So, how was your lunch? David Corn's got off to a miserable start, as I spent 15-20 minutes haranguing him about our competing theories of the 1x2x6 Plame leaks,* in the light of special counsel Patrick Fitzgerald nearly having to give himself the Heimlich maneuver after being asked just what his team had confirmed about them. Neither Corn nor I gave an inch, so that will remain a cliffhanger for the time being. (Expect a post about this tonight, if I'm not too exhausted.) But thanks to David for being a good sport about discussing it.
(*David is quite deservedly needling me about mentioning this, so I'll add that you should check out his book, which covers the whole run-up to war. Marcy and I each bought a copy.)
It's 1:30 p.m. in Washington, D.C., FBI agent Bond is back at the stand
for more Chinese water torture, so it looks like we're ready to get under way.
NOTES: (1) This is not an official transcript — just a very loose paraphrase, at best — so don't treat it as one. (2) I'll tell you the time at the end of each update; expect about 15-20 minutes before the next one. The hamsters that run the servers will appreciate it if you don't refresh excessively in the meantime. (3) I didn't write the book on the Valerie Plame outing — but you should buy it, if you haven't already. My own previous writings on Plamemania can be found here. (4) My own notes will be in parentheses and italics.
Fitz says that after Bond, we'll have Scooter's grand jury testimony… and, surprise, there are more "issues" to be resolved. There may be a break. Or maybe not.
Jeffress takes the podium. and starts to explain an issue regarding Andrea Mitchell. A voice says, "Are you sure this is what I'm objecting to?" Much crosstalk.
Wells: Agent Bond, I only have a few more questions… (Hallelujah.)
Wells walks Bond through the June 10 INR memo, reiterating that Libby said he never saw it, nor did he discuss it with
Rex Marc Grossman, nor did he or Cheney have any role in directing the creation of the memo.
And Libby quoting Colin Powell during a Sept. 30 Situation Room meeting that it was no secret that Valerie Wilson sent her husband to Niger (this is a new wrinkle on the "Everybody knows…" story mentioned in the last thread).
Now we're reliving the Tenet statement on July 11, 2003 about the uranium controversy. Apparently Condi Rice wanted to make a joint statement with Tenet, but then Tenet insisted on making a solo statement.
More minutiae of Libby's testimony, followed by acknowledgement that Libby signed a waiver releasing reporters from promises of confidentiality. This is all Wells re-stating Libby's testimony, followed by Bond saying "Yes" or "That's what he told us."
The defense enters into evidence Libby's schedule for July 11, and also June 10, 11, and 12, 2003.
Now Wells asks Bond, was it your understanding when you started working on this investigation, that it was about who leaked Valerie Wilson's employment at the CIA to Robert Novak? (Yes.) And are you aware that Richard Armitage has admitted to relating this information to Novak? (Yes.)
No further questions. Time for re-direct, by prosecutor
Debra Bon Amici Peter Zeidenberg.
Z: Agent Bond, when Mr. Libby was first interviewed, his attorney stated that Mr. Libby felt he had not had enough time to review documents, right?
Z: Tell us about the scheduling of the second interview.
B: It was scheduled for five weeks later.
Z: Did Mr. Libby convey that he still had not had enough time to review documents?
Z: Was there any material difference in what he said in the second interview versus the first?
Zeidenberg starts to ask another question that I didn't catch, and is interrupted by an objection. There's a private chat in front of Judge Walton.
Z: Did any of the documentation that Libby provided show that the President had authorized the leaking declassification of the NIE prior to July 8, 2003? (Whoa, that topic came out of left field — maybe EW remembers it being asked about last week.)
Zeidenberg brings up the didn't recall/denied dust-up regarding Ari Fleischer. Cites notes saying "No conversations with Rove, Ari."
Z: No conversations regarding…?
B: Wilson's wife.
Zeidenberg brings up similar notes of Libby saying he didn't have any conversations with other government officials — he would only have talked about Wilson's wife with Cheney or Cathie Martin.
More fun with notes — they cite Libby saying that he may have discussed with Cheney whether to get the Plame info out to the press, followed by "does not recall." Zeidenberg points out that the very next sentence is about calling Matt Cooper, then says "who else to call." (Z. doesn't go on, but right after that are the names Evan Thomas and Glenn Kessler.)
Zeidenberg started to ask another question inaudibly (he's wandering out of microphone range), and then everything broke down into another conference at the bench. (Seems like legal trench warfare.)
The bench conference to end all bench conferences is still goin on. It's worth noting that neither side is really trying to elicit anything from poor agent Bond at this point — they're just reading testimony to her (or making her read it) and making her say "Yes."
Oh, but wait, people are moving…
Walton: "A short recess."
Okay, ten minutes later, peace in our time — a variety of issues have been resolved, including the redaction of the word "snake" from the jury's copy of the now-famous Libby notes from talking with Mary Matalin.
Libby's attorney Well still has a problem with (I believe) the October 2003 WaPo articles, including the apparent fact that they weren't turned over to the FBI very promptly. He claims Libby and his lawyers had very little time to review all the appropriate documents, but Judge Walton doesn't seem very receptive — to the point of citing calendar dates when this could have been done.
Juror questions for agent Bond, read by Judge Walton (JW):
JW: (to jury) Several of the questions you've submitted I can't ask. Please note that in these cases, you shouldn't speculate to yourself about the answer, nor should you discuss it with your fellow jurors.
JW: (to Bond) Why didn't you write down the comments by Mr. Libby's lawyer in October 2003 that Libby hadn't had enough time to review documents?
B: I typically just write down the notes from the interviewee.
Prosecution submits several calendar notes (from Libby, I presume) into evidence.
Wells gets up to ask questions. Shows the Libby response, dated Oct. 7, 2003, to an Oct. 3, 2003 request for documents. Notes that Oct. 3 is a Friday. Adds that Libby went with Cheney and Jenny Mayfield (Cheney's assistant) to Philadelphia on Oct 3rd and went on to Jackson Hole, WY, not returning until October 6th at 2pm. Libby almost immediately had a private meeting with his lawyer.
W: Within 24 hours they had made an initial document production, right?
B: To Mr. Addington.
W: When did Mr. Addington turn over documents?
B: Some on Oct 9th. others on Oct. 13th, most on Oct. 22nd. (took a few questions to establish this)
Wells suggests this shows good-faith compliance by Libby compared to other cases, Bond shrugs and says it depends on the case. Wells repeats, "The complexity of the case matters, right?" and declares
victory no further questions.
Zeidenberg comes up and starts showing calendars for Libby — a 4-hour meeting with his lawyer on Oct. 6, an all-day
Okay, everybody's done with agent Bond. Time for Libby grand jury testimony in a new thread.