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February 03, 2007


In this scenario, the reference to Kristof might be a reference to Kristof's second column on the Niger claims, which came out on June 13, one day after Pincus' article.

I knew there was something else that was bothering me about this note when I first read it, but now it strikes me as though for the first time!

"behest" is from the lede of Kristof's June 13 story. It is absent from his May article.

Now, to be careful, it remains possible that this was still written before Kristof's June 13 article in preparation for it - perhaps, for instance, Kristof had called and had said, "I'm hearing that the trip was set up at OVP's behest."

But it's also quite possible it was written after the publication of Kristof's column.

Speaking of fuzzy chronologies, how old is the leftover pizza in the Plame House fridge?

Excuse me. I meant "was."

So here's a funny little tension that I think happened yesterday.

As most of you know, I live in MI. I flew back to MI yesterday from DC. As it turns out, I have flown to Asia so much on business that I'm an "elite" level traveler, which means that I get bumped up to First Class pretty consistently. In other words, I was flying to MI, on first class, on the Friday after a Legislative week.

I get on the plane and a middle-aged, not unattractive but gaining too much weight man [not my type though, particularly with the extra pounds] helps me put my briefcase up in the overhead. I don't look at him closely at that point, I just take out my copy of Lawrence Walsh's Firewall and throw it on my chair, which happens to be across the aisle from the gaining too much weight man. Once we get airborne, I take out the laptop and start writing one of yesterday's posts, about how Cheney's at risk.

A little later, I look over at the guy, he's got a folder of "articles from staff" that he's reading. One of them is on Islamism. Hmm. I say, I wonder who he is. So I look closer.

I'm not certain, but I'm almost positive it was Congressman Mike Rogers, who lives about 30 minutes north of me. That's significant to this story for two reasons. First, Rogers was challenged this past year by Jim Marcinkowski, Valerie Wilson's classmate from the CIA. And, Rogers is the guy who hired Fred Fleitz, formerly John Bolton's fixer in relations between State and CIA, to create shameless propaganda on the House Intelligence Committee. In other words, Rogers is someone just at the tangents of this story, and as a neocon shill, he has a keen incentive to see Libby get off.

FWIW, whoever it was was watching me work out of the corner of his eye.


Oh, that's still edible. I think it was from Wednesday night. The big pizza, I mean. If there's a smaller one, I wouldn't eat THAT ONE.


That would make a ton of sense--I didn't read back though the Krisof column. I kept wondering, about the note, why the fuck Cheney would admit to the trip being "at the behest." He wasn't. He was parroting Kristof.

Wednesday night, huh? Oh, well, it reheated very well and was indeed very edible.

Yeah, the small one did look a little scary. I'll save that for Jane and see if she wants any.

Swopa!! She's supposed to be recovering. A 10-day old pizza isn't going to help!

You can thank Jeralyn for the pizza. But please save me one of those hoppy homebrews.

And people say I'm not chivalrous. I don't know how that talk gets started.

Oh, about the post -- great breakdown of the possibilities. Regarding scenario four, though, I think the loop at the bottom of the overwritten number looks just like the loop at the bottom of the "1" next to it.

(I did have the same thought you did at first, however -- but I can't tell for sure if there's anything else besides a straight line down going on behind the "2" Libby overwrote.)

My WAG re: the overwritten number.

First of all, it would be helpful if we had more of Libby's notes for exemplars of his digits. That being said, I definitely don't think the overwritten digit is a 5, and probably not an 8. I think it might be a 7, with the line through it, or more likely a 9. It would be easy to rule 7 out if we saw Libby's 7, as if it doesn't have a line through it, end of story as there is clearly a horizontal line that is overwritten about 4/5 of the way down on the 2.

The reason I think this is a 7 or 9, is the "hook" at the bottom of the overwritten number. Look at his 1 right before it, it also has a hook. The slashes in the date also have hooks, although the first slash displays the hook more prominently. The hook seems to be a result of Libby's slanted handwriting to the right; as he finishes off his vertical stroke, he's already moving the pen up and to the right to begin the next character (or slash in this case). The hook is a little trail from his moving the pen before he lifts it off the paper. Thus, whatever number this is, it has to have a vertical bar component to it. 5 and 8 don't fit that bill.

