George Bush Authorized the Leak of Valerie Wilson’s Identity


Scottie McC doesn’t know it yet. But that’s basically what he revealed this morning on the Today Show (h/t Rayne).

During the interview, Scottie revealed the two things that really pissed him off with the Bush Administration. First, being set up to lie by Karl Rove and Scooter Libby. And second, learning that Bush had–himself–authorized the selective leaking of the NIE.

Scottie McC: But the other defining moment was in early April 2006, when I learned that the President had secretly declassified the National Intelligence Estimate on Iraq for the Vice President and Scooter Libby to anonymously disclose to reporters. And we had been out there talking about how seriously the President took the selective leaking of classified information. And here we were, learning that the President had authorized the very same thing we had criticized.

Viera: Did you talk to the President and say why are you doing this?

Scottie McC: Actually, I did. I talked about the conversation we had. I walked onto Air Force One, it was right after an event we had, it was down in the south, I believe it was North Carolina. And I walk onto Air Force One and a reporter had yelled a question to the President trying to ask him a question about this revelation that had come out during the legal proceedings. The revelation was that it was the President who had authorized, or, enable Scooter Libby to go out there and talk about this information. And I told the President that that’s what the reporter was asking. He was saying that you, yourself, was the one that authorized the leaking of this information. And he said "yeah, I did." And I was kinda taken aback.

Now, for the most part, this is not new. We have known (since I first reported it here) that Scooter Libby testified that, after Libby told Dick Cheney he couldn’t leak the information Cheney had ordered him to leak to Judy Miller because it was classified, Cheney told Libby he had gotten the President to authorize the declassification of that information.

Thus far, though, we only had Dick Cheney’s word that he had actually asked Bush to declassify this information. We didn’t have Bush’s confirmation that he had actually declassified the information. In fact, we’ve had Dick Cheney’s claims that he–Dick–had insta-declassified via his super secret pixie dust declassification powers.

But now we’ve got George Bush, confirming that he, the President of the United States, authorized the leaks of "this information."

Now, though Scottie refers, obliquely, to "this information," he explicitly refers only to the NIE. But as I’ve described over and over again, it’s not just the NIE Bush authorized Dick to order Libby to leak.

As a review, here’s what Libby’s NIE lies are all about. This is all documented in this post, and here is the court transcript in which most of this is revealed.

  • Scooter Libby has instructions in his notes to leak something to Judy Miller on July 8, 2003
  • When questioned about the notation, Libby claimed the instructions related to the NIE
  • Libby went further to make certain claims about the NIE leak–that the leak was authorized by Dick Cheney and George Bush, that such an authorization was totally unique in his career, and that Libby was so worried about leaking the NIE to Judy that he double checked to make sure he was authorized to do so
  • Libby later made claims that directly contradicted these assertions–most importantly, even though Libby claims the Judy leak was totally unique in his career, he also leaked the NIE to three other people: Bob Woodward, a journalist [David Sanger] on July 2, and the WSJ
  • Also, in spite of the fact that Libby says he was really worried about getting authorization to leak the NIE to Judy, he’s not really sure whether he was authorized to leak the NIE to Woodward; his concern about the leak to Judy only extended to whatever he leaked to Judy

In short, Libby is almost certainly lying about what he was authorized to leak to Judy on July 8, 2003, in a meeting where Judy Miller admits he talked about Valerie Plame, and where Libby tried to get her to falsely attribute the story.

At this point, Scottie McC is still accepting Scooter Libby’s lies, though I suspect he sees the dangerous frailty of them. With Bush’s clear admission to Scottie that he was in the loop, and the evidence that, subsequent to receiving an order from Cheney (authorized by Bush) to leak classified information to Judy Miller, Libby leaked Valerie Wilson’s identity, the circumstantial evidence shows the President was directly involved in the deliberate outing of a CIA spy. The only question now is whether Bush realized he authorized the leak of Valerie’s identity, in addition to a bunch of other classified documents.

Think of how much sense this makes. We have evidence that George Bush ordered Libby to respond to Joe Wilson on June 9, 2003. We now have Bush’s own confirmation that he authorized the leak Libby made to Judy Miller on July 8, 2003–which included the leak of Valerie Wilson’s identity. We know on July 10, Condi told Stephen Hadley that Bush "was comfortable" with the response the White House was making towards Wilson. And we know that–when Cheney forced Scottie McC to exonerate Libby publicly that fall, he did so by reminding people that "The Pres[ident] [asked Libby] to stick his head in the meat-grinder." We know that Libby’s lawyers tried desperately to prevent a full discussion of the NIE lies to be presented at trial. And we know that–after those NIE lies did not come out, for the most part (though one juror told me that NIE story was obviously false, even with the limited information they received)–the President commuted Libby’s sentence on July 2, 2007.

182 replies
  1. GeorgeSimian says:

    I’m not sure that’s what he said. It seems to me he said that Bush declassified the information, which isn’t the same as authorizing Libby to leak it.

    Like you said, it’s kind of old news, because I seem to remember Bush declassifying the report after the fact, and there was some talk about whether Cheney had the right to declassify or not, and then Bush said that he did. There was a lot of this cover-their-asses bullshit going on, but basically it all came down to the same thing that Bush has been claiming all along: if the President did it, or approves of it, it’s legal. How else does the Libby pardon get justified?

      • GeorgeSimian says:

        I guess you’re right, but as disingenuous as it is, it’s still a case of the President declassifying material, isn’t it?

        • emptywheel says:


          But that means it’s an entire framework of obstruction to protect the President.

          You’ve got the missing emails. You’ve got more lies told by Libby and, almost certainly, Rove. I suspect you’ve got lies from Bartlett and Ari. And lies from Dick.

          • dakine01 says:

            If Ari was given immunity and then lied under oath about some of this, I’d think Patrick Fitzgerald would be outside his door soonest with an indictment.

            They all appear to have thrown out way too many lies to keep track of what they’ve told whom and it will (I hope and pray to doG) will come tumbling down around them like a house of cards.

            • emptywheel says:

              If anyone moves forward on this, I doubt it’ll be Fitz–unless what Scottie says contradicts what Bush testified to. I don’t think it does, though–the big question is whether Bush testified to knowing WHAT he had declassified, and the best reporting on this (Murray’s) says Bush remained very vague.

              Furthermore, Fitz would only have a really tenuous case to go against Bush. Bush’s authority to declassify things, after all, is unlimited. As is his ability to pardon.

              Thus, it would have to be done in the political realm. But there’s more reason to do so now, or at least to reopen the efforts to revisit the commutation.

              • bmaz says:

                Right. Perhaps now we can see about actually requesting/subpoenaing Fitz’s files including the interviews of Bush and Cheney? You know, like he specifically invited Congress to do.

                • selise says:

                  bmaz – since you had such a lovely insight into the motivation for telco immunity, can you give us your thinking on why the frack is congress apparently helping to cover up for bush?

                  • scribe says:

                    This is pure speculation on my part:
                    Congress is helping cover for Bush for three basic reasons –

                    1. There are, among the Democrats, a lot of people who kinda like the whole authoritarian mold he’s put on the government, given that these Dems are “in power” and therefore being the beneficiary of peoples’ mouths to their hind-teat. They figure that, if this is the way things are, better to go along and enjoy the ride.
                    2. That which we speculate about – re people disappearing and Bushco having them offed – is true, is believed to be true, or is feared to be true by (some of) the Dems, a belief or fear which gets stirred and heightened with a few, occasional dark words or looks from Deadeye and similar folks in the Admin. “It could happen to you … or your family, too.”
                    3. There are, among the Democrats in office, a number of them who still think the Republicans (or some of them) are their friends. They haven’t taken the time to, made the effort to, or are incapable of parsing out how the Republicans would, given the chance, literally stick a shiv into their ribs all while smiling and telling them what good friends they are.

