First, some rather devastating news which will hopefully help you, the Talking Points reader, avoid future heartbreak.
It turns out that if you fully submerge your Palm V handheld computer in water it will no longer work. (Was Talking Points foolish enough to intentionally conduct such an experiment? Well, no. Not exactly. But let's just say: now I know.)
Now to other news of the day.
A few days back, you may remember, we were talking about the case of Lewis Libby, Dick Cheney's Chief of Staff, and his level of involvement in the Marc Rich case. I even got in an argument about it with Mickey Kaus.
At the time I didn't take a definite stand on whether Clinton was correct when he said that "the case for the pardons was reviewed and advocated" by Libby. I only argued that Libby's involvement in Rich's pardon efforts seemed to have been common knowledge -- even if possibly incorrect common knowledge -- and thus one could hardly say that Clinton was guilty of an "astonishing lie" (Mickey's phrase) when he was was repeating what I took to be common knowledge. Follow all that?
Well, today's New York Times adds some new information that makes it look like Clinton was pretty close to the mark. It turns out that a couple days after Clinton pardoned Marc Rich, Libby called him up to congratulate him on his good fortune. More importantly ...
A lawyer familiar with Mr. Libby's efforts said he had tried to persuade federal prosecutors in New York to drop the 1983 indictment against Mr. Rich. This lawyer and others familiar with Mr. Libby's involvement said that shortly after Mr. Quinn was hired by Mr. Rich, he met with Mr. Libby to be briefed on the merits of Mr. Rich's case.
So let's unpack this. Libby left Rich's employ "last spring," according to the Times. After Quinn came on board he met with Libby and Libby brought him up to speed on the case. Now, if I'm not mistaken, we all assume that there was only one reason Marc Rich hired Jack Quinn -- to help him get a pardon from Quinn's bud Bill Clinton, right?
So when Quinn met with Libby "to be briefed on the merits of Mr. Rich's case," what did they talk about? About Quinn's efforts to get Rich pardoned, of course.
Now I'll admit I've made a number of inferences here. But I don't think you've got to go too far out on a limb to make them.
And let's go back to what our friend Ari Fleischer said about Lewis' involvement in the Rich case. "While Mr. Libby was involved in the original case concerning Mr. Rich," Fleischer told the Times on February 18th, "he was in no way, shape, manner or form involved in the pardon."
Now the above-mentioned "lawyer familiar with Mr. Libby's efforts" is pretty clearly someone in Libby's camp. So there may well be more we don't know. But even from what we have here from the Times I think we can pretty clearly say that Ari Fleischer LIED (or at a minimum unintentionally repeated someone else's lie).
In fact, you might even call it an astonishing lie.
P.S. Why would someone in Libby's camp spill the beans on him? Easy. Libby has to testify tomorrow before the Burton committee so he's trying to get the bad info out ahead of time.
P.P.S. Special thanks to special Talking Points correspondent Mr. Z for pointing out the new Libby info.
P.P.P.S. Wouldn't it be kinda devastating for a slick, young political reporter like Talking Points to lose all the notes and phone numbers and extra-double-secret contact information he has on his palm-top? You could say that.