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Monday, October 31, 2005

I choose Curtain Three


This sucks


Fall of a Vulcan
How a very smart and very loyal aide to Dick Cheney got indicted for allegedly lying about his role in defending the war


But the part-time novelist and full-time infighter has met an unforgiving critic. If special counsel Patrick Fitzgerald is right, Libby spun an intricate--and criminal--web of lies when he spoke to FBI agents and a grand jury last year investigating the disclosure of CIA officer Valerie Plame to reporters in 2003. Although Libby maintained under oath that he first heard about Plame's identity from reporters and passed it on to others as mere gossip, Fitzgerald's indictment offers considerable evidence that it was the other way around--that Libby told two reporters, including TIME's Matthew Cooper, about Plame's work for the CIA, and that he lied to investigators about one of those conversations and confected a third out of whole cloth.

Although Fitzgerald has so far drawn a tight circle around Libby that may leave President George W. Bush's longtime alter ego, Karl Rove, bloodied but secure, the United States v. I. Lewis Libby has already reopened old wounds about why the U.S. went to war in the first place. In an unprecedented and awkward fashion, the case pits government officials against the reporters who cover them. And Fitzgerald's indictment sets the stage for either a trial next spring or a plea bargain that almost certainly would mean jail time for Libby. That possibility has already been discussed: a source close to the investigation told TIME that Fitzgerald and Libby's attorney Joseph Tate discussed possible plea options before the indictment was issued last week. But the deal was scotched because the prosecutor insisted that Libby do some "serious" jail time.

For anyone who has been trying to follow the bewildering saga of Scooter Libby, Karl Rove, Joseph Wilson and his wife CIA officer Valerie Plame, Fitzgerald's indictment is a helpful road map. After months of confusion, the indictment provides the most concrete evidence yet of a war between the Veep's office and the CIA--a war about a war--and the lengths Libby and his colleagues were willing to go to squelch any criticism of the Administration's prewar behavior. Libby was a Vulcan,* one of the Bush team hard-liners, along with former Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, who helped the President cram for foreign policy debates during the 2000 campaign and who had argued for years that the U.S. should depose Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein and bring democracy and stability to the Middle East.

What's more, the Vulcans played for keeps. The indictment alleges that Libby sought to find out all he could about an Administration critic named Joe Wilson, then leaked the identity of Wilson's wife to several reporters to undercut the validity of Wilson's criticism, and then lied about his actions in his grand jury testimony. If convicted, lawyers say, Libby could face up to five years in prison.
Now, why would Libby accept disbarment and years in jail, years which could push his family into penury when everyone else would walk? Rove go on making millions, Cheney pretending he doesn't know him.

Fitzgerald has a much stronger case than we've seen. He has shown exactly what little we need to see of his hand., which is almost nothing. People cheering that Rove hasn't been indicted and Spikey Isakoff running to believe that Fitzgerald told Bush's lawyer that he wasn't going to indict Rove are idiots.

Fitzgerald's case is so strong that :

A: he feels no need to get a new grand jury for his case and will use any sitting one in the District.

B: Refused to accept a plea by Libby and demanded at least 24 months jail time.

So people thinking Rove is out of the woods are kidding themselves. It could be a detail or two missing or a witness to flip or even someone still working in the White House gathering evidence for an indictment. If Hadley thought he could be indicted, there's a reason for that. This indictment was clearly designed to show Libby what was going to happen, and give him a chance to think about life with no money coming in, a humongous legal and jail time.

And to encourage him to share the pain.

posted by Steve @ 12:45:00 AM

12:45:00 AM

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