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Rove and Libby 'compared notes' about leaks to reporters
By David Edwards on 10/20/2005 10:35am PT  

Guest blogged by David Edwards

NBC Video in Windows Media format...
NBC Video in QuickTime format...

NBC Today reports that Rove and Libby were "comparing notes about what they were hearing from reporters" before Novak first exposed CIA officer Valerie Plame's cover in an article on July 14, 2003.

Sources close to the investigation say Rove told Libby that he learned about Plame from Novak and Libby told Rove that he learned about Plame from Tim Russert. By process of elimination, we believe that this "source" is probably Rove's lawyer who is known to have leaked other information to the media.

The Associate Press reports that Libby's lawyer would not comment but fails to mention Rove's lawyer which probably means that he is the source for this leak:

The Rove-Libby contacts were confirmed to The Associated Press by people directly familiar with testimony the two witnesses gave or were shown before the grand jury. All spoke solely on condition of anonymity because of the secrecy of the proceedings.

Libby's lawyer, Joseph Tate, did not return repeated phone calls this week seeking comment.

Think Progress comes to a similar conclusion about leaks coming from Rove's lawyer noting that the White House official policy is not to comment on ongoing investigations.

So, why would Rove's lawyer leak information that contradicts testimony given by Judith Miller and Tim Russert?

We are also pleased to see that NBC is now being forced to report on Tim Russert's role. As Arianna Huffington notes, Russert has previously downplayed or neglected to report on his involvement in the scandal. A new article at the Booman Tribune closely examines the mystery behind Russert's silence and his connection with Libby.

UPDATE: AP is reporting that a GOP/White House effort to "blame the media" in the CIA leak case is not working. As new "leaks" reveal more details of the investigation, the White House's "unofficial" talking points become inoperative.




Yes, you read that right!...
By Brad Friedman on 10/20/2005 3:42am PT  

Details Coming Thursday...DEVELOPING...




Two Tremendous Articles!
By Brad Friedman on 10/20/2005 3:33am PT  

As you can tell by the time stamp on this item, I'm up way too late, so please don't let the lack of description and analysis of the following two articles dissuade you from reading both of them.

Both are top-notch examples of quality journalism in America highlighting the fact that the fight for Election Reform in this country isn't over. Not by a long shot.

Miriam Raftery's extensive article, "MONKEY BUSINESS - A look at vote-counting mischief and the potential for more" in San Diego CityBEAT this week covers just about every base. From the recent disasters in that town's mayoral election, to Diebold's chicanery and their crappy, insecure, secret voting machines and software, to the Exit Polls, to the Warren County lockdown, to phony Ohio recount, to John Conyers, and yes, even Clint Curtis, about whom she says:

Among the most startling revelations was testimony by Clint Curtis, a computer programmer who testified under oath that he was hired by Florida Congressman Tom Feeney (then speaker of the Florida House of Representatives) to create vote-rigging software that could "flip" votes from one candidate to another.

The article is a must read for the next jerk you come across who tells you that our election is just fine, both sides have been stealing elections forever, and that Democrats are just pissed because Kerry didn't win.

UPDATE: I'm told that CityBEAT editor David Rollin took some heat for running the article! Please send supportive email as you see fit to: davidr@sdcitybeat.com

Keep the article in your favorites file, along with James Renner's "Knocking the Vote - Diebold says its voting machines are bulletproof. Hackers say otherwise." just out from Cleveland's weekly SCENE.

It's also exhaustive, and oh, man...Diebold ain't gonna like that one at all.

And not just because it ends with a quote from Black Box Voting's Jim March, a Republican who was recently arrested while trying to view the tabulator screen in the recent Mayoral Election in San Diego. March is also the recipient of a multi-million dollar settlement after a suit he filed against Diebold in California. In reply to the reasons Diebold CEO Walden O'Dell gave to shareholders for the recent 15.6% plummet in Diebold stock prices, March makes no bones at all about his opinion of both O'Dell and Diebold: "These guys are liars, from top to bottom."

Enjoy the ride. I've gotta get some sleep...




