Novak, That’s Because the Trial Wasn’t about YOUR Leak

I’m really fascinated that–after Dana Pig Missile got asked whether Bush authorized the leak of Valerie Wilson’s identity–Bob Novak has decided to wade into the Scottie McC attack industry to try to distract attention away from that near-confirmation in Scottie McC’s book that Bush authorized the leak of Valerie Wilson’s identity (h/t dakine).

In Scott McClellan’s purported tell-all memoir of his trials as President Bush’s press secretary, he virtually ignores Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage’s role leaking to me Valerie Plame’s identity as a CIA employee. That fits the partisan Democratic version of the Plame affair, in keeping with the overall tenor of the book, "What Happened: Inside the Bush White House and Washington’s Culture of Deception."


In claiming he was misled about the Plame affair, McClellan mentions Armitage only twice. Armitage being the leaker undermines the Democratic theory, now accepted by McClellan, that Bush, Vice President Cheney and political adviser Karl Rove aimed to delegitimize Wilson as a war critic. The way that McClellan handles the leak leads former colleagues to suggest he could not have written this book by himself.

Thanks Novak! I’ve been wondering what these checks from Scottie’s publisher are for! Come to find out I’ve secretly ghost-written Scottie’s book without even knowing about it. But why is it, I wonder, that you neglect to mention one of the villains of our "conspiracy theory," convicted felon Scooter Libby?

Novak is explicitly pissed that Scottie’s book undercuts the narrative (some might call it a cover story) that Novak, Rove, Libby, Cheney, and Bush have cultivated about the leak: that it was all about Richard Armitage.

On Page 173, McClellan first mentions my Plame leak, but he does not identify Armitage as the leaker until Page 306 of the 323-page book — and then only in passing. Armitage, who was antiwar and anti-Cheney, does not fit the conspiracy theory that McClellan now buys into. When, after two years, Armitage publicly admitted that he was my source, the life went out of Wilson’s campaign. In "What Happened," McClellan dwells on Rove’s alleged deceptions as if the real leaker were still unknown.

Of course, Novak knows well that the Armitage story was always only a shiny object, one that distracted from the classified information–almost certainly Valerie Wilson’s identity–that Cheney ordered Libby to leak to Judy Miller. It distracts from the curious conversation that Novak had with Libby during leak week, one they both apparently tried to hide, and a conversation that was still early enough for Libby to pass on the news that Valerie was a covert operative. And it distracts from the fact that the first thing Libby did on the morning that OVP went into hyper-drive researching Joe and, eventually, Valerie Wilson was to listen to Bush explain that he was concerned about the Kristoff story.

You get the feeling Novak’s trying to restore the power of the shiny object that has been fading over time?

157 replies
  1. marksb says:

    Repeat Lie.
    Lie about the lie.
    Lie about that lie.
    Got lost in the lies.

    But it’s OK, don’t you know, ’cause these bozos know what’s important and we don’t. They’re lying for our benefit, right?

  2. emptywheel says:

    Novak really ought to be careful.

    In his book, Scottie suggests that SOME Of the people who leaked Plame’s name knew she was covert. I’m not sure who he means–probably Libby, at the least. But if you challenge McC on this he might come out and prove what he knows.

    • WilliamOckham says:

      I’m wondering why Novak even wrote this column. To prove that Karl Rove still takes his calls? Every time Novak revisits this he opens up new opportunities for getting himself in trouble. Novak is much more foolish than I thought he was.

    • readerOfTeaLeaves says:

      FWIW, I started McClellan’s book last night and wondered whether lil’ ol’ Scotty McClellan, who they all treated like shit and hung out to dry, was one of the last people they should have screwed.

      He doesn’t come across as vindictive; he started out that way, but it sure looks like the writing process performed some kind of healing for him. Hat’s off to him for making it this far.

      I had no idea that he was raised by a (single) mom, who was the mayor of Austin. He does convey a sense of having grown up around politics as a system of negotiation and give-and-take. In other words, who’d look at what’s gone on and recognize that it is toxic.
      I also had no idea that his (clearly beloved) maternal grandfather was the head of the UT Law School.

      He also mentions experiences in college with ‘hazing’, and how he found it a harmful system and tried to change it. It’s very clear that he sees the ‘permanent campaign’ as institutionalized, high-priced hazing. He doesn’t come across as a genius (which actually gives him more credibility IMHO), but I was persuaded that his earlier experience of recognizing that hazing is destructive to everyone — while also recognizing that lots of people are determined to hold onto it until you pry it out of their cold, dead hands — is the prism through which he views antisocial, politicized nature of DC politics. I thought it was a metaphor that many potential readers can probably identify with, and in that sense thought it a good contribution to talking about what’s wrong with politics today.

      So along comes Novak, as if on cue, to perform a little ‘hazing’ in the WaPo.
      Wow, if Scott McClellan could have paid Novak to be ‘Exhibit A’ for the problems he’s trying to think through and bring to wider discussion, he couldn’t have done a better job!
      (And to relish the irony, contrast with Richard Clarke’s gracious acceptance of McClellan’s apology last week. Wow.)

      I found myself wondering whether Bartlett, or Libby, or Card, or Novak, or Comstock, or any of the other GOP Weenie Circuit crowd ever had a mentor who really was steeped in the idea of The Law as Justice. Because McClellan’s grandfather was clearly the kind of mentor who would have made the WH experience, and specifically the intentional law breaking of the Plame outing, emotionally and psychologically harrowing.

      Never in my wildest dreams would I have expected to purchase, or read, McClellan’s book. And I’m still in the early chapters, but I found myself suspecting that he has a deep and driving need to ‘right a wrong’, and realign with his earlier, childhood sense of right/wrong, and of fairness, and of what politics should be.

      There’s no object bright enough, or shiny enough, to continue hiding the shit that Rove, Libby, Bush, and Cheney pulled. Novak can keep on trying, but he’s basically up against a man who appears to have what he sees as a driving, moral duty to redeem himself.

      Damn, this is getting interesting.

      • Petrocelli says:

        Did you catch Scottie on TDS ? I missed his Hardball interview but Jon took him to the edge of admitting that lies were intentionally spread by BushCo and those lies led to murder (I assume he meant Iraqi citizens)…

        • Leen says:

          Nope but will try to find on line. Out of the news loop been busy cleaning out barn poop.(well now that I mention this the two worlds are not too different).

          Just found out that General Odum died last evening while listening to NPR. I heard Odum before the invasion on Talk of the Nation or Diane Rehm and he did not sound like a happy camper on the decision to invade Iraq. Along with so many others (Zbigniew Brezinski, Ritter, El Baradei, former cia analyst, Carter) who came out before the invasion and questioned the validity of the intelligence and wisdom of such an invasion.

          I have a great deal of respect for Odum. May he rest in Peace. May he lend us a hand from the other side.

          General Odum Rapid Withdrawal

  3. rkilowatt says:

    Coincidence that McClellan book-release timing usefully marginalizes Gen. Sanchez’ book release on Executive misleadership? Mere timing of the McClellan release date can act as a red-herring PR weapon. McLellan’ teasers seem a crooked dodge with a covert agenda…a low-order of confessional…more ”clever strokes”.

    • phred says:

      Perhaps, but thus far the hysteria of the WH and their faithful minions seems genuine. I see McC’s, Sanchez’, Goldsmith’s etc. books as part of a general exodus of rats from a sinking ship.

