Democrats & Liberals Archives

Opening Salvos: The Libby case heats up.

MSNBC (link) reported that, Dick Cheney was responsible for the Valerie Plame leak. Special Prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald said in his opening statement that is was Dick Cheney who told Skooter Libby that Valerie Plame was an agent for the CIA. Oh boy… this trial is going to be very, very interesting.

According the report:

Fitzgerald said Cheney told his chief of staff, "Scooter" Libby, in 2003 that the wife of Iraq critic and former ambassador Joseph Wilson worked for the CIA, and that Libby spread that information to reporters. When that information got out, it triggered a federal investigation.

“But when the FBI and grand jury asked about what the defendant did, "Fitzgerald said, “he made up a story."

FItzgerald also said, in his opening statement, that Libby destroyed a note written by Cheney just prior to the FBI began their interview with him during their initial investigation.

Libby's lawyers fired back alleging that the Bush administration hung him out to dry. Libby asserts that he was thrown on the sword by the Bush administration as they were covering for Rove's disclosures.

Boy-oh-boy... this is fun! It's like the movie-of-the-week. You have crafty defense lawyers spinning a highly plausible defense, while the prosecutor is alleging that Libby was merely protecting his master.

i can't wait for the installment.

Posted by john trevisani at January 23, 2007 4:00 PM
Comments
Comment #204630
MSNBC (link) reported that, Dick Cheney was responsible for the Valerie Plame leak.

Please point to where in the MSNBC link provided that anyone has suggested that Dick Cheney was responsible for the Plame leak.

Posted by: Rhinehold at January 23, 2007 4:10 PM
Comment #204631
Special Prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald said in his opening statement that is was Dick Cheney who told Skooter Libby that Valerie Plame was an agent for the CIA.

I don’t think that this has ever been denied by anyone has it? That Cheney’s aide was told information he had clearance to be told? I believe the actual quote was that Libby learned from 5 different people, are the other four responsible as well?

Fitzgerald said Libby learned from five people — from Cheney to members of the CIA and State Department — that Wilson’s wife worked for the CIA.
Posted by: Rhinehold at January 23, 2007 4:14 PM
Comment #204633

Cheney was perfectly justified telling Libby, since they both had clearances and reasonable right to know. This is meaningless.

Libby may or may not have been trying to protect his boss, but it turns out he would not have needed to do that. Novak got his information from Richard Armitage, NOT Libby or Cheney.

It is too bad if Libby gets punished for being a little to zelous in his loyalty, but no matter how much you guys beat this dead horse, you will not be able to ride it.

Posted by: Jack at January 23, 2007 4:26 PM
Comment #204637

That Libby’s defense is that Cheney lied and Rove was really the leaker is new to me, as well as his claim that he was hung out to dry. Equally eye opening, at least, is the memo from Cheny where he refers to Rove as being “protected” and Libby as having “put his neck in the meatgrinder”.

Maybe none of this “proves” anything, but anyone with open eyes realizes there was a leak, and this stuff is salient and dirty enough to capture the eye of Joe American.

We spent tens of millions investigating Clinton. We deserve to know if this admnistration actively tried to bamboozle us into this crazy Iraq war.

Don’t forget… Bush said he would fire whoever was responsible for the leak. So… if Cheney was involved why is still around? Oh yeah, cuz Bush lies and Republicans don’t care.

Posted by: Max at January 23, 2007 4:43 PM
Comment #204638

Max,

1) Yes, this proves nothing.

2) Yes, there was a leak, it turns out it was Richard Armitage. There is no evidence to suggest Cheney was involved in the leak.

3) This has nothing to do with Clinton, Move On. Why are you bringing up Clinton, I thought we weren’t suppose to do that?

4) How does this investigation have anything to do with if ‘this administration actively tried to bamboozle us into this crazy Iraq war.’? Wilson’s report was deemed by the CIA to support the assertion that Iraq attempted to by yellowcake from Niger, not counter it.

