Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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January 23, 2007
By: Kevin Drum

MORE LIBBY....Hoisted from comments, this is from a reader who says he's practiced law in the areas of criminal defense and governmental misconduct/civil rights for twenty years. Here's what he wrote about prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald's opening statement:

I know, and have friends who know, people that both work in Fitzgerald's office in Illinois and that have tried cases against Fitzgerald. The book on him (and this is not new, I just want to reaffirm it) is that he is meticulous, reserved and that he NEVER makes claims in opening statements that he cannot absolutely prove up to a jury.

....Given the statements and allegations Fitzgerald has made in his opening statement, and given his reputation for always backing up his statements, if I were Cheney's attorney, I would absolutely find some way, somehow, whatever it took, to keep him off the stand. It is crystal clear that Fitzgerald is convinced, and I mean strongly convinced, that this whole imbroglio is Cheney's personal doing....Don't get me wrong, I would be prepping him to testify, and stating to the world that he looked forward to it; but I guarantee that I would simultaneously be working day and night to find a way to keep him off the stand and away from the trial.

More from Digby:

Norah O'Donnell is asking Andy Card and Leon Panetta if the president is going to have to ask Dick Cheney to resign as a result of what's being alleged at the Libby Trial. (They both punted.)

Hmmm. This could restore my faith in a just and benevolent God. But it's probably too good to be true.

Kevin Drum 5:51 PM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (103)

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Comments

Fitzmas in January. Thanks, Santa!

Posted by: cazart on January 23, 2007 at 6:11 PM | PERMALINK

Libby was talking about Cheney in his note to Judy Miller when he said the aspens are connected at the roots!

Posted by: The Illustrious Sam Spade on January 23, 2007 at 6:12 PM | PERMALINK

While I hope that this could work out, if the defense has managed to get everyone removed who expressed any hostility towards the war, Bush, or Dick Cheney, they might have some true believers with authoritarian tendencies on the jury. So a confrontation with Cheney will have to be handled carefully.

Posted by: Joe Buck on January 23, 2007 at 6:13 PM | PERMALINK

If I had a nickel for every time I started to get so excited that I was going to pee myself over this case... well, nevermind. It's encouraging, but those high-priced defense attorneys don't make gajillions of dollars because they get surprised in opening arguments. In the meantime, this is great entertainment value.

Posted by: chaunceyatrest on January 23, 2007 at 6:15 PM | PERMALINK

So when will Gonzales give Fitzgerald his pink slip?

Posted by: Keith G on January 23, 2007 at 6:15 PM | PERMALINK

Oh please. The stare decisis on this from the Supreme Court (based on the Secret Energy Policy Meeting Minutes case) - is that Executive Privilege trumps all.

Game. Set. Match.

Libby will do no time.

All this hand-wringing is probably just more Rove manipulation.

Soon, we're going to find out that an anonymous FAX sent from a Kinko's in Houston of Plame's employment papers at the CIA was actually a bad forgery made with Microsoft Word, and that she was never actually an employee, and in fact, was an Iranian double-agent.

And that Joe Wilson is the devil.

And Larry Johnson is his son.

Posted by: Extradite Rumsfeld on January 23, 2007 at 6:18 PM | PERMALINK

Fitzmas is a go. Cheney's days are numbered, and he will be resigning within a month. I have a dozen reliable sources on this.

Posted by: jasonleopold on January 23, 2007 at 6:27 PM | PERMALINK

This time for sure, Rocky!

Posted by: bullwinkle on January 23, 2007 at 6:28 PM | PERMALINK

Poor Dick - might have to head back to Jackson, Wyoming with his tail between his legs...and tens of millions of bucks in his wallet.

Posted by: Robert on January 23, 2007 at 6:31 PM | PERMALINK

Oh please. The stare decisis on this from the Supreme Court (based on the Secret Energy Policy Meeting Minutes case) - is that Executive Privilege trumps all.

Not true. Executive privilege assertions must be balanced against the government interest asserted. Those interests are at their highest in the context of a criminal prosecution. United States v. Nixon.

Fitz showed today that the only reason Cheney hasn't also been indicted is the possible claims of immunity, and the fact that he refused to testify under oath. Expect to see a lot of interesting stuff when Fitz subjects the man to cross-examination.

Posted by: dj moonbat on January 23, 2007 at 6:33 PM | PERMALINK

Fitz showed today that the only reason Cheney hasn't also been indicted is the possible claims of immunity, and the fact that he refused to testify under oath. Expect to see a lot of interesting stuff when Fitz subjects the man to cross-examination.
Posted by: dj moonbat on January 23, 2007 at 6:33 PM | PERMALINK

I'm not convinced. There are millions of things Cheney can do to cover his ass:

- "I declassified her - so there, no harm, no foul."
- "We're at WAR dammit - do you want the terrorists to win?"
- Bush's stacked SCOTUS would rule in their favor.
- Bush could fire Fitzgerald.
- Cheney could take Fitzgerald hunting.
- If Fitzgerald won't go hunting with him, Cheney could use The Dark Side of the Force to shoot purple lighting at him.
- Halliburton could buy every man, woman, and child in the courtroom, the judge, the jury, the bailiff, and his pet rock. Don't you think they'd do that for their future CEO?
- Worst case? Libby "dies of a heart-attack" the day after sentencing, and spends the next 20 years on some beach in the South Pacific with Ken Lay, Saddam Hussein, and Osama bin Laden.

