1. Anonymous says:

    There’s one other thing we know besides that Libby is in deep doodoo – namely that Fitz is not done, and we’re going into extra innings.

    Only one question asked during the presser really touched on the recent flurry of activity, and Fitz sidestepped it with the same deftness that he sidestepped everything else. But I’m left with the impression that (to mix metaphors madly) Fitz just threw out an appetizer to show everyone that he’s playing serious hardball. He knew that everyone was expecting *something*, so he delivered something – confirmation that Libby lied through his teeth, without showing his hand on the underlying facts.

    – Rick

  2. Anonymous says:

    To follow up on Rick’s comment, I’m by no means deeply knowledgable about all the details in this case as are many of you, but I didn’t hear much in Fitzgerald’s presser that would provide valuable information to the other people possibly being investigated. As difficult as it was for some of us to discern where he goes next, I don’t think it was simply because of lack of detailed knowledge, it think it was because he was crystal clear about what he was willing to say, and resolutely unwilling to add much of anything that was written in the indictment other than some explanations of procedural issues.

    And I’ll say this ’bout the guy: he is most definitely the anti-Ken Starr. With him being from Chicago, if they haven’t already, you just know there are a bunch of Elliot Ness comparisons on the way. He just came accross as unimpeachable…and that was an intended pun.

  3. Anonymous says:

    oh, they’re there. He’s been called an Ivy League Elliot Ness (squeaky clean, etc.) for a while.

  4. Anonymous says:

    Oh yeah, he’s definitely not done. That was crystal clear. At the very least he’s got to get Rove Official A. But I think there’s a whole lot more there, that either says there are a lot more people to go get or a lot more people who are only recently testifying. I was just trying to point out the places in the indictment where those people might be. Lots of leads to follow up with in that little black book.

  5. Anonymous says:

    Reading the indictment again, it’s just so crystal clear. To Cheney’s people, the press is a joke and/or a tool to be used to satisfy their goals. Laws are a joke. An oath taken before a grand jury is a joke, everything’s a joke to them. They have things they want to do and they set about doing them no matter what. It’s a miracle that the system is still in place enough to hold them accountable at all.

  6. Anonymous says:


    Does â€Official A†mean that there’s a potential sealed indictment for whomever official A is (prob. Rove)? I’ve seen that kind of language in indictments before (official A, B, C or 1,2,3) and it’s almost always used to disguise the identity of a cooperating witness that’s still potentially a GJ target(implying a sealed indictment) or an unindicted co-conspirator. I find it fascinating that there are simply other unnamed officials (like Undersecretary of State, or other OVP official), but none are referred to as Official A, B, C, etc. Clearly, there’s something different about this official A.

    And, in that regard, do you think it possible that there are multiple sealed indictments we don’t know about, and that they include conspiracy counts? I’ve been musing over a â€prisoner’s dilemma†type scenario where it only takes one conspirator to flip to bring the whole mess down. And if there are lots of conspirators… can you afford not to be the first one to flip when there’s no prize for second place?

  7. Anonymous says:

    Just posted at the WSJ:
    4:05 p.m.: Anne Marie Squeo reports from Washington. Described as Eliot Ness with a Harvard law degree, Patrick Fitzgerald, the special prosecutor at the heart of the case that has ensnared White House officials, is a lot like the legendary law enforcer who brought down gangster Al Capone for tax evasion: While investigating bigger wrongs, he’ll settle for easier-to-prove charges to get his target. Read the full report.

  8. Anonymous says:

    Oh, I like this too:

    2:50 p.m.: Hoping to contain the damage, Republicans turned against Libby. Several welcomed his resignation. â€It’s time to stop the leaks and spin and turn Washington into one big recovery meeting where people say what they mean and mean what they say,’’ said Rep. Jim Ramstad (R., Minn.). Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (R., Tenn.) said through a spokesman that the Senate won’t investigate the CIA leak.

    â€Nothing to see here, keep moving along, nothing to see here…â€

  9. Anonymous says:

    From TomDispatch, prosecutor Elizabeth De La Vega about Fitzgerald:

    Obviously, Fitzgerald is taking a â€big picture†approach to this case. This mirrors his approach to previous cases. In December 2003, for example, Fitzgerald announced the indictment of former Illinois Governor George Ryan on corruption charges in Operation Safe Road, which began in 1998. In that year, the investigation of a fatal accident revealed that truckers were purchasing commercial licenses from state officials. Indictments were announced in stages, culminating in the indictment of Ryan, who was the 66th defendant in the case.

    Of course, that was back at his full-time job where he had no real time limitations. Still.

