10/31/2005

Fitzgerald got a governor on a conspiracy charge through his chief of staff

The Net Tightens Around Cheney - Analysis
by imagine at Dkos

...I'm not a lawyer, but according to FindLaw:
A criminal conspiracy exists when two or more people agree to commit almost any unlawful act, then take some action toward its completion. The action taken need not itself be a crime, but it must indicate that those involved in the conspiracy knew of the plan and intended to break the law.
So can Fitzgerald prove that Libby agreed with at least one other person to reveal classified information? (For contrary arguments, see this diary by Daxman and this diary by grapes.)

First he has to prove that "this information about Valerie Wilson" was classified, and I think he is certain he can do that. For starters there's item 9 of the indictment:
On or about June 12, 2003, LIBBY was advised by the Vice President of the United States that Wilson's wife worked at the Central Intelligence Agency in the Counterproliferation Division. LIBBY understood that the Vice President had learned this information from the CIA.
Josh Marhsall points out that "The Counterproliferation Division (CPD) is part of the CIA's Directorate of Operations, i.e., not the Directorate of Intelligence, the branch of the CIA where 'analysts' come from, but the DO, where the spies, the 'operatives', come from." Certainly Libby was familiar with the CIA's two directorates. And as the indictment notes Libby "was obligated by applicable laws and regulations, including Title 18, United States Code, Section 793, and Executive Order 12958 (as modified by Executive Order 13292), not to disclose classified information to persons not authorized to receive such information, and otherwise to exercise proper care to safeguard classified information [my emphasis] against unauthorized disclosure."

Then there's item 13 of the indictment:
Shortly after publication of the article in The New Republic, LIBBY spoke by telephone with his then Principal Deputy and discussed the article. That official asked LIBBY whether information about Wilson's trip could be shared with the press to rebut the allegations that the Vice President had sent Wilson. LIBBY responded that there would be complications at the CIA in disclosing that information publicly, and that he could not discuss the matter on a non-secure telephone line.
Was the "information about Wilson's trip" that his wife worked at the CIA? If it wasn't, what other information would "rebut the allegations that the Vice President had sent Wilson"? Absent an alternative explanation this is evidence that Libby knew specifically that Valerie Wilson's employment at the CIA was classified.

The indictment states as fact that Valerie Wilson's employment at the CIA was classified, in Count 1, item 1f:
At all relevant times from January 1, 2002 through July 2003, Valerie Wilson was employed by the CIA, and her employment status was classified. Prior to July 14, 2003, Valerie Wilson's affiliation with the CIA was not common knowledge outside the intelligence community.
And Fitzgerald repeatedly asserts that fact in the press conference, most tellingly in this exchange:
QUESTION: Can you say whether or not you know whether Mr. Libby knew that Valerie Wilson's identity was covert and whether or not that was pivotal at all in your inability or your decision not to charge under the Intelligence Identity Protection Act?

FITZGERALD: Let me say two things. Number one, I am not speaking to whether or not Valerie Wilson was covert. And anything I say is not intended to say anything beyond this: that she was a CIA officer from January 1st, 2002, forward.

I will confirm that her association with the CIA was classified at that time through July 2003. And all I'll say is that, look, we have not made any allegation that Mr. Libby knowingly, intentionally outed a covert agent.

FITZGERALD: We have not charged that. And so I'm not making that assertion.
Fitzgerald has not charged that, but I believe he has a strong case that Libby leaked what he knew was classified information. So why didn't he charge Libby with the leak? A reader of Andrew Sullivan's blog addresses that question:
I don't know what Fitz knows. But I think he is one inch from prosecuting the leak itself - at least his public comments leave the impression that he's pissed about it - and the only thing holding him back is that he's afraid he can't prove state of mind....

So why not charge him with the leak? Because Fitz has Libby nailed on the 5 counts from today's indictment. Just nailed. So he's bringing Libby in on those charges, they're going to talk some turkey, and Fitz is going to see if Libby will talk, maybe about VP, maybe about Official A (who's clearly Rove), or maybe about the VP's moles at State and in the CIA. Offer some carrots - maybe no jail - but if Libby refuses, then Fitz brings down the espionage or intelligence act charges. Libby has nowhere to go, and Fitz knows it. In my view, he's going to try to exploit that opening before wrapping this thing up."

What's all this mean? Well, seems like Fitz has a pretty strong case for the Espionage Act, and if Plame met the objective standards in the Intelligence Act, for that one too. And it seems like the fact that Libby lied repeatedly is very strong evidence of a culpable state of mind, belying any claim that he didn't "know" the info was classified or that divulging it was wrong. Add that to the very specific allegation in the indictment that he knew exactly where she worked, and there it is.

That makes sense - that Fitzgerald would indict on what is most proveable but withhold the leak charges in an effort to get Libby to open up.

And we have Fitzgerald's answer to the question also. When asked at the press conference why "giving classified information concerning the identity of a CIA agent to some individuals who were not eligible to receive that information .... does not, in and of itself, constitute a crime" Fitzgerald replied:
You need to know at the time that he transmitted the information, he appreciated that it was classified information, that he knew it or acted, in certain statutes, with recklessness.

And that is sort of what gets back to my point. In trying to figure that out, you need to know what the truth is.

So our allegation is in trying to drill down and find out exactly what we got here, if we received false information, that process is frustrated. .... [T]he harm in the obstruction crime is it shields us from knowing the full truth."
Fitzgerald's alleging that Libby is preventing them from gaining sufficient certainty to charge anyone for the leak. And perhaps he's revealed something of his suspicions when he refers to recklessness. (Recklessness isn't an out for Libby; Fitzgerald is saying that whether or not Libby was reckless only affects which statutes were violated.) Fitzgerald uses the word again later:
But the need to get to the bottom of what happened and whether national security was compromised by inadvertence, by recklessness, by maliciousness is extremely important.
Here we have the three possible reasons for the leak: inadvertence, recklessness, or maliciousness. If Fitzgerald knew which one of those it was, he seems to be saying, he could charge Libby with the leak. I think he could charge Libby with the leak since none of those are exculpatory unless Libby was acting under orders. Those orders would be part of a conspiracy and would have had to come from Cheney.

Further support for this strand of thought is offered by Josh Marshall, who finds a hint of conspiracy in the indictment itself. After quoting page 8, items #22-23 about Libby's discussing with officials on board Air Force 2 how to handle inquires from Times reporter Matthew Cooper he writes:
So [Libby] planned what to do in advance with other members of the Vice President's staff. And what they seem to have agreed is that he would confirm Plame's identity, since that is in fact what he proceeded to do.
The Washington Post asserts: "Apart from Libby, only press aide Catherine Martin is known to have accompanied Cheney on that flight." So if Josh is right, Libby conspired with one of those two, maybe both.

So there seems to be evidence of a conspiracy in the indictment, and it points to Cheney. Fitzgerald explained how Libby's obstruction is frustrating the investigation. So the question is: How does a prosecutor prove a conspiracy?

Ahhh. As it happens this is something Fitzgerald has experience with in his indictment of one-time Governor of Illinois, George Ryan:
The investigation, dubbed Operation Safe Road, initially focused on bribes exchanged for licenses for unqualified truck drivers when Ryan was secretary of state. It expanded into a broader investigation of political corruption that snared several of his top aides and associates.

"It was not opened up as an investigation of George Ryan, it was opened up as an investigation of licenses for bribes at the secretary of state's office," Fitzgerald said.
Interesting how the investigation of licenses for bribes ended with the indictment of the Governor for "racketeering conspiracy, mail fraud, making false statements to investigators, tax fraud and filing false tax returns" (emphasis added). How did that happen?
[P]rosecutors won convictions against two of his top aides, including his chief of staff ...
So Fitzgerald got a governor on a conpiracy charge through his chief of staff? Hmmm.

Daily Kos: The Net Tightens Around Cheney - Analysis

Daily Kos: Frank Rich: Closing On The Big Enchilada

Frank Rich: Closing On The Big Enchilada
by Maccabee
Sat Oct 29, 2005 at 08:55:12 PM CDT

Today's Frank Rich is remarkable in that it is a nutshell of almost all the lies around Iraq and Plamegate rolled up in a few paragraphs. He makes two big points: A, It Ain't Over, and B...

TO believe that the Bush-Cheney scandals will be behind us anytime soon you'd have to believe that the Nixon-Agnew scandals peaked when G. Gordon Liddy and his bumbling band were nailed for the Watergate break-in. But Watergate played out for nearly two years after the gang that burglarized Democratic headquarters was indicted by a federal grand jury; it even dragged on for more than a year after Nixon took "responsibility" for the scandal, sacrificed his two top aides and weathered the indictments of two first-term cabinet members. In those ensuing months, America would come to see that the original petty crime was merely the leading edge of thematically related but wildly disparate abuses of power that Nixon's attorney general, John Mitchell, would name "the White House horrors."

He calls them what they are, Liars. They don't spin, they lie. You have to understand that they will likely never have to face that fact because there is little to stop them or hold them accountable. They can say that there are 100 highly trained Iraqi troops and no one says a thing to them.Certainly not our Press. Hell they can lie outright and there will be at least three cable anchors defending them. The mystery is how much did they lie? How far did this go?

There are many other mysteries to be cracked, from the catastrophic, almost willful failure of the Pentagon to plan for the occupation of Iraq to the utter ineptitude of the huge and costly Department of Homeland Security that was revealed in all its bankruptcy by Katrina. There are countless riddles, large and small. Why have the official reports on detainee abuse at Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo spared all but a single officer in the chain of command? Why does Halliburton continue to receive lucrative government contracts even after it's been the focus of multiple federal inquiries into accusations of bid-rigging, overcharging and fraud? Why did it take five weeks for Pat Tillman's parents to be told that their son had been killed by friendly fire, and who ordered up the fake story of his death that was sold relentlessly on TV before then?

