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August 04, 2005

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Martin

Obviously Rove thought Hadley would destroy the e-mail.

meanwhile the pressure is getting to Novhack...

Patrick R. Sullivan

KD: 'After all, we know that in his initial testimony Rove lied ...'

TM: 'What we think we know (per Newsweek, p. 3) is that Rove did not mention Cooper in his initial testimony.'

Newsweek: 'Rove did not initially discuss the conversation with Cooper in his first interview with the FBI...'

Patrick R. Sullivan

Perfect pitch, for a post about leaping to conclusions, from Martin:

'Obviously Rove thought Hadley would destroy the e-mail.'

kim

If untrue, isn't some of that stuff libelous?
=============================================

Strick

Wait, didn't I also read that Rove noticed the discrepancy and let the investigation know he hadn't mentioned the call from Cooper. It's not like they caught him lying, right? Given that the call was supposed to have come though the White House switch board and didn't get logged for whatever reason, that seems natural. First thing you do when you learn you're calls are being investigated is check your phone log.

With the number of calls Rove is likely to get or make every day, if the call's not on the log, why is it hard to imagine he didn't remember talking to Cooper at first? Or that when he remembered talking to Cooper, he thought the call was about welfare reform if that's what the log said Cooper's last message indicated he wanted to talk about.

TM

Libel - as a public figure, Rove would get nowhere; as a political advisor, suing virulent critics might give ammo to the "stifling dissent" crowd.

Patrick - good point about Martin, who is supposed to be on vacation.

Martin - there is actually a Federal law requiring WH e-mails to be preserved. It is, I suspect, similar in intent and scope to the SEC reg requiring securities firms to keep their e-mails.

So no, Hadley would not be able to destroy it, unless the whole WH system was out of compliance (possible story idea!)

Seven Machos

Martin -- People emailing each other using government email cannot destroy email sent or received. Or did you think they were emailing each other on their gmail accounts?

TM -- If the White House is destroying emails, it's the constitutional end of this White House.

Martin

Oh Good grief - there's a Federal law requiring WH e-mails to be preserved?

Do people obey traffic lights when fleeing from the police?

Seven Machos

Martin -- Listen. I know you are super-duper intelligent, so follow me: I'm not saying it's illegal to tamper with government email. I'm saying it is not POSSIBLE to destroy email generated or received on a government computer.

I know you probably have a quantum physics paper to present tomorrow and several issues regarding pi and large prime numbers bouncing around in your head, but try to grasp what I am telling you.

SteveMG

Yes, but.

Rove allegedly completed his phone call with Cooper by saying "I've already said too much" (or something similar) re Wilson's mission and credibility.

Hmm.

But in his e-mail to Hadley (NSC staff), he didn't mention about "talking too much" to Cooper. Specifically, he said "I didn't take the bait" and that he didn't talk much about the matter despite Cooper's attempts.

Hmm.

May not good for us Bush apologists. May be good for the Bush derangement syndrome sufferers. May be nada.

Another small piece of this puzzle.

SMG

Jim E.

Cool. This was a post I've been waiting on for a couple of days. Gives me something to chew on. Good points.

Seven Machos

SMG -- First, I think the "I've already said too much" line is ambiguous at best, because it could mean a lot of completely different things in light of the totality of the conversation.

But second, assuming "too much" is something bad, why would a political consultant in the White House suggest to a guy at the NSC that he had said too much about anything? The fact that he did not is entirely unpersuasive about anything, other than the fact that Karl Rove is not a complete fool.

Martin

"it is not POSSIBLE to destroy email generated or received on a government computer."

Ah-Hah! The one thing the nefarious criminals overlooked. An electronic paint bomb. Rove should have paid more attention at orientation.

Anonymous Liberal

Fitzgerald originally subpoened Cooper to talk about his conversations with Libby. Cooper told Fitzgerald that he asked Libby about Plame (not vice versa). Fitzgerald was surprised by this and asked Cooper how he knew about Plame. Cooper refused to answer. Hence the second subpoena. It wasn't until then (or shortly thereafter) that Fitzgerald realized that Rove was Cooper's original source. From that point on, Fitzgerald has been more interested in Rove. I think Rove was a peripheral figure in the investigation prior to that. And I think Cooper's testimony (especially the "I've already said too much" part) has caused Fitzgerald to focus even more on Rove's story. My guess is that Fitzgerald is calling these witness to probe the veracity of Rove's testimony. They'll either confirm it's truth or create more suspicion. We'll just have to wait and see.

j.foster

was cooper asked if his call to rove was direct or from the switchboard?

SteveMG

Seven:
As I noted, might be nothing. We're all trying to be Kreliminologists here discerning things by looking at May Day photographs.

It seems to me that a reasonable argument can be made - and not just by the Bush critics - that Rove said "I've already said to much" re Wilson's mission as sort of a "giant arrow", if you will, to Cooper to look further into the matter.

Think about it: You're a reporter and a source says about a secret topic: "I've already said too much." Wouldn't your ears perk up?

So, either Rove said the five magic words because he was REALLY concerned about saying too much or it was a ruse to get Cooper to further dig into the story.

But Rove, as far as we can tell, never informed Hadley that perhaps he had "said too much." In fact, Rove told Hadley that he was careful with Cooper in not saying too much. He didn't take Cooper's "bait."

One can argue that if he had been really concerned about "saying too much" that perhaps he would have indicated that in the e-mail.

And maybe I'm reading way too much in this exchange between them.

SMG

Seven Machos

What percentage of what Anonymous Liberal just said is fact? What percentage is complete speculation?

I feel like I know about as much about this non-scandal as 99.8 percent of the people in the United States. Since grand jury proceedings are secret, I don't think anyone knows for sure why Fitzgerald originally subpoened Cooper. I don't think anyone knows the extent of what Cooper told Fitzgerald (much of which, apparently, may not be discussed publicly). I never read that Fitzgerald was surprised by anything. Etc.

