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Stirling Newberry built a great timeline out of the Los Angeles Times story today on the Bushite assault on Joseph Wilson, and it was deservedly on the "recommended diaries" list all day.

But despite the lengthy post and 110+ comments, the discussion managed to miss what seems to be new details about the State Dept. memo ... details passed on by Colin Powell and/or his top aides to point a finger at Rove et al.

Stirling seems to want to accuse Powell of collaborating with the other Bushites to out Plame, but I think Powell was actually was pissed off by being used as a conduit (kind of like the WMD thing in general), and is belatedly exacting his revenge.

If I may be so lazy immodest as to quote myself, consider the few paragraphs in the L.A. Times article that contain previously unreported details::

After a June 12 Washington Post story made reference to the Niger uranium inquiry, Armitage asked intelligence officers in the State Department for more information. He was forwarded a copy of a memo classified "Secret" that included a description of Wilson's trip for the CIA, his findings, a brief description of the origin of the trip and a reference to "Wilson's wife."

The memo was kept in a safe at the State Department along with notes from an analyst who attended the CIA meeting at which Wilson was suggested for the Niger assignment. Those with top security clearance at State, like their counterparts in the White House, had been trained in the rules about classified information. They could not be shared with anyone who did not have the same clearance.

Less than a month later, Wilson went public with his charges.

The next day, July 7, this memo and the notes were removed from the safe and forwarded to Powell via a secure fax line to Air Force One. Powell was on the way to Africa with the president, and his aides knew the secretary would be getting questions.

Fitzgerald has become interested in this memo, the earliest known document seen by administration officials revealing that Wilson's wife worked for the CIA. Powell told prosecutors that he circulated the memo among those traveling with him in the front section of Air Force One. It is believed that all officials in that part of the aircraft had high-level security clearance.

I've written before that Powell and his immediate aides were behind previous Plame news leaks, especially those about the State Dept. memo, as a way of "putting the smoking gun within reach of the suspected criminals" -- and it doesn't get much clearer than the phrases highlighted above.

Look at the information that couldn't have come from anyone but Powell and his team: We kept the memo in a safe ... we knew the information couldn't be shared ... Powell showed it to other officials on Air Force One, but everyone had proper clearance. They want the world to know that the White House spin team got its hands on the info about Valerie Wilson, and that it couldn't have leaked out any other way.

There's no doubt about it: Powell wants Rove, Libby et al. to take the fall on this. And each of these leaks is just another little twist of the knife.

Originally posted to Swopa on Thu Aug 25, 2005 at 08:19 PM PDT.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Brilliant. (4.00)
    Your sleuthing remains top-knotch, Swopa, cheers.

    The only way to ensure a free press is to own one

    by RedDan on Thu Aug 25, 2005 at 08:26:31 PM PDT

    •  clearly Powell Sept 2003 (none)
      Yesterday, a senior administration official said that before Novak's column ran, two top White House officials called at least six Washington journalists and disclosed the identity and occupation of Wilson's wife. Wilson had just revealed that the CIA had sent him to Niger last year to look into the uranium claim and that he had found no evidence to back up the charge. Wilson's account touched off a political fracas over Bush's use of intelligence as he made the case for attacking Iraq.
      "Clearly, it was meant purely and simply for revenge," the senior official said of the alleged leak.
      Sources familiar with the conversations said the leakers were seeking to undercut Wilson's credibility. They alleged that Wilson, who was not a CIA
      http://www.washingtonpost.com/ac2/wp-dyn?pagename=article&contentId=A11208-2003Sep27¬Found= true
  •  Recommended! (4.00)
    Powell, (or wilkinson or someone at State), has given the LAT (and presumably the prosecutors as well), facts supporting all the elements necessary for espionage convictions for multiple senior administration officials.

    Oh when the frogs. . Come marching in. . Oh when the FROGS COME MARCH-ING IN!

    by pontificator on Thu Aug 25, 2005 at 08:29:35 PM PDT

    •  There's been some argument over (4.00)
      whether there will be:

      1. Obstruction and/or Perjury charges -- these seem almost guaranteed at this point.

      2. Intelligence Identities Protection Act charges, or

      3. Expionage Act charges...

      And based on what is now dribbling out...why not all three?

