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August 02, 2005

Comments

Trelaney

TM, Do we know that Judy Miller did not actually write a story, or only that the NYT did not publish a story?

kim

Cherchez la femme, and the assistant to the Sulzbutler lives in the Keller.
=========================================

Martin

"or maybe she and the Times figure that the embarrassment factor of disclosing that their reporter outed Ms. Plame to Libby is too ghastly to endure."

As opposed to jail and the transparent obfuscation by Keller that you just diced through? Hope springs eternal.

Miller is just a garden variety pyschotic, to wit: "I was proved f..ing right" Um, no you weren't.

In any event-doesn't the continued public silence of the source Fitzgerald knows contradict Bush's pledge of "full cooperation." Why not a public display of "It's OK Judy-spill the beans?" It would at least shut Keller up. It might also make Miller testify.

Unless "full cooperation" is not really what they want after all.

jeff

If Miller could emabaress Libby, or any other Administration official, by testifying, she would do so. Miller has no source other than other journalists. Miller IS the SOURCE. She is protecting herself and the NYTimes ONLY. She is a pathetic joke.

Martin

And I'll be damned. I finally learn something from the Note.

They staked out the grand jury on Friday and the people showing up were all "close associates of Karl Rove."

kim

And that means?
===============

Martin

Absolutely nothing in the Universe of Delusion that is Kim World I'm sure.

Mackenzie

Jeff, if you look at Miller's reporting in 2002 and 2003, it does not make sense that she would embarrass Libby. She was obviously plugged into the senior levels of the White House, particularly the Office of the Vice President and NSC. Miller wrote several articles during the build-up to war about Iraq's WMD capabilities, containing leaked material from these and other related sources. When the story of Wilson's trip and criticisms broke in July '03, it would have been natural for her to contact her senior sources at the White House, or for them to contact her.

Reg

When asked by George Stephanopoulos on Nightline if he knew who Miller's source was, he refused to say yes or no.

Tom, you can go stronger: it's NYT policy that at least one editor must know a reporter's confidential source.

J Mann

Is it possible that Miller is protecting another source other than Mr. X, and feels that if she testifies that X is not the source, then she's breaching confidentiality to Y because she has reduced the number of source suspects from 30 or so down to 29 or so?

I know, it's absurd, but you never know.

Geek, Esq.

She's doing it to restore her street cred as a journalist. Her reputation coming into this was in tatters.

Now she's some sort of martyr and icon for journalistic ethics. Book deal!

Feh.

kim

And you, Martin, are a dweller in the Universe of Press Illusion.
=============================================

Seven Machos

Everybody is crazy or stupid except Martin.

TM

VERY good point by Reg, BUT... would that rule apply on as yet-unpublished story? Since it had not been written, her editors had not picked through it, would be the counter.

That said, the idea that Times is enduring this court fight with no idea of a destination seems unlikely.

cathyf

Fitzgerald will want to know her source, of course. But Justice Dept. guidelines do not allow a fishing expedition - he must show that he has exhausted all reasonable alternative means of learning her source before attempting to compel her testimony.

How true is this for an independent prosecutor? Ken Starr started out investigating the Clintons' involvement in Whitewater, and ended up with Monica. Of course that was under the independent prosecutor law, and Fitzgerald is not acting under that law (which has expired.)

Imagine that Libby has testified that Miller explained to him who "Joe Wilson's wife" was. (Possible scenario:
Libby: Wilson is lying when he says we sent him. The CIA picked him, and he was picked by one of their WMD analysts.
Miller: Oh, that was his wife who picked him -- she's on that team.
Libby: Oh, well, that makes sense. I was puzzled by how that worked.
)

The first logical question for Fitzgerald to ask would be for Miller's story of the conversation. If Miller's story is that she told Libby that "Joe Wilson's wife" was a CIA WMD analyst, then the next logical followup question would be how Miller knew that fact.

Does anyone know what is required for Fitzgerald to be able to ask that question in that circumstance? Can he just ask? Does he have to get another subpeona? If he needs another subpeona, does he duck out of the room, call a judge, and have one ten minutes later?

It should be pointed out that Miller and Fitzgerald have history. Fitzgerald was investigating a "Muslim charity" which was a Hamas front group. Somebody in Fitzgerald's office leaked to Miller, and Miller called the Hamas front group to "ask for comment." (i.e. tipped them off.) They had about 12 hours to shred documents and destroy hard drives before Fitzgerald could get a search warrent. If this is partly a personal grudge, I would expect that Fitzgerald would use every tool he could think of to find Miller's source. And given the structure of her job, that source is probably more likely to be CIA than White House.

cathy :-)

kim

Excellent, cathy, but in my naivete I assume Fitz would neither engage in grudgery nor need that kind of motivation to use every tool at his disposal.

And though Miller's source is more likely CIA than White House, I still think the single source argument is a smoked herring and Fitz is looking for fresher and bigger fish to fry. This guy acts pretty professional, and prosecuting a tarbaby like the DC gossip mill will not appeal to him.
==============================================

Martin

Brilliant Cathy-you transfer the revenge motives charged by the left to White House onto Fitzgerald and theorize the CIA referred the matter to the DOJ after internal review so that the DOJ could bust the CIA.

