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November 10, 2005

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Comments

Jim E.

That Mitchell made such an obvious misstatement clearly bolsters her credibility that she didn't know about Wilson's wife before Novak's column.

Or does that spin only work with Vallely?

dorf

Witness one for the defense................

Jim E.

In all seriousness, Mitchell is totally wrong to say that her quotes were taken out of context. Her quote from Oct. 3 really has only one credible interpretation.

Yet I tend to believe when she said, "I may have misspoken in October 2003 in that interview." Otherwise, she could have broken her own bombshell story on the matter. She knew the formal investigation had been initiated when she said those comments, and it doesn't make sense that the only time she'd say them would be during the little-watched Capital Report. Plus, during the immediate aftermath of the Novak column, it wasn't clear to the layman that Wilson's wife was a CIA agent related in any way to her husband's trip. Mitchell later said, as she did on Imus this morning, that Rove did call her AFTER the Novak piece to alert her about Wilson's wife. This wouldn't be the first time someone made a misstatement that conveniently made them sound like an uber-insider.

The Oct 3 Mitchell quote is certainly notable, but given the totality of her public statements (such as saying on Hardball that no one knew about Wilson's wife prior to the Novak column) I think she really did misspeak.

But here we go with the fradualent pro-Libby spin in the comments: if Mitchell said that on Oct 3, then Libby was allowed to say anything to federal investigators and a federal GJ. As if.
--

Ha, while previewing my comment, I see we already have a misguided this-helps-Libby post. So predictable.

Reg Jones

"It was widely known among those of us who cover the intelligence community and who were actively engaged in trying to track down who among the foreign service community was the envoy to Niger. So a number of us began to pick up on that. But frankly I wasn't aware of her actual role at the CIA."

"Actual role at the CIA"? This strongly implies Mitchell was aware Plame was CIA. Just not aware of here "actual role" before Novak published.

Geek, Esq.

Has anyone testified under oath that they knew about Plame's occupation before Libby et al found out?

Till then, this is nothing more than a smokescreen and a diversion for my good friends on the other side of the fence.

Lew Clark

OK, I think I got it now. Mitchell, Russert, etc. are interviewing Joe Wilson, because he wrote an op ed stating that he was sent to Africa (Niger) by the CIA and claimed he had proved definitively that Iraq did not seek uranium from Africa (Niger) and Bush was a liar.

In their investigation, they were really curious about how he got the mission to Niger, but they never pursued it, because that would have exposed his wife, a covert agent at CIA, who they didn't know about.
So to protect national security, they started out not knowing about her status at CIA and made sure they didn't find out about it.

Yep, works for me!

Gary Maxwell

What the hell Jim E. You are usually fairly rational. Libby story does match up and you are all over him. Andrea Mitchell's does not match up and its a misstatement. Are you projecting here a tad or what. I would think this is a Maalox moment for Fitz. She is both an exculpatory witness and now looks suspicously like she might be trying to cover for someone who may have to testify.

Jury is read first statment and Defense says is no motivation to lie ? And then reads 2nd statement and asks has something changed while strolling by a seated Fitz.

Cant you see a defense saying to Andrea something like " You want us to read your statement, HOW? So you believe that people can have a flawed memory of fairly recent events Ms Greenspan? And do you also bleieve that sometimes people say things differently that the way they would construct them if they could read and edit and reedit?

Jury is grinning and looking sideways at each other at this point while Fitz asks Judge for a recess.

Jim E.

I will add this: Mitchell, at best, is inarticulate. At worst, she's lying sack.

Jim E.

er, "A lying sack."

Lew Clark

I do think Mitchell is on solid ground with her statement that she didn't know Valerie Plame's "actual role at CIA". It's become pretty evident that no one, inside or outside government, inside or outside the CIA, knew what Valerie Plame's actual role at CIA was.

Jim E.

Gary Maxwell,
Um, Libby's story certainly does NOT add up.

And if you look at the first two sentences of my second post above, you'll see that I acknowledge Mitchell's problem. I later wrote that her quote was "notable" -- the implication being that it contradicts the entire point of the initial investigation. And my 10:39 and 10:40 comments were put up before I saw your post questioning my rationality. The totality of the evidence suggests Mitchell mispoke.

If it's good enough for Cheney (and Rummy and Chalabi...) to say, oops, I "misspoke," then it oughta be good enough for Mitchell. OK, that last sentence was snarky as well as irrelevant. But I'm not going to delete it.

PaulV

Will Mitchell have to testify as to who leaked referral to her. It goes to her creditability and to why her story changes. She has baggage. If Fitz does not call her can Defense treat her as hostile and not have tovouch for her truthfulness?

TM

That Mitchell made such an obvious misstatement clearly bolsters her credibility that she didn't know about Wilson's wife before Novak's column.

Or does that spin only work with Vallely?

LOL. That's the last time I share *that* trick...

And I am not forgetting that Jim E may have solved the mystery of Novak's use of "low level operative", although that post has been stuck at Number Two on "to-do" for a week.

Anyway, I do suggest a motive for her to misremember - she wants to cover the story and she does not want to explain her odd journalistic lapses.

Bonus speculation - who knows what she told investigators?

Anyway, if she learned about Plame elsewhere and not the White House, she might figure, well, the story is the WH leak, and I don't know who the source was for that, so I'll avoid subpoenas and keep reporting.

epphan

I'm rooting for Scooter...but Jim E is basically correct. He says Mitchell misspoke on Oct. 3...Actually she lied to embellish her position...but the simply won't let it become about Mitchell. So they are both liars. And you better believe that Fitz can "prove" Scoots lied independent of whateve lies Mitchell was telling...but Mitchell is not on trial. This is fun and it will be fun if it gets to trial...but the courtroom is LA Law...it's just too restricted...which is why Scoots pleads out, buys time and waits for a pardon.

Gary Maxwell

At least you admit the snark . Not sure I buy your "I was consistent" speech.

It now seems to me like Lying is a well practiced parlour game in DC. I say a pox on both houses.

YOu specifically Tried to cast some in a bad light for acting just like you acted when the Libby charges came to light. Seems quite small.

TM

but the simply won't let it become about Mitchell.

Well, if Ms. Mitchell's credibility shatters liek glass, maybe her boss's won't do so well either.

And without Russert, it gets tougher for the prosecution. Not impossible, of course.

