Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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April 12, 2006
By: Kevin Drum

PLAME/FITZGERALD UPDATE....In the spirit of getting things right and avoiding future embarrassment it turns out that Patrick Fitzgerald has filed an update to his now-famous court filing from last week. In the original filing he said:

[Libby] understood that he was to tell Miller, among other things, that a key judgment of the NIE held that Iraq was "vigorously trying to procure" uranium.

In other words, Dick Cheney had instructed Libby to lie, since the "vigorously trying to procure" statement wasn't one of the key judgments of the NIE. But now Fitzgerald has amended his filing to state the following:

[Libby] understood that he was to tell Miller, among other things, some of the key judgments of the NIE, and that the NIE stated that Iraq was "vigorously trying to procure" uranium.

This doesn't really have much impact on the main revelation of Fitzgerald's filing namely that Cheney and Bush authorized a selective declassification of an intelligence report in order to fight a domestic political battle but it does mean that Fitzgerald isn't claiming that Cheney lied about this particular point.

Via The Corner.

Kevin Drum 5:28 PM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (48)

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Comments

gasping at the straws etc.

Posted by: lorenz on April 12, 2006 at 5:34 PM | PERMALINK

Waiting for the Left to apologize to Dick Cheney for lying about him.

Posted by: Al on April 12, 2006 at 5:36 PM | PERMALINK

Al's middle name is troll

Posted by: cleek on April 12, 2006 at 5:42 PM | PERMALINK

Al:

Fitzgerald isn't by any evidence part of the Left, and his misstatement is the only one that can credibly argued might have been knowing or reckless, and therefore a "lie" (presuming, of course, that the original story is not correct; the revision doesn't contradict it, it just backs off slightly from it.)

Though even there, there is no evidence of knowing or reckless misstatement.

Posted by: cmdicely on April 12, 2006 at 5:46 PM | PERMALINK

Al, take it up with Fitz.

btw, is Rove still dangling?

Posted by: haha on April 12, 2006 at 5:47 PM | PERMALINK

Wow - this revelation is like a SHOT TO THE FACE!

:-)

Posted by: Robert on April 12, 2006 at 5:50 PM | PERMALINK

The second version does not exclude the first.

I'm sure Fitzgerald had it right, but the nuances of written testimony can support the alternate interpretation and Libby's counsels brayed like jackasses.

And Fitz conceded, because, as you say, it dont make a hill o' betrayed beans anyway.

Posted by: Martin Morgan on April 12, 2006 at 5:50 PM | PERMALINK

If this scandal doesn't include a blowjob soon, I'm going to get bored.

Posted by: America on April 12, 2006 at 5:50 PM | PERMALINK

Us crazy right wing trolls don't really want an apology at all. I know that the writers at FireDogLake or AmericaBlog, who most definitely DID use Fitz's statement as 'proof' that Bush twisted intelligence and wanted his staff to knowingly dissemminate false information, will NEVER admit that the Fitz filing proved no such thing. (The original brief never really did prove anything before the correction because it was hearsay to begin with.)

No, we don't want an apology from a blogger - because left wing bloggers will simply move the goal posts. All over today I read the same refrain as contained in Kevin's post - "This really doesn't change anything ..." blah blah blah. What a joke! It changes everything for those who wrote yesterday that this was proof that Bush and his minions misrepresented the intelligence on this matter to reporters.

No,. we don't want an apology - we want corrections.

Corrections from Reuters, Knight-Ridder, and the NY Times.

They need to amend the official record so that this particular canard can be easily disproved in the future - when someone like Jane or John brings it up as 'proof' that Bush twisted intelligence and wanted his crew to knowingly dissemminate false information.

Posted by: sunbeltjerry on April 12, 2006 at 5:57 PM | PERMALINK

sunbeltjerry needs to stay out of the sun. he's getting delusional.

