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August 29, 2006

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Sara (Squiggler)

Clarice, it is beginning to look like one of the few people who actually came clean and told the truth is Libby himself.

I think whatevr is done should include two things:

Prosecutorial misconduct, re: Fitzgerald.
and
Lying to Investigators or at the least Obstruction of Justice, starting with Wilson and working down the food chain with Powell, Armitage, Grossman, the pertinent CIA people, and the WaPo reporters. And I'd throw Corn in there too.

Perception is reality in Washington. Go for the publicity just like the other side.

Syl

Jeff

Is it really surprising that Armitage might be talking about the fact that Wilson's wife was CIA and so on, and at the same time and separately Libby would be doing the same in an effort to respond to and undemine Wilson?

But it doesn't matter!

Even if there was a conspiracy to out Plame rather than correct Wilson's lies, nothing Libby did went public. What went public was Armitage-->Novak. Even Rove didn't matter because Novak could go to Harlow with or without him.

Libby wasn't involved in the outing at all. Isikof said fitz really investigated Armitage thoroughly and he found nothing to tie Armitage to anyone in the OVP or whitehouse on this matter.

So what was Fitz investigating Libby for? Politics?

Fitz knew all this before he sent Judy to jail!!

The best outcome YOU can hope for is this all goes away before trial. Because then you can still believe in your heart of hearts that Cheney is a sleazeball and intended to out Plame but just couldn't quite manage it.

topsecretk9

Hitchens...

The ridiculous end to the scandal that distracted Washington.

I had a feeling that I might slightly regret the title ("Case Closed") of my July 25 column on the Niger uranium story. I have now presented thousands of words of evidence and argument to the effect that, yes, the Saddam Hussein regime did send an important Iraqi nuclear diplomat to Niger in early 1999. And I have not so far received any rebuttal from any source on this crucial point of contention. But there was always another layer to the Joseph Wilson fantasy. Easy enough as it was to prove that he had completely missed the West African evidence that was staring him in the face, there remained the charge that his nonreport on a real threat had led to a government-sponsored vendetta against him and his wife, Valerie Plame...

..."[P]laying the case by the book" is, to phrase it mildly, not the way in which Isikoff and Corn customarily describe the conduct of the White House. In this instance, however, the evidence allows them no other choice. But there is more than one way in which a case can be played by the book. Under the terms of the appalling and unconstitutional Intelligence Identities Protection Act (see "A Nutty Little Law," my Slate column of July 26, 2005), the CIA can, in theory, "refer" any mention of itself to the Justice Department to see if the statute—denounced by The Nation and the New York Times when it was passed—has been broken. The bar here is quite high. Perhaps for that reason, Justice sat on the referral for two months after Novak's original column. But then, rather late in the day, at the end of September 2003, then-CIA Director George Tenet himself sent a letter demanding to know whether the law had been broken.

The answer to that question, as Patrick Fitzgerald has since determined, is "no." But there were plenty of senior people who had known that all along. And can one imagine anybody with a stronger motive to change the subject from CIA incompetence and to present a widely discredited agency as, instead, a victim, than Tenet himself? The man who kept the knowledge of the Minnesota flight schools to himself and who was facing every kind of investigation and obloquy finally saw a chance to change the subject. If there is any "irony" in the absurd and expensive and pointless brouhaha that followed, it is that he was abetted in this by so many who consider themselves "radical."


http://www.slate.com/id/2148555/

Chants

Very interesting post, Dale.

I think there are two questions here. One is whether the INR memo would have appraised Armitage of Plames status. And, two, whether Armitage should have talked about Plame at all.

If Plame was covert, and therefore a secret, then somewhere in that INR memo the CIA should have been denoted as the classifying authority for that bit on info. It was not. Therefore , Armitage can argue he did not know her status from the memo. The scienter requirement of the IIPA is not met, no charge.

On the other hand, he cousld have violated some other law or violated the terms of his security clearance. Is that what you are referring to?

lurker

"And I have not so far received any rebuttal from any source on this crucial point of contention."

Except Jeff, of course. Guess Jeff needs to email Hitchens of his findings.

topsecretk9

Sorry if this was already pated but York has one up and it of course show just how deep Corn and Isikoff dug

ubris: The Inside Story of Spin, Scandal, and the Selling of the Iraq War, the new book by the Nation’s David Corn and Newsweek’s Michael Isikoff, is the most in-depth single account yet of the CIA-leak investigation. But representatives of two central figures in the case, former Cheney chief of staff Lewis Libby and top White House aide Karl Rove, say the authors never got in touch with them, much less interviewed them, for the book. “Neither Isikoff nor Corn ever contacted us to discuss anything about the book,” says Barbara Comstock, a spokeswoman for the Libby defense team.

“We were never contacted,” says Mark Corallo, a spokesman for Rove....

Now tell me why the media is not just a caricature of itself?

Tom Maguire

you're now finally accepting that it's my story only in order to say that, sensibly enough, it's been adopted by the Wilsons' lawyers, after their initial, silly assertion suggesting that if Armitage were Novak's first source, he'd just be added to the conspiracy?

It is with mixed feelings that I contemplate the unmistakeable fact that Jeff is much better apprised of this case than Wilson's lawyers.

Actually, not that mixed - Jeff, send 'em your resume and bill soros a few hundred bucks per hour; at a minimum, you will save the current lawyers a lot of wasted time.

Haven't several lefties long suggested that the INR memo was a red herring, and precisely not a damning bit of evidence as the source for info on Plame?

Ahh, but how much opprobrium did we have to endure before that forcing that retreat?

But yes - several lefties have shifted from the INR memo to 'deus ex machina', or maybe, "Well, Rove just knows everything" as the explnation for how Rove and Libby learned that Plame's status was classified.

I jest - sort of. Actually, I don't know what the left party line is for Libby's knowledge of Plame's classified status - is there one?

lurker

""The answer to that question, as Patrick Fitzgerald has since determined, is "no.""

Interesting...then why did Fitz tell Judge Walton that the CIA Referral Letter is classified and why is Fitz not interested in proving Plame's status?

lurker

"So even if Ford knew Plame was CIA (for purpoeses of classifying this memo), the real question is, would Ford's successor's successor know that?"

Just because one worked for CIA doesn't mean that (s)he was covert agent.

Just because one worked for CIA doesn't mean that (s)he had classified status. A receptionist at CIA probably does not have classified status. Neither a janitor unless (s)he needs access to the closed / war rooms for cleaning purposes.

Just because one worked for CIA doesn't mean that (s)he had top secret status.

Sara (Squiggler)

From BlackFive, who sounds as hot as some of those here:

The first major objections to what was initially a popular war arose with Joe Wilson's infamous op-ed in the NY Times. The media-still shellshocked by 9/11-was looking for an excuse to turn on a Republican President and war and took Wilson's ball and ran with it. Then the Plame allegations dropped into their laps and they finally had something to sink their teeth into.

Armitage had inadvertantly been the progenitor of a big story that was hurting the President and discrediting a war that he didn't support-so he sat on it. From recent reports we know that he told a few fellow State Department colleagues that he was the leaker so it seems logical that he mentioned it to Colin Powell at some point as well. This morning's Washington Post confirms that Armitage told Powell:

Armitage and two officials he later briefed on his role -- State Department legal adviser William Howard Taft IV and Secretary of State Colin L. Powell -- each discussed the matter with the FBI and testified before the grand jury, the former colleague said. But Fitzgerald told Armitage in February that he would not be charged with a crime, he said.

