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May 31, 2007

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Comments

dmh

As I understand the USA Today story this is merely the position of Sen. Bond, not the full or even other members of the committee. Either there is nothing new here or I am missing something.

Jane

I predict that no time will be found to explore the possible perjury of Ms. Plame. Afterall, there is no underlying crime...

Maybeex

I predict this is when we start hearing that Val, like Joe, is really just a private citizen. And it is soooo uncomfortable to criticize a private citizen. Nick Kristof has explained this before.

lurker9876

I am guessing that this is too much of a hot potato for the Republicans in Bond's committee to deal with, especially when the Democrats has the majority plus Waxman being a chairman. Waxman hasn't been giving the Republicans equal time and fair questionings. If Waxman (and other chairmen of other committees) don't like where the Republicans' questions were heading, he would put a stop to it. Just like he did with Toensing.

Maybeex, what do you mean by criticizing a private citizen? We do it all the time...

And what do you also mean by Plame becoming a private citizen? That her fame of 15 minutes will soon be over once she is a private citizen? Especially if her case is dismissed?

Underlying crime? Heh...if there is no underlying crime, then why was Libby charged? Libby was charged based on lack of underlying crime.

hit and run

I mentioned Novak's book a while back ... but now with actual Plame threads perhaps it is more relevant.

Attn: Chris Matthews and other Libby lovers. One reader of an advance copy tells me that the book begins and ends with Novak's account of Plamegate.

Here's the Amazon listing....

The Prince of Darkness: 50 Years Reporting in Washington
by Robert D. Novak

Availability: This title will be released on July 10, 2007.

Some editorial reviews on amazon:

The barbs start flying on page one (Bush critic Joseph Wilson: What an asshole!) and continue to nearly the end
...
Along the way he drinks and gambles, battles liberal media bias, wrangles contracts with cable channels, settles scores with critics...defends his outing of Valerie Plame and tosses in many old columns, which read like a seismograph tracing of political microtremors

and...

Novak immediately cuts to the chase, beginning this memoir with his first in-person encounter with Joseph Wilson, in the green room of NBC's Meet the Press in 2003. Wilson and his wife, Valerie Plame, would eventually form the center of a major career-jeopardizing controversy for Novak, who is blunt in his immediate low opinion of the man.
...
Novak also traces the growth of Washington from a sleepy town to a power center, prone to treacherous machinations. Having traveled through the chronology of news events of the past 50 years, Novak returns to the Plame Affair, detailing the fallout of his column "outing" Plame as a CIA agent and expresses no regrets.

So many questions. First one, who was the stranger on the street?

Crust

Tom, so your view is that it is still an open question whether Valerie Plame was covert in terms of the legal definition of the IIPA. So even if Fitz could prove intent there wouldn't automatically be a violation of the IIPA.

But what's your position on a possible violation of the Espionage Act, Tom? The technical legal definition of "covert" doesn't come into play there, right? Do you think there is any issue there other than intent?

hoosierhoops

Underlying crime? Heh...if there is no underlying crime, then why was Libby charged? Libby was charged based on lack of underlying crime.
Posted by: lurker9876

ahem..Cause he lied maybe?
He should have said..' sir, i can't hardly remember a thing about..ah..what's her name? Plame? I dunno..I was so dang busy then..wish I could help you..'
The adage goes ' It's not the crime..It's the cover-up'
My heart goes out to Libby and his family.

Other Tom

"...other than intent?" Intent is an element of the offense. After a three-year investigation by an aggressive special counsel with not a whiff of an allegation of any violation of the Espionage Act, I should think we can all conclude that it was not violated. Speculation as to what elements of the offense are lacking, in the absence of any indication of interest on the part of the prosecutor, would seem to be idle at this stage of the game.

As for Plame's possible perjury, nothing whatsoever will come of this.

Maybeex

Sorry, lurker.
I was cribbing from a Nick Kristof column, in which it seemed he was just about to come clean on what Joe Wilson told him...then demurred by saying he was uncomfortable criticizing a private citizen.

lurker9876

hoosier,

Clarification: The cover up is done by people other than Libby, Cheney, and their group. I'd say Wilson is among the few that have been doing the cover ups.

Other Tom, I'm afraid that Walton will end up agreeing with Fitz that some violation was performed. Walton won't see that there were no allegations of any violation of the Espionage Act and IIPA like we do. This is another clear act of a change of direction in our court system. Let's hope that we gain a strong '08 majority to get it back on track where the court system needs to be - rule according to US Constitution (as a non-living document) and legislation and non-activist (meaning ruling based on their opinions like that Judge Ann Diggs-Taylor).

Does the Espionage Act include a definition of covert?

BTW, what's the status of Bate's ruling on the Wilson case? Whatever happened to Judge Ann's ruling on NSA?

Appalled Moderate

Other Tom:

Because Libby did not provide truthful testimony, Fitz did not have the evidence to sustain a prosecution on either the Espionage Act or the IIPA. This is the reasoning of his indictment, his presser, his closing statement, and his sentencing suggestions.

Fitz was interested in the Espionage Act. He just didn't make a charge under it. He has that discretion.

Tom Maguire

But what's your position on a possible violation of the Espionage Act, Tom? The technical legal definition of "covert" doesn't come into play there, right? Do you think there is any issue there other than intent?

Time does fly - it was nearly two years ago the Baseball Crank leafed through the Espionage Act and noted some problems.

I think the Act would not apply for many reasons. However, not all of those reasons would have been evident from the outset of the investigation, so the argument thtathe investigation was in good faith stands.

As to why it couldn't be used, once the facts are in - well, the act seems to contemplate something material, like a map, photo, code book, etc. If a person's name was enough, why pass the IIPA?

As to meeting the intent requirement, forget it.

And even Fitzgerald in his Oct 2005 presser noted problems with the act - there are probably cases that could be brought that would lead to the overturning of the act on appeal, on free speech grounds.

Crust

Appalled Moderate:
Fitz was interested in the Espionage Act. He just didn't make a charge under it. He has that discretion.

Sure he has that discretion. But why did he use that discretion and not make a charge under the Espionage Act? The obvious answer to my mind is he can't prove intent. But I'm wondering if there might be some other issue (as in the IIPA case). Or not. Other Tom doesn't like idle speculation, but I'm curious.

Appalled Moderate

And one other thing. The question s not whther Fitz could have gotten a conviction under the espionage act. It is whether the obstruction of which Libby is convicted related to that investigation. It seems reasonable that it was. See discussion of the Act.

Crust

Thanks for the ample reply, Tom. (My last comment was posted before seeing it.)

lurker9876

Why would Libby's conviction be related to "that" investigation when Fitz already knew that Armitage was the original leaker? Why did Fitz continue with the investigation? There was no need to continue with the investigation. Since Fitz already knew about Armitage, then the scope of the investigation should be around Armitage so why did Fitz go beyond that scope? Revenge because of Marc Rich to the point of ruining Libby.

No, it's not reasonable.

Tom Maguire

Because Libby did not provide truthful testimony, Fitz did not have the evidence to sustain a prosecution on either the Espionage Act or the IIPA. This is the reasoning of his indictment, his presser, his closing statement, and his sentencing suggestions.

You say "reasoning", I say "spin".

I have belabored this before, but -

Fitzgerald's position seems to be, we don't know "the truth" from Libby, and "the truth" *might* have been a full confession to every element of the IIPA, therefore my failure to prosecute under the IIPA was due to Libby's failure to provide "the truth".

I say, BS. There are plenty of of other possible "truths" Libby might have provided that would have led to a dead end. And Fitzgerald did interview Cheney, Tenet, et al without finding anyone to 'fess up to telling Libby that Ms. Plame had classified status.