      The only way to ensure a free press is to own one

      by RedDan on Thu Aug 25, 2005 at 08:31:21 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  inside a conspiricy to commit treason (3.00)
        or, more accurately, a conspiricy to commit treason inside a plot to discredit Joe Wilson

        each person who outed Plame committed a single overt act of treason, that gave aid OR comfort to an enemy during time of war, and was witnessed by two or more people

        I think that clears just about all of the constitutional hurdles

        •  Except, there's no Declaration of War. (none)
          Congress took a pass on that one, punting to the Executive branch.  This is probably the sort of legal "technicality" the lawyers would jump all over if/when the matter comes to trial.  

          You're in a bad spot here, Scott...(Terry Moran - 7/11 WH briefing) ePluribus Media: Donations

          by ovals49 on Fri Aug 26, 2005 at 04:42:26 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Legal "war" point an unlikely obstacle (none)
            Between the 1975 War Powers Act and the October 2003 congressional resolution re Iraq that was adopted under the procedures of the 1975 WPA, this should without question bring the Espionage Act -- or any law operating during time of war -- into play.

            As the Constitution gave the authority to declare war to Congress, the 1975 WPA was a constitutionally-authorized means by which Congress could choose to exercise that authority.  

            With well over 100,000 US troops having died in combat since the formal end of the last formally-declared war in 1945, it would be untenable for any court to assert that the US has not been "at war" in the legal/constitutional sense since then.

    •  Question: will the American people be as . . . (4.00)
      interested in espionage as they were in a fucking B-L-O-W-J-O-B!!!!???
  •  Powell is a good guy in... (4.00)
    this question.  It is hard for me to believe that Colin Powell wanted to be used by the administration, the way they used him.  You can't rise to the level of Chief of Staff in the Plamegate matter and knows how to lay a few traps and snares along the way...IN GOVERNMENT.

    Karl Rove is a political hack and the finer points of trapping in GOVERNMENT is entirely different than how it works in politics.  For example you have laws and specific record keeping, that you just can't control completely.

    Bush being the lazy ass that he is relied upon Rove to know shit, but the truth is that Rove knew squat about the finer points of fucking with you in GOVERNMENT.  On the other hand POWELL's long service around both parties made him a master.

    Colin Powell is laughing at the BUSH league operatives in the administration.  If they indict Rove it will because Rove fucked up and Powell trapped the fuckers for setting him up at the UN and other stupid falls that Powell had to take for Bush.

    •  It's not that he (4.00)
      didn't want to get used...it's that he doesn't want to take the blame.

      The only way to ensure a free press is to own one

      by RedDan on Thu Aug 25, 2005 at 08:41:24 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  right (none)
        he still went and lied to the UN 2/5/03, and I'll bet he's never lost any sleep over it.
        •  It's hard to know what makes this guy tick? (none)
          The day he went before the UN I just couldn't believe he wias doing it.  My partner said Powell was just being "the good soldier", I believe he had a choice.  If it was a lie, he should not have said it.

          "Fellow-citizens, we cannot escape history". Abraham Lincoln, December 1862:

          by bluecayuga on Fri Aug 26, 2005 at 07:40:21 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  I think that this story unfolded before Powell's (4.00)
      eyes... he was completely complicit in all of the administration's actions and they it became apparent that he might just be in the process of being set up to take the fall...  

      Colin Powell does not want to go to jail.  It is as simple as that.  

      There are no "heroic" and "honorable" plans to "set up" the administration on his part, only a keen sense of self-preservation that may have just kicked in.  I don't think Powell is "laughing" at all.  I think he is scared of going to jail.  

      We have a group of bad people who conspired to excute a malicious plan.  The they started to get caught.  Now they may have started to turn on each other to save their own skins... This plot line is not terribly unusual plot - the hero plot line is much more far-fetched.

      The key is that they are all bad people who will turn on each other eventually when their respective self-interests are threatened.  

