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September 21, 2006


Wow, Marty Peretz is an ass. That post of his was so lame, I wondered at first if he's being intentionally stupid. Upon further reflection, no, he's being genuinely stupid, and not pretending.

At the end, he says that Fitz put more than one journalist in jail. Not true, technically speaking, since only Miller served time. He also says that the journalists didn't tell Fitz anything he didn't already know. Also not true. See Matt Cooper, one of the journalists threatened with jail.

Peretz wrote that Armitage confessed to violating the IIPA. This is, of course, not at all true either. Armitage confessed to no such thing, and one would hope that Peretz would be able to figure that out. So eager is he to shift any and all blame away from his friend Scooter, he's hystericallyl making up things so that he can blame others.

What's bizarre is that I thought Libby's defenders have been adament that Plame was not protected under IIPA, making Fitz's investigation needless from the get go. Now we have Peretz saying she *was* protected, and even admitting, however relectantly, that she was put in "danger" due to her outing (albeit an outing he blames on Joe Wilson).

And on a side note, he make the ridiculous claim that because civil libertarians are giving money to defend Muslim terrorists, he's proud to give and raise money for his friend Scooter.

I must say, I wonder if Scooter and Co. appreciate this kind of "help" from Marty Peretz, or if they've already kindly told him to shut the hell up.

EW - As you noted, Peretz wrote "dessert" for "desert".

And he is a Harvard professor?

Jim E

Sure looks like Peretz is telling the same tale as Novak, huh? That's one of the reasons I harped on Novak's changing versions of whether Armitage said CPD or not--only if they're going to accuse Armitage of IIPA violation is it safe for Novak to say he was told, by anyone, that she was in CPD.

FWIW, I think this feeds right into Libby's strategy. If Armitage leaked Plame's covert identity, then his "I heard it from the journalists, including Bob Woodward, who was told by Armitage" is much stronger. Otherwise, Dick telling him that Plame was CPD, and Libby telling Ari, is much more damaging.

It makes me so furious I want to write a book to refute their BS.

Just the usual subjects being clannish. Peretz would join the David Duke Defense Fund if Duke decreed the waters of the litani should be redirected to making peach trees bloom in the West Bank.

What an awful piece of dissembling tripe Peretz foisted on the world. I think I need to take a bit extra of my blood pressure medicine this morning. The man must be immune to his unintentional irony. Libby is "honest" (I guess he honestly lied to the FBI and the grand jury). Joe Wilson is a nobody. Wilson endangered his wife, but she wasn't really in danger. My favorite part of the article is that it's a column called "The Spine". The arguments that Peretz is making are all of the type that are only used by spineless apologists.

"Peretz wrote "dessert" for "desert". And he is a Harvard professor?"

So is Alan "torture warrant" Dershowitz.

But as Jim Lehrer might observe, Peretz bought this podium too.


I suppose it helps Libby insofar as he can keep saying he heard it from journalists. But I don't see how emphasizing Plame's CPD work and IIPA status is something Libby's team would want to acknowledge, much less emphasize. Unless this is their PR version of preemption to soften possible disclosures at trial, I don't see why they would want to muzzle the alternate, if somewhat irrelevant Toesing line of attack--that Plame wasn't covered by IIPA in the first place, therefore the charges ought to be dismissed or Libby pardoned.

So I tend to think Peretz is a bit of loose cannon in that blog post. But I do see the desperate logic in Libby being able to say he heard all of this, including the CPD stuff, from Woodward. Of course, Woodward's already said that he didn't recall even bringing Plame up with Libby, so it would seem even less likely that Woodward was spouting off all this stuff, unsolicited, in Libby's direction.

But I suppose Libby's lawyers might be able to hang their hat on Woodward's testimony if he says something along the lines of: "I don't recall that happening, but I suppose it's possible." (Maybe their memory expert would be there to explain Woodward's forgetfulness, not Libby's!) Woodward wouldn't be the first of Libby's "journalist" friends who get real confused under oath about who said what, and when they said it. You know, the basic skills supposedly required of the folks working on high school newspapers.

No sign of Marc Rich on the Libby Defense Fund's web page. How can this be? Rich won his pardon from Clinton through the efforts of Libby, after all--causing Clinton no end of trouble in the process.

Jim E

I think there are indications that's what LIbby has planned. I'm looking at some of the most recent filings, will let you know.

Btw, Walton ruled that the classified information Libby wants can be admitted at the trial as evidence. Government still has the ability to redact it. And I presume Walton will only admit it if it fits his own narrow interpretation of what the case is about (that is, he's not going to let Libby rehash the war, which will leave a lot inadmissable). But it makes it more likely the greymail strategy will work.

What do I know, but Walton's decision strikes me as the right one. Basically, the ordinary rules of evidence apply even to classified information, largely to ensure a fair trial for the defendant. The government can always dismiss the case to protect the classified information. Obviously, it's an opening for the Bush administration and the Libby defense to act all scoundrelly. But the benefits go well beyond this case, at least potentially. Now if only we could get the judiciary to stop being so deferential to the Bush administration when it invokes the state secrets privilege as the defendant or friend of the defendants to derail legitimate legal actions against them.

What a frothy neocon dessert confection Peretz offers up for the gullible. EW, your book ought to be a wowser, especially given these howlers the neocons keep tossing your way.

So A Former Hill Staffer, who is also a 'smart' guy and a patriot, is being treated badly by a federal prosecutor? This is the same Former Hill Staffer who relied on Addington to give him legal advice? Who wouldn't even take 'a different kind of leak' without checking with The Dick?

