Largely lost in the press coverage today is the fact that the official notification to Congress comes just in the nick of time for Attorney General Mike Mukasey. A vote on whether or not to hold Mukasey is contempt was scheduled for today, but now put off that Mukasey is saying that he is invoking the privilege on the orders of the President. Bush personally invoked the privilege Tuesday night, according to White House spokesman Tony Fratto.
More from the AP:
President Bush has asserted executive privilege to prevent Attorney General Michael Mukasey from having to comply with a House panel subpoena for material on the leak of CIA operative Valerie Plame’s identity.
A House committee chairman, meanwhile, held off on a contempt citation of Mukasey — who had requested the privilege claim — but only as a courtesy to lawmakers not present.
Among the documents sought by House Oversight Chairman Henry Waxman are FBI interviews of Vice President Dick Cheney.
They also include notes about the 2003 State of the Union address, during which President Bush made the case for invading Iraq in part by saying Saddam Hussein was pursuing uranium ore to make a nuclear weapon. That information turned out to be wrong.
Waxman rejected Mukasey’s suggestion that Cheney’s FBI interview on the CIA leak should be protected by the privilege claim — and therefore not turned over to the panel.
“We’ll act in the reasonable and appropriate period of time,” Waxman, D-Calif., said. But he made clear that he thinks Mukasey has earned a contempt citation and that he’d schedule a vote on the matter soon.
What could be in the report that the White House doesn’t want you to know about. Patrick Fitzgerald said in his closing statement at Libby’s trial that there was a “cloud over the Vice President” because of the unanswered questions as to what occurred.
Dan Froomkin ably added some context to that comment in a dispatch he penned during the closing arguments of Libby’s trial:
“What is this case about?” special counsel Patrick J. Fitzgerald asked in his rebuttal to the defense’s closing arguments yesterday in the Scooter Libby perjury trial.
“Is it about something bigger?”
And while Fitzgerald never directly answered that second question, he at long last made it quite clear that the depth of Vice President Cheney’s role in the leaking of the identity of a CIA operative is one of the central mysteries that Libby’s alleged lies prevented investigators from resolving.
“There is a cloud over the vice president . . . And that cloud remains because this defendant obstructed justice,” Fitzgerald said.
“There is a cloud over the White House. Don’t you think the FBI and the grand jury and the American people are entitled to straight answers?” Fitzgerald asked the jury.
Libby, Fitzgerald continued, “stole the truth from the justice system.”
After literally years of keeping his public pronouncements about the case to an absolute minimum, Fitzgerald yesterday finally let slip a bit of the speculation that many of us have long suspected has lurked just beneath the surface of his investigation.
Suddenly it wasn’t just the defendant alone, it was “they” who decided to tell reporters about Wilson’s wife working for the CIA. “To them,” Fitzgerald said, “she wasn’t a person, she was an argument.”
And it was pretty clear who “they” was: Libby and his boss, Cheney.
Another thing that the FBI report might shed light on is whether or not the Vice President Cheney possibly devised a cover story with Libby about how Libby learned of Libby’s identity when he leaked Plame’s name to the press. (Libby claimed that he did not learn about Plame’s identity from classified sources and thus did nothing worng.) Details in this story I wrote in National Journal suggest that there is a substantial body of evidence that that is the case:
In the fall of 2003, as a federal criminal probe was just getting underway to determine who leaked the identity of CIA officer Valerie Plame to the media, I. Lewis “Scooter” Libby, the then-chief of staff to Vice President Dick Cheney, sought out Cheney to explain to his boss his side of the story.
The explanation that Libby offered Cheney that day was virtually identical to one that Libby later told the FBI and testified to before a federal grand jury: Libby said he had only passed along to reporters unsubstantiated gossip about Plame that he had heard from NBC bureau chief Tim Russert.
The grand jury concluded that the account was a cover story to conceal the role of Libby and other White House officials in leaking information about Plame to the press, and indicted him on five felony counts of making false statements, perjury, and obstruction of justice.
At the time that Libby offered his explanation to Cheney, the vice president already had reason to know that Libby’s account to him was untrue, according to sources familiar with still-secret grand jury testimony and evidence in the CIA leak probe, as well as testimony made public during Libby’s trial over the past three weeks in federal court.
Yet, according to Libby’s own grand jury testimony, which was made public during his trial in federal court, Cheney did nothing to discourage Libby from telling that story to the FBI and the federal grand jury. Moreover, Cheney encouraged then-White House press secretary Scott McClellan to publicly defend Libby, according to other testimony and evidence made public during Libby’s trial.
The White House, of course, says this is not about hiding any wrongdoing, but rather their position has been taken entirely out of principle.
But in the past, while the President has refused to cooperate– citing either national security concerns or executive privelege– as a reason to not only co-opeate with congressional inquiries but also with investigations of his own Justice Department– after public opinion has turned,
the White House President Bush himself abruptly changed his own course– and and agreed to cooperate after all.
