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June 20, 2007


Two points for Mr. Cohen - if Cohen isn't sure that Bush was involved, why did Bush get his own (private) legal counsel that would allow him to avail himself of solicitor-client privilege, instead of relying on the White House Counsel? (OK, I know if my ass was on the line I might not want to rely on Gonzales' legal advice either, but I'm sure the lack of s/c privilege was the reason Bush went with private counsel). Second, Cohen seems to be bemoaning the setting of perjury traps as a political weapon - something I would agree was the case in the Clinton case, where not only was there no underlying crime, there was no underlying TORT! (the Paula Jones sexual harassment case was dismissed on summary judgment - there was no "there" there). In this case, not so much. The "no underlying crime" argument seems to be to have application beyond poor Scooter's case - in U.S. v. Nixon, one of the grounds for breaching "executive privilege" is the existence of a criminal case, and I think that the Watergate veteran Fred Fielding is thinking a couple of moves ahead here to protect the White House - if it is also a useful Libby talking point, that's a bonus, but not the real argument.


maybe you should take a break from this if it is causing you such distress.

And whether Cohen is correct or not, he has a right to his opinion, and the right to express it, just as any blogger has a right to do the same.

Jodi! His opinion is not the issue. He does not know the facts and repeatedly misstates the facts.

Yeah, this was a really painful one-two punch: column, then chatz. Can't imagine what prompted the latter -- the column's one hundred and five pages of comments, about ten per page, maybe? The guy is hopelessly out of his depth. I've compared the column to the chat all day, and it just hurts how dumb he is.

More to the point, Jodi, he's a partisan of Libby's. And who are Libby's partisans? I have no trouble citing, once again, the very obvious name of Marc Rich, and all that it designates in the political sphere. In other words, I take Cohen's support for Libby as a sign that he's in bed with AIPAC, and I don't like AIPAC at all.

Do you?

Marcy, spot on. OT but, I recently spoke to you about doing something at a local bookstore in Mason. I talked with the owner and she would be delighted if we could set something up. It's important that a wider audience is informed on the criminality of this Administration.

Exactly what I felt. I rarely write letters but late night Tuesday (one of the great things about living on the west coast is that the day's news comes early for us, like the evening before) I wrote the bastard basically what you posted: sadly irrelevant and not worth the time to even argue because he's so uninformed, even for a beltway pundit. Keep up the great work madam. You rock!

Jodi, emptywheel is entitled to her dissenting opinion; you are not entitled to shut her down, however politely you think you tried to convey your STFU message.

And Cohen is absolutely NOT entitled to different facts. It's beyond propaganda, which his op-ed and commentary both attempt; propaganda merely skews facts to fit a particular message, which the Office of the Vice President and/or Libby's cohort are eager to promote.

Cohen's use of different facts (read: falsehoods) isn't just propaganda. It's lying. Can you refute it? Or are you merely going to continue to attack the blogger who's pointing out the truth?

Please don't let EW read the rest of Mr. Cohen's rant. He griped about answering a question from an "anonymous" questioner. (On his employer's website, which doesn't have a field for submitting a name with your question.) I guess that means Mr. Cohen feels courageous when, taking down a high six or seven-figure income and having the WaPoo to back him up, he signs his own name to his "work".

More fun than that was his bashing Fitz for besmirching the integrity of journalists and for making it harder for them to keep their sources secret. He forgets that Mr. Libby could have prevented Ms. Miller's enforced 85-day celibacy and sobriety by simply telling the truth to the grand jury.

Lil' Scoot and Big Dick used a willing press to cover up their own wrongdoing. They abused its ability to protect a source from unjust retaliation in order to keep their lies off the front page and their asses out of jail. Novacula and Ms. Miller were eager participants; they sold their integrity the same way the ladies pay the rent by selling theirs on 15th and M. Across the street, as it happens, from the WaPoo's main office.

At heart, I think Mr. Cohen is just scared that if EW and Jane H. keep this up for long, he'll have to get off his bar stool and learn to be a reporter again.

Game, set and match to Emptywheel!

[E]vidence submitted at the trial made it clear that on June 9, Bush got involved. And later, on July 10, Condi passed on that "Bush is comfortable."

...Dick Cheney claims to have asked Bush to declassify Plame's identity the NIE. If Cheney did, in fact, have Bush unilaterally declassify Plame's identity the NIE, I'd say that means he was involved.

I don't think Jodi's up to debating these facts but maybe Tom Maguire will drop in for a little speculation...

EW, I'm glad you posted on Cohen just the same and I think your thesis on Curbing the Imperial Presidency is formidable analysis, and once again dead on.

