Cheney, Libby and Miller Leads Where?

I haven't connected the dots in a while, but now reading that Cheney was in on the discussions about Wilson's article published the week before Novak's column, it's time for another go at it.

First up: The New York Times reports:

A lawyer who knows Mr. Libby's account said the administration efforts to limit the damage from Mr. Wilson's criticism extended as high as Mr. Cheney. This lawyer and others who spoke about the case asked that they not be identified because of grand jury secrecy rules.

On July 12, 2003, four days after his initial conversation with Ms. Miller, Mr. Libby consulted with Mr. Cheney about how to handle inquiries from journalists about the vice president's role in sending Mr. Wilson to Africa in early 2002 to investigate reports that Iraq was trying acquire nuclear material there for its weapons program, the person said. In that account, Mr. Cheney told Mr. Libby to direct reporters to a statement released the previous day by George J. Tenet, director of central intelligence. His statement said Mr. Wilson had been sent on the mission by C.I.A. counter-proliferation officers "on their own initiative."

Mr. Wilson wrote an Op-Ed article in The New York Times on July 6, 2003, saying that "some of the intelligence related to Iraq's nuclear weapons program was twisted to exaggerate the Iraqi threat," and that his mission to Africa had been set in motion because of questions that Mr. Cheney's office had put to the C.I.A. The account, which Mr. Libby has provided to the grand jury, portrays his conversations with journalists as intended not to leak Ms. Wilson's name or to smear Mr. Wilson, but to distance the vice president from the criticism raised by Mr. Wilson.

Also, the article quotes unnamed lawyers as saying Libby spoke to Miller twice before Plame's identity was disclosed by Novak - the first time being on July 8.

Adam Liptak, in another New York Times article, reports that Floyd Abrams, one of Judith Miller's attorneys, told Liptak that Miller provided the grand jury with an edited version of her notes. [link corrected]

"The notes were redacted to omit everything but the notes taken concerning discussions with Libby about Plame," Mr. Abrams said.

Finally, Liptak reports,

Mr. Fitzgerald only recently agreed to confine his questions to Ms. Miller's conversations with Mr. Libby concerning the identification of Ms. Wilson, Mr. Abrams said.

Some interesting questions remain:

  • Why did it take the grand jury four hours to question Miller about two telephone calls?
  • Who was Bob Novak's other source at the "Senior Administration Level" besides Karl Rove? Fitzgerald knows, and has known for some time, since it's pretty obvious to all that Novak has cooperated. Is it George Tenet? How many reporters did Libby direct to Tenet's statement, as he was directed to by Cheney? How many other White House officials did he instruct to direct reporters' questions to Tenet's statement? Having done so, isn't it logical reporters would call Tenet for further comments?
  • Who was Walter Pincus's source--the one he spoke to on Saturday, July 12, two days before Novak's column ran? We know Pincus also spoke to Libby - did Libby direct Pincus to Tenet? Tom Maguire does some dot connects and disconnects today on Tenet. David Corn has more on the White House "blame the CIA" defense.

One more random item of interest: In Lewis Libby's letter of September 15 to Miller in jail, vetted by all lawyers and Fitzgerald before it was sent, Libby tells Miller he expects that her testimony will help him. Curious choice of words. If he didn't believe he was in hot water, why does he need help?

But Joseph Tate, Libby's lawyer, continues to insist Libby is not at risk:

Libby's attorney, Joseph Tate, said Friday that Libby had not given Miller the name of the CIA agent, Valerie Plame, and also said Libby is not a target of the investigation.

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  • Re: Cheney, Libby and Miller Leads Where? (none / 0) (#1)
    by jimakaPPJ on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:04:33 PM EST
    et al - The interesting thing to me is that she had a waiver from Libby for what, over a year? (A long time.) So she didn't go to jail because of that. She went because she is fearful of other questions the prosecutor might ask, or because she wanted to turn herself into a media goddess. Now I might do the latter if it took a couple of days... But not for months. So she went because she doesn't want to talk about conversations with other people. Wilson? Cooper? "X"? It would be a real shame if Fitzgerald has given her a pass on all but Libby. I hope that isn't true. It wouldn't serve anything and would cast a shadow of "politics" over the whole investigation.

    Re: Cheney, Libby and Miller Leads Where? (none / 0) (#2)
    by Fr33d0m on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:04:33 PM EST
    If Fitzgerald kept her in jail for information about Libby that he couldn't get elsewhere, couldn't that information be less about Libby as conspirator and more about some inane segment of conversation that would verify something else? 4 hours doesn't seem all that long if you are drilling down several ways to try to test veracity, or if you are badgering a hack. If Fitzgerald didn't need or want to talk to her about others (Bolton should be on that list) then he must have enough about them. I can't shake the ugly feeling that we're being played somehow here. It all seems too easy. The arrangement to free her could have been made some time back. What was really gained here and by whom? I am sure Fitzgerald needed the testimony, but why did she decide to step up now? Is it that all the administration's peices are in the right positions now? I've read that she may have done so because she found out Fitzgerald was asking for an extension. I don't find that compelling; she was in there long enough to feel comfortable. I don't doubt that repgnicons did what they could to make her stay more enjoyable. I guess it could be that everyone decided the struggle wasn't getting the right press and with Fitzgerald possibly asking for an extension it would be best to get out. But I don't really believe it. One last thing. For the administration to allow this to go on for so long, it seems to me one or more of the following must be true: 1. The guilty party is very important to them, but not the VP or POTUS. 2. They really believe they are innocent. 3. The repugnicons are playing a bigger game than we are seeing. 4. Fitzgerald has them by the gonads on something big and is well protected. (Yes it could be this very case) 5. This is all a game designed to make everyone feel like justice is possible.

