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September 07, 2006


It's as if OJ was vindicated.

I was getting ready to drag off home and feed my cat and bird, but thought I would point out this article. But I see early risers have already digested it.

Anyway, at the end of my quote, I said I bet that this wouldn't put a dent in the beliefs here.

No surprises.

Well anyway, a lot of endurance and staying power exhibited. Anyone ever run a 10K? Or longer? Probably every day.



It's all about the Corn/Isikoff book coming out today. The royal rags have been given their talking points.

Personally, I think David Broder has actually been replaced by an old-coot-like robot that calls itself David Broder. I have no evidence for this - other than the periodic spew that passes for discourse issuing from said entity - but it seems perfectly plausible to a blogo-fascist like myself.

Broder undoubtedly thinks we owe an apology to Lieberman, too, for not reelecting him. And DeLay for protesting about partisanship. And Ney for making a fuss about corruption. And Liddy and the ex-Dr Frist for making fun of their competence.

We're such troublemakers.

Huge congrats on the FLD book plan. You the best, EW.


Yeah, you're probably right, Dem. Though why doesn't he think Libby deserves an apology, then?


Why would this put a dent in our beliefs here? Ours are based on facts. Broder doesn't have the most basic grasp of the facts here (or he willfully misrepresents them). So you think we ought to listen to Broder in spite of his ignorance on the subject?

Why is the press so eager to end this story? I can understand Republicans (perhaps including Broder) saying it's over.

Kim, the press is eager to end the story because guys like Rove tell them to end the story. It's time to prepare for a Libby pardon. Now run your "stories" and op-ed pieces like good little stenographers and line up for your cocktail weenies!

Broder, who claims to be so *serious* should really be ashamed of himself. Thank you, emptywheel, for setting him straight!

"I am David Broder! I will smear the Earth with my Super Inktonic Conventional Wisdom Slime Waldo!"

"Klatu Broder Nichto!"


Congrats on the book deal. Hope you will set up an advance-purchase arrangement like Jerome and Markos did with Crashing the Gates. I'll look for it and put my money down as soon as it's available.

Slightly OT. If Valerie Plame was the head of the JTFI, how likely is it that Scooter Libby didn't know her as the head of that group? Wouldn't her name have appeared on any documents that were prepared for Cheney (and by extension Libby) to read? I'm just trying to say that isn't it likely that Scooter knew of Plame long before May or June? Of course, he wouldn't have known that she was Wilson's wife until then. But wouldn't he have to have known of her? Then he finds out she is married to Wilson. How could he forget her at that point?
My apologies if you have already made this point.

On the positive side of the ledger, the Chicago Trib runs a news column today by Steve Chapman, a member of the Trib's editorial board, which is pretty fair. You can read it here.
Some clips:

"The White House, in short, was not engaged in any campaign to `out' Ms. Plame," proclaimed an editorial in The Wall Street Journal. The more liberal Washington Post heartily concurred. The revelation, it said, shows that "one of the most sensational charges leveled against the Bush White House--that it orchestrated the leak of Ms. Plame's identity to ruin her career and thus punish Mr. Wilson--is untrue."

But the logic here is the equivalent of saying that because I am chewing gum, I cannot possibly be walking. All the evidence indicates there were two separate courses of action that exposed Plame's identity--one attributable to Armitage and one to people in the White House. That Armitage was guilty of carelessness does not mean Libby is innocent of malice.


Conservatives are not alone, though, in sniping at Fitzgerald. The New York Times, which once demanded a thorough investigation, now complains this one has taken too long. Of course it would have gone quicker if The New York Times had not refused to cooperate by claiming Judith Miller had no obligation to testify. The Times lost that battle and Miller did testify, but only after a year's delay.

It will take a trial to establish Libby's criminal guilt or innocence. But the bulk of the evidence indicates that people high up in the White House did seek to punish Wilson by unmasking his wife, and that the vice president's chief of staff did his best to conceal this effort from the special prosecutor.

For that evidence, we should thank the much-maligned Fitzgerald, whose sole sin is doing his job conscientiously. But the only people who are grateful are those who put truth and accountability above their own narrow interests. And in Washington, that may be a party of one.

Just thought you might like to see it.

I didn't think Rove was the mastermind. I thought he was just an eager and enthusiastic participant.

