What Scooter Libby Knew and When

The on-going trial of Scooter Libby provides the following single motive for Bush/Cheney publicizing Wilson's wife Valarie Plame's CIA job: to discredit Wilson, to portray his role as the result not of his expertise, but of nepotism. Even the liberal cable news talkers speak only of this motive, though they continue using the word "outing", which indicates the previously declared motive of "exposing" the wife's job status as a way of ruining her career as a punishment to Wilson.

Libby got arrested not for revealing Plame's job status, but for lying about how and when he came to know of it. Does this mean that Plame didn't at the time have covert status? Or that Libby had legal authority to reveal her occupation? Or that the special prosecuter could find no evidence that any adminstration official revealed this information to anybody, or if so, that Plame had covert status? I don't know, but I would like to.

Anyway, Libby claimed to investigators that he learned of Plame's role in the Wilson from a discussion with MSNBC reporter Tim Russert; Russert told investigators, and repeated at trial, that this did not occur, and could not occur because Russert did not at the time know of Plame or her occupation. And Libby's hand-written notes from a meeting with Cheney from a month earlier describes Plame as Wilson's wife, a CIA employee, and the CIA official who got Wilson the Niger assignment.

Questions: Why would Libby claim that he learned this from Russert one month after writing that note? Did Libby know about his own hand-written note, its contents, and possession by investigators prior to claiming that he learned this info from Russert?


Nadir said...

"Questions: Why would Libby claim that he learned this from Russert one month after writing that note? Did Libby know about his own hand-written note, its contents, and possession by investigators prior to claiming that he learned this info from Russert?"

Are these rhetorical questions?

Paul Hue said...

No, these are questions that I have; I do not know the answers, but seek them.

MnMnM said...

Recent clues point to Abbott and Costello as original architects of Plame Leak.
Grand Jury testimony of Scooter Libby, former Chief of Staff of the United States (COSTUS) for the Vice President, leaked by Rove-ing reporter (humor).

It is posted at: Libby Knows who Leaked First

Bobbing and weaving, a tangled web we do. Book him, Danno.
Please keep my identity a secret. Double super Secret.
Middle-aged, Middle-of-the-road, Mid-Westerner

We can only hope that Fitz doesn't fizzle.
I think Mr. Fitzgerald's motto should be: "If you do a white collar crime then you will serve blue collar time." Look where he lodged Judith Miller. A few months in a blue collar jail and she was ready to sing. Unfortunately, she says she forgot the words

The Times & Post They Should Be A-Changin

Bloggers Request:

Come writers and critics
Who prophesize with your pen
And keep your eyes wide
The chance won't come again
And don't speak too soon
For the wheel's still in spin
And there's no tellin' who
That it's namin'.
For the loser now
Will be later to win
For the Times & Post should be a-changin'.

Good Bye Sulzberger, Keller, Miller, and Woodward!

Fitzgerald's response:

Come politician's, journalists
Please heed the call
Don't stand in the doorway
Don't block up the hall
For he that gets hurt
Will be he who has stalled

There's a battle outside
And it is ragin'.
It'll soon shake your windows
And rattle your walls
For the indictments they are a-comin'.

--Bob Dylan
Perhaps for Rove?

Nadir said...

Answer to question 1: He is lying. Russert says he didn't know until he read it in Novak's article, and witnesses say Libby told THEM before it hit the press.

Answer to question 2: Do you know when you handwrite a note? Of course he knew.

Ultimately, Cheney was behind the leak. Fitzgerald should indict him.

Paul Hue said...

Your answers are unconvincing to me, Nadir. If Libby is lying about receiving this information from Russert, that means that Libby knows two things to be true:

1. Russert did not reveal this info to Libby.
2. Russert knows that he did not.

Why would Libby lie about something that he knows would get exposed? That makes no sense to me. It makes more sense to me that Russert is lying, to protect himself, and that at some point Russert mentioned this to Libby.

