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February 11, 2007


Excellent post Marcy.

What!?!? No comments, no suggestions from the master???

Damn I must be onto something!

You're always onto something! :-)

Here's one more bit of BS from the talking point document. Just after it says the January 24 document didn't include the INR disclaimer, it says,

In fact, two weeks earlier the State Department had issued a white paper that cited the Iraqi attempts to procure Uranium from Niger as proof that the Iraqi Declaration under UNSCR 1441 was false.

Of course, it was Bolton who issued this statement, in spite of INR's attempts to take this out. (And the date is wrong.) OVP trying to use its flackey's activities to suggest that State had changed its mind on the objections to NIger.

EW and eriposte! Wow! Time to ask: What did the Vice president know, and when did he know it?

1. about the fake Niger docs

2. about Valerie Plame's work at CIA

3. about Joe Wilson's and other reports that Iraq had no chance of obtaining uranium from Niger

4. about the fact that Joe Wilson is married to Valerie

What evidence do we have right now for the timing of these bits of Cheneyken?

I agree entirely with the gist of this. One item to add by way of confirmation, and one qualification. The confirmation is that Woodward reports in Plan of Attack that Libby did indeed make his big presentation of the case that Saturday, January 25.

The qualification is that I think we have to leave open the possibility that there were multiple interactions between NSC and CIA over the Niger story, not just the one between Joseph and Foley. Part of the reason I say this is because, I believe, Suskind in One Percent Doctrine dates the - or a - Foley-Joseph conversation to the day before or even the very day of the SOTU, that is, January 27 or 28. It's possible that Suskind just got it wrong. But it's also possible that there were ongoing discussions over the issue, including discussion on January 22 or 23 and discussion on January 27 or 28.

If there were multiple conversations, it certainly wouldn't undercut, and would probably in fact strengthen, your conclusions here. It just would make the story somewhat different from what you've got here.

I'll also just add that the notion of multiple conversations, with Foley and Joseph having their conversation on January 27 or 28, would fit very nicely with everything that is said in the somewhat puzzling section of the SSCI report, pp. 64-66.

One last thing: the NIO-to-NSC fax on January 24 was in response, according to the SSCI, to a request for additional details regarding IC input on the case for Saddam possessing WMD. The fact that not only were there no additional details provided, and instead just a cut and paste of the October 2002, the fact that that reptiotion was about fragmentary and uncertain information, and that evidently no progress whatsoever had been made in verifying it, may help to explain why the January 24 document would have been completely unconvincing to the folks at State. Indeed, it would seem to bolster, as a reasonable judgment, the idea that the Niger story was unreliable and perhaps even baseless.


Thanks for the info. I don't know when I'm going to get to Suskind's book and Woodward's book (and now Tenet's book). If you find stuff in those books pertinent to what I've been writing about and think it may be helpful, please send me emails as appropriate.


I have to ask, what were you doing around the time of the Iran Contra scandal. Back then my only solice came from reading books on the topic but none of the literature came out during the trials. I was absolutely tied in knots back then and imagine that if you and eRiposte had been around, maybe we wouldn't be sitting here to day dissecting this b.s. Thank you, great post.


That's the hope, anyway.

Are you Marcy? I was recommended to post my question to Marcy at The Next Hurrah, so here it is:

I read the article at the following link and am quite puzzled by it: http://www.americanthinker.com/2007/02/l ibby_trial_the_nbc_connection.html

I’ve been following the liveblog pretty closely and I can’t figure out what this guy is talking about. Namely, why would he say that Russert gave a false affidavit? I mean I understand the ethical issues and lack of forthrightness of talking to the FBI and then claiming confidentiality in retrospect through the NBC legal actions. (I just cracked that up to Russert’s not being too bright until the lawyers and real journalists smacked him up side the head.)

And then they go on to impugn the FBI agent for various reasons (including for retiring), say that the FBI report says that Russert DID tell Libby about Plame, and conclude that the evidence from the FBI and Russert are not credible.

Can someone fill me in on what I may have missed?
(PS I have considered the source, but I still want to understand what they could have based this on)

The AmericanThinker (what an oximoron) article by Clarice Feldman is also posted on Tom Maguire's web site.

The first response to her article was:
Clarice, you and TM really ought to back up your charges before you just spew them out there. Yesterday TM charged that Russert lied on the stand.