"Why would this put a dent in our beliefs here? Ours are based on facts. Broder doesn't have the most basic grasp of the facts here (or he willfully misrepresents them). So you think we ought to listen to Broder in spite of his ignorance on the subject?"

Yes Jodi, why would this put a dent?

The revelation in "Hubris" that Rove told Matthews that "the White House was going to screw the Wilsons" directly rebuts the main point that Broder tries to make.

I agree that the latest spates of articles are a response to the revelations in "Hubris".

I also wonder why Broder says that Fitzgerald did not behave well????? Surprising since Broder does not include Rove in that category.


Just saw the solicitation to publish your book on FDL. I'm in, and proud to be a founding patron of this venture.


We mere mortals who read the press on this, however, know only that Fitzgerald "does not anticipate seeking charges against Karl Rove."

Do we KNOW this? Or are we relying on Luskin's characterization of a communication allegedly received from Fitzgerald?

I simply do not trust anything that is associated with Rove, notwithstanding the fact that Luskin would be in hot water by mischaracterizing whatever deal is in place.

Thanks in advance.


One thing to remember is that all the journalists are still mad at Fitz for putting Miller in jail, etc. Part of the Broder agenda to "get this all behind us" is so they can get the leaks rolling again so they can feel like they know lots of stuff we don't. There's so much more here that Broder ignores of glosses over that it is ridiculous. What about Cooper and others reporting on McClellan's statements that they knew to be completely false?


Luskin lies a lot. But when he lies, he lies as "a lawyer familiar with the investigation." When he makes statements in his own name, he often parses wildly (such as with his long-standing claims that Rove wasn't a "target" of the investigation. But he remain technically truthful.

I don't doubt there was a lot of other verbiage in that letter that Luskin wouldn't admit. But I do strongly believe he quoted the part of the letter that helped him faithfully.

If anyone wants to write to Broder, here's his e-mail address:

[email protected]

And congratulations, Marcy! I'm so pleased the project is out in the open, inviting public support and financial participation. If Broder shows us anything, it's that we will need a full-court blogosphere effort to subvert the Libby pardon campaign.

(still waiting on this one) Eliott Abrams

At least spell his name correctly.

I guess if I can't see any document in its entirety, I look at quotes out of context with a heaping helping of professional skepticism.

If the quote is accurate and complete, it does kinda make me wonder why Rove didn't negotiate Fitzgerald's public release of that decision in whatever deal he made.

I guess I remain unconvinced that the quoted phrase accurately conveys the entirety of the prevailing stand-off between Rove and Fitzgerald.

Looking forward to the tome!


Poor David. Let's try a simple analogy. Let's say Richard Armitage robs a bank. Then, a few days later, Karl Rove and Scooter Libby--at the direction of the Vice President of the United States--rob the same bank. After a lengthy investigation, Armitage admits to robbing the bank. David therefore concludes that Rove and Libby never robbed the bank. Even though there are witnesses who saw both of them robbing the bank. Scooter Libby is under indictment for telling the FBI and the grand jury that he never even went near that bank. David seems to think that Scooter shouldn't be penalized for "forgetting" that he robbed the bank, and Armitage had already robbed the bank anyway, so what's the big deal? The big deal, David, is that it's not okay to rob the damn bank.

Two t's, yikes its the same Elliott Abrams who was convicted in the Iran Contra scandal and later pardoned by Bush, Sr.

If it's of any interest, Coulter put in her two cents worth of spin at HumanEventsOnline on the whole liberal fumblefest of the self-created Wilson saga. Posted yesterday (9-6-06)

Congrats on the book deal at FDL. You know the facts; you write well; you will do a good job.

Will Swopa fact-check and proof-read? The two of you seem to know the most about the Plame Outing outside of the perpetrators and the prosecutors.

And ask for an interview with Cheney for the book. You could be surprised.

Why is the press so eager to end this story?

My guess - there are only two available story lines - the Great White Hosue Conspiracy and the Great Press Cover-Up.

If the Conspiracy is dead (Keep Hope Alive, Marcy!), then it becomes time for the ritualistic Orgy of Self-Recrimination by the media. And there is no way the Times wants to re-hash the role of Judy Miller, or hash for the first time Nick Kristof's.

So some of the media will say "over" while others will commence the orgy. Looks like Broder is an orgiast.

