11/16/2005

firedoglake - Woodward's bombshell

Libby Out of Trouble? Don't Hold Your Breath...

Here's the thing about the Libby indictment: however you read it, it's factually dense and intentionally so. And those facts, and Libby's deliberately inaccurate statements as recorded therein, point to a man who was trying to keep Patrick Fitzgerald from learning all the facts that he got anyway -- from all those other governmental officials who told him what they knew, about Libby and everyone else involved in this whole sorry mess.

Then along comes Bob Woodward yesterday. Finally opening his yap to jump up and down and wave his grubby hand in the air to stir up early interest in a new book's sales figures, to say that he heard the news about Plame a month earlier than Bob Novak. And, by the way, he hadn't bothered to tell anyone -- including his editors at the WaPo -- because he's too ethical *cough* to be bothered with discussing his information on the story of the moment with his employers.

Well, except for that mention to Walter Pincus which Pincus is saying didn't even happen the way Woodward says. (More on that catfight later.)

What does this mean for Libby? Are the charges just bunk, as his lawyers are going to be floating out over the next few days? Is Fitz just a crappo prosecutor who was throwing out charges to justify his existence, as some of the more wing-nutty folks have no doubt started saying?

Erm...not so much....

..the funny thing about being under oath in a courtroom: they ask you to tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth. Not just that portion of the truth that you find useful to you, and then you can embellish or just outright lie to cover your ass. When you are on the stand, you are asked to tell the whole truth (warning PDF).

-- Did Libby testify that Grossman gave him oral updates on the investigation into Wilson that Libby requested in late May/early June 2003? Erm...no.

-- Did Libby testify that Grossman told him directly on or about June 11 or 12, 2003, that Plame worked for CIA? Erm...no.

-- Did Libby testify that a senior CIA official told him that Plame worked for the CIA around June 11, 2003? Erm...no.

-- Did Libby testify about Cheney telling him that Plame worked for CIA around June 11, 2003, and that she worked in counterproliferation and that Cheney learned this information from someone at CIA? Erm...no.

-- Did Libby testify that he told Ari Fleischer about Plame on July 7, 2003? Erm...no...

he tried to keep Fitz from taking the next steps in the investigation. All of which is illegal. Period.

As for Fitz: well, it sure as hell looks like he's still investigating the matter, whether or not Scooter Libby is cooperating. And a whole lot of other people seem to be cooperating, don't they? And Fitz sure has a whole lot of other information we know nothing about in the public domain, doesn't he?

If I were Scooter, I'd be hunkering down with my attorneys over my large batch of discovery today and trying to figure out how many of my Administration pals have been planting knives that I don't even know about yet. And I'd be thinking long and hard about what it means to be the last man standing who hasn't fully cooperated around sentencing time if I'm convicted. Ahem.

Bob Woodward sure as hell didn't volunteer to be a stand-up guy and give information because of his civic-mindedness. *snerk* Nope, he had his ass subpoened and he testified because his source cooperated and gave Fitz the information that he spoke with Woodward. (And I say "he" here, simply for a marker, not because I know the gender of Woodward's source.)

For everyone out there who has been saying that Fitz was going to fold up shop and go home, I say, "Nuh uh." Stay tuned on this one. Fitz and his staff are still digging -- and with this Administration, there is clearly a whole hell of a lot of dirt.

posted by ReddHedd @ 6:25 AM

Bobby Has a Secret
...
Atrios put up a post about Woodward's appearance on Larry King the night before Fitzgerald announced the Libby indictments, where Michael Isikoff asks him about a "bombshell" revelation that he was supposedly sitting on. Woodward poo-poohs the whole thing. But it jogged my memory, because that night I remember hearing that same rumor and I took it seriously enough to call both Arianna and the NYT about it, and I could not remember for the life of me where I heard it.

I remembered.

From the Washington Note...

Arianna has said in the past that Fleitz was one of Judy Miller's sources. He was Bolton's go-to guy. To the best of my knowledge he has never been questioned by Fitzgerald, which would make sense, because otherwise Fitzgerald would've tripped to Woodward earlier.

It looks like Mr. Fitzgerald may finally be on the Bolton trail after all.

Update: BTW, while we're wildly speculating here, I'll mention that I was talking to one of the journalists who was leaked to at one point, and I asked them if they thought anyone other than Rove and Libby might be indicted. And they said "who was that guy who worked for John Bolton?" and I said "Fred Fleitz?" and they said "yeah, him." But they did it in a bit of a jokey fashion so I didn't take it entirely seriously (it was someone who knew, undoubtedly, who Fred Fleitz was). I just offer that up as more fodder.

Update 2: Jeralyn also thinks it might be Hannah, Fleitz or Wurmser, and has a side bet on Wurmser.

Update 3: A lot of speculation that Woodward's "source" is someone who has appeared before the grand jury. While it's possible I would say it was unlikely, because unless the person lied Fitz would've known about Booby and hauled him in long ago. As much as I'd love to believe Rove gave Fitz "pause" by ratting Cheney out, I think realistically it's much more likely that whoever this person is, they have never been questioned by Fitzgerald before. And I believe that short list includes both Bolton and Fleitz.

Update 4: emptywheel: "Well, maybe the reason Fitzgerald didn't hit Libby with the full force of the Espionage Charges that are obviously just beneath the surface of Libby's perjury indictment is because he wanted to smoke out all the journalists that Libby would produce as evidence that, either he's an idiot, or he's an idiot. Libby's probably searching his contact files for discussions about Wilson he had before the tell-tale conversation with Ari Fleischer. So perhaps former kingkiller Bob Woodward won't be the only one who we hear of learning of Wilson's wife in June?"

posted by Jane Hamsher @ 10:35 PM

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