Sean Penn and Naomi Watts reunite to tell the story of Valerie Plame and the imaginary yellowcake in the new trailer for Doug Liman’s Fair Game. Hmm, ok…but I’m getting a Lions for Lambs/Green Zone flavor from this trailer — edutainmenty and too little, too late. Still, it pretty much has to be better than 21 Grams.
“All administrations produce unhappy people in the second term…What has changed at this point, though, ‘is that it feels like it’s every man for himself,’ says one former senior administration official.” Slate‘s John Dickerson takes a gander at the sinking ship mentality currently pervading the Dubya White House.
“Novak may choose to regret or not regret that he blew the cover of an undercover CIA employee; he would hardly be the first journalist to do so. But for Novak to continue pretending he did no such thing is just weird.” Slate‘s Tim Noah explains why Bob Novak is guilty of outing Valerie Plame, even if the DoL tends to suggest otherwise.
“Who is this tiny, tiny fellow? Not more than 5-foot-7, to my eye. Sleek and slight like a kitten. Wears a digital watch with a Velcro band. Also wears a little beaded bracelet around his wrist. And writes semiperverted novels set in 1903 Japan. I admit it: You fascinate me, sir.” While GitM has been on hiatus this week, the aspens have been turning in Washington over at the Scooter Libby trial, and old friend Seth Stevenson, among others, has a ringside seat for Slate.
I forgot to post this during the header hiatus, and was just reminded of it again by Supercres: On the Plamegate front, Scooter Libby testified that his “superiors” authorized the leak of Valerie Plame’s identity, meaning — undoubtedly — Dick Cheney….and someone else?
Washington Post editor Bob Woodward testifies to the Fitzgerald grand jury about a third senior White House official involved in disclosing the identity of Valerie Plame, besides Libby and Rove. (Woodward’s statement.) This means Libby likely wasn’t the first to leak Plame’s identity, but the new info has no bearing on his perjury or obstruction of justice indictments.
For Woodward’s part, his statement and public comments about the case alternate between high dudgeon (“It was the first time in 35 years as a reporter that I have been asked to provide information to a grand jury”) and open ridicule (“When I think all of the facts come out in this case, it’s going to be laughable because the consequences are not that great.“) Mostly, he just seems cranky that he — award-winning journalist Bob Woodward! — was forced to take time away from another puff piece book on Dubya to testify about a felony in the White House. But this isn’t news. Frankly, Woodward has been embarrassing his legacy for years…almost any of his talking-head stints on Larry King illustrate that. Since at least the early Clinton years, he’s been more desirous of maintaining his high profile and insider status than in promoting good journalism or good government. (And in that, he’s reflected the trajectory of many in the newsmedia.) Update: The Post is somewhat irked.
“Why would an experienced lawyer and government official such as Libby leave himself so exposed to prosecutor Patrick J. Fitzgerald?…To critics, the timing suggests an attempt to obscure Cheney’s role, and possibly his legal culpability.” The Post suggests anew that, in the investigation into the Valerie Plame leak, Scooter Libby fell on his sword for Cheney. Meanwhile, National Journal‘s Murray Waas reports that Karl Rove’s fate rests on Libby’s testimony, meaning it may be some time before “Bush’s Brain” is indicted, or in the clear.
“Even before I went to jail, I had become a lightning rod for public fury over the intelligence failures that helped lead our country to war…I believed then, and still do, that the answer to bad information is more reporting.” To no one’s surprise, Judy Miller “retires” from the New York Times, but not before getting in one last word (and setting up her own website.) Well, she was way wrong on WMD, but she’s right about this: The best thing the NYT can do to restore its credibility after Judy and Jayson Blair would be to lead an investigatory charge into the pre-war Iraq intelligence, and pronto.
“Karl does not have any real enemies in the White House, but there are a lot of people in the White House wondering how they can put this behind them if the cloud remains over Karl…You can not have that [fresh] start as long as Karl is there.” As Scooter Libby pleads not guilty, the White House contemplates its Rove problem. No enemies, perhaps, but the fact that a story like this is leaking suggest someone wants Rove out. Update: In light of recent events, Slate‘s Jacob Weisberg revisits the Bush/Rove = McKinley/Hanna analogy.
“I demand on behalf of the America people that we understand why these investigations aren’t being conducted.” In a bold and unblockable parliamentary move, Harry Reid closes the Senate doors to push for an inquiry into Libby and Weaponsgate. A blustering and blindsided Catkiller Frist, for one, was shocked — shocked! — by the closed-door session. “The United States Senate has been hijacked by the Democratic leadership…They have no convictions, they have no principles, they have no ideas.” Please, Frist, take it down a notch…your blind panic is hardly presidential. Besides, the GOP don’t have any convictions yet either…just plenty of investigations and indictments.