Now you're straight out charging Fitz with suborning perjury. Are you truly serious? You honestly believe Fitz committed a felony?

Would you be willing to swear out a complaint to that effect? What's holding you back? Aren't you a member of the D.C. Bar? Charge the guy already other than in a blog post!

Seriously, do you just carried away with ranting or do you actually believe this?

Needless to say Clarice had no answer for this.

Incidentally Clarice also refers to Jason Leopold in her article. Hilarious!

Thanks for the background Pete.

Wrt Journalists lying in the Scooter trial, "it's hard to find swans in the sewer."

If Russert is lying, that does not mean that Scooter is telling the truth.

Raw Story is just now posting a headline that Cheney WILL testify according to a story by Scott Shane & Jim Rutenberg of NYT set to run tomorrow.


I can't decide if that will be the height of denial for Cheney or his normal arrogance or if it's just a slow scoop day for Shane & Rutenberg.

Marcy - Walter Pincus had reported this earlier about a Jan 2003 memo from the NIO:

Tenet interceded to keep the claim out of a speech Bush gave in Cincinnati on Oct. 7, 2002, but by Dec. 19 it reappeared in a State Department "fact sheet." After that, the Pentagon asked for an authoritative judgment from the National Intelligence Council, the senior coordinating body for the 15 agencies that then constituted the U.S. intelligence community. Did Iraq and Niger discuss a uranium sale, or not? If they had, the Pentagon would need to reconsider its ties with Niger.

The council's reply, drafted in a January 2003 memo by the national intelligence officer for Africa, was unequivocal: The Niger story was baseless and should be laid to rest. Four U.S. officials with firsthand knowledge said in interviews that the memo, which has not been reported before, arrived at the White House as Bush and his highest-ranking advisers made the uranium story a centerpiece of their case for the rapidly approaching war against Iraq.

Was Pincus wrong? Or were there two memos from the NIO around the same time?

Or is there a third possibility? Most of the thirty some pages of this memo are blacked off, except for the two bullet points. Are these referred to in some context as alternate (and not definitive) viewpoints (planted by someone like Feith)?

eriposte posted once about a document which seemed to say something but when the redacted portions were exposed said something else. Could the same be true of this memo?

Jeff says:

Libby did indeed make his big presentation of the case that Saturday, January 25.

Libby tells us about this Saturday meeting, that he ordered in Chinese. One from column a, one from column b. (p. 22 of 2nd grand jury).

Vaguely related joke: According to Libby, when he and Judy Miller met at the St. Regis Hotel, they grabbed themselves a stool at the "coffee shop". (pp. 43 and 45)

I learned as a child that the reason for telling the truth is that you don't have to keep up with what story you told to which person. The story is always the same. We've got a lot of people in Washington right now who never figured this out [then again, they didn't have Master eriposte and Grasshopper emptywheel looking over their shoulders when they were kids].

yo, emptywheel, quit trying to fool the masses

we know you already snatched the pebble out of eriposte's hand long ago

don't try and feed us that "Grasshopper" line agian

and rxbus, you're in the right place. All of the info you list is the freepi justification of events in this trial (as supported by freepers like jodi)

in order for scooter libby to be found "Not Guilty", all of the other actors in this trial must be lying in conspiricy with each other

all of the FBI Agents, all of the Grand Jurors, Patrick Fitgerald and his entire staff, members of the media, Judge Walton, (and soon to include all of the Jurors on scooter's jury) are participants in a giant conspiricy to falsely accuse scooter libby

and this conspiricy also includes kkkarl rove; who set scooter libby up as the fall guy for this enormus conspiricy

it's either that (a conspiricy between about 100 people who have never met or spoken to each other), or scooter libby and a few people in the Whitehouse were involved in a conspiricy to out a NOC agent

in keeping with the bushista modus operendi, up is down, black is white, and the most implausible answer is the most likely to be right

it's occam's razor upside down

scooter is paranoid, or maybe the whole world IS out to get him

it's easy to believe the bushista bullshit as long as you don't have to admit you were wrong (right jodi)

believe scooter's fantasy at your own peril. Reality has a liberal bias


No, there were two reports from two different NIOs (National Intelligence Officers--the top intell officer on a particular subject). There was the rehashing of the NIE from the NIO for WMD and there was the "this is shite" memo from the NIO for Africa. Both arrived around the same time, but I think it probably went NIO from Africa, Foley intercedes, then they rehash the NIE.


