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October 08, 2005

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» Martyr St.Judith's 'Smoking Gun' from All Things Beautiful
It appears, that Judith Miller's discovery of her 'smoking-gun-notes' has just managed to catapult itself to the top of the adminstration's crisis list. Harriet Miers, you may well have a moment of respite, and join all, including the President, who wi... [Read More]

» Plame Game - The Line in the Sand + Matt Cooper an from Macmind - Conservative Commentary and Common Sense
Moved to from this post to keep the news coming: Here's what we know. Rove's volunteer testimony (sorry Mr. Kurtz, not summoned), will be happening soon. [Read More]

» Rove Said to Testify in CIA Leak Case from Unpartisan.com Political News and Blog Aggregator
WASHINGTON -- Presidential confidant Karl Rove will testify for a fourth time before the federal gr [Read More]

» Patrick Fitzgerald's mousetrap from Mark A. R. Kleiman
Did Fitzgerald just mousetrap Judith Miller? [Read More]

Comments

kim

Not a great time for Miller to be surprising Fitz with new, relevant testimony, either.
==============================================

Anon

in case you missed it - Judy Miller was interviewed the other day by Lou Dobbs.

Partial transcript and link to the full video here:
http://www.cnn.com/2005/US/10/05/miller.dobbs/

I think I'll leave the parsing to those truly devoted, but there seems to be some things of interest in there - for instance:

"You know, I didn't want to participate in a fishing expedition. And we had asked the special counsel over a year ago, would he narrow his investigation to the source of his interest and the subject of interest? And he wouldn't do it then. When he agreed to do it, when I asked in August, that was it. I knew I'd be able to -- sorry, in September, I knew I'd be able to get out of jail."

kim

First Amendment Lala Land.
============================

kim

She and Dobbs were just trying to build a little credibility for her to the left.
=================================

JoeDuke

Pincus (Wilson's bud), Kristof (see article below) and Miller (CIA WMD contact) knew about Joe Wilson and Valarie from the start. Wilson was Kristof's source for his May 9, 2003 'Missing in Action: Truth" article:
http://www.globalpolicy.org/security/issues/iraq/unmovic/2003/0506missing.htm

And as you/WaPo suggest Wilson was a source for Pincus' June 13, 2003 article.

Miller may have called Libby in June to attempt to confirm this. My guess she provided him with more info about this then he did to her.

Miller and the other jouranlists should be the one's sweating, not Rove or Libby. If Rove or Libby truly did anything clearly wrong, both would have been out shortly after the Nov 2004 elections. Not now.

kim

Yabba dabba doo.
=================

jerry

You might want to read emptywheel's theory of these events at TheNextHurrah, bad news for everyone by this analysis - including, but not especially, the NYTimes.

pollyusa

I don't think Reuter's is having much of a problem with reporters talking to journalists, however they find it news worthy that a reporter was talking to a senior WH official. As you say even exciting.

As I'm sure you are aware, the excitement isn't that Miller and Libby talked about the Niger trip, it's that Judy and Libby may well have talked about the "trip's origins", since as Pincus tells us Libby was aware of the "trip's origins"(code for Wilson's wife) by June 12.

The next paragraph in the Pincus Sunday WAPO article you mention.

By July 12, however, both Rove and Libby and perhaps other senior White House officials knew about Wilson's wife's position at the CIA


I will add here that it looks like someone may have played Pincus, since Pincus in his 10/12/03 article was told a different story regarding when the information about Plame was known.

No one brought up Wilson's wife, and her employment at the agency was not known at the time the article was published.[The article Pincus is referring to here is the WAPO article he published on June 12 2003 WAPO]

Thom

If the theory is that the White House outed Plame in retaliation for Wilson's NYT op-ed, which was published July 6th, doesn't the fact that Libby and Miller may have been discussing Wilson/Plame in June undercut the theory of retaliation and disclosure of a covert agent (ignoring the dispute over her status) for an improper purpose?

clarice

Here's another theory:She didn't want anyone to know that she had in essence ratted out Kristof and his ties to Wilson to Libby. Think, if you worked at the NYT, picked up scuttlebutt about the Kristof's new best friend and passed it on to the WH as your colleague was using Wilson's info(lies) to attack the WH, would you want that known? Just asking. You don't think your office mates might consider that a betrayal?

pollyusa

JoeDuke

That Wilson was leaking to Pincus and Kristof is common knowledge, both reporters were released by Wilson in 2003.

How you conclude that Kristof, Pincus or Miller knew about Plame "from the start" is a mystery.

SteveMG

Thom:
"Doesn't the fact that Libby and Miller may have been discussing Wilson/Plame in June undercut the theory of retaliation and disclosure of a covert agent (ignoring the dispute over her status) for an improper purpose?"

Well, Wilson was shopping his (mostly dishonest) story to various reporters (Kristoff, Corn, John Judis in TNR, Miller?) well before his op-ed piece was published on 7/6. They fell for it and some (Kristoff and Judis) published falsehoods from Wilson, e.g., that he saw the Niger documents and knew they were forgeries.

Miller likely heard about Wilson's allegations either from Kristoff or maybe Wilson himself and was working on a story when she called Libby on 6/25. Interesting that Fitzgerald phoned Wilson the very day that Miller was to testify. Hmm.

I'm still convinced that Miller knew Plame before she discussed her with Libby et al.

I'm equally convinced that Libby, Rove et al. did not reveal Plame's status in order to punish Wilson or to retaliate against his criticisms. Doesn't make sense unless one believes in the "neocons are thugs and evil and want to take over the world" perspective.

One can drive himself crazy trying to figure this story out. We're relying on statements from people who are spinning things and from reporters and news organizations that have been shown to habitually get things wrong or incomplete.

kim

It's real simple. Joe's stupid lie about debunking the Yellow Cake Papers pricked up the White House ears, who didn't think they had been debunked so early and it was off to the hounds, barking themselves hoarse in the fog.
================================================

Florence Schmieg

Thom, I agree with you. This June meeting undercuts the entire idea that this was retaliation for the article. Didn't that start all of this? Maybe Rove and Libby will get indicted but not for the original charge, which is awful. Do we really want out of control prosecutors fishing and inventing novel charges just to get at high level politicians for engaging in politics? If we were talking about those people who leak CIA classified info to the New York Times to publish on page one, I could see it. But how chilling to turn off all political discussion in this way.

Syl

Well, let's talk about memories. Rove didn't remember his talk with Cooper. Cooper didn't remember his call was about welfare reform.

Perhaps Libby learned Plame was Wilson's wife from Miller and thought it was during the 6/25 conversation. And that's what he testified to.

But Miller finally testifies (with her notes) on the 6/25 conversation and nope, she doesn't tell Libby about Plame.

What the hey? Is somebody lying.

Ah. But Miller remembers she DID tell Libby and realizes Libby is in trouble because he testified about the wrong conversation. So to keep her good graces she goes back and finds her notes on the earlier conversation where the revelation actually took place.

Hey, it's as good a theory as anyone else's.

Syl

pollyusa

Miller may not have know about Plame, but it's not impossible that she did. Between scuttlebut on Wilson, who was a social climber and proud he was married to a CIA "spy", and Miller's work on wmd, it's very possible she actually may even have known Plame personally.

topsecretk9

oooh Clarke

She didn't want anyone to know that she had in essence ratted out Kristof and his ties to Wilson to Libby.

I was thinking that in essence she had gone to bat for Kristof (sniffing up WH info and knowledge for him) and that is why the martyr trip and the NYTimes illogical and weird devotion

Your wrinkle makes me think...maybe both. In that, her attempts to get info for Kristof she goofed and screwed them


and Syl

Good theory. I was thinking the notes were an attempt for Judy NOT to be in a cooper situation (Coopers say no WReform, then re-reads his notes! Oops, then make sure to inlcude in his story...maybe I DID talk Welfare Reform)

pollyusa

Thom

Wilson was an anonymous source for both the 5/6/03 Kristof column and Pincus's 6/12/03 WAPO article. The Kristof column is what started the WH looking into the Niger trip.

When Pincus was calling the administration for comment on his 6/12/03 article, the administration knew that the anonymous source for Kristof was Wilson. It was clear that Wilson was going to be a source for the Pincus article as well.

The WH was starting to push back against the version of events that Wilson was leaking. Before the July 6th op-ed, they played down Wilson's trip and tried to distance Cheney from the story in the June Pincus article.

Somehow, Libby and Rove had found out about Plame by June 12, 2003. It is not known if they told any reporters about Plame in June, if they did no one published and Pincus was not told about Plame at that time.

It is possible that Miller was told about Plame in June before the op-ed, she did have a meeting with Libby presumably about Wilson and or Plame.

The 6/10/03 INR memo, which details the 2/02 meeting where the "Niger trip by Wilson was discussed", is probable source of the information that Plame was CIA.

TM

Not a great time for Miller to be surprising Fitz with new, relevant testimony, either.

Well, this is her first testimony, so she is hardly open to perjury.

I don't think Reuter's is having much of a problem with reporters talking to journalists,

Good point. However (and I am finding Polly to be very interesting), based on this next bit I think I am not alone in my Saturday morning reading comprehension problems.

since as Pincus tells us Libby was aware of the "trip's origins"(code for Wilson's wife) by June 12.

The next paragraph in the Pincus Sunday WAPO article you mention.

By July 12, however,...

My guess - "July 12" looks like "June 12" if you read quickly.

IF that is the error, welcome to the club. As I read it, Libby did *not* mention the wife to Pincus in June.

And Reuters has nothing suggesting he mentioned the wife to Miller, either, prompting my "So what?"

TM

All that said - on the notion that the June talks undermine the notion that outing the wife was punishment:

One might argue (I don't) that in June, the White House held back, and limited themselves to rebutting Wilson.

When he went public in July, they switched to punishment mode, and outed his wife.

Alternatively, there had been talk about Wilson since he started his silly leaks in May, and news of his wife's roles eventually started bouncing between reporters and officials.

And when Wilson went public, the story went ballistic, and all the talk escalated quickly. No plan, no punishment, just more gossip.

Novak told Rove; Russert (maybe) and Cooper told Libby.

Plenty of State Dept people knew something about the wife as of June, and some of them talk to to the press.

topsecretk9

TM
whats your take on Fitz calling Wilson. No big thing?