5) Bush has yet to be presented with a name of someone in his administration that was responsible for the leak. Perhaps that’s why no one has been fired? Libby lied to the special prosecutor and as a result is on trial now, but he resigned as soon as the indictment was announced. I’m not sure where Bush is on the hook for this, perhaps you could explain it to me?

I’m all for hanging someone who leaks information out to dry, but I’m not going to go after someone without proof. Provide some and we’ll talk.

Posted by: Rhinehold at January 23, 2007 4:59 PM
Comment #204646

I think the most fun comes from:

a) The headless chickens running around trying to cover DickBush’es collective behind

b) That there are finally trials exposing the gross incompetencies, craven politics, and bold faced lies of this administration.

c) The “War is peace, blah blah”, “white is black, blah blah” excuses form the right wing.

d) The right wing is finally saying “this has nothing to do with Clinton” What a change that is!

John is right, what great fun. Who’s got the popcorn?

Posted by: Dave1-20-2009 at January 23, 2007 5:20 PM
Comment #204649

Dave,

re a) I don’t see anyone trying to cover anyone’s behind. If I were to say that Hillary Clinton was guilty of, oh let’s say something nasty about IRS files or something, without any proof of such, don’t you think someone should counter that statement?

Are you willing to do what John has not, point to me anywhere where in the link it says that Cheney is responsible for the leak. That was the assertion made, it is false (or as yet unproven or even unhinted at by the prosecution) and all I ask for is where it is stated. If someone has any proof to back up the claim, please do so so we can quit arguing about it…

re b) There are finally trials doing what? Please explain to me how this small trial about Libby lying to a federal prosecutor is an indictment against the whole administration? Do you have some piece of evidence that Fitzgerald missed and would like to have or is supressing?

re c) The “anyone who disagrees with me is a republican” excuses from the left wing, etc… Whatever.

re d) So basically you’re saying it’s ok to bring up Clinton if you are a liberal, but if you are a republican, libertarian, green or independant he’s off limits? I think they have a word for that…

Put up or shut up Dave, where in the link provided does it suggest that Cheney is responsible for the link as John stated in his opening paragraph of his article?

Posted by: Rhinehold at January 23, 2007 5:28 PM
Comment #204650

Why in the world would someone posting on one thread, on one blog site, who wishes to voice an opinion, be required to profer proof of anything?

Posted by: Marysdude at January 23, 2007 5:29 PM
Comment #204651

Rhinehold-
Armitage was the initial leaker, but not the sole leaker, and while his slip may have been inadvertant, Neither Libby’s nor Rove’s disclosures were so unwitting. Libby’s mistake was lying about it. Armitage and Rove likely saved themselves by cooperating.

As for the evidence found in Niger, it might support seeking, but not the ability to get. If Saddam was unable to get the material, it’s a moot point whether he wanted it. The evidence that Wilson got is one confirmation of many that Saddam was not going to get any yellowcake out of Niger. Since we see no new capability, then we’re not dealing anything so urgent.

Yet to be presented? Good heavens. The story is out. Three or more of his officials released information about Valerie Wilson’s identity before it was common knowledge. They’re all leakers, and he promised to fire the people responsible. The proof is all the testimony to this effect. Read the indictment.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at January 23, 2007 5:30 PM
Comment #204653

Stephen,

If Rove was guilty of leaking Plame’s name, why was he not indicted of such? What cooperation did he give that would have nullified such a charge, did he provide information for someone else as being guilty and if so why were no charges ever filed? I’m sorry, but your view of events just doesn’t add up.

As for attempting to get yellowcake out of Niger, it showed that Saddam was trying to get material to reconstitute his nuclear ambitions, just because Niger rebuffed him doesn’t mean he wouldn’t keep trying to get it from somewhere else. But it’s besides the point, we are never going to agree because it’s not the whole story, just part of it, and we just don’t see eye to eye on the point of Saddam being dangerous or not no matter how much evidence I provide and you attempt to counter…

Anyway… I’m not saying they are proven innocent at this point either. Just that there is NO proof at all there what the author stated is in any way factual.

All I want is someone to back up the author of the article who made an inflamitory statement that Cheney was responsible for the leak when the article provided as the link to such information provides no such thing. Are people actually willing to let that slide on this blog just because they don’t like Bush and *want* it to be true?

