Friday, December 02, 2005

NYT: "In C.I.A. Leak, More Talks With Journalists" (Richard W. Stevenson & Douglas Jehl)

But Mr. Fitzgerald appears to be evaluating whether Mr. Rove came forward with the e-mail and his new testimony only after it became apparent that Mr. Cooper might be compelled to testify about it. It is not clear precisely what Ms. Novak told Mr. Luskin, or what the context for their conversation had been.
People involved in the case said that at a minimum Ms. Novak communicated to Mr. Luskin that Mr. Rove might face legal problems because of potential testimony from Mr. Cooper, her colleague. They said Ms. Novak had told Mr. Luskin that Mr. Cooper might have been in contact with Mr. Rove about Ms. Wilson in the days before her identity became public. Mr. Cooper helped write an article on Time's Web site in July 2003 that was among the first, after Mr. Novak's column, to divulge Ms. Wilson's identity, using her maiden name, Valerie Plame.
The article said "some administration officials" had told Time and the syndicated columnist Robert Novak that "Valerie Plame is a C.I.A. official who monitors the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction."
The article also noted that she was the wife of Joseph C. Wilson IV, a former diplomat who had recently written an article in the Op-Ed page of The New York Times questioning one of the rationales, on Iraq's weapons program, offered by the Bush administration for the Iraq war. Mr. Wilson based his criticism on a trip he had taken to Niger for the C.I.A.
More than a month after he indicted Mr. Libby, Mr. Fitzgerald continues to weigh whether to indict Mr. Rove on charges related to lying or misleading investigators. He appears to be focused most intently on two months in the late summer and fall of 2004 and the events leading up to Mr. Rove's altering his testimony.

The above is from Richard W. Stevenson and Douglas Jehl's "In C.I.A. Leak, More Talks With Journalists" in this morning's New York Times.

Isn't it "lucky" for Rove and Cooper that someone he works with just happened to learn that Cooper spoke to Rove and then that same someone met with Rove's attorney to, for all intents and purposes, give Rove a head's up?

It's a good thing no one's ever questioned Matthew Cooper's integrity because if they had, questions might arise over whether or not the visit by Novak was an outreach effort on the part of Cooper. But no one ever questioned Cooper's integrity.

He's the brave reporter. The brave reporter who refused to testify. Or, as he told Patrick Fitzgerald, the reporter who didn't need to testify because, after all, Time had turned over his notes. And he's the same brave reporter standing shoulder to shoulder with Judith Miller including on the day where they'd be ordered to jail. Lucky for him that some "release" came through at the last minute, right?

Real lucky for him that no one's ever seriously examined that story.

But since he has so much integrity (and so many friends covering and sticking up for him), we probably shouldn't wonder if Novak visited Luskin at Cooper's request. Right?

In other things you should wonder about, Joan notes Elaine Cassel's "A Government Game of 'Gotcha' with Jose Padilla" (CounterPunch) where Cassel (again) questions the government's arguments re: Padilla and Ahmed Omar Abu Ali:

When Attorney General Gonzales held a press conference to announce that Padilla was being charged with conspiracy to commit terrorism abroad, he refused to answer any questions about why Padilla was not charged with plotting to do what Ashcroft said he was going to do (even the Ashcroft story had morphed over time from planning to detonate a "dirty" bomb, to plots to blow up bridges or apartment buildings). Further, he said his indictment, and removal from the navy brig in South Carolina where he had been for three years to the federal detention center in Miami had nothing to do with his being an enemy combatant. In other words, he still is one.
Does Padilla's indictment mean he will get a real trial under the Constitution and federal law, or will Gonzalez and gang try to play by different rules, as they are doing in so many other "terrorist cases?" I imagine the later. And on the off chance Padilla is acquitted, he can be returned to the custody of the President of the United States as an enemy combatant.
The government played an even bigger "gotcha" on Ahmed Omar Abu Ali, a Falls Church resident, American citizen, who November 22 was convicted by an Alexandria, Virginia jury of conspiring to commit terrorism, including plotting to assassinate President Bush, bring in terrorists through Mexico, and blow up airplanes. The charges sound horrible, but if you read the indictment you would find that Abu Ali did nothing more that talk-not that talk like this is a smart thing-but there was no concrete plan. As Paul Wolfowitz had one time said of Padilla's alleged "plot," it appears to have been a lot of "loose talk." But loose talk can get you life in prison these days.
But it's not the charges against Abu Ali that were unusual. No, those are cropping up all here and there, against Arab men, some American citizens. What was unusual about Abu Ali's case is that he was held, at the behest of the federal prosecutors, in a Saudi prison for twenty-two months, during which time he was repeatedly interrogated by Saudi law enforcement and the FBI. Eventually the Saudis obtained a confession, with FBI agents watching from behind a hidden camera. Though conceding that Abu Ali was interrogated for hours on end, day after day, the interrogations lasting throughout the night, during which he was often shackled and chained, and though he had no attorney (even though his parents were trying to provide him one), Judge Gerald Bruce Lee found his confession to be voluntary and uncoerced. Medical doctors testified that he had the marks of physical torture and the symptoms of having been mentally coerced, but prosecution doctors said he was faking.
Lee also said that Abu Ali was not entitled to the constitutional protections of an attorney and a speedy trial. Why? Because he was held by Saudi Arabia, not the US, and, further, he was never a criminal suspect and thus the Bill of Rights does not apply. The government did not explain how someone who was never a criminal suspect suddenly became a criminal defendant.

["Elaine Cassel practices law in Virginia and the District of Columbia and teaches law and psychology. She doesn't like being lied to. Her new book The War on Civil Liberties: How Bush and Ashcroft Have Dismantled the Bill of Rights, is published by Lawrence Hill."]

Rod passes on the topics for today's Democracy Now!:

* World AIDS Day: We'll look at the HIV/AIDS pandemic around the world and the policies of the Bush administration
* The latest on the U.S. military's use of white phosphorous in Fallujah.

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