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November 18, 2005

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» Woodward apologizes on leak from Unpartisan.com Political News and Blog Aggregator
Washington Post editor Bob Woodward on Wednesday apologized to his executive editor at the paper for [Read More]

» Saturday round-up from Conservative Outpost
Got to leave and do a little tailgating before the Carolina-Clemson game this evening, but here's a few things that caught my eye this morning. The guys in the GOP House leadership actually put up a few "W's" yesterday...calling the... [Read More]

Comments

Jeff

Remember how it suddenly showed up in the WaPo that Pincus' person was a senior administration official, and other info showed up to rule out Tenet, in a similar way? It turned out Pincus was clearing stuff up, had said something on TV or something, so maybe something similar is going on here, though it would be nice to get some clarification even if that's the case.

Also don't forget that it's possible that Pincus did not publish the information because he did not believe it was true because he learned that after having spoken with the official on July 12, say by talking with the CIA subsequently.

Syl

Idea for fitz: Get the logs of calls to the CIA public affairs office in June and July, 2003.

Rob

I'm curious, do you even believe the stuff you write? Or is just an excercise.

What part of 'know' don't you understand?

Geek, Esq.

That's nice.

It's also completely irrelevant to LIBBY's perjury charge.

TM

What part of 'know' don't you understand?

Uhh, do you write these comments as an exercise? I have no idea what you mean.

Jeff - Good point, he might have checked it subsequently, but he might not have.

Syl

Rob

What part of Fitz' own words do you not understand:

He was at the beginning of the chain of phone calls, the first official to disclose this information outside the government to a reporter.

TM

It's also completely irrelevant to LIBBY's perjury charge.

Lots of things that are irrelevant to Libby's perjury charge are deeply relevant to my Three Years And Counting Quest For Clear Corrections at the Times.

On, Rocinante!

Sue

People keep saying this has nothing to do with the Libby perjury charge. The same people who claim Fitzgerald is still investigating the outing/conspiracy/espionage/george at the tater tots theories. All roads do not lead back to Libby, or so it would seem. Rove either. An interesting point. Especially since reporters can't seem to get their information correct. Through no fault of Libby, it would seem.

Sue

Who needs preview? We need preview. :( Should be george ate the tater tots. Kind of ruins the joke...

JayDee

Warning: Addiction to the Plame Leak story can cause you to become inordinately obsessed with completely irrelevant details.

The rightwing media is like a windup toy these days. Libby's lawyer runs to microphones to spew blather about what a bombshell it is that Fitzgerald called Libby "first" when he wasn't. Never mind that Libby isn't charged with being first to do anything, nor that he isn't even charged with the leak. The media runs with this irrelevance as if it somehow changed everything, when in fact, it is completely meaningless.

We already KNEW the administration was grasping at every warm journalistic body they could find to twitter about Plame. And we've already seen the "hey, nobody remembers who they said what to" defense coming from miles away. So Woodward also got in on the telephone game. Big deal.

I'm not saying it's completely insignificant. If nothing else, it's given fresh life to Fitz's investigation. But this "first" business? Reminds me of second graders in a schoolyard.

Geek, Esq.

People keep saying this has nothing to do with the Libby perjury charge. The same people who claim Fitzgerald is still investigating the outing/conspiracy/espionage/george at the tater tots theories.

Sue has been pwn3d.

Special prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald said in court filings that the ongoing CIA leak investigation will involve proceedings before a new grand jury, a possible sign he could seek new charges in the case.

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In filings obtained by Reuters on Friday, Fitzgerald said "the investigation is continuing" and that "the investigation will involve proceedings before a different grand jury than the grand jury which returned the indictment" against Vice President Dick Cheney's chief of staff, Lewis "Scooter" Libby.

Geek, Esq.

Dammit, sorry about that yahoo! ad crap. Feel free to edit, TM.

Juicy bit:

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Special prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald said in court filings that the ongoing CIA leak investigation will involve proceedings before a new grand jury, a possible sign he could seek new charges in the case.
In filings obtained by Reuters on Friday, Fitzgerald said "the investigation is continuing" and that "the investigation will involve proceedings before a different grand jury than the grand jury which returned the indictment" against Vice President Dick Cheney's chief of staff, Lewis "Scooter" Libby.


clarice

The AP reports Fitz is empaneling a new gj..He said he might for administrative reasons at his indictment presser, but naturally Matthews will be certain to report the entire WH is going down now.

