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February 10, 2007

Comments

Martin

Clarice, you and TM really ought to back up your charges before you just spew them out there. Yesterday TM charged that Russert lied on the stand.

Now you're straight out charging Fitz with suborning perjury. Are you truly serious? You honestly believe Fitz committed a felony?

Would you be willing to swear out a complaint to that effect? What's holding you back? Aren't you a member of the D.C. Bar? Charge the guy already other than in a blog post!

Seriously, do you just carried away with ranting or do you actually believe this?

clarice

A reader who spotted this story reminds me that Bill Harlow who confirmed Plame's identity to Novak and who Cathy Martin says reported to her that reporters were calling him has since August 2004 been a consultant for among other organizations NBC news--He has appeared on Chris Matthews' Hardball.

Rick Ballard

Clarice,

A minor point which may need clarification. When did Eckenrode do the phone interview with Russert? I assume that it was after Libby's October FBI interviews and prior to his March gj appearances but did it occur prior to Fitz's appointment?

I believe that Eckenrode handed Fitz the whole train route and schedule upon Fitz's appointment as president of the railroad and that would require that Eckenrode had conducted the Russert interview on his own iniative - perhaps with a little DoJ "help" in the set up.

Sara (Squiggler)

Oh Martin give it up. This isn't an episode of"24" where everything gets cleared up in 45 minutes. Even if Clarice was to do as you suggest, I doubt she could even get the briefs prepared in one day. It is the weekend, you know.

Your boy Fitz is no big shakes, just another Peter Principle Prosecutor out to win at any cost -- truth or justice be damned.

Sara (Squiggler)

Oh Martin give it up. This isn't an episode of"24" where everything gets cleared up in 45 minutes. Even if Clarice was to do as you suggest, I doubt she could even get the briefs prepared in one day. It is the weekend, you know.

Your boy Fitz is no big shakes, just another Peter Principle Prosecutor out to win at any cost -- truth or justice be damned.

Old Dad

Clarice,

Here's a layman's take. The DC rumor mill had to churning at top speed that summer. Seems like Armitage was blabbing, and seems likey to me that Wilson had been big dogging it for some time. Surely the Plame rumor was out there. Whether anyone had nailed down the specifics before Novak went to press, who knows.

It seems perfectly plausible to me that Mitchell and lots of the DC press were in on at least the buzz.

Add a dash of faulty memory, sloppy reporting, faulty note taking, a pinch of CYA and you've got the silly mess playing out before us.

capitano
Now you're straight out charging Fitz with suborning perjury. Are you truly serious? You honestly believe Fitz committed a felony?

Fitz didn't have to "lose" the notes, just someone with access. Who was running the show locally when Fitz was spending time on other cases or back in Illinois?

everson

Clarice, I think you have found the string that could unravel Fitz's tangled web. It is very strange that the interview notes of of this very important conversation with Russert disappeared, very strange.

Martin

Sara Squiggler-this isn't a game. Libby, who might well be innocent, is facing real jail time if convicted.

If you really honestly believe a federal prosecutor is suborning perjury to convict the guy, you ought to do something about besides write a blog post.

That's why I think Clarice is basically not serious and/or mistaken.

Clarice knows what to do if she is serious.

Seixon

Might be worth remembering that many if not all of the leaks about the investigation came from law enforcement sources...

So if I've got this case straight now, Fitzgerald knew who leaked right away (Armitage), then proceeded to continue the investigation for 2 years even though he had already resolved who was responsible for Plame showing up in Novak's column. Then he failed to have many of the journalists involved interviewed at all, some of them were barely interviewed.

Now Tim Russert's interview with the FBI is "gone", and he's frantically trying to keep Andrea Mitchell out of the court room.

You know, it seems to me that Fitzgerald really got worked over by someone, possibly Eckenrode, or he's a really dishonest special prosecutor.

For the baseball analogy he gave of having dust thrown in his eyes by Libby, I think perhaps the disappearing Russert interview is a far better example of obstruction of justice.

Let's get Eckenrode on the stand so he can clear this up for us.

Ranger

Great job Clarice. I will just add my thoughts on the broader impact of this. All specualtion of course, but very reasonable speculation I think. From a prevous thread:

Well, the more I think about it the more this looks like a carefully constructed plot to get an indictment using Russert's testemony.