SteveMG

TM:
"IF Fitzgerald has decided that any talk about the Wilson trip, not just talk about his wife, was a leak of classified info (which it was)"

Just a small stray thought? Throw it out there for discussion, I suppose?

One never knows. This is fundamentally the problem with these special or independent prosecutors. No controlling legal authority, so to speak (as a former-VP-now-poster-child-for-thorazine) once said.

Always has been - whether it was Lawrence Walsh or Ken Star. The left and right had agreed to this after the Lewinsky matter but as Doc Johnson said, men need reminding more than they need being informed.

SMG

clarice

P.S. I think your stray thoughts are, how can I put it?--Stray? Wilson talked about the trip to Corn,Pincus, Kristof and they printed tidbits about it, BUT he didn't have to sign a confidentiality agreement about the trip..If he could talk freely about it, the writers could publish, I should think..

The problem for the reporters is any secret stuff they got--i.e. "the forged doc", possibly Plame's status if she really was undercover (which I doubt);In other words, if his report wasn't "classified information" (interesting question why it wasn't) reporting about what he said about it can't be, can it?

topsecretk9

hmmm dee dumm dumm dumm (sorry if this has been posted, but didn't notice)

"...WASHINGTON -- The prosecutor in the CIA leak case is exploring a range of possible crimes, lawyers in the case say, suggesting that the investigation has moved well beyond its initial focus on whether anyone in the Bush administration illegally disclosed the identity of a CIA operative...

...The notes refer to Joseph C. Wilson IV, a former ambassador to Gabon. An Op-Ed article that he wrote for The Times, on July 6, 2003, which was critical of the administration's Iraq policy, started the events that led to the disclosure of the identity of his wife, Valerie Wilson, a CIA operative, and subsequently to Fitzgerald's inquiry..."

http://www.newsobserver.com/politics/story/2813064p-9258411c.html

topsecretk9

sorry, JoeDuke first pointed this out on MacMind blog

Sue

Who first cast the cloud over the '16 words' that started this whole thing?

MeTooThen

TM,

Alternatively, there had been talk about Wilson since he started his silly leaks in May, and news of his wife's roles eventually started bouncing between reporters and officials.

And when Wilson went public, the story went ballistic, and all the talk escalated quickly. No plan, no punishment, just more gossip.

Novak told Rove; Russert (maybe) and Cooper told Libby.

Plenty of State Dept people knew something about the wife as of June, and some of them talk to to the press.

Getting closer.

And closer.

And why is not Joseph Charles Wilson IV the target of Fitzgerald's investigation at this point?

It seems just as likely that Wilson was the source as to Valerie Plame's identity (NB: the Who's Who entry) as anyone at this time.

TM's suggestion here seems spot on. Wilson began this whole nonesense, then first he, vis a vis the NYT piece, and then he and Double-O-Plame, in Vanity Fair, had seemingly everything to do with the so-called "outing".

Sheesh.

topsecretk9

Wilson began this whole nonesense, then first he, vis a vis the NYT piece

senseless fodde...

I have ahem been accused --ahem ---of make what pappa bear refers to as "wife noises"

So when Blitzer asked Wilson (7-14-05) about this...

"at the end of the day, it's of keen interest to me to see whether or not we can get Karl Rove frog-marched out of the White House in handcuffs."

and Wilson responded--

WILSON: Well, it was a statement that I'd made at a meeting in Seattle. And as my wife later told me, she thought I'd gone a little over the top, so I took the handcuffs off.


I wondered why a still employeed by the CIA "covert" agent would not be interested in reinging in her husbands big mouth in 2003?

Kate

Are we expecting that all 22 indicted will be Bush admin figures? Any chance that it would be Plame and CIA types since there was leaking going on there too.

If they indict 22 people for yapping about widely known classified info, this may cure the leak problem for years to come in DC. Maybe that is Fitzgerald's goal.

I think this would be very unfair because both sides have used leaks for years.

kim

T, the new and relevant evidence that Judy is surprising Fitz with is the June notes. Unless, of course, they are no surprise to him.
==============================================

Dwilkers

"It seems just as likely that Wilson was the source as to Valerie Plame's identity (NB: the Who's Who entry) as anyone at this time."

I've always thought that was true. After all, the fact that his wife worked in WMD at CIA could just as easily be used by Wilson to reinforce his conclusions ("of course I know what I'm talking about! My wife works at the CIA FGS!) as to descredit him. Moreover, Wilson has always seemed to me to be the type to blab off that way.

Whatever. Unless the media is spinning us really hard (imagine that!) it seems as if we're going to see at least someone in the administration indicted over this. Frankly, when I sit back and think about the whole story I just don't see it (admin indictments). Sounds to me like a bunch of water cooler talk and bar gossip.

I can't wait for the whole thing to be over so we can finally find out what was really going on.

TM

whats your take on Fitz calling Wilson. No big thing?

I had officially predicted that Wilson should have been called, and declaimed the fact that no one in the press was even trying for a story based on that, on Aug 2.

Demonstrating that you find what you look for, on Aug 4 Wilson said this:

JOSEPH WILSON: I have not spoken to Pat Fitzgerald for almost a year-and-a-half. I was interviewed by him once early in his tenure. My wife was interviewed by him once early in his tenure in a separate interview from mine, and neither of us have spoken to him since. We have not been before the Grand Jury. We're not part of this case. And, of course, he has appropriately not shared with us any information he might have.

Sure, he might have been lying. Or Fitzgerald might be following the rule about not putting potential indictees in front of the grand jury(!).

Or Fitzgerald might be giving him a pass.

As to my stray thought - I am not saying htat the reporters who talked to Wilson are guilty of anything.

I am saying that an Admin official (WH, State, whatever) who talked to a reporter about the Wilson trip was disclosing classified info, whether or not they mentioned the wife.

SO, if Libby was a source for Pincus's June 12 article, he committed a crime, even if he never mentioned the wife.

And no, I don't know why Wilson is not guilty of something - I would guess a combination of the lack of a non-disclosure, and the fact that Wilson is not an authorized official with access to the info, he is a private citizen.

clarice

New wrinkle:WASHINGTON (CNN) -- The special prosecutor in the CIA leak investigation will interview New York Times reporter Judith Miller next week, according to one of Miller's attorneys, Floyd Abrams. Miller's meeting with prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald will occur Tuesday in Washington, Abrams said, but it will not be conducted in front of the grand jury looking into the leak of Valerie Plame's identity as a CIA operative. However, Abrams said, Fitzgerald could decide after the interview to have Miller make another grand jury appearance. http://edition.cnn.com/2005/POLITICS/10/07/cia.leak/

Maybe this resolves your inquiry earlier, TM--She turned over the notes but apparently is not going before the gj so fast..Is he trying to get her to do this voluntarily because as you note it goes beyond the subpoena? If she doesn't and he needs a new subpoena, is she, as you once theorized, trying to run out the clock?

If her testimony is important and she doesn't give in voluntarily, will Fitz punt?Will he say there is evidence of other crimes, ask for a new prosecutor to persue those and not file a report on the grounds it may interfere with any new investigation?

HMM??

kim

Wait, Wilson can talk about his trip, but no one else can? I know you are not trying to say that.
==============================================

Sue

TM,

I would say you are correct, if you read the actual request from the CIA to the Justice department, no mention of 'outing' a covert operative, but definitely a mention of classified information. I believe that has been where the investigation has been going all along. But I can't see how that would let Wilson off the hook. He may not have signed a disclosure form but he was working for the government in his roll as 'envoy', which takes away his claim as private citizen. And there is still that little thing about 'seeing' a classified document he wasn't supposed to see that he later claimed to have misspoken about. And not all indictees appear before the grand jury, but lots of witnesses do.

pollyusa

Oops, you are quite right, I misread the date...thank you for being kind.

However the paragraph you quoted from Sunday's Pincus article makes the case that Libby knew in June.

Around that time, Libby knew about the trip's origins

SteveMG

"Is he trying to get her to do this voluntarily because as you note it goes beyond the subpoena?"

Overzealous, out-of-control prosecutor?

Or, "Who will rid me of this troublesome priest?"

I stand by my argument that Miller and Keller and the Times are terrified of Fitztgerald going beyond this Plame matter and delving into other areas where classified information was discussed with Miller.

Not only in the Plame affair but a whole host of other issues over the years both in the Bush Administration and Clinton. Administration officials AND government ones. CIA, NSA, DIA, et cetera.

IIRC, Fitzgerald is obligated under law to follow any leads of criminality or at least required to forward information of wrong-doing on other non-Plame matters to Justice.

SMG

clarice

"pursue", not persue (how embarrassing is it to see the many typos and evidence of poor proofreading skilles?

Thanks for the Aug 4 reference..I had remembered reading that, but couldn't remember where..It's just a guess, of course, but were I the sp, Plame and Wilson would be my last witnesses (after I had everyone else's stories--esp the reporters");) Because they are obvious targets if you carefully read the public reports on this case, and because the press has probably "outed" their role by now..

topsecretk9

TM'

I was referring to the Fitz call to Wilson, on 9-29-2005

"However, there was an additional sign that Fitzgerald continued to investigate aggressively. He phoned Wilson on Sept. 29, the same day Miller, the New York Times reporter jailed for refusing to divulge her confidential source, was released from jail after agreeing to testify in the case. She testified the next day." More here.


or maybe you knew that, link from LA TImes...not a subscriber

Jeff

TM - In light of this new development, don't you think Libby's letter to Miller looks more suspicious, since he says (transcribing and emphasizing myself),

The Special Counsel identified every reporter with whom I had spoken about anything in July 2003.

And this sentence comes right after Libby says that he waived his confidentiality privielege regarding "any discussions I may have had related the Wilson-Plame matter," so the second sentence now sure sounds like the point is: I know I waived confidence with regard to all conversations, but Fitzgerald has only identified you as someone I spoke to in July 2003, so please only talk about our July conversations.

