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July 25, 2005

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kim

It is silly to think there must be a single source. Any number of bright people could have figured it out and there are plenty of bright people in Washington, many of them with their curiosities in gear right then about that.

Time is 'getting it'? First they had to be curious.
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kim

I like the last line of Cooper's 2003 article. Joe considered the matter 'settled'.

Har de har har.
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Neo

This story is like a bad episode of "Dynasty".
I look forward to the trumpet in the theme song at the beginning and the end.

In between there is a really bad story, based on half-truths, misunderstandings, overheard conversations, misleading press releases and a pinch of truth, shich ultimately is unimportant.

exmaple

"Discrepancies, Real And Imagined"

Or concocted to stoke newspaper sales.

Jim E.

"Or concocted to stoke newspaper sales."

I think that's the wrong talking point -- it alludes to money grubbing corporate capitalists, and strangely makes them sound bad.

Instead, consider blaming the anti-capitalist, Bush-hating, liberal media for the Plame controversy.

kim

How about the synthesis that rings most true; They're Bush-hating liberal corporate capitalists, who are squandering their most important capital, credibility, as if there is no tomorrow. And for some of them, there won't be.
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Jim E.

What's happening on Wednesday? Firing squad?

kim

No, son. Less influence, fewer readers, less attractiveness to potential journalists. Eventually journalism will degenerate to the province of hacks only interested in digging out the truth.

Hmmm. Could their province be in the Blogosphere?
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Mackenzie

In Rove's version of the conversation with Cooper, they discussed welfare reform before turning to Valerie Plame. That's a lot of ground to cover in a 2 minute conversation.

If Rove did leak Plame's identity, it really doesn't matter how many other topics were covered.

DW West

Rove's credibility has not been helped by earlier White House claims that he had nothing to do with the leaking. Ditto for Libby. The White House no longer attests their innocence, so why should we?

Karl

Russert "doesn't know?"

Cooper "can't recall?"

Just something to keep in mind for the "Rove 'forgot' is a non-starter" crowd.

Jeff

TM - I'm with you on Russert, including that completely weird performance on Meet the Press. Though I still think it's likely he didn't know anything about Plame before (and perhaps after) talking to Libby, I want someone to ask him the right questions, and I don't know why he wouldn't just issue the sort of categorical clarification we got from Cooper regarding Rove. (Cooper told us categorically that he knew nothing of Wilson's wife before talking with Rove, who told him much about her.) It remains possible Russert told Libby Joe Wilson's wife worked at the CIA. Wouldn't it be hilarious if Russert were Cliff May's cocktail party interlocutor -- he fits the profile, if I remember correctly. And for what it's worth, those of us pegged by seemingly the majority of the commenters here as part of the France-State-CIA-left-MSM conspiracy have long considered ol' Pumpkinhead to be one of you.

In any case, you have to presume Fitzgerald knows all about what Russert knew and pretty precisely what he did and did not tell Libby. Which, in conjunction with the weakness of the discrepancy case against Rove, makes me wonder whether those stories from last week are not another red herring meant to keep potential targets guessing.

Finally, I'm not quite sure why the CNN/Time story you quote is a pleasant surprise for you. Let's see: Rove distorted Plame's role; the White House was pressuring the CIA for other-than-truthful intel (and don't tell me, "There really was contact between Iraq and al-Quaeda" -- that's not the question, the question is, was there meaningful contact and cooperation? And the answer to that still appears to be no, and if you say, it's a question of who's defining "meaningful" and "appears", then you're just being a postmodern relativist, and that's all there is to say about that); and they didn't like what Wilson said. Oh yeah, there's also Wilson's alleged shading of the truth in saying, "She definitely had not proposed that I make the trip." But do we know that that is not the case? It is certainly suggested that it is not the case in the SSCI report, but as the memo it depends on is quoted very partially and is not given any context, it remains very hard to tell. We have others saying that the memo was written not at Plame's own autonomous initiative, but in response to a request -- which would be fully consistent, as far as I can see, with everything in the SSCI report. Was it the case? The SSCI doesn't tell.

And then, let's say she proposed him for the trip. So what -- in 2003?

Tommy V

"If Rove did leak Plame's identity, it really doesn't matter how many other topics were covered."

If it was a "leak" and Plame's name and position is deemed to be protected information than you are correct. But this hasn't been determined yet.

"The White House no longer attests their innocence, so why should we?"

The White House just stopped talking, that's not quite the same thing. They did this because their earlier comments were being portrayed as untrue and this was something beyond their control.

If neither Rove or Libby was the "leak" they would have no reason to believe they were involved in the leak just because they talked about her. If they did leak the information then they clearly lied within the White House House as well.

I would be surprised to hear anyone "attest" to Rove's innocence. Nobody here knows. I think the point is that many of us are unwilling to attest to his guilt with what has been released in the press.

If Rove delibrately released a name he knew to be confidential then he has got to step down, and should face charges for at least perjury. But I just don't see that yet. And the fact that the left is so anxious to nail Rove makes me tend to side with reasonable doubt.

"And then, let's say she proposed him for the trip. So what -- in 2003?"

In hindsight it doesn't matter a whole lot, but at the time I think people were concluding that it made Wilson's motives questionable, and his credibility in doubt.

I become more convinced each day that this story is going in a direction we did not expect a month ago.

SamAm

Why would Russert be in a position to be the first source to inform Cheney's CoS the status of a CIA agent when the White House had been digging for info about Wilson for months, and had authorized access to that information? When neither Rove nor Libby can get their story straight (and are being fuzzy in the exact same manner). It's simply not plausible. Plus, July is awfully late in the timeline as the date in which Plame info falls into those nefarious hands, what with the INR memo being a month old by then. And, even if Russert mentioned something tangential about Valerie, what are the chances Libby didn't confirm the status? Zero. In many ways Russert dropping a bit of info could be horrible news for the White House. But I don't believe Tim's trying to pull a fast one on the country. His cred would be wrecked, and there's really no reason to lie about what he knew at this point, seeing as how he's in no legal jeopardy. The statement plus the dialogue on MtP leave a loophole, but it's a little small for a roundish fellow as Mr. Russert.

