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January 11, 2006

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» Its Not All Abramoff, the NSA, and Alito from Decision '08
Some of you may remember a little thing called PlameGate. The MinuteMan sure does, and, in one of those posts he does just to show off and put the rest of us to shame (jeez, talk about comprehensive!), he reminds us of some people who just may be a w... [Read More]

» Watch What You Ask For! from The Strata-Sphere
What is nice about Tom Maguire on a role is he saves me lots of typing. I am much more bullish on the results I expect to see from Libbys trial than Tom - but he does have the right list of topics: (1) It *MAY* be the case that Tim Russert a... [Read More]

» Plamegate just got...weird -- and Bob Woodward is why. from I Love Everything
Speculation on the Libby defense strategy. [Read More]

» If it Doesn't Happen With Libby Case .... from Tapscott Behind the Wheel
The damage to press independence will be immense and far-reaching and it will all be the result of the inability of the mainstream media 's leadership to separate their hatred of George W. Bush from their constitutional obligation to report all the n... [Read More]

» First Amendment Blowback from Democracy Project
Mark Tapscott concludes, in discussing the possible discovery defense strategies that may be pursued by I. Lewis Libby’s lawyers: ”The damage to press independence will be immense and far-reaching and it will all be the result of the inability of... [Read More]

» http://www.smalltownveteran.net/posts/2006/01/_first_amendmen.html from Small Town Veteran
.. Folks, I don't care how it happens, just so someone finds a way to rein in the MSM and hold them to account for all the damage they've done to this nation. In particular, I'd like to see James al-Risen hung, but I'd settle for a 300-year jail term. ... [Read More]

Comments

danking70

Kristoff is the weak link. Make him crack and the whole house of cards falls...

epphan

TM ate his Wheaties this morning.

I'm not a big fan of folks having to deny every allegation. It's annoying when people conclude that since Bush has not denied there are aiens at Area 51, then there must be Aliens out there...But Russert has made mention many times of the "talk" on the blogs of his involvement, yet always issues a filtered response. If you are going to respond, why not "Libby and I did not discuss anything having to do with this entire situation."? Is it lawyers that insist on a measured answer? If so, why? TM might not have everything correct, but Russert (not to mention the others) are giving half-answers and it will be fun to watch it all unfold. Libby's lawyers will make it about the media one way or another. It may not change the result of a trial, but it will take a few "reporters" down with the ship.

TM

TM might not have everything correct...

If I get *anything*, it will be pretty dramatic - amongst Russert, Mitchell, Pincus and Krisof, am I going to go 0 for four?

Time will tell. But Mitchell is near-toast.

Jeff

I'm still not buying that Russert is lying -- all of Libby's alleged lies that have been contradicted by the other parties to the conversations and his omissions fit together too well -- but if you're going to go for it, I don't think you need the Cheney-to-Greenspan-to-Mitchell business. Instead, just imagine Mitchell either lied or just was casuistic with investigators in October 2003 (saying either she didn't get a leak at all, or she wasn't one of the six contacted by two top White House officials, it remaining unsaid that her source for a leak was outside the White House) because she wanted to stay out of it and/or because she thought, like Rove and Libby, that Ashcroft was going to effectively strangle the investigation. From that point on, she has to lie, and Russert goes along.

But I still don't buy it. Libby is too consisently contradicted. He's lying, I think.

On another note: you see, don't you, that an implication of the view you are laying out here, regarding not just Mitchell and Russert but also Pincus, Kristof and many others, is that most the reporters involved had to be hoping against indictments, so as not to be dragged into it as they knew they would be. Do you think that colored their coverage, or the coverage of their colleagues?

Jeff

Oh yeah, did you see where the Note is reporting that Fitzgerald's grand jury was scheduled to meet this morning at 9:30 a.m. No idea if it did or not, it's unsourced, and I have no heard another word about it.

kim

I think, Jeff, that until the election, those reporters didn't think they were going to get dragged into anything. I think it is still dawning on them the trouble they are in for playing with the truth, because they could.
===============================================

Anonymous Liberal

TM,

Fascinating speculation. I love it.

Regarding the Russert-Mitchell-Greenspan-Cheney connection, can you think of any scenario under which information traveled the opposite direction through that grapevine? Maybe Libby heard from Cheney who heard from Greenspan who heard from Mitchell that Russert knew about Plame, and that's why Libby--when he was ensnared in the investigation--decided to attribute his information about Plame to Russert, because he was the one reporter he knew had that information at the time, and he knew he could point to a conversation he had with Russert in the right timeframe. Does that make any sense? Probably not, but I thought I'd throw it out there.

kim

Though the thought of it is exhilarating, I don't think Andrea learnt of Valerie through pillowtalk. I think her slip that 'everyone' knew was honest. Of course, her definition of 'everyone' likely differs from mine. I can't see Alan letting this slip. I can see everyone at Ford's party talking about it, though. Hell, I can even HEAR them talking. Talk about echoes.
===========================================

steve sturm

Aside from what TM has written above, I have long thought that Fitzgerald's prosecution was problematic, among other reasons, in that it relied on the testimony of those in the media... a media that is (1) not open to telling all they know, and (2) not well regarded outside the DC social circuit. I continue to think that this is going to come down to a 'Libby said, they said'... and I don't think Libby's attorneys are that far off if they're betting the jury isn't going to be so quick to rely on the likes of Russert, Mitchell and the rest of Fitzgerald's witness lineup.

maryrose

Jeff:
I also read the note which used to have tons of coverage of the Fitgerald investigation.Now it just gets a passing mention. I think the net was thrown as far as it could go and that after Woodward and V. Novak's testimony Fitz is now re-evaluating other reporters' statements to be sure they can stand up to prosecutorial scrutiny. I agree with TM, put a fork in Mitchell; she's done ; credibility wise

kim

The Note is just catching on to the trouble all its talking point troubadors are in. I'm not talking about the big three, Kristoff-Cooper-Russert, I mean all the suckers who bought and published the meta-narrative from the likes of Joe.
====================================

Jeff

steve sturm - Let's not forget Fitzgerald's reliance on the testimony of something like seven current or former Bush administration officials. And it does not make a difference that they are not open to telling all they know and are not that well regarded these days outside rightwing social circuits.

I also continue to believe that Libby's lawyers, since they are lawyers before they are right-wing anti-dread-liberal-MSM hacks (if they are at all), are not planning an anti-MSM defense, but rather a series of fights with journalists, among others, in order to run out the clock until January 2009 at which point Bush will give Libby (and Cheney and who knows who else) his pardon.

In fact, I don't even get what the point of Libby's defense will be in bringing Kristof and Pincus, for example, to the stand. Even if they show that several journalists who cover national security knew about Wilson's wife's CIA affiliation, so what? Is the idea that Libby could have heard about Plame from some other reporter besides Russert and the claim is that Libby just got his journalists mixed up? (Forget that that totally blows TM's whole theory about Mitchell and Russert here.) Or is the idea that it makes it more plausible that RUssert would say something about all the reporters knowing about Plame to Libby? Or is it just to discredit the witnesses, never mind that Libby appears to have lied. Is that the idea? Or is the idea just to put the dread liberal MSM on trial, and damn Scooter Libby? What am I missing?

The Unbeliever

All these weasel words, half-denials and such... I think it might be time to start ascribing face value to at least some of the reporters' statements. This theoretical coverup for the sake of dignity is too pat; it requires more intelligence from its actors than the actors seem to have available to them.

steve sturm

Jeff: I haven't read the indictment in the last month or so, so my memory might be off on this one...