The FBI agent calls Russert and tells him Libby's side of the conversation and asked Russert if it is correct. A summary of his notes indicates that Russert initially thought the topic of Wilson and/or his wife might have been discussed.

Fitz then sets up a public show of Russert's resistence to help the investigation. This makes everyone, including the Grand Jury think that Russert does not want to "burn" his "source."

The SP and NBC counsel "work out a deal" on Russert's testemony which ensures that any questions about previous co-operation with the FBI is not mentioned. It looks to the Grand Jury that Russert has "reluctantly" given up Libby. No mention of previous memories that the topic of Wilson's Wife may have come up in the convesation with Libby.

A nice tidy package to get an indictment. And to make the whole thing work, the FBI notes of the initial interview "disappear."

I seriously doubt that the GJ would have indicted Libby on the Russert count if they had known that Tim's memory of the conversation was "helped along" by a discussion with the FBI before going into the deposition.

Kazinski

I'm coming in late to this, can someone tell me why Eckenrode isn't testifying, is it because neither the prosecution or the defense wanted him as a witness?

Sara (Squiggler)

Clarice has already done much besides write a blog post. She has written her letter of complaint to DOJ and I and many others have signed on to it. Granted there is a whole lot more fuel to add to her initial letter since the trial started and that can be added as an addendum to the complaint. This might surprise you Martin, but their are procedures and steps to follow within government/legal guidelines. For instance, you normally need a ruling in a lower court trial before you can run to the Appeals Court and you normally need an Appeals Court record before you take it to the Supremes.

It is the bureaucracy stupid! You want to get married, find the girl/guy, do the asking, get your blood tests, get your proper license, say your vows. Otherwise you are Howard K. Stern with only a commitment ceremony and no leg to stand on in a bitter custody fight or food fight over billions.

clarice

Thank you, Ranger..I think you're on to something.
Now, you are defense counsel. It seems to me that following up on whatever Fleischer told Gregeory, Gregory and/or Mitchell likely called Harlow for confirmation (as did Novak ..as did others per Harlow's conversation with Cathy Martin). Will a guy serving as an NBC consultant , a participant on Hardball (so biased against the administration) likely be a credible witness.

Let me don my Rick Ballard hat for a minute..Are you kidding?

windansea

If you really honestly believe a federal prosecutor is suborning perjury to convict the guy, you ought to do something about besides write a blog post.

gee Marty...do you think maybe Libby's lawyers might know about the missing notes and the implications of this?

maybe you should email them as you sound really concerned

clarice

Kazinski --so far only the prosecution has put on its case and they haven't called him. I do not have an idea whether the defense will.
The prosecution also didn't call Harlow. It also didn't interview Gregory as far as we know. As for Mitchell she, ahem, just got an FBI phone call she said.

Sara (Squiggler)

Do you think it is possible the reason Fitz is fighting Mitchell's appearance so hard is that the notes of her conversation with the FBI are also "missing?"

Ranger

Clarice,

I am under the impression that a Grand Jury has the right to ask questions of witnesses themselves and to ask for addisional material from the prosecutor before making a final judgement.

Do you think the Grand Jury members would have noticed if the prosecutor hadn't asked Russert who else he had talked to about this incident and possibly asked him themselves?

Also, if the Grand Jurors knew there had been an FBI interview, could they have requested the notes and reports relating to that before voting on an indictment?

clarice

It must be shocking to Martin--Imagine someone on the right fighting back hard against all the lies and distortions of the left for a change. Tut-tut , get used to it. I started out as a labor lawyer and understand Alinsky as well as Hillary does..though in my case I don't just make up shit.

Ranger

I'll also note that at least someone on the trial jury seems to be thinking the same way, since of the the juror questions of Russert was if he was given a script going into the deposition.

clarice

Ranger, I don't know. What I do know is that the defense was shrewd to ask for all the docs relating to the accommodation given Russert because it looks like some three card monte game from where I am sitting.
Now , it could all be as innocent as a lamb, but I just don't think so.

sbw

Can someone parse for me the difference between:

A) Armitage calling Grossman before Grossman's GJ testimony

B) Eckenrode telling Russert Libby's side of the phone conversation as opposed to asking what Russert believed it to be.

C) Illegal coaching a witness

brassband

I may be wrong, but I understood that the FBI required that any initial interviews of witnesses be done in person. At a minimum this would permit the agent to verify the identity of the interviewee, and vice versa.