Armitage is certainly serving the neocon interests by being 'the first leaker', so that Libby might have 'heard about Plame from reporters': the Plame Leak was not a crime, so therefore Patrick Fitzgerald is an 'out of control' prosecutor. The neocons are using Armitage as their bulwark in the Plame Case, but what does Armitage gain by playing into it?

It's interesting to note that Marty fails to mention Wilson's ambassadorial duties during Gulf I; clearly, Wilson is to be recast as a pathetic dead-ender and failure. And no mention of Ms Plame's duties involving WMD, Iran, or Iraq? And those obscure Pacific islands that Marty mentions as Wilson's postings... they're not located anywhere near nuclear testing sites, are they? I could probably check a map, but perhaps Marty ought to have posed the question himself before he smeared Wilson.

Evidently, Marty P thinks that it serves his interests to write revisionist codswoddle, rather than truth and honesty. I assume the codswoddle will only become weirder as they get more desperate coming up on both Nov. elections, and the January Libby trial. I expect to see Libby ensconced in whipped up latherings of neocon sophistry, presented with just the right touch of sentimental angst, from now through next spring.

These criminals try my patience.

Does anybody have a link to the latest filings? I'm especially interested in the one about the admission of classified evidence. If we ever do get to a prosecution of George W. Bush for authorizing war crimes, the prosecution will need to declassify those secret orders to the CIA.

Sembler, Libby, Peretz: Zionist first. Every other consideration is second.

Peretz's article is useful in helping us reconstruct the rightwing meme. Rove wants Armitage not only to be the "primary" source for Novak, but also wants to imply that Armitage's leaking blew back to Rove, too.

When David Broder wrote (erroneously) that an article in Salon by Sidney Blumenthal "was occasioned by the disclosure of a memo from Time magazine's Matt Cooper, saying that Rove had confirmed to him the identity of Valerie Plame," Broder may well have been working off the same list of talking points Peretz appears to be using. Rove wants to wiggle out under the "Armitage as primary leaker" excuse, too. To that end, he has enlisted allies like Broder and Peretz who are either willing to misreport the facts, who are too stupid to know the difference, or who really don't think there's any problem telling a lie (in print or under oath) if they think it's for the greater good. And who knows? Maybe Rove has something on Peretz, too...

(Memo to Broder and Peretz: Matt Cooper spoke to Rove on July 11th, 2003, hearing from him about Mrs. Wilson and her CIA work in WMD. For Matt Cooper, Rove was the first, initial, primary source, and Libby the confirming source. Rove told Cooper about Mrs. Wilson three days before Novak's column appeared. Rove even added that things would be declassified soon, and that he had probably said too much. Before Rove gave him a waiver to testify, Cooper was hours away from going to prison, having appealed his case to the Supreme Court.)

and let's not forget Sembler's long standing (swept under the rug) support of horrific child abuse! Go Mel!


I emailed the filings to your listed email.


I agree--I don't have much complaint with the ruling. And as I suggested, Walton still says he will check for relevancy first, which will no doubt rule out a lot of material.

I think Judge Walton's ruling today slightly increases Libby's opening for greymail, but greatly reduces the odds of a mistrial. All in all it's a good thing.




That is an important point. I'm not sure why, after all we've seen, that it continues to amaze me that there are so many people, like Peretz, who are willing to lie, dissemble, and distort on behalf of a cabal that would feed them to the lions in a heartbeat if it furthered the cabal's goals. What do these 'useful idiots' (a term I once loathed, but I can't come up with a better one here) hope to gain?

Someone better brew up a fresh pictcher of Hemlock, and "get Aunt Vera's good cups" out and put them on the silver serving tray.

I foresee a lot of disappointment.

For what it's worth, I just think that Broder has not followed the case that closely, and is not a very thoughtful person (if you want evidence, look at his column today, it's stunning); I don't think he's working off of talking points.

I will say this, in all the nonsense spouted since the confirmation that Armitage was Novak's first senior administration official, the thing I find most despicable are the attacks on Fitzgerald. Unlike many people at, oh, say, FDL, I have never been a Fitzgerald worshipper, never saw him as a savior, and in fact I think there are grounds for criticizing him. But to call what he's done a cynical onslaught, as Peretz does - to say nothing of the incredibly nasty crap being slung at him now by many on the right, with sincerity and also as a cynical effort to delegitimize his entire investigation in order to make the prosecution of Libby like illegitimate - is just despicable. I do disagree with some of the judgments he has made - I think he's been too deferential toward the Bush administration, and while I think he exercised considerable good judgment with regard to journalists within the confines of the case itself, I have a feeling he wasn't thinking enough about the effects that his judgments would have when they formed precedents for other prosecutors with less good judgment, and less respect for the first amendment and the important role of journalists in politics. But he is utterly admirable in recognizing the strictly limited task that is his and within those confines in recognizing and emphasizing the role that his own judgment plays. It is admirable in part because it opens up a real possibility of honest disagreement. Here I would contrast Fitzgerald with what is for me the most memorable moment of the whole Lewinsky mess, Ken Starr hiding behind the law when he announced, "I revere the law," as though his own judgment had nothing to do with it, it was all the law and its grand abstract principles acting. Look at the way, at his press conference, Fitzgerald explained his judgment about the Espionage Act. Now, again, I think I disagree with his position on it, but at least we could have an honest disagreement. (Maybe I don't, when you consider the fact that he did not prosecute under the Espionage Act - as compared, say, with those who are going after the two AIPAC guys for Espionage Act violations, which strikes me as a terribly bad thing to do in itself and as an opening to even more terribly bad things.) He puts himself clearly on the line in making clear his own judgments. And I have to say, I think he has for the most part done a superb job under almost impossibly difficult conditions.

