Third Party & Independents Archives

Cheney is Guilty...

of SOMETHING. The Democrats are just sure of it. To that end Senator Henry Waxman will be calling for hearings into the matter by bringing Special Prosecutor Fitzgerald to testify before congress about his investigation that resulted in the conviction of VP Cheney’s Chief of Staff, I. Scooter Libby, on two counts of Making False Statements and two counts of Perjury.

So now Waxman is getting the hearings he demanded in 2005 but was unable to get with a Republican controlled congress. In a letter sent to Fitzgerald, Waxman cites new evidence that calls for the hearings now but what exactly is this evidence and what is Cheney guilty of exactly?

In his letter he states to Fitzgerald:

"I recognize that as a federal prosecutor, you are constrained by the rules of grand jury secrecy," Waxman's letter states. "But you undoubtedly recognize that Congress has a responsibility to examine the policy and accountability questions that your investigation has raised. As a result of your investigation, you have a singular understanding of the facts and their implications that bear directly on the issues before Congress.... Your investigation had a narrow legal focus: Were any federal criminal statutes violated by White House officials?"

This was Fitzgerald's single focus of the investigation and according to Fitzgerald, Libby's obstruction of justice prevented him from fully investigating those items. But let's examine this a bit more clearly from what we've found out and know to this point.

During the Libby trial, Fitzgerald made the point that Libby's obstruction of justice comes about because by lying to the prosecutor the prosecutor was unable to determine to the legal satisfaction that Cheney did not direct Libby to disclose Plame's identity to the press. There is no question that Cheney directed Libby to talk to members of the press and discuss items contained in the NIE report that countered Joe Wilson's accusations that one piece of the information used in the State of the Union address was completely debunked when the speech was made. In the views of the administration this information showed that that accusation was false and pressed President Bush to de-classify it so that the people could see more information than they had been privy to before.

It was during these conversations with the press that Libby brought up the position of WIlson's wife at the CIA. The charges of obstruction of justice relating to this were brought up in the trail. According to Fitzgerald, because of Libby's lies he was unable to question Cheney further about whether or not he ordered Libby to disclose that information or if Libby had taken it upon himself to do so and was lying to protect his knowingly breaking the law.

In order to make his case that Libby had committed obstruction of justice, Fitzgerald had to make the charge that it was possible that Cheney could have made such an order. During the proceedings Cathie Martin was brought to testify. Cathie Martin is Cheney's former communications director. Martin testified that she was present when Cheney dictated talking points to be used when talking with the press about the NIE report and Joe Wilson's op-ed piece. She stated that there was never any discussion during this time about mentioning Joe Wilson's wife or her position at the CIA.

However, to make the charge stick, Fitzgerald had to suggest that it was still a possibility. According to Libby's lawyer, he did this by putting a thought of conspiracy in the minds of the jurors without any evidence to back it up.

"Now, I think the government, through its questions, really tried to put a cloud over Vice President Cheney," Libby's attorney Theodore Wells told jurors Tuesday, according to a transcript of the closing arguments (reportedly) obtained by Truthout. "The prosecutors questioned Ms. Martin: 'Well, you weren't with Mr. Libby and the vice president all the time. Some things could have happened when you weren't there.' And the clear suggestions by the questions were, well, maybe there was some kind of skulduggery, some kind of scheme between Libby and the vice president going on in private, but that's unfair."

It is true that Cheney was confused by the accusation that Wilson was sent to Niger on his orders. So he went to the CIA and tried to find out who sent Wilson and why. It was during this time that he discovered it was Wilson's wife who held a position at the CIA. However, that only explains how Libby discovered the information. It does not create a link that Cheney therefore directed Libby to release that information to the press.

So, so far we have a conspiracy theory that is not backed up by any facts. Fitzgerald never states that he thinks Cheney did order the leak, only that by lying Libby prevented him from ascertaining if it occurred or not. This doesn't go into what evidence that Fitzgerald could have garnered if he had gotten the truth out of Libby, I doubt Cheney would have admitted to doing it even if he had and if there was evidence to suggest he had it would have been discovered, IMO, through normal investigative means, the same ones that showed the Libby had committed perjury. But to this date no evidence exists to suggest that Libby was directed to discuss Plame's position at the CIA, no eye witnesses that attest to this being true, nothing to counter Cathie Martin's testimony that this information was never discussed between the two individuals, nothing to suggest that Libby or Cheney have wavered from their statements that there was never an authorization from the VP to release that information to the press, etc. All we have, so far, are the makings of a good Hollywood political thriller.

But, what information does Waxman cite to suggest that there may be more to the story? According to the letter he sent to Fitzgerald

"After the verdict was announced yesterday, one juror expressed the view that former chief of staff to the vice president Libby was only a 'fall guy,'" Waxman said in his letter to Fitzgerald. "This juror's views encapsulated questions that many in Congress and the public have about whether the ultimate responsibility for the outing of Ms. Wilson rests with more senior officials in the White House."

One juror. That juror, Denis Collins, a former Washington Post reporter, stated immediately after the trial that the jurors were led to believe that Libby was a 'fall guy'. Is this proof? Does this constitute anything other than the opinion or feelings of a single person or group of people after hearing good Hollywood conspiracy theories played out in courtroom? I suppose we'll find out on March 16th when the next installment of this real life docudrama begins. Meanwhile, those of us who are waiting patiently for evidence to be presented instead of innuendo and conspiracy theories continue to be disappointed and left to wait.

As a disclaimer, let me make a few statements that I am sure will be brought up by those who will claim what I am writing is as a 'partisan shill for the republicans'. I didn't vote for Bush, I am not a republican, I disapprove of MUCH that this administration has done while in office and while I supported the military action to remove Saddam from power I was and still am completely against the occupation of Iraq in order to prevent a civil war from occurring without UN support. I also was initially skeptical about anyone in the administration's involvement in the leak of Plame's name to the press but once evidence was provided by the investigation that Libby was guilty of doing so I was glad that he was indicted, put on trial and found guilty. I agree with Fitzgerald that in the event that any new evidence arises that puts into question Cheney's (or anyone else's involvement) they should also be tried. However, until such a time as that occurs I will not make assumptions of guilt or complicity based on hearsay, innuendo and conspiracy theories.

Posted by Rhinehold at March 10, 2007 1:52 PM
Comments
Comment #211366

Adrienne,

From your quoted link:

There is no public evidence to suggest Libby made any such disclosure with Cheney’s knowledge

Thanks for backing up my story. Glad to know that even partisan Democrats like yourself can admit that there is no evidence to suggest Cheney directed Libby to release Plame’s name to the press.

Posted by: Rhinehold at March 10, 2007 5:09 PM
Comment #211371

My, my, but aren’t we a cherry picker?

Special Counsel Patrick J. Fitzgerald for the first time described a “concerted action” by “multiple people in the White House” — using classified information — to “discredit, punish or seek revenge against” a critic of President Bush’s war in Iraq.
according to Libby’s grand jury testimony, described for the first time in legal papers filed this week, Cheney “specifically directed” Libby in late June or early July 2003 to pass information to reporters from two classified CIA documents: an October 2002 National Intelligence Estimate and a March 2002 summary of Wilson’s visit to Niger.

So you see, both Fitzgerald AND Libby have implicated Cheney. Justice has been obstructed so far however, so we need an investigation. That’s where Waxman comes in.

Posted by: Adrienne at March 10, 2007 5:31 PM
Comment #211373

?

What does this have to do with the release of Plame’s name to the press? Didn’t we learn months ago that Bush declassified these documents and Cheney then instructed Libby to release the details to the press to counter the incomplete information that Wilson had stated in his op-ed?

Why is it that so many on the left seem to get these two things confused with each other…

Posted by: Rhinehold at March 10, 2007 5:38 PM
Comment #211374
Congressman Henry Waxman, chairman of the House Oversight Committee, said Thursday he wants Special Prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald to testify before his committee about his investigation into the leak of covert CIA operative Valerie Plame-Wilson’s identity.

