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October 13, 2005

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Al

Sorry, TM, but we just can't allow to go incommunicado until the Plame indictments come down (or the case is dropped). You are too valuable! Just pretend that the Yankees somehow actually beat the Angels and your presence is required for baseball-watching.

emptywheel

Hahahaha!

I'll be incommunicado next week too. You and I will have to set up a Plame indictment satellite response system.

Anyway, I generally respect the analysis you do. But I don't understand how when you read this:

One source close to Miller said it appears that the notes were Fitzgerald's first indication that Miller and Libby had spoken in June.

You didn't notice this: "One source close to Miller"

Judy Miller has every incentive--for legal and publicity reasons--to have you believed she didn't perjure herself. Hell, she's not even going to get her 1.2 million book contract if she can't claim to be a martyr for the first amendment anymore. So why is that you believe this point, coming from a Miller associate? Against all the countervailing evidence (particularly that Miller allowed the "two meeting" story to continue for several days after her testimony).

topsecretk9

hmmm...could "sources close" be wrong?

could Libby been the window to Fitz getting to June!

Judy's beef, of course, turned out to be about questions leading to 'other sources"...not waiver confusion...and for a long time Fitzgerald would not nudge on this...

until, poof...Libby says "I talked to Judy in June" --and she probably took notes too!

suddenly Fitz has his way into June...

Judy doesn't know because she is in Jail...

Fitz doesn't care about the "other sources" issue because he can ask about June! Thanks to Libby.

I only say this because when you read Matt Coopers "The Welfare Merry-Go-Round: Part 2" in Sept.22, 2003

you realize why the grand jury was microscopic about the issue of Welfare Reform, "he didn't recall"

they had his notes...Rove's email...and gee, from the Merry-Go-Round article no way for Rove to pick that out of a hat! I doesn't even have a quote or admin input.

they were microscopic all right...the prodded the lie all the through.

Syl

Actually, the notes as first indication of an earlier conversation sounds plausible to me.

"Libby said blah blah, which is slightly different from what he said last time, try to confirm."

or

"Libby re-iterated earlier comments and added that..."

Ms Huff said that Judy did not look happy when she exited from the second testimony and had no comment at all for reporters. A marked contrast from her first testimony when she came bouncing out, all smiles.

She thought she was in trouble for perjury or something?

She thought she had burned a source (Libby) and felt guilty?

She thought this was not the end, but the beginning of even more hassles?

She had to go to the bathroom, like real quick?

Anonymous Liberal

TM, I actually considered the same scenario you describe (though I didn't write about it). I think it is a plausible alternative to the perjury trap idea. There are a couple of difficult facts which it has to overcome, though. First, presumably Fitzgerald asked the same questions to Miller in his jailhouse proffer that he did before the grand jury. If she gave the vague answer you describe about prior conversations with Libby, why didn't Fitzgerald instruct her to go find the notes then and bring them to the grand jury? Why did the notes only surface after her first grand jury appearance? Second, Miller and her attorneys seemed very upbeat immediately after her initial grand jury testimony. They very much acted like they thought she was entirely off the hook and in the clear. That makes me think they were not informed until later that day (or the next day) that Fitzgerald wasn't done with Miller yet. That fact seems to be more consistent with the perjury trap scenario than the cooperating all along scenario. But, I think either scenario is possible.

topsecretk9

From no help from the media...we only have to assume that the indication that spells bad news for Libby...but like Cooper got burned from Rove's email and Coopers own notes (WR), how do we know that Libby is not the one who told Ftiz. "we talked in June"?

If Libby said it...it would resolve the issue of why Judy is still in jail...no questions about other sources

but it Libby says June, then Fitz has a window to go to June!--no worries about Sup's (July) and give her her "no other sources" deal that put her in jail.

clarice

I think differently. I think the whole matter now relates to the second part of her subpoena. I think Libby testified that Judy had in June told him something about the Iraqi efforts to acquire uranium, June (I maintain by error) is outside the time period in the subpoena, but notified about this testimony, Judy and her counsel conferred and since she now had the promise of the SP not to go into her other sources, she agreed to expand the discover request and her testimony to voer this.

As for the kabuki dance about appearance as a clue to the story we can't see,(blink, blink) how fake can the already fake news get? Risible doesn't begin to cover this crap.

topsecretk9

Clarice

my hairbrain...here how I see it

Libby tells Fitz I talked to Judy in June
Fitz is able to get around Judys reasons for jail...no specific source questions but

did you recall talking to Libby in June
Do you have any notes from THAT TIME

Judy goes back and probably sh. her you know what when she read what it said in her notes back then

kind of like when Luskin came out with Roves email after Cooper testified and wrote what he told the grand jury

topsecretk9

Of course Libby is up to snuff on Wilson...

"the names were wrong, the dates were wrong"

really? how do you know?

owl

I still say all that "respectful silence" we hear from the Media means they are all holding their collective breaths. Tip-toeing, gently gently, come on Fritz.....

Wouldn't it be a coup if after 1001 attempts to do a "gotcha" with the Media/CIA leaks against the WH, if they really hit? Remember the Media was shouting the loudest for an investigation. The Times decide this case doesn't apply to their iron rule. Their CIA and hubby have a protective wall. The only witnesses are Media. Bam Bam!

Kate

Owl-exactly right. They are really rooting for indictments. These things have a way of playing out differently than intended however. If Fitzgerald overplays his hand and the indictments look weak, the conservative base could reunite, not unlike what happened on the left with the Clinton impeachment.

WAPO columnist Richard Cohen, a committed leftist, wrote today the Fitzgerald should go back to Chicago and prosecute some real crime.

He said he investigated something that wasn't even a crime to begin with, but as happens with these things there was probably a coverup, but according to Cohen, a coverup of something not that important. Ouch!

The media will report this next week, but quickly tire of it. They will be glad that Rove is gone, but Rove hasn't been batting a thousand lately either. Maybe some new blood in the WH fighting the vast left wing conspiracy and its overzealous Espionage Act prosecutor will do some good.

