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September 18, 2006

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clarice

It is impossible. There are obviously two funds. One covering DoJ expenses and the other the fund that the OMB reported on to Congress.

Jeff

Thanks, Cecil, I was busy pounding sand.

First, how do we know what the grand jury was investigating (in terms of actual evidence presented to them?)

Well, in addressing the parenthetical, we don't know much at all, though there is a question or two in the indictment that indicates they clearly were investigating the possible unauthorized disclosure of classified information, not just cover-up crimes. But it says right there in the indictment some of the things the grand jury was investigating, and those included possible violations of the Espionage Act and the IIPA. Part of my point is that Toensing says they weren't because they couldn't have been. I say as a simple fact of the matter, that's wrong.

Are we really arguing tha tLibby was sufficiently familiar with Ms. Plame's resume to know her hostory of foreing service?

The point I was making is that in the hypothetical situation where Libby believed Plame was covert under the IIPA and in fact Plame was not covert under the IIPA, the legislative history is as clear as can be that you can't prosecute for violating the IIPA. So the implication (assuming Fitzgerald was familiar with that legislative history, which is a safe assumption, since he and his team had analyzed the statutes by that point) is that in that famous footnote in the 8-27-04 affidavit where Fitzgerald uses the formula, "If Libby knew or believed . . ." his point is not that Libby might have believed it even if it were not true. And so the implication of that is that, as far as Fitzgerald is concerned, Plame was covert under the definition of the IIPA. He could be wrong; but that was clearly his judgment, and he stated it effectively under oath.

clarice

There are numerous problems with your letter, errors of fact, unsupported speculation and weird reasoning. For instance, you say

Armitage told Novak and Woodward earlier and in far greater detail about Plame’s role and identity than did Lewis Libby or Karl Rove who were pilloried for three years for innocent, passing comments to reporters who asked THEM about information, reporters who already seem to have known about Plame’s identity due to the indiscretions of Plame and Wilson. From these facts alone it is readily apparent that these reporters already knew about Plame's employment and her relationship to Wilson.

1. Your last sentence evinces some serious circular reasoning. How did you arrive at the conclusion from these fact alone that the reporters already knew about Plame, apart from your assertion that the reporters seem already to have known - which is unsupported by any evidence?

2. You're factually incorrect to say (at least I think this is what you're saying, it's not grammatically all that clear) that Armitage told Novak and Woodward earlier than Libby told reporters. Even leaving aside Libby's June 23 conversation with Miller, which is obviously considerably earlier than Armitage's conversation with Novak (though not with Woodward, obviously), Libby had a two-hour conversation with Miller on the morning of July 8, while Armitage and Novak's hour-long conversation on July 8 was in the afternoon. As for which was more detailed on Plame, it's not at all clear that Armitage-Novak was more detailed than Libby-Miller.

3. You don't understand the significance of the Newsday article (and I'm not going to spell it out for you).

4. As I've managed to convince even a few people here, you're wrong that

while portions of the affidavit remain redacted, it doesn’t appear that the Prosecution was adequately forthcoming to the Court in revealing that the disclosure to Novak was by someone who did not get that information from Libby or Judith Miller.

5. I like how you snuck in a complaint that Fitzgerald did ask Miller about sources other than Libby. Nicely turned. Unfortunately, this does not appear to have been in violation of their agreement, which was about the Libby conversations and Plame-related discussions with sources, it seems to me from things that Miller's lawyer has said.

6. i've already given my reasons for why I don't think Tatel misread, and was mislead by, 28n15 of Fitzgerald's affidavit.

7. What other forum do you have in mind?

Jeff

I sure would still like Jeff to explain (using Fitzs own words in his public pronouncements), why Libby was indicted and not Armitage.

you won't get an explanation from me. As far as I can tell from the public record, there's no good explanation for why Fitzgerald chose not to indict both Armitage and Rove. Fitzgerald has been, it seems to me, rather conservative and deferential in his approach.

MayBee

Fitzgerald has been, it seems to me, rather conservative and deferential in his approach.

I would argue that after the "first known leaker" theory fell apart, Fitzgerald has been chagrined in his approach to Rove and Armitage. He knows he messed up, he isn't going to make it worse by dragging more innocent men into it.

JM Hanes

Clarice:

"Perhaps the difference is DoJ is simply reporting expenses it has borne out of budgeted funds for the case."

That's not what it sounds like. Here's my post on the numbers. The GAO is reporting "expenditures made from the permanent, indefinite appropriation for OSC-Fitzgerald that are processed through the Department of Justice."

Tom has links to some of the documentation here (near end of item). There's a note on the Fitzgerald funding in the "Auditor's Report" under "Background" towards the beginning. You have to scroll about 3/4 of the through to Appendix III for the Fitzgerald info & explanatory notes.

I'm not sure whom you're talking about contacting, but the GAO reports are probably why you're not hearing much about $20 mil. :)

clarice

It is a huge discrepency between newsbusters report (from cbs) and this. I'll write and ask him.But ts is right, these numbers seem impossibly small. Office space and equipment not to speak of Fitz' travel expenses would seem to exceed these numbers over a three year period.

clarice

Here is the newsbusters article which indicates which cbs show the $20 million figure was mentioned.http://newsbusters.org/node/7470

topsecretk9

800k sounds like the paperclip bill.

Syl

Jeff

I think it's fine that you have a different opinion than Clarice. But then Toensing has a different opinion than Fitzgerald. So it's fine for Fitzgerald to investigate based on HIS opinion, but not okay for Clarice to ask the DOJ OPR to investigate to see whose opinion is correct?

Or are you just trying to convince us, as if we didn't know, that you don't agree with Clarice (ever)?

JM Hanes

Jeff:

"Unfortunately, this does not appear to have been in violation of their agreement, which was about the Libby conversations and Plame-related discussions with sources, it seems to me from things that Miller's lawyer has said."

You've asserted this multiple times, but I don't recall the addition of "Plame-related discussions with sources" other than Libby to the Miller agreement. What is your source for this?

It's my understanding that the whole point of that agreement was the protection of Miller's other sources. As I'm sure you must recall, the ostensible reason for for her capitulation was the reiteration of a comprehensive Libby waiver; waivers from other sources have never even come up. If anything, I think it more likely that Fitz might have agreed to limit his questions to Plame-related discussions with Libby which might explain what I believe to be confusion on your part.

MayBee

CNN Reliable sources
October 2, 2005

Kurtz:- look, many journalists have used confidential sources. Most of us have not gone to jail. They say you could have had something approaching the same deal before she went to jail. You and Judy Miller took an absolutist position -- we cannot possibly betray the source -- by going to jail and what happens at the end? She takes the waiver and testifies before the grand jury.

ABRAMS: We couldn't have had the same deal. Indeed, in one respect I tried to get a deal a year ago. I spoke to Mr. Fitzgerald, the prosecutor, and he did not agree at that time to something that he later did agree to, which was to limit the scope of the questions he would ask, so as to assure that the only source he would effectively be asking about was Mr. Libby. She has other sources and was very concerned about the possibility of having to reveal those sources, or going back to jail because of them.
----

topsecretk9

She has other sources and was very concerned about the possibility of having to reveal those sources, or going back to jail because of them.

Wonder if she received a call from a 3rd party, telling her that information was inadvertent and 3rd party did NOT offer a WIAVER....

MayBee

And this line from Abrams is pretty funny, in retrospect:
Abrams also minimized Miller's assertion that another source may have given her the name "Valerie Flame," as she recorded it in the same notebook used for her first interview of Libby. Abrams said others may have mentioned Plame only "in passing. . . . The central and essentially only figure who had information was Libby."
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2005/10/16/AR2005101601228.html>WaPo

MayBee

Well, Floyd says it was possibly in passing, tops. You know, just gossipy stuff. Never heard that one before, eh?

topsecretk9

in passing -- chit chat -- more PRIOR chit chat.


WAIT...Cooper's lawyer says that he had other sources too, and would not answer about them, but said Cooper had told Fitz he had other sources...Byron York...