      • readerOfTeaLeaves says:

        They are in a sense rats leaving the ship, but to read EW’s synopses of Goldsmith, it is clear that he took a lot of intellectual care to try and leave a clear, specific, detailed record. So he seems to be motivated by a sense of moral outrage –whereas a Monica Goodling or a Kyle Sampson leaves b/c they’re scared shitless.

        I’m definitely putting McClellan in the category of Goldsmith, in terms of ‘morally outraged individual trying to point out the dangers in an attempt to balance the karmic scales of justice.’ To me, that’s very different than someone who is writing primarily to line their pockets or cover their ass; IMHO, there’s a deeper human truth showing itself in McClellan’s book – and that’s why Wayne Slater, and KO, and some of the other observers seem to be giving McClellan the benefit of the doubt.

        He’s in a scary position, though.
        The Mafia doesn’t let anyone just walk away unharmed.

        Worth noting that one week ago today, the publisher almost certainly had no clue this much interest would foam up. They had to order a second printing over the weekend. Interesting, huh?

        • phred says:

          rOTL — good point. My earlier comment was a bit glib, mainly to counter the suggestion of a conspiracy involving Sanchez’ book. I have not yet read McC’s book. I may well do so, but at the moment there are other books a bit higher on my list. I am hopeful that McC will become a John Dean figure, as someone who was involved in bad political behavior, but in the end sees the error of his ways. If so, he could have a profoundly helpful effect on our political landscape.

          However, it remains to be seen whether he continues on this new path or whether after a splash he fades back into the wordwork without ever really sharing the full truth of what he knows. From what little I have seen (and it has only been a little) he still seems to pull up short in answering questions. I’m hoping he will choose to become more direct.

    • Petrocelli says:

      There’s no reason why both books cannot share the spotlight … in fact one would magnify the message of the other …

    • bmaz says:

      I think Sanchez is commonly considered a little bit of a bump on a log; I highly doubt that there was any such diabolical scheme to cover his little book.

  4. phred says:

    IIRC (and I often don’t, so please feel free to set me straight…) Rove and Novak go way back. So perhaps Novak decided to spit polish his shiny object after McClellan all but said yesterday that Bush should have kept his word and fired Rove. Still, it is a dangerous thing to do.

  5. earlofhuntingdon says:

    I’ve never understood why Armitage released information about Plame, whether originally or to confirm information leaked by others. But I do remember that his release of information was not the only or primary leak, and that he was an outsider loyal to the outsider Colin Powell in an administration tightly controlled by insiders Dick Cheney (on substance) and Karl Rove (on manipulation).

    Armitage is most likely to have been used as to distract us from a) the primary leakers (regardless of the precise moment in time of their leak(s); b) the primary substance of their leaks; and c) the process and personalities through which these leaks were orchestrated – from Cheney and Rove, to Libby, to Judy, Novak, et al., a cascade meant to amplify a message and hides its origins and truth.

    Leaking Ms. Plame’s identity was tragedy for her, her family, her professional network and an important model used by the CIA for its covert operations. (Much nearer to “treason” than telling a few tales out of school by a former aide.) But leaking her identity was an intended distraction from Bush’s methods, his lies and their far more tragic consequences.

    In CheneyWorld, Ms. Plame and all like her – the myriad of bureaucrats who think professionalism ranks above political loyalty to bosses engaged in illegal conduct – was just the dust blown into the wooden gearworks of the mill, the flour that didn’t make it down the chute and into the peasant’s bag.

    Scotty McClellan has joined those ranks. He’s not the story. Nor is he remotely treasonous or a traitor, odd descriptions for someone who slavisly devoted himself to George Bush’s success for years. The story is what Bush and Cheney did and still do. It is how they intend to cement their “successes” (notably, not including Iraq) in privatizing American government, itself a drastic and ruinous expression of the neocons’ loathing of public regulation and their dedication to turning every tax dollar into private profit.

  6. Petrocelli says:

    Novak has to polish the shiny object … if this goes down the path of a congressional investigation, he will be fingered in the cover up …

    • BillE says:

      Yeah he should be. But, to paraphrase George Carlin ….

      His shiny object has the full guarantee, If it breaks in half he gets to keep both halves. A real turd coupe. A 2003 piece of shit.

      If only he can get stuck with it …..

  7. DefendOurConstitution says:


    Thanks for reporting from RBC.

    This Novak thing is what in my business we call “polishing the turd.” You can do it all you want and it will still be a turd. I think Novak is now about as irrelevant as Harold Ickes, unless, of course, there is something criminal to go after (but that is unlikely).

  8. GeorgeSimian says:

    Novak thinks he’s Richard Perle. He got a lot of attention for this, so he’s going to keep it alive.

    He got scooped by Judith Miller and he’s still pissed about it.

    • Petrocelli says:

      Images of Novak after 30 days in the Pogie rush across my mind … lost my desire for Lunch …

  9. FormerFed says:

    Why do guys like Novak, Krauthammer and Will always look like they are sucking on sour apples? Is it because they know they are lying through their teeth and somehow the truth might come out if they didn’t keep such a tight pucker?

  10. drational says:

    sorry for OT, but ? for EW and bmaz- the Guardian article about prison ships…. could one of the reasons for hiring Jack Goldsmith at OLC to deal with terror be his high seas lawyering?

    • bmaz says:

      Phred addressed this in EPU land a couple of threads back this morning. It appears the practice predates Goldsmith’s time at OLC; however I sure wouldn’t be surprised to find that he produced or contributed to some kind of justification opinion, after the program was already up and going, while he was at OLC.

      rOTL @17 – I sure kind of got the inclination that McClellan was genuine the first time I saw him talking about it at length last week. Still so inclined; time will tell.

    • emptywheel says:

      Damn good question. I’m just catching up after the RBC stuff and this McC book, but I think it’s an interesting idea. Also note Bolton’s opposition to law of the sea treaty or whatever (Clemons has reported on it extensively.)

      • bmaz says:

        Yes, but the Administration was not officially against the LOS treaty were they? Ah yes, here we go. Straight from the self serving mouth of Captain Jack, He of the Law of the Sea, himself:

        The Bush administration is urging the Senate to consent this summer to the Convention on the Law of the Sea, the complex and sprawling treaty that governs shipping, navigation, mining, fishing and other ocean activities. This is a major departure from the administration’s usual stance toward international organizations that have the capacity to restrain U.S. sovereignty. And it comes in a surprising context, since the convention has disturbing implications for our fight against terrorists.

        • Ishmael says:

          IANA Maritime L, but there are aspects of the LOTS Treaty that make it easier to deal with offshore mineral and oil exploration, which just might be more pressing for Bushco to deal with in The Final Days than (gasp!) terrorism. For example, in the Arctic Ocean, the LOTS on economic zones within the continental shelf basically divide the whole Artic Ocean between 5 countries, of which the US because of Alaska is a prime beneficiary. It is easier to work a deal with the US, Canada, Russia and Denmark (Greenland), and therefore not necessarily an endorsement of international cooperation and international law. The same could apply in areas of the coast of Africa, where you are in essence making a deal with one country, and not an international organization or presence.

          • bmaz says:

            I think you are dead on there Ishmael; and Russia pressed the game by planting a flag or something underneath the Arctic shelf I think. Bush and Cheney I would think are very ginned up on this one.

            EW – Yes, I am pretty sure I heard Stewart say that Thursday night.

