The Crazy Man Above the Garage

cheney-wheelchair.thumbnail.pngSorry for being so late on this, but I wanted to come back to this bizarre Barton Gellman article on Cheney. Amidst news including 1) Cheney took notes, exactly none of which were introduced at trial and, 2) Cheney apologists like John Hannah are out giving interviews, Gellman provides the following weird two paragraphs, which provide the great drama of the story.

The depths of Cheney’s distress about another close friend, his former chief of staff and alter ego I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby, have only recently become clear. Bush refused a pardon after Libby’s felony convictions in 2007 for perjury and obstruction of an investigation of the leak of a clandestine CIA officer’s identity. Cheney tried mightily to prevent Libby’s fall, scrawling in a note made public at trial that he would not let anyone "sacrifice the guy that was asked to stick his neck in the meat grinder." Cheney never explained the allusion, but grand jury transcripts — and independent counsel Patrick J. Fitzgerald — suggested that Libby’s false statements aimed above all to protect the vice president.

Last month, an account in Time magazine, based on close access to Bush’s personal lawyer and White House counsel, described Cheney’s desperate end-of-term efforts to change Bush’s mind about a pardon. Cheney, who has spent a professional lifetime ignoring unflattering stories, issued a quietly furious reply. In the most explicit terms, he accused Bush of abandoning "an innocent man" who had served the president with honor and then become the "victim of a severe miscarriage of justice." Cheney now says privately that his memoir, expected to be published in spring 2011, will describe their heated arguments in full.

 This bit–which is what stuck in my craw–deserves some really close unpacking.

Cheney tried mightily to prevent Libby’s fall, scrawling in a note made public at trial that he would not let anyone "sacrifice the guy that was asked to stick his neck in the meat grinder." Cheney never explained the allusion, but grand jury transcripts — and independent counsel Patrick J. Fitzgerald — suggested that Libby’s false statements aimed above all to protect the vice president. 

Now, Gellman is ostensibly talking about Cheney’s efforts to get Bush to pardon Libby, actions that started in 2007 (and which, at the earliest, he might have first contemplated in 2005, when Judy Miller testified to the grand jury). But as his proof that "Cheney tried mightily to prevent Libby’s fall," Gellman raises the meat-grinder note. And that note–written around October 4, 2003–had absolutely nothing to do with preventing Libby’s "fall" referred to here–his conviction for perjury and obstruction of justice. Hell, it was written before the perjury (and false statements) occurred!! Rather, the reference to "not going to protect one staffer and sacrifice the guy the Pres that was asked to stick his neck in the meat grinder," had to do with protecting Libby from speculation in the press about his involvement in leaking Plame’s identity. Now, that is a sort of attempt to prevent Libby’s fall, but it’s not the one Gellman describes in this context. 

Which makes the next sentence–"Cheney never explained the allusion, but grand jury transcripts — and independent counsel Patrick J. Fitzgerald — suggested that Libby’s false statements aimed above all to protect the vice president"–utterly logically problematic. I agree that Libby’s lies and obstruction aimed to protect (at least) Cheney. But as I already noted, it would be impossible for that allusion to refer to Libby’s lies, because the allusion was made before them. Cheney was pressuring Bush to protect Libby from a different fall, one based on his primary actions in the Plame outing, not on his cover-up of those actions. It would have been nice, too, if Gellman had noted that Fitzgerald suggested in his closing statements that, on the very day Cheney wrote that note, Libby told him his cover story about where he learned of Plame’s name, and as Libby described did not object (so the obstruction began simultaneous with the meat-grinder note, but not the lies, yet).

And then there’s another weird bit. Gellman doesn’t even mention the reference to Bush–"the Pres"–in that note! If Libby’s outing of Plame (as distinct from his lies about it) were to protect Cheney alone, then why the reference to Bush?

So here’s what’s happening. For some reason, a really good reporter is confusing the four related actions:

Libby’s pushback against Wilson’s charges (June to July, 2003): Likely done at Bush’s request and–after certain directions from Cheney–ended in the outing of Valerie Plame. This was done to protect Bush and Cheney from pressure about their case for war.

Cheney’s successful pressure on Bush to exonerate Libby (October 2003): Possibly accomplished by invoking Bush’s role. This was done to protect Libby from speculation in the press about the first action.

Libby’s lies to the FBI and Fitz (fall 2003 and March 2004): Allegedly done with Cheney’s foreknowledge. This was done to protect (at least) Cheney from his role in the first action.

Bush’s commutation, then refused pardon, of Libby’s sentence (July 2007 and January 2009): In both Gellman’s story and the earlier Time one, this is the sole source of Cheney’s ire, which is in turn the point of the story. This was definitely an attempt to protect Libby; while the Time story speculates it was also an attempt to protect Cheney, it’s not clear whether that’s the whole story.

That is, Cheney’s ire is, by some remarkably bad writing (for Gellman at least), divorced from its relationship to the earlier three events even as those events are invoked. Which is how Gellman gets to this passage.

In the most explicit terms, he accused Bush of abandoning "an innocent man" who had served the president with honor and then become the "victim of a severe miscarriage of justice." Cheney now says privately that his memoir, expected to be published in spring 2011, will describe their heated arguments in full.

The "innocent man" and "victim of a severe miscarriage of justice" blah blah blah repeats the argument of Cheney from Time, though it appears to have come fresh through people like Hannah and Liz BabyDick Cheney to Gellman.

All of which climaxes in the big takeaway of Gellman’s story: Cheney’s memoir, coming out just short of five years after the commutation, "will describe their heated arguments in full." With the suggestion that those "heated arguments" refer to to Cheney’s arguments about the commutation and pardon.

