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Tuesday, March 06, 2007


Libby found guilty in CIA leak trial
By MICHAEL J. SNIFFEN and MATT APUZZO, Associated Press Writers

WASHINGTON - Once the closest adviser to Vice President Dick Cheney, I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby was convicted Tuesday of lying and obstructing a leak investigation that shook the top levels of the Bush administration.

He is the highest-ranking White House official convicted in a government scandal since National Security Adviser John Poindexter in the Iran-CONTRA affair two decades ago.

In the end, jurors said they did not believe Libby's main defense: that he hadn't lied but merely had a bad memory.

The CIA leak case focused new attention on the Bush administration's much-criticized handling of intelligence reports about weapons of mass destruction in the run-up to the Iraq war. The case cost Cheney his most trusted adviser, and the trial revealed Cheney's personal obsession with criticism of the war's justification.

Trial testimony made clear that President Bush secretly declassified a portion of the prewar intelligence estimate that Cheney quietly sent Libby to leak to Judith Miller of The New York Times in 2003 to rebut criticism by ex-ambassador Joseph Wilson. Bush, Cheney and Libby were the only three people in the government aware of the effort.

More top reporters were ordered into court — including Miller after 85 days of resistance in jail — to testify about their confidential sources among the nation's highest-ranking officials than in any other trial in recent memory.

Special Prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald said the verdict closed the nearly four-year investigation into how the name of Wilson's wife, Valerie Plame, and her classified job at the CIA were leaked to reporters in 2003 — just days after Wilson publicly accused the administration of doctoring prewar intelligence. No one will be charged with the leak itself, which the trial confirmed came first from then-Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage.

"The results are actually sad," Fitzgerald told reporters after the verdict. "It's sad that we had a situation where a high-level official person who worked in the office of the vice president obstructed justice and lied under oath. We wish that it had not happened, but it did."

One juror, former Washington Post reporter Denis Collins, said the jury did not believe Libby's main defense: that he never lied but just had a faulty memory. Juror Jeff Comer agreed.

Collins said the jurors spent a week charting the testimony and evidence on 34 poster-size pages. "There were good managerial type people on this jury who took everything apart and put it in the right place," Collins said. "After that, it wasn't a matter of opinion. It was just there."

Libby, not only Cheney's chief of staff but also an assistant to Bush, was expressionless as the verdict was announced on the 10th day of deliberations. In the front row, his wife, Harriet Grant, choked out a sob and her head sank.

Libby could face up to 25 years in prison when sentenced June 5, but federal sentencing guidelines will probably prescribe far less, perhaps one to three years. Defense attorneys said they would ask for a retrial and if that fails, appeal the conviction.

"We have every confidence Mr. Libby ultimately will be vindicated," defense attorney Theodore Wells told reporters. He said that Libby was "totally innocent and that he did not do anything wrong."

Libby did not speak to reporters.

The president watched news of the verdict on television at the White House. Deputy press secretary Dana Perino said Bush respected the jury's verdict but "was saddened for Scooter Libby and his family."

In a written statement, Cheney called the verdict disappointing and said he was saddened for Libby and his family, too. "As I have said before, Scooter has served our nation tirelessly and with great distinction through many years of public service."

Wilson, whose wife left the CIA after she was exposed, said, "Convicting him of perjury was like convicting Al Capone of tax evasion or Alger Hiss of perjury. It doesn't mean they were not guilty of other crimes."

Libby was convicted of one count of obstruction of justice, two counts of perjury to the grand jury and one count of lying to the FBI about how he learned Plame's identity and whom he told.

Libby learned about Plame from Cheney in June 2003 about a month after Wilson's allegations were first published, without his name, by New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof.

Prosecutors said Libby relayed the Plame information to other government officials and told reporters, Miller of the Times and Matt Cooper of Time magazine, that she worked at the CIA.

