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February 03, 2006

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» I Have Not Been Interviewed By The Office of the Special Counsel from Decision '08
There - my denial is out there; make of it what you will. Is a blogger a reporter, though? Is Slate a magazine? Does a bear sh- Scratch that last onebut the other two have some relevance to the ongoing saga of laffaire Plame. Who els... [Read More]

» Dickerson On His Role In LAffaire Plame from Decision '08
John Dickerson, who considers the work of our good friend the MinuteMan overheated, but praises the good work of the folks at firedoglake (though Im sure political orientation doesnt figure into the mix at all - oh, no, not... [Read More]

Comments

JJ

Wilson *prints* a column (with NYT help)and everyone knows almost immediately where his wife works?

"That wasn't news to me. I had been told that — but not by anyone working in the White House. Rather, I learned it from someone who formerly worked in the government and he mentioned it in an offhand manner, leading me to infer it was something that insiders were well aware of."

Mr. Fitzgerald! Mr. Fitzgerald! Back to the drawing board!

TM

I can't wait for Typepad to burp up the Dickerson half of that post...

TM

Who is a reporter in this puzzling age of bloggers, foundation presidents, and on-line jounralists?  A recently disclosed letter from Special Counsel Fitzgerald has us wondering.

Let's start with Cliff May, whose situation is described in detail by the Anon Lib.  Briefly, Cliff May wrote in Sept 2003 that he was aware that Joe Wilson's wife was at the CIA prior to the publication of the Novak column.  His lead was this:

It's the top story in the Washington Post this morning as well as in many other media outlets. Who leaked the fact that the wife of Joseph C. Wilson IV worked for the CIA?

What also might be worth asking: "Who didn't know?"

David Corn later announced that Cliff May had been contacted by the FBI, but added that Mr. May had been asked to lower the Cone of Silence over his chat with the investigators.

And the latest development - in a recently disclosed letter (Exhibit C), Special Counsel Fitzgerald said that "we were not aware of any reporters who knew prior to July 14, 2003, that Valerie Plame, Ambass. Wilson's wife, worked at the CIA, other than: Bob Woodward, Judith Miller, Bob Novak, Walter Pincus and Matthew Cooper."  (In a footnote, they add the clarification that they mean either "Valerie Plame" or 'Wilson's wife".)

Well, Cliff May is missing from that list.  So, is he (in Fitzgerald's mind) not a reporter, did he tell the FBI something different from what he told his NRO readers, or did the FBI take the questioning in some different direction?

As to the "not a reporter" possibility, who knows what Fitzgerald makes of a former NY Times reporter who heads a foundation and contributes to the National Review?

On the other hand, let's look at Fitzgerald's list - Bob Woodward, Judith Miller, Walter Pincus, and Matthew Cooper have all described their experience with the investigation.  Bob Novak is famously silent, for reasons that are mysterious.

So the notion that Mr. May can't clarify his situation a bit seems odd.  I for one would love some insight into just how comprehensive the FBI questioning was, mainly so that I can buttress the case against Andrea Mitchell, who either cooperated with the investigation or didn't.

While we eagerly await word from Mr. May, let's see if John Dickerson, formerly a colleague of Matt Cooper's at TIME and now at Slate would like to take our suggestion for a column idea - tell us how your chat with the FBI went.

Regular readers should brace themselves for a shock - Raw Story has a good article telling us about Mr. Dickerson.  Here we go:

In the letter, Fitzgerald notes that a third Time Magazine reporter – who now serves as Slate’s chief political correspondent – had conversations with Administration officials about a trip conducted by Plame’s husband to investigate claims that Iraq had sought to purchase uranium from Niger.

"We also advise you that we understand that reporter John Dickerson of Time magazine discussed the trip by Mr. Wilson with government officials at some time on July 11 or after, subsequent to Mr. Cooper learning about Mr. Wilson’s wife," Fitzgerald writes. "Any conversations involving Mr. Dickerson likely took place in Africa and occurred after July 11."

Raw Story links to a Dickerson piece in which he denies receiving a leak about Ms. Plame, but says this:

More astonishingly, we learn from the Fitzgerald indictment that Ari Fleischer knew about Plame and didn't tell anyone at all. He walked reporters, including me, up to the fact, suggesting they look into who sent Wilson, but never used her name or talked about her position.

The dates don't match (Fitzgerald is talking about conversations after July 11), but here is Condi Rice, with Ari Flesicher, from July 11, 2003:

DR. RICE:  The IAEA reported it I believe in March.  But I will tell you that, for instance, on Ambassador Wilson's going out to Niger, I learned of that when I was sitting on whatever TV show it was, because that mission was not known to anybody in the White House.  And you should ask the Agency at what level it was known in the Agency.

That might be construed as walking the reporters up to the Wilson question.

So, was Mr. Dickerson, about whom Mr. Fitzgerald appears to be so knowledgeable, contacted by the investigation?  He "denies" it to Raw Story:

“I didn't know I was mentioned in the court filings until I saw it on the web,” he said. “I've never been contacted by anyone in Fitzgerald's office.”

"Fitzgerald's office" was established when he took ovber the case on Dec 30, 2003.  However, FBI investigators had been interviewing people since October 2003.

C'mon, Raw Story, turn up the heat a bit and get a real denial.  Or a real story

As noted with Cliff May, I think there is a real public interest in learning just how comprehensive the FBI interviews were, and in hearing about the direction they took.

Huggy

You can be convicted of lying to the FBI. Even if a reasonable person would conclude that you didn't lie. Bob Novak may be famously silent for that reason. If he makes the wrong people angry he may be Martha Stewarted.

Huggy

Note to FBI. All reasonable people believe what ever the FBI says. Martha is guilty as sin.

