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Sources: Or, Tedious Kremlinology

I’ve talked about Cheney’s and Addington’s Methods. Now I’d like to inventory the sources that Gellman and Becker used for their articles, as a way to understand where the shifting loyalties of the Administration lie. One thing that becomes clear by mapping this out is the centrality of Josh Bolten to many of the more damning accusations against Cheney. Thus, while these articles may reflect the fingerprints of Poppy (likely) or Scooter (implausible, IMO), I think it is primarily an attempt by the COS and possibly Condi to bring Cheney under control, aided by former Administration lawyers they know to have soured on Cheney’s ways.

The anonymous sources at the bottom serve as a way of filling out who the named sources are below. For a list of all the people mentioned in the articles, see this page.

John Ashcroft: John Ashcroft is a named source (albeit a vague one) for a key confrontation in Gonzales’ office and a likely unnamed source for some of the other disputes. It’ll be interesting to see if he increasingly makes such public comments, seeing as how his testimony before HPSCI the other day clearly backed up Comey’s.

James Baker: Is quoted in part two and shares his notes in part one (though the notes may come from someone’s library). Baker states clearly that Cheney has been about the accumulation of power.

Brad Berenson: Curiously, the designated GOP firewall defense lawyer is a boisterous source for these articles (though, from personal experience, I can attest he is approachable). He seems intent on minimizing his own role–and that of John Yoo (whom he calls a "supporting player").

Josh Bolten: Bolten seems to be an important source for these stories, which raises very interesting questions about Bush’s own view of the article. The quote that best sums up Bolten’s critical attitude towards Cheney’s power is this one: "The vice president didn’t particularly warm to that," Bolten recalled dryly. Bolten is, of course, describing how Cheney refused to play an ordinary VP role, with some apparent bemusement. There’s a later quote–The White House proposal, said Bolten, the chief of staff, "did not come out exactly as the vice president would have wanted."–that sounds like Bolten gloating.

David Bowker: Source for some of the issues affecting Powell.

Bryan Cunningham: Cunningham seems to be the source for the details about how Cheney and Addington bypassed Bellinger. He has left government to go into private consulting, so presumably his loyalties may be very anti-Cheney. Note that Bellinger himself is a Rice loyalist; if he is a source for this it would lend credence that she participated in this effort.

Gordon England: England describes his dismay about Addington’s maneuvers on torture.

Tim Flanigan: Flanigan offers nowhere near as many on the record comments as Berenson and Yoo. It may be he’s stuck in the position of defending the indefensible, and therefore remains more quiet. His most telling comment, however, is this one:

he still believes that Addington and Yoo were right in their"application of generally accepted constitutional principles." But heacknowledged that many battles ended badly. "The Supreme Court,"Flanigan said, "decided to change the rules."

That is, he’s just bummed (and talking) because Addington’s efforts backfired.

Mike Gerson: Mike Gerson is described as an opponent to black sites, yet describes Cheney’s motives favorably. There are a few more comments that similarly criticize Cheney while treating him as honorable which may come from him.

Bob Graham: There’s no surprise seeing Graham provide details about the domestic wiretap program. He is one source (potentially the only one) reporting on the first briefing on the program given by Cheney.

David Gribben: Curiously, the article describes David Gribben as a friend from grad school. It doesn’t mention he was also a Defense and Halliburton employee while Cheney was in charge, or that he was instrumental in the transition. Gribben’s named quote seems to defend Cheney’s method of sending "messages" while firing disloyal employees, which sure suggests Gribben remains loyal. As the one named OVP staffer in the article (Matalin aside) Gribben may be the source for some of the comments about Cheney’s intentions.

Mary Matalin: Matalin is one of the surrogates for Cheney and Addington (both of whom declined to be interviewed). She stresses how important Cheney is, without commenting on the legality or efficacy of what he has done.

Brian McCormack: McCormack is one of the many people that has moved from Cheney’s staff eventually onto Bush’s (which surely helps Cheney keep tabs). Curiously, McCormack moved through the corrupt world of Defense acquisitions before ending up in a public liaison function (which, according to Susan Ralston, works with outside constituencies, which means he may remain in the corrupt world of crony contracting. McCormack’s named quote is fairly vanilla, though he seems to be one of the few people who would talk about how Cheney set up his fiefdom even before Bush v. Gore was decided.

Alberto Mora: One of the military lawyers fighting back against Cheney, Mora is a likely source for some of the later meetings on torture.

Dan Quayle: Dan Quayle is a named source used to (humorously, IMO) depict how far out of the norm Cheney is. There are few interesting questions of loyalty in what he says.

William Taft: A Powell loyalist, Taft shows up admitting that he was an easy mark because he misunderstood the stakes of the fight.

John Yoo: Yoo is a named source for one incident where Cheney and Addington ignored his advice (not to spread the use of torture to the military). He may well be the source for some of the very detailed descriptions of the Addington/Yoo/Flanigan/Gonzales interactions.

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