Friday, November 04, 2005

A new ABC-Washington Post poll finds that only 39 percent of those polled approve his performance as President, while 60 percent disapprove. Those are the most dismal numbers of his presidency. And a CBS News poll had even more dismal news for the president, with only 35 percent approving of the job he is doing.

But more importantly, a majority of Americans now also question his integrity. The CIA leak investigation has apparently has taken its toll, according to this account:

The CIA leak case has apparently contributed to a withering decline in how Americans view Bush personally. The survey found that 40 percent now view him as honest and trustworthy -- a 13 percentage point drop in the past 18 months. Nearly 6 in 10 -- 58 percent -- said they have doubts about Bush's honesty, the first time in his presidency that more than half the country has questioned his personal integrity.
Beyond the leak case, Americans give the administration low scores on ethics, according to the survey, with 67 percent rating the administration negatively on handling ethical matters, while just 32 percent give the administration positive marks. Four in 10 -- 43 percent -- say the level of ethics and honesty in the federal government has fallen during Bush's presidency, while 17 percent say it has risen.
Of course the CIA leak scandal is a result of efforts by the administration to discredit critics of its Iraq policy. The naming of the CIA special prosecutor was itself in reaction to White House efforts to blunt charges by former ambassador Joseph C. Wilson IV that the administration misrepresented intelligence information in the case to go to war. So what is public support now for the administration's Iraq policy?

Iraq remains a significant drag on Bush's presidency, with dissatisfaction over the situation there continuing to grow and with suspicion rising over whether administration officials misled the country in the run-up to the invasion more than two years ago.

Nearly two-thirds disapprove of the way Bush is handling the situation there, while barely a third approve, a new low. Six in 10 now believe the United States was wrong to invade Iraq, a seven-point increase in just over two months, with almost half the country saying they strongly believe it was wrong.
For those with short memories, Bush won the presidency, in part by running against Monica Lewinsky, and vowing to bring integrity back to the presidency.

Speaking of which, here are some interesting numbers from the CBS poll: 51 percent of those survyed find the CIA leak issue to be of "great importance" to the country, while at the height of the Lewinsky probe, only 41 percent found that scandal to be of "great importance." 86 percent of Americans find the CIA leak probe of "some" or "great" importance, while only 63 percent concluded the same thing about the Lewinsky matter.

And the president might be 5,300 miles away from home today, but the majority of his questions from reporters were about Karl Rove and the CIA leak scandal.

Meanwhile, Dan Froomkin has the news of new allegations by Lawrence Wilkerson, the former Secretary of State Colin Powell, linking the office of Vice President to rolling back human rights guidelines regarding foreign detainees.

Thursday, November 03, 2005

I. Lewis (Scooter) Libby appeared in federal court this morning and pleaded not guilty to five felony counts of making false statements, perjury, and obstruction of justice, for his role in the CIA leak case.

The new development out of the arraignment this morning is that Libby has retained an entirely new legal team, including Ted Wells and William Jeffress, Jr. The two are both well respected criminal defense attorneys. Jeffress is perhaps best known for his defense of the nation's largest tobacco companies against Justice Department racketeering charges. Wells had represented former Senator Robert Toricelli and former Agriculture Secretary Mike Espy.

Also, earlier this morning, this report from the Associated Press, datelined Rome:

Italian secret services warned the United States months before it invaded Iraq that a dossier about a purported Saddam Hussein effort to buy uranium in Africa was fake, a lawmaker said today after a briefing by the nation's intelligence chief.

"At about the same time as the State of the Union address, they (Italy's SISMI secret services) said that the dossier doesn't correspond to the truth," Sen. Massimo Brutti told journalists after the parliamentary commission was briefed.

Brutti said the warning was given in January 2003, but he did not know whether it was made before or after President Bush's speech.

The United States and Britain used the claim that Saddam was seeking to buy uranium in Niger to bolster their case for the invasion, which started in March 2003. The intelligence supporting the claim later was deemed unreliable.

Italian lawmakers questioned Premier Silvio Berlusconi's top aide and SISMI director Nicolo Pollari about allegations that Italy knowingly gave forged documents to Washington and London detailing a purported Iraqi deal to buy 500 tons of uranium concentrate from Niger. The uranium ore, known as yellowcake, can be used to produce nuclear weapons.

