Skip to comments.What Scooter Libby And I Talked About
Posted on 10/30/2005 4:13:47 AM PST by SE Mom
I was wet, smelling of chlorine. It was July 12, 2003, in Washington, a beautiful summer day, and I had just come back from swimming. All morning I had been trying to reach I. Lewis (Scooter) Libby for a cover story about both President George W. Bush's claim that Iraq had sought uranium in Africa and former Ambassador Joseph Wilson's controversial Op-Ed.
(Excerpt) Read more at time.com ...
The Wilson part that really interested Fitzgerald was tiny, as I told TIME readers. Basically, I asked Libby if he had heard anything about Wilson's wife having been involved in sending him to Niger. Libby responded with words to the effect of, "Yeah, I've heard that too."He said HE asked Libby...AND Libby simply said "Yeah, Ive heard that too"...
See paragraph 23 on page 8 of the indictment. It recapitulates this same sequence of events and attributes the date of July 12, 2003 to the conversation.
On or about July 12, 2003, in the afternoon, LIBBY spoke by telephone to Cooper, who asked whether LIBBY had heard that Wilson's wife was involved in sending Wilson on the trip to Niger. LIBBY confirmed to Cooper, without qualification or elaboration, that he had heard this information too.
LOL! I hadn't seen the statements before I read them in your post. They are excellent satire, for they make perfect sense within a real, predictable context. A little heavy-handed to be sure, but not overly so. That's what gives them good satirical bite.
which clarifies nothing.
An investigator should be clear. This one is not.
Does anyone believe Cooper remembers what he smelled like on a specific date in July 2003 or that he ate a tuna sandwich on a specific date in August?
And hasn't his story about how he got Libby's release changed? Didn't he first claim that he got a dramatic call from Libby at the last minute and doesn't he now claim that he called Libby and asked?
I don't see the inconsistency between Cooper's recollection and Libby's. When Cooper says that he has heard it, it seems obvious that he meant from the press - Robert Novak's story. Libby would be saying the same thing - he had heard about the Novak story too.
One would not expect that the two would have the same verbatim account, but the two stories are consistent.
Is this all the prosector has?
This is why we need to monitor carefully "crimes against the judicial system" - perjury, obstruction of justice, etc. They are loaded with the potential for abuse.
Libby is saying he recalls mentioning he heard it from reporters and Cooper does not recall reporters being mentioned. I am not saying the Libby truly did hear if from reporters first. Assuming he heard it elsewhere first then all he would be doing is lying to a reporter but not to the FBI or GJ about the conversation.
Let me also add that Fitz is claiming that "Yeah, I've heard that too" is not without qualification, but it also seems like it is far from a rock solid confirmation.
No. First of all, he could have found out she was not covert in one day. All he had to do was either ask her superiors at CIA and/or subpoena her employment records. Secondly, there's more to the law than whether or not she was covert. She would have had to have been overseas on a covert operation within five years of the Novak article. Didn't happen. Even Wilson admitted that didn't happen.
You are jumping to that conclusion, and I think Fitz wants the casual reader to jump to that conclusion.
But in fact, Fitz tries to distance himself from the assertion of "Plame was covert."
QUESTION: Can you say whether or not you know whether Mr. Libby knew that Valerie Wilson's identity was covert and whether or not that was pivotal at all in your inability or your decision not to charge under the Intelligence Identity Protection Act?Those are ALL of the mentions of the word "covert" from Fitz' presser on Thursday.
FITZGERALD: Let me say two things. Number one, I am not speaking to whether or not Valerie Wilson was covert. And anything I say is not intended to say anything beyond this: that she was a CIA officer from January 1st, 2002, forward.
I will confirm that her association with the CIA was classified at that time through July 2003. And all I'll say is that, look, we have not made any allegation that Mr. Libby knowingly, intentionally outed a covert agent. ...
QUESTION: There's a saying in Washington that it's not the crime, it's the cover up.
Can you just tell us whether if Mr. Libby had testified truthfully, would he be being charged in this crime today?
Also, how do you decide if whether or not to charge Official A?
And also, it's a little hazy I think for many of us -- you say that Valerie Plame's identity was classified, but you're making no statement as to whether she was covert.
QUESTION: Was the leaking of her identity in and of itself a crime?
FITZGERALD: OK. I think you have three questions there. I'm trying to remember them in order. I'll go backwards.
And all I'll say is that if national defense information which is involved because her affiliation with the CIA, whether or not she was covert, was classified, if that was intentionally transmitted, that would violate the statute known as Section 793, which is the Espionage Act. ...
[Comment: this statute, 18 USC 793 is VERY different from the "outing the covert agent" statute, 50 USC 421 et seq. What Fitgeral is saying here is that pulling Plame's HR file to determine wheter her status is covert, desk jockey, who she reports to, etc. might be a violation of the Espionage Act. He is saying that it is illegal to have the paperwork that determines one way or theother, Plame's status vis-a-vis "covert."]
