Libby Live: Libby Grand Jury Testimony, Five
HiMore? You want more Libby trial live-blogging? Haven't you already been on this ride enough times today? Oh, very well, step this way and climb on board… A further reminder about these posts… as Marcy/emptywheel was fond of saying, we are not court reporters. Even though an exchange may look like verbatim dialogue, what I'm usually doing is boiling down a two-sentence question and a four-sentence answer (with plenty of false starts) into a short sentence each — the gist of each question and each answer, with any key phrases or pauses included as best I can. With that, here we go with the afternoon session. [NOTE: Through some awful error on my part, I pasted over the introduction I intended to use here (the crossed-out lines above are from the previous post. On the plus side, you probably didn't miss much; the actual live-blogging is below.]
NOTES: (1) This is not an official transcript — just a very loose paraphrase, at best — so don't treat it as one. (2) My own notes will be in parentheses and/or italics. (3) I'll tell you the time at the end of each update; expect about 15-20 minutes before the next one. The hamsters that run the servers will appreciate it if you don't refresh excessively in the meantime. (4) I didn't write the book on the Valerie Plame outing — but you should buy it, if you haven't already. If you're wondering who this "Swopa" character is, my previous writings on Plamemania can be found here.
Libby's being sworn in for his second grand jury appearance, a week or two after his first one in March 2004.
F: You said you had some items in your earlier testimony you wanted to clarify or amend.
L: You had asked me about Marc Grossman, and I couldn't remember any conversations about Wilson's wife. But one of your questions was whether I asked if State Dept. had sent Wilson, which was so far from what I believed that it stuck in my head, and so I kept thinking why you might have asked that, and I now recall joking with Grossman about it.
F: Tell me about that.
L: (long story about Bush seeking UN resolution against Saddam in Fall 2002, whether and how to let inspectors back in to Iraq) We had meetings about this, and I was told Grossman wouldn't participate. He felt it was just an effort to prevent inspectors from going, and would end up in a newspaper leak embarrassing Colin Powell. Six months later, we were in a deputies' meeting, and to fill time I ribbed Grossman by saying "this guy who went to Niger was one of yours," and he said, "No he was one of theirs," pointing at a CIA official. I said, "But he was an ambassador, it's a sad state of affairs when the CIA has to get their own ambassadors to find things out," again just joking.
F: When was this in regard to the Kristof and Pincus articles? (accidentally says Pincus both times, Libby corrects him)
L: I don't remember.
F: May or June, or earlier?
L: First half of June, I think.
F: Did you ever have a conversation asking Grossman for information?
L: Not that I recall.
F: Anyone say anything about Wilson's wife?
L: Not that I recall.
F: You said there was a second part you wanted to clarify/amplify?
L: Yes, Ari Fleischer lunch on July 7th, and gaggle that day. I couldn't remember then that gaggle had happened before lunch, and I did thank him for his statement on uranium during the gaggle.
F: No recollection of talking about Wilson's wife (asks in excruciating detail about all parts of Ari's story)
F: Something we ask you before… your calendar shows a June 6th meeting with Richard Armitage. Did you ever talk to him about Wilson's wife?
(Fitz and Libby establish that Libby/Armitage are not close, but have known each other since '82, and Libby once represented Armitage in a legal matter in '89.)
F: Do you remember receiving a fax from the CIA in June 2003 addressed to you and John Hannah? (paging Eriposte!)
L: Not specifically.
F: (shows Libby a document prepared by Hannah on Niger & uranium, summarizing an eight-page CIA memo faxed to OVP on June 9, 2003) Did you receive this when it was sent to Congress [by Hannah]?
L: I don't think so.
F: Did you attend any meetings or discussions about this document?
L: I don't recall any specific meetings. I remember talking about it and referring to it.
F: Did you discuss this with the VP around June 9th?
L: Do you know if you discussed the identity of the envoy sent to investigate Niger claims?
F: Yes, at varous times, don't recall exactly.
F: (shows another document) Do you recognize this?
(Fitz shows Libby a batch of documents, but I'm not clear what they are — went by too fast. One has the notation "Wilson.")
F: What prompted the delivery of the CIA memo, marked ASAP, on June 9th?
L: May have been the Pincus article [which was published June 12, 2003]. (Libby amusingly tries to explain that "ASAP" doesn't necessarily mean it was "a hair-on-fire thing.")
(More documents, including apparently a CIA cable about the Wilson trip. Somewhere in here, Fitz asks if Libby knew at this time that Wilson was the envoy sent to Niger; Libby says he didn't.)
(F. points out that one document, a version of the CIA cable, has "Joseph Wilson" written on it.)
F: Do you recognize the handwriting?
L: (with a little hedging) It looks like the Vice President's.
(F. pulls out a copy of the eight-page CIA memo. The second page has "Joseph Wilson" printed, and "Wilson" in script underneath.)
F: Do you recognize the handwriting?
L: Not the printing. The script is mine.
F: When would you have written this?
L: I don't think it was in the June time frame.
F: How often did you go back to these documents, to refresh your memory?