                    A combination of a few of each of these is enough to turn a substantial Dem majority and a mandate, into a bunch of spineless jellyfish.

                  • bmaz says:

                    Heh, even a deaf, dumb, blind squirrel stumbles on a nut every now a and then; doesn’t mean I can do it again. My guess is it is a combination of wanting to conceal their own role in it and sheer political calculation on their re-election and increasing their precious majorities. Basically every element except their sworn duty in their oath to office to protect the Constitution.

                  • Hugh says:

                    Some Democrats supported Bush and enabled his actions.
                    Some because they believed, others because they were scared.
                    Many more were complicit by their silence and inaction.
                    For almost all, even as a de facto coup was taking place before their eyes and after disaster after disaster and excess after excess unfolded before them, they still saw it all as nothing out of the ordinary, just business as usual.

                    The problem too is that which I describe above does not define discrete groups. At various times, Democratic politicians in Congress belonged to several of these groups.

                • PetePierce says:

                  Absolutely. And Jane Hamsher called Sanborne in April–that office is not closed and afik there is nothing to keep Fitz himself from reving up an investigation and indicting Rove–I still have no idea what kept him from doing so, forcing Scootsie, Addington, and Cheney from testifying and indicting Bush, Rove, and Cheney after January 20, 2009 when no commutations and pardons will be available to them.

                  There is nothing to keep Scooter from being indicted and convicted on different charges either.

                • PetePierce says:

                  And I should have added, if Fitz is unwilling to take up the mantle, we have a new AG being confirmed in February 2009, and nothing stops her or him from appointing a special counsel to go after Cheney, Bush, Rove, Addington, Bartlett, Fleisher, Perrino and a cast of many on different charges–I have Fredo and many former DOJ employees on my list as well.

                  I also want the laptops and automatic weapons FBI employees and DOJ AUSAs stole numbering in the thousands.

                  I’d like to see some prosecutions in the hijacking of DOJ for use by the West Wing in targetd proseuctions of prominent Democrats or Democratic office holders.

              • PJEvans says:

                Bush wasn’t under oath when he testified, was he?
                I’d expect him to go for ‘I don’t recall’ even if he was – it’s a cheap nad easy way out (just his style), and puts the burden of proof that he’s lying on the prosecution, which is handicapped by his (and Darth’s) love of obsession with secrecy.

                • cbl2 says:

                  I recall it being pointed out over and over on the Plame threads – that it didn’t matter whether he was under oath or not – lying to prosecutors was lying to prosecutors –

                  under oath = perjury

                  not under oath = false statements (Martha Stewart/Marion Jones)

                  • earlofhuntingdon says:

                    Ditto re lying to Congress whether or not under oath. It’s a felony separate and apart from perjury.

            • victoria says:

              But who holds the card to the new investigation that will need to take place? I think Pelosi. Mukasey will never appoint another special prosecutor. Someone has to start an investigation to knit up all these loose lies into a long, narrow cognitive scarf that can hang the president.

            • BlueStateRedHead says:

              Indictment for what, presumably perjury? It would be nice to see the shadow over the VP extend to Ari and take him out of public life while pending trial not only for past misdeeds but for the ones we can expect from his Freedom Watch outfit.

              If you want to distrust the guy more than you already do, here are 10 reasons:

              • Leen says:

                John Dean has addressed this a while back. The impeachment of lower level officials so that they can not recycle themselves back into future administrations..the way Cheney, Fleisher, etc have.


                Refocusing the Impeachment Movement on Administration Officials Below the President and Vice-President:
                Why Not Have A Realistic Debate, with Charges that Could Actually Result in Convictions?
                By JOHN W. DEAN
                Friday, Dec. 15, 2006

          • scribe says:

            You say:

            that means it’s an entire framework of obstruction to protect the President

            I have to ask: protect the President from what?

            I mean, this is an administration which has, pretty uniformly since Day One:
            (a) decided, by signing statements, to selectively decide which parts of laws really are laws,
            (b) lived by the dictum that “if the President does it, it is not a crime”,
            (c) decided that whole parts of the Constitution (like, e.g., Congress enumerated power to create uniform regulations for the Army and Navy) must give way to the superior, unemumerated and unlimited power of the Executive,
            (d) and many, many more.

            So, is this merely a case of, as the one pundit (I forget who) said the other day, that Bush’s intransigence, unwillingness to admit failure/defeat/error, and unwillingness to change are indicative of an executive who has no confidence in his own positions and/or competence for the job?

            Or are there literal bodies buried out there (I’m thinking, today, in particular about the two missing children of KSM.) that will pop to the surface?

            Many years ago, I worked in construction, doing soils engineering. One of the things one learns after looking at enough sites and dirt is that sooner or later everything which gets buried will work it’s way to the surface, no matter how deeply it’s buried. Had a truck tire pop its way to the surface through 8 or 9 feet of clean sand, once. But one could tell it was there several feet before it actually got to the surface. That, I think, is where we are now.

            • emptywheel says:

              Nice analogy.

              I think it’s similar to the torture revelation, in that we’ve known it’s true, but we’ve got to find a way to leverage the fact that Bush has been breaking the law to hide his own shameful behavior.

              It’d help if Congress got more attentive though.

              • darclay says:

                I think Nancy and Harry are bought and paid for. I like some others find it unlikely they will do anything.

            • earlofhuntingdon says:

              The potential for criminal liability remains. In 2004, it was unclear what might follow revelations of executive misconduct, though the administration has worked non-stop to ensure that nothing followed it. But that success was not certain. You and EW are both right. The pattern of conduct has been both to subvert the government and law, and to protect itself from others who would undo that.

              As Chou En-Lai remarked a few decades ago about the French Revolution, it’s too early to tell whether the Bush team’s gambits will work. Practically, that’s up to the next President and Congress. Lots of money, spin, threats and political obstruction will be thrown around in a real life version of Mortal Kombat.

      • earlofhuntingdon says:

        Precisely. There would have been no point to de-classifying the NIE in this manner had they not intended to use it in some form of political payback in defense of their actions. This was early in an election year; the war and national defense were the chief planks of the campaign.

        Wilson’s OpEd (and other OpEds and reporting that might follow it), and the Bush team’s inability, the lack of interest even, in occupying Iraq as effectively as they prosecuted the initial invasion, threatened to expose their flank. They wanted that threat done away with. This is not a team that rationally uses facts in open debate. They misuse them in gutting their opponents.

      • leveymg says:

        What did Bush think he was doing when he okayed the NIE leak? – silencing critics.
        I doubt anyone bothered to tell Bush the particulars that they were going to “out” Valerie Plame, in particular.

        But, that doesn’t really matter. Legally, when a Mafia Don orders his underlings to “take care of a problem”, and someone gets whacked, the Don still takes the fall under the standard interpretation of the criminal laws of conspiracy.

        Bush can’t pardon himself. I still expect he’ll resign later this year, so Cheney can do that.

        – Mark

        • perris says:

          Bush can’t pardon himself. I still expect he’ll resign later this year, so Cheney can do that.

          I believe you are incorrect, I believe bush can do anything he wants, it will be up to us to say it stands or it does not stand

          the supreme court will allow him to pardon himself, I am pretty certain of that

          • perris says:

            for instance if the president writes his own “exectutive order”, which says “in the interest of national interest I can issue myself a pardon but nobody else can”

            • emptywheel says:

              No no. The way to work Pixie Dust is to take an executive order that says “White House trash must be picked up on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and after Pizza Parties” and reinterpret it to mean–without telling anyone–that it now means “The President can pardon himself.”

              You gotta be creative when you’re throwing pixie dust.

              • perris says:

                aha, I was wondering how to get that pixie dust activated so nobody could see it

                now I get it

  2. Loo Hoo. says:

    From Wexler’s website:

    (Washington, DC) Today Congressman Robert Wexler (D-FL) called for former White House Press Secretary Scott McClellan to appear before the House Judiciary Committee to testify under oath regarding the devastating revelations made in his new book on the Bush Administration’s deliberate efforts to mislead the American people into the Iraq War.