Meanwhile in the real world- Fitzgerald was calling in Rove's close associates last Friday.

There's a disconnect.

kim

Now cleaning out the CIA or reining in the maverick MSM might appeal to him as much as bashing fat cats did to a previous generation of prosecutors.
===============================================

kim

And what was he calling them in for, my dear Martin? What, you don't know?
====================================

Martin

Oh-I'm sure he was calling them in to tell them to pass on the boss that's everything is supergroovy.

Syl

First of all, Tom, I'm in awe. Your attention to detail is amazing. Your memory too...picking up the right quotes from the right sources in the right period of the timeline.

Second, Martin has a good point, in that why isn't Judith's source signing a special waiver? Of course, that's up to the lawyers and maybe Judith's lawyer doesn't want her to testify because it might lead to the very thing Tom, and others, mentioned. We don't know if any contact between Judith's lawyer and her source's lawyer was ever made. Or would some kind of contact between the two be SOP?

Third, perhaps the CIA is as much in the dark as everyone else. Judith may have known Plame for a very long time or her original contact is long gone and he didn't hit the radar during their internal investigation, whatever it was. Judith's name hadn't come up yet at the time the referral was made.

Fourth, maybe Fitzgerald is just tying up loose ends, dotting i's and crossing t's. It's possible yesterday's bunch were all associates of Libby or someone else and we don't know who will be there tomorrow.

Jeff

Just to be clear, jeff above (lowercase j) is not me, Jeff, who's been bothering you all for a while now. And for the record, i completely disagree with his first sentence, which shows woeful ignorance of where Miller stands vis-a-vis the Bush administration and probably stems from a conspiratorial view of the MSM (which cannot explain why Cooper kept his own confidence throughout the election), though I have no idea whether Miller is protecting someone in the administration, herself, or someone else.

boris

Thanks for clearing that up ... because nothing is as it seems ...

TM

OK, that straightens out the little jeff, Big Jeff puzzle.

For Martin, and Karl Rove watchers - the Note was as puzzled as the rest of us. Their key question (with no answer) - were the two Rove aides called before, or was this a first visit?

Things to think about - grand juries don't meet every day, but more like once every two weeks (someone might check that, but it is one reason they can be staked out).

So, it may just be that, having gotten Cooper's Rove-related notes in early July, Fitzgerald is tying up loose ends with Karl. For example, Karl claims (we think, via leaks) that he heard about Ms. Plame directly or indirectly from a reporter. Well, eventually, if Fitzgerald can talk to everyone Karl might have spoken to, he may find someone to confirm that.

Or, if he has scraped beneath the bottom of the barrel and come up empty, he might start to think about a perjury charge, I guess.

Anyway, my guess is that these two aides are negative evidence - two more aides who know nothing, and can't help Karl.

From Syl - why doesn't Libby emphasize to Ms. Miller that he has signed a darn waiver?

Well, I am not an attorney, but... my advice to Libby would be, look, right now Fitz is hung up - he can't indict you not knowing if Miller can exonerate you. Of course, he can't clear you either...

And you, Libby, don't know what Miller remembers. Unless you have confidence in her notes, memory, and honesty (and you might), then her silence is golden.

Now, is that "full cooperation"? Maybe not - he signed the waiver, and has stood pat. OTOH, Fitz worked out deals with Cooper, Pincus, Russert and Kessler to get their testimony on Libby, so its hard to say he has been a sticking point before this.

My advice as his attorney would be, ride it out.

kim

It is the duty of the prosecutor to ensure that justice is done. If that is establishing innocence, so be it.
==========================================

Tollhouse

The insane part is we are still in the grand jury phase. If they find a crime, then we get to do this all over again.

Martin

Not to worry Tollhouse-this will never get to that point. Getting rid of Fitzgerald is already in the works.

kim

Sure, Martin, sure.
===================

kim

You do know, Martin, that Fitz indicted bin Laden in 1998 for a worldwide terrorist conspiracy. Why would anyone want to get rid of him?
=================================================

Reg

...the idea that [the] Times is enduring this court fight with no idea of a destination seems unlikely.


Tom, you're understatement is so charming. By defying the court the NYT raises the stakes way beyond Miller's story... sorry Miller's non-story.

Keller has already admitted its lose/lose for the Times. But does he know his downside? If not, can I play poker with him?

Yes, Mr. Editor knows. On C-span he was asked this question by a caller and after stammering around gave a non-denial non-denial that would make a politician blush [no link, sorry].

When Miller choose jail she accepted the role as martyr for a free press. But the role of martyr needs a tragedy and I suspect all we have--at end-- is a farce.

SamAm

And Archibald Cox was a man of sterling repute! Who could have quarrel with such a gentleman?

Moving on.

I'm glad to see the date "July 6th" again, because this is the strongest piece of evidence we have as to Miller not being the source. There are bunches of information that show the White House looking for info on Wilson in early to mid June, information that was requested, summarized, and put in memos, information that got passed around the administration including the White House and the NSC. Information as to Plame's role. It's not plausible that on July 6th (the day Wilson's piece ran) that Miller would be the first person to break news as to Plame's status. It is not plausible. Miller would not be in a position to know, but even if she did beforehand she would not have been the first to tell the administration. If she knew, what are the chances other SAO's didn't? Zero. And I'd posit she did not know.

