Its official
October 28, 2005 9:48 AM   Subscribe

Its official. I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby indicted on two counts of Perjury, two counts of Making False statements and one count of Obstruction of Justice. All of which are felonies. It is expected Libby will tender his resignation today.
posted by SirOmega (320 comments total)

 
He won't serve a day.
posted by alumshubby at 9:48 AM on October 28, 2005


Don't fall on your sword too hard Libby.
posted by 517 at 9:49 AM on October 28, 2005


Didn't really like a guy named "Scooter" in the White House anyway.
posted by cleverusername at 9:50 AM on October 28, 2005


No Rove? Worst Fitsmass ever.
posted by Joey Michaels at 9:51 AM on October 28, 2005


And so it begins. I expect that this administration will exit with the largest number of indictments in history.
posted by maxsparber at 9:51 AM on October 28, 2005


Lamb, meet altar. Altar, Lamb.
posted by StarForce5 at 9:52 AM on October 28, 2005


You're right, max. They'll make Reagan's bunch look like Boy Scouts.

What about Rove? Rove is guilty of the same things, if not more. And Cheney? And the other mystery person who fed the info to everyone? (reporters said that 2 people told them about Plame)
posted by amberglow at 9:53 AM on October 28, 2005


Yea, I'm hoping that one day, a big guy named Bubba will make Libby his bitch, and perhaps trade him for a carton of smokes.
posted by SirOmega at 9:54 AM on October 28, 2005


alumshubby writes "He won't serve a day."

No, alumshubby, no. Prison is what criminals get. Scooter Libby has liver cancer.
posted by orthogonality at 9:54 AM on October 28, 2005


crooks.
posted by fire&wings at 9:55 AM on October 28, 2005


I'm sure his family will be taken care of. What a joke that people still support this criminal murderous administration.
posted by any major dude at 9:55 AM on October 28, 2005


Indicting Rove would have been so damaging to this administration. Libby...who had even heard of Libby before this investigation? For those drooling for blood on this thing, and I am definitely one of them, this is a disappointment.
posted by mcstayinskool at 9:55 AM on October 28, 2005


It's not over yet for Rove...
Some early reports say Fitzgerald will continue the investigation one way or another and Rove is not out of legal jeopardy quite yet.

This means neither is anyone else (Cheney I'm looking in your direction).
posted by blastrid at 9:56 AM on October 28, 2005


Just because Rove wasn't indicted today doesn't mean that he won't be in the future. Although we'll have to wait until 2PM EST to find out for sure, I don't think this investigation is over, just this particular grand jury's involvement in it.
posted by thewittyname at 9:57 AM on October 28, 2005


Plus a zillion to orthogonality for Angels in America quotage.
posted by tzikeh at 9:57 AM on October 28, 2005


they'll let him twist in the wind, as the prosecution takes it's time to prosecute. At some point after the '08 elections are held, he'll be pardoned with the rest of the scum of the administration.
posted by inthe80s at 9:59 AM on October 28, 2005


Fitzmass? I was hoping for 8 days of Fitzmukah.

But any bad news for the Bush administration is good news for me. Oh happy day!
posted by three blind mice at 9:59 AM on October 28, 2005


Is daily show on tonight?
posted by Billistics at 9:59 AM on October 28, 2005


MetaFilter: drooling for blood on this thing
posted by jpf at 10:01 AM on October 28, 2005


Unfortunately no... TDS is only on Monday through Thursday.
posted by blastrid at 10:02 AM on October 28, 2005



It's not over yet for Rove...
Some early reports say Fitzgerald will continue the investigation one way or another


But isn't it up to Bush whether Fitzgerald can extend or not? Or will Fitzgerald just take it to regular courts?
posted by amberglow at 10:02 AM on October 28, 2005



Unfortunately no... TDS is only on Monday through Thursday.


Man, what's up with that? It should be all damn week.

Also, wouldn't it be nice if there were a daily show 24 hour network where they just improv the jokes based on current news.....
posted by Billistics at 10:04 AM on October 28, 2005


And who had heard of this guy before last week or the week before? No one? Yeah, me too. Actually, not true, I'd heard of him but he was always a very, very minor player.

I think his new nickname is "Scapegoat" or maybe they're going by his Indian name "Takes One For The Team"?

Its a start but we've got alot more crooks to bust still.
posted by fenriq at 10:04 AM on October 28, 2005


This is like getting socks and underwear. I wanted a bicycle!
posted by Mr T at 10:04 AM on October 28, 2005


..They'll make Reagan's bunch look like Boy Scouts.

Isn't the current administration, by and large, "Reagan's Bunch" anyway?
posted by Armen Tanzarian at 10:05 AM on October 28, 2005


Maybe I'm mistaken on these things, but how soon after conviction can Bush extend a Presidential Pardon?

Or is that reserved for the next POTUS?
posted by tzelig at 10:06 AM on October 28, 2005


Reagan's and Nixon's---justice is slow, sometimes (and karma).
posted by amberglow at 10:07 AM on October 28, 2005


The Smoking Gun has already has the 22-page indictment on its website.

Damn, they're good.
posted by zarex at 10:07 AM on October 28, 2005


Libby just offered his resignation and the White House accepted.
posted by aburd at 10:08 AM on October 28, 2005


I'll take slow justice over no justice any day.
posted by Armen Tanzarian at 10:08 AM on October 28, 2005


Bush can pardon anyone at anytime to my understanding--Clinton did it for people while he was still pres.
posted by amberglow at 10:08 AM on October 28, 2005


.
posted by russilwvong at 10:09 AM on October 28, 2005


So it's Libby Libby Libby
Charged with lying lying lying
About the lady lady lady
Who was spying spying spying!
posted by fandango_matt at 10:09 AM on October 28, 2005


(a lot of Thanksgiving and Christmas pardons, it looks like)
posted by amberglow at 10:09 AM on October 28, 2005


Yea, I'm hoping that one day, a big guy named Bubba will make Libby his bitch[...]

You mean Clinton?
posted by nobody at 10:09 AM on October 28, 2005


Worst Fitzmas EVER!

Scooter? Thats it? Fucking Scooter?

I want to see Cheny frog marched out of the White House. I want pics of Rove in cuffs and George peering out the Oval Orifice window looking terrified and lost and confused.

Scooter is the three pack of Argyle socks from Sears of Fitzmas gifts.
posted by Keith Talent at 10:10 AM on October 28, 2005


I'd heard of him but he was always a very, very minor player.

Libby's a very major player in terms of White House influence. His name might not be as sexy as some, but he's pretty damn high up in the hierarchy.
I'm just hoping this is only the tip of the iceberg. If Fitz really does convene another grand jury to investigate WHIG and the new information from Italian Intelligence, it could end up making Watergate look like Barney the Dinosaur's Happy Funtime Birthday Party.
posted by Dormant Gorilla at 10:10 AM on October 28, 2005


Also, wouldn't it be nice if there were a daily show 24 hour network where they just improv the jokes based on current news.....

Isn't that what all 24-hour news is anyway, except they don't know it's a joke?

24-hour news was one of the worst things to ever happen to this country.

On-topic: This was underwhelming. I hope there's more to come.
posted by odinsdream at 10:11 AM on October 28, 2005


Rove not indicted, still under investigation
"White House Deputy Chief of Staff Karl Rove escaped indictment in the CIA leak case Friday but remained under investigation.

Rove's lawyer said he was told by special prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald's office that investigators had 'made no decision about whether or not to bring charges' and would continue their probe into Rove's conduct.
Not quite "out-of-the-woods" yet.
posted by ericb at 10:12 AM on October 28, 2005


UNITED STATES OF AMERICA

v.

I. LEWIS LIBBY
also known as "SCOOTER LIBBY"


That's so beautiful. I think I'm going to cry.
posted by If I Had An Anus at 10:12 AM on October 28, 2005


Libby is the Ehrlichman, and Rove is the Haldeman ?
posted by amberglow at 10:13 AM on October 28, 2005


waddaya mean DG? Scooter is a hell of a sexy name!
posted by killy willy at 10:14 AM on October 28, 2005


Well, somewhat dissapointing, but still a promising start. We need Rove and Cheney for it to be complete.
posted by [expletive deleted] at 10:15 AM on October 28, 2005


fandango_matt: LOL!
posted by StarForce5 at 10:16 AM on October 28, 2005


GOPers Mull Leak Probe's Political Fallout--...Some cast the "Libby indicted/Rove not indicted" scenario as a best case for the White House given that Libby is not well known by the public and is not seen as a close confidant of the president. Others painted the same scenario in an entirely different light, noting that the word "indictment" can now be linked directly to the highest levels of the White House. Those same sources noted that it remains unclear whether Karl Rove is actually off the hook. ...
posted by amberglow at 10:16 AM on October 28, 2005


He's looking at 30 years. If Fitz has him rolled up tight, he might turn stool pigeon, unless he's sure of the pardon.
posted by nyterrant at 10:18 AM on October 28, 2005


Office of the Special Counsel

Official Indictment (PDF)
posted by SirOmega at 10:18 AM on October 28, 2005


While lots of folks would have loved to see a mad frog march of administration members out of the White House today, it's probably better that the Rove end of the investigation is being prolonged. This not only helps to ensure that if indictments come down, they come down as well supported as possible, but it also keeps the leak issue in the news rather than a "He did it. He quit. Let's move on."
posted by robocop is bleeding at 10:18 AM on October 28, 2005


[M]Ann Coulter: Ongoing Rove Investigation Would Be “Worst Possible Scenario” For White House
posted by ericb at 10:19 AM on October 28, 2005


What about Rove? Rove is guilty of the same things, if not more. And Cheney? And the other mystery person who fed the info to everyone? (reporters said that 2 people told them about Plame)

Well, we don't know what Rove said to the grand Jury. Rove is supposed to be smart. If he was smart enough not to fuck with Fitzgerald during his grand jury testimony, then he could not be guilty of perjury, or obstruction of justice, could he?

Yea, I'm hoping that one day, a big guy named Bubba will make Libby his bitch, and perhaps trade him for a carton of smokes.

Yeah yeah, me too. It's a point of national pride that we treat prisoners without any respect or human dignity! Assrape == hy-learious.

Indicting Rove would have been so damaging to this administration. Libby...who had even heard of Libby before this investigation? For those drooling for blood on this thing, and I am definitely one of them, this is a disappointment.

Rove is not out of the water yet. And, I don't know, I was just hoping for Scoot's head on a platter. Rove, to me, was a faraway fantasy. The fact that it was discussed at all was good enough for me. If Rove is indicted, that would be nice, though. Icing on the cake.


And who had heard of this guy before last week or the week before? No one? Yeah, me too. Actually, not true, I'd heard of him but he was always a very, very minor player.


I've never heard his name outside of a reference to plamegate, but his name has been thrown around for years.
posted by delmoi at 10:20 AM on October 28, 2005


These right wing white collar pissboys and foot soldiers are all alike. Minute they get tagged to take a hit for the team (and getting the shit end of the stick), they begin singing like fat guys in tuxedoes at the opera.

I think Fitz has his eyes on bigger fish and is proceeding with caution. Rove best not get too comfortable. Have to wait and see what 2 pm brings.
posted by Skygazer at 10:20 AM on October 28, 2005



First, stop this blantant anti-Scooterism. Not all Scooters are the same. Get to know a Scooter before expressing your prejudices.

Second, killy willy is right.
posted by Scooter at 10:20 AM on October 28, 2005


Remember foulks, press confrence at 2:00pm EDT.

/salivates.
posted by delmoi at 10:22 AM on October 28, 2005


What does the "I" stand for in I. Lewis Libby?
posted by jefbla at 10:22 AM on October 28, 2005


What does the "I" stand for in I. Lewis Libby?

Idiot?
posted by ericb at 10:24 AM on October 28, 2005


What does the "I" stand for in I. Lewis Libby?

Indicted?
posted by blastrid at 10:24 AM on October 28, 2005


Any recommendations on where to watch the press conference live on ye olde internet?
posted by robocop is bleeding at 10:25 AM on October 28, 2005


So far Fitzmas is a bit disappointing as a holiday. Somwhere between Chanukah and Arbor Day. But I'm working to keep the Fitmas spirit alive:



Click for a larger image

posted by Davenhill at 10:25 AM on October 28, 2005


I'm the fall guy?
posted by amberglow at 10:26 AM on October 28, 2005


Boy, I. Lewis Libby sounds like G. Gordon Liddy.
posted by klangklangston at 10:26 AM on October 28, 2005


What does the "I" stand for in I. Lewis Libby?

Irve.
posted by nobody at 10:26 AM on October 28, 2005


What does the "I" stand for in I. Lewis Libby?

Incarcerated.

Dare to dream. Yes, dare to dream.
posted by fandango_matt at 10:29 AM on October 28, 2005


For those that think this could get bigger than Reagan's problems:

Hogwash. In Reagan's White House there were around 200 indictments for criminal wrong-doing. TWO-HUNDRED! Reagan probably had more indictments on his watch than Richard Nixon.

Yes, a lot of these folks from the Reagan White House went to the Bush White House, so you bet they are just as crooked. But what Reagan taught them was that, it doesn't matter if you run the White House like a criminal organization. They learned that well. But more importantly, they learned not to get caught.

There will not be 200 indictments in this White House, even though it may be just as crooked.

It's important to rememeber what that right-wing hero Reagan wrought: complete and utter disdain for the American form of government by a generation of right-wing politicians. Some of them now have names like Cheney, Libby, Bush...
posted by teece at 10:29 AM on October 28, 2005


Libby is the Ehrlichman, and Rove is the Haldeman ?
posted by amberglow at 1:13 PM EST on October 28 [!]


I'm hope Libby is the John W. Dean III

and from Wikipedia:

On June 25 (1973) Dean began his testimony before the Senate Watergate Committee in which he implicated many administration officials, including himself, Nixon fundraiser and former Attorney General John Mitchell, and Nixon himself. He was the first administration official to accuse Nixon of direct involvement with Watergate and the resulting cover up in press interviews as well as his testimony.
posted by Skygazer at 10:29 AM on October 28, 2005


From firedoglake:
Jeff Toobin on CNN just brought up a very good point. If Libby is indicted for making false statements/obstruction or perjury regarding from whom he learned about Valerie Plame, and if Fitz has those notes showing that Cheney was the one who told Libby about her. The way that Fitz will prove that Libby was lying will require that the VP be called as a witness in any trial that will occur, pulling the VP right into the center of the case, whether or not an indictment may be issued for Cheney. It's a point that I missed, but one that bears some consideration and repeating. It just gets more interesting today.

Ooh, that Fitzgerald is a smart guy.
posted by dash_slot- at 10:30 AM on October 28, 2005


What does the 'I' stand for in I. Lewis Libby?

Irving

From charge 1.f. of the indictment:
At all relevant times from January 1, 2002 through July 2003, Valerie Wilson was employed by the CIA, and her employment status was classified. Prior to July 14, 2003, Valerie Wilson's affiliation with the CIA was not common knowledge outside the intelligence community.
posted by kirkaracha at 10:33 AM on October 28, 2005


he might turn stool pigeon, unless he's sure of the pardon.

That's the big issue now: Will Libby flip? Seems unlikely if he knows he can get a pardon... but how would he know? Is there another "Aspen tree" letter lying around from Bush? Hope springs eternal...
posted by soyjoy at 10:34 AM on October 28, 2005


I hope Libby gets nowhere near a Congressional hearing - can you say congressional immunity?
posted by thewittyname at 10:34 AM on October 28, 2005


Indicted?
posted by Cranberry at 10:35 AM on October 28, 2005


The question:

Who is "Official A"
posted by lowlife at 10:36 AM on October 28, 2005


This couldn't have happened to a crappier bunch of scumbags.

Fitzmas isn't over, yet...

I hope it takes them all down to the dirt.
posted by Balisong at 10:37 AM on October 28, 2005


This is like getting socks and underwear. I wanted a bicycle!
posted by Mr T at 1:04 PM EST on October 28 [!]


My sentiments exactly, but I do think that the continuing investigation is even worse for the administration.
posted by caddis at 10:37 AM on October 28, 2005


Hmmmm, there are already three posts above this one. Countdown to second "Libby Indicted" FPP in 5, 4, 3...
posted by soyjoy at 10:40 AM on October 28, 2005


"I die for a livin’ in the movies and TV.
But the hardest thing I ever do is watch my leading ladies
Kiss some other guy while I’m bandaging my knee."
posted by klangklangston at 10:42 AM on October 28, 2005


robocop ... C-SPAN.
posted by If I Had An Anus at 10:46 AM on October 28, 2005


Thanks George for bringing honor back to the office just like you said you would.
posted by xammerboy at 10:46 AM on October 28, 2005


Halderman, Erlichman, Mitchell and Dean.
It follows a pattern if you know what I mean.
Cheney and Libby, Rove and Delay.
The same packajackels at the end of the day.
posted by sntamonica at 10:46 AM on October 28, 2005


It's over. He didn't nail Rove, and he won't survive the counterattack.

Today. Libby indicited.

Sunday. Bush makes speech about how we need to put this all behind us, and unite behind war on terra.

Monday. Bush nominates Robert Bork to the Supreme Court. Political War ensues.

