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October 24, 2005

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Rick Ballard

SMG,

You have it but you have to add Corn, Pincus and Kristoff. Mix in the July 4th Wilson soiree that included journos, Evan Thomas' July 18th statement that "media bias will be worth 15 points to Kedwards", and Kedwards naming of a jerk loser who got shoved out of State through appointment as ambassador to Gabon as a "foreign policy advisor" with a weblink and the stench of the setup is pretty strong. Wilson's Karnak-like knowledge of the forgeries makes sense if he were being wet nursed by a tight little CIA group including his wife.

The minutiae is entertaining but it's smoke. This was a CIA set up from the beginning and Fitzgerald knows it. How he discloses it is another matter. I'm not sure that it will be through indictments.

SteveMG

Jim E:
I acknowledged error completely, not "sort of."

Again my words were:
"I stand corrected. My error in phrasing what Hersh reported he found. It's obviously not a fact."

But Hersh's report was more than a "rumor." He quotes a source, albeit an unnamed one; although most of Hersh's sources are anonymous.

And again, keep up that charming persona. It's a winner.

SMG

Jim E.

Sheesh, I try to be polite about it, and I get yelled at for not being more forceful that SMG was, in fact, "completely" wrong. WTF?

windansea

RB

and don't forget the cryptic comment Clinton supposedly gave to Blair....warning him something was coming

and Wison specifically mentioning Blair's govt going down in his this has legs speech at Epic

Sue

So now we have Clinton involved? Because he was in on it or because he was aware of it or ???? Why? How would Clinton know?

topsecretk9

and the french

windansea

they call me windansniff

I may bring Hillary in as well

SteveMG

Jim E:
Never mind. Ignore me this evening.

I'm having a bad day and need to vent somewhere.

SMG

windansea

Why? How would Clinton know?


all I know is I read about his comment to Blair and it shimmered

topsecretk9

I wish I knew the nuance of "shimmered". I keep seeing that pop up.

Don

well, if there indictments of Wilson, Rove, Libby, Hannah, et al., then that would be indicative of most criminal prosecution. Everyone lies. Nothing focuses the mind in deceit than fear of prosecution.

Don

well, if there indictments of Wilson, Rove, Libby, Hannah, et al., then that would be indicative of most criminal prosecution. Everyone lies. Nothing focuses the mind in deceit than fear of prosecution.

clarice

Pretend these people who work 12-14 hours for a cut in pay are O.J. Simpson andthen you might have greater appreciation for the burden of proof and fair play, don and casey and Jim.

TexasToast

Clarice

fair play? Rove?

In the same thought? The same state? the same universe?

Lord help us.

topsecretk9

Here is Wilson on March 8, 2003 -CNN- talking about the forgeries

But Mr. ElBaradei did tell our Richard Roth today, during an interview, that the intelligence isn't just coming from the U.S., that there were other countries involved. Which other countries do you think, and how is it that all of these intelligence agencies or intelligence agencies from these countries that were involved could be taken in by these forgeries?

WILSON: Well, the report I saw said that the Brits were involved. Maybe it was the British that passed this report on. I don't know who else might have been involved, but I can tell you this: The report in "The Washington Post" today said -- quoted a U.S. official as saying, "we just fell for it." That's just not good enough. Either he's being disingenuous, or he shouldn't be drawing a government paycheck.

kim

Well shiver me timbers. Let the Shimmer be with you.
=======================================

CaseyL

"[T]he docs were first given to Cheney as far as I know...does that point to Chalabi or to someone who didn't want the CIA to discredit them too fast?"

Chalabi certainly wouldn't want the forgeries to be discredited too fast. Getting the US to fight a war to put him in power was his big idea all along. Remember what he said, after the war started to go FUBAR, what with the lack of WMDs and the insurgency "no one could have expected"? He said none of that mattered, because he'd gotten what he wanted.

The Chalabi-Miller-Myelronie (sp?)-Cheney axis is an interesting one. So is the rumor that it was the CIA - working without Cheney's approval, and much to Cheney's chagrin - that broke into Chalabi's office and hauled away a few file cabinets. There was no follow-up to that story, and after a few months laying low, Chalabi re-emerged to become a Minister in the latest (?) incarnation of the Iraq government. He's now a real possiblity to achieve the Presidency.

No one in their right mind would trust Chalabi as far as they could comfortably spit a rat. He's a known international conman, and a favorite to the neocons... and someone who apparently worked for Iran's intel, too.

