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July 20, 2005

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Jeff

Rove sure seems to be forgetting a lot about this matter. At what point do you start to wonder whether all the forgetting Rove is doing is not only not his best defense, but unbelievable.

Perhaps this explains why, on Cooper's account, the grand jury spent so much time and minute detail on the question of whether Cooper called about, and talked with Rove about, welfare reform, before moving on to the alleged afterthought of the Wilson matter. If in fact the conversation was devoted to Wilson, that may poke a hole in what Rove told investigators and/or the grand jury. It would be interesting to know too whether the email from Rove to Hadley was among the things that the Bush administration initially refused to turn over.

I presume the idea on the INR memo is that, if this was the source of the info on Plame -- even though Rove has claimed he never saw it, right? -- is makes it more plausible that he would not know she was covert, right? Providing him an out on IIPA charges? One detail you didn't focus on is from Tuesday's Wall Street Journal (which I have only seen quoted so far on blogs, not having access to the WSJ): "The paragraph in the memo discussing Ms. Wilson's involvement in her husband's trip is marked at the beginning with a letter designation in brackets to indicate the information shouldn't be shared, according to the person familiar with the memo. Such a designation would indicate to a reader that the information was sensitive. The memo, though, doesn't specifically describe Ms. Wilson as an undercover agent, the person familiar with the memo said." That could be trouble for someone, though not necessarily Rove if he didn't see the document.

Jim E.

Why wouldn't Rove have reviewed his notes and e-mails before the FBI interview? It's the FBI, not Larry King, for crissakes.

I was just going to reference the WSJ journal article, but I see Jeff has already done so.

Geek, Esq.

TM:

The significant part of the memo you seem to be side-stepping is that it made it crystal-clear that Plame's status as a CIA employee was sensitive information that should be protected and not disseminated.

Walter

The White House won't even acknowledge that it is wrong for its senior staff to identify employees of the CIA. So it is reasonable to assume that they would do it again without recourse. CIA staffers must be livid. Some of them have been interviewed by the Special Prosecutor, and you can bet they have been much more forthcoming than Rove. And willing to leak some of what they know.

Appalled Moderate

1. Did Rove see the evil document with the brackets and the number? If it can't be proved he did (and why would he?), all this info does is point the finger at some blabbermouth talking to Rove. nd Rove sys it's a reporter...

2. jeff, the call to Cooper was a three minute yack before he goes off on a family vacation. The man was probably working like a madman to get away for a few days, and concentrated more activity in that one day then usual. If the day was a blur, that's not a surprise.

3. TM -- I think the brackets and number work against your argument. I somehow doubt Rove actually saw the memo in question, though. (Somebody prove me wrong.)

Jim E.

"And Rove sys it's a reporter..."

Well, shit, if Rove says that's the case, I guess Fitzgerald should have closed up shop in the fall of 2003. Why does the FBI and special prosecutor hate America? I mean, Rove obviously has no incentive to mislead on this point, right?

That's just too bad that Rove can't remember the darn reporter's name. Shucks. Damn guy was working so hard to protect America he showed up late to his vacation. Working sooooo hard. I'm holding a pity party and you're all invited.

In the meantime, let's continue to blame the reporters (but not Novak, God, please forget that Novak played any role in this) and act as if Rove, and Rove alone, is telling the God's honest truth.

Jeff

Appalled Moderate - Yeah, that's possible. It would be interesting to know more about the email he sent to Hadley afterward in that regard. Was he just sending emails to all sorts of super-important government officials about all sorts of matters before dashing off to vacation? From the AP report, it appears that the email is part of ongoing discussions with Hadley, which along with some other emerging evidence, suggests that the Wilson matter was pretty important to Rove and the White House, especially in connection with talking with the press, which seems like it makes it less likely that Rove would just forget about this conversation. Which is of course different from saying that you can prove in a court of law that Rove did not forget. Don't you think it's a little fishy that Rove apparently forgot this conversation, and also forgets where he learned about Plame? Doesn't that sound just a little bit suspect? Again, even if it doesn't eventuate in violating the Bush standard of honor and integrity, which appears to be anything short of criminal conviction?

Geek, Esq.

AM:

1. Rove apparently can't remember the name of that reporter who told him, or when he heard it.

2. What sounds more likely, that he heard it from a reporter or that he heard it from Scooter Libby or someone else inside the White House.

3. The fact that the information was considered unfit for publication--pretty much demolishes the big talking point that "we don't know that a crime was committed." SOMEBODY inside the White House either told Karl Rove, or told a reporter, information that simply wasn't permitted to be disclosed. Whether it was an individual or group effort, there was criminal conduct going on inside the Bush administration.

4. To that end, has anyone mentioned the dreaded "R" word yet?

overtaxed

Minuteman, it's obvious that not enough bloggers and reporters read your thoughts here. They should - you have been out in front of this issue for 2 years.

Jeff

Are we ruling out the possibility that Novak tried to cut through the fog of Ms. Wilson's difficulties with foreign travel, and asked point blank whether she was covert?

No, we aren't ruling out that possibility. But then why wouldn't Novak's account say that he asked point blank? Why wouldn't it say that the CIA introduced uncertainty into Novak's mind where none had existed before?

Jim E.

I don't get why people think Novak cracked the Plame connection through hard work. After all, this is what Novak said weeks after his infamous column: "I didn't dig it out, it was given to me. They thought it was significant, they gave me the name and I used it."

Appalled Moderate

jim e: Since someone is innocent until proven guilty, yeah, I'll give Rove a presumption of truth until someone comes up with a provable story.