Obviously I don't know how Fitzgerald found out about this conversation (which, by the way, the Times today specifies took place on June 25), but we know from way back that investigators were interested in June as well as July 2003. As for how Fitzgerald got access to Miller's testimony and notes about it, again we don't know the details, but I think this raises again a question I raised a couple of days ago: what exactly were the terms of the deal Fitzgerald and Miller worked out? It seems probable that Fitzgerald got something in return for eliminating the broad Niger uranium topic -- and perhaps by extension Miller's crappy WMD reporting -- from the scope of his questioning of Miller. If Fitzgerald only got an expansion of the timespan covered by the subpoena of Miller, but the scope -- Plame -- remained the same, then it is more likely that Libby is in deep trouble, since it means that the June 25 Miller-Libby conversation embraced Wilson's wife. However, all we have from reports so far is that the conversation had to do with Wilson's trip, which may mean that Libby's conversation with Miller echoes his earlier conversation with Pincus, in which Plame was not mentioned. For that to be the case, however, the deal between Fitzgerald and Miller would have to have broadened the subject matter covered beyond Plame to include Wilson's trip altogether. Maybe this is what Fitzgerald was after all along, and so he didn't really give anything up in forgoing discussion with Miller of everything else about Niger and uranium and WMD.

pollyusa - As TM notes, there's nothing in the WaPo piece to indicate that Libby knew about Plame's role back in early June. I'm not saying he didn't. But I see no reason to read the admittedly ambiguous phrase "the trip's origins," about which he knew, as code for Plame's role.

TM - As for this

And when Wilson went public, the story went ballistic, and all the talk escalated quickly. No plan, no punishment, just more gossip.

Novak told Rove; Russert (maybe) and Cooper told Libby.

Here we go again with the ambiguous "X told Y," where what you say is incomplete at best. Novak brought it up with Rove, but Rove said he already had heard. Cooper brought it up with Libby, but Libby said he had already heard. So neither Libby nor Rove appear to have learned anything from reporters. And we know from multiple sources that all sorts of administration officials were encouraging reporters to pursue the story of the origins of Wilson's trip during the week of July 6-13 -- at least Fleischer, Bartlett and Rice, and it appears that Libby may have been doing the same with Miller. This makes the "no plan, just gossip" scenario less plausible. We can't be as sure about the role of Russert, who has been as misleading as any of the principals.

Anonymous Liberal

TM, I can see why you take issue with the spin Reuters puts on Miller turning over these newly found notes. They don't seem to have anything to base it on. But then again, perhaps they're simply repeating the spin provided to them by their source. After all, who leaked the fact that Miller was turning over more notes? Unless Fitzgerald's office has finally sprung a leak, it would seem that Miller or one of her attorneys is the most likely source for this story. Why would they leak such information? Perhaps they want to give Libby's side a 'heads up' that potentially damaging information is on the way. If so, they might have hinted to Reuters what the notes might "help establish." That way Libby doesn't get blind-sided by Fitzgerald.

Syl

Kim

"Wait, Wilson can talk about his trip, but no one else can? I know you are not trying to say that."

Sure he can say that. And it would be true. A private citizen can say anything, true or false, but confirmation can only come from officials. So one either believes the private citizen or one does not.

That's why we're in so much trouble around the world. People can and do say anything about our motives and intents and goings on. But the officials have their hands tied and in most cases can't set the record straight without compromising info that would harm something else.

And when an official does speak, nobody believes the gubmint anyway.

don

Just a little input from someone with clearance and worked in intelligence community. the non-disclosure is freaking joke. If that is why this "federal prosecutor" is looking at, this is way overblown. Violations of this agreement were commonly administrative in nature - the scrutiny in this case is certaintly more overhyped than in any normal case.

pollyusa

Waas must have read your comment about the missing link, it's up now...twice

richard mcenroe

"Times reporter Judith Miller discovered the notes -- " When they fell out of an old Rose Law Firm file folder...

"Overzealous, out-of-control prosecutor?" There's no such thing unless he indicts a Democrat...

clarice

Jeff. Piffle--Unless you're arguing that hearing about something is the same as divulging something..and unless you have no idea about the press and how it operates..The minute the first stories appeared, other reporters were on the phone chatting in the hope of getting a story, and often they throw out something which may or may not be true to see if they can get something useful.

Decades ago, I was handling a high profile case,,almost daily the NYT reporter covering it would call and say he heard something to see if he could get me to give him some info--90% of the time that report was nonsense and designed only to thrown me off guard and divulge something I wouldn't have otherwise.

Rove testified he got his information from other reporters about Wilson's wife whose name and position he didn't know.And I believe him--he probably gets calls from dozens of reporters a day and these tidbits (as he claims in the Cooper call) are just that --bits thrown in in the middle of a conversation about something else entirely--and not likely to be memorable later.

Jeff

While we're interested in June 2003, there's this tidbit from Wilson's book, which I don't know that I've ever seen in the mix:

A few days after Rice's interview [on MTP on June 8], the House and Senate Intelligence Committees announced that they ewre going to look into prewar intelligence, including the uranium claim. I called the staffs of both committees and volunteered to brief them about my trip and findings. I ended up briefing them separately within a few days of each other in mid-June, disclosing what I knew to the appropriate oversight bodies. [p. 419; my transcription]

Has anyone ever paid any attention to this aspect of the story? It's interesting too that immediately after that passage, Wilson notes that a week later, a reporter told him that his name was soon to be made public, and elsewhere in the book he specifies (assuming there were not two warnings) that it was in a soon-to-be-released article (evidently never published). [p. 3] Also, describing the same time frame, and in similar terms, Wilson on p. 332 also says that two weeks after the Rice remarks on MTP, which puts us at June 22 or so, his name was openly circulating among the press, which may refer to the one article or to other circumstances as well.

Jeff

clarice - To clarify, my point was that citing those interactions between reporters and Rove or Libby (with the possible exception of Russert) do not indicate that Rove or Libby learned anything from those reporters. In typing, I left out "those." So my point is not that they divulged anything, but that they did not learn anything from those reporters, and at the same time possibly one of them at least and definitely several other administration officials were pushing reporters to look into the origins of Wilson's trip. Together, those things make the idea that there was no deliberate effort to go after Wilson, but just gossipt shared between reporters and gov't officials, less plausible.

clarice

Don't you think it interesting that these are the people not yet reported as having been before the gj:Wilson, Plame, Corn, and Novak?

Corn first disclosed that Plame was an "undercover agent"; Novak first said Plame worked at the CIA; Wilson and Plame are the obvious sources for significant disclosures about the Niger trip and Wilson was caught flatfooted--he was the source of a June 12, 2003 Wash Post (Pincus) report which referenced the forged document about Niger, which the SCCI says he couldn't have seen while on his assignment..because the CIA didn't get them until 8 months later..(He and Plame have already testified under oath before the SCCI) which discredited their testimony.


Chapter 37 if it's to mean anything has to cover these things and these are the Only principals who haven't been before the GJ--Did they get target letters? Has the sp just saved them for last, after he has obtained everything he could from everyone else..Does he even need their testimony to make out Chapter 37 indictments?

Don

The proper procedure to making people turn is threaten prosecution and turn as witness for the government. This is not the mob where you indict them all and hope something sticks. Again, there is the ethics part of this.

Perhaps, the key to this is really Novak - it would explain his silence and refusal to talk to the media. He acts like a major witness for the government who has made a deal and what does he really have to say...he got his info from Rove and Libby - it may not be fair, but the only potential targets have to be Rove and Libby. But as I said before, the prosecutors behavior toward them is truly unusual (i.e. no target letter, repeated testimony in front of grand jury) If you got a case, you don't want or need them to testify at the grand jury (or journalists that back up their story).

The indicting of 22 people or 10 people is just plain silly. So we are going to line up 10 journalists and 10 government officials and indict them all, and try to get them to turn on each other, asking them to testify against each other to find out who was the ORIGINAL first source. This investigation has already been deemed borderline ridiculous.

If we go there,leaks as we know it, will be forever changed. I won't be so disappointed but I am sure the left would not like the results.

emptywheel

TM

Fitz is only going to subpoena a journalist for that which he can't get elsewhere. You assume that he could only get to Judy's and Libby's June conversation via Libby.

But as I suggest here and here there is a likely other source for the June Libby-Plame meeting.

The NYT was subpoenaed for any info relating to the Libby-Plame meeting in July. They said they had nothing. But the law says if the reporter is doing work for hire, the media outlet owns the notes, so NYT would have owned the notes we now know Judy had. Unless, of course, she was working outside of her guideliens for NYT, freelancing basically.

Well, first of all, Judy seems to have been on a kind of probation in May-July of 2003. So it is quite plausible the NYT said, "don't write about anything unless William Broad says you can." In which case, the meeting in July would not be work for hire for the NYT (although I'm curious who paid the bill at the St. Regis).

So bring that back to June. And consider the fact that a journalist was about to identify Wilson as the mysterious naysayer around June 22, or not that far off of June 25, when Libby and Judy met.

Now consider the fact that that article never appeared. About the only plausible explanation I can think of is one department of a newspaper ceded to another department's scoop. That is, when David Shipley got confirmation that Wilson would write his op-ed, Judy was told she couldn't write her article.

If all this speculation is right, then there are a few people at NYT who 1) would have known that Judy had two sources in June, and 2) would not fall under any kind of confidentiality agreement.

So of course Fitz didn't subpoena Judy's earlier testimony. He knew about it, had gotten that information already without Judy. So, after Judy was asked, "So the first time you and Libby talked about Wilson was in July" and she said yes, she fell into a great big perjury trap. And to dig her way out, she's going to have to be very forthcoming with Fitz from here on out.

kim

The US government paid Joe's Nigerien expenses; it owns his work output.
===============================================

MnMnM

Grand Jury testimony of Karl Rove leaked by Rove-ing reporter (fictional). Please keep my identity a secret. Double super Secret. I could call in and have my voice disguised or and my face blocked out. Please call me or send me an email if you plan to use this. Thanks.

Middle-aged, Middle-of-the-road, Mid-Westerner
MnMnM50@hotmail.com

Testimony of Karl Rove, the White House Deputy Chief of Staff (of the United States) [COSTUS]. How much will COSTUS cost us?

It is posted at: http://rovesayswholeakedfirst.blogspot.com/

TM

Lots of good comments to which I want to respond, and I have no time.