As for Fitzgerald looking at testimony discrepancy, that's Rove camp spin; as the LA Times article makes clear, Fitz's focus is still on the 8 day window. And even if they talked welfare reform enough to make Mickey Kaus blush, at some point in those 2 minutes, Rove leaked classified information.

Finally, TM, what are your thoughts on Pat Roberts starting his own investigation of Fitzgerald's investigation? For our intrepid prosecutor, more scary or less scary than the danger of letter bombs from the Mob?

SamAm

Also, even if Russert told Libby something involving Wilson's wife and the CIA, that would almost certainly not have been the first instance in which Libby learned of the information, and he would have had access and motive to access information as to her specific status. He could have seen the memo and heard a much vaguer story from Russert. So, the fact that Russert may have told him part of something he already knew doesn't excuse Libby in the least. If that's what happened, Libby still has a responsibility to protect classified information.

SamAm

Also, explain to me this.

Fitzgerald was surprised when Cooper, talking about his involvement in the case, mentioned contact with Rove (the 2 minute phone call).

Say the description of Fitzgerald not knowing about the before Cooper said that is true (this would also mean Rove made false statements to the FBI).

But there's the email Rove sent to Hadley about Wilson-Niger. Which would fall under the purview of the documents Gonzales ordered collected.

So, did that email make it to the FBI-Fitzgerald's hands on the first go-round? Or was it withheld? How could Cooper-Rove surprise him if he had the email?

Something to think about.

Syl

"Finally, TM, what are your thoughts on Pat Roberts starting his own investigation of Fitzgerald's investigation? For our intrepid prosecutor, more scary or less scary than the danger of letter bombs from the Mob? "

Roberts and Feinstein were on Wolf Blitzer Sunday am. When Feinstein said she thought Rove should have his security clearance pulled, at least until the investigation is complete, Roberts said that wasn't warranted. He said there are so many leaks and leakers around that we're up to our necks in water (with a physical gesture).

I'm glad of his investigation into the investigation. Whether Rove, or anyone else, did something illegal or not, there are still unanswered questions about Wilson vis-a-vis his wife and how he knew certain things he otherwise shouldn't have known. And, of course, leaks in areas we haven't even heard about.

If Fitzgerald is truly only concentrating on 8 days and his investigation is spreading no further, then I'm all for Roberts widening the net.

SamAm

I guess I shouldn't be surprised but...

Roberts already got his shots at Wilson in with the cheap, ultra-hack tacked on appendix to the SSCI report. So I don't think there needs to be another investigation into Wilson. The guy's been through enough, but I guess the GOP might as well reserve space on Calvary Hill. Oh, I know, we need yet another smear on these people. From the perch of the Sentate Intel Committee. Because if Wilson was bad enough (or we can spin him bad enough), that means the White House is in the clear. See, America, it's ok to break the law if your "enemies" are hateful enough. I wonder, have the Bloods and Crips been informed?

It's also a shot across (barely) the bow of Patrick Fitzgerald. Subtle, these guys are not. Not at all. At least Nixon had the courage to fire his special prosecutor. Roberts will just gum Fitzgerald to death, for now at least, and try to kick up a little more dust about the investigation. Try and pick a fight with OIP and get him to over-react. Gonzales to Bush; "give me a reason to fire this guy." Bush to Roberts; "ok Roberts, into the breach once more. Chop chop."

Anyways, if the White House can't even comment on the damn investigation, why in the hell are they pushing Roberts to have a hearing about it? Does that make sense? Uh, a certain kind of sense, yes. And make no mistake, this is Rove and Bush pushing back. This is about trying to muscle through something the White House claims to respect (through gritted teath). So they drag OIP into a political environment, and try to knock him down a peg.

Rule of law, indeed.

I have a better idea. How about Roberts finish that SSCI report that's only half completed. Or are issues of pre-war intelligence only worth considering when there's one Wilson or the other to bash?

Syl

Don't worry, I'm sure investigating Wilson will give us more insight into the forged documents issue. Roberts is keeping his promise.

Tommy V

SamAm,

I was going to answer your first post, but then I read your second. I get the feeling you've made up your mind on this one.

kim

Some of you assume MSM innocence to make your case for admin deviltry. Maybe Roberts' investigation is to stimulate MSM into covering the story here.
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kim

Why is everybody acting as if there were a single source for the 'leak'. That wasn't the case.
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kim

And Russert doesn't know who Plame is months after Wilson has started talking to Pincus and others? What is he, some kind of uncurious reporter?
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Les Nessman

"In Rove's version of the conversation with Cooper, they discussed welfare reform before turning to Valerie Plame."

Did the conversation just happen to 'turn' by itself, or did Cooper bring up her husband's trip to Niger?

" That's a lot of ground to cover in a 2 minute conversation."

Wow. Two whole subjects. Not necessarily 'a lot' of ground.

kim

The left would have us believe that a Roberts' investigation is pushback against Fitz. I suspect instead is pushback on MSM. I've suspected for awhile that the real story here is not who 'leaked' Plame's name. The real story is the CIA, and maybe Wilson and Yellow Cake. Perhaps it's been noted that the 'real' story isn't being reported because it is not being investigated, hence Roberts into the breach. But it is not only political pushback, but administrative correction. Something went terribly wrong 2 and 3 years ago, and investigating it might help the admin prevent another such happenstance. And the publicity can't hurt. Directing the public's attention to the 'real' problem will give relief to the admin figures presently under phony war fire.
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Dwilkers

Well at least now I have some idea of the concept of why Wilson's wife working at the CIA somehow 'discredited' him. If the warfare between the White House and the CIA was that open (rather than just beltway babble) I find that quite disturbing in the wake of 9/11.

