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November 23, 2005

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» Plame Game Round Up, 11/23/05 from The Strata-Sphere
Some small news out and about on the Plame Game. Apparently Jack Cashill at World Net Daily is beginning to focus in and capture angles on Plame Game with a second in a series of articles. The first article I dissected and corrected here. The new a... [Read More]

» All in the Family from The Right Nation
Unexpected developments in the Plamegate. According to Jack Cashill of World Net Daily, "there is every reason to believe that Wilson himself outed Plame to Nicholas Kristof of the New York Times in early May 2003, at least a month before the leak to... [Read More]

» Plame Game - The Magical Mystical Andrea Mitchell from Macmind - Conservative Commentary and Common Sense
As the trial of Scooter Libby gets closer, the real culprits are making sure they get their story straight. [Read More]

» "I messed up" from The COLOSSUS OF RHODEY
NBC's Andrea Mitchell, who once claimed that Valerie Plame's (wife of Joe Wilson and supposed CIA covert operative) identity was "widely known," now has stated that she "messed up" -- that her statement then was wrong and that she indeed... [Read More]

» Andrea Mitchell: Dazed and Confused from Ace of Spades HQ
We all know that Andrea Mitchell said, early in the Plamegate silliness, that it was "widely known" among those who worked the intelligence beat that Valerie Plame worked for the CIA. She has lately recanted that, claiming she was confused... [Read More]

» Confusion? from Shot In The Dark
Just One Minute on Andrea Mitchell's odd story (or change in story) in re the Plame affair.... [Read More]

» Confusion? from Shot In The Dark
Just One Minute on Andrea Mitchell's odd story (or change in story) in re the Plame affair.... [Read More]

» Blogger Soul from Just a Bump in the Beltway
Sean-Paul Kelley at The Agonist blew a gasket on behalf of all bloggers last night. The Agonist - I find it astonishing that the elite-celebrity journalists keep pointing the finger at "those pesky bloggers" in their "fact free ethical anarchy... [Read More]

Comments

Jim E.

Wow, that was a pathetic transcript. It's come to us relying on Don F'ing Imus to clear things up about this?

I am inclined to believe Mitchell. Much of her off-the-cuff comments on this have been incomprehensible, such as the time she said she didn't learn that Wilson was the envoy until Novak's July 14 column (despite the fact that Wilson told the world on July 6). I think she has a track record of not doing well without prepared statements. Remember her (thankfully) short-lived show: The Mitchell Report?

Man, what a transcript. But she did repeatedly say she messed up, which is more than anyone hears out of high profile reporters who have messed up. But what a train wreck!

See, it's not a liberal bias of the media. It's a heads-are-up-their-easily-confused-asses media that we have to suffer through.

kim

And a left reflex when you can't see what you are reporting.
================================================

topsecretk9

"I think that I thought he was asking about,"
"You know - this is a different part of the story that we didn't know about."
"I was quite surprised to hear about it because it's inconsistent with anything in my memory."
"And I obviously got it muddled."
"I think that I was confused about the timeline. We weren't all as focused on the timeline then as we really are now. And I think I just was confused."

blah, blah, blah...backpedal with-- weird politician type wordiness that you make your living mocking-- backpedal, blah, blah, blah

Jeff

And a left reflex when you can't see what you are reporting.

Yeah, just ask that famous leftist, Bob Woodward. or Andrea Mitchell, for that matter.

TM - So is your position that Fitzgerald should just aggressively go after every journalist who has ever said anything that sounds relevant to the case? Or just some select number, including MItchell, who say things that seem particularly relevant?

I'm inclined to believe that Mitchell is now saying whatever she can to keep from being involved, against her will, in the case. I say get her under oath, fine with me. And Clifford May, and Vallely, and Podhoretz, and whoever else - get em under oath, please. (I would have added Sidey, but I saw yesterday that alas he is no longer among us.) If any of them have exculpatory testimony, great. If not, not.

TP

Geez, after reading the Novak column, it was as if Andrea had heard it for the first time.

kim

Ah stout denial, on first seeing how wide the Plame upon that peek at Novak.
===========================================

TP

Doesn't this Imus interview look a little like Libby's GJ testimony. I'll bet the prospect of sitting in a windowless room with a stenographer and a hard assed prosecutor will really make her focus on a timeline--particularly if she doesn't know if she is a witness or a perp.

danking

It's called Karma folks and it's coming round for Joe Wilson too.

Can't you see it? If Bush lied to us, why is it that all opposed to him are getting picked off like flies?

Is anyone aware that the Liberal Canadian Goverment may fall shortly?

http://www.captainsquartersblog.com/mt/archives/005828.php

Pretty big news one might say as two more bite the dust; Chretien /PM Martin.

Next up. Chirac! Things have finally calmed down for him in France. Only 87 cars were torched last night! Schroeder? already chewed him up and spit him out. A little sour though. Tom Daschle? Tom who? Howard Dean? And I thought Terry McAuliffe was bad.

I guess the Lord does move through GW!

Bwahahaha!

dogtownGuy

---- I say get her under oath, fine with me. And Clifford May, and Vallely, and Podhoretz, and whoever else - get em under oath, please. ----

who said anything about these guys JEFF? You have a unique habit of qualifying a lot of your statements with "fine by me" or just "ME" or "remeber" or "recall"

fine by YOU is quite different that fine by the rest of us? or P-knits or Defense knits, anyhow.

r flanagan

TM is interested in this "how widely known"
aspect of the case ,hereafter the "widespread issue" and also in whether
Scooter was the first leaker, as Fitz
remarked in the press conference , hereafter
the "first issue".

Maybe Fitz isn't interested in the
"widespread issue" because it does not bear on either his original charge or the Scooter indictment he ultimately brought.

That original charge was : find out who told Novak. At the press conference it seemed
he was saying : "I can't PROVE who told Novak but anyway I indict Scooter for perjury."

