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November 04, 2005

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cathyf

TS9 -- is it possible that the Men In Black weren't on Fitz's errand? There is supposedly a regular FBI investigation into how Joe Wilson came to be blabbing classified info all over town, and whether any laws were broken.

The whole "specialness" of the special prosecutor is based upon the notion that the regular prosecutor has an inherent conflict of interest in investigating the White House, since the president is the nations chief law enforcement officer. Obviously there is no such conflict of interest when investigating Wilson or Plame or the CIA's plumbing.

Although I have to say that I wonder -- it looks to me like in real life the FBI and DoJ might have more conflict problems when investigating an MSM golden-haired child than they do investigating a president that the MSM doesn't like. I keep hoping I'm wrong about that, though...

cathy :-)

TM

I just don't see how Fitzs' case has any credibility and so I don't get why he did a last minute half-ass neighbor query

If someone has a great answer to that, I have a follow-up - why did Fitzgerald call Joe Wilson the day Judy Miller testified (IIRC - it was late September, not back in '63...)

Clarice - it seems pretty clear that the defense can call more reporters and ask more questions than the DoJ could.

I want Andrea Mitchell on the stand to tell us whehter she told Tim.

And I want Nick Kristof deposed, to see if he had used Ms. Plame as a source in some unrelated column.

Now, a judge might wonder how a Kristof deposition relates to Libby's alleged lies under oath. I sort of do, too.

But in the expansive fishing-trip defense, his attorney's may say, look, the gist of Libby's defense is that he was hearing it from reporters. If he got the Russert call wrong, but folks like Kristof did, in fact, know, then we have the classic "false but accurate" defense - Libby "lied" about Russert, but had the right idea (wrong reporter - oops).

Of course, there is still the matter of his being surprised by Russert's revelation... one step at a time, here.

clarice

I'd like to see Kristof and Pincus on the stand to explain with a straight face why it took them so long to back off from Joe's story.

Why they didn't "correct" the record even after his July letters to them saying he'd been misquoted by them.

How they met Wilson and vouched for his credibility.Who else was at the Fourthof July party at the Wilsons,

Whether they knew Valerie was with the agency and whther or not she, too, was a source.

And who else they gave that information to.

(Certainly, one would think they told their editors at a minimum)

Even without them on the stand, Libby should be sllowed to explore with Cooper and Russert, their conversations about the case with others--something Fitz never did apparently..


On another point--Michael Ledeen has a good piece on NRO about the French forged Niger documents. He says they were prepared in 1999 when the French thought Clinton was going to invade and simply recycled them to stop Bush from doing so.

And James Lewis has this at American Thinker:http://americanthinker.com/articles.php?article_id=4970

clarice

I'd like to see Kristof and Pincus on the stand to explain with a straight face why it took them so long to back off from Joe's story.

Why they didn't "correct" the record even after his July letters to them saying he'd been misquoted by them.

How they met Wilson and vouched for his credibility.Who else was at the Fourthof July party at the Wilsons,

Whether they knew Valerie was with the agency and whther or not she, too, was a source.

And who else they gave that information to.

(Certainly, one would think they told their editors at a minimum)

Even without them on the stand, Libby should be sllowed to explore with Cooper and Russert, their conversations about the case with others--something Fitz never did apparently..


On another point--Michael Ledeen has a good piece on NRO about the French forged Niger documents. He says they were prepared in 1999 when the French thought Clinton was going to invade and simply recycled them to stop Bush from doing so.

And James Lewis has this at American Thinker:http://americanthinker.com/articles.php?article_id=4970

clarice

I'd like to see Kristof and Pincus on the stand to explain with a straight face why it took them so long to back off from Joe's story.

Why they didn't "correct" the record even after his July letters to them saying he'd been misquoted by them.

How they met Wilson and vouched for his credibility.Who else was at the Fourthof July party at the Wilsons,

Whether they knew Valerie was with the agency and whther or not she, too, was a source.

And who else they gave that information to.

(Certainly, one would think they told their editors at a minimum)

Even without them on the stand, Libby should be sllowed to explore with Cooper and Russert, their conversations about the case with others--something Fitz never did apparently..


On another point--Michael Ledeen has a good piece on NRO about the French forged Niger documents. He says they were prepared in 1999 when the French thought Clinton was going to invade and simply recycled them to stop Bush from doing so.

And James Lewis has this at American Thinker:http://americanthinker.com/articles.php?article_id=4970

Reader

Clarice

Who is James Lewis? Is he a credible reference?

clarice

He is a regular contributor to The American Thinker. If you want to know more of his background, you can write the editor and ask for more details. You can also type his name in the search function at the site to see theother articles he has written for it.