My guess is that Chalabi and the neocons have a handwash deal: he gets to run Iraq into the ground, and they get to skim off a nice share of the revenue.

SteveMG

"fair play? Rove?

In the same thought? The same state? the same universe?"

What was Henry Adams' line: Politics is the systematic organization of hatreds.

Cynical man - after all he was a 19th century man caught up in and 20th century world - but that's unfortunately pretty accurate.

And that was before mass communications.

Sometimes I think of Freud's line too. Viz., if it wasn't for sex, men and women would be at war with one another.

Change that question to: "If it wasn't for ??, the left and right would be at war with one another today"

?? = money?, the economy?, the Constitution, fear? the realization that neither side would really win?

SMG

Dave S in VaBeach

Clarice, Sue, & Jim

Thanks for the information. Follow up question:

When a sealed indictment is issued is it merely the contents of that indictment that are held secret (under seal) or is it even the very fact that a sealed indictment has been issued that is kept secret?

clarice

Casey--I couldn't disagree more with you about Chalabi.

But even if you were right, you have been utterly unable to offer a sensible reason why hw would forge these documents and do so so poorly.

And, again, I remind you, neither the US nor Britain based their war rationale on Saddam's having bought yellowcakse. Both said he had tried to buy it, and that, oddly missing from most newspaper accounts, was confirmed by Wilson.

Whoever forged these docs and slipped them in the CIA file with genuine documents sould have had only one motive:to stop the war, if they could, and embarrass the architects of it, if they could not stop it.

And in that camp were the Baathists
The leftists
Those cleaning up on the OFF swindle
The President's politival opponents.


Wilson has been on the Saudi payroll thru some fakeo think tank in DC; he has close connections with the French(his ex-wife was a former "consular official", often a French intel cover);he was supported by MoveOn and the EPIC leftists (which was formed to stop the sanctions and probably got not only lefty money but Baathist as well),and he campaigned for Kerry.

Thomas

NYTimes just dropped a bombshell. I think. First two grafs o' logic:

'I. Lewis Libby Jr., Vice President Dick Cheney’s chief of staff, first learned about the C.I.A. officer at the heart of the leak investigation in a conversation with Mr. Cheney weeks before her identity became public in 2003, lawyers involved in the case said Monday.

Notes of the previously undisclosed conversation between Mr. Libby and Mr. Cheney on June 12, 2003, appear to differ from Mr. Libby’s testimony to a federal grand jury that he initially learned about the C.I.A. officer, Valerie Wilson, from journalists, the lawyers said.'

The rest of the article is equally oblique. Basically, in a highly cautionary tone, story says Tenet told Cheney and Cheney told Libby. It also says that nothing in the notes show, however, that they knew she was undercover. Which proves something or does not, I guess.

To be a pair of ears in the White House the next couple of days...

clarice

DaveS, here are the relevant federal laws of criminal procedure:

(4) Sealed Indictments. The federal magistrate judge to whom an indictment is returned may direct that the indictment be kept secret until the defendant is in custody or has been released pending trial. Thereupon the clerk shall seal the indictment and no person shall disclose the return of the indictment except when necessary for the issuance and execution of a warrant or summons.

(5) Closed Hearing. Subject to any right to an open hearing in contempt proceedings, the court shall order a hearing on matters affecting a grand jury proceeding to be closed to the extent necessary to prevent disclosure of matters occurring before a grand jury.

(6) Sealed Records. Records, orders and subpoenas relating to grand jury proceedings shall be kept under seal to the extent and for such time as is necessary to prevent disclosure of matters occurring before a grand jury.

(f) Finding and Return of Indictment. A grand jury may indict only upon the concurrence of 12 or more jurors. The indictment shall be returned by the grand jury, or through the foreperson or deputy foreperson on its behalf, to a federal magistrate judge in open court. If a complaint or information is pending against the defendant and 12 jurors do not vote to indict, the foreperson shall so report to a federal magistrate judge in writing as soon as possible.

topsecretk9

So who ratted Libby, Cheny? the operative here, "lawyers involved"

clarice

Could you drop us a cite, Thomas? Thank you.

TexasToast

NYT reads like Libby was taking a bullit for Cheney....

CaseyL

It's a NYT story, up on rawstory right now. And, yeah, my guess is that Libby's attorneys are the "lawyers involved."

