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September 13, 2006

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lurker

"The drums are saying...let me stick my head out the window and listen....something about Armitage but I can't make out quite what it is..LOL"

Are the drums still beating even after the Wilsons added Armitage's name to their lawsuit?

Is it possible that we will see alot of humiliation coming from the leftwing blogsites?

Sara (Squiggler)

Clarice, according to Media Blog, Laurence O'Donnell is hearing the same drums:

I'll give the Huffington Post's Lawrence O'Donnell the last word:

I think they're going to have a lot of trouble keeping this case in court. I think the vice president's side of the case has a very, very strong case in going for dismissal.

ordi

I have not been able to stomach Barney Rubble (is it me or does Mathhews look like Barney?) for a LONG time. He use to be fair and informative but now one needs a rabies shot to watch him. LOL

Sara (Squiggler)

According to an article I read the other day, don't remember where, Libby has now spent over $7 million on his defense. I find this mind boggling and infuriating that he is forced into this position.

Clarice, as a Washington attorney, what do you think Libby's legal team will do next, what do you think they should do next?

lurker

Thought Libby has 7 million in his fund to spend; not spent it already?

cathyf
Not on that point, but as a conspiracy it doesn't scan. In order for the "punitive leak" scenario to make sense, they have to know Plame's technically covert (even though she isn't acting like it). The INR memo also has to be an implausibly convenient coincidence or a put-up job. The far simpler explanation was that it was inadvertent, which also tracks with the known data in the INR memo.
It's still plausible that it was a conspiracy to "out" Joe Wilson as a lying asshole. Doing so would certainly qualify as a "punitive leak" which could be very deliberate and have nothing whatsoever to do with secret agents.

Of course (broken record again) outing Joe Wilson as a lying asshole is not a crime, but using the FBI, the extra super duper special prosecutor, two grand juries, 85 days in jail and the threat of jailing others all to investigate who tattled on little Joey is an outraqeous assault upon the constitution, the judicial system, besides a gross violation of the civil rights of Libby, Rove, Cheney, Novak, Miller, Cooper, and yes, even Armitage.

Syl

This is fun!

Jeff

But given that Team Powell can't be pleased, and given that Novak is full of shit, whether you care or not, I can't wait to see what their response is. Maybe they'll take note of the fact that Novak has not gone after Rove for, among other things, not explaining himself ever, for having misled the American people, and for having given a sworn account that not only contradicts Novak's on an important point, but undermines Novak's journalistic credibility. I hope they take note of that, and include Rove in their response to Novak, as Rove has been the one who Novak has protected the most throughout.

Well, since Novak is full of shit how could Rove undermine the credibility he does not have?

Besides, seems to me that if Novak was protecting anyone he was protecting BOTH Rove and Armitage. So you stick with his early words re Armitage yet scorn him for Rove?

No bias here. Nope.

ordi

Sara,

That quote from Laurence O'Donnell is from his appearance on Olberman's hour of delusion in July 06.

http://media.nationalreview.com/post/?q=YTRlZDllOTQ1MTFlNzRlNzMwYTM1ZjdhNWFiNmYzNzQ=

kate

Lawrence O'Donnell seemed to sour on this case months ago, surprising since he was one of the first ones to finger Rove in the summer of 05.

I sense the media just wants this to go away, can only be bad news for them going forward. The Bush Admin has taken all the big hits it's going to take on this.

clarice

No. I have heard that Libby owes $7 million in legal fees and the defense fund hasn't raised nearly that much.
If he wins or the case is dismissed, the government (that is, us) will have to pay those.
I have no idea what Libby's team will do.

I know if I were the President I'd let a bit more of the real facts come out, and order the AG to direct Fitz to drop the case and, if he won't, fire Fitz. Then I'd give a speech laying out why I did this and ask for an investigation by the OPR into the investigation and prosecution and by the CIA's Inspector General into the referral.

verner

So now we know, the VP's office had nothing to do with the leak. Armitage/Powell, however, wanted the world to know that Joe Wilson was an idiot, and had nothing to do with state.

But that didn't mesh with Joe's VIP friends--who have been out to get Cheney all along.

By the way, until I read in an official government document that Valerie Plame was a covert agent at the time of the leak--she's just another "classified" manager. That may have been why Armitage kept his mouth shut, he knew that no laws were broken, and expected it all to go away without any indictments.

And there wouldn't have been, if Fitz hadn't gone on his little misdirected witch hunt. Sand in the umpire's eyes indeed. More like the umpire was wearing blinders.

clarice

The drums have nothing to do with that stupid civil suit.

sad

The drums have nothing to do with that stupid civil suit.

I hope the drums herald a long slow roast, complete with basting.

Sara (Squiggler)

The drums have nothing to do with that stupid civil suit.

I thought you were talking about the civil suit. Sorry must have misread.

I had not been to Libby's site for a long time until the other day. I was quite surprised at the very high power represented on his Committee. There are many people on that list who I would not want to get on the wrong side of in Washington.

Syl

Tom

Of course, the change in tone is explained by the fact that Novak wasn't irked with Armitage back then.

Add to that the media's frenzied belief that this source was in the White House when Novak knew it wasn't. Novak would be more likely to play 'the leak' down as 'revenge' because it obviously wasn't revenge from the White House. He just wanted the media to shut up about it because they had it all wrong.

It must have been damn frustrating for him.

Jane

I know if I were the President I'd let a bit more of the real facts come out, and order the AG to direct Fitz to drop the case and, if he won't, fire Fitz. Then I'd give a speech laying out why I did this and ask for an investigation by the OPR into the investigation and prosecution and by the CIA's Inspector General into the referral.