OTOH there is a possibility that new information willr equire him to rethink the indictment and his back assed view of the case..When the "first" shall be the last, etc.

syl

Syl
Look at the transcript. He had already qualified it with 'known'. That qualifier stays with the rest of his statements.

Besides this whole thing is silly. Libby was indicted for perjury. It has nothing to do with anything else. He either lied to the grand jury or he didn't.

Sue

Geek,

My point exactly. It was you who said it had nothing to do with Libby's perjury. And yet, as you point out, the investigation goes on. Something TM is continue to follow. :)

Geek, Esq.

These indictments are about the fact that Scooter lied and tried to obstruct the investigation.

That obstruction was part of an attempt to thwart the overall investigation into the underlying claim.

Speaking of corrections, every Republican pundit who was claiming that Fitzgerald had concluded there was no underlying crime committed should be forced to wear a dunce hat.

Sue

Geek,

Why? The article you linked doesn't specify that indictments will be issued for the 'underlying crime'. In fact, were I to be a guessing person, I would guess additional perjury charges/obstruction/false statements for the person who forgot to mention Woodward.

Geek, Esq.

Who knows? I would find it stunning if someone who was in the clear threw themselves on the grenade like that.

I'll be even more stunned if it's someone who hates LIBBY's guts--as did most of the State Department folks.

epphan

Dunce hats would be a great idea. Then at the end of the day, we could count the hats and decide which side is the winner. I don't think you want to play that game, Geek.

JeanneB

Tom: There's another possibility...maybe your "emphasis added" is in the wrong place. Try this:

"...Mr. Pincus "has written that he first heard about Ms. Wilson FROM A SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL in July"

If Pincus wrote the above, he isn't necessarily saying this was the FIRST time he heard about Ms. Wilson. A skeptic might wonder if he heard it earlier from someone who IS NOT a senior administration official (say----Woodward?!). Was this sentence written to be deliberately misleading?

ed

Also note that Rawstory is ramping up their Hadley claims. They are either certain, or have a death wish.

Geek, Esq.

To recap:

Armitage or Tenet: Good for the administration

Hadley or Cheney: Really, really bad for the administration.

AdyZol

What about degree of dammage re Woodward compared to Libby. I give Bob Woodward many A's in his history of reporting; but in the Judge Fitzgerald - Valerie Plame case I think he earns an F. Granted, the judge's putting a reporter in jail for something she never reported is spooky in itself. However Valerie Plame functioned as a CIA agent; and as I have read [I don't know how completely reliable this information is] she was a supervising agent and her many subordinates had dangerous assignments; and that 2 of them have since been murdered. I think Woodward's severely ridiculing Fitzgerald's entire interest in this case, and additionally while being a crucial part of this case who questionably avoided testifying, is what earns him an F grade. Woodward's behavior regarding this case may be criminal.

Rob W

I guess the argument is that he limited his statement first, then stated it without the limitation second, therefore he said it without limitation. Tiresome semantic parsing. And for what? It has no effect on the Libby case. What's Libby's lawyer going to do? Go in front of the jury and try and play the news conference and argue that because of this contorted reading of Fitzgerald's words, his client is innocent? Not only is that not admissible, if I were the trial counsel for the government, I'd let him argue it because it is such a totally disengeous non-defense that it would discredit the whole case. I'd be nailed for malpractice for making that kind of argument in open court. And I'd deserve it.

Rob W

Hello? Didn't anyone read Hadley's statement in the press conference in Korea? He actually said he had read press accounts saying that White House officials had said he wasn't the leaker. They asked him if that meant yes or no and he said "it is what it is." Its Hadley alright. Remember also that Woodward said he had three sources--Armitage could be in there, of course.

Kate

Geek-it is definitely not Cheney or Hadley. They purposely delay denying so that they can laugh at the media.

It's probably Armitage. I suspect the new Grand Jury may start looking at perjury charges against some media members as well as Armitage.

Fitzgerald almost has to open a new Grand Jury after the fiasco with Woodward.

Rob W

Also new grand jury this morning in court filings from Fitzgerald. I'd say it looks bleak for the Administration. Why they let Hadley take questions, I'll never understand. Seems like an unecessary desperation move--if they are really that desparate that they will just stonewall until the paddy wagon hauls off half of the West Wing, it makes you wonder what the Administration knows that we don't.

BurkettHead

"But Mr. Pincus, who has written that he first heard about Ms. Wilson from a senior administration official in July, said he did not recall that."

Did Pincus mean AS IF he heard it for the 1st time?

