Wednesday, July 06, 2005

Now it's Gannon + Toobin RE: Cooper and Miller, who are about to go to jail ---but why should they?

As those who read this blog know (and there are three or four of you!) I am open to the opinion of Jeff Gannon, as I am open to the opinion of Larry O'Donnell (What I mean to say is: I will post, you decide, damnit -- you have a mind of your own!) This man Gannon, for all of his foibles, should be a conservative commentator, right with Gordon Liddy and Michael Savage. He does make sense within the extreme right POV, within the current administration, but not from a journalist's perspective. It is much too far right, much too opinionated, and he has that right, as a commentator surely has. But then again, so does Sean Hannity, that Fox and ABC Radio rating's darling :-) Yes, media is changing daily. Just ask Bill O'Reilly.

Here's what Jeff has to say about The Plame Affair -he feels that Mr. Rove will be just fine, and that Matt Cooper and Judy Miller will go right into jail cells-- more on his
blog later:
"That's why I continue to write on this subject. I have been right all along, all the way back to the earliest days of this. I was one of the few to question her status and actually read the statute. I also talked to Victoria Toesning wrote wrote the darn thing.

These are the same people who admired Clinton for his mastery of the meaning of "is"

"knowingly" is the standard that must be met to be prosecuted under the 1982 statute. If Rove didn't know that Plame was covert, he didn't knowingly disclose her status. There is no reason that Rove should have known whether she was covert or not. If he would say: "Here's this gal from the CIA, riding a desk at Langley for the last 5 years, making the rounds in DC dragging that loudmouth blowhard Joe Wilson around, who would think she is covert?" Even if it is determined Rove was the first to tell Novak about her and even spell her name for him, he walks because of the high threshold of the statute.

"Jeffrey Toobin also came to the conclusion in his book that Bush stole the election from Gore in 2000. "


The reason Jeff is referring to Jeffrey Toobin is because I brought up this exchange on Anderson Cooper's 360 from July 5th, one I happened to agree with:

BAKHTIAR (Rudi Bakhtiar, subbing for Anderson Cooper on 360): 360 next: Karl Rove under fire -- did he reveal the name of a CIA officer and could two journalists face jail time or not telling a judge what they knew?


BAKHTIAR: Did Karl Rove do it? That's the question that set off some political fireworks over this holiday weekend. Rove is President Bush's top political adviser and Washington is buzzing that he could be the source who leaked the name of CIA operative Valerie Plame to Matt Cooper from "Time" magazine. Now, Plame's secret identity was first published two years ago. Ever since that, the question of who just who outed her, which is illegal, has been at the center of one of the most serious legal clashes between the media and the government in decades. Tomorrow, in fact, a federal judge who found reporters Matthew Cooper of "Time" magazine and Judith Miller of the "New York Times," in contempt for refusing to reveal their sources could actually order them to jail. And today, the federal prosecutor in the case demanded that Cooper testify before the grand jury investigating the leak, even though "Time" magazine has handed over his e-mails and other documents in this probe. Meanwhile, in another twist to this story, "Newsweek" is reporting that those e-mails between Cooper and his editors at "Time," show that he spoke to Karl Rove in the days before Plame's identity was revealed. What's not clear though, is just what Rove and Cooper discussed. The question, of course, is: Did Rove out the CIA operative? His attorney says no. He told CNN that Rove did not disclose the agent's identity. Now, earlier, I had a chance to speak with CNN's senior legal analyst, Jeffrey Toobin, to help us sort through this complicated story and what it means to the president,his political mastermind and also, what it means to freedom of speech. (BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

BAKHTIAR (on camera): So, Jeffrey, today the special prosecutor said that even though "Time" magazine turned over journalist Matt Cooper's notes, Cooper still needs to testify or be questioned. What does that say to you?

JEFFREY TOOBIN, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: What that says to me is that is that Matt Cooper is going to jail this week and Judy Miller, of the "New York Times," is going to jail this week, because they said they weren't going to testify. They will be held in contempt. So, we have this unbelievable situation of a prosecutor in a case where he's found no crime, he's charged no one with anything and two people are going to prison, reporters who were covering the story. I've never seen anything like that.

BAKHTIAR: Can the magazine publicly reveal the notes, now that they've them over?

TOOBIN: Absolutely. A witness to a grand jury proceeding has total freedom to go on the courthouse steps and say what they told the grand jury, distribute the evidence they gave the grand jury. The prosecutor can't reveal it, but the witness certainly.

BAKHTIAR: Let's talk a little bit about Karl Rove. His lawyer told "Newsweek," that Karl Rove never knowing disclosed classified information. To violate the law, Rove would have had to knowingly disclose information that would have revealed the covert agent's identity. Could Rove's defense, or anyone for that matter, actually argue the knowingly factor?

TOOBIN: Absolutely, he could. But, I mean, it's quite a concession just to get to that stage. Remember, a big issue in this case is: Who did Cooper and Miller speak to? Now, we know one of the people was Karl Rove and now his -- Rove's lawyer is saying he did not knowingly disclose anything improper. Well, a prosecutor may view that somewhat differently. So, I would suggest that's pretty negative information about Rove. It may lead to nothing, but it certainly suggests that a prosecutor would be looking at whether Rove is telling the truth about that.

BAKHTIAR: Where do you see the investigation going from here?

TOOBIN: Well, you know, what's so puzzling about this investigation is it's not clear if any crime was committed, if there was any intentional disclosure of classified information. It's not clear that anyone committed perjury in the grand jury. All we know, is that two reporters are very likely to go to prison for about three or four months this week. That's all we know. We'll see if any criminal cases come of it, but it's certainly, when Patrick Fitzgerald was appointed, this was not the result that anyone had in mind.

BAKHTIAR: All right, Jeffrey Toobin, our senior legal analyst. Thank you. That does it for us. I'm Rudi Bakhtiar, in for Anderson Cooper.


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