No Easy Answers


Thursday, March 01, 2007

Blast from the Past - Same Old Stuff

    The story that will never end. Here is evidence that opposing sides in the Libby trial are entrenched. This exchange from over a year ago (the links work, and I urge readers to "go there" to see the complete exchange), where "the Real fifi" and I tangled briefly, could have happened yesterday.

    The closing contention of that year old thread ...

The contest is NOT between the memory of Libby and the memory of reporters.

... asserts the same basic difference as today's arguments. One argument over framing the charges, and another over the question of materiality. On materiality, this days-old match with Feldman echos my year-old (never settled) argument with "the Real fifi."


the Real fifi: -- I respect that you take another position, but I find it untenable. --

We've had a rather complex dialog, and your "I find untenable that you take another position" is ambiguous. My positions, stated on this thread, amount to the following:

Even if the investigation is bogus, those who testify are (I think reasonably) expected to do so truthfully.

The legal principle being defended is "truthful testimony, regardless of the stupidity and/or motive of the investigator."

The indictment asks this. At the time in interest, was Libby "informed only as well as every other guy in the rumor mill," or was he "well aware that Wilson's wife worked at the CIA?"

... the indictment isn't a "leak" indictment.

There is no indictment, and never will be one that charges "outing" of Plame.

The official stance from President Bush, the DoJ and the prosecutor is that the case, the leak, is serious.

I give the case for conviction better than even odds -if- the case goes to trial. I don't see the charge being dropped, but a plea bargain is possible.

I think it was a bogus investigation.

And you find those positions to be untenable?

77 posted on 02/01/2006 10:17:04 PM EST by Cboldt


To: Cboldt

Simply and breifly--(a) To constitute perjury, the question wmust be material, deliberately false and before a competent tribunal. I have probelms with 2 out of 3 of these.

(b)To find obstruction, you must show that the defendant delibereatley impeded a material line of inquiry. On this I find the indictment lacking two out of two,

(c) If I am wrong, and the lines of inquiry are material and proper, I find it at least as likely that the reporters recollections are wrong as that Libby was deliberately lying and therefore I think the requisite standard--proof beyond a reasonable doubt cannot be established.

78 posted on 02/01/2006 10:48:34 PM EST by the Real fifi


the Real fifi: -- Simply and breifly--(a) To constitute perjury, the question wmust be material, deliberately false and before a competent tribunal. I have probelms with 2 out of 3 of these. --

I assume then that you assert that Libby's statements are not material, and are not deliberately false.

Going for the "meaning of 'is'" defense? The indictment is clear on these points, and earlier posts discuss the political and personal motives for avoidance of being a known, legal leaker.

the Real fifi: -- (b)To find obstruction, you must show that the defendant deliberately impeded a material line of inquiry. On this I find the indictment lacking two out of two --

Not material, I assume on account of Plame not being covert. Good luck with that. Likewise good luck that Libby "accidentally" or "forgetfully" omitted noting his inquiry to the CIA. C'mon - if you know something FOR A FACT, do you forget that?

the Real fifi: -- (c) If I am wrong, and the lines of inquiry are material and proper, I find it at least as likely that the reporters recollections are wrong as that Libby was deliberately lying ... --

Demonstrating that you don't comprehend the point of my previous post. The contest is NOT between the memory of Libby and the memory of reporters.

82 posted on 02/02/2006 12:32:44 AM EST by Cboldt


    The story that will never end. That was evidence that opposing sides in the Libby trial are entrenched. And the debate will continue, on the same subjects and in the same terms, regardless of the jury's verdict.

    One thing I take to the bank, regardless of the verdict, is that the "winning" side will express its victory in terms of the leak itself. If Libby is found guilty, the left will proclaim Plame was covert and there was a conspiracy. If Libby is found not guilty, the right will proclaim that the White House and OVP never told a reporter that "Wilson's wife works at the CIA and suggested sending Joe" was in fact true.

    The point of seeing certain mischaracterization of the outcome is that the ultimate conclusion has power - enough power that it might cause a leaker to "shade his statements to investigators."


Comments:
I think as a reasonable man, looking at it from the outside, that it boggles the mind to try to think that Libby had forgotten that Wilson's wife was CIA, given so many people testifying that hje knew about it and given the huge interest and time taken on the "general push back". Not saying that this was the central point of the pushback, but that the pushback overall was front and center in his concern, so negative Wilson items are not isolated factoids, not likely to be forgotten. I find those on the right who can't think of this to be self-deceiving, or dumb.

I can see all kinds of reasons for Libby to lie (embarrasment, Cheney involvement and that embarrasment, disclosure of classified info, uncertainty of Plame's status...still not known to him, etc.) The "he would never lie because he knows how dangerous that is" defense is patently circular. Look at all the efforts being made to brush this thing away, to say that Fitz is too much of a bulldog in going after "process" crimes. (I also think those on the right, who excuse lying are morally weak.)
 
They're biased advocates. There is nothing inherently wrong with that - heck, I have my own set of biases as baggage, we all do. It's just as ludicrous for biased advocates on the right to claim objectivity, as it is for biased advocates on the left. Both sides take advantage of the gullibility of readers, and the readers are all-too-happy to oblige.
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What's interesting in the Libby case, and one reason I pointed to a year-old debate, is that the substance of the arguments is so little changed, the terms of debate aren't stale. "The Real fifi" preferred to settle the question of the Libby lie by ignoring evidence of whether or not he lied, and instead looking at whether there was an IIPA or other violation.
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Another reason I pointed to the year-old debate is to remind readers of my strong right-wing bias, lest my distaste for Libby lying to investigators causes me to be mistaken for a leftie.
 
