Saturday, October 29, 2005

Request for column: Distorted view of the Libby indictment

Whole lotta wanking going on.

No More Special Counsels

It is clear that, at least by sometime in January 2004 -- and probably much earlier -- Fitzgerald knew this law had not been violated. Plame was not a "covert" agent but a bureaucrat working at CIA headquarters. Instead of closing shop, however, Fitzgerald sought an expansion of his mandate and has now charged offenses that grew entirely out of the investigation itself. In other words, there was no crime when the investigation started, only, allegedly, after it finished. Unfortunately, for special counsels, as under the code of the samurai, once the sword is drawn it must taste blood.

"It is clear" that these writers decided these things in a closed room, while covering each others' eyes and ears, and putting pen to paper in a pleasing way for a while, then re-reading the scribbles and interpreting them as evidence on which to base this article.

The question of the unwritten Judy Miller story

Did Judith Miller get her story spiked? She seems to have agreed to attribute Libby's comments about Plame, deceptively, to a "former Hill staffer."

According to Libby's indictment, Libby and Miller discussed Plame on June 23, 2003, on July 8, 2003, and July 12, 2003.

But she never wrote a story.

So, did some wise editor at the Times look at the story and say, "Hell no. You are not putting in our paper the name of a covert CIA agent."

Or is there another reason that she never wrote a story.

I know this is not a new question, but now that we have this information from a credible source (Fitzgerald and the indictment), the question is worth asking again.

Friday, October 28, 2005

Mega Plame Libby indictment post

Many thanks to firedoglake, who have been feeding my Plame - Libby - indictment case jones. I've been hitting F5 over there for the last hour, at least.

This will be an atypical post for me, in terms of length. Here we go.

The indictment is available through the DOJ web-site to the right. It is very readable.

I do not understand why Libby was not charged with revealing classified information (or whatever the statute is). The narrative makes pretty clear that he did, and that he knew he was doing it.

On to some specifics:

4. On or about May 29, 2003, in the White House, LIBBY asked an Under Secretary of State (“Under Secretary”) for information concerning the unnamed ambassador’s travel to Niger to investigate claims about Iraqi efforts to acquire uranium yellowcake. The Under Secretary thereafter directed the State Department’s Bureau of Intelligence and Research to prepare a report concerning the ambassador and his trip. The Under Secretary provided LIBBY with interim oral reports in late May and early June 2003, and advised LIBBY that Wilson was the former ambassador who took the trip.

Curious. Libby goes to the State Department for information about the CIA. A back-channel request. Steve Clemons can tell ya about that channel.

6. On or about June 11 or 12, 2003, the Under Secretary of State orally advised LIBBY in the White House that, in sum and substance, Wilson’s wife worked at the CIA and that State Department personnel were saying that Wilson’s wife was involved in the planning of his trip.

"Everyone knew she was CIA," my arse.

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

Scoots knew what he was doing.

20. On or about July 10, 2003, LIBBY spoke to NBC Washington Bureau Chief Tim Russert to complain about press coverage of LIBBY by an MSNBC reporter. LIBBY did not discuss Wilson’s wife with Russert.

26. As part of the criminal investigation, LIBBY was interviewed by Special Agents of the FBI on or about October 14 and November 26, 2003, each time in the presence of his counsel. During these interviews, LIBBY stated to FBI Special Agents that:
a. During a conversation with Tim Russert of NBC News on July 10 or 11, 2003, Russert asked LIBBY if LIBBY was aware that Wilson’s wife worked for the CIA. LIBBY responded to Russert that he did not know that, and Russert replied that all the reporters knew it. LIBBY was surprised by this statement because, while speaking with Russert, LIBBY did not recall that he previously had learned about Wilson’s wife’s employment from the Vice President.

Sorry, Huffington Post. Looks like Russert wasn't involved, except as piece of Libby's lies. Maybe he knew that Libby was lying about him, maybe he didn't. Don't know that it would have helped much for him to speak out before now, before the actual indictments.