JM Hanes

Clarice:

I checked the CBS Evening News Video Archives for Sept. 7, and NewBuster's quote from Couric is accurate. That's the only place I've ever heard the $20M figure though, and while GAO's $900K (got that wrong above) is clearly low, I'm hard pressed to see how his office could have spent another $19M in FBI detailees, special court-related costs, overhead etc. -- especially considering how few people his crew actually seem to have interviewed! Unlike other Independent Counsels, Fitz hasn't been running this operation on a full-time basis either. Then again, I have no idea what the cost of running a grand jury would be, if that sort of thing would be included in a final talley.

Personally, I wouldn't have any idea where to begin looking for the additional $$, but if the investigation has really cost $20 to date, I tend to think that we would have heard that number a lot.

topsecretk9

There are a number of indicators pointing to the existence of other sources in the case. One such indicator came in an exchange on NBC's Meet the Press on July 17 in which host Tim Russert interviewed Cooper about his role in Plamegate. Russert noted that Cooper had written "some government officials have noted to Time in interviews (as well as to syndicated columnist Robert Novak) that [ambassador Joseph] Wilson's wife, Valerie Plame, is a CIA official who monitors the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction. These officials have suggested that she was involved in her husband's being dispatched to Niger..."

"'Some government officials,'" Russert asked. "That is Rove and Libby?"

"Yes, those were among the sources for that, yeah," Cooper answered.

"Are there more?" Russert followed up.

"I don't want to get into it, but it's possible," Cooper said.

"Have you told the grand jury about that?"

"The grand jury knows what I know, yes."

"That there may have been more sources?"

"Yes."

Russert moved on to another issue, but the line of questioning left open the matter of who the additional source or sources might have been. Contacted by National Review Online, Cooper's lawyer, Richard Sauber, played down the issue.

"It really is not something that I would spend a lot of time on," Sauber said, adding that Cooper has told everything he knows to special counsel Patrick Fitzgerald. But Sauber declined to say why Cooper has not publicly discussed the possible additional sources. Even though Cooper is legally free to discuss his grand-jury testimony publicly — indeed, he wrote an entire article entitled, "What I Told the Grand Jury," in which described his conversations with Rove and Libby — Cooper has remained publicly silent about other possible sources.

"There are good reasons for it that have nothing to do with protecting sources," Sauber said. "Fitzgerald knows the story." Asked again why Cooper has chosen not to speak publicly about the other sources, when he has spoken publicly about Rove and Libby, Sauber said, "Let's just leave it at that. I would not spend any time on it, because I think it's sort of pointless."

At the moment, it is simply not possible to know whether the additional source or sources mentioned by Cooper are bit players, or tangentially involved, as Sauber's words might suggest, or whether they are important figures in the investigation.

Another bit of evidence pointing to other sources in the Plamegate story is the account of Washington Post reporter Walter Pincus. Writing in the "Nieman Watchdog," a publication of Harvard University's Nieman Foundation for Journalism, Pincus described a conversation on July 12, 2003, in which "an administration official, who was talking to me confidentially about a matter involving alleged Iraqi nuclear activities, veered off the precise matter we were discussing and told me that the White House had not paid attention to former Ambassador Joseph Wilson’s CIA-sponsored February 2002 trip to Niger because it was set up as a boondoggle by his wife, an analyst with the agency working on weapons of mass destruction."


(also, I am always amused when I am reminded that Cooper said he could have found Valerie Plame's name via google –– he wasn't sure. Well, it seems he did google and made no attempts to put in the :former: qualifier)

MayBee

Interesting. Cooper's attorney said that?

I join JMH in asking Jeff for his source that Miller's deal was to speak about Plame only from any Plame source she had.

topsecretk9

---veered off the precise matter we were discussing and told me that the White House had not paid attention to former Ambassador Joseph Wilson’s CIA-sponsored February 2002 trip to Niger because it was set up as a boondoggle by his wife, an analyst with the agency working on weapons of mass destruction."--

Sounds just like Armitage and sounds like the deal Pincus struck was similar to Novak...Armitage outed himself and so then Fitz was able to get Pincus to talk.

topsecretk9

Here is the link MayBee

http://www.nationalreview.com/york/york200507250847.asp

MayBee

Sorry, I was posting at the same time as Tops on that last one.

topsecretk9

backing up a little bit..I just thought of something...one interesting thing was reported....Taft asked Gonzales if he'd like to know the what's and who's and Gonzales declined...

...more knowledgeable people than me would know...but, do you suppose that the insiders/investigators assumed that info was shared/passed (sounds like what Gonzales did was extraordinary given that gossip whorish can't help themselves town) and so based on that assumption Rove and Libby were suspect?

worth a ponder?

P

From Fitx press conference:
More disingenious BS:

""Investigators do not set out to investigate the statute, they set out to gather the facts.
...............
Agent Eckenrode doesn't send people out when $1 million is missing from a bank and tell them, "Just come back if you find wire fraud." If the agent finds embezzlement, they follow through on that.""""

Not quite Fitz, the truth is you not only would have known that $1 million dollars was missing, but the bank manager, a MR. ARMITAGE, had already admitted to taking it three months before your investigation started. But then you indicted a Mr. Libby that worked at another branch entirely because some people said they heard he
was talking about the money.

Cecil Turner

But it says right there in the indictment some of the things the grand jury was investigating . . .

Sorry, Jeff, but that's not dispositive. Just because they say they're investigating something doesn't mean they are investigating it. And it's fairly clear to any objective reader that they weren't, at least at that point, investigating anything other than misstatements.

. . . his point is not that Libby might have believed it even if it were not true.

THen what is the point? What possible reason is there to insert "believed" into that statement? It misstates the law and isn't appropriate if his contention is that she is, in fact, covert.

And so the implication of that is that, as far as Fitzgerald is concerned, Plame was covert under the definition of the IIPA.

Why not just say that? What do you say to us skeptics who think he used the "or believed" formulation to insert a hypothetical discussion of possible covertness into the discussion, even though he knew that wasn't supportable? And why does he resist any such determination now?

You're factually incorrect to say (at least I think this is what you're saying, it's not grammatically all that clear) that Armitage told Novak and Woodward earlier than Libby told reporters.

Well, I didn't think the grammar was all that unclear. Let's look at the statement again:

Armitage told Novak and Woodward earlier and in far greater detail about Plame’s role and identity than did Lewis Libby or Karl Rove
    So, I make that: "Armitage told" (Novak and Woodward)
  1. "earlier"; and,
  2. "in far greater detail" (about Plame).
Evaluation: 1, Check (at least treating them as a group, which is the simplest and most sensible reading); 2, Check (Possibly arguable, but not with available evidence, especially considering Novak's latest claims on Armitage's detail and specificity concerning Plame's work).

What's truly entertaining is watching you leap through rhetorical hoops to defend an obvious misstatement of fact by Fitzgerald, followed by an equally convoluted reading of Clarice's paragraph in order to claim a factual error where none existed. Not persuasive.

lurker

Ever wonder how his teachers had to put up with Jeff during his school years, huh?

If he is not a lawyer, he must be a pre-law learning from very liberal professors, huh?

I thought your statement was very grammatically clear, btw, Cecil. It also makes perfect sense.

It's apparent that he and his leftwingers continue to challenge whether Armitage told before or after Libby. Geesch, so far the facts show that Armitage was before Libby.

verner

Timeline:
06/mid/03 Armitage talks to Woodward
06/23/03 Woodward talks to Libby
06/23/03 Miller talks to Libby

And this from A J Strata:

For example, the highly redacted notebooks provided to Mr. Libby by the government indicate that Ms. Miller was given Mr. Wilson’s name and phone number before she spoke with Mr. Libby on June 23. Armed with the unredacted page on which that notation appears, Mr. Libby may ask Ms. Miller why and from whom she obtained Mr. Wilson’s contact information - and whether she may have learned of Ms. Wilson’s CIA affiliation from the same source at the same time, before she first spoke with Mr. Libby.

In other words, it is quite possible that both Woodward and Plame told Libby that "all the reporters know." Considering how sketchy the recollections are over these meetings, no one could prove otherwise. It's also possible that Libby confused Russert with Woodward in his own mind.

