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November 04, 2005

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» Cheney is Vulnerable to an Espionage Charge from Shining Light in Dark Corners
I've been hoping all along that Fitzgerald has a big fish in mind with his indictment of Libby. Some think it's Rove. It seems likely this is another line of the investigation. But I think the biggest fish Fitz is casting for is Cheney. John Dean, form... [Read More]

» Cheney is Vulnerable to an Espionage Charge from Shining Light in Dark Corners
I've been hoping all along that Fitzgerald has a big fish in mind with his indictment of Libby. Some think it's Rove. It seems likely this is another line of the investigation. But I think the biggest fish Fitz is casting for is Cheney. John Dean, form... [Read More]

» Cheney is Vulnerable to an Espionage Charge from Shining Light in Dark Corners
I've been hoping all along that Fitzgerald has a big fish in mind with his indictment of Libby. Some think it's Rove. It seems likely this is another line of the investigation. But I think the biggest fish Fitz is casting for is Cheney. John Dean, form... [Read More]

» Out of the woods? from TechnoChitlins
Via JustOneMinute, ol' Darth Karl may not be out of the woods yet, but this is getting, well, trivial.... [Read More]

» Rove Then vs. Rove Now from TalkLeft: The Politics of Crime
[Note: Only for the seriously RoveGate-afflicted. This may be my longest parsing yet.] Karl Roves lawyers are talking again. Heres their latest, from Saturdays New York Times: Lawyers involved in the case say the prosecutor, Patrick J. ... [Read More]

» Rove Then vs. Rove Now from TalkLeft: The Politics of Crime
[Note: Only for the seriously RoveGate-afflicted. This may be my longest parsing yet.] Karl Roves lawyers are talking again. Heres their latest, from Saturdays New York Times: Lawyers involved in the case say the prosecutor, Patrick J. ... [Read More]

» Dump Rove Open Post from Don Surber
Now that Karl Rove has been cleared by a special prosecutor, it is time for Bush to dump him. With his poll ratings below the Detroit Tigers' winning percentage, the president needs to rally the people behind him. [Read More]

Comments

cathyf

I'm really beginning to wonder if Fitzgerald has simply made it a crime to not be autistic.

cathy :-)

p.lukasiak

I think this is the most intriguing quote from the piece...

Mr. Rove testified that up until then he had heard only fragmentary information about her from reporters, the lawyers said.

Since Fitzgerald has the phone records, it would be fairly easy to ask reporters "Did you tell Rove that Wilson's wife was CIA?"

More importantly, Rove's testimony regarding Noval appears to continue to be that his response was "Oh, you heard that too?". But Novak has written that Rove said to him "Oh, you know about that too?". And Novak's original account cites two White House officials --- and "oh you've heard that too" is not a confirmation.

Insofar as it appears that Luskin is the primary source for this story, one suspects that it should be taken with a rather large grain of salt. Fitzgerald went to extraordinary lengths to determine if a reporter was Libby's source, and I cannot imagine him not checking out Roves "bits and pieces from reporters" claim.

Sue

P. Luk,

I'm not following. If Rove/Novak say Rove said something somewhat differently, but essentially the same, you think that is a problem?

BurbankErnie

Crikey, can this article be parsed any further?
YES!

(Hey, that was fun!)
This sentence reads like it can be interpeted any which way but loose:
"When he finished his brief heads-up he immediately launched into Niger," Mr. Rove wrote. "Isn't this damaging? Hasn't president been hurt? I didn't take the bait, but I said if I were him I wouldn't get Time far out on this."

Well that is enough to charge a man with is it? Doubt it. Rove is clear, though it seems funny how hard Luskin is trying to paint the public picture of Rove. Who really cares??

Bill in AZ

heh heh, cathy, maybe someone could drop a box of toothpicks next to Fitz and he would get distracted long enough to go home. I can't believe he's wasting huge taxpayer dollars mucking around in something so stupidly inconsequential as this.

Jeff

Do you think that Fitzgerald's visit to Sharp's office as recently as last Friday still had to do with the possibility (perhaps just then ruled out?) of Rove being charged with lying to the President? That Tom De Frank Newsday story where suddenly the story coming from the White House about what Rove told Bush changed in retrospect looks like it might have had something to do with Rove changing his story in front of the grand jury concerning what he told the President. Wouldn't it be extraordinary if the President changed his story too. Do we know for sure that Bush himself has not been reinterviewed by Fitzgerald or his people?

All that said, one thing I have learned in following the news coverage of this whole mess, Rove's people lie like crazy to reporters -- which may be morally reprehensible, but it seems to have served Rove well as p.r. (and who knows? maybe legal) strategy, so kudos to Luskin et al for that.

Marcel

Is there something in the White House water that causes memory lapses? Sure Rove and Libby are busy people. But you would expect them to be better prepared when appearing before a Grand Jury. Libby's testimony did not match his notes; he seemed to forget the first 9 people with whom he is known to have discussed Plame before he spoke with Russert. Rove's testimony (the first 3 times he appeared) left out one important telephone call with Cooper. Neither memory lapse seems credible, but so far Fitzgerald only has proof to indict Libby.

dogtownGuy

Rove's people lie like crazy to reporters -- which may be morally reprehensible,

Perhaps they are taking a page from Wilson's play book!

Patrick R. Sullivan

' Rove being charged with lying to the President?'

You think that would be a crime?

SteveMG

Rove's people lie like crazy to reporters -- which may be morally reprehensible

You're saying we can't trust defense attorneys and trial lawyers, Jeff?

Trial Lawyers Donations (2004)
Democrats 97%
Republicans 3%

SMG

[okay, so I made up that last part]

topsecretk9

TM

AJ Strats grabs a transcript from you and parse's it out like this:

"...Tom has his hands on a transcript of Russert talking about his deposition here. I wil lbe posting on this later - but it clearly shows Russert and NBC also knew about ‘Mrs Wison’ before Novak;’s article:

RUSSERT: Well, that’s exactly right. “Meet”–Joe Wilson had been on “Meet the Press” on Sunday, which you moderated because I was on vacation.