Topsekret - my bad, I had not realized that Fitzgerald spoke with Wilson last Friday. I can't even think of a bad reason for that - if Wilson has evidence, get it under oath; why chit-chat? Don't rule out Wilson being a blowhard; I doubt Fitzgerald was the source for that tidbit.

Many folks point out that I overlooked Fitzgerald's letter to Tate/Libby, which makes pretty clear that Libby has not testified about a June chat with Miller. And Jane Hamsher picks up that key point, so good job by her and EmptyWheel.

EmptyWheel - I am not a lawyer, but... given the DoJ guidelines about subpoenaing reporters (which puts them in a different class from mere mortals), even if the Fitzgerald knew about the June 25 Miller chat from other sources (and your "Judy's Missing Story" idea is very interesting), he would still need to subpoena those notes.

For instance, Fitzgerald had obvious evidence about Miller's July 8 meeting with Libby, namely, Libby's testimony. Fiotzgerald still had to subpoena her notes to compel her half of the conversation.

Also, my impression of DoJ guidelines is that perjury traps are strongly discouraged; hence all the hoop-la about target letters that was kicked around earlier last week. I would think that that sort of sensitivity would go double for a reporter.

Put another way - after a gruesome court fight where there were serious questions about whether he could get her testimony at all, Fitzgerald is going to turn around and say "Tricked you"? I don't buy it. My official editorial position is that Fitzgerald did not hear about the June 25 meeting from Libby or anyone else, so he left it out of the subpoena. And did not ask Libby about it, for that matter. Not yet.

And an example from out of the past about prosecutors not using the grand jury as an entrapment vehicle - folks who have not fully repressed their memories of the Lewinsky debacle (I am still nearly there) will remember that Starr passed to Clinton the results of the fateful DNA test *before* Clinton testified. I vaguely recall being very disappointed about that outburst of fair play...

Anyway, I want to post more when time permits (like, I was going to drop Plame now?), but my advice to lefties - eyes on the prize, which is Libby or higher; Miller may actually be clean on this June 25 point, but Libby has problems.

kim

Does lying about classified information make it not a release of classified information?
==================================================

kim

Fitz doesn't have to entrap Wilson into perjury; Joe does it without thinking.
==============================================

clarice

So what if the Fitz letter talks about the July converation? That's what he subpoenaed. And remember in that letter Libby tells Miller how much he admires her "principled" stand but urges her to testify about their conversations and get out of jail. "For my part, this is the rare case where this 'source' would be better off if you testified," he wrote.


Frankly, my guess is that any conversation Libby-Miller had in June was face to face in DC, probably was not logged in at the WH nor memorialized by him. And he may have forgotten it. I expect that he and Rove in their first appearance said they had little independent recollection of any specific conversation 2 years ago, that they asked for and were allowed to refresh their recollections with the logs, emails, correspondence produced by the WH. If it wasn't memorialized (or in Rove's case misplaced and not produced) they didn't discuss it. And you can bet they made clear that they always testified to the best of their recollection.

Jeff

I expect that he and Rove in their first appearance said they had little independent recollection of any specific conversation 2 years ago, that they asked for and were allowed to refresh their recollections with the logs, emails, correspondence produced by the WH.

clarice - Just hypothetically, if the relevant first appearances, or first time answering investigators' questions, were two months or so, in one case, and four months or so, in the other, after the relevant conversations, would you be any more suspicious of the failure to remember them or mention them?

tenmen

PollyUSA, take that Daily Kos back to where you got it.

http://www.dailykos.com/comments/2005/10/9/224451/180/19?mode=alone;showrate=1#19

clarice

Jeff, Have you any idea how many people a person like Rove talks to in a single day. let alone a few months?

If the witness were a person who didn't handle so many calls, I might be more suspicious than I would be of someone who fielded hundreds if not thousands of calls in a 4 month period, but the mere request to review the notes is standard and prudent and by itself I'd not find it suspicious.

TM

OK, the NY Times has a correction:

An article on Saturday about the status of the investigation into the disclosure of a C.I.A. operative's identity misstated the date of a conversation between the New York Times reporter Judith Miller and I. Lewis Libby, Vice President Dick Cheney's chief of staff. It took place on June 23, 2003, not June 25.

Jeff, I think we are on the same page re Libby's possible problems. I thought my post made it pretty obvious that Libby had new problems, but, re-reading it, my table-pounding looks muted.

Maybe the Libby/Miller June chat was sufficiently immaterial that Fitzgerald will buy the "I forgot" defense.

Or, as Clarice notes, maybe Libby was well enough coached to put "As best I recall" in every sentence.

But this is surely going to raise eyebrows in Fitzgerald's office.

clarice

I suspect that Judy and Libby talked often and saw eachother socially and professionally, and I doubt unless it was some special occasion that he'd remember each time they spoke and about what.

Cecil Turner

Jeff, I think we are on the same page re Libby's possible problems. I thought my post made it pretty obvious that Libby had new problems, but, re-reading it, my table-pounding looks muted.

Unless we're positing that Libby was leaking Plame's identity in order to retaliate against Wilson for an article he hadn't yet written, I'm missing something here. It also seems unlikely (though possible) that Libby would have stumbled across the early version of the INR memo, and assimilated the Plame info. The specifics of the conversation are critical, but it could just as easily support the contention that Plame's identity was common knowledge among reporters (which would suggest the initial source was most likely Wilson).

Jeff

TM - Yes, I think we are on the same page, and I find myself separated from most colleagues on my side of the aisle who want to see this as Miller: screwed (which, by the way, should serve as a pretty strong piece of evidence for how the left feels about her). Again, legally, Rove and Libby might be able to keep it together, but all their forgetting of exactly the most damning bits for them would make a ten-year-old laugh.

Which is to say, clarice, that you are avoiding the question, however sound your legal prudence. You used the purported fact that there was a separation of years between event and questioning about it for Rove and Libby. But the fact is that it was a few mere months, about a matter of considerable concern to them, so the claim that they forgot is that much less plausible. Yes, there are still considerations that give it some plausibility. But, to ask it straightforwardly, will you admit that there is less plausibility to the claim that they forgot given that some of your original information was incorrect in a material way?

Cecil - We don't know yet whether Libby and Miller talked about Plame in June, though I suspect they did. But I think the point is that the White House was already trying to discredit Wilson in June as, though he was not in print in his own name, he was already a source for Pincus' June article and Kristof's in May. I presume the question of whether Plame's identity was common knowledge among reporters -- a contention for which I have not seen a single piece of reliable evidence so far -- is one Fitzgerald has looked into and is looking into. I would love for you to produce for me one or a couple of pieces of evidence that Plame's identity was common knowledge -- and I don't mean Cliff May's despicable piece of hackery passing for journalism, though we can start with that, if you wish.

Cecil Turner

But I think the point is that the White House was already trying to discredit Wilson in June as, though he was not in print in his own name, he was already a source for Pincus' June article and Kristof's in May.

How the Administration goons would know that fact in early June is problematic. It's not like Wilson was prominently mentioned in any of the government reports (except the INR memo, which they had almost certainly not seen at that point). In fact, it's fairly obvious from the initial response to his op-ed that they considered him a non-entity even afterward. Fleischer's July 11 press gaggle is the first time they even had a read on his actual report, and even then they conflated Wilson's mission with the forgeries (which we later learned was incorrect).

Jeff

How the Administration goons would know that fact in early June is problematic.

Cecil - If it were to turn out that important members of the Admininstration did know about Wilson already in June, would that cause you to revise your judgment? Or would you just shift gears and explain that fact away, explaining how it fits with a perfectly innocent explanation (just a different one from the one you had been using up until then)?

Pollyusa

Tom

Here's the Newsday article I think you were referring to over at firedoglake.

I'll add a link to the original memo from Gonzalez detailing the request for documents.

Let me add that I think Rove forgot to turn over two "documents" in the original request, the Hadley email and the record of the Cooper call.Both documents look to be covered by the Gonzalez memo.

Jeff

I think you are being generous with the idea that they would only have to remember back a few months. Probably more like a week per this July 21 2003 Newsday article. It was around this time that the WH stopped talking about Wilson.

I agree with you about the Senate/House testimony in June 2003. I have long thought that someone on the hill may have leaked the name of the former envoy to reporters. Wilson is referring to the Senate/House hearings here

A week after those briefings, I learned from a journalist that my name was soon to be made public. I finally decided to write the story myself, and called back David Shipley at the New York Times to accept his offer of space on their op-ed page.

Additionally, I think it's possible that the Fitz call to Wilson may be to ask Wilson when he told the NYT he was going to write the op-ed. Miller may have heard about the upcoming Wilson op-ed and called Libby.

The timing here is tight.

Jeff

Polly - I think you misunderstood what I was saying. The issue is the plausibility of Rove's claim that he forgot about his discussion with Cooper (and parallels with Libby). The discussion between Rove and Cooper happened July 11 2003 and Rove failed to tell President Bush and investigators about it roughly at the beginning of the fall, which is to say end of September or beginning of October. (It's probably possible to nail the dates down more precisely, but that's the basic idea.) So that is where the couple of months come from. And my original point was that clarice was mistakenly asserting that years passed between the conversation and Rove's answering questions; seeing that it was only months -- along with some other evidence -- makes the idea that he simply forgot less plausible than if it had been years.

clarice

Kaus is skeptical of the Hamsher theory as I am.http://slate.msn.com/id/2127477/&#newhamsher

He suggests the June conversations may have involved only Wilson, not Plame, and were not originally presented because the subpoena went only to Plame talk, that Judy may have revealed the earlier discussions (only about Wilson)in her testimony and then willingly presented her notes of the June 2003 Wilson only discussions to cement her testimony.

Since I believe (and what we know of their conversations confirms) that Rove and Libby were not trying to retaliate but to fend off inquiries about Wilson's bogus story, I don't believe they did think they had improperly leaked anything ,or that their statements were momentous,and they therefore had no particular reason to remember the particulars of those conversations even if the inquiry was months, not years, later.
To people who've never been pestered by reporters each of the calls from the press might seem, a big, memorable occasion. But having been in that position, I can tell you they are as memorable as telephone solicitations.

clarice

Again, the idea that people had no way of knowing until the NYT op ed in July who Wilson was is silly. As noted elsewhere in this rambling blogarama, Wilson outed himself at a June 13, 2003 speech for EPIC,and his wife's name was on their website for the event, listed under Ambassador Joe's bio.

