What Did Rove and Libby Do in Plame Case?
Jim VandeHei and Walter Pincus attempt to piece together the role of White House domestic policy advisor Karl Rove and Cheney chief of staff “Scooter” Libby in the Valerie Plame matter.
Role of Rove, Libby in CIA Leak Case Clearer (WaPo, A5)
With New York Times reporter Judith Miller’s release from jail Thursday and testimony Friday before a federal grand jury, the role of I. Lewis “Scooter” Libby, Vice President Cheney’s chief of staff, came into clearer focus. Libby, a central figure in the probe since its earliest days and the vice president’s main counselor, discussed Plame with at least two reporters but testified that he never mentioned her name or her covert status at the CIA, according to lawyers in the case. His story is similar to that of Karl Rove, President Bush’s top political adviser. Rove, who was not an initial focus of the investigation, testified that he, too, talked with two reporters about Plame but never supplied her name or CIA role.
Their testimony seems to contradict what the White House was saying a few months after Plame’s CIA job became public. In October 2003, White House spokesman Scott McClellan told reporters that he personally asked Libby and Rove whether they were involved, “so I could come back to you and say they were not involved.” Asked if that was a categorical denial of their involvement, he said, “That is correct.”
What remains a central mystery in the case is whether special prosecutor Patrick J. Fitzgerald has accumulated evidence during his two-year investigation that any crime was committed. His investigation has White House aides and congressional Republicans on edge as they await Fitzgerald’s announcement of an indictment or the conclusion of the probe with no charges. The grand jury is scheduled to expire Oct. 28, and lawyers in the case expect Fitzgerald to signal his intentions as early as this week.
I would argue that it’s not unreasonable, when asked whether they had leaked the fact that Valerie Plame was a CIA officer to the press, for Rove and Libby to have said No if in fact they did not mention the name “Valerie Plame” or indicate that she is in the CIA.
Many lawyers in the case have been skeptical that Fitzgerald has the evidence to prove a violation of the Intelligence Identities Protection Act, which is the complicated crime he first set out to investigate, and which requires showing that government officials knew an operative had covert status and intentionally leaked the operative’s identity.
But a new theory about Fitzgerald’s aim has emerged in recent weeks from two lawyers who have had extensive conversations with the prosecutor while representing witnesses in the case. They surmise that Fitzgerald is considering whether he can bring charges of a criminal conspiracy perpetrated by a group of senior Bush administration officials. Under this legal tactic, Fitzgerald would attempt to establish that at least two or more officials agreed to take affirmative steps to discredit and retaliate against Wilson and leak sensitive government information about his wife. To prove a criminal conspiracy, the actions need not have been criminal, but conspirators must have had a criminal purpose.
Lawyers involved in the case interviewed for this report agreed to talk only if their names were not used, citing Fitzgerald’s request for secrecy. One source briefed on Miller’s account of conversations with Libby said it is doubtful her testimony would on its own lead to charges against any government officials. But, the source said, her account could establish a piece of a web of actions taken by officials that had an underlying criminal purpose.
So, lawyers working on a case about government officials giving secret information to reporters are themselves violating a secrecy pledge and giving secret work product information to reporters? Lovely.
Aside from that, what exactly would Rove and Libby “underlying criminal purpose” have been? Rather clearly, the goal was to discredit Joe Wilson not “out” his wife. So, their purpose wasn’t criminal. The allegation is that their method–knowingly exposing an undercover intelligence operative–was. Most of the evidence, though, seems to point to Plame 1) not having functioned as an undercover operative since marrying Wilson and 2) her employment with the CIA being common knowledge.
Other lawyers in the case surmise Fitzgerald does not have evidence of any crime at all and put Miller in jail simply to get her testimony and finalize the investigation. “Even assuming . . . that somebody decided to answer back a critic, that is politics, not criminal behavior,” said one lawyer in the case. This lawyer said the most benign outcome would be Fitzgerald announcing that he completed a thorough investigation, concluded no crime was committed and would not issue a report.
Prosecutors don’t have the power to put people in jail for contempt of court; only judges can do that. Still, if Fitzgerald honestly expected to get no meaningful evidence from Miller’s testimony, it would be a travesty indeed to plead for her imprisonment simply so that he could cross every “t” and dot every “i” in his paperwork.
Since her best friends, her family and her neighbors did not know she worked for the CIA I would have to say that his ‘common knowledge’, if common at all, was only between those who had a need to know. For you to imply that this means it was public knowledge is shameless.
