Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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February 1, 2007
By: Kevin Drum

PLAUSIBLE DENIABILITY....On Tuesday, the prosecution in the Scooter Libby trial introduced into evidence an internal White House note written by Dick Cheney in September 2003. This was right after Scott McClellan had told the media that Karl Rove hadn't been involved in leaking Valerie Plame's name, and Cheney wanted McClellan to issue the same denial for Libby, who at the time was his chief of staff. Here's the text of the note:

Has to happen today.

Call out to key press saying same thing about Scooter as Karl.

Not going to protect one staffer & sacrifice the guy this Pres. that was asked to stick his neck in the meat grinder because of the incompetence of others.

So who was it that asked Libby to take the lead in talking to the press about Joe Wilson's trip to Niger? Apparently it was "this Pres," but immediately after writing this Cheney decided the passive voice was a better bet. Even in a note to McClellan, it was best not to admit that Bush had ever been involved. Plausible deniability, you see.

Kevin Drum 1:10 AM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (71)

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Comments

How is the press a "meat-grinder"? They don't really come off like they know what they are doing. Judy seems like she is lying through her teeth, and Cooper, while honest, seems like he's kind of a hack. Nice work, guys! Drop the ball on WMDs then don't even take good enough notes to put Scooter away for outing a goddamn CIA agent!

Posted by: Pinko Punko on February 1, 2007 at 1:40 AM | PERMALINK

Looking at the note, all I can think is, what a bunch of thugs. (Cheney, Rove, Libby et al.) Thuggishness wafts off that thing like a bad smell.

Posted by: jimBOB on February 1, 2007 at 1:56 AM | PERMALINK

What's the big deal? He crossed it out.

Posted by: Repack Rider on February 1, 2007 at 1:59 AM | PERMALINK

And these guys invented White Out. Well, the Out part, anyway.

Posted by: Kenji on February 1, 2007 at 2:11 AM | PERMALINK

Maybe Al or AH can provide us with a better transcription and interpretation.

Seems a little muddled, like the thoughts of 66 year old with clogged arteries leading to the noggin. Maybe after a lunch time beer or two.

Of course one is going to sacrifice the guy whose head one wanted in the meat grinder. The comment seems over the top or bizarrely confused with respect to time and events.

And whose incompetence? I suppose in "Cheney land" that has something to do with telling the truth about Niger forgeries or not digging up child porn rumors about Wilson. I have to stand on my head to try to think like the guy.

Posted by: B on February 1, 2007 at 2:13 AM | PERMALINK

Why is this not a smoking gun for vice-presidential malfeasance? If I understand this right, Cheney is asking McClellan to lie about Libby. He knows what Libby did was risky (meatgrinder) -- because it was illegal. Isn't this grounds for going after Cheney?

Posted by: JS on February 1, 2007 at 2:15 AM | PERMALINK

Ah. Bush himself was the one who wanted to destroy Wilson's wife. Not that is hasn't been surmised before, but there it is in Cheney's own handwriting.

Why would mere criticism of Wilson qualify as "sticking his neck in the meat grinder?" Outing a CIA agent certainly would, however.

Posted by: HeavyJ on February 1, 2007 at 2:20 AM | PERMALINK

JS >"Why is this not a smoking gun for vice-presidential malfeasance?...Isn't this grounds for going after Cheney?"

It is; think the Senate is likely to convict ?

Not at the moment so buck up. Probably more to come & likely "better" given how arrogant they are.

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

Posted by: daCascadian on February 1, 2007 at 3:23 AM | PERMALINK

I have a few follow-up questions.

Did "it" happen that day?

Who were the "key press?"

Did Scotty "call out" to them? What did he say, exactly?

What did the "key press" do with whatever Scotty told them?

Who does the line "because of the incompetence of others" refer to and what was their incompetence?

At the same time, this note evokes an image of Dick Cheney screaming

You know, I have one simple request. And that is to have sharks with frickin' laser beams attached to their heads!

