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November 02, 2005



Prosecutors have enormous discretion. They decide whether or not to prosecute, what charges to assert and how and on what terms to settle a matter without trial. Given the federal sentencing guidelines one could make a decent argument that their powers exceed those of judges in criminal matters in the federal courts.


Dude, you have hit the nail on the head. Cowardice is at the CORE of conservatism in America today. They capitulated utterly to terrorism, and were willing to throw away in a flash one of the most fundamental of all the principles of enlightened civilizations - the right to be to be told the charge against you, and to face your accuser at a swift, fair trial. They clearly do not believe that democracy is a strong enough philosophy to withstand terrorist attack and are willing to destroy it - and all its enlightened institutions - at the drop of a hat....Unless of course it never really meant anything to them in the first place, which also seems likely.



Should I call my tree service to remove that log from your eye?

You've got to be kidding, right? I'm sure you're well aware that the left's talking points get out the same way. Seriously, your handwaving is a bit ridiculous.


Truez, no abuses by the admin? I guess you missed the part where they were paying reporters to create propaganda last summer and were falsely portraying government generated propaganda as objective news?The people in question were opinion writers, not newspeople. Is this all you have?

And we all know the kind of unholy alliance they had with Judy Miller, making sure her WMD propaganda got front page play in time for Sunday morning news shows - propaganda they then referenced on their Sunday morning appearances.
We do? Please describe how this "unholy alliance" worked, and how the administration was responsible for it. You seem to be saying that Judy Miller was operating at the behest of the White House. Anyone with two brain cells to rub together can see that claim or any other simliar one is pure moonbatery.
CNN is not reliably affiliated with any political viewpoint, nor is MSNBC, although MSNBC does air politically skewed shows - from both right and left.
OK, whatever. We are never going to agree on this, so why waste bandwith? Besides, its off topic anyway. You get the last word.
Creepy Dude

Here: It's not just freaks like me who think this way:

"WASHINGTON, Nov. 1 - The Bush administration is embroiled in a sharp internal debate over whether a new set of Defense Department standards for handling terror suspects should adopt language from the Geneva Conventions prohibiting "cruel," "humiliating" and "degrading" treatment, administration officials say.

Advocates of that approach, who include some Defense and State Department officials and senior military lawyers, contend that moving the military's detention policies closer to international law would prevent further abuses and build support overseas for the fight against Islamic extremists, officials said.

Their opponents, who include aides to Vice President Dick Cheney and some senior Pentagon officials, have argued strongly that the proposed language is vague, would tie the government's hands in combating terrorists and still would not satisfy America's critics, officials said."

So let's all take sides. You know where I and Lion stand.


JBG: "Fitz made a statement regarding "what Libby told Miller." I think you would be well-advised to give Fitz the benefit of the doubt."

Well, considering Fitz also said this:

"Why did Mr. Libby say what he did? Why did he tell Judith Miller three times? Why did he tell the press secretary on Monday? Why did he tell Mr. Cooper? "

But since Libby didn't tell Cooper, I think we're allowed to question what else Fitz may have gotten wrong.

Especially when Judy's notes are a lot less clear than Cooper's testimony.


I was about to tell TM that his somewhat recent uncharactistically hackish posts were making reading the comments tough going, but then I got to the end of the comments, and this is getting fun.

In any case, TM - The Andrea Mitchell thing doesn't seem to do much work, and certainly not the work you seem to want it to. But for your side's sake, I'll remake a suggestion I made a while ago: Get Clifford May to talk. Wouldn't it be awesome if Russert -- who fits the profile -- were his source? I will admit that the fact that May, whom I consider to be a despicable character, has not spoken out already makes me skeptical that Russert was his source. That and the fact that he was apparently interviewed by investigators early on, so presumably Fitzgerald knows what's up with that -- and I suspect not much. That is, May is either ashamed right now, or he's embarrassed. Or should be. But still, I say, dare to dream, and get May to talk.

Cecil Turner

And you can offer me what assurance that the people currently in our Gulag are not innocent? Have they ever had a trial? How about even a preliminary trial?

Combatants in wartime do not receive a trial. It's a tradition even older than the 200 years you cite. They have to be given a tribunal before punishment, but that does not preclude detention for the duration of the conflict.

It's you who are the ones that are so scared shitless you have to trash everything this country stands for to ease your goddamn baby shivering.

Yale's Avalon Project has a good Law of War collection covering the last 150 years or so. It's remarkable how little it's changed. I'd recommend reading some of the earlier codes (especially the 1863 General Orders No. 100, in particular the section on armed prowlers). The secret trials of Nazi saboteurs in and post-WWII also spring to mind (and obviously influenced the current executive order on tribunals). Most hyperventilating on this subject begins with the mistaken belief that combatants are entitled to standard criminal due process. They aren't.


Oh, excuse, my last one was for another thread.


Truzenzuzex -- what I am getting at is that the Espionage Act has its own statutory definition of what it is illegal to disclose, based upon the characteristics of the information itself, while the various regulations, executive orders, and other non-law things define it as a no-no to disclose anything that the government classifies as secret. In other words, the Espionage Act hinges on the information itself, while the other things hinge on what is stamped on the page next to the information.

My curiosity is whether there is any law which hinges on classification while ignoring content.

cathy :-)



re: cliff May's male source. Ooops. You're right. Sorry.

