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From the Department of Friends in Need

What are friends for?
(This image via The Illustrated Daily Scribble.)

In the Los Angeles Times this morning, media critic Tim Rutten offers some deliciously snarky daydreaming:

Libby's notes reveal that, in fact, he was told of Plame's connection to the CIA by Cheney himself and that their conversation occurred a full month before the alleged exchange with Russert. For their part, Libby and his attorneys insist that he simply was a busy man with a poor memory, and, if he had access to his notes when he was interviewed by the FBI agents, he would not have misled them.

Now that's interesting.

. . . let's wonder just how often Libby confused things Cheney told him with things reporters told him. Given the vice president's extraordinary influence over administration policy, if it happened with any frequency, it might explain a great deal about what's happened over the last six years.

Maybe we all should be grateful that Libby was talking to the relatively harmless Russert, whose primary fault seems to be a career-enhancing excess of affability.

Where might we be if Libby had confused Cheney's instructions with those of, say, Pat Buchanan or Ann Coulter or, God help us, Bill Kristol?

Lucky break there.

Both emptywheel and David Corn say the safe bet at this point is that Big Dick won't testify (despite the promise by Libby's attorneys) to tell us exactly what he thought of his chief of staff's crappy memory, since there are too many awkward questions the Veep isn't likely to relish having to answer under oath.  But a contrary theory is put forward by the Washington Post's legal correspondent:

Witness after witness, several of them eminently credible, have come forward to tell jurors that Libby knew about Valerie Plame Wilson, the covert CIA agent, before the time frame he later disclosed to grand jurors and federal investigators. If jurors have to choose only between Libby's statements at face value and the testimony of all those other witnesses, Libby will lose and be convicted. But if jurors come to believe that Libby merely made a mistake, he has a chance.

. . . special prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald is doing a masterful job of introducing evidence, through testimony, that paints Libby in a shoddy light. Prosecution witnesses, taken together, have characaterized him as a slimy bureaucratic operative who was more interested in his own political survival than the good of the nation. Libby's lawyers will have to counter this when their witnesses take the stand– one reason why Vice President Dick Cheney is still expected to be a prime defense witness.

Really, when you think about it, who else on planet Earth would be willing to serve as a character witness for Scooter Libby?  Can't be a terribly large pool to choose from.

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Swopa has been sharing prescient, if somewhat anal-retentive, analysis and garden-variety mockery with Internet readers since 1995 or so, when he began debunking the fantasies of Clinton-scandal aficionados on Usenet. He is currently esconced as the primary poster at Needlenose (