Watergate II : survey of developments


Richard Moore

If you go to the URL below, you can find the full articles and 
their original source.



 Dubya-Cheney Ties Frayed by Scandal 
By Thomas M. DeFrank 
The New York Daily News 

Tuesday 08 November 2005 
'There has been some distance for some time.' 

Washington - The CIA leak scandal has peeled back the veil
on the most closely held White House secret of all: the
subtle but unmistakable erosion in the bond between
President Bush and Vice President Cheney.

Multiple sources close to Bush told the Daily News that
while the vice president remains his boss' valued
political partner and counselor, his clout has lessened -
primarily as a result of issues arising from the Iraq war.

"The relationship is not what it was," a presidential
counselor said. "There has been some distance for some

 Read the full article 


 Vice President Lied as White House Sought to Defuse Leak Inquiry 
By Jason Leopold 

Monday 07 November 2005 

Did Vice President Dick Cheney help cover-up the outing of
covert CIA operative Valerie Plame Wilson in the months
after conservative columnist Robert Novak first disclosed
her identity?

That's one of the questions Special Prosecutor Patrick
Fitzgerald is likely trying to figure out. It's unclear
what Cheney said to investigators back in 2004 when he was
questioned - not under oath - about the leak, particularly
what he knew and when he knew it.

The five-count criminal indictment handed up by a grand
jury last month against Cheney's former Chief of Staff, I.
Lewis "Scooter" Libby, sheds new light on a pattern of
strategic deception by the Vice President and the White
House to defuse an inquiry into who leaked the name of
covert CIA agent Valerie Plame Wilson to the press. Months
after Plame's identity was disclosed by conservative
columnist Robert Novak, Cheney continued to hide the fact
that he and his aides were intimately involved in
disseminating classified information about her to

 Read the full article 


 Rove's Security Clearance Widely Questioned 
By Peter Wallsten and Tom Hamburger 
The Los Angeles Times 

Sunday 06 November 2005 
Federal workers under suspicion of smaller lapses have had
access to classified data yanked.

Washington - An intelligence analyst temporarily lost his
top-secret security clearance because he faxed his resume
using a commercial machine.

An employee of the Defense Department had her clearance
suspended for months because a jilted boyfriend called to
say she might not be reliable.

An Army officer who spoke publicly about intelligence
failures before the Sept. 11 attacks had his clearance
revoked over questions about $67 in personal charges to a
military cellphone.

But in the White House, where Karl Rove is under federal
investigation for his role in the exposure of a covert CIA
officer, the longtime advisor to President Bush continues
to enjoy full access to government secrets.

 Read the full article 


 Democratic Congressmen Ask Cheney to Talk 
The Associated Press 

Friday 04 November 2005 

Washington - Three Democratic congressmen Thursday asked
Vice President Dick Cheney to testify on Capitol Hill
about the disclosure of a covert CIA officer's identity,
saying "there are many wide-ranging questions about your

The congressmen asked why Cheney's office was gathering
information about Valerie Plame, the wife of Bush
administration critic Joseph Wilson in 2003; whether the
vice president directed his top aide, the now-indicted I.
Lewis Libby, to speak to the news media about Plame; and
whether Cheney was aware Libby was doing so.

The indictment against Libby says he was told by Cheney on
June 12, 2003, that Wilson's wife worked at the CIA's
counterproliferation division. That was a month before
Plame's identity was disclosed by conservative columnist
Robert Novak.

 Read the full article 


 Prosecutor Narrows Focus on Rove Role in CIA Leak 
By David Johnston and Richard W. Stevenson 
The New York Times 

Friday 04 November 2005 

Washington - The prosecutor in the CIA leak case has
narrowed his investigation of Karl Rove, the senior White
House adviser, to whether he tried to conceal from the
grand jury a conversation with a Time magazine reporter in
the week before an intelligence officer's identity was
made public more than two years ago, lawyers in the case
said Thursday.

The special counsel, Patrick J. Fitzgerald, has centered
on what are believed to be his final inquiries in the
matter as to whether Mr. Rove was fully forthcoming about
the belated discovery of an internal e-mail message that
confirmed his conversation with the Time reporter, Matthew
Cooper, to whom Mr. Rove had mentioned the CIA officer.

Mr. Fitzgerald no longer seems to be actively examining
some of the more incendiary questions involving Mr. Rove.
At one point, he explored whether Mr. Rove misrepresented
his role in the leak case to President Bush - an issue
that led to discussions between Mr. Fitzgerald and James
E. Sharp, a lawyer for Mr. Bush, an associate of Mr. Rove

 Read the full article 


 Libby Pleads Not Guilty in CIA Leak Case 
By Pete Yost 
The Associated Press 

Thursday 03 November 2005 

Vice President Dick Cheney's former chief of staff pleaded
not guilty Thursday in the CIA leak scandal, marking the
start of what could be a long road to a trial in which
Cheney and other top Bush administration officials could
be summoned to testify.

I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby entered the plea in front of US
District Judge Reggie Walton, a former prosecutor who has
spent two decades as a judge in the nation's capital.

"With respect, your honor, I plead not guilty," Libby told
the judge.

 Read the full article 


 In the Company of Friends 
By Richard Wolffe and Holly Bailey 

Wednesday 02 November 2005 
Bush may be besieged by charges of cronyism, but they
don't seem to have affected his picks for a panel
assessing intelligence matters. Plus, Alito, the talkie.

Controversy continues to rage over spying failures and the
mishandling of intelligence in the run-up to the invasion
of Iraq. Last week it was the indictments in the CIA leak
case. This week, it was the extraordinary secret session
of the Senate, when Democrats pushed for a new round of
inquiries into the misuse of intelligence on Saddam's
regime. So it's all the more remarkable to see how the
White House has just filled a committee overseeing
intelligence issues.

President Bush last week appointed nine campaign
contributors, including three longtime fund-raisers, to
his Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board, a 16-member panel
of individuals from the private sector who advise the
president on the quality and effectiveness of US
intelligence efforts. After watching the fate of Michael
Brown as head of FEMA and Harriet Miers as Supreme Court
nominee, you might think the president would be wary about
the appearance of cronyism - especially with a critical
national-security issue such as intelligence. Instead,
Bush reappointed William DeWitt, an Ohio businessman who
has raised more than $300,000 for the president's
campaigns, for a third two-year term on the panel.
Originally appointed in 2001, just a few weeks after the
9/11 attacks, DeWitt, who was also a top fund-raiser for
Bush's 2004 Inaugural committee, was a partner with Bush
in the Texas Rangers baseball team.

 Read the full article 


 White House Ducks Prewar Intel Questions 
The Associated Press 

Wednesday 02 November 2005 

Washington - The White House sought to deflect politically
charged questions Wednesday about President Bush's use of
prewar intelligence in Iraq, saying Democrats, too, had
concluded Saddam Hussein was a threat.

"If Democrats want to talk about the threat that Saddam
Hussein posed and the intelligence, they might want to
start with looking at the previous administration and
their own statements that they've made," White House press
secretary Scott McClellan said.

He said the Clinton administration and fellow Democrats
"used the intelligence to come to the same conclusion that
Saddam Hussein and his regime were a threat."

 Read the full article 


 Rove's Future Role Is Debated 
By Jim VandeHei and Carol D. Leonnig 
The Washington Post 

Thursday 03 November 2005 
White House may seek fresh start in wake of leak.

Top White House aides are privately discussing the future
of Karl Rove, with some expressing doubt that President
Bush can move beyond the damaging CIA leak case as long as
his closest political strategist remains in the

If Rove stays, which colleagues say remains his intention,
he may at a minimum have to issue a formal apology for
misleading colleagues and the public about his role in
conversations that led to the unmasking of CIA operative
Valerie Plame, according to senior Republican sources
familiar with White House deliberations.

 Read the full article 


 Inside the Bunker 
By Sidney Blumenthal 
The Guardian UK 

Thursday 03 November 2005 
His administration has become its own republic of fear,
and Bush is a prisoner to the right.

One year after his re-election President Bush governs from
a bunker. "We go forward with complete confidence," he
proclaimed in his second inaugural address. He urged "our
youngest citizens" to see the future "in the determined
faces of our soldiers", to choose between "evil" and
"courage". But as he listened that day, Vice-President
Dick Cheney knew the election had been secured by a

"I would have wished nothing better," declared Patrick
Fitzgerald in his press conference of October 28
announcing the indictment of I Lewis "Scooter" Libby, the
vice-president's chief of staff, "that, when the subpoenas
were issued in August 2004, witnesses testified then, and
we would have been here in October 2004 instead of October
2005. No one would have went to jail."

 Read the full article 


 Is Rove a Security Risk? 
By Jonathan Alter 

Wednesday 02 November 2005 
Because he disclosed Plame's CIA identity to reporters,
the Bush aide could lose his clearance.

The conventional wisdom in Washington this week is that
Karl Rove is out of the woods. But while an indictment
against him in the Valerie Plame leak case is now
unlikely, he may be in danger of losing his security

According to last week's indictment of Scooter Libby, a
person identified as "Official A" held conversations with
reporters about Plame's identity as an undercover CIA
operative, information that was classified. News accounts
subsequently confirmed that that official was Rove. Under
Executive Order 12958, signed by President Clinton in
1995, such a disclosure is grounds for, at a minimum,
losing access to classified information.

 Read the full article 


 Some Conservatives Question Rove's Future 

Tuesday 01 November 2005 

Washington - Breaking with the White House and fellow
conservatives, Republican Sen. Trent Lott and the head of
the Cato Institute questioned on Tuesday whether top White
House adviser Karl Rove, who remains in legal jeopardy in
a CIA-leak probe, should keep his policy-making job.

Rove was not indicted on Friday along with Vice President
Dick Cheney's chief of staff, Lewis Libby. But lawyers
involved in the case said Rove, President George W. Bush's
top political adviser and deputy chief of staff, remains
under investigation and may still be charged by prosecutor
Patrick Fitzgerald.

The identity of covert CIA operative Valerie Plame was
leaked to the media in July 2003 after her diplomat
husband, Joseph Wilson, accused the Bush administration of
twisting intelligence to justify the war in Iraq. Despite
initial White House denials, Fitzgerald's investigation
shows that both Rove and Libby spoke to reporters about
Wilson's wife.

 Read the full article 


 GOP Angered by Closed Senate Session 
By Charles Babington and Dafna Linzer 
The Washington Post 

Wednesday 02 November 2005 
Meeting reopened after two hours. 

Democrats forced the Senate into a rare closed-door
session yesterday, infuriating Republicans but extracting
from them a promise to speed up an inquiry into the Bush
administration's handling of intelligence about Iraq's
weapons in the run-up to the war.

With no warning in the mid-afternoon, the Senate's top
Democrat invoked the little-used Rule 21, which forced
aides to turn off the chamber's cameras and close its
massive doors after evicting all visitors, reporters and
most staffers. Plans to bring in electronic-bug-sniffing
dogs were dropped when it became clear that senators would
trade barbs but discuss no classified information.

Republicans condemned the Democrats' maneuver, which
marked the first time in more than 25 years that one party
had insisted on a closed session without consulting the
other party. But within two hours, Republicans appointed a
bipartisan panel to report on the progress of a Senate
intelligence committee report on prewar intelligence,
which Democrats say has been delayed for nearly a year.

 Read the full article 


 Nothing Shakin' on Shakedown Street? 
By William Rivers Pitt 
t r u t h o u t | Perspective 

Tuesday 01 November 2005 
Don't tell me this town ain't got no heart. You just gotta
poke around.

-- The Grateful Dead 

Confession time: I missed the whole Libby-indictment thing
almost completely. I wasn't writing a book or researching
a story, nor was I interviewing people in the know about
this or that. Nope. I was in Vegas, splitting my time
between a poker table in Mandalay Bay and the Vegoose
Music Festival out on the edge of the desert. The trip had
been planned months before, and I spent all those days
leading up to last Friday hoping Fitz would drop the
hammer so I could bug out in good conscience.

Didn't happen. I was on the plane Thursday night, shaking
my head at the timing. You just had to wait until the last
day, didn't you? Well, it wasn't a total loss. I spent a
couple dozen hours out there under the mountains listening
to bands like Moe, Phil Lesh & Friends, the North
Mississippi All-Stars, Umphrey's McGee (the set of the
weekend, by the way), and managed in between to take down
a few fat pots off the felt when I was back on the strip.

It was a good weekend, all told, but I just absolutely
missed the whole Fitzgerald train. Yes, I caught the press
conference on Friday. After that, however, I was in the
ozone, away from televisions and computers and newspapers.
I got back home on Monday night, and have spent every
waking minute since playing catch-up.

Here's what I have so far. 

 Read the full article 


 The World Can't Wait 
By Russ Baker 

Tuesday 01 November 2005 

Patrick Fitzgerald's indictment of Scooter Libby for lying
about how he learned of the Valerie Plame affair is an
interesting and important development. But the narrowness
of that focus, absent further developments, shows again
the limitations of "the system" in confronting the sheer
magnitude of an entire government subverted, and with it a
proud people, from all that we once revered.

For those disturbed by the deceit and the intrigues, the
reckless warmongering, the wholesale looting of the common
trust to benefit the privileged, the clampdown on rights
and liberties, the unconscionable enthusiasm for torture,
the embracing of a Know-Nothing attitude toward science,
the hastening of environmental collapse, the buying of the
legislative process and the neutering of the judicial one,
waiting for indictments is no longer sufficient.

One difficulty with opposing the current malefactors of
power is that they are so venal, so mean-spirited, so
incompetent on so many fronts that it's hard to focus the
public's attention on the true magnitude of the threat,
which dwarfs any single instance of wrong-doing, as
egregious as this or that outrage may be. Essential to any
successful anti-Bush campaign is the constant reminder
that the president and his cronies are dangerous across
the board, from the selection of a science textbook in a
small town in Kansas to the mobilization of the "shock and
awe" war machine for political purposes.

