Tuesday, June 20, 2006

marc ash at truthout

* marc ash at truthout:
"Our sources continue to maintain that a grand jury has in fact returned an indictment. Our sources said that parts of the indictment were read to Karl Rove and his attorney on Friday, May 12, 2006. Last week, we pointed to a sealed federal indictment, case number "06 cr 128," which is still sealed and we are still pointing to it. During lengthy conversations with our sources over the past month, they reiterated that the substance of our report on May 13, 2006, was correct, and immediately following our report, Karl Rove's status in the CIA leak probe changed. In summary, as we press our investigation we find indicators that more of our key facts are correct, not less.
[]
What appears to have happened is that - and this is where Truthout blundered - in our haste to report the indictment we never considered the possibility that Patrick Fitzgerald would not make an announcement. We simply assumed - and we should not have done so - that he would tell the press. He did not. Fitzgerald appears to have used the indictment, and more importantly, the fear that it would go public, to extract information about the Plame outing case from Rove.

Yes, it does appear that Truthout was used, but not lied to or misled. The facts appear to have been accurate. We reported them, and in so doing, apparently became an instrument. From all indications, our reports, first on May 13 that Rove had been indicted, and then on June 12 when we published case number "06 cr 128," forced Rove and Luskin back to the table with Fitzgerald, not once but twice. They apparently sought to avoid public disclosure and were prepared to do what they had to do to avoid it.

The electronic communication from Fitzgerald to Luskin, coming immediately on the heels of our Monday morning, June 12 article "Sealed vs. Sealed" that became the basis for the mainstream media's de facto exoneration of Karl Rove was, our sources told us, negotiated quickly over the phone later that afternoon. Luskin contacted Fitzgerald, reportedly providing concessions that Fitzgerald considered to be of high value, and Fitzgerald reportedly reciprocated with the political cover Rove wanted in the form of a letter that was faxed to Luskin's office.

Our sources provided us with additional detail, saying that Fitzgerald is apparently examining closely Dick Cheney's role in the Valerie Plame matter, and apparently sought information and evidence from Karl Rove that would provide documentation of Cheney's involvement. Rove apparently was reluctant to cooperate and Fitzgerald, it appears, was pressuring him to do so, our sources told us."
what say you?

13 comments:

Don said...

Without Luskin's letter/fax, and without substantial knowledge of what "06cr128" is, we still know nothing. We can speculate 'til the cows come home, but Rove still walks free and November is coming.

That said, I got one thing out of it: for weal or woe, Leopold's sources are still feeding them new information.

Don said...

Joe Lauria and The Washington Post's Attacks on Jason Leopold

We are well aware of the Lauria article and the series of attacks The Washington Post has launched against Jason Leopold and Truthout. As always, we will carefully consider all information and then publish a thoughtful response. In this case, we will publish our response on Wednesday, June 21, at 5:00 p.m. Pacific time.


And of course, another deadline.

Points to them, though, for not doing things in the same knee-jerk fashion to which most of high-profile Left Blogistan seems to subscribe.

With Rove's full focus upon them, they're treading very carefully.

lukery said...

don - you are correct. we don't know a whole lot. so much confusion.

Don said...

We do know two things:

1. Rove and company are, to borrow from EW on the Plame Panel, "spinning furiously." They're focusing a lot of energy on Leopold. IMHO, the focus seems too strong to be a broad smear of left blogs.

2. Leopold's sources are still in play and talking. If he'd outed them, that wouldn't be the case. Although we don't know for certain whether either point is a good thing, point 1 suggests it isn't a bad thing.

lukery said...

there does seem to be a lot of nervousness, mixed with an absence of clarity.

it's interesting that the sources still appear to be talking. they presumably don't feel like they were set up with disinfo to see who was leaking.

oldschool said...

ok - I was thinking about giving TO some benefit of the doubt until I read Ash's account here.

He appears to be of the opinion that the Plame investigation is proceeding by way of reaction "not once, but twice", to Truthout(?!). I have heard that Leopold might be a little flaky, but Ash seems to have some delusions of grandeur of epic proportions. I had hoped that there were some adults minding the store over there.

lukery said...

i'd never heard of ash till the last few weeks - so i can't comment on that...

Don said...

I'm not yet ready to send them to the wall over this. We believe Leopold has a credibility problem, but we know WaPo, Rove, York, and the whole damned Washington establishment do.

Add to that, Larry Johnson posted at DU that Joe Wilson had also heard the same from sources of his own (as confirmed by Jeralyn Merritt). They do not have credibility issues.

In his statement, Ash did, IMHO, make one mistake: speculate on what he doesn't know, specifically the relevance of "06cr128" and the effect of TO's reporting on the Rove case. While his sources are still feeding information on Fitz's investigation, by Ash's wording, that doesn't seem to have been part of it. Rampant speculation isn't a good idea when you're defending ostensibly fact-based reporting.

Bottom line, we don't know if "06cr128" is related, nor do we know precisely what happened. The best source for the answers, Fitzgerald himself, isn't talking, and rather pointedly so:

For the record, we did reach Kimberly Nerheim, a spokesperson for Patrick Fitzgerald, and asked her these questions: Did a grand jury return an indictment of Karl Rove? Did Patrick Fitzgerald send a fax to Robert Luskin similar to that described in recent press reports? Is Patrick Fitzgerald's probe of the Plame matter still ongoing? Her response to each question was identical: "I have no comment."