Tuesday. Bush pardons everybody.

Wednesday, TERROR TERROR TERROR.

By Friday, we'll be talking about how that rengade Fitzgerald tried to destroy a president for political gains.
posted by eriko at 10:48 AM on October 28, 2005


Without Googling ...

Fall Guy?
posted by grabbingsand at 10:49 AM on October 28, 2005


I got a lump of coal in my stocking. Thanks, Santa!
posted by horsewithnoname at 10:49 AM on October 28, 2005


Maybe I'm mistaken on these things, but how soon after conviction can Bush extend a Presidential Pardon?

Why wait for conviction?
"I, GERALD R. FORD... grant a full, free, and absolute pardon unto Richard Nixon for all offenses against the United States which he, Richard Nixon, has committed or may have committed or taken part in..."
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 10:52 AM on October 28, 2005


I'm pleased as punch, because the whole thing will drag out longer... whether Rove is indicted or not, the shitstorm around him and his ilk will lead to an adiminstration too weak to mean much of anything. There was never a mandate to begin with, so, there's like a negative-mandate now.
posted by moonbird at 10:53 AM on October 28, 2005


It's over. He didn't nail Rove, and he won't survive the counterattack.

I got a lump of coal in my stocking. Thanks, Santa!


fitzgerald is a smart enough guy to be patient, keep putting pressure on and be sure of his cards before he puts them down ... i'd rather he waits until he gets everything lined up than rush to court
posted by pyramid termite at 10:55 AM on October 28, 2005


Does Rove Have a Secret Plea Deal?--...If they reached a deal, an Indictment is not necessary. A defendant can waive the right to be charged by Indictment and plead to an Information which is filed by the prosecutor. It's an ordinary occurrence in my district.

If they reached a deal where his continued cooperation is necessary, he can work with the successive grand jury. Or the investigators. After the people he gave evidence against decide to plea or go to trial, that's when he will get an additional 5k benefit. If he works hard enough and brings results, Fitz could request a probation-eligible sentencing zone for him. ...

posted by amberglow at 10:55 AM on October 28, 2005


the Washington Post says "Rove provided new information to Fitzgerald during eleventh-hour negotiations that 'gave Fitzgerald pause' about charging Bush's senior strategist, said a source close to Rove." Is Rove stabbing Libby in the back?
posted by 1-2punch at 10:56 AM on October 28, 2005


Is Rove stabbing Libby in the back?
Do you think Rove is above such tactics? Hell yea Rove would do this in an instant.
posted by SirOmega at 10:59 AM on October 28, 2005


Official A

It's Cheney tho, no?
posted by amberglow at 11:02 AM on October 28, 2005


Fall Guy?

Hey, I made that joke more than a year ago, goddammit.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 11:06 AM on October 28, 2005


The question:

Who is "Official A"


Karl Rove.
posted by nofundy at 11:09 AM on October 28, 2005


Hmm...says it's on CSPAN2 but this ain't it. Did I miss it already or has it not started?
posted by Dormant Gorilla at 11:09 AM on October 28, 2005


amberglow, that's my question :) Could be Cheney, could be Rove (though that would be odd given that all the other references in the indictment are with respect to the OVP).

Eagerly awaiting the press event coverage on CSPAN-2.
posted by lowlife at 11:10 AM on October 28, 2005


Anybody see the recent West Wing episode about Toby's departure after a leak. It was a little civics lesson in how these things should be handled. Toby handed the President a letter of resignation and the President said, "Put that away. I need to FIRE you for this, with cause."

In the Bush WH: the President can't even bring himself to do that facesaving measure. He is allowed to resign.
posted by spock at 11:11 AM on October 28, 2005


Oh, it starts at 2:15. Nevahmind.
posted by Dormant Gorilla at 11:12 AM on October 28, 2005


Thank you, fandango_matt -- that made my morning.
posted by mosk at 11:15 AM on October 28, 2005


Here's hoping there's a little gift in here for John Bolton.

Fitzmas -

Treason is the reason for the season.

Some sources now saying 2:30 press conference. CSPAN2 to cover it.
posted by nofundy at 11:16 AM on October 28, 2005


in mother's basements all over America, the wappa-wappa-wappa is deafening. they win again.

and frankly, this whole matter was too complicated to sell to a big audience, too many players, too many different versions. you need a very simple story, like man + woman + cum stain = impeachment
this thing looked pretty bad from the beginning. don't let the Miers fiasco cloud your vision, it was another victory for ther wingnuts. Bush owns Congress, and will never be removed (unless of course the Democrats, next November, take back Capitol Hill, which does not seem very likely. hell, they wouldn't try to remove him even if they got a majority anyway. you know, that'd be shrill, and you don't want that). the busted deficit, the Iraqi civil war and the almost certain reversal of Roe vs Wade will be Bush's relevant legacy. this Plame thing looked really lame, it was no Monica, that's for sure. that was a silver bullet.
posted by matteo at 11:17 AM on October 28, 2005


oh, and if you can get DailyKos to dictate the big networks and big papers agenda and news cycle like Drudge did in '98, you're home free.

can you?
posted by matteo at 11:19 AM on October 28, 2005


Fitzgerald sounds angry (and scared?).
posted by amberglow at 11:20 AM on October 28, 2005


Watching Fitz on the CSPAN. Man, I'd hate to have this guy coming after my ass.
posted by jefbla at 11:21 AM on October 28, 2005


the President can't even bring himself to do that facesaving measure

He can't run again; what does he need to save face for?
posted by kindall at 11:21 AM on October 28, 2005


This administration has trashed, crossed, and defecated on many in the D.C. power establishment, and an awful lot of its authority over the past 5 or so years has been based on fear .
But now the Bush Adm. is on the defensive and the pack is turning around, sizing up the White House, liucking chops, smelling blood.

Any sudden distraction, catastrophe, or invasion which just conveniently happens to occur to shift the media spotlight will - unless it's a natural disaster - raise "Wag the Dog" suspicions now that the entire stinking mess of adm. pre-war lies has been dragged into the open to rot in the sun.

That stinking mass of lies stands as now open testimony to the fact that the Bush White house will do almost anything to further its plans.

They were willing to trash a major CIA WMD undercover operation - so now their room to maneuver to advance their agenda, both in the open and also in the dark, has been sharply curtailed. All eyes are currently turned their way, and Rove is still under scrutiny and so partially neutralized.

But will the left press its newfound fortune and use the opportunity to build its political base.........

Or will it piddle away the chance and waste this gift of time in self congratulatory online masturbation ?
posted by troutfishing at 11:23 AM on October 28, 2005


Fitzgerald just said 4 people in the administration told Libby--so where are those indictments?
posted by amberglow at 11:24 AM on October 28, 2005


My god, Fitz is old-school, I- Am- Angered-By- Injustice guy. If only we could clone him a few dozen times and install him in various levels of government, there might be hope for us.

He does sound kind of jittery. That might just be because he knows how important this is and is overcome by the moment. And not because Rove's lawyer threatened to break his legs. I wouldn't necessarily discount that possibility entirely...but I'd still lay odds that Fitz wouldn't be cowed by that.
I want this guy to have my babies.
posted by Dormant Gorilla at 11:24 AM on October 28, 2005


posted by mosk Thank you, fandango_matt -- that made my morning.

Yum...impeaches!
posted by fandango_matt at 11:27 AM on October 28, 2005


Can I be the first to take the conversation down a level and observe that Fitz is rather cute? Because he really is.
Ok, back to politics.
posted by Dormant Gorilla at 11:28 AM on October 28, 2005


Fitzgerald/Spitzer in 08!
posted by amberglow at 11:32 AM on October 28, 2005



Where, of course, me equals John Aravosis of AMERICAblog.

posted by sequential at 11:32 AM on October 28, 2005


Didn't really like a guy named "Scooter" in the White House anyway.

My first pet -- a hamster -- was named scooter. One day he disappeared, and we found him a few weeks later, alive. He had crawled into the furnace air return, into the furnace itself, and shredded the furnace filter into a nest of sorts. Luckily it wasn't the season when you'd need to run the furnace.

So, don't count this scooter out too early, either -- they're tenacious. Heh.
posted by davejay at 11:34 AM on October 28, 2005


Fitzgerald just said 4 people in the administration told Libby--so where are those indictments?

I don't know, but since that's two more than previously discussed, you can bet more people are nervous than before.
posted by davejay at 11:35 AM on October 28, 2005


That's fantastic. But why is Fitz the woman?
No. I don't want to know.

So back to the thing...just because they can't talk about the leaker now, it still CAN come out during Scooter's trial, right?
I just have a feeling that the reason they indicted Scooter first is that there won't be any way for him to testify without implicating everyone else. He's the linchpin that you pull on in order to unravel everything else, if I may mix metaphors...
posted by Dormant Gorilla at 11:36 AM on October 28, 2005


Thanks Devil's Advocate for answering another implied part of my question, why would POTUS have to wait to pardon.

Can't wait for the 2pm announcement when it is disclosed that the "Offical A" is an abbreviation for "Official Ass", AKA Turd Blossom.
posted by tzelig at 11:36 AM on October 28, 2005


There won't be a trial--he has to plea, or else the whole house of cards tumbles.
posted by amberglow at 11:38 AM on October 28, 2005


live feed of news conference (embedded windows media)
posted by eddydamascene at 11:40 AM on October 28, 2005


I know, that's why this doesn't make any sense to me. It stands to reason that Libby isn't going to let this go to trial. So why indict only him now? I really want to know what Rove's lawyer told Fitz at the last minute to make him back off. Either Rove agreed to roll over on someone else in exchange for immunity, or...I don't know, put a horse's head in Fitz's bed.
posted by Dormant Gorilla at 11:41 AM on October 28, 2005


I found Scooter Libby's mugshot!

No big surprise, it's in much the same style as Tom DeLay's mugshot.



(tripod link, it'll probably self-eviscerate.)
posted by five fresh fish at 11:44 AM on October 28, 2005


Fitzgerald just said 4 people in the administration told Libby--so where are those indictments?

Assuming they had the relevant security clearance, it's perfectly ok to tell the VP's chief of staff whatever you want. What isn't okay is to leak that information to the public, or to conspire to leak that information to the public.

Using a rather interesting baseball analogy, Fitz said Libby's obstruction has impeded the investigation of the actual crime. Fitz implied that the jury was still out, as it were, on whether anyone maliciously outed Plame, and in so doing committed a crime.

Fitz will try to use the indicment to roll Libby into tesifying about what other members of the administration said, and why they said it. Sit back and grab your crackerjacks, folks. It's could an interesting next few weeks.
posted by nyterrant at 11:45 AM on October 28, 2005


That's fantastic. But why is Fitz the woman?
Without answering the question in a way that might make straight men squirm, find a suitable, well recognized image of two men embraced in a passionate kiss that evokes the same sense of patriotic pride. I'm sure John doesn't intend the gender implications you read into it.

I know you were joking.
posted by sequential at 11:52 AM on October 28, 2005


Another baseball analogy: Chicago: 5 - Houston: 0
posted by bashos_frog at 11:53 AM on October 28, 2005


amberglow writes "Fitzgerald just said 4 people in the administration told Libby--so where are those indictments?"

As far as I know it isn't illegal for people with clearance to discuss who is and who is not a CIA agent. It's only illegal to disclose it when you know that the person is a covert operative. So, there would be no automatic indictments for people who spoke to Libby, and indeed, given what Libby's been charged with, if folks just sat up and said, "I told him," (as long as him was Libby and not Novak et al.) they'd probably be fine.

I sure hope Rove goes down for this, but my guess is that Libby has already gotten the "Bubba treatment" described above, and Rove=Bubba.
posted by OmieWise at 11:53 AM on October 28, 2005


Well, he is walking on crutches.
posted by nyterrant at 11:56 AM on October 28, 2005


Can I be the first to take the conversation down a level and observe that Fitz is rather cute? Because he really is.

Yeah, I agree. I kind of want to do dirty things to him.
posted by gaspode at 11:56 AM on October 28, 2005


I do as well, and it's adding a whole level to my enjoyment of these proceedings.
posted by Dormant Gorilla at 12:00 PM on October 28, 2005


"this grand jury served long and hard"

that quote will be appearing on the wonkette in 5... 4... 3... 2...
posted by jefbla at 12:02 PM on October 28, 2005


Oh, man, now you made me lose track of where I was in my own countdown! Lessee... 5, 4, 3...
posted by soyjoy at 12:04 PM on October 28, 2005


Jeez. This dude is a serious poker player. I don't know if he's keeping his powder dry or bowing down to the Turd Blossom...
posted by Skygazer at 12:05 PM on October 28, 2005


Close enough, sequential?
posted by horsewithnoname at 12:10 PM on October 28, 2005


"Hey Mom, it's me--Scooter..."
posted by weapons-grade pandemonium at 12:10 PM on October 28, 2005


Longest press conference EVAR.
posted by AllesKlar at 12:14 PM on October 28, 2005


horsewithnoname, I like the image, but Ozzie seems a bit... let's say dispassionate to be kind.
posted by sequential at 12:15 PM on October 28, 2005


Fitzgerald reminds me of Dan Aykroyd in "Dragnet".
posted by smackfu at 12:16 PM on October 28, 2005


Meet Scooter's replacement: Where there has been controversy over the past four years, there has often been Addington. ...
posted by amberglow at 12:16 PM on October 28, 2005


Fitzgerald reminds me of Dan Aykroyd in "Dragnet".

Except hotter.
Yeesh, I'm really harping on this.
The guy has to have kids. Nobody unused to dealing with teenagers could possibly be this patient with the press.
posted by Dormant Gorilla at 12:19 PM on October 28, 2005


Civil: Heh. Sorry. It didn't occur to me to search the site comments... (I thought I was being original, but now must cry).
posted by klangklangston at 12:22 PM on October 28, 2005


Bushes react to horsewithnoname's pic /off-topic
posted by If I Had An Anus at 12:23 PM on October 28, 2005


Fitz is cool - he's like, half Gene Hackman, and half James Caan
posted by stenseng at 12:24 PM on October 28, 2005


As an Assistant US Attorney in New York City, Fitzgerald had a hand in the 1993 prosecution of mob boss John Gotti.
posted by rocket88 at 12:26 PM on October 28, 2005


Where can I watch this press conference when I get home?
posted by odinsdream at 12:29 PM on October 28, 2005


Fitzgerald: "We're not quite done..."

I like the sound of that.
posted by Freen at 12:29 PM on October 28, 2005


Cspan's website, odinsdream, or crooks and liars.
posted by amberglow at 12:30 PM on October 28, 2005


"Hey Mom, it's me--Scooter..."

Hah! Jeez, I gotta piss...
posted by 327.ca at 12:32 PM on October 28, 2005


odinstream, CSPAN usually has shows available in its archive; I'm sure they'll still have it on their front page (currently it's listed as "Lewis Libby Indicted")
posted by lowlife at 12:36 PM on October 28, 2005


The Players:
Fitzgerald is 44, son of Irish immigrants who settled in Brooklyn, a former doorman on the upper east side of Manhattan, known as a workaholic with no discernible political leanings. In Illinois, he charged the former Republican Gov. George Ryan with conspiracy and fraud and his office is now probing activities in the office of Chicago Mayor Richard Daley, a Democrat.
posted by weapons-grade pandemonium at 12:36 PM on October 28, 2005


MetaFilter's mirror opposite (politically), Lucianne, has its own take.
posted by Captaintripps at 12:36 PM on October 28, 2005


I watched the whole press conference, and I was very impressed with Patrick Fitzgerald. He reminds me of Kevin Costner playing Elliot Ness in The Untouchables, except funnier.

He left the door open for more indictments, and I'm hoping there will be more, but his integrity makes me believe that he will charge anyone (including Cheney) if he can prove they commited a crime, and he won't if he can't.
posted by kirkaracha at 12:38 PM on October 28, 2005


I met Fitzgerald. Square shooter. Played rugby, which to me explains a lot.
There will likely be more on this. You don't have perjury charges without something to perjur ova.


That said, lefty folks here, ahmana say the same thing I said to the righties when Clinton was on the hook for the blowjob BS: let’s not allow the desire for payback cause anyone to play nemesis. The goal is justice not vengence.

....course, no one listened to me back then either.

But this investigation is not and should not be an indictment of all the ills - real or percieved (and I’ll grant there are plenty of both) done by the Bush administration.

If Rove - et.al - are guilty of outing Plame, which is a crime, they should be prosecuted for it and justice should be done.

If not, that should be exposed and he or whomever else should be revealed as innocent of this, whatever other assholery they may have been up to.

Not that I’m implying anything of the sort will happen. Nor do I suspect it will. Fitzgerald certainly seems the man for the job.



/slight derail
insert token Regan slam objection here - "But - some good things...etc."
concessions for the dispicable events of Iran-Contra, et.al
posted by Smedleyman at 12:41 PM on October 28, 2005


MetaFilter's mirror opposite (politically), Lucianne, has its own take.

Looks very familiar.
posted by gleuschk at 12:42 PM on October 28, 2005


Wow. Bush's statement was hella brief.
posted by robocop is bleeding at 12:53 PM on October 28, 2005


Another Republican indictment -- hope you'll pardon the derail.
posted by alumshubby at 12:57 PM on October 28, 2005


Yeah he practically ran off.