Geek -- That's plausible, and seems a likely way Rove got the info. If Rove was getting this kind of info directly via a memo, that in itself would be a scandal. Inter-office gossip isn't good, but possible. Frankly, if that's he way it happened, somebody in the WH needs to take a fall.

Jeff -- there are fishy elements throughout this. Rove's involvemnet is a bit hard to figure.

Geek, Esq.

To clarify, the "R" word isn't Rove or Republican.

It's RICO.

Cecil Turner

"The significant part of the memo you seem to be side-stepping is that it made it crystal-clear that Plame's status as a CIA employee was sensitive information that should be protected and not disseminated."

Dubious. If she was in fact a NOC, the information should never have been in a State Department memo. Further, the paragraph apparently was (according to WSJ): "discussing Ms. Wilson's involvement in her husband's trip"--not her status, which according to Newsweek wasn't even mentioned. The logical conclusion would be that she was an analyst. If that was Rove's source (which seems likely, though probably from second-hand accounts), it was at worst a leak of background information--which from his perspective had already been compromised.

Geek, Esq.

If the memo made it clear that Plame's involvement was a sensitive matter not to be disclosed, then shouldn't heads roll for leaking that information?

Without seeing the exact context, I can't say for sure, but it seems to me that discussing Plame's wife's role in CIA deliberations and her status as a CIA employee are logically pretty closely related, if not the same thing.

Also, all of this talk about her 'status' is a red herring. The CIA wanted her general status as a CIA employee kept secret, and the Bushies blabbed about it to reporters in order to score PR points. Sounds like a violation of the Espionage Act to me.

Jim E.

Cecil,
If Rove divulged info from the "sensitive" (perhaps classified?) memo, that might be a crime, even if it had nothing to do with Plame's status. I don't think Rove's defense can be: heck, if someone else already knew about the memo, then I can yap about it all I want. I'm pretty sure that's not how the law works.

AM,
You say Rove in innocent until proven guilty, so you'll give him the presumption of truth?? That Rove is currently innocent is a fact, and it's an understandable point to bring up as assumptions fly around. But to therefore label as "truth" all of his leaked statements and defenses is quite ridiculous.

Seven Machos

Geek -- So, let's see, you have bandied about both RICO and espionage. I question your knowledge of either. RICO is an anti-racketeering law intended to eradicate organized crime. Espionage is clandestinely giving aid and comfort to enemies of your country. Neither applies here to anyone involved or possibly involved, not even Joe Wilson.

If you are a lawyer, I certainly hope you aren't, you know, practicing. First-year law student is more like it...

Forbes

CT: As you would know better than most, since Plame doesn't appear to meet the definition of a "covert agent" under the IIPA, vis...(4)(A) a present or retired officer or employee of an intelligence agency...(i) whose identity as such an officer, employee, or member is classified information, and (ii)...has within the last five years served outside the United States, under what other IIPA definition and conditions would disclosure be a violation?

Do you have any pointers?

Thanks.

TM

Love that WSJ connection! Thanks for the tip, Jeff, and the well-intentioned Jim E.

The significant part of the memo you seem to be side-stepping is that it made it crystal-clear that Plame's status as a CIA employee was sensitive information that should be protected and not disseminated.

C'mon, Geek, sometimes my psychic powers fail me - I hadn't even seem the darn WSJ story (although I should have been thinking to look there, somehow, since they broke the memo story originally.)

From Appalled:

I somehow doubt Rove actually saw the memo in question, though. (Somebody prove me wrong.)

Newsweek is inconclusive on this, darn it, but I am betting the memo was sent back to the White House (I have an UPDATE now).

Well. Defending Rove on the Cooper leak is possible, I guess - as Cooper noted, he didn't use the info until Novak published, so (one might argue) Rove judged correctly that he would use it responsibly.

Of course, Rove suspected/knew Novak would publish.

Hmm, I may blog extensively about Roberts for a few days...

KC

"it is hard to believe Rove *had* reviewed his e-mails prior to the interview"

Boy that's enough spin to knock a monitor off a desk. At some point you have to decide, is Rove the shrewd Machiavelli of Washington that can deliver elections and shape policy or is he just some simple huckster that unkowingly passes on information he heard from a source he can't remember just so a reporter wouldn't be embarrased by a false story. It's hard to believe that someone the POTUS puts so much trust into and has built a career on knowing the most minute detail about polls, political climate, personal background, etc. would walk into an FBI interview without reviewing all available materials. How can you seriously buy these "golly gee I can't remember who told me" and "gosh it must have slipped my mind that I talked to Cooper" explainations? Those shoulders must be getting sore from carrying all that water.

Cecil Turner

"Without seeing the exact context, I can't say for sure, but it seems to me that discussing Plame's wife's role in CIA deliberations and her status as a CIA employee are logically pretty closely related, if not the same thing."

Context is key. But if the central point was that Plame worked for the CIA (which is the specific piece of information the IIPA is designed to protect), then there should've been no mention of her at all in the memo. The fact that she was mentioned would make the casual reader think that was not the case (and if this turns out to be the source, it is the "smoking gun" security lapse). I'd love to see the actual INR memo and the classification of that particular paragraph . . . but no matter what it is, it was clearly not an appropriate vehicle to discuss a NOC intelligence officer's identity.

For anyone familiar with classified information, it's unconvincing that a tangential paragraph is supposed to indicate that a logical inference (Plame's status) is a closely-held secret. (BTW, here's the WSJ article).

Geek, Esq.

