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February 13, 2007

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satinski

Armitage. Abrams. Maybe he had something to do with the PC connection between Plame-Iraq/Iran and Chayes(Shayes)Afghanistan?

clarice

And "Everyone knows"..oddly used by so many--Woodward also said on the stand that it was a pity the expletives were deleted from the tape of Armitage's revelation, because they made his revelation so much more "firey".

(The Leonning and Goldstein team wrote a much better story than usual today;Milbank wrote one, too, but he was far off the mark, indicating in graph 1 that the reporters were testifying as "character witnesses")

centralcal

Good morning Clarice.

Will the trial be resuming anytime now?

Jim E.

Huh. I do remember TM's post about State/CIA infighting. The thing is, I think the Armitage tape does a nice job undercutting it. I'm surprised to see TM bring it up again so proudly.

On the yellowcake claims, Armitage goes out of his way to emphasize that Tenet told the White House not to use the claim. So in that sense, Armitage is uniting the State Department ("we're as clean as a whistle") with the CIA ("George said you can't do this"). Armitage is trying to bitch-slap Rice and the other war hawks. Powell didn't use the uranium/Africa claim in his Feb 5 speech, so State and the CIA were on the same page on this specific point (unlike, say, the OVP and CIA, who really were fighting with each other).

Armitage on the tape sounds gossipy to me, and it's hard to really judge without more context -- if this were a 45 minute conversation full of gossip, this short bit about Wilson's wife might not sound so insistent on Armitage's part. In an hour's talk, it might not really sound like that big a deal. We only have a minute of the tape, so to us it sounds like the only thing Armitage wanted to talk about was Wilson's wife.

Armitage's willingness to see and leak to Novak the same week does reek of something, though. Although perhaps a dubious lawsuit, I'm glad that the Wilsons are suing Armitage, too. He was certainly mouthing off.

Other Tom

It is, indeed, nice to contemplate some rigorous, under-oath examination of both Wilson and Armitage in the civil suit. But I continue to feel strongly that not a single deposition will be taken, and I suspect that's fine with the portly "Ambassador."

Daniel

This is a bit far afield but I can't resist

I must be getting dizzy. Nothing seems to make sense to me.

Fleisher said he told things to Pincus, to X and to Y. They all deny it.

Z says he told something to Pincus. Pincus denies it.

Russert1 says Wilson and wife may have come up in the conversation. Russert2 says she couldn’t have.

Libby says Russert asked him something. Russert denies it.

Libby says he said some odd phrase to Miller. Miller denies it.

Libby and Cooper have slightly different memories of their conversation.

Mitchell1 says something was common knowledge to people who were interested. Mitchell2 denies it.

All but the last Mitchell statements were made under oath.

And what does Mr. Fitzgerald do when faced with this set of facts, worthy of a Shakespearean comedy?

He sought and got indictments against Libby for making false statements to the FBI and the Grand Jury, thereby obstructing that jury’s investigation and pursuit of justice.

An interesting question to me, though apparently of no interest to attorneys, is what precisely did Libby’s statements obstruct?
It is plain that the goal of the grand jury investigation, and the FBI’s efforts as well, were to find some misdeed to pin on Libby. Far from obstructing this goal, Libby’s statements, and the fact that others disagreed with them, were in themselves the very goal of these investigations. Without these contradictions, the grand jury would have expired without accomplishing anything at all. And the FBI’s misquotations, and document misplacements, communications of grand jury testimony to a journalist and other comic acts would have gone for naught, without these very contradictions.

Now seriously, is it possible for a statement to obstruct itself? What kind of lunatic charges are in this indictment?

I have to complement Fitzgerald and the FBI though for their laudable zeal in keeping selected facts from getting to the public, and to the jury, and indeed perhaps to everyone, with the exception of Russert.

That Armitage was the leaker to Novak was kept from the public for two long years, though clearing up who Novak’s leaker was I thought was one of the main purposes of the entire investigation. Of course from a legal point of view the main purpose, I suppose, was to see if anyone was guilty of the felony of knowingly outing a secret agent for treasonous purposes. Unfortunately for this purpose there was apparently no secret agent, and if there was nobody knew or even suspected it, and so this purpose was DOA to the investigation.

Fitzgerald’s and crew and the FBI’s purpose was, apparently, to emulate Watergate, or possibly to get Libby.

It is clear then that Libby did obstruct the investigation, and is guilty as charged. So I can understand Fitzgerald’s frustration. Unfortunately Libby did so by failing to reveal any hidden administration scandal, and by telling the apparent truth in practically all of his testimony. Evil as this obstruction must be, it is difficult to find evidence that will avoid laughter by future generations for such obstructions, even if one can convince a biased jury of it.

