Cheney's Handwritten Notes Implicate Bush in Plame Affair

Copies of handwritten notes by Vice President Dick Cheney, introduced at trial by defense attorneys for former White House staffer I. Lewis “Scooter” Libby, would appear to implicate George W. Bush in the Plame CIA Leak case.

Photos of the documents in question after the jump. I have no idea what this means. I haven’t seen any media on this, at all. What am I missing? ~spk

Bush has long maintained that he was unaware of attacks by any member of his administration against [former ambassador Joseph] Wilson. The ex-envoy’s stinging rebukes of the administration’s use of pre-war Iraq intelligence led Libby and other White House officials to leak Wilson’s wife’s covert CIA status to reporters in July 2003 in an act of retaliation.

But Cheney’s notes, which were introduced into evidence Tuesday during Libby’s perjury and obstruction-of-justice trial, call into question the truthfulness of President Bush’s vehement denials about his prior knowledge of the attacks against Wilson. The revelation that Bush may have known all along that there was an effort by members of his office to discredit the former ambassador begs the question: Was the president also aware that senior members of his administration compromised Valerie Plame’s undercover role with the CIA?

Further, the highly explicit nature of Cheney’s comments not only hints at a rift between Cheney and Bush over what Cheney felt was the scapegoating of Libby, but also raises serious questions about potentially criminal actions by Bush. If Bush did indeed play an active role in encouraging Libby to take the fall to protect Karl Rove, as Libby’s lawyers articulated in their opening statements, then that could be viewed as criminal involvement by Bush.

Last week, Libby’s attorney Theodore Wells made a stunning pronouncement during opening statements of Libby’s trial. He claimed that the White House had made Libby a scapegoat for the leak to protect Karl Rove – Bush’s political adviser and “right-hand man.”

“Mr. Libby, you will learn, went to the vice president of the United States and met with the vice president in private. Mr. Libby said to the vice president, ‘I think the White House … is trying to set me up. People in the White House want me to be a scapegoat,'” said Wells…

And this one:

31 comments to Cheney's Handwritten Notes Implicate Bush in Plame Affair

  • Don

    says, WHERE THE FUCK is the television coverage this should be freezing the entire NATION RIGHT THIS MINUTE!

    Jesus wasn’t a Christian.

  • rMatey

    Well, it sure wasn’t a note from our brain-surgeon Masters Degreed Chimpster…. don’t think he can write a sentence without mispellings

  • Mark

    either other than to caution that this site has continued to push the suspect “journalism” of Jason Leopold who fabricated the the Rove indictment story. Treat this as suspect.

  • candy

    the words scratched out are “the pres” as in he decided who would be sacrificed.

  • Sean-Paul Kelley

    I don’t get it if it’s so explosive.

    “There is a principle which is a bar against all information, which is proof against all argument, and which cannot fail to keep a man in everlasting ignorance. This principle is, contempt prior to examination.”

  • Ian Welsh

    Leopold is a disgrace, but this paperwork is genuine, from what I understand

  • candy

    might have said “that has”. It isn’t very clear and can probably be argued against.

  • Escher Sketch

    it’s being liveblogged at Firedoglake as it unfolds.

  • Escher Sketch

    with the other cursive letter “h’s” in the document. If that word is “has”, that’s an uncharacteristic loop on the initial “h” compared to the other iterations of it.

    Also – compare also the other iterations of the word “the” in the document to the first scratched out word. Then compare the other iteration of the word “that” in the document. Where’s the dramatic closing “t” on the word like there is in the very next word? Odd he would have gone on to the next word before he completed the word “that” with a “t” – and then go back and scratch it out.

    I’m not a handwriting expert – and in all honesty I totally missed this detail the first time I looked. It’s an editing “trip-up”; because the next word is “that” you initially see what you expect to see.

    Here’s another thing – if that scratched out bit was “that has”, then why did he scratch it out the word “that” as well as the word “has” – and then write it again immediately after?

    Yep – despite my initial impression, the more I look at this, the less it looks like “that has” and the more it unmistakably looks like “the Pres.” – complete with the period to indicate abbreviation.

    Edited to add – compare the putative word “has” in “that has” with the nearest sample – the word “his” at the beginning of the next line. See any similarities at all in the way he’s formed his initial “h” and joined it to the vowel?

    Me neither.

    We got us a smoking gun.

  • Escher Sketch

    see my other post. It’s not even in the ballpark of the other “that” in the memo – and it’s clearly characteristic of the way he writes “the”. Given some other samples of his handwriting, it’ll be a no-brainer for a professional analyst.

  • Jimbo92107

    Good lord, if this is what it appears to be, then the president of the United States was actively involved in a conspiracy to out an undercover CIA agent, in order to punish her husband for exposing BushCo’s lie about Yellowcake uranium from Niger.

    And the the American media establishment is saying NOTHING about this?

    “Death before being dishonored any more.” – Col. Ted Westhusing

  • canuck

    with ‘the Pres.’ in the order that it is.

    I.e. Sentence reads, “Not going to protect one staffer and sacrifice this guy (crossed)the Pres.(out) that was asked to stick his neck out in the meat grinder because of his incompetence of others.”