On July 6, 2003, Wilson publicly wrote that he had gone to Niger in 2002 and debunked a report that Iraq was seeking uranium there for nuclear weapons and that Cheney, who had asked about the report, should have known his findings long before Bush cited the report in 2003 as a justification for the war. On July 14, columnist Robert Novak reported that Wilson's wife worked at the CIA and she, not Cheney, had suggested he go on the trip.

When an investigation of the leak began, prosecutors said, Libby feared prosecution for disclosing classified information so he lied to investigators to make his discussions appear innocent.

Libby swore that he was so busy he forgot Cheney had told him about Plame, and was surprised to learn it a month later from NBC reporter Tim Russert. He swore he told reporters only that he learned it from other reporters and could not confirm it.

Russert, however, testified he and Libby never even discussed Plame.

Libby blamed any misstatements in his account on flaws in his memory.

He was acquitted of one count of lying to the FBI about his conversation with Cooper.

Collins said jurors agreed that on nine occasions during a short period of 2003, Libby was either told about Plame or told others about her.

"If I'm told something once, I'm likely to forget it," Collins recalled one juror saying. "If I'm told it many times, I'm less likely to forget it. If I myself tell it to someone else, I'm even less likely to forget it."

Libby is free pending sentencing. His lawyers will ask that he remain so through any appeal.


Commenty by ZM

Now that Mr.Libby has been found guilty,I have a few Questions:
1. Does the blame go any higher?
2. What will the punishment be for his actions?
3. Does America care anymore about this?
4. Where those this put the Democatric hopefuls who want to win the whitehouse?



Facetious Muse said...

First of all I want to give you Kudos for posting this so quickly ZM:O)

Now to go on and answer the 4 questions you placed before us all here at the Rattler. Of course these answers are my opinion only.

1. Does the blame go any higher?
Yes, the blame goes all the way to the top, stopping at Bush's door. Although I remember in September 2003 during a speech in Chicago, Mr. Bush said "And if there is a leak out of my administration," Mr. Bush said, "I want to know who it is. And if the person has violated law, the person will be taken care of," So if Bush's word is true(cough cough) Bush should be sitting next to Libby & Cheney in a Club Fed.

2. What will the punishment be for his actions?
The courts will prolly sentence Libby to 18 mths, but more than likely Libby will be pardoned by the mastermind of Libby's crimes, Bush

3. Does America care anymore about this?
This is the hardest question for me to answer. I think 60-70% of Americans do still care about this issue, but I don't think many Americans will do anything or say anything to Congress when Libby gets his pardon. What I do worry about, is what will this make other countries think of the integrity of the American government and worst yet of Americans themselves.

4. Where those this put the Democatric hopefuls who want to win the whitehouse?
In a very good place if... the democrats use it and provide some sort of action to Libby, Cheney & Bush. Even a non-binding resolution prolly would help the democratic hopefuls (and I'm not a great lover of non-binding resolutions). If Americans felt like democrats truly had their best interest at heart the sky would be the limit

I'm wondering just how many neonuts will dare to reply to your post zombie, again thank you.

~~~~~Forever A Facetious Pain~~~~~~
~~~~~~Smile, it confuses people~~~~~

Anonymous said...

non binding resolutions do nothing muse. nohting. they mean nothing. have no value. its just a way for people to make a statement that means nothing and for ignorant people to think it means something.

Eff25 said...

I didn't follow this case closely, and can't contend one way or the other on the fairness of the verdict, but I do give it the assumption of fairness, as anyone should with my level of knowledge.

What bothers me, though, is the absurdity of some conservative pundits and Democrats on the subject of pardoning Libby.

To the Democrats: No Bush should not promise you he won't pardon Libby. I call that as a ridiculous expectation.

