Thursday, January 18, 2007

Libby Trial, Day Three

From my "Capital Games" column at

On the third day of the trial of I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby, the job of finding Washington jurors who do not hold negative views of the George W. Bush administration, its war in Iraq, and Vice President Dick Cheney became harder. Out of the first ten potential jurors screened by the judge and the lawyers, nine were dismissed--most because they said they believe Bush and Cheney are not to be believed. The day began with Juror No. 0420, a woman who is an information technology consultant. She called the war "a tremendous mistake" and "quite a horrendous thing." She noted she would have a difficult time fairly evaluating testimony from Cheney, explaining there was the "potential" that her bias would "leak" into her subconscious. She was gone.

Then came No. 0388, a manager of audits for the Department of Homeland Security. She spends her days sniffing out procurement fraud. When asked about Cheney's ability to tell the truth, she explained she tended to be "skeptical of politicians' credibility"--and that skepticism would extend to Cheney and anyone who worked for him, especially if the matter at hand concerns the administration's response to a critic. "My profession is to be skeptical," she said, explaining that a politician often tries "to shape public opinion" and is not driven by a desire to provide "the most comprehensive presentation." But she insisted that she could evaluate Cheney's and Libby's testimony without bias and that she realized the burden of proof rested with the government. She was dismissed.

No. 0244 told the court he has "strong negative feelings about this current administration and its conduct of the war" and has a friend who is close to former Ambassador Joseph Wilson. He lasted less than a minute. No. 0056 said she is a "very partisan Democrat" who had made up her mind about the case. "I would," she said, "start from the presumption that something negative went on...and Mr. Libby revealed information he should not have....I could not presume he was innocent." Excused. No. 1531, a young woman who is an arts reporter for The Washington Post, said it would be tough for her to function as a juror rather than a journalist. She would be sorely tempted, she explained, to share what she learned at the trial with her colleagues at the Post and her live-in boyfriend, who works there. "I'm a gossip," she professed. After federal district court Judge Reggie Walton reminded her she would have to resist such urges, she noted she had a well-formed view regarding Cheney: "I like to believe that as a journalist I can put my feelings aside....[But] my feelings about Vice President Cheney are so strong it would make it very difficult for me....I feel Vice President Cheney puts his business priorities over the good of the country. I don't trust him. And anyone associated with him would have to jump over a hurdle for me to think he was ever telling the truth." Walton didn't wait: "You're excused." (In the media room, a Washington Post reporter cringed.)

A clerical worker at the CIA disclosed that after she had notified the agency's legal office she had been called as a potential juror, a CIA lawyer had talked to her about this case. The attorney told her that Valerie Wilson had been a covert officer at the CIA and her cover had been blown by Libby. She was bounced. No. 1140, a young woman, said, "I believe the vice president would have had the defendant leak." Did she, Walton ask, harbor any preconceived notions about Libby? She replied with one word: "Guilty." She, too, was free to leave. No. 1232, an older African-American man, lasted seconds: "I don't like the Bush administration," he declared, noting he did not believe he could be an impartial juror. Dismissed.

Only six of sixteen potential jurors made it through the screening process today. Walton needs a pool of 36 vetted potential jurors. After such a group is assembled, the prosecution and defense attorneys will then use preemptory challenges to strike would-be jurors. Jury selection will continue into next week, pushing back the opening arguments previously scheduled for January 22.

As the day wore on, special prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald tussled with the defense attorneys over how far Libby's lawyers could go in grilling jurors about their general views of the Bush administration. "We ought not to tell some jurors [the case is] about politics," he said at one point. And in the middle of the day, Fitzgerald objected when Ted Wells, a Libby lawyer, asked a possible juror--an employee of the National Academy of Sciences--if this juror could put aside any questions he might have about Cheney's credibility with respect to the war. Fitzgerald wanted Wells to limit the credibility issue to potential Cheney testimony on the administration's reaction to Joe Wilson's criticism of its handling of the prewar intelligence. Fitzgerald was trying to prevent yet another juror from being disqualified because he or she questioned Bush and Cheney's justification of the war. Wells acceded to Fitzgerald's request. The juror said he could impartially assess Cheney's testimony related to the leak case, though he called Cheney's selling of the war "a big stretch." This fellow made it to the next round. But it would be surprising if Libby's lawyers did not use a preemptory challenge to keep him off the jury.