Fitzgerald's reliance on Administration officials was needed only to establish that Libby knew of Plame - a point Libby's attorney ought to be willing to stipulate to.

Fitzgerald needs the MSM to establish that Libby's conversations with the MSM were not as Libby claimed they were to the FBI and grand jury. Fitzgerald needs the likes of Cooper to testify that Libby was/is lying... which brings Cooper's (wife of big-time Democrat) own credibility into play.

I agree with you that I don't know why Libby's side would call Kristoff and Pincus. Libby wasn't charged with violating secrecy laws, so he doesn't have to worry about proving the extent to which people knew of Plame. All Libby has to do is make the likes of Russert, Cooper and Miller come across as untrustworthy... which, as TM has shown, isn't going to be too hard.

I predict no deal and an acquital on all charges.

kim

Jeff, what you are missing is that this was an expertly thrown grenade, which just happens to still be fizzling on the ground.
================================================

kim

And Tenet got his medal for throwing himself on it. It just has an extraordinarily, and unexpectedly, long fuse.
=====================================

TM

Maybe Libby heard from Cheney who heard from Greenspan who heard from Mitchell that Russert knew about Plame, and that's why Libby--when he was ensnared in the investigation--decided to attribute his information about Plame to Russert...

I'll say this - if Libby was casting about for an alibi and he knew about Mitchell's Oct 3, 2003 statement, that surely lit a path for him.

The timing is easy - does anyone think that the FBI got to Libby before Oct 3?

So, Libby ponders Mitchell's public statement, checks his phone records, and figures, well, Russert must have known, too.

Boy, these arguments can't be as much fun for folks who actually pick a side...

Let me drag Jeff into it:

all of Libby's alleged lies that have been contradicted by the other parties to the conversations and his omissions fit together too well...

Not to be thick, but what lies?

The "Plamed for the very first time" I'll grant.

But isn't it "he said, he said" with Cooper?

And Judy Miller seemed to be vague about the June meeting - per the Times:

But Mr. Libby was already defending Vice President Dick Cheney, saying his boss knew nothing about Mr. Wilson or his findings. Ms. Miller said her notes leave open the possibility that Mr. Libby told her Mr. Wilson's wife might work at the agency.

And this will make compelling testimony when she takes the stand:

Soon afterward Mr. Libby raised the subject of Mr. Wilson's wife for the first time. I wrote in my notes, inside parentheses, ''Wife works in bureau?'' I told Mr. Fitzgerald that I believed this was the first time I had been told that Mr. Wilson's wife might work for the C.I.A. The prosecutor asked me whether the word ''bureau'' might not mean the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Yes, I told him, normally. But Mr. Libby had been discussing the C.I.A., and therefore my impression was that he had been speaking about a particular bureau within the agency that dealt with the spread of nuclear, biological and chemical weapons. As to the question mark, I said I wasn't sure what it meant. Maybe it meant I found the statement interesting. Maybe Mr. Libby was not certain whether Mr. Wilson's wife actually worked there.

Well. I think Libby is lying about being Plamed in July, but I think he is clever enough to have wrapped his lies around as much truth as possible.

So, with Cooper, if Libby really was sensitive anout the possibility that Plame was classified, maybe he really did source it to reporters (he seems to have misled Fleischer that way, yes?)

Last bit - the idea that Mitchell is simply lying to cover her own false or cute statement to the FBI when she said she was not involved seems like a good one (I'll say that modestly, because I happened to suggest it last November; I am heartened that Jeff hit on it as well.)

I should try and sneak it inb to today's post - I would hate someone to think I actually edited something out.

Jeff

steve - At the least, the fact that Libby was talking with all manner of people about Plame across June and July supports the allegation that Libby lied when he testified that he was surprised when he heard about Plame from Russert on July 10, because he was hearing it as new, having supposedly forgotten his conversation with Cheney a month earlier.

As for Cooper in particular, remember that this trial, should it ever happen, will not before a jury of Fox News. So your conspiratorial view of the MSM -- which you astonishly treat as a thing, and a thing that will play a role in this trial -- is irrelevant. I agree that Miller has major credibility problems. And Russert -- well, as a lefty I have approximately the same respect for Russert that you have for Cooper, but I realize that not everyone, not even most likely jurors, will share that view going in, quite the contrary, so undermining his credibility will require work on Libby's lawyers' part.

But again, Libby's alleged lies -- which are contradicted by numerous withnesses -- and omissions all fit together, so the fact that you have numerous people contradicting pieces of it doesn't look good for Libby. As a matter of legal proceedings, not Fox News.

It seriously astonishes me that you could say something like Libby had conversations with the MSM. To me it looks like Libby had conversations with some reporters.

TM

Is the idea that Libby could have heard about Plame from some other reporter besides Russert and the claim is that Libby just got his journalists mixed up? (Forget that that totally blows TM's whole theory about Mitchell and Russert here.)

Well, if it was widely known, then Fitzgerald's investigation looks incomplete to the point, maybe, of selective prosecution - lots of folks must have been coy with the truth, so why Libby?

Or, yes, Libby picked the wrong reporter; or he heard from more than one, but Russert stuck in his mind. And yes, it does make Russert's alleged tag that "everyone knew" more plausible.

As to "blowing the whole theory" - just because Kristof knew, it hardly follows that Russert did not.

None of this gets Libby off on the "Plame for the first time" angle, however.

steve sturm

Jeff: I could have said that Libby had conversations with Democrats... my point is that the people Fitzgerald needs to convict Libby are (1) on the other side of the ideological aisle and (2) Libby's attorneys are sure to play that up.

And, as I wrote before, not as a partisan, but someone looking for the holes (hey, it's a hobby), from my reading of the indictment, Libby could very well argue that he testified that he was surprised to have heard of Plame from Russert... not because Libby didn't know of Plame, but because he was surprised to be hearing of her from Russert. Perhaps your view of the snippet of the transcript that Fitzgerald included in the indictment is different from mine.

And not everyone on the jury will have to agree with my 'conspiratorial' view of the MSM... just enough to keep Fitzgerald from getting a guilty verdict.

clarice

"as if for the very first time",Tom.

Excellent work.

I go back to the notion that lots of people were talking about it then--officially and unofficially--and if Fitz' strongest case is that if Libby was wrong about when he heard this non-secret stuff he has to go to the slammer, he's a fool.

I think that he ploughed new ground with his aggressive tactic of forcing the reporters to reveal their sources (aided by the President's demand his team give waivers and fully cooperate). But the restrictions on that precluded an adquate and fair investigation.

We also know that before Libby told anyone, Wilson told others of his wife's employment at the agenct, and I feel cewrtain that others have now come forward to Fitz , including General Vallely. Certainly, this also has to weigh on his mind for they will be defense witnesses to show that this was, as I think it was, a political gambit and not a national security matter.

Specter

Breaking news! We are breaking into this Scandal (what is this #? like #429-2005)to bring you important news from Scandal #457-2005:

Today the Washington Times reports that:

Law-enforcement authorities and others said the investigation's opening phase is scrutinizing Sens. Conrad Burns, Montana Republican; Byron L. Dorgan, North Dakota Democrat; and Minority Leader Harry Reid, Nevada Democrat, along with Reps. J.D. Hayworth, Arizona Republican, and Bob Ney, Ohio Republican.