While Armitage and Powell were busy enjoying their just desserts, the nation began to turn against the war and our troops. And they said nothing. Fitzgerald continued with the case knowing that there was no intentional disclosure of a secret agent. And they said nothing. A reporter went to jail to protect a source. And they said nothing. Scooter Libby was indicted. And they said nothing. WMDs were found in Iraq. And they said nothing.

If this had been done by a Democrat it could reasonably be described as another liberal putting politics ahead of the country and allowing people's lives to be ruined to get back at an opposition President. What do you call it when members of the President's own Cabinet do it?

lurker

"Ranger -- I don't think this can be true. He already know by the time of the presser that the investigation had revealed that the original crime did not exist. He knew that because the leak was inadvertent/innocent. He surely had talked to Novak, who would have testified that Libby was not one of his sources. And there were just too many others who already knew that it was not Libby, so as far as I'm concerned, the presser was just one big pack of lies and nothing said that day can be trusted."

Think Fitz was under alot of pressure to come up with something. He was intensely pressured by the dems, MSM, leftwing bloggers.

This is MY tax money being spent on such a frivolous case.

cathyf

Dale, to split a hair:

IF Valerie Plame's name/status was in a Paragraph marked S (Secret); that means, that ENTIRE paragraph was considered SECRET, EVEN if it mentions that Albany was the capital of NY!
No, what is and is not secret is a matter of law. Quite clearly the fact that Albany is the capital of New York is not secret or classified because it is not classifyable according to the executive order which establishes the classification system.
And it is NOT up to the READER, to decide, that that, or ANY piece of information, in that PARTICULAR paragraph, was NOT Secret, and thus "releasable"!
I know MANY cases, of people in the Intel Community, who decided to blab, or accidently blabbed, or whatever, and their careers were TERMINATED!
But here you get to the heart of the matter. If you released something marked "classified" that wasn't "the" secret (like Albany being the capital of New York) and were brought up on criminal charges, then whether the thing you revealed was really classified would be a finding of fact in court, made by judge or jury.

But that's about a trial a prosecution for a crime. Dale, what you are describing is a firing which is the punishment for committing a firing offense. Sure you know people whose careers were terminated, but I'm sure none of them were ever prosecuted if the information wasn't, in fact, secret.

Which brings us to the $64,000 ethical question: the legality of a prosecutor conducting a prosecution with the power to compel testimony, put people in jail, etc., for something that the prosecutor knew practically from day one wasn't a crime but merely, at most, a firing offense.

lurker

Dale is right on TS stuff. Went through an annual security clearance briefing...not

lurker

Dale is right on TS stuff. Went through an annual security clearance briefing...not too long

Laddy

TopSecret9,

Both Isikoff and Corn have replied to the York piece and have said that Rove and Libby's reps knew about the book and refused to answer questions or make comments. Whether 'tis true or not, who knows. Although I don't know how the lawyers could respond to a story with any specificity that was under adjuducation. Doesn't the judge have a gag order imposed in the Libby case? Hard to respond to the conspiracy peddlers if that's the case.

Ranger

Sara,

I think you are giving Fitz and the FBI too much credit. I think the FBI conducted this investigation the same way they conduct most of their investigation. They chose a theory of the crime and then investigated to prove the theory (Richard Jewel(sp?) the Atlanta Olympic bombing suspect is a classic example of this). In this case, they adopted the "Jeff" theory of the crime, which is to say that this was the product of bad actors in either the White House or OVP. Any information that might have guided them away from those two possible conclusions was ignored.

What Fitz knew when he indicted Libby was that UGO had confessed to talking to Novak in early July. My guess is that someone (maybe Wilson, maybe Grossman, maybe someone else) tipped Fitz to the fact that reporters were talking about "Wilson's Wife" before UGO told Novak. Since UGO wasn't in the OVP or White House universe, his part of the story was simply not followed up. At some point Fitz figured out that Libby talked to Miller in late June, thus he must have been the "first leaker" predating UGO's leak to Novak. Now, the rub is of course that UGO had also told Woodward on 13 June, but Fitz didn't know that (either because he is grossly negligent as an investigator or because UGO lied). I don't think Fitz knew UGO had talked to Woodward two weeks before Libby ever talked to any reporters about "Wilson's Wife" and so he believed Libby was the "first leaker" durring the presser.

I think Woodward stayed quiet because he thought Fitz was a smart enought to figure out he was on the wrong track. It wasn't until the presser that Woodward realized how misdirected Fitz's whole investigation was and forced UGO to come forward. But, by then Fitz had fried himself. Now he is in a struggle for his professional life because he botched the whole thing so badly. His only hope is that the whole thing dies on a technicality or he can come up with another high profile indictment which will give him the chance to correct the record without admitting how badly he personally messed this up.

At the moment, I think Fitz pushes the whole thing forward under the "and maybe the horse will learn to sing" logic of hoping that somehow the whole thing works out despite how absurd it is.

Dale in Atlanta

Chants:

Yes, it does not matter, one wit, whether Valerie Plame's STATUS, was ever mentioned in a Classified Paragraph, as a NOC, CIA employee, whatever.

The very fact, her Name, was in a Paragraph, marked S/NF or TS/Whatever, means that her name was Classified, Whatever the Paragraph was classified!

End of Story!

Armitage, or any other reader, does NOT get to make the decision, to decide that her name is Unclassified; regardless of her employer being an "open" secret among the media cogniscenti, regardless of whether she was in Who's Who; regardless of whether she was outed to the Cubans and Russians, years before, or the NYT outed her front company!

Rove, skirted the issue, by saying "you've heard that too..." type of thing; but her name, in a classified paragraph, was automatically classified, even if her status was never mentioned!

If Libby, discussed her by Name (regardless of status); and got that from a Classified Document, then he's guilty too.

IF he used her name, from a classified document.

If he didn't use her name, from a classified document, but heard it thru gossip, or was asked about it, and knew it from an unclass source, then he's not guilty.

But, everything I see about Armitage, is that he's guilty of violating Classification laws, and he should've been prosecuted!

The whole NOC/non-NOC thing was a red herring, once it was revealed how Armitage leaked the info; he knew he was guilty and liable too, the whole way he handled himself, after it came out!

His whole take on the affair, afterwards, stinks of someone who's been caught, and doing his best NOT to take responsibility.

I suspect that he and Colin Powell never in their wildest dreams, knew they'd draw an out of control Special Prosecuter, who was out to damage the Bush Administration, regardless of who should've been charged!

By the way, it's the CIA that controls the classification on NOC's, and it is TS/Codeword/Codeword, etc., and VERY tightly controlled, and even within the CIA, very little access is given on that type of thing; I'd be surprised if it was even as many as dozens, within the CIA, who knows/has access to that type of thing; and I can't imagine anyone, outside the CIA, including within the White House, who'd have open access to that type of information.

It would have to be something that was specifically requested.

So, IF Plame's name, was in a Non-CIA Classified Document, I strongly suspect that it was put in there, solely because the originator DIDN'T know she could've been possibly a NOC; but everything I've seen, indicates she was NOT currently a NOC, so there was never any danger of that particular statute being violated! Red Herring, manufactured by the Media/Joe Wilson from the start.

Her status just didn't matter, because she was NOT NOC!

But, again, her Name, in a Classified document, talking about her job, or whatever, made it classfied, and Armtiage is guilty!