Christ, but those Lucianne posters are rucking fetarded.
posted by fleacircus at 12:58 PM on October 28, 2005


MetaFilter's mirror opposite (politically), Lucianne, has its own take.

Looks very familiar.


Except they don't actually seem to be making any effort at critical discussion so much as just cheering for their "team."
posted by all-seeing eye dog at 12:59 PM on October 28, 2005


How long before he starts calling himself Scooter X?
posted by CunningLinguist at 12:59 PM on October 28, 2005


MetaFilter's mirror opposite (politically), Lucianne, has its own take.

Wow, those people are completely nuts. They immediately start frothing about Clinton (who? are they still going to be using him as a punching bag in 2050?), producing such gems as:
bubba clintoon committed some 200 murders, committed at least a dozen acts of high treason, recklessly endangered the country, took a guestimated $500 million in bribes, and is still unprosecuted.
Uh... right.
posted by languagehat at 1:02 PM on October 28, 2005


I was saying Clintoon.
posted by you just lost the game at 1:03 PM on October 28, 2005


Fitzgerald: "We're not quite done..." -- if only it was like Steve Jobs and "One more thing...".
posted by sohcahtoa at 1:09 PM on October 28, 2005


Didn't Joe's bride work as an analyst?

Why does no one on Lucianne or whatever seem to be interested in correcting simple factual errors, like the one above, btw? Here you get torn apart for the tiniest mistake (which is generally a good thing, although it can get a little out of hand sometimes)...

Hey--somebody join up over there and post a link to this thread. I wanna see worlds collide! (I'm picturing a giant flash of bright light as the two utterly irreconcilable realities reflected here and on that other board come into contact with each other...)
posted by all-seeing eye dog at 1:13 PM on October 28, 2005


We already had that happen, all-seeing. It was called the 2004 election.
posted by you just lost the game at 1:14 PM on October 28, 2005


We outta catch this Bubba Clintoon, whoever he is. He's even fooled those poor people into thinking that he was president at some point!
posted by klangklangston at 1:17 PM on October 28, 2005


Washington Post transcript of Fitzgerald's press conference.
posted by kirkaracha at 1:20 PM on October 28, 2005


"Hey Mom, it's me--Scooter..."

Are you there God? It's me, Scooter.
posted by Pollomacho at 1:21 PM on October 28, 2005


"MetaFilter's mirror opposite (politically), Lucianne, has its own take.
posted by Captaintripps at 12:36 PM PST on October 28 [!]"

From Lucianne:
"A Presidential pardon would be appropriate."
*massive blowing spit-take*

I feel so alone on the conservative front right now.
(although that Marine from the site seems to agree with me....odd innit?)

What the hell happened to principles? (It’s a rhetorical question)

I’m at a loss to figure out how the Republicans can control the Executive and Legislative branches of government and yet still look at a situation like this with the same cynicism and sense of disenfranchisement and desire for retribution that black folks did with O.J.

I recognize it’s been there for a while, but how can one argue that there was no crime, that even if there was a crime that Bush should issue a pardon, and that the whole thing is politically motivated by the dems - who don’t have enough voltage right now to start a car much less an investigation?

I can’t think of a mindset closer to Russia under Stalin than this casting the bureaucrats as the enemy. A good chunk of the administrative apparatus has been demoralized already. Bush pardoning everyone involved would likely destroy it.
posted by Smedleyman at 1:25 PM on October 28, 2005





MetaFilter's mirror opposite (politically), Lucianne, has its own take.

Looks very familiar.

Except they don't actually seem to be making any effort at critical discussion so much as just cheering for their "team."
posted by all-seeing eye dog at 12:59 PM PST on October 28 [!]


This is a good one:

Posted by: Halfgenius, 10/28/2005 1:32:34 PM
This had better go down in history as to a classic example ast ot why NOBODY in the White House talks to the media ever again, that's why there is such a thing as a press secretary. I don't know where Liddy's common sense went, but he's now going to pay for it with the loss of his career, and perhaps the loss of his freedom. Dumb Dumb Dumb!!!


He's got his goes-by-first-initial-last-name-L-I-two-consonannt-Y-conspiring-crooks mixed up.

Cover me, I'm going back in!
posted by Mr T at 1:26 PM on October 28, 2005


Cover me, I'm going back in!

Godspeed, Mr. T!
posted by all-seeing eye dog at 1:35 PM on October 28, 2005


Didn't Joe's bride work as an analyst?

Not only was she an operative, it's now clear that Libby and Cheney knew she was.
posted by soyjoy at 1:43 PM on October 28, 2005


Man those guys are really hung up on Clinton. Does anyone here read conservative boards like this on a regular basis? Is this normal?

Reply 21 - Posted by: jkendal, 10/28/2005 2:19:34 PM
I hope this FIRES up the base enough to gain a few more seats in the senate next year. It's really the only way we're going to be able to roll back the liberal agenda in this country.

Like Rush said the other day - I want liberals to CHOKE on defeat!

Just keep moving forward, people.


Chilling.
posted by Mr T at 1:43 PM on October 28, 2005


My mom told me that it wasn't right to make fun of the mentally deficient. We should stop picking on those guys over there.
posted by crunchland at 1:44 PM on October 28, 2005


Smedlyman: persecution by an unknown other is one of the most powerful political motivations the world has ever known. I.E. Satan, Communism, Anti-Semitism, "The Gay Agenda". If people don't know what they afraid of, their fear has no object, and therefore can be directed towards any end the fear-mongers deem worthy.
posted by Freen at 1:46 PM on October 28, 2005


Fitzgerald expands probe, believes he can get Rove on more serious charges, lawyers say
"'This investigation is not yet over,' one of the lawyers in the case said. 'You must keep in mind that people like Mr. Rove are still under investigation. Rather than securing an indictment on perjury charges against Mr. Rove Mr. Fitzgerald strongly believes he can convince the grand jury that he broke other laws.'

The lawyers said that in the past month Fitzgerald has obtained explosive information in the case that has enabled him to pursue broader charges such as conspiracy, and civil rights violations against targets like Rove. Specifically, the lawyers said Fitzgerald is focusing on phony intelligence documents that led to the outing of Valerie Plame Wilson’s identity: the documents that claimed Iraq was attempting to purchase yellow-cake uranium from Niger.

A court filing posted on Fitzgerald’s website last week was the first such confirmation that the prosecutor has in fact decided to pursue the broader claims that intelligence the Bush administration used to build support for the Iraq war was flawed and, as a result, the reason many officials inside and outside of the White House went out of their way to out Plame, whose husband was a vocal critic of the Iraq war who was sent on a mission to Niger to investigate allegations that Iraq had attempted to buy Niger from the African country."
posted by ericb at 1:46 PM on October 28, 2005


Mr T, if you have had your shots and are wearing armor, try these guys. They are even more Clinton-obsessed than Luci's peeps.
posted by CunningLinguist at 1:48 PM on October 28, 2005


I remember when the bar for entry onto the internet was a whole lot higher.

Ah, for 1989 again.
posted by five fresh fish at 1:49 PM on October 28, 2005


allegations that Iraq had attempted to buy Niger from the African country

Iraq was trying to buy entire countries? My god, it's worse than we thought!
posted by Faint of Butt at 1:49 PM on October 28, 2005


Having just watched Fitzy's presser, that Raw Story story seems completely far fetched.
posted by CunningLinguist at 1:50 PM on October 28, 2005


Rove Investigation Will Be Completed In Weeks, Not Months
"We have more detail on what’s happening with Karl Rove. We know that something happened in the last couple of days that Rove’s legal team was able to provide to Fitzgerald, that according to one Rove associate, 'gave Fitzgerald pause' about charging Rove. They think that within the next couple of weeks, not months, that the Rove part of this investigation will be wrapped up, and that it is still centered on whether he provided false statements. It’s not clear what exactly transpired. There has been this flurry of conversations between Rove and his team and Fitzgerald over the last week, with Rove trying to convince him, like, 'Look, I may have forgotten some things but I did not lie.'"
posted by ericb at 1:51 PM on October 28, 2005


Having just watched Fitzy's presser, that Raw Story story seems completely far fetched.

Yeah -- I agree.
posted by ericb at 1:54 PM on October 28, 2005


I do (Lucianne and TownHall). They're about as hung up on Bubba Clintoon as denizens of MetaFilter are on all those regular political topics they're hung up on.

Man those guys are really hung up on Clinton. Does anyone here read conservative boards like this on a regular basis? Is this normal? --Mr. T
posted by Captaintripps at 2:00 PM on October 28, 2005


There is no honor in helping our enemies, no matter the so called 'high principles'.

Wait a minute here--I thought the whole reason "the left" was the enemy was because "they" embrace moral relativism and are engaged in a conspiracy to defeat "the right" at all costs, principles-be-damned? If that's not it, then just what the hell is everybody at each other's throats about since neither side actually gives a damn about any thing other than winning? And since when is it patriotic to call other Americans "the enemy"? Aaaarrrrrgh! How can these people claim to be conservatives? They're just playing a childish game with the future of the country!

/venting
posted by all-seeing eye dog at 2:01 PM on October 28, 2005


Scooter is the three pack of Argyle socks from Sears of Fitzmas gifts. - Keith Talent

Eloquently stated. But I'm hoping it's like Hanukkah, and Libby is sort of a "warm up" present, and there's still a bike later.
posted by dejah420 at 2:01 PM on October 28, 2005


Bulba Clintoon hear my appeal: Defend us from the nazicons!
posted by eatitlive at 2:02 PM on October 28, 2005


Iraq had attempted to buy Niger from the African country.

Looks like Saddam fell for one of those Nigerian spam emails.
posted by fandango_matt at 2:06 PM on October 28, 2005


ericb: Fitzgerald expands probe, believes he can get Rove on more serious charges, lawyers say

That just jibes on so many levels. It would explain why he's waiting on bringing up charges against Rove, why he was playing his cards so close to his chest at the press conference, why another Grand Jury has alreaady been empaneled and is ready to go.
posted by Skygazer at 2:10 PM on October 28, 2005


Sweet baby Jesus in a smoking birchbark canoe, those Lucianne folks are...well, how to say it?


posted by fandango_matt at 2:20 PM on October 28, 2005


Mr T, if you have had your shots and are wearing armor, try these guys. They are even more Clinton-obsessed than Luci's peeps.
posted by CunningLinguist at 1:48 PM PST on October 28 [!]


Actually that particular freeper thread is somewhat reasonable. It could pass for Mefi before we drove off the conservative leaning members with pitchforks. Clinton bashing in this context is pretty expectable (grand jury, perjury charges). What I was asking is is there normally so much gnashing of teeth and rending of garments like in that Lucianne thread. Like the "I want liberals to CHOKE on defeat!"

see how I threw in that 'is is' in there. That's a joke son!
posted by Mr T at 2:27 PM on October 28, 2005


Patrick Fir=zgerald is a neduri=otic nutcase who AVOIDED the CIA connection

THIS COUNTRY IS FINISHED!! if this con-artist creep gets his absurd cruelty done!

*********************** This rat b8tard lying weenie deserves a knife in hi s lying heart!
Best freep comment evar.
posted by verb at 2:29 PM on October 28, 2005


Oh, I missed that one. I guess I take back what I said, sheesh.
posted by Mr T at 2:33 PM on October 28, 2005




The Freeper thread was worth it just for this.

free scooter! no, not really
posted by gleuschk at 2:38 PM on October 28, 2005


Captaintripps: They're about as hung up on Bubba Clintoon as denizens of MetaFilter are on all those regular political topics they're hung up on

Yeah and my cat is really hung up on cat food, but what on MeFi is equivalent to the abnormal politics of frothing-mouth Clintoon circle jerks in late 2005? For example, my being passionate about the fight over Intelligent Design isn't the same just because there's political passion involved, dude.
posted by fleacircus at 2:39 PM on October 28, 2005


The Bush defense of Libby consists of reminding us that we should presume innocence. That doesn't seem like a very strong showing to me, like the difference between "I'm sure he's innocent" and "we should pretend he's innocent." Bush's little speech did not give the impression of an administration that thought they were out of the woods yet.
posted by fleacircus at 2:46 PM on October 28, 2005


Your opinion sucks, fleacircus.
posted by Captaintripps at 2:50 PM on October 28, 2005


"'We are obviously watching and the press is beginning to document the implosion of a presidency,' [Carl] Bernstein said...'How destructive that implosion is going to be, ultimately, we don't know yet.

'But what the Plame leak investigation has unveiled is what the press should have been focusing on long before and without let up--how we went to war, the dishonesty involved in that process in terms of what the president and vice-president told the American people and the Congress, and the routine smearing by members of the Bush administration of people who questioned their actions and motives.'"
posted by ericb at 2:52 PM on October 28, 2005


The more aggressively they defend their leaders, the more desperate they really are to keep the whole house of cards from tumbling down around them.
posted by fenriq at 2:54 PM on October 28, 2005


Toensing and DiGenova have been all over CNN today--they're saying it's not a crime and Fitzgerald is playing politics (but he's a Repub too) -- you may remember them from the Clinton stuff--they're pals of Starr (and others).
posted by amberglow at 3:01 PM on October 28, 2005


Thanks Cap but I'm sure we can still be friends.
posted by fleacircus at 3:02 PM on October 28, 2005


I'm just looking forward to never having to read 'Fitzmas' again. It's just not clever the 1,000th time I read it.
posted by my sock puppet account at 3:10 PM on October 28, 2005


Slate: It's a sure sign of how far the Bush White House has fallen that it's considered a good day when only one top aide gets a criminal indictment. Soon they'll be breaking glass and pulling out the last, desperate spin: Better than Nixon.

Meanwhile, Republican sages around Washington are dusting off time-tested search-and-recovery plans from past disasters. The details vary in one respect -- James Baker or Howard Baker? -- but share a common theme: bring in ancient, unindicted wise men to give your administration a whole new look. ...
posted by amberglow at 3:12 PM on October 28, 2005


Yeah, flea. You wanna go grab a Fitzmas beer?
posted by Captaintripps at 3:17 PM on October 28, 2005


Except they don't actually seem to be making any effort at critical discussion so much as just cheering for their "team."
posted by all-seeing eye dog


Winner, most ironic statement.

What I was asking is is there normally so much gnashing of teeth and rending of garments like in that Lucianne thread.

You new here mr. T? Check out the reagin death thread, or any of a thousand others. Metafilter isn't immune to gnashing of teeth.
posted by justgary at 3:32 PM on October 28, 2005


bring in ancient, unindicted wise men to give your administration a whole new look. ...

Not many of those around on the republican side of the aisle...

on preview: Justgary, do we ban dissenting opinions? Gnashing of teeth never silenced the opposition.
posted by Freen at 3:34 PM on October 28, 2005


Wow, those people are completely nuts. They immediately start frothing about Clinton

And we're still talking about reagan in this thread. And he was quite a while before clinton. What's good for the gooose...

Both sides have their whipping boys.
posted by justgary at 3:36 PM on October 28, 2005


on preview: Justgary, do we ban dissenting opinions? Gnashing of teeth never silenced the opposition.

My point was politics IS sports. This idea of 'teams', red vs. blue, south vs. north, right vs. left, is everywhere. Metafilter isn't immune.
posted by justgary at 3:38 PM on October 28, 2005


Strange to see Bush and friends suddenly converted to the doctrine of "innocent until proven guilty" after systematically undermining that principle for the last five years.

Suddenly, the Right is defending civil liberties and the right to a fair trial - but only for themselves, of course, not for other people. It's not a principle they're about to extend to Guantanamo Bay, for example.

And the delightful Libby also allowed his good friend, rightwing journo Judith Miller, to rot in jail for three months rather than reveal his name.

Ah, brave new world, that hath such people in it.
posted by cleardawn at 3:40 PM on October 28, 2005


You new here mr. T? Check out the reagin death thread, or any of a thousand others. Metafilter isn't immune to gnashing of teeth.

JustGary,

I think it's a little silly to bring that one up. Reagan's death was treated like something out of Lord Of The Rings by conservatives in this country. I'd certainly understand if conservatives froth and scream when, say, the entire nation pauses for a week to talk about how Clinton saved our nation and was the greatest American the world has ever known.

The stuff others have noted in freep and L threads is an ongoing constant 'Clinton As The Great Satan' theme. Finding a thread in hardcore conservative sites WITHOUT a mention of Clinton is damned difficult.
posted by verb at 3:41 PM on October 28, 2005


The stuff others have noted in freep and L threads is an ongoing constant 'Clinton As The Great Satan' theme. Finding a thread in hardcore conservative sites WITHOUT a mention of Clinton is damned difficult.

All I'm saying verb is the linked discussion isn't that different from metafilter. The team concept, bringing up clinton while metafilter brings up reagan, a few members going over the line, not much different.

I know nothing of that site, if they ban for dissension or not. But I did see a few "if he's guilty he should pay" comments. I don't see much differing of opinion here.

