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April 09, 2006



what is in need of an innocent explanation?
The press's slant on the story, or the authorization for the release of NIE information?


TM -

With Woodward, Libby was willing to risk Bush not being aware. With Miller, he was not, she being a looser cannon.


what is in need of an innocent explanation?

Good point - I am off my own talking points.


TM, didn't Judy say at one point that she had notes (not from her conversation with Libby) relating to unidentified person (or some such monicker which related she thought to Wilson and that she might have raised that with Libby?
Well, June was an odd month for Libby - he also forgot to mention his June meeting wirth Judy Miller. Maybe they never asked him about conversations in JUNE..Remember the focus early in the investigation was the period in July between the op ed and Novak's column.

Only after Feb 2002 (when it is obvious that no one in the WH leaked to Novak, that Libby went before the gj..Judy , too, was asked only about July (per her subpoena) but somehow in her testimony it came out she also had notes of a June 23 meeting when she was asked about this conversation.

You assume a rational, full investigation and fair treatment of the evidence. I don't.


after Feb 2004, that is...


Question: "What is in need of an innocent explanation?

The press's slant on the story, or the authorization for the release of NIE information?"

Reply: "Good point - I am off my own talking points."

Unloaded, innocent question, but don't both need some un-spin to push them to a more sensible level? As proven by the update.

The media could use more perspective, and the intelligence report was not a leak if it were declassified?

Even so, practically speaking, would the media ever have carefully considered or included in any part of their commentary the White House's stance on information on Iraq or White House's anger at a diplomat who returns from a "sensitive" mission to Niger and then starts talking outside what had to have been a defined area of authority?

Presenting a complete story is just full perspective, and not a game of leak vs leak.

But when the playing field is this out of balance, you either stand mute and watch the train wreck unfold and wait until the truth finally outs or you do the best you can at making a fuller picture even if the effort has limited effect.

Woodward could be seen as either a part of the perspective-broadening process by the White House or, if you like conspiracies, as someone who ruined a golden gotcha moment by playing the White House's dupe.

Either way, the many variables need more un-spinning.

...I have been doing taxes and my eyes are starting to cross...


I't almost like they expected or wanted this feeder frenzy:

"...The government also points out that"much information about the investigation of the SP is in the public domain and therefore available to the Acting AT in exercising the power to remove the SP"...

...Whatever Edmond contemplated by "direction and supervision at some level," it surely meant something more than periodically checking the Washington Post to find out if one's unchecked "subordinate" has gone too far...

...Certainly, the Acting Attorney General cannot meaningfully oversee the Special Counsel by reviewing the overheated speculation about this case....

Page 13: ...much of the information in the public domain about this case is flat wrong.

Did Team Libby demonstrate these point to the new and only supervisor, Walton.. or did they expect a Fitz filing would? That Hume question did come out of nowhere.


Thanks to the Woodward LINK of what he testified to in his deposition. I don't follow this near as hard as you guys, but I was always interested in when he first wrote "Wife Of Wilson" on the list of questions he carried when he interviewed these supposed White House Conspirator's: By no later than 20 June 2003.

As is evident from the LINK, Woodward, testified that from 20 June 2003 he was carrying this question along when he was specifically quizzing, among other administration officials, Libby, but that somehow the angle of attempting to punish Wilson via blabbing about his wife never came up.

Now personally I don't know what evidence Fitz would specifically need to "disprove the existence of White House efforts to 'punish Wilson", but don't ya' think Fitz could at least acknowledge this might amount to evidence of a piss poor conspiracy?

I can imagine Scooter in the restroom after the interview banging his head against the urinal and saying to himself, "Aw crap, I forget to tell him about Wilson's secret agent wife! Only NIE and Yellowcake. Darn it, Dick's gonna' be pissed. Gosh I hope I can remember to tell Woodward when I bump into him again every single freakin' day for the next 2 months.

I do recall reading lots of comments about how since Woodward was writing a book, he didn't really care much about this Plame business, so he'd be a conspirator's poor choice through which to start a Plame leak campaign. Reading his statement though exactly contradicts that, because he testifies that that is exactly what he did. He testifies that almost immediately after learning from NGO (Armitage?), he tells Pincus, his Post colleague, that Wilson's wife worked for the CIA on WMD as a WMD analyst. Granted Pincus says he didn't, and Woodward testifies he knows that Pincus says he didn't, but what I find interesting is the amount of stuff Woodward says he related to Pincus. Not just that Wilson's wife worked at the CIA on WMD as a WMD analyst, but also that Woodward remembers he also told Pincus that he couldn't reveal who his source was for that information. Testifying under oath that you recall telling someone that the information you were passing along couldn't be attributed to it's source certainly implies to me a remembrance of the back and forth of a conversation, as opposed to "well maybe I just meant to tell him, but didn't".

That's my 2 cents, and yes, you do not get paid enough for this.


What's with the topless chick on the Amazon ad on the right, btw?


Daddy- you crack me up.
And I agree about the Woodward/Pincus back-and-forth. Although I'm sure you could write for us a hilarious scene wherein Woodward stands at Pincus's desk, telling him all the inside scoop on Wilson and Plame, while Pincus continues to ignore him by fiddling with a stack of papers.


