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Born at the Crest of the Empire

Saturday, October 29, 2005

Fitzgerald visited Bush's defense lawyer?

This is making the blog rounds from the summary NYTimes piece today.

Mr. Fitzgerald was spotted Friday morning outside the office of James Sharp, Mr. Bush's personal lawyer. Mr. Bush was interviewed about the case by Mr. Fitzgerald last year. It is not known what discussions, if any, were taking place between the prosecutor and Mr. Sharp. Mr. Sharp did not return a phone call, and Mr. Fitzgerald's spokesman, Randall Samborn, declined to comment.

So what do I make of this? Hmmm....

The most benign explanation I can think of is that Fitzgerald was giving Bush a head's up on what was coming, although, despite the unusual circumstances of indictments in the Whitehouse, that would seem to cross some ethics line. Was Fitzgerald assuring Sharp that Bush wouldn't be indicted? Awfully late for that, unless Bush was in some jeopardy we didn't see from the outside. Maybe he was picking up information or a questionaire regarding Rove's eleventh hour new information. Was Bush the mysterious Mr. X who was Novak's other source?

I just can't get my head around this, but I think it may be significant although we may never know why.

I guess the Plame Gossip section of this blog isn't over yet.

The LATimes has a Rove's attorney's sourced story that claims the "eleventh hour" information.

But at the last minute, new information, reevaluation of older evidence and negotiations with Rove's lawyers combined to spare the top White House aide for now, according to sources close to Rove and familiar with the inquiry.

As recently as Tuesday, for example, prosecutors began to focus on a 2003 e-mail exchange between Rove and a White House colleague. The exchange could be seen as supporting Rove's contention that he had not intentionally misled investigators. .....

"Levine's acknowledgment that the Cooper conversation did not come up in my client's conversation with Rove seems to support a theory that it just wasn't that important to Rove and could therefore have been easily forgotten," said Daniel French, Levine's attorney.

So, the Rove defense is, this was so minor that Karl Rove didn't mention it in a conversation or an email later the same day. So, of course his "I don't recall" wasn't perjury and obstruction. Doesn't seem too strong, but there's gotta be something more to stop an indictment.

Also, this article quotes "Rove associates" who said there was never any talk of a plea deal. (despite the previous reported and acknowledged use of the word "negotiations" by other "Rove associates.")

So, this is from the Rove defense, and I think it's pretty heavily spun, but, there you go.

It's not getting any clearer, but I would guess it will only be a couple weeks or a month more.

Another spy.

And while we were all watching the Fitzgerald/Libby saga yesterday, this hit the press.

HONOLULU — An engineer who called himself the father of the technology that protects the B-2 stealth bomber from heat-seeking missiles has been arrested and accused of selling military secrets involving the aircraft to a foreign country, the FBI said. .....

According to an affidavit filed Wednesday by the FBI, Gowadia marketed himself to foreign officials and other foreigners as the “father” of the B-2’s unique infrared suppressing propulsion system. .....

The FBI said Gowanda admitted during questioning that he provided classified information to about eight countries.

Okay, let's play the game. Who makes military planes? Russia, China, France, Israel, India, Japan.... Could this have gone to someone seeking to cuircumvent the stealth technologies? A hundred billion in research down the toilet.

Knight Ridder knows about the Niger Forgeries.

Knight Ridder makes their working theory of how the Niger forgeries ended up in the US intelligence stream pretty clear. They imply the who, the what, the how, and the why.

-Italy's military intelligence agency, SISMI, and people close to it, repeatedly tried to shop the bogus Niger uranium story to governments in France, Britain and the United States. That created the illusion that multiple sources were confirming the story. ....

-State Department intelligence analysts and some in the CIA discounted the uranium story. But White House officials, working through a back channel to one CIA unit, seized on the tale, and it was included in Bush's case for war.

The following is a chronology of events that led up to the indictment of I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby, Vice President Dick Cheney's chief of staff.....

Sept. 9 - With the White House's public campaign against Iraq in full swing, Nicolo Pollari, head of SISMI, met with then-Deputy National Security Adviser Stephen J. Hadley at the White House. Hadley later took the blame for including the false Niger allegation in Bush's 2003 State of the Union speech.

Some sort of congressional investigation into this is reason enough for me to vote Democrat in the upcoming midterms. Frist has already made clear that he will not look into the Plame leak. For true accountability, control of the House or Senate is going to have to change parties.

Also related are the reports that Berlusconi claims that the meeting was between Condi Rice and Pollari, and that Hadley just happened to stop by. This is being put out by Berlusconi's office.

And to indict Berlusconi's credibility, I offer exhibit A.

Italian Premier Silvio Berlusconi, one of President Bush's strongest supporters over Iraq, says he tried repeatedly to dissuade the American leader from going to war and was never convinced military force was the best way to bring democracy.