It appears that at least two high ranking Demoncrats are being investigated in spite of Howard Dean's assertion from January 8, 2006 that:

This is a Republican finance scandal. There is no evidence that Jack Abramoff ever gave any Democrat any money...There's no evidence that I've seen that Jack Abramoff directed any contributions to Democrats. I know the Republican National Committee would like to get the Democrats involved in this. They're scared. They should be scared. They haven't told the truth. They have misled the American people. And now it appears they're stealing from Indian tribes. The Democrats are not involved in this.

It is important to note that the two senior democrats are some of the people who have refused to give back the money!

We now return you to your regularly scheduled scandal - brought to you by the Demoncratic Party in your town.

Jeff

TM - By "Libby's alleged lies," I mean the lies alleged in the indictment. And my point is that while Libby is undoubtedly smart enough to wrap lies in as much truth as possible, he also is smart enough to know which connected bits he has to lie about. And that's what the indicment makes it look like he did. The four basic lies, I take it, are: the conversation with Russert (with two parts: Russert told him about Plame on July 10, and Libby was surprised); he didn't talk about Plame with Miller on July 8; on July 12 with Cooper he sourced his knowledge of Plame to reporters and said he didn't know if it was true; and on that same day he did the same with Miller. Three different reporters contradict Libby on their three discrete bits, which Libby pieced together, but they presumably each only know about their discrete bits, so there is no motivation to contradict Libby on the small bits in order to nail him on the overall narrative. The latter, however, is what the discrete testimony of the three reporters adds up to. If Libby heard about Plame as though for the first time on July 10, he couldn't rightly be telling Miller about her on July 8. So he lies about that. And if Libby thought on July 10 that he was learning about Plame only from what reporters are saying, he can't rightly be confirming for Cooper or leading him believe that Plame worked for the CIA. So he lies about that. Same goes with Miller the same day.

Moreover, if you look at the indictment, it is crucial to Libby's testimony in a number of the counts he's indicted on that he didn't know at the time whether it was true that Plame was affiliated with the CIA. So the fact that there is ample evidence that Libby did know -- the fact that, as you put it, TM, it is a lie that Libby was Plamed for the first time in July -- bolsters the case that he is lying about what he told reporters. Look at the cited testimony on pp. 20-22 of the indictment. Libby goes out of his way to make clear that it was important to him that he told reporters he didn't know if what he'd heard from reporters was true because he didn't know if it was true. But even TM will admit that Libby is lying when he claims he didn't know about Plame until Russert told him on July 12 and that thereafter all he knew was that reporters were saying that Plame worked at the CIA.

You can say that Libby would source it to reporters if he knew the info was classified, to give himself deniability on the Espionage Act. But that's just what I take him to have been doing in claiming only that he'd heard the info too.
'
Finally, what is the reference here:

(he seems to have misled Fleischer that way, yes?)

In the indictment, it says that he told Fleischer that Wilson's wife worked at the CIA and noted that such information was not widely known. Do you mean he didn't tell Fleischer that it was classified information, in the hopes of laundering the information to the press? I do think that's what he was doing, more or less -- though I suspect either he or someone else signaled to Fleischer that it was classified, given Fleischer's actions later in the week -- but I don't see how that makes it more likely he sourced the info to reporters for other reporters, rather than just confirming it by citing hearsay more generally, which was more effective for both him and Rove.

Jeff

steve - you say:

my point is that the people Fitzgerald needs to convict Libby are (1) on the other side of the ideological aisle and (2) Libby's attorneys are sure to play that up.

Incorrect! Cooper I'll buy, but he's also the most believable. Russert and Miller are just not on the other side of the ideological aisle from Scooter.

clarice, you say:

I feel cewrtain that others have now come forward to Fitz , including General Vallely.

Given how well connected you are in neoconservative circles, do tell! Do you "feel certain," or do you know? For my part, I truly hope that brave Vallely has gone under oath and left behind making his allegations against Wilson in right-wing press outlets alone. The same goes for Peretz, May and others.

clarice

Because he's a blowhard and a braggart and I do not believe Vallely was his only time.

kim

What am I missing here? If Libby only knew of Val as Joe's wife, the news of Plame may have been heard as if for the first time from Russert, who didn't mention the name Mrs. Joe Wilson, but did say Plame. Transcripts, please. C'mon Able Danger. Let's get real here.
=============================================

larwyn

Cooper's wife is a Dem activist.

Pincus' wife is at State, isn't she?

Russert's wife is at Vanity Fair.

Mrs. Mitchell Greenspan - GW nominated Bernanke "weeks early" per MSNBC & CNN coverage that day. He wanted a speedy confirmation and he
got it. I thought this was a generous effort on GW's part to allow the old man to step down early if Andrea became headline news. Well, his term winds down
to end. So he will not have to be
public servant if/when the Andrea
story does break.

What is truly amazing to me is that the Left tries to makes saints of the same people who make their living by reporting the secrets of others. To imply that they would not engage in PILLOW TALK just doesn't cut the mustard.
Particularly when the incident and
players could be gossiped about in a comical way. You know a our side
did a "got ya!" on Bushie big time!

Jeff

clarice - Ok, but what I was asking is whether you know that Vallely has already come forward to the investigation.

topsecretk9

Jeff
I don't know, you seem to know so much of the wrapped package yourself, why do you need Calrice?

cathyf
I think Libby is lying about being Plamed [for the very first time] in July, but I think he is clever enough to have wrapped his lies around as much truth as possible.
Well, but that's the whole context thing. Libby context for his testimony is that he is claiming that Russert Plamed him in July, and that when Russert Plamed him then Libby pretended to Russert that he was being Plamed for the very first time. Given that Libby is claiming to be telling the truth about lying or actually pretending that he didn't know about Wilson's wife no actually it was not that he didn't know but that he didn't react at all... Well if I were a defense attorney I would argue that it's difficult to tell the truth about lying without saying something untrue, and that if it came out mangled and the investigators misunderstood Libby, then they were insufficiently diligent about making sure that what Libby was testifying to was what they thought he was testifying to. And that Libby was no more asserting that Russert Plamed him for the first time in July than he was asserting that Judy Miller is a tree when he talked about turning aspens.

And this part comes after the defense has already shown that Fitzgerald's investigations of the journalists' versions of events consisted of playing the 3-monkeys act, or in the case of Miller using her notes as a rohrshack test to project his fantasies upon. So now the defense asserts that Fitzgerald was "obstructed" in his investigation all right, but that he was obstructed by his own decisions (following DoJ guidelines) not to investigate thoroughly and diligently. To belabor an already belabored metaphor, what we had was sand being kicked in the eyes of a blindfolded umpire. And that the umpire had tied on his own blindfold, and tied it on so well that he had no idea who was kicking up sand or not.

Remember, the burden of proof is on the prosecutor. All Libby's defense needs to show is reasonable doubt. The heart of the obstruction charges is about the state of mind of the investigators -- they are claiming that Libby committed a crime by creating a state (obstructed) in the investigation. All the defense needs to show is that the investigators already had that state of mind because they refused to get to the truth about Libby's coversations with the reporters from the reporters.

cathy :-)

maryrose

It's obvious to me that Fitzgerald needs to talk to more reporters ex; Pincus, Mitchell, Russert et al and not limit his scope so much. Also Vallely, Cooper again and Kristof, asking specific questions about breakfast meeting. And last but not least, the Wilsons. I f all the posters on this thread have questions about all these allegations obviously Fitz is missing something here. I can't believe he is currently spending all his time getting all his ducks in a row.

kim

Joe SixPack and his fellow weedhoppers are on board with that, cathy.
==============================================

Jeff

I f all the posters on this thread have questions about all these allegations obviously Fitz is missing something here.