Lion

Geek still doesn't get it: The prosecutor cannot make out the elements of an IIPA violation, and cannot make out the elements of an Espionage Act violation. If he could make out either against anyone, he could do so against Libby, but has concluded that he can't. Read the statutes. Incidentally, while it is true that at his press conference Fitzgereald did at one point use the qualifier "known," he did not use it later in the same conference, when he said unequivocally that Libby was the "first."

Kate

Rob W-on the contrary, I think it looks very good for the administration. It is definitely not Hadley. They never answer when they are asked directly. Even Condi didn't. The fact that Hadley was smiling indicates he's enjoying watching the media make fools of themselves.

I suspect Fitzgerald was too cautious in questioning the media during the last Grand Jury.

Now that we know they were willing to stand by and let a man stand denounced before the whole world as the original leaker when they know better let's us all know what a bunch of partisan hacks the media are.

They clearly have their preferred leakers and ones they'll toss over.

ed

In the indictment it says "known." In the press conference he said "first." One is a court document, the other is pretty meaningless in the courtroom. Also there is always the possiblity that the prosecutor suspected an earlier leak and therefore did not want to indict Libby for the leak. He was being carefull. His case against Libby would have fallen apart if he had gone that route. I don't think his knowledge of who said what first, should be underestimated.

Kate

Read that the new Grand Jury will examine the Woodward evidence. Wonder if he'll do a better job with the other media this time. He needs to call Pincus, Mitchell, Russert again, David Corn.

Maybe Fitzgerald will get it right this time.

Patrick R. Sullivan

'That obstruction was part of an attempt to thwart the overall investigation into the underlying claim.'

How about the obstruction Fitz committed by tying a blindfold on himself regarding the journalists he questioned.

Tom Ault

I'd like to point out the following from the AP:

Special prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald, in announcing the charges three weeks ago, portrayed Libby as the government official who first revealed Plame's name to reporters. At a news conference in Chicago Thursday, Fitzgerald ducked questions about how Woodward's assertion, that he got it first and from someone other than Libby, would affect the investigation.

After Fitzgerald was tipped by Woodward's source that they had discussed Plame in June 2003, Woodward met with the prosecutor and on Monday recounted their conversation. His account, but not the source's name, was reported in Tuesday editions of the Washington Post, renewing speculation about who leaked Plame's name and how high in the administration his source resides.

(emphasis mine). Based on this information and the timing of Woodward's testimony, I would say that it is unlikely that Woodward's source is anyone who has testified before the grand jury or been thoroughly interviewed by the FBI. Note that it was Woodward's source who talked to Fitzgerald first. Furthermore, Fitzgerald apparantly did not know about Woodward's conversation until after Libby's indictment was issued, or he would have had Woodward testify before the original grand jury. But certainly, Fitzgerald's investigators would have asked any of the usual suspects in the Plame affair about any conversations with reporters regarding Plame, not just conversations with reporters they knew about. Consequently, anyone who had been asked if they had talked about Plame with reporters, which I believe includes Hadley, would be opening themselves to charges of making false statements to the FBI and obstructing justice by volunteering information about their conversation with Woodward so late in the game.

For these reasons, I believe that Woodward's source is either someone who was either casually interviewed by the FBI about Plame or never interviewed at all and who until Libby's indictment had no motivation to volunteer information about his or her conversation with Woodward. So I think there are some intriguing possibilities for the new grand jury, besides it being empanneled for administrative reasons or to bring new charges against an old player. One is that Fitzgerald wants to present the current case against Libby to the new grand jury, including the new testimony from Woodward and his source, and see if it still sticks. In this case, Fitzgerald will quash any existing indictments that the new grand jury doesn't agree with.

Another possibility is that the testimony of Woodward and his source called into question the earlier testimony given by some of the reporters in the case. If this is so, Fitzgerald may be preparing additional indictments against Cooper, Pincus, Russert and so forth.

JamieIrons

TM,

One self-promoting, would-be ironist had this to say yesterday about his being tired of the whole mess...

Jamie Irons

clarice

I don't know what the new gj is about, but if it doesn't involve calling in the original reporters and Mitchell, Vallely, May, Kristof and Corn, and asking them about when and how they first knew of Plame it's a farce.
If it doesn't involve putting Wilson and Plame under oath, it's a farce.

It it doesn't involve calling Woodward's source, it's a farce.