I think I could agree with the proposition that, because Libby did not tell the truth, it is impossible to be sure he did *not* meet the requirements if the IIPA (I'll say maybe, because I still have my reservations about Ms. Plame's covert status).

But my revised proposition is a bit different from saying that it was only Libby's lies that spared him from an IIPA prosecution, which is how I often Fitzgerald's spin presented.

anduril

The Pat Dollard link--worth it just for the very cool video:

what-no-one-is-telling-you-about-our-talks-with-iran

lurker9876

"Fitzgerald's position seems to be, we don't know "the truth" from Libby, and "the truth" *might* have been a full confession to every element of the IIPA, therefore my failure to prosecute under the IIPA was due to Libby's failure to provide "the truth"."

When Libby testified before GJ, Libby kept telling Fitz that he cannot recall repeatedly until he was badgered by Fitz under undue pressure, then he added some weak explanations as possibles. And he was grilled for 8 hours. To me, that's added undue pressure.

Libby also kept telling the GJ that he's doing his best to remember things without having his notes with him. He wasn't allowed to have notes with him, from what I understand.

A jury without the liberal nutrooty bias would see through Fitz's spin.

Fitz's spin isn't limited to verbal speeches but also in his writings. He had every intent in confusing the readers of his writings and the listeners of his speeches.

I remain unconvinced that Plame was covert to the point of such narrow, limited prosecution as defined by IIPA.

BTW, I see that cycloptichorn is a teasipper.

lurker9876

"Libby's failure to provide "the truth"."

If Libby did not know what the truth at that "time, then what was his failure to provide "the truth"? That he did not recall something, which he did say repeatedly until badgered by Fitz under undue pressure?

anduril
Time does fly - it was nearly two years ago the Baseball Crank leafed through the Espionage Act and noted some problems.

I think the Act would not apply for many reasons. However, not all of those reasons would have been evident from the outset of the investigation, so the argument thtathe investigation was in good faith stands.

As to why it couldn't be used, once the facts are in - well, the act seems to contemplate something material, like a map, photo, code book, etc. If a person's name was enough, why pass the IIPA?

As to meeting the intent requirement, forget it.

And even Fitzgerald in his Oct 2005 presser noted problems with the act - there are probably cases that could be brought that would lead to the overturning of the act on appeal, on free speech grounds.

Posted by: Tom Maguire | May 31, 2007 at 10:05 AM

Oh, please, Tom! The most prominent names among the DoJ attorneys who started the original investigation were from DoJ's Espionage Section. Do you really think they had no clue about the difficulties of applying the Act to this factual situation--and didn't bother to pass their views on to Fitz? Come on! As I said yesterday, "leaking" of classified information is criminalized only by a very limited number of statutes, all of which specify the exact type of information the leaking of which is prohibited. The Espionage Act may be broader than the others but it was a non-starter from day one--even before Armitage walked in the door with Powell and Taft in tow.
793. Gathering, transmitting or losing defense information

(a) Whoever, for the purpose of obtaining information respecting the national defense with intent or reason to believe that the information is to be used to the injury of the United States, or to the advantage of any foreign nation, goes upon, enters, flies over, or otherwise obtains information concerning any vessel, aircraft, work of defense, navy yard, naval station, submarine base, fueling station, fort, battery, torpedo station, dockyard, canal, railroad, arsenal, camp, factory, mine, telegraph, telephone, wireless, or signal station, building, office, research laboratory or station or other place connected with the national defense owned or constructed, or in progress of construction by the United States or under the control of the United States, or of any of its officers, departments, or agencies, or within the exclusive jurisdiction of the United States, or any place in which any vessel, aircraft, arms, munitions, or other materials or instruments for use in time of war are being made, prepared, repaired, stored, or are the subject of research or development, under any contract or agreement with the United States, or any department or agency thereof, or with any person on behalf of the United States, or otherwise on behalf of the United States, or any prohibited place so designated by the President by proclamation in time of war or in case of national emergency in which anything for the use of the Army, Navy, or Air Force is being prepared or constructed or stored, information as to which prohibited place the President has determined would be prejudicial to the national defense; or
(b) Whoever, for the purpose aforesaid, and with like intent or reason to believe, copies, takes, makes, or obtains, or attempts to copy, take, make, or obtain, any sketch, photograph, photographic negative, blueprint, plan, map, model, instrument, appliance, document, writing, or note of anything connected with the national defense; or
(c) Whoever, for the purpose aforesaid, receives or obtains or agrees or attempts to receive or obtain from any person, or from any source whatever, any document, writing, code book, signal book, sketch, photograph, photographic negative, blueprint, plan, map, model, instrument, appliance, or note, of anything connected with the national defense, knowing or having reason to believe, at the time he receives or obtains, or agrees or attempts to receive or obtain it, that it has been or will be obtained, taken, made, or disposed of by any person contrary to the provisions of this chapter; or
(d) Whoever, lawfully having possession of, access to, control over, or being entrusted with any document, writing, code book, signal book, sketch, photograph, photographic negative, blueprint, plan, map, model, instrument, appliance, or note relating to the national defense, or information relating to the national defense which information the possessor has reason to believe could be used to the injury of the United States or to the advantage of any foreign nation, willfully communicates, delivers, transmits or causes to be communicated, delivered, or transmitted or attempts to communicate, deliver, transmit or cause to be communicated, delivered or transmitted the same to any person not entitled to receive it, or willfully retains the same and fails to deliver it on demand to the officer or employee of the United States entitled to receive it; or
(e) Whoever having unauthorized possession of, access to, or control over any document, writing, code book, signal book, sketch, photograph, photographic negative, blueprint, plan, map, model, instrument, appliance, or note relating to the national defense, or information relating to the national defense which information the possessor has reason to believe could be used to the injury of the United States or to the advantage of any foreign nation, willfully communicates, delivers, transmits or causes to be communicated, delivered, or transmitted, or attempts to communicate, deliver, transmit or cause to be communicated, delivered, or transmitted the same to any person not entitled to receive it, or willfully retains the same and fails to deliver it to the officer or employee of the United States entitled to receive it; or
(f) Whoever, being entrusted with or having lawful possession or control of any document, writing, code book, signal book, sketch, photograph, photographic negative, blueprint, plan, map, model, instrument, appliance, note, or information, relating to the national defense,
(1) through gross negligence permits the same to be removed from its proper place of custody or delivered to anyone in violation of his trust, or to be lost, stolen, abstracted, or destroyed, or
(2) having knowledge that the same has been illegally removed from its proper place of custody or delivered to anyone in violation of its trust, or lost, or stolen, abstracted, or destroyed, and fails to make prompt report of such loss, theft, abstraction, or destruction to his superior officer—
Shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than ten years, or both.
(g) If two or more persons conspire to violate any of the foregoing provisions of this section, and one or more of such persons do any act to effect the object of the conspiracy, each of the parties to such conspiracy shall be subject to the punishment provided for the offense which is the object of such conspiracy.
(h)
(1) Any person convicted of a violation of this section shall forfeit to the United States, irrespective of any provision of State law, any property constituting, or derived from, any proceeds the person obtained, directly or indirectly, from any foreign government, or any faction or party or military or naval force within a foreign country, whether recognized or unrecognized by the United States, as the result of such violation. For the purposes of this subsection, the term “State” includes a State of the United States, the District of Columbia, and any commonwealth, territory, or possession of the United States.
(2) The court, in imposing sentence on a defendant for a conviction of a violation of this section, shall order that the defendant forfeit to the United States all property described in paragraph (1) of this subsection.
(3) The provisions of subsections (b), (c), and (e) through (p) of section 413 of the Comprehensive Drug Abuse Prevention and Control Act of 1970 (21 U.S.C. 853 (b), (c), and (e)–(p)) shall apply to—
(A) property subject to forfeiture under this subsection;
(B) any seizure or disposition of such property; and
(C) any administrative or judicial proceeding in relation to such property,
if not inconsistent with this subsection.
(4) Notwithstanding section 524 (c) of title 28, there shall be deposited in the Crime Victims Fund in the Treasury all amounts from the forfeiture of property under this subsection remaining after the payment of expenses for forfeiture and sale authorized by law.

