Sunday, October 23, 2005

Secrets and Lies 

On page A3 of tomorrow morning's edition the Washington Post confirms what most observers of the Plame investigation have long assumed: that Robert Novak, the columnist who blew Valerie Plame's cover as a favor to his White House patrons, squealed early and often to special prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald. This disclosure, in the estimation of our learned colleague Jane Hamsher at Firedoglake, bodes ill for the president's erstwhile evader-in-chief, Ari Fleischer:
And why would Ari's name keep popping up? Well, according to Bloomberg:
On the same day the memo was prepared, White House phone logs show Novak placed a call to White House Press Secretary Ari Fleischer, according to lawyers familiar with the case and a witness who has testified before the grand jury. Those people say it isn't clear whether Fleischer returned the call, and Fleischer has refused to comment.
Wow. Doesn't look good for Ari. Especially considering that according to Colin Powell anonymous sources:
On the flight to Africa, Fleischer was seen perusing the State Department memo on Wilson and his wife, according to a former administration official who was also on the trip.
Except -- according to the New York Times, that may not have been what Ari told the grand jury:
Mr. Fleischer told the grand jury that he never saw the document, a person familiar with the testimony said, speaking on the condition of anonymity because of the prosecutor’s admonitions about not disclosing what is said to the grand jury.
Then there's the fact that Fitzgerald subpoenaed Ari's 7/12/2003 press conference transcript from Nigeria, and the White House scrubbed it from the website (but later restored it).
Elsewhere, our indefatigable colleague Lukery Land of Wot Is It Good 4 links to the CJR account of another scoop Judith Miller never got around to writing. We'd certainly like to know which of her admninstration pals slipped her this little item:
In July of 2001, Steve Engelberg, then an editor at The New York Times, looked up to see Judy Miller standing at his desk. As Engelberg recalls, Miller had just learned from a source about an intercepted communication between two Al Qaeda members who were discussing how disappointed they were that the United States had never attempted to retaliate for the bombing of the USS Cole. Not to worry, one of them said, soon they were going to do something so big that the U.S. would have to retaliate.

Miller was naturally excited about the scoop and wanted the Times to go with the story. Engelberg, himself a veteran intelligence reporter, wasn’t so sure. There had been a lot of chatter about potential attacks; how did they know this was anything other than big talk? Who were these guys? What country were they in? How had we gotten the intercept? Miller didn’t have any answers and Engelberg didn’t think they could publish without more context. Miller agreed to try and find out more, but in the end the story never ran.
Mr. Engelberg had clearly learned where he could stick his pesky questions by the time Ms. Miller took over the WMD beat.

Categories: , , , ,

| | Technorati Links | to Del.icio.us