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January 19, 2007


Tate was still on Libby filings in May--which is about the time I heard a rumor that Fitz was still pursuing the cover-up. Will try to nail down a date.

Tate still on filings as of September 2006.

Somebody correct me if I'm wrong. But Tate was listed on a motion on 9/15. But for the in limine motions on 10/30, he was no longer listed.

This is, of course, precisely when they started threatening to call Fitz on the stand if he introduces evidence about Judy not testifying. Looks like they may have made a strategic decision--get Tate off the team (so he didn't open up a window into the whole defense strategy on the stand) so they could prepare to call Fitzgerald to the stand.

Tate is probably good riddance anyway for Libby. Once it became clear that this was going to trial, I think Tate ceased to be relevant as an attorney.

Remember that Tate's specialty is intellectual property law. The only reason I think Libby hired Tate in the first place was to bully media outlets into not allowing their reporters to testify by "reminding" them that the reporters' notes technically belong to the media outlet, not the reporter. Thus, if he could successfully prevent Fitz from getting his hands on the notes, emails, previous drafts, etc; it wouldn't matter what the reporters said, because it just becomes he said, she said at that point.

At least, that's my speculation. What do you think EW?

You know--here's another reason to think that Libby may have leaked the CIA trip report to Novak.

I've long been arguing that it would be impossible for Novak to KNOW that Wilson "never worked at the CIA" unless someone told him--it's not something you can disprove easily, particularly if the person in question has a background that looks a lot like that of someone who has had official cover.

This is what the SSCI tells us about the trip report:

The report did not identify the former ambassador by name or as a former ambassador, but described him as "a contact with excellent access who does not have an established reporting record." The report also indicted that the "subsources of the following information knew their remarks could reach the U.S. government and may have intended to influence as well as inform." DO officials told Committee staff that this type of description was routine and was done in order to protect the former ambassador as the source of the information, which they had told him they would do. DO officials also said they alerted WINPAC analysts when the report was being disseminated because they knew the "high priority of the issue."

What do you want to bet that the sentence prior to "a contact with excellent sources" set up Wilson's relationship to the CIA--notably, that he never worked for the CIA?

Disagree on why Tate was hired. Jeffress was hired to do the things you describe--he's the guy who set the precedent for limiting reporters' access to trial evidence.

Tate was hired, IMO, because he was willing to walk just up to--and possibly over--the edge of obstruction.

Spot on about that 'sentence before' in the SSCI, in my opinion.

Indeed, the real mystery here is zeroing in on Novak's immaculate knowledge, isn't it?

Good for you for parsing all of this detail out of Libby's statement, emptywheel. I'm so looking forward to your book, and feel a lot better about this trial for having you in the courtroom. (God bless Arianna Huffington for knowing how to make such things happen.)

EW-- a thought, would the DO report on Wilson's debrief identify DO personnel by name? Or would it be by their code names?

I've long thought that the way to handle the DO reports officer version of 2 DO personnel being present for Joe Wilson's debrief and Wilson's version of there being only one was that Valerie was essentially Joe's case officer. She may not have technically "debriefed" him for the DO report, but she still might be mentioned in the report as his case officer, probably by code name.

So if Armitage told Novak that Wilson's wife worked at the CIA and sent him, and Novak had a copy of the highly classified trip report saying that Wilson was sent by CPD personnel, maybe he put two and two together and realized that his wife must have been CPD, and thus an "operative." Plus he now had her code name, which is really sensitive stuff. I wonder if Judy also got that CIA report and that's where we get Victoria Flame from or whatever.

Just random musings, feel free to shoot me down here.


I asked Joe about that and he said there were two, he was mistaken in the book.

And no one was named, except presumably the reports officer, if that.


Technically my pass comes from Pope Markos, who gave me permission to use his "stationary" (read, cut and paste the banner from the website) to apply for my own pass.

