10/31/2005: Sacrificial Lambs and Obvious Lies...
Like Most Bloggers…I’ve been musing over the indictment and some thoughts about “Why not Rove too.”
For a long ramble on how I think we've got to the Obvious Lies and the Sacrificial Lamb click on the "more" button to read further.
Lots of weekend articles and Op-Eds are wondering why a smart guy like Libby would tell such sophomoric and obvious lies to the FBI and the grand jury– refuted by known documentation – as to the when, where and how he learned of Valerie Plame and her status as an NOC CIA agent working on behalf of the United States of America. (See here and here and here
There are lots of blogs with good *speculation* out there on why have the underlying charges not been brought - like this over at The Daily Dish: from a commentator
Let's just take the Espionage Act. Fitz clearly said that Plame's position was classified, he implied strongly that it related to national security, and as Josh Marshall pointed out in a recent post, the indictment itself states that both Cheney and Libby knew the precise division of the CIA where she worked, which by definition made her covert. So right there - as soon as he tells that to Miller - you have a prima facie violation of the Espionage Act.
Fitz also said, "I don't buy that theory [that one should never use the Espionage statute], but I do know you should be very careful in applying that law because there are a lot of interests that could be implicated in making sure that you picked the right case to charge that statute ... You want to know what their motive is, you want to know their state of knowledge, you want to know their intent, you want to know the facts." He went on to lament the fact that Libby had lied, thus throwing the proverbial sand in his eyes.
What's all this mean? Well, seems like Fitz has a pretty strong case for the Espionage Act, and if Plame met the objective standards in the Intelligence Act, for that one too. And it seems like the fact that Libby lied repeatedly is very strong evidence of a culpable state of mind, belying any claim that he didn't "know" the info was classified or that divulging it was wrong. Add that to the very specific allegation in the indictment that he knew exactly where she worked, and there it is.
So why not charge it? Because Fitz has Libby nailed on the 5 counts from today's indictment. Just nailed. So he's bringing Libby in on those charges, they're going to talk some turkey, and Fitz is going to see if Libby will talk, maybe about VP, maybe about Official A (who's clearly Rove), or maybe about the VP's moles at State and in the CIA. Offer some carrots - maybe no jail - but if Libby refuses, then Fitz brings down the espionage or intelligence act charges. Libby has nowhere to go, and Fitz knows it. In my view, he's going to try to exploit that opening before wrapping this thing up.”
While similar thoughts have occurred to me, there is the one potentially missing criminal element for those statutes to apply:
Here is a possible Chain of information and leaks (according to the indictment):
We’ve been told there were "conversation between Libby and Official A” about the Novak column and using the information of Ms. Plame CIA affiliation in writing that story. This creates two issues or questions unanswered:
1) Who provided information to "Official A" and
2) Did "Official A" know or have reason to know of the "classified nature of the info and the covert status of Plame" in transmitting this to Novak (who did write the story and the violation is through this branch of the leaks, not via the Libby leaks since those stories were not written and publicized.)
If the status of the information was “known” by Official A to be classified or dealing with a Covert CIA operative’s identity, then discussing this with reporter Novak would be a violation of either statute (Espionage Act or the Covert Id Act.)
But what if the White House and Karl Rove can convince the prosecutor, Fitzgerald, that the leak chain of events is like this:
What we *may* have is that Libby is the ? in the first chain above.
The central contention of the indict is that Libby lied to others (reporters at the very least, and to the FBI agents and the grand jury as the indictment claims.) That Libby *knew this was classified information* and where it came from when he told the FBI and Grand jury that it was from reporters as the original source to him.
IF Rove has somehow convinced Fitzgerald that he got his info solely from Libby (who - the claim would go -lied to Rove about it's origin and it's classifed status...as the indictment alleges he did to Cooper, Miller and Russert)- then Rove's use of it may not be able to fit into violation of *knowing* element on Rove's part for either statute to apply criminally. This is because the direct harm flows via the Official A Leak not directly through the Libby leak.
But without filling in this blank for the ? above ... this is speculation.
But it fits with Fitz's inability to determine the if he can proceed to the underlying charges for either statute. By altering the chain of the leak, they have so far effectively limited the legal jeopardy from the direct harm under the statutes.
So the Crux is who is "Official A" (tho' eveyone is saying it's Rove) and WHERE did he get his information from. So far all bets are that Rove IS Official A , but also that he testified he got his information directly from Libby (see link).
And the White House cabal had loads of time to Invent the fiction that Libby was Rove's only source. Thus Libby must tell obvious Lies to that effect. Libby has become the Sacrificial Lamb to save the V.P., Rove and Ole Child-In-Chief. If these *perpetrator(s)* have been successful in using Libby and his obvious lies towards obscuring that fact...and continue to thwart that connection...then that is the legal problem with the underlying charge for the prosecutor to proceed.
However, If Fitz has an idea that he can get more information beyond that Rove's assertion that his only source was Libby - via more investigating - then Fitz can get to Rove and the significant charges of prosecuting the actual leak and resultant harm.
So that is MY theory and it fits the fact and inferences Fitzs alluded to in his description of the known facts in the indictment.
Karen on 10.31.05 @ 09:52 AM CST