    I would think that is the reason the media haven’t picked it up and ran with it.

    Cheney’s handwriting is poor, but it is decipherable, and he does not make grammatical errors from what I saw. Where is the implication the President was involved from what Cheney wrote?

  • Man in the Middle

    “Not going to protect one staffer and sacrifice this guy the Pres. asked to stick his neck out…”

    If you peek at the blowup at “Truth”Out, it’s pretty clear the crossout is “the Pres.”. What it all means, I don’t know. I hope that MSM reporters are looking at this, but the day I believe anything Leopold writes is the day I become Editor of LGF.

    “Damn right it’s loaded, it makes a lousy club.”

  • candy

    the first person to start writing something and end up scratching it out. I just think its an arguable point and not a smoking gun.

  • canuck

    ‘that was’ from the sentence.

    It actually reads, “Not going to protect one staffer and sacrifice this guy the Pres. that was asked to stick his neck out….”

    if you don’t cross out, ‘the Pres.’

    Believe it was inadvertently written in, then crossed out. People make mistakes in longhand–Cheney corrected his.

  • Man in the Middle

    Because the interpretation Leopold wants readers to buy into is that Cheney wrote “this guy the pres.”, then crossed out “the pres.” and continued on with “that was”.

    Which all shows to go you, it’s not a smoking gun – perhaps not even a loaded one.

    “Damn right it’s loaded, it makes a lousy club.”

  • bernadene

    what about what looks like :”call out to key press” ? perhaps their shills and other “friends” they are the ones not covering the story. it’s more than it looks?

    that’s my guess. just a guess, the ciminality is widespread and far reaching.
    ************************
    If this were 1700, they’d be saying: “Since civilization began, slavery has existed. It’s human nature.” I would have believed it. If 1800: “Women will never vote. They are not born rational”. I would have believed it.
    2007: Make war irrelevant

  • Jimbo92107

    This could also indicate that Cheney, while jotting down his notes, realized mid-sentence that putting “the pres.” in there gave the sentence an active agent, thus legal culpability if the note was read by a lawyer at some future time.

    So, Cheney crossed out “the pres.” and went on to complete the sentence in passive tense. Wasn’t that clever? Unfortunately, he had written his note in pen, so he couldn’t simply erase it. A bit sloppy, Darth…

    “Death before being dishonored any more.” – Col. Ted Westhusing

  • canuck

    and had been that cautious, surely he would have just put the notes through a shredder?

    Had I suspected someone would read notes I didn’t want read, I would not have made them in the first place, or shortly thereafer, they would have been destroyed. These were not numbered pages that he wrote his messages on that would alert investigators that ‘some’ pages were missing.

  • JustPlainDave

    …I have a sneaking suspicion that the text on bottom right that looks to be “LL001-00099″ may well be a page number.

    “Political Islam is a dream or a nightmare, but not a sociological reality.” – Olivier Roy, Globalized Islam: The Search for a New Ummah

  • biggahthebettah

    If you look further into the document you will see where he’s written the word “press”. It’s identical to “pres” except for one less “s”.

  • Escher Sketch

    further edit – after looking, totally agree – the way the “res” lines up is spot on. He’s just capitalized the “P” and marked the abbreviation with a period. good call.

  • Don

    I. this is NOT rocket science goddammit the smoking note-gun is white hot, jesus:

    “not going to protect one staffer (ROVE) by sacrificing the guy (LIBBBY) THE PRES. asked to step into the meat grinder because of the incompetence of others (CIA)”

    then “THE PRES.” is scratched out and “THAT WAS” is substituted so that its amended form (to AVOID LEGAL LIABILITY) reads: “not going to protect one staffer by sacrificing the guy THAT WAS asked to step into the meat grinder because of the incompetence of others”

    read it again: NOT GOING TO PROTECT ONE STAFFER BY SACRIFICING THE GUY THE PRES. ASKED TO STEP INTO THE MEAT GRINDER BECAUSE OF THE INCOMPETENCE OF OTHERS — this is a fucking GUN and it is fucking SMOKING, dude

    II. rose’s shock at a US senator telling the same truth that every thinking member of every civilized society has known since bush v. gore is a comment on the deterioration of the term “US senator” only . . . and no i didn’t see goddam charlie rose . . . i saw government exhibit no. 532 in a goddam
    federal criminal trial concerning a CONSPIRACY TO OBSTRUCT JUSTICE AND DEFRAUD THE UNITED STATES CONGRESS, PUBLIC AND UNITED GODDAM NATIONS that the mainstream press is neglecting to connect the dots on for UNKNOWN REASONS unless they are delaying a
    “what did the president order about wilson/plame and when did he order it” exposee until and only AFTER a jury of his peers finds the sniveling little fuck
    GUILTY so start the fucking presses at LEAST on the fucking INTERNET patrick you are a fucking WRITER with conscience and balls — see paul krugman on molly and hitch up yer paints, bow-ah

    Jesus wasn’t a Christian.