TP

TM
Is it possible that Libby called Russert to complain and that, in the course of the conversation, Russert said something to him that clarified the entire political aspect of Joe Wilson and how he had gone to Niger. Is it also possible that Russert does not have a clue as to what he said that hit Libby like a ton of bricks and gave Libby this "It was if I had heard the whole story for the first time" feeling.

clarice

Kaus thinks the Libby part of the conversation he's hiding it Libby's complaint that he thought Matthews coverage was motivated by anti-Semitism.. Hmmmhttp://www.slate.com/id/2129634/&#mystery2

TM

Is it also possible that Russert does not have a clue as to what he said that hit Libby like a ton of bricks and gave Libby this "It was if I had heard the whole story for the first time" feeling.

It's deja vu all over again!

It strikes me as possible that Russert said something that Libby misinterpreted. E.g., if Russert mentioned Wilson's wife at all, Libby may have assumed Russert knew the truth and was hinting around for a confirmation.

But the recovered memory portion of hte indictment is tougher.

On anti-semitism - it's an interesting theory; it certainly explains why they won't mention it, and Chris Matthews is in the old articles as an object of neocon ire.

But I just did not connect to either side of that argument, so I have no idea how the different players felt.

I do see Mickey wrote some articles on it at the time, so he may have lots of sources for gossip about who wanted to stick a knife in whom.

I have a related idea, stolen from Clarice - Libby asked Russert (or ranted to Russert) about Wilson being part of the Kerry campaign. I bet Russert does not want to dwell on that, either.

Jeff

Read Fitzgerald's press conference. I still don't see how you all are going to get Libby around his claim that he heard the news from Russert as though for the first time, when he had been discussing it with other prominent administration officials just days before. In the real world, it is unbelievable that Libby would have completely forgotten his conversation with Cheney a little bit less than a month earlier, to the point where his memory was not even jogged by the purported Russert conversation. But at least a lawyer might be able to get a client off the hook legally that way. But there are going to be administration officials testifying about conversations with Libby about Wilson's wife that are multiple and much more recent. Ari Fleischer is going to be a star witness. I understand that Libby's lawyers appear to be jettisoning the faulty memory defense and are going to go after the credibility of the reporters. Fine with me. You still have to deal with all those administration officials and their conversations with Libby. From the indictment it looks to me like he can be convicted on that basis alone, at least on some of the counts, even if Russert emerges with a damaged reputation.

clarice

If so, I bet not either..LOL..

Well, won't that 6th Amendment argument by Libby's lawyers (we have to get more out of the reporters on cross to fairly defend our client) be a joy to watch in action? LOL

It's always been my thought that in demanding a full investigation the press thought they could make the charge of wrongdoing, never have to testify and leave the Administration smeared with no damage to themselves..Caught their rears in the swinging door, I think.

clarice

My response was to TM...

Jim E.

I reserve the right to re-post this in a fresh thread, since no one’s gonna read this here.

Unlike TM and others on the comment-threads, I’ve avoided coming up with a master theory of the leakage of Wilson’s wife. Until now, that is. (Drum roll, please…)

Try this on for size:
1. Novak had ONE source in the CIA, or a source somehow affiliated with the CIA, who told him that low-level covert agents, unbeknownst to either Tenet or Cheney, sent Wilson to Niger. (I happen to think Andrea Mitchell got the same information from the same source given what she said on CNBC July 8, 2003.)

2. Novak also had a SECOND source from the WH who simply told him that Wilson's wife helped send Wilson to Niger.

3. Novak put two-and-two together and realized that Wilson's wife was a covert agent who helped send Wilson to Niger.

In this scenario, no individual leaker broke the law because reporters were leaked info piecemeal. The information about Wilson’s wife was only illegal once Novak put it together. If, for example, Rove and Libby were talking about Wilson's wife while Hannah and Fietz, for example, were talking about low-level covert agents, no single leak was necessarily illegal. Sound plausible? If so, maybe Fitz was unsuccessful (due to Libby’s convenient amnesia regarding his June 12 meeting with Cheney) in trying to prove that the info was leaked piecemeal on purpose, which I assume would be a crime.

Well, that’s the theory. (Cue symphonic crescendo and final choral “Laaaaaaahhhh.”)

Any takers? Any flaws with it?

I’ll suggest the significant flaw in my own theory: someone actually told Novak that her name was Plame, which suggests that one person fed him too much info all at once. But that kind of makes sense in a way. After all, Libby repeatedly pushed leads upon Judy Miller and she was too dense to connect the dots and publish anything. Fed up with Miller’s inability to do their dirty work, they finally gave all of the info to Novak on a silver platter. They might have figured by that late date they had leaked so much info to so many reporters (and were continuing to leak in order to create a cloud*) that they could claim they heard it from reporters in the first place. Flaw explained away!