  10. Anonymous says:


    I think Rove (Official A, presumably) is the only one Fitz can indict without representing all the information. Not sure how. But obviously things are still under negotiation with Rove.

  11. Anonymous says:

    park –

    He has no REAL time limitation here, either; he’d plainly like to get back to Chi-town, but made clear that today wasn’t The End Of It All, as everyone had been pretty much assuming.

    Didn’t Luskin put out a carefully-worded statement last night that Rove’s legal status was unchanged? That would imply that Rove dodged the bullet today, but is not off the hook.

    – Rick

  12. Anonymous says:

    Didn’t Luskin put out a carefully-worded statement last night that Rove’s legal status was unchanged?

    I take that to mean that Rove offered up a tiny scrap of new info to try to save his ass and Ness, I man, Fitz, said, â€Mmmhmm. I’ll check that out and get back to you.†If what Rove offered doesn’t bear real fruit then Fitz pull out his sealed indictment and slaps Rove’s fat ass face with it.

    I hope whatever Rove offered up is just so much rotten meat. Indict that shit and flush the toilet.

  13. Anonymous says:

    We DO know a few things.

    1) Libby is gone.
    2) The story continues which is paralyzing to the WH.
    3) Fitzgerald can use any grand jury he wants (the whole empaneling thing is a non-issue).
    4) Fitzgerald has NOT gone home and is still investigating.
    5) Speculating…Fitzgerald looked pissed and determined to me. He takes the protection of national security quite seriously.
    6) Finally. Anyone who tries to trash this guy is in for it. He’s good in front of the cameras in a Paul-Hackett-kind-of-way.

    Not a bad days work IMO.

  14. Anonymous says:

    Considering emptywheel’s suggestion that something’s wrong about Russert’s testimony, I’ll return to my original feeling about this case, that Matalin spread the Plame info to the press.

    I’ll suggest that Matalin contacted Russert, Libby knew she would and then called Russert; Libby and Russert did talk about Plame and Libby got his alibi, but Russert didn’t want to give up Matalin.

    Just speculating of course.

  15. Anonymous says:

    I’m increasingly less confident that Matalin has cooperated, I will say that. Although I think I’ve been right all along when I’ve been guessing that Ari cooperated.

    Eh. One for two. Batting .500.

  16. Anonymous says:

    Did you catch the reference to truck drivers taking bribes? Was that a reference to the Illinois case and a prosecutorial style that starts humbly and ends with an indictment of the governor?

  17. Anonymous says:


    Interesting idea. If Matalin did this, did she do this on behalf of the â€conspiracy†or was she acting as a lone wolf?

    And would Russert seriously consider perjuring himself to save Matalin’s butt?

    Plus, there’s still that bit about Novak and his source (where presumably the whole investigation began), which is totally unanswered in the indictment, except in relation to Official A.

    Maybe Matalin is official A? Would make sense if she’s trying to hide her cooperation with Fitz.

  18. Anonymous says:

    Oops, nevermind. Matalin resigned effective December 31,2002, six months before the leak. And if Libby didn’t find out about Plame until June 2003, how the hell could Matalin have known about her?

  19. Anonymous says:

    There are 2 things I take from Fitz’s indictments:

    1. Fitz KNOWS A LOT and has REVEALED A LOT. But,THERE IS MORE INFO THAT HAS NOT YET BEEN REVEALED. This indictment is a killer and if Fitz can back up everything he reveals in the indictment (and I’m betting he can), Libby is a dead man walking.

    2. Now if you’re Rove or someone else who is in legal jeopardy, Fitz is sending them the message. Come in and cooperate or I will indict you with the information I HAVE NOT REVEALED YET.

    My take: FITZ is like a Jedi master. He could go after a lot of people NOW but has deliberately chosen not to do so. Why? By doing it in pieces, he insulates himself and his office and investigation as being seen as a partisan witch-hunt, a la Kenneth Starr.

    Fitz is also trying to induce others to flip. I think Fitz is after the VP and Prez, and he wants every single high-level flipper he can get to pursue those cases.

    Fitz indicted Scooter because Scooter refused to flip on Cheney.

    My guess is Rove offered something to give Fitz pause (Cheney, Bush?) and that’s why Rove was not indicted because based on the info revealed, Rove could have been indicted as well.

  20. Anonymous says:

    viget, I’ve figured Matalin never really lost touch with the WH, the GOP, or WHIG for that matter — though she’s far away from much of that now at Simon & Schuster. After writing my post I was thinking Russert and Fitzgerald could actually have told Fitzgerald and the GJ the â€truth†I’ve imagined it but this hasn’t been discussed now, for any number of reasons. It’s really just extreme speculation on my part.

