This is the question of the year, and a core issue for the ramifications of the Libby Perjury Case.
Unfortunately the issue of Plame's status has so far been left off-the-plate since this isn't an espionage or treason case (as it should be).
Still, based on much of the testimony that has been given so far quite a few clues can be gleaned. Libby's principle defense is that he simply forgot that he already knew Valerie Plame-Wilson worked at the CIA and that'd had already told several people including Judy Miller, the VP's chief media person (Cathie Martin) and Ari Fleischer days before the conversation where he claims Tim Russert told him about Plame on July 10th.
So is he forgetful or just an f-ing liar? And if he's lying - why?
As I discussed in this diary, the revelation of the covert CIA operative is serious business. As far as I'm concerned it's Treason,. Classified information - except by a Whistleblower when a Crime has been committed - should not be shared with persons without the proper clearance and a specific need to know.
Sharing classifed information with people who have a proper clearance isn't a problem - but clearly at some point someone who shouldn't have known about Valerie's status found out about it, that conversation is our breach point.
Further under Federal Law.
Whoever, having or having had authorized access to classified information that identifies a covert agent, intentionally discloses any information identifying such covert agent to any individual not authorized to receive classified information, knowing that the information disclosed so identifies such covert agent and that the
United States is taking affirmative measures to conceal such covert agent's intelligence relationship to the United States, shall be fined not more than $50,000 or imprisoned not more than ten years, or both.
But exactly where was the breach? Much like a suspense novel, this story has many twists and turns - this is my own attempt to try and straighten some of this pretzel out if only for my own understanding.
In trying to find out who had gone to Niger based on the Nicholas Kristof article Libby first contacted Marc Grossman at the State Dept, who told him that the person who went was Joe Wilson in late May.
From emptywheel on FDL.
Went to ask Armitage about it first.
Armitage said he didn't know a thing about it either.
Sent an email to Asst Secretary for Intelligence and Research [Ford] and African Affairs [Kansteiner]
African Affairs and INR both said they knew all about it. Got both of these emails back.
[Grossman seems almost sheepish, his shoulders raised, soft-spoken]
They said they knew it was Wilson, they knew he had reported back to the government.
Grossman went to Armitage with the information. Grossman then called Libby to give him "some of the answer."
I told him that "yes, actually people at State did know about such a trip."
Gave him Wilson's name. May have apologized that he didn't know. I told him that I had these two emails, fuller story yet to be told, I'd give a fuller story.
Reached out to Wilson, did it on the same day.
"I happen to know Joe Wilson, is it okay to just call him up"
Now isn't this an interesting and novel idea - why not just give Wilson a call, eh? Grossman did exactly that and Wilson told him that he thought that the Office of the Vice President had initiated the request for his trip, only because that's what the CIA told him.
Grossman's inquiry itself seems to be what produced the INR Report which mentioned the trip as well as Wilson's wife Valerie.
Information about Joseph Wilson's wife?
I recall reading Valerie Wilson was employed at CIA.
Mrs. Wilson was in the Chair of those meetings. Plame described as WMD manager type.
According to the report, she was the organizer of the Ambassador Wilson's trip.
"I thought this was pretty interesting. Odd that she worked at the agency and was involved in the organization of the trip."
Grossman thought it was not appropriate.
He remembers telling Libby about it the next time he attended a Deputies meeting at WH. June 11, 12:00-12:45 Afghanistan Deputies committee meeting
So here we have the first possible breach. The problem here is that the INR report was a) Wrong because Valerie did not "Chair" the meeting, she didn't even attend the meeting except for a brief introduction and b) ot didn't mention her covert status.
Still the INR memo itself was classified, so even mentioning any involvement by Valerie at all was by extension also classified. This is something that should have been mentioned by Grossman but may or may not have been.
From the Wapo.
The material in the memo about Wilson's wife was based on notes taken by an INR analyst who attended a Feb. 19, 2002, meeting at the CIA where Wilson's intelligence-gathering trip to Niger was discussed.
The memo was drafted June 10, 2003, for Undersecretary of State Marc Grossman, who asked to be brought up to date on INR's opposition to the White House view that Hussein was trying to buy uranium in Africa.
