Let me take a quick hit on the trial coverage on offer from reporter Neil Lewis of the Times.
He is describing the testimony of Cathie Martin, who handled press relations for Dick Cheney, and reports this:
She testified that both Mr. Cheney and Mr. Libby were intensely interested in Ms. Wilson and her husband, Joseph C. Wilson IV, who had been sent to Africa to investigate reports that Saddam Hussein was trying to buy uranium from Niger for his nuclear weapons program.
"Intensely interested in Ms. Wilson"? That is simply not supported by two versions of her testimony. Here is James Joyner's liveblog:
Except for 10 or 20 seconds when you recollect you told Mr. Libby and VP Cheney about Wilson’s trip and his wife’s role, you had no other discussions with either of them about Mrs. Wilson?
“Not that I recall.”
At no time during the talking points discussion, did you mention Mrs. Wilson? No.
You wanted to get the whole story out? Yes.
But you didn’t think the wife was part of that whole story? “I didn’t think it was helpful to us.”
Your understanding was that Vice President Cheney’s intention was to get all the truth out about Wilson’s trip? Yes.
Is it correct that “at no time IN YOUR ENTIRE LIFE” did the VP indicate to you that Mrs. Wilson or her status was part of getting that story out? Correct.
“Do you have any knowledge of Libby EVER discussing with ANY reporter information about Mrs. Wilson and her employment status?” No.
Ms. Wheeler offers a similar account:
W Fitz also asked questions whether you had recollection of discussions about what reporters were saying about Mrs. Valerie Wilson.
M No recollection
W Except for 10-20 seconds when you recollect you told Libby and Cheney about Mrs. Wilson's wife working at CIA
M My recollection was the only conversation is when I learned of his name and his wife worked there.
W and you never had any discussions about Mrs. Wilson.
W During this week when you were part of the team at no time did you say anything to Libby about Mrs. Wilson. Your job, get whole story out, get whole story out, Libby wanted to get the whole story out. You did not view "the wife" as part of the story
M it seemed not helpful to us. It explained something to me about why he got sent.
W when you were on a mission, you did not view "the wife" as part of that story. When you listen to VP Cheney, at no time did you understand that to have anything to do with the wife.
W [Wells walking away from mike] Vice President says you should be completely accurage, lay it all out. WRTresponding to Wilson's allegations.
M VP wanted whole story about trip, report, made public.
W Wanted the WHOLE story out.
W Is it correct that at no time did VP indicate to you that he viewed Mrs. Wilson or her job status as part of the story?
M I did not have the conversatoin with the VP about that.
W VP Never uttered a WORD to you IN HIS LIFE.
M Not that I recall but I uttered words to him about.
W You have had no recollectoin
M I can't be sure it lasted 20-30 seconds. I remember my portion of the conversation.
W Conversation also involved other information about Wilson. Mr Fitzgerald asked you about what took place during week of July 7. Conversations with Hadely, Mitchell, Tenet, reporters, conversations with VP and Mr. Libby. Is it correct that you have no knowledge of Scooter Libby EVER discussing any information concerning Mrs. Wilson or her employment status. And the conversations that you were asked questions about involving Mitchell and Hadley. Those conversation had nothing to do with the wife, Mrs. Wilson.
I understand that it may suit Mr. Lewis' story line, but I don't understand how one mention of less than 30 seconds with no apparent follow-up can be construed as "intensely interested in Ms. Wilson".
Of course, Mr. Lewis is a sly fox - what he wrote was "intensely interested in Ms. Wilson and her husband, Joseph C. Wilson IV", which literalists and Times editors can defend as correct - Libby and Cheney had an intense interest in Mr. Wilson and no discernible interest in his wife, at least per the account of Ms. Martin.
This is deceptive reporting, whether by incompetence or design.