I just don't agree with the "look at all the crazy people compared to us with our critical discussion" idea. The two sites seem strangely similar. Just my opinion.
posted by justgary at 3:49 PM on October 28, 2005


So we should want to cook Bubba Clintoon a simple meal if he truly accepts the offer, right?
posted by Servo5678 at 3:50 PM on October 28, 2005


Fitzgerald for president!
posted by Hildegarde at 3:50 PM on October 28, 2005


Why a Libby indictment is crucial

In short, as a lawyer, Libby has more to lose than Rove, i.e. being disbarred even if not convicted or pardoned. Additionally, perjury is among the charges. The plan to prove he lied is to put Cheney on the witness stand.
posted by ijoshua at 3:54 PM on October 28, 2005


justgary: Oh, I know from gnashing of teeth. It's just that since conservatives control the senate, house and white house you'd think they'd be a little less sanguinary.

What I was after I guess was: is that normal for them or has this indictment and other events caused an increase in vitriol on boards such as that.

On preview: I agree the sites are similar, that's my point, why? Their guys control the country. Progressives like myself have a justification for anger, we are almost completely shut out of the government.
posted by Mr T at 3:55 PM on October 28, 2005


I stood the bar a round the day Reagan died. Just in honor of all the Central American natives that died because of his need to play politics with their lives. Long may he lay in the dust.

Same goes for all the bastids involved in justifiying our involvment in Iraq, and all the lies they have told since 9/11.

Blood is on their hands.

Anybody ever hear any results from the Anthrax invesigations coming out of the 2001 fall attacks? Nope... Didn't expect anything.
posted by zaelic at 3:57 PM on October 28, 2005


President Bush said, "in our system each individual is presumed innocent and entitled to due process and a fair trial." Well, maybe not each individual.
posted by kirkaracha at 4:11 PM on October 28, 2005


"Not only was she an operative, it's now clear that Libby and Cheney knew she was."

No. Josh has always been too quick to jump to this conclusion. Remember that he claimed that because Novak knew that Plame was covert, then whoever leaked to him must have known.

I don't know if the Operations has people who function as analysts and do not have covert status, but I'd bet that they do. In fact, that's exactly what Plame was doing when she was involved in the group that reviewed the Niger intel.

Plame had not been acting as an operative for over a year. What it looks like was happening with her is that she was transitioning to Intelligence because of her marriage to Wilson and her pregnancy. Now, it is the case that everything that has to do with the Operations is generally hush-hush and no matter what, that should have given the leakers pause.

But it seems to me that the leakers did not initially know that Plame had been a real cloak-and-dagger operative, working under assumed names and for a dummy company. The section of the June 11th memo that talks about Plame is marked secret and we don't know exactly what it said about her status. More people in the administration saw the June 11th memo when they saw a copy of it while on the trip to Africa on July 7th. That memo does not identify Plame as "Valerie Plame"...we know that much.

I think that as soon as the WH started asking questions about Wilson's trip and learned of Plame, some people there were aware that she was covert. I don't think that Libby and Rove (the primary force behind the leaks) knew she was covert; or, at least, I don't think they realized that her being "covert" wasn't merely a formality.

Libby claimed to have first heard of Plame from Cheney on June 11th and testified that Cheney was told of Plame by Tenet. Libby talked to someone at the CIA the same day. We don't know who this is. He also talked to Grossman, who is the undersecratery of state who requested the analysis from State's Bureau of Intelligence and Analysis which is the June 11th memo.

Wilson's op-ed ran on July 6th. All those people saw the copy of the Grossman memo on the 7th. Novak spoke to Bill Harlow, the CIA press guy, probably on July 7th or 8th. It's clear from that conversation that Harlow knew Plame was covert and that Novak had to have understood that she was covert. Novak's column ran July 11th.

Some of the people that Rove and Libby were talking to between June 10th and July 11th had to have known that Plame was covert. Did they make that clear to Rove and Libby? We don't know. I don't think they did. I think that Rove and Libby became aware of this either when Novak's column ran describing her as an "operative", or shortly thereafter by talking with someone about Novak's column.

The bottom line is that it's still not clear which leakers, if any, were actually aware that Plame was covert when they leaked. Watching the way the WH handled all this is part of why I think they didn't know when they leaked. This is also why I think Fitzgerald is extending the grand jury. There's two main things that he wants to pin down:

1) If any of the leakers were aware of Plame's status when they leaked. Catching and indicting one person in perjury, the main person, makes it more likely that Fitz will be able to persuade more people to talk and fill in the details. And this is, in a sense, a detail. Whether they knew or not is a hard question to answer.

2) If anyone else perjured (probably Rove, at least) and pinning down any possible conspiracy to perjure. Getting Libby to gab about Rove might be the way Fitz hopes to accomplish this. Because I don't think that Libby lied to the grand jury on his own.
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 4:13 PM on October 28, 2005


Also, there's a more of a big picture thing to see in all this.

If I'm right that the leakers and the people who plotted the leaking weren't aware that Plame was covert until Novak's column ran, then one thing this narrative shows is how badly the administration's relationship with the CIA was. There were lots of folks within the CIA who could told these guys that Plame was covert. But they didn't talk to them. They didn't talk to anybody over at the CIA, except Tenet. And, of course, this is because they saw the CIA as the enemy, particularly in this matter. It's as if they deliberately avoided the people closest to Plame's involvement and Wilson trip. Well, they did. Why let the enemy know what you're doing?
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 4:17 PM on October 28, 2005


"They didn't talk to anybody over at the CIA, except Tenet."

I should have included Harlow, too. And, of course, I should have included "that we know of" as a qualification.
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 4:18 PM on October 28, 2005


Yes, there are comments on MetaFilter which are mirror-image comments on Lucianne or Freep. But if you can't see the level of discourse here, minus the 30% or so of just gleeful partisan hackery, is so much higher, then you have a problem.
posted by cell divide at 4:19 PM on October 28, 2005


Lotsa Reagan hatin' in this thread, but Bush 43 makes me almost nostalgic for Ronnie. At least the Soviets were an Other I could feel some genuine fear and loathing toward...and Raygun looks like a ten-foot-tall Rhodes scholar alongside Mr. Amateur Night. We saw a lot of bullshit US military adventurism and deaths in the 1980s, but I think W's eclipsed R's record there too. I think RWR's still ahead on resignations and indictments, though.
posted by alumshubby at 4:20 PM on October 28, 2005


So, EB, my million-peso question is why did the CIA push back so hard on the yellowcake issue?
posted by fleacircus at 4:28 PM on October 28, 2005


Because the intel was bad? I don't understand your question. 80% of what the CIA was saying contradicted what the Bush administration wanted to here. So the Bush administration looked to other, friendlier, places to get their intel from. This pissed of everyone at the CIA.
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 4:33 PM on October 28, 2005


alumshubby writes "Lotsa Reagan hatin' in this thread, but Bush 43 makes me almost nostalgic for Ronnie."

Well, Reagan *was* a great communicator. I don't think anyone who's not suffering from serious brain damage will make that claim about W.
posted by clevershark at 4:39 PM on October 28, 2005


They didn't look other places right away. Didn't Cheney ask the CIA to send someone to investigate the claims? So the CIA did, but it seems like they were happy to make the thing blow up in the White House's face, and who knows when they knew that the documents were forged. It looks like the CIA did more than was warranted by a little institutional resentment to me, but maybe I underestimate how much the White House had pissed them off.
posted by fleacircus at 4:45 PM on October 28, 2005


When you blame your fucked up war on the CIA, it will come back and bit you in the ass in ways you could not even begin to imagine.

Why did Tenet resign? So he could testify.
posted by Freen at 4:46 PM on October 28, 2005


Why do they blame the war on bad CIA intel, when they didn't use any? The CIA intel disputed their claims because it came from CIA rejected intel.
posted by Balisong at 4:59 PM on October 28, 2005


"Didn't Cheney ask the CIA to send someone to investigate the claims? So the CIA did..."

The Niger intel came to them via the CIA. The CIA said that they thought it was bogus. Cheney's office didn't like that answer, so that asked the CIA to look at it again. Plame was in the group, her exact involvement unclear, that re-evaluated the claim. I'm not sure if they told this to the WH and the WH pushed back, prompting them to decide to send Wilson to Africa; or if that CIA group decided to send Wilson in a pre-emptive move to show that they really and truly looked at this intel and decided it was bogus. Wilson went, the report went to the WH. The WH didn't get the answers they wanted.

You get the Brits involved and it's enough for there to be a battle between Tenet (representing the CIA) and Cheney's people for those famous sixteen words or more to be included in the SotU speech. They were included. This probably pissed off the CIA folks some more, including Tenet.

At this point, the WH was marching to war and the CIA wasn't really cooperating. They increasingly turned to the DIA and other sources and part of the excuse was that the CIA had an irrational hatred of Chalabi and that was poisoning all their perceptions.

The Niger intel surfaced at a very convenient time for the administration. Its path goes back to the Italian intelligence apparatus and from there there's clues that point to Chalabi's people. The intel was very weak, likely bogus and even the product of a forgery, and I don't think it's out of the question to consider whether some mid-level person in the VP/DIA and related circle wasn't involved in its genesis. You should take note of some investigations going on centered at those people. Anyway, a big part of Bush's selling the war to the American people was those sixteen words and having Wilson publish that op-ed hit them in a very vulnerable place.

And then my other narrative above begins here.

On preview: yes, it's really been remarkable how the admin has been able to make black be white and night be day by blaming all this on bad intelligence from the CIA. But of course there was bad intel that the CIA was passing along without recognizing it was bad. The admin's put the focus on that and discouraged anyone's attention away from their own pet sources which were much more gung-ho on the war. I always thought that Tenet's resignation might have been so masterfully submissive to and praising of Bush because he was really biding his time to get his revenge and didn't want their focus to be on him. It well may be that this speculation is correct. Tenet could be one of the cooperating witnesses that we're naturally not going to hear anything about.
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 5:04 PM on October 28, 2005


Also: why did Ashcroft recuse himself?
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 5:13 PM on October 28, 2005


AP sources identify Rove as 'Official A'
"Friday's indictment says 'Official A' is a 'senior official in the White House who advised Libby on July 10 or 11 of 2003' about a chat with Novak about his upcoming column in which Plame would be identified as a CIA employee.

Late Friday, three people close to the investigation, each asking to remain unidentified because of grand jury secrecy, identified Rove as Official A."
posted by ericb at 5:14 PM on October 28, 2005


Rove = Official A

he certainly is! who said prosecutors don't have a sense of humor!
posted by troybob at 5:20 PM on October 28, 2005


My point was politics IS sports. This idea of 'teams', red vs. blue, south vs. north, right vs. left, is everywhere. Metafilter isn't immune.

Justgary: Not to me, it's not. And not to a whole lot of other people who have just about gotten lost in the insane partisan shuffle over the last few years, while those on MetaFilter who think it's a sport and those on Lucianne who think it's a sport (and many others who regard yourselves as being on the "left" or on the "right," for that matter) keep trying to find ways to score fouls on each other without the referee noticing.

Count me out of any game that kills as many people and ruins as many others lives as this one. I didn't sign up for either of your G-D teams, and it pisses me off that someone forged my name on the roster. What happened to conservatives being on the side of caution, moral principle, and personal responsibility? On both sides, more often than not, all I see is game-playing. I'm still waiting for some actual adults to show up, take away the ball and make us clean our room.
posted by all-seeing eye dog at 5:27 PM on October 28, 2005


Count me out of any game that kills as many people and ruins as many others lives as this one. I didn't sign up for either of your G-D teams, and it pisses me off that someone forged my name on the roster.

I won't claim that I don't view the Bush Adm. as the "bad guys" who I want to see defeated, and have a reflexive dislike for. I don't just want to see them lose, I want to see them suffer their losses. I want to see them choke on defeat the way Rush Limbaugh wants "liberals" too. It's kind of sad. But that isn't partisan so much as it is my distaste for one group of people.

In cancer research a cell becomes cancerous when it has received too many 'insults' (IIRC). My distaste for the administration is not born of partisan politics, but of a million little insults.

It bugs me that so many people seem to think that getting a democratic government installed will solve all our problems. It will solve some of them, some of the most critical ones, but we have to be eternally vigilant. The democrats are not the defenders of humanity against the crushing rampage of fundamentalist psychosis.

What happened to conservatives being on the side of caution, moral principle, and personal responsibility?

I don't know, even the "good" ones like John McCain defend the presidency on TV. It's rather disappointing.
posted by delmoi at 5:39 PM on October 28, 2005


All I'm saying verb is the linked discussion isn't that different from metafilter.

You're out of your cotton-pickin' mind if you seriously think that and aren't just trying to score rhetorical points. I've been as vocal as anyone about protesting the tendency toward leftie groupthink here on MeFi, but never on its worst day has it produced anything like the crazed frothing in that thread. Reading it gave me a little perspective—as much as I sometimes bitch about this place, it's way, way, way above horrorshows like that.

Also, what zaelic said about Reagan. The evil bastard deserves no one's sympathy. (And also about the anthrax. Once every few months I ask my wife "Have they found out anything about the anthrax yet?"—because she keeps up better than I do. The answer is always no.)
posted by languagehat at 5:41 PM on October 28, 2005


So can we torture him now?
posted by Crabby Appleton at 5:56 PM on October 28, 2005


never on its worst day has it produced anything like the crazed frothing in that thread.
and
Also, what zaelic said about Reagan. The evil bastard deserves no one's sympathy.

Careful.
posted by gleuschk at 6:02 PM on October 28, 2005


delmoi: you've got my sympathies. i get bitter about this mess too, but i will never, never accept the proposition that adults should behave this way, or that "politics is sports," or that there's a red team and a blue team, and if you ain't with us, you're against us, or any of that other petty, childish crap. The truth is, the real-world problems we face as a nation are so complex, either "team" would be hard pressed to make progress in solving them even if they had the luxury of undivided focus, without the mindless, unreflective interference of the "other team." As it is, with pretty much everybody working against everybody else at some level (professionally, politically, culturally--take your pick), there's not even the slightest chance we're up to the challenges ahead. Until we all drop the divisiveness and in-fighting that dominates contemporary civic discourse, and further, actually give qualified people who know what they're doing the chance to do their jobs (instead of constantly questioning their motives and imagining them as members of some "intellectual" or "cultural elite"), we'll just keep spiralling down and down as a nation until we find the bottom the hard way.
posted by all-seeing eye dog at 6:05 PM on October 28, 2005


I just watched NBC then BBC news. I can't believe the difference. It may be subtle but to me the American broadcasters are still timorous in comparison. It fucking makes me sick.
posted by Mr T at 6:30 PM on October 28, 2005


all-seeing eye dog is right ... which is why i've been giving my vote to 3rd party candidates ... there are two kinds of politicians these days ... do-nothings who only care about being re-elected and conduct business as usual ... which is how we got in this mess ... and rabid partisans who want to tear the other guy's throat out

we need a 3rd kind of politician desperately ... for lack of a better word, i'd suggest calling them statesmen ...
posted by pyramid termite at 6:39 PM on October 28, 2005


According to the indictment, it's highly unlikely Libby and Cheney were unaware of Plame's NOC status.
posted by Optimus Chyme at 6:41 PM on October 28, 2005


Guess who got heckled today? ... In the four years since September the 11th, the evil that reached our shores has reappeared on other days, in other places -- in Mombasa and Casablanca and Riyadh and Jakarta and Istanbul and Madrid, in Beslan and Taba and Netanya and Baghdad, and elsewhere. In the past few months, we have seen a new terror offensive with attacks on London, and Sharm el-Sheikh, and a deadly bombing in Bali once again.

AUDIENCE MEMBER: Mr. President, war is terror.

AUDIENCE: Booo! ...

posted by amberglow at 7:23 PM on October 28, 2005


fleacircus writes "Didn't Cheney ask the CIA to send someone to investigate the claims?"

He should have been more specific in his request. Clearly he didn't want a man with diplomatic experience who had actual experience in the country involved; he should have asked for some fresh-out-of-college, young Republican ass-kisser willing to do anything to further his career, and that said lickspittle be told to find evidence or else.
posted by clevershark at 8:04 PM on October 28, 2005


How old are those posters over at Lucianne? I've seen far more reasoned threads over at Fark*


(regular fark) - sometimes the discussion at TotalFark rivals that of here. But not usually.
posted by PurplePorpoise at 8:11 PM on October 28, 2005


Optimus Chyme, please see this comment of mine about what Cheney and Libby were likely to have known. Knowing that Plame came from Operations was a clue that the leakers should have been careful with what they leaked, but it doesn't mean that they must have known that Plame was formally covert. For that to be the case, it would have to be true that every person in the ops division was formally covert. This is possible, but I don't think it's the case. I think that it's most likely that when the leakers decided to leak Plame's role in Wilson's Africa trip they were not aware that Plame was a bona-fide covert operative. I think that they believed that she was merely an analyst, even if they were aware that she was in the Ops division.

Also consider that its clear that Fitzgerald has a lot of testimony from Rove and some others that is not covered in the Libby indictments. Given how active Rove and Libby were in the leaks, given the situation and that there were lots of clues that Plame was covert, it seems highly unlikely to me that had Rove and Libby known that Plame was covert that Fitzgerald would not have found conclusive proof that this was the case. If so, then he would have indicted Rove today.