The description of Wilson's wife and her role in the Feb. 19, 2002, meeting at the CIA was considered "a footnote" in a background paragraph in the memo, according to an official who was aware of the process.
It records that the INR analyst at the meeting opposed Wilson's trip to Niger because the State Department, through other inquiries, already had disproved the allegation that Iraq was seeking uranium from Niger. Attached to the INR memo were the notes taken by the senior INR analyst who attended the 2002 meeting at the CIA.
I've often wondered why this analyst included this information in his notes at all. Valerie's involvement in the trip was peripheral at best, she had introduced her husband to others at CPD but didn't herself attend the meeting between them and Joseph where it was ultimately decided that he should go to Niger and investigate the claims made by the forged documents.
The analyst met Plame at the start of the meeting, but quite possibly didn't know she was a covert operative when the wrote his own notes.
What also seems to have occured so far based on the testimony is that a second breach actually occured directly between the CIA and OVP. Specifically between Robert Grenier the CIA's top man on Iraq, (their "Mission Manager") and Scooter Libby.
Grenier himself found out after Libby contacted him about the Kristof article which hinted at Wilson's Niger trip, and was actually somewhat flustered to receive a call directly from the Office of the Vice President
June 11 phone message that Scooter Libby called.
I wouldn't have recalled the message. But I recall I got a message at my office.
202 456-9000 was Libby's number.
The message is up, he identifies the writing of his secretary.
That was the first time this had ever happened that he got a call from Libby.
I placed the call to Mr. Libby.
He told me that there was an individual by name of Wilson "was going around town speaking to the people in the press" and claiming that he had been sent by the CIA. What else did he tell you.
He also said that Wilson was "claiming" that Wilson had been told that the only reason they were dispatching him was bc of interest expressed by OVP.
Did he tell you what he wanted.
He wanted me to verify for him whether or not there was truth to that story.
And whether it was true that CIA had done so was because of interest expressed by VP.
How did Libby refer to individual. By name or title?
By name. Joe Wilson, as I recall.
Did he say what Wilson's basis of knowledge for claim that VP had sent him.
People in CIA had told him this.
Q. What was Libby's tone of voice?
Even, serious, concerned about this.
He sounded a little aggreived. A certain accusatory tone when he stated this.
So Grenier is now tasked with finding out about Wilson and his trip.
Q. What did you know of the trip.
It was the first I had heard of it.
Libby didn't say, but it was clear he wanted answers right away.
This was the first time he called me, it was probable that I would see him in the next day or two. To me it was the way he reacted when he said Wilson was speaking to the press, it suggested that he needed the info sooner rather than later so he could get out in front of this story.
I attempted to call an info who I thought would have info.
This individual was working in CounterProliferation Division.
Who was it?
Kevin (using just first name)
There was a unit devoted to Iraq WMD. Keving was Deputy Chief of that unit.
Q. What happened when you called Kevin.
I spoke to someone besides Kevin. Since I also knew the Chief of that unit, I may have asked to speak to him. I asked this individual to convey these questions to Kevin. I don't recall who I was speaking to, I don't think it was anyone I knew.
I got a response shortly thereafter.
I'm very wobbly on sequence in time.
It was probably within a couple of hours.
I don't recall who I spoke to when they called back. I didn't know that person either. The person was fully knowledgable.
This person explained that in fact we, CIA, had sent Wilson to Niger to get info to determine whether or not Iraq attempted to purchase uranium.
Q. Did they give any more info?
Explained in a fair amount of detail when he went where he went, those kind of details.
While in fact OVP had been very interested in this, interest had been expressed also by State and Defense.
I felt I had all the information and more to respond to the request by Mr. Libby.
Q. The individual at CPD, did they also bring up Wilson's wife.
Mentioned to me that she was working within the unit at CPD that had sent Wilson.
That's why they knew about Wilson and why he was sent.
Q. Did the Ambassador's wife's name come up?
No, I'm certain that person did not tell.
Was that info that was new to you?
So yet again, this time from the CIA side Plame is mentioned in connection with Wilson's trip - but neither her covert status or her name were brought up. Grenier didn't know Wilson or her or her status, but Libby wasn't very patient getting his answers.
I didn't speak to Libby right away, I may have attempted to call his office. I had a following meeting at 4:15 that afternoon. I didn't get through to him.
