Plamegate – A Crime?

The right’s talking point on the “outing” of Valerie Plame is that there was no crime. They say that Fitzgerald would have brought charges for the outing if the outing were a crime.
I would like to remind everyone that Fitzgerald said that he indicted Libby for obstruction of justice BECAUSE Libby obstructed – “threw sand in the eyes of” – the investigation which kept it from finding out who committed the crime. That is what “obstruction of justice” means, and that is what Libby was convicted of. He blocked the investigation into the crime.
Transcript of Special Counsel Fitzgerald’s Press Conference

And what we have when someone charges obstruction of justice, the umpire gets sand thrown in his eyes. He’s trying to figure what happened and somebody blocked their view.
… This is a very serious matter and compromising national security information is a very serious matter. But the need to get to the bottom of what happened and whether national security was compromised by inadvertence, by recklessness, by maliciousness is extremely important. We need to know the truth. And anyone who would go into a grand jury and lie, obstruct and impede the investigation has committed a serious crime.

There are a lot of people trying to throw sand in everyone’s eyes now that Libby is convicted. Here is where we are today: A covert CIA agent was outed by the White House, and the Vice President’s Chief of Staff has been convicted of obstructing the investigation into who was behind it.
I suggest reading the entire transcript.

Libby – The Fall Guy

Libby ‘Pilloried’ For Leak, Panel Members Believed

“We’re not saying that we didn’t think Mr. Libby was guilty of the things we found him guilty of,” said the juror, Denis Collins. “But it seemed like he was . . . the fall guy.”
… “Where’s Rove, where’s — you know, where are these other guys?” Collins said, referring to Karl Rove, Bush’s top political adviser, and Richard L. Armitage, a former deputy chief of staff who testimony showed had been the first person to leak Plame’s name.
Moreover, Collins said, jurors believed that Libby had been carrying out a directive by his immediate boss, Cheney, to “go out and talk to reporters” to tarnish Wilson’s reputation. But Collins said jurors stopped short of discussing whether the vice president specifically urged Libby to tell journalists about Plame’s CIA job.

And what did President Bush say about the verdict?

Dana Perino, the deputy White House press secretary, said President Bush watched the news of the verdict on television in the Oval Office. She said Mr. Bush respected the jury’s verdict but “was saddened for Scooter Libby and his family,” using Mr. Libby’s nickname.

Yes, you read that right – he was saddened for Libby’s – the perpetrtor’s – family, not Valerie Wilson/Plame’s – the victim’s.
Valerie Plame was an undercover CIA agent, working to keep weapons of mass destruction out of the hands of terrorists. We, of course, do not know how much damage was done when the White House “outed” her. We do not know the fate of those she may have met with in countries where she operated. But governments like Iran keep track of people traveling in their country, and when it was revealed that she was a CIA operative, they go back over their records and see who she met with and worked with. We do not know if any of them were jailed or killed as a result.
Outing her also revealed that her cover company was a CIA front. So ALL the agents working for that company were ALSO “outed.” And all the people THEY met with in all the countries where THEY operated were ALSO revealed. And of course we do not know how many of THEM were jailed or killed as a result.

Sealed vs Sealed?

Jason Leopold has been on the hotseat for a while after reporting on an imminent Karl Rove indictment that was never announced. But now Leopold says he even knows the case number. Sealed vs. Sealed:

Four weeks ago, during the time when we reported that White House political adviser Karl Rove was indicted for crimes related to his role in the leak of covert CIA operative Valerie Plame Wilson, the grand jury empanelled in the case returned an indictment that was filed under seal in US District Court for the District of Columbia under the curious heading of Sealed vs. Sealed.
As of Friday afternoon that indictment, returned by the grand jury the week of May 10th, remains under seal – more than a month after it was handed up by the grand jury.
The case number is “06 cr 128.” On the federal court’s electronic database, “06 cr 128″ is listed along with a succinct summary: “No further information is available.”

He is not backing off. Truthout isn’t either. Maybe there is something to this.
UpdateSalon says maybe not.

Shredding Documents

Does anyone remember the weeks of headlines when Hillary Clinton’s former law firm was accused of shredding documents? (It was just another false accusation).
So how does that coverage compare to today? Here’s something to compare: From Leak prober got supersecret files,

Fitzgerald’s letter says that “we have learned that not all email of the Office of Vice President and the Executive Office of President for certain time periods in 2003 was preserved through the normal archiving process on the White House computer system.”

Never forget that a few major conservative corporations own and control all major media outlets.
Through Talking Points Memo
UpdateDigby, too.

Things Coming To A Head?

In a Letter to President Bush, several former intelligence officers call on Bush to put the country’s interests ahead of The Party‘s interests. Fat chance.

Therefore, we are asking that you immediately suspend the clearances of all White House personnel who spoke to reporters about Mrs. Wilson’s affiliation with the CIA. They have mishandled classified information and no longer deserve the level of trust required to have access to this nation’s secrets.
We also ask that you make it clear that any individual, who is convicted of a crime stemming from the leak of the classified identity of Valerie Wilson, will not receive a pardon. The refusal, so far, of I. Lewis Libby to heed your call for full cooperation with the prosecutor raises the specter that he will try to stonewall the investigation in hopes of ultimately being pardoned by you.
We believe that the President, in his role as Commander-in-Chief, has a duty to demonstrate the highest standards when it comes to protecting our nation’s secrets.
… If you take these steps you will be sending a clear message that your first priority is the nation’s security rather than your aides’ well being.

Go read it all. And send a copy of this letter to relatives.

Libby Expecting a Pardon?

Libby Testimony Is Key To Rove Inquiry,

Special Prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald delayed a decision on whether to seek criminal charges against Karl Rove in large part because he wants to determine whether Lewis (Scooter) Libby, the former chief of staff to Vice President Cheney, can provide information on Rove’s role in the CIA leak case, according to attorneys involved in the investigation.

Special Prosecutor Fitzgerald hopes the threat of years in prison will convince Libby to tell the truth. But this can’t work if Libby has been promised – or just expects – a pardon. There is no other reason Libby would remain silent at this point. Everyone involved understands this.
This is why Bush refuses to rule out a pardon In my opinion refusal to rule out a pardon for someone who can put you in jail if he doesn’t get a pardon is blatant obstruction of justice. It’s obvious that it’s not Rove Libby is protecting – Rove can’t pardon him. It’s Bush.

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What About Rove?

Time Reporter Says He Learned Agent’s Identity From Rove

One of the reporters at the center of the investigation into the leak of the identity of an undercover CIA officer, says he first learned the agent’s name from President Bush’s top political advisor, Karl Rove.
Time magazine reporter Matt Cooper also said today in an interview with “Good Morning America,” that the vice president’s chief of staff, I. Lewis “Scooter” Libby, confirmed to him that Ambassador Joseph Wilson’s wife, Valerie Plame, was a covert CIA operative.
[. . .] “There is no question. I first learned about Valerie Plame working at the CIA from Karl Rove,” Cooper said.

Why is Rove still in the White House? WHy does he have a security clearance?