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February 04, 2007


EW, why does this document look like someone cut and pasted the middle section? From just below "They need by Saturday morning" to just above the name "Joseph"? When I shift over the mid section, the loop for the "y" in Saturday and the "g" in morning shift over fine- but bottom of the "T" in They and the "y" in by are now out of place. Was this part of the redaction process?


No, I suspect it was part of the faxing process.

The fourth name is Will Tobey, one of Bob Joeseph's deputies at the time. I realigned the names in photoshop, sorry I'd post a jpg, but I'm not quite sure how to. If you want me to email it to you EW, I'd be happy to.

BTW, I found this WaPo article dated August 10, 2003 and bylined by Gellman and Pincus explaining the debunking of the aluminum tubes story while googling Will Tobey to find out who he is. EW or Polly, has this article ever come up before for any significant reason?

viget Yes please: emptywheel at gmail dot com

Thanks, emptywheel! I have not been following this stuff that closely, but I have just ordered your book so I can from now on. I have always been bothered by the whole Tenet blame-taking, medal-receiving resignation -- even before the Plame investigation. It is nice to know that my radar was functioning. Tenet got his medal for falling on the sword and then he quit -- leaving this investigation behind??? Was the CIA the real target of the Plame outing for raining on VP's parade? To punish it -- as much or more than Wilson?


Per the SSCI report, the Jan 24 fax was sent over to help prepare for Powell's speech. Later on, SSCI says that the WH added a bunch of garbage to Powell's speech which got stripped out. So, it is entirely possible that this Jan 24 doc was used by NSC really for the Powell speech but they may have also decided to take something from it to include in the SOTU speech. Either way, the fact that even Alan Foley objected to the inclusion of the claim prior to SOTU indicates that they can't just rely on the Jan 24 document for supporting their fraud.

The SSCI report never stated exactly when the Foley Joseph exchange occurred. Based on the history of what we've seen, it must have been to hide the chronology (Jan 24 vs. Foley-Joseph exchange).

Got a question... might be interesting.

Larry Johnson is pointing out that this memo introduced at the Libby trial shows that Cheney was being briefed on an ACCORD between Iraq and Niger to supply 500 tons of yellowcake. Not "trade contacts", not "aggressively seeking", but "HAS A SIGNED ACCORD".

Something that's been bothering me about Joe Wilson's report... if he was sent to check out rumors of "seeking uranium", his report DOES seem a little thin. That's one of the things the White House has been flogging him with; he didn't do enough deep digging, meet with enough people, to discredit all possibilities (note: you can't disprove a negative, of course).


What if he was sent to check out the existence of the (spurious) Iraq/Niger Uranium ACCORD?

Suddenly, it makes perfect sense. If there was a claim that Iraq had actually signed an agreement with Niger, that would be pretty easy to debunk - and that's PRECISELY what Wilson does, meeting with the main Nigerien officials and ascertaining that

* no accord has been signed, and
* considering the way the Nigerien industry is structured, there's no way for an accord like that to function.

The Admin's whole take on this, from the beginning, was misdirection, no?

* He lied! It wasn't the Vice President's office that sent him!
* The OVP never got an official report stamped with "From Joe Wilson, Amb (ret)"!
* And anyway, his report was inconclusive! He wasn't able to definitively prove that Iraq WASN'T "actively seeking Uranium in Africa" (the classic "You can't disprove a negative")

But... if he was sent (at the prodding of the OVP) to debunk the ACCORD, then that explains a lot. And it particularly explains why they would switch the focus to "Who sent him?" - because the whole thing really highlites just how thin their arguments were. They went from "There is a definite agreement for 500 tons of yellowcaked" to "an Iraqi wanted to come and talk trade, which MUST MEAN yellowcake, although of course, that meeting didn't happen."

Pretty pathetic reason to start a war, eh?