Posted by: cleek on April 12, 2006 at 6:00 PM | PERMALINK

Wow. And wingnuts say Clinton parsed words. He's got nothin' on these shysters

Posted by: ckelly on April 12, 2006 at 6:05 PM | PERMALINK

ckelly's hit the nail on the head. All the "depends on what you mean by 'is'" jokes have been trumped and tromped by around, oh, 8 brazillian Bush special pleadings.

Posted by: Jeffrey Davis on April 12, 2006 at 6:13 PM | PERMALINK

Here's what crazy right wingers want ...

Special prosecutor amends allegation against Libby

Knight Ridder Newspapers

WASHINGTON - The special prosecutor investigating Vice President Dick Cheney's former chief of staff, I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby, has amended one of the allegations against the White House aide that was contained in documents filed in federal court last week.

The change downplays the importance that the CIA gave to Iraq's purported attempt to buy uranium from the African nation of Niger. Further, Special Counsel Patrick Fitzgerald corrected the allegation that Libby had described the suspected uranium purchase as a "key judgment" of the CIA - a term of art in the intelligence community that gives the accusation high significance.

In papers filed Tuesday, Fitzgerald amended a single sentence on page 23 of the 39-page document he filed last week. The sentence dealt with what information Libby supposedly was to tell former New York Times reporter Judith Miller from the CIA's 2002 National Intelligence Estimate - a document that covered a range of intelligence about Iraq and its efforts to acquire weapons of mass destruction.

The original sentence read: "Defendant understood that he was to tell Miller, among other things, that a key judgment of the NIE held that Iraq was `vigorously trying to procure' uranium."

Fitzgerald's corrected version said: "Defendant understood that he was to tell Miller, among other things, some of the key judgments of the NIE, and that the NIE stated that Iraq was `vigorously trying to procure' uranium."

Knight Ridder Newspapers reported earlier that the purported uranium acquisition was never part of the NIE's "key judgments" and that some CIA officials and the State Department's intelligence bureau did not believe Iraq ever sought supplies of uranium from Niger.

It also was reported by Knight Ridder that the documents that supported the attempted uranium purchase were forgeries.

Posted by: sunbeltjerry on April 12, 2006 at 6:14 PM | PERMALINK

sunbeltjerry

So when are you guys going to apolgize to 2300+ mothers who lost their kids in Iraq for your delusions?

Posted by: lib on April 12, 2006 at 6:17 PM | PERMALINK

sunbeltjerry, you can lick Bush's boots all you want. Nobody cares. If you want to be a slave, that's your choice.

Posted by: SecularAnimist on April 12, 2006 at 6:21 PM | PERMALINK

Talk about dancing on the head of a pin...

Posted by: craigie on April 12, 2006 at 6:21 PM | PERMALINK

What am I missing here (didn't that sound like Kevin)?

Did Cheney tell Libby to tell Miller that the NIE said Iraq was vigorously trying to procure uranium?

Yep. So it's not a key judgment. That'll take 10 minutes off Libby's sentence and Cheney's time in hell.

Posted by: shortstop on April 12, 2006 at 6:22 PM | PERMALINK

lib: So when are you guys going to apolgize to 2300+ mothers who lost their kids in Iraq for your delusions?

Never. The lives of 2300+ Americans and the grief of their families don't matter to people like sunbeltjerry. The only thing that matters to them is the glory of their fake, phony little god-king, George W. Bush.

Posted by: SecularAnimist on April 12, 2006 at 6:29 PM | PERMALINK

harakiri

Posted by: lib on April 12, 2006 at 6:31 PM | PERMALINK

Is it getting cold down there in the bunker, Sunbeltjerry? Is the artillery fire coming closer and keeping you awake at night? The cyanide capsules starting to look good?

Posted by: Red on April 12, 2006 at 6:50 PM | PERMALINK

Do they spend this much time considering their phrasing when they write an NIE? Mincing makes my brain hurt.

Posted by: toast on April 12, 2006 at 6:55 PM | PERMALINK

C'mon, all true Americans!

