January 24, 2007

"Not going to protect one staffer and sacrifice the guy that was asked to stick his neck in the meat grinder because of the incompetence of others."

So read the note from Dick Cheney, translated for the jury by Scooter Libby's lawyer Ted Wells, paraphrased by Michael Isikoff:
The vice president was not going to allow Karl Rove to be protected and Libby to be sacrificed. Libby had stuck his neck “in the meat grinder” because he had been authorized by President Bush himself to talk to reporters and rebut what the White House considered unfair criticism by Wilson that the intelligence about Iraq had been “twisted.” And the “incompetence” Cheney was referring to was by the CIA which, he claimed, was responsible for whatever the White House had gotten wrong about Iraq’s purported weapons of mass destruction.
It looks like the trial is going to be quite a meat grinder. Per Isikoff:
Well’s argument was both brilliant and complex-and perhaps difficult for non-news hounds on the jury to follow. But it raised the prospect that the Libby trial will now turn into a horror show for the White House, forcing current and former top aides to testify against each other and revealing an administration that has been in turmoil over the Iraq war for more than three years.

23 comments:

Anonymous said...

The incompetence and treachery occurred when Cheney, Libby, Rove, et. al., decided to out the undercover CIA officer in tracking WMDs in Iraq and Iran.

Could the incompetence have been more perfect? As if Cheney were a Al Qaeda plant.

In Hubris, David Corn and Michael Isikoff talk a bit about what sources told them about Valerie Plame Wilson's role in the CIA's counterproliferation division of the DO. From Hubris, page 285:

She [Valerie Plame Wilson] picked weapons and requested an assignment in the DO's new Counterproliferation Division, a unit Congress had pushed the CIA to create to address concerns about the spread of weapons of mass destruction….

After maternity leave, Valerie Wilson returned to the CIA's Counterproliferation Division in the spring of 2001. She was given a choice: she could work on North Korea or Iraq. She selected Iraq and became one of the two operations officers working for the CPD's rather modest Iraq branch. But within months, it would expand into the Joint Task Force on Iraq and assume one of the agency's most important missions: the search for intelligence on Iraq's WMD's. (She also assisted on operations related to Iran.) (emphasis mine)

Corn further elaborated in a story for The Nation thusly:

Valerie Wilson was no analyst or paper-pusher. She was an operations officer working on a top priority of the Bush Administration. Armitage, Rove and Libby had revealed information about a CIA officer who had searched for proof of the President's case. In doing so, they harmed her career and put at risk operations she had worked on and foreign agents and sources she had handled….

Posted in legal, Iraq, CIA Leak Case, Iran, Plame, Oversight | 188 Comments

David said...

I hope they drag David Gregory into the fray so we can find out what he knew, when he knew it, and who told him.

This is already beyond interesting. It is a birds eye view of politicians doing what they do best. To the defense I can only hope they give each of these stalwart defenders of free speech the chance to lie or bend the truth.

Maybe we can hear some new wussified excuses above and beyond:

1. I categorically deny...
2. I have no recollection...
3. The dog ate my notes...
4. The construction office I hid my purloined notes under was moved...
5. I did not have sex with (fill in blank...)
6. It depends on the definition of (fill in the blank...)

dick said...

Isn't it funny that Reality Check seems to forget that the one who outed the "undercover" (who, by the wasn't undercover except in the pages of the magazine) was none of the above but instead was the dem's favorite go to republican from the State Dept, Armitage? The other bit about how the people she worked with overseas being put in danger was completely due to the articles she and her husband wrote and the interviews with the NYT columnist. She was not even undercover for over 5 years and all the neighbors knew what she did for a living.

No matter how often the LLL points are refuted completely they keep dragging them up since those points are what the LLL dems want to be true. That they are not true doesn't matter - they should be true in a perfect LLL world.

Anonymous said...

Haha! David Corn. Yeah, that guy has no axe to grind whatsoever.

I think reality check needs to stick to knee jerk Bush-hating and stay away from trying to present "evidence".

Anonymous said...

I hope Scooter Libby's defense is not going down this road. Libby has every right to be angry as it is not even clear that he committed a crime and if he did, it was probably inadvertent. That said, even in the event he is convicted he was almost guaranteed to be pardoned by the President if he stayed loyal. His career would be hurt by a conviction but not ruined (see Elliott Abrams).