Official A in a previous Fitzgerald investigation

Just ran across this in some of the blog coverage. The ill-defined "official A" draws an interesting parallel to Fitzgerald's use of similar language is the George Ryan prosecution.

When asked, Fitzgerald would not comment on whether "Official A" was Ryan.......

"I cannot answer that question," Fitzgerald said when asked about any Ryan involvement. "We cannot discuss people not charged in the indictment."
Just interesting.

Friday, October 28, 2005

General Impressions of Libby Indictment

It's actually been a pretty somber day perked up with an occasional chuckle as a "White House Under Indictment" graphic flits across my TV screen accompanied by that music of gravitas that the cable news channels do so well. I feel tired and kind of sad, like a secondary aquaintance has succumbed after a long illness.

And as I look about the blogs that I regularly read, I don't think I'm alone. The general level of posting seems lower than normal and the fevered pitch of rumor and gossip has pretty much gone away. I'm really surprised that there isn't much sniping, no shouts of schadenfreude. Everybody seems to think we've had enough for today.

There are a few key elements that are out there. The unnamed Undersecretary of State seems to have been collectively identified by the blogosphere as Marc Grossman, and "official A" appears to be Rove. As all other references to second parties were by title, that identification as "official A" does support the theory of further investigation of Rove.

And there is the question of this cryptic paragraph from the WaPo.
Rove provided new information to Fitzgerald during eleventh-hour negotiations that "gave Fitzgerald pause" about charging Bush's senior strategist, said a source close to Rove. "The prosecutor has to resolve those issues before he decides what to do."

Two possibilities I see in that. One, Rove suddenly pulled up some kind of exculpatory evidence or, Two Rove offered some new element as part of the plea deal that was being negotiated in not so secret earlier this week.

And my gut tells me that Fitzgerald knows what happened, he just can't prove it, yet. The indictments against Libby are meant to allow some leverage on Libby if he wants to plead down and testify, and also offer to Karl Rove a threat. The pieces are now positioned, and it's now a question of how well Fitzgerald can play the end game.

The key to this playing out will be Fitzgerald's ability to predict, or better yet, force the series of moves by those he is stalking. That's why the above paragraph is noteworthy. Somehow a new piece seems to have appeared on Rove's side of the board.

And lastly, I would say this. After watching the press conference this afternoon and reading the indictment a second time, I think that during the investigation, Fitzgerald saw something that he views as morally wrong and that he's not going to let go until it gets punished. Just a general impression, nothing I can put to facts.

As a little support I found this curious statement from Fitzgerald at the press conference.

(in response to the question)The indictment describes Lewis Libby giving classified information concerning the identify of a CIA agent to some individuals who were not eligible to receive that information. Can you explain why that does not, in and of itself, constitute a crime?
Fitgerald: But at the end of the day, I think I want to say one more thing, which is: When you do a criminal case, if you find a violation, it doesn't really, in the end, matter what statute you use if you vindicate the interest. If Mr. Libby is proven to have done what we've alleged -- convicting him of obstruction of justice, perjury and false statements -- very serious felonies -- will vindicate the interest of the public in making sure he's held accountable. It's not as if you say, "Well, this person was convicted but under the wrong statute."

In other words, Fitzgerald is saying, "I know Libby did it. I can't prove it, but it was wrong. And I'm gonna make damn sure he's not gonna walk out of here a free man. "

If I were Rove or Cheney, this would cause more than a little trepidation.

UPDATE: I also want to leave open the possibility that there were other sealed indictments that were not made public at this time. Or perhaps, better said, plea deals for someone or someones who might be cooperating. Because if there are cooperative witnesses, Fitzgerald would not want to bring them forth with an investigation still ongoing. No proof any exist, just putting it out there.

Post Indictment.

I don't have too much to say at this point. I'm happy to see that the press isn't buying the "perjury is no big deal" defense of the Republican spin. But, really, I don't know too much more than I knew this morning about all this with the exception that Libby has formally been indicted. Rove is still a question, the political implications for Cheney are still a question.

There are a few tantalizing clues in the indictment. Who is the unnamed Undersecretary of State? (Bolton) Who is the Mr. X? (official A). But overall I'm still processing all this.

I don't have anything of value to add at this point.

Here's a link to the indictment.

Do you think the trial will be on CourtTV?

Later. I guess this is news from the WaPo

Rove provided new information to Fitzgerald during eleventh-hour negotiations that "gave Fitzgerald pause" about charging Bush's senior strategist, said a source close to Rove. "The prosecutor has to resolve those issues before he decides what to do."

And best guess across the blogosphere is that the Undersecretary of State mentioned in the indictment was Grossman, not Bolton.

And tonight AP names "Official A" as Karl Rove. No surprise in that, but it is significant.

Colin Powell is gunning for Cheney - Mike's wild-assed theory.

I thought I'd put this a bit more formally. I think that alot of the negative Cheney press is coming, indirectly from Colin Powell.