And as for Libby's prior knowledge:

06/11/03 Grenier and possibly a slight mention by Grossman (and we're not eve sure what date Grossman is suppose to have said what he did--it could have been 06/12/03)

(Let's add that Goss fired Grenier on Feb. 6, 2006, reportedly over the "secret prisons"--as in, did he source Ms. Dana Priest?-- so his testimony might be real interesting--and we all know about Grossman's problems)

06/14/03 Craig Schmall

These contacts occur back to back, and are not really put into any context. Was Valerie the central topic? Was she just a brief mention mixed in with a whole lot of stuff? In either case, Joe Wilson had not come forward yet--not even at Epic--so he was not very important to the administration, just a curiosity, and an "anonymous" source.

But Joe, and Valerie were likely already very well known to the press corp by this time. Kristoff, Judis, Ackerman, and Pincus to name a few. And there is compelling evidence to suggest that they were both sources--though Fitz never asked.

Libby was apparantly asked about this on 10/14/03--just 18 days after Mitchell leaked the referral letter, and 4 months after these conversations. He obviously did not have time for a thorough review of his notes and papers (it took Luskin days to review Roves--that should give an indication of the volumn.) So it is quite likely he stated the truth as he remembered it.

Clarice is completely right. She can back up everything she says in that letter.

Add to that that the IIPA obviously does not apply, either in intent to harm national security, prior knowledge that Plame was covert,(much less proof that Plame was covert), proof that the CIA was protecting her identity (back to the memo and Harlow to Novak-and even Plame's possible activity in outing herself to reporters), and compelling evidence that Plame was already well know to the press corp due to the Wilson's big mouths--(sources here Sidey, Peretz, May, and the 5 people Wells has that state Joe told them his wife worked for the CIA--and this is without deposing Kristoff, Pincus, Corn, Judis, Ackerman, Miller and Cooper on other sources--and maybe a few others.) The fact that Fitzgerald never made any real attempt on his own to find out how widely know her identity was is a reason to throw it all out in and of itself.

How can Fitz prove that Libby intentionally lied--when neither Woodward or Miller can testify under oath that they didn't tell him? And Fitzgerald has had to know all of this since Woodward came forward. He should have dropped the charges then.

verner

Make tha Woodward and Miller...

Thomas Morrissey

Lurker,

Ever wonder how his teachers had to put up with Jeff during his school years, huh?

Hmmmm........

Flashback to St.Agony's School for Wayward Boys, Math Class,

Sister Mary Elephant:Can anybody tell me what 1x2x6 equals?

(Jeff raises hand)

Jeff:Rove, Libby.

Sister Mary Elephant:No Jeff,the answer should be some type of number.

Jeff:Not according to the Washington Post.

Sister Mary Elephant:It's a number,this is math class,Jeff.

Jeff:Your question was unclear,and gramatically confusing.

Sister Mary Elephant:It's a simple multiplication problem.

Jeff:It can't be that simple.

Sister Mary Elephant:O.K, how about you Mr.Fitzgerald.

Fitz: 11

Sister Mary Elephant:That was the answer to the last problem,we already knew that.

Fitz:But that's the answer I like.

Sister Mary Elephant:Try again.

Fitz: A baseball?

Fade to black as Jeff and Fitz are viciosly beaten with a ruler by a Nun.

Patrick R. Sullivan

Remember during Lewinskygate it came out that Linda Tripp (high school education) was earning over $90,000 per year as a secretary. It is impossible that this investigation hasn't burned up several million to this point.

clarice

Wow! You guys have said it all. Now I can get back to knitting , swimming and cooking.

Barney Frank

As far as I can tell from the public record, there's no good explanation for why Fitzgerald chose not to indict both Armitage and Rove.

Sure there is. Of the three, apparently up close and personal, only Scooter Libby bears a considerable resemblance to a ham sandwhich.

clarice

Take a bow:
"But now there might be a fly in the ointment. Public forums, like JustOneMinute, where every news article and court filing are assiduously and publicly dissected didn't exist in the earlier day of special prosecutors. Fitzgerald is under scrutiny like no other special prosecutor before him, and one outgrowth of that scrutiny is this letter from Clarice Feldman to H. Marshall Jarrett at the Office of Professional Responsibility in the U.S. Department of Justice. Call me naive, but I don't think the Department of Justice can just brush this off. And if they do, there is Ms. Feldman's closing to consider."

http://www.libertarianleanings.com/2006/09/a_letter_from_c.html#comments

Patton

You have to wonder if Joe Wilson maybe told other people besides David Corn
that
“ My wife tells the neighbors she is an energy analyst and that’s all I’ll say about her”…wink, wink, nudge, nudge.

Maybe Cooper or his buds got a similar hint when they talked to Wilson.


I could see Wilson calling around after his friend talked to Novak on the street and saying:
""Look, I just want you reporters to know that Novak is going to report things about my wife, and I just want to say that my WIFE TELLS HER NEIGHBORS SHE WORKS AS AN ENERGY ANALYST, AND THAT'S ALL I'M GOING TO SAY.

cathyf
Fade to black as Jeff and Fitz are viciosly beaten with a ruler by a Nun.
Brilliant, Morrissey!
maryrose

Fitz should have indicted Armitage-period. Then his good friend Colin Powell could have influenced public opinion and gotten him off with a slap on the wrist ala Sandy Berger.

maryrose

Powell would just say:"Oh you know old Armitage is just an inverterant gossip!"

clarice

If the other Pincus source was Armitage it might explain why he missed Woodward's comment in the hallway-It wasn't news to him.Armitage had already told him the very same thing.

As to the presser comment about searching for facts, not looking at the law, that might be a reasonable approach where the law is one of long standing and not as precise as this one is. After all, with thousands of referrals every year from the Agency and no case having ever been brought, there is a good reason to concentrate at first only one facts that would show whether or not the law applied. Unless of course, you are detemined to get someone and know that you can manipulate the proceedings to claim perjury or obstruction because you know from day one you cannot charge anything but process crimes because there was no crime.


clarice

If the other Pincus source was Armitage it might explain why he missed Woodward's comment in the hallway-It wasn't news to him.Armitage had already told him the very same thing.

As to the presser comment about searching for facts, not looking at the law, that might be a reasonable approach where the law is one of long standing and not as precise as this one is. After all, with thousands of referrals every year from the Agency and no case having ever been brought, there is a good reason to concentrate at first only one facts that would show whether or not the law applied. Unless of course, you are detemined to get someone and know that you can manipulate the proceedings to claim perjury or obstruction because you know from day one you cannot charge anything but process crimes because there was no crime.


Jane

Clarice,

The letter itself would/will probably be ignored. The value of it, is shown in the link above: http://www.libertarianleanings.com/2006/09/a_letter_from_c.html#com

If enough people echo libertarian leaning's sentiment, you and TM will have started (and hopefully ended) your very own revolution.

You should be very very proud. I know I have been thrilled to bear witness to it.

owl

Can't a person take a few hours off the PlameTrail without missing all the fireworks?

Definitely a STAR clarice. They love ya over at lucianne's. Plus that is two barn burners for AT at once. Good job.

clarice

Thank you. As I said on the other thread, I'm noodling about a piece on how JOM works to get to the bottom of things. This has been possible only because of this site. My earlier pieces took an impossibly long time to do because I was trying to do all the research and analysis myself. At the end, it wouod have been an impossible task for this old lady. Simply too much to do alone.

clarice

I'd be mose inclined to think these folks were standing up for "liberal values" if they had not just been cheering on Fitz' star chamber. What I take from this is they care more about due process for OBL and his cohorts than they do for Libby, Rove, Cheney--and the Duke Lacrosse team for that matter.

Sara (Squiggler)

I don't know what is going on with Fox News lately, but this is the third time in just a couple of weeks that they are using Rand Beers as their talking head expert.

boris

they care more about due process for OBL and his cohorts than they do for Libby, Rove, Cheney

They certainly are not "classic liberals" are they? The philosophy from which the term "liberal" is derived would be mortified.

I long ago realized that most of today's liberals are simply "social democrats". Barely capable of pretending to be "nicer" than their gulag builder roots.

clarice

Exactly,Boris.(Today Ted Turner who funds NTI, designed to prevent nuclear proliferation, speaks out for allowing Iran to obtain nukes. You can't make this stuff up.)

