The Bottom Line
(Photo by the ever-wonderful BobbyG at last year's YKos in Vegas.)
Summations in the Libby trial will begin today, and hopefully conclude, although you can never be sure of that in a trial that has defense counsel asking for four hours and having that whittled down to three by the presiding judge. (And with pending motions from both sides requesting additional time for arguments that were filed over the weekend, I'm thinking we are not likely to finish today.) This morning, Jane, Pach, and I will be sitting in the courtroom to watch the closings, and Emptywheel will be manning the keyboard to give you the liveblogging of the proceedings along with us.
Thank you so much for all of the support — monetarily and in the comments and with so much collective research. Without your help, we could not have done this comprehensive coverage of the investigation and this Libby trial. Your support has helped keep the blog going. If you have enjoyed the work that we have done, please consider a thank you donation that will enable us to keep doing this work for all of the investigations and action requests to come.
I spent time yesterday during my flight thinking about all of the work that Jane has done, and that I joined in with, about this investigation. Before I left for DC, I went back to a post that I wrote late one night, early in my blogging here at FDL, after some stray commenter made the mistake of telling me that this investigation didn't really matter anyway, asking why we even cared about it at all. The funny thing is, going back to read it takes me right back to that indignation and disgust at the comment — and my need to explain my perspective, as someone who has worked with officers who put their lives on the line in undercover operations. And I wanted to revisit a portion of that post for a moment this morning, as a reminder for all of us, why this matters:
Imagine that one day you wake up to the incessent ping of your beeper. It is still dark outside your window, and you slide out of bed, pad quietly down the hallway and try not to wake up the wife and kids, as you slip into your home office and place a call on a secure phone. You are told that your cover has been blown, that your family may be at risk. You have to make instant decisions for your own safety, that of your family, and of every asset you have in the field – and to do that, you have to prioritize which assets are more valuable and which you can afford to lose, if necessary. You have to decide then and there which of the people you cultivated, the ones you promised safety in exchange for information and cooperation, which of them may have to die because you may not have time to save them all.
Why has your cover been blown? Because you work as a CIA colleague of the wife of a man who dared to question the veracity of the President of the United States on a matter of national security, a matter of an exaggerated claim that was inserted in his State of the Union address to bolster his case for war in Iraq. And the President's cronies and hatchet men decided to out this man's wife for political payback, as a lesson to anyone else who would dare to question their decisions and as a means to staunch the bleeding from this initial salvo of criticism. Damn the consequences.
No consideration for all the lives interconnected in this network of agents and field assets, or the years it took to cultivate them. No thought of the impact that this betrayal by highly placed governmental officials would have down the line — how hard it would make it to recruit human intelligence assets in the field at the very time that we need them most to gather information inside the terrorist networks that threaten us more and more each day.
No concern for the years of set up it took for Brewster-Jennings and Company, the cover company set up by the CIA that both you and this man's wife used, to get up and running. The fact that you and she worked along with a number of other highly trained CIA officers around the world — trained in tracking down the weapons used by terrorists and thugs and the very people that threaten our nation's safety every single day wasn't important to them. Nor was the loss of the millions of taxpayer dollars it took to set this up and maintain it as viable cover in a number of countries worldwide.
Seemingly, no thought of the loss of ongoing investigations. If there was any consideration or calculation, a discounting of the loss of human intel assets dealing with WMD issues at a time of war, with terrorists who would like nothing more than to get their hands on the very chemical, biological, and nuclear weapons and materials that you have risked your life to keep out of their hands.
The next time someone opens their yap and says to me that this case doesn't matter. That everyone does it. That it was just politics. That this is how things are done in Washington. That the President is going to pardon them anyway. That they'll find a way to weasel out of it. That she wasn't really under cover anyway. That they didn't know she was a NOC when they outed her CIA status. Or whatever other talking head pundit crap comes out of the pipeline on the next talking points bilge memo…well, it just doesn't matter….
