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December 01, 2005

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Jim E.

I'm quite pleased to see the Andrea Mitchell bashing continue. By her own admission, what she said on air doesn't correspond with either her memory or her notes. And she's NBC's top foreign affairs reporter. Yikes. Andrea Mitchell is a joke.

But since I notice a tendency to parse all things Mitchell, I'm wondering why the below quote hasn't been given more attention.

Andrea Mitchell (Nov. 10, on Imus): "I said it was widely known that an envoy had gone [to Niger] -- let me try to find the quote -- but the fact is what I was trying to say, in the rest of that sentence, I said we did not know who the envoy was until the Novak column."

If all her off-the-cuff statements are to be judged by the same standards, can anyone explain that quote to me without excusing it as a mere misstatement or temporary confusion on her part?

cathyf
Andrea Mitchell (Nov. 10, on Imus): "I said it was widely known that an envoy had gone [to Niger] -- let me try to find the quote -- but the fact is what I was trying to say, in the rest of that sentence, I said we did not know who the envoy was until the Novak column."

If all her off-the-cuff statements are to be judged by the same standards, can anyone explain that quote to me without excusing it as a mere misstatement or temporary confusion on her part?

Why would you possibly think that the Nov 10 statement was off-the-cuff? Why would you think mere misstatement? Why would you think temporary confusion?

It seems far more plausible that she is trying to come up with some reason for people to believe that her statements from 2+ years didn't mean anything like what the words mean. The Nov 10 story is lame because, well, no non-lame story is possible.

cathy :-)

dogtownGuy

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. 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.

So I am sorry I don't see even where it says "I said it was widely known that an envoy had gone [to Niger]" in that statement, or for that matter "I said we did not know who the envoy was until the Novak column.". She says she learned of "the fact that she had a covert role involving weapons of mass destruction, not until Bob Novak wrote it."

Do you?

clarice

Brilliant job, Tom.

fitzmas

You should look at Meet the Press or Matthews' show around Christmas last year (the year before?). I'm sure she said that she was one of the people initially contacted by the WH.

MJW

Jim E., I've previously offered my theory on why Mitchell said she didn't know who the envoy was prior to Novak's column: she knew she had to backtrack and overshot the mark. She couldn't remember how much she had to forget.

Kate

After reading the New York Times article of Rove, I would be surprised if Fitzgerald charged Rove.

Let's face it, if the case against Rove was strong, Fitzgerald could have charged him at any time in the two year investigation. At the very least, the fact that Fitzgerald had pause would mean a jury would.

If Fitzgerald charges Rove it would be an attempt to win favor with the media and would be political, not legal.

However, Bush needs to recognize that his nice nice approach to Fitzgerald has not been totally effective. If Rove is charged, they need to begin to question the competence and fairness of Fitzgerald, and prepare the American people for pardons.

As for Andrea Mitchell, the conduct of the media in this case has been a window into their world: their biases, their relationships with government officials, and their ethics or lack of same.

kim

This whole mess seems like the kind of thing that Tenet and Powell might tolerate(dare I say encourage?), but that Rice and Goss wouldn't. About time modern management entered the Foggy Bottoms and Langley.
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kim

Who didn't get a medal?

What did Powell know and when did Powell know it?

And with whom did he share it?

This is his modus, remember.
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Dwilkers

How long can Armitage go without issuing a denial?

How long before reporters start camping his doorstep with cameras asking him the question as he takes his garbage out to the curb?

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Maybe a long time, since it seems nobody is really interested in where the leak started. Well nobody but us hooligans anyway.

kim

Joe started it, maybe State widened it.
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Dorf

So Fitz is going to charge her and the leaker of the "classified CIA report" she references? Yeah right, I'm sure. Who gave her that? Army? Joe? Badgemam on the grassy knoll? The Easter Bunny?

Yo Fitz welcome to the machine. You have been PLAYED.

kim

You can check out any time you like.
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kim

You can check out any grand jury you like, but you can never convict.
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Dwilkers

Heh

Tom in Hewitt's fantasy draft of bloggers by clueless MSM outlets it looks like you were selected by NBC to help them figure out Russert/Mitchell's roles in the Plame Blame Game.

Linky Thingy

So....I'm just wondering if you are going to report to training camp, and if so who's your coach? Russert?

kim

Correction: But you can never punish. Throwing Sistah Judy into the briar patch doesn't count.
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Dorf

Fitz: programmed to receive.

kim

Underrated? Hugh's funnier than I am. Wait, I don't get it.