First the evidence.

1) Ten days ago, Col. Lawrence Wilkerson, longtime chief of staff for Colin Powell until January, unleashes a scathing attack claiming a Cheney/Rumsfeld cabal which hijacked policy making, especially Iraq policy.

2) Due to be released Oct 31 but details leaking over the last week, Brent Scowcroft, a close friend of Powell's, puts out an interview in the New Yorker savaging the current Bush administration foreign policy focusing on Cheney, "I've known him for thirty years. But Dick Cheney I don't know anymore."

3) Then, Murray Waas piece in the National Journal comes out claiming that Cheney and Libby withheld information from the Senate Intel Committee regarding the questionable intelligence about WMD.

4) And Newsweek suddenly publishes an article painting Cheney as unwilling to give up on discredited intel relating to an Iraq/Al Qaeda connection titled "Fabricated Links."

Okay, so our first two pieces of evidence are blasts launched at Cheney from some very close, very long time friends of Powell's. The second two "leaked" stories required a leaker with access to highly classified information, access to the prewar deliberative process, and access to politically highly confidential drafts of a presidential speech. Not a lock, but Powell and his entourage certainly meet this description.

There are means and opportunity, now for motive. The most simple motive Powell would have for going after Cheney like this would be revenge for being set up before the UN. It appears now that alot of the lies that he repeated in front of the security council have their roots in the pre-war intel lies in which Cheney was deeply involved.

A second, more far fetched motive, I posted on out yesterday. I'm just gonna reprint it as is.

Let me just add that a contributory element to my Powell theory is the rumor I heard today that the three candidates to replace Cheney who are being discussed are Rice, McCain, and Powell. I know, Colin Powell going back into this administration would seem a strange political move, but he could go back as a reformer who is going to clean up the administration and take the party back from those extremists who took the country to war. Don't see how it's true, but that's what made me think of Colin Powell in the context of two of his close buddies (Wilkerson and Scowcroft) turning on Cheney and then the leaks in the next post for a one, two, three.

Also, if Colin Powell wanted to run for President, this move into the VP's office would give him the shoe in for the Republican nomination.

I don't know if I believe this second motive, it just seems too big, too Machiavellian, but I wanted to get it out there.

But I certainly do see Colin Powell's influence in all of these negative releases on Cheney.


Fitzgerald press conf at 2PM - Paperwork released at noon

CNN just announced that Fitzgerald will hold a press conference at 2PM. (I assume that's eastern)

MSNBC just reported that paperwork will be released at noon. (again eastern) I'm guessing that Fitzgerald's website will probably be a little hard to reach.

So enjoy the morning.

Oh, and by the way, after all this crap and speculation and everything, nobody still knows anything. Big media is reporting various possible outcomes, however some do seem to be gathering around the NYTimes story below.

Thursday, October 27, 2005

NYTimes Libby indicted, Rove not indicted, yet.

The NYTimes has a story up tonight with the headline.

Aide to Cheney Appears Likely to Be Indicted

Then there's this.

Karl Rove, President Bush's senior adviser and deputy chief of staff, will not be charged on Friday, but will remain under investigation, people briefed officially about the case said. As a result, they said, the special counsel in the case, Patrick J. Fitzgerald, was likely to extend the term of the federal grand jury beyond its scheduled expiration on Friday.

Who has been officially briefed, by whom, and under what circumstance?

And of course, "Mr. Fitzgerald's spokesman, Randall Samborn, declined to comment."

Administration officials said that the White House would seek to keep as low a profile as possible if indictments were issued; Scott McClellan, the White House press secretary, did not schedule a briefing for Friday, and Mr. Bush plans to leave in the afternoon for a weekend at Camp David.

And from Rawstory, again grains of salt,

But his office was contacted late Tuesday by attorneys representing figures outside the White House, lawyers said, who expressed interest in entering into plea talks with the prosecutor. Several have agreed to enter into last-minute plea negotiations with Fitzgerald in exchange for providing testimony that could result in criminal charges being brought against additional officials inside the White House, they added.

Rove was offered a deal when his lawyer met with Fitzgerald Tuesday, but did not accept, the sources said. Fitzgerald has sought indictments to charge Rove with perjury and obstruction of justice, they asserted.

An eleventh-hour deal could help Fitzgerald "build a strong case against some very senior officials in the office of the vice president," one attorney said.

Unfortunately it doesn't appear all will be made clear tomorrow. We'll have to wait and see.

Plame Gossip - not really

No real Plame gossip today. A couple reports of Fitzgerald carefree about town. Jos pointed me to one in the NY Daily News and there was another in this Reuters piece.

"He was very friendly and he looked happy. He was very relaxed," one of the owners of the shop said, adding: "The shoe shine guy doesn't ask questions. Customers have a right to privacy."

A few blocks away, both Rove and Libby reported to work as usual, officials said.