These hearings are not about the declassifications of those documents, they are about the leak of Plame’s identity.

So you see, both Fitzgerald AND Libby have implicated Cheney.

Not in the release of Plame’s identity to the press. Which is what the hearings are about and what the trial was about. There are and were not about the declassification of the NIE report…

Posted by: Rhinehold at March 10, 2007 5:42 PM
Comment #211380

“What does this have to do with the release of Plame’s name to the press? Didn’t we learn months ago that Bush declassified these documents and Cheney then instructed Libby to release the details to the press”

To most of us this seems like all of a piece Rhinehold, and everyone except for you and a few others in this blog seems able to grasp that. They declassified the info in order to discredit Wilson, and in that process their aides outted Plame. Armitage and Rove seem to have avoided being indicted, but now we know that Libby who worked directly for Cheney is guilty of perjury and obstructing justice. Now, we await Waxman’s investigation.

“to counter the incomplete information that Wilson had stated in his op-ed?”

What incomplete information? Wilson’s information was truthful and correct.

Posted by: Adrienne at March 10, 2007 6:07 PM
Comment #211386

Btw Rhinehold, exactly why do people perjure themselves and obstruct justice? Why didn’t Libby take the stand to defend himself at his own trial? Why didn’t his lawyer call Cheney to the stand? Did you ever ask yourself these questions? Especially if everything really was clearly on the up and up?

Posted by: Adrienne at March 10, 2007 6:58 PM
Comment #211392

Is that old fool Waxman still breathing? Guess there is something to the saying that only the good die young.
I’m with Rhinehold. Until there’s enough to bring charges on other than hearsay I’ll give the benefit of the doubt to Chaney. When and if that evidence comes out tie a very short rope to limb of a very tall tree and put Chaney on the other end.
It wouldn’t surprise me any if Chaney had ordered Libby to out Plame. But until there’s enough to put him on trial and convict him he’s entitled to that presumption of innocents as everyone else in this country.

Posted by: Ron Brown at March 10, 2007 7:55 PM
Comment #211398

There are a lot of questions which will remain unanswered for a long, long time.

What role did Valerie Plame play at the CIA? As much as I look forward to the testimony on 3/16, I will reserve judgment on that one. When it comes to the spirit world of spooks, believe nothing that is presented to the American public.

What was the resulting damage to the brass plate CIA company of Brewster Jennings? See above.

Why did the CIA request an investigation into the revealed identity of a CIA operative in the first place? See above.

Did Republican prosecutor Fitzgerald go too far? Or not far enough?

What was the final version of the truth according to conservative columnist Bob Novak? He presented serveral versions to the American public, but lying to the public is not a crime. He identified Armitage as the source. Was Rove the confirming source? And why did Rove testify so many times before the Grand Jury?

What was the role of Cheney in outting Plame? Many of us can connect the dots. But just how deep was his involvement? This is another question I suspect will remain unanswered for a long time.

Posted by: phx8 at March 10, 2007 8:27 PM
Comment #211399
exactly why do people perjure themselves and obstruct justice?

Usually because they are guilty of something and don’t want to be found out. Since the reporters said that he told them about Plame’s occupation and Libby says he didn’t, it’s most likely that he was trying to not be found guilty of giving them that information. What that has to do with Cheney is a bit of a mystery, perhaps you can explain?

Why didn’t Libby take the stand to defend himself at his own trial?

No idea, might have to ask him or his lawyer for that one. Perhaps he didn’t feel that he could help his case and has no legal requirement to do so…

Why didn’t his lawyer call Cheney to the stand?

I’m not sure what sense that would make. Libby’s defense was that he didn’t lie to Fitzgerald. How was Cheney suppose to help with that, he wasn’t there when Libby and the reporters spoke or when Libby gave his testimony to Fitzgerald so I doubt he has any knowledge about what Libby did or didn’t to say any of them.

Did you ever ask yourself these questions?

Well, yes, but I am not the one who has the answers and I can’t see into Libby’s mind to know what he was thinking… apparently you can?

Posted by: Rhinehold at March 10, 2007 8:44 PM
Comment #211408

Rhinehold:
“Since the reporters said that he told them about Plame’s occupation and Libby says he didn’t, it’s most likely that he was trying to not be found guilty of giving them that information. What that has to do with Cheney is a bit of a mystery, perhaps you can explain?”

So, are you saying that you believe it’s possible that Libby came up with the idea to talk to reporters about Plame’s CIA position all by himself? And purely by coincidence, so did Armitage and Rove?
That is what seems highly unlikely to me, and why I considered what Fitzgerald said (again from the link I put up):

a “concerted action” by “multiple people in the White House” — using classified information — to “discredit, punish or seek revenge against” a critic of President Bush’s war in Iraq.

to be an indicator of very possible Cheney involvement. After all, Libby did work for Cheney, and now it seems as though he is going to jail because he was protecting someone. Someone who was very possibly Cheney. Do you see my reasoning?

re: Cheney taking the stand at Libby’s trial.
“I’m not sure what sense that would make. Libby’s defense was that he didn’t lie to Fitzgerald. How was Cheney suppose to help with that, he wasn’t there when Libby and the reporters spoke or when Libby gave his testimony to Fitzgerald so I doubt he has any knowledge about what Libby did or didn’t to say any of them.”

Well they certainly talked about having Cheney take the stand. Cheney was the one who first told Libby that Plame was with the CIA, yes? So, might it not have been good to be able to corroborate exactly what had been said at their meeting? After all, Libby was able to recount that meeting with Cheney perfectly, yet he couldn’t remember a damn thing about NINE conversations that he had with reporters about Joe Wilson’s wife. Seems kind of strange that when Cheney was around he remembered everything, so maybe his presence would have been useful in making Libby seem like something other than either an amnesiac, a simpleton, or a world-class liar.
And Cheney was also the one who wrote a note that was used in Wells closing argument that said:
“Not going to protect one staffer + sacrifice the guy that was asked to stick his neck in the meat grinder.”
Btw, the note refers to after the White House had wrongly declared that Rove had not been involved in the Plame leak. And that too raises a flag over the White House — their stating unequivocally that Rove wasn’t a leaker when it turned out that he was. Either the WH was lying, or Rove was in on the conspiracy with Libby about outting Plame.
Speaking of Rove, I must say I was very surprised that the defense never called him as a witness. He could have confirmed Libby’s claim that he’d given Rove the exact same account of his Russert conversation that he had provided to the FBI and to the grand jury. Remember, he did lose on that count.

“Well, yes, but I am not the one who has the answers and I can’t see into Libby’s mind to know what he was thinking… apparently you can?”

You don’t have to be a smart ass here. No I can’t read Libby’s mind, but maybe Waxman can delve into these and many other questions that people like yourself, and phx8, and I all seem to have.

Posted by: Adrienne at March 10, 2007 10:02 PM
Comment #211411

So, are you saying that you believe it’s possible that Libby came up with the idea to talk to reporters about Plame’s CIA position all by himself?

Why is that so hard to believe? Is he a puppet that can only do and say what Cheney tells him?

Fitzgerald once stated that he felt that Libby was trying to block the CIA end around that he appeared was occurring, pushing the blame for the intelligence failures from the CIA to the WH and Cheney’s office and was not happy about it. He could have been extracting some revenge or trying to protect his boss from unfair criticism. Without Libby admitting that he did this at all, it makes it a bit hard to say what his motive was. The immediate jump that ‘he had to be protecting someone else’ makes little sense to me, why would someone risk 25 years of jail time to protect someone else?

And purely by coincidence, so did Armitage and Rove?