Seven Nachos:

I've been involved in RICO litigation and have researched it extensively. It's a remarkably flexible statute. Ask any white collar defense lawyer.

I could go on about racketeering offenses, predicates, enterprises, patterns, etc etc, but I'll save that for a law review article.

Seven Machos

KC -- No one on the right ever said that Karl Rove was anything more than a political consultant. The Left is the side that built him up to be an evil genius, because they couldn't take being beaten by George W. Bush, who we all know is the only total moron to ever graduate from Andover, Yale, and Harvard, own a baseball team, and be governor of a huge state before being twice elected as president of the United States.

I think the Left is starting to believe its own demonology.

Having said all this, I assure you that Rove did nothing wrong and will be exonerated.

Geek, Esq.

Cecil:

We're talking about people with top-level security clearances--why is it unreasonable to assume that highly classified information would find its way into their hands?

Seven Machos

Geek -- I'm sure you are extensively published in the finest law reviews, and I'm equally sure that you think you are right when you say that RICO could possibly have anything to do with what, in the most fanatically anti-Rovian, conspiracy-minded consideration, would amount to about two minutes of human interaction among government officials and reporters.

Good luck in your legal career, Big Guy. Because God knows, you are going to need to it.

Lesley

I have the peculiar sense we are observing the curtain call for a play none of us have actually seen. Currently the spotlight is focused on Rove but there are literally scores of other actors on that stage yet to take a bow.

Jim E.

"Hmm, I may blog extensively about Roberts for a few days..."

That made me genuinely chuckle.

Boz

,,,,but has not the RICO gambit been sretched on occasons to accomodate ?
Think it was Capone who got jailed for TAX EVASION rather than for "other" issues which had been rather more than merely suspected but difficult to 'prove' via law applicationaries allowed...so they used another 'law" to get desired resultings....no?

Cecil Turner

Geek,

"We're talking about people with top-level security clearances--why is it unreasonable to assume that highly classified information would find its way into their hands?"

It might. But if you're thinking a CIA agent's covert identity would be floated in a memo from a different agency, buried in a paragraph about a tangential matter, and incorrectly marked, then . . . no. Major foul-up. (And it appears to be Plame's fault.)

"since Plame doesn't appear to meet the definition of a "covert agent" under the IIPA . . . under what other IIPA definition and conditions would disclosure be a violation?"

Sorry Forbes, that's not my area of expertise (like you, I just read the statutes). She certainly doesn't appear to meet Toensing and Sanford's interpretation of "covert" (esp. the requirement that she had been "posted" permanently overseas in the previous five years). But as TM pointed out elsewhere, the statute doesn't specifically say that--and it seems to be open to considerable interpretation. I'm sure the CIA would like a broad reading (and especially some of the more vocal veterans), which then might include Plame. If she doesn't meet the definition of "covert," however, it's hard to see how any part of the statute would apply.

Seven Machos

RICO is for substantial, complex, organized crime. It is not flexible and, in fact, Congress has acted to narrow its scope so that it isn't improperly used. RICO was applied to anti-abortionists on the theory that they were engaged in substantial, complex, organized crime.

How could anyone possibly say that what happened here was substantial, complex, organized crime? Where is the pattern of racketeering activity? Where is the criminal enterprise that engaged in criminal acts?

The RICO argument is beyond the pale of credulity. Anyone advocating it is delirious and grasping at straws.

Forbes

CT: Working at Langley appears to be about the worst way to maintain a "cover". Is it possible the CIA is this inept?

Geek, Esq.

There are a ton of RICO predicate offenses, including obstruction of justice, obstruction of a criminal investigation, wire fraud, mail fraud, and forgery *coughNigerdocumentscough*. One RICO predicate offense is a felony; two is a pattern.

And the enterprise need not be a criminal one--the enterprise is not always the defendant. The government can be an enterprise under the RICO statute.

Seven Machos

I have tried to explain the working-at-Langley-for-five-years means can't-be-covert concept on several occasions here. Certain people, because they simply wish to embarrass the Bush administration under any pretext, refuse to understand.

Seven Machos

The RICO argument is simply delirious.

The Kid

If the “classified State Department memo” was classified, it would have had a C, S, or TS enclosed in parentheses at the beginning of each paragraph indicating the paragraph’s classification. There would also be a U for unclassified paragraphs. But it’s possible -- and from what I’ve read of the memo -- that it was unclassified but did contain some sensitive information. In that case, one or more paragraphs may have been marked FOUO -- For Official Use Only -- to indicate that the information should not be released to the public. Note that FOUO is routinely used to protect information that’s exempt from release under FOIA. Looking at the list, two or three could apply to the INR memo, from what little we know.

Geek, Esq.

What element of a RICO indictment is so far beyond the realm of possibility, Professor?

The Kid

Ooooop! I should have added that the State Department uses "SBU" -- Sensitive But Unclassified” -- instead of FOUO. However, I am told that some Staters use FOUO in documents addressed outside the department. BTW, this link should have been the first link in my previous post.

Seven Machos

There has ben no association for the purpose of committing an unlawful act. There has been no extortion, bribery, or transporting drugs or stolen goods across state lines.

Forgery. There has been no forgery on the part of Karl Rove. No credible entity has ever accused any American of forging any documents relating to Niger. If an American was involved, that person is far more likely to have been CIA than Bush administration.

Obstruction of justice. There has been no obstruction of justice on the part of Karl Rove.

Obstruction of a criminal investigation. There has been no obstruction of a criminal investigation on the part of Karl Rove.

Wire fraud. There has been no wire fraud on the part of Karl Rove.

