Powered by TypePad

« Truth, Put Your Boots On! | Main | Special Counsel Fitzgerald Not *Too* Special »

April 27, 2006



It might be wrong, but I think it's right and it's news to me.


Luskin's statement today said Fitz wanted "to explore a matter raised since ... October 2005."

Now I've not been following all this near as close as most around here, but seems to me that the most significant relevant "matter" was the confluence of statements made by (1) Bob Woodward, (2)UGO and (3) Bob Novak. All concerning pre-Libby/Rove leaks.


ghostcat, and what Luskin and V. Novak testified to about their conversation re Cooper/Time.


Yup. Rove didn't spend 3 freakin hours just talking about the four corners of his chat with Cooper.


Sorry this is so long, and tangentally related...but I've been reading a bunch of AJ's old comment archives (whoosh, a lot there there) but this one caught my Big Time

These guys are ‘Brownshirts’! This is essentially what we are talking about here. We are talking about a small group of people who masquerade as Republicans, but are not Republicans at all. They are radicals…"

Here’s a good example of one of those "Brownshirts" masquerading as a Republican. When I read this transcript, I almost fell off my chair in laughter.

Larry Johnson formerly of CIA on CIA-White House intelligence controversy CNBC News Transcripts

July 11, 2003 Friday
CNBC News Transcripts

SHOW: The News with Brian Williams (7:00 PM ET) - CNBC

July 11, 2003 Friday

LENGTH: 1063 words

HEADLINE: Larry Johnson formerly of CIA on CIA-White House intelligence controversy


LIZ CLAMAN, co-anchor:
We want to get more on this late-breaking development about George Tenet, the director of the CIA taking the blame. We’re joined by former CIA officer and State Department counterterrorism expert Larry Johnson. He’s joining us from Washington. Good to see you, Mr. Johnson.

Mr. LARRY JOHNSON (Former CIA Officer): Hi, Liz.

CLAMAN: Well, up until about 6 PM Eastern time the finger pointing really seemed to be escalating with high-level people like Condoleezza Rice pointing the finger at the CIA and George Tenet, but then all of a sudden George Tenet takes the blame late this evening. What do you make of all of this?

Mr. JOHNSON: Well, George Tenet took nuance blame. When you read it, it almost looks like a lawyer went through it to say, well, we accepted something that was technically correct, but should have been wrong. I mean, I think this means George Tenet loses his job. But what this ignores is that there were political operatives at the White House at senior levels that knew this information was wrong. Just to pass this off as if it was somehow misleading from CIA is wrong. We know that as early as April of 2002 somebody in Vice President Cheney’s office was briefed on this information, because Joe Wilson who did the study in Niger came back, submitted the information to the CIA operations side and that information was passed down to the White House. So this is a little bit, you know, they’re playing games here to try to make Tenet just the scapegoat.

CLAMAN: Larry, do you think that Vice President Dick Cheney knew that the uranium reference was just not valid?

Mr. JOHNSON: Yes, I do. I–I think he wanted to believe it was true, and he wanted to discount the information that was coming back from Ambassador Wilson. But at the end of the day, this highlights the problem that was in the administration’s case for war against Iraq. Instead of going with the legitimate, solid intelligence, the threat was hyped. And the hyping of the threat and the information was something that I was hearing from former colleagues that was just disgusting them instead of going with what the intelligence said, it was portraying it as an immediate, imminent threat. And now the roosters are coming home to roost.

CLAMAN: Yeah, we should–we should let people know how this would have ever worked, how–how unrealistic and unlikely it would have been that Saddam could get his hands on this uranium, because as I understand it, maybe you can clarify this, there are one or two uranium plants in Niger, and they are run by sort of a consortium of Japan, some other countries, you know, Spain is in there. This is not something where you just walk in and try and deal with some–some rogue element of African leaders.

Mr. JOHNSON: No, you’re absolutely right. You don’t pass somebody, you know, 10,000, $50,000 under the table…

CLAMAN: Right, right, right.

Mr. JOHNSON: …and they give you a bag to carry back to Iraq.

CLAMAN: So then how did it get this far, to the point where it was in an October 7th speech for the president and then George Tenet told Mr. Hadley of the State Department to get it out, but it still remained in there for the State of the Union?