What the 'President' Knew and When He Knew It...
TreasonGate Moves Up the Food Chain to Bush...
By Brad Friedman on 10/19/2005 2:35pm PT  

As reports on the TreasonGate matter expectedly climb up the food chain from Rove and Libby to Dick Cheney, NY Daily News is reporting today that George W. Bush knew of Rove's involvement a full two years ago concerning the unprecedented outing by a White House of a covert CIA agent.

The Daily News story comes from their D.C. Bureau Chief, Thomas DeFrank, who --- as Josh Marshall points out --- has a unique relationship to senior Bushies as co-writer of James Baker's autobiography. Marshall suggests that because of that insider relationship "this article carries more weight than it would with another byline."

We're told that CNN is reporting --- to the surprise of absolutely nobody --- a denial by the White House of the entire story. We've yet to see the specifics of that denial, but we can well imagine it, and we've all learned that White House denials at this point are completely meaningless.

More newsworthy, however, is that David Corn points out that the Daily News report now seems to place Bush smack-dab in the middle of a classic "It's not the crime, it's the cover-up" scandal. You know, of the type that brought down Nixon and damn-near brought down Clinton:

Waitaminute! Two years ago, the White House--via McClellan--definitively declared that Rove was not "involved" in the CIA leak. But if Bush at some point upbraided his guru about the leak that means (a) Bush knew that Rove was involved and (b) Bush countenanced McClellan's dissemination of a false cover story. This is evidence that Bush was a party to the attempted White House cover-up and that Bush might have directly lied about the issue. On September 30, 2003, he was questioned by reporters about the leak investigation. Here's an excerpt:

See Corn's full story for the exchange.

For BRAD BLOG readers and those who have been able to see through the desperate smokescreens from the right none of this now comes as a surprise.

Back in July the question of "What did the President Know and When Did He Know it?" had already surfaced in such places as Washington Post and even from David Gergen, advisor to three different Republican Presidents. This was the exchange we quoted from Gergen on July 24 (Windows Media Video version here):

GERGEN: I think this is a big, serious story and the interesting thing about this week...I think the story also started to move toward the President. What did Karl Rove know, what did Scooter Libby know, in the President's and Vice-Presidents office? But...in turn what did the President know and when did he know it?

[Stephanopoulos uses the opportunity to show the Scott McClellalan Oct 7, 2003 press briefing where he says that he spoke to Rove and Libby and can assure the media that "they were not involved." After discussion on things, it then come back to Gergen...]

GERGEN: There are two things about this. One about the President...If Scott McClellan was misled by Scooter Libby and by Karl Rove, was the President misled?...

STEPHANOPOULOS: Exactly...

GERGEN: ...Or if he was not misled and he was told the truth, how do they let Scott McClellan go out there with that statement?

STEPHANOPOULOS: Or does he think this is okay?

GERGEN: Yeah...Or does he think it's okay?...So I think...that's why I think this is increasingly gonna be about the President over time.

And now it's beginning to look like Gergen may have been exactly right...

Um...DEVELOPING...We'd say...

UPDATE: Arianna tracks the food chain as it moves out sideways to John Bolton. Perhaps the real question should be: Who wasn't involved in either the crime or the cover-up in this White House?!

FURTHER SOMEWHAT RELATED UPDATE: The Dems make an interesting point concerning a story from AP today reporting that:

Security clearances were taken away from two federal anti-terrorism employees as investigators look into allegations they warned family and friends about the threat against the New York City subway system three days ahead of the official announcement.

The perfectly appropriate question the DNC is asking:

If two lower-level federal officials can have their security clearance stripped two weeks after it was revealed that they shared confidential information, why do Libby and Rove still have their security clearance 96 days after it was clear they leaked Plame's identity? And, two years after Plame's identity was leaked, when will Bush hold his team accountable and follow up on his pledge to fire anyone involved in the matter?

STILL FURTHER UPDATE: Reuters reports on inquiry by Democrats into what Bush knew and when he knew it.