It's "S-ill". As in Sylvia



Syl, you are making the error of arguing from the specific to the general. Just because Mitchell didn't make the connection without access to the alleged leak doesn't mean that other reporters couldn't and didn't.

True. It's no proof. But the CIA is huge. And they know it. Not like us who have a few names and figure that's all there is so everybody's gotta know everybody else. :)


It also begs the question of what reporters with access to non-WH leakers would have been able to figure out.

Is a distinct possibility. :)

Luv America

Hey creepy dude, it's good to see you finally admitted your support for the terrorists.



Should I call my tree service to remove that log from your eye?

You've got to be kidding, right? I'm sure you're well aware that the left's talking points get out the same way. Seriously, your handwaving is a bit ridiculous.



Its the loooooong extention of those laws of war to a "war without end, without a political entity as an enemy, and without reference to (and in some ways, in contravention of) international law (secret Lubyankas in Eastern Europe ?) that is troublesome - not the law of war itself.

Does this mean that we can extend the laws of war to our next strike at drug cartels? Yikes.



For Trumanzex, re prosecutorial discretion: I recognize that prosecutors have enormous discretion about what to prosecute and what not to prosecute, but it is still the law that they have no discretion to prosecute anything that is not a crime. Crimes fall basically into two categories: Common-law crimes (murder, rape, arson, mayhem, rape, sodomy, larceny,manslaughter, battery--known to law students by the mnemonic acronym "Mr. and Mrs. Lamb) and all others. The "all others" must be specifically enumerated by statute. I know of no statue that would make a crime out of the truthful statement by a government official that Plame worked at the CIA.
The two sorts of crimes you refer to are known in the legal profession as malum in se (bad in itself) and malum prohibitum (bad because the government says so). The law that covers the disclosure of classified information is in the latter category.

There is of course no law that would make the "truthful statement by a government official that Plame worked at the CIA" a crime as long as a) the person to whom he made the statement was entitled to know it, or b) the person making the disclosure was unaware that the information he was disclosing was classified.

Let me help you with the statute that would make a crime out of disclosure of Plame's identity to unauthorized individuals: 18 USC 793, which forbids, among other things the intentional, willful disclosure of classified information. Fitzgerald references this in his indictment of Libby (see below) but did not allege that Libby violated the law. By doing so, he most likely utilized prosecutorial discretion.

b. In connection with his role as a senior government official with responsibilities for national security matters, LIBBY held security clearances entitling him to access to classified information. As a person with such clearances, LIBBY was obligated by applicable laws and regulations, including Title 18, United States Code, Section 793, and Executive Order 12958 (as modified by Executive Order 13292), not to disclose classified information to persons not authorized to receive such information, and otherwise to exercise proper care to safeguard classified information against unauthorized disclosure. On or about January 23, 2001, LIBBY executed a written "Classified Information Nondisclosure Agreement, ..."


"What seems to be true, though, is that while Plame's employment was classified secret, it was misclassified secret."

Um, and how do you know that? You don't. That determination is not up to you. In fact you have no way to determine it.

If someone is charged with revealing classified information, they get a trial, due process and all that. Damage assessment would be in evidence.

"I've asked a couple of times -- does anybody know of a law which covers disclosure of misclassified information?"

Why should there be? I think Tru covered the bases pretty well.

Rick Ballard


Thank you for the links at your 1:38. I fear that we will be in for a great wailing and gnashing of teeth over the next bit as the full import of Fizzlemas sinks in. No Rove frogmarch and no Niger forgeries with Cheney's fingerprints on them. One might wonder if the CIA sieve might have scheduled this prison story to appear as dessert for Fitmas dinner.

I certainly hope that the CIA leakers of this classified information are subject investigation by a prosecutor as diligent as Fitzgerald.



"Syl, I don't doubt you are correct, but what is your source for saying that Plame's status was classified? And what statute makes it a crime to disclose it? "
You can find it in the Libby indictment.

Creepy Dude

CT-here's what I don't get: we are at war with Afghanistan and Iraq. Is anybody outside those countries a combatant?

There are terrorists groups everywhere-including several domestic ones.
If we track down American citizen associates of Timothy McVeigh is it cool to throw them in our secret prisons? What about some Tibetan independence fighers branded terrorist by the Chinese we round up in Afghanistan. Can we stock them as a favor to the Chinese? Where does it stop?

Whose side are you are in the intra- administration debate?



"this case is a powerful argument for extending the law which prevents CIA agents from interfering in domestic politics to their spouses.."

You think?

Well, if that doesn't work, we can always hope the same thing will be pulled Hilary. ;)

That's a winky in case any of you get the right er wrong idea.


You've got to be kidding, right? I'm sure you're well aware that the left's talking points get out the same way.

Do tell. Please list me all the powerful media outlets dispensing these coordinated Dem talking points. And give me an example of even one day where you could both point to the list of politically generated points and their subsequent parrotting by these outlets. It's not possible, but go for it anyway.

Cecil, that apology is old and tired. It goes hand in glove with your belief that once an admin has foisted a war on its people - even if it was done dishonestly and perhaps illegally - then there is no recourse for the citizenry other than to submit, out of fear of aiding an enemy. A perfect formula for totalitarian dictatorship.

You advocate holding anyone the US wants to hold without ever having to show cause, ad infinitum. Can that possibly be justified behavior by a country that also professes to infinite a priori goodness? Do you also advocate rendition to torture sites? How do you propose we compensate those we eventually declare to be innocent, those we kill or maim? And can you point to a single study that has ever shown that torture is even efficacious in obtaining actionable information? No, don't tell me, that kind of evidence is also secret.