It is doesn't involve calling Larry C Johnson and Ray McGovern and Rand Beers it's a farce.

clarice

Jamie--I did love that article..;)

Kate

Tom Ault- you are correct. If Fitzgerald waws just looking to indict a player from the previous GJ (Rove), he could just borrow a GJ.

THe fact that he plans to enpanel a new Grand Jury means there is more evidence out there.

Plus, we know the leaker spoke to Woodward. Did he speak to another reporter who hasn't come forward?

JeanneB

I can think of another reason Woodward's source may have come forward at this late date. Suppose Woodward, while staying mum, had not thought there would be indictments---because he KNEW who the "leaker" was and he knew Fitz wasn't on to it.

Now. Fitz indicts Libby and Woodward has info that can exonerate Libby. Some don't like Woodward, but I don't think he would sit still and watch an innocent man take the fall. So, let's suppose Woodward contacts his gutless source, tells him he will be exposed after his death as having been the leaker AND having let an innocent man be tarnished. IF the source cares about his legacy---don't they all?----he wouldn't relish that item cluttering up his life history.

Under Woodward's pressure, he goes to the prosecutor, gives the OK for Woodward to testify, but says Woodward can't expose him publicly. Neat trick...if that's what Woodward pulled off.

p.lukasiak

Tom....didn't Pincus write at one point that he had two sources for his story...one was Libby, and the other one is the one he wrote about in the Nieman piece?

If that is the case (and I'm not positive it is), wouldn't this make the Times story true?

**************************8

Is Woodward in legal trouble?

Len Downie was in full McClelland mode during his on-line chat today --- he didn't answer one substantive question that could not be answered with what is already in the public record, while repeating talking points which consisted of "Bob has acknowledged his mistake and apologized", "Bob is a great reporter" and "Protecting confidential sources is important."

But Woodward's story doesn't add up. He says he didn't tell Downie because he didn't want to be supoenaed --- but Downie and the Post lawyers negotiated an arrangement with FitzG that allowed Pincus to provide info without a supoena.

And Woodward remembered telling Pincus about "Wilson's wife" --- why did he think Pincus wouldn't tell Downie, and/or FitzGerald about that?

And why did he think there was any possibility that his source would not tell FitzG about the conversation?


Kate

p.lukasiak-Woodward is not in any legal trouble. However, the reporter I think has the most chance of being in trouble is Russert.

The ones who testified under oath could be in trouble. I think they knew the original source but tried to cover for him by being misleading or limiting their testimony.

Rob W

Can't see what Woodward would be in trouble for. He's not requried to come forward. He is an ethically-challenged journalist, but that ain't no crime.

JamieIrons

Clarice,

Thanks! ;-)

Jamie

Syl

I have arrived!!!!!

Finally!

After all this time commenting, I have finally been...

SPOOFED!

Check 9:46 AM

Lew Clark

Thanks for clearing that up Syl, I read that and feared you had finally succumbed to the power of the dark side.

ed

JeanneB, the problem with your speculation is that Woodward's testimony does not exonerate Libby. In fact it has almost zero to do with the Libby indictment.

Terrie

Wishful thinking aside, the Woodward testimony is relevant to the Libby prosecution because Fitzgerald made such a highly public - and I believe inappropriate - case against Libby, naming him as the "first official" to expose Plame's CIA affiliation to a reporter, although he did not charge him as such.

The court of public opinion, including the prospective jury pool, will note that this charge has been effectively dismissed.

Jeff

TM - Reuters is reporting that Woodward's source is someone who has not previously testified before the grand jury. I can't remember, has Hadley testified before the grand jury? and Armitage?

paul

testing...testing...

clarice

I don't know about Hadley, but I am sure Armitage was not.

TP

If Fitz’s original theory of the case was that it was about the WH punishing a whistle blower, why would Woodward have come forward earlier? His source is not likely to be in the White House. According to Woodward, he would have no reason to believe his source would do anything to hurt Wilson.

Keep in mind that Judy Miller is also protecting another source who probably gave her the name “Flame”. Scowcroft just makes sense. Apparently, he knew the Wilsons very well and had their confidence and respect. He also has those deep Aspen roots. He is also close to Libby's attorney, Baker.

I think Fitz will get Joe and Val under oath and maybe have a second go at Judy Miller. I also would not be surprised if Libby knew Miller was talking to Scowcroft. My guess is that his “not widely known outside of the intelligence community” came from Joe and that Fitz also had misgivings about Joe. Hence, the last minute “flurry of attention’ with the FBI agents in the neighborhood to make sure he wasn’t embarrassed. Now, he is embarrassed.