Posted by: Extradite Rumsfeld on January 23, 2007 at 6:46 PM | PERMALINK

There are millions of things Cheney can do to cover his ass:

Cheney doesn't need to cover his ass; he hasn't been charged. What he needs is a reason why he should be permitted to refuse to answer Fitz's embarrassing questions. And like I said, he doesn't have much of a leg to stand on w/r/t that.

Posted by: dj moonbat on January 23, 2007 at 6:49 PM | PERMALINK

What's going to happen is that Bush is going to pardon Libby on the gorunds that making Cheney testify would jeopardize National Security. Then they'll find a way to blame it on the "Left."

Posted by: Doug-E-Fresh on January 23, 2007 at 6:56 PM | PERMALINK

What's going to happen is that Bush is going to pardon Libby on the gorunds that making Cheney testify would jeopardize National Security. Then they'll find a way to blame it on the "Left."

In 2004, that would have been a great strategy.

Posted by: dj moonbat on January 23, 2007 at 6:58 PM | PERMALINK
Fitz showed today that the only reason Cheney hasn't also been indicted is the possible claims of immunity, and the fact that he refused to testify under oath. Expect to see a lot of interesting stuff when Fitz subjects the man to cross-examination.

And, as Kevin noted earlier, Libby's defense has been pointing to Cheney setting Libby up as the fall guy, so its not just Fitz that is likely to go after him.

Posted by: cmdicely on January 23, 2007 at 6:59 PM | PERMALINK

nope. Cheney is a defense witness.

there are no surprises in opening statements. Libby's team (and Cheney's lawyers) knew what Fitzgerald would allege (essentially).

it doesn't make Cheney look good..but there's no allegation that Cheney instructed Libby to leak classified information to the press.

its apparently undisputed that Libby didn't know she was classified...

people jumped the gun on the "wiped out" statement.

Posted by: Nathan on January 23, 2007 at 7:02 PM | PERMALINK

nope. Cheney is a defense witness.

So? That means the defense thinks that they can get Cheney to say exculpatory things about Libby--not that everything Cheney says will make Cheney look good. He may not be called as a hostile witness, but it might turn into that.

Posted by: dj moonbat on January 23, 2007 at 7:05 PM | PERMALINK

Extradite Rumsfeld:I know you are joking but that first one is no good.If he declasified her then they knew she was NOC.They have already claimed they did not know.

Posted by: john john on January 23, 2007 at 7:05 PM | PERMALINK

Just heard this: E. Howard Hunt died today.

Posted by: Blue Girl, Red State (aka Global Citizen) on January 23, 2007 at 7:05 PM | PERMALINK

I think that Fitz wants to set up Cheney to perjure himself. That's the plan, and it's brilliant.

Posted by: Bebimbob on January 23, 2007 at 7:09 PM | PERMALINK

dj moonbat: although it is conceivable that Cheney could be called as a hostile witness if something occurs in testimony during the prosecution's case that causes him to back out....it is highly likely that at this point there has been a fair amount of cooperation between his lawyers and Libby's.

I'm not disputing that something interesting could happen at trial...but I caution strongly against making much of opening statements. wait and see how the questioning plays out.

john john, she hadn't been a NOC in years. however, she still had a nominal cover -- which means that her identity was classified on some level. however, Fitzgerald never made a determination as to whether that classification amounted to one protected by the IPA.

Posted by: Nathan on January 23, 2007 at 7:11 PM | PERMALINK

If Cheney resigns, it'll be due to the Lord of the RNC (who may, in fact, be Cheney)having chosen W's successor. A popular VP is the best chance the Repugs have of retaining control of the White House in 2008, and Cheney's not that popular - more popular than W, but not that popular.

Posted by: greennotGreen on January 23, 2007 at 7:12 PM | PERMALINK

bebimbop:

nope. here's the deal...witnesses at trial are questioned about matters that they've already been questioned about. no surprises.

no one on direct ever asks a question of a witness that they (and the witness) don't already know the answer to. occasionally, a surprise happens on cross...but Cheney's a bright guy...so I don't see that happening. he's not going to contradict his grand jury testimony.

this isn't Perry Mason.

Posted by: Nathan on January 23, 2007 at 7:14 PM | PERMALINK
A popular VP is the best chance the Repugs have of retaining control of the White House in 2008

There are GOP politicians that could be modestly popular VPs even in the current situation, but none that Bush would appoint; then again, I'm not sure an otherwise popular VP could avoid being indelibly tarred by association with the Bush Administration from now through 2008...

Posted by: cmdicely on January 23, 2007 at 7:15 PM | PERMALINK

Yea I agree with you Nathan, Just that they tried so hard to say they did not know,But they did do a certain amount backround checking to cover there ass,So her name just didn't come up.