And even if she told Libby that information, what are the chances he didn't confirm it? Zero, because he had access to the information.

July 6th is very, very late. Even if Miller told them for the first time, they confirmed Plame's status. This was a co-ordinated campaign against Wilson; the WH got its ducks lined up.

Furthermore, if Miller told Libby, Libby would lean on her to testify, because that information is highly exculpatory. If the administration thought Miller got the info from a source other than Libby, they would have brought the hammer down to find who that was, because the mess that non-existant individual caused would have and has been hurting SAO's for almost 2 years. The WH would find who it was in a second.

Unless Miller's source was higher ranking than Libby. Which would mean it was Cheney, Rice, probably not Hadley or Powell or Tenet.

Furthermore, Miller had an ear to the ground at the NYT, especially on these type of issues. If she had info to give the WH, what are the chances she didn't give them a heads up before the 6th? Non existant. But I don't think they knew Wilson's piece was coming.

My scenario; work-up begins in mid June including Plame details, circulates among administration, Wilson publishes, Libby calls the most administration friendly source at the same forum Wilson used to begin push-back against him.

The White House didn't need a journalist to tell it information it and other parts of the administration requested a month before from government sources and channels.

Crank
Suppose Ms. Miller were to comply with the subpoena to testify about Mr. X, who we think is Libby. She then gets out of jail. Suppose further that her testimony raises as many questions as it answers . . . [she] refuses to reveal her source for that information.
Fitzgerald will want to know her source, of course. But Justice Dept. guidelines do not allow a fishing expedition - he must show that he has exhausted all reasonable alternative means of learning her source before attempting to compel her testimony.
But what is reasonable? Should he go out and interview everyone in the CIA who knew Ms. Plame and knew about the trip? Why not?

I would say that he should do so, although he may already have interviewed some of those folks. But certainly if there are conversations he can't get elsewhere, he would likely get the subpoena.

And that could take months, or past the term of this grand jury. Which means what? . . . [S]he could testify about her talk with Libby and either run the clock out on this investigation, or re-fight the subpoena battle over a new name, if Fitzgerald ever comes up with one.

Fitzgerald may be able to extend the term of the grand jury.

And if her source was her personal knowledge of Ms. Plame from previous reporting and networking? We need legal advice on this point, but I would think that she could simply testify that she is not going to discuss how she came by her knowledge of Ms. Plame, since it was not in a conversation with Libby and therefore is not covered by the subpoena.

That's probably right.

Which suggests, again pending legal advice, that if Ms. Miller was acting exclusively in her own self-interest, she could get out of jail and leave us, and Fitzgerald, wondering how she learned about Ms. Plame.

Of course, he's probably anticipated this problem, and will likely be ready to go back to court ASAP if he doesn't get what he needs.

kim

And my point has long been that once Wilson's piece was published, both MSM and the Admin mutually discovered that Plame's identity was no longer secret. And Wilson ran with his paranoid and opportunistic(what a combination; no wonder he matched wits with Saddam) notion of the rationale for it all.

And Fitz is figuring this out. Now who is he after?
==============================================

cathyf

Brilliant Cathy-you ... theorize the CIA referred the matter to the DOJ after internal review so that the DOJ could bust the CIA.

Well only a total moron would think that's what I said. So I suppose I'm not surprised you would read it that way.

The CIA referred to the DOJ because Joe Wilson accused the White House (specifically Karl Rove) of a crime, and it required an actual investigation by an actual professional prosecutor to determine whether a crime was committed and if it was, by whom. Do you really believe that the CIA's "internal review" was able to tell the CIA who first told which reporter that Joe Wilson's wife was a CIA WMD analyst, and that Fitzgerald's investigation was merely a schoolboy exercise so that Fitzgerald can find out what the CIA already knows??? (Ascribing god-like knowledge to the CIA is pretty funny, in that these are the clowns who couldn't even figure out the amount of weaponry that China was amassing. A set of facts available to anybody who reads newspapers and magazines.)

My point was the tremendous unpredictability of a special prosecutor investigation. Nobody knows what he is going to find until he finds it. The reason that both Democrats and Republicans let the independent prosecutor statute die is that it set up this whole horde of investigators with virtually unlimited resources who could go on one fishing expedition after another until they found something. Witness Ken Starr who started with a fraudulent land deal (Whitewater) then moved on to obstruction of justice (hiding of Rose Law Firm billing records), then corruption in Arkansas, and then homicide (ruling, after thorough investigation, that Vince Foster committed suicide) and finally ending up with enough evidence to prosecute for perjury. Clearly Fitzgerald is working under a different law than that, and I'm curious as to how much freedom he has to pursue other lawbreaking that he stumbles upon as he investigates. Back in the Watergate days, Jaworski and Cox were special prosecutors who predated the independent prosecutor law, and if I remember those days the only way to stop them was to fire them. Does Fitzgerald work under those rules? Or something more or less restrictive?

cathy :-)

Martin

"The CIA referred to the DOJ because Joe Wilson accused the White House (specifically Karl Rove) of a crime, and it required an actual investigation by an actual professional prosecutor to determine whether a crime was committed and if it was, by whom."

