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October 05, 2005

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TM

Regulations covering the Special Counsel are here.

For our purposes, this is key:

The regulations require (section 600.7(a)) that "Special Counsel shall comply with the rules, regulations, procedures, practices and policies of the Department of Justice."

The Special Counsel is subject to less oversight, so he gets to call his own balls and strikes with a lot less oversight from the DoJ.

However, he can't toss out the window the rules about subpoenaing reporters.

And the Islamic charities case was not even handled in his role as Special Counsel.

The WaPo has lots.

Jeff

That Steno Sue Schmidt article you linked to has one very interesting detail perhaps relevant to the proper interpretation of the Miller-Fitzgerald deal:

Fitzgerald has also asked questions in the Plame case about the disclosure of other classified material that appeared in news reports about the Niger uranium issue, according to one lawyer with knowledge of Fitzgerald's probe.

What other classified material? Perhaps other information contained in the INR memo, like what Wilson did in Africa? Which news reports? In any case, this is possibly the non-Plame dimension of Fitzgerald's original subpoena, which he evidently gave up on in the deal with Miller. I've got a long post on related stuff attached to your earlier thing on the Miller-Libby correspondence.

topsecretk9

I agree the Islamic Charities thing is a stretch. It may have been a factor in Fitz's attitude and treatment of Miller, but clearly Fitz isn't going there (although Ronnie Earle might).

Something that has been bugging me is the info itself.

"Fitzgerald has also asked questions in the Plame case about the disclosure of other classified material that appeared in news reports about the Niger uranium issue"...

Well I just went looking for it and can't find it now, but I seem to recall Condi with Russert? about something originating in the bowels of the CIA...

I know Jeff above is hinting at the report/memo but is the idea that Judy spilled some info that indicated she had some inside access and knowledge (not yet public) still feasible?

I mean Libby could have testified that Judy was his source, or in the know on Plames status, but that Judy also mentioned certain things that were not common and/or declassified which caused in to contact Rove (or cover his ass down the road)...which says to Fitz someone gave Judy some Tips.

These things are in secret. It is odd that the Admin guys have tetified a few times...and we just aren't sure THEY rolled on the the only cagey one, Judy by saying 'yes Judy indeed was more eduacted on Plames story than I was, she also seemed to be informed on some highly classified info that even I didn't know" hint, hint, nudge, nudge

I mean there is a chance that Lyod Abrams is right in that initially Fitz put the heat on her, and know figures well I can agree to limit to the "sources", I'll just ask about the info she chattered on about..."how did you know this Judy?"

I dunno, that is my stretch I guess

TM

Here is the transcript of Judy's press conference after she testified. Her emphasis is on Libby's waiver, and then Fitzgerald agreeing to limit the questioning to the source for whom she had a waiver.

...other classified material that appeared in news reports about the Niger uranium issue...

Beats me. If I had to guess, I would say that he is kicking around some of the questions the Senate Intel Comm looked at with Wilson's leaks to Kristof and Pincus - Wilson seemed to be eerily prescient on the question of the forged document (although he eventually claimed he had been misquoted or taken out of context).

From Kristof, May 6:

Consider the now-disproved claims by President Bush and Colin Powell that Iraq tried to buy uranium from Niger so it could build nuclear weapons. As Seymour Hersh noted in The New Yorker, the claims were based on documents that had been forged so amateurishly that they should never have been taken seriously. I'm told by a person involved in the Niger caper that more than a year ago the vice president's office asked for an investigation of the uranium deal, so a former U.S. ambassador to Africa was dispatched to Niger. In February 2002, according to someone present at the meetings, that envoy reported to the C.I.A. and State Department that the information was unequivocally wrong and that the documents had been forged.

The envoy reported, for example, that a Niger minister whose signature was on one of the documents had in fact been out of office for more than a decade. In addition, the Niger mining program was structured so that the uranium diversion had been impossible. The envoy's debunking of the forgery was passed around the administration and seemed to be accepted — except that President Bush and the State Department kept citing it anyway. "It's disingenuous for the State Department people to say they were bamboozled because they knew about this for a year," one insider said.