Mr. JOHNSON: Well, If you go back and look at some of the earliest documents that emerged after 9/11, and Bob Woodward has a book that details this, there was a decision made over at the Pentagon by people like Paul Wolfowitz and Don Rumsfeld that they thought that this made the case for taking the war to Iraq. That had nothing to do with the war on terrorism, but in their mind they thought if you took out Saddam, you would eliminate the terrorist threat. And so there was a steady drum beat of building up information. And yet when they tried to run this one to ground on the Niger information, they found out that, in fact, it was not reliable. And instead of accepting the fact that it was not reliable, it was allowed to be kept in there and to the point of having it technically correct that the British believe, but, you know, they themselves knew in their heart of hearts that this was not reliable information.

CLAMAN: Let’s bring it back to George Tenet, the CIA director. Bring us through the process. What have the past 24 hours been like for him?

Mr. JOHNSON: He is not having a good day or a good week. And, you know, he’s been–part of the problem in being the director, when you are dealing with these hot political issues, is if you go and make the honest call, you are going to make the people downtown unhappy. George Tenet is not the first director who is faced with pressures from the White House that asked you to be a team player. It’s happened under Democrats, it’s happened under Republicans. So he’s now got to try to find a way to slice the onion. But at the end of the day, I think he’s going to have to resign. He’s–he’s going to be the sacrificial lamb and the Republicans are going to hope that this goes away.
But I–and again, I speak–I speak of this as a registered Republican: What has happened here is egregious. It is wrong. And it has been an abuse of the intelligence process. And for some Republicans to go out and claim that this was just a throw-away line in a speech or one line in a speech, we’re not talking about whether Saddam Hussein had acne, we’re talking about whether Saddam Hussein had uranium to build nuclear weapons. Big difference.

CLAMAN: Hmm. Mr. Johnson, we appreciate you clarifying some of these very emotional points that I’m sure will be vetted out in the next coming hours and days. Thanks so much.
Mr. JOHNSON: Thanks, Liz.

CLAMAN: Larry Johnson, former CIA officer and State Department counterterrorism expert.
This is the same Larry Johnson who threatened a blogger on Free Republic.

From an email Larry Johnson sent to a Free Republic Blogger.

‘Hey you coward. You want to try to put a noose around our necks? We tell the truth and you threaten violence? Send your address and we will be happy to visit. You should be aware that one of our group helped track down and kill Pablo Escobar and other middle eastern terrorists. How dare you challenge our patriotism? We will be happy to meet you anytime, anywhere. Name the place.’

You can read the entire exchange on Free Republic. Being the bright Freepers they are, it was quickly verified that [email protected] is indeed Johnson’s email address, as listed in the Administrative Contact for the website registration of his company, Berg Associates.

Left by sbd on November 18th, 2005

***SUE*** It appears, according to the date of this appearance that Larry’s knowledge would go beyond "Val-P"


Jimminy Christmas I'm finding all kinds of crud in AJ's comments...I've not seen this before

Published on Monday, October 11, 2004

by the Telegraph/UK

The CIA 'Old Guard' Goes to War with Bush

...There is anger within the CIA that it has taken all the blame for the failings of pre-war intelligence on Saddam Hussein's weapons programmes....

...The leaks are also a shot across the bows of Porter Goss, the agency's new director and a former Republican congressman. He takes over with orders from the White House to end the in-fighting and revamp the troubled spy agency as part of a radical overhaul of the American intelligence world....

...Bill Harlow,
the former CIA spokesman who left with the former director George Tenet in July, acknowledged that there had been leaks from within the agency. "The intelligence community has been made the scapegoat for all the failings over Iraq," he said. "It deserves some of the blame, but not all of it. People are chafing at that, and that's the background to these leaks...

Critics of the White House include officials who have served in previous Republican administrations such as Vince Cannistraro, a former CIA head of counter-terrorism and member of the National Security Council under Ronald Reagan.

"These have been an extraordinary four years for the CIA and the political pressure to come up with the right results has been enormous, particularly from Vice-President Cheney.

"I'm afraid that the agency is guilty of bending over backwards to please the administration. George Tenet was desperate to give them what they wanted and that was a complete disaster."..."

There's that Vince guy again and SHOCK he's *pretending* to ba a republican...like Wilson and Sacry Larry


I said

I've not seen this before

I take it back, it's as if fot the very first time though


...There is anger within the CIA that it has taken all the blame for the failings of pre-war intelligence on Saddam Hussein's weapons programmes....

This has been a suspected belief of mine...that all this started as a flippin' inferiority/guilt complex...funny thing is? They are the only ones doing *the blaming*


You should be aware that one of our group helped track down and kill Pablo Escobar and other middle eastern terrorists. How dare you challenge our patriotism?

