Into the Weeds
There are a hundred other things I need to be doing right now, but I can’t help myself. Most Plame watchers think something is on the horizon for good or ill, and I can’t stop cruising around the Plame-osphere, combing through the comment sections, making diagrams and charts and link lists. It’s a beautiful day, the dogs and I went running on the beach, and all I could think of was — "gotta get back to the madness."
Most of the speculation today concerns VandeHei’s new WaPo piece, which most assume to be Luskin hedging (if not inoculating) against something upcoming that he knows which the rest of us don’t. (I’d like to give our boy VandeHei a bit of credit, though…perhaps it’s wishful thinking…something along the lines of "Gold Bars, they’re killing me when I write shit like this…I don’t want to get the Isikoff treatment again…I hate it when they call me ‘pool boy’…I can’t print that.")
But many have been digging into the article and subjecting it to some careful scrutiny. This stuff may be for the fans of obscure details, but I found the notions quite compelling:
1) The VandeHei piece reasserts a point Emptywheel has been on for a long time, namely that Libby and Rove indicate they spent the week following Joe Wilson’s NYT oped on July 6, 2003 helping George Tenet to craft his July 11 sword fall, accepting responsibility for the 16 words in the SOTU. Says VandeHei:
Luskin said Rove was chiefly concerned that week with "assuring that there was a statement from the director of central intelligence that directly addressed the substance of the criticism of Wilson and others."
But as Emptywheel notes, the CIA claims that the only White House involvement came from Hadley, and started on July 10. David Shuster reported last Friday that in the hearing that day, Fitzgerald claimed there were documents from Rove to other administration officials which mentioned "Wilson’s wife" (the Hadley email, as far as is known, made no mention of her.) The fact that Luskin is underscoring this supports Emptywheel’s contention that Rove is using the Tenet excuse in order to provide cover for the existence of these emails outside a plot to smear Wilson. It does not bode well for the "I forgot" defense.
2) Then Jeff makes this point regarding a possible concerted effort at cover-up:
[T]he other issue with regard to the Rove-Libby encounter is what Rove testified to about that meeting. There has been some vague reporting on this, but since Fitzgerald is convinced that Libby lied about his Russert conversation, if Rove testified that Libby told him that he had heard about Plame from reporters, and specifically from Russert, that would constitute pretty slam-dunk evidence for Fitzgerald of a concerted cover-up and obstruction effort. Check this out from Waas’ most recent:
Rove also testified to the grand jury that he had heard from Libby that Plame worked for the CIA. But Rove testified that Libby told him that he only heard the information as rumors being passed on to him by journalists.
It’s unclear if this refers to the July 10 or 11 conversation. If it does, and it’s accurate, that’s trouble for Rove, barring the possibility that Libby lied to Rove at the time. If it refers to an earlier or later conversation, that would be worth knowing, and still likely a problem for Rove.
3) And as Tom Maguire notes, there are three big holes in the Rove "foggy memory" story that the VandeHei narrative doesn’t really address. Says Maguire:
(a) the phone logs that might have recorded the Rove-Cooper contact were not complete, ostensibly because Cooper was transferred from the main switchboard;
(b) the Rove-Hadley email was mis-archived; and
(c) Libby originally testified that he leaked to Cooper; when Cooper finally told his story about Libby in August 2004, he surprised Fitzgerald with his version, which was that he told Libby about Ms. Plame. That prompted Fitzgerald to look for Cooper’s original source, which turned out to be Rove. Isikoff covered this recently, but, ahh, yours truly suggested this scenario last February.
If you add Emptywheel’s theory of using the Tenet speech for a shield with Jeff’s notion that Rove may also have used the "Russert told Libby" line (that Fitzgerald knows to be false), and combine them with Tom Maguire’s point (c) about Libby and Rove possibly orchestrating misleading testimony, I think at the very least you’re left with…one pissed off Prosecutor tired of being played for a fool.
And if you were thinking that I’m writing this out so I’ll have all my notes in order just in case anything happens — you’re right.