libby takes one for the team

The Vice President’s chief of staff, Lewis “Scooter” Libby, after a two-year investigation, was charged with five criminal counts this afternoon. US Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald (a Bush appointee), in his statement to the press this afternoon, outlined the charges in the indictment as follows: 2 Perjury, 2 False Statements, 1 Obstruction of Justice.

Not having any other choice, Libby resigned his position at the White House… If convicted of all of the charges against him, Libby faces up to 30 years in prison and a $1.25 million fine.

Now, we’re just all waiting for the other shoe(s) to drop, and the question on everyone’s mind is, just how far will it go. At the very least, it would seem as though Vice President Cheney, the man who first told Libby of Valerie Plame’s position as a covert operative with the CIA, knew that Libby was lying when he told the grand jury that he’d found out about Plame not from Cheney, but from reporter Tim Russert. And, at the very worst, Cheney had not only told Libby of Plame’s status at the CIA, but asked him to share it with the press in an effort to discredit her husband, Ambassador Joseph Wilson, a man who had come forward and told the press that the administration knew for a certainty that Saddam had not been seeking nuclear materials in Niger, even as it continued to use that (bad) intelligence as a justification for war. (If you want to learn all the specifics, check out this Wikipedia entry on the Plame affair.)

The President’s chief political strategist, Karl Rove, was likewise expected to be indicted this afternoon, but it seems as though he might have made a deal to keep himself out of prison. Here’s a clip from the Washington Post:

Rove provided new information to Fitzgerald during eleventh-hour negotiations that “gave Fitzgerald pause” about charging Bush’s senior strategist, said a source close to Rove. “The prosecutor has to resolve those issues before he decides what to do.”

It’s unclear as to what’s going on, but many have found it telling that Rove’s name doesn’t appear anywhere in the Libby indictment, having been replaced with the alias “Official A.” So, did Rove give up Cheney and/or Bush to save his own ass? That’s the question of the hour. Whatever he did, it looks like he’s bought himself a few more weeks though.

Reporter Carl Bernstein says it reminds him of Watergate. Here’s a Quote:

“But what the Plame leak investigation has unveiled is what the press should have been focusing on long before and without let up–how we went to war, the dishonesty involved in that process in terms of what the president and vice-president told the American people and the Congress, and the routine smearing by members of the Bush administration of people who questioned their actions and motives.”

And that’s not all that the administration has to contend with. The Democrats are beginning to pile on. Congressman John Conyers is calling for a congressional investigation into what Bush and Cheney knew and when they knew it, and Senator Kennedy is demanding all the documents that weren’t shared with the Fitzgerald grand jury.

The noose is tightening, and, predictably, Bush is dealing with it in the only way he knows how – by heading off for a few days of vacation.

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One Comment

  1. mark
    Posted October 29, 2005 at 6:26 pm | Permalink

    Bernstein good. Woodward bad.

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