Skip to comments.The Truth About the Valerie Plame Case Finally Emerges (Scooter Libby Innocent)
Posted on 12/08/2011 4:39:47 PM PST by Mount Athos
Now that memoirs by the late Bob Novak, former Vice-President Dick Cheney, and former President George Bush have all been published, we now know much more about the Valerie Plame case than we did before these individuals put what happened to paper. (Plame, if you'll remember, was a CIA agent whose identity was leaked to the press during a newsman's investigation into George W. Bush's explanation for going to war against Iraq.) Yet, the one book that still needs to be written is a memoir by Lewis (Scooter) Libby, the VPs assistant, the only individual indicted by the Special Prosecutor looking into the leak and found guilty in this highly controversial case.
Vice President Cheney had hoped that George Bush would issue a pardon of Libby, since he considered Libby to have been unjustly punished for something he did not do. But Bush decided not to pardon Libby, and this has left a deep sense of disappointment in Cheneys otherwise good relations with the former President.
How did this whole controversy start? Bush writes in his memoir: In my 2003 State of the Union address, I had cited a British intelligence report that Iraq sought to buy uranium [yellowcake] from Niger. That single sentence in my five-thousand-word speech was not a major point in the case against Saddam. The British stood by that intelligence.... In July 2003, former Ambassador Joseph Wilson wrote a New York Times column alleging that the administration had ignored his skeptical findings when he traveled to Africa to investigate the Iraq-Niger connection.
Wilsons column in the Times resulted in the President being called a liar, which caused people in the administration to wonder why Joseph Wilson, a Democrat critic of Bush, was sent to Niger by the CIA for this mission. Washington journalist Bob Novak wanted to write a column on the affair and managed to get an interview on July 8, 2003, with Deputy Secretary of State Richard L. Armitage.. He writes in his memoir, The Prince of Darkness:
Armitage was giving me high-level insider gossip, unusual in a first meeting. About halfway through our session, I brought up Bushs sixteen words.... I then asked Armitage a question that had been puzzling me but, for the sake of my future peace of mind, would better have been left unasked. Why would the CIA send Joseph Wilson, not an expert in nuclear proliferation and with no intelligence experience, on the mission to Niger? Well, Armitage replied, you know his wife works at the CIA, and she suggested that he be sent to Niger. His wife works at the CIA? I asked. Yeah, in counterproliferation.
He mentioned her first name, Valerie.... The exchange about Wilsons wife lasted no more than sixty seconds. Armitage offered no interpretation of Wilsons conduct and said nothing negative about him or his wife. I am sure it was not a planned leak but came out as an offhand observation.... Shortly thereafter, he secretly revealed his role to federal authorities investigating the leak of Mrs. Wilsons name but did not inform White House officials, apparently including the President.
Novak got Valeries last name from Wilsons bio in Whos Who. But after he used it in his column, the name Valerie Plame became big news in the media and caused quite a storm. On October 1, 2003, after reading a second column by Novak on the case, Armitage, alarmed by the clamor in the press for the name of the leaker who had outed a covert CIA agent, revealed his role to his boss Secretary of State Colin Powell. They took up the matter with State Department lawyer William H. Taft IV, who then spoke with White House counsel Alberto Gonzales, who allegedly told Taft that he did not want to know. But why didn't Taft or Powell go directly to the President with this important information?
In January 2004, the Justice Department chose prosecutor Patrick J. Fitzgerald to investigate the leak of Valerie Plame's identity. From the outset, he was made fully aware that the leaker was Armitage, who resigned from the State Department in November 2004 but remained a subject of the inquiry until February 2006 when Fitzgerald told him in a letter that he would not be charged. The New York Times reported on Sept. 2, 2006:
Mr. Armitage cooperated voluntarily in the case, never hired a lawyer and testified several times to the grand jury, according to people who are familiar with his role and actions in the case. He turned over his calendars, datebooks and even his wife's computer in the course of the inquiry, those associates said. But Mr. Armitage kept his actions secret, not even telling President Bush because the prosecutor asked him not to divulge it, the people said.
