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PlameGate - Libby Lies About Lying

Parsing through the indictments against Scooter Libby one thing jumped out at me - Libby is being charged for lying about lying to NBC's Russert and Time's Matt Cooper.

All of this goes to show why The New York Times, Time, and The Washington Post were so dead set against cooperating with this special council. The main reason Libby faces indictment today (at least on the perjury and false statements counts) is because those reporters either agreed or were compelled to cooperate. For news organization todays indictment is bad for business. Not only is there no journalistic shield, but now the journalist a government official speaks to can be a witness against them...

Libby, of course, bears complete responsibility for lying the grand jury and to investigators, but the main reason they caught him telling tall tales about what he knew and when he knew it is because Special Prosecutor Fitzgerald was so dogged in getting the cooperation of the various reporters.

Note: The indictment does clear up the seeming discrepancy between Fitzgerald's assertion last year that his work was "effectively completed," as Judith Miller's role in the indictments is minimal.

Feel free to add your thoughts as you try to wade through the indictment...

Update: The New York Times and CBS's Public Eye blog have blogger reaction roundups and the Times has a full transcript of the press conference.


Listed below are links to weblogs that reference PlameGate - Libby Lies About Lying:

» The Unalienable Right linked with Scooter-gate Indictment: initial reactions

» Plains Feeder linked with Karl Rove slips the noose

» SMEGMASTER.COM linked with Fitzmas Round-up

» The Larsonian linked with Plame Name Blame Game... part 341,504

» Caerdroia linked with Liar! Bah! Fools.

» Part-Time Pundit linked with The Questions Not Asked

» lemon2stp linked with Aha Not Too Scary after

» The Consortium linked with Indictment!

» Macmind - Conservative Commentary and Common Sense linked with Plame Game - Libby Takes the Bullet - Mac is Back!

» Unpartisan.com Political News and Blog Aggregator linked with Libby Indicted

» spiralbound.net linked with Libby Takes The Fall

Comments (38)

"Official A" is our Dear Vi... (Below threshold)

"Official A" is our Dear Vice Leader, I'm afraid. Oh dear, the shame and mortification I will have to face when I return to work on Monday, after swearing that these men were all honest and trustworthy.

I'm certain our beloved Dick has a good lawyer, at least, -- the very best, I'm told. I will start praying right away that Mr. Bush can see it in his heart to pardon all of them, despite what he promised last year.

Surely the senior President Bush didn't have nice men like these in mind when he referred to "the most insidious of traitors."

There is no allegation of a... (Below threshold)

There is no allegation of an underlying crime; no allegation that Libby lied to "cover up" a crime. The allegation is that Libby lied in statements to a grand jury -- a motiveless perjury, other than perhaps to avoid the embarrassement of politically inspired machination emanating from the administration.

"...a motiveless perjury... (Below threshold)

"...a motiveless perjury, other than perhaps to avoid the embarrassement [sic]..."

1998 all over again, huh?

This is in no way a good th... (Below threshold)

This is in no way a good thing for the GOP, but the looney lefties got none of the "gifts" they had wished for.

No indictments against Rove, or Cheney (or Bush, for that matter). No indictments for infringing on Wilson’s “civil rights”. And not even a mention of a crime related to Plame’s outing.

I expect the next step will be some sort of civil suit by Wilson, so they can keep this story (and his name) in the headlines a little longer.

If it were 1998 all over ag... (Below threshold)

If it were 1998 all over again, the indictment charge would have been levied against President Bush, not Libby.

I'm still wading through th... (Below threshold)
Peter F.:

I'm still wading through the indictment, and it's glaringly obvious so far that not a single moonbat who has commented here has even bothered to open the file! LOL

i thought there would be kn... (Below threshold)

i thought there would be know indictments. i stand corrected. but lying about lying, well, he'll probably be aquitted. i repeat what fitzgerald said, he's innocent still, until proven guilty. it will be a difficult case to prove, it sounds.

I have read the indictment,... (Below threshold)

I have read the indictment, and it appears to me if Libby had told the truth he would have been OK. The indictment backs the charge that Wilson's wife sent him to Niger. It does not maintain she was in a covert status. Instead he lied to the FBI and the Grand Jury and was stupid enough to do it when there was documentary evidence contrary to what he was saying. I don't know where minnie is coming from with offical a being the VP but after Fitzgeralds news conference I doubt it.

That's because you ban the ... (Below threshold)

That's because you ban the moonbats who can read.