The contest is NOT between the memory of Libby and the memory of reporters.

Here's why it is. There is no official source for the info more relevant that the June 12 Cheney note. All others were presented realistically as "possible sources" (rather than certain) for knowledge demonstrated with Miller and Fleischer on June 23, July 8 and 7 respectively. If the memories of the reporters are faulty they represent at the very least a control group for estimating the quality of memory for those events at that time.

Failure to understand your points is not the problem. Your imposition of coherence on an indeterminate series of events is seeing the monster in the ink blot.

It is not up to us to prove that the imiage of the angel in the inkblot is more plausible.
 
-- Here's why it is. There is no official source for the info more relevant that the June 12 Cheney note. --
.
Even if I concede your "more relevant" (vs. "less relevant") contention, my point of view is not based on the Cheney note or conversation. The contest is not between Libby and reporters. It is between Libby and investigators. And for Libby's awareness, conceding that he forgot the Cheney conversation does not result in a conclusion that he heard from nowhere, or that he forgot what he asked/heard/told elsewhere.
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-- Your imposition of coherence on an indeterminate series of events is seeing the monster in the ink blot. --
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I'm not imposing anything. See, e.g, your rejection of my point of view.
 
conceding that he forgot the Cheney conversation does not result in a conclusion that he heard from nowhere

What conclusion?

The Cheney note establishes exposure to guilty knowledge demonstrated later with Judy and Ari. Other official sources simply add to the access.

If there is any conclusion it would be that forgetting his own note is harder than not registering a comment from Grossman in passing. Are they not essentially contemporaneous?

My "theory of the case" is not based on certainty of what Libby remembers on June 19th. Assume someone asked him "where does Wilson's wife work" he could have answered.
 
Look at it this way.

If it wasn't important enough to remember when he wrote it down from Cheney's (or Martin's) own lips, why would it be more memorable possibly mentioned by Grossman, Grenier or Schmall? None of their "recollections" were the least bit compelling. The probability of forgetting is not significantly changed.
 
-- What conclusion? --
.
That at the time he was interviewed by the FBI, Libby didn't forget that he had asked/heard/told about Plame from sources other than reporters.
.
-- The Cheney note ... --
.
Cheney, Schmaney. My point of view, as I said, doesn't depend on, and doesn't beef about Libby asserting that he forgot the Cheney conversation. Libby has other possible sources, as you concede.
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-- If there is any conclusion it would be that forgetting his own note is harder than not registering a comment from Grossman in passing. --
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That's a sort of, "If he forgot Cheney, then he must have forgotten the others" argument, which is bullshit on its face. I just set the Cheney discussion aside without reaching a finding. But if asked to obtain a finding, I'd find that Libby remembered the conversation with Cheney. He was able to find THAT note on short notice, and "explained it away" at his first FBI interview.
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Not to say I think there was some "conspiracy to out Plame," but I figure that "wife sent him" was mentioned in more than one conversation.
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-- My "theory of the case" is not based on certainty of what Libby remembers on June 19th. Assume someone asked him "where does Wilson's wife work" he could have answered. --
.
Best as I can figure from your articulation, your theory of the case is that Libby thought he was being framed, so he was justified in lying to the FBI. But at any rate, my object isn't to explain your point of view, it is to explain and justify my own point of view.
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-- why would it be more memorable possibly mentioned by Grossman, Grenier or Schmall? None of their "recollections" were the least bit compelling. --
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The memorability factor varies depending on the human. That Schmall forgot being asked doesn't mean that Libby forgot asking.
 
"If he forgot Cheney, then he must have forgotten the others" argument, which is bullshit on its face

Persuasive.

How about if he could forget his own note he could forget Grossman MAYBE telling him.

You seem to use conceding on the note point as a means to dismiss that argument. In fact you do not concede it. Good, otherwise I would be forced to ridicule conceding the elephant and straining at the gnat.

The frame up argument was hypothetical against "never ever any excuse to lie to investigators". Proposing an exception that may apply is not the same as asserting the fact. As it happens physical evidence was brought out in the form of the Cheney memo that Libby did in fact have that mindset. The effect of such a mindset on one's testimony was all I suggested as actual application of the argument.
 
Schmall ...

"Duh I don't remember any of it but my standard procedure is to write down possible answers to questions instead of the questions so I can find out later for sure. (If I can figure them out). Since Libby was the only one there he must have asked some kind of question but I don't remember what it was."

This is secret room robot clown stuff.
 
but I figure that "wife sent him" was mentioned in more than one conversation

Quibble ... Martin said Harlow told her "his wife works here" or words to that effect. The Cheney note says counterproliferation. The closest anybody comes to "and she sent him" IIRC was Grenier feeling guilty so he MUST have said something he wasn't supposed to and Grossman must have said something in his verbal breifing on the INR memo, which Libby did not see.

So only concede "wife works here" but not "and she sent him".
 
Before Miller on June 23 there is only the Martin Cheney Libby note that's worth more than warm spit.

Assume if Miller asks Libby where Joe Wilson's wife works he might answer CPD. Only Miller doesn't remember the conversation and her notes merely suggest it may have come up.

Ari claims that on July 7th Libby told him lots of stuff that could only have come from the INR memo and the name "Plame". Only Libby did not see the memo and Ari did.

Neither are credible IMO but a reasonable POV might find them so.

My theory of the case is that going into July 7th Libby might be able to come up with "works in CPD" if asked but 4 months later he has no memory of knowing that.

Russert (or remotely possibly Novak) fills in the rest which surprises Libby. Days later Cooper writes in his notes "heard something about Wilson but don't know if it's even true". Consistent with Libby's GJ testimony, but Fitz charges him on the Cooper coversation anyway.
 
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