No you're the moron. The above is a total fantasy on your part. What idiotic rightwing propaganda are you reciting here-did Powerline say this or did you just make this upon your own?

kim

Just what is fantastical about that analysis?
==============================================

Martin

Kim-who is John Dion? Start there.

Martin

Then read this:

http://talkingpointsmemo.com
/docs/plame.cia.letter.pdf

(yes-it goes to TPM-but it's a pdf of a CIA letter).

Square it with Cathy's nonsense for me please.

John

"Not to worry Tollhouse-this will never get to that point. Getting rid of Fitzgerald is already in the works."

OK, Martin why don't you fill us in on where you got these talking points. Maybe you're starting to understand that Rove is unlikley to be frog marched out of the White House and already starting to look for someone to blame if your dream doesn't come true.

Martin

And here's the highlights if you don't do PDF:

"On July 24 2003...a CIA attorney [left a message with DOJ Counterespionage] noting concern with recent articles...and the CIA would forward a written crimes report pending the outcome of a review of the articles by subject matter experts."

"By letter dated July 30 2003 [to DOJ], ...CIA's Office of Security had opened an investigation."

"By letter dated September 16 2003 [to DOJ]...the CIA informed DOJ that the Agency's investigation into this matter was complete...and requested that the FBI undertake a criminal investigation of this matter."

Martin

Actually John-the Republicans in Illinois don't like Fitzgerald for reasons that have nothing to do with Plame, and Fitzgerald's term expires at the end of this year.

There are no R. Senators from Illinois-so Bush gets to ask Hastert for a recommendation to reappoint or appoint a new U.S. Attorney...well you see how this could go.

Martin

Still with me Kim? -next what did John Dion do in response to the CIA's letter? Hint: think questionnaire.

boris

See [s]marty-pants, you can't just tell people to go off and relearn whatever it is you think you know.

In addition to improving your reading comprehension, you need to work on putting together a coherent argument.

You've got the sinister attitude down pretty good, but there's just not enough real substance.

Martin

"The CIA referred to the DOJ because Joe Wilson accused the White House (specifically Karl Rove) of a crime.."

You agree with that Boris?

kim

Just tell me what was fantastical about her analysis and forget the 20 questions. Socrates you ain't.
==================================================

Martin

I agree Kim-and you're no slaveboy in the Meno, since the slaveboy was capable of learning.

Vaya con dios mis amigos.

boris

while you're at it, better insults would be appreciated.

kim

No, but I had a vivid dream about Egypt, once.
===============================================

kim

His insult was aporetic rather than poor.
=========================================

vnjagvet

Martin:

Sounds we're no further in the analysis than we were two weeks ago.

Your major point still seems to be that the CIA referred this matter for investigation.

That, however, is the beginning not the end of the process.

Were that not so, indictment would be tantamount to conviction, and that simply is not the way it works in our system.

TM

"The CIA referred to the DOJ because Joe Wilson accused the White House (specifically Karl Rove) of a crime.."

As a metaphor, how much do you disagree with that, Martin? In other words, do you think David Corn's article and Chuck Schumer's screaming encouraged the CIA to press ahead, or do you think this referral would have advanced even in total (political) silence? How far would it have advanced without any accompanying political heat?

Hmm, I see from my timeline that Howard Dean picked it up before the referral, on July 18. Schumer is problematical, though.

Off hand, I would say it might have gone past the preliminary stage - at the time, there were stories saying that there is about one referral a week (basically, read the papers - there is always something being leaked. The Times story yesterday about the CIA chap sacked for telling the truth about Saddam's nukes (or was he sacked for embezzlement/sexual harassment?) was a classified leak which should have generated a referral.

SteveMG

I'm reading these posts with my mouth agape (well most of them; some responses really call into question, pace Bush, both intelligent design and Darwinian evolution). I can't follow it at all but I appreciate TM's perspicacity.

Here's a very useful, albeit incomplete, timeline:

http://www.factcheck.org/article337.html

SMG

Martin

No-it fails as a metaphor as well TM-the CIA is not doing Wilson's bidding here. Reread the CIA letter in the TPM document collection.

The CIA is clearly after the DOJ to get something going on this this.

Was Corn and Schumer screaming effective?
It was helpful no doubt. But when a football team wins-how much credit do you give the sideline cheerleaders? The CIA is the quarterback here. Somebody over there is pissed.

kim

I have little doubt there were elements of the CIA that believed Plame had been outed for revenge, not incidentally. I wonder whether those elements are the ones now being hoist on their own petard.
===================================================

boris

After the intel fubars from 911 to WMD, there are probabaly warring factions inside the CIA itself. CIA admin may prefer an investigation to justify mass dismissals.

kim

Especially now.
=============

boris

from www.factcheck.org/article337.html

Wilson does not claim that Cheney sent him on the Niger trip, only that he was sent to answer questions from Cheney’s “office.”

Some fact check, this bit is so incomplete and biased it discredits the site and the poster.

SteveMG

Boris:
If you paid careful attention, you'll see that I stated that the Factcheck cite is "incomplete". It's not "THE" definitive source; just "A" source.

On the Plame/Wilson issue, there aren't any definitive sources; we have to scrounge around to find bits and pieces and try to assemble an increasingly perplexing puzzle.