What type of meeting. One of our regular Iraq update meetings where we briefed DCI the latest from Iraq.
I was concerned about not getting back to Libby before my 4:15 meeting.
Q. What happened at the meeting.
Someone came to the door and beckoned for me to come out. Had a note from Libby to call him right away.
I had never been pulled out of a meeting with DCI before.
I thought oh dear, I had wanted to initiate the contact. I wanted to appear forthcoming.
Two reasons to be concerned about getting back to him.
- Senior Admin official, want to be as forthcoming as possible.
- it appeared that Libby thought CIA may have behaved badly wrt Wilson trip.
Called him back.
Got him on the phone.
Told him that it was true, CIA had sent Wilson.
How much else I said I don't recall. I may have mentioned debrief was written up.
Second major point I made the people had verified that not only OVP, but also requests as well from State and Defense.
Q. What was his response to hearing that State and Defense had also been interested.
Asked if CIA would be willing to release that publicly.
I believe I did mention only in passing about Wilson's wife. In fact Wilson's wife works there and that's where the idea came from.
But here's the thing, Grenier originally didn't remember telling Libby that "Wilson's wife works at CPD". He forgot to tell the FBI once the investigation into the leak began.
Q. When you were first interviewed by FBI. Were you asked if you had discussed Wilson's wife with Libby. I'm sure the topic came up.
My response was that I didn't clearly remember.
I believe, thinking back that I probably had said I relayed this information to Libby. But I couldn't say for certain.
In connection with your GJ testimony 2004, do you recall what you said what your memory was about saying about Wilson's wife.
I said I may have.
Q. Some time after you testified in the GJ in January 2004. Did you continue to think about that question?
I was going over it in my mind. I was hoping that I hadn't mentioned anything to Mr. Libby, I really didn't remember anything new. But what I did remember was the way I felt immediately after.
I briefly felt guilty, that I had relayed too much information. I was going through a mental justification about why it was alright to have relayed this to Mr. Libby.
Q. What part were you having concerns about. Having mentioned that Wilson's wife worked at the CIA, revealing the identity of an agency officer, although it was indirect.
I didn't know her name, so I didn't give her name, but by saying Joe Wilson's wife worked at the CIA, I was revealing the identity of a CIA officer. It wasn't absolutely necessary, that is information that we guard pretty closely, and if we don't have to say it, we don't.
Q. You went through a mental justification. Senior Govt official, has every security clearance known to man. He may have met this person in the course of his business, this person may have briefed him. Did you come to any conclusions?
It wasn't as if one day I had a revelation. But as I thought about it over time, as I remembered specifically I developed a growing conviction that I had said it, I said to myself wake up and smell the coffee.
That's some strong brew I would think. Since Libby's defense is based on "faulty memory" the defense attorney's had a field day with this point.
The Defense also grilled Grenier over whether he knew, or told Libby that Plame was a covert operative.
J You didn't mention the name of Mr. Wilson's wife. You didn't mention anything to Mr. Libby whether Mr. Wilson's wife was covert.
J Covert in simple terms means undercover.
J CIA has lots of employees who are not covert.
J You heard she was a "staff person" correct?
G No, I heard she was working in that unit. Could have meant staffer, an analyst on loan, could have meant a number of different things, didn't ask for clarification.
J THe person you talked to gave no indication that Wilson's wife was covert. Correct?
And Libby wasn't the only one Grenier told about Wilson's wife.
J You testified you spoke with someone named Cathie.
J You're certain that this conversation with Harlow [CIA Pubic Affairs] and Cathie happened on June 11.
More on Harlow and Cathie later.
On redirect Fitz's team dug out the crucial nugget.
Z If the person at the CPD that you spoke to did not tell you Wilson's wife was covert. Why were you feeling uncomfortable.
G Because I knew that that person could be undercover. We were talking about a unit in DO the vast majority of whose employees are undercover.
Let's repeat that point the vast majority of people at CPD - are Undercover.
Grenier knew it, that's why he started feeling guilty - he didn't know for sure, but he knew damn well it was a possibility. Chances are so did Libby and so did Cheney.