Maybe you know more than me, Anon, but without further evidence I contend that you are doing what liberals here seem to love most: making up facts.

Jim E.

"was cooper asked if his call to rove was direct or from the switchboard?"

Yes. I think Cooper has said/written that many of the grand jury questions revolved around the specifics of the routing of his call.

Jim E.

"making up facts"

Funny comment, given your, ahem, frequent "misstatements."

Seven Machos

SMG -- Suppose you are Karl Rove. You know that someone who is trying to damage you politically works for the CIA. A reporter calls you, and says he knows that this person works for the CIA, and asks some other questions.

You know the person works for the CIA. You know that, as a rule, you are supposed to keep quiet about CIA stuff with reporters. You also know your boss can't stand leaks.

What do you say?

1. "Oh, you heard that, too?"

2, "Listen, Matt, I've already said too much. Gotta go."

No crime committed here. Nothing unethical. In fact, if it's true (as it is) that Plame had not worked in any undercover capacity since 1997, and if it's true that it is generally known about town that Plame is CIA, then Rove was super-ethical, to the point of absurdity.

Sorry, libs. Maybe Bush will choke on ahother pretzel for you.

Seven Machos

Jim -- You are wrong about everything regarding Rove and this scandal. Everything. Yet you quibble with me about a misstatement I made several weeks ago, which will eventually turn out to be true (that no underlying crime was committed, though Wilson still stands a chance at indictment).

Are you upset again? Maybe some valium, Big Guy. Perhaps a massage...

SteveMG

Seven:
"1. "Oh, you heard that, too?"

2, "Listen, Matt, I've already said too much. Gotta go.""

Okay, but the Rove e-mail to Hadley describes, as far as we can tell, a completely different discussion. In that message, Rove says he didn't take Cooper's bait and that he didn't "say too much."

Seems to me a reasonable person could argue that Rove (perhaps) should have told Hadley (or someone), inter alia, that Cooper had "heard that too" re Plame's job in the CIA. And that there was a likelihood that Wilson's wife's name would be published and perhaps her job with the CIA too.

I see a "disconnect" between what we think Cooper and Rove talked about and what Rove told Hadley that he and Cooper talked about.

Again, sound and fury signaling nothing or perhaps a small piece that doesn't look good for Rove.

And believe me, I'm not happy typing those last words.

SMG


Seven Machos

SMG -- Perhaps Rove said too much, or said that he said too much in order to get off the phone, but still managed to avoid taking "the bait," whatever that meant. I just don't see these two statements as irreconcilable.

I'm honestly not worried about Rove.

Meg

I assumed that Fitzgerald would have already determined what the official procedures are for logging calls before he called in Ralston and Hernandez. A good attorney likes to know what the answer should be before the question is asked.

On the other hand, who leaked that the log entry was missing? Ralston's people? Who provided the excuse that the switched calls aren't logged? Rove's people?

Anonymous Liberal

Seven Machos:

None of what I said was speculation (at least not my speculation). It was printed in the Washinton Post on July 23. Here's an excerpt:

"Cooper and his attorneys were surprised that Fitzgerald agreed to ask Cooper questions only about his conversations with Libby, sources familiar with the investigation said.

The sources said Fitzgerald looked surprised in the August 2004 deposition when Cooper said it was he who brought up Wilson's wife with Libby, and that Libby responded, "Yeah, I heard that, too."

The prosecutor pressed Cooper to then explain how he knew about Wilson's wife in the first place, and Cooper said he would not answer the question because it did not involve Libby, the sources said."

full link:

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2005/07/22/AR2005072201830_pf.html

Seven Machos

Anon: You seem to be reading quite a bit into that article. The fact is that Fitzgerald is mum. Fitzgerald LOOKED surprised. Fitzgerald APPEARED focused.

Nobody knows Jack about where Fitzgerald is headed, which is a tremendous credit to him and his staff. Several of the other liberals here continue to speculate BASED ON THE SPECULATION OF OTHERS that Karl Rove will be implicated, because they so badly want Karl Rove to be implicated.

I recant my charge, Anon, that you have made up facts. However, I do charge you with passing on rank speculation by left-leaning Big Media AS fact.

Cecil Turner

That is the *only* way a breakdown in procedures could occur? The Reality-Based Team seems to be rounding into mid-season leaping form.

Concur. In fact, I'm not at all sure we can conclude there was a breakdown in procedures from Johnston's brief description:

At one point, the aides were asked why Mr. Cooper's call to Mr. Rove was not entered in Mr. Rove's office telephone logs. There was no record of the call, the person who has been briefed said, because Mr. Cooper did not call Mr. Rove directly, but was transferred to his office from a White House switchboard.
Does this mean that a required log entry wasn't made? Or is it possible that, since all calls through the White House switchboard are presumably already logged, a log entry wasn't required? Like most of the hyperventilating about supposed indicators of nefarious intent (e.g., notifying the staff on Monday morning vs Sunday night), it seems a bit circular. And, as you note, the e-mail doesn't fit that scenario. ISTM the simplest explanation for the observed behavior--on this and other related issues--is that those involved did not think it terribly important at the time.

j.foster

c.t. good points. the author of the article should have found out if the wh switchboard logs incoming calls.

TM

Thank you, Jim - during Martin's vacation, you have distinctively sized shoes to fill, so we're glad you're here. And I had no idea that the Times piece was so fraught with meaning (boy, I hope I am right that it wasn't...)

Re: "I've already said too much", versus "I didn't take the bait" -Worth remembering that (a) Rove is a political consultant/genius; (b) Cooper's piece eventually was about a WH War on Wilson; and (c) based on Karl's e-mail - "Isn't this damaging? Hasn't the president been hurt?" - Cooper probably (make that, surely) wanted a political assessment from the political genius.