    Emptywheel, you have been so illuminating for me about this case, forget about the 0.500 stuff!

  21. Anonymous says:


    Thanks again for your insights.

    Re: Russert.

    Did you happen to catch him on MSNBC just a few minutes after noon Eastern time?

    The veracity of his comments is very suspect.

    At first, he emphatically stated that he had told Fitzgerald that Libby had called him to complain about a commentator on MSNBC, and that they had never discussed Valerie Wilson.

    A minute or two later, Russert implied that Libby had discussed Valerie Wilson with Cooper, Miller and himself.

    I don’t have a transcript, but I’d love to see one. A video clip would be even better because Russert got this sheepish look on his face after that second remark, a look that seemed to reveal his own self-awareness that he was fucking up his own alibi.

  22. Anonymous says:

    Matalin came back for some consulting at the time of the leak. So she was a party to the WHIG stuff at that point.

    Then, the day after she testified, it was announced she’d do some heavy-duty consulting on the campaign. Which, to my knowledge and googling abilities, she never did. That’s one of the reasons I suspected she flipped. She was offered ongoing financial incentives, and didn’t collect. (IIRC, Adam Levine was also offered ongoing consulting; not sure if he collected though.)

    Which is why I think Matalin may have flipped. But of late, she’s been very actively supporting Cheney again. Perhaps she cooperated in a limited fashion (or didn’t have that much to offer). And is now one of the fairly risk-free people who can help Dick out.

    Anyway, I’m growing re-convinced Russert told the truth. So maybe Matalin did cooperate.

  23. Anonymous says:

    My head is spinning, and I’ve found the day so stressful that I can’t think clearly. But I do have a few random thoughts to offer.

    Reading the indictment, two things struck me. First, Fitzgerald has Libby on the charges; there is no way a jury wouldn’t find him guilty. Second, the Bush administration absolutely cannot afford to have this case go to trial. Can you imagine all this testimony being given in court? So it seems that Libby will have to plead guilty to something to escape trial, or Bush will pardon him (hard to imagine that he would dare to do this), or the administration will claim executive privilege to prevent officials from testifying and take it all the way to the SC, which by then they will have well-stacked.

    I was also struck by how tired and nervous Fitzgerald appeared. I was surprised at the nervousness, because he is certainly accustomed to trying high-profile cases and being â€on stageâ€. I wonder whether he is strung out and exhausted from last-minute negotiations, and whether something has been thrown at him at the last minute that threatens his case.

  24. Anonymous says:

    Old School

    No, I didn’t see that. But if Libby tried to tell Russert what to say in Fall 2003, then he would have spoken to Russert, right? He tells Russert to lie, and instead Russert testifies against Libby, which is why Fitzgerald believes him?

    See my next post. Fitzgerald clearly believes Russert’s testimony to a degree he doesn’t believe Judy’s. There’s got to be a reason why.

  25. Anonymous says:

    Scientist Mom

    I agree about Fitz’ nervousness. But imagine how little sleep he has probably gotten of late. Plus, he strikes me as a naturally shy person (I can’t believe I’m saying that about an Amherst Rugby player, but he reminds me of one I knew once, so I guess it’s possible).

    But remember, there’s always the possibility of a civil suit out there. Bush has to consider that. The information–at least about the primary leak and the plot against Joe Wilson–will come out anyway, thanks to Paula Jones.

  26. Anonymous says:

    The Libby indictment does not explain the role of Robert Novak, and does not reveal who told Novak about Plame. That makes me think that there are two parallel leaks being pursued by Fitzgerald.

    The first leak thread is the State Dept Source (and/or Cheney) to Libby to Miller, that did not result in a leak. The second leak thread is the State Dept Source to Hadley and Rove to Novak.

    Here’s why I think Rove is the leaker.

    Rove said he learned the identity of Plame from reporters. He also said that he first heard about her at a social gathering outside the White House in the Spring of 2003. I believe these stories contain a kernel of truth, as follows …

    Rove attended the party for the 40th anniversay of Novak’s column on June 19, 2003, about a week after Libby learned of Valerie Plame/Wilson. I think Libby told Rove or perhaps the same source who told Libby told Rove. I think Rove told Novak about Plame at the party. Interestingly, we have that photo of Rove and Novak together, with Rove wearing one of those â€I’m a source, not a target†buttoms that were passed around. So, instead of learning at a party from reporters, as Rove’s layer said he told investigators, Rove was telling a reporter Novak.

    I think that Novak has withheld his testimony about conversations with Rove at that June 19 party, and, of course, withheld the part revealing that Rove outed Valerie Plame to him. This fits, though, Rove has used Novak before to leak information, and I think he was doing it again.

