To this point, Scooter Libby’s Grand Jury testimony has yielded a few interesting nuggets. One of the more nuggety being how ludicrous the hemming and hawing, pausing and tap dancing around Vice President Cheney can be.
F: This article mentions WaPo reporter was called on July 12. You had spoken to Kessler of WaPo on July 12. Did you think article was talking about you?
L: No. Did realize I had talked to reporter on July 12.
F: You didn't think you had told him (quoting from column) that Wilson trip was boondoggle set up by his wife.
L: No, because I said the opposite, we discounted report because findings weren't definitive, nothing about boondoggle
F: But VP had expressed concerns about this, as you say.
L: Our main concerns were other points.
F: I'm not concerned about other points. Was boondoggle one of the points, among others?
L: Actually, Kessler raised it with me (hubbub in media room) Asked me, "was this a boondoggle?"
F: Did you agree?
L: Felt it might have been a boondoggle in the sense of wife arranged trip, but not really in a bad way, we had not discounted report because of it
(Libby then gets very vague about when he had this conversation with Kessler — was it in the van, was it at a later time, was it a later date, was it even Kessler. Nothing is certain.)
Protecting the flank of a Vice President is hard work. And never mind the fact that Fitzgerald's investigative team unearthed a copy of the Wilson op-ed with Cheney's handwriting at the top — with the question of the trip and "the wife" front and center. Talking points, anyone? Because, as Cathie Martin's testimony amply showed us, Vice President Cheney is fond of writing down precise talking points for his minions to disperse to the media on his behalf, isn't he? Especially when he's "disturbed" by his credibility being questioned.
And then there is this from later this morning:
…F: And Cheney wrote "junket' on Wilson op-ed sometime after July 6th
F: So it's possible, though you don't remember, that he told you to tell reporters about Wilson's wife
L: It's possible, but I don't remember
F: When you spoke to Kessler, and you thought maybe boondoggle but not negative, do you think reporter might have gotten impression you thought it was boondoggle?
L: Perhaps, but maybe he got impression on his own from Wilson op-ed or Novak article
F: Pincus before June 12th, did you tell him about Wilson's wife
F: Pincus said on WaPo website that he was told. You don't think you told Pincus?
(Now there's a very long, painstaking discussion about what Libby understands to be classified, including insta-declassification, whether a leak to the press makes something non-classified — Libby says no, it's still not to be talked about — and whether CIA employees are assumed to be classified. Libby says he knows CIA people socially, he plays softball & football with them, they tell everyone at the game they work for CIA.)
F: But you were told this by the VP of the US, not at a football game.
L: Didn't have a sense that it was classified.
F: So you forgot that you learned this, thought it was new information when Russert told you, didn't remember until you saw note about VP and wife in CPD, but you have a recollection of sensing that it wasn't classified? (someone laughs in press room — um, me actually. Sorry, everybody…)
(Libby excuses himself lamely, and then Fitz rubs his nose in asks him again about conversations with Grossman, Cathie Martin, Fleischer, etc. Libby still doesn't remember them. Walks through the Russert conversation, and the info about Wilson's wife striking him as a newly learned fact.)…
F: Can you explain the protocol for discussing classified information?
L: Stuff in briefings is clearly classified, stuff on TV/newspaper clearly not, other times person will say "this is just for you." Generally clear from context, only sometimes told specifically
F: Does VP ever ask you not to write things down
L: (slowly) Sometimes, once or twice over a great period time
F: like what
L: Something operational like a war plan
F: Any time VP says it because he doesn't want a permanent record?
L: Dont think hes ever told me that
F: Never told not to write anything down about uranium/Wilson?
L: no, sir…
Is anyone else getting the sense that Cheney's interview with the FBI or some other person involved in this investigation has divulged a tantalizing detail somewhere that we may or may not ever get to know? Or is it just me?
Funny how, with Libby, the blame always gets shifted to the media and away from the Vice President. Could this be a pattern of behavior? And, if so, don't you think that members of the jury have also noticed this Libby quirk? And, even more interestingly, don't you think that folks in the media have noticed the same — and will they tire of being the Administration's scapegoat and, instead, stand up and investigate the myriad of issues that need much more oversight and scrutiny?
If so, I'd start with war profiteering. And exactly why it is that Vice President Cheney's son-in-law is refusing to cooperate with Congress and the General Accounting Office oversight. (H/T to BobbyG for the link.)
Funny how folks connected with Mr. Cheney continue to pop up in an obstructionist capacity all over the Beltway, isn't it? I'm certain that this has nothing whatsoever to do with Halliburton. Nope. Nosiree. Nothing over here. Presto.
Is it me, or is the Tower of Babble that is the Vice President's office listing a bit too far to the right these days? And, really, isn't it about time people started asking some questions — a whole lot of questions — about what is still propping it up? Because it is well past time for some accountability inside the Beltway for Vice President "Go F**k Yourself," isn't it? Especially with the Team Libby defense starting to sound a whole lot like our pal Beaker: "memememememememe…"
(And a thank you to twolf1, from whom I snagged "nuggety." Good one.)