This is great and very suggestive. It remains possible that Harlow told Novak that Wilson never worked for the CIA, but the CIA report is another possible source of that knowledge, whether Rove or Libby or Armitage gave it to Novak. But Libby would be the most likely contact, since that was one of his main weapons, along with the NIE, the lame 1-23-03 classified doc, and evidently Plame, in the pushback against Wilson. And it would fit timing-wise, I believe, that LIbby would leak it to Novak, since it appears that Libby backdated his main use of the trip report with MIller, from the 8th to the 12th.

Great parsing.

ew above -
"This would accord with long-held suspicions of mine that (and let me emphasize--these are all hypothetical):
2. Libby told Armitage that Wilson never worked at the CIA and encouraged Novak to find out why Wilson got sent."

"I'd add one more possibility, given this construction--that Libby also leaked the contents of the CIA trip report to Novak. Recall that Novak mentioned the trip report and reported the White House pushing for its disclosure in his original column."

ew at 16:53 -
"You know--here's another reason to think that Libby may have leaked the CIA trip report to Novak."

On the hypothetical - Libby leaked the CIA trip report to Novak and then encouraged Novak to find out why Wilson got sent?
Because...Libby was to busy to find out why Wilson was sent?

Here's one more point on this.

This is an admission, on Libby's part, that Novak is going to be a central question at this trial, not just a sidebar.

I'm growing convinced we're going to get Novakula in the court room. What a treat!!!

Nope. Because Libby was laundering the informatoin--he had permission to leak to Judy, but not to NOvak.

ew - good one.

EW, can you ask Joe if Val has any theories about the name "Flame"? :)


Learning from Harlow doesn't work.

Novak calls Harlow for confirmation of Plame's ID--which means, according to Novak's story, it took place after the Armitage conversation.

But Novak KNEW before the Armitage converation that Joe didn't work for the CIA--that's how he brought up the question ofhow Joe got sent in the first place!

Now that I think about this, it is possible that the "did not leak on Plame to Novak" could be just the opposite--that is, maybe Fitz will prove Novak leaked ot Libby.


No. That's a question I've studiously avoided. I wanted to do the book without getting classified info from them (or from Larry). I suspect Flame and Victoria were real.

Novak KNEW before the Armitage converation that Joe didn't work for the CIA

Got it, Harlow is out.

However, I have no doubt whatsoever that Fitz will not prove Novak leaked to Libby. What next? Fitz goes on to prove that Woodward leaked to Libby?

But Novak KNEW before the Armitage converation that Joe didn't work for the CIA--that's how he brought up the question ofhow Joe got sent in the first place!

Novak's explanation about how it came up:

Late in my hour-long interview with Armitage. I asked why the CIA had sent Wilson -- lacking intelligence experience, nuclear policy or recent contact with Niger -- on the African mission. He told the Washington Post last week that his answer was: "I don't know, but I think his wife worked out there."

Hmmm...but if you are saying this came from Libby, wouldn't the 1999 CIA trip qualify as some intelligence experience?
Perhaps Novak was looking only at Joe's resume, or Joe's own public statements, and went fishing with that.

MayBee I don't think Wilson's '99 trip generated a report--just maybe some travel receipts at the CIA

pdaly- From Judy's testimony, copy and pasted from EW's earlier thread:

As I told Mr. Fitzgerald and the grand jury, Mr. Libby alluded to the existence of two intelligence reports about Iraq's uranium procurement efforts. One report dated from February 2002. The other indicated that Iraq was seeking a broad trade relationship with Niger in 1999, a relationship that he said Niger officials had interpreted as an effort by Iraq to obtain uranium.

My notes indicate that Mr. Libby told me the report on the 1999 delegation had been attributed to Joe Wilson.

I'm sure emptywheel can answer this better than I, but I believe the conversation between the Niger official and the Iraqi businessman occurred outside of Niger's borders, at a public international gathering of officials. Wilson was not a participant in this conversation.

That Libby or Judy Miller would imply Wilson was involved in the conversation is a different matter.