It strengthens the theory that Fitzgerald flipped Libby, because who was left as a target worth flipping him for?

windansea

He's a known international conman,

Jordan sued him...he sez it's political and wants full exposure of the case

and a favorite to the neocons...

well that certainly is a convictable offense!!

and someone who apparently worked for Iran's intel, too.

makes sense...he's a greedy capitalist bank swindler according to Jordan and he's a neocon

it's obvious he's working for the mullahs in Iran

SteveMG

Here's a link to the latest NY Times piece re Libby being told by Cheney about Wilson and Wilson.
NY Times re Cheney and Libby

TexasToast

Its on the front page of the Times website

clarice

Ahem--the story says Cheney learned of it from Tenet; that he didn't know she was undercover nor did he know her name; and it says none of the three reporters questions testified that Libby "outed" her to them.

Is the NYT suggesting that the DCI violated some espionage act?

What would be material to a leak investigation where the subject (Libby) didn't leak that he first learned of Plame's role from the DCI?

Heh--That'd be some stupid indictment. Assuming, of course, that ANY of this is true..Where would the NYT's get it? Whose lawyers? Why it was anyone in the WH would they leak this to them?

http://www.nytimes.com/2005/10/24/politics/24cnd-leak.html?ei=5094&en=db7d02c93e5913ef&hp=&ex=1130212800&partner=homepage&pagewanted=print

Keith

The NYTimes article doesn't seem to be all that bad for Libby. It makes the point that it certainly wasn't illegal for Cheney and Libby to discuss those matters (they have clearance) and it says that the notes of the meeting make no suggestion that they knew she was covert. That, in and of itself, isn't bad news.

It does say that if Libby tried to steer the Grand Jury away from this conversation to protect Cheney, then he could be in trouble. But it also says that "Some lawyers in the case have said Mr. Fitzgerald may face obstacles in bringing a false statement charge against Mr. Libby. They said it could be difficult to prove that he intentionally sought to mislead the grand jury." Hmmm. Could that be the decision that Fitz is weighing this week?

And the other bit of good news: "Lawyers involved in the case said they have no indication that Mr. Fitzgerald is considering charging Mr. Cheney with wrongdoing."

And a Rove indictment doesn't seem to be on the radar of this article at all. Of course, that doesn't mean much.

Keith

Josh Marshall calls the fact that Libby learned about the leak from Cheney "big trouble." That seems like a bit of an exaggeration.

And, I happen to agree with TM on this one: if Libby is the one that goes, it's not that big of a deal for the White House. No one except for us nuts know who Libby is. It will be a Richard Clarke like furor that will be over before Thanksgiving and one that will do no long-term damage to the White House. Only a Rove indictment would sting long-term.

CaseyL

Windansea, I'm amazed you don't know about this. I figured you probably get your news from FOX, and they did cover the Chalabi-Iran story.

Here's a link to the FOX story about Iran using Chalabi:

http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,122301,00.html

And here's another one:

http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,121656,00.html

clarice

Mac always said Tenet was Novak's source. If he was Cheney's it is more likely than not that he was also Novak's "not a partisan gun slinger".

Keith

If Mac was right about that, then maybe he's right that the CIA and the media are the ones who are going to be surprised with indictments this week.

TexasToast

Ahem--the story says Cheney learned of it from Tenet;

Nope, it says Libby's notes reflect that Cheney learned it from Tenet. It also says this:

Mr. Tenet was not available for comment on Monday night. But another former senior intelligence official said that Mr. Tenet had been interviewed by the special prosecutor and his staff in early 2004, and never appeared before the grand jury. Mr. Tenet has not talked since then to the prosecutors, the former official said.

The former official said he strongly doubted that the White House learned about Ms. Plame from Mr. Tenet.


Sue

Hmmmm....

clarice

Casey--this week Chalabi is making an official visit here where he will be at the WH.

Neither the Iraqi Ronnie Earle who charged him with spying for Iran or the U.S. ever brought charges. Chalabi demanded a Congressional hearing on the charge and was denied one.
The story that we knew this because the Iranis announced this using the broken code is too stupid for any sensible person to believe it for two seconds.

clarice

Tell mw when Tenet denies it. I doubt if he will.

Keith

Why would Libby lie in his own private notes about where Cheney got the information from? That doesn't make much sense.

windansea

who in the CIA originally asked for this investigation?

Rick Ballard

Would Tenet knowingly out a NOC? Or was her status change already at a point where Tenet as DCI could reclassify her himself? If Tenet was Novak's source then I'd say there is no way she still had NOC status.

clarice

My unerstanding is that Tenet was unaware of the request..