Appalled Moderate

TM:

Fitz is entitled to his spin in his briefs. Walton can call BS on them if he so chooses.

My sole point (because I think this prosecution was ill-judged and unfair) was that, beased on his line of reasoning which follows from the Espionage Act investigation he was conducting, Fitz does not need a determination that Val was covert as defined under the IIPA. All he needs is some finding from the CIA that Val's identity was secret. The CIA's home spun definition of covert ought to be enough for that.

The bar Fitz is setting for himself is not all that high. You guys are arguing that he needed to provide a finding that Val was covert under the IIPA. Under his argument, he doesn't; and he's not going to waste his time trying.

lurker9876

I doubt that Walton will call BS regardless of lack of evidence...based on his recent performance during Libby's trial (and before).

The CIA's definition of "covert" hasn't been clear even to this very date. There are enough evidence that proves that Plame was not covert under the conditions of IIPA. So, no, it's not going to be enough to satisfy the American Public that have invested time in learning the Plame story.

As for Fitz needing to provide a finding, the defense team should have been allowed by Walton to seek Plame's status pre-trial in order to determine if they have the means to challenge Plame's status, which to date, they have the evidence. Now that Fitz introduced it as part of the sentencing phase, this opens up the defense team to challenge Fitz. Therefore, Fitz had better have a finding in advance to prove it. Right now, Fitz doesn't appear to have a finding it.

lurker9876

anduril,

The Espionage Age seems to imply that if damages were done against the US government or granted advantage to foreign countries based on a leaked identity. Plame's identity was already leaked years before by several original sources. So how can Libby's non-original leak damage the US government?

If Libby was the original leaker causing damage to the US government, that would have been the underlying crime in my mind. I may be wrong but would that be correct, anduril?

anduril

Saying that invocation of the Espionage Act in this investigation was in good faith is a bit like saying that the Sandy Burglar investigation (also run by long time professionals from the Espionage Section) was conducted in good faith. Which is why the judge tossed out the plea agreement and gave Burglar a stiffer sentence, accompanied by strong words from the bench (a favorite Plum phrase, that). Libby can only hope for a judge with that kind of...spine.

cboldt

Libby had this same 3-page "proof" before the trial. But if this is all that Fitzgerald has, then in my mind, the question of "covert under the IIPA" is settled, and Plame was -NOT- covert under the IIPA, contrary to the assertion made to bolster sentencing.

The particular findings in the 3 page memo, as well as the statements in Plame's own testimony, point away from the conclusion that she was covert for purposes of the IIPA.

Before Fitzgerald disclosed what he had, my position was "we don't know." But this material, coupled with Fitz's conclusory statement that it constitutes proof of "covert under the IIPA," makes me think he has disclosed all that he has on the subject.

Another example of saying something to inflate the importance of the case - a cheap shot.

boris

Let’s say CIA infodude tells Tony Snow details X, Y and Z. As it happens X and Z are important details cleared for public release. Y is an unnecessary, unimportant detail that simply explains a relationship between X and Z. At one time Y was classified information and current status is undetermined.

CIA infodude does NOT warn Tony that Y is anything other than a gossipy detail and Tony mentions Y to reporter A. Some other reporter B discloses detail Y in a published column, having learned Y from someone in the State Department.

The CIA now raises concerns that detail Y has been released to the public and initiates an investigation.

Point: The classified status of Y is irrelevant to any culpability of Tony for anything he may have said to investigators. Why? BECAUSE THE CIA LEAKED THE DETAIL ITSELF! The only person who bears responsibility for the release of Y is the CIA infodude.

Detail Y was not need to know and if it was classified there was no reason to disclose it to Tony. Even if there had been some reason to disclose it, proper disclosure REQUIRES that Tony be made aware of the classified nature of Y. Tony is not obligated to recheck every detail disclosed by CIA infodudes using other official and/or unofficial sources since that was infodude’s responsibility as the official CIA infodude.

anduril

Correct, lurker. And for all the other reasons Tom hinted at. My beef is with suggesting that the claim that there was even a colorable violation of the Espionage Act was made in good faith. It was probably leverage to try to force a plea, or was used to keep the investigation going. We may learn more about that yet from the Dow Jones lawsuit.

Other Tom

I guess a prosecutor in any perjury or false statement case can always claim, "if the defendant had told the truth I could have proved X, Y or Z crimes."

That's not very persuasive as a general matter, but in the particular case of Libby it doesn't hold up at all. Fitz claimed to have identified very specific untruthful statements by Libby, and in each instance the facts that would have been disclosed by a truthful answer were known, and in fact were proven--it was that proof that enable the jury to find as it did. Yet the truth still did not make out a crime under either the IIPA or the Espionage Act.

It's been apparent to me since mid-trial that Libby lied. But to claim that had ne not done so, other crimes would have been established is overreaching by a long shot.

anduril

Bingo, cboldt and boris. And cboldt, the general public may not have known what Fitz knew about Plame, but the point is that Fitz did know = cheap shot.

cathyf
...this is merely the position of Sen. Bond, not the full or even other members of the committee.
Ok, this is basically a rhetorical question -- "What do they teach in schools these days?!?!?!!"

So, do you think that "dmh" has any concept of the difference between facts on the one hand, and analysis, value judgements, conclusions, etc. on the other hand? The only real "position" here was on the decision of whether or not to have stuff declassified & released (Plame's memo and the State Dept guy's memo). Once that decision was made, we have merely the facts of what these documents say in them. We also have the facts of the transcripts of the Waxman hearings. Once we have all the facts we can decide for ourselves whether the stories are inconsistent or not; only morons and the self-lobotomized need to go off and find some "expert" to interpret the data for them, so only they have to worry about the selection process for their "experts". Let me give you a clue, dmh, I don't think that Valerie's stories are inconsistent because Tom Maguire or Kit Bond say they are -- I'm smart enough to read them and to decide for myself that they are inconsistent.

Unless you are seriously trying to claim that Sen. Bond forged these documents AND that the dozens of people who would be in the position to know that they were forgeries are keeping silent. (Many of those people, for example rival senators and their staffs, would have no motive at all to cover for Bond and strong motives to blow the whistle on him.)

...seems like a good time to go long tinfoil futures...sigh...

Jane

Underlying crime? Heh...if there is no underlying crime, then why was Libby charged?

Lurker,

You missed my dripping sarcasm.

anduril

But OT, in view of your statement:

Fitz claimed to have identified very specific untruthful statements by Libby, and in each instance the facts that would have been disclosed by a truthful answer were known

why do you think Libby lied? Lying requires some sort of specific intent. What was his intent or motive in your view? I have never been able to see that.

lurker9876

Thanks, anduril. There was nothing in the Espionage Act where person A that leaked person B's identity damaged person B should be charged.

Cathyf, thanks for posting it. I thought dmh was claiming that Bond forged the documents. If the other members in Bond's committee disregarded the facts, then it's disengenuous of them. It just adds proof of a dog and pony show.