Which he did not get, because Karl did not "take the bait". Instead, Karl stuck to the talking points about Wilson being unreliable (as he noted to Hadley), and then, it might be argued, slipped overboard by mentioning the wife.

Karl was right in his comment to Cooper that something was about to be declassified - Tenet's July 11 statement described Wilson's once-secret trip and report, which in other circumstances might have been a huge sources and methods violation.

So "I've said too much" might have been specifically about the wife, more broadly about "for not intending to take the bait, I sure am talking a lot", or something else all together.

Anonymous Liberal

Seven Machos:

I don't think it's speculation to say that Fitzgerald is investigating the veracity of Rove's story. That's a very reasonable inference from the facts which have been reported thus far. That being said, Fitzgerald may well find that Rove's story checks out, and Rove did nothing (legally) wrong. I think that's a real possibility. But as much as liberals are going overboard with baseless speculation, many conservatives are refusing to draw even the most obvious inferences and are making silly charges of liberal bias. Keep in mind, the "liberal press" sat on this story all the way through the 2004 elections. Whether or not Rove and Libby committed a crime, the White House told us it was "ridiculous" to suggest that they were in anyway involved in this. If this story had broken prior to the election, it would have been a BIG DEAL, a huge political distraction for the Bush/Cheney campaign.

Seven Machos

Anon -- Perhaps Big Media sat on this story -- to the extent that it was sat on (Fitzgerald's actions are mostly driving coverage) -- because it would be a bit unseemly to report on a "scandal" potentially involving White House staff when the "scandal" DEFINITIVELY involved members of the media.

Perhaps even Mary Mapes and Dan Rather have the kinder-scruples to discern that trying to tar the president with a scandal of the media's own making would not be right.

Alternatively, the media has no scruples and Fitzgerald wasn't really doing anything during the election. Hence, no news.

boris

I don't think it's speculation to say that Fitzgerald is investigating the veracity of Rove's story. That's a very reasonable inference

inference = speculation

english ... use it, don't abuse it

Seven Machos

A quick point: I'm not sure when Fitzgerald was appointed, so let me just backtrack a bit: the JUSTICE DEPARTMENT wasn't doing anything to drive news on this "scandal" during the election.

Anonymous Liberal

"A quick point: I'm not sure when Fitzgerald was appointed, so let me just backtrack a bit: the JUSTICE DEPARTMENT wasn't doing anything to drive news on this "scandal" during the election."

True, but there are quite a few reporters (and editors) at virtually every major news organization who have known full well for the last two years that both Libby and Rove were very much involved in this affair, and, therefore, that the White House's statements to the contrary were bogus. Any one of these reporters (or editors)
could have created a huge problem for the Bush/Cheney campaign by reporting this information (or leaking it to another reporter). They didn't.

By the way, Boris, there's a world of difference between raw speculation and reasonable inference. Virtually all reasoning is inductive (i.e. by inference). For example, we infer that the sun will rise tomorrow because it always has in the past. Speculation is inference based on very little fact (i.e. unreasonable inference).

Neo

The log of the phone call is with Al Gore's missing e-mails.

If "Mr. Internet" can't hang on to all of his e-mail, why does anyone expect anything better from anyone else ?

TM

Well, the Anon Lib has had some very interesting and well-informed discussions going at his blog, so I am delighted that he has stopped by.

That said, I am not so sure about this:

Cooper told Fitzgerald that he asked Libby about Plame (not vice versa). Fitzgerald was surprised by this and asked Cooper how he knew about Plame. Cooper refused to answer. Hence the second subpoena. It wasn't until then (or shortly thereafter) that Fitzgerald realized that Rove was Cooper's original source. From that point on, Fitzgerald has been more interested in Rove.

My problem is that DOJ guidelines require a very specific subpoena to a journalist - Fitz is not allowed to say, the reporter knows something, and I want to hear it. As a result, his subpoenas to reporters have always been about a named official.

Consequently, he could not have subpoenaed Cooper about Rove unless he had already established that there was something there worth a subpoena, and had exhausted every effort to get Rove's side of the story.

So Cooper did not name Rove when asked about Libby, unless Cooper blew it, big time. And in Cooper's version, as provided by Anon Lib, we see this:

The prosecutor pressed Cooper to then explain how he knew about Wilson's wife in the first place, and Cooper said he would not answer the question because it did not involve Libby, the sources said.

So why did Fitz appeared to be surprised when he talked to Cooper? Good question - presumably, Fitz was familiar with Libby's side of the story. For Fitz to have been surprised, Libby must have told him something like, "I told Cooper".

But if that was what Fitz was expecting, why did Fitz offer the Russert deal:

Cooper and his attorneys were surprised that Fitzgerald agreed to ask Cooper questions only about his conversations with Libby, sources familiar with the investigation said.

OK, maybe Fitz figured he could save a legal fight, get Cooper's quick cooperation, and move on - in this HYPOTHETICAL SCENARIO, Libby has told Fitz that he and Cooper discussed Plame, and he may have told Cooper first; Fitz will get Cooper to confirm that he did not tell Libby first; and that detail will be pinned down.

Instead, the switcheroo! Cooper told Libby first! And Fitz is surprised.

But we are back where we started - Cooper did not mention Rove (he says). Yet Fitz quickly exhausts every avenue and subpoenas Cooper again, naming Rove.

And at some point, Rove *had* testified to the grand jury about Cooper, we have been told.

Well, a sidebar - as to why the media kept this secret all through the election - yes, its a puzzle, but Fitz might well have said, look, I am already pursuing contempt charges - if I see any leaks, I will go medieval. Maybe a judge gave a similar pep-talk.

