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Well, Lookee Here…


Lookee here, Junior was willing to do pretty much anything to save his own ass from being tarred with the liar brush — but when he got cornered on the lies, he dispatched the mean team.  And guess who the captain was?

Bush also told federal prosecutors during his June 24, 2004, interview in the Oval Office that he had directed Cheney, as part of that broader effort, to disclose highly classified intelligence information that would not only defend his administration but also discredit Wilson, the sources said.

But Bush told investigators that he was unaware that Cheney had directed I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby, the vice president’s chief of staff, to covertly leak the classified information to the media instead of releasing it to the public after undergoing the formal governmental declassification processes.

Bush also said during his interview with prosecutors that he had never directed anyone to disclose the identity of then-covert CIA officer Valerie Plame, Wilson’s wife. Bush said he had no information that Cheney had disclosed Plame’s identity or directed anyone else to do so.

Libby has said that neither the president nor the vice president directed him or other administration officials to disclose Plame’s CIA employment to the press. Cheney has also denied having any role in the disclosure.

That’s an awful lot of "shut the sonofabitch up, but play by the rules as you do it" from a bunch of political players who wouldn’t know a rule if it bit them on the ass.  We’ve talked about this before, but Murray Waas puts it in stark, direct terms and I want to emphasize this again:

Wilson has said he sought out White House officials, believing they did not know all the facts, and was rebuffed, he began speaking to reporters about his Niger mission, although he initially asked journalists not to reveal his identity.

On June 12, 2003, the same day that news accounts appeared citing Wilson’s allegations against the administration-albeit without him being named-Libby first learned from Cheney that Plame worked at the CIA and might have played a role in sending her husband to Niger. Libby’s indictment stated: "On or about June 12, 2003, Libby was advised by the Vice President of the United States that Wilson’s wife worked at the Central Intelligence Agency in the Counterproliferation Division. Libby understood that the Vice President learned this information from the CIA."

Coincidence? I think not. And if you think that this group of Machiavellian back-alley revenge masters would stick firmly to the "rebuttal on the facts" when they held a trump card of not only attempting to shut Ambassador Wilson up, but intimidating other critics who might also step forward, you can think again. Family has always — ALWAYS — been off limits, especially family that happens to be working for the CIA in a sensitive nuclear and other WMDs arena which is vital to national security interests for the nation at the moment.

But in this case, none of that mattered because Dick Cheney’s credibility had been questioned, the old bull saw red, and all bets were off. That sonofabitch Wilson was going to pay. (Can’t you just hear it coming out of old Mr. GFY’s mouth?)

It’s going to be quite a trial for Libby when the Cheney marching orders get trotted out, isn’t it?

Cheney cut Wilson’s op-ed out of the newspaper and wrote in the margins: "Have they done this sort of thing before? Send an Amb[assador] to answer a question. Do we ordinarily send people out pro bono to work for us? Or did his wife send him on a junket?"

And Libby’s airy "Oh, I may have glanced at it on his desk" malarky — you think the FBI investigators and Pat Fitzgerald and his team didn’t see straight through that from the moment it was uttered? Let’s see, the most powerful Vice President in history, who has been given a specific charge from the President of the United States to get out the information that fully rebuts and shuts up an Administration critic on the vital lynchpin of the argument for war in Iraq…just took notes on Amb. Wilson’s op-ed as a thought process exercise or as a means to work through the Sunday Jumble or something.

Yeah, right.

A central focus of Fitzgerald’s investigation has been why Libby would devise a cover story on how he learned of Plame’s CIA work when prosecutors had obtained Libby’s own notes showing that Libby had first gotten the information from Cheney. Libby told the FBI and testified to the grand jury that he had forgotten what Cheney had told him by the time that he made the Plame disclosure to reporters.

"I no longer remembered it," Libby testified to the grand jury regarding his June 12 conversation with Cheney. It was only after speaking to Russert, Libby testified, that he "learned" the information about Plame’s CIA employment "anew."

Federal investigators have concluded that Libby’s account is implausible. They have also questioned Libby’s testimony that he does not believe he discussed the matter again with Cheney until at least July 14, 2003, the date of Novak’s column that called Plame an "agency operative."

Federal investigators have a substantial amount of evidence that Cheney and Libby spoke about the matter in detail shortly after Wilson’s column appeared on July 6. Cheney’s handwritten notes in the margin of the Wilson column are one reason that prosecutors have believed that the two men spoke earlier than Libby has said they did.