I'm taken with Cohen's phrase "there ought to be a crime involved."

Cohen believes there was no crime. If he accepted [what I consider as fact because people who know have said so] Plame's identify was classified and she was in the employ of the CIA operating under non-official cover, then one would have to believe there was an underlying crime and that Fitzgerald chose - for good reason under the authority of prosecutorial discretion - to not charge the underlying crime. The most obvious reason for which is that Libby's lies concealed the facts.

Is that so hard? Why do people like Cohen and Jodi and Thompsen and Romney fail to understand the principles of federal prosecutors, grand jury secrecy, not discussing people not indicted and the reasons therefor?

Why do people like Cohen and Jodi and Thompsen and Romney fail to understand the principles of federal prosecutors, grand jury secrecy, not discussing people not indicted and the reasons therefor?

Cohen, Thompson and Romney are gossips and legal illiterates. They're totally clueless about the need for secrecy, and if they have, for some reason, gotten clearances, those should be revoked.

I think the most glaring omission from any of the Libby coverage that I have seen lately is the timeframe under which it occurred. These D.C. types seem to be completely oblivious of the fact that there was a Presidential election going on at the exact same time Libby et al. were trying to slow roll the investigative process. When you look at the context of Pat Roberts splitting the Intelligence Committee's pre-war intelligence report into smaller and smaller portions, and the Admin. leaning on the NYT to suppress a damaging story about warrantless spying, it is pretty clear that this crime wasn't just some goof up of politics that occurred in a vacuum like the talking heads make it out to be.

OT - YearlyKos is coming up soon. I hope a lot of TNH commenters will be able to make it!

If you are still undecided, I strongly encourage you to go ahead and make your reservations now.

Concise and to the point. I tried to read his opinion piece yesterday several times and was still confused. Thanks for explaining it all..

I wrote on a comment on Cohen's column the night it went up on the web, I was so astonished by the ignorance. It was possibly even worse than David Broder's attempt to compare Harry Reid to Abu G. But the live chat yesterday was really beyond the pale. He doesn't know why Libby lied, but he's sure it was inadvertent? That sounds awfully like Abu G's "I don't know how the decisions were made, but I know they were not made for improper reasons." Hey, I'm just a columnist for one of the country's leading papers. Hey, I'm just the Attorney General. I don't need no stinkin' facts to know that me and my friends did nothing wrong!

The title of your next book, Marcy, ought to be "Willful Blindness, a/k/a 'Lying.'"

Anyone else notice how Jodi's "voice" is in constant flux? Almost like three different personalities trying to get out...

Why do people like Cohen and Jodi and Thompsen and Romney fail to understand the principles of federal prosecutors, grand jury secrecy, not discussing people not indicted and the reasons therefor?

Neil, they do understand. They however chose not to since it does not fit in with their propaganda and spin. Its always one way when it comes to their ilk but the exact same scenario with anyone else will have just the opposite response. So in the case of Clinton, perjury for a non-crime (the Paula Jones case was thrown out by a court) it is an impeachable offense. But when its Scooter and Shooter outing a CIA NOC and lying to a grand jury to prevent the investigation from proceeding and a jury convicting its all a miscarriage of justice.

Hypocrisy and shame? The wingnuts are full of one and feel none of the other.

Gollum too had the trouble of multiple voices accompanying moral dissolution, he did though to his credit, try to keep up.

Can anyone explain why Cohen thinks that Fitz was appointed because the lib-ruhls demanded it? Memo to Richard: Fitz was appointed because the FBI thought that Libby and Rove were lying to them. The FBI and the DOJ finally convinced Ashcroft to recuse himself from the case, and James Comey (also not a lib-ruhl) appointed Fitz. Speaking for the liberals, I can say that we're glad that Libby was brought to justice, but this has been a Republican show from start to finish. The only liberals or Democrats involved are Libby's lawyers.

To be fair, Cohen's not making that argument--he does refer to Sirica sniffing out a cover-up in Watergate, so presumably he thought the burglary was worthy of grand jury investigation.

I'm willing to bet a nice fat keg of Santa Barbara Blond that if the burglary happened today, there'd be a hue and cry among the DC weenie crowd that there was no actual crime committed, since it was obviously political and the Democrats were doing much the same thing (at some point, like in 1960 in Chicago or some other time in Cleveland, or in Louisiana or something else they'd pull out of their asses.) It’s easy to talk about Nixon ‘cause it makes them seem balanced, reasonable, and lawful---“IF this were an actual crime, like the Watergate burglary, of course that would be a different story and we’d support an investigation and indictment. But…” etc.

