Top White House aide quits

Top White House aide quits
October 29th, 2005  

Topic: Top White House aide quits

Top White House aide quits
Taken from The Age

Top White House aide quits

IN A damaging blow to a beleaguered White House, Vice-President Dick Cheney's chief of staff, Lewis Libby, has been indicted for obstructing justice, perjury and lying after a two-year investigation into the leak of a covert CIA operative's identity.

Mr Libby immediately resigned from his White House post and faces up to 30 years in prison in a case that has put a spotlight on how the administration sold the nation on the war in Iraq and countered its critics.

Mr Cheney said Mr Libby would "fight the charges brought against him". Mr Libby predicted: "At the end of this process I will be completely and totally exonerated."

President George W. Bush's top political adviser, Karl Rove, was not indicted along with Mr Libby, but special counsel Patrick Fitzgerald has made clear to Mr Rove that he remains under investigation and in legal jeopardy, lawyers said.

"It's not over," Fitzgerald told a news conference.

Mr Bush said the investigation and legal proceedings were "serious and now the process moves into a new phase".

Reggie Walton, the federal judge chosen to handle Mr Libby's case, was appointed by Mr Bush to the court. An arraignment for Mr Libby to enter a plea has yet to be scheduled.

Mr Libby's indictment raises the spectre of a politically damaging criminal trial. Lawyers involved in the leak case said Mr Cheney and other top White House officials could expect to be called as witnesses.

The White House is already reeling over the slow response to Hurricane Katrina, growing opposition to the Iraq war and the withdrawal of Mr Bush's nominee for the US Supreme Court, Harriet Miers, under fire from Mr Bush's conservative base.

Despite initial denials, both Mr Rove and Mr Libby spoke to reporters in June and July 2003 about the CIA operative, Valerie Plame.

Mr Libby, who played a major behind-the-scenes role in building the case for the Iraq war, was accused in the five-count indictment of making false statements about how and when he learned and disclosed to reporters classified information about Plame.

Office of the President is 'defiled'

Plame's cover was blown after her diplomat husband, Joseph Wilson, accused the Bush administration of twisting pre-war intelligence to support military action against Iraq. Mr Wilson said it was done deliberately to erode his credibility.

"Today is a sad day for America," Mr Wilson said. "When an indictment is delivered at the front door of the White House, the Office of the President is defiled."

Some Republicans have accused Mr Fitzgerald of being overzealous by pursuing "legal technicalities" instead of the underlying crime. Mr Libby was not charged with illegally disclosing the name of a covert CIA operative.

"I'll be blunt," Fitzgerald said in response. "That talking point won't fly."

He also sought to distance the charges from the growing national debate over the Iraq war, saying the issue was whether "Mr Libby lied or not" and not whether "the war was justified or unjustified."

If convicted, Mr Libby, 55, faces a maximum sentence of 30 years in prison and a $1.25 million ($A1.66 million) fine.

Mr Libby is accused of lying to FBI agents who interviewed him on October 14, 2003, and November 26, 2003, committing perjury while testifying under oath to the grand jury twice in March 2004, and engaging in obstruction of justice by impeding the grand jury's investigation.

Mr Fitzgerald dismissed as "false" Mr Libby's story that he learned about Mr Wilson's wife from reporters. "He was at the beginning of the chain of phone calls, the first official to disclose this information outside the Government to a reporter. And then he lied about it afterwards, under oath and repeatedly," Mr Fitzgerald said.

Mr Wilson based his criticism of the administration in part on a CIA-sponsored mission he made to Africa in 2002 to check an intelligence report that Iraq sought uranium from Niger.

Mr Bush cited intelligence that Iraq sought uranium from Africa in his 2003 State of the Union address, but Mr Wilson later said the claim was unsubstantiated.

Rove still under scrutiny

Mr Cheney's office sought to discredit Mr Wilson and his findings by suggesting the trip had been arranged by his wife.

The indictment showed that Mr Libby began seeking information about Mr Wilson and his wife in late May 2003, some six weeks before Ms Plame's identity was publicly disclosed in a July 14, 2003, newspaper column by Robert Novak.

It appears that Mr Libby first learned that Mr Wilson's wife worked at the CIA - and that she was involved in organizing his trip to Niger - on June 11 or June 12, 2003, in conversations with the undersecretary of State and a senior officer at the CIA, who were not identified. The undersecretary referred to in the documents is Marc Grossman.

The indictment also highlighted Mr Cheney's role. Mr Libby learned from Mr Cheney himself on June 12, 2003, that Wilson's wife worked in the counterproliferation division of the CIA.

Legal sources said Mr Rove could still face perjury charges for initially failing to tell the grand jury he talked to Time magazine reporter Matthew Cooper about Ms Plame.

Prosecutors did not identify Mr Rove by name in the indictment, referring to him only as "Official A". Prosecutors said "Official A" told Mr Libby that Mr Novak was writing a column about Ms Plame.

"The special counsel has advised Mr Rove that he has made no decision about whether or not to bring charges," Mr Rove's attorney, Robert Luskin, said.
October 29th, 2005  
He is just indicted. It means he was just accused of some wrongful actions and these are some allegations.
October 29th, 2005  
No, it means he is the designated fall guy who will take the rap for the crap so the big boys will come out the other end clean. Read - Oliver North.
Top White House aide quits
October 29th, 2005  
I read that his team has been working on Iraq since 2003, playing the media so the people would warm up for a nice war. Also that this CIA agent's cover was blown because her husband refused to withdraw is statement that there weren't weapons of mass destruction.