Patton

Old answering machine message:

Hello,
You've reached the Wilson/Plame household, we are not available to take your call. If you are looking for Valerie, who tells the neighbors she is an energy analyst, you can reach her at work at Langley...errr, at Brewster-Jennings, ahhh, they don't have a number.
If your looking for Joe, he maybe in Africa.
If this is the Kerry campaign, call him on his cell, Bill Burkett has the number. If this is David Corn, let's do lunch, hint, hint, know what I mean big guy!
If this is the news media, I have a statement, Its is terrible what Rove/Libby/Cheney did/did not do to my family/national security. Just scratch out the ones that don't match your story line.

If this is the office of integrity, .....duuuuuuutttttttt!

clarice

HEH

verner

Jane:The letter itself would/will probably be ignored.

I doubt they'll respond, but I would guess they won't ignore Clarice's letter, especially after her WS piece.

At the very least Jane, they know that through the blogsphere, thousands of people, many who are active in politics, are keeping a very close eye on Mr. Fitzgerald, and are deeply disturbed by what he's doing, and have noticed that his case has boiled down to whether a very busy man in a very stressful job confused Tim Russert with another reporter who may have told him that half the journalists in Washington knew who Valerie Plame was.

clarice

Put this in your files. Glenn Reynolds skewers the American Journalism Review's explanation of vanishing interest in Plame:
PLAME UPDATE: Now they tell us:


Far from being part of an orchestrated plot or a vast White House conspiracy, Plame's unmasking was simply the handiwork of that Washington, D.C., staple, an insider with a big mouth. The culprit was gossip, not political gunslinging.

It should be noted that the left is not giving up on this one, continuing to point ominously at Bush aides' behavior vis-à-vis Plame and Wilson. But there's little doubt that Armitage's role is a body blow to the conspiracy theorists.

It was, as they say, a "stunning reversal," the kind of development Ben Bradlee loved to half-kiddingly call "a correction." It stood the official narrative of Plamegate completely on its head.

Not only was it a fascinating development, it was the kind of story that cried out for attention for fairness reasons. But that wasn't destined to happen.


No, it wasn't. And the American Journalism Review offers an excessively charitable explanation: "Maybe it's simply a matter of embarrassment. After so much breathless coverage of supposed White House character assassination, maybe the MSM just kind of hoped the whole thing would go away."

They should be embarrassed, all right, but I think it's more a case of losing interest in the story once it was clear that no one was going to be frog-marched from the White House.

http://instapundit.com/archives/032680.php

Sara (Squiggler)

Yeah, I saw the Reynold's piece, but why hasn't he highlighted your letter? One mention from him and every outlet in America will know about it.

And send it to Fox. They seem to be on a reversal here with their coddling of Rand Beers now. They need a big wake up call.

Jeff

And it's fairly clear to any objective reader that they weren't, at least at that point, investigating anything other than misstatements.

I'm unsure of how you would know about that. And in fact, it's wrong, since if you look at Miller's account of what she was asked, it's quite clear that Fitzgerald pursued at some length questions about whether and what classified information Libby revealed to Plame. I mean, it's not so hard to conceive that Libby might have said to Miller something to the effect of, "Yeah, Plame, remember those aluminum tubes? She went to check them out in Jordon. Was impressed. Yeah, she travels under Plame, as an energy exec for some front firm out of Boston. Grenier told me." As we know, Miller didn't testify to anything like that, but Fitzgerald had no way of knowing that before getting Miller's testimony, given that he had plenty of reason to distrust Libby's account, it having been contradicted by numerous, pretty much all other material, witnesses.

So in fact, Fitzgerald was still investigating the possible unauthorized disclosure of classified information to reporters by Libby as late as September 2005.

Jeff

the simplest and most sensible reading

Um. no. If you say, "Armitage told Novak and Woodward before Libby did," it makes no sense, since Libby evidently didn't tell either of those reporters at all, and if it's supposed to be "Armitage told Novak and Woodward before Libby told any reporters," it's false. If you want to say, "Armitage was telling reporters before Libby was" fine. But clarice's sentence is clearly misleading and false.

As for "believe," I take that to be covering against the possibility of someone claiming, "Well, I was 90% sure she was covert, but I didn't know (with total certainty)."

Jeff

I take it there's not even any response to my other criticisms of the inaccuracies in clarice's piece. I can only imagine clarice will have to take it to one of her other forums.

MayBee

Jeff- several of us have asked you about your apparently inaccurate criticism here(below). I haven't seen you address it.
---
Jeff:"Unfortunately, this does not appear to have been in violation of their agreement, which was about the Libby conversations and Plame-related discussions with sources, it seems to me from things that Miller's lawyer has said."

JMH:You've asserted this multiple times, but I don't recall the addition of "Plame-related discussions with sources" other than Libby to the Miller agreement. What is your source for this?
-----

Walter

Jeff,

Whilst we wait for you to get through a 16-page per curium opinion, let's quibble over some details.

"Fitzgerald pursued at some length questions about whether and what classified information Libby revealed to Plame.

...

... [Fitzgerald] had plenty of reason to distrust Libby's account, it having been contradicted by numerous, pretty much all other material, witnesses."

Libby's account contradicted no one's accounts at the time Fitzgerald sought Libby and Cooper's testimony.

Now, I admit that I haven't read all of the grand jury transcripts nor any of the FBI interview summaries. But I've been fighting the current here in taking the position that Libby's greatest threat comes from the Administration witnesses.

So, I'd like to suggest that you consider whether it is likely that Fitzgerald has Libby saying "I recall quite clearly the details of each and every one of my conversations with every person in the Administration over the last six months. With the exception of Dick Cheney, I can state quite clearly, with no doubt in my mind, that I spoke not a word to any of them about Plame, Ms. Wilson, or a CIA connection to Mr. Wilson's trip to Niger." And then he decides to indict on (Cooper) "from reporters", (Russert) "We talked about Wilson, but not his wife", and (Miller, almost Reaganesque) "I don't recall, but it's possible from my notes."

Now, we know (because Fitzgerald said so)that Libby told the FBI and Fitzgerald that he had first heard from Cheney. We know (because Fitzgerald said so) that Libby told the FBI and Fitzgerald that, at the time he spoke to each of them, respectively, he remembers not remembering that he knew about Plame &tc. while speaking to Russert.

He testified that he discussed, perhaps extensively, classified information that was declassified (to put it charitably) in a non-standard manner. [To his credit, Cheney confirmed Libby's account. Because it is not part of the indictment, I'd also assume that Cheney's current NS aide confirmed Libby's account.]

Now, I'll bite that Fitzgerald was, while questioning Libby, actually looking at leaks of classified information. He certainly states so in the indictment (without qualification as to which particular pieces of classified information concern him).

But you'll have to take on Cecil if you want to make the case that he was given the mandate to look at the propriety of the new-fangled "informal" de-classification procedures in the VP's office.

Unless Fitzgerald is acting in a way different than he has done in any other case in his career, he charged every crime he possibly could when issuing an indictment.

My guess? Libby was asked (and I don't think he misunderstood the question or is less capable of asking for clarification if he found it confusing) "With whom did you discuss Plame (by any name) prior to Novak's column?" I'd put a steak dinner on it that he responded in this fashion: "Well, my notes show that Cheney told me. I recall talking to Russert, but, for some reason, it seems that it was news to me when he told me about her. Rove called me, and oh yeah, I told Cooper about it."

Again, I buy that it is implausible for him to forget. But he hardly lied about everything that happened and he did not hesitate to discuss politically and personally embarassing information.

According to Fitzgerald, at least part of his testimony was sufficiently inculpatory for him to reasonably fear losing his job (discussing it with Cooper, for instance).

I don't think we get to say that "My name is Libby and I don't remember 'X'" is contradicted by "I am not Libby, but I remember 'X'". They appear perfectly consistent with each other.

Walter

Jeff,

"Armitage told Novak and Woodward before Libby did," it makes no sense, since Libby evidently didn't tell either of those reporters at all"

It may not directly advance her argument, but it is in no way false to say that if A told X and Y and B did not tell X and Y, that A told X and Y before B did.

One good quibble deserves another.