May (NRO)said he easily got her name before Novak's piece by just asking someone (not in the WH). The idea that Libby and Rove got it from the INR is a big, smelly red herring..Wilson practically put a sign on his back and on his wife's at least a month or more before the Novak article.

Jeff

clarice - There is a lot that is incorrect with your account. But I'll just stick with this: where exactly are you getting the idea that Wilson put a sign on his wife's back in June? Because he identified her? Don't you think it would be more suspicious to people if he had not? Do you know anyone who goes around hiding to whom they are married for no question-raising reason? Second, did he identify her as a CIA agent, much less a covert operative? And the fact that his bio says he is married to the former Valerie Plame is more damaging for Novak, not less, since this means that, in fact, Valerie Plame is not and in 2003 was not her name. So why then did Novak refer to her that way? As for the execrable Cliff May, I assume you are referring to May's Sept. 29, 2003 NRO piece, which, it seems to me, played a very important role at a key moment in getting a number of false smears of Wilson off the ground. I assume you are referring specifically to this passage:

On July 14, Robert Novak wrote a column in the Post and other newspapers naming Mr. Wilson's wife, Valerie Plame, as a CIA operative.

That wasn't news to me. I had been told that — but not by anyone working in the White House. Rather, I learned it from someone who formerly worked in the government and he mentioned it in an offhand manner, leading me to infer it was something that insiders were well aware of.

Now, it would be very interesting to know when May was told this and by whom -- and it seems to me he should be happy to reveal it, since he is claiming that what he is revealing seemed like no big deal. My suspicion is that what he heard was part of the smear of Wilson, not a fully separate track. (And the fact that it was mentioned in what May -- no great judge of anything, in my judgment -- judged to be an offhand manner is fully consistent with the way we've learned information about the Wilsons was disseminated by administration officials.) To support this there is also a lot of evidence that in fact Plame's employment was not well or widely known. We also have not heard any similar stories from non-right-wing sympathizers. INstead, all we've had are constant echoes on the right of this one original story, starting with Novak picking it up a couple of days later. Finally, I believe that May has been questioned by investigators in the case. Now, we actually don't know what the alleged crime(s) under investigation are. But Clifford May's undoubtedly brilliant turn with the investigation didn't stop it in its tracks. Wouldn't it be amazing if May's story actually provided another instance of lawbreaking -- that is, on the part of whoever told May -- although in reality I suspect it just provided another line back to whoever started all this. Earlier I guessed (or hoped?) that May's source was Russert, who fits the description. But May sure could clear things up quickly if he just told us who told him and when. TM even picked up my call for this. But I won't hold my breath.

clarice

What kind of smear campaign is conducted by sitting in your office waiting for reporters to call you and ask about Wilson?


From at least mid-June in 2003 Wilson was making wild charges against the Administration about which any astute observer could have figured out the source.(Check his answers to questions at the EPIC speech, if nothing else.)

He kept claiming that it took classified info to get his wife's professional name and yet in this same period she is listed as Valerie Plame in Who's Who and on his website bio at EPIC..Remember all his blather about she is known only as "Mrs. Valerie Wilson"?

Again, those who take what we know of Libby and Rove's pre Novak conversations with reporters as "smearing" Wilson are really saying that because he went on a mission with "operational " clearance and signed no NDA he is free to fling all the crap he wants and no one can respond without being accused of "smearing" him of "leaking" classified info.
Why not just say it?
Because if you do, the agenda is clear--the right to determine foreign policy is ceded to the bureaucrats at DoS and the CIA. Anytime they disagree with a president they can pull this kind of stunt.

PHEH PHEH

Newby

Umm Clarice-what did bringing Plame into the conversation bring to the table anyway? This is the original stupidity-and it all began with Novak's ("they gave me the ame")column.

Worse than a crime, a mistake.

For instance-I think this statement of yours is complete bullshit: "He kept claiming that it took classified info to get his wife's professional name." And I guarantee you can not source a quote to that effect from Wilson. So I think you're a bullshit artist.

But whatever the merits of your spouse, I can criticize you withing bringing him/her up. Easy see?

Jeff

What kind of smear campaign is conducted by sitting in your office waiting for reporters to call you and ask about Wilson?

Now, first, given all your allusions to your experience in this stuff, I would have thought you would know that when Wilson is topic A, someone like Rove doesn't need to go out of his way to get info to reporters. He knows they're going to ask. But second, in fact there is evidence that numerous administration officials went out of their way to prompt reporters to look into Wilson's trip. Fleischer and Bartlett are reported to have done it. Rice is transcripted as doing it at one of the gaggles or press conferences during the Africa trip. TM has done a good job on that one. It appears that Libby may have done it with Miller. In other words, the point is that there is plenty of evidence that the administration was not just sitting in their offices waiting for calls. They were far more proactive. But evidence doesn't seem to matter to you.

The smearing, by the way, is just one aspect of the general effort to discredit Wilson. The smearing specifically requires falsehoods. And there were -- and continue to be! -- plenty of those, such as: Wilson was not qualified; Valerie Wilson was/is a glorified secretary at the CIA; Wilson only went because of nepotism; she sent him; and so on. The effort to discredit, and retaliate against, Wilson was broader, and included the revelation that his wife was a CIA operative.

He kept claiming that it took classified info to get his wife's professional name and yet in this same period she is listed as Valerie Plame in Who's Who and on his website bio at EPIC..Remember all his blather about she is known only as "Mrs. Valerie Wilson"?

You don't seem to understand the claim. The key question is: why did Novak refer to her as "Valerie Plame" in his article given that her name was "Valerie Wilson"? This question takes on added urgency if it is true that "Valerie Plame" was in some relevant sense her undercover name (as it seems to have been at least back in the 90s, before she married Joe). This is what I take Joe to mean about her "professional name." Wilson's point is not that no one knew her maiden name. The point is that her public name was "Valerie Wilson." And indeed, regardless of your failure to understand this, that is what the bio at EPIC says, as (IIRC) does Wilson's now famed online bio. The bio says that Wilson is married to the former Valerie Plame. The bio does not say that he is married to Valerie Plame. Indeed, the obvious implication is that Joe Wilson is married to Valerie Wilson. Now, from what I can tell, Who's Who is a different case. Who's Who, I believe, said that he was married to Valerie Plame. But -- though last time we went around this, the issue was not unambiguous -- the convention in Who's Who, I believe, is to name the spouses of men by their maiden name. If that is so, that puts it in the same status as Wilson's online bio, with this important qualifier. It is easier to imagine how someone could fail to understand the convention, and could mistakenly come to believe that Wilson's spouse's name was Valerie Plame.

Now, if that is in fact what happened with Novak, that is an extraordinary start to much of this. In this regard, two things are of note. Novak has said that he or anyone could have learned Wilson's wife's name from Who's Who. He did not say that that was how he did in fact learn her name, which is puzzling and perhaps suspicious. Why not just come right out and say it? The puzzle becomes even more puzzling when you recognize that he presumably was going to have an opportunity to clarify things during an interview with Ed Henry on CNN, and he knew it -- during the relevant segment, Ed Henry is sitting there with a copy of Who's Who on table, and apparently Novak had been given a heads-up that Henry was going to ask him about the Plame-Wilson matter -- and then, whammo, before this could happen, Novak has a total meltdown on live TV, utters an obscenity in response to James Carville and walks off the set. One consequence, of course, was that Novak did not, ahem, have the opportunity to answer Henry's questions about Plame, Wilson, Novak and Who's Who.

Can you imagine why one might believe there is something more there than just a terrible mix-up?

clarice

I'm all for spirited debate, Jeff, but ad homs and snarkiness--something rare here--turn me off so my response will be short and it is no reflection on the strength of your argument but rather a personal dislike of getting into conversations which are other than a joint search for the facts.

Here is an example of the extent to which Wilson consistently tried to create the image that his wife's work name was not public knowledge--something now clearly debunked:


"Although Cooper indicated Rove did not specifically name Plame during their conversation, Wilson said: "My wife's name is Wilson, it's Mrs. Joseph Wilson. It is Valerie Wilson. He named her. He identified her ... so that argument doesn't stand the smell test."
http://www.foxnews.com/story/ 0,2...,162485,00.html

Jerkweed

Clearly there's a different (and more accurate) interpretation of that statement by Wilson, but it's too late in the game to worry about such minutiae.

pollyusa

Jeff

It's interesting to see the reaction from the right and the left immediately after first word of the Plame investigation came out.

The 10/1/03 Novak column, where he uses the May quote, and the 10/1/03 CNN article pretty much lay out the early political strategy that included among other things that Plame employment was not a secret.

First, I did not receive a planned leak. Second, the CIA never warned me that the disclosure of Wilson's wife working at the agency would endanger her or anybody else. Third, it was not much of a secret

Novak also noted that Wilson has worked for Clinton, with no mention that Wilson had also worked for Bush41.

It is interesting that both Novak and May used the same terminology when referring to the casual nature of how they were told about Plame

Novak
It was an offhand revelation

May
in an offhand manner

especially in light of how Novak originally described how he learned about Plame

"I didn't dig it out, it was given to me," he said. "They thought it was significant, they gave me the name and I used it."


I don't think Russert could be May's source unless he "formerly worked in the government" as May described his source.


My point about the July 21 2003 Newsday article is that at this time Rove must have considered that there might be an investigation and that his actions would be reviewed. His recent conversations with Novak and Cooper must have crossed his mind.



Jeff

I'm all for spirited debate, Jeff, but ad homs and snarkiness--something rare here--turn me off

You've got to be kidding me. First, what are my ad hominems or feminems? That you don't seem interested in evidence? But that is my claim -- based on my assessment of the evidence from your responses here -- that you are not interested in proportioning your judgments to the evidence presented. Second, look back at the things you say about Joe Wilson -- a real human being, not just a right-wing-hating devil -- and tell me if you find ad hominems and snarkiness. I note that your claim once again enables you to avoid arguments and evidence contrary to your own, rather than engage them.