Posted by: Rhinehold at January 23, 2007 5:42 PM
Comment #204654

Marysdude is absolutely right…the truth does not matter anymore. It’s a moral and ethical free for all and the last election proved it…

Posted by: cliff at January 23, 2007 5:43 PM
Comment #204655
Why in the world would someone posting on one thread, on one blog site, who wishes to voice an opinion, be required to profer proof of anything?

Ok, Marysdude, I’ll post an article later tonight stating that Hillary Clinton is secretly married to Rosie O’Donnell and has signed treaty papers already to hand over control of the US to the United Nations.

I mean, heck, why do we need proof?

Posted by: Rhinehold at January 23, 2007 5:44 PM
Comment #204660

The whole thing really comes down to this - Scooter Libby was trying to impede the investigation into the leak and lied to Fitzgerald while under oath. This case really has nothing to do with Valerie Plame and Joe Wilson other than that they were the subject of the lies. It doesn’t matter whether or not the initial leak was a crime lying to investigators was a crime.

If Libby did not think he did anything wrong, why did he lie? What was so important that he needed to commit a felony over it? Or was it just that he were so arrogant that he thought he was above the law?

I’m tired of conservative pundits who can do nothing but attack Joe Wilson and Valerie Plame, their involvement in this case ended when Libby lied to Fitzgerald. The only reason more criminal charges weren’t filed against the Bush administration was because their lackeys lied to impede the investigation.

Posted by: Tom Snediker at January 23, 2007 6:06 PM
Comment #204661

Rhinehold,

1) But are you saying that Cheney’s memo doesn’t refer to a coverup? Are you saying that Libby is lying? There’s no “proof” for evolution, but most people know it’s real.

2) Nope. No “evidence”. Just the word of Libby. Again, that he is lying about that stretched credulity whether or not it is “proof”.

3) Clinton was exhaustively investigated for comparatively minor offenses to anything related to the justification of a war.

4) Um, they leaked his name, because he was critical of the war…

5) Bush is on the hook, because Cheney obviously knew something about the leak. He was involved.

“Vice President Dick Cheney personally intervened to get the White House press secretary to publicly clear Libby in the leak, defense attorney Theodore Wells said in his opening statement at Libby’s perjury trial.”

Posted by: Max at January 23, 2007 6:09 PM
Comment #204663

Rhine,

To your points:
a) The right wing has brought slime to new heights, even to the point of a new word ‘swiftboating’. The trial will determine who goes to jail.
b) This is just the beginning, now that the opposition has subpoena powers again. Once they lied, they have to keep lying.
c) Whatever, as I said “white is black, blah blah blah” Truth means nothing to DickBush and their ilk. Under oath will be fun, since they got away with testifying without oath before.
d) Not what I said at all. But thanks for playing, see (c)

As for “put up or shut up” Hmmm, Nope, don’t have to. DickBush et. al. is about to get their due and I’m going to love every minute of it. Besides the wingnuts believe the earth is 6000 years old and there’s no global warming and W walks on water … why would I expect them to believe any other truth on earth?

Posted by: Dave1-20-2009 at January 23, 2007 6:16 PM
Comment #204667

You guys might want to look into how causality works.

Novak wrote the article that outed Plame. He got the information from Richard Armitage. If we had known that before, the whole investigation could have been avoided.

Libby may or may not have lied. The trial will determine that. But the special prosecutor found insufficient reason to indict him or anyone else for the Plame case.

Re causality - or what really happened.

Armitage outed Plame. That is where it came from and everybody involved agrees on that.

You are arguing that others might have, could have, wanted to etc do it. BUT they did not. That is the truth and everything else is a lie.

Maybe you can understand this in the terms of a tv mystery. Somebody is killed and ten people in the room have a motive. It turns out that one of them really did it. After finding the one who did it, does the story continue after that?

Posted by: Jack at January 23, 2007 6:29 PM
Comment #204670

Rhinehold:
i’m not backtracking at all, but the original link that i posted is different than this link. (i do not understand how this changed. The original posted article was only 3 paragraphs.) But the video goes into a bit of detail about the opening remarks by Fitzgerald where they discuss Cheney’s involvement.