This could also be a 4, but I doubt it because Libby's 4 down below looks almost like a lowercase y, with the crossbar of the 4 ending at the vertical stroke, not continuing through it to the right, as the picture suggests. Also, the 14th was a Saturday and according to Schmall, Libby was at home that day. I guess he could have come into the office, but I kind of doubt it.

So my money's on the 17th or 19th, both of which are intriguing for reasons that EW explains above. I kind of like the 19th even more, possibly this is the day that Libby definitively learns that Plame is covert from VP and that's why he's so circumspect with Edelman.

Regarding the Mike Rogers run-in. If you're wondering, he was on the left side of the aisle, I was on the right. Go figure.

it looks like the number Libby may have overwritten could be a 5 or an 8 (see the loop below the bottom of the 2)

Hmmm. I think the "1" was definitely added before the emended two because it's a very odd "1"--with a tale to the right. You mentioned something about letter spacing before. Do we have other documents where Libby writes out the date? Does he usually put a "zero" into a single digit date? That would explain the little tale to the right that could have been erased in some way. . .or he added it later and his guilt made him add the tale. I don't think the crossed over number could have been a 5 either. What does a June 8 scenario mean?

"The biggest detail supporting this claim is just the document itself--it looks like the number Libby may have overwritten could be a 5 or an 8 (see the loop below the bottom of the 2)."

i don't think it looks like a 5 or an 8, the loop below the bottom of the 2 looks just like the loop at the bottom of the 1, something the writer does with downward strokes - look at the lines separating the day, month and year.

based on that, i would guess a 9 - or someother number that ends with a downward stroke.

wow - looks like i have lots of (faster typing) company with similar ideas on the original number under the "2".

Do congressmen always fly first class?

I think it's a 4. Half of writing the number consists of a downward stroke similar to his 1. Also, my observation differs from viget a little in that Libby's numeral 4 down below in the note does show the curl to the right albeit not as pronounced as the downstoke in the 4 up top. The 4 lower in the page is smaller than the up top 4 which might have altered his writing mechanics. For an idea of the variability in writing the same numbers, compare the two 3's on the note. The 3's look to be sufficiently different to account for the kind of variability that mighht appear writing a 4.

Again, how beneficial would it be to move the date forward on the note from the 14 to the 12 ? Would it have the intended effect of diminishing the appearance of reacting to the press (articles by Kristof on the 13, Pincus on the 12) ?

Also compare the 1's - the up top 1 in the date date and the "1)" down below. The 1 down below, like the 4, is smaller than the 1 up top and doesn't have the same pronounced curl to the right at the bottom.

viget - Libby's "7" doesn't have a line through it, at least in his handwritten notes from Air Force Two, per Government Exhibit #528A (but his "1"'s are straight lines in that exhibit too, so they aren't consistent).

Do congressmen always fly first class?

nope..only evil neocons can afford it, democrats always fly economy or drive VW bugs

do you think maybe he flies a lot like Marci and gets upgraded maybe???

pow wow - can you tell if the same type of pen was used? this one looks like it might be a fountain pen. i wonder if using different types of pens might change the handwriting characteristics slightly?

Okay, I think it's a 9.

Why? Because look at the (presumed) talking points that Libby wrote in his note. One of them has to do with the IAEA. Now, if we go with the theory that the way Cheney and Libby operate is to devise talking points to rebut published assertations (a la the famous Wilson Op-ed Cheney wrote on), can someone please point to me where in either of Kristof's two columns he mentions the IAEA and Niger forgeries?

OTOH, there is quite a lengthy section near the end of the New Republic Article about the IAEA and forgeries, as well as all the other talking points mentioned in the note. And that article came out 6/19/03.

So, in sum I think Libby backdated the note to the 12th and added the "Kristof NYT article" bit to make it look like the note was a strategy session with Cheney about how to deal with Kristof. Now that might very well be true, but my money is that this was a strategy session with Cheney to figure out how to respond to the TNR article, especially because it has Wilson quoted directly and probably pissed off Cheney royally.

selise - The color on the pdf scans and the overall impression of the styling seems pretty similar to me, on both exhibits, but I certainly can't be sure. Very possibly the paper used made a difference (one note is on Libby's normal notetaking paper presumably, and the other is on an OVP steno pad).

Great to see that Swopa's already "in town" and warming up...