Interesting to see that the media, led by the Washington Post, views discrediting a critic as a criminal conspiracy.

The Washington Post, back in the good old Clinton days, had no problem with discrediting the critic, in fact, the Post used to help out.

Imagine in the alternate universe, where Clinton is the president and a right wing critic as slimy as Wilson, in fact, a worker in the opponents' polical campaign stepped forward with criticism and lies.

The "reporting" would be very different, the SP would not be heroic, the White House would be brave and trying to defend itself against a liar.

There are no longer standards, everything is situational. There are good leaks and bad leaks, good leakers and bad leakers, evil critics and noble critics who must never be criticized.


The media are straight out lying about this, there's no other way to put it.

They make their livings with leaks and know damn well exactly what the difference is between a leak and an authorized release of information. They also damn well know what actually was released versus what they are attempting to portray.

They are deliberately attempting to mislead people - flat out lying. This isn't some innocent spin or out of context quoting.

I can't wait to watch Russert's little act this morning to see how far he goes to mislead his viewers.


Fitz had to know what he was doing when he presented this filing. One intrepretation could be that since the trial is scheduled for after the election, the White House might have put this whole episode on the back burner.

This is Fitz' way of letting the Administration know he could get the media all spun up and cause problems.

Perhaps Fitz case is falling apart and he wants Libby to plead. He can go back to Chicago content that the punished a high ranking WH official for the new 11th Commandment of Politics;

Thou shalt not criticize or respond to noble critic Joe Wilson.



The NIE is an assessment of the ACTUAL intelligence. With the actual intelligence data you would have stuff like MEDIUM (SIGINT, HUMINT, IMINT, etc.) where you knew whats sources were used. You would know if it was based on human reporting, back-up with bugs, or phone taps or electronic intercepts. That is the kibnd of data that doesn't get released because the adversary could track back and shut down those intelligence avenues.

The NIE is synthesided data, not the coruces nor the methods of collection of the original information.



Fitz would be a TOBACCO lawyer obsessed with Jews.


Actually, I think that there will be a new standard for judging the quality of one's existence on earth.

I may have lied, stole a few things, been mean to people but...

I never, never, criticized Joe Wilson, open those pearly gates!!

The Legend of Joe Wilson, the man who can't be criticized (AP/NewYorkTime/WAPO)

Jake - but not the one

Kate, your intent belies your words - the legend to which you really speak is better known as "George W. Bush, the President Who Would Not Be Criticized."



Jake-Bush is always criticized. Actually, more than criticized. Brilliant thinkers on the left, Ben Affleck among them, want Bush hung, for criticizing Joe Wilson, the one who can't be criticized. That's kinda harsh, don't you think? It's part of the left's new targetted Capital Punishment Initiative.

Bill Kristol finally criticized the prosecutor who can't be criticized and essentially said that Fitzgerald is on a mission to detroy the White House, finally.


Hey, did anyone catch MTP this morning? I turned it on and there was Kerry with his fake grin...since I don't think that he has anything useful to say about much of anything I turned the show off.

Were there any good parts?


Cecil's comment and a tribute to him and to JOM contributors made it into today's American Thinker. http://www.americanthinker.com/comments.php?comments_id=4834


I don't see why you guys complain about the MSM. The media is the only thing saving Bush's ass right now. And that's because they know they were complicit in misleading the American people about the reasons to go to war. Bush, Cheney leaked to them selectively, they published it, then administration officials could go on Timmeh's show and say in response to his question "Yes, Tim. We saw that report about the aluminum tubes in the NY Times too. Obviously, we have to act." The MSM is the only thing saving Bush's ass now. And only because they are as guilty as he is. Don't believe me? Read the lead editorial in the WP.


Maybe Woodward has formal security clearance? He spends most of his time on the "inside" these days. He used to be in Naval Security if I remember correctly.

It would be interesting if so.

Jake - but not the one

Kate, , I worded that SO carefully and you misread it anyway.

Now I have to be all boring and ....

Well, whatever.

I said "George W. Bush, the President Who Would Not Be Criticized."

WOULD, Kate. Not could.



I notice TM mentioned a special Woodward clearance yesterday.


Thanks, Jake for the clarification...would not could..got it!!


I said "George W. Bush, the President Who Would Not Be Criticized."

But Jake, he already HAS BEEN criticized. Don't think it's going to stop either ...

Rick Ballard

WaPo Editorial

Compare and contrast with Clarice's piece on Cecil Turner's comment.

Cecil wins - the WaPo might be characterized as trying to get it right except for:

Rather than follow the usual declassification procedures and then invite reporters to a briefing -- as the White House eventually did -- Vice President Cheney initially chose to be secretive, ordering his chief of staff at the time, I. Lewis Libby, to leak the information to a favorite New York Times reporter.
which completely ignores the efforts (as detailed by Cecil) by the Administration to get the rebuttal out via standard channels.

Good for the WaPo though - much less lying than usual. Except about a critical point.


