Predictably, Strata begins with an attack on Wilson -- more accurately, an attack on Fitzgerald for not attacking Wilson:
Uh, because there's nothing there? Because CIA operations weren't disrupted and lives put at risk? Was the fact that the documents were forged even classified?According to the column, the ambassador reported back to the CIA and State Department in early 2002 that the allegations were unequivocally wrong and based on forged documents.Why didn't Fitzgerald investigate this leak of classified information to Wilson and to the Press?
Except that's not what it says. It says Pincus was working on an article about Wilson's trip.Prior to June 12, 2003, Washington Post reporter Walter Pincus contacted the Office of the Vice President in connection with a story he was writing about Wilson's trip. LIBBY participated in discussions in the Office of the Vice President concerning how to respond to Pincus.So up until then all sorts of information is coming to Libby that Valerie was Joe's husband who worked at the CIA . . .
Um . . . Again, no. Fitzgerald accuses Libby of saying that there would be complications at the CIA, and he doesn't want to discuss it if anybody else might be listening. That's evidence that Libby understood that he was treading on classified turf.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.Note that the complications are not whether they can point to Valerie's job - we don’t know what they are. Fitzgerald just throws out some vague reference.
First of all, Strata recycles the red herring that unless the name was explicitly stated it doesn't count. As if identifying her to a reporter as her husband's wife, or pointing her out to a foreign spy, wouldn't be revealing her identity. Nonsense.In discussing the CIA's handling of Wilson's trip to Niger, LIBBY informed her that Wilson’s wife might work at a bureau of the CIA.Notice Fitzgerald never states that Libby told Miller Wilson's name. This is the notorious 'clandestine guy' meeting. Miller’s notes say 'Wilson' but I have yet to see anywhere Miller state Libby told her 'Joe Wilson'. Also note that all he says is the wife works somewhere in the CIA. Up to this point Fitzgerald has not demonstrated Libby knew or had been warned that Valerie was under cover. Not once.
Then comes the assertion that Fitzgerald doesn't assert that Libby knew her work was classified. As a matter of fact, at the top of page 5, the indictment says:
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.As Josh@TPM points out:
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.Next, Strata offers some "exculpatory information" from the indictment:
Libby's a long time national security hand. He knows exactly what CPD is and where it is. So does Cheney. They both knew. It's right there in the indictment.
Again, no . . . it appears that Libby's looking for something he can make available to the press to avoid having to cite "anonymous sources" when they reveal Plame's identity. At this point -- in the aftermath of Wilson's op-ed -- Libby was almost certainly exploring the administration's options for retaliation against Wilson for calling them on their lies.LIBBY asked the Counsel to the Vice President, in sum and substance, what paperwork there would be at the CIA if an employee’s spouse undertook an overseas trip.So, at this late date and after two of the discussions with the press that are the basis of the indictments, Libby is still trying to get details on the trip and Valeries role. Sorry Pat, that illustrates a lack of firm knowledge when talking to reporters.
Novak told an official who told Libby. Busted PatAnd he's not accused of being Novak's source; he's accused of Obstruction of Justice, False Statements, and Perjury, all to prevent a Grand Jury from getting to the bottom of who Novak's source was and why Plame was outed.On or about July 10 or July 11, 2003, LIBBY spoke to a senior official in the White House ("Official A") who advised LIBBY of a conversation Official A had earlier that week with columnist Robert Novak in which Wilson’s wife was discussed as a CIA employee involved in Wilson’s trip. LIBBY was advised by Official A that Novak would be writing a story about Wilson’s wife.In this instance, it is clear Novak told Libby via a conduit. So Libby was not Novak's source.
Strata closes by arguing that the case against Libby is essentially "He Said/He Said" -- but misses the point that Libby's testimony apparently conflicts with that of Tim Russert, Matt Cooper, Judith Miller, and a score of CIA and administration witnesses who must have testified. It's more like "He Said/Everybody Else Said, and the Documents Agree" -- and if that's not enough to build a case, I don't know what is.
But thanks for playing the Plame Game.