small circle, or imagine that because we know Libby, Armitage, and Rove mentioned Plame that they were the only ones talking. Maybe it was Bolton. Maybe it was some low-level CIA co-worker.
After all, we've heard that "everybody" knew about Plame and Wilson. As she has said in the past, sometimes she has no idea why someone would leak intelligence to her, but they do.

The point I'm trying (apparently unsuccessfuly) to make is that we have no idea where Judy got her information- and why it was given to her- because Judy's testimony was limited to Libby.

"we've heard that 'everybody' knew about Plame and Wilson."

Mostly from the likes of pro-Libby partisans like Cliff May. May, curiously enough, no longer repeats his "everybody knew" assertion, even though he claims he was one of the people in the know. But unless Fitz doesn't consider May a journalist (which I suppose could be true, even though May used to write for the NY Times), it appears May was lying.

Still makes no sense, even aside from the fact that it would be mighty odd that she would testify under oath to something in order to respond to Arianna Huffington.
I'm just reminding you that Ms. Miller's reputation had taken a bit of a beating. Her bit about planning to write a story was (possibly) an attempt to rescue her name. Maybe she did try to write a story and the NYTs was not interested in a story that made Wilson's story look questionable. As I said, that seems pretty likely too!

But maybe you should suggest to Libby's defense that they should take up Huffington's claims.
Yeah, I think when it comes to Judy they'll just stick with her baffling notes, tricky memory, other sources, Wilson's phone number, and Victoria Flame.

Her bit about planning to write a story was (possibly) an attempt to rescue her name.

So on your suggestion, Miller was saying she had other sources, but they helped her pursue a story that would blame the White House, because she really wanted to rescue her name with the likes of Arianna Huffington. Now it makes a lot more sense.

Maybe she did try to write a story and the NYTs was not interested in a story that made Wilson's story look questionable. As I said, that seems pretty likely too!

You just don't know which part of the great liberal MSM-Democratic-State-CIA-France-UN axis you want to blame, do you?

Yeah, I think when it comes to Judy they'll just stick with her baffling notes, tricky memory, other sources, Wilson's phone number, and Victoria Flame.

See, now you're starting to catch on. The only reason the notes are baffling is because Miller stuck to testifying to the minimal she had to to remain consistent with her notes. The idea that Miller is protecting someone, especially Wilson, who is so very unfriendly to Libby is just laughable, and again neglects the empirical evidence of Miller's affiliations and viewpoint and loyalties and past sourcing (which is not to deny she had sources in various places, so don't try that, that's not the point - and if you are going to demand all that empirical backup, I remind you we are not currently at JOM but rather at emptywheel's and she has done so rather extensively and it's incumbent on you to do the work rather than demanding full backup every time the claim is made).

You just don't know which part of the great liberal MSM-Democratic-State-CIA-France-UN axis you want to blame, do you?

You have no idea what Miller was doing. And neither does Fitzgerald, because he didn't ask about anyone but Libby.

You are the king of ignoring anything that doesn't fit. Here and at JOM. You pick and choose what part of Miller's testimony, reporting, notes, that fit your conspiracy and totally ignore anything that might contradict it.

You want a conspiracy and damn it, nobody is going to take that away from you. Not even Fitzgerald. Too bad you don't work for him.

And it isn't because you don't know about them. As Tom is quick to point out, you are the go-to guy on all things Plame, especially the minutiae. You choose to ignore them, because they screw up your theory.

Sue

Is there anything in Judy's notes, reporting, and testimony that doesn't support the notion that she was leaked Plame's covert identity to serve as a cut-out for that piece of news? Because I kind of consider myself reasonably conversant in Judy's involvement in this, and I'm only aware of mountains of evidence that support the notion that she was being used--as she had been in the past--as a cut-out for classified information. So if there is any evidence to support the contrary, I'd love to hear it.

Because I kind of consider myself reasonably conversant in Judy's involvement in this, and I'm only aware of mountains of evidence that support the notion that she was being used--as she had been in the past--as a cut-out for classified information.

And I don't disagree with that. The only thing I might disagree with is the classified information being revealed. According to Judy's Four Hours of Testifying, Libby was more interested in discussing Wilson's criticisms than nepotism. In fact, according to Judy, he didn't mention that the wife suggested the trip. He also didn't give her Wilson's wife's name. Why not? If he was there to pass that information along, why was it incidental and not direct?

And I think, from Fitzgerald, we have signs that is where he was taking the investigation. When did Bush/Cheney declassify the information in the NIE? Before or after Libby talked to Judy.

One thing that continues to keep me puzzled is why no one, with the direct knowledge, will say, yes Plame was covert. She was indeed a NOC. They haven't. Even though she has appeared in newspapers, magazines and gala events. I want someone to clear that up. Was she a covert operative? Or merely an analyst, as others have suggested. Not that revealing her name or employment should be sanctioned, but it would certainly put the exclamation point on what has, to date, been a weird ride.

I could go on to mention that Judy had Wilson's phone number in her notes. That Libby's weird letter referencing Aspens might have indicated that he knew she had talked to Armitage, since both Judy and Armitage were associated with the Aspen Group.

But, as you said, there are mountains of evidence to indicate that Libby leaked to Miller, as part of a conspiracy to out Plame. Fitzgerald just couldn't find it.