Jeff

Questions for Clifford May: It's been reported by David Corn that you told him that you had been interviewed by investigators in the CIA leak inquiry. And you have published that you learned that Joe Wilson's wife worked at the CIA before Robert Novak's July 14 2003 column. Yet you are not among the reporters that the special prosecutor has recently stated are the only ones he is aware of who knew that Joe Wilson's wife worked at the CIA prior to July 14, 2003. What did you tell investigators about your knowledge of Wilson's wife's employment at the CIA? When were you interviewed?

Sue

LOL. Good call, Huggy.

Sue

Jeff,

Clifford D. May
c/o Defense of Democracies
P. O. Box 33249
Washington DC 20033

phone 202-207-0190
fax 202-207-0191

Hope this helps.

Jeff

The dates don't match (Fitzgerald is talking about conversations after July 11)

The dates work but the times don't work, so he's not talking about Rice, since the gaggle was 12:15 p.m. local time, well before Cooper talked to Rove back on the East Coast of the U.S. I suspect what's going on is that Fitzgerald is just including Dickerson out of an abundance of caution. He has no affirmative reason to think Dickerson learned that Plame worked at the CIA, but someone probably pointed out to him after the recent January 18 conversation with Libby's lawyers that Dickerson's piece leaves open the possibility that Fleischer mentioned Wilson's wife and the CIA, just not her name or her actual position at the CIA. As for who else besides Fleischer, it's almost certainly Bartlett, though it could be Rice or Powell I suppose. I wonder whether Fitzgerald might have learned of this not from Dickerson but from Fleischer and Bartlett themselves. I've thought for a while that Bartlett might well be Pincus' July 12 source. And I really strongly suspect that his source was calling him from AF1. But looking back at the way Rice veers off the precise topic to bring up Wilson in the gaggle, it looks much the way Pincus describes how his source brought up the Wilsons to him, so I wonder whether Rice might be his source.

TM

Well, Typepad is against me, and I am embarking on a period of radio silence until late tonight, but here is my latest Cliff May apologia - maybe it was *Fitzgerald and/or the DoJ investigators* who refused to consider him a journalist, in order to give themselves greater latitude in questioning him. (How those DoJ guidelines get litigated is not clear, but in one court opinion, the judge did emphasize they are not actionable.)

BurbankErnie

FWIW,
Scooter's trial has been set for...
One year from today, Feb, 2007.

HA HA HA

Patrick R. Sullivan

'Note to FBI. All reasonable people believe what ever the FBI says. Martha is guilty as sin.'

But, of what? My experience is that most people think she was guilty of insider trading of Imclone stock. And she wasn't even charged with that.

p.lukasiak

mainly so that I can buttress the case against Andrea Mitchell,

which, in a nutshell, is why your devotees don't have a clue about the Plame leak and the Libby case.

You spend all your time trying to build "cases" against peripheral figures like Andrea Mitchell.

May's statement is consistent with Mitchell's.... and suggests that May and Mitchell both had a source who told them "everybody knew". May's claim was made on September 29, Mitchell's on Oct. 3 --- months after the initial disclosure by Novak.

Mitchell says she did not know about Wilson's wife prior to the Novak column, however -- and Cliff May is a partisan hack who is really not terribly credible to begin with.

Best explanation -- "everybody" didn't know, but as the investigation heated up, Libby/Rove/Hadley decided to put out the story that Plame's status was "common knowledge" -- a lie that the wingnuts have been obsessing about with the same fervor that many of them still feel toward Saddam's non-existent WMDs....

p.lukasiak

I suspect what's going on is that Fitzgerald is just including Dickerson out of an abundance of caution.

you got it.

Fitz has been very cautious about asking reporters about their sources, instead relying upon what government officials said they told the reporters. Fitz had no reason to suspect that Dickerson had been leaked the story about "Wilson's wife" -- what he'd written suggested that there had been no follow-up on the suggestions made by Ari, Bartlett, and Condi.

The question remains, of course, why were these three trying to get reporters to look into the origins of the trip --- by that point, everyone already knew that the entire "uranium from Africa" story was bogus. So what was the purpose of trying to discredit Wilson by raising the question of nepotism?

.....other than intimidation of other possible sources of information about how the administration had lied about WMDs?

Jeff

maybe it was *Fitzgerald and/or the DoJ investigators* who refused to consider him a journalist, in order to give themselves greater latitude in questioning him.

Now that is a good point. And the reality is that May doesn't present his talk with his source as though he were in the process of reporting necessarily. Oh how I wish Cliff May would just clear this all up with a clear and unambiguous account of his role in the investigation.

p.lukasiak

Oh how I wish Cliff May would just clear this all up with a clear and unambiguous account of his role in the investigation.

Cliff May? Clear and unambiguous? The guy should hire himself out to Iran to power centrifuges, he spins so constantly and reliably....

Lew Clark

I usually view conspiracy theories with a jaundiced eye. But p.lukasiak's brilliant articulation of the facts have convinced me. Scooter Libby did kill JFK!

Cecil Turner

which, in a nutshell, is why your devotees don't have a clue about the Plame leak and the Libby case.

Which, in a nutshell, nicely encapsulates the reason lefties and righties invariably cite p. lukasiak in any discussion about Plame.

Rick Ballard

"by that point, everyone already knew that the entire "uranium from Africa" story was bogus."

Except perhaps the Brits, who seem to have a somewhat better grasp of the fact that Libya is in Africa and may have had knowledge that Qadaffi possessed undisclosed stocks of uranium and his very own non-disclosed enrichment plan and known links and relations with his fellow nutter Saddam. Did you know that they even share similiar beliefs concerning socialist panarabism as well as a common language?

Qadaffi rather clearly seems to have received the intended message about "seeking uranium in Africa" and to have acted upon the intent of the message to the tune of burping up his enrichment plans and equipment as well as making known the fact that he possessed abundant stores of uranium ore.

I always enjoy revelations that confirm suspicions. Especially when they involve the depth of the incoherent ignorance and stupidpity which serves as the foundation of the opposition.

