1. Anonymous says:

    One detail I forgot about the Powell statement.

    The motion says, â€Colin Powell is reported to have said.†That leaves it ambiguous whether Libby was in the Situation room when Powell said whatever he said.

    If Libby wasn’t there (he probably was, since he attended principal’s meetings), it means someone passed this information to him, at precisely the same time as they were setting up the Novak cover-up. Thus, if Libby wasn’t in the Situation Room when Powell said it, it is further evidence of a cover-up in October 2003.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Emptywheel – one of the best and most informative Plame posts I have read in a while. Great research. I’ll remember you said it first

  3. Anonymous says:

    Thanks, wheel. Also, I went back and read the old Bolton posts. Very interesting, especially the deduction about Judy outing Fulton Armstrong as a source.

  4. Anonymous says:


    I’ve never verified that. But as things heat up with Venezuela, I can’t help but wonder whatever happened to Armstrong. As I also wonder what the Bolton crowd did to Paul Pillar, who was vocally critical of BushCo and their intelligence games before he resigned.

  5. Anonymous says:

    I was referred over here from Firedoglake and it was well worth the trip!
    What an excellent breakdown of this Libby defense.
    I have been really concerned about all these greymail attempts that got Oliver North free and clear and do not want to see it again.
    Your writing makes it so clear for your reader and I appreciate that very much as a non-lawyer. (H.S. Teacher)
    I know you mentioned Bolton, but imho, he has a bigger role than has been disclosed as yet.
    It is interesting the little tidbits we get as new names surface. Again, thank you.

  6. Anonymous says:


    SaltIn had asked me where my Bolton in Plame posts were. I put them here.

    But given how Libby’s lawyers are going after State, I really wouldn’t be surprised if they were going after something of Bolton’s. He’d be directly implicated in the INR memo, for the fact sheet his office put out (in December 2002) including the Niger claim; it’s almost the only thing State put out with that claim. So I could see him getting angry.

  7. Anonymous says:

    Wonder when the Libby fibbers will pull out the ultimate schmultimate – viz., the Sy Hersh related â€story about a former operations officer faking the [Niger] documents,†said to have been water-cooler conversation around the CIA in the summer of 2003. Quoted Hersh, in his October 2003 New Yorker piece:

    “The agency guys were so pissed at Cheney,†the former officer said. “They said, ‘O.K, we’re going to put the bite on these guys.’ â€

    “Everyone was bragging about it—‘Here’s what we did. It was cool, cool, cool.’ †These retirees, he said, had superb contacts among current officers in the agency and were informed in detail of the SISMI intelligence.

    “They thought that, with this crowd, it was the only way to go—to nail these guys who were not practicing good tradecraft and vetting intelligence,†my source said. “They thought it’d be bought at lower levels—a big bluff.†The thinking, he said, was that the documents would be endorsed by Iraq hawks at the top of the Bush Administration, who would be unable to resist flaunting them at a press conference or an interagency government meeting. They would then look foolish when intelligence officials pointed out that they were obvious fakes. But the tactic backfired, he said, when the papers won widespread acceptance within the Administration. “It got out of control.â€

    Is Scooty Looter now about to â€get out of control†too? Is the coverup winding backwards? Desperate times make for desperate men.

  8. Anonymous says:

    Just a few random thoughts:

    Wouldn’t focusing on â€he [Wilson] did not debunk as forgeries documents suggesting that Iraq was attempting to purchase uranium from Africa†also open the can of worms about when they showed up at the CIA and where, and thus the origins of the forgeries? That would seem like dangerous territory for OVP. Besides, IIRC Wilson admitted he didn’t debunk the forgeries as such, just told the CIA folks how to tell if they were genuine (although I think this part is sufficiently ambiguous to raise the question whether he did, in fact, see something he maybe shouldn’t have been shown).

    The Powell â€sit room†remark is interesting. Maybe the context was who [among us] was the leaker–everyone [of us] knew his wife worked at the CIA.

    There seems to be a not-so-veiled effort to blame Hadley. I thought he was Cheney’s man at the NSC. So where is Libby really going with this?

    And Bolton’s involvement. Delicious. I’ve always thought it was more than reported. His (interim) appointment ends at the end of 2006, just in time for Libby’s trial.

  9. Anonymous says:

    Most of the stuff Libby’s defense team is asking for does not seem to address the actual charges against Libby. Do you think all of this activity is really for formulating a defense for going to trial or simply shotgunning threats of incriminating revelations to coerce a promise of a pardon?

