Michael Isikoff’s Chat with Cheney’s Lawyer

One of the details that most surprised me in Scott McClellan’s account of the CIA Leak investigation and aftermath was his description of the White House response to the confirmation–on April 5, 2006–that Libby had testified he had leaked the NIE with the authorization of the President.

Now the fact that he himself had authorized the selective leaking of national security information to reporters made him look hypocritical.


In time, we would learn that the president’s penchant for compartmentalization had played an important role in the declassification story. The only person the president had shared the declassification with personally was Vice President Cheney. Two days after the Fitzgerald disclosure, Cheney’s lawyer told reporters that the president had "declassified the information and authorized and directed the vice president to get it out" but "didn’t get into how it would be done." Then the vice president had directed his top aide, Scooter Libby, to supply the information anonymously to reporters. [my emphasis]

Granted, I was on a business trip in India when this all went down. But this was a detail I missed. "Cheney’s lawyer told reporters"? I was used to Libby’s lawyer prior to the indictment, Joseph Tate, telling reporters all manner of things under the cover of anonymity. Robert Luskin’s anonymous, wild spinning of reporters? Kind of goes without saying. But Cheney’s lawyer, Terry O’Donnell?

But it all made sense when someone pointed me to the one piece of journalism he could find repeating that citation–would you believe it, a Michael Isikoff piece?

A lawyer familiar with the investigation, who asked not to be identified because of the sensitivity of the matter, told NEWSWEEK that the "president declassified the information and authorized and directed the vice president to get it out." But Bush "didn’t get into how it would be done. He was not involved in selecting Scooter Libby or Judy Miller." Bush made the decision to put out the NIE material in late June, when the press was beginning to raise questions about the WMD but before Wilson published his op-ed piece. [my emphasis]

I double checked with McClellen to make sure that’s the public statement he meant, and he said,

Dan Bartlett volunteered to me that the vice president’s lawyer was telling at least some reporters anonymously what I reference on page 295, which is specifically referring to the Newsweek article …

In other words, yes, Cheney’s lawyer was the one spreading that story to–of all people–Michael Isikoff. Now everything began to make sense.

You see, one of the biggest reasons why few TradMed journalists ever got that the whole NIE story was a cover story, designed to explain away Cheney’s order to leak something else–probably Plame’s identity, is because Michael Isikoff spouted a story that, though still totally illogical, explained away some of the inconsistencies in the NIE story. Here’s what Isikoff wrote in Hubris:

In late June, Cheney discussed with Bush the steady stream of negative news about the administration’s prewar use of the Iraq intelligence, according to a lawyer close to the principals. Cheney and Bush agreed that to refute the criticism they ought to divulge portions of the classified National Intelligence Estimate on weapons of mass destruction that had hastily been prepared prior to the congressional vote on the Iraq War resolution. "The president declassified the information and authorized and directed the vice president to get it out," the lawyer said. How that would be done–who should leak the information and to which reporters–was left entirely up to Cheney, the lawyer noted.

I guess, when Isikoff writes "a lawyer close to the principals," what he really means is "a lawyer retained by one of the principals to keep him out of the pokey."

And when you put the two similar citations together with McClellan’s revelation of the secret source behind those citations, it verifies that Terry O’Donnell, Cheney’s lawyer, is also the one who claimed Bush had declassified the NIE in late June, all handily timed to make Libby’s story more (but not yet) consistent. Now, in case you’re wondering, McClellan told me there were no discussions within the White House (that he was part of) regarding when the NIE was declassified.

I know of no such discussions within the White House about when the declassification happened, including any about what could be said about the timing.

And Patrick Fitzgerald, after having interviewed both Dick Cheney and George Bush, stated clearly that,

Your Honor, I will stipulate that the declassification happened. I don’t know when.


As to the timing, no, I don’t have anything that sets the date other than before, my belief is it is before July 8th. Besides saying July 8 it happened by, I can’t move the date into June or July, a specific date.

And even Ted Wells, who somehow magically discovered what Bush and Cheney had said to Fitzgerald in their interviews without Fitzgerald having turned over the interview reports, admitted that Bush and Cheney said the declassification had happened, but not when.

I believe that maybe that the testimony does not tie it down to a particular day, only that it did take place,


[Fitzgerald] is in possession of material from either the president or the vice president to the effect that it was declassified and that they know they did it but they’re not sure of the particular date

So Libby, Cheney, and Bush–the only three guys who are supposed to have known about this declassification–couldn’t place when it happened in their discussions with Patrick Fitzgerald (aside from Libby’s concession that it could have happened on July 7 or "some time at … the end of the previous week," which would make it July 3 or 4 or maybe July 2 but definitely not late June). But at a time when it was becoming increasingly clear that the whole story was collapsing partly because Libby had leaked the NIE to at least two journalists before–all the evidence suggests–whatever got declassified got declassified, all of a sudden Terry O’Donnell developed a great clarity that the declassification had happened in June, and not July.

