Wonky Muse
Wonky Muse

July 15, 2006

The Plame/Wilson News Conference



Video of Valerie Plame and Joe Wilson's news conference on the civil suit they have filed against Dick Cheney, Karl Rove, Scooter Libby et al.

Transcript at Raw Story. Some Excerpts:

VALERIE PLAME: Good Morning. I'm proud to have served my country by working at the Central Intelligence Agency. I and my former CIA colleagues trusted our government to protect us as we did our jobs. That a few reckless individuals within the administration betrayed that trust has been a grave disappointment to every patriotic American.

AMBASSADOR WILSON: Even as the administration was belatedly coming clean, some officials and their allies launched what the special prosecutor has called a concerted effort to use classified information to quote discredit, punish, or seek revenge unquote against my wife, Valerie, and myself. This attack was based on lies and disinformation, and included the compromise of Valerie’s identity as a classified officer of the Central Intelligence Agency. These officials’ abuse of power for personal revenge broke faith with their obligations as public servants to uphold and defend the constitution.

But this remains a nation of laws. No administration official however powerful is above the law and I have confidence in the American system of justice. This suit is about the pursuit of justice.
A trust was set up at wilsonsupport.org for contributions to their legal fund .

Justin Rood at TPMuckraker recounts the media frenzy over the couple during the news conference.

A copy of their press release (pdf) is here and a copy of the 23-page lawsuit (html, via TPM) is here, with a detailed summary of the lawsuit also provided by TPM here.

Christy at Firedoglake liveblogged the conference that include some answers of Wilsons' chief counsel Christopher Wolf during the Q&A. She also did a preliminary analysis of the complaint from a legal standpoint.

The New York Times provides a complete timeline detailing events related to the leak.

Predictably, Karl Rove's eager lieutenant of a lawyer Robert D. Luskin immediately determined the case is "without merit" even though he hasn't reviewed the complaint yet.

Meanwhile, Robert Novak predicts the suit will be dismissed. Interesting how he's turned up all over the media lately, as emptywheel pointed out, just in time for the Wilsons filing their civil lawsuit which was predicted because of the statute of limitation.

Constitutional expert and law professor Jonathan Turley's take on the lawsuit's merits via an interview with TPM:

QUESTION: What's your opinion of the validity of the Wilsons' complaint?

TURLEY: I don't think it's as frivolous as people make it out to be. The complaint raises fairly standard claims in terms of the injury allegedly suffered by the Wilsons.

QUESTION: But isn't the lawsuit a long-shot at best?

TURLEY: The key is going to be whether they can overcome the threshold constitutional issues -- whether the Vice President is immune from this type of lawsuit. [Administration lawyers] are likely to ask the court to rule on [this question] and to appeal before any discovery occurs.

QUESTION: What would discovery in a trial like this look like?

TURLEY: Discovery in this case would be extremely damaging to the White House. This is a highly secretive White House. The notion of a team of lawyers with subpoenas is an obvious concern. These attorneys would be operating under a lower standard of proof than the criminal standard applied to [Patrick] Fitzgerald. And because the Wilsons are raising conspiracy claims the scope of discovery could be quite broad. It would include emails as well as in-person depositions of the White House staff.
Some right wing pundits are making bring-it-on type noises already, but as Mark Kleiman pointed out:

It doesn't seem to have occurred to them yet that their fantasy version of the events surrounding the outing of Ms. Wilson might be false, and that the act of bringing the suit shows that the Wilsons are confident that their reputations will survive whatever might come out...

Of course, if the Maguire/Reynolds/Levin thesis were correct, the Administration would welcome the opportunity to clear itself in court.
Finally, Digby at Hullabaloo raised a point that should give all of us pause:

I think of the NSA spying program and all the other programs that the president and his henchmen insist aren't being used againt political opponents and I have to laugh. In light of what they were willing to do to a covert CIA agent, why would anyone think they wouldn't be willing to use their power to spy on their political opponents. It's pretty clear they have no limits.

posted at 4:51 AM by Wonky Muse

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"Sapere Aude."
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Wonk (noun): def. A political nerd. Know spelled backwards.

Wonky Muse is the other Filipino American female political blogger. The sane, liberal one.


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