These questions are just a representative sampling. It won't be easy to get honest answers because this administration, like Nixon's, practices obsessive secrecy even as it erects an alternative reality built on spin and outright lies.

Daily Kos: Frank Rich: Closing On The Big Enchilada

Daily Kos: The REAL Scandal This Week - Americans going hungry

The REAL Scandal This Week *UPDATED*
by jillian
Sat Oct 29, 2005 at 12:52:20 PM CDT

*Food Insecurity in America.* While the country is glued to the media regarding Traitorgate, the Republicans voted to basically let fellow Americans go hungry. Welcome to the "Let them eat cake if they can find it" era that is dawning in America today.

On a party-line vote, a Republican-run U.S. House of Representatives committee voted to cut food stamps by $844 million on Friday, just hours after a new government report showed more Americans are struggling to put food on the table.

About 300,000 Americans would lose benefits due to tighter eligibility rules for food stamps, the major U.S. antihunger program, under the House plan. The cuts would be part of $3.7 billion pared from Agriculture Department programs over five years as part of government-wide spending reductions.

Daily Kos: The REAL Scandal This Week *UPDATED*

Daily Kos: Tell Me Lies, Tell Me Sweet Little Lies

Tell Me Lies, Tell Me Sweet Little Lies
by DarkSyde
Sun Oct 30, 2005 at 06:42:22 AM CDT

It was surreal. For over an hour on one Friday afternoon, Americans were treated to an event that they haven't seen in years. An intelligent adult, speaking on matters of grave concern to the country with immense political ramifications, in a field in which he was an expert, stood up in front of dozens of top reporters and told ... the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.

It's telling that one man, speaking the truth, made us feel giddy. Immediately afterwards there were comments all over the blogosphere: "Fitz for President!"; "Fitz for AG!"; Fitz for SCOTUS!". What an impression was made by this display of honesty on a nation that is literally starving for it: Truth, the exacting rectitude we hear so often that our country is founded upon and the champion for. The legitimacy that is so rarely practiced by the self-appointed purveyors thereof; It left us swooning. And now we have seen it again, we have tasted it for the first time in so long, and we like the flavor: Nothing can substitute for the truth.

Daily Kos: Tell Me Lies, Tell Me Sweet Little Lies

Kiva - MicroLoans to the poor

What We Do
Kiva lets you connect with and loan money to unique small businesses in the developing world.

By choosing a business on our website and then lending money online to that enterprise, you can "sponsor a business" and help the world's working poor make great strides towards economic independence. Throughout the course of the loan (usually 6-12 months), you can receive monthly email updates that let you know about the progress being made by the small business you've sponsored. These updates include reports on loan repayment progress, photos of new capital equipment, narratives on business growth and standard of living improvements, and more. As loans are repaid, you will get your original loan money back.

How does the loan process work?
By partnering with existing microfinance organizations and institutions, Kiva finds outstanding entrepreneurs who need loan funding. Our expert in-country staff works with these partner organizations to conduct due diligence on each business, and once approved, post each business' profile on our website. This is where you come in. You can choose loan money online, using your credit card or Paypal, in increments as low as $25 toward the loan needs of a business. With your participation, Kiva gives entrepreneurs access to the capital they need to lift themselves out of poverty.

What makes Kiva unique?
The charitable loan. Kiva is the first and only existing option for you to make a loan to a unique microenterprise. No other organization offers the opportunity to loan - instead of, or in addition to, making a donation - to a real person and then get your money back. Furthermore, when you loan to a Kiva business, every dollar you loan goes to that business. Kiva is a very low-overhead organization that raises money offline to support its small budget. None of the money you loan goes to fund administrative costs.

Direct, real-time, one-to-one connection. The individuals featured on our website are real people who need a microloan. They are waiting for socially-minded individuals like you to lend them money. They will not receive a loan until a Kiva lender provides it. Our data is real, not representative. Once funded, sponsored entrepreneurs are diligently tracked and the real results of their efforts are propagated through email updates and on our website.

Transparency. Once donors make donations to an MFI or a nonprofit, tracking where that money actually goes is difficult, if not impossible, in most situations. Kiva removes several layers between lenders and recipients and makes tracking funds simpler and easier. In fact, Kiva allows lenders to see firsthand how, when, and why the work of their sponsored enterprises succeeds or fails.

Customized, high-engagement experience for all. Many organizations give special attention to a select few "major donors" (at very least, these are individuals who contribute several thousand dollars or more) and spend a great deal of time and money to give them a high-engagement, personalized experience connecting with the end beneficiaries of their generosity. We at Kiva believe everyone should have an opportunity to connect directly with the people their money helps empower, so therefore we allow each and every Kiva lender - and, in fact, anyone who takes the time to look through our site - the opportunity to see their dollars effecting change.

Commitment to working in rural areas. Kiva is committed to reaching people who have few if any other opportunities to receive microloans. Most organizations have offices in big cities, which makes sense for many reasons. However, this means that most of their work takes place in the areas surrounding those cities - not in very rural areas where it is often more expensive and logistically difficult to work. The idea to start Kiva began in the villages of Uganda, and Kiva continues to focus on rural areas.

Kiva

Daily Kos: Microcredit: be a Venture Capitalist.

Microcredit: be a Venture Capitalist.
by Chris Kulczycki

in Uganda, and Bangladesh, and dozens of other countries my counterparts are sitting on dirt floors worried about how they might buy a couple of goats, or what will happen if no one fixes the pump at the village well. My wife's counterpart may be trying to figure out a way to buy a sewing machine to earn enough to feed her children. They may not earn the price of a laptop in a year, or the cost of a Prius during their entire lives.

* Chris Kulczycki's diary :: ::
*


A small loan could help these people start a home business, or even a store, improve their small plot of land, or fix their well. But what bank will bother with a loan of $25, or $100, or even $1000. And a credit rating is as unlikely for these villagers as a vacation in Tuscany. But there is a way to make tiny loans at low or no interest rates. It's called microcredit. NGOs have been making microcredit loans for years. But a new organization, Kiva allows people like us to offer micro loans. Individual micro loans are the most exciting charitable plan I've heard of in years.

Do Micro loans really work? They are perhaps the most effective way to help the impoverished that's ever been developed. From the New York Times (archive, February 16, 1997):

Anyone who scoffs at the value of 62 cents should talk to Muhammad Yunus. In 1976, the Bangladeshi economics professor tried an experiment. From his pocket, he lent the equivalent of $26 to a group of 42 workers. With that 62 cents per person, they bought the materials for a day's work weaving chairs or making pots. At the end of their first day as independent business owners, they sold their work and soon paid back loan.

Thus began the microcredit movement, which has become the world's hot idea for reducing poverty. This month, microcredit's backers met in Washington to begin to broaden the program's reach and raise money from developed nations and institutions such as the World Bank. Eight million people are now getting microcredit, half of them in Bangladesh. Microcredit proponents want to expand that to 100 million people by 2005.It is a worthy goal that the United States should support.

The first microcredit program was the Grameen Bank, founded by Mr. Yunus. Now almost all its borrowers are women, who tend to be poorer than men, have fewer opportunities and are much more likely to spend new earnings on their children. Grameen requires its borrowers to organize themselves into groups of five. All are cut off if one borrower defaults. They meet every week to make loan payments at commercial interest rates and critique one another's business plans. They also pledge to boil their water, keep their families small and carry out other good health practices. People who repay small and loans on time can take ones. Grameen, which now makes a profit, claims a higher repayment rate than traditional banks. One-third of its two million borrowers have crossed the poverty line and another third are close.



You don't need to go back very far to hear of microcredit's success. Try tying `microcredit' into Google news. This is from today's Vietnam News


HCM CITY -- Tran Trung Tam lived hand to mouth for nearly 20 years, helping to feed and house his eight children by doing any odd job he could find. His wife, Tran Bich Lai, worked as a helper for market vendors, carrying food and other items from place to place.

With only a primary school education, the couple thought their lives would never improve. But after receiving a free house in 1999 from their local People's Committee and a VND10 million (US$630) loan from the Bank for the Poor, Tam and Lai, 40, were able to set up a household business making plastic bags, which now earns them at least $250 a month.

There's lots more information on microcredit on the web. But this diary is about just one program that uses the net to match those in need with individuals, rather than banks or NGOs. Kiva is based in Palo Alto and works in Uganda.

After looking over the site and reading some press and blogging about Kiva I came away very impressed with the idea. Instead of sending off a check to some NGO and not knowing what happens to it, Kiva allows individuals to participate in the process. I expect this will offer lenders real motivation.

Daily Kos: Microcredit: be a Venture Capitalist.

Wal-Mart Memo Suggests Ways to Cut Employee Benefits - NY Times

Where's the ADA (Americans w/ Disabilities Act) when you need it ? -- law

An internal memo sent to Wal-Mart's board of directors proposes numerous ways to hold down spending on health care and other benefits while seeking to minimize damage to the retailer's reputation. Among the recommendations are hiring more part-time workers and discouraging unhealthy people from working at Wal-Mart.

Wal-Mart Memo Suggests Ways to Cut Employee Benefit Costs - New York Times

European Tribune - Argentina to Bush: Please do not come to our country

Argentina to Bush: Please do not come to our country

by Migeru
Sat Oct 29th, 2005 at 06:19:03 PM EDT
In November 4-5 the Summit of the Americas will take place in Mar del Plata, Argentina. I am translating an astounding letter sent to Bush by an Argentinean Member of Parliament. The letter speaks for itself.

Disclaimer: I have not authenticated this letter. If you want to deconstruct the sources, try this link

LETTER TO BUSH FROM MEMBER OF PARLIAMENT ALICIA CASTRO
****************
With my highest regards
To the President of the United States of America
Mr. George W. Bush
Washington D. C.