I am most certainly not a m... (Below threshold)

I am most certainly not a moonbat---my problem with Bush is that he's not conservative enough, and if anyone ought to be brought up on charges it's Joe Wilson.

But I do not share understanding of the indictment is not shared. The criminal matter is not that he lied to reporters. (In fact, I find myself having any difficulty with that at all.) Rather, it is that he lied to investigators. Had he said, "Yes, I got the info from this and that government source, and then I told reporters that I got it from other reporters", this indictment wouldn't be on the table.

I do think, in fact, that the charges as described are weighty in themselves. It's not good or Libby.

Nevermind, I misread your p... (Below threshold)

Nevermind, I misread your post. (Missed the double-lying part :)) We do seem to agree.

Yes, the indictments are ba... (Below threshold)
friendly moonbat:

Yes, the indictments are bad for journalism: Now we know that Russert, Cooper, Miller and others in the so-called liberal media sat silent to protect a source that they knew was lying to the American people. These reporters were protecting a source that they knew had lied to them. Yes, a banner day journalism.

Despite the fact that Wilso... (Below threshold)

Despite the fact that Wilson is a liar and there was no crime to investigate, Libby should be tried for perjury if he did as alleged in the indictment. Our legal system is dependent on honest testimony under oath.

Let it go to trial! I real... (Below threshold)

Let it go to trial! I really don't think that it will though.

So Mr Fitzgerald is ready t... (Below threshold)

So Mr Fitzgerald is ready to bring charges.

It is hard for me to suppress a sensation of awe at this unfolding spectacle. It is at least another useful counterpoint to the arguments of those who would have us believe there is a moral equivalence between Iraqi dictatorships and the Bush presidency. Where else would you have a situation in which a publicly funded prosecuter, appointed by the government to investigate itself, would come up with indictments of some of that government's most important figures? Is America a great democracy or what?

The Bush-haters will see in it vindication for their mantra that the Preident and Tony Blair lied about Iraq's WMD and smeared their critics who accused them of lying. But it represents no such thing. Indeed, not only did the administration back off the claims it had originally made about uranium, but the charge that Saddam had been seeking uranium from Niger was not compellingly disproved, either by Mr Wilson's impressionistic report, or by British Intelligence, which continued to insist that the story was true.

Also, it is not yet clear if Ms Plame was a covert agent at all. They were simply making their case in the intra-administration dispute about Iraq that preceded the war - and pointing out that the Wilson trip fitted into a pattern in which the CIA had been energetically oppossing the case that the administration was making against Iraq. For most of the past five years some at the CIA have acted like a kind of internal opposition to the Bush White House, leaking information to undermine the administration's foreign policy. It would be quite an irony if it turned out to be the CIA's victims who get punished in this investigation.

And let's hope we are spared the ultimate irony in all this - as the White House officials who helped to get rid of Saddam's regime face prison, the tyrant himself is triumphantly acquitted.


friendly moonbat:I... (Below threshold)
Peter F.:

friendly moonbat:

I wouldn't go so far as saying Russert, Cooper and Miller were protecting Libby as I would say they were more than willing to let him fall on his face and embarass the administration thus creating the story of Libby's lying. I also wouldn't say this "sideline-sitting" by the Russert, Miller and Cooper regarding Libby's false GJ testimony is a conspiracy so much as a happy accident in which they all gladly participated.

He lied or misled the press as to his knowledge re: Plame, but that's not a crime. The crime is alleged to have occured when he lied to the GJ about his recollections of those conversations with the press. And that all harkens back to old addage: There wasn't a crime committed until there was an investigation.

Peter F: Knowingly revealin... (Below threshold)

Peter F: Knowingly revealing the identity of a covert intelligence agent is an offence.


Otocon:Thanks for ... (Below threshold)
Peter F.:


Thanks for the newsflash.

How-diddly-do-ever there, sparky, 1) from the indictment we know that Plame's status was "classified" not necessarily "covert", so be careful when you use the word "covert" because she could have been a 'non-official cover operative' who is not granted the same protections as "covert" agents are; 2) It is the responsibility of the prosecution to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that Libby knowingly revealed Plame's name; and, frankly, what Libby's been indicted for is obstruction of justice, making false statements and perjury,not for the Intelligence Identities Protection Act of 1982 or the Espionage Act of 1918. And that's huge. 3) Again...innocent until proven guilty...for everyone.