Like the sting in that piece. Laughing and relaxed, that's the message Fitzgerald is trying to send out.

All the plea deals were probably discussed yesterday and today, all pressure has already been applied through media leaks. The deadline for deals was probably sometime late today. So not much to talk about. I would wager that there will be indictments tomorrow, but that another grand jury will be empanelled to further look into the WMD lies based on any late plea deals and the delayed Miller testimony. If that's the case, most of the indictments may be sealed, so we may know the who's, but not the what's and why's.

The absolute consensus seems to be that tomorrow there will be an announcement, and that Libby will be indicted, as will Rove on lesser charges.(unless they made a deal. Rumor is, Rove was looking for no jail time.)

Until then, I don't know what else to say.

Oh, except that we should get a really good Bush speech sometime late tomorrow. Think he'll take questions?

Be sure to check out the post below, as well as the connections in the Niger forgeries case further down, to understand why I believe that a second grand jury will be empanelled. Somebody is sniping at Cheney and leading the press, and plausibly the prosecutor, right down the path.

I remember one of the less flattering descriptions used to describe Colin Powell shortly after he had his first policy battle with Cheney/Rumsfeld was as "a very good close-in political knife fighter." Tell me that next post doesn't look like the Powell doctrine of overwhelming force with a clear objective.

(Oh, and a quick note. When the announcement comes, I'm not even gonna try to postfor awhile. If the Mier's withdrawal this morning is any indication, Blogger will probably completely bog down. I guess that's the price I pay for free service..)


Let me just add that a contributory element to my Powell theory is the rumor I heard today that the three candidates to replace Cheney who are being discussed are Rice, McCain, and Powell. I know, Colin Powell going back into this administration would seem a strange political move, but he could go back as a reformer who is going to clean up the administration and take the party back from those extremists who took the country to war. Don't see how it's true, but that's what made me think of Colin Powell in the context of two of his close buddies (Wilkerson and Scowcroft) turning on Cheney and then the leaks in the next post for a one, two, three.

Cheney was hiding still more bad intel

This is mindblowing enough, but I gotta wonder who the Bush administration source was that gave this to National Journal and why that person wanted to sell Cheney out over the WMD lies.

Vice President Cheney and his chief of staff, I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby, overruling advice from some White House political staffers and lawyers, decided to withhold crucial documents from the Senate Intelligence Committee in 2004 when the panel was investigating the use of pre-war intelligence that erroneously concluded Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction, according to Bush administration and congressional sources.....

Had the withheld information been turned over, according to administration and congressional sources, it likely would have shifted a portion of the blame away from the intelligence agencies to the Bush administration as to who was responsible for the erroneous information being presented to the American public, Congress, and the international community.

And Newsweek's got something on more bad Cheney intel follies. This one regarding Al Qaeda and Iraq.

But the Pentagon and Cheney's office have been reluctant to abandon the case: in the months after U.S. and allied forces deposed Saddam, NEWSWEEK has learned, Iraqi informants approached U.S. intelligence personnel with what purported to be caches of documents proving that Saddam's dealings with Al Qaeda were extensive. (One cache of documents even claimed that six of 19 of the September 11 hijackers had been trained to fly in Iraq.)

Current and former U.S. counterterrorism officials said that when officials at the Bush White House learned about the existence of documents linking Saddam to Al Qaeda, they became very excited and pressured intelligence agencies to work quickly to validate and decipher them. However, the CIA ultimately established that most key documents about the Saddam-Al Qaeda connection turned over were faked—just like the documents purporting to show Iraqi purchases of uranium.

It's all coming out now. And it's all coming out all over Dick Cheney.

Somebody's after Cheney's skin. I wish I knew who.


Just a ponder. Wilkerson blasts Cheney. Scowcroft blasts Cheney. Documents leak.

I wonder if Colin Powell is smiling somewhere. "Set me up in front of the UN..."

Niger Forgeries

Below find links to a translation of all three parts of the La Republica series which is a must read. Basically it implicates high levels of Italian intelligence and shows the links through which these forgeries entered the White House where they were "stovepiped" past analysis and then used to deceive congress and the press into supporting an unnecessary war.

Part 1 Part 2 Part 3

Also, the best original source blogs I have found on this issue are Laura Rozen's War and Piece, and Josh Marshall's Talking Points Memo. These two have been working on the Niger story for years.

For a shorter version, The Left Coaster (eRiposte) has had two great posts going into the details of all of this.

Part 1 Part 2

I defer to these people on this topic because I think it's so very important, I don't want to muddy it up.

And no, I'm not wearing my tinfoil hat. This is damn serious. This is about an intel operation conducted to deceive my country into an unneccesary war in which tens of thousands have died. If Americans were involved in this, their actions are treason.

So, do the reading, do the homework. It's important.

Padilla is going to the Supreme Court.