Seven Machos

Anon -- "...Libby and Rove were very much involved in this affair..."

I think this statement is a fact. It's not a lie. It could be a fact. I think Libby and Rove are peripheral figures, at best.

The Lefties here love to speculate, so let's speculate: what percentage of Fitzgerald's entire investigation has involved Rove and Libby? My guess: less than 15 percent. what percentage of Big Media coverage of this non-scandal has involved Rove and Libby? My guess: more than 80 percent.

I think perception is different than reality here, and that Big Media is driving a false perception of the investigation and of the events that actually occurred.

Seven Machos

I DON'T think this statement is a fact. Obviously important word there...

Anonymous Liberal

"So why did Fitz appeared to be surprised when he talked to Cooper? Good question - presumably, Fitz was familiar with Libby's side of the story."

That is a very good question. One possible answer is that Fitz was familiar with Libby's story, but simply didn't believe it. Suppose Libby told Fitz that he only confirmed something that Cooper already knew. Fitz might have (for some reason) thought this was a lie. But when Cooper told him that, sure enough, he already knew about Plame when he spoke with Libby, Fitz was surprised. He wanted to know who was Cooper's original source. We know that Rove left out his conversation with Cooper in his initial proffer/testimony. It may be that after this initial deposition with Cooper, Fitzgerald re-interviewed Rove, and only then found out that Rove talked to Cooper. If this was indeed the sequence of events, it's easy to understand why Fitzgerald would be suspicious of Rove.

Seven Machos

Come on, Anon. You have no idea whether Fitzgerald is suspicious of Rove. He could be suspicious of Cooper, or of Wilson, or of some mid-level hack at CIA.

This is NOT a reasonable inference. This is rank speculation.

TM

OK, on the subject of "When did Fitzgerald learn about Rove and Cooper", we are trying to turn something into something else - lead into gold, maybe. From the Feb 2004 NY Times:

Armed with handwritten White House notes, detailed cellphone logs and copies of e-mail messages between White House aides and reporters, prosecutors have demanded explanations of conversations between aides and reporters for some of the country's largest news organizations that under ordinary circumstances would never be publicly discussed. So far, no reporter has been questioned or subpoenaed.

Now, this WaPo story from March 2004 tells us that on Jan 22, 2004 Fitzgerald issued three new subpoenas, including one for documents relating to the White House Iraq Group (that would include Hadley and Rove, and presumably their e-mail). The White House had mostly complied by march.

And better than the WaPo is this - at the bottom of this post is a fair-use excerpt from the Newsday story that broke the story on these subpoenas. Here we go:

Also sought in the wide-ranging document requests contained in three grand jury subpoenas to the Executive Office of President George W. Bush are records created in July by the White House Iraq Group, a little-known internal task force established in August 2002 to create a strategy to publicize the threat posed by Saddam Hussein.

...All three subpoenas were sent to employees of the Executive Office of the President under a Jan. 26 memo by White House counsel Alberto Gonzalez saying production of the documents, which include phone messages, e-mails and handwritten notes, was "mandatory" and setting a Jan. 29 deadline.

Well, I guess the compliance date slipped a bit, but...Fitzgerald should have had (if not looked at) the Rove-Hadley e-mail by March. Which means Rove's lawyers should have seen it too (and blanched!).

Which makes me think that Fitzgerald had to have known by August that Cooper had talked to Rove about Plame, and had heard Rove's side of it.

Proving what? Fatigue is setting in.

TM

My last brain flicker picks up on this from Anon:

It may be that after this initial deposition with Cooper, Fitzgerald re-interviewed Rove, and only then found out that Rove talked to Cooper.

*IF* I were Rove's attorney and I saw that e-mail to Hadley (I am clinging to my confidence in the timeline from the previous post), I would, in very rapid sequence, (a) choke on my coffee, or scotch, or whatever the hour called for; (b) get Rove into a meeting, and (c) get a mesasage to Fitzgerald. FAR better to call this to his attention, than to have him ask you about it.

Well, a real lawyer may have a different take.

Anonymous Liberal

"Which makes me think that Fitzgerald had to have known by August that Cooper had talked to Rove about Plame, and had heard Rove's side of it."

You make a good point. I know from personal experience that the government often overlooks documents, particularly email (they get so many, and they are so understaffed). Are you sure that Rove's lawyers had access to these documents? If they did, you're right, their review should have picked up the Hadley email and they would have immediately run to Fitzgerald to correct the record. If they did, there goes my theory. Oh well.

Seven Machos

TM -- I'm a real lawyer. I don't understand why the email to Hadley is bad for Rove. It's good for Rove. He recognized that reporters were digging into sensitive information, so he emailed someone about it at the National SECURITY Council.

You say that Fitzgerald "could not have subpoenaed Cooper about Rove unless he had already established that there was something there worth a subpoena." Perhaps Rove said "I spoke to Matt Cooper about this and, as you probably know, I sent an email to Stephen Hadley about it as well." I would think that testimony like that would be enough to get Cooper in the door.

Am I missing something? It seems to me like people think that Rove misled Fitzgerald about talking to Cooper. Why?

By the way, if I were Rove's lawyer, I would have said either (1) tell the truth or (2) if you did something wrong, feign an illness or something and retire immediately.

Seven Machos

Anon -- About Rove's email to Hadley, Rove probably remembered it. If not, why would you think that Rove's people would have trouble retrieving the email but Fitzgerald would not? Understaffed or not, aren't the people doing the retreiving the same in both cases?

kim

The only indictment will be Wilson for perjury. All the rest is dust in the wind.
=============================================

kim

Note to JBG: The wind generally sweeps dust away.
=================================================

kim

It just occurred to me that Joe wilson has already been indicted for perjury.... by the SSCI.
================================================

kim

And what are the chances White House calls aren't logged or recorded? That crap is so cheap to store, now.
=============================================

Seven Machos

Serious question: what is a phone log? I can't imagine that we're talking about secretaries keeping notes here. This stuff is all electronic. I don't think anybody is recording the contents of the calls, but I imagine records automtically generate when Rove was on the line, and to what number.

