Did the Leaker-in-Chief Lie To Fitzgerald?

Discussion in 'Politics' started by dddooo, Apr 7, 2006.

  1. On June 24, 2004, President George W. Bush was interviewed by Special Counsel Patrick Fitzgerald. For 70 minutes, Fitzgerald asked the President about the circumstances surrounding the leak of classified information.

    What transpired during those 70 minutes, we don't know. But I presume that "did you leak the identity of Valerie Plame" wasn't the only question Fitzgerald asked of the President. Rather, for 70 minutes, the President was likely questioned about many facets of the scandal, including the NIE. Was he questioned about whether he authorized selective leaks? Was he questioned about whether he authorized leaks of the highly sensitive NIE? Given Fitzgerald's reputation for meticulous questioning, and given the length of the interview, whether the President authorized such disclosures was likely covered.

    Even though the President was not under oath during those 70 minutes, he sill had an obligation not to make false statements. All of this, of course, presupposes that Libby is telling the truth when he claims Cheney said Bush authorized the leaks. But the latest revelation, coupled with the President's brazen insistence in public that leaks of classified information are anathema to his national security philosophy, makes such a question a legitimate one: what did the President represent to Fitzgerald, and is that consistent with the truth?

    Whatever the answer, the legal fallout from this will, I anticipate, be minimal. The political fallout, on the other hand, looks to be astounding. As Firedoglake points out, the glaring question is "why"? Americans do not like the idea of leaking national security information to the press, (even if, as TPM points out, the administration doesn't consider it "leaking" if the President does it). And to authorize leaking that info to settle a vendetta? Well, such use of executive power smacks of a Nixonian breach of the public trust.

    Americans deserve to know what the President did and why he did it. Any delay in an explanation only reinforces the belief that this Leaker-in-Chief is hiding from the American the full breadth of his mischievous acts.

  2. Pabst


    Quite certainly Fitzgerald didn't question the President until after reviewing Libby's allegations. Equally certain is that Bush knew what statements were contained in Libby's deposition. Therefore I'm betting Bush either gave plausible deniability, claimed privilege or told the prosecutor the truth. I'm equally certain that Fitzgerald, who was a Bush appointee as Atty. Gen. of NE Illinois did not grill the President with a flashlight in his face. Since by all appearances Flame WAS NOT OUTED it's all a mute point.

    P.S. In order to be "outed", a CIA agent must be within 5 years of covert. Flame apparently was well passed that yardstick.
  3. Of course you miss the point.

    In attempts to smear Joe Wilson, because he criticized the war, Bush knowingly approved of the efforts to reveal Plame.

    Whether or not Plame was technically outed pales in comparison to the gross political behavior of this administration to attack anyone that disagrees with them....

    Some claim to be uncertain as to whether Plame was a covert agent. According to USA Today, Plame worked in the Langley, Virginia, CIA headquarters since 1997, when she returned from her last assignment, and married Joe Wilson and had her twins. [5] Conservative columnist Max Boot argues that it is very unlikely that a CIA employee commuting to the headquarters building each day would be a covert agent. Columnist Robert Novak wrote that an Agency source said Plame "has been an analyst, not in covert operations." [6] It has been speculated that Plame may have worked in the CIA administration in the office of former CIA Deputy Director of Operations (DDO) James Pavitt. Former CIA officer Larry C. Johnson attempted to clear up the confusion surrounding Plame's status in a column responding to Max Boot: "The law actually requires that a covered person 'served' overseas in the last five years. Served does not mean lived. In the case of Valerie Wilson, energy consultant for Brewster-Jennings, she traveled overseas in 2003, 2002, and 2001, as part of her cover job. She met with folks who worked in the nuclear industry, cultivated sources, and managed spies. She was a national security asset until exposed by Karl Rove and Scooter Libby."[7] It was confirmed that she was a covert operative early in the investigation by acting intelligence officials, setting the matter to rest.[8]


  4. Rejecting the idea that Bush told the truth (as that would have forced Fitz to immediately drop the entire case) the other two possibilities mean that Bush did not cooperate with the investigation. How very nice of him!!! And at the same time he was lying to the american people that he was not involved in the leak and would love to catch the leaker and fire him.
  5. Pabst


    What point did I miss? The legal point? The relevant point? I don't care about misbehavior or hardball agenda driven politics. Last I heard being a prick is not illegal.
  6. like Hellen Keller....I heard Fitzgerald tried to use code and spell and the questions from the Grand Jury on Bush's palm.

    Reports are that Bush, not being very bright, was too slow on the uptake.

    Fitzgerald reportedly gave up in frustration.

  7. Apparently you missed both points....

  8. Pabst


    If there's a legal point then I'll continue awaiting a Plame/Wilson related indictment that moves beyond perjury, obstruction, ect.....
  9. If no crime was thought to be committed, i.e. Plame not a covert agent, there would not have been a special investigation by Fitzgerald.

    As far as you approval of thuggish politics, well that is par for the course for you....

  10. Well, on the legal point, the federal crime of obstruction of justice can be committed by affirmatively lying or misrepresenting to federal investigators, or by passive silence. This issue was passed upon by the U.S. Supreme Court and the decision was written by Scalia (although the correct case cite evades me for the moment). I remember it because I was quite amazed to know that refusing to talk to a federal investigator could result in criminal prosecution for obstructing justice, and that the ONLY response to a federal investigator that can protect a person from prosecution is one of refusing to answer on grounds of possible self incrimination.

    So, if Bush knew that he leaked the info, and he remained silent as to his knowledge, rather than asserting his 5th Amendment privilege, then he would be in the exact same position as is Libby currently, i.e., charged with obstructing a federal investigation, even though he is not charged with any crime which was the subject of the underlying investigation.

    Not that I think the President would fail to disclose (no way, he'd never do anything like that -- lol). But legally, he can be prosecuted for failing to disclose information to Fitzgerald, because the Executive Privilege doctrine protects the President from disclosing information for anything within the President's scope of office, "except" as part of a criminal investigation.

    This is precisely why Nixon had to disclose the Presidential tapes -- because Watergate was a burglary.
    #10     Apr 7, 2006