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Libby Liveblog: Cathie Martin One


Now up, Cathie Martin.

Cathie will testify to several things. First, she was involved in some of the early discussions of a response to Wilson. She learned of Plame's identity from Harlow and passed that on to Libby. And she was removed from responding to press inquiries and Libby took over. There's the whole strange conversation on Air Force Two. Finally, there's more stuff from later in the early days of the investigation. 

It should be interesting. 

Martin: went to UT, then went to Harvard Law, graduated in 93. Worked for Federal judge for a year.Went to a law firm then practiced for 6 years. My hubbie and I moved to Austin, telecommuted for a little while and changed jobs, went to work for State AG for TX, John Cornyn.

Martin: I was Cornyn's policy director, went to work for Commerce as WH liaison and Deputy COS for commcerce secretary.

Martin about 5.5 months I was recruited to work for OVP under Mary Matalin. Mary Matalin's deputy. 

Martin Started at OVP in June 2001, believe I stayed until winter of 2004 (Februaryish).

Martin worked at Commerce January 2001 to June 2001.

M Matalin left December 2002. I took over beginning of 2003.

M as Assistant to VP for Public Affairs.  

M Moved to President's office, working in econ policy. Feb-March 2004. Currently employed at WH as Deputy Director of Comm for policy and planning.

Fitz How much contact did you have with Libby

M Almost daily in senior staff meeting when I took over as Asst to VP for PA. Before that I saw him probably less.  I also participated in meetings regularly scheduled meetings president had. Scooter was usually in those meetings. I'd have my own scheduled meetings. I had the political portfolio as well as press portfolio.

Fitz Who else worked under you?

M Press Secty; Jennifer Millerwise. 2 Press Assts, Hannah Siemers and Emily Laurimore and Jessica Iman. An Asst to me, A Deputy, does more of the political travel (she named I didn't get0.

Fit if someone wanted to speak to OVP. 

M If you get calls, try to funnel through press office.

Fitz On the record, off the record, background.

M On–reporter can quote you by name. Background: Use quotes, but not refer to by name, refer to as SAO, wouldn't identify you specifically. Deep background, allowed reporter to use the info without sourcing it. They could just say for sure the car was read. 

Fitz On the record: The car was red, Cathie Martin says.  Background: SAO says car was red. Deep: The car was read.

M Off the record it could shape their thinking. If the car was green and I said it was read, they might not publish it.  

M Scooter's practice talk off the record, they'd have to come back and clear quotes.  

Fitz your notetaking?

M I tended to have 3-4 pads of paper.  I didn't use one note pad for everything that I wrote down that day. If there was another topic, I would draw a line. I was constantly looking for paper. Muliple pads on my desk, wrote it down where I could find one.

Fitz Where the notes are not dated, you can't tell by comparing different pads.

M Yes

F Did Libby have pratice of using email.

M The practice was if you had to email to him you emailed to Jenny Mayfield, so she could print it out for him. You got a much faster response.

M Kristof column brought to my attention.

F introduces Kristof's column. 


M describes Kristof's column.

F introduces but not for truth.

F Could you describe what your reaction was. [displayed it on the screen]  Blow up second half of page.

F reads the "wholesale deceit" article  Is it fair to say it was viewed as a negative article.

M It's fair to say it WOULD be viewed as such, but I don't know that it was

F How much attention paid to this

M Not that much

F now looks at Wilson paragraphs, highlighted in yellow

F was this reported at all before it was cited by Kristof

F Did there come a time when you learned who the former ambassador was?

M learned it to be Joe Wilson from Bill Harlow. He's their equivalent of Public Affair or Comm director. Or was, sorry.

F Can you place an exact date.

M No precise date, I believe it happened bt May 6 and the time he appeared on MTP and identified himself as Joe Wilson on July 6.  I specifically remember not being surprised by who he was on MTP. I knew his name already.

F You can't give us the exact date?

M Yes.

F A number of conversations about Wilson

M Recall at least two conversation with Harlow. 

F On each occasion was it a single conversatoin. Let me try the questions in English. [he botched the question] Was it a single phone call?

M  I don't know if it was one or two conversatoin.