Except for that decision not to indict Rove. ;)

Oops. As I was submitting my comment my eye caught "pictcher" rather than pitcher. I wouldn't want anyone to think I was another dumb professor type. It was just my dumb typing skills. AND NO SPELL CHECKER EITHER!!

Does anyone here live in DC? Did anyone else see Jason Leopold yesterday? I saw Leopold yesterday, who I believe lives in Los Angeles, coming out of Patton Boggs with another man who looked like a lawyer or a banker (the conservative attire... I'm stereotyping) law firm with a pretty thick envelope and he was smiling. Anyways, I followed him and last I left him he went into the district courthouse.

What in the world is going on? Is something happening? Is Leopold a witness in this case?

Jeff wrote: "I will say this, in all the nonsense spouted since the confirmation that Armitage was Novak's first senior administration official, the thing I find most despicable are the attacks on Fitzgerald."

Those attacks, of course, didn't just start with the Armitage revelation. The Armitage revelation merely allowed the attacks to resurface, and with more volume. If the Libby judge, once the trial starts, ever starts to rule against the defendent, he, too, will be a brainwashed Libby-hater who doesn't understand that Joe Wilson is actually the devil-incarnate.

Didn't Saint Starr have his own PR flack? Babbington, or some such? (And didn't he get caught doing illegal leaks?) Is Fitz really not going to do any pushback aside from court filings? The attacks against Fitz are so numerous and one-sided, and so inaccurate (see Weekly Standard, Marty Peretz, the Corner) that at some point it has to effect the jury pool, or at least the popular impression that justice is, or isn't, being done. For all the talk about respecting the rule of law, unanswered smears against a prosecutor in a specific case can undermine confidence in the entire system. (Yeah, that may be a tad hyperbolic on my part, but you get the point.)

As far as Fitz goes, if it weren't for the fact that he seems to have genuinely investigated the crap out of this case (and for the fact that he climbed all the way to the top of Illinois politics to nab the governor), I don't know if I'd otherwise be that thrilled with him. Libby's lies are so damn obvious that Fitz basically *had* to indict him. With regards to the others -- Rove, Cheney, and even Armitage -- Fitz seems a little gun-shy to me and too worried about his win-loss percentage. But again, I know his track record, so its hard for me to really accuse him of pulling his punches.

My chief complaint with Fitz is that I think his agreements with journalists gave his investigation blind spots, blind spots that may have got him in trouble (Cooper, Armitage, July 2, etc).

But then, I realize he's just beginning. I don't know that this will proceed beyond Libby. But, even though I know I've got a better sense of where he's going than 95% of the people following this case, I realize there may be a whole lot of information he hasn't revealed. So I can't really judge his performance here.

check out this story on the case from msnbc


Jeff, I fall into the category of Americans who really don't understand the nuances of why an indictment would be filed one way, as opposed to another. For me, this whole Plame investigation on the blogs has been a personal education about important aspects of the US criminal justice system.

I didn't follow O.J. , nor did I really follow the Lewinsky scandal (which struck me as a huge setup of Clinton from the get-go). I sense a lot of public engagement with the Plame investigation, in part because the implications are so sinister. However, after Ken Starr's antics (which were impossible to escape, even for those of us not engaged in daily news), it's refreshing to see that not every prosecutor is an egotistical showhorse.

I happen to agree that Broder is probably not working off talking points; I suspect that he's clueless and topics like Plame are really not his forte. I think his best writing focuses on people who actually make government function - governors and mayors. He's out of his depth with Plame; it's too intricate and convoluted.

However, that AP reporter certainly did a solid, non-partisan job putting some important facts into one small article. That's what journalism should be -- and I note with great interest that AP article did not use a single unnamed source -- there is not a a single 'administration official, 'political consultant', nor 'lawyer involved in the investigation' in that AP article. Hat's off to AP; no doubt it will piss off Beltway types who prefer to leak anonymously.

To underscore my last point, I've taken the liberty of copying that AP article and then deleting all text not relevant to the specific identities of people quoted in the article, and look at this:

Sembler said...
Sembler…said ...
...said Sembler
Sembler said ...
Sembler said ...
...said Lamont spokeswoman Liz Dupont-Diehl
said Lieberman spokeswoman Tammy Sun.
Bruce Bialosky, a longtime Republican fundraiser in California, said ...
...Bialosky said.

**Every single comment** in that AP article is attributed to someone who is identified, BY NAME. Wow, what a difference it makes -- and the reporter didn't let himself be used as a political tool ;-)

(I don't have time today to contrast this AP example with samples of Judy Miller or Robert Novak's writing. I'd expect to read mostly unnamed sources; probably a very high percentage of attributions in Miller and Novak's writings are to 'former Hill staffers' and 'Iraqi exiles'. However, no time today to test this hypothesis.)

There's my modest contribution of textual analysis on the Plame investigation for today.

Jeff - I agree with most of what you said, but disagree that Fitzgerald didn't think about the effects of his treatment of the journalists as precedent. I think he did and that is why he specifically referenced the situation being different from a whistleblower situation. IMO, while he thought about it, he didn't have the same level of concern - whereas it seems when he thought through the Espionage Act possiblitites he had a much higher level of concern there (as we can see now from the AIPAC rulings, that was well placed) and that's one reason he didn't go there.

I've got mixed feelings but I think that he pulled a rabbit out of a hat with the NIE trackback to President Bush.

