Monday, October 31, 2005

That's One Down ...

"Scooter" Libby is toast. If you read the indictment it's hard to come up with a way Libby's lawyers can beat the rap. It also becomes clear that Libby was not just forgetful or confused. He lied in an attempt to hide the fact that he and the Vice President, among other White House officials, were involved in the Valerie Plame leak from the very beginning.

Libby must have figured that the White House whisper campaign had planted enough seeds in the press corps (about Ambassador Joe Wilson going to Niger because his wife picked him) that his bald assertions of innocence would seem plausible. After all, Libby asserted, gossip isn't a crime.

Under oath, Libby said, "Well, talking to the other reporters about it, I don't see as a crime. What I said to the other reporters is what, you know – I told a couple reporters what other reporters had told us, and I don't see that as a crime."

Gee, he sounds so innocent. Too bad he made it all up. As the careful timeline presented in the indictment makes clear, Libby was neck-deep in the anti-Joe Wilson campaign from the very beginning -- long before most reporters knew anything about him.

Judging from the materials published on his web site, Special Counsel Fitzgerald has much more information about the White House's attempts to cover up their misdeeds. Most interesting is the fact that Karl Rove (identified as "Official A" in the Libby indictment) spoke to columnist Bob Novak about Valerie Plame before Novak "outed" her as a CIA operative. Novak's column triggered the request from the CIA for an official investigation into the leak. Rove may be lucky enough to avoid indictment but there is no doubt that he was involved in a nefarious effort to fool the American people about how and why we got into the Iraq War.

Bear in mind that Valerie Plame worked as an undercover operative on nonproliferation issues at the CIA. In other words, her job was to prevent our enemies from acquiring nuclear weapons. Valerie Plame can no longer do that because top White House officials thought it was more important to play politics than to protect the country. If Bush keeps Rove around, it will be with the knowledge that Rove was involved in the kind of behavior that we used to call treason.

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