Posted by: john john on January 23, 2007 at 7:16 PM | PERMALINK

E Howard Hunt is dead at age 88. He had two greats in life. First thing was the planning of the fiasco known as the Bay of Pigs invasion that political pundits at the time said was done Caroline Kennedy, JFK's young daughter. Only the old ones remember that one. Then he planned the Watergate break in that resulted in Nixon's resignation.

Posted by: BGone on January 23, 2007 at 7:16 PM | PERMALINK

Can the president appoint a replacment VP.Or does the next in line get the job.

Posted by: john john on January 23, 2007 at 7:19 PM | PERMALINK

cmdicely: There are GOP politicians that could be modestly popular VPs even in the current situation, but none that Bush would appoint; then again, I'm not sure an otherwise popular VP could avoid being indelibly tarred by association with the Bush Administration from now through 2008...

Colin Powell would be their best choice.

Posted by: dj moonbat on January 23, 2007 at 7:20 PM | PERMALINK
Can the president appoint a replacment VP.Or does the next in line get the job.

There is no automatic succession to the office of Vice President. In the event of a vacancy, the President can appoint a replacement, but such a replacement needs to be confirmed by a majority of each house of Congress.

Posted by: cmdicely on January 23, 2007 at 7:22 PM | PERMALINK

Posted by: cmdicely on January 23, 2007 at 7:15 PM


You have to remember, if Darth Vader resigns, the new VP would have to be approved by at least the Senate. I would love to see that one. Condi sure as hell won't pass muster.

Posted by: Ghost of Tom Joad on January 23, 2007 at 7:22 PM | PERMALINK

cmdicely,
You stole my thunder. ;-) There is no way in Hell that Pelosi would approve anyone of note as a replacement VP.

Posted by: Ghost of Tom Joad on January 23, 2007 at 7:23 PM | PERMALINK

here's the liveblogging of Fitzgerald's testimony that Kevin's reader referred to:

http://www.firedoglake.com/2007/01/23/libby-liveblog-fitzgeralds-opening-statement/

without disagreeing, I don't understand how this follows:

It is crystal clear that Fitzgerald is convinced, and I mean strongly convinced, that this whole imbroglio is Cheney's personal doing.

Fitz listed eleven times that Libby lied when he could have told the truth; they are to diverse people. Where is there even a hint that Cheney might have committed a crime?

Is this it, from Digby, paraphrasing Wells:

Cheney made notes of what Libby said. Notes show Libby telling VP that he was not involved in leak. [oops, Wells, accidentally said, "not involved in leak to Karl Rove."
...
Cheney's note: "Not going to protect one staffer and sacrifice the guy that was asked to stick his neck in the meat grinder because of the incompetence of others."

Posted by: calibantwo on January 23, 2007 at 7:27 PM | PERMALINK

dont worry after dick gets his he will still collect a govt pension

Posted by: mr maki mmmkaayyy on January 23, 2007 at 7:30 PM | PERMALINK

Is Cheney making refrence to himself?,Did he stick his neck in the meatgrinder?

Posted by: john john on January 23, 2007 at 7:33 PM | PERMALINK

Is Cheney making refrence to himself?,Did he stick his neck in the meatgrinder?

Well, he's ugly enough for that to be the case, but I don't notice any change in appearance at around that time--he's always looked like that.

Posted by: dj moonbat on January 23, 2007 at 7:36 PM | PERMALINK

they are to diverse people.

I mean, the lies are to the grand jury, about conversations Libby had with diverse people.

If Libby is guilty of lying to the grand jury, how does his expressed belief that he was being set up as a fall guy have any probative value?

Posted by: calibantwo on January 23, 2007 at 7:39 PM | PERMALINK

If Libby is guilty of lying to the grand jury, how does his expressed belief that he was being set up as a fall guy have any probative value?

As to the elements of the crime? None. But he can conceivably create the impression that the whole proceeding is an attempt by his scapegoaters to pin the blame on him.

Posted by: dj moonbat on January 23, 2007 at 7:41 PM | PERMALINK

its a mad mad mad mad world anymore

Posted by: mr maki mmmkaayyy on January 23, 2007 at 7:43 PM | PERMALINK

There is no way in Hell that Pelosi would approve anyone of note as a replacement VP.
Posted by: Ghost of Tom Joad on January 23, 2007 at 7:23 PM | PERMALINK

. . . ah, too bad Ford's already dead.

,Did he stick his neck in the meatgrinder?
Posted by: john john on January 23, 2007 at 7:33 PM | PERMALINK

What neck?

Posted by: Extradite Rumsfeld on January 23, 2007 at 7:44 PM | PERMALINK
If Libby is guilty of lying to the grand jury, how does his expressed belief that he was being set up as a fall guy have any probative value?

If Cheney has evidence that he was being set up, and if that evidence implicates any of the sources of the evidence of his lies, than it has probative value as to the credibility of the evidence against him, and therefore on the charges against him, as well.

Posted by: cmdicely on January 23, 2007 at 7:46 PM | PERMALINK

Er, I meant Libby, not Cheney.

Posted by: cmdicely on January 23, 2007 at 7:47 PM | PERMALINK

Just heard this: E. Howard Hunt died today.

Good to know that god as a sense of humor.