Holycow: "saving his ass" in what sense? (I know, I know...don't feed them). Are you saying that he would be long since impeached if the press were not minimizing? If so, you are loony. Check out the feeding frenzy Friday at the WH press conference.


Rick, for the Wa Po this editorial is astonishing--I'd say Woodward is trumping Pincus:
"Mr. Wilson originally claimed in a 2003 New York Times op-ed and in conversations with numerous reporters that he had debunked a report that Iraq was seeking to purchase uranium from Niger and that Mr. Bush's subsequent inclusion of that allegation in his State of the Union address showed that he had deliberately "twisted" intelligence "to exaggerate the Iraq threat." The material that Mr. Bush ordered declassified established, as have several subsequent investigations, that Mr. Wilson was the one guilty of twisting the truth. In fact, his report supported the conclusion that Iraq had sought uranium.

Mr. Wilson subsequently claimed that the White House set out to punish him for his supposed whistle-blowing by deliberately blowing the cover of his wife, Valerie Plame, who he said was an undercover CIA operative. This prompted the investigation by Special Counsel Patrick J. Fitzgerald. After more than 2 1/2 years of investigation, Mr. Fitzgerald has reported no evidence to support Mr. Wilson's charge. In last week's court filings, he stated that Mr. Bush did not authorize the leak of Ms. Plame's identity. Mr. Libby's motive in allegedly disclosing her name to reporters, Mr. Fitzgerald said, was to disprove yet another false assertion, that Mr. Wilson had been dispatched to Niger by Mr. Cheney. In fact Mr. Wilson was recommended for the trip by his wife. Mr. Libby is charged with perjury, for having lied about his discussions with two reporters. Yet neither the columnist who published Ms. Plame's name, Robert D. Novak, nor Mr. Novak's two sources have been charged with any wrongdoing.

As Mr. Fitzgerald pointed out at the time of Mr. Libby's indictment last fall, none of this is particularly relevant to the question of whether the grounds for war in Iraq were sound or bogus. It's unfortunate that those who seek to prove the latter would now claim that Mr. Bush did something wrong by releasing for public review some of the intelligence he used in making his most momentous decision."


Told ya. The WP brought, promoted and sold Bush's war including all the bogus WMD arguments. No way they are going to abandon him now. Woodward is tied to close with Bush's fate. He'll do whatever he can to prop Bush up. Including writing editorials.

Jake - but not the one

I was thinking about something said yesterday, by Rick, I think.

"There are a lot of lies going around." or something like that.

Then today I was reading a little Churchill, just quotes really, when I came across this:

Winston Churchill
"There are a lot of lies going around...
and half of them are true."

Now the ellipses may just have been in the web doc and not the original quote, but I thought them apropos.

The quote made me laugh, so I thought I'd share it with you all.

Hopefully, we can share the laugh as well.



holycow, the WaPo was an early promoter of Wilson's fairytale. It took the paper 2 1.2 years to asmit he was a serial liar. http://www.americanthinker.com/articles.php?article_id=4951

How foolish is it for the press to decry as scandalous the claim that being privately briefed on declassified information is a scandal? So ridiculous that even they know if adopted it would put them out of business. Hence this editorial which shows they are not completely deranged.




for the Wa Po this editorial is astonishing ...

It could be one of a kind, from someone like Woodward who disapproved of the Fitz prosecution from the start. It could also be evidence of the herd changing direction. The last Fitz filing had the appearance of summation, laying enough cards on the table in the hope it hangs together for the case to continue (or maybe one last dig at the admin before it falls apart).

After the hoopla of the MSM getting the big picture all in one shot, there may be some cooler heads saying "is this it?".

As a peekaboo case it seemed like news. As a centerfold ...

Rick Ballard


The WaPo may have moved Pincus off the porch and into the attic for the moment but they make no mention of being part of Ambassador Munchausen's July 6 trifecta. The attempt to cast the Post as an 'observer' rather than a 'player' is rather pathetic.

I wonder if they'll give Pincus a gardening column after a bit?


Hearing from the other side can have that affect, Boris. For the longest time Fitz and the partisan leakers held sway. With Libby's motions the fog clears.
Plus the press in its heart must be pissed that they were drawn into this long after the fishing expedition came up with nothing and decided the old inner tube they dragged out of the water was worthy of the trip.


THIS WEEK (ABC): House Majority Leader John A. Boehner (R-Ohio), former ambassador Joseph C. Wilson IV and actress Bernadette Peters .

anybody watch it? love to see Joe's response to WAPO editorial


Rick, it is odd and maybe just a coincidence, but the correction 2 1/2 years later of the Pincus volley came one day after I sent Kurtz an email detailing how the lies they printed in Pincus' piece had all been debunked and the paper had not printed a correction.


***the old inner tube they dragged out of the water was UNworthy of the trip.****



'Forgers' of key Iraq war contract named
Michael Smith

TWO employees of the Niger embassy in Rome were responsible for the forgery of a notorious set of documents used to help justify the Iraq war, an official investigation has allegedly found.
According to Nato sources, the investigation has evidence that Niger’s consul and its ambassador’s personal assistant faked a contract to show Saddam Hussein had bought uranium ore from the impoverished west African country.