I am unconvinced of Plame's recent explanation that there was nothing in that email recommending Joe for the trip. It also shows that she offered Joe for the trip and it was up to her bosses to accept her offer. How is that not a recommendation?

lurker9876

"Fitz claimed to have identified very specific untruthful statements by Libby, and in each instance the facts that would have been disclosed by a truthful answer were known."

The problem with this statement is that Fitz already knew about Armitage, knew that Libby did not disclose Plame's identity, and knew that there was no damage done to the US government, so why did Fitz pursue Libby? There does not seem to be any reason for Fitz to continue to pursue Libby at all. Not that I can see.

Jane, LOL!

Other Tom

The short answer, Anduril, is that I really don't know why he lied, but I do have some guesses. I think it comes down, in the end, to a combination of a fear of political embarrassment, a mistaken belief that the reporters weren't going to talk, and another mistaken belief that the investigation was about who had leaked to Novak, which he knew he hadn't done. I just think he thought the risk to himself in lying was minimal, and the cost of telling the truth would have been a press firestorm. Maybe if he gets pardoned he'll tell us, but I doubt it--I think he'll go to his grave saying he was just confused and forgetful. Doesn't wash with me.

Other Tom

Lurker, I think Fitz knew almost from the day he was appointed that a "process" crime--perjury and obstruction--had been committed, and he set out to spring the trap. One can make all sorts of policy arguments why this shouldn't be done, but I don't think one can say that it shouldn't be done to Republicans but it's OK when done to Democrats.

When all is said and done, this was a bona fide, garden-variety crime, but there's no doubt at all that it grew out of a political dispute. This is just the latest in a long line of instances of the criminalization of our politics, and I think it's a bad thing for the country no matter which party's ox is gored.

boris

I just think he thought the risk to himself in lying was minimal, and the cost of telling the truth would have been a press firestorm.

My problem with your explanation is that “minimal risk” does not require a “stupid lie” that provides little or no cover compared to the truth and minimal effort would have produced a better, sucessful lie.

To me that is an example of the solution that is simple, obvious and wrong.

lurker9876

Other Tom, even if he lied, what was the intent, motive, opportunity, and underlying crime? We all lie but most are white lies. Libby kept saying, "I don't recall." in every way, shape, and form many times but Fitz kept badgering him. He didn't have his notes and kept telling the GJ that he was doing his best to remember things without having access to his notes. Fitz supposedly wouldn't allow Libby access to his notes. His character witnesses testified that Libby just cannot remember things well without referring to his notes.

Fair enough. Libby should not have been charged for lying under those conditions plus Fitz's continuation of his unneccessary investigation.

cathyf
Cause he lied maybe? He should have said..' sir, i can't hardly remember a thing about..ah..what's her name? Plame? I dunno..I was so dang busy then..wish I could help you..'
But hoosier, if you do remember, and you say you don't remember, that's a lie! (And under oath on a material matter, it's perjury.)

But I suppose I'm using the traditional meaning of "lie" when I say that. Perhaps you meant the Fitzlaw meaning of "lie" -- which is when a person says that he remembers something, describes what he remembers, and the only other witness to the event says that he doesn't remember it. Because in Fitzlaw, if you remember something not remembered by the one other person who was there this is called "perjury" and "obstruction of justice". Even if what you remember and what the other person remembers are not inconsistent and could just be that you are both accurately recalling different parts of the same event while having simply forgetten one or more parts that the other person recalls.

lurker9876

Other Tom, do you really think Libby knew the truth at that particular time? From my readings, I don't think Libby had enough data to know exactly what the truth was at that time.

Cycloptichorn

BTW, I see that cycloptichorn is a teasipper.

Damn straight.

Lurker,
Other Tom, even if he lied, what was the intent, motive, opportunity, and underlying crime?

The Intent was to keep Fitz and other investigators from finding out the truth about who discussed Plame, in what order, and for what reasons, and what orders were given in respect to her identity.

The Motive was to keep Libby or others in the organization from being charged with violating the Espionage act, the IIPA, or other crimes.

The Opportunity to lie came during the long interviews, before which Libby et others had plenty of time to get their stories straight and concoct a tale to make it look as if they were all innocent and those ewil weporters were behind this whole mess.

The underlying crime was the intentional outing of a covert operative for political retribution against her husband.

"I don't recall" is not a sufficient answer to a question. His memory was not that bad, and certainly not so bad that he happened to remember things that didn't happen. The jury concurred with this opinion.

None of this is all that difficult to figure out...

lurker9876

"Because in Fitzlaw, if you remember something not remembered by the one other person who was there this is called "perjury" and "obstruction of justice". Even if what you remember and what the other person remembers are not inconsistent and could just be that you are both accurately recalling different parts of the same event while having simply forgetten one or more parts that the other person recalls."

And every "other" person was discredited by the defense team so how can that prove Libby lied? It's the word between person A and person B.

That's another problem I have with this case. There was NOTHING that Fitz had that proved Libby lied with intent, motive, opportunity, and no underlying crime. But the jury totally disregarded the discredibility of every reporter and did not see that there was NO evidence proving Libby lied and obstructed the justice.

boris

My less simple, less obvious explanation is based on the reliance on notes and landmark events by the other witnesses. Reconstructed memories are only as good as their anchor points. Even Cathie Martin's clear independent recollection was adjusted by a Month on the basis of a Joe Wilson TV appearance.

3 months later when he spoke to investigators Libby’s reconstruction of events was faulty.

topsecretk9

--Because in Fitzlaw, if you remember something not remembered by the one other person who was there this is called "perjury" and "obstruction of justice".--

OK, fine, because this represents Plame's most recent version (CIA can't find square this) compounded by 2 additional conflicting versions.

Specter
"I don't recall" is not a sufficient answer to a question.

Gawwwwddd Larry, you are too funny. Must be all that extra weight you're carrying between the ears. Just a little history lesson for ya though. From the Clinton Legacy:

ARKANSAS ALTZHEIMER'S

Number of times that Clinton figures who testified in court or before Congress said that they didn't remember, didn't know, or something similar.

Bill Kennedy 116
Harold Ickes 148
Ricki Seidman 160
Bruce Lindsey 161
Bill Burton 191
Mark Gearan 221
Mack McLarty 233
Neil Egglseston 250
Hillary Clinton 250
John Podesta 264
Jennifer O'Connor 343
Dwight Holton 348
Patsy Thomasson 420
Jeff Eller 697

FROM THE WASHINGTON TIMES: In the portions of President Clinton's Jan. 17 deposition that have been made public in the Paula Jones case, his memory failed him 267 times. This is a list of his answers and how many times he gave each one.

I don't remember - 71
I don't know - 62
I'm not sure - 17
I have no idea - 10
I don't believe so - 9
I don't recall - 8
I don't think so - 8
I don't have any specific recollection - 6
I have no recollection - 4
Not to my knowledge - 4
I just don't remember - 4
I don't believe - 4
I have no specific recollection - 3
I might have - 3
I don't have any recollection of that - 2 I don't have a specific memory - 2
I don't have any memory of that - 2
I just can't say - 2
I have no direct knowledge of that - 2
I don't have any idea - 2
Not that I recall - 2
I don't believe I did - 2
I can't remember - 2
I can't say - 2
I do not remember doing so - 2
Not that I remember - 2
I'm not aware - 1
I honestly don't know - 1
I don't believe that I did - 1
I'm fairly sure - 1
I have no other recollection - 1
I'm not positive - 1
I certainly don't think so - 1
I don't really remember - 1
I would have no way of remembering that - 1
That's what I believe happened - 1
To my knowledge, no - 1
To the best of my knowledge - 1
To the best of my memory - 1
I honestly don't recall - 1
I honestly don't remember - 1
That's all I know - 1
I don't have an independent recollection of that - 1
I don't actually have an independent memory of that - 1
As far as I know - 1
I don't believe I ever did that - 1
That's all I know about that - 1
I'm just not sure - 1
Nothing that I remember - 1
I simply don't know - 1
I would have no idea - 1
I don't know anything about that - 1
I don't have any direct knowledge of that - 1
I just don't know - 1
I really don't know - 1
I can't deny that, I just -- I have no memory of that at all - 1

So is "I don't recall" really improper?