Why should he be indifferent to the
"widespread issue"? Perhaps because he knows but can't PROVE who told Novak . So
the "widespread issue" is a red herring which he has no reason to investigate.

Similarly he might see the "widespread issue" as irrelevant to his allegation that Scooter committed perjury.

Similarly all the above may apply to the
"first issue". Fitz' may consider it irrelevant both to Scooter's alleged perjury and to his being able to indict the person that he knows actually leaked to Novak.


dogtownGuy

--If any of them have exculpatory testimony, great. If not, not.-

Maybe I am alone in this observation but JEFF has left many interesting comments. Even my cursory reading of his posts (that tend to challenging the host of this site's reasoning immediately)

TM noticed his leading questions.

Jeff seems to have a real dog in this fight, where as the rest of us just have a "comments".

dogtownGuy

--If any of them have exculpatory testimony, great. If not, not.-

Maybe I am alone in this observation but JEFF has left many interesting comments. Even my cursory reading of his posts (that tend to challenging the host of this site's reasoning immediately)

TM noticed his leading questions.

Jeff seems to have a real dog in this fight, where as the rest of us just have a "comments".

Dwilkers

Jim E-

"Wow, that was a pathetic transcript. It's come to us relying on Don F'ing Imus to clear things up about this?"

Unbelievable aint it? I mean really, this is pathetic.

Jeff-

"So is your position that Fitzgerald should just aggressively go after every journalist who has ever said anything that sounds relevant to the case?"

How about every effing one that's on the logs for the time period? Every one. Put 'em under oath, find out what the hell happened. If they refuse to answer lock their asses up.

How about an "investigation" worthy of the name, and let the chips fall where they may.

Dorf

Poor Andrea, journalism is hard work and what with a celbrity marriage to keep up...... I mean she was just trying to be passive aggressive in keeping the story going.

Dorf

Yo Jeff: yeah count me in on that too. They wanted to hurt a president they loath. When you fire a bazooka at the enemy, you must ensure the backblast area is clear.

Dwilkers
"Maybe Fitz isn't interested in the "widespread issue" because it does not bear on either his original charge.

......

"Similarly all the above may apply to the "first issue"."

Interesting theory. However after considering it I think it might be a bit flawed.

Fitz's charge was to find out how classified CIA info ended up in the public domain, not to persue Libby and Rove. Persuing Libby and Rove was the DNC and DailyKOS agenda.

If you think about it carefully, I'm sure you'll see then that "widely known" and "first" become very important.

That is, it is very important if the agenda is to find out who leaked classified information, rather than the agenda of a political group. Which political agenda, if it were indeed Fitz's agenda, would be an example of corruption of the criminal justice process.

R FLANAGAN

I agree.

Do you happen to know the exact wording of Fitz's charge ? Certainly your suggestion
is more sensible than my guess.

TM

TM - So is your position that Fitzgerald should just aggressively go after every journalist who has ever said anything that sounds relevant to the case? Or just some select number, including MItchell, who say things that seem particularly relevant?

Good question - I am live-blogging from a Waffle House as I attempt to answer.

Basically, DoJ guidelines say that Fitzgerald should not subpoena reporters until he has exhausted all reasonable alternative means of gaining their evidence.

One *might* argue that he has already met that hurdle - for example, if Woodward's source had previously spoken with Fitzgerald nad *not* 'fessed up to his Woodward contact, Fitzgerald might reason that part of the cover-up includes a failure to be forthcoming about press contacts.

In which case, Fitzgerald could comply with guidelines, and still say, my goodness, Mitchell has admitted to having received a leak, let me see if in my exhaustive interviewing of Administration sources someone committed perjury. Let me call her in for a chat.

That does not mean every reporter in America should be called. But there is a relatively short and reasonable list of likely suspects. A starting point would be the folks who cover State, intel, and the WH at the major media.

Or, Fitzgerald's Plan B would be to let the defense depose Ms. Mitchell, and we can all find out at the trial. I would be surprised if he is not worried about that prospect.

Oh, bonus question - to Imus, Mitchell said she was never contavted by Fitzgerald. Is that what she said in explaining her role on the Oct 29 CNBC show?

It was not:

MITCHELL: You know, I should have spoke--'cause there's been a lot blogged about all of this--I was called by the CIA because it was erroneously reported in The Washington Post that I was the recipient of the leak before Novak's column came out, and I had not been. So I was never questioned because I simply told the FBI--and, you know, NBC put out a statement that night--that I had not been a recipient of the leak; in fact, I had learned about it from Novak's column like everyone else. Then after the fact, a lot of us had gotten calls and conversations with people, you know, `Hey, how about the Novak column?' But that was after the fact.

Pants on fire, Ms. Mitchell.

Jeff

But there is a relatively short and reasonable list of likely suspects. A starting point would be the folks who cover State, intel, and the WH at the major media.

I suppose we have a different understanding of the meaning of "short and reasonable" in this context, if that's your starting point for such a list. But honestly, I look forward to Mitchell, Russert, Miller, Woodward -- charter members of the dread liberal MSM all, right? -- being called by the defense to testify under oath, along with May, Podhoretz (pere et fils?), Novak, Vallely and any other freeper who wants to spout off, under oath.

To be fair to Mitchell, she did not exactly lie, though probably she misled, if the question Imus asked her was whether she was contacted by Fitzgerald. From her CNBC comment it sounds like she was contacted by the FBI at the beginning of the investigation -- sort of like Cliff May -- and when they determined that she was irrelevant -- sort of like Cliff May, though probably for different reasons -- that was it. Fitzgerald doesn't enter the picture until several months later. But you know what? In the real world, and opposed to the world of legalism, that is a lie from Mitchell, so fair enough.

Speaking of the dread liberal MSM, this morning I see where a regular commenter here has a brilliant letter to the editor of the NYT celebrating the presidency of George W. Bush and all its accomplishment, like millions of jobs created.

