The 5pm Deadline is approaching,
October 7, 2003 12:43 PM   Subscribe

The 5pm Deadline is approaching, but the White House doesn't care. The White House--expected to turn in all documents relevant to the Justice Department investigation of the Plame affair--has instead decided that a team of lawyers ought to spend two weeks determining which evidence can be used against their clients. Meanwhile, President Bush continues his two-month initiative to get to the bottom of the matter himself.
posted by Ignatius J. Reilly (21 comments total)
Great post. No, really.
posted by the fire you left me at 12:46 PM on October 7, 2003

posted by Ignatius J. Reilly at 12:52 PM on October 7, 2003

McClellan firmly ruled out any role by three adminstration officials in the leak: political adviser Karl Rove; Vice President Dick Cheney's chief of staff, I. Lewis ``Scooter'' Libby; and National Security Council official Elliott Abrams. The spokesman said he had spoken to all three officials about the leak.

Well, I guess that settles it then. We now return you to the War on TerrorĀ®.
posted by pmurray63 at 12:56 PM on October 7, 2003

Wait! What about the blue dress...?
posted by ZachsMind at 1:03 PM on October 7, 2003

Plame and Wilson have hired a lawyer. It will be interesting to see if they take legal action. According to John Dean, a civil suit played an important role in Watergate.
posted by homunculus at 1:04 PM on October 7, 2003

What a relief to learn that Karl Rove has clean hands! I was worried there until Bush said he had nothing to do with it. Silly me.

Bush has no idea if the leak will ever be found. Apparently when it comes to the offenders, who Bush is now admitting are criminal there is not a lot of zeal for "smoking them out."
posted by madamjujujive at 1:47 PM on October 7, 2003

What I especially like is the sight of all those journos - six of 'em, weren't there, in addition to Nopvak? bravely covering up the identity of the leaker to protect the privacy of the President and the Administration. Gee, what would Dick Nixon have given for friends like that in the press.
posted by jfuller at 1:53 PM on October 7, 2003

Y'think if it was a bleeding heart liberal Novak was protecting, he'd like, so not be protecting him/her? Or would it be wrong of me to assume he might have one set of journalistic "principles" for conservative sources and a different set of scruples for liberal sources? Barkin' up a tree ain't necessarily wrong, so long as yer sniffin' around to see if it's the right one. Are these other six reporters also right of center? Pure coincidence of course if they are, eh? Certainly no conspiracy here. Fox news should bring a couple scantily clad interns into the picture and sex it up before the public loses interest.. whup. Nope. Too late.
posted by ZachsMind at 2:07 PM on October 7, 2003

from News Hour last week. A very unhappy republican and former CIA agent.
posted by specialk420 at 2:13 PM on October 7, 2003

I think that the problem these 6 reporters are running into is their need to be on the record as protecting their confidential sources. If they ever just came right out, of their own volition, and said it was Rove, then no other source would ever take them at their word. Ever.

On the other hand, if it's an open secret that there are 6 reporters who talked to the same leaker, then a grand jury can compel their testimony. That way everyone wins. The grand just gets the name of the criminal, the reporters still have their jobs and their credibility, and Rove gets to keep his shiny new government-issued bracelets.
posted by bshort at 2:16 PM on October 7, 2003

A very unhappy republican and former CIA agent.

Here's a transcript.
posted by homunculus at 2:37 PM on October 7, 2003

Privilege Claim Is Possible in Leak Probe

The Bush White House apparently plans to review the documents before releasing them. The 'outed' CIA agent is considering a lawsuit.

New details from the LA Times via The Agonist.

Executive Privilege -- now there's a phrase from 30 years ago.
Pull up your chairs and get the popcorn, kids, this is going to turn into a corker--they wouldn't be talking privilege if Turd Blossom Boy Genius was pure as the driven snow.
posted by y2karl at 2:59 PM on October 7, 2003

You mean the Office of White House Counsel is going to review the documents they hand over to the DOJ instead of blindly sending them by the truckload? I'm shocked! Seriously, no lawyer in their right mind would allow those documents to go out without reviewing them.
posted by monju_bosatsu at 3:04 PM on October 7, 2003

what y2karl said--will we even know if or what material was withheld because of "executive privilege"? They're gonna cry "national security" too.

But...would an independent or special counsel, or anyone, be able to get that stuff for an investigation? Can a judge force the white house to release stuff they don't want to?
posted by amberglow at 3:05 PM on October 7, 2003

What is Executive Privilege and Where Does it Come From?

The Constitution nowhere expressly mentions executive privilege. Presidents have long claimed, however, that the constitutional principle of separation of powers implies that the Executive Branch has a privilege to resist certain encroachments by Congress and the judiciary, including some requests for information.