Mail fraud. There has been no mail fraud on the part of Karl Rove.

As I indicated before, there has been no pattern of activity. I apologize for engaging in this argument. You obviously don't know what you are talking about. I do. There is zero chance of anything related to RICO arising out of this. Now, please stop. We shall have no further truck with each other.

Joe

I think for double super secret memos, the STFU caveat is used.

Joe

Oops, I've said too much already.

Lesley

Seven, I would gently disagree with you on this RICO biz much as I find it bone-chilling to think that it will be invoked in the Plame matter.

As far the RICO Statute goes, I am reminded of this exchange between Alice and Humpty Dumpty in "The Walrus and the Carpenter."

Substitute the word "law" for the word "word" and I think you'll catch my gist.

"When I use a word," Humpty Dumpty said, in rather a scronful tone, "it means just what I choose it to mean - neither more nor less."

"The question is," said Alice, "whether you can make words mean so many different things."

"The question is," said Humpty Dumpty, "which is to be master - that's all."

My humor for the day. Apologies in advance to my barrister friends out there.

Geek, Esq.

Okay, I see Professor Machos's theory now: Karl Rove has already been exonerated of all wrongdoing.

Forgot about that--must have been in Blackstone's treatise on Lex Wingnuttia.

Seven Machos

Lesley -- The bedrock finding for RICO is finding that there was an association for the purpose of committing an unlawful act.

That didn't happen here. The rest is moot.

The Left is grasping at straws here.

Jim E.

"You obviously don't know what you are talking about. I do."

Of course, Machos thinks Fitzgerald already publicly stated that no crime has been committed. So Machos isn't the legal scholar he thinks he is. I, too, have had the displeasure of been on the receiving end of his uninformed taunts, although I think he credited me with being a 3rd year law student.

Martin

Time for a reading comprehension course:

Waas writes: "White House deputy chief of staff Karl Rove did not disclose that he had ever discussed CIA officer Valerie Plame with Time magazine reporter Matthew Cooper during Rove’s first interview with the FBI."

TM says this is obviously a simple oversight since Rove sent an e-mail to Hadley saying he talked to Cooper.

Ignorance or hackery?

Did Rove's e-mail to Hadley mention the fact he ever discussed CIA officer Valerie Plame with Cooper? B/c if it didn't he might well have told the FBI he talked to Cooper-but denied he ever discussed Plame with him, which is all Waas said.

So-your "exculpatory scenario' of Rove saying "I have not yet reviewed my notes and e-mails, but as best I recall, I spoke about this only to Novak," works ONLY IF he denied speaking to Cooper period.

But that's not what Waas wrote.


Seven Machos

Clever, Geek. My theory is that Karl Rove did not do anything wrong. Therefore, there is nothing from which to be exonerated.

The fact that you are lurching at RICO and espionage is simply desperate.

The fact is: you don't care about what actually happened; you merely want to tarnish the Bush administration in any way possible. If doesn't matter if it's by way of RICO (or the Smith Act, or the Alien-and-Sedition Act), or touting gay conservatives, or touting some memo from another country, or touting forged documents by another country's intelligence service, or griping about a banner on an aircraft carrier, or griping about a turkey at Thanksgiving, or grieving because of a National Guard posting 35 years ago.

The Left in this country is shrill and absurd. I'm glad it doesn't control much in the way of government.

Lesley

Seven, you may recall that I am of the school that Rove is not the target. Nevertheless, let's play with this theory.

Someone (Hadley) in the WH saw the documents (Mr. Turner's leak vector notion), tattled to Fleisher, who tattled to Rove, and they all conspired together to out a covert CIA agent which is against the law. Something along those lines. I think Geek could improve on my scenario enormously but, there you have it in a very non-lawyerly-like way.

Seven Machos

Jim: People who aer going to be indicted by a Grand Jury don't testify in front of the Grand Jury three times. Fitzgerald said Rove is not a target of his investigation (though he has said that everyone is a subject).

Cecil Turner

"If the “classified State Department memo” was classified, it would have had a C, S, or TS enclosed in parentheses at the beginning of each paragraph indicating the paragraph’s classification."

That's true for a generic case, but for sensitive stuff it gets a lot more involved. I had a hard time finding a good explanation of the classification system, but this one isn't too bad. Note that in addition to the standard classification levels (Confidential, Secret, Top Secret), there are "code word" limitations for "compartmentalized" information, which limits their access. There are also general restrictions and warnings, and combinations are common (though they were trying to simplify the system when I retired, and may have subsequently done so). It wasn't uncommon to see classification markings like: "SECRET/NOFORN/WNINTEL"--which meant it was secret, not for foreign dissemination, and had a "warning notice" that sensitive intelligence sources were involved. In particularly sensitive cases, it would have a specific code word, like: TOP SECRET/MAGIC --which would be limited to those with top secret clearances who had also been read into the "Magic" program.

The important point is that lots of people have TS clearances, and the more sensitive information is limited by access. In cases like this one, dealing with hypersensitive information (i.e., identities of covert agents), it'd almost certainly be codeword . . . and not included in a casual paragraph about a related topic.

Geek, Esq.

Lesley: Throw in a reference to lying to investigators about the whole sordid affair and a possible link to the Niger memos and you're off to a running start.

The enterprise here could be a legitimate one--such as the WHIG. Pattern of racketeering activity--obstructing justice, forged Niger memos, etc etc.

But you've nailed the essence. WH official leaks to Rove info in memo, who then leaks to press. Plausible deniability all around if taken individually, a conspiracy if considered collectively.