Here is an example of the extent to which Wilson consistently tried to create the image that his wife's work name was not public knowledge--something now clearly debunked

Let me try again. The point is not that the name his wife was born with, or her first name, was not public knowledge. That would be a rather lame point, wouldn't it? Because regardless of whether it showed up on his online bio or whatever, it would be relatively easy to find out was his wife's first name and what her maiden name were, at least for those of us with great internet access (which is to say, maybe not so easy for lots of people in parts of the world where she actually worked as a covert agent). But if Robert Novak had written, "Joe Wilson's wife was a CIA operative working on weapons of mass destruction," that would not have been fine. However, I think the point is that it all the more suspicious and egregious that Novak printed what evidently is her undercover work name. Again, it remains possible that this was all a really terrible coincidence -- Novak misread Who's Who, thought her public name was Valerie Plame, and not Valerie Wilson, and printed what turned out to be her undercover name, along with the identification of her as a CIA operative, which Novak also said was a coincidence (that the he used the same word as the word that is used to refer to, well, operatives as opposed to analysts). But I referred to several considerations in my previous post that make it less likely that this was a coincidence and a mix-up. In any case, the bottom line is that Wilson's wife name was Valerie Wilson, not Valerie Plame. And her work name was not public knowledge.

Now, as for the evidence you bring to bear, could you please provide a full link to the foxnews story. The ellipses led nowhere, and let's just say I'd like to check for myself on what it says and what it is talking about.

Jeff

polly - point taken about the Newsday article, though I'm not sure I agree it makes it more likely that Rove would try to remember. A better candidate would be Cooper's TIME article of the 17th, for which Rove was a source.

Yeah, the echoes between Novak and May are right on. Some points Novak just picks up from May. But given it's been reported that there is suspicion on the part of the special prosecutor that the apparent principals in the case (Rove, Libby, Novak, others?) may have communicated in Sept 2003 about a cover-up strategy, one plausible candidate for this strategy is, "Emphasize offhandedness."

Russert worked for Moynihan. Wouldn't that be amazing? The liberal MSM in action!

ordi

Polly,

Russert joined Meet the Press as moderator 8 December 1991. He came to the program with a thorough understanding of Capitol Hill politics, having previously served as Counselor to New York Governor Mario Cuomo and as Special Counsel and Chief of Staff to U.S. Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan. He also is well aware of how journalists cover politics. He has served as senior vice president and Washington, D.C. Bureau Chief for NBC since December 1988.

http://www.museum.tv/archives/etv/M/htmlM/meetthepres/meetthepress.htm

pollyusa

Ordi and Jeff

Thanks for the information about Russert, I had no idea. Interesting if he is the source, wouldn't surprise me.

I'm sure you are aware of the thinking, expressed in many places including here, that Russert already knew about Plame when he talked to Libby. I've been trying to find the date of the Russert/Libby conversation.

I have no doubt that it's true and I would like to know who told Russert and when.

clarice

[b]Now, first, given all your allusions to your experience in this stuff, I would have thought you would know that when Wilson is topic A, someone like Rove doesn't need to go out of his way to get info to reporters. He knows they're going to ask. But second, in fact there is evidence that numerous administration officials went out of their way to prompt reporters to look into Wilson's trip. Fleischer and Bartlett are reported to have done it. Rice is transcripted as doing it at one of the gaggles or press conferences during the Africa trip.[/b]

So now, proof of a conspiracy to smear covers sitting in your office and waiting for people to call you and ask? Rich.

Prompting others to inquire also constitutes proof of a conspiracy to retaliate? Rich.

Trust me, if I'm being smeared by a serial liar and someone asks me about it, I'd consider it appropriate to respond, and I'd laugh at the notion that my doing so was improper.

The brass tacks are these:Was she covert,did they know it when they responded,did their response improperly divulge classified material within the meanng of the Agee of Chapter 37 provisions?

And so far the only leaks of such information I'm seeing didn't come from Libby or Rove.

They come from Wilson and (likely Plame) and a gaggle of anonymous CIA and ex-CIA officials. And those leaks include the Mission, what was presumably found on it, the forged French document about which he claimed repeatedly to have seen while on his trip and then claimed mix up or literary flair; Harlowe who provided official confirmation to a reporter that Plame was on the CIA payroll).

Jeff

clarice - There are two distinct sets of issues: the legal ones, and the political ones, and it seems to me you go back and forth between them.

The brass tacks are these:Was she covert,did they know it when they responded,did their response improperly divulge classified material within the meanng of the Agee of Chapter 37 provisions?

This is a legal issue, and we actually don't know exactly what the alleged crime being investigated is, so it's hard to say what the brass tacks are. That said, I think it's settled that she was covert. But we really don't know what the relevant classified information is, so it seems like we can't just assert that it was her covert status (and that status may be different under the IIPA and the Espionage Act, right?).

And so far the only leaks of such information I'm seeing didn't come from Libby or Rove.

They come from Wilson and (likely Plame) and a gaggle of anonymous CIA and ex-CIA officials. And those leaks include the Mission, what was presumably found on it, the forged French document about which he claimed repeatedly to have seen while on his trip and then claimed mix up or literary flair; Harlowe who provided official confirmation to a reporter that Plame was on the CIA payroll).

It's a little hard to follow what you're saying here, but if what you're saying is that Wilson leaked Plame's covert status, I have no idea what your evidence is. Maybe what you're saying is that other classified information was improperly leaked by him, and this has to do with his mission and the forged Niger documents. I assume the mention of Harlow has nothing to do with Wilson, though again I'm not sure I'm following you here. I presume too that if you are right, Fitzgerald will indict Wilson and no administration officials. Is that your position? (I don't rule it out, by the way, for all I know.)

Two favors: could you say a little bit more about Wilson and the forged Niger documents, I know this is an issue, but I can't quite figure out what the accusation coming from the right is. Is it that Plame probably showed him the documents in an inappropriate way? Is there a specific timeline on when that is presumed to have happened? I ask because there is considerable unclarity in who had what when with regard to the forged documents, and I'm really hoping we get the bottom of it. I know that there is supposedly an FBI investigation into it, which is how the SSCI justified not attending to that issue in its report, but from what I have gathered, it's not a very active investigation. I can't imagine why, unless maybe there is something that the Bush administration and its Republican allies in Congress doesn't want found out about their origin and circulation and the why of that.

Second, you might have missed this in my last post. Could you repost the full link to the foxnews story you cited previously, with the quotation from Wilson. Thanks.

clarice

There's plenty here that TM has done on the leaks--Harlow for example confirmed to Novak that Plame was employed by the CIA--That, jeff, is the improper release of classified information.

TM has plenty (and I won't go thru it again about Wilson's statements about having seen the Niger forgery--and he couldn't because it came in 8 months after his mission and showing it to him would have been a security breach until it was declassified)All of this is in the SCCI report--p. 44 IIRC.

Here is the response to that by Wilson:
October 10th, 2005







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Joe Wilson's speech


A month before Robert Novak wrote his column supposedly outing Valerie Plame, Joseph Wilson gave a speech in which he talks in the third person about a person who is obviously himself, allows Valerie Plame to be identified as his wife, and discloses his intense opposition to the war in Iraq, as well as his anti-Israel sentiments. He makes clear that he is the source of the Kristoff/Pincus leaks about his mission. He even says that “this thing has legs,” that it will take two or three months, but it has legs – implying, perhaps, that he had already been working with the Kerry campaign to make this issue big – attacking the President's credibility on the war.

Clifford May noted this Wilson speech in July 2003, but only to show that Wilson wasn't credible because of the kind of groups to which he was speaking and how easy it was to find out from non-Administration people who his wife was and where she worked because he, in fact, had done so. He did not go into the substance of the speech or the important fact that his wife was already listed there on the website bio.

The speech was given at EPIC, the Education for Peace in Iraq Center, a left wing organization, which has, a least for the moment, an audio file of the speech on its website A poster at the Free Republic website named “Fedora” transcribed parts of the speech.

Here are some highlights:

"Let me just start out by saying, as a preface to what I really want to talk about, to those of you who are going out and lobbying tomorrow, I just want to assure you that that American ambassador who has been cited in reports in the New York Times and in the Washington Post, and now in the Guardian over in London, who actually went over to Niger on behalf of the government--not of the CIA but of the government--and came back in February of 2002 and told the government that there was nothing to this story, later called the government after the British white paper was published and said you all need to do some fact-checking and make sure the Brits aren't using bad information in the publication of the white paper, and who called both the CIA and the State Department after the President's State of the Union and said to them you need to worry about the political manipulation of intelligence if, in fact, the President is talking about Niger when he mentions Africa. That person was told by the State Department that, well, you know, there's four countries that export uranium. That person had served in three of those countries, so he knew a little bit about what he was talking about when he said you really need to worry about this. But I can assure you that that retired American ambassador to Africa, as Nick Kristof called him in his article, is also pissed off, and has every intention of ensuring that this story has legs. And I think it does have legs. It may not have legs over the next two or three months, but when you see American casualties moving from one to five or to ten per day, and you see Tony Blair's government fall because in the U.K. it is a big story, there will be some ramifications, I think, here in the United States, so I hope that you will do everything you can to keep the pressure on. Because it is absolutely bogus for us to have gone to war the way we did."

"I remain of the view that we will find chemical and biological weapons, and we may well find something that indicates that Saddam's regime maintained an interest in nuclear weapons--not surprising if you live in a part of the world where you do have a nuclear-armed country, an enemy of yours, which is just a country away from you...."

[snip]

"But I do know. . .that in order to have a liberation strategy, you have to have people who are willing to fight for their own liberation. Otherwise you will never get that liberation bounce that Ken Adelman promised us--that Richard Perle promised us, when he said that Iraqis would be cheering us from the rooftops at our marching in there."

[snip]

"Evidence of that can be found in the Habbaniya gold market today. The price of gold jewelry in Habbaniya is cheaper than it is anywhere else in the world. And that is because the middle class has had to liquidate all their assets. In Iraq, like in many other parts of the world, people keep their assets, their wealth, in gold...."

[snip]

"The real agenda in all this, of course, was to redraw the political map of the Middle East. Now that is code, whether you like it or not, but it is code for putting into place the strategy memorandum which was done by Richard Perle and his study group in the mid-90s, which was called 'A Clean Break: A New Strategy for the Realm'. And what it is, cut to the quick, is if you take out some of these countries, or some of these governments, that are antagonistic to Israel, then you provide the Israeli government with greater wherewithal to impose its terms and conditions on the Palestinian people. . .But that is the real agenda. You can put weapons of mass destruction out there, you can put terrorism out there, you can put liberation out there. Weapons of mass destruction got hard-headed realists on board, through a bunch of lies. . ."