Hope you enjoyed your waffles.

kim

Pick that biscuit,
Pass the syrup.
Don't forget the pie.
Please don't fail,
To lick your fingers,
Before you touch your tie.
Mitch has caught,
The virus Joe has,
She cannot help but lie.
===================================

TM

when they determined that she was irrelevant -- sort of like Cliff May, though probably for different reasons -- that was it.

Good point - Fitzgerald came along later.

However, she might have a problem with obstruction/false statements, depending on what she told the FBI (I know nothing) and the truth (I heard Plame was CIA from [...]).

I can see why she would want this to go away. That said, if she were really worried, she would just stop making these ghastly appearances.

richard mcenroe

Will you guys take it easy on Andrea Mitchell, for god's sake. The woman is a respected American journalist and a hard worker. She's making this stuff up as fast as she can.

boris

she did not exactly lie

She has made opposite claims about her knowledge of Val's CIA employment. On occasion in clear simple language. That's either lying or phychosis.

Q: Wilson's wife worked for the CIA?

A: It was widely known among those of us who cover the intelligence community.

Would that Fitz' question and Libby's answer been so clear.


kim

Let's dance the phychosis to the algorhythm.
===============================================

Anonymous Liberal

I've never been a big fan of Andrea Mitchell, and her backpedaling is certainly embarassing to behold, but assuming she didn't misunderstand the question back in 2003, isn't it just as likely that she was "lying" then, as opposed to now? Her 2003 CNBC statement looks a lot like "puffing" to me. Rumors were flying around at the time (see Cliff May, Novak, etc.) that Plame's identity was a bit of an "open secret" Washington. Mitchell was NBC's intelligence correspondent. She may have just been trying to sound more important and "in the loop" than she actually was.

It seems to me that a lot of people said things early in the investigation (before Fitzgerald took over and it became clear how serious the stakes were) that they have since backed away from. Mitchell isn't the only one. Cliff May strikes me as rather dramatic example of this (not to mention Libby, Rove, etc.). It seems to me that in light of Libby's indictment and the whole Woodward debacle, people like Mitchell would have much more incentive to be truthful now. They now know how serious Fitzgerald is.

I think you're right that Mitchell's statements on this have not been consistent, but I'm not sure why you seem so convinced that her current statements are the untruthful ones. It seems to me at least equally likely that she was untruthful back in 2003, but is being more or less truthful now. She may have overstated her knowledge in 2003 in an effort to sound important.

kim

Phycotic, and I'll go be at da rug a cuttin.
=================================================

Rick Ballard

AL,

If the question is:

"Is she lying now or was she lying then?", then I'm a bit lost as to what difference it will ever make. Is there a credible theory that allows her to have told the "truth" then and now?

If you are convinced that she is a liar then quibbling over which version is the "lie" and which the "truth" seems a bit of a waste of time.

I'm perfectly willing to accept the premise that "Andrea Mitchell is a liar" and treat every word out of her mouth or off her word processor as highly suspect from this moment on if there is no credible explanation to her highly divergent statements.

Dwilkers

"It seems to me that a lot of people said things early in the investigation....Cliff May strikes me as rather dramatic example of this..."

AL do you have a cite for that? I've seen you post this before but I wasn't aware that May had backed off his claim that he knew of Plame prior to Novak's column. I looked over at NR last time I saw this and couldn't find anything, and looked again just now and I'm missing it again. Did he retract that?

dogtownGuy

"At this late date, Joseph Wilson is still trying to cover up the involvement of his wife in his CIA mission, apparently in order to protect a rogue element of the CIA from necessary scrutiny. After the production of the Libby indictment, Wilson wrote an October 19 Los Angeles Times article that said, "Although there were suggestions that she was behind the decision to send me to Niger, the CIA told Newsday just a week after the Novak article appeared that 'she did not recommend her husband to undertake the Niger assignment.' The CIA repeated the same statement to every reporter thereafter."

In fact, a CIA spokesman tells me that the agency did not comment on the record about that matter. And this is not what "the CIA" actually told Newsday. The July 22, 2003, Newsday story by Timothy M. Phelps and Knut Royce quoted an unnamed "senior intelligence official" as saying that Valerie Wilson did not recommend her husband to undertake the Niger assignment. This official may or may not be from the CIA. In any case, it is not an official CIA statement. It was an unnamed official leaking information to these reporters for a specific purpose—to exonerate Valerie Wilson of charges that she played a role in the mission...

...Interestingly, after the CIA got a Justice Department investigation into the leak of the name of Valerie Wilson, then-Counsel to the President Alberto R. Gonzales sent a message to all White House employees that requested that they also preserve information relating to contacts with Knut Royce and Timothy M. Phelps.

Yet the Special Prosecutor, Patrick Fitzgerald, did NOT investigate these contacts..."

Does UCSB have a similar program?

Dwilkers

r.flan-

You can look at what's public about Fitzgerald's appointment here. His letters of appointment are on that site.

Jeff

However, she might have a problem with obstruction/false statements, depending on what she told the FBI (I know nothing) and the truth (I heard Plame was CIA from [...]).

As a practical matter, I suspect, there's no way Fitzgerald is going to indict any of the journalists. But I agree that she may very well have not have told the truth to the investigation.

Anonymous Liberal

Rick Ballard:

I assumed the point of this fisking of Andrea Mitchell was because her knowledge of Plame in 2003 is potentially relevant to the Fitzgerald investigation. My point was that if she lied then (and is telling the truth now), then she never had any relevant knowledge. That scenario strikes me as being at least as plausible as the suggestion that she knew about Plame before Novak's column, but is now lying about it.