Mister President:
A Member of Parliament of the Argentinean Nation. I am one of the 257 representatives of the Argentinean people in Parliament; the second time I got into the Chamber of Deputies half a million citizens voted for me, but I can guarantee that what I will be expressing to you in this letter represents the majority of the Argentinean people.

President Bush:
We do not want you to come to our country. Maybe for diplomatic reasons, our Chancery will not have made you aware how reviled you are by our people. It is not simply that we disagree with your policies, but that you represent a danger to the democracies of South America. Not long ago, at an OAS Summit where you defended interventionism, you dared to mention the name of José de San Martín in your speech. You must know that this father of our nation fought against imperialism and in favour of the unity of South America. The people of San Martin do not want you, Mr. Bush, because you represent neoimperialism, which like in the 19th century is an attempt to dominate regions by means of financial measures or armes actions. We Aregentineans know full well the consequences of the policies that you promote: our country, being immensely rich, was driven to misery by irresponsible leaders who followed each and every of the recipes of the International Monetary Fund. We know that international credit organizations are not neutral and responf to the policies of the United States.

Bolivar's prophecy is fulfilled: "the United States of America seem destined by providence to sow misery in Latin America". We Argentinians have nothing against the American people, but much against the governmentthat has put the largest political and military might in the planet at the service of bloody ambition, which does not doubt to annihilate lives to appropriate someone else's oil, to make money from arms trade and, moreover, to expand its most sinister industry: the one that reconstructs what you destroy. You represent the decadence of Western values. Your people, which used not to tolerate lies in political practice, has to endure your having lied with a bold fade to the entire world regasrding the existence of nuclear weapons in Iraq, in order to justify invasion.
The Nobel Peace Prize recently awarded to Mohamed ElBaradei, who revealed the existence of these deceptions, is an eloquent display of the importance that the international community attaches to Truth in the construction of Peace. The theory of "pre-emptive war", one of the distasteful novelties in your political discourse, places your government outside any known law and presently threatens concretely Iran, North Korea, Venezuela and Cuba, in sum, the whole world. You threaten us, but you do not confound us. You do not fool us with your proclaimed "war on terrorism", while you practice state terrorism. This is borne out by the tortures at the Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo prisons, the distraught mothers of American soldiers taking part in the carnage or women and children in Iraq, and the advances to militarize and control our region. You are a terrorist protecting other terrorists such as Luis Posada Carriles, escaped from a Caracas prison and who, among other crimes, has confessed his authorship of the explosion, in 1976, of a Cuban airliner causing 73 deaths. Spare us your undesirable presence. We do not share anything that can be debated at the Summit of the Americas, to be held the next 4 and 5 November in the city of Mar del Plata. No government supporting your policies could guarantee its own stability. We the peoples of South America have already chosen...

Your values, Mr. Bush, are not vithin our scale of values nor are your aims compatible with out principles. We have our own South Agenda: we foster a Latin American Monetary Fund, a South Bank, a gread South University; we want to inform ourselves from the south and for the south. Unearth already, the antennas of CNN and your international machinery of lies, spare us your crude conspiracies. Your govennment, which rejected the Kyoto protocol, and your terrible management which drowned your own people in Neo Orleans, represents a concrete threat to the environment and to planet Earth. We South Americans are for the happiness, freedom and life of peoples, we are also for peace. You are on the side of war, of predation and of death. Regarding prcctical matters, responsibly and as a national representative, I consider it evident that nobody could guarantee your safety in Argentina. Not yours, nor that of our citizens. Proof of this is that Argentina has suffered terrible terrorist attacks which remain unpunished and unsolved. Today terrorism travels on public transportation and the vengeful threat that you profess like a dogma, has already cost the lives of worker and users of public transport in Madrid and London, and has made unsafe such disparate places as Roma, Bali, Miami and New York. I ask you in the name of the Argentinean people, that you spare us of these risks; you could make yourself present at the Summit of the Americas through a tele-conference from Washington which, at the same time, would keep you safe from physical expressions of our repudiation of you. Awaiting your response, I greet you with distinguished regards.

Alicia Castro
Member of Parliament of the Argentinean Nation

European Tribune - Argentina to Bush: Please do not come to our country

European Tribune - BREAKING IN ITALY- How the Iraq War was Prepared

BREAKING IN ITALY- How the Iraq War was Prepared

by de Gondi
Mon Oct 31st, 2005 at 09:23:50 AM EDT

From the diaries, edited for front page format ~ whataboutbob

While Berlusconi dishes out his intergalactic bullshit (Title of il Manifesto yesterday: Balle spaziale) as a latter-day peacenik, the Bonini- D'Avanzo team publish a new series that promises to have far-reaching consequences. The first installment reveals what happened at the secret Rome meetings starting in December 2001, involving Sismi agents, Ledeen, Franklin, Rhode and the crucial protagonists, Aras Habib Karim and Francis Brooke. Ghorbanifar, according to Sismi sources, had a minor role, more as a decoy, to divert attention.

The scoop reveals the behind the scene preparation of the war and the key role of the Italian secret services in infiltrating southern Iraq to prepare the terrain for the land invasion through their long-standing network in Iraq.

The Rome meetings were arranged at the behest of the Pentagon's Office of Special Plans in collaboration with the Iranian regime which certainly had converging interests to eliminate Saddam and expand their influence in Southern Iraq.

Here follow translations of significant parts of the first article. I will update it throughout the day, and expect Nur-al Cubicle to do so also:


"...We must say who Ahmed Chalabi is. A neo-con Benjamin, Chalabi was charged by Pentagon hawks to funnel information to European intelligence services on WMDs obtained from so-called scientists that had defected from the [Iraq] regime. The man responsible for gathering together and constructing the "legends" [spin] was Chalabi's intelligence chief, Aras Habib Karim. Aras is a key figure. He coordinates the Intelligence Collection Programme. He runs and confections dissident "material." He's a Shiite Kurd, just under 50, crafty, mean, a master at double-crossing and falsification of documents. With a peculiarity: the CIA has always considered him "an Iranian agent." The second key player is Francis Brooke. The false Niger Uranium dossier ended up in his hands although it is not known how. Brooke holds the strings to Condoleeza Rice and Paul Wolfowitz and between the Iraqi National Congress and the Pentagon. His ties to Iran are excellent, far more than Chalabi's.

The American intelligence source continues: "Ahmed Chalabi and his best men- Karim, Brooke- work as a team with the Pentagon and the American Enterprise Institute. An example to understand better. In 2004 the three [sic] men who alternate in Baghdad together with Chalabi as "liason officers" are Michael Rubin, president of theAmerican Enterprise Institute; [and] Harold Rhode, Douglas Feith's assistant at the Office of Special Plans and Paul Wolfowitz's "advisor for Islamic Affairs." Just as in Italy before the war. The meetings in Rome brought together representatives of the whole team: Michael Ledeen, of the American Enterprise Institute; Larry Franklin and Harold Rhode of the Office of Special Plans; the colonels of the Iraqi National Congress; and the Iraqi Shiites of the Supreme Council of the Iraqi Islamic Revolution, and of course "the Guardians of the Revolution." That was the situation in Rome. Interesting, isn't it?" [Yes] interesting...

The following translation concludes the first installment of today’s la Repubblica scoop by Carlo Bonini and Giuseppe d’Avanzo. A full translation is presently going on line thanks to Nur-al Cubicle.


The meeting in Rome at the [Hotel] Parco di Principi or in the house in Piazza di Spagna- most likely in both- has to coordinate three intelligence services. Nicolò Pollari’s Sismi. Ahmed Chalabi’s Iraqi National Congress. “The Supreme Council for the Revolution,” the Sadr Brigade of Mohammed and Abdalaziz al-Hakim. The coordination of the work and the “material” produced by the three “networks” can offer essential information for the planning of the Anglo-American military campaign, and above all a concrete evaluation of state of Saddam’s defences; his generals’ will to fight; the real state of Saddam’s arsenal of arms, beyond [allied] influence operations. Each one of the intelligence networks has something to offer that would be useful to the Pentagon.

The Sismi can boast of its good contacts with the officials who were trained in Italy in the Eighties. With the passage of time, they have become informants and “sources.” The Iraqi National Congress can count on regime defectors. The Sciri constantly monitors the territory since, as Muhammad Baqir al Hakim explained to la Repubblica before being killed on March 18th, 2003, “The Sadr Brigade, with its autonomous militias, is in Baghdad, Iraqi Kurdistan and Southern Iran.” Above all in the area that encompasses Kerbala and Najaf to Bassora and the peninsola of al Faw up to the Kuwait border, everything that happens is reported by the invisible Sciite network that covers the no-fly zone below the 33rd parallel, a strategic territory for any land invasion.

The operative plans of the Pentagon foresee that the terrestrial campaign will rely on intelligence gathered behind the front. The information will be gathered by the Joint Anglo-American Command in real time, analyzed, elaborated and transformed into instructions for the fighting units. The concept is elementary. Signal strategic objectives from within enemy territory, the nature of defences and the capacity for offensive measures of the enemy military forces whose exact location is not known, as well as the [state] of militia dispersed among the civil population. There is also a second work project, more important than this. Behind the lines, infiltrated agents must prepare the terrain for a “secret pact” (safqa, in Arab) “for the capitulation of nation.” The pact includes “safe conduct for commanders of the Republican Guard, the Baath militia and the president’s fedayn.” In a second phase the Americans intend “to offer rich compensations, the possibility to reside in the United States, together with their families, and above all, to offer a significant operational role together with factions of the Iraqi opposition, especially the Iraqi National Congress.

Together with the Sciri and Chalabi’s men, Italy will have its role in the spoils’ auction of Baghdad and Bassora- places all too familiar to Italian military counter-espionage. Besides, the campaign in Mesopotamia, in its first phase (up to Bush’s “Mission Complete”) was nothing more than “simple corruption of a rotten system whose functionaries sold themselves in mass to the CIA.” The Sismi agents get to work. It’s time to go back to the terrace of Hotel Eden and listen to the Sismi agent.

