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October 27, 2005



Jehl seems to go out of his way several times in the article to state that "...the matter [of the forgeries] was being investigated as a counterintelligence case, not a criminal one."

If that's true, why would the FBI be involved?


Isn't that cute.;)..A domestic couterintelligence case. Think about it..Think about stovepiping, Wilson's tap dance about when and where he saw the docs..

Bill in AZ

FBI couldn't find source of Niger docs? Even with Plame in France making the French and Italians holler "over here, over here". What a surprise. Well, at least they allegedly looked for them. Didn't even bother looking for the rathergate fakes, though if they had they might have discovered the Niger forgeries too.


Clarice...did the US press corp just discover on the eve of their worst nightmare that there was a little forgery investigation sort of happening in tandem all this time?


Looks like it--How separate with public reports that Fitz was looking into them, Judy's subpoena seems to cover them--It was the heart of Wilson's claim for a while and he tapped danced about when and where he saw them like a dervish--and we had that Hersh piece on stovepiping just as Wilson started claiming he'd seen the forgeries/that is before he said he didn't..


Article says:Law enforcement officials say they do not believe that the two issues are related********Sure.

Sources--law enforcment and intelligence officers and counter-intelligence official.


On the forgeries, you do realize that the reporting that prompted Wilson's trip was itself based on the forgeries, right? And contained the same errors. See Silberman-Robb report p. 214n214. Which is not to say that Wilson didn't see documents he wasn't supposed to see, necessarily, it just means that it's clear that he discussed the contents of what turned out to be the forged documents at his Fe. 19 2002 meeting at the CIA.


LCJ (when he is not making wild predictions of 22 indictments from his lunchdate source) is getting pissy because members of the media are starting to let go of the charade WH outed Plame---In the process he reveals that he is the recipient of classified info:

The Marriage Canard and Valerie Plame
Larry C. Johnson

Today on Wolf Blitzer's show, The Situation Room, correspondent David Ensor brought up the criticism that has been circulated by folks like Cliff May saying that Valerie Plame compromised her cover by marrying a high profile diplomat like Joe Wilson. I called David afterwards and had a pleasant conversation to clarify that this is a red herring. As I told David, I know of several CIA undercover officers who are married to so-called high profile people. The reality is that their identity is not known to the public and could only be made known to the public if they revealed their identity or someone else familiar with them did. One of these people is a friend of mine, happily married, and serving the United States as a spymaster overseas.

There is another reason to shoot down the silly and specious claim that Val essentially outed herself by marrying Joe. At no point prior to Bob Novak's column is there a public reference to Valerie as a CIA officer. Moreover, Joe Wilson did not advertise the fact that he had done contracting work for the CIA (i.e., he had been sent on previous missions overseas). Val's cover, while not heavily backstopped, was adequate to allow her to work overseas on sensitive missions.

It is slowly dawning on the American people that the Bush Administration attack on Valerie and Joe Wilson was part of a broader conspiracy to hide the fact that our political leaders fabricated a case for war in Iraq. Dick Cheney, Scooter Libby, and Karl Rove, among others, apparently preferred to destroy a valuable intelligence asset rather than expose the truth the United States went to war in Iraq based on misinformation and deception. That is a crime deserving the most serious punishment.



they do not believe

Isn't that tantamount to telling a reporter "maybe, maybe not...you'll be the last person to know"


Yeah--I love this "Val's cover, while not heavily backstopped,"


Interesting. So, this story about the forged documents appears on the eve of Fitzgerald's announcement(s) re: the GJ investigation, and who does Jehl name as a possible source for those documents but Chalabi - once again attempting to make the case that the invasion of Iraq was based on false premeses.

He talks about the "chain of events" pre-war, but never addresses the chain of custody of the documents or whether Joe and Valerie had anything to do with them.

I've always wondered why the Dems were so quick to jump on those "sixteen words" in the President's State of the Union speech. Yes, it was part of the case against Iraq, but only one facet of it.


In watching the pundits on TV tonight, I've heard both that the grand jury can and cannot be extented again. The Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure says:

(g) Discharging the Grand Jury. A grand jury must serve until the court discharges it, but it may serve more than 18 months only if the court, having determined that an extension is in the public interest, extends the grand jury's service. An extension may be granted for no more than 6 months, except as otherwise provided by statute.

