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Friday, October 07, 2005

Judy, Pinch and a Boy Named Scooter

In a furious bout of post-prison housecleaning, Judy Miller just "happened" to find notes today from June 2003 when she spoke with Scooter Libby about Joe Wilson.

Of all the amazing discoveries. She's the fucking Indiana Jones of dust bunnies, that one.

I keep coming back to the September 15 letter (PDF) from Scooter Libby to Judy Miller, kind of like a scab you just can't help picking at.


1. In Patrick Fitzgerald's "leaked" letter of September 12, 2005 (PDF) to Libby's lawyer, Joseph Tate, he runs down the facts as told to him by Libby:
Mr. Libby has discussed a meeting with Ms. Miller on July 8 2003, at the St. Regis Hotel and a later conversation between Mr. Libby and Ms. Miller by telephone in the late afternoon of July 12, 2003. Mr. Libby has described his recollection of the substance of those two conversations, without limitation.
Libby was most probably quoting the party line that everyone else was testifying to -- namely, that whatever was done to Joe Wilson came in response to his July 6, 2003 editorial in the New York Times entitled What I Didn't Find in Africa. They weren't trying to smear him, doncha know -- they were just providing appropriate counterbalance to what he was saying, trying to helpfully provide the press with some mitigating factors.

Thus began the Rove as Whistleblower meme we all remember with so much fondness.

2. Joe Wilson, in his book and elsewhere, has long maintained that the White House Iraq Group -- whose notes and records Fitzgerald has subpoenaed -- did a workup of him in March, before his editorial was ever published. As early as his October 13, 2002 article in the San Jose Mercury News, Wilson was calling 'em all a bunch of hosebags. He had been flying in their radar for a while.

3. When Libby wrote his sodden mash note to Judy it seems to me that he was quite obviously trying to hip her to the fact that it was okay to talk about anything that happened in July:
The Special Counsel identified every reporter with whom I had spoken about anything in July 2003, including you. My counsel then called counsel for each of the reporters, including yours, and confirmed that my waiver was voluntary.
Translation: It's okay for you to talk about July meetings but nothing else.

Judy Miller was sitting in fucking prison on tenterhooks. She's had plenty of time to think about each and every time she met with poor lovestruck Aspen-riddled Scooter, and what the implications were of each and every one of those meetings along the way. She didn't fucking "forget" an entire month there looped on pruno. Scooter let her know what she could say. And she probably complied.

4. If Libby was lying, he did not believe that there was anything provided to Fitzgerald that was going to contradict what he had to say, like -- oh -- the minutes of the White House Iraq Group, or the testimony of those in WHIG, including Karen Hughes, Mary Matalin, Condi Rice, Stephen Hadley, James Wilkinson and Nicholas Cailo, in addition to the Rove man himself.

5. On Thursday, September 29, when Judy agrees to testify, Fitzgerald goes to the slam and spends a little quality time with her, just to get her story down before she goes and has a steak with Pinch. (Does she have a thing for men with awful names or what?)

That night, Fitzgerald calls up Joe Wilson, and confirms what he probably already knew one way or another -- Judy and Scooter were talking as early as June, contrary to what both were saying.

(Emptywheel has penned a nifty little dramatization of this particular sequence of events. Highly recommended, Oscar-caliber stuff. Considering the skeevy characters involved, we applaud her for leaving out the sex scenes.)

6. Suddenly Judy REMEMBERS her earlier "notes" and meeting with Scooter. I'm guessing the dog didn't just barf 'em up -- her attorney probably got a helpful memory-prodding phonecall from Fitzgerald, who probably knew Judy was going to lie her lying face off all along.

7. Suddenly -- VOILA! -- a SLEW of people want to come in and spend quality time with Fitzgerald and the grand jury again. They are VOLUNTEERING. Because, as you know, testifying before Fitzgerald's grand jury is all the rage in DC these days, and everyone needs a hobby.

I will leap to the presumption that the "we were just reacting to Joe Wilson's editorial" group bullshit is falling apart faster than a cheap thong in a hot dryer. It's hard to know just how much sleight-of-hand went into perpetuating this particular lie, but I will wager no small amount.