I doubt the President would do this. He's the kind of guy who expects people to do their jobs honestly and forthrightly. That expection has gotten him into a heap of trouble.

lurker

I was actually thinking beyond the civil lawsuit in regards to the drums.

Wow, 7 million dollars owed to the defense team in so few months. By January, imagine how much more Libby would end up owing his team of lawyers. Shame that we would end up paying most of those fees. Yup, the odds of Lewis winning this case, one way or the other continue to improve.

Brit Hume ran a segment about Novak, Armitage, etc. in his evening show. Nothing new there.

Quite frankly, I don't see many major holes in Novak's recent article (announcement) about Armitage.

cathyf
I know if I were the President I'd let a bit more of the real facts come out, and order the AG to direct Fitz to drop the case and, if he won't, fire Fitz. Then I'd give a speech laying out why I did this and ask for an investigation by the OPR into the investigation and prosecution and by the CIA's Inspector General into the referral.
Having the president do it dignifies the allegation way more than they deserve. (Even as a plameaholic I can recognize this!) Gonzales should do this. And have for-real OPR and IG investigations, not just sweeping it all under the rug.

I also think that the AG should appeal Walton's decision that Fitzgerald's appointment was constitutional. Say, "Look, we can't fire Comey because he quit long ago, but we have to fix the damage done to the government be allowing an extra-constitutional appointment to be set up." Maybe even better, don't fire Fitzgerald. Simply announce that he was not acting as an officer of the United States when he did everything that he did in the case, apologize to the court and withdraw everything that Fitzgerald has submitted in the case, and shut down his office immediately. Then pay everybody's legal bills, reinstate Libby. And make it clear that the AG is being magnanimus and not docking Fitzgerald's pay for all the time he spent on the case when he should have been doing his job in Chicago.

lurker

If Libby is reinstated, would he accept the job again? Probably not.

Tom Maguire

Armitage leaked to Novak deliberately (as opposed to an offhand way). This is Novak's assertion.

I still think there is a broad cintinuum between "idle chit-chat" and "purposeful leak".

One view of thw new Novak story is pretty sinister, actually - Armitage finally agrees in June to meet Novak, then passes alng a Plame tidbit that he tells him would be "perfect" for the column (hint, hint!).

But the same facts could just mean that, as the conversation wandered, Armitage said, hey, here is a stray, odd-but-true factoid that, now that I think of it, gave me a laugh and would be a perfect little background tidbit for you...

Not so sinister - Armitage at least recognizes it is newsworthy, but is just one notch above chit-chat.

OTOH, there is the leak to Woodward (which Armitage had to figure would *not* be published anytime soon.)

And some Bonus Bafflement: Per his column, Novak explained his sourcing this way:

I sat down with Armitage in his State Department office the afternoon of July 8 with tacit rather than explicit ground rules: deep background with nothing said attributed to Armitage or even an anonymous State Department official.

Seems clear enough, but... why did Armitage end up as a "senior Administration official"? Hwodeep was that?

And what about the mysterious unsourced assertion that opens the fateful Novak paragraph:

Wilson never worked for the CIA, but his wife, Valerie Plame, is an Agency operative on weapons of mass destruction. Two senior administration officials told me Wilson's wife suggested sending him to Niger to investigate the Italian report. The CIA says its counter-proliferation officials selected Wilson and asked his wife to contact him.

That first sentence looks like a "deep background" deal. And all Armitage told Woodward was that:

...the person told me Wilson's wife worked for the CIA on weapons of mass destruction as a WMD analyst.

No apparent mention of the Niger trip to Woodward.

So, a crazy thought - Armitage is the 'deep background' source for the first sentence with her job description but never mentioned the Niger connection (weird, since he was ostensibly working off of the INR memo); two other senior Admin officials provided the bit about her being sent to Niger.

lurker

Or perhaps Armitage did indeed mention the Niger trip but neither reporter wrote anything down about this trip?

owl

All here know I believe in order #1Val #2Joe #3Fitz #4CORN. I put Novak and Armitage way down the ladder of blame. And yes, Wilson's bud Grossman probably needs to be A list.

But compare trying to cover your loose lips (or azzz) compared to Corn's behavior. That lowball now is claiming credit for exposing the truth. Making a book tour.

I nominate Mama Corn into the media hall of shame and give second place to his co-author Isikoff. Remember....I watched him and Cooper do their number on Rove as a team effort.

clarice

TM, after all the time we spent on this case and the crap reporting, you actually think it's possible to identify through all the bafflegab reportage who said what when to whom?

Novak is insistent BTW that Armitage's claim he didn't realize he was the source was nonsense.Well, maybe you're right--had Novak not tried to hide the source by this odd reporting Armitage would have known in July. OTOH if Novak is right and Armitage knew in July, his silence is even more outrageous.

Tom Maguire

Armitage is accused of violating Plame's privacy rights.

The more I reflect on that... look, if they want to argue she has some bonus classified status and try to creat the civil equivalent of the Intelligence Identities Protection Act, wll, good luck.

But if they are seriously arguing that one government bureaucrat can not talk about another - gee, Armitage can't name the head of the Joint Task Force-Iraq without violating her *privacy* rights (as opposed to harming national security) - why is that not ridiculous?

Or, what gave Wilson the right to talk about Libby, or Karl Rove? How come we all talked about Wurmser and Hannah and Addington, and other low-level bureaucrats?

JM Hanes

Regarding:

"At the end of a wide-ranging interview he asked me, 'Why did the CIA send Ambassador (Wilson) to Africa?' I said I didn't know, but that she worked out at the agency," Armitage says."
Damn! Had that script down pat & then blew it in the interview.


Other Tom:
"Armitage as coward is the developing story."

