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Cheney, Bush and the Missing Plame E-mails

Do the missing e-mails from the Office of the Vice President implicate Bush and Cheney in Plamegate? Jason Leopold writes:

The officials, some of whom are attorneys close to the case, added that more than two dozen emails that the vice president's office said it recently discovered and handed over to leak investigators in February show that President Bush was kept up to date about the circumstances surrounding the effort to discredit former Ambassador Joseph Wilson.

The sources indicated that the leak probe is now winding down, and that soon, new information will emerge from the special counsel's office that will prove President Bush had prior knowledge of the White House campaign to discredit Plame Wilson's husband, former Ambassador Joseph Wilson, who accused the administration of "twisting" intelligence on the Iraqi threat in order to win public support for the war.

If you are wondering what President Bush told Fitzgerald during his 2004 interview, Jason reports,

According to four attorneys who over the past two days have read a transcript of the President Bush's interview with investigators, Bush did not disclose to either investigators or the special counsel that he had authorized Cheney or any other administration official to leak portions of the NIE to Woodward and Miller or any other reporter. Rather, these people said the president said he frowned upon "selective leaks."

Bush also said during the interview two years ago that he had no prior knowledge that anyone on his staff had been involved in a campaign to discredit Wilson or that individuals retaliated against the former ambassador by leaking his wife's undercover identity to reporters.

I'm mostly interested in where Fitzgerald is headed. There are two things we need to know to solve the puzzle. If I were an investigative journalist, as opposed to a lawyer analyzing news reports and court filings, here's what I would concentrate on:

  • Nailing down the identity of Bob Novak's source, Bob Woodward's source and Walter Pincus's source.
  • Identifying the Administration officials who got immunity or a deal to plead to lesser charges in exchange for cooperation.

By Fitz' insistence in the pleading that Libby isn't entitled to Mark Grossman's or other officials' witness statements until he turns them over pursuant to the Jencks Act, Grossman is one. Besides Grossman, I'm thinking Ari Fleischer, Fred Fleitz, John Hannah, David Wurmser.

Those whose cases seem to be unresolved are Karl Rove and Stephen Hadley, either or both of whom may either have immmunity or deals or be facing Indictment.

I still think Fitzgerald's goal is Dick Cheney. If I were a reporter, that's where I'd be looking. I'd take another look at David Addington, as well. One question I have, does Cheney write his own e-mails and personally read e-mails from others, or do secretaries and aides handle all that?

I'd also like to see some more writing on George Tenet. Why isn't he going to be a witness? Why didn't he testify before the grand jury? Has he been interviewed in recent months? (Background here and here.)

Like Armitage, he recently joined the board of directors of a corporation, so I assume he's home free, and probably one of the "innocents accused" Fitzgerald likes to refer to.

Elsewhere on the web:

Christy at Firedoglake is burning up the web with detailed analysis of Fitz's filing. TPM has today's press gaggle with Scotty. The New York Times provides analysis of Scotty's conference.

The Washington Post has a Bush leaker's response:

A senior administration official, speaking on background because White House policy prohibits comment on an active investigation, said Bush sees a distinction between leaks and what he is alleged to have done. The official said Bush authorized the release of the classified information to assure the public of his rationale for war as it was coming under increasing scrutiny.

Also, the official said, the president has not been accused of authorizing the release of the name of Valerie Plame, the undercover CIA operative whose unmasking in a July 2003 newspaper column prompted the federal investigation. "There is a clear difference between the two," the official said. "I understand that in politics these two can be conflated. And we're going to have to try to deal with that. But there is an active investigation and that limits our ability to do so."

Arianna weighs in here and here.

The New York Times has an editorial, Playing Hardball with Secrets.

[Graphic created exclusively for TalkLeft by CL.]

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  • Re: Cheney, Bush and the Missing Plame E-mails (none / 0) (#1)
    by Sailor on Fri Apr 07, 2006 at 03:47:03 PM EST
    A senior administration official, speaking on background because White House policy prohibits comment on an active investigation
    When the hell is the MSM going to start revealing these liars who have violated their trust!?

    Re: Cheney, Bush and the Missing Plame E-mails (none / 0) (#2)
    by scarshapedstar on Fri Apr 07, 2006 at 09:04:39 PM EST
    speaking on background because White House policy prohibits comment on an active investigation That's a laugh. Remember when this "rule" popped up only after it became clear they weren't weaseling out of this investigation? For like two years it was "we're innocent, we're innocent, we're innocent" and then when that was revealed as BS it became "oh, sorry, can't comment." WTF? Good lord, I'm glad I don't have to try to justify these things to myself.