Why do Republicans hate America? What happened to you people?



So what's going to happen if a Democrat is president and he attacks Iran?

What will you complain about then?

Creepy Dude

CT-the 1863 General Orders are very interesting. Thanks for the link. Is this one outdated:

"Art. 16.

Military necessity does not admit of cruelty - that is, the infliction of suffering for the sake of suffering or for revenge, nor of maiming or wounding except in fight, nor of torture to extort confessions. It does not admit of the use of poison in any way, nor of the wanton devastation of a district. It admits of deception, but disclaims acts of perfidy; and, in general, military necessity does not include any act of hostility which makes the return to peace unnecessarily difficult."


Creepy Dude

The problem in even discussing this is that nobody has a definition of torture.

Cecil Turner

Its the loooooong extention of those laws of war to a "war without end . . .

What, has this war been going on longer than Vietnam? Even WWII? Hardly.

. . . without a political entity as an enemy, and without reference to (and in some ways, in contravention of) international law . . .

There are several "political entities" on the wrong side of this one (e.g., Taliban, Al Qaeda, Baathists). If you could credibly claim this wasn't a war, you'd have a point about applying the law of war. I don't think you can.

Creepy Dude

Syl-conservatives have a tool for that-it's called the method of original intent.

What did President Lincoln mean by "torture" in the general orders of 1863 just linked by CT.

I mean, he meant something didn't he? What?


Ok, let's get on with the disclaimer: I am an independent, former Republican who is thouroughly disgusted with the current admin. I read dKos, agree with much of what is said, and for the time being will support the Democratic party, because I do not like the direction the country is currently headed, or all of the secrecy and intimidation by the executive branch. I believe they are turning our Congress into a rubber-stamp and may be undermining the power of the independent judiciary, thereby spitting on the very Constitution they swear to uphold. I am very much against the Iraq war (though I initially was for it, but only based on the bs intel presented by Powell in his UN speech), and most importantly I DEEPLY RESENT BEING LIED TO TIME AND AGAIN! As such, I was no big fan of Clinton, but then again I was also way more conservative back then too, so go figure. The most important thing in all of this Plame affair is that the truth come out, no matter what it is, and those responsible for the lies be held accountable. I think Pat Fitzgerald seems like a fair guy, and I'm sure if there's nothing to this scandal beyond Libby (and possibly Rove's) perjury/false statements/obstruction of justice, then so be it. But, man, I'd sure like to know so I can have some modicum of confidence in the government again.

Ok, sorry about the background. You can attack me for these beliefs if you wish, but that's obviously not why I'm writing here, but merely my "conflict of interest" statement.

My substance is that I think "Sam" as speculated above might very well be Chris Matthews. I agree with others here that there probably was a rumor/whisper/gossip campaign (possibly started by Libby/Rove, but there's not evidence yet to suggest that) around the Beltway insiders/press corpse about Valerie being Wilson's wife and her being CIA. But it was nothing more than that, a rumor mill, and I think the reporters responsibly knew not to print that.

Where things get dicey is after Joe's op-ed where we clearly have a pattern of leaks by Rove/Libby (though we're not sure exactly what was said) trying to discredit his findings by insinuating that his wife at CIA was responsible.

I also wouldn't be surprised if there's a grain of truth in Libby's testimony in that, maybe the conversations went something like:

Libby: You know, we didn't ask for Wilson to go to Niger, this was a boondoggle set up by the CIA.

Journalist: Really?

Libby: Yeah, someone over there is out to get us.

Journalist: You know, that would make sense, cause I heard Wilson's wife works over at CIA. Maybe she had something to do with it?

Libby: Well, I don't know anything about that, but I'm telling you this was CIA all the way. We had nothing to do with it.

I submit that one of the first journalists to be called was Matthews (although you won't find that reported) because he's got a big mouth and can't keep a secret. It's also interesting how in his July 8 Hardball piece (the one Libby called Russert to complain about), he specifically calls out Libby by name as being involved in pushing forward the nuclear thing as the justification of the war. He doesn't just say the office of the VP, but Libby specifically, and calls him a hawk. Also of note is the relevant info in Wilson's book where Tweety calls Wilson and tells him Rove told him that Valerie's "fair game" and that he would confirm that statement if asked to. So, prob Scooter and co know he would testify.

Fast forward to July 10 when Libby calls Russert to complain about Tweety. I imagine there's some heated words exchanged, and I bet Libby recounts in some form or another his discussion with Tweety. Russert's like, whatever, thanks for the call. Of course this has the added side effect of planting a bug in Russert's ear.

Hence, why Libby may have perjured himself in his testimony and why he may have a defense. People get Matthews and Russert confused all the time, that's a possible defense. And since the testimony regards telling a story (and the testimony has Libby flip-flopping back and forth between he said and I said for a bit), I think the "I must have been mistaken" defense might fly, at least for the Russert perjury count. ANd the "heard from reporters" bit may be partially true, though he almost certainly knew of Plame before he "heard" from Tweety or someone else.

That's all fine and dandy, and fun to speculate about, but to me it still doesn't get to the heart of the crime, that is, who gave Novak the name "Valerie Plame?" And why did he feel ok in printing it when all the other reporters seem to have some reservations. You know, that's a big problem, even if it's not technically illegal, it's certainly not an ethical or a moral thing to do. And part of me thinks that Karl Rove had a big hand, if not in providing the Plame info, but in encouraging Novak to go ahead and write the column (knowing that Plame was covert, presumably, and knowing that there might be repercussions). I'd like to know that bit of the story too.