Anonymous Liberal

I entirely agree with Jim E. The most logical explanation here is that Mitchell either mispoke, misunderstood the question, or was embellishing the extent of her insider knowledge. If she really had such a major scoop, I find it hard to believe she wouldn't have repeated it 1000 times since then. It just doesn't make sense.

I think as time goes by we're going to find that most of the assertions that Plame's identity was widely known will not prove credible. For example, Cliff May claimed back in 2003 that he knew about Plame before Novak's column, that it was an "open secret" in Washington. But that talking point is apparently no longer operative. May doesn't seem to have repeated it recently. In fact, not that long ago, Larry Johnson openly ridiculed May's story on CNN. May then issued essentially a non-responsive response on NRO's Media Blog which, notably, made no mention of his original assertion.

Can anyone find an example of May repeating his story recently? Did Fitzgerald question May?

I don't think Patrick Fitzgerald would have gone ahead with this prosecution if Plame's affiliation with the CIA really was an open secret.

clarice

.There is only one way to read her Oct 2003 statement and on the stand she'll be free to explain why such a high paid newsie is such a poor communicator and why we should believe that her memory months from the events in questions is less worthy of her belief than her memory 2 years after the events.

And then the questioner can ask her who leaked the fact of the CIA referral to D oJ to her, a leak of classified information

Gary Maxwell

Clarice

As a lawyer, I am sure you love a situation where you can put someone on the stand and look them right in the eye and ask "SOOOO, where you lying then or are you lying now?"

spongeworthy

I like the way she fumbles for a copy of her exact words. She knows what she said--she doesn't need the hard copy.

I don't care a bit about Libby, but she's lying about something, anyway.

"(L)et me try to find the quote" my aching ass.

TM

If she really had such a major scoop, I find it hard to believe she wouldn't have repeated it 1000 times since then.

Well, the scoop being that she, and NBC, went into the tank so she could cover Wilson on July 6?

The scoop that, as of Oct 3, the media had been breathless for a week about a non-story Mitchell broke, when she got the news of the criminal referral from CIA to DoJ?

She made a decision on July 6 to keep quiet - only her analyst can guess why she said what she did on Oct 3.

But how could she have misunderstood the question, and how can her answer make sense any way other than the obvious one?

"How many people knew Plame was at the CIA after the Novak leak?"

"Just a few reporters who covered the intelligence community, but we didn't know she was covert."

Yeah, that's must-see TV alright.

And what scoop? The focus was that Plame was a covert operative, as leaked by the WH to get Wilson.

She had gossip that Plame was somewhere in the CIA, job unknown. She could have easily rationalized that as being totally different, and irrelevant to the story.

And, to avoid subpoenas and criticism from Howard Kurtz, she has kept quiet.

Well, it would be interesting to see what she told investigators. But since they focused on the WH leak, she may have gotten a pass.

Anonymous Liberal

TM,

I'm not sure I buy your assertion that it would have been some huge journalistic lapse if Mitchell knew about Plame but didn't ask Joseph Wilson about it when she interviewed him.

The relevance of Wilson's wife to Wilson's claims has always been vastly over-stated by the Right. Wilson never claimed that Cheney sent him to Niger. Plus, even if he had, that point could be rebutted simply by pointing out the CIA sent him. There would be no need to mention his wife. And the nepotism angle was always ludicrous. Wilson was as well-qualified as anyone for this sort of fact-finding mission. He had tons of contacts in Niger and throughout Africa. There's no evidence that he was only sent as some favor to Plame. The nepotism thing was an ad hoc talking point invented by the White House after this story broke. Journalists would have no responsibility to repeat dumb talking points.

So bringing Plame up would only have been a sideshow. Plus, if Mitchell knew that Plame worked for the CIA, it would have been irresponsible to mention her without first checking with the CIA.

Geek, Esq.

Until we get media folks saying (under oath if possible) "I knew that Valerie Plame worked for the CIA on XXXX date" instead of "of course people knew about her" I can't find any of this relevant.

Dorf

Annonymous: pass the duchy on the left hand side.

Gary Maxwell

"Wilson never claimed that Cheney sent him to Niger." Anon lib


This is a looney liberal talking point canard. I am sick of hearing it. Read the damn Epic Speech. He says something like "the government sent me, not the CIA, the government." I know spoke in the third person but thats just too freaky to try to construct right now.

If he said it in public you know he told everyone he knew ( this is Joe Wilson aftewr all) and was retailing this story all over town trying to get the Kerry talking points out.

TM

I'm not sure I buy your assertion that it would have been some huge journalistic lapse if Mitchell knew about Plame but didn't ask Joseph Wilson about it when she interviewed him.

Well, Russert himself was quite clear about what they would have done if they had known:

RUSSERT: If I had known something with--then I would have said to Neal--and Neal would have said, `Get to the cameras.' Or you know what? Actually it is so sensitive... MITCHELL: We would have decided not to... RUSSERT: ...I would have even talked--we would have talked it through and said... MITCHELL: Right. RUSSERT: ...`Hey, what about this?' or `Should we check her status?' It's easy to say that in hindsight, but I... MITCHELL: In fact, we should tell...

And I am not saying it is a matter of nepotism, or "It wasn't Cheney, it was his wife".

What I am saying is NBC should have disclosed her CIA role as a clear conflict of interest: "It might have diminished the impact of the story - "CIA Spouse says, 'CIA right, White House wrong' " - but it's what they should have done."

Or, if Mitchell personally felt conflicted, she should have given up the mike that day. As If.

Conflicts abounded.

owl

I think you could hand the Oct 29 transcript to any jury and that should handle the Russert question. Libby or Russert?

This is such a goof up it makes you wonder she did it on purpose....

boris

Mitchell's statement is clear and concise not like the rambling inconsistent stream of conciousness from Libby.

boris

Of course if everybody starts lying their asses off then the whole thing just goes poof and it's back to the same old status quo. Wouldn't that be a shocker ???

Syl

TM

What I am saying is NBC should have disclosed her CIA role as a clear conflict of interest.

I disagree. Andrea (et al?) didn't make the connection between Wilson's wife and the trip until the Novak article. That she worked at CIA was interesting but had nothing to do with Niger.

TP

If Don Imus can make her hunt through her purse for the script, God knows what some hard ball defense attorney is going to do when he gets Russert and her in to separate rooms.