Seven Machos

1. Why have RICO if conspiracy covers what RICO is?

2. You cannot out someone who is not covert.

3. Conspired together? So, they all huddled together and emailed each other and planned and schemed? No. But even if they did, these people did not associate for the purpose of committing an unlawful act. They associated because they all worked for the Bush administration.

4. I could make a RICO argument about Plame-Wilson-et. al. But I won't, because it would be a dumb waste of time.

There isn't going to be any indictment of Rove or anyone significant in the Bush administration.

Jim E.

"People who aer going to be indicted by a Grand Jury don't testify in front of the Grand Jury three times."

Really? Did you learn that in law school? (Note: I've never said Rove will or won't be indicted.)

"Fitzgerald said Rove is not a target of his investigation."

True, but that statement was operative in October 2004, and it's anyone's guess what Rove's status is as of late July 2005.

Jim K.

Perhaps I've missed something, as the details of this have been very difficult for anyone with half a life to follow, but:

Isn't the nature of Rove's "leak" a response to a question/comment like: "Did you hear that Wilson's wife is CIA?" "Yeah, I heard that." This is a leak? In common parlance, an exchange like that implies no transfer of information from the second party to the first other than about the second party's own state of knowledge. It's a rhetorical question. Kind of like if I say to someone, "Hey, did you hear the Mets won last night?" and he says, "Yeah." Is he "confirming" that the Mets won? No, he's merely telling me that he knew it already. In no way is he revealing any information about the Mets.

Seven Machos

1. The United States forged no docuements. Even if it did, how is the White House implicated?

2. Suppose you have a driver's license. I make a sloppy forgery of your driver's license. You talk about your driver's license in a speech. Then, I show my sloppy forgery of your driver's license. DOES ALL OF THIS MEAN THAT YOU DON'T HAVE A DRIVER'S LICENSE?

Geek, Esq.

Jim K:

That's not what Matt Cooper says. According to him, Rove was his original source of the info that Plame was CIA, not merely someone confirming it.

Seven Machos

Jim -- Show me the Grand Jury investigations that involve the ultimate defendant in a criminal case being interviewed three times. Show me the attorney who would allow that to happen to her client.

Mike

You're all missing the picture here, it seems to me.

This isn't about Rove, or Wilson/Plame. This is about "fixing" the intelligence that the Administration and the Brits used to convince their respective citizenry that a war was acceptable -- nay, necessary, to avoid a "smoking gun becoming a mushroom cloud."

It is about treason of a much higher order than outing a CIA agent for political payback, though that in itself is disgusting beyond description.

It's about misleading nations into a war based on lies. It's not about the "R" word, it's about the "I" word.

Seven Machos

Mike -- "Fixing" in British English does not mean what "fixing" means in American English. Think "shrimp on the barbie" in Australian English.

"Robin Niblett of the Center for Strategic and International Studies, a Washington think tank, says it would be easy for Americans to misunderstand the reference to intelligence being “fixed around” Iraq policy. “ ‘Fixed around' in British English means ‘bolted on' rather than altered to fit the policy,” he says." -- http://www.usatoday.com/printedition/news/20050608/a_memo08.art.htm

Sorry, Moonbat. Try a different line of argument.

Joe

It is about seemingly functional people nearly fatally getting their skirts up around their heads.

It's about the "~" word.

Jim K.

Geek, Jr.
The press still referred to that exchange as Rove "confirming" something, and were giddy with excitement.

And if Rove did originally hear it from a reporter, then it seems likely that he didn't think he wasn't "revealing" anything to Cooper. All this is in addition to the fact that evidently she hadn't been under cover for five plus years. I still don't see where this is going anywhere.

ed

All this is in addition to the fact that evidently she hadn't been under cover for five plus years.

How can people still use this line after a two year investigation into her outing and every single statement coming out of the CIA confirming her undercover status?

Geek, Esq.

Read Cooper's account--in his account Rove didn't "confirm" anything.

And Rove's statement that he heard about this from a reporter is almost certainly a lie. Why would Scooter Libby tell Judy Miller but not Rove?

ed

Do you realize how insane Fitagerald would have to be to drag this out for two years only to say it appears she was never undercover? He'd be frog-marched out of Washington!

TM

On RICO, I have read many criticisms over the years that it can be too broadly applied.

As a political matter, I think a RICO prosecution is a non-starter (but ask Starr and Ray).

But for purposes of having a sensible discussion, can we just tell Geek he is an insightful genius and move on?

Is this the end of RICO? I hope so.

Seven Machos

"A former CIA covert agent who supervised Mrs. Plame early in her career yesterday took issue with her identification as an "undercover agent," saying that she worked for more than five years at the agency's headquarters in Langley and that most of her neighbors and friends knew that she was a CIA employee.

"She made no bones about the fact that she was an agency employee and her husband was a diplomat," Fred Rustmann, a covert agent from 1966 to 1990, told The Washington Times. "

"Her neighbors knew this, her friends knew this, his friends knew this. A lot of blame could be put on to central cover staff and the agency because they weren't minding the store here. ... The agency never changed her cover status."

Mr. Rustmann, who spent 20 of his 24 years in the agency under "nonofficial cover" -- also known as a NOC, the same status as the wife of Mr. Wilson -- also said that she worked under extremely light cover.

In addition, Mrs. Plame hadn't been out as an NOC since 1997, when she returned from her last assignment, married Mr. Wilson and had twins, USA Today reported yesterday.

ed

Both of her neighbors have recently been interviewed saying they had no idea. In addition, Fred Rustmann was out of the agency before she went undercover.

