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January 21, 2007


This is so awesome.

Marc Rich as a character witness. Ha!

The wingnuts screeched and jumped up and down they were so angry Marc Rich got a pardon, so how can they now claim to love the attorney representing the guy who got the pardon? The mental gymnastics you have to do to be a good conservative these days...

strange how many of us would consider all these acts to be the subjugation of law, or aiding and abetting, a criminal conspiracy, fraud, bribery, and other catchy phrases the police use to book and swear to in court to have ordinary criminals incarcerated?
but no, these men's virtues are held up high and praised for such acts.

it seems our civilization has walked east to the ocean, and never thought to stop. I believe I will go west.

Why does everyone here paint people with such broad character brushes?

It is a overly simplistic viewpoint.

(And I know DemFromCT would chide me and say ~This is a political blog, so what do you expect?~ But silly me, I do expect some semblance of logic from most people.)

Great sleuthing on the Comey-NSA angle, EW.

"Why does everyone here paint people with such broad character brushes?"

Please be specific Jodi. Who is painting with a broad character brush? Who are they painting unfairly?

Why does everyone here paint people with such broad character brushes?

What are you talking about? What are you talking about? I see so broadbrush treatment from the post here. It seems like the only person slinging insufficiently precise criticisms is you.

And it's not a failing of logic to adopt an overly simplistic viewpoint, by the way. It's a failure of logic, for example, to equate a failure of logic with an overly simplistic viewpoint.

As I give hope for JaneH, I offer prayers for strength and wisdom for PJF. He and his team's ongoing pursuit of justice must be burdensome, and I can only hope for them to be healthy and focused as they continue. I am extremely grateful for their lives and even that such people exist to take on this labyrinthian trial. We, as a country, are fortunate, indeed, to have these worthy people who are dedicated to working so tirelessly for the cause of the greater good. My thanks go out to all who are involved; I beleive that our country and the spirit of our country is indebted to you.

A couple of things re; the Marc Rich defense thing,
1. Interesting timing, as Hilary has just gone all presidential on us, wouldn't this open up some interesting connections to Bill and her?
2. Wouldn't it also reopen connections that neither side (Bushes and Clintons) would want to be reopened?
So, who is really screwing who?

It makes me think that the terms 'Libby' and 'Presidential pardon' have a long history together. Can he ever succeeded without one?

To "complicit or credulous" I would add "or lazy". It is easy to write a talking point story instead of doing the work of real news analysis or reporting. Lazy reporting turns to old canards of conventional cynical wisdom along the lines of "both sides are just as bad, or as good", "nothing ever changes in Washington", and "see how balanced we are". They count on us being lazy readers of their lazy reporting.
Or am I being too charitable?


When the defense does not have facts or law on their side, it is a classic technique (I para phrase LAwrence WAlsh here) to attack the prosecutor.

You can accuse him of doing a sloppy job and indicitng the wrong man (look! It's Armitage!)

You can accuse him of not understanding the things he thinks he knows in hteor proper context (look! I was busy with IMPORTANT stuff!)

You can accuse his motivations (Look! I did things that did not make his best friend happy!)

These are classic techniques. They reach this in law school (or at least post law school CLE) it's not a secret.

It's not even aprticularly original. It recycled, hackneyed cliches.
And a measure of how few and small the arrows in their quiver.

Marcy has done a great job of exposing how pathetic and anemic thos latest smear attempt is.

The fact that bringing up the Marc Rich stuff screws the Clintons more than it even hurts Fitzgerald, must make that editorial feel like a win-win for the WSJ, which is rapidly losing all pretense of being anything other than organ of the RNC.

When will Fox and WSJ be subject to campaign finance reporting rules? That's what I want to know? Bring back the "Fairness Doctrine!"

Oh damn! Forgot my favorite (look! It's calss warfare! he hates us cause we are rich and powerful!)

They haven't used that one in a while. It's getting rusty


1) Clinton was thoroughly criticised for his pardoning of Marc Rich. Which is it republicans?