My vote is that it is a 9 (first choice) or maybe an eight, but it matches the line on the one perfectly to call it a 9. (IMHO)

Great article E.W...also loved the stuff from eRiposte on fdl...good stuff.

interesting that on this note he adds the 03 where the dates on exhibit 528A don't have that . Looking closely at both side by side, it looks more like the 9 than his 4 or 7.

Jerelyn has some new goodies up on her blog about weekend filings here.

What does it mean if Libby was telling Pincus as early as June 12th that Wilson's wife worked at CIA? (And is this new info??)

4 or 7. On the 14th Schmall (funny name!) follows up Libby's questions and someone calls Cheney. On the 17th Tenet calls Dick after receiving a memo about Iraq and uranium (thks to the KOS Plame Timeline). Why isn't the 17th an option in your scenarios EW?

viget wrote: "And that article came out 6/19/03."

For magazines, the date on it is not necessarily when it came out, but when it's supposed to be pulled from the stands. If that's the case with the New Republic article, that means it actually came out on June 12 (assuming you didn't already take this into account when writing the 19th).

Okay, I like 9 too. Besides the little hook at the bottom of the downstroke, the overwritten 2 has a line connecting its top curve and its midline stroke, which would be consistent with a 9 underneath. Could also be a 4, though.

Jim E

He didn't tell Pincus of Plame on June 12--he just lied to Pincus and said that an "aide" in OVP had asked for more info on the Niger allegations.

kim (and others)

I'm just going by sight--mostly that cross-line that closes the 2. But I'm fairly agnostic about what it is.

Jim E

That's already taken into consideration. I believe the date is 20-something. So 19 is the day it appeared online.

Jim E. ---

The TNR article on the web states it was posted 6/19/03, and published in the 6/30/03 issue.

I think Libby may have tried to cover it up that this was in response to the TNR article becasue it shows that someone in his office was trawling the toobz to find any articles remotely related to Wilson, the 16 words, and/or Nigerien uranium and Iraq, thereby undercutting any memory defense he might use (and that he didn't even know about Wilson until the July 6 oped).


The cable news hairdos can only wish they had a tiny portion of your insight, your logic, your wit and your smile. Thank you, Marcy!

My, what a tangled web we see in this little snip of handwriting. My money is on Scenario Four. Whatever the dates prove to be, the act of altering the date seems fishy to me.

I think I concur with DonnaS's theory from EW's DailyKos diary cross-posting:

This was originally an 11, with the second 1 then x-ed out, and the number 2 subsequently traced a few times over the x-ed-out 1. The tail of the 2 seems to have been used to cover a part of the x, and Terre's blow-up in that diary of the number shows the very top of the second 1 still showing above the 2.

Someone else in that diary pointed out that this is written on a sheet of looseleaf 3-ring-binder paper (or at least a pre-punched perforated notepad), so if it's Libby's regular notebook, he's not using a bound book. Which would make rearranging his entries, removing entries, and concealing the chronology very easy, it would seem, in general. Don't know how many clues the investigators got from the "context" of this note's neighbors, if any.

pow wow, the top of that number could just as easily be a 4 or a 9 as a 1, and the spacing between the first 1 and the second number actually works better if it's a 4 or a 9. The x-ing out seems unnecessary as an explanation, as the angle of the 2, written over a few times, is sufficient by itself to account for the crossbar effect, no X needed. JMO, of course.

I think the "T" stands for Tenet not telephone. It sounds to me like Tenet spoke with VP on phone re: uranium, etc., and that Tenet said debriefing took place here, there was a regional meeting, and also says wife works at CP. Then lower part of the note goes on to say how to respond to that, i.e., 1,2,3,4.


Interesting suggestion--though it would suggest Addnginton perjured himself. He's the one who said T was Libby's shorthand for telephone.

FWIW, now I think it's a loopy 5 with a dash, after fooling around with Photoshop. Maybe he added the /03 later?

pow wow -

@ 16:12 - thank you.

@ 17:59 - ok, if you're going to get complicated about it... ;-) how 'bout a 1 that was changed to a 9 that was changed to a 2?

Looking at government exhibit GX528B01 from 1/25/07

Did Cathie Martin place the date 7/12/03 on her notes?

Minus the vertical line we're seeing in Libby's 6/12/03 writing on GX 104, the "2" on Martin's note looks reworked, as well--or it's an artifact of the ink and scanner.