By the way, ALL DeClassification Authority, rests with the President!

So, technically, and legally, the President of the United States CANNOT "leak" classified information; by the very fact of the POTUS speaking it, it becomes declassifed, if he speaks it into a Declassified forum.

Otherwise, the President delegates DeClassification Authority, in writing, to other subordinates, such as Director of the CIA, NSA, DIA, etc.,

And, they, can, in writing, further delegate Declassfication Authority.

Which is why EVERY Classified document, produced, has, or should have, the Classifying Authority on it; and that information contained therein, can ONLY be declassified, by that particular Authority!

Does that all make sense?

Slartibartfast

I'm pretty conversant with what Dale's talking about, so let me reiterate: there's a paragraph that mentions Valerie Wilson that's only classified at the Secret/NF level. I'd imagine NOC identities would be classified at at least TS; perhaps TS-codeword.

clarice

Actually, Armitage and Powell have not received their just desserts.
Yet.

Neither has Tenet.
Neither has Fitzgerald, nor Comey nor Corn nor Kristof nor Pincus, etc.

Chants

Ok, let me give you a hypothetical.

Lets say someone sticks the entire Encyclopedia Brittanica in a memo, and marks it top secret.

I can't really come to the conclusion tha this person can no longer talk about anything in that memo.

That's kind of like someone going to a his lawyer and telling him everything he doesn't want to reveal during discovery, then demanding that his lawyer assert atty - client priv. every time the other side asks for it.

Jeff

send 'em your resume and bill soros a few hundred bucks per hour

If only. Truth is a higher though less well-paid master. (Kidding.)

several lefties have shifted

Pretty sure the left's preeminent Plameologist, emptywheel, has always thought the INR memo was a red herring, without any retreat forced or otherwise.

It remains an interesting mystery where Rove learned about Plame. His official story, such as it is, appears to be that he can't remember, but it might have been a reporter - but he can't remember who or whether it was in person or over the phone - and it might have been another government official who got it from a reporter. Or maybe it was in some social setting.

As for Libby's knowledge of Plame's classified status, we will have to see what Fitzgerald's got, though I doubt he has direct, as distinct from circumstantial, evidence. Circumstantial evidence would include, for instance, the fact that Cheney told him that Plame worked in CPD, in the DO, the clandestine side of the CIA, and the way Libby treated the information. But we'll see.

Dale in Atlanta

Cathyf:

What you're saying, on it's face, makes absolute, perfect sense!

But, I'm telling you, I knew people, who "revealed" stuff, that logically was "unclassified", but because they did so, out of a Classified document, they were toast!

I know it doesn't sound right, but it's a fact.

Now, maybe, because they weren't famous politicians, or bigwig, or couldn't hire 6-figure lawyers, that's why they paid the price; but, once it was proven that they reveal information, they took from a classified document, despite the fact that that information was in the "public domain", that was the end of them!

topsecretk9

Laddy...thanks I did see that. I'm sure that any contact was contentious and offensive.

Slartibartfast

Rove, skirted the issue, by saying "you've heard that too..." type of thing; but her name, in a classified paragraph, was automatically classified, even if her status was never mentioned!

You assume that Rove ever saw the document. Do we know that?

I question your assertion that something is classified simply because it appears in a classified paragraph. By that assertion, "the" and "if" (as well as a whole lot of other words) are classified Top Secret. Context is important.

jerry

Clarice, you sound Rapture-ready. :-)

Dale in Atlanta

Chants: hi, I know it's a bureaucracy, and it screws up from time to time; but there is some common sense to the system.

If someone did the scenario that you outlined; there is supposed to be someone, somewhere, that says "Hey Bozo, why are you classifying 2 Billion words of Unclassified stuff?"


That's supposed to happen. Sometimes, it doesn't; and people do hate putting unclassified stuff, into classified messages; hence the paragraph classification system.

If you're writing something, that is truely UNCLASS, then you're supposed to split that out into an UNCLASS paragraph, and truely only classify the stuff that is classified!

That's the way it's supposed to work; which is why the whole premise of Albany as the State Capital thing, probably shouldn't happen.

Anyway, if as Slartibartfast says above, that Valerie Wilson's name was in a S/NF paragraph, then it's totally obvious, that the person that classified that particular paragraph, had NO CLUE, or did NOT believe, that she was a NOC, or that she any longer had the status of a NOC.

But, it's also obvious, that they thought that her name, in it's current occupation, was S/NF for some reason.

So, releasing her name from that, does not make it a crime against the specific statute designed to protect NOC's, and nor should it, because she wasn't a NOC, under the legal definition.

But, I still stand by my original contention, that her name was classified at a S/NF level, or a reason, and that revealing that, by Armitage, was a violation, that he could/should have to answer for!

And, we know that Rove did NOT reveal her name; and even IF he did, he'd have had to gotten it from a classified document, and knowingly leak it then, to make it actionable.

Same for Libby; but I don't remember the circumstances of how he came by Valerie's name, and whether he did in fact, reveal her by name??

Ranger

The issue about classification is interesting because to get the answer you have to know what the reader knew before they read the document. If I know that Albany is in New York from open soureces before I read a TS document that states the same thing, I am not expected to treat that information (that Albany is in New York) as TS.

If Armitage knew from State Department gossip that Joe Wilson's wife works at the CIA in counter-proliferation, I don't see how he can be exspected to treat that information as secret. What might have been secret and not shared was her role in getting him the gig (since that relates to sources and methods of intel gathering).

My guess is that what was classified about that particular paragraph was the specific organizations present at the meeting, since that does specificly relate to methods (ie what parts of the US government are directly involved in the day to day implementation) of counter-proliferation.

Addisionally, if she was still under NOC status, the classification of her name should have been well above TS. At least TS/SCI (or what ever they are calling it now) and probably higher than that. Which means that the person that wrote the memo was not aware of her status (technical or otherwise) as a NOC.

lurker

What does "S/NF" stand for?

sad

TS

I would further question whether korn and izzy identified the forthcoming book as the reason they wanted interviews. Rove and Libby's people certainly wouldn't want to waste time on such non-journalists for the usual muck they "write."

clarice

jerry, If you knew me better you'd know that I cannot stand, really cannot bear to let stand unpunished, injustice or perfidious behavior. I tracked people who helped the Nazis and put together cases against them. I brought down a well-financed and well-entrenched union boss who killed my client, his wife and daughter.
It may not be a pragmatic way to live, but it is my nature and it makes me feel I've contributed in some small way to civil virtue to make snakes pay for such behavior.
These snakes haven't paid yet.

They haven't begun to pay yet.

They undermined the most honest President at a critical juncture out of egotistical pique, for political advantage and for fun.
They have a huge debt to society which needs be paid.

Dale in Atlanta

Slartibartfast: I do not know if Rove ever saw that in a classified document or not; I was using it a conjecture, I think; someone else may know that answer, but I don't.

Okay, the "if" and "the" stuff; I know, I know; you can pick this apart all day; a little commonsense applies; so we know that's not obviously the case!

Touche though.....!

Rocco

Carl Ford, INR...kept telling the media, we warned the president that the Iraq-Niger Intelligence was bogus!

Cause we believed the French when they told us they maintained "strict control" over Niger's yellowcake!

cathyf
But, I'm telling you, I knew people, who "revealed" stuff, that logically was "unclassified", but because they did so, out of a Classified document, they were toast!
Yes, Dale, but in all those cases "toast" meant fired. There is a HUGE difference between getting fired, and a criminal investigation. All sorts of things can get you fired that aren't crimes or even close to crimes. And the FBI and prosecutors shouldn't be investigating things unless they are crimes.