Syl

Something I see from the recent transcript of Russert and Andrea reminiscing is a concensus forming on what must have been the case, rather than what the actual details were back in 2003. I'm not saying they were consciously trying to influence each other's memories, but that is the result.

I would think this would interest the defense.

Sue

Syl,

I wonder if the defense team has someone searching blogs? If not, they should. :) I suggest they hire some of those already well versed such as our very own TM to help with the research of the various statements by media types.

boris

didn't make the connection between Wilson's wife and the trip

I still see conflict. Even if she didn't "send him" herself, there's still a CIA connection not disclosed by Joe.

Syl

And, LOL, look what Andrea is saying to Imus here:

MITCHELL: I - I - I said it was widely known that an envoy had gone - let me try to find the quote. But the fact is what I was trying to say in the rest of that sentence - I said we did not know who the envoy was until the Novak column.

Like Wilson's own op-ed didn't give you that little datum? LOL

clarice

GM he spoke in the third person in the EPIC speech, BUT in the Q and A he revealed he was in fact the source for the Kristof and Pincus articles. And he did this in downtown DC on June 14 2003 and the program lists his wife's name.

LJ/Aquaria

Like to know when the CIA wasn't part of the government.

And saying that the government sent you isn't the same as saying Cheney sent you.

What, Cheney = the government now? Want to go there?

clarice

I believe it was Cliff May who first reported on the EPIC speech though he didn't refer to the transcript of Plame's listing--IIRC (I did a blog on it but can't look it up now)he did so in the context of Wilson having told his story publicly for a while before Novak's piece.

I also believe it was in this speech (among others) that he drew a clear distinction between being sent by the Agency and being sent by the Government--it was part of his story that the Government who sent him, ignored the warnings (which Kristof and Pincus now say he didn't give).

Jim E.

boris wrote: "there's still a CIA connection not disclosed by Joe."

Wilson makes the "CIA connection" crystal clear in his original op-ed. He said the CIA sent him. If this is supposedly about a CIA-WHite House pissing match, that's all that matters. Who cares who his wife is? He's always been upfront about who sent him: the CIA. Or am I misunderstanding your comment?

boris

Or am I misunderstanding your comment?

It might have diminished the impact of the story - "CIA Spouse says, 'CIA right, White House wrong' "
The argument made in this statement does not depend on Joe's mission being arranged by Val.

Syl

Jim E

Or am I misunderstanding your comment?

Affirmative.

Boris does have a point (which I ignored) that the fact Joe's wife was CIA, if known by Andrea, at minimum shows there's possibly more of a connection with CIA than Joe is admitting to. And thus a conflict of interest is at least possible and should have been pointed out. Even if Andrea et al couldn't state the fact of mrs. wilson's CIA connection publicly, it should affect their attitude towards Wilson and made them a bit more skeptical of his claims than they were.

Syl

Sue

I wonder if the defense team has someone searching blogs?

I certainly hope so. TM is invaluable.

::waving to Scooter::

paul

First witness to subpoenae for the defense?

Joe Wilson.

"Mr Wilson, can you tell who in the press knew your identity?"

He lies, or commits perjury, the trial is over.

The defense asks the judge to dismiss the case because without Mr. Wilson's truthful answers it would be impossible to determine who told Libby what.

Some would argue that Cheney told Libby first, Scooter can't remember and says he was confused when he was told by other journalists...but without witnesses who are telling the truth...how can you indict for perjury or obstruction?

If everyone of the prosecution witnesses tanks over confidential sources, or misrepresentations-ones that were made in the media-who are we going to believe?

The GJ say Fitz asking his questions, but did not see Fitz ask questions that were refused to him, or lied about...

When the witnesses are on cross, its over.

Gabriel Sutherland

Anonymous Liberal: David Corn reported on his blog that he asked Cliff May about his statements regarding the "open secret" of Joe Wilson's wife. May told Corn that he was interviewed by FBI Agents, but he did not appear before the grand jury, nor was he questioned by Fitzgerald.

May describes his source as male, Democrat, a friend, and a former government official. It is likely that May told the FBI Agents who told him about Plame's status. The FBI then moved up the chain.

It certainly doesn't appear that May denied answering any questions from the FBI agents as he is not in jail, nor was he ever threatened with a jail sentence. He talked. The FBI was satisfied.

Syl: Good catch. So Mitchell should have learned by Oct 2003 that Wilson revealed himself in the EPIC speech and his NY Times Op/Ed, both of which appeared before the Novak column.

Jim E.

I appreciate that perjury is a tough charge to prove. The devil is in the details.

But if you look at the big picture, the prosecution is arguing that Libby lied to investigators and under oath to the GJ. Libby lied with one, big, internally consistent "compelling" (Fitz's words) lie. He remembered lots and lots of things, and testified about them. Lots of things that are contradicted by several witnesses.

Libby's defense, as I understand it, is to say that Russert, Miller, and Cooper all independently misremembered (or lied ) about their conversations with him. And the faulty memories (or lies) of these reporters all happen to similarly contradict Libby's testimony. That seems to be a big hurdle, and I don't see how that's going to be confusing for the jury. They have to decide if one person (Libby) is lying, or if three reporters are (not to mention the 7 government witnesses who can substantiate how eager and committed Libby was to learn about Plame).

TallDave

I hate to rain on the Left's parade of feigned indignation, but Fitzgerald did not indict anyone for outing Plame, nor did he even establish she was undercover! And if she was, the CIA would have to explain why the hell she was sending her husband on a Niger trip which he then blabbed to the world about.

As Gerecht put it, we know Plame's "outing" hurt no one, because if it had, it would certainly have been leaked to the press by the CIA.

Syl

paul

The only problem is that gossip going around does not excuse anyone official who knows the information is classified from confirming the information on an official basis.

From whom Libby first learned of wilson's wife CIA affiliation doesn't matter.

Actually, to follow procedure, you stay away from that info as if it were a hot potato...just don't go near it.

But, after Russert, the only outside person we know for sure Libby spoke to was Cooper and all Libby said was 'I heard that too' which is rather meaningless.

Libby speaking to Rove does not necessarily mean anything. It was within the family, so-to-speak. The same with Ari.

The earlier sessions with Judith are more problematic.