Dwilkers:

As for Cliff May, he has not (as far as I know) retracted his 2003 tale about knowing of Plame before Novak's column. But he also hasn't repeated it, despite many opportunities. And no one else on the Right(outside of the blogosphere at least) seems to be repeating it either. In fact, when Larry Johnson publicly challenged May on this point, May issued a rebuttal that conspicuously avoided repeating his original assertion. I suspect his original story is now inoperative. I suspect that May told the FBI something different than what he said in his National Review story and that's why he hasn't repeated the claim publicly since then.

I could be wrong, of course, but given the politics of all this, I don't understand why May wouldn't be repeating this story at every opportunity if it was true.

boris

at least as plausible

With relevance to Libby's prosecution the presumption would be truth then, lie now.

The motives for the MSM would argue in that direction as well. As would the clarity of her various statements.

boris

wouldn't be repeating this story at every opportunity

A NEW standard for evaluation of likelyhood of truth. Repetition. Didn't some nasty dictator have something to say in this area?

Dwilkers

Him not saying it again strikes you as a dramatic example of back-peddling?

Actually, I've been digging around over there, and whether he is restating it explicitly or not he IS linking back to that original article in which he makes the claim that he knew about Plame before Novak's column, and he's doing that linking pretty regularly in subsequent articles.

I'd think if he was pulling back from that he'd stop linking to it.

I'm guessing the idea that May retracted comes from this Media Matters article. It strikes me as pretty thin gruel for the idea that he has retracted. Yet.

dogtownGuy

DWilk
--I'm guessing the idea that May retracted comes from this Media Matters article. It strikes me as pretty thin gruel for the idea that he has retracted.---

Please see my "UCSB" link above. I think it explains Boris's comment as well. It's an art.

Anonymous Liberal

Boris, you write:

"With relevance to Libby's prosecution the presumption would be truth then, lie now."

I'm not sure I follow. Back in 2003, when the investigation had just begun, it appears that Libby was dissembling rather wildly. In fact, he was indicted for some of his 2003 statements. Rove too, was apparently less than candid. He didn't mention Cooper, and he apparently said that he only spoke to reporters after the Novak article. Only later did Rove correct his testimony and give the "complete truth." Libby apparently never has. My sense is that back in early Fall 2003, a lot of people didn't quite grasp how serious this investigation would become. They didn't know that a Special Counsel would be appointed. They didn't know that reporters would be subpoenaed. They didn't know that reporters claiming privilege would be threatened with jail time (and one actually thrown in jail). In short, people didn't realize how serious this investigation would become and how much pressure Fitzgerald would eventually bring to bear on certain journalists.

My point is that people like Mitchell might well feel greater pressure to be truthful now than she would have back then. Back then, she may have thought her statement was harmless puffery on show that almost no one was watching. Now she's being called on it.

Do I know that this is what happened? Of course not. But it strikes me as being every bit as plausible as the suggestion that she is lying now to cover up her past truthful statement.

Dwilkers

I dunno.

Actually as far as I know he may be back-peddling. I've been watching NR pretty closely lately to see what McCarthy (a former federal prosecutor and self-described "friend" and co-worker of Fitz) would say about the Woodward thing, and as far as I've seen he's been silent. He's a defender of Fitz so I just wanted to get his take on it.

But like I say, he's silent. And AL has a fair point, if May is sticking by his story, why not just repeat it? Instead, they're strangely silent over there.

I tell you what, I would have said my regard for the media couldn't have fallen any lower. I would have been wrong if I'd said that.

Jeff

dogtownguy - Without being evasive, I'm not quite sure what you're asking me. I'd be happy to try to answer. I don't so much have a dog in this fight as some admittedly wishful thoughts about the case -- not-good wishful thoughts about the Bush administration -- an obsessional desire for knowledge of the case, and an ongoing effort to temper wishful thinking with figuring out what is actually going on. I do think the Wilsons get regularly unjustifiably slimed by many commenters here and many people on the right, but it's not because I think Joe Wilson is unimpeachable, and certainly not because I think he's a likable character.

Some of the writing ticks of mine you point to are not qualifications, but rather, as in some of the cases you point to, making the point that I am fine with things that I think a lot of the righties on the site assume lefties are not fine with. I enjoy trying to tweak some of those righties, whether or not I'm successful. But I also think TM is one of the best interpreters of what's going on in the Plame matter, even if I disagree with his slant often and offer my own in response. Leading questions? Not the ones you point to, those are genuine challenges to TM's analysis or prescriptions. Other, leading questions might be attempted tweaks of some righties on the site, I'm not sure though.

topsecretk9

Dwilkers

I have seen nothing in the way of a backpedal by May

The only thing I've written that was wrong was in my first column on Wilson. I assumed he was telling the truth when he said (and/or implied and/or told Nick Kristof at the NYT) that Cheney had been responsible for sending him to Niger. That turned out to be false.

Johnson challenges May "And, again, I'll bet Clifford May $5,000. Find the reference prior to Robert Novak's column in which that information was out there." Reference NOT disputing May's "non-government source". The "backpedal" meme is one more farce, urban legend like.

Does THIS get anyone $5,000 bucks?

boris

I'm not sure I follow.

Libby's indicted not Mitchell. Presumption favors the defense. A clear statement in a moment of candor with neither agenda nor risk on the line rings truer than her subsequent clintonesque non-denial denials.

Wilson's wife worked for the CIA?

Mitchell: It was widely known among those of us who cover the intelligence community.

Syl

Okay. We're missing a transcript here.

Russert and Mitchell

Where the putting together of bits of info was clarified because of the Novak article.

The take was that it was possible they knew Wilson's wife was CIA AND they knew that Wilson was the envoy. But they didn't put the bits together into 'She sent him to Niger' until the Novak article.

Dwilkers

TS-

Thanks for the link. That clears that up doesn't it? May says his statement stands.

Syl

The Oct 29th one, linked above, where Russert says:

And then when I read Novak's column the following Monday, I said, `Oh, my God, that's it. Now I see. It's his wife, Valerie Plame, CIA, sent him on the trip. Now I understand what everybody was trying to figure out.