As far as I can determine, there's no statute that provides otherwise, but since I ain't no lawyer (TM), I may have missed something. I don't exactly know how to interpret the FRCP rule. Does it mean the GJ can only be extended once, for at most 6 months; or does it mean it can be extended for 2 more months, beyond the current 22; or is there some other rule or statute hiding somewhere the actually controls this?

I also heard several people say that Fitzgerald's site had changed, with links to various programs to view documents (such as PDF and Word viewers) being added. I looked at the site, and didn't notice an any obvious changes. The little "Viewing Notice" box near the bottom of the page has always been on at least some pages, though it's possible, I suppose, that the noice has been added to some pages it wasn't previously on, or that some extra applications have been added to the list.


Here again are the Independent Views of Roberts, Bond and Hatch to the SSCI report:
At the time the former ambassador traveled to Niger, the Intelligence Community did not have in its possession any actual documents on the alleged Niger-Iraq uranium deal, only second hand reporting of the deal. The former ambassador's comments to reporters that the Niger-Iraq uranium documents "may have been forged because 'the dates were wrong and the names were wrong,'" could not have been based on the former ambassador's actual experiences because the Intelligence Community did not have the documents at the time of the ambassador's trip. In addition, nothing in the report from the former ambassador's trip said anything about documents having been forged or the names or dates in the reports having been incorrect. The former ambassador told Committee staff that he, in fact, did not have access to any of the names and dates in the CIA's reports and said he may have become confused about his own recollection after the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) reported in March 2003 that the names and dates on the documents were not correct. Of note, the names and dates in the documents that the IAEA found to be incorrect were not names or dates included in the CIA reports.

Following the Vice President's review of an intelligence report regarding a possible uranium deal, he asked his briefer for the CIA's analysis of the issue. It was this request which generated Mr. Wilson's trip to Niger. The former ambassador's public comments suggesting that the Vice President had been briefed on the information gathered during his trip is not correct, however. While the CIA responded to the Vice President's request for the Agency's analysis, they never provided the information gathered by the former Ambassador. The former ambassador, in an NBC Meet the Press interview on July 6, 2003, said, "The office of the Vice President, I am absolutely convinced, received a very specific response to the question it asked and that response was based upon my trip out there." The former ambassador was speaking on the basis of what he believed should have happened based on his former government experience, but he had no knowledge that this did happen. These and other public comments from the former ambassador, such as comments that his report "debunked" the Niger-Iraq uranium story, were incorrect and have led to a distortion in the press and in the public's understanding of the facts surrounding the Niger-Iraq uranium story. The Committee found that, for most analysts, the former ambassador's report lent more credibility, not less, to the reported Niger- Iraq uranium deal.


Assuming the NYT is correct and the Libby violations occured ex post facto, does this mean that Fitzgerald could not prove all eleven points of the CIA's complaint on Plame's outing as a covert agent. Does anyone have a link to the CIA's initial "crimes report" to the Justice Department requesting the leak probe?


Clarice that was a ripe one and this...

Moreover, Joe Wilson did not advertise the fact that he had done contracting work for the CIA (i.e., he had been sent on previous missions overseas).

Yes Larry, it's true...we live under rock...BUT one thing I did not know is that Wilson be sent on previous missionS...Larry do tell


two things

nobody has been proven in more lies than former ambassador Joe "backpedal" Wilson

none of our resident lefties has produced a valid cite of a CIA declaration that niger docs were forgeries prior to IAEA report

so far I've been offered one excuse

"thats what Cheney wanted"

the heads of WINPAC and CPD better have something better than that


MJW--I believe that refers only to how long a particular jury can be empaneled before it is released.

Not to the length of time an investigation can continue..i.e., a new panel for new matters.

I do not think he's asked for a new GJ on this..powerline, I think, says that business in the NYT about Rove remaining under investigation may not mean anything --that the gj doesn't clear anyone--they either indict or not..But I am not an expert on this..


ts--in at least one of his early public appearance Joe repeatedly said he was "sent by the government" not the agency..He underscored that to fit in with his storyline that he went at the behest of Cheney..