            • phred says:

              They planted a flag at the North Pole under the ice. The NP is now recognized as Russian territory and you can’t fly within 45 miles of the international dateline (aka prime meridian) from our side without getting their permission.

              • Petrocelli says:

                The Russians have had (independent) Geological surveys done to prove that it is a part of their land …

                • phred says:

                  Are those complete? I thought there were ongoing studies to figure out exactly who’s continental shelves end up where. I thought that was partly what the recent meeting in Greenland was about, but I could be mistaken.

                • bmaz says:

                  Heh heh. I hire “independent experts” all the time. They opine exactly what I pay them to opine. I am sure we can scare some up for this……

                  • Ishmael says:

                    I believe the “legal” term is “hire a liar”! Not sure of the Latin translation which would make it sound better….

                  • Petrocelli says:

                    I knew you’d get a kick from “(independent)” … it was written up that way on a popular Canadian site, which had me snickering as well … looking for link …

                    Disclaimer: I lurves Putin Poutine

        • phred says:

          Ummm, bmaz you lost me on that link. It’s written by Goldsmith (and Rabkin sp?) in 2007 after he was out of the Bush administration and he states that the administration favors the LOS. So I don’t see how this ties in with the Guardian article. Of course, I can be slow sometimes : )

          • bmaz says:

            Oh I am not saying it does tie in to the article necessarily. I was just kind of throwing the info out there because of EW noting that Bolton had voiced opposition, but that has not been the official Administration position. This is one of those rare deals where the wreaking crew are all over the road with divergent positions and interests.

            • drational says:

              Divergent interests- Terrorism is important to the extent that fighting it does not interfere with oil profits?
              So Goldsmith was stuck in 2004 Terror Presidency Mode when he wrote the July 2007 editorial, but the Administration had moved on to ratifying a treaty for long-term profit protection?

  11. BayStateLibrul says:

    I’m hoping that Tweety can pry loose and fine-tune some elements of the
    drama that is currently at Act 36. (Hardball Tonight — one hour with Scotty)

  12. oldtree says:

    I think you have it there Marcy, Novak leaked and knew he leaked, and knew what he was being leaked and that it was all before the supposed “declassification” He needs shiny object to avert his trial for perjury, obstruction, etc.

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      Oh, I think Novak knew how he was being used; it was quid pro quo. He’d worked with Rove for two decades and had covered Washington politics for nearly five decades. He knew exactly what position he was in and that Rove never wears protection.

      Novak’s continuing freedom is dependent on the GOP machine protecting its tools, and its relationship with the sycophantic editorial page of the WaPoo, and on the “freedom of the press”. The same freedom the Goopers blithely abuse for their own purposes and obstruct when others use it. Novak is clinging to relevance and his mortality, both of which are slipping fast.

  13. PJEvans says:

    Double OT here:
    1) Fieger (sp?) has been acquitted of campaign-contribution charges.
    2) Istook’s former chief of staff is being charged WRT stuff he took (think skyboxes and stuff) from Abramoff and his group.

    • bmaz says:

      The more interesting thing is that Albaugh (Is he related to Joe Albaugh?) was charged via direct complaint, which in Federal Court very often means it was part of a cooperation agreement.

      • readerOfTeaLeaves says:

        Damn, I appreciate the ‘inside baseball’ tips like that.
        Someone like myself would have no clue about a significant detail like that.

  14. Ishmael says:

    It seems that Novak’s frantic finger-pointing to the Armitage shiny object is part of a concerted Republican talking point strategy to deflect attention from Bush – Fran Townsend was on CNN on May 28 pushing the Armitage story too, according to Media Matters:

    And yes, it is definitely dangerous territory for Novak to keep talking about the leak and his role in it and the cover-up – I don’t think that he is on the pardon list when the Cheney Shogunate finally ends in January.

  15. TobyWollin says:

    This really sounds to me like a guy who misses not being important any more. “No, no..look at me…It’s all about ME”

    • readerOfTeaLeaves says:

      Ordinarily, I would totally agree.
      But McClellan’s grandfather was the Dean of the Univ of Texas Law School, and although Scott mentions his dad (but offers no telling details of spending time with him), he offers several incidents regarding his grandfather.

      So imagine if your ‘father figure’ is the dean of a law school.
      You grow up sitting around council meetings where your mom and others are discussion issues related to government.
      Then you end up working for people who break the law, make YOU complicit in their lawbreaking, and then can’t be bothered to govern.

      On a purely human level, how do you live with yourself after that?
      Scott McClellan has a very unusual history, and it’s quite possible that the very features of his personal history (and family) that made him so ‘respectable’ and desired by the Bush Mafia are the very qualities that may yet seem him help try to clean up the mess.

      If you actually read his book, the paradoxes of his history and the contrasts those would have posed for a person inside the Bush WH are incredible.
      I’m starting to understand why the BushBots are hysterical about McClellan’s book ;-)))

      And Novak is just more evidence of that hysteria.
      I’m loving it

      • TobyWollin says:

        Oh, I think I was not clear – I’m thinking that it is Novak who is trying to recapture the spotlight. I agree with you about Scotty – I think he woke up one morning, looked at himself in the mirror and did a real ‘oh s**t; what did I help them do?” moment. Or, if he has little kids, he’s wondering if they will say to him later on? I think he’s basically a good person – it’s hard to not ride that train when you are on it, but the difference is when you wake up to the fact that the smell is on you too.

  16. alank says:

    Bob Novak’s Plame Source Identified


    The Armitage leak was not directly a part of the White House’s fierce anti-Wilson crusade. But as Hubris notes, it was, in a way, linked to the White House effort, for Amitage had been sent a key memo about Wilson’s trip that referred to his wife and her CIA connection, and this memo had been written, according to special counsel Patrick Fitzgerald, at the request of I. Lewis Scooter Libby, the vice president’s chief of staff. Libby had asked for the memo because he was looking to protect his boss from the mounting criticism that Bush and Cheney had misrepresented the WMD intelligence to garner public support for the invasion of Iraq.


    The outing of Armitage does change the contours of the leak case. The initial leaker was not plotting vengeance. He and Powell had not been gung-ho supporters of the war. Yet Bush backers cannot claim the leak was merely an innocent slip. Rove confirmed the classified information to Novak and then leaked it himself as part of an effort to undermine a White House critic. Afterward, the White House falsely insisted that neither Rove nor Libby had been involved in the leak and vowed that anyone who had participated in it would be bounced from the administration. Yet when Isikoff and Newsweek in July 2005 revealed a Matt Cooper email showing that Rove had leaked to Cooper, the White House refused to acknowledge this damning evidence, declined to comment on the case, and did not dismiss Rove. To date, the president has not addressed Rove’s role in the leak. It remains a story of ugly and unethical politics, stonewalling, and lies.

    • maryo2 says:

      “memo had been written, according to special counsel Patrick Fitzgerald, at the request of I. Lewis Scooter Libby, the vice president’s chief of staff. “

      Does anyone have a link to a PDF of this memo? I want to remember why Libby wrote it and why Armitage saw it.

      • emptywheel says:

        It’s the INR memo. According to Grossman’s testimony, Libby asked Grossman who the Ambassador in the Kristof column was. At some point (there is some dispute about when), Grossman asked INR to do a report. He mentioned (but may or may not have shown) that Valerie was invovled to Armitage before Armi leaked to Woodward (he was keeping Armi in the loop bc it was Scooter doing the asking). And then Armi had INR put together a version of the memo for Powell on July 7, to give him background on Wilson’s invovlement while he was in Africa with BUsh. Armi officially got a copy on July 7.