So I take that as a "no," Sue? Thought so.

And one curious observation. I see you hew to Judy's version of her testimony. Except wrt her explanation for the Aspen note, in which she claims that the Aspen reference was a reference to Libby. Not that I believe this, mind you, but I do find it amusing how your standards for proof vary from sentence to sentence.

And I see you're reverting back to just two pieces of evidence, rather than the whole mountain of Judy's history as a cut-out for these guys.

You can take it anyway you want. You will whatever I say. I gave you 2 examples, there are more, but the only one that matters is Fitzgerald couldn't find your conspiracy.

I'll come back if Cheney, or anyone else for that matter, is indicted, to eat crow. Otherwise, I really am leaving now. I hang mostly at JOM, who links to you, and others, though I can't figure out why, since none of you care to have any of us visit you. I will say, though, you are the only one that hasn't filtered my posts so they won't go through, deleted them or banned me outright. I'll give you kudos for that.

Later.

"Otherwise, I really am leaving now."

Promises, promises. Heard that one before.

Now that Sue is back in the safety of JOM, she is complaining about the "utter stupidity" she encountered over here. But maybe she doesn't actually mean it, and is just indulging the folks over there. That would be so sue. You know, saying things she doesn't mean. Too bad she didn't confront us with our collective "stupidity" while she had our attention.

She also complains about no one having a sense of humor. I must have missed her joke parade while she was here.

In the same JOM comment thread, she also admits she likes "nasty" confrontations. (Ooh, "Nasty Sue.") Hmmm. Yet she often devoted her comments here complaining how people responded to her. ("I'll bid you a not so fond adieu. I don't take kindly to being treated as a half-wit.") Turns out she likes it. Who knew?

So sue likes "nasty." That would explain how sue could write something like this: "The pentagon is leaking that Iraq is close to civil war. I kind of think we should move back to the perimeters, where no outside country could interfere, and let them have it. It took a civil war to clear things up around here."

Perhaps sue's not a troll, but she's apparently an unfeeling bloodthirsty sicko. At least the rest of us who want to get the U.S. troops out of there aren't actively rooting for the indiscrimate death of more Iraqiis (particularly for reasons apparently having nothing to do with U.S. national security). I mean, who the fuck would? Er, besides Sue? ::grin::

The May 19, 2006 Clemons post appears to have been accurate on several counts. Here is what Clemons sources said last May.

Another well-placed insider who has interacted directly with many of the key personalities involved in the investigation wrote this to me[Clemons]:

I'm sure Inman is wrong on Armitage. But I am also sure we'll hear more about Armitage's direct involvement. I am additionally sure we will hear about Armitage as a witness against Rove if he is indicted.

[...]

This source offered further that one "would be on 100 percent solid ground" with the claim that Armitage would NOT be indicted.

[...]

That said, I have learned from several other sources that Richard Armitage was neck deep in the Valerie Plame story. According to several insiders, as soon as Armitage realized mistakes he had made, he marched into Colin Powell and laid out "everything" in full detail.

As others have written and reported, Richard Armitage is a major part of the story and engaged in indiscreet discussions regarding Valerie Plame Wilson and her alleged role in the Joe Wilson trip to Niger.

However, unlike what Admiral Inman asserted, Richard Armitage is in no legal jeopardy -- none.

Two sources have reported that Richard Armitage has testified three times before the grand jury

[...]

Another person with deep knowledge about this investigation called to say that Fitzgerald seems to have abandoned any interest in securing indictments regarding the "outing" of Plame and has invested his efforts in challenging the "white collar cover-ups" involved. According to this source, the information provided by Richard Armitage is -- more than any other information -- what has put Karl Rove at major risk of indictment.
TWN 5/19/06

Clemon's sources were right

1. Armitage would not be indicted
2. Armitage had testified before the grand jury
3. We would hear more about Armitage's direct involvement

The Johnson article in the NYT backs up the claims


[Armitage] testified several times to the grand jury

[...]

the prosecutor advised him [Armitage] in a letter that he would not be charged
NYT 9/2/06



Armitage/Rove Connection

What has not been explained are the details about Armitage's testimony affecting Rove.

Clemon's sources had this about the Rove connection

I am additionally sure we will hear about Armitage as a witness against Rove if he is indicted.
TWN 5/19/05

and Clemons had this in the comments

I don't have any idea how Armitage's grand jury testimony conflicts with Rove, but one of my sources speculates that Armitage's testimony compelled Robert Luskin to initiate the process of getting Rove to adjust testimony he previously provided. Note that this is speculation -- and not confirmed.
TWN 5/19/06

and the NY Daily News had this the next day

Armitage's testimony could hurt Vice President Cheney's indicted former chief aide Lewis (Scooter) Libby, or President Bush's political guru, Karl Rove.
NY Daily News 5/20/06



Also of interest in the NY Daily News

Special Counsel Patrick Fitzgerald recently had to sneak Armitage into a Washington courthouse to get past reporters - a sign of his value in the case, according to one source.

[...]

"People don't seem to want to talk about the possibility that Karl could be named an unindicted co-conspirator," a third source close to the case said.
NY Daily News 5/20/06



EW

Is the Clemon's source who said that Fitz has invested his efforts in "white collar cover-ups", the source you have referred to?