Lou Grunt

Trial starts after mid-term elections. Excellent. But chances are Fitz will withdrawl the case before then anyway.

topsecretk9

it's the jeff and pluk show!

Neo

I think there is a real public interest in learning just how comprehensive the FBI interviews were, and in hearing about the direction they took.

This goes for whether or not the neighbors knew. I've seen it both ways, neighbors knew - neighbors knew nothing. The close neighbors who said they didn't know what Ms. Flame did seem mighty suspect (Fitz could pick up a couple quick indictments here, I bet).

Was Cliff May a neighbor ?

Gary Maxwell

The guy should hire himself out to Iran to power centrifuges, he spins so constantly and reliably....

MR. Kitchen container, I would like to introduce you to Mr. Kettle. You have not met before have you?

p.lukasiak

well, it looks like another wingnut myth is biting the dust, kids...

some of the redacted parts of the decision to compel Miller and Cooper to testify have been released... and guess what. Plame had operated overseas in a covert capacity within five years of the leak to Novak.

http://pacer.cadc.uscourts.gov/docs/common/opinions/200502/04-3138a.pdf

Addressing deficiencies of proof regarding the Intelligence Identities Protection Act, the special counsel refers to Plame as “a person whose identity the CIA was making specific efforts to conceal and who had carried out covert work overseas within the last 5 years”— representations I trust the special counsel would not make without support. (8/27/04 Aff. at 28 n.15.) In addition, Libby said that Plame worked in the CIA’s counterproliferation division (I-53-55, 245-
46),...

poor widdle wingnuts.... having wasted a gizillion gigabytes of bandwidth claiming that Plame wasn't covert, they now have to figure out some other means of ignoring the facts relevant to the case, and blame it all on Wilson and the media.

p.lukasiak

I've seen it both ways, neighbors knew - neighbors knew nothing.

have you seen "neighbors knew" anywhere other than at Little Green Footballs, quoting World Net Daily's citation of a claim made by an anonymous poster on Free Republic? If so, I'd like to see the cite...

Jeff

Well, as of August 27, 2004, Fitzgerald was still investigating Libby for the possible crime of improper disclosure of national defense information. So y'all will have to adjust your talking point - it will now have to be simply that it was improper for Fitzgerald to be doing so, not that he was not.

Jim E.

THe ruling also has part of Russert's testimony. Is this the first we've seen it? It has lot's of interesting stuff.

Russert said that he would have considered Plame's employment a significant fact that he would have discussed with NBC management and considered broadcasting. Russert: "I have no recollection of knowing that [Wilson's wife worked at the CIA], so it was impossible for me to have [told Libby] that." Interesting word choice: impossible.

Fleischer said that the July 7 lunch he had with Libby in which they discussed Wilson's wife was "kind of weird" because Libby typically "operated in a very closed-lip fashion." Fleischer recalled that Libby "added something along the lines of, you knjow, this is hush-hush, nobody knows about this. This is on the q.t."

Jim E.

Clearly, Russert and Fleischer are in cahoots in trying to "get" Libby.

(Just taking a stab at the next wingnut talking point.)

maryrose

If Val was covert, how many people who were not entitiled to know that knew it?

Rick Ballard

Nice cherry picking.


As to the leaks’ harmfulness, although the record omits specifics about Plame’s work, it appears to confirm, as alleged in the public record and reported in the press, that she worked for the CIA in some unusual capacity relating to counterproliferation. Addressing deficiencies of proof regarding the Intelligence Identities Protection Act, the special counsel refers to Plame as “a person whose identity the CIA was making specific efforts to conceal and who had carried out covert work overseas within the last 5 years”—representations I trust the special counsel would not make without support. (8/27/04 Aff. at 28 n.15.) In addition, Libby said that Plame worked in the CIA’s counterproliferation division (I-53-55, 245- 46), * * * * * [REDACTED] * * * * *
Most telling of all, Harlow, the CIA spokesperson, though confirming Plame’s employment, asked Novak to withhold her name, stating that “although it is very unlikely that she will ever be on another overseas mission . . . it might be embarrassing if she goes on foreign travel on her own” (II-168-69), a statement that strongly implies Plame was covert at least at some point. While another case might require more specific evidence that a leak harmed national security, this showing suffices here, given the information’s extremely slight news value and the lack of any serious dispute regarding Plame’s employment.

Odd that Fitz didn't charge an IIPA infraction in his indictment after getting three appellate judges to trust him without providing substantive proof that such an infraction had occurred. I wonder why that might be. I also wonder how the three judge panel feels about Fitz today.

maryrose

Evidently Fitz definition of covert and the CIA definition are at odds. He could not make the case for anyone reporters included outing Val Plame.

Lou Grunt

So Fitz provided no support for his claim that Plame was covert. Interesting. I would think Fitz would be happy to provide Libby's defense team with the materials they requested from him relating to Plame's employment. Surprisingly, Fitz is giving the defense a hard time with their request for docs on her employment status. What is Fitz hiding? Or maybe...what doesn't Fitz have to provide in the first place?

In Patty's 1/9/06 letter to Libby's lawyer, Fitz says "We will review all documents we received from the CIA for any discussion concerning whether Valerie Wilson's status as a CIA employee, or any aspect of that status, was classified at any time between May 6, 2003, and July 14, 2003....if we locate any such documents..."
What? If we locate any? I would think that Fitz would have that "covert" document handy. Fitz probably never got a doc from the CIA, but some CIA flunky said "oh yes, we were trying to protect her identity".

So Fitz makes a claim regarding Plame as covert but supplies no proof. Good luck with that at trial, Patty.

topsecretk9

well isn't this interesting...sometime since Nov.2005, Joe Wilson's bio on the Epic site has been edited and "his wife Valerie Plame" has been removed. It was the for 2 years, wonder why?

topsecretk9

"He is married to the former Valerie Plame and has four children." is what it said.