The Jose Padilla case is a bit of a pet cause of mine, because of its implications for Civil Liberties. Recap: Jose Padilla is an American citizen arrested on American soil who is alleged to have had a plot for the detonation of a radioactive device in the US. I don't know if he's a good guy or bad guy, and I don't know if he's guilty.

But he is a US citizen apprehended on US soil, and, at least according to my understanding of American Law, entitled to a trial rather than idefinite detention in a South Carolina naval brig.

WASHINGTON - "Dirty bomb" suspect Jose Padilla has asked the Supreme Court to limit the government's power to hold him and other U.S. terror suspects indefinitely and without charges.

And, by the way, one of the judges on the 4th circuit court of appeals that previously upheld the government's detention of Padilla was John Roberts new Chief Justice of the Supreme Court. That decision was handed down within weeks of the nomination announcement when Roberts must surely have known that the Bush Admin was looking at him for a SCOTUS seat. It just stinks.

Plame Gossip - Thursday

As always, come back and check the updates at the bottom of this entry as things change throughout the day.

We'll start with the WaPo telling us, nothing will be announced until tomorrow. And the deadline is certainly Friday.

The prosecutor in the CIA leak investigation presented a summary of his case to a federal grand jury yesterday and is expected to announce a final decision on charges in the two-year-long probe tomorrow, according to people familiar with the case. .....

Fitzgerald's legal team did not present the results of a grand jury vote to the court yesterday, which he is required to do within days of such a vote. ....

Should he need more time to finish the investigation, Fitzgerald could seek to empanel a new group of grand jurors to consider the case. But sources familiar with the prosecutor's work said he has indicated he is eager to avoid that route. The term of the current grand jury has been extended once and cannot be lengthened again, according to federal rules. .....

People close to Rove said he fears a perjury charge because he did not initially tell the grand jury that he had spoken with Time reporter Matthew Cooper about Plame before her name was publicly disclosed.(Yup, that would be perjury. - Mike) .....

One legal source said the two(Fitzgerald and Hogan) have met regularly to discuss practical matters about the case, which now include intense media interest and how to avoid improper leaks about secret grand jury matters.

Steve Clemons says that Fitzgerald has signed a lease this week for larger offices across the street from his current office. This is not the move of a prosecutor intending to make no indictments and go back to Chicago on Friday. Obviously, he's looking at trials ahead. As this develops it will be interesting to see just how much bigger the offices are as it will tell us whether these indictments will be the end, or whether the investigation will broaden further.

And yes, the analysis has reached the level that office space is discussed. I'm sorry, but it's all I've got to work with.

UPDATE: Steve Clemons has retracted the rumor above about office space. He gives a rather lengthy explanation that his sources were wrong. I figured that was a pretty easy thing to check out by someone at his level, but apparently he didn't. Sorry to have put it here.

So, did Libby kick the wall?

Lewis Libby turned up yesterday on crutches when he appeared at the Whitehouse. Did he get bad news and kick the wall or his desk? Did he get drunk in despair and fall down? Did the weight of all his lying make his ankle shatter?

Inquiring minds want to know.

Always the sign of good policy

It's always a sign of good policy that it is developed and promoted to take attention away from scandal. (LATimes)

The basic plan is familiar to anyone who has watched earlier presidents contend with scandal: Keep the problem at arm's length, let allies outside the White House do the talking, and try to change the subject to something — anything — else.

The White House doesn't plan to attack Patrick J. Fitzgerald, the special prosecutor in the CIA leak investigation — at least not directly, several GOP officials said. Instead, expect Bush to unveil a flurry of proposals on subjects from immigration and tax reform to Arab-Israeli peace talks. .....

Whenever possible, Bush and other administration officials would try to change the subject. Among the issues the president plans to put atop his new agenda are spending restraint, tax changes and immigration. In addition, Bush's foreign policy advisors have discussed launching a more visible presidential effort to prod Israel and the Palestinians toward peace, one official said.

And there's that immigration issue again. I had pegged it as a soft bigotry issue(acceptable bigotry issue) for the 2006 midterms, like gay marriage was utilized in 2004, but it looks like they may try to fire that bullet early. I fear it's gonna get pretty disgusting by the time the local politicians start talking about it.

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Did you know there are Mexicans in Mexico?

Apparently CNN doesn't.

Having been forced to watch CNN today waiting for a Plame announcement, I also caught their coverage of the hurricane Wilma aftermath in Mexico. After watching many updates on this today, I have come to question whether I can trust CNN as a news source. I mean if you can't find a Mexican in Mexico, for god's sakes, how can I believe that you are capable of finding out anything.

Oh, and CNN, if your problem is finding someone who can translate English and Spanish, I think I can find you half a million or so of us here in Houston.

Como se dice "racism"?

Plame Gossip Wed.

You're killin' me. Do ya know that?