That one's pretty much nailed. The story that's developing is Armitage as partisan gunslinger. His excuse for not cluing in the Prez just gets thinner and thinner. Why didn't he just have his surrogates stop by the White House on the way to their interviews with Isikoff & Corn?


cathyf:

"Methinks Novak has changed his mind based upon Armitage's actions over the last three years."

I think it more likely that he started out genuinely trying to protect his sources. If, as an Armitage surrogate asserts, this was the first time they'd met, he'd have a special incentive for trying to cut Armitage some public slack, as a source he hoped to cultivate further. He propabably called Army to convey the same kind of assurances the left found so damning when he apparently passed them along to Rove. If there ended up being discrepancies between the stories they told the prosecutor (Armitage got there first apparently) I'd bet Novak was already disenchanted by the time he wrapped up his testimony.

I'd also be very surprised if Woodward was the only one trying to wheedle a waiver out of Armitage (it was high time his source came forward, per Novak on Meet the Press). Then Novak had to sit there listening to Armitage run with the cover he had so generously provided, for which he got zero brownie points on a story that he started out owning. Was the Prince of Darkness royally pissed? We. Think. So. When you get burned by your source, you get to kiss da Rulz good-bye.

Tom Maguire

I meant that Powell didn't like the idea that he, as well as Bush, knew the falsity of Iraq's alleged nuclear ambitions before the invasion took place. Powell may have wanted to get the word out that Wilson didn't know what he was talking about and was sent by his wife.

I don't think it needs to be a conspiracy, but you are right that State had their own reasons to be annoyed with the CIA:

1. Powell's speech;

2. The misplaced INR dissent on Saddam's nuclear threat in the 2002 NIE, which was assembled by the CIA;

3. The Wilson trip itself - at the key meeting, State argued the trip was redundant and would be inconclusive (right twice!).

One wonders why (or whether) there weren't more Staties trashing Wilson and the CIA. Although offsetting that is that Grossman and Wilson were college buddies, or some such.

topsecretk9

TM

But the same facts could just mean that, as the conversation wandered, Armitage said, hey, here is a stray, odd-but-true factoid that, now that I think of it, gave me a laugh and would be a perfect little background tidbit for you...

Not so sinister - Armitage at least recognizes it is newsworthy, but is just one notch above chit-chat.

Didn't Novak ask the question, which was -- why did the Admin pick Joe Wilson who is a critic?

OTOH, there is the leak to Woodward (which Armitage had to figure would *not* be published anytime soon.)

AHHH...but Woodward said he passed it onto the person who might put it in print soon! Pincus. Woodward was hazy enough to leave wiggle room for a little "he said - she said", though.

Rick Ballard

Cathyf,

I absolutely agree with the concept that the President should not touch it. The only exception should be a pardon prior to trial should Special Persecutor Clouvert take his clown show into the courtroom.

The Mediacrats have been hit fairly well by this - who would knowingly trust a word written by the leading lackwits but the buffoons from the lefty moronosphere? They'll do the Emily Litella bit but this farce has just provided additional proof that Washington journos are fabulists when they're not fantasists. That which diminishes their wholly unearned reputatations as ought but liars is healthy for the Republic.

Tom Maguire

This strikes me as a clue. Why Novak? Why then? I'd like to know what they planned to talk about, why the meeting was called, and all the topics they did talk about.

I can guess where some of our friends on the left will head with this, but... as of June 2003, Novak was a useful, sympathetic ear for a State-led pushback against the neocons on the whole Iraq issue.

Jane

why did Armitage end up as a "senior Administration official"

Maybe because Armitage told Novak he could not attribute the info to him or state.

I sat down with Armitage in his State Department office the afternoon of July 8 with tacit rather than explicit ground rules: deep background with nothing said attributed to Armitage or even an anonymous State Department official.

Is state part of the administration - at least loosely? Armitage was clearly a senior official.

Of course if Novak penned this little lie, it goes to his credibility - which isn't held in the highest esteem anyway.

I do believe Novak's latest, maybe because of the tone, or maybe because I want to.

Other Tom

As one whose primary interest in the entire matter derives from enjoyment of bloodsport, I am nearly beside myself with joy at the current state of affairs. Could any rightwing nutball like myself ever, in his wildest dreams, have hoped that it would all come down to the Left defending Richard Armitage in a pissing contest with Robert Novak? As spectator sport, this bids fair to rival the Iran-Iraq war.

As for Powell, my disgust for that craven dog goes back a long, long way. At the outset of Gulf War I, while he was grandstanding with "we're going to cut it off, and then we're going to kill it," he was loading his buddy Woodward up with unattributed backstory material designed to cover his butt in the event of a calamity.
He is a worm, and it's becoming harder and harder for his sycophants to disguise that fact.

ordi

Someone requested the link to the Novak column. Here it is

http://suntimes.com/output/news/cst-edt-novak14.html>Novak: Real story behind Armitage's role

Jane

as of June 2003, Novak was a useful, sympathetic ear for a State-led pushback against the neocons on the whole Iraq issue.

Hmm, I didn't recall that. So maybe the plot thickens in an insidious way. Novak was closely associated with the administration, even if he didn't agree with them. Good plan to get 2 birds with one stone. Perfect for the hatching.

Wilson worries that someone will discover that his wife sent him to Niger. He's grousing to Grossman who says - they can't use that because she is covert. Then the lightbulb goes off - Let's get them before they get us.

clarice

I've said this before, but it makes me so angry I just have to say it again. Armitage's silence and Fitz' conduct caused 2000 people to go thru this horror show. None of the government witnesses had huge resources. Most were young, low level staffers already scrimping to pay off school loans and all the other things young people need to get started--car, furniture, etc.

On top of already taxing jobs, they had to go thru these anxiety producing interrogations and incurred enormous legal bills.