We killed Pablo Escobar. But that EVIL Bush would have put him in a secret prison. How do you like that, Moron! Bring back the good ol' days of the CIA when all we did was kill bad guys!






Could she be confusing Robert and Vivica?

Jim E.

"Could she be confusing Robert and Vivica?"

I was thinking she might be confusing Novak and Woodward. It would make zero sense given the context of the paragraph, though.

It's just lame that a reporter on the case would be so clueless about breaking relatively important news in such a reserved, buried way. Unfortunately, the odds of Robert Novak (or Cliff May, or just about any other reporter involved in this) clarifying anything seems remote.



I think that's what has happened.


Interesting that on Tucker Carlson show last night Tucker brought up the question of why UGO wasn't being charged with anything. He also said Fitz doesn't seem to have anything on Libby and Rove. The Guest Flavia repeated again the lie that MSNBC keeps saying about Rove And Libby leaking classified information about Plame. MSNBC needs to get off this roller-coaster or Tilt A Whirl that continues to go nowhere and makes them look stupid.

JM Hanes


"Could she be confusing Robert and Vivica?"

I bet you're right. If the description of Rove's testimony is accurate, it makes far more sense that Fitz would be taking related testimony from Viv. I also saw her in passing on somebody's news hour yesterday, which makes it even more likely, I'd think. Unfortunately I didn't see the beginning of the interview, so I don't know whether she was talking about grand jury testimony or just talking about events ante. Wish I'd paid more attention to what she did say! Maybe I can dig up a transcript.


I think Viveca should be engaged whole hog on a movie script. What a story she has! Remember how fast she got dumped from her niche in the great facade of the Fourth Estate?


Maguire, you can save yourself a lot of effort and time when posting about Rove \ Plame by just posting 'Nothing to see here, move along...'

Valley of the Meandering Thoughts.

To think that I saw it on Mulberry Street.


Bet you my bottom thaler.


I find it most interesting that now Ms. Novak has new employment. Given that Ms. Miller, and now Ms. Novak, have been shown the door, one is left to wonder just who is the most vindictive when it comes to "payback."

Hit The Bid

"MSNBC needs to get off this roller-coaster or Tilt A Whirl that continues to go nowhere and makes them look stupid."
-Then they need to ditch Tucker Carlson! He is a snot nosed prep school brat. Besides, isn't it just as oficially unknown what Fitz's intentions are with "the leaker" as are his intentions with Rove?

Lew Clark

How do we know Viveca and Robert aren't the same person? Have we ever seen them in the same room together? Have we ever seen her at all? And where is Lucy Ramirez and what was her role in all of this?


Odd, this from the WaPo article: "His grand jury appearance, which was kept secret even from Rove's closest White House colleagues until shortly before he went to court yesterday" does not jive with Clarice's (or Mac's?) asertion that "Here's what Mac says:
"The operative word here is "scheduled'. This has been on the docket for a while now. Loose ends that's all. And the kicker? The media knew about this for a quite a while - it's hardly newsworthy.'"


The career of the person in the investigation is ruined for five years after the invetigation. That is all there is to Plame using the five year (espionage/informant) law to destroy major US politicians. There is also a five year ban on intelligence activities(return from overseas operations) fer another agency that works fer Congress just like CIA, but that may have been waived.

Hit The Bid

3 hours for loose ends? Certainly plausable. I call that the sort of "exit interview" scenario...some last things they needed to clear up before they cleared Rove and sent him on his way and Fits wraps it all up.

The other scenario, I think is more of a Rove trying to talk them out indicting him scenario...that his failure to disclose the prior conversation with the Time reporter, despite repeated opportunities to do so, was not pernicious obstruction, but rather oversight/forgetfullness...and it was only coincidental that he remembered the conversation did take place after confronted with that fact.

I guess we'll find out soon enough.

...it was only coincidental that he remembered the conversation did take place after confronted with that fact.
This is something that has bothered me from the beginning. Ok, you think Rove is lying about forgetting about the Cooper conversation, and you bring as your "evidence" that he "remembered" after being "confronted." So, if that's what it looks like when he's lying, what would look different if he were telling the truth? If he forgot then the definition of "forgot" is that he "didn't remember." How could he have testified to memories of something that he doesn't remember? If he simultaneously claimed that he didn't remember, but at the same time he testified in detail of the thing he "didn't remember," well then a logical person would then conclude that he is lying. But how is not testifying about things that you don't remember "proof" that you are lying about not remembering?!?

cathy :-)

Gabriel Sutherland

Rove is old and tired. McCarthy is new and hawtness.