Update: The Dems dig in: “We’re serving notice on [Senate Republicans] at this moment: Be prepared for this motion every day until you face the reality. The Senate Intelligence Committee has a responsibility to hold this administration accountable for the misuse of intelligence information. They have promised this investigation. We will continue to make this request until they do it.” Bravo!
“‘Everyone thinks it is over for Karl and they are wrong,’ a source close to Rove said. The strategist’s legal and political advisers ‘by no means think the part of the investigation concerning Karl is closed.’” As Scooter Libby preps for his Thursday arraignment, Rove continues to sweat the Fitzgerald investigation. Meanwhile, Cheney picked Libby’s replacements yesterday, and they’re more of the same: The new chief of staff, David Addington, was the co-author of the infamous torture memo, and Cheney’s new national security advisor, John Hannah, acted as the conduit for false Iraq intel in the lead-up to war. And, as you might expect of Cheney’s cronies, both are already implicated in Plamegate.
“‘The president said anyone involved would be gone,’ Reid said. ‘And we now know that Official A is Karl Rove. He’s still around. He should be let go.’” On the Sunday circuit, the Dems make the case for Rove’s dismissal, in keeping with Dubya’s earlier pledge to fire anyone involved in the Plame leak. And, last-minute Hail Mary notwithstanding, Rove still appears to be in legal trouble. “In prosecutorial parlance, this kind of awkward pseudonym ["Official A"] is often used for individuals who have not been indicted in a case but still face a significant chance of being charged. No other official in the investigation carries such an identifier.”
But how deep go the roots? As you know by now, Vice-Presidential Chief of Staff Lewis “Scooter” Libby (a.k.a. “Cheney’s Cheney“) has been indicted on five counts of perjury, obstruction of justice, and making false statements. (So much for “restoring honor and dignity to the White House.”) As for the other rumored indictment, it seems Karl Rove has slipped off the hook for the time being, but the investigation continues…
For Karl Rove, Scooter Libby, the White House, and all of Washington, the waiting is the hardest part. But, word is we’ll know the results of Fitzgerald’s Plamegate inquiry tomorrow, and not a moment too soon.
As breaking everywhere this morning, it seems Scooter Libby, for one, has clearly perjured himself in the Plamegate investigation. Whatsmore, his boss, “Big Time” Dick Cheney, may well have initiated the smear campaign against Valerie Plame, in order to promote the administration’s push for war in Iraq. What else has Fitzgerald uncovered? We should know within 72 hours.
With indictments — and resignations — now the likely result of Patrick Fitzgerald‘s investigation into Plamegate, Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-TX) gamely floats the “Aw, who cares about a little perjury?” defense. Somehow, I don’t think that that dog’s gonna hunt.
(Which reminds me, Sen. Hutchison, you once voted to convict a president on “some perjury technicality”…ask your staffers about it.)
“Bush did not feel misled so much by Karl and others as believing that they handled it in a ham-handed and bush-league way.” (Then again, pretty much everything about this administration is bush-league.) A new report indicates that, contrary to previous White House statements and leaks, Dubya knew about Rove’s role in Plamegate from the start. Strange this information is being leaked on the eve of indictments…
“Greg Mitchell, who edits Editor & Publisher, writes, ‘Miller did far more damage to her newspaper than did Jayson Blair, and that’s not even counting her WMD reporting, which hurt and embarrassed the paper in other ways.’ Jay Rosen concurs. ‘There’s no question,’ he says, ‘this is bigger than Jayson Blair.’” Salon‘s Farhad Manjoo deconstructs the NY Times coverage of Judy Miller’s involvement in Plamegate (available here), and explains why Cheney chief Lewis Libby, in particular, may now be facing an obstruction of justice charge. If it’s any consolation, Scooter, Rove’s in hot water, too.
“‘The one that people are most worried about is Abramoff because it seems to have such long tentacles…This seems to be something that could spread almost anywhere…and that has a lot of people worried.’” As Rove testifies for a fourth time before Patrick Fitzgerald’s inquiry into Plamegate and Boss DeLay’s phone records are subpoenaed by Texas DA Ronnie Earle, the WP surveys the political fallout from the many GOP corruption scandals currently in play.