If she mentioned not Novak (Corn says we shouldn't ignore his role, but you could rightly point out that I distrust his instincts in this case), would you agree that her point that Libby's prosecution was and is ill-advised?

clarice

Jeff, I was busy writing a paean to this place, including my critics here.I'm not sure I understand what "inaccuracies" you are talking about. I think it is an accurate account. I think it fairly representes the majority view of the Plamaniacs here who have spent years dissecting this case.

In fact, I think one could as some commenters upthread have noted made an even stronger case than I did.

In any event, it sets out clearly that it is not a judicial opinion resolving the matter, but rathe my considered opinion based on those facts that are on the record.

It is , in sum, a complaint. Fairly set out and supported. The decision lies with the OPR.

clarice

***represents**ratheR***


(Where's PUK? I haven't seen him for days? I hope he's all right.

JM Hanes

Jeff:

You must have missed the multiple posts in re my correction of your #5, Can't speak for anyone else, but I decided to wait for your documentation on that point before bothering with any of the others.

SunnyDay

I can only imagine clarice will have to take it to one of her other forums.

Is Jeff being sarcastic? funny?

Cecil Turner

And in fact, it's wrong, since if you look at Miller's account of what she was asked, it's quite clear that Fitzgerald pursued at some length questions about whether and what classified information Libby revealed to Plame.

Right. That couldn't have been to check against Libby's story, rather than as a charge? Cuz he sure didn't get around to charging any of it, did he? And he wasn't charged with investigating that (generic leak of classified info), was he? And it couldn't have been to imply his looseness with classified info, as an implication that he was loose with other classified info, as a means of demonstrating a motive to lie, would it? Again, you provide the most credulous possible reading or interpretation of any of Fitz's actions. And again, no sale.

If you want to say, "Armitage was telling reporters before Libby was" fine. But clarice's sentence is clearly misleading and false.

Oh horse-puckey. The focus is Armitage (not those to whom he leaked), and the point is to compare his leaks (to Libby and Rove) and that he leaked earlier and in more detail. Which he did. It's perfectly sensible, and true. And you're obviously just quibbling so you can pretend to've "debunked" Clarice on a "fact" to discredit the piece.

As for "believe," I take that to be covering against the possibility of someone claiming, "Well, I was 90% sure she was covert, but I didn't know (with total certainty)."

Doesn't work, does it? The statute says "knowing." Further, the only way Fitz's claim would make sense (both as the implication she was in fact covert, and that Libby knew) would be to leave "or believe" out. So this is wrong on the law, but allows the possilibilty Plame wasn't in fact covert:

it would be necessary to establish that Lobby knew or believed that Plame was a person whose identity the CIA was making specific efforts to conceal
This is right on the law, simpler, and implies she was in fact covert:
it would be necessary to establish that Lobby knew that Plame was a person whose identity the CIA was making specific efforts to conceal
why would he choose the first over the second, unless he intended to mislead? Or is he just sloppy . . . but always in a way that conveniently disadvantages Libby? (And there's also the "served overseas" vs "covert work" bit, which is only slightly less disingenuous.)

Fred Gregory

Who is Mary Wheeler and why is she saying these moronic things:

A Kosite Like Excuse

Jeff

Libby's account contradicted no one's accounts at the time Fitzgerald sought Libby and Cooper's testimony.

Assuming you mean Miller and Cooper, that's not so. I was working off of Fitzgerald's 8-27-04 affidavit, where he says, among other things,

Because Libby's account is substantially at odds with essentially every material witness questioned to date, Libby's account is set forth in detail below and compared with the accounts of other witnesses.

And later he says,

Given that Libby's account of conversations has been largely inconsistent with every other material witness to date . . .

As for this

But you'll have to take on Cecil if you want to make the case that he was given the mandate to look at the propriety of the new-fangled "informal" de-classification procedures in the VP's office.

I don't get it. That is, I agree that it was not part of Fitzgerald's mandate to look into the potential criminality of the NIE business. And I certainly don't think that's why the NIE business is interesting in relation to this case.

It may not directly advance her argument, but it is in no way false to say that if A told X and Y and B did not tell X and Y, that A told X and Y before B did.

Again, the point is that Libby was telling reporters after Armitage told Woodward but before he told Novak, and she is obscuring that fact.

would you agree that her point that Libby's prosecution was and is ill-advised?

Certainly not as far as I can see.

Cuz he sure didn't get around to charging any of it, did he?

Right. But of course he couldn't know what answers Miller would give before he questioned her.

And he wasn't charged with investigating that (generic leak of classified info), was he? And it couldn't have been to imply his looseness with classified info, as an implication that he was loose with other classified info, as a means of demonstrating a motive to lie, would it?

Again, I think you are misunderstanding the import of the NIE business, if that's what you're talking about. I know Libby's defense is worried that Fitzgerald is mainly interested in showing Libby's looseness with classified info. And maybe he's going to try to so use it. But I think you're missing the actual reason relevant to pursuit of Libby on possible unauthorized disclosure of classified info regarding Plame that Fitzgerald questioned her about the NIE.

As for the agreement between Fitzgerald and Miller, I'm basing myself on things that Abrams said at the time in interviews, as he would slide from describing the agreement as bearing on Libby-related matters to describing it as bearing on Plame-related matters. Unfortunately, as they were TV and radio, I don't have the transcripts. He also said that Fitzgerald stuck to their agreement - I've got notes on that from an NPR interview he did - which directly contradicts clarice's point in any case.

I also want to point out that for months I argued that Fitzgerald questioned Miller about other sources, and I don't think a single other commenter here agreed with me. So it's funny that now clarice et al have turned around and acknowledged that fact, in order to argue that Fitzgerald did not stick to his agreement with Miller.

lurker

PUK's been around. Busy in other threads. :)

Cecil Turner

But I think you're missing the actual reason relevant to pursuit of Libby on possible unauthorized disclosure of classified info regarding Plame that Fitzgerald questioned her about the NIE.

I think you're missing the actual effect: Fitz splashes headlines of Libby "selectively leaking" NIE, Bush "authorizing leaks," Cheney "authorizing leak of Plame's name" and Libby "lying about NIE key findings." All false (and the last having to be retracted), but getting the "Libby is a liar" meme firmly out there, as well as putting political pressure on the Administration. And since it isn't the first time we've seen the self-serving Fitz B.S. (e.g., "the first official to disclose this information"), it's starting to look like a pattern.

Now, I suppose one could assume Fitz is pure as the driven snow, and that these self-serving misstatements are honest mistakes in the course of an investigation that just happen to have the effect of being prejudicial to Mr Libby. And that his apolitical attitude and general naivete preclude him from foreseeing the effect his words will have in the press (and later, in the courtroom). Or maybe not . . .

I also want to point out that for months I argued that Fitzgerald questioned Miller about other sources, and I don't think a single other commenter here agreed with me.

Huh? Didn't think that was much of a contentious issue. Per Miller:

Mr. Fitzgerald asked if I could recall discussing the Wilson-Plame connection with other sources. I said I had, though I could not recall any by name or when those conversations occurred.
The question was whether that questioning was pro forma or serious. And considering the lack of follow-up on the convenient "I forgot" excuse, I'd suggest it was the former. Of course, finding out Miller's other sources would torpedo any contention reporters weren't talking about it, so he was understandably reticent to pursue it.

So it's funny that now clarice et al have turned around and acknowledged that fact . . .

I think it's funnier that in the first half of that post you're arguing it's all about misstatements, and in the second half that the investigation was a legitimate leak inquiry. (And shoulda stuck with the first story.)

lurker

That thread posted by Fred Gregory is absolutely a HOOT, perfect for a SNL dialogue.

They continue to refuse to reognize that there is NO crime, NO motive, NO harm done to our country while they dissect, misinterpret, and twist every single detail.

Oh, btw, just because INR memo doesn't include the proper name of the department but Novak did and emptywheel claims that that source did not come from Armitage, it does not mean that it came from Libby or Cheney or Rove. emptywheel claims that the most important information did not come from Armitage.

I wonder why she considers this as the most important information when it really isn't.

It makes absolutely no difference one way or the other because there is NO crime committed.

This remains the story of a missing case.

This also confirms all facts stated in Clarice's letter and the "Missing Case" article.

lurker

"I was working off of Fitzgerald's 8-27-04 affidavit, where he says, among other things,..."