JohnH

Syl's comment is fascinating: that reporters may have known that Wilson's wife worked for the CIA but did not think it was significant for his Niger trip. Then Novak's article was significant because of the accusation that Wilson's wife was the reason he was given the job.
Maybe Fitzgerald really does know the whole story. He says that Valerie's status was classified and shame, shame for making it public. But he stops short of saying that no reporters knew this fact. He says it was not known by neighbors,etc.
Then Fitz is really just accusing Libby of lying to obstruct the investigation even though some reporters knew Wilson's wife worked at the CIA.
But Andrea's screw-up will ruin his case. Because she is trying to make it now as if they knew nothing. Her irreconcilable statments, especially including her scripted "what-ifs" with Russert, will make a matched set with Libby's irreconcilable statements.

Jim E.

Syl helpfully points out that this morning Andrea Mitchell said she didn't know Joe Wilson was the envoy sent to Niger until Novak's column, even though Joe Wilson himself published that fact a week prior.

Well. What in the world is Andrea Mitchell doing LYING to Imus like that? I mean, who is she trying to fool? I wonder what she is clumsily trying to cover-up? This has got to help Libby's defense. I have no idea how, but it must. Andrea Mitchell LIED in a live interview.

Either that, or she made a misstatement.

Mitch

Another person who claimed that it was common knowledge among Washington journalists that Valerie Wilson was in the CIA is William Safire. He said so on Meet the Press, though I'm not sure of the date of the show. I'm sure it was while Judith Miller was still in prison. I wish someone would ask Safire if it was true that he knew of Mrs. Wilson's position at the CIA or if he was bluffing to either make himself seem in-the-know or to try to knock down the idea that she was a covert agent. If he knew, I wish he would say who told him.

p.lukasiak

Hmmmm.....the REAL information here is what Tim failed to highlight.....

It was widely known among those of us who cover the intelligence community and who were actively engaged in trying to track down who among the foreign service community was the envoy to Niger. So a number of us began to pick up on that.

In other words, the "widely known" reference is qualified and limited to the people who were trying to get information on the Niger trip.

It wasn't "widely known", in other words --- but if you started asking who the envoy was, you would be told that Mrs. Wilson was CIA.

I absolutely agree that Mitchell is hiding something here -- that, like Judith Miller, she was told that Mrs. Wilson was CIA once she started asking about the Niger story, and she gave that person a promise that the info would be on "double super-secret background."

One of the things that I've found odd about this case is that the initial statement from NBC on Russert's involvement in the case was worded in such a way that left open the possibility that Russert had imparted something to Libby (IIRC, it didn't say that Russert didn't know about Plame being CIA, just that he never told Libby her name and that she was covert.) But Russert testified that not only didn't he not tell Libby that Wilson's wife was CIA, he didn't know it at the time the conversation took place.

This opens up the strong possibility that Russert co-operated with FitzG in setting a "perjury trap" for Libby --- i.e. Libby tells the FBI that Russert was his source, FitzG tells Russert what Libby is claiming, Russert denies it, and FitzG asks Russert to issue a denial that gives Libby enough room to fashion his lie around that denial.

Mitchell, too, is probably co-operating with FitzG, by not disclosing that she was told by someone about "Wilson's wife" when she started asking about the trip to Niger before Wilson published his op-ed piece. A good prosecutor never lays out his entire case in the indictment --- indeed, it has been noted elsewhere that the Libby indictment was far more expansive in its narrative than was necessary.


Syl

And, of course, I'm basing the above on Russert actually having said something to Libby...something which I tend to believe.

And I don't see why Libby would lie about Russert because the only outside person, as I said, Libby spoke to after Russert was Cooper.

Libby could have been referring to Judy in June when he said 'I heard that too' and his case would be the same with Cooper. No reason to lie about Russert at all.

Gary Maxwell

Like to know when the CIA wasn't part of the government. LJ/Aquaria

Ask your boy Joseph Wilson its his direct quote.

What, Cheney = the government now? Want to go there? LJ/Aquaria (again)

OK I will play Desi Arnez here and "splain it to you."

Its kinda simple. Joe wanted to sell his story but he has only a fairly unimportant little trip that did nothing ( except buttress the claim that Iraq did try to buy yellowcake according to the Phase one report). He starts telling a tale about the government sending him( read Administration). Being Joe, the story gets better every time he tells it. The fish he caught was a whale, soon. I personally have no doubt that he clearly at least leaves the impression that Cheney is involved, the moonbats hate Cheney and he was the one in their minds that got Bush to address Iraq. Kristof bites and runs a column and then another. Behest gets used and next thing you know,Cheney is being asked about Wilson by herds of reporters. Cheney is quoted as saying I dont even know him.

Go back to the DUmp, they will believe your little repeated canards without so much as a question.

Gary Maxwell

Like to know when the CIA wasn't part of the government. LJ/Aquaria

Ask your boy Joseph Wilson its his direct quote.

What, Cheney = the government now? Want to go there? LJ/Aquaria (again)

OK I will play Desi Arnez here and "splain it to you."

Its kinda simple. Joe wanted to sell his story but he has only a fairly unimportant little trip that did nothing ( except buttress the claim that Iraq did try to buy yellowcake according to the Phase one report). He starts telling a tale about the government sending him( read Administration). Being Joe, the story gets better every time he tells it. The fish he caught was a whale, soon. I personally have no doubt that he clearly at least leaves the impression that Cheney is involved, the moonbats hate Cheney and he was the one in their minds that got Bush to address Iraq. Kristof bites and runs a column and then another. Behest gets used and next thing you know,Cheney is being asked about Wilson by herds of reporters. Cheney is quoted as saying I dont even know him.

Now,go back to the DUmp, they will believe your little repeated canards without so much as a question.

Syl

p.luk.

That sounds good, except you're depending on nobody knowing mrs. wilson was CIA independent of or prior to the beginning of Wilson's disinformation campaign.

I'm sure there are others besides Vallely and the fact Wilson was free in green rooms puts the information smack dab in the mileiu of the press.

p.lukasiak

This has got to help Libby's defense. I have no idea how, but it must. Andrea Mitchell LIED in a live interview.

I agree that Mitchell is, well I guess "lying" isn't too strong a word at this point. But Mitchell's credibility as a reporter isn't on trial -- and it would strongly suggest that she told FitzG that, when she started asking about the Niger trip, she was told that Wilson's wife was CIA.