Pollari requested the hearing after the allegations were reported last week by the daily newspaper La Repubblica. Pollari and Cabinet Undersecretary Gianni Letta were questioned by members of a parliamentary commission overseeing secret services.

La Repubblica, a strong Berlusconi opponent, alleged that after the Sept. 11 attacks Pollari was being pressured by Berlusconi to make a strong contribution to the hunt for weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. The Italian leader is a staunch U.S. ally.

Berlusconi's government has denied any wrongdoing, and the premier has personally defended Pollari amid calls for his resignation.

Berlusconi, in an interview with the conservative daily newspaper Libero published today, said Italy had not passed any documents on the Niger affair to the United States. He added that La Repubblica's allegations were dangerous for Italy because "if they were believed, we would be considered the instigator" of the Iraq war.

The Niger claim also is at the center of a CIA leak scandal that has shaken the Bush administration, leading to last week's indictment of Vice President Dick Cheney's former chief of staff, I. Lewis Libby...

To read the AP dispatch in its entirety, click here. To read about the Niger forgeries, Laura Rozen and Josh Marshall are blogging and reporting this much thoroughly than this blog.

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Maureen Dowd on David Addington

As a public service, to those who cannot afford TimesSelect, or read the New York Times today, I am reprinting Maureen Dowd's column this morning on David Addington in its entirety. Once again, I feel like a teenager downloading Napster. Who ever thought that reprinting something from the New York Times would make one feel like they are circulating Samizdat? But here it is:

Copyright 2005 The New York Times Company
The New York Times

November 2, 2005 Wednesday
Late Edition - Final

SECTION: Section A; Column 1; Editorial Desk; Pg. 29

LENGTH: 758 words

HEADLINE: Chain, Chain, Chain of Cheney Fools


Scooter used to be Cheney's Cheney.

Now we've got Cheney's Cheney's Cheney.

This is not an improvement.

Once Scooter left, many people, including a lot of alarmed conservatives and moderate Republicans, were hoping that W. and Vice would throw open some White House windows to let the air and sun in, and climb out of that incestuous, secretive, vindictive, hallucinatory dark hole they've been bunkered in for five years.

But they like it in their paranoid paradise. One of the most confounding aspects of W.'s exceedingly confounding presidency is his apparent unwillingness to consider that anyone who ever worked for him -- and was in any way responsible for any of the disasters now afflicting his administration -- should be jettisoned.

This is not loyalty. This is myopia. Where is a meddling, power-intoxicated first lady when we need one? Maybe the clever Nancy Reagan should have a little talk with Laura Bush tonight at the dinner for Prince Charles and Camilla, and explain to her how to step in and fire overweening officials who are hurting your man.

Vice thumbed his nose yesterday at the notion that he should clean up his creepy laboratory when he promoted two Renfields who are part of the gang that got us into this mess.

Dick Cheney has appointed David Addington as his new chief of staff, an ideologue who is so fanatically secretive, so in love with the shadows, so belligerent and unyielding that he's known around town as the Keyser Soze of the usual suspects. At 48, Mr. Addington is a legend: he's worked his way up the G.O.P. scandal ladder from Iran-contra to Abu Ghraib.

Unlike Scooter, this lone-wolf lawyer doesn't reach out to journalists, even to use them as conduits or covers; he makes his boss look gregarious. He routinely declines to be interviewed or photographed.

Vice also appointed John Hannah as his national security adviser, a title also held by Scooter. Mr. Addington and Mr. Hannah often battled with the C.I.A. and State as the cabal pushed the case that Saddam was a direct threat to America, sabotaging Colin Powell's reputation when it ''helped'' with his U.N. speech. Mr. Hannah was the contact for Ahmad Chalabi, who went around the C.I.A. to feed Vice's office the baloney intel and rosy scenarios that suckered the U.S. into war.

Mr. Addington has done his best to crown King Cheney. As Dana Milbank wrote in The Washington Post, Mr. Addington pushed an obscure philosophy called the unitary executive theory that ''favors an extraordinarily powerful president.'' He would go ''through every page of the federal budget in search of riders that could restrict executive authority.''