However, if his defense is predicated on blaming everything on Karl Rove and claiming he was the White House's fall guy, he may be found not guilty but his political career is probably over and in the event he is convicted he may not get the pardon.

Currently, the Vice President is standing behind him (and I suspect will continue to do so), I am just hoping this doesn't become a huge media story where Joe Wilson is once again seen as this great victim.

Bruce Hayden said...

I am not quite sure why unreality check thinks that Corn has any sort of credibility there. Nevertheless:
- There is no evidence that Plame was legally covert at the time of the disclosure.
- There has been no evidence as yet that anyone in the Administration violated any laws when she was supposedly "outed".
- Fitzgerald has pretty much admitted that and never indicted anyone for outing Plame, despite millions of dollars and years spent, and multiple grand juries utilized trying to do so.
- First known disclosure was by Armitage, which is strong indicia that the dispute that caused it was between State and CIA. Apparently, bad blood between them from the CIA botching the Iraq WMD question. Even though Wilson was former State Dept., they made clear that this was a CIA operation and they had nothing to do with it, which is one reason that Wilson didn't get to talk to nearly as many people as he might have.
- To the extent that the adminstration "outed" Plame, her husband should shoulder most of the blame, going on a CIA junket to Niger at the suggestion and pushing of his wife, and then talking about it in the NY Times. No CIA sponsered junket suggested and pushed by Plame, or no NY Times op-ed by Wilson attacking the Administration, and there would have been no disclosure of her involvement with the CIA.

Bruce Hayden said...

Partisan Moderate

Most crimes, including all of those even remotely alleged here, require some sort of intent. The two charged, purjury and obstruction of justice, clearly require intent, and that is one of the ways that the defense is going to attack the charges.

Fitzgerald has to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that Libby intentionally lied. And Libby should get off if he said whatever is claimed to be a lie, was said without the intention of lying or obstructing justice. Merely making a mistake isn't criminal.

paul a'barge said...

the “incompetence” Cheney was referring to was by the CIA which, he claimed, was responsible

This is the ultimate condemnation of the Agency, which has historically been a nest of vipers, doing the business of cutting off America at her knees.

One of the necessary outcomes must be the gutting and rebuilding of the CIA into an agency that actually looks out for American interests, instead of subverting them.

Bruce Hayden said...

I don't see Libby turning on the Administration at this point. Part of the reason that Fitzgerald went after him was to get him to flip on either Rove or Cheney, and he didn't.

It should be noted that of all the participants here, it was only Libby who was indicted. Not Armitage who was the original leaker, or Ari Fleischer who had access to classified information that Libby didn't and appears to have disclosed Plame's identity a week before Libby did. Instead, the later got immunity. And of course, not Rove or Cheney (though how the VP could have been indicted is highly questionable, given his formal declassification authority).

It is esp. interesting that many of those who had the most relevant information were never brought before the GJ, or if they were, weren't sworn in. It appears that the whole investigation, almost from the start, was aimed at Libby, Rove, and Cheney, regardless of culpability of any others. And Libby didn't roll on Rove or Cheney when he had the chance to avoid prosecution by doing so. So, why do it now?

Bruce Hayden said...

It appears that the prosecution's leadoff witness (Grossman) told different stories to the FBI and Grand Jury. Apparently, he too is having memory lapses, and he had his notes, whereas Libby had turned his in well before he went before the Grand Jury.

Not a good start for a prosecution trying to prove that Libby's inconsistencies were intentional.

Apparently, the defense also got some of Wilson's NYT op-ed into evidence, and that he was upset about being called "low level" by Cheney.

SteveR said...

reality check: next please update us on Watergate or Iran-Contra.

Bruce Hayden said...

It appears that the prosecution's leadoff witness (Grossman) told different stories to the FBI and Grand Jury. Apparently, he too is having memory lapses, and he had his notes, whereas Libby had turned his in well before he went before the Grand Jury.

Not a good start for a prosecution trying to prove that Libby's inconsistencies were intentional.

Apparently, the defense also got some of Wilson's NYT op-ed into evidence, and that he was upset about being called "low level" by Cheney.

Kirk Parker said...

Bruce Hayden,

"Merely making a mistake isn't criminal."

Tell that to Randy Weaver. :-( Of course, you're technically right, since a jury of his peers did acquit him...

MadisonMan said...