2) What does any of this have to do with the question of whether or not Libby lied. Revenge or not...what the dems accepted with the impeachment of Clinton was accountability. He was impeached for lying to the grand jury. He lied and we all knew that some consequence was necessary. Impeached as sitting president. That's a fact. Clinton's lie was not one blocking the view of a bigger crime. It was a lie about his private life. Libby's lie is a lie that could have grave consequences for this country. "Could have"...can we at least admit that?? That the questions being asked are relevant to the security and safety of this country and must be cleared up?

3) Libby has to go to trial and pay the consequence regardless of motive just like the Clinton's did during their administration. That kind of accountability can only be good for the country.

4) Accountability is key. Did he lie or not? What were his lies and how did they affect the investigation into one of the most serious matters that this administration or any administration ever faces. War.

It does seem simple to me. Let's stay focused, Jodi, shall we??

Well said Katie.

The latest WSJ peice is just more shiny metal chaff dispersed to try to confuse the guidance system on the really big missile that is gonna Fitz them.

We, in the reality based community, will just continue to keep our eye on the ball.

... Or perhaps these are long winded boring attempts to suggest that Libby went out of his way to get a criminal off the hook so why on earth won't Bush pardon a perjurer. --- A viable question that needs to be asked, answered --- or at least debated instead of going on and on relentlessly. Pragmatically speaking it makes no sense for Bush to tarnish his evil image further by allowing this trial to go forward, as it will only stir up passions for impeachment. So I suspect one of two things maybe in play.

The first being (rather inconceivable --- if not down right dreadful) that Libby's trial will somehow manage to illuminate Bush in a favorable light (--- don't ask me what that could possibly be). However, it is far more likely that Bush made a deal to avoid Rove's indictment, (who waived all rights to the statutes of limitations for his crimes) promising Fitzgerald he would not pardon Libby even if convicted and providing his administration's full complete cooperation (think Cheney and his sociopathic staff of criminals). That's the real reason I think Rove was never indicted, leaving Libby blowing in the wind.

The following is speculation. The Rich pardon may reflect information arbitrage involving Marc Rich, Libby, Paul Wolfowitz, John Yoo, Israel, Russian oligarchs, etc.

Marc Rich had a relationship with Russia starting in the 1980's, and already the elites in Russia were moving money out of Russia offshore. In the 1990's, Russian oligarchs got billions in loans for shares starting in fall 1995. This may have reflected their using old academic kompromat files on two econ profs in control of the loans, Stanley Fischer at IMF and Larry Summers at US Treasury.

Jacob Wolfowitz, Paul's father knew of earlier incidents and that Russia may have used these to pressure Summers' uncles, Arrow and Samuelson to nominate Kantorovich for the 1975 Nobel Prize in econ. Boris Berezovsky had a Ph.D. in math from Moscow State, and worked at Institute Control Sciences which analyzed academic misconduct in the US. Berezovsky had the idea to use the old files to get the IMF loans and then get Russia's oil and gas as his cut.

Libby and Wolfowitz were pals. Rich may have known about the kompromat plan from his Swiss contacts, since profs in Switzerland knew some of this in the 1990's.

Starting in spring 97, the USAO Mass started investigated Harvard econ grant to aid Russia run by Shleifer. Shleifer hired Chubais in Jan 96 briefly on Harvard's payroll. Chubais negotiated the IMF loans and gave out the loans for shares. Putin was likely cut in in 1998. By the spring of 1998, people knew that Clinton profs and Harvard were likely holding back from USAO Mass. LTCM was buying Russian govt bonds in Aug 98.

The neocons got the Iraq Liberation Act in fall 98 during Clinton impeachment. During Bush v. Gore, John Yoo may have learned of this from a prof at Berkeley, where these issues were well known. He may have told Scalia or Hatch or Silberman. Clinton may have heard chatter from NSA wiretaps, but the Gorelick Wall Memo kept that from USAO Mass.

Marc Rich and Libby may have passed this information to Israel to get Israel to pressure Clinton, not their cover story that Rich passed other info. In Switzerland, its a crime to engage in spying, so they couldn't tell the real truth while Rich was hiding out there.

At the time of the Clinton pardon of Rich, the USAO Mass was still investigating Harvard. Summers was appointed President of Harvard by Gorelick. USAO Mass investigation continued to Aug 2005, when they settled with Harvard. The above is speculation.

Search on Russia plagiarism files for more detailed info including their possible use to gain atomic know-how during the WWII era.

Our little Jodi is projecting again.