And I want to know who at CIA sold out Plame, because if her name and affiliation with the CIA was classified, there should have been only certain people authorized to know that, and they had to have worked closely with her. So that means she was sold out by a colleague because of some bs political game. That's a real breach of trust, don't you think?

ANd I think some of this is what motivates Fitzgerald to be so dogged at pursuing this case. There was something in that classified brief that he provided the DC Circuit court that convinced them this case was serious enough to warrant abrogation of the journalist-source privelege. Perhaps some facet of national security was compromised, or someone died because of this (an anonymous star is said to have gone up over at Langley within a few months of Plame's outing). Even if Fitz can't indict under IIPA or espionage or whatever, and can only prosecute Libby for obstruction of justice, to him, it's important that justice is done. Because a lot of people who should have known better did a lot of stupid things all in the name of brinksmanship politics, and it's hurt this country in the long run. Fitz's prosecution is a message to those who would intentionally put the security of this country at risk over some petty partisan concerns: if you do the crime, you're going to do the time.


If you were a Republican once, I'll eat my parakeet.




Before discussions can commence everyone has to agree on a definition.




Novak printed it because the CIA confirmed it. He asked them.

If you don't even know that detail, then back to DU for ya. Or check out more of the fine articles here for details.


By the way LC Johnson's site is up again with the Cheney story--must have been some glitch..


Wow, all I got out of Fitz's statement was don't kick sand in the umpire's eyes when you are throwing the baseball at the batter's head.



This may have been mentioned by someone else, but in case it wasn't:

Andrea Mitchell's "Capitol Report" comment:

So a number of us began to pick up on that. But frankly I wasn't aware of her actual role at the CIA and the fact that she had a covert role involving weapons of mass destruction, not until Bob Novak wrote it

Russert's NBC press release:

Mr. Russert told the Special Prosecutor that, at the time of that conversation, he did not know Ms. Plame's name or that she was a CIA operative and that he did not provide that information to Mr. Libby. Mr. Russert said that he first learned Ms. Plame's name and her role at the CIA when he read a column written by Robert Novak later that month.

Do I detect a pattern?


a lot of people who should have known better did a lot of stupid things all in the name of brinksmanship politics, and it's hurt this country in the long run

Okay, fair point.

Do you have an opinion on the reported leaks by elements in the CIA of classified information in an attempt to weaken the Bush Administration?

I'm not arguing a tu quoque defense here. It's not acceptable for any side handling secret information to release that data in order to manipulate public opinion or to get back at critics.

It seems to me that there's a great deal of evidence - as we saw today with the W.Post piece - that there have been a lot of people leaking classified information for partisan or ideological gain.

It didn't start with Libby. Or this White House. There's a rather long pedigree of people employing such tactics.

Although my suspicions are that you won't read about all of them over a DKos, someone who is unfortunately driving (or trying to) the Democratic Party over a cliff.



Does anybody have any idea of which NYT reporter(s) would have been covering Libby during the March-June, 2003 time period--while Judy was in Iraq?


I think you have to scan all NYT articles in that period which cover the WH--Here's one reporter there at the time.KATHARINE Q. SEELYE


Also--David Stout and Terence Neilan


Joe Wilson’s Story

Joe Wilson has a consulting business and like most good consultants, he networks. His network of people who can get him work in the government becomes very limited when Bush is elected, but he has Val at the CIA. Val recommends him for the job in Niger and Joe goes. He provides intelligence that pretty much supports the probability that Saddam was looking for yellowcake, but got none.

When he gets back, he also does a number of interviews which promote his business. His interviews are pretty reasonable and supportive of the general proposition of both the Iraq Liberation Act and the Iraq War resolution. He doesn’t seem to believe we need to find WMD, but we will never know unless we clear Saddam out. At the time, this is very supportive of the Bush Administration. Joe goes to the State Department and other places trying to get work (not trying to warn them), but can’t find it (because Scowcroft and others are on the outs).

So he visits his old friends the Democrats. What does he have to offer but the trip to Niger? Kerry has a problem. He knows he has to somehow be against the war in the primaries, but, in the end, he will have to move back to the center and run as a war supporter. So, he hires Joe Wilson to give him cover. Joe becomes antiwar zealot. The “Bush Lied” strategy is born. Joe goes to his and Kerry’s friends at the NYT and other publications and tries to get this broken as a news story. They don’t bite. He gets Kristof to write an article and it doesn’t get enough traction. So, he goes public.

The questions here are, when did he start talking to Kerry, because shortly after that is when the Chattering Classes began to chatter. What kind of proffer did he give Kerry? Did Kerry ask “How did you get this job with the Bush Administration?” Wouldn’t one think that Kerry may have been a bit wary of him having just done work for the Bush Administration and being far more bullish on the war than Kerry?

If he is talking to Kerry in April and trying to sell his story to the press, this is the real origin of the story. White House people would have gotten questions from reporters about this. If Judy is in Iraq, who covers Libby for the NYT? Could Libby have gotten an inquiry from a Times reporter when Joe was trying to make this a news story? Did Jill Abramson tell her not to cover the story because she already had a reporter on it? Did this reporter call Libby? Did Judy get the Flame name from a NYT reporter?