I know that a lot of people on the left have a big emotional investment in the idea that Rove was fully aware of Plame's role at the CIA and leaked the information with the explicit intent to expose her and put her life in jeopardy. I wouldn't claim that Rove isn't morally capable of doing such a thing, but I find it very unlikely that he would given just how enormously doing so would make him and anyone else—prominant administration people all—vulnerable criminally and politically. In fact, if we assume that Rove and Libby were completely aware of Plame's status, I think that it's implausible that they would have been directly involved in the leak and, like Watergate, would have pushed the involvement down a notch in the bureaucracy to mid-level people.

That they weren't aware of Plame's status probably gets them off-the-hook with regard to the Identities act, assuming that they didn't talk to any reporters after they became aware of her status, as they almost certainly did at least by the time just after of Novak's column appeared. Even so, what they did was still a very Bad Thing and they made it worse by lying to the Grand Jury. Also, a case could be made for conspiracy to commit a crime, the crime being a more general protection of classified material—no one wants to prosecute such a crime for freedom of the press reasons, and Fitzgerald said so today. But he might go for a conspiracy charge with regard to it. And he might go for a conspiracy charge with regard to perjury. All this is crime enough.
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 8:24 PM on October 28, 2005


Ethereal Bligh:
Some of the people that Rove and Libby were talking to between June 10th and July 11th had to have known that Plame was covert. Did they make that clear to Rove and Libby? We don't know. I don't think they did.
To shed some light on that point, here's what former CIA spokesman Bill Harlow apparently told the grand jury, as reported in the Washington Post by Walter Pincus (emphasis mine):
Harlow, the former CIA spokesman, said in an interview yesterday that he testified last year before a grand jury about conversations he had with Novak at least three days before the column was published. He said he warned Novak, in the strongest terms he was permitted to use without revealing classified information, that Wilson's wife had not authorized the mission and that if he did write about it, her name should not be revealed.

Harlow said that after Novak's call, he checked Plame's status and confirmed that she was an undercover operative. He said he called Novak back to repeat that the story Novak had related to him was wrong and that Plame's name should not be used. But he did not tell Novak directly that she was undercover because that was classified.
If I understand correctly -- it is incumbent upon the holder of such security clearances (Libby, Rove, et al) to verify the classification status of information before sharing it with persons not cleared to receive it. There appears to be no indication that any of the leakers made any effort to determine whether Plame's status at CIA was classified before sharing it with reporters.

Now, if Bill Harlow followed procedure by checking and following up, how can Libby or Rove be absolved of the same responsibility? Ignorance is no excuse.

Also, I think it's telling that Rove told Cooper (according to Cooper's account of his grand jury testimony) that the information about Plame's role in Wilson's trip was "about to be declassified" and signed off the conversation with the words "I've already said too much." To my view, those statements imply that Rove knew her status was classified at the time.

Their supposed ignorance of her status is awfully convenient, as far as beating an IIPA charge.. and as far as Libby's credibility goes, being indicted for lying and obstruction and perjury tends to cast doubt on his claims. I wouldn't give them any benefit of doubt, myself.

Now add the indictment's assertion that Cheney informed Libby that Plame worked at CPD on the operations side of CIA, and that Libby understood that this information came from DCI George Tenet.

Let's just say I'm skeptical of any claim of ignorance, and certainly not as an excuse. I believe that these facts support Josh Marshall's conclusion that they (Cheney, Libby) knew damn well that Plame's status was classified.
posted by edverb at 8:26 PM on October 28, 2005


"fleacircus writes 'Didn't Cheney ask the CIA to send someone to investigate the claims?'"

No, Cheney didn't specifically ask anyone to go to Africa and investigate the Niger intel. Wilson's wording in his op-ed about this seemed to imply that Cheney did such a thing; but actually it doesn't explicitly say that and it was just ambiguous writing. He has said later that that's not what he meant. However, conservatives have seized upon this as the prime example of Wilson being a liar.

What actually happened is that Cheney probably personally reviewed the CIA's initial evaluation of the Niger intel, didn't agree with their conclusion, and sent it back to them asking for them to look more closely into it. This resulted, eventually, in Wilson being sent to Africa, but Cheney was not involved in that decision in any way and was not aware of it. Wilson, in fact, subsequent to his op-ed, has been very clear on this point.
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 8:28 PM on October 28, 2005


I think it's our duty as citizens to drop this nonsensical talk and turn our thoughts to ways we can best protect America.

I think we should find every individual who has ever deliberately ratted out an American spy, particularly while there's a war going on, and then lied about it to a an American grand jury. I think we should categorize those people as traitors.

These scumbags have abused their power in a way that cost us as a country; have hurt America, deliberately, for the gain of themselves at the expense of our country, international law, and what is clearly now known to all as the truth. They destroyed the career of one of our own spies for telling what they knew was truth. God damn all such traitorous wretches.

Who cannot condemn this villain and call himself patriotic? Face it, boot-oilers, your captain is standing in support of this person that we all acknowledge is rightfully a traitorous felon. How's Bobby-Doug Dipfuck going to make a song out of that?
posted by squirrel at 8:32 PM on October 28, 2005


get on that bad motor scooter and ride...
posted by quonsar at 8:43 PM on October 28, 2005


edverb: on your first point, that Novak knew and this implies that the leakers knew, I disagree. Novak, as a reporter without a clearance, called the CIA to verify his information about Wilson's trip and Plame's involvement. Whoever he talked to at the CIA would, under the circumstances, necessarily implicitly reveal that she was covert. Now look at how the leakers interacted with the CIA prior to Novak's column. It was at the highest levels: Grossman and Tenet, where everyone involved had the highest security clearances. A bunch of stuff they were talking about was classified merely by its nature—that doesn't mean that every CIA agent involved somehow with this matter was covert. You also write: "There appears to be no indication that any of the leakers made any effort to determine whether Plame's status at CIA was classified before sharing it with reporters." Yes, and if so, this was a big failure on their part. However, it doesn't mean that they violated the identies act. Quite the opposite, actually.

About Rove and Cooper's conversation, it's ambiguous. (Take that, MeTa guy.) Information relating to Wilson's trip was classified...we know that. I see no reason to assume that the only thing that was classified and possibly "about to be declassified" was Plame's status. Secondly, Plame's status would never be "declassified"! You can't have it both ways: if you think that Rove fully knew of Plame's status, then what he said to Cooper makes even less sense!

You wrote:

"Now add the indictment's assertion that Cheney informed Libby that Plame worked at CPD on the operations side of CIA, and that Libby understood that this information came from DCI George Tenet. "

You need to read that part more carefully. Actually, the indictment says that this is what Libby claimed and was later shown to have been lying about. That's one of the perjury charges. Since Libby lied about this, we don't really know how Tenet and Cheney were involved.

I think you and others are too caught-up in seeing and, really, hoping for the maximum amount of malfeasance on the part of the leakers. I am just trying to make sense of what happened. To me, what these guys did makes much more sense if they didn't realize that Plame was covert. I'm not giving anyone the "benefit of the doubt" in the sense that I'm being generous. Believe me, I have no generosity towards these guys.
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 8:43 PM on October 28, 2005


For those that think that some may have not known if she was covert, or not...
Why?

Why would you bring it up at all? Why was Dick and Rove and Libby discussing her at all? Well before any decision to phone journalists and place a 'secondary motive' for Wilson's trip came about, there was discussion of Wilson, his wife, their connection with WMD's, and how they could spin it to smear him/justify them.

It's the why questions that will take them all out.
Fitzgerald mentioned that he has investigated the 'why's'.
I think there will be more.
posted by Balisong at 8:44 PM on October 28, 2005


"Why would you bring it up at all? Why was Dick and Rove and Libby discussing her at all?"

Because the June 11th memo says that "Valerie Wilson", Joe Wilson's wife, was involved in the analysis of the Niger intel and was part of the decision to send Wilson to Africa. We have no indication that they knew about or discussed her prior to that. They had been discussing Wilson, they knew about his disatisfaction and that he might be a problem. They knew that because he had complained to them directly. Anyway, they thought that this was blatant nepotism, or at least could successfully spin it as such (and they've been successful: see the wingnuts' blogs), and in that way discredit Wilson's op-ed. It was a two-for-one: descredit Wilson and the CIA, which at the time was another high priority for them.
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 8:49 PM on October 28, 2005


Never have I seen someone try so hard to give people with clear ulterior motives the benefit of the doubt. It's quite remarkable.
posted by clevershark at 8:57 PM on October 28, 2005


it is pretty impressive...
posted by Balisong at 8:58 PM on October 28, 2005


Google poll:
Search results for the terms 'clinton', 'reagan', 'president', and 'whitehouse' on 3 websites. Each number is a link to that search.


clinton
mefi 733
freep 148,000
lucianne 438

reagan
mefi 423
freep 63,000
lucianne 76

president
mefi 14,700
freep 206,000
lucianne 468

whitehouse
mefi 102
freep 14,500
lucianne 7
posted by ryanrs at 8:59 PM on October 28, 2005


Ethereal Bligh, I see your points and I think we're discussing two different points of contention.

You seem to be focused on the proof (or lack thereof) of wrongdoing towards an IIPA charge which requires the foreknowledge that she was covert.

It is difficult to prove that specific wrongdoing, true. My focus is their terrible lack of rightdoing, however you slice it. I think they demonstrably violated their NDAs in a technical sense, if not the IIPA -- but my focus is on the fact that they violated a sacred trust, and excuses of ignorance may protect them from an IIPA rap, but not of their moral and ethical betrayal.

And I still think they knew and conspired to blow her cover as a means to some end. They claim ignorance, I don't buy it. But your point about what Fitzgerald can or cannot prove (foreknowledge) has merit. I guess we'll see.

One quibble though, regarding Libby learning about Plame from Cheney. You said: You need to read that part more carefully. Actually, the indictment says that this is what Libby claimed and was later shown to have been lying about. That's one of the perjury charges.

Libby claimed to have learned from journalists (in which claim he perjured himself and lied to federal investigators). The indictment alleges that he learned from Cheney, on page five, item nine under "Events Leading up to July 2003":
On or about June 12, 2003, LIBBY was advised by the Vice President of the United States that Wilson's wife worked at the Central Intelligence Agency in the Counterproliferation Divison. LIBBY understood that the Vice President had learned this information from the CIA.
The indictment states this as a point of fact, in contrast to Libby's lies about having learned about her employment from Russert and other journalists. Fitzgerald discussed this point in great detail during the press conference as well.
posted by edverb at 9:09 PM on October 28, 2005


"Never have I seen someone try so hard to give people with clear ulterior motives the benefit of the doubt. It's quite remarkable."

and

"it is pretty impressive..."

Oh, come on. I'm not giving them the benefit of doubt. I'm clearly assuming they had "ulterior motives" and they acted with malice. But I think that assuming that they were fully aware of Plame's status mades for a narrative that doesn't make sense in several different ways. First and foremost, it makes very little sense that they would personally violate one of the most serious espionage laws when they easily could have put lower-level people in harm's way and still achieved the same result. Also, given that Fitzgerald already has at least one very cooperative witness, has caught Libby in perjury, and has Rove in his sights, has now gotten every one of the reporters to testify, isn't it strange that he somehow in all of this doesn't have proof that the leakers were aware of Plame's status?

It's also a big mystery why Libby so stupidly lied, thought he'd get away with it, not to mention that his counsel was not a criminal lawyer. I'll tell you why: since he knew that he didn't know Plame was covert, he knew he wasn't in violation of the identities act and so he thought of himself as "innocent". In fact, that most of these people have thought of themselves as "innocent" explains all their actions from the day that Novak's column appeared and Wilson complained.

I have no reason to give them the benefit of the doubt as generousity. Like everyone else, I'd prefer it that they did all this intentionally and everyone involved would be frog-marched and sent to prison. But what I'm most interested in is the truth. And the truth rarely conforms to my preferences.
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 9:10 PM on October 28, 2005


"The indictment states this as a point of fact, in contrast to Libby's lies about having learned about her employment from Russert and other journalists."

You're right and I'm wrong. That's not a "quibble", that a major point. Even so, it's a restatement of the assertion that the leakers must have known of Plame's status because she worked in Ops. That's not necessarily the case.

"My focus is their terrible lack of rightdoing, however you slice it. I think they demonstrably violated their NDAs in a technical sense, if not the IIPA -- but my focus is on the fact that they violated a sacred trust, and excuses of ignorance may protect them from an IIPA rap, but not of their moral and ethical betrayal."

Yeah, and I agree fully. I don't see them not knowing of Plame's status as exonerating them from any blame.

"And I still think they knew and conspired to blow her cover as a means to some end."

And I don't. Why do you feel so certain on this matter? My argument is that not knowing that Plame was covert, they still were malicious in trying to paint the whole thing as both nepotism and the CIA's bias. Your argument asserts that above and beyond that, they were trying to accomplish something, as you say, by blowing her cover. What would that be? Hoping that she'd suffer some physical harm? I don't see any reason to assume a villain or villains explicitly twirling their waxed mustaches and laughing with malicious glee. I think my narrative sees them as plenty malicious. And, again, imagine if Plame had been killed or something similar. If they knew she was covert, they took huge personal risks to blow her cover when they could have made someone else take that risk. And that's how these things happen, because these are smart people who, at the least, try to cover their own asses.
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 9:24 PM on October 28, 2005



posted by quonsar at 9:24 PM on October 28, 2005


That's a hell of a temple throb you got there, George.
posted by Balisong at 9:34 PM on October 28, 2005


This is great: ...Leaking the names of CIA agents is not politics; it is a crime. Lying to congress about evidence for a war is not politics; it is a crime. Failing to tell a grand jury that you met with a reporter and talked about the CIA agent is not forgetfullness; it is a crime. Deceiving your entire nation and frightening children and adults with images of nuclear explosions in order to get them to support a bloody invasion of another country is not politics; it is a crime. Anyone other than Karl Rove and Lewis Libby and Tom Delay who does not get this, please raise your hand. The three of you will need to stay after class for further instruction in civics ...
posted by amberglow at 9:35 PM on October 28, 2005


EB -

You've expended hundreds of words on this, all very nicely grammatically arranged and all, but I'm still in the dark. I don't have as much of a grasp of the interface between members of the White House staff and the CIA as either you or Josh do, I'll admit up front.

But here's the thing: Josh makes an outright, unambiguous declaration, and you have yet to make an outright, unambiguous challenge to it that I can discern, other than "I'm betting otherwise." Josh says:The entire point of that post is that the naming of the particular office denotes the explicit fact that she was an operative. Are you asserting that this is false? Or are you saying that Libby and Cheney (remember, that's who we're talking about here, though subsequent comments have drifted over to Rove) could be familiar with this division yet not realize it meant she was an operative?

Again, as a layman I have only Josh's word to go on that there is a one-to-one correlation there. But I'm familiar with his expertise, which he's demonstrated pretty thoroughly over the years. I also know you don't talk completely out of your ass, but you do have a tendency sometimes to buttress arguments with volumes of words instead of strength of sourcing. So I only ask now that you clarify on what basis you're saying Josh is wrong and provide either some expertise or linked source that would give us reason to believe you know better. Thanks.

This resulted, eventually, in Wilson being sent to Africa, but Cheney was not involved in that decision in any way and was not aware of it.

Or at least we would assume he wasn't if we give him the benefit of the doubt.
posted by soyjoy at 9:38 PM on October 28, 2005


(For clarity: ...we would assume he wasn't aware of it if we...
posted by soyjoy at 9:40 PM on October 28, 2005


EB: why would they have continued to lie about what they said when if they hadn't had ulterior motives in the first place? They knew that lying to a Grand Jury is a big crime. They knew by then that they had revealed Plame's covert status--whether intentionally or not. They hung themselves by lying to the Grand Jury when they didn't have to, which calls all their actions into question. Innocent people who made an honest mistake don't compound it that way.
posted by amberglow at 9:42 PM on October 28, 2005


This whole 'mefi hates reagan, freepers hate clinton' meme is an interesting subthread. In my experience, though, the level of animus towards Reagan by liberals is around that of the level of animus most freep/redstate/etc folks hold towards Carter. They dislike him -- they'll even go so far as to say he was The Worst Evar, or call him a dupe, perhaps even EVIL, certainly stupid...

But I think Clinton and George W. Bush will be the two reigning satans of the political rhetoric universe for quite some time.

The republican and conservative die-hards I know bring up Clinton at every opportunity -- he's not just a guy they dislike, he's an avatar, a golem of evil, a shorthand way of referring to every diabolical evildoer the world has ever known. He's a serial killing drug-dealer! He steals puppies!

These things come up not in conversations comparing presidents, not in discussions about comparative scenerios... these things come up in damn near every abstract political discussion they have.