Of course the WP knows it if foolish to decry leaks that they promoted. But not for the reason you guys say. Everyone knows that the WH selectively leaked information to bolster it's case for war. And then administration would then point to the same information the WP printed and say "See, what we are saying is true. Even the WP is saying it." What the WP didn't say is that much of the information they were given by Bush and co. was selective, wrong, or discredited. And the WP was too lazy and cared too much about access, to do any real investigative reporting. The WP is not going to stand up and say "Hey, we were used. We were completely naive to believe these guys. And we repeated there arguments without verification or skepticism. Sorry, my bad!" Thousands of our soldiers dead and tens of thousands have been wounded. So while some of the media may wake up ... the Post especially through Woodward, will continue to cover Bush's ass. The stakes are too high to not.


IIRC the article notes that their forgery was different than the Martino one--Curious and curiouser about Wilson's "the names were wrong and the dates were wrong" comments which did not relate to the forgeries we were given and which we handed over to the IAEA. Isn't it?


holycow, you get this morning's MMFOOHS award.


anyone watch Joe on This Week?

Clarice: yep


windansea, since the Martino forgery was French intel, doesn't it suggest that Wilson had some link there that is worthy of explanation? That is, how did a French concoction end up in Joe's hands and the Niger forgery (hidden in the Plame office safe for 6 months) end up in ours?


on the second page of the article it talks about a second document, a letter confirming Iraq mission to Niger was looking for yellowcake..which document went where?

Jake - but not the one

Another quote by Churchill:

One day President Roosevelt told me that he was asking publicly for suggestions about what the war should be called. I said at once 'The Unnecessary War'.
Sir Winston Churchill (1874 - 1965), Second World War (1948)

If Chruchill thought WWII could be called unnecesary, I wonder what he would have thought of Iraq?

I don't imagine that Churchill meant that totalitarianism didn't need to be opposed. Perhaps he meant that there are better ways? I don't know - I only know what the quote says.

Perhaps he referred to the Munich Agreement.

One final quote:

"Never, never, never believe any war will be smooth and easy, or that anyone who embarks on the strange voyage can measure the tides and hurricanes he will encounter. The statesman who yields to war fever must realize that once the signal is given, he is no longer the master of policy but the slave of unforeseeable and uncontrollable events."

That certainly fits us.


Rick Ballard


If the MMFOOHS is to be awarded twice daily, I would suggest conferring it earlier than 12PM EDT doesn't allow a fair competition. How are we to know for sure that someone with more (less) talent than brainlessbrahma might have been discouraged by the early award and not enter into the competition?


I said at once 'The Unnecessary War'.

Good grief Jake. You surely must know what Churchill meant by that?

He meant that Hitler could have been easily stopped years before the Nazis had assembled their vast military arsenal. A preventative action taken earlier would have prevented (that's what they do) the loss of tens of millions of humans killed as a result of the "total war" that was later needed.

It was an "unnecessary war" because the West waited too long to confront Hitler.



Newbie here.

What is MMFOOHS?

I assume MMS is Making Most Sense, what about FOOH?


Maybe Monkeys ...

Jake - but not the one

Steve, that is why I referred to the Munich Agreement. That is the agreement where Chamberlain acceded to Germany's demands regarding the Sudetenland - and after which Chamberlain said "Peace in our time."

I don't think that it follows that some OTHER war would have been required to stop the Nazi's. Although given Hitler, perhaps war was inevitable. In which case, would there have been a different but necessary WWII?



Joe Joe responds to WAPO editotial "A Good leak" in a private email to Kos....

Sunday's Washington Post lead editorial once again misrepresents the facts as the paper's own reporting in the Barton/Linzer article in the same edition makes clear. While I respect the separation of news and editorial function it might be helpful to the Post's readers if the editorial board would at least read the news before offering its judgments. One of the reasons my trip to Niger has been overanalyzed, as the Post editorial says, is because people like those who wrote the editorial continue to misconstrue the facts and the conclusions."



Steve, that is why I referred to the Munich Agreement. That is the agreement where Chamberlain acceded to Germany's demands regarding the Sudetenland - and after which Chamberlain said "Peace in our time."

Well yes, that was part of the appeasement that the West was engaged in in an attempt to persuade (well, buy off) Hitler to stop his aggression.

But your citation of Churchill actually supports the idea of preventive war - something you (apparently) believe is not acceptable. Actions taken earlier against emerging threats can actually save lives that would be lost if one waited until the threat was imminent.

I find it odd that you would quote Churchill on the need to take preventive action in attacking Bush who argued, rightly or not, that the removal of the Iraqi regime was also a necessary preventive action (he never said that threat was imminent; but instead said (SOTU 2003) that if we waited until that time, it would be too late).

If anything, Churchill's views can be used to support Bush's actions and not undermine them.



"Mr. Wilson subsequently claimed that the White House set out to punish him for his supposed whistle-blowing by deliberately blowing the cover of his wife, Valerie Plame, who he said was an undercover CIA operative."

