Agent Bond

The Libby trial finished for last week on Thursday with the start of the cross examination of FBI agent Deborah Bond, the interrogator who first questioned Libby. The cross examination revealed that Bond was hostile, that she had neglected to fully incorporate into her notes of the interview important portions of his testimony, most especially some matters that Libby's counsel had specifically asked be included. These were:

o Libby's statement at the initial interview that he had been unable to review his own notes;

o that his memory of the events was imperfect;

o that he was offering up just his present sketchy recollection; and

o that he could be more precise after he'd had an opportunity to review his notes. 

(Neverthess, even in that initial interview when he was relying solely on his recollection he said he believed the Vice President had told him on about June 12, 2003 that Wilson's wife worked in counter proliferation.)

In his second interview, after he'd had an opportunity to review his notes, he volunteered to the FBI again that he'd first heard about Joseph Wilson's wife on June 12, 2003, when the Vice President told him. (I do not have transcripts of the trial testimony but there are summaries of the testimony
provided by Firedoglake

Just One Minute trial mavens note that in the counts of the indictment relevant to the FBI interviews, once again the prosecution has far overstated the evidence in the indictment. We are also learning that the FBI still relies on the antique and inaccurate method of recording these interviews: the hand written notes of the interrogator, instead of videotapes. This process is surely inadequate and subject to bias.

This lack of an actual video or even audio recording of the interview is certainly going to appear more significant as the cross examination proceeds. This method of interview recording by interrogator's hand is also under fire in the Hamdania court martial, where the defense had put into evidence interview notes taken by members of the Naval Criminal Investigation Service at direct odds with affidavits sworn by those who provided those interviews.

At one time, before the more aggressive prosecution of those accused of making false statements to investigators, this technique with all its flaws may have escaped the scrutiny it deserved. The Libby case is a rare case, seemingly outside the Department of Justice practice: a case where he prosecution is seeking to convict on "lies" not made about any criminal conduct.

Azaghal, one of my favorite commentors and one most knowledgeable about law enforcement procedures and practices observes:
Fitz[gerald's] distillation of Libby's Russert related testimony bears little resemblance to his actual testimony. It sounds to me more like a man trying to provide as clear as possible an account of what transpired months previously to the best of his recollection, not someone trying to confuse. Given that he corrected his initial statements to the FBI, I don't see what interest of justice is served in pursuing him with a perjury or obstruction or false statement prosecution. The correction it seems to me obviates any obstacle to the investigators; therefore it's abusive to prosecute on such flimsy grounds. I should add, that in circumstances in which a witness has been directed by his superiors to cooperate and not assert his constitutional rights, the prosecutor should definitely take into account the entire sum of the witnesses testimony, the cumulative effect and merit of the information he provides--has it assisted the investigation overall. After all, even cooperating and immunized witnesses like Fleischer offer testimony that conflicts with other witnesses who have no reason to lie (Dickerson, for example), and there's no apparent reason why Fleischer should lie about anything--his recollection, like that of virtually everyone, is fallible. From what I've seen of Libby's testimony and from the FBI's testimony about his correcting his initial statements it seems absurd for the prosecution to claim that the meat of his testimony and statements to investigators was an attempt to derail an investigation. And that's especially true given what we know about the predication of the investigation--information that Fitz[gerald] concealed from courts of review, thus depriving these courts of information that could well have affected their decision regarding the disclosure of journalistic sources. In a situation like this, when the prosecutor doesn't exactly have clean hands himself, it's doubly abusive for him to bring such charges.

Do we really want a situation in this country in which, whenever the FBI comes knocking, the citizenry's first reaction is to lawyer up and assert their 5th amendment rights for fear of being prosecuted for any inaccuracies in what they might say? I doubt that the FBI itself wants that to happen, but the excesses of prosecutors like Fitz[gerald] and Comey will lead toward that becoming more the norm than it is."
Indeed, that is my advice to all of you under the present circumstances, should you ever be questioned in an investigation: Lawyer up, unless the FBI  gets honest and uses videotapes or prosecutors stop such nonsense.

And the next time there's a president who agrees to the appointment of such a "special special prosecutor" and demands the cooperation of all officials and staff with it, everyone working for him should resign and take the Fifth.

Working in the White House is hard, thankless, underpaid work. It is too much to ask that one should also agree to be a piñata for an unsupervised, unreasonable, utterly abusive proceeding like this.

This is precisely why Star Chambers were abolished.

