Baseball Crank
Covering the Front and Back Pages of the Newspaper
September 16, 2004
LAW/POLITICS: More Cracks In The Wall

Breaking news in the Valerie Plame case. DC District Judge Thomas Hogan yesterday unsealed this opinion (link opens a PDF file) requiring New York Times reporter Judith Miller to "appear before the grand jury to testify regarding alleged conversations she had with a specified Executive Branch official" and produce related documents; the court notes that Miller did not write an article but "spoke with one or more confidential sources regarding Ambassador Wilson's article, 'What I Didn't Find in Africa.'" The court concluded that requiring Miller's testimony was proper because "all available alternative means of obtaining the information have been exhausted, the testimony sought is necessary for the completion of the investigation, and the testimony sought is expected to constitute direct evidence of innocence or guilt." (Emphasis added).

Meanwhile, the Washington Post reports that one of its own reporters, Walter Pincus, has indicated that his source has revealed his (or her) identity already:

A Washington Post reporter's confidential source has revealed his or her identity to the special prosecutor conducting the CIA leak inquiry, a development that provides investigators with a fact they have been pursuing in the nearly year-long probe.

Post reporter Walter Pincus, who had been subpoenaed to testify to a grand jury in the case, instead gave a deposition yesterday in which he recounted his conversation with the source, whom he has previously identified as an "administration official." Pincus said he did not name the source and agreed to be questioned only with the source's approval.

"I understand that my source has already spoken to the special prosecutor about our conversation on July 12 [2003], and that the special prosecutor has dropped his demand that I reveal my source. Even so, I will not testify about his or her identity," Pincus said in a prepared statement.

"The source has not discharged us from the confidentiality pledge," said The Post's executive editor, Leonard Downie Jr.

Posted by Baseball Crank at 2:31 PM | Law 2002-04 • | Politics 2004 | Comments (19) | TrackBack (0)
Comments
The source has not discharged us from the confidentiality pledge.

Translation: the source isn't Scooter Libby. Kevin Drum will be crushed.

Posted by: Chris Lawrence at September 16, 2004 3:01 PM

nice blog. ditch the idiot lines in the background.

Posted by: Anita Palsgraf at September 16, 2004 3:28 PM

Those are pinstripes, Anita......

Posted by: Joe at September 16, 2004 3:36 PM

It's a baseblog. The pinstripes belong there.

Posted by: CERDIP at September 16, 2004 3:48 PM

"his or her identity"

Is there any suspicion that Condi could have leaked it?

Posted by: mike at September 16, 2004 3:56 PM

I'm with Anita. The lines are distracting even if they're pin stripes.
If ya gotta keep 'em, delete every other one; at lease cut down on the visual noise. And make them dark gray instead of black.

Good info on the Plame deal. She's stll a desk jockey no matter what.

Posted by: Blogzing at September 16, 2004 4:07 PM

Good job. Kevin Drum had something today, too.

Posted by: Tom Maguire at September 16, 2004 4:24 PM

Kevin Drum (and Josh Marshall) will be more crushed when they read the next WaPo paragraphs:

But even as Fitzgerald appeared to have reached the end of one investigative thread, he unspooled yet another yesterday, sending new broadly worded subpoenas for documents and testimony to Time magazine and one of its reporters, Matthew Cooper. Under threat of jail for contempt of court, Cooper agreed to be questioned three weeks ago about conversations he had with I. Lewis Libby, a senior aide to Vice President Cheney.

Pincus answered questions about Libby as well. Both he and Cooper said they did so with Libby's approval, and both said that their conversations with Libby did not touch on the identity of Wilson's wife.
Fitzgerald had focused on Libby as the possible leaker of Plame's name and identity, but the new subpoenas to Time suggest he may be rethinking that theory. Four reporters have now testified at Libby's urging that he did not disclose Plame's name or identity to them.
Posted by: The Kid at September 16, 2004 4:26 PM

Yeah, I saw the Drum post after I'd emailed this one to Instapundit. The news on this case comes in bits, but the Miller thing looked new.

You can tell you've got a lot of new visitors when they're stopping to discuss the decor. Welcome! Feel free to look around, there's more than four years worth of stuff here on baseball, politics and other stuff.

Posted by: The Crank at September 16, 2004 5:14 PM

I'm still waiting for an answer to the question, How can an administration official be in trouble for revealing Plame's CIA affiliation if, when Novak called the CIA, the CIA themselves didn't do anything to stop Novak from revealing it?

Does BC have an answer? Theory? This has always seemed like the "elephant in the room" of the Plame story, yet everyone ignores it. I must be nuts.