 Read the full article 


 Bigger than Watergate 
By Ted Rall 
Yahoo News 

Tuesday 01 November 2005 
Bush-Cheney traitors deserve prison, impeachment. 

Urbana, Illinois - To weigh the outing of CIA agent
Valerie Plame against historical standards, consider that
no leader of the Soviet Union-including that master of
ruthlessness, Josef Stalin-ever arranged for the name of a
KGB operative to appear in a newspaper. Adolf Hitler had
countless millions murdered, yet getting at a political
enemy by endangering agents of the Sicherheitsdienst, the
Nazi intelligence service, didn't cross his mind. In this
respect, not even the worst tyrants have stooped to the
level of George W. Bush.

Don't let the Republicans distract you. Treasongate isn't
just about deposed vice presidential chief of staff
Scooter Libby, who has been charged with five felony
counts and faces 30 years in prison, or even deputy
presidential chief of staff Karl Rove, who may soon be
charged as well. The Libby charges clearly point to the
real culprit: Dick Cheney, who told Libby about Plame's
covert status in the first place. Cheney abused his
security clearance to find out. "Libby understood that the
vice president had learned this information from the CIA,"
reads page five of the indictment.

 Read the full article 


 What Judy Forgot: Your Right to Know 
By Robert Scheer 
The Los Angeles Times 

Tuesday 01 November 2005 

The most intriguing revelation of Special Prosecutor
Patrick J. Fitzgerald's news conference last week was his
assertion that he would have presented his indictment of
I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby a year ago if not for the
intransigence of reporters who refused to testify before
the grand jury. He said that without that delay, "we would
have been here in October 2004 instead of October 2005."

Had that been the case, John Kerry probably would be
president of the United States today.

Surely a sufficient number of swing voters in the very
tight race would have been outraged to learn weeks before
the 2004 election that, according to this indictment, Vice
President Dick Cheney's chief of staff - a key member of
the White House team that made the fraudulent case for
invading Iraq - "did knowingly and corruptly endeavor to
influence, obstruct and impede the due administration of

 Read the full article 


 Forging the Case for War 
By Philip Giraldi 
The American Conservative 

21 November 2005 Issue 
Who was behind the Niger uranium documents?

From the beginning, there has been little doubt in the
intelligence community that the outing of CIA officer
Valerie Plame was part of a bigger story. That she was
exposed in an attempt to discredit her husband, former
ambassador Joseph Wilson, is clear, but the drive to
demonize Wilson cannot reasonably be attributed only to
revenge. Rather, her identification likely grew out of an
attempt to cover up the forging of documents alleging that
Iraq attempted to buy yellowcake uranium from Niger.

What took place and why will not be known with any
certainty until the details of the Fitzgerald
investigation are revealed. (As we go to press, Fitzgerald
has made no public statement.) But recent revelations in
the Italian press, most notably in the pages of La
Repubblica, along with information already on the public
record, suggest a plausible scenario for the evolution of

 Read the full article 


 Democrats Force Senate into Closed Session over Iraq Data 
The Associated Press 

Tuesday 01 November 2005 

Washington - Democrats forced the Republican-controlled
Senate into an unusual closed session Tuesday, demanding
answers about intelligence that led to the Iraq war.

In a speech on the Senate floor, Democratic leader Harry
Reid said the American people and US troops deserved to
know the details of how the United States became engaged
in the war, particularly in light of the indictment of I.
Lewis "Scooter" Libby, Vice President Dick Cheney's chief
of staff.

Reid demanded the Senate go into closed session. With a
second by Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., the public was ordered
out of the chamber, the lights were dimmed, senators filed
to their seats on the floor and the doors were closed. No
vote is required in such circumstances.

 Read the full article 


 Time Reporter Says He Learned Agent's Identity from Rove 
ABC News 

Monday 31 October 2005 
Matthew Cooper says I. Lewis Libby confirmed information. 

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.

A grand jury charged Libby on Friday with five felonies
alleging obstruction of justice, perjury to a grand jury
and making false statements to FBI agents. If convicted,
he could face a maximum of 30 years in prison and $1.25
million in fines. Libby was not charged with the crime
that the grand jury was created to investigate -
specifically, who leaked the name of Plame to reporters in
2003. Rove has not been charged.

 Read the full article 


 What Did Cheney Know, and When Did He Know It? 
By Nicholas D. Kristof 
The New York Times 

Tuesday 01 November 2005 

Come on, Mr. Vice President, tell us what happened. 

A federal indictment charges that criminality swirled
around your office, and it demeans this administration and
the entire country when you hide in your bunker and refuse
to say whether you knew of any such activities.

Five lawyers I've consulted all agree that there is no
compelling legal reason why you should not discuss the
situation. It's urgent that you clear the air by answering
these questions in a televised news conference:

 Read the full article 


 In Indictment's Wake, a Focus on Cheney's Powerful Role 
By Elisabeth Bumiller and Eric Schmitt 
The New York Times 

Sunday 30 October 2005 

Vice President Dick Cheney makes only three brief
appearances in the 22-page federal indictment that charges
his chief of staff, I. Lewis Libby Jr., with lying to
investigators and misleading a grand jury in the CIA leak
case. But in its clear, cold language, it lifts a veil on
how aggressively Mr. Cheney's office drove the rationale
against Saddam Hussein and then fought to discredit the
Iraq war's critics.

The document now raises a central question: how much
collateral damage has Mr. Cheney sustained?

Many Republicans say that Mr. Cheney, already politically
weakened because of his role in preparing the case for
war, could be further damaged if he is forced to testify
about the infighting over intelligence that turned out to
be false. At the least, they say, his office will be
temporarily off balance with the resignation of Mr. Libby,
who controlled both foreign and domestic affairs in a vice
presidential office that has served as a major policy arm
for the West Wing.

 Read the full article 


 Addington's Role in Cheney's Office Draws Fresh Attention 
By Murray Waas and Paul Singer 
The National Journal 

Sunday 30 October 2005 
David Addington, counsel to Vice President Cheney, is
currently considered the leading candidate to succeed
Scooter Libby as Cheney's chief of staff. But Addington's
own role in the Plame matter is emerging just as the vice
president considers whether to name him to the job.

On the morning of July 8, 2003, I. Lewis (Scooter) Libby,
then-chief of staff to Vice President Cheney, had a
two-hour meeting with New York Times reporter Judith
Miller at which Libby gave information to Miller in an
attempt to discredit former ambassador and Bush
administration critic Joseph Wilson.

When Libby returned to the White House, he immediately
sought out David Addington, the vice president's counsel,
according to court records and interviews. During their
breakfast at the St. Regis Hotel, Libby had promised
Miller he would try to find out more about Wilson, and
Wilson's wife, CIA officer Valerie Plame. As the former
general counsel to the CIA and counsel to the House
Intelligence Committee, Addington was the right man for
Libby to see.

 Read the full article 


 Mysterious 'Official A' Is Karl Rove 
By Pete Yost 
The Associated Press 

Friday 28 October 2005 

Washington - In a sign of the trouble lingering for the
Bush administration, the indictment handed up Friday in
the CIA leak probe refers to someone at the White House
known as "Official A."

The unidentified official could become a courtroom witness
against I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby, who left his job as vice
presidential aide shortly after his indictment on charges
of obstruction of justice, making false statements and

Several other unnamed officials mentioned in the indictment were identified 
Friday afternoon by Justice Department officials. 

 Read the full article 


 Smoke Gets in Our Eyes 
By Bob Herbert 
The New York Times 

Monday 31 October 2005 

There's a reason so many top officials of the Bush
administration treat the truth as if it were kryptonite.

More than anything else, the simple truth has the
potential to destroy the Bush gang.

Scooter Libby was one of the most powerful figures in the
administration, Dick Cheney's most highly trusted aide and
a champion of the wholesale flim-flammery that led us into
the crucible of Iraq. I haven't heard anyone express
surprise that he would lie in the service of the

 Read the full article 


 After the Libby Indictment, the Press Is Acquitting Itself 
By Norman Solomon 
t r u t h o u t | Perspective 

Monday 31 October 2005 

A lot of media outlets are now scrutinizing some of the
lies told by the Bush administration before the invasion
of Iraq. Yet the same news organizations are bypassing
their own key roles in the marketing of those lies. A case
in point is the New York Times.

On Saturday, hours after the indictment of Lewis Libby,
the lead editorial of the Times ended by declaring that
"the big point Americans need to keep in mind is this:
There were no weapons of mass destruction in Iraq." On
Sunday, the Times columnist Frank Rich referred to "Colin
Powell's notorious presentation of WMD 'evidence' to the
UN on the eve of war."

And so it goes in the opinion section of the New York
Times. There's now eagerness to blast the Bush
administration for some aspects of false prewar propaganda
- while the newspaper continues to dodge its own crucial
role in promoting that propaganda.

 Read the full article 


 Democrats Demand Rove's Firing 
By Dana Milbank and Carol D. Leonnig 
The Washington Post 

Monday 31 October 2005 
Further details sought on Cheney's involvement in Plame leak. 

Democrats demanded yesterday that President Bush fire
Deputy Chief of Staff Karl Rove and that the White House
fully account for Vice President Cheney's role in the
unmasking of CIA operative Valerie Plame, as Republicans
acted to limit the political damage from Friday's
indictment of Cheney's chief of staff.

Using the forum of the Sunday television talk shows,
Senate Minority Leader Harry M. Reid (NV) and other
Democrats sought to portray the indictment of I. Lewis
"Scooter" Libby on Friday as part of a broader pattern of
unethical - if not illegal - conduct by the
administration. Republicans, while not defending Libby,
asserted that the lack of other indictments indicated
there was no conspiracy in the White House to punish an
administration critic by identifying his wife as a CIA

Reid, speaking on ABC's "This Week," called for apologies
from Bush and Cheney, and sought Rove's resignation
because of Bush's vow to dismiss anybody involved in the
leak. Later, on CNN's "Late Edition," Reid repeated his
call for Rove's dismissal four times.

 Read the full article 


 Wilson Says Leak Destroyed Wife's CIA Career 

Sunday 30 October 2005 

Washington - Valerie Plame's nearly two-decade career at
the CIA and the secret life she crafted to conceal it were
blown when her identity was revealed by a newspaper
columnist, her husband, Joe Wilson said in a CBS "60
Minutes" interview on Sunday.

Wilson, a former career diplomat, said Plame, 42, was in
shock when she saw her name and that of her fictitious
employer published in a syndicated column by Robert Novak.

"She felt like she'd been hit in the stomach. It took her
breath away," Wilson said.

Read the full article

 Bush, Cheney Urged to Apologize for Aides 
By Douglass K. Daniel 
The Associated Press 

Sunday 30 October 2005 

Washington - Senate Democratic leader Harry Reid said
Sunday that President Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney
should apologize for the actions of their aides in the CIA
leak case.

Reid, D-NV, also said Bush should pledge not to pardon any
aides convicted as a result of the investigation into the
disclosure of CIA officer Valerie Plame's identity.

"There has not been an apology to the American people for
this obvious problem in the White House," Reid said. He
said Bush and Cheney "should come clean with the American

Reid added, "This has gotten way out of hand, and the
American people deserve better than this."

 Read the full article 


 Prosecutor Should Dig Deeper 
By Jeremy Brecher and Brendan Smith 
The Baltimore Sun 

Sunday 30 October 2005 

Prosecutor Patrick J. Fitzgerald's investigation into the
leak of a CIA operative's name has reaffirmed the basic
American principle that even the highest government
officials are subject to the rule of law. His charges
represent the start of a revitalization of the
institutions designed to maintain government under law.
But that revitalization still has a long way to go.

As a prosecutor, Mr. Fitzgerald rightly brought charges
where the law was clearest and the evidence most
compelling. But the alleged crimes he is investigating are
in essence the apparent cover-up operation for another
possible set of crimes against national and international
law. Why would I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby commit perjury and
lie to FBI agents, as he is accused of doing?

The letters from Acting Attorney General James B. Comey
appointing Mr. Fitzgerald delegated to him "all the
authority of the attorney general" to investigate and
prosecute "violations of any federal criminal laws related
to the underlying alleged unauthorized disclosure."

 Read the full article 


 Who Talked? It Wasn't the Special Prosecutor 
By Richard B. Schmitt 
The Los Angeles Times 

Sunday 30 October 2005 

Washington - With US troops unable to find expected
weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, a group of officials
met aboard Air Force Two in mid-2003 to discuss how to
respond to the growing prominence of one particular critic
of President Bush's war policy. Vice President Dick Cheney
was on the flight. So was his chief of staff, I. Lewis
"Scooter" Libby.

It was a scene that suggested intrigue. And if it had
occurred as part of a past Washington scandal, the
investigator who revealed it probably would have included
a wealth of details, naming everyone present and laying
out what they said.

But when Special Prosecutor Patrick J. Fitzgerald
announced Friday that he was wrapping up his two-year
investigation of the CIA leak case, he offered the barest
sketch of the meeting on Air Force Two - and left many
central questions in the case unanswered. Did Cheney help
map out strategy with Libby during the flight? Did
officials talk about Valerie Plame, the wife of the Bush
critic, and that she worked for the CIA - a detail that
was soon leaked to the media?

 Read the full article 


 Libby Takes the Fall 
By Joe Conason 

Saturday 29 October 2005 
But Bush still needs to come clean on the White House's
role in abusing classified information for partisan

While the full implications of the Scooter Libby
indictment have yet to emerge - including the question of
whether Karl Rove, aka "Official A," ultimately escapes
prosecution - special counsel Patrick Fitzgerald has
convincingly exploded right-wing disinformation about the
CIA leak affair.