    I don’t believe that Fitzgerald has been able to connect the dots, at least legally, on the Rove to Novak leak, but I think he is working on it. I expect him to indict Rove on IIPA or Espionage Act violation, as well as obstruction, perjury, and false testimony.

    That’s how I see it, anyway, based on what we know now. I think Rove is the big fish who will eventually be caught in the Fitzgerald net.

  27. Anonymous says:

    Roosevelt Dem

    I think that’s very plausible.

    I’m increasingly convinced that NYT gave Fitz some information on Judy attempt to write a story.

    Consider. The story is Judy said she had no significant conversations with Libby except in July. Then Fitz showed her the sign-in log, and she realized she’d been caught. So she testified.

    But there is no way Fitz could have known Libby and Judy talked about Plame on June 23 from the sign-in log. There had to be another reason to believe it was important. Important enough to win a face-off with Judy to get more testimony out of her.

    So I think someone at the NYT told Fitz that the June 23 meeting was important.

    But Novak would really avoid that, both because he kind of sort of testified on his own. And because he’s got so many editors (or did, before CNN put him on leave) that you’d not know who to ask. Chicago Sun Times? Town Hall? CNN? Who is Novak’s editor?

    So no one would have known if Novak were working on this in June.

  28. Anonymous says:

    Emptywheel, do you think the CIA would allow Valerie Plame to bring a civil suit, given that they won’t even let her write an op-ed? I would love to think that this is in the offing, but it seems unlikely.

    I couldn’t help but think, as Fitzgerald spoke at length, in great detail, without notes, what a spectacle his interview of Bush must have been.

  29. Anonymous says:

    Can the following line in the indictment cited above–â€State Department personnel were saying that Wilson’s wife was involved in the planning of his tripâ€â€“be referring to Bolton, Fleitz, Wurmser, and Hannah? Maybe Grossman WAS the Undersecretary who talked to Libby, but the information he was provided was from the propogandists (Bolton, et al) and he just passed it on (unwittingly?) to Libby?

  30. Anonymous says:

    I haven’t seen the press conference yet, but it sounds like Fitzgerald is the kind of guy we’re supposed to elect president.

  31. Anonymous says:

    Ryan Lizza says that he confirmed with Fitzgerald that Grossman was the â€undersec of State†in the indictment.

    But there are still the unnamed and undesignated State Dept gossips that were talking about Valerie Wilosn, and they could have included Bolton and/or Fleitz.

    Libby was quoted on the news that he would be exonerated. That seems highly unlikely, given the specificity of the charges and the large amount of info backing them up. So he is facing at least a few years in prison almost certainly, plus a trial that drags on with testimony by the VP and everyone else, and immense legal fees. (Note: See who is paying for his defense now.)

    That is a large incentive to plead, and he has to have something or someone to give up, unless he has accepted the role of fall guy willingly.

    On the IIPA charges, it isn’t a crime, as Fitz noted, to discuss CIA agents, even classified ones, around the office if you have clearance. The crime is in telling unauthorized outside people. Fitz seemed clear this is a serious crime and the public interest ought to be vindicated, even if it is a prosecution for another charge, like perjury. Rove seems to me to be the most vulnerable to this charge.

    We know of the leak to Novak from one or two people, one of whom was almost certainly Rove; the leak to Miller, but she didn’t write about it–did she tell someone else? Is the fact that she didn’t write about it enough to get Libby off the hook? Maybe there is more info we need here. Remember the language in the filing in support of the subpoena about â€what she might do with the informationâ€. The leak to Cooper as well, from Rove.

    I am not so sanguine that Fitz is really going after a lot of other people. Rove, certainly. But I’m not discounting all his â€don’t get your hopes up†and â€No one wants this over more than I†language. Unless he has more sources than we know. The people he would be going after are those who leaked the info to outsiders. And he will use whatever charges he can. But more? I’m inclined to think not, unless it is for lying and/or obstruction.

  32. Anonymous says:


    Greyhair’s post, raised a question for me. Could Fitzgerald be simultaneously working two or more Federal Juries on this case? The one in DC, and perhaps another couple in ChiTown?

  33. Anonymous says:

    On the grand jury question, there is always a grand jury sitting in DC. Fitz can go to any grand jury with the testimony and statements he has, plus any new evidence or additional testimony, and get further indictments. It doesn’t have to be a specially empaneled grand jury. They don’t do a new one for every case. It’s just that if a prosecutor is going to interview a lot of witnesses, he needs continuity. But once you have transcripts of statements and testimony, you can go to another grand jury that happens to be sitting. Or their could be sealed indictments, or he could accept deals from people under which they provide additional testimony.