      Please stop trying to make Colin Powell - or anyone involved in this scandal - into a "hero".  There simply are no heros here.  There are too many people dead at the hands of the complicit for any to be considered heroes no matter what they do to make ammends now.

    •  regardless of Powell's role here (none)
      a "good guy" in saving his hide, or a noble effort by him or anything else, while good in getting to the bottom of this shouldn't be lost on the fact that it was HIM that went to the UN with all that crap to sell the war to the international community and as diaried yesterday here by dbnkr, the mass media.

      Now how's that for a run on sentence???

      If the thunder don't get ya then the lightning will...

      by clammyc on Fri Aug 26, 2005 at 06:18:28 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  I never know (none)
      whether to sympathize with Powell for being stuck with this bunch of goons, or being angry that he didn't stand up to them earlier.  Not that he was ever a saint to begin with.
  •  Powell's role is key... (4.00)
    because he was probably the conduit by which the memo identifying Ms. Wilson's covert status was circulated to Bush's political team.  I wouldn't necessarily say that he wants Rove, Libby et. al. to "take the fall" in the sense that that over-rides the simple objective of accurately recounting the events, but I suspect that his, Armitage's and other State Department people interests do not coincide with those that outed Plame.

    Let justice reign though the heavens tremble

    by Viceroy on Thu Aug 25, 2005 at 08:36:35 PM PDT

    •  How about (4.00)
      that he does not necessarily want them to take the fall, but that if it comes down to him or them, he will protect himself.

      Never attribute to altruism what can be explained by self-interest.

      The only way to ensure a free press is to own one

      by RedDan on Thu Aug 25, 2005 at 08:40:50 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Certainly... (4.00)
        Neither Powell nor Armitage is going to take the fall for outing a covert CIA agent; especially about the issue of WMD (and the Niger forgery) with which the State Department purportedly has more credibility than the WH.

        But I don't think Fitz is aiming at Powell, no matter how much Rove, Miller and Libby might hope.

        Let justice reign though the heavens tremble

        by Viceroy on Thu Aug 25, 2005 at 09:13:43 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Any knowledge of when... (none)
    this will all come down?

    Do we wait until the end of the GJ term in October?

    Could indictments happen in September?

    •  Any time now, but ... (none)
      It's likely that at least some indictments have already been handed up and sealed until Fitgerald has completed his investigation of all involved. (This often happens when conspiracies are being investigated.)

      I'm not sure how often this GJ meets, but typically federal grand juries only meet one day a month for 18 months, but can then be retained for up to an additional 6 months. It is not inconceivable that we  may have to wait until next spring for the GJ's indictments. Oye!

      "I will return the highest standards of honor to the highest office in the land. This is my pledge." - George W. Bush, 2/2/2000

      by HipCitizen on Fri Aug 26, 2005 at 07:45:55 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  What to make of Colin Powell (4.00)
    I buy the premise that Powell or somebody close to him was the source of some of the leaks.  I'll even buy that the leaks were good for the country.

    My problem is the disconnect between what Powell is probably doing behind the scenes and what Powell is doing directly.  In public Powell is still pouring out the Kool-Aid, appearing on the Daily Show and spouting all the Bush talking points.  I can't understand why.  This guy is a four star general, former Secretary of State and former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.  Before I think of him as one of the good guys he's going to have to step up to the plate, be a man about it, and tell America the truth.

    You broke it, but you can't fix it. It's time to go home now.

    by Tod on Thu Aug 25, 2005 at 09:33:50 PM PDT

    •  Hear! Hear! (4.00)
      And before the cameras. Anything less, will not clean the stain.
    •  Colin Powell (4.00)
      is the man who tried to cover up My Lai.

      That should set you straight on who Powell is and how he operates, and why.

      The only way to ensure a free press is to own one

      by RedDan on Thu Aug 25, 2005 at 10:31:09 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  IMHO Colin's Kool Aide spewing (4.00)
      provides him with better cover for what he is doing behind the scenes.  Why be the subject of a Fox News smear campaign and Republican echo chamber, as was Richard Clarke after writing "Against All Enemies", when Powell can be more effective in making real change by working undercover?