    “The admissions made by Scott McClellan in his new book are earth-shattering and allege facts to establish that Karl Rove and Scooter Libby – and possibly Vice President Cheney – conspired to obstruct justice by lying about their role in the Plame Wilson matter and that the Bush Administration deliberately lied to the American people in order to take us to war in Iraq. Scott McClellan must now appear before the House Judiciary Committee under oath to tell Congress and the American people how President Bush, Vice President Dick Cheney, Karl Rove, Scooter Libby, and White House officials deliberately orchestrated a massive propaganda campaign to sell the war in Iraq to the American people.”

  3. alank says:

    Now, for the most part, this is not new. We have known (since I first reported it here) that Scooter Libby testified that, after Libby told Dick Cheney he couldn’t leak the things Cheney had ordered him to leak to Judy Miller because it was classified, Cheney told Libby he had gotten the President to authorize the declassification of that information.

    I find it hard to believe that on the strength of being told this, Scooter would follow Cheney’s order. He would’ve needed something more substantial than Cheney’s word in a matter of such importance to the integrity of an operation concerned with the proliferation of WMD, putatively, the abiding preoccupation of the Junta.

    • jacqrat says:

      Don’t you get it? They are all lying weasels who stop at nothing to keep their power…

      Scooter would follow cheney into a flaming house made of dogshit if he was asked by the “Magic Man”.

      HI MARCY! Thanks for everything you do.

  4. Petrocelli says:

    Nice catch, EW … Wexler wants Scottie to appear before a hearing … could this be the one that sets Nancy’s table ?

    I saw Meredith’s hatchet job on Scottie as payback for him ripping the MSM … can’t wait for him to appear on KO today.

        • BobbyG says:

          By all means:

          [Politico] Calling the revelations in Scott McClellan’s book “earth-shattering,” Rep. Robert Wexler (D-Fla.) has called on the former White House press secretary to testify under oath before the House Judiciary Committee.

          In a statement released Wednesday, Wexler said McClellan’s admissions “allege facts to establish that Karl Rove and Scooter Libby – and possibly Vice President Cheney – conspired to obstruct justice by lying about their role in the Plame Wilson matter and that the Bush Administration deliberately lied to the American people in order to take us to war in Iraq.”

          Wexler, the chairman of the Europe Subcommittee, has previously lobbied his colleagues to hold impeachment hearings for Cheney.

      • Badwater says:

        Both she and Harry are busy setting the stage for the revival of the Republic brand.

  5. Pachacutec says:

    If Bush is clearly thr source of the leak then the Libby pardon was a coverup , and as Kagro points out in email, impeachable as contemplated and written by James Madison.

    • BobbyG says:

      Some things have been beyond obvious for a long time, like [1] the Bu’ush overt coverup here, and [2] the utter lack of stones of either Reid or Pelosi to act up on evidence of it.

    • phred says:

      Indeed. But there have been many documented transgressions prior to this — how is this sufficiently different to motivate Pelosi to restore the Constitution? I don’t see her acting in the public interest now or ever.

      • puravida says:

        And remember, impeachment is a political, not legal, act. And politics being more about perception than action kept Nancy in 2006 from putting impeachment on the table.

        The question now is does Mc’s book change the perception? Judging from the WH’s furious reaction, I think this is what it most fears-that the Rs in Congress and the corporate media will decide they’ve had enough of covering for Bush and a sacrificial head will have to be offered up.

        Three guesses? Well, it won’t be Rove or Cheney. (Which, for some reason, reminds me of the Jim Baker quote to Bush, “Sit down and shut up. Everybody hates you!”)

    • behindthefall says:

      IANAL, just one of “the People”, but that does seem to be a valid argument. Is it really this clear cut?

  6. Knut says:

    The narrative is still too complicated for ordinary people who have to worry about keeping their house and filling their tank to follow. The way it will play out is — so the President declassified the information. He’s president. He has a right to do that. We don’t know that he authorized leaking it. End of story. We know different, but it won’t matter. He’s going scot free.

    • brendanx says:

      Banish this bad habit of blaming the public for the media’s censorship. A jury followed the relatively unabridged version of this narrative. The public will have no trouble discerning the crimes and coverup here.

      • Petrocelli says:

        Adding to your points, I think Obama’s peeps will push for hearings on all of BushCo’s misdeeds this fall … would do wonders for the Dems in the GE …

        • alank says:

          That would probably drive far more people to the McCain camp than all current worst case scenarios would’ve predicted.

            • alank says:

              Actually, I was thinking of the “of the people” people whose immediate concerns are not the disposition of the crooks currently in power.

              I’m convinced that Obama will not attend to such minutiae during the general election, focussing instead on fundamental issues at a much higher level.

          • yonodeler says:

            Republicans would portray Democrats as opportunists who are playing politics with mischaracterized past events and who are not addressing important issues of the moment. Democratic elected and party leadership are much too afraid of that line of criticism, but afraid they are, so formal proceedings of more than one kind have suffered or have never been commenced.

  7. MarkusQ says:

    We now have Bush’s own confirmation that he authorized the leak Libby made to Judy Miller on July 8, 2003–which included the leak of Valerie Wilson’s identity.

    I hate to be a party pooper. I’d like to see this come home to roost as much as anyone–the day Scooter got a pass from the Commuter In Chief I put another IMPEACH bumper sticker on my car, and it’s still there). But…

    We don’t have Bush’s own confirmation, we have a second hand report, not under oath, not (to my knowledge) substantiated by any contemporaneous records, that he said the words “yeah, I did” in a context which might arguably make them a confirmation of complicity. That’s not a confession.

    – MarkusQ

    P.S. Even sadder, I sometimes suspect that he could come out and admit everything up to and even including ordering 9/11 on national TV and it would be a three day wonder, forgotten as soon as the next young blond girl, American Idle peon or flag pin goes missing.

    • Petrocelli says:

      The case grows stronger but we need a few more McClennans to come forth … don’t surrender now …

  8. LS says:

    So, is Fitz able to take this matter up again or is it absolutely shut down? I’m unclear on that. Also, what do you think Fitz is thinking…let congress handle it first and then wait until after 1/20/09 or just foggetaboutit?

  9. brendanx says:

    I wish there were evidence for that. I don’t think that’s the way things work in this country.

  10. hackworth says:

    Scotty has left a flaming bag of sh*t at Bushco’s door step. We knew all this stuff, but the MSM has ensured than the average citizen does not. McCain’s support of a war that the US was most surely lied into engaging should damage McCain. Bad memes like the selling of the war are gaining traction now b/c of Scotty’s book.

    • Leen says:

      We sure did know all of this stuff due to the reporting/writings of Marcy, Murray, Larissa,, Knight Ridder.

  11. TobyWollin says:

    Marcy – your story – this story – is right now the top of the page story at HuffPo.

  12. Gnome de Plume says:

    Part of the problem is that the public does not want to believe that a President and his administration could possibly be this bad. Yeah, they’ll watch shows on TV about this, but in real life it can’t happen.

  13. greenhouse says:

    Wow, great to see you connecting the dots again on all things plame EW. Don’t see much of Jodi in these parts anymore. Who scared her off? Was it finally freepat or did she just come to the pathetic conclusion of her insignificance?

  14. hackworth says:

    I don’t remember if McClellan was a witness of if he had any part in the Libby trial or Grand Jury testimony prior. Marcy, what do you have on this?

  15. earlofhuntingdon says:

    A few things are making more sense. For starters, Bush is not stupid. He is deeply ignorant, incurious, lazy, crude and boorish. But not stupid. He cares about very little, mostly protecting inherited and corporate wealth from the jihad of the Tax Man and The Regulator, and getting even in biblical excess for the smallest slights.