Keith

OK, who leaked this info? Libby's lawyers? Or Who?

Jim E.

"And, I happen to agree with TM on this one: if Libby is the one that goes, it's not that big of a deal for the White House. No one except for us nuts know who Libby is."

Is this the new talking point? If the political damage isn't that bad, then breaking the law doesn't matter?

Maybe you guys ought to start a "Free L'il Kim" campaign.

Sue

Fitzgerald was through with his investigation in October 2004. He knew all of this then. Why did he need Cooper and Miller's testimony? That is the $64,000 question.

Swopa

Sounds like Libby's lawyers leaked it to soften the blow of whatever Fitz announces.

But I look forward to TM explaining how Cheney's involvement "does not add much impact outside the Beltway"!

Keith

Is this the new talking point? If the political damage isn't that bad, then breaking the law doesn't matter?

Um, no, it's just political reality. The only way any of this matters long term at the ballot box is if Rove goes down. And even then, this is not a huge issue to most Americans. It hurts, but it could be overcome. Most people worry way more about gas prices than they do about Plame.

Fitzgerald was through with his investigation in October 2004. He knew all of this then. Why did he need Cooper and Miller's testimony? That is the $64,000 question.

(1) The principle of it; (2) to make Judy Miller's life miserable; (3) to not mess with a Presidential election. If all of this had come out in Oct. 2004, we'd have a Kerry administration right now.

Sue

I could stomach indictments if the media would stop acting like Wilson was merely 'criticizing' the administration. He wasn't merely criticizing. He was lying. There were lots of critics out there. Why did they pick Wilson to 'attack'? No one was paying attention to him. And we were already in Iraq by the time Novak wrote his article. Something isn't adding up.

Keith

But I look forward to TM explaining how Cheney's involvement "does not add much impact outside the Beltway"!

Since when is it illegal for the VP to talk about classified info? Especially when, according to the sources, he didn't know of her covert status?

Jim E.

"Since when is it illegal for the VP to talk about classified info?"

It's not illegal. But it's a political reality that this is a big relevation.

Swopa

Why did he need Cooper and Miller's testimony? That is the $64,000 question.

Because Cooper is the one reporter Rove leaked directly to, and Miller was the cut-out used to launder the leak so Cheney's fingerprints wouldn't show up.

As I wrote just now about the NYT story, "The basic plot was figuring out a way to get Judith Miller to 'find' the information and distribute it independently, so it couldn't be traced back to Big Dick.

So Scooter drops the hint on June 20th that he's heard Wilson's wife was involved, knowing Judy will look in a place where he's made sure she'll find the info ... then practices his Capt. Renault impression for when Judy tells him what she's discovered.

Sue

Keith,

I can see Fitzgerald wanting to make Miller's life miserable. He had/has issues with her outside of this investigation. It wasn't until he agreed to limit his questioning that she agreed to testify. I suspect he was trying to find out who was leaking in his office to her. Not sure but her storyline seemed to hint at something like that.

Jeff

Trying to be clear, because there seems to be a lot of defensive hysteria going on: as the NYT points out, there would be nothing legally wrong per se with Cheney telling Libby about Wilson's wife or with Tenet telling Cheney. I think it is safe to assume those three all have the requisite clearance to discuss such things. The trouble is potentially twofold: 1)If, as has been reported, Libby has claimed that he learned of Wilson's wife first from reporters, when in fact his notes indicate that he learned of her first from Cheney, that's probably bad news legally for Libby. 2)This is bad news politically for Cheney -- how bad is of course hard to know -- because it puts him in the middle of the whole mess at a rather early date, and in a significant, active role.

As for Tenet, it's hard to know how bad news this is for him. I suppose it depends on whether he actually gave the info to Cheney, whether it was solicited somehow by Cheney or volunteered by Tenet, and so on. Again, that is not in itself a legal problem for Tenet, and it's hard to see how his political reputation could get worse. He seems to be the one figure both left and right agree on in despising, in keeping with his essentially two-faced performance as DCI. But I have to say I don't know how that guy keeps from writing that book he's got in him, after the scapegoating he's also gotten from the Bush White House. I mean, how much is a Presidential Medal of Honor worth? Who cares?

Jim E.

Sue,
Kevin Drum at Washington Monthly has just posted some thoughtful explanation in an attempt to answer your question. It's as good as an attempt as I've seen. I think your question is a good one -- the ferocity of the White House in going after Wilson hasn't ever made much sense to me from a practical standpoint. Drum's essay is giving me something to chew on.

jukeboxgrad

Sue: "as if Wilson did not lie in his op-ed"

What was the lie in the op-ed?