MITCHELL: And…

RUSSERT: I came back after that interview, after The New York Times piece, and there was a discussion about Joe Wilson and I didn’t know very much. 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.‘

And now we can add to the growing list of people who knew Valerie worked at the CIA prior to Novak’s article - and not from the WH..."

It's his wife ---Valerie Plame---CIA---Sent him on the trip---
Now I get it?

Just food for thought.

SteveMG

Patrick:
Rove being charged with lying to the President?'

You think that would be a crime?

Reportedly it could be. The President, in his official capacity, is also a law officer or official. If Rove lied to the President re his (Rove's) conversations, theoretically Fitzgerald could indict him for making false statements to a law officer.

Crazy, yes.

I see absolutely no possibility of this but don't be surprised if, at the end of the day, a few liberal representatives raise the issue.

SMG

Jeff

I see absolutely no possibility of this but don't be surprised if, at the end of the day, a few liberal representatives raise the issue.

Yeah, yeah, yeah, whatever. Here's the odd thing: why was it raised in the article today? seemingly by Rove's own people? I don't get it.

Reg Jones

Which seems more probable?

1.The prosecution's theory: Rove remembered the Cooper conversation and lied when he says he didn't. But at the same time he forgot he sent the e-mail that documents the Cooper conversation?

2.Rove's theory: I forgot about both the two minute conversation and the e-mail?

Number #1 does not sound like something that comes close to passing the reasonable doubt test.

Furthermore, what additional liability would motivate Rove to lie when he already admitted to the Novak confirmation? Particularly when we now know there is no underlying crime being charged.

Fitz is heading for a disaster if he pushes this Rove case. It is significantly weaker than the Libby case.

Kris Kross

Hey Maguire, if I asked you to divulge every key revelation you made related to Plamegate during the first two weeks of August 2005, would you be able to do it without looking back at this site as a reference?

What about after your "admin" brought forward to you what he or she thought were relevant posts based on certain key words (e.g. plame, wilson, cooper, hadley, hannah, rove, libby, scooter, irve, irving, WHIG, WH Iraq Group, matt c, joe, joseph, welfare, etc...)?

owl

I keep wondering if Cooper did more talking in the gj than he wrote about. Cooper and Isikoff were in full Rove attack Sunday. Cooper didn't seem like a reporter that needed to go to court to "make him talk". He now can't seem to stop.

p lukasiak

I'm not following. If Rove/Novak say Rove said something somewhat differently, but essentially the same, you think that is a problem?

in this case yes, because its the difference between perjury/obstruction and "innocence." Rove's story is that he did not confirm Novak's information, merely noted that he'd heard the same "rumor." Novak, however, is saying that Rove confirmed the story.

Novak can get Rove off the hook by saying "he's not sure" about Rove's precise wording, but in doing so he has to admit that he sucks as a reporter --- his original piece cited two senior White House officials, and Rove was supposedly one of them. If all Rove did was say "I've heard that too", it means that Novak went to press without confirmation of his story. However, if Novak is still sticking to his origin story, FitzG might charge Rove with conspiracy to obstruct (and add a conspiracy charge to Libby's indictment) and perjury.

It would be very tempting, given the identical stories told by Rove and Libby, and the overwhelming evidence that Libby is lying, to hit Rove with a conspiracy charge -- but the case against Rove would remain weak, and it would really be "guilt by association" with Libby. The case against Libby is going to be complicated enough (with "classified" info and "journalist privilege" being an issue) -- throwing a conspiracy charge at the two of them would probably just be a feint designed to get Rove to talk.

What is most "interesting" is that Rove is using the same "I heard it first from reporters" excuse that Libby used --- and we know that Libby heard it first, second, third, fourth, and fifth from administration officials before he even talked to any reporters.

(If that is true, then his discussion with Libby after the Novak call would be the first time Rove heard about Plame from someone in the White House.)

Now, as far as we KNOW, Rove may be telling the truth -- and the "coincidence" that Libby is using the same story may be that Libby adopted Rove's story as his own, in the hope that the "truth" of Rove's story would "rub off" on Libby's story.

The bottom line here is that Rove's people have done an excellent job of placing the entire focus on Libby, and we have no real idea of how much evidence FitzG has against Rove. FitzG had a LOT more evidence against Libby that most people imagined, so anything is possible...

MayBee

owl- I keep wondering the same thing.

Reg Jones: I couldn't agree more. If that's the charge against Rove and there are any wives on the jury, Rove is home free.

I know I can tell my husband the same thing every day and he doesn't remember it from one day to the next. Unless it's about sex.

p lukasiak

Furthermore, what additional liability would motivate Rove to lie when he already admitted to the Novak confirmation? Particularly when we now know there is no underlying crime being charged.

1) Rove is not admitting that he confirmed the story to Novak. Rove's story is that he had heard "fragments" about a Wilson-Plame-CIA connection from reporters, and when Novak called him and mentioned that Mrs Wilson was CIA, Rove responded "You've heard that too." That is not a confirmation of a story, but a confirmation of the existence of a rumor. And Novak didn't publish a "it is rumored" story.

2) We do not know if there will be an "underlying crime" charge or not. That decision could not be made because of Libby's perjury and obstruction.

(personally, I think that the only way that Libby avoids a trial -- and conviction -- is if he pleads guilty to an "underlying charge" and implicates others in a conspiracy and cover-up scheme. FitzG doesn't want Libby as a witness with a guilty plea on perjury and obstruction charges.)

SteveMG

Jeff:
Nice try, but right now this whole matter is a dry hole.

We have scotch'd the snake, not kill'd it

SMG

Sue

P Luk,

Okay. I'll buy that if Rove said more than "I heard that too" or "you know about that". To me, those essentially are the same statements, just a difference in remembering them. What I'm wondering though is who told Rove first if he was saying I heard that, you know about that? Libby? And did Libby tell Rove reporters were calling and telling him that? How much did Rove know in order to say you heard that/you know too?

Jeff

Furthermore, what additional liability would motivate Rove to lie when he already admitted to the Novak confirmation? Particularly when we now know there is no underlying crime being charged.