I am Marcy.

Here's how you get to Clarice's crank. First, you have to ignore the fact that many of the interviews in Fall 2003 were very casual (all of them). Forgetting the consistent aspects of this (for example, forgetting that Fitz didn't ask about ANY conversations in June until he had good reason to suspect them) is a favorite right wing way to sow doubt.

Second, you misunderstand what it is Russert appears to be saying. Russert--at least in the liveblog--seemed to be saying, "I corrected the incredibly incorrect aspect of what Libby told me." Clarice then turns that into Russert denying that he remembered the call.

Finally, you ignore that what Russert did the first time is what many many many of the journalists did (including, most importantly, Novak)--just tell their side of things, not both.

Oh--and there's one point that Clarice seems to totally overlook! You see, according to Libby's second GJ appearance, he called Russert between his two GJ appearances, personally. Want to talk about impropropriety? You might start there. Because it sure sounds like Libby realized he needed Russert to protect him, Russert made a college try at doing so, and now Wells is using that to try to impugn Russert.

Marcy, are you going to DC this week?

How can two NIOs give two different answers? And Pincus's article said that the National Intelligence Council (there should be one of that right?) was the senior coordinating body whose reply was drafted by the NIO for Africa. So that means that the other NIO was contradicting the NIC. Isn't there some accountability in place?

Has this been discussed somewhere like SSCI?


Just arrived. I'm back on the liveblog.

"I'm back on the liveblog."

I really, really liked Swopa on the live-blog. Thought he was excellent, appreciated his sense of humor, and his stuff was ridiculously easy to read. He did a great job.

But I'm thrilled you're back on. I have a decent grasp of the details, and I do like that you are able to back more of the back and forth. I guess on a liveblog, more is better. (Plus, it seemed like Swopa updated every 20-30 minutes, while you did a better job of posting updates under 20 minutes.)

I know this is a group blog, but is there any chance that you'd put up an open Libby thread each day? Or is that what FDL is for?

Oh, one more thing about Clarice's rant. The FBI agent whose notes from Libby's second interview were less than stellar? That's not Eckenrode. I can look in the liveblog. But suffice it to say that Eckenrode didn't take those notes...

Hey Pete
Try looking at the archives of the stories Leopold wrote more than a year ago and I think you will find that many of them were dead on--at least if you read how the trial has progressed so far and what it has confirmed.

Leopold was more more often right than not.

Yea! Glad you're back. Swopa was great, but you wrote the book on the subject. You are super detail oriented and we appreciate it.


Just for the record, the WaPo story with my absolute favorite unconfirmed detail, about the January 2003 NIC memo, was by Gellman and Linzer, not Pincus.

Hey Pete
Try looking at the archives of the stories Leopold wrote more than a year ago and I think you will find that many of them were dead on--at least if you read how the trial has progressed so far and what it has confirmed.

Leopold was more more often right than not.

I do not want to debate Leopold.

What I found amusing (and I stated it quite poorly in my earlier thread) was that Clarice who has bashed Leopold countless times was now actually qouting from one of Leopold's article because that piece supported her viewpoint.


Just for the record, the WaPo story with my absolute favorite unconfirmed detail, about the January 2003 NIC memo, was by Gellman and Linzer, not Pincus.

You are right. I don't know why I thought it was Pincus.

IF I'm correct in assuming that the memo avoided the various intelligence reports (e.g. SSCI), how did that happen?

Well, it appears from the NYt tonight that Mr Cheney will testify, and Mr Libby won't.

Still, I doubt that Mr Cheney will be able to put everyone's concerns to rest.


Glad to hear you're back in Bull Run!

With rumors of Cheney planning to testify, I did some checking on the American Civil War: The Union win in the Battle of Antietam in Maryland is considered the turning point for the American Civil War, but I couldn't find references of civilians observing the battle, so the civilian observations of the First Battle of Bull Run in Manassas, VA offers more resonance with today's bloggers watching Libby's courtroom battle.