I just don't know about Fitz. Maybe it's a deep pass he's about to throw, though it's been all fullback up the middle so far.
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Florence Schmieg

Why is the NY Times reporting on a "story" that is over a week old? The Washington Post has had several articles about this and had to correct their initial spin on the Viveka Novak/Luskin thing after finding out that it was Luskin who urged Fitzgerald to question her in order to help Rove. Yet this morning we get the Times with the original spin and an old story. What is up with them?

kim

The Grey Lady wanted to draft Tom, but Paul threatened to ...oh you don't want to hear.
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Jim E.

So no is willing to say that Mitchell was merely mistaken for saying she didn't know who the envoy was until Novak's column, as she claimed on Nov. 10, 2005 on Imus? I mean, Wilson said he was the envoy on July 6 in the NY Times and Mitchell interviewed Wilson himself on the same day. Novak's column came out on July 14.

My point is that the old hag was clearly mistaken on Imus on Nov 10. She was confused and misspoke. As clear as her words were, she made a mistake. (The world knew about Wilson on July 6, so Mitchell knew who the envoy was BEFORE Novak's column.) Why can't Mitchell's Oct 2003 comments be similarly mistaken? She's displayed how clueless she is.

She was on Imus this morning, but I didn't hear or see it. Did the Plame stuff come up?

Kate

Florence-I read the Times story quickly but did not see it as negative for Rove. We know Rove changed his story and had forgotten about his conversation with Cooper. What Fitzgerald needs to find out is whether it was just forgetting or perjury or false statements.

The fact that his lawyer found out that Novak told Luskin that Rove was the source triggered the search for the e-mail. This makes it more likely to be forgetting.

The Times does use language that tries to make this a big negative for Rove.

Jim E.

"this morning we get the Times with the original spin and an old story."

Actually, it doesn't have the "original" spin and it broke some news. The NY Times is the first news source (well, blogger Jane Hamster had it a day earlier) to characterize what V. Novak is supposed to testify to. Hardly an old story.

maryrose

I agree with Kate and Kim. No indictment of Rove. Too many reporters playing fast and loose with the facts.

maryrose

I completely concur with MJW about Andrea Mitchell. She's in the process of trying to close pandora's box.

kim

In or out of the box, she's tossed herself to the wolves. Or was she helped?
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TP

JimE. IMO, Andrea has a couple of problems. She probably knows more than she is telling, but would like to forget she knows it. (The longer this goes on, the more everybody starts to look like Libby). As a reporter, she can't afford to look like she didn't know, but, like Woodward and every other sane person in this case, she has no desire to go before the Grand Jury. We have a GJ called to investigate the leaking of classified information that has morphed in indictments for essentially obstructing that investigation. Who is to say that we won't end up with obstruction indictments for obstructing an investigation about obstruction or Martha Stewart type indictments for lying to the FBI. The longer this goes on, the more it looks like a Seinfeld episode. : ^ )

TP

Given his previous run-in with the NYT in the terrorist case, Fitz must be getting a certain amount of amusement out of this.

Alan Greenspam

Mr. McGuire, I would characterize your misguided attacks on my innocent wife's statements as "irrational exuberance". Therefore, I will be raising short term interest rates by a full point (and I pray you have an adjustable rate mortgage).

topsecretk9

Why can't Mitchell's Oct 2003 comments be similarly mistaken? She's displayed how clueless she is.

Actually she can be simply mistaken, but I think that weighing the importance of the initial statement (to the "story") it just doesn't make sense that she didn't prep herself before (by re-reading it before she was asked about it). I guess Andrea could not care if she comes off as uninformed or a total ditz, but I just don't see it. At least not unintentionally.

Truzenzuzex

Jim E:

My point is that the old hag was clearly mistaken on Imus on Nov 10. She was confused and misspoke. As clear as her words were, she made a mistake. (The world knew about Wilson on July 6, so Mitchell knew who the envoy was BEFORE Novak's column.) Why can't Mitchell's Oct 2003 comments be similarly mistaken? She's displayed how clueless she is.
Could be, could be.

For my part, I am confused. Why would Mitchell deliberately lie about something she said previously? It seems clear to me she disavowed her Oct. 2003 comments on Imus. Why would she lie?