The tie that binds Libby and Marc Rich is Israel/Zionism. There was no paradox in Scooter defending Rich.

Forgot to mention: this is all setup for the "Fitzgerald is an anti-semite!" smear that will be coming down the pike.

You heard it here first.

George Orwell coined the term Double Think to describe exactly what we see happening in Republican's brains today.

So simultaneously believe in two opposing thoughts: 2+2=4 and 2+2=5, without a moment of doubt.

The Republicans are masters of Double Think.

Wow, twice inside the last four weeks WSJ has become a sockpuppet for Dick Cheney. Sure looks like his handwriting, doesn't it?

[And here I thought EW's "minder" had moved on, too...apparently not.]

Andrea Mitchell is married to Alan Greenspan. The Fed has had several high level profs in the 1990's and 2000's at high level positions, including Bernanke now as Chairman and Blinder as Vice Chairmmen. They have links to Princeton, Harvard, etc.

One of LTCM's top people was a former Fed board member. The LTCM bailout was arranged in fall 98 while the IMF loans to Russia hearings, Clinton impeachment hearings, and Iraq Liberation Act hearings were held. All the while USAO Mass was investigating. USAO SDNY also investigated money laundering by oligarchs. SDNY had protested the Gorelick Memo. All during that time, the Gorelick memo meant that any intelligence information like NSA wire taps on foreign profs or even Marc Rich couldn't be passed to the Assistant US Attorneys or prosecutors at USAO Mass or SDNY.

The Fed, however, knew of some of this history itself from its academic and Wall Street ties. They wanted to hush up the LTCM and loans to Russia cases in fall 1998. They arranged the bailout. Goldman Sachs paid Bush Sr 100,000 dollars to speak in Moscow during the 1990's. Jack Abramoff took Tom Delay to Moscow on a trip to get Delay to keep US funds flowing to the IMF. The IMF was giving Russia so much money it had to get additional funds from the US. The Fed knew what was going on.

In spring 2001, USAO SDNY investigated the Marc Rich pardon. All of the above was concealed from it by both the Clinto and Bush teams. USAO Mass was still investigating Harvard until August 2005.

Above is speculation.

Old Atlantic

Please spare us your speculation. It's totally off topic, and frankly unhelpful.

All this very interesting speculation on the deep (money) politics of things makes me think I was right to see Clinton as a Rockefeller Republican all along. All the roiling about Monica was purely about power, not in the least about structural views. Will Hillary do Iran better?

Jeff, how is it off topic? How is it unhelpful? The thread starts with a discussion of whether Fitzgerald is bringing this case because of his experience at USAO SDNY in handling Marc Rich. This then brings into relevance what the history of the Marc Rich case and Libby case are.

It is also evident that Bee doesn't agree with your view. So why is Marc Rich's history not relevant to his pardon? Why is the history of USAO SDNY investigation of Russian oligarch money laundering while Fitzgerald was at USAOS SDNY not relevant?

The short answer, Old Atlantic, is because it hs nothing to do with the case and the investigation of Libby and the investigation of how Plame's cover was blown. Via speculation and name-dropping, you merely seek to identify and connect together a bunch of dots that neither are genuinely connected nor, above all, have any bearing on the case.

Old Atlantic:

What exactly does Libby's lying to the FBI and the grand jury have to do with Russian money laundering? I ahven't seen anything to tie this case to whatever-it-is you're saying it's connected to (sorry, those posts are too convoluted for my brain at this hour of th morning).

The implication that Fitzgerald is going after JUST Libby because of some personal vendetta has at least one posible flaw. Who said Fitz is JUST going after Libby? His past investigations reveal that he likes to go after the whole food chain and starts with the smaller fish. Libby may not be little plankton, but I am still hoping Fitz has the Big Beluga in his sights.

This whole issue of the politicalization of the justice dept may also be an attempt to push back by WSJ and their ilk against those who oppose Bush's firing US Attys and replacing them with political toadies.

Jeff: "The short answer, Old Atlantic, is because it hs nothing to do with the case and the investigation of Libby and the investigation of how Plame's cover was blown."

"I suspect Libby's team wants to suggest that Libby's indictment was direct retaliation for the work Libby did to get Rich a pardon."

From above main article by emptywheel.