In any event, Joe, when he is discredited by the Senate committee, gets fired by Kerry. Kerry doesn’t need him because he has decided to run as a war hawk who would have done a better job than Bush. Also, having a proven liar as an advisor is unnecessary baggage.

The reason my candidate is a Times reporter is that, unlike the other organizations, the Times would not negotiate with Fitz. The NYT lawyers represent Judy and she goes to jail. Some time later, she hires Bob Bennett and gets out. Did the NYT lawyers worry that the NYT was in conflict with Judy? When she testifies about the forgotten notebook, she is no longer a hero. She has drawn attention to another reporter. Libby doesn’t care what Miller says gefore the GJ because he heard it from a reporter before Judy.


Possible-Here's how I think the link with Kerry came--and it is just speculation. He finds out Clarke and Beers have left and are going to work with Kerry. They dicuss what his position on the war is and learns he's in a bind (the old voting before it before he voted against it). He offers up this story and they think it works for them--etc etc.


Kaus is on a tear and points out the oddity of charging Rove and not Libby--and he notes a little problem with the paper's reporting on Cheney's involvement:
"Johnston, Stevenson and Jehl led with a sentence beginning:

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 .... [Emph. added]

According to Fitzgerald's indictment, however, Libby seems to have "first" learned of Plame from a "senior officer of the CIA" a day or so before he learned it from Cheney. This is another non-trivial difference. If Libby found out on his own before he talked to Cheney, it looks a lot less like Cheney giving marching orders to a subordinate (the Oh-my-God implication of the Times piece) and more like Libby off on a mission, possibly self-propelled." http://www.slate.com/id/2129234/&#dumb


BTW is appears finally Kristof blinked on his May 6, 2003 column..(It's on Times Select so I can't confirm Shaffer's account)http://www.slate.com/id/2129223/



Hope your parrot doesn't have H5N1. :)

Yup, actually used to TAPE Limbaugh's show back when I was in high school. Most weeks I listened to, oh 9 hours or so. Stayed up late to watch the show. Even went to a taping of it once.

Regarding Novak's source, who at CIA confirmed? I've seen it mentioned before, but was it the same "unnamed senior CIA official" from the indictment? RAWSTORY (I know, with loads of salt) seems to think that's Fred Fleitz, Bolton's chief of staff and concurrent WINPAC officer.

Which doesn't make sense to me, since WINPAC's on the DI, not DO side. So how could Fleitz have the requisite clearances to need-to-know a covert CPD operative's name?


Creepy Dude, I am extremely pleased that you are so unhappy. You might be interested to know that in May of 1945 there were 400,000 German prisoners confined on US soil. Some number of them claimed to be innocent members of work battalions--tough luck; they never had a trial, not even a preliminary one. It was that dangerous old fascist, FDR, who had them held (and had Germans executed by hanging as ordered by a military tribunal). None of thes men had any right to a trial. Neither does an armed terrorist taken on a battlefield have a right to a trial. If you don't like that, you'll just have to learn to live with it. In answer to your rhetorical question about American citizens, the answer is no, they cannot be held without access to a US District Court--that has been held by the courts, and the administration has complied with the law (see, e.g., Mr Padilla and the "American Taliban." As to a Tibetan, if he is taken on a battlefield under arms against US forces, and he is not in uniform and is not in compliance with the Geneva Conventions, yes, he can and will be held. When you resort to hysterical, infantile obscenities, it is apparent that you recognize that you haven't a leg to stand on. Now let's Move On, so to speak--move on to get the drilling started in the Arctic National Wildlife Reserve.



You're absolutely right. I (and I supect the former CIA officials who are currently leaking like sieves do too) do not condone leaking classified info for partisan gain. I don't think the CIA wanted this turf war, they probably just wanted to do their thing. What my comment meant to illustrate is that this whole scandal has been just more and more political one-upsmanship from the start, and everythime someone at CIA pushes, the admin pushes back even harder.

The problem with that mentality is like the problem with the nuclear option in the senate, eventually you're going to reach the "real high stakes" limit and the question will be, who blinks? Do you really want to toe across that line? Will the CIA decide that they need to engineer a black ops coup to out the administration before any more damage can be done? Are they really willing to go that far? Or will the administration decide to totally wipe-out all the expertise at CIA in retaliation, leaving this country essentially deaf, dumb and blind with regards to real terrorist threats? Both options are equally catastrophic in my book.

And it's time that the grownups say enough's enough and get somebody in charge and stop this crap. The impartial justice system is perhaps the grownup I have in mind, and say what you like about Fitzgerald, I do not think he has a dog in this fight. He wants justice, and whether the right or the left is crying in the end, I doubt he could give a rat's a**. Like I said, if all that comes of this is that Libby goes to jail, and Fitzgerald is satisfied with the results, then so am I. But if the rabbit hole goes deeper, and there's more to know, then we should get to the bottom of it.

I don't think the CIA operatives who are leaking right now are particularly thrilled about it, but I can only guess that's because they believe their hand is forced. I sincerely hope that their "operation" is limited in scope and does not lead to that coup scenario. But man, something's gotta give. It's pretty clear there were a boat-load of lies that got us into Iraq and things ain't getting any better right now, and unfortunately a lot of Americans are dying because of it.


All of this makes me know there can NOT be a federal shield law for reporters.
Imagine if they didn't have to tell us anything about their sources, and knew that in advance of writing a story.