SMG: "if Fitz. finds out that it was lefty ex-CIA agents working with Wilson and Plame in an attempt to embarass those satanic neocons in the W.H."

In the narrative that says it was Wilson and/or CIA lefties who were behind the forgeries, how is it that they were in the hands of several US agencies, and then passed on to the UN, without any senior US intel official being awake enough to toss them in the trash? Especially since they were very, very flawed?

This question is also addressed to Clarice, who essentially advanced the same theory.

Clarice: "neither the US nor Britain based their war rationale on Saddam's having bought yellowcakse. Both said he had tried to buy it"

Bush didn't just say "he had tried to buy it." Review the 16 words lately? Bush said "recently" and "significant quantities." Let me know where in Butler, SSCI, or anywhere else, there is anything remotely resembling solid evidence to support those 3 words. (By the way, I think folks listening to the SOTU in 2003 did not surmise that "recently" was a euphemism for "1999.")

There is no such evidence. Hence it's easy to understand how Bush's Department of War Marketing (aka WHIG) would find such documents very useful.

cathyf

If we're going on wild fishing expeditions for "misuse of classified info" well what about Plame's description in Vanity Fair of how she revealed to Joe that she was a covert agent? They were having a torrid affair, he was still married to his first wife, she told him right after sex.

At least back in the day, the Company made a big deal about doing stuff that left you open to blackmail. Maybe during the Clinton administration they decided that keeping secrets was so bourgeois that they weren't going to do it any more?

cathy :-)

windansea

Casey

I don't get Fox news here at the Puerto Vallarta VRWC office and you are free to keep believing that the capitalist neocon Chalabi is a friend of the mullahs

it makes perfect sense!!

Sue

Jim,

Can you post a link?

Rick Ballard

Keith,

I agree with you re the election. I don't think that Fitzgerald wanted to wear a stinking albatross for the rest of his life as Walsh does. He seems an honest Democrat in the Shippers mode. They do exist.

The little Demwit cabal that cooked this up as Iran-Contra redux really should have worked harder. If you're going to do a sequel you might try changing the script.

Keith

The basic plot was figuring out a way to get Judith Miller to 'find' the information and distribute it independently, so it couldn't be traced back to Big Dick

The problem with that scenerio is that this isn't a crime. As best I can recall, Miller never said that Libby told her Plame was covert, and neither did any other reporter. Telling a reporter that Wilson's wife helped arrange his mission isn't a crime in and of itself; if her covert status was exposed, then that is a crime.

I haven't seen any evidence that either Cheney or Libby exposed that information, or even knew it, as they talked to reporters. In fact, the NYTimes article makes it clear that there is no such evidence.

Without that evidence, there isn't a crime--unless Libby lied deliberately about this meeting. But that doesn't seem to be the case. The article says that laywers say that Fitz may have a hard time proving that Libby intentionally misled the jury. Thus, it seems that Libby may have told some untruths, but that they weren't so clear-cut as to completely merit perjury/obstruction charges right off the bat. If his testimony is murky enough to question whether or not charges should be brought at this point, then it's a pretty sure bet that there was no conspiracy to use Miller, and that Libby didn't give any clear-cut lies.

Sue

Wilson's lies started with sourcing the first article written by Pincus? Kristoff? Whichever one it was, I'm getting confused as to timelines. His op-ed said he debunked the Niger story. The SSIC said he didn't. I will go with the SSIC, since Wilson is suspect in his motives.

clarice

For a lie to matter it has to be material. Assuming all this is accurate, how could it possibly be material if Libby (who was classified to receive the information ) heard from Cheney (who was classified to get the information) who heard from Tenet (the DCI) that Wilson's wife sent him--without stating she was undercover and without stating her name where Libby did not (and all 3 reporters who testified said he did not) "out' her to them?

The charge is that he leaked classified information to reporters. He didn't. Where he learned all his information about her is irrelevant especially since he got it legally and was entitled to learn of it.

Keith

It's becoming clearer to me that perjury and obstruction are the only real options that Fitz is looking at--at least with the WH big-shots--and that he's not sure he can prove his case.

I'm betting no indictments at the highest levels. Mid and low level people might fall, and who knows about the CIA and media.

TM

On the Kessler question:

At Scooter Libby's request, I only discussed whether Valerie Plame or her husband were mentioned in two conversations I had with Libby in July 2003. The answer was no.