Silly Kristof - his source for that was Wilson, but, althogh Wilson's trip was Feb 2002, the US did not come into possession of the forged docs until Oct 2002.

How, one wonders, did the envoy report "that a Niger minister whose signature was on one of the documents had in fact been out of office for more than a decade."?

It would be pleasant to think so, but I doubt Fitzgerald is still looking hard at Wilson, or we would have had more than one paragraph in one story (darn it).

We also should have heard about Kristof getting subpoenaed, and Pincus (for more than the talk we know about it).

Which takes me back to "beats me".

topsecretk9

sorry for the typos above...on second blush, this could explain a lot. I mean the notion of revealing an 'identity" may not have occured at all, rather 2 people engaged in a frank discussion where both parties were somewhat up to speed, but that Libby listen carefully to what Judy said.

You know this could be a great way to screw Wilson. If say Wilson and/or Plame had talked to Miller, and in turn things Miller said indicated to Libby that Wilson/Plame were dishing classified info...this could be Rove and Libby screwing the press on this.

I know it all starts with Novak, but then again Novak could have been appling literary flair (ie lying) with regards to 'two admin officials confirm" and really he got no direct confirmation. That would explain the big mystery surrounding the fact he isn't in jail.

So when this thing explodes, Libby and Rove confer (Did you tell? No. Did you? No, Judy already knew...she also knew x,y,z), they have cover...that someones been talking about classified...what an excellent screw to Wilson. Come on, Judy didn't write a word you remember?

topsecretk9

you are the best TM

topsecretk9

i think what I was impling and didn't in 1500 words, was maybe the inference of a leak was intentional not to so much to discredit Wilson but to further expose HIS/HER leaking.

I will now crumple up my reynolds wrap hat and just listen to wiser folks.

cathyf

The problem with the theory that Fitzgerald is going after some other guilty party in this leaking-from-everywhere ship is that he would be interviewing all sorts of other people that we have no indication that he is interviewing. Especially since the DoJ guidelines tell prosecutors that they should exhaust all other avenues before calling journalists as witnesses, if he wants to know about other classified leaks to Miller he should be interviewing all sorts of CIA analysts, state department types, Wilson, Plame, Kristof, to find out who had access to what when. Given that nothing else has been a secret with this grand jury it's hard to imagine that he's managed to do all that on the sly.

Which makes me mad as a citizen. I mean Joe Wilson is out there blabbing all sorts of stuff on the NYT op-ed page which should have been classified, but since the CIA didn't get him to sign the standard paperwork before he went to Niger they couldn't do anything to stop him. (Anybody ever wonder if any Nigers working for Italian intelligence got killed because Wilson wanted Kerry to get elected and didn't care who got hurt?) According to the leaked testimony of the "CIA spokesman" who talked to Novak, he confirmed that Plame was a CIA employee before he checked the records and saw that they classified her as covert. The only plausible explanation being that even the CIA employee never imagined that the CIA would be so blundering as to give an NOC cover to somebody who was going to work at the CIA everyday so he didn't check before he talked to Novak the first time. That as soon as Wilson started squawking about "outting CIA agents" reporters were able to figure out using google on public sources that Plame was supposed to be covert and track down all sorts of supposedly secret things that were publickly linked to her. Since when does "super duper top secret" mean "foreign spies need google to figure it out"?

It's kind of depressing. The SSCI doesn't care that the CIA are blundering idiots. Fitzgerald apparently doesn't care either. These assholes are going to get a whole lot of us killed, and nobody seems to care.

cathy :-)

kim

If he's intending to indict on her testimony, Fitz would be foolish to limit his questions. Nobody's been very specific about these limitations. I think Miller's talk is just her last gasp attempt to still justify herself as a 1st Amendment champion.

Next she'll be championing the Fifth.
======================================

kim

Hey Smiley F: Go read yesterday's Daily Howler. It'll make you feel better. Maybe.
===============================================

cathyf

There is one other piece of this I've wondered about that nobody seems to be highlighting. The NYT was preparing to publish Joe Wilson's op-ed pieces about Saddam's WMDs, and Judy Miller was the NYT's WMD specialist. Did the op-ed editors consult Miller about the facts that Wilson was claiming? I mean I know it's asking a lot to expect people to believe that the NYT's concern for accuracy might approach that of the Weekly World News, but hey, it could happen...

cathy :-)

Jim E.