That's rich!

cathy f, have you read the indictment? Is your claim that Libby meant to say that he acted surprised, even though he wasn't, not that he was surprised? Is that his most effective defense?

kim

Clarice, Joe yakked it up big time once he was turned in the Spring of '03. But what was the verse? Song of money? Dance of power? Or was it miserable non anonomie?

Oh, it's Springtime in the Rockies.
===========================================

kim

Clarice, Joe yakked it up big time once he was turned in the Spring of '03. But what was the verse? Song of money? Dance of power? Or was it miserable non anonomie?

Oh, it's Springtime in the Rockies.
===========================================

Rick Ballard

MaryRose,

How long would you want if you were trying to prove that "not well known" = X when X > 2,000. Especially when X could very well include a number of reporters from other than MSM outlets.

The smartest move that Fitzgerald could make is to develop a health problem - say ulcers - and hand the investigation off to some other sucker.

Anonymous Liberal

I'll say this - if Libby was casting about for an alibi and he knew about Mitchell's Oct 3, 2003 statement, that surely lit a path for him.

The timing is easy - does anyone think that the FBI got to Libby before Oct 3?

So, Libby ponders Mitchell's public statement, checks his phone records, and figures, well, Russert must have known, too.

Boy, these arguments can't be as much fun for folks who actually pick a side...

Agreed. And I like this line of speculation. Mitchell's statement came right about the time Libby, Rove and others must have been trying to figure out what they were going to tell investigators when they came a knockin'. Maybe Mitchell's statement gave them the idea of attributing their knowledge of Plame to reporters (as opposed to official sources). Libby decided to point to his Russert conversation. Rove decided to say he heard about Plame through cocktail chatter (perhaps at the Greenspan event). Libby probably figured that if Mitchell knew, Russert knew as well and that he'd never testify anyway. Rove knew that Mitchell, who had seemingly confessed to knowing about Plame on TV, was at the Greenspan Gala. That would explain why Fitzgerald subpoenaed the guest list.

Is this making any sense?

TM

Maybe Mitchell's statement gave them the idea of attributing their knowledge of Plame to reporters

Well, Rove did have the story told to him by Novak, and Libby had it told to him by Cooper, so the premise that reporters might educate the White House was not daft.

maryrose

I agree with Rick; this indictment of Libby has LOSER written all over it. All the defense has to prove is that one or two reporters knew about this in the May June{early timeframe and they have their reasonable doubt.

cathyf
cathy f, have you read the indictment? Is your claim that Libby meant to say that he acted surprised, even though he wasn't, not that he was surprised? Is that his most effective defense?
Well, I read the indictment, and the words of Libby (which Fitzgerald plucked out to include) quite specifically did not claim that Libby acted surprised. Libby claimed that he was endeavoring not to react at all. Because, Libby claimed, he was concerned that Russert would take his reaction as a confirmation.

So if the defense can first show that Russert did know about Wilson's wife, then there you have your reasonable doubt -- Libby told investigators how he was trying diligently to not react in order to diligently protect classified information, and he must have done it so darn well that Russert clean forgot the whole Wilson's wife part of the conversation.

cathy :-)

clarice

Don't you suppose that if Fitz asked Libby straight out "Who was the first person who told you Wuilson's wife worked for the CIA?" and Libby lied in response, we'd have seen that snippet in the indictment? I do. What we get instead is he said/he siad; Miller's mumblings and "as if for the very first time" which I still think is ambiguous.

Frankly, if Fitz gets solid evidence that Wilson lied to him about no one knowing when he yapped it all over the world, he should indict Wilson and drop the case against Libby.

Jeff

TM and AL - Murray Waas reported a while back that investigators suspected there might have been a cover story concocted by the players right around the beginning of October 2003, as there are apparently records of phone calls among them. Who the relevant players are he didn't specify, but I assume they would have to include Libby, Rove and Novak. But I don't know that they would need Mitchell to concoct a story that the source of knowledge of Plame was lost in the fog of reportial info-trading.

topsecretk9

Well, Rove did have the story told to him by Novak, and Libby had it told to him by Cooper, so the premise that reporters might educate the White House was not daft.

TM
You heard that too?

clarice

Valelly went very public, Jeff. If the prosecutor hasn't contacted him here's how it;ll go in Ct. Valelly testifies. At the end of which Libby's lawyers ask him if he ever publicly disclosed that. He says he has.

That's ewhy I am certain the FBI has talked to him.

And as more names of people Wilson blabbed to come up--And I think they have-- the same drill applies.

Anonymous Liberal

Well, Rove did have the story told to him by Novak, and Libby had it told to him by Cooper, so the premise that reporters might educate the White House was not daft.

True, but I suspect Libby knew how Cooper first learned about Plame (via Rove), and I also suspect Rove knew who how Novak learned the information (via Armitage?). The way the woodward revelation played out convinces me of this.

In other words, it's not at all clear to me that it occured to Rove and Libby--at least prior to Mitchell's statetment--that other reporters may have learned about Plame independently or that such information was "widely known in intelligence circles."

Jeff

cathyf - Could you explain to me how you get that reading out of the first long passage from Libby cited on p. 18 of the indictment? That is, Libby says he didn't want to seem to be providing confirmation because at that point in time he didn't recall that he had ever known, and he thought this was something that Russert was telling him that he was first learning. And how about on p. 20 where Libby says he was careful to say to Cooper that reporters were telling them (presumably the White House) about Wilson's wife working at the CIA because in his mind he still didn't know it as a fact. That doesn't sound like Libby was saying he told Cooper he was getting it from reporters because he knew it was classified, or anything like that, or even that he knew Plame worked for the CIA.

maryrose

I agree with Clarice, and I can't wait to see how this all plays out. Wilson should not get too comfortable out in L.A.

topsecretk9

This transcript represent the bone left in the chicken body.

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--(I knew some, just not everything)--. 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.'

...RUSSERT: ...when I read it in Novak, boom."

I knew Joe Wilson. Knew he had a wife. Knew her to be Valerie Plame. Knew she worked at CIA.

Boom...I had all the pieces, didn't put them together.

The big question at the time, what everyone was trying to figure out was --if Cheney's people are saying he didn't behest ---and we are to believe Cheney (alright then, if you aren't lying) just who then did behest?

Dwilkers
"If I get *anything*, it will be pretty dramatic - amongst Russert, Mitchell, Pincus and Krisof, am I going to go 0 for four?

Time will tell. But Mitchell is near-toast."

You take Mitchell, I'll take Kristof.

Mitchell can blubber and giggle about misunderstanding, context, etc. And as TS9 has pointed out she could always plead reporter's tourettes syndrome. In the end, there's nothing on Mitchell except her own blithering.

Kristof can't do that. He met with Wilson and wife for breakfast months before Novak's column - which he has admitted. He also has admitted to knowledge of her and her career far beyond what Novak ever said - although he has claimed that knowledge came later. He's written multiple columns on the subject, each dribbling out a new detail or several, some contradictory.

If I am Libby's lawyer Kristof is going to be a star. I'm going to rip him up one side and down the next, and I'll do it for days on end if necessary.

No thinking person is going to believe that Kristof walked away from that breakfast without knowing who Plame was. My money's on Kristof as "Most Likely to be Ripped to Shreds by Libby's Lawyer".

maryrose

Hardball no mention of the fact that of the 5 people being talked about by Abramoff 2 are big time democratic senators Reid and Dorgan. Unfair and Unbalanced MSNBC.

maryrose

Dwilkers:
Let the Games begin!

clarice

Any follow up news on today's reported Grand jury..Is it Fitzmas in January ?

topsecretk9

Terribly off topic but...Democrats have just done a great disservice to Judge Alito and his wife and family but mostly to themselves...When Chuck Schumer is asked about Ms. Alito leaving the hearing room in tears, as the video of Mrs. Alito sobbing behind her husband is looped behind him and he responds "I don't know anything about that."?????