Rick Ballard

"I do believe Novak's latest, maybe because of the tone, or maybe because I want to."

He's as at least as credible as Corn or Pincus or Priest or - well, his name is probably Novak. Maybe.

Jane

As one whose primary interest in the entire matter derives from enjoyment of bloodsport, I am nearly beside myself with joy at the current state of affairs.

[laughing]

Sara (Squiggler)

Jane, the "administration" for news purposes is everything that isn't legislative or judicial and in fact, as well.

AJStrata

Jane,

There are only three branches of government. State doesn't belong to the Judicial or Legislative branches. In addition, political appointees are also considered part of the 'administration' when you are referring to 'Bush's team'.

Tom Maguire

Just paging through Wilson's complaint, I love this:

The disclosure of Mrs. Wilson’s covert identity makes her and her family a target for those persons and groups who bear hostility to the United States and/or its intelligence officers.

Well, the disclosure that Joe Wilson was a retired Ambassador and former NSC staffer may have aroused hostility among anti-American types.

And of course, the news that he did consulting work for the CIA had to put him on someone's shit list, yes?

owl

Matthews is LYING though his teeth......even about the President now. He just said something to the effect that the President gave them 'mushroom cloud'. Just flat out lying.

Now he is busy having a lovefest. Matthews/Corn/Isikoff are not even talking Plamegate or book. They are purely saying "They Lied" about the war to the public. They are more open than ever. They are certifiable. My point? This is what gave us Plame.

Now Hubris.....he says 'you guys are the experts'. HA

Sara (Squiggler)

I don't remember why Powell was selected for State instead of Defense, does anyone else? Seems as Chairman of Joints Chief and a retired General with NSC experience he would have been better over at Defense. What qualifications does a career military man have for world diplomacy?

lurker

"The disclosure of Mrs. Wilson’s covert identity makes her and her family a target for those persons and groups who bear hostility to the United States and/or its intelligence officers."

This is funny, especially in light of Plame possibly being outted several years ago by Ames (there's enough public evidence that Ames did out her because she ended up back in the states shortly after).

lurker

Good thing I don't watch Hardball and I don't miss it.

owl

Matthews finished off the segment by telling Isikoff/Corn 'good luck with your book'. He says the reason he wishes them luck is because he believes it.

Okay....swear I will not go back to loonyland to even check on Corn.

AJStrata

I think evidence is now building this was a coordinated effort to leak out of the State Dept. The first attempt with Woodward and anonymous articles by Kristof did not get enough press. At the same time Armitage decides to finally meet with Novak, Wilson is at the EPIC conference stating (a) he would be coming out soon and (b) they needed a SCANDAL to get the media to bite on the story. It was not until the Plame Outing hit as the scandal before Joe's ridiculous claims started getting serious air time. So the first plan failed. The second one was for Joe to go public while leals were coming out of the CIA and State.

http://strata-sphere.com/blog/index.php/archives/2500

Too much coincidence for me.

Tom Maguire

Is state part of the administration - at least loosely? Armitage was clearly a senior official.

My impression/guess/understanding is that a career civil servant at State (or CIA, Pentagon, or wherever) is a "government" official.

Presidential appointees subject to Senate confirmation (as well as White House hires) are part of the "Administration", and will (mostly) leave when the President's term is up.

So, for example, Tenet could be described as a senior Amdins offical or a senior CIA official but should not be a senior government official. By my rulebook, anyway.

SO up.

Other Tom

Powell was (according to his acolytes) a natural for Defense, but it was he himself who insisted on State. As I recall, he went so far as to take himself publicly out of the running for Defense. At the time, it was hard to overstate his leverage (Bush would have jumped at the chance to have him as a running mate, but he unequivocally nixed that too).

Tom Maguire

Novak was closely associated with the administration...

Well, he was closely associated with Rove, but Rove was not a neocon.

If I were Armitage and had been looking about for conservative scribes to put out the State side of the State v. neocon tussle, Novak would have been good. Buchanan, good; Krauthammer, awful. Just for example.

lurker

AJStrata, your theory seems very plausible than any coming from the leftwing bloggers.

maryrose


What an enjoyable thread. I haven't had so much fun in days.
Sue and CathyF;
Agreed this is therapy for me and backing away from Plame is hard. I left school, came home,spent time with the kids, went grocery shopping, made dinner, watched Hardball or as Verner so aptly put it "watched Hardball so you don't have to" and there already were 89 comments on this thread. When it's our favorite topic there is no stopping us. I agree with sara we are the last word on all things PLAME.

maryrose

Owl:
I have to admit watching Hardball tonight was particularly excruciating after viewing that "love fest" as you so aptly entitled it. Their inabilty to admit they were wrong and their persistence in promoting lies about Iraq and the WOT are just really over the top. However Isikoff said their book is number 6 on Amazon. I see someone is getting rich off of this trial and tribulation of Libby.

Sue

None of this explains Libby's gobbedly-gook to the FBI and Fitzgerald.

One thing I've been looking at is the conversation Libby had with his Principal Deputy.

Libby spoke by telephone with his then Principal Deputy and discussed the article. That official asked Libby whether information about Wilson’s trip could be shared with the press to rebut the allegations that the Vice President had sent Wilson. Libby responded that there would be complications at the CIA in disclosing that information publicly, and that he could not discuss the matter on a non-secure telephone line;

The assumption has been he was referring to information concerning Plame. On June 19, when this conversation took place, the NIE had not been declassified (that we know, anyway). Wilson's trip, for all intents and purposes, was still classified. Why leap to the conclusion he was referring to Plame? I don't think Fitzgerald was investigating the leak of Plame as the primary purpose of is investigation. He was after the leak of classified information.