At the Corner, Johah Goldberg and Cliff May have each separately linked to the Broder piece. (Do they read their own webpage?) The obviously like it, mistakes and all. Yet the Corner has been silent for 2 days now about Plame's status as described by Isikoff and Corn. Not totally surprising, I guess, but I'd have expected that someone over there--like Byron York--would have made a peep about the latest Plame-related disclosures Hubris by now.

Of course, it was a week or so ago that I thought that there would be more conservative commentary about the Armitage thing, and since then, we've all gotten more than an earful about it. Still, in the past, York has shown a certain amount of timliness, if only to link to something with a brief comment. Cliff May ought to be the one to comment about it, but that chump went mute over his once-heralded "knowledge" about the CIA agent a long time ago.

P.S. I've long thought that Broder is a Republican, and a (moderate) conservative. I don't know how much of a fan of this administration he is, but he certainly isn't their harshest critic.

Frank Probst: geez, you whiny liberals just don't get it.

We caught three glue-sniffers in a Florida slum who did admit that, yeah, sure, robbing the bank just might be a good idea, if only someone would provide the plans, the explosives and show them how to do it.

But lucky for you, they didn't know they were talking to a crack undercover agent, and they were promptly arrested.

So, the fucking bank is safe now. What more do you want?

And the bank employees are liberated, free and democratic (not to mention all the flowers they keep sending us).

Sure, they are shooting each other and stuffing their pockets with all the cash from the safe, but gee whiz, stuff happens.

This will probably be perceived as counter-productive (or infantile.) No longer care. There seems to be little chance that I will live long enough to carry through, but I would like to announce my intention--and an appeal for others to so pledge: "I (your name) solemnly make oath to undertake at least one pilgrimmage to such place as the mortal remains of Karl Rove are ultimately reposited. So that the countless injuries perpetrated by Mr. Rove upon the body politic and the American system of governance shall not be allowed to fall from collective memory, I pledge to pee, piss, urinate, wee-wee, tee-tee, make water, tinkle, take a leak, drain the weasel, or in any other fashion issue forth proximate to said remains; then to join in open association those patriots who have likewise remembered Rove as the irredeemable villain he is, in The Tall Grass Society. Let the eternal stench warn those who would make hay there.

David Broder should be put out to pasture where he can mutter and be bitter.

Wow, mk, thanks for highlighting that Chicago Tribune article/analysis. I certainly appreciate it, but more importantly I'm sure Patrick Fitzgerald will be very grateful for it. Good for Steve Chapman. Exactly right. At least one member of the press in Chicago seems to appreciate having their city and state (and federal) government cleaned up.

I didn't want to weigh in with congratulations to emptywheel until QuickSilver and most of the loyal regulars had a say, somehow. It's wonderful that all that research will pay off for emptywheel personally, and for the public's knowledge of the truth more generally. Good on Jane Hamsher and Marcy, all the way around. [To help with the timing, remember that it's still unknown whether the trial date will be pushed back a month into February from January 7th, or not. Judge Walton is waiting for Ted Wells to give him an updated estimate of the length of the CA trial Wells is involved in - which was due to start September 11th prior to the 8/31 status conference - before he makes a decision about whether or not to delay the start of Libby's trial a month.]

Why I think it should make a dent here?
All these former paragons of liberal virtue, the Washington Post, The NY Times, Saint Bob of the Woodward, etc. are now saying the Wilson-Rove flap was so much hot air. Now you have turned on them saying they are a bunch of shirkers, and loathesome miscreants, and you never liked them much anyway.

You are caught up in a whirlwind of self induced, mutually reinforced rage and vengeance against Bush that has focused and maximized on what you consider to be his main architect of evil Karl Rove. By your own simplistic beliefs it can't be Bush, the stupid noxious party boy athlete who dashed all your fondest hopes and beliefs of superiority over the Republicans. Forget that he actually scored higher at Yale than Kerry. Forget that the superior mind finds tools that help them do their work and these tools remain loyal. Forget that the old Democratic axioms of if we could only spend as much as the Republicans we will win, or if we get all the people to the polls we will win because there are more Democrats that Republicans were proven to be so much crap. You outspent them. You got more Democrats than ever before to the polls and lost by 5 million votes. No,no, we can't be wrong. It must simply be an evil elf, a devilish familar that has empowered Bush to walk over our prostrate trembling beaten down bodies.
No, don't think be logical. Focus instead on a petty hope that a Texan would punish a critic by going after his wife.

