Catching Up

By now you don’t need me to tell you that THE story today is by Murray Waas, National Journal: “Cheney ‘Authorized’ Libby to Leak Classified Information.”

Vice President Dick Cheney’s former chief of staff, I. Lewis (Scooter) Libby, testified to a federal grand jury that he had been “authorized” by Cheney and other White House “superiors” in the summer of 2003 to disclose classified information to journalists to defend the Bush administration’s use of prewar intelligence in making the case to go to war with Iraq, according to attorneys familiar with the matter, and to court records.

Libby specifically claimed that in one instance he had been authorized to divulge portions of a then-still highly classified National Intelligence Estimate regarding Saddam Hussein’s purported efforts to develop nuclear weapons, according to correspondence recently filed in federal court by special prosecutor Patrick J. Fitzgerald. …

… Libby testified to the grand jury that he had been authorized to share parts of the NIE with journalists in the summer of 2003 as part of an effort to rebut charges then being made by former U.S. Ambassador Joseph Wilson that the Bush administration had misrepresented intelligence information to make a public case for war.

Jane Hamsher comments:

Whether it was legal for Cheney to declassify these documents or not for purely propaganda purposes is for legal experts preferably not named Victoria Toensig to debate. Given the fact that Cheney and Libby knew as of June 17, 2003 that the Niger uranium claims were bunk and Libby began this crusade with Judy Miller anyway on June 23, the service to which these documents were put remain safely outside of “ethical” territory.

Steve Soto:

Keep in mind this revelation comes days after Libby’s “faulty memory” defense was neutered when it was revealed that Cheney and Libby were aware in mid-June 2003 that the CIA had discredited the Niger claim, weeks before Libby began talking to reporters. Both of these taken together indicate what we have suspected all along: Cheney and Libby, as well as others in the White House, engaged in a payback campaign to destroy Joe Wilson and his wife in July 2003, even after they knew weeks before that the Niger story was about to unravel, and Congress had been told of such.

Andrew Sullivan:

So some intelligence matters are so important that the administration will not divulge them even to critical members of Congress. But others are leaked to journalists to win a political war. This is a pointed reminder that when the administration says it is withholding information to protect national security, a hefty dose of skepticism is in order. The same goes for their assurance that their wire-tapping has never been abused. Remind me again: at this point, why should we trust them?

Well, hell if I know, Andrew.

In other news, the President today reminded us how scared we’re supposed to be of terrorists by revealing details of a 2002 al Qaeda plot to slam an airplane into a Los Angeles tower. This is, I believe item #1 on the official White House list of foiled terrorist plots released last October. Certain details given by the President — the use of shoe bombs to blow open the cockpit door, for example — have met with some skepticism. But, hey, if some guy could take apart the Brooklyn Bridge with a blowtorch without anyone noticing, then why not shoe bombs?

Finally, this Associated Press story — “Reid Aided Abramoff Clients, Records Show” has been hailed on the Right Blogosphere as the Missing Link between Democrats and Jack Abramoff that they all fervently believed would be found. But Scott Shields at MyDD smells a smear:

The first clue was that Senator Reid has a long history of protecting gambling in Nevada from outside competition. He does, after all, represent Las Vegas. So the fact that he sought to keep Indian casinos from expanding off of their reservations, while I may not necessarily agree, makes sense. He didn’t need lobbyists telling him what to do on the issue, as he’d held that position long before they’d ever come knocking. But still… the article’s a long one. I wasn’t quite ready to dismiss it.


The story totally lost credibility for me when it got to mentioning the Marianas Islands. By now, you’re probably aware of the fact that one of Abramoff’s pet projects was maintaining a low minimum wage in U.S. territories not subject to the federal minimum wage. This was of interest to the Republicans because manufacturers could exploit the territories’ low wages to essentially create a sweatshop environment without completely having to leave America. This AP story tries to imply that Reid was complicit in this plot.

But the AP story, as Josh Marshall notes, leaves out an important detail — there was no quid quo pro. No indication that Reid took any action to support Abramoff’s position. So Abramoff lobbying partners may indeed have billed hours for phone calls and meetings with Reid’s office, but it didn’t get ’em anything from Reid.

Of course, this detail will be lost on the Right Blogosphere. In the next few days they’ll persuade themselves that Senator Reid was Abramoff’s chief accomplice.

More great moments in journalism: MSNBC ran a headline “Top Democrat Reid Met Often With Abramoff” over this same AP story, which makes no claim Reid and Abramoff ever met at all.

22 thoughts on “Catching Up

  1. Brings back memories of the good old bad days when Solomon was smearing the Clintons about Whitewater.

  2. Lyman Faris’s brainstorm of attacking the Brooklyn bridge with an acetylene torch seems almost brilliant in comparison to the idea of attacking a west coast skyscraper with a hijacked commerical airliner less than 6 months after 9/11. If anything, it proves that by torturing somebody for information,you can get them to reveal a custom fit and tailor made fabrication.

