A Nurse with a Gun

Friday, October 28, 2005

Scooter Libby Indicted

Vice President Dick Cheney's lawyer.
Dick Cheney's Chief of Staff.
Dick Cheney's assistant for national security affairs.
Sometimes called "Dick Cheney's Dick Cheney."
Libby was integral in compiling the White House's allegations that Iraq possessed weapons of mass destruction.

Ambassador Joseph C. Wilson decimated disputed the Iraq-Africa connection, saying he personally investigated the claim a year earlier and found no evidence of WMDs that Saddam had not purchased yellowcake. The identity of Wilson's wife as a CIA agent was leaked to journalists shortly afterwards. The journalists did what journalists do, to the point of sleeping in a cell rather than divulge a confidential source. The Justice Department opened a full-blown investigation. The White House denied involvement.

Dick Cheney is arguably the most influential Vice President in U.S. history. Libby was his most influential advisor. Libby apparently has no scruples when it comes to dirty politics.
A wise man once said you are known by the company you keep.



Blogger Gandalin said...

Xavier, I am disappointed that you chose to publish this post, which is uncharacteristically poorly researched and poorly argued.

You've swallowed the mainstream media's tissue of lies hook, line, & sinker.

Your first "statement of fact" betrays your ignorance of the underlying matter:

"Ambassador Joseph C. Wilson decimated the Iraq-Africa connection, saying he personally investigated the claim a year earlier and found no evidence of WMDs."

In fact, Joe Wilson decimated nothing. He went on a public rampage against the White House because the President's State of the Union address contained these now-famous "sixteen words:" -

“The British Government has learned that Saddam Hussein recently sought significant quantities of uranium from Africa .”

Well guess what.

That statement was true then, and it is true now, and British Intelligence is convinced to this day that Saddam Hussein was trying to buy uranium in Africa.

Lord Butler's report to Parliament concluded: "we conclude also that the statement in President Bush’s State of the Union Address of 28 January 2003 that “The British Government has learned that Saddam Hussein recently sought significant quantities of uranium from Africa” was well-founded."

Joe Wilson claimed that he was told by his contacts that Iraqis were not trying to buy uranium in Niger, but he confirmed that Iraqi business agents, that is, business agents representing Saddam's regime, were active in Niger.

Niger's only export of consequence in uranium. The only other products they export are livestock, cowpeas, and onions.

Thus, the CIA officials who (at the behest of his wife) dispatched Joe Wilson on his mission were actually convinced that his report confirmed the report that Saddam was actively trying to buy uranium in Africa.

As reported by the US Senate Intelligence Committee, Wilson's trip report "lent more credibility to the original Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) reports on the uranium deal."

ALmost everything Joe Wilson said publicly about his trip was a lie. He lied when he said his wife had not promoted him to the CIA and proposed his name for the trip. He lied about the significance of his findings.

You will also note that Scooter Libby was charged with perjury and obstruction of justice, relating to things he said during the investigation. He was not charged with leaking a covert agent's identity. There was apparently no such crime.

The indictment does not suggest that leaking Valerie Plame's name to Bob Novak was a crime. Nor does the indictment even reveal who, in Patrick Fitzgerald's expert opinion, did the leaking. So when you imply that the Vice President is guilty of some sort of underhanded conduct, you are leaping to an unsubstantiated and frankly wild conclusion.

That's not what I have come to expect from your blog. I'd expect it from Kos or Atrios.

Moreover, Scooter Libby is at least according to the prevailing standards of American jurisprudence presumed to be innocent unless found guilty beyond a reasonable doubt by a petit jury of twelve of his peers.

So for you to condemn the Vice President because of the unproven crimes of his chief of staff seems to me to be unwarranted.

Go read Lord Butler's report. Read the Senate Intelligence Committee's report. Read some of Stephen Hayes's reporting on Iraq, Niger, and Wilson. You will not be sorry that you did.

6:44 PM  
Blogger Xavier said...

Poorly researched and poorly argued?
Actually, I think it is pretty much factual, with no argument at all. You may disagree with the word decimated, and perhaps it was a poor choice, but until proven otherwise, I'll stick with it.

You want opinion? here's one. I met Dick Cheney in 1991 when he was Secretary of Defense. I did not think highly of him then, he was a detached cold fish with a weak handshake when among military men he was supposed to be leading. Nevertheless, until just now, I have refrained from saying anything derogatory about ol' Dick. You say I've condemned him? Naw........I've just said you are known by the company you keep. The condemnation is in your own mind.
You might want to post to your own blog, it's been a while, and you have some opinions to express.

7:08 PM  
Blogger Xavier said...

I changed decimated to disputed for gandalin.

7:13 PM  
Blogger Gandalin said...

Thanks for your response and for your kind suggestion to start a blog.

Maybe some day.

I've barely figured out how to work the comments.

7:30 PM  
Blogger Xavier said...

Gandalin's Quest
I'll help you get it going if you like.

7:34 PM  
Blogger Gandalin said...

Thanks. As you can see, I didn't get far.