For example, in 1796, President Washington refused to comply with a request by the House of Representatives for documents relating to the negotiation of the then-recently adopted Jay Treaty with England. The Senate alone plays a role in the ratification of treaties, Washington reasoned, and therefore the House had no legitimate claim to the material. Accordingly, Washington provided the documents to the Senate but not the House.

Eleven years later, the issue of executive privilege arose in court. Counsel for Aaron Burr, on trial for treason, asked the court to issue a subpoena duces tecum--an order requiring the production of documents and other tangible items--against President Thomas Jefferson, who, it was thought, had in his possession a letter exonerating Burr.

After hearing several days of argument on the issue, Chief Justice John Marshall issued the order commanding Jefferson to produce the letter. Marshall observed that the Sixth Amendment right of an accused to compulsory process contains no exception for the President, nor could such an exception be found in the law of evidence. In response to the government's suggestion that disclosure of the letter would endanger public safety, Marshall concluded that, if true, this claim could furnish a reason for withholding it, but that the court, rather than the Executive Branch alone, was entitled to make the public safety determination after examining the letter.

Jefferson complied with Marshall's order. However, Jefferson continued to deny the authority of the court to issue it, insisting that his compliance was voluntary. And that pattern persists to the present. Thus, President Clinton negotiated the terms under which he appeared before Independent Counsel Kenneth Starr's grand jury, rather than simply answering a subpoena directing him to appear.

The Scope of Executive Privilege: The Nixon Case

Presidents often assert executive privilege even if the information or documents sought are not matters of national security. They argue that some degree of confidentiality is necessary for the Executive Branch to function effectively. Key advisers will hesitate to speak frankly if they must worry that what they say will eventually become a matter of public record.

The Supreme Court considered this argument in the 1974 case of United States v. Nixon. A grand jury convened by Watergate special prosecutor Leon Jaworski issued a subpoena to President Nixon requiring that he produce Oval Office tapes and various written records relevant to the criminal case against members of Nixon's Administration. Nixon resisted on grounds of executive privilege.

The Court recognized "the valid need for protection of communications between high Government officials and those who advise and assist them in the performance of their manifold duties." It noted that "[h]uman experience teaches that those who expect public dissemination of their remarks may well temper candor with a concern for appearances and for their own interests to the detriment of the decisionmaking process."

Nonetheless, the Justices concluded that the executive privilege is not absolute. Where the President asserts only a generalized need for confidentiality, the privilege must yield to the interests of the government and defendants in a criminal prosecution. Accordingly, the Court ordered President Nixon to divulge the tapes and records. Two weeks after the Court's decision, Nixon complied with the order. Four days after that, he resigned.
posted by monju_bosatsu at 3:41 PM on October 7, 2003

[from here]
posted by monju_bosatsu at 3:47 PM on October 7, 2003

The 5pm Deadline is approaching, but the White House doesn't care.

um, self-imposed, internal deadline (see the first linked story in the fpp)

The White House--expected to turn in all documents relevant to the Justice Department investigation of the Plame affair--has instead decided that a team of lawyers ought to spend two weeks determining which evidence can be used against their clients.

the DOJ deadline is in two weeks, that's why they might spend up to 2 weeks reviewing them first. most staffers met the self-imposed internal deadline (see cnn).

there simply is no deadline issue here, the premise of the post is bogus (in defense of the Ignatius J. Reilly i have seen the 5 pm deadline incorrectly identified in media reports as that of DOJ, but oddly not in the linked story)
posted by probablysteve at 5:09 AM on October 8, 2003

monju_bosatsu - thank you for that review of the history of the ever asserted claim but shaky of executive privilege.

Mr. Bush will be using it a lot, I'd expect.

Too bad Metafilter doesn't have a "Background info/expert option" which would send out email calls to Metafilter members who have indicated 1) more than casual knowledge of a field, or even expert authority or just 2) the simple willingness to spend the time digging up background info/links relevant to the thread discussion.
posted by troutfishing at 7:13 AM on October 8, 2003

The White House sought to collect the last of the documents by a self-imposed deadline of 5 p.m. EDT Tuesday
posted by Steve_at_Linnwood at 10:15 AM on October 8, 2003

Bush is Downplaying Leaks Investigation

His exact words:

"This is a town full of people who like to leak information," Bush said to reporters after meeting with Cabinet members. "I have no idea whether we'll find out who the leaker is partially because, in all due respect to your profession, you do a very good job of protecting the leakers."

Downplaying or realistic response?

I would take it further. I don't think the source of the leak will be found. If you were going to leak information, would you leave any traces (notes, call records, etc)?
posted by probablysteve at 1:05 PM on October 8, 2003

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