To the conservatives: Bush, as with any president, has the right to grant pardons based on what his conscious tells him, but simply rewarding loyalty, and disregarding Libby's convictions on 4 of 5 charges, is not appropriate. I really have trouble figuring out this logic: You don't think the judge will grant a new trial, nor that an appeal will be successful, either because the grounds for them are lacking, or because judges aren't likely to see in Libby's favor, but you think Bush should pardon Libby? Why? The impropriety of what Libby is convicted of is magnified by his former position in government. I would think that's obvious. Any calls for Libby's pardon should wait until after reading the judges' decisions on why they did not take Libby's side, if neither a retrial or successful appeal comes. Then there would be the fairness of the final judicial decisions to consider as a basis for a pardon. To me, that's much more fair than saying Libby should be pardon because he's a good soldier. That's not a strong enough reason.

Eff25 said...


Anonymous said...

While Libby acted on his own for lying, and I dont believe he should be pardoned, dont act like its such a shock that there is discussion for his pardon.

Bill Clinton was pardoned for being a draft dodger. What is it that the liberals and democrats cried before the last election? Bush was not a veteran of battle and Kerry was. Again, exhibit for hypocricy.

Eff25 said...

I'm not shocked. I just think it's rather poorly reasoned.

Facetious Muse said...

Anonymous said...

non binding resolutions do nothing muse. nohting. they mean nothing.its just a way for people to make a statement that means nothing and for ignorant people to think it means something.

The exact reason why I'm not a great lover of non-binding resolutions. But as you pointed out, non-binding resolutions seems to put some people at easy (for lack of a better word). Since the question I was answering was about democrats hopefuls I gave me opinion on a way they (hopeful) could use the outcome of Libby.

Myself I think non-binding resolution accomplish nothing...but maybe giving the illusion to the people that they(politicans) are trying to make a difference.

Well I hope that cleared that up :o)

Eff, if you take a look at pst presidental pardons (yes even Clinton's) you will see a pattern. Quite a few of those pardons go to help out a friend (lack of a better word) of that president.

Anonymous said...Bill Clinton was pardoned for being a draft dodger. What is it that the liberals and democrats cried before the last election?

One word for Clinton was never pardon for being a 'draft dodger' and yes I can back it up. Clinton's so called pardon for Jimmy Carter has been told so many times it has become an Urban Legend which you can read in great detail here So much for that public education system, huh.

~~~~~Forever A Facetious Pain~~~~~
~~~~~~Smile, it confuses people~~~~

Facetious Muse said...

Yes, I left some typos, think of it as a word hunt. lol

Eff25 said...

What will happen and what should happen are different things.

Anonymous said...

Americans thrive on urban legends, especially when they lack a real education. sigh.

Satarel said...

I love it when they try to remind us of the supposed Clinton "draft dodging, when Dick Cheney did the same thing, five times over.

They are called deferments, and Clinton used his. It was within his right. And furthermore, Clinton's number was placed back into the draft pool, which is something "DICK" never did.

One could even argue a hardship clause for Clinton. He was considerd the only man of the household at that time. And as the eldest, he was entitled to that.

If we want to go there, we could talk about all the pussies in this Chicken Hawk White House. But, must we go there?

Satarel said...

As far as Scooter is concerned, he will be pardoned. The question is will he spend time in prison or not.

If Bush pardons him too soon, the Republicans will definitely lose the White House. If he waits for later, Scooter will be doing some time.

It will be interesting, but in the long haul--Scooter will be pardon.

Eff25 said...

I've heard Libby might get only 3 years. Boo hoo for him.

Jay156 said...

A case that hung on the testimony of the likes of Tim Russert, Judith Wilson, and Joe Wright...Seems pretty airtight to me...

Not one, not a single fucking journalist that testified in this case had a story that was even close to another one....

Joe Wilson had a personal bone to pick and he chose to pull some pretty serious bullshit, never put it past a lib

Satarel said...

I have to admit, I spank my wanker while looking at Valerie Plame.
She is one CIA agent that can do some undercover work with me. (GAG)

She is one CIA agent that blow up my WMD. (GAG)

She is one CIA agent that can probe me. (GAG)

PTTV said...