Document questions: 1. What do you make of the printed text on the upper right of the cover page that seems to read: "WHITE HOUSE SITUATION ROOM" and below it, more intriguingly, "2003 JAN 24 PM [?] 0:53"? My initial thought was that the written time was not 20:47 but 00:47. But that looks really a lot like a 2. Also, is the "See pp. 2-3" in the same handwriting as the rest of the writing on the cover page? It's hard for me to tell. But it seems important, because if it's not, if it reflect some later notation from July 2003, it would suggest that the faxer and possible the faxees were less specifically focused on the uranium claim (since the document appears to have been 34 pages). By the same token, if that is, say, Walpole pointing Libby, Hadley, Joseph and the other guy to just those pages out of 34 pages, that means they were really quite focused on it.

Great work, viget, by the way. I'm impressed.

The thing we would want to know also is, was Bob Joseph working on the UN presentation at this time? Because if he wasn't, and I have a hard time imagining he was, what with the SOTU coming up, it points that much more to this document being directed at the SOTU process, not the UN presentation process, as the SSCI sort of claims.

Thanks for your investigative and analytical energies, all!

EW - received the five copies of your book I ordered and will be leaving two in a few local cafes for patrons to read and donating two to area schools. The local bookstore has stocked a few extras and I'll encourage friends to buy it. It looks great on the scan - I look forward to reading it tomorrow night. Thanks for cranking the book out!

this is the only place i can think of to ask for help, because i'd like to read the liveblogging of the trial. however,
for the past ten days (but not before then -- i followed the first few days), i've been getting the
following message every time i try to go to firedoglake
Access forbidden!
You don't have permission to access the requested directory. There is either no index document or the directory is read-protected.
If you think this is a server error, please contact the webmaster.
Error 403
Mon Feb 5 06:16:31 2007.

I'm in Paris -- i know the problem isn't all overseas sites because Avedon Carroll isn't having a problem. None of the computers in my network can reach it -- and there is no reason i can think of for that, unless they've locked out non-anglophone IPs??
all mail to webmaster there bounces as well.
i have cleared my cache and all the other things i think i'm supposed to check.
what am i doing wrong?


Thanks for the compliment. I didn't think that it was that big a deal, but thanks anyway.

Regarding your other document questions, I can't make out the stamp, but I think it's got to be an 8, as there is clearly a "PM" in front of it. You wouldn't put 0:53 PM, that makes no sense. And since it was faxed over from the CIA at 8:47 per the notation (which is the same handwriting as the message number, so I think it's from whomever actually does the faxing at CIA, a secy or assistant type), the 8:53 stamp would be by the person at the other end, indicating that it had been received.

"See pp.2-3" is tough one.... not so sure what to make of it. It doesn't look like Bob Walpole's handwriting (or the handwriting from the other person who filled out the fax sheet), but I can't be sure. Not enough exemplars.

However, I also don't think it's from whomever refaxed it on July 11th either, as if you notice in the refax marks, the cover page was p.56 of some fax, whereas the report pages were pages 1 and 2 of a different fax. So, see pp.2-3 would be ambiguous in that case. My guess is that it's from someone in the WH Sit room (either Hadley, Libby, etc.) who had first looked at the report and then passed it on to someone else to peruse (maybe the Veep?) and noted that pp.2-3 were the salient parts.

Jody, are you trying this address
http://www.firedoglake.com ?

There's an old site, firedoglake.blogspot.

Traffic is very high, but no one is reporting your problem.

Nothing much happening right now. They are arguing about whether to let Scooter's GJ testimony go public. Fitz doesn't care.

You can email Christy at

reddhedd AT firedoglake DOT com

and tell her you're in Paris and that you are having problems.


FWIW, have you tried switching browsers? I find fdl works better for me with Firefox browser, but I'm in the US.

So are the GJ tapes of Scooter's testimony--audio versions--going to be released to the public? Am I reading the liveblogging correctly?

If so, that would be one of the most interesting things to happen in this saga yet. Hopefully someone with tech skills would be able to condense the hours of testimony into a "best of" version that is only an hour or so long, rather than 7 hours.

Jody, another idea is to try to get through using THE NEXT HURRAH link to FDL to your right on this page.