SamAm

presumably Fitzgerald learned about the Hadley-Rove e-mail and hence the Rove-Cooper conversation by March 2004.

But the contents of the Rove-Cooper conversation? There's the rub, especially because Cooper and Rove's accounts differ.

And what's your explanation for the absence of any Plame related details in Rove's email? That doesn't mesh with "I've said too much" in the least, does it?

Seven Machos

Sam -- So, if Rove sent Hadley an email saying "I told Cooper about Plame," then he'd be off the hook as far as you're concerned. Right?

Also, you don't know Rove's account so you can't know how or if it differs from anyone else's.

kim

And don't you suppose Fitz can look at the phone records of those calling the WH, also, provided he has a clue whose to look at? And I get the idea Fitz is not clueless.
===============================================

Steven J.

MR. McCLELLAN: Let me make it very clear. As I said previously, he [Rove] was not involved, and that allegation is not true in terms of leaking classified information, nor would he condone it.

http://www.whitehouse.gov/news/releases/2003/10/20031001-6.html

Q All right. Let me just follow up. You said this morning, "The President knows" that Karl Rove wasn't involved. How does he know that?

MR. McCLELLAN: Well, I've made it very clear that it was a ridiculous suggestion in the first place. I saw some comments this morning from the person who made that suggestion, backing away from that. And I said it is simply not true. So, I mean, it's public knowledge. I've said that it's not true. And I have spoken with Karl Rove --

http://www.whitehouse.gov/news/releases/2003/09/20030929-7.html#1

Now we know the truth - Rove was involved.

kim

Involved in what? Curiosity, along with the rest of Washington, about Wilson and his connections to the CIA? Big Whoopee, I'd be concerned if he weren't involved in that manner. McClellan and his interlocutor had a different idea of 'involved'.
=========================================

Pepper

A little OT, but something rarely discussed is the fact that she has 5 year old twins. Spare me the crocodile tears over her loss as a covert asset. I'm pretty sure "Spy Kids" was only a movie. All this speculation might be fun, but this is the biggest tempest in a teapot ever.

kim

I don't know whether to despise her or feel sorry for her re: her husband. I just can't believe she's happy about all this. My intuition is serviceable, but I just don't get any take on her.

A year off and variety of charity intrigue, though.
==================================

J Mann

It absolutely amazes me that Drum can leap to the conclusion that Rove "lied" about Cooper calling him about welfare reform.

Let's see: The evidence is: Rove says Cooper called about welfare reform, Cooper says he doesn't think he did, and a contemporaneous e-mail from Rove says that Cooper did call him about welfare reform.

Well, if you had to conclude that someone lied, I would say Cooper seems more likely than Rove. After all, it's a he-said/he-said situation, and the historical evidence strongly supports Rove.

(The alternate explanation, that Rove planned this all out in advance, sent Hadley a message specifically to plant the seeds for the pointless lie, two years later, that the call was about welfare reform, and then had the call logs scoured of evidence for the actual call, crosses well over the border into paranoia).

Of course, I don't think either Rove or Cooper "lied" about whether a 2003 phone-call involved welfare reform - I think that they just remember this trivial detail differently. But if, like Drum, I was convinced that someone was lieing, I would have to pick Cooper as the more likely suspect.

J Mann

Seven Machos, the reason that the e-mail would make Rove's lawyer's eyes pop open is that it shows that Rove did talk to Cooper.

You're right that, overall, the e-mail is good for Rove, but you would still want to (1) make sure that your client wasn't fudging in his intial interview, but honestly didn't remember the Cooper call at the time; (2) conclusively establish, if possible, that there were no more "surprises" coming down the pike, and (3) then, if you were sure about (1) and (2), call Fitzgerald and apologize, so that he didn't get the idea Rove was hiding something in the initial interview.

Al

"Now we know the truth - Rove was involved."

Huh? We have no idea whether Rove was "involved" in leaking classified information.

All we know is that Rove and Cooper talked about Wilson's wife. However, talking about Wilson's wife is not the same thing as being involved in leaking classified information...

jerkweed

And dont forget Novak too Al.

Of course the fact we only learned all that the morning Cooper was going to jail otherwise doesn't say much about how upfront Rove has been in all this.

jukeboxgrad

PEPPER: "something rarely discussed is the fact that she has 5 year old twins."

Your inability to imagine that such a person could be a spy is terrific proof of exactly what an effective spy she could have been.

J MANN: "Rove says Cooper called about welfare reform, Cooper says he doesn't think he did"

Not exactly. I think Cooper said he had left a message on that subject a few days earlier. I think that's a piece of the puzzle that shouldn't be overlooked.

nittypig

Ultimately the question isn't whether Rove has been up front with the press about this, it's whether he's been up front with the investigator. And

jukeboxgrad

KIM: "McClellan and his interlocutor had a different idea of 'involved'."

AL: "We have no idea whether Rove was 'involved' in leaking classified information."

We are now well-into the "I did not inhale" phase of the Bush presidency.

"talking about Wilson's wife is not the same thing as being involved in leaking classified information"

If this is true, it would have been very simple for Scottie to plainly state this a couple of years ago. Instead, he made a very different statement. Why? What was there to be ashamed of? Why was there an attempt to hide the truth?

If it's so clear that Plame's identity was not classified, and if it's so clear that Rove only acted because he ostensibly was certain that Plame's identity was not classified, why not simply say all this, clearly and promptly, as soon as the question was first raised?