And then, in a separate section of the article, Gellman repeats a Cheney statement he made right after his failure to win Bush a pardon to the Politico.

Cheney himself has said, without explanation, that "the statute of limitations has expired" on many of his secrets.

It’s unclear whether Cheney’s minions offered that quote up anew to Gellman, or whether he simply asked about the reference in the earlier article. But in a related chat Gellman provides a confident answer as to what the reference means.

Shreveport, La.: What statue of limitations is he talking about?

Barton Gellman: Mostly a metaphorical one — the idea that it would do any harm to talk about old disputes. In a technical sense, there are secrets whose value has expired — future war plans, for instance, when the war has long been launched — and classified information that has since been declassified.

Now, I actually don’t think the statute of limitations comment would refer (solely) to the Plame outing; there are plenty of crimes Cheney might have committed over the years on which the statutes of limitations have expired. When Cheney first made it, after all, it was just a month short of the expiration for any role he had in the hospital confrontation.

But I do think those arguments may be far more interesting–and far more threatening to Bush–than Gellman admits. At the very least, the whole sequence begins when Libby writes in his diary about Bush’s concern about the Kristof article.

One more point. As I mentioned, John Hannah was one of the people who dumped this story in Gellman’s lap. And Hannah is, after all, the fourth person involved in the beginning of that sequence, after Bush expresses concern and then Libby and Cheney and Hannah go into overdrive doing oppo research on the Wilsons. So while Gellman may have conflated different parts of the sequence, Hannah is likely to be well aware of at least some of how they relate together–including, potentially, Bush’s apparent role in setting off the sequence.

Now, these details don’t change the big takeaway: Cheney’s going after Bush in his memoirs. But between treating Cheney’s minions all too credulously and confusing the key facts–at least on the issue of Plame–Gellman appears to misunderstand the complexity of Cheney’s anger at Bush.

image_print
79 replies
  1. NCDem says:

    In that same question/answer session with Gellman, he reponds that Cheney is the anti-politician while Bush of course knows that to be re-elected in 2004, he has to pushback against Wilson.

    We often leave out what to me is the most important part of the “meat grinder” note. In the end of the statement, Cheney pointly refers to the “incompetence of others”. Would Cheney call Bush “incompetent”? However, I think it refers to both Rove and Bush.

    I’ll predict that Libby, Hannah and Cheney had argued for a different method of pushback against Wilson and that once Bush was made aware of Plame’s CIA position, it was Bush that decided to involve her in the pushback. Bush has never respected women. He would fit in fine with the Taliban. I believe Rove and Bush were in a panic mode over the upcoming 2004 campaign and pushed the Plame outing against the advice of Cheney, Hannah, and Libby (Damn, I hate to think well of Cheney on this). Thus after arguing against it with Bush and losing the argument, he makes reference to the “incompetence of others”.

    • alabama says:

      Yes. Yes indeed….

      Who gets the credit for treason is a real question, but not a serious one for any of these folks, whose lapel-pins have usurped all sense of honor and self (they surely take Wilson, or the Wilsons, to be the only traitor, or traitors, in this story).

      But who gets accused of being stupid is another question, absolutely crucial to all. This is a pin that each of them has been removing from his own lapel every day for the past sixty years. Better yet, each of them knows how the others are stupid, and how each of them has had to protect the others at one or another moment (9-11 being the most crucial of these). And Cheney can’t stand the notion that he might be end up wearing the pin all by himself. He’s telling us that he won’t stand for this, and will do anything to avoid it.

      I believe him.

  2. klynn says:

    The context of the “meat grinder” note has continued to nag at me. This Gellman piece just amplified the nagging.

    NCDem,

    I think they all wanted the same outcome against Wilson and possibly agreed on the means and the method of a takedown. More likely, it was the cover-up they probably disagreed upon. And of course, Cheney knows cover-up better than anybody. With the exception of George Bush, who probably whispered a great deal in his son’s ear.

    • NCDem says:

      I agree that the group agreed on pushing back against Wilson. It is Plame where I think the disagreement centered. Of course, after the “incompetent” decision was made to include her, Cheney became a vigilant warrior.

      The insistence by Cheney that Libby’s punishment was a “miscarriage of justice” leaves me with the impression that President Bush was so weak that he couldn’t stand up and tell the truth. In Cheney’s mind, the war in Iraq was so important that he couldn’t allow a questioning of the rationale for it. He would have suggested that Bush stop worrying about the polls and use the war to make up for the 9/11 fiasco on their watch.

      Gellman also indicates that Cheney’s book will discuss the “heated arguments in full”. Could this be a glimpse into the fact that he may also discuss the heated arguments around the “pushback” or only those involved with the possible pardon for Libby. I don’t think he can effectively show only the latter without including some information on the May-July, 2003 discussions.

      • alabama says:

        If Cheney has anything of interest on Bush, it’s bound to be the decision to out Plame. This, in the world of the Bushes, has to be the cardinal sin. In their world, one becomes President in order to run the CIA, without interference, of course, by the CIA, or the sitting President (Reagan comes to mind).

        I’m even inclined to believe that 43 outed Plame as a sign of his royal displeasure with his disloyal minions. It’s as if he were saying, “you don’t deserve to be in the CIA, Mrs. Wilson, and I hereby fire you in the one way that works, and if someone offs you or your informants, that’s just fine with me, because you’re a traitor, Mrs. Wilson, yes indeed you are”.

  3. bmaz says:

    …on the very day Cheney wrote that note, Libby told him his cover story about where he learned of Plame’s name, and as Libby described did not object (so the obstruction began simultaneous with the meat-grinder note, but not the lies, yet).