(Libby is facing fines and years in prison. Kinda makes "toast" look trivial, eh?)

Dale in Atlanta

Ranger: you're first para is a good question, and I don't know the answer, actually; maybe it wasn't contained in the book; if someone knows, please tell us!

Lurker: I feel a little uneasy spelling it out; not sure if it's classified or not; and I probably shouldn't have just thrown that out, without knowing for sure.

Google it, you may come up with an answer....

Dale in Atlanta

Cathyf:

Actually, in one particular case that comes to mind, the individual, from the US Navy, used the defense that the info he had given away, was in the public domain!

His defense failed, because it was shown that he sought out Classified documents, with that info in it, and gave them to someone who was not "cleared" for it!

He was Court Martialed, and sent to the Brig for six months, and drummed out of the US Navy with a Bad Conduct Discharge!

Now that is not being "fired"!

Dale in Atlanta

Cathyf:

Actually, in one particular case that comes to mind, the individual, from the US Navy, used the defense that the info he had given away, was in the public domain!

His defense failed, because it was shown that he sought out Classified documents, with that info in it, and gave them to someone who was not "cleared" for it!

He was Court Martialed, and sent to the Brig for six months, and drummed out of the US Navy with a Bad Conduct Discharge!

Now that is not being "fired"! That is "toast"!

Jane

Clarice,

What about an article calculating the costs to the democrats over this mess. There are the obvious costs, to the taxpayer, to the Joe Wilson defense fund etc, but there are also opportunity costs, to reputation, credibility, that sort of thing. They were led down a garden path, and they bought it lock stock and barrell. (I can't get over the fact that Wilson is really the father of the anti-war movement with the whole "Bush lied" meme.

The ultimate in revenge would be to have the democrats turn on Wilson. Inch by inch people like Jeff are being forced to realize they were taken for a ride. What faster way to come to that conclusion than to feel what it cost them personally. A person much more creative than I could make a dent in that.

I hate being lied to. And the left was lied to, repeatedly. Some of them, those not completely consumed by BDS, have to be angry about that.

And then there is Powell. There is a special place in hell reserved for him in this mess.

jerry

Can't miss that Clarice! Despite my modest celebrity as a shameless Plame-speculator, I am ultimately interested in the actual facts of course.

Dale in Atlanta

PS: he was busted down in rank from Petty Officer to Seaman, and lost most of his paycheck in fines, for several months as well!

I witnessed all this personally, by the way, this is not hearsay!

That's "Toast"

PeterUK

Clarice,
Bringing up the Dreyfus case was a timely reminder of what government do when they"go after" someone.This is a far more likely scenario of what would have been the fate of Valerie Plame,rather than the unutterably soppy,wet,weedy girls school punishment of "outing".

cathyf

Ok, fair enough -- court martial is more than fired. But a court martial for a non-criminal release of classified info is still fundamentally a disciplinary action, not a criminal prosecution. There are lots of things which are court-martial-able offenses which are not crimes. The FBI and the prosecutor are given substantial powers, and part of the rules are that they limit their activities to cases where a reasonable person can see that a crime has been committed.

topsecretk9

Since Chris Matthew's decided to become apart of the story has anyone ever grilled the guy about the context of his lame "fair game" contribution, because that seems to one key element he and his buddy Wilson have managed to keep hidden, and one I'm sure Wilson would like to continue to gloss over.

Dale in Atlanta

Cathyf: I'll concede your last point.

We in the military (formerly in my case) used to get pretty damn frustrated about that fact that multiple careers were ended, over accidental classified information releases, while our "betters", up in DC, were releasing crap directly to the media on a daily basis (NYT, LA Times, NSA Wiretap story; US Senator's and Congressmen, anyone??); that under less serious circumstances saw very good Military men and women have their careers ended, or spent time in jail, or lost rank and/or money.

Trust you me, there is exactly NO sympathy in the Military community, for ANYONE who leaks classified information!

Chants

Give them a few months, TSK9.

They are about to get a huge education about what "fair game" really means once they push their case into litigation.

(assuming it even goes that far)

cathyf

Imagine that somebody on the white house broke into the oval office and did two things: drew mustaches on the president's daughters in the picture he has of them on his desk, and stole a million-dollar piece of art. Everyone on the staff is a suspect, and the investigators are focusing on the most productive clue, that the mustaches are drawn with a very exotic ink.

A special prosecutor is named after the FBI has been investigating for 6 months. He finds out in the first week of his investigation that the million-dollar piece of art is in the Smithsonian vault, where it has been since a month before the mustache incident when it was rotated out of the oval office and put back in storage. (Nobody was paying attention to the art, obviously!) But in the FBI notes he has that the VP's top aide, "Razor" Biddy, blathers on and talks in riddles and the FBI is sure he's gotta be guilty of something.

The prosecutor vows to get to the bottom of it. He even puts the ink saleswoman in jail for 84 days to force her to testify to whom she sold ink to. She finally agrees to testify, but only if the questions are limited to the ink transactions she had with Razor Biddy. She testifies that she knows she sold some kind of ink to him, but she's not sure if he bought that exact ink, or another one, or which time.

So where is the outrage about the out-of-control prosecutor putting somebody in freaking jail to find out who drew mustaches on the twins' picture?

You know, I've been following the Plame Kerfuffle for long enough that I have become somewhat desensitized. But every so often I need to step back and note that some people in this country are simply freaking insane. They would destroy freedom of the press, the rights of the accused, the fundamental freedoms of this country, all for some childish game of "gotcha."

Slartibartfast

But, I still stand by my original contention, that her name was classified at a S/NF level, or a reason, and that revealing that, by Armitage, was a violation, that he could/should have to answer for!

I think the phrase you're looking for is safeguard as classified. I think this is nearly nit-picking on the level of detail for those not familiar with this kind of thing, but it's crucial: unless otherwise directed, treat as classified.

What I'm talking about goes to NOC status, and hence to CIPA.

clarice

I don't really care about the intricacies of classification any more. For one thing Fitz makes no claim that the only person indicted ever knew Plame was..if indeed she was. In the other, we all know that the rules are different higher up the chain (Sandy Berger).

Jane, that's an interesting angle. I'll think about it, but right now I really want to do something to see that Tenet and Powell and Armitage and Fitzgerald pay for what they did and that Libby is spared more of this nonsense, and I still can't figure out how.

The thing is I once spent about a week vacationing with Colin and Alma Powell (and others) and am genuinely fond of them, they were really down to earth likeable people. Amazing what high office here does to people.

Usually when I think I can't stand this any more, Bush finally acts. Maybe I'll get lucky and he'll act again by yanking Fitz' appointment which I think is the best and fastest way to deal initially with this.

I can't imagine that Powell and Armitage will ever ride as high again in public esteem as they once did.

Slartibartfast

What does "S/NF" stand for?

Secret/No Foreign Nationals. Means that even Foreign Nationals carrying Secret Clearance cannot view the material. There used to be several other Secret caveats, but some of them have gone away, and there are probably new ones. There used to be CNWDI - Critical Nuclear Weapons Design Information, WNINTEL (Warning Notice: Intelligence Sources and Methods Involved) and probably some other things I've forgotten. I'd guess that NOCs would at least have the WNINTEL appendage on classification, and more likely would be TS.