The worst news for Rove etal in the last couple weeks (from what I can tell anyway) was the internal State report that appeared with an actual explanation of Wilson and Plame's relationship etc. Prior to that it was hard for me to see any way they could have had access to the information at all.

The Cooper-Rove 'discrepancies' are an eye roller for me, at least after reading Cooper's Time article last week. I've seen Cooper being twisted into denying he talked about welfare reform on lefty sites the last week or so. He didn't deny it and the evidence supports Rove's version.

I also have a lot of trouble with the idea that a high powered Washington laywer like Libby would let himself get drawn into a perjury trap.

So, at least based on what I've read about this, I still don't see where this is going. Its hard to see anyone getting prosecuted for outing Plame when she appears to have been already 'out' for years. Its hard to see perjury (for Rove or Libby anyway) based on what I've seen.

And with all that we still don't know why Miller is in jail, and I think there has to be a really compelling reason for a Federal Judge to lock her up - not just refusing to talk but refusing to talk about something *important*.

Appalled Moderate

One comment.

The one period Bush and company was really troubled by leaks was the time frame around Wilson's Niger article. I recall articles (and I do not have the time to look them up today -- sorry) that the Bush people were afraid to say anything about WMD intelligence because they were afraid some CIA person would leak a different interpretation.

Plame worked in non-proliferation -- how important she was in that position is a little hard to tell from msm accounts. (There is one posting someone linked to in another thread that indicates her position would allow her access to all the human intelligence on WMDs throughout the world.) Her husband was friendly with reporters, and was busily leaking before he op-eded himself. Is it possible the WH believed that Plame was one of the leaky people that was making their lives miserable? The leak was not revenge on Wilson, but a direct attack on Plame herself, to shut her and her collegues up?

After the Plame outing, the CIA-sourced leaking appears to have stopped. Now, this may be because the need to leak -- to demonstrate there were no WMDs -- stopped.

Again, just a theory. But if I were writing a mystery/spy novel, I would write the Wilson role as one extended red herring.

johnt

Dwilkers, Thank you,5th para mention of common bureauecratic status of "secret agent" Plame. She might just as well been working for the Dept. of Agriculture. I am reminded however of the release of genuinely confidential information on Linda Tripp by the Clinton Admin. No fuss,little bother. I read somewhere that Tripp eventually won $600,000 in a lawsuit against,I believe,the Dept of defense. I guess to take the Plame-Wilson-Rove thing seriously you have to keep the on-off switch on your morality well oiled.

Cecil Turner

"After the Plame outing, the CIA-sourced leaking appears to have stopped."

I don't think so, especially if you view the leaks as from the current/former operations types (as opposed to WMD analysts). In fact, the biggest leakfest happened over a year later, when Goss took over.

"MR. RUSSERT: There has to be an original source, somebody."

Bingo. And there are only a few plausible scenarios (in descending order of likelihood):

  1. Someone who read (or was told about) Plame's mention as a WMD [analyst] in the INR memo;
  2. Wilson or Plame talking to journalists to establish bona fides;
  3. Someone who had worked with Plame before in an official capacity;
  4. Someone who learned about it on the cocktail circuit;
  5. Someone at CIA with authorized access to NOC information; or,
  6. Someone who learned about it from an earlier leak.
There is a possibility of permutation (e.g., Wilson/Plame tells Miller, who drops a hint to Novak, who confirms it through Rove; or Miller gets it from someone who read the INR memo, and confirms it through Plame), though most run afoul of Occam's Razor. It also seems to me that 3-4 are unlikely (5-6 are remote) . . . and 1 has to be the odds-on favorite.

If the leak came from the INR memo, it was either a calculated attempt to discredit Wilson and out his wife, or a casual background fact explaining his choice for the mission (by someone who didn't realize her status). If the former, the perpetrators had to know it was a felony, and you'd expect them to be very careful and precise. If the latter, you'd expect them to think the information was unimportant, and it's unlikely they'd remember exact details about when or how they first heard it. Unfortunately, vagueness after the fact could be either an attempt to avoid prosecution, or an honest failure to recollect. The apparent general sloppiness, however, tends to suppport the inadvertent backgrounder theory. Miller is a puzzle, and could be protecting anyone from a WH staffer to Wilson/Plame. But Fitzgerald's apparent willingness to limit questions to a particular WH source tends toward that interpretation.

Martin

"The leak was not revenge on Wilson, but a direct attack on Plame herself, to shut her and her collegues up?"

Well-Fitzgerald himself has said that this case is about potential retaliation against a whistleblower. So who's the whistleblower?

The WSJ says its Rove. Hacks.

So who is the name behind Fitzgerald's "whistleblower"?

TM

From SamAm:

Say the description of Fitzgerald not knowing about the before Cooper said that is true (this would also mean Rove made false statements to the FBI).

But there's the email Rove sent to Hadley about Wilson-Niger. Which would fall under the purview of the documents Gonzales ordered collected.

So, did that email make it to the FBI-Fitzgerald's hands on the first go-round? Or was it withheld? How could Cooper-Rove surprise him if he had the email?

A careful re-reading will show that Fitzgerald was surprised that Cooper had another source, but Cooper refused to reveal who that other source was.

Eventually, however, Fitz subpoenaed Cooper to talk about a specific person (Rove, in fact).

So Fitz knew about the Rove-Cooper chat *before* he heard Cooper's side.

From the Saturday WaPo:

The sources said Fitzgerald looked surprised in the August 2004 deposition when Cooper said it was he who brought up Wilson's wife with Libby, and that Libby responded, "Yeah, I heard that, too."

The prosecutor pressed Cooper to then explain how he knew about Wilson's wife in the first place, and Cooper said he would not answer the question because it did not involve Libby, the sources said.

That testimony contributed to a lengthy legal battle, as Fitzgerald sought to compel Cooper to testify before a grand jury about his conversation with the source. He also sought testimony from New York Times reporter Judith Miller.

Fitz being surprised raises a host of questions: for starters, what had he expected to hear about the Libby-Cooper chat? He had already heard Libby's side by Aug 2004 (or what was the basis for the subpoena?)