I don't really think the content of the report matters, pdaly.
I'm saying that if Libby believed (or knew) that Wilson had done work for the CIA in 1999, it doesn't follow that he would be the one telling Novak that Wilson had NO intelligence experience. Which is what Novak claims he talked about with Armitage.

Novak could easily have surmised, from the public record and Joe's own biography, that he had no CIA experience. At the very least, he could have thought he knew that well enough to use it as fishing material for Armitage.

Maybee, now I see what you are saying. I don't know the timeline well enough to say either way.

Libby was asking Addington about CIA trip receipts during Leak Week July '03, but I don't know whether that means Libby would have been ignorant of a '99 report in June '03 during his (hypothetical) leak of Mr. Wilson to Novak.

or am I confusing Woodward and Novak's timelines now?

Novak could easily have surmised, from the public record and Joe's own biography, that he had no CIA experience. At the very least, he could have thought he knew that well enough to use it as fishing material for Armitage.

I agree with this. Given that the Plame leak was orchestrated by Libby and ultimately executed by Novak, I wouldn't be surprised that there was some form of communication between them somewhere along the way -- either directly or through a third-party cutout -- but this particular possibility doesn't seem especially persuasive.

What Novak says in his column about the trip report is very similar to what Cooper said Rove told him about something being declassified soon, so I don't think it's necessary to drag Scooter into the picture.

-Novak could easily have surmised, from the public record and Joe's own biography, that he had no CIA experience. -

Novak wrote a complimentary article many years before this about Joe Wilson's diplomatic service . Remember? Joe Wilson pulled it out in preparation for Novak's return call.

MayBee and Swopa

That argument might work with, say, me. Because I don't have a resume that largely resembles the resume of someone working with official cover for twenty years. If Novak looked at Wilson's resume, he could not draw that conclusion--on the contrary, he'd have to be suspicious of it.

Also, MayBee, there are two formulations of that statement from Novak. The second is "Joe Wilson never worked at the CIA"--which is the same thing he publishes in his column. If that's in fact what Novak said, it means Joe was never a CIA employee; it says nothing about Joe being an envoy once in the past.

Though pdaly is right. It's unclear what Libby meant by that comment to Judy (though it's better for your side if it's just Judy's unreliability). But as pdaly points out, there was no report on the 1999 trip.

Also, none of this explains why Libby's team formulates the Novak stuff differently. There is, of course, another really good possibility--that Libby leaked Plame's identity to Novak (in which case the comment would serve to say that Libby just didn't think he had done so). Of course both are possible--that Libby leaked the CIA report, and that he also leaked Plame's identity.


As to the CIA report--yes, I've always assumed that was ROve talking to Novak, so I don't disagree with you. But we know that Libby WAS leaking it (to Judy at least). So there is reason to believe he might have leaked it to Novak.

I'm not totally convinced--this is just a guess. But it would explain a lot of things.


Hmmm. I guess you've got a point. Maybe Libby leaked Plame to Novak.

Gee, I always thought that Libby leaked Plame to Armitage -- or at least set the wheels in motion so Armitage would be interested enough in a gossipy sort of way to find out -- and then made sure that Novak knew he needed to have a chat with Armitage. So he didn't provide any info to Novak about Plame -- he just made sure Novak talked to someone who was likely to tell him about it.


That's quite possible--that's why I keep harping on the fact that 1) Woodward came into his meeting with Novak knowing info that might be classified (if he learned it from an administration person, though he could have learned it from Pincus), and 2) so (maybe, though Swopa and MayBee disagree) did NOvak.

Much as I've always been fond of the simplicity of the AF2 flight leading into the 2x6 leaking, I've always thought these guys were wily enough to try to build a little smoke in from the beginning. First you have to build a story that can't be traced to you, and only then can you safely start spreading it. Yeah, you can rely most times on the fact that newspeople won't identify their sources (they risk cutting off their source of more info or however you want to characterize it) -- but it's best if the story comes out of the mist as well.