Since we don't have the notes we don't really know what the SAC said to to Russert to confirm that he really was with the FBI. But, so much for source-protection by Russert. Anybody who calls him and claims to be FBI will get him to spill at least portions of conversations with the protected source.

And, oh yeah, the "unable to locate" problem doesn't really shock me or suggest misconduct. Only typical sloppiness (like conducting an initial interview over the phone).

My feeling about this is not that it's a grand conspiracy of prosecutorial misconduct, but that it was a stupid quest by Fitz to come up with something long after he should have declared that he knew who the leaker was and that there did not appear to be any crime.

Nancy Reardon

I am not a lawyer, but I am quite interested in the case, a big fan of JOM and I have followed these threads since the beginning of the trial. So, here's my layman's take: For the month or so prior to the publication of Novak's column, various govt officials (including Libby) and assorted media types were all buzzing about this story, but everyone had different bits of information, and no one had the whole story (except maybe Armitage). There was confusion about her name, her role in sending hubby (vs. the "low level CIA operatives"), CIA vs. State involvement etc. Then, sometime in the week prior to Novak's column, Libby has his phone calls w/ Mitchell and Russert, and one of them (I'm betting Mitchell, and that he conflated the two conversations) said something that snapped everything into place . . . whether it was the name, her actual role at the CIA, whatever. That's why he "heard it as though for the first time," because it was the first time it had all made sense. Remember too, if I'm not mistaken, that he had to keep track in his own mind to whom he could officially confirm her identity (regardless of his knowledge at that time of her role), versus the "I heard that too." Then all the subsequent CYA activity becomes highly specific and legalistic, because it makes Libby look like he did all this on his own, and none of the media types is on the hook for a leak. So, whaddya think?

clarice

Damned good, Nancy.Welcome aboard.

Sara (Squiggler)

Nancy -- I'm with you. I'm not sure what Russert said, but whatever it was, it gave Libby his V-8 moment.

Jane

Clarice -

You get a big huge WOW from me! The post falls apart a little for me with all the alternate scenero speculation, but I think the beginning, in particular, is a little reminiscent of Rathergate or a reverse Watergate. The left has long since practiced that a good offense if the best defense and this case is a perfect example of that.

The MSM needs to start addressing NBC with some seriousness. Your entry needs to get circulated widely. Congratulations of a really great piece!

Sara (Squiggler)

I have noticed that both reporters and their denials and even the defense always use the 14th in regard to the publication of Novak's article. Why? NBC had it on the advance wire and we know that 85 newsrooms had it on the advance wire. That was JULY 11th not the 14th. Anything that occurred or was talked about between the 11th and the 14th should be "fair game" and treated as if "everyone knows."

CanuckObserver

Sara, re Fitzgerald fighting to keep Mitchell off the stand.

Didn't Judge Walton make a remark (I seem to remember someone in an earlier thread taking note of this), that if Mitchell comes to the stand, he did not see how he could refuse defense access to her documentation, ie emails.
It made it sound as though there is something there that Fitzgerald might not like defense to see.

clarice

Thank you, Jane. Coming from you that is a high compliment and one that I treasure--makes the lack of sleep seem worthwhilte.

Ranger

Sara,

Add to that the fact that Wilson had been the main guest on MTP the previous week, and it becomes unlikely that an NBC staffer wouldn't pick up on the significance of Novak's column to the NBC brand and get it out to the principle of MTP. It becomese more and more dificult to accept Russerts "impossible to have known before the 14th" statement.

brassband

May be someone can clear this up . . .

As I understand it, the reason why the defense cannot call Mitchell is that she is not named as someone with whom Libby had contact, her public statement that "everyone knew" has been recanted, and Libby would therefore be calling her just to impeach the credibility of her recanted public statement . . .

Have I got that about right?

cathyf
Can someone parse for me ... Illegal coaching a witness
Well, you asked for a parsing ;-) It needs to be "Illegally coaching a witness" or "Illegal coaching of a witness"

(just yankin yer chain sbw...)

windansea

expanding on Nancy's post I was thinking along the same lines.