So emptywheel started this discussion on the issue of whether Libby was trying to suggest that bringing the case against Libby was retaliation for the Marc Rich pardon. So the main thread topic is linked to whether that is retaliation for the Marc Rich pardon.

So that brings up why Clinton pardoned Rich. One reason Clinton offered was that Israel asked for it. The reason stated was that Rich helped Israel.

From AP "Azulay said he believed Clinton pardoned Rich, in part, because of his role in helping Israel get Jews out of Ethiopia and Yemen."

Was this the real reason? Or was it because Rich helped Israel learn about pressure by Russia to get IMF loans or information not disclosed to USAO Mass investigation of Harvard?

Putin offered Fischer a job while Fischer was still at IMF in 2001. In Jan 2005, Israel hired Fischer as central bank governor. Putin in Feb 2005 then announced arms sales to Syria. Later that year he provided arms to Iran.

Marc Rich couldn't say he was spying in Switzerland, because that's again Swiss law. So the Ethiopian story was needed, if it was something else.

If Fitzgerald is prosecuting Libby over the Marc Rich pardon, as the very top of this discussion is about, then we come to why was Rich pardoned. Was it for help in Ethiopia, or was it this history?

Putin became head of FSB in 1998, and then President of Russia in spring 2000. In Putin's own autobio he name drops Leontief of Harvard. In 1969, in Matekon, Vainshtein of Russia said that Leontief stole input output from Russians. The Nobel Prize in econ was first given in 1969. Samuelson replied to the Vainshtein piece.

Putin himself, in his own autobio, which is on line, himself name drops Leontief as telling Putin that it didn't matter who owned Russia's industries, in fairness terms, just that they were competent. Putin ties together himself Stanley Fischer, Leontief, IMF loans, arms sales to Syria and Iran, etc.

You can read about it at length at my blogs. Search on Russia plagiarism files. See link at my name for one article.

So is Fitzgerald prosecuting Libby for the Rich Pardon is at issue. That goes to why Fitzgerald thinks Rich was pardoned. The Gorelick Wall Memo limited use of info on above things gained by intelligence work. What does Fitzgerald know about the Rich pardon. Does Fitzgerald think the Rich pardon is for helping Ethiopians be rescued? The ties of Marc Rich to Russia can be found by searching on the internet. Above is all speculation.

P J Evans, I hope my reply to Jeff provides an answer to your question. Chris's point is also valid. If Libby is convicted, then Fitzgerald may then try to go after the Marc Rich pardon or other issues.

then Fitzgerald may then try to go after the Marc Rich pardon or other issues.

No, he can't, it's outside the purview of his authority. And notice, first, that the whole point of the post is that the Rich angle is bs. And note further that it doesn't matter all the convoluted rigamarole you're getting into. All that even would matter is that Fitzgerald were pissed that Libby worked to get Rich off. And again, the point is that it's just a rightwing talking point to discredit Fitzgerald.

Jeff your theme seems to be, only the sentences that you, Jeff, have written are relevant, and only in the sense that you understood them.

"I suspect Libby's team wants to suggest that Libby's indictment was direct retaliation for the work Libby did to get Rich a pardon." What work did Libby do? The stated reason for the Clinton pardon of Rich is that Israel got help from Rich to evacuate Jews from Yemen and Ethiopia. So that is directly at issue.

However, the Jews from Yemen got to Israel in the early 1990's, and not due to help from Rich:

"Then in the early 1990s, after years of petitioning by a group led by a professor at New York's Yeshiva University, most of the rest of Yemen's Jews were brought to Israel, except the few hundred who decided to stay in Yemen." from Dhimmi Watch today.

This seems to leave Marc Rich out. So what did Marc Rich do to get Israel's support? Provide information is what they said. But its not about Jews in Yemen, they were already in Israel.

So we need to find something else. Russia has, by its own printed publication, created a published paper trail from 1937 to present about using plagiarism to pressure atomic scientists and economists. Rich is linked more to possible money laundering by Russia starting in the 1980's, than to the official cover story, which is ahistorical.


People actually involved in rescuing Jews say Marc Rich was not.