Blow-it, terrible move (among others,...demanding the Rusher papers...which were promptly made available!) EVERY WIFE in America will sympathize no matter how hard they try to demonize.

I imagine the clips are in the ad man's edit room as we speak.

Ari Tai

What are the odds of the current seniors in the Whitehouse being brutally honest with each other, what they know and don't? (unlike the previous administration :-)

So, the MSM has consistently and terribly abused these people, their policies and accomplishments, and now they have an opportunity to hand some in the press their heads with Plamegate. They don't know what lies have been / will be told to the grand jury and if whatever results will play into their hands, but these poker players know these reporters and their institutions can't escape their character faults, some worse others, so they huddle and make their plans, wondering who will get the chance to run with the ball open-field.

Mr. Libby gets the ball. Now we'll see how the legal system works very hard in the interest of the accused. He'll be able to do much more than any government initiated investigation into not only the bias but outright corruption so evident in the press.

And the left won't know when to let go. With luck the defense will be publishing their depositions all the way through the 2006 election.

It looks to be great fun, more entertaining than most everything from Hollywont (wave the flag).

Where's my popcorn?? :-)


clarice

Yes, ts--This has been a Dem disaster.

(Why don't they just cut to the chase next time and insist the nominee's wife has to be a passenger in a car driven by Ted?)

steve

Jeff: I made the same argument as cathyf many, many threads ago. It is the Subjuncive Defense--Libby, in the quoted excerpt, is describing the state of mind that he was trying to SIMULATE for Russert. Libby failed to use the subjunctive (or conditional) mode, and his lack of grammatical precision got him indicted by an overeager prosecutor.

If you are telling a story about how you almost gave away a friend's surprise birthday party, you might say "So at that point I didn't know anything about the party" when you mean "So at that point I acted as if I didn't know anything about the party." That's the kind of thing people say nowadays. (Sports announcers do it constantly, "He catches that, and it's a touchdown," instead of "If he had caught that, it would have been a touchdown.")

To try to disambiguate what Libby meant in the disputed passage (given the apparent lack of further follow-up questions by Fitzgerald) seems to me an impossible exercise--well within reasonable doubt, depending on jury type and lawyering skill.

larwyn

Even Lou Dobbs of CNN showed both the tape on Mrs. Alito and the Kennedy/Specter exchange.

"Journalist" Ed Henry tried to redirect Dobbs making fun of the whole CAP thing and calling it all
"political theater". Lou wouldn't
back down.

Rats leaving a sinking ship come to mind! even tho some here think
"journalists" are pure!

kim

It was that argument, Steve, that convinced me of Libby's relative innocence. He is just loose enough with the language to run afoul of a literal type like Fitz.

I've continuing faith in Fitz. He must see his case blowing up in his hands.
===============================

clarice

Again..Why no simple question to Libby,"When did you first learn of Plame?"

Or, no question"Did you tell Russert Plame was Wilson's wife? Did you tell Russert, Plame worked for the CIA?

When even the indictment shows no sign of a clear interrogation on what Fitz regarded as important, you have to wonder if these were ever asked.

MayBee

OK. I've decided Tim Russert would be completely honest with Fitzgerald. It is also possible, at the same time, that he knew there were some reporters that knew about Plame that easily could have told Libby, but it wasn't him(Russert).
How hard will it be for Libby's lawyers to say, 'you know he heard it from someone, but he's wrong that it was Russert. Honest mistake'.

The other thing I keep thinking about is the Gennifer Flowers/Carville et al case. Her case against them keeps getting thrown out, but it basically worked this way: she says Carville defamed her, Carville says he was just quoting a newspaper account. But he planted the newspaper account that he then turned around and quoted it.

Is that what Libby was doing? Planting a story hoping it would take root and then pointing to it as common knowledge? Some would say yes. Or is that what the press is doing? We (some of us in the press) knew about it, and we were casting about for an admin official to quote.

Regardless, I will unequivocably say: Libby is either confused or a really stupid liar.

boris

Why no simple question to Libby ... even the indictment shows no sign of a clear interrogation on what Fitz regarded as important, you have to wonder if these were ever asked.

I don't recall if I ever knew but ... did not the Fitz presser acknowledge that Libby admitted knowing through official channels ???

If that was established early on then in context the "state of mind" response makes more sense. Deliberatly avoiding confirmation of something not remembered makes no sense as a literal description of reality.

topsecretk9

Another OT but I must know'

Please, please, please tell me Biden did not wear a Princeton hat today after being busted and ridiculed for his "no really, I do not like Princeton" moment yesterday?

I didn't get to see him, just saw a photo. The man is shameless beyond. I love him!

Rick Ballard

MayBee,

Gibberish in, gibberish out may prove to be the answer to this. Without knowing the length of the interrogations and the complexity of the questions asked prior to the questions cited we have no way of determining whether lies were told or confusion reigned.

The combination indictment/news conference by Fitz - especially with that light sheen of liars sweat on his forehead - finished him as far as I'm concerned. If the same level of gibberish was used on thirty prior questions then Libby will be cleared.

Fitz really needs to get out of town.

TM

Here is count 4 of the indictment:

I. LEWIS LIBBY, also known as "SCOOTER LIBBY,"

defendant herein, having taken an oath to testify truthfully in a proceeding before a grand jury of the United States, knowingly made a false material declaration, in that he gave the following testimony regarding a conversation that he represented he had with Tim Russert of NBC News, on or about July 10, 2003 (underlined portions alleged as false):

. . . . And then he said, you know, did you know that this -- excuse me, did you know that Ambassador Wilson's wife works at the CIA? And I was a little taken aback by that. I remember being taken aback by it. And I said -- he may have said a little more but that was -- he said that. And I said, no, I don't know that. And I said, no, I don't know that intentionally because I didn't want him to take anything I was saying as in any way confirming what he said, because at that point in time I did not recall that I had ever known, and I thought this is something that he was telling me that I was first learning. And so I said, no, I don't know that because I want to be very careful not to confirm it for him, so that he didn't take my statement as confirmation for him.

Now, I had said earlier in the conversation, which I omitted to tell you, that this -- you know, as always, Tim, our discussion is off-the-record if that's okay with you, and he said, that's fine. So then he said -- I said -- he said, sorry -- he, Mr. Russert said to me, did you know that Ambassador Wilson's wife, or his wife, works at the CIA? And I said, no, I don't know that. And then he said, yeah -- yes, all the reporters know it. And I said, again, I don't know that. I just wanted to be clear that I wasn't confirming anything for him on this. And you know, I was struck by what he was saying in that he thought it was an important fact, but I didn't ask him anymore about it because I didn't want to be digging in on him, and he then moved on and finished the conversation, something like that.

3. In truth and fact, as LIBBY well knew when he gave this testimony, it was false in that:

a. Russert did not ask LIBBY if LIBBY knew that Wilson's wife worked for the CIA, nor did he tell LIBBY that all the reporters knew it; and

b. At the time of this conversation, LIBBY was well aware that Wilson's wife worked at the CIA;

maryrose

I agree Fitz's 15 minutes are up. Time tovamoose. Is there any new info on his blog page? Finally, what in God's name is taking him so long? I had two children faster than this!

maryrose

Maybee,
I agree I think Russert did tell the truth reluctantly. He's a good catholic boy and quite frankly, what would the nuns say?