Posted by: Joe Mealyus at September 16, 2004 5:23 PM

Joe, they told him not to print the name. What else should they have done, killed him?

If they had told him, "She's definitely an agent, do not print the name," then THEY would have been releasing her name. The CIA doesn't confirm who is and who isn't an undcover agent, not to Novak, not to anybody. They did all they could have done to stop him from releasing the name, and he did anyway.

Make sense? It's not complicated.

Posted by: G C at September 16, 2004 7:01 PM

Joe Mealyus,

As I understand it, the possible crime was committed when the person passed the name on to Novak.

The CIA isn't and shouldn't be in the business of saying, "Yes, Mr. Reporter, that is the name of one of our deep cover spies. Please don't tell anybody!"

Posted by: mike at September 16, 2004 7:02 PM

Plame was already ineligible for covert ops due to her identity being compromised previously. That's why she was on desk duty in Langly in the first place. How do you out and already outed agent? The first article I read on this said that it was a "widely known non-secret" in DC that Wilson's wife was a former covert agent.

Posted by: Dacotti at September 16, 2004 7:07 PM

Yes, but that's the problem, you see, because the CIA did confirm that she worked for them. Had she actually been under cover, the response would have been "Who? I have no idea what you're talking about." The answer they gave Novak was the same answer they would have given for a govt. contractor, or for a janitor. Plame was a previously under cover officer who had twice been compromised to foreign intel services - at the time Novak was asking questions about her, she wasn't a 'secret agent' any more.

Posted by: Celeste at September 16, 2004 7:12 PM

Hmmm.

Considering how many Democrats were retain in their positions by Bush, it'd be funny as heck if the culprit turned out to be a Democrat.

lol.

Posted by: ed at September 16, 2004 7:18 PM

GC: "They did all they could have done to stop him from releasing the name, and he did anyway."

Ah. I see from some googling (found this TAP article: http://www.prospect.org/webfeatures/2004/02/waas-m-02-12.html) that apparently this is a Novak-says/CIA-says issue. Novak says they didn't do all they could, CIA says they did. So apparently it's not a resolveable point - both sides have an interest in dissembling, obviously.

Thanks.

Now if someone could answer my question, are the Diamondbacks running a contest where fans get to play, or have there just been a lot of printing errors in their box scores lately? I never recognize anyone in their starting lineup....

Posted by: Joe Mealyus at September 16, 2004 9:07 PM

Dacotti writes: "Plame was already ineligible for covert ops due to her identity being compromised previously. "

Yeah, I'm sure hot-shot prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald would have missed that, and gone on to interview a bunch of White House personnel, including the President, when all of that was immaterial.

If Plame were *not* covered under the law, the investigation would have stopped long ago, because no investigation would be necessary. Ashcroft probably would have killed it as soon as the FBI determined Plame weren't covered. That would have been the best-case scenario for the White House.

There are questions about whether the perps are covered, but that can't be determined until they're identified, and information about the context of the leak obtained.

But, given that there's an investigation at all, Plame's definitely covered under the law.

Posted by: Jon H at September 16, 2004 11:02 PM

Jon H,

Actually, we don't know if she is covered by the law - that is the absolute LAST thingwe want to determine.

All along through the investigation, we ASSUME that Plame IS covered. Only when we are sure that a crime would be committed IF she is covered do we chck to make sure she IS.

Why? Because, when we determine whether or not she is covered, that information is PUBLIC KNOWLEDGE. That is, we don't say one way or the other whether she was ver covert (and most especially WHEN) unless we have to.

Posted by: Deoxy at September 17, 2004 11:11 AM

The CIA had an opening for an assassin. After all of the background checks, interviews, and testing were done there were three finalists - two men and one woman. For the final test, the CIA agents took one of the men to a large metal door and handed him a gun.

"We must know that you will follow your instructions, no matter what the circumstances. Inside this room you will find your wife sitting in a chair. You have to kill her." The first man said. "You cant be serious. I could never shoot my wife!"The agent replies, "Then you?re not the right man for this job."

The second man was given the same instructions. He took the gun and went into the room. All was quiet for about five minutes. Then the agent came out with tears in his eyes. "I tried, but I cant kill my wife." The agent replies, "You dont have what it takes. Take your wife and go home."

Finally, it was the womans turn. Only she was told to kill her husband. She took the gun and went into the room. Shots were heard, one shot after another. They heard screaming, crashing, banging on the walls. After a few minutes, all was quiet. The door opened slowly and there stood the woman. She wiped the sweat from her brow and said, "You guys didnt tell me the gun was loaded with blanks. So I had to beat him to death with the chair."

Posted by: Jokes at October 8, 2004 6:11 PM
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