He submitted the note, right?
I have to think if it was terribly incriminating he could have stuffed it in his socks, brought it home, and cut it into pieces.
Or re-written it rather than put the tilde on it at all.
Why would he find a note, do a half-baked and obvious job of re-dating it, and then turn it in?

It looks like an eight to me.


Sure, that's a good point.

But then, he had the same opportunity to at least tell a plausible story. He didn't do that, either.

"He submitted the note, right?"

IMHO, he "submitted the note" prior to Ashcroft's recusal, December 2003.

I can still see it being a 4, or even a 9 perhaps. Maybe Libby threw 6/14/03 on there (in relation to the 6/13 Kristof article) when the investigation began, after he found this note, and knew he couldn't take it home in his socks (because maybe a staffer saw it too, or first). But then Libby realized that 6/14 was a Saturday or otherwise somehow a problem for his cover story, and he'd have to amend that date. If it was a regular part of his notebook, as RevDeb pointed out, why add the 03? Or maybe he did that as a matter of course on every entry.

We don't yet have any other Libby daily notes to compare it to, but I think the defense has plenty to submit in connection with the faulty memory defense, if they so choose, so we may get a chance to compare entries and their layout and penmanship next week.

But then, he had the same opportunity to at least tell a plausible story. He didn't do that, either.

It certainly isn't plausible as a fabricated cover story. As the truth, it seems just about as confused as all those testifying against him.

IMHO, he "submitted the note" prior to Ashcroft's recusal, December 2003.
Again, though, you seem to be saying he would have done this because he expected Ashcroft to cover for him. But if he expected Ashcroft to cover for him, wouldn't he expect Ashcroft not to care if he just tossed the note out or rewrote it?

Swopa, the pizza should be fine. We ordered it on Weds. night. I also left some Grand Marnier and some Conundrum, my favorite white wine.

Enjoy your stay, and I'm looking forward to reading your live-blogging. I wish I could have stayed longer.



This sounds like a case for obsessed.

So Mr Libby isn't Mr Perfect after all! He has to correct himself. He even forgets things.

Seems perfectly straightforward and to be expected according to his Defense.

I'm going for 5 - you can see a little of the top sticking out at the top of the 2, on the right.

Marcy --
Interesting run-in with Rogers. I wonder how much of what you were doing he actually saw and whether he knew who you were. Given the relationship of Jim M. and Valerie, it's pretty ironic that you'd wind up across the aisle from Jim's opponent at this point in time.

Have a great week at home. I can't wait to hear Jennifer's SoS speech Tuesday night. She's been taking quite a beating in the press, but I have faith that she'll do what needs to be done to improve our situation in the state. I just love listening to her speak.

See you at the convention in a few weeks. I'm going to stay in all day tomorrow and try to finish your book -- it will be so cold out, I won't feel like leaving the house.

Oh, yeah, FWIW, I think it looks like an "8" under that "3," but would it make sense for him to pre-date it rather than make it seem like it was later than it really was? My head is exploding trying to keep everything straight. I sure hope the jury can follow along better than I seem to be able to.

As the truth, it seems just about as confused as all those testifying against him.

I disagree with this. I think Libby told a very coherent story. It just happened to be false. But it hung together, and what's more it perfectly addressed a variety of needs Libby might be expected to have and need to meet.

"But if he expected Ashcroft to cover for him, wouldn't he expect Ashcroft not to care if he just tossed the note out or rewrote it?"

Absolutely not.

In 2002 Scooter is not going to toss out that note. It shows what others knew, that Scooter wasn't some loose cannon (as Rove later tried to depict him) and it adds to the appearance of transparency. Nobody knows in 2002 that Scooter will be the only one indicted. I think Scooter really really wanted to get that note to the FBI. In 2002 it's his insurance policy. Now, later, Scooter decides to take one for the team, but clearly, in 2002 he didn't even anticipate the possibility of Ashcroft's recusal, which is the kind of short term thinking that got us into Iraq, plan only for the "best case" scenario.

In the long run, 2010, 2015 I think Scooter's thinking was, there is no better cover than, "the FBI already looked into this and they found no evidence we had done anything wrong and they closed their investigation."

Once the FBI closed their investigation, in order for someone to reopen it, you first have to prove the FBI was negligent. That's some really nice insulation. Look at what happened in the Enron case; Skilling and Lay hid behind their lawyers: "the lawyers said it was OK."

