October 30, 2005
No Innocent Here -- Libby Lied
As far as Lewis "Scooter" Libby goes, Special Prosecutor
Patrick Fitzgerald's indictment is damning. If the information in
the indictment is true -- and I assume it is, even if the courts
should presume Libby innocent -- the Libby line has crumbled.
with these caveats from Brad Blakeman, a former White House lawyer:
"I hope it's not true. ... Only (Libby) has those facts,
but he will have to vigorously defend each and every one of those
five charges. Things can be taken out of context. Memories can
fact that you can bring an indictment does not mean you get a
conviction." If legal guilt is unclear, the moral question
is settled -- against Libby. "Mr. Libby gave a compelling
story," Special Prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald told reporters.
But the story wasn't true.
is Libby's ruse that reporters informed him that retired Ambassador
Joe Wilson's wife, Valerie Plame, was a CIA agent. Fitzgerald
reports that CIA officials and Vice President Dick Cheney told
Libby of her status.
more, Libby was duty-bound to keep quiet about Plame's role in
the Wilson episode. In fact, Libby's attempts to suggest that
reporters told him about Plame indicate that Libby knew that he
was, at the very least, skirting the law.
Or to quote
from the special prosecutor's cross examination of Libby before
the grand jury: "If you did not understand the information
about Wilson's wife to have been classified and didn't understand
it when you heard it from (NBC'S Tim) Russert, why was it that
you were so deliberate to make sure that you told other reporters
that reporters were saying it and not assert it as something you
told reporters at Friday's press conference he was not asserting
that Libby knowingly outed a covert agent. You can interpret that
to mean that it remains unclear whether leaking Plame's identity
was in itself a crime. If Libby had given the feds a different
account, the investigation may have melted away.
will argue that the White House had a right to leak Plame's role
in the CIA's decision to send Wilson to Niger. Wilson wrote that
his wife had "nothing to do" with the CIA sending him
to Niger -- which the Senate Intelligence Committee debunked.
to Stephen F. Hayes' thorough reporting for The Weekly Standard,
Wilson asserted that his report on Niger utterly debunked the
belief that Iraq was trying to obtain "yellowcake" uranium
from Niger, but some intelligence analysts believed that Wilson's
verbal report supported the theory that Iraq had tried to get
yellowcake in Niger.
Wilson's lawyer told reporters that Wilson believes the White
House was trying to punish his family and him for speaking the
"truth." Bush supporters would argue the Bushies retaliated
because Wilson was not truthful.
paint a tarnished portrait of Wilson -- but they provide no excuse
for any White House official to lie under oath.
to convey my profound disappointment in President Bush. For months,
he has done nothing to prevent operatives from selectively leaking
information that seemed to exculpate Libby. The administration's
credibility will suffer for it. I suggest the president look to
Fitzgerald for a more appropriate approach on how to conduct oneself
in the center of this controversy.
2005 Creators Syndicate