Marcy Wheeler has the text of the correspondence between Mukasey and Waxman with some analysis as well.]]>
The rules are simple enough for the kids playing in the stickball tournament this morning in Kelly Park: There are to be three people to a team. There are four innings per game. Two outs per inning. You walk on three balls. You strike out on two strikes. The second strike can be a foul ball.
Any ground ball not stopped or caught is a single. If you hit the ball over the double court line without it being caught or stopped, you have hit a double. If you smack the ball hard off the fence, you have a triple. And if you hit the ball entirely over the fence, of course, you have hit a home run. If you hit a deep foul ball over the fence, it is unclear whether it is to be counted as a foul ball or home run. In that case, the final decision is left to the whim of a grown up or the good will of the opposing team.
If you are eleven years old, and get a chance to bat, there are traditions to maintain: You must wear an oversized Red Sox jersey with the name Papelbon on the back. (That is the Sox’s closer for those not literate in such things. In an earlier time your jersey would have had the name Garciappara on it.) You dramatically roll your head from side to side to get the hair out of the eyes. Then you check the stick to make sure you are hitting at the ball from the right end. (This is very important; however, you hope that nobody sees you doing this.) Then you dig hard into the pavement with your converse high tops, lean way way back on your heels, and then smack at the ball—eyes closed allowed—with all of your eleven year old might. Whether you hit the ball or not, all is right with the world.
You hope you hit the ball of course. But if you don’t, you still get to have your face painted, hang with the older kids, have a hot dog with anything you want it on it– and then if you are really, really lucky you get to sit on your big brother’s shoulder to watch the dedication of the square to an older boy in the neighborhood.
The corner of Cragie and Summer is to be renamed in dedication for another little boy who once played stick ball in this park. There are two honor guards, one of which will fire off live rounds, interrupting the morning quiet and send singing birds scattering. A representative of the mayor will say a few words.
This is the unveiling of the new street sign dedicating Spc. Nicholas Peters Square.
Nick served a tour of duty in Iraq and came home in one piece. He survived the war but not the peace. Stationed at Ft. Hood, in Texas, someone in a bar did not like the fact that he was wearing a Red Sox jersey, and killed him.
Days after his killing, his baseball coach would say: “I can still see a 6 year old Nick skating at the rink and at 8 years old hitting a baseball.” Nick’s little niece, her mother, Shanna, told me the morning of the stickball tournament, still sees Nick all the time. She declares to her mom: “Uncle is laughing at you!” One day while coloring, she nonchalantly orders: “Uncle! Color in the lines!”
Who is to tell her that she is wrong to believe that her uncle is still with her?
When Nick was buried in a flag draped coffin, he was not buried in his military uniform. He was proud of being a soldier, but did not want to be known or remembered only for being a soldier. It was duty and service for him. But he did not want to be singled out for it. When he was told that he could watch a New England Patriots game from the sidelines if he were to wear his uniform, he said he would much rather dress in his civilian clothes and watch from the stands, his sister Shanna told me.
He had told his family before he left for the war that he did not want to be buried in his military uniform but rather in his Red Sox jersey. Nobody gave it a second thought after his tour of duty was over. Who could have thought that he would be killed at home or for the way he was dressed?
The stickball tournament in not just in honor of Nick, but also his friend, David Martini, who played stickball and baseball and hockey with Nick, and who too has died too young. David was family to Nick’s family and vice versa. Shanna, Nick’s sister, wanted Nick’s day to be David’s too.
All together, four other boys who played stickball with Nicholas Peters in Kelly Park have died too young deaths—the result of senseless violence, suicide, or drug overdoses. Casualties of an invisible war at home like the one in Iraq that has also been disappearing from our media.
When I return home from Somerville to Washington D.C., I find out that my friend Brian has been shot on the street because apparently the two kids robbing him did not think he was willing to hand over his cell phone fast enough. Even though he is shot three times, he is alright—although with one less spleen.
Unable to sleep, I go online and watch over and over again Bobby Kennedy’s speech on the menace of violence in America which he gave on April 5, 1968: “The victims of the violence are black and white, rich and poor, young and old famous and unknown. They are most important of all human beings whom other human beings loved and needed. No one can be certain who suffer next from senseless act of violence. And yet it goes on and on and on…
“Whenever any American’s life is taken by another American unnecessarily… Whenever we tear a the fabric of he lives which some other man has painfully and clumsily woven for himself and his children—whenever we do this—the nation is degraded.”
The next morning I have to go visit Brian in the hospital to see with my own eyes that Brian is all right. He smiles, banters with friends, nods off, and we are all reassured.
But what amazes everyone is that despite being shot three times, Brian ran quite an entire block and a half away to put some distance between him and the shooter before the police and EMTs could arrive. It makes no sense and perfect sense. He wanted to get to a safe place.
My thoughts return to that eleven year old kid playing in the stickball tournament. You want him to be safe. You think maybe you should have a heart to heart and tell him that when he gets older all that he has to do is not wear that Red Sox jersey certain places. If only it were that simple.
Below here is a video of Bobby Kennedy’s speech. Please watch and comment. And for more, here is a Huffington Post column.