JoeDuke

I am guessing Miller already knew about Wilson by June 23rd based on Wilson's big mouth as it relates to 1) Kristof's May 6th article, 2) Pincus' June 12th article and probably 3) Wilson signing up with the NYT to write his July 6th article...and I'll add 40 all of Miller's research with the CIA on WMD (Valerie's area).

In addition, per the WaPo, the accounts of Miller/Libby July 8 and 12 meetings are:
"According to a source familiar with Libby's account of his July 2003 conversations with Miller, the two first met for breakfast on July 8, when Miller interviewed Libby about weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. At that time, she asked him why Wilson had been chosen to investigate questions that Cheney had posed about whether Iraq tried to buy uranium in Niger. Libby, the source familiar with his account said, told her that the White House was working with the CIA to learn more about Wilson's trip and how he was selected.

Libby had a second conversation with Miller, a telephone call on July 12 or July 13, the source said. In it, Libby said he had learned that Wilson's wife had a role in sending him on the trip and that she worked for the CIA. Libby never knew Plame's name or that she was a covert operative, the source said."
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2005/09/30/AR2005093000553.html

So this report states the July 8th meeting was about Iraq WMD (just as clarice suggests the June 23 meeting was probably about). But on July 8th meeting Libby says we are looking into the details of Wilson's trip and it is not until July 12th that Wilson's wife comes up. So it seems very possible that Miller set up a meeting on June 23 to discuss Iraq WMD and she brings up Wilson first. She was fishing and Libby had no info...nor did he have much by July 8th (except 2 days earlier he read Wilson's article)...by the 12th the wife came up. But by July 12th, plenty of reporters call asking about Wilson’s trip and his wife's role.

No one has shown Rove or Libby to lie about anything to date. Wilson and Cooper, so far, are another story.

topsecretk9

Joe Duke

good points..although, because remember, Judy never wrote a word on the subject...so here wanting to protect other sources is peculiar

no it is funny when you go back and read things...
October 1, 2005; Page A2
"Early in the investigation, in January 2004, Mr. Libby had signed a general waiver of confidentiality at the request of prosecutors. Technically, such a waiver could have released Ms. Miller from a pledge of confidentiality.

But Ms. Miller had said she doesn't consider such general waivers acceptable because they might be coerced by prosecutors.

Even so, Richard Sauber, a Washington lawyer who represented Time's Mr. COOPER, said his client had "obtained what was clearly a voluntary and complete waiver from Lewis Libby in 2004." He added: "I presume Judy could have had it then."

huh? what? Come again...so tell me Mr. Sauber how is that Libbys general waiver over a year ago was fantastically clear to Cooper (and should be to Judy too!) but Roves's EXACT SAME WAVIER--CONFOUNDED AND CONFUSED---COOPER

http://online.wsj.com/public/article/SB112808713430456757-XkH3iFP9jNODhcvLB4Eu_TeJr24_20061001.html?mod=tff_main_tff_top

topsecretk9

and sorry if TM pointed this out before...there are so many aggravating aspects it is easy to forget and then get frustrated once again

clarice

Joe Duke--Kudos Excellent job...

kim

PERJURY

Cooper, Miller, Wilson AND Russert.
===================================

clarice

I don't see how.

BTW all those letters Wilson wrote--to the SSCI and Pincus and Kristof--are to cover his ass re a perjury conviction for lying before the SSCI. They are to establish that he made a mistake in testifying and did try to correct the record. It'll make a perjury count rather harder to sustain.

Miller? Why? Her subpoena did not cover notes before July 6 and the notebook she brought in later goes to a date in JUNE.

Russert was deceptive in describing his gj testimony, but we aren't the gj, and there is no reason to believe he lied to it.

Cooper seems to have lied to his readers but if that were perjury we wouldn't have much of a press corps left. As to whether he discussed wr or not with Rove--whether or not he did is not material to the inquiry and therefore would not constitute perjury. He did lie to the public in his initial report of his conversation with Rove. Again, if lying to readers were perjury, there'd be a very small press corps.
The only way he'd be in trouble would be if the SP had evidence that he willfully lied to the gj about something material.

kim

Thanks, Clarice, but facts only confuse me.
===========================================

clarice

Joe Duke --I told you Libby was a good lawyer--Look at this part of what you posted:

the source familiar with his account said, told her that the White House was working with the CIA to learn more about Wilson's trip and how he was selected.
_______

They handled this correctly it seems to me.The WH gets charges about something that happened in the CIA, they have no independent knowledge about it. They make inquiry of Tenet to explain what it is about.
I do not think the dimwits who plotted this imagined they were dealing with grownups..

kim

Well, actually I looked at your post a little, Clarice. You mention Wilson 'lying', Russert 'deceptive', and Cooper 'to have lied'. Miller's mention is of a notebook she may have committed perjury about. Now, I grant that does not make formal 'perjury'. But they are all 4 liars, and that's what perjurers are convicted of doing.
=============================================

HonestAbe

How did the reporter's find out Plame's name and employer?

kim

They pounded the pavement, cried "Open, sesame" and the words sprang forth like thunder, heard for miles around.
============================================

clarice

kim--Again. Judy was only obligated to provide documents relating to conversations beginning on JULY 6. The matters in her notebook relate to a conversation in JUNE. Therefore, there is no problem with her late production of the notebook.

As to how widely known it was that Valerie was a CIA agent, I referred you to Richard Cohen's article in the WaPo where he says everyone knew that. (And of course TM has documented that many, many reporters seem to have figured that out on their own.)

Now, it is possible that the people you list may be in legal peril but going on what is publicly known, I wouldn't make that assessment.

justicurious

Can thunder spring? Maybe crash? Or bolt or burst?

kim

Oh, yes, C, the facts actually do make some sense. I certainly couldn't indict with what is publically know, but of course, no one has to do that, yet.

The June notes will present a problem, and may have come to light for this reason, if she first testified after her release that she had not discussed Wilson with Libby in June. Then she has already committed perjury, and only can get out of it by claiming poor memory, and by producing the notes.