I will contact you off line for your advice.

Your own blog is impeccably presented.

The use of photographs in particular is excellent.

8:02 PM  
Blogger Gandalin said...

Thanks. As you can see, I didn't get far.

I will contact you off line for your advice.

Your own blog is impeccably presented.

The use of photographs in particular is excellent.

8:03 PM  
Blogger reliapundit said...

xavvy baby;

you wrote:

"saying he personally investigated the claim a year earlier and found no evidence of WMDs. "

bwahahaha! that's a hoot! wmd's!?!?!?!?!?!?!?! in niger!?!?!?
that's not what he was sent to investigate.

he was sent to determine is saddam BOUGHT yellowcake. he determined that saddam had not BOUGHT yellowcake.

he did NOT determine that saddam had NOT TRIED TO BUY SOME.

all bush said in the sotu was that the brits ascertained that saddam SOUGHT to buy some. which he was prohibited from doing, and which he could ONLY use for illicit purposes. in violation of the unscr's/armistice. which is legally a casus belli.

wilson's nytimes op-ed COMPLETELY MISREPRESENTED his trip, what he found, and what bush said. not sutrpirising that it was writ by a gore2000/kerry2004 suppporter. you can read it yourself. google it. (HINT: common dreams has it in porintable format.)

WHAT IS MORE: the bush sotu which contained the fanous 16 words (that brit intel had determined that saddam SOUGHT uranium in AFRICA)
was delivered THREE EFFIN' MONTH AFTER JOINT CONGRESSIONAL RESOULTION #141 which authorized bush to make war on saddam. thereforew, this staemnt in the sotu could NOT have possibly misled a single solitary senator or representative.

which reminds me: wilson claimed he was hired by the CIA to find out if the niger memorandums were forgeries. ONLY THESE FORGERIES DID NOT COME TO LIGHT UNTIL MOINTHS AFTER HIS TRIP.

another lie.

wilson is the liar. not bush.

wilson, and perhaps libby.

wilson lied deliberately in order to dmage the presidient during wartime.

libby PROBABLY lied because he felkt he had broken the espeionage act of 1917. like martha stewart, if he hadn;t lied, he would have walked.

if he's convoicted he shouold do hard time.

i hope his conviction sends a message to all government workers not to leak. like senators leahy, shelby and rockefeller. whose leaks were much MUCH more damaging than libby's.

google them if you want.

so io think you are way off base on the libby slam.

anyhow.... love the blog. off to the range!

1:00 AM  
Blogger Xavier said...

Split hairs if you like. I struck out and replaced a couple of words for you as well. The gist of the events remain unchanged.

7:39 AM  
Blogger reliapundit said...

cool u adapted to criticism. cool to disagree too.
cause it's MOST cool if folks know that many of us who defend the iraq war and bush's rationale for it and his sotu (and the 16 words) and who hate wilson and his cohorts on the left do so for RATIONAL reasons, and not out of blind partisanship.

8:44 AM  
Blogger Xavier said...

Agreed. I myself support the war in Iraq, and i believe we have one of our best Presidents since Reagan. I believe history will show that.

I despise Wilson. I think he and his ilk are spineless flotsam.

However, I believe that leaking the name of a undercover operative, whether CIA, DEA, FBI or your local Sheriff to the media is not only unethical but criminal. To do so for any reason is criminal. To do so in retaliation for a difference in opinion of evidence is the height of arrogance and hubris. But that is beside the point. It is criminal. It should be punished severely, so no politician will ever think of doing such a thing again.

When you hold Top Secret information, you are holding people's lives in your hands. Whether you agree with their ideology or not is beside the point. You are on the same team, and leaking names of operatives gets people killed. That can not be tolerated, no matter who knew, condoned, supported, authorized or leaked the information. When it comes to the lives of innocent Americans and our friends operating abroad, no compromises or excuses are acceptable. To do otherwise will turn agents.

Do not try to defend this act by saying she was not a field operative, and therefore it did not matter. It is the little pieces, the contacts and connections, that make the big picture in counter intelligence. We may never know the lives endangered and possibly lost by this act of vindictive arrogance.

10:46 AM  
Blogger Gandalin said...


I agree that compromising a covert agent's identity is a serious matter.

But that's not the crime which Patrick Fitsgerald's indictment accuses I. Lewis Libby of doing.

The indictment mentions the revelation of Valerie Plame's identity only in the most abstract terms, and Scooter Libby is not accused of doing it.

In his press conference, Special Prosecutor Fitzgerald discussed the revelation of a CIA agent's identiy in only the most general terms, and declined to say if any such criminal revelation had occurred.

Surely he has had over two years and a nearly unlimited budget to find out if such a crime was committed. The fact that he can't be sure that anyone violated any law by supposedly leaking Valerie Plame's name to the press shows just how overblown this whole scandal has become.