(part 1, to continue)


European Tribune - BREAKING IN ITALY- How the Iraq War was Prepared

Daily Kos: The real story behind ExxonMobil's 10 billion dollar profit

The real story behind ExxonMobil's 10 billion dollar profit
by Jerome a Paris [Subscribe]
Fri Oct 28, 2005 at 05:53:49 AM CDT

Many of you have heard that ExxonMobil managed a 100 billion dollar turnover and a 10 billion dollar profit (a 75% increase) in the last quarter, and several of you have vented about these astronomical numbers, price gouging and the like. Today, Shell announced equally stupendous results, with a 9 billion dollar profit, up 68%.

I'd like to make the point that these numbers hide the fact that the industry is now in decline, and that the big oil majors are small, weakening players.

Follow me below.

* Jerome a Paris's diary :: ::
*

As usual, I'll quote the Financial Times, but you can find the exact same information in all other publications. I'll simply focus on the numbers which did not make the headlines:


Exxon net profit hits $10bn as prices soar

ExxonMobil yesterday said net profit soared by 75 per cent to about $10bn as the world's largest publicly traded oil and gas company cashed in on high energy prices.

(...)

In exploration and production, Exxon's earnings, excluding the special gain, were $5.7bn, up $1.8bn from the third quarter of 2004, reflecting higher crude oil and natural gas realisations. Yet, on an oil-equivalent basis, production fell 4.7 per cent. Excluding the impact of the hurricanes, divestments and entitlement effects, production fell 1 per cent.

Exxon said higher liquids production from new fields in west Africa and higher gas volumes from projects in Qatar and the UK were offset by the impact of mature field declines.


Shell's performance beats expectations

Royal Dutch Shell made the largest quarterly profit in its 98-year history this summer, despite a severe beating from the storms in the Gulf of Mexico.

(...)

Profit at Shell's exploration and production unit soared by 112 per cent as the company was able to cash in on high oil and gas prices. However, Shell's production volumes fell by 11 per cent for a number of reasons, including the loss of around 160,000 barrels a day due to hurricanes Katrina and Rita.

Shell's average production for this year is now expected to total 3.5m barrels of oil equivalent a day, at the lower end of its previous guidance, and to remain at that level for 2006.

This is the important information: the production of the oil majors is ALREADY IN DECLINE.

The Oil Drum had a very telling graph in a recent thread, which they calculated from public data (from The Petroleum Review (pdf)) and which I copy here:



That's the liquid production only, i.e. oil and oil equivalents (the numbers in the articles above include also natural gas production), and the trend is pretty clear: most of the oil majors are seeing their oil production stagnate or decline - in fact, the only increases come from acquisitions of other firms (or, in the case of BP, from the increase in production of its Russian BP-TNK affiliate, which benefitted until last year of fast increasing production, but this is no longer the case).

The oil majors are having increasing trouble replacing their reserves, and an increasing portion of these reserves are natural gas and not oil. For instance, ExxonMobil boasted earlier this year about their track record in renewing their reserves, but did not emphasise the fact that more than 90% of their additional reserves last year came from one field in Qatar - a natural gas field. So ExxonMobil effectively found no oil last year. NONE.

And it's not just ExxonMobil:
ConocoPhillips
ChevronTexaco
Royal Dutch/Shell

As an additional perspective, let me remind you of this table, showing which companies really control the world's oil & gas reserves (which has only one glaring mistake, in that Gazprom, the Russian gas giant, has at least 120 billion boe of proven (and audited) oil & gas reserves - although it should be noted that the reserves of a number of these companies have not been confirmed by any outsider in a number of years, and some of them are highly suspect and probably inflated for political purposes):



Big Oil is dwarfed by the national oil companies of the big oil producing countries which, in a number of cases (Mexico, Saudi Arabia, Emirates, Kuwait) have a monopoly on production within their country, and thus so not share these reserves.

So Big Oil's huge profits are really the swan song of the industry: they are taking advantage of their own inability to produce more, and of the NOCs's inability or unwillingness to produce more, which creates stagnant production at a time of strong demand growth. These are windfall profits coming from the depletion of the good they provide, not a sign of health and not a sign of price gouging.

Instead of complaining about gouging, we need to think hard about what we will do next to live with less oil, and a logical thing to do would be to tax these windfall profits and use the proceeds to fund alternative energies. But this should be done on the basis of peak oil worries, not on the basis of "gouging".

The problem is not the oil companies - the problem is us, and aour excessive thirst for oil. The only way to change is for prices to increase to force us to; and the only smart policy to have is not to fight this trend, but to make it as painless as possible for the economically weaker citizens, by (i) funding new energies to eventually replace oil, and (ii) alleviate the financial pain of higher gasoline and heating costs for them, via targetted fianncial help - which should NOT target energy prices.

Daily Kos: The real story behind ExxonMobil's 10 billion dollar profit

Barbara Ann Radnofsky Campaign site

Texas readers: Here is the good gal to vote for -- law

Barbara Ann Radnofsky

Michelle Malkin: SEN. HUTCHISON'S BLUNDER

Hitler's sister has intelectual honesty ? Is against double standards ? That IS a surprise! -- law

The Left had a field day over Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison's remarks on NBC's Meet the Press this morning in which she downplayed possible perjury and obstruction of justice indictments this week in the Rove/Plame/Miller/Libby/God-knows-who-else leak case. I watched the rebroadcast of the show tonight and have to say that I found Hutchison's pooh-poohing more than a bit disturbing...

The New York Times, for what it's worth, reports that Sen. Hutchison's tactics are part of a coordinated GOP strategy to "blunt leak charges." If that is true (contrary to the unhinged Left, I'm not on the White House talking points e-mail list), I really object to that--and so should every other rule-of-law Republican. Perjury and obstruction of justice are serious crimes, whether committed by D's, R's, or otherwise. Period...

Michelle Malkin: SEN. HUTCHISON'S BLUNDER

Daily Kos: Radnofsky to Hutchison: Resign if you tolerate perjury

Radnofsky to Hutchison: Resign if you tolerate perjury
by George [Subscribe]
Mon Oct 24, 2005 at 12:27:51 PM CDT

Radnofsky press release:

Texas Democratic candidate for U.S. Senate Barbara Ann Radnofsky called on her Republican opponent to resign if she tolerates perjury. "No elected official should tolerate or excuse perjury. I call on Kay Bailey Hutchison to renounce perjury. She should resign if she tolerates it," Radnofsky said.

On October 23, Kay Bailey Hutchison said in televised comments concerning the Plame investigation that, "I certainly hope that if there is going to be an indictment that says something happened, that it is an indictment on a crime and not some perjury technicality where they couldn't indict on the crime..."

Daily Kos: Radnofsky to Hutchison: Resign if you tolerate perjury

Daily Kos: Press Attacks McClellan Credibility and Other Highlights

Press Attacks McClellan Credibility and Other Highlights
by guyermo [Subscribe]
Mon Oct 31, 2005 at 05:32:11 PM CDT

Scotty's first question today was NOT about the new Supreme Court nominee, as they would like you to believe by their handy-dandy little outline.

Instead, they wanted to talk about Rove. Scott gives them the usual BS, but he added some new stuff now that there's been an indictment.

First a conjecture teaser about Rove's future employment; he might have let something slip. More below.

* guyermo's diary :: ::
*

Here is the opening question and his reply. All bolding is mine.

MR. McCLELLAN: Again, there is an ongoing investigation; we need to let that investigation continue. We need to let the legal process work. As I indicated to you all on Friday, our Counsel's Office has directed us not to discuss this matter while it continues, and that means me not responding to questions about it from this podium. This is a process that we need to let continue. There is, as I said, a presumption of innocence in our legal system, and we don't want to do anything from here that could prejudice the opportunity for there to be a fair and impartial trial. I think that's the basis of our legal system.

And in terms of comments that people are making, again, I think they're presuming things and trying to politicize the process. But that's their business. We're going to let the legal process work.

In other words, unless Rove is convicted, he had absolutely nothing to do with the leak. He'd probably resign if indicted, but he'd never be fired. That would require "courage" and is "hard work."

The pressies don't let McClellan go on Rove, though. They call him out on his lies. This is a LONG back-and-forth between McClellan and David Gregory.

You were wrong then, weren't you?

MR. McCLELLAN: David, it's not a question of whether or not I'd like to talk more about this. I think I've indicated to you all that I'd be glad to talk about this once this process is complete, and I look forward to that opportunity. But, again, we have been directed by the White House Counsel's Office not to discuss this matter or respond to questions about it.

Q That was a public representation that was made to the American people.

MR. McCLELLAN: Hang on. We can have this conversation, but let me respond.

Q No, no, no, because it's such an artful dodge. Whether there's a question of legality --

MR. McCLELLAN: No, I disagree with you.

Q Whether there's a question of legality, we know for a fact that there was involvement. We know that Karl Rove, based on what he and his lawyer have said, did have a conversation about somebody who Patrick Fitzgerald said was a covert officer of the Central Intelligence Agency. We know that Scooter Libby also had conversations.

MR. McCLELLAN: I don't think that's accurate.

Q So aside from the question of legality here, you were wrong, weren't you?

MR. McCLELLAN: Again, David, if I were to get into commenting from this podium while this legal proceeding continues, I might be prejudicing the opportunity for there to be a fair and impartial trial. And I'm just not going to do that. I know very --

Q You speak for the President. Your credibility and his credibility is not on criminal trial. But it may very well be on trial with the American public, don't you agree?

MR. McCLELLAN: No, I'm very confident in the relationship that we have in this room, and the trust that has been established between us. This relationship --

Q See those cameras? It's not about us. It's about what the American people --

MR. McCLELLAN: This relationship is built on trust, and you know very well that I have worked hard to earn the trust of the people in this room, and I think I've earned it --

Q Is the President -- let me just follow up on one more thing.