I can't make out the stamp, but I think it's got to be an 8

Ah, got it, I think you're right, that's helpful.

It doesn't look like Bob Walpole's handwriting (or the handwriting from the other person who filled out the fax sheet)

I tend to agree, which is why it's so intriguing.

thank you John. I can't get it from any link, though i can read google cashes. not really up-to-date. i'm using firefox, but i tried with IE and that doesn't work either. have emailed -- at least it hasn't bounced back yet, like email to webmaster there.

You are very welcome Jody.
I commented your tnh message over at FDL into the comments, so Christy should see it around the time she gets your email.

This is all that has happened so far:

It's 9:41.

Judge Walton: The first matter is press access to the grand jury tapes… it would appear to me that this circuit has given a level of importance to the public's right of access to exhibits. Considering the importance that our circuit has given to this right, [legalese for saying he's going to give press copies].

Jeffress objects, saying that the precedents don't really justify this step, and that the jury will find it impossible to avoid the publicity resulting from the release of tapes. (You mean they won't be able to avoid re-hearing the testimony they already heard in court??)

Walton doesn't see the difference between overhearing commentary on the tapes versus overhearing commentary on the transcripts.

Jeffress says that the intense media desire to get the tapes shows the greater play that they will receive. (He's got a point there.)

Fitz: We've stayed on the sidelines, letting Mr. Libby's attorneys and the press argue this… we take no position.

Walton says that the potential for greater media coverage is a concern — is he reconsidering?

Now a prosecutor is saying that the media coverage is unavoidable, but the context of having the whole tapes will be helpful. The press here in the media room, having a proverbial dog in this fight, occasionally bursts into kibitzing and brief arguments back at the screen.

The prosecutor now repeats my point about the jurors being exposed to the exact same material they've already heard. :)

It's 9:56.

Jeffress is now back up, reiterating that the higher level of discussion in general will result in accidental jury contamination.

Walton: I do have my concerns about the use of these tapes by the media… it's an awesome task to ensure that media coverage does not interfere with a fair trial, which is my paramount responsibility… but based on my reading of previous cases, I think the circuit (e.g., in an appeal) would rule that the tapes should be released, and it's not my job to speculate otherwise.

(I guess he wasn't really reconsidering; the exchange above was just a Socratic exercise of some sort. Let the record show that it took less than half an hour for me to become totally confused by what was going on in the courtroom.)

W: "The next matter…" Ooops, no, there's a break to address unspecified other matters. The reason for taking the break now has to do with a specific court reporter being available to handle the matter, whatever it is.

It's 10:06.

Still on break. But, um, I'm here just in case anything happens.

It's 10:32.

Jody, Christy confirmed to me in the FDL comments that she got your email. She's looking into it.

William "Will" H. Tobey, oversees $1.6 Billion budget for nuke nonproliferation as undersecy (jobtitle here) in Dept of Energy, nominated to post and approved by US Senate committee summer 2006. Baccalaureate Northwestern, another later degree from Harvard school of public policy; worked in Reagan administration and subsequent republican administration. His current agency post's biography of him and several other searchengine links are broken, but there is plenty on him on the internet, to begin research.

Good job on NPR Marcy, I drove around an extra 30 minutes today listening to you and York. The only comment I'd make is that York blurred the distinction between the President and VP regarding declassification, follow that up!, and maybe even the President needs to talk to Tenet before declassifying an agent's ID.

Hey John Lopresti! Wanna bet this guy was the procurer of materials under Nunn Lugar?

pg, a complicated issue, best left to the experts, above. As a minimum two repulbicans cobbled together something about nuke materials which became Nunn Lugar in the early 1990s. I would have to check a while to find out what the $1.6b accomplished. A cursory search yielded a bureaucratic site with speeches by a spectrum of arms experts. I had thought that the proximity of Tobey's expertise and responsibilities to those of CPD might make likely the appearance of his name on the covernote; good effort, viget. Additionally, I was mindful of the Grenier comment pseudotranscribed last week by our reporter ew characterizing CPD as likely almost all undercover folks though maybe with some nonundercover individuals.

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