And Michael Isikoff believed him.

Isikoff not only believed Terry O’Donnell, the guy Cheney was paying to keep him out of jail but who wouldn’t speak on the record, but he also replicated O’Donnell’s feint about Bush not telling Cheney what details to leak, thereby drawing attention away from whether or not Bush knew what Cheney planned to leak. (FWIW, McClellan told me that Dan Bartlett thought making the distinction was important, I’m guessing because Bartlett realized someone like Michael Isikoff could turn it into a head fake that would distract from the logical contradictions and implications of the larger story.) And so, when Isikoff tells about Libby’s leak to Judy Miller, he writes,

Once again, Cheney had given his chief of staff the green light to disclose information from the classified National Intelligence Estimate.


And now he was going to go further with Miller than he had with Woodward in revealing the contents of the NIE.

Isikoff thereby introduces several more pieces of disinformation into the story. There’s a problem with the suggestion that Cheney "again" gave Libby a green light to leak stuff–particularly since the same filing that confirmed Libby had named Bush in the NIE declassification also states that,

Defendant testified that this July 8th meeting was the only time he recalled in his government experience when he disclosed a document to a reporter that was effectively declassified by virtue of the President’s authorization that it be disclosed. Defendant testified that one of the reasons why he met with Miller at a hotel was the fact that he was sharing this information with Miller exclusively. [my emphasis]

There’s no evidence that Libby leaked more from the NIE to Judy than he did to Woodward (indeed, Judy’s own description of what happened suggests the contrary), and Isikoff’s flaccid "go further" certainly doesn’t provide that evidence. But since Isikoff is still working on the feint of the NIE story, that’s what becomes the central thrust of the story, thereby divorcing the leak of Plame’s identity, the leak of the CIA trip report, and the use of the attribution "former Hill staffer" from Cheney’s order to Libby to leak something to Judy (which, when you think about it, is just what Libby perjury and obstruction did).

Now, to be fair to Isikoff, the contradictions in Libby’s NIE story weren’t as obvious in April 2006, when he first served as a mouthpiece for Cheney’s lawyer, or mid 2006 when he was finishing Hubris, as they became after Fitzgerald pointed to the clouds hanging over the Vice President during the trial. Maybe he’s just not good with logic.

But that doesn’t entirely excuse Isikoff’s actions. He had three choices: credit the word of O’Donnell, serving as an anonymous source and providing information that appears to have gone beyond Cheney’s own testimony in the affair; focus on the contradictions in the story that remained after O’Donnell intervened; or at least balance the two and point out how they cannot both be true. Isikoff chose door number one: the word of an anonymous source over logic.

I have long pointed to this difference in Isikoff’s presentation of the CIA leak and mine as a signal difference between TradMed reporters and bloggers. The former often won’t believe something until they can get a human source to confirm it for them, and may, therefore, dismiss fairly credible documentary evidence. And we bloggers admittedly don’t do enough calling of people to get their version of stories–but we do tend to find stuff in documents that TradMed reporters may not. Both approaches have their weaknesses; the two together hopefully provide a fuller picture.

But I always imagined that the source Isikoff relied on here was someone like Harriet Miers–a "lawyer close to the principals," but not someone whose job it was to keep Cheney’s role in this under wraps. Learning that it was, instead, Cheney’s lawyer, changes things. Much of the reluctance of the press–and the pundit class more generally–to examine the evidence against Cheney in this case was due to Isikoff’s willingness to accept the word of Cheney’s lawyer, speaking anonymously, over logic and sworn testimony. Given Isikoff’s emphasis on Armitage in Hubris over the confirmation of Plame’s role in non-proliferation, given Isikoff’s clinging to his sketchy refutation of the 1X2X6 story, and given Isikoff’s helpfulness in passing evidence to Robert Luskin, this shouldn’t surprise me.

But it does, once again, expose how helpful the press was in covering up the leak of Plame’s identity.

  1. klynn says:

    Okay, when is your next book due to hit the stands? I just read AOD again last week!

    Once again, great work in the weeds EW!

    Almost a “Purloined Letter” classic in the making…it’s been right in front of our eyes all along…

    • MarieRoget says:

      Anatomy of Deceit Vol. 2 in the works?

      That’s very nice work up top, ew. I remember watching Fitzgerald call on Isikoff in the q&a following the megapresser announcing Libby’s indictment. Caught a little something from PatFitz’s demeanor & TOV @ the time & thought it might be disdain or annoyance, but dismissed it…

      And always appreciative of an E.A. Poe reference, klynn- this one’s particularly apt.