It's mind-boggling. Christians have long demonstrated their capacity for shrill screaming about persecution when they're dominant majority -- apparently the religious/polictical conservative cooperation has resulted in some tactical cross-polination.
posted by verb at 10:01 PM on October 28, 2005


Ethereal Bligh - If Libby didn't know that Plame's status was classified, then how do you explain the statement on page 6 of the indictment:
13. Shortly after publication of the article in The New Republic, LIBBY spoke by telephone with his then Principal Deputy and discussed the article. That official asked LIBBY whether information about Wilson's trip could be shared with the press to rebut the allegations that the Vice President had sent Wilson. LIBBY responded that there would be complications at the CIA in disclosing that information publicly, and that he could not discuss the matter on a non-secure telephone line.
So, we're to believe that he couldn't discuss Wilson, who was a contractor for the CIA with the press, but Libby believed that Wilson's wife, who Libby knew worked in operations for the CIA was fair game. I find that stretches credulity.
posted by willnot at 10:16 PM on October 28, 2005


Exactly, Amberglow.
posted by Balisong at 10:20 PM on October 28, 2005


I don't hate Regan, it's just his policies-statements-actions as a leader of people that I have a disagreement with.
posted by Balisong at 10:23 PM on October 28, 2005


Bush, however, sucks donkey balls.
posted by Balisong at 10:28 PM on October 28, 2005


Bush sucks Rove's donkey balls to get to sleep at night. ; >
posted by amberglow at 10:38 PM on October 28, 2005


Ah, the old night-time calmative.
posted by jenovus at 10:47 PM on October 28, 2005


And I don't. Why do you feel so certain on this matter?

It's not just the fact that they knew she worked on the Ops side, it's that compounded with the other facts I mentioned.

-they knew the entire backstory of Wilson's trip
-Libby had gone to extremes to do his workup on Wilson (asked his CIA briefer, obtained knowledge of the INR report, spoke with Cheney, etc.) Recent press reports have suggested that Libby had an unhealthy obsession with getting back at Wilson.
-Rove implied to Cooper it was classified (to which I would narrow the point you broadened earlier...Wilson's trip was almost certainly not the subject of Rove's telling statement -- Wilson had already revealed by that time that he was sent to Niger, which leads me to believe that Rove was in fact referring to Plame's job as the soon-to-be-declassified fact, not Wilson's trip.)

They certainly went to great lengths to do their homework. Libby sought to know everything there was to know, was in a position to know every classified piece of info on the matter -- and in light of all that I find it implausible that he didn't know her status. I find it too convenient that he didn't bother to check.

In the face of such diligence to discredit Wilson...I cannot fathom how they'd miss such a crucial detail. Besides -- we're talking about people who knew she was CIA and shopped it to reporters, and lied before a grand jury about it.

By definition, Libby's pattern of obstruction was designed to prevent Fitzgerald from establishing the facts necessary to clear the hurdle of foreknowledge needed to charge his under IIPA. Fitzgerald made it clear in today's press conference that he didn't charge Libby not because he didn't break those laws, but because his obstruction made it impossible to clear the necessary hurdles of proof.

Your argument asserts that above and beyond that, they were trying to accomplish something, as you say, by blowing her cover. What would that be?

They waged all out war on Wilson's credibility -- beginning, of all places, with his undercover wife. They could have followed any number of different approaches, from engagement on the merits to ignoring the criticism outright, to meeting it with ridicule. Why do you suppose they began with his wife? Their campaign didn't damage Wilson's charges after all. Why would they simultaneously go after his wife, while also retracting the sixteen words? Does that make sense?

Perhaps it was an overreaction to a far more damning scenario they feared would be revealed. But that's just conjecture on my part.

Let's look at what their betrayal actually did accomplish. It ended Valerie Plame's 20 year career as an undercover officer. It blew the CIA front company Brewster Jennings. It ostensibly discouraged other whistleblowers from coming forward.

Knowingly or not -- the betrayal of Valerie Plame and her front company risked crippling the intelligence services ability to track WMD throughout the world, at a time when we were waging pre-emptive war over the mere (unproven) possibility that Saddam possessed them. Such diligence to discredit Wilson, and not one iota to protect the very sort of intelligence with which they took us to war? Talk about not adding up.

Do you think it's possible their turf war extended beyond merely being at odds with CIA, and into the realm of undermining their abilities to contradict the administration's (false) claims?

Could one imagine more sinister motives to people who intentionally lied us into a war, people who actually sold those WMD to Saddam in the first place, a White House staffed by people who've conducted secret extraconstitutional wars funded by secret arms shipments to our enemies?

Is it possible that they believed that Wilson or Plame or CIA or BJA were getting close to something they didn't want anyone to know about -- like the source of the Niger forgeries?

Who knows...what I do know is that outing Valerie Plame is one betrayal in service of a much larger betrayal, that much is certain.

But can it be proven? Maybe, maybe not -- but least of all by me, in this thread.
posted by edverb at 10:59 PM on October 28, 2005


Vendetta Politics 101 -shit if Libby and others in the administration had just kept the phones on the hooks about Wilson none of this would have happened. Wilson would have published his NYT article and then slid into obscurity. Oh well.

Can you say Pardon Me George!
posted by thedailygrowl at 11:05 PM on October 28, 2005


Sorry if I haven't had the chance to review the thread just yet, but in this case I think the best action would be to handle this the way the Gary Gilmore case was handled: Death by firing squad. Libby and Rove up against the wall and the rest involved to follow. Think about it. Gary Gilmore killed a few. This bunch killed 2,000 american soldiers, almost 16,000 (or more) wounded and maimed american soldiers and something like 500,000 Iraqi men, women and children killed because of their lies and duplicity causing sanctions and severe acts of war against an unarmed and innocent population.
The least the american people could do for democracy and freedom worldwide would be to line this bunch up against the wall and take away the lives of those who took away the lives and hopes and dreams of so many, many more.
Sound extreme? Think of what these demonic assholes have done in God's and America's name. Would you expect mercy for someone like Pol Pot? Stalin? Hitler?
Corporal punishment for corporal sins.
posted by mk1gti at 11:34 PM on October 28, 2005


soyjoy: it's that Josh is making an absolute declaration that's the problem. That Plame worked in ops at the very least strongly implies that she is or might be an operative. It doesn't necessitate it. Are you going to tell me that every single person, including say, the janitors, who works in ops has covert status in the way that people in intel don't? I do know that ops is different than the other directorates, I'm not disputing that. It just might be that every single person who works in ops has covert status and their names and employment with the CIA is an official government secret. But then again, maybe not. I love Josh Marshall. But he's a pundit and he's going to naturally have trouble with the distinction between "strongly implies" and "is". Marhall's been jumping the gun on this particular matter, being too quick to assume that something proves that the leakers knew Plame was covert. Last year he said that they must have known because Novak knew. I wrote something on my blog disputing that, Marshall mentioned my blog and my points, said they were good points but that he would go into his rebuttal in detail later, and then never did. Again, I like Josh Marshall a lot. But I think he's got it stuck in his head, like so many others, that it's self-evident that the leakers intedned to out Plame when, I contend, it's certainly not self-evident.

"So, we're to believe that he couldn't discuss Wilson, who was a contractor for the CIA with the press, but Libby believed that Wilson's wife, who Libby knew worked in operations for the CIA was fair game. I find that stretches credulity."

No, because like other people here, you're jumping to conclusions. We don't know what Libby felt couldn't be publicly disclosed. We do know that the State memo about Wilson's trip had a section marked "Secret". We also know that it mentioned "Valerie Wilson". Was that the only reason that section was secret? If that section was secret primarily because of that information, then wouldn't it have said so? And, if so, then Fitzgerald, after being able to prove that these people knew of Plame and read that memo, wouldn't he have plenty to indict someone, anyone, on the basis of the Identities act? If there was more information in the section that is secret, then we wouldn't have heard about it, would we?

"...of all places, with his undercover wife. They could have followed any number of different approaches, from engagement on the merits to ignoring the criticism outright, to meeting it with ridicule. Why do you suppose they began with his wife? Their campaign didn't damage Wilson's charges after all."

Because that's how Rove works. He makes it personal. They were personally mad at Wilson. They weren't going after his wife, they were primarily going after Wilson's credibility in his claims about the Niger intel. You say that the campaign didn't damage Wilson's chages after all, but that's not true. For the most part, it worked. Most people on the right think that the CIA was biased against that intel and that Wilson's trip was a sham to begin with and that what it really was was a junket paid for bby the government that Wilson got via his wife's influence. Never mind that much of these claimes don't stand scrutiny when you look at them. The damage was done. This is how Rove works. When someone makes a charge against the administration, they attack them personally to damage their credibility. That's what the did here. To the degree that it damaged Plame, that was an additional bonus to them because it was also sticking it to the CIA.

You just don't need something as extreme as deliberately blowing Plame's cover as a covert operative to explain their actions. They discredited Wilson and the CIA.

And you guys keep ignoring some things. One is that, doing what they did, assuming your narrative, was a deeply illegal thing to do. Like I said, according to you, they wanted Plame to be threatened. Well, what if she had been killed? Anything that Fitzgerald has found now would have looked like nothing compared to the investigation had an operative been killed and the public knew about it. (And we would, because Wilson immediately complained about their outing of his wife.) The wide-ranging conspiracy narrative like one that edverb presents is not out the realm of possibility, in my opinion. Yes, I think some of these people are that evil. But what is outside the realm of possibility, in my opinion, is that they would do something that far-reaching, that public, that is that illegal and that potentially politically devastating for them personally. They didn't need to. They didn't need to be the people that blew Plame's cover, if that was their primary aim. But if their primary aim was to hurt Wilson's credibility, then this was business as usual. Oh, also, the idea that they did this to destroy the anti-proliferation work of the CIA as a means to protect their secret that Hussein didn't actually have WMDs doesn't make sense. The Ops division she worked for was counter-proliferation. They work to put a monkey wrench in people's plans to get WMDs. They're independent of the Intel folks, who would, and did, go right on evaluating the intelligence gathered about Iraq.

edverb talks about how much "homework" they did. But a covert operative's status is a closely guarded secret. It would not be available for them to find, right there in the open. On the other hand, with Plame doing the kind of work she was doing, some people here and there might have been aware that she worked for the CIA.

If I recall correctly, and maybe I am not, Wilson intially said loudly that he believed that Rove and other did this specifically to out his wife's covert status, just like you guys are saying. But, again, if I recall correctly, later he softened that accusation.

The primary way in which the leakers could have gotten away with claiming that they didn't know that she was covert when they really did, was by playing a round-robin like game including the reporters. And they did try to do this. But it didn't work. Fitzgerald knows a lot about who knew what and when. He has at least one very cooperative witness. He's got Libby nailed. Given all that, it seems to me that if these guys were fully aware of Plame's covert status and, particularly, if that was their motivation for the leak, then Fitzgerald would have presented an indictment against at least one person on that basis.

I just don't see why we need some very complicated and spectacularly sinister narrative when a simple and business-as-usual malice explains all the facts just fine. My narrative is Rove doing what Rove does. Your guys' narrative is real cloak-and-dagger stuff that would be more believable if the suspects were Cheney/Rumsfeld rather than Cheney/Rove. This was political, it was spin, it was fighting in the media. It wasn't about the real-world effects of outing a covert WMD operative. That just doesn't make sense on a lot of levels.
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 12:47 AM on October 29, 2005


After reading a few news stories, I can tell you another thing that I find mind-boggling: that there are still conservatives claiming that Plame wasn't covert. Orrin Hatch said something to this effect. How can they possibly claim that? It makes no sense.

I guess I need to remind myself that what's happening is that they're talking themselves into this nonsense because of what seems to be the weirdness of how seemingly not-covert Plame has been acting in the last few years. But that's ignoring one very obvious thing: if a covert agent stops doing that sort of work and starts doing anaylst-type work, it makes no sense to think that their covert status would just immediately go away. Their cover identity would continue to need to be protected for some time.
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 1:02 AM on October 29, 2005


The entire State Department memo was classified as Top Secret, and the paragraph of the memo that mentioned Valerie Wilson was marked S/NF (secret, not for distribution
to foreign nationals).
posted by kirkaracha at 1:25 AM on October 29, 2005


EB, you say you're not giving them the benefit of the doubt, but it sure seems to me that you are, regardless of whether you personally would like one or the other version to be true (and perhaps because you're so sure that the truth doesn't conform to your desires). You're making a big point of the fact that "every single person who works in ops" isn't necessarily covert. But I don't see how relevant that is. If you had the name of someone you knew to be working in ops and were trying to decide whether to reveal it based on your fear of breaking the law about outing covert operatives, would you say to yourself "Say, it's probably not true that every single person who works there is covert, so what the hell, I might as well?" No, you'd figure that the overwhelming likelihood was that the person was covert, and if you released the name the overwhelming likelihood was that you'd be breaking the law. It defies credibility to suppose that Karl Rove, knowing Ms. Plame worked in ops, thought that she wasn't covert and therefore it was OK to spread her name around (for "keeping out of jail" values of "OK"). As for this:

First and foremost, it makes very little sense that they would personally violate one of the most serious espionage laws when they easily could have put lower-level people in harm's way and still achieved the same result.


You're ignoring the fact that a great deal of what these people have been doing for the last five years makes very little sense. It makes very little sense to invade a country with insufficient force, to have no plan in place to protect vital infrastructure, and to dismiss the entire military (thus creating a pissed-off, heavily armed population). It makes very little sense to ignore warnings about terrorism before 9/11 and about the state of New Orleans' levees before Katrina. It makes very little sense to propose a nonentity like Miers for the highest court in the land. What you're forgetting is that these people have disdain for the "reality-based community"; everything they've done makes sense only on the assumption that they truly believe they can create their own reality and force everyone to accept it. Reread your later statement:

In fact, that most of these people have thought of themselves as "innocent" explains all their actions from the day that Novak's column appeared and Wilson complained.

Exactly. They do think of themselves as "innocent"; like psychopaths, they're unaware of the standards by which the rest of us are judging them. Of course Rove thought he could get away with leaking the name of a covert operative; he'd gotten away with everything else he'd done since coming to Washington! Remember hubris? This is it.
posted by languagehat at 6:02 AM on October 29, 2005


edverb talks about how much "homework" they did. But a covert operative's status is a closely guarded secret.
Not from these guys.
It would not be available for them to find, right there in the open
They found it, didn't they? Libby lied about it under oath about when they found it, and who told him, didn't he?
My narrative is Rove doing what Rove does
True, I agree with your assertion about his history of making it personal, he is after all a professional smear artist, doing what he does.

But it certainly seems way out of character for a policy wonk like Libby to make it his personal mission in life to inform everyone who'd listen about Wilson's wife, doesn't it? How can your narrative explain that?

Kirkarcha, good point about the relevant passage in the INR memo being marked S/NF. That also adds weight to the theory that they knew.

I suspect the truth is somewhere in-between "business as usual" and spectaucularly sinister "cloak and dagger" stuff. But I'll say this...every time I entertain the possibility of an innocent excuse for their inexplicable deeds (think "few bad apples" or "bad intelligence" or "failure of imagination" or "erring on the side of life" or "historical document") the truth always tends towards the more sinister and amoral.

In my judgement, the sordid history of their misdeeds points a deadly combination of hubris and sociopathy. It points towards the banality of evil.
posted by edverb at 6:59 AM on October 29, 2005


speaking of clinton, can you imagine the shit-storm if, say, george stephanopoulos had outted a CIA agent? he would've gotten the death penalty. there would've been riots in the streets. there are still people bitchin' about "hanoi jane." can you just imagine?
posted by mcsweetie at 7:11 AM on October 29, 2005


Note:

They've nailed Libby for what? Perjury, repeated, "Making false statements" [1], repeated, Obstruction of Justice.

Fitzgerald waited two years, and put this out on the last day. Why?

He can't prove intent, which would be the key to the real crimes, on the guys who really did this. He can, however, prove that Libby deliberatly and repeatedly lied (the first four charges) to cover up this crime (the last).

What's up?

Two interpretations.

1) Fitz lost. The Rovians are too united, he can't get anyone to turn. But nobody likes to be lied to, so he's slapping down Libby.

2) Fitz isn't done, and he's publically squeezing Libby to try and flip him.

The big kicker: Fitzgerald could have nailed Libby much harder -- the evidence is clear in the indictment that Libby could have been nailed under the Espionage act, and if you can convince the judge that this is a time of war (replaying the last four years of Bush speeches would do that,) then Libby's looking at the wrong end of a rope. Larry Franklin is facing basically the exact same form of indictment under the Espionage Act.

He didn't. He's slapping Libby to pay back an insult -- be lied to -- but he's done. John Dean was right. Fitzgerald can't, or won't, dig to the core of this case. It may be that the White House mantra of "National Security", and the courts willingness to buy that, has made real prosecutions impossible. It may be that Gonzales called him and told him that something ends Friday -- this investigation or his career. It may be that he's a wimp, but I doubt that -- then again, the Illinois GOP couldn't do much to him. BushCo can.

Arguing against: If he has someone flipped, who's waived thier right to indictment (that is, they'll plead to a charge filed as a memo -- this violates your right to a grand jury, but if you waive that right, it's ok, and quite common in the case of a plea bargain.) then he's got someone to really press with. Thus, charge Libby with about 50 years worth, then tell him that he can come to Fitz, or he can rot for years. Libby's bet is that a pardon is on the way. Question: Rove is pardon worthy -- does Libby have enough to hurt the administration? If not, no pardon. If so, pardon (WWCD, remember?)