Well, there is another misunderstanding there, isn’t there? It’s not like all three went out to find reporters to talk to about the information. Armitage accidentally ‘let it slip’, he is a well known gossip. The fact that ‘a well known gossip’ was given the clearance to know anything like this is VERY disturbing to me and a failure of the government IMO but that’s another story. Novak finds out about this and calls up Rove who has just been asked the same question by another reporter. Rove says ‘Yeah, I heard that too’. Novak took that as a confirmation, though that seems a bit presumptuous to me. But Rove was not taking meetings and trying to get the information out, was he? Libby, who was already talking to these reporters about the situation most likely wanted to make a point and blurted the information out, not realizing what he was doing or hoping that it wouldn’t come back to him one day down the road. It’s hard to say.

Now, if all three had been calling up reporters or taking meetings with reporters to pass this information on, I might agree with you. But it doesn’t appear to me to have happened that way. And Fitzgerald didn’t think so either, he didn’t see a link between Armitage and Rove to think that this was a ‘call from above’ or he wouldn’t have needed Libby to be honest, would he?

No, there’s a lot of assumptions being made by those trying to make a case that I’m not sure are logical to make. It all sounds great if you are out to get someone, but looking at it with an unbiased eye it is such a leap and a weak case that it borders on conspiracy and innuendo, not hard or even circumstantial evidence.

As he drew back the curtain this week on the evidence against Vice President Cheney’s former top aide, Special Counsel Patrick J. Fitzgerald for the first time described a “concerted action” by “multiple people in the White House” — using classified information — to “discredit, punish or seek revenge against” a critic of President Bush’s war in Iraq.

Yes, I read this. This has NOTHING to do with Plame. The ‘classified information’ “two classified CIA documents: an October 2002 National Intelligence Estimate and a March 2002 summary of Wilson’s visit to Niger.”

Not that Plame was a CIA agent and Wilson’s wife.

After all, Libby did work for Cheney, and now it seems as though he is going to jail because he was protecting someone. Someone who was very possibly Cheney. Do you see my reasoning?

No, why would he go to jail to protect someone else? What sense would that make?

And Cheney was also the one who wrote a note that was used in Wells closing argument that said: “Not going to protect one staffer + sacrifice the guy that was asked to stick his neck in the meat grinder.”

Btw, the note refers to after the White House had wrongly declared that Rove had not been involved in the Plame leak.

It does? Because that’s not how It’s been presented to me…

Let’s look at this note and what it is about:

Cheney had written “not going to protect one staffer and sacrifice the guy that was asked to stick his head in the meat grinder because of incompetence of others”: a reference to Libby being asked to deal with the media and vociferously rebut Wilson’s allegations that the Bush administration knowingly “twisted” intelligence to win support for the war in Iraq.

However, when Cheney wrote the notes, he had originally written “this Pres.” instead of “that was.”

This is about asking Libby to take on the role of dealing with Wilson’s allegations, it has nothing, again, to do with Plame.

And that too raises a flag over the White House — their stating unequivocally that Rove wasn’t a leaker when it turned out that he was. Either the WH was lying, or Rove was in on the conspiracy with Libby about outting Plame.

See, you do it again, equating one thing with another. The note was not about the CIA leak investigation, but rather about the overall action of the administration using Libby when Rove should have been used. IF you could perhaps be able to tie that to the Plame leak, you might have something, but I figure if it could be done Fitzgerald would have done it. Or Wells would have said as such in the trial. Instead, Libby did no such thing…

Speaking of Rove, I must say I was very surprised that the defense never called him as a witness. He could have confirmed Libby’s claim that he’d given Rove the exact same account of his Russert conversation that he had provided to the FBI and to the grand jury. Remember, he did lose on that count.

Perhaps he knows that Rove couldn’t do that because Libby was lying about it?

You don’t have to be a smart ass here. No I can’t read Libby’s mind, but maybe Waxman can delve into these and many other questions that people like yourself, and phx8, and I all seem to have.

That would be great. I don’t expect it to happen, but if it does and more evidence comes out that actually shows your allegations to be true, then let’s hang ‘em. But I’m not about to do so on what is presented so far because it is beyond weak and bordering on adding two plus two and getting five…

Posted by: Rhinehold at March 10, 2007 10:54 PM
Comment #211412

Adrienne

Do you not understand that it does not matter who (if anyone) came up with the idea to discredit Wilson? Fitzgerald knows who revealed the information. He did not indict the guy. Since that is not an indictable crime, according to Fitzgerald, putting him up to it also is not an indictable crime.

Since Armitage has the top secret clearance, telling him is not a crime.

So even assuming your worst (best?) case scenario, there is still nothing there.

I know you want to find something, anything, to blame on Cheney. The problem is that you got nothing even in your best case scenario.

We do have a rule of law, whether lefties like it or not.

Posted by: Jack at March 10, 2007 10:56 PM
Comment #211416

Jack,

By the looks of all reports coming out of the various scandals and investigations regarding Republicans, the White House and K Street, it is not the Dems who have the ‘rule of law’ problem…

Posted by: Marysdude at March 10, 2007 11:10 PM
Comment #211417

Rhinehold, Jack,
I could sit here and go through and answer every single thing you both wrote, but you know what? I’m not in the mood. Besides, I don’t really think there is any use arguing with either of you because you’ll just spin,spin,spin everything anyway.
Therefore, I think I’ll just put up what Fitzgerald said in his closing argument at the trial regarding Cheney and Libby:

If you think that the Vice President and the defendant Scooter Libby weren’t talking about the wife the week where the Vice President writes that his wife sent him on a junket in the July 6th column, Vice President moves the number 1 talking point, not clear who authorized the travel. Defendant Libby is telling Fleischer on Monday, Addington on Monday or Tuesday and Miller on Tuesday, about the wife. If you just think that’s a coincidence, well, that makes no sense. That makes no sense.

And you know what? They said something here that we are trying to put a cloud on the Vice President. We’ll talk straight. There is a cloud over what the Vice President did that week. He wrote those columns. He had those meetings. He sent Libby off to Judith Miller at the St. Regis hotel. At that meeting, the two hour meeting, the defendant talked about the wife. We didn’t put that cloud there. That cloud remains because a defendant has obstructed justice and lied about what happened. Did he come in straight and say what really happened? He came in and said, told the grand jury, I don’t remember anything. I remember learning about the wife. I learned it from Russert as if it were new. I was sitting around thinking I don’t even know if Wilson’s married. How do we know he has a wife?

He’s put the doubt into whatever happened that week, whatever is going on between the Vice President and the defendant, that cloud was there. That’s not something that we put there. That cloud is something that we just can’t pretend isn’t there.

There you go. Maybe you want to read the rest: Merry Fitzmas.

Posted by: Adrienne at March 10, 2007 11:20 PM
Comment #211421

So, now we can just just assume someone is guilty because there’s no evidence but insinuation.

Good to know. I think therefore Hillary must be guilty of fraud and abuse of law on so many charges that it’s hard to believe she’s in the Senate and not jail…

I mean, evidence isn’t necessary anymore.

Remember, Fitzgerald is making a case of Obstruction of Justice so he has to paint ‘could have beens’ and ‘we’ll never knows’ to make his case. That does not mean that there is any evidence to support the allegations.

*shrug*

Make the leap if you want, I’m not telling you you can’t. But thankfully that’s not how our legal system works, and I’m sure Hillary is thankful as well.

Posted by: Rhinehold at March 10, 2007 11:52 PM
Comment #211422

Wilson reveled that Cheney knew the Niger yellowcake deal was bogus. After that CIA report came back to him, every time Cheney used the yellowcake as a pretext for war, he was lying.

If it turns out that President Bush was lying as well, it makes the Iraq invasion a war of aggression which makes Bush and Cheney bonafide war criminals.

Given everything that surfaced during the Libby trial, I’m looking forward to seeing what Waxman digs up. I hate to think a President of the United States would lie to us to get support for an unnecessary war, but it wouldn’t surprise me with this one.

And I’m not surprised that the media is speculating about a Cheney resignation. What would that do to a Congressional investigation?