* For example, according to the indictment, “Official A” (aka Rove) told Libby on July 10 or 11 that Novak was going to be writing a story on Wilson’s wife. Since they already knew their story was going to get out via Novak, why would Libby subsequently continue to leak to both Miller and Cooper on July 12 if not to cloud the waters?

cathyf

Jeff:

I still don't see how you all are going to get Libby around his claim that he heard the news from Russert as though for the first time,
Well, I dunno, back when I was in the fourth grade, Mrs. Althouse taught us that you could identify simile by the presence of "like" or "as." She also taught us that taking similes and metaphors literally was bound to leave you looking mighty foolish. Metaphors, of course, are much harder to identify, so one of my 11th-grade classmates won the "laughingstock of the day" award when she thought that Swift really seriously wanted to carve up Irish children for chow. Perhaps Fitz fell into the "smart guy trap" -- he successfully figured out that Libby doesn't literally think that Judy Miller is a tree, but missed the easier-to-identify simile.

cathy :-)

TP

If you Google "as if i had heard it for the first time" you get some interesting common usage of the phrase in every day language. Essentially, it means "i heard it many times before but the poignancy of this time made it seem like the first time". "I had heard "Layla" a thousand times before but hearing it in acoustic form was as if I had heard it for the first time". "When I went to complain to Russert about Matthews' raw treatment of the VP office and Russert asked me if i knew that Wilson worked for John Kerry, it was is I had heard it for the first time." Libby could be assuming that Russert knew the whole story if he supplied a tidbit Libby did not know.

cathyf

Jim E., there are several plausible variations on this. How about...

1) Novak knew who Plame was, and didn't think too highly of her, because of some contact with her or a close colleague on some earlier occasion. Perhaps he had contact with Mr. and Mrs. Wilson when they were together at some social occasion, and Joe impressed him negatively.

2) The "no partisan gunslinger" told Rove that Wilson was an a**hole, and that the VP didn't send him, the low-level apparatchiks at the CIA cooked up sending the lying weasel to Niger.

3) Novak, in his own mind, connected "asshole lying weasel" and "CIA apparatchik" and thought, "gee, that sounds like Joe and Valerie Wilson... Oh, (light bulb goes pop) THAT Joe Wilson."

4) Novak got pissed at Harlow for lying to him and decided to play a little dumb when Harlow told him not to publish.

I live in a small town. And while it's not true that everybody knows everybody's business, it's always a good bet that there are people here whom you don't know or don't know well who know way more about your business than you think they do. We joke in our office that between the boss's wife and the office manager, we are related to every single resident of the town. Well, the axis of the DC media and high federal officials is a lot like a small town. Novak claimed from the very beginning that Plame's identity was "no big secret." We have Andrea Mitchell, who claims that she was not the recipient of any White House leaks, but she still came this close to figuring out that Valerie sent Joe.

cathy :-)

dogtownGuy

---that he heard the news from Russert as though for the first time, when he had been discussing it with other prominent administration officials just days before.

Well, seeing as he is not on the hook for spilling "the out" beans to Russert, doesn't matter he spoke to Cheney about it...in that...the council has a defense case made in heaven. He, Libby, has one set of information from Cheney...and BAM he gets another set from well informed reporters.

Just think. Your speaking to a reporter, and suddenly he says something (he may not even know he said it) that is more than you had ever even known.

Judy is the golden goose.

clarice

TP--intersting point re linguistics.

Cathy, I don't think Novak is part of the Georgetown crowd which is largely Ivy League educated liberals in government and the press these days.

But as out of that loop as he is, he smelled a set up when he saw it and asked around to military and intel people with whom he is in the loop--I still think Tenet was his source, but if not him someone like that.(heck, he coulda just asked Vallely or McInerney it appears).

dogtownGuy

"It would be difficult at this point for the news organizations to argue that their reporters need to protect confidential sources. In addition to discussing their sources with Mr. Fitzgerald and the grand jury, the reporters have each made those conversations public — Ms. Miller and Mr. Cooper in published, first-person accounts of their talks with Mr. Libby and their testimony, and Mr. Russert in numerous television interviews."

One of Judy principle reasons as jailbird was she was unable to get assurances from Fitzgerald to limit his scope to avoid "other sources". Forgotten tidbit. Cooper made a weasly statement that left lingering "other sources" floating around.

Ever wonder why this seemingly easy investigation took 2 years?

2 years and possibly no indictments. 2 years with the inability to find out how reporters had independent knowledge of V.Plame, and a Niger trip, and a talking envoy. 2 years.

Lets back up. What did that referral say? Something like this...

"CIA Director George Tenet has requested a Justice Department investigation into charges that the White House leaked the name of the wife of former U.S. Ambassador Joseph Wilson, who traveled to Niger last year to investigate claims that Iraq had attempted to purchase uranium there, according to reports."

Sort of predetermined. But then can CIA demand the NYTimes be investigated? or the Washington Post? Sort of hard to press Kristof when no WH official spoke to him. Sort of hard to get there when reporters are protecting other sources. NOT hard if you hand down an indictment, any kind of indictment...in order to get people to talk FINALLY.