If all the current talking points are anything other than crap (e.g., "her identity was common knowledge"), then why weren't they simply raised at the time?

Geek, Esq.

Somebody needs to leak more juicy stuff to prevent this kind of silly speculation.

Syl

SM

"I can't imagine that we're talking about secretaries keeping notes here. This stuff is all electronic."

We don't know. We certainly can't assume that everything is up-to-date technologically. In fact much of our government bureaucracy is behind the times as far as technology is concerned. That taxpayer money thing most likely. Remember the FBI didn't (and may still not have) up-to-date computers.

Syl

I'm missing something regarding the reporting of 'surprise' and how that relates to Russert's deal. I guess I'm missing Russert's deal.

TM mentions Russert's deal in connection with this quote:

"Cooper and his attorneys were surprised that Fitzgerald agreed to ask Cooper questions only about his conversations with Libby, sources familiar with the investigation said."

If the subpoena only covered Libby, than why should Cooper's attorneys be surprised that Fitzgerald would agree to question him only about Libby?

Was there someone else mentioned in the Cooper subpoena? Do we know? Does it matter?

TM

Somebody needs to leak more juicy stuff to prevent this kind of silly speculation.

Good point.

As to Jukebox's question - why not just dump the facts in 2003 - two answers occur:

(1) what the WH staffers think they knew and did, and what they think an investigator will conclude, might differ;

(2) they might guess that it would range from distracting to impossible for them to do their day jobs with Chuck Schumer screaming every day that they should take a leave pending the results of a full, fair, impartial investigation.

Given the current calm, measured, reaction by the Dems, I think they would have been right about that.

of course, its double or nothing, and they are betting with Bush's political capital - if they end up being indicted, it is much worse that they hung around so long.

I agree with J Mann about the e-mail - it is basically good for Rove, but, per Newsweek, Rove had forgotten to mention his chat with Cooper to the FBI, ans that is not good.

And for Syl, who asks:

If the subpoena only covered Libby, than why should Cooper's attorneys be surprised that Fitzgerald would agree to question him only about Libby?

The surprise was that Fitzgerald only asked about what Cooper said to Libby, and did not seek Cooper's (or, in the opther instance, Russert's) testimony about what Libby said to them.

That seems an odd way to learn whether Libby told Cooper about Wilson's wife, but a good way to learn whether Cooper told Libby about Wilson's wife.

Syl

TM

"The surprise was that Fitzgerald only asked about what Cooper said to Libby, and did not seek Cooper's (or, in the opther instance, Russert's) testimony about what Libby said to them."

Okay. Gotcha. Thanks!

Jim E.

TM wrote: "(2) they might guess that it would range from distracting to impossible for them to do their day jobs with Chuck Schumer screaming every day that they should take a leave pending the results of a full, fair, impartial investigation.

Given the current calm, measured, reaction by the Dems, I think they would have been right about that."

Pardon my lack of reading comprehension, but are you saying that the White House has obfuscated and mislead -- at least publicly -- on this matter perhaps because they're afraid of the Democrats -- Schumer in particular? You're speculating that Rove's and McClellan's Clintonesque comments on the Plame thing might be the Dems' fault? I apologize ahead of time for the likely chance that I've completely misunderstood every word you've written.

Geek, Esq.

By the way, for all of those who were sneering at the applicability of the Espionage Act to Karl Rove et al, I suggest you read this indictment, while remembering that Karl Rove and Scooter Libby have signed a form SF-312.

http://news.findlaw.com/nytimes/docs/dod/usfrnklin80205ind.pdf

Pepper

Jukebox grad said:

"Your inability to imagine that such a person could be a spy is terrific proof of exactly what an effective spy she could have been."

Really? You mean between taking the kids to the pool and reading them bedtime stories? You're right, she'd make a sweet undercover agent.

Way to miss the point, though. Think of the timeline, birthing twins, and operating under deep cover. It's laughable to think she was some female James Bond who had her cover blown.

Seven Machos

Juke is convinced that Plame was a deep-udercover spy up until the day Novak wrote his column. You will not convince this person other otherwise.

I am curious, though, Juke, and I have asked this before: what is it that you think a spy does? Why would a spy need cover in the first place? If a person is deeply undercover, would she use her real name? Would she alter her appearance? Would she drive her car into and out of the epicenter of American spying for five years?

MJW

On the issue of whether Rove or Cooper lied about the original purpose of the call being welfare reform, I don't believe I've ever heard Cooper say it wasn't. I've heard and read both Cooper and his lawyer saying Cooper didn't remember the call being about welfare reform, in a way that heavily implied it wasn't, but I haven't heard either actually come out and say it. The whole "to the best of my recollection" dodge.

From TIME:

Rove's lawyer, Robert Luskin, had told journalists that when I telephoned Rove that July, it was about welfare reform and that I suddenly switched topics to the Wilson matter....To me this suggested that Rove may have testified that we had talked about welfare reform, and indeed earlier in the week, I may have left a message with his office asking if I could talk to him about welfare reform. But I can't find any record of talking about it with him on July 11, and I don't recall doing so.

Patrick R. Sullivan

Geek, if you actually read the AIPAC indictments you'll see that the information disclosed was in the possession of the DoD guy through his Top Secret Clearance.

That's not the case with Rove. His attorney told us that Rove didn't even know Valerie Plame's job was classified, and that he got the information about her, not as a result of his security clearance (if he even had one), but through conversations with journalists. There is no law against discussing such information, unless you know it's classified. Rove clearly wouldn't have had any reason to think it was.

Jim E.

"Rove didn't even know Valerie Plame's job was classified, and that he got the information about her, not as a result of his security clearance (if he even had one), but through conversations with journalists."

Well, if that's what Rove's lawyer says, that settles it. He has no incentive to shade the truth at all. Plus, he's been such a straight talker throughour this whole mess, right? Case closed. Thanks, Patrick!