Posted by: American Pundit at March 10, 2007 11:56 PM
Comment #211425

AP

Wilson revealed nothing of the kind. He wrote after the facts and pretended to have said some things before. Wilson knew nothing about what Cheney knew or did not know. In fact, his implying that he did is what got him in trouble in the first place.

If Cheney resigned it would change nothing. Waxman would be investigating 30 year old parking tickets if he thought it could get him some press.

BTW - is Clinton a war criminal for Kosovo? Serbia was no threat to the U.S., never had WMD, had invaded its neighbors, had not tried to murder a former U.S. President, was not shooting at U.S. aircraft. The UN did not sanction that action either.

I admit that some Republicans in congress behaved as stupidly as some Dems are doing today. I thought it was stupid and unpatriotic then & I think the same thing now.

Posted by: Jack at March 11, 2007 12:15 AM
Comment #211432
I will not make assumptions of guilt or complicity based on hearsay, innuendo and conspiracy theories.

Why doesn’t the White House or Cheney deny it then? If it looks like a duck and quacks like a duck, I may not be able to prove it’s a duck in a court of law, but let’s face it, it’s probably a duck.

Posted by: Max at March 11, 2007 12:40 AM
Comment #211434

So you don’t think Cheney read the CIA report that he asked for, Jack?

BTW - is Clinton a war criminal for Kosovo?

Legitimacy seems like a slippery thing to you guys on the right. Kosovo was a NATO action taken under NATO rules. It was legit.

President Bush went into Iraq without the cover of an international or regional organization — and now, it turns out he may have lied to get what support he did. President Kwasniewski of Poland made that charge as well.

Posted by: American Pundit at March 11, 2007 12:49 AM
Comment #211440

Rhinehold,
Please, refresh my memory. How many US combat casualties did we suffer in Serbia?

Posted by: phx8 at March 11, 2007 1:09 AM
Comment #211445

Well, I didn’t mention Serbia, Jack did.

But are you telling me that the success/failure of an invasion or even whether it is legal or not is based upon how many people died?

How many Serbians did we kill?

And, there is a difference between the action to remove Saddam from power (which was pretty quick and cost very few US lives) and the occupation after the fact to prevent a civil war, which I oppose.

So, what was your point again?

Posted by: Rhinehold at March 11, 2007 1:15 AM
Comment #211451

Answer the question.

Posted by: phx8 at March 11, 2007 3:01 AM
Comment #211452

Rhinehold,
In fairness, the question should be directed to Jack, so I owe you an apology on that one. Jack has a tendency to disappear when I pose questions on matters on which we disagree. Neverhteless, it is a straightforward question. Why anwer a question with a question? How many US combat causualties did we suffer in Serbia?

Posted by: phx8 at March 11, 2007 3:12 AM
Comment #211463

Rhinehold,

I think the investigation will be worthwhile for a couple of reasons. First of all, why did Libby lie and obstruct justice, as the jury determined that he did? If I speculated about why you would accuse me if having it in for Cheney and the White House, so I’ll just say I would really like to know. I suppose it is possible that he was just being an idiot. We’ll see.

The other reason is that we need to take a hard look at how intelligence was used or misused to go to war. The Democrats have not had a chance to do this yet. This is far different matter from the kind of things Clinton was investigated for. That was largely petty stuff like using the White House for fundraising. (Yes, it’s petty when Bush and Cheney do it, too.)

Posted by: Woody Mena at March 11, 2007 11:21 AM
Comment #211465
Do you not understand that it does not matter who (if anyone) came up with the idea to discredit Wilson? Fitzgerald knows who revealed the information. He did not indict the guy. Since that is not an indictable crime, according to Fitzgerald, putting him up to it also is not an indictable crime.

I disagree. I believe that Bush and Cheney did commit a crime when they leaked the intelligence information, because they knew that intelligence was faulty.

Why I believe that:

A: They acted alone. Highly unusual. They knew there was controversy about whether or not this information was credible.

B: General Powell had already PUBLICLY said the assertion that Sadaam was trying to procure uranium was bogus.

C: Other officials, speaking under non-attribution basis, said the intelligence was highly flawed.

D: It was not a key finding of the analysis, as Bush said. It was a paragraph on page 24 of a 90 page document which admitted there was no evidence for the assertion.

E: The drafters also noted, in an annex attached to the end of the document, that State Department intelligence officials considered the uranium allegation “highly dubious.”

I could go on and on, but I won’t. There are couple of reasons for me thinking that Bush probably is a crook. Just how low is your opinion of Bush anyway? Do you not believe he knows the opinions of his aides? Do you not believe he reads? I understand it’s not evidence, but I agree with Fitzgerald that it’s all highly suspect, unusual, and demands answers.

Posted by: Max at March 11, 2007 12:17 PM
Comment #211473

phx8

I am nerdy enough to sit at my computer a lot, but I do have other things to do. I also tend to have a lot of people to answer. I am like the Simon Cowell of Watchblog. Everybody likes to attack my comments.

Re Serbia - As I wrote, I supported President Clinton in Serbia and think it was a good idea. It was not, howver, any more “legal” than Iraq. It is the nature of war to be extralegal. We fight wars when the ordinary structures have not produced an acceptable outcome. In war, both sides are willing to have their soldiers kill and die. They probably think there is a good reason to do it.

AP

Please link to what you think President Kwasniewski said. If you can include the place and date, so I can check the Polish. I am sure there is a nuance somebody is missing, if indeed he said something like that.

Posted by: Jack at March 11, 2007 1:04 PM
Comment #211475

Jack,

And I am the Paula Abdul of Watchblog- great looks, easy on the eye, friendly and supportive, but dumb as a bag of hammers.

With that, I will move away from the Libby discussion, at least until 3/16. That should be really interesting. But like I said earlier in the thread, Valerie Plame is a spook. Anything she says will have been carefully vetted, and calculated to advance an agenda none of us, regardless of political persuasion, are privy to.

Posted by: phx8 at March 11, 2007 1:11 PM
Comment #211476

Max, great post!

AP:

Wilson reveled that Cheney knew the Niger yellowcake deal was bogus. After that CIA report came back to him, every time Cheney used the yellowcake as a pretext for war, he was lying.

If it turns out that President Bush was lying as well, it makes the Iraq invasion a war of aggression which makes Bush and Cheney bonafide war criminals.

Yes, I agree. And I think if folks read the whole of Fitzgerald’s closing argument at the Libby trial it strongly reinforces the fact that the administration was trying desperately to refute Joe Wilson’s credibility in any way they could, and was willing to stoop to any low to do so (such as become treasonous betrayers of every opperative who had ever worked for Brewster Jennings), because they fully understood this.

Given everything that surfaced during the Libby trial, I’m looking forward to seeing what Waxman digs up.

Me too. Waxman is amazingly good at gathering up facts and getting at every the detail, so it should be very interesting.

Posted by: Adrienne at March 11, 2007 1:45 PM
Comment #211481

This is the timeline established in the Libby Indictment of events before Wilson was ever identified by name in the public record:

On May 6, 2003, the New York Times published a column by Nicholas Kristof which disputed the accuracy of the “sixteen words” in the State of the Union address. The column reported that, following a request from the Vice President’s office for an investigation of allegations that Iraq sought to buy uranium from Niger, an unnamed former ambassador was sent on a trip to Niger in 2002 to investigate the allegations. According to the column, the ambassador reported back to the CIA and State Department in early 2002 that the allegations were unequivocally wrong and based on forged documents.

4. On or about May 29, 2003, in the White House, LIBBY asked an Under Secretary of State (“Under Secretary”) for information concerning the unnamed ambassador’s travel to Niger to investigate claims about Iraqi efforts to acquire uranium yellowcake. The Under Secretary thereafter directed the State Department’s Bureau of Intelligence and Research to prepare a report concerning the ambassador and his trip. The Under Secretary provided LIBBY with interim oral reports in late May and early June 2003, and advised LIBBY that Wilson was the former ambassador who took the trip.