I mean put this together what Andrea is backtracking from and you have Russert not sure if he knew it, but Andrea sure she did, and discussions going on trying to figure out what was what. Wilson. Envoy. Wife. CIA. What does it mean.

Then, bam, the Novak article put it together.

It's not just what Andrea said, it's the entire context of that show.

topsecretk9

This is slightly off topic, but goes to HOW the press report things...this about Gov. Bill Richardson "Mis-Remembering" for years that he was drafted by the "A's"

It was as if he had heard it for the first time..."...or nearly four decades, Richardson, often mentioned as a possible Democratic presidential candidate, has maintained he was drafted by the Kansas City Athletics....

When I saw that program in 1967, I was convinced I was drafted," Richardson said. "And it stayed with me all these years."

BUT
"After being notified of the situation and after researching the matter ... I came to the conclusion that I was not drafted by the A's," he said.

The whole thing is really silly...reminds me of another "seared memory" but the real point is as the AP reports this story they say...

"And several news organizations, including The Associated Press, have reported it as fact over the years."

kim

Jeff, it may shock you, but I would like to think better of Joe. It's just that every time he opens his mouth I'm disabused of ever getting my desire. Val, however, is another story. I consider it possible that she is primarily a victim of her husband.
==============================================

richard mcenroe

KIm — So we're back to the Hillary Defense, a strong, take-charge modern woman shocked breathless to learn her ole man has bin doin' her wrong?

TM

isn't it just as likely that she was "lying" then, as opposed to now? Her 2003 CNBC statement looks a lot like "puffing" to me.

One problem with that is, the previous question on Oct 3, 2003 was, didn't you get a leak?

Instead of seizing the opportunity to glam up her position, she explains that she got the leak post-Novak.

Then, fifteen seconds later she decides she loves the limelight, and hurls herself back into the story by lying about her knowledge.

Setr against that, we have the clear example of Woodward laying low for two years.

Pincus, I believe, was alluded to in WaPo coverage of Sept 29 or 30, then lay low until Oct 12.

So laying low was a clear strategy folowed by people we know about.

And for all anyone knows, Cliff May realized that if he told folks that he heard it from someone not in government - Richare Perle, for example - the logical follow-ups might be awkward.

So "Mitchell the schizo liar" does not grab me nearly as strongly as "Mitchell the backpedaler".

Anyway, a key order of business - she says NBC released a statement after she gave evidence.

OK - when was the statement? That date might help sort out, for starters, whether she was cooperating with Fitzgerald or his predecessor.

Jeff

Anyway, a key order of business - she says NBC released a statement after she gave evidence.

OK - when was the statement? That date might help sort out, for starters, whether she was cooperating with Fitzgerald or his predecessor.

My suspicion is that the statement Mitchell was referring to was put out the evening of what she calls the erroneous WaPo report, back in Sept. 2003, not the evening she gave evidence (though they could be the same, for all I know). It appears you can no longer get easy access to old WaPo articles, so that makes it a little difficult, but: the big 1x2x6 article by Priest and Allen appears Sept. 28, but it does not mention what reporters allegedly received the leak, and does not mention Mitchell. Sept. 29, however, which was a Monday, Kurtz writes Media Review Conduct After Leak, which sources to -- you guessed it -- Wilson the claim that Mitchell had been contacted by the White House, and which says Mitchell could not be reached for comment the previous day, which would be the Sunday, Mitchell later complains, she was in her office all day. (It's worth noting in passing that Wilson is not reported claiming that Mitchell or any other reporter was contacted by the White House before Novak's column. But no wonder Mitchell is not a fan of Wilson's: he unnecessarily got her mixed up in this in the first place.) The following day, Sept. 30, Allen and Milbank publish Bush Vows Action if Aides Had Role in Leak, which, among many other things, includes this line:

NBC anchor Tom Brokaw reported last night that correspondent Andrea Mitchell had such a discussion after the Novak column appeared.

I bet Brokaw's report (which would be Sept. 29) tracked a statement issued by NBC clarifying that Mitchell was contacted after and not before Novak's column, contra the suggestion of Kurtz's article. This was right at the start of the FBI investigation, I believe, so it is possible that Mitchell was contacted just then. But I suspect Mitchell is just referring to this statement on the evening of the WaPo story.

Jeff

Anyway, a key order of business - she says NBC released a statement after she gave evidence.

OK - when was the statement? That date might help sort out, for starters, whether she was cooperating with Fitzgerald or his predecessor.

My suspicion is that the statement Mitchell was referring to was put out the evening of what she calls the erroneous WaPo report, back in Sept. 2003, not the evening she gave evidence (though they could be the same, for all I know). It appears you can no longer get easy access to old WaPo articles, so that makes it a little difficult, but: the big 1x2x6 article by Priest and Allen appears Sept. 28, but it does not mention what reporters allegedly received the leak, and does not mention Mitchell. Sept. 29, however, which was a Monday, Kurtz writes Media Review Conduct After Leak, which sources to -- you guessed it -- Wilson the claim that Mitchell had been contacted by the White House, and which says Mitchell could not be reached for comment the previous day, which would be the Sunday, Mitchell later complains, she was in her office all day. (It's worth noting in passing that Wilson is not reported claiming that Mitchell or any other reporter was contacted by the White House before Novak's column. But no wonder Mitchell is not a fan of Wilson's: he unnecessarily got her mixed up in this in the first place.) The following day, Sept. 30, Allen and Milbank publish Bush Vows Action if Aides Had Role in Leak, which, among many other things, includes this line:

NBC anchor Tom Brokaw reported last night that correspondent Andrea Mitchell had such a discussion after the Novak column appeared.