And she told FitzG who told her about it.

But she's not going to talk about it publicly because she was told about Wilson's wife on "super-secret background".

I don't see how this helps Libby beat his perjury and obstruction raps -- and it could be devastating to him if Libby was Mitchell's source.

Syl

Jim E

Wrong. ONE witness. Russert. The Cooper stuff I don't even understand why fitz put that in there. Honestly.

JM Hanes

”It was widely known among those of us who cover the intelligence community and who were actively engaged in trying to track down who among the foreign service community was the envoy to Niger.”

Misspoken? Gee, that has a familiar ring. If she’s talking about the folks who were trying to discover the identity of the envoy, then isn’t she talking pre-Novak, pre-Wilson op-ed?

I saw that Mitchell appearance, among others, and she was parsing carefully from the get-go. She definitely sounded in the loop, and until she (eventually) specifically denied it, I’d have bet she was one of the official “six”. I still bet she knew who both leakers & leakees were, in any case, but by then, nobody wanted their names thrown into that hopper.

Doesn't it look like the rest of the press -- protecting their own sources & butts -- were working over time to contain the fallout by sticking like glue to the 2-sources-6-reporters storyline? I’m not even talking about partisan outlets with a stake in the White House miscreants meme. Outside of Wilson, what do we actually know about other potential sources? And how would it affect the whole story, if “everybody knew” Plame worked at the CIA and nobody busily passing around that info actually knew she was covert -- which given the lack of affirmative protection, isn’t exactly all that hard to swallow. Even Libby & Rove aren’t quoted anywhere as telling folks Plame was a secret agent are they? Did covertness ever play into the story before Wilson put it on the table?

Something else has also been bugging me lately about the way the original 2+6 story broke the surface. Here’s how the WashPosts http://www.washingtonpost.com/ac2/wp-dyn?pagename=article&contentId=A11208-2003Sep27&notFound=true”>Mike Allen & Dana Priest reported it:

Yesterday, a senior administration official said that before Novak's column ran, two top White House officials called at least six Washington journalists and disclosed the identity and occupation of Wilson's wife. Wilson had just revealed that the CIA had sent him to Niger last year to look into the uranium claim and that he had found no evidence to back up the charge. Wilson's account touched off a political fracas over Bush's use of intelligence as he made the case for attacking Iraq.

"Clearly, it was meant purely and simply for revenge," the senior official said of the alleged leak.

Sources familiar with the conversations said the leakers were seeking to undercut Wilson's credibility. They alleged that Wilson, who was not a CIA employee, was selected for the Niger mission partly because his wife had recommended him. Wilson said in an interview yesterday that a reporter had told him that the leaker said, "The real issue is Wilson and his wife."

A source said reporters quoted a leaker as describing Wilson's wife as "fair game."

The official would not name the leakers for the record and would not name the journalists. The official said there was no indication that Bush knew about the calls.

It is rare for one Bush administration official to turn on another. Asked about the motive for describing the leaks, the senior official said the leaks were "wrong and a huge miscalculation, because they were irrelevant and did nothing to diminish Wilson's credibility."

Forgive my late-to-the-party ignorance, but do we know who that “senior administration official” actually was?

Observer

Let's be clear of one thing: The Novak column never "outed" Wilson's wife as a covert agent.

The entire premise of Mitchell's statement is FALSE, as is the endless media mantra that Wilson's wife was "outed."

Here's Novak's article on Wilson, read for yourself:

http://www.townhall.com/opinion/columns/robertnovak/2003/07/14/160881.html

larwyn

Will post one more time:

"weeks early announcement" was the exact portrayal by the LSM of GW's nomination of Bernanke to replace Mr. Andrea Mitchell as Chairman of the Fed.

Was this GW being very generous to the old man in giving him an easy exit as soon as Bernanke is confirmed vs being in limelight until late Jan 2006 when his actual
term expires.

We'll see if my dots connect - but it is worth a thought.

Dwilkers

""(L)et me try to find the quote" my aching ass."

ROFLMAO!

Oh man, I had tears from that one.

Patrick R. Sullivan

Mitchell is clearly lying to Imus. Her statement is not 'out of context', and there is no way to interpret it as anything other than: 'I, and several other journalists, knew Wilson's wife worked at CIA, BUT I didn't know what exactly she did there until Novak's column'.

And, as Syl notes, not knowing who the envoy was until Novak wrote his column, is beyond risible; she interviewed him the same day his Op-ed column appeared in the NY Times.

The reason she's lying is to avoid looking the fool for the way she treated Wilson on Meet the Press, as well as in an interview a couple weeks later. Note this from the transcript:

-----------quote-----------
BORGER: Did Wilson's wife come, by the way, to the studio or not?

MITCHELL: Not at all.

BORGER: OK. All right. Just thought I'd ask.

MITCHELL: Separate lives. So that week, on the 8th of July, I did a story on "Nightly News" about Wilson's allegations focusing on Niger, the uranium, not focusing on any issue involving his spouse.

[I interrupt to note she just told Imus she didn't even know about his spouse at this point]

Then on the 14th, the bombshell from Novak, ...that she was a covert--rather an operative, as he put it, at the CIA. The clear implication that she had somehow been involved in getting him to take this assignment....

[I interrupt again to point out that this is consistent with; I knew she was CIA, but I didn't know just what she did.]

....

We should point out that I did do a story after that, on July 21st. I interviewed Wilson, did a story on the fact that he was now alleging that there was an attempt to bring his wife into it, that this was an administration attempt to intimidate him.
---------endquote---------

Ha ha ha! If she can get anyone to believe what she said to Imus, then it will be a piece of cake for Libby to rationalize away his GJ testimony.

Jim E.

p.luk...,
I was being sarcastic about saying Mitchell was lying in that one instance. I mean, does anyone really think she "lied" when she said she didn't learn that Joe Wilson was the envoy sent to Niger until Novak's July 14 column? Joe Wilson admitted it in the NY Times on July 6.

That was so clearly a misstatement on her part.

fdcol63

If Plame's affiliation with the CIA was such a secret, why do all these journalists claim that it was commonly known among certain circles in Washington?

If Plame's connection with the CIA was so secret, why didn't all these journalists say, "Hey, wait a minute! I thought she worked for Brewster-Jennings & Associates. How does this tie in with the CIA?"