    If a government lawyer or Cheney told him he could de-classify something at will, and that doing so would get back at his enemies, protect his self-image over his rationales for war and his success in Iraq, and would enhance his odds of winning “re-election” in 2004, he would not have hesitated for a moment. If so, it would further explain the concerted ReichWing attacks on Lil’ Scotty, because a helluva lot more than tittle tattling is going on.

    The whisperer controlling Bush’s decisions, then and now, is Dick Cheney. Cheney hates the bureaucracy. He hates its merit-based aspirations and the myriad ways it subverts those to protect its favorites. He hates that its professionals sometimes refuse to tell him what he wants to hear the way sycophants do in a private company. He despises its potential to obstruct him. Personally, he would have destroyed Plame’s and Wilson’s careers in a heart beat. Substantively, he rarely agreed with the CIA’s analysis or conclusions, preferring Doug Feith’s “Team B” approach, regardless of how consistently wrong that advice has been. But Cheney is smart and he knew to put the President on the line instead of himself.

    Bush may or may not have followed the logic of his own acts. He may not have seen beyond the goals of destroying Valerie Plame’s career and her husband’s credibility. (That, after all, was just payback, they were both in play.) He may not have seen that he was also undermining national security by jeopardizing Plame’s work and that of her network – and threatening the model used by the CIA for other covert ops. But I don’t think he cared. His priority is to win, and he’s never done it without bribing the ref or moving the goal posts, while making others bear the cost. And thinking ahead, except when planning payback, is not his strong suit.

    As for McClellan, his self-image is as flawed as Bush’s. He didn’t become press secretary as a neophyte. He’d worked for Bush in and out of the White House. He’d seen Ari Fleischer work for years. He knew about the White House players’ professional lying and so knew he was doing the same thing every time he stepped on that podium.

    Ignoring that, perhaps, is the price of shaving every day without smashing the mirror or misusing the razor. A good guy done wrong is also the staple of political and Hollywood career comebacks. We’re likely to hear it repeatedly as the Bush cohort tells us why it’s the Democrats who created all the problems the next administration will expose and try to fix. But this is a big one.

    • DBaker says:

      Bush may or may not have followed the logic of his own acts. He may not have seen beyond the goals of destroying Valerie Plame’s career and her husband’s credibility. (That, after all, was just payback, they were both in play.) He may not have seen that he was also undermining national security by jeopardizing Plame’s work and that of her network – and threatening the model used by the CIA for other covert ops. But I don’t think he cared. His priority is to win, and he’s never done it without bribing the ref or moving the goal posts, while making others bear the cost. And thinking ahead, except when planning payback, is not his strong suit.

      There’s a fascinating anecdote in The One Percent Doctrine – click here for the excerpt in question. Despite what the media portrait is of him, I think that Dubya is a nasty Class A asshole; I always find it fascinating that when these “tell all” books about Bushco come out they always have the writer stating what great respect they have for Bush as a person – keep this anecdote in mind when you hear that the next time.

      • earlofhuntingdon says:

        Oh, Lil’ George is, indeed, a grade A dirt bag. There’s the famous scene at a public restaurant where he reamed out a colleague in front of his wife and young daughter, expletives definitely not deleted, over a petty slight to Shrub senior. The “excuse” was that he was still drinking, which ignores that alcohol doesn’t create the man, it releases his inhibitions (something he and McCain have learned to do with or without alcohol).

        When it comes to self-protection, Shrub is all Old Testament: no grace, no pardon, no forgiveness, just fire and brimstone no matter how petty the perceived act of disloyalty or insubordination.

        Lil’ Scotty had better look under the hood before he starts his car, have his lawyer’s card in his pants pocket and his tax filings all up to date. He’s on the list. Time doesn’t matter. Shrub waited seven years to get back at candidate Al Gore’s Florida elections lawyer (now being prosecuted by the local USA under a bizarre interpretation of a money laundering statute).

        • DBaker says:

          For the sake of completing the record, that journalist was Al Hunt of the Wall Street Journal, journaled, among other places here from 1999.

          The drunken episode actually highlights another issue, i.e. whether he actually quit when he said he did (supposedly because he found Jesus when he turned 40).

          Finally, it’s amazing to me that all of this information, that a lot of people bought into, was readily available to anyone who really wanted to look. A large minority of the American people just chose to ignore it.

      • yonodeler says:

        The GWBush code of conduct looks like the motto “no better friend, no worse enemy” transmogrified to the minute personal level.

      • TobyWollin says:

        Bush is the quintessential ’schoolyard bully’ – he gets away/got away with what he does because he has not met up with someone who is as nasty as he is or as capable of the same tactics. I worked with two guys like this in my last job and one of them terrorized all the female staff members. He tried to get me fired in a staff meeting and was not disciplined by the boss. After the meeting, I stayed and tried to discuss it with the boss, who told me that I was making too much of it, to ‘kiss and make up’. I used the ‘f’ word with him(the door was shut) and told him that if this happened again, I was going to HR and lodging an official complaint. The boss laughed his head off – bullies recognize bullies – the only way to deal with a bully is to push back, as hard and as often as it happens. Otherwise, they just keep trying to beat you up to get you to knuckle under.

    • readerOfTeaLeaves says:

      EOH, of all the comments that I’ve ever read, this is among the most insightful and I think you’ve nailed a spectrum of items. Especially the fact that –although easily distractible, GWB is probably not actually stupid. But his type of ‘boredom’ is a warning sign of serious problem.

      Also agree that GWBush has repeatedly shown himself so obsessed at dealing out ‘payback’ that he may not have thought enough steps ahead to recognize the treachery of his actions for national security. Cheney, however, almost certainly did recognized the consequences, which is part of why its so interesting that he is/was willing to hang GWBush out to dry.

      But this:

      The whisperer controlling Bush’s decisions, then and now, is Dick Cheney. Cheney hates the bureaucracy. He hates its merit-based aspirations… He hates… its professionals… despises its potential to obstruct him. Personally, he would have destroyed Plame’s and Wilson’s careers in a heart beat…. he rarely agreed with the CIA’s analysis or conclusions, preferring Doug Feith’s “Team B” approach, regardless of how consistently wrong that advice has been. … he knew to put the President on the line instead of himself.

      Best. Summary. Ever.

      As for McClellan, he looks more animated, less robotic, and more cogent than he ever did when he worked for the WH. It’s a bit eerie, but watching him I have the sense that we’re seeing a profound personal transformation — a man trying hard to learn to claim his own soul. On that ground alone, I wish him godspeed — but that aspect of his interview(s) must also be incredibly threatening to those who can’t figure out how to create a life for themselves outside the veil of lies they’ve created.

      On a purely personal level, it’s always encouraging to see another human being try to save his own soul. No question the BushBots will be driven wild with panic by the spectre.

      • earlofhuntingdon says:

        It’s a bit eerie, but watching him I have the sense that we’re seeing a profound personal transformation — a man trying hard to learn to claim his own soul. On that ground alone, I wish him godspeed — but that aspect of his interview(s) must also be incredibly threatening to those who can’t figure out how to create a life for themselves outside the veil of lies they’ve created.

        It suggests that Scotty feels free to admit that not getting caught in a lie isn’t the same as telling the truth, something BushCheneyRove would never concede. As a good Gooper, however, doing so now pads his pocketbook. Whether his partial candor will ultimately be rewarding will depend on how Team Bush strikes back. They have an old-style Japanese sense of retribution: they don’t need to get back at Scotty today; getting back at his children or grandchildren tomorrow is even sweeter.

        • readerOfTeaLeaves says:

          The fact that Team Bush went so instantly ballistic is telling.
          Scotty scored several direct hits.
          But his pocketbook is no affair of mine; if doing the right thing ends up making him money, I personally couldn’t care less, and I may even buy a copy. People make money in far worse ways.

          Totally agree that for the BushBots, the cycle of retribution never ends.