The Powerline guy is a tool. In the same article, he wrote, "It is widely believed that Miller went to prison in part to restore her credibility on the left."

"Widely believed"?
I've never heard this. His argument is different from the martyr argument. If it's so widely believed, I'd like to see examples of people making such an argument.

"restore her credibility on the left"?
Using "restore" makes it sound like she once had credibility on the left. As if the agenda-driven neo-con Judy Miller gives a crap about "the left."

Speaking of Powerline, perhaps TM can run the Andrea Mitchell rumor up the flag-pole yet again in hopes that Powerline will retract. Powerline would never do such a thing, but it's always good for distracting attention away from the White House officials and the known facts of the case.

Jim E.

cathyf,
Do you realize that the bulk of Judy Miller's WMD reporting was not true and that she was a willing mouthpiece of Chalabi and the war-hungry administration?

SteveMG

Jim E.
"Do you realize that the bulk of Judy Miller's WMD reporting was not true and that she was a willing mouthpiece of Chalabi and the war-hungry administration?"

Do you realize that most of Judy Miller's reporting on WMD took place during the Clinton Administration's tenure? And that she was reporting on Saddam's WMD during the 1990s before the "war-hungry administration" as your characterize it took over power. And that her information re Iraq's mass weapons programs came from both the Clinton and Bush Administrations?

Of course, recognizing all that puts to a lie the leftwing's propaganda about WMD lies and neocon warmongers. Instead, the far left would have to come up with substantive polices instead of slander and smears.

So, it's easier to just fake it.

SMG

Jim E.

SteveMG,
I was, of course, referring to Miller's many WMD reports in the months and weeks prior to the war. In other words, the "bombshell" reports during the Bush administration, post 9-11. Are you claiming that she learned about the aluminum tubes from the Clinton administration?

And yes, this administration was hungry for war. It was a war of choice, and they got it. President Clinton didn't push for war; President Bush did.

Finally, it's not a "slander" or a "smear" to say Miller's reports were the results of the false info being fed to her from Chalabi and the White House. It's a fact. Howard Kurtz reported that Chalabi was Miller's biggest source on her most dubious stories. And White House sources told her about the aluminum tubes, she reported it, and then Cheney could go on Russert and say: "Hey, there's a story in The New York Times this morning about aluminum tubes."

Do you deny that Miller was pro-war?

topsecretk9

Cathy makes excellent points and SteveMG is correct on his Miller reporting and the lefts sudden disgust with it is typical revisionism.


Meanwhile KLo on the corner is passing on a rumor from radar mag that 20? indictments coming down?


K Lo

Radar Rumor


topsecretk9

Sorry, tried to html my links and well failed here are the links..

KLopez

http://corner.nationalreview.com/05_10_02_corner-archive.asp#078729

Radar Rumor
http://www.radarmagazine.com/the-wire/2005/10/05/index.php#wire_003399

JJ

Thanks for taking that one on Mr. Just-A-Minute. I read it previous to your analysis and was very puzzled by the large loose ends in the article.

It was a bold conclusion, the Islamic charity thing being the hush reason, for Mr. Hinderaker. The worst part was that it sounded at first so...possible.

Be interesting to see if there's an update/correction.

My money is still on Mr. Wilson. What if Judith is protecting him? Hmmm. Is he also the Dennis the Menace in all this.

Jeff

I guess we'll know real soon.

cathyf

Kind of off-topic, but I wonder if Bill Clinton has realized yet how he screwed up? He could have gotten Monica a job at the CIA instead of the Pentagon, and then started squealing about "outting CIA agents!" And they could have named Fitzgerald as a special prosecutor, and Fitzgerald could have hauled Starr in front of his grand jury, and Starr could have hauled Fitzgerald in front of his grand jury, Ishkoff goes to jail. Heck, it could have been great sport indeed!

cathy :-)

Jeff

So wait, cathyf, you object to the journalistic norm of strictly separating the editorial section from the news section of newspapers? You think such a separation makes the NYT worse in terms of accuracy than the Weekly World News? Is that it?