MK, I agree with you. The rationale for my AF2/2x6 theory (via Jeff some long-ago commenter on another site) is that since Novak had told Rove he was going to press with the leak, Rove (followed by Libby/Cheney aboard AF2) felt the "cat was out of the bag." Rove having already leaked to Cooper may have forced Libby/Cheney's hand in this regard.

Once the investigation got started, though, Libby et al. apparently decided this cover story wasn't strong enough, so Libby tried to come up with a version that excluded Rove, Cheney, and Ari Fleischer any other leakers from the picture entirely.

Oh, and to clarify about "building a little smoke in," that's what I think Libby tried to do with regard to Miller and Novak. Libby hinting to Judy Miller on June 23rd that Wilson's wife might work for the CIA is an important element here -- the idea was that she would find out from sources outside the OVP/White House. Presumably something similar was orchestrated with Novak, which is why he only attributed part of the leak (that Plame had a role in sending Wilson to Niger) to senior administration officials.

"What do you want to bet that the sentence prior to "a contact with excellent sources" set up Wilson's relationship to the CIA--notably, that he never worked for the CIA?"

The phrase comes up twice. Once from Plame and once from a document. Joe may have never been an employee of CIA or they set up the contracting to make it look like he had never been an operations officer while being a diplomat. His father was a diplomat in Spain when he while he was growing up there and probably CIA operations officer. This would be the 'cover up' of empllyment and explain Plame better. The Basks are an old terrorist group.

"can you ask Joe if Val has any theories about the name "Flame"?"

Is there an interview?

"Libby was asking Addington about CIA trip receipts during Leak Week July '03, but I don't know whether that means Libby would have been ignorant of a '99 report in June '03 during his (hypothetical) leak of Mr. Wilson to Novak"

CIA trip receipts for Plame to Montreal before the leaks started? Woolsey was on TV in Montreal while she was there interviewing. She was a problem? Can we get receipts of these trips?

Keep in mind, though, that the leak to Judy (about which she probably hasn't been entirely forthcoming) has the precise structure of all her other cut-out leaks (except that Libby asked her to attribute to "former Hill staffer"). If she had been allowed to write her story, then Plame's identity would have been published on A1 of the NYT on July 9, and there would not have to be smoke. After which the Administration would have done what they did after July 14--call up everyone and their mother and tell them "Plame was fair game."

Alas for OVP, they had already used up the tool that was Judy's usefulness, at least in the short term, and they had to find another way to launder the leak.

Which is to say I think the leak strategy changed with Wilson's op-ed. Before July 6, they were content to slow leak it out (agreeing with Swopa's take here). But afterwards, they needed a way to quick leak it--and Judy was supposed to be the answer. But that didn't work. Lucky for them, what might have been a slow leak strategy (with Novak) seeded back in June came to fruition at precisely the right time.

Hi Emptywheel. I have come to your blog via Talk Left. Can you tell me whether you have heard any rumblings while you were live blogging in Washington DC about Karl Rove and what happened last year? Any gossip among the reporters or anyone?

Great work you are doing!


I'm not in DC yet--will get there tomorrow. I'll let folks know as I hear it.

‘Valerie was essentially Joe's case officer.’ Yes, and so was the trainer for Aimes and Howard. I don't think they call them case officers anymore.

What does CPD mean? Criminal Protection Division? Committee on Clear and Present Danger? Why is Harlow a pass?

Oh ya, they arrested KOS in Mexico if anyone missed the story!

yo, ew, that's been my theory all along:

the leak strategy changed with Wilson's op-ed. Before July 6, they were content to slow leak it out (agreeing with Swopa's take here). But afterwards, they needed a way to quick leak it

this whole plot traces back to the March 9, 2003 WHIG meeting, and nobody expected Joe Wilson to "go public" with the Niger info. Once Joe Wilson published an article under his own byline, refuting and debunking the Niger story personally, this bunch of rank amatuers paniced and blew their carefully constructed plan

no investigation of this crime is complete without an investigation of the March 9th WHIG meeting. the war began on March 19th, so this crime predates the war by 10 days

but that's just my opinion. I know things

The leak was already there during the WMD experts looking in Iraq.