I'm sure you understand this. When I sound dumb, I'm sometimes purposeful about it. I do believe intuition is a better guide to this matter than the spinning swirl laid out on the newswires. I argued this with JBG when he sneered at my paucity of knowledge of facts. I was screaming Joe, Joe, Joe, way back then, too, but I more suspected a CIA plot. Now I think it was more cynical, self-conscious MSM amusement. I know nothing, but enjoy wondering.
=========================================

kim

And I suspect Val is innocent of wrongdoing, if only because of Joe's outrage at her 'outing'. Were she involved he wouldn't dare object. And were she not, he may have figured that blaming someone else might mollify her.

And I think her sabbatical was over upset at the ruination of her career rather than for her husband's exposure as a liar before the SSCI.
==================================================

kim

From April thunder spring May flowers.

I don't know about you but I've sure felt the air spring around me as the blasts of a nearby lightening stike vibrate the atmosphere.
============================================

kim

Sometimes thunder leaps with the quickness of a cat.

Thunder springs. Look at the water bursting from it.
================================================

topsecretk9

the press core outing was before Novak...very few would take Joe seriously on his own.

topsecretk9

corp

kim

Now we know why Fitz seems not to be after Novak. Judy was long out by then, a point fiercely opposed by so many posters here in the past.
==============================================

kim

corpse
======

kim

Uh, Val was long out by then. Has anyone checked out the possiblility that Judith Miller and Valerie Plame are one and the same person?
================================================

Jim Rockford

I don't understand how anyone can get a conviction though on Karl Rove, Libby, Miller, or Cooper over outing Valerie Plame. Considering there is likely to be testimony that so many people heard different things and what looks so far like a giant game of telephone.

The only way I see a conviction is if Rove, Libby, or Miller get a hold of a super-secret classified document saying "Valerie Plame is a super-secret CIA agent don't tell anyone!" and then disemminate that information. Considering Andrea Mitchell said on MSNBC that Plame's identity was common knowledge in Georgetown, the various Who's Who entries for her, Wilson's high-profile conduct, I have a hard time believing any serious prosecutor would go ahead based on testimony from either WH officials or Press either of whom a defense attorney could tear to shreds on the stand.

Finding leakers? Of serious classified info? Now THAT I do believe Fitzgerald (courtesy of Judy Miller and Islamic Charities) WOULD go after, based on phone logs from the CIA; or people's private residences; or various meetings where Judy Miller took notes that match classified info to restricted people in the CIA. It would explain Miller sitting in jail (not wanting to divulge various CIA sources told her classified things she wasn't supposed to know).

People at the CIA are talking, to people they shouldn't (the press) and now it looks to me like the Press has realized that the net is going to be CIA NOT talking to anyone in the Press since it's going to simply get another SP inquiry, and possible dismissal/jail time.

The OTHER lesson here is don't trust the Press ala Matt Cooper of Time; since they are literally in bed with Dems (Cooper's wife is a top Hillary staffer). Press has only itself to blame when Reps simply cut off access.

kim

Here's another small point. Supposedly the notes of the June conversation were found in Judy's notebook in New York. Surely she turns the whole notebook over to Fitz. Can she specify that he can only read one page?
===============================================

clarice

She can redact it to cover only the narrow thing he is looking at as her other notes were redacted.(I suspect her counsel did this in both instances.)

See, you are absolutely entitled to the ownership of your own records. Therefore there is nothing improper,unlawful or "unwise" to not turn over one extra jot or tittle than the law requires.
Not the government's business.

kim

And what you hide piques the prosecutor's curiosity. You are arguing law, and I am arguing human nature.
=============================================

kim

And what are the laws of scandal?
==================================

kim

And I maintain all this redacting and dealing is a charade. What is to limit Fitz's questions?
===============================================

topsecretk9

a little of topic, or not...intersting timing ?---

Washington - President George W Bush has approved the creation of a national clandestine service within the Central Intelligence Agency to oversee all US espionage operations, the government said on Thursday.

The action was the latest in efforts to overhaul US intelligence following its failures on Iraq's weapons of mass destruction and the 9/11 attacks on the United States.

...The statement described the NCS as "the national authority for the integration, co-ordination, deconfliction, and evaluation of human intelligence operations across the entire intelligence community".

http://www.news24.com/News24/World/News/0,,2-10-1462_1816680,00.html

kim

Resolution has devolved to deconfliction.
===========================================

kim

Fitz is serious. He could have taken the obvious Big Bob deal to have Judy be Libby's source and Judy innocent because Plame was already outed(which may yet be the denouement of that), but his curiosity has been aroused now about earlier events.

What's to stop him? Not Bob Dole, not Bob Bennett. Cohen's crying uncle, prominent Dems are silent as the tomb(Well, Repubs, too) and the press is on strike, for what I don't know. Dumber readers, probably, which they are getting, effortlessly.
==================================================

clarice

Kim, I'm sorry I am unable to persuade you. Pretend you had a diary in which you kept a record of all your conversations with everyone. You are subpoenaed to testify and produce records of all conversations you had with Mr. X in July 2003. Normally, you would ask your lawyer to go through the diary for that month, copy all pages on which that material appears and block out anything on those pages (redact) which relates to conversations with others.(Now those matters may reveal confidential things about you or the other person or not. But the point is, you are not obligated to nor does the counsel subpoenaing them have a right to them.

After you produce them and testify, it turns out that there was something in June as well which the prosecutor wants. You can make him get a new subpoena or just agree thru counsel to produce that as well.

That is what appears to have happened here.

I do not see what the scandal is. That yentas in the press --who hate you any way --try to make something out of that,so what? There's nothing the least bit scandalous about your behavior. Nothing at all.

In fact, it appears, she was quite accommodating to the prosecutor because she could have refused and made him get yet anothr subpoena.

topsecretk9

but his curiosity has been aroused now about earlier events.

or it's just been really boring for the past 2 years.

Intensive Care

Now retired, Carl Ford of the State Department drafted and sent the memo regarding who, what, and when....( Wilson to Niger), to POWELL,while he was in Africa. IS THIS THE SAME CARL FORD THAT TESTIFIED AT THE SENATE HEARING'S AGAINST BOLTON??????????????????????????????????

kim

I agree she has behaved properly; if guilty, it was prudent. But I believe the manner in which she has behaved toward Fitz has made him suspicious of her guilt, and if she is innocent she should turn on her ability to communicate like a firehose.