P.S. Additional red meat to be completely ignored by wingnuts: Warrant Issued for DeLay's Arrest




Highlights similarities between Watergate and current scandal
By David Edwards on 10/19/2005 10:44am PT  

Guest blogged by David Edwards


Streaming Video in Real Media format
Video in Windows Media format

UPDATE FROM BRAD: Just jumping in to say that "Colbert Report" is the most brilliant fucking thing I have perhaps ever seen on television. Be sure to catch it when you can! Hopefully David will keep us well-fed with clips here! C&L has a great one from the premiere on Monday if you didn't catch it.

C&L also has O'Reilly on Jon Stewart last night as well in case you missed it.




And Don't Forget, Wingnuts...A Sitting PRESIDENT Can Also Face a Civil Suit...
By Brad Friedman on 10/18/2005 8:55pm PT  

I was asked today on my weekly appearance on Don Grady's Louisiana Live whether or not a sitting Vice President could be indicted. As far as I knew, the answer was yes.

Dan Froomkin of WaPo's excellent White House Briefing has a few nuggets on precisely that...and a reminder for those old "Rule of Law" Republicans...

Technically and legally, a sitting vice president can be indicted. In fact, there's a precedent.

Not long after he killed Alexander Hamilton in their famous 1804 duel, Vice President Aaron Burr was indicted for murder in both New York and New Jersey. No constitutional crisis ensued.

And as this 2000 Department of Justice memo lays out, the department researched the issue thoroughly in 1973.

Back then, Vice President Spiro T. Agnew was trying to stave off a grand jury investigation into kickback, bribery and tax evasion charges by insisting that he was only answerable to Congress.

After all, only Congress holds the power to remove the president or vice president from office --- and presumably it would be impossible to function as vice president from a jail cell.

But none other that [sic] then-solicitor general Robert Bork concluded that, while "the indictment or criminal prosecution of a sitting President would impermissibly undermine the capacity of the executive branch to perform its constitutionally assigned functions," the vice president was fair game.

The "brief from the solicitor general argued that, while the president was immune from indictment, the vice president was not, since his conviction would not disrupt the workings of the executive branch."

Agnew ended up resigning his office as part of a plea bargain.

Civil suits of course are another story.

Richard Keil wrote in a Bloomberg story yesterday that he had recently spoken to Ambassador Joseph Wilson, Valerie Plame's husband, and Wilson "said that once the criminal questions are settled, he and his wife may file a civil lawsuit against Bush, Cheney and others seeking damages for the alleged harm done to Plame's career.

"If they do so, the current state of the law makes it likely that the suit will be allowed to proceed --- and Bush and Cheney will face questioning under oath --- while they are in office. The reason for that is a unanimous 1997 U.S. Supreme Court decision ruling that Paula Jones' sexual harassment suit against then- President Clinton could go forward immediately, a decision that was hailed by conservatives at the time."

What goes around comes around, wingnuts...




Conyers: GA Legislature Should Have Never Passed 'Modern Day Poll Tax'
By Brad Friedman on 10/18/2005 3:11pm PT  

A federal judge has just issued an injunction to keep the new Photo ID requirements at polling places in the state of Georgia from moving forward. As reported many times on The BRAD BLOG, the requirement for photo ID at the polls would disenfranchise anywhere from 10 to 20 million Americans who do not have driver licenses --- mainly the elderly, minorities, the poor and other urban dwellers.

The call for Photo ID at the polling place is the latest attempt by Republicans who hope to further disenfranchise Democratic-leaning voters across the country. The effort has been pushed hard by the self-declared "non-partisan" phony GOP "voting rights" group calling themselves the American Center for Voting Rights and was called for by the shameful Baker/Carter National Election Reform Commission, which was led by disenfranchisement expert and Bush family crony James A. Baker along with high-level GOP operatives from the ACVR.

This just in from AP...

ATLANTA (AP) --- A federal court has barred Georgia from enforcing a new state law requiring voters to show photo identification at the polls.

In the ruling issued today, the U.S. District Court in Rome agreed with critics who claimed the law amounts to an unconstitutional poll tax.