JJ

Other Tom

Thanks finally going into Libby's motivation.

My little ol' self does not think that Libby felt like he was cornered. There does not seem to be that kind of feel to his grand jury testimony (the little bit that I have read).

That his testimony would have set off a "press firestorm"??!! It was closed testimony first of all; so the press couldn't have it.

That it eventually would have been public at trial?

Libby could have said something to the prosecutor like: "After Wilson's many media appearances and accusations, we got curious and discovered it was common knowledge who Wilson's wife was."

lurker: At the time of his GJ testimony, he did have the facts?

As to my pretty raw guess as to why Libby said what he said: He was cocky and he was mad. He was cocky about Fitz's investigation being bogus. I am betting Libby knew the real genesis of the Novak (and Woodward) story. Maybe not Armitage exactly, but that someone at State or CIA started it. He assumed that it would all collapse and was going to put a little snark on it before it did.

He was mad because this from the beginning was been about intergovernmental turf fighting. Fitz was just used in the fight.

Throw in a small bit of fear of the law and I think you get an error at GJ testimony.


lurker9876

First, I would think that the motive, intent, and opportunity would have to be based on an underlying crime.

Since there is no underlying crime, it would be harder to prove the motive, intent, and opportunity against Libby.

And cyclo knows what a teasipper is.

And Libby may not know exactly what the whole truth is about Plame. So discussing Plames identity was...a crime...based on what? Exactly where and when did Libby was the first one to bring up Plame's identity? How is this any different from Armitage telling Novak? And how is this any different from Harlow confirming Plame's identity with Novak? Did Libby know that Plame's identity was classified? Talking about Plame without knowing Plame's identity was classified is not a violation of law.

How many times did Clinton say, "I don't recal" in every way, shape, and form? And he wasn't charged with a crime. So apparently, "I don't recall" is a sufficient answer in today's questions under oath, even if challenged by documents shown to the person under oath.

Has Fitz proved this? There was nothing during the trial that showed this as a motive. Was Libby charged with a violation of the Espionage Act, IIPA, or other crimes? None of these were covered during the trial.

They didn't have their stories straight. Besides, Fitz's witnesses did not even have their stories straight. Fitz found nothing to charge anyone other than Libby.

Cycloptichorn

Specter,
Gawwwwddd Larry, you are too funny.

I'm not Larry Johnson. I have no idea why members of this site are so fixated upon the guy.

But, to answer your question, yes - I don't recall is an improper answer to a question. If it's one out of every 50 opportunities questioned, that's one thing; when every answer is 'I don't recall' people were lying.

I'm not sure why you think the 'Clinton did it!' argument carries any actual weight.

Walter

Boris!

Did you notice that Libby used your example in his reply to the presentencing report?

We don't have the full document, but Fitzgerald helpfully refuted it in footnote 9 of his sentencing calculations:

... the hypothetical case posited by defendant in his submission to the Probation Office -- in which the defendant is convicted of intentionally obstructing a murder investigation, but it turns out that the homicide in question was, in fact, a suicide ...

Now, I'm speculating that Libby referred to boathouses and golf courses in that hypo, but your approach* has been explicitly adopted in a defence filing.
___________________
* Unlike the illegitimate prosecution defence, which, according to Fitzgerald, has only been implicitly adopted by the defence.

lurker9876

hey, teasipper, go read Rick Moran's post about Larry Johnson. After reading Rick's post, you'll understand why you want nothing to do with him. He has ways to find out who you are. where you live, and obtain your phone number.

Heh, the number of times that Clinton did "I did not recall" is far more than Libby's number.

Apparently, the legal community seems to think "I don't recall" is a proper answer and sometimes needed.

Cycloptichorn

Lurker,
First, I would think that the motive, intent, and opportunity would have to be based on an underlying crime.

You think incorrectly. It doesn't matter if there was a crime committed or not for there to be motive to hide things from those investigating. All you have to have is a SUSPECTED crime. Noone in the VP office knew what was going to happen, who was going to be charged with what, if anything. This provides motive and intent.

Since there is no underlying crime, it would be harder to prove the motive, intent, and opportunity against Libby.

It is a fallacy to say that 'there is no underlying crime.' Look, you can't just assert something over and over and over and pretend it is a fact, and what more a fact from which you can draw logical inferences. It is not supportable to say that 'there was no underlying crime, so there was no motive to lie.' It is an assertion on your part, but you treat it as a fact. Poor argumentation.

And cyclo knows what a teasipper is.

IIRC, it's a derogatory term aimed towards students of the University of Texas by their inferiors. It doesn't matter to me if you wish to refer to me or any other graduate of UT in this fashion.

boris

Libby used your example in his reply ...

Uh oh, maybe this is all my fault!

anduril
OT:

I think it comes down, in the end, to a combination of a fear of political embarrassment, a mistaken belief that the reporters weren't going to talk, and another mistaken belief that the investigation was about who had leaked to Novak, which he knew he hadn't done. I just think he thought the risk to himself in lying was minimal, and the cost of telling the truth would have been a press firestorm.

I've highlighted what I think is the true motive--the other factors amount to reasons for thinking he could get away with the lie. I agree with you to this extent: that is the only possible motive I can come up with. My problem with that as a motive is twofold: 1) the embarrassment would not be to himself but instead to Cheney, I suppose; but 2) Cheney himself, and others from his office, testified under oath themselves. Therefore, the only way I can see Libby lying with the motive of avoiding embarrassment is to presume that he is deeply stupid, and that I cannot see.

My view is that he did something that was perhaps even stupider, but also more honorable. I see him, based on the accounts of his testimony before the GJ and to interviewers, as firmly convinced that no wrong action, whether criminal or political, had taken place and also convinced that as a conscientious public servant he should cooperate with the investigation to the best of his ability--loathsome as those investigators might be and unjustified as the investigation itself might be. I think that he really believed that this approach would ultimately carry the day. Unfortunately, that "to the best of his ability" included providing "best guess" answers to questions to which he should have responded: I don't recall.

lurker9876

teasipper,

"All you have to have is a SUSPECTED crime. Noone in the VP office knew what was going to happen, who was going to be charged with what, if anything. This provides motive and intent."

In either case, what was the underlying or suspected crime?

There are none.

The VP office knew that they did nothing wrong. It behooves each and everyone of them to be ethical in their jobs. They were trying to figure out what was going on, were deluged with calls from the reporters, attacked by the mainstream media, and providing official responses. That's their motive and intent. Is that a violation of a suspected or underlying crime?

anduril

Clarification: the embarrassment hypothesis seems to posit that Libby decided to save Cheney from embarrassment--without mentioning his intention to Cheney and coordinating their stories. That seems deeply stupid to me, in that Cheney testified without any apparent concern for embarrassment. That seems very implausible to me. Also, I agree with others that the tenor of his testimony is that of someone trying to be genuinely helpful, not that of (in his own mind) an artful dodger.

lurker9876

anduril,

I've read many times that Fitz was hoping to charge Libby as a way to trump Cheney. Yet, Fitz has found nothing from Libby that he can use to charge Cheney. If that's the case, Fitz did truly ruin a decent man.