Clarice Feldman is an attorney in Washington, DC, and a frequent contributor to American Thinker
The Libby trial finished for last week on Thursday with the start of the cross examination of FBI agent Deborah Bond, the interrogator who first questioned Libby. The cross examination revealed that Bond was hostile, that she had neglected to fully incorporate into her notes of the interview important portions of his testimony, most especially some matters that Libby's counsel had specifically asked be included. These were:

o Libby's statement at the initial interview that he had been unable to review his own notes;

o that his memory of the events was imperfect;

o that he was offering up just his present sketchy recollection; and

o that he could be more precise after he'd had an opportunity to review his notes. 

(Neverthess, even in that initial interview when he was relying solely on his recollection he said he believed the Vice President had told him on about June 12, 2003 that Wilson's wife worked in counter proliferation.)

In his second interview, after he'd had an opportunity to review his notes, he volunteered to the FBI again that he'd first heard about Joseph Wilson's wife on June 12, 2003, when the Vice President told him. (I do not have transcripts of the trial testimony but there are summaries of the testimony
provided by Firedoglake

Just One Minute trial mavens note that in the counts of the indictment relevant to the FBI interviews, once again the prosecution has far overstated the evidence in the indictment. We are also learning that the FBI still relies on the antique and inaccurate method of recording these interviews: the hand written notes of the interrogator, instead of videotapes. This process is surely inadequate and subject to bias.

This lack of an actual video or even audio recording of the interview is certainly going to appear more significant as the cross examination proceeds. This method of interview recording by interrogator's hand is also under fire in the Hamdania court martial, where the defense had put into evidence interview notes taken by members of the Naval Criminal Investigation Service at direct odds with affidavits sworn by those who provided those interviews.

At one time, before the more aggressive prosecution of those accused of making false statements to investigators, this technique with all its flaws may have escaped the scrutiny it deserved. The Libby case is a rare case, seemingly outside the Department of Justice practice: a case where he prosecution is seeking to convict on "lies" not made about any criminal conduct.

Azaghal, one of my favorite commentors and one most knowledgeable about law enforcement procedures and practices observes:
Fitz[gerald's] distillation of Libby's Russert related testimony bears little resemblance to his actual testimony. It sounds to me more like a man trying to provide as clear as possible an account of what transpired months previously to the best of his recollection, not someone trying to confuse. Given that he corrected his initial statements to the FBI, I don't see what interest of justice is served in pursuing him with a perjury or obstruction or false statement prosecution. The correction it seems to me obviates any obstacle to the investigators; therefore it's abusive to prosecute on such flimsy grounds. I should add, that in circumstances in which a witness has been directed by his superiors to cooperate and not assert his constitutional rights, the prosecutor should definitely take into account the entire sum of the witnesses testimony, the cumulative effect and merit of the information he provides--has it assisted the investigation overall. After all, even cooperating and immunized witnesses like Fleischer offer testimony that conflicts with other witnesses who have no reason to lie (Dickerson, for example), and there's no apparent reason why Fleischer should lie about anything--his recollection, like that of virtually everyone, is fallible. From what I've seen of Libby's testimony and from the FBI's testimony about his correcting his initial statements it seems absurd for the prosecution to claim that the meat of his testimony and statements to investigators was an attempt to derail an investigation. And that's especially true given what we know about the predication of the investigation--information that Fitz[gerald] concealed from courts of review, thus depriving these courts of information that could well have affected their decision regarding the disclosure of journalistic sources. In a situation like this, when the prosecutor doesn't exactly have clean hands himself, it's doubly abusive for him to bring such charges.

Do we really want a situation in this country in which, whenever the FBI comes knocking, the citizenry's first reaction is to lawyer up and assert their 5th amendment rights for fear of being prosecuted for any inaccuracies in what they might say? I doubt that the FBI itself wants that to happen, but the excesses of prosecutors like Fitz[gerald] and Comey will lead toward that becoming more the norm than it is."
Indeed, that is my advice to all of you under the present circumstances, should you ever be questioned in an investigation: Lawyer up, unless the FBI  gets honest and uses videotapes or prosecutors stop such nonsense.

And the next time there's a president who agrees to the appointment of such a "special special prosecutor" and demands the cooperation of all officials and staff with it, everyone working for him should resign and take the Fifth.

Working in the White House is hard, thankless, underpaid work. It is too much to ask that one should also agree to be a piñata for an unsupervised, unreasonable, utterly abusive proceeding like this.

This is precisely why Star Chambers were abolished.

Clarice Feldman is an attorney in Washington, DC, and a frequent contributor to American Thinker