The U.S. Justice Department approved the law in August. The department said that while Attorney General Alberto Gonzales did NOT object to the state's voter I-D requirement, the federal agency's approval did NOT preclude lawsuits against it.

The Republican-backed measure sparked racial tension during the state's legislative session last spring. Most of Georgia's black lawmakers walked out at the state Capitol when it was approved.

In a news release just issued to The BRAD BLOG, Congressman John Conyers (D-MI), ranking minority member of the U.S. House Judiciary Committee, lauded the decision to stop what he referred to as "a modern day poll tax."

Says Conyers in the release: "Truth be told, the issue should have never reached this point - the Georgia Legislature should never have passed this modern day poll tax, the Governor should not have signed it, and the Justice Department should have intervened to stop it. That is why 21 Members and I asked the Department to prevent this law from taking effect."

The full press release from Conyers office follows...

--- Click here for REST OF STORY!... ---




Little-Known, but Powerful U.S. Congressman Bob Ney (R-OH) up to Eyeballs in DeLay, Abramoff, Corruption Probe
Tied to Gambling, Illegal Favors and TeleCom 'Election' Fixing Investigations...
By Brad Friedman on 10/18/2005 12:57pm PT  

In an extremely detailed 2891-word page one Washington Post report today by James V. Grimaldi and Susan Schmidt, Congressman Bob Ney (R-OH) is tied to at least four different aspects of ongoing probes being carried out by criminal investigators looking into the corruption of GOP lobbyist Jack Abramoff and former U.S. House Majority Leader Tom Delay --- both of whom have been indicted recently on charges relating to the various investigations.

Ney has not yet been indicted, but the WaPo exposé ties him to several different scandals including the SunCruz casino boat fraud/murder investigation (for which Abramoff has recently been indicted), several illegally funded overseas vacations, support of Indian gaming in apparent trade for favors received in the form of cash contributions and other gifts from Abramoff and --- yes --- the apparent "fixing" of an election administered by Ney of telecommunications companies to determine who would receive a large contract at the U.S. Capital building.

Ney is chairman of the powerful U.S. House Administration Committee. BRAD BLOG readers will remember Ney's committee as holding a "show hearing" earlier this year on "Election Irregularities in Ohio" during the 2004 Presidential Election. That hearing, which attempted to whitewash the thousands of troubling reports calling the Ohio election into question, called just one witness from a "voting rights" group. That witness turned out to be Mark F. "Thor" Hearne of the American Center for Voting Rights (ACVR), self-described "non-partisan" organization which had appeared out of the blue just days prior to the hearing. Hearne, identified himself in the hearings as a "long time voting rights advocate", but failed to mention that he was actually the National General Counsel for Bush/Cheney '04 Inc. The other "non-partisan" founder of ACVR was Jim Dyke, former RNC Communcations Director, and recently installed White House spokesman for Dick Cheney.

(BRAD BLOG's full special coverage of ACVR, the so-called "non-partisan" GOP front group masquerading as a "voting rights" organization, can be found here.)

The WaPo story reports that Ney is currently "under investigation by Florida federal prosecutors looking into Abramoff's acquisition of SunCruz, according to sources familiar with the investigation who spoke on the condition of anonymity."

Excerpts from the full WaPo report follow...

--- Click here for REST OF STORY!... ---




His Machines Are Allowed to Count Millions of American Votes, But He's Not Allowed to Visit
By John Gideon on 10/17/2005 9:36pm PT  

{Guest Blogged by John Gideon of VotersUnite.org}

The CEO of Smartmatic Inc., Antonio Mujica, has been denied a tourist visa by the US embassy and will not be allowed to return to the United States according to a recent report in VCRISIS, a Venezuelan news source.

Smartmatic Inc. is the Florida-registered, Venezuelan-owned parent corporation of Sequoia Voting Systems, one of the leading voting machine companies in the US. Its ownership has also been tied to Hugo Chavez and other shadowy multi-national organizations.

No reason is given for denying renewal of Mujica's visa in the VCRISIS article which describes an agitated confrontation with US Embassy officials. According to the story, Mujica "argued that he was legal, that he had an important company in the USA and that he had to travel with urgency to that country."