For many months now, Republican politicians and pundits
have floated misleading spin to deflect attention from the
fundamental truth: For partisan political reasons, leading
figures in the White House and the Bush administration
leaked an important national security secret.

The purveyors of GOP spin have proclaimed that Valerie
Plame Wilson's CIA identity was no secret at all; that the
exposure of her identity merited no investigation
whatsoever; that she was responsible for sending her
husband Ambassador Joseph C. Wilson IV to Niger to
investigate alleged uranium trading with Iraq; that the
special counsel investigation somehow represented the
"criminalization of politics"; and that the special
counsel himself is overzealous and unprofessional.

 Read the full article 


 The White House Criminal Conspiracy 
By Elizabeth de la Vega 
Tom Dispatch 

Legally, there are no significant differences between the
investor fraud perpetrated by Enron CEO Ken Lay and the
prewar intelligence fraud perpetrated by George W. Bush.
Both involved persons in authority who used half-truths
and recklessly false statements to manipulate people who
trusted them. There is, however, a practical difference:
The presidential fraud is wider in scope and far graver in
its consequences than the Enron fraud. Yet thus far the
public seems paralyzed.

In response to the outcry raised by Enron and other
scandals, Congress passed the Corporate Corruption Bill,
which President Bush signed on July 30, 2002, amid great
fanfare. Bush declared that he was signing the bill
because of his strong belief that corporate officers must
be straightforward and honest. If they were not, he said,
they would be held accountable.

Ironically, the day Bush signed the Corporate Corruption
Bill, he and his aides were enmeshed in an orchestrated
campaign to trick the country into taking the biggest risk
imaginable - a war. Indeed, plans to attack Iraq were
already in motion. In June, Bush announced his "new"
pre-emptive strike strategy. On July 23, 2002, the head of
British intelligence advised Prime Minister Tony Blair, in
the then-secret Downing Street Memo, that "military action
was now seen as inevitable" and that "intelligence and
facts were being fixed around the policy." Bush had also
authorized the transfer of $700 million from Afghanistan
war funds to prepare for an invasion of Iraq. Yet all the
while, with the sincerity of Marc Antony protesting that
"Brutus is an honorable man," Bush insisted he wanted

 Read the full article 


 One Step Closer to the Big Enchilada 
By Frank Rich 
The New York Times 

Sunday 30 October 2005 

To believe that the Bush-Cheney scandals will be behind us
anytime soon you'd have to believe that the Nixon-Agnew
scandals peaked when G. Gordon Liddy and his bumbling band
were nailed for the Watergate break-in. But Watergate
played out for nearly two years after the gang that
burglarized Democratic headquarters was indicted by a
federal grand jury; it even dragged on for more than a
year after Nixon took "responsibility" for the scandal,
sacrificed his two top aides and weathered the indictments
of two first-term cabinet members. In those ensuing
months, America would come to see that the original petty
crime was merely the leading edge of thematically related
but wildly disparate abuses of power that Nixon's attorney
general, John Mitchell, would name "the White House

In our current imperial presidency, as in its antecedent,
what may look like a narrow case involving a second banana
with a child's name contains the DNA of the White House,
and that DNA offers a road map to the duplicitous culture
of the whole. The coming prosecution of Lewis (Scooter)
Libby in the Wilson affair is hardly the end of the story.
That "Cheney's Cheney," as Mr. Libby is known, would
allegedly go to such lengths to obscure his role in
punishing a man who challenged the administration's W.M.D.
propaganda is just one very big window into the genesis of
the smoke screen (or, more accurately, mushroom cloud)
that the White House used to sell the war in Iraq.

 Read the full article 


 Our 27 Months of Hell 
By Joseph C. Wilson IV 
The Los Angeles Times 

Saturday 29 October 2005 

After the two-year smear campaign orchestrated by senior
officials in the Bush White House against my wife and me,
it is tempting to feel vindicated by Friday's indictment
of the vice president's chief of staff, I. Lewis "Scooter"

Between us, Valerie and I have served the United States
for nearly 43 years. I was President George H. W. Bush's
acting ambassador to Iraq in the run-up to the Persian
Gulf War, and I served as ambassador to two African
nations for him and President Clinton. Valerie worked
undercover for the CIA in several overseas assignments and
in areas related to terrorism and weapons of mass

But on July 14, 2003, our lives were irrevocably changed.
That was the day columnist Robert Novak identified Valerie
as an operative, divulging a secret that had been known
only to me, her parents and her brother.

 Read the full article 


 At Least 7 in Cabinet Knew of Plame's ID 
The Associated Press 

Friday 28 October 2005 

Washington - At least seven Bush administration officials
outside the CIA knew Valerie Plame was a CIA employee
before the disclosure of her name in a column by Robert
Novak in July 2003, according to the indictment Friday of
I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby.

In no case other than Libby's does the indictment claim
that one of the government employees provided the name to
reporters. And the indictment does not identify anyone
other than Libby.

But some are easy to determine. Of course, the "vice
president of the United States" is Dick Cheney, for whom
Libby worked as chief of staff. Cheney told Libby that
Plame worked at the CIA, information that Libby understood
came from the agency, the indictment said.

 Read the full article 


 Libby Lawyer Hints at Defense Strategy 
The Associated Press 

Saturday 29 October 2005 
Former Cheney aide indicted on five charges. 

Washington - The lawyer for Vice President Dick Cheney's
former top aide has begun to outline a possible criminal
defense that is a tradition in Washington scandals: A busy
official immersed in important duties cannot reasonably be
expected to remember details of long-ago conversations.

Friday's indictment of I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby involves
allegations that as Cheney's chief of staff he lied to FBI
agents and a federal grand jury.

Libby, who resigned immediately, was operating amid "the
hectic rush of issues and events at a busy time for our
government," according to a statement released by his
attorney, Joseph Tate.

"We are quite distressed the special counsel [Patrick
Fitzgerald] has not sought to pursue alleged
inconsistencies in Mr. Libby's recollection and those of
others and to charge such inconsistencies as false
statements," Tate continued.

 Read the full article 


 Go to Original 

 Indictment Doesn't Clear Up Mystery at Heart of CIA Leak Probe 
By Jonathan S. Landay and Warren P. Strobel 
Knight Ridder Newspapers 

Friday 28 October 2005 

Washington - At the heart of Friday's indictment of a top
White House aide remain two unsolved mysteries.

Who forged the documents that claimed Saddam Hussein was
seeking uranium for nuclear weapons in the African country
of Niger?

How did a version of the tale get into President Bush's
2003 State of the Union address, even though US
intelligence agencies never confirmed it and some
intelligence analysts doubted it?

Former Ambassador Joseph Wilson, who found no substance to
the alleged deal during a CIA-sponsored trip to Niger,
accused Bush in July 2003 of twisting the intelligence.

Shortly thereafter, the identity of Wilson's wife, Valerie
Plame, a covert CIA officer, was leaked to journalists,
igniting special counsel Patrick J. Fitzgerald's probe.

The FBI has been investigating the clumsy forgeries, which
first surfaced in Rome in October 2002, for two years, but
has made little progress, four US government officials
said, speaking on condition of anonymity because the
investigation continues. Those officials blame a lack of
cooperation from Italy. A spokesman for the Italian
Embassy in Washington denied that.

But a weeks-long review by Knight Ridder has established that: 
Italy's military intelligence agency, SISMI, and people
close to it, repeatedly tried to shop the bogus Niger
uranium story to governments in France, Britain and the
United States. That created the illusion that multiple
sources were confirming the story.

The CIA had begun receiving intelligence reports based on
the same forgeries in October 2001, but they could not be
confirmed. Copies of the fake documents suddenly surfaced
at a critical point in the White House's fall 2002
campaign to take the country to war in Iraq.

The CIA eventually determined that the earlier reports
were "based on the forged documents" and were "thus ...
unreliable," a presidential commission on unconventional
weapons proliferation said in March.

State Department intelligence analysts and some in the CIA
discounted the uranium story. But White House officials,
working through a back channel to one CIA unit, seized on
the tale, and it was included in Bush's case for war.

The following is a chronology of events that led up to the
indictment of I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby, Vice President
Dick Cheney's chief of staff. It's based on interviews and
on reports by the Senate Intelligence Committee and the
presidentially appointed panel on weapons intelligence.

Oct. 15, 2001 - The CIA received the first of three
top-secret reports from a foreign intelligence service -
which intelligence officials said was Italy's SISMI - that
Niger planned to ship tons of uranium ore, or yellowcake,
to Iraq.

SISMI was behind similar reports in Britain and France.
Paris never put any stock in the reports, according to two
European officials. London has stood behind its statement
that Iraq was seeking uranium in Africa.

February 2002 - Cheney and other officials asked the CIA
to find out more.

Some CIA and Pentagon analysts were impressed with the
reporting. But the State Department's Bureau of
Intelligence and Research (INR) was skeptical. Its
analysts noted that France controls Niger's uranium mines
and argued that Iraq wouldn't risk being caught breaking
UN sanctions.

The CIA station in Rome was skeptical of the reports from
the start.

Feb. 21 - Wilson traveled to Niger at the CIA's request to
investigate the purported uranium deal. He said he found
nothing to substantiate the allegation. Neither did two
other US officials who investigated.

March 8 - The CIA circulated a report on Wilson's trip -
without identifying him - to the White House and other

Sept. 9 - With the White House's public campaign against
Iraq in full swing, Nicolo Pollari, head of SISMI, met
with then-Deputy National Security Adviser Stephen J.
Hadley at the White House. Hadley later took the blame for
including the false Niger allegation in Bush's 2003 State
of the Union speech.

National Security Council spokesman Frederick Jones said
Thursday that the meeting was a 15-minute courtesy call
and that no one could recollect talk about yellowcake.

Oct. 1 - US intelligence agencies sent the White House and
Congress their key prewar assessment of Iraq's illicit
weapon programs, which said Iraq was "vigorously" trying
to buy uranium ore and had sought deals with Niger,
Somalia and possibly the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
The State Department's INR dissented in the report.

Oct. 5 - Then-CIA Director George Tenet advised Hadley to
drop a reference to Niger from the draft of a nationally
televised speech that Bush was to give on Oct. 7 because
the "president should not be a fact witness on this issue"
as "the reporting was weak." The sentence was removed.

The CIA then wrote the White House that "the evidence (of
a uranium ore deal) is weak. One of the two mines cited by
the source of the uranium oxide is flooded. The other mine
cited by the source is under the control of the French."

Oct. 9 - An Italian journalist for the Rome magazine
Panorama, owned by Italian Prime Minister Silvio
Berlusconi, a supporter of the Iraq war, gave the US
Embassy a copy of the purported agreement by Niger to sell
yellowcake to Iraq.

The journalist, Elisabetta Burba, reportedly received the
documents from Italian businessman Rocco Martino, who has
connections to SISMI.

The Italian government has denied any connection to the
forged documents.

The embassy forwarded a copy to the State Department. It
raised the suspicion of an INR nuclear analyst, who noted
in an e-mail that the documents bear a "funky Emb. Of
Niger stamp (to make it look official, I guess.)"

Jan. 13, 2003 - The INR nuclear analyst told other
analysts that he believed the Niger documents were

Jan. 16 - The CIA finally received copies of the forged
French-language documents. It sent them back to the State
Department to be translated.

Jan. 17 - A CIA analytical unit known as WINPAC (Weapons
Intelligence, Nonproliferation, and Arms Control) said in
a secret assessment that there was "fragmentary reporting"
on Iraqi attempts to purchase uranium from "various
countries in Africa."

Sometime in late January, Robert Joseph, a senior White
House staffer, and Alan Foley, the head of WINPAC, agreed
that Bush could refer to the uranium claim in his State of
the Union speech, but he should cite a public British

Jan. 28 - Bush delivered the State of the Union.

Feb. 5 - Secretary of State Colin Powell addressed the UN
Security Council on the threat from Iraq but didn't repeat
the yellowcake allegation.

March 3 - The International Atomic Energy Agency told the
United States that the documents were forgeries after an
expert used the Google search engine to identify false

July 6 - In an op-ed piece in the New York Times, Wilson
wrote that his failure to confirm the alleged uranium deal
led him to conclude that the Bush administration "twisted"
some of the intelligence it used to justify the war.

July 14 - Syndicated columnist Robert Novak identified Plame in a column. 

 Go to Original 

 Leaker! The Man They Call Bush's Brain 
BY James Gordon Meek and Richard Sisk 
New York Daily News 

Saturday 29 October 2005 
Rove not out of trouble as new grand jury may convene.

Washington - White House political director Karl Rove was
identified yesterday as the shadowy official who blew the
cover of CIA agent Valerie Plame.

Rove, dubbed "Bush's Brain" for his political genius, was
not indicted for his role in the leak and subsequent

Instead, special prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald indicted
Vice President Cheney's chief of staff Lewis (Scooter)
Libby on five counts of lying to federal officials and a
grand jury.

The closest Fitzgerald came to identifying the leaker is a
press release that says "senior White House official
('Official A')" gave Plame's name to columnist Robert
Novak, who promptly printed it.

At a news conference, Fitzgerald declined to name
"Official A," but several sources close to the case told
the Daily News it was Rove.

Both Rove and Libby had previously denied having any tie
to the leak.

The 50-year-old Rove escaped charges for now.

Fitzgerald, however, warned that "it's not over." The
prosecutor said Rove was still under investigation, and he
could file charges with a new grand jury if more evidence

Rove's allies gauged that his legal liability was low
after dodging the first indictment. "They're very pleased
with where they are with the prosecutor now," one said.