Why would the prosecutor keep this vital information from the President who had expressed concern over the outing of a CIA operative? Meanwhile, the liberal press hysterically speculated that it was Karl Rove and/or Vice President Cheney who most likely leaked Plame's identity to Novak. Dick Cheney writes in his memoir, In My Time:
Among the many things that should give a thinking person pause about this whole sad story is that Patrick Fitzgerald knew from the outset who had leaked the information about Wilsons wife to Bob Novak. It had been Deputy Secretary of State Rich Armitage, who told the Justice Department that he had leaked the information to Novak, but kept what he had done from the White House. Armitage would later admit that he had even earlier told journalist Bob Woodward about Wilsons wifes employment. Indeed, on Bob Woodwards tape of the June 13, 2003, conversation, Armitage can be heard leaking the fact that Wilsons wife worked at the CIA four separate times.
So why did Patrick Fitzgerald spend more than two years conducting a lengthy and wasteful investigation, as the Washington Post called it? Members of the White House staff were interviewed by the FBI and dragged before a grand jury at great cost to them in attorneys fees. Bob Novak wrote:
After Patrick Fitzgerald ... indicated to me he knew Armitage was my source, I cooperated fully with him. At the special prosecutors request and on my lawyers advice, I kept silent about this a silence that subjected me to much abuse. I was urged by several friends, including some journalists, to give up my sources name. But I felt bound by the journalists code to protect his identity.
Despite the fact that Fitzgerald knew the source of the leak, he decided to go after reporters who refused to name their sources. Thus, Times reporter Judith Miller spent 85 days in jail for refusing to reveal her sources to the prosecutor. She was finally released when she agreed to testify before a grand jury.
So, why did Fitzgerald go after Scooter Libby, Vice President Cheney's top aide? Apparently, Armitage had read a memorandum Libby had commissioned as part of an effort to rebut criticism of the White House by Joe Wilson. Who wrote the memorandum, and did it mention Valerie Plame? That information may have been revealed during Libbys trial but has not been made public. Was it the source of any leaks to the press? Apparently not, for it was Armitage who supposedly read the report and made the leak, not Libby.
Nevertheless, it was Libby whom Fitzgerald decided to indict. The jury found Libby guilty, not of revealing Valerie Plames name to the press, but of perjury, obstruction of justice, and making false statements. What did he lie about? Libby said that he thought he had gotten the information about Valerie Plame from a conversation with Tim Russert, the news analyst. But Russert denied that he had given such information to Libby. As for obstruction of justice, what was Libby refusing to tell the prosecutor? Could it be that Libby was trying to protect his boss, the Vice President, who may have retrieved the information from his contacts at the CIA? And is that the reason why Cheney tried so hard to get Bush to pardon Libby?
Otherwise, there seems to be no reason why Libby would have lied about where he got the information about Plame, and no reason why he would have refused to answer questions that the prosecutor posed. Apparently, neither Cheney nor Libby knew that it was Armitage who had leaked Valerie Plames identity to Novak. Cheney himself had been interviewed twice by the Special Prosecutor in May and August 2004. Even the President himself was questioned by Fitzgerald.
In any case, since Libby was not the person who made Valerie Plames name public, he should not have been the subject of a prosecutor, whose aim seems have been to justify his more than two years of investigation in the nations capital, with all of its perks, good restaurants, and plush accommodations. Even a prosecutor from Illinois needed a respite from the local grind. So he got a conviction of sorts and was thus able to return to Chicago fully vindicated.
The Vice President knew that all of this could have been avoided had Secretary Colin Powell done his duty and told the President that he knew who had leaked Plames identity to Novak. But he preferred to remain silent, and thus opened the door to two years of a needless and wasteful investigation which distracted the administration, forced innocent staff members to undergo a costly inquisition, and led to the conviction of a loyal and highly competent public servant. Cheney made sure that the public would know the truth and took a parting shot at Colin Powell. He wrote:
For the latter part of 2003, all of 2004, and a good part of 2005, members of the White House staff produced box after box of documents, were interviewed by the FBI, hauled before a grand jury, and repeatedly questioned about these events.