Posted by: Disputo on January 23, 2007 at 8:03 PM | PERMALINK

Nathan - Your post above posited that htere has been no determination that Plame was a covered agent within the purview of the IPA. That is not really correct. The original referral from the CIA to the DOJ to initiate this matter required a certification of her status under the act. Although the document is classified and under seal with the court; the matter would not have proceeded unless the CIA had certified her covered status. Secondly, if you read the hard copy of Fitzgerald's indictment, and review his statement mpublically made at the time of filing, there is no question but that Fitzgerald has found as a matter of fact that she is indeed a covered agent.
As to the other poster's question as to how one can conclude that Fitzgerald is convinced that this entire matter stems from Cheney's handiwork, read Fitzgerald's indictment and statement issued therewith, read the logs from today's proceedings on FireDogLake and tell me how you could come to any other conclusion. If that is not enough for you, there are literally dozens of quotes and bits of information from sources close to Fitzgerald that state exactly that.

Posted by: bmaz on January 23, 2007 at 8:13 PM | PERMALINK

Good to know that god as a sense of humor.

I considered adding "he will not be missed." to the end of that.

But I think perhaps "Do say hello to Saddam Hussein once you have been inprocessed through the gates of hell." is a little better.

Posted by: Blue Girl, Red State (aka Global Citizen) on January 23, 2007 at 8:16 PM | PERMALINK

Say Bush appoints Sen. Lieberman VP. Wouldn't that turn the Senate Republican and wouldn't it be difficult for the party who nominated him for VP not so long ago have difficulty opposing him?

Posted by: Nightmare on January 23, 2007 at 8:23 PM | PERMALINK

Nathan: john john, [Valerie Plame] hadn't been a NOC in years...

And you know this how?

Posted by: Apollo 13 on January 23, 2007 at 8:24 PM | PERMALINK

Posted by: bmaz on January 23, 2007 at 8:13 PM

Good job.

Posted by: Apollo 13 on January 23, 2007 at 8:26 PM | PERMALINK

I keep bmaz and Ron Byers email addresses handy, in case I ever need a lawyer.

Posted by: Blue Girl, Red State (aka Global Citizen) on January 23, 2007 at 8:29 PM | PERMALINK

Nightmare - No. Althought it would certainly not be ideal, the current Senate rules conemplate that the Senate composition as to committees and leadership is determined in the initial meeting in the January after an election. That has been done. So, absent a chang in these protocols, the Democrats should not lose "control" under such a scenario.


Posted by: bmaz on January 23, 2007 at 8:31 PM | PERMALINK

Yeah, Globe, and I bet you threw away Nathan's email address like I did.

Posted by: Apollo 13 on January 23, 2007 at 8:33 PM | PERMALINK

A-13 - I went off on Lizzie C - in detail. Just thought I'd let you know, in case you are in the mood for a rant.:)

Back after SotU...

Posted by: Blue Girl, Red State (aka Global Citizen) on January 23, 2007 at 8:36 PM | PERMALINK

Say Bush appoints Sen. Lieberman VP...

I dont think House and Senate Dems would confirm him.

Posted by: Apollo 13 on January 23, 2007 at 8:39 PM | PERMALINK

Thanks bmaz

Posted by: Nightmare on January 23, 2007 at 8:40 PM | PERMALINK

The entire external orchestration of the Paula Jones trial was for the purpose of getting Bill Clinton under oath and springing a surprise question on him that would cause him to lie, and then to follow up by exposing him as a criminal liar.

Bush and Cheney and their minions have NEVER sworn themselves in before congress for precisely the same reason. They have lied so much that they are vulnerable to anyone who has any idea of the right questions to ask. No one is in a better position to know the questions than one of the great trial lawyers of our time.

Note to self. Orville Redenbacher stock.

Posted by: Repack Rider on January 23, 2007 at 8:40 PM | PERMALINK

Apollo 13, Wow, I'm not as confident as you on that one. It would certainly be a clarifying moment when they called the roll.

Posted by: Nightmare on January 23, 2007 at 8:44 PM | PERMALINK

Agnew was Nixon's impeachment insurance. When he went, Nixon was fair game.

Cheney is the same for Bush. If he goes...

Posted by: JRosen on January 23, 2007 at 8:46 PM | PERMALINK

Spiro Cheney....

Posted by: ROTFLMLiberalAO on January 23, 2007 at 8:47 PM | PERMALINK

Well, Nightmare, I could be wrong... but I think it would fail in the House. Pelosi circle the wagons 'cause of Lieberman's pro-war, pro-Bush posturing. Just a hunch.

Posted by: Apollo 13 on January 23, 2007 at 8:48 PM | PERMALINK

Globe... um, a little help with a link (Who is Lizzie C?) and maybe I'll join your rant...after SOTU.

Posted by: Apollo 13 on January 23, 2007 at 8:52 PM | PERMALINK

Back after SotU...

You're a stronger person than I -- I don't think that I can handle watching the war criminal on live TV anymore.

Back after /Veronica Mars/...

