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October 25, 2005

Today’s Plame Gate Round Up - Updated

Most of today's internet energy has been expended hypothesizin over the Times story Ace linked to last night. And if you're just getting up to date, in short, it stated that Libby’s own notes, possessed by the prosecution, reflect Libby first learned ‘Wilsons-wife’s-in-CIA’ from the Veep himself.

So what, you wonder?

Well, the WaPo, today, tries to spell it out for you. Beside just theorizing that this may mean bad news for Cheney, they seem more certain this means charges for Libby. Why?

Libby is said to have initially told the grand jury he first heard about Plame from reporters -- but they denied it. And now, says the Times, Libby's own notes show he heard it from Cheney.

In short, there’s your perjury, buddy. Case closed. (“Where would you prefer we serve the indictment, Mr. Libby? Home or office?”)

“Hold on!” says Tom Maguire (Get out of his way. I’m warning you. The man is just steamrolling the rest of the net on this case.) In a piece today he reviews this “Libby’s Notes” angle, and reminds everyone Fitzgerald’s had these notes for over a year and, more importantly, Libby and his people have, in all likelihood, known this all along:

First, the NY Times reported in Feb 2004 that Fitzgerald's investigation was relying on Libby's "copious notes" which were delivered (we guessed) in response to a Sept 2003 document request when this Plame leak investigation started.

Now, the high priced legal talent is paid to review everything submitted to the prosecutor. What are the odds they overlooked this morsel that Cheney told Libby about Wilson's wife?

Not likely. AND, with this in mind - i.e. with Libby knowing his notes implicate Cheney as his source -Tom wonders why should we think Libby testified contrary?

Good question. Sure, Libby or his lawyers may leak to the media that he testified “Reporters told me.” But that doesn’t necessarily mean he actually told the Grand Jury that.

Remember, the only people who could inform otherwise, the prosecutors and Grand Jurors, are the very ones bound by law to secrecy – unlike Libby. (And anyone sourced a leak to coming from them yet?)

So, why the ‘one-story-to-GJ, another-to-media’ double entry bookkeeping?

Cause it would be a way to keep Cheney’s name out of the mess until the very end, when indictments come or a report was issued (were that a possibility).

Deferment makes sense politically. Cheney’s name would have bumped this story for the past year from A-17 to A-1 (maybe below the fold, maybe above). Every. Single. Day.

Far fetched? No, this fetch may be quite near:

[Libby’s] actual testimony may only be a bit different from the staged leaks. For example, perhaps Libby testified that he only talked with reporters about Wilson's wife after hearing about it from other reporters, and in leaks to the press that conveniently morphed into "Libby only knew about it after talking with reporters". Blame the media, shield Cheney, disclose the near-truth - a trifecta!

Is he right? Could be. Don’t know. (And don’t get pissy with me bout my hedging. I don’t know, You don’t know. No one know. But this is internet, baby! Speculation’s what makes life interesting.)

Other stories?

More at the WaPo: Milbank and Pincus reacquaint readers with Smooth Joe Wilson and his veracity issues: “Possessed of a flamboyant style and a love for the camera lens...”

But the big one? Those guys at ‘Raw Story’ seem pretty certain there are going to be indictments, at least two, and that they’ll be obstruction related, not some underlying secrecy law violation. They write:

Special Prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald has decided to seek indictments in the outing of CIA operative Valerie Plame Wilson and has submitted at least one to the grand jury, those close to the investigation tell RAW STORY.

Fitzgerald will seek at least two indictments, the sources say. They note that it remains to be seen whether the grand jury will approve the charges.

Those familiar with the case state that Fitzgerald may not seek indictments that assert officials leaked Plame's name illegally. Rather, they say that he will focus charges in the arena of lying to investigators. The sources said, however, they wouldn't rule out charges of conspiracy.

They sound pretty certain of themselves, with their 'Those close to the investigation' sourcing. But right now, with so much unknown, and speculation rampant, tone counts for a lot. Anyone with a self confident timber can bluff for the pot, at least for a news cycle.

As for when these indictments will issue?

Michael Barone predicts: “Well, I don't believe there should be indictments this week, so I'll go out on a limb and I will predict there will not be indictments this week.” (link via Insty)

Barone also cautions on Grand Jury leaks in general, reminding they most likely come from the witnesses and their attorneys, and what that means.

He’s right to do so. Everything that we know comes from individuals, lawyers and testifying witnesses, all with particular agendas, NONE of whom possess an overhead view of the whole. Because of this, we probably can’t speak intelligently as to ‘what’s really going on.’

It’s sort of like that old saw, that the leakers are like the old, blind men each feeling a different part of the elephant, shouting out confident but mistaken claims as to what they’re really grasping. “Why it’s a spear!” the man holding the tusk exclaims. “No, it’s a snake!” The man clutching the trunk replies… (also add in that the blind men may have agendas of thier own. Get's crazy, no?)

The point is, we’re relying on fragmented sources each describing their little shard. It’s hard to say what the bigger picture really is. After all, a few weeks ago we’d assumed we were in the mopping up loose details stages. Now we don't thinks so. No, this last flurry is the dark, dirty heart of the matter somehow. Fitzgerald’s having Libby back before the GJ and all the recent events just seem more important to us because they are all happening NOW, late third act, right before the grand finale.

We shall know when we know. Not before.

The 'Hit Post 5 Minutes Too Soon' UPDATE:

Drudge reports ABC saying:

"We have double sourced that the vice president's chief of staff has been indicted," a reporter for ABCNEWS claimed to White House communications director Nicolle Wallace this afternoon... MORE... "

Will update with links/details when more revealed.

Update 2.0 ABC tries to bluff White House? Drudge now says:


"We have double sourced that the vice president's chief of staff has been indicted," a reporter for ABCNEWS claimed to a White House press spokesman this afternoon.

The White House refused to comment on the claim. The network said they didn't need comment, they were preparing to run with the development on this evening's network news broadcast, sources tell the DRUDGE REPORT.

ABCNEWS claimed to the White House that it had double sourced how an indictment against vice presidential chief of staff I. Lewis Libby was set.

A senior White House source quickly determined ABC was bluffing; the report did not run on the East coast feed of the program.



Now: Drudge has now gone up with DC Fever pitch pic-montage that doesn't link to his earlier story.

If Drudge's earlier bit is right, ABC singlehandedly turned a 'WH out of control' story into a 'press out of control' story.

I'll follow it, see what turns up, but I can't keep chasing Drudge back and forth. Once some settled news comes out on this, I'll probably give it a separate post.

Final Update: Raw Story:

Jeffrey Schneider, Vice President of Communications for ABC News, denied a claim from the conservative Drudge Report that any reporter had called the White House to say that Dick Cheney's chief of staff "Scooter" Libby had been indicted, RAW STORY can report.

"Absolutely not true," Schneider said from his cell phone Tuesday evening.

"We have no such reporting," he added.

Okay. No more updates. (Partial H/T to 'VRWC Agent' on last one)

digg this
posted by Dr. Reo Symes at 06:20 PM

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