I don't believe I have offended you but please pardon me if I have. Your posts are consistently among the more judicious on the blog, a standard I can recognize if not achieve, and I look forward to them.
===============================================

topsecretk9

Clarice--

on LCJ as a Novaks bug and source...would there be any likelihood Novak would be asked about the chance meeting

and if Wilson was ever questioned, would he be asked the same?

kim

Oh, and by 'scandal' I didn't mean her failure to earlier pony up her notebook. I was talking about toute l'affaire Plame.
=========================================

clarice

Kim, You haven't offended me at all, but the point is she behaved properly. Period. It has nothing to do with guilt or innocence.

top--Wilson said he was questioned by the FBI sometime ago but I see no sign that he has been called before the gj. Since I don't know how that encounter would come up --that is what the scope of the inquiry is I don't know.

I don't know either if Johnson has been interviewed.

No one knows if Novak was interviewed or if he testified, but ,again, it depends on the scope of the inquiry.

kim

So was being contemptuous proper? I know this is moving the goalposts a little on you but Fitz has the whole stadium.
================================================

kim

Sure, the moves on the chessboard must follow the legal rules. But the progress and outcome of the game is not determined by rules.

Look at the Roccoco Dreyfus.
==============================

Dwilkers

If this is about the White House outing Plame to Novak in July why is Fitz so interested in this June conversation between Miller and Libby that he called her back in to testify about it? And why the long looks on Miller and her lawyer's face when they emerged from the second day of testimony?

How in the world is a prosecutor going to get a conviction on this when so many people were gossiping about this with so many others? Looks to me like it would be easier to make a list of who wasn't talking about it and give them a brownie button or something.

Appalled Moderate

Dwilkers:

Remember the 22 indictment rumor. He really might be indicting everybody. It's the way all bloggers, left and right and center, can be right about something.

Cecil Turner

The only way I see a conviction is if Rove, Libby, or Miller get a hold of a super-secret classified document saying "Valerie Plame is a super-secret CIA agent don't tell anyone!"

Exactly. It seems to me the problem with any indictments in this case is that there's little evidence of an underlying crime. If it was obvious that there was a concerted attempt to "out" Plame, and the prosecutor just couldn't prove it, most folks wouldn't have any problem with him charging them on something dimly related and throwing the book at them (a la Capone's tax evasion). But so far, despite lots of leaks from the lawyers involved, there isn't even a credible theory of an IIPA violation, or anything close. (The only postulated sources are the INR memo or a reporter . . . either of which would appear to invalidate an IIPA charge.) And without some actual basis for a special prosecutor, any indictments on obstruction (or parsing three sets of testimony to find an inconsistency) are going to be perceived as political and bogus.

Similarly, the only way a criminal obstruction charge against Miller would be legitimate is if it keeps the prosecutor from learning the truth about an IIPA or related violation. Parsing through her forced testimony looking for minor inconsistencies (especially if it appears to be protecting sources for her WMD articles) isn't going to cut it. Unless there's something significant yet to come out, I'm just not seeing it.

owl

Enjoying these posts today. Good to know I am not only one with Fried Brain Overload.

There is not one person in Media or Goverment that does not know what I said above is true. It is another Media/CIA but with a very political goal this time. Same as the AWOL/fake but accurate. The real goad is to prove this administration went to war/lying/lying. A real Democratic "gotcha" with all Media witnesses.

What really tickles me is the silence. Wonder what happens when all that hot air comes out?

cathyf

But Cecil, suppose Fitzgerald has decided that Plame was first outted by Hawley and then by Wilson to Corn. Hawley by honest error (he never dreamed she was covert) and Wilson because he honestly believed by reading Novak's column that she was already outted. So Fitzgerald has moved on to the discussion of Wilson's trip while it was still classified, or any and all leaks of classified information.

Earlier Tom posted a quote from the 20's where a supreme court justice expressed alarm that the plain reading of the espionage act was pretty clearly unconstitutional, but that since the act has never been enforced that way there has never been a court case to strike it down. Given that context, it's hard to see Fitzgerald going after people under a total novel reading of a century-old law that is unconstitutional. This guy has a fearsome reputation for integrity -- he's really going to blow it all doing a Ronny Earle?

Well, I'm going back to "I'm confused."

cathy :-)

Neo

I'm glad to know that these folks actually talk to each other, but where is the crime ?

And these "informed sources" are volating which laws or "canon of ethics" ?

The oddest part of this is that Ms. Miller can not only report the news, but actually make the news that she reports. Nothing prohibits her reporting of her own testimony before the grand jury. Think back to how many portions of this story were first reported by the NYT.
Not only that, she has the power to arrange the method of news releases, that could help to bump up the price for the eventual book. No conflict of interest here .. yeah sure.

Next she will be bucking to replace Judge Judy.

Jeff

It seems to me the problem with any indictments in this case is that there's little evidence of an underlying crime.

How could you possibly know this?

I have no idea if anyone is going to be indicted, and if so, who. But since, unlike Kenneth Starr's office, Fitzgerald's has behaved with great integrity and leaked very little if at all, we have very little idea of what he's actually up to and certainly little idea of what evidence he's working with.

But so far, despite lots of leaks from the lawyers involved, there isn't even a credible theory of an IIPA violation, or anything close.

Regardless of whether this claim is correct, why must we focus on IIPA? Mark Kleiman, for instance, has been insisting for a long time that the Espionage Act was more likely the relevant statute. In fact, do we even know that IIPA was Fitzgerald's original focus? That's not a rhetorical question. I know Corn focused on that immediately, and I know that it has been a favorite talking point on the right, from the likes especially of Victoria Toensing, which makes sense since the fact that it is so hard to violate makes it a useful benchmark for wrongdoing by the Bush administration. But to the best of my knowledge, the CIA referral did not specify the IIPA, but rather the unlawful passing of classified information. Am I wrong on this?