    And so to began, arguably, the conspiracy to obstruct between Cheney and Libby.

  4. FrankProbst says:

    I would add in Cheney’s interview with Fitz to your four events. We still don’t know what happened there, but I would guess that Cheney made some effort to (at a minimum) steer Fitz away from Libby. In any case, based on Fitz’s closing statement, I would say that Fitz wasn’t very happy with whatever Cheney had to say.

  5. Mary says:

    Ignoring the scratched out reference on the note – a reference that was pretty clearly a reference to Bush – and saying that the note indicated Libby was covering for Cheney, without mentioning “the Pres” scratchout, was pretty odd.

    Classification doesn’t have the “statute of limitations” expiration, but the very reference to SOLs is Cheney bragging – Sure, I broke the law, so what, I just classified it and kicked DOJ in the butt and spit on Obama when he came in and hell, I’m practiciing my chortle. Wanna hear it?

    OT – but a weird case reported in the NYPost, so the editing there just makes it stranger
    http://www.nypost.com/seven/08…..htm?page=0

    • klynn says:

      Re: Your OT

      That is one odd/weird piece, especially with the date September 24, 2001.

      I wonder how much of that content fits into the Ghorbanifar Timeline?

      • Mary says:

        It’s really a weird read combined with having read Jawbreaker the book.

        More OT, a good piece at The American Prospect by Adam Serwer pulling together the Obama forever detention threads. The ultimate takeaway from the Katyal, Cole, Obama crew in their roles as disciples of Cap’n Jack Goldsmith?

        Cole says the notion that the Obama administration is simply continuing Bush’s counterterrorism policies isn’t true. “The important difference is that Obama is saying we will be guided and governed by the rule of law,” Cole says. “Bush was saying quite the opposite.”

        This has been the undercurrent for years now and it’s why I almost never mention the Steel seizure case, bc what you really have are two sets of imperialists. The Bushies, who claim that there is carte blanche in the Presidency to detain and torture on whim, v the Obamaniacs, who claim there is carte blanche in the Congress to pass legislation authorizing detention and torture on whim.

        Then there’s the Dershowitz overlay, that Congress and the President should wrap the courts into the detentions and torture by having the legislation authorize court warrants for chargeless detentions and torture.

        All of which is crap. Congress is Constitutionally prohibited from passing attainder bill(s) that would allow the President to detain and punish without charges or a real trial with due process. Which is why I tend to focus on the Constitutional interpretation cases like Milligan and US v US Dist Ct.

        Anything else is a beg for Congress to bless the mess with legislation, as it has consistently done on request, without regard to the Constitution. It did it in the Patriot Act and its subsequent amendments, enactments and incarnations (many of the provisions of which, despite joint Executive and Congressional obstruction efforts and without any minor consideration by Democrats or Republicans in Congress of the institutional and individual havoc they were wreaking and despite court packing, have been found to be unconstitutional)have been found to be unconstitutional.

        It did it with the Detainee Treatment Act, the Military Commission Act, the ongoing and unclarified AUMFs for Afghanistan and Iraq, etc.

        Cole doesn’t bother to answer the question implicit in his own response either – if the Bushies just went ahead with breaking the law, but Obama will not pursue criminal charges against any of them because their lawbreaking was a “policy matter” and a choice for the Exec branch to make, with impunity – – – how again is it that Obama is different?

        What – his cult has blue robes instead of red and sacrifics sheep instead of goats?

  6. Rayne says:

    Are we absolutely sure “the Pres” as struck out meant the President and not “the press”?

    Are we equally sure about the nature of the so-called “meat grinder”?

    I think Gellman was spun by sources here, but I don’t know that we are on absolutely solid footing wrt these two tidbits. It’s easier to spin Gellman if there’s wiggle room here, but it could also explain why Gellman (or his editorial staff) ignored the struck-out text, avoiding a discussion of content about which the meaning is not utter and completely certain.

    • emptywheel says:

      Well, first of all, Libby (who, after all, was with Cheney when this note was birthed, in Jackson, dreaming up cover stories) believes it said President.

      Second of all, Cheney called the Pres, not the the press.

      Third of all, it saying the Pres would correlate with what looks like (but Libby tried not to admit) was a request by Bush on June 9, 2003 that he stick his neck rebut Wilson’s statements.

      So while we know there is a press side to it–that Libby was asked to hit back on this and not trained media professionals–the interpretation of this being the Pres is consistent with the known facts, whereas the press is not.

      And FWIW, the WaPo has a history of treating this note ignorantly. Jeffrey Smith’s story on what’s in Cheney’s interview with Fitz STILL says there’s a reference to Ari in there, even though the title is wrong, the timing, and the fact that this woudl not then be mentioned even though it obviously is. And I pointed that out to him. He said, “my research said it was Ari” and chose to ignore the actual evidence. Given the likelihood that Smith edited this piece, I think it likely that the WaPo has a big problem with this (or at least Jeffrey Smith).

      • Rayne says:

        Gellman seems more careful in his other works than this piece; the hole left by avoiding the “the Pres” has the feel of an editor’s unresolved question.

        If we can’t say with more than 95% certainty that the struck-out “the Pres” meant Bush instead of a possible point of changed mind about the “the Press” on Crazy-Attic-Man’s part, I could see where an editor like Smith would rather avoid it altogether.

        Does Smith have a track record of direct access to Cheney? I wonder if he’s protecting something here by leaving the hole open in this way, regardless of how it looks on Gellman’s record.