Jeff

clarice - It's seems pretty obvious that Libby was truthful about having learned about Plame CIA role from Grossman and Cheney. His story, apparently, is that he learned in early June from them about Plame, and then did not recall when Russert brought it up with him roughly a month later. And boris the point is not that Libby says he avoided confirming something that Libby knew but didn't remember (which would be nonsense); rather, Libby says he avoided confirmation because, as far as he was concerned, he didn't know about Plame and didn't want to appear to confirm it with Russert by saying, say, "I heard that too."

kim

There is ambiguity enough to give any jury reasonable doubt about Libby's lying about his awareness of Plame/Wilson and the rest is he said-he said, unless there is a tape.
=============================================

Cecil Turner

I didn't get to see him, just saw a photo. The man is shameless beyond. I love him!

I didn't see either, but the Princetonian said he did:

Meanwhile, Biden, just 24 hours after saying he "wasn't a big Princeton fan," announced that he wanted "set the record straight." Donning a Princeton baseball cap, he explained he was proud to wear it — "after being on campus as much as I have at Princeton" — because minorities represent 28.7 percent of the Class of 2005 and women make up 47 percent.
Pretty impressive. "You gotta have gonads, son. Big brass ones!"

topsecretk9

he, Mr. Russert said to me, did you know that Ambassador Wilson's wife, or his wife, works at the CIA? And I said, no, I don't know that. And then he said, yeah -- yes, all the reporters know it.

easy to MIS-articulate "did you know" with "DO you know if" -- and then "all the reporters know it" with "all the reporters say", think, are saying, speculating, know --whatever.

he, Mr. Russert said to me, do you know if Ambassador Wilson's wife, or his wife, works at the CIA? And I said, no, I don't know that. And then he said, yeah -- yes, all the reporters are picking up on this.

Wasn't Andrea "PICKING UP" on?

topsecretk9

Cecil

The man SLAYS me. Where was his inflatable plastic Princeton bat or his gynormous Princeton Hand sponge? Good Lord. Did he have a drum kit set up for his aide at the ready for todays "But seriously folks, I really do love Princeton" ba dump bump!

clarice

About the Senate clowns:Punish them. Take away their staffs. Make them actually read and study and ask their own questions and laugh at their pretentiusness and arrogance.

brutus

THEORY (apologies if this is old hat):

When Miller wrote "Wife works in bureau?" in her notes, "bureau" referred to Bureau of Intelligence and Research at State (its full name, per State's website).

Would this matter? It would mean that Libby thought Plame was working at INR, or that Libby told Miller that Plame was at INR because Plame was the INR liaison from CIA and because INR identities are not classified for purposes of the IIPA.

clarice

About the Senate clowns:Punish them. Take away their staffs. Make them actually read and study and ask their own questions and laugh at their pretentiousness and arrogance.

Sue

Brutus,

wife works in bureau?

That has always bothered me. If Libby knew and was passing the information to Miller, why would she put a question mark after that?

kim

That's a new hat to me, brutus, and it looks like a mattery nice hat.
===============================================

Sue

Another thing, the fax that Libby had where Wilson's name was written on it after it was faxed if I understand it correctly, how do they know when that was written? Are they going by the date of the fax? Did they ask and were told when it was written? Was there a date beside it? Because the date on the top of the fax doesn't necessarily mean it was written that day. There is so much we don't know. And Fitzgerald does. Or at least, we hope he does. ::grin::

Beto Ochoa

"To crush your enemies, see them driven before you, and to hear the lamentation of the women!"
The press will be broken one bite at a time.
This is the beginning.

r flanagan

none of this gets Libby off on the "Plame for the first time" angle, however.

Posted by: TM | January 11, 2006 at 11:2

yup

larwyn

NSA may have captured the French.

Just have to share 2 great catches by AmericanFuture.

The Ayatollah uses the NSA monitoring to dis America.

The French, who may be caught, surrender and praise America?

Read both short captures.

Word Gets Around

January 11th, 2006
Among other things, “Leader of the Islamic Revolution” Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei said this in his annual message to the pilgrims making hajj in Mecca on Tuesday:

The U.S. and British governments, which consider it permissible to torture or even kill suspects in the streets, and even allow themselves to eavesdrop on the telephone conversations of citizens with no court order, have no right to introduce themselves as the supporters of civil rights. [emphasis added]

From illegal leaks to the pages of the New York Times to the mouth of Iran’s Supreme Leader to the eyes and ears of a couple of million devout Muslims.
Posted in Iran | No Comments »

It’s true! From Le Figaro:

The release of French hostage Bernard Planche yesterday earned the Americans warm thanks from Paris. This reflects the rapprochement between the partners on Iraq as well as on other matters in the Middle East. Expressing his thanks to “all those who mobilized” to help the French hostage regain his freedom, Jacques Chirac “thanked the coalition forces that permitted this release”. Dominque de Villepin was more explicit. Thanking “the diplomatic services and intelligence services”, the prime minister also thanked “the US authorities that lent their assistance to this release”.

Here’s an interesting part of the story:

[ . . . ] other reasons than simple diplomatic courtesy may have caused the French authorities to be sweet to the Americans. “In this kind of affair, they are able, thanks to their system of wiretapping and intelligence, to obtain a lot of information that can sometimes be embarrassing. It is better not to incite them to make it public,” said one source who has followed closely the kidnapping of Westerners in Iraq. [emphasis added]
Posted in Iraq, France | No Comments »

http://americanfuture.net/
Click here: AMERICAN FUTURE

Now we know why Kerry is crying foul - wonder if they have him and his "world leaders" saying "you have to stop that guy"?


topsecretk9

I think that is an interesting throw in, Brut.

Also, from my post above...Russert was adamant he was never the recipient of a leak...

But to the notion that I was somehow the recipient of the leak, which just wasn't the case, or that I had shared information, which I did not know.

Why would he be fighting the subpoena? If Plame DID NOT come up, then what is to protect? No info, no source, right?...why would he be reluctant to go in and say "Nope, he never said a word to me about Plame, in fact we never even talked about it"

and I haven't seen much in the way that says Russert knew fully going into questioning that Libby said they talked about it (Would Fitz really inform Tim of Libby's testimony before questioning Tim?)

BUT...if it did come up like this...

"he, Mr. Russert said to me, do you know if Ambassador Wilson's wife, or his wife, works at the CIA? And I said, no, I don't know that. And then he said, yeah -- yes, all the reporters are picking up on this."

Russert would not want to let on that A- He knew "reporters" knew, therefore he knew WHAT reporters knew and B- He was actually pumping Libby to see if he would confirm, expound, spill his guts..

but Russert never actually said HE himself was picking this up, that reporters were, so he let that slide when he talked to Fitz (unimportant, nothing was really confirmed...no info really passed, I brought it up but I talked about being maybe a rumor)

Russert did not offer up that there was alot, a ton of gossipy truthfulness spreading around. He kept it short and sweet and let out all the salacious juiciness using his Plausible deniability reasoning.

cathyf
It would mean that Libby thought Plame was working at INR, or that Libby told Miller that Plame was at INR because Plame was the INR liaison from CIA and because INR identities are not classified for purposes of the IIPA.
Or it could mean that Libby never said anything about Wilson's wife in the conversation, and instead ranted and raved about the idiots at INR picking this bozo Wilson. And maybe used some snotty language about how it was the stupid WMD analysts who were in love with Wilson, and the VP wouldn't have picked such an obvious hack and what sort of idiots would think he was anything like a reasonable choice? And then Miller, who had (and has) gobs and gazillions of sources up and down the hierarchy of junior and senior WMD analysts in all of the different agencies that have WMD analysts, went "zing!" and thought, "Wilson... Wilson... Hey, isn't there a woman named Wilson who works with the bureau (meaning INR)? Is that this guy's wife?" and that's what she wrote in her notes...