M On both occasions I was told by somebody to call or talk to Harlow.  One occasion talked to press aide at NSC was directed to call Harlow. Another occasion was in Scooter's office was speaking in McLaughlin's office at CIA and from that conversation was told to talk to Harlow. 

F Repeats it.  First was NSC.

M His name was Michael Anton, don't recall specific title, he was one of the press, second or third press–he wasn't the press secretary–they have multiple press people.

F Who was above him in NSC

M Anna Perez

M Normal practice to speak to Perez, if I had a question I'd ask her in the morning meeting.

M I didn't normally talk to Anton. She was not around, President was in Africa, she was traveling with Condi Rice.

F Timing would have placed that conversation during time when President traveling to Africa.

M Right

F Can you describe when in office to Libby and he was speaking to someone in McLaughlin's office. How common to be present when he was speaking to someone at CIA.

M It was rare.

F what happened in office.

M standing in Scooter's office, I thought was Bob McL at the end of the conversation he and this person agreed that I would talk to Harlow, we got on the phone together.  I recall that I had a conversation with Harlow. Two specific conversations.

Walton. Speaker phone/

M No, I only heard his end. At the end he asked me, but I heard them agreeing.


F Trying to get her to reconstruct the two Harlow conversations. Do you recall those conversations.  Describe the conversations you had.

H First was pleasant [emphasizes] I had never spoken to him before, talked about press reports, I was asking him, "we didn't send him." so I was saying to him, you must have sent him, who is this guy, what are you saying to the press, they're not taking my word for it. I remember him being, I didn't know who he [Wilson] was either, but apparently his name is Joe Wilson he was a charge in Baghdad, and his wife works over here. I understand charge to be diplomat who works overseas. Had been a charge, former is my recollection of what that meant. Has notes, but the notes don't have a precise date. Asked to see VP and shortly thereafter told him and Scooter was there as well, told them what I had learned. It was the same day. I remember going into VP's office Scooter was there which was pretty normal. He told me Ambassador's name and apparently he was a charge and his wife works at CIA. Don't remember any specific response. 

F Other convesation

M Calling Harlow to find out who was continuing to call on this story. BC story continuing to be written, we OVP still in as having sent him or traveling at behest of. Press stopped calling our office, this became truth, I think I called NSC first and then called Harlow, I can't specifically connect all this. Harlow was a little less friendly told me who was calling him, Mitchell and David Martin were working on story. Week of July 7.

F reviews this. early call with Harlow, later (during week of July 6) conversation with Anton, then Harlow.

M Week of July 7 was a busy week. I had more contact with Scooter it was particularly busy bc no one was around and there was a lot going on in the press. My staff would do a search for stories that reference VP and they would cut and paste into word document to see what media was saying. Cutting and pasting, electronically cut and paste. 

F Ordinarily see ewspaper articles cut out of newspapers in VP office

M Not that often

M Sometime during that week we began monitoring TV, mostly monitoring print, normally just print. TV transcripts take longer to put up, so we weren't looking for TV. That week we started keeping track of TV. Some point had a conversation VP told me to keep track of this story, the commentators that were continuing to write on this story, and talk about us. Just myself, VP and Scooter. Occurred on Tuesday or Wednesday of that week. There's a document I've seen that helped me place the date of that. 


F introduces document 

M Refreshes my memory that this conversation occurred on or before July. I'd forward transcripts as soon as we got them, forward to VP assistant and Scooter's assistant. Scooter's Mayfield, VP's Jenny Hayden (sp). MSNBC's transcripts were particularly slow. We were paying attention to Hardball with Matthews, he had been talking about it.

F Did you try to get info faster?

M My press assistants were the ones doing the work. Service in WH Press office, if you want to see something, can send you shadow TV clip, you can watch it on your computer. On a couple of occasions Hannah Seeman would pull it there's a close caption very rough transcript. She would transcribe it herself. I'd send them on when they were done.

F Requests for updates on transcripts?

M I don't remember receiving them, my staff continued to get requests for more information. For a period of time after the July 6 appearance. Often came from Jenny Mayfield. I don't have a specific recollection of taking notes, but I did take some notes on evening news broadcasts. What topics were you following: the topic of 16 words, SOTU, general story of whether or not those 16 words should have been in SOTU–the whole story.

F Talking points?? Did you share with WH.