Posted by: Disputo on January 23, 2007 at 8:52 PM | PERMALINK

Apollo 13, I suppose I could see that. I was thinking it was just a Senate confirmation and there would be lots of conflicting loyalties. Anyway, its about time to load up on anti-hypertensives and find the clicker.

Posted by: Nightmare on January 23, 2007 at 8:54 PM | PERMALINK

OT, but apropos:

Attorney General questions if Constitution grants right of Habeas Corpus

I'm starting to miss John Mitchell.

Posted by: alex on January 23, 2007 at 8:57 PM | PERMALINK

A-13: Liz Cheney. Here's the link.

Posted by: Blue Girl, Red State (aka Global Citizen) on January 23, 2007 at 8:58 PM | PERMALINK

Disputo,
I'm only watching to see Jim Webb's response. Otherwise, it's mute and read captions on the TV while Bush is talking... Can hardly stand the man's voice.

Nightmare, I agree with you on the Senate... that would be if-y.

Posted by: Apollo 13 on January 23, 2007 at 8:59 PM | PERMALINK

Ah, yes.... thanks, Globe. I'll be 'round shortly.

Posted by: Apollo 13 on January 23, 2007 at 9:00 PM | PERMALINK

Well, here we go - Nova is over. It's show time. I hope Nancy just whacks him with her ivory gavel.

Posted by: Blue Girl, Red State (aka Global Citizen) on January 23, 2007 at 9:02 PM | PERMALINK

I hope Nancy just whacks him with her ivory gavel.

So funny, Globe. File that under scenes we'd like to see... but unfortunately won't.
OK, here we go.

Posted by: Apollo 13 on January 23, 2007 at 9:07 PM | PERMALINK

One word: Pardons. Thirty years from now, everybody will be congratulating GWB for restoring the public's faith in government.

Posted by: dr sardonicus on January 23, 2007 at 9:21 PM | PERMALINK

On Kevin's previous post on this subject, Apollo 13 had responded to Nathan's persistence in arguing that Plame was either not a covered agent, or if she was, she was of no real significance. Apollo 13 cited Larry Johnson who is far more informed on all this than any of us (at least I think - any spooks out there?). Here is another quote from Larry:

"Valerie's identity was exposed by Scooter Libby, Dick Cheney, Karl Rove and others in Bush Administration in the summer of 2003 while she was doing undercover work to monitor, detect, and interdict nuclear technology going to Iran. Larisa Alexandrovna broke the story on Raw Story in February 2006. David Shuster confirmed the report on Hardball on 2 May 2006:

While the heart of the CIA leak investigation is the Bush administration`s aggressive defense of the WMD case for war in Iraq, there is new evidence now the defense may have undermined intelligence efforts on Iran.The key player in the CIA leak story is Valerie Wilson, a CIA operative whose identity was outed by White House officials. As MSNBC first reporter yesterday, Wilson was not just undercover but, according to intelligence sources, was part of an effort three years ago to monitor the proliferation of nuclear weapons material into Iran."

This was culled from Larry's personal blog No Quarter croos posted at TPM Cafe I believe: http://noquarter.typepad.com/my_weblog/2006/08/republican_chut.html. Plame was not only everything that Nathan claims she was not, she was literally working on the very issue we are told is the most critical to our very existence. I have long had a personal theory, educated but unsupported, that the very reason that there were no indictments against Libby, Cheney, Rove on the IPA is for the exact reason that Plame and her front company were indeed crucial and that further breach of cover would cause far more catastrophic damage than already done. I am not saying this is the case, simply that it is a distinct possibility. We really don't know, and maybe that is as it should be; obviously, none of us should have known, and be talking, about what we do from the get go. Even if Nathan were right that Plame was insignificant, and he most assuredly is NOT, it still was a hideous and immoral breach of ethics, responsibility and protocol (and just generally scummy) for this administration to have outed any CIA agent for their petty political whims.

Posted by: bmaz on January 23, 2007 at 9:21 PM | PERMALINK

Digby: "Norah O'Donnell is asking Andy Card and Leon Panetta if the president is going to have to ask Dick Cheney to resign as a result of what's being alleged at the Libby Trial. (They both punted.)"

That's funny -- all I saw Norah O'Donnell do tonight is bat her eyelashes and pretend the White House somehow knows what it's collectively doing. So what else is new?

And who's doing her make-up -- Earl Scheib? With her pancaked white skin and thin ruby-red lips, she looked eerily like Jack Nicholson's Joker in Batman.

Posted by: Donald from Hawaii on January 23, 2007 at 9:47 PM | PERMALINK

I've been on a plane traveling all day, but this is the best news I have heard in years. If we can take down Cheney, Bush is a headless snake. He has no ability to do anything. If Rove went down, he certainly would be a floundering fish. This could be the beginning of the end of the Bush dynasty....

Posted by: The Conservative Deflator on January 23, 2007 at 10:13 PM | PERMALINK

TCD: Drip...Drip...Drip...

Looking appropriate, huh? Not a deluge, a steady erosion, and when it's worn down the fortification enough, deluge.

Posted by: Blue Girl, Red State (aka Global Citizen) on January 23, 2007 at 10:18 PM | PERMALINK

LMAO @ the groupies asking GWB to sign their SOTU programs.

