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Leak Case: Will Rove Testify?

The president's political guru—and counselor Dan Bartlett—have been subpoenaed by Scooter Libby's lawyers. What it means for the most-watched trial in Washington—and who's next on the witness stand.

A WEB EXCLUSIVE
By Michael Isikoff
Newsweek
Updated: 5:05 p.m. PT Jan 26, 2007

Jan. 26, 2007 - White House anxiety is mounting over the prospect that top officials—including deputy chief of staff Karl Rove and counselor Dan Bartlett—may be forced to provide potentially awkward testimony in the perjury and obstruction trial of Lewis (Scooter) Libby.

Both Rove and Bartlett have already received trial subpoenas from Libby’s defense lawyers, according to lawyers close to the case who asked not to be identified talking about sensitive matters.

While that is no guarantee they will be called, the odds increased this week after Libby’s lawyer, Ted Wells, laid out a defense resting on the idea that his client, Vice President Dick Cheney’s former chief of staff, had been made a “scapegoat” to protect Rove. Cheney is expected to provide the most crucial testimony to back up Wells’s assertion, one of the lawyers close to the case said. The vice president personally penned an October 2003 note in which he wrote, “Not going to protect one staffer and sacrifice the other.” The note, read aloud in court by Wells, implied that Libby was the one being sacrificed in an effort to clear Rove of any role in leaking the identity of CIA operative Valerie Plame, wife of Iraq war critic Joe Wilson. “Wow, for all the talk about this being a White House that prides itself on loyalty and discipline, you’re not seeing much of it,” the lawyer said.

Libby is charged with lying about when and from whom he learned about Plame during the spring and early summer of 2003, a time when the White House was working to discredit Wilson. A former U.S. ambassador, Wilson was dispatched to Niger to investigate reports that Iraq was seeking to purchase uranium from Africa. Wilson said he told U.S. officials there was nothing to those reports. But the president later used the claim anyway in his 2003 State of the Union address, prompting Wilson to charge the administration had manipulated the intelligence about Iraq. The week after he went public, journalist Robert Novak first reported that Wilson’s wife, Plame, worked for the CIA—a disclosure that prompted allegations that administration officials had “outed her” in retaliation for Wilson’s criticism.

The possibility that Rove could be called to testify would bring his own role into sharper focus—and could prove important to Libby’s lawyers for several reasons. Rove has said in secret testimony that, during a chat on July 11, 2003, Libby told him he learned about Plame’s employment at the CIA from NBC Washington bureau chief Tim Russert, a legal source who asked not to be identified talking about grand jury matters told NEWSWEEK.

If Rove repeats that story on the witness stand, it could back up Libby’s core assertion that he honestly, if mistakenly, thought he had heard about Wilson’s wife from the “Meet the Press” host—even though Russert denies he knew anything about Plame, and more than a half-dozen officials (including Cheney) have said they passed along the same information to Libby earlier than that.

But the Rove account could cut in other ways. Fitzgerald would likely argue that Libby’s comment to Rove merely shows that the vice president’s top aide “was even lying inside the White House,” according to the legal source. Moreover, Rove is likely not eager to recount the story either. The reason? He would have to acknowledge that shortly after he had the chat with Libby, he went back to his office and had a phone conversation with Time magazine reporter Matt Cooper in which he also disclosed the fact that Wilson’s wife worked for the CIA. The disclosure was potentially illegal since, at the time, Plame was employed in the Directorate of Operations, the agency’s covert arm. (There is no evidence that Rove or anybody else knew Plame’s status at the time—and Rove has never been charged with any crime—but the possibility that White House officials were leaking classified information in an effort to discredit Wilson is what triggered the probe in the first place.)

An equally embarrassing conflict could emerge next week when former White House press secretary Ari Fleischer takes the stand. Fleischer has been one of the most mysterious figures in the case, making virtually no public comments about it since he left the White House in July 2003. In the past he has insisted he wasn’t even represented by a lawyer.

But it emerged during court arguments this week that Fleischer originally invoked his Fifth Amendment privileges to avoid testifying and then only agreed to do so after he was given an immunity deal by Fitzgerald—an arrangement that normally requires extensive bargaining among attorneys. Fleischer’s testimony is critical to Fitzgerald’s case: as the prosecutor laid out this week in his opening statement, Fleischer has said that Libby told him over a White House lunch on July 7, 2003, that Wilson’s wife worked at the CIA and made a point of describing this information as “hush and hush.” Fitzgerald used that account to undercut Libby’s grand-jury assertion that he was surprised and “taken aback” just three or four days later when, he claims, Russert told him about Wilson’s wife.