Obviously Libby did learn this information a month earlier from Cheney, as Libby's notes indicate. But I must believe that Libby is not so much of an idiot to have told investigators that Cheney never told him if he remembered the existance of that note and what was on it. Thus I must conclude that prior to telling investigators that Cheney never told him, he genuinely forgot about the notes that he took.

I am certain that 99% of all humans cannot remember 100% of what they wrote down on meeting notes months after the fact. If Libby knew about this note, that investigators had it, and what was on it, surely he would have invented a lie that accounted for that.

Same for the Russert assertion.

My questions remain unanswered. But I realize that you, Nadir, knew instantly the answers to every possible question: all the Bushies are lying about everything.

Do you still believe that the Bushies pushed the Wilson-Plame relationship in order to ruing Plame's career as punishment to Wilson? Or do you now agree with me that they merely wanted to undermine Wilson's credability?

Paul Hue said...

It also is plausable to me that Russert is telling the truth, but that Libby believes that Russert is one of the many reporters that he discussed the topic with, and was one who "fished" him for confirmation of the Wilson-Plame story.

I believe it is plausable and likely that Libby learned of the Wilson-Plame connection, fed it to a few reporters, and lied to investigators denying that he ever fed it or learned of it from Cheney. That makes sense to me. But I do not believe that Libby would knowingly contradict his own notes (saying that he learned it first a month after his own handwriting demonstrated he discussed it with Cheney) and blame a reporter who is blameless.

Many aspects of this case stink to me. It stinks that Wilson invented an accusation about "outing" his wife, that this accusation got embraced by the press, and that the Bushies even accepted it. Wilson's wife made a political and personal appointment, Wilson made a political report and took a political response when the political underpinnings of his actions got exposed.

If Wilson and his wife wanted to avoid all this, they should have stayed out of political action. This investigation is very stupid to me.

Paul Hue said...

It seems plausable to me that:

1. Cheney and Libby tried to get out the word that Wilson got his assignment via political and personal patronage (his wife wanted him to get a new star for his resume, and wanted somebody who would undermine Bush). 2. Libby would lie about his and Cheney's efforts to do so.
3. The investigators got Libby's voluminous notes, and Libby didn't remember ever writing down any thing to the contrary.
4. Libby had conversations with reporters who already knew about the Wilson-Plame connections. Indeed we know that this was coming out independant of any efforts by Cheney/Libby. Libby remembered Russert as one of those reporters, creating for Libby an opportunity for a "plausable lie".
5. Libby's recollection of Russert as one of those reports who already knew was incorrect.

Paul Hue said...


Ah, ha. Now we learn that Tim Russert's collegues at the moment in questions already themselves knew of the Plame-Wilson relationship. So believing Russert's assertion now requires us to believe that his collegues Andrea Mitchel and David Gregory knew this info, but Russert did not... and that Libby would make a claim that he knows is untrue, with no reason to believe that Russert would lie on his behalf. Alternatives: Libby honestly mis-remembers and Russert's recollection is accurate, Libby's recollection is accurate and Russert honestly misremembers, or Libby's recollection is correct and Russert is lying to ensure against helping the evil Bushies.

Paul Hue said...


OK, now we know that Woodward knew, and from who: Bush opponent Armatidge. Was Russert the only natioanl reporter not to know this?

Paul Hue said...


None of the reporters or Bush officials remember the same chronology of who told what to whom and when. It is becoming clear to me that these guys were all talking about the Wilson-Plame-CIA connection, and that any one of them could get indicted for "lying", depending on which account you accept as the gold standard. Why is Libby arrested for having a different account than Russert? Why not arrest Russert for having a different account than Libby?

Paul Hue said...


Former Rep. Sen. Fred Thompson says that the fedl independant prosecutor law requires a clear violation of the law. However, he says, Plame "was was not covered under the Intelligence Identities Protection Act.

"There was no indication that a law had been violated. That's borne out by the fact that nobody's been charged with outing her. The Justice Department knew that early on. The CIA should have known that early on. Special Counsel Fitzgerald had to have known that at the very beginning. There was no law that had been violated at the time the investigation had been started.

Paul Hue said...


Tim Russert is a cowardly phony.