EW - "Btw, Walton ruled that the classified information Libby wants can be admitted at the trial as evidence." There's a little nuance on that. What he has actually ruled is that they are going to look at the classified evidence FIRST to see if it would be Relevant to Libby's defense, SECOND to see if the relevant material can be offered at trial without objection by Gov, then THIRD he will rule on what happens.

Gov/Spec Pros wanted to first determine everything that could NOT be used, then limit the discussion of relevancy to what was left. That was a losing argument (well,at least until we finish GITMO-izing our domestic judiciary)

So if Libby can sell Judge Walton on certain classified info as being relevant to his defense, the ball bounces back to Gov. Here, the Special Prosecutor could be in a strange situation - IMO, he's tried to hold a door open in earlier filings that he and "Gov" (here that will be CIA, OVP, WH, etc.) are not necessarily "aligned" parties, but even so, he will be swimming up Niagara to try to fight against a CIA or WH claim that it can't allow confidential info to be declassified for the trial.

While that makes greymail more likely, Libby has to first convince Walton of relevancy.


Mel Sembler, our guy in Italy during the fiascos, doing fundraising for Lieberman, eh?


Thanks for the clarity there. I'm back in Iraq with Judy Miller, so everything is nuts.

I frankly put a lot of faith in Walton's narrow definition of relevancy, so I'm not too put out by this ruling. Particularly since Fitz said everything, so far, has been provided without complaint.

WRT the journalists, I'd love to know what you guys think IS reasonable. Frankly, the notion that a journalist should have to work with the GJ doesn't give me too much worry, since that'd be secret unless a crime was likely to have been committed. But I look at what happened to Wen Ho Lee, and I believe there needs to be a way to trace these destructive leak camapaigns back to the people who propagate them. They're utterly desctructive of people's lives, and they hurt our national security.

ew: do you have a day job? Just curious.

Must read from MSNBC
The Armitage effect
Star prosecutor Fitzgerald faces tough battle in CIA leak probe
By Joel Seidman
NBC News

Updated: 5:53 p.m. ET Sept. 20, 2006

WASHINGTON - It may be four months away, but already there are signs that the first trial to emerge from the three-year, $1.5 million, CIA/Leak probe may be an uphill battle for Patrick Fitzgerald, a meticulous prosecutor known for his stellar winning record.

Memory and alleged "misremembering," may prove pivotal elements in the upcoming trial of Vice President Dick Cheney's former top aide, I Lewis "Scooter" Libby, according to legal experts examination of probable defense strategies.

The possible testimony of the State Department's former number two official, and that of the first journalist to print the name Valerie Plame Wilson, could potentially sway a jury that there is reasonable doubt to the perjury charges against Libby. He is charged with five counts of lying to the FBI and a federal grand jury about how he learned about Plame and when he subsequently told three reporters about her.

norman r. -

If you will read the comment threads in the emptywheel posts here going back 4-8 posts (especially the higher-comment-count threads) you will get a few clues about investigative news Jason Leopold was said to be about to break last week/this week.

Your information sounds so coincidental and hard to believe without verification - as with Novak's stranger on the street encounter - that perhaps you could fill in a few more details, to address skepticism of your account. For example - what time of the day was this when you spotted Leopold, and is that a part of DC you commonly frequent? Have you ever noticed other key players in this saga in the vicinity of the Patton Boggs law building? Etc., etc. But good initiative on your part - I wish a few more of the key characters in this investigation had been followed on the streets of D.C. to their destinations by 'citizen journalists'... We might have learned a great deal that way.

If your story is on the up and up, it sounds like Leopold (with perhaps a consulting lawyer) is attempting to do some serious vetting, verifying, and doublechecking, which is very good to hear. [I've been reading All The President's Men - Bernstein and Woodward weren't competing with the prosecutors so much then because the prosecutors/DOJ had clearly dropped the ball at that stage of Watergate -- but the Washington Post editors really had to work at getting copious verification and backstory details down before printing incriminating information about higher-ups in the Nixon administration. And they knew (especially when they blew the reporting on the Sloan grand jury details about Haldeman) that they had to really think like lawyers and move slowly from the outside in, as they progressed with their investigative reporting.] In this case, of course, reporters and editors are competing with a competent, honest, and wide-ranging federal investigation, so I hope Leopold, and anyone else who gets hot documents in the case, will honor that extra burden of considering the impact of their reporting on the government's prosecution of the guilty.

Seeing in today's news that Armitage was tasked by the WH with the rather important role of telling the Paks that we'd send them to the stone age if they didn't cooperate after 911... I've decided ol' Rich deserves another look by Mr. Fitz re: his late career in leaking.

Welcome to the Armitage Doubters' Club, kim! I think our ranks will continue to grow.

had no idea. I saw Leopold, at least it looked just like leopold, I mean exactly like him, at 2:20 p.m. he was wearing glasses, jeans and a sports jacket and the person he was with was balding and tall. About 5"11 maybe 6 feet and was wearing a suit but no tie. Leopold was carrying what appeared to be a bulking file, you know those accordion type folders. He was driving a toyota corrola, with Virginia plates. When he went into the courthouse he took a notepad and put it into his back pocket and, I assume, took papers out of the folder. That's what I saw

to the commenter reading All the Pres. Men.

You may notice that even Woodward and Bernstein got stories wrong on Watergate in their early coverage. Something to keep in mind. they were young, hungry and had a few f-ups. but they perservered

EW - I agree with you on Walton having taken a pretty by the book approach on relevancy and this is more a pro-forma exchange than anything else.