Posted by: James E. Powell on February 1, 2007 at 3:42 AM | PERMALINK

I think it's "the pres", not "this pres". "this pres" is a weird formulation, and if you notice, Cheney's diligent about dotting his i's, and I can't see the dot in "this".

Posted by: SkippyFlipjack on February 1, 2007 at 3:55 AM | PERMALINK

daCascadian, doesn't impeachment happen in the House -- not the Senate?

The VP asking a subordinate to flat out lie sounds to me like Watergate-quality cover-up. That's the kind of stuff they had on Nixon when he resigned rather than go through impeachment.

It seems that most people are excited by the crossed-out reference to the President -- but I don't see that as being important. Because: 1) Since sentence structure makes clear that it was crossed out at the time of writing, it could not be held against him; 2) Cheney and his people habitually refer to "The President" when they mean "us" -- they do it for effect; 3) If the President asked Libby to divulge Plame's name then it was ipso facto legal -- because he was overriding confidentiality restrictions. But asking a subordinate to lie to protect one of their people from prosecution is something they cannot get around easily as far as I can see.

Posted by: JS on February 1, 2007 at 3:58 AM | PERMALINK

I used to dream about impeachment, but lately I'm seeing that the Hague is a more likely end point for this.

Posted by: Slothrop on February 1, 2007 at 4:41 AM | PERMALINK

Sounds fishy. I'd expect Cheney to use either POTUS or TDFITOO (the dumbfuck in the Oval Office) in reference to this Pres.

Posted by: ogmb on February 1, 2007 at 4:49 AM | PERMALINK

Exhibit A in the impeachment trial of Richard Bruce Cheney.

Posted by: The Conservative Deflator on February 1, 2007 at 5:37 AM | PERMALINK

'If I understand this right, Cheney is asking McClellan to lie about Libby. He knows what Libby did was risky (meatgrinder) -- because it was illegal. Isn't this grounds for going after Cheney?'
--js

js:

In legal jargon it is referred to as suborning perjury.

TCD

Posted by: The Conservative Deflator on February 1, 2007 at 5:46 AM | PERMALINK

It looks like he wrote "this guy" BEFORE he wrote "this Pres". At least it would be unnatural to start that line so far over to the right. Probably he wanted to end the sentence with "this guy", and start another with "This Pres", as if to say, "This President does not have staff that out CIA agents . . ."

Posted by: captcrisis on February 1, 2007 at 6:31 AM | PERMALINK

ah, language, so vague, so contextual...so HOT! What is on paper doesn't communicate everything that was meant.

--First, "this" Pres." or "the" Pres??? I agree with SkippyFlipjack's excellent eye. I also think it is "the"--my evidence is that the "the" in front of "the guy" is almost exactly the same construction.

--Second, "the guy the Pres" followed by the "meatgrinder" phrase. In English, the guy is a term of affection, and suggests loyalty. The VP may be referring to Scooter affectionately and loyally, but that doesn't feel quite right to me. In addition, being "asked to stick his neck in the meatgrinder" seems to me to be a bigger deal, a more public responsibility than Libby was asked to bear.

An alternative parsing suggests that the VP is speaking here from the WH cultural norm of loyalty to GWB. Within the WH bubble, GWB is viewed affectionately. GWB is a hero, a leader, who puts his neck on the line and bears the heat for publicly defending WH policies. "The guy" refers to GWB, and it is an article of faith that we need to support him because of the hard job he has to do.

The context in which Karl and Scooter need defending is that GWB made a claim about yellowcake in the extremely public SOTUS and this claim was later exposed as false. The "neck in the meatgrinder" refers to the burden of responsibility borne by GWB. The "incompetence of others" refers to the fact that Wilson, that traitor, went public to expose the President's claim as false. Was it a deliberate lie? Or was it an accident, the incompetence of others? The threat of impeachment for publicly lying to the nation hangs over GWB's head because of that f*****g Joseph Wilson. It was therefore essential to discredit Wilson and establish that the claim was not a lie: The POTUS was given bad information.