Windersniff...just in case you didn't see it , I said you were top drawer!

okay enough of that


Jim--and it does look that the Chalabi reference was Jehl's--the officials indicating that was not likely..And I know it isn't..

Reg Jones

The NY Times never fails to distort the historical record:

"In response to those questions, the Senate report said, the C.I.A.'s counterproliferation division decided to contact Mr. Wilson, who was posted early in his career in Niger. His wife, Valerie Wilson, also known as Valerie Plame, was an undercover officer in that division. The Senate report says that when the division decided to send Mr. Wilson to Niger, she approached him on behalf of the agency and told him "there's this crazy report" on a possible deal for Niger to sell uranium to Iraq."[Douglas Jehl, NYT, 10/28/05]

Opps. Doug Jelh forgot to Copy/Paste this key point from the report:

"... interviews and documents provided to the Committee indicate that his wife, A CPD employee, suggested his name for the trip..." [SSCI Report,p.39]


I didn't word that correctly. IIRC, the CIA has the burden of proving 11 things, whatever the heck they are, in order to forward an initial crimes report to DOJ. Does this mean Plame wasn't covert or that the CIA didn't meet its burden of proof?



The pound fisting type speech at Epic he harped for the gov...but I sure would love Larry to tell of more


arggg, fist pounding

Rick Ballard

WSJ rehash

Looks like Fitzgerald is trying to squeeze Libby to get to Rove. If so, it's a very stupid move. If the current gj expires tomorrow without indicting Rove I hope the judge has the brass to tell Fitzgerald that he's not Inspector Jauvert. I'd like to see Fitzgerald exit with his reputation and stretching this any further just isn't going to be helpful in that regard.


Lesley, we don't have any indictments yet. But if all Libby is being charged with is making a false statement, then the prosecutor isn't charging him with "outing" Valerie Plame.


Thanks, Clarice. I also assume a new grand jury could be impaneled, but some of the TV talking heads claimed the current GJ could be extended. I suspect that if that's possible, it's a a lot more likely it would happen than a whole new GJ would be called.



thanks for the kudos

I sniff therefore I see

hasta manana...nite!


RB, all the stories in the press are inconsistent--but as to the extension question, I think the WSJ is right when it says this:

Mr. Fitzgerald had been hoping to wrap up his case today, which is when the grand jury expires, although it is possible that he could seek a brief extension. Alternatively, Mr. Fitzgerald could present the continuing portion of the case to a new grand jury


RB - "Looks like Fitzgerald is trying to squeeze Libby to get to Rove."

I agree.


Lesley, we don't know. She may have met all those tests--though I doubt it--but according to these reports, the sp didn't prove he violated the IIPA or the Espionage Act of 1917.


Clarice, that's what I hoped it meant. Thanks. What I pray we learn tomorrow (or soon thereafter) is whether or not Valerie Plame was a covert agent, afterall, that's what started this mess in the first place.


When Miller testified, she was asked about the second letter that Libby sent her releasing her from any confidentiality agreement and stating something to the effect that everyone else had already testified that they weren't the source of the leak on Plame. Fitzgerald asked Miller if she thought that Libby was trying to influence her testimony. Miller answered that it could look that way.

Since no one under investigation was supposed to be discussing this case, I wonder if Fitzgerald was attempting to get at conspiracy to obstruct - specifically aiming at Rove and Libby and perhaps others at the WH.


This confuses me just a bit (from WSJ)

false statements for differences between his testimony and that of Time magazine reporter Matthew Cooper

Rove testified 4 times, Cooper ONCE...is the assumption that Cooper might not be being truthful a consideration of the GJ?


I don't think so. He didn't charge obstruction. And it smells of entrapment for Fitz to have insisted Libby write the letter and not have it go through him and then claim there was a super secret code in it..After all--this was his third letter to her..PHEH


ts--As I recall what he heard of this any way--I got the impression that Rove denied he'd said anything about the matter to Cooper, then the email showed up and he brought it in and testified about it..Piddle--a 2 minute conversation. Cooper apparently said he didn't remember discussing welfare reform, Rove's contemporaneous email said he did. And there was no record in the phone logs about the call because it had been transferred from elsewhere.So he had no record of it.