      • alank says:

        I haven’t seen it. Perhaps Fitzgerald turned over a copy to Waxman. But you’ve glommed to the key character in the leak case. Armitage was a recipient of that memo, also in the hands of Rove.

        There was a nicely rounded comment posted a couple days ago:

        McClellan Suggests Plame Cover-up
        Jason Leopold

        Here’s the money quote:

        In other words, though Bush knew a great deal about how the scheme to discredit Wilson got started — since he was involved in starting it — the President uttered misleading public statements that obscured the White House role.

        Also, since the leakers knew that Bush already was in the know, they might well have read his comments as a signal to lie, which is what they did. In early October, McClellan said he could report that political adviser Rove and National Security Council aide Elliott Abrams were not involved in the Plame leak.

        That comment riled Libby, who feared that he was being hung out to dry. Libby went to his boss, Vice President Cheney, complaining that, “they want me to be the sacrificial lamb,” Libby’s lawyer Theodore Wells said later.

        Cheney scribbled down his feelings in a note to press secretary McClellan: “Not going to protect one staffer + sacrifice the guy the Pres that was asked to stick his head in the meat grinder because of incompetence of others.”

        In the note, Cheney initially ascribed Libby’s role in going after Joe Wilson to Bush’s orders, but the Vice President apparently thought better of it, crossing out “the Pres” and putting the clause in a passive tense.

        Cheney has never explained the meaning of his note, but it suggests that it was Bush who sent Libby out on the get-Wilson mission to limit damage from Wilson’s criticism of Bush’s false Niger-yellowcake claim.

          • alank says:

            What kind of evidence is there that Armitage saw it?

            Here’s a further quote from the Novak item:

            Under oath, Rove had testified he told me, “I heard that, too.” Under oath, I testified that Rove said, “Oh, you know that, too.”

            • bmaz says:

              Well, I don’t think that quote quite supports the assertion you made. But the better question is why the hell would you cite Jason Leopold, who has been consistently wrong on this story from the outset, here on this blog when Marcy was writing about this exact topic over a week ago??? You have the best source in the world for info on the Plame case right here and freaking cite Leopold??? What’s up with that?

              • alank says:

                How would Rove have learned Plame’s CIA status otherwise? Marcy says that Armitage was on a distribution memo. If Rove was not on the list of recipients, does that mean he never saw it? There few possible ways for Rove to have learned what he admitted knowing while talking to Novak about Wilson’s wife. It’s not a great leap to conclude the Rove also saw the memo distributed by Libby.

                • bmaz says:

                  Yet a leap it indeed is. I am more interested in the pathology of you citation to Leopold here. Irrespective of any other asserted qualities and skills; his reporting on this case has been demonstrably specious; yet you cite it here, of all places, as support for your”leap”. The owner/operator of this blog, however, has been widely established as the comprehensive go to expert on the Plame leak case; it just seems a bit bizarre. Different strokes for different folks I suppose; sure isn’t a tact I would have taken.

                • emptywheel says:

                  Libby? Who, of course, told Ari of Plame’s ID. There’s no reason to believe that the INR memo was the only or even best source of info on Plame. It’s mostly a big shiny object.

              • bobschacht says:

                I don’t think it is fair to whack Leopold like you and others do. OK, I admit that Leopold got out a little too far in front of his story, but that doesn’t mean that everything he wrote on this story was “wrong.” Leopold was knee-capped by some behind-the-scenes fixers. I remain convinced that Fitz was indeed about to indict Rove (probably several different times), but Rove got wind of each one in time to block it, probably by mis-using DOJ channels that he had no right to view. In other words, Rove was able to game the system, squelching several key Leopold predictions before they could happen. In normal times, with normal people, Leopold would have been proven right.

                Rove is a traitor, and deserves to be put on trial for treason.

                Bob in HI

                • emptywheel says:

                  I think, rather, that some people in the FBI were trying to force Fitz to indict and leaked to support that and Leopold got sucked in.

                  That said, some of Leopold’s stories (about Hadley as Woodward’s source, Bolton as the Undersecretary named in the indictment, Hannah’s cooperation, etc) were wrong.

                  I don’t think it necessary to whack him. But neither do I think it necessary to link to stories he does that I have basically covered several days earlier.

                  • alank says:

                    Oh, I don’t know about that. I think Leopold added a certain whatsit to the narrative.

                    I gather the IIPA covers certain types of covert activity performed ‘recently’. It captures activities not necessarily ongoing. Interesting how the law has not been applied in the Plame case.

  17. alank says:

    By Michael Isikoff | NEWSWEEK
    Jul 18, 2005 Issue

    It was 11:07 on a Friday morning, July 11, 2003, and Time magazine correspondent Matt Cooper was tapping out an e-mail to his bureau chief, Michael Duffy. “Subject: Rove/P&C,” (for personal and confidential), Cooper began. “Spoke to Rove on double super secret background for about two mins before he went on vacation…” Cooper proceeded to spell out some guidance on a story that was beginning to roil Washington. He finished, “please don’t source this to rove or even WH [White House]” and suggested another reporter check with the CIA.


    Cooper wrote that Rove offered him a “big warning” not to “get too far out on Wilson.” Rove told Cooper that Wilson’s trip had not been authorized by “DCIA”–CIA Director George Tenet–or Vice President Dick Cheney. Rather, “it was, KR said, wilson’s wife, who apparently works at the agency on wmd [weapons of mass destruction] issues who authorized the trip.”

  18. earlofhuntingdon says:

    Bush was consistently against the LOS Treaty, until he was for it. It’s been kicking around for decades. The Senate has consistently opposed it because its corporate supporters fear it will restrict their rights to what would become, in effect, “public lands”. That position assumed that Americans would win in any free-for-all, that American corporations would be first-past-the-post leaders in undersea exploration and extraction.

    One suspects that’s no longer the case. The Japanese, Chinese, Europeans and Russians, not to mention stateless corporations beholden to themselves and the most liability-free, tax-convenient jurisdiction of incorporation, may leapfrog them.

    Bush and the Senate’s longstanding opposition also predates the scramble for soon-to-be unfrozen Arctic seas and under-sea resources, apparently including puddles of oil. With so many other states abutting the Arctic and claiming “our” Arctic oil and sea lanes, treaties, with their inherent restrictions on national action, suddenly seem attractive.

    • Ishmael says:

      In one of life’s little ironies, the embrace of internationalism by the Bushies in the Arctic has only become pressing because of the reality of global warming, which of course according to Bush doesn’t exist when the ice is supporting polar bears, but does exist when it is possible to plant offshore oil drilling platforms!

        • Ishmael says:

          Actually, Canada (and the US) would be better off working a deal with the Americans treating the Northwest Passage as an inland strait, with Canada having control over ship passage subject to standard maritime rules. There is a case to be made for this due to the fact that the passage is almost completely surrounded by Canadian islands (to the extent that we are exercising sovereignty). If the Northwest Passage is considered an international waterway, there would be little to stop foreign navies from exercising rights of passage – if it is considered an inland strait, with American support, it is likely to allow for only Canadian and American military ships, now that an advanced ice-breaking capacity will not be necessary to ply those waters and which other navies would not likely invest in.