For one moment both possibilities were on the paper, "the guy the Pres". Cheney had to decide in a millisecond whether to cross out the more vague but affectionate "the guy" or go with the more precise but emotionally more formal "the Pres". We know which he chose. Bottom line is the same though vaguer: Cheney will not protect staffers and sacrifice the President.

Further assumption. Bush lied. The yellowcake claim was a deliberate lie, part of the con game to get the US to attack Iraq. The WH & Cheney & Bush know this and recognized the danger to GWB.

Posted by: PTate in FR on February 1, 2007 at 6:54 AM | PERMALINK

When the Plame leak scandal began, Bush vowed to fire anyone in the administration, including in the White House, who was involved in the leak. Why is no one calling on the president to stand by his vow?

Posted by: helmling on February 1, 2007 at 7:15 AM | PERMALINK

Cheney's reference to 'This Pres' is NOT unintended, hence the half-heartedness of the not-quite-deletion. Cheney quite deliberately implicated 'This Pres',in case the Wilson/Plame smear was exposed or backfired.

Bush knew about, but was too dumb to understand, the legal/political implications of this strategy. Cheney grasped the risks from the start & deliberately set up Libby, Rove, Fleischer & yes, even Bush, to take the fall instead of him. Anyone who doubts Cheney could be so Machiavellian needs to consider the overall Iraq conflict cost-benefit.

While almost everyone else, either politically or economically, has suffered huge losses because of the invasion/ occupation, Mr.Cheney has uniquely QUINTUPLED his already obscene net worth.

Cheney doesn't protect Bush. He's set him up for falls, again & again. He contradicts Bush's position repeatedly. He runs his own dirty tricks campaigns while ensuring that the Chimperor always pays the fees.

If Chimpy wasn't such a smirking, moronic bully, you could almost feel sorry for him.

Posted by: DanJoaquinOz on February 1, 2007 at 7:23 AM | PERMALINK

The constitutional and criminal aspects put aside, this latest revelation should prove a bonanza for the Wilson's when they file their civil suits against the administration's malefactors in l'affaire du Plame. Much of what is being shown incorporates malice, which should make their case much stronger. Cheney may have thought that he has increased his net worth by stealing from the US treasury courtesy of the war, but it would appear that most of it will wind up with Joe Wilson and Valerie Plame Wilson. What irony! What a fitting end to a commercial Presidency!

Posted by: PrahaPartizan on February 1, 2007 at 7:36 AM | PERMALINK

I want to know the identities of the other "incompetents?"

What was done before Scooter's involvement? Who did it? Was Scooter asked to take one for the team to protect those other people?

Posted by: Ron Byers on February 1, 2007 at 7:38 AM | PERMALINK

The real story is one of Bush's guys finally admitting there's incompetence within the administration.

daCascadian, doesn't impeachment happen in the House -- not the Senate?

House impeaches, Senate then votes whether or not to convict.

Posted by: shortstop on February 1, 2007 at 8:12 AM | PERMALINK

Darn it. I had hoped the buck would stop with Dead Eye Dick. But let's remember the flight that Ari took right after that lunch with Scooter Libby where he was told Ms. Plame was a CIA agent. It was on Air Force One so the Pres was on board as his crew was all afuss over this spin that Valerie was supposedly the one that sent Joe on that Niger vacation trip.

Posted by: pgl on February 1, 2007 at 9:07 AM | PERMALINK

House impeaches, Senate then votes whether or not to convict.

And not a moment too @#$%^&*! soon, I might add.

Posted by: Gregory on February 1, 2007 at 9:15 AM | PERMALINK

I was opposed to impeachment. However, I am coming around to the idea of impeaching Cheney. The guy is the most corrupt and degenerate fascist ever in that office. And he is a heartbeat away from the president.

Posted by: POed Lib on February 1, 2007 at 9:18 AM | PERMALINK

I am coming around to the idea of impeaching Cheney. The guy is the most corrupt and degenerate fascist ever in that office. And he is a heartbeat away from the president.