        • emptywheel says:

          We can say with close to 95% certainty that this was “the President.”

          Furthermore, we can say that the rest of the article is so fucking sloppy that we can’t blame it, alone, on his editor.

          My big gripe, after all, is the chronological one. Gellman’s treating a note written BEFORE the second crime was committed to be an attempt to avoid consequences for that second crime–probably bc his sources didn’t want to talk about the first one.

          • Mary says:

            Given the totality of the note, http://static1.firedoglake.com…..rinder.pdf
            with the reference to a call out to “key press” and the upper case P in “the Pres” and the context of the sentence (not sacrifice the guy “to” the Pres) and everything else you’ve already hit, I think you’ve got 95% covered.

          • Rayne says:

            I yield as always to your superior knowledge of the topic and will continue to puzzle on the reasons why Gellman’s piece seems so patchy.

            My dad just mentioned to me that Novak died. Funny how some of these monsters have such undeserved impact on others like my dad.

          • Mauimom says:

            Furthermore, we can say that the rest of the article is so fucking sloppy that we can’t blame it, alone, on his editor.

            Marcy, does Gellman correspond with you at all on this, or is he intimidated by your knowledge?

            A good reporter would look far & wide for info.

    • readerOfTeaLeaves says:

      Are we equally sure about the nature of the so-called “meat grinder”?

      Allow me to indulge in a little ‘Morning What If?’

      What if: the ‘incompetence’ involved planting bogus WMD in Iraq?
      What if: the ‘incompetence’ also related to getting caught (apparently by the FBI?) planting bogus WMD in Iraq?
      What if: the ‘meat grinder’ involved coordinating with Chalabi AND ALSO with Scooter Libby on planting bogus evidence of WMD via a false, Dept of State funded ‘program’?

      Oh, and just because it’s a lovely a.m. and my coffee’s still steaming, here’s another question… who would have been able to ‘oversee’ this type of Dept of State ‘program’…?

      Because wouldn’t Dept of State have noticed if Chalabi was setting up shop right under their noses? Wouldn’t they have noted the stench and gone sniffing around and stumbled upon Chalabi’s little rat’s nest under their noses…?

      Well, just for extra fun on a nice August morning, and since unlike the rest of my family I do ‘Emptywheel + Wikipedia’ rather than morning crossword puzzles, what might we find at Liz Cheney’s Wikipedia page?

      In 2002, Cheney was appointed to the position of Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs,[4] a pre-existing vacant post with an “economic portfolio,” which is a mandate to promote investment in the region. Amid reports, including a New York Times editorial by Paul Krugman, saying that the job was created especially for her, State Department spokesman Richard Boucher said that she had come recommended by then-Secretary of State Colin Powell.[5][6] The Times of London reported that Cheney’s appointment was “the most intriguing sign that America is getting serious about Middle East reform” and that the appointment was “a measure of the seriousness with which the administration was taking Middle East programmes for literacy, education, and reform.”[7] The appointment followed publicized policy divisions between the Vice President’s office and the State Department on Middle East policy. In that position, she was given control of the Middle East Partnership Initiative, designed to “foster increased democracy and economic progress in a troubled region.” The program spent $29 million in 2002, increased to $129 million in the following year. Cheney’s task was to channel money to pre-screened groups, some of which were not identified publicly for fear of retaliations from extant governments they sought to undermine. For the budget year 2004, the project sought $145 million.

      Well, no guarantees that my hunches are correct.
      But I must say, this is the first time that in my own mind I’ve linked up Liz Cheney’s oversight of Dept of State funds, with Chalabi’s little ‘let’s make up some bogus WMD shit so we can get the US to invade Iraq and I can become rich! rich!! RICH!!! from getting back my family’s share of oil revenue$$$”, with Hannah + Libby inside OVP.

      So it took me under an hour.
      And Gellman’s letting John Hannah — of all people! — ‘dump’ information in his lap?

      So what’s with Gellman handing his ass on a platter to John Hannah? It’s one of many, many things that I just don’t get.

  7. perris says:

    is this all spin?

    we know as a fact the worst thing that could have happened to cheney was skooter given a pardon, that would open the flood gates against any 5th amendment claims from skooter

    however, as I speculated earlier, skooter could simply refuse to comment and get paroned add infinitum so I guess that answers that

  8. klynn says:

    Mary @ 17

    Cole doesn’t bother to answer the question implicit in his own response either – if the Bushies just went ahead with breaking the law, but Obama will not pursue criminal charges against any of them because their lawbreaking was a “policy matter” and a choice for the Exec branch to make, with impunity – – – how again is it that Obama is different?

    What – his cult has blue robes instead of red and sacrifics sheep instead of goats?

    (my bold)

    Okay, that wins the comment of the day award. And the quote of the day award.

    I can see that on a t-shirt Mary!

    Too ironic and, of course, seriously tragic.

    Great link.

    (Marcy, I think you should add a comment of the day box to your homepage.)

  9. perris says:

    Now, these details don’t change the big takeaway: Cheney’s going after Bush in his memoirs

    this would only be true if Cheney is an even bigger moron then I myself have given him credit, is he SO stupid he does not know bush will come at Cheney like a lion protecting her cubs?

    I have been saying Cheney is FAR less intelligent then most give him credit, bordering on bush level intelligence but if this is true then his intelligence quotient is even lower then I thought

    • Rayne says:

      Cheney’s got more to lose, don’t you think? His progeny stand a much better chance of obtaining future elected office than any of the Bush family. With an approval rating under 18%, tossing crazy coot in the can is more likely and the crazy old coot doesn’t want to end his days locked up.

