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November 17, 2005





If the link don't work, you must....

Bah. I never was much of a rhymer. Where's Johnny Cochran? Jesse?

Rob W

Um, he didn't say that. He said Libby was the first journalist known to have been leaked to. Kind of a big difference for a lawyer.

Not only that but what does that have to do with the actual case? Nothing. It matters not a whit to the indictment.

The statement was true at the time, that Libby was the first one known to have leaked. He thought perhaps there could be more.


What am I missing? The link isn't working for me. :(

Ware Eybe

Link...that is why is was not found here.

By the way, Woodward's testimony knocked out a huge pillar supporting Fitz's weak case. I didn't even know there was a pillar holding it up to begin with.

Gary Maxwell

Linky no worky


NOW I get the joke.


I think Tom knows it has little legal import - he is testifying in the court of public opinion - but a bit too cleverly this time.

That glove fits pretty darn tight.


I don't think he said known in his press conference. I believe it's in the indictment, but they played the tape last night and no known.

JM Hanes


Jack is Back!

Why can't an "ex-administration official" be Joe Wilson? He probably thinks he was "senior" and unlike Scooter he can't asked to be called an "ex-hill staffer". How about a partisan stooge whose wife has a job of some sort at a government facility located in Langley, near Great Falls, Virginia.

Rob W


"In fact, Mr. Libby was the first official known to have told a reporter when he talked to Judith Miller in June of 2003 about Valerie Wilson."


Its all over the internet. He sure did say it.

Woodward's testimony is utterly irrelevant to whether or not Libby lied. Did he tell a story that he heard it from Russert? Yes. Did Russert and other reporters say that he said something different to them than what he said to the Grand Jury? Yes. Did he persist in this story throughout the testimony and in his statements to prosecutors? Yes.

Looks bad for him.

Jim E.

"Why can't an 'ex-administration official' be Joe Wilson? "

If you are referring to Woodward's source, give us all a break. Please. This makes no rational sense. Give it up.

Joe Wilson has called on the Wash Post to both reveal Woodward's source and conduct an investigation into Woodward's behavior in all of this.


Why can't I read stuff into non existent links? Please tell me what this is about--slowly--in English.


Nobody in here but us Chickens?


Rob W


Fitz based his indictment on 'Libby was the first known' now it turns out Libby was not the first known so the basis for the indictment is shot to hell.


Examine the link target carefully.


Alright. I got it now that TT explained it.

/shuffles off....


Jim E

Joe Wilson has called on the Wash Post to both reveal Woodward's source and conduct an investigation into Woodward's behavior in all of this.

And what is this supposed to do? Make us shake in our booties? Wilson wants to discredit Woodward's testimony. But the press doesn't want Woodward's testimony discredited...they just want this whole thing to go away.

The press will finally turn against Wilson.


Rob W, you're missing the boat.
The relevance of Woodward's testimony should not be hard to see. The more evidence there is that the Plame info was known to reporters from sources other than Libby, the less likely it is that Libby's story that he heard it from a reporter is a lie. The more likely it becomes that, where Libby's account of a conversation conflicts with Russert's or with someone else's, the cause of the discrepancy is not intentional misrepresentation by Libby but perhaps faulty recollection by him or by Russert/whomever, or perhaps that Russert/whomever is the one making things up. These other explanations, the more plausible they become, grow into things we call reasonable doubt, that exacting standard that must be exceeded by the evidence in order to convict a person in this country.
The more practical issue created by Woodward is that Woodward's testimony screws up what appears to be Fitz's theory of the case, which is not an element of the proof, but it is what prosecutors always have nailed down before going to trial -- basically, the story that explains what happened for the jury. That business from the press conference announcing the indictments -- basically the "Libby told us he was at the end of a long chain of communications, but in fact he was the source, the first government official to disclose Plame" (and in this bit Fitz did NOT say "first known official"). This is Fitz's theory of the case for the perjury/obstruction charges. It is the whole point: "Libby lied throughout the investigation and how do we know? We know because not only was he not a mere recipient of the Plame info, in reality he was the source of it!!!"
Well, with Woodward's revelation, that theory looks not so rock solid. The info was out there and it didn't come from Libby. So now Fitz has to revise the theory in a way that fits the evidence. And the evidence, with Woodward now, is beginning to suggest that Libby DID hear it first from a reporter.