Not that the jury selection is not scrupulously fair. Each side gets the same number of peremptory challenges. The fact that 85% of the jury panel favor the party that favors Achmenadjan (or whatever) over Bush and his evil agent Libby is of no interest. Who cares that Fitz could eliminate every potential Republican from the panel with only half his challenges?

Testimony has informed us that each of those leaked to spread the leak to at least two others. After nine rounds of such spreading, more than a thousand people would have heard the leak.

Poor Armitage! He leaked over and over again in June and July of 2003 and until Novak listened, the leaks never got far. And this because those hearing it reacted as if it was a sleeping pill. They could not care less where Wilson’s wife worked and listened to news of it in a state of semi-stupor.

And guess what? It occurred to nobody that talking about where she worked was a means of punishing Wilson. Only old time lefties from the Seventies considered working for the CIA as being agents of Satan, and regarded it as a horrid disgrace and a punishment to be revealed (Oh my, now that my friends find out where I work they will shun me!) To the average man in the street, the status of one of his own hangnails was far more important than Mrs. Wilson’s employment record, whether he had hangnails or not.

It only occurred to someone like Corn to raise the issue: is this leakage a criminal act that we can pin on the Bush administration?

With that, and the fact that the FBI went after some Jews for spreading a story that they had heard from someone in government even though they had no idea it was secret, all reporters, eg Mitchell clammed up.

I continue to think that a special investigation of Fitz and the FBI is in order. Not that one of those Augean Stables, the State Department and CIA wouldn’t be worthwhile as well.

Ranger

Jim E.

That was in a different speach. If the CIA was so dead set against the president using it, why did they send a special report to the White House four days before the SOTU specificly supporting the idea that Iraq was trying to buy yellowcake from Africa? Guess that one slipped past George "Slam Dunk" Tenant and got to the White House without him knowing it.

Tom Maguire

I do remember TM's post about State/CIA infighting. The thing is, I think the Armitage tape does a nice job undercutting it. I'm surprised to see TM bring it up again so proudly.

Well, I am proud of the "punchline" notion, and certainly State is defending itself on the uranium thing. Fair enough that Armitage also defends CIA, but as noted, we are hearing one minute of sixty. And he certainly is not exactly praising the shrewd CIA planning for the Wilson trip.

And if I had that sort of temperment (regrettably, I do!) I would dredge up the old EW post where she mocked the notion that Armitage could have leaked this - this is from Dec 2005, so roughly the same time frame and fact set.

Of those rival versions, I think mine held up better.

clarice

Well, Daniel , months ago I filed a complaint with the DoJ Office of Professional Responsibility based on what was then in the record. there is no reason why you couldn't sent one based on what we've learned in the trial.

Tom Maguire

Good morning Clarice.

Do you hear them?

Other Tom

Well said, Daniel. And count me as one attorney who is vitally interested in the central question you pose: what was obstructed? Fitz has the burden of showing that any Libby lies were "material." Material to what?

clarice

Good morning, TM. I heard the bleating of the lambs a long time ago on this case. I still hear them.

Major John

I would rather of had Fitzgerald concentrating on Chicago City Hall and the Cook County Government...you say you want criminal activity somewhere?

Bah.

Carol Herman

FROM CAROL HERMAN

All these blonde bimbos look alike. A linked to the IMUS page, provided above. And, I saw it. Diedre Imus and Andrea Mitchell, both married to famous men. Separated at birth. And, they wear the same bra cup size, too.

Sue

We only have a minute of the tape, so to us it sounds like the only thing Armitage wanted to talk about was Wilson's wife.

Can you tell me how you do it? See something so obvious about one thing but totally ignore it in another? That is what the defense is now arguing with regards to Libby. The only reason that Wilson and his wife seem so important is because that is ALL you are hearing in this trial. Hopefully, the jury isn't as obtuse as you are.

Carol Herman

FROM CAROL HERMAN

RE: THE BIG WORRY

People forget that the NY Times and the WaPo, INFLUENCE the INFLUENCE-MAKERS.

Even if it is only a sub-set of newspapers the mainstream would trust; both the NYTimes and WaPo are like Variety. (Where, to the Hollwyood crowd), Variety means a lot!

This is probably also toasting Walton's mornings. And, was the reason he's been so slow on understanding the ramifications of this case. He is there to please his masters. For the DC Node, that's the WaPo. And, it's probably the reason, when all the good publicity fell off, that the Wilson's called the Realtor. And, hung their For Sale sign up on their "abode."