      There’s also the matter of crazy coot’s, well, his sanity. May not be intelligence but grip on reality in question. Perhaps he’s got a nasty cast of pump head which is gradually getting worse, making his grip on reality a little less than firm.

      • readerOfTeaLeaves says:

        Cheney’s got more to lose, don’t you think? His progeny stand a much better chance of obtaining future elected office than any of the Bush family.

        Those of us who think it’s bad policy to subvert the military, lie to the FBI, and generally sabotage constitutional government really need to remind the world of Liz Cheney’s position and budget at Dept of State during the period leading up to the war in Iraq.

        Because if I were sitting on the rings of Saturn watching all this, I’d assume — perhaps incorrectly — that she was in cahoots with PapaDick on some kind of bogus bullshit aimed at drumming up a war to grab oil resources make the world safe for democracy.

      • perris says:

        I’m going to agree with that, the man is insane and even though ianap, it seems pretty clear to me

    • mafr says:

      he doesn’t seem intelligent to me, just extremely devious, cunning, reckless, ruthless, manipulative.

      none of those are related to intelligence as far as I know.

      Didn’t he take Haliburton into some horrendous deal, buying a liability laden business, that almost destroyed Haliburton.

      Not much intelligence shown there.

      • perris says:

        plus he’s failed at everything, even failed out of yale, from the rolling stone article;

        This pattern of misplaced confidence in Cheney, followed by disastrous results, runs throughout his life — from his days as a dropout at Yale to the geopolitical chaos he has helped create in Baghdad. Once you get to know his history, the cycle becomes clear: First, Cheney impresses someone rich or powerful, who causes unearned wealth and power to be conferred on him. Then, when things go wrong, he blames others and moves on to a new situation even more advantageous to himself.

        “Cheney’s manner and authority of voice far outstrip his true abilities,”

        he really is a moron

        • perris says:

          you know, reading that rolling stone article now in hindsite is REALLY tastey, you must re-read it even if you read it before, for instance this succulant morsal, notice my bold;

          In his first test-drive at the wheels of power, Cheney had played a central role in the undoing of a president. Wrote right-wing columnist Robert Novak, “White House Chief of Staff Richard Cheney . . . is blamed by Ford insiders for a succession of campaign blunders.” Those in the old elitist wing of the party thought the decision to dump Rockefeller was both stupid and wrong: “I think Ford lost the election because of it,” one of Kissinger’s former aides says now. Ford agreed, calling it “the biggest political mistake of my life.”

          who dat?…did someone say robert novak calling cheney out?

          why yes, yes he did, but that was then after all

    • bobschacht says:

      this would only be true if Cheney is an even bigger moron then I myself have given him credit, is he SO stupid he does not know bush will come at Cheney like a lion protecting her cubs?

      Bush wouldn’t have to. All he needs to do is say to Obama, “OK, I’m done with him. You can investigate him for prosecution all you want.” And then Cheney’s ass would be in a sling for sure. Even so, Obama might wait until next year. (My pet theory is that Obama’s strategy calls for Maximum Nice to Republicans this year, to get his legislative agenda passed– which has yielded pretty poor results so far– but that next year, as the campaign season warms up, prosecutions of Republican law-breakers will escalate to remind voters what a lousy brand Republicanism is.)

      Bob in HI

  10. readerOfTeaLeaves says:

    But I do think those arguments may be far more interesting–and far more threatening to Bush–than Gellman admits….
    One more point. As I mentioned, John Hannahwas one of the people who dumped this story in Gellman’s lap. And Hannah is, after all, the fourth person involved in the beginning of that sequence, after Bush expresses concern and then Libby and Cheney and Hannah go into overdrive doing oppo research on the Wilsons.

    IIRC, Hannah was: (1) a premier PNACer, (2) a passionate neocon, (3) was Cheney’s aide on national security, (4) was implicated in working with Chalabi to drum up bogus ‘intel’ as a premise claiming Saddam Hussein had WMD.

    From Wikipedia, although I’m skeptical that it’s 100% accurate:

    On October 31, 2005, Cheney named Hannah as his assistant for national security affairs. At the same time, Cheney appointed another Duke alumnus, David S. Addington, as his chief of staff. The two took over duties that had previously been jointly held by I. Lewis “Scooter” Libby. Hannah had originally been on loan to the Office of the Vice President from the office of former State Department official and U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations John Bolton

    And at the DailyKos Wiki on all things Plame, Hannah comes up repeatedly on “June 9, 2003″ as EW points out, ferreting out Plame’s identity and job within CIA.

    And Hannah was also mentioned by Larisa at RawStory, waybackwhen:

    Hannah is currently under investigation by U.S. authorities for his alleged activities in an intelligence program run by the controversial Iraqi National Congress (INC) and its leader, Ahmed Chalabi.

    According to a Newsweek article, a memo written for the Iraq National Congress (INC) raised questions regarding Cheney’s role in the build up to the war in Iraq. During the lead up to the war, Newsweek asserts, the INC was providing intelligence on the now discredited Iraqi WMD program through Hannah and I. Lewis “Scooter” Libby, Cheney’s chief of staff.

    “A June 2002 memo written by INC lobbyist Entifadh Qunbar to a U.S. Senate committee lists John Hannah, a senior national-security aide on Cheney’s staff, as one of two ‘U.S. governmental recipients’ for reports generated by an intelligence program being run by the INC and which was then being funded by the State Department. Under the program, ‘defectors, reports and raw intelligence are cultivated and analyzed’; the info was then reported to, among others, ‘appropriate governmental, non-governmental and international agencies.’ The memo not only describes Cheney aide Hannah as a “principal point of contact” for the program, it even provides his direct White House telephone number.”