''He was a principal author of the White House memo justifying torture of terrorism suspects,'' Mr. Milbank wrote. ''He was a prime advocate of arguments supporting the holding of terrorism suspects without access to courts. Addington also led the fight with Congress and environmentalists over access to information about corporations that advised the White House on energy policy.'' And he helped stonewall the 9/11 commission.

The National Journal pointed out that Scooter had talked to Mr. Addington and Mr. Hannah about Joseph Wilson and his C.I.A. wife when he was seeking more information to discredit them in the press. Mr. Addington, the story said, ''was deeply immersed'' in the White House damage-control campaign to deflect criticism about warped W.M.D. intelligence, and attended strategy sessions in 2003 on how to discredit Mr. Wilson.

''Further,'' the magazine said, ''Addington played a leading role in 2004 on behalf of the Bush administration when it refused to give the Senate Intelligence Committee documents from Libby's office on the alleged misuse of intelligence information regarding Iraq.''

Mr. Addington may as well have turned the documents over for safekeeping to Pat Roberts, because, as it turned out, the Republican chairman of the Intelligence Committee didn't want to investigate anything.

Angry at the Scooter scandal, the Addington appointment and the Roberts stonewalling, Senate Democrats did something remarkable yesterday: they dimmed the lights, stamped their feet and shut down the Senate.

Tired of being in the dark, the Democrats put the Republicans in the dark. Childish, perhaps, but effective. Republicans screamed but grudgingly agreed to take a look at where the investigation stands. But even if the Senate starts investigating again, Mr. Addington, now promoted, will have even more authority not to cooperate.

It's the Cheney chain of command.

The NYT also posted this profile of David Addington on their website.

The major new revelation in the piece (or at least something I did not know) was that after Addington "helped to shape an August 2002 opinion from the Justice Department's office of legal counsel that said torture might be justified" in some cases of interrogating terrorism suspects, "the White House formally repudiated the memorandum after it became public."

Below are some excerpts from the story:

WASHINGTON, Nov. 1 - Shortly after he became defense secretary in 1989, Dick Cheney installed in the office next door to his own suite a young special assistant named David S. Addington. That move displaced a uniformed officer and rankled the military, but it did not slow Mr. Addington's path to power.

Smart, secretive and direct, Mr. Addington is a man very much in Mr. Cheney's image. Now, at 48, he is at Mr. Cheney's right hand again, succeeding I. Lewis Libby Jr. as the vice president's chief of staff. But while Mr. Addington has spent much of his career in proximity to Mr. Cheney, his admirers and detractors alike say his success is rooted in his mastery of the skills of bureaucratic combat.

"He's regarded within all the parts of government that have come into contact with the vice president's office as a force of nature in his own right," said Bradford Berenson, a Washington lawyer who worked with Mr. Addington in the Bush White House, as an associate counsel. "He tends to accomplish more operating as a lone wolf than do others who are backed by entire government departments."

"There are some people in government who are diplomats and others in government who are warriors," Mr. Berenson said, "and Addington certainly falls on the warrior side of that line." As Mr. Cheney's counsel since 2001, Mr. Addington has been at the center of some of the administration's fiercest fights, advocating expansive presidential powers and limited rights for terror suspects. By most accounts, he has more than held his own, in some cases overshadowing Alberto R. Gonzalez, when Mr. Gonzalez was White House counsel, and shaping the White House view in debates with the Departments of Justice, State and Defense...

Since the Sept. 11 attacks, Mr. Addington has been one of the most important architects of the administration's new legal structure for the detention and interrogation of terror suspects.

According to current and former officials who worked with him closely, he was a primary author of the Nov. 13, 2001, presidential order that established the military's sweeping powers to detain terror suspects and try them before military commissions. Mr. Addington has also played a central role in efforts to expand the legal authority of clandestine intelligence officers to detain and interrogate suspects in terrorism investigations, those officials said. Among other efforts, they said, he helped to shape an August 2002 opinion from the Justice Department's Office of Legal Counsel that said torture might be justified in some cases. In an unusual step, the White House formally repudiated the memorandum after it became public last year...

