October 28, 2005
I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby Jr., chief of staff to Vice President Dick Cheney, indicted today on five counts. Obstruction, false statement and perjury charges. Lied, the prosecutor contends, about his role in leaking the identity of a CIA agent.
"Never sought limelight," the Washington Post writes in an online news-feature.
Part of a small neo-conservative group that started plotting at the end of 2002 to get the U.S. into war with Iraq, investigative reporter Sy Hersh just told the Associated Press Managing Editors conference in California, where I am today. "The republic may be saved by a prosecutor," Hersh said, blaming the press for failing to do its job.
Which sounded a lot like what Carl Bernstein - of Woodward and Berstein - told Editor and Publisher:
What the Plame leak investigation has unveiled is what the press should have been focusing on long before and without let up—how we went to war, the dishonesty involved in that process in terms of what the president and vice-president told the American people and the Congress, and the routine smearing by members of the Bush administration of people who questioned their actions and motives.
The Wall Street Journal reports that Karl Rove, the president's top political presidential adviser, has been told he's not out of the woods, legally; he was told Thursday evening "that he may not be charged today but remains in legal jeopardy."
Special Prosecutor Patrick J. Fitzgerald spoke at a 2 p.m. news conference. Billmon at Whiskey Bar had found it noteworthy that the prosecutor's Web site mentioned criminal investigations. Plural.
He's been probing who in the White House leaked to reporters the identity of Valerie Plame, a CIA operative married to Joseph C. Wilson 4th, the former ambassador who was critical of the administration's reasons for invading Iraq.
Not so much glee Friday in the redder regions, however. Color Instapundit less than impressed.
"The mountain has labored and brought forth a mouse," Glenn Reynolds captioned his post after early word that only Libby has been indicted, and only for covering up. When the news broke fully, Reynolds changed his stance slightly. "Okay, the indictment is out and it’s more like a large rabbit."
Lying to a grand jury, is serious, said the constitutional law professor. "The rest is Martha Stewart stuff. But this isn't the Libby-Rove-Cheney takedown that lefties have been hoping for – there’s not even a charge of "outing" a covert agent – and the very extravagance of their hopes will make this seem much less significant. If there’s no more, this will probably do Bush little harm."
He linked to blogger Laura Lee Donoho in Arkansas, who said it’s not Fitmas. It’s merely Fitzween. Booo! She chose art work of a carved pumpkin spitting its seeds into the toilet.
Christian Science Monitor's primer on the Plame case.
Wikipedia entry on Valerie Plame.
Wikipedia entry on Plame Affair.
A New York Times leak timeline from July.
Time reporter Matthew Cooper's "What I Told The Grand Jury."
Wilson traveled to Africa in 2002 on a C.I.A.-sponsored mission to probe claims that Iraq had tried to buy material there for its nuclear weapons program. He wote in a New York Times op-ed piece that the White House had "twisted" the intelligence to justify invading Iraq.
Still confused? So is Michael Kinsley:
Confused? Sure. Who isn't? One entertaining aspect of the story that is expected to reach some sort of climax today is the struggle of the media to summarize or label it. Once upon a time someone went to Niger, which is not Nigeria, and off we go in time and space. Even Fox News has been driven to compound sentences.
Taking his lead from Tom DeLay, blogger Lou Antosh thinks the proper reaction at the White House would be a kegger:
DeLay, who beamed like an Amway rookie during his recent mug shot, understands the new dynamic regarding perceived crime and punishment in this great nation. The key is this: Be Bold and Brave, Your Fans Will Rave. We’re not talking fake chutzpah here, no twerpy little “Courage” signoff as the feds take you away. No sir. This is looking straight in the camera, raising your most sincere finger high, and crooning like the world’s most powerful lounge lizard: I did not share a leak with that humanoid.”
Meanwhile Roger Simon, the conservative blogger and screenwriter, took a step back:
"It's obvious too that the Plame Affair is not at all about some minor not-so-covert CIA official, but about Iraq. It is a replaying of the war on other turf. The odd thing about this is that it has always struck me that Iraq could just as easily have been a Democratic Party war."
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