Sunday, May 14, 2006

Plamegate - When did it become illegal for the administration to defend itself?

Notes Are Said to Reveal Close Cheney Interest in a Critic of Iraq Policy - New York Times

The New York Times today has an article entitled "Notes Are Said to Reveal Close Cheney Interest in a Critic of Iraq Policy". In the article it is reported that Patrick Fitzgerald has claimed,

"Those annotations support the proposition that publication of the Wilson Op-Ed acutely focused the attention of the vice president and the defendant — his chief of staff — on Mr. Wilson, on the assertions made in his article, and on responding to those assertions,"

The implication being that it is improper for an administration to respond to critics. And what are those annotations which are referred to?

In neat writing above the text of the column, prosecutors say, Mr. Cheney wrote: "Have they done this sort of thing before? Send an Amb. to answer a question? Do we ordinarily send people out pro bono to work for us? Or did his wife send him on a junket?"

Of course we don't know when those notes were written:

The legal papers do not address how prosecutors know it is Mr. Cheney's handwriting or when the notes were written.

So it is possible the Vice President read the article that morning called the CIA and said, "Who the hell is this guy", instead of the prosecutions preferred scenario:

Mr. Fitzgerald wants to use the notations to support the prosecution's contention that Mr. Libby lied to investigators and a grand jury when he testified that he had learned of Ms. Wilson's existence from reporters. Prosecutors have said that Mr. Libby, who has been charged with perjury, learned about Ms. Wilson's role from several people, including Mr. Cheney.

It is this final paragraph that pisses me off though:

In addition, the notes add to evidence in the case showing that Mr. Cheney and his aides viewed Mr. Wilson's article with deep concern and looked for ways to counter its impact. Previous prosecution filings have said the article was viewed as a direct assault on the administration's policy and provoked efforts to discredit Mr. Wilson.

Of course it was a freakin attack, and it didnt happen just once. The filing the article refers to contains 6 different articles dating back for 3 months before the Novak article, I think the administration had a right to be concerned and to respond.

Update: Curt at Flopping Aces basically agreess with me.

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