Marcy Wheeler, aka the EmptyWheel, comes up empty with this argument about Robert Novak and I.Lewis Libby.
For brevity let me extract the main points:
I wasn't going to do this. I contemplated letting the whole Plame thing go. But hell, if Novak can blab on about it forever, then I think I ought to take the time (we're talking a four-part series, I think) to show that Novak is a lying [liar].
I know, I know. That Libby is a certified (by 11 jurors) liar is old news. But I think I can demonstrate that Libby--and [Robert Novak]--both lied about their conversation on July 9. I'll start by showing that Novak almost certainly lied about whether Libby told him anything "useful" leading up to Novak's July 14 column.
Here's how Novak described his conversation with Libby:
RN I was trying to find out more information about Wilson's mission to Niger and VP's connection. Most memorable about call, I asked Libby if he might be helpful to me in establishing timeline in 16 words. When they came in, who proposed it, sort of a consecutive account that I could put in column. I interpreted him as saying he could be helpful.
W In context of talking to Libby did Wilson's wife come up.
RN I don't remember exactly, I might have raised that question, I got no help, and no confirmation on that issue. The reason I'm fuzzy is that I talk to a lot of people in govt an politics everyday and a lot of them are not very helpful and I discard unhelpful conversations in my memory bank.
No matter. For the moment, Novak's line is that Libby didn't give him anything helpful and so he just wiped his conversation with Libby clean from his memory bank. Poof!
But if it was so damned unhelpful, then why is there one of Dick's favorite talking points right in the middle of Novak's column?
The White House, State Department and Pentagon, and not just Vice President Dick Cheney, asked the CIA to look into it.
The balance of her post than supports (successfully, I would say) the notion that Novak's mention of State and Pentagon interest in the Niger question very probably came from Libby.
Well, enough hints - between my excerpt and the concession that she probably proves her point about Libby, I suspect it will not puzzle the JOM readership to spot the flaw in her argument, so let me leave it at that for now.
I do appear in her comments section with my answer to this, as does Maybee, so if you are not in the mood for a Saturday puzzle check there.
And let me add that Maybee and I are greeted nicely but not treated well by Ms. Wheeler herself; like a lot of us, I suspect she does not present well when standing in the wreckage of her latest argument. Whatever - Maybee has been advised to seek reading lessons, I have been alerted to my stupidity and dishonesty, and away we go; another day on the Internet. Let me hasten to add that normally the readers at her site are, hmm, roughly as tolerant of opposing views as the readers here, which is to say they are fine if you are making sense; in this instance, the petulance starts at the top.
MORE: Strolling through the arguments I see that it was Maybee herself who sparked the real brawl with this:
First, where in the media did it say OVP sent WIlson? It's not there.
It is exactly what Chris Matthews was saying the day Scooter Libby called Russert to complain. Rockefeller sat there and agreed with him. Kristof alluded to it, but didn't say it directly.
As we both have since learned from the reaction there, the famous Chris Matthews "At the behest of..." interview is not as famous as we thought. Odd, since as Maybee noted it was mentioned at the trial, but there you go.
Whatever. All downhill from there. But skiiing is all downhill too! And it is sort of fun, in a train-wrecky way, to watch the, uhh, evolution of Ms. Wheeler's arguements.
This may not make sense out of context (OK, it made almost no sense in context), but on the use of "behest", Ms. Wheeler makes the point that it appears on this Libby not reflecting his chat with Cheney (see Libby's note) from about June 12, and then offers the following to Maybee:
Show me the Matthews quote. And as you admit--no, Kristof didn't say that. He said behest, which is precisely what Dick Cheney said himself, according to Libby. You're now arguing that if Kristof said exactly what Cheney himself said, he was wrong?
Huh? If Cheney says to Libby, look how these guys are saying Wilson went at my behest", that confirms that Wilson went at Cheney's behest? Hard to believe she means that, but a bit later she says to me:
You guys keep showing me evidence of people using precisely the same term the VP himself used--behest, behest, behest--and claiming it is wrong!! So which is it? VP was wrong when he informed Libby that Wilson was sent at OVP's behest, along with Joe Wilson and everyone else? Or that everyone who said WIlson was sent at Cheney's behest were actually right, and therefore OVP's leaking of Plame's name was not, in fact justified?
Evidently I misunderstood her twice, because eventually we got this:
Tom - Either you're being deliberately dishonest or just plain stupid. You've just misquoted me and misread your own quote.
First, here's what I said:
VP told Libby that Wilson was sent at OVP's behest.
Now, I did not claim that it was a VP talking point. I claimed that it was a word Cheney gave to Libby. Please don't misquote me (you and MayBee seem to be having a real problem with that today).
...Libby's own testimony says 1) Kristof was an afterthought (and incidentally one that the FBI didn't seem too convinced by). And 2) Libby says clearly that Cheney told him someone told him the trip was done at the behest of OVP. (As he likewise says that the same person told Cheney that Plame was CPD.)
Read the document. Read Libby's testimony. Read what I've written. It is clear--at least according to Libby's testimony--that the word "behest" came from somneone telling Cheney about the trip and about Plame. Anything else is a misreading of Libby's own explanation of the note.
Ergo, Cheney, Kristof, and Matthews, all reporting the same information. You can't blame Kristof and Matthews for reporting the same information Cheney himself reported to Libby. It'd reach new heights of dishonesty.
That strikes me as quite a shift.