We'll just ignore the fact both Bull Run battles were defeats for the Union (or keep in mind that the Union defeats were defeats to a Republican administration). Nevertheless, Manassas, VA has at least one more historical battle which evokes a response today. In 1993 Manassas was the site of an "uncivil" war where one Dick was taken out of the House and tossed to the wind. Two names to recall: John Wayne & Lorena Bobbitt.

Lorena broke the law achieving her ends. Let's hope the Fourth Battle of Bull Run can be achieved without malicious wounding.

According to Isikoff, Russert's deal in testifying to Fitzgerald (rather than the grand jury) was:

Aug. 1 issue - A deal that special counsel Patrick Fitzgerald cut last year for NBC "Meet the Press" host Tim Russert's testimony may shed light on the emerging White House defense in the Valerie Plame leak case. The agreement between Fitzgerald and NBC avoided a court fight over a subpoena for Russert's testimony about his July 2003 talk with Dick Cheney's top aide, Lewis (Scooter) Libby. The deal was not, as many assumed, for Russert's testimony about what Libby told him: it focused on what Russert told Libby.

Which seems to be pretty much the same thing he did when the FBI phoned him at home. I don't know what 'college try' you think Russert gave Libby, as he was already on record with the FBI saying he wasn't Libby's source. Of course, that was a secret.

As to Libby calling Russert, it seems there was a lot of calling going around (Armitage's friend to Novak), or even home visits (Armitage visiting Grossman). Improper? Maybe.
There was a lot of pressure on Libby to get his witnesses to testify. They were using the fact that they wouldn't against him (see the letter from Conyers).

To return the favor to cboldt, and for everyone's information, here's the entire text of a very welcome, Friday, February 9, 2007 Order filed in the US Court of Appeals for the DC Circuit:

In re: Grand Jury Subpoena, Judith Miller [04-3138]

"Upon consideration of the motion of amici curiae Dow Jones and the Associated Press to unseal, the response thereto, and the reply, it is

ORDERED that the motion be denied without prejudice to refiling upon completion of the proceedings in United States v. Libby, No. 05-cr-00394, (D.C.D.C.).

Per Curiam

Mark J. Langer, Clerk

Michael C. McGrail
Deputy Clerk"

The timely end to one very untimely, disingenuous, hostile, and ultimately unsuccesful fishing expedition launched by powerful corporate protectors of the Vice President, Inc. Bravo, Deputy Special Counsel James Fleissner.

For more background on this, see earlier EW posts on this motion to unseal, and cboldt's site:


I'm pretty confident that Barry Quincy Tate is Jason Leopold, as per usual, pretending to be someone else. Wrt Jason being "right," it's easy when you steal the insights of emptywheel and others, who have done the hard work without attribution. That's why Jason spends so much time here, he's trying to find more insights for which he can invent "anonymous" sources to hide behind. What's "wrong" about Jason, among other things, is that he is a serial plagiarist.
Further amplifying his crime, once he publishes what he's stolen from others, he appears at FDL and tnh to drive traffic to his plagiarism.

I don't know what 'college try' you think Russert gave Libby, as he was already on record with the FBI saying he wasn't Libby's source.

1) Russert did not publicly disclose before the 2004 elections information which have been very damaging to the Bush admin.
2) Russert fought in court and the court decision could have gone in his favor.

One of the keys in understanding the case is that had it remained under Ashcroft, reporters who resisted would not have been forced to testify. Imagine how this case would have been if Cooper, Miller, Russert had given no testimony to the Grand Jury.

I have a feeling that this may also explain some of Scooter's antics. Novak would say that it was Armitage with Rove chipping in "I heard that too", so Scooter is free. Rove is somewhat on the hook (causing great friction as Scooter is the main culprit) so Scooter has to strengthen Rove's case by saying "all reporters knew and they told us".

As to Libby calling Russert, it seems there was a lot of calling going around (Armitage's friend to Novak), or even home visits (Armitage visiting Grossman). Improper? Maybe.

I love this. Perhaps you want to suggest that Armitage's conduct was improper, yet you can't quite without acknowledging that Libby's was improper. Grab both horns! They were both completely improper, clear efforts to shape the testimony of witnesses.

There was a lot of pressure on Libby to get his witnesses to testify. They were using the fact that they wouldn't against him (see the letter from Conyers).