Note to self: do not EVER play poker with Patrick Fitzgerald.

(hat tip to Mrs. K8)

(cross-posted at Hullabaloo)


Bush Boots Me For His Fake Subway Story

So I'm sitting at MSNBC in the chair, I've already been in hair & makeup for an hour, I've got a mic crawling up my bra, I'm chatting with the producer through my earpiece and in between watching myself on the monitor and thinking how MY hair looks better than Monica Crowley's I'm watching Bush's fake subway crisis and thinking up good lines -- "it really won't stop the approach of Hurricane Patrick" -- and I get booted.

Did Karl Rove know I was going to be on pissing all over his candy-ass crisis and bringing the story back to Traitorgate where it belongs? I'm thinking -- probably not. I'm probably just colossally unimportant in the MSNBC scheme of things. But I was really looking forward to launching a few zingers. (*sigh*)

Right now I'm a Crooks & Liars Central, and John can testify to the fact that my hair does, in fact, look great.


Thursday, October 06, 2005

Mr. Fitzgerald Requests the Honor of Your Presence

It is damned hard to keep up with all the "leaking" being done on behalf of the various TraitorGate players. If discretion is the better part of valor, it is yet another indication we are not dealing with a very brave bunch.

David Johnston brings the latest bulletin in the NYT:
But some of the lawyers said Mr. Fitzgerald indicated that he had not yet made up his mind about whether to accuse anyone with wrongdoing and would use the coming weeks before the grand jury expires on Oct. 28 to decide the issue.

Mr. Fitzgerald's conversations with lawyers since late last week have left an ominous cloud hanging over the inquiry, sweeping away assurances from a number of officials and their lawyers that Mr. Fitzgerald was unlikely to find criminal wrongdoing.

In coming days, Mr. Fitzgerald is likely to request that several White House officials return to the grand jury to testify about their actions in the case - appearances that are believed to be decisive as the prosecutor proceeds toward a decision on whether to file charges.
Oh I bet Special Counsel Fitzgerald already knows he's going to charge someone with "wrongdoing" (that's some euphemism) -- it's just a matter of how many "wrongdoings" he's going to pile one on top of another.

And how many times do we get to hear that Rove has not received a target letter? The least they could do is include the coda -- which doesn't mean shit (although Reddhedd would like it known that at least this time David Johnston got the target letter stuff right).
"Karl's consistent position is that he will cooperate any time, any place," Mr. Gannon Luskin said.
Sorry. I couldn't help myself.

Meanwhile, over at the LA Times:
Grover Norquist, a conservative activist close to the White House, said Rove has been "on top of things as much as ever."
It was my impression Rove was a "bottom."
"He didn't seem worried," said the administration official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because she would get fired if she was attached to stories about the case. "He seemed fine."
Well that narrows it down to anyone with boobs. I'm not too worried for her. Spreading the misinformation that Karl is "fine" (as if) is not exactly going out on a limb.
In addition, Rove has been active in courting evangelicals as the White House tries to line up support for the nomination of Bush's counsel, Harriet Miers, to be an associate justice of the Supreme Court.
The woman he's counting on to keep his whole machine out of jail? You don't say.
The last-minute testimony from Rove adds to a growing list of woes for the White House, and coincides with a period in which Rove has been much less visible. He is currently away on a family trip, Luskin said today.
But wait...I thought he was whipping the fundies...

Oh never mind.

(hat tip to Pontificator)

Update #1: Apologies to newbies who might not know who "Gannon" is. We do not mean to leave you out of the fun. You can catch up on the saga of the official White House man-whore here.

Update #2: The NYT article has been updated:
One new approach appears to involve the possible use of Chapter 37 of the federal espionage and censorship law, which makes it a crime for anyone who "willfully communicates, delivers, transfers or causes to be communicated" to someone "not entitled to receive it" classified information relating the national defense matters.

Under this broad statute, a government official or a private citizen who passed classified information to anyone else in or outside the government could potentially be charged with a felony, if they transferred the information to someone without a security clearance to receive it.
Reddhedd called it here this morning on Espionage.