      • watercarrier4diogenes says:

        Hopefully. Vol. 2 (of 7, a la Harry Potter), might be enough to cover these crooks completely.

  2. wavpeac says:

    It would be great to have the media offer a mea culpa (a meaningful one) identifying each and every stage where they were duped and used by this administration. When my clients screw up we ask them to do a behavior chain analysis, which is a detailed accounting of each behavior and thought along the path to their problem behavior. Then the client has to go back and put options along the path where they could have done something else and it might not have led to the behavior. It generates a list of options or exits and puts small details (like oh…consider carefully the source of your infor and all the reasons someone might be sharing it with you?)

    The loss of our press as the 4th estate in oversight is important enough to garner this kind of attention to detail. I would like to know what each reporter could have done differently along the way. This would result in a prevention action plan to prevent this kind of problem in the future. It should be done in a public forum and generate many different solutions to the scenario of the Iraq war, the Plame leak, etc…

    But I wasn’t hired as the therapist for the free press…so it’s just a humble suggestion.

  3. alabama says:

    This is truly wonderful. I look forward to the day when the Post and the Times report, rather breathlessly, that Bush was the one who outed Plame–omitting to say that they helped him do this, and to ask why he (and they) would have done such a thing….

    • spoonful says:

      Good question – was it revenge, or were Bush and Cheney simply opposed to an undercover operation designed to stop the proliferation of nuclear weapons in Iran? Most likely, these 2 elements dovetailed into her outing.

      • quake says:

        Good question – was it revenge, or were Bush and Cheney simply opposed to an undercover operation designed to stop the proliferation of nuclear weapons in Iran? Most likely, these 2 elements dovetailed into her outing.

        As Maxwell Smart might say, “would you believe all of the above?”

  4. danps says:

    Great job Marcy.

    Another twist on reporters using “human source to confirm it for them” is that they are much more likely to take human source[s] confirmation at face value. Bloggers are more likely to think “s/he could be lying” which can lead off into tin foil hat territory, but used judiciously creates a properly adversarial relationship.

  5. MarieRoget says:

    Just to carry the Purloined Letter ref a little further, Poe’s amateur detective Dupin tells the story of how an eight yr. old schoolboy wins @ the game of “odds & evens” by playing his friends to his advantage through observing closely the levels/gaps in their intellect & approach to the game. He simply acts on his observations of where the weaknesses in their thought processes lie, & wins almost every time.

    O’Donnell/Isikoff, anyone?

  6. Skilly says:

    Great Stuff. Other than Ken Starr, don’t all press members, know that the Lawyer for the target is: 1)not under oath, 2) ethically bound to make no statement prejudicial to thier client, and 3) should always be exposed as the source of a quote, if the reader is to have any idea who much weight to give the quote.
    I mean seriously, I can not think of a reason not to name the source of a quote from the suspects lawyer. The only reason that comes to mind is to ive the quote more credibility than it woul otherwise get.

    • emptywheel says:

      Well that, plus in the absence of leaking from Fitz’ investigation, the journalists want the Luskins and O’Donnells of the world to leak in order to be able to report on the investgation, but the Luskins and O’Donnells want to be able to avoid a gag order.

  7. FrankProbst says:

    I really can’t see how someone’s lawyer should EVER be granted anonymity to make a statement that involves their client. Any journalist should assume that either the lawyer is telling you something they shouldn’t be telling you (i.e. violating attorney/client privilege), or they’re bullshitting you (i.e. violating the reporter/source relationship). Hell, Luskin’s more than willing to bullshit people on the record. Why is there anonymity here?

  8. JaneS says:

    Now I think I do need to re-read Anatomy of Deceit. I accidently left McClellan’s book on a plane but I feel like you’re giving me the best parts.

    So do you think Cheney has a “Come to Jesus” meeting with Bush where he explains to protect him and his people, Bush will have to tell Fitz that he declassified the NIE and directed Cheney to leak it. Is Bush playing along or is Bush the author of the thing? The whole thing feels like a Cheney operation, complete with his personal attorney talking to the the press to make Libby’s story plausible (sort of…) And of course, even if Bush is “playing along”, he’s obstructing justice.

    • Skilly says:

      I would guess Bush is not bothering with the small details of this “little event”. My guess is that the Bush interview with Fitz will read like a script from Hogan’s Heroes. Cheney is General Bulcarter and Bush is Sgt. Schultz. I’m not sure who clink is yet.

  9. alabama says:

    in response to [email protected], [email protected]

    I draw some distinctions.