WMD. WMD. Dr. Rice. Bush. DR. Rice. covert CIA training. WMD. WMD. Rice. Bush.

The magazine of the Phi Beta Kappa Society is The American Scholar. It just passed 75 years in publication, so - Happy Anniversary. Apparently all those smart folks wearing pinky rings are SO happy, they are giving their magazine, and US, a present - a website [on which, unless I have misunderstood, the Society intends to post everything published in the magazine since inception]. As of now, the website provides free online access to the full contents of both the current issue and the one immediately before it.

The contents of the current issue include a piece by one Nick Bromell who describes himself as an English teacher at UMass. The piece is sort of a combination memoir and essay; in it Bromell recalls a long close friendship with Libby. The hook is is Bromell's feeling conflicted between the pulls of their friendship since grade school days, and the push of the divide separating their politics. Bromell tries to avoid betrayal by illustrating that divide by comparing the RNA of his liberal genome to that of Vice President Cheney's wife Lynne, as appreciated from her public statements, including statements on something about which Bromell feels strongly on which has views bearing the sort of maturity and depth we could only rationally expect from our teachers of literature if we paid them something like what they are really worth.

[There is a passage in Isikoff and Corn's Hubris with a scene at Chez Cheney which portrays a heart-warming scene of her showing something like motherly pride in Scooter, some time before the Cheneys felt a need to call in industrial strength document shredders; in stark contrast to the image of her guest appearances on Fox News, where she projects more like one of the "After" pictures in a promotion for some macabre cardiectomy family special, the easier to squeeze two into a family crypt made for one. To think, we've always been led to believe being on televisions ADDS 10 pounds to one's apppearance!]

Yet I think Bromell's piece provides its readers a measure of of the dimensions Libby's character, and may help in understanding his behaviour from the spring of 2003, the choice he made for his interviews by the FBI, and his performance during the two grand jury appearances.

If I were Libby, I would be feel grateful at having Bromell as my friend. Were I as close a friend of Libby as Bromell claims, I would be concerned Libby is not capable of selling a jury his, as EW has so aptly captured it, Crappy Memory Defense.

Accepting Bromell's portrait as faithful, I think - and if Libby testifies, I predict we will see - that Libby is impaired by guilty conscience, and incapable of hiding that.

[I have more on Libby's story... more of rant, actually. So I've posted it separately, recognizing that posting that separately may allow this comment to attract the wider attention Bromell's piece merits, and to provide fair warning to those who have suffered some of my earlier rants and would rather take a miss on another.]

I won't quote from Bromell's piece, but since he chose to lead into it with what I would agree is an appopriate quotation, from F.A. Hayek's "Why I Am Not a Conservative", not least because it's a reminder of one more reason to put on our lists, I reproduce it here. The thread to Bromell's essay follows the quote:

"When I say that the conservative lacks principles, I do not mean to suggest that he lacks moral conviction. The typical conservative is indeed usually a man of
very strong moral convictions. What I mean is that he has no political principles which enable him to work with people whose moral values differ from his
own for a political order in which both can obey their convictions."


please see today's WSJ editoral on the Plame leak. Sorry but it is subcription only. I am appalled that this newspaper has suggested the prosecution of libby is because Fitzgerald and others have a score to settle over Marc Rich. This is truly an abomination.

We on the progressive front have given Jason Leopold so much scorn for his reporting on Karl Rove (which may or may not be true) but it is not as bad as what the WSJ has printed today. We should be directing our crticism to utterly false articles like this. I am outraged! How can this newspaper get away with such blatant bias? Please read it and share your thoughts. I am so angry!!

