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Libby Live: Matt Cooper Two


This is NOT Cooper on the stand. It's him speaking at Georgetown. In any case, here are some groundrules. I timestamp my posts–that will let you know when you should update (please err on the side of saving the servers). Also, treat this as a liveblog, not a transcript; I'm no court reporter! And finally, please buy my book.

In case you missed it, in the conversation where Mary Matalin told Libby to call Russert to complain about Tweety (because Russert hates Tweety, tell him everything), she also called Joe Wilson "a snake." It'll be redacted in the exhibits. But trust me–it's in there. 

Cooper back. Fitz back up.

Cooper's wearing a dark suit, striped tie. And there's a computer monitor in front of him–otherwise he looks like he does in the picture.

F Afternoon Mr Cooper  Did there come a time when you received a subpoena.

MC We fought the subpoena.

F Did you speak with Libby?

MC I believe it was August 4. We'd seek his permission to speak, we didn't want to rely on written waiver, we wanted more personal assurances, we decided we'd seek them from Libby. So I called him and spoke.

F Describe conversation.

MC It took several phone calls via his staff, eventually we did speak, you may have read this legal case, the next day I was scheduled to be put in contempt. So I called Libby, I wanted to see permission to talk about conversation that were confidential. I plan to tell the truth, my words will probably be exculpatory.  He said, let me stop you there, it's okay by me if it's okay, have your lawyer call my lawyer. I'd have Abrams talk to Tate. So we chatted amicably for a while after that. He said It's okay by me, I'd like the lawyers to speak.

F Did the lawyers speak.

MC Over the next couple of weeks, we were satisfied that Libby was offering voluntary permission.

F Nothing further.


Jeffress Up.

J You had a third source, didn't you?

MC I personally did not.

J You testified at a lawyers office, in August 2004. He didn't put you before GJ at that time. When you were asked about your sources, you said there were three sources. One was Mr Rove, one was Libby, was one of them John Dickerson of Time.



Cooper leaning waaayy back in his chair, looking sideglance over at bench. He's got his eyes closed.

Btw–Cooper told the GJ the Plame part of the conversation was on background. He said off the record earlier today. I wonder if that's the "slight discrepancy" that Walton noted with Cooper's versions of the story?

Now Cooper leaning over. Here we go.  Cooper adjusts microphone.

Fitz must have won that debate. Jeffress back.

J Mr Cooper I'm going to show you what's in evidence as Defendant's exhibit. "War on Wilson??" You're a co-author? [color, web version up]

MC Yes

J Does that article mention Amb Wilson's wife? If you would look at second paragraph. "And some govt officials." You and your coauthors have noted to Time in interviews that Wilson's wife is CIA official who monitors WMD.

MC Yes sir.

J based on, #1, Libby didn't say about her name, didn't say about her being a CIA official, didn't say about her monitoring WMD,

MC Correct.

J You had one other official.

MC Correct.

J Did you have also info from John Dickerson. Did that info concern government official. That info was also a source for what you wrote?

MC Yes

J Did you speak to Dickerson while he was in Africa, on Saturday March 12

MC Not sure date and time, my recollection it was on that Friday, 11th

J If is said March, I meant July 11 you talked to Dickerson

MC yes. 

J Shortly after noon

MC Roughly.


MC an email from me to Dickerson, 12:14 PM

MC Call me from landline. 

J you had already heard him before this?  Had you heard from him that day

MC Probably not I wanted to discuss this story we were working on

J Do you believe you told another reporter the info from Rove

MC Yes

J Aside from Dickerson, what other reporters knew, prior to the time you talked to Libby, knew about Plame

MC As I sit here today, I recall I sent email to bureau chief, Michael Duffy and Jay Carney, alerting them to conversation. As for others, I'm not sure.

J Did Rove indicate to you, did he say something to you that it's going to come out.

MC He did

J did he tell you how he knew? You saw it came out in a column by Novak

MC I certainly saw the Novak column.

MC Column came out before I wrote this piece.

J Do you see columns that go out on AP wire.

MC I may have access to them, but I didn't see it.

J You only saw it when you saw the column.

MC Correct.

J When Rove made his comment about Wilson's wife, you wrote that down. It was news to you. It was something you thought should be reported.

MC I thought it was something I thought we should do more reporting on.

J You wrote an email to editors.

MC That's the one I just alluded to.

J New exhibit.  You recognize that email.

MC It's the one I referred to a few moments ago.

F Just with stipulation that we take off phone numbers.

J can we show it w/o the phone numbers

Cooper has a worried look in eyes. trying to get crick out of his neck.

J This is the "Spoke to Rove on double super secret background." email.

J is it fair to call Duffy and Carney editors.

MC technically they're not editors. They're supervisors of mine.

J want to talk about Double super secret background

MC Playful allusion to Animal House, John Belushi's frat put on double secret probation.

J You improved it.

J Rove spoke on deep backgrond. You said earlier that you spoke off the record. What does that mean.

MC Can't be used.

J Deep background,

MC Journalists might disagree, the material can be used, but not directly quoted or attributed.

J If you were to use info on deep background.

MC IF you told me on background you were wearing a blue suit, I'd say one attorney says he was wearing a blue seat. Deep background, "sources say." 

J Background

MC synonymous with not for attribution, obscure their identity.

J Rove, he would be regarded as SAO. On background you could attribute to SAO. On the record, name him by name.

J Different gradations. You've been a journalist for how many years?

MC 20 years

J Many off the record, deep background, you don't assume their saying something they shouldn't say.

MC I'm trying to listen to what they're saying

J Back to email.