Look what anonymity did to Wilson's story. It changed materially from the time he was Kristoff's secret source to the time he published under his own name.

And if you believe Libby 'outed' Plame, imagine what tactics he could have used with the press, knowing that he could never be exposed by them.

A shield law would not have served the public well in this sordid tale. And I suspect we would see much more press warfare such as this if reporters and their sources knew they could tell their version of the story with impugnity.


Has anyone seen a copy of the Barrett report on the Henry Cisneros investigation ?

Given the turtle pace of Fitzgerald, Barrett seems to be setting a new record for slow. He has already secured a place in "Ripley's Believe it or Not" as the last Independent Counsel.

I'd like to see what's in this that has kept it away from the public for so long.


Neo, Williams and Connolly has successfully blocked release of the report which has been ready a long time ago. The Ct of appeals just ruled that is should be release and set a deadline but left open a time in which counsel for named indiviuals could have their names redacted..Why the opposition? My understanding is that there's a lot of evidence of the Clinton Administration misusing the IRS...


The Andrea Mitchell thing doesn't seem to do much work, and certainly not the work you seem to want it to.

Really? I have already posted my sinister plan, which is to make it appear to be extrememly odd that Russert did not know about Wilson's wife, or at a minimum, that there was some buzz about Wilson having a bizarre backstory.

And, if Russert either knew about a spousal connection or had heard hints, why *not* ask Libby?

Reasonable doubt.

Russert helped by providing his own motive to, well, not lie to the prosecutor, but de-emphasize his role to the rest of us. Naturally, I have no idea what he said to Fitzgerald (who has an excellent idea, and chose to indict, a problem I am still working on).

AS to the motive - Russert said last weekend on CNBC that it would have been ghastly news judgement to put Wilson on to bash the White House without disclosing his pro-CIA inclinations. Oops.


I wanted to add this from Fred Barnes. If he had somehting stronger elsewhere, great, but this was weak, weak, weak. Oct 15, 2005:

BARNES: Legal kibitzers. This is a new low. Anyway, it’s true. We’re paying attention to them.

Now, look, Fitzgerald has had two years to answer a simple question, and that is, was the law violated by someone having willfully exposed an undercover CIA agent? Now, we know that wasn’t true. Valerie Plame wasn’t even an undercover agent at the time. Everybody in Washington knew that this guy Joe Wilson, who’d written a piece attacking Bush’s Iraq policy, that his wife was a CIA agent, and so that’s nonsense.


When can we start making mincemeat of Kristof's stupid refusal to honestly correct a sensational and sensationally false article he wrote over two 2 and 1/2 years ago??

Jim E.

To follow-up on the fruitless Fred Barnes search...

Fred Barnes, as far as I can tell, has never written a substantive article, or even paragraph, about Joe Wilson in which he even mentions Wilson's wife.

I closely looked at Fox News transcripts involving Barnes from July 2003 to July 2004. The first time he even mentions Plame is in July 2004, and it's kind of in passing. He makes zero mention of the supposed CIA war with the White House, and actually says that he (Barnes) trusts the CIA, not Wilson. (Barnes has apparently updated his talking points.)

In the summer of 2003, Barnes never once talked about how Wilson was discredited because of his wife's involvement. In fact, he ignores Wilson, and instead repeatedly says that the White House should never have admitted doubt about the Niger line. Barnes made no comments about the import of Wilson's wife's role. Barnes never, ever even hints that Plame's identity was an open secret.

Let me help you with the statute that would make a crime out of disclosure of Plame's identity to unauthorized individuals: 18 USC 793, which forbids, among other things the intentional, willful disclosure of classified information.
Thanks -- I missed that in the indictment -- thought it was part of the name of the executive order which appeared in the same sentence. There had been so much talk of the IIPA and the Espionage Act, and neither of them seem to apply, and nobody seemed to be pointing to any laws that would have been broken.

cathy :-)


TM - I think I understand a little better where you're going with the Andrea Mitchell thing. I suspect Russert did in fact know that Wilson's wife was affiliated with the CIA (which makes him look awfully weaselly in public, which is fine and dandy with me), so it is possible that Russert could have brought it up with Libby. The indictment indicates that the grand jury is under the impression, presumably from Russert's testimony (and some other documentary evidence? tapes? reports from the executive who Russert immediately called?), that Wilson's wife was not discussed at all. What I would guess makes Libby's story harder to believe is that there seems to be solid evidence of Libby discussing Wilson's wife with so many different people on so many different occasions that it just beggars belief that he forgot all about his conversation with the Vice President and it was though he was hearing the info from Russert with new ears.

In this regard, if you look at the indictment (e.g. p. 11), as best as I can see, the charges don't hinge on whether Russert brought up Wilson's wife with Libby. Even if he did, Libby still lied, so the indictment seems to charge, in claiming to be surprised by the information, that is, in claiming to have in effect learned first of Wilson's wife's affiliation with the CIA from Russert. To say nothing of all the other deliberate falsehoods Libby is alleged to have committed.

creepy dude

Lion-you're an idiot.

An American WWII POW camp is is no way comparable to the prison system we are now alleged to be operating.

And should the executive decide to flout the law (not unprecedented in American history) and stick U.S. citizens in a secret prison-what are you going to do about dipshit-it's a secret prison.

America's real enemies lie within.

JM Hanes

cathy -
Don't know if anyone has addressed your question about prosecutorial discretion in my absence, but Fitzgerald addressed this about 3/4's of the way through his Press Conference.