We always strive to bring you the best :)


I'm on MSNBC tomorrow

I'm gonna be on MSNBC talking to Tony Maciulis tomorrow morning at 9:45 PT/12:45 ET about popcorn, frogmarching, and life as an LA blogger.

I'm so glad I had my hair done yesterday even if Johnny Wendell says I get fired from the revolution for being so bourgeois.


Sweet Mary Mother Of Bill O'Reilly, It's All Happening Now

Murray Waas:
Rove will appear voluntarily, but during tomorrow's session, Rove will be pressed about issues as to why his accounts to the FBI and grand jury have changed, or evolved, over time. He will also be questioned regarding contacts with other senior administration officials, such as then-deputy National Security advisor Stephen J. Hadley and I. Lewis Libby, the chief of staff to Vice President Dick Cheney in the critical week before the publication of columnist Robert Novak's column on July 14, 2003, which outed Plame as a covert CIA operative.
Lawrence O'Donnell:
What this means is Rove's lawyer, Bob Luskin, believes his client is defintely going to be indicted.

So, Luskin is sending Rove back into the grand jury to try to get around the prosecutor and sell his innocence directly to the grand jurors. Legal defense work doesn't get more desperate than this. The prosecutor is happy to let Rove go under oath again--without his lawyer in the room--and try to wiggle out of the case. The prosecutor has every right to expect that Rove's final under-oath grilling will either add a count or two to the indictment or force Rove to flip and testify against someone else.


Prediction: at least three high level Bush Administration personnel indicted and possibly one or more very high level unindicted co-conspirators.
Considering how high the presumed "high level" personnel sit in the White House pecking order, I can think of very few who would qualify for the honor of being "very high level unindicted co-conspirators." Only two, in fact.

(my emphasis throughout)
One "unindicted co-conspirator?" Dude. Not even in my wildest dreams did I imagine this.

Christmas in October for Jane.


Round Up Time

Some great summaries by everyone trying to get their ducks in order in anticipation of indictments.

Ex-CIA agent Larry Johnson has one over at TPM Cafe. He makes the very valid and critical point which underscores the need for what we're all doing here:
Whether there is or is not an indictment, the Republican spin machine will be out in force spreading lies and it is critical that the citizens of this country have clear facts to judge the truth of the matter
And for the true fan, emptywheel has the most exhaustive spy vs. spy redux of the whole affair you are likely to read. Favorite moment:
There were, however, three events which might be related. First, on October 18 Karl Rove pulled a silly stunt on the campaign trail, laying down under the wheels of Air Force One. He had testified a few days earlier (October 15) in front of the Grand Jury. According to Murray Waas, Rove told the Grand Jury information that we now know to be false.


Then, in a move that largely stupefied observers, Karl Rove got a promotion to Deputy Chief of Staff in February. It wasn't clear why he was getting a promotion. As Dan Froomkin observed, the promotion doesn'’t earn Karl any extra money. It got him a new office, but Karl has always seemed like a man whose office says little about his stature anyway. I have wondered but so far have had no one answer my question —whether this move might provide Karl more Executive Privilege once he gets his indictments.

(my emphasis)
Okay everybody take a deep breath, sit back, pour yourself some herbal tea and take some time to brush up on your TraitorGate facts. You'll be able to impress everyone you know with your trenchant observations and deep insights when indictments come down.

We will try to provide a steady supply of witty asides you can feel free to use as your own.

Update: Just got off the phone with Spanish journalist Ernesto Ekaizer from Spain's leading newspaper El Pais. I guess there is a lot of interest in TraitorGate amongst Europeans who are also watching with bated breath. Welcome to our European readers, feel free to have a look around the place and make yourselves at home.


Wednesday, October 05, 2005

I Think I'm Getting Religion

The federal prosecutor investigating who leaked the identity of a CIA operative is expected to signal within days whether he intends to bring indictments in the case, legal sources close to the investigation said on Wednesday.

As a first step, prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald was expected to notify officials by letter if they have become targets, said the lawyers, who spoke on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the matter.