Cecil Turner

suppose Fitzgerald has decided that Plame was first outted by Hawley and then by Wilson to Corn. Hawley by honest error . . .

If the outing was unintentional, it's not a violation (of any law I'm aware of). Fitz should file a report to that effect and quit.

we have very little idea of what he's actually up to and certainly little idea of what evidence he's working with.

Seems to me we have a report on most witnesses from various sources described as "close to" witnesses, or "lawyers familiar," etc. And descriptions of most of the documents (down to paragraph classification markings). And though there are obvious credibility issues with the unnamed sources, and undoubtedly some stuff hasn't leaked, there are certainly indications of much of Fitz's evidence. Notably absent is any report of a classified source for Plame's identity (with the exception of the INR memo).

Regardless of whether this claim is correct, why must we focus on IIPA?

Fitz brief is to "investigate the alleged unauthorized disclosure of a CIA employee’s identity." The IIPA would seem to be the appropriate statute, though possibly the more general "classified information" would be appropriate if that's all that can be proved. But all of those require intent (which in this case requires knowing Plame is covert). Perhaps there's a substantial piece of undisclosed evidence . . . but if not, it's hard to see how there's anything to the underlying charge. And if not, charges of things like obstruction are not going to be very credible.

Jerkweed

Nice Turner-I detect your subtle transition from past arguing "there's no there there" to preparing to criticize the upcoming indictments as unfounded and not credible.

You can hide from reality from here to eternity.

TexasToast

Looks like Karl had lots to talk about.

Newby

Yep. Karl still there!

If the right wingers are right that this is oh so simple-what the hell do these people, e.g. Rove, spend 18-20 hours in total talking about?

Syl

Cecil

"But all of those require intent (which in this case requires knowing Plame is covert). "

Well, that's not true. I've mentioned this a few times already.

Because there are both covert and non-covert employees at the CIA, confirming anyone's employment at CIA requires confirmation that he/she is not covert. This is done by asking for confirmation from an official source...the CIA itself. The CIA will neither confirm nor deny employement if the person is covert.

This is why Novak called Harlow. (And, as noted several times, Harlow confirmed BEFORE he checked her status.) This is why Cooper put in his email that maybe a reporter should contact the CIA.

That an individual works at the CIA is public knowledge really has no bearing. It's the confirmation of the knowledge by an official source that is the problem.

Where this gets complicated is the normal back and forth between the government and the press. If it becomes prosecutable that a government source hints strongly at something, with the intent that the press figure it out and possibly go with it, then the communication between the government and the press will be dealt a severe blow.

I don't think any citizen believes that is in our best interests.

Jeff

And descriptions of most of the documents (down to paragraph classification markings).

I suppose it depends on what the meaning of "descriptions" is -- if you have any details on the contents of the records of the WHIG, all the emails that have been subpoened, the phone records, Judy's notebook, Judy's testimony, Karl's testimony, Scooter's testimony, and so on, I'd love to hear it. To say nothing of things we've heard virtually no reporting on whatsoever.

Fitz's brief, as you acknowledge, does not limit Fitz to IIPA, indeed does not even specify it. Nor is he limited, on my understanding, to whatever his initial brief was. Plus there is some evidence that the CIA referral did not specify IIPA violation either but more generally referred to classified information.

We'll have to see about the underlying charge. I am trying to proportion my judgment to the evidence, and so far we just don't know enough about the case - there are certainly plausible scenarios for a serious underlying charge.

As for this --

And if not, charges of things like obstruction are not going to be very credible --

that's just nonsense and hackery. Is it not possible to obstruct justice or lie to investigators or to a grand jury even if no charges for an underlying crime are laid? Next I suppose you're going to say any charges for an underlying crime under any statute other than the very difficult to prove (by your own account, I believe) IIPA are not going to be very credible either, huh?

Cecil Turner

I detect your subtle transition from past arguing "there's no there there" to preparing to criticize the upcoming indictments as unfounded and not credible.

Actually, my point here is that upcoming indictments are unlikely, precisely because "there's no there there." I could be wrong, but I think consistent. (And subtlety is not my strong suit.) I see the WaPo also seems to be thinking about obstruction or something similar:

Defense lawyers increasingly are concerned Fitzgerald might pursue other charges such as false statements, obstruction of justice or mishandling of classified information.
They also note Rove's testimony lasted 4+ hours (though the content hasn't leaked yet). Maybe he's being too clever, but if he thought he was in trouble, you'd think he'd be a bit less verbose.

Well, that's not true. I've mentioned this a few times already.

Because there are both covert and non-covert employees at the CIA, confirming anyone's employment at CIA requires confirmation that he/she is not covert.

I'm not sure what your point is, but I think you're wrong. If a CIA employee is not covert, the fact that they work at the agency is not classified, and revealing it is not a crime.

if you have any details on the contents of the records of the WHIG, all the emails that have been subpoened

Seems to me we've been discussing quotes from pertinent e-mails (including Rove's to Hadley: "I didn't take the bait"), Miller's June notes (specifying "Wilson," no mention of "Plame") for quite some time now. Obviously we don't have it all, and some might be wrong, but pretending none of the details are "out there" seems hard to support.

Is it not possible to obstruct justice or lie to investigators or to a grand jury even if no charges for an underlying crime are laid?

I'm sure it is. (Hence my discussion above about one existing, even if it was not provable.) But it's a bit less clear how one can obstruct an investigation into a crime that was never committed.

Newby

Ask Martha Stewart. I like this old chestnut from an L.A. times article:

"Although some prosecutors use grand juries to rubber stamp charges based on testimony from government witnesses, such as FBI agents, Fitzgerald views the grand jury process as a wide-ranging search for facts, an effect of which is to reveal people who have been less than truthful. The Plame investigation has involved dozens of witnesses.

"Pat definitely uses it as an inquisitorial body," said Joshua Berman, a former federal prosecutor who worked with Fitzgerald in New York and who is a partner with the law firm of Sonnenschein, Nath and Rosenthal in Washington. "He uses the grand jury as an apparatus to seek the truth. When people are not truthful … he believes those people should be punished."