Posted by: Disputo on January 23, 2007 at 10:19 PM | PERMALINK

Wow. My guess is that Webb's speech will cut another 5% out of GWB's 28% approval rating.

Posted by: Disputo on January 23, 2007 at 10:31 PM | PERMALINK

Wow. My guess is that Webb's speech will cut another 5% out of GWB's 28% approval rating.

Prolly not (Bush really did better than I expected), but Webb certainly went medieval on Bush's ass. Best rebuttal speech I've seen.

Posted by: dj moonbat on January 23, 2007 at 10:39 PM | PERMALINK

One of my 10 predictions for 007 was that Bush would drop to 25% in the polls. Another was that Cheney would be gone before the year ended. I thought before spring was too much to hope for, but now I'm feeling giddy...

Posted by: Blue Girl, Red State (aka Global Citizen) on January 23, 2007 at 11:32 PM | PERMALINK

ok...some people here clearly haven't followed this case closely.

the CIA made a routine referral to the Justice Department that classified information had been leaked in an open source publication...that happens about 50 times a year. that is not a "certification that an agent's identity is covered by the IPA". The CIA can't determine that. Only a court. Fitzgerald specifically stated last year that he had made no such determination.

Further, it was revealed in the fall of 2006 that Plame was in charge of a WMD working group at CIA headquarters. An important job, yes. But she was no longer a NOC...she had a nominal cover. Larry Johnson even admitted as much.

Furthermore, her "front company" didn't exist and she was its only employee...there were no other agents operating under that cover -- Wayne Madsen to the contrary.

http://www.boston.com/business/globe/articles/2003/10/10/apparent_cia_front_didnt_offer_much_cover/

some people haven't been paying attention.
(there's a reason why Armitage isn't going to jail folks)

Posted by: Nathan on January 24, 2007 at 1:03 AM | PERMALINK

Nathan - There is a difference between the routine notification you describe and the formal request for criminal investigation that was made by the CIA in the Plame matter. Perhaps you are closer to the "people who haven't been paying attention" than you realize.

Posted by: bmaz on January 24, 2007 at 1:21 AM | PERMALINK

bmaz: your information is incorrect.

Posted by: Nathan on January 24, 2007 at 1:31 AM | PERMALINK

None of that matters. He deliberately lied about when he knew what he knew.

Posted by: dj moonbat on January 24, 2007 at 2:25 AM | PERMALINK

Nathan >"bmaz: your information is incorrect."

You are full of shit as well as a phony

"...you cannot save your face and your ass at the same time..." - vachon@shadrach.net

Posted by: daCascadian on January 24, 2007 at 2:46 AM | PERMALINK

I think Libby's "President Bush's righthand man, Karl Rove, set me up" defense is warning to Bush to give Libby a pardon ASAP. Or else.

And, one for Cheney, too, while he's at it.

Posted by: Tilli (Mojave Desert) on January 24, 2007 at 4:16 AM | PERMALINK

Nathan,
You cited a link from 2003 and the talk about not paying attention. Same ol' tired blah, blah, blah.

Posted by: Apollo 13 on January 24, 2007 at 7:04 AM | PERMALINK

Nathan,

You still haven't answered my question...

Nathan: john john, [Valerie Plame] hadn't been a NOC in years...

And you know this how? Produce your proof.

Posted by: Apollo 13 on January 24, 2007 at 7:16 AM | PERMALINK

Former CIA Larry Johnson who trained with Valerie is light years ahead of you on the subject of Plame, Nathan.

Are you gonna repeat the RNC talking point? Nathan:

Gregory: well, she did drive through the gates of Langley every morning...that's one of the reasons why her cover was nominal as opposed to something more robust (another indication is that the front company was merely a P.O. Box that never conducted any legit business and appears to not have had any employees besides her)....
...which Larry Johnson demonstrates is sheer ignorance... or should I say the rambling of a mental midget?

Posted by: Apollo 13 on January 24, 2007 at 7:23 AM | PERMALINK

Nathan: (there's a reason why Armitage isn't going to jail folks)

And you didn't explain that reason, Nathan. Why is that? You just left some droppings and then ran. No explanation. Nothing.

As Kevin pointed out a long time ago, the bar for prosecution under IIPA is extremely high. If you click Kevin's link, you find:

The law, the Intelligence Identities Protection Act, was enacted in 1982 and was designed to protect the identities of covert U.S. agents. It was a response to an organized campaign led by former CIA agent Philip Agee to identify CIA and other U.S. covert agents around the world.
After it was signed into law, the measure quickly faded into obscurity. Government officials said yesterday they could not recall a single prosecution under the law, although they said they could not completely rule that out....
... The statute includes three other elements necessary to obtain a conviction: that the disclosure was intentional, the accused knew the person being identified was a covert agent and the accused also knew that "the United States is taking affirmative measures to conceal such covert agent's intelligence relationship to the United States."
The law says no person other than the one accused of leaking the information can be prosecuted, a provision that would protect journalists who report leaked classified information identifying a covert agent. But there is one exception to that protection.
The measure says people who engage in a "pattern of activities" intended to identify covert agents and who have "reason to believe that such activities would impair or impede the foreign intelligence activities of the United States" can be prosecuted. Smith said that language was aimed at the publishers of the Covert Action Information Bulletin and others who made it a practice to identify undercover CIA agents.
Armitage inadvertently -- not intentionally -- mentioned Plame's covert status. Federal prosecutors don't pursue crimes when they know they cannot secure a conviction. That's the reason Armitage isn't going to jail... not because of your stinky red herring. The level of your intellectual dishonesty is staggering.