5. On or about June 9, 2003, a number of classified documents from the CIA were faxed to the Office of the Vice President to the personal attention of LIBBY and another person in the Office of the Vice President. The faxed documents, which were marked as classified, discussed, among other things, Wilson and his trip to Niger, but did not mention Wilson by name. After receiving these documents, LIBBY and one or more other persons in the Office of the Vice President handwrote the names “Wilson” and “Joe Wilson” on the documents.

6. On or about June 11 or 12, 2003, the Under Secretary of State orally advised LIBBY in the White House that, in sum and substance, Wilson’s wife worked at the CIA and that State Department personnel were saying that Wilson’s wife was involved in the planning of his trip.

7. On or about June 11, 2003, LIBBY spoke with a senior officer of the CIA to ask about the origin and circumstances of Wilson’s trip, and was advised by the CIA officer that Wilson’s wife worked at the CIA and was believed to be responsible for sending Wilson on the trip.

8. Prior to June 12, 2003, Washington Post reporter Walter Pincus contacted the Office of the Vice President in connection with a story he was writing about Wilson’s trip. LIBBY participated in discussions in the Office of the Vice President concerning how to respond to Pincus.

9. On or about June 12, 2003, LIBBY was advised by the Vice President of the United States that Wilson’s wife worked at the Central Intelligence Agency in the Counterproliferation Division. LIBBY understood that the Vice President had learned this information from the CIA.

10. On June 12, 2003, the Washington Post published an article by reporter Walter Pincus about Wilson’s trip to Niger, which described Wilson as a retired ambassador but not by name, and reported that the CIA had sent him to Niger after an aide to the Vice President raised questions about purported Iraqi efforts to acquire uranium. Pincus’s article questioned the accuracy of the “sixteen words,” and stated that the retired ambassador had reported to the CIA that the uranium purchase story was false.

11. On or about June 14, 2003, LIBBY met with a CIA briefer. During their conversation he expressed displeasure that CIA officials were making comments to reporters critical of the Vice President’s office, and discussed with the briefer, among other things, “Joe Wilson” and his wife “Valerie Wilson,” in the context of Wilson’s trip to Niger.

12. On or about June 19, 2003, an article appeared in The New Republic magazine online entitled “The First Casualty: The Selling of the Iraq War.” Among other things, the article questioned the “sixteen words” and stated that following a request for information from the Vice President, the CIA had asked an unnamed ambassador to travel to Niger to investigate allegations that Iraq had sought uranium from Niger. The article included a quotation attributed to the unnamed ambassador alleging that administration officials “knew the Niger story was a flat-out lie.” The article also was critical of how the administration, including the Office of the Vice President, portrayed intelligence concerning Iraqi capabilities with regard to weapons of mass destruction, and accused the administration of suppressing dissent from the intelligence agencies on this topic.

13. Shortly after publication of the article in The New Republic, LIBBY spoke by telephone with his then Principal Deputy and discussed the article. That official asked LIBBY whether information about Wilson’s trip could be shared with the press to rebut the allegations that the Vice President had sent Wilson. LIBBY responded that there would be complications at the CIA in disclosing that information publicly, and that he could not discuss the matter on a non-secure telephone line.

14. On or about June 23, 2003, LIBBY met with New York Times reporter Judith Miller. During this meeting LIBBY was critical of the CIA, and disparaged what he termed “selective leaking” by the CIA concerning intelligence matters. In discussing the CIA’s handling of Wilson’s trip to Niger, LIBBY informed her that Wilson’s wife might work at a bureau of the CIA.

It’s important to note how much of this activity took place before Wilson ever even made these charges in his own name. Why were these people so zealous about going after this one source, if that source was not offering credible information. Why take an ad hominem route, when there was other information available that could knock him out of the park? Wilson couldn’t have been the only source.

The real problem is, when should Bush have known that Saddam couldn’t get any Uranium from Central Africa? If Wilson’s information is right, even if the facts on his account aren’t, then the information he provides is a threat to their notion that Saddam was breaking the UN containment. We could talk all day about whether Saddam was seeking stuff. The real important thing to know was whether he could get it. A bird in hand is worth two in the Bush.

According to the forged documents, Saddam was going to be getting 500 tons of Uranium Ore a year

You don’t fill up the tank when you’re not taking a trip in your car.

We must recall that the purpose of much of the case for war was not to say that Saddam was interested in breaking free of UN sanctions. It wouldn’t take a slide-rule and a PhD to figure that out. It also wouldn’t justify a war. We must recall that other allegations, such as the aluminum tubes being used for centrifuges were meant to paint the picture of an active program going on in the Saddam Regime to develop Nuclear weapons. The spectre of a nuclear threat, the smoking gun being “a mushroom cloud over one of our cities” was an essential part of the Bush case for a pre-emptive strike on Saddam Hussein’s regime.

CB weapons, as bad as they were, were not sexy enough to justify a full scale war. The threat of nukes were.

But here we had positive evidence that the UN sanctions were preventing Saddam from furthering his nuclear ambitions. Combined with the ongoing monitoring of the nuclear material that Saddam did have, there was no positive sign that Saddam actually had a working nuclear program.

Any approach that cut down Wilson on the facts would have to deal with some rather inconvenient ones, especially the IAEA’s assessment of the forged documents, the success of the UN’s sanctions in limiting Saddam’s purported Nuclear ambitions. The only way to cut down the man on his character would be to allege nepotism.

Alleging he was a rabid leftist wouldn’t work. He was centrist, even Republican in his leanings. Alleging he was sympathetic to Saddam would be equally pointless. He advocated the Gulf War and faced down Saddam when he demanded that he turn over hundreds of men and women to be human shields. Alleging he was unqualified wouldn’t work, because people could easily look up a resume that centered his early career squarely in the region.

Wilson was not unqualified, and even if his story wasn’t straight, the facts he related concerning the document were real enough to cause Cheney and Libby concern before the former ambassador even laid out his charges in full detail.

Why Wilson’s wife? Pre-emptive defense. Bias, politics, political antipathy towards Bush. This wasn’t the Bush administration getting into an intelligence fiasco going after bad information, this was Bush being betrayed by his rebellious underlings.

But for the rest of us, the real concern is why this President is so careless with intelligence for the sake of politics.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at March 11, 2007 3:25 PM
Comment #211496

Cheney is guilty of a crime! His crime is being a Republican. Political opinions from the conservative side are crimes as in hate speech, didn’t you know? Check my books on ClaysAmerica.com for more crimes.

Posted by: Clay at March 11, 2007 6:03 PM
Comment #211495

Cheney is guilty of a crime! His crime is being a Republican. Political opinions from the conservative side are crimes as in hate speech, didn’t you know? Check my books on ClaysAmerica.com for more crimes.

Posted by: Clay Barham at March 11, 2007 6:03 PM
Comment #211498

“AS SOON AS certain topics are raised,” George Orwell once wrote, “the concrete melts into the abstract and no one seems able to think of turns of speech that are not hackneyed: Prose consists less and less of words chosen for the sake of their meaning, and more and more of phrases tacked together like the sections of a prefabricated henhouse.” Such a combination of vagueness and sheer incompetence in language, Orwell warned, leads to political conformity.

Posted by: Tim Crow at March 11, 2007 6:28 PM
Comment #211504

Clay,
Feel free to show why anyone should buy your books by defending the following statements by Dick Cheney:

“Go f*ck yourself.” Cheney to Sen. Patrick Leahy on the Senate floor, 6/25/04

“I think they’re in the last throes, if you will, of the insurgency.” 6/20/05

“We know he’s been absolutely devoted to trying to acquire nuclear weapons, and we believe he has, in fact, reconstituted nuclear weapons.” 3/16/03

“My belief is we will, in fact, be greeted as liberators.” 3/16/03

“The plan was criticized by some retired military officers embedded in TV studios. But with every advance by our coalition forces, the wisdom of that plan becomes more apparent.” 4/9/03

“Don Rumsfeld is the finest Secretary of Defense this nation has ever had.” 12/15/06

“I think there’s an emerging consensus that we do have global warming. You can look at the data on that, and I think clearly we’re in a period of warming. Where there does not appear to be a consensus, where it begins to break down, is the extent to which that’s part of a normal cycle versus the extent to which it’s caused by man, greenhouse gases, et cetera.” 2/23/07

Cheney and other conservative Republicans would really help their case if they were occasionally right.