Maybe I'm reading the indic... (Below threshold)

Maybe I'm reading the indictment wrong, but it seems that the bits of his testimony cut into the indictment refer to what he told the grand jury about what he said to the reporters and not his telling the grand jury that what he told to the reporters was the truth. In other words, he said "yes, this is what I told the reporters" as opposed to "yes, what I told the reporters was the truth".

More here

Have I got it wrong?

Thank you all for your reas... (Below threshold)

Thank you all for your reassuring words. I feel much better now that I know what to say to those annoying Liberals who are sure to be dancing and cheering celebrating the first criminal indictment and resignation of a corrupt senior White House official in over 100 years. I can tell them it's all much ado over nothing.

After reading the indictment as you all did, it is absolutely clear that Vice Leader Dick Cheney had positively nothing to do with the matter jsut as he said, he didn't even know Joe Wilson. And he must surely know that "CPD" could stand for all sorts of things, and doesn't necessarily mean "covert" or "classified", so that's settled at least.

And I am so relieved to learn that Dick must have never said anything to President Bush about Libby's involvement, so we can rest assured our Dear President was telling Americans the God's truth for the last year, even if that means Dick told a harmless little white lie to his boss. Conspiracy is such a nasty word.

I do think we should await a full analysis of the kerning and fonts to be sure this is a real indictment and not one of those Dan Rather forgeries.

But I'm still dying to know... has anyone learned the real, true, important story here? I mean of course, whether Judy and Scooter... you know... did she put his penis in her mouth?

I am amused at all the shoc... (Below threshold)

I am amused at all the shock about lying lawyers and lying reporters.......If you want to get rid of these despicable characters your going to need to wipe out the entire population of Washington D.C.-I rarely believe a word that they utter.

This whole thing stinks to ... (Below threshold)

This whole thing stinks to high heaven. Worse than 300 acres of roadkill. We all know this whole matter was cooked up by the CIA and the MSM and they won�t rest until they get the President and Vice-president out of office.

What galls me, they did not indict the real leakers in this fiasco; Joe Wilson, his wife, Valerie Plame, Judith Miller and Matt Cooper. I guess that you could throw in George Tenet and the holdovers from the Clintoons into this pot too.

Hopefully this will be shown for the political witchhunt that it is, when this goes to trial.

steve sturm:I'm no... (Below threshold)
Peter F.:

steve sturm:

I'm not sure I totally follow your question, but I believe what Fitzgerald is indicting Libby for are the contradictions in his testimony compared to those of Miller, Cooper and Russert and their recollections of events. Or so as I believe...and I say that with much trepidation in following your question accurately.

No one here has even mentio... (Below threshold)

No one here has even mentioned how this relates to the Lewinsky scandal. If Libby's perjuring himself over a non-crime isn't a big deal, can't the same be said for Clinton? Maybe I'm missing something here, but they don't seem to be very different to me.

Earl,The only rela... (Below threshold)


The only relation this has to the Lewinski thing is that the crime is the same. And, yes, it is a serious charge.

In this case, the accused is a lower level assistant to the Vice President. And it’s still just an accusation at this point.

But with Lewinski, the crime was committed by the President of the United States.

The only relation this h... (Below threshold)

The only relation this has to the Lewinski thing is that the crime is the same.

Exactly my point.

And, yes, it is a serious charge.

Good. So you agree with me that anyone blowing off the indictment (which seems to be a lot of people on this board, as well as Kevin) must feel the Lewinsky think was minor as well? Somehow I doubt that's the case.

But with Lewinski, the crime was committed by the President of the United States.

I sure hope you're not implying that the identity of the person committing a crime determines its seriousness. [And sorry, but a chief of staff typically is not considered a "lower level assistant".]

I'm still wading through... (Below threshold)

I'm still wading through the indictment, and it's glaringly obvious so far that not a single moonbat who has commented here has even bothered to open the file!

Well, I've been reading it, and this part is curious to me:

9. On or about June 12, 2003, LIBBY was advised by the Vice President of the United States that Wilson�s wife worked at the Central Intelligence Agency in the Counterproliferation Division. LIBBY understood that the Vice President had learned this information from the CIA.(page 5)

The Counterproliferation Division is part of the Directorate of Operations, which means it is ops, not intelligence; it is the clandestine and covert branch of the CIA. Libby and Cheney both know that.

From this we can't necessarily conclude that the Vice President and his Chief of Staff knew that Plame was covert, but they knew she worked in the covert wing of the CIA, and of course that all of this information was classified. Even if they didn't know her exact status, which they might have, they at least had plenty of reason to believe she was likely covert and at least they should, I don't know, check with the CIA before they started telling reporters. And Fitzgerald did say that the investation isn't over.