I need to watch a few old "Law and Order" episodes to brush up on my interrogation technique - maybe Fitz was just play-acting for some reason.

Jeff - good point about Russert - how hard is it to issue a clear, comprehensive denial?

And a bonus - a simple, non-conspiratorial explanation for the importance of Judy Miller would be that Libby said "I first heard about Plame from Russert or Miller".

With Russert denying it, her testimony goes a ways towards confirming or denying Libby's story.

Oh, I assume that Fitzgerald's "potential whistleblower" is Wilson - however, he needs, at times (e.g., some court filings), to emphasize the importance of his case and focus on the most dramatic, rather than most probable, outcomes.

Steven J.

TOMMY V. - "I would be surprised to hear anyone "attest" to Rove's innocence. "

McClellan has said the Bush KNOWS Rove had nothing to do with the leak.

Cecil Turner

"If the warfare between the White House and the CIA was that open (rather than just beltway babble) I find that quite disturbing in the wake of 9/11."

I suspect the warfare was between the White House and those in the CIA who thought their caveats had been ignored (and it's clear now most of that happened at CIA management level). I've been trying for a while to come up with a narrative that makes sense. My best guess:

In late 2001/early 2002 (in the very busy wake of 9/11, the anthrax mailings, and deposing the Taliban), analysts at CIA were assessing Iraq as a threat. There was particular emphasis on WMD, since at the time, experts agreed Iraq was the most likely foreign source for the anthrax. The available intelligence was thin--analysts had to extrapolate intent from incomplete data--and resulted in contradictory, yet strongly-held opinions. The hawks won the argument, and their conclusions were passed on to policy makers.

[speculation]The doves at CIA HQ felt their opinions were being ignored, and the country was marching to war without proper cause. They arranged to send Joe Wilson (a noted peacenik) to bring back more data, apparently without signing a non-disclosure agreement. His negative report was ignored, and the one positive element (of the Iraqi business trip) treated as corroboration. Some leaking ensued, but little attention was paid to it until the forged document fiasco, which provides an opening. Further anonymous leaking had little effect, so eventually Wilson went public.[/speculation]

[speculation]The Administration was caught almost completely off-guard (they'd not taken the anonymous leaks seriously), saw Wilson's column as an attempt to undermine the war effort, and rushed to manage public opinion--with several missteps. Wilson was suddenly a hot topic. The INR memo became a central point of discussion, but because it's highly classified, few actually saw it. Someone (who probably learned it second-hand) leaked the background bit to the press. The information passed back and forth before Novak published.[/speculation] (I can't tell if the Cooper/Novak leaks were on the first go-round or the second--I suspect the second--though I'm also not convinced it matters.)

Steven J.

That hardly conflicts with Novak's claim that Rove knew the broad story previously.

It conflicts with this:

Newsday, July 22, 2003 - "Novak, in an interview, said his sources had come to him with the information. "I didn't dig it out, it was given to me," he said. "They thought it was significant, they gave me the name and I used it.""

Steven J.

There was particular emphasis on WMD, since at the time, experts agreed Iraq was the most likely foreign source for the anthrax.

The anthrax came from a lab at Ames.

Jeff

While we're at it, why don't we ask Cliff May for a clear, categorical identification of his source on Joe Wilson's wife. After all, from his own account, he can't have thought that the info was given to him confidentially. And let's get him to tell us precisely when he was told the information as well, since that is clearly quite relevant.

Steven J.

If it was a "leak" and Plame's name and position is deemed to be protected information than you are correct. But this hasn't been determined yet.

Yes it has. The CIA, the DOJ, Mr. Fitzgerald, a district court judge and 3 appellate court judges think so.


kim

CT, ordinarily I find your analysis faultless and compelling, but I fail to understand why you and others exclusively postulate a single source 'leak'. All Washington was abuzz with this and I'm very certain more than one figured it out independently.
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kim

Let's use Ockham's polloioscope. Take a guess at how many people in Washington were aware from May(Pincus) that Wilson had connections to the CIA. How many of them wondered what those connections were? How many of them figured out who his wife was?

Y voila. Legally impossible to prove 'outing'. Hence, Fitz is looking at something else.
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kim

I think he's caught Miller, Russert, and Cooper in lies, and is playing, now, practicing his hunting technique, with them.
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kim

And the Congressional Hearings are to explain it all the the American public. He's delivering bread, this is one of the circuses.
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kim

It will be Gladiatorial Parity. Armed Democrats against the Jackals of the Press. We'll see varmint innards, yet.
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Steven J.

How many of them figured out who his wife was?

Not many:


A Special Weekly Report From The Wall Street Journal's Capital Bureau
John Harwood. Wall Street Journal. (Eastern edition). New York, N.Y.: Jul 22, 2005. pg. A.4
Column Name:Washington Wire
Section: Politics & Policy

A key department memo discussing Joseph Wilson's Niger trip was classified "Top Secret," and the passage about his wife's CIA role was specially marked "S/NF" -- not to be shared with any foreign intelligence agencies.

Syl

"The anthrax came from a lab at Ames."

DNA analysis showed it was the Ames strain but there is no proof the Anthrax used came from the Ames lab itself. The lab had sent samples all around the world.

Jeff

Cecil Turner said

There was particular emphasis on WMD, since at the time, experts agreed Iraq was the most likely foreign source for the anthrax.

That is a deeply (and coming from you suprisingly) misleading characterization of the evidence you link to. Harris specifically resists joining in with the others egged on by Lantos. And she specifies that a foreign source is only one of three possible sources. And a hearing like the one you link to hardly seems a reliable account of the consensus of the relevant experts, especially given the way that particular hearing was driven by the political players. And what makes that more plausible is the fact that the consensus you refer to, such as it was, was wrong. And if that alleged expert consensus was, as you here suggest, the basis for the particular emphasis on WMD, or the evidentiary basis -- well, you're probably right about that one.

kim

This was an attempted political assassination. Turn the criminals loose in the ring. If it was a plot, the ring will be crowded.
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Steven J.