That could mean just that they aren't talking to TO, but by now certainly someone else (i.e. RawStory, AlterNet) has asked and we still haven't heard yet.

Right now, it's he says/he says. Luskin has dribbled the only sentence in the letter/fax relevant to him and his client. We don't even know what the communique was. A 1-page skate letter? A 15-page testimony agreement? For all we know it's a hand-written, signed note on a 20-year-old dirty fax joke.

(Well, in the post-Anita Hill era, probably not the last one...)

Either way, the smear machine is turned up and directed at Leopold and Ash and TruthOut. Someone struck a nerve. If it's giving Rove or anyone in the WH the sweats, I can suspend judgement until we know more.

lukery said...

my interest is only about the facts (and the backstory), and the implications thereof - i dont particularly care about the (media) players, per se. having said that, i never believed that 'leopold lied' (and not because i have any respect for him) - so either the (general) facts behind the story are (somewhat) true, or there's a very interesting backstory.

interestingly, in the 'sealed v sealed' article, TO didnt mention that any sources pointed to 128 - and i thought they were just clutching at straws - but in the latest piece, they specifically say that sources are pointing to it.

... but by now certainly someone else (i.e. RawStory, AlterNet) has asked and we still haven't heard yet.
and everyone else on the planet

Don said...

From para 6 of Ash's statement:
If our sources maintain that a grand jury has returned an indictment - and we have pointed to a criminal case number that we are told corresponds to it...

I missed this before. In context, it seems like a definite statement that TO's sources are telling them that "06cr128" is the Rove indictment.

Dissecting it, it says "a grand jury has returned an indictment" ('an', non-specific) and "we are told" that case number 06cr00128, Sealed v. Sealed, "corresponds to it."

From Para 5:
Our sources continue to maintain that a grand jury has in fact returned an indictment... that parts of the indictment were read to Karl Rove and his attorney... we pointed to... case number "06 cr 128," which is still sealed and we are still pointing to it.

Again, nothing that specifically says that 06cr00128 is the Rove indictment. Nowhere in the entire statement does he say he stands by the original assertion that Rove was indicted. Nor did he in his "Stand Down" on the 16th. Ash and TruthOut stand by Leopold, they stand by their 'good-faith' sources ("career federal law enforcement and federal government officials speaking on condition of anonymity"), they stand by their journalism, but not their specific reporting in that instance. Why?

In a sense, this brings me back to an earlier discussion we had on gagged individuals slipping hints in hypothetical cases. As an editor, Ash almost certainly chose his wording very deliberately.

There are to possibilities:

1. They're parsing and spinning. Easy call, but ignores the sources, never mind Larry Johnson's statement (and I'd love right now to know what Joe Wilson's exact wording to Larry was).

2. He's very carefully choosing which aspects of Leopold's report to stand by.

Most of us are asking what happened? Few are asking why "Sealed v. Sealed"? Why not "U.S. v. Sealed"? If 06cr00128 is an indictment, and TO's sources seem to say it is, and Rove is not to be charged, who's been indicted?

Let's pick a few pieces out of his statement, all emphases mine.

Para 3:
The Rove indictment story is way beyond - in terms of complexity - any other story we have ever covered. In essence, we found out something we were not supposed to find out, and things exploded from there. We were not prepared for the backlash.

From Para 7:
Fitzgerald appears to have used the indictment... to extract information about the Plame outing case from Rove.

Para 10 & 11:
Our sources provided us with additional detail, saying that Fitzgerald is apparently examining closely Dick Cheney's role in the Valerie Plame matter, and apparently sought information and evidence from Karl Rove that would provide documentation of Cheney's involvement. Rove apparently was reluctant to cooperate and Fitzgerald, it appears, was pressuring him to do so, our sources told us.

Special Counsel Patrick Fitzgerald's investigation is a unique chapter in American history. The probe has managed to shed light into the inner recesses of perhaps the most secretive presidential administration in US history. His mission is not political, and he will not allow it to be.


Libby's being charged with perjury and obstruction and Luskin releases to Time:
"Absent any unexpected developments, he does not anticipate seeking any criminal charges against Rove."

And the smear machine is working overtime to discredit Leopold, Ash and TruthOut.

I think Fitz got himself a big one.

Kathleen said...

Luskin's interpretation of what Fitz's letter says should be taken with at least a grain of salt, probably a whole pile of salt. Since when do we believe ANYTHING that this gang of thugs says about anything? There are two indictments, one is US vs. Sealed and one is Sealed vs Sealed. Fun and Games for all.

Kathleen said...

"Rove apparently wasn't cooperating"???? 5ht, 5th, 5th, ad nauseum maybe?

I don't think it was TO's reporting that forced the issue but rather the Pre Trial hearing in Libby's case and Judge Walton's requesting from Fitz a list of witnesses, that forced the issue and forced Fitz to request immunity for Rove in order to proceed without obstruction.

lukery said...

thnx don. fp'd

kathleen - i agree re luskin. the words go in one ear and out the other...