How did Wilson know his wife was covert?

"Damn it Joe,they have broken my cover".

"What cover Val Dear,I thought you were having an affair?"

Plame could not have confirmed this to Wilson under the terms of being either covert or classified.So who told Joe?

Jake - but not the one

Yes, Steve, they can be used to support Bush. They HAVE been used. I am just pointing out that Churchill doesn't say preventive war - his words mean prevention, yes, but war, not so much. I don't think Churchill would be against preventive war, but I thought this phrase telling, "The statesman who yields to war fever ...". Yields, fever, those are not words of someone who thinks war should be a good choice, are they? A true last resort.

Then again, I don't think anyone has been quite able to portray Saddam as the hazard to world peace that Hitler was. In fact, if any person has been so demonized, it is OBL. And what was it the President said about OBL? We don't care about him any more, or something like that? I am sure that is a colored paraphrase, but that is how I remember it.


Rick Ballard


About 95% of that London Times piece could have been lifted form this December 8, '05 piece in La Repubblica. The attribution to 'NATO sources' is very curious. As is the fact that the journo never quite gets around to saying who is conducting the 'official investigation' at the moment. The reported 'testimony' is from an investigation conducted by the Italian Ionta. A curious article.

Rick Ballard

Oh boy. An alternative history thread featuring a Chamberlain apologist. How sopphiscticated and well tied to the original thread topic.

Appeasement is definitely the answer. Figure out what the mullahs want and get it to them as fast as we can. It worked for Carter didn't it?


Rick Ballard,

I think you mean Reagan. He's the one that continuously cut deals with terrorists.

Carter's the one with the failed military response to get back the hostages.

Can you believe that's almost 30 years ago?


If you are going to blether about my countries history,learn something about it.
"If Chruchill(sic) thought WWII could be called unnecesary, I wonder what he would have thought of Iraq?

Churchill thought WWII unnecessary for the very good reason that, if Hitler had not been appeased,if Germany's territorial ambitions had not been pandered to and Hitler had been confronted militarily before the Wehrmacht became too powerful, WWII would not have had to be fought.
Instead,Germany was allowed to re-arm,take over Austria in the Anschluss,invade the Sudetenland and Czechoslovakia.
Perhaps you should find another analogy.


Drum's take ....

Hey TM, will you call for a release of the January 2003 intelligence memo from the NIC? I think that's in the public interest - just like the President said.


Saddam as the hazard to world peace that Hitler was.

No, of course he wasn't.

But Hitler wasn't the (perceived) threat to world peace in the mid 1930s that he later became. Get him early before the cost is too high but risking greater instability in the region? Or wait until the threat is more imminent where the costs are vastly higher?

As we know, folks smarter than us (well, certainly me) have been having this debate for 60 years. The lessons of Munich, when to intervene, when not to. One thing we do know, it seems to me, is that the UN or the "world community" cannot, in its present form, deal with such issues.

Look, we both agree that Bush erred (boy did he ever) in invading Iraq. Although my own guess is that if we didn't intervene militarily in 2003 that eventually we would have had to take action later. It was only a matter of time.

However, we all also know that if Bush had not removed the Iraqi regime and IF Saddam had given a WMD to a terrorist group or that group had acquired one from the Iraqis and they used it to kill 5,000 Americans, Bush would have been savaged by the same folks today who criticize him for going into Iraq.

Lots of "ifs" there but ones that a commander in chief has to consider.

And one more reason why one has to be a bit crazy to want to be president.


Jake - but not the one

Rick, I am curious, is there something in what I have written that suggests I am for appeasement? You seem to have come to that conclusion, but on what evidence I am not clear.

Or perhaps you mean that because I am anti-war, and particularly opposed to the Iraq war and nuking Iran, that I must by extension be for appeasement.

Are sanctions appeasement, Rick? Are there no methods other than war to deal with madmen such as Ahmadinejad? Was Iraq necessary, or could it be best described as Churchill described WWII, as an unnecessary war? I think of the Iraq war as an unnecesary war.

Here's another Churchill quote:

"An appeaser is one who feeds a crocodile - hoping it will eat him last."

It seems to me that you can't accurately call me an appeaser, as it seems to be the loudest criticism of my position that it ignores the safety of this county, that I consider some risk of terrorism on American soil as unavoidable. I also think the Iraq war has not reduced that risk one iota.

I propose that appeasement is really an act of willful blindness to the actual risks that will result from whatever choices are made. Chamberlain, for example, was wilfully blind to the likely outcome of the Munich Agreement.

In the same vein, I think pro-war voices in this country are wilfully blind to the likely outcome of their choices - more risk of terrorism here in the US, and everywhere else, not less.

If there is appeasement in this country, it is in feeding the crocodile of war the children of other nations, hoping against hope that it will not eat ours.

Or at least no more than a few thousand here and there.



Holycow...Are you a priestess?

