The first 3 witnesses in the Liby trial

Clarice Feldman
Cecil Turner, a careful reader and most logical Just One Minute poster has done an outstanding job summarizing the testimony of the first three witnesses in the Libby trial. I cannot improve on it. (No one can.)
I'm looking at the indictment and so far Fitzgerald's case is tracking chronologically with the allegations in it.


Yes, and I think it's worth reviewing the bidding. The first time the indictment alleges Libby heard of Plame was from Grossman:

6.On or about June 11 or 12, 2003, the Under Secretary of State orally advised LIBBY in the White House that, in sum and substance, Wilson’s wife worked at the CIA and that State Department personnel were saying that Wilson’s wife was involved in the planning of his trip.
And he said substantially the same thing under oath. Unfortunately, in Oct 2003, he told the FBI about "two or three telephone conversations" and no face-to-face meetings. That's a major glaring error that can't be reconciled, the first story (no meeting) is obviously more persuasive, and it severely undercuts the contention he ever told Libby about the Plame detail. And since he's tying the date to his meeting calendar, his timeline falls apart as well.

Next up we have Mr Grenier:

7.On or about June 11, 2003, LIBBY spoke with a senior officer of the CIA to ask about the origin and circumstances of Wilson’s trip, and was advised by the CIA officer that Wilson’s wife worked at the CIA and was believed to be responsible for sending Wilson on the trip.
Unfortunately, his actual claim was “I believe I did.” And even that is impossible to reconcile with an IG meeting Grenier had on July 31, 2003 about talking to Libby, in which he "didn't tell them anything about telling Libby about Plame." Again, his latter version is unbelievable, and there's no credible indication he ever mentioned Plame to Libby.

We skip the undisputed VP reference, and go straight to Craig Schmall:

11. On or about June 14, 2003, LIBBY met with a CIA briefer. During their conversation he expressed displeasure that CIA officials were making comments to reporters critical of the Vice President’s office, and discussed with the briefer, among other things, “Joe Wilson” and his wife “Valerie Wilson,” in the context of Wilson’s trip to Niger.
The "displeasure" is obviously a different subject, perfectly valid, and Schmall tracks it down and finds the leaks are disinformation. Further, the only indication of "Valerie Wilson" are Schmall's handwritten notes . . . and he has no recollection of discussing it with Libby (or of much else).

Looks to me like Fitz is 0 for 3 on credibly demonstrating someone actually told Libby about Plame prior to the Wilson article (except for the one mention by the VP which Libby entered into his notes and duly reported to the FBI). It also looks to me like Fitz seriously overstated his evidence in the indictment, and that the witnesses' trend toward more incriminating statements over time suggest either groupthink due to media hype or being coached. In either event, Libby's paranoia over being "scapegoated" is a little more understandable. These were always the weakest of the allegations, but I can't believe this is how Fitz expected to start the case.

Cecil Turner, a careful reader and most logical Just One Minute poster has done an outstanding job summarizing the testimony of the first three witnesses in the Libby trial. I cannot improve on it. (No one can.)
I'm looking at the indictment and so far Fitzgerald's case is tracking chronologically with the allegations in it.


Yes, and I think it's worth reviewing the bidding. The first time the indictment alleges Libby heard of Plame was from Grossman:

6.On or about June 11 or 12, 2003, the Under Secretary of State orally advised LIBBY in the White House that, in sum and substance, Wilson’s wife worked at the CIA and that State Department personnel were saying that Wilson’s wife was involved in the planning of his trip.
And he said substantially the same thing under oath. Unfortunately, in Oct 2003, he told the FBI about "two or three telephone conversations" and no face-to-face meetings. That's a major glaring error that can't be reconciled, the first story (no meeting) is obviously more persuasive, and it severely undercuts the contention he ever told Libby about the Plame detail. And since he's tying the date to his meeting calendar, his timeline falls apart as well.

Next up we have Mr Grenier:

7.On or about June 11, 2003, LIBBY spoke with a senior officer of the CIA to ask about the origin and circumstances of Wilson’s trip, and was advised by the CIA officer that Wilson’s wife worked at the CIA and was believed to be responsible for sending Wilson on the trip.
Unfortunately, his actual claim was “I believe I did.” And even that is impossible to reconcile with an IG meeting Grenier had on July 31, 2003 about talking to Libby, in which he "didn't tell them anything about telling Libby about Plame." Again, his latter version is unbelievable, and there's no credible indication he ever mentioned Plame to Libby.

We skip the undisputed VP reference, and go straight to Craig Schmall:

11. On or about June 14, 2003, LIBBY met with a CIA briefer. During their conversation he expressed displeasure that CIA officials were making comments to reporters critical of the Vice President’s office, and discussed with the briefer, among other things, “Joe Wilson” and his wife “Valerie Wilson,” in the context of Wilson’s trip to Niger.
The "displeasure" is obviously a different subject, perfectly valid, and Schmall tracks it down and finds the leaks are disinformation. Further, the only indication of "Valerie Wilson" are Schmall's handwritten notes . . . and he has no recollection of discussing it with Libby (or of much else).

Looks to me like Fitz is 0 for 3 on credibly demonstrating someone actually told Libby about Plame prior to the Wilson article (except for the one mention by the VP which Libby entered into his notes and duly reported to the FBI). It also looks to me like Fitz seriously overstated his evidence in the indictment, and that the witnesses' trend toward more incriminating statements over time suggest either groupthink due to media hype or being coached. In either event, Libby's paranoia over being "scapegoated" is a little more understandable. These were always the weakest of the allegations, but I can't believe this is how Fitz expected to start the case.