During the Eckenrode conversation, Russert was unsure if he had talked to Libby about wilson's wife. Eckenrode then told Russert that Libby was saying that Russert told him her name and CIA job. (Libby possibly conflating Russert with another reporter like Cooper) Russert, knowing he was sure he did not give the name, and knowing the legal implications, said that was impossible and revised his memory and began with his over parsed denials that continued into the trial.

Bsiscally he thought it's him or Libby, and since he didn't actually say the name felt okay about his denials.

clarice

Canuck--you're right. It's all in here.
http://www.americanthinker.com/2007/01/the_mitchell_mystery_at_the_li.html>Mitchell

clarice

yes, windandsea, I've always felt it was something like that and the NBC weasely statements so well documented by TM reinforce that belief.

Brassband, the prosecution claims that Libby wants to put her only on the stand to repeat that she didn't know and then hit her with her Oct 3 statement to impeach her "didn't know".

Sara (Squiggler)

CanuckObserver -- those were Andrea's so-called "illegible" notes and some emails. I think I have this right that they were deemed to be useless by the judge for any kind of discovery and then he made a rather dramatic change of heart. Clarice, at the time, was very suspicious and she can fill in the blanks. No one could figure out what so earthshaking had happened to have the judge reverse himself. Perhaps something about her FBI interview is the answer. I don't know.

jainphx

For a layman,all this looks like some one is finally catching up to the shadow government,and the belated attempt to stop its uncovering.The media in cahoots with the shadow cyphers that are against this or any administration they oppose.

Jane

Thank you, Jane. Coming from you that is a high compliment

That's only because I rival you in the typo department. In the writing department, I'm not even in the same stratasphere, never mind the same league.

I wish you would email it around to a lot of folks - blogs, media types etc. The NBC angle needs wide exposure.

percipio

Ranger,

I was intrigued with the following exchange in Russert's testimony: (from maine web report live-blog)

W: How did you book Wilson?
R: Producer saw the NY Times oped Saturday night, called Wilson at home and booked.

W: Is this common?
R: Don’t know, wasn’t there that night

Interesting that A) his first instinct is to distance himself, and B) he didn't answer the question.

Rocco

I bet those missing notes are in the same place they found the missing Niger Documents...Val's safe!

Sara (Squiggler)

Clarice, although it might not look like because of my sticky laptop keys, I'm actually a very good proofreader with some newspaper training in that occupation. If you get rich and famous and get your own byline, remember the little people. Please.

Just kidding. Agree with Jane, correct a few typos and then send it to everyone you can think of. But, start with Jim Angle at Fox.

topsecretkk9

Perp

W: Is this common?
R: Don’t know

Uh, yeah. Russert doesn't know how guests are booked. Riiiighht.

Sara (Squiggler)

I bet those missing notes are in the same place they found the missing Niger Documents...Val's safe!

ROFL@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@

roanoke

Sorry this is slightly off topic but at Find Law they have this indicing link that seems to advertise that they have the Libby transcripts-I click on the link and my browser or computer absolutely refuses to load it-

The link appears like this-right under the picture of John Dean-

NEWS HEADLINES

* Anna Nicle Left A Tangled Legal Web
- Her Noteworthy Litigation
* Defense Can Call Journalist In Libby Trial
- View The Trial Transcripts

* Man Freed by DNA Evidence to Get $3.9M

Here is a direct link to the page that supposedly contains the link to the transcripts-

Link

Can anyone get the link to load?


brassband

Ranger -- I read that same exchange where Russert said he didn't know whether it was "common" and had the same reaction. When I thought about it I wondered whether the transcription was accurate and/or whether Russert heard the question correctly. The cross-examiner did not follow up on the question, which leads me to believe that the defense did not consider it significant.

Also, Russert had been away on vacation when Wilson was booked and appeared on MTP, as I understand it.

roanoke

Cripes I meant enticing link...

brassband

Wilson/Mitchell question -- As I remember it, Wilson was the Ambassador (or acting Ambassador) to Iraq in the time leading up to the 1991 Gulf War.

Wilson was a "career dipolimat" and Mitchell has been covering State Dept. for NBC for many years . . . is it possible that she had a connection to Wilson going back that far?

Has anyone come across any Wilson/Mitchell reporting that pre-dates Wilson's op-ed?

brassband

Missing notes . . . check Sandy Berger's socks!!

clarice

As to the date of the FBI interview--I have no transcripts just FDL's summary (Russert One) and here's what it says:
" Conversation was in July 2003, right?