Jeff says:

as Fitzgerald says in the hearing when Libby's lawyer dramatically shows Walton some classified information that, he says, he can use to go after Grossman, Fitzgerald gave him the damned stuff, so obviously he's aware of it.

Fitz had Armitage's appointment calendars too.

polly

I can't say who that was.

I suspect, though, that all of these stories are relying on some of the same sources:

Clemons
A well-placed insider who has interacted directly with many of the key personalities in the investigation
A person with direct knowledge of the direction of Fitzgerald's investigation
Several insiders (telling of Armitage going to Powell immediately, perhaps the same people who report that Armitage appeared three times before the GJ)
A person with deep knowledge about this investigation

NYDN
Two sources famliar with the case
Another source (with close ties to Armitage)
A (third?) proposing Karl would be an unindicted co-conspirator

Isikoff/Corn
William Howard Taft
Carl Ford
Three government officials
A lawyer familiar with the case
An Armitage confidant

Lewis
A lawyer involved in the case
Associates of Armitage

Johnston
People familiar with his role and actions (this could be Lewis's sources, who is named as a contributor)

So there seems to be one lawyer involved with the case, one confidant not necessarily involved in Armitage coming forward, and some people who have direct knowledge of that process (one of whom is certainly Taft--and one who might be Powell).

My biggest question is whether those "government officials" named in the Isikoff/Corn articles are current or former government officials--Ford, Taft, Powell, and Wilkinson wouldn't count as current government officials, after all, which either says that the people quoted weren't directly involved in Armitage coming forward, or are former officials.

One more interesting point. According to the NYT, Armitage was informed he wouldn't be charged in February--several months before the Clemons post. That says the sources probably were so certain he wouldn't be indicted because he had been told as much. But why not say that?

Isikoff/Corn
William Howard Taft
Carl Ford
Three government officials
A lawyer familiar with the case
An Armitage confidant
----
EW, FWIW, Wilkerson is a quoted source in the Isikoff/Corn story.

emptywheel:

"The earlier Armitage conversation was just one of several that Fitzgerald did not immediately discover--for reasons that have more to do with rules about subpoenaing journalists and the logic of narrowing the investigation."

The constraints on obtaining information about sources from reporters did not require narrowing the range of questions put to non-reporters about their contacts -- as we've certainly seen in the pursuit of Libby. It's clear that the investigation was not pursued in the same way with Armitage.

While the circumstances surrounding their actual testimony differ, Fitzgerlad's apparent lack of thoroughness WRT Armitage is simply inexplicable, if not inexcusable. Considering the deliberate emphasis Fitz placed on timelines in his public presser/indictment, the idea that he never queried Armitage about anyone but Novak is mind-boggling. Indeed, isn't the original point of this very thread the proposition that the essence of this case is leaks to other reporters?

Does anyone think that Armitage, having had an Oh-My-God moment, didn't also rack his brains to think of any/everyone else he might have told? Failing that, he had Woodward's prodding. Does anyone believe Armitage didn't think that having told more than one person might throw his inadvertancy defense into a decidedly poor light -- as it still should, even now? I'd also observe that unlike virtually all the White House officials in question, Armitage is notable not just for his refusal to issue a blanket waiver, but for his unwillingness to issue even a single complete waiver to anyone at all. Considering the incredibly sensitive positions he has held, the fact that he turns out to be an "inveterate gossip" should give everyone, most especially a prosecutor pursuing leaks, pause. Would you give a drunk driver a pass because he's an alcoholic? Army may be infinitely more likeable than Libby, but I'm not convinced he's less likely to leak for partisan advantage. I just think his loyalties are personal, not ideological.

On the flip side, I would stipulate to the fact that Fitzgerald had reason to believe that Libby was lying (although I think there is more than one set of plausible reasons he might have done so) and to the logic of trying to get Libby to roll on larger game. It's what I characterized as a vertical ladder approach above, and it's a typical prosecutor's modus op. Part of the problem with this investigation may well be that Fitzgerald, himself, is a typical prosecutor who has used that approach to better advantage than most. The Armitage Effect under discussion here throws the limits of its utility into high relief. I won't pretend that I don't consider Fitzgerald's investigation a travesty on multiple levels (a lot of them legal, not political). On this topic, however, I don't see why anyone would give him a pass on the fiasco that Armitage now represents. While I agree that it's disingenuous to claim that the official revelation somehow gets Libby off the hook even if he lied, it will almost certainly make the case against him harder to win.

Unfortunately, both for those who decry the OVP and those who don't, it's Fitzgerald's narrow focus and his apparent omission of a simple, blatantly obvious, question to Armitage that is now threatens to derail everything he and others hoped he might accomplish. Political opportunists may leap to take advantage, but the central, pivotal failure here is Fitzgerald's.

With apologies for taking up so much space, I'll just add one last thing. I happen to believe that had the regulations and controls governing the appointment of independent counsel -- devised for precisely this sort of investigation -- been observed instead of skirted, such actual and potential disasters could have been mitigated in any number of ways -- and we'd have ended up with a public accounting of the investigation's findings to boot. Comey may merit the bulk of blame for that, with Ashcroft at only slight remove, but Fitzgerald is not blameless either. It's also a sad irony that many of the precedents set here will ultimately cut against the prospect of whistleblowing in future. I do fault Fitzgerald for that.