Rich is tied to Russia, not Ethiopia or Yemen. Boris Berezovsky was revealed to be a citizen of Israel, while he was Deputy Secretary of the National Security Council of Russia. Other oligarchs were also dual Israeli Russian citizens. That makes them Israel's business.

They got their money in loans for shares in fall 1995. This was after the 1995 IMF loans in the spring. Chubais and Berezovsky tie to these from 1995 to 1998 and later. Putin became head of FSB in 1998. Putin's statements and other official statements in the 1990's tie to printed publications by Russia from 1937 to present on US academics and kompromat.

USAO SDNY investigated Russian oligarchs in the 1990's. SDNY complained about Gorelick Wall Memo limiting their use to use intelligence information in prosecutions. Rich has been linked to the Russian intelligence service since the 1980's in some reports.

Stanley Fischer ties in from the 1960's to present as discussed above and in other ways as well.

This is all speculation, but it does seem relevant to me. Explain to me again, why its not?

the REAL point of this prosecution is hidden within the article, and everybody MISSED it

they're trying to argue that Fitzgerald and Comey selectively prosecuted Libby--and not Armitage or any other shiny objects--because they were still pissed about Rich.

this is a subtle effort to convince people that armitage's gossip was the beginnig and end of the "Leak", and that patrick Fitzgerald's mandate ended once he found out that armitage was the original leaker


scooter's right wing wind machine is trying to convince the public that scooter and kkkarl didn't leak classified information because the information had already been leaked by armitage

this is a totally BOGUS argument

Valerie Plame's identity is still CLASSIFIED

try to keep on track here, instead of falling for the freepers' favorite "Shiny Objects"

fuck the mark rich pardon. scooter libby is being tried because he committed treason, and lied to cover up his actions

As an employee of the DOJ, its Fitzgerald's job to try to follow issues of the above type to where they lead. His primary job is to stop ongoing use of such methods, and secondarily to redress past wrongs. If Fitzgerald has evidence that Libby committed a crime, and if prosecution of that crime supports his duties, and is within DOJ guidelines, then he is doing the right thing to pursue Libby.

Old Atlantic

My advice to you is to famliarize with the facts of this case, and the arguments that Fitzgerald has made before you go popping off about it and bringing in tenuously related matters. You might start with Fitzgerald's 3-17-06 Response to the Defendant's Motion to Dismiss the Indictment. Fitzgerald has a number of things to say about the scope and tenure of his jurisdiction that directly contradict the point you are trying to make.

Jeff, that's a long memo. I have only skimmed part of it. But it basically says that Fitzgerald thinks he was appointed legally. Paul J. McNulty, Deputy AG handled the transition from Clinton to Bush at DOJ and then was appointed to Eastern District of Virginia. Gonzales is a Bush insider. Gonzales handled background checks for high office in Bush's first term. Did he conceal info from Congress about econ prof appointees? Fitzgerald's authority is to pursue this wherever it goes, which may include any relation between Gonzales, McNulty, Yoo, etc. to conceal information on these matters that they may have used to influence the Supreme Court during Bush v. Gore, while they were not federal employees or used to influence Gore to go away quietly.

This leads back to why was Marc Rich pardoned? It was for information he gave Israel, but it wasn't about rescuing Jews in Yemen as stated, according to those actually involved.Those involved in rescuing Jews say Marc Rich wasn't involved.

Israel hired Fischer as central bank governor in Jan 2005 after Putin gave him a job offer in 2001. Fischer was a key person. In Feb 2005, Putin sold arms to Syria and then later in 2005 to Iran. Israel and Bush said nothing.

Rich did have links to Russian intelligence and Swiss banking from the 1980's. Berezovsky was a dual Russian Israeli citizen while Deputy Secretary of the National Security Council of Russia. Was Berezovsky using kompromat files on Stanley Fischer and Larry Summers' uncles Arrow and Samuelson from the 1960's onward, and earlier for the uncles and others to get spring 95 IMF loans? Was this why he got fall 95
loans for shares oil and gas? This was an issue important to Israel.

Was this being concealed from USAO SDNY, USAO Mass, Congress, etc? Could this blow up in a huge scandal? What was Russia really doing and when? This was important info for Israel. If Rich came through with info on this, that would merit Israel getting him a pardon. The evidence is that it was Israel's efforts that got Rich the pardon.