      I don't think we have enough information on Powell to weigh his good and bad behavior, to yet form an overall opinion on his ultimate effect on America's future.  Although he helped build public support for our initial invasion of Iraq, it's feasible that we still would have invaded even if he had publicly opposed it.

      I'm still hopeful that Powell will be regarded by knowledgeable historians of the future as an individual that, at this time, exposed Neocon lies and saved us from still more Neocon tyranny down the road.  We'll see if my hunch about Powell's true nature is correct.

      O'Reilly:"If the Americans go in and overthrow Saddam Hussein and it's clean, he has nothing...I will not trust the Bush administration again."

      by sunbro on Thu Aug 25, 2005 at 11:43:20 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Powell never made the transition (4.00)
      from General to Statesman.

      If he had, he would be a shoo-in for President. Heck, I would have voted for him.

      But he never made that mental switch from the military mindset where blind loyalty to the top is key, to being a statesman that has the responsibility of the nation and its future on his shoulders.

    •  I think Powell continues to spout Bush bullshit (none)
      Precisely because he likely is cooperating with Fitzgerald.

      Assuming he is cooperating, he probably wants to maintain the veneer of loyal soldier (what a fucking asshole) until the GJ hands up the indictments.

      Then, maybe, he will do the right thing and 60 minutes will snag him for the major post indictment interview when he will come clean.

      Something may be doing along these lines.

      •  I Concur. (none)
        Yet I'm angrier at Rove, Bush, Cheney, Rice, Rumsfeld, Libby, the PNAC Mafia, and their cronies.  These individuals are "the enemy within", and they have no shame.

        O'Reilly:"If the Americans go in and overthrow Saddam Hussein and it's clean, he has nothing...I will not trust the Bush administration again."

        by sunbro on Fri Aug 26, 2005 at 12:15:15 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  yes this is very interesting (none)
    but might i suggest you give the proper attribution to the blockuote:

    A CIA Cover Blown, a White House Exposed
    By Tom Hamburger and Sonni Efron, Times Staff Writers

    As it is now it reads as if you're taking credit for those sentences.

    "What they found is a silver bullet in the form of a person."

    by subtropolis on Thu Aug 25, 2005 at 11:54:00 PM PDT

    •  Um, you may want to read it again. (none)
      Here are the words that directly precede the blockquote:

      "consider the few paragraphs in the L.A. Times article that contain previously unreported details"

      His part comes after and outside the blockquote.

  •  This makes more sense to me (none)
    and fills in some of the gaps. Thanks.
  •  Okay, Colin... (none)
    If this is true, I take back all the horrible things I've said about you.
  •  crazies (4.00)
    I agree with you...I believe the crazies are in charge but powell was not one of them...good post...
  •  Good Looking Out (4.00)
    I've always thought that Powell was a smoke screen. A big set up for Rove to say that Powell was walking around with the paper in his hand and never mentioning the fact that it was a secret document.
  •  this turns up the heat on Judy Miller (4.00)
    her meeting with Libby is one day after Powell spreads the news.  We may see some renewed propaganda from the Miller/NYT camps.

    Be a Carville, not a Colmes

    by seesdifferent on Fri Aug 26, 2005 at 06:46:48 AM PDT

  •  Powell's Betrayal of the Military (none)
    The facts are that: 1 Colin Powell was a soldier who fought in Vietnam and was part of a generation of soldiers who believed that the "civilians" should never again be allowed to dictate policy that the military knew wouldn't work. 2 General Shinseki argued that the troops the "civilians" were proposing to send to Iraq were not enough to complete the mission. And he was put out to pasture for that. 3 Powell had to KNOW that the Defense Department wasn't working through the issues necessary for a successful post-war period and that the military would bear the brunt of this lack of failure. Imagine what the world would look like today if he had resigned his position of Secretary of State in support of Shinseki and others when the "civilians" overrode the judgement of the military leaders in the Pentagon. We may have still invaded Iraq but the path would certainly have been different. IMO, this is the significant and far-reaching failure of Colin Powell's life.
    •  He has a lot ot make up for (4.00)
      It was a huge failure in his life and as an honorable man I believe he's been waiting for the opportunity to atone for his sins.  

