Tuesday, November 15, 2005
the fall guy
In the aftermath of Libby's recent five-count indictment, this curious sequence raises a question of motives that hangs over the investigation: Why would an experienced lawyer and government official such as Libby leave himself so exposed to prosecutor Patrick J. Fitzgerald?cheney's involvement in the affair is, to use george tenet's infamous words of hubris, a "slam dunk" -- his methodological fingerprints are all over the situation, including the brazen disregard for law, and it seems highly improbably that a good revolutionary soldier like libby would ever have gone out on this kind of a limb without the express consent of his political master. with the power of the pardon ostensibly in cheney's corner, libby seems to have sacrificed himself in the hopes of redemption and, one imagines, apotheosis into the pantheon of heroes.
Libby, according to Fitzgerald's indictment, gave a false story to agents and, later, to a grand jury, even though he knew investigators had his notes, and presumably knew that several of his White House colleagues had already provided testimony and documentary evidence that would undercut his own story. And his interviews with the FBI in October and two appearances before the grand jury in March 2004 came at a time when there were increasingly clear signs that some of the reporters with whom Libby discussed Plame could soon be freed to testify -- and provide starkly different and damning accounts to the prosecutor.
To critics, the timing suggests an attempt to obscure Cheney's role, and possibly his legal culpability. The vice president is shown by the indictment to be aware of and interested in Plame and her CIA status long before her cover was blown. Even some White House aides privately wonder whether Libby was seeking to protect Cheney from political embarrassment. One of them noted with resignation, "Obviously, the indictment speaks for itself."
what remains to be seen is whether or not fitzgerald can find the evidence he needs to step over libby's wasted political body to get to the heart of the lawless evil that resides now in the white house, beating within the office of the vice president.