In any event, he will have everybody’s attention this time.


boris

In fact it has almost zero to do with the Libby indictment.

It undermines the logic for believing Russert over Libby.

Geek, Esq.

Condi Rice has "cooperated" but never testitifed or gave an interview.

Hmmmmmm.

Geek, Esq.

Geek still doesn't get it: The prosecutor cannot make out the elements of an IIPA violation, and cannot make out the elements of an Espionage Act violation. If he could make out either against anyone, he could do so against Libby, but has concluded that he can't. Read the statutes.

Lion, do you have a private line to Patrick Fitzgerald? Because he's never stated that he has concluded that there is insufficient evidence to charge anyone with violating the Espionage Act.

Go grab a dunce cap.

clarice

According to that list Armitage and Hadley were interviewed but not necessarily under oath.And we don't know about what..

It would be nice if it were Scowcroft but I don't see any reason to suspect that's the one.OTOH Stansfield urner might know and he is intimately involved with the Johnson VIPS ..LOL Scowcroft would know--Plame's boss Pavitt now works with him.

jeanneB

ed:
I knew when I wrote it that someone would jump on that one line. Just because you think it has nothing to do with Libby's indictment---that doesn't mean Woodward thought the same. He may have felt his source was being a skunk for not coming forward. Your guess is as good as mine as to why the source went to Fitz AFTER the indictment.

Marc

It also add to the plausibility that Libby got this information from a reporter rather than another government official. That is critical to Fitzgerald's case. He is basing his perjury charge on claiming there is no way Libby could have gotten this information from a reporter. If Woodward gave him the information, his prosecution is in big trouble.

Geek, Esq.

Maybe Woodward broke out a ouija board to contact Bill Casey.

Rice's name has been getting surprisingly little play.

Geek, Esq.

It also add to the plausibility that Libby got this information from a reporter rather than another government official. That is critical to Fitzgerald's case. He is basing his perjury charge on claiming there is no way Libby could have gotten this information from a reporter. If Woodward gave him the information, his prosecution is in big trouble.

Jesus H. Christ, do people pay ANY attention?

LIBBY knew about Plame before Woodward found out about Wilson's wife.

TP

Clarice,

According to Joe, (Pg. 238, The Politics of Truth)"Valerie has a not so secret crush on him--not for his car, but for his charm". Joe makes it sound like he was in touch with Scowcroft right up to the time he wrote the Op-ED.

Jeff

So we know both Armitage and Hadley talked to the investigation, but does anyone know whether they testified before the grand jury?

Lion

Geek, I don't know how many federal prosecutors you've dealt with, or how many cases you've tried, but if you can't conclude at this point that Fitzgerald knows he can't make out a case against Libby (or anyone else) under the IIPA or the Espionage Act, then you have a problem. I can explain it to you, but I can't understand it for you.

Rob W

Kate:

Why is it better for the Administration? It means nothing in terms of Libby.

Rob W

Lion,

You haven't explained everything. You are working on supposition. I work with federal prosecutors here in D.C. and they keep it all close to the chest. You can't get a damn declination out of them even if you know they aren't going to prosecute and your client was perfectly justified and entitled to take the actions he or she took under color of law. They NEVER say anything unless they have to in order to preserve maximum room for charging later in case they learn something new.

You have no actual facts to support your conclusion--only a guess--a guess I suspect that might be based more on partisan sympathy than logic.

p.lukasiak

Can't see what Woodward would be in trouble for. He's not requried to come forward. He is an ethically-challenged journalist, but that ain't no crime.

I can. It seems to me that Woodward had to have gone to his source, and asked the source what he wanted him to do. Woodward THOUGHT Pincus knew, and had no reason to believe that Pincus would not disclose what he knew to FitzG.

In other words, Woodward may have conspired with the source to keep info from the special prosecutor and (perhaps) had been involved in the negotiations allowing Pincus to testify and made sure that Pincus was not asked any questions about what he'd heard from other reporters.

Bottom line is "I didn't talk about the leak because of a possible supoena" doesn't add up unless Woodward knows that no one else will disclose that he knew.

TM

...didn't Pincus write at one point that he had two sources for his story...one was Libby, and the other one is the one he wrote about in the Nieman piece?

If that is the case (and I'm not positive it is), wouldn't this make the Times story true?

As best I recall, Pincus was of interest to Fitzgerald for two reasons - there was some thought that Libby had spoken with Pincus, and also Pincus had a source for the July 12 leak that identified himself to Fitzgerald.