Seven Machos

So, Ed, your argument is that because the investigation is talking a really long time that it looks MORE likely that there will be prosecutions -- prosecutions of the people who everyone initially thought would be prosecuted?

Cousin Dave

"Ooooop! I should have added that the State Department uses "SBU" -- Sensitive But Unclassified” -- instead of FOUO. However, I am told that some Staters use FOUO in documents addressed outside the department."

Of course, and this is where Geek keeps falling down, terms like "sensitive", "FOUO", etc., have no meaning whatsoever within the system for classifying national security information. If some reporter had known of that memo and filed a FOIA request for it, State would have had no legal grounds to withhold or redact it. And furthermore, federal employees cannot simply go around slapping classifications on documents willy-nilly. The authority to classify information stems from the President; a person who is authorized to make that detemrination has been delegated by the President to do so. And they don't hand that authority out to just anybody.

Actually, I've seen this becoming a big problem within the federal government for the past ten years or so. Federal employees who want to hide info that they think would be embarassing to them, or get them into trouble, will mark documents as "unclassified but sensitive" or other such silliness. You wouldn't believe some of the crap that I've seen marked this way. In fact, this suggests to me that, in the case of the memo in question, the memo's authors knew that they were out of bounds and marked the document in an attempt at a cover-up. If the info had truly been classified, it probably would have been simply redacted. But redaction raises peoples' eyebrows, y'know.

ed

And again, do you really expect this to end after two years with Fitzgerald saying that she was never undercover at the time of the outing.

Seven Machos

"Both of her neighbors." Only the two? Small suburb...

Clearly, THAT'S pertinent. All of my neighbors know everything about me.

Let's apply an objective test here. Did Valerie Plame act like a person who was under deep-deep-deep-deep-deep-super-deep-cover?

Mike

Mr. Machos (snark):. Love the "moonbat" cliche. It identifies you positively as someone who just doesn't get out much. In your case, out of the right wing blogosphere. No, fixing means exactly the same thing, no matter what you've read in your limited source of opinion outlets.

From the memo itself:

"Bush wanted to remove Saddam, through military action, justified by the conjunction of terrorism and WMD. But the intelligence and facts were being fixed around the policy. The NSC had no patience with the UN route, and no enthusiasm for publishing material on the Iraqi regime's record. There was little discussion in Washington of the aftermath after military action."

Looks pretty obvious in any language -- but let's go to the source, a speaker of the Queen's english, and the writer of the original article, Sunday Times reporter Michael Smith, who first disclosed the memo on May 1 (this taken from a Washington Post online chat with him):

SMITH: There are number of people asking about fixed and its meaning. This is a real joke. I do not know anyone in the UK who took it to mean anything other than fixed as in fixed a race, fixed an election, fixed the intelligence. If you fix something, you make it the way you want it. The intelligence was fixed and as for the reports that said this was one British official. Pleeeaaassee! This was the head of MI6. How much authority do you want the man to have? He has just been to Washington, he has just talked to George Tenet. He said the intelligence and facts were being fixed around the policy. That translates in clearer terms as the intelligence was being cooked to match what the administration wanted it to say to justify invading Iraq. Fixed means the same here as it does there."

Silly person, you really need to find a less "fixed" source of news and opinion if you want to actually be well informed.

But I suspect you're happier in your echo chamber - ignorance is bliss, as they say.

In any case, nothing anyone says here means anything. Let's just watch how this all plays out, shall we? We're only getting started, and I have my popcorn in the pantry.

Ta Ta for now!

ed

Also, I doubt there will be a prosecution, but not for reasons of her status being public knowledge.

Geek, Esq.

TM: Works for me. :)

I don't think it's the most plausible scenario in the world, but nothing surprises me with federal prosecutors.

I do think that the investigation has moved beyond the IIPA issue--there's clearly other stuff in the water here.

TM

Did Rove's e-mail to Hadley mention the fact he ever discussed CIA officer Valerie Plame with Cooper? B/c if it didn't he might well have told the FBI he talked to Cooper-but denied he ever discussed Plame with him, which is all Waas said.

Hmm, hard to capture the full flavor of Martin's snarkery and ignorance in one excerpt. But I will note that, read that way, Waas told us even less than Newsweek, which said that "Rove did not initially discuss the conversation with Cooper in his first interview with the FBI...".

Well, the consensus reporting is that Karl's memory had improved by the time he talked to the grand jury. What jogged his memory? Only he and Cooper knew what they talked about, and Cooper only testified last week.

My basic theme is that Karl seems to have forgotten, and later remembered, some details about his chat with Cooper. The only documentary evidence anyone has cited connecting Karl, Cooper, and their chat is some WH phone logs, Cooper's e-mail, and Karl's e-mail.

But maybe Karl has hidden notes in defiance of the subpoena!

Seven Machos

Yeah, Mike, the CSIS is a card-carrying member of the right-wing blogosphere.

ed

How does one act when under deep-deep cover? By sneaking around under hedges on the way to work and ignoring their neighbors? I'm not sure I understand what you mean there.

Cousin Dave

"How can people still use this line after a two year investigation into her outing and every single statement coming out of the CIA confirming her undercover status?"

Because it isn't true? As far as I know, the CIA has not made any official statement one way or the other. However, her marriage to a high profile figure like Wilson would have almost certainly disqualified her from any form of undercover status. Plus there's the little matter that she told all of her friends and neighbors.