Specter

awww...be nice lurker. Call him a "little Eichman" with BDS. He should be able to accept that.

pshyco,

You are right that Libby has been convicted. But you speak as if that is the end of the legal process. There is a lot more to go here. Stay tuned. Appeals (two fronts - his court case, and Fitz's legal status to even conduct an investigation), Habeus, etc. And all that before a pardon. In the end, you lose.

Specter

Oh - and BTW...nice dodge on the Clinton Legacy. I see you couldn't bring yourself to say it was wrong that Clinton and his team used the "I don't recall" defense thousands of times. Get a grip on reality.

anduril

And another thing! :-(

This is guessing on my part, but I suspect that by the time Libby knew that he was in the crosshairs he probably could have saved his ass by "correcting" his testimony--provided that the "correction" embarrassed someone higher up the chain of command. Although Fitz unquestionably wanted a scalp, I suspect that such a hypothetical "correction" would have been attractive enough to Fitz to give Libby a bye, since 1) this was a political op all along, and the political damage caused by such a "correction" would have compensated Fitz for the lack of a scalp, but 2) Fitz might have hoped to be able, through continuing investigation, to parley that embarrassment factor into a perjury/obstruction charge against someone above Libby. That would be a gamble, but an aggressive gamble in keeping with the Fitz we've come to know and...

But Libby offered no "correction." And that, too, leads me to believe he didn't lie.

Other Tom

"Libby et others had plenty of time to get their stories straight and concoct a tale to make it look as if they were all innocent and those ewil weporters were behind this whole mess."

You may find this hard to believe, but the dumbest thing a group of potential criminal defendants can do is to talk to one another about anything remotely related to the subject matter of the investigation. The first thing each of their lawyers instructs them about is to assiduously avoid doing any such thing. I have no doubt whatsoever that such admonitions were given to all these people in this case, and I have seen not a shred of evidence that any of them attempted to "get their stories straight" or to "concoct" any story. (Recall some of the suggestions that Clinton did just that in his conversations with his secretary--which must have driven Robert Bennett crazy.) There is an abundant record in this case, and in the final analysis the conclusion is inescapable--at least to me--that Libby, and Libby alone, said something that he knew wasn't true.

One of the troubling things about this case, and political criminal cases in general, is that the Fifth Amendment is as a practical matter not available to the defendants. If this case hadn't had political implications, there's no way that any of these people would have talked without a grant of immunity. Again, this is a characteristic that troubles me regardless of which political party is involved. But my guess is that we're too far down the road now for this stuff to come to a halt.

cathyf
My sole point (because I think this prosecution was ill-judged and unfair) was that, beased on his line of reasoning which follows from the Espionage Act investigation he was conducting, Fitz does not need a determination that Val was covert as defined under the IIPA. All he needs is some finding from the CIA that Val's identity was secret. The CIA's home spun definition of covert ought to be enough for that.
AM, I agree with this. Which I why I think it is so important to show that

a) Valerie Plame Wilson was not secret/covert/classified under the CIA's homespun definition; AND

b) any competent, diligent and reasonable investigation would have known this in early October, 2003, before anyone in the White House was interviewed, and months before Fitzgerald was appointed.

The FBI started this case with Novak's column. They knew from the beginning of Oct, 2003, that Armitage was Novak's source. If they had done the bare minimum of investigating, they would have traced the chain of custody of the information through Armitage, Grossman, Ford to the State Dept guy at the meeting. When they arrived at the meeting memo, the memo says that

1) Valerie Plame Wilson was in the same room with Joe Wilson;

2) Valerie Plame Wilson was identified as Joe Wilson's wife;

3) Valerie Plame Wilson was identified as a CIA employee;

4) Joe Wilson was identified as the person that the CIA was sending to Niger.

THEREFORE, Valerie Plame Wilson was not covert. QED.

The meeting which proved that Plame was not covert/secret/classified according to the CIA's definitions and procedures came at the end of the exact same chain of custody of information which had Novak's article and Armitage's mouth as its first two links. Because Novak's article was the starting point of the investigation, the investigators knew or should have known that any and all discussion of Plame's CIA affiliation was discussion of unclassified information, and protected under the First Amendment. And they knew or should have known this by the end of October, 2003.

Other Tom

To me, it's pretty clear that there was, indeed, no underlying crime. But that's not a defense to a charge of perjury or false statements in the course of an investigation to determine whether such a crime had occurred. If a prosecutor knows that a process crime has occurred before he concludes that there was no underlying crime, it's legitimate for him to proceed.

If he concludes that there has been no underlying crime, and as of that moment has no reason to believe that a process crime has occurred either, he's obliged to wrap it up. But that's not what happened here.

boris

When it comes to speculative explanations there should be consideration given to probability as well as simplicity.

If Libby thought the risk to himself was minimal, he may have felt safer speculating on an event reconstruction without notes. One might call that “lying” because the result seems more self serving than other witness versions. Suppose Libby made stuff up to fill in what he did not remember clearly. Since he knew he did not participate in the crime under investigation perhaps he over-testified to appear less guilty.

So the options are:

  1. Risk minimal, make up stupid lie to avoid press firestorm;

  2. Risk unknown, speculate on events to reduce risk.

The premise for both is that Libby had a false understanding of the true nature of the investigation (process crime). The second seems at least as likely as the first.

JJ

The "fear of political embarrassment" angle?

Maybe not. Libby is a political infighter and knows the "undermining" game of politics.

Libby could have run up and down the halls of the White House screaming, "Val recommended Joe and she is CIA" and as long as no one heard him that mattered, he was OK.

Saw this groaner on PBS's Frontline the other night:

Q: "Do you believe, though, from what you know about the case, as Joe Wilson says, that the White House was out to get him?"

A from Mark Feldstein: "Yeah. And guess what, Joe Wilson? Move over. The White House is out to get a lot of people. And every White House is, every administration. It's part of the tug-of-war of policy that you try to advance your interests and undermine your opponents'. …

I think merely whispering negative information about Joe Wilson's wife the way this administration did does not constitute some enormous change in the way things work in Washington, and does not constitute the kind of criminal behavior that really ought to result in people going to jail."

Ahhh, has it been established that the White House was the source of this whispering campaign? I don't think that they lit the first fires.

Other Tom

Cathyf, I was writing my most recent post while you were posting yours. My recollection of the timing of the various disclosures is very imperfect, and if the facts are as you suggest, then the decision to continue the investigation would be very troubling. But it's too late now. I just hope Bush pardons the guy.

JJ

OT

"One of the troubling things about this case, and political criminal cases in general, is that the Fifth Amendment is as a practical matter not available to the defendants. If this case hadn't had political implications, there's no way that any of these people would have talked without a grant of immunity."

Worth repeating!

boris

Options:

  1. Risk minimal, make up stupid lie to avoid press firestorm;

  2. Risk unknown, speculate on events to reduce risk.

Remember there is physical evidence that Libby expressed concern that he would be scapegoated. To me that supports the second option more than the first.

Cycloptichorn

Oh - and BTW...nice dodge on the Clinton Legacy. I see you couldn't bring yourself to say it was wrong that Clinton and his team used the "I don't recall" defense thousands of times. Get a grip on reality.

It was wrong that Clinton and his team used the "I don't recall defense" thousands of time. I can't say it any clearer than that.

Just because what Clinton did was also wrong, doesn't make what Libby did either Right or Acceptable.

OT -

You may find this hard to believe, but the dumbest thing a group of potential criminal defendants can do is to talk to one another about anything remotely related to the subject matter of the investigation.

I don't find this hard to believe, but I do think that it's exactly what they did. After you've broken the law once, or at least suspect that someone has done so or may be held responsible for doing so, the natural impulse is to get an alibi together. What's a conspiracy charge on top of all the other crap?