I laugh at your non working link. LOL

Now for something completely different.


boris dittos brutus


Brutus, you'd better familiarize yourself with the actual facts of Woodwards revelation.

He doesn't claim he heard Plame's name from a reporter

The disclosure that a current or former Bush administration official told Bob Woodward of The Washington Post more than two years ago that the wife of a prominent administration critic worked for the C.I.A. threatened Wednesday to prolong a politically damaging leak investigation that the White House had hoped would soon be contained.


Brutus-you forgot one minor detail in your analytical tour de force: some people have brains.


Tom's link:


would puzzle even Sherlock Holmes. But not TT. Looks like a clue to nail Colnel Mustard with the knife in the butler's pantry. Will it get Libby off?

Beats me.

Gabriel Gonzalez

The relevance of Woodward's testimony should not be hard to see. The more evidence there is that the Plame info was known to reporters from sources other than Libby, the less likely it is that Libby's story that he heard it from a reporter is a lie.

Also, testifies that he has no recollection of Libby discussing Plame in two conversations. Add this to Judy Miller's conversations around the same time where she has no specific recollection of discussing Plame/Flame. Two reporters, four conversations, that are not consistent with Libby outing Plame. The conversation with Russert is only a couple of days later. Woodward's testimony (coupled with Judy Miller) is going to undermine Fitzgerald's case that Libby lied (as opposed to misremembered - or even told the truth in part) on state of mind, motive, and intent.

DiGenova Salami

If who was first to tell a reporter is totally irrelevant then why did Fitz mention it during his "Bash Libby" press conference?

Fitz insinuated many things at his press conference not specifically mentioned in the indictment. Maybe he was praticing his speech for the eventual jury. Too bad Fitz was shot down on a key point of his two years before the trial even begins.

Oh, Fitz's claim of damage to the CIA was also shot down already (either from Woodward's no damage found claim or if you don't trust Bob anymore then from the story that the CIA hasn't even done a damage assessment yet...wow, the desk jockey must have been deep, deep, deep undercover).



YEah--Everytime I read that Woodward's testimony isn't significant I picutre Fitz' opening statement. LOL (Remember it's reversible error for a prosecutor to claim he will prove in the opening statment things he hasn't evidence for.."Ladies and Gentlemen of the jury:This case is about the non crime of not outing a not undercover agent and causing no harm to national security. It's about a guy who handles about 11K conversations a week not recalling who told him what and when about a not very important person involved in something which was not terribly significant to him--or anyone but Kristof. Pincus and Corn--at the time. And someone, I might add, whose story was roundly rejected as false by the bipartisan SSCI..Ah..Where was I..."



Clarice wins!

Jury dismissed!


Sorry Clarice

No prosecutor is going to make the defense's arguments in the opening.....

"We will prove he said X when he knew X was not true..."


To Tim Russert by Woodward & Bernstein on Washington officials, especially ones who leak:

MR. BERNSTEIN: They are your life line. Nobody in this town can tell the truth openly because of fear they're going to lose their jobs, that the only way you get real information is by talking person to person without--with the knowledge that your name is not going to go in the paper. What's important is the information and that the reporter is good enough to triangulate it elsewhere. That's what we did in Watergate. We didn't just use Mark Felt's information. Everything he told us we had somewhere else as well.

MR. WOODWARD: And you know what? The special prosecutor, Fitzgerald, in a way, has discovered that there is an underground railroad of information in Washington. You're smiling because no one knows more about it than you.

MR. BERNSTEIN: Well, you were down there.

MR. WOODWARD: Well, you talk to people, you talk to somebody in the White House or the CIA or the Democratic Party, and you say, "I've heard or I understand; what are you hearing?" And one of the discoveries in all of this is that reporters, in asking questions, convey information to even somebody like Karl Rove. Where did he first learn important elements of this? From a reporter. Now, my view, and I think Carl agrees with this, this investigation, though properly empowered, is an assault on that process that we have not just in Washington, any other community in this country where we have a First Amendment, and he will wind up crippling that process by dragging reporters before the grand jury. And I wonder if he and the judge have really sat down and said, "Now, what are we going to gain here vs. what are we going to lose?" And the loss might be immense.