There is circumstantial evidence this relates to USAO SDNY investigations in the 1990's, as well as USAO Mass investigation of Harvard and Clinton profs from spring 1997 to August 2005. The above is speculation.

Who is this troll? Old, please go away and stop wasting my precious time!

What we have here appears to be 'dualing Venn Diagrams': imagine 5 circles, only 1 of which (i.e., the 'Libby lied to the FBI to protect Dick/Dubya') is the focus here. Imagine 4 of the circles as white circles; the "Libby lied" circle as a black circle.

Old Atlantic sees concentric circles, with the "Libby circle' at the center; on the other hand, I see the circles lined up in a row, with the 'Libby lied' side-by-side with the other 4 white circles. The only circle of interest to me is the "Libby lied" circle. Although I may find the more comprehensive background info interesting, I prefer to focus only on that sole, "Libby circle" and ignore the others.

As for Fitz's motive... if he was taught by Jesuits, then he was taught that seeking revenge is ultimately futile. His mathematics background suggests a very logical thought process, and IMHO he would probably have been a good computer programmer or electrical engineer. He appears to base decisions on logical relationships, rather than emotion.

reader of Tea Leaves, good points. As you remind us, Fitzgerald was a double major in econ and math. That's the perfect background to look into math econ kompromat involving profs at MIT/Harvard/LTCM/Treasury/Fed and Moscow State. Just for searching, I will mention that Valery Makarov and Albert Shiryaev may do kompromat analysis today. Peter Kapitza appears to have invented this ploy in 1925 and used it with the atomic scientists. The Russians have been pushing Kapitza at the American and UK profs since 1937. Above is speculation.

Most likely though, Fitzgerald is just pursuing this one case by itself. Whether we know anything more when its over than we do now about anything is an open question.

Most . . . boring . . . troll . . . ever. *passes out*

Completely unsubstantive and unhelpful, but - this cracks me up:

“went off for a year and worked on it, closeted with his own intellect,” Mr. Garment said

Mr. Garment, commenting on Libby beingin the closet for a year, with the voices in his head.

You could slip Terry Pratchett peyote and still not get anything that good.

Hmmm... interesting.

Babs needs to chill. Scoots is in for 1.5 years. Playing for less is going to lead to scorched earth. The bombshell is why shooter and Scoots, et al, were playing so hard in the last week of June forward. They were participating in the WHIG plan to keep secret that all the "evidence" justifying the war was known to be bogus. And was known to be bogus. Not even Judy in the field, so adamant, helped. See... that is why they talked and Scoots went to Plan B.

Sorry - too much Fitzmas cheer going on here. :) But I just keep going back to L. Johnson's report that Hadley thought he was going to indicted. What was Hadley thinking?

I see so broadbrush treatment from the post here.

Jeffrey...I see so???? u r losing it dude

Interesting rules of physics, these Wingnuts. The WSJ would have you believe Comey authorized Fitzgerald to investigate perjury and obstruction in retaliation for an event that happened a full month later.

Interesting sense of bureaucratic infighting, these moonbats. Let's review - per the WSJ, Libby had been point man on the NSA program - dare we imagine that Comey and Libby had had discussions, and even disagreements, even before Comey had a chance to step up to Acting AG for a day?

Do the moonbats assume that Comey was utterly out of the NSA loop and utterly unaware of Libby's advocacy for a program opposed by Comey when Comey gave the green light to Fitzgerald in Feb 2004? Isn't it possible that Comey took one shot at Libby in Feb and then took another shot at the program when the opportunity presented iteslf in March?

And do the moonbats really think this "Moonbat/wingnut" rhetoric is helpful?


1) Clinton was thoroughly criticised for his pardoning of Marc Rich. Which is it republicans?

Wow, a toughie... let's see:

Libby, an attorney, took a fee for representing a somewhat odiferous client who was nontheless entitled, as are we all, to representation.

Bill Clinton, a President, took a sizeable contribution to his library in exchange for a Presidential pardon that was not at all vetted through the normal process (which would have included a DoJ review and squakwfest).

Who deserves more criticism? Gee, do the questions on this logic quiz get more difficult?

I know! Let's ask Jeralyn Merritt if we should judge attorneys by the clients they keep. She had Timothy McVeigh, after all, and he was at least as bad as Marc Rich.