Read this for some insight on the CIA bringing in retired officers to fill out its ranks after 9/11 budget increases.


Rove is old and tired. McCarthy is new and

she is a babe!


Interesting Gabriel,
The question is always being asked,"Why hasn't Bush caught bin Laden"? Never why hasn't the CIA caught bin Laden.Odd when you think about it.



The answer to that is Bush too assets out of Afghanistan and diverted them to Iraq. Bush's fault. See how easy this is?


Ooops... ::sheepish grin::

Bush took assets out of Afghansitan

Gabriel Sutherland

PeterUK: Would the CIA tell the world if they had caputured UBL? Would they tell the world if they had killed UBL?

Who verifies that it is UBL's voice every time there is a new tape?


It used to be Mary McCarthy. giggle



All we need is for someone to be suddenly in a nasty divorce because he's seeing a set of triplets, independent of one another, and for a couple people to end up in comas and we'd have ourselves a grand weekday afternoon soap opera.

Hit The Bid

thats a great point and a good mental excercise. Even though Rove had suposedly already admitted to the G/J that the email his legal team showed him proved he had, in fact, discussed Plame with Cooper, perhaps what was in question yesterday was whether or not Rove just forgot or actually changed his tune when confronted with the facts.

I don't know...but either way it seems that Rove did change his tune...obviously, the rub is why he did so.


Time was UBL WAS a CIA asset,they trained and supported him.


Just as the case against Libby relies on the inflated importance of Plame,the case against Rove is based on the faux importance of Cooper.
This entire farrago is reliant on peoples recollections of past conversation,I posit that none of us could remember verbatim a sample of conversations out of hundreds made over a period of time.Conversations moreover which had different emotional and business impact.
Just as fans always say "Remember me" to famous personalities so it is ludicrous to think that one reporter out of hundreds is going to make an impact.

Hit The Bid

"This entire farrago is reliant on peoples recollections of past conversation" --Yup! its called testimony and its got to be weighed and judged based on who says it and in what context.

Probably not a surprise, but I do not think Fitz has acted improperly at all. If in trying to find out something is work is legally impeded, that is a worthy of prosecuting...Otherwise, you weaken all subsequent investigations.

Hit The Bid

woah.."if in trying to out something HIS work is illegally impeded, that is worthy of prosecution, IMHO"

thats a great point and a good mental excercise.
I am utterly flabbergasted by this statement. What do you mean "great mental exercise"?!?!? How the hell else can you possibly evaluate the credibility of someone's factual claims?!?!?

Look, either Rove remembered the phone call with Cooper or he didn't. This is a factual matter. If he testified that he didn't remember talking about Plame with anyone, then he was either lying (because he did remember) or he was telling the truth (because he didn't.) Evidence which would support the notion that Rove was lying would be evidence that he appeared to remember the phone call during the time period starting when he was first questioned up until right before someone told him about Cooper's claims about the call. I have not heard any suggestion from anywhere that any such evidence exists.

cathy :-)


"Time was UBL WAS a CIA asset,they trained and supported him."

What an old canard. The CIA and Pak supported native elements. The Saudis brought the Arabs in and it was up to the US to kick them out. They tried to turn Afghanistan into an Arab terrorist Disneyland. Think of "Frontier Land" with a 7thc Hejaz setting.

Osama is probably in Iran.


I know it is called testimony,but it is also from those who have been known to be inaccurate with the actualite,further very sloppy note takers,Cooper for example sounds most confused.
Weighing the testimony of journalists should be done very carefully,how much more so partisan journalists?



Fitz is chasing his tail and you know it. The potential jury should there be one will know it too. Fitz is trying to make the indicted ham sandwich into a ham and cheese on rye and it isn't going to work. I'll let you figure out who the real Ham and cheesy reporters are in this case.


The Taleban were the construct of Pakistan's Inter Services Inelligence which has strong links to the CIA
Are you seriously saying that the Arabs who went to fight in Afghanistan were not armed by the CIA.That America's ally,Saudi Arabia received no assistance from the CIA in kicking out the Russians? That there was no connection between the Arabs and the Taleban?

Hit The Bid

I think Fitz is doing ok. He's been quietly doing his job--i think it was Libby and Rove who got a bit cute with him and he needed to tighten the screws. I think all this agenda talk is thinly veiled resentment that any investigater is digging around in your backyard.