Interestingly enough everyone here is ignoring the main point. Cheny, Rove and Libby signed official (under penalty of perjury) statements that they had never TALKED to any reporters about Plame until after everything was published in the papers. This is PERJURY, clear and simple. Of course, no Bush administration official has ever been disiplined for breaking the law.
Did the CIA Ã¢Â€ÂœOutÃ¢Â€Â Valerie Plame?
Andrew McCartney, NRO, July 18, 2005,
All this “I Gotcha” game playing really makes one sick. Just tell me where Mr. and Mrs. average American stands on this. Most don’t give a damn and further don’t care. The average American sees this entire mess as nothing more than a big waste of taxpayer money to play a game that only the Washington insiders and the press care about.
And, this Miller broad should have been put in jail for about 10 years. She is “just one more” reporter that is out to make a big name for herself and no more cares about you or I that a man on the moon. In fact, there are a whole bunch of “no it alls”, “Look at Me”, “I am great” so called reporters out there just like her and who also belong in jail.
Can’t figure out as to “who gives a damn” in the mainstream public.
Just tired of these I gotcha, look how bad the other side is, I am pure as the driven snow, games that are played in Washington instead of taking care of the countries business as they should be doing.
If these “Representatives” would do a little more about reducing the price of gasoline, instead of playing their kid games, we would all be a lot better off.
I have to ask Ken how he knows her friend, family, and neighbors did not know where she worked. Her husband knew. Why should they not know? She worked a desk at Langley. Went there daily in a gold Jaguar Convertible. Really undercover. Her husband wrote an article published in the NY Times contradicting what the Bush adminstration was saying about uranium from Africa. His statement that he was sent at the request of the Vice President’s office, was enough to start an inquiry. If anyone outed V. Plame, it was Joseph Wilson. As a political shill for the Kerry campaign. He was found to be a liar by congressional investigation. If Judith Miller went to jail to protect a source, it was not Scooter Libby. But it might have been Joseph Wilson, who, if he were the one to leak her identity, could blame the Bush adminstration, as is the way of the left. Blame the other guy, with or without evidence.
Nothing about this makes sense to me. First of all Wilson found that Middle Eastern Totalitarians were attempting to buy uranium in Niger. It’s not clear whether the offending state was Iraq or Iran, but he definitely did NOT find that Iraq was beyond reproach, and it appears that they may well have been attempting to buy uranium.
So that’s one rather odd anomaly. The Bush team obviously must have known this, so why didn’t they just say that Wilson was lying: that he had testified to something exactly the opposite of what his NYT article said?
Second, Plame doesn’t appear to have been an active clandestine agent at the time this occurred, nor at any time in the recent past. So what’s the fuss about?
Finally, there’s this odd matter of Judith Miller, and her self-destructive tendency to do jail time to protect a source who, apparently, didn’t care about being protected. The lawyerly justifications for this sound tortured, at the very least.
Nothing about this story adds up. But the anomalies don’t suggest that the Whitehouse is blameless. They suggest that both sides are hiding something, whether for national security or for personal or partisan reasons.
As Thoreau used to say: “There’s a fish in the milk.”
Because she, and her husband, told everybody that she worked for another company which was a cover for her real job at the CIA. None of her family or friends or neighbors knew she worked for the CIA until they read about it in the paper.
Even today she will not talk about what her real job at the CIA with any of her family or friends because it is top secret stuff.
Her husband was an ambassador and highly praised for his toughness with Saddam Hussein at the start of the Gulf War.
Both are patriotic Americans who have done more to help this country than people like you ever will. If you love America, you should call for Bush to be impeached for his treachery.
There goes Ken again, Just like a broken record. Problem is his words go round and round saying the same Hate Bush rhetoric over and over again, and his spinning head just don’t catch up with his words.
Perhaps Ken,s head can’t catch up because there is nothing there.
Ken, Give it a break.
I seem to recall the NRO piece being laughed out of town at the time, but then, there are so many such NRO pieces …
As usual, we’re ignoring the Espionage Act, under which Larry Franklin was just indicted, and which is plenty broad enough to catch any wrongdoing in this case.
We should see what cards Fitzgerald’s holding in the near future, so when that happens, we can discuss whether Plame went jogging in a “CIA” jersey every Saturday morning. For the time being, let’s just note that the CIA itself seems to’ve thought she was a covert operative. I mean, if we want to take their opinion into account.