  • canuck

    I reread Cheney’s note from your DOJ link, January 30, 2007, exhibit # GX532m it reads:

    “Has to happen today

    Call out to key press saying same thing about Scooter as Karl

    Not to protect one staffer and sacrifice the guy that was asked to stick his neck in the meat grinder because of the incompetence of others.”

  • canuck

    has numbered pages. See Libby notes, June 12, 2003: Exhibit #GX104

    Bottom right-hand corner: “LL005-09482″ was likely very similar note paper that Cheney used. No wonder the notes weren’t put in the shredder! Having a missing page # would clearly indicate a cover up. I took a magnifying glass to read Cheney’s # and concur the number on Cheney’s page is, “LL001-00099.”

    —-

    Alas, that theory may not hold up? See Exhibit GX528A, Handwritten notes July 12, 2003, the numbers LL005-09455 and LL005-09456 and in particular LL005-09455, is not on the VP’s note paper, it was added later, possibly by the Department of Justice. The number goes off to the left of the paper on the Vice President’s hand-written note and is overlapping a piece of paper that it has been mounted on.

    Unless, of course, a secretary or someone in the Vice President’s office, puts these numbers on themselves before filing them. With a piece of paper that small, I would think a secretary would in the interests of not losing it, affix it to a bigger piece. One would have to know who puts the numbers on the notepaper. They are unique, consecutive numbered pages. But all the exhibits do carry a court exhibit number. Those #’s are 6 digits with two leading zeros that are obviously applied with some type of stamping device.

    I find Cheney’s writing quite easy to decipher…but have no idea what Libby’s is about. Libby’s handwriting would have to be studied by an expert with a magnifying glass.

  • Escher Sketch

    He’s building his case a brick at a time – and most importantly, one trial at a time. The purpose of the Libby trial in that long game seems clear to me.

    This is what I see unfolding here: based on what I’ve read of how Fitzgerald works and how he historically has brought down entire administrations, I’d wager the Libby trial – far from being self-contained – is merely a subcomponent, the beginning of a larger series of cases. Scooter Libby’s entire trial is going to effectively wind up being the “discovery” phase of that larger case.

    If he’s not going over-the-top right now in drawing explicit conclusions about the leak itself, that’s all part of that strategy. He doesn’t want to. He doesn’t even want to talk about the impact of the leak itself directly. He wants instead to get them all on record while keeping their focus simply on the perjury rather than the leak – and in the process of doing so, introduce all sorts of extremely interesting things into the record. Things that are likely themselves to produce additional charges.

    After Libby is out of the way (and he’s so toast already, just on the face of the evidence), Fitzgerald may well then proceed to lay charges for the leak itself. The next trial will begin with a substantial volume of evidence already introduced into the public record during Libby’s trial and Fitzgerald won’t have to prove anything about the existence, source, or deliberate malice of the leak. A lot of the spadework will have been done in advance.

    Strategically, he’s managed to set up the battle in such a way that he’s forced them into a focus on tactical day-to-day survival (just getting through this trial) and away from assessing of the potential long-term strategic damage of each individual revelation. This is why Generals don’t do direct combat; the press of immediate minute-to-minute survival destroys your grasp of “the big picture”.

    If Fitzgerald had started out trying an Administration official for the leak itself, the Administration might have found a hundred ways to stall, or stonewall, or to play fancy jurisdictional tricks. He may well have found himself in the position of asking the Administration for evidence and just getting a flat “no” and “whatchoo gonna do about it?” in response.

    So instead he simply put Libby, one of the key players, in legal jeopardy and made it in the defendant’s best interest to proactively expose the whole scheme in order to attempt to clear himself.

    The next case after Libby may then go to the substance of the leak itself, which remains Fitzgerald’s actual appointed task, rather than a little “meta-case” about perjury during its investigation.

    And at that point the principals may well find themselves trying to argue against their own sworn testimony on record, and secretly wishing they hadn’t lost track of the big picture while they were down in the trenches. I’ll bet you dollars to donuts that Fitz hasn’t.

  • canuck

    let’s hope the evidence is so overwhelming that no one in the executive branch of government would dare offer pardons.

  • Escher Sketch

    struck me as an absolute model of its type.

    Transcript of Special Counsel Fitzgerald’s Press Conference
    Courtesy of FDCH e-MEDIA
    Friday, October 28, 2005; 3:57 PM

    FITZGERALD: Good afternoon. I’m Pat Fitzgerald. I’m the United States attorney in Chicago, but I’m appearing before you today as the Department of Justice special counsel in the CIA leak investigation…

    …A few hours ago, a federal grand jury sitting in the District of Columbia returned a five-count indictment against I. Lewis Libby, also known as Scooter Libby, the vice president’s chief of staff…

    ( … Link … )

    It will reward a fresh look, both with the perspective of 15 months out and with the current trial unfolding – especially understanding that most of the evidence he’s introducing right now was already gathered by this point.

    Fitzgerald does a superb job of giving nothing away – yet gives away a lot of info between the lines. Look for his statements on “vindication of public interest”. He’s doing his best to speak only to the perjury charges, but IMHO there’s way more in what he’s not saying and how he’s not saying it.

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