Sorry, from Meet the Press, 17 Jul 2005


I'm reclining and peeling a bunch of grapes--whistle when the journos rush the editors of the MSM who demanded this investigation into the colliseum to be eaten alive by lions..


So are those "former government officials" Democrats? A member of the Democratic Party? Seems like Woodward is heading off speculation that that individual(s) are either White House or CIA in his more recent comments. Just asking as the experts seem to reside here.

Rick Ballard


Clarice's treatment of Fitzgerald is really mild in comparison to the death by a thousand cuts that the MSM is going to inflict upon him.

I would imagine that we are going to start seeing stories recapping what his initial task was and noting that he doesn't seem to have completed it. That's going to be followed by some "legal analysis" regarding the incompetency shown by Fitzgerald in his press conference fog fest that will be described as a cover for the weakness of the indictment. I still haven't figured out if the theme is going to be "heartless Jovert" or "clueless Clouseau". They may tag team him with the themes alternating on different days.

He can hang it up or leave town wearing a barrel. Those are now his choices.


Squiggler. Given Woodward's penchant for finding some drama and conflict in his books, I would guess it is at least one Republican who is from the "Realist" rather than "Neo-Con" school of foreign policy who was not interviewed prior to the indictment.

It is odd we haven't heard from Novak.


Sorry...Not interviewed by Fitzgerald.


Interesting that Joe Wilson is demanding an investigation of Woodward at the WP. Much like the press found Cindy Sheehan less than useful once she started attacking Hillary Clinton, I suspect the press will close ranks on Joe Wilson and, perhaps, turn their spotlight on his credibility.

Well, I can dream, can't I?



"I'm reclining and peeling a bunch of grapes--whistle when the journos rush the editors of the MSM who demanded this investigation into the colliseum to be eaten alive by lions.."

Me too.

Do you think the MSM is reluctant to admit that they got used by the CIA and Joe Wilson's false story.


"That's going to be followed by some "legal analysis" regarding the incompetency shown by Fitzgerald in his press conference fog fest that will be described as a cover for the weakness of the indictment."

It's about dam# time!


Clarice, The Journos will eat each other first. Then they will eat Joe Wilson and then his wife and maybe his kids.

Rick Ballard


The Feeb oathbreaker, Felt, used Woodward like toiletpaper - and made him king of the journos. They don't mind being used like that as long as their name is spelled correctly on the byline.

As to Beer/Clarke/Wilson/Kerry using the MSM and the MSM feeling foolish - only 'cause Kerry came up short. Wilson is going to get the Mother Sheehan treatment - you remember her, right?

Down the oubliette and "we don't speak of him in polite company". They bury more mistakes than a bad heart surgeon.


Of course, the press is reluctant to admit Wilson gulled them--Pincus waited over 2 years to correct the record, and did it will Milbanks holding a gun to his head I think. Even then he left in the critical forgery story which the WaPo corrected itself the next day. Kristof never really did and then only behind Times Select. The following day he redid his clarification without notifying the reader he did so. No change was made in print or to the Lexis version of his original stories.

NRO has been running a Hall of Shame for all those papers still parroting Wilson's tale.

Mind you--I strongly suspect they weren't quite that gullible--He was telling a tale that appealed to them and I think they did little to check out his story .
After the SSCI they shut up about him but then brought out the old lies again as the special prosecution was nearing completion.

And how do you justify Woodward's staying silent as his paper speculated that Rove and Cheney were next? PHEH on all that.


Brutus and others are exactly right.

Fitzy's road to conviction was built on the fact that Libby that he could prove that Libby was the source for reporters, not the other way around...And on that count, he is a whole lot weaker today than it was 3 weeks ago...and he was weak then.

Miller and her "Flame" notes, lack of memory about where she received that info prior to interviewing Libby, makes her a suspect witness...