Of course, the earlier comment is probably of the hit-and-run variety, just a bit of self-promotion. Still, it is amusing to look back at the great statements by the great man, Dick Cheney. And I never mentioned Halliburton!

D’oh!

Posted by: phx8 at March 11, 2007 7:42 PM
Comment #211506

Rhinehold

To me, the most interesting part of your post is your “disclaimer.” Why should you need to make such statements? Integrity, truth, and fairness (if one possess them) should be evident on their own without the need for justification.

Anyway, irrespective of the relevance (or lack there of) for the other points you make, the central and most important issue underneath all this “smoke” is the Bush administration’s dogged reliance on inconclusive, unreliable—and in some cases—just plain fabricated “evidence” that propelled our country into the Iraq war.

Dick Cheney is the spearhead and one of the liars behind this mess that the US is engaged in regarding Iraq. Like the “president,” he is a co-conspirator in the terrorist plot that cost more than 3,000 American troops their lives (and the number continues to climb despite—what is it?—surge and secure?). His determination (for the sake of his wallet) to drag this country into Iraq is the heart of the matter that is covered up by the Libby, Rove, etc. goings-on and other associated crap.

Bush, Cheney and their minions all deserve the harshest punishments our courtry’s laws allow for the terrorist acts against the 3,000+ Americans for whom they thought so little and so egregiously abuse. Unfortunately, it is highly unlikely that any one of them will face the consequences of their horrendous actions. Now, if they (the “left”) try to go after Cheney indirectly for his involvement, orchestration—or what have you—that created the Libby prosecution and conviction then so be it. The Feds wanted Al Capone for murder, but they sent him away for tax evasion. I would not at all be dissatisfied if the VP (a.k.a. Dick Chicanery) were to be sent “away” for even a pulmonary embolism. Sometimes bad things should happen to bad people. If the mercy of God on Dick Cheney finally has run out then that is his own damn fault.

This seems to me to be a more nonpartisan disclaimer: “I certainly don’t and have never supported the ‘President’s intent on taking our nation into war in Iraq. As unscrupulous as that act was and remains, almost as unprincipled, were the majority of the democrats that gave way to this insane reckless mission for the sake of avoiding potential political fallout. Americans that volunteer to protect our nation with their lives, despite partisan politics, deserve so much more from our government ‘leaders’.” (End of “disclaimer.”)


If a majority of democrats had attempted to force a political debate, much like they are doing now, maybe Bush’s acts of terroism could have been averted. At the very least, many democrats would not have blood stains on their hands. The intelligence (actually, lack there of,) that was used to sell the war in Iraq is the issue that should be scrutinized—not all the smoke screens, spin, and propaganda that has been used to cover up what is the true scandal. But apparently some Americans can’t bear to hear the truths about their politicians. For those individuals that may fall into that category, consider this fact—there are more than 3,000 Americans that CAN NO LONGER HEAR ANYTHING AT ALL!

Posted by: Kim-Sue at March 11, 2007 9:44 PM
Comment #211524

I find it hilareous that conservatives here spoke of the horrible crime of perjury perpetrated by Bill Clinton. They pointed out the indefensible position of the meaning of “is”. Now, they conveniently forget those arguments as they explain away the behavior of this corrupt administration.

I say let them keep spinning for Dick and GW right through 2008. It explains their platform. They didn’t “really” lie. Everyone believes that. Besides it’ll give them something to do while they talk about how intelligent Newt Gingrich is. It’s the best thing that could ever happen to the Democrats.
Somebody said something about fooling some of the people all…well…we won’t get fooled, again. Meet the new boss. She’ll love this stuff. I hope she’s not the same as the old boss.

Why didn’t Fox report on Bush quoting a pedophile, anyway? :)

I find it hard to take any of these kind of posts seriously.

Posted by: gergle at March 12, 2007 1:18 AM
Comment #211525
I also was initially skeptical about anyone in the administration’s involvement in the leak of Plame’s name to the press but once evidence was provided by the investigation that Libby was guilty of doing so I was glad that he was indicted, put on trial and found guilty. I agree with Fitzgerald that in the event that any new evidence arises that puts into question Cheney’s (or anyone else’s involvement) they should also be tried.


Do you not understand that it does not matter who (if anyone) came up with the idea to discredit Wilson? Fitzgerald knows who revealed the information. He did not indict the guy. Since that is not an indictable crime, according to Fitzgerald, putting him up to it also is not an indictable crime.

As a disclaimer, let me make a few statements that I am sure will be brought up by those who will claim what I am writing is as a ‘partisan shill for the republicans’.

Rhinehold

Rhinehold made all the above comments. The first two seem to contradict each other, unless you consider his disclaimer to be false. Then one must consider Tim Crow’s nice quotation.


“AS SOON AS certain topics are raised,” George Orwell once wrote, “the concrete melts into the abstract and no one seems able to think of turns of speech that are not hackneyed: Prose consists less and less of words chosen for the sake of their meaning,

Tim Crow

Nice quote Tim, it seems to summarize Rhinehold’s position well.

Posted by: Cube at March 12, 2007 2:36 AM
Comment #211532

Gergle et al

Perjury is a crime. Most of us have repeated that 100 times. In both the Clinton and the Libby cases, however, it was a crime covering something that was not a crime, hence silly for the perp to even have done it.

What is not a crime? It is not a crime to discredit Wilson. It is not a crime, technically, to out Plame. These are political events. You can have strong opinions as to whether they are bad. I personally think discrediting Wilson was good because he was not telling the truth; outing Plame was bad, but it is hard to see how you could debunk Wilson w/o somebody finding out that his wife had sent him and putting those things together.

Posted by: Jack at March 12, 2007 9:24 AM
Comment #211541
but it is hard to see how you could debunk Wilson w/o somebody finding out that his wife had sent him and putting those things together

OK, let’s put this myth to rest right now. Plame did NOT send Wilson to Nigeria. She didn’t have the authority.

From Time,

According to a declassified July 7, 2004, report from the Senate Intelligence Committee, it was Plame’s boss, the deputy chief of the CIA’s counterproliferation division, who authorized the trip.
Posted by: Woody Mena at March 12, 2007 11:07 AM
Comment #211544
Rhinehold made all the above comments.

Actually, I didn’t. The second quote was from Jack, not me. I do not agree with Jack on this issue.

The first two seem to contradict each other

That would make sense since they are made by two different people who disagree with each other.

unless you consider his disclaimer to be false.

That would be a silly assumption to make, wouldn’t it? Unless you are accusing me of something…

Posted by: Rhinehold at March 12, 2007 11:52 AM
Comment #211545
Plame did NOT send Wilson to Nigeria.

True, she only recommended him, it was her boss that made the decision to send him. It was finding out that she made the recommendation that led to the discovery…

I think the issue was why was this non-CIA individual sent. It appears that he was sent because his wife recommended to her boss that the CIA send him because of his former ties to the government there. But without knowing initially that this occurred, it made little sense to send someone not affiliated with the CIA to perform this task. We now know he was ‘kindof’ affiliated…

Posted by: Rhinehold at March 12, 2007 11:56 AM
Comment #211550

Jack-
Investigations often begin without a clear crime known, the purpose of further investigation to determine what crimes have been committed, who committed them, and how. A person lying to manipulate that process, especially when the results of that process could implicate them or others, as in Libby’s case, should be prosecuted, because their very purpose is to obscure whether an underlying crime has occured.

The trick in discrediting Wilson is that the argument was ad hominem, not factual.