Rove's lawyer Robert Luskin said, "We are confident that
when the special counsel finishes his work, he will
conclude that Mr. Rove has done nothing wrong."

The two-year saga began when former Ambassador Joseph
Wilson publicly questioned the White House's justification
for the Iraq war by challenging the claim that Iraqi
dictator Saddam Hussein had been shopping for uranium in
Niger for a nuclear weapons program.

Wilson was dispatched by the CIA in 2002 to investigate
the tip and reported back that the Niger connection was
bogus. In a New York Times Op-Ed, Wilson disputed Cheney's
claim that Saddam had been pursuing nuclear weapons,
infuriating the White House.

Libby and others in the White House obsessed with finding
out what they could about Wilson, quickly learned that he
was married to CIA agent Plame and leaked her name to
reporters, Fitzgerald said.

When pressed on why Official A wasn't identified,
Fitzgerald said that criminal "intent" was difficult to
prove under the laws on espionage and the disclosure of
covert agents' names. "It would have been tough to know
intent," said Fitzgerald, who made a tortured baseball
analogy to knowing whether a pitcher's beanball was thrown

Libby's indictment and the revelation of Rove's
involvement capped what GOP operatives have called a "week
from hell" for President Bush as he tried to salvage an
administration in political and policy free fall.

Bush and Cheney quickly accepted Libby's resignation with
regret, but Rove remained as deputy White House chief of
staff to oversee the administration's attempts to move
beyond the scandal.

The 2,000th US death in Iraq was announced Tuesday,
followed quickly by Bush's embarrassing withdrawal of the
Supreme Court nomination of Texas pal Harriet Miers.

Although "saddened" by Libby's fall, Bush said: "I got a
job to do, and so do the people who work in the White
House. We got a job to protect the American people and
pretty soon I'll be naming somebody to the Supreme Court."

Rove projected a what-me-worry confidence, as he has
throughout the investigation.

"I'm going to have a great day and a fantastic weekend,
and I hope you do, too," a smiling Rove told reporters

Here are the highlights of yesterday's events in Washington: 
Lewis (Scooter) Libby resigned as Vice President Cheney's
chief of staff after being indicted on charges of making
false statements, perjury and obstructing a grand jury
investigation in the alleged coverup of the outing of CIA
operative Valerie Plame.

Karl Rove, President Bush's chief political guru, was not
indicted, but sources said he was the shadowy "Official A"
mentioned in the indictment who leaked Plame's name to the
media after her husband criticized the administration's
justification for going to war with Iraq.

President Bush praised Libby as someone who "worked
tirelessly on behalf of the American people." Cheney
called Libby "one of the most capable and talented
individuals" he knows.

Special prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald said there may be
more to come in the investigation. "It's not over," he

 What They Said 

The Bush administration on the Valerie Plame leak: If
anyone in this administration was involved in it, they
would no longer be in this administration.
- White House Press Secretary Scott McClellan, Sept. 29, 2003 

If somebody did leak classified information, I'd like to
know it, and we'll take the appropriate action.
- President Bush, Sept. 30, 2003 

If somebody committed a crime, they will no longer work in
my administration.
- President Bush, July 18, 2005 

 All the Vice President's Men 
By Juan Cole 

Friday 28 October 2005 
The ideologues in Cheney's inner circle drummed up a war.
Now their zealotry is blowing up in their faces.

As Washington waits on pins and needles to see if special
counsel Patrick Fitzgerald hands down indictments, the
focus falls on Dick Cheney's inner circle. This group,
along with that surrounding Defense Secretary Donald
Rumsfeld, made up what Colin Powell's top aide, Lawrence
Wilkerson, called "a cabal" that "on critical issues ...
made decisions that the bureaucracy did not know were
being made." Cheney is the first vice president to have
had, in effect, his own personal National Security
Council. This formidable and unprecedented rump foreign
policy team, composed of radical hawks, played a key role
in every aspect of the war on Iraq: planning for it,
gathering "evidence" to justify it and punishing those who
spoke out against it. It is not surprising that members of
that team, and Cheney himself, have now also emerged as
targets in Fitzgerald's investigation of the outing of
Valerie Plame Wilson to the press, along with Bush advisor
Karl Rove.

Although the investigation has focused on Cheney's chief
of staff, I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby, a number of other
Cheney staffers have been interviewed. Who are these
shadowy policymakers who played such a major role in
shaping the Bush administration's foreign policy?

Most of the members of Cheney's inner circle were
neoconservative ideologues, who combined hawkish American
triumphalism with an obsession with Israel. This does not
mean that the war was fought for Israel, although it is
undeniable that Israeli concerns played an important role.
The actual motivation behind the war was complex, and
Cheney's team was not the only one in the game. The Bush
administration is a coalition of disparate forces -
country club Republicans, realists, representatives of oil
and other corporate interests, evangelicals, hardball
political strategists, right-wing Catholics, and
neoconservative Jews allied with Israel's right-wing Likud
party. Each group had its own rationale for going to war
with Iraq.

 Read the full article 


 Who's on First? 
By Maureen Dowd 
The New York Times 

Saturday 29 October 2005 

It was bracing to see the son of a New York doorman open
the door on the mendacious Washington lair of the Lord of
the Underground.

But this Irish priest of the law, Patrick Fitzgerald,
neither Democrat nor Republican, was very strict, very
precise. He wasn't totally gratifying in clearing up the
murkiness of the case, yet strangely comforting in his
quaint black-and-white notions of truth and honor (except
when his wacky baseball metaphor seemed to veer toward a
"Who's on first?" tangle).

"This indictment's not about the propriety of the war," he
told reporters yesterday in his big Eliot Ness moment at
the Justice Department. The indictment was simply about
whether the son of an investment banker perjured himself
before a grand jury and the FBI

 Read the full article 


 The Case Against Scooter Libby 
The New York Times Editorial 

Saturday 29 October 2005 

The five-count indictment handed up yesterday against
Lewis Libby, the vice president's chief of staff, may seem
anticlimactic to those who were hoping to finally learn
who gave the columnist Robert Novak the name of Valerie
Wilson, a covert CIA officer whose cover was blown by his
column on July 14, 2003. Although the grand jury
investigating the case was attempting to determine whether
Mr. Novak's source violated the federal law against
revealing the name of a covert operative, the special
counsel was mum on that as well.

Patrick Fitzgerald, a federal prosecutor, left open the
possibility that we may never know all the answers. But
the essence of the indictment is that Mr. Libby lied when
he told FBI investigators and the grand jury that he had
learned about Mrs. Wilson from Tim Russert of NBC News
around July 10, 2003, and had passed the information on to
Matthew Cooper of Time magazine and then to Judith Miller
of The Times, and that until then he had not had any idea
who she was or where she worked.

Supporters of Mr. Libby, known as Scooter, have attempted
to describe the Wilson case as, at worse, a matter of
casual gossip by Washington insiders about the wife of a
man in the news. But the indictment does not describe a
situation in which people accidentally outed someone they
did not know was a covert officer. It describes a distinct
and disturbing pattern of behavior among very high-ranking
officials, including Mr. Libby and Vice President Dick
Cheney, who knew that they were dealing with a covert
officer and used their access to classified information in
a public relations campaign over the rapidly
disintegrating justifications for war with Iraq.

 Read the full article 


 Deconstructing the Indictment 
By Stirling Newberry 
t r u t h o u t | Perspective 

Friday 28 October 2005 

For the last two years, Federal Attorney Patrick
Fitzgerald has investigated a potential crime, namely the
revealing to the general public that Valerie Wilson nee
Plame worked for the CIA in counter-proliferation, and was
an undercover agent. To charge someone with a crime at the
Federal level requires an indictment - a summary of
allegations and facts which show that there is probable
reason to believe that a crime was committed, and that a
particular individual should be charged with that crime
and prosecuted. It is part of the safeguards of our
judicial system that prosecutors are not able to charge by
themselves, but have three forms of oversight. First, they
work for the public, directly or indirectly. Second, the
process is overseen by a judge, and approval is needed
along the way for warrants and subpoenas power. Most
importantly, they must convince a body of citizens, the
grand jury, that there is probable cause a crime has been
committed, and that a particular individual or group of
individuals should face criminal charges.

At 2:00 PM Eastern Standard Time today Fitzgerald all but
declared his investigatory phase over, and that his office
was entering into a new phase, where Lewis Libby, chief of
staff to Vice President Dick Cheney, has been charged with
a crime, and must be tried. It is tempting to speculate on
what this means, what the fallout will be, and where the
direction goes from here. But first, it is important to
capture the staggering statements made in the indictment,
and what they reveal. While partisans will attempt to spin
this in one direction or another, the fact is that a
five-count indictment on felony charges rests on a theory
of what took place that goes far beyond what Scooter Libby
did or said. That the indictment is so carefully prepared,
and carefully does not draw implications, nor does it
include extraneous information, makes what it does include
all the more interesting, and potentially damning.

But let us look with "the four corners of the indictment"
first. The timeline set forth by the indictment is this.
In the 2003 State of the Union address, George Bush
uttered the by now famous "Sixteen Words," claiming that
Saddam had attempted to get uranium illegally from Niger.
In May of 2003, that story began to unravel, as press
accounts came to the fore which questioned the Niger
Yellowcake story.

 Read the full article 


 Smoking Guns and Red Herrings 
By Elizabeth de la Vega 

Friday 28 October 2005 
What should we expect now that Fitzgerald has announced
the indictment of Lewis "Scooter" Libby?

The Grand Jury supervised by US Attorney Patrick
Fitzgerald has returned an indictment charging Vice
President Dick Cheney's top aide and reputed "alter-ego"
I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby with perjury, obstruction of
justice, and false statements to the grand jury. But this
indictment does not end the story; rather, a close reading
suggests that these charges are most likely merely a
chapter in a long and tragic story. Here, from a former
federal prosecutor, are thoughts about four things we
should expect, four things we shouldn't, and one question
we should all be asking.

We should not expect a final resolution any time soon.
Complex cases usually take years to proceed through the
courts. In addition, the indictment released today
describes a chronology of close to two years and a
complicated set of facts. Obviously, Fitzgerald is taking
a "big picture" approach to this case. This mirrors his
approach to previous cases. In December 2003, for example,
Fitzgerald announced the indictment of former Illinois
Governor George Ryan on corruption charges in Operation
Safe Road, which began in 1998. In that year, the
investigation of a fatal accident revealed that truckers
were purchasing commercial licenses from state officials.
Indictments were announced in stages, culminating in the
indictment of Ryan, who was the 66th defendant in the
case. In the Libby case, the allegations suggest he was
merely one of many officials - including an unnamed Under
Secretary of State and "Official A," a Senior White House
Official - who were involved in revealing classified
information about Joseph Wilson's wife Valerie Plame. No
other individuals are named as defendants, and they should
not be considered so at this point, but the complexity of
the indictment suggests that the investigation may follow
a pattern similar to that used by Fitzgerald in the
Illinois corruption case.

 Read the full article 


 Go to Original 

Statement of Ambassador Joseph Wilson with Respect to the

Friday 28 October 2005 

Washington - The following release is being issued today
by Christopher Wolf - The five count indictment issued by
the Grand Jury today is an important step in the criminal
justice process that began more than two years ago. I
commend Special Counsel Patrick Fitzgerald for his
professionalism, for his diligence, and for his courage.

There will be many opportunities in the future to comment
on the events that led to today's indictment. And, it
appears that there will be further developments before the
grand jury. Whatever the final outcome of the
investigation and the prosecution, I continue to believe
that revealing my wife Valerie's secret CIA identity was
very wrong and harmful to our nation, and I feel that my
family was attacked for my speaking the truth about the
events that led our country to war. I look forward to
exercising my rights as a citizen to speak about these
matters in the future.

Today, however, is not the time to analyze or to debate.
And it is certainly not a day to celebrate. Today is a sad
day for America. When an indictment is delivered at the
front door of the White House, the Office of the President
is defiled. No citizen can take pleasure from that.

As this case proceeds, Valerie and I are confident that
justice will be done. In the meantime, I have a request.
While I may engage in public discourse, my wife and my
family are private people. They did not choose to be
brought into the public square, and they do not wish to be
under the glare of camera. They are entitled to their
privacy. This case is not about me or my family, no matter
how others might try to make it so.

This case is about serious criminal charges that go to the
heart of our democracy.

We, like all citizens, await the judgment of the jury in a
court of law.

Thank you. 

 CIA Probe 'Not Over' after Cheney's Top Aide Indicted 

Friday 28 October 2005 

Washington - The CIA leak investigation is "not over,"
special prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald said Friday after
announcing charges against I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby, Vice
President Dick Cheney's chief of staff.

Fitzgerald said he will be keeping the grand "jury open to
consider other matters." But, he said, "substantial work"
is done.

Libby resigned Friday after a federal grand jury indicted
him on charges related to the leak probe, including one
count of obstruction of justice, two counts of perjury and
two counts of making false statements.

 Read the full article 


 A Good Start 

By Larry Johnson 

What do you call a thousand lawyers chained together at
the bottom of the ocean? A good start! That old joke is
apropo in light of today's indictment of Lewis "Scooter"
Libby for perjury and obstruction of justice. The
indictment makes clear, with no shadow of a doubt, that
Valerie Wilson was an undercover officer until exposed by
Robert Novak's column. According to the indictment,

Prior to July 14, 2003, Valerie Wilson's affiliation with
the CIA was not common knowledge outside the intelligence

As the prosecutor said at today's press conference, this
ain't over.