Syl

Slart and Chance

Dale is right.

But so is Cathyf!

We went through this ages ago when I first brought up the fact that it was Harlow who goofed!

Harlow confirmed Val was CIA, later checked her status and found it was classified. Oops. He is supposed to check first!

Anyone who has access to classified info, knows from signing the NDA, what the rules are. And breaking the rules is a possible firing offense.

But 99.9999% of the time it is NOT a criminal offense!

We do not have an Official Secrets Act.

So Harlow broke the rules. So did Armitage.

But in neither case were criminal charges filed against them.

The ONLY reason I can think for fitz to continue the investigation after he knew of Armitage and knew that Libby had played no part in that was IF Val was covert and fitz was still looking for evidence that Libby KNEW she was covert.

In which case it wouldn't matter legally whether a reporter had gone to print or not, Libby would be charged with an IIPA violation for simply having revealed Val works at CIA.

That would be fitz's thinking and except for believing Wilson's storyline I'm not as angry at Fitz as others are.

But it does depend on Val being covert within the IIPA time requirement.

If she wasn't (and we still do NOT know) then all the words hurled at fitz will be joined by mine.

I still think the whole situation is lousy, criminalizes politics, and is hurting a man who did not purposely out or attempt to out anybody.

lurker

OT:

Bush subponead over wiretapping lawsuit:

Bush / WH Subpoenaed

topsecretk9

Chants

I am going to make a bold prediction that once the context of Matthew's "fair game" comment comes about the whole "smear campaign" farce swizzles down the drain... even more.

And will ultimately prove embarrassing to Matthew's for being such a ninny.

lurker

Bush was right to act:

link

azredneck

Clarice: I have read all of your articles for the past year or so and that's why I suggested that you do it. You are always so cogent.
I also recognize that AT would be preaching to the choir--not the audience needed at this point. We need to get the info-whatever you think most important at this time-into some crusaders' hands. That's why I threw in OReilly & Hannity. They have huge followings and love crusades. If anyone can mobilize widespread opinion, those two can rant and rave with the best of them!
Clear Libby is the rallying cry, smearing whoever--Fitz,Powell,Wilson? Maybe Fitz is the best.

Sara (Squiggler)

Ranger -- in between trying to conduct some personal telephone business, I've been trying to recall where the source is that Armitage called Gonzalez the day after Novak's second article. I can't remember the timeline on that compared to when the presser was. And when did Armitage and Powell appear before the GJ? And like I said, Novak knew and he says he cooperated fully so I'm betting that Fitz knew full well that Libby wasn't his guy before he indicted. If he didn't that is even more reason for him to go down for prosecutorial misconduct. He absolutely knew that Libby claimed he wasn't the first ... that's what he charged Libby on lying about. So, he had Libby's own testimony and I would think that along with Novak's, that should have given him a head's up that more investigation was needed before he charged off willy nilly and started the indictment ball rolling.

clarice

Thanks, az. I think I will try to find a workable course of action I want people to follow and then try to get someone to work with me in publicizing it.

Or, I could simply tie myself (and volunteers) to the DoJ building and insist we won't leave until Gonzales fires Fitz and drops the case. %^)

azredneck

There's always Cindy and Code Pink! I guess I could plan a trip to visit my son and join you.
AJ is also weighing in today with a long post about Fitz' behavior.


clarice

AJ does a good fisking of the presser now that we know more.

I think he should send it to DoJ.

Tom Maguire

From Slart:

I'm talking about Ford perhaps discovering Plame's identity through the now-pervasive grapevine, and unknowingly publishing it without proper portion-marks.

Just to be clear (and I may need to go to re-write on this) - I am satisfied that Plame's status was classified and Ford made a mistake with this memo, so I am *not* arguing that this memo "proves" Plame was not classified.

However, I am arguing that a savvy reader of this memo could reasonably come away with the idea that Plame's status was not classified.

lurker

I thought the argument was whether Plame was NOC or covert. I think many people would agree that Plame was classified.

lurker

There is a big difference between "classified" and "NOC" or "covert".

lurker

There is a big difference between "classified" and "NOC" or "covert".

Sara (Squiggler)

This last section of AJ's post on Fitz's presser just makes me want to GAG! Clarice, this guy has to go down with Armitage.

The only one who through sand, who hid what was happening was Armitage. He hid the Woodward talk that was prior to the Novak talk. And clearly Miller had a contact prior to Libby, but that sand did not bother Fitz-Magoo. It did not matter that Miller had to correct her accounts per her notes, as did Libby, Rove and Armitage and Woodward. All of them had to correct the record. But only Libby’s correction was nefarious? The original leaker did not mention the original leak! Libby claimed he TALKED to reporters. Not that he DIDN’T talk to them!

As you sit here now, if you’re asking me what his motives were, I can’t tell you; we haven’t charged it.

So what you were saying is the harm in an obstruction investigation is it prevents us from making the fine judgments we want to make.

I also want to take away from the notion that somehow we should take an obstruction charge less seriously than a leak charge.

This is a very serious matter and compromising national security information is a very serious matter. But the need to get to the bottom of what happened and whether national security was compromised by inadvertence, by recklessness, by maliciousness is extremely important. We need to know the truth. And anyone who would go into a grand jury and lie, obstruct and impede the investigation has committed a serious crime.

I believe that includes prosecutors misrepresenting the facts. National security is serious and it may have been compromised, but it had nothing to do with Libby and everything to do with Armitage. But Fitzgerald is clearly sending the message that the national security breach was related to Libby - even though he was only used to confirm Armitage’s exposure of Val’s identity. Fitzgerald is truly shading the truth here.

QUESTION: For all the sand thrown in your eyes, it sounds like you do know the identity of the leaker. There’s a reference to a senior official at the White House, Official A, who had a discussion with Robert Novak about Joe Wilson’s wife.

QUESTION: Can you explain why that official was not charged?

FITZGERALD: I’ll explain this: I know that people want to know whatever it is that we know, and they’re probably sitting at home with the TV thinking, “I’m want to jump through the TV, grab him by his collar and tell him to tell us everything they figured out over the last two years.”

We just can’t do that. It’s not because we enjoy holding back information from you; that’s the law.

And one of the things we do with a grand jury is we gather information. And the explicit requirement is if we’re not going to charge someone with a crime; if we decide that a person did not commit a crime, we cannot prove a crime, doesn’t merit prosecution, we do not stand up and say, “We gathered all this information on the commitment that we’re going to follow the rules of grand jury secrecy, which say we don’t talk about people not charged with a crime, and then at the end say, well, it’s a little inconvenient not to give answers out, so I’ll give it out anyway.”

This is the biggest bunch of BS I have ever seen. Special prosecutors were required to generate a report on all aspects of their investigation. There is NOTHING against Fitzgerald saying “the original source for Novak’s column was Armitage, Rove provided a weak confirmation and the CIA provided a strong confirmation, but in the end no crime was deemed to be committed”. Fitzgerald is lying or misrepresenting again. First he implies Libby is the root of the leak and then he claims he cannot discuss the root of the leak per grand jury rules? Which mail order college did he get his law degree from?

I can tell you that no one wants this thing to be over as quickly as I do, as quickly as Mr. Eckenrode does. I’d like to wake up in my bed in Chicago, he’d like to wake up in his bed in Philadelphia, and we recognize that we want to get this thing done.

Lie number three. If he wanted it over he could have closed this within a few months of being assigned. How many lies before a prosecutor is called on basic ethics? Is this how the legal profession wants to be seen?