T: Yes.

W: First interview with FBI was four months later, right?

T: Right.

W: You have no notes of the conversation, right?

T: Right.

W: No contemporary documentation of the call, right?

T: Right.

W: You don't even recall if it was one or two calls, right?

T: I just remember one call.

W: Do you recall telling the FBI it might have been one, or two?

T: I just remember one call, no recollection of a second one.

(Wells shows Tim his FBI interview.)

T: I just remember one call, not the second.

W: You don't recall the date of the call.

T: Right.

W: Did you tell the FBI that you could not rule out absolutely that you talked about Wilson's wife?

T:

W: Did you tell FBI in November 2003 that you have many conversations and that it is hard to reconstruct one from several months ago?

T: I may have."

Alcibiades

To add to your analysis, Clarice.

You've already pointed out that Eckenrode distorted Libby's comment in his right up of the report:

She also said that while Libby said he "couldn't recall" a key conversation, for example, Eckenrode reported that Libby "adamantly denied "it occurred.

If this is his personal style, he may similarly have overstressed the information that Libby told him to Russert - in other words, he presented Russert with a version of events that were not, themselves correct, a version that Libby, himself, would not have recognized.

So that it is this version of events that Russert denies, because they are not correct, as Eckenrode reported them.

This is similar to what happened to Libby at the Grand Jury. He was presented with testimony of his version of events that did not correctly transmit what he said.

I think this must be part of standard procedure that ambiguities and nuances in speech are simply done away with.

Reminds of an incident when I went to report a break in to my house years ago - I had had a brief tussle with the guy who broke in before he fled, and the police asked me to review their books - I couldn't find anyone in them, and I tried to explain, he looked a bit like that one, etc. And the police took that as a confirmation that this was the one, etc.

lurker

Great job with the article, Clarice!

You have done a great job researching the facts and have the ability to prove that your articles are based on facts made available to you.

clarice

Thanks, lurker. Alciabides..I agree. I have said for a long time I think the FBI agents handling this case, lied to the WH witnesses to get them to rat on others..and I think that it very likely what happened with Russert.

That is to say, at the outset it isn't necessary to believe that he was deliberately lying--but rather that his weak recollection was "refreshed " by a false version of events and therefore he denied it it happened. OTOH given his affidavit song and dance and his treatment of Novak, a less charitable assessment is not out of the question.

topsecretkk9

--So that it is this version of events that Russert denies, because they are not correct, as Eckenrode reported them.---

I think this is entirely possible.

Jane

Roanoke,

I got the link to load. It's about Abramson not Mitchell. It's from Thurday. I can post it if you want.

Jane

Roanoke,

I got the link to load. It's about Abramson not Mitchell. It's from Thurday. I can post it if you want.

windansea

so...disappearance of Eckenrode notes

innocent or suspicious?

on suspicious side we have:

Russert saying they nay have talked about Wilson wife

Eckenrode coaching Russert

Fitz wanted cleaner denial (we should look at GJ transcripts to see how Fitz worded questions to Russert...may be some tells in there

topsecretk9

here is an FYI

Three high-profile reporters have testified for the prosecution and all have been grilled by the defense over their credibility and work standards. Expected to be called as early as Monday are Washington Post Assistant Managing Editor Bob Woodward, who was the first reporter to be told about Plame working at the CIA but who didn't write about it, and syndicated columnist Robert Novak, whose article prompted the leak investigation.

Other journalists who have been called to testify for the defense have fought the subpoenas. Judge Reggie Walton ruled against the New York Times, which was fighting to prevent two of its journalists, reporter David Sanger and Managing Editor Jill Abramson, from testifying.

Still in dispute is the subpoena for NBC News Chief Foreign Affairs Correspondent Andrea Mitchell.

http://edition.cnn.com/2007/POLITICS/02/09/libby.grand.jury/

centralcal

Excellent Clarice. This needs to get much more attention in the blogosphere.

clarice

Well, centralcal hit the send button. LOL

Sara (Squiggler)

Clarice: I really think you should change the title to one suggested in another thread to "The Dog Ate My Homework? and then subtitle it "Libby Trial: NBC Connection"

clarice

Thanks, ts--
windandsea--remember Russert didn't have to testify before the gj--he got the presidential treatment--a nice depo with his lawyers present in THEIR offices.

clarice

Too late, Sara it's in the ether.

clarice

What does anyone remember about David Sanger so I know what that's about should he appear on Mon or Tue when I'm blogging?