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Exclusive: Senate Democrats consider pressing for appointment of special select committee to investigate administration's pre-war intelligence claim

The Senate Democratic leadership over the course of the last several days has had discussions among themselves, along with senior congressional staff, about the possibility of pressing the Senate to appoint a special Senate select committee to investigate both the misuse of pre-war intelligence by the Bush administration to make the case to go to war with Iraq, as well as the Plame affair, according to at least three people who have been involved in those discussions.

"There is just a resolve on this issue that is not going to go away," said one person involved in the leadership discussions. One source said that although the discussions are preliminary, they were contemplating such a select committee in the tradition of the Senate Watergate committee, the Church committee-- which investigated abuses of the CIA and other intelligence agencies in the 1970s, or the joint congressional Iran-contra committees: "There is a historical model as to how this might be done."

Republicans have said that the Senate Intelligence Committee has more than adequately investigated the issues, and that Democrats have been holding up completion of the ongoing probe and have politicized the effort.

Although such discussions are at a preliminary stage, and perhaps hopes of such a select committee are at this time more wishful thinking than reality, Democrats sense a shifting public opinion and a weakened Republican leadership that might beat back their efforts.

It should also be pointed out that any further public pressing of the issue of a select committee might in part be a ploy by Democrats to leverage the Senate Intelligence Committee to finish the so called "Phase II", of its investigation of pre-war intelligence. And whether Republicans would ever agree to such a request, or if ultimately there would be enough public pressure on Senate Republicans to agree, is also another matter.

Emerging from the executive session last night, Senate Minority leader Harry Reid told reporters he thought that he had reached a satisfactory agreement with Senate Republicans as to how to complete the investigation: "Finally, after months and months and months of begging, cajoling, writing letters, we're finally gong to be able to have Phase II of the investigation regarding how the intelligence was used to lead us into the intractable war in Iraq."

The first phase of the investigation examined the role of the CIA and other intelligence agencies in wrongly concluding that Saddam Hussein had a viable program to develop biological, chemical, and nuclear weapons, when international inspectors, and later U.S. military and intelligence teams could find scant evidence of such.

The ongoing so-called "Phase II" of the investigation has examined the more politically sensitive issue as to whether the Bush administration itself misrepresented the intelligence information to make the case to go to war. But that inquiry has been hobbled by partisan wrangling, and what both Republicans and Democrats have said to be efforts to stymie their inquiry by the Bush administration in not turning over relevant information to the Senate.

A confluence of various events over the course of the last several days led not only to the decision to unilaterally have the Senate go into executive session, but also consider the issue as to whether to press for the appointment of a special Senate select committee.

  • There has been a growing realization in recent days that Democrats and Republicans could not come to a consensus as to how to complete "Phase II" of the Senate Intelligence Committee investigation of pre-war intelligence, according to several congressional sources. Instead of coming closer to the possibility of completing a report, and then declassifying a final report on the issue, the parties appeared no closer than when they agreed to undertake the inquiry in early 2004.
  • Many members of Congress only learned in recent days from a National Journal article that Vice President Dick Cheney himself; I. Lewis (Scooter) Libby, the-then chief of staff to Cheney; and Cheney counsel David Addington, had played a personal role in denying the Senate crucial documents necessary to concluding the investigation.
  • The day after the National Journal story appeared, Libby himself was indicted on five counts of lying to federal investigators, perjury, and obstruction of justice, in concealing his role, and perhaps that of other Bush administration officials, in outing CIA officer Valerie Plame in an effort to discredit her husband, former ambassador Joseph C. Wilson, IV, a critic of the administration.
  • After disclosures that David Addington, the counsel to Vice President Cheney, was involved in the efforts to prevent the turning over of information to the Senate investigation, Cheney yesterday appointed him as his new chief of staff to succeed Libby. "That didn't bode well that the attitude of the White House on this was going to change anytime soon," according to a congressional aide.
  • Although in the past, CIA leak special prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald, has refused to turn over any information regarding his inquiry of the Plame matter to Congress, during his press conference on Friday, he said it was not his role to advise Congress not to conduct their own independent inquiry.
Update: Nov. 2, 2005, 11:34 A.M. For those bloggers who think I write too long, Maureen Dowd has since written this column, which somehow encapsulates everything I have written into one two paragraphs: "Angry at the Scooter scandal, the Addington appointment and the Roberts stonewalling, Senate Democrats did something remarkable yesterday: they dimmed the lights, stamped their feet, and shut down the Senate. Tired of being in the dark, the Democrats put the Republicans in the dark."