Fitzgerald could announce plea agreements, bring indictments, or conclude that no crime was committed. By the end of this month he is expected to wrap up his nearly two-year-old investigation into who leaked CIA operative Valerie Plame's identity.

The inquiry has ensnared President George W. Bush's top political adviser, Karl Rove, and Vice President Dick Cheney's chief of staff, Lewis "Scooter" Libby. The White House had long maintained that Rove and Libby had nothing to do with the leak but reporters have since named them as sources.

Rove's attorney, Robert Luskin, declined to say whether his client had been contacted by Fitzgerald. In the past, Luskin has said that Rove was assured that he was not a target.

Libby's lawyer was not immediately available to comment.
My favorite version of the song Oh Happy Day was recorded by the Edwin Hawkins Singers in 1969. There is also a version by Bebe and Cece Winans that I am partial to, and Aretha Franklin has a terrific version, but the Hawkins rendition is quite special.

I just downloaded several versions of Oh Happy Day off I-Tunes to have on hand Just In Case.



Be Afraid, Karl -- Be Very Afraid

"Listen. Understand. That Terminator is out there. It can't be reasoned with, it can't be bargained with. It doesn't feel pity or remorse or fear. And it absolutely will not stop. Ever. Until you are dead."

I just talked to a source who told me that Karl Rove has been missing from a number of recent White House presidential events - events that he has ALWAYS attended in the past. For example, Rove was absent from yesterday's presidential press conference to promote Harriet Miers. These are the kind of events Rove ALWAYS attends, I'm told, yet of late he's been MIA each and every time.

My source tells me that the scuttlebutt around town is that the White House knows something bad is coming, in terms of Karl getting indicted, and they're already trying to distance him from the president.

Oh, God, you've been so good to us lately. Please give us this one more.
Forgive me, John, for printing the whole thing -- it's just too good.

Add to this the weird happening Reddhedd reported yesterday, where Bush announced Meir's nomination without telling Cheney -- and then sent people out to tell Chris Matthews about it. Can't say for sure how this all adds up, or how it will all play out, but one thing's certain:

These fuckers are freaked.

(hat tip to emptywheel)


Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Scooter, You're So Screwed

Somebody somewhere is leaking faster than a Louisiana levee.

Today the NY Sun was leaked a bombshell letter by Special Council Patrick J. Fitzgerald (PDF) to Joseph Tate, Scooter Libby's lawyer, dated September 12, 2005.

It's really the first glimpse we've had as to how Fitzgerald is playing the players in this case, and it's fascinating. Several things immediately jump out:
In closing, let me be clear that I cannot, and am not, seeking to compel a communication from either Ms. Miller or Mr. Libby or their respective counsel, nor do I wish to be copied on any such correspondence or to participate in any such conversation.
Therefore, my hunch was right. Fitzgerald would not have had the Libby/Miller letter that appeared in Saturday's NYT article by David Johnston and Doug Jehl until it was leaked.
I wish to make certain that you understand that if Mr. Libby maintains that his waiver is valid and he wishes to communicate that fact either through you or directly to Ms. Miller or her counsel (without discussing the substance of what her testimony might be), I would not view such communication as obstruction.
Okay. In Libby's letter, he seems to be doing expressly that:
...I had voluntarily waived the confidentiality of discussions, if any, we may have had related to the Wilson-Plame matter.


Because, as I am sure will not be news to you, the public report of every other reporter's testimony makes clear that they did not discuss Ms. Plame's name or identity with me, or knew about her before our call.


If you can find a way to testify about discussions we had, if any, that relate to the Wilson-Plame matter, I remain today just as interested as I was a year ago.

[emphasis mine throughout]
Libby is telling Judy what she can safely say. In direct contravention to what Fitzgerald communicated was acceptable without being coercive. This totally strengthens any case Fitzgerald may have already had against Libby.

Whoever had access to this letter also had access to Libby's letter. Whoever leaked the Libby/Judy letter was trying to fuck Libby. Further, whoever leaked this letter was trying to make sure it is publicly known that Libby is fucked.