Two additional points. The first one is obvious: Whatever we now know, Rove certainly did not know at any time in the past that no underlying crime was going to be charged, so that cannot figure into his motivations. Second, aside from what lukasiak said, part of TM's point in this post is that the dates make Rove look a little more guilty: he only fesses up to the Cooper conversation once real pressure is being applied to Cooper by the prosecutor, making it much more likely that Cooper is going to talk. Rove probably knew that Novak had already cooperated. If all that is so, the fact that he talked about Novak and not about Cooper makes things look worse for Rove, not better. And recall what he is reported to have said to Cooper is much more substantial than what he is reported to have said to Novak.

clarice

Pretty soon I'm going to have to ask some other posters to put their names at the top of their posts. I'm an old woman and my time on earth is limited. I'm trying to save what little time I have left on something other than idiocies.

topsecretk9

Maybee---
now that was funny

Owl-
Cooper did more talking in the gj than he wrote about.

The weird part is that what he wrote about actually helped Rove and put a little more doubt on himself (I told the GJ NO, but later in looking at my notes, I was working on Welfare Reform! Imagine that!) if he is being honest in his writing

Jeff

One other thing: I'm really surprised that TM has not dug into Fitzgerald's press conference and the indictment itself more. There's a lot of juicy stuff in there. Having just read the transcript of last night's Hardball, with Deb Orin flinging Republican talking points like there's no tomorrow, the actual press conference really gives the lie to those talking points. The big question that arises for me is the following: Fitzgerald is clear that because Libby obstructed justice and lied in the course of the investigation, he alleges, it is impossible to tell whether the exposure of a classified CIA agent, the disclosure of national security information, by Libby constituted a crime, because he can't get at intent and perhaps some other things. At the same time, he says that getting Libby under a different statute (obstruction of justice and so on) will still vindicate the public's interest in making sure he's held accountable. But what about other people involved? Does that mean that Fitz feels confident that any underlying crime would only have been committed by Libby? But how can he know that, given Libby's alleged obstruction?

SteveMG

Clarice:
It is amazing - but tiring - listening to the same individuals come up with conjecture piled on supposition topped by imagination.

And yet these are the same individuals who, to recite one of my favorite examples, when shown documents indicating contacts between Iraq and al-Qaeda will dismiss them out of hand as being indicative of nothing. There's no way, after all, the secular Baathists would work with the sectarian al-Qaeda cause.

In those instances, the imagination shuts down. Obstinacy sets in and denial rules the debate.

One standard for the evil neocons, another entirely different one for our enemies.

As Hitchens has amply documented, for these types the enemy, the evil, the force to be defeated is in Washington and not in a cave somewhere in Waziristan.

SMG

clarice

Some obstruction! I think it the weakest point in the entire indictment.

I think that count and one or two others (Counts 4 and 5 I think) will be dismissed before the trial even begins.

clarice

Yes *sign *SMG.


I think the Dems dusted off the notorious Rockefeller memo , discovery of which precluded its use in 2004, and plant--in the absence of much else--to try this stunt in 2006.

Reg Jones

PL:

1. RE:Rove/Novak.
"And Novak didn't publish a "it is rumored" story". True. But in this case Rove was the secondary source. I agree with you on the "heard it from reporters bit". That is something that Rove's team would have to explain in greater detail.

2. RE: "Underlying Crime":
This is the "sand in the eyes" argument. Not buying it. The "underlying crime determination" [ie espionage act, intell agents act. etc] does not depend on a truthful defendent. In fact Fitz knows when Libby talked to the reporters and what they said. Classified information was released. Fitz knows that and passed on indicting that issue.


dogtownGuy

I keep seeing references to Republican Talking Points. Is this a practice the left does not employ?

The reason good talking points work is that they contain a belief are already believed. As an example, Joe Wilson gets testy when pressed on the Vanity Fair spread and blames the right for trying to paint it as something it's not. No it's not. It is good PR by capitalizing on his mistake, the talking point.

Well, the reason the talking point works is because even to the most apolitical type, it is a belief they have on their own...the talking point only reenforces what they already believe.

The Vanity Fair spread was a huge pr mistake on the Wilson's' part in making the case that Valerie was outed...Joe can argue about the scarf and it was humor, but as a symbol it totally undercut their credibility...and if it is a talking point that reminds people what they already believe then that is just good PR.

Which is what Washington is about right?

Jeff

SMG - Why just "nice try"? Seriously, what on earth was that doing in the NYT article today, which appears to be sourced to Rove's people? Or is it Card or McLellan trying to undermine Rove by planting the idea that he lied to the President?

clarice - Why don't you set a good example and go first in posting your name at the top of your posts?

Oh no, SMG, we know that the enemy in need of being defeated was in a cave at Tora Bora.

dogtownGuy - Everybody presumably employs talking points, though the Republicans are clearly better at it. But my point was the more specific one that Deb Orin's were false.

Jim Rockford

It's widely rumored that George Tenet was Novak's primary source. If so there is almost zero zilch nada chance of any prosecution for anything but perjury to Fitz's investigation and pretty much explains Fitz deciding to settle on Libby.

Good luck on that. Libby's main witnesses against him are government officials (who he won't attack) and the Press (which he will). Image Tim Russert, Judy Miller, Bill Keller, Nick Kristof, Matt Cooper, Andrea Mitchell, etc on the stand subject to cross by an Attorney who knows his business.

Also imagine Joe Wilson (lots of shady business dealings with shady, terrorist-ties folks connected to Oil-for-Food scandals) and Valerie Plame on the stand, explaining their income and Joe's strange trips to Niger (outside regular channels, no written report, nepotism and conflict of interest). Wilson seems living beyond his means, the money is coming from SOMEWHERE; the jury is likely to acquit if they see Wilson as a traitor-for-money which rest assured Libby's legal team will paint as the central issue.

And of course Tenet is likely to be called. If he leaked to Novak (and others) Libby may have a defense that introduces reasonable doubt that he WAS told of Plame by reporters.

Everyone thought the Michael Jackson case was a slam dunk until he walked.