Thank you Polly. However, that jogs my hazy memory, and I rememebr being troubled by Kesslers earlier denials:

(1)

This week, Fitzgerald took a tape-recorded deposition that will be played to the grand jury from Washington Post reporter Glenn Kessler. Kessler said he agreed to be interviewed, at the urging of I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby, chief of staff to Cheney, about two telephone conversations he had with Libby. Kessler said he told the prosecutors that in conversations last July 12 and July 18, Libby did not mention Plame or Wilson.

Prosecutors were interested in questioning Kessler because a Post story in October that said an administration official told an unnamed Post reporter on July 12 that Wilson's wife set up his trip to Niger.

(2)

Kessler said he told prosecutor Patrick J. Fitzgerald that, during conversations last July 12 and July 18, Libby did not mention Plame or her husband, former ambassador Joseph C. Wilson IV, or Wilson's CIA-sponsored trip to Niger to investigate whether Iraq tried to buy uranium there.

Well, the dates are pretty innocuous, and the "unnamed reporter" from July 12 was presumably Pincus (they shared a byline, IIRC, and Pincus had some other source).

However, I don't like that formulation - "Libby did not mention" does not mean Kessler did not.

However, given the connection to the Pincus story, this is probably nothing.

topsecretk9

seems to be a lot of defensive hysteria going on:

oh please, give it a yank! Juke and Swoop and geek and the rest swarm here at any whiffer at what they perceive as good news and retreat when people start batting it away.

clarice

Jim, I don't think the WH response was ferocious enough! And unlike you I think the effort deserved the strongest possible response--it was a series of lies by WIlson designed to undercut the President's credibility (for election reasons) that was outrageous in time of war. It was to shake morale here and undercut the WOT abroad. And I would have hauled that prick through the mud along with his perfidious wife and the entire crowd. Instead, the WH remained calm and responded off handedly to press inquiries until Novak wrote his piece. And I am more convinced than ever that Tenet finally figured out what was going on and told Novak because he, too, regarded this as an unconscionable scam.

Jim E.

Sue,
Go to www.washingtonmonthly.com and read what is as of now the top post ("Plamegate and Niger"). It includes some Pincus/Kristof backstory I wasn't aware of (backstory I doubt the "Wilson's a dirty liar" crowd aren't familiar with it either).

Jim E.

clarice,
In 2003, there was no presidential election.

Also, why has the White House (incorrectly) claimed until the last few months that they had nothing at all to do wtih the Wilson's wife stories if their campaign was so obviously noble?

Thomas

Jesus, how tough is it to understand what's going on here? The New York Times story is in itself pretty mundane, aside from the Libby stuff, but it is confirmation of two very important fact. That is: Cheney is deeply involved and Fitzgerald has known it for a long long time. Thus the long investigation where smaller fish are obviously caught. Plame's name was out there and it was used. And just like the coordinated attack comes the coordinated attempt to cover up the leak. Did they know she was a NOC? Did Tenet, but not Cheney? Cheney but not Libby? Who knows? My guess is I don't know. Maybe they knew she was a NOC and thought her status more of a technicality, while in truth it was more complicated than that. Again, who knows?

This is Fitzgerald's case. He used to prosecute mobsters. It's not that different. Can it be proved that it was Cheney's personal intention to out Plame? Or that he directed his aides to muddy the waters with the investigation, at least until after the election? Personally, right now, I doubt it can, and it would definitely not make sense to indict a sitting vice-president unless you were damn sure you had him nailed. But it's clear where the case is going. The story is not complicated for Fitzgerald or anyone else to figure out. And that's that.

Rick Ballard

Clarice,

It would be a riot if Tenet disclosed it to Novak and Libby "confirmed" it with an "I heard that too".

I wonder if the press could be indicted for group onanism?

kim

A round of applause to Fitz for creating this taste of impeccable suspense.
============================================

Jim E.

My speculation on who was behind the NYTimes Cheney leak: Fitzgerald's office. It might be their way of telling Libby that Libby can help himself by turning on Cheney. If not, Fitzgerald is making clear that the buck stops with Libby, and Libby will be taking the brunt of things.

If note-taker Libby hasn't turned on Cheney yet (assuming he has any "turning" to do), he never will.

Then again, they said the same thing about Judy Miller...