I cannot think of a single site on the Internet that doesn't have errors or lacuna on them.

Things move fast around here; either speed up or move to the slow lane on the road.


SMG

boris

The point is, your site is one sided.

Even if Cheney had sent Wilson to Africa, Wilsons statements would still apply. That's why many professional journalists inferred the false impression from Wilsons statements.

Your site rules out the false impression in the first sentence giving a distorted version of what the administration was responding to.

It's worse than incomplete, it's misleading.

Tommy V

Boris,

I went to that site as well and also found it wanting. I have always found factcheck.org to be somewhat slanted. They seem to use the MSM as their primary sources. Whether this is intentional or not, it still ends up with the same take and slant.

I believe they may make certain corretions on the left simply for credibility's sake, but that is just an educated guess. As always, it's the omissions that gives you away.

Steven J.

What Wilson wrote:

"In February 2002, I was informed by officials at the Central Intelligence Agency that Vice President Dick Cheney's office had questions about a particular intelligence report. While I never saw the report, I was told that it referred to a memorandum of agreement that documented the sale of uranium yellowcake — a form of lightly processed ore — by Niger to Iraq in the late 1990's. The agency officials asked if I would travel to Niger to check out the story so they could provide a response to the vice president's office."

http://www.commondreams.org/views03/0706-02.htm

From the SSCI report, page 42:

(U) On March 1, 2002, INR published an intelligence assessment, Niger: Sale of Uranium is Unlikely. The INR analyst who drafted the assessment told the Committee staff that he had been told that the piece was in response to interest from the Vice President’s office in the alleged Iraq-Niger uranium deal.


AST

Bill Keller is playing CIA.

This whole thing strikes me more and more as an example of the MSM not really understanding their own "ethics." Either that or there's an unwritten ethical rule for journalists: Never cooperate with government.

There seems to be a "smoking gun" fetish at work here. People are literally making a federal case out of a minor footnote. This is outrage gone berserk. Nothing will suffice until we see Karl Rove fired, as though he'd never find work again. I guess when there's been so little real accomplishment, this must be the next best thing.

MJW

I'll offer my uninformed opinion on what the referral proves: I'm not sure.

Perhaps it really is evidence some serious security breach occured. I'm sure there are plenty of posters willing to argue that side; I'd rather argue the other.

There's plenty of evidence that there are some profoundly anti-Bush elements in the CIA. The spate of pre-election CIA leaks pretty much proves it. There's good reason to believe Plame runs in these circles. Why else would they not only allow her anti-administration husband to be sent to Niger, but also neglect to have him sign a non-disclosure agreement, and then permit him to publish a highly political op-ed in the NYT? Perhaps someone in this group, seeing a perfect opportunity to embarrass Bush, wrote up the referral, then basically said (or implied) to the higher-ups, "You put this through, or the next NYT op-ed will be about how you're covering up for the administration."

Steven J.

MJW -

I have a more parsimonious theory:

Bush lied about Iraq and had to scramble to smear anyone who started people questioning the justification for the war.

jukeboxgrad

SYL: "why isn't Judith's source signing a special waiver"

I think this is a key point. In particular, notice Luskin's famous remark: "if Matt Cooper is going to jail to protect a source, it's not Karl he's protecting." Why has Luskin never made the corresponding remark regarding Miller?

boris

What Wilson wrote: ...

... is consistent with the interpretation that Cheny requested info from Tenet who suggested sending someone to find out and Cheney agreeing.

This is in fact the interpretation inferred by many professional journalists because it is how most people would expect reasonable government to work.

That neither Tenet nor Cheney knew about the trip makes Wilson's statement suspicious, disingenuous and misleading.

boris

Wilson's statement is like saying:

"BJ jumped out of an airplane without a parachute and survived!"

Without mentioning that the airplane was on the ground at the time.

Steven J.

BORIS - "That neither Tenet nor Cheney knew about the trip makes Wilson's statement suspicious, disingenuous and misleading."

I wouldn't expect Cheney or Tenet to know the details of the trip. I do expect them to know what the result was.

The INR analyst backs up Wilson's claim.

TM

SYL: "why isn't Judith's source signing a special waiver"

I think this is a key point. In particular, notice Luskin's famous remark: "if Matt Cooper is going to jail to protect a source, it's not Karl he's protecting." Why has Luskin never made the corresponding remark regarding Miller?

Finally, a question I can answer with (almost) total confidence - because Lusin is not Libby's lawyer!

This assumes, of course, that the WaPo reporting is correct, and that Libby is the gov't official named in Miller's subpoena.

That said, I don;t beleive anyone has a clear answer to a seemingly simple question - Russert, Kessler, Cooper, and Pincus all struck deals with Fitzgerald regarding testimony about Libby. For example, Russert only testified about what he said to Libby, but not what Libby said to him.

Pincus described a conversation with a different source (who had come forward and testified), and gave all the details except the name of the source.

Has Ms. Miller even tried to work out a deal? No one seems to know.

boris

I wouldn't expect Cheney or Tenet to know

Well that would be one difference (among many I'm sure) between you and most people, including many professional journalists.

TallDave

Assuming you take everyone at their word (and we have no reason not to at this point), the only scenario that really makes sense is that Judith Miller has another source (possibly CIA) for her comments to the named official. That's why she won't tell Fitzgerald about that conversation.