The letter must've come from Tate's office -- as I've speculated the other leaked letters did. Fitzgerald was the only other party who would have had this particular letter, and his silence throughout -- which has provoked this Treasure of the Sierra Madre-like activity between the TraitorGate players -- means he most certainly did not leak this. And Tate is not trying to stab his own client. But WTF is up in his firm?

Reddhedd read the letter over too, and what jumped out at her was the fact that Libby's waiver on January 5, 2004 was presented to him by the FBI, and not by White House personnel. What Fitzgerald seems to be saying is that any claim by Libby to Miller that his waiver was coerced by his employer was therefore bullshit.

He also seems to be saying that he was aware there was a conversation between Tate and every other person Libby has touched in this mess, where Tate reasurred folks at the WaPo and NBC that Scooter had voluntarily given the waivers. If as (Judy Miller's attorney) Floyd Abrams was maintaining, Tate was telling him Libby's waiver to Judy was coerced, Fitzgerald was going to be looking at ol' Scooter's role in this awfully hard.

It's a delightful peek into the thumb screws Fitzgerald has applied to the whole ugly, brutal pack from the start, and also to watch him document the entire thing for the future benefit of a judge. As Reddhedd notes, "He's completely anal; this is totally the kind of prosecutor I love."

I spoke to Anthony Bouza yesterday, one of Fitzgerald's friends from college, who is an attorney here in Los Angeles. Bouza went to law school (and lived for three years) with James Comey and John Goggins, one of Fitzgerald's classmates in high school. It was Goggins who introduced Comey to Fitzgerald in the first place. (And for those late to the story, or struggling to keep up, Comey was the #2 at the Justice Department who finally went to Ashcroft and told him he had to recuse himself from the Plame case, and then appointed Fitzgerald to the Special Counsel job. He finally got sick of the Gonzo show and recently left for Lockheed-Martin.)

Bouza testified to the power of Fitzgerald's integrity and his toughness ("Pat's not the guy I would want coming after me"), but also noted that even in a world of very smart people at Amherst, Fitzgerald was considered extremely clever. He cited as evidence of this that Fitzgerald's tack of getting reporters to go to their sources to release them from confidentiality was his own innovation, and had not been done before. I got the feeling that this novel approach was something his lawyer friends were particularly impressed by. The thrust of the letter -- basically, "you don't have to release Judy Miller, but if you don't, I'm gonna assume she's in jail because you want her to be, dickhead" -- bears this out.

Okay, I added the dickhead. But you get the idea.

One final note. And I apologize for this in advance, so in light of how my post this morning grossed everybody out, I'm giving warning that the following thought is not pretty.

Fitzgerald's letter indicates that the July 8, 2003 meeting between Miller and Libby took place at the St. Regis Hotel. Now, I'm sure there are many fine restaurants at the St. Regis Hotel. But the fact that the tone of Scooter's letter was much more familiar than your pure reporter/source communique would ordinarily be ("Out West, where you vacation, the aspens will already be turning. They turn in clusters, because their roots connect them. Come back to work---and life"), combined with the NY Metro's account of Judy's history of working her way through the Washington establishment on her back, means that more people than just gutter-minded me will have to ask -- WHAT THE FUCK WERE THEY DOING MEETING AT THE ST. REGIS HOTEL?

And that's the "eeeewwww" factor for the day.

(via Talk Left)

Update: More of a shameless plug, really. My story Judy/Times story is up on Yahoo. It's already got a 4.5 out of 5 score, so if you're feeling charitable, please vote for it. If not, well, go have a beer.


White House Evacuates For Huricane Patrick

Steve Perry, in The Blotter:
What's so safe about Harriet Miers? You can be sure the Bush gang recognized her appointment would draw cries of cronyism, coming so soon on the heels of Katrina and the Mike Brown saga. It's likewise plain that they saw the conservative reaction coming: Dick Cheney got on the line with Rush Limbaugh just a few hours later as part of the Miers media rollout.