    “…Hannah and Cheney’s chief of staff, Lewis ‘Scooter’ Libby, were the two Cheney employees,’ We believe that Hannah was the major player in this,’ one federal law-enforcement officer told the magazine.

    Note **’the’** major player.
    Now this business about Hannah working with Chalabi does seem to fit the May-June 2003 section of the famous, invaluable, stupendously intriguing Emptywheel Ghorbanifar Timeline, particularly these bits:

    May 7, 2003: Rhode apparently stages “find” of anti-Israel materials in Iraq (and uranium document) with Ahmed Chalabi; Judy Miller reports it

    Late May, 2003: Ledeen sends new letter outlining Ghorbanifar plan to Feith, including promise of finding “Iraqi weapons of mass destruction that had been moved to Iran”

    May 21, 2003: US cancels Geneva meeting with Iran, accusing Iran of harboring Al Qaeda leaders

    May 25, 2003: Report (quoting Rummy elsewhere) that US considering using MEK to launch attack on Iran

    So if I read this post correctly, Gellman is quite likely either:
    1. playing along with Cheney-Hannah-Libby’s agenda, or
    2. getting punk’d by Cheney-Hannah-Libby

    Another case of media malpractice and misinformation?
    Too bad.
    I actually thought “Angler” was a great read, full of good info.
    Then again, if Cheney-Hannah-Libby want to punk anyone (aside from EW), it’d probably be Gellman they’d want to punk. Or pwn.

    • chrisc says:

      IIRC Hannah expected to be indicted- or so it was reported.
      Slightly OT, but, haven’t heard much about Chalabi lately.
      Wonder what he is up to.

      • readerOfTeaLeaves says:

        Like you, I thought that Hannah was due for some kind of indictment or legal proceeding. But I’ve seen no sign of any such thing.

        Gin up a war and then spin reporters.
        Jail?
        Never heard of it.

    • Leen says:

      Remember reading quite a bit about Hannah in Phase II of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence

      23 officials involved in Plame leak
      http://thinkprogress.org/leak-scandal/

      ———————————————————-

      What was it that Fitz said in response to Ted Wells closing arguments. Ted said something like this was a “he said she said kind of circumstance” Then Fitz came back with the image of all of those who had testified and said something like no this was a “he said, he said, he said, she said he said, he said he said” circumstance.

      I almost choked.

      what does all of this prove to a peasant….The Bush administration’s crimes are “basically ABOVE THE LAW.

      the peasants know it…the rest of the world knows it

    • emptywheel says:

      Yes, this diminishes the likelihood we’ll ever figure out what happened in that July 9, 2003 meeting between him and Libby they both worked so hard to hide.

  11. JThomason says:

    Should be sHe, yes? In any event what an odd flow to this news in the context of where the thread was going.

  12. Kathryn in MA says:

    “not going to protect one staffer and sacrifice the guy the Pres that was asked to stick his neck in the meat grinder

    I read the strikeout bit as “sacrifice the guy {that[ the President asked to stick his neck out.” So, if Bush asked Libby to take the fall, and then refused to pardon him, yeah, i guess Cheney would be furious.

      • LabDancer says:

        Doesn’t it fit equally well if we substitute for the words:

        [A] “sacrifice the guy that was asked to stick his neck in the meat grinder”

        these words instead:

        [B] “assume the risks inherent in dealing out state secrets directly to such a notorious institutional convenience as Novak”

        ?

      • perris says:

        I think it doesn’t fit, I think bush would have found a way to exonerate libby and keep him from testifying, all in the same stroke if this were true

        I rather think cheney creates false realities that are based marginally on fact to manipulate whatevery the want manipulated

  13. earlofhuntingdon says:

    Admittedly, Cheney has respect for no one but himself and direct reports like Addington that preen and protect him. And he could not have respect for a president he so easily politically cuckolded. More likely, he has enormous disdain for a man who, even more than Gerald Ford, gave away his power to an underling and constitutional nullity.

    Still, it beggars belief that Cheney would really out Bush in any significant manner. The appearance, the promise of outing Bush would help enormously in boosting a book deal or its initial sales. It would rile his many opponents and keep Cheney out of office but not out of mind. But his memoirs are unlikely to make enough rope to bind him.

    Cheney’s principal defense to all his actions as a powerless vice president is that he was doing the president’s bidding, he was acting by and for the president, not in his own capacity (he had none). Undoubtedly, Cheney kept better records – keeping records while avoiding federal record-keeping laws is a fetish for him – than a president who kept none at all and who has a famously empty memory box.

    True, Cheney’s hubris is unbounded: the Wyoming lineman who went to and was sent down from Yale, twice, and who since 1974 has been convinced he could do a better job than the president. But the last thing he needs are admissions of lawbreaking or a direct tussle over whether he acted within or outside the authority delegated to him by Shrub.

    The passing of various statutes of limitation – applicable to crimes other than murder or war crimes – would relieve Big Dick of legal vulnerability. But I assume he wants to groom Lizzy-the-ax Cheney to replace him in public life. He wants to spend the next two decades grooming his clones, not litigating his limited future.

    • rkilowatt says:

      STOP! “…the Wyoming lineman” is crappo. Cheney was a temp “groundman” for the IBEW, NOT a “lineman”… a summer temp IIRC to make some money for school. A “groundman” is a pre-apprentice position akin to “helper” and has only a future possibility of an opportunity to get training as a “lineman”. The IBEW went very quiet about any connection to Cheney.