The fencing that has gone on between Fitzgerald and Libby's lawyers during jury selection telegraphs what's to come. Fitzgerald will present a narrow case: this is not about the war, not about the Bush administration's misrepresentations; it's about whether one official, Scooter Libby, purposefully lied to FBI agents and a grand jury investigating the Plame leak. Fitzgerald's goal is to keep it simple. Libby said he did not share official information about Valerie Wilson with reporters and only learned about her CIA status from gossipy journalists. Fitzgerald will present evidence and testimony indicating Libby collected classified information on her and then passed it to at least two reporters. Case closed, if Fitzgerald's lucky.

The Libby side wants to create multiple narratives: he was too busy to remember clearly what he said to whom; this prosecution is a result of infighting between various government agencies; he's not the primary leaker in the CIA case; and so on. Create confusion so there is reasonable doubt that Libby intentionally made false statements. But before any of that can happen, a few more jurors have to be found.

Posted by David Corn at January 18, 2007 06:02 PM


David B. Benson said...

David Corn --- Ah, yes, a dozen good men and women, tried and true...

capt said...

As a people, Americans are remarkably familiar with all facts which make in their own favor. - Whatever makes for the wealth or for the reputation of Americans, and can be had cheap! will be found by Americans.

America is false to the past, false to the present, and solemnly binds herself to be false to the future.

Your celebration is a sham; your boasted liberty, an unholy license; your national greatness, swelling vanity; your sounds of rejoicing are empty and heartless; your denunciations of tyrants, brass fronted impudence; your shouts of liberty and equality, hollow mockery; your prayers and hymns, your sermons and thanksgivings, with all your religious parade, and solemnity, are, to him, mere bombast, fraud, deception, impiety, and hypocrisy - a thin veil to cover up crimes which would disgrace a nation of savages.

Go where you may, search where you will, roam through all the monarchies and despotisms of the old world, travel through South America, search out every abuse, and when you have found the last, lay your facts by the side of the everyday practices of this nation, and you will say with me, that, for revolting barbarity and shameless hypocrisy, America reigns without a rival:

There is not a nation on the earth guilty of practices, more shocking and bloody, than are the people of these United States, at this very hour.
Frederick Douglass, "What to the Slave is the Fourth of July?" 5 July 1852 -


Read this newsletter online

Thanks ICH Newsletter!

David B. Benson said...

"Ah vanity, where is thy sting..."

David B. Benson said...

My, my. Goggle groups has certainly had its ups and downs today. Think its the weather?

capt said...

An Impartial Interrogation of George W. Bush


Mr. President, I do not speak either as a pacifist or a draft dodger. I speak as one who after the attack on Pearl Harbor, volunteered at the age of nineteen for the Army Air Corps and flew thirty-five missions as a B-24 bomber. I believed in that war then and I still do sixty-five years later. And so did the rest of America. Mr. President, are you missing the intellectual and moral capacity to know the difference between a justified war and a war of folly in Vietnam or Iraq?

Public opinion polls indicate that two-thirds of the American people think that the war in Iraq has been a mistake on your part. It is widely believed that this war was the central reason Democrats captured control of both houses of Congress. Polls among the people of Iraq indicate that nearly all Iraqis want our military presence in their country for the last four years to end now. Why do you persist in defying public opinion in both the United States and Iraq and throughout the other countries around the globe? Do you see yourself as omniscient? What is your view of the doctrine of self-determination, which we Americans hold dear?

And wonder of wonders, Mr. President, after such needless death and destruction, first in the Vietnamese jungle and now in the Arabian desert, how can you order 21,500 more American troops to Iraq? Are you aware that as the war in Vietnam went from bad to worse, our leaders sent in more troops and wasted more billions of dollars until we had 550,000 US troops in that little country? It makes me shudder as an aging bomber pilot to remember that we dropped more bombs on the Vietnamese and their country than the total of all the bombs dropped by all the air forces around the world in World War II. Do you, Mr. President, honestly believe that we need tens of thousands of additional troops plus a supplemental military appropriation of $200 billion before we can bring our troops home from this nightmare in ancient Baghdad?


