March 08, 2007

Questions In The Wake Of The Libby Trial

So now we all know that Scooter Libby lied to save Cheney's ass. But I have a few questions:

1. Did Libby really think he could get away with such a lame, transparent lie? He said that Russert and Judy Miller told him about Plame, but what did he think would happen when Fitzy asked Russert and Miller about their sources? Was Miller in on the plan? Is that why she tried to bluff Fitzy with the go-to-jail-on-journalistic-principle nonsense? If so, what about Russert? Might Libby have got away with it if he had left Russert out and Miller had held her nerve?

2. What if Libby had come straight out and told Fitzy: "Cheney told me about Plame and asked me to spread the word"? Wouldn't that have created an open-and-shut case against Cheney as being the single individual responsible for outing a CIA agent? Or were all the caveats enough to muddy the waters (for example, Cheney just mentioned it in passing, there were no clear instructions to out Plame and smear Wilson, etc). If so, it would appear that Libby has lied for no good reason, bought himself some jail time and dragged the whole administration even lower than necessary, and all because... ? Because that's how the Bush White House machinery works, it seems: the lies are reflexive, just like the smear attacks.

3. Why didn't Cheney and Libby testify? That's an obvious one, but worth re-stating again and again. What ELSE don't we know? What else are they hiding?

4. And this last thing still bugs the hell out of me: what did it even matter if Plame was Wilson's wife? It's not like it made any difference to the intelligence he brought back from Africa. It was just cheap spin, a new "noise" to drown out the media message Wilson was spreading. And again, that's just how the Bush White House works. Facts don't matter. Spin rules everything. These guys thought they could spin their way to victory in Iraq if only they controlled the domestic US airwaves. They thought they could spin New Orleans into a winning story without doing anything more than a few on-the-ground TV interview. They still think they can get their Big Oily hands on Iraq's oil reserves, if only they can get the right spin on the story of the new Oil Law! Bush still believes he can spin the story of his sad-ass Presidency into an epic tale of courage that will echo through the pages of History!

Bottom line: Libby is an idiot, Bush is an idiot, and so are the rest of this damned administration.

Former Press Secretary McClellan says the White House should 'answer questions' now:
King had opened by playing a clip of McClellan's famous statement to the press in October 23 -- that he had gone to the suspects in the White House and they had told him they had nothing to do with any leaking. Were you lied to? King asked.

"I said what I believed at the time, based on the assurances given," McClellan said. "Knowing what I know now," he added, he would not have made that all-clear statement.

Gergen commented: "He was betrayed," adding, "It was terribly unfair to him."
Oooh, poor Scotty boy. BTW, Ari Fleischer is also in trouble for lying on the stand during the trial.
John Dickerson, also on the show, said Ari Fleischer at the trial had not spoken truthfully on the stand when he said that he had leaked Plame's name to Dickerson. How did he react when he heard Fleischer's testimony? "Having covered the White House when Air was press secretary," Dickerson replied, "I was used to him saying things that weren't true."
Jurists called him "Slick Willie".

Meanwhile, on a more positive note, progressive House Dems have a new strategy to end the war:
They want any Congressionally-approved funding for the war to be earmarked specifically for withdrawal -- the idea being that they are pushing for a "fully-funded withdrawal," rather than a defunding of the war.

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