“There is no reason for Rove to make this appearance unless he and his counsel believe he is at serious risk of indictment. None.” On the day after former White House procurement chief David Safavian is indicted on five counts of lying and obstruction of justice, Karl Rove decides to testify for a fourth time before the grand jury delving into the felonious unmasking of Valerie Plame (presumably to stave off his indictment, or that of someone above him.) So…Rove, Safavian, Libby, Abramoff, Frist, DeLay…how many investigations and indictments can the GOP leadership rack up? Is the whole rotten edifice of GOP corporate cronyism threatening to topple? One can only hope.
“As the CIA leak investigation heads toward its expected conclusion this month, it has become increasingly clear that two of the most powerful men in the Bush administration were more involved in the unmasking of operative Valerie Plame than the White House originally indicated.” Bringing the somewhat bizarre recent revelation of Judith Miller’s source to bear on the story, the Washington Post surveys the roles of Karl Rove and Scooter Libby in Plamegate. “[Lawyers with inside info] surmise that [Special Prosecutor Patrick] Fitzgerald is considering whether he can bring charges of a criminal conspiracy perpetrated by a group of senior Bush administration officials..”
“The self-described ‘prince of darkness’ appears blinded by the light. He cannot see himself as everyone else does. He has called so much attention to himself that he casts no shadow at all. He is completely exposed.” Sidney Blumenthal puts the skewers to Bob Novak.
Hey…still busy over on this end with the textbook project. At this point, I’m about ready to up and pull a Novak, but, fortunately, the end is in sight.
“‘He’s a friend,’ the president said…’He’s testified in public, and I believe him.’” In a roundtable with Texas journalists, Dubya backs Karl Rove and Rafael Palmeiro, as well as (somewhat half-heartedly) the teaching of “intelligent design.” A bit of a gullible sort, ain’t he?
Federalist Society or no, John Roberts now seems almost assured of winning confirmation as the Supreme Court’s newest justice (barring an eleventh hour revelation of impropriety, of course.) So, the Dems plan for the next best thing, which is to use the Roberts hearings as political theater with which to expose general right-wing looniness. Hmmm. Might work, I suppose. Hopefully, the Dems will keep their eye on the ball and make sure any gamesmanship on Roberts doesn’t suck the press away from the still-growing White House felony investigation, which now seems to include possible perjury and obstruction of justice charges for Rove, Libby, et al. Update: Wilson’s revenge? Salon suggests the operative law in the Rove case may be the Espionage Act of 1917, which isn’t what you’d call one of progressivism’s better moments.
“When asked at one point why he was pursuing the diplomat so aggressively, Rove reportedly responded: ‘He’s a Democrat.’” From a few days ago, the LA Times looks into Karl Rove and Scooter Libby’s aggressive campaign to discredit Joseph Wilson (as seen on Tim Noah’s latest Rove Death Watch.)
Ok, the whistleblower defense wasn’t really cutting it for Karl…so, what’s next? Well, the new GOP talking point seems to be “Novak outed Plame first.” So, if true, does this get Rove off the hook? Not hardly. As both Salon‘s Tim Grieve and Slate‘s Tim Noah explain more eloquently, confirming Plame’s identity to Novak is still a big-time offense (as is passing it on to TIME‘s Matt Cooper.) But, this does mean that Novak had a second source among Dubya’s “senior administration” officials. Ari Fleischer, perhaps?
As Dubya goes mum about Karl Rove’s future, Slate‘s Tim Noah effectively dismantles the GOP’s Hail Mary “whistleblower” defense (floated, naturally, on the WSJ op-ed page), Clinton aide Sidney Blumenthal argues Rove’s fate will be decided by the special prosecutor, and Salon‘s Robert Bryce lays out the case for what we all suspect: Dubya won’t give up Rove anytime soon.
“It’s not necessarily clear that a press engaged in a tabloid-esque race to the bottom, consumed by sensationalist pseudo-stories, nuggets of McNews and flag-waving rhetoric, is a free press in any meaningful sense of the term,” writes Salon‘s Andrew O’Hehir in a thoughtful piece on the Judith Miller case. But, he concludes, “[c]ompelling a reporter to reveal his or her sources to the police turns that reporter into a police agent, and that’s not acceptable, even in unsavory circumstances like these.” Update: Salon readers poke some substantial holes in O’Hehir’s argument. Update 2: O’Hehir responds.