SYL: "DNA analysis showed it was the Ames strain but there is no proof the Anthrax used came from the Ames lab itself. The lab had sent samples all around the world."

Fair enough but there was no link to Iraq.


Patrick R. Sullivan

'most run afoul of Occam's Razor'

Virtually everything about this does. Starting with Wilson's crocodile tears about his wife's 'cover' (if that was so important why was he blabbering to everyone who'd listen about his CIA work?).

Let's start with the supposed Cooper-Rove discrepancy. Cooper had called before the July 11 conversation, and left a message saying he wanted to talk about welfare reform. So, say, on July 11, Rove's secretary buzzes him to tell him Cooper is on the line:

ROVE: 'What's he want?'

SEC: 'He called a few days ago about welfare reform'

ROVE: 'Okay, put him through'

Cooper: 'Karl, what do you know about Joe Wilson?'

End of discrepancy.

Now, as to how someone would learn of Valerie's CIA employment. A thousand ways.

She may have been a NOC at one time--meaning she'd have had a job with a private company, such as Unocal, Boeing, Halliburton, possibly under an assumed name, and it would have been a big deep secret--but she had NOTIONAL cover when Joe and she made their contributions to the Kerry presidential campaign.

Notional cover is paper thin, it could be exposed in a few minutes by someone with a phone book. Because it isn't a real company, unlike what you have with NOC.

And Val went to work every day at Langley. She ever stop at a coffee shop in the neighborhood? Eat lunch in a nearby restaurant with her colleagues? Waiters, barristas, newspaper stand guys, gas station attendants, all pick up a lot about their customers. As do people standing in check-out lines about their fellow shoppers.

Did she ever go to a party with other CIA analysts from Langley? Someone (a reporter even) could have seen her at such a gathering and made the obvious connection.

Wilson apparently made another trip for the CIA prior to the February 2002 trip, also at his wife's request. That could have easily been office gossip that eventually got known outside the office.

She was no spook in 2003, even if she'd been one earlier.

kim

SJ, your example is meaningless. It doesn't address my point.
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Syl

But, as far as we know the INR memo said Valerie Wilson, not Valerie Plame.

That came from somewhere else.

Novak said someone gave him the name.

Steven J.

PATRICK -

Cooper claimed that he didn't talk to Rove about welfare reform.

Cecil Turner

"CT, ordinarily I find your analysis faultless and compelling, but I fail to understand why you and others exclusively postulate a single source 'leak'. All Washington was abuzz with this and I'm very certain more than one figured it out independently."

Just a preference for simpler explanations and a general distaste for theories requiring simultaneity. Personally I find the claims that Plame's status was "widely known" unconvincing. I agree with you that the "buzz" changes the calculus somewhat, but to me the most logical explanation is a single-source rumor that bounced back-and-forth a few times.

However, I don't claim the above to be any more than a wild-a**ed guess. I think the individual probabilities make sense, but extrapolating from the minimal available data is problematic. Useful conclusions require several assumptions about how the data fit together, and with each, the uncertainty piles up. As many have observed, it's like an intricate game of "Clue." (And I think it's Fitzgerald's turn to make the next move.)

Steven J.

SYL - "But, as far as we know the INR memo said Valerie Wilson, not Valerie Plame."

Yup -

"Plame -- who is referred to by her married name, Valerie Wilson, in the memo -- is mentioned in the second paragraph of the three-page document, which was written on June 10, 2003, by an analyst in the State Department's Bureau of Intelligence and Research (INR), according to a source who described the memo to The Washington Post.
The paragraph identifying her as the wife of former ambassador Joseph C. Wilson IV was clearly marked to show that it contained classified material at the "secret" level, two sources said. The CIA classifies as "secret" the names of officers whose identities are covert, according to former senior agency officials."

Plame's Identity Marked As Secret
Memo Central to Probe Of Leak Was Written By State Dept. Analyst
By Walter Pincus and Jim VandeHei
Washington Post Staff Writers
Thursday, July 21, 2005; A01
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2005/07/20/AR2005072002517_pf.html

Joe Jackson

Regarding the initial blog “Discrepancies, Real And Imagined” – what a bunch of irrelevant minutia, misleading statements, convoluted logic and child-like excuse making.

“Ahh, but did Tim tell Libby that Wilson's wife was an analyst at the CIA?“
It doesn’t matter who told him. Whenn Libby confirmed that Wilon's wife was with the CIA he violated the law. The proper response would have been "I don't know" or "No Comment". Speaking of the law, why don’t you read it. The law doesn’t say: “P.S. If you leak classified info but you given the info by a reporter, no worries, leak away.”


“…but that Rove learned her *name*, i.e., her *identity*, from Novak.”
Again, read the law. It says the leaking of “ANY” information is a crime. Presumably “ANY” would include a reference to “Wilson’s wife”.

“Do we have confidence in those [Bloomberg] reporters?”
Your right there…Bloomberg is one fly by night outfit!

Dwilkers

"PATRICK -

Cooper claimed that he didn't talk to Rove about welfare reform."

Not so. He said he didn't remember and couldn't find it in his notes. There's a big difference, and Rove's contemporary e-mail, statement to the contrary and the fact that Cooper left the original message as well as later wrote the welfare article make Rove's version more credible. Maybe they talked welfare, maybe they didn't, but this isn't the stuff of perjury.

CT - Like you I've wondered and I like your analysis of it as well as any. FWIW I think you've weighted the possibilities out just about right.

Steven J.

DWILKERS - "Not so. He said he didn't remember and couldn't find it in his notes. "

You are correct.

kim

CT, we merely differ on which is the simplest explanation. The unusually large degree of simultaneity in this case is that there were so many people curious, and thinking, acting, and talking, about this case. But, I'll readily agree, you may be completely right, and I, completely wrong. Everyone is using the single source postulate, though, and it will be impossible to prove if my idea is right.
=================================================

Joe Jackson

Some folks don't realize the following:

I can guarantee you that EVERY email written and sent by the administration is done so with the following question in mind: "What would happen if this email ever got subpoenaed?"