Thanks, you're right, MayBee. I suspect their sources are Wilkerson, Taft, and Powell (counting ex-government officials as current), plus one other lawyer.

Jim E.

"But heaven help us if this becomes a new talking point: the runaway prosecutor (all of one person indicted) who hasn't spent enough money!"

LOL! Yes, I have to appreciate the irony (and your considerate disclaimer of any malintent).

The constraints on obtaining information about sources from reporters did not require narrowing the range of questions put to non-reporters about their contacts -- as we've certainly seen in the pursuit of Libby.

That's a load of crap--he applied the same narrow scope with Libby as he did with Armitage. He either didn't ask Libby about any other conversations with Judy, and therefore didn't subpoena it, or Libby lied in his answer. And he apparently didn't ask Libby about all his contacts related to the NIE, and therefore missed whoever the July 2 conversation was, or Libby lied in his answer. And we don't know whether he asked Rove about any other conversations, in addition to Novak, but we do know the Cooper conversation remained hidden, by Rove's accounting because he forgot. That's not to say that the SAO responded in the same way--maybe Rove and Armitage both just said they forgot, and Libby just lied. But it appears to have been consistent across the board.

Now, as I've said, you may fault Fitz for his approach (though since neither you nor I know what the total range of journalist contacts are, it's hard to say how realistic it would have been for him to ask every SAO about every journalist they came in contact with). But it's only hindsight and the spotlight shining on Armitage that makes the earlier Woodward conversation look more suspicious than the unmentioned July 2 conversation or the Rove-Cooper conversation. (Though Judy's is clearly the most suspicious.) The difference with the Rove-Cooper conversation (as far as we know) is that no one else lied to cover up the Woodward-Armitage conversation (though Armitage may have). It appears that Libby lied to cover up the Rove-Cooper conversation, at the same time as Rove was conveniently not remembering it.

The only way you can argue that Fitz used a narrower approach with Libby is the ignore Libby's conversations with July 2 journalist and, as it would happen, Woodward. Not to mention the Judy conversation--remember, the Judy subpoena specified only conversations occuring during the July 6 week--Fitz only pursued the earlier one because 1) he had Judy in person, and 2) he had additional proof that the earlier conversation was relevant (or because Judy lied about even having the conversation, making it suspicious).

The principle is the same--it's consistent across these people. As far as we know, Fitzgerald asked about the ones that were suspicious, and as far as we know everyone hid further conversations of interest--Libby, Armitage, and Rove.

polly

Alas, it's that bit about Armitage and Rove that is not only most unconfirmed, but has always seemed most dubious.

Sue

You choose to ignore them, because they screw up your theory.

No, you're actually wrong. I don't doubt that to you what I do looks like explaining things away, whereas to me it's explaining them as best I can consistent with what I believe the evidence to be and what hypothesis I am working with. But mine are less ad hoc, less falsifiable, and more proportioned in confidence to the evidence than anyone at JOM except Maguire, who also tends to just ignore the more dingbatty ideas that come out in the comments.

And you give a bunch of specifics that just don't make anything like the point you want to make. Surely you can't accuse me of ignoring Miller's profession that Libby said nothing about nepotism, in light of this very thread.

As for Plame being covert, I take it part of the difficulty is the very one Fitzgerald has pointed to, namely that coevrt as specified by IIPA is not something that just matches up with a categorization the CIA makes, and given the paucity of precedent on it, it would obviously have to be a part of what is at issue in any trial. Given that, it's not reall a coherent request. But at the same time, there have been several reports over the years that Plame was covered, a DO official and so on. I'm sure you would find those unsatisfactory. But that's another issue.

Sue, you go on to say

I could go on to mention that Judy had Wilson's phone number in her notes. That Libby's weird letter referencing Aspens might have indicated that he knew she had talked to Armitage, since both Judy and Armitage were associated with the Aspen Group.

Yes, I am fully cognizant of the fact that Judy had Wilson's phone number in her notes. And? Presumably it was not very difficult to find. Is your suggestion that that raises the probability that Miller talked to Wilson, thereby raising the probability that the source Miller is protecting by lying is Wilson? Surely that's true, but only at the margin, and it is discounted by all number of things, including everyone's knowledge of where Miller stood on the relevant issues. Or is your suggestion that we can tell something significant about where she got it? My guess would be from Kristof, but I have no idea. But it's unclear to me exactly how I am ignoring it, or what the alleged significance is - and that's just the point, you say I'm ignoring facts, but really what you seem to mean is that I don't read into them what you do.

Might Libby's aspens thing refer to Armitage? Sure. But again, I'm not ignoring facts in that, I'm unconfident in your rather pale suggestion of an interpretation of them. I'm happy to consent that Libby's aspens thing might refer to Armitage, since he was a member of the Aspen group. But I'm not ignoring such a weak suggestion as I continue to think it more likely was a reference to the substance of Miller's contribution to the Aspen conference, and thereby an effort by Libby to remind Miller of just how portentous the stakes of the fight they were on the same side in while also reminding her they were on the same side.