Now comes the star defense witness, the estimable Bob Woodward...who will tesify that he wrote down questions about "Wilson's wife" that he intended to ask Libby about, and that he can't remember is he did or didn't...and that he asked Pincus to leave him out of his reporting...

Slam dunk? Hardly...but one side has to prove beyond a reasonable doubt, and one side doesn't...


TP, well they're already gobbling their own--Judy Miller was forced out of the NYT and when Downie was critical of Woodward in the pressroom all the newsies apparently applauded..Of course, they were rather helpful to Libby..neither offering damaging information about Libby.

And why did Mitchell come up with that lame backstroke? Afraid of incurring Russert's wrath, I think.

Jim E.

I recall that lefties and righties on this website were both up in arms about Russert's behavior in the Plame matter: talking about the case without disclosing his own significant involvement.

Why does it seem that righties are giving Woodward a total pass for doing roughly the same thing as Russert?


The CIA-leak probe brought fresh cause for administration concern. The Washington Post's Woodward testified he was told Plame's identity in 2003. That also spurred a fresh bout of journalistic breast-beating. (WSJ What's News Worldwide 17-Nov-2005)

That about sums it up.


Michael Barone compares the internicine warfare at the NYT and Wa Post.. http://www.usnews.com/usnews/opinion/baroneblog/columns/barone_051117.htm


AP reports that Cheney's office claims that "Woodward did not talk with the Vice President that day". And what day would that be? Woodward didn't provide a date, just "mid-June". How does Cheney's office know it, unless one of their people was involved?


Texas Toast wrote:
"Sorry Clarice
"No prosecutor is going to make the defense's arguments in the opening.....

" 'We will prove he said X when he knew X was not true...' "

If Fitz stays focused on that, he'll put the jury to sleep. Libby's lawyers will wake the jury up. The jurors will conclude that Fitz is trying to hide the interesting stuff from them & they'll wonder why. They'll think that Libby's lawyers are trying to find "the truth" while Fitz doesn't care. And Libby will walk.


Marcel, Woodward publicly gave the dates of the three conversations.

Rick Ballard

Jim E,

I didn't think much of Woodward in '74 and think even less of him today. He was a minor league suckup who got used by the FBI then and he's a major league suckup who fits very well in Washington's journo/politico culture today.

Feel better?

Btw - 90% of all those practicing the craft of journalism are decent people. The 10% who write about politics must be selected for that task based upon their complete lack of ethics. Bad apples, barrel, etc.

Gary Maxwell

Why does it seem that righties are giving Woodward a total pass for doing roughly the same thing as Russert?

Good question JimE. And while we are pondering things, why does it seem that lefties are giving Joe Liar Wilson a total pass for perhaps the most egregious behavior in the whole affair, and not even having the shame to sit down and shut up today?

Rick Ballard


"Woodward's revelation of his role puts a new cast on this entire matter and strains Fitzgerald's case even further by creating a major hole in his allegations that Libby was deliberately trying to obstruct justice."

The first one doesn't hurt too bad, Fitz. A little pressure bandage and it will heal shortly. Along about the fiftieth though and they start cutting a little deeper - it's okay, your'e not going to last long enough for scars to form.


Clarice, sorry I can't find it; what was the date when Woodward was told that Wilson's wife was CIA? Thank you.


He had three conversations--Mid June, June 20 and June 23 . The last was with Libby. http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2005/11/15/AR2005111501829.html


Clarice, Woodward's statement is that he heard about Wilson's wife in the mid-June interview (not June 20 or 23). "Mid-June" is not a specific date. So how could Cheney's office claim that "Woodward did not talk with the Vice President that day". The question remains, what day? Am I missing something?

Jim E.

The Wall St Journal is apparently reporting that Fitz is expected to start up a new GJ.


Woodward learned that Wilson's wife was CIA. But Cheney's office apparently knows the date. They probably didn't hear it from Fitzgerald. They could have heard it from Woodward. Or the may know the date because they know who talked to Woodward and when.

So why doesn't Cheney's office just tell us? And why won't Woodward just tell us the date without revealing the source?

Jim E.

