Skip to comments.Pincus Tags Fleischer As Leak Source ~
Posted on 02/12/2007 2:25:08 PM PST by Ernest_at_the_Beach
WASHINGTON (AP) -
Former White House press secretary Ari Fleischer leaked the identity of a CIA operative to Washington Post reporter Walter Pincus during a 2003 phone call, Pincus testified Monday as the first defense witness in the CIA leak trial.
Pincus was one of the first reporters to learn the identity of Valerie Plame, the wife of former ambassador and prominent Iraq war critic Joseph Wilson. Pincus said he learned her identity July 12, 2003 but did not immediately write about it. Plame was outed by syndicated columnist Robert Novak two days later.
Pincus testified on behalf of Vice President Dick Cheney's former chief of staff, I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby. Libby is accused of lying and obstructing the investigation into the leak of Plame's identity.
Pincus, a veteran national security reporter, said he was talking to Fleischer for a story about weapons of mass destruction. He said Fleischer "suddenly swerved off" topic and asked why Pincus continued to write about Wilson.
"Don't you know his wife works for the CIA as an analyst?" Pincus recalled Fleischer saying.
Fleischer testified at the trial earlier that Libby had told him about Plame over lunch. Fleischer testified he leaked the information to three reporters during a presidential trip to Africa but he did not mention the Pincus conversation. In exchange for his testimony, prosecutors promised not to charge Fleischer.
Libby argues that he never discussed Plame with Fleischer. Pincus' testimony helps defense attorneys make the argument that Fleischer needed someone to blame to cover up his own leaking.
Novak, whose column triggered an FBI investigation into the leak, was also scheduled to testify Monday, attorneys said.
Novak has said that Richard Armitage, the former deputy secretary of state, and Bush aide Karl Rove were the sources for his July 2003 column.
"You're going to hear that," defense attorney Theodore Wells said in court Monday morning. "He's going to testify about that in a few hours."
Novak and Pincus are two of several journalists whom Libby's attorneys planned to call. These lawyers also are fighting hard to force NBC foreign affairs reporter Andrea Mitchell to testify about why she said that Plame's identity was "widely known" even before the Novak column was published.
Mitchell has since recanted those comments and has said that she cannot explain them.
A key dispute in the case involves Mitchell's NBC colleague, Tim Russert. Libby says Russert told him in July 2003 that "all the reporters know" Plame worked for the CIA. Russert said that never happened because he didn't know who Plame was at the time.
Prosecutors say Libby concocted the Russert story to shield him from prosecution for discussing information he had learned through official government channels.
Libby's attorneys want to show that Russert had heard that Plame worked at the CIA. Fleischer has already testified that he told NBC reporter David Gregory about her. If Libby can show that Mitchell knew, too, they think they can persuade jurors to believe Libby's account of the Russert conversation.
U.S. District Judge Reggie B. Walton said Mitchell can be called as a witness but he wouldn't allow Libby's attorneys to ask about her inconsistent statements.
In addition to Mitchell, attorneys have said several other journalists are expected to testify this week: New York Times managing editor Jill Abramson, Newsweek assistant managing editor Evan Thomas, and Bob Woodward and Glenn Kessler, along with Pincus, from The Washington Post.
Associated Press writer Michael J. Sniffen contributed to this report.
Hot potato, pass it around...
Did you see Fedora's post?
What a circus....
The finger pointing will go on and on. Meanwhile Scooter will go to jail for a crime that is not a crime.
What? Nobody's allowed to question little miss crater-face's public pronouncements? Why should that arrogant skank get a pass?
I just wanted to capture an AP post on this topic ... totally,...as they tend to pull stuff if it suits them....
Welcome to the Gulag.
Good damn question.
Between you and I...
Corn, Pincus and Vandeghi should be called. Pincus has a lot of nerve, he and Corn said Joe was 'one' of their sources later.
Sheesh, now I have to dig up those columns.
Even if he did, it wasn't a crime!
And Sandy can get his security clearance back and actually work for the WH and Hillary... background check be damned.
Only a Washington Post Puke would consider a WMD denier "off topic" when the subject is WMD.