I think Fitz has a VERY weak case, and may well drop it for some wrist-slap ala Sandy Burglar. Of course the fallout is going to be huge. We'll see another investigation into the leaking of the CIA secret prison camps (who leaked) and perjury charges on whoever leaked it and conceals it. Expect many reporters to be subpoenaed and testifying on who told them what (likely CIA); with DC just shutting down as talking to reporters off the record is criminalized.

dogtownGuy

though the Republicans are clearly better at it

Maybe. Or Dems are just providing way too much material. I don't agree that Orin's were false and would argue that she wasn't even using any.

kim

Oh yeah, Jeff, neutralize bin Laden and our troubles are over. I've got news for you; he's been neutralized.
===================================================

Lion

If there is no more evidence than has been discussed here, I would be astonished if Fitzgerald would seek an indictment. If he seeks it, of course, he will get it, and Rove will resign, etc. etc., but he has to know there is no reasonable possibility of a conviction, even in the District of Columbia.

p lukasiak

Okay. I'll buy that if Rove said more than "I heard that too" or "you know about that". To me, those essentially are the same statements, just a difference in remembering them. What I'm wondering though is who told Rove first if he was saying I heard that, you know about that? Libby? And did Libby tell Rove reporters were calling and telling him that? How much did Rove know in order to say you heard that/you know too?

In terms of what Rove knew when, here is the key passage from the article cited by TM.

Mr. Rove testified that up until then [ed. his conversation with Novak] he had heard only fragmentary information about her from reporters, the lawyers said

My personal interpretation of this is that Rove is saying "Before I talked to Novak, I heard that Wilson's wife worked for the CIA, but that's about it."

The key to the "different recollections" of Novak and Rove is that Novak acted on what Rove said. Presumeably, he was looking for confirmation -- and if we assume that Novak is "professional", he would not have sourced his story the way he did if Rove had only said "I heard that too."

As to your other questions, we don't know who the "reporters" with the "fragments" were -- but my guess is that FitzG has pursued that angle. (Rove's story might even be true -- the Libby indictment does not say that NO ONE knew that Plame was CIA, just that it wasn't one of those things that "everybody knows.")

According to Rove, Libby was not his original source, period. The wording of the indictment makes it appear that there was a discussion about Plame's status between "Official A" (Rove) and Libby right after Rove's talk with Novak. It is possible that this was the first time Rove received confirmation that Plame was, in fact, CIA, and that she was involved in Wilson's trip to Niger. (And, for all we know, Rove at THAT point could have called Novak back, and confirmed the story....)

kim

Joe's pre-war schtick sounds Saudi funded and his post-war one Dem Party funded.
=============================================

TM

Enough leading questions from Jeff!

Rove's people lie like crazy to reporters -- which may be morally reprehensible, but it seems to have served Rove well as p.r. (and who knows? maybe legal) strategy, so kudos to Luskin et al for that.

Having just come back from the movies, I decided that this whole story is self-serving BS from Rove's people.

Why? Because there just is nothing left for Fitzgerald to be investigating about Cooper, but...

More from Jeff, on Fitz at the press conference:

it is impossible to tell whether the exposure of a classified CIA agent, the disclosure of national security information, by Libby constituted a crime, because he can't get at intent and perhaps some other things.

Before I read this Times piece, my official position (which I think I posted in a comment this morning) is that Rove's exposure is in the part of Libby's testimony where Libby says he lied to Fleischer and Rove about hearing the Plame story from Russert.

Fitzgerald has accepted that press secretaries get lied to (he asked McClellan if it was possible).

But he just does not buy the idea that Libby lied to Rove.

However, he ahs not shaken either one, and is still hoping for Libby to take a deal and deliver Rove.

Well, that was my theory. The rest was, Fleiascher and Rove leaked to Novak. With Libby's "I heard it from Russert" as cover, Fitzgerald can't get either of them for Espionage or misuse of classified info (The IIPA was never going to happen).

Now, in light of these leaks to the Times from Luskin, I am supposed to chuck that theory out.

Well, I don't want to. So let's try this - Luskin is leaking this to take the pressure *off* of Rove - yes, it looks like a problem, but really, just a memory thing.

In fact (my facts, of course) Rove is looking at a conspiracy to obstruct justice, and maybe misuse of classified info. Wouldn't want that in the press.

Well, let me see what the morning brings - might merit an UPDATE (unless someone talks me out of it).

Neo

I caution you in advance that anything I may say, through a less than perfect memory or administrative foul-up, may be construed to be, or have the appearance to be, a lie, a cover-up or giving of false statements, for which I apologize but take no responsibility.

Other than that .. I'm perfectly willing to anwser your questions.

Sue

How odd. I typed "Victoria Plame" into google and got this

http://64.233.187.104/search?q=cache:fhNybKO_ZX8J:www.house.gov/hasc/pressreleases/2004/04-02-25hunter.pdf+victoria+plame&hl=en&ie=UTF-8>House Armed Services Committee

The date of this press release is February 2004. Long before Judith Miller's notes were released. Am I wrong? Did everyone mix up Valerie/Victoria pre-Judy Miller?

ToesOver

Could be. Couldn't be. The build up of the damning Cheney and Rove leaks to the press turned out to be such a great let down. Oh and that vexing damage assessment report should be coming around soon too.

kim

Somebody's seeing stars.
==========================

kim

Libby's lions are girded. You could hear one's tail twitching on the radio this AM as he described his eagerness to get into court.
==================================================

topsecretk9

Sue-
Michael Issokoff did. TM took note. Wouldn't that be rich if her cover name really was Victoria Plame.

Gabriel Sutherland

What was the purpose of Matt Cooper holding out to face a potential jail sentence issued by Fitzgerald? What did Cooper not reveal that was going to send him to jail?

I was under the impression that the answer to this question was the revelation that Cooper had talked to Rove about Niger. Cooper didn't want to have to testify about this. However, we know he eventually did testify despite holding out to the very end.

Isn't that when Fitzgerald learned about Coopers Niger conversation with Rove?

Once Cooper testified it was then that Rove testified again to answer more questions.