Geek, Esq.

Patrick:

That's assuming Rove's story is true. I think it's pig crap.

TM

Ahh, but is it pig crap beyond a reasonable doubt?

My biggest dispute with drawing an analogy between Rove and the AIPAC indictments is that, with AIPAC, it was intentional leaks of classified info, it went on for years, and it may have involved a foreign country (Israel).

Unless we are missing a lot, this Plame thing was, at worst, a one time cluster-flop.

And for Jim E, who wonders, "are you saying that the White House has obfuscated and mislead -- at least publicly -- on this matter perhaps because they're afraid of the Democrats -- Schumer in particular?" - I wouldn't phrase it like that, but sure - obviously, Karl blew his denial of involvement to McClellan.

However, by and large the White House has "no commented" and cooperated with the investigation - no "executive privilege" claims, no "Secret Service" privilege claims, etc. Which is a major step forward from the Clinton era, when we had both the early obfuscation and the ongoing non-cooperation.

But my point is, that to have put out their side of the story in Sept 2003 - OK, we leaked it, but here is why we thought it was OK - would have been legally awkward (doesn't that look like a public coordination of testimony?) and politically untenable.

Martin

"a one time cluster-flop."

Worse than a crime, a mistake...

jukeboxgrad

TM: "to have put out their side of the story in Sept 2003"

I never said they should have waited that long. The White House should have put out "their side of the story" the day after Novak's story was published. That's about as long as it should have taken for Bush to find out what happened, and tell us. Very simple. Why didn't that happen?

Incidentally, whether Rove's (et al) behavior was right or wrong, criminal or legal, that's what should have happened: Bush should have found out the truth, right away, and told us the truth, right away. Very simple. Why didn't that happen?

These people work for us. Do you remember that? Is it a normal practice for you to let your employees get away with these kinds of shenanigans?

We have a right to know what happened. We should have found out right away. We would have, if Bush was an honest man and a competent manager. He's neither, so therefore we're finding out the hard way, much later, at significant taxpayer expense and assorted turmoil. That's disgraceful.

"what the WH staffers think they knew and did, and what they think an investigator will conclude, might differ"

In July there was no investigator. Aside from that, honor and integrity means you tell the truth about what you did, and then deal with the consequences, for better or worse. Aside from that, folks on the right are claiming it's so clear that Rove et al did nothing wrong. If it's so clear, why would there have been any concern that the view of an investigator "might differ?"

"they might guess that it would range from distracting to impossible for them to do their day jobs with Chuck Schumer screaming every day"

Yes, having a two-party system is a terrible inconvenience, and if the Dems had any patriotism whatsoever they would simply disband the party.

Aside from that, what was there to be ashamed of? Everyone knows that Rove was only trying to set the record straight. Everyone knows that Plame wasn't really covert anyway. Everyone knows that Rove heard it from a reporter, so that means he gets a free pass to do whatever he wants with the information. Everyone knows that Wilson/Plame are miserable creeps and deserve whatever they get.

Folks on the right can't have it both ways. If you claim these arguments clearly show that the whole matter adds up to nothing, then you need to explain why the White House didn't use these arguments to quickly close the book on the matter as soon as Novak opened his mouth.

Aside from that, the White House had an obligation to tell the truth, right at the start, even though it meant that they would have to deal with the consequences.

Seven Machos

Juke -- You've come a long way from Rove committed treason to platitudes about "they work for us."

I can't help but sense that, like this non-scandal, you are running out of fuel...

kim

What a monolithic view you have of it all, JBG. This is a multi-front war with multiple competing interests. That's one of the reasons I only hope Fitz gets to the bottom of it.

Odds are for a perjury indictment for Joe Wilson. He's the one who can't help but lie. Thus the odds.
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jukeboxgrad

PEPPER: "You mean between taking the kids to the pool and reading them bedtime stories?"

Yes. I live in a world where some female professionals (doctors, lawyers, executives) do exactly that, or get help (sometimes from stay-at-home retired dads). Maybe you live in a different world.

Anyway, you're spending too much time with Ian Fleming.

Aside from that, her kids aren't going to be kids forever. When the CIA invested in developing her cover, they presumably hoped that her cover might be used, on and off, over a long period of time. Too bad Rove et al had other plans.

SEVEN: "I have asked this before"

You've asked lots of things before. In fact, I notice that you tend to ask lots of questions while also tending to provide few answers to questions asked by others. In other words, you're a waste of time.

"You've come a long way from Rove committed treason"

I haven't changed my position. I'll be waiting patiently for you to demonstrate otherwise. A good start would be to let me know where I ever said anything about "treason." (Maybe I should, but I don't think I have.)

PATRICK: "There is no law against discussing such information"

You're still promoting this (and related nonsense) even though it doesn't add up. I've clearly demonstrated this on a number of occasions, such as here and here.

kim

Asking more questions than giving answers is a waste of time? My dear young thing.
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Seven Machos

Who doubts, Juke, what you have so clearly demonstrated?

Geek, Esq.

"Ahh, but is it pig crap beyond a reasonable doubt?"

It doesn't need to be beyond a reasonable doubt for an indictment. In terms of political fallout, the indictment is the ballgame.

"My biggest dispute with drawing an analogy between Rove and the AIPAC indictments is that, with AIPAC, it was intentional leaks of classified info, it went on for years, and it may have involved a foreign country (Israel).

Unless we are missing a lot, this Plame thing was, at worst, a one time cluster-flop."

I agree that the facts are different, and that different facts mean a different case.

However, what the AIPAC indictment does show us is that form SF-312 is enough to satisfy the scienter requirements of the Espionage Act.