MR. McCLELLAN: -- and I think I've earned it with the American people.

Q Does the President think that Karl Rove did anything wrong?

MR. McCLELLAN: Well, I think it would be good for you to allow me the opportunity to respond to your questions without jumping in. I'm glad to do that. I look forward to the opportunity --

Q I haven't heard a response.

MR. McCLELLAN: Well, no, I have been responding to you, David, and there's no need -- you're a good reporter, there's no need to be rude or disrespectful. We can have a conversation and respond to these questions, if you'll just give me the opportunity to respond. I'm glad to do that.

Q In the year 2000, the President said the following: "In my administration, we will ask not only what is legal, but what is right; not just what the lawyers allow, but what the public deserves." Doesn't the American public deserve some answers from this President about the role of his Vice President in this story and what he knew and when he knew it, and how he feels about the conduct of his administration?

MR. McCLELLAN: The American people deserve a White House that is committed to doing their work. We are focused on the priorities of the American people.... People in th,bis White House fully understand what's expected of them. We are expected to focus on the people's business, first and foremost, and that's what we always do. We're also expected to adhere to the highest ethical standards. People understand that in this White House. That's what the President expects, and that's what the American people expect. And we've got a great team here, and we'll continue to adhere to those standards.

Obviously, I bolded that last quote becaue it's just so darn funny. Depressing, but still funny.

The next segmant finally gets into the Supreme Court nominee, and the first question is basically "If Harriet Meirs was the best available, then what is Alito?

Scott, on the subject of rude, my apologies for my unfortunate choice of words this morning to you, but I think the question bears asking again, and that is that the President said repeatedly when he nominated Harriet Miers that she is the best person for the job. Does that in any way indicate that while Sam Alito may be well-qualified for the Supreme Court, he is not, as was described of Harriet Miers, the best person?

MR. McCLELLAN: He's extremely well-qualified. When the President selected Harriet Miers, he was taking into consideration what members of the Senate had said, that he should look outside the court. But we recognize now that in the culture of today's confirmation process, it is very difficult to nominate someone who comes from outside the court and has little public record on constitutional issues to be confirmed. That's something we recognize.

The President looked at someone who -- to fill this vacancy at this time, and he believes Judge Alito is the best person to fill this vacancy at this time, based on his extensive experience and his judicial temperament.

So, Meirs was the best he could do with the "advice" of the Senate. So when they didn't "conscent" to her nomination, or rather, when she pulled out before they had the chance, Bush decided to ignore the "advice and conscent of the Senate" and nominated Alito. Nice guy.

But he only got a brief respite. He then had his credibility directly challenged in possibly the best exchange I have ever read.

Q Scott, let me follow up on what David was asking. You say we know you -- and we do -- but we can't vouch for you; that's not our job. And I wonder, do you really think after --

MR. McCLELLAN: Well, wait a second. Let me just interject there. I think there are many people in this room I see expressing their own commentary on TV all the time -- not just reporting. You do a job to report the news, as well, but many people in this room also go on the air and express their views and their commentary. And I've worked with many of you for quite some time now.

Q I didn't follow that. I can't go on TV and say, "America believes Scott McClellan." That's not my role.

MR. McCLELLAN: No, you go on TV, though, and engage in commentary about views and things that are expressed here at the White House.

Q Right. But what I can't do is carry your water for you. And I wonder --

MR. McCLELLAN: I'm not asking you to.

Q Well, there -- yes you are.

MR. McCLELLAN: I'm just asking you to speak to who I am. And you know who I am.

Q There's been a wound to your credibility here. A falsehood, wittingly or unwittingly, was told from this podium. And do you really believe that the American people should wait until the conclusion of all of this process and just take on trust everything that comes from that podium now, without the explanation and the answer that you say you want to get --

MR. McCLELLAN:... I have worked hard to earn that trust and I think I've earned that trust with you all. And it's your job to duly report to the American people, and I'm confident that you all will when you look at the facts and look at everything that's been said and where we are today.

MR. McCLELLAN: ...part of my job is to be an advocate for the President... But I've another important responsibility, as well -- it's something that we all, I think and hope, share in this room -- that is to make sure that the American people get an accurate account of what's going on here in Washington, D.C. And I work hard to meet both those responsibilities.

Q But don't you think, Scott, that that second part of your job has been damaged, your credibility has been damaged by this?

MR. McCLELLAN: For me to even respond to that question would force me to talk about an ongoing investigation and legal proceeding, and we've been directed not to do that..

in other words, Terry, you can't answer that question without it being viewed in the context of an ongoing investigation, an ongoing legal proceeding, and that's why I can't go further than that at this point.

Q But doesn't, then, that make it impossible for you to do your job with as much credibility as that podium demands?

MR. McCLELLAN: No, not at all, because of the relationship that we've built between me and the press corps, and I think I've earned with the American people, too. I've tried hard to earn that trust and I think I've done my part to maintain that trust.

Did someone just call McClellan a LIAR? A falsehood certainly sounds like a lie.

Update [2005-10-31 20:52:4 by guyermo]:
As lawstudent922 stated in the comments, Scott McClellan has definately NOT earned OUR confidence, and suggested we let him know. So, send your letters to the following address letting Scot McClellan know that he has not earned your trust, and make sure to tell him why.


Daily Kos: Press Attacks McClellan Credibility and Other Highlights

Daily Kos: 1 million visits per Weekday

By the Site Meter, which still can't register all of the site traffic, thus understating the numbers, daily kos will do over 23 million visits and 26 million page views this month. Last December, due to a post-election drop, the site did about 6 million visits. That's approximately a 400% increase in less than a year.

The site today is averaging nearly a million visits a weekday.

Just amazing.

Daily Kos: Late Night Open Thread

W is not for Women

W is not for Women



NOT BANNED YET for 10.24.05 - 1st Amendment Zone -- Original political cartoons and progessive swag

Daily Kos: Blizter is a hack, Wilson exposes him, CNN Special Transcript

Blizter is a hack, Wilson exposes him, CNN Special Transcript
by bikko100 [Subscribe]
Mon Oct 31, 2005 at 07:53:32 PM CDT

Wolf Blizter is a hack. Plain and simple. Bless Joe Wilson for not punching this spinless pod person into next year. update 11:35 CSPAN2 Features Joe Wilson CSPAN

* bikko100's diary :: ::
*
BLITZER: Well, forget about conviction. He hasn't even been charged with a crime.


WILSON: Again, it's now very clear that he leaked it. Mr. Cooper's sworn testimony indicates that. The e-mails indicate that.
BLITZER: Let's go through some of the criticism that's been leveled at you, afresh over these past several days since this whole leak investigation was coming to a boil last Friday.
A lot of your critics blame you for the eventual disclosure of your wife as a CIA operative, and they go back to that early May 2003 column by The New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof who first reported about an unnamed U.S. ambassador making this trip to Africa.
Were you the source, Nicholas Kristof's source, for that column?
WILSON: Well, I was a source for that column.
But let me just say two things. One, this has never been about Valerie or me. This has always been about the 16 words in the [2003] State of the Union address, first and foremost -- and then, second, about who leaked Valerie's name.
And I would point out to you that the indictment does not name Joe Wilson as somebody who leaked Valerie's name.
BLITZER: Well, the indictment doesn't name anyone necessarily as a crime in terms of leaking ...

WILSON: The testimony that has been made public indicates that Mr. Libby and Mr. Rove leaked Valerie's name to the members of the press. There's nothing in any of the testimony to suggest that Joe Wilson did -- unlike what Mr. [Joseph] diGenova [a former U.S. attorney who was a special prosecutor during the Clinton administration] said on this program last week.
BLITZER: Why you tell Nicholas Kristof about your trip to Africa?
WILSON: I had attempted to talk directly to the State Department and to a number of Democratic senators and to get the record corrected. I felt that after it was clear that what the president was referring to in the State of the Union address was Niger, and that the trip that I went on was based upon a transcription of these documents that later were shown to be forgeries.
It was important for the administration to correct the record.
BLITZER: Because, as you know, this was two months before the Robert Novak column appeared.
WILSON: It is an act of civic duty, it is what citizens across this country do every day in our democracy -- you hold your government to account for what your government says and does in the name of the American people.
This happened to be an area where I had certain expertise and experience.
BLITZER: Former CIA officer Robert Behr was quoted in Saturday's Washington Post as saying this: "The fact is, once your husband writes an op-ed piece and goes political, you have no immunity and that's the way Washington works."

In other words, he's one of those suggesting that by your going public in various ways, your wife's identity was eventually going to be made known.
WILSON: Again, my name didn't appear in the indictment. There are instances of -- and you go to the Spy Museum here, you can see a number of high-profile people who served their country even though they had high-profile positions in different professions.

BLITZER: Even though some of your supporters were on this program last week -- Larry Johnson, a former CIA officer; Pat Lang, a former DIA intelligence analyst. They say your decision and your wife's decision to let her be photographed represented a major mistake because, if there were people out there who may have been endangered by her name, certainly when people might have seen her picture, they could have been further endangered.
WILSON: Her contacts and her network was endangered the minute that Bob Novak wrote the article. The photograph of her did not identify her in any way anybody could identify.
Now you asked me this question -- you've asked me this question three or four times ...
BLITZER: About the photograph?
WILSON: About the photograph.
Now, I have never heard you ask the president about the layout in the Oval Office when they did the war layout. I've never heard you ask Mr. Wolfowitz about the layout in Vanity Fair. But you ask me all the time.

So let me just get this very clear: When one is faced with adversity, one of the ways one acts in the face of adversity is to try and bring a certain amount of humor to the situation. It's called irony.
And if people have no sense of humor or no sense of perspective on that, my response is: It's about time to get a life.
But in no way did that picture endanger anybody. What endangered people was the outing of her name -- her maiden name -- and, subsequently, the outing of the corporation that she worked for.