    First, between Bush and Cheney: they are very different, and the difference has to be explored (especially where it seems rather self-evident, or “a little too self-evident,” to quote Dupin in The Purloined Letter).

    I think we assign Cheney more credit than he deserves, or at least the wrong kind of importance (because we find him fascinating in various ways). Of course he’s busily involved with the things that disturb us, and would also have us suppose that he really runs the show–that he’s the micro-manager who matters.

    And so we (or I) tend to ignore Bush, who isn’t fascinating, or not in the same way as Cheney (this is carefully calculated, of course, and it needs to be remembered at all times). In fact, I regard Bush himself as “the micro-manager who matters”: Cheney is his servant, and we tend to forget this.

    Second, Bush, for all his studied blandness, is a man on an urgent mission that he pursues to the point of madness. He is forever shallow, and forever at the mercy of his appetites: I think he inhabits a cauldron of generalized resentment and vengefulness, always ungratified and forever fanning his own fires, as it were (think of Montresor in The Cask of Amontillado).

    Bush’s willfulness drives his micro-management: he’s determined to punish anyone who challenges his role as the “decider” (or is it “deciderer”?), and though he only operates within the horizon of petty petulance, I think his determination has extraordinary consequences.

    An example: feeling challenged by the CIA, and miserably restricted by the CIA’s chief line of self-protection (the secrecy accorded its people and projects), he “decides” to trash it by outing (and destroying) one of its most valued operators. As a compulsive sadist, he would also insist that the CIA practice the kinds of torture it tries to avoid, or at least to conceal, and he would insist, perhaps for his own delectation, that they do the most dangerous of things, namely to record the torture-process and share their recordings with him. What better way to endanger, and humiliate, the CIA, and to gratify one’s endless craving for torture?

    Cheney of course had his own fears and resentments against the Wilsons, but I think his relationship to his own impulses is relatively restrained and prudent (with Cheney, shooting people in the face is an accident waiting to happen; with Bush, it’s an pleasurable act to indulge, should the chance and the impulse arise, and it arises all the time, his buckshot being the insults and nicknames addressed to all and sundry).

    Does any of this matter at all? Most hardheaded students of the scene would tend to dismiss it as whimsical speculation based on soft-headed psychologizing. I think otherwise, and even if I’m somewhat wide of the mark in so doing, I believe that this line of inquiry has the merit of forcing us to do the hardest thing of all, which is to keep our eyes steadily fixed on Bush as the major source–the fons et origens–of our problems with this administration.

    Bush tyrannizes his people–Cheney included–but lacks the basic skill-set of a capable tyrant, among them a capacity to measure the costs of pleasure-seeking, and a disciplined mastery of detail (call it a “synoptic” sense of how remotest things always interact with each other).

    So I find myself waiting for memoirs (more than legal actions): did Bush force some of his servants to watch those torture tapes, forcibly extracted from the CIA? Did he force Cheney to fire Richard Clarke and Paul O’Neill? What role did he play in forcing the military to violate all those codes we keep hearing about?

    If I’m right about this–and I’ll probably never know–then we’ill have to study the phenomenon of “enablement” with more patience and rigor than we yet have, and with emptywheel as our model and guide.

    • Skilly says:

      I have to say that this is a new take on GWB. That he is petty and is not new, but competent enough to be a micro manager, even a bad one, I find unlikely.

    • BayStateLibrul says:

      If what you say is true, and it definitely could be, then we NEED a
      psychological mental report given to the American electorate for all Presidential candidates.
      I’d like to have one on McCain, to see if he is suffering from PTS.

    • behindthefall says:

      This is starting to move around to a thought that crossed my uninformed mind this morning on reading this post, namely: If Bush, CEO-fashion, said to Cheney “Go do such-and-so, and I don’t care or want to know how it is done”, and if ’such-and-so’ was designed to create a certain public ‘reality’ about WMDs that Bush desired, then wouldn’t any CEO also ask, “Where does inconvenient information about WMDs come from?” Then he would be told, “There is a CIA operation that is entirely too effective at getting the right story on who has what and on who is capable of making what else.” It would be interesting to know just when the CEO asked that question and got that answer.

    • emptywheel says:

      If Libby’s note-taking is consistent, then Bush probably asked Libby directly on June 9, 2003, to respond to the Wilson allegations. McClellan said it would be unusual for Bush to do so directly. And it’s only after that that OVP goes into overdrive on the Wilsons and finds Plame’s ID.

      I think that’s why, in the meat-grinder note, Cheney said Bush asked Libby to stick his neck in the meatgrinder.

      Now does that mean Cheney told Bush they were going to leak Plame’s ID? Dunno. I actually don’t think so–I think Bush basically ordered a Code Red, and Cheney implmeneted it, and didn’t actually ever talk to Bush about declassifying Plame. But Bush was involved in the beginning.