      • earlofhuntingdon says:

        Irony appreciated. As Petrocelli points out, it’s not just the US competing with friendly Canadiennes (as Bush might see it). Bush would assume our trade and military dominance over Canada means they’d cave in any fight over Arctic resources. An assumption I wouldn’t rely on because that trade is two-way, Canada has lots of friends that we’ve thrown away, and far superior geographic claims, important elements in determining control over natural resources and sea lanes. Attributes we have in less abundance.

        Russian claims in the Arctic are as strong as Canadian claims; both exceed ours. It is more powerful than Canada, far more authoritarian and on this issue, controlled directly by Putin and the powerful Russian energy industry he has spent a decade fostering. He oversees it like a spymaster controlling a field agent.

        As you say, the US now needs the support of the international processes Cheney and Bolton have spent their careers despising and undermining. But no one wants to see Marines freezing to death defending some future Bush’s claims to half a hectare of island off Alaska because it gives us purported bragging rights over another million hectares of undersea resources.

  19. Sara says:

    Bush and Cheney have known since Jan, 2001 about the potential for gas and oil under the Artic Ocean and ice caps.

    One of their first little brilliant ideas was to try to directly negotiate with Greenland immediately on taking office, and the Danish Government had to remind them that while Greenland has domestic political autonomy, the proper address for any discussion of mineral or petro rights on “Northern Denmark” would be Christenborg in Kobenhavn. I think they sent along some additional material about Greenland being subject to all of the EU environmental rules and regulations, as Greenland’s status regarding extractive industries is fully governed by EU protacals.

    This was headline news in the Danish Papers in January, 2001 — they really enjoyed giving Cheney and Bushie a Geography lesson. I think they even threw in the legal basis — reminding the Bush/Cheney types that the Danish Claim to Greenland is 1000 years old at least, several hundred years before anyone “discovered” America.

  20. FrankProbst says:

    Hmmm. I think you’ve missed the point of the column. The omission of Scooter Libby isn’t what gave it away. It was the omission of Matt Cooper. Novak is trying to cover for Rove here, plain and simple. Rove’s having trouble getting speaking gigs, and he’s got legal bills to pay. Rove needs to look clean enough that he can get guest spots on TV and columns in magazines and newspapers. His cover story–which the media has not challenged him on, despite Matt Cooper’s sworn testimony to the contrary–is that all he (Rove) did was pick up the phone and tell Novak that he heard the same thing. It seems so innocent. ANYONE could’ve done that. We all make mistakes, after all. And something that trivial shouldn’t prevent you from getting a plum “Newsweek” column.

    And to Rove’s credit, this flimsy cover story has worked perfectly. He’s always on TV. He’s got his “Newsweek” column. He gets speaking gigs from time to time. And no one ever asks, “Hey, wait a minute! What about the fact that Matt Cooper said that you were his original source in the betrayal of Valerie Plame? And what about his contemporaneous notes that support his testimony? Doesn’t that make you a traitor? Shouldn’t you be shunned by the media instead of getting a paycheck from them?”

  21. Johnbo says:

    Novak is one of the most dishonest slimbags to ever work the Washington circuit. It’s unbelievable what he’s able to say with a straight face. Somehow, Novak ignores the fact that Rove confirmed Plame’s status AND that Rove and Libby were on a mission clearly being run out of Cheney’s office and all this now clearly visible from evidence in the Libby trial and other sources.

    That being said, Armitage still remains one of the mysteries to me in this whole affair. He walked away unscathed after mentioning Plame to both Woodward (3 weeks before Novak) and Novak. In both instances he made it appear that the subject came up as an afterthought. It may have in Woodward’s case, however Novak makes it quite clear that he felt Armitage was going out of his way to bring up Plame and Wilson and to suggest this as a story for Novak. (Novak LATER reversed his story on this point.)

    He claimed to get information about Plame from a “classified State Department memorandum” which purportedly referred to Valerie Wilson. I’m wondering if that is the same memo that Marc Grossman requested from the State Departments Bureau of Intelligence and Research as background on Ambassador Wilson and Plame that was forwarded to Colin Powell on Air Force One as he flew to Africa. Grossman emerges in the Libby trial as Libby’s source for the information about Plame and it would make sense that he’s Armitage’s source as well.

    At any rate, I’ve read somewhere that Armitage was a back channel to the White House from a State Department that wasn’t always on friendly terms with the President’s circle. Could the word have come throught this channel to put out the information on Plame and Armitage became the first of several to start doing this?

    Another mystery is why Fitzpatrick quit his investigation when he clearly had information leading directly to Cheney and Bush when he was clearly given a mandate to get to the bottom of who outed Plame.

  22. LabDancer says:

    Man – Rove must be feeling pretty cornered to force such a parody of their normally untraceable bait-and-switch collaborations out of his partner in crime – the Boswell the Culture of Deception – & with such haste as to explain the uncharacteristic lack of craft.

    Frank Probst @ 56: Thanks – I thought these old eyes of mine deceived me – not the merest hint of a mention in passing [leave aside name, rank & convict number] of a certain Apprentice to a notably Dickish gargoyle in this Novakian whack job. And you may well be right about it being a two-hyena job, because that’s what got these jokers in trouble with B41 – & this is far from Bobohead’s Best Work.

    But it could also aim to connote something in the way of consequences to Rip Van Scottie.

    This could well be an incorporated memory from having drunk so deeply myself of the strong wines of explication both plame & slibby authored by a certain official blogographer [whose name needs no mention in this company] – but I have assumed that the Apprentice – having received at the ebb tide of June ‘03 a list of questions written by the emasculated segment of the former Woodstein – at least one of which bore the spore sign of the “real” Leak d’Armitage – which sighting thereafter was magically transported into the consciousness of the said Boswell just in time for the last to cover in lead to tap it if not precisely rhythmically then at least repeatedly against the noggin of the Leaker in pursuit of imprinting on his victim the inevitability of his being pressed into service as Herald of the Leak.

    And that upon determining his subject reluctant to accept that role – particularly given his feeling it might run contrary to the expectations of his phoney-baloney job [RIP Harvey Korman] – Boswell used his snide slimy reptilian not inconsiderable powers of insinuation to enlist the reluctant presumptive Herald to resign into a perverse variation on the Twenty Questions game – by which for instance merely declining to leap to one’s feet & bellow out in denial would be regarded as reliable confirmation of the serendipitous truth in Boswell’s clairvoyent supposition.

    And that from that unpleasantness the Herald’s pride recoiled from responsibility for his role all while the boots of the gendarmerie sounded in approach until it became painfully clear his being discovered complicit was becoming so likely that it would be preferable to volunteer his own contrivance of its genesis than to bear the risk that the Culture creatures might succeed in ensnaring him in theirs.

    Or have I misconceived?

    And finally as to the canary Scottie M – he appears to be displaying a previously hidden range of emotions in this new song of his – one of which may be dread at the potential depths of ruthlessness to which he has a very sound basis for believing his new-found enemies to be capable of descending – & on just that possibility made a strategic decision to leave some critical salient details out his initial foray into authorship – at least some of which were noted missing in action by that fun group in the White House counsel’s office that becoming the subject of discussion between them & the canary last November.

    In the parlance of the mob world I once was employed to pursue that would qualify as “insurance”. In the same vein all this blaring of war trumpets & purple prose from the Noise Machine might be sounding out of some one – or some several someones – with intimate knowledge of the particulars – wishing to re-insure – or at least to serve to emphasize to the canary – that a too eager resort to that insurance would not be looked upon too kindly.