Join the Struggle to Halt Islamic Terrorism (SHIT)!

Join today and get a free decoder ring!

Some restrictions may apply.

Posted by: Captain Wingnut on April 12, 2006 at 6:56 PM | PERMALINK

Mr. York might notice that some on the left ran this story too. Now if the Corner would only be as fair and balanced. Oh wait a second - they don't claim to be. That'd be Faux News!

Posted by: pgl on April 12, 2006 at 7:00 PM | PERMALINK

Al is exactly right.

Loony liberals are for once exposed for the shameless liars that they are, but do we hear any apologies?

Nope. Just more adhoms and derogs.

Hypocrites.

Posted by: egbert on April 12, 2006 at 7:02 PM | PERMALINK

Egbert, you'll still be saying that when they haul Bush and Cheney away in handcuffs.

Posted by: Red on April 12, 2006 at 7:11 PM | PERMALINK

egbert, no one has been exposed as a "liar", shameless or otherwise.

On the other hand, you have been exposed as a mental slave who lives to lick Bush's boots.

Posted by: SecularAnimist on April 12, 2006 at 7:15 PM | PERMALINK

Shall I quible? The second comma in the amended version is incorret.

Posted by: apantomimehorse on April 12, 2006 at 7:23 PM | PERMALINK

Whether characterized as a key finding or not, still peddling false information

This doesn't really have much impact on the main revelation of Fitzgerald's filing namely that Cheney and Bush authorized a selective declassification of an intelligence report in order to fight a domestic political battle but it does mean that Fitzgerald isn't claiming that Cheney lied about this particular point.

Actually you are being too kind to Cheney while they may not have characterized it as a key finding, they were not only peddling selective information, but information that they knew or reasonably should have known was false:

One striking feature of that decision -- unremarked until now, in part because Fitzgerald did not mention it -- is that the evidence Cheney and Libby selected to share with reporters had been disproved months before.

Posted by: Catch22 on April 12, 2006 at 7:25 PM | PERMALINK

Harry Reid today called on Bush to release his transcripts of the Fitzgerald testamony.

But we all know Bush won't do that. Don't we?

Posted by: Osama_Been_Forgotten on April 12, 2006 at 7:38 PM | PERMALINK
Shall I quible? The second comma in the amended version is incorret.

So is your spelling of "quibble" and "incorrect".

But in neither case is meaning obscured.

Posted by: cmdicely on April 12, 2006 at 7:51 PM | PERMALINK

One striking feature of that decision -- unremarked until now, in part because Fitzgerald did not mention it -- is that the evidence Cheney and Libby selected to share with reporters had been disproved months before

Whether the intelligence had been disproved is largely irrelevant. By July 2003 very few people believed the pre-war intelligence was correct.

The primary goal of the administration was, and has been for some time--not to prove that the intelligence was correct--but to prove that the administration was not at fault.

The most striking feature is that the administration thought Miller, already backing away, or anyone else in the press, would carry that for them. (Albeit, Miller eventually retreated to essentially the position that "everyone was wrong--I was just a poor reporter".)

Posted by: has407 on April 12, 2006 at 7:54 PM | PERMALINK

I'm trying to understand why one reading would be preferable to the other. And not succeeding. Both are instructions to misrepresent the NIE.

"Oh, he wore a red tie that day. I thought he wore a blue tie. My bad."

"He garroted his victim with an A string of piano wire. Oh, I thought he garroted his victim with the A string from a cello. My bad."

Posted by: Jeffrey Davis on April 12, 2006 at 9:13 PM | PERMALINK

>> Al's middle name is troll

Having been an avid reader of Political Animal for several years, and having watched the comments sections (and having occaisionally added to it), I have arrived at a conclusion about the identity of 'Al'.

Note that Al almost always gets to comment much before most of other guys. I belive either Kevin himself, or one of his colleagues, comments under the name of Al. This attempt to instigate discussion works without fail.