Certainly, Cheney should be impeached first, at the very least.

Posted by: Gregory on February 1, 2007 at 9:36 AM | PERMALINK

Impeach on grounds of outing a CIA agent.

Bush and Cheney.

NOW!!!

Posted by: Jharris_Clearw on February 1, 2007 at 9:38 AM | PERMALINK

Let's be honest. Does this truly surprise anyone?

Unfortunately, the corporate-owned media seems more determined than ever to inform us of the latest developments in the American Idol pseudo-saga swirling around Paula Abdul, than to provide information potentially detrimental to their political interests in D.C.

Posted by: Donald from Hawaii on February 1, 2007 at 9:39 AM | PERMALINK

I wonder if impeaching Cheney wouldn't neatly serve the purpose of depantsing the administration without hanging the ridiculous "revenge for Clinton" label around Dems' necks. Cheney goes, Bush folds like a deck of cards (he's in half meltdown mode already) and the sun shines on America again. It's not like even Republicans like Cheney; aren't his approval ratings something like 11 percent?

Posted by: shortstop on February 1, 2007 at 9:43 AM | PERMALINK

"this Pres." makes sense if Cheney is using a construction similar to the royal "we" - that is to say, he may have been referring to himself, and realized "Oh yeah - I may tell George what to do, but technically I'm not the Pres."
I.e. "... sacrifice the guy this Pres (whoopsie!) that was asked ..."
A construction that may have been intended could be: "... sacrifice the guy this Pres. asked to ..."
I think it's not "the" as it's got more lines than the only other instances of "the" used.

Insofar as a deliberate attempt to get POTUS into play with memo - I feel safe assuming that they didn't think any of this would end up as evidence for a grand jury.

Posted by: kenga on February 1, 2007 at 9:44 AM | PERMALINK

The guy is the most corrupt and degenerate fascist ever in that office. And he is a heartbeat away from the president.

Gotta put a word in for Aaron Burr here. But who thought he'd ever have competition?

Posted by: just sayin on February 1, 2007 at 10:03 AM | PERMALINK

"Maybe Al or AH can provide us with a better transcription and interpretation."

I'm sure they'll soon be critiquing the kerning on the font of the note.

Posted by: No Longer a Urinated State of America on February 1, 2007 at 10:05 AM | PERMALINK

The "yellowcake" story was a lie. The CIA had already had the WH remove the reference from the State of the Union address. The WH grafted the bit about England saying x to make the statement PARSE AS A TRUE ONE. They were treating the phrasing as if they were testifying in a trial and trying to avoid a perjury rap, but the president knew that the statement was bogus. IOW, it was a lie. This is important. We impeached Clinton because of a lie. We have that precedent. A lie about a sexual affair. Bush LIED in a State of the Union address, every bit as formal and legal as a trial. No mention of impeachment from clucks like Lindsay Graham or Holy Joe or Straight Talking John McCain.

The lie was obvious BEFORE Wilson. A week or so after the State of the Union address, the WH corrected the record and withdrew the remark. The uproad over Wilson was nonsensical since they'd already acknowledged the upshot of Wilson's remarks. Nobody stranger than people.

Impeach Bush and Cheney. This afternoon, please. And remove them tonight. We'll sleep better.

Posted by: Jeffrey Davis on February 1, 2007 at 10:08 AM | PERMALINK

Here I thought the hardest part of Scott McClellan's job was telling lies with a straight face. Turns out, the real bitch was reading Cheney's handwriting. Damn!

Also, who are the incompetent "others"??

Posted by: Grumpy on February 1, 2007 at 10:09 AM | PERMALINK

Can we get our impeachment on yet?

Posted by: Blue Girl, Red State (aka Global Citizen) on February 1, 2007 at 10:12 AM | PERMALINK

Funny, Grumpy!