Sequoia Voting Systems was recently purchased by Smartmatic from a UK firm for $16 million. The surprisingly small sale price has brought into question the stability of Sequoia Voting Systems, which would seemingly stand ready to make millions of dollars in sales of voting systems around the United States as money from the Help America Vote Act of 2002 (HAVA) continues to pour out to counties and states. However, the company's ability to provide technical support to their customers has now come into question as this blogger was recently told by a high level official at a competing American-owned voting machine company.

Sequoia is also involved in a lawsuit filed by attorney Paul Lehto in Snohomish County, Washington. The suit calls for the county's contract to be voided with the company due to the proprietary "trade secret" software used by the company. Lehto has published a report detailing a number of disturbing irregularities found in Snohomish's general election last November.

The Smartmatic company slogan is "All Things Connected". Setting aside whether all things being connected in an election system is a good thing (it isn't), their website has the following text on the front page:

�Smartmatic is the device networking company.
We envision a world where everything will be connected.
And we're making it happen... here and now.

The irony here...and now...of course, is that the entire situation demonstrates how utterly dysfunctional the election administration in America has become. While US law allows a Venezuelan man to control the secret counting of America's votes, the US State Department doesn't consider him fit to enter the country, even temporarily.

Further pointing out the absurdity of it all, in a media release published earlier today at VoteTrustUSA, Ellen Theisen, Executive Director of VotersUnite.Org says, "It's ironic that when we take vote-counting to Iraq, we take it in the form of paper ballots deposited into clear plastic ballot boxes, but in our own country, vote-counting is in the form of electronic ballots and secret software controlled by a man our government has declared ineligible to set foot in the country."

Just another day in the decline of American democracy...




By Brad Friedman on 10/17/2005 1:31pm PT  

(Ed note: Is it us, or does that woman in the red sweater there look suspiciously like someone we know? Just asking.)




REPORT: AFR Flip-Flops on Previous Decision to Carry Progressive Talker Ed Schultz...
By Brad Friedman on 10/17/2005 12:16pm PT  

According to our friends at RAW STORY, the plans that Armed Forces Radio had to add the progressive Ed Schultz Show to its current "Conservative"-only line up of talk shows has been changed as of this morning...

The United States' military's Armed Forces Radio has reversed a decision to add The Ed Schultz show to their lineup abroad, RAW STORY has learned.

Schultz was told Sept. 29 he would be added to the military's programming today. That decision was reversed this morning. His producers are currently seeking answers from the military.
...
Armed Forces Radio provides programming to American troops wherever they are stationed abroad. The network carries newscasts from a variety of outlets, including NPR and the Associated Press, along with commentary from Rush Limbaugh, Dr. Laura, among others.

Read RAW's whole story to find out the possible reason for the military's flip-flop and last minute decision to NOT stay the course...




Extremist Syndicated Radio Host Takes a Crap on the American 'Culture and Values' She Claims are under 'Assault' from 'The Left'
Absuses the Very 'Free Speech' She Writes About in Her 'Best-Sellers'
By Brad Friedman on 10/16/2005 12:47pm PT  

So I'm driving to an important appointment yesterday, to which I'm late, when I hear Tammy Bruce on TalkRadio 790 KABC, the powerful ABC station out here in Los Angeles, out and out lying to her listeners.

She's telling them that Valerie Plame/Wilson was not a covert CIA agent. That she couldn't have been because "she drove to work every day at the CIA building." That she was nothing more than a bureaucrat with a desk job at the CIA and so she was never outed.

Never mind that the CIA themselves requested the current Dept. of Justice investigation into the outing of one of their agents, or the myriad CIA officials who have testified that indeed she was very much a covert agent.

Furthermore, the former "liberal" turned...whatever she's turned...also instructs her listeners that Plame/Wilson could not have been covert because she posed in photographs with her husband Joe Wilson months before she was ever mentioned in the press by Bob Novak.

