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September 21, 2005

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Appalled Moderate

Those who find comfort in conspiracy theories just love this theory because links the evil unkempt Bolton and the evil Rove to the only place where a Speical Counsel is at work. But it just makes no sense. Why would Bolton be out to get Plame? How is Bolton's career helped by this complicated act of maliciousness?

Plame addicts -- keep it simple. And focus on people Fitzgerald has talked to. Weaving large conspiracy theories enmeshing a large circle of designated Bush administration villains will impress the already convinced, but annoy the rest.

Anyway, I think the recently indicted procurement man is a much more interesting (and likely) scandal. Greed is a much more primal urge than petty revenge.

Jeff

I have no idea how probable the theory floated by TM here really is, but it certainly makes more sense than Appalled Moderate suggests. The point, of course, is not that Bolton would be out to get Plame, but that Bolton came into information that he thought would help his allies in the administration in their effort to discredit Wilson. So it's not a question of helping his career either. It's helping his allies in the administration with something they wanted to do. That very well may not have happened. But it makes perfect sense.

Similarly, there is no reason just to focus on people Fitzgerald has talked to, because, on my understanding, it is a convention or a norm that targets of investigations are often not called to testify or respond to questions. This does not, obviously, mean that Bolton is a target. But given that Bolton appears to have had some role in the Niger business, it would be more puzzling that he had not testified than that, say, Appalled Moderate had not testified (I presume).

There is little that I would call a likely scandal with the Bush administration, as long as Congress continues to fail in its oversight duties and the press remains, well, the way it is. As for interest, I'd say an important episode in what happened with the world's leading democracy going to war is pretty interesting, though so is the procurement business, from the looks of it.

Joe Mealyus

"And if she passed it back to Libby, well, that is not a crime, is it?"

The more vexing smart-ass question is, if she got it from Bolton or Fleitz, is JOM going to rowback on his endless stream of of statements like this:

"Ms. Miller is declining to testify about her version of a conversation between herslef and a government official who has already testified, has signed a waiver, and is known to the judgem the prosecutor, Ms. Miller, and maybe even the public (leaks say it is Libby)."

http://justoneminute.typepad.com/main/2005/08/the_times_on_ju.html#more

Appalled Moderate

Jeff:

Based on the story, the more relevent question would be whether Fitzgerald has talked to Feitz. But, again, I have difficulty with this being the tale. Because, in the theory, Feitz leaks to Miller who blabs to Libby/Rove, who blabs to various and sundry. Way too complicated, and it's not credible that Libby would not know about Plame, even without the complicated game of telephone. (What do you call an arrangement like this -- rumor laundering?)

The real objection, though, his how would Fitz know about this? Miller is not talking. For plausible deniability purposes, Libby probably did not tell Fitzgerald "oh, Miller got it from Feitz." Maybe, this info is available in state department logs showing Judy Miller talking to these folks. But that's pretty weak evidence for making these people a "target", don't you think?

TM

Joe, re-reading that excerpt makes me think I need to row back on my spell check.

And I am with Appalled - it strikes me as unlikely that Fitzgerald found out early that Bolton was his man, and then decided not to talk to him.

Put another way, the DoJ, and then Fitzgerald when he took over, went ahead and talked to Rove, Libby, et al. very early in the process. Had they concluded by Feb 2004 that those guys were *not* likely suspects?

Forbes

Jeez, Miller worked on WMD issues, Plame worked on weapons proliferation issues, and was part of the DC social scene with hubby Joe. The shortest distance between two points is a straight line, so connect the dots.

Arianna want to sell advertising space on her PuffingtonHost, and she's got less credibility than the NYTimes.

Conspiracy theories are great when writing fiction, but just as in horse racing, long shots rarely come in. Place your bets accordingly.

TM

Since I believe everything I read on the net, let me copy this FAQ about "Targets":

Q: What is a federal grand jury “target letter”? Why and when would a target of the federal grand jury receive one? Does this mean that a person who receives such a letter is likely to get indicted?

A: Federal grand juries conduct investigations into possible violations of federal criminal law. They have the power to subpoena witnesses to appear before them to testify and produce information.

The Department of Justice has special policies when the subpoenaed person is either a “target” or a “subject” of the grand jury investigation. A “target” is someone the prosecutor or grand jury has substantial evidence to link to a crime, and who, in the judgment of the prosecutor, is likely to be indicted. A “subject” of a grand jury investigation is someone whose conduct is within the scope of the grand jury’s investigation.

Due to the potential for unfairness and misunderstanding in making a person who is likely to be indicted testify or produce documents before a grand jury, prosecutors must first attempt to get the target to voluntarily appear. If that doesn’t work, the prosecutor must get the approval of the grand jury and the United States Attorney or the responsible Assistant Attorney General in order to issue a subpoena.

In deciding whether to subpoena a target, prosecutors will consider the importance of the testimony or information sought, whether the prosecutor can get the testimony or information from other witnesses, and whether the answers to the questions the prosecutors and grand jurors intend to ask would be privileged.

If the target of a grand jury investigation is subpoenaed, it’s the policy of the Department of Justice to advise the witness of his or her rights, either by attaching an “advice of rights” form to the subpoena or in a letter than accompanies the subpoena. In the case of a witness who’s the target or subject of the investigation, the following advice is provided: “The grand jury is conducting an investigation of possible violations of Federal criminal laws involving: [the general subject matter of inquiry, for example ‘conducting an illegal gambling business in violation of 18 U.S.C. Section 1955’]. You may refuse to answer any question if a truthful answer to the question would tend to incriminate you. Anything that you do say may be used against you by the grand jury or in a subsequent legal proceeding. If you have retained counsel, the grand jury will permit you a reasonable opportunity to step outside the grand jury room to consult with counsel if you so desire.”