Libby's proposed theory of defense jury instruction document kindly linked in the original comment, above, references Ms. Plame only as a job title without describing the work she did or the effect on international events her identity's divulgation would have; i.e., Libby is saying his work was important for its effect on world events, but saying Plame's work was only a disposable job title. Fitzgerald should describe the importance and reach of her work, in his presentation of the case to the jury, to counterbalance the importance of Libby's work on world events.

woodrow -

Go back a few (or more) emptywheel threads here to find some posts and comments which mirror your own regarding the WSJ editorials and the behavior of its corporate ownership in this case, and for a fuller understanding of the part that they are playing in this investigation. They are shameless, venomous, and deceptive in their editorial coverage of the trial and investigation, they know it, and they won't be stopping anytime soon. Furthermore, Dow Jones & Company is involved behind the scenes in legal action which is impacting on the workload and strategy of the government team prosecuting Libby, for (in my opinion) purposes far different than the supposedly laudable ones that the corporation and its press releases would have you believe.

EW is going to try to follow-up next week in D.C., and she may just find a hint there about what has been 'getting the goat' of the WSJ to such a degree that their credibility with regard to this case is now as low, and as impossibly poor, as Robert Novak's.

Thanks, LabDancer - that is certainly a beautifully-written essay by Nick Bromell (who is apparently being treated for colon cancer). He and Scooter Libby started boarding school together at the age of 11, in Massachusetts, were close friends during their years there before private high schools separated them, and have stayed in touch since.

Bromell self-identifies himself as a "Liberal" to such a degree, that I have difficulty identifying with his words in the simple role of a fellow American - Bromell's cult or club or movement is one that I'm not a member of, and do not pay dues to. So he's mainly speaking for, and on behalf of, those who likewise self-identify with the same sort of "Liberal" definition he does (perhaps mainly those in the ivory tower with him via Phi Beta Kappa, which I suppose makes sense considering where this was published). These self-applied labels do so much to separate and (perhaps intentionally) to create a social class system, and yet his long essay is largely about how to bridge such separations for the greater good. Bromell's definition of "Liberal" seems to include atheism (in so many words) by default, while anti-Liberals, such as Lynne Cheney, Bromell seems to define as those with faith (in a higher power, aka the Truth) by default. Hmmmm.... Somehow I think he is selling himself, and his profession, short. But that's for his fellow Liberal Movement members (which seem to include primarily "English professors and intellectuals") to answer. Bromell doesn't seem to be speaking on behalf of just any old American citizen.

Here're some on-point excerpts:

In my case, these feelings have been further complicated by my being deeply opposed to the Bush administration, which I regard as dishonest and dangerous. But there’s still another fact of my private life that colors the way I see the world: the reason I went to boarding school is that my father and mother were living out of the United States, posted to American embassies in Arab capitals like Baghdad, Amman, Kuwait, and Cairo. This means that for me, Scooter and his neoconservative colleagues have not only set the nation on a disastrous course, they have also destroyed my father’s lifelong effort to make U.S. policy in the Middle East more responsive to the realities on the ground. And there’s one last consideration, which has to do with what my father actually did in those embassies—something that gives the outing of Valerie Plame a personal, not just a public significance.


So, for six years I’ve been obsessed with Scooter. Every time I read a newspaper, I see Scooter and me hunched over a game of Stratego (which he usually won), or I see him faking right before hooking left so I can hit him with a pass in the end zone.


But the intensity of Eaglebrook was also social. An idiom of incessant and often vicious teasing. What we called cutting—a perpetual cutting down and cutting to shreds. Anderson, Bishop, Bromell, Casey, Coon—all of us were players in an ugly competition for something we couldn't even name. We imitated Mr. Canoon's stutter, we mocked Mr. Hepburn's girth, we made lewd jokes about Mr. Wiechert's daughters. We moved across the green campus laughing, but also cutting and slashing, parrying and thrusting. What a fairy. He's so immature. Get bent. Don't be Jewish. Dork. Brown nose. Jock. Retard.