Bush won't pardon the guy, would be my guess. And even if he does pardon him, he's still a convicted criminal.

MikeS

The Fitztheory was that Libby told a primary lie and then manufactured a secondary lie to back up the first.

The primary lie being that Libby did not confirm to reporters that Wilson’s wife who worked at the CIA sent him on the Niger Mission, except to say that he had heard that from other reporters.
Cooper testified that Libby confirmed the wife’s involvement without qualification. Pincus, Woodward, and Novak testified that Libby did not confirm at all.

The secondary lie, according to the prosecution, was made necessary by the first. If Libby was going to claim he had heard about Wilson’s wife from reporters, the prosecution was sure to ask who those reporters were, so Libby made up a conversation with Russert to answer that question.
Russert testified that, during the conversation in question, he did not discuss the Wilson affair at all. In Libby’s testimony before the GJ, he said that he had discussed Wilson with Russert in that conversation and that something Russert said “surprised” or “struck” him. Libby’s testimony as to what exactly “struck” or “surprised” him varied from hearing that Wilson’s wife was involved, to surprise that Russert thought nepotism was so important.

When Fitz quizzed Libby about how he could be surprised about something he had already known for weeks, Libby remarked (Libby had already made a qualifying statement to the effect that he remembered almost nothing from that week and he was presently merely inferring what may have been the case from the information now before him) Libby remarked that he must have forgot that he already knew about Wilson’s wife at the time of the Russert conversation. Later Libby remarked that it (the thing that ‘struck’ him) was that Russert thought it (nepotism?) was so important.

The jury concluded that Libby and Russert did not discuss the Wilson affair at all and that Libby did not qualify his remarks to Cooper.

lurker9876

"that Libby, and Libby alone, said something that he knew wasn't true."

Then how did he know what was or wasn't true if he didn't have much data at that time? It's apparent that Libby did not know Plame's identity was classified or not classified at that time.

As for whether Libby had all the facts during the GJ, he was questioned on what he knew or remember at that time (months before the fall GJ testimony). He wasn't asked on what he knew by fall timeframe.

maryrose

Cyclo:
In addition to Bond, Orrin Hatch and Richard Burr other republican senators want Val Plame to clarify her conflicting testimony. She will have to come clean and stop hiding behind Waxman.

Other Tom

"...as Joe Wilson says, that the White House was out to get him?"

Horrible question--what is meant by "get?" If it means "disccredit," there's no question about it. If it means "punish by outing his wife," it's extremely clear from the record that this didn't happen.

"...I do think that it's exactly what they did. After you've broken the law once, or at least suspect that someone has done so or may be held responsible for doing so, the natural impulse is to get an alibi together. What's a conspiracy charge on top of all the other crap?"

Well, you're entitled to think whatever you would like to think, and apparently the outcome of the investigation is not enough to change your mind. But it would be helpful to your case if you could provide some evidence that this occurred. Fitzgerald has clearly concluded that it didn't, and he had some very powerful tools (including immunized testimony) available to him to prove that it did. That's good enough for me.

I take it that, if Libby is pardoned, you would derive some pleasure from the fact that he is "still a convicted criminal." That tells us more about you than about Libby.

Cycloptichorn

Maryrose,
Cyclo:
In addition to Bond, Orrin Hatch and Richard Burr other republican senators want Val Plame to clarify her conflicting testimony. She will have to come clean and stop hiding behind Waxman.

Actually, I'm going to have to make the prediction that she's not going to have to do anything of the sort.

See - and we Dems know this from experience - when you aren't in the majority, it doesn't really matter what you want investigated. It's immaterial to the agenda of the Majority party, who decides what actually will be investigated.

As the Dems are in the majority - and let's be honest, that isn't going to change in '08 - The Republicans on the committee can want an investigation all day long, but they won't get one.

Sort of like the investigations Dems wanted for years that didn't happen... tit for tat.

Other Tom

Cycloptichorn, I know you'll be bitterly disapponted to learn this, but if Libby is pardoned he will in fact no longer be a convicted criminal. Here's what the Supreme Court has to say about it:

"A pardon reaches both the punishment prescribed for the offence and the guilt of the offender; and when the pardon is full, it releases the punishment and blots out of existence the guilt, so that in the eye of the law the offender is as innocent as if he had never committed the offence. If granted before conviction, it prevents . . . the penalties and disabilities consequent upon conviction from attaching; if granted after conviction, it removes the penalties and disabilities, and restores him to all his civil rights; it makes him, as it were, a new man, and gives him a new credit and capacity."

So I guess a pardon will really ruin your day.

Cycloptichorn

OT-

I make no secret of the fact that I believe that Libby and others are guilty of outing Plame. Unfortunately my beliefs are not material to whether or not anyone will be punished for it. But I don't let it trouble me.

If it means "punish by outing his wife," it's extremely clear from the record that this didn't happen.

Except, it did happen. It's without a doubt that her identity was released and the WH had something to do with it. The only question is whether there is enough evidence to prove it in a court of law.

Do you deny her identity was outed? And let's not go down the 'she was outed by Ames' road, plz; classified info is still classified even if people find out about it, until it is officially changed in status.

I've seen some pretty tall tales here, ranging from 'Plame and Wilson worked to set up the WH!' to 'The CIA and the media worked to set up the WH!' and 'Fitz the Democrat was just trying to set up the WH!' None of these bear any relation to reality at all. It is akin to arguing that those in the center of an event were duped into action by those on the periphery; like a bunch of flies got together to trap the spiders. I find this to be uncompelling.

You can make an argument for anything. You can even make a logical argument for most things. But that doesn't make it true!

Cycloptichorn

I am disappointed to learn that, OT; it would ruin my day. But there's nothing I could do about it, so why worry about it?

Libby's pardon will exonerate him to the extent that Mark Rich's pardon exonerated him, and not a hair more.

lurker9876

"The primary lie being that Libby did not confirm to reporters that Wilson’s wife who worked at the CIA sent him on the Niger Mission, except to say that he had heard that from other reporters.
Cooper testified that Libby confirmed the wife’s involvement without qualification. Pincus, Woodward, and Novak testified that Libby did not confirm at all."

Why would this be considered a lie if Libby did not know whether this information was classified or not?

Specter

But in the end...you still lose cyclo

Jane

Let's see. Armitage told Novak and Novak checked with who's who for Joe's voluntary entry so surely the WH had something to do with it. Sort of like how they caused Katrina, or made up WMD.

lurker9876

I'm not denying that Plame's identity was outed but not by Libby, Cheney, and anyone at the WH. Fitz did not prove this during Libby's trial.

Cycloptichorn

Specter
But in the end...you still lose cyclo

This isn't about me winning or losing. I'm not sure why you are so caught up in how this will affect me personally.

My beliefs and attitudes are as immaterial to this case as yours, or anyone else's here. I don't stand to gain anything tangible when Libby goes to prison, and I don't stand to lose anything when he gets out of prison if he's pardoned.

It seems to me that you take this whole thing rather personally...

lurker9876

Cyclo-teasipper hasn't seen the works by the VIPsers.

lurker9876

Cyclo-teasipper,

The reason we're taking it personally is because Fitz is setting new precedences and how this is going to affect tomorrow's journalists, public offices, and everyone else. This is changing our court system.

Cycloptichorn

Lurker:
I'm not denying that Plame's identity was outed but not by Libby, Cheney, and anyone at the WH. Fitz did not prove this during Libby's trial.

Of course, it wasn't Fitz's intention to prove that during the Libby trial, as Libby was not being tried on those charges.

This does not equal proof that the WH did not participate in the outing of her name.

I'm not sure why you are caught up on calling me a name. Does it bring you satisfaction to do so?