    • Leen says:

      Scotty knows, too bad it took him so long to demonstrate that he has a conscience. Is it the $$$$?

      Been reading through everyones comments (all of those who know so much about the law). But from a peasants perspective it is so pitiful that a
      congress investigated and impeached a President for lying under oath about a bj and yet a formerly Republican controlled Congress did not find it important enough to hold a President, Vice President, Libby, Rove, Fleisher for outing Plame. The Bush administration undermined U.S. National Security in ways that the public will never know about (well unless the next President de-classifies the Plame outing damage report).

      How in the hell can Bush/Cheney get away with declassifying Plames identity? Hello Pelosi and Reid we are watching,calling, e-mailing and praying.

      Lying under oath about a bj=Impeachment.
      Lying about WMD intelligence 4000 Americans dying, over a million Iraqi’s dying, 4 million refugees ,purposely outing a NOC/Plame and undermining National Security =no problem.

      What twisted, perverted and dangerous priorities many in congress continue to have. We know the Bush administration is beyond perverted and dangerous!

  16. AlbertFall says:

    Delaying this news is why Bush pardoned Scooter.

    Bush knew who the leaker was, because he authorized the leak.

    Then he covered it up.

    This kind of revelation could (SHOULD!) generate a Watergate syle firestorm, although given how lazy and intimated the press is, I doubt it.

    • Bluetoe2 says:

      Do you think the Democratic controlled Congress can be roused from their slumber to uphold their constitutional responsibilities? Highly unlikely with this group of posers.

      • AlbertFall says:

        It is late in the day to try for impeachment(and in the context of a political campaign, too distracting).

        Fitz bringing new charges, though….I would LOVE that!

        • bobschacht says:

          Distracting? You call holding the Republican’s feet to the fire with an election coming up distracting? I call it gold in them thar hills.

          Bob in HI

  17. JimWhite says:

    Toobz clogged. Pls snd plmmr.

    EW, this has probably been asked before, but what would be the mechanism to mount a legal challenge to the pixie dust theory? I realize one route is through a new AG undertaking a thorough weeding of OLC opinions, but is there some way to start getting the bad opinions tossed earlier than that? How exposed would Bush and his minions be if it can be shown that they actively demanded OLC opinions to cover them for known past and future intended illegal acts?

  18. GregB says:

    Simply put, when Bush said “If there’s a leak in my adminstration, I’d like to know who did it.” It was the very beginning of HIS cover-up. His minions, mooks and monkeys then did whatever was needed to protect him.


  19. Bluetoe2 says:

    Reading the comments on the Politico web site is trully demoralizing. So many bloggers attacking any criticism of Bush and the Administration. The 28 percenters are sure a busy lot.

    • GregB says:

      They are only stoking the fires of contempt against themselves. The public is in no mood to seek rationalisations and excuses for Bush’s misdeeds.

      The lead lemming is in mid air and the legions are rushing towards the cliff chirping “bring it on”.


  20. Badwater says:

    It’s hard to see anything shaking Bush’s “vindication of history” delusion. Hopefully, the Republics pay for years for having foisted him on this nation.

  21. Elliott says:

    emptywheel, you are George W. Bush’s worst nightmare, and his com(anti)patriots too.

    • rxbusa says:

      That’s why I think reading Marcy and FDL is how Karl Rove knows what “lefty bloggers” sound like. Surely he is a regular lurking reader here.

  22. alank says:

    With all the prosecutions being lined up here, Scotty should be included as admitted aider and abetter, I expect.

  23. tw3k says:

    But Bush wants the truth and thinks that it is helpful that Scotty came forward.

    Q Do you think that the Justice Department can conduct an impartial investigation, considering the political ramifications of the CIA leak, and why wouldn’t a special counsel be better?

    THE PRESIDENT: Yes. Let me just say something about leaks in Washington. There are too many leaks of classified information in Washington. There’s leaks at the executive branch; there’s leaks in the legislative branch. There’s just too many leaks. And if there is a leak out of my administration, I want to know who it is. And if the person has violated law, the person will be taken care of.

    And so I welcome the investigation. I — I’m absolutely confident that the Justice Department will do a very good job. There’s a special division of career Justice Department officials who are tasked with doing this kind of work; they have done this kind of work before in Washington this year. I have told our administration, people in my administration to be fully cooperative.

    I want to know the truth. If anybody has got any information inside our administration or outside our administration, it would be helpful if they came forward with the information so we can find out whether or not these allegations are true and get on about the business.

  24. lambchops says:

    Thanks EW for this post. I have a question about McClellan’s book. Did he have to get permission from the President to publish it? I can’t help wondering about the timing of this book coming out. I keep getting the feeling that someone is pulling a fast one on all of us. Or perhaps it is just a fatigue from so much lying this bunch have done.

  25. Bluetoe2 says:

    I like Vincent Bugliosi’s take on GWB. Charge him with murder. His arguments are compelling and he has contacted prosecutors across the country hoping one has the courage to look at the evidence and charge him accordingly. Add treason to the list of charges.

  26. looseheadprop says:

    Waxman requested information by letter, but I don’t recall him issuing a subpeona. You link didn’t work for me, so I’m clueless about what you are referring to.

    patFitz could not legally turn over GJ docs on his own just to repsond to a letter.

    If he was served with a subpeona, PatFitz could go to court and make a motion to have the docs tured over to resond to the subpeona.

    A mere request ain’t gonna cut it.

      • Helen says:

        Thanks tw3K. I’m having major toobz problems today. That is what I tried to link to at 57.

        LHP – I believe that Henry believes that he can have the Bush and Cheney interviews specifically because they were not GJ testimony and therefore not subject to the same rules.

        • looseheadprop says:

          Its nt as clear cut as that. If the “voluntary” interview was in repsonse to a GJ subpeona and the transcript was later presnted to the GJ and never disclosed elsewhere, it might still need a court order.

          If it were me, I would err on the side of court order, especailly since Waxman’s gonna need one for hte rest of the stuff anyway.

      • looseheadprop says:

        Yes thank you. See it’s a letter following up on another letter.

        Big Hank needs to send an actual subpeona.

          • phred says:

            Given BushCo’s inclination to ignore subpoenas, would they be able to prevent the release of the transcripts if they are subpoenaed or does Fitz retain control himself in such a way that he could release them under a subpoena?

            • bmaz says:

              As long as his office is open, and I believe it nominally still is, he should retain his own full set of files I would think.

                  • phred says:

                    Well then, time to give Mr. Waxman a phone call…

                    Thanks bmaz, that is mighty encouraging news!

                    • BlueStateRedHead says:

                      Hi Phred. Football season is over can we be friends again (snark, obviously).

                    • BayStateLibrul says:

                      I knew it was snark….
                      I should have put a grin to my comment…
                      Actually, it was pretty funny…
                      The Pats do deserve a quick kick…

                      I wish KO had asked Scotty what he thought of Bush’s commuting Libby’s sentence…

                    • phred says:

                      Hiya BSRH — where you been??? Nice to see you around these parts, and I promise I’ll be nice even during the football season (to you anyway, not necessarily the Patsies ; )

                  • readerOfTeaLeaves says:

                    Hey, looks like maybe us ‘lefty bloggers’ aren’t the only ones with raised eyebrows. I’m not familiar with whether it’s unusual for MSNBC to have on an interview with Matt Cooper at midday, but they have an interview with Cooper re: the Plame Case, and the date of this interview is today:



  27. perris says:

    I have a serious problem with the president being able to at will declassify anything

    as far as I am concerned he can declassify only info he himself classified in the first place

  28. Citizen92 says:

    Try this one on for size.

    Jeff Gannon reappeared on the scene. Today on

    “I can say without fear of contradiction, that I knew Scott better than any other White House correspondent or Washington reporter.”

    Really, Jeff?

    Are you lying?
    Are you suggesting a gay affair?
    Or are you suggesting you are a plant?