Jeff,

This implies that you believe that Fitz's affidavit is 100 percent absolutely true, correct, and accurate, in spite of futher contradicting released public evidence.

As long as you continue to believe that this affidavit is correct, then all of your arguments will continue to be incorrect.

lurker

"would you agree that her point that Libby's prosecution was and is ill-advised?

Certainly not as far as I can see."

Yes, of course, confirms your belief that Fitz's affidavit, indictment, press conference are all accurate.

lurker

"It may not directly advance her argument, but it is in no way false to say that if A told X and Y and B did not tell X and Y, that A told X and Y before B did.

Again, the point is that Libby was telling reporters after Armitage told Woodward but before he told Novak, and she is obscuring that fact."

Doesn't matter.

It was after that famous May Democratic meeting, I'm sure. Everyone knew about Plame by that famous meeting.

What proof is there that Libby was telling the reporters before Armitage talked to Woodward?

Exactly what did Libby tell the reporters if he was telling the reporters before Armitage told Woodward.

Libby can talk to reporters at any time but it doesn't mean that Libby was talking to the reporters about Plame or anything about Plame.

lurker

"I know Libby's defense is worried that Fitzgerald is mainly interested in showing Libby's looseness with classified info. And maybe he's going to try to so use it. But I think you're missing the actual reason relevant to pursuit of Libby on possible unauthorized disclosure of classified info regarding Plame that Fitzgerald questioned her about the NIE."

I don't think Libby's defense team is worried about Libby's looseness with classified information. Why? Because he wasn't charged with leaking Plame's identity and classified information.

Fit'z questioning Miller about the NIE was part of his limited and sloppy investigation to find out if any government officials leaked classified information. He found none.

Therefore, no one has been charged with leaking classified information.

If you really want someone charged, push for NYT for leaking classified information!!

boris

Libby was telling reporters after Armitage told Woodward but before he told Novak

As a Plame regular I understood Clarice's point. Armitage passed the info to reporters before Libby did. The Jeff quibble is just one of several alternate interpretations to her text. Jeff always seems convinced that any speculation, inference or interpretation of his is equivalent to fact, therefore any other speculation, inference or interpretation is equivalent to wrong.

One more thing ...

... it is not a consensus fact in this forum that Libby leaked Plame to Miller on June 23. So once again Jeff's quibble requires reliance on his speculation, inference or interpretation. If Fitz happens to share that particular one, it argues more that Fitz is the dissembling persecuter as portrayed by Cecil.

It's similar to the argument that since Novak claimed Rove as a source, then ipso facto Rove was a source even though in reality "heard that too" is not sourcing.

Just another example of Jeff locking an "interpretation" into "fact".

cathyf
Because Libby's account is substantially at odds with essentially every material witness questioned to date, Libby's account is set forth in detail below and compared with the accounts of other witnesses.
And later he says,
Given that Libby's account of conversations has been largely inconsistent with every other material witness to date . . .
Ok, let's deconstruct this.

According to the indictment, the essence of Libby's testimony to the FBI was that at the time of first Libby-journalist conversation about Plame, Libby had ignored government colleagues telling him about Plame, the journalist already knew about Plame, and not only did the journalist already know about Plame, but the journalist told Libby that it was widely known among other journalists. There are four claims here:

  1. That Libby had not paid attention when government colleagues had gossiped about Wilson's wife.
  2. This was Libby's first conversation with a journalist about Plame.
  3. The journalist already knew about Plame.
  4. The journalist claimed that all about Plame was well-known among reporters.
Ok, so we have proven Fitzgerald's first fatuity: "Libby's account of conversations has been largely inconsistent with every other material witness to date" At that date Fitzgerald had precisely one material witness -- Russert. His seven government witnesses who claimed that Mrs. Wilson came up when Libby was in the room are not contradicters because, as Walter has already pointed out:
I don't think we get to say that "My name is Libby and I don't remember 'X'" is contradicted by "I am not Libby, but I remember 'X'". They appear perfectly consistent with each other.
And Russert's testimony was clearly peripheral to the question of Libby's truthfullness, in that, according to the indictment, Russert's testimony is along the lines of (to borrow Walter's construction) "My name is Russert and I don't remember 'X'" vs. "I am Libby, but I remember 'X'".

Ok, next, saying "...largely inconsistent with every other material witness..." is totally different from saying "...materially inconsistent with every other material witness..." If the details of the "Libby-Russert" conversation were remembered reasonably accurately by Libby, except that it happens that the conversation was with Woodward on July 23rd, then Libby's testimony that it was Russert and July 10th would be false but not materially false. Especially since we now know, according to a sworn affidavit filed by Mr. Fitzgerald, everyone knows that a common and innocent failure of memory when one has many details to recall, is to recall the details of the event reasonably accurately but to attribute the scene to the wrong person.

As Fitzgerald obviously knows, the logic of the witness's testimony bears upon the materiality of the witness. For example, two people are out on the sidewalk across from the bank when a bank robber runs out. One happened to be looking with interest and curiosity at the commotion inside the bank and got a good look at the robber coming out. The other one wasn't paying attention and missed the whole thing. The first witness is material, the second is not. The analogy here is that Fitzgerald has only one witness (Russert) who is either immaterial because he is the wrong reporter, or immaterial because he has quite innocently forgotten that he said what Libby remembers him saying.

So, in other words, Fitagerald's statement is somewhere right in that gray area between fatuous and perjurious: "...Libby's account of conversations has been largely inconsistent with every other material witness to date..." Fitzgerald didn't have any material witnesses as of that date.

boris

A+ for logic cathyf. (and Walter)

clarice

Ditto!

JM Hanes

Jeff:

What's really funny is imagining your own reponse if "clarice et al" ever proffered vague memories and a note-to-self in defense of a dubious assertion.

One can argue about whether or not Miller was taken aback by what looked like the beginning of a new line of questioning. At best, however, the alternative is a pro forma conclusion to her testimony on Libby. Either way, it is entirely consistent with an agreement which precluded any genuine pursuit of other sources. Given the absence of waivers from anyone but Libby as well, your entirely unsubstantiated insistence that Miller agreed to testify about Plame-related discussions with other sources more than moots your point about errors of fact as well.

Walter

Boris, thanks.

Jeff,

I had forgotten where we were in the timeline. I had thought we were speaking of the time before Cooper testified. Obviously I will concede that Cooper's testimony conflicts with Libby's. (Of course, it does not necessarily follow that therefore Libby's must be literally or materially false.)

Revisiting Fitzgerald's affidavit, I noticed that he did repeatedly confront Libby with the contradictory statements by other officials. (Bad news for bafflegab fans, though.)

"When confronted on whether he had discussed Wilson's wife with other government officials earlier that week -- including White House press secretary Ari Fleisher, Director of Communciations for the Vice President Cathie [sic] Martin and others -- Libby's repeated refrain was that he could not have discussed the matter earlier in the week because he specifically recalled that he learned about Wilson's wife from Russert that week as if it were new information (Exh I. at 156-60)."

OT but interesting:
We have some of Fitzgerald's grand jury strategy as well.

p. 84-87 Libby explains (or "admits" or "concedes") that his notes describe Cheney telling him about Plame.
p. 143 Libby is asked about conversation with Russert.
p. 156-60 Libby testifies that conversations with other admin officials don't ring a bell.
p. 182-86 Libby testifies about conversation with Cooper. (The questions seem to have lasted several times as long as the conversation.)

boris

thought we were speaking of the time before Cooper testified

My question ... knowing what is now known about Armitage talking to Woodward and possibly others hearing as well ... is there anything on the record to indicate a (legit) problem with Libby's FBI interviews when Fitz took over the investigation?

IOW did Fitz seek to understand the actual situation or did he take after the WH/OVP administration with zero basis? (Consider false assumptions re:Armitage to be less than zero basis)

Walter

Boris,

Well, Libby appears to be the only person in the administration (aside from Rove, of course) who had forgotten anything about the ever-so-fascinating Ms. Wilson.

And also, the FBI had been going gangbusters for three or four months on the theory that the published leak was not the only leak. That is, as soon as the Justice investigation began, several newspapers reported that Novak was merely the first to print, not the first to learn.

Fitzgerald uses those articles (literally and liberally citing them) as justification for expanding his investigation beyond the published leak.