Since the Wilson's have sold; it is possible that Walton doesn't want to get any more "toasted." He carries enough color, already.

And, Wells is playing the media aspect well. By the way he "announces" witnesses. And, on some? Backs off a bit. So you, too, just don't know. While, we here, have work, figuring out why a bimbo like Andrea Mitchell would be second in command, at a franchise like MTP? I mean, so many people have to write resumes for jobs, what's on her's? Cranberry titty stains?

Carol Herman

FROM CAROL HERMAN

I read someplace that the truth about civil cases is that only 3% of them ever see a courtroom, to be tried in front of judge and jury. Or judge alone. That means 97% of all civil cases in this country are just hold-ups. Like going into a bank with a note. You don't even need a gun. Just a "MOUTH PIECE."

The Wilson's? I didn't know they were suing Armitage. But given yesterday's testimony where the Woodward tape was played. And, given that Tenet's book, per Drudge on Sunday, starts off ...

The day after 9/11, I was meeting with Bush for the first time. And, as I was set to enter his Oval Office, out walks RICHARD PERL, who said to me "Ah-ha!, now we can go after Saddam!"

Tenet? He's gonna say it wasn't CIA, I am sure. He is point to Jews. In his vernacular? Neo-Con's.

And, Tenet, of all people, has the Medal of Freedom. That's like Jimmuh Carter and his Nobel. Things sure stink in Denmark.

Carol Herman

FROM CAROL HERMAN

Daniel, as usual, is devine to read. And, I hope he follows Clarice's suggestion to follow her lead and report a complaint to the "necessary agency." They'll have to open up a special window.

I think one reason Fitz doesn't have to show a darn thing is that Comey added "process crimes." So if you spilled your coffee, by accident, while being questioned. And, it wet a piece of FBI note-takers papers; you'd go to jail. Because that's the nature of "process."

Not only can prosecutors indict ham sandwhiches. They can peel innocent people like "an onion." But it's not quite the same as seeing things reported by The Onion. Or Scrappleface. However? There's hope that comedy seeds will flourish into big fat trees in the future.

JM Hanes

If Libby is acquited, I suspect that post trial juror interviews will reveal this tape was a real tipping point. No wonder Fitz didn't want it in -- I think there was a real running battle over it, from discovery on, wasn't there? It would be interesting to go back & read the related motions. This was a really big win for the DefenseL There's what it looks like in print, and then there's how it sounds....

Considering how hard the FitzVolk have been fighting Andrea Mitchell, she may be a bigger get than most folks, outside of JOM of course, suspect. I do think we should consider one possibility however. What if she really didn't know? What if that bit on CNBC, was just Andrea trying to look like she was a Washington player -- after all, she's the one who reeled Wilson inn for MTP (those of us...), only to realize down the road that inflating your own importance on this one was a bad idea. I.E. What if she were ust pretending to be in the know, when she really wasn't?

Again,we'll see soon enough -- if she's not already testifyng -- or through -- as I write this. In fact, why am I even writing this anyway?

Whitehall

Carol,

Let's lighten up on the "dumb blonde" angle. Dumb comes in all shades. Blonde comes in all IQs.

As to these smart guys marrying dumb blondes, maybe they know something I don't.

All that said, why knock the networks for promoting weather grrls to "Washington foreign affairs correspondents?" Better to stop watching the TV and to cancel your newspaper subscription - that's what I did years ago.

Whitehall

Carol,

Let's lighten up on the "dumb blonde" angle. Dumb comes in all shades. Blonde comes in all IQs.

As to these smart guys marrying dumb blondes, maybe they know something I don't.

All that said, why knock the networks for promoting weather grrls to "Washington foreign affairs correspondents?" Better to stop watching the TV and to cancel your newspaper subscription - that's what I did years ago.

Publius

Daniiel: "An interesting question to me, though apparently of no interest to attorneys, is what precisely did Libby's statements obstruct?"

IMHO, to the mind of Patrick Fitzgerald, by not implicating the VP, Libby's comments were clearly an obstruction of justice.

jerry

"since Armitage mentions three times that she is a WMD analyst at the CIA, one might almost think he wanted to emphasize that point to Woodward."

My reaction, listening to Armitage, was that the "Wilson's a jerk" and "his wife sent him" talking points were developed in May 2003.

But TM's suggestion that this was part of a battle between State and the CIA is interesting.

As to whether either is true, I'd sure like to know.

kate

"Wilson's a jerk" and "his wife sent him" also happen to be the truth.

The funniest Wilson story is on many of his TV appearances, he fussed at the makeup people to not get stuff in his Roladex.

He's a jerk and his wife sent him, no talking points needed.

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Wilson/Plame