Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Libby is Guilty. Yeah!!!

By MICHAEL J. SNIFFEN and MATT APUZZO, Associated Press Writers 19 minutes ago

WASHINGTON - Once the closest adviser to Vice President Dick Cheney.

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

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' .

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.
The prospects of a presidential pardon remain unclear. Top Democrats called on Bush to pledge not to pardon Libby; the White House did not say what the president would do.
Associated Press writer Natasha T. Metzler contributed to this report.
Comments welcome.


MnMnM said...

Scooter Libby found guilty on four counts; decides to cut a deal?
Recent clues point to Abbott and Costello as original architects of Plame Leak.
Grand Jury testimony of Scooter Libby, former Chief of Staff of the United States (COSTUS) for the Vice President, leaked by Rove-ing reporter (humor).

It is posted at: Libby Knows who Leaked First

Bobbing and weaving, a tangled web we do. Book him, Danno.
Please keep my identity a secret. Double super Secret.
Middle-aged, Middle-of-the-road, Mid-Westerner

We can only hope that Fitz doesn't fizzle.
I think Mr. Fitzgerald's motto should be: "If you do a white collar crime then you will serve blue collar time." Look where he lodged Judith Miller. A few months in a blue collar jail and she was ready to sing. Unfortunately, she says she forgot the words

The Times the Post & the New Republic They Should Be A-Changin

Bloggers Request:

Come writers and critics
Who prophesize with your pen
And keep your eyes wide
The chance won't come again
And don't speak too soon
For the wheel's still in spin
And there's no tellin' who
That it's namin'.
For the loser now
Will be later to win
For the Times & Post should be a-changin'.

Good Bye Sulzberger, Keller, Miller, and Woodward!

Fitzgerald's response:

Come politician's, journalists
Please heed the call
Don't stand in the doorway
Don't block up the hall
For he that gets hurt
Will be he who has stalled

There's a battle outside
And it is ragin'.
It'll soon shake your windows
And rattle your walls
For the Sentencing, its a-comin'.

--Bob Dylan
Perhaps for Rove?

Shimmy said...

It's only a matter of time till Cheney's eating wet food from a bowl on the kitchen floor!

Anthony said...

I said it years ago and will say again, this situation with Joe Wilson and President Bush stating in the Constitutionally mandated State of the Union address that Saddam Hessian was buying yellow cake uranium from Niger (Africa) has the potential to bring down the entire Bush Administration. Dick Cheney simply needs to resign, period.

It is an extremely serious issue for the President of the United States to deliver a speech full of false information and even more serious for this speech to be the most watched and attended State of the Union.

I remember this speech clearly; when Mr. G.W. Bush alleged that Niger Africa was selling yellow cake uranium to Iraq I spit the milk I was drinking out of my mouth.

This is how I see it: Niger Africa can barely produce enough food to feed its population. Do you realistically believe now or then that it was making uranium to sell to rogue nations? I do not think so! President G.W. Bush should have the brain to have foreseen this as bad intelligence as Ambassador Joe Wilson was attempting to inform him and the public.

Joseph R. Gruber said...

A little respect? You seem excited someone (might) be going to jail. I can understand excitement over a monster like Couey but excitement over Libby is just strange/wrong/disrespectful/..i don't know what I'm trying to say.

BTW, Anthony -- on your last comment about Niger not having enough money for food yet producing uranium. There's another country like that who we are dealing with right now. Their citizens (if you can call them that) don't have enough food and live in deplorable conditions. Yet their country has ALREADY created weapons and successfully launched them. This country is North Korea...

Anthony said...

Mr. Gruber,

I am not excited about Libby going to jail but I am excited that Justice was served.

Ethics should be a top priority to public officials. A trust which Libby broke. You advocate that citizens should have respect for politicians that use unethical practices to punish those that disagree with their policy. I will not respect a leader that engages in such practice simply because they hold an office. Such an approach would have led to all the Jews been murdered in Hitler’s Germany. It is neither patriotic nor American to simply blindly “respect” public officials when facts showing they have broken the public trust are staring you in the face.

North Korea is definitely problem.