Where am I wrong here?

cathyf
We'll see another investigation into the leaking of the CIA secret prison camps (who leaked) and perjury charges on whoever leaked it and conceals it. Expect many reporters to be subpoenaed and testifying on who told them what (likely CIA); with DC just shutting down as talking to reporters off the record is criminalized.
Dream on. The CIA will roll right over, there will be no administrative investigation, let alone a criminal investigation. It will all be forgotten by Monday. Just like the CIA air corps story disappeared.

Depressing, but true.

cathy :-)

kim

I've asked twice before to dead silence. What was she doing covert with her birth name?
===================================================

topsecretk9

Sue-
Issikoff, and add a question to the end.

JM Hanes

Jeff-
”The big question that arises for me is the following: Fitzgerald is clear that because Libby obstructed justice and lied in the course of the investigation, he alleges, it is impossible to tell whether the exposure of a classified CIA agent, the disclosure of national security information, by Libby constituted a crime, because he can't get at intent and perhaps some other things.”

I like Fitzgerald, but he’s in total defense mode here, trying to pre-empt a repeat of Dem-style complaints about how we spent All This Money & All These Years for What? A Measly Perjury Charge? I’m for throwing the book at folks who lie under oath & always have been, but if the administration of justice depended on defendents telling the truth, we’d be up the creek.

If you get a confession, you don’t need a trial. Everybody else that prosecutors indict on a daily basis, and somehow manage to convict, are still claiming they didn’t do a thing through the jailroom bars. Fitz is a dedicated, earnest, servant of the law, but you don’t get to the top of the prosecutorial heap (in Chicago!), without knowing how to test the wind and tack as needed.

topsecretk9

Kim
I guess you need to do it again...a birth name that had already been outed 2 times before?

cathyf
Wouldn't that be rich if her cover name really was Victoria Plame.
Interesting tidbit -- there wasn't much to "Brewster-Jennings" but a phone number and a drop box. Oh, and the name of the owner -- "Victor Brewster."

I cannot imagine how these idiots thought that this was a cover story...

cathy :-)

pollyusa

There is no doubt the new NYT story is refering to Rove's October 2004 testimony. Luskin nailed down the timing in July 2005.

Rove has at some point testified that he passed on information about Plame to Cooper, according to two lawyers involved in the case. Rove's attorney, Robert Luskin, declined to say when Rove gave this testimony.
WAPO 7/23/05


We do know that

1. Investigators had the WH email server.

2. Fitzgerald was very interested in Cooper's sources.

3. Rove's email to Hadley mentions Cooper by name.

4. Rove suddenly found the email around the time Cooper received his second subpoena, in late September, which asked for "everything in my [Cooper's] notebook".

5. Rove also failed to turn over the phone log of the call.

I have a feeling Rove knew he would turn up in Cooper's notebook.

Rick Ballard

TM,

Agreed - it's innoculation plus a challenge. Not bad either. I hope Libby's defense team publicizes the paper blizzard that will be starting soon. There should be some interesting motions filed.

Sue

Cathy,

You think she was undercover as a man? Instead of Victoria, Victor? :)

topsecretk9

Sue and Cathy

Victoria Plame could explain the foot drag on a proper "damage assessment"

topsecretk9

Sue - Cathy

Wasn't that a movie?

Jeff

TM - Thanks for the response, not sure I can wrap my mind around all of it, especially the part about how this leak takes the pressure off of Rove. Is the idea that in fact Rove is facing something somewhat more serious, so the leak to the NYT today makes it sound like he's actually facing something less serious and narrower?

As for Fitzgerald hoping Libby gives up Rove, maybe, but Rove really does seem more marginal to the case than Libby, so I would think Fitzgerald would demand pretty tough terms for a deal with Libby, which he must know Libby won't agree to. Now, giving up Cheney is another matter.

On that note, is there any reason why we can and should rule out Cheney as Novak's source? The sheer implausibility of the thing? The fact that there has been no indictment?

Terrie

During his radio show last Monday, October 31st, Hugh Hewitt interviewed Joe diGenova and Victoria Toensing, who opined quite forcefully that Patrick Fitzgerald has no legitimate reason to continue investigating Karl Rove after two years and in the absence of any new smoking guns. Toensing and diGenova speculated that Fitzgerald is holding Rove in investigatory limbo to prevent him from helping Scooter Libby's defense.

Interesting?

Sue

TS9,

It could explain why revealing the name Valerie "Plame" was the problem. If she was "Victoria Plame" overseas.

Rick Ballard

"What was she doing covert with her birth name?"

Natural blond?

cathyf

Do we have any information as to whether Rove still had the email in his possession when he testified for the first time? If he had it, would it have been in an undifferentiated heap with ten other emails, or with 10 million? I am pretty sophisticated with using search engines, but I notice that not everyone is. My mom is totally mystified by google -- is Fitzgerald making it a crime to not "get" google? Is he calling my mama a criminal? Is he calling his mama a criminal? LOL!

If Rove has testified that he doesn't remember the phone call, and the only information he has is what is in the email, and the report in the email of what Cooper said and what Rove said don't have quotation marks around them, so now it's perjury to paraphrase someone in an email?

cathy :-)

topsecretk9

Rick-
Or Generic?

Rick Ballard

cathyf,

I wonder if Rove has considered putting his emails and phone log for that day on a website. If he did the "how could he forget" question would never be asked again.

pollyusa

cathyf

Rove's lawyer is the person who claims to have found the email, so I would say it was still in his possession.

Luskin discovered an e-mail Rove had sent that same day--July 11--alerting deputy national-security adviser Stephen Hadley that he had just talked to Cooper,
Newsweek

The email contained the words Cooper, Niger, and Wilson. A search with any one of these words, all of which relate to the subpoenas, would turn up the email.

Jim E.