On another note, your madness as a citizen is touching. Here's one question: Does your concern for Nigeriens working for Italian intelligence mean that you buy the idea that Italian intelligence used a Nigerien cutout to put the forged Niger-Iraq-uranium documents into circulation, helping propel us into a war that has killed lots of people? Is that it?

Watching the increasing shrillness of your posts, I think I can see that smile turning into a frown. Your last post, hoping against hope that it's all Bill's fault, along with the CIA, is a classic!

kim

Go see how shrill Somerby got on Tuesday.

Where do you think the forged letters came from?

It is Bill's fault. Or Berger's. Or Clarke's.

Or Hillary's.
===============================================

kim

Jim E: Those of us who believe that Judith Miller took lessons in politicking from the Master of the Bazaar, Chalabi, also widely believe that she went to prison at least in part to restore her credibility with the left. To players like that, ideology is nuanced.
===============================================

kim

Witness, Jim E, the summer long charade to appeal to a left wing fave, the 1st Amendment. Well granted that one has bipartisan appeal, but there were certainly plenty of leftists arguing her cause.

Even that old leftist Bob Dole weighed in. Don't you remember?
==============================================

TM

On the question that no one is asking, here is a GAO report summarizing Fitzgerald's authority as Special Counsel.

Why do I care? Eventually, my dispute with Mr. Hinderaker on the Islamic Charities question may get a bit more public, and I want to have something pointing out that (a) Fitzgerald is both the US Attorney for the Northern District in Illinois, and (b) a Special Counsel empowered to investigate the Plame leak.

The theory that he could overcome an unfavorable ruling in his role as US Att'y in Chicago by putting the witness in front of his Plame grand jury continues to strike me as novel, and it would certainly appear to be beyond the scope of his Plame investigation.

As to this from Jim E:

The Powerline guy is a tool. In the same article, he wrote, "It is widely believed that Miller went to prison in part to restore her credibility on the left."

"Widely believed"?
I've never heard this. His argument is different from the martyr argument.

Uhh, take a breath. You obviously recognized it as the martyr theory, and I don't think you or anyone else is disputing the notion that the martyr theory was widely circulated. So, your point amounts to telling us that Hinderaker is not deeply in touch with the nuances of just where on the political spectrum Miller might have found support with this strategy.

Well, I don't know where she thought she might find support either. But it may be exactly true that it is "widely believed" on the right that Miller is playing to the left with this strategy. I am fairly confident that the idea that Miller and the Times were together in trying to boost their images is not exactly controversial on the right.

That said, it may be "widely believed" on the left that Miller is playing to the right - I don't know the word from Kos.

And if you are telling us it didn't work - well, we had guessed that already.

JayDee

I think Judy Miller went to prison so she could get a $1.2 million book deal to write about her experiences as a First Amendment martyr.

I doubt she craves any credibility with the "left", nor that she could ever in this lifetime obtain any.

What confuses me is why nobody has asked the question - if reporters are going to claim an absolute privilege, what would prevent them from being used as propaganda tools by unethical governments?

Jim E.

I specifically pointed out that Hindraker was NOT pushing the martry theory, and TM says I recognize he was writing about the martry theory. Um, no. How would going to jail to NOT spill the beans on this administration "restore" her credibility on the left? That was Hindraker's specific argument. That is certainly NOT widely believed, and Hindraker is wrong. Nice job deliberately miscontruing my post!

kim

Uh, yes there were two different arguments there. One was the 1st Amendment martyr one. And it is widely believed, if not by you.
================================

TM

Hmm, now Kim and Jim have me scratching my head.

I am certainly familiar with the first amendment martyr theory, and assumed that was what Hinderaker was referring to.

Is there some other commonly discussed theory that does not invoke her status as First Amendment hero that might have boosted her with some group, left or otherwise? Jim and Kim seem to think so, but I don't know what it is.

And yes, Jim, I noticed you saying "it is not the martyr theory". But saying it is not" does not make it so. Don't think of it as "misconstruing" - think of it as "disagreeing". My reading was that, in fact, Hinderaker *was* pushing the First Amendment martyr theory, and believed that some libs lauded her for it. To assert with no evidence that he must have had some other theory in mind because the 1st Amendment hero theory does not convince you is unconvincing.