    Bush has lied so much and so often that anything he says is no longer credible. He’s become the boy who cried wolf . I only wish America would wake up and see what an utterly deceptive and despicable slimeball Bush really is. I hate how he claims devotion and love to America while he degrades her beauty with deception and lies. I’m praying for the day when Bush is brought low by the truth. There’s a place for Bush in this world, but unfortunately,it hasn’t been dug yet.

  3. Of course Cheney was involved with the leak of Valerie Plame:

    But Fitzgerald’s case against Cheney will be overshadowed by the wider quagmire in the Middle East when the JINSA/CSP/PNAC Neocon cabal (via Cheney’s office) has Bush bomb Iran for Israel:

    How to Prevent Another 9/11:

    Check out the page 1 section of ‘Comments’ at the following URL:


    Putin Will Invite Hamas Leaders To Moscow…

  4. I read with shock that MSNBC splashy headline “Top Democrat Reid Met Often with Abramoff”.
    So then I read the accompanying article twice, then even printed it and read it a third time, to be absolutely certain of this fact: nowhere in the text of the article is there any information that Reid met even once with Abramoff, let alone “met often”.

    MSNBC just engaged in a very deceptive practice–a splashy headline which lies to the public! Hope Media Matters does a huge debunking of MSNBC.

  5. You have to create the administration with audacity. They are able to convince themselves of many things. The logic of L:ibby’s defense is similar to the logic the WH uses to justify obviating the spying law.

  6. This is my first comment inspired by your CSPAN interview. I keep wondering when there will be the critical mass needed to trigger substantive investigations rather than the carefully choregraphed performances that pass for investigations – be it rhe 911 Commission, and the various investigations in the house and senate. Is this choreography the result of a fear on the left and right that, if Bush is impeached, we have Cheney, and if we impeach Cheney, we have a wrestling coach and civics teacher?
    The fear factor reminds me of my childhood training. Learning to hide under my desk at school to protect myself from nuclear attack. We have replaced the Cold War with the War on Terror. Why do we, as a people, always need something to fear, an enemy?

  7. Republicans do better than Democrats on National Defense? That myth EXPLODED with the first plane that hit the world trade center on Sept 11, 2001.

    I hear alot of Republicans blame Clinton for 9-11. That appears alot of trash. Under Clinton no attack on America occurred from 1994 until Jan 2001 so Clinton kept Al Qaeda from attacking us again for 7 years. Also the Towers did not fall under Clinton.

    They fell under Bush and Buish failed to defend us oin Sept 11,2001. We cannot trust Republicans to keep us safe and defend America.

    Next time you fax, email or call a senator or representative, include this in with your demand:

    Until the legislation or action I demand gets done I will boycott products from Republican contributors Walmart, Wendy’s, Outback Steak House, Dominos Pizza, Red Lobster, Olive Garden, Eckerd, CVS and Walgreens, Curves for women health clubs, GE and Exxon/Mobil.

    Hold Republican contributors accountable for their officeholders opposition to progress.

    So you say that a boycott will take time or will not work?

    Idiot conservatives called CBS 3 or 4 years ago in droves to protest the airing of a Reagan movie they did not see but heard that it would not portray Reagan well. They threatened a boycott of CBS and the advertisers.

    That did not take long to get CBS to shift the movie over to showtime which had a much smaller viewership.

    Many progressives called Sinclair Broadcasting in droves before the 2004 election threatening a boycott of them and their advertisers if they would not take a movie smearing John Kerry off the air. It worked quickly.

    If we can get a movie off Sinclair stations then whey can’t we call companies in droves that give money to the Republican party and their candidates and Republican senators and representatives and threaten them with a boycott in order to get a comprehensive progressive agenda passed?


    People must CALL their senators and representative AND these companies in droves making the connection between a boycott of these companies and a demand that they want a progressive agenda passed in congress.

    Do you want to increase the minimum wage?
    Write your senators and representative and demand they increase the minimum wage.


    Do you want to scrap the current meager Medicare Part D discount and replace it with 80 percent medication coverage under Medicare Part B?

    Write your senators and representative.


  8. Good job on Washington Journal this a.m. We need this sort of exposure. I’ve seen your blog linked on other sites I visit but will give it more attention now.

    To illustrate what we’re up against, however, just before you came on, Christopher Dodd was on Imus defiling the memory of Coretta Scott King by agreeing with Imus that comments by Lowrey were “over the top” and praising the civil rights imposter for his wonderful remarks while saying not a word about the truth to power courageous remarks by our greatest living ex-President (whom ex-coke head Imus called a “little weasel” the other day). I wrote Dodd this letter:

    This morning on Imus, you betrayed the memory of Coretta Scott King and
    Martin Luther King by failing to support the truth telling of our greatest
    ex-president Jimmy Carter and the Reverend Lowrey.