    The first two I’ll let slide, but the third, well, back to 2005 Vanity Fair

    “Sometime near the beginning of 2001, Gannon gave notice at the auto-body shop. He told McFarland, among others, that he was taking a job with a subcontractor for the Department of Defense, something for which he would need security clearance. For someone of conspicuous patriotism, with a fascination for things military, it seemed a good fit. “He said that whenever the Pentagon came out with a new missile or bomb or tank this subcontractor would do research to decide whether to go ahead with it,” McFarland recalls. “He made it sound like a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.” McFarland, for one, believed him; after one of the hijacked jetliners crashed into the Pentagon on September 11, he even called Gannon to make sure he was all right.

    Remember, this is 2005. This is before the public knew of the DOD-propaganda military bloggers program which was recently uncovered. Was Gannon a prong of that program? Is that why McClellan would know him so well?

    • maryo2 says:

      If Gannon is talking about the Pentagon propaganda program, then it was started “sometime near the beginning of 2001.”

      On February 27, 2001 Qwest was asked to participate in the NSA call database.

  29. earlofhuntingdon says:

    OT, but an interesting question. The NYT David Kirkpatrick — in an adulatory front-page story that could have been written by one of McCain’s lobbyists — reports that St. John the Divine turned down an admiral’s star in 1981, because he wanted to go into politics.

    Several earlier discussions here revolved around McCain not getting his star, raising questions about his judgment and capacity to lead, as a reason for leaving the Navy. Anyone have the scoop?…..ref=slogin

    • bmaz says:

      Earl, I don’t know that it was that simple, but I think that is probably effectively correct. He was a returned hero, and had been working on the East Coast/ Washington as some sort of liaison. The next step up, which likely would have occurred sooner or later, was to a one star. I don’t know that it was on the table at that moment; it is possible….

      • earlofhuntingdon says:

        We’ve had several discussions on the topic. I was surprised at the Kirkpatrick article’s assertions, which clearly responded to the widespread belief that McCain was not in line for his star. His lead sentence makes the claim that then Navy Sec. Lehman promised McCain his star, but St. John turned him down. He mentions other unnamed top Navy officers as supporting the claim, so it must be a question even Villagers are pondering.

        Kirkpatrick’s article is unreservedly pro-McCain. He quotes criticisms of him by named Navy officers – as a senate liaison for the Navy, McCain was good at keeping senators supplied with booze in Arab countries and knew where they’d parked their cars in the DC (implying that having imbibed too much alcohol, they wouldn’t remember themselves) – as if they were strong recommendations of McCain’s character.

        He quotes a Navy psychiatrist’s concern over McCain’s self-confidence, wondering whether he could live up to his father’s (and grandfather’s) superlative Navy careers. He then claims that McCain’s hero’s welcome on being released from POW camp “resolved” all that. Kirkpatrick doesn’t seem to have inquired, and doesn’t mention, whether those five and a half years of torture as a POW scarred him mentally.

        Kirkpatrick also describes as a positive attribute McCain’s early lobbyist behavior. McCain went behind the back of the President and his Navy Secretary to lobby Congress successfully for building another carrier. Congress overrode Carter’s veto of the carrier deal. As a Navy captain and senate liaison, McCain’s behavior was insubordinate and unethical at best. He should have been cashiered. Instead, he was purportedly offered a star, but only after Reagan had won the White House. Kirkpatrick uses the story to tell us St. John knows how to get things done in Washington.

        Something tells me McCain has long known the power of lobbying and is in love with every inch of it, democracy and legal authority be damned. That’s why his campaign and senate staff are choked with lobbyists. Why would his White House be different?…..=1&hp

    • readerOfTeaLeaves says:

      What I found quite interesting at the NYT was the way they described WH reaction to Scotty McK’s book:

      The cries of betrayal from former aides served as a stern warning to other potential turncoats… Their language was so similar that the collective reaction amounted to a big inside-the-Beltway echo chamber.

      All seemed to take their cues from Dana Perino, the current press secretary. Ms. Perino used the words “sad” and “puzzled” to describe the White House response, as if Mr. McClellan had undergone some kind of emotional breakdown, while making the case that if Mr. McClellan had problems with Mr. Bush he should have raised them while in the president’s employ.

      [italics mine]…..ttcnd.html

      One would almost get the sense that the NYT and it’s reporters are fed up with the WH spin, spin, spin looking at the fact that they point out efforts by the WH to frame Scotty as ‘unhinged’ and ‘crazy’, and that they’re all — surprise!! — saying the same damn thing, even down to the same words.

      Score 1 point for the NYT.
      Always good to see the media show a little disgust at Bu$hCo efforts to play them like a kazoo.

  30. BillE says:

    There is no way with the current Dem power players that impeachment or any other form of holding Bushco accountable will happen. They are complicit and did not object to anything said or done by Bush as has been pointed out by many others.

    But add to that the certainty that bushco controls all the various leaders. Dems, Rethugs, Judges, and especially Media. The TSP/TIA was never about foreign threats it was always about bushco threats. The want control of votes more than they want specific ideology in place. They want message control. They want every little legal issue assigned to Judge Bates because he is one of them or is controlled by Blackmail. Its all raw power with these people

  31. Sachem says:

    According to Arianna, the Secret Service code name McClennan was Matrix. And they say that the Secret Service doesn’t has a sense of humor.

    • phred says:

      BSL, did you know that John Dean spoke at the ACLU dinner in Boston last night? I can’t help wondering whether McClellan is following in his footsteps…

      • BayStateLibrul says:

        Thanks. I wasn’t aware of his appearance.
        On McClellan morphing Dean:

        “There’s hope in’t yet.”

        Anthony and Cleopatra, III.xiii

        • phred says:

          It was regrettably brief, I wish he had much more time than the 15 minutes he was allotted. I bet he would be a fascinating guy to chew over politics for a few hours with a pint or two in hand.

          Thanks for the great quote. As my mother would say… hope springs eternal…

  32. PetePierce says:

    Matt Cooper, formerly of Time and current husband of Mandy Gruenwald shaper of the Clinton campaign message, says he emailed Assistant US Attorney Randall Samborn Public Information Officer
    for all things Fitzie
    asking them if Scottie Mc Come VEry Damn Lately’s statements or book would prompt them to finish the investigation that they left unfinished, and they received an AUSA’s favorite comment which was “No Comment.”

    Fitzie’s watching that Rezko jury get hung.

  33. Hmmm says:

    Man did I pick the wrong day to catch up on sleep. Sorry of any of this is redundant as I haven’t fully caught up on the comments thread yet, but:

    (1) In addition to going ad hominem on Mr. McClellan (always a sign the other side’s winning, right?), news story suppression is something else we might start to see. For example, and downright weirdly, the home page at the moment shows zero stories on McClellan. There are 2 blurbs for upcoming appearances on CNN (tomorrow), but no actual reporting. W.T.F.??!! Freak chance, or start of a trend?

    (2) Also: Good gawd, I’ve been fervently hoping some Admin insider would find their inner conscience, but I never ever thought little Scotty McClellan would be 2008 for John Dean.

    (3) Poor John Dean, to have little Scotty McClellan’s name forever after tied to his…

    • Hmmm says:

      Oh, and very importantly:

      (4) Let us not forget the basics: Impeach Cheney first! With Iran in play, at least potentially, we do not want President Cheney unchecked by the Establishment R’s that hover around Team W.

    • Rayne says:

      That freeze-out of McClellan is yet another sign of the media going nuclear winter on itself.

      Finally, one of them figured it out, that if everybody chased the same 49% marketshare, there was 52% left for somebody else to take on their own. NBC finally went after the 52%, which may be growing quickly.

      However, this might also be GE prepping NBC for sale…boost its performance to push up the price, yes?