NB: I have edited & reformatted the following to make it short(er) and sweet, so I do recommend consulting the original if time allows:

QUESTION: [I]t's a little hazy I think for many of us -- you say that Valerie Plame's identity was classified, but you're making no statement as to whether she was covert. Was the leaking of her identity in and of itself a crime?

FITZGERALD: [A]ll I'll say is that if national defense information which is involved because her affiliation with the CIA, whether or not she was covert, was classified, if that was intentionally transmitted, that would violate the statute known as Section 793, which is the Espionage Act. That is a difficult statute to interpret. It's a statute you ought to carefully apply.

…Let me back up. The average American may not appreciate that there's no law that's specifically just says, "If you give classified information to somebody else, it is a crime." …There are some narrow statutes, and there is this one statute that has some flexibility in it. So there are people who should argue that you should never use that statute because it would become like the Official Secrets Act.

I don't buy that theory, but I do know you should be very careful in applying that law because there are a lot of interests that could be implicated in making sure that you picked the right case to charge that statute.

He goes on to describe some of the factors which play into judgments as to what should or should not be prosecuted.



I apologize. You speak too well not to have been a Republican once ;)

But, just a FYI, I have never listened to Limbaugh and don't consider him to be a litmus test.


There are a lot of we confused independents sailing these shark-filled and reefed waters. The Swifties set me asail.



"and nobody seemed to be pointing to any laws that would have been broken."

yeah, well your misdirection didn't help ;) I mean gimme a law about leaking mis-classified information?

Ahem. I took you literally. LOL


I probably assail.



"The Swifties set me asail."

I watched the original debate between O'Neill and Kerry on the Dick Cavett show decades ago. I thought Kerry was a stuffy prig but I believed him.

When I watched it on C-SPAN in 2004 I still thought Kerry was a stuffy prig but I didn't believe him this time. :)

Cecil Turner

He goes on to describe some of the factors which play into judgments as to what should or should not be prosecuted.

In this case, it appears he tried to sell that to the grand jury and was rebuffed. (Or at least that's the only sensible explanation I can come up with for the late canvassing of Plame's neighbors, the press conference, and the way the indictment is written.) And it looks like impracticality, not discretion, was the reason for not charging.

I know the CW is that Fitzgerald must not be criticized, but I was struck by the disparity between his words and the indictment. Seems to me he went out of his way to allege misconduct that wasn't charged. Perhaps some of that was necessary to make sense of the charges--but not all of it--and it still seemed inappropriate to me. Similarly, that sandy-eyed umpire analogy seemed to be saying: "I can't prove it." I'd have been a lot more impressed if he'd said just that.

creepy dude

CT- there is such a thing as a "superseding indictment" which, if it's out there (as I suspect), will render all your points a nullity.

And criticize Fitzgerald all you want-neither he (I'm sure) nor I (I know) will really care. That's standard defendant behavior.

meanwhile how about Article 16 of the General Orders? Is it rendered a nullity by the "War on Terror" or not?

Cecil Turner

CT- there is such a thing as a "superseding indictment" which, if it's out there (as I suspect), will render all your points a nullity.

Perhaps. My understanding of grand jury secrecy is that it's to protect the reputation of the accused. My sense of propriety suggests the prosecutor ought to have an indictment before alleging criminal conduct. If he's got one, that'd defuse most of my complaint (though I still think, in a perfect world, prosecutor statements ought to be congruent with the state of public knowledge in the current indictment--I'll allow as how that might be utopian).

meanwhile how about Article 16 of the General Orders? [Sorry, appear to've not/mis-posted, here it is again:]

An American WWII POW camp is is no way comparable to the prison system we are now alleged to be operating.

Why "alleged" in regard to the detention camps (which is not, IMHO, in any real doubt), but vituperative railing against torture (which is not even credibly alleged)? Is it setting up an argument that when you prove the first you can assume the second?


As usual,CT makes a brilliant point. The odd disconnect between the charges in the indictment and a number of the statements he made in his presser.

I posted this on the other thread..but her is my article calling for a Congressional investigation into the Agency's handling of the Wilson Mission and aftermath.(I raised these same questions months ago, but after the investigation and indictment they loom even larger.)http://americanthinker.com/articles.php?article_id=4961

Creepy Dude

CT-I won't argue the past but focus on the future. Presently there's an intra-administrative debate about whether the Geneva conventions to people we capture pursuant to the war on terror.

As far as I see, the only opposition would be if you thought we might need to torture people or hold them incommunicado. President Lincoln thought this was not a military necessity.

Is it now?

Now you might argue-but if we can't torture them in secret-hell we'll just have to execute them in plain delight as armed prowlers.

To which I'd reply EXACTLY THE POINT. I think the latter would be far more effective in battling terrorists.

We shouldn't have anything to be ashamed of. Secret prisons are for scumbag totalitarians.

P.S. I'd said alleged so some wingnut wouldn't digress into an argument over whether they exist. I dont actually believe they're "alleged" either, just despicable and anti-American.

Creepy Dude

"in plain delight"-Freudian slip = plain daylight.

Cecil Turner

Presently there's an intra-administrative debate about whether the Geneva conventions [apply] to people we capture pursuant to the war on terror.

I don't think any fair reading of the conventions or the US legal precedent could possibly result in a ruling that they do. That doesn't mean we can torture them . . . but it does mean we can hold them for the duration, without trial, in conditions somewhat less comfortable than required for POWs. (In secret if necessary.) And prosecute them for war crimes (by tribunal) at any time we wish.