Meanwhile, over at the State Department, Armitage sat silent. And, it pains me to note, so did his boss, Colin Powell, whom Armitage told he was Novaks source on October 1, 2003. Less than a week later, on October 7, 2003, there was a cabinet meeting. At the end of it, the press came in for a photo opportunity, and there were questions about who had leaked the information that Wilsons wife worked at the CIA. The President said he didnt know, but wanted the truth. Thinking back, I realize that one of the few people in the world who could have told him the truth, Colin Powell, was sitting right next to him.
So, who was actually guilty of obstruction of justice? Was it Scooter Libby or Colin Powell? Or was it prosecutor Patrick J. Fitzgerald, who told Armitage to keep his mouth shut or face prosecution, [and] did not tell the President who the leaker was and spent the taxpayers' money in a costly prosecution against an innocent man.
Is it not a crime for a U.S. government official to deliberately withhold vital information from the President of the United States? Is it not a crime for a federal prosecutor to threaten a suspect with prosecution if he dared to tell the President that he was responsible for the leak? Had Powell told the President the truth, there would have been no need for a special prosecutor or grand inquisition.
When is the government going to indict Patrick J. Fitzgerald or Colin Powell for obstruction of justice? Of course, never. Meanwhile, Scooter Libbys life has been ruined. But we await his own memoirs.
Get this to the NYT right away. They’ll want to get a reporter on it.
Ricky just did that recently.
I have always considered this practice an abuse of a prosecutor's power, but they still do it all the time.
This is as bad as what another set of unethical prosecutors did to Ted Stevens.
Can anyone believe this garbage - how the NY Times, WaPost, and all the rest of the leftists got all torqued about such a piddling, stupid, inconsequential tempest in a teapot, while literally hundreds of people are DEAD, from the Gunwalker scandal, and nary a peep out of the MSM. M’er F’ers.
Fitzy OWES US A REFUND!
Thanks George Bush for pardoning Scooter. Oh you didn’t, never mind.
And we wonder why so few truly good, intelligent men and women choose lives as far away from government as possible.
I guess it was part of that "new tone" that Bush said would get the DemocRATs to act civilly. Oh wait, it didn't work.
Plame, Wilson, Armitage, Novak, Powell, and most of all, Fitzgerald behaved like pure scum.
And the milk-toast performance of the Bush Administration toward this Alice-in-Wonderland absurdity is its most disgraceful episode.
The entire Scooter Libby mess saddened me. I will never forgive President Bush for not giving Libby a FULL pardon. The wonderful dedicated mans life was destroyed. I hope he makes millions selling books or even on movie offers. Such a disgrace what happened to him and his family
A perjury trap that Wilson and Plane fell into but were not prosecuted.
Justice is blind if a D precedes your position on politics
“Plame, Wilson, Armitage, Novak, Powell, and most of all, Fitzgerald behaved like pure scum.”
I would add Tim Russert to that list. I don’t claim I can prove it but I believe that he perjured himself and I believe that the guilt from that is what killed him.
Colin Powell disgusts me.
Did Fitzpatrick and Powell believe they could put a black eye on the Bush administration?
She worked at the Langley Headquarters of the CIA Fitzgerald should have been dis-barred for abuse.
Valerie Plame was NOT then and had not
been for over ten years a Covert CIA agent.
and openly commuted to her office at Langley daily.
She worked at the Langley Headquarters of the CIA
Fitzgerald should have been dis-barred for abuse.
Fitzgerald knew the whole story from the start and was out to put a hyde on the wall and get patted on the back by the media. Then he protects Obama to the hilt in the Rezco/Blago Chicago prosecutions. Pure scumbag.
Of all the players in this, I detest Colin Powell the most. He knew. KNEW. And KEPT HIS MOUTH SHUT. He could have picked up a phone and put and end to it.
But he didn’t. And by all that can be gleaned, he did it for personal, vindictive, political reasons.
