Saturday, March 17, 2007

Republicans End The Day's Hearing With A Little '3 Card Monte'

A shell game. "Hide the pea."

The third and final panel of witnesses of the day at the House Oversight Committee hearing were Victoria Toensing and Mark Zaid, "Managing Partner in the Washington, D.C. law firm of Krieger & Zaid, PLLC and specializes in litigation and lobbying on matters relating to international transactions, torts and crimes, national security, foreign sovereign and diplomatic immunity, defamation (plaintiff) and the Freedom of Information/Privacy Acts (FOI/PA)."

That's from his website, which looks like something he made himself after school, from a book report on James Madison (just turned in last week? -- I've eaten yogurt older than this guy). I'm being somewhat facetious about Zaid's age; what he lacks of it, he apparently makes up for in experience. In addition to founding the James Madison Project (an organization dedicated to reduce government secrecy, a laudable if not futile exercise during this period of our history), Zaid "also operates where he sells hi-grade or notable comic books primarily from 1930-1963."

Part 1 - Mark Zaid's opening statement

Part 2 - Victoria Toensing's opening statement

Highlight: "It's all the CIA's fault."

I see that she got the memo.

Part 3 - Representative Tom Davis [R-VA] questions Victoria Toensing and Mark Zaid

Highlight: Toensing tells Congress about "the Rule of 38," which means, "Leak classified information to enough (38) people, and because it's so difficult to trace, you won't be prosecuted."

Wasn't that Bush-Cheney modus operandi in leaking Plame's name?

Part 4 - Representative Henry Waxman [D-CA] questions Victoria Toensing

Part 5 - Representative Elijah Cummings [D-MD] questions Victoria Toensing

Part 6 - Representative Diane Watson [D-MD] questions Victoria Toensing

Part 7 - Representative Chris Van Hollen [D-MD] questions Victoria Toensing

Highlights: "Do you think White House officials, as stewards of our national security, when they find out someone works for the CIA and before telling the press about it, have any obligation to find out whether that disclosure would compromise sensitive information?"

Part 8 - Representative Henry Waxman [D-CA] wraps up this day's hearing with pointed words for Ms. Toensing

Highlights: "We are pleased to accommodate the request of the minority to have you as a witness, and some of the statements you've made without any doubt with great authority I understand may not be accurate so we're going to check the information and we're going to hold the record open to put in other things that might contradict some of what you had to say" and "When we heard from Mrs. Wilson, and we heard from Fitzgerald, and I talked personally to General Hayden, they have a different view as to what is a protected agent than you do, and your knowledge is based on writing the law thirty years ago."

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