We know Wilson lied, both about his wiffe recommending him and the results of hs Niger trip. The Senate was quite unambiguous about that. So the "Bush tried to smear Wilson for criticizing the Iraq war!" canards fall pretty flat, esp since it was already common knowledge Wilson's wife worked for the CIA, before Wilson went to Niger. Wilson was not, in fact, smeared, unless a liar can be "smeared" with the truth.

opine6

Valerie Plame is Miller's "source". Miller was all over the talk shows leading up to the war, billed as a WMD "expert". I believe she has even written a book on the subject, if my memory serves me correctly. How did she get so knowledgeable on the subject of WMD's without a CIA connection? We know the CIA leaks like a sieve. She already new Plame, in my opinion.

PD Quig

I agree, opine6. The only thing that makes any sense is that Miller's source is either Plame or Surfer Joe. Either way she's taking a dive for the NYT to keep the true nature of the affair under wraps: Plame (and the CIA) thought it a "crazy idea" that Saddam was seeking yellowcake in Africa, thought the Bush ME policy was even crazier, and did everything it could--both intentionally and unintentionally--to discredit the administration.

Bruce Hayden

It is hard to believe that Miller and Plame didn't know each other. Two middle aged women running around and spending a lot of time in the Middle East in the mid 1990s interested in WMD. It also looks like their circles probably overlapped, in that Miller is known for running in diplomatic circles, and Plame must have to have met Wilson. Would not be surprised if this continued when they were both in D.C. in the early part of this decade.

That said, the one person who cannot be prosecuted for outing Plame is Plame herself. There is a specific exception for a covert agent outing himself written into the law (see 50 USC 422, whereas the "outing" statute is 421).

jerry dupas

I haven't had time to read all the posts but would like to add my 2 cents,

I think some of the confusion centers around the first entry:

What do we know about Miller's story that never was run and why wasn't it?
My guess is that her story was not the same as Cooper's or anyone else's. Why? Because, she would have run her story as soon as Wilson published his story.
I don't think anyone expected Joe Wilson to publish a first hand account of his trip. Why? Classified Info. So how could he do it and get away with it? The CIA told him he could do it. Why? Perhaps the CIA knew the story was being sent out long before anyone published. How did they know? Lots of different ways.

So, the CIA takes the lead on the story....Miller/editors/lawyers freeze.....The original plan has to be killed and a Plan B goes into action.....good old standby, Novak....Novak requires two Sr. Admins to cover him and goes to print.....

Cooper and Time don't want to be in the same paragraph with Miller and the Times......

Some speculation but these are smart experienced people and the only wild card that I see is Wilson publishing and the CIA has an interest in seeing him do it.

Joe Mealyus

"Hold on! I am gloomily resigned to the Times promoting the notion of a secret source at every opportunity, but .... Fitzgerald has delivered to Ms. Miller a narrow subpoena ordering her to testify about her conversations with one named official."

If I understand the original post correctly, JustOneMinute is deprecating the idea that Miller's motive is "keeping her pledge not to reveal the identity of a confidential source" (as the NYT puts in the excerpt above) because Fitzgerald appears to already know the identity of that source.

But there is a fault in this logic. Fitzgerald may know that person X spoke with Miller and he may know that Miller is possessed of information Y, but until Miller actually testifies that X is her source for Y, it must be the case that Fitzgerald does not in some legal sense "know" this bit of information. Otherwise why is Miller in jail? So as far as I can tell, why is it so obvious that Miller is not just keeping her pledge? (Maybe she just takes her promises more seriously than Matt Cooper).

jukeboxgrad

TM: "Libby is the gov't official named in Miller's subpoena."

Thanks for the reply.

Where did WaPo say this? I probably just missed it in my struggle to keep up with your prodigious output.

"Russert, Kessler, Cooper, and Pincus all struck deals with Fitzgerald regarding testimony about Libby"

This is a bit of tangent, but my guess is that Novak also let himself off the hook early on by outing Rove to Fitz (I think this is the answer to the common question: "why is Novak seemingly off the hook?"). The irony is that Novak was an easy snitch and Cooper was packed for jail.

jukeboxgrad

STEVEN J: "I do expect them [Cheney et al] to know what the result was [of Wilson's trip]."

Indeed. If Wilson had returned with the "right" answer, his report would have been rushed to Cheney's desk, and into the newspapers via Miller's ear. I'm waiting to hear anyone claim otherwise.

TALL:

It's hard to find a sentence in your post that isn't packed with spin masquerading as fact. Let's start with this: "it was already common knowledge Wilson's wife worked for the CIA, before Wilson went to Niger."

Proof, please.

OPINE: "How did she get so knowledgeable on the subject of WMD's without a CIA connection?"

I'm not saying Miller didn't have CIA connections. But she clearly had strong connections elsewhere, including the White House.

nittypig

"If Wilson had returned with the "right" answer, his report would have been rushed to Cheney's desk, and into the newspapers via Miller's ear. I'm waiting to hear anyone claim otherwise."

If the WH really wanted the right answer they sure as heck wouldn't have picked Wilson for the job. A quick look at the guys background would have told them that he was not someone they could get to toe the line.

