“If Mr. Cheney can’t address the questions about his conduct, if he can’t be forthcoming about the activities in his office that gave rise to the investigation, then he should resign. And if he won’t resign, Mr. Bush should demand his resignation.”
[This is the second part of a Think Progress series breaking down the significance of the Libby indictment.]
In at least three instances, it appears from the facts outlined in the indictments that Libby was aware that Valerie Plame was an undercover CIA agent.
1. Libby spoke to his Principal Deputy [John Hannah] about an article in The New Republic and discussed whether they could share information about the role of Wilson’s wife in sending him to Niger. “Libby responded that there would be complications at the CIA in disclosing that information publicly, and that he could not discuss the matter on a non-secure telephone line.” (see #14) [comment: Hannah appears to have flipped]
CORRECTION: TRN’s Ryan Lizza says the “Principal Deputy” is in fact Eric Edelman.
2. In a lunch with Ari Fleischer, Libby tells him that Wilson’s wife works at the CIA and “noted that such information was not widely known.”
3. In a conversation with Judith Miller, Libby specifically asked that the information on Plame’s identity be attributed to a “former Hill staffer” rather than to a “‘senior administration official,’ as had been the understanding with respect to other information that Libby provided to Miller during this meeting.” (see #17)
A reader points out a crucial piece of information from the indictment strongly indicates that Libby knew Plame worked undercover and then misrepresented that knowledge. Read more
[This is the first part of a Think Progress series breaking down the significance of the Libby indictment.]
There are a few instances in the indictments that point to a larger role that Dick Cheney may have played in the leak. Here are some examples:
1. Libby was “advised by the Vice President” that “Wilson’s wife worked” at the CIA in the Counterproliferation Division (see #9). The verb “advised by” is oddly-placed and echoes language from fact #16 when Libby “advises” Ari Fleischer about Plame’s identity. The verb seems to be synonymous with “instructed.” This discussion, referenced in fact #9, follows a staff meeting in the VP’s office the preceding day (see #8) in which Wilson was discussed. Was Cheney trying to emphasize what he saw as the most strategic attack to Pincus’s column?
2. While onboard Air Force Two with Cheney, Libby is reported to have “discussed with other officials aboard the plane” what to say in response to media inquires about Wilson (see #22). See Talking Points Memo for more about Cheney’s role on this flight.
3. On p.21 of the indictment, a transcript of Libby’s grand jury testimony is provided. The prosecutors ask Libby why he was telling reporters that his source of knowledge for Plame’s identity was “a reporter rather than the Vice-President.”
Rush Limbaugh, yesterday:
We finally have the press release which has been made public here by the independent counsel, Patrick Fitzgerald — who, by the way, the liberals…are all calling him “Eliot Ness.” He’s an Eliot Ness out there. What does that mean? It means that Al Capone is in the White House. These terms here are not accidentally chosen.
One minor kink in Rush’s theory: it wasn’t “liberals” who first noted the Ness/Fitzgerald link — it was a Bush administration official. From USA Today, 12/30/03, the day after Fitzgerald was appointed to lead the leak probe:
Acting in Ashcroft’s place, Deputy Attorney General James Comey appointed the U.S. attorney in Chicago, Patrick Fitzgerald, to lead the investigation as special prosecutor. …
Comey described Fitzgerald, who also is a Bush appointee, as “Eliot Ness with a Harvard law degree and a sense of humor.”
We presume Comey doesn’t liken anyone in the White House to Al Capone, but maybe Rush knows something we don’t.
More crackerjack analysis from our friend John Hinderaker on the right-wing blog Powerline:
Fitzgerald appears to have concluded that Plame was not, in fact, a covert agent…
At all relevant times from January 1, 2002 through July 2003, Valerie Wilson was employed by the CIA, and her employment status was classified. Prior to July 14, 2003, Valerie Wilson’s affiliation with the CIA was not common knowledge outside the intelligence community.
“[I'm] very disappointed in Libby, and the White House, and the vice president and the president. They should have taken care of this a long time ago. They should have done their own investigation. They’re going to get very little sympathy on Capitol Hill, at least from me…They brought this on themselves.”
named in the indictment, is Karl Rove, according to the AP.