And finally, conspiracy is such a weird word, because it immediately sounds (especially post-Hillary) like it has vast built into it, and it always evokes mutache-twirling sinisterness. So I am happy to leave the term to the legal pros and just talk about the cooperative effort Cheney and Libby, in my judgment, engaged in to blow Plame's cover, the overt acts of which at least included Libby blowing Plame's cover with Miller (and yes, Armitage blew her cover with Woodward and Novak). As for whether any of this gets prosecuted, that of course is a different question. But since we're interested not only in the course of the investigation, but in what actually happened, it hardly seems like a good response to say, "nannynannypoopoo Fitzgerald hasn't indicted."

"That's a load of crap"

Nice. I didn't suggest it was incumbent upon Fitzgerald to ask every SAO about each and every contact with journalists they might have had. I suggested that it's logical to ask the known source of Novak's info if he told anyone else. I suggested Armitage's forgotten conversations look no less suspicious than anyone else's. I'd also suggest that we don't know whether anyone else has lied on Armitage's behalf WRT to other conversations he might have had, or not. If you believe collusion here was confined to the White House, then I believe you simply can't be looking very hard.

For the moment, however, we can even assume Fitzgerald did ask Armitage about further leaks, and that Armitage either lied like Libby or "forgot" like Rove. Wherever do we see this commensurate investigation, the documents, the emails, or even just Armitage's official calendar so recently obtained with ease by the AP? Considering how much we've known contemporaneously about the progress of this investigation where it concerns the White House, it's hardly possible that the media just missed all the necessary activity attendant on any such exploration elsewhere -- even before Fitzgerald was ordered to quit sneaking his grand jury witnesses into the court house and make them use the front door like everybody else.

You, yourself, have just finished pointing out how much Fitz has missed. I'd go further and suggest the scale of what he may have missed outside the White House may dwarf the missing links you cite, and could conceivably have national security implications far graver, in fact, than the putative outing of Plame. The spotlight you're shining here strikes me as being as narrowly focused as Fitzgerald's. My own preference is a larger picture, so I'll just say thanks for taking the time to engage and resume my occasional lurksee.

JM Hanes wrote:
"I didn't mention Starr at all, let alone compare or conflate him with Fitzgerald."
Fair enough. You did not conflate Starr with Fitz. I was probably thinking about an OpEd I'd read the day before. I appreciate you pointing out my error.
---------
"Until you nail down the identity of #1, you have no way of knowing whether it is beside the point or not."
I am under no obligation to nail down the identity of #1. I find it intellectually engaging to ponder; however, I don't expect to come up with the definitive answer. 1x2x6 summarizes means, motive, and intention. There are several 'admin officials' who had reason to be disgusted, revolted, and indignant at activities of the Bush/Cheney WH. Perhaps #1 is a composite?
-------------------
In re-reading your comment, I agree that you did not conflate DoS with the WH. However, you question "Fitzgerald's conduct of this investigation."
Expressing concerns about Fitz's conduct perpetuates the smokescreen that 'the conduct of the investigation' is the key issue. I disagree. The key issues involve war, lies, deceit, forgeries, needless deaths, and treachery.
-------------------------
"I don't think the errors in the Johnston article cited here, for example, can "only be described as 'politically motivated'."
Not all political inaccuracies are deliberate. People constantly, *unconsciously*, 'insert' information that may not actually be contained in the specific language of a passage. You caught several examples in my post, and I appreciate the courtesy with which you have pointed them out. Mr Johnston's article is political by its nature; perpetuating the notion that Fitz is 'out of control' serves political interests.
---------------------------
"One could easily make the case that Fitzgerald was "out of control" in a literal sense. He reports to no one,..."

What purpose does your statement serve?
Do you want to see criminal behavior investigated, prosecuted, and punished? Or not?
Am I supposed to believe that a man who has not leaked, who has appeared to conduct himself judiciously, who has appeared to scope his investigation tightly is 'out of control'?
I'm not buying it.

In 2003, 2004, 2005, the Bush/Cheney WH assumed they'd never be caught:
(1) because reporters would never reveal their sources,
(2) because they could delete emails and overwrite phone logs,
(3) because they could control the investigation via DoJ appointees,
(4) because they could bully anyone who questioned them (while wrapping themeselves in 9/11 and the flag),
(5) because they could conduct NSA surveillance on emails, Internet connections, phone, and cell conversations to figure out who was talking to reporters.
-------------------------------------------------
If one reads public reports and statements from 2003, Bush and others show no genuine fear that they would never be held accountable for criminal actions. I'll include a few Bushisms to elucidate my point:

Pres G W Bush, Sept 30, 2003, in response to a question about leaking:
THE PRESIDENT: ...There are too many leaks of classified information in Washington... There's just too many leaks. And if there is a leak out of my administration, I want to know who it is. And if the person has violated law, the person will be taken care of...I'm absolutely confident that the Justice Department will do a very good job. ...I want to know the truth....
Q... we were told that Karl Rove had no role in it --
THE PRESIDENT: ... I don't know of anybody in my administration who leaked classified information. If somebody did leak classified information, I'd like to know it, and we'll take the appropriate action. And this investigation is a good thing... Washington is a town where there's all kinds of allegations... people inside the information who are the so-called anonymous sources, or people outside the information -- outside the administration.... I want to know who the leakers are.
http://www.whitehouse.gov/news/releases/2003/09/20030930-9.html
-----------------------------