  10. Skilly says:


    I can’t recall you ever doing a parsing of the President’s comments in the rose garden and how those comments, givne the date of the comments about the leak and the statement that the leaker will be fired, fit into the dates of the alleged declassification.
    It always seemed to me that at the press conference bush revealed that he ither did not kno what was happening or what openly blatantly lying. I am sure some would guess it was the latter, but given what we know about GWB’s cowboy pretenses, Isn’t it more likely that he did not have a clue about the leaks, or the declassification. I suspect he was actually bothered by the fact that a Spy had been outed, and so he overreached and said he would fire the leaker not knowing that it was his VP and COS that orchestrated it.

    • emptywheel says:


      Cheney went to Bush directly to exonerate Libby, invoking BUsh’s request to Libby to deal with teh Wilsons. IIRC, that was before the rose garden speech.

  11. JaneS says:

    Thanks for the feedback. I’m a huge EW fan and frequent reader and I feel like there was a post here and there where EW had Bush ordering the Plame leak. I don’t know if I underestimate “W” or not but I feel like even if he did, it was after Cheney prodded him to it.

    And to say what has already been said, Isikoff had a responsibility–even if he agreed to keep O’Donnell off the record–to identify him as a source close to the Vice President. I fired off an angry email to a Wapo reporter about an article with anonymous sources–there seemed to me a strong possibility that the anonymous sources had ulterior motives. And that reporter responded by saying that they really didn’t have those motives and this was why she trusted their claims. I told her that had she described her anonymous sources–where they work, for example–it might have given me more confidence in the reporting.

  12. Mauimom says:

    Doesn’t Isikoff write for Newsweek/Washington Post? If so, it will be interesting to see how MSNBC, home of the 80%-of-the-time-blithering idiots Howard Fineman and Jonathan Alter deals with this.

    Are you sending this to Keith or Jonathan Turley? Even Dan Abrams is good some of the time.

    And I wonder if Mr. Investigative Reporter Bob Woodruff will be looking into this.

  13. GregB says:

    Well, one wonders if Bob Novak will have a Lee Atwater moment of clarity, seeing that he’s retired on the grim prognosis of his reported brain tumor.

    Another window is getting slammed shut in the dying days of Bushco.


  14. AlbertFall says:

    Libby sentence commuted.

    Russert dead.

    Novak–brain tumor, retired.

    Trail gets colder.

    Be careful around the subway tracks, Mr. Armitage.

  15. alabama says:

    “But never before has an American leader shown up at an Olympics on foreign soil. And Bush is doing more than just dropping by. He is planning to soak in as much as he can, with large blocs on his Beijing schedule devoted to watching athletes compete. . . .

    “Bush plans to attend the men’s basketball showdown between the United States and China. He will pick other events as he goes along.

    “‘I’m pretty relaxed about it,’ Bush said in an interview with Asian reporters. ‘Not every single minute of every day has to be totally organized. And so I’ll be with a lot of my family, and they’re fun to hang around with. I’m sure we’ll walk around the different venue sites and just get a sense for the while atmosphere of people from all around the world.’ AP.

    In epitome, here’s the oh-so-well-known Bush that I propose to set aside. Notice how he plays up the notion of being detached from micro-management. Just a jock, sort of a loafer, “fun” and “family” his chief concerns.

    Rigorously to challenge this self-presentation (so happily reinforced by almost everyone) is an almost unimaginable undertaking.

    Of course it’s not a matter of “either/or,” but of “both/and”. How to keep this in mind?

    • 4jkb4ia says:

      That is Bush the sports fan you are seeing. Bush the sports fan is actually a likeable person, but anyone who lived through Reagan and saw that he was likeable personally but his policies were not can disentangle the two things for Bush as well. Obama does not have to say that Bush is a bad person to reject many of his policies even now.

      • wavpeac says:

        Folks said Ted Bundy was QUITE likeable.

        Not sure how that figures into the picture. There is some great research on “pairs” and how if you get certain personality disorders they can come together in a bigger than life kind of crime team. Think Bonnie and Clyde.

  16. Loo Hoo. says:

    OT re anthrax via MoJo:

    Rep. Rush Holt, Jr. represents New Jersey’s 12th District, from which one of the anthrax letters was mailed in 2001. He’s a physicist and the former assistant director of the Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory at Princeton University, the state’s largest energy research facility. He’s also a longtime critic of the FBI’s handling of the anthrax case. (Read this response from the FBI to a critical letter it received from Holt in 2006.) When the FBI settled with Hatfill in June, Holt stated that he planned to press FBI Director Mueller to release more information on the investigation. I spoke with Holt this afternoon to get his reactions to the day’s news and ask his thoughts about the FBI investigation. Some excerpts:

    • behindthefall says:

      Ouch. I find that my comments here (last thread) would have gotten me called a tinfoil beanied nutjob whose protection against gov’t-rays had slipped. Thanks to the people here for not piling on like that and for just taking questions for what they are.