  10. Anonymous says:

    Building on what Mimikatz just wrote, any chance Powell made the comment in order to defend Armitage? Someone suggests Armitage is the leaker, and Powell says it could be anyone in the room.

  11. Anonymous says:


    Ding ding ding.

    Yup, they open a new can of worms every time they try to get into the larger context.

    I don’t see anything here as an attempt to blame Hadley. He really was the coordiator for this smear. So he really would be able to testify to the larger goals of it.


    Some of it, honestly, is a real defense, more than any we’ve had so far. Libby has the right to introduce evidence that Ari, Cathie, Grossman–all the most important witnesses against his claim that he had forgotten he knew Plame’s identity already on July 10. It’s the traditional way to defeat a perjury case, turn it into a case of one questionable witness’ word against another.

    The â€Plame is minor†is dangerous for the reason I point out. If you treated a NOC identity as a minor issue (having called Ari’s and Edelman’s testimony, which shows you knew she was covert, into question), that doesn’t exonerate you if you treat it as such a minor thing that you blow her cover.

    And there may be some threats here. I tend to think it’s hubris, a belief that they can spin their side of the argument NOW, when everyone knows they lied, when they didn’t even succeed at doing so THEN, when people still liked them. But who knows.

  12. Anonymous says:

    Saltin and Mimikatz

    Both are possible, I guess. I’m still looking for the reference from the hearing, where there was coverage of a dispute over what SAO said.

    I suspect it’s probably Libby taking Powell saying, â€Everyone knew who Wilson was,†and turning it into â€Everyone knew who Plame was†during testimony. But I lean that way only because that seems to be the what Fitz said in the dispute.

  13. Anonymous says:

    Just to confuse the issue, Jason Leopold and Raw Story, who appear to have gone their separate ways, have SEPARATE Plame scoops today:

    Leopold: http://www.opednews.com/articl…..s_iden.htm

    RawStory is still in the teaser mode, but the headline says Libby will name Hadley as Woodward’s source.

  14. Anonymous says:

    Interesting, obsessed.

    Given the grammar of the headline, it looks like they’re not necessarily saying Hadley is Mr. X:

    New Plame case filing: Libby names National Security Advisor Hadley; Woodward’s source? Soon…

    That is, Libby DOES name Hadley (though says nothing about him being the source) AND he names Armitage along with all the gossip about him being the source.

    Though like I said, he’s got the most gossiped about source and the most logical source, both identified as witnesses. So he’ll have them on the stand in any case.

    Btw, I think the AP (and several other stories on this) miss the gist of the motion. While Libby does say State and CIA have stuff to hide here, he never accuses anyone but Armitage at State of being involved in the leak.

  15. Anonymous says:

    I have to say I have a completely different read on Libby’s strategy based on this document. Most of the stuff they are asking for won’t help Libby at all. It will help the Cabal find out how good a case Fitzpatrick has for conspiracy. The part I find most amusing is that the press stories they are using as the basis for their discovery requests include stories they almost certainly know to be false because THEY leaked them. Talk about brazen.

    I’m somewhat offended they didn’t pick up on my theory (which obviously no one else is buying) that Mr. X is Alberto Gonzalez. That would have given them a whole new set of documents to ask for. Oh well, there is still time.

  16. Anonymous says:


    LOL. You should go present your Abu Gonzales theory at Tom Maguire’s site. They’re in a bit of a frenzy over there, and they could probably use their heads rattled.

    I think you’re partially right, that this is part of the larger cabal defense. In addition, I think they’re trying to spin cabal activities as dissociated from Cheney’s office. Thus, if there IS a revenge on Joe Wilson document produced in Bolton’s office, Libby is trying to present it as the work of State, rather than the work of Cheney and his allies. Now that’s comical.

    But at the heart of this motion is a legitimate request. It seems that Libby has a right to ask for the evidence the government has that might impugn their witnesses. Now, since Libby actually knows more about this leak than he pretends, he can ask for things in such a way that he shields or spins things to benefit the cabal. But about the only way he can legitimately get off of this charge is if he proves the Ari was lying about their July 7 meeting. Of course he’s going to go after Ari.

  17. Anonymous says:

    I’ve always assumed Libby knows everything. If Hadley were the leaker, Libby would know it. In that case, bringing up the information about Armitage in the motion would just be Libby’s way of pretending he doesn’t know who it is: â€The magazine says Armitage, and they know more about this messy business than I do.†Bullshit, I say! Back to refreshing Raw Story every thirty seconds…

  18. Anonymous says:

    Well, it would be very funny if Fitzgerald had had his 2-16-6 affidavit typed up with Armitage in all the spots identifying Woodward’s source (and Novak’s) and then somehow figured out how to get rid of Armitage while leaving that exact amount of space and inserting Hadley in there, knowing that it was going to be redacted when released and aiming for some serious misdirection. But I’m skeptical. It would pretty much also require not counting the NSC as part of the White House, which on my understanding it standardly is.

