So Scotter Libby was found guilty by a jury of his peers for lying to the FBI and the Grand Jury:
Vice President Dick Cheney’s former chief of staff, I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby, was convicted Tuesday of lying and obstructing an investigation into the leak of a CIA operative’s identity.
Libby is the highest-ranking White House official to be convicted of a felony since the Iran-Contra scandal of the mid-1980s. The conviction focused renewed attention on the Bush administration’s much-criticized handling of weapons of mass destruction intelligence in the run-up to the Iraq war.
The verdict culminated a nearly four-year investigation into how CIA official Valerie Plame’s name was leaked to reporters in 2003. The trial revealed how top members of the Bush administration were eager to discredit Plame’s husband, former Ambassador Joseph Wilson, who accused the administration of doctoring prewar intelligence on Iraq.
Sound the alarm, the netnuts will be on the loose for the next few days.
So Libby may do time behind bars for perjury, not that a certain former President ever did any time but hey his name ended with Clinton so hands off bud.
The thing that is kinda sad in this case is that the underlying crime they were investigating was not proven. Fitz has even said there will be no more investigation, no more charges. So after four years and millions spent all he could prove was that a assistant lied to a jury and the FBI. That’s it.
This somehow proves that the Bush administration went out of their way to out a covert CIA agent?
Not in a million years.
Plame was NOT covert and had not done a very good job herself keeping her identity secret. Fitz knew this and that is one reason why Libby is it for their investigation.
Did the administration try to discredit Wilson? You betcha. As they should have. He was obviously lying about the Niger connection and along with the cabal inside the CIA tried to effect the outcome of the 2004 election. The fact that his wife was also part of that cabal and used her influence to send a diplomat to investigate this link was also a fact that needed to be known by all parties.
None of this was against the law, and ole’ Fitz knows this.
So after all these years and all this money we get Libby. What a joke.
Some interesting reactions across the blogosphere.
This is the part of the jury instructions — pages 74-75 — that is hanging up the jury:
Count three of the indictment alleges that Mr. Libby falsely told the FBI on October 14 or November 16, 2003, that during a conversation with Matthew Cooper of Time magazine on July 12, 2003, Mr. Libby told Mr. Cooper that reporters were telling the administration that Mr. Wilson’s wife worked for the CIA, but that Mr. Libby did not know if this was true.
It’s easy to criticize the jury — they can seem easily confused — but the problem here is not the jury. It is the charge. This is the entirety of Count 3 (and Count 5, as well): Libby testified that he told Cooper that reporters were telling him, Libby, that Valerie Plame Wilson worked for the CIA, but that he, Libby, did not know if it was true. Cooper testified that Libby did not say that. There are no notes, no recordings, no records, no nothing to support either man’s story. Just Libby’s testimony versus Cooper’s testimony. And prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald has asked the jury to convict Libby of a felony, one that carries a maximum sentence of five years in prison, on that astonishingly flimsy allegation. No wonder the jury is confused.
I assume David Shuster, Chris Matthews, and Keith Olbermann are incoherent with glee (the "incoherent" is a safe bet in most scenarios). However, we eagerly await word from David Gregory as to whether Ari Fleischer was credible when he claimed he leaked to Messrs. Gregory and Dickerson.
And we wonder whether Ms. Mitchell and Mr. Russert will enjoy their continued role in the spotlight as they become a focal point of the appeals.
I’m not shocked he was convicted, he’s a Republican. I’ve got my money on the prediction that it will be a cold day in h*ll before Representative "Cold Cash" Jefferson will even be charged.
It is curious that the jury thought that Libby was less trustworthy than Tim Russert or Matt Cooper, when it came down to it though the jury did find that Cooper wasn’t nearly as trustworthy as Russert. All had motives here to be less than forthcoming – for Russert and Cooper, it was their journalistic careers and for Libby it was being a member of the Administration.
It was the word of one man versus the word of another.
And yes, I still think there was no pretext for Fitzgerald’s investigation, that he knew there was no possible crime to be investigated here from day one (forcing him to invent the crime of "conspiracy to violate the Wilsons’ civil rights," though he couldn’t quite say which rights had been violated), which makes this all a travesty and Libby’s lies immaterial as a matter of law.
But context is everything. And considering the fact that there was (and still is) a faction in the intelligence community opposed to the Administration’s foreign policy and that this cabal used leaks in order to not only discredit the Bush Administration but also to deliberately interfere in the 2004 Presidential election, one can understand this “push back” by the Bushies while still condemning it.
Scooter Libby is going to jail. Kind of a dismal scalp for Fitzgerald to hang on his lodgepole but after nearly 4 years of investigations, it’s all he had.
The whole Libby affair remains something of a mystery. President Bush ordered all executive branch personnel to cooperate with the Fitzgerald investigation. Other people, apparently including Dick Cheney, told investigators that they had discussed Wilson and Plame with Libby. It’s hard to understand why Libby’s testimony was so out of step with that of the other Executive Branch witnesses. At the end of the day, imperfect memory seemed as good an explanation as any. But the jury didn’t see it that way.
Michelle Malkin has up on her blog the identity of one of the jurors, Denis Collins, who is a author. Here is the description of one of his books:
SPYING: The Secret History of History Book Description Everyone, at some time in his or her life, fantasizes about being a spy–James Bond, Mata Hari, George Smiley, Maxwell Smart. At the new International Spy Museum in Washington, D.C., more than a million visitors have stepped into the secret history of history–and have learned what it is really like to live undercover. This distinctive and fascinating book at once distills and expands upon that experience, with inside information on how spies do their jobs, interviews with operatives, and hundreds of photographs and descriptions of tools of the trade.
Biographies of legendary spies and how they completed their special operations are included, along with timelines showing the developments of bugs, surveillance tools, weapons, and disguises. Letters, maps, examples of disguises, dead drops, and rare photos make spies and their operations from 2000 BC to the present live and breathe on every page.
About the Author
Denis Collins is a journalist who writes for the Washington Post, the San Jose Mercury News, and the Miami Herald. He lives in Washington, DC.
And guess what he said in a news conference?
"The primary thing that convinced us on most of the accounts was the alleged conversation with Russert…It was either false (didn’t happen) or did happen…Mr. Libby was either told by or told to about Mrs. Wilson at least nine times…we believed he had a bad memory…but contradicted by testimony that he had an incredible grasp of details…even if he forgot who told him, it seemed very unlikely that he would have not remembered about Mrs. Wilson…tremendous amount of sympathy for Mr. Libby on the jury…jury asked "Where’s Rove? Where’s the other guys?" It seemed like he was the fall guy."
You wanna bet a successful appeal is going to come out of this? Jurors are asked for their knowledge of the case and are required to be sequestered from news about the case.
Don’t know about you but this guy sounds a bit fishy to me.
UPDATE 2145hrs PST
Tom Maguire with the best post yet on the comedy known as Patrick Fitzgerald.
And Seixon at The Strata-Sphere with a great observation:
However, the jurors had sympathy for Mr. Libby. Why?
Denis Collins said that “a number of times” they asked themselves, “what is HE doing here? Where is Rove and all these other guys….He was the fall guy.”
Here’s to you, Jason Leopold, for a job well done! Remember kids, it’s not getting the truth out that counts, it’s getting out a story that will fool as many people as possible to permeate the public conscience. Apropos that, I hear Leopold is involved in writing the script for the upcoming movie about Mrs. Fair Game…