Now we've had two seperate people confirm Wilson's trip and confirm his Wife's involvment in it, although both were somewhat wrong. She didn't send him, but he did go because she introduced him to others at CPD. The distinction was lost on many.
Now that Libby has gathered his facts the OVP began to formulate it's counter-spin strategy. Enter Vice Presidential Assistant of Public Affairs Cathie Martin.
She describes quite a bit of conversations concening Joseph Wilson going all the way back to May 6th.
F Did there come a time when you learned who the former ambassador was?
M learned it to be Joe Wilson from Bill Harlow. He's [the CIA] equivalent of Public Affair or Comm director. Or was, sorry.
F Can you place an exact date.
M No precise date, I believe it happened bt May 6 and the time he appeared on MTP and identified himself as Joe Wilson on July 6. I specifically remember not being surprised by who he was on MTP. I knew his name already.
Martin was apparently told by Harlow about Plame's connection to Wilson's trip.
H First was pleasant [emphasizes] I had never spoken to him before, talked about press reports, I was asking him, "we didn't send him." so I was saying to him, you must have sent him, who is this guy, what are you saying to the press, they're not taking my word for it. I remember him being, I didn't know who he [Wilson] was either, but apparently his name is Joe Wilson he was a charge in Baghdad, and his wife works over here. I understand charge to be diplomat who works overseas. Had been a charge, former is my recollection of what that meant. Has notes, but the notes don't have a precise date.
Martin then reported what she'd heard from Harlow to Cheney and Libby - and Libby confirms Harlow.
Asked to see VP and shortly thereafter told him and Scooter was there as well, told them what I had learned. It was the same day. I remember going into VP's office Scooter was there which was pretty normal. He told me Ambassador's name and apparently he was a charge and his wife works at CIA. Don't remember any specific response.
This means that Wilson's Wife being at CIA was now becoming common knowledge among the Veeps office, including Cheney who was in the room when Scooter told Martin.
Martin then used Harlow to find out which reporters were working on this story in order see where to best plant their own version of events, but first they had to put together their talking points.
M Week of July 7, meeting with VP on the Hill, we had another staff meeting, so we were in on Capitol Hill. Talked to VP about press inquiries and reports related to Wilson matter. He dictated to me what he wanted me to say.
Published on board.
1. Not clear who authorized travel
2. Did not travel at my request
3. A0parently unpaid
4. Never saw document allegedly trying to verify
5. He was convinced Niger could not have provided uranium to Iraq but in fact they did in 1980s 200 tons under IAEA seal
6. No written report
7. VP unaware of trip, conclusions, until Spring 03
8. As late as October considered judgment was that SH [Saddam Hussein] had indeed undertaken vigorous effort to acquire uranium from Africa–according to NIE.
There's a question mark in the margin, F asks, did he dictate question mark.
M I didn't know if I could use that (#8) because it was classified.
If Martin knew what was in the NIE, she too must have had clearance - and it's very interesting that she questioned a) whether classified material could be released and b) that the links to Plame weren't included in thier official talking points indicating that they knew it was too classifed to publically reveal.
But during this period between May 7th and July 7th as the OVP was setting up it's push back plan -- Scooter Libby met with Judith Miller.
So far in the trial everyone involved who has heard of Ms. Wilson has a security clearance - we haven't gone from what we used to call at my old defense contractor job "Black World to White World".
That didn't last.
F Did there come a time when you met with Libby
Miller: In OEOB, June 23. (Voice waivers)
M Mr. Libby appeared agitated and frustrated and angry
F HOw could you tell
M He's a lowkey and controlled guy, what he said made me think I was correct. He was concerned that CIA was beginning to backpdal to distance self from unequivocal estimates it provided before the war through a "perverted war of leaks."
F Did the topic of Joseph Wilson come up
F What do you recall was said
M His office had learned that he had been sent overseas, initially referred to as clandestine guy. VP had asked about a report in Winter 2002, in Africa, CIA hd sent Mr Wilson out to investigate claim.
F Was Libby saying VP sent WIlson
M the contrary. He said that VP did not know that Mr Wilson had been sent.
F What he said about Winter 2002 and how it related to trip.
M There had been reports, a report had gone up to the Hill indicating that Iraq hunting for uranium in Niger. VP had asked about those reporters, agency had taken upon itself to find out more. In the beginning he referred to Wilson as clandestine guy.