That's intended to reinforce the "they were out to frame Joe Wilson" lie. Wilson jumped in with both feet. He inserted himself in the debate by calling others liars, counting on the liberal media to close rank around him, which they did.
That's why when I hear reporters talk of themselves as "journalists" I laugh.
A serious constitutional violation? I mean, what about Libby's right to a fair trial? Doesn't sound like he's getting one.
". . . as an analyst."
Case closed. Not an operative.
Let me guess... did Ari say Cheney told him to? I didn't hear him say that. s/
I am the father of Anna Nicole Smith's baby...
Bush should grant Libby a presidential pardon right here and now, and end this charade.
Who was that who had already admitted to the leaking? His last name starts with A, but I can't think of it now
Thanks for the ping. As I recall, there was a discrepancy between Pincus and Woodward's account of one of their conversations, so at least one of their testimonies is suspect.
Since when is perjury not a crime?
Libby is not on trial for leaking any information to anyone.
Libby is accused of lying and obstructing the investigation into the leak of Plame's identity.
Good points - and remember that Pincus is a central member of the vast DBM conspiracy to distort and mis-represent everything about this case. He was the 2nd reporter (after Nicholas Kristof of the NY TIMES) to use Joe Wilson (and possibly Valerie) for anonymous sourcing several weeks before Novak's column.... and there was a reference in a Pincus column to having July 4 bar-b-q with Joe and Valerie, suggesting a more personal relationship that would be highly inappropriate for any reporter working on these issues.
I am the father of Anna Nicole Smith's baby...
Take a number. :-)
Didn't Hillary state the same type of answer?
I don't think they have to ask about her inconsistent statements. Just play the Imus tape and ask her if she said it. Yes or no. Then ask her if she ever told any other reporter or talked with any other reporter about Plame working at the CIA.
She will screw up in some way when she answers, which will open the door for the questioning, because she brought it up.
Of course, my courtroom trial experience is limited to watching Perry Mason and a few other TV attorney shows, so I might be a little off in my analysis.
Ahhhh...therin lies the rub. Double standard and all that. Hillary is a teflon coated wench.
"Yeah, I must've been smoking crack pretty heavy back then. Huh. Go figure."
So, what you would consider obvious is actually an inference that three people who work for the same company talked on Friday and shared this information among themselves, when one of them was in Africa.
There is no such thing as "prima facie" evidence that something is merely possible. Yes, it is possible that the three of them talked. But if there is no evidence that they talked, and they deny talking about it, why do you think it is probative to present evidence that they possibly could have talked? Wouldn't that be true of anyone? Isn't it possible that Woodward called all of these people as soon as he heard it from Armitage?
The point about Mitchell's statement is an age-old rule of evidence. A prior inconsistent statement is for impeachment of testimony - not for the truth of the matter stated, unless there is some other basis for admitting it. If you call her in to say she didn't know about Plame, then impeach her with the prior statement, you are left with a zero - no credible testimony offered for the truth of the matter. Thus, there is no reason to put her up at all.
Plame Game - The Conspiracy Unfolds 10-17-05
When there is no underlying crime that is being lied about. You can't be convicted of lying to cover up a non crime.
All true. But perjury is not simply lying. And then there's the obstruction charge which does not care what the motivation or validity of the investigation is.
Left unsaid is that Pincus was a close personal friend of the Wilsons and knew full well what she did for a living.
According to the prosecution, Libby managed to perjur himself about a non-crime and obstruct an investigation that had finished investigating the non-crime.
PS: I should mention that on that first link, I haven't been able to confirm the agent referred to in the article was Plame and other researchers I've talked to have argued that it wasn't, so take that FWIW, but I include it for reference on the topic of Pincus and Plamegate.
What a mess this is - and what an embarrassment this is even on trial. Mitchell knew, Russert knew, Armitage knew, hell EVERYBODY knew and they are trying to hang Libby because their little witch hunt didn't work out.
Still working on that piece,...pretty thick...
>> I am Spartacus...
No, I am Spartacus.
There was no "leak," because she was not covert.
Wilson did it!
No freaking way. How low can they go?
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