    Re: Cheney, Libby and Miller Leads Where? (none / 0) (#3)
    by Talkleft Visitor on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:04:33 PM EST
    Didn't Bush promise to get to the bottom of this? Why didn't he just ask his staff to fess up and then turn the guilty party over to the authorities? How much money is this investigation costing taxpayers?

    Re: Cheney, Libby and Miller Leads Where? (none / 0) (#4)
    by squeaky on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:04:33 PM EST
    gwg-It is costing taxpayers a lot less than the Iraq war. Chimperor and his bunch of evil bannanas conspired to dupe the American people, by fixing facts and evidence in order to to sell the Iraq war as a noble cause. His 'promise' was made so as to keep the big lie afloat. Fitzgerald's investigation is not throwing good money after bad if he is able to shine some light into the dark corners of the neocon empire.

    Re: Cheney, Libby and Miller Leads Where? (none / 0) (#5)
    by Talkleft Visitor on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:04:33 PM EST
    You are so right, Squeaky!

    Re: Cheney, Libby and Miller Leads Where? (none / 0) (#6)
    by squeaky on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:04:33 PM EST
    So Miller was working with Libby, Bolton, Rove, Cheney, et.al. in July '03 on a story about all the WMD's that were still in Iraq:
    Ms. Miller spoke with Mr. Libby first on July 8, when the two met, and on July 12, when they spoke by phone. She was working on an article about banned weapons in Iraq that was not published.
    At that point her 'story' could only have been yellow journalism in an attempt to discredit Wilson's powerful op-ed from July 6 and keep Americans frightened about more terror attacks so they would continue to line up in support of the illegal war.
    Ms. Miller asked whether he knew Mr. Wilson or anything about the assertions in the article. Mr. Libby said he did not know Mr. Wilson, but told her that White House aides were looking into the former ambassador's assertions. Ms. Miller did not write an article about the trip.
    I think that Tenet was not happy about being set up by Cheney as the fall guy for delivering "faulty intellegence" to the WH. So he played along while also leaving a paper trail proving that Cheney was the man who ordered the CIA not to deliver any evidence that contradicts the WH assertons that Saddam had an active WMD program, was involved in 9/11 and was a imminent threat to the US.

    Re: Cheney, Libby and Miller Leads Where? (none / 0) (#7)
    by squeaky on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:04:33 PM EST
    Libby's love letter to Miller is a riot, not only does he say her that her testimony will help him (with what?) but he waxes poetic about pent up neocon propaganda ready to gush forth from her pen and pulpit. Whatever her testimony will do for Libby personally her freedom will surely allow her to garner public support for his pnac war machine.
    “You went into jail in the summer. It is fall now. You will have stories to cover—Iraqi elections and suicide bombers, biological threats and the Iranian nuclear program. 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. Until then, you will remain in my thoughts and prayers.” “With admiration, Scooter Libby.”
    Editor & Publisher via kos pdf of Libby's letter available here.

    Re: Cheney, Libby and Miller Leads Where? (none / 0) (#8)
    by chemoelectric on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:04:34 PM EST
    It seems Libby takes writing lessons from Peggy Noonan.

    Re: Cheney, Libby and Miller Leads Where? (none / 0) (#9)
    by squeaky on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:04:34 PM EST
    digby posts a
    tantalizing thought from his super-smart commenter Sara:
    link Sara proposes:
    an interesting theory from his Following a link from Laura Rozen it looks like Fitzgerald has another target of interest (or maybe two). I gather this was a minor line out from his Ryan case (that just started trial), but he interveaned in the case against Conrad Black and Hollinger International, flipped the current Publixher of the Sun Times, and nailed two members of Hollinger's board -- Richard Perle and Henry Kissinger. Apparently the Sun Times Publisher has taken a plea agreement (two years in Jail) and will be a witness against Perle. Kissinger's consultancy firm has apparently paid a very large fine (more than a million) but he is still a potential target.
    Her whole comment is worth read.

    Re: Cheney, Libby and Miller Leads Where? (none / 0) (#10)
    by squeaky on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:04:36 PM EST
    NYT makes a correction. How interesting. I thought that this was the first time I heard anything about the article Miller was supposedly working on, so I quoted it above. It turns out to have be doomed to the corrections page.
    Ms. Miller spoke with Mr. Libby first on July 8, when the two met, and on July 12, when they spoke by phone. She was working on an article about banned weapons in Iraq that was not published.
    the "correction":
    Because of an editing error, a front-page article yesterday about testimony provided by Judith Miller, a New York Times reporter, to a grand jury investigating the leak of a C.I.A. agent's identity, referred incorrectly to an article Ms. Miller was working on in July 2003. The article, about banned weapons in Iraq, was indeed published, on July 20, 2003
    NYT Corrections How fishy. Was she ever working on anything other than conspiracy. I doubt it. The editor and lawyer for the times refused to answer the question posed by the staff of the NYT as mentioned in Jehl's reporting of the Q& noA session.