F Mr. Wilson's wife (voice not in great shape)
M Yes, when he was discussing intell reporting, he said his wife (referring to Wilson) worked in the bureau
F What did you understand bureau to mean
M I was a little unsure, My understanding was FBI, but the context it was clear he was referring to CIA.
F Any particular bureau?
M I thought he was using bureau to refer to Non proliferation bureau, but I wasn't sure.
Ladies and Gentlemen - we have an offical breach. Classified info has been passed to an unauthorized source. Technically it doesn't matter if Plame were covert or not, the document that originally linked her involvment, the INR, is classified. But if she were - and she was - this is much worse but did Libby (or Cheney) know this? Did they like Grenier have a guilty suspicion? The preverbal "Holy Sheep Shit" moment? Stay tuned.
Wilson's NYT Op-ed "What I didn't find in Africa" is published.
The Press is going postal and White House Press Secretary Ari Fleischer is getting a flurry of questions. He stuck to the talking points.
P Monday July 7, were you asked questions that morning regarding the charges, can you tell us about that?
Fl in that gaggle, a reporter asked "what's the WH's reaction." There's zero, nada nothing new here, other than we now know the name. I added the VP did not send this person, CIA sent on his own volition.
P further questions about 16 words?
Fl later, given this oped, on that question I had been previously told not to repeat the WH's "we're standing by the 16 words." I knew the ground was shifting, the worst place to stand as PS is where the ground is shifting. I punted, I said sort of yes and no. And said I'd have to get back to him.
On the very same day, the day after Wilson's Op-ed, Fleischer who had already announced has departure, had lunch with Libby for the very first time.
Fl I had announced I was going to be leaving, "Spend time with family." Shortly after Mr. Libby asked to go to lunch.
P enters govt. exhibit, schedule for that day.
12:00 lunch with Libby
P was it routine to have lunch engagemnts.
Fl typically I would eat at my desk.
P had you ever had lunch with Mr. Libby
Fl no sir
Fl our relationship good, I liked Mr Libby, I did not consider him as a source, when I asked him questions, he would tell me to ask Dr. Rice NSA.
P notwithstanding your relationship with Libby was good.
P where and who was present?
Fl just Libby and me
P was anything discussed
Fl my plans what I was going to do in the private sector. Talked about sports, football, both fans of the Dolphins. I don't remember if I brought up or Libby brought up the briefing. I said I got asked about Wilson. I said what I was asked by the OVP to say. What I recall Libby saying to me, reiterated that VP did not send Wilson. Amabssador Wilson got sent by his wife, she works at CIA, Works in CPD, I recall that he told me her name. This is hush hush this is on the QT.
Fleischer, not having the same security clearance as Libby and not being familiar with the inner-workings of CIA didn't realize the significance of "She works in CPD" where The Vast Majority of People are Undercover.
Libby wasn't normally a source for Fleischer, and in this case he interpreted the "This is hush hush on the QT" language to mean - "Leak it to reporters, don't let them know where it comes from".
P what did you understand Libby to mean by hush hush
Fl I thought it was kind of odd. My sense was Libby was saying it was kind of newsie, no one knows.
P did you understand that it was classified
Fl absolutely not. There's a very strict protocol when classified info is spread, my experience, when someone conveyed info that I was authorized to hear, it was always, "this is classified you're authorized to hear." When it's oral, people always say, "this is classified you cannot use it."
That night the WH delegation took off in AF1 & 2 on a trip to Africa. Eventually a copy of the INR Memo written in response to Libby's query to the state dept via Marc Grossman is faxed to the plane and received by Colin Powell.
Normally Cathie Martin would be the one to make calls to reporters and begin pushing the VP's talking points, but in this case Libby personally took the lead instead - leaving Martin on the sidelines.
M Going to VP to give an update, it was an unscheduled visit, talked to VP and Scooter, I wasn't getting any calls directly, Mitchell and Martin doing pieces for Evening News. Discussed with them should we try to talk to them and make sure they don't repeat the things we think are false. Should we make sure we're part of the story. General consensus was "yes" and Scooter would call them back. And Libby would call them back. VP made the decision to have Scooter call them back. Went into VP ante-office, Scooter has a little office there. Scooter called one of the reporters, I was there for the portion of one of the calls. I believe this was July 8. I left, I had a lot of phone calls I still needed to return. I was still not certain about NIE and was a little uncomfortable talking about the NIE and I was aggravated that Scooter that I was calling reporters and I wasn't.
