The hole in the "oil spot" strategy for Iraq.

A mostly political Weblog.
Nov. 14 2005 3:46 AM

The Hole in the "Oil Spot" Strategy

Plus--You Can't Shut Anyone Up Anymore.

(Continued from Page 7)

**-- Even on the cable Abrams Report, you found NBC's Kelly O'Donnell--in the course of asking a question--intoning, robot-like, the official Clintonian NBC half-denial about "Tim Russert, who testified that he did not know Plame`s name or that she was an operative ...."  (Why is this Clintonian? Because it inexplicably and conspicuously leaves open the possibility that without knowing Plame's name Russert knew that "Wilson's wife" worked in some capacity at the CIA.) 10:22 P.M. link

For Plame Obsessives Only: According to a HuffPo item by my brother Steve, Tim Russert claimed on Meet the Press last Sunday "that on August 7th, the night of his testimony, he reported on NBC the sum and substance of his testimony." My brother  is correct. What did Russert say on August 7? Was it a full report or another strangely Clintonian efffort? Plamers want to know! But the transcript of that Nightly News broadcast is mysteriously missing from NEXIS. (It was a Saturday evening, but the other Saturday Nightly News broadcasts are in NEXIS. Only this one is missing!) If anyone has an accurate transcript of that August 7 broadcast, please send it. ... P.S.: I know Russert quoted from the August 7 show on last Sunday's Meet. But there were ellipses! ... P.P.S.: Russert also apparently misstated the crucial date. It was August 7, 2004, not 2003. Would a seasoned professional like Russert have made that mistake by accident? I have started to bolt my door. .. Update: Got it. (Thanks to JT and Factiva). ...

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Buried Lede--What was in the ellipsis: It turns out that what Russert left out, when he read the transcript of John Seigenthaler's August 7, 2004 newscast on last Sunday's Meet, is the following half-sentence:

"... and was not asked questions that required him to disclose information provided in confidence."

Hmm. Does that mean this half-sentence is no longer operative? That Russert has now, in fact, given (or agreed to give) the special prosecutor "information provided in confidence," violating whatever promise to Libby he had previously asserted? (Specifically, he might have told Fitzgerald what Libby told him as well as what he told Libby.**) ...

That could explain why Russert made a point of telling Brian Williams on the 10/28 Nightly News, regarding Libby,

Well, Brian, he called me as a viewer, not as source. I'm the Washington bureau chief. He called to complain about a report that he had watched on a cable-owned station of NBC. ... [Emph. added]

Has Russert, under pressure from Fitzgerald, reclassified Libby as a "viewer," with the result that there was no information "provided in confidence"? And isn't that a bit of a scam on Libby?  Russert obviously initially thought there was some promise of confidentiality. ...

**: Russert's posture, in his October 29 CNBC show, was that he only told the special prosecutor his side of the conversation, presumably in order to honor the confidentiality promise.

WILLIAMS: But that was the deal you worked out with him, that you would only testify about, in essence, what someone would have heard standing in your office on your end of the telephone call, and you wouldn't say...

RUSSERT: Right. And...

WILLIAMS: ...what he said to you?

It's this once-trumpeted limitation on Russert's testimony that--his ellipsis suggests--might now have quietly been dropped. ... 1:11 P.M. link

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