I bet Brokaw's report (which would be Sept. 29) tracked a statement issued by NBC clarifying that Mitchell was contacted after and not before Novak's column, contra the suggestion of Kurtz's article. This was right at the start of the FBI investigation, I believe, so it is possible that Mitchell was contacted just then. But I suspect Mitchell is just referring to this statement on the evening of the WaPo story.

Jeff

Sorry for the double post. Worth noting too that on the same day the first Kurtz column I mentioned appeared, a story by Mike Allen also appeared which referred to Mitchell as having been contacted by the White House, and sourced it to Wilson, but made explicit that Wilson was talking about the week after Novak's column.

LOO

Jeff - USA TURK"KAY
RATS I meant turkey! Turkey. TURKEY. Give it up my man, too many have figured out your number. BUT then again, continue it is worthwhile for the rest of the looker loo's... Of course you've become transparent and too GOOD too many.

Jeff., don't you think we know? Game. Set. Match.

MJW

One reason for favoring now as the answer to the question, "was Mitchell lying then, or is she lying now?" is that her then statement was simple and straight-forward, while her now statements are anything but. She can't seem to string the words "I didn't know Plame worked for the CIA" together into a sentence. Instead, she waits for Imus to say something along those lines, and then sort of uh-huhs in agreement.

For those like me who are into over-parsing, I note this exchanege:

IMUS: Well, what this suggests to me is that, you knew she worked at the CIA but you didn't know what she did there.

MITCHELL: Yes, but that's not . . .

IMUS: Is that fair? Did you know that?

MITCHELL: I didn't.

Didn't what? -- know she worked there, or know what she did there?

I suspect Mitchell really did want to express "didn't know she worked there"; without, of course, having to form the words with her own two lips.

kim

Funny, rm. If we judge Val by the performance of her unit, she's an idiot. Joe's an idiot and an scoundrel. Strong, take-charge idiot women are commonly put upon by scoundrels. You brought up a great example.
======================================

kim

I probably mean 'and an escoundrel'. Try it. It sounds a lot better than just 'and a scoundrel'.
==================================================

TM

Well, the statement by NBC might be that late September clarification, although:

(a) she does specifically mention the FBI in the Oct 29 transcript;

(b) she appeared on the Jan 2004 contacts-of-interest list;

(c) Fitzgerald also subpoenaed the guest list for an Alan Greenspan tribute, which she surely would have attended.

So they had a lot to talk to her about, beyond the very early suggestion thatshe had gotten an early leak.

Bonus confusion - I cannot find the NBC press release discussing Tim Russert withLexis - my guess is that Media Bistro dug it up later.

(Sorry for the no-links, I am boot-leg blogging while the guests wonder where I am...)

So color me skeptical - I still think she was contacted by the FBI, just as she said, and gave them nothing of interest.

kim

Did she bark up the wrong tree sending Fitz shinnying for nuthin'?
==========================================

Neo

This appears to be a case of the "SAT obvious question syndrome" or SATOQS. Before taking the SAT they warn the takers that they are to answer the question asked. Often, by throwing in useless information into a test question, they can get you to answer the "obvious question" but not the question actually asked. This usually comes from hearing enough to formulate a question, then just stopping reading and answering that wrong formulated question.

That said, both Mitchell and Libby should be working this angle to their own defense. Fitz's best rebuttal to SATOQS is that he asked short questions.

Jeff

So color me skeptical - I still think she was contacted by the FBI, just as she said, and gave them nothing of interest.

I agree, all I was saying is that I don't think you're going to find a statement from NBC talking about it. The statement she is referring to was probably a statement released the evening of Monday, Sept. 29 stating that Mitchell had not been the recipient of a leak from the White House, against the suggestion of Kurtz's article that morning in the WaPo. That's all.

Patrick R. Sullivan

I think Andrea is having an, 'I was too in Cambodia. I ran guns to the Khmer Rouge', moment. 'Cause her attempt to explain away her earlier statement, which was in clear and simple English, just doesn't fit the facts.

kim

Only Fitz isn't wondering about Kerry in Cambodia.
=================================================

Neo

If Andrea was running guns to the Khmer Rouge, then Fitz has something to work with as this was illegal.

I wonder why no one bothered to as Kerry why he so blindly and illegally ran guns.

kim

Send shysters, gats, and loot.
===============================================

r flanagan

Clearly this is a fascinating topic to those who are fascinated by it , not including Fitz.

Thanks to Dwilkers I am looking at Comey's Feb 2004 letter to Fitz and , as layman, it looks to me as if he were directed to look at " THE (my emphasis) ......disclosure of a CIA employee etc etc".

Perhaps wrongly I assume that wasn't a carte blanche. He knew THE leak Comey's was describing: it was Novak/Plame.

If , as I speculated earlier , Fitz KNOWS whodunit but lacks proof adquate to indict maybe he feeels he'd exceed his authority if he interviewed Mitchell except for the specific purpose of nailing that known perp in Novak/Plame .

So while we may be enthralled by La Mitchell's contradictions Fitz may just
not give a damn.

kim

'not give a damn' when his overiding duty is to see that justice is done?
===================================================

richard mcenroe

Kim — Send Layers, Guns for Libby

Well, I talked to old Tim Russert
The way I always do
How was I to know
He was with the mullahs too?

I was gambling in my depo
I took a little risk
Send lawyers, guns and money
Karl, get me out of this

I’m the innocent bystander
Somehow I got stuck
Between Iraq and some hard time
And I’m down on my luck
And I’m down on my luck
And I’m down on my luck

Now I’m hiding here in Georgetown
I’m a desperate man
Send lawyers, guns and money
The shit has hit the fan
Pos

JM Hanes

I seem to be having a Chris Lehane moment here, but is there a pattern of links to the Kerry campaign here? Did they really adopt Wilson after the fact? Over at CBS, why did Burkett think Mary Mapes was in a position to hook him up with Kerry's people? Was her controversial phone call a singular event?