Jeff

If you actually read Tatel's opinion, instead of just picking what you want out of it, misreadin it, or misrepresenting it, it's pretty clear that the reason Fitzgerald did not charge IIPA was not because of issues having to do with Plame meeting the Act's definition of covert, but rather because he did not gain evidence that Libby violated IIPA, something he could not ascertain until hearing from Cooper and Miller. On pp. 33-34 of the opinion, Tatel writes (transcribing):

What’s more, if Libby mentioned Plame’s covert status in either conversation, charges under the Intelligence Identities Protection Act, 50 U.S.C. %421, currently off the table for lack of evidence (see 8/27/04 Aff. At 28 & n.15), might become viable.”

You see that? Fitzgerald had taken IIPA charges off the table for lack of evidence, and as it turned out, the testimony of Miller and Cooper apparently did not provide enough (or perhaps any) evidence to change that.

Rick Ballard

Jeff,

We do not have before us the referenced affifavit (prepared and sworn by Fitz, I believe) which the judges referenced as the basis for "why this matter is so damned important". I admire the judge's writing of this section for they have mapped out an excellent exit for all concerned. Well, all except for Fitz.

But, then, he did provide the affidavit.

SmokeVanThron

Jeff - You may have a point, but it would depend on your being able to describe a scenario in which (a) Plame's covert status is undoubted but (b) the evidence as to Libby's conduct is insufficient to constitute a IIPA violation. Please describe the scenario based on what is known about Libby's conduct.

Lew Clark

The most telling part is "representations I trust the special counsel would not make without support". Well maybe the judge's trust was wrong. Because Fitz sure didn't use his "support" to indict Libby for violation of the IIPA. Why not? Isn't violation of the IIPA a much stronger case than perjury based on who said what to whom and when? I have contended, from the start, that someone Fitz trusted said she was covert and met IIPA. Long down the road, long after the Miller/Cooper contempt business, Fitz finds he was lied to and the statement he made to the judges in the contempt cases was not true. So he opted for what he could get, a weak perjury/obstruction charge.
But if I'm wrong, I'll admit it. Then I'll start screaming for Fitz's head for not prosecuting Libby (and others) for violation of the IIPA which is much more criminal that a Mickey mouse "I forgot what I said/heard and who said/heard it, and when" perjury charge.

Jim E.

A couple of new Murray Waas blog posts (mostly dealing with PDBs):
http://whateveralready.blogspot.com/

Sue

Wouldn't it be a hoot if Valerie's 'covert' mission in the last 5 years was accompanying Joe to Niger?

Just kidding...maybe...

Lew Clark

What? After Joe Wilson writes an op-ed stating that he was the number one government official investigating Iraq's nuclear program and, in his official capacity, he was stating that the President of the United States was a lying sack of shit, the President asked to be briefed on who the hell Joe Wilson was? What utter gall. For Bush to make such a request.

But, the briefing went like this:

President: Who the hell is Joe Wilson and why is he saying these nasty things about me?

Briefers: We know but we're not going to tell you. Because your a lying sack of shit, Mr. lying Chimpyhitlerhalliburton!

Sue

Ahh...but which trip, I ask myself? The one in the late 1990s? Or the one in 2002? Hmmm...Joe and his newly married wife, sipping sweet mint tea...were I serious I would guess the late 1990s trip. The one that only gets a passing mention, every now and then.

Lew Clark

Sue,

You may not be far from wrong. Our pal Val was on one year "Administrative Leave". That is tantamount to a suspension with pay. Then she was "allowed" to retire. There is no way Porter Goss and company would have dinged her in retaliation (or anything that looked like it) for Plamegate. So Ms. Val did something naughty. Maybe just the nepotism thing, but doubtful. She violated CIA policy big time. And she was canned.

Sue

I didn't realize that Valerie had been married prior to Joe.

Sue

Lew,

I don't know. She suffered post-partum depression after her twins were born. That in and of itself would have some ramifications with her job. A depressed woman and an AK47 don't go hand in hand as a general rule. I suspect her Administrative Leave had more to do with that.

Sue

I also didn't know Wilson received the first Ron Ridenhour Award for Truth-Telling.

Okay...I am seriously laughing now.

Cecil Turner

. . . it's pretty clear that the reason Fitzgerald did not charge IIPA was not because of issues having to do with Plame meeting the Act's definition of covert . . .

I'm not sure if you're claiming this proves she was covert (as p.luk apparently is), but if so . . . The requirement per the IIPA is:

  • (ii) who is serving outside the United States or has within the last five years served outside the United States;
Victoria Toensing says "served" means being assigned:
This requirement does not mean jetting to Berlin or Taipei for a week's work. It means permanent assignment in a foreign country.
I'm not sure if Toensing is right, for all her obvious expertise, but it's a reasonable reading of the statute. Fitz isn't even claiming she met that standard, so I suppose we need a ruling (if it matters). But even an uncritical reading of Fitz's claim isn't dispositive . . . and I find myself less willing to make such a reading. Speaking of which, do any legal beagles out there have an idea of when we'll see some rulings on the evidentiary squabbles?

A depressed woman and an AK47 don't go hand in hand as a general rule.

Dunno, might be considered a qualification.

Larry X.

from p.luk's subpeona link: "Thus, given the compelling
showing of need and exhaustion, plus the sharply tilted balance
between harm and news value, the special counsel may
overcome the reporters’ qualified privilege, even if his only
purpose—at least at this stage of his investigation—is to shore
up perjury charges against leading suspects such as Libby * *
* * * [REDACTED] * * * * *"

Mmmmm, "leading suspectS such as Libby ****". Damn, who else was listed????

