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Saturday, October 29, 2005

Why Bush in in serious trouble


Others turned their focus on the future. "It is a huge problem for this administration and a huge embarrassment," Norman J. Ornstein, a politics expert at the conservative American Enterprise Institute, said of the indictment. He pointed to the fact that the day's events had not ended the legal scrutiny of the president's political advisor. "It can't be good news that they are continuing on talks and investigations on Karl Rove. If this goes on for any length of time it just paralyzes the White House."

Jane Hamsher

So if I were Dick Cheney, I wouldn't be sleeping very easy tonight. At the very best, his chief of staff was just popped for lying to protect him, and he can now look forward to being questioned in open court. Do you think Andrea Mitchell could spare some TV time from mewling over what a loss it will be not to have Scooter in the Hamptons during the summer season to discuss the serious implications of the Vice President's role in this highly dubious affair? Well probably not, but if there's a God in his heaven tonight the tightly-stretched skin of her face will soon snap and whiplash her into inactivity.

Do not make this mistake of thinking a presidential pardon will be a panacea for those involved. Fitzgerald's honorable and straightforward presentation today made it nigh impossible for the Rovians to fall back on their old tricks and launch a smear campaign -- Chris Matthews pretty near crowned him Pope this afternoon, and any attempt at a pardon will just make Bush look like an impeachment-worthy crook out to thwart the efforts of an honest public servant.


This administration's grand schemes always end up as the opposite. Officials say they're promoting national security when they're hurting it; they say they're squelching terrorists when they're breeding them; they say they're bringing stability to Iraq when the country's imploding. (The U.S. announced five more military deaths yesterday.)

And the most dangerous opposite of all: W. was listening to a surrogate father he shouldn't have been listening to, and not listening to his real father, who deserved to be listened to.

CBS News

Joe....Wilson talks to 60 Minutes correspondent Ed Bradley, in his first interview since Fitzgerald announced the indictment of I. Lewis Libby, Sunday, Oct. 30, at 7 p.m. ET/PT.

"There have been specific threats [against Plame]. Beyond that I just can’t go," Wilson tells Bradley. Wilson says he and his wife have discussed security for her with "several agencies."

Former CIA colleagues say that by revealing her identity, harm could be caused to the CIA’s agents and operations. "If a CIA agent is exposed, then everyone coming in contact with that agent is exposed," says Jim Marcinkowski, a former CIA agent who trained with Plame at the top-secret Virginia facility known as "the Farm." "There is a possibility that there were other agents that would use that same kind of a cover. So they may have been using Brewster Jennings just like her," said Marcinkowski, referring to the fictional firm the CIA set up as her cover that also came out when journalists, including Robert Novak, disclosed it.

Marcinkowski also points out, "[Plame] is the wife of an ambassador, for example. Now, since this happened…they’ll know there’s a possibility that the wife of a U.S. ambassador is a CIA agent."

Prosecutor Has Built a Strong Case, Experts Say

WASHINGTON — Sometimes, a witness says he just can't remember. It may well be a convenient memory lapse, but it is hard to prove such forgetfulness is a crime.

I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby, however, is accused of something far more elaborate. Special Prosecutor Patrick J. Fitzgerald alleges that Libby made up a false story to deceive investigators and then told the lie under oath to the grand jury.

Telling a false story to a federal prosecutor who knows the facts is a sure ticket to an indictment, legal experts said Friday. And, they said, Fitzgerald appears to have built a strong case.

"That's unacceptable. You can't lie, make up conversations that didn't happen and expect you are not going to be charged with a crime," said George Washington University law professor Stephen A. Saltzburg.


Fitzgerald would have no case "without the journalist witnesses. We are in an interesting new world," said Rory Little, a former federal prosecutor who teaches criminal law at the University of California's Hastings College of the Law in San Francisco. "Why would a guy as smart and as experienced as Libby go in and lie? One reason is he was still living in the world where journalists were not compelled to testify."

Glenn Greenwald
Libby's Indictment does not depend upon the recollection of reporters

Foreshadowing what is sure to be a popular line of attack on Lewis Libby's indictment, right-wing bellweather Michael Ledeen, in National Review's Corner, announces that the Indictment "stinks," because, he claims, the Indictment rests on nothing more than mere discrepancies in recollections between Libby and the reporters with whom he spoke:

I finally concluded that (the Indictment) says that Libby lied to the grand jury (and elsewhere the FBI) when he testified that he told (Cooper, Miller or Russert) things that in fact he did not tell (Cooper, Miller or Russert).

If that is right, it means that this poor man may well have been indicted because his memory of those conversations differs from the journalists'. And Fitzgerald chose/wanted? to believe the journalists' memories. Pfui.

To this non-lawyer, that's not good enough to shake up the staff of the vice president of the United States. Isn't perjury a knowing lie?

Why should Fitzgerald assume, even if he thinks he KNOWS that the journalists' memories are all reliable, that Libby didn't misremember the conversations?

This entire claim is simply untrue. A central prong of the Indictment is that Libby lied to the Grand Jury and to the FBI not only about what he said to reporters, but also about when and how he first learned that Wilson's wife worked for the CIA.

According to the Indictment, Libby told the Grand Jury that he first heard of Plame's CIA employment during a July 10 telephone conversation with Tim Russert, and that he was "surprised" to learn of this during that conversation (see Paragraph 32(a)(ii)) (cited Indictment paragraphs are excerpted below).

That testimony is false, alleges the Indictment, because Libby had known about Plame CIA's employment well before he ever spoke with Russert. Indeed, the Indictment lists four (4) separate occasions prior to his conversation with Russert when Libby was informed that Plame worked for the CIA ((see Paragraph 33(a)(ii)), including his early June conversation with Vice President Cheney, his June 11 conversation with a "senior CIA officer," and his June 12 conversation with an Under Secretary of State.

The funny thing is that after five years of Bush, people are so cynical that they think he can just throw up a few lies and walk away. He can't, much less pardon anyone. All the conservative bleeting about the indictment is just that, bleeting. It isn't serious.

Reporters take notes, for one thing. A bad memory is going to make your stay in journalism short lived.

No, this is isn't Watergate, this is worse, because the criminality goes right to the WH. No henchmen acting on their own. It is likely this came from Cheney himself.

posted by Steve @ 10:55:00 AM

10:55:00 AM

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