Posted by: shortstop on February 1, 2007 at 10:14 AM | PERMALINK

Damn, damn, damn - Had this only come out before Scott McCellan went on The Daily Show last week - Why, Jon would have skewered him - At least he could have made fun of Scott trying to read his "doctored" prescription.

Posted by: thethirdPaul on February 1, 2007 at 10:36 AM | PERMALINK

ogmb goddammit!! That "TDFITOO" remark made me spit out my orange juice. Please provide advance notice that you included a hilarious joke in your post.

Posted by: Allen on February 1, 2007 at 10:40 AM | PERMALINK

just sayin: "Gotta put a word in for Aaron Burr here. But who thought he'd ever have competition?"

Aaron Burr, who founded New York's legendary (or infamous, depending upon your perspective) Tammany Hall organization, was a consummate political opportunist whose career ran simply afoul of the the conflicting ambitions of his two contemporaries, Alexander Hamilton and Thomas Jefferson.

Further, there is ample historic record that strongly suugests that this former vice president's supposed misdeedsi.e., his alleged treason, constitute little more than an early 19th century version of what we call an "urban legend." He was acquitted of all charges against him, in large part because of the two chief witnesses against him, Gen. Jonas Wilkerson was himself a paid agent of the Spanish government, and President Jefferson first claimed for his office the notion of "executive privilege" and refused to testify under oath at Burr's trial in richmond, VA.

Even Burr's tragic "interview at Weehawken" with Hamilton was instigated by the disreputable actions of the former Treasury Secretary, who publicly insinuated during the 1804 New York gubernatorial campaign that Burr had an incestuous sexual relationship with his own daughter, Theodocia.

In short, the guy got a bum rap, historically-speaking.

Posted by: Donald from Hawaii on February 1, 2007 at 10:46 AM | PERMALINK
I think it's "the pres", not "this pres". "this pres" is a weird formulation, and if you notice, Cheney's diligent about dotting his i's, and I can't see the dot in "this".

Yeah, that seems likely, though "this President" isn't really all that uncommon—I've seen it and similar constructions referring to other unique officers—and is actually particularly common when the issue is personal rather than institutional loyalty.

Posted by: cmdicely on February 1, 2007 at 10:57 AM | PERMALINK

Completely Off Thread, but, if we all could have our own moment of silence for the loss of a national treasure; Molly Ivins has passed away. The reams of wit and insight she sent our way.

Ms Ivins, you will be sorely missed and never replaced.

Posted by: thethirdPaul on February 1, 2007 at 11:02 AM | PERMALINK

Paul, I don't think Molly would want a second more silence than a moment. She wanted us making noise.

We are the people who run this country. We are the deciders. And every single day, every single one of us needs to step outside and take some action to help stop this war. Raise hell. Think of something to make the ridiculous look ridiculous. Make our troops know we're for them and trying to get them out of there. Hit the streets to protest Bush's proposed surge. If you can, go to the peace march in Washington on Jan. 27. We need people in the streets, banging pots and pans and demanding, "Stop it, now!"

Posted by: Blue Girl, Red State (aka Global Citizen) on February 1, 2007 at 11:07 AM | PERMALINK

BGRG,

Hear, Hear

And screw Bi-Partisanism as well.

Posted by: thethirdPaul on February 1, 2007 at 11:13 AM | PERMALINK

When the Plame leak scandal began, Bush vowed to fire anyone in the administration, including in the White House, who was involved in the leak. Why is no one calling on the president to stand by his vow?

Because no one in the press took that vow seriously, probably in large part because the press assumed Bush himself was up to his eyeballs in this. It's kind of like the Downing Street Memo; Kinsley wrote that it was not news because everyone always assumed Bush had cooked the intelligence anyway. Of course, no one bothered to cover that angle back when it could have made a difference.

There's an upside to being thoroughly dishonest and incompetent: No one takes anything you say seriously, so you can say anything you want.