“You can’t learn something startling on Thursday that you’re giving out Monday and Tuesday of the same week,” Fitzgerald said. Fleischer has also testified that Bartlett also later told him about Wilson’s wife and, after hearing it from both Libby and Bartlett, the then-White House press secretary disclosed the information to NBC reporter David Gregory.

On its face, Fleischer’s account seems to contradict the repeated public assertions of his immediate successor, Scott McClellan, in October 2003 that nobody at the White House was in any way involved in the leak of Plame’s identity. It also potentially puts Bartlett, one of the president’s senior and most trusted advisers, on the hot seat.

If Bartlett backs up Fleischer, it suggests he himself played a role in passing along radioactive information that triggered a criminal investigation that has plagued the White House for more than four years. If he contradicts Fleischer, it raises questions about the credibility of a man who was President Bush’s chief spokesman for the first two and a half years of his presidency. His lawyer declined to comment on what Bartlett will say.

But either way, it’s not a scenario that anybody at the White House can be looking forward to.

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/16832257/site/newsweek/
 

Annie

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LOL!!!! Of course. It has to be the democrats fault. :rolleyes: :rolleyes:
I think the point was how 'Scooter Libby' is being demonized, for a crime that didn't happen; while 'Sandy Berger' who may have compromised our ability to know how/why a 9/11 happened goes uninvestigaged.
 

CTRLALTDEL

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I think the point was how 'Scooter Libby' is being demonized, for a crime that didn't happen; while 'Sandy Berger' who may have compromised our ability to know how/why a 9/11 happened goes uninvestigaged.

How are you so sure a crime "didn't happen"???? Because they're REPUBLICANS??
 

Annie

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How are you so sure a crime "didn't happen"???? Because they're REPUBLICANS??
Actually because it's already been admitted that Richard Armitage 'leaked', not the admin. Then there is the whole non-case of Plame/Wilson.

Here's more on Berger, from today's online WSJ:

http://www.opinionjournal.com/diary/?id=110009591

...

Despite all of these unanswered questions, Mr. Berger was allowed to plead guilty last year to only a misdemeanor charge. As part of a plea agreement, the Justice Department asked him to pay a $10,000 fine for the violations, perform 100 hours of community service and lose his security clearance for just three years (meaning that he will be eligible to regain it just about the time the next president takes office). The presiding judge, outraged at the lenient plea bargain, bumped the fine up to $50,000.

The Inspector General's report found that the papers Mr. Berger took outlined the adequacy of the government's knowledge of terrorist threats in the U.S. in the final months of the Clinton administration--documents that could have been of some interest to the 9/11 Commission, before which Mr. Berger was scheduled to testify. The Washington Post buried news of the Inspector General's report on page 7; the New York Times dumped it on page 36.

But the report did catch the attention of Rep. Tom Davis, the ranking Republican on the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, who last month, while he was still committee chairman, finished his own probe of the Berger affair. This week he and 17 other top Republicans wrote to Attorney General Alberto Gonzales to detail the deficiencies the committee has found in the Justice Department's handling of the Berger case. They specifically asked him to administer the polygraph examination that Mr. Berger agreed to but was inexplicably never given.

While a polygraph is not admissible in court, it is a valuable tool investigators can use to lead them to other evidence. Andrew Napolitano, a former judge who is a legal analyst for Fox News, notes: "If they ask him, did you take document X, Y, Z, and he says no, and the polygraph shows that he's lying, that will send them on a hunt for document X, Y, Z." In addition, Mr. Berger would have to take the test under oath and thus could be prosecuted for perjury if he lied, even though his document-theft case is closed....
 