[Probably Dana Priest is the questioner:]
Q ...You have said that you are eager to find out whether somebody in the White House leaked the identity of an undercover CIA agent. Many experts in such investigations say you can find if there was a leaker in the White House within hours if you asked all staff members to sign affidavits denying involvement. Why not take that step?
THE PRESIDENT: Well, the best person to that, Dana, so that the -- or the best group of people to do that so that you believe the answer is the professionals at the Justice Department. And they're moving forward with the investigation. It's a criminal investigation. It is an important investigation. I'd like to know if somebody in my White House did leak sensitive information. As you know, I've been outspoken on leaks. And whether they happened in the White House, or happened in the administration, or happened on Capitol Hill, it is a -- they can be very damaging.
And so this investigation is ongoing and -- by professionals who do this for a living, and I hope they -- I'd like to know.

http://www.whitehouse.gov/news/releases/2003/10/20031028-2.html
---------------------
If in 2003, the WH officials assumed that no judge would ever require a reporter to divulge their sources, then they would have publicly 'welcomed' an investigation -- because they believed they could keep it under control. It is three years later. The courts (unexpectedly) ruled that the reporters must reveal their sources; Fitz had no guarantee when he took this case that he'd ever be able to get that ruling.

In addition, someone(s) at the WH obviously thought they had permanently deleted emails. They must have been surprised when those resurfaced in Spring 2005.

To summarize, tie up, rephrase -- it's easy for us to sit on our computers and impugn Fitz. However, in view of the many surprises, twists, and turns in this case, I personally am not given to second-guessing that something Fitz did 2 years ago (before any number of rulings, re-surfaced emails, etc, occurred) is somehow poorly executed.

I think he's human. That means he's not omniscient.
I cut him some slack on both scores.

Here's what concerns me: people who thought they would never, ever be held accountable for leaking the identity of a CIA employee -- who instructed an obsequious reporter to identify them with monikers like 'a former Hill staffer' -- are now in legal jeopardy. They surely never expected this to happen. So what's left for them to do, other than impugn the prosecutor?

Other than take aim at Fitz, what else can they do at this point?

And if you fall for that bullshit, whose political agenda are you enabling?

EW: Apologies for the length... obviously, I have too much experience around long documents 8(

JM

It's clear that the investigation was not pursued in the same way with Armitage.

You (and Sue) were arguing that Fitzgerald's scope was narrower with Armitage than it was with Libby. If you've now backtracked to say it was as narrow, then I'll agree with you--I've been saying the same thing throughout the thread. Though I will point out that you seem to be drinking the same illogic water as the NYT, and claiming that Armitage is "the known source of Novak's info." Um, no, or have you forgotten that Novak himself says that Armitage didn't say she was covert, didn't give him the name? The classified status is the "info" that is legally pertinent. And as far as we know, either Novak did conjure them from Who's Who and his funny vocabulary as he claims, or Rove told him, or someone else did. In short, Armitage isn't the source of Novak's info, which is why it's all the more suspicious that Fitzgerald didn't discover Libby's July 2 conversation, since he had circumstantial evidence that Libby 1) knew Plame's ID was classified, and 2) had been collecting this information for a month and a half 3) had reason to believe (erroneously) that Libby leaked Cooper Plame's classified status. Why are you so concerned about his investigation into Armitage when he didn't investigate Libby either? Fitz only discovered the July 2 conversation in the last six months. That's an even longer delay than the Armitage conversation.

As to why we didn't see this investigation, I'll admit we don't yet have details from an independent source (assuming those leaking on Armitage now are his allies). But from what we've seen already, the answer is very very easy. Armitage turned over his records (or do I have to recite the passage that I had to cite for Sue twice in this thread?). The point is, that's not enough to discover the content of a conversation--Fitzgerald had Libby's calendars and notes, but didn't find the July 2 conversation. There was no reason why an interview with Woodward on the book would look suspicious because Woodward hadn't said anything about it--indeed, he had implied the opposite, on TV appearance after TV appearance.

So we are still left with the following possibilities:

1) Fitzgerald asked Armitage and Libby if he had any more conversations the week of July 6; neither obscured their earlier conversations (June 13 for Armitage, June 23 and July 2 for Libby) because neither was asked.

2) Fitzgerald did ask Armitage (and Libby) if they had any more conversations. Armitage "forgot" or lied.

3) Fitzgerald just didn't ask.

But none of those possibilities would include the big show of investigation that you seem to crave.

Or let me put it this way. Let's assume Armitage lied deliberately--let's assume the worst about him. How would you propose Fitzgerald to have discovered the Woodward conversation short of subpoenaing every journalist with whom Armitage interacted? ESP?

This has been a fascinating thread of information about the cia leak case. I don't understand why certain people are considered to have no credibility like Wilson. What the heck did he do that makes everyone dismiss his word about what has gone on with this white house. Yes, he has become a partisan player, in response to a smear against his wife that cost her, her job. I don't understand why the charge of nepotism really matters. It seems very weak in an attempt to discredit Wilson and I don't understand why it works for anyone. So what?? Let's say she did send him because she knew that Iran was far more dangerous than Iraq. I don't get the importance of this...where's the crime. Where's the automatic discredit???