As a counterpoint, Slate‘s Jacob Weisberg argues the following: “To Miller and the Times, confidentiality is the trump value of journalism, one that outweighs all other considerations, including obedience to the law, the public interest, and perhaps even loyalty to country. This is indeed a strong principle, but it is a misguided one. In the Mafia, keeping confidences is the supreme value. In journalism, the highest value is the discovery and publication of the truth.“
And one more view by way of James Fallows, who’s written quite a bit on journalistic ethics in his time: “So Time Inc’s Norman Pearlstein says he will turn over Matthew Cooper’s notes, because Time magazine is ‘not above the law.’…Matt Cooper, Judith Miller, and the New York Times have been saying something completely different. They have been saying that there is a conflict between what the law asks and what their professional values allow them to do. Therefore they will take the consequences. They will go to jail….They are not placing themselves above the law. They are saying that certain values matter more to them than doing what the law now (outrageously, in my view) asks them to do. Norman Pearlstein is a smart man. Can he really have missed this point? Or is he acknowledging that another set of values have come to count for more, in large-scale corporate-owned journalism?“
“The emerging GOP strategy — devised by Mehlman and other Rove loyalists outside of the White House — is to try to undermine those Democrats calling for Rove’s ouster, play down Rove’s role and wait for President Bush’s forthcoming Supreme Court selection to drown out the controversy, according to several high-level Republicans.” In other words, the GOP is playing it by the book.
“Inside the Bush administration, lying to reporters doesn’t even come close to being a firing offense…But Rove blew the cover of an undercover CIA official. If Dubya doesn’t fire the man he nicknamed ‘Turd Blossom’ for this offense, he’s an even bigger hack than I think.” Slate‘s Tim Noah explains why Karl Rove really has to go, now that his central role in Plamegate has come to light. Update: The White House clams up.
Monica who? On the eve of Dubya II, Salon‘s Peter Dizikes offers a short but comprehensive list of this administration’s scandals thus far. Thirty-four and counting…not that you’d know it from watching the evening news.
Ashcroft gets the inside word on the FBI’s Plamegate investigation. Well, on one hand he is the Attorney General. But, c’mon now – the smart thing to do would be to recuse himself from this case, particularly given his close ties to Rove. As I’ve said before in other contexts, if we were talking about Janet Reno here, Dan Burton would already have fired up the investigation train.
In a news conference today, Dubya voiced doubts about whether the Plame leaker will ever be caught. “‘I don’t know if we’re going to find out the senior administration official,’ Bush said. ‘I don’t have any idea. I’d like to. I want to know the truth.’ But, Bush said, ‘This is a large administration and there’s a lot of senior officials.’” Good Lord, what garbage. Perhaps an independent counsel might facilitate matters?
From out the mists of history, Watergate figures weigh in on Felonygate and this administration’s total lack of credibility: Nixon counsel John Dean calls the Bushies worse than his old employers, while Daniel Ellsberg argues that the Plumbers are back. Says Ellsberg of the Plame situation, “I see an almost identical pattern here [between his own experience and Plame's]. Really, I don’t know of any analogy so close in the 30 years between now and then. This is not an everyday occurrence.” In related news, it turns out that the Bushies have lied again — this time, Wolfowitz & co. drastically overstated the health of the Iraqi oil industry, despite a Pentagon report to the contrary, so as to minimize the cost of Iraqi reconstruction for American taxpayers. Typical.
With the inquiry into felonious behavior in the White House expected to broaden to include the State and Defense Departments in short order, Attorney General Ashcroft ponders how to investigate his buddy Karl Rove (Here’s a hint, John – Just treat him like you would a foreign national or medicinal marijuana advocate.) Meanwhile, the White House unleashes its “slime and defend” defense strategy, which involves slandering Joseph Wilson as a (gasp) Democrat while circling the GOP wagons around 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. “‘So far so good,’ the [Republican] aide said. ‘There’s nervousness on the part of the party leadership, but no defections in the sense of calling for an independent counsel.’” So who will be the first Republican statesperson to stand up and demand the Bushies be held accountable? John McCain, perhaps? Or how about one of the House Impeachment managers — they were so enamored with executive propriety only five years ago.
The political quagmire thickens for Dubya on the matter of the compromised CIA agent, with 2/3rds of Americans supporting the appointment of a special prosecutor into the matter. The GOP invested millions of taxpayer dollars in the vain search for a felony they could stick on the Clinton White House…let’s hope they show the same resolve and fortitude now that we’ve found an actual felon within this administration. If they can get that worked up over Monica Lewinsky, I can’t wait to see how they’ll respond to a criminal act of treason by one of the Bushies.
A CIA inquiry delves into the Bush administration to ascertain which [Karl Rove]Dubya flunky[/Karl Rove] was motivated by petty revenge and political calculation to compromise the identity of an agent. Just like the Bushies to play political games with both our collective and individual security…Hopefully the Agency will get to the bottom of this White House felony more thoroughly than they did WMDgate.