So exactly why was it that Cheney decided to have Libby take charge and directly contact reporters? Was it because he wanted Libby to push the "Wilson's wife sent him" meme out to Reporters unwittingly through Fleischer and others knowing Martin's obvious qualms information from classified sources and that it was quite possible, although not yet confirmed yet in the trial, that they knew she was possibly, probably covert?
Was this Cheney's idea since he was the one who decidered Libby into this position?
The answer to those questions just might be found in David Addington's Testimony. Three key points - first, Libby wanted to know if the President could declassify something.
F were you aware controversy on SOTU
A I wouldn't say spring
F Were you involved
A Yes. Took place in COS office to VP, West Wing, larger office in OEB. Very small office, probably about the size of your table. Question asked, did Pres have authority to declassify information. The answer was yes. It's clear a President has authority, I cited a specific case. In that case, court said Dept of Navy v. Egan. Pres by virtue of role as Commander in Chief. Flows directly from Constitution and therefore I said Pres does have the authority even though there is a separate provision, although there are procedures, that would not prevent Pres from declassifying something. It's open and shut. Libby didn't give context. he just asked question about Pres' power.
F DId Libby give you an idea of what he was going to do with info
Since portions of the NIE and INR were still at this point classified, not to mention Valerie Wilson's CIA status, Libby has thus confirmed that they could be released by the White House if the President chooses to declassify them. This authority was extended to the VP under executive order in late March 2003.
Second, Libby also asked Addington, since he'd previously worked at CIA about CIA employees.
F Conversation about CIA paperwork
A Asked if someone worked at CIA, would there be records. Normal for him to ask me bc he knew I worked at the CIA. Kind of paperwork would depend on whether you were on the Operations or Analytical side. On operational side, CIA officers are not just free to use whoever they want, need to get approval, requesting permission to use someone, would generate paperwork approval. On analytical side there'd be a letter of instruction or contract. In any case, this is the govt, when you spend money, there's a money trail. I did tell him also it had been 20 years since I worked at the CIA.
This indicates to me that Libby was still fishing for info on how Wilson was sent, and the answer was that it couldn't be simply on a whim or as a result of nepotism - it had to be approved. He had to know, or at least suspect, at this point that the core of the entire smear on Joe and Valerie Wilson was baseless. There was no way that Plame could have personally dispatched her Husband to Niger to look for uranium as if she was asking him to take out the garbage or put down the toilet seat.
Not that such he thing has ever really stopped people in the Vice President's Office.
Third, did Libby suspect that Valerie might be undercover? Yes he did, since he asked Addington about it.
A: He asked me how you would know if you met someone from CIA if they were undercover. I responded when I worked out there, you'd ask if someone if they were undercover. He asked if they introduced themselves how you'd know. I told him you wouldn't know unless you asked or saw a piece of paper that said it was classified. (Like the INR Report!) I volunteered to him I could get him a copy of IIPA that makes it a crime to reveal identity of covert agent. I took it to his office and gave it to him.
Simply by asking the question Libby has shown that he suspects that Valerie Wilson might be undercover - and Addington has informed him that revealing the ID of a covert operative is a Crime, he even gave him a copy of the law.
Exactly when these conversations with Addington took place wasn't clear from the testimony I read, but the timing could be crucial - particularly since on this very same day July 8th, we had our second breach.
Libby talked to Judy Miller Again.
F Discussion about Mr. Wilson's wife on this occasion.
M Two streams of reporting on uranium and efforst by Iraq to aquire uranium, first stream reports like Wilson, –then made an aside, Wilson's wife works at WINPAC Weapons Intelligence Nonproliferation and Arms Control, specifically focused on WMD.
F Before June 23, had you ever heard that Wilson's wife worked at CIA.