Wilson’s facts and logic were mostly correct. What wasn’t isn’t necessarily dishonesty, but may rather be simple source misattribution, or a failure to attribute at a later date. He might have heard something from that ambassador he spoke with that he glommed together with what he was shown. Whether he deliberately forgot or forgot to mention these distinctions, or whether he did so accidentally, one important fact remains: He’s been proved right. Documents: forgeries, obvious ones. Niger? Both unwilling to give and incapable of giving Saddam what he supposedly wanted in the letter.

You almost have to debunk him on a faulty memory for sources if you want to debunk him at all.

Tell me something, though: Why wouldn’t you have grave doubts if somebody proposed exposing an agent’s identity to the press. Wouldn’t your first impulse be, “let’s go and check to see if she’s a covert agent, or a former one?”

And if you find out she is, as these people did, why then would you take the risk of disseminating the information? It’s almost common sense: Don’t rat on CIA agents!

You know, that’s something that strikes me. The Republican Party seems to always hold itself as beyond common sense. Whether it’s asserting that less taxes mean more revenues, fewer soldiers can invade and occupy a nation better, or saying that inflicting pain and suffering on people to break their will is not torture because it doesn’t leave marks, it seems like the GOP has an explanation for just about every time in which what they say doesn make sense, or what they do doesn’t reconcile with what they say.

The GOP isn’t the first or last party to go about things this way, but it generally isn’t a healthy sign when people are unskeptically accepting such assertions. You need to do some real thinking of what would necessitate Plame’s outing before you start talking about there being no other way. You practically give the lie to that statement in your own words. The Bush administration had a choice.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at March 12, 2007 12:41 PM
Comment #211552

Unless you are psychic and quoted someone that hasn’t posted as of yet. I suggest you compare your initial thread to the fourth response from the top. In which you respond with Adrienne with the inconsistency I pointed out. By that time Jack hadn’t participated in this particular blog as of yet.

Posted by: Cube at March 12, 2007 12:43 PM
Comment #211555

Rhinehold-
And what would lead you to the conclusion that this sort of thing never had been done before?

The basic M.O. of Operations at the CIA is to do exactly this: make sources out of people in a position to get information, people who are not professional agents, typically.

The NOC isn’t supposed to be like James Bond or Ethan Hunt, typically. They’re supposed to go to a country, presumably to blend in, recruit civilians, military officers, and government officials to spy for them. The officer does not do the majority of the spying. Their agents do. That’s one of the big reasons that you don’t rat on agents. You rat on an NOC, and you not only expose them, you expose their agents and former agents. The Bush administration handed a roadmap to our enemies of just who among them was likely compromised, a roadmap that includes anybody who can be established as a Brewster Jennings employee.

The question you have to ask yourself is whether you’re willing to pay the price for the political advantages of the use of agent’s identities in political disputes by sacrificing our operational capabilities abroad.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at March 12, 2007 1:05 PM
Comment #211558

Cube,

You’re losing me here. This the entirety of the 4th comment from the top:

What does this have to do with the release of Plame’s name to the press? Didn’t we learn months ago that Bush declassified these documents and Cheney then instructed Libby to release the details to the press to counter the incomplete information that Wilson had stated in his op-ed?

Why is it that so many on the left seem to get these two things confused with each other…

Where in this quote, or an ANY place, did I say:

Do you not understand that it does not matter who (if anyone) came up with the idea to discredit Wilson? Fitzgerald knows who revealed the information. He did not indict the guy. Since that is not an indictable crime, according to Fitzgerald, putting him up to it also is not an indictable crime.

Each comment has a number beside it. Please find where I said what you have attributed to me that ‘proves my contradiction’. I would like to know if I have misstated something that makes it appear that I have contradicted myself, but I am fairly certain I never stated the above as that is not and has not been my position.

Now, in comment 211412 Jack did make that exact quote, which is what I was referring to. However, I don’t agree with Jack’s assessment on the issue.

Posted by: Rhinehold at March 12, 2007 1:24 PM
Comment #211560

Stephen,

I’ve never suggested it was ok to ‘rat out a CIA agent’. I want to know why Armitage is not in jail, I also want to know why Sandy Berger is not in jail. These were both serious offenses and if our judicial system allows for technicalities to let them both off we need to adjust our laws concerning the handling of classified information.

The defense of ‘well, it was an accident, I didn’t mean to gossip that information to a reporter’ just doesn’t cut it with me and Armitage, that the law allows for him to get away with it is appauling.

Posted by: Rhinehold at March 12, 2007 1:35 PM
Comment #211571

Woody

You guys are so much into conspiracy theories, yet you think it is just a run of the mill decision when her boss sends her husband on a trip to a country where he was a junior officer many years before but otherwise is not particularly qualified to go.

Stephen

Wilson’s logic was correct, but his timeline was wrong and so was his explanations about who, what, where and when he found out and told others. By May lots of people knew things they didn’t know in March, when Wilson kept silent because he also didn’t know some things then.

Let me give you some advice. Sell your stock portfolio the week before last and then buy it back after the correction in the market. I can guarantee you will make almost 5% in a couple of days. WHEN you know something matters, doesn’t it? So does how you found out and from whom. It is easy to be smart if you wait to predict the past. Wilson’s memory may be not so good.

In fact, that is precisely the problem Libby has now. Lucky Wilson did not speak under oath.

Posted by: Jack at March 12, 2007 2:01 PM
Comment #211574

Rhinehold

I also was initially skeptical about anyone in the administration’s involvement in the leak of Plame’s name to the press but once evidence was provided by the investigation that Libby was guilty of doing so I was glad that he was indicted, put on trial and found guilty. I agree with Fitzgerald that in the event that any new evidence arises that puts into question Cheney’s (or anyone else’s involvement) they should also be tried.
The above comes from your initial thread as part of your disclaimer.

Do you not understand that it does not matter who (if anyone) came up with the idea to discredit Wilson? Fitzgerald knows who revealed the information. He did not indict the guy. Since that is not an indictable crime, according to Fitzgerald, putting him up to it also is not an indictable crime.
This comes from your posting 211373 addressing Adrienne’s previous post.


These represent an inconsistent position, which I assume you are aware of. These are the only quotes besides your disclaimer that you aren’t “writing as a partisan shill for the Republicans”, that I attributed to you. That you attribute the second quote to Jack is a puzzlement. Unless …

Posted by: Cube at March 12, 2007 2:14 PM
Comment #211578

Cube,

211373 does not have anything remotely close to what you have quoted.

As I’ve pointed out, 211412 has the quote you have attributed to me that was made by Jack.

Again, I’m not sure why you are puzzled, it looks pretty straightforward to me.

211412 was written by Jack and has the quoted statement and is a position consistent with what Jack has stated before.

211373 has a refrence from me to Adrienne that starts of with a question mark and does not mention who came up with the idea to discredit Wilson.

You can click on the numbers I have included in this comment to be taken directly to the comments in question, please make sure your facts are straight before suggesting contradictions in my position in the future.

Posted by: Rhinehold at March 12, 2007 2:32 PM
Comment #211601
You guys are so much into conspiracy theories, yet you think it is just a run of the mill decision when her boss sends her husband on a trip to a country where he was a junior officer many years before but otherwise is not particularly qualified to go.

You say that like Washington is just crawling with people who have worked in Nigeria… They can hardly find people who speak Arabic.

But fine, have it your way. Let’s investigate all of these instances of nepotism (if you want to call it that) and cronyism in the Bush administration. I’m sure Waxman would be willing to do it.

Posted by: Woody Mena at March 12, 2007 4:10 PM
Comment #211608

Rhinehold

Since I copy and pasted directly from your postings. I suggest you review your own stance, but the misdirection you are attempting is not going to work. But I will repeat for you and others, your disclaimer in your blog contains an inconsistency with your stance in posting 211373.

How you do not recognize your own words, or that you are trying to attribute them to Jack is interesting? That you are trying to attribute words to Jack who hadn’t even posted at the time you made both statements is interesting also. I let others come to there own conclusions about that.