This is nothing new. Attorneys do it all the time. They are very careful about what they put in print.

So, Rove, in response to the question posed above, said to himself, "Ok, if I make it sound like he called me about Welfare and then asked about Wilson, if anyone ever looks at this email, they'll see that Cooper was initiator of this leak."

Rove was right, to a point. It does give one pause to hear that Cooper called Rove about one thing and then (deceptively one might assume) changed the subject. The problem is he didn't. The bigger problem is, even if he did, as I pointed out before, the law doesn't say: "P.S., if you are called by a reporter about one subject and then he changes the subject, leaks are ok."

kim

I think the single source postulate will be impossible to prove whether or not my idea is right. I also think this may be why Fitz is frustrated and driven to relative extremes(jailing the 1st Amendment); he has an impossible task.
=================================================

kim

JJ, it's nice to know you have a rich imagination. Too bad your intuition is leading you astray.
===============================================

Joe Jackson

Kim, I'm not making this up. Many companies have strict policies about what can be written in a email, even if its peer-to-peer within the same company. Our litigious society is the root cause of this phenomenon. Certainly such a policy exists within the most powerful organization in the world!

Dwilkers

Joe, you're making Rove into a Fortune Teller.

Are you seriously positing that Rove wrote that e-mail because he thought some day two years hence he might need to say he talked to Cooper about welfare - BEFORE - he admitted they also talked about Plame/Wilson?

That doesn't make sense. It (their might-have-been welfare conversation) isn't even pertinent to the issue under investigation.

Cecil Turner

>> experts agreed Iraq was the most likely foreign source for the anthrax.

"That is a deeply (and coming from you suprisingly) misleading characterization of the evidence you link to. Harris specifically resists joining in with the others egged on by Lantos. And she specifies that a foreign source is only one of three possible sources."

What I was trying to impart was the agreement that if the source was foreign, the experts agreed Iraq was most likely--not that a foreign source was most likely. (I'll admit stilted phrasing--I tried it with a conditional, but it got so convoluted I couldn't understand myself).

And Harris might've resisted, but in the end she said (of the "rogue state" scenario): "And clearly Iraq would top, I think, everyone's list."

Appalled Moderate

Cecil:

I don't think we know enough about the facts to conclude that the leak of Ms. Plame's name was sloppy or casual. For example, a good plot would have Ari Fleischer blabbing to reporters on the plane (or at the hotel in Africa) and then Karl and Libby casually letting the matter settle into conversation later. Ari, per the New York Times, claims he never saw the INR memo. Bloomberg has a source (identified as a former official on the flight) who claims he saw him studying it.

If Ari blabs to reporters, then reporters asking Rove and Libby about this becomes sufficiently plausible to develop a cover story of "reporters told me".

Look, this is speculation. It's just that the idea of accidental disclosure doesn't feel quite right to me. Rove qnd Libby were working on an answer to Wilson's charges at the time the leaking occurred (per the New York Times). I find it difficult to believe a memo describing how Wilson came to be assigned to this trip would not find its way to them. It's a question someone tasked with dealing with Wilson would ask. I particularly have difficulty believing Libby would be unaware of Plame's status. On learning Wilson's operation supposedly was prompted by his office, Cheyney would undoubtedly be demanding that Libby find out what the heck the CIA was doing. That doesn't mean Libby would see the INR memo -- there's no reason that the president's people and the VP's people wouldn't be coordinated at this point. It's just that Libby's story -- I heard it from reporters -- is not the answer you'd expect.

Joe Jackson

"Are you seriously positing that Rove wrote that e-mail because he thought ... BEFORE - he admitted they also talked about Plame/Wilson?"

Dwilkers -- Not only am I saying that, I'm saying that its standard practice for CYA (covering-your-ass) evertime they write any email. Look, Rove knew he did something wrong. So he had to put something on the record to exonerate himself. THIS IS STANDARD PRACTICE. He was in a rush to leave on vacation and the best he could come up with was the "He called about Welfare Reform first". Rove knows that the best lie is one with an element of truth -- indeed Cooper had called him earlier in the week. But Cooper called that day for one and one one reason -- the Joe Wilson editorial. And he hadn't spoken for 5 seconds before Rove interrupted him and led him to Plame.

USE YOUR GOD GIVEN COMMON SENSE. WHY WOULD ROVE, ONE OF THE BUSIEST MEN ON THE PLANET, TAKE TIME TO TALK TO A REPORTER (WITH WHOM HE NO PRIOR RELATIONSHIP), ON A FRIDAY NIGHT, TO SPEAK ABOUT WELFARE REFORM?!?!?!?

It just makes no sense whatsoever. Judge Judy would see through that like Superman through glass.

kim

JJ, you seem to know intimate details of that phone conversation. Truth or bullshit?
============================================

Jeff

Here's a little more from the exchange between Lantos and Harris in which she makes the comment you mention. Note the multiple qualifications by Harris, and her effort to resist the political gist of the hearings Lantos is participating in pushing.

Mr. LANTOS. Ms. Harris?

Ms. HARRIS. As I said in my statement, there are three possible scenarios here. One is the rogue state scenario. And clearly Iraq would top, I think, everyone's list.

Mr. LANTOS. Would Iraq top your list also?

Dr. ALIBEK. Correct.

Mr. LANTOS. All three of you are in agreement that Iraq is the most likely source?

Ms. HARRIS. If it is, in fact, a deliberate effort by another state to inflict harm on the United States, then Iraq clearly had the most advanced biological weapons program outside of the former Soviet Union. I think, as you mentioned in your statement, if a link to Iraq, which hasn't been made yet, does eventually emerge—and I am somewhat more skeptical than Dr. Spertzel on that point—but if it does emerge, it just reinforces the importance of getting U.N. inspectors back into Iraq.