M Yes. Shared talking points with Ari for him to use in morning briefing that day was the gaggle, sent them on to Ari so he'd have the points about us not having sent this man, he would inevitably send them on.

F What's a gaggle [Holden?]

M  explains the difference between gaggle and briefing. Gaggle is televised now–it's televised internally, I don't think it shows up on broadcast, but briefing is.

F Outside world, gaggle is not televised but briefing is. 

M Yes.

F introduces another exhibit

M Email sent to Ari Fleischer to give him the points responding to Joe Wilson.


Email on the screen

M reads this:

  • VP did not request the mission
  • Was not informed
  • Did not recieve briefing
  • Not aware of Wilson's mission until recent press reports accounted for it.

Hey! Ari's real first name is "Lawrence." 

M had already been using these, based on conversations with Scooter. I sent it bc of Wilson's Sunday blitz. 

F Later talking points, brings it to her, shows it to her. She drinks water, frowning. Sits back.  F brings up several other notes. She's looking to the side, can't tell who's she's looking at. blinking. Shakes her head. More blinking.

Enters talking points, and handwritten notes of talking points.  

F When and how did you create this.

M Week of July 7, meeting with VP on the Hill, we had another staff meeting, so we were in on Capitol Hill. Talked to VP about press inquiries and reports related to Wilson matter. He dictated to me what he wanted me to say. 

Published on board.

  1. Not clear who authorized travel
  2. Did not travel at my request
  3. A0parently unpaid
  4. Never saw document allegedly trying to verify
  5.  He was convinced Niger could not have provided uranium to Iraq but in fact they did in 1980s 200 tons under IAEA seal
  6. No written report
  7. VP unaware of trip, conclusions, until Spring 03
  8. As late as October considered judgment was that SH [Saddam Hussein] had indeed undertaken vigorous effort to acquire uranium from Africa–according to NIE.

There's a question mark in the margin, F asks, did he dictate question mark.

M I didn't know if I could use that (#8) because it was classified.


M version of my typed up talking points. with some handwritten edits.

F Whose handwriting?

M Part of it's mine, and some handwriting in margins that looks like it might be Scooter's. 

Published this on screen

F What's different about text?

M I completed the sentences. CLeaned them up. Under the second bullet–those are the bullets that I had sent to Ari Fleischer, our basic talking points. WRT rest of typed documnets. completing sentences. Crossed out "as late as October" and wrote in Libby's handwriting "6 months after his." Wilson 3 points: #3-1999. (looks like 1991). New last bullet says, "Six months after the Joe Wilson trip."

Shows an updated version of these talking points, with the words changed to "Six months after the Joe Wilson trip."

M 523 is the final product with the changes that were made. 

F You mentioned you had a conversation with Harlow. Can you describe what you did following that phone call.

M Going to VP to give an update, it was an unscheduled visit, talked to VP and Scooter, I wasn't getting any calls directly, Mitchell and Martin doing pieces for Evening News. Discussed with them should we try to talk to them and make sure they don't repeat the things we think are false. Should we make sure we're part of the story. General consensus was "yes" and Scooter would call them back. And Libby would call them back. VP made the decision to have Scooter call them back. Went into VP ante-office, Scooter has a little office there. Scooter called one of the reporters, I was there for the portion of one of the calls. I believe this was July 8. I left, I had a lot of phone calls I still needed to return. I was still not certain about NIE and was a little uncomfortable talking about the NIE and I was aggravated that Scooter that I was calling reporters and I wasn't.

She shrugs, looks really uncomfortable, looks from side to side.



Looks like the sidebar was about the NIE declassification. 

F Is it fair to say you weren't part of conversations about declassifying NIE

M I had urged them to get it declassified.

F You weren't present at meetings where it was declassified. You're only testifying that in your mind there was a doubt, it was shaping what you did. You didn't ask if it was declassified.

Martin kind of slinking in chair. Jury dismissed until 1:40. But there will be discussions.

Martin standing, watiing to be dismissed, arms folded. pulls sweater down (she's wearing black sweater and shirt, light grey jacket, rather preppy outfit). 

Walton. Which instruction am I being asked to give? Initial, revised, and government's version?

Walton. Why don't we come back at 1:30, see if you can work something out, if you can't I'll come up with some instruction.

Break for lunch!!! 

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