From what I can understand from press reports, it seems like Fitz was interested in a discrepency between when Luskin and Rove said they chatted about the hadley email that refreshed Rove's memory. There could be a real discrepency there, who knows and that could get to Cathy's big question--well posed. I say mental excercise, not in a pejorative sense, but because I liked how you put the not-remember vs lying paradox.

Cecil Turner

Maybe it's just me, but I thought the takeaway from the piece was this line:

The identity of Mr. Novak's original source for the column that triggered the entire case is still unknown, at least to the public.
This is the first story I recall admitting Novak's source wasn't Libby or Rove (after several that implied the President authorized Libby to leak Plame's name). It seemed to me a step toward honest reporting. (Followed quickly by cluelessness, but hey . . .)


"I think all this agenda talk is thinly veiled resentment that any investigater is digging around in your backyard."

An OK investigator who regards the subject of his investigation as irrelevant,who already knows the identity of the original leaker,who is only interested in high profile "miscreants" to indict,who is conducting a trial by media.
Antwhere else the Judge would declare that it was impossible to get a fair trial.

Patrick R. Sullivan

'Are you seriously saying that the Arabs who went to fight in Afghanistan were not armed by the CIA.That America's ally,Saudi Arabia received no assistance from the CIA in kicking out the Russians?'

Pretty much correct. Except it wasn't Saudi Arabia that kicked out the Russians, it was Afghanis. They were definitely aided by the CIA.

What the Saudis contributed was flooding the world with cheap oil. That denied revenues to oil exporting Soviet Russia. And, I don't think Osama had any connection to the Saudi government, and certainly not the CIA. He was there on his own dime. And not doing much fighting, if any.


Why did Fitz ask Rove and attorney no to discuss it?


I was being somewhat facetious in my use of Saudi Arabia in my response,sloppy I know.
The question is that since the CIA had contact with the Taleban via the ISI,why must it be assumed that there was no contact with AQ,who were after all fighting on the same side....and if there was not why not.
Did the CIA not monitor the influx of foreign Jihadis,after all they had met before in Bosnia?
I'm not slinging mud here,but the CIA which missed the Iranian Revolution,the fall of the Soviet Union,Saddam's WMD,seems to have sidled out from under the USB/AQ question also.
They seen great at domestic intrigue,but not at what they are designed to do.

JM Hanes

Hit the Bid

I didn't start getting cynical about Fitzpatrick till I compared what he said in his press conference (announcing Libby's indictment) to what he actually said in the indictment itself. They just didn't match up. It was the various redacted portions of the Tatel decision which were later released that pushed me over the top.

I've written about it elsewhere, but for a host of reasons, I think this investigation sets an extremely dangerous precedent that will ultimately bite Democrats & Republicans alike. Doesn't matter whose backyard he's working in. If his investigation were, in fact, off the rails, how would you know?


Gonzales should just shut him down. Prove Fitzgerald has supervision, tell him to either indict on something besides perjury, etc., or go home. How bad would the political fallout be? Any worse than bleeding the Bush administration to death?

Rick Ballard


Think about an indictment for Mary the Mouth coming down the road - Fitz could be doing a lot of damage to a political party with this prosecution but it ain't necessarily the Republican party.

Good ol' Larry tied our gal Val to the VIPers early on and quale sorprese! McCarthy is being drawn nearer the VIPers nest - hi Rand! - by the minute. Are you sure that Fitz's continued ludicrous prosecution concerning the 'outing' of a VIPer is so terrible?



I've seen nothing from Fitzgerald to indicate he sees anything other than a conspiracy to harm Mighty Joe.



I also doubt McCarthy is indicted.

boy, am I bitter or what?



That looks funny after I see it posted. I also doubt McCarthy will be indicted.

Hit The Bid

JM Hanes...Good point I wouldn't know. I have never liked any of this witch hunt stuff, its quite poisonous. Unlike many on my side, I don't really get pleasure out of "technicalities". I'd rather see Rove and Libby get held accountable for bad foreign policy, or bad economic policy or something more broadside like that.


Time for Gonzales to shut down Fitz's dog and pony show. My question is why did it take Fitz 6 months to call Rove back in to testify.? Does that Ryan case in Chicago trump this one or does a partisan political agenda enter in? Fineman said that Rove and President Bush are like Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid-tied together. This is from the editor of Newsweek-nothing objective about that statement.


Fitzgerald cannot and will not close up shop and go home. That would only leave the Libby prosecution and things don't look too good there. He needs someone to flip. Someone, anyone, somewhere, somehow. C'mon there's got to be someone. Right? RIGHT??

The comments to this entry are closed.