It has been 3 years since the inspectors were kicked out. We don't have as clear an idea as we should of what is happening in Iraq. And we have absolutely no capacity to stop the reconstitution of the dual-use facilities that were central to Iraq's nuclear, chemical and biological programs. I applaud the Administration's recent efforts to give renewed emphasis to getting an inspection force into Iraq.

Steven J.

JJ - "But Cooper called that day for one and one one reason -- the Joe Wilson editorial."

That's what Cooper says:

"I told the grand jurors that I was curious about Wilson when I called Karl Rove on Friday, July 11. "

"I recall calling Rove from my office at TIME magazine through the White House switchboard and being transferred to his office. I believe a woman answered the phone and said words to the effect that Rove wasn't there or was busy before going on vacation. But then, I recall, she said something like, "Hang on," and I was transferred to him. I recall saying something like, "I'm writing about Wilson," before he interjected."

http://www.truthout.org/docs_2005/071705X.shtml

Cecil Turner

"I don't think we know enough about the facts to conclude that the leak of Ms. Plame's name was sloppy or casual."

If the testimony is as presented, it sure looks sloppy. Casual is an inference from the sloppiness . . . so admittedly one more degree of separation from the known data. (There's also Novak's follow-on, but after "gunslinger," I'd rate it about "useless.") I also have a real hard time with the story about someone seeing Fleischer reading a particular TS document. And if it's true, the guy must've seen the document, and been leaking . . . why wouldn't he be a prime suspect?

"Look, this is speculation. [. . .] It's just that Libby's story -- I heard it from reporters -- is not the answer you'd expect."

At this level it's all speculation. But ISTM that story is even less likely if you posit a well-planned smear campaign. (In fact, it's practically a ticket to jail.) If the INR memo is in fact Top Secret, I suspect Fitzgerald will be able to track down most of the folks who read it. If Libby and Rove are both in that group, an "I heard it from reporters" story is not going to work. And if they'd planned it in advance, you'd have to think they'd have a better story. Sloppiness, though, is believable. (I had a couple assignments as a low-level security manager . . . I've seen several--from people who were relatively smart--that'd just make you shake your head.)

Cecil Turner

"Note the multiple qualifications by Harris, and her effort to resist the political gist of the hearings Lantos is participating in pushing."

I think it fair to say Harris didn't like the foreign source theory, and didn't want to link Iraq to the anthrax attacks. But even buried in qualifiers, this is a pretty clear statement: "And clearly Iraq would top, I think, everyone's list."

And again, the point was simply that CIA analysts were being pressed for a definitive answer on Iraq's WMD programs--an "I don't know" wasn't acceptable, even though it was probably the most honest--and that could be expected to produce a sharp divide amongst analysts who would otherwise have agreed to disagree ( . . . or so I speculate).

MeTooThen

CT,

Query:

If there was a single source that disseminated (in whatever way) the information that Valerie Wilson was in reality, the NOC Valerie Plame, and that the purpose of this dissemination was to either punish Plame or discredit Joseph Charles Wilson IV, why would Judith Miller continue to refuse to comply with the court's order that she testify in front of the grand jury, having reportedly been given permission to do so by her source?

I ask you this question because you seem to be one of the sensible ones and might be able to figure this out.

Just askin'.

Miller's refusal to testify is the real mystery here.

If there was a single nefarious and malevolent source, why would that source have given its permission to Miller to testify?

Would RovEvil give his consent to Miller for her to reveal to all the world that he "outed" Plame?

That makes no sense whatsoever.

Would Libby have given his consent to her?

Doubtful.

Miller's source is someone else. It has to be.

Just sayin'.


Joe Jackson

MeTooThen -- you might be interested to know that John Bolton is one of Judith Miller's frequent sources on matters relating to the CIA. Imagine the implications of that.

kim

I agree, Mimi, Judith Miller is key. So is Val Plame. They are both so very, very, very, quiet right now.
================================================

Joe Jackson

"They are both so very, very, very, quiet right now."

Well, one is in jail and the other is bound by CIA rules not to discuss the matter lest she loose her job and be thrown in jail as well.

Do you formulate your comments using Random Comment Generator software? Or is there some logic to them?

Steven J.

Judy "War Whore" Miller co-wrote a book with Weekly Standard Wingnut Laurie Mylroie. She was also part of the stable of neo-con speakers at Benador Associates.

According to some sources, her clearance to cover the Iraq War was approved by Rumsfeld personally.

I think Miller is more of a player than a reporter in this matter.

Steven J.

JJ - "Do you formulate your comments using Random Comment Generator software? Or is there some logic to them?"

Thanks for the chuckle!

kim

So, JJ, will Judith and Val testify to Congress?

And you can sneer at my style all you like as long as you fail to answer my arguments.
-------------------------------------------------

Joe Jackson

"I think Miller is more of a player than a reporter in this matter."

I wouldn't rule it out. It would make sense that discrediting Wilson's article would help save her ass with all the rah-rah BS she put out there, now proven totally false. Regardless, she doesn't have CIA files at her desk. Wouldn't be wierd if you had Miller complicit in the Wilson bashing while her peer at the same company was trying to expose the Wilson bashing?

Joe Jackson

"So, JJ, will Judith and Val testify to Congress?"

Kim, I really don't know. There really isn't any need for Val to testify. What would she testify to? That she was indeed a covert agent? That sort of information would come from CIA Human Resources, not her.

Your question about Judith is the million dollar question.

Cecil Turner

"why would Judith Miller continue to refuse to comply with the court's order that she testify in front of the grand jury, having reportedly been given permission to do so by her source?"

If her initial source was a lower-level WH functionary, then she'd probably view a release as invalid. Also, some reporters claim the need to protect sources even with a release (since the desired effect is for other sources to be assured of strict confidentiality). I've no idea what view Miller holds, nor what possible conflicts she sees in providing testimony. (And since she could've had contact with anyone or everyone in the dispute, and may be worried about follow-on questions, there are just too many possibilities.) In a word: "clueless."