FWIW - read any of the Times editorials for the importance of Judy heroically standing up for press freedom and protection of sources - surely, that is a heartwarming liberal cause, what with Deep Throat finally being unmasked, and all?

cathyf
What confuses me is why nobody has asked the question - if reporters are going to claim an absolute privilege, what would prevent them from being used as propaganda tools by unethical governments?
Excellent question, except that there is no reason to limit your worries to "unethical governments." From the point of view of the process, there is no difference between the press being used as a tool of a government and the press being used as a tool of its unethical stockholders to pimp controversy and sell papers or pump ratings.

And ultimately the answer is, I think, that press credibility, which is already highly suspect, will simply be gone with such an absolute priviledge. The National Enquirer already has this sort of privilege -- they were once sued for libel, and their (successful) defense was that nobody believes anything that they read in the National Enquirer so libel is impossible.

I think that the journalists demanding a press shield law should pause for a bit and remember the ancient Chinese curse: "May you get what you want."

cathy :-)

Jerkweed

Now you lack credibility Cathy.

The fact is, e.g., Caroll Burnett sued the National Enquirer for libel after the tabloid newspaper described her alleged public drunkenness and got a $1.6 million verdict (later reduced on appeal, and the case was eventually settled out of court).

Now the same Enquirer reports Bush is drinking again.

I'm still waiting for the lawsuit.

Jeff

I hope this speaks to the point: Miller is widely and, I believe, irretrievably despised on the left for what it perceives as her central role in hyping the WMD threat and thereby misleading us into war. She is not seen in any respect as a member of the left. Rather on the contrary, she is seen as having violated her journalistic responsibilities in serving as an ally of, advocate for and cooperator with the administration. Not surprisingly, then, Miller's time in jail was widely suspected of being a matter of protecting her own ass and, secondarily, perhaps that of some of her administration pals. The prevailing tone of Libby's letter provides fodder for this belief.

Now, if Miller is going for being a first amendment martyr to restore her credibility, it is not with the left, but rather with the journalistic establishment. Probably the central assumption behind this and many other misperceptions on the part of Mr. Hinderaker and other right-wingers is that the left and the MSM, embodied above all in the dread NYT, are identical or twinned. To whatever extent this is the case, the crucial point is that it is not perceived that way by the left. So it just won't do for TM to cite the Times' editorials as some kind of representative view of the left on Miller. Widely derided by the left, those editorials are transparently efforts by the Times itself to justify itself, as it inexplicably ties its own fate to Miller's.

I remember a while back this same line about liberals embracing Miller was pushed by a commenter here, and the only evidence s/he cited when I challenged her on it was Brokaw or somebody heroizing her and maybe visiting her in jail. The same paranoid and incorrect view of the liberal MSM. Or again at least: that's not the way the left sees it. Once that is clear, and once it is clear that there is nothing Miller could do to restore her credibility with the left, it very well may remain the case that the right thinks Miller is trying to restore credibility with the left. But she's not.

Jim E.

TM,
My point is that I very clearly wrote that I did NOT recognize it as the martyr theory. I wrote: "His argument is different from the martyr argument." Not sure how I could make that any easier to understand. So you certainly did misconstrue what I wrote when you claimed about me: "You obviously recognized it as the martyr theory..." Nope.

Jeff's 9:39am post speaks to the point very well, and I'll allow that to speak for me as well. I would only add that with the likes of Lou Dobbs and Bob Dole standing alongside Miller, the idea you have that press freedom and the protection of sources is a "heartwarming liberal cause," but not, apparently, a conservative cause, is crazy. This specific controvery aside, I think you do a disservice to sane conservatives by associating mostly -- and only? -- liberals with press freedoms. Those are American causes.

TM

Well, if Hinderaker's argument is different from the commonly discussed First Amendment theiry, what theory is it that he is advancing?

I am not saying I agreed with him, or would have put it that way - I am just saying that I can't come up with any fair reading other than that, and he is probably right that plenty of righties think she was trying to curry favor with the left.

Good point about press freedom not being exclusively a left-wing cause.