QUESTION: Just to go back to your comments about the damage that was done by disclosing Valerie Wilson's identify, there are some critics who have suggested that she was not your traditional covert agent in harm's way, that she was working, essentially, a desk job at Langley.
Just to answer those critics, can you elaborate on, aside from the fact that some of her neighbors may now know that she was -- and the country, for that matter -- that she was a CIA officer, what jeopardy, what harm was there by disclosing her identity?
FITZGERALD: I will say this. I won't touch the specific damage assessment of what specific damage was caused by her compromise -- I won't touch that with a 10-foot pole. I'll let the CIA speak to that, if they wish or not.
I will say this: To the CIA people who are going out at a time that we need more human intelligence, I think everyone agrees with that, at a time when we need our spy agencies to have people work there, I think just the notion that someone's identity could be compromised lightly, to me compromises the ability to recruit people and say, "Come work for us, come work for the government, come be trained, come invest your time, come work anonymously here or wherever else, go do jobs for the benefit of the country for which people will not thank you, because they will not know," they need to know that we will not cast their anonymity aside lightly.
FITZGERALD: And that's damage. But I'm not going to go beyond that.
[Comment: This is all gratuitous generality, and Fitzgerald does nothing to connect the general statement to the case at hand - the casual listener is invited to make the link in his own mind.]
There is NO allegation in the indictment that Plame is, or ever was "covert." The term "covert" means, in short, that the person is not known to have ANY relationship with the CIA. By defination, a person who is known to be employed by the CIA cannot be "covert CIA."
I agree that Wilson is a sniffling little wuss, however, in that same paragraph he is making it clear that HE was the one initiating the call to Libby, not the other way around. In fact, he makes it sound like he was DESPARETLY trying to get in touch with Libby. Later he says that HE was the one to ask Libby about Joe Wilson's wife. The SP says Libby started the chain of information about Wilson/Plame. It sure doesn't look like it to me by reading this Cooper piece.
Not just about everyone, literally everyone. Fitz's stament boils down to "HR files are classified."
There are any number of issues of fact that Fitz has not investigated. This guy has taken two years to do a 1/4 a**ed job of "investigation". It's a fraud.
"wait for the multimillion dollar book."
This bureaucratic mediocrity cannot even count to one.
A couple of other things about the portion of the press conference you posted:
1) Fitz says: "And all I'll say is that if national defense information which is involved because her affiliation with the CIA, whether or not she was covert, was classified, if that was intentionally transmitted, that would violate the statute known as Section 793, which is the Espionage Act. ..."
But it is more than just knowingly transmitting, the Act also requires that "the possessor has reason to believe could be used to the injury of the United States or to the advantage of any foreign nation..." Does Fitz also have proof that Libby believed that by mentioning Wilson's wife that harm could come to the US? Fitz also says Valerie's job was classified, but he does not claim in the indictment that Libby knew it was classified. Sure, people can say 'well Fitz should have known that it could have been classified'. And maybe that is fair, but that is a long way from knowingly releasing classified info that could harm the U.S.
2) When Fitz refers to CIA damage, he basically says he has no idea if real damage was done. He says there could have been damage and he says "..compromises the ability to recruit people." Is that the best he can come up with? There was a posting the other day that said the CIA has not even done an official damage assessment. If that is true, then how important could the CIA think Vla's identity is. And on CNN this week Bob Woodard mentions a damage assessment that shows no real harm (i.e. no agents in danger, no agents pulled out of assignments). It would be hard to Fitz to prove the "harm to the U.S." in the Espionage act when there appears to be no actual harm.
I beleive that Fitz did not bring the Intel Identities Act or Espionage Act charges not because Libby "threw sand in the umpires face" but because Fitz knows he could not come close to meeting the burden of proof.
And that even though he also has the body of an elephant, he does occasionally get some exercise.
Miller: "I lay under the aspens, the sunshine filtered by their leaves, connected by their roots, talking to Libby".
I wonder what Russert will have to say?
Let's hope it is not:
"I was sitting on the toilet, straining. Thinking happy thoughts of happy smells."
It was cold. I smelled of vomit from reading a Matt Cooper piece. My eyes burned, the prose made me drool......................................................
..It was a dark and stormy night, as most dark and stormy nights go when ideas are hatched in the cob-webbed recesses of brilliant minds laden with thoughts of nefarious deeds and undercover ghosts bent on haunting the powerful with destructive recalled conversations of seemingly innocent pillow talk laced with aspen tree referenced love codes and frightening remembrances of whispered National Security nightmare scenarios. I was alone. Wet. And naked. Sure, shrinkage may have played it's hideous prank on my body. But my brain was swollen with total recall. Heaving and pressing, as it were, on my frontal lobes. I never felt more alive..
Excerpt from Matt Cooper's new spy novel: "Naked Truth: The Ugly Side of Undercover Spies"
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