  19. Anonymous says:

    That said, I do think that Libby’s motion provides more evidence that Hadley was something of a point man in the dual attacks on the CIA and on Wilson, a fact that has, as Rawstory insists, been under-reported, though it has been discussed in the WaPo in particular.

  20. Anonymous says:

    Now, this seems to relate to the Jeffress statement, reported from the February 24 hearing (looking for a link), that indicated there was a dispute about what an SAO had said about Plame. At the hearing, Fitzgerald said that SAO said Wilson’s identity was well known. But Libby’s people claim SAO said Plame’s identity was well known.

    This suggests that, two days after the famous 1 X 2 X 6 article, Powell made a statement that Libby repeated during his grand jury testimony the following year. But Libby may have misrepresented it.

    I’m lost – this dispute came up during the back and forth about whether Libby could learn the identity of Woodward’s source, and the AP said this:

    Libby’s lawyers and Fitzgerald disagreed over whether the unidentified government official – who does not work at the White House – was referring to Plame or her husband when he said, â€Everyone knows,†during a taped interview with investigators.

    The defense said the official meant that most reporters knew that Plame worked at the CIA, as Libby testified before a federal grand jury. But Fitzgerald said the reference was to Wilson, who was not identified in initial media reports about the trip to Niger.

    The AP really got this messed up if they turned a courtroom dispute about what Powell said in a Sept 30 2003 meeting into a dispute about a tape recorded chat between [Armitage/Hadley] and investigators.

    As I recall, what we all wanted was a transcript of that day’s proceedings; I don’t recall ever seeing one.

    On the â€Careful What You Wish For†point:

    For example, to make the case that Wilson did not debunk the forgeries, they will almost certainly have to rely on Pat Roberts’ conclusion in the SSCI report. But this will open the question of why Roberts worked so hard to obstruct the larger investigation, and why Bill Frist threatened to shut down the Senate if the SSCI insisted on its oversight role.

    First, I haven’t even peeked (although I may have peaked a few years back) but I am quite sure one of us would be surprised if we checked the Niger section of the SSCI – I think there was more Wilson bashing in the main bi-partisan report than some folks remember, and that the spousal involvement (not the forgery debunking) was the main point of Robert’s separate Majority Report (E.g., I am certain that the Wilson quote about â€literary flair†is in the main section.

    And, although I constantly exhort folks to Keep Hope Alive, I am skeptical that Fitzgerald will be allowed to put the entire US Government, including the Senate, on trial; Libby, OTOH, will be allowed some latitude in his defense.

  21. Anonymous says:

    Well, there’s the possibility that all our best eyeballing was just dead wrong. But I doubt Fitz would go to the trouble. AFAIK, only folks here did the eyeballing on the Pincus/Kessler redaction. Not exactly a big concern that everyone and their mother will learn about it here.

    But if Hadley were Mr. X (or Woodward’s source), then the rest of this motion would be one giant set-up to frame State, from Powell on down to Grossman (FWIW, no one seems to know what to do with the September 30 Powell comment, but then most people aren’t reading the motion itself). Or perhaps frame is too strong. Perhaps just a plan to sow doubt about Armitage.

  22. Anonymous says:

    Well, I guess everyone knows it – here is the MSNBC version:

    Did Woodward tape CIA name leaker?
    ‘Scooter’ Libby’s defense team argues tape will help his defense

    WASHINGTON – A snippet of a conversation between Washington Post reporter Bob Woodward and an unnamed source in mid-June 2003 appears to be a major focus of I. Lewis “Scooter†Libby’s defense in the CIA leak case.

    According to a newly released transcript of last week’s motions hearing in U.S. District Court, William Jeffress, one of Libby’s attorneys, is focusing on three words — “Everyone knows it.â€

    …Woodward revealed in November that a senior administration official — in addition to Libby — told him about Plame and her position at the CIA nearly a month before her identity was disclosed by syndicated newspaper columnist Robert Novak in July 2003.

    A transcript and affidavit filed Thursday indicate that Woodward taped his conversation with his unnamed source.

