Monday, January 29, 2007

Libby Trial Reveals Likely Conscious Effort to Out CIA

Update on the Scooter Libby trial. It appears that Patrick Fitzgerald did an adept job of developing his case against Scooter Libby in the context that Libby was covering for others in what is getting harder each day to believe, in light of testimony being presented, that there wasn't a conscious and likely malicious group effort to out a covert CIA employee (Valerie Plame, wife of Joseph R. Wilson IV). Libby's defenses are systematically being laid to waste.

Today, former WH Press Secretary Ari Fleischer became the first Bush administration official to have testified under oath to have known Valerie Wilson's maiden name -- the name under which she worked as a covert agent -- before Robert Novak announced it to the world in his Chicago Sun-Times column.

Former State department deputy Richard Armitage says he told Novak about Plame's identity on July 8. Armitage wasn't charged, allegedly because he didn't know Plame was covert. He said that he learned about Plame from a classified memo that did not mention that she was undercover.

Ari Fleischer will admit that he knew Plame's last name on July 7, the day before.

Worse, a commentator at Daily Kos today reveals this nugget:
This meeting with Libby was the FIRST TIME EVER that Libby had asked to [have lunch] with Ari. Not very good for Scooter's "this Plame thing was so insignificant that I honestly just forgot about where I heard her name" defense.
Hmmmm.....and Michael Isikoff is reporting that
Libby told him not just that Wilson's wife worked at the CIA, but that she worked at the counter-proliferations division. That was a particular detail that is significant to people who know about the CIA. The counter-proliferations division is in the Director of Operations. That's the secret arm of the CIA. It's the most sensitive arm of the CIA. Something that Libby and his boss, Vice President Dick Cheney, very well knew. They knew the CIA like the back of their hands.

While Novak has defensively claimed that he committed no 'great crime' by outing the CIA employee's full name, he has also averred that he was not the recipient of a planned leak, and I'm certainly not convinced, when looking at the big picture, that there is a fullness of truth to Mr. Novak's latter comment. He could not possibly be an authoritative witness to "intent." I don't have a clue how he could be an authority on that statement at all.

Marcy Wheeler has live coverage of the Fleischer testimony at Firedoglake.

Kevin Aylward has some more on the trial today.
*Warning - the comments below his posting from blog participants have amazingly little to actually do with the facts - or even the trial itself.

Quote from Fleischer, regarding some information he passed to the press while they waited on the side of a road in Uganda - about who sent Ambassador Wilson to Niger (naming his wife and the fact that she worked for CIA):
I never would have thought this was classified. never in my wildest dreams believed this involved, as I've read since, this involved a covert officer.
...If you think about it, Ari Fleischer wasn't initimately involved in National Security issues (including making visits to the CIA as a particular VICE PRESIDENT and his staff did). In my opinion, there's no reason Ari would necessarily be charged with possessing the same level of knowledge about the fine distinctions about the CPD [Counterproliferation Division] in terms of what constituted "classified" employment. Yet, it seems he was anxious to get that information out to the press....feeling pressured, perhaps?


Larry said...

I think that Libby was in this up to his ears as were Rove and Cheney, who no doubt had Bush's ear.

Hopefully they will turn on each other in an attempt to save their own hides.

Iddybud said...

Yeah Larry, what an interesting-looking stew they'll likely make of one another's (back)stabbed-off parts.

a very public sociologist said...

This is a very iffy affair.

I'm always struck by how ridiculously partisan US mainstream politics are, almost to the point of politicide.

Iddybud said...

I do know what you're saying. The thing is, vps, this goes deeper to the core of something that should have been well beyond politics...outing an intel operative seemed too easy a thing for these officials to have done, whatever their intent may have been. The war itself has been so heavily politicized, and the nation so polarized, that I tend to wonder if this country will ever have the will to win this kind of war now... or ever.

TomCat said...

As much as I hate war and can never consider it the best option, sometimes it is the least worst. Iraq is not one of these. The best way to win a war based in lies and disinformation is not to begin it at all. That is what Wilson was trying to say. That is why Bush sought vengeance.

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