There are some good Russert & Cooper quotes in there as well:

"Russert recalls this conversation very differently. In his
deposition, describing Plame’s employment as a fact that would
have been “[v]ery” significant to him—one he would have
discussed with NBC management and potentially sought to
broadcast—Russert stated, “I have no recollection of knowing
that [Wilson’s wife worked at the CIA], so it was impossible for
32
me to have [told Libby] that.” (I-43, 32.) Asked to describe his
“reaction” to Novak’s July 14 column, Russert said, “Wow.
When I read that—it was the first time I knew who Joe Wilson’s
wife was and that she was a CIA operative. . . . [I]t was news to
me.” (I-433.)"

"Libby called several journalists, including
Cooper and Miller. (I-202-03.) As Libby tells it, Cooper, whom
he reached first, asked him why Wilson claimed Cheney had
ordered the trip, to which Libby responded, “[Y]ou know, offthe-
record, reporters are telling us that Ambassador Wilson’s
wife works at the CIA and I don’t know if it’s true. . . . [W]e
don’t know Mr. Wilson, we didn’t know anything about his
33
mission, so I don’t know if it’s true. But if it’s true, it may
explain how he knows some people at the Agency and maybe he
got some bad skinny, you know, some bad information.” (I-203-
06.) According to Libby, Miller, too, said something that
“triggered” him to mention that “reporters had told us that the
ambassador’s wife works at the CIA.” (I-207-09.)
In contrast, in a deposition limited to Cooper’s contacts
with Libby (see II-32-33, 107), Cooper said that he (Cooper)
asked Libby “something along the lines of what do you know
about Wilson’s wife being involved in, you know, sending him on
this mission?” (II-53.) According to Cooper, Libby responded,
“[Y]eah, I’ve heard that too” (II-54), which Cooper took as
confirmation (II-81-91)."

"What’s more, if Libby mentioned Plame’s covert status in either
34
conversation, charges under the Intelligence Identities
Protection Act, 50 U.S.C. § 421, currently off the table for lack
of evidence (see 8/27/04 Aff. at 28 & n.15), might become
viable."

Luckily for Libby, it appears he never used the "c" word...covert.

maryrose

Victoria Toensing seems to know the statute better than Fitz so I'm going with her interpretation that an operative must be serving in another country on assignment rather than hiding in plain sight. Her husband Joe has a big mouth and I know her having been a spy was too good a secret to keep to himself. She stepped out of her role by recommending him and drawing attention to herself. No harm has been done as per Woodward, who I trust more than the NBC crowd, WAPO or NYT.

Lew Clark

And maybe they were off the table and got further from the table as the investigation progressed because she was not a covert agent at the time of the conversations, nor had she been for the previous 5 years. Covert agent as defined by the IIPA. That little missing piece of evidence is the document from the CIA that addresses each stipulation in the IIPA and confirms that Mrs. Wilson met each of those.

But maybe that document was emailed to the white house and got erased in the big cover-up.

Forbes

The most that can be said is that there is no evidence that Valerie Plame was a "covert agent" under the definition of such in the IIPA of 1982--Section 606(4) [50 USC 426].

As no one has been as much as charged with such violation, continued assertion of such a violation is proof of an unhinged mind.

p.luk, here's a hint: Doesn't matter how many people knew Plame's employment--including if none knew--such is not germain to the definition.

maryrose

Matthews just called washington white house e-mail- erase mail. I guess he's back on his partisan horse. Rove still not cleared and no reason why. When can we expect that decision to come down?

Extraneus

Jeff: ...it's pretty clear that the reason Fitzgerald did not charge IIPA was not because of issues having to do with Plame meeting the Act's definition of covert, but rather because he did not gain evidence that Libby violated IIPA

As a casual but interested observer, this makes sense to me. It also lines up with Fitz's dire "national security" statements at the press conference and in the indictment. The alternative -- that she wasn't covert and so there's no there there -- just seems too dumb to ascribe to the the guy. It requires too many other assumptions. And besides, if Libby goes down for this, then there's even more liklihood that the NSA leak case will take out a whole bunch of leftists.

Kate

Maryrose - I saw that. Matthews was too nutty even for Schuster. After the dark insinuations and references to the Nixon White House, the fool starts making fun of Libby's nickname and insinuating he shouldn't be called Scooter because he doesn't want a quick trial. HAHAHA!!! Matthews is so funny!

Schuster tried to change the subject, but idiot Matthews repeated his funny about Scooter's name. He is really playing to the Daily Kos crowd.

larwyn

Remember the photos of Wilson and
Wifey at black tie Clinton affair??

I recent to your site - so this may
have been covered - but when was that and who else might have been there.

Clintons' being big party giver/getters - were big time jurnos there too?? Seems like a
natural for Vanity Fair coverage.

Hmmmmm Mrs. Russert?

Any other events we know of with
pics.

Sorry if you have already covered this.

p.lukasiak

people.... here's a few clues....

1) Specific information regarding Plame's employment status was (and remains) classified. (The fact that her status was classified has been declassified, but that's about it). The judge understood this -- and understood that when Fitz said that Plame was "covert", he would not say so without having sufficient proof to say that.

2) Because the proof of Plame's covert status would necessarily include divulging when and where Plame went overseas in a covert capacity in the last five years, there is no way that Fitz is going to provide that information to Libby because its highly classified information that is irrelevant to the charges against Libby.

As far as Toensing is concerned....anyone who thinks this

It means permanent assignment in a foreign country.

makes any sense is a moron.

PERMANENT assignment? How stupid do you have to be to know that the law wasn't just about people PERMANENTLY assigned in a foreign country?

PERMANENT?

I mean, stop being SO FUCKING STUPID.

maryrose

Kate:
You could just see Matthews disapointment that he won't be able to pound Libby every night about this Plame mess. I think they are also mad about the trial not taking place until after the midterm elections. They were hoping for bad publicity for repubs at this time.

maryrose

pluk:
this is my last post to you re;
Your foul language{weakens your argument}
Your insults: we don't always agree with your points but as a rule in general we don't insult you and call you names.