    Jeffress was given a redacted transcript of the conversation Woodward had with his unnamed source, according to an affidavit filed by Special Counsel Patrick Fitzgerald on Thursday. The Libby team wants the full transcript of the conversation in order to argue that the phrase “Everyone knows it,†uttered by Woodward’s source in that 2003 conversation, means that Plame’s job at the CIA was common knowledge among Washington journalists.

    “Who did he mean by ‘Everyone knows it’?†Jeffress asked the judge.

    According to Jeffress, the only inkling of the source’s identity in the redacted document “is some person not in the White House.â€

    …In asking for access to the tape, Jeffress said, “We know of two reporters that ’official one’ talked to. … We do know that he did discuss Ms. Wilson with at least two reporters.â€

  23. Anonymous says:

    In high school, I often heard that everyone was doing â€it†and I felt completely left out. At my 10th reunion, I found out that they weren’t. So what do these folks mean when they say that â€Everyone knew itâ€? What is the â€it†that is being referred to, the knowledge that Joe Wilson was the ambassador who went to Niger or that Valerie Wilson was the CIA agent who sat on the back of the tiger? Plus, what does â€everyone†mean in legal terms? Is it even allowable? Surely the fact that Powell or someone said that â€everyone knew it†can’t be that important legally, can it? Isn’t it still about who specifically knew and when?

  24. Anonymous says:


    You’re right. This SAO is clearly the Woodward source (noted accordingly in the post). I had remembered it being vaguer than it was.

    So can we assume, then, that Libby’s lawyers are just working off the transcript of the GJ testimony?

    But wrt the SSCI, I’ll take that risk. The â€flair†comment is actually in the Roberts’ addendum, and the body of the SSCI shows clearly that Wilson was told enough about the Iraq allegations to know what to look for (and that the CIA report was incomplete). Besides, now that so much evidence that CIA buried earlier evidence against the Niger forgeries has come up, I’d really welcome the opportunity to revisit the SSCI. It can be fairly clearly shown to be deliberately incomplete, for whatever reason.

    When it comes right down to it, Libby risks really pissing off McLaughlin and Tenet so much that they start to sing. Then we’d really start having some fun!

  25. Anonymous says:



    Particularly since there is the critical difference of knowing Plame worked for CIA, and knowing Plame was a covert operative in CIA’s Counterproliferation division. We know that Libby knew the latter. And while I don’t doubt that Armitage may have known it as well (though maybe not), there were clearly a lot of people who knew Plame worked at CIA, but not that she worked at CPD.

    Though, now that I think of it, one of the reasons why Libby no doubt wants the INR memo is that, if he can prove that Armitage read it before he told Woodward (if he did), then Armitage can’t claim to have been ignorant that he shouldn’t have told anyone, since the Plame paragraph was marked S. Doesn’t mean that says anything about Plame’s covert status, though, since Wilson’s trip was considered classified by the CIA.

  26. Anonymous says:

    Perhaps Libby’s team is hoping to argue that the fact that Powell used the same words in Sept. 2003 that Armitage was using in June 2003 bolsters the idea that 1)Armitage was talking about Plame, not about Wilson; and 2)there really was widespread knowledge of this at State, since they had consistent talking points, or something.

  27. Anonymous says:

    Though there’s still the question of why they might object to that Powell bit being introduced as evidence. I just don’t understand why they’d object.

  28. Anonymous says:

    But wrt the SSCI, I’ll take that risk. The â€flair†comment is actually in the Roberts’ addendum…

    Yikes – I am so glad I only bet a cup of coffee. The two conclusions Roberts presented that Senate Dems rejected were that his wife suggested him, and that Wilson spoke about more than he could have known at the time.

    Hmmph – Wilson’s classic explanation of the Pincus story (the dates were wrong and the names were wrong) is in the main report, so I’m not utterly daft.

    As to the CIA, if it comes out at trial that they knew those docs were forged and sat on it, Libby’s guilt or innocence will be the least of anyone’s worries.

    Put another way, what if Wilson really *did* specifically debunk the forgeries in March 2002? That is going to be hard to put at Cheney’s doorstep, unless we have a CIA / OVP cover-up that blew smoke past the Senate. (FWIW, I have been advised that the foreward to the paperback version of Wilson’s â€Politics of Truth†includes a letter from Kristof explaining that Kristof may have mis-reported on that point. But I haven’t seen it, and why would I trust my memory even if I had?)

    Wel, I am not expecting it, but I would surely pay extra for that outcome – Trial of the Century, indeed.