Apparently, because they all already knew that she worked for BJ&A, and because they already knew that was a CIA front.

libmeister

I think Wilson's comment was not that "Vice President Cheney sent (me) to Niger" but rather it was "the office of the Vice President who sent me." So really this is just a liberal canard - a talking point. Joey can truthfully say, "Well I never said I was sent by Vice President Cheney" when indeed he did originally claim it was "the office of the Vice President who sent me" or words to that effect.

It's just like the disingenuous talking points that Wilson keeps making in contradition of what the Senate Select Intelligence Committee Report (SSIC) documents, that Wilson's verbal statements indeed seem to bolster the idea that Saddam's regime had approach the Nigerians (remember, the President State of the Union Address merely mentioned an "African nation") about the yellow cake but never comsummated the sale. Yet Wilson is running around saying that "Bush lied" because he couldn't find any evidence that the Nigerians had SOLD any yellowcake to Iraq. Well, duuuuuh!

This is the kind of dishonest parsing that I find those on the other side of the aisle keep engaging in to cover up the possibility that maybe Joe Wilson has been selling a load of anti-war partisan BS to the American people and the White House had legimate concerns about these misrepresentations/lies muddying up the waters on the War on Terrorism.

Just Google "the ten lies of Joe Wilson" and see what you get.

Gary Maxwell

P Luk
You wrote:

But Mitchell's credibility as a reporter isn't on trial

Maybe this will lead you to whose cred is going to be on trial soon. I think you will get it soon enough. Think hard. NBC, NBC, Washington bureau ....

From Newsmax.com Nov 3 2005

NBC Washington bureau chief Tim Russert told Leakgate probers that he had no idea Joe Wilson's wife Valerie Plame was a CIA employee before her name surfaced in Robert Novak's fateful July 14, 2003 column, and that he was stunned upon learning that Lewis "Scooter" Libby claimed he got that information from him.

But an account by senior NBC correspondent Andrea Mitchell raises questions about whether Mr. Russert may have known about Plame's employment well before the Novak column.

decayd

Ms. Mitchell appears to have lied to Imus about her October 2003 statement. That is, her claim to Imus disagrees flatly with what the transcript of her statement shows.
Another odd thing. Her October statement claims that Novak revealed Wilson's wife's covert status; and Mitchell claimed that while she had known about Plame's employment she hadn't known about covert status. But in fact, my recollection is that Novak did not say or imply that Plame was covert.

It appears that in October Mitchell was attempting to find something in Novak's revelation that was investigatable beyond the information that she herself posessed.

Could she have been afraid that admitting that she knew as much as Novak knew before he published would put her in the center of the investigation, along with him?

Later on, when it was pointed out that Novak had not revealed covert status, this line became untenable. Her story then changed to her not knowing at all about Plame's CIA employment.

There is a retired general who claims that when he met Wilson (once) he heard Wilson himself mention or even brag that his wife worked at the CIA. Mitchell had had a number of conversations with Wilson. Is it plausible that she also heard about Plame from him?

It is possible that Mitchell is a mere birdbrain, who gets everything mixed up. But we can be forgiven for suspecting that the self serving nature of her misrememberings has something to do with their existence; which would make her an unprincipled liar.

p.lukasiak

And I don't see why Libby would lie about Russert because the only outside person, as I said, Libby spoke to after Russert was Cooper.

syl, you are forgetting that Libby spoke to Miller on July 12, and (according to the indictment) "discussed Wilson’s wife, and that she worked at the CIA." (I'm not sure that this is germaine to your point, just pointing out a factual inaccuracy)

That sounds good, except you're depending on nobody knowing mrs. wilson was CIA independent of or prior to the beginning of Wilson's disinformation campaign.

what I'm "depending on" is that Mitchell is strongly suggesting that if you asked about the trip to Niger, you got told about Wilson's wife --- even before Wilson's op-ed piece.

Syl

JM Hanes

Excellent question(s) to ponder. I had even forgotten it was an SAO who leaked the 2x6!

p.lukasiak

From Newsmax.com Nov 3 2005

Gary, just want to let you know that "Newsmax" is below even "World Net Daily" in terms of credibility in the "reality based community", So if you are going to address a comment to me, don't back it up with something you read on Newsmax. Not only will the "back-up" be disregarded, but by even mentioning Newsmax as a source you are pretty much putting a "I'm just a big, ol' wingnut" sign on your back.

Neo

This is a clear case of "subpoena avoidance."

Given the Miller outcome, just who really wants to be the next "journalistic sacrificial lamb" ?

Don't think for a minute that Russert won't force NBC, GE and every lawyer et al to make every possible effort, at every level of the judiciary, to keep him from testifying under oath in open court.

BurbankErnie

Larwyn,

Mr. Mitchell received the highest honor a citizen can receive this morning... the Medal of Freedom, just like Tenet received.

Lion

Bulletin: public knowledge, or lack of knowledge, of Ms. Plame's status is not relevant to any disputed issue of fact presented by the charges in the indictment. Should the prosecutor elect to make it relevant by opening the issue before the jury, the assertion that the knowledge was public is not rebutted by legions of bishops swearing under oath that they themselves were not aware of it. As to how many people are prepared to testify that they were aware of it, no one here is in a positon to know anything.

Gary Maxwell

P Luk

You are obviously even dumber than you sound!

I dont give a rip what the Reality based community thinks about much almost ever.

You wanted it known that Mitchell cred was not on trial. Made a whole psot about it. I thought you might be just being cute but no, your just dense.

Here this is typed slow so you can get it.
Russert is Mitchell's boss in the Washington office of NBC. Newsmax just put those facts in two concise paragraphs. If I found the same facts on Slate or the Nation it does not alter these facts one whit.

By the way you might want to take the "kick me" sign off your back. Best way to do that is think before you type. Different over here than at the DUmp.

boris

knowledge of Ms. Plame's status is not relevant to any disputed issue of fact

It is if reporter credibility rests on not knowing. "We couldn't have been telling Libby and Rove something we didn't know ourselves."

If the reporters are discredited on this point then there is no valid reason to give their version of the dialog more credibility than Libby's.

Syl

From the WaPo as quoted by JMHanes above we have (for whatever it's worth):

before Novak's column ran, two top White House officials called at least six Washington journalists and disclosed the identity and occupation of Wilson's wife.