Of course, that leak is the only one which could have potentially to harmed national security, as the other reporters were too patriotic to publish.

clarice

"too patriotic"? Maybe fully aware that this was a political dispute and they'd all been given that information for one reason only--to rebut the behesting argument--and not to target a super secret spy for disposal by our enemies.

Walter

Can you imagine the outcry if Reagan or Hillary Clinton were treated this way for memory lapses?

Heck, look at Bill Gates's deposition. It is replete with "I don't recall".

The standard advice lawyers give is to "tell the truth. If you don't remember accurately, don't try to answer based on what you think might have happened." Should we now advise our clients to make something up if they do not have a word-for-word recollection of a conversation?

clarice

I'm told but have not yet seen that there is an Order ruling that Libby, Cheney, Rove plan to file a motion to
dismiss on Nov. 14th, Wilson Plame get until Jan. 17, 2007 to respond
and then another month for LCR to respond to that...and the order notes that
it precluded Armitage from that intended motion or he had not
contacted L, C, Rove attorneys to be included on that.

cathyf
Well, Libby appears to be the only person in the administration (aside from Rove, of course) who had forgotten anything about the ever-so-fascinating Ms. Wilson.
Yeah, I've been saying for months that it appears that Libby's real "crime" was saying that at one point in time Wilson's wife wasn't important to him. This was just so outside the ability of Fitzgerald and the FBI to even imagine, that it just had to be a lie.
clarice

Certainly, amid reports which probably read--info of plot to target tallest building in LA received..Or, we think we broke up another plot to blow up Brooklyn Bridge (not sure all plotters in custody or even known).

Just because the dynamic duo consider themselves the number one topic in the WH doesn't mean it was.

boris

as the Justice investigation began, several newspapers reported that Novak was merely the first to print, not the first to learn

So Fitz started with the premise that Libby was falsly denying to the FBI that he was part of 1x2x6. ok

JM Hanes

Having dispensed with #5, I'll comment on your other points as well.

1. I'd dispute your assertion that the idea that the reporters already seem to have known is "unsupported by any evidence." It would be more accurate to say that Fitzgerald did not pursue such evidence -- which is precisely the point, of course. If your quarrel is with "from these facts alone," you've picked the wrong fallacy. Clarice's logic is fine; you're disputing her facts; the circularity is yours.

2. As a matter of syntax, I don't think that your reading of "Armitage told Novak and Woodward earlier than Libby told reporters" is unreasonable. Not so for the implication that Clarice's point would suffer from clarification, however. Should the OPR undertake any serious exploration, what she meant will quickly become as clear to them as it is to those of us who have been following the case. If the relative specificity of the conversations in evidence remains unclear to you, the problem -- and the apparent confusion -- here is yours.

3. I'd say we can check off your refusal to spell out any defense of your assertion as an instance of the very debater's trick which you, yourself, so recently faulted elsewhere.

4. Differing opinions on the possible content of redacted material do not qualify as factual disputes. While you may consider speculation which differs from your own as unconvincing, it is not unsupported.

6. You've given your reasons, Clarice has given hers.

7. I don't know about Clarice, but I for one, believe that Congress should address Comey's flagrant departure from the unambiguous regulations governing the appointment of special proseutors with hearings followed by unambiguous legislation.

JM Hanes

Cecil:

"Fitz splashes headlines of Libby "selectively leaking" NIE, Bush "authorizing leaks," Cheney "authorizing leak of Plame's name" and Libby "lying about NIE key findings." All false (and the last having to be retracted), but getting the "Libby is a liar" meme firmly out there, as well as putting political pressure on the Administration."

I'm not sure we can blame Fitzgerald for doing the actual splashing. Nevertheless, in addition to the inaccuracies themselves and the consequences you note, the fact that they were further distorted by flagrantly inaccurate characterizations in the press is also the clearest possible example of just how problematic Fitzgerald's submission of newspaper clippings into evidence really is. It's a truly dangerous, if not unethical, practice, whether in affidavits to judges or the record at trial.

Jeff

JMH

1. What evidence is clarice drawing on for her claim that reporters who asked Libby and Rove questions (questions, let's note, each of the reporters have indicated did not have to do with Plame, where the answers bearing on Plame were, they've testified, the first they heard about her) seem to have known about Plame? And if the facts are only the ones she mentioned, her argument to the conclusion that it is readily apparent that the reporters already knew about Plame and her relation to Wilson is entirely circular. The logic is fine, it's just circular. The premise - which is based on nothing - is the conclusion. Reporters seem to have known (based on no evidence); therefore, reporters seem to have known.

2. If you clarify and correct clarice's statement to be, "Armitage told Woodward before Libby told Miller, Libby told Miller before Armitage told Novak, and Armitage told Novak before Rove told Novak," then that's evidence that Miller and Cooper knew before they talked to Libby and Rove, respectively? And OPR is going to read sympathetically and clarify clarice's errors for themselves anyway?

3. Yeah, I'm not going to explain it to you. But it will be helpful for you once you figure it out. But not at all in the way clarice makes use of it. Let's just say that article was suspicious from the outset.

4. In fact, I've offered very specific arguments for why what appears to clarice is probably wrong, with a specific placement of the relevant parts of it and reasons for why what clarice suspects is missing is probably found there. clarice offers nothing.

As for 5., here's a quotation from Abrams' appearance on NPR:

In any event, as a result of all this he did agree to – and of course kept his word – to limit his questioning to that area.

"He" is of course Fitzgerald. So Fitzgerald stuck to his agreement, whatever it was, according to Miller's lawyer, which vitiates clarice's point. And since we know that Fitzgerald did in fact ask Miller about other sources, it seems safe to say asking about other sources did not violate their agreement. I guess clarice's fallback position - which I'm sure will quickly become clear to OPR - will be that the questioning about other sources, which did not violate their agreement, was pro forma and insufficient aggressive.

6. Indeed.

7. That's a good suggestion for clarice. My suspicion is she should have an opportunity to follow it.

cathyf
What evidence is clarice drawing on for her claim that reporters who asked Libby and Rove questions (questions, let's note, each of the reporters have indicated did not have to do with Plame, where the answers bearing on Plame were, they've testified, the first they heard about her) seem to have known about Plame?
According to the evidence what you have said in the boldfaced part is absolutely false when applied to conversations between Libby and reporters. (The only conversations that we have in the indictment, because Rove wasn't indicted.) This isn't just some speculation on your part, Jeff, it is exactly the opposite of what Fitzgerald has told us the reporters testified to. Cooper says Cooper brought up Plame. Testified under oath that he did. Russert says nobody brought up Plame. Miller says that she doesn't remember who told her about Plame, doesn't remember whether she or Libby discussed Mrs. Wilson when discussing Mr. Wilson, and furthermore doesn't remember what circumstances caused her to note that "Victoria Flame" worked for the State Dept in the "Bureau" of Intelligence and Research, but she had Joe Wilson's phone number in her notebook days before the June 23rd meeting with Libby. Woodward does remember who told him about Plame, Armitage on June 13, but he doesn't remember if he told Libby on June 23rd or June 28th, although his notes indicated that he intended to.

As for the assertion about Rove conversations, we know that Novak testified that Novak told Rove (since Novak already knew from Armitage, Harlow, and Wilson's buddy on the street). The only conversation where a reporter claims that Rove answered a Joe Wilson question by volunteering Valerie Wilson as an answer was Cooper. And Cooper's testimony is as an uncorroborated single source who's testimony on that detail is not confirmed with the contents of Rove's email to Hadley, or any notes that Cooper took contemporaneously, and if Cooper did know about Plame before he talked to Rove then Cooper would have had both motive and opportunity to testify falsely.

So I count six conversations in the class "reporters who asked Libby and Rove questions" about Joe Wilson and the only one remotely resembling your characterization is the one between Cooper and Rove. Which just happens to be the one most likely to be a lie.

JM Hanes

1 & 2. "And OPR is going to read sympathetically and clarify clarice's errors for themselves anyway?" What does sympathy have to do with it? They'll either follow up and draw their own conclusions, or they won't.

3. Did I ask for an explanation? Actually, I don't remember anyone asking, which must have been a disappointment. I was just noting your blatant double standard on the debating "tricks" you disparage others for using.