We think balance and honesty and the rule of law; they think whatever the fig they need to do---lie, cheat, steal, kill---to get the job done.

I sent in a question, and I am just stunned he didn't take it. The questions he did take were pretty good (not as good as mine), but all you get is repetition of the points in his column. As noted, someone got him to admit that Libby is guilty, guilty, guilty, but he apparently doesn't know what Libby is guilty of. Apparently, he can't get his mind around the possibility that someone might know more about this case than he does. For that matter, he can't imagine that anyone might be able to offer a better idea about anything. What a tool.

I agree with your comment about the live chat. Cohen was arrogant AND ignorant beyond belief. And maybe this is unfair, but in over an hour, he was only able to answer about six questions. It was more like an essay test than a chat. Maybe his brain is REALLY SLOW and that explains his wankery.

That's exactly the question I submitted.

oh jodi. do you know what the initials / acronym " STFU " designate ??

hell, we can send you a nice big steaming mug of " STFU ". we have plenty.

you are so willfully ignorant and obtuse that it is just plain sickening and nauseating.

I believe that Cohen and Broder and other inside-the-Beltway pundits are willfully ignorant. I think they know what's going on but act ignorant in order to deceive the public. People read them and believe them. It's all a part of the plan, and they're owned men. Wonder what Bush and boys have on them?

alabama: good to know that your objection is to Jewish people and things. Thanks for protecting America from that worldwide conspiracy of theirs. Yeah, that's the ticket.

1. Libby obstructed the investigation to root out traitors of this country.
2. All those who defend him are also traitors of this country.

Now, if only we can get the spineless Dems to repeat these two lines across the airwaves ...

It's pretty intersting to see these turds as they sink off into the deepest corners of their banal talking points.

Fortunately for them, members of the main stream media lack the insightfulness of fourth graders, or they would long be out of air time and column inches for such thoroughly debunked rubbish.

Desertwind. Yes, I commented some time ago that jodi seems to be more than one person. There is also a clear pattern in the nature of the comments.

Not so long ago, EW asked jodi to explain her understanding of IIPA, the next comment from jodi changed voice dramatically. jodi is definately a right wing affiliate of some sort. I count three voices, one is more open minded and nicer and sometimes post a I don't like Bush post, the other is a nasty mud slinger, and the third is the calm voice that has more command of issues that digs out of holes when cornered.

If jodi is one person, my oh my, is that an unfortunate personality.

Mostly, we all ignore jodi around here, although I think when one of the talking points gets posted it is appropiate to remind the board of jodi's troll status, just for people new to blogs who might be passing through.

I'm increasingly thinking that the purpose of jodi is not only to cover the blog, but to deliberately try to insight nastyness from otherwise calm and credible commenters. It seems to me that during times when many people may be looking to the blogs for information on new items that the tone of jodi gets more petulant.

I think the goal of getting us to jump her ass is a clear objective, to make us look like a bunch of irrational, emotional wing nuts, to passersby who might otherwise get invested and stick around the blog.

I am thus more and more of the opinion that exhibiting extreem nastiness to jodi is to satify one goal of those who comment under the moniker. Best to politely and factually slap down, only when needed, and otherwise ignore.

Sorry to say that free, we've all had a good laugh at many, many of your slap downs, but I'm pretty sure the most vitriolic of those suits their adgenda just fine.

Dismayed please convey your strategies to Freepatriot about acting nice to Jodi so as allow the fine genteel nature of the bloggers resident on this site to come to the fore. That would be a kind act to everyone.

Desertwind and Dismayed

don't forget the technical Jodi, and a few others as well. I sit here on my little stool and notice a vast assortment of talented personalities just behind me at the margin of my vision sort of like the Verizon support gang.

"Objections to Jewish people and things," acquart?

I don't think so; our understanding of justice, for one thing, is overwhelmingly Jewish--there wouldn't be any justice at all without the moderation and wisdom of the just, who happen to be Jewish, and have been Jewish (in our culture, anyway) for the past thousand years at least. Yes, our forms may be Roman or Anglo-Saxon, but the arts of judging fairly come from the readers of the Book.

Which makes Cohen's tortured reasoning over the Libby case all the more perverse (because, in all fairness, Libby has been found guilty of serious felonies).

And so, in the analytical spirit, I do the unspeakable thing: I raise a question about the larger context of Libby's role in the world of Washington today.