The federal grand jury investigating the leak of a CIA officer's identity met for three hours Wednesday with Special Counsel Patrick Fitzgerald and his deputies, adjourning for the day without announcing any action. ....

There was no word on whether Fitzgerald planned to make any announcement or when the grand jury planned to meet again. ....

Fitzgerald and the grand jurors entered the courthouse around 9 a.m. EDT, with just three days left before the jury's term is set to expire. The timing on any decision is uncertain, however. It is possible for Chief U.S. District Judge Thomas Hogan to extend the life of the grand jury at Fitzgerald's request. Such a step would be taken in secret.

Lawyers representing key White House officials expected Fitzgerald to decide this week whether to charge Libby and Rove.

And please tell me the past tense "expected" in that last line doesn't mean anything. I can't take this much longer.

And as Sini has been pointing out, this whole grand jury may be extended. In fact, if it's done in secret, it may already be extended. Ugh!

CNN just told me that after the Grand Jury left, Fitzgerald met with Judge Hogan for 45 minutes in his chambers. Of course no details as to why.

Crooks and Liars just reported that after talking to someone at Fitzgerald's office they were assured that nothing was likely to happen today.

Funny. Funny. Funny. Americablog has found a GOP press release from 7/13/05 where there are over twenty juicy quotes from senators and congressman who "defend Karl Rove from Partisan attacks." Here's the original on the GOP site which I'll bet will disappear pretty quickly. So here's the Americablog transcription for when it does disappear.

UPDATE: MSNBC(Hardball) just gave three possibilities for Fitzgerald meeting with Judge Hogan today. 1) He wanted to discuss sealing the indictments. 2) He wanted to talk about extending the Grand Jury. or 3) He wanted to talk about having the Grand Jury meet on a day where it wasn't scheduled. Next scheduled meeting was Friday.

Just a look back at the 2003 State of the Union speech

Here's the link for the White House text of the 2003 State of the Union Speech. Just thought it might be interesting to get in the wayback machine. To find the infamous 16 words, just search the page for "atomic" and the second occurence is in the paragraph with the "16 words." I would recommend starting a little above that though to truly get a sense of how far from reality this speech was. (I think the caption of this picture is "I think they bought it, Dick")

The United Nations concluded in 1999 that Saddam Hussein had biological weapons sufficient to produce over 25,000 liters of anthrax -- enough doses to kill several million people. He hasn't accounted for that material. He's given no evidence that he has destroyed it.

The United Nations concluded that Saddam Hussein had materials sufficient to produce more than 38,000 liters of botulinum toxin -- enough to subject millions of people to death by respiratory failure. He hadn't accounted for that material. He's given no evidence that he has destroyed it.

Our intelligence officials estimate that Saddam Hussein had the materials to produce as much as 500 tons of sarin, mustard and VX nerve agent. In such quantities, these chemical agents could also kill untold thousands. He's not accounted for these materials. He has given no evidence that he has destroyed them.....

The International Atomic Energy Agency confirmed in the 1990s that Saddam Hussein had an advanced nuclear weapons development program, had a design for a nuclear weapon and was working on five different methods of enriching uranium for a bomb. The British government has learned that Saddam Hussein recently sought significant quantities of uranium from Africa. Our intelligence sources tell us that he has attempted to purchase high-strength aluminum tubes suitable for nuclear weapons production. Saddam Hussein has not credibly explained these activities. He clearly has much to hide.

Plame Gossip - D-Day?

Needless to say, lots of ink, but is there anything new since last night?

(UPDATE 2( just finished) has the latest juicy gossipy, gossipy. No way to tell if it's true, but some people who usually are pretty good are citing it.)

A little more formal statement of what has been reported and rumored from the WaPo.

In a possible sign that Fitzgerald may seek to charge one or more officials with illegally disclosing Valerie Plame's CIA affiliation, FBI agents as recently as Monday night interviewed at least two people in her D.C. neighborhood. .....

The White House expects indictments to come today, according to a senior administration official. ....

It is not clear what charges Fitzgerald will seek, if any. After setting out on his original investigation, he won the explicit authority to also consider perjury and other crimes government officials might have committed during the nearly two-year-long probe.

To me, that last section reiterates that early on Fitzgerald knew somebody (Libby/Rove) was lying to him. ABCNews has virtually the same story. As does the NYTimes and Reuters.

Arianna Huffington's got a sort of interesting post on this(a bit of a surprise to me.)

Clearly, these guys knew that what they were up to should be kept in the shadows. Hence Rove's desire to have his conversation with Cooper be kept on "double super secret background," his self-assessment that he'd "already said too much" to Cooper, and Libby's request that Judy Miller identify him as a "former Hill staffer" instead of the usual "senior administration official."

Cheney, Rove, and Libby obviously felt that their actions had to be covered up. ....