      • Loo Hoo. says:

        I think the tinfoil has switched sides. You’d have to be wearing tinfoil to believe that anything this administration has done is for the good of anyone except their sick group.

  17. bmaz says:

    Pig in a Blintz: Ari Fleischer claims to have relevant information on Brett Favre, but wants immunity from Cheeseheads in order to give it.

    • Neil says:

      Pig in a poke
      Pig(skin) in a poke
      Pig in a Blintz
      Pigskin ‘n a Blintz

      Can you help me work brat in there somewhere? You think describing Ari as a ‘pig in a poke’ goes beyond the immunity deal, as in no matter what Ari says, you never know how near or far the truth is from his statement? I’m just sayin’ prosecutors don’t have much time or patience for double-talking PR guys. Shorter Ari: We’re happy to have Brett hanging around even though we’re way passed him, because you, his adoring public is not. So we invite you to enjoy the charade.

  18. BayStateLibrul says:

    I’m calling for a Special Prosecutor, with special subpoena power, to look into the Anthrax Hoax…
    Final Written Report required.
    All applicants are welcome.
    Apply within.

  19. Neil says:

    And as another day passed without a resolution in the ongoing Brett Favre Saga, the Packers were putting Fleischer’s lessons to good use. McCarthy said he did talk to Fleischer after his presentation to get his take not so much on what the Packers should do about Favre but more about how to handle the public-relations battle that has been going on between the two sides.

  20. MsAnnaNOLA says:

    Can we interrogate Novak now that he is in a “dire” state with his brain tumor and find out what really happened. If he dies without telling…well we may never know.

  21. JohnLopresti says:

    T.O’Donnell’s Republican primary favorites FThompson, MRomney; frequent donor to Party.

    General counsel, Textron, makes military armored truck, combat Bell helicopters, golf carts, Cessna its most lucrative division.

    Partner, Williams Connolly in DC, criminal, government employee complaints, international law.

    CounterIntell officer, USAF, Viet Nam 1970.

    Criminal defense counsel, just in case, to William Haynes II who now is GC at Chevron, former DOD counsel who worked with Yoo to semanticize total loss of CA3 accord on torcha.

    • skdadl says:

      Interesting career. To be fair, everyone deserves a good defence attorney, yes?

      And speaking of Haynes (please forgive the OT opportunism), has anyone ever found a video of any of his testimony? I’ve looked hard, and he’s just not there.

  22. plunger says:

    9/11 was the Cheney/Mossad operation.

    Cheney set himself up to profit personally from it.

    Anthrax was the Rumsfeld portion of the inside job, and he set himself up to profit handsomely from it.

    Rumsfeld & Cheney are co-conspirators in this joint false flag operation.

    All of the evidence points directly to them.

    Stop living in denial…

    Follow the money.

    Conspiracy Flashback to the Ford Administration – and look who is running the ANTHRAX coverup…


    The conspiracy originated at the top, in the White House, initiated by Donald Rumsfeld and Richard Cheney. It had just been learned that the CIA allegedly drugged its employee Frank Olson with LSD before his supposed suicide.


    The Armageddon Plan

    During the Reagan era Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld were key players in a clandestine program designed to set aside the legal lines of succession and immediately install a new “President” in the event that a nuclear attack killed the country’s leaders. The program helps explain the behavior of the Bush Administration on and after 9/11

    That story about Halliburton acquiring the asbestos liabilities of Dresser Industries raises an interesting point…

    Cheney KNEW that Dresser had the most massive liability issue on planet earth (he had to have known) yet decided to pay good money to bring Dresser’s problems under Halliburton’s tent.

    This raises the question…who were the largest shareholders of Dresser – in need of a lifeboat to save their own personal bacon? Anyone named Bush? Anyone named Carlyle?

    The deal went like this:

    Cheney agrees for Halliburton to take on the Dresser asbestos liability. The Twin Towers were a Haliburton Asbestos Liability.

    It is determined that Bush and Cheney will be (s)elected, and that the PNAC plan will be implemented – using 9/11 as the essential pretext.

    Ken Lay plays his role using his Enron smoke and mirrors tactics to create a faux energy crisis in California, causing the public to demand an energy-savvy administration be elected.

    With the asbestos liability and other matters hanging in the balance, the election of 2000 simply had to be rigged in order for the plan to go in to effect.