Furthermore, on FDL on saturday afternoon Wilson responded to a question about the leak case. His only response was in regard to questioning the idea of Armitage as "PRIMARY". I think Wilson knew for certain that she was being smeared when he came out with his accusation. I feel like people are ignoring human nature for tidbits of facts regarding information that may be more or less than we can possibly know.

We know that Libby lied. We know that Rove initially gave testimony that proved to be false and changed his testimony. We know that President Bush lied to the american people when he stated that whoever it was would be punished and that it was no one in his administration. We know that Armitage came forward from the start. We know that Plame lost her job in response to the articles written about her position. We know that Woodward lied initially about his involvment and that he had extensive interviews with the administration while writing his book. We know that Judy Miller is a friend of the Bush family (per wikipedia). Who are the liars here?? Why do people lie in mass, like this?? What did Wilson lie about? Why is he being treated as if he were not credible in regard to this issue? Why is it that anyone who calls attention to all the disinformation is accused of having credibility problems. This is the classic technique of projection. Accuse others of the behavior you exhibit. Blame others for what you in fact are doing. It's is classic authoritarian behavior...or classic alcoholism. Whichever you prefer...they go hand in hand.

This administration responded to a leak of classified information by spreading it around amongst themselves and to reporters. Maybe the primary was Marc Grossman. Maybe it wasn't. It's irrelevant. Please explain to me why this behavior was admirable or intelligent or honorable. I would love to see the entire Iraq group indicted or unindicted co conspirators, but if Fitz cannot prove the finer points of a crime...who cares?? They lied, and they lied alot. Plames career was ruined. This seems a lot worse to me that having sex with an intern.

- It is not established that Plame was covert.
- To the extent that she may have been outed, it was by Armitage, Wilson and Plame herself.
- WH/OVP personnel did not illegally communicate to the media regarding Plame.
- Fitzgerald is a liberal, and that has slanted his investigation.

Is this a fair summary of the pro-Bush position?

Whether or not plame was covert is not a question that can be answered and anyone with half a brain knows this. If she wasn't covert, we would know it without a doubt by now. If she was, we wouldn't know it for sure, would we??? Duh!! If she was covert, and as recently as some reports suggest, (that she was in a foreign country on business in 2000, 2001, and 2003) they will not let us know the extent of her travels or details of her work. If she was co-vert the only thing I am certain of is that this information cannot be confirmed or disconfirmed. If she wasn't we would have no doubt.

What is your evidence that Plame outted herself. I want facts. Not just republican supposition. I have heard this repeatedly accused but never with associated quotes and timelines. Never, including the fact that certain other observers had to take back their accusations on the O'reilly show to avoid charges of libel and slander.

Whether or not they illegally communicated about Plame is irrelevant to me. What they did was try to cover up the fact that the yellow cake claims were false and that the fact that they were false was ignored by this administration in order to lead us into a war of choice. It was at the very least, dishonesty to the american public about why we were going to war. In my view this is treason. People are dying in a war of choice that was presented to us as if this were a war to protect us from being attacked by Iraq. This was not the real issue. THe white house (from Bush down) has lied about the communication between parties, legal or illegal. And Libby has been charged with lying to the prosecuter. Fact is there has been a lot of lying going on in this administration in regard to this leak. I guess there are consequences for lying, huh?

What proof do you have that Fitzgerald is a liberal?? Facts please. My understanding is that he does not register as democrat or republican, that no money trail exists in regard to donations, and no quotes about his political beliefs exist. Please tell me how you are so certain he is a liberal?

This story was never about the leak. It was always about the lie this administration told the american public to justify a war of choice. Babies are dying in Iraq. Soldiers are dying in Iraq. Most soldiers now dead in Iraq than civilians died in 9/11. Now there's some smarts for you...the way to fight death and destruction is more death and destruction!! Where praytell is the logic to this??

Watson, they are also saying that Fitz asked Armitage not to say anything, and that Bush and the White House didn't know about Armitage's role all this time (despite State Dept lawyer Taft's call to Gonzales on Oct 2, 2003). All about deniability....

Thank you, QuickSilver.
Katie Jensen, I was attempting to ascertain the pro-Bush position, not espousing it.
Most of the comments above by Sue challenge various TNH assertions, but I’m not clear if the Bush camp has a consensus on what really did happen.
Forgive me for not having the time or inclination to peruse the ‘Just One Minute’ site for this, and no offense to Tom Maguire, his TNH interventions that I have seen have been constructive and courteous.

KJ, I appreciate the frame. Plame's exposure is only the peephole through which we see the bigger crime, so no wonder they are working so hard to keep the lens cloudy....

How ridiculous that the right is harping on the notion that Bush was in the dark about Armitage. Isn't it true that even as he promised to get rid of anyone involved in the leak, he knew that Rove (at least) was involved? Wasn't Rove's involvement the reason Ashcroft ultimately recused himself, handing the reins to Comey?

And don't forget Novak's slip-up when he said: "I'm confident the president knows who the source is, I'd be amazed if he doesn't."