The reason why Cheney, Rove, and Libby were so aggressive in attacking anyone who questioned their rationale for war is because, by the summer of 2003, it was becoming embarrassingly clear how wrong they had been about Iraq -- wrong about WMD, wrong about flowers thrown at our feet, wrong about the cost of the war. Had their incompetence not been so grotesquely manifest, there would have been no need for the attack on Wilson -- and the resulting coverup -- that has now landed them all in such legal hot water.

Laura Rozen has got an AP piece that says that Pollari, the former head of SISMI, has asked to testify to the Italian Parliament in relation to the Niger forgeries. And Josh Marshall has some more definitive comments as well as a little trip backwards through some previous stories on on the forgeries.

Firedoglake has a pretty good collection of Republican statements on perjury from the Clinton era.

Check out this Gary Hart editorial on the Phillip Agee and the outing of covert agents, if for no other reason than the irony at the end.

The frenzy has reached the point that the wire services are giddily reporting that Fitzgerald is actually meeting with the grand jury. Duh. I haven't turned on the TV yet this AM, do we have a Michael Jackson like media circus yet outside the Pretty building?

UPDATE: AP and CNN confirm Clemons yesterday.

A Justice Department official, speaking on condition of anonymity because of the secrecy of the grand jury probe, said no announcement was expected Wednesday by Fitzgerald.

The federal grand jury investigating the leak of a CIA operative's identity could hand up charges as early as today, but Special Counsel Patrick Fitzgerald is not expected to make any public announcements Wednesday, one source with knowledge of the probe told CNN.

However, I wonder if the indictments can really be kept quiet for a day.

UPDATE 2: This is from Rawstory so many grains of salt. They've been batting just over .500 in the last two weeks.

Special Prosecutor Patrick J. Fitzgerald has asked the grand jury investigating the outing of CIA operative Valerie Plame Wilson to indict Vice President Dick Cheney’s chief of staff I. Lewis “Scooter” Libby and Bush’s Deputy Chief of Staff Karl Rove on charges of perjury and obstruction of justice, lawyers close to the investigation tell Rawstory. ....

Fitzgerald has also asked the jury to indict Libby on a second charge: knowingly outing a covert operative, the lawyers said. ...

Two other officials, who are not employees in the White House, are also expected to face indictments, the lawyers said......

Those close to the investigation said Rove was offered a deal Tuesday to plead guilty to perjury for a reduced charge. Rove’s lawyer was told that Fitzgerald would drop an obstruction of justice charge if his client agreed not to contest allegations of perjury, they said.

Rove declined to plead guilty to the reduced charge....

And I know nothing about this guy Sale - a former UPI guy.
An hour ago I was contacted by a U.S. government official close to the Fitzgerald case. This person told me that there WILL be indictments announced later this afternoon, and the Special Prosecutor will hold a press conference tomorrow.
I can't get that section to link, so try here.

But on an earlier rumor post, Rawstory links to him, and Kos links to him. And in that post, Sale reveals four attempted indictments, two of them Libby and Rove and maybe Hadley. He also said that very detailed questionaires about specifics regarding Cheney were dropped off at the White House Monday.

And most explosively, Sale claims that Fitzgerald has approached the judge to empanel another grand jury to look into the Niger forgeries and some named(neocon) individuals, Duane Claridge, Francis Brooke, and (oooohhhh) Michael Ledeen. Oh, that felt good to write.

I know nothing about Richard Sale, but he's getting alot of plugs and coverage, so judge for yourself. Quite frankly, if the second piece, announcements today hold true, I'll be much more likely to believe the first.

So gossipy, gossipy, people.

Great Line from last night's Daily Show.

Great line from the Daily show last night. This was said in relation to Tom Delay, but I think this should be the response every time William Kristol says the phrase, "criminalizing politcs."

"Bill, couldn't we better describe your position on the Plame leak as "politicizing crime?"

These are your Republicans

To help pay for the huge budget deficit, Republicans are cuting social welfare programs.

The Republicans are telling me that the tax cuts must stay in place because they are essential to the economy. As is, apparently, Ted Steven's $440million bridge to nowhere, and the SDI program that has failed it's last three tests.

Oh well, I guess Aunt Edna really doesn't need that heart medicine after all.

Morning Coffee Catchall

Sorry for the catchall posts. Normally, I wouldn't relegate these stories to these small references, but with all the space I'm giving to the Plame investigations, something had to give. Once we get past the indictments, and the speculation part of the investigation ends, I should be able to go back to more "balanced" blogging.

The LATimes is running a story on criticism of Big Oil's Big Profits.

A German court has convicted four men of planning to bomb Jewish targets in Germany. The key element of this story is that the conversations with Zarqawi date back to Oct. 2001.

AP is running a pretty terrifying piece on the potential for regional instability in the case of an Iraqi civil war. I've often wondered if perhaps this was the goal of some in the Bush admin all along. (Take a look sometime at Ledeen's espousal of Schumpeter's theories of "Creative Destruction."