TP

The thing that is interesting in the indictment timeline is the amount of time that passes between the Kristof article (May 6) and Libby's request to the State Department for information (May 29). You would think that libby would have been nosing around earlier than that with sources in the Washington Press Corps that could tell him what was going on. Is it possible he had other sources and was looking for confirmation from the government reports.

MJW

Jeff : Read Fitzgerald's press conference. I still don't see how you all are going to get Libby around his claim that he heard the news from Russert as though for the first time, when he had been discussing it with other prominent administration officials just days before.

I prefer to read the indictment.

Regarding the allegation that Libby lied about his reaction to Russert, I have several observations.

First, there's no allegation that he lied about where he first learned about Plame. This is, I think, the dog that didn't bark (to use a favorite metaphor on this site). Unless the FBI and GJ are idiots, they must have at some time directly asked Libby, "How did you first learn that Plame was a CIA employee?" And since there's no false statement or perjury charge related to this, we must assume he answered truthfully.

Given that assumption, how much affect does a claim that he was surprised by what Russert said have on the GJ's investigation?

Second, though we don't know what Libby said to the FBI, we do know what he said to the GJ. His testimoy was:

. . . . And then he said, you know, did you know that this – excuse me, did you know that Ambassador Wilson's wife works at the CIA? And I was a little taken aback by that. I remember being taken aback by it. And I said – he may have said a little more but that was – he said that. And I said, no, I don't know that. And I said, no, I don't know that intentionally because I didn't want him to take anything I was saying as in any way confirming what he said, because at that point in time I did not recall that I had ever known, and I thought this is something that he was telling me that I was first learning. And so I said, no, I don't know that because I want to be very careful not to confirm it for him, so that he didn't take my statement as confirmation for him. . . . . So then he said – I said – he said, sorry – he, Mr. Russert said to me, did you know that Ambassador Wilson's wife, or his wife, works at the CIA? And I said, no, I don't know that. And then he said, yeah – yes, all the reporters know it. And I said, again, I don't know that. I just wanted to be clear that I wasn't confirming anything for him on this. And you know, I was struck by what he was saying in that he thought it was an important fact, but I didn't ask him anymore about it because I didn't want to be digging in on him, and he then moved on and finished the conversation, something like that.

Taking a cue from Syl's analysis, there's another way of looking at this which seems reasonable. That is, that Libby wasn't "a little taken aback" that Plame worked for the CIA; he was taken aback that Russert knew it. And when he speaks of "first learning" it, he meant from a non-official source. This interpretation may at first seem to be a stretch, but there are several facts in its favor. In his testimony, Libby emphasizes that because he was hearing it for the first time, he didn't want say anything to Russert that might be taken as a confirmation. He also claims that he later told Cooper and Miller that other reporters were saying Plame worked for the CIA. This is entirely consistant with the view that Libby carefulley diffentiated between what he learned through official sources and what he learned through outside sources.

Third, the charge that Libby lied when he claimed to be surprised by what Russert told him seems somewhat at odds with the allegation that Russert never told him the thing he claimed to be surprised about. Either Russert didn't tell him Plame was with the CIA, in which case the claim he was surprised is a trivial part of the lie that Russert did tell him; or Russert did tell him, in which case the perjury charge is spurious.

(I hope TM starts another Plame Leak thread soon -- this ones getting a little long in the tooth.)

topsecretk9

(I hope TM starts another Plame Leak thread soon -- this ones getting a little long in the tooth.)

Yes, but it would be great if TM reached 500! I think that would be a record, wouldn't it?

MJW

In Mickey Klaus's article on the anti-semitism theory, he says:

If that was Libby's complaint, it would help explain why NBC wanted to keep quiet about its exact contents. Not only does it potentially bring up a wild, hard-to-refute issue that the network would rather not have to deal with--but Libby's jag is also something you wouldn't forget, or make up, which would make Russert's testimony extremely convincing at trial. Prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald may have wanted to keep it secret so it would have as much of an impact as possible, and Russert may be trying to honor a request from the prosecutor.

If (a big if) this is true, one must wonder at what point Russert decided to give up his job as an NBC reporter and start working for the special prosecutor's office. Also, depending on how Fitzgerald made the request, it might run afoul of Gregory v. United States, 369 F.2d 185 (D.C.Cir. 1966). This decision (which unfortunately I couldn't find online) held that it was improper for a prosecutor to encourage witnesses to withhold information from the defense.

kim

You cannot say the 'N' word in much discourse, and you cannot sanely discuss anti-semitism. It is taboo.
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kim

Taboo, taboo, taboo.
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kim

You wanna be gladdened, listen to Ella let it out on 'Lady, Be Good'.
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Wilson/Plame