  29. Anonymous says:

    FWIW, my theory (having diligently read every one of eRiposte’s posts on Niger uranium) is that Wilson gave more detail than is in the report (such as who would have signed the things) which should have, by themselves, alerted CIA that the reports were bunk. One thing is uncontestable, IMO, Wilson knows his recent history of Niger, and no one else involved seems to have, which would make it easier for him to point out the problems in the Niger forgeries than the CIA.

    But that is not the same as Wilson saying they were forgeries, which I don’t believe he did.

    That said, I do think the CIA gamed Wilson’s intelligence report, and I do believe that some people (one of whom might be Libby) made sure that report never got to Cheney. Both of which would be treasonous, IMO. And whether no not Libby was personally involved, he has to know about it, what with all those trips down to CIA.

    So if he presses CIA too hard, that will come out. Maybe not in the court room, but it will come out.

  30. Anonymous says:

    I think the report DID get to Cheney. And he ignored it or dismissed it. The person it did not go to was George Bush.

    Bush gave the entire pre-war intelligence task to Cheney’s office. And Cheney blew it, ’big time’. He cherry-picked and leaned way too hard on the CIA. That’s why the OVP panicked after Wilson’s op-ed came out.

  31. Anonymous says:

    I do believe that some people (one of whom might be Libby) made sure that report never got to Cheney

    This is one of the facets of the whole mess that hasn’t, I think, received the attention it deserves. The SSCI labors might hard to minimize the results of Wilson’s trip and to give the impression that the report from Wilson’s trip didn’t make it out of the intelligence community, which we know to be false. Furthermore, the SSCI acknowledges that on March 5, 2003 Cheney followed up with his CIA briefer to ask if there was anything further on the Niger business, and was alerted that they were debriefing someone that very day — this was, of course, Wilson back from his trip. But that is the end of it. It is unfathomable to me that Cheney simply never followed up again, and it seems to me much more likely one of two things happened: Cheney followed up again, or Cheney was told, by someone who had seen the report from Wilson’s trip as well as the other stuff the CIA had accumulated perhaps, not to follow up again, it was ugly. One big question is: who in the OVP processed or received the report from Wilson’s trip, and what happened from there: who else either saw it or heard about it and what did they do with the information?

    Libby’s new motion touches on this at p. 28 where they argue that some of the documents requested will show the government’s response to WIlson’s charges and they illustrate the counter-arguments involved, one of which is

    The report of Mr. Wilson’s debriefing after his trip was not shared with the Vice President, or any senior officials in the White House or CIA, before the State of the Union Address.

    Yeah, that was one of the counter-arguments. But it may just be an elaborate non-denial denial, as we know Tenet and the SSCi after him got into by specifying that the report was not briefed to Cheney. But did he, or other senior officials in his office, learn about its contents otherwise than through a CIA briefing?

    If I remember correctly, even Maguire agrees with me that the official line on this sounds fishy.

  32. Anonymous says:

    Jeff, you convince me every time you make that argument – the official story is that Cheney re-queried in â€early Marchâ€, Cheney’s briefer was told on March 5 that more info was on the way, the Wilson report was â€was widely distributed in routine channels†on March 8, but no one told Cheney or OVP.

    OK, even if we accept that the report was inconclusive (a bipartisan finding, Lucky 13, in fact), why did no one pass that to OVP?

    Hmm, folks keen on piercing the cover-up will like Conclusion 14:

    Conclusion 14. The Central Intelligence Agency should have told the Vice President and other senior policymakers that it had sent someone to Niger to look into the alleged Iraq-Niger uranium deal and should have briefed the Vice President on the former ambassador’s findings.

    What about briefing OVP, rather than Cheney? Interesting that â€Cheney and other senior policy makers†appears in the first clause, but not the second.

    All that said, *IF* Libby was briefed on the Wilson trip, the defense is taking a big chance in skating very close to lying to the judge when they say things like:

    Such documents will show that the overwhelming focus of the government’s response to Mr. Wilson’s charges included making the following types of counterarguments (among others) to reporters:

    * The report of Mr. Wilson’s debriefing after his trip was not shared with the Vice President, or any senior officials in the White House or CIA, before the State of the Union Address.

    Now, they are describing what the documents will show, not necessarily what Libby knows as true. And Libby was there through the SSCI drill, so he knows the score on the documents. But down this road lies the possibility of someone saying they briefed Libby (or someone in OVP) on this.

    Well, so what? If I were Libby, and I knew I had not been briefed on the Wilson trip, I would let the chips fall.

  33. Anonymous says:

    Tom – Thanks for the correction: it’s the briefer who is told about the debriefing of Wilson that very day, not Cheney himself.