    Raw Story is confirming Karl Rove as â€Official A†and says that several papers will report on this tomorrow, including perhaps the Times. Karl isn’t out of the woods at all.

  34. Anonymous says:

    And here’s some more awful news: David Addington, Cheney’s new Libby, is even worse. He is a principal author of the torture memos and he is a big proponent of expanded executive powwers. Via TAPPED

    He is really throwing down the gauntlet to Congress and Powell, who has been agitating against torture with the Senate.

  35. Anonymous says:


    My question was somewhat different. Could he be using two or more grand Juries simultaneously? With the one in DC acting as a front (an intelligence gathering operation,) while the real indictments come from a second or third GJ being run out of Chicago?

  36. Anonymous says:

    Is it possible that Fitz got his main guy, even if not (yet) on the core charge?

    We are mostly a bit disappointed that he didn’t get Rove, because we view this whole thing in the broadly political context – misdeeds by the Bush Administration, of which Rove is seen as the brains. But Fitz is an old style straight-arrow prosecutor, concerned with crimes, and in this case the particular crime of burning a CIA officer.

    Who is the more likely prime mover in that crime, Rove or Libby? I’d argue Libby. Yeah, the general tactic of getting at Wilson by injuring his wife is Rovean, but it isn’t like ol’ Turdblossom invented scumbag politics. The Iraq War, and the twisting of intelligence to promote it, originated more with the Cheney side of things than the Rove side – and Libby is â€Cheney’s Cheney.â€

    So is it possible that Libby was in fact the prime mover in burning Plame?

    – Rick

  37. Anonymous says:

    In re: Fitz’ nervousness, as remarked upthread…I had the distinct impression while watching him that Fitz was entirely aware that this was historic and could have wide-ranging far-reaching repercussions extending forward through our country’s future. This wasn’t just a high profile case; it’s a case that requires complete and utter certainty beyond that he might ordinarily expect under the law. I think his demeanor reflects the intensity he expects a case of this import to possess. I also believe he was making a statement to the other targets at the same time. He had every reason to appear tightly wound; no prosecutor who is certain of a crime in his head and in his heart wants to risk the loss of a case through lack of focus. I think he saw some really bad stuff that he knows to be criminal all over the place in the White House, but he’s compelled to be absolute in certainty. Look what Starr’s lack of seriousness, intensity and focus did to this country, after all.

  38. Anonymous says:


    I agree with you that it didn’t sound today like Fitzgerald has established a wide dragnet for this case. I certainly think he’s done extensive, detailed background homework on the context and the motivations for the leak, and I believe he’ll do his best to pressure Libby to give up any and all information Libby has on Cheney, on the off chance that he might turn on his former boss, but I don’t see Fitz moving beyond Rove. Rove, however, is by no means in the clear; he merely bought himself some time with Fitzgerald, while the Special Counsel reviews the information Rove is proffering at this late date.

  39. Anonymous says:

    Rayne, you raise a good point about Fitzgerald’s awareness of the importance of his actions. This reminds me of his discussion of the 1917 Espionage Act. I found some of Fitz’ statements difficult to understand, but I gathered from what he said about this law that although the criteria were met, he hesitated to apply it because he didn’t want to have an â€Official Secrets Law†as they do in England. Perhaps he was threatening a target by this discussion, but my impression was that he was trying very hard to do the right thing – is he ever the good Irish Catholic boy – and he didn’t want to set a damaging precedent. (By the way, I’m Irish Catholic myself, so I feel free to use this particular ethnic label.)

    One statement that I found impossible to understand was his answer to the question of whether the investigation was over. He said something unintelligible. I watched the clip at Crooks and Liars a couple of times and still couldn’t make sense of this particular answer.

  40. Anonymous says:

    A trivia question: does anyone know Fitzgerald’s middle name? The initial is â€Jâ€. I’m wondering because one of my sons has â€Patrick†as his middle name, and his first name starts with a â€Jâ€. I may have unknowingly named him after Fitzgerald!

  41. Anonymous says:

    ScientistMom, good speculaton. Fitz is handling himself with such class. If I were Irish Catholic, I’d be proud to claim him as one of my own.

    I don’t know what the J. stands for, but if you named your son after Patrick J. Fitz accidentally, it’s a great choice.

    If I have another son, I will be tempted to name him after Patrick J. Fitz myself.

    Fitz for Prez! The integrity, discretion, professionalism, judgment and intelligence he’s shown thus far (in contrast to Bush) is what this country desperately needs.