BLITZER: So you don't have any regrets about the Vanity Fair picture?
WILSON: I think it's a great picture. I think someday you will, too.
BLITZER: It's a great picture. But I mean the fact that ...
WILSON: I think someday it, too, will be in the International Spy Museum.
BLITZER: But you don't think it was a mistake to do that?

WILSON: No.
BLITZER: OK.
Let's talk about Joe diGenova, a former U.S. attorney, Republican. He was on this program, as you well know -- he among others suggesting: Well, she had a desk job, she was an analyst in the Counterproliferation Division at the CIA. She was no longer really what they call a NOC, someone working nonofficial cover overseas, and that it was really no big deal.
WILSON: Well, I don't think Mr. diGenova knows what he's talking about in this particular matter. I would go back to the indictment and Mr. Fitzgerald's preamble in which he's made it clear: She was a classified officer. She was covered by the various statutes related to the handling of classified information.
It's as simple as that.
BLITZER: Did you ever go around in cocktail parties -- because this has been alleged against you as well -- before the Robert Novak column and boast "my wife, the CIA agent," "my wife works for the CIA"?
WILSON: Of course not.

First of all, [we have] 5-year-old twins and so we don't go to very many cocktail parties. You've seen me at precisely one in the many years that we've been in Washington together. And that was actually a book party. And you did not see my wife there and you didn't hear me say anything about my wife at that.

BLITZER: How well known was it that she worked for the CIA before the Novak column?

WILSON: It was not known outside the intelligence community.
The day after the Novak article appeared, my sister-in-law, my brother's wife, turned to him and asked him: "Do you think Joe knows this?"
BLITZER: Your trip to Niger -- there's been some suggestion that she came up with the idea of sending you to Niger. And the Senate -- we've gone through this, but I'll let you respond since it keeps coming up over and over again -- the Select Committee on Intelligence that came out July 7, 2004, last year said this:
"Interviews and documents provided to the committee" -- the Senate committee -- "indicated that his wife, a CPD" -- Counterproliferation Division -- "employee suggested his name for the trip."

Did she come up with the idea?
WILSON: No, that is not accurate. It doesn't reflect what happened. I was invited to a meeting. She conveyed that invitation from her superiors.
She also, at the request of superiors, provided them with sort of a list of my bona fides because they were doing contingency planning as to what they might want to do as a consequence of the outcome of the meeting, which was two days later after she wrote the report.
The reports officer, who apparently was quoted as saying that she offered up my name -- that's a quote -- came into her office subsequently and said that that was a misquote and he wanted to be re-interviewed by them.
That was contained in my letter back to Senator [Pat] Roberts and Senator [Orrin] Hatch and Senator [Kit] Bond after their additional views were published.
BLITZER: Larry Johnson, on this program last week, the former CIA officer, said your wife has been threatened by al Qaeda. Is that true?

WILSON: I won't go into specific threats. I'll tell you that there have been threats. And as a consequence, we've been working closely with the appropriate law enforcement agencies. We've changed our phone number and taken other security measures.
BLITZER: You don't want to go into details on that?

WILSON: Absolutely not.

BLITZER: If you had to do it all over again, looking backward, any changes you would have done?
WILSON: I would have written the article as I did because I believe -- I believe firmly -- that it is a civic responsibility to hold your government to account in a strong democracy.
And I can't think of much I would have changed. I suspect that, given the two-year character assassination campaign which was really designed to divert attention from the two key issues -- the 16 words in the State of the Union address and who leaked Valerie's name -- that there may have been some things I might have done differently, such as perhaps not getting engaged in a political campaign.
Although I will say this about that, and that is that I resent deeply the idea that others would try and deny me my right to participate fully in the selection of this country's leaders.
BLITZER: Because your wife is a CIA operative.
But let me ask a final question: Are you going to file any civil lawsuits against Libby, Cheney, anyone else?
WILSON: We're keeping all of our options open. There's a very complicated procedure for this, even though the case itself is relatively simple. And we have not come to any decision yet.

Find this article at:
http://www.cnn.com/2005/US/10/31/wilson.interview/index.html


Daily Kos: Blizter is a hack, Wilson exposes him, CNN Special Transcript

Daily Kos: Kenneth Ciongioli: Republican Donor Spreads Lying Smear Against Dems

Kenneth Ciongioli: Republican Donor Spreads Lying Smear Against Dems
by Armando
Mon Oct 31, 2005 at 10:53:53 PM CDT

Drudge is playing a game, using a Republican Italian-American to front the lying smears agains the Dems on ScAlito:

National Italian American Foundation (NIAF) Statement:

The NIAF is distressed by the attempts of some senators and the media (CNN, CBS) to marginalize Judge Samuel Alito's outstanding record, by frequent reference to his Italian heritage and by the use of the nickname, "Scalito."

. . . Sincerely,

A. Kenneth Ciongoli
Chairman of the National Italian American Foundation

Who is Ken Ciongoli? Why a doctor from Burlington, Vermont who has given thousands of dollars to the Republican Party. Here's a sample:

Ciongoli, Alfred K Mr.
Burlington, VT 05401
Self-Employed/Physician
REPUBLICAN NATIONAL COMMITTEE (R) $1,000
primary 05/17/04
CIONGOLI, A. K DR.
BURLINGTON, VT 05401
SELF-EMPLOYED/DOCTOR BUSH, GEORGE W (R)
President
BUSH-CHENEY '04 (PRIMARY) INC $1,000
primary 01/20/04
Ciongoli, Barbara
Burlington, VT 05401
VERMONT REPUBLICAN FEDERAL ELECTIONS COMMITTEE (R) $800
primary 10/14/02
Ciongoli, Kenneth A.
Burlington, VT 05401
VERMONT REPUBLICAN FEDERAL ELECTIONS COMMITTEE (R) $800
primary 10/14/02

Now you know where this is coming from.

Daily Kos: Kenneth Ciongioli: Republican Donor Spreads Lying Smear Against Dems

Book: The Apprentice - By Lewis Libby

I was starting to think the review was a hoax but sure enough, he wrote the damn bear rape thing! -- law

7 pages with references to bear in this book:
1. on Page 81:
"... the women and watched the secret ways. At age ten the madam put the child in a cage with a bear trained to couple with young girls so the girls would be frigid and not fall in love with their patrons. ..."
2. on Page 82:
"... eyes to hear the secrets of a man used for the first-night training by a house that could afford a bear. "Is there feeling?" a bucktoothed man asked. "At least on the first night, even after a bear?" Ueda glanced at ..."

Amazon.com: Books: The Apprentice : A Novel

Transcript of Special Counsel Fitzgerald's Press Conference

Transcript of Special Counsel Fitzgerald's Press Conference

Courtesy of FDCH e-MEDIA
WAPo: Friday, October 28, 2005; 3:57 PM

FITZGERALD: Good afternoon. I'm Pat Fitzgerald. I'm the United States attorney in Chicago, but I'm appearing before you today as the Department of Justice special counsel in the CIA leak investigation

Transcript of Special Counsel Fitzgerald's Press Conference

WaPo poll: The level of honesty in government has DECLINED during Bush's tenure

Ouch!!! -- law

Friday's indictment of Vice President Cheney's chief of staff I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby dealt another big blow to public confidence in the administration, according to a new Washington Post-ABC News poll. Bush's approval rating fell to 39 percent -- the lowest recorded by this poll in his presidency -- and a majority of Americans said the charges signal broader ethical problems in the administration. By a ratio of 3 to 1, those surveyed said the level of honesty in government has declined during Bush's tenure.

Buffeted With Problems, Bush Must Chart a Recovery

Buffeted With Problems, Bush Must Chart a Recovery.. or get a new 9/11

Bush ...must consider the degree to which Cheney has now become a liability in his efforts to recover politically. Two Republicans privately said yesterday the taciturn Cheney has become a major burden to the president, and that his association with an unpopular war and proximity to the Libby embarrassment will eat at the administration's credibility. "This 'I'm a sphinx' gig just doesn't get it any more," one of the GOP strategists said.

Democratic pollster Geoffrey Garin said Bush faces bad choices as he attempts to regain momentum. The Miers episode raised questions about his judgment and decisiveness, while the leak investigation has raised questions about the administration's ethics.

"He can try to retreat to his base and make them happy, but that will come at great expense," Garin said. "Or his other option is to try to be what he hasn't been up to now, which is a president of consensus who tries to govern from the center. But we saw the toll that he pays from the right for that. So at the moment, he seems to be much more a captive of events."

Events, however, can energize a president as well torment him. Early in Bush's presidency, for example, many saw Bush bleeding influence; the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks infused him with new purpose and public support.

Buffeted With Problems, Bush Must Chart a Recovery

firedoglake: Ari Fleischer is the Third Man?

According to Josh Marshall, a key sentence was cut out of the Gellman WaPo piece last night, but is sitll available on Nexis:

On July 12, the day Cheney and Libby flew together from Norfolk, the vice president instructed his aide to alert reporters of an attack launched that morning on Wilson's credibility by Fleischer, according to a well-placed source.

Libby talked to Miller and Cooper. That same day, another administration official who has not been identified publicly returned a call from Walter Pincus of The Post. He "veered off the precise matter we were discussing" and told him that Wilson's trip was a "boondoggle" set up by Plame, Pincus has written in Nieman Reports.
...

Wow. Why the hell did they put that up then pull that down? Those lawyers are fucking quick.

Update: Anonymous Liberal suggests that the reason the WaPo pulled the quote is because it inadvertently outs Fleischer as Pincus' source.

firedoglake: Ari Fleischer is the Third Man?

firedoglake: Let's Tell Mikey, He'll Print Anything

It wasn't like Michael Isikoff didn't already have plenty to be ashamed of. After all, it was he who turned the pages of once-respectable Newsweek into a lurid bodice-ripper of Brobdingnagian proportions during Monicagate. I really didn't think it was possible to top a journalistic career built on three-ways with Lucianne Goldberg and Linda Tripp, but it seems I have underestimated the boy.