Cecil Turner

It seems to me the latest information adds a lot to our understanding of the case. I also think the "innocent explanation" is also the most logical one:

  • the President authorized various spokespersons to talk about the soon-to-be released NIE and Wilson's report;
  • the authorization was general, rather than specific direction to Libby to talk to Judith Miller;
  • many (including Fitz) are conflating that effort with the Plame leak (which apparently happened a couple weeks earlier); and,
  • it goes a long way toward explaining various statements construed as nefarious by conspiracy-minded critics.
Indications the authorization was general include Condi Rice's "you should ask the Agency at what level it was known in the Agency"; and Matt Cooper's "double super secret background," e-mail, both of which happened on the same day as Tenet's statement. Both discussions are obviously congruent with Tenet's statement, and the timing suggests they were meant to preview it.

It's also apparent the Administration spokesmen were trying for some Tom Sawyer-like child psychology, and the reporters involved sensed it. The best indicator there is Rove's "deep cover" and "I've said too much already"; and Cooper's Animal House reference in response. It continues a pattern of hamfisted news management that WH reporters, perhaps justifiably, do not respond well to. (The alternate take is that if they didn't act like kids, it wouldn't be necessary to treat them . . .)

Finally, indications are that Fitz honed in on the NIE discussions, probably legitimately. The fact that the INR memo resurfaced at the same time undoubtedly added to suspicions. However, when Fitz discovered UGO (in February '04), that theory took a major, below-the-waterline hit. Once Woodward started talking about late-June discussions with UGO and others, it sank. This is beginning to look more like an unsupervised SP refusing to let go of a pet theory, as Libby's motion to dismiss highlights.

Thanks, Clarice; and props to our host for bringing all the pieces together (yet again).




A Friday report from the Senate Intelligence Committee offers new details supporting the claim.

French and British intelligence separately told the United States about possible Iraqi attempts to buy uranium in the African nation of Niger, the report said. The report from France is significant not only because Paris opposed the Iraq war but also because Niger is a former French colony and French companies control uranium production there.

Joseph Wilson, a retired U.S. diplomat the CIA sent to investigate the Niger story, also found evidence of Iraqi contacts with Nigerien officials, the report said.


Jake,What on earth are you babbling about?



from the WAPO Editorial:

But the administration handled the release clumsily, exposing Mr. Bush to the hyperbolic charges of misconduct and hypocrisy that Democrats are leveling.

And they rightly point out it was the *false* claims Wilson was leveling that the WH were being *ASKED* to answer...so that it was *clumsy* sort of belies all the nonsense that *outing* Plame was a concerted top priority.

If Wilson's Pincus/Kristof/TNR/UK Paper assertions, that Cheney booked his trip, weren't part of the narrative the actual *orgins* of who and how his trip came about would not need to be addressed.

Novak's original question...why would the WH pick a Clinton appointee on the Kerry campaign to to carry out this mission? A sensible question since the *ACTIVE* Kerry campaigner was *now* using his trip to attack the WH. Novak wasn't dumb enough not to realize the Wilson shenanigans might be Kerry campaign *strategery", rather than a civic "here let me show all my Bush senior medals and letters" duty

Rick Ballard

"However, when Fitz discovered UGO (in February '04)"


I believe that Fitz's affidavit in August '04 (the one that put Judy Miller in jail) is evidence of a bit more than "refusing to let go of a pet theory". There is an intent to harm in Fitz's treatment of certain people that can't be ignored. Disparate treatment of two individuals who have done the same thing, especially when that 'thing' was never chargeable to begin with suggest that Fitz is unfit to run any prosecution - not just this one.


Novak's original question...why would the WH pick a Clinton appointee on the Kerry campaign to to carry out this missi

Also, I'd like to point out...since it was never *reported* (i.e. public record in the public domain) at that point that Wilson was on the Kerry Campaign (the first mention of this was in OCT 03, in a Boston Globe article wherein Rand Beers admits Wilson was on the Kerry Campaign as early as May 03 and that the campaign *WAS* aware of Wilson's charges *BEFORE* he even Kristof --but the KC played no part in it -- wink...

If Wilson (and his wife) were just low-key players...how then did Novak pick up on, know, that Wilson was on the Kerry Campaign?


* first mention - I meant acknowledgement of Wilson being on the campaign as early as May '03 - is what I meant


" .... * the President authorized various spokespersons to talk about the soon-to-be released NIE and Wilson's report;
* the authorization was general, rather than specific direction to Libby to talk to Judith Miller; "

That is exactly opposite to Libby's testimony in front of the GJ. So is Libby lying about this too?


That is exactly opposite to Libby's testimony in front of the GJ. So is Libby lying about this too?

Where did Libby testify that the President gave him specific orders to talk to Miller?

I can't find that passage.



Slowly . holy--Bush said to Cheney get it out and left it to the vp to determine who would give the info to whom.

Lew Clark

I think Jake's on to something. I think Bush should have followed Chamberlain and misquoted Churchill. Then we could have waited until Saddam bribed his way out from under the sanctions, invaded and conquered the entire Middle East and developed tactical and long-range nuclear weapons, with a little chemical and biological just to make it interesting. Then we could have had a real war with hundreds of thousands of military deaths and millions of civilian deaths. But that war wouldn't have happened on Bush's watch. And then one of the Bush twins could have run for President on a ticket to throw the Democrats out for
letting the U.S. be beaten into a third world nation on their watch.
Opps, the Dems wouldn't be in power, and those in power wouldn't let females run for office. Never mind!