If anyone is found guilty in this or any subsequent trial(s), I expect outgoing President Bush will pardon them.

Too Many Jims said...

I don't see Libby turning on the Administration at this point.

With all due respect, did you read the linked article? That is an odd opening statement if he doesn't intend to turn on Rove or at least signal that he is willing to turn on Rove.

And Libby didn't roll on Rove or Cheney when he had the chance to avoid prosecution by doing so. So, why do it now?

I am not sure he wants to roll over on Cheney but with respect to Rove from this story (and others) it appears Libby feels that he was rolled over on by (or for) Rove. He might be pissed enough about that to drag along some others who were not his boss.

Al Maviva said...

Libby doesn't have a "political career." He's a D.C. Superlawyer. If he avoids conviction, he'll land on his feet and be advising somebody else, or at a minimum lobbying, pretty quickly after the trial is over. Don't let the nickname "Scooter" fool you into thinking he's some non-serious little frat boy. He ain't, he's in spite of all the sinistrosphere's attempts to belittle him. He's a moderately heavy hitter, more part of the D.C. establishment than Bush and Rove are (as is Cheney), so you need to read some of into what he is doing.

hdhouse said...

any chance ol' Shooter Dick will stick his neck in the meat grinder?...talk about non-lean meat. ohmygod. candle wax anyone.

Sloanasaurus said...

If thats the case, what about the Left's argument that the Bush Administration is made up of a bunch of "yes-men."

Every Administration has these issues, which is why it's called an "Administration" rather than just Bush.

SMGalbraith said...

Once they realized that Iraq had no WMDs (of any consequence), the White House was scrambling to cover their asses.

Which should help - though it won't - put to rest the nonsense that they lied about Saddam's WMD programs. If I claim that Ann has a gun in her house and threatened me with it (both lies), I sure as hell won't lead the posse into the house to discover the (non-)existence of the gun.

They thought he had them. When they weren't found, everyone ran to cover their fannies, pointing fingers here, there and everywhere.

hdhouse said...

Sloanasaurus said...
"Every Administration has these issues, which is why it's called an "Administration" rather than just Bush."

Yet another case when Sloan meant to hit delete or edit and instead hit publish. Oh the humanity.

Freder Frederson said...

No CIA sponsered junket suggested and pushed by Plame, or no NY Times op-ed by Wilson attacking the Administration, and there would have been no disclosure of her involvement with the CIA.

It is astounding that anyone can describe a trip to Niger a "junket". Exactly what about Wilson's trip to Niger makes it a junket, were there luxury resorts and golf outings included in the trip? It is also rather astounding that you blame Wilson for his wife's outing. He was pissed off because what the president said in the SOTU address contradicted his findings from the Niger trip about the most important decision a President makes, going to war. He felt duty bound to report what he had found since it had apparently been ignored by the Administration. Along with all the other evidence of non-existent nuclear programs that the Administration shaded or outright fabricated (or ignored contrary evidence, e.g., the aluminum tubes), formed one of the cornerstones of the case for war. Like so many of things this Administration has told us they may not have been outright lies but they demonstrated a complete disregard for seeking the truth. Rather they sought to pick facts or evidence, no matter how tenuous, to support the case they wanted to make, and ignored or suppressed everything that contradicted it. And when contradictory stories came out, they resorted to the politics of personal destruction, as they did in the Plame case. Since they could not counter the facts of Wilson's assertions, they chose to destroy his wife's career by revealing classified information. When they got caught, they lied about it. Simple as that.

David said...

Tell that to the Kurds!

Freder Frederson said...

Tell that to the Kurds!

I assume that this is in response to my post. Of course the Kurds were attacked with chemical, not nuclear weapons. The whole issue with the Plame outing was about the fabricated case that Saddam had reconstituted his nuclear weapons program (which Cheney assured us he had). This of course was simply not true and the evidence backing this assertion was less than credible.

As for the Kurds, they were gassed before the First Gulf War, with hardly a whimper of protest (and perhaps even the tacit approval) of the Reagan administration. After all, Saddam was killing lots of Iranians at the time (and a good number of them with chemical weapons) and we heartily approved of that. If some of his chemical weapons were used to quell internal troublemakers, we were willing to look the other way. By the time of the Iraq invasion, Kurdistan was under a no-fly zone and was practically independent of Baghdad. The Kurds were self-governing and Saddam had lost control of the Kurdish areas.