Posted by: john trevisani at January 23, 2007 6:41 PM
Comment #204674

Jack said ‘Maybe you can understand this in the terms of a tv mystery…’

Maybe you guys on the right wing would appreciate it better with a reference to ‘My Cousin Vinnie’.

Once again, the communication process has broken down. It appears to me that you want to skip the arraignment process, go directly to trial, skip that, and get a dismissal. Well, I’m not about to revamp the entire judicial process just because you find yourself in the unique position of defending clients who say they didn’t do it.

This will be fun.

Posted by: Dave1-20-2009 at January 23, 2007 6:53 PM
Comment #204679

That MSNBC link simply does not say what people here are saying it does.

It doesn’t say that Cheney, Rove or even Libby leaked anything. And after all, nobody in the case is even being accused of a leak. Libby is accused of lying—not leaking.

Libby’s defense team is not saying that Rove did something that Libby is being accused of—they’re saying that Libby feels the White House desginated him the fall guy in the scandal and didn’t want to protect him like they wanted to protect Rove, something which is not even directly supported by that reported memo.

But even if that’s true, it’s not relevant to whether or not Libby committed perjury.

If the White House went to bat for Rove (over something everybody now agrees Armitage actually did), it’s irrelevant to the case unless Karl Rove went to the grand jury wearing a Scooter Libby mask and told the lies that Libby is now accused of telling, and then the White House covered up Rove’s testimony in disguuise. In other words—this is all pointless.

The Cheney memo (which doesn’t exist anymore) doesn’t pertain to any leak, and it’s not totally clear at all what it even means, since it doesn’t name names.

It reportedly said, “Not going to protect one staffer and sacrifice the guy that was asked to stick his neck in the meat grinder.”

To me, this simply looks like Cheney was saying he wasn’t going to protect Libby and sacrifice Rove.

That doesn’t mean that Cheney thought Rove was guilty and wanted to cover up for him—it simply says what it says, that Cheney wasn’t willing to make Rove the scapegoat. It also leaves open the possibility that Cheney thought Libby really was responsible for the leak—something we now know isn’t true—and wasn’t willing to try and protect him.

Posted by: Loyal Opposition at January 23, 2007 7:49 PM
Comment #204698

Rove is not indicted because what he did was not actually illegal. He had the right to disclose Plame’s identity as a deep undercover agent if the President declassified it. The problem came about because Bush/Cheney did not want Americans to know that they outed her. That would appear… well, unpatriotic and self-serving to an extremely irresponsible degree. I mean, to put the lives of CIA operatives and agents at risk to keep the country from finding out that your trumped up reasons for war was just that… a rouse.

No, once again, its the cover up that puts the administrative operatives at jeopardy under the law. Libby is going to go to jail for perjury and who knows what will be revealed under testimony. One thing is for sure. Portions of the ugly underbelly of the current administration will be revealed. My guess is that the President and possibly Cheney are untouchable in this as far as jailable and treasonous offenses go. But as the curtain is drawn back, more and more people will see the charlatans operating the Wizard in OZ’s ominous castle.

Posted by: LibRick at January 23, 2007 9:42 PM
Comment #204700

sorry… that’s RUSE, not rouse.

Posted by: LibRick at January 23, 2007 9:44 PM
Comment #204703
Rove is not indicted because what he did was not actually illegal. He had the right to disclose Plame’s identity as a deep undercover agent if the President declassified it. The problem came about because Bush/Cheney did not want Americans to know that they outed her.

LibRick, Armitage “outed” her. Nobody—not even the prosecutor—says anything different. This is an established fact at this point, so your comment that “Bush/Cheney did not want Americans to know they outed her” is meaningless.

In fact, in this trial it’s been the defense who wants to talk about whether Plame had status that was illegal to reveal, and it’s been the prosecutor who has insisted that that line is irrelevant to whether or not Libby committed perjury.