Read the full article

 Statement on the Indictment and Resignation of Lewis 'Scooter' Libby 
By Cindy Sheehan 

Friday 28 October 2005 

"While the indictment and resignation of Lewis 'Scooter'
Libby is a welcome development, the responsibility for
lying to the American people and targeting critics and
dissidents needs to go all the way up the chain of
command. Scooter Libby was clearly one of the
administration's attack dogs unleashed on opponents of
this fraudulent war, but he serves higher masters. This
administration continues to wage a war based on lies, a
war that has taken the lives of 2,000 Americans, including
my son, and the lives of tens of thousands of innocent
Iraqis. This indictment reinforces the growing calls in
this country and around the world to end the occupation,
bring our troops home and hold those responsible
accountable for their crimes. Let this serve as a
springboard to put the war on trial and bring our troops
home now."

Dennis Kucinich | The Buck Does Not Stop with Libby

t r u t h o u t | Statement 

Friday 28 October 2005 

Congressman Dennis J. Kucinich (D-OH), who led the effort
in the House against going to war in Iraq, issued the
following statement on the indictments handed down today
by Special Council Patrick Fitzgerald:

These indictments are not about a single aide, it is about
an Administration that went to any length to "sell" the
war in Iraq and mislead the public.

From day one, this Administration has misled the public
and the Congress, manipulated intelligence, and sought to
quell dissent by all means necessary when it has comes to
the war in Iraq. Now, a senior aide to the President and
the Vice President is charged with lying to a federal
grand jury and federal investigators.

The President must come clean with the American public.
Iraq did not have weapons of mass destruction, it was not
involved in the attacks on our country on 9/11, and before
the war it was not aligned with Al-Qaeda.

Many questions remain, and Congress must demand
accountability. The American public still does not know
who forged the Niger documents and who leaked the name of
an undercover CIA operative.

Libby was a senior aide to both the President and Vice
President. He also was a principal in the White House Iraq
Group (WHIG), a group comprised of the President and Vice
President's top aides that was instrumental in selling the
Administration's case for war.

The buck does not stop with an aide. Those responsible for
this colossal foreign policy misdeed must be held
accountable to the American public, to the Congress and to
courts of law.

On October 20th, Kucinich introduced a Resolution of
Inquiry to demand the White House turn over all white
papers, minutes, notes, emails or other communications
kept by the White House Iraq Group (WHIG) to the Congress.

A Resolution of Inquiry is a rare House procedure used to
obtain documents from the Executive Branch. Under House
rules, Kucinich's resolution is referred to committee, and
action must be taken in committee within 14 legislative

 Cheney Adviser Indicted in CIA Leak Probe 
By William Branigin, Carol D. Leonnig and Christopher Lee 
The Washington Post 

Friday 28 October 2005 
I. Lewis 'Scooter' Libby resigns after announcement. 

A federal grand jury today indicted Vice President
Cheney's chief of staff, I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby, after a
two-year investigation into the leak of a CIA agent's
identity but spared - at least for now - President Bush's
top political strategist, Karl Rove.

Libby was indicted on charges of perjury, obstruction of
justice and making false statements. The five-count
indictment charged that he gave misleading information to
the grand jury, allegedly lying about information he
discussed with three news reporters. It alleged that he
committed perjury before the grand jury in March 2004 and
that he also lied to FBI agents investigating the case.

Shortly after the indictment was announced, Libby resigned his White House 

 Read the full article 


 Source: Prosecutor to Seek Libby Indictment 

Friday 28 October 2005 
Rove will not be indicted Friday, sources say. 

Washington - Patrick Fitzgerald, the special prosecutor in
the CIA leak probe, plans to seek an indictment against
Lewis "Scooter" Libby, Vice President Dick Cheney's chief
of staff, a lawyer involved in the case told CNN Friday.

The attorney said that Fitzgerald believes Libby misled

Indictments in the case would cap off a nearly two-year
investigation into the public unmasking of an undercover
CIA operative. Fitzgerald has scheduled a 2 p.m. ET news

 Read the full article 


 Leak Case Announcement Seen Friday 
By Adam Entous 

Thursday 27 October 2005 

Washington - With the fate of at least two top White House
advisers in the balance, special counsel Patrick
Fitzgerald conferred on Thursday with his legal team a day
before he was expected to announce his decision on charges
over the outing of covert CIA operative Valerie Plame.

Expected indictments in the case could trigger an
immediate shake-up at the White House, already on the
defensive over plummeting poll figures, soaring gas
prices, opposition to the Iraq war and the withdrawal of
President George W. Bush's nominee for the US Supreme
Court, Harriet Miers.

Fitzgerald has zeroed in on Lewis Libby, chief of staff
for Vice President Dick Cheney, and Karl Rove, Bush's top
political adviser. Other current and former administration
officials may also face charges.

 Read the full article 


 Grand Jury Hears Summary of Case on CIA Leak Probe 
By Carol D. Leonnig and Jim VandeHei 
The Washington Post 

Thursday 27 October 2005 
Decision on charges may come Friday. 

The prosecutor in the CIA leak investigation presented a
summary of his case to a federal grand jury yesterday and
is expected to announce a final decision on charges in the
two-year-long probe tomorrow, according to people familiar
with the case.

Even as Special Counsel Patrick J. Fitzgerald wrapped up
his case, the legal team of White House Deputy Chief of
Staff Karl Rove has been engaged in a furious effort to
convince the prosecutor that Rove did not commit perjury
during the course of the investigation, according to
people close to the aide. The sources, who indicated that
the effort intensified in recent weeks, said Rove still
did not know last night whether he would be indicted.

 Read the full article 


 Grand Jury in CIA Leak Case Adjourns 
By Pete Yost and John Solomon 
The Associated Press 

Wednesday 26 October 2005 

The federal grand jury investigating the leak of a CIA
officer's identity met for three hours Wednesday with
Special Counsel Patrick Fitzgerald and his deputies,
adjourning for the day without announcing any action.

Fitzgerald is known to be putting the finishing touches on
a two-year criminal probe that has ensnared President
Bush's top political adviser Karl Rove and Vice President
Dick Cheney's chief of staff I. Lewis Libby.

Away from the federal courthouse, FBI agents conducted a
handful of last-minute interviews to check facts key to
the case.

 Read the full article 


 Aides to Be Indicted, Probe to Continue 
By Richard Sale 
t r u t h o u t | Perspective 

Wednesday 26 October 2005 
Richard Sale, a long-time Intelligence correspondent, was
the first to tip me last year to the developing Larry
Franklin spy scandal, which proved to be right. I've found
Richard to always be on target in my experience.
-- Larry C. Johnson 

Two top White House aides are expected to be indicted
today on various charges related to the probe of CIA
operative Valerie Plame, whose classified identity was
publicly breached in retaliation after her husband, Joe
Wilson, challenged the administration's claim that Saddam
Hussein had sought to buy enriched uranium from Niger,
according to federal law enforcement and senior US
intelligence officials.

If no action is taken today, it will take place on Friday,
according to these sources.

I. Scooter Libby, the chief of staff of Vice President
Richard Cheney, and chief presidential advisor Karl Rove
are expected to be named in indictments this morning by
Special Prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald.

 Read the full article 


 Dick at the Heart of Darkness 
By Maureen Dowd 
The New York Times 

Wednesday 26 October 2005 

After W. was elected, he sometimes gave visitors a tour of
the love alcove off the Oval Office where Bill trysted
with Monica - the notorious spot where his predecessor had
dishonored the White House.

At least it was only a little pantry - and a little

If W. wants to show people now where the White House has
been dishonored in far more astounding and deadly ways,
he'll have to haul them around every nook and cranny of
his vice president's office, then go across the river for
a walk of shame through the Rummy empire at the Pentagon.

 Read the full article 


 Bush Aides Brace for Charges 
By Jim VandeHei and Carol Leonnig 
The Washington Post 

Wednesday 26 October 2005 
Grand Jury may hear counts in leak case today. 

The prosecutor in the CIA leak case was preparing to
outline possible charges before the federal grand jury as
early as today, even as the FBI conducted last-minute
interviews in the high-profile investigation, according to
people familiar with the case.

With Special Counsel Patrick J. Fitzgerald in Washington
yesterday, lawyers in the case and some White House
officials braced for at least one indictment when the
grand jury meets today. I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby, Vice
President Cheney's chief of staff, is said by several
people in the case to be a main focus, but not the only

In a possible sign that Fitzgerald may seek to charge one
or more officials with illegally disclosing Valerie
Plame's CIA affiliation, FBI agents as recently as Monday
night interviewed at least two people in her D.C.
neighborhood. The agents were attempting to determine
whether the neighbors knew that Plame worked for the CIA
before she was unmasked with the help of senior Bush
administration officials. Two neighbors said they told the
FBI they had been surprised to learn she was a CIA

 Read the full article 


 CIA Leak Charges Set to Be Handed Out 
By Caroline Daniel 
The Financial Times 

Wednesday 26 October 2005 

Indictments in the CIA leak investigation case are
expected to be handed down by a grand jury on Wednesday,
bringing to a head a criminal inquiry that threatens to
disrupt seriously President George W. Bush's second term.

On Tuesday night, news reports, supported by a source
close to the lawyers involved in the case, said that
target letters to those facing indictment were being
issued, with sealed indictments to be filed on Wednesday
and released by the end of the week.

 Read the full article 


 CIA Leak Linked to Dispute over Iraq Policy 
By Glenn Kessler 
The Washington Post 

Tuesday 25 October 2005 
As grand jury term nears end, officials' critique of
administration gains attention.

The alleged leaking of a CIA operative's name had its
roots in a clash over Iraq policy between White House
insiders and their rivals in the permanent bureaucracy of
Washington, especially in the State Department and the

As the investigation into the leak reaches its expected
climax this week with the expiration of the grand jury's
term, the internal disputes have been further amplified by
a recent string of speeches and interviews criticizing the
administration's handling of Iraq, including by former
national security adviser Brent Scowcroft, the former
chief of staff to Secretary of State Colin L. Powell and
State Department diplomats, and other officials involved
in the early efforts to stabilize Iraq.

Scowcroft, a close friend of former president George H.W.
Bush, revealed in interviews with the New Yorker a deep
disdain for the administration's foreign policy, according
to an article published this week. He said he had once
considered Vice President Cheney "a good friend," but
"Dick Cheney I don't know anymore." When Scowcroft was
asked whether he could name the issues on which he agreed
with President Bush, he replied "Afghanistan." He then
paused for 12 seconds before adding only, "I think we're
doing well on Europe."

 Read the full article 


 La Repubblica's Scoop, Confirmed 
By Laura Rozen 
The American Prospect 

Tuesday 25 October 2005 
Italy's intelligence chief met with Deputy National
Security Adviser Stephen Hadley just a month before the
Niger forgeries first surfaced.

With Patrick Fitzgerald widely expected to announce
indictments in the CIA leak investigation, questions are
again being raised about the intelligence scandal that led
to the appointment of the special counsel: namely, how the
Bush White House obtained false Italian intelligence
reports claiming that Iraq had tried to buy uranium
"yellowcake" from Niger.

The key documents supposedly proving the Iraqi attempt
later turned out to be crude forgeries, created on
official stationery stolen from the African nation's Rome
embassy. Among the most tantalizing aspects of the debate
over the Iraq War is the origin of those fake documents -
and the role of the Italian intelligence services in
disseminating them.

In an explosive series of articles appearing this week in
the Italian newspaper La Repubblica, investigative
reporters Carlo Bonini and Giuseppe d'Avanzo report that
Nicolo Pollari, chief of Italy's military intelligence
service, known as Sismi, brought the Niger yellowcake
story directly to the White House after his insistent
overtures had been rejected by the Central Intelligence
Agency in 2001 and 2002. Sismi had reported to the CIA on
October 15, 2001, that Iraq had sought yellowcake in
Niger, a report it also plied on British intelligence,
creating an echo that the Niger forgeries themselves
purported to amplify before they were exposed as a hoax.

 Read the full article 


 Prosecutor in CIA Leak Case Seen as Incorruptible 

Monday 24 October 2005 

Chicago - The US prosecutor at the center of a CIA leak
probe focused on the White House has relentlessly pursued
politicians, mobsters and suspected terrorists.

Plucked from New York in 2001 to run the Chicago office of
the Justice Department, Patrick Fitzgerald, the
Brooklyn-born son of Irish immigrants, has a reputation as
an incorruptible prosecutor in the mold of Chicago
crime-fighter Eliot Ness, who took on Al Capone's criminal

Fitzgerald has won convictions of the 1993 bombers of New
York's World Trade Center and members of the Gambino crime
family, and he secured an indictment of al Qaeda leader
Osama bin Laden, whom Fitzgerald has said he would like to
try some day.

 Read the full article 


 As Clock Ticks in CIA-Leak Probe, Bush in Shadow of Storm 
Agence France-Presse 

Tuesday 25 October 2005 

President George W. Bush crafted an illusion of normality
in the eye of the CIA-leak storm which has battered the
White House and could topple several of his most trusted
powerbrokers within days.

Bush confidently faced news cameras after meeting his
cabinet, even as anxiety coursed through his
administration, with special counsel Patrick Fitzgerald
believed now deciding whether to unleash indictments over
White House officials' exposure of an under-cover CIA spy.

Electoral wizard Karl Rove - dubbed 'Bush's brain'- and
Vice President Dick Cheney's discrete chief of staff I.
Lewis 'Scooter' Libby are both thought to be in the
probe's sights.

 Read the full article 


 Plame Games 
By Michael Scherer 

Monday 24 October 2005 
The GOP spin: Smear Wilson (again), belittle the charges.
The Dems' spin: Bush and his enforcers lied us into war.

Washington - Long ago, Washington's political attack dogs
resigned themselves to the fact that they have nothing on
special prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald. The man is so
squeaky clean that just about the only dirt besmirching
his public record concerns long work hours that made him
ineligible to adopt a cat. Later this week, the most
powerful men and women in the country will sit helplessly
on the sidelines as Fitzgerald decides whether to indict
White House officials in the case of Valerie Plame, a
clandestine CIA agent whose identity was leaked to the
press by the Bush administration.