Doesn't this imply more than 'Wilson's wife is CIA'? Which is all Andrea claimed or misspoke to having known?

We have two competing theories (well, three) going around here re Andrea:

(1)she knew mrs. wilson's wife was CIA and got that information independently from the baddies in the Administration

(2)she knew mrs. wilson's wife was CIA because she was one of the leakies.

(3)she didn't know at all

Let's add another one:

(4)Andrea has confused herself so thoroughly that she has no idea what she knew or when she knew it and who she learned it from.

TM

Re: Newsmax - Oh, for heaven's sake.

(a) Larry Johnson and Raw Story get mentioned here from time to time, to general hilarity.

(b) Why are some of the players on Team Reality so afraid of the facts? That particular Newsmax story is essentially their short summary of my long post on the same subject, a fact that should be familiar to my de facto co-blogger. An attempt to address the facts being presented would be more impressive.

That said, I question whether they have any idea as to Russert's actual testimony. Of course, p.luk claimed to know Russert's testimony, so perhaps he can give us a source:

But Russert testified that not only didn't he not tell Libby that Wilson's wife was CIA, he didn't know it at the time the conversation took place.

This opens up the strong possibility that Russert co-operated with FitzG in setting a "perjury trap" for Libby --- i.e. Libby tells the FBI that Russert was his source, FitzG tells Russert what Libby is claiming, Russert denies it, and FitzG asks Russert to issue a denial that gives Libby enough room to fashion his lie around that denial.

I do find this from Russert, describing his testimony during his Oct 29 show:

He then says that I shared with him the name of Valerie Plame and that she worked for the CIA. I didn't know who Valerie Plame was; I--therefore I didn't know that she could have worked for the CIA.

Russert has always focused on the *name*, as he does here - I have never seen him deny that he knew about a connection between "Wilson and wife".

Well, p.luk will set us straight.

Meanwhile, on the 1 x 2 x 6 theory:

Excellent question(s) to ponder. I had even forgotten it was an SAO who leaked the 2x6!

FWIW - the SAO was demoted to AO in a follow-up story, and the motive was switched to (IIRC) a WH attempt to get their story out.

p.lukasiak

You wanted it known that Mitchell cred was not on trial. Made a whole psot about it. I thought you might be just being cute but no, your just dense.

we interrupt this paranoid delusion for this important message

Gary, Mitchell's credibility is not on trial. Its not even an issue in the trial (as far as we know.)

IIRC, the defense cannot call a witness solely to impeach his/her credibility -- in other words, the defense can't call Mitchell, have her deny that she told Russert that "Wilson's wife was CIA", then try and make her look like a liar in front of the jury.

Remember, the issue of whether "everybody knew" about Wilson's wife is not relevant to this case. You can't impeach Russert's credibility simply by saying that "everybody knew" if he swears under oath that he didn't know --- the judge would not allow it.

Now, I agree that Mitchell had heard that Wilson's wife was CIA before the publication of Novak's column. But unless the prosecution calls her as a witness to testify that she heard it from Libby, she's not going to appear in court.

Not only that, but Mitchell has an easy out to explain the contradictions in her public statement if she testifies against Libby --- she had promised Libby that his info would be on "super-secret background" --- and although Libby's waiver allowed her to disclose the information to the special prosecutor, it did not allow her to discuss it publicly.

Fitzgerald is the "smartest guy in the room", and its extremely doubtful that he didn't check out Russert's story that he didn't know Wilson's wife was CIA on July 10th. That would include asking Mitchell if she had told Russert.

We now return you to your regularly schedule paranoid delusions...

TM

no one here is in a positon to know anything.

I don't know about that...

But seriously, folks -

- subpoena avoidance explains a lot (but what do the Freudians say about subpoena envy?)

Syl has an interesting point about this from the WaPo:

before Novak's column ran, two top White House officials called at least six Washington journalists and disclosed the identity and occupation of Wilson's wife.

Identity? I don't get anywhere near six, just off the top of my head - IIRC, Rove and Libby were talking about Wilson's wife, not Valerie Plame, or Wilson. (Well, there was that odd "Valerie Flame / Victoria Wilson in Judy's notebook re Libby).

Pincus did not get a name.

Cooper did not get a name.

Novak may have (OK, he told Newsday something like, "They gave me the name, I used it...").

Well, that makes one.

Ron Hardin

The ``(unintelligible)'' is ``one of those cases.'' Real audio at http://rhhardin.home.mindspring.com/imuscut.mitchell10.ram

boris

Fitzgerald is the "smartest guy in the room"

As Syl has pointed out ... Libby and Cooper agree on the fundamental point of their conversation yet Fitz included the claim that Libby lied about it because he apparently does not understand that.

Not so smart.

Jimbeaux

Re: Impeaching your own witness.

I think that's in FRE 607. Or somethin'

p.lukasiak

our esteemed host says...

Russert has always focused on the *name*, as he does here - I have never seen him deny that he knew about a connection between "Wilson and wife".

oh really, Tim? I guess that explains why Russert said (and YOU QUOTED HIM SAYING)

RUSSERT: Well, ironically, when I was asked about this [the Wilson and wife story], I said, if I had known this, I would have told Andrea Mitchell. I would have told Pete Williams.

now, where is Russert's focus on the NAME again?

dogtownGuy

Fitzgerald is the "smartest guy in the room"...extremely doubtful that he didn't check out

Next time you talk to Pat, would ask why he bothered to check out the neighbors story at the end of the investigation? Better yet, ask why he bothered at all since he had no charges for it?

TM

First, you probably mean "Tom".

Secondly, huh?

Are you telling me that my marked up excerpt is driving your analysis? There are longer excerpts at my linked post, which make it more obvious what "this" might be.

Well, hard times at Reality High. I would encourage you to check the source material, rather than assume my explanatory notes to be dispositive.

Syl

p.luk.

Fitzgerald is the "smartest guy in the room", and its extremely doubtful that he didn't check out Russert's story that he didn't know Wilson's wife was CIA on July 10th. That would include asking Mitchell if she had told Russert.

Was Russert interviewed before or after Andrea? And, as far as we know, neither spoke to fitz.