Clarice - Good point. The question has been hanging out there since Miller and her attorney, Bob Bennett, brought it up in an interview after she testified.


On Libby's letter, previous Miller attorney Abrams stated that while odd and eye brow raising it didn't meet the "insert legal mumbo jumbo here" of influencing testimony


Clarice-- so Cooper is believed no matter what? I know he is not the focus, but he did leave the GJ and write that at the time of GJ he didn't remember WReform, but later looking through his noted he was at the SAME time working on WR.

also, now that Cooper has written this, Fitz would know that Rove would use this in a defense, a defense likely to work

IIRC, if Rove corrects (Mac posted) no perjury

Rick Ballard

What's the downside for Libby doing a DeLay on Fitzgerald - two years and how much dough and this is all you've got little feller?

I sure hope Fitzgerald has thought this through to the end because I sincerely doubt that Libby has a backdown button.


"...the words 'criminal indictments' will wake then up quick, even if it's merely Libby on the chopping block."

Then they'll say "Scooter who?" and hit the snooze button.


backdown button

I agree, I don't sense he has one of these. I could be wrong, but I also sense he can take the squeeze.

Reg Jones

Rick, I agree but what's the downside for Fitzgerald in trying to squeeze Libby?

If the reports are true I'm more intrigued by the "no underlying crime" theme. Not charging Rove now may imply that no underlying crime will be charged against anyone.


ICBW with "crazy report(ing)" to date in every paper I think that aides semi "close to the investigation" are quietly and slyly in solemn manner leading the press around in circles, knowing the papers are only too happy to rush whatever bad news they can get.

Then when this thing blows up in their face, the semi low level aides will claim a kind of ignorance

I only say this because Libby asked Miller to quote him as a "former hill staffer" so I think this business of assigning and dis-assigning importance to a source is common operating procedure


I also don't sense Libby smiling in his mug shot.


I doubt he's squeezing Libby to get Rove..really.But I am not sure Libby will be indicted..the whole thing sounds so piddly, fitz will ruin his reputation if he does it.


Yes, this is the dance of a thousand veils. Niters.


For Rick

common operating procedure = standard operating procedure

my speech dyslexia acting up again


IF and I say IF the NYT article is correct then I want a try at coining a phase.

If the Times is correct then Fitzmas has turned into


"I'm hoping he is an unbiased patriot and reveals the truth."

I'm gonna love reading this blog tomorrow.

Rocco Martino

What happened to all the lefties that were posting on this site?

Maybe they are still busy opening their Fitzmas presents? :D


They're still waiting for those presents. One of these days . . .

"My basic point was: we learned that dishonorable and undignified conduct was done in mighty close proximity to the Oval Office."
Yes, that's what Monica testified to, isn't it? Bill leaned back against the door in the small private back hallway next to the Oval Office. Well, of course there was the time she was under the desk in the Oval Office, and he was on the phone with a member of Congress. Didn't we establish as a matter or law that this was no big deal?

Sorry, I just couldn't let that particular turn of phrase "dishonorable and undignified conduct" go by uncommented upon.

cathy :-)


I continue to be amazed (though less and less as the years go by) by the Republican devotion to party above country, to party above the rule of law. A White House official will be indicted today for the first time since the days of the corrupt U.S. Grant administration, and pubby partisans are giggling that the whole thing is a fizzle? Wow, what happened to that "moral core values" thing you all used to try to sell? What happened to bringing honor and decency to the White House? Not so important, after all, when all that really matters is vicarious power grubbing by impotent citizens who identify with the bullying hack politics of Republican sleazoids.

This is a "special" grand jury and can be extended another year, which looks to be one of the liveliest rumors. In truth, as the lovely Ann Coulter was saying this morning, this is a worst case scenario for the Pubs, since it means not only indictment in the VP office, but an ongoing investigation into all the unAmerican acts that brought us to this asinine war, the war MOST Americans now despise and do not wish to support. Sure, I'd have loved to see that fat slut taken down, but all in good time. I'm patient. A year ago it was hard to believe the lies of this dirty admin would be unraveling at the pace they are today.