Senate Democratic Leader Invokes Rule 21, takes senate into executive session (this post will be update continuously)

The Senate Democratic Leader, Harry Reid, has taken the U.S. Senate in executive session, to discuss how the Senate has been stymied in an effort to complete a Senate Intelligence Committee investigation of faulty pre-war intelligence that led up to the war with Iraq. The doors of the Senate were locked, the galleries emptied, all staff were ordered out of the Senate chamber, and then lights inside were dimmed. (My personal comments: One has to wonder whether the dimming of the lights was metaphorical in some sense.)

"I demand on behalf of the American people... that the Senate go into close session," Reid said, an action virtually unprecedented because rule 21, which sends the Senate into executive session, is ordinarily done by agreement by both Democrats and Republicans.

Reid explained his actions by saying: "They have repeatedly chosen to protect the Republican administration rather than get to the bottom of what happened and why."

He added: "The Libby indictment provides a window into what this is really all about, how this administration manufactured and manipulated intelligence in order to sell the war in Iraq and attempted to destroy those who dared to challenge its actions." Then Reid unilaterally invoked Senate rules that led to the closed session.

An angry Majority Leader Bill First later emerged from the Senate chamber to briefly tell reporters: "The United States Senate has been hijacked by the Democratic leadership.... "They have no convictions, they have no principles, they have no ideas." He subsequently said he felt personally "slapped in the face" by Reid's actions.

Two senior Senate staff aides told me today a story posted on the National Journal's website Thursday night, for the first time linking Vice President Cheney himself, Libby, and Cheney's legal counsel, David Addington, to withholding information from Congress on the pre-war intelligence emboldened the Democrats to take action.

The next day, on Friday, the federal grand jury in the CIA leak case indicted Libby on five felony counts of misleading federal investigators, perjury, and obstruction of justice, for concealing his role, and perhaps that of other Bush administration officials, in outing Valerie Plame.

The confluence of the two events led Democrats to take the fight right to the Senate floor as to how the Senate will now proceed to investigate further the pre-war intelligence issue.

First update, 5:45 A.M: Just watched Dana Milbank, of the Washington Post, on Hardball saying that he agreed with First that Reid's actions were a "stunt": "I had to chuck my Alito story," Milbank complained, "and do this for tomorrow."

There was once upon a time when reporters reported, and kept their opinions to themselves. Those days have long passed-- but if journalism has become about opining, instead of reporting, I should note that what was left out of Milbank's comments was that the White House itself also had sped the nomination of a new associate justice for the Supreme Court to change the agenda away from the Libby indictment. And the president's belated announcement today of his request of $7.1 billion of emergency funding to be spent to prevent an Avian flu pandemic was also an attempt to change the subject. If reporters care how much they are supposedly being manipulated, they should say explain that the practices goes on from both sides of the aisle.

Further, whether politics came into play in regards to what took place on the Senate floor today, Milbank's comments were, to my mind, inappropriate in the sense that the motives of politicians, or anyone else for that matter, are often complex and obscure. How he was able to instantly divine the motives of Reid and other Democratic Senators to hundreds of thousands of television viewers is beyond any journalistic ability I possess.

(Not to pick on Milbank, but I am trying to make a larger point that reporters should perhaps gather information-- do actual reporting before they spout off something not the case on television.)

Whether there was a political motive to what Reid today, the truth of the matter is that many Senators felt like they have been lied to, or as one senior staff aide told me, they "felt rolled in an alley"-- in being stymied, as they view it, in conducting an inquiry into the most fundamental issues as to how a country went to war, and whether Congress has a right to oversee whether the administration misused intelligence to make the case.

One of the reasons that Reid chose to go to the floor was because Senator Jay Rockefeller, Democrat of West Virginia, prodded him to so, according to several congressional sources I spoke to today. As vice-chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, Rockefeller has been praised by Republicans for his bipartisan approach, and has at times even privately drawn the ire of Democrats.