Specter

cyclo,

it is simple. Do you want me to go back and quote all the derogatory things you have said about JOMers in the last few days. You staked out the position that you "won", that only you are "right", and that anybody who doesn't agree with you is somehow inferior. Maybe that is not the attitude you intended to project, but it is exactly how you come across - just like any of our regular BDS infected trolls. If you don't like having people attack you personally, maybe you should review your writings before you hit the "submit" button.

lurker9876

"I am disappointed to learn that, OT; it would ruin my day. But there's nothing I could do about it, so why worry about it?"

You made a comment so you were worried about it in the first place. Of course, I admit to making similar comments in the past so I was wrong to make it once OT corrected you.

Cycloptichorn

Lurker, hehe
The reason we're taking it personally is because Fitz is setting new precedences and how this is going to affect tomorrow's journalists, public offices, and everyone else. This is changing our court system.

I think you need to take a deep breath, man; you've slipped into a little bit of hyperbolic hysteria here.

I doubt the outcome of this case is going to change the court system in any meaningful way. The truth is that this case is no different from any other perjury prosecution; there was no precedent set by Fitz that would be transformative to our system of laws. So chill, mkay? Libby losing isn't the end of the world as we know it.

Other Tom

"Libby's pardon will exonerate him to the extent that Mark Rich's pardon exonerated him, and not a hair more."

And not a hair less. History will be the judge of the appropriateness of the pardon in each case. Should Libby be pardoned, I feel quite confident that unbiased historians will treat his pardon much more kindly than that of Marc Rich.

I will be happy to defend a pardon of Libby. I would buy a ticket to read your defense of Rich's.

lurker9876

"Of course, it wasn't Fitz's intention to prove that during the Libby trial, as Libby was not being tried on those charges.

This does not equal proof that the WH did not participate in the outing of her name.

I'm not sure why you are caught up on calling me a name. Does it bring you satisfaction to do so?"

Ah but the problem is that Fitz introduced some declassified documents to justify increased sentencing of Libby. And Fitz has found nothing to charge anyone at the WH as far as participating in the outing of Plame. He admitted that his investigation has come to a close unless there's new information and told his team members to go home and do their day jobs. It's over.

No, it brings me the only satisfaction in calling you a teasipper because it's an Aggie tradition. Yes, I'm an Aggie, graduated many years ago.

Other Tom

"This does not equal proof that the WH did not participate in the outing of her name."

No one has the burden of making any such proof. Those who would prove the contrary have the burden, and have not met it.

Cycloptichorn

Specter,
Do you want me to go back and quote all the derogatory things you have said about JOMers in the last few days

Please, go right ahead. I haven't said a single derogatory comment about any poster here. I certainly haven't engaged in name-calling, as some have towards me.

I'm only here to talk politics, and nothing more. People's personal issues mean nothing to me. You seem to be taking this whole thing rather personally as well.

I didn't win anything, the prosecution won. Libby was convicted of being guilty, and no amount of logical games on the part of posters here will change that.

If Bush pardons Libby, then he will be freed, and no amount of emotional outburst or logical reasoning on my part will change that.

I don't have a problem with anyone attacking me personally at all; it is immaterial to me and weakens their position. I'm not here to get into personal arguments with posters, but to discuss politics and the law.

MikeS

Somebody 'outed' Plame. No question that did happen.

The White House outed Plame to punish Joe Wilson. There is no evidence that happened and much evidence that it didn't happen.

Democrats ask, "Why was Wilson's wife being discussed if not to punish him?"
The answer is that Joe Wilson impied that he had been sent to Niger by the Vice President. The Vice President said he did not send him. So all the real journalists were asking, "Who sent Joe Wison?"

The answer then and now is that his wife did.

Specter

cyclo,

Remember I said attitude. Try reading some of your own comments - or better yet - have someone else read them for you. See if it doesn't sound like you are attacking - just like a BDS troll. More....

lurker9876

cyclo-teasipper,

You called me inferior a few posts ago. In the case of "teasipper", it's simply a game of rivalry being played out between t.u. and TAMU. That's all. And, no, it doesn't weaken my arguments. Almost every argument, challenge, questions, and comments have been valid.

You admit having a physical handicap. I also have a physical handicap.

And if you want to discuss politics and law, especially about this case, then you need to present facts supporting your arguments. To date, you haven't been successful in defending your arguments.

The VP had every right to defend his position against Joe Wilson's accusations, which happened to be wrong since the beginning. The VP office did nothing [wrong] to out Plame as a pushback against Joe Wilson AND the mainstream media.

Cycloptichorn

Lurker,
You called me inferior a few posts ago. In the case of "teasipper", it's simply a game of rivalry being played out between t.u. and TAMU. That's all.

There is no rivalry. You can call me, or UT, whatever you like. It is immaterial to either of us. I will rest comfortably on our record of Academic and Sports superiority over Tamu.

People in Austin don't sit around discussing Tamu, or dissing it, or making up special names for it. We don't even care about you at all. Maybe if you could field a quality football team, people would care a little more. As it is, Oklahoma is our rival now. But that's neither here nor there.

And, no, it doesn't weaken my arguments. Almost every argument, challenge, questions, and comments have been valid.

Your arguments all rest on the assumption that there was 'no underlying crime.' You can provide a logical case for this, but that doesn't make it true; I can make a logical argument for pretty much anything.

I can't present any facts which are more damning to Libby's case then Fitzgerald did. There's nothing for me to uphold, as the side of the argument which I have championed has been borne out in a court of law. I would be happier to see the investigation continue up the ranks, but without Libby copping to lying, this won't happen; that's what Obstruction of Justice means.

You can assert whatever you like, all day long, but it doesn't make it true. Statements such as, for example:

The VP had every right to defend his position against Joe Wilson's accusations, which happened to be wrong since the beginning. The VP office did nothing [wrong] to out Plame as a pushback against Joe Wilson AND the mainstream media.

I think this is a fine opinion that you hold, but it is an assertion, not a fact. The VP did not have the right to break the law in order to defend his office. There is some evidence that this is what they did, though not necessarily enough to convict someone on. There isn't much evidence that they didn't do this, as her name was released and the WH was talking to a bunch of people about it, all at the same time... it's plausible deniability that is keeping them out of the pokey, but little more.

Walter
If a prosecutor knows that a process crime has occurred before he concludes that there was no underlying crime, it's legitimate for him to proceed.

The weakest part of Fitzgerald's argument to cross-reference sentencing guidelines for IIPA is that, by the time he was appointed, he knew that he was going after process crimes.* I haven't read the cases he cites for the proposition that the linkage is appropriate without an underlying conviction or indictment, but I suspect, based on his descriptions and selected quotes, that the defendants in those cases were not prevented from introducing evidence about the underlying legality of their conduct.

I have come to accept (however reluctantly) that political consequences suffice as a motive. But Fitzgerald gave the jury a different, and far more powerful motive: Avoiding ten years in prison.

It's part of why I believe that Libby's strongest point on appeal is that Fitzgerald repeatedly elicited commentary about Plame's covert status and resulting damage to national security and (!) highlighted those points in his closing.


* Fitzgerald writes as if the Probation Office had no understanding of the relevant law. But, as even Fitzgerald points out, the grand jury was empaneled to investigate whether [Rove and Libby] tried to mislead the FBI. (Not that they would turn away from evidence of other crimes...) By looking at the numbering of grand jury exhibits and order of testimony, we can see the objective sought by the prosecutor. The pattern is likely more obvious for those with access to the entire transcript.

One of the joys of typepad: I see that TM has updated his post with video of Fitzgerald explaining his focus, mooting my attempt to derive intent.

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