And of course we all know that he DID find evidence that Iraq was seeking uranium in Niger, told the CIA as much, and never mentioned it again. Swell.

kim

JBG: "Packed for jail". Heh. I like that.
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MJW

jukeboxgrad says:

"Indeed. If Wilson had returned with the "right" answer, his report would have been rushed to Cheney's desk, and into the newspapers via Miller's ear. I'm waiting to hear anyone claim otherwise."

In a narrow sense, assuming the "right" answer is that Iraq had recently purchased uranium from Iraq, jukeboxgrad is correct. Because if Wilson had discovered such information, it would have been BIG news. As it was, Wilson basically didn't dig up anything useful either way, so his report attracted little attention. Wilson later claimed he'd exposed the yellowcake documents as forgeries. Big news if true, but it wasn't true.

MJW

Sorry, I meant to say:
In a narrow sense, assuming the "right" answer is that Iraq had recently purchased uranium from Niger . . .

jukeboxgrad

NITTY: "If the WH really wanted the right answer they sure as heck wouldn't have picked Wilson for the job."

No one claims that the White House "picked Wilson for the job" (although various people are trying to put those words in Wilson's mouth). I think we all understand that if the White House had been doing the picking, they would have made sure to select someone who would bring back the answer they needed, whether it was true or not.

"A quick look at the guys background would have told them that he was not someone they could get to toe the line."

True. I think everyone understands that part of the story is the White House punishing the CIA for picking someone who was willing to think for himself, rather than delivering the prefabricated answer for which the White House was shopping.

"he DID find evidence that Iraq was seeking uranium in Niger, told the CIA as much, and never mentioned it again."

The "evidence" he found for "seeking uranium in Niger" was weak, and it definitely was not support for Bush's words "recently" and "significant quantities."

Speaking of unsupported words, your claim of "never mentioned it again" is simply false. It's in Wilson's book (p.28, p. 424).

Wilson has also discussed the 1999 matter in one or more interviews, such as here (pdf). So please stop repeating false righty spin.

jukeboxgrad

MJW: "assuming the 'right' answer is that Iraq had recently purchased uranium from [Niger]"

Yes. Another satisfactory answer would have been meaningful evidence showing a _recent_ attempt for _significant quantities_ (notice that this corresponds with what Bush said, and it also corresponds with the potential role of the forged documents).

"Wilson basically didn't dig up anything useful either way, so his report attracted little attention"

An objective observer would say that one more attempt to find evidence (which resulted in a continued failure to find evidence) had some informative value, especially considering the very large importance of the subject matter. (Wilson also added value by underlining what many in the IC already knew: that even if Saddam had made attempts, or did make attempts, he was unlikely to succeed because there were significant barriers.) Trouble is, the White House was not an objective observer. On the contrary. They were only interested in reports (true or not) which would buttress their pre-selected policy.

kim

It is becoming apparent that the CIA was involved in a desperate battle with itself and the White House, so your saying that the White House was only interested in intelligence that fit their agenda is a little primitive. It may well have been that it was their impression that CIA intell was unreliable and they were depending on their many other sources.
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MJW

jukeboxgrad -- True though it may be that Wiison's not finding evidence of uranium sales added to the evidence they didn't take place, in this case, it didn't add much. Wilson's plan to obtain information seemed to be based almost entirely on the hope that any evil, yellowcake-selling Niger official would succumb to his charm and 'fess up.

Also, even though he may not have found evidence of an attempt by Iraq to buy "significant quantities" of uranium, he did find some evidence of attempted purchases, so I'd say this doesn't contradict the Bush State of the Union claims, and probably counts as some support.

More to the point, it didn't really seem to matter in this particular case how objective an observer the White House was, since apparently Wilson's report never made it to the White House to be observed.

Etienne

Just skimming through the general flow of ideas in these posts, it is striking how right wing folk are willing to cast absolutely anyone in the role of villain, should they ever dare to cross the path of this administration.

CIA? Filled with resentful schemers working to undermine the President. Wilson? Liar, fraud, anti-American conniver. Fitzgerald? Dragging this investigation on endlessly in pursuit of a non-crime.

What is ignored here, as happens so often whent the right wing is forced to defend indefensible behavior, is that all of these people have done more in the service of this country, have worked for the public good and made sacrifices that very few Americans are willing to deal with. Certainly Wilson has had a distinguished career as a public servant, a resume that gave him no protection from right wing wrath once he dared speak independently. In contrast, it is striking to see how easily the right will defend the slimeball Rove, whose only service to this country has been to drag our political process into a dysfunctional, even deviant, quagmire.

I'd like to know how Wilson could be identified as anti-war or anti-administration prior to his op ed. I've seen many on here make that charge. Is there any documentation for it, or is it the usual spurious insulting of an administration critic - for the crime of criticism?

jukeboxgrad

KIM: "It may well have been that it was their impression that CIA intell was unreliable and they were depending on their many other sources."

Yes, they were definitely interested in cultivating reliable sources such as Curveball.

MJW: "I'd say this doesn't contradict the Bush State of the Union claims, and probably counts as some support."

Then it's odd to notice that Wilson's oped seemed to immediately trigger Tenet's retraction.