Swopa

Incidentally, for the "so what if Cheney and Libby talked" crowd ... what chance is there that we would have gotten this far hearing the alibi about Libby hearing the information from journalists if Cheney had testified a year ago that he told Libby?

Based on this report, it's almost a sure bet that Cheney lied under oath.

Keith

I doubt it can, and it would definitely not make sense to indict a sitting vice-president unless you were damn sure you had him nailed.

That seems to me to be one of the points that is going to rain on the Fitzmas parade. Fitz may think that there actually was stuff going on in the VP's office, but it would be very hard to prove anything. The article implies that much. And you don't want to indict administration officials on chargers you can't win if you value your career.

That doesn't mean he doesn't have perjury/obstruction charges, but again, those are hard to prove. Do you take the risk as a prosecutor? Maybe, may not.

topsecretk9

Based on this report, it's almost a sure bet that Cheney lied under oath.

only he did not testify under oath!

ARC: Brian

Based on this report, it's almost a sure bet that Cheney lied under oath.

Except that Cheney didn't testify under oath. Seperation of powers and all that. They gave statements, but I'm pretty sure they were not sworn.

topsecretk9

ARC-

yep, and pres too

Swopa

From the NYT article:

Mr. Cheney was interviewed under oath by Mr. Fitzgerald last year.

Ooops.

Seven Machos

Thomas -- I tend to disagree. I bet Dick Cheney will not be implicated one iota in any indictment because:

(a) he's a sitting vice president to a president who would pardon him in a heartbeat so why waste resources?; and

(b) anyone who accepts your theory as 100 percent true can only conclude that Cheney did nothing wrong. Someone with access to information tells another person who also has access to the information about that information. Where's the crime?

Jim E.

According to the new NYTimes article:
"Mr. Cheney was interviewed under oath by Mr. Fitzgerald last year."

CaseyL

"The charge is that he leaked classified information to reporters. He didn't. Where he learned all his information about her is irrelevant especially since he got it legally and was entitled to learn of it."

Except that we don't know any of that. Let's walk through this:

1. If Tenet told Cheney Plame's identity, it's hard to believe he didn't also tell Cheney her NOC status.

2. That means Cheney had no business blabbing Plame's identity. There was no good reason to blab Plame's identity, even if you buy the fantasy that she was the "one who sent Wilson to Niger," and even if you buy the fantasy that she wasn't NOC. Why?

Because regardless of her actions or status, she had a network of assets which still needed to be protected. If there's a problem with a covert op, you fire the op, or you bring charges against the op, or (in extreme cases) you leave the op in place for disinformation purposes. You do NOT disclose the op's identity to assorted and sundry, because you don't just burn the op, you burn everyone that op ever worked with.

3. If Cheney told Libby Plame's identity, but not her status; and told him in order to start a smear campaign, then we run smack into the 1917 and 1982 laws regarding disclosure of classified information and intel operatives. Is disclosing an NOC's identity in order to attack her husband a legitimate use of classified information? No.

4. If Cheney told Libby's Plame's identity, and did tell him her status, then Libby as well as Cheney runs afoul of the 1917 and 1982 laws.

5. Oh, and even if Cheney or Libby, either or both, didn't know Plame's status, they both have a duty of due diligence to check on an intelligence asset's status before they disclose the information to non-authorized people. Where are their signed statements to that effect?

Jim E.

But I'm not sure that the NY Times is correct on this point. Anyone have another, earlier citation for the Cheney-under-oath question?

ARC: Brian

Mr. Cheney was interviewed under oath by Mr. Fitzgerald last year.

Ooops.

Well I wish the NYTimes would get their story http://www.nytimes.com/2004/06/05/politics/05LEAK.html?ex=1130299200&en=7e62967bb8e2fb0a&ei=5070>straight:

It is not clear when or where Mr. Cheney was interviewed, but he was not questioned under oath and he has not been asked to appear before the grand jury, people officially informed about the case said. His willingness to answer questions was voluntary and apparently followed Mr. Bush's repeated instructions to aides to cooperate with the investigation.
Seven Machos

Casey-at-the-bat: And the crime anyone committed is...?

I would add that it looks more and more like Libby lied to the grand jury. If so, big, unnecessary mistake. Ask Martha.

Keith

f Tenet told Cheney Plame's identity, it's hard to believe he didn't also tell Cheney her NOC status.

Is it really that hard to believe that Tenet doesn't go around outing his agents all the time?

That means Cheney had no business blabbing Plame's identity.

Does telling your chief of staff, who also has security clearance, constitute "blabbing"?