These are Texans, people. They don't beat up on the wives of their enemy. They say "howdy" and "pardon me ma'am." And "I will remove the body from the house to the barn out back ma'am."

Instead think about a 2 bit hasbeen, Joe Wilson, who for a moment of glory ruined his good womans life work. Her worse sin was that she loved him and tried to get him some work. Now she stands stawartly beside him. I think it is a shame. The term is collateral damage.

Now why do I hate Bush? Why do I even contribute here? Well there is plenty to get upset about. A splendid war, and a lousy aftermath, Greed for tax cuts keeping the number of men in Iraq to a bare minimum which has reslulted in 2,700 men and women dead. 10 times that many wounded. My brother getting ready for another 4th tour, now probably before Christmas. My father delaying his retirement, crying at night over reports of the poor broken bodies they can't restore, the minds that that are scarred for life, the families the doctors must face and brief on their sons and daughters future or lack of it.

My brother has said that he was safer in the 3rd week of the war in Baghdad that he is now when he is over there 3 years later.

And don't get me started on Social Security. Now there, there were evil dwarfs and elves at play with that plan.

Here and many other places good people are stuck in the past. Fretting over imagined past wrongs and slights, failed plans, exposed false hopes. The idea of "frog walking Rove out of the WH" galvanized you. And distracted you from important things.

But now the battle has again been delivered to your door. Essentially the subject has been changed by simply saying.

-- you don't like what we are doing, well then how do you propose to do it? Do you want to let these villians out, or punish them? Put up or shut up.--- That is Texan! That is from the likes of Karl Rove.

Main stream America is not going to take Democrats seriously as regards security because the Democrats are too devisive and torn by all the special interest splinter groups that they have brought to their breast to nurse.

Gee! Do something? Who would have thought?


I don't see anything in there that had anything to do with Broder's column, but thanks for playing.

windje: We mere mortals who read the press on this, however, know only that Fitzgerald "does not anticipate seeking charges against Karl Rove."

Do we KNOW this? Or are we relying on Luskin's characterization of a communication allegedly received from Fitzgerald? ... I guess I remain unconvinced that the quoted phrase accurately conveys the entirety of the prevailing stand-off between Rove and Fitzgerald.

We know that that is what a statement issued by Fitzgerald said. But, no, it certainly does NOT "accurately convey the entirety of the prevailing stand-off ... " There's almost certainly more we're not being told now. Among the possibilities:

-- Rove's not being charged is conditioned on his cooperation with the investigation, perhaps implicating the vice president.

-- Fitzgerald thinks Rove committed a crime but doubts he has enough evidence to get a jury to think so.

-- Fitzgerald, improbable as it may seem, actually has concluded that Rove broke no law, unless heretofore undiscovered evidence of perjury or obstruction of justice turns up.

There appears to be exactly zero evidence for any of these scenarios, so I guess one is as likely as another. But, no, what we've been told so far certainly isn't the whole story.

Armitage in exclusive interview on CBS News with Katie Couric... about Plame.

Now, the times is writing stuff like this:

"Mr. Armitage said he first told authorities about his conversation with Mr. Novak in October 2003, when he read in a subsequent column by Mr. Novak what he believed was a reference to him. That meant Mr. Armitage’s role was known to the Justice Department almost from the outset of the inquiry, two months before Mr. Fitzgerald was named special counsel in the case.

The confirmation of Mr. Armitage’s role, long the subject of media speculation, shows that the initial disclosure of Ms. Wilson’s identify did not originate from the White House as part of a concerted political attack, but was divulged by a senior State Department official who was not regarded as a close political ally of Vice President Dick Cheney."

From the NY Times


"Mr. Armitage, who has been criticized for keeping his silence for nearly three years, said he had wanted to disclose his role as soon as he realized that he was the main source for Robert D. Novak’s column, published on July 14, 2003, which identified Ms. Wilson as a C.I.A. intelligence officer.

But he said held back at the request of Patrick J. Fitzgerald, the prosecutor. “He requested that I remain silent,” Mr. Armitage, said."

Fitz asked him to shut up. Verrrrry interesting.