How dare anyone say that this case does not matter. You tell that to the family of anyone who has a star on that wall. Or to anyone who has ever had the honor of knowing and working with or living with any law enforcement hero who walks out their front door every day, knowing that it could be the last time they ever see their family. Knowing that a deep cover assignment risks not only their own life, but sometimes the lives of everyone close to them.
This is why I have followed this investigation, this case, this particular trial so closely. And why Jane and I got caught up in making certain that the false narrative of "everybody does it" was not allowed to just sit out there on the surface. Some things are just wrong. Period.
This was wrong. It was fundamentally wrong, for our nation, for our national security, and for the way business ought to be done by the supposed adults who are charged with keeping our nation safe, and not just with saving their own political bacon and trafficking in gossip and innuendo and carefully crafted leaks when it suits their political payback purposes. And for political operatives and craven power junkies like Karl Rove and Dick Cheney, who have made their lives and their business running over top of anyone who got in their way because they could, this was, truly, the last straw. That this was done by the highest reaches of power in the Bush Administration — the very people who should be guarding our nation's national security secrets the closest — was truly the last straw.
It is time that people in Washington took a good, long, hard look at themselves — and asked a fundamental question: am I here to serve myself or the public's interest? Because if the answer is (a), you are now on notice — we are not backing down or going away quietly once this one trial has concluded. If you will not provide oversight and accountability on behalf of all of the public and not just your cronies, we will do so. If you will not stand up for what is right, we will.
This is our nation, our government, our values that you are supposed to represent. All of ours.
Citizenship is not a passive endeavor, it requires active participation — and we plan to be very, very active in the next few years leading into the Presidential and Congressional elections in 2008. Now, more than ever, it is imperative that elected officials and political appointees remember that they are supposed to work for us, and not the other way around. This nation has substantial problems that need to be addressed, born of the last five years of rubber stamp Republican parliamentary behavior, the utter lack of any demands for accountability, and the overreaching tantrums of an out-of-control unilateral executive and the figurehead he put on the throne.
Jane and I want to thank each and every one of you for all of the support you have given us through our coverage of this case — from the inception of the investigation all the way to today. All of your comments, the collective research that we have all been able to pull together, and for all the donations of time and money and effort from everyone to help make our liveblogging of the Libby trial possible.
Where does all of this go next? Absolutely no idea. But we plan on being on the front lines of the next battle of ideas, and the next and the next. For as long as it takes.
To do that, however, we need to have enough to keep going forward. As you all know, Jane is facing a battle of her own at the moment, and will be starting chemo soon in the next front of that portion of her life — I've said this to her, but I'm saying it here as well — that cancer had better be scared, because she is going to kick its ass, just like everything else that gets in her way.
If you can afford to do so, and you feel that our coverage has been worth all the time you have spent here following proceedings — or all the reading that you have been able to do in all of the months and months of work we have done leading up to this — we would certainly appreciate a donation of thanks.
We are hoping to have something in reserve after this trial to help us move onto the next one or to the next Congressional investigation, whichever comes first. — without Jane having to worry about funding site costs while she is fighting her own battle. You guys know that asking for money is not my forte — I hate it — but for Jane, I'm more than willing to do some heavy lifting on this one. As you read this, I'm already on my way to the courthouse for summations, and we will have much more coverage for you as the day goes on, including liveblogging of the proceedings every step of the way today.
In closing, thank you so much — all of you — for all of your support. We are looking forward to a lot more work in the days, weeks, months and years to come. And we are looking forward to doing all of this work together with all of you.
The bottom line is that we could not have done this without each and every one of you. And every donation that we get will be put right back into the expenses we plan to incur for all of the battles yet to be waged. If you have enjoyed the work we have done on this trial — and the entire investigation — or all of our work on the last election for candidates across the country, please consider a thank you donation to help keep this blog and all of our work moving forward. Thank you. For everything.