Im-me-di-ate: adjective (DOJ) 1. More Than 2 Years

Goddamn did DOJ bring the stupid in their response to CREW’s brief in its Cheney interview FOIA.

745 days ago, George Bush commuted Scooter Libby’s sentence, thereby ensuring that Scooter Libby would not testify about whether–as all the evidence indicated–Dick Cheney had ordered him to leak Valerie Wilson’s identity to Judy Miller. 745 days ago, for all intents and purposes, the investigation of Dick Cheney’s involvement in outing a CIA officer ended in the dead end of Scooter Libby’s successful criminal obstruction of justice.

Yet DOJ describes CREW’s efforts to get Cheney’s interview report via FOIA to be an attempt to get "a ruling that would make public interview reports of high ranking White House officials immediately upon the conclusion of the relevant investigation." For the whizzes in DOJ, I guess, 745 days equates to "immediate."

But that’s not the only heap of stupid they bring in this filing.

Next, these whizzes argue that if DOJ turns over Cheney’s interview, then senior White House officials will no longer provide criminal investigators a "full account of relevant events."

This argument, however, is ultimately immaterial because, while in some circumstances public pressure could possibly force a White House official to sit down for an interview, it cannot ensure that that official will be willing “to provide law enforcement officials with a full account of relevant events,”

Dudes! Let me tell you a secret about this case!! It ended in a successful perjury and obstruction of justice prosecution that revealed–among other things–that convicted felon Scooter Libby had worked out a cover story with Dick Cheney before Libby first testified to the FBI! Had Cheney given a "full account of relevant events," then Scooter Libby probably wouldn’t have been prosecuted successfully (or, at the least, Judy Miller wouldn’t have had to testify or Cheney would have been charged with obstruction himself).

Next, DOJ claims that a precedent in which the release of a summary of deliberations was found not to constitute a waiver over the source documents of that deliberation applies here, in which key source documents have already been released, but which wouldn’t–DOJ argues–constitute a waiver for the interview report which is fundamentally a summary. For DOJ, a precedent finding that a summary doesn’t equal source is the same as a source not equaling a summary. 

The D.C. Circuit held that the release of the report did not constitute a waiver of privilege and that the White House could retain privilege over all documents that had not specifically been provided to individuals outside the government. Id. at 741. Read more

Dick Cheney, Torture, Iraq, and Valerie Plame

I’ve been reluctant to embrace suggestions that torture, Iraq, and Valerie Plame were all going to coalesce into one linked story. After all, it would be too easy for me, of all people, to argue these stories were linked. But I increasingly suspect they are.

First, let me pull together some data points.

Nancy Pelosi and Bob Graham are linking the non-briefings on torture with the Iraq NIE

Now that they are explicitly stating that CIA lied in its September briefings on torture, Nancy Pelosi and Bob Graham are also both linking those lies with the lies they were telling–at precisely the same time–in the Iraq NIE. Here’s Pelosi:

Of all the briefings that I have received at this same time, earlier, they were misinforming the American people there were weapons of mass destruction in Iraq and it was an imminent threat to the United States. I, to the limit of what I could say to my caucus, told them, the intelligence does not support the imminent threat that this Administration is contending. Whether it’s on the subject of what’s happening in Iraq, whether it’s on the subject of techniques used by the intelligence community on those they are interrogating, every step of the way, the Administration was misleading the Congress.

And that is the issue. And that is why we need a truth commission.

And here’s Graham:

Yes, they’re obligated to tell the full Intelligence Committee, not just the leadership. This was the same time within the same week, in fact, that the CIA was submitting its National Intelligence Estimate on weapons of mass destruction in Iraq which proves so erroneous that we went to war, have had thousands of persons killed and injured as a result of misinformation.

Now, it’s quite possible Graham and Pelosi are tying these two lies together just to remind reporters how unreliable the CIA is. Perhaps they’re doing it to remind reporters of how they got burned leading into the Iraq War, trusting the spin of the Administration.

But perhaps they’re trying to say there’s a direct connection, an explicit one, between the NIE and torture. We know Ibn Sheikh al-Libi’s claims appeared in there. Did anything that came out of Abu Zubaydah’s interrogation? Or Ramzi bin al-Shibh? 