(I've actually seen a suggestion on another blog that Plame was in fact in covert ops in the mid-90s, and that they had to pull her out prior to her relationship with Wilson because she was compromised by Aldrich Ames. If so, then that's certainly regrettable. But once you're out, your're out, and that would tend to give lie to hers and Wilson's subsequent statements. And in any case, it does not excuse their recent behavior.)

Seven Machos

Ed -- a person under deep-deep-deep-deep-super-deep cover doesn't go to work at Langley every day for five years.

ed

Are we reading the same blog? The only evidence citing this friends and neighbors meme is a cliff may column and an andrea mitchel comment that no one can seem to find anymore.

Lesley

Yes, Geek is an insightful genius. The rat. Dang you Geek, you created a new nightmare scenario for me. That Tar Baby of all statutes: the DREADED RICO!!! (grin)

Cousin Dave

"This isn't about Rove, or Wilson/Plame. This is about 'fixing' the intelligence that the Administration and the Brits used to convince their respective citizenry that a war was acceptable -- nay, necessary, to avoid a 'smoking gun becoming a mushroom cloud.' It is about treason of a much higher order than outing a CIA agent for political payback, though that in itself is disgusting beyond description."

Well, you've come right out and said it. This is all about "getting" Bush -- the truth doesn't matter, the facts don't matter, all that matters that is that in the Left's opinion Bush has to go, and the Left has the moral authority to pursue any avenue, take any action, to make that happen. In Left-speak, "treason" is anything that Leftists don't like; therefore, Bush, every Republican, and everyone who voted Republican is a traitor. And note that this is a higher form of treason that betraying one's country. Stopping the advance of Leftism is the worst crime any living being can ever possibly commit, so bad that people who are accused of it should not be permitted to even defend themselves. In fact, any attempt at a defense is, by definition, further treason. Therefore, the Left is justified in absolutely anything it does.

The only question is what works. Calling Condi Rice Aunt Jemima didn't work; trying to nail Tom Delay on paperwork infractions that Dems had done far worse on didn't work. The current paradigm is to try to change laws in an ex post facto manner to get at Rove, but it appears that that isn't working either. The Leftists might actually try debating the issues every now and then, but we all know that the sheeple are too stoopid to understand the brilliant thinking of the Left. So there you are. Must be awfully frustrating, to be the absolute intellectual and moral authority of the universe, and be ignored by everyone.

Keith, Indy

So much talk about so little actual information...

Conjecturing what the leaks about the investigation into the orginal leaks mean...

And what other anonymous sources opinion about other leaked facts are...

And what ex-cia agents think of such and such...

What ever...

In the end, none of what is said here matters much. The investigation will go on, and come to an end. We will then hear a report of what was found, who is being indicted, and see if our conjectures were correct. A small group of people will be able to claim, ah ha, we were right.

If we could harness this hot air, we'd really be onto something...

Martin

-"But I will note that, read that way, Waas told us even less than Newsweek, which said that "Rove did not initially discuss the conversation with Cooper in his first interview with the FBI...".-

You are really dense. Waas's allegation is much more specific about what Rove failed to disclose than Newsweek's tale of a general denial. More detailed, not less.

Start with Newsweek-if Rove denied ever talking to Cooper-it's either amateur deceit or honest forgetfulness since, yes, he has an e-mail to Hadley confirming he spoke with Cooper.

Now take Waas-if Rove denied discussing Plame with Cooper to the FBI, then the email to Hadley is exculpatory of nothing really. It might work in the sense of the old Iran Contra "I have no independent recollection" defense, e.g. I will deny memory of everything until you produce contrary evidence (in this case Cooper's testimony).
Rove is then reduced to saying..."yes,I denied talking to Cooper about Plame at first because I have no independent memory and only know what I gleaned from my old email, but since Cooper says we did A. I guess we did and my statement is subsequently revised or B. Cooper is lying (remember Luskin's "Cooper's truthful testimony will exonerate my client."

TM-I'm glad you allow comments. Most of your right wing fellows have no stomach for it-but until and unless you ban me (a verbal request will do) i'll call it as I see it.
And right now-it's premature exculpation for you.

Martin

Waas also has a far superior track record to yours btw ;).

exmaple

"In my world, the memo was generated on June 10 in response to Condi Rice's embarrassing ignorance on this subject during her June 8 Meet The Press appearance."

Consider also the prior media articles relating an unnamed former ambassador travelled to Africa in early 2002 and proved at the same time various documents were forgeries.

That must have spurred some back review.

Lesley

Waas also has a far superior track record to yours btw ;). Martin

Ah, Tom. "Those serpents! There's no pleasing them!" - Lewis Carroll

Cecil Turner

"Do you realize how insane Fitagerald would have to be to drag this out for two years only to say it appears she was never undercover?"

I don't think so, Ed. There are at least four technical issues here, all of which appear to be in doubt: 1) was Plame's status "designated and clearly marked or clearly represented"; 2) was Plame "serving outside the United States or ha[d] within the last five years served outside the United States"; 3) was the government "taking affirmative measures to conceal such covert agent's intelligence relationship to the United States"; and 4) did the leaker know it? If the answer to any of the above is "no," the IIPA doesn't apply. But it isn't Fitzgerald's job to make a determination on those points, so much as to investigate them. And if the only issue is whether she's been posted overseas in the last five years, he'd be remiss if he didn't assemble the rest of the case on the off chance that the court had a broader interpretation of the statute than he did.

There's also a specific exception for conspiracy, that looks to me like a problem for RICO enthusiasts. But IANAL.

SteveMG

"I don't understand."

