Friday, October 28, 2005


What The Indictment Doesn't Say

If you're like me, you spent a good portion of the day in front of the television trying to get a handle on the indictment handed down from Patrick Fitzgerald's grand jury. As it turns out, I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby was indicted on five counts: 2 counts of making a false statement, 2 counts of perjury, and 1 count of obstructing justice. He then immediately resigned his position as Dick Cheney's Chief of Staff.

Having read the indictment, I was surprised at the blatant falsehoods peddled by Libby. This man is a former attorney. Surely, he must know that the statements he made are going to be contradicted. He has to realize that each of those statements can be refuted by simple fact-checking. So I'm left to wonder, "What was he doing? Why would he knowingly give false and misleading statements to investigators and the grand jury?" Judging by the lack of other indictments, and the nature of the charges against him one has to assume that if he had cooperated he wouldn't have been charged with anything. So in what I assure you is a very rare instance, I have to agree with Tucker Carlson who said today that he believes there's "something bigger going on, here."

Obviously, if Libby was lying to the grand jury he feels as if he has something to hide. But what would that be? As Patrick Fitzgerald indicated at his press conference this afternoon, it is extremely difficult to prove whether or not someone intentionally did anything meaning that he was going to have a hard time proving that Libby, or anyone else, intentionally leaked an undercover agent's name. Being a former attorney, Libby should obviously know that. So why would he lie? Unless, of course, he's trying to cover for someone else. We've seen it before. Can you say Oliver North? It wouldn't be out of the ordinary for someone in Libby's position to take the fall for another. Knowing that Fitzgerald was somewhat limited in the scope of the investigation, Libby could have easily obstructed the investigation and perjured himself in an effort to turn the attention away from other officials.

So for the sake of argument, and keep in mind that this is all speculation on my part, let's say that Libby is covering for some one else as I believe that's the only excuse for lying to the grand jury. The next logical question then is, "Who?" Well, let's take a look. As Josh Marshall points out over at Talking Points Memo, the indictment seems to indicate that Cheney's office knew that Plame was covert:

So Cheney's office, and thereby Cheney himself, knew that she was a spy. Cheney also knew, as revealed in Libby's own notes, that Libby had learned of Valerie Plame's position at the CIA from none other than Dick Cheney. Hmmmm.... I'm starting to see a pattern here.

I know, I know....Cheney and Libby discussing a CIA operative is not a crime. They both have a security clearance and are allowed to do so. I know that Cheney is not under indictment. I know that according to Patrick Fitzgerald, Cheney didn't do anything wrong. But here's what the indictment doesn't say that I think it should: DICK CHENEY KNEW THAT SCOOTER LIBBY WAS LYING WHEN HE SAID THAT HE HEARD ABOUT VALERIE PLAME FROM REPORTERS!!!!!

To me, this presents a couple of problems. Number one: Cheney could have saved the tax payers about $750,000 had he come forward with the truth or if he had encouraged Libby to come clean. Instead, he allowed Libby to continue lying, wasting the grand jury's and the special prosecutor's time and the tax payers' money. It's not a crime to allow someone else to lie, but to stand back and allow it to happen when you know better is not the behavior of an honest public servant.

And number two: This presents a real problem for George W. Bush. It goes back to something I, and several others, wrote about a long time ago: What did Bush know and when did he know it? If Bush knew what Cheney knew, that makes him complicit in the behavior. If he knew that Libby was lying, he's just as morally corrupt as Libby and Cheney for allowing the lie to continue. However, if Bush was kept in the dark about it, then the situation's not much better because now he has a vice president that has not been telling him the truth. Or, finally, it could just be that Bush didn't have the common sense to ask. Which I guess is the best that he can hope for. How sad is it when your best-case-scenario is that you were too stupid to ask?

As I said, this is all just speculation on my part, but I can't see this any other way right now.

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