The Rich case is a prominent fact in this context, and the connections between Rich, Libby, and their respective cases ought to be explored, ought to be thought through. This is not an easy thing to do, by the way, given the fact that Rich's own Presidential pardon moots the question of his innocence or guilt (and, for what it's worth, I've always inclined towards the notion of his innocence--as I have in the case of Michael Milken, even more so in the case of Michael Milken).

And, whatever else has been going on in the life of Marc Rich, his intense support for current Israeli policy in the Middle East is a matter of consequential fact, as is well understood in Washington today by Democrats and Republicans alike.

I think the alignment of our foreign policy with Israel's foreign policy is an unmitigated disaster, and I also think that Libby's felonies, along with his politics, have contributed to this disaster. No one hereabouts seems very eager to explore this point, which is why I bother to point it out myself.

Here is the real nonsense from Cohen from his online chat.
He doesn't understand that a CIA agent doesn't have to be "stationed" overseas and the court papers say that Plame did make overseas trips during the 5 years preceding her outing. CIA and the prosecutor did say that she was covered under IIPA and the judges (not just Walton - the previous judge Hogan and appeals panel) agreed.
Cohen is still reciting that old neocon nonsense.

Richard Cohen: My understanding of it is that a covert agent -- in order for you to commit a crime by exposing a CIA agent, they had to be stationed overseas in a covert position, and then there is a time limit on it. My understanding further is that this law only has been invoked once, when a secretary at an African embassy told her boyfriend there was a CIA agent there. I really don't think that anybody thought Valerie Plame fit that, because she wasn't overseas -- no one thought they were risking her life, she was working in McLean, Va.

Richard Cohen looks like Yukon Cornelius but his writing is abominable.

I was also astounded by the last paragraph the chat [the "fuck off, everyone" paragraph] in which he moans over Libby's fate ["hasn't had a good night's sleep in . . months"] AND that he'd been bankrupted by legal bills. Just shows

a)Cohen's either been talking to Libby about his sleep habits or reading Barbara Comstock's press releases about same; and

b)Cohen doesn't read ANYTHING, since he's not aware of the "Libby Defense Fund" (and Fred Thompson's connection to it). I'm surprised he hasn't gotten a soliciation letter.

I'm also waiting for Lil Debbie to bemoan in Sunday's column the "thumping" Cohen got from the mean, nasty bloggers.

Cohen: "I'm just saying that when you get called before a grand jury and you are a target, there ought to be a crime involved."

Now wait a minute. It seems to me there are two possibilities:

You get hauled before a GJ because the prosecutor is investigating to try to determine if a crime took place.

a) You ARE a target. So is it okay to lie then, to prevent the prosecutor from determining whether there's an underlying crime? If that's the case, of course you'd lie; the prosecutor would never be able to prove the underlying crime, and under Cohen's reasoning, no crime = no perjury prosecution. [Does he even follow the thread of his reasoning?]

b) You are NOT a target. Same question.

Is it your status as a "target" that determines whether it's okay to lie, 'cause in either case, if you're lying, the prosecutor can't get to the "underlying crime"?

All of these maroons are so simple-minded they [intentionally] can't see the difference between investigating to see if a crime was committed, and proving the crime itself. Fitz was very clear about this distinction in his "throwing sand in the umpire's face" analogy. The Wingers have just seized on the "underlying crime" meme to distract.

Mr. Cohen’s comments about the crime and punishment of Irving Libby were remarkable. He invited readers’ scorn with his analogy that citizens best observe their government, like their lover, with the lights off. No doubt, he received the scorn he wished for, which he has, in turn, interpreted as evidence of bloggers’ crudity and his intelligence, thus giving us another example of the intellectual auto-erotica that fills the bookstores of Metro DC.

Mr. Cohen misdescribes the proper relationship between a citizen and his or her government in the same way that he misdescribes Mr. Libby’s crimes and the press’ role in aiding and abetting them. He tells too little and leaves out the important bits.

In the end, his analogy doesn't apply to citizens and their government. But it does apply to the way Mr. Libby used the press, which was like making love with a lobbyist: keep the lights off to make it easier to ignore your partner's imperfections and needs, and to concentrate your own pleasure; and always pay up front.


You're right on count one. Cohen can't say Bush wasn't involved because a) it's not true and b) the question clearly wasn't just about the man himself but the Bush administration as a whole. Why didn't the Bush administration come out into the open?

But you over-reach when you attack his point about the political basis of investigations. You say: "Cohen is suggesting that nothing pertaining to political disagreement should ever go before a grand jury." A fair reading of what he was saying is that politics shouldn't be the only basis of the investigation. Do you really really really think his view includes letting people off for murder? If you do, you're as stupid as he is. If you don't you're just being lazy and prancing around making sloppy and unhelpful arguments.

