BRANDOLAND: Talking to God...For You!

Sunday, October 02, 2005

Light Traffic Day

One story:

Role of Rove, Libby in CIA Leak Case Clearer

"Bush and Cheney Aides' Testimony Contradicts Earlier White House Statement"

A statement presented to the press by Scott McClellan.

They're gonna have a field day with him tomorrow.

"Unless he gets the flu."

Right.
As the CIA leak investigation heads toward its expected conclusion this month, it has become increasingly clear that two of the most powerful men in the Bush administration were more involved in the unmasking of operative Valerie Plame than the White House originally indicated.

With New York Times reporter Judith Miller's release from jail Thursday and testimony Friday before a federal grand jury, the role of I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby, Vice President Cheney's chief of staff, came into clearer focus. Libby, a central figure in the probe since its earliest days and the vice president's main counselor, discussed Plame with at least two reporters but testified that he never mentioned her name or her covert status at the CIA, according to lawyers in the case.

His story is similar to that of Karl Rove, President Bush's top political adviser. Rove, who was not an initial focus of the investigation, testified that he, too, talked with two reporters about Plame but never supplied her name or CIA role.

Their testimony seems to contradict what the White House was saying a few months after Plame's CIA job became public.

In October 2003, White House spokesman Scott McClellan told reporters that he personally asked Libby and Rove whether they were involved, "so I could come back to you and say they were not involved." Asked if that was a categorical denial of their involvement, he said, "That is correct."

What remains a central mystery in the case is whether special prosecutor Patrick J. Fitzgerald has accumulated evidence during his two-year investigation that any crime was committed.
The other mystery?

How high does this go?

Source to Stephanopoulos: President Bush Directly Involved In Leak Scandal

Oops.

*

Chavez: Venezuela Moves Reserves to Europe

As in...cash money reserves:
CARACAS, Venezuela (AP) - Venezuela has moved its central bank foreign reserves out of U.S. banks, liquidated its investments in U.S. Treasury securities and placed the funds in Europe, Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez said Friday.
"Come again?"

"He moved his central bank foreign reserves out of our banks, sir."

"You've got to be kidding me."
"We've had to move the international reserves from U.S. banks because of the threats," from the U.S., Chavez said during televised remarks from a South American summit in Brazil.
"I mean...he's kidding, right?"
"The reserves we had (invested) in U.S. Treasury bonds, we've sold them and we moved them to Europe and other countries," he said.
(Oops.)
Chavez, a sharp critic of what he calls "imperialist" U.S.-style capitalism, has often criticized foreign banks for the power they wield in international financial markets at the expense of poorer countries.
"What did he call us?"

"Imperialists."

"What does that mean?"

"It means -- "

"Sounds like a double-A baseball team. 'The Salt Lake Imperialists.' 'The Portland Imperialists.' 'The Rancho Cucamunga Imperialists.'"

"I'll get the Vice President, sir."
Chavez again proposed the creation of a South American central bank that would hold the foreign exchange reserves of all the central banks in the region.

"I'm ready right now with the Venezuelan central bank ... to move $5 billion (euro4.15 billion) (of Venezuelan reserves), to a South American bank," Chavez said.

Central bank officials could not be immediately reached for more details.

Chavez has also argued against central bank autonomy, saying excess foreign reserves should be spent on economic development projects.
"I know what that is. That sounds like communism!"

"Yes it does."

"That's still around, right?"

"Kind of."

"There any...Muslim communists out there?"
Under his presidency, Venezuela's mostly pro-Chavez Congress changed central bank laws earlier this year so the government could tap reserves for spending, despite criticism that it would lead to devaluation of the local currency and higher inflation.

Every year the central bank must now compute an "optimum" amount of reserves and hand over the rest to a newly created national development fund.

Money held in the fund will be used for overseas purchases and to pay off outstanding debt.

Foreign exchange reserves held by the central bank stood at $30.434 billion (euro25.27 billion) as of Sept. 28, according to central bank data.
"The Vice President here yet?"

"He's on his way, sir. Taking a bit longer with the cane and all."

"Right. Can't wait to pitch him the new slogan! 'Operation Desert Venezuelan Freedom.' 'Operation Venezualan-Iraqi Liberation.' 'Operation -- "

"Sir -- "

"'Operation Chavez and Saddam are brothers.'"

"Sir?"

"Yeah?"

"The Red Sox beat the Yankees."

"Ooh! What about Cleveland?"

"They lost, sir."

"Wow. This is gonna be a good weekend!"

You bet.

More later...

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