Wilson and Kerry today--psst, I say keep giving them rope---
"Sen. John Kerry, the Massachusetts Democrat who ran against Bush for president in 2004, said it was wrong for Bush to declassify information selectively "in order to buttress phony arguments to go to war "and to attack people politically.

"This was not a declassification in order to really educate America. This was a declassification in order to mislead America," Kerry said on "Meet the Press" on NBC. "I think it's a disgrace."

Wilson said Sunday that Bush and Cheney should release transcripts of their interviews with Fitzgerald.

"It seems to me that first and foremost, the White House needs to come clean on this matter," Wilson said on ABC's "This Week." "My own view of this is that the White House owes the American people and particularly our service people who have been sent into war, an apology for having misrepresented the facts."

The lawyer knowledgeable about the case said Bush instructed Cheney to "get it out" and left the details about disseminating the intelligence to him. The lawyer, who spoke on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the case for the White House, said Cheney chose Libby and communicated the president's wishes to his then-top aide.

It is not known when the conversation between Bush and Cheney took place. The White House has declined to provide the date when the president used his authority to declassify the portions of the October 2002 National Intelligence Estimate. "http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20060409/ap_on_go_pr_wh/cia_leak_50

It doesn't appear anyone asked Joe when he began coordinating with Kerry. Or Kerry how deeply he was involved in the Wilson Gambit.


So we are supposed to believe that Cheney told Libby - 'Okay leak the portions of the NIE to Judy to discredit Wilson, the boss says it's okay'. Yet, we are supposed to believe that the OVP had nothing to do with the leak of Plame's name. Even though Cheney mentioned Plame to Libby. Even though several individuals have testified that the OVP and Libby were obsessed with discrediting Wilson. Libby's defense is still believable. He forgot. C'mon.


You're welcome, Cecil.

Add fedora's timeline (whith Levin questioning the African uranium portion of thr SOTU address one day after it was given and you can see that there's no mystery about why the WH would not want to leave declassification to the epochal pace of the CIA declassifiers.Or the message to the public channels which the press chose repeatedly to ignore.


holycow, Rick may be right--I gave the award perhaps too early in the day, but you remain the award winner.

Rick Ballard


"the hyperbolic charges of misconduct and hypocrisy that Democrats are leveling."

They should have linked Pincus' original article as an example.

I believe that the WaPo is sending semaphore signals to the Dems and the rest of the Demsm that they aren't in this particular game anymore. There is only room in the lifeboats for so many and it's strictly first come, first served.

I agree that Novak could probably see the outlines of the Kerry/Wilson strategy but I'm not sure that he actually knew that Ambassador Munchausen was really on (as opposed to supportive of) the Kerry campaign.


So we are supposed to believe that Cheney told Libby - 'Okay leak the portions of the NIE to Judy to discredit Wilson, the boss says it's okay'.

Sorry, you said that Libby testified that Bush told him to leak to Miller.

To wit:
That is exactly opposite to Libby's testimony in front of the GJ

I asked for the passage.

There isn't one.

It's entirely conceivable that Bush told Cheney to get the word out about what the NIE or intelligence said in order to rebut criticism and in doing so not tell him what specific reporters to talk to or what specific information should be revealed.

Surely you don't think presidents go over every detail such as which reporters would receive the material when they authorize the release of such information?

Look, you can believe the worst about this White House as you clearly do. It's a free country. But if you're going to say "A" occurred, you're going to be called out on it if you can't show that "A" occurred.

Especially if it's something as important as what you said happened.

Right? Reverse the situation and I'm sure you'd call "gotcha" as well?



No one knows better than Woodward how stupid the Fitz case is so it is altogether fitting that his paper should be sending the signal that the game's up. (Not, of course, without an unwarranted shin kicking of the WH.)

Cecil Turner

There is an intent to harm in Fitz's treatment of certain people that can't be ignored.

No argument. But if you accept that Fitz initially thought the NIE and Plame disclosures were linked (not terribly farfetched, as Plame came up in some of those conversations, at least as an aside), then he may have thought it was justified. My real point, however, was that Fitz's motivation might be fascination rather than an attempt to "flip" Libby--which doesn't make a lot of sense if he's not implicated in the initial leak--and thus the only charge against the VP is that he perhaps authorized the disclosure of something he had the authority to disclose. And agreed, neither is really defensible.

Yet, we are supposed to believe that the OVP had nothing to do with the leak of Plame's name.

Obviously they had little to do with the initial leak, which happened ~2 weeks earlier. And as reporters were talking about it, that part looks pretty defensible as well.


"Topper" here's from the Fitz presser announcing the indictment of the Nicor execs and lawyer (Munson).April 6 after there was a hung jury on Munson (the execs pled guilty), Fitz dropped the charges with the inexplicable xomment that some of the evidence against him had been deemed inadmissable.