IMO, if a journalist has direct knowledge of a crime of commission they shouldn't necessarily get a bye and I don't have any problem with Fitzgerald's approach legally on that - practically and pragmatically, it bothered me as opening a door that I'd rather see stay closed. His approach worked particularly well given that he was also taking a very narrow view on the Espionage Act and so he wasn't opening the same door that has now just been blown open in the AIPAC case.

So it was considered and measured, but coupled now with the AIPAC rulings, it makes for a more and more disturbing setting.

Journalists operating in a "whistleblowing" function, IMO, should get tremendous leeway and protection, even though whistleblowing may involve dispensing classified info.

Still, you have a good point on Wen Ho Lee and this is the underlying reality of the law - there are very seldom bright line rules that do not, at some point, hurt someone they should not. OTOH, an ad hoc approach subject to whim of the bench or prosecutorial branch is the worst thing for a free society imo.

I can only say that the damages paid in his lawsuit are in their own way a check on the reporters' and their approach. It's a pretty broad and complex topic and is deserving of a much more in depth treatment, but maybe another time/place?

Good luck with the book.


After 2:20, did you go home, to where you're posting from? Because your IP address shows you as not in DC to see Leopold do shit.

Thanks, norman. Very perceptive of you (sounds like you were driving and not on foot?). That's some very interesting information about the doings of Jason Leopold in D.C. on September 20, when added to the recent rumors about his discoveries and activities there of late, far from home.

Excuse me? Why do you say this? I was in Washington for two days with my client! We had a court appearance. This is why I said in my first comment "Does anybody live in DC."

Hostility is misdirected sir.


I guess my problem with teh AIPAC charges is that I sincerely believe Prosecutors believe they're on the track of Mr X, the Israeli spy they've been looking for for number of years. The means by which Mr X's presumed accomplices traded information was under the guise of a public affairs/lobbying campaign. But that effectively meant they were taking highly classified information and laundering it so as to persuade the US to do things against its interest.

I think they ran up against the criminals' methods (as Fitz did with Judy and the IIPA leak), and had no way of pursuing it. I don't know what the answer is (I recognize that the AIPAC case is really scary precedent). But I am wondering how we address these issues.

In my line of work we do not sit at computers all day. There is a thing known as traveling. I saw what I saw and I believe that the person I saw was Jason Leopold.

Forgive me if that hostility is misdirected, norman, but you see we get so many first time posters here, posting on Leopold, when frankly, most of the regular posters have nothing but disgust for mr. sockpuppet, that we tend to distrust anyone who comes in here, as a first time poster, blathering about Leopold news.

Normally, we appreciate commenters participating in the conversation before bringing in Leopold crap.

Or to put it differently--why would you, who has never posted here, think of coming HERE to share this news? Perhaps you might get to know your audience before you post such things.

Well, it's clear that you have no respect for your readers--that is the individuals who visit but do not comment. Excuse me for ruffling your feathers. But since you offered an area for readers to comment and since I felt I had something to offer I decided to speak. However, your paranoia is apparent in your tone and I clearly have erred in thinking that I can engage in mature dialogue.

norman - It makes sense that you were in D.C. yesterday, and are not today, and while you were there happened to spot Leopold in passing, as he was heading in the same direction you were. Thanks for following up to help remove some of the questions (and FYI 'emptywheel' here is a she - she's writing a book about the Plame investigation, and has put her skepticism to very good use in the analysis of this saga to date).

I appreciate you taking the time to fill us in; don't take the skepticism personally - there's an ugly history between this blog and Leopold because of his actions which you should be alerted to (and I know I wouldn't recognize Leopold if I saw him walking down the street, so I can certainly understand someone doubting that at first glance).

I am fully aware of this ugly history. Still, I decided to speak up because I believed that the petty, juvenile, immature behavior on the part of Mr. Leopold and the Emptywheel would be brushed aside if a reporter may have something important to offer.

I am a novice at blog etiquette. However I do read blogs and enjoy it.

EW, curious about whether Judy Miller's writing would show a significantly different pattern of attribution than the AP article, I decided to do one 'test sample' of Miller's writing from the period in 2003 preceding the Plame leaks. I deleted all text except the subject/verb pairs involved in attribution. Here's what I found in my random sample:

Attribution to an **unnamed** source = 24
Attribution to a named source = 2

Of the unnamed sources, the vast majority are from the Bush/Cheney administration. Here's the breakdown from my once-over analysis of Miller's published article:

'an [administration] official' or 'officials' = 18
(American) military official, or officer = 4
(An American) White Paper = 2
(American) 'experts' = 2
American intelligence officers (or analysts) = 2
An Iraqi scientist = 1
Iraq (in a formal statement) = 1
Named sources = 2 (David R. Franz, a senior scientist... William C. Patrick III, a senior official ...program decades ago. )
Here's the selection, with attribution s/v pairs to 'unnamed sources' bolded, and named sources in itallics:

AFTEREFFECTS: GERM WEAPONS; U.S. Analysts Link Iraq Labs To Germ Arms

May 21, 2003,
Late Edition - Final, Section A, Page 1, Column 5, 1401 words

United States intelligence agencies have concluded that two mysterious trailers found in Iraq were mobile units to produce germs for weapons, but they have found neither biological agents nor evidence that the equipment was used to make such arms, according to senior administration officials.