In the jumble that Plamegate now represents in my brain, I've forgotten, but do we know how Kristof hooked up with Wilson in the first place? The last graphs of TM's excerpt suggest that he's (unusually?) tight with more than "one insider" in more than one agency. Ditto for his casual references to "spooks." I was also particularly struck by this earlier passage:

Based on conversations with people in the intelligence community, this picture is emerging: the White House, eager to spice up the State of the Union address, recklessly resurrected the discredited Niger tidbit.
He attributes this characterization to the intelligence community. In the process of trying to ascribe a pattern of dishonesty to the White House, he's actually describing agencies which are up to their necks in politics.

And yes, I have no idea where I'm going with this. It just seems to me that:

1) An isolated leak from the WH is looking like incredibly small potatoes compared to the industrial strength, targeted, leaking from the intel agencies themselves. It's not insignificant that the Wilson saga came to us via the op-ed pages. It's not inconceivable that reporters weren't the only ones with insider sources.

2) The very difficulties Fitz has encountered in his investigation are part of the elephant (or moose?) in the middle of the room. The only players who systematically escape accountability here are the press. It's time to rethink granting them futher exemption from responsibillty by expanding shield laws.

r flanagan

Kim
I'm not sure Fitz does have an overriding duty to see that justice is done.

Instead , my theory is that the Ashcroft
Department of Justice gave Fitz a carefully defined assignment to "investigate
THE alleged unauthorized disclosure of A
CIA employee's identity." Note the singular
"The: and "A".

Washington may be full of things
Fitz could investigate ,including Mitchell's
contradictions. But I can imagine that if
he strayed far from his assignment he'd
be accused of misusing the GJ process.

dorf

rf: he obviously strayed by indicting Libby.

TM

I agree, all I was saying is that I don't think you're going to find a statement from NBC talking about it

Well, even with my poor man's Lexis I can't find the darn Russert press statement, available at MediaBistro, although I can find stories about it.

Even if there was a Mitchell statement, it may have been ignored.

TM

...but do we know how Kristof hooked up with Wilson in the first place?

Kristof and Wilson were co-panelists in early May, and got to talking.

The rest is history.

However, we have our doubts, for reasons we will get to eventually.

TM

Wow. To add to my reasons for wondering what is up with Kristof and Wilson - unless my tired eyes deceive me, Nick Kristof does not get any mention at all in Wilson's "Politics of Truth" (except for one bibliography type mention of the May 6 column), and does not appear in the index at all.

Who is kidding whom?

kim

I'm awfully suspicious of Kerry campaign involvement, particularly with Joe. Look how fast he was dropped after the SSCI. And I still can't help hoping that Fitz is counting on Libby's defense to put the MSM on trial.
=================================================

kim

A tremendous literary irony that title, 'The Politics of Truth'. I want a copy signed by Val.
=====================================================

TM

Oh, FWIW - VAnity Fair answers a question others thought they laft unanswered!

Their oft-cited passage is this, regarding a possible meeting between Kristof and Val:

Over breakfast the next morning with Kristof and his wife, Wilson told about his trip to Niger and said Kristof could write about it, but not name him.

Sort of a vague pronoun - is "his" wife Kristof's, or Wilson's?

However, a longer excerpt makes all clear:

In early May, Wilson and Plame attended a conference sponsored by the Senate Democratic Policy Committee, at which Wilson spoke about Iraq; one of the other panelists was the New York Times journalist Nicholas Kristof. Over breakfast the next morning with Kristof and his wife, Wilson told about his trip to Niger and said Kristof could write about it, but not name him.

I have no doubt I could find a Wilson supporter prepared to argue that even that is ambiguous as written. However, the author's meaning seems clear.

kim

Ah to be a fly in the syrup on the waffle.
============================================

kim

One of the things that I find most amusing about this is that none of the reporters involved seem to have the instinct for telling the truth, or even adequately describing the facts. They all, nearly, have displayed impressive virtuosity at finding the storyline and sticking to it. Stout. But, sadly, denial. It usually works.
==================================================

TP

One must wonder where Joe got that invitation to speak.

max

now I know where Clinton got his "it depends on the meaning of is" or something to that effect...anonymous liberal must have written it for him...after confessing that yes, Andrea Mitchell is a liar, he claims that previous lies are better than current lies (presumably because it serves liberal interests the best). It's an interesting theory all liars will happily subscribe to (liberals already adopted it of course, when they decided that Clinton's lying under oath was ok because, well, it wasn't about Niger)..

Jeff

By the way, can anyone translate LOO's freeper into English for me?

Or alternately, LOO, can you repeat your point now that the turkey-euphoria has worn off? I have no damn idea what you're talking about, honestly.

George

She needs a polygraph test. After all, this
is about national security, right?

JM Hanes

Jeff

Re LOO -- doesn't look like freepeRap to me, more like grandiosiSpeak. I wouldn't ask, if I were you.

TM

Here is a fawning profile of Ms. Mitchell, with what may be an eerily prophetic conclusion:

Mitchell doesn't plan to retire.

"There are so many stories that I haven't covered," she said.

AST

Funny how confident she was speaking to a bunch of friendly libs while selling something on C-Span2 last weekend. Of course, nobody was asking her questions like a news reporter would.

MJW

At the risk of stating the obvious, I'll clarify that when I asked previously, "is Mitchell lying then or is she lying now," I was referring specifically to whether she knew Plame worked for the CIA. The reason for the clarification is that Mitchell is clearly fibbing now about some things.

She says to Imus, "I've gone back and reread it. And I frankly - I thought - I think that I thought he was asking about, did I know there was an envoy."

So, according to Mitchell, she reread:

"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 and the fact that she had a covert role involving weapons of mass destruction, not until Bob Novak wrote it."

and concluded she was answering the question of whether she knew there was an envoy.