Libby is a lawyer. And a very good one, if his clientelle is any indication. He would have thought he knew the direction the questions were going. I think he was steering the FBI and Fitzgerald away from what he was concerned with. The revelation of classified information contained in the NIE (not necessarily Plame) before it was declassified in a manner he was accustomed to.

Just a thought.

Sue

Along those same lines, think about Rove's conversation with Cooper. He tells Cooper not to get too far out with Wilson. That information is going to be declassified that will cast doubt on Wilson. The WH had to have a heads up as to what Tenet was going to say. And it wasn't that Wilson's wife sent him. What they were tippy toeing around was the trip itself, which remained classified, even though Wilson had already broadcast it, until someone in government actually declassified it.

If Libby was going to out Plame, he would have done a better job of it. If Rove was going to out Plame, he would have done a better job of it. The information contained in the NIE was the boogeyman in the room for them. Not Plame.

ordi

I think AJ as a great theory. How will Wilson or his attorney explain those recordings to a judge/jury?

Starting just around 12:30 into this 15 minute segment Wilson points out the administration was careful to only talk about uranium with respect to Africa initially. he says that until the story turned to Niger, and then the Niger angle was denied by state, it was difficult to make the case that the march to war was built on lies. Wilson admits, in his own words, that to attack Bush’s policies required the story to be about Niger and not Africa. Why? Well, because the forgery angle only applies to Niger, and the broader Africa angle has more substantiating intel and history.

Sue

And something else that has always bothered me about Wilson. Did Kristoff, Pincus and others not have multiple sources confirming what Wilson said? Who were those sources? The elephant in the room. Someone, somewhere, vouched for Wilson or we have reporters running with stories that are single sourced. What exactly was Wilson providing them with that gave them enough to run with his tale?

David Walser

Slightly off topic: Novak, in order to protect his sources, allowed a lot of pure BS to be printed and broadcast as the truth. He did all his profession's rules allowed when he wrote in his second column that his source was not a "partisan gun-slinger." Still, by not coming forward, he allowed significant harm to be done to many people and to our government.

My question, doesn't the profession need to rethink it's rules for protecting sources? An attorney is required to protect the confidences of a client, but this "privilege" is not unlimited. It's subject to rules that attempt to prevent it from leading to injustice. For example, having been told by his client the client done did the deed, an attorney is not supposed to allow his client to declaim on the stand. What about journalists? If, in 2004, Armitage swore on his grandmother's grave that he was not Novak's source, would Novak have been permitted to disagree? Not by my understanding of the rules the media follows. Where are the rules that prevent the "protect the source rule" from being used to abuse the truth?

Remember another investigation into the doings of another Administration. The press was full of accounts based on leaks of "secret grand jury testimony". The defenders of the Administration denounced the prosecutor for leaking to the press. The prosecutor claimed the leaks were not coming from his office. What if he was right -- that most of the leaks were coming from the Administration? Would the media have been willing to allow their sources to denounce the prosecutor for the leaks? Novak's behavior leads to this conclusion. Seems odd to sacrifice the truth on the alter of access to a source.

Jane

Well, he was closely associated with Rove, but Rove was not a neocon.

Well think of it this way, for someone like me, who watches very closely but has never been inside the beltway, those are details I don't keep in my head. To me, Novak is a crusty old conservative, tied to the administration.

Ditto for the "senior administration official". I have always considered the CIA, FBI, state etc. arms of the administration, so if its someone like me you want to drag in, that works, particularly because the secretary of state is a presidential appointee.

However, you would think that Novak would be more concise than I am, since he is in the beltway and knows it well. So why didn't he say a "senior government official"? Was he puffing his own story? Does it sound better with "senior administration official"? I think so. And if his goal was to help with the push back, and he didn't think the covert thing was an issue, and he promised Armitage he would not say "state" that seems to work.

Cecil Turner

I think he was steering the FBI and Fitzgerald away from what he was concerned with. The revelation of classified information contained in the NIE (not necessarily Plame) before it was declassified in a manner he was accustomed to.

Could be, but why bother? The declassification was righteous, and Libby had to know it. (It might be politically damaging, but he shouldn't have expected Fitz to trumpet it to all and sundry--even though he eventually did exactly that.) I maintain his testimony makes reasonable sense if he's conflating earlier talking points on Wilson (i.e., OVP didn't know him from Adam) . . . and trying to recall where he heard the trivia of Ms Wilson's employment. I know I don't do that well (recall from whence I learned various minutiae). His blithering is less explicable, but no nefarious motive presents itself.

Rick Ballard

"To me, Novak is a crusty old conservative, tied to the administration."

Whoa. Novak is a faux conservative with a one line "cut taxes" mantra who has never been tied to any Republican administration - he's a registered Democrat.

His "ties" are a permanent liplock on the richest Saudi butt in Washington at the moment.

JM Hanes

What fascinates me is that Armitage sought the interview with Novak (out of the blue, no less), not vice versa. Interesting choice.

topsecretk9

And something else that has always bothered me about Wilson. Did Kristoff, Pincus and others not have multiple sources confirming what Wilson said? Who were those sources? The elephant in the room. Someone, somewhere, vouched for Wilson or we have reporters running with stories that are single sourced. What exactly was Wilson providing them with that gave them enough to run with his tale?

Well, what's weirder is apparently she -- the expert Plame -- and CIA painted quite a different WMD picture then his OP-ED said, so? Who was there to nod yes while he fibbed? Valerie.

larwyn

Sarah,
I don't remember why Powell was selected for State instead of Defense, does anyone else?