    Conclusion 14 is a good catch, and I take it that from that conclusion we can be confident that some senior policymaker was briefed on Wilson’s findings. But we don’t know which, and there’s no particular reason to think it was anyone in Cheney’s office. The way Libby’s defense phrases the talking point makes it sound like it might have been someone at State; though that’s how we would expect them to phrase it as this point.

    So I believe that Libby was not briefed by the CIA on the report from Wilson’s trip. But I remain unconvinced that the content of that report didn’t reach Libby and/or Cheney in some fashion or other – and we can always define â€briefing†or â€sharing†as narrowly as we like to get away with a non-denial denial. Unless Cheney continued asking questions about the matter of his CIA briefer, and the briefer simply did not tell Cheney about the report based on Wilson’s trip, which is sort of how the SSCI makes it sound, but which is sort of hard to believe, as you suggest. But the SSCI is actually silent on whether Cheney asked more followup questions of his briefer after that early March query, I believe.

  34. Anonymous says:

    does scooter really want to open this can of worms

    will cheney take the oath, and open himself up to a vicious cross examination ???

    Here’s my Big Fat â€I Told You Soâ€

    scooter;s defense against perjury charges will prove beyond a reasonable doubt and to a moral certainty that scooter libby and karl rove participated in a criminal conspiricy to out a NOC agent during time of WAR

    I believe the treason charge is back in play

    and, as a note to scooter, Valerie Plame’s secret identity was never a minor matter in the eyes of the United States government

    but I’m glad you admit that the nation’s most precious secrets were a â€minor matter†to you

  35. Anonymous says:

    here is the question scooter can’t answer

    â€if you took every precaution to protect America’s soldiers, HOW COULD YOU HAVE NOT SEEN MR.WILSON’S REPORT ???â€

    kinda destroys the security claims of the bush administration

  36. Anonymous says:

    The problem with the question of Joe Wilson’s report is that the report contains almost none of the details from Wilson’s trip. Either because they treated Wilson as more compartmentalized than he himself did, or because someone gamed the outcome, it appears to leave out the details specific to Iraq.

    Now, there is evidence it was gamed. The CPD reports officer, who is alleged to say certain things in the SSCI, says he didn’t say those things. He tried to have the report fixed, but was rebuffed. So there’s certainly someone at CIA trying to hide some of the evidence.

    But, as I’ve been suggesting, eventually this will place the CIA either in the role of taking the entire blame for Wilson, or of defending themselves.

  37. Anonymous says:

    ew – Did you ever see this post over at Steve Clemons’? Note the tantalizing fact that Wilson had notes for his oral report, and they’ve been destroyed. Note that Clemons more or less confirms that Wilson is his source here.

  38. Anonymous says:

    Yeah, I had seen it. But I hadn’t really thought about Wilson’s notes. I wonder who destroyed the notes.

  39. Anonymous says:

    Presumably Wilson himself. The question is, when? Right after reporting to the CIA, because this would be standard practice or because the CIA requested it? Or sometime afterward, which would be more troubling.

    It’s also interesting that TWN characterizes Wilson’s report as bearing on Iraq and Niger except for two items, both of which had to do with Iran. It would be nice to hear the complete account of his oral report from Wilson himself, so we get into no games of telephone.

    Back on â€Everybody knows,†a commenter on JOM made the point that part of what Libby’s team may be after is building a case that Libby may just have mistaken Bob Woodward on June 27 for Tim Russert on July 10. Of course, there is a long way from someone saying, â€Everybody knows†in the context of the government (to say nothing of saying it about Joe Wilson) to â€All the reporters are saying it†(about Wilson’s wife). But maybe that’s what they’re up to.

    Also, Jason Leopold has a good article out on the Feb. 24 hearing, with more information that we’d yet to hear about. It was news to me — though obvious, now that I see it — that the fact that Libby met with Miller offsite on July 8 provides evidence that Libby knew he was up to something illicit. Fitzgerald also apparently stated that there is more such circumstantial evidence (beyond what he said to Fleischer, his meeting with Miller, and what he said to Edelman over the phone, which is what we know about) that Libby knew he was up to no good that he’s not getting into now.

  40. Anonymous says:

    One of the other reasons he met with Judy, presumably, was so he could show her the NIE. And there were rumors he handed her a document, too. But yeah, Fitz has plenty of evidence that Libby believed she was covert, whether or not she was solely because of a bureaucratic mixup (though even that is pretty dicey, Ted Wells).