Meanwhile no one, the major pro-Dem bloggers included, is paying attention to what may prove to be the biggest elephant in the room: the looming conclusion of special prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald's year-and-a-half-long investigation of the Plame/CIA leak. On Sunday, the WashPost's CIA love slave, Walter Pincus--who has been a steady and reliable source of stories damaging to Bush--reiterated in the WashPost that Fitzgerald is trying to establish a conspiracy involving Karl Rove and Scooter Libby, the president's and vice-president's right hand men. On ABC's This Week, George Stephanopoulos dropped this teaser: "A source close to this [investigation] told me this week that President Bush and Vice President Cheney were actually involved in some of these discussions."

Play this out. Discount what Stephanopoulos said if you like. We are still left with a multiplicity of grand jury leaks since this summer indicating that Fitzgerald is angling for criminal conspiracy charges against two of the most senior officials in the Bush White House. If this happens, it's sure to elicit legal challenges on grounds of executive privilege and--this being the Bush crew--national security. Against this backdrop, the president appoints to the Supreme Court his White House counsel and former personal lawyer, a woman repeatedly described in the past 24 hours as a "Bush loyalist" and "a pit bull in size 6 shoes." See anything remotely suspicious?
See? I'm not the only one. Meirs is a) acceptable to Harry Reid, and b) a a full-on Dubya love slave.

Screw the fundies, it's lifeboat time.


Monday, October 03, 2005

Back in the Saddle

The Rapturous Martyr of the Alexandria Detention Center returned to "work" (*cough*) and addressed a humble gathering of her peers:
Ms. Miller said Mr. Libby had not agreed to these conditions until late last month and so, contrary to what she called White House "spin," she could not have testified a year ago or avoided jail.
It took her HOW FUCKING LONG to accuse the White House of spin? And not, you know, because 2,000 Americans lie dead. No, because they are hurting her feelings.
Ms. Miller also turned over her notes to Mr. Fitzgerald, but she said she was allowed to redact them herself, removing irrelevant information, rather than having to submit them to a third party to redact.
I was hot, wanton, stinking of sex. "Oh Irv," I moaned, quivering at his touch like a woman dying of thirst. The name of Valerie Wilson was never mentioned in our conversations.
In an interview after her appearance, Ms. Miller said she would cooperate with the newspaper's reporters. She said she was uncertain whether she would write her own account, either in the newspaper or in a book.
I'm thinking a book. Maybe a book, Judy. Maybe a book you brag to your friend you'll get $1.2 million for, even though the deal is not signed and the publisher might just as well go flush the cash down the shitter 'cos at $27 per book they'll never see that nut again.
Ms. Miller returned to her desk in the newsroom for the first time since she was jailed on July 6. Bouquets of flowers surrounded her computer, which a technology assistant said was clogged with 100,000 e-mail messages.
She also said she was exploring all the options, but she planned to first take some time off to urge Congress to pass a federal shield law to protect reporters with confidential sources.
Like the one even her own editor Bill Keller claims would not have covered Judy in this circumstance? I guess everyone needs a hobby.
She said she had not contemplated what it would be like to return to the paper and pick up her duties as a reporter, but added: "This is my clan, this is my tribe. I belong here."
Hard to imagine anyone wasting their breath arguing that one.

Update: David E: "No dear, you belong in Baghdad. And I’m not talkin’ 'Green Zone' either." More here.


Judy, Judy, Judy

Starting war in Iraq was not enough. She must now start one at the NYT.

(graphics love to The Heretik)


Wheels Within Wheels

The leak of the Miller/Libby letters still raises a lot of questions about where they came from, how they got into the hands of journalists, and the motives of the leakers. I swapped many emails this weekend with the best Traitorgate cryptologist on the web, emptywheel, to whom the bulk of the following observations must be credited. Alas emptywheel had to address real-world tasks today and didn't have time to post about it, but deserves mad props nonetheless.

There are three letters involved: a letter from Scooter Libby to Judith Miller dated September 15, 2005; a letter from Libby's attorney Joseph Tate to Special Counsel Patrick J. Fitzgerald dated September 16, 2005; and a letter from Floyd Abrams, Miller's attorney back to Tate dated September 29, 2005.