But as soon as Fitzgerald announces his decision, in a
press conference, a walk from the grand jury room to the
magistrate's office in US District Court, or a posting on
his Web site, the political dtente will end. The knives
will come out. It will be an all-out rhetorical war.

 Read the full article 


 Bush at Bay: Fitzgerald Looks at Niger Forgeries 
By Martin Walker 

Monday 24 October 2005 

Washington - The CIA leak inquiry that threatens senior
White House aides has now widened to include the forgery
of documents on African uranium that started the
investigation, according to NAT0 intelligence sources.

This suggests the inquiry by special prosecutor Patrick
Fitzgerald into the leaking of the identity of undercover
CIA officer Valerie Plame has now widened to embrace part
of the broader question about the way the Iraq war was
justified by the Bush administration.

 Read the full article 


 The Bunker Mentality 
By William Rivers Pitt 
t r u t h o u t | Perspective 

Monday 24 October 2005 

I wrote to Ambassador Joseph Wilson last week to ask how
he and his wife were bearing up, and to remind them that
they had a lot of friends. "The outpouring of support has
been of great comfort to us these past two years," he
wrote back. "The stakes are enormous. This is all about
whether our government can take us to war on lies without
any fear of being held to account, and whether our
democracy can survive the coalition of fascist forces that
have seized control of the levers of power."

Heavy stuff. Yet if the desperation we are seeing on the
part of defenders of this administration offers any clue,
the fascists are running out of explanations. Take Senator
Kay Bailey Hutchison's performance on this past Sunday's
version of Meet the Press. "I certainly hope," she said
when asked about the Fitzgerald investigation into the
deliberate outing of covert CIA agent Valerie Plame, "that
if there is going to be an indictment that says something
happened, that it is an indictment on a crime and not some
perjury technicality where they couldn't indict on the
crime so they go to something just to show that their two
years of investigation were not a waste of time and

 Read the full article 


 Resignations May Follow Charges; Senators Discuss Leak Case 
By Walter Pincus 
The Washington Post 

Monday 24 October 2005 

Sen. George Allen (R-VA) said yesterday that he expects
White House officials will step down if they are indicted
this week but stressed that speculation should cease until
special counsel Patrick J. Fitzgerald announces the
results of his investigation into the leak of the identity
of CIA operative Valerie Plame.

Asked yesterday about two figures who are considered
central to Fitzgerald's inquiry - Karl Rove, White House
deputy chief of staff and I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby, Vice
President Cheney's chief of staff - Allen said, "I think
they will step down if they're indicted." But, he added
during an appearance on NBC's "Meet the Press," "Let's see
what happens rather than get into all this speculation and
so forth."

 Read the full article 


 Karl and Scooter's Excellent Adventure 
By Frank Rich 
The New York Times 

Sunday 23 October 2005 

There were no weapons of mass destruction. There was no
collaboration between Saddam Hussein and Al Qaeda on 9/11.
There was scant Pentagon planning for securing the peace
should bad stuff happen after America invaded. Why,
exactly, did we go to war in Iraq?

"It still isn't possible to be sure - and this remains the
most remarkable thing about the Iraq war," writes the New
Yorker journalist George Packer, a disenchanted liberal
supporter of the invasion, in his essential new book, "The
Assassins' Gate: America in Iraq." Even a former Bush
administration State Department official who was present
at the war's creation, Richard Haass, tells Mr. Packer
that he expects to go to his grave "not knowing the

 Read the full article 


 Go to Original 

 Leak Case Renews Questions on War's Rationale 
By Richard W. Stevenson and Douglas Jehl 
The New York Times 

Sunday 23 October 2005 

Washington - The legal and political stakes are of the
highest order, but the investigation into the disclosure
of a covert CIA officer's identity is also just one
skirmish in the continuing battle over the Bush
administration's justification for the war in Iraq.

That fight has preoccupied the White House for more than
three years, repeatedly threatening President Bush's
credibility and political standing, and has now once again
put the spotlight on Vice President Dick Cheney, who
assumed a critical role in assembling and analyzing the
evidence about Iraq's weapons programs.

The dispute over the rationale for the war has led to
upheaval in the intelligence agencies, left Democrats
divided about how aggressively to break with the White
House over Iraq and exposed deep rifts within the
administration and among Republicans. The combatants'
intensity was underscored this week in a speech by
Lawrence Wilkerson, the former chief of staff to Colin L.
Powell while he was secretary of state.

Mr. Wilkerson complained of a "cabal" between Mr. Cheney
and Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld that bypassed
normal decision-making channels when it came to Iraq and
other national security issues. He described "real
dysfunctionality" in the administration's foreign policy
team and said that Mr. Powell's aides had thrown out
"whole reams of paper" from the intelligence dossier
developed by Mr. Cheney's staff for use in Mr. Powell's
presentation of the case against Iraq to the United
Nations in early 2003.

Mr. Cheney's focus on the threat from Iraq has put some of
his aides, especially I. Lewis Libby Jr., his chief of
staff, in the middle of an investigation by a special
prosecutor into the leak of the CIA operative's name.
According to lawyers in the case, Mr. Libby remains under
scrutiny this week in the investigation stemming from his
effort to rebut criticism by Joseph C. Wilson IV, a former
diplomat, that the administration had twisted intelligence
about Iraq's nuclear program.

Mr. Libby has become emblematic of the broader Iraq
debate, cast by supporters as a loyal aide working
diligently to set the record straight, and by critics as
someone working to smear or undermine the credibility of a
politically potent opponent.

"The way in which the leak investigation is being pursued
is becoming a symbol of who was right and who was wrong
about the war," said Ivo H. Daalder, a senior fellow at
the Brookings Institution who worked at the National
Security Council during the Clinton administration. "The
possibility of Libby being indicted, and the whole Cheney
angle, is all about proving in some sense that they were
wrong and therefore that those who opposed the war and
never thought the intelligence was right have been proven

The passions surrounding the investigation and the
question of why the administration got it wrong about
Iraq's weapons programs, other analysts agree, reflect the
troubled course of the war and the divisions over whether
it was necessary or a diversion from the effort to combat
Islamic extremism.

The administration has acknowledged the failures of
pre-war intelligence, though its supporters have pointed
out that many Democrats, including former President Bill
Clinton, and the intelligence services of other countries
were also convinced that Saddam Hussein had caches of
banned weapons. But the White House's insistence that
there were many other compelling reasons for deposing
Saddam Hussein have only inflamed critics of the war.

"There's a daisy chain that stems from the fact that no
weapons of mass destruction have been found," said Richard
N. Haass, president of the Council on Foreign Relations.

"Iraq was at core a war of choice, and extraordinarily
expensive by every measure - human life, impact on our
military, dollars, diplomatically," said Mr. Haass, a
former senior State Department official under President
Bush. "If this war was widely judged to have been
necessary along the lines of Afghanistan after 9/11, I
don't believe you would have this controversy. If the war
had gone extremely well, you wouldn't have this

While the leak case has ensnared other officials, most
prominently Karl Rove, Mr. Bush's senior adviser and
deputy chief of staff, the special prosecutor, Patrick J.
Fitzgerald, appears to have devoted much effort to
understanding the role of Mr. Cheney's office and actions
taken by Mr. Libby, who has twice testified before the
grand jury. Mr. Fitzgerald has been examining whether
administration officials disclosed to the media that Mr.
Wilson's wife was a CIA employee.

The investigation led to the jailing for nearly three
months of a reporter for The New York Times, Judith
Miller, for refusing to discuss her conversations with a
confidential source who turned out to be Mr. Libby.

From the time Mr. Wilson began circulating his criticism
in May and June 2003 of the administration's assertions
that before the war Iraq had been seeking nuclear material
in Africa, Mr. Libby showed an intense interest in Mr.
Wilson's public statements and argued to colleagues that
he should be rebutted at every turn, a former
administration official said, confirming an account Friday
in the Los Angeles Times. Mr. Libby also sought to
insulate Mr. Cheney from Mr. Wilson's critique, telling
journalists that the former diplomat's trip to Africa to
assess Iraq's intentions was orchestrated by the CIA

Mr. Libby's involvement in assembling the case that Iraq's
weapons constituted an urgent threat began well before the
invasion. Along with Paul D. Wolfowitz and Douglas Feith,
then senior Pentagon officials, Mr. Libby was immersed in
painting a dark picture of Iraq's weapons capabilities and
alleged it had ties to Al Qaeda.

In late 2002 and early 2003, according to former
government officials and several published accounts, Mr.
Libby was the main author of a lengthy document making the
administration's case for war to the United Nations
Security Council. But in meetings at the Central
Intelligence Agency in early February, Secretary Powell
and George J. Tenet, the director of central intelligence,
rejected virtually all of Mr. Libby's draft as exaggerated
and not supported by intelligence.

John E. McLaughlin, the former deputy CIA director,
referred to this period in a statement issued in April
2005. "Much of our time in the run-up to the speech was
spent taking out material, including much that had been
added by the policy community after the draft left the
agency, that we and the secretary's staff judged to have
been unreliable," Mr. McLaughlin said.

In his 2004 book "Plan of Attack," Bob Woodward of The
Washington Post wrote that Mr. Powell had rejected Mr.
Libby's draft as "worse than ridiculous," which Mr.
Wilkerson alluded to in his speech this week.

That episode added to tensions between Mr. Cheney's office
and senior officials at the CIA, which had also dismissed
as unwarranted claims by Mr. Cheney and others about close
links between Iraq and Al Qaeda. Before the war, the CIA
also issued intelligence assessments warning of potential
obstacles to the stability of postwar Iraq, although the
agency's capabilities have also been harshly criticized
since the war and it is now in the midst of upheaval set
off by the creation of a new intelligence structure and
the appointment of a new director, Porter J. Goss.

The wrangling over the United Nations speech exposed
long-simmering suspicions by some administration officials
about the reliability of the CIA's intelligence on Iraq. A
former intelligence official who previously worked with
Mr. Libby said that his antipathy to the CIA dated back at
least 15 years, to the first Bush administration, when he
was working under Mr. Wolfowitz at the Defense Department.

"He always saw CIA as the enemy, more a problem than a
help, and someone who was out to get him," the former
intelligence official said.

Mr. Libby was also part of the network of Iraq hawks
within the administration. He is a protege of Mr.
Wolfowitz, perhaps the leading neoconservative in the
administration until he left to head the World Bank. Mr.
Libby's deputy, John Hannah, had close ties to John R.
Bolton, then the undersecretary of state for arms control;
David Wurmser, a Bolton aide who later joined Mr. Cheney's
office; and Robert Joseph, then the senior director for
nonproliferation on the National Security Council.

Mr. Bolton is now ambassador to the United Nations, and
Mr. Joseph has taken over as undersecretary of state,
where he has retained as his executive assistant Frederick
Fleitz, a CIA officer who had served as Mr. Bolton's chief
of staff. Some of those officials, including Mr. Hannah
and Mr. Joseph, have been questioned in the leak case.

 Go to Original 

 Prelude to a Leak 
By John Barry, Michael Isikoff and Mark Hosenball 

31 October 2005 Issue 
Gang fight: How Cheney and his tight-knit team launched
the Iraq war, chased their critics - and set the stage for
a special prosecutor's dramatic probe.

It is the nature of bureaucracies that reports are ordered
up and then ignored. In February 2002, Vice President Dick
Cheney received a CIA briefing that touched on Saddam
Hussein's attempts to build nuclear bombs. Cheney, who was
looking for evidence to support an Iraq invasion, was
especially interested in one detail: a report that claimed
Saddam attempted to purchase uranium from Niger. At the
end of the briefing, Cheney or an aide told the CIA man
that the vice president wanted to know more about the
subject. It was a common enough request. "Principals"
often ask briefers for this sort of thing. But when the
vice president of the United States makes a request,
underlings jump. Midlevel officials in the CIA's
clandestine service quickly arranged to send Ambassador
Joseph Wilson to Niger to investigate the uranium claims.
A seasoned diplomat, Wilson had good connections in the
region. He would later say his week in Africa convinced
him that the story was bogus, and said so to his CIA
debriefers. The agency handed the information up the
chain, but there is no record that it ever reached Cheney.
Like hundreds of other reports that slosh through the
bureaucracy each day, Wilson's findings likely made their
way to the middle of a pile. The vice president has said
he never knew about Wilson's trip, and never saw any

If he had, Cheney might not have been inclined to believe
a word of it anyway. At the time of Wilson's debunking,
the vice president was the Bush administration's leading
advocate of war with Iraq. Cheney had long distrusted the
apparatchiks who sat in offices at the CIA, FBI and
Pentagon. He regarded them as dim, timid timeservers who
would always choose inaction over action. Instead, the
vice president relied on the counsel of a small number of
advisers. The group included Defense Secretary Donald
Rumsfeld, Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz and two
Wolfowitz proteges: I. Lewis (Scooter) Libby, Cheney's
chief of staff, and Douglas Feith, Rumsfeld's under
secretary for policy. Together, the group largely despised
the on-the-one-hand/on-the-other analyses handed up by the
intelligence bureaucracy. Instead, they went in search of
intel that helped to advance their case for war.