  41. Anonymous says:

    Maybe this is obvious, but I’m slow: piecing it together from the new Leopold article, it looks like Libby wants the info on her classified status not in order to try to claim that she wasn’t classified, but in order to argue that she was only technically, not really, and that matters because it bolsters the case that because others were not treating her status as sensitive and super-important, Libby didn’t have any reason to think it was, and therefore didn’t have any motive to lie about it. In this regard — though I doubt he can argue this really without getting into trouble — the point that he might have met with Miller offsite in order to show her the NIE actually helps Libby’s case, insofar as it provdes an alternative motive to the motive of meeting offsite to do some illicit Plame leakage without the visit being recorded.

  42. Anonymous says:

    As I understand it, this is their logic:

    To prove perjury, you need to prove motive to lie. The obvious one here (though I don’t think the operative one) is that Libby recognized, by September 2003, that he was at risk of an IIPA violation, so he lied about what he said and how he learned of her identity. But they’re trying to suggest that, because no one treated her identity as classified (I’m parrotting them, of course, this isn’t necessarily what I believe), Libby would have no reason to believe in October 2003 that he was at risk of an IIPA violation, therefore he had no motive to lie.

    Two comments about this. First, note that the WH spin changed precisely when the investigation started, from saying, â€no one leaked Plame’s identity†to â€no one leaked classified information.†So the notion that it wasn’t classified is almost certainly demonstrably timed to after the investigation started. Second, I don’t think Libby’s motive is to avoid IIPA, at least not primarily. His motive is to protect Dick and friends, to hide the conspiracy. Which means his strategy, showing the big smear, actually gets close to the real motive, Dick protection.

    And, yes, I think the NIE does provide an excuse. Unless, of course, Fitz has reason to believe Libby shared some other document with Plame (recall that it was rumored he handed her the INR memo). But it’s a self-defeating excuse (which is why his defense team is backing off of it), because it reveals the underlying conspiracy that treated all classified information as mere toys.

  43. Anonymous says:

    emptywheel and Jeff,
    Is there any way we can get our hands on those transcripts?
    I’m willing to chip in if there’s a fund somewhere.

  44. Anonymous says:

    I could be wrong, but I get the sense that there’s more going on with the NIE than we can currently tell. In this regard, do any of the lawyers out there have any special insight into what it means when Libby’s lawyers say in their most recent motion (11fn1) that

    The government has further advised the defense that it is not willing to
    commit at this time to using the NIE only as background

    What’s the alternative use the NIE might be put to by Fitzgerald? Does this mean Fitzgerald might back off his earlier claim that he would use the NIE business only because it was an integral part of the narrative and not as evidence of other crimes (remember the 404(b) paragraph from Fitzgerald’s January 23 letter to Libby’s team)? Does it just mean Fitzgerald won’t asbolutely rule that out? Or is there some other alternative to using the NIE only as background?

  45. Anonymous says:

    martina – I started rounding up people for just such a fund, but then got the court reporter’s request that the transcript not be posted online, as selling such transcripts is a major source of income for court reporters, and you’ve got to figure the Libby transcripts are, relatively speaking, gold. I keep expecting someone to discover it published online somewhere (the WSJ published an earlier transcript a while back). But so far, nothing.

    I might go back to the court reporter now that the initial rush has passed and ask about a number of us buying a copy together for online purposes. I’ve got to figure he’s sold the vast majority of copies he’s going to sell to people or institutions willing to shell out the money individually.

    I’ll keep you posted.

  46. Anonymous says:

    Yeah, I guess I can understand their position on that.
    Please do keep me posted and if I see them online somewhere I’ll let you know.

  47. Anonymous says:


    If you didn’t click through to the Leopold article, that’s got the most extensive excerpts from the hearing I’ve seen.


    Hmm, I missed that footnote. Good pickup.

    If I had to guess, I’d bet the NIE is in his back pocket as a way to deal with Woodward. Libby leaked Woodward the NIE contents on June 27. So if Libby starts to use Woodward as his â€all the journalists are saying fallback†then it might become useful to raise the NIE as a way to point out that that whole conversation was about covert information.

    But there’s also the possibility that it ties into the Tenet negotiations, the week of July 7. There is something Libby has been trying to spin about those negotiations since July, I just haven’t guessed what it is yet. And really, Tenet does include a huge chunk of the NIE in his statement. So it might be a way to undercut Libby’s claims about the CIA’s stance on this.