- AKM

ps Sorry Kevin, I like your commentary, but this business of 'Al' was getting too much.

Posted by: AKM on April 12, 2006 at 9:29 PM | PERMALINK

Shall I quible? The second comma in the amended version is incorret.

So is your spelling of "quibble" and "incorrect".

But in neither case is meaning obscured.

Anyway it's the third comma that's incorrect.

Which, of course, demands a retraction, a correction AND an apology.

Posted by: exasperanto on April 12, 2006 at 9:53 PM | PERMALINK

Excuse me, but what a crock.
The wording difference between those two statements is absolutely inconsequential as to Cheney's culpability in this. Libby was told to use the NIE to discredit and punish Wilson. His boss was Dick Cheney. Period.
Screw The Corner.

Posted by: secularhuman on April 13, 2006 at 3:04 AM | PERMALINK

The question comes down to WHEN did Bush declassified this info - we already know that it was sometime AFTER Judy was told about this stuff.

So the right-wingers will say that it was all Dick's fault (as they already are) and that Bush is not the guilty party - amazing ain't it - poor innocent little Bushie didn't do this awful thing - nope, it was tricky Dick. AI'm sure it was Dick Cheney but Bush is Dick's mouth piece.

The right-wingers all just pretend that Bush really is the president rather then merely the presidental face. But Dick is hiding behind Bush's status for legal protection - those two are joined at the hip but it looks like Patrick is the legal surgeon that is going split these Siamese twins apart with his legal surgical expertise. You go Fritz.

So I wonder, will poppy Bush senior and James Baker, III be able to save little Bushie again?

Posted by: Cheryl on April 13, 2006 at 11:42 AM | PERMALINK

So I wonder, will poppy Bush senior and James Baker, III be able to save little Bushie again?

Cheryl,

The lad's in his 2nd term. Save him from what? He's the man. You've proven you can't beat him in elections and now he can't run anymore. He's got nothing to prove. It's true James III was terrific in Florida but James has remained and will remain a retired elder statesman.

Posted by: rdw on April 13, 2006 at 2:15 PM | PERMALINK

Actually you are being too kind to Cheney while they may not have characterized it as a key finding, they were not only peddling selective information, but information that they knew or reasonably should have known was false:

This is bad news for libs on several counts. 1st note it was not false information. We know for a fact Saddam was trying to get uranium from Niger.

A worse piece of news is how this complicates Ftiz's lame and transparently political case against libby. Bob Woodward already blew him out of the water. This lame effort will force the Judge to give Libby's team the information they are demanding. There's always been a dual purpose here. Libby is obviously focused on his own defense but those funding it are just as interested in taking another piece out of the MSM.

Joe Wilson has been nothing but disaster for the NYTs and the MSM. Give lying Joe a lot of credit for making a fortune and expenting his 15 minutes into years while making himself a moonbat hero. Since meeting Joe the NYTs has lost a series of lawsuits including two at the Supreme Court pissing away a ton in legal fees and losing free press protection, excorted their prize reported Judy to jail, paid the same prized reporter a small fortune to leave because the newsroom staff hated her, conducted at least 3 downsizings and last week was placed on credit watch by Moody's.

Joe even got on ABC last week due to this typically bogus comment by Fitz.

You go Joe!!!!

For more on Fitz's dilemma read Byron York.

Posted by: rdw on April 13, 2006 at 2:29 PM | PERMALINK

Wowie Zahawie
Sorry everyone, but Iraq did go uranium shopping in Niger.

By Christopher Hitchens
Posted Monday, April 10, 2006, at 4:43 PM ET

http://www.slate.com/id/2139609/

Posted by: rdw on April 13, 2006 at 2:42 PM | PERMALINK

lorenz, I think the phrase is "grasping at straws" not "gasping at straws." But I like the idea of Republican'ts, under water, gasping for air through straws...

Posted by: Cal Gal on April 13, 2006 at 3:01 PM | PERMALINK

rdw ... Can you believe ANYONE still listens to Hitch?