Personally, though, I think there's nothing else. The fortress strained, but did not break, and for reasons of "National Security", no more digging will be allowed. Scooter will either fall on his sword (a quick guilty plea means no reason to call witnesses in a trial) or will be pardoned. Or, heck, both.

And BushCo will quickly distract with something else, like a Supreme Court Nomination, and the Corporate Owned press, who knows exactly who's side they are on, will very quickly go on to the next story.

Treason isn't important. The agents that were, at best, rendered useless when Plame was outed aren't important. The dead in Iraq aren't important.

The Permanent GOP Majority. That's important. IOKIYAR.
posted by eriko at 7:30 AM on October 29, 2005


Oh, yeah -- this would have all gone down in August, 2004, except for Judith Fucking Miller.
posted by eriko at 7:31 AM on October 29, 2005


eriko brings up the Espionage Act, which Fitzgerald mentioned in the press meeting. I don't remember him even talking about the IIPA.

A refinement of the theory "they were reckless and got away with it" is that they weren't quite reckless. They took a long look at the IIPA and decided that they could win on the legal technicalities of the matter. Exactly as much malfeasance as the law allows. I think this fits the m.o. of the Bush administration much better than the "reckless" theory, or EB's "they just didn't know" theory.

How does this explain Libby's perjury? I don't know, maybe he blinked, maybe he started to believe Fitzgerald would get him with the espionage act. Maybe he thought Miller would back him up, except that she (slowly) decided to do the right thing. Miller thinking she was doing the right thing would explain how she felt she could wrap herself up in the 1st Amendment without leaving a stain.
posted by fleacircus at 8:02 AM on October 29, 2005


Ethereal Bligh writes "After reading a few news stories, I can tell you another thing that I find mind-boggling: that there are still conservatives claiming that Plame wasn't covert."

If you could ask the Jonestown people they'd tell you that once you've drunk the kool-aid, you can't un-drink it. Once you start on a lie you can't just backtrack and and admit so -- you have to stick to your story and damn the facts.

As for Hatch in particular, he knows he's on the tail end of his career as far as the Senate goes, but he *is* a lawyer with some practice experience and has a good deal of experience on the Senate Judiciary committee. Politically he's all the things that Bush would look for in a SCOTUS Justice (anti-abortion, pro-death-penalty, pro-religion) and having been on the Judiciary committee it would be easier for him than for anyone else to get its endorsement if nominated, so when you put 2 and 2 together it's easy to see why he'd try so hard to stay on the Bush cabal's good side.
posted by clevershark at 8:23 AM on October 29, 2005


Official A is Rove.
posted by warbaby at 8:36 AM on October 29, 2005


"I cannot answer that question," Fitzgerald said when asked about any Ryan involvement. "We cannot discuss people not charged in the indictment."
FWIW: "Official A" is how Patrick Fitzgerald referred to former IL Governor George Ryan before he indicted him.
posted by edverb at 8:49 AM on October 29, 2005


I just realized that as well -- and Fitzgerald used "Official A" for a very long time, as he very carefully worked up the chain of corruption.

I don't think I'm wrong -- I think this will end very soon, with a little backroom deal between Libby and BushCo. Libby pleads guilty, avoiding a trial, Bush pardons, and Fitzgerald's case falls apart when he can't flip Libby.

The only kicker in the hole is a potential lawsuit against Libby by Wilson/Plame, which means that, ideally for BushCo, you pardon before the plea. A pardon afterwards would legally establish that Libby was, in fact, guilty, and that's evidence that can be used in a civil suit. Of course, the kicker there is that it's guilt of perjury and obstruction, not of exposing an agent, meaning that Libby's guilt isn't that useful in a civil suit. If IIPA or Espionage Act charges were filed, the civil suit becomes a slam-dunk.

But maybe, just maybe, Fitzgerald has enough to start the "charge, flip, repeat." The real problem is the pardon threat. Ryan couldn't pardon anyone away from Fitzgerald, Bush can.
posted by eriko at 9:19 AM on October 29, 2005


I may be just too wedded to my theory now that I can't be objective. I came to this conclusion early on, had already followed it very closely and have continued to, and several of my interpretations/predictions have turned out to be correct. So maybe I have too much confidence in myself.

The reason I came to this conclusion early on was because we know that Plame wasn't acting like a covert operative. She was acting like an analyst. The work she did in evaluating the Niger intel was analyst work, not operative work. She was (relatively speaking) high-profile with her husband. It seems to me that her name as Valerie Wilson would have shown up to the WH and other higher-ups in connection to the Niger intel evaluation and she would not have been identified as "Valerie Plame" nor would she be identified as a "covert operative" for obvious reasons. In short, it seems very likely to me that she could have easily become visible to the WH much earlier as someone who appeared to be merely an analyst than she would have as a covert operative.

I was under the impression at the beginning, and I can no longer figure out what my source was or why I had this impression, that the small group which included Plame which evaluated the Niger intel the second time actually went to or met in the WH. That doesn't seem right to me now, but if it were true it would make it even more likely that Plame, as Wilson who appeared to be doing analysis, would have come to the attention of the WH staff as one of the people that just wouldn't agree with their preferred intrepretation of the data.

So, because I think that the WH could easily have become aware of Plame only in the context of the work she did with that Niger intel group, and because what she was doing, as well as being Wilson's wife, looked so unlike anything being a covert operative that it wouldn't even occur to the WH people to consider if she was covert. Just because she was attached to the ops division and Libby learned that doesn't invalidate my theory for two reasons. The first is my claim that although it's universally known that ops is hush-hush, it's not necessarily the case that everyone who works in ops is an "operative" and is covert. Maybe I'm wrong about this. But it doesn't seem practical to me. Second, Libby and others were already aware of Plame's existence and involvement before they were told that she worked in ops. That is, they could have already formed the unquestioned assumption that she was a mere analyst and when Libby learned she was in ops it didn't occur to him to rethink everything.

That's my theory as to how it could be plausible, or even likely, that they weren't aware she was covert when they planned the leak and when they first actually leaked her name.

My "why" of why they'd be doing what they're doing without knowing Plame was covert I've already answered. But my summary is that they were getting back at Joe Wilson and trying to call into question everything and everyone related to his Niger trip and the CIA's judgment about that intelligence. The charge of nepotism calls into question everyone's judgment. So this response both did what they obviously wanted to do (smear Wilson and the CIA), and was pretty much exactly the sort of thing that is Rove's bread-and-butter.

Secondly, as reckless and malicious as these guys are—and I know they are very reckless and malicious—their deliberately outing Plame as a covert agent just doesn't make sense to me because it's very little benefit for them compared to an enormous risk that is also, because of how we know they did it, also a personal risk. So I don't see a good explanation of why they'd want to out Plame and, assuming there is a good reason, I don't see any reason for them to have risked themselves personally to see their goal accomplished. This point is strengthened by the fact that we have every indication, though little proof at present, that Cheney and Bush were fully aware of everything that Rove and Libby were doing. Not even the Vice President would allow himself to be aware of a violation of a sensitive law that is so egregious—not when he didn't have to be aware and involved. And he didn't have to be aware and involved. But he was.

Finally, while I acknowledge languagehat's point that whatever they did, these are the types of people to consider themselves innocent, I still believe that their reactions to the investigations from the beginning make a lot more sense if you assume that they thought themselves completely in the clear with regard to what was being investigated, the IIA.

Stop and consider: imagine if we were discussing this on a right-wing board, and it was 1998, and "it" was TravelGate and Vince Foster. I'd be saying, "Look, I'm just trying to find an explanation that fits the facts, I'm not biased one way or the other about the people involved." And you'd be saying, "Why are you giving Hillary the benefit of the doubt? She's obviously capable of anything. Why assume that she wasn't involved somehow in Foster's suicide?" I think that the Freepers story about the Clinton's being involved in murder just doesn't make sense. I think that the VP and Rove intentionally blowing Plame's cover as an action targeted directly at her just doesn't make sense.
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 9:41 AM on October 29, 2005


Doesn't even a plea bargain mean an admission of guilt too tho? Couldn't Wilson and Plame still sue then? (And forget them: can't we all do a class-action suit or something? The People of the US v. The Bush Administration?)

I think the fact that he repeatedly said it wasn't done yet means there are more indictments coming--whether in a discovery phase for Libby or during the plea bargain negotiations. And that purposely not naming Rove all throughout has to have meaning.
posted by amberglow at 9:41 AM on October 29, 2005


A lot of people are saying that it must be the case that Fitzgerald's done and this was the best case he could make. I don't think this is correct. I think that he's taking the opportunity to see if he can't get Libby to plea bargain and/or something else shaking loose, so that he can solidly get Rove and, possibly, actually get someone in violation of the IIA. This is why, I think, he didn't mention the IIA. He did mention the espionage act because he was quelling the fears of many that he was going to use it and effectively create a US Official Secrets Act.
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 9:45 AM on October 29, 2005


EB: you leave out Tenet's involvement, and all of the Bush 1 people in the administration with your analysis--the Administration were very entwined with the CIA from 9/11 on-- forcing them to dig up Saddam connections everywhere they existed and even when they didn't. My thinking is that they would have already had the Plame info as soon as Wilson was sent abroad to see if the Niger lies were true.

It's also simple opposition research to build a file on everyone you deal with, even before they turn on you. It's called insurance, i believe.
posted by amberglow at 9:47 AM on October 29, 2005


All someone would have to do (i'm betting Cheney) is say to Libby or Rove or someone under them: "What do we know about this Wilson guy?"
posted by amberglow at 10:00 AM on October 29, 2005


amberglow, Valerie Plame as an operative was a very closely held secret. Her name wouldn't have appeared anywhere on anything that this administration would have seen in connection with her work as an operative. That's how this works with operatives. The actual identity of operatives is a very need-to-know secret.

The interplay between the WH and the CIA leading up to and including Wilson't trip to Africa was the commonplace business of the WH and the CIA. Wilson himself said that although it's almost certain the the VP read either his report of a summary of the report, it's also quite possible that Cheney never saw or read his name in connection with any of this. This stuff is below the level of the WH's visibility. It's not important who these people are.

When Wilson complained to people about the SOTU speech, them alarm bells went off in the WH and they found out everything they could about his trip and why he went on it. The June 11th memo is an example of this sort of digging.

These particular people at the CIA were not the only conduit by which this Niger intel reached the WH. It occurs to me that many people might be assuming far too much importance on the part of this particular analysis by the CIA, and of Valerie Wilson in this matter, and of Joe Wilson. The administration had lots of other intel that supported their view of Iraq, they had other intel about Iraq's nuclear ambitions. And the yellowcake intel was shopped around by SISMA, and so it certainly made its way to the WH by other channels besides this one. All this is to say that if you're operating on the assumption that these particular people, and duping them, or fearing that they wouldn't be duped, was particularly important to the WH, then that's an unwarranted assumption. Their rejection of the Niger intel didn't stop the admin from including those sixteen words, and that's because the admin had many other reasons for believing (or had deluded themselves into having many other reasons for believing) that those words were warranted. Plame and Wilson weren't so important as to be noticed personally by the White House until Wilson started making waves about the speech. This is Wilson's own view of the matter.

As to Tenet's involvement, in my opinion that's a wildcard. We know that he fought against (the VPs office) about the inclusion of those sixteen words. We know he lost. We know that Cheney talked to Tenet about Plame.

It seems to me from your wording that you think that because Bush 41 was CIA director and has very strong ties to the CIA, including his relationship with Tenet, and because there are Bush 41 people scattered here and there in this administration, that this indicates that Bush 43 has intimate ties with the CIA. But nothing could be farther from the truth. This administration is really Cheney's and Rumsfeld, and both of them are deeply hostile to the CIA. This administration has never trusted anything the CIA has told them, except, um, when it validated their beliefs; and this adminstration has endeavored to use as many non-CIA intelligence resources as it could. I think that Bush 43 is treats Tenet as an old, trusted friend out of respect for his father. I don't think that Tenet feels the same way about him.

One story of this war is a general administrative branch battle of State/CIA against VP/Pentagon. VP/Pentagon won.
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 10:09 AM on October 29, 2005


And, again, imagine if Plame had been killed or something similar.

Imagine this: when Plame was outed, the entirety of Brewster Jennings & Associates was outed. It's far more than the harmless outing of an agent who has made it back to home turf: it's the outing of all agents using that cover story -- including those agents who are working undercover in hostile territory.

There is some thought going 'round that an agent was killed as a direct consequence of this outing. Maybe DailyKos is a wingnut blog, but it's worth a look.
posted by five fresh fish at 10:57 AM on October 29, 2005


I think the fact that he repeatedly said it wasn't done yet means there are more indictments coming--whether in a discovery phase for Libby or during the plea bargain negotiations. And that purposely not naming Rove all throughout has to have meaning.
posted by amberglow at 12:41 PM EST on October 29 [!]


That's what I'm saying...

Ethereal Bligh: It's that sort of poised, benefit-of-the-doubt approach that will build the most damning preponderance of evidence against this criminal administration. I commend it. Democrats would do well to adopt it. But the deep seated need for payback from Dems and progressive's is natural in the process of refinding their (hijacked) voice in the political dialogue.

Dems/Progressives have been too long demonized by this administration for even daring to share the political arena. That and the evil sleaziness of using 911 for their own ends, cronyism, incompetence and disturbing deficits is repellent on a level that is horrifying. Many on the left will never forgive this administration for what it's wrought. But where does that leave progressives? Should we recuse ourselves from the political process as the spin miesters on the Right are suggesting. Definitely not.

All that craziness on Lucianne and Freeper is not at all about real political discourse. Politics sometimes isn't so much about what a person believes as much as it is about certain individual pathologies and psychological abberations, they aren't aware of and have no contol over. It's the fruit of ignorance and bigotry and fear and I don't know....childhood abuse or something. They make themselves so much easy pickin's for people like Bush and Rove and the Neocons who are masters at manipulating and crafting it into political capital.

Great leaders can lead a nation to dream of great things, but now it seems we're afraid to dream because of what we might find there.
posted by Skygazer at 11:11 AM on October 29, 2005


There is some thought going 'round that an agent was killed as a direct consequence of this outing.
posted by five fresh fish at 1:57 PM EST on October 29 [!]


If that is true, while not many Red staters care about outing a "pinko soccer mom"/CIA agent, a crime on that scale (a capital offense) would definitely bring the administration down. A covert op being killed because of this would be a very costly mistake on the part of the Bush administration.
posted by Rothko at 11:25 AM on October 29, 2005


Taking us into the Iraq war is the worst thing done by this administration. Scooter was a player from the beginning. He was a protege of Wolfowitz and played a key role in pushing their hare-brained scheme through. While I detest Rove, I think old Scoot is a better catch. Rove is a political advisor while Libby was a policy advisor and while I have no fondness for the politics of this administration when it comes down to brass tacks it's the policies that I hate.

Investigations into Libby's affairs offer a greater chance of exposing the illegal acts that forced us into the debacle in Iraq. (As if they need exposing, I've seen it all as lies from the moment Iraq and 9/11 came in the same sentence.)

The real question is this: is lying to the American public a crime when done by a President during an official address? If the answer is yes, and I believe it is a misdemeanor, the entire White House is guilty of conspiracy.

Welcome back Rothko, how was your vacation?
posted by Mr T at 11:30 AM on October 29, 2005


It is a crime, Mr T. Of course, they lie every time they open their mouths, so that's no surprise. When it's lies that take us to war--that's the real crime.
posted by amberglow at 12:36 PM on October 29, 2005


Skygazer:

Didn't Fitzgerald say at one point that he read in the evening he was a Republican bastard and in the morning he was a Democrat bastard and the only thing he'd done in between is go to sleep?

What's interesting is that throughout the whole process, people have searched incessantly for signs that Fitz is on the take or has some wacky agenda other than "go after the crooks." Maybe he does, but I don't think anyone has figured it out yet if so.

As for the new Bushite tactic of "we're better than Nixon," well, remember that at least Nixon pulled out of Vietnam.
posted by trigonometry at 12:44 PM on October 29, 2005


Libby was the first White House staff member in 130 years to be indicted for acts in office.
posted by ism at 12:51 PM on October 29, 2005


A trial, if there's one, when will it likely start?
posted by daksya at 1:01 PM on October 29, 2005


It's far more than the harmless outing of an agent who has made it back to home turf: it's the outing of all agents using that cover story -- including those agents who are working undercover in hostile territory.

Exactly. And -- a CIA official stated on CNN this afternoon that Plame also recruited foreign nationals overseas to provide information to her and her colleagues. Those folks have likely been exposed and compromised.
posted by ericb at 1:13 PM on October 29, 2005


An interesting tidbit from today's New York Times:
"Mr. Fitzgerald was spotted Friday morning outside the office of James Sharp, Mr. Bush's personal lawyer. Mr. Bush was interviewed about the case by Mr. Fitzgerald last year. It is not known what discussions, if any, were taking place between the prosecutor and Mr. Sharp. Mr. Sharp did not return a phone call, and Mr. Fitzgerald's spokesman, Randall Samborn, declined to comment."
posted by ericb at 1:22 PM on October 29, 2005


A reader over at AndrewSulivan.com makes an interesting point:
"...Fitz has Libby nailed on the 5 counts from today's indictment. Just nailed. So he's bringing Libby in on those charges, they're going to talk some turkey, and Fitz is going to see if Libby will talk, maybe about VP, maybe about Official A (who's clearly Rove), or maybe about the VP's moles at State and in the CIA. Offer some carrots - maybe no jail - but if Libby refuses, then Fitz brings down the espionage or intelligence act charges. Libby has nowhere to go, and Fitz knows it. In my view, he's going to try to exploit that opening before wrapping this thing up."
posted by ericb at 1:33 PM on October 29, 2005


trigonometry writes "As for the new Bushite tactic of 'we're better than Nixon,' well, remember that at least Nixon pulled out of Vietnam."