Have to laugh though at the partisan wingers who think the American people will ignore a Libby indictment...but will be fixated on the joy of watching a hardcore conservative go through confirmation. Do you all ever actually speak to any Americans who don't follow politics, i.e. 99% of them?



I am Not surprised you read WAY to much into what I wrote. Your side was expecting Rove to be FROG MARCHED out of the WH! You had visions of sugar plums dancing in your heads!
PLEASE NOTE, I used the word IF! I never once said what Libby was going to be charged was not serious nor that it should not be brought!

Harvard Law school professor Alan Dershowitz LIBERAL DEMOCRAT just said on the Tony Snow show that is is a sad day for the Justice SYstem that the charges are more about POLICY and not LAW! He said when everything is illegal then you pick and choose it not a good thing for our system!

It looks like Libby has now been indicted for making "False Statement". If he is found guilty in a court of law he must do the time that is set by the judge, PERIOD!

Your sides Fitzmas FIZZLED because you had visions of GRANDER INDICTMENTS! That is all I meant nothing more nothing less!


Do you all ever actually speak to any Americans who don't follow politics, i.e. 99% of them? Yes, I do on a daily basis!

I have to laugh at the partisan Left wingers like you who think the American people will raise up in anger over this indictment. Yes, it is a crime yes he should be taken to trial!
A new Justice on the Supreme Court is far more important to America than and indictment for a False Statement with NO CRIME OTHER THAN THAT (So Far) Found!


Ordi, MY SIDE? My side is my country, you yahoo. I'm not looking for frogmarching or Fitzmas. "Your side" may think politics is a football game where one set of bare chested drunks spit beer all over the other side of bare chested drunks. I'm looking for the kind of country, the kind of democracy provided for in our Constitution, where a cabal of intellectual elitists don't have the freedom to make secret plans for preemptive war, using "intelligence" they gin up in their basement workshops then sell it to our representatives like a new brand of toothpaste. The events of the past few months have left me feeling decidedly more optimistic that my countrymen at large (not the internet freaks) are waking up in droves to the way their government has been abducted from their rightful ownership. On TV just now, Bush was getting booed at a speech on a Norfolk military base. The times are changing, friend, whether "your side" is ready to see it or not.

To you, it's all about right and left. To me, it's about my country.


Professors Bainbridge and Volokh on the false statements law:

Amidst all the comment on the Martha Stewart case, I think the most important point has been missed: the law under which she was convicted is a bad law. I don't mean the securities laws--- that malicious and silly charge was kicked out by the judge. Essentially, what she was found guilty of was lying to policemen. I don't think that should be a crime-- and certainly not with a five-year sentence.
The problem with this analysis is that they have still not grasped the pure kafkaesque beauty of the Stewart trial. The "malicious and silly charge" was, in its essence, that when Martha Stewart stood up with press microphones in her face and said, "I didn't do anything wrong," this had an effect on the price of the stock of her company. The charge was that, irregardless of whether she was telling the truth or not simply speaking publicly about the subject of her guilt/innocence was illegal because it had (and would have been expected to have) an effect on the stock price of her company.

But that's not the kafka part. Bainbridge and Volokh say that this "malicious and silly charge was kicked out by the judge." And indeed it was -- but they neglect to mention that it wasn't kicked out until 3/4 of the way through the trial. And when the press interviewed the jurors after the trial, one of the significant reasons that the jurors gave for convicting was that Stewart didn't defend herself vigorously enough from the charges. There's the kafkaesque beauty -- put someone on trial for opening her mouth to defend herself, then at the very end dismiss those charges and convict her because she stopped defending herself.

Stewart explained that the reason that she chose to go to jail and serve the sentence before the appeal was heard was so that this would significantly lower the stakes of the appeal for her and for her company's stock price. So here we are. She's been out of jail for months now, has a TV show, has "moved on." When the appeal finally gets heard, she has nothing more to lose. There are 2 outcomes: Appeal is denied, which means tiny incremental loss for her, tiny incremental gain for the government. Or appeal is sustained, conviction vacated, judge and prosecutor get soundly spanked by the appeals court, Stewart gets small incremental gain. Either way, the price of her stock doesn't probably move much.