Sure, there is lots of speculation there. But Miller's notes are brief, vague and extremely ambiguous, and she claims that she doesn't remember what they are about, and anything not in the notes is pure speculation. What I just did in the previous paragraph was to take her extremely sketchy framework and project a different fantasy upon it than Fitzgerald's fantasy. And brutus, your fantasy is just as plausible, too. But at least on this side of the Looking Glass, it's not proof beyond a reasonable doubt just because the prosecutor can come up one plausible criminal fantasy among a whole host of plausible non-criminal fantasies.

cathy :-)

Jim Rockford

Forget Russert, Mitchell, Kristof, and Miller for a moment.

Think about Matt Cooper of Time and Mandy Grunwald who is Hillary Clinton's Chief of Staff (they are married). Hillary Clinton, you might remember, was Bill Clinton's "two-fer" First Lady and staff hatchet-woman. Also involved in yes, wait for it, John Kerry's Campaign, along with briefly, Rand Beers (Clinton and Wilson crony) and yes, the man of the hour himself, Joe Wilson.

Grunwald as COS would be privy to ALL of the Team Hillary secrets, including Joe Wilson and his wife. Put Cooper on the stand and make him LOOK like a liar about his wife giving him the scoop that yeah, that Ambassador of Clinton's who was on Kerry's election team got sent by his CIA wife. Heck put HILLARY on the stand, even telling the truth she looks like a liar.

The achilles heel of the Press is the incestuous relationship it has with senior Democratic Party officials. Yes Mitchell is married to Greenspan, generally considered a Republican. But reporter after reporter is married to various Dem big-wigs, including Cooper, CNN's Amanpour (put her on the stand, did hubby Jamie Rubin of Clinton's staff tell her, and did she spread it around).

Libby's defense as I see it unfolding will be: so many Clinton-staffers knew, and were married to various reporters, that fingering MY GUY is idiotic. OF COURSE one of them told him. Since it's a jury trial I suppose simply make the PRESS look worse than Libby, and you're home free.

cathyf

Jeff sez:

...the point is not that Libby says he avoided confirming something that Libby knew but didn't remember (which would be nonsense); rather, Libby says he avoided confirmation because, as far as he was concerned, he didn't know about Plame and didn't want to appear to confirm it with Russert by saying, say, "I heard that too."
You almost have it. My claim is that one plausible interpretation of Libby's words is
...Libby says he avoided confirmation because, as far as journalist-land was concerned, nobody in journalist-land was supposed to know about Plame so when in journalist-land Libby didn't know about Plame and didn't want to appear to confirm it with Russert by saying, say, "I heard that too."
Sure, it's only one of many plausible interpretations of Libby's convoluted ramblings, but you only need one plausible non-criminal interpretation to create reasonable doubt.

cathy :-)

Beto Ochoa

Como se' como esta. Mr Libby has thrown himself into the apparent lions jaws; but not without prior restraint. The end was allowed before the beginning.
That steenking Rove!
"Whooped em' again Josey!"

topsecretk9

but you only need one plausible non-criminal interpretation to create reasonable doubt.

which makes Fitzs' disinterest in any other sources baffling..as far as prosecution preparedness is concerned. Maybe Fitz is a masochist?

Beto Ochoa

Or a Patsy?

Jeff

I know this is probably pointless, but cathyf, my point was that your interpretation is just not a plausible interpretation of Libby's words and meaning. Maybe on Fox News, that hotbed of moral and empirical relativism; but not in the world.

danking70

Powerline has an interesting post.

http://powerlineblog.com/archives/012808.php

three would-be terrorists who were arrested in Italy after vowing to launch an attack on America that would dwarf September 11.

I wonder what might have helped in their capture?

pollyusa

I'm not seeing how the White House party fits into the leak. It occured on July 16, two days after the Novak column.

One thing is very clear, we plameaholics need a new article, transcript, indictment, something.

Or we can make it up as we go, how about this possibility.

The democratic operative wives club (Mrs. Pincus, Mrs. Cooper, Mrs. Russert, and Mr. Jason Epstein) set in motion a plan... Meanwhile, we know Cooper was busy swimming in the pool of a fancy Washington country club.

Mr.Rove had had a very busy week and took a well deserved vacation with Tim Russert.

Libby falling for the clever plan called everyone in the administration, but forgot everything they told him. Fortunately Mr.Russert (who was involved in plan B which was concocted by Ms. Mitchell) told Mr. Libby everything he had forgotten.

Mr. Libby who was afraid he might forget what Mr. Russert had told him decided he better tell someone who would write things down, like reporters. So on July 12 just to be sure he called Ms. Miller, Mr. Cooper, and Mr. Pincus.

Fortunately the glamorous secret spy Valerie Plame wiretapped everyone.

Jeff

Thank you, polly. Surely you can do something with the documents that were posted yesterday or day before from back in June 2004. And we're Plameologists, Plameologists, not Plameaholics or Plamaniacs or anything like that.

As for the White House party, maybe it has something to do with the TIME article that appeared the next day. Who knows. Or maybe it was the suspected occasion of a post mortem among Novak and his co-conspirators or whatever.

MJW

Jeff, a while ago: "The four basic lies, I take it, are: the conversation with Russert (with two parts: Russert told him about Plame on July 10, and Libby was surprised); he didn't talk about Plame with Miller on July 8; on July 12 with Cooper he sourced his knowledge of Plame to reporters and said he didn't know if it was true; and on that same day he did the same with Miller."

The highlighted accusation is interesting in that it was claimed in the indictment, but not charged. Why, pray tell? It's not like it doesn't meet Fitzgerald's high bar for significance; after all, three of the five alleged mis-statements charged stem from the rather picky difference between "I've heard" and "I've heard from reporters." I'd guess Fitz dearly wants a Libby leak prior to the Novak column and the Russert conversation, but realizes the evidence for it is just too feeble for an indictment.

MJW

I and others have mentioned this before, but I think it's worth repeating.

When contemplating the indictment's representation of Russert's testimony, consider that the indictment seems more than a little misleading in its presentation of Miller's "bureau". The indictment claims:

On or about June 23, 2003, LIBBY informed reporter Judith Miller that Wilson’s wife might work at a bureau of the CIA.
While Miller's version is:
Soon afterward Mr. Libby raised the subject of Mr. Wilson's wife for the first time. I wrote in my notes, inside parentheses, "Wife works in bureau?" I told Mr. Fitzgerald that I believed this was the first time I had been told that Mr. Wilson's wife might work for the C.I.A. The prosecutor asked me whether the word "bureau" might not mean the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Yes, I told him, normally. But Mr. Libby had been discussing the C.I.A., and therefore my impression was that he had been speaking about a particular bureau within the agency that dealt with the spread of nuclear, biological and chemical weapons. As to the question mark, I said I wasn't sure what it meant. Maybe it meant I found the statement interesting. Maybe Mr. Libby was not certain whether Mr. Wilson's wife actually worked there.