Anyway, Pincus was subpoenaed at the same time other subpoenas related to Libby went out, so Pincus eneded up denying that his subpoena related to Libby.

Kessler was also subpoenaed (since he and Pincus shared a byline on the Oct 2003 story saying a Post reporter had received a leak), and he ended up denying having any interesting conversation with anyone.

As to the idea that Pincus worked out a deal on his subpoena, and therefore Woodward could have as well - what "reporter" wrote that?

Pincus's source had come forward, so the negotiation was not all that hard.

Woodward's source evidently did not, until now.

Specter

Quick Qusetion?

What comes first - the chicken or the egg? The investigation or the determination of Plame's status with the CIA? If she wasn't covert, then why the investigation to begin with?

Just curious.

Syl

and made sure that Pincus was not asked any questions about what he'd heard from other reporters.

That seems pretty standard with the press overall. I don't think Woodward pushing one way or another (if he indeed did) really means anything.

clarice

Specter--One would think so. Certainly it is an argument against special prosecutors because regular U.S. Attys have to be more careful about the waste of time and resources.And if the original predicate for the inquiry were found to be factually incorrect, it would be over.

noah

Does anybody know what the underlying crime was that Fitz was investigating when Libby alledly committed perjury and obstruction of justice?

PD Shaw

_If she wasn't covert, then why the investigation to begin with?_

That's the million dollar question. I think there are three schools of thought:

1) In paragraph 1(f) of the indictment Fitz. identifies her CIA status as merely "classified" and not commonly known. This is not the same as the statutory standard of being "covert" and having "affirmative" measures taken to secure her identity. By not making the "covert" case in the complaint when he had reason to do so (in order to emphasize the importance and materiality of the lies to the investigation), Fitz. tipped his hand that she was not covert.

2) To prosecute the lies, Fitz. didn't need to say whether she was "covert," so you can't read anything into the indictment's silence on this point. This is usually followed by speculation that Fitz. didn't want to tip his hand before letting the second hammer fall on Rove/Cheney/Bush.

3) Fitz. was never able to conclucively decide to his satisfaction whether she was covert and/or affirmative measures were being taken because (a) the law is poorly written and (b) Plame's situation is ambiguous. Frustrated with that portion of the investigation, he decided to investigate the other elements of the case to help decide what to do. In other words, if Fitz. found solid evidence of a specific intent to out Plame, he might have been willing to take the position that Plame was covert.

I am inclied towards door 3.

Tru American

"House GOP Seeks Quick Vote on Iraq Pullout

House Republicans sought a showdown Friday with Democrats on a proposal by one of their most senior members to force an end to the U.S. deployment of troops in Iraq.

Rep. John Murtha, D-Pa., offered the resolution demanding a pullout. The GOP-run House was expected to reject it _ and make a prominent statement about where Congress stands on Iraq _ as the chamber scurried toward a Thanksgiving break.

"We'll let the members debate it and then let them vote on it," said Rep. Roy Blunt, R-Mo., the acting majority leader.

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi's office had no immediate comment. "

Nancy "Piehole" Pelosi with no comment!!! LOL!!!! Bring it on traitors!!!

Specter

clarice,

My point exactly. I know that the purpose of the investigation is to determine if any laws have been broken, but if I have been following things correctly (and admittedly at the pace of information I could have missed something), Plame was not covert at the time of the alleged "outing". If that is truly the case, there should have been no investigation of $1M to begin with. As far as statements made during the investigation - Shouldn't the referee have thrown a flag for "false start" at the beginning and claimed the play had not even begun? (tongue in cheek)

noah

Seems like the CIA must have known that Plame wasn't covert when they made the referral. I'd like to know why Fitz isn't investigating them...for conspiracy to wrongfully accuse a citizen of a crime.

topsecretk9

Jon Podhoretz is wondering...

"IS WALTER PINCUS IN TROUBLE? [John Podhoretz]
...Woodward now says he told Pincus about Plame some time in mid-June. Pincus says he doesn't remember that.

Which is what Pincus has to say. Because if Pincus acknowledged remembering Woodward's words, he would (one presumes) be admitting to having perjured himself before the grand jury. Fitzgerald will presumably not indict Pincus based on Woodward's words alone (that would be a he-said-she-said situation, and there's no way of proving Pincus knew).

But if Fitzgerald now subpoenas a whole bunch of new executive-branch officials who never testified before -- including some people at State and CIA -- he will surely be doing so to find out whether Pincus spoke to them, and whether Plame's name came up. He might also want to see Pincus's contemporaneous notes, which he did not insist on in the first place.