Isikoff really contorts himself into a shameless media pretzel in order to give Turdy a clean bill of political health today. I mean, I know Luskin is out there spinning -- that's his job as Rove's attorney -- but the idea that any journalist would unquestioningly accept whatever he says as an objective statement of fact and then print it as such is really quite remarkable even in a world of ever-escalating MSM shilling one-upsmanship, especially when Rove's new "alibi" includes accusing Patrick Fitzgerald of prosecutorial misconduct.

That's right. The rest of the world is lauding Fitzgerald's press conference performance on Friday, while Isikoff gives Turdy a free pass by saying Fitzgerald is a White House operative who violated his principles and his mandate to please the President.

Isikoff reports:

Fitzgerald made another visit early Friday morning —shortly before the grand jury voted to indict Dick Cheney's top aide, I. Lewis (Scooter) Libby —to the office of James Sharp, President George W. Bush's own lawyer in the case, to tell him the president's closest aide would not be charged.

That is just a remarkable claim. Listen to Digby:

Can someone tell me why Fitzgerald would go to President Bush's personal lawyer on Friday to tell him that Bush's "closest aide wouldn't be charged?" Is it in any possible sense ethical for the prosecutor to be telling the president's lawyer information that isn't available to the public about members of the president's staff in the middle of an investigation?

If this is true, I think Mr Fitzgerald has some splainin' to do, otherwise it might look like he's got some back channel communication with the White House about a case that directly affects it. This would not seem in character for Mr Fitzgerald, who is by all accounts a very ethical prosecutor. If this is true, it's a bomb shell. Fitzgerald has no business discussing Karl Rove with anyone but Karl Rove and Karl Rove's lawyer.

I think it was Maureen Dowd who said that investigative reporting is not just stenography. Since when did Isikoff turn Newsweek into the fucking White House fax machine? Can he not be bothered to pick up a phone and call an impartial attorney and figure out this action on the part of Fitzgerald, if true, is totally, utterly and completely illegal?

But let's not interrupt Mikey, he's on quite a roll:

Rove remains in some jeopardy, but the consensus view of lawyers close to the case is that he has probably dodged the bullet.

Consensus view of who? Luskin and his team of lawyers?

...then there is also the fabulous "Adam Levine" excuse, which Isikoff dutifully and credulously transcribes as if it actually makes sense:

Two sources close to Rove who asked not to be identified because the probe is ongoing said Luskin presented evidence that gave the prosecutor "pause."

Yeah, "pause" as in this is your fucking defense?

One small item was a July 11, 2003, e-mail Rove sent to former press aide Adam Levine saying Levine could come up to his office.. The e-mail was at 11:17 a.m., minutes after Rove had gotten off the phone with Matt Cooper ... as Levine told the FBI last week, Rove never said anything about Cooper.

Wow. Now it all makes perfect sense. Rove's flunky sashays into his office and Rove doesn't tell him he's just engaged in criminal activity, therefore he didn't. This is the rock upon which Rove will build his defense. I can see it now. Fitzgerald turns tail and abandons 22 months of hard work and his case against Rove based on this ineluctable logic.

If that's all they've got, Turdy's next gig will involve a power grab in the license plate shop.

The Levine talk was arguably helpful to one of Luskin's arguments: that, as a senior White House official, Rove dealt with a wide range of matters and might not remember every conversation he has had with journalists.

Help me, 'cos I've missed the logic leap here. Are they claiming that since Rove didn't mention the conversation moments later, he forgot it? That really just does not seem remarkably helpful to any defense. Then I suppose that in his haste to play the Jeff Gannon role in all of this, Isikoff might have failed to transcribe some sort of transitional statement that indicated Levine could also attest to the fact that Rove regularly forgets things.

What an interesting claim. It was Digby who points us to the Dallas Observer in 1999:

Early on, Rove showed he had the brainpower to go places. His sister remembers that the family used to rely on Rove's photographic memory for evening entertainment. "The game was, 'See if you can stump Karl,'" she says. His older brother Eric would read a passage from a book Karl had read the week before. The challenge was to guess which word his brother had intentionally left out.

...

Isikoff then spends the rest of the article shouting "hey, look, over there! Robert Novak! Let's not forget about him!" How very helpful.

You know, I'm really making an effort these days to go light on the four-letter words, but this entire article is just an outrage. A shameless, embarrassing excuse as a journalistic effort, and whether it is out of sheer laziness, mental infirmity or partisan hackery it is hard to say, often these things are unleashed upon the world as the toxic cocktail of all three...

You can contact Newsweek about it

firedoglake: Let's Tell Mikey, He'll Print Anything

W urged to chain Cheney

"Tie the mad dog to a tree or we will have to cage him ?" -- law

Sen. Lindsay Graham (R-S.C.) told CBS' "Face the Nation," .. he agreed with Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) that a probe of Cheney's office by a "nonpolitical person" could help clear the air.


WASHINGTON - President Bush should rein in Vice President Cheney and bring in a new staff to "talk reality" to an out-of-touch administration, Democrats and Republicans said yesterday.

But the bipartisan advice broke down on whether Bush should dump Karl Rove. Republicans argued that the embattled White House political chief was entitled to stay if he avoided charges in the CIA leak case. But the Senate's top Democrat told CNN that Rove's time is up.

"He should be let go," Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) said of Rove, who sources told the Daily News is the mysterious "Official A" in court papers who the prosecutor asserts outed CIA officer Valerie Plame.

Sen. Trent Lott (R-Miss.) said quitting was up to Rove. "Whatever is done or not done should be in the hands of Karl Rove as much as anybody," Lott told "Fox News Sunday."

As Bush holed up at Camp David over the weekend, the buzz on the TV talk shows was that the President must move quickly to get beyond the indictment of Lewis (Scooter) Libby, Cheney's chief of staff, for lying to a grand jury in the leak case.

On ABC-TV's "This Week," Reid said Bush should begin with "an apology to the American people" and a pledge not to pardon Libby or anyone else caught up in the leak.

But Republicans tried to play down the damage - and maintain that there are few players.

"This is not anything that can't be overcome" to save Bush's second term, Sen. Lindsay Graham (R-S.C.) told CBS' "Face the Nation," but he agreed with Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) that a probe of Cheney's office by a "nonpolitical person" could help clear the air.

Schumer said Bush needed to take Cheney "to the woodshed" for his office's involvement in the leak of Plame's name after her husband, former Ambassador Joseph Wilson, debunked prewar intelligence on Iraq.
...
GOP operatives agree the White House needs a course correction after a wave of political, policy and personnel disasters. Bush needs aides who can "go to the Oval Office and talk reality" to a reeling President, Ken Duberstein, who was chief of staff to the late President Ronald Reagan, told NBC's "Meet the Press."

An apology also wouldn't hurt, Duberstein said: "Mea culpas sell with the American people."

Meanwhile, a new poll found that 55% of Americans believe the Libby indictment signaled broader ethical problems within the Bush administration. The ABC News/Washington Post poll also showed Bush's approval rating has dipped to 39%, mirroring other recent surveys.

New York Daily News - Home - W urged to chain Cheney

Karl Rove: Last-Minute Evidence - Newsweek Periscope - MSNBC.com

Nov. 7, 2005 issue - Special counsel Patrick Fitzgerald's decision not to indict deputy White House chief of staff Karl Rove in the CIA leak case followed a flurry of last-minute negotiations between the prosecutor and Rove's defense lawyer, Robert Luskin. On Tuesday afternoon, Fitzgerald and the chief FBI agent on the case, Jack Eckenrode, visited the offices of the D.C. law firm where Luskin works to meet with the defense lawyer. Two sources close to Rove who asked not to be identified because the probe is ongoing said Luskin presented evidence that gave the prosecutor "pause." One small item was a July 11, 2003, e-mail Rove sent to former press aide Adam Levine saying Levine could come up to his office to discuss a personnel issue. The e-mail was at 11:17 a.m., minutes after Rove had gotten off the phone with Matt Cooper—the same conversation (in which White House critic Joe Wilson's wife's work for the CIA was discussed) that Rove originally failed to disclose to the grand jury. Levine, with whom Rove often discussed his talks with reporters, did immediately go up to see Rove. But as Levine told the FBI last week, Rove never said anything about Cooper. The Levine talk was arguably helpful to one of Luskin's arguments: that, as a senior White House official, Rove dealt with a wide range of matters and might not remember every conversation he has had with journalists. In any case, Fitzgerald made another visit early Friday morning—shortly before the grand jury voted to indict Dick Cheney's top aide, I. Lewis (Scooter) Libby—to the office of James Sharp, President George W. Bush's own lawyer in the case, to tell him the president's closest aide would not be charged. Rove remains in some jeopardy, but the consensus view of lawyers close to the case is that he has probably dodged the bullet.

Karl Rove: Last-Minute Evidence - Newsweek Periscope - MSNBC.com

Marine killed on his FIFTH trip into Al Hadithah

lawnorder: Marine killed on his FIFTH trip into Al Hadithah

Newsweek's Jonathan Alter tells us the story of Edward Schroeder, a Boy Scout turned Marine, who was killed along with 13 other soldiers on their fifth trip into Al Hadithah, Iraq, to clean out insurgents. Their fifth trip. Augie's grieving father [said] "that is the definition of insanity." (doing the smae thing over and over and hoping for a different outcome).. And because of Bushco's gag order this insanity has not been debated on natianal media for the last 2 years, as Alter's article points out -- law

The Price of Loyalty - Newsweek National News - MSNBC.com

The Schroeders were on my mind as I watched Patrick Fitzgerald's skillful press conference. He laid out the seriousness of blowing the cover of CIA operatives. He explained clearly why Scooter Libby had been indicted. He even struck a blow against rogue prosecutors (like Kenneth Starr, though he didn't mention him) whose staffs routinely leak to the media in violation of the law. But Fitzgerald was wrong on one count, at least metaphorically. "This indictment is not about the war," he said. Oh, yes, it is.