Posted by: Apollo 13 on January 24, 2007 at 8:14 AM | PERMALINK

Actually, Armitage mentioned that "Wilson's wife" worked on WMD issues at the CIA, something he learned from a classified State Dept. document that didn't mention Valerie Plame by name or her covert status... another reason why Armitage isn't going to jail.

Posted by: Apollo 13 on January 24, 2007 at 9:43 AM | PERMALINK

Nathan wrote: I caution strongly against making much of opening statements

Since, judging by the quality of your debate in these threads, you never manage to make much of your opening statements, and those you do make are left in smoking ruins by opposing counsel, there's no compelling reason to accept Nathan's advice.

Since Fitzgerald has a reputation, unlike Nathan, of proving his claims, there's even less reason.

But there's plenty of reason to pity Nathan's clients.

Posted by: Gregory on January 24, 2007 at 10:32 AM | PERMALINK

With the war dancing going on, you all have moved pretty quickly off the scenario in which Cheney is forced to resign, and Bush appoints a new VP with an eye to keeping the WH in 2008. Many predicted such a possibility a year ago.

Such an individual would have to be a senior statesman, someone with war creds--say, John McCain? He lends credibility to Bushco, and is indebted to them as well for the nod.

I think Colin Powell would be an interesting choice as well, but I suspect he wouldn't be interested.

Posted by: PTate in FR on January 24, 2007 at 10:57 AM | PERMALINK

I think Colin Powell would be an interesting choice as well, but I suspect he wouldn't be interested.

Apparently, he's only a few months shy of 70.

Posted by: dj moonbat on January 24, 2007 at 11:16 AM | PERMALINK

Just my little ole opinion but I wish Libby would open his mouth and talk.
His former buddies hung him. I wonder what they have on him to keep him shut up. Why is Libby less important than Rove? Does Rove crap golden eggs or what? How can Libby stand it that Republican loyality is such a one-way road? Who is he being loyal to by not turning over? Who is being loyal to him?
I wish Libby would talk. Then maybe the toilet of WA could be restored to a touch more clean in the eyes of its people.
And Cheney needs to do more than resign, he needs a bit of prison time for at least one of his crimes to humanity. He needs a few inmates to do to him what he has been doing to this country from back of the sh*t screen he's made of the executive office.
Resignation is just retirement for that piece of work. And he wants to retire. Now that Halliburton has carved off a chunk of gov funds and his daughter carries on the Cheney legecy in his footsteps, and Iraq is opening her rich oil fields to the US, he's feeling pretty good about retirement right now.
If Patrick Fitzgerald can bring one iota of justice out the overflowing sesspool that WA has become, I will laud that man to the highest. That his efforts are so starkly contrasted to all the supposed watchdogs, media "reporters", and oversight committees fully explains how WA was allowed to get so bad these past 6 years.

Mr. Fitzgerald, no one may know just how tuff you have it, but make no mistake, your courage and forthrightness are noticed and cared about and cheered on. You have been given an opportunity to do something right and as hard as it must be, please keep on.

Posted by: Deborah B. on January 24, 2007 at 11:16 AM | PERMALINK

Jesus H. Christ. I refuse to be sucked into another Fitzmas brouhaha only to be punched in the balls by disappointment. Cheney skates, Rove skates, hell, Libby probably skates too.

Posted by: ckelly on January 24, 2007 at 11:44 AM | PERMALINK

bmaz: As to the other poster's question as to how one can conclude that Fitzgerald is convinced that this entire matter stems from Cheney's handiwork, read Fitzgerald's indictment and statement issued therewith, read the logs from today's proceedings on FireDogLake and tell me how you could come to any other conclusion

bmaz, I have indeed read the log on FireDogLake, and the only conclusion I can reach is that Fitzgerald really believes he can nail Libby for perjury; having established guilt on the perjury charges, he thinks he can probably prove the obstruction of justice charge as well, since the perjury was intended to obstruct the investigation. Libby's particular lies are statements that he told the grand jury, and I don't see where Fitzgerald has evidence that Cheney either requested or even knew about those lies to the Grand Jury.

The statements in FireDogLake's real-time blogging that hint at Cheney's involvement were from Libby's defense attorney Wells. If Fitzgerald really believes that cheney was involved (which I don't see how you infer from his statements), then it looks like his strategy is to trap Libby into calling Cheney to testify. I am sure that Cheney would deny ever asking Libby to lie, and to deny that he ever knew about Libby lying. However, Fitzgerald looks set to prove that Libby told eleven lies to the grand jury; I am right now mystified as to how a White House strategy of making Libby the fall guy exculpates Libby from those lies. If the charge is that Libby lied to the Grand Jury, how is a conversation between Cheney and Rove relevant to that charge?