    Following the appointment of Bush and Cheney, the secret energy planning meeting established which oil companies would reap the rewards of the pending invasion of Afghanistan, Iraq and Iran.

    The timing and the pretext were predetermined, and 9/11 was greenlighted for 9/11/2001. Cheney outsourced the implementation to Mossad, and ran the show from his bunker on D Day under the cover of preplanned drills simulating the exact attack that was proscribed, with NORAD as coconspirator. At least 50 administration officials and countless foreign agents were in on it.

    Once the entire charade was concluded, the Administration generally, and Cheney specifically, had every reason in the world to blame Iraq.

    The Afghanistan mission could not provide Halliburton with enough revenue to offset the massive asbestos liability claim. Iraq and Iran are essential wars in order to provide cover for the infusion of the billion of TAX DOLLARS necessary to both profit Halliburton for its actual work AND cover the massive asbestos liability claims.

    Now you know why Halliburton was awarded the contracts without the need to bid for them. This was all prearranged.

    NOTE: Private enterprise pushed its legal/financial obligations onto tax payers using war as the excuse.

    The asbestos liability claims of Dresser Industries were ultimately paid by you and me, and our troops in the field, all to ensure that the investors in Dresser didn’t take the multibillion dollar loss.

    Just one piece of a very large chessboard.

    Hang them for TREASON.

  23. Neil says:

    The NewsHour will take a run at explaining the anthrax investigation story and Ivins suicide.

    Any reason to think they’ll report news or just re-cap?

    Questions remained about the long-running anthrax investigation a week after Bruce Ivins, the prime suspect committed suicide. For an update on the latest in the anthrax investigation, Margaret Warner speaks with Scott Shane, a reporter for the New York Times.

  24. orionATL says:

    alabama @19

    when assessing cheney by himself or vis-a-vis bush,

    i think it is important to keep in mind cheney’s extraordinary experience in washington:

    – congressman,

    – nixon fed bureaucracy admin assignments

    – ford whitehouse chief of staff

    – g.h.w. bush sec of defense

    – vice-pres

    it seems to me that one of the hallmarks of the cheney v.p.-style is the ability to see the opportunity afforded by and to exploit bureaucratic rules and “invisible” legislative details – or to generate the later.

    i doubt bush has the experience or the temperament to recognize or exploit these.

  25. orionATL says:

    when considering cheney’s personality (psychology),

    i think

    – pursuing very aggressive efforts to harm an opponent


    – vindictiveness

    seem to be hallmarks.

  26. Loo Hoo. says:

    HA! Wonkette catches an AP screwup:

    Novak has been a columnist for the Chicago Sun-Times for decades. He announced late last month he has a brain. The revelation came less than a week after he struck a pedestrian with his Corvette and drove away.

    • bobschacht says:

      Ha! Is the Wonkette getting back to its early form, when Anna Marie Cox was young and fresh and snarky? Are women back in control, or is it still being run by guys?

      Your quote sounds like the kind of humor that attracted me to the Wonkette years ago. In her prime, Cox was the snark queen, and informative, too. But that was before I discovered MyDD, the Great Orange Satan, and The Lake.

      Bob in HI

  27. alabama says:

    [email protected], in the context of this thread–and always hoping that my own posts have been on topic–your line of thinking, whatever its merits, poses another obstacle to the process of focusing on Bush, and are perhaps intended to do just that. Behold:

    Rumsfeld & Cheney are co-conspirators in this joint false flag operation.

    All of the evidence points directly to them.

    Stop living in denial…

    Follow the money.

    Some thoughts in response to this:

    (1.) every topic you raise has been treated by emptywheel and her colleagues on this very blog with exhaustive rigor;

    (2.) you contribute no new findings, no new insights. to the problems posed by those points (and apparently don’t intend to do so–you offer instead an exercise in mnemonics);

    (3.) you tell us with urgency to “stop living in denial.” But in denial of what? No one denies the crucial role of Rumsfeld and Cheney–though I certainly contest your point that “ALL of the evidence points to them”. You, on the other hand, deny (or at least you don’t address) the proposition that Bush is a major player, and may be running much of the show in the service of his own obsessions.

    Why would you rule this out?

    Do you think the inclusion of Bush would let Cheney and Rumsfeld drift off the radar screen? To the contrary! By reminding ourselves to include a third (and principal) player–a “mnemonic” of my own?– we hopefully come to a clearer idea of how those three guys have joined up to promote their respective agendas. But coming to clearer ideas demands a shift in emphases, and an entertaining of counter-intuitive hypotheses (as of “Bush-the-micromanager”).

    The genius of this blog? It always tries to bring the finest, the most arcane, points of logic and law into contact with the most obvious of things–neither being exhaustible.