Needless to say by now, for anyone with a nickel's worth of information on the matter, Bruce was horrifically wrong on both accounts. (For just a partial refutation, since my time is short today, from a CIA classmate of Plame/Wilson's, you can read this.) And since Bruce was asking for folks to call in with their opinion on the matter, I did.

While driving, I got through right away to the show via my cell phone. Her producer asked what I was calling about. I identified myself as "Brad Friedman from The BRAD BLOG," and mentioned that "Tammy is completely misinforming her listeners about the Plame affair. That I'd be happy to correct the record having spoken to both Joe Wilson and others at the CIA on these matters, and I'd be happy to give her the real information about what's going on."

Her producer puts me on hold for a minute, and comes back to say, "Please send Tammy some email at TammyBruce@KABC.com and you can give her your thoughts."

I say: "Well, I'm in the car driving right now, so I can't email her."

She says: "You can send her email anytime..."

I say: "Wait, are you not going to put me on the air to talk to her to correct the record?"

She says: "Right."

I say: "Why not?"

--- Click here for REST OF STORY!... ---




Did Scooter Libby Attempt to Coach Miller's Testimony?
Bloggers Still Critical of Miller and New York Times Reporting
By David Edwards on 10/16/2005 10:16am PT  

Guest blogged by David Edwards

Arianna Huffington supplements her Huffington Post analysis of Judy Miller's and The New York Times' latest account of Miller's role in Traitorgate by appearing on CNN's Reliable Sources this morning.

In her article and later on CNN, Huffington identifies the biggest fault in Miller's account:

Now that I have spent a few hours absorbing this latest installment in the ongoing soap opera "Desperate Editors," I can safely say that not since Geraldo cracked open Al Capone's vault has there been a bigger anticlimax or a bigger sham. After all, the question everybody has been asking is: who was the source who leaked Valerie Plame's identity to Judy Miller?

And the answer? She can't remember.

Given the "gee-whiz, it all just sort of, like, happened, and I don't know when or why or where or who..." tone of her mea no culpa , maybe Judy is vying for a role on MTV's "Laguna Beach."

Which is just as well, because if these two articles have revealed anything at all, it's that Judy Miller is no journalist.

CNN Reliable Sources:
Video in Windows Media format...
Streaming Video in Real Media format...

Did Libby Attempt to Coach Miller?

Talk Left focuses on a statement by Miller's lawyer, Bob Bennett, made this morning on ABC's this week that further implicates Libby in attempting to influence Miller's testimony. Hunter at Daily Kos concludes that "Libby is in deep, deep trouble here."

AP quotes Bennett from his appearance on ABC:

One of Miller's lawyers, Robert Bennett, was asked Sunday whether he thought Libby's letter was an attempt to steer her prospective testimony.

"I wouldn't say the answer to that is yes, but it was very troubling," Bennett said on ABC's "This Week."

"Our reaction when we got that letter, both Judy's and mine, is that was a very stupid thing to put in a letter because it just complicated the situation," Bennett said.

"It was a very foolish thing to put in a letter, as evidenced by the fact that you're highlighting it here," Bennett said. "It was a close call and she was troubled by it; no question about it."

ABC This Week:
Video in Windows Media format...
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--- Click here for REST OF STORY!... ---




... in which a friendly Raw Story journalist enjoys the the liberating exercise of free speech
Use it or lose it, I guess!
By Winter Patriot on 10/15/2005 9:25pm PT  

Guest blogged by Winter Patriot

Larisa's newest blog entry at Huffington Post is called On Liberating Something, and it all sounds extremely liberated, if you ask me.

It starts like this:

It seems that our dear President needs smoke blown up his ass regularly in order to maintain his fine swagger and shit-eating grin.

and I think you'll enjoy reading the whole thing (in other words, click here!).




By David Edwards on 10/15/2005 12:47pm PT  

Guest blogged by David Edwards

Enjoy these video clips from Bill Maher's latest episode...



Opening: Bush/Cheney Ad
Streaming Video in Real Format
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Maher's Monologue
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Panel on Iraq and Terror
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New Rules and Rant on Miers
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