In fall 2003? In early 2004? What was the date of the Conyers letter? And wasn't part of the issue why, on his own initiative, Libby personally contacted Russert, rather than brokering it through lawyers? The Miller thing was different, because she set as one of her conditions that she hear directly from Libby, but even then when they talked it was in the presence of lawyers. And oh yeah, there was that letter where Libby tried to coach Miller's testimony anyway in the full view of everybody, telling her what to say and suggesting she only talk about July 2003 - which she did, until pressed pretty hard on it by the prosecutor (and yes that's what I believe happened and no, I wouldn't expect the prosecution to depict it that way at trial).

Jeff- I have no idea if it was improper, it depends what they discussed. It could well have been improper.
Did Fitzgerald bring up Libby calling Russert at this trial? I don't remember it, but he may have. That would be a clue as to whether he found it improper or not.
Regardless, Russert had already told his story to the FBI.

Swopa has a great article today.

Libby's motive with regard to Matt Cooper is apparent: his false admission provided a convenient — and presumably intentional — cover for Karl Rove's failure to admit any conversation with Cooper. (If there really was a plan to "sacrifice" Libby to protect Rove, Scooter seems to have been a willing co-conspirator.) And evidence brought out during the trial implies a similar role for the Kessler confession.

I just received this in an email from Jason Leopold.

Mr. Casper
Perhaps you are unaware of what defamation and slander is. I am writing to you to establish a paper trail and give you fair warning that if you continue to publish comments on blogs asserting that I am a "serial plagiarist" and "invent sources" without so much as providing documented proof to back up your claims I will sue you for the infractions as I described above.

Clearly, you are unaware that even in the blogosphere defamation and slander is something that should be taken seriously and it is something that a person like me can seek relief for. So, I hereby advise you to retract the statements you made about me in the forum you made them and to send me a written apology, otherwise I will go after you in a court of law and force you to prove your allegations against me.

If you have an attorney I can send this letter to please provide the name and address.

Do I make myself clear?

Jason Leopold

Jason Leopold
Senior Editor/Reporter
10100 Santa Monica Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90067
(213) 270-4334
IM: JasLeopold

Jason Leopold is the author of the bestselling memoir NEWS JUNKIE. Visit
www.newsjunkiebook.com for a preview

Jason, I look forward to hearing from your lawyer. As an officer of the court I am very confident he will be interested in the vile physical threats you made against DHinMI under the pseudonym "Harry
Shed." In my opinion you are a very sick and dangerous man. I have no plans to apologize nor make any retraction.

Any further emails I receive from you, I will consider evidence of harassment and I will block your address. You have made vile statements about me under various pseudonyms at tnh. If I hear from your lawyer, I can share these as well.

Jason, another fact your attorney might be interested in is that I have been making the identical statements about you "serial plagiarism," and "inventing anonymous sources" for at least the last six months and perhaps for as long as a year.

You see, according to Libby's second GJ appearance, he called Russert between his two GJ appearances, personally.

I don't think this is exactly right. Libby is vague as to when he actually talked to Russert--probably deliberately so, but he doesn't actually admit to talking to Russert between his grand jury appearances:

Q. Okay. And, and what do you mean by not directly? A. I mean, I spoke to him but not -- I didn't talk to him about the content of the investigation. I did call him at one point to ask if he would be willing to talk to my lawyer.


Q. And do you know the time when you reached out to talk to Mr. Russert?
A. A few weeks back.

Q. Okay. A few weeks back being in March of 2004 or --
A. February, March, somewhere in there.

Q. And have you spoken to Mr. Russert since?
A. No.

Thank you Ruth. Jeff, do you find that improper?

MayBee - It is Libby's GJ testimony we are talking about right. The guy who lied and covered up throughout his GJ testimony. The guy who used his letter to Miller to highlight that it was ok to talk about July 2003

So where are we on knowing what OVP knew about Wilson's trip. Cheney's claims on "Meet the Press" (his best format): "And Joe Wilson—I don’t who sent Joe Wilson. He never submitted a report that I ever saw when he came back." - sounds like an awful amount of deliberate obscuring of the facts.

It may not be news to the experts here, but I was surprised to hear the testimony today that Libby already knew details of Wilson's trip in early June.

The juxtaposition of Cheney's comments on MTP and TYOI's comments on the stand today would make a powerful statement.

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