"“These charges demonstrate our continuing commitment to investigating and prosecuting corporate executives who distort financial information that is relied upon by outside auditors and, most importantly, the investing public,” Mr. Fitzgerald said. “If the evidence leads to the top executives of a company – or to lawyers or other professionals who participate in their fraud schemes – as it did in this case, we will not hesitate to pursue criminal charges. Corporate officials who lie in financial reports and filings put at risk both the assets and the confidence of investors. They also put themselves at the very real risk of prosecution.”

___Fitz:I aim for the top but often hit bottom..


Why do I see glaciers melting and icebergs falling into the sea?

Do you see how confused Kerry is now? I'll bet he regrets dumping Joe. If he'd hung with him, he could have appointed him Ambassador to France. As it is, he'll get to hang with him.

Patrick R. Sullivan

On Fox News Sunday poor Juan Williams was struggling to come up with a formulation that made Bush look bad in this, and Bill Kristol openly mocked him. Almost as brutally as the way I treat guys like Jake and Jeff.

Kristol also unloaded on Fitzgerald, saying it was becoming increasingly obvious that he's simply engaging in a political attack on the President.

Rick Ballard

"It's a damn shame that ol' Pat didn't have a strong manager to come out to the mound and take the ball out of his hand when everyone in the stands could see that he had lost his stuff."

That's the correct baseball analogy concerning Mr. Fitzgerald.


I saw Kristol. He looked steamed. He wondered why Fitzgerald doesn't close his case against Rove. I wonder too.


That's a great analogy Rick. So fitting...


Is the WaPo editorial a signal to the media to save their skins by hopping aboard the dismissal train?

Rick Ballard


If he closed the investigation he's have to give up lying about it to Judge Walton. Ain't gonna happen. What do you think all the ex parte pleading is about? Without "Judge, we've got a big case cooking and there's stuff that might tip off the "big fish" if we let TeamLibby see it" Fitz loses maneuvering room.

Judge Walton sees through him like a plate glass window though - which is why he told Fitz to bring along an affidavit signed by someone from the CIA attesting to the need not to disclose information. The trick for Fitz now is to find someone in the CIA dumb enough to sign that affidavit. That's a tough one with the Kerry shop closed.


Personal insults directed toward me aside ...

Steve MG, what Libby testified to in front of the grand jury, is that he was hesitant to leak portions of the NIE to Miller. He went to Cheney and Cheney basically told him - get it out, the President says it is okay. Libby went so far as to check with Addington and tell the grand jury that this was the first time he could remember getting the okay to do something like this. This is what LIBBY testified to. I believe I am characterizing it correctly and fully.
And it is hearsay, absolutely.

But we are supposed to believe all that - because ya know, Libby does not lie. And we are supposed to believe that Libby did not mention Plame to Miller. That the OVP had nothing to do with leaking Plame's name. Libby forgot. 'Cause he was busy, busy.

The bottom line is this WH selectively leaking info to reporters and then pointing to newspaper reports to buttress their arguments, as in "See, it's in the NY Times and the WP" is their modus operandi. That they used the same channels to try and discredit Wilson by saying his wife arranged the Niger trip? Not that big of a leap.


I do so hope Goss insists on seeing that affidavit and the underlying support before the shop goat submits it.


I'll bet Lewis Robert would sign it.


HC, Joe lied and the White House tried to correct the record. That would have been easy with a free and honest press. I know you don't see it, yet, but there it is.

Beto Ochoa

I saw Kristol laugh in his face.
If you caught the opening as well,
Brit Hume was introducing the program and ended with a list of the disuussion participants. As he named each one with an upbeat tone he scoffed out Juan Williams name last.


You have seen things these people wouldn't believe.


I rarely argue with the faith based, holycow, but let me break tradition:

But we are supposed to believe all that - because ya know, Libby does not lie.

Apparently Addington and Cheney confirmed it, ir there'd be other perjury counts. And we are supposed to believe that Libby did not mention Plame to Miller.

She confirms it, and there were only two marties to the conversation.
That the OVP had nothing to do with leaking Plame's name. If Fitz had anything that they did, what would keep him from charging that?

The bottom line is this WH selectively leaking info to reporters and then pointing to newspaper reports to buttress their arguments, as in "See, it's in the NY Times and the WP" is their modus operandi.

No, it is Fitz who has urged that the Mille Court consider press accounts as evidence and who know says his bosses could see what he was doing and supervice him by keeping up with press accounts.
That they used the same channels to try and discredit Wilson by saying his wife arranged the Niger trip? Not that big of a leap But it was UGO who leaked to Novak and Woodward and Fitz says he had no intention of discrediting Wilson by doing so, and Russert says it never came up; Cooper said it was he who raised it; and Miller says the discussion was about other things, that Libby never said "Plame" and that he said Mrs. Wilson worked at WINPAc and the :Bureau",


By the way, most of the reasons I thought UGO was Tenet, apply to Bush as well. It sure explains Fitz's pause over UGO.


Are 'marties' the two parties,
To a marriage contrarctees?

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