Tom seems to think she disclosed information back in Oct. 2003 that might force her to disclose a source before Fitzgerald's grand jury(ies), so she is now crawfishing to prevent that eventuality. But that seems like a potentially huge hit to her credibility as a reporter - it is one thing to hide what you know by keeping silent, and quite another to lie outright. Unless something much more damning comes out, I am inclined to chalk up Mitchell's Oct. 2003 comments as misstatements.

In any case, it seems likely that Fitzgerald must accept a high probability that the press knew about Plame's employment with the CIA before Libby or Rove. If he has decided to stipulate prior press knowledge as a fact, what does that mean for his prosecution of Libby?

Seems to me that the NYT is strengthening the case that Rove is unlikely to fall under indictment, at least for the Cooper thing. The negative spin for Rove is exactly what one would expect from the Times, and suprises exactly nobody. Arguably the length of time between Luskin's conversation and Rove's reappearence before the GJ is uncomfortably long, but certainly not enough by itself to eliminate reasonable doubt. Novak's testimony essentially supporting Rove's version of the chain of events, on the other hand, is strongly exculpatory.

Kate

Truczenzuzex-I think part of the reason the time was so long was because of Cooper's appeal to try to avoid testifying. That took from Oct 04-Summer 05. So if Fitzgerald indicts Rove it's because he's desperate to share another baseball analogy with a captive and loving media audience. That was Rove's last appearance. Are you referring to an earlier appearance?

Dorf

JimE: Scooter might have made a couple of mistakes too. Look where it got him.

TM

Crooks andLiars picked up Andrea on Imus today - apparently, it was time to punt.

topsecretk9

Why would Mitchell deliberately lie about something she said previously?

I don't think Andrea is trying to lie so much as recast her previous statement, to downgrade it's significance.

topsecretk9

TM

Is this the "crisis for Journalism" she was speaking of?

Sue

The length of time between the Luskin/Novak conversation and Rove's testimony is kind of irrelevant. The time between the Luskin/Novak conversation and contact with Fitzgerald is more important. I don't think we know that date, do we?

Truzenzuzex

Kate:

Truczenzuzex-I think part of the reason the time was so long was because of Cooper's appeal to try to avoid testifying. That took from Oct 04-Summer 05. So if Fitzgerald indicts Rove it's because he's desperate to share another baseball analogy with a captive and loving media audience.
Maybe.

I don't know if I would consider Fitzgerald "desperate". He has not acted irrationally, and given the facts detailed in his indictment, there was good reason to believe that Libby had not told the truth. It is also not really a stretch, given the relatively close working relationship of Rove and Libby, to suspect that there was something going on when Rove belatedly brought the Cooper evidence to the GJ.

Fitzgerald is well within his rights to be suspicious, but events are beginning to unfold which suggest Rove's omission of the Cooper conversation were most likely an oversight. Fitzgerald could still indict him, but unless he has a lot more evidence that he deliberately lied than we have seen, such and indictment is likely to fail.

Also, to disparage motivations in the event of a Rove indictment is as unfair in the case of Fitzgerald as it was during Ken Starr's investigation of Clinton. It's easy to accuse someone of a political or self-serving motivation, but it would take a lot more exculpatory evidence than has been revealed so far to make such a charge stick.

boris

it would take a lot more exculpatory evidence

Say what ?

There's zero culpatory "evidence" for anything. There's been no crime.

With Starr there was a blue dress with DNA, Paula had a real case, and there was an actual Whitewater scam.

MJW

TP: "The longer this goes on, the more it looks like a Seinfeld episode."

Very true. It's so darned entertaining, it's easy to forget it's about nothing.

Truzenzuzex

Boris:

Say what ?

There's zero culpatory "evidence" for anything. There's been no crime.

Well, the indictment of Libby certainly contains statements that, if borne out as facts, make a straightforward perjury and obstruction case.

Rove raising a relevant conversation months after his initial GJ appearance would of course appear suspicious to Fitzgerald. Whether that objective fact is sufficient to support a perjury charge against Rove is certainly questionable.

boris

make a straightforward perjury and obstruction case

While I understand how some might have that POV, in a non-crime investigation the need for EXculpatory evidence is zero.

IMHO straightforward ??? not

Fitz claimed the sand in his eyes came from Libby. It happens to be obvious as hell that the cloud of sand in this investigation is coming from everyone, including Fitz.

kim

Not voting in Arkanbamasee for fear of jury duty hurting payday rings true along with the intolerance, and commonly, disgust for politicians.
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Wilson/Plame