    In other words: it could be our little tweety bird is receiving the benefit of a full parade of sharpened clawed Sylvesters.

    Last but by far not least in my virtual mix-tape of metaphors:

    Though I am inclined to doubt Scottie is familiar with Wagner’s Ring cycle, this story abounds with candidates for fratricidal dragons & evil Nibelungen torn as adept at psychofancy as regicide – even our canary appeared to be of that persuasion.

    But I wonder if he now supposes himself to be auditioning the role of Siegfried – or someone fears so? Perhaps that fear among the forces of darkness has summonsed this demon Novak from the primal ooze to encourage young Scottie to become more acquainted with the libretto of Götterdammerung.

  23. maryo2 says:

    Novak says the CIA leak is responsible for “leading to his [Scott McClellan’s] dismissal.”

    Has anyone else ever heard or read that Scottie was dismissed? I have never heard anything other then Scottie left as part of the new Chief of Staff coming on board. We all knew it was because he had no credibility left, but no one ever said that he was fired – did they?

    • phred says:

      In the recent flurry of interviews, articles, and excerpts of all things Scottie, I did read/hear that when he found out he had been lied to, he tried to resign but Bush persuaded him to stay. Six months later he was forced out in a reshuffle at the WH. Sorry no link at the moment, I’ll try to find one later, unless someone beats me to it (I hope : )

      • alank says:

        I was under the impression that McClellan admitted to knowingly passing along false information, legends, rumors, and so forth.

      • maryo2 says:

        I read a headline at rawstory last Friday that said that Scottie’s mom said he tried to quit earlier. But I didn’t read the article.

        Still we have a White House asking him to stay, and Novak saying he was dismissed.

    • FrankProbst says:

      Has anyone else ever heard or read that Scottie was dismissed? I have never heard anything other then Scottie left as part of the new Chief of Staff coming on board. We all knew it was because he had no credibility left, but no one ever said that he was fired – did they?

      Leaving “as part of the new chief of staff coming on board” is essentially the same thing as being fired, I think.

  24. maryo2 says:

    Novak says “He ignores the fact that Fitzgerald’s long, expensive investigation found no violation of the Intelligence Identities Protection Act, if only because Plame was not covered by it.”

    Either she was covered or she was not covered. Can Plame sue Novak for this?

    • alank says:

      I think that may be a case of misdirection. Did Fitz actually prosecute the Intelligence Identities Protection Act?

        • bmaz says:

          My comment specifically and intentionally did not cover anything other than his work on the case at issue; which is all that is germane here. Secondly, his work was demonstrably sloppy and false on this case; that is really incontrovertible. Thirdly, either Leopold himself (which I very strongly suspect), or one of his close friends/associates, or both, have appeared both here and TNH and left the most hateful, bile filled, asinine comments (including repeatedly calling Marcy the c-word among other niceties) that I have ever seen on this blog, or TNH for that matter. Lastly, call me crazy, but I am a little biased. It truly struck me as a bit bizarre to make that cite, and I was curious as to why it was done; an answer that, notably, was never supplied I might add.

          • bobschacht says:

            OK, bmaz. Thanks for the details.

            FWIW, before discovering FDL, I hung out at Truthout a lot, and in my state of awareness at that time, Leopold offered up some eye openers. I have not seen his comments about Marcy that you refer to, and in general I don’t like to see ad hominem insults from, or about, anyone.

            Since discovering FDL last year, at the time of the Libby trial, I’ve spent more time here and less time at Truthout. I value, respect and look for EW’s blogs more than anyone elses, and had the pleasure of meeting her in Ann Arbor around this last New Years. The work Marcy does, and writes about, is priceless, and I am in her debt. I owe her at least several pints of Beamish by now (*G*).

            Bob in HI

    • emptywheel says:

      He may actually be parsing. If Bush authorized the leak of her identity, that means he basically declassified her status. Therefore, no longer covert, though you’d think it’d have been nice to tell her that, huh?

    • FrankProbst says:

      Novak says “He ignores the fact that Fitzgerald’s long, expensive investigation found no violation of the Intelligence Identities Protection Act, if only because Plame was not covered by it.”

      Either she was covered or she was not covered. Can Plame sue Novak for this?

      Well, she can sue, but it’ll get thrown out. Novak could graymail her six ways from Sunday on this.

      I’m a bit surprised that the WaPo’s editors let it through, though, seeing how one of their columnists (Bob Novak himself, in fact) once wrote that the head of the CIA himself essentially told him that Plame was covert.

      In any case, I seem to recall (Marcy, please correct me if I’m wrong) that Fitz said pretty bluntly at the sentencing phase of the trial that Plame was covered by the IIPA (i.e. she was covert). Libby’s lawyers tried to say she wasn’t, and the judge told them that he would have been willing to entertain their arguments. The let the matter drop at that point, but it was never clear to me if they had simply blown their chance to do so or if they were worried that Reggie Williams (the judge) would simply close the court, look at all of the classified evidence that showed she was covert, and then rule against Libby. That would’ve been a PR disaster for them.

      • FrankProbst says:

        Doh! “The let the matter drop…” should be “TheY let the matter drop…”. If there’s a lurking mod, please clean up my mess. Thanks!

      • emptywheel says:

        Fitz said she was covered and Michael Hayden has said she was covered. The only way she would not have been is if Bush and/or Cheney insta-declassified her status.

          • bmaz says:

            Yes, well under the IIPA anyway, because to be covert, the government must be actively concealing and protecting the identity; so declassifying and releasing it would be inconsistent.

        • FrankProbst says:

          Fitz said she was covered and Michael Hayden has said she was covered. The only way she would not have been is if Bush and/or Cheney insta-declassified her status.

          I strongly suspect that that’s what Cheney tried to say during his chat with Fitz. And I think that Fitz called bullshit on him. Even if you assume that Bush/Cheney DOES have the authority to insta-declassify her status, there is no evidence that they ever actually did so, and one assumes that there are forms for this sort of thing.

          • bobschacht says:

            I think you’ve got the key here. Even if the president has pixie dust, he’s still supposed to notify the CIA, etc. of the declassification so that they can protect their assets. Valerie’s whole network was instantly put at risk, naked as a jaybird, with serious real-life consequences for a lot of people. Of course, the CIA’s after-action study is classified, so we can’t see what damage to our intelligence work Bush’s pixie dust caused, but there are reasons for those forms you mentioned, and they have to do with protecting our intelligence assets abroad. By declassifying Plame, Cheney & Bush flipped a finger at those assets. Which if done by anyone else would be an act of treason.

            Bob in HI

          • emptywheel says:

            Except if the President does so. The president’s ability to declassify is about as absolute as the President’s ability to pardon.

  25. alank says:

    From CNN:

    While the White House points out that the president has the right to declassify information, White House spokesman Scott McClellan told reporters on July 18, 2003, that the documents had become declassified that day — 10 days after Bush, according to the court papers, approved their release to the news media.

  26. LabDancer says:

    Frank Probst @ 87:

    It is an ancient Shooter –
    That classifieth still –
    Then insta does undo her:
    The Shooter hath his will.