The officials said…
… said one senior official who examined the evidence in detail.
Officials in Iraq and Washington emphasized in interviews…
a senior administration official said.
The administration has come under growing political pressure in recent weeks to show clear evidence to back those claims. Officials said …Yesterday in Baghdad a military official said …
an official said yesterday.
The official said
The paper called … The paper rejected theories …
Repeatedly pressed to discuss the basis for these conclusions, administration officials … and interviews with technical experts and other analysts…
… three experts from a Pentagon chemical and biological intelligence support team… members said.
In interviews, one of these experts said
Within the past 10 days, officials said…
But American intelligence analysts said…
The Iraqi scientists asserted…. But American officials said...
Officials said... They said… They said… American military officers in Iraq said…
One senior administration observed… …he said.
… the official said.

Late last year, Iraq stated in its formal declaration to the United Nations…
American intelligence officials said … The Iraqi, a chemical engineer, said…
said David R. Franz, a senior scientist and former head of the Army defensive biological lab at Fort Detrick, Md.
said William C. Patrick III, a senior official in the United States biological warfare program decades ago.

Although this was a quick-and-dirty preliminary analysis, these numbers underscore the fact that NONE of the Bush/Cheney administration officials are taking any responsibility for their words. This is not whistleblowing; rather, it is a sterling example of massive butt-covering, aided and abetted by J. Miller and the NYT. I have no idea whether my little sample analysis is useful for your book project, but it sure raised my eyebrows.

You wrote: "But I look at what happened to Wen Ho Lee, and I believe there needs to be a way to trace these destructive leak camapaigns back to the people who propagate them. They're utterly desctructive of people's lives, and they hurt our national security. I think my little exercise helps quantify the scope of the problem that you raise.

I don't understand the specific issues you reference vai Wen Ho Lee, but it's quite clear from my little sample exercise that "senior administration officials" are NOT held accountable. And for all I know, Miller is quoting the same one or two 'senior officials' and passing off one person's views as some kind of consensus. The issue of whistleblowing is complex, but the use of anonymous sources has gotten totally out of hand. Miller's 'senior administration officials' are hardly 'whistleblowers'; they are deliberately leaking to AVOID responsibility. So leaking Plame must have seemed like no big deal; it was their usual m.o.

Reporters who use anonymous sources should have a different level of legal scrutiny than those who insist on publishing the names and descriptions of their sources. I've followed the Plame investigation for months now, but I still find the numbers in my little preliminary analysis shocking and disgusting.

Here's one more 'hurrah!' to the AP for that article that actually quotes sources by name.

I want to testify openly and without legal counsel that I didn't see Mr Leopold, and have never seen him, but then since I don't know what he looks like, perhaps I saw him and didn't know it. But there I am not positive and will think more on it and get back to you if my memory improves or is jogged by more information.

A question though Your Honor. Who is Mr Leopold.

-- just an attempt at humor, though completely honest!


Yes, that's pretty normal for her propaganda. She has a huge number of SAOs. But she tends to throw one or two named quotes in, as if they anchor her quote in reality. Though, FWIW, I think this is a case where they're relying on just a few sources, one or two who were at the WH briefing, and a few more involved in BW.

EW, thanks for that. It was aware of Judy's SAOs in some intuitive, less-than-clear fashion; however, I'd have put an upper limit on her SAOs at 50%. This article registers around 90% for SAOs.

Three possibly related points: earlier, you mention a Mr. X. The AIPAC investigation is fairly off my radar screen, so I apologize for commenting with less-than-fully-informed views. Nevertheless, if I extrapolate the idea of a spy who operates in a lobbying environment (in order to sanitize intelligence), then add Judy's SAO method of operating plays, she plays right into Mr. X's hands chillingly. Unless she's an accomplice, in which she's playing along (rather than into).

Also, I'm toddling my way through John Dean's "Conservatives W/Out Conscience" and finding it quite enlightening. The book is well worth my time. Dean points out the critical role of individuals who seek to dominate others, require submission, and have a very rigid world-view (almost always conservative). This type of individual would be ideally suited to a communications environment in which they never had to be held accountable -- and if someone tried to make them accountable, they'd seek to destroy that person(s). Which is precisely what we're watching play out; neocons wailing about their innocence *while also* smearing Fitz.

Finally, the notion that Libby is going to use the 'memory failure' argument at his trial might provide some entertainment -- how that skews with asking to be attributed as 'a former Hill staffer", or with Cheney's notes on Wilson's OpEd, ought to be a thoroughly revolting spectacle. (But I still don't get how Armitage benefits from protecting Rove or Libby or Cheney (or Bush).


IMO, Armitage's behavior is--and was--completely separate from Libby's and Rove's (unless Libby deliberately sent people to Armitage as a way to launder the leak, in which case Armitage's position is antagonistic to Libby's). If Armitage were really the designated fall guy, as some now claim, he would have fallen officially in October 2003, saving everyone the trouble of perjury indictments. Therefore, I believe strongly that Rove and Libby knew they were fundamentally guilty of something, acted like it, and only much later realized they could have used Armitage's involvement to better effect.

Just thinking out loud here, a little. Didn't Armitage try to take the fall, more or less, in October, 2003? In other words, they came up with an (incompetent) fall guy cover story - except that it seems to have worked like a charm at least for Armitage himself... But it didn't work the way it was planned for the others (if it was planned to cover for them too) because the others had been in it too deeply, thought their communications with journalists would never be revealed by the journalists, and the FBI investigators & DOJ were savvy enough not to quickly fall for Armitage's sob story upfront, and so kept asking questions of others, to see if their stories squared with Armitage's "confession"? Which eventually resulted in the perjury and obstruction seen from Libby/Rove, with the help of Novak, and today's still-ongoing investigation.

But we may not know enough yet to really say for sure, on this point as on so many others.