Some pundits on the right, such as Crank, had made arguments to the contrary that are, insofar as they concern the prospect of Plame indictments, no longer operative.

And, where do I send the entree of roast Crow and dessert of humble pie so that Dale Franks can enjoy a well-deserved feast?

http://www.qando.net/details.aspx?Entry=2240

Seven Machos

Geek: if you are an ethical prosecutor, yes, it needs to be beyond a reasonable doubt for an indictment.

What ARE they teaching you youngsters as 1Ls these days? I hope there is a moral component to your legal studies. We have enough scum in our profession already.

jukeboxgrad

KIM: "Asking more questions than giving answers is a waste of time?"

Asking a question can be a way to convey useful information. It can also be a way to run away from a factual challenge. I'm not surprised that you can't tell the difference, since you and Seven are peas in a pod, in this regard.

SEVEN: "Who doubts, Juke, what you have so clearly demonstrated?"

I wish everything I demonstrate could be as clear as what you consistently demonstrate, which is that you're a waste of time.

kim

Facts you do marshall well, but you commonly overestimate the value of the facts or misconstrue them because of bias. Sometimes you should step back and re-evaluate your point of view. In this matter, you've become very exposed if it turns out that Rove and the Admin and the MSM were just part of the murmuring crowd, hoi polloi so to speak, though don't try to suggest that to either party.

And even you must admit you've stretched the thin sustenance of facts in this case in attempt to cover the framework of an argument that will require much more structure to hold up.
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jukeboxgrad

"Rove and the Admin and the MSM were just part of the murmuring crowd"

I realize you'd like very much to spread the blame around, as much as possible. But as I've mentioned elsewhere, there's a very important difference between Rove and "the murmuring crowd" (I guess you mean reporters who were allegedly part of the gossip). Rove signed SF-312, acknowledging that he's legally bound to follow certain rules with regard to classified information. The reporters did not.

kim

I defy you or anyone to prove a single source of the leak with subsequent demonstrable proliferation of information. Fitz can't do it; you can't do it.
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jukeboxgrad

"prove a single source of the leak with subsequent demonstrable proliferation of information"

I'm not sure what that gibberish is supposed to mean.

Here are a few things we know: 1) Rove told Cooper that Plame worked at the CIA; 2) Rove shouldn't have done that; 3) the White House lied about this for a couple of years. Which of these simple obervations do you have trouble grasping?

kim

I don't think you or anyone is going to be able to prove that there was a point source leak and from that leak everyone else found out about Plame. In order to prove that someone outed her you will have to show that.
You cannot do that. Is that plain enough for you?

Your simple observations are simple only to you. 2 and 3 are simply not so and 1 is up in the air, at least as far as facts before the law and context go.

Now here's a simple concept. Joe Wilson is a liar, and building a case(you, I mean) on belief in what he wants you to believe is going to lead you to inevitable disappointment. Would you buy a used anti-war vehicle from that man?
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kim

I mean prove beyond a reasonable doubt. You have already proved a case here, it is founded on Wilson's words, and a jury is going to have reasonable doubt about anything based on Joe's word. We see that you don't doubt the proof. Go find 11 similar fools who still hear the faint strains of frog-marching.
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jukeboxgrad

"I don't think you or anyone is going to be able to prove that there was a point source leak and from that leak everyone else found out about Plame."

You're making a pathetic attempt to confuse the issue. There's no need "to prove that there was a point source leak and from that leak everyone else found out about Plame." To know that Rove did wrong, it's sufficient to see that he told Cooper about Plame. You claim this is "up in the air," but you're not bothering to explain why Luskin has already tacitly acknowledged Cooper's claim.

You're also claiming this isn't wrong (for Rove to out Plame to Cooper). You'd have a point, if Rove was sure Plame's status was not classified. However, it's hard to imagine a scenario where Rove was in a position to be sure about that (especially given that Novak has admitted that when he inquired with the CIA, he was warned to be careful with Plame's identity).

You're also claiming the White House hasn't lied about all this. This requires you to adopt very imaginative interpretations of simple English words such as "involved." (Scottie told us it was "ridiculous" to suggest that Rove was "involved.")

"it is founded on Wilson's words"

I realize you'd like to try to focus attention on Wilson. Trouble is, it's not Wilson who said Rove outed Plame to Cooper. It's Cooper who said that Rove outed Plame to Cooper. Time for you to start sliming Cooper.

kim

Well thanks for the unlinked post. It does make sense, though I think you are wrong.

In case you have noticed, I've slimed the press in this from the get go. I love the irony of a free press stonewalling the facts.

Of course, I want to focus the attention on Wilson. He's the villain, he's the liar, he's the instigator, he's the...... well I just don't see why you give him any credibility except that it fits in with a foreign policy construct that is out of date.

I believe that Fitz has the ability and the investigatorial wherewithal to get to the bottom of the CIA mess with Plame, the Yellow Cake forgeries, the obstructionism of the press, and yes, maybe, peripeherally, the indiscretions of a White House hunkered down for the bambardment.
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kim

'Bambardment' I kind of like, but 'peripeherally'? Maybe I was thinking peripatetically, or pathetically. Or perplexedly.
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kim

Or perihelixly.
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jukeboxgrad

"I love the irony of a free press stonewalling the facts."

I love the irony of you apparently complaining about the fact that Cooper (and others, perhaps) covered for Rove et al all through the period prior to 11/2/04.

"I just don't see why you give him [Wilson] any credibility"

The accusations against Rove stand regardless of whether or not Wilson has "any credibility."

Aside from that, I give Wilson credibility because the arguments against his credibility are strained and falsified.

kim

I might appreciate your irony if I thought those were what the press was stonewalling.

Oh, c'mon, even Bob Somerby doubts Joe Wilson. Will yours be the last eyes through which the illusions of Joe will be seen?
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Wilson/Plame