"I wish we weren't judging Libby. This sucks."It's a tough job, but somebody has to do it -- whether it is being the point person for a campaign to discredit a political opponent of your boss, or serving on a jury that is judging the wrong person.
-- Libby trial juror Denis Collins, describing the defendant as a "fall guy"
"Scooter" Libby has been found guilty of four of the five criminal counts against him, charges that he lied to a grand jury and to FBI investigators over how and from whom he learned that former ambassador Joe Wilson's wife, Valerie Plame, was a CIA operative.
Wilson appeared on the White House radar by writing an op-ed piece in the New York Times recounting his CIA-backed mission to Niger,
I wonder if Libby is replaying his grand jury testimony and FBI interviews over and over and asking himself why oh why he just didn't remember at all. Would there have been charges if he didn't remember but also didn't contradict reporters with notes and memories of their own?during which he determined that an accusation made by President Bush in his State of the Union Address, that Iraq was seeking nuclear material from the African country, was unfounded. When his wife's identity was shortly thereafter revealed in a column by Robert Novack, her career was over.
The subtext, of course, is what matters: believe the worst, and Libby was part (although certainly not the architect) of an administration disinformation campaign, run by Vice President Dick Cheney, to destroy credible critics of Iraq policy. Believe the worst, and one asks what more damning secrets there might be to justify hardball tactics that seem overkill.
Libby did not testify, perhaps the better to seek leniency after the resolution of a lost cause, but his defense was that he forgot where he heard about the Wilson/Plame connection because he was a busy guy in the middle of weightier issues. The problem for me with that was not that it was a patently ridiculous defense; I remember things and don't know where I learned them and I don't share the weight of the world on my shoulders.
The problem for me with Libby wasn't just that he said he didn't remember, but that he did "remember" incorrectly (the jury has so determined), not from official sources but from specific reporters. Too convenient this: getting the dope from Cheney & Co would support the conspiracy theory or at least look like unseemly dirty politics while spreading rumors with reporters is, well, just what goes on. Bad behavior, but not a crime.
I wonder if Libby is replaying his grand jury testimony and FBI interviews over and over and asking himself why oh why he just didn't remember at all. Would there even have been charges if he didn't remember but also didn't contradict reporters with notes and memories of their own?