Posted by: Loyal Opposition at January 23, 2007 10:01 PM
Comment #204704

If Rove was guilty of leaking Plame’s name, why was he not indicted of such?

Rhinehold, are you saying that lack of indictment is proof of innocence?

Do you think the indictment process is bereft of political issue?

I’m wondering if you listened to any of Fitzgerald’s statements as to the reasoning behind the indictments he issued. I don’t think he absolved anyone.

The American Public knows who the liars are. They don’t need a courtroom to establish that. They announced their verdict in November.

Posted by: gergle at January 23, 2007 10:04 PM
Comment #204706

Loyal,

So you are trying to say that there was not an active role taken by the administration (Rove, Cheney, Bush) to out Plame? I think the few surviving memos and notes as well as much testimony proves otherwise. The defense mentions a meeting that Grossman had from Armitage the night prior to grand jury testimony, so I’m extremely suspect of Armitage’s claim that he was the original leaker. We know for a fact that Rove spoke with Miller and Cooper. Armitage was certainly not a ‘wild hair’ in the administration. This was a concerted effort. That’s what the administration does not want known. So don’t make out that Libby and Armitage were the instigators of this leak, though they both might be the sacrificial scapegoats in it.

At any rate. This is interesting stuff.

Posted by: LibRick at January 23, 2007 10:17 PM
Comment #204715
Loyal,

So you are trying to say that there was not an active role taken by the administration (Rove, Cheney, Bush) to out Plame?

I’m not expressing a point of view or opinion about that at all.

I don’t know any more than anybody else about what happened behind closed doors at the White House, and I’m just talking about the case.

If there was some active role to out Plame, an investigation didn’t find that and now the trial has nothing to with that. I dunno. I’m agnostic on the question.

What I do know though is that there seem to be people very eager to read all kinds of things between the lines in the case that would be on the surface if the prosecutor wanted—or more importantly were able—to pursue them.

Posted by: Loyal Opposition at January 23, 2007 10:50 PM
Comment #204751

What is the use of truth when you have inuendo?

This is what we know:

Novak got his information from Armitage.

After months of investigation, the special prosecutor indicted only one person for perjury. He indicted NOBODY for the Plame affair.

I would like what Bush haters think, but I cannot put myself into such an irrational mode. Their argument can be boiled down to this:

“We have no evidence for anything, but we hate Rove et al so much that they must have done something to justify our animosity. And if we never can develop evidence, that just means that these guys are so much smarter than we that thye can hide anything from us.”

There are people who still think we staged the moon landing in the Nevada desert. Their evidence is probably better than we the Bush haters got in this case.

I expect you guys will need to check your filings for hidden transmitters.

Posted by: Jack at January 24, 2007 4:32 AM
Comment #204757

It would probably not be illegal for the White House to use classified information to embarrass and discredit somebody they disagree with. It is certainly unseemly, however, and embarrassing if that person turned out to be right about an issue of vital national interest.

The fact that Novak got his information from Armitage doesn’t support the possibility that the WH was trying to use classified information to embarrass Wilson. (Assuming that Armitage was acting on his own, as seems to be the case.) HOWEVER, the fact that Novak got his info from Armitage in no way negates the possibility of a WH conspiracy. It simply doesn’t support it.

We still don’t have all the facts. It’s like the sports saying, “On paper they can beat us, but we’re playing on grass.” From the current media reports it doesn’t look like much, but we still have a trial to bring out the facts. In particular, Dick Cheney will have to testify under oath about his conversations, which could be interesting.

Posted by: Woody Mena at January 24, 2007 8:46 AM
Comment #204758

Rhinehold-
Rove may have committed a crime, but Fitzgerald might not be in a position to prove that with what he knows. Remember the role of reasonable doubt in this legal system, and the rather finicky nature of the law. Regardless of that, we have grand jury testimony under oath from a reporter who was told of Valerie Wilson’s identity before it was common knowledge by Karl Rove. We have similar testimony by Bob Woodward and Judith Miller that Libby was giving out that information.