Lex - I agree. The point is that the one thing we all seem to be able to agree on is that Luskin phrase sure as hell ain't the whole story, and your guess is as good as mine.

The CBS interview sucked. They didn't ask about Woodward, at least not on camera. They didn't ask about Rove or Libby. The only thing of interest, as far as I could tell, is that he never told Bush about his role. It was very pro-Armitage in that they allowed him to say how bad he felt and they emphasized that he never hired a lawyer. That was it.

What someone needs to ask Armitage is whether Woodward repeatedly bugged him about this. Also, now that Armitage has come forward, Woodward needs to come Did Woodward repeatedly remind Armitage of the disclosure, and did Armitage tell Fitz, or did he not tell Fitz about it?

"Woodward needs to come clean, too."

Well. Thanks for the tip, Jim E. If you go here, there is actually a bunch of material that is considerably more interesting than what CBS broadcast. First of all, if you go down to "Related Video," the "Eye to Eye: Armitage Opens Up" video is a considerably longer and more revealing portion of David Martin's interview with Armitage. I gotta say, he tells a persuasive tale (I think - see below for questions); and the very fact that he is so forthcoming, even at this late date, speaks volumes for the level of his integrity compared with Rove's.

That said, one of the interesting things is that Armitage has quite an interesting take on 1x2x6, which he seems to suggest made him think that perhaps beside what he'd done there was also a conspiracy. But he also identifies 1 as in the White House. (Has he been reading us? No, he's probably just a good reader of the WaPo.) Of course, that's exactly what you would expect him to say if in reality 1 was a pal from the State Department. Except: I doubt he would say something that contradicted his own testimony, and I suspect he was asked about 1x2x6 by Fitzgerald. And it's likely to come out at some point anyway, and Armitage didn't have to bring it up, could have kept quiet on the question.

The other thing I picked up on is something in the online article that mostly combines the aired piece and the longer online video interview. Strangely, though, this line is not in either one, as far as I could tell. But taken together with something that is in the interview, it's possibly pretty significant. This is David Martin writing, I presume:

He adds that he thinks he referred to Wilson's wife as such, or possibly as "Mrs. Wilson." He never referred to her as Valerie Plame, he adds.

The last point is something he is pretty emphatic about in the interview, along with the fact that he never knew she was, and therefore did not refer to her as, an operative. This is, of course, precisely the point emptywheel has been hammering on: where did Novak get "Plame" from and where did he get "operative" from? Armitage uses this point to explain - with a little more plausibility than I had previously thought - why he didn't think he was a source for Novak when the column came out. After all, he didn't give him Plame or operative.

But here's where things get totally tragic: remember that NYDN story justifying Armitage back when Clemons reported Armitage might be in trouble? The one item in the Daily News that I thought, along with Maguire, was just total bs was that

Armitage's testimony could hurt Vice President Cheney's indicted former chief aide Lewis (Scooter) Libby, or President Bush's political guru, Karl Rove.

But now I see that it wasn't with regard to Rove. Armitage could testify that he gave Novak neither of the key items - the name Plame and the designation operative - raising the probability that Rove, whom investigators apparently long suspected of concocting a cover-up with Novak, did. And the first thing I quoted from CBS adds a tantalizing item: Armitage may have referred to her as "Mrs. Wilson." If he did that, and he testifies as much, Novak's story completely falls apart. Novak would have no reason whatsoever to think her name was Plame. There's just no way you could argue that Who's Who - which after all would indicate the same, just that her maiden name was Plame - would somehow lead Novak to refer to her as Plame despite what Armitage had called her. So Novak had to have gotten it from somewhere else, like Rove.

But now it doesn't matter. Armitage is useless as a witness, on account of his failure to disclose to Fitzgerald the fact that he also had blown Plame's cover with Woodward back in June 2003. His testimony would carry much less weight, and could be a disaster, despite the fact that he comes across as an enormously credible guy. (But maybe he's just lying.) So he's out.

I have no idea how large of a role that played in Fitzgerald's decision not to charge Rove. But I suspect it almost certainly played a role.

That is interesting, Jeff. I think the fact that Novak has been talking, and that Armitage got the all clear from Fitz tells us this thing is over. Maybe Rove flipped against Libby, but I expect that would be about it.