The US/British/French push for a UN security council resolution against Syria is running into trouble, unsurprisingly, with China and Russia. On the bright side, the threat appears to be only sanctions.

The US and Japan appear to have come to an agreement to move an air station out of a densely populated section of Okinawa. Hopefully, this will reduce some of the tension over US presence there.

The USAToday is reporting that maybe Bush exaggerated his claim that the US had foiled ten Al Qaeda in that major terrorism speech earlier this month.

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Indictments are coming - rumor.

This is unsubstantiated!!!!!! I am putting this up here cause the link through is real slow. It took me a couple minutes of trying. Not saying this is true, but it's obviously getting a lot of attention.

Steve Clemons of the Washington Note reports the following:

An uber-insider source has just reported the following to TWN:

1. 1-5 indictments are being issued. The source feels that it will be towards the higher end.

2. The targets of indictment have already received their letters.

3. The indictments will be sealed indictments and "filed" tomorrow.

4. A press conference is being scheduled for Thursday.

The shoe is dropping.

More soon.

Mike's Interesting Question of the day: Do sealed indictments mean that the invetigation is not over? Aren't they often used mid investigation to indict somebody and pressure them, without disclosing evidence to future targets?

Nothing has actually happened yet, I just want to place that out there.

(Clemons is also rumoring that in Republican circles it is currently being rumored that somebody from the WhiteHouse approached McCain inquiring as to his interest in the Veep job if Cheney were to step down from "health problems." This is like fourth hand and I find that one pretty hard to believe, but while I'm spreading Steve Clemons rumors.... )

UPDATE: Maybe I'm not the only one asking about the possible implications of sealed indictments. Wonkette, who despite all else, does have connections says this today.

Word on the rainy streets of Washington is that Patrick Fitzgerald will be recalling some witnesses soon. Conflicting word is that he will announce indictments Thursday.....

According to a reporter intimately familiar with White House operations, "these slimy thugs are turning on each other like runner-up beauty queens."

Later... I've been thinking a little more about this, I'm beginning to convince myself that this "first round of sealed indictments" theory might have some merit.

I mean, does Fitzgerald go through the legal minefield of jailing Miller for three months and attempting to jail Cooper, with the approval of several judges along the way, just for a perjury charge? Maybe for obstruction, but I still think that it might hint at something a little bigger and deeper.

UPDATE 2: Two quick ones. First, Think Progress has an interesting statement from CBS John Roberts. He says indictments are coming tomorrow, and that the primary leaker, a mysterious Mr. X, who is known to Fitzgerald, is possibly someone outside the administration. I have no idea.

Second, Holden has an interesting exchange from the last press gaggle which he claims shows Cheney is toast(his words.) I don't see that, but I find the careful wording around McClellan's Rove/Libby statements a very telling sign that he's building in deniability for his previous statements defending them.

Oh, and by the way, it's being reported on MSNBC that Tenet is denying being Cheney's source as was reported in this morning's NYTimes. I sure hope the indictments offer a little clarity. Since that NYTimes report broke last night, I've kind of lost the thread.

Olberman just said that NBC correspondent David Gregory reported that Fitzgerald was "still conducting interviews with mid-level White House figures as late as today about contact between Karl Rove and reporters."

Also, to back up the Olberman statement above, the LATimes says:
WASHINGTON -- As his investigation nears a conclusion, special prosecutor Patrick J. Fitzgerald has returned his attention to White House adviser Karl Rove, interviewing a Rove colleague with detailed questions about contacts that President Bush's close aide had with reporters in the days leading up to the outing of a covert CIA officer.

Fitzgerald has also dispatched FBI agents to comb the CIA agent's residential neighborhood in Washington, asking neighbors again whether they were aware — before her name appeared in a syndicated column — that the agent, Valerie Plame, worked for the CIA.
More throughout the evening.

Popping back and forth with the Astros game, but look at this from Roll Call. "Special prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald was spotted Tuesday at the law offices of Patton Boggs paying a visit to Robert Luskin, the eccentric (for Washington, D.C.) lawyer who represents Karl Rove."

Is Fitzgerald trying to cut a deal with Rove? Or is he delivering the target letter/indictment himself?

And the Spook is running with the pretty good theory that Bolton is the mysterious Mr. X named in the CBS statement above.

And does this guy have the easiest job in the world. "Mr. Fitzgerald's spokesman, Randall Samborn, declined to comment." From tonight/tomorrow's NYTimes piece. Nothing new but confirmed recent interest in Rove.

And to feed Sini's fears, the rollcall piece mentioned above also contains this.

The rumor floating around Patton Boggs Tuesday was that there "may" be no indictments this week because Fitzgerald "may" need to seek an extension from the presiding judge to wrap up his investigation of Flamegate (or Plamegate for those of us who aren't Judy Miller)..