      F*CK BUSH! -- Mahatma Gandhi (sourced anonymously through the NY Times)

      by Magicmike888 on Fri Aug 26, 2005 at 07:32:30 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Huge Failure (none)
      The saddest thrall from the Iraq debacle is all the officers from the Vietnam era who acted as Pentagon bureaucrats, who knew better, and didn't have the guts to resign or point out the folly of invading Iraq with inadequate forces and without approval of the world's governments.
  •  Swiftboating of Powell soon? (4.00)
    So when the indictments finally come down, does this mean they'll have to swiftboat Powell as well?

    Spread the word, Colin Powell kicks puppies and hugs Al Quaeda -- Count Snarkula

    F*CK BUSH! -- Mahatma Gandhi (sourced anonymously through the NY Times)

    by Magicmike888 on Fri Aug 26, 2005 at 07:31:01 AM PDT

  •  IMO (4.00)
    There has been some sort of shell protecting Powell on both sides. The right used him to win the election and the left held out hope that he could be the one sane voice in this administration. So he was above criticism.
    I believe he is now (wrongfully) viewed as the last best hope by the left. I think he should be held accountable not only for My Lai but for going along with the lies of this administration. Don't be fooled, he did it for his own self interest. Like a good general, he left himself with two options, if things went well, take credit or if things go badly do as he did, bow out and don't get blamed. I have never believed he was anything but the good soldier taking orders and as someone said above thread that he never made the transition from the military to in civilian life.
    I am waiting for an acknowledgement that Judy Miller is sitting in jail to protect Colin Powell.

    "I'm not going to be your monkey"

    by gabie on Fri Aug 26, 2005 at 07:50:14 AM PDT

  •  Don't know what to make of Powell (none)
    Many good comments here... I'm inclined to believe he's a behind the scenes operative with Fitz to nail these suckers.  Except for one thing.

    Sibel Edmonds said,when asked point-blank, what's the most corrupt department in the US gov't:  State, without a doubt. Not Justice (which she worked for), not Treasury,not Defense,  not even the office of the president.

    I mean, she didn't couch it in qualifiers, she went full bore out.  And Powell was heading State at the time.  So you draw your own conclusions.

    Now, it is possible that Powell was just a puppet for credibility purposes (after all, he was the first "cabinet" member announced during the Florida fiasco), and that Armitage, Bolton and others were really running the show, but I don't know.  At best, he's the loyal soldier that plays "don't ask, don't tell" with those perpetrating the shenanigans, at worst, he is deeply complicit in them.

    People should not be afraid of their governments. Governments should be afraid of their people.

    by viget on Fri Aug 26, 2005 at 08:23:49 AM PDT

  •  Actually (none)
    I'm going with Wilkerson.  It's not a coincidence that this comes out just as he's gone public calling his involvement in the whole manipulated intelligence bullshit the "lowest point" in his life.

    Also, I have no use whatsoever for Powell.  Kerry has said that it was Powell's private assurance that convinced him to vote for the war resolution.  He was in deep and can't do anything that would absolve himself now at least in my eyes.

  •  Remember what Novakula said (none)
    the leaker was "no partisan hack."  nudge nudge anyone? that spells P-O-W-E-L-L to me.

    "There are times in politics when you must be on the right side and lose." John Kenneth Galbraith

    by susanp on Fri Aug 26, 2005 at 09:19:36 AM PDT

    •  But keep in mind when he said it (none)
      There is nothing in that article about which we have independent means to verify which is true. Nothing. It is thoroughly a part of BushCo's conspiracy to get out of their criminality on this, and it is also a time when they were trying to cast blame elsewhere.

      In short, no one ever should have taken Novak's statement seriously. Everything else is either false or deliberate misinformation, why would this be any different.

      I think they were trying to frame Powell at this point, because they knew Powell was the guy who leaked to the WaPo that this was an organized campaign at the end of September. What better way to discredit the prosecutor's lead witness than to implicate him in the crime?

      This is the way democracy ends Not with a bomb But with a gavel -Max Baucus

      by emptywheel on Fri Aug 26, 2005 at 10:39:03 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

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