"I’m not clear if the Bush camp has a consensus on what really did happen."

There seems to be a consensus among most of the regular posters at JOM:
1) We have a rogue CIA. They plotted to overthrow Bush.
2) Plame was part of the rogue CIA operation.
3) Rove and Libby were the whistle-blowers.
4) Wilson was not qualified, but folks like Feith and Wolfowitz were perfectly qualified.
5) The Niger trip was a boondoggle, but the OSP was not a boondoggle.
6) The Bush administration should never have conceded that the sixteen words should not have been in the SOTU speech because events would later show that they were right.
7) Fitz laid some perjury traps for Libby and Rove. Libby did not lie, but the only way he could truthfully answer the questions was to perjure himself.

Pete is correct. I would another point that was much discussed over there early on, especially by clarice: Joe Wilson was in cahoots with John Kerry's presidential campaign. Wilson blew his own wife's cover with David Corn, and tried to pin it on the White House and Rove in an almost successful attempt to bring down the administration, the Republic, and the American way, as well as give aid, comfort, and bon-bons to the terrorists. And, no, I am not kidding: clarice used to repeatedly say John Kerry's fingerprints were all over this.

In other news, RawStory is saying that the Nation may have a story detailing Plame's CIA role today.

Er, the Nation may have a story posted today about Plame's CIA role in the past.

Oh, yeah, and the other newish JOM commenter thread gem is that Joe Wilson is the "1" in 1x2x6.

Well done Pete.

And one other one is that "The SSCI proved that Plame authorized Joe Wilson's trip, which exonerates anything Libby may have done in July 2003."

http://www.thenation.com/doc/20060918/corn

ew - whenever the SSCI is mentioned to prove a point it must be referred to as the "bi-partisan SSCI committe".

regarding Plame's role here is what Corn writes:
Hubris contains new information undermining the charge that she arranged this trip. In an interview with the authors, Douglas Rohn, a State Department officer who wrote a crucial memo related to the trip, acknowledges he may have inadvertently created a misimpression that her involvement was more significant than it had been.

Wow, Plame was head of operations for JTFI. A few quick things immediately occur to me. First, Corn says this:

There was great pressure on the JTFI to deliver. Its primary target was Iraqi scientists. JTFI officers, under Wilson's supervision, tracked down relatives, students and associates of Iraqi scientists--in America and abroad--looking for potential sources. They encouraged Iraqi émigrés to visit Iraq and put questions to relatives of interest to the CIA.

If I'm not mistaken, this is the extraordinary episode recounted in a full chapter of Risen's book. It's really amazing.

Second, I have to check, but was Grenier involved in JTFI?

Third, this is quite interesting, and should put paid to the idea that Plame was not a strong contender for covertness under IIPA (though Toensing will keep carping undoubtedly):

Wilson, too, occasionally flew overseas to monitor operations. She also went to Jordan to work with Jordanian intelligence officials who had intercepted a shipment of aluminum tubes heading to Iraq that CIA analysts were claiming--wrongly--were for a nuclear weapons program.

So Tatel was correctly reading Fitzgerald's footnote on this issue in his 8-27-04 affidavit.

Last week, conservatives touted Corn&Isikoff's Armitage disclosure as the gospel truth and have used it to call for an end to Fitz, the pardoning of Libby, and a demand that everyone apologize for ever thinking Plamegate was of any importance.

This week, I expect them to distrust Corn&Isikoff, and discount JTFI as the ultimate paper-pushing agency known to be staffed by anti-American, anti-Bush traitors.

Oops, I see that EW has a new thread, and that her post is in a similar vein as my above comment.

This "war" which Joe Wilson and Valerie Plame tried to stop is about the WH stealing oil. In defending the WH, you are defending a naked, and supremely stupid, attempt by the neocons to obtain inexpensive crude.

Incredibly stupid and simplistic of you. If we wanted inexpensive crude, we would support the old status-quo foreign policy of supporting tin-pot dictators and bribing them into compliance, much like France and Germany do today.

The War in Iraq is about reforming the Middle East. Its the only long-term solution to destroying Islamic Facism. I'd like to hear a better solution from you, once you pull your thumb from your mouth.

If you understood the dynamics of terrorism. The fact that all terrorism is rooted in fear, in trauma, then you would understand that wars just cause more terrorism. The only way to control such terrorism is power and control, or healing. Healing takes a long time. It doesn't matter whether or not you personally suffered the trauma, if you were raised by someone whose brain was altered the result of trauma it affects the offspring for generations to come. This is not a behavioral thing, but a true altering of the brain. Trauma makes people more susceptible to black and white thinking, cognitive distortions, emotion regulation problems, relationship problems...these ingrediants lead to more violence. You cannot cure terrorism with power and control...unless you want to give up democracy??

I would assume that the prosecutor and his minions had access to all the appropriate information about Mrs Wilson a long time ago and made appropriate decisions about who they could prosecute.

I have noticed up to this point in time at least that no one has been prosecuted for deliberately outing a covert agent. I would assume then that there is no case yet despite the above claims.

Because of this fact and because the Washington Post and the NYT now are debunking the Wilson's claims many here turning right vicious.

Have you ever considered that your pet hopes and theories might be wrong?

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