Other Tom wrote at 4:21 PM
As for Powell, my disgust for that craven dog goes back a long, long way. At the outset of Gulf War I, while he was grandstanding with "we're going to cut it off, and then we're going to kill it," he was loading his buddy Woodward up with unattributed backstory material designed to cover his butt in the event of a calamity.
He is a worm, and it's becoming harder and harder for his sycophants to disguise that fact.

and at 4:43 "(according to his acolytes) that Powell wanted State.

IMHO I am in total agreement with the 4:21 post. Cheney would not have wanted Powell at the DOD - knowing that he wimped out and that the deaths of all those Shia, while our Military sat and watched, biting at the bit to do something. I don't think that Powell wanted to go back to the Pentagon - many were not pleased with his stopping the dismemberment of the Saddam's Republican Guard.

I saw a post regarding Powell trying to ignore Mai Lai and add the slaughter of the Shias, immediately after Bush 41 encouraged them to rise up. Surely, Bush 41 was given information by Powell that he had weakened Saddam's forces enough for uprising to succeed.

Colin would not have been able to run for Pres as Repub or Dem with all that could be dug up on him. Selecting him as VP with all that baggage would have also been unlikely, with Cheney head of selection committee.

Know that 1991 is 15 years ago now, but some of us remember our despair when Saddam struck back and we did nothing.

Other Tom's "craven dog label for Powell suits the person. Spend a few days watching his testimony before the Congressional Hearings during his tenure at State - "craven dog" is obvious. CSPAN has all the video if anyone is interested.

The craven dog!
I'm going to pry my fingers from the keyboard so I will stop....Grrrrrr......

Sue

Could be, but why bother?

Because he had concerns about it. He went so far as to discuss his concerns with Addington.

But as to the June 19th conversation with his Principal Deputy, if the timeline is correct, the NIE had not been declassified. To include that in the indictment as something about Plame, unless he specifically said I can't talk about Plame, and there is no evidence we have seen that he did, is just piling on. IMO. It makes it look part of a plot against Plame by including it in the indictment.

Syl

David

Some good points on the ethics of anonymous sources.

But I'm afraid it works like this: Anonymouse sources are treated the same as classified information.

If someone leaks classified information and the only counter to what has been leaked is is itself classified, no counter occurs.

I think these two (classified and anonymous sources) are two instances where the notion that the counter to free speech is more free speech breaks down and doesn't work.

Sue

Yes. Conflation by the left of the NIE with Plame. Like conflation of Niger with Africa and sought with bought and lies with imperfect intelligence.

I can't believe that half if America doesn't understand how to read. There are those who lead the propaganda by purposeful conflation and the rest of the chattering classes pick it up and run with it.

Cecil Turner

Because he had concerns about it. He went so far as to discuss his concerns with Addington.

Addington said it was legal, presumably allaying those concernts. Further, it obviously is legal, and even if it weren't, he could make a good case about relying on expert legal opinion. Seems to me his exposure there is nil, and he had to know it.

Sara (Squiggler)

I don't think it was run out of State or the OVP/WH, I think this whole scandal/scam was run right out of the Kerry campaign. They used Joe and screwed over Val and everyone else at the CIA.

clarice

As I recall it the NIE was declassified in parts , not all at once and in that conversation Libby was (as Miller testified he always was) careful about handling classified information.
Fitz cited it to suggest (falsely, of course) that it was proof that Libby thought Plame's identity was secret IIRC.

In other words, being careful is proof of guilty conscience and proof of an intent to lie to cover up utterly inconsequential conversations.

Sue

Unless he discussed it before it was officially declassified by Cheney or Bush. I don't know. His testimony was gobbedly-gook. The parts of it we've seen. Even if he is telling the truth.

Cecil Turner

Unless he discussed it before it was officially declassified by Cheney or Bush.

Can't be the part he was concerned about when discussing it with Addington, since the subject was the declassification.

His testimony was gobbedly-gook.

Certainly agree there, but the very confusion tends to undermine an "intentional perjury" interpretation. If he'd been guilty, he'd have had a much better story.

AJStrata

Ordi,

Thanks for posting that segment because I had forgotten to emphasis that Wilson KNEW State would deny the Niger charges! How did he know this? Recall all his calls to State prior to the Kristof leak? I have always felt those calls were planning calls, preparing the media blitz. Recall, this was before much of the denial was coming out. The Admin was still trying to understand who was this person and what was the forged intel!!

Walter

Cecil,

"...no nefarious motive"

The Supreme Court read nefarious motive (as "corrupt intent") into the (Federal) definition of obstruction of justice. We covered this a while back, but I can't see how Fitzgerald gets past a guilty conscience explanation for Libby's testimony at best from what he's disclosed so far.

Even in the Martha Stewart case (and yes, Clarice, I know that they didn't prove the underlying charge), the underlying charge was obviously a crime. Here, the good Mr. F would have to show that Libby corruptly obscured his actual state of mind at the time he talked to the FBI and again while testifying.

I don't think any fair reading of Andersen allows that conclusion.

And, while it has not been adjudicated to date, I maintain that the corrupt motive applies also to perjury. That is, in addition to being material to the investigation, the perjury had to have been done with the intent of committing or obscuring another crime.

Libby didn't lie about when or where he found out about Plame. He told the FBI in his first interview that Cheney told him. He showed them his notes confirming that.

He didn't lie about talking to reporters. In fact, he claims he says more than they testified they heard.

Therefore, where Libby is, at most, lying about his state of mind (at the time of the calls I did not remember I knew from possibly classified sources). While the state of mind is an element of several crimes (IIPA, leaking classified information with intent to harm national security, obstructing Justice (in the form of the FBI and Mr. Fitzgerald himself), the remainder of the elements of those crimes must exist for the corrupt intent to have any effect.