eots

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I think the point was how 'Scooter Libby' is being demonized, for a crime that didn't happen; while 'Sandy Berger' who may have compromised our ability to know how/why a 9/11 happened goes uninvestigaged.
frontline: the man who knew: discussion | PBSthe man who knew. photo of val & john join the discussion: What lessons do you ... of the FBI leaders and the ambassador who destroyed John O'Neil, morons. ...
www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/shows/knew/talk/ - 30k


please lets not forget this man
 

theHawk

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frontline: the man who knew: discussion | PBSthe man who knew. photo of val & john join the discussion: What lessons do you ... of the FBI leaders and the ambassador who destroyed John O'Neil, morons. ...
www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/shows/knew/talk/ - 30k


please lets not forget this man
Nobody destroyed Joe Wilson/Valarie Plame's lives except themselves. Wilson is the one who shined the spotlight on himself and thusly his wife after he made 100% false allegations about the White House sending him on some 'fact finding mission'. Lets not forget he trumped up these bogus charges shortly after joining the Kerry campaign. Gee, this couldn't had been about bringing down GWB's poll numbers before an election could it? :eusa_think:
 

insein

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Nobody destroyed Joe Wilson/Valarie Plame's lives except themselves. Wilson is the one who shined the spotlight on himself and thusly his wife after he made 100% false allegations about the White House sending him on some 'fact finding mission'. Lets not forget he trumped up these bogus charges shortly after joining the Kerry campaign. Gee, this couldn't had been about bringing down GWB's poll numbers before an election could it? :eusa_think:
Democrats play politics with National Security and the media lap it up like the good little dogs they are? No. Surely you jest.
 

theHawk

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A WEB EXCLUSIVE
By Michael Isikoff
Newsweek
Updated: 5:05 p.m. PT Jan 26, 2007

.................

Libby is charged with lying about when and from whom he learned about Plame during the spring and early summer of 2003, a time when the White House was working to discredit Wilson. A former U.S. ambassador, Wilson was dispatched to Niger to investigate reports that Iraq was seeking to purchase uranium from Africa. Wilson said he told U.S. officials there was nothing to those reports. But the president later used the claim anyway in his 2003 State of the Union address, prompting Wilson to charge the administration had manipulated the intelligence about Iraq. The week after he went public, journalist Robert Novak first reported that Wilson’s wife, Plame, worked for the CIA—a disclosure that prompted allegations that administration officials had “outed her” in retaliation for Wilson’s criticism.

Looks to me like this Michael Isikoff is another moron journalist how doesn't bother to check the facts. First of all, Wilson was never "dispatched" to investigate anything about uranium in Niger, especially not in an official capacity by the government. This Michael Isikoff conveniently forgets to state that Joe Wilson was not even on the payroll of any government agency during this time period. He never received orders to go to Niger. He never filed any "report", he couldn't have because he didn't work for anyone. The White House never used the contents of this non-existant report for the SOTU address, they used the information obtained from the French. Michael Isikoff also fails to mention that Jow Wilson began working for the Kerry campaign before this story broke.

Now, Darwins Friend, try putting yourself in the shoes of Cheney and the administration. Bush says a line in his SOTU address based on information given to you by an ally. Then all of a sudden this unemployed moron comes out of nowhere with a New York Times op-ed piece "What I Didn't Find in Niger" claiming he was sent there and didn't find any evidence of uranium sales. Naturally the anti-Bush media gets a hard-on for anyone that will accuse the Bush administration of lying, so they take the idiot for his word. Wilson never actually stated that Cheney sent him but the media assumed he did, and Wilson never bothers to correct them. So naturally reporters are bugging the hell out of Cheney, Rove, and the entire administration to find out 'the story'. As they find out the truth from Cheney and company (that Wilson was never sent to Niger under any official capacity), the next logical question from reporters is 'well if you didn't send him who did?' The TRUTHFULL answer is that his wife, Valarie Plame, did. So this puts the administration between a rock and a hard place, either tell them the truth that Plame did it and risk naming an employee of the CIA, or sit there and say "no comment" only adding fuel for flamming liberals that keep saying the administration is too "secretive".

Of course at the end of the day, after all the million dollar "investigations" by Congressional committees has been done, the only shred of evidence in this story is the email Plame sent to her boss suggestion that her husband be allowed to go to Niger and talk to his contacts about the issue of uranium.

Now, maybe for you and Michael Isikoff a man travelling to Africa to ask his friends "hey did Saddam try to buy any uranium" is what you call an "invesigation", to the rest of us he is just a poser and a con artist.
 