The difference presumably between any thoughtful critic of the White House and the Bush White House is the capacity to draw the line and to be fair and reasonable. To hack away just because you don't like Mr. Cohen or because he's made 10,000 previous stupid statements may make you feel better (as similar behavior no doubt does Mr. Cheney) but it makes you just like the people you attack-- incapable of keeping your reason intact.

No doubt, he received the scorn he wished for, which he has, in turn, interpreted as evidence of bloggers’ crudity and his intelligence, thus giving us another example of the intellectual auto-erotica that fills the bookstores of Metro DC.


Do you really really really think his view includes letting people off for murder? If you do, you're as stupid as he is. If you don't you're just being lazy and prancing around making sloppy and unhelpful arguments.

Oh!? Cohen draws the line at murder - where did he say that? Do YOU really really really think EW is putting words in Cohen's mouth? Cohen speaks. EW interprets. That part about lazy and prancing around making sloppy and unhelpful arguments applies to you, not EW.

I'd like to rant--again--about the "no underlying crime" talking point. It's worth remembering that Libby's lies to the FBI occurred BEFORE Fitz was appointed. By all accounts, these lies were a big factor in the FBI pushing for a special prosecutor. Lying to the feds is a big no-no. As a physician, one of the things they tell you at orientation is that if anyone shows up to investigate the hospital for something like Medicare fraud, your two options are to (a) tell the truth or (b) keep your mouth shut and call the hospital attorney. Little white lies are illegal and can land you in the slammer, regardless of why the feds were there to begin with. In other words, lying to the FBI, in and of itself, is an "underlying crime". In this case, that crime occurred before Fitz was appointed and was a key reason he was appointed in the first place. Fitz himself asked Comey for clarification on this point. And he ultimately convicted Libby for it.

Since people have brought up the "no underlying crime" part of the Clinton inquisition, can I cite one element of that which I think gets overlooked (and which, by his claims yesterday, ought to have enraged Richard Cohen)? The questions asked of Clinton -- which he dodged/fudged/maybe faintly lied about -- were questions that no one else 1) would have been asked and 2) confronted with, would have lied about. Sure, no one WANTS to confess to extra-marital fooling around, but if you're in a position where you know if you lie you're screwed, and you know there's at least a chance the truth could come out...the average person is going to reluctantly tell the truth. Clinton didn't because, given his position, such an admission might have been a devastating political blow (maybe not, based on actual public reaction, but few would have guessed that at the time). Thus, the Jones lawyers -- with Starr's team waiting in the wings -- played Clinton's political needs and maneuvered him into a minor technical falsehood (notice they never actually asked the question "Was your member in Monica's mouth?" -- they knew that would have tipped him off). They CREATED legal jeopardy by political means.

So, why wasn't Richard Cohen up in arms about THAT?

One more rant. Here's another analogy.

Who deserves the lighter sentence?

(a) Someone who steals five million dollars from a bank, buries it in the desert, gets caught, admits his guilt, and tells the cops where the money is buried;

or (b) someone who steals five million dollars from a bank, buries it in the desert, lies about it, has two witnesses say in open court that they saw him take the money, refuses to take the stand himself, gets convicted of four counts of hindering the investigation of the bank robbery, continues to refuse to say where the money is buried, and sends his press team out to say that he should never have been investigated in the first place, because Richard Armitage robbed the bank before he did.

That's pretty much where we're at here. If this were "Law & Order", and the defendant was trying a game like this, Sam Waterston would get all huffy and say, "Look, did he steal the money or not?" He would not be impressed with any weasely answers to that question. ("Yes, but he didn't INTEND to steal the money, bury it in the desert, and then refuse to tell you where it is!") And as Marcy keeps pointing out--and Libby's defenders steadfastly refuse to acknowledge--two reporters testified that Libby betrayed Plame's identity to them. Both of them have notes (albeit sloppy ones) of the conversations. No one has ever argued that these two reporters are lying or mistaken. In fact, even Libby's defenders say that he "misremembered" or "misrecollected" these conversations. Please. Not only is Libby guilty as charged, but there's also substantial evidence of two IIPA violations.

An innocent person who "misremembers" or "misrecollects" will make every effort to correct the record when presented with evidence that they were mistaken and their memory has been jogged ("You were right, honey. We DID eat out last week. I just found the receipt. I remember that dessert now!") OR they will acknowledge that their memory is flawed ("Okay, I've got the receipt, so we must have eaten out last week, but I honestly can't remember a damn thing about the dinner."). Libby has done neither. Instead, his surrogates are claiming that he simply forgot that he may have committed two felonies. And he shouldn't go to jail for that. To which Sam Waterston would indignantly demand, "Well, did he committ the two felonies or not?"