Posted by: Boots Day on February 1, 2007 at 11:14 AM | PERMALINK

It looks almost like nonesense to me. If I was transcribing it I would figure it said something like:

[unintellibible chicken scratch] . . . Call out to bay press raging some thing about Scooter as Kid . . .[unintellibible chicken scratch] not going to . . . sacrifice the goy . . . [unintellibible chicken scratch] that was usked to stik his nerd in the meat grinch . . .

I can't make out over half of it, but it seems to be referencing Scooter's Jewish upbringing and some forthcoming anti-semitic slander by SF chronicle reporters.

I don't think anything is scratched out. It looks like Cheney has a special pen for writing in triplicate and acidentally dragged it over the page after he separated the three copies.

Posted by: Amerlcan Hawk on February 1, 2007 at 11:21 AM | PERMALINK

I know no one likes me encouraging the fine parody that is American Hawk, but that was the funniest post ever.

Posted by: shortstop on February 1, 2007 at 11:26 AM | PERMALINK

Kevin wrote: So who was it that asked Libby to take the lead in talking to the press about Joe Wilson's trip to Niger? Apparently it was "this Pres," but immediately after writing this Cheney decided the passive voice was a better bet.

I think the explanation is that when Cheney wrote "this Pres" he was referring to himself. Then he remembered that he had to keep up the pretence that Bush is president, so he crossed it out.

Posted by: SecularAnimist on February 1, 2007 at 11:31 AM | PERMALINK

If a Republican wrote it, it's unintelligible chickenscratch.

If a Democrat wrote it, they revealed the coordinates and the flight path to the ever-moving Airborne Command Post.

Posted by: Blue Girl, Red State (aka Global Citizen) on February 1, 2007 at 11:33 AM | PERMALINK

American Hawk: "... and some forthcoming anti-semitic slander by SF chronicle reporters."

Was that before -- or after -- their release from jail for their contempt of Barry Bonds?

Posted by: Donald from Hawaii on February 1, 2007 at 11:42 AM | PERMALINK

Geez, and I thought he was referring to Deborah Saunders of the Chronicle calling Global Climate Change a massive hoax. She is one of Shrub's best cheerleaders.

Posted by: thethirdPaul on February 1, 2007 at 11:48 AM | PERMALINK

Molly's gone. damn.

I'm having a shot of whisky to her memory.

Posted by: Archie on February 1, 2007 at 11:56 AM | PERMALINK

I'll be back in a bit. There are recruiters in the lobby of the Campus Activity Center and I am going to go pull up a chair by their table and give a handout to everyone who stops to talk to them.

Posted by: Blue Girl, Red State (aka Global Citizen) on February 1, 2007 at 12:03 PM | PERMALINK

Forget the myths the media's created about the White House. The truth is, these are not very bright guys, and things got out of hand.

Posted by: Royko on February 1, 2007 at 12:15 PM | PERMALINK

And he is a heartbeat away from the president.
Posted by: POed Lib

Or pretzel, as the case may be.

Posted by: cyntax on February 1, 2007 at 12:29 PM | PERMALINK

Hmmm. This almost seems like an Nixon Agnew scenario coming up. Weird dejavu.

Posted by: Doc at the Radar Station on February 1, 2007 at 12:44 PM | PERMALINK

Wow. That was surreal. I just found myself defending the recruiters...

Posted by: Blue Girl, Red State (aka Global Citizen) on February 1, 2007 at 1:02 PM | PERMALINK

This is all EXACTLY why I can't believe that Cheney's lawyer can let him take the stand. He can't cover his big ass even if he lies. There is no possible up side, and catastrophic downside. Heart problems, or some sufficient excuse to keep Cheney out of the courtroom, are on the very near horizon. Furthermore, I don't see how Bush could let Cheney take the stand either. Opening Cheney and Libby up to cross examination by Fitz under oath is suicide. They have consistently avoided being placed under oath in the past for this exact reason. Something is going to conveniently happen.

Posted by: bmaz on February 1, 2007 at 1:26 PM | PERMALINK

bmaz - glad to see you. My mailbox crashed, and I can't retrieve your address. Send me a test message on the one I use here? Please? I found the answer to my Constitutional question, but it would have been more fun to talk to you than the intern at my attorney's office.