Avatar4321

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How are you so sure a crime "didn't happen"???? Because they're REPUBLICANS??
A crime didn't happen because Valery Plame was not an undercover agent. Because the leak was Armitage. And the fact that the independent counsel knew this a week into it. Heck any idiot who can read the law knows there was no crime.
 

musicman

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A crime didn't happen because Valery Plame was not an undercover agent. Because the leak was Armitage. And the fact that the independent counsel knew this a week into it. Heck any idiot who can read the law knows there was no crime.
Exactly. And, the point I've tried to make to CTRLALDEL - which he's chosen to miss - is that truth is usually succinct; possessing a wonderful economy of words. To an Isikoff thousand-word diatribe, we can answer with two: Sandy Berger.

Liberals can yammer for hours, trying to create scandal out of nothing. But, give them a case of clear-cut crime - which happens to be politically inexpedient - and you can hear the grass growing. It's positively frightening; it's Orwellian.
 

Avatar4321

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Exactly. And, the point I've tried to make to CTRLALDEL - which he's chosen to miss - is that truth is usually succint; possessing a wonderful economy of words. To an Isikoff thousand-word diatribe, we can answer with two: Sandy Berger.

Liberals can yammer for hours, trying to create scandal out of nothing. But, give them a case of clear-cut crime - which happens to be politically inexpedient - and you can hear the grass growing. It's positively frightening; it's Orwellian.
The investigation should have been over within a week of when it started when it was obvious there was no crime. The fact that the prosecutor can carry on investigations into a non-crime for the sole purpose of trying to trip up witnesses to a non-crime is absurd.

And you are right it is Orwellian. And it's scary that no one sees how evil such abuse is. This is as bad as the Duke Rape case. Prosecutorial abuse for political reasons.

And i still want to know why the heck Berger hasn't been properly investigated.
 

musicman

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The investigation should have been over within a week of when it started when it was obvious there was no crime. The fact that the prosecutor can carry on investigations into a non-crime for the sole purpose of trying to trip up witnesses to a non-crime is absurd.

And you are right it is Orwellian. And it's scary that no one sees how evil such abuse is. This is as bad as the Duke Rape case. Prosecutorial abuse for political reasons.
I was thinking the same thing. The parallels are disturbing.

Avatar4321 said:
And i still want to know why the heck Berger hasn't been properly investigated.
That he committed this crime - FOR WHOM he committed it - WHO benefitted from it and HOW - these are absolutely beyond serious dispute. You're right - that only leaves a lot of "why?" 's. Why are these people getting a pass? Why does this ongoing criminal enterprise continue to flourish in the face of blatant theft, perjury, treason, and maybe worse? Why are the Clintons exerting power and influence on the American political scene, instead of sporting orange jumpsuits?
 

Avatar4321

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I was thinking the same thing. The parallels are disturbing.



That he committed this crime - FOR WHOM he committed it - WHO benefitted from it and HOW - these are absolutely beyond serious dispute. You're right - that only leaves a lot of "why?" 's. Why are these people getting a pass? Why does this ongoing criminal enterprise continue to flourish in the face of blatant theft, perjury, treason, and maybe worse? Why are the Clintons exerting power and influence on the American political scene, instead of sporting orange jumpsuits?
My biggest question is why is the Bush administration ignoring it.
 

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It'll be interesting to see how this all shakes out as it is also highlighting the means by which this administration would use to discredit it critics and the way it fit the intel to the policy of war with Iraq.

I must also admit to a certain amount of <i>schadenfreude</i> at the possibility of Chimpy and Co's house of cards falling apart. Better a Constitutional crisis that another world war.
 

musicman

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It'll be interesting to see how this all shakes out as it is also highlighting the means by which this administration would use to discredit it critics and the way it fit the intel to the policy of war with Iraq.

I must also admit to a certain amount of <i>schadenfreude</i> at the possibility of Chimpy and Co's house of cards falling apart. Better a Constitutional crisis that another world war.
Sandy Berger.
 

Bullypulpit

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Sandy Berger.
Your point? His actions didn't result in thousands of US troops killed...More thousands maimed for life...untold billions squandered...countless thousands of innocent Iraqis dead...All on a tissue of lies. So, what's your point?

<center><img src=http://cagle.slate.msn.com/working/020929/conrad.gif></center>
 

Annie

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Your point? His actions didn't result in thousands of US troops killed...More thousands maimed for life...untold billions squandered...countless thousands of innocent Iraqis dead...All on a tissue of lies. So, what's your point?
Neither did Scooter Libby's? Funny how you will jump one and insist on deaths for another. All depends on party, I guess.
 

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