Cohen's chat was horrible. I submitted about 6 questions, none were addressed. As others pointed out, he showed himself to be misinformed and arrogant. His chat was so loony toons that I wonder if WashPost.com would consider offering corrections to his responses. They won't, of course, but that's how off the mark he was. Like Broder, Cohen seems to be mailing it in. With "liberals" like Cohen, who needs conservative columnists?

BREAKING -- once again, walton's "footnotes
do the walking
" -- in his opinion, just released

do take a look!

link to full-opinion there, as well. . .

p e a c e

It is calling Mr. Fitzgerald's investigation the "criminalization" of politics that murders critical judgment, and dismisses it barefoot and pregnant to the intellectual kitchen and laundry. If behavior displayed by Libby, Cheney and Rove becomes normal, then like the "normal" political behavior of Schlozman, Gonzales or von Spakovsky, it will eat up our democracy as surely as wasp larvae devour that writhing caterpillar, with Mr. Cohen arguing until the end that even wasps need more lebensraum.

Several people leaked Ms. Plame's identity, and thus, the identity of her cover organization(s). They all knew or should have known that her professional role was or could well be covert. There is no record that any of them made the least effort to inquire whether divulging her identity would risk precious resources. Consequently, they all risked the lives or livelihoods of all those Ms. Plame dealt with. They are all suspected criminals; so far, it is only Mr. Libby who has been tried and convicted, for crimes that shield others from his fate.

As it turns out, they all worked within the same closed circle and may have learned about Ms. Plame, and why leaking her name would be useful to the OVP, from the same sources. This has all the earmarks of an orchestrated leak, circular by design, to make it harder to find the starting point. This is not a leak about govt corruption, that spreads from one truth teller to the next and which ultimately becomes public. These are leaks to spread govt corruption.

In the end, as investigators circled, even Mr. Rove told a careful version of the truth, after four or five visits to the grand jury. Mr. Libby chose not to, even though Mr. Fitzgerald gave him as many chances as he gave Mr. Rove. His fate is his own doing; it is not the result of a biased prosecutor criminalizing the ordinary and routine. Had Mr. Schlozman been assigned the Libby case, as his first prosecution/trial, it would be harder to make that claim.

The obfuscation of the beltway pasha "pundits" is like what I compared Jodi's splatterings on the windshield of truth and facts so long ago in one of my posts here: try to wipe away the false conclusions based on lies and you get smears....can't see the road ahead. Has anybody considered that Jodi and other trolls are inventions of Poindexter's machine? If computers can play chess with other computers, why can't a computer post responses to Emptywheel's brilliant analyses? That's why Jodi has so many different "voices."

Just keep the facts going, loud and clearly, and wipe the windshield off so the MSM who, you know, read this blog because they are too lazy to do their own research, will, maybe, find it's more interesting to write about facts than spin.

In other words, lying to the FBI, in and of itself, is an "underlying crime".

Bless you, Frank Probst.

Comstock, Matalin, and other Libby enablers must assume that 'their version of Libby's story' will create expectations that Libby can be dismissed without public outrage -- as Ollie North, and the rest of the Iran-Contra group were. (I am still catching up on Iran-Contra, but it was obviously a precursor to PlameGate.)

When I ask people about Iran-Contra, they give long, convoluted explanations that are fairly vague. There's really no 'victim' in the narrative. In contrast, Plame is super-simple: (1) CIA agent (who protects me) was (2) 'outed and betrayed', by (3) 'people at the top of the Bush Administration' (i.e., people who were supposed to have protected me). The very people who betrayed Plame then (4) 'lied about the betrayal -- to the FBI!' (i.e., they lied to the very same people who would protect me if I were the victim of a crime).

Shorter: "The people who were supposed to protect me, betrayed me twice -- first, by outing Plame, then by lying about the betrayal to the FBI. Therefore, these are dangerous, evil people who cannot be trusted, nor respected."

The pushback and outrage that you report in response to Cohen's remarks and chat are further evidence of my hunch that the neocons and Bu$hCo assume that they can pull the same 'pardon' behavior L'Affair Plame that they were able to pull in Iran-Contra.

Huge, h-u-g-e error in judgement.
When I hear people talk about Iran-Contra, they don't really identify a victim, nor do they seem to be feel that it was personally threatening to them.
In contrast, too many Americans have a personal experience of betrayed (by a bad manager, or a lousy stockbroker, or some other experience). A sense of personal betrayal lies at the core of the Plame investigation. And it's a double-betrayal: betrayal by the highest levels of government, and also by the press (who were supposed to be keeping an eye on government, but can no longer be trusted to do do so.)

