Truth and Credibility

Mark Foley was back in town, but just to keep an eye on movers clearing out his Capitol Hill home.
Mark Foley was back in town, but just to keep an eye on movers clearing out his Capitol Hill home. (Joe Raedle - Getty Images)
By Al Kamen
Wednesday, February 14, 2007

The 12 jurors in I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby's trial will soon be sifting through the evidence, trying to determine whether the prosecution proved, beyond a reasonable doubt, that Libby lied to investigators about conversations with reporters in the Valerie Plame affair.

As a former president famously said: "Perjury is a hard rap to prove." And the jurors' job may well be difficult.

If only they could take advantage of the Pentagon's new "Polygraph and Credibility Assessment Program." That, Deputy Secretary of Defense Gordon England writes in a Jan. 25 directive, is a whole new way to see if someone is lying, by combining lie detectors with "credibility assessment" -- CA for short.

CA is a "multi-disciplinary field of existing as well as potential techniques and procedures to assess truthfulness" -- or at least truthiness -- "that relies on physiological reactions and behavioral measures to test the agreement between an individual's memories and statements," England said in the directive, unearthed by Secrecy News. Critics have said polygraphs are unreliable and suggested other factors be used for employee screening.

The new program will be overseen by the undersecretary of defense for intelligence, who will be, once he's confirmed, retired Air Force Lt. Gen. James R. Clapper Jr., who is to succeed Stephen Cambone.

Bushism on the Agenda

Speaking of Libby, a colleague notes that his schedule for June 10, 2003, which was introduced at his trial, notes: "6:00pm -- Strategery Meeting." This would be a jovial nod to comedian Will Ferrell of "Saturday Night Live" fame, and his made-up Bushism as he impersonated President Bush wrestling with the English language.

The scheduled meeting apparently was of White House counselor Karl Rove's Office of Strategic Initiatives.

Cheney Taking Questions

Meanwhile, reporters covering the Libby trial doubtless were crushed by news yesterday that neither he nor his former boss, Vice President Cheney, would be taking the stand. But that doesn't mean Cheney is trying to avoid a sharp grilling.

In fact, Cheney is this very morning appearing for what is likely to be a tough session at a National Association of Manufacturers "Q&A, issue breakfast," our invite says, with about "300 manufacturers from around the nation."

Wanna bet there won't be any questions about Valerie Plame?

Foley Makes Himself Scarce

Let's have a hearty, albeit temporary, Loop Welcome Back for former congressman Mark Foley (R-Fla.), who is in town this week apparently to move out of his home on the famed GOP enclave on D Street SE on Capitol Hill.

Foley was at his old house yesterday, a Loop Fan reports, overseeing the movers clearing it out. He was spotted about 6:30 a.m., fussing with a garbage bag in the front yard and ducking back into the house when he saw a neighbor walking her dog.

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