    Re: Cheney, Bush and the Missing Plame E-mails (none / 0) (#3)
    by oldtree on Fri Apr 07, 2006 at 10:29:01 PM EST
    if someone like von stauffenberg had only succeeded, If DeepThroat hadn't had enough of edgar the cruel, and trickydick the racer, if linda tripp didn't have a tape recorder the only thing that saves democracy is a good telling of offical secrets to the public. truth is the only thing that matters, and the only thing that will keep it around. and let's see if we can think of any that would be considered real secrets, oh yes. damaging to our national security, oh yes. but they are all by people doing so under orders to enable them to discredit someone exposing a lie, about them. this is a high crime when done by numerous members of our government, together, and for specific purpose. exposing a high crime is not, it is an obligation. exposing it just might make it stop, and really be a measure of the security we appear to be so enamored of. we may even get our military back to peace time activity before they are broken. how many top military people have to tell us that the military arm in iraq is broken before we will listen? will that be in time to keep them from collapse? why are the generals willing to publicly state this view quickly replaced with someone that is willing to say the opposite? how many days of being in fear for your life from non combatants can a person stand in the streets of iraq?

    Re: Cheney, Bush and the Missing Plame E-mails (none / 0) (#4)
    by Talkleft Visitor on Sat Apr 08, 2006 at 12:41:04 AM EST
    What's Ironic is how the White House runs on it's own with not a soul in it. Simply Amazing. It's as if we are to believe that each office is filled with staff members 24 hours around the clock working day and night. Another Leak. Another Scandal,Another Speech.

    Re: Cheney, Bush and the Missing Plame E-mails (none / 0) (#5)
    by Talkleft Visitor on Sat Apr 08, 2006 at 01:15:21 PM EST
    Ignorant Legal Question: Is the Vice-President subject to normal criminal risk or is he shielded like the President ?

    Re: Cheney, Bush and the Missing Plame E-mails (none / 0) (#6)
    by Talkleft Visitor on Sat Apr 08, 2006 at 01:59:35 PM EST
    Posted by marc sobel April 8, 2006 02:15 PM
    Ignorant Legal Question: Is the Vice-President subject to normal criminal risk or is he shielded like the President ?
    At the very least, he's shielded by the President. Darth Dickie would get pardoned in a heartbeat if need be. But, I, too, would like a ruling or a clarification at least on the Presidential/Vice Presidential Power to declassify at the wave of their magic wand. Isn't there a procedure that even they go through? Doesn't it involve more than just the parts of the NIE they like, for example? Wouldn't a bit of NOTICE, THOUGHT AND PRUDENT JUDGEMENT with reasonable notice be required? That would seem to disqualify this President, outright. This whole business of, "Abracadabra! Now it's against the Law! Now it isn't!", has always seemed a bit much.

    Re: Cheney, Bush and the Missing Plame E-mails (none / 0) (#7)
    by squeaky on Sat Apr 08, 2006 at 02:16:52 PM EST
    charliedontsurf1
    But, I, too, would like a ruling or a clarification at least on the Presidential/Vice Presidential Power to declassify at the wave of their magic wand.
    The only hope for that would be to win a majority in Congress. The concept of Unitary Executive can only fly when there are no checks and balances in place aka now. Bush is flying high and untouchable. His epithet is : Nah, nahna nah nah, you can't get me. Those words will appear on his ephithet as well. Can't wait.

    Re: Cheney, Bush and the Missing Plame E-mails (none / 0) (#8)
    by Talkleft Visitor on Sat Apr 08, 2006 at 03:23:53 PM EST
    Nah, Squeak, I meant a clarification from Jeralyn or some other legitimate authority on Constitutional Law and the respective powers to of these clowns to actually declassify and what it entails. I can have a Google duel with anyone and just read the stuff that tells me what I want to hear. Christ, give him a year or two, even the Jeepster could figure that out. Three to Five, and BB is in the hunt. I'd really like to know what they can legitimately do. They just can't abracadabra the stuff any more than Clinton could. There's got to be a test for legitimacy. Some criteria has to be met. They just can't continually use the Constitution for toilet paper because they say so. I just don't buy it.

    Re: Cheney, Bush and the Missing Plame E-mails (none / 0) (#9)
    by squeaky on Sat Apr 08, 2006 at 04:38:11 PM EST
    charliedontsurf1-The ideas that Gonzales, Joo and others attorneys working for this admin have come up with as relates to the Unitary Executive are untested. Bush dares anyone to take it to the courts. Look at his signing statements, never had to veto a bill, he just adds on that he is exempt from congress' law. The executive branch must follow his signing statements not Congress' law. Don't know why you think google is insufficient when it comes to researching an opinion from a" legitimate authority on Constitutional Law". Although more from Jeralyn is always welcome. It has been a rather hot topic and lots of legitimate discussion is out there.