M Not before that meeting
F On July 8, any new info
M WINPAC was new
WINPAC was also a Lie By this point Libby has personally been told twice that Wilson's Wife worked at CPD, not WINPAC. CPD is part of the CIA's Directorate of Operations where the Spy's work, WINPAC is not.
This deception may have been a way for Libby to distance himself from this breach, if Plame was covert, it's something that might be better for a reporter like Miller (or her collegues) to discover on their own once they'd gotten wind of it.
Did Libby tell Judy he'd gotten his information from other reporters? Nope.
F Any discussion of learnign this from other newspaper reporters.
F discussion about NIE
M Defended NIE, based on reporting from many different sources He said classified version even stronger, it was not at all equivocal. Said if anything classified was stronger.
Ok, yet again - a total f-ling lie. The classified version of the NIE has very significant doubts about the Niger Yellowcake from State, doubts which were part of why they didn't think Wilson even needed to go to Africa.
F Any qualification, any place where a doubt would be expressed
M Yes, didn't know classified or unclassified, said INR had expressed doubts about uranium hunting, alleged uranium hunting activities, had been included in appendix. What he was saying was that these doubts not prominently featured. He said policy makers had not seen them
Ok, well that's true - but oh by the way - all this shit was still classified!
In for a penny (with Plame) in for pound with the INR I guess.
On the same day that Libby was meeting and leaking to Miller about Plame for the second time, Richard Armitage (who wouldn't have even known about Wilson's Wife if not for Libby's call to his deputy, sat down and created breach number three with Robert Novak.
Libby and Russert have a phone coversation, Libby says "Russert told me that Wilson's Wife works at CIA" - Russerts says the subject never came up.
Somebody is a LIAR.
Air Force One, still in mid trip. The Press is still going balistic over Wilson's Op-ed. From Flieschers testimony.
P July 11, Dr. Rice, press gaggle on same subject.
Fl On a trip abroad, I'd ask NSA to go to the back of the plane to address press. Dr. Rice came to the back. That was contentious, Press asking how could this happen? You're the WH, mistakes like this shouldn't happen. Dr. Rice said something that had not been previously said, Had DCI wanted those words to come out, it would have come out. Now WH seems to be blaming CIA for words not getting taken out.
In point of fact the DCI (George Tenet) did want those words to come out, and they had been taken out of the President's Cincinati Speach, only to be re-inserted allegedly by Rice's then deputy Stephen Hadley.
Later on Air Force One, Fleischer heard a second reference to Wilson's Wife, this time from WH Communications Director Dan Barlett (I would surmise based on the INR which had been faxed to the plane)
P Did you hear someone on AF1 make another reference to Wilson's wife.
Fl Staff cabin, Dan Bartlett, Comm Dir, reading a different document. He said, "I can't believe he or they are saying that the VP sent Amb Wilson to Niger, his wife sent him, she works at CIA. He said this in front of me.
P Would you characterize this as a conversation?
Fl Dan was venting. That became the second reference I learned, I overheard. I don't recall who was there.
P What was your reaction?
Fl I heard all this before. Never seemed very newsie. The one thing it backed up my statement, VP didn't send Ambassador, he was sent by his wife. I had one more nugget to back up that statement.
So now having heard about Wilson's Wife twice, and without any indication that this was classified information - Fleischer passed it on to reporters, just as Libby had hinted he should do.
P Were you in Uganda. Can you tell us if you had an occasion to talk to reporters by the side of the road.
Fl President walking toward second event. Meeting with young children who were going to sing songs. A group of reporters on the side of the road. I recall I said to these reporters, If you want to know who sent Amb Wilson to Niger, it was his wife, she works there. Tamara Lippert Newsweek, David Gregory and John Dickerson, Time Magazine.
P was this a formal interview?
Fl One of the many conversations I had with the press, the event was not one I had to be there. You sidle up to reporters and chat what was on their mind. Maybe this will address some of these issues about how people got sent. This backs up WH statement.
That's breach number four.
Libby and Miller speak again.
F what do you remember
M I remember telling him that I didn't think I was going to write a story about it, the NYT wasn't interested in pursuing Plame story. We talked about retraction of 16 words. It was more following up on other two conversations. Don't have specific memory of other things
Seeing that Judy is the nail in the coffin for Libby - his defense team went after her with a Hockey Mask and Meat Cleaver on her various Memory Issues.