Posted by: Cal Gal on April 13, 2006 at 3:06 PM | PERMALINK

Bob Somerby has explained this accurately at his dailyhowler.com, which see.

Evidently, Walter Pincus or whoever at the WaPost wrote this story got it wrong, or implied something that others (Keith Olberman and others) took to its 'logical' conclusion.

The facts appear to be that while the original WaPost report said that (paraphrasing here from memory) 'Iraq was vigorously seeking fissile material' did NOT appear in the 'key judgement' section, it DID appear in the body of the text, AND was mentioned in the key judgements area in slightly different language.

Posted by: sofla on April 13, 2006 at 3:28 PM | PERMALINK

cal gal,

Since he's still writing columns everywhere, YES!

He's only stating the obvious about Niger. The far more interesting character is Joe Wilson. An unemployed liar with no visible skills has created fame and fortune for himself. He's a God to the moonbat left. The man is amazing. A Vanity Fair cover for a low level CIA flunky and laid-off State Dept wannabe?

Hitch has lost nothing and he certainly learned how to piss off liberals.

Posted by: rdw on April 13, 2006 at 3:28 PM | PERMALINK

Yep. So it's not a key judgment. That'll take 10 minutes off Libby's sentence and Cheney's time in hell.

Libby's not getting sentenced. We know how this works out. Libby wins, Wilson wins and the New York Times loses. We don't know how but they'll find a way.

Posted by: rdw on April 13, 2006 at 3:32 PM | PERMALINK

sofla,

The story was never about what the NIE said. It had been declassified long ago. Everyone knew what it said. The story here was Fitzpatrick insinuated Cheney ordered Libby to lie about what the NIE said. Not just to release the contents but to lie about the contents.

There was no confusion on the part of the press. They over-hyped it but they were not confused. The only confusion now is over why Fitzpatrick wanted to smear Cheney. It was either sloppy or nasty. If sloppy it really calls to question the competency of the investigation. After the Bob Woodward debacle it's not looking very competent. Hopefully it'll force fitzpatrick to release all of his data.

Posted by: rdw on April 13, 2006 at 3:52 PM | PERMALINK

cdw: "You've proven you can't beat him in elections"

Are you freakin' braindead? Or do you simply believe in selectively edited history. The Shrub didn't win either of the elections that put him into office -- or have you forgotten. Many Bushies should have received prison terms for the baloney that went on in Florida in 2000 and again in Ohio in 2004. The silent majority should have taken to the streets and screamed bloody murder over the blatant hijacking of votes that was orchestrated by the Bushies (I would have said by the Republicans, but so many of them have come out against Bush, I decided to give them a break!!).

Posted by: cookie on April 13, 2006 at 4:34 PM | PERMALINK

Cookie,

Sorry my friend, history has already recorded GWB ran against Democrats 4 times since 1994 and won EACH TIME.

You may not like him but you still have to admit, you can't beat him. He IS the 43rd President of these United States and he will serve two full terms.

GWB still has broad conservative support and that's all that matters. It's conservatives who elected him and conservatives he needs to please. He's not perfect but as long as he appoints conservative stars like John Roberts and Samuel Alito to the Supreme Court, John Bolton to the UN, keeps Rummy at defense and backs tax cuts he's our guy. I'm also a fan of ignoring the UN, EU and the Kyoto crowd while setting up much stronger diplomatic, economic and security agreements with India and the rest of Southern Asia.

His polls are back up to 45% at Rasmussen and after these recent beatings from the MSM that's quite decent. I know your all atitter over your election chances but I'd caution you not to get too excited. This is a bi-annual ritual. Since 1994 you've been getting excited after every off year election knowing "we're going to win the next time". Then you lose and you get depressed. I know what it's like. I'm a Phillies fan.

Posted by: rdw on April 13, 2006 at 6:16 PM | PERMALINK




 

 

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