Sara (Squiggler)

David E. Sanger covers the White House for The New York Times and is one of the newspaper?s senior writers.

clarice

Jack Eckenrode believed that both Rove and Libby were being dishonest. He pushed the issue. Attorney General John Ashcroft was forced to recuse himself after what John Dean called "months of dillydallying" (Worse Than Watergate; page 173) because of Eckenrode’s investigation.

Isikoff & Corn note the two met at the Justice Department in late December 2003, and Jack gave him a briefing on the case. Jack gave Patrick a huge file on the case, and then drove him to the airport. The two discussed their plans for New Year’s Eve...On New Year’s Day, Fitzgerald called Eckenrode at home. He wanted to talk about those (files). Fitzgerald had read them all. Having mastered the most obscure details, he started questioning Eckenrode about the interviews. He tossed out ideas – brilliant ones, Eckenrode thought – for moving the case forward." (Hubris; pages 342-3)

Curly Smith

Press '1' for The Pumpkinhead

Does the NBC complaint desk have a menu option to directly connect the caller to the Bureau Chief?

Does Russert routinely man the complaint desk so it's just the luck of the call if a Grandmother calling about a cookie recipe gets an intern or the Big Dog?

Of course with Libby we have a highly placed government official calling Russert on his direct line to correct factual errors that were being reported on one of Russert's news shows and Russert says Libby is just a viewer and not a source.

Is it just a definition problem? At NBC do "sources" provide the lies while "viewers" correct the lies?

roanoke

Jane -

Thanks for checking it out. I was hoping to get the Russert testimony.

Dang it-that means my browser or computer is messed up!


Wow. Sometimes I feel like pitching this thing over the Hoover.

I'm off to pretend I'm not a Plame-o-holic for awhile.

kate

My search on Eckenrode revealed an Amherst connection. And guess who had kind words for Enkenrode, Mr., er, Ambassador Joe Wilson himself.

sbw

cathyf parsing parsing.

Hah!

centralcal

"...hit the send button."

I am, I am. What we need is a big megaphone, or several of them. One, I can think of isn't on the blogs, but on the airwaves. Anybody have an acquaintance with Rush Limbaugh? Because of my work schedule, I only occasionally hear snippets of his program now and then. How do we get him interested in this story? It has elements he likes: the drive-by liberal media, out of control prosecutors, missing evidence (i.e., notes), PMSNBC, etc. etc.

Does anyone know if he's a regular reader and/or fan of JOM? Should we all inundate his website? What to do, what to do?

centralcal

"...hit the send button."

I am, I am. What we need is a big megaphone, or several of them. One, I can think of isn't on the blogs, but on the airwaves. Anybody have an acquaintance with Rush Limbaugh? Because of my work schedule, I only occasionally hear snippets of his program now and then. How do we get him interested in this story? It has elements he likes: the drive-by liberal media, out of control prosecutors, missing evidence (i.e., notes), PMSNBC, etc. etc.

Does anyone know if he's a regular reader and/or fan of JOM? Should we all inundate his website? What to do, what to do?

azaghal
W: How did you book Wilson? R: Producer saw the NY Times oped Saturday night, called Wilson at home and booked.

W: Is this common?
R: Don’t know, wasn’t there that night

Uh, yeah. Russert doesn't know how guests are booked. Riiiighht.


I think several posters have misunderstood this to mean that Russert was saying that he didn't know how guests are booked. Actually, I think what he was saying is that he didn't know whether NBC employees commonly check the advance wires. Now what's so implausible about that?

Well, come to think about it, I'd imagine that any news organization that wants to be taken seriously makes sure that the advance wires are being constantly scanned, not just "common[ly]."

Beyond that, as brassband and others have noted, there are a whole string of "T: I don't recall" responses (or variations on that theme) that are simply not credible.

Between Andrea's "everyone knows" and Tim's "so that's what everyone was talking about" moment--a moment that could have come well before the Novak column offcially hit the presses if some little NBC newsie pointed it out to Tim--there is unquestionably something fishy about NBC's involvement here. Way to go, clarice!

Alcibiades

Is it just a definition problem? At NBC do "sources" provide the lies while "viewers" correct the lies?

