Saturday, October 29, 2005

Libby indictment: A window into the White House

'Libby indictment: A window into the White House cesspool'
Posted on Saturday, October 29 @ 09:46:38 EDT
Bernard Weiner, The Crisis Papers

With Scooter Libby’s indictment, the first shoe has been dropped in the Plamegate criminal case. Whether there will be other shoes is problematic.

Fitzgerald says the case is almost wrapped up, but that Rove is still not out of the woods yet. The fact that Rove and Cheney weren’t also indicted Friday is disappointing, to be sure -- they are the real movers and shakers in the Bush Administration -- but we don't know what's going on behind the scenes.

Is Rove working out a plea bargain that will be announced in a few days? Could Fitzgerald simply not have all the ammo he needed by October 28 to bring charges against Rove and Cheney, but is rounding up that last-minute evidence? Did Fitzgerald present charge(s) to the Grand Jury against suspects other than Libby but the panel wouldn't indict? We simply don't know at this point (I'm writing this the same day as the indictment); maybe the inevitable leaks will help us understand more as the story unfolds.

What is clear is that Libby seems to have been caught redhanded concocting a false story and, under oath, sticking to those coverup lies in both his FBI interrogations and Grand Jury testimony. A definite no-no.


If Libby goes to trial, you can bet that the potential witness list will include Cheney, Rove, Rumsfeld, Hadley, Rice, maybe Bush, and a whole host of high-ranking neo-con underlings (Wurmser, Hanna, Feith, et al.). Libby -- and Cheney and Rove -- definitely would not want that to happen. Testifying under oath in a criminal trial is a lot different than leaking your spin to the media, and you could wind up in the slammer easily on perjury charges.

Since Libby is Cheney's alter-ego (Rove = Bush), you know that Libby wasn't a solo cowboy in revealing Plame's identity; after all, as the indictment makes clear, Libby heard about Plame from Cheney. The ball of lies Libby concocted seemed designed to deflect attention away from his closest associates, so there is no way Libby would go to trial and put them in perjury-jeopardy by having them testify.

In short, this case is not going to court. As I see it, Libby has two options:

1. Libby cops a plea to one of the charges, and no trial takes place.

2. Bush pardons Libby "pre-emptively" before a trial begins. (Remember that Bush's father pre-emptively pardoned Defense Secretary Casper Weinberger before he even was charged, thus protecting Bush Sr.’s own liability in the Iran-Contra scandal. Like father like son?)

I suppose Libby could decide to go to trial; he falls on the sword and takes the sole blame, and every other endangered Administration witness called takes the Fifth. Bush then pardons Libby. But in all three instances, we find out little or nothing....