TP

Accepting p.luk’s point that Fitz was the smartest gut in the room before the indictment, it is likely that he will have competition from a gaggle of defense attorneys in the trial phase. Without saying he is innocent or guilty of anything, I wouldn’t be surprised to see Libby’s lawyers present a case like this:

Fitz’s theory of this case early on was that it was about the administration punishing a whistle blower. He is not bringing that case, but he thinks that Libby made his case more difficult (kicked sand in his eyes).

I wouldn’t be surprised to see Libby make the case that what sand might have been kicked Fitz's way could not get through the truckload of lumber that was already there. That, in fact the case was not about a man who was blowing a whistle, but about a man who with the aid of his wife and others was propagating a lie and trying to inflict political damage on the WH at the behest of the John Kerry campaign. Further, he might affirm that he (Libby) took great pains not to disclose information from classified sources.

When he testified, Libby knew that Fitz had all of his notes. My guess is that both he and Fitz studied those notes very carefully before Libby went before the GJ. Libby also had to know that he was going to be the center of this controversy because he was apparently in charge of batting down the Wilson lie. He also knew he could be facing a perjury trap. My guess is that he will be able to establish a timeline of information gained in bits and pieces from reporters prior to his conversation with Russert and supply a snippet of information given to him by Russert (whether or not Russert was aware of it) that made the picture complete from unofficial sources (reporters). Further, he took pains not to confirm this information to Russert, because doing so would be to give Russert information from official sources. He also has to “splain” away his rather tortured description of the Russert conversation (which he might have done if he was allowed to clarify his GJ testimony). He really doesn’t have to prove any of the reporters lied, including Russert. All he has to do is nibble around the edges of their two year old memories. He is going to have far greater latitude in questioning the reporters than Fitz did and far more motivation to find a different story than Fitz did.

p.lukasiak

As Syl has pointed out ... Libby and Cooper agree on the fundamental point of their conversation yet Fitz included the claim that Libby lied about it because he apparently does not understand that. Not so smart.

or maybe smarter than you think. Remember, Libby's testimony is that he was merely passing on information he had heard from other reporters (specifically Tim Russert) -- but the evidence is overwhelming that he is lying about that.

So if Libby tries to get out of his "like a virgin, Plamed for the very first time" testimony about his conversation with Russert with some kind of bullshit "I misunderstood the questions" explanation, he still has to explain why he testified that he told Libby he was only passing on a rumor from other reporters.

You are going to have Russert testifying that he did not discuss Wilson's wife with Libby. You are going to have Cooper saying that Russert never mentioned reporters when he talked to him. You are going to have Libby's on-the-record statements in front of the grand jury that he had completely forgotten that he had ever known that WIlson's wife was CIA on July 10th. And you are going to have Lewis Libby being questioned by the "smartest guy in the room", trying to explain away all of the obvious contradictions....

....do you really think that Libby is going to come out on top if he testifies?

p.lukasiak

Geez, the above mixes up the names something awful! This

he still has to explain why he testified that he told Libby he was only passing on a rumor from other reporters.

You are going to have Russert testifying that he did not discuss Wilson's wife with Libby. You are going to have Cooper saying that Russert never mentioned reporters when he talked to him.

should be

he still has to explain why he testified that he told Cooper he was only passing on a rumor from other reporters.

You are going to have Russert testifying that he did not discuss Wilson's wife with Libby. You are going to have Cooper saying that Libby never mentioned reporters when he talked to him.

boris

Pukester Tags off!!!

p.lukasiak

Are you telling me that my marked up excerpt is driving your analysis?

no, just pointing out that you are more interested in "scoring points" than you are in a rational discussion of this issue.

clarice

First report I saw says Libby's lawyers are making a first Amendment case--My guess.. is this ---Liar Joe and his press buddies were spreading a dastardly lie, damaging to the WOT and we had a right to correct the record..To the extent that he repeatedly suggested our office had sent him, the only way to rebut that was to deny it and point out who did.

Thank you,ladies and gentlemen.

Gary Maxwell

When insulting the intelligence of your host, is it bad form to get his given name wrong too ( along with virtually everything else)?

"Reality or bust" is a better sign than "kick me".

Syl

p.luk.

Au contraire. All Libby has to do is show that 'I heard that too' needs no qualifiers. It contains no information as to the source and doesn't need to. And it does not indicate whether Libby believed it true or not.

It tracks exactly as Libby claims. Specific words don't matter. The meaning is identical.

boris

you are more interested in "scoring points" than you are in a rational discussion of this issue.

Pukester logic goes down the toilet.

If you use "rational" the same way you use "Reality based" then I see the problem. Also so far Libby has the IQ advantage.

Syl

clarice

::applause::

It's honest and true.

The government (whether Democrats or Republicans are in office) has a right to set the record straight.

'Whistleblowers' aren't the only ones with 1st Amendment rights.

It's time the public was taught that. The 1st Amendment is for everyone, not just a select few.

Now for the jury pool.... :(

boris

Specific words don't matter. The meaning is identical.

No wonder he thinks Fitz is smart ! He has the identical comprehension defecit.

He probably thinks he's smart too ! LOL

Gabriel Sutherland

Perhaps Andrea Mitchell is a CIA Agent. When did she marry Alan Greenspan? How often did she accompany him on official visits to central bankers around the world?

Gary Maxwell

no, just pointing out that you are more interested in "scoring points" than you are in a rational discussion of this issue.

Puke

He wasn't scoring points. He was tap dancing - mostly upon your head and shoulders. To all of our great delight.

p.lukasiak

I wouldn’t be surprised to see Libby make the case that what sand might have been kicked Fitz's way could not get through the truckload of lumber that was already there. That, in fact the case was not about a man who was blowing a whistle, but about a man who with the aid of his wife and others was propagating a lie and trying to inflict political damage on the WH at the behest of the John Kerry campaign. Further, he might affirm that he (Libby) took great pains not to disclose information from classified sources.

there is a problem with this defense --- its not a defense of the charges of perjury and obstruction, which is what Libby will be on trial for.

Its not, however a bad argument when it comes time to mete out punishment after Libby is convicted -- especially the part about "taking pains not to disclose information from classified sources." Except that its a virtual admission that Libby knew the information was classified, and passed it on anyway as "rumors" from reporters. Maybe not the best strategy after all....

But it will probably work when Libby petitions Bush for a pardon. Of course, Libby's pardon petition could consist of "Jabberwocky" written in Sanskrit, and Bush would pardon him.

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