Central to that case was the belief that Saddam was
determined to get nukes - a claim helped by the Niger
story, which the White House doggedly pushed. A prideful
man who enjoys the spotlight, Joseph Wilson grew
increasingly agitated that the White House had not come
clean about how the African-uranium claim made it into
George W. Bush's 2003 State of the Union address. In June,
Condoleezza Rice went on TV and denied she knew that
documents underlying the uranium story were, in fact,
crude forgeries: "Maybe somebody in the bowels of the
agency knew something about this," she said, "but nobody
in my circles." For Wilson, that was it. "That was a slap
in the face," he told NEWSWEEK. "She was saying 'F--- you,
Washington, we don't care.' Or rather 'F--- you,
America'." On July 6, Wilson went public about his Niger
trip in his landmark New York Times op-ed piece.

From there, as we now know, things got a bit out of hand.
Within the White House inner circle, Wilson's op-ed was
seen as an act of aggression against Bush and Cheney.
Someone, perhaps to punish the loose-lipped diplomat, let
it be known to columnist Robert Novak and other reporters
that Wilson's wife, Valerie Plame, was an undercover CIA
operative, a revelation that is a possible violation of
laws protecting classified information. This week the
two-year-long investigation of that leak could finally
end. It is widely expected that Patrick Fitzgerald, the
special prosecutor appointed in the case, may issue
indictments of one or more top administration officials,
possibly including Karl Rove and Scooter Libby.

Of course, Fitzgerald could always pack up without issuing
a single indictment, or even an explanation why.
Tight-lipped, Fitzgerald has not said a word about his
intentions. That has left Washington breathlessly reading
into the flimsiest clues. Last week bloggers seized on the
discovery that Fitzgerald had set up a Web site, which was
taken as a sure sign that indictments were around the
corner. Lawyers who have had dealings with Fitzgerald's
office, who spoke anonymously because the investigation is
ongoing, say the prosecutor appears to be exploring the
option of bringing broad conspiracy charges against Libby,
Rove and perhaps others, though it's still unclear whether
Fitzgerald can prove an underlying crime.

Some lawyers close to the case are convinced Fitzgerald
has a mysterious "Mr. X" - a yet unknown principal target
or cooperating witness. Some press reports identified John
Hannah, Cheney's deputy national-security adviser, as a
potentially key figure in the investigation. Hannah played
a central policymaking role on Iraq and was known to be
particularly close to Ahmad Chalabi, whose Iraqi National
Congress supplied some of the faulty intelligence about
WMD embraced by the vice president in the run-up to the
invasion. Lawyers for Rove and Libby have said their
clients did nothing wrong and broke no laws. Last week
Hannah's lawyer Thomas Green told NEWSWEEK his client
"knew nothing" about the leak and is not a target of
Fitzgerald's probe. "This is craziness," he said. Whatever
news Fitzgerald makes this week, however, the case has
shed light on how Cheney and his clique of advisers
cleared the way to war, and how they obsessed over critics
who got in the way.

The Cheney group isn't a new fraternity. Separately and
together, they've been fighting the same battle with the
intelligence bureaucracy for decades. Libby first worked
for Cheney during the gulf war, when W's father was
president and Cheney was Defense secretary. Libby was
brought into the Pentagon by Wolfowitz, his former Yale
professor, who was an under secretary of Defense. The
arguments of the time seem familiar today. Cheney backed
the elder Bush's vow to oust Saddam from Kuwait by force,
over the objections of Colin Powell, then chairman of the
Joint Chiefs, who favored negotiations, and over dire
predictions of disaster from the CIA. Cheney emerged with
a low opinion of his senior military and of the
intelligence community, believing both to be risk averse
and too comfortable with conventional wisdom.

When Bush was elected in 2000, Cheney - who had been
impressed with Libby's political savvy and mastery of
detail - tapped him as his No. 2. Libby was perhaps the
group's most relentless digger. An intense former
litigator, he acted as a conduit for Cheney's obsessions.
Soon after 9/11, Libby began routinely calling
intelligence officials, high and low, to pump them for any
scraps of information on Iraq. He would read obscure,
unvetted intelligence reports and grill analysts about
them, but always in a courtly manner. The intel officials
were often more than a little surprised. It was unusual
for the vice president's office to step so far outside of
channels and make personal appeals to mere analysts. "He
was deep into the raw intel," says one government official
who didn't want to be named for fear of retribution.
(Cheney's office declined to comment on specific questions
for this story, beyond saying that the vice president and
his staff are cooperating with Fitzgerald's probe.)

Behind their backs, their detractors dubbed Cheney and his
minions "the commissars." The vice president and Libby
made three or four trips to CIA headquarters, where they
questioned analysts about their findings. Agency officials
say they welcomed the visits, and insist that no one felt
pressured, though some analysts complained that they
suspected Cheney was subtly sending them the message to
get in line or keep their mouths shut.

Cheney and the commissars seemed especially determined to
prove a now discredited claim: that Muhammad Atta, the
lead 9/11 hijacker, had secretly met in Prague with an
Iraqi intelligence officer in April 2001. If true, it
would have backed administration assertions of a link
between Saddam and Al Qaeda, one of Bush and Cheney's
arguments justifying an invasion. The story fell apart on
serious examination by the FBI and CIA - Atta was
apparently in the United States at the time of the alleged
visit. But Cheney continued to repeat the story in
speeches and interviews, even after the 9/11 Commission
found no evidence to support it.

Behind the scenes, no one pushed the terror link harder
than Libby. He urged Colin Powell's staff to include the
Prague meeting in the secretary of State's speech to the
United Nations. But Powell wanted no part of it. After one
long session debating the evidence before the speech,
Libby turned to a Powell aide. "Don't worry about any of
this," he said, according to someone who was in the room.
"We'll get back in what you take out." They didn't. Powell
refused to use the line, but Libby's audacity stunned
everyone at the table. "The notion that they've become a
gang has some merit," says a longtime colleague of Libby's
who requested anonymity to preserve the friendship. "A
small group who only talk to each other ... You pay a
price for that."

Libby seemed to bring the same kind of intensity when it
came to Wilson. The timing of the diplomat's fiery op-ed
couldn't have been worse for the administration. It was
July 2003, two months after Saddam's statue fell, and
still no WMD had been found. The administration's primary
sales pitch was being called into doubt.

Libby and other administration officials were quick to
denounce Wilson's claims, and to allege that it was his
wife who had chosen him for the African trip. (Wilson and
Plame say she merely recommended him to her supervisor
when asked.) According to the Los Angeles Times, Libby
began keeping close track of Wilson's interviews and
television appearances, and pushed for an aggressive PR
campaign against him. He also began chatting up reporters
on his own. An outgoing schmoozer who's been known to
trade shots of tequila with reporters until the wee hours,
at the very least he reached out to members of the press.
The New York Times's Judith Miller, one of the reporters
caught up in the investigation, wrote last week that she
had three conversations with Libby before Plame's name
became public. And Rove, who talked to Time magazine's
Matthew Cooper about the case, reportedly told the grand
jury that he may have also spoken to Libby about Plame.
It's now up to Fitzgerald to decide if those conversations
were more than just talk.

 Woman of Mass Destruction 
By Maureen Dowd 
The New York Times 

Saturday 22 October 2005 

I've always liked Judy Miller. I have often wondered what
Waugh or Thackeray would have made of the Fourth Estate's
Becky Sharp.

The traits she has that drive many reporters at The Times
crazy - her tropism toward powerful men, her frantic
intensity and her peculiar mixture of hard work and
hauteur - never bothered me. I enjoy operatic types.

Once when I was covering the first Bush White House, I was
in The Times' seat in the crowded White House press room,
listening to an administration official's background
briefing. Judy had moved on from her tempestuous tenure as
a Washington editor to be a reporter based in New York,
but she showed up at this national security affairs

 Read the full article 


 Times: Miller May Have Misled Editors 
By John Solomon 
The Associated Press 

Saturday 22 October 2005

Judith Miller's boss says the New York Times reporter
appears to have misled the newspaper about her role in the
CIA leak controversy.

In an e-mail memo Friday to the newspaper's staff,
Executive Editor Bill Keller said that until Special
Counsel Patrick Fitzgerald subpoenaed Miller in the
criminal probe, "I didn't know that Judy had been one of
the reporters on the receiving end" of leaks aimed at Bush
administration critic Joseph Wilson.

"Judy seems to have misled" Times Washington bureau Chief
Bill Taubman about the extent of her involvement, Keller

 Read the full article 


 Go to Original 

 Leak Prosecutor Is Called Exacting and Apolitical 
By Scott Shane and David Johnston 
The New York Times 

Saturday 22 October 2005 

Washington - In 13 years prosecuting mobsters and
terrorists in New York, Patrick J. Fitzgerald earned a
public reputation for meticulous preparation, a flawless
memory and an easy eloquence. Only his colleagues knew
that these orderly achievements emerged from the
near-total anarchy of his office, where the relentless Mr.
Fitzgerald often slept during big cases.

"You'd open a drawer, looking for a pen or Post-it notes,
and it would be full of dirty socks," recalled Karen
Patton Seymour, a former assistant United States attorney
who tried a major case with him. "He was a mess. Food
here, clothes there, papers everywhere. But behind all
that was a totally organized mind."

That mind, which has taken on Al Qaeda and the Gambino
crime family, is now focused on the most politically
volatile case of Mr. Fitzgerald's career. As the special
prosecutor who has directed the CIA leak investigation, he
is expected to decide within days who, if anyone, will be
charged with a crime.

To seek indictments against the White House officials
caught up in the inquiry would deliver a devastating blow
to the Bush administration. To simply walk away after two
years of investigation, which included the jailing of a
reporter for 85 days for refusing to testify, would invite
cries of cover-up and waste.

Yet Mr. Fitzgerald's past courtroom allies and adversaries
say that consideration of political consequences will play
no role in his decision.

"I don't think the prospect of a firestorm would deter
him," said J. Gilmore Childers, who worked with Mr.
Fitzgerald on high-profile terrorism prosecutions in New
York during the 1990s. "His only calculus is to do the
right thing as he sees it."

Stanley L. Cohen, a New York lawyer who has defended those
accused of terrorism in a half-dozen cases prosecuted by
Mr. Fitzgerald, said he never detected the slightest
political leanings, only a single-minded dedication to the

"There's no doubt in my mind that if he's found something,
he won't be swayed one way or the other by the politics of
it," Mr. Cohen said. "For Pat, there's no such thing as a
little crime you can ignore."

Mr. Fitzgerald, 44, whose regular job is as the United
States attorney in Chicago, is a hard man to pigeonhole.
The son of Irish immigrants - his father, Patrick Sr., was
a Manhattan doorman - he graduated from Amherst College
and Harvard Law School. Though he is a workaholic who
sends e-mail messages to subordinates at 2 a.m. and has
never married, friends say the man they call Fitzie is a
hilarious raconteur and great company for beer and
baseball. Ruthless in his pursuit of criminals, he once
went to considerable trouble to adopt a cat.

"He's a prankster and a practical joker," said Ms.
Seymour, who now practices law in New York, recalling when
Mr. Fitzgerald drafted a fake judge's opinion denying a
key motion and had it delivered to a colleague. "But he's
also brilliant. When he's trying a complicated case,
there's no detail he can't recall."

Mr. Fitzgerald was appointed in December 2003 by James B.
Comey, then the deputy attorney general and an old friend,
to investigate the disclosure in a column by Robert Novak
of the identity of an undercover operative for the Central
Intelligence Agency, Valerie Wilson, also referred to by
her maiden name, Valerie Plame. Her husband, Joseph C.
Wilson IV, a former diplomat who had traveled to Niger on
behalf of the CIA to check on reports that Iraqi dictator
Saddam Hussein was seeking uranium there, had publicly
accused the White House of twisting the evidence to
justify war against Iraq.

Lawyers involved in the case say Mr. Fitzgerald appears to
be examining whether high-level officials who spoke to
reporters about the Wilsons sought to mislead prosecutors
about their discussions. Those under scrutiny include Karl
Rove, the top political adviser to President Bush, and I.
Lewis Libby Jr., the chief of staff to Vice President Dick

In grand jury sessions, Mr. Fitzgerald has struck
witnesses as polite and exacting. Matthew Cooper, a Time
magazine reporter who wrote about his two and half hours
of testimony, said that the prosecutor's questions were
asked "in microscopic, excruciating detail."

Before he testified, Mr. Cooper recalled that Mr.
Fitzgerald counseled him to say what he remembered and no
more. "If I show you a picture of your kindergarten
teacher and it really refreshes your memory say so," Mr.
Cooper wrote, quoting Mr. Fitzgerald. "If it doesn't,
don't say yes just because I show you a photo of you and
her sitting together."

Judith Miller, the New York Times reporter who wrote about
her two grand jury appearances, said that Mr. Fitzgerald
asked questions that reflected a deep knowledge of the
leak case as he led her through her dealings with Mr.

Mr. Fitzgerald has drawn criticism from press advocates
for his aggressive pursuit of journalists he believes may
have been told about the secret CIA employment of Ms.
Wilson. Ms. Miller served nearly three months in jail this
summer before agreeing to testify. In pursuing leads that
have made him a threat to the White House, Mr. Fitzgerald
is following a pattern set by previous special
prosecutors. Some allies of the White House complain
privately that he has taken on some of the worst traits of
his predecessors. Republicans criticized Lawrence E. Walsh
for his handling of the Iran-Contra scandal in the Reagan
administration, while Democrats attacked Kenneth W.
Starr's performance in the Whitewater probe and Monica
Lewinsky sex scandal under President Clinton. The two
prosecutors operated under the independent counsel law,
which both parties let die in 1999.

Katy J. Harriger, a political scientist at Wake Forest
University who has studied special prosecutors, said that
Mr. Fitzgerald had some advantages over his predecessors.
He has essentially all the powers of the attorney general
to chase evidence, question witnesses and seek charges.
Unlike Mr. Walsh and Mr. Starr, both former judges, Mr.
Fitzgerald is a career prosecutor. And as a Bush
administration appointee, he is less vulnerable to attack
from the White House.