Posted by: Blue Girl, Red State (aka Global Citizen) on February 1, 2007 at 1:39 PM | PERMALINK

I'm more worried about the upper portion of the note, which looks like it was written by McClellan. Twice he uses the word "rediculous" as if he were some droopy-pantsed seventeen year old. I'm surprised he didn't add an OMFG.

Posted by: Dr. Drang on February 1, 2007 at 1:40 PM | PERMALINK

Somebody who talks about sticking one's neck in a meat grinder does't know the first thing about meat grinders or sticking out one's neck for that matter.

Is this what makes Cheney a -pause- half glass full kind of guy?

Posted by: Tripp on February 1, 2007 at 2:30 PM | PERMALINK

Heh, Tripp. By the looks of his conduct lately, it's a full half glass, downed quickly on an empty stomach.

Posted by: shortstop on February 1, 2007 at 2:53 PM | PERMALINK

The "incompetant others" are obviously those who let the yellowcake story slip through into the State of the Union. As we know, Tennent took the fall, but ironically it could be Big Dick himself who is the one.

Stay tuned.

Posted by: Cal Gal on February 1, 2007 at 3:13 PM | PERMALINK

Of course it wasn't Tenet that let the magical 16 words "slip into the State of the Union". No one should think for a second that it was Tenet. Tenet was the one who personally had those same exact words removed from another Bush speech 3 months prior to the State of the Union speech because the information was totally bogus and fraudulent. It is clearly the handiwork of Cheney.

Posted by: bmaz on February 1, 2007 at 3:37 PM | PERMALINK

According to the top half of the memo (available at truthout if you click on the image provied by KD), McClellan had already told people that it was as rediculous (sic) to finger Libby as it was rediculous (sic) to finger Rove. To whom had he said this (Libby only?)

McClellan said that people were making too much of the differences in his descriptions of Karl and Libby.

Cheney's second sentence is therefore an instruction to McClellan to alert key press to the fact that McClellan already was treating Karl and Libby the same. Whatever the truth of McClellan's belief, Cheney did not create a new lie for McClellan to tell the press. This just shows that Cheney knew what McClellan had decided/inferred on his own.

In the third sentence, what does Cheney mean by "protect one staffer" (Rove?), "sacrifice the guy" (Libby?), "stick his neck in the meat grinder" (make himself (Libby, that is) obvious by contacting many in the press?), "incompetence" (getting caught?), and "others" (seems to imply that Libby (and Rove?) were not the incompetents?) I think KD is right that "this Pres." asked somebody to do something, which was then framed in the passive voice, but it isn't clear that "this Pres." named Libby or anyone in particular, or that "this Pres." ordered anything in particular other than "make this go away", or some such. I don't think this rises to the level of "Won't someone rid me of this meddlesome priest" (the movie is about to be rereleased, by the way.)

What does this have to do with the charge that Libby lied to the grand jury and to the FBI? It doesn't have information concerning what Libby told McClellan, except that he wasn't the source of the leak.

If Fitzgerald says it's important then it's important, but I don't see how.

Lastly, why the reference to the "Tenet Wilson memo"?

Posted by: calibantwo on February 1, 2007 at 4:27 PM | PERMALINK

He tried to underline ( the pres.) just missed the mark. What a loser IMPEACH!!!!

Posted by: john john on February 1, 2007 at 4:29 PM | PERMALINK

Unfortunately, "This Pres." doesn't refer to Bush. Cheney was simply referring to himself in the third person.....

Posted by: bushworstpresidentever on February 1, 2007 at 4:47 PM | PERMALINK

calibantwo seems to be trying to exonerate Cheney by saying that it was McClellan's lie, not Cheney's. But this live-blogging transcript from the trial suggests otherwise:

[W is Libby's lawyer, A is Addington who used to work for Cheney, and Bartlett was McClellan's boss]

W Press Sec had made a statement exonerating Karl Rove.