According to both Swopa and emptywheel, the PDF file was up on the New York Times website by 4:30 am ET, attached to an article by David Johnston and Doug Jehl. The same documents appeared at 11:14 am on Powerline in whatever fucking timezone THEY are in, so they were either leaked to them somewhat later, or Humbert Hinderaker couldn't be bothered to tear himself away from the Pamela Anderson soft core porn for at least six hours and forty-four minutes.

(And let's be very clear about this. Emptywheel would never use an epithet so base and childish as Humbert Hinderaker. That would be TBogg.)

There is some question as to whether the PDF actually appeared with the Johnston/Jehl NYT article when it first went up on the NYT website. When Editor and Publisher initially viewed the story, the letters may not have been attached. In the E&P writeup they comment that "The text of the entire letter, which was mailed to Miller's attorney, Robert Bennett, has not been printed in the Times or elsewhere."

Which certainly fuels the speculation that odd things are happening within the NYT news division itself, no? Arthur Sulzberger only thinks he's the most powerful man at the Times. We know it's the webmaster.

Libby's letter--at least the version on NYT--was faxed (see total page count on page 2), but was not on letterhead (and I don't care what people say--at this level, people are always going to write on letterhead).

Tate's letter appears to be an original, on letterhead.

And Abrams is some kind of copy or fax, because it is off-kilter and the heading is cropped. I'd say this is a copy and not a fax because it is so far off kilter (it looks as if it might have been stapled behind something else, and someone made a copy without taking out the staples). The Powerline version of Abrams' letter is the same, off-kilter and cropped letterhead.

This would suggest these letters came from Tate's office (original of Tate's, a draft from Libby, copy of Abrams). Although it could have come from Bennett's office (since he got to see Libby's letter before Judy did and would have had plenty of time to receive Tate's original from the 16th). Given that Bennett seems to be representing the NYT first, I think this is possible.

I guess I'm getting closer to believing they came from Tate's office. But not from Tate. I don't think they do Libby any favors. And they get the news out there that Judy did have reason to doubt the waiver.

Would there be someone in Tate's office who was so indiscreet as to leak these?
This jibes with previous notions about how the news of Miller's release came out. The story was broken by the Philadelphia Inquirer on Thursday, September 29 and many speculated at the time that the leak must've come from Tate's firm, which is headquartered in Philadelphia. Initially Tate himself had no comment, which indicates that Judy's release took him by surprise, but after an hour and a half he was chattering like a magpie.

Fitzgerald kept Judy on on ice the night before her testimony, under a marshal's watch, and probably did not want the attendant publicity that a leak would cause for fear her story would go all warbly. So the question remains -- who benefited from the three ring circus that ensued?

One thought -- Libby was the DC office managing partner for Tate's firm, Dechert LLP, before he went to work for Cheney. If there was someone in the firm with old axes to grind with the prickly Scooter, they could definitely be open to manipulation by those who saw it in their interest to stall Fitzgerald's indictments (say, until they could stack the Supreme Court with people friendly to their upcoming legal plight).

Update: It has also been suggested that the Power Tools could've simply taken the documents from Times website. This can be neither confirmed nor denied.


Sunday, October 02, 2005


Our good friends Jo Fish from Democratic Veteran and Fixer from Alternate Brain got together with a bunch of other veterans and formed a blog called Main and Central, with a focus on veterans and active military people from a lefty perspective.

I always love reading Jo's and Fixer's blogs because their background gives them unique insight into the lives of service people and how they are being affected by current government policy (which is mostly made by chickenhawks who only know how to send other people to war). Plus they both have great eyes for stories and they write like king hell bastards (and I mean that in the best, most manly Hunter Thompson-esque way). I have no doubt it will be a blockbuster of a blog.

So be a patriot today, go check 'em out and leave some juicy comments. Oh and cuss a lot. It'll make 'em rowdie.

(Before anyone asks, that's a Robert Capa photo of the landing on Omaha beach.)


Miller and the NYT: What's Going On?

There is just something wrong with the NYT releasing that letter yesterday from Scooter Libby to Judith Miller. Something doesn't add up.