I wonder if the CBS interview with Armitage will get a lot of coverage in papers tomorrow. If so, I wonder if any of those stories will take the time to mention Plame's status. I'm not sure I've seen that written about yet in the traditional media, and I'm pretty surprised about it.

This is in the AP report:

"Armitage said he considered coming forward late last month when a flurry of news reports identified him as the leak. But he said he did not want to be accused of trying to get the story out during the summer's slow news cycle."

WTF? He's so remorseful that he wanted to make sure his acknowledgment didn't get buried in the Labor Day weekend news cycle?

Armitage also did a parallel interview with the NYT, for tomorrow's paper. Not much to it, but a depressing end. No mention of Plame's job.

Two new court filings. Fitzgerald's opposition to Libby's motion to get the memory expert. Looks like a slam dunk to me, but what do I know. The only interesting thing I could find was

Contrary to defendant's suggestion, there are few aspects of this case that will turn on witness testimony regarding the specific content of conversations that are wholly uncorroborated by documents or other evidence, and none in which the jury's assessment of demeanor naturally will be limited to or focused heavily on a witness's confidence.

Not a big deal.

Second, Libby's defense has altered their request to push back the start of the trial: they're now asking for it to start on January 22 (before they'd asked for some time in February).

emptywheel, there's your deadline (for publication), unless Walton turns them down.

On Rove's clearance letter:

If the quote is accurate and complete, it does kinda make me wonder why Rove didn't negotiate Fitzgerald's public release of that decision in whatever deal he made.

Despite my absolutely total lack of familiarity with these letters, I am absolutely confident of a plausible and innocuous explanation for not revealing the full letter - the letter surely had, as standard boilerplate, verbiage about Rove's ongoing cooperation, avalability as a witness, and a disclaimer that his status could change as new facts emerged.

And Luskin may have guessed that not every member of the media and commentariat would be able to read that boilerplate and dismiss it as standard and meaningless.

I love this about Armitage's story:

But he said held back at the request of Patrick J. Fitzgerald, the prosecutor. “He requested that I remain silent,” Mr. Armitage, said."

Fitz asked him to shut up. Verrrrry interesting.

Very interesting indeed - the Eerily Prescient Patrick Fitzgerald called from Chi-town in October and said what - "Someday this case might be mine, so keep a lid on it"?

At best, the FBI asked him to keep quiet - no special grand jury had even been empaneled at that point, I am quite sure (he said uncertainly...). And I am stumped as to how an FBI request trumps his duty to the President or his rights as a citizen to speak out.

Of course, they may have warned him that he was Big Trouble and ought to cooperate, and he may have believed it. And Fitzgerald may have repeated that warning/request. But as presented, this story is a bit light.

Contrary to defendant's suggestion, there are few aspects of this case that will turn on witness testimony regarding the specific content of conversations that are wholly uncorroborated by documents or other evidence...

Great - when do we see Russert's notes on his chat with Libby?

The Post entirely ignores/misses the point:



Just to add a little bit. There's an article from Strobel at McClatchy that is much better than the Times (apparently Armitage just did the one interview for the three outlets), and it reminded me that Armitage was definite that he learned about Wilson's wife from the INR memo.


I sort of agree that Armitage's time travel story is a little light, but he does have a rationale for

how an FBI request trumps his duty to the President or his rights as a citizen to speak out,

or rather, his rationale is that since the President demanded full cooperation with the investigation, the request from the investigation (and it probably did come from the FBI) meant that by keeping silent he was doing his duty to the president, and while that didn't trump his rights as a citizen to speak out, he exercised those rights by not speaking out.

Did you see the longer interview at the cbs website? It's pretty interesting.

I thought the Chapman piece in the Trib was pretty good, except for this:

But the bulk of the evidence indicates that people high up in the White House did seek to punish Wilson by unmasking his wife...

"Bulk" of the evidence? We have Matthews quoting Rove as saying the wife is fair game, and we have another quote (quite possibly from the same Rove-Matthews conversation) where the White house was going to screw Wilson.

And the original 1x2x6 said it was purely for revenge, but then back-pedaled.

What am I blocking?

And why is Chapman unwilling to even mention two alternative theories:

(1) she was mentioned as an answer to the question "who sent Wilson". Gee, I see that Armitage gave that explanation in his interview. But Libby couldn't?