  34. piniella says:

    From a blog post I made a while ago:

    On July 18, 2003, Scott McClellan said this to the WH press reporters:

    MR. McCLELLAN: No, well, we always want to share facts with the American people. And this information was just, as of today, officially declassified, and it was an opportunity to share with them some information that showed the clear and compelling case that we had for confronting the threat that Saddam Hussein posed.

    The information referred to is the newly unclassified portions of the Oct. 2002 National Intelligence Estimate. Not only did Libby learn of this new information 10 days before, BooMan makes it crystal clear that Judith Miller was told way back in Sept. 2002. (See also here)

  35. Diane says:

    Marcy, did you know your post got picked up in the headlines @ Raw Story?
    Read the post but haven’t read all the comments, so please forgive if this was already brought up.

  36. JohnLopresti says:

    Here is an article about the SC construct as it was designed in 1999 by NKatyal, though the Ashcroft then Comey then Fitzgerald way of creating Fitzgerald’s mandate differed, evidently substantially.

  37. FrankProbst says:

    I don’t agree with your logic here. The Shooter could have just told the Convict, “Leak the NIE and betray Plame.” The Convict could have said, “Betray Plame? But…that’s treason!” And then the Shooter could have said, “Let me clear it with the ‘President’”. He then could have asked Bush, “Can I leak a bunch of classified information to the press?” And Bush could have said, “Whatever. Now watch this drive!” And then Scottie could’ve had the exchange that he had with Bush. And frankly, I think this scenario is much more likely than Bush paying any attention to the details of the Plame betrayal.

    • emptywheel says:

      You did see this, didn’t you?

      The only question now is whether Bush realized he authorized the leak of Valerie’s identity, in addition to a bunch of other classified documents.

      I there’s a number of reasons to believe Bush did know–the meat grinder note and the he’s “Comfortable” note. But I do leave his not knowing what–specifically–Cheney leaked as a possibility.

      • FrankProbst says:

        I there’s a number of reasons to believe Bush did know–the meat grinder note and the he’s “Comfortable” note. But I do leave his not knowing what–specifically–Cheney leaked as a possibility.

        That’s entirely possible, but I also think that Bush may not have have even realized that he was declassifying ANYTHING in his conversation with Cheney. Or that Cheney never asked Bush about it at all, and just “reminded” Bush later on that he (Bush) had signed off on the whole scheme.

          • Hmmm says:

            It’ll still take an investigation to get to the bottom of it, and Scotty’s Tale sure seems like enough of a lead to get one started.

        • john in sacramento says:

          He knew

          On President Bush:

          In the years to come, as I worked closely with President Bush, I would come to believe that sometimes he convinces himself to believe what suits his needs at the moment. It is not unlike a witness in court who does not want to implicate himself in wrongdoing, but is also concerned about perjuring himself. So he says, “I do not recall.” … Bush, similarly, has a way of falling back on the hazy memory defense to protect himself from potential political embarrassment.


    • Leen says:

      So when did the “declassify” come in. I remember hearing on NPR when they announced Cheney’s ability to declassify. But not exactly when or why.

  38. BooRadley says:

    FWIW, pow wow’s super post about the Rule 6(e) exception.

    My crystallizing focus for a way forward if our Legislative Branch (or at least the House of Representatives) would only roust itself, and its (our) inherent powers, to life:
    I thought Bush and Rove had successfully insulated themselves from any (further) Libby fall-out, last June. I figured they’d let Cheney’s guy go down, and Cheney with him, if need be. I’m now convinced by Bush’s panic to commute Libby’s prison time before he served a day that Rove and/or Bush are still very much exposed to criminal/political jeopardy from the information they know Libby harbors about their involvement in the outing of a covert CIA officer and its subsequent cover-up. [EW’s point about and analysis of the June 9th evidence (that came out of the trial) of a Bush-initiated string of events, as well as the mysterious vanishing Libby defense that was previewed in opening arguments and then promptly retired, undergird the impression that Bush gave yesterday with his hasty, otherwise-illogical action.]
    We finally have a point of the spear with which to open impeachment hearings – a subject of inquiry, out of all the possible subjects to choose from, that particularly targets the men of bad faith at the very top of the Executive Branch, who have been operating our government in an isolated, secretive fashion, and can therefore be isolated and targeted for intense Congressional investigation with regard to a matter of national security [which was either a literal crime or at best ‘recklessness’ and abuse of office with regard to a matter of grave import that has dismantled at least one of our rare and valuable national security spy assets]. A subject that is also intimately connected to the war crimes of this administration in Iraq and the sales job that they used to lead us there. In other words, the outing of Valerie Wilson and the Bush/Cheney involvement in the Niger-Uranium Fraud should be the opening salvo for impeachment hearings by the House Judiciary Committee. Why?
    An impeachment proceeding can access years of grand jury testimony and evidence already compiled by the Special Counsel’s team (thus end-running Pelosi’s lame ‘there’s not enough time’ argument). Coordination with the Special Counsel and the Wilsons to safeguard the Wilson civil suit if Judge Bates lets it proceed, and the Special Counsel’s ongoing defense of the Libby conviction would need to be undertaken by Congress if they pursue access to this evidence. While remembering, and accounting for the fact (if possible), that there are corrupt Republican moles spying for the Executive Branch (including the civil suit defendants) on all these Congressional committees (and I don’t just mean staffers). Very strict, enforcable rules of non-disclosure as appropriate would need to be formulated by those running the investigation.
    Henry Waxman and his Oversight Committee have apparently already made great progress on the Niger-Uranium Fraud, largely behind closed doors. His evidence could be rolled into the evidence about the outing of CIA Officer Wilson to kick-start the process.
    Gonzales should probably be ignored for now. He’s a known liar, subservient to his bosses, his crimes are ultimately Bush’s crimes, and Gonzales will eventually slink away when his role as a firewall no longer works. We need to target the bosses: namely Bush, Cheney, and Rove. Perhaps starting with Addington and Novak and a request for their testimony to Congress about their involvement in the outing of Valerie Wilson. When one or both refuses, if this is an impeachment hearing, we go to court to enforce compliance [without concern for whether a legislative remedy will be the result of the hearing, as would be true for non-impeachment, regular oversight hearings]. If everyone pleads the Fifth – we select our immunity target(s) with an eye to impeaching Bush and Cheney and letting the others walk (which at this point they seem to be doing anyway).
    Other than possible complications to Fitzgerald’s ongoing work (if any, besides Libby’s appeal), or the Wilson civil suit if allowed to proceed (which we should soon know), what are the drawbacks to this scenario? [Assuming a very, very limited, targeted amount of any Congressional immunity is given.] We have pre-investigated potential crimes which were unable to be prosecuted or proven under criminal statutes, but which Congress can easily determine to be abuse of power, misuse of office, dereliction of duty, and similar “high crimes and misdemeanors” sufficient to impeach those involved but still holding offices of public trust in our Executive Branch of government.
    Two lower court decisions of note have upheld congressional access to grand jury materials in aid of that branch’s constitutional power of impeachment. In Grand Jury Proceedings of Grand Jury No. 81-1, 669 F. Supp. 1072, 1074-75 (S.D. Fla.), aff’d, 833 F.2d 1438 (11th Cir. 1987), the court held that the House Judiciary Committee was entitled to receive the record of grand jury proceedings in furtherance of its impeachment investigation of Judge Alcee Hastings. Although the committee’s access to the materials was separately justified on the basis of Fed. R. Crim. P. 6(e)(3)(C)(i), the court held that the disclosure was also justified on the basis of, inter alia, the Impeachment Clause. U.S. Const. art. I, § 2. See also In re Report and Recommendation of June 5, 1972 Grand Jury, 370 F. Supp. 1219 (D.D.C.), mandamus denied sub nom. Haldeman v. Sirica, 501 F.2d 714 (D.C. Cir. 1974) (district court’s decision granting the Watergate grand jury’s request that its report on the matters it investigated be submitted to the House Judiciary Committee, upheld by court of appeals in denying mandamus relief).
    These decisions should be read with some caution because the disclosures of the grand jury materials at issue were directly related to impeachment proceedings — which have been viewed as within the coverage of the Rule 6(e)(3)(C)(i) exception — and were undertaken only after obtaining prior judicial approval. Nonetheless, they demonstrate the courts’ willingness to recognize an independent constitutional basis for disclosures of grand jury information outside the provisions of Rule 6(e). Thus, if congressional access to grand jury materials may be independently justified on the basis of its Article I power, it would be anomalous to contend that Presidential access to such materials could not be justified on the basis of the President’s Article II powers.
    Happy Independence Day, America.
    Posted by: pow wow | July 04, 2007 at 00:01

  39. wavpeac says:

    Well, this is the validation we have been waiting for. I think we have all suspected that it went all the way to the top for a long time. For me, it was when Bush hired the criminal lawyer right as the story broke. I figured as facts were coming out so planned and obviously orchestrated that Bushco was in full cover up mode from that point forward. I wonder, if Bush told Fitz this in his interview???