*****end of clip*****

WOW, a great piece!


Saladin said...

Sorry Kathleen, I left a post for you on the last thread without thinking. On it now.

David B. Benson said...


Emmm, Peach!

David B. Benson said...

Oh dear. Oh me. It seems the Chinese are provoking an arms race in space.

Oh well. Put blinders back on, ears plugs back in. Blogspot seems to be working again...

Jeanne said... funny. They're going to run out of eligible jurors at the rate their going. You know who the defence is looking for don't you? Lobbyists. Maybe DeLay can be on the jury. He moved to that area didn't he, you know when he was still running for office in Texas?

Hajji said...

Kathleen and Saladin on the hunt in DC together!!!?

I'd say the meat supply for this pride is pretty secure!

my love an admiration go with you...gods' speed to you both!


Saladin said...

Hajji, what a strange coincidence, my maiden name, full out, is Kathleen Marie Saladin! Maybe we were meant to hunt together.

Pandemoniac said...


"Arnold Schwarzenegger is recovering from a broken leg. ... In a new interview, Schwarzenegger said he's only taking a little bit of pain medication for his broken leg because the medication garbles his speech. Apparently, Schwarzenegger broke his leg in 1974."
--Conan O'Brien

"The good news is last night President Bush finally admitted he's made mistakes in Iraq. The bad news is he's planning to make the same mistakes again."
--Jay Leno

"Bush is going to send more troops to Iraq. That's the solution. And I was thinking, you think he'd being doing this if he were still in the National Guard."
--David Letterman

"People who watched the speech said President Bush looked uncomfortable. And I was thinking, of course -- he was in a library surrounded by books."
--David Letterman

"After hearing the president's speech, Democrats in the Senate are seeking bipartisan support for a non-binding resolution opposing President Bush's deployment of his military escalation. In response, President Bush said, 'Huh?'"
--Conan O'Brien

"President Bush also said that all the military commanders who have looked at his plan say it will work. That's because all the ones who said it wouldn't work aren't military commanders anymore."
--Jay Leno

"Ted Kennedy attacked the president. He said Iraq is George Bush's Vietnam. Which is very unfair. There is a huge difference. Bush knew how to get out of Vietnam."
--Jay Leno

"President Bush is now calling for sending 21,000 more troops to Iraq. How does he come up with that number? I don't even think 21,000 people in the country think it's a good idea."
--Jay Leno

"President Bush has called on Iraq for a better performance by their government. And today, Iraq said, 'Uh, you first.'"
--Jay Leno

"A lot of Democrats and Republicans are coming out against Bush's plan for Iraq. It's nice to see Democrats and Republicans on the same page, especially when it's not a congressional page."
--Jay Leno

"Did you see President Bush last night on '60 Minutes'? Bush said we are in a ideological struggle with evildoers. I think he's talking about the Democrats."
--David Letterman

"Bush admitted to making mistakes in Iraq and says he has learned from these mistakes and will do better in Iran."
--David Letterman

"In the interview, Bush said popularity is not his goal. Well, I thought, 'mission accomplished.'"
--David Letterman

"Did you folks see the Golden Globes last night? ... You know who won? That Borat guy. He got up to say a few words. He was the whacky foreigner with the accent saying unintelligible things. No, that was Arnold Schwarzenegger."
--David Letterman

Jon Stewart: "The president's advisers launched a PR offensive to assure the public that just because our new way forward meant returning troops levels to where they were in December of 2005, this plan had a twist
on screen: NSA Stephen Hadley saying the strategy 'will succeed rather than fail'.
Jon Stewart: Hmmm. Succeed rather than fail? Sounds counterintuitive. ... Okay, I'll indulge you. You have a plan. Well, have you thought about looking at that plan in the most emotionally loaded way possible? on screen: WH press sec. Tony Snow saying, 'I'll ask a simple question. If the U.S. withdraws, does it make Osama bin Laden happy or sad?'.
Jon Stewart: And if bin Laden was happy, would he know it? And if bin Laden knew it, would he clap his hands? Would his face surely show it? These are the questions we would have asked bin Laden ... if we had caught him."