4:31 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

One count of obstruction of justice, two of perjury and two false statement counts. These charges are viable in a court of law. A 30 year prison sentence will help broker a deal to get people who lie under oath to tell the truth.
I believe the press received Valerie Plame's name from somewhere. The timing of the press having that partricular name is extremely curious. The fact that they had it at all showed that security was compromised. It's just a question of how. If the name and job was spoken by someone privy to classified information, a crime was committed. If it was given willingly to the press as a means of revenge, it was done with malice.
I will not support a member of Bush's staff who compromises an undercover operative's cover because they disagree with them any more than I would support drafting young men for service in Iraq based on how they voted in the last election.

5:27 PM  
Blogger Gandalin said...

Anonymous, The indictment doesn't charge anyone with the crime of compromising a covert agent, let alone national security, in any way. The Prosecutor dances around those issues.

If after two years of investigation he had any evidence supporting such charges, he would have brought them forward.

There is no "there" there.

6:38 PM  
Blogger Gandalin said...

Godd morning, Xav, I was wondering if you might want to revisit this issue, now that it has been widely published that the leaker to Robert Novak was not Scooter Libby, but Richard Armitage.

You said a few harsh things about Mr. Libby, as well as Vice-President Cheney.

Do you still stand by them?

By the way, who do you think is the most egregiously malfeasing prosecutor in the news -- Mary Lacy of Boulder, Matt Nifong of Durham, or Patrick Fitzgerald of Washington?

For your further reading pleasure, here is "Investor's Business Daily's" take on Patrick Fitzgerald:

"Did Special Prosecutor Fitzgerald Lie?
Posted 8/29/2006
Plamegate: Patrick Fitzgerald's three-year manhunt to track down who blew Valerie Plame's CIA "cover" has been exposed as a costly sham. He apparently knew all along that his man was not Scooter Libby.
When Fitzgerald, U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois, was assigned the Plame case, he was hailed as a paragon of integrity. He'd helped convict Mafia boss John Gotti, the 1993 World Trade Center bombers and former Illinois Republican Gov. George Ryan, who'll be sentenced next month on 22 counts of bribery and racketeering.
But it's hard to see anything but politics as the motivation for Fitzgerald's handling of the Plame affair. The facts indicate that Fitzgerald knew early on that the original leaker was State Department official Richard Armitage. So why did Fitzgerald let a cloud hang over White House adviser Karl Rove's head for so long? And why is Fitzgerald continuing to hound Libby, the former vice presidential chief of staff?
The answer seems to be that Armitage, who is charged with nothing and brags that he hasn't even consulted a lawyer, was former Secretary of State Colin Powell's right-hand man and a critic of pre-emptive war in Iraq. Libby, on the other hand, was an architect of that war strategy. Do doves get a pass in Fitzgerald's book, while hawks get an indictment?
The latest revelations raise a question of far more gravity: Did Fitzgerald publicly lie? Let's look at the facts:
• The indictment of Libby that Fitzgerald extracted from the grand jury states that "on or about June 23, 2003, Libby met with New York Times reporter Judith Miller. . . . In discussing the CIA's handling of Wilson's trip to Niger, Libby informed her that Wilson's wife might work at a bureau of the CIA."
• In the Oct. 28 press conference announcing Libby's indictment, Fitzgerald claimed that "in fact, Mr. Libby was the first official known to have told a reporter when he talked to Judith Miller in June of 2003 about Valerie Wilson."
• That assertion is apparently false. A soon-to-be-released book, "Hubris," by Newsweek's Michael Isikoff and The Nation magazine's David Corn, finds that Armitage revealed Plame's identity in a meeting with The Washington Post's Bob Woodward a week before the Libby-Miller meeting in June 2003. In a Newsweek preview of the book, Isikoff cites "three government officials, a lawyer familiar with the case and an Armitage confidant" as sources for when the Armitage-Woodward conversation took place.
• Armitage is also clearly columnist Robert Novak's primary source for his July 2003 column, which was the first piece to identify Plame. On Sunday's "Meet the Press," Novak complained that "the time has way passed for my source to identify himself."
• Isikoff notes that "Armitage himself was aggressively investigated" by Fitzgerald. So Armitage fessed up at the outset. Fitzgerald long ago knew whom Armitage talked to and when. And he knew it was Armitage, not Libby, who was responsible for outing Plame (whose status as a secret CIA operative was dubious at best).
• Fitzgerald's contention in October that Libby was "the first official known to have told a reporter . . . about Valerie Wilson" may therefore have been a lie.
Fitzgerald knew in the early days of his politicized witch hunt that no crime was committed. No one intentionally revealed the identity of a truly covert agent. Yet he made a reporter, Miller, spend nearly 90 days in jail for refusing to reveal her source.
Meanwhile, Fitzgerald refused to reveal to the public the true source. From top to bottom, this has been one of the most disgraceful abuses of prosecutorial power in this country's history. That it's taking place at a time of war only magnifies its sordidness.
We wouldn't be surprised if Fitzgerald ran for high elective office in the next few years — likely as a Democrat. The Plame case proves he can bend the truth with the proficiency of the slickest of pols."

4:40 AM  

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