(In Ms. Stewart's case, you have trades just prior to an announcement, with the only element in dispute being prior knowledge of the announcement--thus her knowledge makes or breaks the case.)

richard mcenroe

"obscured the truth..." is that what people outside the Beltway circle-jerk would call "lied like a belly-crawling weasel"?

AJStrata

Sue, Kristof mentions two sources at the Wilson debrief (and Pincus mentions plural sources as well). Only four people were at the Wilson debrief. It was held at the Wilson home with Joe and Val and two DO agents who knew nothing about the forged documents angle (obviously). And they testified to that under oath to the Senate. That leaves Val as Joe's confirming source.

Sue

I still think that was what Fitzgerald was investigating. Plame was incidental to that. And Libby was discussing the information about Wilson's trip presenting problems, since on the 19th the trip was still classified. It should not have been used in the indictment, unless there is something left out, like he mentioned Mrs. Wilson or Plame. It is the small things like that that bother me about Fitzgerald. His inclusion of stuff that tends to show guilt even though there was another reason for the statement made. And his lack of investigating anything not coming out of the WH.

One would think he had thought up a better story if he was indeed lying. I still think Libby was worried about something other than Plame.

ajacksonian

A covert agent's name will only appear on documents pertaining directly to the program that he/she is working on so that association between the cover ID and the real individual cannot be easily made. Those markings are either (S/SCI) or (TS/SCI) with or without handling caveats on each paragraph, but the need for Sensitive Compartmented Information *must* be clearly delimited. Forgetting that, and not having anyone in the chain catch it is a massive security violation with a long jail sentence attached to it. Further, the Agency replaces the Agent's name on all normal correspondence and reports, save those of the actual program itself. So, for Valerie Plame's actual name to appear on *any* CIA document it would either: a) pertain directly to the project/program that agent is involved with, or, b) the agent is not covert.

This *is* what I have been disdainful of for the past few months: when Valerie Plame started dating in high visibility circles to meet Joe Wilson she could NOT be a covert agent. Contrary to James Bond, covert agents are restricted from doing that and, in point of fact, agree to lead quite dull and ordinary lives so that their cover cannot be easily discovered. Additionally an agent will do that during the 5-year waiting period so as not to endanger *any* of that agent's contacts.

When Valerie Plame put herself in the position of being photographed and seen with Joseph Wilson, a high visibility ex-Ambassador, she puts herself in the media spotlight and every gossip columnist that cares to investigate her. If she, in fact, did NOT wait five years, then that is a felony security violation and she should be brought up on charges and put away for a long, long time. She dated Joe Wilson in 1997 and married him in 1998. Her cover was blown by the Swiss to the Cubans in 1991 and by the Russians in 1992. Her 5 years was *up*.

Who outed Valerie Plame?

Valerie Plame did.

As for Powell, he advised Bush I to stop short of invading Iraq and to do nothing thereafter. The CinC hears from many advisors and all responsibility falls upon *him* not his advisors. I think that Colin Powell gave ill advice, far better suited to diplomatic circels than military reality. But Bush I was *not* ready to shake up the Middle East. Quite afraid to, in fact. Very much a 'status quo' man... the Cold War was all about status quo... and letting things fester lest the boat be rocked. Clinton's ignoring the situation for 8 years was *not* a help....

But the CinC Commands... not his advisors.

And I place the blame for not supporting the Iraqi uprising squarely on Bush I.

clarice

ts--re Pincus' sources: It's obvious Wilson and Plame were his first sources. Woodward says he told Pincus about his conversation with Armitage but Pincus said he didn't hear that.
But he had another source about which he was questioned by Fitz and that source he said made the disclosure inadvertently. He's never named that source. Was it also Armitage? Tenet?(Pincus has long been considered the Agency stovepipe to the WaPo) Who?

AJStrata

Sue,

Clarice is correct about Pincus. The only way he would forget Woodward's comment about Val is if he knew already (which he probably did).

There are only four people at the Wilson debrief and only two would confirm details concerning forged documents from Niger.

Sara (Squiggler)

Why do you all think the NYT bailed on Judy Miller? It would seem that given their position, they'd be heralding her as a heroine and martyr for the cause, but instead they dump her.

I wasn't tuned in to this story during the Miller period, BTW, that's why I'm asking.

Sue

AJ,

If Valerie is a source for the reporters, doesn't that change the dynamics of everything? And does Fitzgerald know it?

verner

Clarice:ts--re Pincus' sources: It's obvious Wilson and Plame were his first sources. Woodward says he told Pincus about his conversation with Armitage but Pincus said he didn't hear that.

I agree Clarice. And until we know which journalists knew, and at what point, everything is a pointless joke. Which brings us back to Andrea Mitchell. She back tracked, but obviously on Imus, she was at least repeating what she heard from other journalists (even if she and Russert didn't know about Plame--which is highly debateable.)

As we all know, Fitz NEVER tried to find out a) who the Wilsons had told themselves or b) which journalists knew about Valerie from other sources, and from where. All Fitz did was send the FBI to the neighbor's house at the eleventh hour, and indict Libby for charges that have nothing to do with "outing" the woman.

Most of this stuff (Pincus Kristoff) has been kept out of the Libby case. It will not be so with the civil case though! And I think that's why the NYT/WaPo etc. really don't want to go there--even though at this point Wilson has to make the motions for the nutters in order to save face and earn a few bucks on the speaking circuit. The WaPo has sent Wilson a very blunt message saying as much.

They might let it go on until after the midterms, just to keep any advantage away from the Bush administration. But come November, Wilson might just be the subject of some very nasty investigative pieces bringing up all the garbage we already know about him, and that somehow missed the final edit of that stupid Hubris book.