We shouldn't have anything to be ashamed of. Secret prisons are for scumbag totalitarians.

Point of order: a detention camp is not a prison. Secondly, in camera proceedings are allowed under the Geneva Conventions, even for protected persons, in "exceptional circumstances" where security dictates. These gents are unlawful combtatants fighting an illegal war. My personal preference would be to give them all the consideration granted to the organizations that are their close historical parallels . . . the Thugees and Hashishans. But in order to do that, we need decent intelligence . . .


I'm also talking about mMcCain's anti-torture amendment which 90 senartors voted for but Cheney opposed and now seeks to have the CIA declared exempted from.

I think Cheney is a disgrace, an embarrassment, and a complete failure as a Vice-President, a leader of the American people, and as a moral human being.

What is your take on these issues?

Cecil Turner

I'm also talking about mMcCain's anti-torture amendment . . .

Well, it doesn't just forbid torture, now does it? It also forbids "cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment or punishment." And, of course, we know psychiatric studies show indefinite detention "has had a highly damaging impact on the mental health of detainees and their spouses." Case closed, gotta let 'em go, eh?

Further, as Bybee pointed out in his famous "torture memo":

the Eigth Amendment ban on "cruel and unusual punishment" has been used by courts to, inter alia, "engage in detailed regulation of prison conductions, [sic] including the exact size cells, exercise, and recreational activities, quality of food, access to cable television, internet, and law libraries."
Does it make sense to you to apply those same standards to Al Qaeda detainees?


Again, it should be noted that the only "journalist" who actually claims to have known that Plame was CIA is Cliff May.

("It" has no antecedent in the Mitchell quote. Given Mitchell's subsequent denials, "it" is probably NOT that "Plame was a CIA operative" but that "there was gossip that Plame had some vague and unspecified connection to the CIA because of her knowledge as an energy consultant.")

What people seem to be forgetting is that Valerie Plame was an active 24/7 covert NOC agent for the CIA prior to 1998 --- and THAT is what the CIA endeavored to keep a secret. The fact that some people may have known that after her marriage and the birth of her twins, and her setting up house in the DC suburbs that Plame may have done some "consulting" work for the government is completely irrelevant. It would certainly not be unusual for someone with her expertise---and her husband's connections -- to get work of that sort. But her COVER story -- that prior to 1998, she was employed as an energy analyst by Brewster-Jenning -- was maintained. And it is that cover story that was blown by the White House.

It appears that what "everyone knew" was really that "everyone knew that everyone knew", but nobody, in fact, did know that Valerie Plame was a CIA operative.


Well, the antecedent was in a post from a day or two earlier, and I have added it back to this post (a helpful reminder about evidence of absence):

A more complete cite:

MURRAY And the second question is: Do we have any idea how widely known it was in Washington that Joe Wilson's wife worked for the CIA?

Mitchell: It was widely known among those of us who cover the intelligence community and who were actively engaged in trying to track down who among the foreign service community was the envoy to Niger. So a number of us began to pick up on that.

Seems pretty specific to me, but I assume that for some folks on the reality based side it is hopelessly murky.

What people seem to be forgetting is that Valerie Plame was an active 24/7 covert NOC agent for the CIA prior to 1998

Hmm, can you forget something you never knew (a question Libby and his attorney's are mulling).

Per Kristof, Ms. Plame came home in 1994, following the arrest if Aldrich Ames, when it was believed she had been sold to the Soviets.

I am not familiar with the source for the 1998 story, although I assume that it, too, is reality based.


Having been cleared once I can, at least from my work experience, talk about classified and misclassified information.

Even though it is classified, everybody knows (or can find out) what the critical mass for a uranium bomb is. If somebody that has clearance gives out the number he will most likely lose his clearance, but there is no way that he would be prosecuted (something similar happened when I worked for the labs). If neighbors know she works for the CIA she is already outed and so the same principle would be involved. I believe that is the sticky subject that Fitzgerald is dealing with and wants to avoid before getting his information to a jury (I think he is hoping that Libby roles and pleads guilty to one of the minor offenses). I have every reason to believe the problem with the leak is that there was no leak, a reasonable person could find out without having clearance (and need to know). The person that talked about her might need to lose his clearance for this gossip but nothing else. If you have watched Fitzgerald over the last few weeks it is very clear he is not a happy man. I'll bet he thinks he wasted 2 years of his life on nothing. Don't know for sure, but it's my bet.


By the way, if she was outed by Ames is it possible that having been successfully extracted her status might have been used at trial or in pre-trial hearings? Any law type wanna wade through that stuff. If it was used and available to the public there is certainly no leak.


Oh come on. Fred Barnes, Cliff May, and Andrea Mitchell didn't know from any legal source (including regular gossip) that Plame was a CIA agent. You think if Cliff May or Fred Barnes knew this all along that Robert Novak would be the one to break the story months after the contraversy began? The only reason they would possibly know and not have written about it is because they found out from someone who they like and who would get in trouble for saying as much. This scenario seems even worse for the GOP than the one in which Mitchell, Barnes, and May are outed for the liars that they are.

The very idea of this is silly from the start.

(PS Same goes with anyone employed by Fox News)


Hugh Sidey passed away just before Thanksgiving, 2005.


Hey bring your lantern over here. I think your candidate's knocking on the lustrous gate under the roses.

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