Sources allow media to create the myth of journalistic privilege and distance themselves from the hoi polloi so they can feel - special.

Whereas complainants are people they can rat out - presumably for complaining in the first place.

clarice

Do youhave a cite to those kind words, kate?

azaghal
W: How did you book Wilson? R: Producer saw the NY Times oped Saturday night, called Wilson at home and booked.

W: Is this common?
R: Don’t know, wasn’t there that night

Uh, yeah. Russert doesn't know how guests are booked. Riiiighht.


I think several posters have misunderstood this to mean that Russert was saying that he didn't know how guests are booked. Actually, I think what he was saying is that he didn't know whether NBC employees commonly check the advance wires. Now what's so implausible about that?

Well, come to think about it, I'd imagine that any news organization that wants to be taken seriously makes sure that the advance wires are being constantly scanned, not just "common[ly]."

Beyond that, as brassband and others have noted, there are a whole string of "T: I don't recall" responses (or variations on that theme) that are simply not credible.

Between Andrea's "everyone knows" and Tim's "so that's what everyone was talking about" moment--a moment that could have come well before the Novak column offcially hit the presses if some little NBC newsie watching the wires pointed it out to Tim--there is unquestionably something fishy about NBC's involvement here. Way to go, clarice!

Skip

This is a very interesting series of events. The only problem I have with it is this old maxim:

Never attribute to malice what can be explained by incompetence, especially when dealing with the Government.

I do believe that if this had happened in the Starr investigation of the Clintons that it would have been front page news, above the fold for weeks, though.

clarice

azaghal, you gave me the courage to call the bluffers' hand.

centralcal

sorry for the double post!!! it was a pixel thingy.

Rick Ballard

Thanks for checking the date, Clarice. I finally found it in the same place you did - should have checked back earlier. So Fitz didn't coach Eckenrode prior to the call.

The sequence as I see it is:

Oct. - FBI interviews Libby, hears Russert story.

Nov. FBI - makes the mystery call to Russert, notes missing and no real testimony as to how Russert was induced to cough up on a "sacred source".

Dec 30 - It's Fitztime!

Feb 7 - Oh, by the way Comey - would you mind making a plenipotentiary grant of absolute power wrt the DoJ? Add a specific codicil concerning process crimes, OK.

"Yessir, Mr. Fitzgerald, anything else I can do?"

Mar - Wile E. Fitzgerald assembles the Acme All Purpose Perjury Trap and Libby falls in.

May - August - Negotiations with NBC/"Young Tim" about various considerations to be offered to His Highness in exchange for testimony. HRH "Young Tim" finally deigns to grant a short audience to Fitz with the proviso that he will receive him while seated upon his attorney's lap.

Oct - Fitz indicts on the basis of HRH "Young Tim's" twenty minute parrot performance.

Nov - The FBI remembers to lose the notes - and the FBI agent who took them.

Farce or tragedy?

clarice

skip:(per charlie of Colo quoting Goldfinger):"Once is happenstance; twice is coincidence; three times is enemy action! ...

clarice

Bravissimo, Rick:Plame for Dummies

Alcibiades

Nice one, Rick

jerry

O'Reilly's critique of NBC is so absurd it could only survive in the vacume that is Faux News.

NBC has daily hour long showw, even in prime time, hosted by Republicans and conservatives - Tucker Carlson and Joe Scarborough.

Does Faux have any liberal hosts, daily, in prime time? Yeah, laugh, the idea is inconceivable because everything about Fox is faux - expecially their Orwellian "fair and balanced" rallying cry.

And the vast false "Fair and Balanced" front that Fox creates is embraced by a viewership with as little interest in fair and balanced debate as their leader in the WH.

Bob

Great job clarice!

I hope you get your well deserve credit for bird dogging this one!

Patton

Wasn't it MSNBC that was claiming Libby had destroyed evidence...have they been pushing the story that it appears the prosecutor has destroyed a key piece of evidence??? (Russert interview notes)

I take it a 'diligent' search means that the notes had to have been destroyed for some reason.

Why didn't Echenrode testify? Isn't a report hearsay when he should have been available to testify as to the content of the discussion with Russert.

Sara (Squiggler)


I think several posters have misunderstood this to mean that Russert was saying that he didn't know how guests are booked.