I can say that for the people who work at the CIA and work at other places, they have to expect that when they do their jobs that classified information will be protected. And they have to expect that when they do their jobs, that information about whether or not they are affiliated with the CIA will be protected.

And they run a risk when they work for the CIA that something bad could happen to them, but they have to make sure that they don’t run the risk that something bad is going to happen to them from something done by their own fellow government employees.

See how it is so important to protect the CIA but not expose Armitage - the known source of the leak? This is why Fitzgerald is being dishonest. If leaking was the underlying imperative then Armitage would be up on serious charges for not relaying his leak to Woodward, by misleading the Grand Jury by implying his only leak was to Novak. The BS-ometer is pegged with this guy.

QUESTION: Mr. Fitzgerald, you said that it was OK for government officials to be discussing among themselves Mrs. Wilson’s identity. Were you troubled, though, that at least a half dozen people outside the CIA seemed to be talking about this in the weeks before her name was disclosed?

FITZGERALD: My job is to investigate whether or not a crime is committed, can be proved and should be charged. I’m not going to comment on what to make beyond that. You know, it’s not my jurisdiction, not my job, not my judgment.

More misleading (or ignorance of his job). His charter was to determine who leaked and whether it broke the law. He had total authority to explain WHY leaks were not breaking the law. My final point is Fitzgerald himself KNOWS he should have closed up shop early on - he admits it himself:

QUESTION: Can you give us any sense of how you think you might and how long it might take you now to determine if there was this underlying crime that occurred dealing with alleged unauthorized disclosure?

FITZGERALD: I can’t and I wouldn’t. And if I predicted two years ago when it started when it would be done, I would have been done a year ago.

Emphasis mine obviously. Fitzgerald knew all the parameters he needed related to the leaks. He knew who did it, their motives and their legal liability. Towards the leaks there was NOTHING. He knew it and he allowed himself to run amok setting perjury traps. The man should be brought up on charges for his actions. If we EVER want a legal system we trust and respect, Fitzgerald needs to be the one explaining how he let all of this get out of control. And he should explain the jailing of Judith Miller too, because he admits he had nothing related to the leaks prior to him putting her in legal jeopardy:

QUESTION: In the end, was it worth keeping Judy Miller in jail for 85 days in this case? And can you say how important her testimony was in producing this indictment?

FITZGERALD: I would have wished nothing better that, when the subpoenas were issued in August 2004, witnesses testified then, and we would have been here in October 2004 instead of October 2005. No one would have went to jail.

I didn’t have a vested interest in litigating it. I was not looking for a First Amendment showdown. I also have to say my job was to find out what happened here, make reasoned judgments about what testimony was necessary, and then pursue it.

And we couldn’t walk away from that. I could have not have told you a year ago that we think that there may be evidence that a crime is being committed here of obstruction, that there may be a crime behind it and we’re just going to walk away from it.

He had no idea of a crime before he went with the forced testimony? He knew Armitage was the leaker and had determined he would not charge him and he admits there was no hint of any other crime? The Judge in this case should be furious. The DoJ should be embarrassed. And the American people should be worried that their judicial process was abused in this manner. People’s lives were ruined because of all this. This is not a joke. Where do these people go to get their lives and reputations back from this out of control prosecutor, and those who knew the truth and never came forward?

Tom Maguire

On the theory that OVP was acting independently to Get Joe - there is the fact that Ms. Miller testified to receiving a Plame mention from Libby in June, and July.

Of course, as conspiracies go it was pretty weak - Miller did not recall any connection being drawn between the wife and the Niger trip, so "nepotism" was not in play there, and no one can show that Libby knew Plame was classified, so it is hard to see how that "punishes" Joe.

Besides, Cheney has many minions - why weren't more of them spreading the word, instead of waiting for folks like Cooper to call?

I happen to think that Libby may have been a lone agent on this, based on that old story that he had a particular bug about Wilson being an anti-Semite (based on the anti-neocon = antiSemite argument).

But if there was an evil conspiracy reaching to Dick Cheney, Fitzgerald never made the case, and won't.

clarice

It is something to reread the presser knowing what we now know, isn't it? No wonder Fitz was sweating like a pig thru it all.

I always found his overstatements (lies) there to have been bad, but in light of what we all know they are an outrage.

Sara (Squiggler)

TM -- In all this time, I still can not accept that anyone at the OVP or WH gave a flying fig about Val or who sent Wilson. Why would they? Their interest was in showing Wilson was lying about what happened in Niger re; Iraqi WMD. They had a potential secondary interest in correcting the record about the OVP sending Wilson, but the truth was that it was a CIA mission and which desk peon arranged the trip is only interesting from a gossip standpoint. This is a lefty red herring that, to me at least, has no bearing on what was really going on. Note the VP's note questioning if we are in the habit of sending people like Joe well after the fact. A question of process not a prescription for a smear.

I go back to the characterization of months ago ... this story was the geeks (Libby, et al) vs. the Gossips (Armitage, reporters, all the MSM, the DNC/Kerry campaign, etc.)

boris

the fact that Ms. Miller testified to receiving a Plame mention

Without actually checking ... I recall that her testimony consisted of speculation on the meaning of her notes, which included words like "Victoria Flame" and Bureau.

There really is just minimal support for Libby and Rove engaging in even idle gossip on the subject. Conjuring those hen scratchings into a nefarious conspiracy requires a rather potent hallucinogen.


topsecretk9

CO-DEPENDENT NO MORE

Novak, Woodward and Miller have all said they did not perceive anything their sources told them to be a "smear" or a planted smear...and Cooper had to force himself into "don't get too far out on WIlson" evil smear...seems to me, the other media participants need to enter rehab and DEAL with their long denial and finally come to grips with the fact that WILSON LIES/LIED!

Sue

Hey TM, Rove told Cooper on July 11 2003 that Plame/Wilson's occupation n' stuff would be "declassified soon."

He did? Where did you hear that?

boris

Italiacto!

Thomas Morrissey

Clarice,

I read your comment on Strate-Sphere about forwarding the Fitz-Fisking to the D.O.J. for possibly disciplinary disposition.

Will this work,can we help?

owl

It's going to be very hard to disabuse 72% of the American public of the propaganda they have been exposed to over the past 3 years

It's not going to happen.

As to the rest of the players, Wilsons and journos foremost and Powell and Armitage right behind - I am unaware of anything that can truly damage sewage, so I suppose the best thing is simply to let it naturally degrade.

Too slow. Been mulling this after watching Corn and Isikoff explaining that "yes folks, Armitage might have accidentally, without malice gossiped but more importantly, that evil WH crew deliberately inflicted grave evil on Plame and therefore the nation."

I want to see pictures of these creeps photoshopped as clowns. All I could think of while watching Isikoff was remembering him and Cooper one Sunday trying to stir trouble for Rove. We all know what the Judge thought about Cooper. These are special creeps that never quit. A book!

Clarice, wish you could tell this story with pictures. It would be better than a comic book. Yep, I would love to see pure scorn heaped upon the entire mass. And their best picture published beside each. Quite a yearbook. That 72% of the public does not even know what Corn looks like. He deserves special scorn. Maybe he could be waving his new book and out of one side of his mouth he could be quoting it and the other side of his mouth he could be dribbling all that bile that helped start and promote this show.