And this is from the website about the program:

He is married to the former Valerie Plame and has four children.

Clarice Feldman 10 10 05


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If you need the link go to macsmind where I tried to post this and could only get the link and a few graphs of it.









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Joe Wilson's speech


A month before Robert Novak wrote his column supposedly outing Valerie Plame, Joseph Wilson gave a speech in which he talks in the third person about a person who is obviously himself, allows Valerie Plame to be identified as his wife, and discloses his intense opposition to the war in Iraq, as well as his anti-Israel sentiments. He makes clear that he is the source of the Kristoff/Pincus leaks about his mission. He even says that “this thing has legs,” that it will take two or three months, but it has legs – implying, perhaps, that he had already been working with the Kerry campaign to make this issue big – attacking the President's credibility on the war.

Clifford May noted this Wilson speech in July 2003, but only to show that Wilson wasn't credible because of the kind of groups to which he was speaking and how easy it was to find out from non-Administration people who his wife was and where she worked because he, in fact, had done so. He did not go into the substance of the speech or the important fact that his wife was already listed there on the website bio.

The speech was given at EPIC, the Education for Peace in Iraq Center, a left wing organization, which has, a least for the moment, an audio file of the speech on its website A poster at the Free Republic website named “Fedora” transcribed parts of the speech.

Here are some highlights:

"Let me just start out by saying, as a preface to what I really want to talk about, to those of you who are going out and lobbying tomorrow, I just want to assure you that that American ambassador who has been cited in reports in the New York Times and in the Washington Post, and now in the Guardian over in London, who actually went over to Niger on behalf of the government--not of the CIA but of the government--and came back in February of 2002 and told the government that there was nothing to this story, later called the government after the British white paper was published and said you all need to do some fact-checking and make sure the Brits aren't using bad information in the publication of the white paper, and who called both the CIA and the State Department after the President's State of the Union and said to them you need to worry about the political manipulation of intelligence if, in fact, the President is talking about Niger when he mentions Africa. That person was told by the State Department that, well, you know, there's four countries that export uranium. That person had served in three of those countries, so he knew a little bit about what he was talking about when he said you really need to worry about this. But I can assure you that that retired American ambassador to Africa, as Nick Kristof called him in his article, is also pissed off, and has every intention of ensuring that this story has legs. And I think it does have legs. It may not have legs over the next two or three months, but when you see American casualties moving from one to five or to ten per day, and you see Tony Blair's government fall because in the U.K. it is a big story, there will be some ramifications, I think, here in the United States, so I hope that you will do everything you can to keep the pressure on. Because it is absolutely bogus for us to have gone to war the way we did."

"I remain of the view that we will find chemical and biological weapons, and we may well find something that indicates that Saddam's regime maintained an interest in nuclear weapons--not surprising if you live in a part of the world where you do have a nuclear-armed country, an enemy of yours, which is just a country away from you...."

[snip]

"But I do know. . .that in order to have a liberation strategy, you have to have people who are willing to fight for their own liberation. Otherwise you will never get that liberation bounce that Ken Adelman promised us--that Richard Perle promised us, when he said that Iraqis would be cheering us from the rooftops at our marching in there."

[snip]

"Evidence of that can be found in the Habbaniya gold market today. The price of gold jewelry in Habbaniya is cheaper than it is anywhere else in the world. And that is because the middle class has had to liquidate all their assets. In Iraq, like in many other parts of the world, people keep their assets, their wealth, in gold...."

[snip]

"The real agenda in all this, of course, was to redraw the political map of the Middle East. Now that is code, whether you like it or not, but it is code for putting into place the strategy memorandum which was done by Richard Perle and his study group in the mid-90s, which was called 'A Clean Break: A New Strategy for the Realm'. And what it is, cut to the quick, is if you take out some of these countries, or some of these governments, that are antagonistic to Israel, then you provide the Israeli government with greater wherewithal to impose its terms and conditions on the Palestinian people. . .But that is the real agenda. You can put weapons of mass destruction out there, you can put terrorism out there, you can put liberation out there. Weapons of mass destruction got hard-headed realists on board, through a bunch of lies. . ."

And this is from the website about the program:

He is married to the former Valerie Plame and has four children.

Clarice Feldman 10 10 05


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clarice

Sorry--my mouse is crazy that is not what I meant to post. This is what I wanted to post--excuse the other--

Outragedmoderates.org has just obtained the controversial documents regarding the shipment of uranium to Iraq from Niger -
This is probably a good time to post the statement from Valerie Plame's husband, Joe Wilson.

First, here are the forged documents, along with proof of their "authenticity" :)

http://electromagnet.us/news/iraq/_uranium/

Joe Wilson's Statement in Response to The Senate Select Committee on Iraq IntelligenceIntelligence
The Hon. Pat Roberts, Chairman, Senate Select Committee on Intelligence
The Hon. Jay Rockefeller, Vice Chairman, Senate Select Committee on Intelligence
Dear Sen. Roberts and Sen. Rockefeller,

I read with great surprise and consternation the Niger portion of Sens. Roberts, Bond and Hatch's additional comments to the Senate Select Intelligence Committee's Report on the U.S. Intelligence Community's Prewar Assessment on Iraq. I am taking this opportunity to clarify some of the issues raised in these comments.

First conclusion: "The plan to send the former ambassador to Niger was suggested by the former ambassador's wife, a CIA employee."

That is not true. The conclusion is apparently based on one anodyne quote from a memo Valerie Plame, my wife, sent to her superiors that says, "My husband has good relations with the PM [prime minister] and the former Minister of Mines (not to mention lots of French contacts), both of whom could possibly shed light on this sort of activity." There is no suggestion or recommendation in that statement that I be sent on the trip. Indeed it is little more than a recitation of my contacts and bona fides. The conclusion is reinforced by comments in the body of the report that a CPD [Counterproliferation Division] reports officer stated that "the former ambassador's wife 'offered up his name'" (page 39) and a State Department intelligence and research officer stated that the "meeting was 'apparently convened by [the former ambassador's] wife who had the idea to dispatch him to use his contacts to sort out the Iraq-Niger uranium issue."

In fact, Valerie was not in the meeting at which the subject of my trip was raised. Neither was the CPD reports officer. After having escorted me into the room, she [Valerie] departed the meeting to avoid even the appearance of conflict of interest. It was at that meeting where the question of my traveling to Niger was broached with me for the first time and came only after a thorough discussion of what the participants did and did not know about the subject. My bona fides justifying the invitation to the meeting were the trip I had previously taken to Niger to look at other uranium-related questions as well as 20 years living and working in Africa, and personal contacts throughout the Niger government. Neither the CPD reports officer nor the State analyst were in the chain of command to know who, or how, the decision was made. The interpretations attributed to them are not the full story. In fact, it is my understanding that the reports officer has a different conclusion about Valerie's role than the one offered in the "additional comments." I urge the committee to reinterview the officer and publicly publish his statement.

It is unfortunate that the report failed to include the CIA's position on this matter. If the staff had done so it would undoubtedly have been given the same evidence as provided to Newsday reporters Tim Phelps and Knut Royce in July 2003. They reported on July 22 that:

"A senior intelligence officer confirmed that Plame was a Directorate of Operations undercover officer who worked 'alongside' the operations officers who asked her husband to travel to Niger. But he said she did not recommend her husband to undertake the Niger assignment. 'They [the officers who did ask Wilson to check the uranium story] were aware of who she was married to, which is not surprising,' he said. 'There are people elsewhere in government who are trying to make her look like she was the one who was cooking this up, for some reason,' he said. 'I can't figure out what it could be.' 'We paid his [Wilson's] airfare. But to go to Niger is not exactly a benefit. Most people you'd have to pay big bucks to go there,' the senior intelligence official said. Wilson said he was reimbursed only for expenses." (Newsday article "Columnist Blows CIA Agent's Cover," dated July 22, 2003).

In fact, on July 13 of this year, David Ensor, the CNN correspondent, did call the CIA for a statement of its position and reported that a senior CIA official confirmed my account that Valerie did not propose me for the trip:

"'She did not propose me,' he [Wilson] said -- others at the CIA did so. A senior CIA official said that is his understanding too."

Second conclusion: "Rather than speaking publicly about his actual experiences during his inquiry of the Niger issue, the former ambassador seems to have included information he learned from press accounts and from his beliefs about how the Intelligence Community would have or should have handled the information he provided."

This conclusion states that I told the committee staff that I "may have become confused about my own recollection after the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) reported that the names and dates on the documents were not correct." At the time that I was asked that question, I was not afforded the opportunity to review the articles to which the staff was referring. I have now done so.

On March 7, 2003, the director general of the IAEA reported to the U.N. Security Council that the documents that had been given to him were "not authentic." His deputy, Jacques Baute, was even more direct, pointing out that the forgeries were so obvious that a quick Google search would have exposed their flaws. A State Department spokesman was quoted the next day as saying about the forgeries, "We fell for it." From that time on the details surrounding the documents became public knowledge and were widely reported. I was not the source of information regarding the forensic analysis of the documents in question; the IAEA was.

The first time I spoke publicly about the Niger issue was in response to the State Department's disclaimer. On CNN a few days later, in response to a question, I replied that I believed the U.S. government knew more about the issue than the State Department spokesman had let on and that he had misspoken. I did not speak of my trip.

My first public statement was in my article of July 6 published in the New York Times, written only after it became apparent that the administration was not going to deal with the Niger question unless it was forced to. I wrote the article because I believed then, and I believe now, that it was important to correct the record on the statement in the president's State of the Union address which lent credence to the charge that Iraq was actively reconstituting its nuclear weapons program. I believed that the record should reflect the facts as the U.S. government had known them for over a year. The contents of my article do not appear in the body of the report and it is not quoted in the "additional comments." In that article, I state clearly that "as for the actual memorandum, I never saw it. But news accounts have pointed out that the documents had glaring errors -- they were signed, for example, by officials who were no longer in government -- and were probably forged. (And then there's the fact that Niger formally denied the charges.)"