  48. Anonymous says:

    If we stipulate that Hadley is not Mr. X (and I don’t think he is), then there is something of real significance in the Raw Story version of the Woodward leak, but I’m not sure what it is. Narratively speaking, Hadley as Woodward’s source makes perfect sense. Also, the level of detail that Raw Story reported contemporeanously with Woodward’s testimony was quite impressive. Alexandrovna and Leopold are not so naive as to have been easily duped. Whoever gave them that story must have been convincing. So, the question I’ve got to ask is: Did Libby’s lawyers leak this so they could pull Hadley in to testify?

  49. Anonymous says:

    Two things. The remarkable item in the new Leopold story is that Libby’s lawyers are apparently claiming that Libby was told about Plame (and perhaps about official one telling) by one of the reporters who official one told. It seems to me most likely that that would mean that part of Libby’s defense will be that Woodward told Libby on June 27.

    There’s a new filing from Fitzgerald up on Pacer, from which I learn, much to my surprise, that there may be a trial after all: it appears that there’s some likelihood that battles over executive privilege claims with regard to the morning briefing/PDB-related material Libby has been granted discovery on may be avoided. Remarkably, the EOP seems to think the redacted versions and topic summaries won’t be a problem for Libby to see. The main exciting part, best as I can tell, is this:

    After reviewing the sample of documents and proposed topic overviews compiled by the CIA, the EOP and CIA determined that, while all of the responsive documents are protected by privilege, including executive privilege, and thus a blanket claim of privilege reasonably could be asserted, in light of the Court’s ruling limiting production to redacted documents and topic overviews, and assuming that access to such redacted documents or topic overview would be limited to defendant and his attorneys in the SCIF as proposed by defendant (see R. 63 at 10), there is a reasonable prospect that the government could avoid a blanket assertion of privilege and instead be able to comply with the Court’s Order while asserting executive privilege with respect to a discrete number of materials, if any.

    Maybe the battles will be reserved for when Libby seeks to get info from those topic summaries introduced for or before the trial. Or maybe there will be real battles over discrete bits of the stuff. But this still strikes me as an interesting and unexpected development.

    I haven’t paid the money to look at the attached statement from the CIA’s person.

  50. Anonymous says:


    I think that Libby’s lawyers wanted to leave the impression that you took away, but in reality Novak was the one who told Libby (and it was after July 6, 2003). They may be trying to influence Woodward’s testimony about the June 27 meeting (Woodward left open the possibility that he asked Libby about Wilson’s wife). One thing I have noticed about these most recent filings and discussions is that Fitzgerald is really hanging his hat on the Fleischer-Libby conversation on July 7. It seems to me that we can mark Fleischer off the list of possible Mr. X suspects for that very reason. If Fleischer is Mr. X, Fitzgerald’s faith in his veracity couldn’t be nearly as strong as it appears to be.

  51. Anonymous says:

    Well, William Ockham, I don’t like being told I’ve fallen for something, so pray tell what — especially given you and your razor’s not so impressive track record in sussing out what the deal is — gives you such confidence that Novak told Libby and after July 6, 2003? Any evidence whatsoever?

  52. Anonymous says:


    No evidence, just seems like the simplest explanation that fits the facts. If Libby was going to claim that he really meant Woodward on June 27 when he said Russert on July 10, then I’d expect them to be proclaiming that from the mountaintops (or at least leaking it directly to Isikoff). On the other hand, if the Rove-Novak conversation was at least partly about Frances Fragos Townsend, then I think it’s highly likely that Novak called Libby during the timeframe he talked to Rove. Of course, I also think Novak would have called Gonzalez about Townsend as well.

    By the way, I stand by my scenario of what really happened. The White House leaked to Woodward and Miller in June as an attempt to prime the Washington gossip pump about the Plame-Wilson connection to serve as a cover for the eventual outing. When the Wilson’s editorial came out, they went into full bore smear mode. Cheney was in on the conspiracy and Bush was at least aware of it.

  53. Anonymous says:

    ew if you’re still checking – When you say this:

    This suggests that, two days after the famous 1 X 2 X 6 article, Powell made a statement that Libby repeated during his grand jury testimony the following year

    where are you getting the idea that the September 2003 Situation Room meeting took place on September 30? I can’t find that anywhere in Libby’s motion, but maybe I missed it. I care because it suddently occurred to me that maybe that meeting is where 1 learned about 2×6. But that only works if the meeting took place before September 28, obviously.


    No evidence, just seems like the simplest explanation that fits the facts.

    That’s what I thought. Trouble is, Occam’s razor doesn’t work for human affairs.

  54. Anonymous says:

    never mind – it was feb 24 – I’m getting desperate – I was even reading Wayne Madsen! Need therapy.