When you start that with this bunch, who knows what you're going to turn up???

The Unbeliever

Well, if we're going to go into Kremlinologist mode here... how do we know Karl hasn't spent most of those testimony hours sitting in a waiting room reading a year-old copy of Newsweek, while Fitz talked with lawyers and clerks in another room?

Jerkweed

or perhaps they were talking plea deals?

Ask Mr. Turner-he seems to have an inside track on these things. ;)

cathyf
If a CIA employee is not covert, the fact that they work at the agency is not classified, and revealing it is not a crime.
Valerie and I are the same age, and we applied to the CIA in 1985. It's possible that things have changed, but I doubt that it's that much different. The way this was explained to me is that every CIA employee has an official employer. For covert employees, who by definition work overseas (the CIA does not do domestic intelligence), the employer will be the state department if the cover is an embassy job, or will be a front company. For non-covert people (the kind of job I was applying for) you put down the CIA as your employer. If it was illegal to divulge the employment of a non-covert CIA agents, then they would all be homeless beggers living within walking distance of headquarters, because you can't get a lease or a mortgage or a car loan without being able to put your employer's name on the application.

cathy :-)

Syl

Let me clarify.

Before anyone in an official capacity who has signed the appropriate NDA's and been briefed on procedures can confirm that someone works at the CIA, they must, by statute, have determined that person's status and can only confirm employment if the status is not covert.

So not knowing she was covert is no excuse.

The question then arises whether 'Wilson's wife' is enough of an identification, or if the more specific 'Valery Plame' is required before her identity as CIA employee can be assumed to have been confirmed by administration sources.

If the latter, there would be no crime involved in Libby and Rove getting the word out that 'Wilson's wife' works at the CIA and expecting the press to then follow through.

Novak, indeed, did follow through and because Harlow goofed a covert CIA employee was confirmed to the public.

However, where SAO's knowledge of Plame's status DOES matter is in intent to expose her in order to punish Wilson.

I think Fitzgerald first has to prove that Libby and Rove knew her status. If they did not, and Fitz believes 'Wilson's wife' did not constitute confirmation but only left it to the press to figure it out then they are off the hook.

If Fitzgerald thinks Libby and Rove (and whomever else) did not know her status, but he has determined that 'Wilson's wife' is enough to prove they confirmed her, then they are guilty of not checking into her status before disclosure. But not of outing her in retaliation.

But if Fitz determines they both knew her status, and 'Wilson's wife' is enough, then they are in deep doo-doo.

boris

The CIA will neither confirm nor deny employement if the person is covert.

Which would be a dead giveaway to anybody aware of that rule.

Harlow's responsibility to check before confirming seems likely. Inferring that responsibility onto Rove or Libby seems like a stretch, especially if it was their impression that Valerie's occupation as a CIA analyst was common knowledge and the only info they were confirming was that she played a role in Joe's selection.

boris

if Fitz determines they both knew her status, and 'Wilson's wife' is enough

If they knew enough to know her status then they would not be referring to her as "Wilson's wife" and there should be a record of a status check on Valerie.

Syl

Cathyf

"If it was illegal to divulge the employment of a non-covert CIA agents..."

It's not.

Cecil Turner

"I'm not sure what your point is, but I think you're wrong. If a CIA employee is not covert, the fact that they work at the agency is not classified, and revealing it is not a crime."

I am not wrong. The status IS classified if the CIA employee is covert. By statute the revealer is responsible for determining the status before revelation. Either by directly checking it, if possible, or having someone with the proper security clearance check the status first.

And if the status is classified, no revelation can be made. 'No comment' or 'I can neither confirm nor deny' or silence is the only proper response.


cathyf

I grew up in Washington during watergate, and my dad worked for the government and had a security clearance, and lots of his friends worked for the government and had security clearances. It's certainly been well-appreciated from day one that there is a huge temptation for the government to classify their screwups in order to cover them up. Certainly I got the idea from back then that it was illegal to classify things inappropriately, and that my dad and his friends would find themselves in hot water if they tried it.

But I've not seen any sort of discussion of whether it was against the law for the CIA to keep an agent on covert status with an NOC front company for years and years after her cover was blown. Especially since the 2nd time her cover was blown, where somebody forgot to put files in a diplomatic pouch and sent them to the embassy in Havana, was definitely an agency screwup and leaving her covert could be interpreted as an attempt to cover that up.

And then there is the whole "triple life" thing. Normal secret agents have double lives -- they have their public identity and their secret identity. But Valerie had three lives: there was her spy identity, there was her official non-official cover identity of energy analyst for Brewster Jennings & Associates, and then there was her unofficial official job as a CIA WMD analyst. The idea that somebody at the CIA thought that this was going to actually keep her identity secret is darkly funny when you are writing a movie script, but in real life it's just pathetically incompetent.

cathy :-)

cathyf
By statute the revealer is responsible for determining the status before revelation. Either by directly checking it, if possible, or having someone with the proper security clearance check the status first.
So when Rove told Cooper, "Tenet is going to have the statement later" he violated the law, because he just assumed that the CIA director was not covert, and he didn't check with proper channels to make sure that Tenet didn't have a secret identity before "outting" him as a CIA employee?

It's one thing to discuss someone's CIA employment if you don't know whether or not they are covert. You are required to check if you don't know. But everyone who heard the job description of "CIA WMD analyst" knew that she wasn't covert. If my speculation about how it tripped up Hawley is correct, then there is no way that you are going to indict any SAOs for not questioning her non-covertness if the CIA press liason didn't even question it. "Reasonableness" is an important principle of law, and that wouldn't pass.

If Fitzgerald has something, it has to be more than this.

cathy :-)

Lesley

Re: Amateur Kremlinologist Alert

A little speculation. Karl Rove is hardly a "potted plant" (Brendan Sullivan/Oliver North/Iran Contra). Soooo, what does Rove have to say to a Grand Jury for hours and hours? Well, possibly, Rove's revelations about intelligence leaks, and NOT intelligence leaks from the White House (ie, the adminstration's opportunity to push back and make their case), is the direction in which the GJ is heading.