As for the Niger Affair, the important fact to remember is the lack of much reliable intelligence reporting him look elsewhere. Niger was supposed to be the one place where we had real proof, not just some cryptic reference that he was both seeking and able to get the actual stuff. Given all the facts that have come to light since then, it’s impossible to see eye to eye, if you’re going to insist even so much as Saddam having a Nuclear program, because we found nothing that would indicate that. You can’t prove the unreal.

Lacking such evidence, there’s no reason why someone like me should see Saddam as a major threat in comparison to the guy who knocked down our buildings. That’s the whole point of the dispute about evidence: by what threshold did we determine that Saddam was the better target, the bigger priority?

Are you going to use the perceived prejudice against Bush as an excuse not to acknowledge factual information in the media? The “inflammatory statement” is from the opening statement of a prosecutor known for being precisely the opposite. When you are going to concede that opposition to Bush is not born of mental illness or bigotry?

Jack-
Causality? Armitage is the primary leaker primarily because he spoke to the one guy dumb enough to actually publish this information. If Matt Cooper, Bob Woodward or Judith Miller had published what they’d been given and not Novak, Libby and Rove would have been the source. There was a willing and concerted effort to disseminate this information. That’s what Miller, Woodward, and Cooper’s accounts prove. Your definition is legalistic if the question we are asking is whether Rove sought to leak Valerie Wilson’s identity.

I mean, the question becomes, if there was no leaking going on, why did Libby lie about who told him to investigators and the grand jury?

I’m sick of the Republicans citing Bush hatred. It’s a copout for dealing with the issues, trying to paint what are well-founded assertions as the criticisms of those irrationally opposed to the man. It’s a way to avoid the very rational reasons for not like Bush as a president or a man that stem from his behavior, and the behavior he’s allowed from his staff and advisors.

So why don’t you tell us why it is that in Libby’s indictment, Fitzgerald goes out of his way to state that Wilson’s identity was classified information, and not generally known, or disseminated by the couple themselves before her outting? If this is this case, the leaks to Cooper and Miller fall under the definition of leaking classified information, and this is not conspiracy theory

Loyal Opposition-
The original indictment mentions the dissemination of classified information not known at the time to the public or outside the intelligence community. I don’t know how you define leak, but unless you’re getting highly legalistic about it, that fits the definition of leak very well.

The meat of the indictment is that by lying and perhaps even destroying evidence, Libby made it difficult if not impossible to tell what was really going on.

The fact that the Defense for Libby is taking the attitude it is to the White House indicates that the leak is pretty central. Unless this guy is an idiot, he believes there is something to gain by attacking the character of those who may just end up as prosecution witnesses. Is this true or false? We’ll see.

What is true is that Bush went on National television and said that he would fire the leaker when in fact, there’s evidence to indicate that he cleared the information. In fact, this is the only scenario that can clear them of passing out classified information. He argued that he didn’t know when he did.

Don’t rely on indictments alone to form the picture of what went on. There is a pattern of behavior, of the Administration broadcasting classified (or hastily declassified) information as a means of refuting critics.

The real question you should be asking is whether it’s simply coincidence that Libby and Rove are talking to a number of reporters about the identity of Valerie Wilson. Part of the perjury and obstruction charges are several incidents where Fitzgerald says Libby disseminated the information before he claimed he had learned it from Tim Russert, who has testified under oath that he never talked about it with him- with proof on tape!

It’s a losing proposition to defend the Administration on this leak. Armitage’s slip might have been inadvertant, but Libby’s and Rove’s were quite intentional. The likelihood is the only thing that kept them from being prosecuted were technicalities in the wording of the law.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at January 24, 2007 8:52 AM
Comment #204771

I think it is obvious that the craven neocon politik is evil and antiAmerican. This trial is one of the first public venues where their abuses of powers will be aired, minus the protection of a Republican congress. The only question is whether they will be convicted. Their guilt is not in doubt, just like OJ’s.

Posted by: Dave1-20-2009 at January 24, 2007 10:15 AM
Comment #205025

I see that the witness from the CIA mentioned that Plame is the one who got her husband the job. Nepotism?

And didn’t Wilson say Cheney chose him for the job? Liar?

Posted by: Jack at January 25, 2007 4:26 PM
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