Friday, November 18, 2005

More on Cheney and Woodward

Before I get into the third interesting thing I noticed in Bob Woodward's statement (Washington Post pdf, Raw Story text version), I'd like to add some further thoughts to the first two (and - yep - the third i.t. concerns Vice President Dick Cheney so stick with me).

#1. Woodward's "typed notes"

As I showed in Bob Woodward is just like Judith Miller, Woodward testified about his June 27, 2003 meeting with I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby using his "four pages of typed notes" but there is no mention of what happened to the originals.

Why do I assume there were originals as one or two commenters have asked about? Couldn't Woodward have used a laptop?

Well...he could have...but I find it highly unlikely that Bob took notes on a laptop as he asked important questions of important officials. Even if Bob could type as fast as a court stenographer it just wouldn't be practical to rely on his speed and miss a chance at catching something important Libby or ____ (see third i.t.) might say.

Woodward also claims:

"My notes do not include all the questions I asked, but I testified that if Libby had said anything on the subject, I would have recorded it in my notes."

In the paragraph before that one Woodward preceded the word "notes" with the word "typed" two times, but - curiously - doesn't then - when it counts. Woodward may not be speaking about the same notes.

So what kind of notes are we talking about?

Perhaps the answer lies in the paragraph regarding his June 20, 2003 interview with Andrew Card (though he's not specifically named in the statement):

"I testified that on June 20, 2003, I interviewed a second administration official for my book Plan of Attack'' and that one of the lists of questions I believe I brought to the interview included on a single line the phraseJoe Wilson's wife.'' I testified that I have no recollection of asking about her, and that the tape-recorded interview contains no indication that the subject arose."

Woodward "tape-recorded" that interview. The June 27 interview with Libby probably also exists on tape (or once did; and that sure would be ironic, huh?).

#2 Woodward sent questions to the Vice President's office

As I showed in The Typed Notes of Bob Woodward Woodward sent (assumingly, by fax or email) "an 18-page list of questions [he] wanted to ask Vice President Cheney" to Libby at the Vice President's office and that list should have been turned over to the grand jury, and - because it wasn't - Cheney's office may have been complicit in obstruction of justice.

No commenters have called me on that i.t., yet, but on further reflection it may be a bit more complicated than that.

To the best of my knowledge, none of the subpoenas to White House officials have been made public; they're not accessible on Patrick Fitzgerald's Website or anywhere else I searched (if someone's got a link, though, please gimmee, gimmee, gimmee).

All there is to go by are these White House memos regarding the September, 2003 DoJ request for "all materials that might be relevant to its investigation" and a Newsday article published on March 4, 2004 drawn from documents they obtained of three subpoenas that were issued to the White House on January 22, 2004.

Basically, this means that perhaps the office of the Vice President wasn't under any obligation to turn in the "18-page list of questions."


From the White House memos:

Pursuant to a request from the Department of Justice, I am instructing you to preserve and maintain the following:

“[F]or the time period February 1, 2002 to the present, all documents, including without limitation all electronic records, telephone records of any kind (including but not limited to any records that memorialize telephone calls having been made), correspondence, computer records, storage devices, notes, memoranda, and diary and calendar entries, that relate in any way to:

1. Former U.S. Ambassador Joseph C. Wilson, his trip to Niger in February 2002, and/or his wife’s purported relationship with the Central Intelligence Agency;

There are two other items of interest mentioned but neither of them are applicable, and (here's where my backtracking "perhaps" enters the picture) it could be argued that this one isn't either.

All we know about Woodward's "18-page list of questions" is that "[o]n page 5 of that list there was a question about "yellowcake" and the October 2002 National Intelligence Estimate regarding Iraq's weapons programs."

But the White House was instructed to gather up anything and everything that "relate[s] in any way to...Former U.S. Ambassador Joseph C. Wilson [and] his trip to Niger in February 2002." Why did Joseph Wilson go to Niger?

Let's go to the "bi-partisan" Senate Report on the U.S. Intelligence community's prewar intelligence assessments on Iraq:

(deleted)Officials from the CIA's DO Counterproliferation Division (CPD) told Committee staff that in response to questions from the Vice President's Office and the Departments of State and Defense on the alleged Iraq-Niger uranium deal, CPD officials discussed ways to obtain additional information. (deleted) who could make immediate inquiries into the reporting, CPD decided to contact a former ambassador to Gabon who had a posting early in his career in Niger.

Then, from Joseph C. Wilson's What I Didn't Find in Africa:

In February 2002, I was informed by officials at the Central Intelligence Agency that Vice President Dick Cheney's office had questions about a particular intelligence report. While I never saw the report, I was told that it referred to a memorandum of agreement that documented the sale of uranium yellowcake — a form of lightly processed ore — by Niger to Iraq in the late 1990's. The agency officials asked if I would travel to Niger to check out the story so they could provide a response to the vice president's office.

Since Joe Wilson's mission was all about the "yellowcake" that "18-page list of questions" should have been sent to the grand jury in October of 2003.

The subpoenas in January don't seem to be applicable...that is...if we take Newsday's word on what was specifically contained in I won't get into it here.


I promised more about Bob Woodward and Dick it is.

#3 Why didn't Woodward testify about his meeting with the Vice President?


Woodward's sole reason for speaking to Libby by telephone and meeting with him in his office was because he wanted to interview Vice President Dick Cheney.

Woodward sent the "18-page list of questions" to Libby in order to get answers from Cheney.

Maybe I missed something somewhere but did Woodward or did Woodward not eventually interview Cheney that day or on a future day? Unfortunately, I don't have a copy of "Plan of Attack" in front of me (I borrowed it from the library to read last year...the last Woodward book I paid for was "Wired") and an Amazon search of Woodward's book doesn't turn up anything.

Since Woodward sent the "yellowcake" question to Libby for Cheney's attention then Woodward should've testified to the grand jury (and provided to his readers) about such an interview if it exists. It sure is strange that Woodward leaves us all in the dark about Cheney's possible role in all this.

According to The Wall Street Journal (via ABC News' The Note):

Prosecutors deposed Woodward in anticipation of presenting that evidence to a new grand jury, according to a person familiar with the situation.

Along with Woodward's deposition, the new grand jury (or maybe it's still the last grand jury...this whole thing does get confusing) should also get their hands on Woodward's original notes or tape recordings, Woodward's 18-page list of questions, any possible written responses to those questions by Libby or Cheney (or anyone else who took a stab at an answer) between June 23 and June 27, and whatever exists of the interview Woodward sought to have with Cheney which may have touched on "yellowcake" uranium, Joseph Wilson or Valerie Plame.

It took nearly three months for news of the three January 22, 2004 subpoenas to reach the public...perhaps subpoenas have already been issued for the items of interest that I write of.


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