Maybe Armitage could receive a metal for bravery. Maybe Powell could just hide under his desk the day Scooter was indicted. Matthews could be an ad produced by the DNC shouting 'fair game'. Fitz might wear a halo. The Paper of Treason might just turn into perpetual spitballs.

Just someone please inflict some justice.

clarice

I have no idea if it'll work. You might offer to help AJ proof it and work it into petition form. We can circulate it online.

cathyf

Here is Fitzgerald from the presser:

And one of the things we do with a grand jury is we gather information. And the explicit requirement is if we’re not going to charge someone with a crime; if we decide that a person did not commit a crime, we cannot prove a crime, doesn’t merit prosecution, we do not stand up and say, “We gathered all this information on the commitment that we’re going to follow the rules of grand jury secrecy, which say we don’t talk about people not charged with a crime, and then at the end say, well, it’s a little inconvenient not to give answers out, so I’ll give it out anyway.”
...except, of course, when the information covered under grand jury secrecy is that the Vice President of the United States, acting in his official capacity as vice president, exercising his sworn duty to supervise government officials, dared to question the wisdom and judgement of some government bureaucrats. This act of supervision was *gasp* such a heinous crime that of course Fitzgerald was morally obligated to release this information publicly in a context that implied that this act was somehow incriminating. We can't have elected officials demanding accountability from bureaucrats -- and when one gets out of line and tries he must be punished!

Since an appointment under the terms of Fitzgerald's appointment is not lawful under the terms of the United States Constitution, I have long speculated, half-jest-full-earnest, that Fitzgerald is actually a foreign power. One who appears to be at war with the United States. (Ah, nnly in the US do we pay our enemies' salaries and expenses for them to wage war against us...)

owl

Ooops...I see that TM has posted a good one now on Corn and relieved a little of my steam.

Rocco

This INR memo was used to pummel Bush as a
liar. The left repeatedly made claim the memo proved INR warned Bush 13 days before the SOTU that the Niger Intelligence was bogus. Therefore, Bush is a lair!

Since the memo mentions, Tandja and our ambassador's reasons for claiming to debunk that Iraq-Niger report, perhaps a little pressure applied to Owens-Kirkpatrick could explain why Fulford was never told about an Iraq-Niger deal?

Why can't we use that memo now to rattle Owens-Kirkpatrick and Fulford?

Dale in Atlanta

Sara: your post is dead on!

I watched that entire press confence, and to me, as someone with experience with Classified information, Fitz was lying and dissembling his ass off!

Tom Maguire: you know, you bring up a great point.

My frustration with this Administration, is that they let the media, and the Left, "frame" ever argument, and as a result, like the Arabs/Hizbollah, they "win" because they do the framing!

In this Plame BS; they let the media/Wilson's cabal frame the argument, that Plame was a NOC, and thus classified!

They could've had one news conference, and put that to bed, but never did!

In the whole MSM bullshit about Bush/Rove/Cheney revealing classified information, to "damage" a political foe; they let the buffoons frame that too!

The Clinton Administration leaked so much classified information to attack political foes, that it became a weekly occurance; I don't even know where to start, to tell examples about that...

On the whole Iraq War thing; they let the MSM/Leftists/Jacobins frame the whole thing about lying about Intelligence, the 16 words SOTU, the whole thing; it just pisses me off!

Katrina, they let the press report BS and totally fabricated information, to the point it is now accepted as fact: dozens of deaths/rapes etc., in the Superdome/Convention Center; people evacuated based upon race, etc.

Clinton would've come out, and made one totally BS "I feel your pain..." speech, and the MSM would've been writing his accolades over the same type of event!

I've frankly, never seen an Administration as incompetent as this one, AT DEFENDING ITSELF!, and selling it's message!

It's crazy!

Jane

That's it in a nutshell Cathy.

Jane

You know, I've been following the Plame Kerfuffle for long enough that I have become somewhat desensitized. But every so often I need to step back and note that some people in this country are simply freaking insane. They would destroy freedom of the press, the rights of the accused, the fundamental freedoms of this country, all for some childish game of "gotcha."

For some reason your "nutshell" didn't show up.

AJStrata

Folks,

Feel free to clean up (but please site) the post and add to it. I could only stomach so much of Fitzgerald's BS before I had to stop.

The other item to dissect is Fitzgerald's requests on the subpoenas against Miller, et al. I recall some claims that would not pass muster anymore.

AJStrata

MayBee

Some form of ethical charge should be lodged against Fitz

This seems like a good time for the press to start getting angry at him. He jailed Judy Miller when he already knew no crime had been committed.
He knew who Novak's sources were. He knew basically what had happened.
Yet he threatened Cooper and threw Miller in jail.
Shouldn't the press be outraged all over again?

Sue

The press hates Judith Miller. If you don't believe me, type her name in google and read a few articles.

Tom,

On the theory that OVP was acting independently to Get Joe - there is the fact that Ms. Miller testified to receiving a Plame mention from Libby in June, and July.

I know that is Jeff's theory. I don't buy it. First, who instigated the meeting, Libby or Miller? That is something I haven't seen discussed and would make a huge difference in my theory.

Sue

One thing that doesn't make sense to me now is why Valerie Plame won't, unequivocally, tell us she was NOC or covert or whatever, at the time of the Novak article. If she was NOC, can she never talk about it?

Ranger

Sara,

My point isn't to argue that Fitz did a good job or shouldn't have investigates more before indicting Libby. My point is that initially the FBI and later Fitz had a theory of the "crime" and investigated to prove the "crime." That theory was that the leak came from either the OVP or the White House. UGO's confession initially only covered his talk with Novak in early July. Once Fitz found out that the "first leak" took place before then.

Figuring out who was the "first leaker" was within his mandate, in fact it was specificly his mandate. Where things went off track was that somehow Fitz figured out that Libby talked about "Wilson's Wife" with Judy Miller in late June. This fit the theory, so he ran with it. Once Fitz had established that Libby had talked to Miller about "Wilson's Wife" he had a leak that predated the UGO/Novak discussion, and hence the "first leak." Libby's mixed up testemony then was seen as evidence that Libby was trying to avoid admitting he was the "first leaker."

That is what Fitz is talking about in the presser, and it loosely fits together if you don't know that UGO talked to Woodward two weeks before Libby talked to Miller.

The question left to be answered at this point is: why didn't Fitz know when he indicted Libby that UGO was actually the "first leaker?" As Clarice has pointed out, Fitz was very careful, once he had settled on Libby as the "first leaker" not to ask any quesitons that might distrupt that theory, and to ignore any evidence that might cast doubt (such as Miller stating that she had other sources, but she couldn't remember who they were or when she talked to them).

Fitz had a working theory and sufficent legal proof, so he indicted. What he wasn't counting on is Woodward deciding enough was enough and forcing UGO to come clean about their June 13 talk.

Now, Fitz's presser can be completely deconstructed with hindsight, but at the time, without Woodward coming forward to blow up the Libby as "first leaker" there was no definitave proof that Fitz's theory was wrong. Fitz could have found the proof easily enough, but that's not how either the FBI or Fitz usually work. They both push their pet theories until the wheels come off.

AJStrata

I decided to take a crack at the US SC filing from Fitz. He may be in serious trouble if my speculation is correct.

http://strata-sphere.com/blog/index.php/archives/2391

We shall see.

AJStrata

clarice

I think that is an unfair characterization.

When I prosecuted, before we filed we had to file an extensive memo, isting the strengths and potential weaknesses of the case. On hard ones, we even had internal debates before passing if up for approval.