The conventional Washington explanation is that this is just old-fashioned politics. As long as you don't lie to a grand jury, there's nothing illegal here. But the consequences of a bias for loyalty over debate—even internal debate—have been devastating. The same president who seeks democracy, transparency and dissent in Iraq is irritated by it at home. O'Neill tells his story in a book by Ron Suskind called "The Price of Loyalty," and that title is the missing link in explaining the failure of the Bush presidency. The price of loyalty is incompetence. Issues don't get aired; downside risks remain unassessed.

Instead of reaching out and encouraging disagreement, Bush let neocons like Libby and Paul Wolfowitz hijack his foreign policy. Amazingly, the pros and cons of invading Iraq were never even debated in the National Security Council. If you had doubts, like Colin Powell, you were marginalized. (Powell's former chief of staff, Lawrence Wilkerson, said last week that a "cabal" of isolated policymakers ran a government of dangerous "ineptitude.") Consider the case of Brent Scowcroft. According to last week's New Yorker, former president Bush has tried to arrange a meeting between his old national-security adviser (and best friend) and his son. But after Scowcroft wrote a 2002 op-ed piece titled "Don't Attack Saddam," the president has consistently refused his own father's request. Now we know that Bush's lack of curiosity has proved fatal.

Paul Schroeder says that well-meaning people offer their condolences over Augie, "then they whisper to us, 'We oppose the war, too.' Why do they whisper?" Why? Because until now, the Bush White House has successfully peddled the idea that dissent is somehow unpatriotic. Paul and his wife, Rosemary, take a different view. "I think it's more patriotic to speak up," Rosemary says. "If the emperor has no clothes, or the president has no plan—then you have to speak out. Otherwise, you're putting all these lives in danger for no good cause."

Heaven help us: Bush is going to govern !!!!

Cheney's reign was already ending on Bush's second term, Plamegate may be the nail in the coffin... -- law

More from the MSNBC article Flying Blind:

As an aide now tells it, Cheney's influence began to wane from the start of the second term and effectively came to an end as the Fitzgerald investigation gained momentum in recent months. "You can say that the influence of the vice president is going to decrease, but it's hard to decrease from zero," said a senior official sympathetic to Cheney's policies.

Bush has grown more confident, aides say, having jettisoned the Cheney training wheels...

For the self-described "war president," that idea is steadfast devotion to confronting the global evil of "Islamist radicalism," and to "completing the mission" in Iraq. But repeating the antiterrorism incantation isn't enough. Last week the president gave perhaps his most eloquent speech on the topic, but it seemed repetitive and out of touch with public opinion and the on-the-ground realities of Iraq. For a political figure who rose to power on the strength of strategic "rollouts," Bush seemed to be oddly lacking a grand plan.

There is, as yet, no master plan to breathe life into the second term with dramatic new initiatives. Social Security reform—which was supposed to be the grand, defining initiative—remains as dead as it was the moment Bush introduced it. Instead, he now will talk about immigration reform—no sure winner with the conservative base—and tax reform, which may be. He will push for federal budget cuts, but probably not enough to satisfy the deficit hawks in his own Republican Party. (He may even have to fight a rear-guard action to save the prescription-drug benefit he championed: Sen. John McCain is assembling a coalition to delay its implementation by two years to save $80 billion.)Flying Blind - Newsweek National News - MSNBC.com

Bushco team Flying Blind - Newsweek

Dark days: Singed by the special prosecutor and rattled by the Harriet Miers mess, Team Bush is in turmoil.

Nov. 7, 2005 issue - The mood in the White House last Friday afternoon was grim, but eerily quiet. Dick Cheney was gone, off in Georgia giving yet another apocalyptic terrorism speech to yet another military crowd. The president, just back from his own rally-the-troops address, was eager to chopper to Camp David for the weekend. But, in the small dining room adjoining the Oval Office, he was doing something uncharacteristic: watching live news on TV.

"I don't read books, I read people," George W. Bush once said, half in jest, and so the figure on the screen spoke volumes to him: the Irish-American altar-boy visage; the off-the-rack attire; the meticulous, yet colloquial speech, a blend of the U.S. Code, Jimmy Stewart and baseball. Special prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald, Bush said to his aides, "is a very serious guy." And so was the charge he laid out: that I. Lewis (Scooter) Libby, the vice president's right-hand man, had lied repeatedly under oath about what might well have been a White House effort to vindictively tip reporters about the identity of a CIA agent whose husband was a critic of the Iraq war. Libby has denied wrongdoing, and his lawyer vowed a vigorous defense. But Bush, an aide indicated, was as impressed by Fitzgerald's case as by the man who brought it. "The indictment speaks for itself," said the aide, speaking anonymously because of the sensitivity of the situation.

In a capital that fashions its gallows out of court papers, Fitzgerald also made news for what he didn't do—and for whom he didn't propose to try to hang. Importantly, he did not indict Libby for disclosing the identity of the agent, Valerie Plame, to reporters. In a tour-de-force press conference (Bush saw the initial 20 minutes), the prosecutor said that he couldn't conclude whether to take that step in part because Libby had covered his motives in lies. Nor, as of last Friday, had Fitzgerald decided whether to indict Karl Rove, the top presidential aide and close friend, who also talked to journalists about Plame and her husband, former ambassador Joseph Wilson. There was relief but no joy inside the White House at these dodged bullets. "This is a White House in turmoil right now," said a senior aide, one of many who declined to speak on the record at a time of peril and paranoia. As for Rove, the aide said, some insiders believed that he had "behaved, if not criminally, then certainly unethically."

....

Now Fitzgerald's probe is aimed at the operational inner sanctum of Bush's "war presidency"—and, by extension, at Bush's anchoring view of what his administration has been about since the 9/11 attacks. As he prosecutes "Cheney's Cheney" for perjury, false statements and obstruction, Fitzgerald will inevitably have to shine a light on the machinery that sold the Iraq war and that sought to discredit critics of it, particularly Joseph Wilson. And that, in turn, could lead to Cheney and to the Cheney-run effort to make Iraq the central battleground in the war on terror. As if that weren't dramatic enough, the Libby trial—if there is one—will feature an unprecedented, high-stakes credibility contest between a top government official and the reporters he spoke to: Tim Russert of NBC, Judith Miller of The New York Times and Matt Cooper of Time magazine. Another likely witness: Cheney himself. White House officials were admonished not to have any contact with Libby about the investigation. That presumably includes the vice president...

Perhaps it's no surprise, therefore, that at least some administration officials—speaking on background, of course—have begun retroactively to dismiss Cheney's role. Even if they are rewriting history, the revision is politically significant—and an ominous sign for Cheney in a city where power is the appearance of power. As an aide now tells it, Cheney's influence began to wane from the start of the second term and effectively came to an end as the Fitzgerald investigation gained momentum in recent months. "You can say that the influence of the vice president is going to decrease, but it's hard to decrease from zero,"..



Flying Blind - Newsweek National News - MSNBC.com

Howard Kurtz is delirious

Kurtz writes:

Now that an indictment has reached the highest level of the White House for the first time since Watergate, journalists face a minefield of potentially explosive questions: Are they enjoying a bit too much the spectacle of Libby, Vice President Cheney's chief of staff, having to resign over the perjury and obstruction of justice charges? What happened to the normal journalistic skepticism toward a single-minded special prosecutor, as was on display when Ken Starr was pursuing Bill Clinton?

What skepticism Mr. Kurtz ? Don't you think we have something called memory ?!?! Or for the memory impaired like you, we have archives. Care to cite an archived version of YOU or anyone in the WaPo being skeptic of Ken Starr ? -- law


Howard does get something right though:

...the leak prosecution is shaping up as a test of media fairness and responsibility in a polarizing age when many people on the left and right think the news business is hopelessly biased.

Yeah and you have just failed the test Mr. Kurtz... -- law

Media Notes Extra

For Bloggers Seeking Name Recognition, Nothing Beats a Good Scandal - New York Times

Ariana Huffington's relentless drubbing of Judith Miller, the New York Times reporter, drove the relatively new HuffingtonPost.com high into Technorati's rankings. Her site's popularity continued right through Friday's indictment of I. Lewis Libby, the White House staff member accused of making false statements during an investigation into the leak of a Central Intelligence Agency operative's name. At day's end, roughly 20 new links per hour were being made to HuffingtonPost.com.

"I would say that's a pretty significant blogometric pressure," said David L. Sifry, the chief executive of Technorati.

The White House leak scandal has put some other sites on the map even though they lack Ms. Huffington's name recognition. Steven C. Clemons, a fellow at the New America Foundation, drew a fair amount of cross-linking to his blog, the Washington Note (thewashingtonnote.com), with reliable coverage throughout the affair. So too did the group blog FireDogLake (firedoglake.blogspot.com), which drew nearly 200 comments in just 90 minutes after a post about the news conference held by the special prosecutor in the leak case, Patrick J. Fitzgerald, Friday afternoon. And with some original reporting on the affair last week, the JustOneMinute blog, run by Tom Maguire (justoneminute.typepad.com), was identified by Technorati as an "aggregation point" for chatter on the topic.

"This is kind of like a look into the global subconscious," Mr. Sifry said, "when you can expose what people are looking for."

Alas, competition for attention on the Web is stiff. Behind the Libby indictment, the most-discussed headline at the close of business Friday: "CNN - George Takei, Trek's Sulu: I'm gay."

For Bloggers Seeking Name Recognition, Nothing Beats a Good Scandal - New York Times