"Republican Congressman Tom Tancredo announced he's thinking about running for president and is now forming an exploratory committee. So far, the only member of the committee is someone named Tom Tancredo."
--Conan O'Brien

"This week, a new swimsuit for Muslim women was introduced called the 'burqini,' which is a stylish water safe burka meant for swimming. The manufacturer says it's perfect for the Muslim woman who loves to swim, but hates being stoned to death."
--Conan O'Brien

"Democrats have announced that their 2008 presidential convention will be held in Denver. You know, it's interesting that the Republicans haven't made a big deal about where their 2008 convention will be. They are keeping it very low key because they are afraid President Bush will know where it is and will show up."
--Jay Leno

"Fidel Castro, the Cuban President who has been hospitalized since July, has been the subject of several conflicting medical reports regarding his physical condition. ... CNN reported the reason Castro's health has taken such a downturn was his decision to have a very risky operation to have doctors implant him with -- and this is true -- an artificial anus. ... They've upgraded his condition from 'grave' to 'serious but hilarious'"
--Jon Stewart

"President Bush is going to be talking about global warming in his State of the Union address. He's unveiling his new plan. I believe it's called 'No Ice Cap Left Behind.'"
--David Letterman

"President Bush has the answer to global warming. He's going to send 20,000 troops to the sun."
--David Letterman

"President Bush watched the hanging of Saddam Hussein. He said he was not pleased with how the Iraqis executed Saddam Hussein. ... The Iraqis fired back, 'Yeah? We're not pleased with the way you executed the war.'" --David Letterman

Happy Birthday Juju
You live in a Zoo
Happy Birthday Clint Junior
Happy Birthday to you

Dad (Clint Sr.)

kathleen said...

David Corn on the Diane Rehms show today Friday...right now!

kathleen said...


If 9 out of 10 of the potential jurors have serious questions in regard to the credibility of Cheney who does that leave?


Saladin I will go read your response!

Saladin said...

ABC News

Jan. 19, 2007 — There may be a growing battle between Congress and President Bush over the Iraq War strategy, but new House Speaker Nancy Pelosi says she won't block funding for additional troops.

Pelosi's position, revealed in an exclusive interview with ABC News' Diane Sawyer, comes days after a group of senators announced a bipartisan resolution condemning the Bush administration's plan to increase U.S. forces in Iraq by more than 20,000 troops.

While the Senate resolution would be nonbinding, it would send a message to the president, and at least a dozen Republican senators have already offered their support.

In the interview with Sawyer, Pelosi said Democrats in Congress would not be held responsible for putting the soldiers in the troop surge in additional harm's way by blocking funds. She also called the situation in Iraq a "tragedy" and a "stark blunder."
But we'll go ahead and fund it anyway, and keep blaming it on bush. Would someone please check her into the rubber room, quick!
If the reps won't listen and bushco won't listen we'll just have to go over their heads and take it straight to the people! People, are you ready?

Saladin said...

A little good news, Section 220 of S1 didn't pass.

kathleen said...