4. Rinse/Repeat

5. I wasn't defending Clarice's point, I was correcting your mistaken assertion.

"So Fitzgerald stuck to his agreement, whatever it was..."

Let the hedging begin! As luck would have it, or rather, per MayBee above, we can consult Abrams himself:

Indeed, in one respect I tried to get a deal a year ago. I spoke to Mr. Fitzgerald, the prosecutor, and he did not agree at that time to something that he later did agree to, which was to limit the scope of the questions he would ask, so as to assure that the only source he would effectively be asking about was Mr. Libby. She has other sources and was very concerned about the possibility of having to reveal those sources, or going back to jail because of them.

That seems pretty clear to me. I hardly think Abrams was going to accuse the prosecutor of defaulting on their agreement for the single generic question Miller described in four hours of testimony. If Fitzgerald dipped a toe into forbidden water, he promptly pulled it out by abandonning that line of questioning altogether. You may call that pursuing Plame-related discussions with other sources, albeit tepidly; I call it dropping the subject like a hot potato.

In addition, given the emphasis both Miller & Abrams placed on Libby's waiver, and the time she spent in jail till it was forthcoming, it's fatuous to think she would testify about other sources absent corresponding waivers -- and in fact, she didn't. She testified she forgot who they were. Ditto for the idea that Fitzgerald would not have followed up on such an admission if he hadn't agreed not to do so -- unless, of course, you think he didn't really want to know anything about them.

7. Color me unsurprised.

Jeff

1+2. Evasive. The conclusion is included in the premises, which any reasonable person rejects. And the other premise is factually incorrect, and when corrected, doesn't support the point being asserted. Any response?

3. Yawn. Look at the affidavit, look for where the Newsday story clearly first shows up - and yes, it's under redaction - and you'll see why clarice misunderstands and mischaracterizes the significance of the Newsday story.

5. So you are falling back as I suspected, though I'm happy to see you're conceding clarice is incorrect on that count. Again, Abrams says Fitzgerald stuck to their agreement, and the question about those sources she wanted to protect is whether they related to the Wilsons or were other sources on other matters (like sources for Miller's horrible WMD reporting).

Cecil Turner

The logic is fine, it's just circular. The premise - which is based on nothing - is the conclusion. Reporters seem to have known (based on no evidence); therefore, reporters seem to have known.

No it's not. Treating reporters as a group, "they" knew no later than when Armitage told Woodward. That's based on precisely the evidence she proffered, and correct (further, it's a legitimate point, as even the minimal investigation Fitz conducted in that direction showed they talked amongst each other extensively, and Woodward himself states he passed it along to Pincus, a central player).

And that's true even if we accept the ludicrous proposition that every reporter fawning over Wilson was basing his acceptance of Wilson's bare assertions on nothing more than faith. And that Val sat in various meetings with reporters (including in her home) without saying a thing as Joe held forth on her area of expertise. (And that Miller's notes populated themselves with mysterious "Victoria Flame" references.)

you'll see why clarice misunderstands and mischaracterizes the significance of the Newsday story.

Why don't you try a straightforward exposition, because I'm having a hard time figuring it out as well. In the affidavit, Fitz puts Novak at 14, the Newsday "leak" at 15, 1x2x6 at 16, and a conversation between Libby and Miller at 17. Seems fairly clear to me he was suggesting (linking those together): 1) a conspiracy to leak Plame's CIA affiliation; 2) involving Libby (and Rove).

boris

Why don't you try a straightforward exposition

Great idea! Not just that point, the whole nine yards. Of course every little thing that didn't jibe with our speculation, inference and interpretation would be "wrong".

lurker
Seems fairly clear to me he was suggesting (linking those together): 1) a conspiracy to leak Plame's CIA affiliation; 2) involving Libby (and Rove).

Based on flimsy evidence with lack of damage assessment, no motivation, and missing crime.

boris

The conclusion is included in the premises, which any reasonable person rejects

This is false. In logic it is valid to assume NOT P and reason to an absurd or known false condition which validates P.

But you're also wrong on the facts. If one assumes a substitution of Woodward for Russert, then two of the 3 reporter contacts confirm knowing beforehand. Regarding Cooper there is reasonable speculation.

Your claims regarding circularity are incorrect.

lurker

Jeff makes the false assumption that Fitz's affidavit, indictments, and presser are all correct, accurate, and filled with facts. He also makes the false assumption that Fitz made the right conclusion based on the facts and truth; therefore, Libby is already guilty before he is proven innocent.

JM Hanes

1&2. You reject Clarice's premise, I don't. Could she have made it clearer or added more detail? Sure. In my experience, however, when you stop to pick every nit, you never get your letter mailed.

5. Nice try. Here's what Miller had to say in her grand jury article:

At the behest of President Bush and Mr. Fitzgerald, Mr. Libby had signed a blanket form waiver, which his lawyer signaled to my counsel was not really voluntary, even though Mr. Libby's lawyer also said it had enabled other reporters to cooperate with the grand jury. But I believed that nothing short of a personal letter and a telephone call would allow me to assess whether Mr. Libby truly wished to free me from the pledge of confidentiality I had given him. The letter and the telephone call came last month.

Equally central to my decision was Mr. Fitzgerald, the prosecutor. He had declined to confine his questioning to the subject of Mr. Libby. This meant I would have been unable to protect other confidential sources who had provided information - unrelated to Mr. Wilson or his wife - for articles published in The Times. Last month, Mr. Fitzgerald agreed to limit his questioning.

Your uncharacteristic, though typically convenient, faith in the Miller version is probably the source of your confusion. It's also a source of amusement to find you simultaneously dissing her "horrible" reporting, but perhaps you're too busy obsessing over Clarice to appreciate the irony. I trust you've noted the repeated emphasis on waivers, which is the first half of both Miller's description and the argument I've been making. Perhaps you're just content to avoid addressing it -- or is this where I thank you for conceding the point? In case you're not being willfully obtuse though, I'll spell out an alternate scenario for part deux:

Miller got her deal because Fitz was persuaded that she was protecting other sources who had nothing to say about Plame/Wilson. As an Abrams fan you'll know he has also commented to that effect. Given the Miller/Fitzgerald history, Fitz would have reason to assume, as most did, that he knew the sort of thing she was trying to fence off, and in fact, he might have been right about her primary concern. His primary concern, of course, was Libby & the OVP. Their agreement would necessarily reflect those priorities.

Unfortunately, when Fitzgerald finally got to question Miller about "Valerie Flame" in front of the grand jury, her answer flat out contradicted the "unrelated" characterization as proffered publicly by Miller above.

Mr. Fitzgerald asked me about another entry in my notebook, where I had written the words "Valerie Flame," clearly a reference to Ms. Plame. Mr. Fitzgerald wanted to know whether the entry was based on my conversations with Mr. Libby. I said I didn't think so. I said I believed the information came from another source, whom I could not recall.

Mr. Fitzgerald asked if I could recall discussing the Wilson-Plame connection with other sources. I said I had, though I could not recall any by name or when those conversations occurred.

That must have been quite a moment for both of them -- for completely different reasons. Nota bene that he was still asking her about Libby in his first question. His follow-up was a no brainer, but I suspect he must have realized almost instantly that while Miller may not have been technically violating their agreement, he was. If you can come up with a more plausible reason that a singularly brief follow-up remains the only question he ever asked Miller about other sources (plural!), even though they were explicitly Plame-related, I'd sure like to hear it. Insufficiently aggressive? Please.

Despite a mountain of evidence to the contrary, you base your contention on a single ambiguous quote which could just as easily be construed as a warning to the prosecutor as the theoretical confirmation you read into it. Now that's insufficiency.

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Tom Maguire

Here is a copy of the John Conyers CIA referral letter, hosted at TPM.

http://www.house.gov/judiciary_democrats/cialeakinforesp13004.pdf

Walter

Don't know if you meant to leave that link here, but this is a nice spot for a link to emptywheel's and cboldt's interpretation of the statement of the case presented to potential jurors.

They argue that the statement issued by J. Walton differs from the versions suggested by Libby and Fitzgerald in that it invites jurors to assume that disclosure of Plame's identity was a crime.

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Wilson/Plame