Chutzpuh would be if the prosecution charged her with stock-price manipulation for choosing to serve her jail sentence when she did.

Something is very seriously wrong with the criminal justice system in our country, and if Fitzgerald really has as little as it appears, and he is really bringing charges based upon nothing, I certainly hope that Libby, or anyone else, fights back vigorously. But I am horrified to contemplate that we could have another Stewart-style travesty. Folks, it's not just that we have people in this country who are willing to surrender to the Islamofascist terrorists if they can "get" Bush or the neocons, it's that we have people in this country willing to surrender the rule of law entirely.

cathy :-)


Jeff: "the validity and completeness of the SSCI report is seriously thrown into doubt by Waas' reporting"

Correct. What I'd like to add is that aside from the fact that apparently certain information was not provided to the committee, the report itself was heavily redacted by the CIA. Even Sen. Roberts was"visibly irritated" by this (link).

"Bush has not done a very good job of defeating the terrorists."

I think this is dramatically understated. I think Bush's policies have helped them.

Boris: "it appears no laws broken until the investigation conjured something out of smoke. Fitz jumps the shark."

Let the swiftboating begin. Yes, Fitz is partisan. I guess that's why yesterday the WSJ called him "a respected prosecutor of unquestioned integrity."

SMG: "What will the GJ investigate that they haven't?"

I think Fitz has lots of new information. The pressure and drama this week (very skillfully managed by Fitz) have encouraged certain birds to sing. That's why Fitz just told us he's not ready to go home yet.


Wind: "elements in the CIA allowed obvious forged documents to sit in a safe for 6 months because they wanted to make Cheney etc look bad ... CIA had those docs for 6 months and they never declared them forgeries until the IAEA report."

CIA were only one of several agencies (DIA, NSA and DOE; see SSCI p. 58) that were all given a chance to evaluate these documents. Why did all these agencies acquiesce in a coverup?

Clarice: "Yesterday Kerry said that we should have followed Shinseki's advice and put in more troops. Five minutes later in the same speech he said we had to withdraw 20,000 troops right away because the large number of troops made the Iraqis feel they were under occupation and increased their animus toward us. ROFLMAO."

Surely you're sharp enough to understand that there is no contradiction in claiming we needed more troops in 2003, and we should be using fewer troops in 2005. Then again, maybe you're not sharp enough to understand that.

"I'm not that adept analytically"



Jim: "Yes, it [uranium] was part of the case against Iraq, but only one facet of it."

It was at the core of the case against Iraq, because it was at the core of the nuke charge, which was the scariest WMD charge, which was the main argument used in favor of the war.

Clarice (quoting the Republican addendum to SSCI, p. 443): "At the time the former ambassador traveled to Niger, the Intelligence Community did not have in its possession any actual documents on the alleged Niger-Iraq uranium deal, only second hand reporting of the deal."

How odd that in the main part of SSCI, this "second-hand reporting" is described as "verbatim text" (SSCI p. 37 and p. 59).

topsecret: "one thing I did not know is that Wilson be sent on previous mission"

He went to Niger in 1999 on a very similar mission.


Wind: "none of our resident lefties has produced a valid cite of a CIA declaration that niger docs were forgeries prior to IAEA report"

Thanks for helping me make my point. There was indeed no official declaration from the CIA or from any of the other several US agencies that had access to the documents. This despite the fact that the hoax was obvious. SSCI (p. 62) says one analyst declared that one of the documents "was so ridiculous that it was 'clearly a forgery.' "

So, as I said, the real mystery is why no senior US intel official was awake enough to listen to the various people saying the documents were forged, since the errors were glaringly obvious. Hmm, let's see, could it have something to do with the fact that all parties knew exactly what Cheney wanted to hear, and exactly what he didn't want to hear? You tell me.

Clarice: "in at least one of his early public appearance Joe repeatedly said he was 'sent by the government' not the agency..He underscored that to fit in with his storyline that he went at the behest of Cheney.."

You're obviously entitled to your opinion. In my opinion, he said it the way he said it to try to protect Val's cover.

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