A partisan stunt? Probably not. And for Milbank or others rushing to judgment, they should perhaps stay away from the green room and do some reporting.

And here, by the way, is why Rockefeller says he encouraged Reid to invoke Rule 21: "An iron curtain came down upon us," he said, referring to White House efforts to stymie the provision of information for the Intelligence Committee to conduct their pre-war intelligence probe.

He also said: "The very independence of the United States Congress as a separate and coequal branch of the government has been called into question."

Sounds like a serious matter to me, not a "stunt" as Dana Milbank has charachterized it.

To read Rockefeller's statement in full, click here.

Second update, 6:32 A.M: In the meantime, Josh Marshall has excerpts from the press release from the Office of Vice President regarding the appointments of David Addington and John Hannah, respectively, as the chief of staff, and national security advisor, to Vice President Cheney.

Monday, October 31, 2005

Addington named as new chief of staff to Cheney (updated twice since original post)

Vice President Dick Cheney earlier today named David Addington to replace I. Lewis Libby as his new chief of staff. The appointment comes just as the man he is succeeding-- Libby-- is to be arraigned on Thursday before Federal District Court Judge Reggie Walton on five felony counts of making false statements to federal investigators, perjury, and obstruction of justice, for his role in the CIA leak case.

Paul Singer and myself wrote a long investigative profile of Addington on the National Journal's website that appeared yesterday. For a further idea as to what is to come, one senior government official who has worked closely with Addington simply told me today that "he is more Libby than Libby."

Cheney also today named John Hannah to be his new national security advisor. (Libby, before his five-felony indictment on Friday, was simultaneously Cheney's staff of staff, his national security adviser, and special assistant to the President.) Hannah has been Cheney's deputy national security adviser since the first days of the Bush administration. Like Addington, Hannah has been at the center of very much related controversies regarding the misuse of pre-war intelligence by the Bush administration to make the case to go to war, and the Plame affair. This NYT story, by Doug Jehl, is perhaps the best background.

Below are some excerpts from the story that I wrote with Paul Singer about Addington for the National Journal:

On the morning of July 8, 2003, I. Lewis (Scooter) Libby, then-chief of staff to Vice President Cheney, had a two-hour meeting with New York Times reporter Judith Miller at which Libby gave information to Miller in an attempt to discredit former ambassador and Bush administration critic Joseph Wilson.
When Libby returned to the White House, he immediately sought out David Addington, the vice president's counsel, according to court records and interviews. During their breakfast at the St. Regis Hotel, Libby had promised Miller he would try to find out more about Wilson, and Wilson's wife, CIA officer Valerie Plame. As the former general counsel to the CIA and counsel to the House Intelligence Committee, Addington was the right man for Libby to see.
Libby's and Addington's fates have dramatically changed as a result of the events of that day. Libby, long Cheney's most trusted aide, resigned as the vice president's chief of staff on Friday following his felony indictment on five counts of making false statements, perjury, and obstruction of justice in the CIA leak case. A federal grand jury accused Libby of trying to cover up that he had disclosed the identity of Plame, a covert CIA operative, in an effort to discredit Wilson and his criticism of the administration.
Addington is currently considered the leading candidate to succeed Libby as the chief of staff to a weakened but still powerful Cheney. But Addington's own role in the Plame matter is emerging just as the vice president considers whether to name him as his next chief of staff.
There is no evidence that Addington has done anything outside the law, or that Special Prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald has regarded him as anything other than a witness during the two-year probe that led to Libby's indictment...
But Addington was deeply immersed in the White House damage-control campaign to deflect criticism that the Bush administration misrepresented intelligence information to make the case to go to war with Iraq, according to administration and congressional sources.
Moreover, as a pivotal member of the vice president's office, Addington also attended strategy sessions in 2003 on how to discredit Wilson when the former ambassador publicly charged that the Bush administration misled the country in pushing its case for war, according to attorneys in the CIA leak probe.
Further, Addington played a leading role in 2004 on behalf of the Bush administration when it refused to give the Senate Intelligence Committee documents from Libby's office on the alleged misuse of intelligence information regarding Iraq. Because Addington may be in line to succeed Libby, the Intelligence Committee-White House battle over the documents has sparked new interest on Capitol Hill...
When Libby and Miller met on July 8, 2003, Cheney's office was involved in an effort to discredit Wilson. The former ambassador had been sent on a CIA-sponsored mission to Niger in 2002 to investigate claims that Iraq was attempting to buy uranium material from the African nation in order to build a nuclear weapon...
At their breakfast meeting, Libby told Miller that Plame worked at the CIA, and also alleged that the CIA sent Wilson to Niger on Plame's recommendation, according to the grand jury indictment.
During the breakfast, according to attorneys familiar with Libby's previously undisclosed statements to federal investigators, Miller insisted that Libby provide her with additional information on Wilson and Plame to bolster any story she might write. Miller testified to the grand jury that it was Libby who offered to find additional evidence to verify what he had told the Times reporter, according to legal sources familiar with Miller's version of events.
Whatever the case, when Libby returned to the White House after meeting with Miller, he sought out Addington. Attempts to reach Addington for comment for this story were unsuccessful. He did not return messages left on his White House voice mail over the course of several days.
According to the grand jury indictment, Libby met with Addington "in an anteroom outside the Vice President's office," and asked Addington, "in sum and substance, what paperwork there would be at the CIA if an employee's spouse undertook an overseas mission."