  27. BayStateLibrul says:

    Just saw the clips with McClellan on the O’Reilly show.
    Scotty wins hands down.
    He is very persuasive, articulate, and calm. Refutes all O’Reilly’s
    We will never get to the truth unless Fitzy’s Prez and Vice-Prez
    interviews are played for the American people.
    How many smoking guns does it take?

  28. klynn says:

    O/T but irt the Guardian story on prison ships:

    Back on Feb 18, 2008 bmaz wrote an update on FISA. http://emptywheel.firedoglake……-immunity/

    I wrote the following:

    Here is the legislation Glenn and EFF were referencing for 2006:…..urity-bill

    It was more broad surveillance immunity language being “slipped” into the port authority bill…

    Section 10 of HR 5825, the ’surveillance immunity’ provision, to become attached to HR 4954, the SAFE Port Act,

    Then cboldt wrote:

    By golly, there it is, under a title “COMPLIANCE WITH COURT ORDERS AND ANTITERRORISM PROGRAMS” A couple of different versions. One as a Section 11, reported out of Committee, another as passed by the House, and another as received in the Senate. Link to all four versions of the House Bill.

    House report 109-680 Part 2 just states the obvious, but doesn’t justify the action:

    Section 11. Compliance with court orders and antiterrorism programs

    This section would limit the civil and criminal liability of telecommunications carriers for any activity arising from, or relating to, any alleged intelligence program involving electronic surveillance that the government has certified is, was, or would be intended to protect the United States from a terrorist attack. The amendment applies to all pending and future cases, and allows all such cases to be removed to Federal court. The amendment also applies the old definition of `electronic surveillance’ contained in FISA prior to enactment of the Act.

    Thanks for your persistence. Greenwald wasn’t making shit up!

    I wonder if the attempt for more broad immunity push in the port authority bill was tied into the prison ships ops and the resulting lack to push it through was in order to avoid scrutiny that would have resulted in the discovery of the prison ships?

    A prison ships operation would NEED more broad immunity especially if satell interrogations were sent to the mainland from the ships.

    Maybe, maybe not…Just thinking out loud.

  29. skdadl says:

    The House of Commons votes at 3 p.m. today on a motion to allow Iraq war resisters to remain in Canada. (This is a fight we thought we’d won a generation ago. Life, eh?) Good background on this story at a blog named, appropriately enough, we move to Canada.

    One of these cases is before the Supreme Court right now, but one of them is facing a deportation order.

    • Petrocelli says:

      I suspect we’ll be seeing a continued assault on Canadian Laws & Ethics until we turf Bush-Lite and send him to Golden Arches Retirement Home …

      I don’t see the 3 opposition parties supporting the NeoCon motion …

      • skdadl says:

        Petrocelli, which is the neocon motion? The one I know about is good; the NDP and the BQ will vote for it en bloc, and the Liberals seem finally to have endorsed it, so it may pass. Here’s the text:

        The Committee recommends that the government immediately implement a program to allow conscientious objectors and their immediate family members (partners and dependents), who have refused or left military service related to a war not sanctioned by the United Nations and do not have a criminal record, to apply for permanent resident status and remain in Canada; and that the government should immediately cease any removal or deportation actions that may have already commenced against such individuals.

        • Petrocelli says:

          Sorry for being vague, haven’t had coffee or meditated as yet … *g* … Harper is a NeoCon and I was referring to the deportation order, which strikes me as rather unCanadian …

          I hope the opposition takes this case to the mat, tying it up in legalese until the CONServatives get booted
          this fall …

          • Petrocelli says:

            … of course I’m also hoping the storyline of “Guru Pitka” is realized and the Maple Leafs win the Stanley Cup with the help of an accomplished yoga/meditation teacher … I happen to personally know a very good one … *g*

          • skdadl says:

            Oops. I see I have to correct myself on one detail from above: in November the SCC refused to hear the appeals of the resisters. Must catch up with that ruling.

            • Petrocelli says:

              I’ve been practicing meditation for 22+ years … drugs, including coffee actually lower your awareness while even the weakest meditation raises it exponentially.

              Of course, awareness, like power, is only as good as how you use it …

  30. phred says:

    EW, I don’t know if you caught Terri Gross’ interview with McC yesterday (on NPR’s Fresh Air), but towards the beginning he says that Rove told Bush that he (Rove) had had nothing to do with the leak. McC followed that statement by saying he knows this because Bush told him so in a meeting with him (McC). I’ll see if I can get the direct quote and a link here in a bit.

    At any rate, two things struck me about this… First, there is no love lost between McC and Rove and McC would be perfectly happy to see Rove held to account for his lies and his conduct. Second, it is clear throughout the interview that McC still likes and admires Bush, his imperfections not withstanding. It appears McC believes Bush initially believed Rove told him the truth about having nothing to do with the leak. Yet this makes no sense in light of the crossed out “Pres” in the meat grinder note. From the interview last night, McC appears to be prepared to continue protecting Bush, in spite of a glaring contradiction that suggests Bush lied to McC directly, imho.

    • phred says:

      Here’s a link to Gross’ interview with McC. The bit I refer to above starts at about 6:52 into the interview, Gross sets up a clip with David Gregory asking McC about whether McC stood by his statement about Rove. The specific quote is at about 10:15:

      McC says, “Karl Rove had also told the President he was not involved and the President and I had a discussion about that.”

      • BayStateLibrul says:

        Thanks… what a great interview.
        Bush IS and WAS ALWAYS unfit for the Presidency.
        How the fuck did he get elected…

    • emptywheel says:

      Yes–all those observations are true of the book, as well.

      Bush wouldn’t have seen the meatgrinder note when he told McC that Rove was innocent. Libby and Cheney were in Jackson together, concocting their story, not in DC.

      But two things strike me about Bush’s “exoneration” of Rove. First, Rove did exactly what Libby did with Cheney–go to him and get his story straight. Given that we have evidence that Libby and Cheney were actually coordinating stories, it makes me think ROve and Bush were too.

      Also, Cheney spoke to BUsh about exonerating Libby. Now THAT’s a conversation that would have been interesting.

      • phred says:

        Thanks EW. I wonder what McC would say or do if he came to believe that Bush had intentionally lied to him (all in the interest of keeping Rove’s story straight). McC does not appear to like being lied to and used to cover other people’s backsides. As long as McC continues to believe Bush believed his exoneration of Rove to McC to be truthful, I don’t see McC revealing anything really damaging about Bush in the Plame affair. That said, I suppose I should go read the book, eh? ; )

        • emptywheel says:

          Scottie’s going to have to go through some serious cognitive dissonance before he realizes that Bush is actually a much worse man than Bill Clinton, and that his failures were at least partly his own fault, and not the fault of Rove, Condi, and Cheney.

          That said, all I hope comes out of Scottie is the admission that the discussions about declassifying the NIE are not and were not separate within the White House from discussions of Plame. He will undoubtedly argue that Bush told Cheney to just do it–which is what we think Bush said in his testimony to Fitz.

          But what happens then? If you’ve got the NIE story being basically a cover story for the plame lies, then you’ve got Cheney ordering Libby to leak Plame’s ID. What then? Bush can’t get rid of Cheney–he’s a constitutional officer. And frankly, Bush ha known this about Cheney for a long time, and certainly since before the commutation.

          It’s not about indicting BUsh directly. It’s about making it clear that Bush has shielded Cheney for years now and, with his commutation of Scottie, probably obstructed justice.