  40. darclay says:

    Can Nancy by law be forced to bring proceedings againt Bush/Chney,Libby?

    • bobschacht says:

      I think the best we can hope for is for Pelosi to *silently* remove her block on impeachment proceedings by the HJC, privately telling Conyers he can open proceedings in his House Judiciary Committee, but she will not necessarily allow a vote on the floor of the House on whatever the HJC decides to send to the floor. Right now, what we need most, is a good HJC airing of impeachment issues, and a public record, including public hearings, on all the perversions of the Constitution perpetuated by the Bush-Cheney Gang, to establish the facts. Of course, they’re not really legal facts, IMHO, until the House as a whole sez they are.

      My understanding is that impeachment differs from a Grand Jury indictment in that a conventional indictment alleges violations, which become facts only when the jury returns its verdict. On the other hand, my understanding of impeachment is that the House determines what the facts are, and then the Senate’s job is whether the facts merit removal from office.

      Is this correct?

      Bob in HI

      • bmaz says:

        First off, the key to everything else is the opening of an official impeachment investigation. If Pelosi permits that, that is almost half the battle, because that triggers a different and heightened level of investigatory abilities, and removes certain protections, defenses and privileges that could otherwise block such an inquiry. Beyond that, it is analogous to a criminal investigation in that one yields an indictment, the other yields articles of impeachment; but they are both charging documents evincing the known facts, allegations and offenses charged as a result. There is then a trial; in one case in court, in the other in the Senate. A conviction on either establishes guilt.

        • bobschacht says:

          Thanks for the reply. I’m still wondering, however, at what point a “count” in an indictment, or an “article” of impeachment, legally becomes a “fact.”

          It is my understanding that a count of an indictment does not legally become a fact until the jury says so. Of course, if a jury decides the defendent is “not guilty” of a count, that doesn’t mean the count wasn’t true, but only that the evidence is insufficient (e.g., OJ’s trial).

          In impeachment, however, each “article” of impeachment has to be voted on first by the authorized committee (e.g., the HJC), and then by the House as a whole. We can equate the HJC (or a select committee appointed for the purpose) with a Grand Jury, but does a Congressperson carry more weight than a citizen on a GJ?

          Second, if the entire House approves an article of impeachment, is this not a far higher level of evaluation than a GJ indictment? That’s why I’m wondering if, legally speaking, an article of impeachment approved by the House as a whole is regarded as more “factual” than a count of indictment by a GJ.

          Inquiring minds want to know, but IANAL.

          Bob in HI

  41. FrankProbst says:

    Fair enough. You’re saying that when Bush said, “yeah I did,” it was a throwaway, or something he said to protect Dick?

    I think it was a throwaway, and I think he said it because his ego will never let him admit–even in private–that Cheney has been running the show for the last 8 years.

  42. bmaz says:

    1) There is a difference between a fact and a count in an indictment (or impeachment article for that matter). A crime, or charge, is something that either statutorily, or legislatively in the case of impeachment, is considered for the purposes intended to comprise an offense against the public. There will for any given crime or charge be requisite elements that comprise the same and are necessary to be established beyond the burden of proof in order for a finding of guilty to be made. Facts are adduced in the form of evidence to so establish those elements. But, overall, a finding of guilty establishes only that the person is indeed guilty for that crime charged. After such a finding sometimes the facts associated with particular elements of the specific charge may be argued as having been conclusively established by the finding of guilt; say for instance if the murder was in the library, you could say it has been established as a fact the defendant was in the library, because conviction of that crime means he had to have been in the library. The collateral use of “facts” established by convictions can be tricky though. Bottom line; they are two different concepts.

    I think a congressperson voting on whether to issue articles of impeachment is directly analogous to a grand juror voting on an indictment; there are just a lot more of them. To the best of my knowledge, articles of impeachment are not more powerful than an indictment; they are both charging documents. Different types of charging documents, but charging documents nevertheless.

  43. Hmmm says:

    Huh. I wonder whether anyone will be able to dig up a video clip of the reporter — wonder who it was? — yelling the question to Scotty.

    For that matter, I wonder whether Air Force 1 has a recording system on board and whether the tapes from that date can be subpoenaed. …Nixon time loop!

  44. prostratedragon says:

    Wooo, look at those Diggs pile up —15 since I started reading!

    I think EW’s got him: he did it, alright. It’s almost one of those things where he really wants us to know, like the Jessup character, but too many nervous folks’ fortunes are attached to his, so we see and hear a lot of scrambling about in the background.

    As for Scotty, I too found myself thinking of John Dean this morning. Actually what I was thinking was that so far McClellan’s situation legally is not nearly so difficult, though in other respects it might be as bad or worse; the crowd he’s dealing with have less compunction than a lot of folks. But he sounded more genuine than he ever did at the WH, so maybe he’s really trying his best. And if so, then maybe that feeling of relief will get addictive.

    It’s going to be an interesting summer, that will make (sort of) or finish breaking this Congress.

  45. jackie says:

    I think Scotty is trying to face his mistakes and should be given the benefit of the doubt..
    Sometime standing up takes time, but he is standing up against the ‘White House Gang’. He knows these people personally, they are Not nice guys. That took courage, so good on you Scotty ..
    Strayhorn says son Scott McClellan tried to quit White House job earlier…..37509.html

  46. eyesonthestreet says:

    EW, from your March 30th, 2006 Next Hurrah post: Bush Knew:

    “In short, this NIE Summary, the one that proves Bush knew that he was making dodgy claims, was among the material that Addington and Libby refused to turn over to the SSCI. And they refused to turn it over even while Durbin insisted that only the Summary would reveal what Bush knew and when he knew it.

    They deliberately refused to turn over the evidence that Bush knew the intelligence was dodgy.

    So, aside from the leaking of Plames identity, which I cannot recall if she was listed as introducing the meeting members in a CIA doc, or was that also included in the NIE? anyway, aside from that, the fact remains, and I guess this is what SM is trying to get out there, perhaps to forstall a new move from this Administration to go into Iran, is that Bush KNEW, and lied to the American people.

    did we, or SSCI ever see a copy of the NIE Summary?

    Because it would be a way to distribute in short form to the public what Bush knew.

    • emptywheel says:

      I don’t believe anyone ever got it. THe big thing on that summary was the objections on the aluminum tube story. Remember, at that point, the tubes, and not the uranium, were the basis of the uranium claim.

  47. nolo says:

    i have been away for far too long,
    and i appear here, far too late — way
    way down in EPU-topia — but i’ve
    decided to help us all to remember
    what george bush sr. — bush 41 — had
    to say to us (not long after his own
    son pardoned scooter libby, for some
    of the above crimes) about people
    like. . .

    his son, and dick cheney, apparently.

    take a look — a one minute video clip,
    from my own july 2007 archives. . .

    and, keep on keepin’ on!

    way to go, EW!

    700-plus diggs!

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