Robert Novak's Column revealing Valerie Plame's CIA connection was published.
At the WH the issue of Wilson's Wife came up yet again between Libby and his CIA briefer Craig Schmall. Normally the briefings were written and provided in binders to Libby and the Vice President. When questions would arise, if Schmall couldn't answer it immediately he would make a note in his copy of the binders's table of contents.
F has introduced this TOC, We've gone over the Tom Cruise [about Germany and the Scientologist] and complaint about the briefing
Schmall reads from the TOC: "Why was the [ex. Schmall explains] Amb told this was VP office question? Joe Wilson Valerie Wilson."
S Just Libby and myself were in the room that day.
S No recollection of this conversation independently.
F Stipulation July 14 2003 was a Monday.
This time though the question is coming from Libby wondering who in CIA told Wilson that the Vice President requested his trip.
Like Grenier, Schmall had a great deal of missing information. Much of this is understandable since he briefed Libby and sometimes Cheney six times a week for months. Recalling any specific conversation is like asking when the last time you asked your wife to pass the salt.
Again the defense went to town on that, even suggesting that Schmall lack of recollection may have been a ruse of some kind.
The 14th was also Ari Fleischer's last day at the White House. Two months later once the CIA investigation of the leak began, Fleischer freaked. Then lawyered up.
Fl I saw article in NYT that CIA asked DOJ into investigation of identity of covert CIA agent. Went online at WaPo, read very big story about CIA asking for criminal investigation. I read that article.
P Was the person identified?
Fl As I recall it was Amb Joseph Wilson's wife. I was absolutely horrified. I thought I may have played a role in outing, oh my god did I play a role in outing a CIA officer, even though I had no idea that she was classifed or covert,
P What did you do?
Fl I contacted counsel.
Eventually Fleischer cut an immunity deal with Patrick Fitzgerald, and did so without offering a standard "proffer" indicating what he had to trade. Essentially he arranged to skate on having been part of the leak - telling David Gregory about Plame working at CIA - in exchange for promising to tell the truth.
Both Grenier and Fleischer's reactions to realizing they may have aided in blowing the cover of covert CIA officer stands in very stark Contrast to Libby's - which was to go and run behind his "Tim Russert and/or Matt Cooper Told Me" line after being essentially warned of the potential consequences by Addington and IIPA and his own briefer who stated...
"I thought there was a very grave danger to leaking the name of a CIA officer," the briefer from Langley, Craig Schmall, said he told Messrs. Cheney and Libby during a morning session at the vice president's residence. "Foreign intelligence services where she served now have the opportunity to investigate everyone whom she had come in contact with. They could be arrested, tortured, or killed."
Both Grossman and Grenier have admitted to telling Libby about "Wilson's Wife" working at CPD under oath. Martin, Fleischer and Miller all heard Libby repeat this information before the alleged conversation with Russert.
Everyone involved has said he was aggitated and/or aggrieved over the issue - shoving his own press person out of the way to handle the issue personally. It was eating away at him, and quite likely the Vice President.
It's possible that Libby and Cheney, like Fleischer, Armitage, Grossman and Grenier didn't specifically know that Plame was a covert operative - but it's clear by their actions, leaving her out of the official talking points yet using her as a talking point anyway at every possible oppurtunity, that like Grenier they suspected it.
Libby's conversations with Addington practically clinch this, and it's from this point that their subsequent actions and deliberate lies make the best sense especially if the Plame smear was directed by the Vice President himself, which based the sidelining of Martin - it just might have been.
Libby's lies to the Grand Jury were likely an act of Sepuku designed to shield the Vice President, and possibly even the President who atually did declassify part of the NIE to rebut Wilson at Libby's request. This also makes sense with the defense strategy to toss Stephan Hadley and Karl Rove under the boss rather than the Veep - both of them have already been connected to the 2004 pre-election coverup that Bush was warned that his Uranium claims were not true prior to the SOTU, so they're easy targets for redirecting blame without getting too much blow-back all over the Veep.
Of course there's still the possibility the Libby has a swiss cheese memory, but even though the trial has some ways to go I'm betting on the former. Maybe that's just me.
P.S. Go Buy Anatomy of Deceit