"apparently Wilson's report never made it to the White House"

My point is that it would have, if it had contained the "right" result.

MJW

jukeboxgrad says: "My point is that it would have [reached the White House], if it had contained the 'right' result."

I'm not quite sure of your theory here. I thought it was the non-objectively observing White House that was suppressing non-"right" intelligence. But if it never reaches them, how do they manage to pre-suppress it?

jukeboxgrad

MJW: "if it never reaches them, how do they manage to pre-suppress it?"

I realize you're asking a serious question, so I don't mean to insult you when I say the answer is blindingly obvious. By sending the message loud and clear, over and over again, that there was certain information they wanted to see, and certain information they didn't want to see.

More on this here, here, here and here.

MJW

jukeboxgar says:

I realize you're asking a serious question, so I don't mean to insult you when I say the answer is blindingly obvious. By sending the message loud and clear, over and over again, that there was certain information they wanted to see, and certain information they didn't want to see.

More on this here, here, here and here.

First, let me assure you the sites you linked to are not the ones I'd generally go to for factual information.

Second, they actually seem to contadict your assumption. Their general point, as I understand it, is that since the CIA wasn't giving the White House the "right" intelligence, they set up a competing agency in the Pentagon. But Wilson's report was in the CIA, so why would the stalwarts in the CIA suppress it? -- They're the good-guys in this left-wing morality play.

Third, if the WH is turning to other sources for intelligence, I suspect it may be largely due to a level of CIA incompetance that resulted in a sensitive intelligence mission being conducted by sending an ex-ambassador to drink sweet tea by the hotel swimming pool.

Fourth, as I previously mentioned, Wilson's report was mildly supportive of the "sixteen words," so why wouldn't have the WH wanted the report so they could spin it their way?

jukeboxgrad

MJW: "the sites you linked to are not the ones I'd generally go to for factual information"

If you choose to get all your "factual information" from Fox and Power Line, that would explain why you're not well-informed.

"Wilson's report was in the CIA, so why would the stalwarts in the CIA suppress it? -- They're the good-guys in this left-wing morality play."

Actually, it's the right that's trying to oversimplify the world into good guys and bad guys, so the "morality play" is all yours.

For those of us who don't interpret the world in terms of cardboard cutouts, the following is obvious. There were people in the CIA who had a professional commitment to telling the truth, but these same frail humans also had various mundane concerns, such as how they would prefer to not lose their job. This created a certain tendency, at least among some, to try to tell the boss what they knew the boss wanted to hear. Anyone who has ever had a boss probably can grasp this dynamic.

I think this attitude (the idea of being sensitive to the importance of telling the boss exactly what the boss wanted to hear) might have been particularly common at the higher portions of the reporting chain. Exhibit A: George "slam-dunk" Tenet. His understanding of this dynamic was so acute he won a medal for it.

"it may be largely due to a level of CIA incompetance"

How odd that the guy in charge of running that incompetent organization was handed a medal.

Anyway, we all know the CIA is incompetent, but what's interesting is how the definition of competence has shifted. Pre-war, Bush et al complained that CIA was too soft on Iraq. Now Bush et al want to put the blame on CIA for being too hard on Iraq. If the CIA was competent, it would be able to do a better job of keeping up with these shifting political fashions.

"sending an ex-ambassador to drink sweet tea by the hotel swimming pool."

If this offends your fantasy of a spy's life, maybe you need to put down Ian Fleming and pick up le Carre.

"Wilson's report was mildly supportive of the 'sixteen words,' so why wouldn't have the WH wanted the report so they could spin it their way?"

You're doing a good job of helping me make my point. When you say "mildly," you're putting it mildly. In other words, Wilson's report was only very, very, very weak support for the 16 words (and virtually no support at all for some of the most important of those words: "recently" and "significant quantities"). That's exactly why the people above Wilson in the chain of command were not especially eager to wave Wilson's report under Cheney's nose. On the contrary.

By the way, that's also why SSCI says that Wilson said nothing new. English translation: most of us in the IC already knew that the idea of a Niger-uranium threat was baloney, so it was a waste of time to confirm this.

kim

You're funny, JBG. You say 'blindingly obvious', then describe a hypothetical scenario that only makes sense in your special world. Presuppress, fah.

And I like your description of the CIA, full of frail human beings with a committment to the truth. Yeah, that's why they picked frail Joe, the truth teller.

And a classic, nonsense, sentence from you: "More on this here, here, here, and here." My God, that is a recognizable style.
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kim

JBG: Do you realize that your snark about the admin trusting Curveball does little to counter my point that the White House may well have distrusted CIA information. It's quite apparent that the CIA itself distrusted its information in part because of the general sense of politization of the intell.

You must remember, too, that the admin was awash in a sea of misinformation and they were compelled to err on the safe side re WMD. And remember too, Joe the Liar's 2/6/03 LAT op-ed in which he opposed the invasion on the grounds that Saddam would use chemical and biological weapons on our troops.

I'm still puzzled by the left's dependence on Wilso's meme. Is it not apparent what an unsturdy reed you are basing your beliefs upon? Bob S. is on to Bold Joe. Watch him eat him alive and the whole meme puff away, like dust in the wind, if and when Fitz goes after the the most obvious criminality here, Joe's grave offenses against morality.
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