Just sayin...

Lower level assistant? </p... (Below threshold)

Lower level assistant?

Irve Lewis Libby, Jr. - Chief of Staff to the Vice President and the Vice President's assistant for National Security Affairs. Libby is also a founding member of PNAC and one of the key architects of our current foreign policy.

"They turn in clusters, because their roots connect them."

Earl and mantis,Ex... (Below threshold)

Earl and mantis,

Excuse me for not using a comma between “lower level” and “assistant to the vice president”. That would have made my point easier to understand.

And yes, I do think it’s a serious crime. If Libby is convicted, he should serve serious time. Just like Clinton. OK, that was a joke.

But I can’t understand why you folks don’t see the significance of the difference between the act of the President himself committing perjury, versus a vice president’s underling doing the same.

The latter suggests at worst, a lack of control and/or understanding of what the staff is doing. Or at best, just placing too much trust in them. Not a good thing, but not a crime. But when the President himself commits the crime, it proves a complete disregard for the law on his part, and the ultimate in corruption.

But I can't understand w... (Below threshold)

But I can't understand why you folks don't see the significance of the difference between the act of the President himself committing perjury, versus a vice president's underling doing the same.

Simple, I look at it as a legal matter and not a political one, like the prosecutor. The significance of the indicted's position in government is irrelevant to the legality of the act.

As Fitzgerald said it doesn... (Below threshold)
john Ryan:

As Fitzgerald said it doesn't matter a twit whether Palme was covert or not: her relationship with the CIA was classified by the CIA. But of course the question remains why did Scooter do this ? A slip or a well thought out plan to discredit a critic of the Iraq war? "Scooter" also possessed 3 separate job titles #1 Chief of Staff for the VP #2 National Security Advisor to the VP and #3 Special Assistant to the President of these United States.

Sorry I can’t discuss this ... (Below threshold)

Sorry I can’t discuss this further. I’ve got something of much greater importance to attend to now.

“Where the Buffalo Roam” just started playing on Sundance.

jmaster... yes, a president... (Below threshold)

jmaster... yes, a president is higher up the food chain than the vice-president's chief of staff. But lying about oral sex is surely less serious than lying to the FBI and a grand jury during an investigation into a possible breach of national security.

Cat,Your argument ... (Below threshold)


Your argument should be with Earl and mantis.

We all agreed that perjury is an equally serious crime.

It’s the political ramifications related to the perp that makes a difference.

jmaster - the real politica... (Below threshold)

jmaster - the real political ramifications are not yet known and will not be known for a while. Why? Because the investigation is not over. By that, I'm not saying there will be any further indictments...I am saying we don't know yet.

Watergate did not emerge to the public fully formed in all its terrible glory. It came out in dribs and drabs...bit by bit. This is highly unlikely to ever reach Watergate proportions...but...none of us can know for certain what its proportions will be.

Having come off the graveyard shift a couple of hours ago, I'm not feeling too sharp right now. Maybe that's why I don't get your point about going after Earl and Mantis. I admit that I am now semi-conscious and very much in need of sleep, but they seem to me to have made quite reasonable points. I'll check back on that when I've had some rest.

Cat,I understand. ... (Below threshold)


I understand. Get some rest.

My point about Earl and mantis is that they said they felt there was no difference, from a legal perspective, between the Clinton perjury and the Libby indictment. And I agreed with them, whole heartedly, on that point. Perjury is a serious crime no matter who commits it.

But it seems as if you disagree. You seem to be arguing that Clinton’s perjury was less serious. That’s why I am suggesting you might want to talk with those guys.

thought there would be ... (Below threshold)

thought there would be know indictments. i stand corrected. but lying about lying, well, he'll probably be aquitted.

Given your track record, your prediction of an acquittal is not good news for Scooter.

Minnie's point is very good. Have the President and Vice President (or Leader and Vice Leader if you prefer) been as forthcoming about this matter as they should? Seems Dick knew quite a bit more than he's been letting on. I know that certainly isn't lying, as these are straight shooters here, but maybe Dick has been...well, mis-speaking for a while now.

Kevin, now that I've read t... (Below threshold)

Kevin, now that I've read the indictment, I'm puzzled by your title and opening sentence. Where, exactly, in the indictment does it say that Libby lied about lying to NBC's Russert and Time's Matt Cooper? I couldn't find any reference to Libby lying to the journalists - the problem was lying to the FBI and the grand jury.

Have I missed something, or is your whole premise just wrong?






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