For most people, "mid-June" is not considered a date. So, no, you're not missing anything. The specific date of the Woodward interview hasn't been publicly revealed (that I am aware of).

After reading the AP story, though, I do think one can reasonably assume that Cheney knows who the source is, and the source told Cheney when he (the source) met with Woodward. That's the only way the denial makes any sense.

The denial, as paraphrased by the AP, is weird, though. Instead of just saying "Cheney is not Woodward's source," it jumps through a few hoops. I would like to read a specific statement from Cheney's office because to me it looks like something worth parsing.

JM Hanes

Gabriel -

"Two reporters, four conversations, that are not consistent with Libby outing Plame."

And lest we forget, in the third conversation, if Russert denies talking about Plame, that means Libby wasn't telling him about Plame either.

Jim E.

The Wall St Journal has a simpler, if way less definitive (not to mention indirect), Cheney denial: "Vice President Dick Cheney isn't believed to have talked to Special Prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald since last year, nor has he given a waiver to Mr. Woodward."


Rich Galen is very funny:

"If I were Scooter Libby's defense attorney, here's what I would do:
I would call Judith Miller and ask her about her conversation with Jill Abramson. I would call Abramson and ask her if she remembered that conversation.

I would call Bob Woodward and ask him about his conversation with Walter Pincus. I would call Pincus and ask him if he remembered that conversation.

I would tell the jury, in my closing argument, that these four nationally recognized journalists - who are trained from birth to take care in remembering what they say and what they hear - disagree on whether or not these conversations ever happened.
Scooter Libby, who has dozens of such conversations per day - thousands per month - should not be penalized for not remembering the details of discussions years after they took place.
The defense rests. " http://www.mullings.com/currentissue.htm

Jim E.

I'm waiting for Hannah and Wurmser denials.

Of course, Libby and Rove previously denied having anything at all to do with the Plame matter, and we know how worthless those denials turned out. So perhaps it's a waste of time to take any of these denials seriously?

Jim E.

Woodward has since bolstered Pincus's version of events at this point, so that semi-conversation between the two of them has been explained away...by Woodward.


Yeah--they were just passing inthe hall and Pincus may not have heard him..Well, I'd bet that except for the Cheney conversation which Libby did recall, the other reports were in passing, too, in the course of more substantive conversations, and made no impression on Libby.


Here's a scenario and if this was already pointed out then I apologize in advance (hard to remember what's been said on this story, since so much has been said).

Per the indictment, Pincus contacts VP office SOMETIME PRIOR to June 12 with questions about Wilson's trip. Per the indictment, although Libby had sought and received info re: Wilson's trip earlier than June 12, the first time Libby learned about Plame's involvement in the trip from a government source was June 11 (either from Undersec State or a CIA official).

Woodward says he learned about Plame from a "mid-June" interview with an official, and "after" the interview told Pincus that Wilson's wife was CIA WMD analyst. Could June 10, or June 11, be "mid-June?" If so, then in his "prior to June 12" contact with the VP's office about Wilson's trip, Pincus could have mentioned Plame's CIA job. This sends Libby scurrying to State and CIA to find out if this is true. Per indictment, UnderSec State told Libby that State personnel were saying that Wilson's wife was involved in the Niger trip. Maybe UnderSec also says that the press knows about it too (State personnel talk to the press also, after all).

Now, per the indictment, after the June 19 New Republic article, Libby discusses with his principal deputy that disclosing Plame's identity could cause problems with the CIA. It doesn't say he thought it would be illegal, just "complications" with CIA. This makes sense, since Libby had to expect that the CIA would jump on any chance to continue to fight the White House. Maybe, being a smart lawyer, Libby also suspected that there may be legal issues triggered by disclosing Plame due to her CIA employment. At this point, Libby still isn't alleged to have told anyone outside the government about Plame.

On June 20, Woodward interview senior admin official (not Libby) and his prepared questions mention "Wilson's wife." The recording of the interview does not contain a Plame reference. But Woodward does not recall whether Plame was discussed outside the tape recording. Perhaps off the record Woodward inquired about the Plame connection, maybe even a "lots of people are talking about this" comment is made. This official subsequently tells Libby about this conversation, that Woodward says that people are talking about Wilson's wife being the CIA person responsible for the Niger trip.