    Marcy, a gifted pedagogue, shows, at the top of this thread, how to correct things through “learning”:

    But I always imagined that the source Isikoff relied on here was someone like Harriet Miers–a “lawyer close to the principals,” but not someone whose job it was to keep Cheney’s role in this under wraps. Learning that it was, instead, Cheney’s lawyer, changes things.

    I love that, and want to make it my own.

  28. MadDog says:

    Totally OT – from Keith Olbermann over at Daily Kos:

    Since I was a little less than proactive about this issue last week on television (for reasons which I think will become readily apparent), I thought I’d offer a little preview of an item on tonight’s Countdown.

    The headline: Dana Milbank won’t be on the news hour any more…

    …Dana Milbank of The Washington Post, who notified us today that after four years appearing with us, he had accepted another television offer. This saved your crack Countdown staff an increasingly difficult decision. For nearly a week we’d been waiting for him to offer a correction or an explanation for his column from last week in which he apparently reported an Obama quote without a full context turned the meaning of the quote inside-out…

  29. MrsK8 says:

    watercarrier said:

    ”Hopefully. Vol. 2 (of 7, a la Harry Potter), might be enough to cover these crooks completely.”

    With total respect for Marcy’s excellent sleuthing (and for watercarrier, of course!), I must disagree. We’re in territory several degrees of magnitude beyond the length of the Harry Potter series.

    Think more in terms of a multi-generational effort.

    Sort of like putting together the Oxford English Dictionary. ”Covering these crooks COMPLETELY” is a staggering task, not possible for any individual mortal (no matter how wonderfully talented, like Marcy) to achieve.

    When I try to fathom the depths and breadths of corruption of this administration, what I’m reminded of Carl Sagan trying to convey the sense of awe we should experience when contemplating the size of the universe. [”billions and billions….”]

  30. MrsK8 says:

    Neil –


    Milbank tried to say that the ”context” was invented on Thursday after his article made a splash and became a GOP talking point, as a way to save Obama’s hide.

    Only one problem with that — the WSJ had already reported the ”context” for the quote — the context of Obama saying it *wasn’t about himself* but that he was *just* a symbol, in a talk with House Democrats to say ”this is about YOU” and ”We need YOU” — BEFORE Milbank’s article was released, namely on Wednesday night.

    Here’s the WSJ article:


    • Neil says:

      July 29, 2008, 7:43 pm
      Obama to House Democrats: ‘This Is Your Moment’

      Sarah Lueck reports on Congress.

      Sen. Barack Obama paid an upbeat visit to House Democrats, his first meeting with the full group of lawmakers whose fortunes are tightly tied to his this fall. “This is your moment,” he told them.

      The Democratic presidential candidate told the group that the positive response he received in Germany and the rest of Europe was “not about him,” said House Democratic Whip James Clyburn of South Carolina. Rather, Obama said he was a “symbol of the possibility of America returning to our best traditions.” Lawmakers gave that remark a standing ovation.

  31. bmaz says:

    Olbermann doesn’t give a damn about accuracy; if it was twisted for humor about anybody but Obama, he would not care one bit. Olbermann is so deep in the tank for Obama he pretty much can’t see daylight; witness the disingenuous and belligerent covering he performed for Obama’s FISA cave in and flip flop. Milbank did similar bizarre stuff every other time he was on. No, this is all about taking a shot at Milbank for walking away from Olbermann. Just one of many who have done so.

    • Neil says:

      I gotta agree about Olbermann. He’s more about audience than journalism but I’m still confused about Milbank because I think he’s more about journalism and career as a journalist than anything else.

      • bmaz says:

        I’ll fully admit that I have been on a little bit of a warpath about Olbermann since maybe late January or so; his primary coverage was so slanted, almost to the point of being vertical, to Obama and spiteful against others, especially Clinton (hey, she earned some fair and square, KO was way over the top though) that i just literally couldn’t listen to him anymore. And I was a fan of his since ESPN days. Milbank seems like a guy that isn’t a deep political reporter, but that might be at least competent at it if he stuck to that, and isn’t funny in the least, yet tries to bridge those elusive gaps. A destitute man’s Dave Barry. I got nothing against him; I just find him boring and trite.

  32. phred says:

    Great post EW. It stands well on its own of course, but when combined with Glenn Greenwald’s excellent indictment of ABC’s refusal to reveal their bentonite source, the two pieces brilliantly illuminate the complete absence of ethics in Beltway journalism propaganda. Like Greenwald, I have generally been supportive of shield laws for journalists, but given recent events I am no longer convinced that such laws can be crafted narrowly enough to prevent manipulation by those in government (and their lawyers) from spreading disinformation.