As far as I am concerned, that undid every good thing Powell ever did for his country. Same as Benedict Arnold, who was a hero until he sold his country out.
Powell can rot in Hell.
Its too bad all this was not about sex as it is now ok to lie about sex as long as one holds a high office
Exactly. He’s a POS.
Thank you for posting this and I was surprised at some of the facts in the article. This is outrageous and I don’t see how Bush did not know this when he left office.
Why would Colin Powell do this? I don’t agree with him politically but always thought he was a man of integrity.
Why did President Bush not pardon Libby if he knew all of this? Very disappointing if these facts are correct and a stain on the President’s honor. Press be damned. They hated him anyways.
You are right, but no one cared to acknowledge this fact.
The whole damned thing was a manufactured scandal by a Democratic operative. Wilson
I meant no one who mattered.
Ambition. Armitage, Powell and Fitzgerald all had or have ambition for power, perhaps presidential power in some fantasy future nurtured in their selfish little souls.
That’s why they did what they did.
Bush should have pardoned Libby- that much is certainly clear
Agreed. I can’t believe I once supported that scum. Shame on me.
I believe the Clinton's were handing out nuclear secrets to anyone who wanted them and used the CIA as a cover claiming it was a CIA sting operation.
If my memory serves me correctly, the fact that it was Armitage who leaked Plame's name to Novak came out only after President Bush left office. It came out when Novak was ill with what turned out to be terminal cancer. He was getting ready to publish his memoir and that's when Armitage admitted he was the leaker.
President Bush did commute Scooter's sentence, so he never had to spend a moment in jail. And there was a vigorous defense fund set up by Scooter's friends, so I'm sure his legal bills were taken care of. But GWB didn't fully pardon him because the President had promised publicly that whoever did leak the name would be held to account. GWB was as much a victim of Fitzgerald, Armitage, Powell and Novak as Scooter was. At the time he left office, all GWB knew was that Scooter was a convicted perjurer. GWB also did not have all the facts at his disposal, and the posted article makes that clear.
I did too. Seemed like a level, sensible person. First there was Scooter Libby.
Then his support of Obama. It made me realize that to someone like him, race was far more important to him than national security or the well being of this country.
That particular thing was quite telling to me.
Hogwash. President Bush knew it was an abuse of the judicial system and very reason the founders gave the power of pardon. My bet it was Karl Rove keeping the full pardon from happening - he was glad to see somebody else take the blame and wanted to keep Libby in focus. George Bush might have a better legacy had it not been for poll watching, let’s stay popular with the liberals Karl Rove.
That is the main reason I despise Colin Powell. He could have set that right. But didn't.
More drag out the bash Bush crap.
Economy, Obamas’ extravagant spending, fake unemployment numbers, TRillions of dollars being spent,
Nah, why do that when Obama’s plan is to bash Bush while he’s campaigning, after all, it’s all he’s got...
More drag out the bash Bush crap.
Economy, Obamas’ extravagant spending, fake unemployment numbers, TRillions of dollars being spent, 4 wars
Nah, why do that when Obama’s plan is to bash Bush while he’s campaigning, after all, it’s all he’s got...
The wonderful dedicated mans life was destroyed. I hope he makes millions selling books or even on movie offers. Such a disgrace what happened to him and his family
Does Fitzpatrick blow all his money? If not, maybe someone like Mark Levin could help Scott Libby get a bunch of it.
Joe Wilson had fabricated a motive for the political people in the Bush White House (Bush, Cheney, Rove) to want to damage Valerie Plame, and Fitzgerald seems to have taken that as his starting point. Even if it were true it would be par for the course in Washington--remember that Clintonista (Bacon) who revealed Linda Tripp's arrest (she was the victim of a prank by some "friends" and the case was quickly thrown out, but making the arrest public knowledge damaged her public reputation).
Libby was found guilty because his memory didn't match Russert's memory--instead of reasoning that both men were doing their best to remember an obscure conversation and had conflicting recollections, Fitzgerald chose to believe Russert and assume the other man was lying.