Why — if the criminal charges against Libby are correct — would Libby lie to the FBI and the grand jury that he was only circulating rumors he had heard from reporters?

Why indeed?

Sources say investigators believe it is possible that Libby was trying to obscure Cheney’s role in the Plame leak — either by the vice president directing Libby to leak her CIA status, or through a general instruction from Cheney encouraging Libby to get the word out about Plame’s role in sending Wilson to Niger. They say it is also possible that Libby lied to conceal the fact that he leaked Plame’s identity to the press without Cheney’s approval.

Another important reason that Cheney and Libby may have spoken about Plame shortly after July 6, rather than July 12, is that Libby testified that he and Cheney talked on a regular basis after July 6 about how to counteract Wilson’s allegations. During grand jury testimony, a prosecutor asked Libby whether this was "a topic that was discussed on a daily basis?" Libby replied: "Yes, sir." When the prosecutor followed up by saying, "And it was discussed on multiple occasions each day, in fact?" Libby again responded: "Yes, sir."

Asked why the matter was so important to Cheney, Libby replied: "He wanted to get all the facts out about what he had or hadn’t done-what the facts were or were not. He was very keen on that and said it repeatedly: Let’s get everything out."

Libby further testified that Cheney was not referring to going public with information about Plame, but rather making available other classified information that both men believed would rebut Wilson’s charges and discredit him.

By any means necessary. You think that wasn’t the marching order for Libby, Rove and the gang? You think Karl Rove would flinch at an ends justifies the means mission after all his dirty tricks? But do you think for a moment that, if Karl Rove felt like he was being set up or double crossed by the "allies" who fed him the information to complete the dirty task that he wouldn’t turn it around on them to save his own ass — and that of his boss and his political legacy as he sees it?

Yeah, that’s what I thought, too.

But the question of how expendable Irving Lewis Libby was to his boss keeps running through my mind, reading through the last portion of Waas’ article.  Cheney and Addington have been, and are still, awfully tight — two neocon peas in a pod.  And Irving — the only one under indictment.

And Libby "testified that he spoke to David Addington, then Counsel to the Vice President, whom [Libby] considered to be an expert in national security law, and Mr. Addington opined that presidential Authorization to publicly disclose a document amounted to a declassification of a document."

A senior government official familiar with the matter said that in directing Libby to leak the classified information to Miller and other reporters, Cheney said words to the effect of, "The president wants this out," or "The president wants this done."

There’s a whole lot of throwing under the bus going on in the finger-pointing mess of ass-covering mendacity, isn’t there? George Bush points the finger at Cheney — I told him to get the word out, but I didn’t mean for him to have anyone betray a CIA agent. Irving is protecting Cheney’s flank…all the while Cheney and Addington are protecting Cheney’s flank.  Which leaves Irving where, exactly?  All the monetary donations to his legal trust fund in the world can’t disguise the fact that Scooter was hung out to be the bait if they got caught…and his loyalty to the boss would be the firewall.  How does it feel to be the scapegoat, Scooter?  You gonna bet the farm — and your family — on these clowns?

And Rover?  When push came to shove, he testified on five separate occasions — that we know about — and his loyalty is to himself and to Bushie.  Which begs the question, if the President pointed the finger squarely at Dick Cheney, dumping any responsibility and accountability into his lap, how likely is it that Rover did the same thing?  And truly, if Mr. Dirty Tricks himself is working on the backdoor double cross, how much behind the scenes machinations do we not know about at this point — and how comfortable are you right now if you are Dick Cheney?

Oh, what a tangled web we weave…I’m just glad Murray’s still working his sources on this, because I have this nagging feeling that a whole lot more is about to spill out any second.

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Christy Hardin Smith

Christy Hardin Smith

Christy is a "recovering" attorney, who earned her undergraduate degree at Smith College, in American Studies and Government, concentrating in American Foreign Policy. She then went on to graduate studies at the University of Pennsylvania in the field of political science and international relations/security studies, before attending law school at the College of Law at West Virginia University, where she was Associate Editor of the Law Review. Christy was a partner in her own firm for several years, where she practiced in a number of areas including criminal defense, child abuse and neglect representation, domestic law, civil litigation, and she was an attorney for a small municipality, before switching hats to become a state prosecutor. Christy has extensive trial experience, and has worked for years both in and out of the court system to improve the lives of at risk children.

Email: reddhedd AT firedoglake DOT com