MJW

Long ago, in the first post on this thread, Jim E. says he inclined to believe Mitchell now, but acknowleges her recent comments, such as the one where she says she didn't know Wilson was the envoy before reading it in Novak's column, have been incomprehensible. It seems to me the comment may simply reflect Mitchell's momentary confusion as to how far she has to backtrack to keep her and Russert as far away from the grand jury as possible.

r flanagan

dorf

No , under my theory , Fitz didn't stray by indicting Libby . He also has authority to prosecute interference with his investigation.."such as perjury ".

Basically I'm speculating about why Fitz hasn't gone after e.g. Mitchell or even Wilson himself. And won't do that in what
is left of his investigation.

And my theory is he is actually restrained by knowing who leaked to Novak which means that he is now limited to interviewing people who can help him indict that perp .
.


Dwilkers

"...none of the reporters involved seem to have the instinct for telling the truth, or even adequately describing the facts."

Just so.

And these are the folks we need a new "shield law" for? People that should be protected from the criminal justice system, people that need special status in our system?

Because they're so important to us, so devoted to us getting the straight scoop, the truth.

Right?

kim

Right D, and they have so little insight as to think that shielding reporters is a 'good'. Look at how recently they hoped to snow us with a First Amendment defense for someone who didn't want to co-operate with the rule of law.
==========================================

MayBee

Dwilkers (and Kim),
Exactly. Just so, again.

JeanneB

TM hits on something that's been bugging me for a long time: Vanity Fair's report that Wilson AND Plame had breakfast with Kristof in "early May". Wilson has always claimed he was ever so careful never to reveal his wife's CIA connection, yet there she sat while he and Kristof discussed HIS work for the CIA?! Even if she sat mutely by, this displays an incredible sloppiness for someone who was supposedly making every effort to hide her identity.

And what about CIA protocol...even if she didn't reveal her CIA role to Kristof (then why was she there?)? Given her prior knowledge of Wilson's trip, her intricate knowledge of his findings, and her deep involvement in WMD matters...the Agency wouldn't be too pleased that she sat by listening to a detailed discussion of those very matters with a reporter.

The most plausible explanation for her presence at the breakfast is that she was there to lend credence and weight to Joe's charges. Whatever the reason, they can't now claim they were extremely careful not to reveal her.

kim

These people(note the locution) already have too much special status within the system. Look at the difficulty a very astute and tenacious prosecutor has had with rendering near trivialities from them.
=============================================

kim

Why should you have to swear a reporter to tell the truth?

Duh. Duh, duh, Diogenes.
=================================================

kim

What did Woodward know,
And when did Woodward know it?
And when and why
Did Woodward lie
By choosing not to say it?
==========================================

kim

It's not the knowledge; it's the denial.
=================================================

MayBee

Kim-
About Woodward (who I really, really like).
Very telling, to me, that he just did not want to be subpoened. How many other reporters (or other potential witnesses) feel exactly the same way? Just don't want to get involved.

They all know who does what in Washington (and among the press, for that matter). Who is funnier than they appear on television, who drinks too much, who has mistresses, who talks too much, who is a good source, who can ruin a career, who can make one.

They want to keep their heads down and go on to see the next day. None of their business, really, if something vaguely disconcerting happens to someone of no use to them. As long as they can still report tomorrow, as long as their own source will still feed them, they can still bring their own special brand of the truth to the people!

kim

You are probably perversely correct.
======================================

kim

I'm mad at Woodward for perverting our institutions with the machinations of a wannabe Hoover. I'm also mad that I missed an opportunity to wing him a zinger during a nearby public appearance of his while another double agent Post blitherhead was defending the deliberately targetted.
================================================

kim

The fact is(another lovely locution) that the Eason Jordan phenomenon is one of those self-fulfilling engines. If you act and talk like him on a US battlefield you become an agent of the enemy.

Without a doubt, Eason was targetted. I certainly aimed for him.
=================================================

Dwilkers

"Whatever the reason, they can't now claim they were extremely careful not to reveal her."

No, obviously they cannot. At least Wilson and wife cannot.

I'll tell you what my theory is about them (Wilson and wife). I think they had a rule that they didn't talk about her status with others - in fact I'm sure it was a condition of their marriage. Although they did that, I think it was probably not a secret kept as tightly secure as Fort Knox. I think generally, over time, people they hang out with figured out that she worked at the CIA - but they didn't 'talk' about it all around with the neighbors and such. I'm sure that technically Plame was required by the CIA to keep it a secret.

I think when Wilson decided to run his little anti-Bush campaign so he could hook up with the Kerry folks and started with Kristof(?), Val was at the breakfast to lend credibility to what Wilson was saying. I think they told Kristof and they justified it as important, and he was just one guy after all, plus he promised to keep it secret. I have no doubt - none - that Kristof left that morning knowing who she was, where whe worked, and what she did there - in addition to having Wilson's little tale.

As Joe went about his appearances he started running off at the mouth about it to other people though, like Vallely and Muffin. They had already spilled the beans so it wasn't a taboo for him anymore. It made him feel important and it validated his story.

But the rule still stood, so now when people pop up saying it was widely known, or that Joe was babbling about it in the green room, Joe has a hissy fit. After all, the rule not to talk about it was never lifted, she only agreed to talk to Kristof.

So when they ask the neighbors nobody knows. Nevertheless a lot of Washington reporters say they knew, and people that hang in their set say they knew, and some other folks say Joe was shooting off his mouth about it.

All of which has nothing to do with the administration finding out about it, and using it to explain how Joe got the Niger gig.

Was it "widely known"? Define "widely". I'm sure Wilson's Kerry campaign associates knew. I believe May when he says he knew. I also believe the neighbors are telling the truth when they say they didn't know.

And BTW, I agree with kim that Plame may be to some extent a victim of a big fat baby of a creep husband in this, with the exception of her little foray into political gaming with Kristof.

Anyway, that's what I think. No tinfoil hat required, just common knowledge of how humans behave.

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