Patrick R. Sullivan

'Cooper claimed that he didn't talk to Rove about welfare reform.'

Go back and read my little conversation between the two of them more carefully.

MeTooThen

CT,

Me too, then.

LOL.

It's interesting though to see (and read) how much invective is hurled Miller's way by the McHalliNaziChimpBurton-RovEvil crowd.

...

And Joe Jackson,

John Bolton?

I don't know whether to laugh or yawn.

Ms. Plame?

Yes, I am sure she would have a lot to say about how Joseph Charles Wilson IV got the Niger trip; whether she was or was not NOC; to whom she told she was NOC or not; yes, these and other questions are relevant and substantive that would seem likely needed to be answered by the Special Prosecutor as part of his finding of facts.

Just sayin'.


...

kim

If there was a single point source it could have been Val to Judith Miller who is now protecting herself from criminal charges. Evidence for this: zip, zero, zilch. Likelihood: Not so nada.

Just sayin'
============

Dwilkers

"So he had to put something on the record to exonerate himself."

The only problem with all that Joe is my God given common sense tells me it doesn't exonerate him from anything.

Slartibartfast
I suspect Fitzgerald will be able to track down most of the folks who read it.

That's crazy talk, Cecil.

Lesley

From Beldar: July 16, 2005

"Any blogger, pundit, cable-TV talking head, talk-radio jock, national print or electronic media columnist or reporter, major- or minor-party chairman, or flack from any part of the socio-ecopolitical spectrum, or anyone else who claims to know all about — or even to have any deeply penetrating and almost-certainly-valid insights into — the entire Plame/Wilson/Niger/Novak stuff ... is farting through his/her hat and trying to convince you that it's gospel singing."

"There's a reason they call the process "due." Until the process has proceeded, the proceedings are neither properly probative nor particularly penetrable. Hence my plea to the blogosphere: Please let the prosecutor and the grand jury — and depending on their results, then possibly a trial judge and a petit jury (and then probably some appellate courts too) — just "due" it."

Go over and visit Baseball Crank today. He is erudite, lucid and dispassionate.

BTW: I'm not digging on anyone here because there are some people on this thread who have remarkable insight, very worthy of consideration and have earned my respect. Sometimes I need a break from the Fever Swamp. Just saying....

Joe Jackson

MeTooThen,

You'd better pop a ridallin to help you concentrate on what's meaningful instead of flailing around chasing a bunch of red herrings.

It doesn't matter if the man-in-the-moon sent Joe to Niger. It has nothing to do with the leaked info.

It was the head of the CIA who called for the investigation. Would he do that if Plame was not NOC? Plame was the NOCiest of the NOCs. She was "unoffical" cover - meaning she had a US passport, not a black diplomatic passport. A NOC getting caught with a US passport means torture followed (at some point) by death.

By the way, Joe Wilson help a ton of hostages get out of Iraq alive at the beginning of the first Gulf War. What have you done for your country?

kim

Yeah, we are all fighting over fantasies.
==========================================

Joe Jackson

Kim, are you using Random Comment Generator 6.0 or the latest version? I run 6.0 and my comments don't come out as good as yours. Is there and upgrade available?

kim

JJ, what is all that garbage about torture and death?

I've asked before. Let's have a little background on Joe from those who have dealt with him over the last 30 years. Surely he didn't just latlely start into lying and dishonestly promoting himself.
===============================================

kim

JJ: My last apparently random comment was a response to Lesley and was non-random. Keep up.

However, my RCG vers. X.0 is clearly outperforming your RCG 6.0. Mine is still generating arguments, yours has degenerated to misplaced facetiousness.
================================================

Joe Jackson

Kim, well this is a start:

" In 1991, President George Bush introduced Joseph Wilson to his war Cabinet, calling the veteran diplomat "a true American hero." By any standard, Wilson deserved such praise. As the senior U.S. diplomat in Iraq during Operation Desert Shield, the massive U.S. military buildup in Saudi Arabia after Saddam Hussein invaded Kuwait, Wilson was responsible for freeing 150 American hostages seized by the Iraqi dictator. Indeed, he was the last U.S. diplomat to meet with Saddam Hussein, in August 1990, following Saddam's notorious July 25 meeting with U.S. ambassador April Glaspie, who failed to warn Saddam not to invade Kuwait. Wilson advocated a muscular response to Saddam's aggression, and though he sought a diplomatic solution, supported Operation Desert Storm. During his highly decorated 23-year career, Wilson also held the position of political advisor to the commander in chief of the U.S. Armed Forces in Europe and was ambassador to Gabon."

Joe Jackson

Kim, Wow that last one was pretty good. I've got to upgrade to X.0!

Lesley

LOL Kim. I'm grateful you didn't address me by saying, "Listen Dunderhead." I am still chuckling over that.

kim

Did you see the quote that dunderhead wanted me to give credence to? September, ought three, an unnamed official who thought the Plame outing was 'clearly' revenge. C'mon now.
===============================================

kim

JJ, we've heard all that about Joe Kerry, er I mean Wilson. I want to hear what Wilson's fellow Swifties have to say. Curious there are no stories about his storied past, eh?
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Lesley

No, I thought "dunderhead" was particularly applicable - that was why it was so darn funny. You have this great conversational tone and quick wit which cracks me up. That's all I meant.

Joe Jackson

Kim, please answer this next question truthfully, YES or NO are the only acceptable answers.

Have you stopped commiting burglaries in your neighborhood?

kim

JJ, I figured out your problem. You have Random Quote Generator. They probably slipped you that at the store because they were out of Random Comment Generator. Big demand for that one among blog posters.

Oh, yes, Lesley, I didn't misinterpret your tone. Dunderhead cracked me up, too, at least partly because I don't like to get angry, it interferes with wit, but that time, it helped.
=================================================

kim

You've posed the classic dilemma, through the horns is to ask you to rephrase the question since neither yes nor no is the truth.
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Wilson/Plame