It was clear from the comments made by the jury after the trial that they wanted to find someone guilty--they wanted someone higher up in the administration but found Libby guilty because that's all they had.
I agree. That is the one thing that made me really mad at Bush for, damnit, he should have pardoned that man.
Not true, but then I don't expect the perpetual Bush haters here to recognize the truth. Like the rest of us, President Bush did not know who the leaker was until after he left office. The people who knew were Armitage, Powell, Novak and Fitzgerald. None of them told the truth although they all had plenty of opportunity to do so.
Armitage and Powell were guilty, at minimum, of betraying their country and president by withholding the truth. Novak was guilty of betraying professional ethics by allowing himself to be cowed by Fitzgerald. Fitzgerald was guilty of gross prosecutorial misconduct. I'm no lawyer, but it's possible Fitzgerald, himself, broke some serious laws.
The victims of this disgusting charade pulled by those four men were first the country -- the American people -- second, the President, third, Scooter Libby and his family, and fourth, the other people in the White House whom Fitzgerald hounded (including Rove).
Perpetual Bush haters like you just compound the injustice.
I agree, although the person who bears the greatest responsibility and guilt for not setting the record straight is Fitzgerald. He committed gross prosecutorial misconduct and quite possibly broke several laws himself. That he skated free of any consequences is a monumental injustice. That way too many so-called conservatives continue to blame President Bush for not pardoning Scooter when GWB did not have all the facts at hand, while they essentially brush aside what Fitzgerald did is sickening.
Yeah. The Leftist bass turds were having wet dreams about **someone** getting frog-marched out of the White House, and when they pulled in their net, the only one they could go for was an innocent man.
How I despise them.
I think Bush should have pardoned Libby, but at least he spared him from going to prison. I think he wanted to respect our system of trial by jury (even though obviously juries don’t always reach the correct conclusion—see the O.J. criminal trial). He didn’t have all the facts and thought that he shouldn’t second-guess the jurors who had spent a lot of time listening to the case.
I understand that point of view, but I viewed him (Fitzgerald) as an enemy from day one. Fitzgerald was on the side of those who wanted to skewer the administration in some fashion.
I find Powell’s conduct particularly disturbing. There is something egregious about disloyalty (especially to someone who did a lot for him) that angers me beyond words.
That a scum like Fitzgerald forgoes his oaths and moral compasses neither surprises me nor disconcerts me. He and those behind him are liberals, and they sacrifice everything to the altar of their false God, Liberalism. He is no different, I completely expect him to be unprofessional and immoral.
But I expected differently of Colin Powell.
As for George W. Bush (a man I still admire in many ways though I disagree vehemently with his stances on various issues) I have always felt that he should have pardoned Libby regardless. What was he going to do, make liberals hate him more? I believe he should have done it even with incomplete information, because no law or statute was ever broken. The POS Plame was a damned desk jockey who made no secret of her employment. Everyone knew who she was. In light of that, I feel a pardon should have been forthcoming.
He [GWB] didnt have all the facts and thought that he shouldnt second-guess the jurors who had spent a lot of time listening to the case.
To commute rather than pardon was an honorable, although in my opinion, flawed decision. Flawed in no small part because the President did not have all the facts. We must also remember that Scooter did not want a pardon, as he was still trying to clear his name at the time through appeals.
As for Powell, he is indeed scum in my opinion. I just don't let Fitzgerald off as lightly as you, because his oath before the bar and ethical obligations as a prosecutor have to trump politics. Fitzgerald should absolutely have been not only disbarred, but prosecuted for the relevant crimes involved in his malicious actions. That NO ONE in and out of government called for it at the time is disgraceful.
According to Wikipedia, Armitage admitted he was the leak in August of 2006, two years before President Bush left office.
I truly like and respect President Bush, but there are many things he did or didn’t do that I disagree with. Not pardoning Libby was one of them. Especially after the truth finally came out. Not sure how he sleeps with that one on his conscience.
Meanwhile, Fitzgerald should be prosecuted since he knew everything BEFORE he really started this whole mess and covered it up.
The whole thing is nasty, sordid and disgusting.