L: Several times.
F: In what situations?
L: Before talking to reporters, or to the Vice President.
F: Did you review these documents around when you were told by the VP, June 12 or so, that the ambassador's wife worked in the Counterproliferation Division of the CIA?
L: I think so.
F: And this was around the time you were interviewed by Pincus?
F: Did you mention to Pincus that the envoy's wife worked for the CIA?
F: Did you understand that you were legally prohibited from doing so?
F: We spoke before about your conversation with Judith Miller on July 8th. What information did the VP want you to convey in this meeting?
L: That NIE backed up our view of Iraq intelligence (explains at length)
F: When was the NIE officially declassified?
L: July 18th.
F: Did the President specifically authorize you to give this information with Judith Miller.
L: He didn't know Judith Miller, but did authorize sharing it with the press.
F: Was Miller the first reporter that you discussed the NIE with?
L The first I discussed the text of the NIE with, yes.
F: And you showed her the text of the NIE
L: The relevant portions, yes
F: Of a full or redacted copy of the NIE?
F: Did you give her the redacted copy?
L: No, just a page with bullet points.
F: Did you share the document you gave with Judith Miller with the VP first?
F: Who prepared the redacted copy?
L: I did. Well, I didn't type it, I directed VP's assistant, Jenny Mayfield to type it.
F: Do you type?
F: Not big on email, are you?
L: Not in this job. I was in my prior job.
F: Did you discuss the NIE with David Sanger around July 2?
L: In more general terms, not the specific language
F: Did the VP know?
I told him I would be meeting with Sanger, not all the details.
F: So this didn't trigger the concern about revealing classified material that the conversation with Miller on July 8th did.
L: (sorry, missed how explained this)
F: Did atmosphere surrounding conversation with Judith Miller change due to Wilson op-ed July 6th?
L: Certainly changed after Fleischer statement [backing away from 16 words] on July 7
F: Was authorization to talk to Miller after July 6th, or before?
L: Both. Was discussed before final okay was given.
(F. pulls out Libby note, VP instructions to talk to Miller on July 8th)
F: Was Miller in Washington or NY when trip arrangements were made?
L: Either in DC or coming to DC, it wasn't a special trip.
F: Why meet with her at her hotel?
L: I wanted to meet for lunch, but her schedule didn't permit, so coffee instead.
F: Do you usually meet reporters outside the office?
L: Depends on purpose. If it's about VP, a soft news profile, they will come to office. If I talk to reporter off the record, will meet for lunch, more of an off the record atmosphere.
F: Was the nature of the exclusive information involved in meeting at hotel?
F: Was the document declassified, or classified?
L: Declassified, because the President authorized it.
F: In your career had you discussed other documents this way?
L: This would be the first time.
(Fitz walks through Addington authorizing insta-declassification [TM emptywheel].)
(Fitz establishes that only Dubya, Cheney, and Libby knew about insta-declassification, even as rest of government — including Rice and Hadley, and Tenet, and Andrew Card — engaged in official discussions about declassification through July 18th.)
F: Was it typical to keep members of intelligence in the dark about declassification issues?
L: Plenty of times VP tells me something I'm not supposed to tell anyone. (tangled Q&A that draws some smiles in press rooms about why it was OK not to tell)
F: How well did you know Judith Miller?
L: Had only met her once before July 8th. (repeats answer from previous testimony about "responsible journalist," etc.)
F: When did you meet her before? May, June?
L: It would be on my schedule.
F: Did Miller ever write anything based on your meeting?
L: No. It was a failed effort to get the NIE out, in my opinion.
F: And you also talked with Miller on July 12.
(Long exchange about Libby's phones, phone number, phone bills — including "who's your long distance carrier," etc.)
F: Did you call Miller using your personal phone?
L: I think so.
F: Any chance you used your cell phone?
L: I don't think so.
And with that, Walton says we're recessing for the evening… he has some documents he has to review, and then pick up his daughter from school. (So we have no idea whatsoever where that phone-bill line of questioning was going!!)
But first, Fitz has a few things he wants to share. The "mystery witness" is apparently a DOJ attorney who will testify about the rules for subpoenaing journalists, since people have raised questions (Fitz mentions Don Imus!) about why Russert was forced to testify, but not purported leakees like David Gregory (Jeff, are you out there?). He may not testify, because Fitz isn't sure that's how he wants to end his case. He also wants to enter a bunch of other documents as evidence, including a packet of articles showing Libby's
obsession interest regarding the press response to Wilson… and he also mentions "the aspens letter."
It's 4:29, and we're not quite done yet.
The defense makes its pitch for excluding the new batch of articles, and Walton seems receptive, saying they are "of little probative value and potentially prejudicial." Fitz says they show Libby's focus and the Wilson issue and that the govt. feels the "Wilson issue" and "Wilson's wife issue" are inextricably entertained — a little snark as he says, "just because someone charged with perjury says the two were separate, that doesn't mean we should be constrained" (or words to that effect). Walton says he'll think it over.
School's out! Catch ya later.