"It will be much harder than it was with Starr to say this
is a partisan prosecution," Ms. Harriger said.

Some attorneys who admire Mr. Fitzgerald detect a hint of
zealotry or inflexibility in his approach and wonder
whether what works with terrorism translates to an
inside-the-Beltway case involving White House officials
and their multilayered relationships with journalists.

In Mr. Fitzgerald's world, a former colleague recalled, it
was pretty clear who had black hats and who had white
hats, there was not a lot of gray.

But Mr. Cohen, whose defense work on behalf of Hamas and
other groups has provoked controversy, says he has always
found Mr. Fitzgerald willing to listen, and to distinguish
between militant rhetoric and genuine terrorist plotting.
"If I need a straight answer from a federal prosecutor, I
call Pat," Mr. Cohen said.

Mr. Fitzgerald's moral grounding began at Our Lady Help of
Christians school in his native Brooklyn. He attended
Regis High School, a Jesuit institution in Manhattan for
gifted students, all of whom attend on scholarship. At
Amherst, where he majored in math and economics, he was an
unassuming kid with a New York accent who was a stellar
student, one others frequently turned to for help,
recalled Walter Nicholson, an economics professor.

At Amherst, he worked part time as a custodian; in the
summers during college and law school, his father helped
him find work as a doorman.

After three years in private practice, he joined the
United States attorney's office for the southern district
of New York and quickly distinguished himself.

"I've tried a lot of cases, and he's probably the toughest
adversary I've ever seen," said Roger L. Stavis, a New
York defense lawyer who faced Mr. Fitzgerald during the
1995 terrorism trial of Sheikh Omar Abdel Rahman. Mr.
Stavis prided himself on knowing the web of Muslim
extremists but was surprised when Mr. Fitzgerald asked a
witness about Osama bin Laden, then an obscure figure.

"I thought, 'I don't know who Osama bin Laden is, but he's
in Pat Fitzgerald's crosshairs,' " Mr. Stavis said. In
2001, Mr. Fitzgerald led the team that convicted four men
in the 1998 bombings of two American embassies in East

During his time in New York, Mr. Fitzgerald's hapless
bachelor ways became legendary. For months he did not
bother to have the gas connected to the stove in his
Brooklyn apartment. Once, in a fit of domesticity, he
baked two pans of lasagna, recalled Amy E. Millard, a New
York colleague. Distracted by work, he left them uneaten
in the oven for three months before he discovered them,
Ms. Millard said. When he tried to adopt a cat, she
remembered, he was turned down because of his work habits
and only later acquired a pet when a friend in Florida had
to give up her cat and had it flown to him to New York.

Some of the cases Mr. Fitzgerald handled after moving to
Chicago in 2001 have expanded his experience into the
sensitive and murky arena of political corruption. He
indicted a former governor of Illinois, George Ryan, in a
scandal involving the Illinois secretary of state's
office, as well as two aides to Mayor Richard Daley on
mail-fraud charges.

But those cases bear little resemblance to the CIA leak
investigation, with its potential implications for
national politics. Samuel W. Seymour, another former New
York prosecutor and Karen's husband, said it is easy to
politically "triangulate" most government lawyers, noting
which were mentored by Democrats or promoted by
Republicans. But not Mr. Fitzgerald.

"Some people may feel he's independent to a fault, because
his independence makes him unpredictable," Mr. Seymour
said. "I think it makes him the perfect person for this

 Fitzgerald Is No Ken Starr 
By Joe Conason 

Friday 21 October 2005

With the mounting anticipation that Bush administration
officials will be indicted in the CIA leak investigation,
we have arrived at the stage that was always inevitable: a
wave of preemptive attacks on special counsel Patrick
Fitzgerald and his expected prosecutions.

While the attackers have various motives, their arguments
tend to share the same specious themes: that the special
counsel has "run amok"; that he is pursuing the
"criminalization of politics"; that no crimes were
committed except possibly in covering up administration
misbehavior, which supposedly are not crimes worth
prosecuting; and that Fitzgerald is somehow comparable to
Kenneth W. Starr, the Whitewater independent counsel whose
gross abuse of his office led to its abolition.

 Read the full article 


 Go to Original 

 Who Is Scooter Libby? 
By John Dickerson 

Friday 21 October 2005 
The secretive Cheney aide at the heart of the CIA leak

Who is I. Lewis Libby? The not-Karl-Rove character at the
center of the CIA leak investigation is so mysterious he
hides his first name. Rove we know: He's Bush's political
id-a self-taught master of political hardball, a brash
Texan who has plotted the president's advance for 25

The adviser universally known as "Scooter" represents the
other side of the Bush administration: the secret
undisclosed side. Like the vice president he works for,
Libby prefers to work on policy in the shadows and leave
the politics to others. Unlike Rove, or even fellow
neocons Paul Wolfowitz and Richard Perle, Libby rarely
speaks on the record; he almost never gives public
speeches. Unlike the Texas gang, he doesn't boast at being
an anti-intellectual and is in fact proud of his
intellectual credentials. "Lewis Libby is a graduate of
Yale University and Columbia University School of Law,"
reads the blurb under his picture on the back flap of his
book, a historical novel about Japan at the turn of the
19th century.

If these two men are so different, why are Rove's and
Libby's names now spending so much time in the same
sentence? Both are under investigation by Special
Prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald for telling reporters that
Joe Wilson's wife, Valerie Plame, worked at the CIA after
Wilson challenged the administration's claim that Saddam
Hussein sought to buy enriched uranium from Niger. Though
there is still much we do not know about their actions,
one thing we can say is that the two were almost certainly
leaking for different reasons. Rove's principal instinct
would have been to knock back a threat to Bush's political
standing. Libby's natural urge would have been to push
back against the CIA with whom he and his boss had been
waging an ongoing war over the intelligence that lead to
the war itself, a war for which he was a key proponent,
and in which he continues to deeply believe.

According to one report, Libby became so obsessed with
knocking back Wilson's claims, White House advisers had to
step in. Arguing the point would only keep the charges
alive and harm the president politically.

"Everything you know about Cheney you know about Scooter,"
says one who worked with him closely. That means that
Libby is discreet, big-thinking, detail-oriented, and
addicted to action over show. Libby is not only chief of
staff but the vice president's top foreign-policy adviser.
In the rare photos of Bush's war counsel, Libby can be
seen in the background. He particularly shares his boss'
fixation on external nuclear and bioterrorism threats.
When Cheney was tasked with preparing a homeland security
plan before the 9/11 attacks, it was Libby who handled it.
He was minutes away from a meeting on the final report
when the planes hit the World Trade Center.

Libby is a neocon's neocon. He studied political science
at Yale under former Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul
Wolfowitz and began working with his former teacher under
Cheney at the Defense Department during the George H.W.
Bush administration, thinking about grand national
security strategy in the post-Cold War era. When a
document outlining their thinking leaked to the New York
Times, the foreign policy establishment, including many of
the more moderate voices in the first Bush administration,
howled at its call for pre-emptive action against nations
developing weapons of mass destruction. After 9/11, what
was once considered loony became the Bush Doctrine.

Libby is not political in the glad-handing way-he looks as
lost as Cheney at Republican Lincoln Day dinners. But he
plays internal politics with force and lack of emotion. If
the State Department under Colin Powell hated Dick Cheney,
it hated Scooter almost as much, viewing him accurately as
a pre-eminent member of the cabal hellbent for war with
Iraq. It was Libby who sat with Powell in the final
session before Powell's UN speech, eyeing every detail to
make sure that the Secretary of State didn't water down
the case. When Libby talked privately to friends about his
rivals at State during the Powell era, it often sounded
like the head of one political party speaking about the
other, ascribing the worst motives and rarely giving
Powell's team the benefit of the doubt.

Now no one is giving Libby the benefit of the doubt, at
least in interpreting his mysterious jailhouse note to
Judy Miller. That letter ended with a personal passage
that seemed to cry out for accompaniment by moody
background music: "You went into jail in the summer. It is
fall now. You will have stories to cover-Iraqi elections
and suicide bombers, biological threats and the Iranian
nuclear program. Out West, where you vacation, the aspens
will already be turning. They turn in clusters, because
their roots connect them. Come back to work-and life.
Until then, you will remain in my thoughts and prayers.
With admiration, Scooter Libby."

Was this a hint to Miller about staying on the same
page-either with her journalistic colleagues who seem to
have backed Libby's story to the grand jury, or with her
fellow former believer in Saddam's WMD stockpiles? Patrick
Fitzgerald certainly wanted to know if Libby was trying to
coach the reluctant witness to bolster his own case. Libby
helpfully pointed out earlier in the letter that "every
other reporter's testimony makes clear that they did not
discuss Ms. Plame's name or identity with me, or knew
about her before our call."

Or, Scooter may have been playing with coded meanings that
most of us are too dull to see. This suspicion arises
naturally because of Libby's connection with
Straussianism. Leo Strauss, the German-Jewish political
philosopher, is seen by many as one of the intellectual
fathers of neconservatism. Wolfowitz, Libby's teacher at
Yale, was a graduate student at the University of Chicago
during Strauss' ascendancy, and Libby won membership into
that conservative club via Wolfowitz. Part of Strauss'
teaching is that ancient philosophers wrote on two levels:
for the mumbling masses, but also, and often in
contradiction of the literal message, on an "esoteric"
level that only initiates could make out. Some Straussians
have adopted this code themselves. So, where Homer Simpson
would interpret Libby's note as ham-handed fawning over
Judy, a Straussian close reader might discern something
more devious: a literary file in the cake for both of

It's surprising, in any case, to find Libby is at the
center of a press scandal. The daily communications
operation is not something he cares much about. Rove, by
contrast, spends a portion of every day running his own
press operation. He sends BlackBerry messages, forwards
polling data, and argues his case to influential
journalists. Libby flies at a higher altitude, talking
mostly to marquee columnists and preferring longer and
more in-depth conversations to the rat-a-tat-tat required
by reporters on deadline.

Libby does enjoy the intellectual cat-and-mouse game of
longer form interviews, those who have worked with him
say. He challenges basic assumptions and presses on a
reporter's sloppy definitions. In my experience
interviewing him, if a line of reasoning was in any way
harmful to the administration or the vice president, it
was sometimes impossible to get past the gorilla dust. His
shimmy and shake sometimes got so bad, I wondered if he
would even admit to working for the vice president. "It's
very lawyerly kind of amusement," says a former aide.

When the Cheneys hosted a party in February 2002 for the
paperback publication of Libby's book, the guest list was
not filled with workaday journalists, but with the elite
from New York and Washington: Sally Quinn and Ben Bradlee,
Leon Wieseltier and Maureen Dowd. In those early days
after 9/11, it seemed like the relationship between the
press and the media elite might turn out to be a fairly
cozy one. The Bushies hated "old Washington," but as Libby
and the vice president spoke from the landing at the
bottom of the stairs, it seemed as if their half of the
administration understood the quiet commerce between the
ruling elite and the more permanent Washington
establishment. Maureen Dowd, who was invited to that
party, ended that fantasy.

Libby is fussy and precise with reporters, which is why
friends and colleagues find it so hard to believe that he
would have been involved in leaking Plame's identity,
obstructing justice, or committing perjury. Libby was an
exacting source for anyone who talked to him. After using
a Libby quote, it was not unusual for reporters to receive
a call from the vice president's press shop. Mr. Libby
wanted to know why only a portion of his comment was used.
"He would prefer that if a reporter was going to quote him
that it be an unedited transcript," says one who worked
closely with him. Other reporters were scolded if a Libby
quote hidden under the attribution of "senior
administration official" was placed near sentences that he
thought might identify him, even if no reasonable reader
could come to such a conclusion. In other words, he's as
careful as they come in Washington.

Those who know him say that if you're going to be stuck in
an undisclosed location with somebody, Scooter Libby isn't
a bad choice. He can do tequila shots on the saddle-shaped
seats of the Wyoming bar near the vice president's
vacation house and deconstruct poetry afterward. He is
also athletic. He skis, plays ultimate Frisbee, and rode a
mountain bike so hard one time at an AEI retreat, he fell
and broke his collar bone. Once, at one of the undisclosed
locations, he helped the Cheney grandchildren play
pretend-Halloween, answering the door to the tricksters
and handing out candy as if they were in their own

A man who likes to stay out of the limelight knows
something about disguises. But I. Lewis Libby appears to
be on the verge of losing the option of a low profile for
good. If Fitzgerald announces his indictment, "Irvin" will
soon become a household name.

John Dickerson is Slate's chief political correspondent.

 Chickens Come Home to Roost on Cheney 
By Ray McGovern 
t r u t h o u t | Perspective 

Thursday 20 October 2005

Indictments are expected to come down shortly as special
prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald completes the investigation
originally precipitated by the outing of a CIA officer
under deep cover. In 21-plus months of digging and
interviewing, Fitzgerald and his able staff have been able
to negotiate the intelligence/policy/politics labyrinth
with considerable sophistication. In the process, they
seem to have learned considerably more than they had
bargained for. The investigation has long since morphed
into size "extra-large," which is the only size
commensurate with the wrongdoing uncovered - not least,
the fabrication and peddling of intelligence to "justify"
a war of aggression.

The coming months are likely to see senior Bush
administration officials frog marched out of the White
House to be booked, unless the president moves swiftly to
fire Fitzgerald - a distinct possibility. With so many
forces at play, it is easy to lose perspective and context
while plowing through the tons of information on this
case. What follows is a retrospective and prospective,
laced with some new facts and analysis aimed at helping us
to focus on the forest once we have given due attention to
the trees.

 Read the full article 


© : t r u t h o u t 2005 



"Apocalypse Now and the Brave New World"

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