Targets are also advised that their conduct is being investigated for possible violation of federal criminal law.

I don't see how Fitzgerald could have accumulated substantial evidence against Bolton early in the process. Especially since he managed to accumulate this evidence without anyone guessing anything until Bolton was brazenly nominated to the UN post.

kim

This isn't science. These theories can't be tested, so keep it out of the classroom.

Leave those kids alone.
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Tollhouse

Just more of the Unified Theory of Rovian Culpability. Every scandal gets locked into an ever increasing, ever more elaborate conspiracy and no one ever stops to look at it in the whole and go, "this makes no sense". I mean, weren't we here last year with the Gannon-Rove-Rather theories?

kim

Sphinx-like means no data means the imagination can slip the surly bounds of fact-based reality.
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clarice

More of Puffington nonsense. The storyline has been that Fitzgerald knows who she talked to, named that person in the subpoena to her and that person did testify before the grand jury.

JOM is right, this is a circle jerk begun by the Wash Po article which says Miller has had 99 visitors and then just named a handful to set tongues awag.

Syl

Jeff

"but that Bolton came into information that he thought would help his allies in the administration in their effort to discredit Wilson."

First, that could apply to anybody who ran across that information. I haven't seen any indication that Bolton should be singled out.

Second, the quoted statement, indicating a conspiracy itself, may be putting the cart before the horse.

I still think there was something of a 'holy shit' aspect to discovering Wilson's wife's involvement, in an atmosphere of 'what the heck is going on with Wilson?'

Seven Machos

But I thought it was Rove. I though Bush LIED!!!!

Now we hear it's Bolton. Maybe he has displaced Rove in the pantheon of evil geniuses who run the presidency because Bush is so dumb but got elected by the sheeple.

Kids: Judith Miller is her own source. If I had to bet on Novak's source, I'd still bet on Joe Wilson himself. Novak called Wilson at his house before the ruckus started, if I have my timeline right (and according to Vanity Fair).

BurbankErnie

Yeah, Like Huffington has ONE source, let alone TWO!

Please, this story has been dead since Plame and Wilson told Miller everything they knew.
Yes, the straight line is the correct answer, but for some reason, the Bush Admin. will cover this as it did with Berger, Able Danger, 9/11 and so on and so forth.

This is so over. So is Sheehan. So is Able Danger. So is 9/11. So is Clinton. So is Berger. So is Wilson. So is Richard Clarke. So is Sy Hirsch. And on. And on. And on.

Steven J.

Fitzgerald's side has been sphinx-like

Unlike the seditious Ken Starr.

Steven J.

Please, this story has been dead since Plame and Wilson told Miller everything they knew.

What does this mean?

Steven J.

Plame worked on weapons proliferation issues, and was part of the DC social scene with hubby Joe.

They weren't part of the social scene.

kim

Nobody goes there anymore; it's too crowded.
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Mr. Snitch!

Just a note re Arianna's listing on your blogroll: Don't you think she's been "claimed" by now?

Syl

Well, speaking of 'targets' not being called to testify....

Wilson has not testified.

kim

Nor, I notice, his wife, what's her name.
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richard mcenroe

Arianna? I'd believe the Weekly World News about the knocked-up nurses in the old folks' home, first...

richard mcenroe

Arianna? I'd believe the Weekly World News about the knocked-up nurses in the old folks' home, first...

Jeff

Appalled Moderate - I think the more likely circuit of info, on this theory, is Fleitz to Bolton to Miller. (We apparently know that Bolton has been a reliable source for Miller in the past.) But I'm willing to accept that it remains unlikely that Bolton is a target if he has not testified.

Forbes and clarice and BurbankErnie and richard mcenroe - I'm curious what evidence you base your skepticism of Huffington on? Her scoop a while back that Bolton had been in to visit Miller, widely derided at the time, if I remember correctly? Then what?

Syl - Strictly speaking, you're right. Bolton fits, but it very well might not be him. But I'm doubtful that there was a "what the heck is going on with Wilson" thing going on, at least in July 2003. Don't forget what Novak was telling Wilson's friend on the streets of July: that the White House shoulda taken care of Wilson weeks before. And one of the things that seems to have prompted Wilson to go public in his own name was that he was about to be outed by a journalist in a story. So it's doubtful the White House didn't know what was going on. And by the way, Wilson did answer questions in the Fitzgerald investigation, though I don't think he testified before the grand jury (though I can't remember exactly).

Forbes

"Her scoop a while back that Bolton had been in to visit Miller..."

This is what? Evidence of Arianna's clairvoyance? She reads Greek tea leaves? What?

If the media doesn't report something, did it happen? If a tree falls in the wood...

At best she's a gossip, and while there's often an element of the truth in gossip, it's just as often misleading, while the PuffingtonHost remains a cross between Page Six and the DailyKos. Have it your way.

My skepticism? The conflict created by the argument claiming that the WH is both incompetent, and clever.

Conspiracy theories have a long record of little evidence, and less occurrence. Other than that, I'm convinced.

Seven Machos

So, let's stipulate that John Bolton is guilty of...ummm...whatever, something involving the Plame non-scandal.

WOULD HE GO VISIT JUDITH MILLER IN PRISON? Would he sign his very own name on the guest register? Come on, lefties. Rove and Bolton are WORLD-CLASS EVIL GENIUSES!

You'll have to do better than this.

kim

This get's interestinger. When Dole weighed in I thought it was endgame. Now I think Fitz must still be actively investigating, which gives rise to hope that he is still tracking down Yellow Cake forgeries.

I wonder if anyone datamined that Italian?
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kim

Let's see, how would I go about it. Toto, bring me my slippers.
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