Besides the obvious difference that Miller offers the "might work at a bureau" as a guess, there's the more subtle implication of the phrasing "therefore my impression was that he had been speaking about...," indicating her impression was formed at the time of her testimony rather than when she spoke with Libby.

MJW

Ack! A couple of posts up I said, "prior to the Novak column" when I should have said, "prior to when Novak's column was written." (Which allowed -- until the Woodward's cofession -- for Fitzgerald to claim Libby was the first known leaker.)

I also meant to say: "presentation of Miller's 'bureau' testimony."

TM

I'm not seeing how the White House party fits into the leak. It occured on July 16, two days after the Novak column.

I have never gotten that either, but hey, its Fitzgerald's subpoena.

Anyway, here is a brand new, never road-tested idea - someone, le's say "Y", in the course of their FBI chat, said "Yes, I called {Key Person or Reporter, "X") on July 10, but only to find out if they were going to the party on the 16th."

Just to doublecheck everything, Fitzgerald wnats to confirm that both X and Y were actually invited.

Boy, that is tame. Can we go back to the Greenspan-Cheney conspiracy now?

TM

The indictment also includes an extensive "Live with Libby" in Count Five:

a. Testimony Given on or about March 5, 2004 Regarding a Conversation With Matthew Cooper on or About July 12, 2003:

Q. And it's your specific recollection that when you told Cooper about Wilson's wife working at the CIA, you attributed that fact to what reporters --

A. Yes.

Q. -- plural, were saying. Correct?

A. I was very clear to say reporters are telling us that because in my mind I still didn't know it as a fact. I thought I was -- all I had was this information that was coming in from the reporters.

. . . .

Q. And at the same time you have a specific recollection of telling him, you don't know whether it's true or not, you're just telling him what reporters are saying?

A. Yes, that's correct, sir. And I said, reporters are telling us that, I don't know if it's true. I was careful about that because among other things, I wanted to be clear I didn't know Mr. Wilson. I don't know -- I think I said, I don't know if he has a wife, but this is what we're hearing.

b. Testimony Given on or about March 24, 2004 Regarding Conversations With Reporters:

Q. And let me ask you this directly. Did the fact that you knew that the law could turn, the law as to whether a crime was committed, could turn on where you learned the information from, affect your account for the FBI when you told them that you were telling reporters Wilson's wife worked at the CIA but your source was a reporter rather than the Vice-President?

A. No, it's a fact. It was a fact, that's what I told the reporters.

Q. And you're, you're certain as you sit here today that every reporter you told that Wilson's wife worked at the CIA, you sourced it back to other reporters?

A. Yes, sir, because it was important for what I was saying and because it was -- that's what -- that's how I did it.

. . . .

Q. The next set of questions from the Grand Jury are -- concern this fact. If you did not understand the information about Wilson's wife to have been classified and didn't understand it when you heard it from Mr. Russert, why was it that you were so deliberate to make sure that you told other reporters that reporters were saying it and not assert it as something you knew?

A. I want -- I didn't want to -- I didn't know if it was true and I didn't want people -- I didn't want the reporters to think it was true because I said it. I -- all I had was that reporters are telling us that, and by that I wanted them to understand it wasn't coming from me and that it might not be true. Reporters write things that aren't true sometimes, or get things that aren't true. So I wanted to be clear they didn't, they didn't think it was me saying it. I didn't know it was true and I wanted them to understand that. Also, it was important to me to let them know that because what I was telling them was that I don't know Mr. Wilson. We didn't ask for his mission. That I didn't see his report. Basically, we didn't know anything about him until this stuff came out in June. And among the other things, I didn't know he had a wife. That was one of the things I said to Mr. Cooper. I don't know if he's married. And so I wanted to be very clear about all this stuff that I didn't, I didn't know about him. And the only thing I had, I thought at the time, was what reporters are telling us.

. . . .

Well, talking to the other reporters about it, I don't see as a crime. What I said to the other reporters is what, you know -- I told a couple reporters what other reporters had told us, and I don't see that as a crime.

3. In truth and fact, as LIBBY well knew when he gave this testimony, it was false in that LIBBY did not advise Matthew Cooper or other reporters that LIBBY had heard other reporters were saying that Wilson's wife worked for the CIA, nor did LIBBY advise Cooper or other reporters that LIBBY did not know whether this assertion was true;

Here is an example of the sort of verb-swapping, reality bending confusion that cathyf and steve are noting (Libby's "Method Testifying", inspired by Method Acting, where you recreat the moment in your mind).

Basically, we didn't know anything about him until this stuff came out in June. And among the other things, I didn't know he had a wife. That was one of the things I said to Mr. Cooper. I don't know if he's married.

Well, in this passage, Libby is explaining that he lied to Cooper; he is not saying that, as of July, he did not know whether Wilson had a wife.

However - the prosecution clearly wants Libby to admit a criminal state of mind, and Libby does not want to.

I know others have noted this, but - one might argue that, if Fitzgerald believed Libby was lying about his criminal intent, he should have indicted for the underlying crime (or admitted that there wasn't one).

And the Fitzgerald response (embedded in his press conf.) - if I can prove he is lying about criminal intent, that is just one of several elements to the underlying crime, but pretty much the only element for a perjury conviction. And jail is jail. So I'll walk the easier road.

That is sort of like the "Al Capone went to jail for tax evasion" argument, with one difference - there was a fairly widespread sense that Capone was a criminal. I don't think that perception of Libby is quite as widely shared.

Dwilkers

Great stuff here for Libby's lawyers.

So many reporters mentioned in the indictment, so many interesting relationships, so many opportunities for smoke. I've said it before and I'll say it again, I just don't understand why Fitz did that.

Jim Rockford's line above would be uber fun.

I wonder if its possible the trial could be this year. Gosh its going to be fun.

kim

I wonder how many Iranians are struck by the irony of the ayatollah lecturing on civil rights?

They are defying the UN now. Let's see what the UN does.

Another thought is that Libby is part of the roll-up. Fitz was expecting him to deal and roll and he hasn't. In other words, maybe the indictment was bluff, and once seriously re-visited it may be cancelled, or with the failure of that tactic, Fitz may shift. Here's hoping.
========================================

Specter

And to think that it only cost us about a million dollars to find out that somebody might have told a lie in Washington DC. LOL. No national security implications, nothing but "maybe someone told a lie" Heck - wouldn't it have been easier to just watch TV to find lies:

Howlin' Howie with Wolfe Blitzer:
"This is a Republican finance scandal. There is no evidence that Jack Abramoff ever gave any Democrat any money...There's no evidence that I've seen that Jack Abramoff directed any contributions to Democrats. I know the Republican National Committee would like to get the Democrats involved in this. They're scared. They should be scared. They haven't told the truth. They have misled the American people. And now it appears they're stealing from Indian tribes. The Democrats are not involved in this."

MayBee

At the risk of repeating myself (why stop now?) it just doesn't make any sense to me that Libby would make up out of whole cloth the idea that Russert told him about Wilson. I'm certain Libby called to complain to Russert about Wilson-- perhaps that is why it is in his head that Russert said something about Plame at that time.

And Tom, you make a good point about Russert saying "That's what everyone was trying to figure out"
If everyone was trying to figure it out, would some intrepid reporter not have called the VP's office to ask what was going on?
They were all just sitting around, hoping their phones would ring?

And Sibel, FWIW, says her story, the Plame story, and the Larry Franklin story are all one story. Brent Scrowcroft is named in at least 2 of the stories.
Graydon Carter (VF/Mrs. Russert's employer?) is always happy to give these guys column space. Does he wait for them to come to him? Or does he have access to spookdom as well?

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