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0042876/

SMG

Geek, Esq.

Cecil:

I'll see your exception for conspiracy, and I'll raise you an exception to your exception:

"1) Subject to paragraph (2), no person other than a person
committing an offense under section 421 of this title shall be
subject to prosecution under such section by virtue of section 2 or
4 of title 18 or shall be subject to prosecution for conspiracy to
commit an offense under such section.


(2) Paragraph (1) shall not apply (A) in the case of a person who
acted in the course of a pattern of activities intended to identify
and expose covert agents and with reason to believe that such
activities would impair or impede the foreign intelligence
activities of the United States, or (B) in the case of a person who
has authorized access to classified information."


Geek, Esq.

I also think we should remember these words from Judge Hogan and think ouside of the IIPA box:

"Special Counsel outlines in great detail the developments in this case and the investigation as a whole. The ex parte affidavit establishes that the government's focus has shifted as it has acquired additional information during the course of the investigation. Special Counsel now needs to pursue different avenues in order to complete its investigation. . . . the subpoenas were not issued in an attempt to harass the [reporters], but rather stem from legitimate needs due to an unanticipated shift in the grand jury's investigation."


ArminTamzarian

I could go on about racketeering offenses, predicates, enterprises, patterns, etc etc, but I'll save that for a law review article.

Umm, isn't that all in 42 USC 1951-52, and taught in any first-year criminal law course? If you're gonna try baffling with bullshit and appealing to your own authority, you should actually HAVE some authority. I mean, come on, you could have at least thrown in something obscure to polish your ego, like civil RICO.

Geek, Esq.

18 USC 1961-1968

ArminTamzarian

Glad you have your crim law casebook handy!

Cecil Turner

"I'll see your exception for conspiracy, and I'll raise you an exception to your exception: . . . '(2) Paragraph (1) shall not apply . . . (B) in the case of a person who has authorized access to classified information.'"

Good point. I admit reading read that bit to mean classified information that identified a covert agent--which isn't what it says. In any event, criminal prosecution appears to rely on a fairly convoluted theory, when the simpler explanation is that someone read the INR memo and was unaware of Plame's status. Concur with your later point that it's unlikely the focus is now on the IIPA at all.

Lesley

Ok, Geek, let's play.

On this thread, several times, you've mentioned forged documents which I took to mean the Niger documents which were supposedly forged by the French, etc. etc. etc. Are these the documents to which you have been referring? And, if so, how do you think they figure into this investigation?

BEAM

Does anyone have a guess as to when we can expect a decision from the special prosecutor? It's been two years already, hasn't it?

Stolen Identity - Tbone

(stolen without permission from redstate.org... commentor Tbone)

All this hoopla about Rove is like Oscar hype being focused on a big star with a cameo role in a major movie. Interesting, but totally misdirected. Rove is obviously not the issue of the investigation and neither is the "outing" of Valerie Plame. Why?

From the get-go CIA knows the covert agent law. Knows that Plame does not qualify per the law. Asks for prosecutor anyway. Why? Must be to investigate some other violation. My guess, classified information disclosure.

Fitzgerald appointed. Researchs CA law, researches Plame's status, no violations possible. This is why Novak has been in clear from day one and Rove/Libby are not targets. Also why WH knows that they won't be charged, allows GWB to issue fire the leaker guarantee from day one.

Classified Disclosure.

Plame wants a debunking outcome for "crazy" Niger yellow cake story. Recommends hubby Joe. Joe goes, writes nonsense report to specification.

Joe want to be more than he is. Sees opportunity in SOU address. Finds a dem handler to help shop debunking story. Remember, his report is classified. Dem handler must vette Wilson and in so doing gets Wilson's classified report and supporting documentation provided for review. Doubtlessly provided by Plame as Wilson would not have had direct access. Dem Handler calls NYT

NYT wants bona fides and confirmation with supporting documentation. Assigns in-house WMD expert, Miller, to vette Wilson and his story.

Miller requires background and supporting documentation to verify. Plame supplies bona fides for Wilson trip/story and some additional classified docs supporting same. Miller promises confidentiality.

Miller never writes story because Wilson Op-Ed is the story, she just vetted Wilson and documentation. This is why Rove/Libby waivers do not apply to her. It has been erroneously assumed that the source disclosure problem was the same for Miller and Cooper. It obviously is not.

Fitzgerald is able to convince judges that Miller needs to be forced to testify because Classified Disclosure law was broken, not because she is covering for some offhand comments like "I heard that too" or "apparently she works for the CIA". Please.

Russert and others get assurance from Miller that Wilson story has been vetted. Go with story.

Miller is compelled to sit because she has direct knowledge of dem handler who contacted NYT fronting for Wilson, the fact that dem handler had received classified docs and because she also received classified docs.

Before GJ is dismissed, Fitzgerald will go to court to upgrade Miller's stay and lean on her with possible co-conspirator charge. She'll talk and when she does it will get interesting.

Jim E.

I thought the Niger docs were forged by the Italians, not the French. But then again, Josh Marshall always lost me when he wrote about that.

Lesley

Telegraph | News | Agent behind fake uranium documents worked for ...
"After being exposed in the international press, French intelligence can ...
and bogus documents from Niger, the latter apparently forged by a diplomat. ...
news.telegraph.co.uk/news/main.jhtml?xml=/ news/2004/09/19/wniger19.xml - 24k - Jul 19, 2005

TCO

Why was there all kinds of upset from the left when info about "socks" Bergler came out during his investigation, but it's ok with this one?

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Wilson/Plame