Just my happy little thought for the day.

Cecil Turner

If Fitzgerald thinks Libby and Rove (and whomever else) did not know her status, but he has determined that 'Wilson's wife' is enough to prove they confirmed her, then they are guilty of not checking into her status before disclosure.

If that's a crime, I'd be obliged for a steer to the pertinent statute.

The status IS classified if the CIA employee is covert.

Again, the crimes require intent. If you don't know the employee is covert, you don't know her status is classified (and you can't intentionally divulge it). For practical application, I think cathyf's reductio argument above is on point.

Jerkweed

The reductio argument was absurd, I'll admit that.

Syl's point is hardly difficult to grasp.

ordi

Federal prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald on Friday told President George W. Bush's top political adviser, Karl Rove, that he has yet to decide whether he will bring charges over the leak of a covert CIA operative's identity, Rove's lawyer said.

'The special counsel has not advised Mr. Rove that he is a target of the investigation and affirmed that he has made no decision concerning charges,' Rove's lawyer, Robert Luskin, said. 'The special counsel has indicated that he does not anticipate the need for Mr. Rove's further cooperation.'

http://abcnews.go.com/US/wireStory?id=1213698

Jeff

So when Rove told Cooper, "Tenet is going to have the statement later" he violated the law . . .

I know this was not your main point, but that's not actually what Rove told Cooper, that's an interpretation of what Rove was referring to when he talked about declassifying stuff. I think a case can be made -- especially in light of what Novak would say in his July 14 column -- that Rove was talking about the intelligence report or memo based on Wilson's trip. More on that memo in a second.

Jeff

Hey cecil - We got into this a little yesterday. Here's another piece of evidence that the report based on Wilson's trip (or some derivative thereof) was not in fact distributed only to analysts, as you suggested, and that the normal and wide distribution Tenet said (in his July 11 2003 statement) it got included at least the White House. Here's what Pincus and Allen had to say in an October 12 2003 WaPo story (and let's remember that the version of the story that TM said was more favorable on this question to the WH was from Pincus himself):

Wilson's oral report to a CIA officer had been turned into a routine one-and-a-half page CIA intelligence memo to the White House and other agencies. By tradition, his identity as the source, even though he went under the auspices of the CIA, was not disclosed.

True, it's not sourced. But maybe that's because they thought it secure as an uncontroversial fact.

Cecil Turner

Wilson's oral report to a CIA officer had been turned into a routine one-and-a-half page CIA intelligence memo . . . True, it's not sourced. But maybe that's because they thought it secure as an uncontroversial fact.

If so, the uncontroversial fact seems to've been lost to everyone's memory. It's also directly contradicted by the SSCI:

they did not use the report to produce any further analytical products or highlight the report for policymakers.
As to possible explanations, I'd note much of Pincus's article relies on information from Wilson. And Wilson was apparently convinced that his information had been turned into a memo and distributed to the White House, as noted both in his original Times piece and here in the SSCI:
The former ambassador told Committee staff that he had no direct knowledge of how the information he provided was handled by the CIA, but, based on his previous government experience, he believed that the report would have been distributed to the White House . . .
I'd be inclined to believe it's an honest mistake, and then reported as fact by someone who (not totally unreasonably) considered him expert.

Syl

Cecil

"Again, the crimes require intent. If you don't know the employee is covert, you don't know her status is classified (and you can't intentionally divulge it). For practical application, I think cathyf's reductio argument above is on point."

I don't know the exact statute involved. I got this information from someone who worked on classification management for the government and also helped author FOIA. It is required procedure.

As far as the reductio argument, point taken. Though IMHO it would, at best, lead to a finding of negligence.

Jeff

cecil - Only trouble with that is that this is not the Pincus article that relied on Wilson, it's from four months later. So it's doubtful that he's relying on Wilson for that fact. My guess is that the memo referred to here is the report produced by the CIA after debriefing Wilson. Is that possible? In any case, there were a number of reports, then, to this effect in 2003. It also appears to be used by Fleischer in at least one of the gaggles from that fateful week in July. We know something was produced, and it sounds like it made its way to the White House. As for the SSCI, I note that it does not directly contradict the WaPo on this point. Indeed, it seems rather consistent to say that the memo was routine (which jibes with what else has been reported about its circulation to the White House too) and to say that the CIA did not highlight the report for policymakers -- though I will admit this is another one of those cases where your misunderstanding is understandable, since producing such a misleading impression is one of the SSCI excels at.

Syl

Jeff

If Cheney or anyone in the administration had actually seen a writeup of Wilson's report, it would have added to their other intelligence, confirming attempts to purchase uranium from Niger.

The forged document regarding a sale did not, AFAIK, refer to the sale as a result of that specific attempt.

That a sale never came to fruition is not a refutation of Saddam's repeated attempts to procure uranium.

Jim E.

According to tomorrow's Washington Post:
"One person who will not be charged is Judith Miller, the New York Times reporter who spent 85 days in jail for refusing to testify in the case before making two recent appearances before the grand jury. Miller was recently told by Fitzgerald that she is only a witness in the case, according to a source close to Miller."

That Miller is no longer in legal jeoporady will likely disappoint BOTH righties and lefties.

Neo

By statute the revealer is responsible for determining the status before revelation.

section 421, section 422 and section 426 don't seem to mention anything about that.

Neo

The case dates back to July 2003, when a with conservative commentator close ties to the Republican party, Robert Novak, published Plame's name.

Apparently, the terms "conservative Democrat" and "conservative commentator close ties to the Republican party" are now interchangeable. Unknown to many, Bob Novak is a registered Democrat. Anyone living in D.C. who isn't register as a Democrat is just simply a non-factor in all elections.

CaseyL

Neo, are you saying that Novak is not, in fact, "[a] conservative commentator close ties to the Republican party"?

I can't believe that Plane's status as an NOC is still being argued in RW circles. Wouldn't the CIA have known her status when it, y'know, requested an investigation of outing her? Are you seriously suggesting the CIA needs a SP investigation to tell it which of its agents are NOCs?