Anyway, you did say that Fitzgerald will start with charges that he is absolutely certain he can prove; what he believes beyond that he keeps closely guarded, by everyone's account.

FWIW, your comments are really good.

I am glad that we have an actual trial now, so that we can stop speculating as to "What did Fitzgerald know and when did he know it?"

Posted by: calibantwo on January 24, 2007 at 1:31 PM | PERMALINK

Nightmare: Apollo 13, Wow, I'm not as confident as you on that one. It would certainly be a clarifying moment when they called the roll.

The Dems abandoned Lieberman wholesale after he lost the CT primary. Then they gave him a standing ovation when they caucased after he won the election. They would have no problems in the least voting against his confirmation for VP. If he won despite most of them voting against him, they would give him another standing ovation.

Paraphrasing Truman, they respect winners, and nothing is personal.

Posted by: calibantwo on January 24, 2007 at 1:51 PM | PERMALINK

I hope Nancy just whacks him with her ivory gavel.

We'd find out from the sound if his head really is made of wood and hollow.

Just a thought.

Posted by: calibantwo on January 24, 2007 at 1:53 PM | PERMALINK

bmaz: Plame was not only everything that Nathan claims she was not, she was literally working on the very issue we are told is the most critical to our very existence.

So Richard Armitage's claim that he accidentally outed Plame is false?

Hasn't Fitzgerald, in line with his narrow focus, taken a publicly agnostic stand on Plame's status? The charges of perjury and obstruction are independent of whether she was criminally outed -- is that not so? I thought that the point of the obstruction charges against Libby was that his obstruction made it impossible to determine whether a crime had been committed in her outing.

Posted by: calibantwo on January 24, 2007 at 2:01 PM | PERMALINK

this from AP: As Grossman continued to the cooperate in the probe, defense attorneys say, he went back to Armitage and told him what the FBI was asking and discussed his answers. Prosecutors sought to block Wells from inquiring about those conversations but U.S. District Judge Reggie B. Walton refused.
...
"It seems to me there might have been some inappropriate behavior taking place," Walton said.
...
Prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald is trying to make the case that it's implausible Libby would forget several conversations he had with officials about Plame.
...
Wells counters that Libby's memories are no more flawed than those of the government's key witnesses. The more doubt he can cast on their stories, the more likely Wells is to convince a jury that Libby made honest mistakes.

If anybody is still here, I misstated what I called Fitzgerald's agnosticism. Fitzgerald has repeatedly stated that Plame's status was classified. Where he has remained agnostic was on the narrowly focused issue of whether "outing" her was a crime under FISA.

Posted by: calibantwo on January 24, 2007 at 2:23 PM | PERMALINK
Where he has remained agnostic was on the narrowly focused issue of whether "outing" her was a crime under FISA.

Presumably, you mean the Intelligence Identities Protection Act which criminalizes disclosure of certain information regarding covert agents of the United States, and not the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act which criminalizes unlawful electronic surveillance (and in more recent amendments physical searches) under color of law.

Posted by: cmdicely on January 24, 2007 at 4:36 PM | PERMALINK

Intelligence Identities Protection Act

indeed, thanks for the correction.

Posted by: calibantwo on January 24, 2007 at 5:02 PM | PERMALINK

"So Richard Armitage's claim that he accidentally outed Plame is false?"

Not necessarily. There is absolutely no reason to believe or insist that just one person was responsible for the outing, particularly in light of the information we've seen thus far.

Posted by: PaulB on January 24, 2007 at 6:05 PM | PERMALINK

PaulB: Not necessarily. There is absolutely no reason to believe or insist that just one person was responsible for the outing...

Hi, PaulB. Good to see you.

And right you are. Bob Novak claimed he named three confidential sources during his testimony...

...in the CIA leak investigation, saying he did so because they had granted him legal waivers to testify and because Special Counsel Patrick J. Fitzgerald already knew of their role.
In a column to be published today {Jul. 12, 2006], Novak said he told Fitzgerald in early 2004 that White House senior adviser Karl Rove and then-CIA spokesman Bill Harlow had confirmed for him, at his request, information about CIA operative Valerie Plame. Novak said he also told Fitzgerald about another senior administration official who originally provided him with the information about Plame, and whose identity he says he cannot reveal even now.
The senior admin official turned out to be Armitage.

Posted by: Apollo 13 on January 24, 2007 at 6:42 PM | PERMALINK

Also, Bill Harlow [from the link at 6:42 PM] ...

...challenged aspects of Novak's account three days before the column was published and warned the columnist that if he did write about Wilson's Niger trip, Plame's name should not be revealed. Novak said he has a different recollection of the conversation.

Posted by: Apollo 13 on January 24, 2007 at 6:51 PM | PERMALINK

PaulB: Not necessarily.

OK. I guess I'll have to wait and see what Fitzgerald actually brings into the trial.

At the trial today, Wells introduced, and Fitzgerald unsuccessfully tried to oject, the idea that prosecution witnesses also have faulty memories.

Posted by: calibantwo on January 24, 2007 at 7:49 PM | PERMALINK




 

 

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