June 7, 2016 / by emptywheel

 

Posts

Kontogiannis’ Seal

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emptywheel

Laura asks why the government (and Kontogiannis, in a filing submitted yesterday) would fight to continue to seal the transcripts from his four hearings before Judge Larry Burns.

In an unusual step, Kontogiannis’ guilty plea was done in a secret,closed hearing. The plea agreement was unsealed earlier this month, andlast week Burns ordered that transcripts of four hearings related tothe plea also be made public.

Federal prosecutors objected in motions filed under seal

Mind the Gap: the Libby-Novak Call

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emptywheel

You wouldn’t think that I–after babbling about this for two years and beating up the press for ignoring it–would miss an opportunity to highlight the super-secret Libby-Novak meeting, do you? Only that’s what I did yesterday, when I was puzzling through the remaining two-page gap in the Tatel opinion. Duh.

My post yesterday made the argument that, in addition to laying out the background for the Cooper-Rove conversation (and Rove’s prevaricating about

Actually, TWO DOJ Employees Quit This Week

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emptywheel

It’s funny how, now that we’re so attuned to BushCo’s Friday news dumps, something reported on Friday attracts more notice than something reported on Thursday.

On Friday, we learned that Rachel Brand, one of the last remaining DOJ clique-members (and a tangential one at that) will resign on July 9.

Rachel Brand, the assistant attorney general in the Office of LegalPolicy, will step down July 9, the department said in a statement.

The Two Redacted Pages

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emptywheel

As I said earlier, the most interesting part of the Tatel opinion is the two-page section that remains redacted (thanks again to Jeralyn for making the opinion available), explaining why Fitzgerald suspects Rove perjured himself in his testimony about Novak and Cooper. I believe that section includes:An assertion that Rove lied when he testified that he responded to Novak’s story about Plame by saying, “you heard that too?”A description of some

This Is How It’s Done

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emptywheel

Tim Walberg is a really awful wingnutty Congressman whose district begins just spitting distance (emphasis on spitting) from my house. One of the local reporters, Susan Demas, had the balls to report that he refused to fire a campaign worker who pled guilty to child abuse, so the Congressman has basically frozen the newspaper out since then.

WSJ and the AP Finally Get Their Windmill!

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emptywheel

Pow wow is right. One of the best parts of today’s Appeals Court order releasing more of the grand jury material from the Plame investigation is this paragraph:

Even if the Armitage revelation created a compelling public interest in them—and it
is unclear to us why, as Dow Jones asserts, the Special Counsel’s knowledge that one individual leaked Plame’s identity calls into question the validity of his continuing investigation into others who may

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Fred Fielding Lied to the Press Yesterday

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emptywheel

The White House had a super-secret briefing yesterday in which they trotted out Fred Fielding, but then insisted he be referred to solely as a Senior Administration Official. Perhaps they insisted on the absurd background rules because they wanted to make Fred feel free to lie. And lie he did.

In the briefing, a journalist asked Fielding whether Bush’s invocation of privilege meant that he was protecting deliberations he, personally, was involved

Solicit

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emptywheel

One last post on Clement. I wanted to call your attention to the way Clement pretends that the White House is protecting advice from outsiders that they solicited. Here’s Clement’s language justifying invoking privilege over communications between the White House and those outside of government.

Naturally, in order for the President and his advisers to make an informed decision, presidential aides must sometimes solicit information from individuals outside the White House and

Congress Has a Legislative Need to Understand Bush’s Intent

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emptywheel

Nope, I still haven’t stopped obsessing over Clement’s opinion on the subpoenas.

As I pointed out yesterday, Clement makes one claim that I believe is false and probably disingenuous. He claims that Bush has a nondelegable power to appoint US Attorneys, inscribed in the Constitution.

These confidentiality interests are particularly strongwhere, as here, the communications may implicate a “quintessential andnondelegable Presidential power,” such as the authority to nominate orto remove U.S.

Timing

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emptywheel

This bears mentioning.

Congress subpoenaed the White House for information on the USA Purge on June 13, just 15 days ago. Already, OLC has done its review, Paul Clement has written his opinion, and Fred Fielding has provided a response to Congress. 15 days.