I'm also kind of tickled by the wishful thinking that Plame and/or WIlson are the "real" targets of the investigation. What charges, exactly, do you accuse them of?

Syl

Neo

If it's not in the Code, then it's probably in the CFR...Rules made by federal agencies and executive departments.

Syl

Casey

Wilson may have revealed classified information when he talked about forged documents and the 'dates are wrong and the names are wrong'.

Cecil Turner

don't know the exact statute involved. I got this information from someone who worked on classification management for the government and also helped author FOIA. It is required procedure.

Apologies for the slow response. It sounds to me like you're talking about declassification procedures. I've worked on (military) FOIA requests before, and they're pretty much as you described. It is in fact required to check each point, and merely because the information is already "out there" does not mean it's declassified. However, here we're talking about someone making a mistake because they don't know something is classified. That's relatively common, and as far as I know, there's nothing criminal about it. (Though if negligence or sloppy handling can be proved, it can be a violation of an order, or of handling procedures.)

Only trouble with that is that this is not the Pincus article that relied on Wilson, it's from four months later.

I take it you're referring to Pincus's "CIA Did Not Share Doubt on Iraq Data" article. Interestingly inconsistent on the point, no? And your linked article provides several paraphrased Wilson quotes, has a casual picture of Wilson talking, and generally emphasizes Wilson's view of the matter (e.g., focus on how Plame's name came to the fore, and the "fair game" comment). It's obviously relying on Wilson for most of its content.

We know something was produced, and it sounds like it made its way to the White House . . . I will admit this is another one of those cases where your misunderstanding is understandable, since producing such a misleading impression is one of the SSCI excels at.

We know the data was incorporated into a report sent to analysts. The reports officer who produced it said it "did not provide substantial new information," an INR analyst said he thought it corroborated their position, but the “report could be read in different ways.” CIA analysts who read it "did not believe that it supplied much new information," and thus they "did not use the report to produce any further analytical products or highlight the report for policymakers." The VP's briefings continued to assess the Niger source as reliable, and Wilson's debrief was noted before the fact, but (since it was a disappointment) not shared afterward. The SSCI goes on to conclude the report "should have briefed the Vice President." I'm not sure what's misleading about any of that, nor how you can continue to construe it as a deep dark mystery. Or, if you want to claim it's a lie, how you'd explain why Sens Rockefeller, Levin, Feinstein, etc. signed off on it.

jerkweed

Did you see Cheney's interview yesterday with Brit Hume?

The guy is too scared to even tell the truth. I'm sorry-but even if you think there's no crime here, actually-especially if you feel there's no crime here, it's embarassing to have the Vice-president acting so cowardly.

jerkweed

Did you see Cheney's interview yesterday with Brit Hume?

The guy is too scared to even tell the truth. I'm sorry-but even if you think there's no crime here, actually-especially if you feel there's no crime here, it's embarassing to have the Vice-president acting so cowardly.

topsecretk9

Did you see Cheney's interview yesterday with Brit Hume?
The guy is too scared to even tell the truth...it's embarrassing to have the Vice-president acting so cowardly.

"I'm simply not at liberty to discuss the issue. I understand you've got to ask those questions, but it is an ongoing investigation, and we're under instructions not to discuss the matter, so therefore I can't discuss the matter," Cheney said.

I think Cheney's response, alone, sort of tells you where jerkweed is coming from. I guess in a Sid Blumenthal kind of world this statement would be perceived as coward like. In grown-up land it is just considered professional and deferential.

Jerkweed, curious...what could have Cheney said here that would have made you nervous?

Syl

Stephen Hayes Summary

CaseyL

Wilson may have revealed classified information when he talked about forged documents and the 'dates are wrong and the names are wrong'.

1. What classified information "may have" he revealed? The fact that the forgeries were, in fact, forgeries? Or the facts that revealed them to be forgeries? Why would any of that be classified?

2. If those comments are why you believe Wilson is a target of the investigation, why hasn't Fitzgerald subpoenaed anyone to talk about the documents those comments refer to? Why are Rove, Libby and Miller the ones in the hotseat, and Wilson isn't?

Syl

Casey

I was just conjecturing. And just a point of information, just because a layman might think it's nonsensical to classify something doesn't mean squat.

I have no more info on Wilson than anyone else. I do know he's a liar, and it's always possible his big mouth let out more than it should have.

We, the public, in fact do not know if he referred to any classified info. It could be a point of info we totally ignore in his blatherings for all we know, rather than something we all discuss. It could be something meaningful only to someone who could figure out sources and methods from it..not us.

Anyway, he was the source for articles claiming he debunked forgeries. When in fact the forgeries didn't appear until several months after his trip.

He then, in his own article, says he never saw the actual document, but referred readers to previous articles that indicated the names and dates were wrong. Articles he was an anonymous source for. What a putz.

Wilson attempted (and obviously succeeded) in making the public think that the document Cheney wanted info on in February was the SAME document as the forgery that showed up in Italy the next fall. It was not.

Wilson's actual role in the Niger matter was minor. He makes it out to be major. His prevarications are only matched by his enormous ego.

kim

Wilson has drawn and quartered his own credibility.
====================================================

CaseyL

Syl, all of that shows why you hope he's the target. I already know the Right hates Wilson; I already know what the Right says about Wilson.

What I'm interested in at this point, and what I have yet to hear, are any objective signs (not wishful thinking; not conspiratorial spin; not blog-comment echo chambering) that Wlson *is* a target of Fitzgerald's investigation. Such as actual laws being broken, with actual evidence of laws being broken; and/or actual signs of Fitzgerald's interest, in the form of subpeonas and testimony relating to Wilson's statements.

Saying It could be a point of info we totally ignore in his blatherings for all we know, rather than something we all discuss doesn't cut it. Why? Because we *do* know who Fitzgerald has called in to testify, and we pretty much know what they were testifyng about, and Wilson's comments about the Niger forgeries isn't on either list. It's not even a deducible premise from the list.

Wilson's actual role in the Niger matter was minor. Let's say I accept that, arguendo. Then how can it be "minor" and also a target of Fitzgerald's investigation?

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Wilson/Plame