Did CIA not reveal they were torturing detainees to dodge any question about the accuracy of claims about Iraq intelligence?

The proposal to waterboard Muhammed Khudayr al-Dulaymi

Then there’s not just the revelation, by Charles Duelfer, but the timing he describes of OVP proposals to waterboard Muhammed Khudayr al-Dulaymi, a Mukhabarat officer. Read more

Once Again, the Federal Government Uses Valerie to Screw Joe

I’m not so much surprised that Judges Sentelle and Henderson dismissed the Wilsons’ appeal yesterday–I’m more surprised by the false ignorance through which they dismiss the Wilsons’ Bivens complaint (a Bivens claim allows a person to sue federal agents when they violate that person’s constitutional rights).

At the rhetorical foundation of Sentelle’s opinion lies the repetition of one of the biggest myths about the Plame leak–that Rove (and for that matter, Libby and his secret July 9 conversation with Novak) had nothing to do with Robert Novak’s article outing Plame, that Armitage acted alone.

In July, Libby talked to Judith Miller of The New York Times and to Matthew Cooper of Time magazine; Karl Rove talked to Matthew Cooper of Time magazine and to Chris Matthews, host of MSNBC’s “Hardball;” and Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage met with reporter Robert Novak. Armitage, who had learned of Valerie Wilson’s CIA employment from a State Department memo, told Novak that Valerie Wilson worked at the CIA on issues relating to weapons of mass destruction. Novak then wrote an article that was published in several newspapers, including The Washington Post and the Chicago Sun Times, on July 14, 2003.


The publication was the result of a disclosure by Deputy Secretary of State Armitage of information about an individual contained in State Department records.

Um, sure, the publication was the result of a disclosure by Blabby Armitage. But then, that State Department memo was written as a direct result of Libby’s own oppo research, so it was also the result of Libby’s attempt to gather dirt on Joe Wilson. And of course, Novak wouldn’t have written his column without the "confirmation" from Rove, who got his information from some other source; he has always denied seeing the INR memo. So it is likely that that letter also was the result of Dick Cheney’s own efforts to collect information with which to embarrass Wilson. (Novak’s column was also the result of the Off the Record club brokering the leak, too–private citizens who could have much more easily been sued, but that’s a weakness in the Wilsons’ suit, not the Court’s opinion.)

I suspect there’s a reason for the Court’s feigned ignorance here. Read more

On the Serendipity of Mis-Readings

Rut roh. Some White House reporter didn’t read my post closely enough:

Today On Holden’s Obsession With The Gaggle

By Holden Caulfield

Put Impeachment Back On The Table

Q Dana, I wanted to ask you, I know you don’t want to go line-by-line with the whole book thing, the Scott McClellan book — but I’m thinking you may want to address this because there’s something out there. Not having the benefit of having the book in front of me, there’s an allegation apparently made by Scott in the book that a reporter shouted a question to the President, on a trip that Scott had been with him on, just as they were getting on Air Force One, and it was Valerie Plame-related. Basically, it prompted Scott to ask the President directly, "Were you the one who authorized the leaking of Valerie Plame’s name?" And the President apparently told Scott, "Yes, I was."

MS. PERINO: I don’t know. Obviously I wasn’t there and — obviously I don’t know the context. I think the — it’s hard for me to say. I don’t have the book in front of me either and I don’t know.

But what I do know is that what we have said before, which is defending the President’s decision to go to war is something that we have done repeatedly, and the suggestion that the President had sent Joe Wilson to Africa was false. And so I don’t know if that was what it was in regards to or not, so I’m — I don’t know.

Q But I mean, if that’s an allegation that’s out there, that the President is supposedly responsible for the leaking of Valerie Plame’s name, is that something you want to —

MS. PERINO: I don’t think that’s what Scott says in the book and I think that everyone should go back and look at it a little bit more carefully. I don’t think that’s what he says.

Q Can you comment more generally about whether the President has ever authorized the leaking of classified information?

MS. PERINO: I’m not aware of that, no. And I also know that President Bush would never ask anyone to knowingly go out and lie. But do we defend the President’s record vigorously? Read more