Kate

p. lukasiak-hate to break this to you but if our little shy spy got a short 2 day boondoggle to some nice European country, she would not travel as CIA...no one does. So Fitzgerald could make that statement but it does not impact on her covertness, or lack of same.

maryrose...Matthews might not want some of the things coming out at trial that would come out. He needs to hope this never comes to trial. However, Matthews did get some points for his defense of the soldiers from that horrible cartoon in a latter discussion.

Lew Clark

p.luk, your last two words pretty well sums up the validity of your argument. By your logic, no one could ever be prosecuted for violation of IIPA because that stuff is classified and we can't talk about it. All Fitzgerald needed was certification from the Director of CIA that she met IIPA. He didn't get it because she wasn't. Get your head back into daylight. If Fitzgerald could prove she was covert (consistent with IIPA) he would have. And he would have prosecuted on the big charge, not the charge he indicted Libby on. Libby knows what her status was. No way he's going to request certification of her status in discovery if she was covert and set himself up for charges under IIPA. She wasn't covert. You can believe it if you want but you don't get to make the call.

narexbyrnesphdetc

"You can believe it if you want but you don't get to make the call. "

You don't either. The CIA does. They referred the matter to the DOJ. That might give you a clue.

Kate

The CIA refers simlar cases to DOJ weekly. It was a routine referral until someone leaked the referral to Andrea Mitchell(yes, her again!).

Rick Ballard

"They referred the matter to the DOJ. That might give you a clue."

As they have done on a weekly basis for a very long time. Without a single prosecution. I was under the impression that Mrs. Gump only had the one child but there is now evidence of another.

narexbyrnesphdetc

Ohhh, Ballard. Nice insult. Umm, who was taking p.lukasiak to task for his insults and harsh language?

It's the hypocrisy, stupid.


jerry

::Matthews just called washington white house e-mail- erase mail. I guess he's back on his partisan horse. ::

His horse is always pulling the reins far to the left: Matthews' two mantras for the past year have been "no WMD, bring the troops home" and "Cheney is the real culprit of Plame-gate".

jerry

If the premise of the investigation (a covert agent has been maliciously outed) is untenable because the supposition that the agent was covert is incorrect, then doens't any perjury charge related to the investigation become immaterial?

Kate

No, not in the world of Fitzpros. Remember, the delightful sand in the umpire's eyes story. Fitz could have gotten those indictments on the serious charges but that pesky Libby kept fibbing.

p.lukasiak

All Fitzgerald needed was certification from the Director of CIA that she met IIPA. He didn't get it because she wasn't.

uh, the director of the CIA referred the case to the Justice Department for investigation of violation of the IIPA.

Now, please explain to me how the Director of the CIA could refer a case to the justice department for investigation of violation of IIPA absent certifying that the individual whose cover was blown met the criteria under which IIPA violations would be investigated.

Or in nice short sentences, since this group seems to need things explained to them slowly....

1) The outing of Valerie Plame was referred to the Justice Department by the CIA.

2) The law cited in the referral was the IIPA.

3) If Plame did not meet the CIA's criteria for protection under IIPA, the CIA could not have referred her outing citing IIPA.

Fitzgerald was not required to prove that Plame had been covert in his arguments before Tatel regarding Miller and Cooper. He represented Plame as "covert" -- and would be subject to sanctions (if not disbarment) for doing so without having the facts to back it up -- JUDGES KNOW THIS, so when a prosecutor makes a factual assertion they take those assertions at face value, especially when NATIONAL SECURITY INFORMATION is at stake.

Rick Ballard

pluk,

Just an elbow returned - as I also noted in my initial comment to you. You never bring much but a fevered imagination to the party at any time but don't imagine that you're going to be allowed to throw your insults around without a few return shots.

The judge's pointer to the fact that they were relying on Fitzgerald to have provided an honest assessment does not have the import that you attach to it. It is a statement of the fact that they were forced to rely upon his affidavit and a clear statement by the court that his affidavit was the only "fact" provided reguarding her status. Your assertion that he would not provide such an affidavit unless he was "sure" is simply your opinion - absolutely nothing more. If he was so "sure" of Plame's status - where is the IIPA indictment?

Prosecutors have been known to change their stance on matters when "new facts come to light" rather regularly. The actual "known and confirmed facts" concerning Plame's status that are available to the public - and very clearly to the tribunal in the Miller matter - remain zero in number. Waving a six degrees of separation logic web with nanothread may be impressive where you usually hang out but it won't sell here.

Lew Clark

Bingo jerry,
And thus Fitzgerald's weasel wording in the press conference. "Her position was classified and her employment was not general knowledge." Translation: She wasn't covert per IIPA but the stuff she worked on was classified ( not her identity or employment by CIA) and not everyone knew where she worked. So it's kind of like IIPA Lite and I think I can dance around with the jury and convince them that, although there was no technical crime, it was enough like a crime that I can argue materiality on the perjury and obstruction of justice charges if the jury gets confused or isn't listening real closely. Because that's all I got, as weak as it is.

jerry

But if any amount of truthfulness on Libby's part still resulted in no ability to charge IIPA - because Plame in fact was not covert, and the investigation's premise is flawed (no "eyes" to throw sand into) - well then what is Libby's "fibbing" material to?

p.lukasiak

If he was so "sure" of Plame's status - where is the IIPA indictment?

although there was sufficient evidence to bring an indictment of Libby under IIPA, there was also some "contrary" evidence that would make it difficult to get a conviction based on the "reasonable doubt" standard.

....plus, and IIPA indictment would require disclosure of classified information.

Fitz's decision to just go for indictments based on Libby's lies made far more sense, because the case is far "cleaner" -- the evidence that Libby lied is incontrovertible, and the proof that Libby lied does not require the potential disclosure of classified information regarding sources and methods of the Counter-Proliferation Division of the CIA.