IMO, this is why Cathie Martin and David Addington are such effective witnesses. They really didn't leak anything, so they told the FBI absolutely everything. They thought they had no reason to lie about the leak and they too thought Ashcroft would protect them. I suspect Scooter went into those FBI interviews with the intention of giving the FBI everything it wanted, up to a point, which is what he did. He screwed himself when he tried to change it before the GJ.

My guess is that Addington and Martin told the GJ, almost exactly what they told the FBI. At that point, they aren't going to lie and if that's a problem for Scooter, too bad for him. That's why they didn't get charged with obstruction and perjury.

Down the road, if you work in the WH and you know that someone is routinely leaking classified information to reporters, I think you're supposed to write a date stamped, traceable memo or something, document your concerns. We have whistleblower laws. Addington and Martin didn't do that, because they both knew that Bush and Cheney wanted stuff leaked. They both put their employment to the Bush WH above our nation's national security. Did Martin and Addington do anything illegal? I suspect so. Can it be proven? I don't know. Were they grossly negligent wrt routine protection of national security? I would say yes.

Jodi, have you bought emptywheel's book yet?

For what it's worth, on page 345, "Politics of Truth" Joe Wilson says that between the July 8th meeting in his office with his friend who reported meeting Novak on the street -- and the appearance of the July 14th Novak article, he received a call from Walter Pincus telling him, "They are coming after you." Joe doesn't give an exact date, just a range of about a week.

Could it be that the mutilation of the date on Scooter's memo had something to do with conforming or not conforming to the time of Pincus's warning call?

I would just observe that this time period, July 2003, is well within the time when Bush Administration no warrent wiretaps were taking place (and are taking place), and it is clearly within the range of possibilities that once Cheney and Libby were on the hunt for Wilson and his contacts they could well have ordered up a cover on Wilson's phone under that program, and thus known of the Pincus warning call. Such would be a motive for making a date somewhat indeterminate.

"They are coming after you." What a nice phone call!!!

John Casper,

my local (actually my grandmom's cause I'm working out of her house) BAMM store says it will be here Feb 16.

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emptywheel --

Reading this during your liveblogging of Agent Bond's testimony the other day, I had to raise an eyebrow (emphasis mine):

DB [reading it] 6/12/03 with line over top. T=telephone, y=VP, regarding uranium and, Q means Iraq. Kristof, NYT. [Note, 12 is darker, as if written over]

Anybody care to wager on what OVP shorthand is for Iran?

Bonus: while digging up the DB testimony liveblog (by the way, searching for "q" on google isn't particularly fun), I stumbled across this emptywheel post from last year, Search and Replace: Q, N.

okay, having the benefit of today's testimony, I say it's an 8 or a 9 and was turned into a 12 by Libby.

From Swopa's FDL liveblog:

F: Under the 12, were you correcting something?

L: Might ahve been an 18, then corrected it to 12… realized it wasn't the 18th. I couldn't tell without a microscope. (laughs)

Fitz, let us know you pressed forward on this one with a forensic graphologist. That would be a surprise witness.

I think Libby told a very coherent story. It just happened to be false. But it hung together..

Sure, especially if he had forgotten about talking to Ari Fleischer. Or did Libby think that an investigation into who talked to the press would overlook the press secretary?

Or, if we grant that Libby had genuinely forgotten about Fleischer, what else do we have to grant him? Did he genuinely forget about Miller on June 23 and July 8, or did he figure her lawyers would fight off any subpoenas? (No reporter did, and Novak, for one, was advised by his attorney to surrender or die, but maybe Libby had more upbeat lawyers.)

And what did "Russert reminded me on the 10th or 11th" add to the timeline that Libby did not already have with "Rove reminded me when he told me about Novak on the 10th or 11th"?

*IF* Libby were making stuff up, the Russert fabrication adds nothing; since Libby was not a source for a Russert story, he might even guess that Russert would eventually testify to this.

And what issue did Libby solve by claiming he sourced it to reporters? As long as he keeps chanting that he did not know she was classified, he is legally clear. And if they can prove otherwise, he is dead whether he claims to have sourced it to reporters or not.

Well. I am not a high priced Washington lawyer with years of experience but I could have invented a better cover story in about five minutes.

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