Armitage Revelations Damage Case Against Libby

Discussion in 'Politics' started by AAAintheBeltway, Sep 13, 2006.

  1. Some of you may recall that I blasted Special Prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald after his bizarre press conference announcing the indictment of former Cheney aide Scooter Libby. Fitzgerald attempted to dress the indictment up with a virtually incoherent and patronizing dissertation on the evils of revealing the identities of secret agents, even though Libby was not charged with such a crime. It seemed clear to me that Fitzgerald had been skunked on his fishing expedition and dragged the hapless Libby in to prevent it from looking like the monumental waste of time and money it turned out to be.

    Months later, we find out that liberal State Department honcho Richard Armitage was the source of Bob Novak's original column that ignited this mini-scandal. The story instantly vanished from the press, which had dutifully recycled the ridiculous claims of Wilson/Plame that his wife had been "outed" to punish him for criticizing Bush. Since Armitage is a favorite of the liberal press and a frequent source of leaks to undermine the White House and Pentagon, the story no longer fit the tmeplate and was dropped. To its credit, the WashingtonPost did publish a mea culpa editorial in which it admitted it had mishandled the story and given undue credence to Wilson.

    Now Novak is preparing a block buster column in which he calls Armitage's description of their chat untrue and misleading. From Drudge:

    "When Richard Armitage finally acknowledged last week he was my source three years ago in revealing Valerie Plame Wilson as a CIA employee, the former deputy secretary of state's interviews obscured what he really did," Bob Novak claims in a column set for Thursday release.

    Novak, attempting to set the record straight, writes: "First, Armitage did not, as he now indicates, merely pass on something he had heard and that he 'thought' might be so. Rather, he identified to me the CIA division where Mrs. Wilson worked, and said flatly that she recommended the mission to Niger by her husband, former Amb. Joseph Wilson. Second, Armitage did not slip me this information as idle chitchat, as he now suggests. He made clear he considered it especially suited for my column."

    Novak slams Armitage for holding back all this time.

    Armitage's silence for "two and one-half years caused intense pain for his colleagues in government and enabled partisan Democrats in Congress to falsely accuse Rove of being my primary source," Novak explains.

    "When Armitage now says he was mute because of special prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald's request, that does not explain his silent three months between his claimed first realization that he was the source and Fitzgerald's appointment on Dec. 30. Armitage's tardy self-disclosure is tainted because it is deceptive."

    Novak's claims, if true, raise two huge questions. One, since Fitzgerald knew that Armitage was Novak's source, how could Libby have "obstructed justice" by giving Fitzgerald allegedly false accounts? To obstruct justice, the defendant's testimony must be relevant to the inquiry. Fitzgerald already knew who did it, so Libby's statements seem totally irrelevant. It appears he was playing a game of "gotcha" with Libby. Whatever the legal significance, Fitzgerald will look like a monster before the jury, the very picture of a vindictive prosecutor guilty of egregious prosecutorial misconduct.

    Two, how can Fitzgerald give Armitage a pass, after charging Libby? Now Novak is on the record saying that Armitage's account was untrue. If that is the same account he gave Fitzgerald, it seems to me he is the one who obstructed justice, not Libby.

    Call this the scandal that would not die.
  2. Definitely will be interesting to see how this plays out. Of course, the MSM will ignore it as best they can, the right won't, and the left will cry foul play.
  3. Libby's charge is lying under oath before a grand jury. Same crime as the previous president. Just because Armitage is revealed as the original leaker doesn't mean that the lie didn't happen.
  4. He was also charged with obstruction of justice. I think the lying has to be about something relevant. Not sure about the grand jury charge.

    My bigger point however is that Fitzgerald looks bad for indicting a guy for impeding his investigation and making a big deal in his press conference about revealing identities, when in fact he already knew who did the original leaking. Personally, I can't see how this prosecution proceeds. It's another tone deaf move by the administration, on a par with prosecuting those Border Patrol agents and demanding harsh sentences for them.
  5. This kind of looks like semen stains on a blue dress and how it was related to a land deal in Arkansas... :D