If Fitz had indicted on IIPA, then Libby could have challenged Plame's "covert" status, requiring disclosure of evidence proving that Plame met the requirements of the law -- this information would include not just Plame's activities, but also the sources and methods used by the CIA to ensure that their covert agents' identities are protected.

As a wingnut, I'm sure you'd agree that making this kind of information public would hurt the War on Terror --- so I'm sure you agree that Fitz was acting as a Patriot in not going for an IIPA indictment.

or do you hate America so much that you want our secrets exposed to the world?

Rick Ballard

Fitzgerald is only open to sanction if he "knew" that his affidavit was false. His filings make it clear that he is very attentive to that fact.

One might wonder why?

Lew Clark

p.luk, you just said "CIA referred a case of murder to DoJ with ample supporting evidence. But at the end of a lengthy investigation, the prosecutor chose to only charge one of the suspects with jay walking". I think a prosecutor needs some serious firing.

p.lukasiak

Wow! You guys must really love Osama bin Laden, since you insist that the CIA reveal its covert operations before prosecuting Libby for lying under oath.

You really want al Qaeda to get its hands on WMDs, because Valerie Plame was tasked with keeping WMDs out of the hands of terrorists -- and you insist upon finding out how she did her job, where she travelled, who she met, etc. etc. in order to prosecute Libby.

I'm surprised that TM allows a bunch of terrorist sympathizers like yourselves to comment on his blog....

actually, I'm not, because TM seems to want to disclose CIA sources and methods just as much as the rest of you.

narexbyrnesphdetc

"The actual "known and confirmed facts" concerning Plame's status that are available to the public - and very clearly to the tribunal in the Miller matter - remain zero in number."

And yet so clearly to YOU, she was not covert.

I believe that Fitz is a reluctant and too cautious prosecutor. (See WP article). And I believe that, despite all the "Fitz is a true warrior" articles in Vanity Fair and the other press, Fitz IS politically astute, may want a job as an AG or federal judge at some point, and took cautionary lessons from his buddy's Comey's experience at DOJ. So yeah, I think we have overwhelming evidence that Libby panicked and tried to lie out of it, and Fitzgerald was left with no choice but to indict.

You can slam Fitz all you want, but any decent prosecutor would of indicted Cheney and the other members of WHIG by now. You sh**heels got off lucky. Again.

MayBee

What?
So the CIA refers a case to DOJ for investigation of outing an agent, knowing full well they can't actually prove she was an agent because it is too sensitive to national security?
Why, pluk, would they ask for an investigation of something knowing they won't participate in proving their own allegation? That makes no sense.

Chants

She drove to Langley everyday, p.lukasiak. An element of the IIPA requries that the government take affirmative measures conceal her relationship with the government. Conceal. Not drive to spook central every day.

There are two conclusions from this fact. One, Plame was not vital to national security. Or, two, the CIA treats national security as a joke.

I await the "everyone else did it" defense.

Sue

test

Lew Clark

p.luk,
I had a feeling you knew nothing about classified material or national security operations. now you just proved it. For 35 years I carried a top secret clearance. If I had disclosed any classified information, I would have been tried in a "closed court". Everyone involved, including my lawyer, would have to be cleared for the level of classification involved. If found guilty, I would have gone away for a long time. And no one without a security clearance and a "need to know" would have gained any information about what I disclosed.
So excuse me if I ignore anything you say on this matter from now on, because you have neither the background nor have sought to obtain sufficient knowledge to know what the hell your talking about.

And BTW, which terriorists do I love the most? The ones I blew away, or the ones that crippled me and sent me into early retirement, cause I got careless?

Rick Ballard

Fitzgerald - Reply to Libby's Attorney - Exhibit "B" "Request E":

"We have neither sought, much less obtained "all documents, regardless of when created, relating to whether Valerie Wilson's status as a CIA employee, or any aspect of that status, was classified at any time between May 6, 220, and July 14, 2003."

neither sought, much less obtained

neither sought, much less obtained

Well, shoot, no jeopardy on the affidavit there.

Sue

If Valerie Plame was a covert agent at the time Joe Wilson wrote his op-ed, then God in heaven help us. We are in more of a pickle than we knew.

Sue

Rick,

I think the key word is 'all'. He is responding to a discovery question that asked for all documents, I would imagine. His response is typical lawyer speak. They will jump on a word to object to the discovery request. And then a judge has to decide if it is overly burdensome and/or irrelevant. Can it be narrowed down to a simple 'all documents in your possession or control'? Happens all the time in every courtroom in America.

topsecretk9

Rick

How does that pan out? Is that something the defense will raise?

also, you wrote"

Fitzgerald is only open to sanction if he "knew" that his affidavit was false. His filings make it clear that he is very attentive to that fact.

One might wonder why?


I need the legalese for dummies version.

Sue

TSK9,

While I am not yet ready to put Fitz in the same class as Ronnie Earle, I will point out that Ronnie Earle signed an affidavit in order to get his indictment. And he didn't even have the document he claimed to have.

At the end of the day, though, I think Plame's status was still on the books as covert. Even though the Vanity Fair article says that in the spring of 03 that status was being transferred from noc to state, the paperwork to do that was probably still going through the red tape of Washington. So, technically, she probably was still classified as covert. Bummer. ::grin::

Beto Ochoa

"If Valerie Plame was a covert agent at the time Joe Wilson wrote his op-ed, then God in heaven help us."
Sue gets the brass ring.

JM Hanes

pluka

"The law cited in the referral was the IIPA."

Better freshen up those research skills. The IIPA was not, in fact, cited in the original referral from the CIA. It was referred for possible disclosure of classified info.

maryrose

My brother had a top secret clearance when he worked in communications in Saigon during the Vietnam War. He was not permitted to discuss anything until he had been out of the service for 5 years. Val and Joe have been playing fast and loose with our security and I agree with Sue that is quite a pickle to be in.