If Rove, as the NY Times story suggests, came clean about the Cooper conversation in Oct 2004, that does make one wonder why in the world he needed to come back for a four-hour appearance last month.

clarice

Polly, I expect there are thousands of emails a day in Rove's hard drive. And the search was by subject, and the subject on this one was Welfare Reform.

pollyusa

It also makes one wonder why he didn't step up to keep Cooper out of jail. I wonder what Rove said in October 2004 about his conversation with Cooper?

pollyusa

Clarice,

Why would the subject be welfare reform? Hadley wouldn't have anything to do with that. The body of an email can be searched not just the subject.

Rick Ballard

TSK9,

Difficult to say. There are many, many types of "covert" contact work. I'm sure that the agency assigned her to one that fit her qualifications.

She has to be very intelligent - very few polisci majors could gain the technical knowledge necessary to become effective as a WMD analyst in such a short time.

Jim E.

Above Jeff wrote this, about Fitz: "He [Fitz] says that getting Libby under a different statute (obstruction of justice and so on) will still vindicate the public's interest in making sure he's held accountable. But what about other people involved?"

I think that's a great question. Several WH officials have supposedly been cooperating with Fitz in this case. Speculation is that some may have "flipped" against Libby, which is why the indictment knows about all of the conversations Libby was having with other government officials about Wilson's wife . My understanding is that if these witnesses made deals (pleading guilty to lesser charges, probation, no jail time, etc. -- assuming they had done something wrong), the deals wouldn't be finalized or made public until the completion of Libby's legal process.

Well, how does that serve the public interest? For all we know, Hannah may have been a leaker -- and that guy just got promoted. And what if Rove is never charged and stays in the WH, but we find out years later that he cut a deal and turned on Libby in the process? Does that seem right that all these people would still be working in the WH? Yes, I'm speculating, but I think these are reasonable scenarios.

Sue

Rick,

I'll have to take your word for it, since smart women are known to do stupid things. In this intance, marrying Joe Wilson. :)

cathyf

Who did the (original) search that was done in response to the subpeona -- the one that didn't find the email? Rove? Luskin? White House IT staff? Justice Dept IT staff? Yeah, I know how to find things in my mailbox, but I'm an experienced computer professional who has taken college courses in the theory and engineering of search algorithms. Rove is a political consultant. Luskin is a lawyer. So now Rove is criminally liable for not being a computer geek? Or worse, Rove is criminally liable because his lawyer isn't a computer geek? Or Rove is criminally liable because some computer geeks who don't work for him and he doesn't even know aren't geeky enough? Was it really in Rove's mailbox at all, or was it found in Hadley's mailbox? Who the heck let Luskin rummage through Hadley's mailbox?

Apple just came out with an operating system feature which allows even non-geeks to find things on their computers, and expects that significant numbers of people will be willing to change operating systems in order to get it. Microsoft is sufficiently worried that they have promised up and down that their next version is gonna have it too. Is Fitzgerald saying that Apple and Microsoft are both delusional, and the only people who have trouble finding things on their computers are perjurers who are just pretending that they can't find the stuff in order to obstruct justice?

Yeah, right -- he better hope he can find 12 completely computer illiterate people who are also completely gullible and believe that anyone who can operate a computer at all can perform any magic that they want with a computer at will.

cathy :-)

Rick Ballard

Sue,

Well, we do have to remember the enormous cachet attached in moving from the 'other woman' in an adulterous liasion to the third wife of a cashiered diplomat. What a thrill it must have been for her to have her husband disclose in a book that she informed him of her status while in the throes of passion. The kids will always have those recorded memories of how mom and dad first got together. What a treasure.

cathyf
She has to be very intelligent - very few polisci majors could gain the technical knowledge necessary to become effective as a WMD analyst in such a short time.
Dammit, Rick, could you please give a spew warning in the future? You, too, Sue... (Although then the damage was already done...)

cathy :-)

clarice

I don't think anyone cut a deal. I think people were careful not to discuss with eachother what they said to investigators or the gj and each person had a different memory .

I really don't know how the WH does it's searches, polly. I expect that like audits, they work on some system of probabilty and the system is proibably a long-established one which doesn't change from administration to administration. Just as an aduitor can only do a sampling of transactions and does them based on established protocols which have shown which statistical sampling is likely to reveal the kind of data needed to be effective.

Since on refreshing his recollection about the conversation, he believed it was principally about welfare reform (he did take the call on the tarmac and it was only for 2 minutes) he probably sent it on a blackberry to Hadley and captioned it welfare reform.

All I can say is that I doubt he considered it significant and that I feel the protocol for such searche sis uniform , generally reliable but not a 100% certainty. No search of such a large volume of documents is.

pollyusa

Clarice

I'm not sure what you mean by "he did take the call on the tarmac".

These articles make it plain that Rove was in his office when he spoke to Cooper and emailed Hadley.

Cooper called the White House switchboard and was reconnected to Rove's office

Rove sent the e-mail shortly before leaving the White House


I search my email by any search word. I hit all the emails that contain the search word.

cathyf

pollyusa:

I search my email by any search word. I hit all the emails that contain the search word.
And everyone in the world uses the same operating system and email program as you do, and has the same level of expertise as you do.

cathy :-)

Rick Ballard

Brava, Pollyusa but why would you assume that Rove's emails are archived on his machine and not on some WH server that is searched using a protocol less talented than the one on your machine?

Rove really should publish at least a count of the number of emails he receives and sends each day AND the number of calls from journojackals that he fields. This is a descent into farce.

topsecretk9

Sue

I found the most odd Victoria thing as well....I am waiting for my email, as young tucker rolled around on the floor begging to use the laptop. So I have relocated.

clarice

I would be astonished if the searches were done by the individuals involved. Again, I am certain their is a protocol with special techies tasked to do the initial search. Whatever is found that meets the criteria established by the protocol is turned over to WH counsel for review. Anything turned over to the SP pursuant to a subpoena is then made available to counsel for the party whose documents they are.

Ditto with WH visitor records and telephone logs.

If you recall a number of support staff were called as witnesses. Undoubtedly it was to have them explain the record keeping and search processes in use.

owl

After reading all this for hours, one forgets. This whole thing was a CIA/Media/Democratic Sting. Easy as hell to forget who started the entire thing.... Wilson and Plame.