The indictment does not say what actions, if any, Addington took to learn more about Plame's CIA employment.
Four days after the Libby-Miller breakfast and Libby's discussion with Addington, Libby gave Miller additional information on Wilson and Plame, according to legal sources familiar with Miller's testimony...

To read the article in its entirety, click here. has this story tonight on the Addington and Hannah appointments. And I will be on my friend's, Amy Goodman's radio show, Democracy Now, on Tuesday and Wednesday to discuss the CIA leak probe, the Libby indictment, and the Addington appointment. I personally don't get up at such an early, wretched hour, but if any of you are awake...

Update: 9:32 P.M.: The New York Times has now posted a story on their website about the Addington and Hannah appointments. Some key passages:

Lea Anne McBride, Mr. Cheney's press secretary, said Mr. Addington's new job would also carry with it another title that had been held by Mr. Libby, assistant to the president, placing him in the senior ranks of the White House staff.
Mr. Addington was referred to by job title in the indictment of Mr. Libby on Friday, and appears likely to be called as a witness should Mr. Libby's case go to trial. The indictment referred to a conversation Mr. Libby held with the vice president's counsel on July 8, 2003, in which Mr. Libby asked what paperwork the Central Intelligence Agency might keep if an employee's spouse took an overseas trip...

The appointments, which are not subject to Senate confirmation, suggest that the White House has little intention of bringing in fresh faces in the wake of the indictment...
Known as a strong advocate of presidential power, he has favored a broad reading of the president's power to detain terrorism suspects and to use interrogation techniques that critics say amount to torture. He has also backed the administration's efforts to conduct much of its business behind closed doors, taking a role in the fight over whether Mr. Cheney's energy task force would have to release information about its meetings.
Asked about Mr. Addington and Mr. Hannah at his news briefing on Monday, Scott McClellan, the White House spokesman, said, "These are two individuals that have served the vice president very well since 2001, and the vice president selected them because he values their judgment and their insight and looked to their experience as people that could fill these two positions."
The choices brought immediate criticism from Democrats, who suggested that Mr. Cheney was thumbing his nose at calls for accountability in the leak case.
"I've called for a thorough house-cleaning in the vice president's office," said Senator Charles E. Schumer, Democrat of New York, "but what they've done is just rearrange some office furniture. It is time for the president and vice president to bring in a new team of advisers who are above ethical reproach, like Reagan did in his second term, not stonewall like Nixon did during Watergate."
Mr. McClellan said Mr. Bush had no plans to overhaul the top ranks of the White House, despite pressure from Republicans as well as Democrats to bring in new people and new ideas after months in which the administration has stumbled from crisis to crisis.

Second update, Nov. 1, 9:08 A.M. : The LAT has since posted thier own story on the Addington and Hannah appointments, with some more background, written by a good friend of mine, Tom Hamburger, and Peter Wallensten.