      BTW, note that the Pres can also be seen as a deliberate pointer. Would clever/cunning/cover-up artist/look-ahead/conniving Cheney ever put that in writing unintentionally? Most inconsistent.

      • earlofhuntingdon says:

        I’m delighted the IBEW reject their purported temporary association with Darth Cheney.

        The phrase struck by Cheney was not unintentional. A man so morbidly fearful of the harm public records could do to political figures would have destroyed the document he scribbled it on had it been. As you suggest, if he saved the document, it was in part to preserve that specific note, with its implication of the president’s direct involvement.

        In theory, he’s correct. Cheney had no inherent power as VP; his only authority came as the president’s delegate. If Cheney severs that link, his actions are his and/or outside the limits he was supposed to work within (if any). Cheney needs the president, and the cover provided by him, as much as he must despise Bush’s lack of will and ability to use the power his handlers obtained for him.

  14. Leen says:

    Gellman “John P. Hannah, Cheney’s second-term national security adviser, said the former vice president is driven, now as before, by the nightmare of a hostile state acquiring nuclear weapons and passing them to terrorists. Aaron Friedberg, another of Cheney’s foreign policy advisers, said Cheney believes “that many people find it very difficult to hold that idea in their head, really, and conjure with it, and see what it implies.”

    This sentence is so damn absurd. why the fuck did Cheney and Team out a woman whose job was to track down the path, sales and development of WMD’s? They are still trying like hell to rewrite history

    As Joe Wilson said it the outing of Valerie was an inside “hit job”

    Bill Maher interviews the Plame/Wilsons


    “the penalty for treason is”

  15. perris says:

    sorry to keep comming back to this but I am at work and can only pop in and out, from the rolling stone article, this piece was really precient;

    “We must maintain the mechanisms for deterring potential competitors from even aspiring to a larger regional or global role,” the report declared. It was nothing less than a blueprint for worldwide domination, and Cheney loved it. He maneuvered to have the president adopt it as doctrine, but the elder Bush, recognizing that the proposals were not only foolish but dangerous, immediately rejected them.

    By the end of the first Bush administration, others had come to the conclusion that Cheney and his followers were dangerous. “They were referred to collectively as the crazies,” recalls Ray McGovern, a CIA professional who interpreted intelligence for presidents going back to Kennedy

    re-reading this article I am dumbfounded how accurate it was predicting what cheney would bring to the table

    • Boston1775 says:

      And from the same article, emphasis mine:

      But instead of heeding the country’s desire for honesty and reconciliation, Rumsfeld and Cheney convinced Ford that the way to turn himself into a real president was to stir up crises in international relations while lurching to the right in domestic politics.

      Having turned Ford into their instrument, Rumsfeld and Cheney staged a palace coup. They pushed Ford to fire Defense Secretary James Schlesinger, tell Vice President Nelson Rockefeller to look for another job and remove Henry Kissinger from his post as national security adviser. Rumsfeld was named secretary of defense, and Cheney became chief of staff to the president. The Yale dropout and draft dodger was, at the age of thirty-four, the second-most-powerful man in the White House.

      ————————-

      Ford, an unelected president, is run by Cheney and Rumsfeld.
      Hmmm……
      Bush, an unelected president, is run by Cheney and Rumsfeld.

  16. maryo2 says:

    IMO it seems that Cheney wanted to push back against the Wilson op-ed. He gathered information through his personal CIA channels. He expected to bring the need for pushback to Bush and be given free rein to act (while simultaneously covering his ass with Bush’s nod) as he was accustomed to doing. But instead Rove stuck his nose in and persuaded Bush to use Rove’s grapevine. Cheney loaned out Libby so that Libby could monitor the message and keep Cheney somewhat in control. And Cheney is pissed that Bush followed Rove’s advice over his.

    • perris says:

      IMO it seems that Cheney wanted to push back against the Wilson op-ed. He gathered information through his personal CIA channels.

      the cia for the most part hates cheney, this goes back to his “team b” days when he created a fake cia to undermine nixon’s treaty of detante and the real cia wouldn’t play along

      there is a faction in the cia that will work with cheney but those are not th porfessionals, they are team b

      • Boston1775 says:

        perris,
        Could you give links to information about Team B?
        I have been investigating MKULTRA programs in which children were tortured into dissociative states. According to one of the victims, Dick Cheney played a role.

        http://www.wanttoknow.info/mindcontrol10pg

        http://www.wanttoknow.info/nationbetrayed10pg

        http://www.freedrive.com/file/…..1;c-obrien

        The last link is a pdf download of a book by a former CIA agent and the mind control victim he saved.

        Testimony before a 1995 Presidential Commission concerning MKULTRA mind control and two of its victims.

        Valerie Wolf, Therapist



        MKULTRA victim:



        Another MKULTRA victim:



        • perris says:

          perris,
          Could you give links to information about Team B?

          have a read here, STUNNING that was written BEFORE we went to war in Iraq, simply stunning as it gives the play by play of EXACTLY what was going to happen, a step by step of what cheney, rumsfeld, wolfowize did before

          • Boston1775 says:

            Thank you! Even the WMD false charges are the same. Remarkable.

            I forgot to say that Trance Formation of America, the book on pdf download is “Cathy O’Brien’s documented testimony she provided to US Courts, US Congress, and the United Nations Commission on Human Rights Abuses of her existence as a CIA MK-Ultra mind control project’s slave.”

            This quote is from their second book, Access Denied For Reasons of National Security.