The first time I actually saw what were represented as the documents was when Andrea Mitchell, the NBC correspondent, handed them to me in an interview on July 21. I was not wearing my glasses and could not read them. I have to this day not read them. I would have absolutely no reason to claim to have done so. My mission was to look into whether such a transaction took place or could take place. It had not and could not. By definition that makes the documents bogus.

The text of the "additional comments" also asserts that "during Mr. Wilson's media blitz, he appeared on more than thirty television shows including entertainment venues. Time and again, Joe Wilson told anyone who would listen that the President had lied to the American people, that the Vice President had lied, and that he had 'debunked' the claim that Iraq was seeking uranium from Africa."

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Pollyusa

Jeff

The Wilson quote is from his appearance on the Today Show last July.

The MSNBC link

kim

J and C: Unfortunately we are all presently agnostic about Joe Wilson and the Yellow Cake forgeries. What we do know is that before rowing back in his typical confabulatory fashoin, he claimed to have seen and debunked the papers. Since he is such a liar we can really not realistically speculate any further. We can hope that the FBI has figured them out and communicated their findings to Fitz.
============================================

pollyusa

This is one of the most interesting posts I've seen on the subject of Wilson and the forged documents. An especially good place to pick up some quotes from the PDF write only Senate Report.

From The Ministry of Minor Perfidy

Ah, and as I look through the comments for the first time I find all the usual suspects.

kim

So would Joe now claim that he debunked in 3/02 a document he didn't see then?

And why did he think he'd debunked it but the majority of analysts came to another conclusion?
=============================================

TM

Ad hominems from Jeff? Maybe he's a Braves fan, but I'm not seeing it.

Anyway, as to the idea that Karl should have been tipped to the importance of his Cooper chat by the July 21 Newsday story - I checked the ABC Note archives for July 21-23 2003, and they missed it (or I did, with my trusty word search).

However - it is interesting to read through those dayst for a reminder of how that scandal was shaping up. Everyone wanted to talk about the 16 Words - was it the fault of the NSC/CIA/Cheney/Bush, who would get sacked, who was in charge, etc. Wilson was still important mainly to himself, and David Corn (and Novak, and me).

Here is a story to illustrate that.

My point - viewed carelessly, WWI could be viewed as an epic struggle to liberate Brussels. Which we did, but it wasn't exactly the focal point.

And in June/July 2003, I doubt Wilson was, either, although he looks bigger now. And what is described by some as a massive, orchestrated smear campaign may have seemed, to the people making the phone calls, a minor point in a much bigger story.

Ha! From the July 14 Note:

Bob Novak talks to Joseph Wilson and has an interesting take on the whole shooting match.

That covers it.

I have an old killer quote about the importance Wilson put on the specific use of his wife's maiden name:

COURIC: How damaging would this be to your wife's work?

Mr. WILSON: Well, you know, what was left out of my interview with Andrea Mitchell was--was my comment that I would not answer any specific questions about my wife. But hypothetically speaking, as others have reported, including TODAY, it would be--it would be damaging not just to her career, since she's been married to me, but since they mentioned her by her maiden name, to her entire career. So it would be her entire network that she may have established, any operations, any programs or projects she was working on. It's a--it's a breach of national security. My understanding is it may, in fact, be a violation of American law.

Uh huh. In fact, they would have done just as much harm by saying "Joe Wilson's wife", as we all seem to realize. So why the hype from Joe?

My bonus, first-in-print speculation: some proper feminist (who may have been a proper gentleman) said to herself/himself, "look, we can't go around forever referring to "Wilson's wife" - she has a career and a name, so let's show some respect and identify her as someone apart from her husband."

Whoever that was opened Who's Who, or hit the internet, and here we are.

But they did not get her name from the INR memo, and probably not from anyone who had worked with her recently (I thought she was Wilson at work, after her marriage, natch).

clarice

It's interesting that on the EPIC webpage for the June 14,2003 speech, there are 23 bios, and only Wilson's listshis wife and as I said he uses Valerie Plame.

Jeff

And what is described by some as a massive, orchestrated smear campaign may have seemed, to the people making the phone calls, a minor point in a much bigger story.

Take out "massive", substitute "was" for "may have seemed", and I agree.

That's great and not implausible speculation about how "Valerie Plame" ended up in Novak's column, except for one thing: definitively in his online bio and at EPIC and perhaps in Who's Who (unless the feminist you mention was unfamiliar with Who's Who), Wilson's wife's name is clearly indicated to be "Valerie Wilson." It's not feminist to refer to someone by a name other than how she evidently refers to herself, so that won't do. Also, if that is the way it was, why didn't Novak just stick around the set and explain it all to Ed Henry (who had Who's Who handy and everything) and us, instead of cursing in James Carville's direction and stumbling off the set? Seriously, what do you make of that?

kim

Some people have an uncontrollable fear of snakes.

Why aren't you afraid of Joe Wilson?
================================================

Cecil Turner

If it were to turn out that important members of the Admininstration did know about Wilson already in June, would that cause you to revise your judgment?

The critical question is where the information came from. The obvious Administration source is the INR memo . . . which could possibly have been seen in June, but more likely was disseminated during the July Africa trip. An earlier source would suggest the information came from elsewhere (most likely, reporters to whom Wilson had been talking long before anyone in the Administration could reasonably have been expected to know who he was).

Or would you just shift gears and explain that fact away . . . ?

I generally try to apply Occam's Razor. And as noted above, I think an earlier conversation on Plame does not support your theory.

Wilson's wife's name is clearly indicated to be "Valerie Wilson."

His online bio stated he was married to "the former Valerie Plame." And we know Novak made a phone call to CIA afterward (where she apparently worked under "Plame"). That again seems to me to be the simplest explanation.

TM

why didn't Novak just stick around the set and explain it all to Ed Henry (who had Who's Who handy and everything) and us, instead of cursing in James Carville's direction and stumbling off the set? Seriously, what do you make of that?

Well, the person who cracked open the Who's Who may have been an eager White House aide who grew tired of hearing [Hadley/other] refer to "Wilson's wife". And from there it jumped to Novak.

As to Novak stalking off - his "explanation" for "Who's Who" is, he didn't rely on it. And none of the conversational paths forward from there could have looked promising to him.

As an aside - Bob Somerby points out that old time CIA hands like Tenet and McLaughlin first met Valerie as originally Valerie Plame, and may never have switched gears. He connects this to his idea that Novak's first source was high CIA.

clarice

I also think Novak's first source was high CIA..and that may explain why Harlow confirmed her employment when the protocol is to say the agency cannot confirm or deny..(The cat was already let out of the bag by higher ups)

Jeff

cecil - Leaving aside the point that Occam's razor doesn't really work when you're dealing with human beings -- just ask a social scientist --, I just don't see how an earlier conversation on Plame doesn't support my theory. What is my theory, anyway, according to you? It's worth noting that there were different levels of knowledge at different times in the administration. For instance, it seems pretty clear that Fleischer was new to all of this stuff on the plane in Africa, and completely biffed it not just on the 11th but again, IIRC, on the 12th -- in ways that I suspect are relevant for the investigation. But just because he was clueless in July doesn't mean the administration as a whole was. We know as a fact that Libby was up on the origins of Wilson's trip (which does not necessarily mean Plame's place in that) in early June. In fact, it seems likely that the VP's office was learning about and going after Wilson as early as May (though probably not March, I suspect, as Wilson says he's heard). But how is that inconsistent with my theory? There were any number of possible avenues for Libby to learn about the Wilsons in June beyond the INR memo, and also beyond the hateful liberal MSM, that is, reporters.

Also, there seems to be converging informed speculation that high-ups in the CIA may have been key. I'd believe that, and remember that Novak first told Wilson he heard about his wife from a CIA source, only subsequently to tell him that he had mispoken. However, for the moment I'm sticking with Hadley as my guess for Novak's first non-partisan-gunslinger source. But if it is CIA, I'd have to guess Tenet, who appears to be an all-around idiot for the way he played just about everything -- or got played on just about everything -- related to Iraq. A useful idiot.

As for Novak, I was unaware that he had actually said that he did not rely on Who's Who, only that he could have. He continues to look really bad however you slice it, and regardless of the disposition of his legal status.

Cecil Turner

I just don't see how an earlier conversation on Plame doesn't support my theory. What is my theory, anyway, according to you?

It doesn't support the theory of an intentional outing, since it removes the most likely Administration source for Plame's identity. (Hence, it requires an additional factor--a separate earlier leak of Plame's identity--and there it runs afoul of Occam's Razor.)

There were any number of possible avenues for Libby to learn about the Wilsons in June beyond the INR memo, and also beyond the hateful liberal MSM, that is, reporters.

Absolutely true. However, it's undisputed that Wilson was talking to several reporters (and obviously others at the Times in the process of publishing his article), and his wife's position would enhance his credibility on the subject. The simplest explanation is that it leaked at that end, especially if it happened before the INR memo was bandied about.

But just because he was clueless in July doesn't mean the administration as a whole was.

It looks to me like the Administration's response was generally late, and well behind the MSM's. (In part because the meme was false: Wilson in fact never warned the Administration that the Africa information was faulty.) Which again suggests an earlier outing is less likely to be Administration retaliation.

TM

As for Novak, I was unaware that he had actually said that he did not rely on Who's Who,

My hyperbole/guess - I don't believe Novak has an official position on this.

Let's not leave out Senators and their staffers, who (as we have been recently reminded) were hearing from Wilson in mid-June.

Those folks could have easily tipped either the WH, the press, or both, about some aspects of the Wilson trip (but presumably *not* the wife, since Wilson would not bring that up in testimony, would he? Or would he, if asked directly - he surely would mention his wife was at the CIA in some capacity).

I'm killing myself that the old WaPo story mentions Congressional hearings, and I ignored it.

In the meantime, Wilson was pressing his case. He briefed two congressional committees conducting inquiries into why the president had mentioned the uranium allegation in his Jan. 28 State of the Union address. He also began making frequent television appearances.

FWIW, I checked the calendars at their websites - those hearings were closed, and Wilson's name not mentioned.

clarice

Exactly, Cecil. Let's pound the last nail in that coffin.

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