Sue

As an aside here, I am no longer having to re-enter my information or verify my comments in IE. I haven't done anything to fix it. But I'm a happy camper at the moment. Firefox was still way too slow for me on dial up.

clarice

Well, I still do have problems with the sign in-- so PHTOOie Sue. *wink*

Sue

AJ just noted he can't do track backs. I hope Tom doesn't tweak anything that upsets my apple cart.

::grin::

topsecretk9

And here is what I don't get...nothing in Plame's work/reports were contrary...she diligently stove-piped all the information supporting Iraq's badness.

It's only the VIPS that say everyone in intel was pressured and when you stop to think about that - only VIPs and what do they do, but spread disinfo -- perfectly timed disinfo...

Almost seems like there was a little plan to gin up the info that was stove-piped - to egg on a war so they could blind-side them out of office.

Disingenuous, the "lied" meme, as it is.

topsecretk9

And here is what I don't get...nothing in Plame's work/reports were contrary...she diligently stove-piped all the information supporting Iraq's badness.

It's only the VIPS that say everyone in intel was pressured and when you stop to think about that - only VIPs and what do they do, but spread disinfo -- perfectly timed disinfo...

Almost seems like there was a little plan to gin up the info that was stove-piped - to egg on a war so they could blind-side them out of office.

Disingenuous, the "lied" meme, as it is.

topsecretk9

yipes, how did that happen?

topsecretk9

Oh, great Sue...now I have to the robot entry every time!

Sueq

Not my problem. ::grin::

Sue

Oops. That's what I get for being cute. Sueq. ::grin::

Sue

O/T: Is the Larwyn being fought over at Ace's and receiving hat tips from everywhere else our Larwyn? If so, she deserves an 'addagirl'!

Sue

http://mypetjawa.mu.nu/#184635>Check out Jawa. Larwyn is all over the place. ::grin::

Rocco

In a totally unrelated intelligence issue in May 2005 involving China's missile export control, Laura Rozen cites a Reuter's article by Carol Giacomo.

In the e-mail exchange, made available to Reuters by Bolton's opponents, [Bolton's chief of staff Frederick] Fleitz said he was writing "on behalf of" Bolton and expressed his boss' "displeasure" with a memo the State Department's intelligence bureau wrote in rebuttal to an August 2002 CIA analysis of China's recently announced export control list...

The State Department's intelligence and research bureau (INR) attached its own separate -- opposing -- analysis of the Chinese controls when, according to established procedures, it transmitted the CIA memo to then-Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage...

Fleitz said Bolton's office considered the bureau's decision to attach its rebuttal to the CIA memo "a serious abuse of INR's liaison role."

"Actions of this type cannot help but undermine the bond of trust between (Bolton's office) and INR," he said in the e-mail to Thomas Fingar, then the bureau's No. 2 official.

Thomas Fingar also approved the June 10 INR memo. If this was INR's established procedure, then Fingar would have sent a copy of the June memo to Armitage on June 10, correct?

topsecretk9

Sue

That blogging granny is crazy diligent...she emails with a vengeance on old betsy!

lurker

Well, good for Larwyn. If this is the same Larwyn, she led me to this link:

The Other September 11th

Sounds like the same ole meme - a constant fight between Islam and Judeo-Christianity.

Anyone remember about John Q. Adams?

ajacksonian

Sue - It would not matter if she was or was not the source for this venture as she was already high visibility in 1997-98. Zero cover left by marrying Joe Wilson, so nothing left to protect. She is going to have a hard time explaining exactly *how* she can be covert while leading a high-visibility life married to Joseph Wilson. In the gloomy realm of security, that is a big 'no-go' and should get you a long, long, long talk with any number of security personnel, the various legal folks for the CIA and then on over to the Inspector General.

Anyone trying to spin the most recent mention of her name via Armitage or anything after 1998 has *no case* that she was 'outed'. She was 'out' by all functional definitions of the term in the wonderful world of National Security regulations. Any mention of her on any memos or other information in briefings given to the Executive could then have her name free and clear and in the Unclassified (U) paragraph designation. Or SBU, Sensitive But Unclassified... it may be in higher level paragraphs but the mere *appearance* of her real name outside of paragraphs for her covert project/program is a big 'no-no' if she is still covert. And in those it gets the (TS/SCI) or (S/SCI) with a /NOFORN added in so that Foreigners cannot find it through that document. And *yes* we do have Foreign Recipricol clearance with NATO members, Australia and Japan. So I would expect that if her real name is mentioned in her covert program documentation it would be (TS/SCI/NOFORN). Possibly with something like /LIMDIS for good measure and a routing slip attached with a hand off signature between readers.

You do *not* see her name in a briefing book, unless it is particular to that project/program, in which case Armitage has no access to it via the /SCI as he has no 'need to know'. Thus, outside project/program documents, if her name is in the clear, it can be known and used.

All of that holds for the 5-year waiting period too.

Armitage saw it in a briefing document.

Therefore, Valerie Plame was not covert under that name.

Sue

If they followed established procedue it sure looks like he would have gotten it.

lurker

Or Valerie Wilson, if that matters!

lurker

And if they did not follow established procedures, then didn't they violate some law?

Sue

It would not matter if she was or was not the source for this venture as she was already high visibility in 1997-98. Zero cover left by marrying Joe Wilson, so nothing left to protect.

I have read that before somewhere. Once she became attached to Wilson, her usefulness as a covert operative was over. Which Wilson alluded to in his book. She was concerned because the US government had spent so much money training her and she was going to lose it. Jeff will tell you it was because she was going to be a stay at home. Valerie has sued claiming otherwise.

topsecretk9

--All of that holds for the 5-year waiting period too.--

What does this mean?

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Wilson/Plame