View Full Version : Libby Trial: The NBC Connection

02-10-2007, 05:54 PM
Clarice Feldman
The prosecution has rested in the Libby Trial, and like a fish left out in warm weather, a strange and unpleasant odor is becoming more and more apparent as the sun shines on case. NBC News, which has recently taken a turn to the left, plays a particularly prominent role in the prosecution's case. Special Counsel Patrick Fitzgerald is fighting hard to make sure reporter Andrea Mitchell's testimony is not heard, and is asking the jury to buy some highly implausible notions about a key FBI interview with NBC's Washington Bureau Chief Tim Russert.

Gagging Mitchell

The prosecution is still trying hard to keep Andrea Mitchell from being called as a defense witness. In a pleading Friday, the defense is trying just as hard to get court permission to call her. The prosecution argues that the defense cannot call a witness just to impeach her, and the defense says that is not their only reason to call her, that she has other evidence to provide, and that a fair trial cannot be had without her being called and questioned by the defense.

In the period leading up to the disclosure of her status in the Novak case, Mitchell published a series of leaks (clearly from Department of State sources and just as clearly part of the CIA-State Department interagency war) aimed at the CIA's intelligence gathering. Among the interesting points in her stories:

- On July 14, 2003, just as Novak's article hit the newsstands, Mitchell made clear she was having a spat with Armitage (the first to leak), indicating the he wasn't returning her phone calls any longer and that he had chosen an appearance on Fox instead of NBC.

- On October 3, 2003, the very day that Armitage made his secret admission to the FBI that he was Novak's source, Andrea Mitchell publicly said that everyone knew about Plame, something she twice has tried unpersuasively to minimize once NBC became involved in this case and the knowledge of her boss, Tim Russert, became an issue.
(You would be hard pressed to find many regular Plame obsessives at Just One Minute who do not believe that Armitage leaked some details of the story to Mitchell as he did with Woodward and Novak.)

The prosecution has offered up a representation by NBC counsel in effect saying that Mitchell has no evidence to offer the Court-that she did not know Plame's identity before July 14, 2003 and never conveyed that information to Russert.

Aside from the fact that it seems ridiculous to regard this offer as the equivalent of the opportunity to confront Mitchell in court, we must remember that this representation is being made by NBC counsel, which had previously submitted a misleading and false affidavit from Russert, hiding his cooperation with the FBI, to Judge Hogan's court when the issue of reporter privilege came up. The same prosecutor now proclaiming Mitchell has nothing to add knew the Russert affidavit was false and did nothing to correct the record in that case.

I do not see how the trial court can deny the defense motion to call Andrea Mitchell as its witness.

The rest at..

02-10-2007, 11:27 PM
She can help establish Artmitage as the leaker. Seems relevant to me.

02-10-2007, 11:33 PM
Well that looks like a fucked up affair.

red states rule
02-13-2007, 07:26 AM
"Collective Nervous Breakdown" on Meet the Press
Posted by Lance Dutson on February 12, 2007 - 22:02.
The trial of Scooter Libby is providing some pretty revealing insight into the mindset of the Washington press. This Sunday's Meet the Press featured an unabashed series of self-glorifications that make it no wonder the general public is turning elsewhere to get its news. The pedestal that the press places itself upon has grown so high now that they appear to believe themselves, at last, above the law.
Tim Russert’s disastrous dance with Libby attorney Theodore Wells last week left him gun-shy enough to allow Howard Kurtz to frame the discussion. Kurtz began by expressing sympathy for Russert’s position on the witness stand, describing Russert as ‘cautious, hesitant, as anybody would be.’ There was no criticism of Russert’s failed memory, no suggestion of the responsibility of a journalist whose statements may end up sending a man to prison. Instead, Kurtz chastised those outside the beltway that have become deluded with the idea that the Washington press is in fact part of the political game:

"And I think that the people out there who don’t follow this all that closely think that we have become part of the club, too much the insiders. And that is a problem for journalism."
Listen closely to what Kurtz doesn’t say- he doesn’t say that becoming ‘part of the club’ is a problem for journalism. He says that the misconception on the part of those out of the loop that journalists have become part of the club is a problem for journalism. So apparently all they have to do is let us all know the truth, and the problem disappears. Precise work from the author of a book called Spin Cycle.
Later, the talking stick is passed to David Broder. Broder is deeply concerned with the fact that government officials have started using the poor unknowing saints of the press to carry out their dirty work. Again no self-reflection, no call for journalists to be responsible for their actions. Just another pained attempt to deflect attention from the spectacle of media self-immolation that has begun with this trial.
The coups-de-grace comes from PBS’s Gwen Ifill. Ifill describes the ‘collective nervous breakdown’ of the press over the Libby trial, and how concerned journalists are that they may one day be subjected to scrutiny in a court of law. She tells of journalists who are beginning to destroy their notes in order to prevent their exposure in future legal proceedings, as if this is an indicator of how oppressed the poor media has become by the evil judicial system in America. Ifill does not consider the near-lawlessness of her statements, as what she is describing amounts to the destruction of evidence for future cases, evidence that may determine whether or not someone rots in jail for a crime those notes may have exonerated them from. Her cavalier attitude toward the civic responsibility of journalists seems the height of audacity, until she concludes with this:

"And I don’t know what kind of implication that has for the business, what kind of implication that even has, not to make it too big a point, but for the history books."
The troubling absurdity of this dialog is tempered, fortunately, by what is starting to look like come-uppance on a grand scale. As a New York Times reporter said to me toward the end of Russert’s testimony last Thursday, “This is not good for journalists.”