Jim E.

In their original article about Cheney's inteview, the NY Times wrote that "he was not questioned under oath."

I vote for NOT under oath.

Or is the new NY Times article hiding the "under oath" nugget in plain sight? Must be an error.

clarice

Where do you think the Prosecutor got Libby's notes from? I say Libby. That means that whatever he told investigators you will have a hard time showing an intention to lie--it looks more like a slip.

Even if he had the requisite intent, you must get over the next hurdle--materiality. What could be material about this? The inquiry is did he knowingly leak her the name of a covert agent--and this shows he didn;t know she was covert and didn;t know her name..

Keith

Seven, I think it's possible that Libby lied, but this part of the NYTimes piece gives me pause: lawyers "said it could be difficult to prove that he intentionally sought to mislead the grand jury."

Can you be tried for perjury/obstruction for a non-intentional misstatement? And how hard is it to prove that one's misleading was intentional?

And do you want to charge the VP's chief of staff unless you're damn sure that he did do it intentionally?

Seven Machos

I agree with Clarice. Libby could easily have known Plame worked at CIA but only found out that she was ostensibly "covert" from a journalist. The journalist probably heard about Plame's "covert" status at a dinner party conversation with Plame herself or with Joey Wilson, or possibly both of them at the same time, over a bit of caviar with a just a hint of creme fraiche. Perhaps an ice wine...

This is not facetious. You KNOW it's completely plausible.

clarice

And how do you do that, when your claim is based on his notes which HE provided to you?

Thomas

The people who are terribly confused about whether or not it was known that Plame was a NOC should probalby refresh their collective memory with the fact that Novak identified her as a 'CIA operative' in his original column. Somembody who passed on the leak had to know, unless you want to cling his wretched spin that 'operative' meant anybody who worked in government, or whatever it was he claimed.

And Seven Machos, where does it say that Libby had access to the info? I'm not even sure why Cheney would know her status, unless, you know, he asked for information on Wilson. It's hard to imagine Tenet saying, 'blah blah blah say did you know that Wilson's wife is a NOC blah blah blah.'

ARC: Brian

So let me understand....

Libby knows he has personal notes that document a conversation with Cheney whereby its documented that Cheney told him about Plame first. He then decided in his GJ testimony to lie about this fact to avoid embarassment for Cheney, when in fact there would be no embarassment for Cheney because GJ testimony is secret.

He lies about it knowing that Fitz is going to find his notes at some point (hell, he probably turns them over himself). If that is the case, then Libby needs to be fired post-haste because he's just too stupid to sit in the WH complex.

Something just doesn't seem right.

Jeff

So if Cheney lied, but he was not under oath, does that get him off the hook? Should we ask Martha Stewart?

Of course I mean does it get him legally off the hook. Morally he's on the hook if he lied. Honor and dignity restored and all that.

clarice - you sure have a lot of belief in and tolerance for slips, forgetting and such from those on your side. Too bad it is entirely partisan tolerance.

topsecretk9

It's hard to imagine Tenet saying, 'blah blah blah say did you know that Wilson's wife is a NOC blah blah blah.'

it is? Why? Tenet was burned by her department every bit as much as the WH.

Seven Machos

Thomas -- You are showing ignorance here. The president and the vice president and their chiefs of staff have access to virtually any classified information they wish to see. Certainly, any time Dick Cheney wants to know who a spy is, he gets to know. If it makes you feel any better, it was the same way for Al Gore and Bill Clinton. Hate to burst your bubble, big guy.

Are you arguing that the CIA is a super-unit of government that is does not answer to the president like EVERY OTHER AGENCY (note the A in CIA)?

topsecretk9

ARC--

add into that Libby himself is an attorney, so none of this is lost on him

clarice

Thomas, can you explain to me why it would be inappropriate for the VP to ask Tenet what the hell is going on when he reads that some jackass he never heard of says he(the VP) sent this guy on a mission to Africa for the CIA, that this man says he reported that the information he saw was a cheap forgery, that he told the CIA and they told the VP and the President lied in his rationale for war by relaying on forged docs he warned them about?

YOU DO??

It was a perfectly rational inquiry and it was perfectly rational for Tenet to respond that he never sent the guy, that this was something cooked up by his wife and her office mates in the fucking agency without telling him, their boss.

Seven Machos

Jeff -- Lying is not a crime.

Keith

I wonder if the Neocons will be the ones celebrating Fitzmas this year. It's possible...

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Wilson/Plame