          • klynn says:

            I hope the cognitive dissonance moves fast… An outing of Plame because of discredited reports irt WMD’s being produced and a non story about yellow cake…

            Now EFP’s being produced in Iran…Who will he out this time to keep on the war track?

            At least the pattern is consistent…Maybe we can break his “MO” before another war breaks out?

          • phred says:

            Thanks as always EW, that’s as clear a statement as I have seen on how Scottie’s information ties in with the larger picture. I admire your clarity of vision, but then, you know that ; )

          • Leen says:

            So if you think Bush told Fitz that he told Cheney to “just do it”. When will Fitz “just do it”?

            Will Fitz’s words during that Libby Press conference ever come true? “Truth is the engine of our Justice system”

            Or will American citizens be left with that it was more important for the our U.S. Congress and to our Justice system to hold a President who lied under oath about a bj rather than holding an administration accountable for outing Plame/Wilson and for feeding the American people an intelligence snowjob that has resulted in tens of thousands of deaths and injuries?

            For those Americans who want to stay in the bubble it will not matter for some of us it matters an enormous amount.

            • FrankProbst says:

              We’ve been over this numerous times here. As Fitz himself pointed out, Cheney is protected because Scooter obstructed justice. In order to make an IIPA charge stick, it’s not enough to show that someone betrayed a covert officer. You have to show that they KNEW that she was covert at the time. Fitz can’t do that beyond a reasonable doubt, so he won’t indict.

              (Incidentally, I think he probably COULD prove that Cheney gave material support to our enemies during a time of war. However, I think it’s pretty clear that that’s not what was his intent was. Cheney was “merely” trying to destroy the wife of a political critic, so a treason charge would probably be over-the-top.)

              • BayStateLibrul says:

                What was disturbing was there was no FINAL written report by Fitzy (per the law)
                What I am calling for is for Fitz to resign, and set the story straight.
                I know this is self-serving (would I resign and lose my job)?

                • FrankProbst says:

                  What was disturbing was there was no FINAL written report by Fitzy (per the law)

                  I’ll defer to the lawyers (bmaz? You there?) on this, but I think you make be confusing an Independent Prosecutor (like Ken Starr) with a Special Prosecutor (like Fitz). My understanding is that Fitz can either indict or not indict. He is not required to write a final report. He may even be expressly forbidden from doing so.

                  • bmaz says:

                    There was absolutely no specification of law that a report be produced. Fitz opined (and I think arguably correctly so) that under the nature of his status he was constrained from doing so. You know, a regular USA or AUSA working a prosecution ethically doesn’t produce an expose about why he did or didn’t indict; Fitz didn’t think he should either.

              • Leen says:

                So if the Pres declassified classified information so that Cheney could release Plames name would that not confirm that he was well aware of her status?

                And if Scotty testifies that Bush actually said I gave the word on the Plame outing. Is this not beyond a “reasonable doubt”?

                Can the next President “declassify” the parts of the Plame outing after effects report( that would not do more National Security damage) for the public?

                • FrankProbst says:

                  So if the Pres declassified classified information so that Cheney could release Plames name would that not confirm that he was well aware of her status?

                  If the Pres declassifies someone’s status, then they aren’t legally covert anymore, so there would be no IIPA violation.

          • Petrocelli says:

            His “I lurves Bush” stance was extremely frustrating to Jon, who was relentless.
            He took Scottie off script and got Scottie to say things he hadn’t planned on saying …

            • FrankProbst says:

              His “I lurves Bush” stance was extremely frustrating to Jon, who was relentless.
              He took Scottie off script and got Scottie to say things he hadn’t planned on saying …

              Stewart is, I think, one of the best interviewers on television. His interview with Doug Feith is another great example. Not to take anything away from Stewart, but I think it speaks volumes about our media that one of the best interviewers out there works for “Comedy Central”.

        • bobschacht says:

          There may be a two-layered game going on here. On one level, Scottie still professes admiration, etc. for Bush– but on another level, provides evidence that Bush is an S.O.B. Maybe he feels that a public posture of admiration for Bush is *necessary,* from a strategic point of view, even if it contradicts his own testimony.

          Does that make sense?

          BTW, I’m sorry that this is in EPU-land, but the servers went crazy yesterday before I’d been able to retrieve Comment 100, and I was unable to read or post any of the later comments until now.

          Bob in HI

      • Leen says:

        Co- ordinating stories.

        “they’re changing now… they turn in clusters… because their roots connect them.”

        Are we watching the roots rot.

        Would have liked to have been a fly on a horses ass when Libby and Miller just happened to run into one another in Wyoming. Would have done a lot of Miller and Libby nose landings.

  31. selise says:

    OT – little bit late with the hearings lists this week (it’s up now). saw this one for tomorrow and thought it would be of special interest here:

    Wednesday, June 04, 2008

    10 am – House Foreign Affairs
    Subcommittee on International Organizations, Human Rights, and Oversight
    City on the Hill or Prison on the Bay? Part III: Guantanamo – the Role of the FBI
    Witness: The Honorable Glenn A. Fine, Inspector General, U.S. Department of Justice

  32. Leen says:

    I keep wondering why Novak is still given space to write about anything at all. Novak should be in prison for being part of the team that undermined U.S. National Security not shining up the shiny objects. The type of false (Judy Miller and WMD’s in Iraq and dangerous (Novak outing Plame) reporting that Judy Miller and Robert Novak sure has me standing up against more protection for journalist. The Novak’s and Miller’s of the journalism profession can and have done great deal of damage to innocent people’s lives. I often wonder about an Officials Secrets Act so that sicko journalist like Miller and Novak could be put in prison so that they are unable to hurt anyone else.
    Official Secrets Act

    I do not want to witness a federal Shield law.

    How does our system protect the public well being and lives from the Miller and Novak’s?

  33. klynn says:


    This up at Asian Times on Cheney. I should probably post it over at FDL too……..4Ak02.html

    WASHINGTON – For many months, the propaganda line that explosively formed projectiles (EFPs) that could penetrate United States armored vehicles were coming straight from Iran has been embraced publicly by the entire George W Bush administration. But when that argument was proposed internally by military officials in January 2007, it was attacked by key administration officials as unsupported by the facts.

    Vice President Dick Cheney was able to get around those objections and get his Iranian EFP line accepted only because of arrangements he and Bush made with General David Petraeus before he took command of US forces in Iraq.

  34. alank says:

    …with his commutation of [Scooter]…

    It’s not so much that the Preznit has been shielding Cheney as Cheney has been hiding behind a cloak of presidential prerogative.

  35. FrankProbst says:

    So Scottie sat down with Loofah boy? I have to say that I’m impressed with his willingness to defend himself in pretty much any forum. I’m still waiting for an exchange that goes something like this:

    Wingnut: You know, you weren’t a very good Press Secretary.

    Scottie: Actually, I just wasn’t a very good LIAR. But when I start telling the truth, I can be pretty convincing, don’t you think?

    • phred says:

      Now that was a pleasure to read. I’m curious what Waxman intends to do when June 11th rolls around and Mukasey tells him his dog ate the letter…

  36. BayStateLibrul says:

    Now I know why the Plame Affaire is bothering me so much.
    It is like a novel without an ending.
    According to Garth Nix… the stages…

    Daydreams and Musing
    A Small Vision
    Building the Bones
    That First Chapter
    The Long, Hard Slog
    Sprinting Home
    Rest and Revision
    Revulsion and Dejection
    Parting Company

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