J Reading email.

J where did you get name Plame

MC either Novak's article or from googling Wilson's name.

J If you googled Wilson's name, you'd pull up that his wife's name is Flame. Sorry–Plame

J You did get from Rove that she was CIA official, monitors WMD

MC yes

J when you said some govt officials, you were also thinking of info you received from Dickerson

MC Yes

J Did that also corroborate the info you had in this article.

MC Um, yeah, I took it to be confirming as well.

J You and Mr. Dickerson knew by the time you talked to Libby that Wilson's wife worked at CIA.  Your recollection is that you asked him what he had heard. He said, I'd heard that too. Do you take that as confirmation. As a fact.

MC I did take it that way.

J Do you in all your stories say according to the person I talked to this is a fact. 

MC One has to put it in context, and I took it as confirmation.

J did you ask him where he heard it.  In terms of sequence, either reporters or govt officials that you mentioned or who mentioned to you, Karl, then Dickerson, then Libby

MC That I want to qualify, it's possible that Dickerson had his conversation before I spoke to Rove, My understanding is it went me, Dickerson source, then Libby.

J You've testified earlier that after you moved to quash subpoena, you testified about conversation.

MC Yes, I did. 

J But the agreement was that that was the only thing he was going to ask you about. While you testified, he did ask you whether Libby was the first and only source.

MC I believe he did.

J You told him no.  So after you finished that day, he gave you another subpoena. You had called Libby thinking that maybe he'd released me.

MC Yes, I thought what I had was exculpatory.

J You didn't tell him what you were going to say.  He didn't ask you and you didn't asy.

MC I did say it was exculpatory.

J Your lawyer same lawyer representing Judy Miller.

MC I'm not sure –he may not have been representing her yet, I 'm not sure when she got subpoenaed. He certainly represented both of us.

J New exhibit.


Email thread, Friday, 5 PM

J reading from email: Dickerson dissing of wilson at his end. jd out of pocket starting at 11 am. 

J When he reports dissing, he's talking about govt officials?

MC Yes

J Libby did tell you VP didn't send Wilson, that would be contrary to what Wilson was implying

MC I wouldn't characterize Wilson's oped that way.

J Did you regard anything Libby said as dissing Wilson.

MC Only to the extent that they were at great pains to distance themselves.

J You remember in war on Wilson, the story was WH was declaring war on Wilson

MC there's a question mark in that headline.

J That's what Wilson was saying at that time

MC I'm not sure he was at that point, he would later.

Walton: Approach please. Sidebar.


J What is the word in your email, dissing, what do you mean by that.

MC disparaging comments about Wilson. I'm trying to answer carefully. There were disparaging comments about Wilson and comments that pointed to his wife.

J Disparaging comments being what?

MC the precise comments Dickerson heard from his source.

J Let me stay away from that. Tell me every disparaging statement Libby said about Wilson.

MC I did think the effort, let me answer your question in a broader way so I can move this along. I did think the response to was disparaging.

J If a person makes statements to a reporter, and I believe them to be true, 1.2.3. That's what Libby did, correct.

MC Mr Libby certainly distanced VP office from Wilson.

J If VP office didn't send Wilson and Wilson said he had.

Walton restated.

J If someone from VP said VP didn't send to Africa, distancing themselves from him.

MC I'm not sure I'd accept implication that Wilson said that.

J Behest.

MC If that's the word he used?

J You'd be surprised if they tried to get that info in the press.

MC I believe LIbby was disparaging of the methodology. It may have been valid criticism, but it was disparaging. I don't think there's any mystery here.

J Wilson said his report discredited Niger.  You remember that?


J I think I can correct that, your honor.  Wilson said he made an oral report that debunked the Niger intell. he said thsi report would have been seen by VP. What LIbby told you in on the record remark is that VP didn't see this until he read it in newspaper.  Is that disparaging Mr Wilson.

MC You asked about the entirety of the comments. He did raise comments about Wilson's methodology.

J Wilson's methodology was Hi, I'm from US government and we want to know whether you sold uranium to Iraq.  What I said was disparaging.

MC You had a disparaging tone.

J Libby didn't say that to you

MC I believe he raised questions about Wilson's methodology.

J Let's go to your notes. First thing he did was give statement on record.

MC that is correct.

J First paragraph is on the record statement. Btw, your typing is, you were typing on laptop computer. were you typing on your bed.

MC I was on my bed. 

J reading on the record statement. 


Cooper is just confirming each part of the on the record statement. Very blase tone in voice.

J Off the record statement. That didn't have anything to do with Wilson

MC only because WH said it didn't belong there because of Wilson.

J talked about WMD, he's telling you what was briefed.  

MC I believe "I don't recall" was about Wilson

J now going to Mayaki part of Wilson's statement.

J Is there anything you would call disparaging

MC I do believe this bit about the PM was an effort to criticize Wilson's method while he was in Niger.

J So we understand, if someone reports my report disproves Niger was trying acquire, and official says Iraq WAS trying to acquire, you would qualify this was trying to disparage.

MC in this case, I would.

J War on Wilson was a catchy title.

MC With a question mark.

J notes the word "perhaps." Well, it's in evidence.

J In this conversation with Rove, immediately after that conversation you sent email to editors,

Cooper nods head. J says, I've already entered it. Cooper says You did.

MC I think we wanted to do more reporting on the Plame stuff.

J You had an email exchange about how to attribute it.

MC I think the attribution was … we were in the midst of closing an article, we were discussing an article and shaping how we would use it in our article.

New Exhibit.  Emails.

10 minute break.

I'll start a new thread. 

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