    • emptywheel says:

      Timing’s all off. Cheney’s activities–and Bush’s apparent involvement–go back a month earlier. And remember, Libby succeeded in passing the Plame leak to Judy before Novak allegedly first got the leak from Armitage.m

  17. Jkat says:

    just my two cents … i think the cheney statement about “the statute of limitations has expired” is even more metaphorical .. as in ” you know i’ve felt under an obligation to not spill the beans on bush .. and maintain confidentially .. but now .. being out of office and all.. and now feeling like i got shit on .. i’m taking off the gloves ” ..

    IOW.. the phrase “statute of limitations” being used NOT in the legal sense at all .. or not specifically in reference to criminal activities ..

    and yesh .. i’m sure y’all have already had this thought .. and maybe even expounded on it somewhere i’ve missed or overlooked it ..

  18. Garrett says:

    I forget what the best-supported oninion is about some of this stuff, but when Cheney says in the talking points part of the meat grinder note:

    1. “Libby was not the source of the Novak story.”
    2. “And he did not leak classified information.”

    It fairly strongly implies that Cheney knew who the “source” of the leak was (Armitage). Or at a minimum that Cheney knew a great deal about the details of who told what to Novak when.

    The parsing also allows that Libby leaked pixie-dusted unclassified information for the Novak story, presumably at least around July 9.

    There is a seeming parallelism about the Rove and Libby denials, which happens to be exactly what Cheney was asking for.

    In OVP-think, it might work like this: Rove confirmed, and was given denials he was involved. Libby presumably also confirmed in some way, and should thus get the same denial he was involved. The president approved the denial. Thus there was an implied permission to lie to McClellan, since he was asking too directly, in order to get it done.

    Novak’s parsing about his sources for the story has always been known to be odd and untrustable.

    • emptywheel says:

      Well, sort of (but remember that we’ve got increasing evidence Novak spoke with OVP on July 7, so they could easily have pitched him a question).

      But, first, those notes are Libby’s. And then there’s the Cheney note that says “Tenet Wilson Memo” next to Libby’s claim that he did not leak classified information.

      I think that’s a recognition on Cheney’s part that Tenet knew that Libby had leaked classified information–probably the contents of the trip report, but possibly some other “Wilson memo,” like one Valerie sent in support of Joe’s trip that had the “State, DOD, and OVP” were interested in intell. That talking point showed up in Novak’s column (as did content from the Wilson trpi report that I still believe came from Libby, but that’s anotehr lie Novak brought to his grave).

      So in other words, what I think happened was Libby wrote a script, Cheney realized that if they used it, Tenet would balk. So he just said “say the same thing you said for Rove” which fell far short of claiming that Libby hadn’t leaked classified info, which Cheney not only knew he had, but knew Tenet knew he had.

  19. jang says:

    Is it possible the meatgrinder note reads: “this” Pres?

    Reading the line using “this Pres” one get’s a feeling Cheney’s anger.

    I’ve forgotton tho, why the first half of the note is printed and the last half written.

    Thank you EW for the magnificent site..and all the hard work you all do.

  20. Gerald says:

    Well, I always personally thought that Plame was collateral damage; that she just unfortunately was too close to the blast zone when the WH called in the strike on Joe Wilson.

    But addressing the above comments, I would say that Bush probably doesn’t feel too guilty or culpable even in a historical sense about the events or he would have reacted more to Cheney’s liking and gone ahead and pardoned Libby.

    Pardoning Libby doesn’t mean that Libby would have to ”talk.” If questioned again, he could just say, ”well it seems from what everyone said that I must have a lot of misremembering about those events because everyone disagreed with me so indeed I shouldn’t speak positively about any of those events.” ”I just am not sure anymore.” You can’t charge perjury for saying ”I am not sure” or ”I just can’t make a definite statement about that.”

    Who here doubts after seeing Rove’s testimony before the HJC that Rove didn’t use a lot of ”I think” and ”to the best of my remembrance” and ”as my memory serves me,” etc., and he got away clean with Fitzgerald.

  21. prostratedragon says:

    sing it Ethel

    And when the space-time continuum lines up just so as to make a small time tunnel, one need only open one’s window.

    There’ll never be another Merman.

  22. mafr says:

    have a read here, STUNNING that was written BEFORE we went to war in Iraq, simply stunning as it gives the play by play of EXACTLY what was going to happen, a step by step of what cheney, rumsfeld, wolfowize did

    That article mentions the documentary

    “The Power of Nightmares”

    I highly recommend that documentary. Don’t know, but it may be available online. It attempts to bring reason to the question of the level of threat posed by “Islamic terrorists”

  23. orionATL says:

    look, on his behavior patterns over time,

    no one should EVER give dick cheney any benefit-of-the-doubt – EVER.

    if cheney has a point or a case, let’s wait until he presents it – and his evidence – in public.

    cheney is as treacherous an official as the white house has ever known.

    need i point out that, among other things,

    if cheney did not APPEAR to be fussing about libby’s “mistreatment” and shifting blame to bush, then libby, or libby’s wife, might just spill the beans on the vice-prez.

    cheney has lots of motive to blame bush as a cover-up, now that all has been said and done.

    when talking about cheney, forget bush.

    always focus on what cheney is talking about at the time – that’s what he is worried about.

    and cheney has a shit load of misconduct and illegal conduct to worry about.

    plame is a small part of this, but, if i understand correctly, it is a STILL ACTIVE legal case.

    cheney ran the white house. bush was the ignorant, lazy front man.

    focus on cheney.

    you may be rewarded.

    • Boston1775 says:

      cheney has lots of motive to blame bush as a cover-up, now that all has been said and done.

      when talking about cheney, forget bush.
      —————————
      Would you apply this to Bush Sr as well?

Comments are closed.