Rick Ballard

Sue,

I believe that todays kerfuffle is a tie in to the truly amazing fundraising event being held in Koslandia. The last I looked they were raising an astounding almost $1K an hour for a campaign to throw out a Dem moderate in a safe seat in TX. It's a stunning reaction to the party leadership raising questions as to why all Dean's "50 state effort" hires are showing up for work wearing orange baseball caps.

Just a little banging on the old pots and pans to let us know they're alive and as delusional as ever.

If the party is going to fire Dean, as they should, they have to do it this month or they'll totally screw up the real fundraising. Maybe his hires (the ones that were needed because the unions aren't providing paid help anymore) should leave the orange caps home for a bit.

PS For a comparasion - regular Dem fundraising has averaged $18.9K per hour during this cycle while the Reps are pulling in $25.8K per hour. Even considering Koslandia's tiny size, they really aren't doing too well.

topsecretk9

Sue
So the testiness stems from the realization that "retaliation" meme just died?

If she is covert or classified, and Fitz has no evidence that Libby leaked classified info and the Libby never used her name, thus no charge to that effect, then the WH Smear machine is canned?

Sue

Having had my own little run-in with former covert operative Larry Johnson, I have already had thoughts of we were in a serious pickle. If that is the level of our intelligence agents, then God in heaven is an apt phrase. If Valerie was covert and Joe Wilson was allowed to write an op-ed that would bring him directly in the cross hairs of a political battle, we are toast. No wonder 9/11 happened. The CIA is being staffed by a bunch of clowns and the master of ceremonies is supplying the red noses.

Lew Clark

Sue,
I too believe that CIA was still carrying her NOC at that time. But, I was in the "intelligence community" when the IIPA was written. The reason it was written as it was is that CIA was notorious for reassigning covert agents to non-covert duties but not reclassifying their status. That put a lot of people in jeopardy if that was to be the only criteria. I dealt with a lot of CIA Analysts that had been covert years earlier, but neither they nor the agency made any effort to conceal their present employment with CIA. So a person working with a CIA Analyst, could out them, after they outed themselves dozens of times, and violate the law not knowing it. So the law was written in a way that "it had to walk like a duck to be called a duck under the law". So it really doesn't matter what her classification was. What matters, under the law, is what was she doing, and what was she was doing for the preceding five years. I believe that is what Tenet told Cheney or whoever he told she was not covert. He addressed the law and said, she does not meet it.

Sue

Rick,

What safe seat in Texas? I hadn't heard that.

TSK9,

What it is, in my humble opinion, of course, is a giant fan churning in the corner and sh*t being thrown at the blades hoping something boomerangs off and sticks on someone, somewhere, involved with the Bush WH. The email deletion that was or wasn't is just another example of hoping the hype will carry them through the elections in 06. If this one fails to gain momentum, the next big thing will be tossed at the fan...like Jay Rockefeller complaining that Bush has talked openly about the NSA spying. Going to try and turn it around and say Bush is responsible for the terrorists knowing about it. I can only shake my head in amazement.

Rick Ballard

Sue,

That's Fitz's quotation from the request. The words "any and" may have preceded "all" in the actual request. I agree with your parsing but, once again, we ain't got the whole thing. If my attorney did a doc request without using "any and all" I would ask why. Having seen a couple of them (yuch).

Kim,

Affidavits are funny things and their preparation is a subject of great care. Here, too, wording is very important and I believe that Fitz prepared an affidavit that was absolutely truthful. Perhaps not absolutely complete in the sense that it contained all known information but absolutely truthful. IANAL and I have had a very limited exposure to these sort of legal dealings so I may well be wrong. Fitz lost my trust completely in the phrasing of the questions used to generate the perjury charge. I respect good attorneys but I despise weasels - no matter what their occupation - and those questions were generated by a weasel. I'm not keen on the responses either but I would have to see a full transcript before making a judgement.

maryrose

Sue;
I was unaware you had arun in with Larry Johnson, how did that happen if I may ask?

Sue

Lew,

But if you were a prosecutor who had a special gripe with a certain reporter who had leaked information that ruined a prior investigation, and you had to just let her get away with it due to court rulings, what better way to jerk her chain than to use the technicality of a still classified covert operative (whether she still met the criteria or not, her documented status would have been noc, therefore, the affidavit would have been true and correct to the best of his knowledge, the criteria of an affidavit) to force the testimony of that certain reporter who was refusing to cooperate again? Just a thought as to why Fitz was particularly interested in prolonging a case, long after he determined he couldn't prosecute on the IIPA.

Rick Ballard

"What safe seat in Texas? I hadn't heard that."

Yeesh. We covered it at Flares this morning.

You mean, not everyone reads Flares?

I'm crushed....

Sue

Rick,

I am a paralegal. In the civil law side. I am responsible for sending those requests and responding to them. I too would like to see the document or letter Fitz was responding to. It is curious that it was not included in the document dump. Maybe federal court doesn't require the actual questions to be filed. State court does. But, having seen responses to discovery requests for many plus years (can't tell ya' actual time, would have to kill ya', cause I'm a woman, and age is a touchy subject lately), Fitz's response was a standard reply. I read nothing special into it, other than the caveat allowing for the unusual, and as far as I know, still unknown to us, way Rove's email turned up at a later date.

Cecil Turner
As far as Toensing is concerned....anyone who thinks this

It means permanent assignment in a foreign country.

makes any sense is a moron.

[Yawn.] Never worked for the government, didya, p. luk? For those who don't speak government, the word "permanent" doesn't mean "forever," it just means the opposite of a "temporary" or "additional" (part-time) duty. Hence a change of military assignment is called a "PCS" (Permanent Change of Station) if you move to a different base, and a "PCA" (Permanent Change of Assignment) if you just change jobs at the same base.

PERMANENT?

I mean, stop being SO FUCKING STUPID.

Dude, run this stuff by someone with a clue next time. You torpedo your credibility with every post. [ed--what credibility?] (Ah, good point . . . Never mind.)

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