Let's ask Jeralyn Merritt if we should judge attorneys by the clients they keep.

And yet the Wingnut Journal (that was fun! I like it! It is helpful!) asks us to believe that somehow Patrick Fitzgerald does not appreciate the point and does judge an attorney - specifically, Scooter Libby - by the client he kept. Good thinking!

dare we imagine that Comey and Libby had had discussions, and even disagreements, even before Comey had a chance to step up to Acting AG for a day?

Yes, we dare. Yet the WSJ asks us to contemplate the possibility that it was specifically the Libby-driven White House going over Comey's head to the bed-ridden Ashcroft that really pissed him off and led him to empower his pal Fitzgerald to go after Libby.

And let me ask all the fans of Karl Rove in the audience how plausible they find the WSJ's description of "Mr. Fitzgerald's single-minded pursuit of Mr. Libby"?

Tom, didn't Libby already chew Russert out for supporting an anit-Semite? We've been there. Odd attack, all things considered. That WSJ is going back to that well is also interesting, don't you think?

From Jeff :

...the WSJ asks us to contemplate the possibility that it was specifically the Libby-driven White House going over Comey's head to the bed-ridden Ashcroft that really pissed him off

From the WSJ:

In early 2004, Mr. Comey was acting Attorney General while John Ashcroft recovered from gall bladder surgery, and Mr. Comey reportedly refused to give the NSA program the greenlight, prompting the White House to seek out Mr. Ashcroft in the hospital in a bid to circumvent Mr. Comey.

Well, I read that as demonstrating that Comey was opposed to the program (and by extension, its advocate - can't these lawyers separate message and messenger?); the inference that Comey only became upset with the program, or with Libby, because the WH went over his head escapes me.

Also from Jeff:

yet the Wingnut Journal (that was fun! I like it! It is helpful!) asks us to believe that somehow Patrick Fitzgerald does not appreciate the point and does judge an attorney - specifically, Scooter Libby - by the client he kept. Good thinking!

Sorry, I missed your answer as to whether Clinton and Libby were equally deserving of criticism. That was the quiz question, after all.

Personally, I am just not nearly as put off by Rich's ability to hire a lawyer as I am by his ability to hire a President.

And FWIW and IIRC, the WSJ and many righties had opposed the arcane windfall profits tax rules which Rich had been manipulating, so they may be squishy on whether Rich was a tax crook, even if they are crystal clear that his pardon was handled improperly.

I see here that Libby stood by his tax analysis (well, no kidding) but was critical of Rich's dealings with Iran.

More on the pardon from TIME.

Personally, I am just not nearly as put off by Rich's ability to hire a lawyer as I am by his ability to hire a President.

Me too - I took that to be obvious. What on earth makes you think the WSJ is right that Fitzgerald was put off by Rich's ability to hire a lawyer? So put off that he decided to prosecute said lawyer?

As for Comey and Libby, the entire event the WSJ describes takes place after Comey appointed Fitzgerald and confirmed his ability to pursue obstruction-type crimes.

And since you got to re-ask for my answer, what's your answer: did Fitzgerald single-mindedly pursue Libby, as the WSJ suggests? What would Karl Rove say about that?

Jesus, Jeff. Fitz knows that Cheney ordered the leak on Flame. Libby has testified that he wouldn't do anything not authorized and went one step further and checked around with a peer when apparently he didn't trust tricky Dick.

Now he is stuck with the memory defense. Stuck with the memory defense. Christ. Presumably his replacement remembers better who the enemy way a few weeks ago.

Jeff, that's a long memo.

Condi? Condi?


ew is very kind to the nytimes in this post. It's true, sometimes we all do have to step it down a bit …

As this trial starts, it is really important for everyone to stay on top of this. Ask questions, push the media to cover it, talk to people about it.
There is a chance that we can actually do something to really help this country, because regardless of which defense Libby uses, everyone knows that the root of the cover-up rests in the Oval Office and EVERYONE there has secrets.
People are going to be learning, talking, making connections about all sorts of things. There is no way for the connections to stay hidden. Too many people know too much for the 'Bush' machine to hide much longer. And, once we have 'them' in the open, then it is easier to see who else is hiding in the shadows.

