Fitz gave a great opener in his press conference today. It tracked the tone and the seriousness of the five count indictment issued today, and underscored just how important this case is in terms of how this case relates to national security matters and the integrity of government.
Fitz made it very clear that this case was not just about the Wilsons and people who may have disliked them — that this case was about all of our security, now and in the future. And it’s not over.
Fitz talked at length about Grand Jury secrecy, and was careful to lay out why it is that a witness in an investigation, in front of a grand jury — in any capacity throughout an investigation, but especially dealing with a matter of national security — must tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.
Fitz detailed, as he did in the indictment, that Libby gave a compelling story initially to investigators — which it looks like was completely false. Instead of being at the receiving end of bits of information, Libby was the start of a long chain of information being disseminated that should not have been discussed outside the confines of people who had a need to know it for national security reasons.
My read on Fitz was that the lying makes him very, very angry. For a lot of reasons, but most of all because national security is very serious business, and Libby violated not only the legal trust and the laws, but also his fiduciary obligations as a government official in his position in doing what he did. I know it pisses me off.
One question: At least 4 people in government talked with Libby about this. Well, isn’t that interesting? The GOP talking points are going to be that Libby was stupid/idiotic/overreaching/etc., but he clearly wasn’t the only person discussing this within the government and who was he protecting by doing all of this and putting his own ass in jeopardy by testifying falsely? Big questions that I hope will be asked by the media.
It is clear from the indictment that there is an enormous amount of detail — not within the four corners of it, and held back from the rest of the investigation. Fitz is making it very clear, without being specific because he cannot be according to the law, that the investigation is ongoing. And that charges can be brought before a grand jury in DC at any time, should they be warranted.
I’ll say this: after watching Fitz, anyone who tries to raise the question of whether perjury is a “technicality” is going to end up looking like a moron. Because that clip of him explaining the importance and ethics of the rule of law in an investigation was exceptional. And the multiple allegations of false statements and testimony point to a considered pattern on the part of Libby.
This reaches to the very heart of how this Administration conducts itself. This reaches to the very heart of how they operate in shutting down any and all criticism — inside and outside the government. And there are going to be some very difficult questions for them to answer.
And Fitz is not done yet. Not by a long shot. You could see in his demeanor, and you can read it in the indictment — there is a whole lot more to this. I hope we get to know the rest soon.
(Graphics love to Corbis.com.)