Israeli Nuclear Capabilities and Threat
• On 27 September 2005, the Director General received a letter dated 26 September 2005 from
the Dean of the Arab Diplomatic Corps and Ambassador of the Sultanate of Oman, on behalf of the
Arab Member States of the Agency, relating to item 22 of the agenda of the Conference, “Israeli
Nuclear Capabilities and Threat”.
• As requested therein, the letter and its attachment are herewith circulated.
International Atomic Energy Agency
Page 1
Text of letter dated 26 September from the Dean of the Arab Diplomatic Corps and
Ambassador of the Sultanate of Oman
With reference to document GC(49)/21 dated 12 September 2005 [Arabic language version],
annexing a letter from the Resident Representative of Israel and its attachment stating Israel’s position
on the item entitled “Israel’s Nuclear Capabilities and Threat”, which the International Atomic Energy
Agency has circulated to Member States, I have the honour on behalf of the Arab Member States of
the International Atomic Energy Agency to enclose herewith the States’ response to what is contained
in the aforementioned document, and should like to ask you to circulate it to the Member States of the
(signed) Salim bin Mohamed Al-Riyami
Dean of the Arab Diplomatic Corps
Ambassador of the Sultanate of Oman
Dr. Mohamed ElBaradei
Director General
Page 2
Text stating the Arab Group’s response to what is contained in the letter of the Delegate of
Israel to the International Atomic Energy Agency concerning the inclusion of an item entitled
“Israel’s Nuclear Capabilities and Threat” on the agenda of the 49th session of the General
Conference of the Agency
The Arab Group confirms that, despite successive General Assembly and General Conference
resolutions reflecting international consensus on disarmament and the establishment of a nuclearweapon-
free zone in the Middle East, Israel continues to insist on not acceding to the Treaty on the
Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons and, according to various reports, Israel is developing an
advanced nuclear programme for military purposes, which has a negative impact on peace and
stability in the Middle East region and on efforts to prevent proliferation in the region. Thus, the Arab
Group confirms the importance of including the item on Israeli nuclear capability on the agenda of the
General Conference to ensure that the International Atomic Energy Agency continues to play its role
in dealing with this important issue, which is a cause of concern to the international community as a
whole and is an additional cause of tension in the region.
The Arab Group deplores what is contained in the letter from the Israeli Ambassador, which is
expressed in language that is unacceptable and far removed from the rules of discourse and the
customs of diplomacy.

kathleen said...

Today Susan Page on the Diane Rehms show allowed the endlessly repeated and unsubstantiated claims "that Iran has a nuclear weapons program" to be repeated once again. She did not challenge the guest who repeated this twice.

And we wonder why 70% of Americans now believe that Iran has a nuclear weapons program. When people like Neil Conan, Susan Page, Diane Rehms and many other news programs have allowed this to take place the last three and a half years.

Many of the same individuals (Bill Kristol, Micheal Ledeen, Cheney, Bolton, Reurel Marc Gerecht) have repeated these unsubstantiated claims about Iran's "alleged" nuclear weapons program on many news programs and at the Weekly Standard and the National Review. And the majority of the talking heads do not challenge them by simply let me repeat "simply" asking "WHERE IS THE PROOF"?

Somehow it does not matter that UN WEAPONS INSPECTORS David Kay, Scott Ritter, Hans Blix, Col.Sam Gardiner and IAEA's Mr. El Baradei have all said that there is "no hard evidence" to support these repeated claims. And Iaea's Mr. El Baradei has asked for the inflammatory rhetoric from both sides to stop. Flynnt Leverett has also been ignored about this issue.

Yet Israel, and the Israeli firsters keep repeating these claims and go unchallenged by the MSM. DEJA VU

kathleen said...

Yesterday Condi Rice had the nerve to ask "why Iran has not been willing to talk". What a bag of lies.....

kathleen said...

Cheney a black hole

Cheney's Enigmatic Influence

By David Ignatius
Friday, January 19, 2007; Page A19

After six years, it remains one of Washington's enduring mysteries: How does Vice President Cheney shape decisions in the tight inner circle of the Bush administration? There's a sense that Cheney's influence is on the rise again, at least with Iraq policy, but that's after many months in which his allies say his role was diminished.

To outside observers, Cheney has been the political equivalent of a black hole -- exerting a powerful but mostly invisible force on decisions. The office of the vice president has had a gravitational weight that sucked in other personalities and entire branches of the government without emitting light or heat that would explain the decision-making process.

Cheney's Enigmatic Influence
» David Ignatius | How does the most important but elusive presidential adviser in modern history use his power behind the scenes?
Charles Krauthammer: A Plausible Plan B
E.J. Dionne Jr.: John Edwards's Balanced Priorities
Eugene Robinson: The Real State of the Union

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During Bush's first term, the "OVP," as it's known in Washington, functioned as a kind of parallel national security staff. Lewis "Scooter" Libby was a strong chief of staff, and he hired talented foreign policy experts -- Eric Edelman and then Victoria Nuland -- to act, in effect, as Cheney's national security advisers. During Bush's second term, that role was taken on by John Hannah, a former policy researcher at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy. But insiders say that since Libby's departure in 2005, the OVP has had less of an impact on foreign policy.

@Wash Post

kathleen said...

Go check out the segments on the meetings between Colbert and O'Reilly over at Raw Story. funny


capt said...

New Thread!