I guess my problem with teh AIPAC charges is that I sincerely believe Prosecutors believe they're on the track of Mr X, the Israeli spy they've been looking for for number of years. The means by which Mr X's presumed accomplices traded information was under the guise of a public affairs/lobbying campaign. But that effectively meant they were taking highly classified information and laundering it so as to persuade the US to do things against its interest.

I think they ran up against the criminals' methods (as Fitz did with Judy and the IIPA leak), and had no way of pursuing it. I don't know what the answer is (I recognize that the AIPAC case is really scary precedent). But I am wondering how we address these issues.


I agree with your take, but that is what I meant about so many trade offs in the law. It won't break my heart at all to see AIPAC lobbyists who were given, then disseminated, classified info - especially info juiced to get us into another war - go down for the count.

However, the way that has been done in the court's rulings is to do something that has never been done under the espionage act before, and say that if you are the one who is GIVEN classified info and then you let anyone have it, you are a criminal and go to jail. Well, this is the exact situation for a reporter in a whistleblower case and indeed, the court specifically refers to the Pentagon Papers case and says under his Espionage Act approach, the reporters and papers who published the Pentagon Papers would go to jail.

That's the door opened and its the one that Fitzgerald seemed very hesitant to open. Bc of our strong (once upon a time at least) freedom of the press traditions, we have never had a state secrets type of criminal legislation - or at least, we thought we didn't, until this new interpretation of the Espionage Act. Gonzales has been itching to go after Dana Priest et al and now, with the AIPAC rulings, he's got readymade platform.

Of course everyone want the AIPAC guys to get their due, but is it worth the cost? This is the kind of thing that happens frequently enough to have given rise to the old saying that hard cases make bad law. I think the FBI did an incredible job on this case and yet still - I'm ready for them to walk if the cost is that we have some of the few unintimidated reporters left treated as criminals.

DOJ is fighting the legislation that is batting around to keep reporters safe, but with so many other erosions, I am heartsick.

But it is a complicated situation and you are right that we need a well thought through response. The problem is that instead we "go into litigation with the precedents and laws we have, not the ones we'd like to have" unless, of course, you are GWB and allowed to rewrite criminal history to give yourself a bye.

pow wow

Mostly we need to look at Rove, not Libby, because Rove presumably had more information (having spoken to Novak), and was the one person who could be "saved" by an Armitage fall.

The only way for that to work (and to hide Rove's involvement with Cooper, for example) is if Armitage immediately took responsibility for the whole leak. But he didn't. Novak didn't even blame it all on him (not blaming the name on him).

Besides, reporting has, over and over, suggested that Armitage would be the one key witness against ROve (if he hadn't fucked it all up by neglecting to mention Woodward). That says, along the way, Armtiage didn't follow the line he would have had to do be an effective fall guy for ROve.


Yes, I agree with your point about bad laws.

But my point is just that this is becoming a systemic shield for people doing real damage to our national security. Wen Ho Lee was probably outed to hide other real proliferation; AIPAC wants to totally drive the debate in the US to make Americans believe we want/need to go after Iran; Libby and Rove believed they could hide behind reporters while outing a political opponent. And those are the big cases.

We've got to find a way to make deliberate leaks like this costly for the perpetrators. It's not espionage, I agree. But there ought to be a crime along the lines of conspiracy to abuse the First Amendment, in which bad faith abuse of our press is prosecuted.

I don't know what the answer is. But until we close off this means for criminals to perpetrate large scale fraud, our country will be vulnerable to the lies of a few demogogues hiding behind the remains of the Free Press.

The First Amendent does allow us to lie with legal impunity except under oath or an "unspoken but codified by law" oath like when talking to an FBI agent.

A conspiracy has to relate to breaking the law, and misinfomation is not breaking the law except for those specific instances like shouting "fire" in a movie theater, or "bomb" on an airplane.

Now if you make some agreement to not speak about something like when you are on a Grand Jury, or a legal authority like a Judge issues a Gag Order, then you are liable for breaking that requirement.

It becomes so complicated because there are so many variances of it.

A futher analysis.

If cops couldn't lie to "perps" then crime would rise. If people in Government couldn't tell confidential(not speaking of secrets here) information to newspeople then newspapers would be a lot smaller, and instead of the LA Times having a thousand people in its newsroom, it would only have a couple of hundred.

And finally what would bloggers do?

Be careful what you wish for!

Libby Filing


Vice President Dick Cheney's former chief of staff plans to take the stand at his upcoming trial to tell jurors that he never lied to investigators in the CIA leak case, defense attorneys said Friday.


Prosecutors say Libby is trying to torpedo the criminal case by demanding the use of classified information that is too sensitive to be released at trial. It's a tactic known as "graymail" and the goal is to get a case dismissed.
AP 9/22/06

Ooh, a PowerPoint presentation! Why doesn't Fitzgerald fold up his tent and go home now!

Seriously, though, where is the AP getting this:

Prosecutors say Libby is trying to torpedo the criminal case by demanding the use of classified information that is too sensitive to be released at trial. It's a tactic known as "graymail" and the goal is to get a case dismissed.

And this:

Prosecutors oppose the use of many documents, saying sensitive government secrets will get out.

Maybe that latter one is just reflective of the previous government effort that was knocked down by Walton's opinion yesterday. But the greymail thing is not in relation to this stuff; it was dealt with earlier. Maybe that's all they're talking about.

Maguire seems to have pulled out the most interesting parts. I'd just add it looks to me like there's a little threat in there directed at Fitzgerald with regard to his cross-examination of Libby, that it might open up their effort to use lots and lots of classified information.

That will be enormously interesting, to see Libby testify and particularly be cross-examined. I bet that news is not welcome chez Rove.