At Eaglebrook, the intricate simplicity of the system designed to strip away selfhood would have made even Thackeray marvel. Everything revolved around the single principle of status, which was finely elaborated through grades, sports, shoes, shirts, and even socks. Each and every blazerclad boy knew his place on the status ladder, strove to rise a rung, or dreaded sliding down. At the top were the boys who had everything that counted: family money, athletic ability, and WASPy good looks. Beneath them stood boys with any one of these gifts. And then in the middle came the boys like Scooter and me—small and fairly brainy, but interested in sports and not hopelessly nerdy. Below us were the untouchables, the social misfits who read all the way through The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich, played countless hands of bridge, and managed the athletic teams.


This difference came into sharp focus when I happened to read an article by Lynne Cheney, the wife of his boss. As an English professor, I couldn't resist its title: "The Roots of Today's Lying Epidemic: The English Department Virus." In it, Cheney claims that lowly English departments are "a primary source of the epidemic of lying currently upon us."


When I turn my personal questions about Scooter into these public questions about foreign policy, I regain my footing and know my way. I know that terrorists aren't out to grab American assets. What they hate is a certain image of America, America as a cultural chauvinist trying to impose its principles and interests on the rest of the world. This is the stereotype, becoming truer by the day, on which Osama bin Laden has played so cunningly. Several years ago, the CIA reported that the Arab world regarded us as "ruthless, aggressive, conceited, easily provoked and biased." The CIA also warned that as long as "the forces fueling hatred of the U.S. and fueling al Qaeda recruiting are not being addressed, . . . the underlying causes that drive terrorists will persist."


The worst thing we can do is precisely what the Bush administration has promoted: become a fundamentalist nation that mirrors bin Laden's fantasies back to him and thus confirms them.


If Lynne Cheney and I were to meet, here's what I imagine she would say to me: "You liberals may have good reasons to be skeptical about the very possibility of the truth, but you insist on using the words true and truth as if they had real meaning without recourse to such a possibility. If you were intellectually honest, you would restrict yourself to words like correct and accurate. If you want to glorify your mere assertions with the numinous associations of the word truth, you should embrace the possibility of the numinous itself. By using true and truth while denying the very possibility of the Truth, you are trying to have your cake and eat it too. You want to use a word that comes trailing clouds of glory to ennoble your scrawny human enterprise and to conceal its dangerous vanity."

And Cheney would be right. We liberals do want to hold onto the word true because we know that behind our policy proposals lurks a deep sense of right and wrong, a deep instinct about what makes life valuable and meaningful. But we do not fully articulate these beliefs, and we seldom even admit that we have them. Because they rest at bottom on conviction, not reason, and therefore cannot be justified without circularity, we hesitate to bring them into the open. We are nervous about admitting that in this sense our politics are as faith-based as those of any fundamentalist.

So he's mainly speaking for, and on behalf of, those who likewise self-identify with the same sort of "Liberal" definition he does (perhaps mainly those in the ivory tower with him via Phi Beta Kappa, which I suppose makes sense considering where this was published).

Typical Amherst grad! And denizen of the happy valley!

Yeah, those Amherst grads, they're nuts. Next thing you know they'll try to prosecute a sitting Vice President...

The WSJ editorial board sold itself to the highest bidder. If you want honesty and integrity you'd have to look elsewhere.

pow wow - Maybe you know Bromell. All I know of him is what he wrote. From just what's in his essay on Libby, to me Bromell doesn't appear to be any more elitest than your average secular humanist academic. If those types are to be disqualified from being 'true blue' liberals, I would expect the 110th U.S. Congress to end up as a meaningless wavelet in Congress' voyage to surrending oversight and enabling presidential hegemony.

FWIW, my own roots are pure working class: my father, my father's father, my mother's father, and all four uncles did military service, 5 of them for their careers, from private to mid-level officer; I would have also, but for some 4F health disqualifiers. All my education was in public schools. I sure don't see myself as remotely part of any elite, and if there was something in Bromell's article that betrays in him a point of view founded on social class distinction, I missed it.

I have a tendency to go all Emily Litella sometimes, so if I'm misreading you, I'm sorry - and Nevermind.

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