JM Hanes

Polly --

Re welfare reform, see the penultimate paragraph in Cooper's "What I Told The Grand Jury".

p.lukasiak

2. RE: "Underlying Crime":
This is the "sand in the eyes" argument. Not buying it. The "underlying crime determination" [ie espionage act, intell agents act. etc] does not depend on a truthful defendent. In fact Fitz knows when Libby talked to the reporters and what they said. Classified information was released. Fitz knows that and passed on indicting that issue.

The standard for indictments is "probable cause". In the indictment, FitzG provided sufficient information to establish "probable cause" for an indictment of Libby for the "underlying crime." But he didn't indict on the "underlying crime." Instead, he presented a "beyond a reasonable doubt" case (which he didn't have to do) for perjury and obstruction. (and, btw, anyone who thinks the case against Libby is weak needs to have their heads examined. Absent the exclusion of evidence because of "national security" or "first amendment issues", FitzG has a slam dunk case.)

Now, assuming that FitzG is the "smartest guy in the room", I'd say that there is one big reason for not indicting Libby on the "underlying charge....

1) The underlying charge case is weaker than the perjury/obstruction cases because it rests on the conversation with Cheney in which Libby was told that Plame worked for the Counter-Proliferation Division. After being confronted with evidence of the Cheney conversation, Libby testified that he had forgotten about the Cheney conversation, and when Russert told him about Plame, he heard it "as if for the first time". (Notwithstanding the fact that Russert denies telling Libby about Plame), the evidence is overwhelming that "as if for the first time" is a flat out lie. But, as far as we know, FitzG can't prove "beyond a reasonable doubt" that Libby is lying specifically about forgetting his conversation with Cheney.

(The key here is the difference between being reminded of something that you've forgotten, and hearing something "as if for the first time." )

The case is further weakened by Judy Miller's notes and testimony, in which she says that Libby told her Plame worked for WINPAC. Counter-Proliferation is part of the CIA's (covert) Operations directorate, WINPAC is part of the analysis arm of the CIA. This information can be argued either way---as having Libby lie to Miller because she would not have outed someone she knew worked for operations, or as Libby simply forgetting that he knew Plame worked for operations. The fact that it can be argued either way makes it highly unlikely that "beyond a reasonable doubt" would be established.

"The smartest guy in the room" wouldn't indict someone in a high-profile case like this on a charge that is unlikely to result in a guilty verdict when he has a "slam dunk" case worth 30 years of prison time. He's trying to squeeze Libby -- and indicting him on the "underlying crime" would give Libby some "wiggle room" -- its the "outing" charge that would get all the attention, and if he were acquitted of that, and merely convicted of perjury and obstruction, the whole thing could be spun as a "technical" violation, and used to justify a pardon.

By indicting ONLY on the lying/obstruction issues, and emphasizing the seriousness of those charges, FitzG makes it that much harder to justify a pardon, AND gets the public asking the question "What is Libby covering up?"

topsecretk9

Jm--

Which is a paradox to me...if Cooper is the one "remembering" Welfare Reform OUTSIDE the GJ and in print (because his notes reflect Welfare Reform was a story he was working on at that time, and perhaps he did make an earlier call)...Fitz. is basing his case against Rove on Cooper???

topsecretk9

I realize sometimes my posts can get too long too, but when I refreshed and saw p.luk's novel my eyes glossed over and stopped...so I posted this...am I alone?

p.lukasiak

"I don't think anyone cut a deal. I think people were careful not to discuss with eachother what they said to investigators or the gj and each person had a different memory ."

Its possible that no one "cut a deal" per se. What appears likely, however, is that FitzG built his case by presenting people with evidence that contradicted their previously statements to the FBI and/or sworn testimony, and gave them a choice of "coming clean" or facing perjury/obstruction charges.

People lie when they don't think they'll get caught --- and when they are caught in a lie, and threatened with jail time, most of them will, if not come completely clean, provide new information that can be used to further the investigation.

richard mcenroe

Terrie -- it's possible Fitzpatrick is waiting to see how his charges against Fitzpatrick fly before trying to file similar against Rove.

p.lukasiak

I realize sometimes my posts can get too long too, but when I refreshed and saw p.luk's novel my eyes glossed over and stopped...so I posted this...am I alone?

hell know...my eyes were glazing over while I was writing it! :)

Reg Jones

P.L.:

1. What specific underlying crime are you talking about? Intelligence Identities Protection Act of 1982? Espionage Act 1917?

2. My point was the "sand in the eyes" analogy doesn't make much sense with the Libby indictment. Fitz knows a classified fact was communicated to someone not authorized to receive it. Yet he passed on the "underlying crime" indictment. He didn't pass because he had "sand in his eyes". If anything perjury would be useful to prove "willful intent" which underlies both the IIPA and Esp Act.

cathyf
The underlying charge case is weaker than the perjury/obstruction cases because it rests on the conversation with Cheney in which Libby was told that Plame worked for the Counter-Proliferation Division.
No, I think you've missed the key weakness of the underlying charge, which would be based upon 18 USC 793, 794 (the Espionage Act.) The problem is that the espionage act was passed in 1917, while the classification system was set up first in 1951. Since the classification system wasn't going to exist for 34 more years, the Espionage Act can not simply say that it is illegal to divulge "classified" information. So the act contains its own self-contained legal definition of what cannot be divulged. This means that in order to show that divulging Plame's identity was illegal under the 1917 law, the prosecutor will have to show that Plame's identity satisfied the definition of 1917, not just got administratively assigned a categorization in a system that would not exist until 34 years after the law was passed. Claiming that the Espionage Act outlaws disclosure of classified information is like claiming that some document was written in 1973 when it was clearly written in microsoft word.
The case is further weakened by Judy Miller's notes and testimony, in which she says that Libby told her Plame worked for WINPAC.
Miller's notes say no such thing. Miller has publicly stated that the only information she has is that "Valerie Flame works for Bureau?" is written in her handwriting in her notebook. She has publicly said that she has no idea what prompted her to write this, whether Libby said this to her, or she said this to Libby, or neither said it and she just thought it and wrote it down. Nor does she have anything other than speculation as to what "Bureau" means. FBI? INR (a Dept of State Bureau)? Census Bureau? Bureau of Land Management? Bureau of Mines? Unless Fitzgerald has something radically more than Miss Run Amok and her rorschach test notebook, he has based a criminal indictment upon a simple guess, and not even the most plausible guess of all of the reasonable candidates.