Woodward then calls Libby on June 23. While he does not recall whether Plame came up during the conversation, he believes he had the Plame-reference notes in front of him. Perhaps Woodward mentions Plame to Libby.

Now Libby knows that reporters know about Plame. He knows it from Pincus and he knows it from Woodward. Libby, being the smart lawyer, decides that the information is out there so he is safe talking about it with reporters.

Which explains why June 23 is the first day, per the indictment, that Libby discussed Plame with a reporter -- Judy Miller. To play it safe, in this and in every other conversation, Libby sticks to some version of "i have heard from reporters that" or "have you heard that" when talking about Plame. Maybe he tells the reporters that he doesn't know whether "it" is true -- where "it" could be the fact that Wilson's wife worked at CIA and/or the fact the she was involved in the Niger trip. Or maybe Libby plays this game with Russert and Cooper for a minute or two but then, when pressed, admits on double-super-secret background that he has in fact confirmed that "it" is true to make the reporters feel safe running the story about Wilson and Plame. Or maybe, and most likely, he plays it down the middle and tells Russert et al that he'd first heard from other reporters that Wilson's wife was involved in the Niger trip and he has since confirmed that it is true.

When Fitz comes asking questions, Libby is focused, being the lawyer, on ensuring that he isn't wrongly charged with the IIPA violation since he knows that the information was already out there when he passed it along. So when he tells Fitz about his talks with Russert et al, he leaves out the "having confirmed" part of those conversations and pretends that he only told the reporters what he'd heard from other reporters. He gambles that Russert et al would only be asked if, according to Libby, other reporters already knew about Plame. Or maybe Libby guessed that Russert et al would just back up his story since they surely knew that Libby didn't breach the IIPA in talking to them, and they wouldn't want to implicate an innocent man. Or maybe Libby's memory just went bad on these conversations, or he's mixing them up with other conversations he had with other reporters, or with other other admin officials' telling him about their conversations with other (as yet unidentified) reporters.

Anyway, just a theory. Shred away!


Jim E, where did you see that WSJ report?


If the link don't work, you must....

Have shirked? Nooo, I bet that wasn't it...

How about, "If you don't double-check, the post goes to ..."

Oh, forget it. It's working now, and this will go down as the most baffling comments thread ever.

Rick Ballard

And I thought you were getting into the real spirit of Fitzball.

Actually, the link was decipherable through the quote that showed up in the URL.


Brutus, "...if this was already pointed out then I apologize (hard to remember what's been said on this story since so much has been said).
You aren't a professional journalist like Woodward or Pincus or Judy Miller, with notepads and questions and tape recorders. What the heck gives you the right like them to not remember exactly who said precisely what to whom about where and what and when? Don't try pulling that Libby 'can't exactly remember' stuff on this thread, or you might be revealed as part of the coverup, or the VRRC. (I can't exactly remember which.)


"And lest we forget, in the third conversation, if Russert denies talking about Plame, that means Libby wasn't telling him about Plame either."
Posted by: JM Hanes


Russert's "recollection" of that conversation seems to be the lynch pin of the indictment when juxtaposed against all the other conversations. In my view, I never put much stock in what Russert had to say because it was too pat. That notwithstanding, in light of this additional information, Russert's "statement" seems to bolster Libby's position - that he was not the source of the revelations about Plame and that he was being very careful only to discuss what was told to him by other reporters.

We'll see how Fitz tries to spin that.



I'm sort of new to this so if this is a really stupid question please forgive.

As I understand it Fitzgerald was named as special prosecutor several months after the criminal referral from the CIA. Now after a two year investigation, Libby is indicted but no one is charged for 'outing' Plame but Fitzgerald knows who did it in the case of Novak's column. So it would seem that 'outing' Plame is not a crime.

But gee should that not have been apparent to the Justice department before they named Fitzgerald? And why is not the CIA culpable in some way for filing a false referral. Can't Libby's legal team make something of this? "Your honor move for dismissal as the original referral was made in bad faith and there is no underlying crime"?

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