I think most people are accepting the fact that the Times had the letter from Libby to Miller because they shared an attorney with her, Bob Bennett, and the letter was delivered through him. But if this is how the Times obtained it and they published it against Miller's will (Arianna says Miller is furious), they are in murky ethical water at the very least (the word "skeevy" comes to mind).

Prosecutor ReddHedd maintains that their right to publish this letter against her will is legally subject to whatever agreement Miller had with the NYT regarding attorneys -- i.e., if the Times was footing the bill, they may have made Miller sign some agreement giving them unlimited rights and access to any of her legal communications. But ethically speaking, that is pretty dubious.

Scott Lemieux was also nice enough to do some research with an attorney friend of his who is expert in such things. She had this to say on the subject:
If the lawyer took evidence from Miller and gave it to the NYT without Miller's consent, he would almost certainly be violating ethical canons.  But I'm not certain why the question-writer thinks that the NYT got the letters from Miller's attorney, who got them from Miller.  I.e, the NYT could have gotten them from another source, like Libby.
Scott's friend brings up a point that has needled me -- did they get the documents from another source? The Times is staunchly defending Judy with one hand on its editorial page yesterday, and with the other releasing documents that she claims she doesn't want released. Odd time to fuck her over.

Which leaves me to contemplate three possibilities:

1. At some point the NYT decided, as the Left Coaster speculates, that their fortunes were separate from Miller's. And that somehow releasing the documents serves their own interests, even as she does not feel it serves hers. Which makes them perhaps legally sound, but ethical scumbags at best.

2. Miller's gnashing and wailing of teeth is all bullshit, as is her one woman show as First Amendment martyr. She's perfectly happy about the release of the documents because she believes they exonerate her in some way. Her refusal to name Libby at the press conference, even as the Times named him as her source the day of her release, was all a sham. In the end, all Judy Miller cares about is Judy Miller -- and keeping up appearances.

3. The third possibility is that somebody else leaked the documents to the Times. Which would remove some of their moral gray area (although unless they had never had access to the documents through Bennett, it is still somewhat murky). But having had the documents "leaked" to them, they are under some obligation as journalists to release them. Then the question arises -- why were they not leaked to the WaPo or some other news source? Why only to the (extremely compromised) Times?

We may never know. But something about this just stinks. I sure don't expect the less-than-transparent Times to come clean, but their journalistic and ethical credibility gets ever more fetid.

Update: The answer is evidently "3." Sources at the Times say there has been a coup in the news division by journalists tired of having their careers and the credibility yoked to the bullshit of some NeoCon slag, much to the horror of the brass. Will be blogging about it this afternoon for the HuffPo.

(HuffPo piece up soon, HuffPo editors thankfully more exacting than poodles.)


Blogging: The Pay Sucks, But the Perks Rock

So Warner Brothers is all over John Amato's (Crooks & Liars) huge traffic, and they invited him to a screening of the new George Clooney movie about Edward R. Murrow, Good Night and Good Luck, and he invited me. Like I would say no to a free movie.

It was a great film, very timely and really well done. A must-see for politically minded lefties. Afterwards there was a panel discussion and Clooney made a surprise appearance. We ran into Arianna, who knew Clooney, so we were all over that, and for some weird reason Amato had wanted a picture of himself at the Bing theater and had asked me to bring a camera so I had one with me, but only because I found it at the last minute in the glove box of my car. (We bloggers may indeed be the future of media, but we don't necessarily have our shit together.)

The Clooney/Amato show was a hoot. Clooney must've done 10 minutes on O'Reilly ("I can't hear you, Bill, over the noise from the vibrator" -- I really don't think O'Reilly wants that guy on his show as much as he thinks he does.)

Arianna says Judith Miller is seriously pissed that the NYT published her letter from Libby. Reddhedd called me when I was in the parking lot to tell me about the WaPo article by VandeHei and Pincus, and when I got home emptywheel sent me a great link to a Left Coaster post on the Miller/NYT rift. Scott Lemieux gave me some free legal advice, and swopa gave me a nice shout out.

I just love blogging.

Back to work....