And I am getting tired of arguing against the notion that Hinderaker presents some poorly thought-through arguments, since that is essentially the point of this entire post. End the Schizophrenia.

From Jeff's attempt to shine a light of reason into this darkness:

...it very well may remain the case that the right thinks Miller is trying to restore credibility with the left. But she's not.

Well, she's not trying, or she's not succeeding? I have no doubt of the latter, amongst the true left.

However, I bet this helped her cachet on the Upper East Side and in the Hamptons. Not the workingman's Left, I'll admit...

boris

The Powerline guy is a tool. In the same article, he wrote, "It is widely believed that Miller went to prison in part to restore her credibility on the left."

"Widely believed"?
I've never heard this. His argument is different from the martyr argument. If it's so widely believed, I'd like to see examples

I presume you know what you meant when you wrote this. It still makes no sense to me.

Possible interpretation:

Hindraker holds to theory A or B.

Hindraker suggests OTHERS hold theory C (martyr).

Based on this it appears you and TM are talking past each other. And I have seen the martyr theory in the MSM a number of times but more in passing than as a proposed explanation. Just as Hindraker did.


TM

Let's put 120 pages of background and rulings on the Islamic Charities into the mix.

narciso

Considering that he hired Blumenthal, who coedited with Phillip Agee, the remarkably
delusional Government by GunPlay, along with
Morton Halperin, who along with having been
one of Ellsberg's co-leakers, rationalized
Agee's leaks

Jeff

Well, she's not trying, or she's not succeeding? I have no doubt of the latter, amongst the true left.

Yeah, obviously I meant the Miller is not trying with the left, and I thought the reasons were apparent from what I said. They are 1)because she knows it would be a lost cause; 2)because she doesn't care because, though many right-wingers might assume that everyone who writes for the big bad New York Times is a part of the big bad NYT-Dem-France-State-CIA conspiracy, the left is not Miller's polestar. How do I know (or why do i believe) this? First, the reason she is so deeply reviled on the left is that she aligned herself so closely with the most lunatic hawkish parts of the administration and their truly craziest allies (i.e. Chalabi) in what can only be called her advocacy of WMD. Second, to repeat myself, it seems to me that Miller orients herself much more to and by the lazy, self-indulgent journalistic establishment. Of course, for you all, that just is the left, or a major segment of it. But this remains one of your deepest confusions. Even if most of those folks would identify themselves as more or less liberal, which I am by no means sure of, they are first and foremost lazy journalists who like to hang out in the Hamptons or the Vineyard and are attracted to power and other self-satisfied journalist big machers.

And by the way, Maguire, the Upper East Side? Not a well-chosen illustration, it's not exactly Manhattan's hottest bed of leftism at all, workingman's or other.

TM

PowerGuy himself adds to the laugh track with this quote from the Times:

Good lawyers write well, quickly and clearly and do not fear arguments, said Mr. Hinderaker of powerlineblog.com. "Most people's personalities are such that they don't really like conflict and are shy about putting arguments and opinions out in public where they're going to be attacked," he said. "Obviously lawyers do that all the time."

He's unafraid! Of course, since he has neither trackbacks nor comments, and has told me (by e-mail) that their policy is to not repsond to critics, how much courage are we tyalking about?

I really owe myself a follow-up post on this.

And in a troubling bit of perfidy and hypocrisy, I may steal Jim's criticism about his unawareness of the left. Depends on whether the editor lets me run long.

TM

PowerGuy himself adds to the laugh track with this quote from the Times:

Good lawyers write well, quickly and clearly and do not fear arguments, said Mr. Hinderaker of powerlineblog.com. "Most people's personalities are such that they don't really like conflict and are shy about putting arguments and opinions out in public where they're going to be attacked," he said. "Obviously lawyers do that all the time."

He's unafraid! Of course, since he has neither trackbacks nor comments, and has told me (by e-mail) that their policy is to not repsond to critics, how much courage are we tyalking about?

I really owe myself a follow-up post on this.

And in a troubling bit of perfidy and hypocrisy, I may steal Jim's criticism about his unawareness of the left. Depends on whether the editor lets me run long.

Jarnco5

Voice Of Conservative America just visited your site

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Wilson/Plame