As someone from a long line of Southern inbreds whose family tree looks more like a mobius strip, I'm used to spotting the ol' switchback. But chain of who-told-what-to-whom-when in l'Affair Plame is getting ridiculous.
According to Murray Waas, Scooter Libby is the (long suspected) "administration official" whom Judith Miller met with on July 8, 2003, six days before Robert Novak published his piece exposing Valerie Plame, that Patrick J. Fitzgerald was seeking information about when he subpoenaed Jailhouse Judy in the first place.
Although Preznit Never Responsible ordered everyone within the administration to comply with investigators and grant waivers for journalists to discuss any conversations they may have had with them, Judy has so far refused to testify because she believes these waivers were coerced and her source(s) have not granted her a "personal waiver" yet, according to her attorney, Floyd (father o'Dan) Abrams.
Because the subpoena also called upon Judy to provide documents she may have received at the July 8 meeting, it seems to be an indication that Fitzgerald believes Judy was the recipient of the Plame news, and not the source.
But this is the part that made my head hurt:
Libby has reportedly told Fitzgerald that he first learned of Plame's identity from NBC Washington bureau chief Tim Russert. But Russert has told investigators that he never told Libby about Plame. Rove said that he first learned the information from his conversation with Robert Novak.Actually, the NBC statement said this:
Mr. Russert told the Special Prosecutor that, at the time of that conversation, he did not know Ms. Plame's name or that she was a CIA operative and that he did not provide that information to Mr. Libby. Mr. Russert said that he first learned Ms. Plame's name and her role at the CIA when he read a column written by Robert Novak later that month.As Swopa points out, it sounds a bit like Rove's "oh, you mean Joe Wilson's wife -- is that her name?" defense. It amounts to pretty much of a non-denial, and as Arianna says, Russert has no business on national TV grilling people over this or any other issue until he comes clean.
Because the NBC statement also says that "Mr. Russert was not a recipient of the leak, which resulted in the public disclosure of the name and CIA employment of Valerie Plame, the wife of former Ambassador Joseph Wilson." So if Libby and Russert talked about Valerie Plame, but Russert wasn't "a recipient of the leak," doesn't that pretty much have to mean that Russert was the one doing the telling to Libby?
So either a) Libby lied and he and Russert never spoke about about it at all, in which case Libby=bustado, or b), Pumpkinhead is a big fat dissembling douchebag who drilled up some skeevy excuse pirouetting on words.
Look, this is getting stupid. There is no reason on earth that Tim Russert should not be required to say right out if he repeated gossip to Lewis Libby about Joe Wilson and his wife. It means that he's a dirt-dishing little scumbag but it has no bearing on his legal culpability. One could easily understand why he would think that repeating this tidbit to a man who had the highest security clearance wouldn't exactly mean he was spilling state secrets.So fine, maybe Timmeh did ask Libby to confirm whether the story he'd heard about Joe Wilson's wife was true, and when Libby got grilled he blamed it on big stupid Pumpkinhead. Still doesn't explain why Libby hasn't rescued Judy from jail and granted her a personal waiver.
I thought a comment over at Kos by oregonj was quite enlightening:
Nigerien yellowcake was Cheney's project - an integral piece of the misinformation he needed to sell the tragic Iraq endeavor to Congress and the US.This has Cheney's fingerprints all over it, and Libby was his hatchet man. The media -- the ones who are crying for poor martyred Judy, such as NBC's Tom Brokaw -- need to start screaming for Scooter to issue said release. What are the odds that NBC's horribly compromised host of Press the Meat is going to do that tomorrow?
Cheney's timeline from the date when he found out about the Italian report in January, 2002 - through his infuriated responses to the reports that it was not accurate (including sending Wilson to Niger and hearing back from him) - through his repeated visits (with Libby) to the CIA to pressure them to change their intelligence - through his repeated public pronouncements throughout 2002 that Iraq was seeking nuclear stockpiles - until October 1, 2002 when the CIA issues separate reports for public/Congress and classified consumption so that the false line of uranium can be maintained for public consumption- makes one thing very clear: Cheney had the strongest motive to keep this story alive and used whatever means possible to maintain it.
The fact that Libby was right there when they had to sink the dagger into his primary opponent is no surprise.
I'd say pretty much zip.