The fact that Cohen, and others in the press, don't seem to grasp this very simple set of relationships is stupifying. As Friar William often points out here, many things really are simple. This is one of them.

I'm sure that many people have made this point, but (1) obstruction of justice and perjury ARE crimes and (2) how can the gov't really know if a crime has been committed unless it is permitted to conduct an investigation in which people have to tell more or less the truth?

This isn;t Rashomon. There is a set of legal criteria for every crime, but the facts need to be ascertained before anyone can tell whether or not an "underlying crime" has been committed. You can't demand that there actually be one in some objective sense (the end of the investigation) before you can launch the investigation.

Reading Walton's latest filing: https://ecf.dcd.uscourts.gov/cgi-bin/show_public_doc?2005cr0394-373

Anyone know how often a judge will bother filing something like this? It seems pretty extraordinary to me. I would assume that most judges just let the trial record speak for itself.

Perhaps, for those of us who are ill-informed, EW could do a little historical refresher article on Israeli policy towards America, Marc Rich, the Rich pardon by Bill Clinton, AIPAC and the connections of AIPAC to the Democratic party and the connection of AIPAC to the NeoCons.

I know that looks like a big thing, but it does underly an awful lot of American politics and governance these days.

RIchard Cohen is best read with the lights off.


>>Oh!? Cohen draws the line at murder - where did he say that? Do YOU really really really think EW is putting words in Cohen's mouth? Cohen speaks. EW interprets.

Cohen does not have to account for every nutty possible interpretation of his remarks. He shouldn't have to draw the line at murder as 999/1,000 people would have the good reason and sense to not blow his argument out of all proportion by creating this silly argument. You may defend EW all you want but her excessive treatment of this claim of Cohen's is not evidence of considered and searching analysis.

I'm just saying that when you get called before a grand jury and you are a target, there ought to be a crime involved. More than that, in this government, in our government, we ought to make sure that the basis of it is not a political disagreement.

Cohen said that.
EW was wondering how far he'd extend that line of (non)reasoning: would he allow killing a political opponent, because it was political in nature.
What part of this did you not understand?

Shorter Reggie Walton: Don't even THINK about overruling me and letting this sack of shit out on bail.

He sounds pretty pissed off. How many judges would even bother writing a memo like this? I take it that Reggie Walton takes quite a bit of pride in his work, and he's more than a little miffed at being the target of the right-wing Wurlitzer.

The craziest exchange in the chat is when someone quotes Cohen's own comment from earlier in the chat, then Cohen denies he ever said it. That's some quality craziness right there.

New York: In this chat you just said the following: "In Libby's case, I don't know the reason for the crime. I don't know whether or not he was telling the truth and simply forgot he leaked this information -- it's a remote possibility but I don't buy it." With all due respect, whether you buy it or not means squat. A jury of Libby's peers bought it. They sat through a trial and weighed the evidence and found Libby guilty without a reasonable doubt. Isn't it a little arrogant for you to substitute your judgment for those that sat through the entire trial?

Richard Cohen: I didn't say that. I said I agree that he lied. I agreed with the jury. This is not a technical thing. I thought he was guilty. I thought he lied. Put that in your "squat."

well shit stain, how do you like us now ???

do you still think we take your opinions and "beliefs" seriously ???

you're a fucking joke around here shit stain

as a matter of fact, you are THE JOKE around here, shit stain

so shit stain, why do you persist in posting here ???

do you LIKE amusing us ???

Just a shit stain ya know, and every where you go, people know the part your playing

>>EW was wondering how far he'd extend that line of (non)reasoning: would he allow killing a political opponent, because it was political in nature.

Fair enough. I've re-read it and it makes more sense now.

shills have to shill. how do we act under those circumstances? being paid big bucks and having to be supervised!? wapo writers have to live with themselves in the long run, those who judge can do their best work by not buying wapo print version and boycotting wapo advertisers.

i will never know how i would write under this kind of thumb, you probably will not either. looking forward, it is better to be there, (on wapo and their comment pages) in spirit because you have time to do so, but act, be in PERSON somewhere to volunteer or knock on doors for your anything-but-a-republican candidate. Even though it is tough to do democracy, get everyone you know to vote, to walk or march, to call their reps till their reps know them by their first name.

This corruption has lived since the beginning, it will take skilled, quick surgery to get it fixed and the people HERE with their keystroke scalpels write the anatomy of it so it CAN be fixed.