Also Nixon had the decency to resign.
posted by clevershark at 1:59 PM on October 29, 2005


"'If a CIA agent is exposed, then everyone coming in contact with that agent is exposed,' says Jim Marcinkowski, a former CIA agent who trained with Plame at the top-secret Virginia facility known as 'the Farm.' 'There is a possibility that there were other agents that would use that same kind of a cover. So they may have been using Brewster Jennings just like her,' said Marcinkowski, referring to the fictional firm the CIA set up as her cover that also came out when journalists, including Robert Novak, disclosed it.

...Another friend, once a covert CIA operative, says people who say Plame wasn’t in a sensitive position need to understand how intricate a cover story is, regardless of what an agent is working on. 'Cover is…for a clandestine officer, can be different things at different times. We change cover. We modify cover based on how we need it. But that cover is linked together,' she tells [Ed] Bradley. 'If you start to unravel one part of that, you can unravel the whole thing.'

Rep. Rush Holt, D-N.J., a former intelligence analyst and member of the House Intelligence Committee, agrees. 'I think any time the identity of a covert agent is released, there is some damage -- and it’s serious.' Holt says it’s possible agents overseas could be arrested or even killed, but 'if there were, and I’d been briefed on it, I couldn’t talk about it,' he tells Bradley. He did say he has been assured the CIA was mitigating the effects of the leak. 'They have taken the usual procedures to protect the damage from spreading.'

Those procedures began the moment Valerie Plame learned her cover was blown. Upon finding out about the leak of her name, 'she felt like she'd been hit in the stomach. It took her breath away,' said [Joe] Wilson. Then she methodically went to work, he says, 'making lists of what she had to do to ensure that her assets, her projects, her programs and her operations were protected.'

Wilson tells Bradley, contrary to reports that many knew Plame was in the CIA, that only he and three other people knew. 'Well, very few people outside the intelligence community [knew she was CIA]. Her parents and her brother, essentially,' says Wilson." [CBS News | October 28, 2005]
posted by ericb at 2:10 PM on October 29, 2005


Also Nixon had the decency to resign.

hahaha. decency? not until most of his criminal staff was fired and facing jail, until after he fired one special prosecutor, until after his tapes were discovered, until he tried to foist off heavily redacted 'transcripts' produced by a half deaf crony, and then not until the supreme court forced him to give up the actual tape containing his suggestion to lie to the FBI about national security. decency? the cockroach ate a whole can of raid and still had to be stomped on.
posted by quonsar at 2:45 PM on October 29, 2005


"If that is true, while not many Red staters care about outing a 'pinko soccer mom'/CIA agent, a crime on that scale (a capital offense) would definitely bring the administration down. A covert op being killed because of this would be a very costly mistake on the part of the Bush administration."

The reason I only mentioned Plame being killed and nothing else is because that's the only consequence the public is likely to be informed about. As ericb and others have said, it's very possibly true that there have been people killed as a result of this leak. But we'll never hear about them. And because of that, most Americans won't really believe that could have, or did, happen.

I haven't mentioned this before, but I do think it was a big mistake of the CIA to send Wilson with his wife involved in the decision in any way; and I think that Wilson made a big mistake in how he handled this. Because the thing is, all other things being equal, red state America would have been very pissed about the outing of a covert CIA operative. It's very strange that they're not—and it's also a tragedy because it's almost certain that there have been dire consequences as a result of this.

But the reason they are not pissed is a few things. One of them is that Wilson's op-ed made him appear partisan, which already calls his credibility into question, and then the charge of nepotism makes it seem every more fishy. There has been more than enough doubt planted in the minds of most people about Wilson and Plame that it's almost totally eliminated the outrage that everyone should be feeling.

I don't know exactly what Wilson should have done differently. Especially because I don't think the leakers were aware that Plame was covert, I can easily see why Wilson didn't anticipate that the admin would smear him by making the nepotism charge. I do think that he should have considered that he was in general pretty politically vulnerable and had gone about this in some way that shielded him while getting his message out.

I think that at the time, in that context, it made sense for those folks at the CIA to send Wilson to Africa. Keep in mind that while I'm being critical here, I don't accept the GOP talking points on this matter. I think that Wilson was very qualified to do what he was asked to do. I think that what they asked him to do was an appropriate response to the White House's request for followup. I also think, of course, that their judgment about the yellowcake was also correct. But in retrospect, sending a retired ambassador to check things out, and that the ambassador was married to one of the people making these judgments...they undermined their own credibility from the get-go. It was a mistake.

"The real question is this: is lying to the American public a crime when done by a President during an official address? If the answer is yes, and I believe it is a misdemeanor, the entire White House is guilty of conspiracy."

I don't think this is a crime and, further, I don't think that it should be a crime. I'd bet a huge amount of money that every single President of the US in its history has lied to the public several times. Maybe I'll change my mind on the way things should be, but the way things are is the way things are. Presidents lie to us.

"Offer some carrots - maybe no jail - but if Libby refuses, then Fitz brings down the espionage or intelligence act charges. Libby has nowhere to go, and Fitz knows it. In my view, he's going to try to exploit that opening before wrapping this thing up."

I agree with that commenter on Sully's site. I've been of the view since yesterday that this is tactics on Fitz's part and not all he's got. It may be all he'll get, but he's trying to get more.

However, about the espionage act, he was very clear that he wasn't going to try to prosecute someone under it. He didn't say "never", but he did a good job of getting the message across that he wills tay away from it. The press and anyone else concerned about civil liberties is watching this very carefully because of the espionage act—if Fitz sets the precedent that government officials disclosing secrets to the press, then the US will have effectively an Official Secrets Act and everything changes. For the worse, I think. He's not going to use the espionage act.
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 2:57 PM on October 29, 2005


Trigonometry writes: Didn't Fitzgerald say at one point that he read in the evening he was a Republican bastard and in the morning he was a Democrat bastard and the only thing he'd done in between is go to sleep?

It was great that he said that. I've been trying to figure him out for a while now. Watching him at the Press conference was the public's first opportunity to see the guy. I think he's not only a straight shooter but probably the admin's worst nightmare come true. I went to school with working class Irish guys like him here in NYC and they're not only wicked smart (and good poker players), but they can smell BS a mile away, and they don't take kindly to it.

All you kiddies wanting shiny new bicycles for Fitzmas (and big juicy indictments), sit still and be patient. Uncle Patrick is working on it.
posted by Skygazer at 3:57 PM on October 29, 2005


What about the mention in the DC Court of Appeals decision that sent Judy Miller to jail of "the plot against Wilson"? That's a judge's words, based on the case that Fitzgerald had to present to send her to jail. Doesn't that imply a conspiracy? How come there weren't any conspiracy charges?
posted by kirkaracha at 4:13 PM on October 29, 2005


quonsar writes "decency? the cockroach ate a whole can of raid and still had to be stomped on."

Well as with most Republican politicians the term is highly relative...
posted by clevershark at 5:00 PM on October 29, 2005


I don't think this is a crime and, further, I don't think that it should be a crime. I'd bet a huge amount of money that every single President of the US in its history has lied to the public several times. Maybe I'll change my mind on the way things should be, but the way things are is the way things are. Presidents lie to us.

EB: I'm sorry you feel that way and I'm more sorry to say you are probably right. There are different kinds of lies though, a lie to protect national security or even to hide personal peccadilloes is different than a lie used to manipulate the public, especially when that manipulation leads to the loss of American and innocent foreign civilian lives for no good god damned reason. Notice also that in the context of impeachment the term misdemeanors is not the same as it is commonly used in legal proceedings, I think it is meant more literal i.e. conduct unbecoming.

By the way, anyone in Washington with top secret security clearance that learns someone is CIA should assume they are covert until making sure otherwise. Your point about them not knowing is a non-issue. Ignorance is no excuse.
posted by Mr T at 5:38 PM on October 29, 2005


"Ignorance is no excuse."

Well, I'm not excusing them. I'm trying to figure out their legal status and their motivations and what actually happened. For all I care, they could all be hanged. In fact, that's what I'd prefer.
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 5:54 PM on October 29, 2005


a lie to protect national security or even to hide personal peccadilloes is different than a lie used to manipulate the public

I believe it's possible for a president to use the same lie to manipulate the public and protect national security.
posted by rocketman at 6:12 PM on October 29, 2005


As far as legal status, Fitzy addressed that in his press conference. He said, to the best of my memory, that whether the leak was made maliciously or through incompetence, discovering the facts was important to the national security of America so anyone impeding his investigation was committing a crime, even if the leak itself was just and accident. That's not breaking new ground, that's the way it's always been.

As to their motives, they were trying to silence dissent. Wilson was dissenting, they looked around for a rock to through at him, picked up 'outing his wife' and let fly. To them at the time this was very minor. I don't think they put too much thought into it.
posted by Mr T at 6:17 PM on October 29, 2005


Here's the thing about outing Plame. The guys on the other side read the papers too. They see this, and they start going back through the records, and they start finding about Plame -- why she was in the country, who she worked with, and who she talked to. Plame's safe at home -- but now the bad guys know she was a NOC -- "Non offical Cover." The know what NOCs do -- they work for years on covers, and they build networks. They will quickly find out everyone who talked to Plame while she was overseas.

They then run those people down and make life very hard on them. Anyone who talks then implicates others. They just disappear -- but they don't die fast. They have information, and it will be taken from them.

How many people working for the US died because of this story? We won't know. We *can't* answer that question, because if we do, then those names get thier histories pulled, and many other people -- some agents, some innocent -- get caught up in the sweep, and suffer. Man-decades of work in establishing these networks and these agents are gone. The harm of blowing one NOC, esp. one building a network, is huge. Telling us how much harm would only multiply it. They're dead, and we can't even thank them for their sacrafice, because it would only cost us more.

Now, let's say your a NOC in, oh, Japan. You just watched the Administration burn a NOC. The deal was that they would never burn you -- they couldn't protect you if you were burned, but, by Ghugle, they'd get up in front of Jesus Himself and swear that they never knew you or worked with you. They'd keep quiet. Except, of course, BushCo didn't, and they didn't because they didn't like what a NOC's *husband* had written.

Suddenly, life as a NOC for the US looks like a real bad bet. At best, you're not working as hard. At worst, you flip to save your own skin -- and more agents die as you rat them out.

That's what they did. We will never know how many died, how many years of work were lost.

And for what? A great lie -- Iraq had WMD, and would use it. Three years of war, thousands dead, and an agent's work in the dump for a big lie.

If there was any justice left in this hellhole, they would fucking hang -- slowly, legs kicking, faces turning blue. But they won't. They'll get paid, nice book deals, retirement.

Meanwhile, in some fucking hole in the side of the road in some third world country, there lies a guy who was working for us, telling us who might be working on the bomb. His crime was espionage. He was caught, because he had lunch with Plame -- at the time, just a businesswoman, until Novak published the story that killed him.

He lies there, with a bullet in his brain, a final mercy after days of torment.

Wilson might have cost them thier war. He had to be stopped.
posted by eriko at 7:30 PM on October 29, 2005


I believe it's possible the president used the same lie to manipulate the public and pass off a bowl of shit as a sundae.
posted by five fresh fish at 7:32 PM on October 29, 2005


Dramatic, eriko. You should write a script, it'd make a helluva Hollywood blockbuster. Very action-packed, lots of explosions. Have The Rock as the NOC, who nearly dies at the hands of an Osama look-alike, leader of a deadly terrorist gang that intends to destroy the USA. He ends up supporting his older brother, a lawyer, in tracing the leak right up to the very top of the US Government. Action and explosions all the way, because it's a helluva dangerous trail leading to the traitor.

The movie ends with a cliffhanger: the traitor was the the right-hand man of the President and Commander-in-Chief himself! The sequel is a battle as the NOC and a few upset buddies square off against an internally-conflicted US Army, told by the CoC to protect his white-house fortress, yet believing their commander may have deeply betrayed their trust!

That's entertainment, folks! That's entertainment!
posted by five fresh fish at 7:43 PM on October 29, 2005


Ripped from the headlines even! Seriously, man-decades makes me want to cry. Appropriations from congress are all we have, besides the grim body count, to quantify the cost of this misadventure. When you start to add in what in corporate America calls 'One Time Charges', accounting formulas that take into account perceived value and public perception,

*staggers*

sorry I've gotta go, I just threw up a little.
posted by Mr T at 9:26 PM on October 29, 2005


and now we have this, the sound of the last tatters of Bob Woodward's reputation unraveling: either woodward's lying, or there's a new leak scandal : ...I've confirmed with national security expert Larry Johnson that Woodward couldn't possibly have the security clearance needed to read a CIA damage assessment on the Plame case, yet he claimed to know its contents on CNN the other night. Furthermore, Woodward asserted that the outing of Plame caused no serious damage, a statement Johnson and others in a position to know disagree with strongly.

Either Woodward's part of a major security breach - one that rivals Plamegate itself - or he's lying. Either way, he owes the nation an explanation. ...

posted by amberglow at 9:29 PM on October 29, 2005


translation of a La Repubblica 3-parter on the Italian role in all this
posted by amberglow at 9:53 PM on October 29, 2005


I'm almost starting to feel sorry for you yanks. Obviously you'll never win this "war on terrah" when on the one hand you're more than willing to secretly imprison and torture hundreds without accusing them of any crime, but are equally willing to excuse any mammoth-size "fuck-up" (revealing covert agents, and covert agencies, "by accident") as long as those who commit those so-called "fuck-ups" are connected to the administration.

There's a cancer growing on the Presidency, and as John Dean himself pointed out (as a history lesson, Dean is the original utterer of the expression "cancer growing on the Presidency") this one is worse than Watergate.
posted by clevershark at 11:06 PM on October 29, 2005


and it gets worse with each additional unnecessary death and injury.
posted by amberglow at 11:49 PM on October 29, 2005


and--while we're paying attention to this, the House took... food stamps away from an estimated 300,000 people and could cut off school lunches and breakfasts for 40,000 children.
The action came as the government reported that the number of people who are hungry because they can't afford to buy enough food rose to 38.2 million in 2004, an increase of 7 million in five years. The number represents nearly 12 percent of U.S. households. ...

posted by amberglow at 12:21 AM on October 30, 2005


That's very sad amberglow.
posted by Mitheral at 8:09 AM on October 30, 2005


clevershark, i would say there is a cancer growing on the populace and the Presidency is only the mysterious lump observed by the diligent few...
posted by quonsar at 8:20 AM on October 30, 2005


Bush, Cheney Urged to Apologize for Aides

Ok, so I get a kick out of the homonym there. It's juvenile. So?


I wouldn't put Cheney as Kurtz in this thing though. Kurtz was a good man once.
posted by Smedleyman at 9:45 AM on October 30, 2005


Knowing that Plame came from Operations was a clue that the leakers should have been careful with what they leaked, but it doesn't mean that they must have known that Plame was formally covert. For that to be the case, it would have to be true that every person in the ops division was formally covert. This is possible, but I don't think it's the case.

Actually, nobody works for CIA. Even people in the Intelligence Directorate (as opposed to Operations) get paid through the Dept of Agriculture or HUD or somewhere else, and are not supposed to talk about where they work. This goes doubly for the DO. And think about it; yes, it is obvious that Plame was no longer working in the field. But she had been a field officer. Just because she is no longer out there doesn't mean that all of a sudden she can disclose what she used to do. There are still people out in the world who had contacts with her, agents she might've run, ops she might've been involved in, and by blowing her cover you also blow the cover of every person and operation that she'd ever been involved with.
There is no way that Cheney et al did NOT know this. It's understood in DC that CIA employees just don't talk about it. And I'm talking even about analysts. A former field officer, now stationed at Langley, absolutely must keep their status a secret so as to protect sources and methods. And anything that the Administration says otherwise is prevarication and bullshit, plain and simple.
Also, just to clear something up because it's bugging me- Plame is an officer, not an operative. That term really isn't used. Americans in the clandestine service are officers and foreign nationals that work with the CIA are agents. Just had to get that off my chest :)
posted by Dormant Gorilla at 9:16 AM on October 31, 2005


I heard last night that because Wilson was an Ambassador, the outing of Plame has now even made every Ambassador's wife suspect as well.
posted by amberglow at 9:22 AM on October 31, 2005


...Libby, indicted on charges of obstructing justice, perjury and making false statements, is scheduled to be arraigned at 10:30 a.m. Thursday, the court official said.

Libby is expected to enter a plea of not guilty. ...

posted by amberglow at 9:58 AM on October 31, 2005


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