21. On or about July 10 or July 11, 2003, LIBBY spoke to a senior official in the White House (“Official A”) who advised LIBBY of a conversation Official A had earlier that week with columnist Robert Novak in which Wilson’s wife was discussed as a CIA employee involved in Wilson’s trip. LIBBY was advised by Official A that Novak would be writing a story about Wilson’s wife.

"Official A." Cute. Rove apparently has a long standing relationship with Novak. Turd Blossom, you're next.

The wait

The wait is apparently almost over.

Numerous accounts (see TPM, firedoglake, and others that I have forgotten already) say that there will documents released at noon, and a press conference at 2:00 PM.

Getting any work done today will be a challenge.

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Things that are difficult to say with a straight face

MR. McCLELLAN: I think you can because you know that our relationship is built on trust, and I have earned that trust with you all.


The transcript does not reflect any snickering or giggling from the press at that point.

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Whacking Wilson

Husband Is Conspicuous in Leak Case
Wilson's Credibility Debated as Charges In Probe Considered

This is a confounding article.

It's as if the writers decided to compile a list of pros and cons about Wilson without actually doing any new reporting or weighing in on the accuracy of the pros and cons.

The mention the Vanity Fair pictures, as if the pictures actually mean anything to the issue of claims about Iraq's WMD's or leaks of covert agents. Something about propriety, I guess. Mr. Wilson, please contact Ms. Manners.

They throw in the "boondoggle" boondoggle, as if that was a logical, Earth-based criticism and not some half-baked, throw-away deflection.

They commit a real sin in quoting verbatim from the rabidly insane Wall Street Journal editorial page. Oh wait, but they threw in the descriptor "conservative." If we lived in a world where "conservative" was accepted to mean "lying and distorting," that would be OK, but, alas, we are not quite there yet.

They quote Waxman defending Wilson.

They go on to talk about Wilson's political affiliations, including work for the Kerry campaign. This, of course, is part of the theory that every criticsm is at heart partisan, regardless of the truth or how important to the country the charges are. Thanks for that, big media political writers.

The article is basically a primer to the past and future smears of Wilson, with very little given in the way of judging the validity of the those smears. All is fair, I guess.

PS Even if Wilson was a tin-foil-hat crackpot who said he was kidnapped on the way to Niger and the aliens from Tralfamadore told him that Iraq didn't try to acquire uranium, that doesn't (A) change the fact that the White House decided to go after him and (B) excuse the White House's actions in going after Plame and (C) oh, that damn cover-up.

Thank you, Senator McCain

White House Seeks Exception in Abuse Ban

But in a 45-minute meeting last Thursday, Vice President Dick Cheney and the C.I.A. director, Porter J. Goss, urged Senator John McCain, the Arizona Republican who wrote the amendment, to support an exemption for the agency, arguing that the president needed maximum flexibility in dealing with the global war on terrorism, said two government officials who were briefed on the meeting. They spoke on condition of anonymity because of the confidential nature of the discussions.

Mr. McCain rejected the proposed exemption, which stated that the measure "shall not apply with respect to clandestine counterterrorism operations conducted abroad, with respect to terrorists who are not citizens of the United States, that are carried out by an element of the United States government other than the Department of Defense and are consistent with the Constitution and laws of the United States and treaties to which the United States is a party, if the president determines that such operations are vital to the protection of the United States or its citizens from terrorist attack."

Discussion topic: Exactly how rabid crazy is Cheney?

Monday, October 24, 2005

"A serious breach of public trust"

Inquiry as Exacting As Special Counsel Is

Just wanted to highlight those words in this post's title, in case anyone is tempted to bite into the mush about "legal technicalities."

Miller and Cooper appealed, but three judges of the U.S. Court of Appeals backed Hogan, including Clinton appointee David S. Tatel, considered one of the most liberal voices on the court. Public copies of Tatel's opinion included blank pages where the judge discussed the secret evidence. He called Fitzgerald's investigation "exhaustive" and said the testimony of the two reporters "appears essential to remedying a serious breach of public trust."

Sunday, October 23, 2005

Where were you when the indictments came

New link over dere ------>