A Yes, reason it sticks in my mind, I had conversation with Bartlett by this point something had been said that included Libby. I made the comment to Bartlett, I don't know why you're making these statements about this case. He said Your boss is the one who wanted us to do it....

W When Bartlett said, Your boss, that's VP Cheney.

So even the first statement by McClellan was made at Cheney's instructions.

Posted by: JS on February 1, 2007 at 8:27 PM | PERMALINK

calibantwo, the idea that WH spokesman McClellan was constructing his own lies which then Cheney simply went along with is far from credible. All the evidence we have, from this trial as well, is that Cheney runs everything in this administration. That's why impeachment proceedings against him, or at least a congressional investigation, would do a lot of good because it would get him busy with other things.

Posted by: JS on February 1, 2007 at 8:30 PM | PERMALINK

JS, your point is made stronger by the sequel:

W WH went out and exonerated Karl Rove, just Karl Rove. They did not exonerate Libby. By exonerating Karl Rove in the media and the public it created a clear impression that Scooter Libby had done someting.
&
A I can't reach that conclusion. Not to me, what bothered me is that press offices should not be discussing what's going on in criminal investigations, they don't know.
&
W He said the VP instructed him to clear Libby in the same way that WH cleared Rove.
&
A Let me repeat. Staff table in WH, he happened to be at the table. So was I. I didn't ask question why did you, I said you ought not be out there saying you did or didn't do something. He said, your boss is the one who wanted us to.

the idea that WH spokesman McClellan was constructing his own lies which then Cheney simply went along with is far from credible

I didn't mean to imply that McClellan was making up lies. Without the transcript that you provided, I thought that McClellan reached this conclusion on his own. Now it looks more as though Mcclellan wrote down the talking points as he thought Cheney wanted them, and then ran them by Cheney.

Addington sounds like he was ticked off by Wells' questions. He also sounds like he was ticked off by Cheney.

Do you know the answers to the other questions I asked?

Posted by: calibantwo on February 1, 2007 at 9:05 PM | PERMALINK

My apologies then, calibantwo. Good to hear that we agree. As for your other questions:

In the third sentence, what does Cheney mean by "protect one staffer" (Rove?), "sacrifice the guy" (Libby?)
Yes, I think it's obvious he's talking of Rove and Libby.

"stick his neck in the meat grinder" (make himself (Libby, that is) obvious by contacting many in the press?)
I think the meatgrinder refers to taking actions which Cheney (and Libby) knew to be illegal and thus risking one's neck.

"incompetence" (getting caught?), and "others" (seems to imply that Libby (and Rove?) were not the incompetents?)
This is more obscure, but my best guess is that he is talking about incompetence at the CIA that allowed Plame to have her husband sent to Niger. It is that act that Cheney was trying to recover from by leaking Plame's name and role.

Regarding "this Pres." -- as I mentioned in an earlier comment, I don't think this is important, despite its top billing in the blogs.

What does this have to do with the charge that Libby lied to the grand jury and to the FBI?
Well "was asked to stick his neck in the meatgrinder" seems to be an admission that Libby did reveal Plame's name -- though not on his own initiative. All roads lead to Cheney.

If Fitzgerald says it's important then it's important, but I don't see how.
See response to the previous item.

Lastly, why the reference to the "Tenet Wilson memo"?
Why indeed. Very interesting question. Anyone know if Woodward ever mentioned the existence of such a memo? And has it been subpoenaed for this trial?

Posted by: JS on February 1, 2007 at 9:32 PM | PERMALINK

before the trial started, avoid paying attention to it, because all of the "news" was gossip.

Now it is interesting. Several of the early prosecution witness admitt to memory lapses, lending some credit to Libby's deffense that he did not remember all of the dates correctly. However, it looks now as though Fitzgerald will show that Libby's "memory" lapse show a consistency that display deceits beyond a reasonable doubt.

Posted by: spider on February 2, 2007 at 3:19 PM | PERMALINK




 

 

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