The first category of documents, those that Mr Libby created or reviewed, includes reports generated by the CIA realating to Niger and Mr. Wilson's trip there. Many of these documents were faxed to Mr. Libby's attention in the OVP on June 9, 2003, as alledged in the indictment. Mr. Libby testified that he frequently referred back to these reports if he "was going to talk to a reporter...about the Wilson trip." Libby Grand Jury TR 25, Mar. 25, 2004. This category of documents also includes OVP memoranda analyzing the CIA reports and drafts of a public statement by Director of Central Intellegence George Tenet regarding the "sixteen words" controversy. Finally, the category contains certain of Mr. Libby's notes reflecting his conversations with other government officials about how to respond to Mr. Wilson's criticism.

The second category, documents created or reviewed by other witnesses, includes notes and emails by or to CIA employees including government witnesses Robert Grenier and Craig Schmall, a memorandum prepared by the State Department's Bureau of Intellegence and Research that was reviewed by government witness Marc Grossman and (we believe Ari Fleischer), notes of former CIA spokesperson Bill Harlow, notes of former Deputy National Security Advisor Stephen Hadley, and certain other documents.
Libby Filing 9/22/06

I find a couple of things interesting here. This section "if he "was going to talk to a reporter...about the Wilson trip." Libby Grand Jury TR 25, Mar. 25, 2004" is clearly leaving something out from Libby's exact testimony. The 3 dots are as they appear in the PDF.

Hadley's notes are in play in the category "documents created or reviewed by other witnesses"

The drafts of Tenet's statement are in the category of documents that "Mr Libby created or reviewed".

2 additional points

1 These lawyers need to write in small paragraphs
2 typepad is annoying

More tomorrow

Those are good points, polly. I wouldn't be surprised if the ellipses replace something like either "or another government official," or "about the Niger uranium story."

This is further evidence that Libby was keeping an eye on Tenet's statement. Tenet's line, as I recall, was that he only showed it to Hadley, and pretty late in the week. One possibility is that Hadley shared each draft he had with Libby. But another is that there's a little misleading on Tenet's part, as he might be specifically referring to the draft that CIA started drafting on its own later in the week and casuistically distinguishing that one from the draft that was being worked up in the White House by Libby-Rove-Hadley earlier in the week. Or something like that.

First Category - documents Mr Libby created or reviewed

1. CIA reports relating to Niger and Wilson's trip (many but not all of these CIA reports were faxed to Libby on June 9 )

2. OVP memoranda analyzing the CIA reports (first report of this document)

3. drafts (plural) of Tenets 7/11/03 statement

4. "certain of" (but not all) Libby's notes of his conversations about how to respond to Wilson.

Second Category - documents created or reviewed by other witnesses

1. notes and emails by or to CIA employees including Robert Grenier and Craig Schmall

2. INR Memo (Libby is saying he didn't review this document/second category)

3 Harlow's notes

4 Hadley's notes

5 certain other documents

The partial excerpt of Libby's testimony "was going to talk to a reporter...about the Wilson trip" doesn't appear in the previously known Libby testimony from the 5/24/06 Fitzgerald filing exhibits or the indictment. I don't think the fact that Libby additionally testified on March 25 was known.

The 9/22/06 Libby filing also refers to other classified pleadings from the defense.

Libby's notes

Note that the filing has "certain of" Libby's notes about conversations with others on how to respond to Wilson

There is also this reference to Libby's notes under the heading of Memory Defense

1. Mr Libby's Notes - Mr. Libby's notes frequently report statements made by others.
Libby filing 9/22/06

I wouldn't be surprised if the ellipses replace something like either "or another government official," or "about the Niger uranium story

You are probably right, but why bother to leave that out. I was guessing he may have said Cheney here.

Tenet Drafts

Tenet has tried to play both sides of the fence.

At CIA Director George J. Tenet's request, the Justice Department is looking into an allegation that administration officials leaked the name of an undercover CIA officer to a journalist, government sources said yesterday
WaPo 9/28/03

sources close to Tenet say the director himself was not responsible for initiating the leak investigation
WaPo 10/5/03

The 10/5/03 WaPo from Pincus is little known and worth a look.

The conflicting leaks on the Tenet drafts

People who have been briefed on the case said the White House officials, Karl Rove and I. Lewis Libby, were helping prepare what became the administration's primary response to criticism that a flawed phrase about the nuclear materials in Africa had been in Mr. Bush's State of the Union address six months earlier.

They had exchanged e-mail correspondence and drafts of a proposed statement by George J. Tenet, then the director of central intelligence, to explain how the disputed wording had gotten into the address. Mr. Rove, the president's political strategist, and Mr. Libby, the chief of staff for Vice President Dick Cheney, coordinated their efforts with Stephen J. Hadley, then the deputy national security adviser, who was in turn consulting with Mr. Tenet.
NYT 7/21/05

On July 9, Tenet and top aides began to draft a statement over two days that ultimately said it was "a mistake" for the CIA to have permitted the 16 words about uranium to remain in Bush's speech. He said the information "did not rise to the level of certainty which should be required for presidential speeches, and the CIA should have ensured that it was removed."

A former senior CIA official said yesterday that Tenet's statement was drafted within the agency and was shown only to Hadley on July 10 to get White House input. Only a few minor changes were accepted before it was released on July 11, this former official said. He took issue with a New York Times report last week that said Rove and Vice President Cheney's chief of staff, I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby, had a role in Tenet's statement
WaPo 7/27/05

polly - I have a feeling that's an error for "March 24," and Libby did not testify on March 25, though you never know.

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