(2) she was mentioned to disabuse folks of the notion that Wilson, as a retired career diplomat, lacked a dog in the obvious CIA-White House pissing match. In fact, he was literally and metaphorically in bed with the CIA. That conflict of interest strikes me as absurdly relevant given the obvious bad blood between the two groups - why not identify it as a possible motive?

Did you see the longer interview at the cbs website? It's pretty interesting.

Jeff, at this point I am relying on you. Good point about Armitage being asked to cooperate with the investigation. And I suppose I can re-state a theory of mine - if Armitage *had* come forward, that would only make one. And the pressure on the WH (and Novak, I suppose) to come up with a second source may have made Karl's position untenable.

One might argue that the Admin had adopted the now-tested strategy of burying a scandal under grand jury secrecy; Armitage keeping quiet even from the Pres is smart, because the Admin is not runnng a cover-up (just a total Cone of Silence) - what Bush doesn't know can't hurt him.

Great, my new role as Armitage apologist...


The Armitage apologist? It suits you!

As to the evidence you're forgetting? The indictment, Cheney's notes, and the NIE mystery. Much more compelling, in fact, than anything Tweety says.

what Bush doesn't know can't hurt him.

Indeed. Suskind depicts Cheney, having learned precisely this lesson from Iran-Contra, turning it into Grand Theory and Practice as VP.

I've also thought that part of what made Fitzgerald a perfect choice was that he was guaranteed to remain silent and leak-free in what could easily have been a hugely politically damaging case at any point, regardless of legal disposition. Can you imagine what a Democratic Ken Starr, revering the law under the hot lights and leaking like Niagara by night, would have done with all the information on Rove and Cheney Fitzgerald had accumulated by mid-2004?

(1) she was mentioned as an answer to the question "who sent Wilson". Gee, I see that Armitage gave that explanation in his interview. But Libby couldn't?

Not quite, it seems. Armitage says he mentioned the wife in response to Novak's question as to why CIA sent Wilson. After all, anyone could have said, in response to, Who sent Wilson, the VP?, No it was CIA, without mentioning the wife at all. And answering the why CIA question with his wife is much less likely tied to denigration, though it could be.

But there is also the question of how Armitage could be describing the conversation accurately and yet how, later that day, Novak could be saying that Wilson's wife sent him.

BTW, Tom, you'll want to watch the longer video so you can find the blabby line from Armitage that Libby's team will use--something to the effect of "I thought it was well-known." Again, unclear about whether he's referring to Plame's role or what. But I'm sure Libby will use it, so you might as well start to use it, too.

Does Fitzgerald have some sort of statutory power to have compelled Armitage's silence? Because, if it was just a "request" that Armitage decided to "honor," then I think he is a dishonorable person for having put so many people through so much turmoil.

Just for the record, the most complete video of the interview appears to the the one that's posted on the frontpage of cbsnews.com, on the left, with David Martin (or whatever his name is). That interview is not completely uncut, but it's the longest one I've seen. It's really quite a performance by Armitage.

So... There's no there there, eh, Mr. Armitage?

Thanks for all the fresh information and links, Jeff. But boy, I just cannot, and do not, buy Armitage's tale.

In fact, "unforthcoming" is my take on Armitage's interview with David Martin. Odd how differently we read him.
Armitage's answers are too pat. He finishes his answers in response to Martin's questions and stops cold, without adding any further detail or context or miscellaneous information that might add the credibility of small detail to his answers. Martin would then have to come up with another question to fill the awkward silence Armitage left. Talk about the opposite of a "gossip" in action... Armitage knows exactly what he should say, and glibly says the (practiced) minimum needed for public consumption, and no more, making no effort to help us to believe him by giving us more context or explanation. [Oh, but don't forget, it was all "inadvertent" and he never needed a lawyer...]

Armitage also claims that the question from Novak was the last question Novak asked him during their interview. Yet I know that Novak has characterized (more than once) this discussion about Mrs. Wilson as occurring "in the course of" their conversation. Surely they would both recall (but perhaps especially Novak) if the bombshell revelation came from the very last question asked - is that "in the course of" the conversation? [Why would Novak think (out of the blue) that Armitage from the State Dept. would be a person to ask about the CIA's motivation for sending Wilson anyway?]