Fitzgerald indicted Scooter Libby for supposedly lying to his grand jury. Why should Walter Pincus be held to a lesser standard?

noah

PD Shaw:

Fitz already knows who outed Plame to Novak so your ruminations are sort of moot since those persons were not indicted.

noah

PD Shaw:

Fitz already knows who outed Plame to Novak so your ruminations are sort of moot since those persons were not indicted.

Rick Ballard

"Does anybody know what the underlying crime was that Fitz was investigating when Libby alledly committed perjury and obstruction of justice?"

Noah,

Not anymore. The underlying seriousness of the non-crime has been lost in the search for justification of the continuing investigation. The important thing to remember is that conspiring to cover up a non-crime is a threat to the fabric of our society. Mistakes, memory lapse, errors in response to intentionally complex and misleading questions are all matters that should of the highest interest to every citizen.

Don't ask that question again here or no one will ever take you seriously.

noah

Yeah...I posed a similar question a while back and somebody said that his authority was expanded to ancillary crimes but I just wondered what those were...silly me.

It appears that the government and press could not function without the daily commitment of thousands of unindictable crimes per day. The WSJ had it right: this is the criminalization of politics (maybe even liberty).

noah

If I was Libby's lawyer, I'd go right into court and force Fitz to explain with a straight face what the underlying crime is.

Cyber

If Fitz did put Joe and Val under oath, I'd like him to ask two simple questions.

1. Did anyone in the Kerry campaign (you know, the gig Joe got in May, two months before all this crap started) know that Val was CIA? Anyone at all?

2. Did Joe or Val tell anyone who did not have security clearance that Val worked at the CIA?

Just two simple questions that could clear all of this right on up. I suspect their answers would be quite interesting.

Rick Ballard

PD Shaw,

I'm interested in whether Fitz has ever done a "no bill" investigation. Second, I'd like to know if he's had a judge toss an indictment based on defense pre-trial motions. If he hasn't had a judge toss an indictment he ought to ask around to see what other prosecutors say about how it feels so he can prepare himself.

clarice

Cyber--Clarke,Wilson and Beers all worked together on Natl security matters for Clinton. All were together in the leap to Kerry . Beers and Wilson co-starred in "Unocovered" (Soros via MoveOn for Kerry). Of course, they knew Plame and who she worked for. Did they tell Lehane? Set up the meetings with Kristof and Corn and Pincus? What do you think?

Remember Wilson was in weekly contact with the Kerry campaign says Beers and they gave him a page on the Kerry campaign website--

Eric

Fitzgerald is on a slippery slope and will be kareening to Starrville soon.

This will be especially true if the conspiracy was one of silence amongst reporters while Rove and Libby were hammered by the MSM.

Rick Ballard

Noah,

Here is the DoJ goose license. One interpretation of Fitzgerald's request that it be issued is that he knew at that point - five weeks into the "investigation" - that he was dealing with a Gertrude Stein's Oakland of a case.

That's why I'm curious as to whether he ever 'no bills' an investigation. Reading his indictment of Mr. Hamon Rye leads me to regard it as a prosecutorial contrivance designed to ensnare the unwary. It is remarkably unimpressive, as was his presser where it was announced.

noah

Some might be tempted to compare this to the Martha Stewart proscution but trading on inside information is a crime but apparently outing Plame is not an indictable crime...its sort of a semi-crime...it really is illegal but if we go there then WaPo and the NYT are out of business.

PD Shaw

Rick Ballard:

Would we know if Fitz. ever "no billed" an investigation? A couple of months ago, one of his grand juries began sending subpoenas to the Illinois (Democratic) governor's office. I don't know if anybody knows for sure what is being investigated. We wouldn't know about the subpoenas, except the governor commented on it and now he won't do that anymore.

Personally, I think Illinois needs Fitzgerald more than the Capitol. Come Home Fitz.!

Lion

Rob W: I believe I have explained quite fully why it is that no claim of a violation of either the IIPA or the Espionage Act will lie, either against Libby or anyone else. For those who are slow to grasp the explanation, I recommend a review of the two statutes. It is the language of those statutes, coupled with the fact that Fitzgerald thinks he has Libby dead to rights on disclosing Plame's status to an unauthorized person, but nevertheless elected not to charge him with a violation of either, that leads me to my conclusion. I have also learned from experience that federal prosecutors in general are often dangerous and surprisingly unprincipled folks, and that special prosecutors are a quantum jump worse. As for partisan bias, I felt the same way about Kenneth Starr and Rudy Giuliani, and said so at the time they were running amok.

noah

Rick Ballard:

Thanks for the link...it looks like Fitz asked for and received permission which he did not need to prosecute lesser crimes when he discovered that only a semi-crime had been committed that he was not willing to prosecute. Needed a semi-CYA.