Do we know if Russert has any say on who his guests are or does he come in cold? Who are these producers, how many, and who did they talk to?

If Russert has operational control over guests, would they book someone post haste for Andrea without running the reason by Russert first, vacation or not? Just asking?

azaghal


Very nice timeline, Rick; makes everything clear. What do you want to bet that one of those "brilliant ideas" that Fitz had immediately after reading the file--within only months of the investigation's initiation--was to go for process crimes? You have to give Fitz credit: he was a quick study. He knew within a day of reading the file that there was no "there" there. And so that's what this was all about.

Jack Eckenrode believed that both Rove and Libby were being dishonest. He pushed the issue. Attorney General John Ashcroft was forced to recuse himself after what John Dean called "months of dillydallying" (Worse Than Watergate; page 173) because of Eckenrode’s investigation.

Isikoff & Corn note the two met at the Justice Department in late December 2003, and Jack gave him a briefing on the case. Jack gave Patrick a huge file on the case, and then drove him to the airport. The two discussed their plans for New Year’s Eve...On New Year’s Day, Fitzgerald called Eckenrode at home. He wanted to talk about those (files). Fitzgerald had read them all. Having mastered the most obscure details, he started questioning Eckenrode about the interviews. He tossed out ideas – brilliant ones, Eckenrode thought – for moving the case forward." (Hubris; pages 342-3)


KenS

"Are we to believe that Tim Russert's home phone number is publicly available? I don't think it's likely he's in the White pages."

Well...actually it appears to be. I haven't called the number, but several online people searches do have a phone listed for a T R Russert, in the DC area. (Zillow shows the house value at $4M, so it is a reasonable possibility.)

But I would assume Tim has caller ID, and if it popped up "FBI AGENT", he might answer the call.

Skip

Clarice:

Yes, I could see that as two competing specializations of Occam's Razor. But given the choice between enemy action and gross incompetence by a government employee, it's a close call.

It's the same problem I've had all along with the idea that the CIA was at war with the White House. It's hard to believe that the same CIA that's screwed up so royally in the recent past could have nearly pulled off such a subtle operation.

Patton

"""Martin: Clarice, you and TM really ought to back up your charges before you just spew them out there."""

Ohhh, you said the same thing during the Rather National Guard fraud the Lamestream media tried to pull. Have you no shame?

You don't have to back-up Russerts very plain affadavit as opposed to Russerts testimony. All you need to is to be able to read and comprehend.

azaghal

Patton, Russert was available. The only reason to call Eckenrode now would be to impeach Russert's recollection, based on E's contemporaneous notes (Russert didn't make any).

Jane

You should post the number and we can all call it. I'm sure Tim would love to talk to us.

centralcal

lol. great idea, Jane!

kate

Clarice, the original article is archieved at the Philadelphia Inquirer. Here is the Amherst college paper quoting from that article:

The Amherst paper quoted Wilson as describing Eckenrode as "committed" "thoughtful" "thorough" and "extraordinarily discreet".

The discussion thread below quotes the College paper article.

The message is ready to be sent with the following file or link attachments:
Shortcut to: http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/1511844/posts


Sara (Squiggler)

Jerry: Both Tucker and Scarborough are at best RINOs. As far as Fox, you've got a rabid anti-military guy in Cavuto who is what I call a "captitalist democrat," unusual as most are socialists. The "fair and balanced" refers to guests not anchors. Try to find dissenting views on the other NBC

PeterUK

Martin,
It doesn't take much effort to dig up the numerous criminal cases where police have withheld evidence,extorted confessions and generally fiddled the books to get a result,are you saying that the prosecutor was unaware of this in every case?
BTW as a result of these miscarriages of justice,interviews are taped.It would seem to me that the only time a law enforcement officer would interview a high profile member of the media alone is for highly unusual reasons.
So yes if Fitz got a career boosting indictment handed to him on a plate,why not go along with it?

boris
  1. Coach Russert;
  2. Coach retires;
  3. Lose Notes;
  4. Authorize Process Crime.

That's 4. Occam's Razor says enemy action.

clarice

Yeah--we can say it's viewer complaints.

(I doubt that he picks up the phone even if it's his. But experiement with it KenS. Report back to us how it goes and we can all try it.)

Bet it's an answering machine in the billiard room.

sbw

we can all call it.

Leave that for FDL or DKOS.

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Wilson/Plame