    Instead, you chose to spend your time praising the civil rights imposter
    who was simply trying to use her funeral to get black votes for

    This has got to stop and it will stop. We’re not going to take it any
    more. We will not let the republicans tell us how we must express our

    George W. Bush lives in a bubble and for a few minutes, he had to sit an
    listen to the truth about himself and his policies. Martin and Coretta
    would have liked that, but they wouldn’t have liked Senator Dodd’s
    cowardly remarks on Imus this morning.


  9. Watched you on the span with brian lamb. YOU WERE OUTSTANDING. A super rep. for the progressives. Lord I bet it was scary to have Brian asking you questions !!!! You were fantastic, smart and very relaxed. I was so pleased that along with Wes Clark, you mentioned Russ Feingold. I knew who Russ was but boy I was knocked over by how stunning his interview was with Brian on Qand A. Great Job. I’ll be reading. Thanks !

  10. Who does this remind you of?

    Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities.
    -Voltaire, philosopher (1694-1778)

  11. I discovered you today on C-span today, great job . I too am glad you got Feingolds name out there , he is my Senator and I think he does a great job of representing me, and defending civil rights. He is great on the environment also.
    Anyways, just wanted to say nice job today.

    …looks like Weapons of Mass Death ..might be the new catch phrase.

    …and now Brownie is on, I hope he spills all the beans.

  12. As the Reid/Abramoff story shows, meeting with and accepting money from a lobbiest is not in itself wrong or criminal. The purpose of a lobby is to represent the interests of a group and has often been beneficial, such as when AARP lobbies for the interests of seniors.

    As a private citizen, I contribute money to campaigns of those individuals or organizations which align with my interests. Lobbies do the same.

    Receiving money from a lobby or having meetings with a lobbiest does not necessarily indicate corruption.

  13. watched you on tv and find your blog interesting.
    i especially liked your comment about the 2 realities.
    i thought maybe one was insane because i grew up during cold war and remember the drills and the terror that raised.
    i was a military brat and we were in puerto rico during cuban crises.
    11 year olds dont pay much attention to events but when over nite the lawns disappear and tanks and tents are every where ,well that is scary.
    dad was in communications and had military escort home to shower /change clothes then go back to makes you very aware of what fear really is.
    i dont mean to denigrate 9/11 but it surely must be put into some perspective concerning the dangers.
    nukes pointing everywhere that destroy half the polulation in just a few days is surely what is terror and we survived that.
    freedom is what america is famous for,without the freedoms then we have handed the terrorists a victory.

  14. Wouldn’t blowing open a cockpit door with a shoe bomb, supposedly so that a terrorist could get access to the plane’s controls, also not blow the plane out of the sky? Sounds like another tall tail Bush pulled out his ear to divert attention. What was it that old Abe said about foolin’ the people?

  15. Yes, just saw a line on CourtTV, saying”Reports show that Reid had many contacts with disgraced lobbyist Abramoff.” My god, the republicans must be dancing in the street over this. You see, you see, we aren’t the only ones that are tainted. Oh please. I defy anyone to find one, just one, honest republican. I also saw you on C-Span. Good job, I am very surprised that you did not burst out laughing at the caller who “claimed” to have flown with bush, and that he fulfilled his duties just like a good National Guard should. What an outright LIE.

  16. TPM needs no one to make apologies for it but when you spoke of
    “quid pro quo” and Reid, he did say something at the end about the
    unsaid speqaks volumes, referring to just what you suggested. I never thought that TPM was at all missing a beat.

    When is the left side of the aisle going to stop allowing the right side of the aisle define the lefts position on everything? It is that alone that is most upsetting.

    To that end, we also have to have someone begin to put together something like the Republicans did in 1994. Four to six ideas that can begin to give the Democrats a platform that is simple to understand and repeated fifty times a day in any venue that will get
    the platform out there. Then the MSM will at least have to begin commenting on it and getting the Democrats to comment.

    I can see where the country is just waiting for a solid group of ideas to begin to be discussed and we can stop being only “against” Bush and the right.

    Tpm Friedman East Hampton,NY

  17. Abramoff did more than block minimum wage for Mariannesworkers. there were mandatory illegal abortion and prostitution,due to low wages. In a 1998 speech while visiting, with A bramoff, Tom Delay praised the companies there as being prime examples of Republican Party values. These values are low wages, mandatory illegal abortions , and prostitution.

  18. I find it strange at this time. That the pres. GWB, would state( A plane was supposed to fly into the largist building in California?)With out the Mayor or congress people being informed about it?

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