This trial of Libby's really could open the window to the many secret and sordid connections re; the long and varied history of Bush Snr and family, Mr and Mrs Clinton, 'whilst President and Governor', various other partners/players, lots of dirty little secrets, dead bodies and lots and of money/power...
And, before anyone says that Fitzgerald has a limited mandate, that is not quite correct. When he was given the job by Comey he was also given authority 'To take the Investigation to where-ever/whomever/whatever it may take him'.(paraphrased)
Supposedly. Fitzgerald has secrets of his own, but this trial opens the door to the true Bad Guys and gives him the opportunity to prove he really is one of the 'Good Guys'.
Well I can hope, can't I? :)


And, before anyone says that Fitzgerald has a limited mandate, that is not quite correct. When he was given the job by Comey he was also given authority 'To take the Investigation to where-ever/whomever/whatever it may take him'.(paraphrased)

In connection with the Motion to Dismiss the COURT had to determine the scope of Fitzgerald's mandate and it did. That is why it is correct to say it is limited - the COURT RULED that it is limited and indeed, the court ruled that if it were not limited the appointment would have violated the Constitutional prohibitions on appointment of principal officers without advice and consent of Congress.

Tom: FWIW, I am fully on board with Libby representing his client at the time, Rich, as well as he could - no fault there. I also think the Rich pardon was very sleazy on Clinton's part and IMO there was a bit more maneuvering and power/political/money transfers going on than even the ones that we ended up knowing about.

On the scale of pardons, though, I think it falls somewhat behind the sleazy Ford pardon of Nixon and definitely very far behind the George H.W.Bush pardons of the full Iran-Contra complement and I think it is a horribly scandalous thing that Elliot Abrams is once again working in the WH, after bald faced and unapologetic, outright lies.

Of course, I don't blame Abrams lawyer (or Weinbergers) for getting them pardons. I do blame Bush 41 for the pardons and Bush 43 for brining the pardoned back into the fold. And for continuing security clearances for all the forget boys he plays with.

So there you go.

I also don't think that there has ever been any real evidence about the who did what, who said what, on the NSA program, but no one denies that it ended up going on. IMO, there was some PR pumping for Comey and Goldsmith to try to paint them as white knights, but an examination of other stories indicates that what may have been going on is a shut down that was originally precipitated by the Chief Judge of the FISA Court. There was certainly a WaPo story that, at a fairly overlapping period of time, the Chief Judge became very upset after learning that controls that were supposed to have been established to keep the illegal program information from tainting the FISA Court had been either disregarded or incompetently applied and the threat was coming from the Court. That DOJ officials like COmey or Goldsmith might have been more amenable to working to address the FISA judge's requirements, whereas Addington and Cheney might have felt more inclined to disregard the threats coming from the Court --- well, that might have painted a bit different picture of the nature of the dispute.

Here's the other thing - lawyers dispute things with each other all the time without holding a grudge - so Rich or NSA notwithstanding, there's no reason for Comey to have a personal feeling of animosity to LIbby over those occurences and certainly, Comey did not land in a slot where a WH enemy would land. In addition, ending up with a Spec Couns - which Comey facilitated - as opposed to the Indep Counsel, which Congress was really pushing for.

Comey made nice with Congress and played Mr. PR to save the WH from a full blown Indep Couns investigation. I'm also thinking Comey, who headed up the "research" of the Padilla classified info and filed the "ok to torture Arar" affidavits ---- doesn't really lose that much sleep over the NSA program. And again, no one anywhere is saying that anything much happened to the program based on his "Palace Revolt." If anything, it appears that what likely occured is that they put better controls in place to address the FISA Court concerns that the illegal program info not be used in filings with the Court and thereby getting the Court in a happier frame of mind with respect to DOJ. All fwiw - jmo, but easily as defensible as the no names, no facts WSJ spec.


At the risk of being repetitive, let me ask again: do you really believe, as the WSJ alleges, that Fitzgerald, unlike you, me and the overwhelming majority of lawyers, judged an attorney by the client he kept, and judged Libby for representing Rich to such an extent that he pursed a purportedly (but not really) single-minded investigation of him?

That is just laughable. Whatever you think of him, Fitzgerald is deeply involved in the culture of lawyers and surely understands that you cannot judge an attorney by his client.

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