Posted by: Cube at March 12, 2007 4:32 PM
Comment #211615

Cube,

So tell my how my comment #211373 which states

What does this have to do with the release of Plame’s name to the press? Didn’t we learn months ago that Bush declassified these documents and Cheney then instructed Libby to release the details to the press to counter the incomplete information that Wilson had stated in his op-ed?

Why is it that so many on the left seem to get these two things confused with each other…

is inconsistent with my disclaimer.

Posted by: Rhinehold at March 12, 2007 5:09 PM
Comment #211620

Cube and Rhinehold

Who cares? Why not argue about the angels on the head of a pin?

The test of a first-rate intelligence is the ability to hold two opposed ideas in the mind at the same time, and still retain the ability to function.

Woody

Washington is crawling with people from Nigeria and I know lots of people who speak Arabic.

Besides, the language of Niger is French. Lots of people speak that.

It really made no sense to send Joe Wilson. That is just true. He was an Ambassador, but never to Niger. He was posted to Niger as a general service officer (a step above clerk/typist) in 1978. I bet things changed from 1978 to 2002. You probably could have found someone with more recent and relevant experience just by walking by Foggy Bottom and throwing a rock.

Posted by: Jack at March 12, 2007 6:06 PM
Comment #211640

Jack-
He’s spent more than half his career in and around Central Africa. He’s had plenty of opportunity to meet with old friends and make new ones.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at March 12, 2007 7:35 PM
Comment #211643

Jack,

I didn’t mean to imply that Nigerians spoke Arabic. I just meant that language/area specialists are hard to find. About 300 million people speak Arabic, and the Pentagon can’t seem to find them.

It really made no sense to send Joe Wilson. That is just true.

I like this style of argument.

Democrats are smarter than Republicans. That is just true.

Universal healthcare is the most efficient. That is just true.

I am better looking than Brad Pitt. That is just true.

One something is “just true”, what more is there is to say?


Posted by: Woody Mena at March 12, 2007 8:42 PM
Comment #211650

Stephen

There are guy who spent their whole career around Niger itself.

I lived in Poland on two separate occassions for a total of almost eight years. I still go to Europe twice a year, but I have not actually been to Poland since 2003. If you wanted to find something about Poland, I could do it for you. BUT I would not be an obvious choice because there are plenty of of people who have more precise and recent experience. If I was sent to Poland, and you found out my wife worked for the person who sent me, what would you think?

Wilson was in Niger in 1978. He was a clerk there. He was not an obvious choice.

Woody

Niger and Nigeria are different places.

English is spoken in Nigeria. In Niger, they speak French.

Please see what I wrote to Stephen. Wilson could not have been the most qualified person they could find. Why should they even send a contractor when us taxpayers support permanent staff in the region, people whose job it is to have current contacts.

Just be logical. What if you are a journalist. You learn that a critic of the Bush policy has been sent to Niger to investigate yellow cake. You learn that he worked in a low level job in Niger 25 years ago. You wonder if they could not find someone who lived there more recently than 25 years ago. Do you think that the fact that his wife worked in the office that sent him would help solve the puzzle?

Posted by: Jack at March 12, 2007 10:17 PM
Comment #211688

Jack,

Ok, I should have written “Nigerien”, not “Nigerian”. Sue me. This from someone who voted for Bush. (I don’t mean you have to be dim to vote for Bush, but he’s not the kind of guy to fuss about vowels.)

Are you suggesting that it is OK to out a covert CIA employee to help journalists solve a minor mystery? Hey what is Jack Ryan doing in Russia? He hasn’t been to Russia since he was in college. What, you say he works for the CIA? Oh, I’ll go print that, and then warn the guys in the obituary department.

Posted by: Woody Mena at March 13, 2007 9:25 AM
Comment #211720

Woody

I am sorry. I figured you knew the difference between Niger and Nigeria, but I know that lots of people do not.

I do not think it is okay to out a CIA employee, but I do think that once Wilson got talking it was probably inevitable because of the way he got the job. Journalists had to be asking the question and sooner or later they would find out. Plame was not covert, BTW.

If Fitzgerald thinks she was covert, why does he not charge Armitage with outing her? We hear lots of speculation about what others may have done, but we got one guy for sure who admits to being the original source for Novak - and Novak confirms it. It is hard to take the accussation seriously when no action is taken.

It is clear that the criteria is not who did what, but rather who is whom.


Posted by: Jack at March 13, 2007 12:56 PM
Comment #211789

Jack-
You have the benefit of being detached from the matter and seeing it in hindsight when you approach matters from the standpoint of obvious choices.

One aspect was things being short-notice. They would not have the luxury to comb the world or Washington for the perfect person.

A second aspect was whether that person would get talked to. A person might have plenty of experience and knowledge, but the people you want to talk to might not give them the time of day.

Third, that person might not be available or willing to help the current administration.

And lastly, you might not trust the person yourself, or know them well enough to understand how they would perform under such circumstances.

Wilson might not have been as out of touch as his ambassadorial career’s end might indicate. The fact was he was already going to Niamey on a business trip.

Additionally, I find fault with your assessment of his experience with Central Africa and Nigerien officials, because the likelihood would be, given his assignments in Africa, that he would run into these these people quite often.

I really doubt Nepotism was a factor. Nepotism doesn’t send you to dusty Niamey, with Camels coming down the road. It sends you to Posh Hotels in Paris, London and other vacation spots.

I think it would be as if one of the Watchbloggers wanted to find out about Poland. They would likely think about you first, if they knew your background, because few people have much to do with the country, and for many of us, you’re the obvious choice.

Given what Valerie Wilson knew about her husband, she probably would have been remiss in not mentioning him. They were looking for the solution to a problem where the practical and the expedient was more important than the ideal.

As for inevitability of her exposure? I don’t buy that for a second. Here’s why: Of all the people who knew her real employer, only members of the Bush administration gave out that information. That disclosure could have been prevented with one warning to Armitage: this is sensitive, classified information.

This administration not only failed to take such safeguards, but even went so far as to actively shop that information out to reporters.

For something to be an inevitable result in terms of Wilson, The trip itself would have had to imply the identity of his wife, and since he was going there on Business, and the employer of his wife was not known to be the CIA, nobody could have made the connection without the information being revealed by figures in the administration.

Again, you look at things from hindsight. Now we know the connection. I think the burden of proof is on you to show the rest of us evidence that a person could have seen from the article or other material revealed to that point which would have pointed to his wife.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at March 13, 2007 6:59 PM
Comment #211855

Stephen

You do not need to comb the world to find someone who speaks French and has been to Niger sometime within the last 25 years. The CIA has people assigned there. So does State, commerce, AID, Peacecorps etc.

Nepotism sent him there. The coincidence is too great.

I would expect that I am most qualified watchblog write re Poland, but I expect the CIA has a bigger pool of talent than a couple dozen bloggers.

Re burden of proof - the exact details of the Wilson deception are just my speculation. Except the parts that the 2004 bipartisan report of the Senate Intelligence Committee found. That Wilson’s claims were false, as well as his denial that his wife had recommended him for the Niger trip. That is not what we need to prove. We already know Richard Armitage is the one who revealed Plame. We also know that he was among those who were critcal of the war and not a strong partisan. We do not have to prove it. From the tone of the conversation with Novak, we get the impression that the revealation was more in the nature of gossip. He should not have done it, but it was not a crime. Fitzgerald knowing these facts chose not to indict, which tells you that he either thought it was not a crime or just chose not to do his duty.

You guys are the ones who are speculating w/o any basis in evidence that someone else outed Plame and then extrapolating that it was an indictable crime.

BTW - if you are interested in security breaches, look at the Sandy Berger case. The guy pleaded guilty to stealing classified materials. We do not know what he destroyed. This is a bigger security breach anyway.

Posted by: Jack at March 13, 2007 11:41 PM
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