I return to an earlier theme of mine:The error was in the unconstitutional appointment of a prosecutor subject to no oversight whatsoever...a precedent we've never seen.
Even the indepdendent prosecutors appointed under the now defunct law, had to report the progress of their work periodically to a panel of judges who exercised this oversight.

Fitz had none. It shows.

Comey who set this up, I remind you, has in my opinion faulty judgement, too. Not only because he set up this monstrous thing but as well because he prosecuted Martha Stewart for someone no one else would have,

Cecil Turner

But, I still stand by my original contention, that her name was classified at a S/NF level, or a reason, and that revealing that, by Armitage, was a violation, that he could/should have to answer for!

Two points:

  1. Each paragraph is marked to show the highest level of classified material it contains. It does not mean every bit of information in that paragraph is classified at that level. In the paragraph in question, there are two redacted bits that are apparently still classified, and a brief mention of the CIA/INR argument that was the subject of the (fourth) TS classified paragraph. It is not unreasonable to believe someone reading that paragraph would conclude those bits were SECRET, and Ms Wilson's employment was not;

  2. What consitutes a "violation," in military terms, does not apply to civilians. A criminal prosecution has to fall under one of the relevant statutes (in this case, either the IIPA or Espionage Act), none of which appear to fit.
And again, it's worth reading the subject line. Per the INR, this line is SECRET/NOFORN:
Niger/Iraq Uranium Story and Joe Wilson
So merely mentioning Wilson, Niger, Iraq, and uranium--the day after Wilson wrote about it in the New York Times--is the same classification as the paragraph containing his wife's name and employment. Why am I not shocked some folks reading this might have a little trouble taking it seriously?

Thomas Morrissey

Clarice,

Didn't independant prosecutors in the past also have to issue a report?

That would be very helpful in deciphering Fitz's thinking, or lack thereof.

Sara (Squiggler)

AJ, apologies, I realize I left the link out of the long quote above and not everyone would know who AJ is ...

The link: The Lies of Fitzgerald

There is also a new post up that everyone should also read:

Fitzgerald Lies to the USSC

topsecretk9

Investor Biz Daily is going along AJ's lines

http://www.investors.com/editorial/editorialcontent.asp?secid=1501&status=article&id=241744137262638

Sara (Squiggler)

Thomas, according to Fitz and Comey, you don't need no dumb reports when you have the MSM to read everything you need to know. Honest!

clarice

Thomas, under this super spcial sauce appointment the prosecutor does not file a report. He is in the same position as respects that as any other prosecutor who is not permitted to do so.

Slartibartfast

TM:

Check. There's so much speculation right now that it's hard to anchor any of this to bedrock. Thinking what I think, it's hard to imagine that Plame was NOC in any legal sense, for reasons Cecil has detailed above (and excellent parsing of the document markings, Cecil; I tend to look at irregularities as bad typing (as if they even "type", anymore) rather than what ought to have been there and got redacted).

I do think your "savvy-reader" argument caves in to Dale's arguments; although I pick nits at him, I agree with most of it. If Armitage had read Plame's name in this document and had blabbed based on that reading, he'd committed a crime. I think a case can be made that it's a really, really bad idea to out CIA agents in general, and so even if a crime hadn't been committed, whoever did blab needs a little adverse reaction. Revile the CIA if you like, but the answer to a faulty CIA is better agents and directors, not destruction from without.

If it'd been me swearing in late January '01, one of the first things on my agenda would have been the replacement of George Tenant. And that's based on his actions prior to November 2000.

Slartibartfast

There is also a new post up that everyone should also read

Serious html problems, there.

Sara (Squiggler)

Serious html problems, there.

The links work for me just fine, what serious problems?

Ranger

The IBD editorial makes a bad assumption. Fitz didn't know until Woodward forced Armitage to come forward that he (Armitage) was the first leaker (after the Libby indictment). On the positive side though, I have a feeling this is going to force Fitz to explain how he managed to intervew NGO repeatedly and never found out he also leaked to Woodward weeks before Libby talked to Miller.

MayBee

Sorry. I'm working through this slowly. Stupid earth rotation/time zone thingie.

I love Colin Powell. His politics are much much closer to my own that GWBs are. It is possible that Bush didn't want to hear who thought they did what, so he could be legitimately out of the loop. I can understand keeping quiet publicly for fear of prosecution.

But.
Armitage could have told Tenant it was him.
Better than that, they could have used their clout where they really had it.
Powell and Armitage could have gone to the press. They could have gone on superdy dooper secret background and said, "Look. Armitage did this and it was inadvertant."

They could have told Schumer, they could have told the NYTs. It would have quashed the whole call for an investigation, and the whole tenor of reporting on it would have changed.
Their reputations would have remained intact (nobody in the press was going to go after Armitage to end his gossip), and it would have been over.
It could have been easy.

Jeff

Tom

On the theory that OVP was acting independently to Get Joe - there is the fact that Ms. Miller testified to receiving a Plame mention from Libby in June, and July.

My working theory for months now has been that in July, Libby was acting at the direction of Cheney to out Plame specifically by targeting Miller for a leak, in such a way that she would publicly blow V Wilson's cover. Calling it a weak one is mistaking breadth for strength. Name a single reporter who would occupy a more attractive position - in terms of the combination of friendliness to the OVP perspective on the Iraq war and prestige of perch in the MSM - as a targeted reporter for Libby's purposes than Miller. Add in her proven track record for relaying leaks from administration hawks on Iraq and WMD, and then add in her own investment in her own personal credibility for her WMD reporting, and I think you've got an ideal target for a leak about Ms. Wilson's CIA connections in Miller. Was Libby also counting a little on her aggressive skills as a reporter to pursue the story? Probably yes. And if it were a sensitive matter, you would not expect lots of Cheney's minions to be involved, would you? As for whether Libby was acting as a lone agent in June, originating the idea of going to Miller, I do not know.

Why didn't it work? Among other things, Miller was on double super secret probation at the Times for her crappy irresponsible reporting. According to her, she specifically tried to pursue a story on the Wilsons, and was stymied at the Times. How much do you want to bet Miller did not tell Libby, at breakfast on July 8 or any other time, that she was in the doghouse and would have trouble pursuing the story?

So the conspiracy was for Libby to get the leak out through Miller. Armitage was obviously no part of it, and Rove clearly knew enough about Plame to confirm for Novak and to tell Cooper, but I'm not so sure he was involved - the Cooper thing may have been an indiscretion driven by his knowledge that this stuff was coming out soon from Novak.

Yes, there is irony in the fact that Libby's conduct would not have been uncovered but for the investigation of a published leak that hardly touched Libby (though he did know it was coming, apparently). What would have happened had Armitage not leaked to Novak? Would Rove have blabbed to Cooper, leading to Libby's confirmation for Cooper? But what if Rove had already left for vacation when Cooper called? The big counterfactual, of course, is whether Miller would have eventually been able to publish.

cnj

If it'd been me swearing in late January '01, one of the first things on my agenda would have been the replacement of George Tenant. And that's based on his actions prior to November 2000.

Well, Son followed father's advice that CIA posts should be non-political and kept Tenet. He also had a good relationship with him.

clarice

Yes, Maybee , it could have been.

As for Jeff's theory, I have a suggestion where he can put it.

topsecretk9

MayBee

On TM new post I left my new official belief...Joe Wilson is the source of 1x2x6 an administration official was the "I heard that too"

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Wilson/Plame