And not to blame Martin too much, because Armitage wasn't exactly opening up, but man, the lack of detail in the questions is pretty appalling: Why no follow-up on the very interesting tidbit about Ken Duberstein arranging the meeting? Why no question about whether Armitage was concerned he had been perhaps set-up somehow (for which a lawyer would have been very handy indeed)? How about asking what time this interview/meeting took place on July 8th? What was the main subject of this special interview with Novak? Had he really never met the man before? And was Novak taking notes? Etc., etc. You get the sense the reporter figures he's on thin ice here with this guy, and better not push it too far.

Everyone who testified in this investigation was asked by Fitzgerald not to talk publicly about it (just ask the White House Press Secretary(ies) who has been repeating that line for years now). Doesn't mean that they were forbidden, however, from revealing their grand jury witness testimony if they so chose (just ask all the journalists who publicly wrote about their testimony). So don't read too much into that line from Armitage.

Finally of course, if Armitage's tale is correct, by about 4 p.m. on July 8th, Bob Novak had already talked to Armitage, and then had either already consulted another source or else had looked up his handy Who's Who reference, and determined that "Mrs. Wilson" was named "Valerie" for the benefit of that stranger he met on the street.

I'm too cynical, perhaps, but I can't and don't trust Armitage as things stand, after watching this new CBS interview, and reading the New York Times and McClatchy versions of his story.

All I can say is there's no question this is widely going to be treated as the end of the story. I think Tom is basically right on that count. We'll see to what extent it is. It's funny, it would be harder to do that if Armitage had never leaked to Woodward, even though that is a leak that went literally nowhere and has nothing to do, as far as we can tell, with any of the other events that took place. But that leak enables the Times to say that the thing originated with a leak from someone not in the White House and somewhat at odds with it. Had Armitage leaked to Novak and not leaked to Woodward, the first known leaks would have been Libby's leaks to Miller on June 23 and July 8 (their breakfast probably taking place before the end of Novak's interview with Armitage). But as it is, Armitage's leak to Woodward, which died in the air between Woodward and Pincus, serves to bring the story to a tidy conclusion, for now at least.

As to the evidence you're forgetting? The indictment

If you are referring to Libby's indictment, Walton has already said the jury isn't going to see that.

I don't want to beat this if I misunderstood EW's point about the indictment. But I just want to back up my 1:24

From the May 5 Transcripts (p 19):

whether the summary is, in fact, sufficient.
19 MR. WELLS: Your Honor, could you ask Mr. Fitzgerald
20 on this issue are they going to keep in the indictment and
21 argue to the jury --
22 THE COURT: Let me just make one thing clear. The
23 indictment is not going to go to the jury. They are not going
24 to have it.
25 MR. WELLS: Okay. Thank you.

Clever. But let me review for you what we're talking about:

But the bulk of the evidence indicates that people high up in the White House did seek to punish Wilson by unmasking his wife...

"Bulk" of the evidence? We have Matthews quoting Rove as saying the wife is fair game, and we have another quote (quite possibly from the same Rove-Matthews conversation) where the White house was going to screw Wilson.

Chapman, was talking in general about things we know to have taken place. We know Libby started researching Wilson over a month before the leak. We know Libby told Ari that Plame's ID was hush hush, even has he spread the story of her role. We know Dick Cheney took notes on Wilson's op-ed previewing precisely the talking points Novak used. We know that Libby had an instruction to leak something to Judy Miller on the day he spoke with her about Plame--and we know that Libby's claims about what that "thing" was are falling apart. All that is evidence, much of it coming directly from Scooter Libby's own notes, and therefore his own version of the story.

Tom, of course, shifts it to Rove alone. (Though everyone seems to forget that the public spokepeople that ROve effectively directed, Ari and Bartlett, were both cueing reporters to look into who at the CIA sent Wilson). But that's not what Chapman is talking about.

And now you shift it further, to the evidence Fitzgerald will introduce at trial to prove an assertion completely different from the one Chapman raised. The fact that you're choosing to prove or disprove an assertion completely unrelated to the one Chapman makes does not disprove the evidence Chapman alludes to.

You brought up the indictment as evidence. Walton isn't allowing it, most certainly because he finds it flawed (and it is!). Therefore, whatever assertion you are making that it is 'evidence' of something, I am saying it is unreliable and therefore can't be part of the 'bulk' of proof of anything.

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