Suppose that he admits, will some people everhere have new insights or continu to believe what the want? It started because Iraq had weapons of mass destruction and that changed to spreading democracy. And now the architect of this war is indited because he was lying. Interesting isn't it?
October 29th, 2005  
Italian Guy
Oh no it has NOTHING to do with the reasons for the war...
October 29th, 2005  

Okay here we go. I'm sorry that it is in Dutch, but I haven't found the info in English yet. In short they say that Libby leaked the identity of a CIA operative to a reporter. But his motives for doing so are far more interesting.
They say that it was done to discredit Joseph Wilson. Wilson went to Niger to check out the story that Saddam was buying uranium. Wilson said that this was unfounded and therefor no true.
Libby and his WHIG (White House Iraq Group) were working the public over the make it a just invasion. When Wilson didn't cooperate and stuck his view that Iraq's threat was intentionally overstated. By saying Wilson wife works for the CIA they tried to discredit him too.

If the public heard that there were no weapons of mass destruction, why invade Iraq? This story on bringing peace and democracy started when it became clear that there weren't any of such weapons. So, in my opinion, it has a lot to do with the war in Iraq. And if he is found quilty I hope they make him console the parents of those 2000 dead GI's that went there because he lied to his own country and to them!
October 29th, 2005  
Italian Guy
Ok let's see:

Washington Post

"Nevertheless, it is also a fact that Special Counsel Patrick J. Fitzgerald, after substantially completing his two-year investigation, has brought no criminal charges in the leak of Ms. Plame's identity to journalists and its publication by columnist Robert D. Novak"...
Mr. Libby himself is not charged with any wrongdoing in revealing Ms. Plame's identity to journalists...
he special counsel was principally investigating whether any official violated a law that makes it a crime to knowingly disclose the identity of an undercover agent. The public record offers no indication that Mr. Libby or any other official deliberately exposed Ms. Plame to punish her husband, former ambassador Joseph C. Wilson IV. Rather, Mr. Libby and other officials, including Karl Rove, the White House deputy chief of staff, apparently were seeking to combat the sensational allegations of a critic. They may have believed that Ms. Plame's involvement was an important part of their story of why Mr. Wilson was sent to investigate claims that Iraq sought uranium ore from Niger, and why his subsequent -- and mostly erroneous -- allegations that the administration twisted that small part of the case against Saddam Hussein should not be credited. To criminalize such discussions between officials and reporters would run counter to the public interest...
But nothing in this indictment suggests a broad-based conspiracy that requires endless further investigation by Congress or others. Nor does this case prove (or refute) charges that President Bush misled the country about the grounds for war. As Mr. Fitzgerald said yesterday: "This indictment is not about the war"

Rivkin and Casey on the Washington Post now

"Special counsel Patrick Fitzgerald's indictment of I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby should be the final proof that the system of "special prosecutors" is bankrupt and ought to be abandoned...
It is clear that, at least by sometime in January 2004 -- and probably much earlier -- Fitzgerald knew this law had not been violated. Plame was not a "covert" agent but a bureaucrat working at CIA headquarters. Instead of closing shop, however, Fitzgerald sought an expansion of his mandate and has now charged offenses that grew entirely out of the investigation itself. In other words, there was no crime when the investigation started, only, allegedly, after it finished".

Now, the analysis of the New York Times. Remember that the NYT is leftist and opposes Bush

NYT: "The prosecutor, Patrick J. Fitzgerald, brought no charges on the issue that prompted his investigation: whether someone in the government committed a crime by leaking the classified C.I.A. identity of the wife of one of the sharpest critics of the administration's rationale for war with Iraq".

The NYT op-ed now

He didn't indict anyone for seemingly minor discrepancies in testimony. He didn't indict on vague conspiracy charges. He didn't indict anyone for leaking classified information...
The indictment merely demonstrated that the cliché about the cover-up being worse than the crime is especially true when there was no crime to begin with.

The Wall Street Journal:

Libby is charged with lying about a crime that wasn't committed".
"A possible 30-year jail term and $1.25 million in fines for a Bush Administration official who was merely attempting to expose the truth about Mr. Wilson, a critic of the Administration who was lying to the press about the nature of his involvement in the Niger mission and about the nature of the intelligence that it produced. In other words, Mr. Libby was defending Administration policy against political attack, not committing a crime".

The prestigious Michael Barone says

"The Libby indictment raises in my mind the question of whether it is just to indict someone for false statements in the course of the investigation of what was never a crime".

But most importantly I would like you to read what Fitzgerald himself says, read carefully:

QUESTION: A lot of Americans, people who are opposed to the war, critics of the administration, have looked to your investigation with hope in some ways and might see this indictment as a vindication of their argument that the administration took the country to war on false premises.
Does this indictment do that?
FITZGERALD: This indictment is not about the war. This indictment's not about the propriety of the war. And people who believe fervently in the war effort, people who oppose it, people who have mixed feelings about it should not look to this indictment for any resolution of how they feel or any vindication of how they feel.
This is simply an indictment that says, in a national security investigation about the compromise of a CIA officer's identity that may have taken place in the context of a very heated debate over the war, whether some person -- a person, Mr. Libby -- lied or not.
The indictment will not seek to prove that the war was justified or unjustified. This is stripped of that debate, and this is focused on a narrow transaction.
And I think anyone's who's concerned about the war and has feelings for or against shouldn't look to this criminal process for any answers or resolution of that.
October 29th, 2005  
As Patrick Fitzgerald, the prosecutor, said this has nothing to do with the current war in Iraq
October 30th, 2005  
Right. And my wife being pregnant has nothing to do with having sex. Everything in politics is related, like life, everything is connected even if only in the paranoia of a select few. It doesn't matter what people say, it's what they do.
October 30th, 2005  
Italian Guy
Originally Posted by bulldogg
It doesn't matter what people say, it's what they do.