cathy :-)

p.lukasiak

1. What specific underlying crime are you talking about? Intelligence Identities Protection Act of 1982? Espionage Act 1917?

my theory is that FitzG wants to get a guilty plea from Libby on IIPA, but with a relatively low penalty. FitzG presented three alternative in his baseball metaphor... deliberately hitting the guy in the head, a completely unintentional hit in the head, and an illegal pitch (aiming for the back, or just under the chin) that went wrong. I think that FitzG sees Libby's crime as the third type of pitch --- the deliberately illegal pitch that had far more serious consequences than intended.

as to your second point --- like I said (and which you probably didn't read because your eyes glazed over), the evidence for the "underlying crime" was much weaker, and FitzG is trying to squeeze Libby. If you are trying to squeeze someone, you don't give the "wiggle room" -- and a weak IIPA case would have provided Libby with "wiggle room."

That, of course, is my theory; I could be wrong. The point being that categorical statements like "we know there is no underlying crime because FitzG didn't indict on it" don't consider other reasons why FitzG might choose not to indict, despite having the "probable cause" necessary to do so.

p.lukasiak

This means that in order to show that divulging Plame's identity was illegal under the 1917 law, the prosecutor will have to show that Plame's identity satisfied the definition of 1917, not just got administratively assigned a categorization in a system that would not exist until 34 years after the law was passed.

this is absolutely true. But the definition of what is covered in 10 USC 793 is incredibly broad (in essense, and "defense information" in its broadest sense) that this is really a moot point.

(http://caselaw.lp.findlaw.com/scripts/ts_search.pl?title=18&sec=793)

Miller's notes say no such thing.

Well, not having seen the notes, I can't vouch for what they contained, but in her NYTimes piece from a couple of Sunday's ago, Miller wrote:

"My notes contain a phrase inside parentheses: 'Wife works at Winpac.' Mr. Fitzgerald asked what that meant."

AST

Do they give these prosecutors a shot of testosterone when they assign them? It would have taken me all of about a week to file a report on this: Plame is not a covert agent. Revealing her name and relationship to Ambassador Wilson, is not a crime, or we would have charged him as well for publicizing it in Vanity Fair. I therefore conclude that this is nothing more that a political game of gotcha attempting to create a scandal embarrass the president. If it amuses the media to continue to investigate this matter, they are free to do so, but I see no reason to spend more taxpayers' money on this." Director Tenent needs to get control of his agency and get them back to their legitimate tasks.

cathyf

The problem with the IIPA is that it has statutory requirements which prevent it from being used in this case. The cut-and-dried-no-wiggle problem is the out of the country spying within 5 years rule. But even if it turns out she had been spying out of the country sometime after July 1998, the government needed to be taking "affirmative measures" to protect her identity, and Harlow botched that.

It seems to me that Libby's lawyers should first demand that the judge rule on the IIPA applicability, and then when s/he rules that the statute's plain language means what it means (or makes a reversible error), they should demand that all language that even hints at probable cause under IIPA should be struck from the indictment as prejudicial.

cathy :-)

clarice

Lucky Libby--

I didn't see this but saw it on a chat board--and I've no reason to think it incorrect:

Paul Vallely, on air last night on the John Batchelor show, said he met Joe Wilson in 2002 in the "green room" of a cable network's studio.Both Vallely and Wilson were waiting to go on air. Wilson, at that time, was packaging himself as an expert on Iraq.Vallely said that since he and Wilson found they had some acquaintances in common, they began talking. In the course of the conversation, Wilson told Vallely that Wilson's wife worked for the CIA.This conversation, Vallely said, took place in 2002, several months before Plame's alleged "outing"--

Isn't this the second green room outing Wilson made of Valerie?

Find out everyone who ever shared a green room with him..LOL

Boy, if I needed a credible witness it would be Vallely.

clarice

Vallely also reportedly said he had the impression Wilson had been writing a book and was promoting himself in advance of its publication.

cathyf
Well, not having seen the notes, I can't vouch for what they contained, but in her NYTimes piece from a couple of Sunday's ago, Miller wrote:

"My notes contain a phrase inside parentheses: 'Wife works at Winpac.' Mr. Fitzgerald asked what that meant."

That's interesting -- I realize that I left out my usual disclaimer about Ms Miller's public statements -- "If she is telling the truth..." (seeing as how there are complaints about excessive length already I cut it out.) Ms Miller's previous story is that it said "(wife works at Bureau?)" and she and Fitzgerald got into a discussion where he asked if that would mean the FBI, and she told him that yes, normally it would mean the FBI, but if he wanted it to mean the CIA, then it could mean the CIA.

Look, either Miller has been cunningly pretending to be an absolute flake for decades in order to undermine Fitzgerald's prosecution, or Fitzgerald stuck highly prejudicial utter nonsense in a criminal indictment. If the former, Miller is guilty of criminal obstruction of justice and Fitzgerald should have indicted her. If the latter, he has engaged in eye-popping misconduct.

cathy :-)

Reg Jones

PL:

We agree that the underlying crime evidence is weaker. But the "IIPA squeeze" theory strikes me as very, very improbable. [I thought there was a consensus on that issue and the fact pattern?]

Any indictment on classified information leakage would be revolution in Washington national security reporting and a PR disaster for the prosecution. I thought he punted as to when leaking classified information is a crime that should be indicted. He just didn't want to go there.


cathyf

Clarice, any further info on the date? Because Valerie returned to the US somewhere in range of spring-early summer 1997. A green-room revelation early enough in 2002 would put Joe Wilson within the 5-year window for a violation of the IIPA.

cathy :-)

clarice

I'll go back and check--I wrote Batcheldor and asked him to let me know when a transcript of the Nov 4 interview is available. Be right back.

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