All in due time indeed.

Does anyone know what Cohen meant about real estate being better in the dark? I mean, most people want to see the house before they buy it, don't they? I've never seen anyone do a walk-through blindfolded.

Nolo: I can't access the link to Walton's ruling: it doesn't open, fully. It's https....isn't that a secure link? Requiring password?

Margaret: It worked for me with no trouble.

Margaret -- https does not necessarily require password access; it simply means whatever data is sent to, or retrieved from, an https page is encrypted while in transit. Try again.

Thanks, I did, from another site, and, I read the footnotes which are hilarious, as usual! Walton doesn't like his words to be taken out of context, and he has a delightful way to let you know that! His legal thoroughness is too compliacted for me to understand (IANAL) so, I'll wait for the resident genius (genii) to help me. Thanks, to all of you who know so much about the rule of law. I respect it more and more for the good that it can do.

A howling inconsistency on a fundamental issue from two different points in Cohen's chat: first he says "that the administration wanted to destroy Joe Wilson's reputation" and later says "I'm not saying there were no consequences to her outing, but it was done inadvertently.* (highlighted with asterisks below)

Phoenix: Hi. You mentioned "politics, like sex and real estate, should be done with the lights off." I get the Clinton references but would argue that your later reference to a Stalin-style trial done by the left undermines that idea. Politics should be done with the lights on because I, for one, would like to know my candidate's bedfellows.

Richard Cohen: (Laughs.) I don't want to beat this sexual analogy to death. What I meant is that there are unsavory aspects to politics -- as there are to almost anything else -- and you just have to accept that.

*It was clear from the get-go that the administration wanted to destroy Joe Wilson's reputation. I thought Joe Wilson was right. I thought the administration's tactic was underhanded, a smear, and meant to undermine anyone else who might speak out.* I condemned it at the time, but that's the way the game is played. I may not like, but there are basic principles involved. Back when I was a reporter I often relied on anonymous and confidential sources -- and without them, some stories Boonsborowould never see the light of day.

. . . .

Ramsey, N.J.: You are comfortable saying that the Plame case is "all about nothing." As you know, Ms. Plame was at the heart of the Brewster-Jennings CIA front company involved in investigating weapons of mass destruction. Do you know which agents were compromised as a result of her exposure? Which foreign assets and missions? You don't. So how can you possibly say this case is about nothing? Whose word are you taking about that? And why?

Richard Cohen: I'm not taking anyone's word about it. *I'm not saying there were no consequences to her outing, but it was done inadvertently.* And in fact, a special prosecutor could not bring a case against anybody for the leak.

Ahhhh, freepatriot

you have made Dismayed's speculation come true, much to his chargrin.

And just when the conversation had risen a bit.


"I Robot" (Get someone to explain please.)


Blumenthal has this at Salon:

One of the key framers of the war paradigm (in which the president in his wartime capacity as commander in chief makes and enforces laws as he sees fit, overriding the constitutional system of checks and balances), who a year ago was arguing vehemently for pushing its boundaries, confesses that he has abandoned his belief in the whole doctrine, though he refuses to say so publicly. If he were to speak up, given his seminal role in formulating the policy and his stature among the Federalist Society cadres that run it, his rejection would have a shattering impact, far more than political philosopher Francis Fukuyama's denunciation of the neoconservatism he formerly embraced. But this figure remains careful to disclose his disillusionment with his own handiwork only in off-the-record conversations.

Can this be anybody but Addington?

Posted by: KSC | June 21, 2007 at 17:02

Great post. How does Richard Cohen reconcile this? He cannot. He doesn't give a shit.

He should not be allowed to call himself a progressive.

I'm the Ramsey, NJ guy who asked the question cited above: "You are comfortable saying that the Plame case is "all about nothing." As you know, Ms. Plame was at the heart of the Brewster-Jennings CIA front company involved in investigating weapons of mass destruction. Do you know which agents were compromised as a result of her exposure? Which foreign assets and missions? You don't. So how can you possibly say this case is about nothing?..."

Cohen's answer was, of course, infuriatingly disingenuous. Especially this part: "And in fact, a special prosecutor could not bring a case against anybody for the leak." Cohen knows full well that Fitzgerald has argued that Libby's act of lying "threw sand in the face" of the judicial system, helping to make it impossible to discover whether there was in fact a so-called "underlying crime." Cohen may not like that argument. He may not agree with it. But to ignore it as if the argument has never been made -- as he does constantly -- is simply intellectually dishonest.

(Mechanical lungs breathing into a digital aspirator)

"Richard, you are my son!"

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