Bill Leonard, head of ISOO, wrote Alberto Gonzales on January 9 for an opinion on whether Cheney was indeed exempt from Bush’s own Executive Order.

Back to the Eighteen Minute Gap

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emptywheel

I’m still obsessing about Paul Clement’s opinion on whether Bush can assert executive privilege over documents relating to the US Attorney purge. Here’s a little tidbit I find interesting.

Clement is discussing the third chunk of things Congress requested.

The final category of documents and testimony concerns communications between the
Department of Justice and the White House concerning proposals to dismiss and replace U.S.

TSA versus Booz Allen

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emptywheel

I’d like to use some details from the WaPo’s story on Booz Allen’s no-bid contract this morning to put some things in perspective. The article cites the SSCI with a price tag for each contract employee:

The average annual cost ofa contract employee is $250,000, almost twice that of a federalemployee, according to an estimate recently cited by the Senate SelectCommittee on Intelligence.

I’m guessing that, since so many federal employees are unionized,

Fred’s Fuck You and Clement’s Conflict of Interest

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emptywheel

Congresswoman Sanchez is right. Fred Fielding’s letter telling Congress to fuck off is not so much a legal notice, but a lecture. It spends two paragraphs saying “no,” one paragraph spinning the White House as cooperative, and then seven paragraphs talking about the exalted tradition of executive privilege.

More troubling, however, is what Fielding attaches:

Grossly Beyond the Scope

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emptywheel

The WaPo has a story today about how a $2 million DHS no-bid contract with Booz Allen awarded in May 2003 turned into $30 million by the end of 2004 and into a $48 million contract in June 2005 and into $73 million and finally $124 million. I’m going to return to the whole question of outsourcing after McCaffrey the MilleniaLab and I get back from our walk.

Shall

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emptywheel

Did I mention that it was thunderstorming something fierce here in SE Michigan? Yes, raining and pouring, too.

This morning, when I read the famous Executive Order that Cheney claims to have exempted himself from, I noticed a key paragraph:

The Attorney General, upon request by the head of an agency or the Director of the Information Security Oversight Office, shall render an interpretation of this order with respect to any question arising

Subpoenas

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emptywheel

It has been kind of wrath of god-y over here for the last hour. Just as I heard that OVP, NSC, DOJ, and WH have been subpoenaed, a big (much needed) thunderstorm took out my Toobz. Let’s hope the wrath of god thing continues for the bad guys, as this is the move that will either give Anthony Kennedy the opportunity to roll up our Constitution …

The WaPo’s Schizophrenia

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emptywheel

What a stark comparison. We’ve been treated to a four-day series unveiling the secrets of Cheney’s power. And in the same week, Eric Boehlert takes on the WaPo’s consistent attempt to belittle the Plame investigation, along with its absolute capitulation to the Libby Lobby.

Meanwhile, searching through the Nexisnews database going back more than 40 months, I cannot find a single outsidecontributor who was invited by the newspaper to write a piece

It Depends on What the Definition of “Agency” Is

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emptywheel

I get the feeling that someone in the White House told OVP that their claim to be a Fourth Branch of government carried some serious risk to the White House. After all, if Cheney now claims he’s not in the Executive Branch, then he’s got to hand over the Energy Task Force documents, right?

So now David Addington has revised his rationale, claiming that OVP is simply not an agency.

“Dear Senator Kerry,”

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Not Quite the Energy Task Force

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emptywheel

I get the feeling today’s installment of Cheney started out as a story about the Energy Task Force. It also tells the story of the Klamath fish kill and snowmobiles in Yellowstone. The big news, though, is Christine Todd Whitman’s side of several issues, where Cheney blindly put business issues ahead of environmental requirements.

Judge Huvelle Was Not Amused

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emptywheel

I did some coverage of the cynical games Steve Griles played to try to get the 5 months prison time turned into a bunch of community service for his own fake non-profit. I suspected such games would not go over well with Judge Huvelle–who, after all, is the one who tacked 3 months on top of Bob Ney’s plea agreement because of his violation of the trust of public service.

So I’m

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