Truzenzuzex

Lion:

I have also learned from experience that federal prosecutors in general are often dangerous and surprisingly unprincipled folks, and that special prosecutors are a quantum jump worse. As for partisan bias, I felt the same way about Kenneth Starr and Rudy Giuliani, and said so at the time they were running amok.
My experience is not so much that federal prosecutors are unprincipled or unethical, but rather tend to believe some very paranoid people - the FBI, IRS, DCIS, etc.

In my experience, the federal prosecutors put a great deal of faith in the work by investigators. These investigators are utterly convinced by default that every investigation is valid and every suspect is guilty. It takes a lot of exculpatory evidence to get them off this position. Prosecutors I have seen tend to listen to what these highly suspicious agents say rather than what the actual evidence says.

DerekFlint

Woodward is going down for obstruction.
The case against Libby will go forward.

Flint

Geek, Esq.

It looks like Woodward was trying to under cut Fitz and help out his old buddies in the WH after all.

Source came forward because Woodward asked him to.
In his press conference announcing Libby’s indictment, Fitzgerald noted that, "Mr. Libby was the first official known to have told a reporter when he talked to Judith Miller in June of 2003 about Valerie Wilson." Woodward realized, given that the indictment stated Libby disclosed the information to New York Times reporter Miller on June 23, that Libby was not the first official to talk about Wilson's wife to a reporter. Woodward himself had received the information earlier.

According to Woodward, that triggered a call to his source. "I said it was clear to me that the source had told me [about Wilson's wife] in mid-June," says Woodward, "and this person could check his or her records and see that it was mid-June. My source said he or she had no alternative but to go to the prosecutor. I said, 'If you do, am I released?'", referring to the confidentiality agreement between the two. The source said yes, but only for purposes of discussing it with Fitzgerald, not for publication.

Woodward said he had tried twice before, once in 2004 and once earlier this year, to persuade the source to remove the confidentiality restriction, but with no success.

Asked if this was the first time his source had spoken with Fitzgerald in the investigation, Woodward said "I'm not sure. It's quite possibly not the first time." But it is the first time Woodward had contact with Fitzgerald, even though Woodward's name shows up on various White House officials' calendars, phone logs and other records during June and July, 2003, the time frame that is critical to determining whether a crime was committed when information about Plame's employment was shared with reporters. Those White House records were turned over to Fitzgerald long ago.

Good news for the administration, and further evidence that Woodward is playing for team GOP.


Geek, Esq.

Oops, sorry about the tags.

Patrick R. Sullivan

' Some might be tempted to compare this to the Martha Stewart proscution but trading on inside information is a crime...'

It was apparent almost immediately to the prosecutors in NY that she hadn't been told about the FDA's denial of Imclone's application for Erbitux. At which point they should have dropped their investigation.

For some odd reason they didn't, which is probably reason enough for the Appeals Court to throw out her convictions. However, there are numerous other reasons for the convictions to be overturned, and if they are--and it should be announced soon--Fitzgerald had better think a second time about proceeding.

Btw, Fitz used to work out of Manhattan with the very same people who prosecuted Martha.

GEB4000

When is somebody going to tell Fitz to go home? It's for his own good. This last request for another grand jury is a clear sign that he doesn't have anything. By continuing this investigation, he's only digging a deeper hole for himself.

Kate

No, DerekFlint-it's Pincus, Kristof, and Russert who are going down. Woodward is under no obligation to volunteer to talk to a prosecutor. And, based on the story in Time Magazine, he did pressure his source to do the right thing.

Reporters are going down but it's not Woodward. As for Libby, I expect serious downgrading in the charges. He probably plead (community service, suspension of security clearance, fine)

Geek, Esq.

Woodward didn't pressure his source to come forward and do the right thing.

He did it to help the GOP. If he was concerned about the source doing the right thing, he would have urged the source to come forward before this.

Kate

Geek-suggest you read the Time Magazine article that tells the story of why Woodward's source came forward when he did. Then we can have an informed discussion.

clarice

And while you're there please note the source had not signed a waiver which means--ta dum--he hwas not a WH official.

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