Bring It On!

Fitz Lied and Scooter Fried?

August 31st, 2006 | by Craig R. Harmon |

Okay, I. Lewis Libby hasn’t fried but he has been indicted in the years-long and still ongoing investigation into who leaked the name and CIA status of Valerie Plame and I don’t know whether Fitzgerald lied or whether, after nearly two years of investigation, he still had no clue as to who had leaked Plames name and place of employment but I gotta wonder.

The odd thing is that according to a new book, the person who leaked that information was known several months before Fitzgerald took over the investigation toward the end of December 2003. The Department of Justice knew by the end of October 2003 who the leaker was and it wasn’t I. Lewis Libby it was Richard Armitage, number two man at the State Department and they knew this because Armitage, himself, had admitted as much to them.

So tell me, please, why, in his public press conference on October 28, 2005, did Fitzgerald say, “In fact, Mr. Libby was the first official known to have told a reporter when he talked to [former New York Times reporter] Judith Miller in June of 2003 about Valerie Wilson.”

Are we to believe that, two years after Armitage admitted to the DoJ that he was the leaker, the prosecutor in the case did not know that Armitage, not Libby, was the leaker? How can this be? Did the DoJ not tell it’s own hired prosecutor that the culprit had already admitted to the deed? Is that likely? I don’t know. It doesn’t sound terribly likely to me. If they didn’t tell him, why not? Doesn’t the fact that someone had already confessed to the deed seem relevant to Fitzgerald’s investigation?

On the other hand, if Fitzgerald HAD been informed, did he think that Armitage’s admission was bogus, that it fell into the same category as the admission by Mr. Karr that he was present when JonBenet Ramsey died? Did he think Armitage a kook making a false admission?

Or did he just plain out and out lie in his press conference?

I ask you?

Another question: Why has Armitage remained silent for so long while the Vice President and his staff have been all but strung-up for outing Ms. Plame as a political vendetta against her husband? Has the man no shame? Has the man no honor? Is the man a coward? Or has he simply enjoyed the columnists’ and blogospheric feeding frenzy and conspiracy weavings, including Truthout’s moronic ‘Karl Rove is under sealed indictment’ story and the resulting damage it has caused to the White House?

Also, Bush has been vilified for not acting on his promise to fire anyone who leaked the name and place of employment of Ms. Plame. We are told that Armitage told his boss, then Secretary of State, Colin Powell and the DoJ. Did he never tell the White House? Is it possible that, after all these months of calls by Bush critics to fire somebody for leaks and of reviling him for not doing so, that the explanation is quite simple: he didn’t know who had leaked the information and, so, had no idea who to fire?

Are some red-faced apologies due the President? Quite a few apologies, actually?

It is possible that Fitzgerald said what he did about Libby being the first official known to tell a reporter about Plame because he had no clue that Armitage, two years earlier, had already admitted the deed. In that case, Fitzgerald did not lie. What does that say about the competence of his investigation after two years? I’ll leave that to others to answer.

What does the years of remaining silent throughout this charade known as the CIA leak investigation while men whom he knew to be innocent of the charges being levied against them from all sides say about Richard Armitage? Is this a family blog? It is? Then perhaps I shouldn’t say what I think of Richard Armitage.

And what of the ongoing investigation? How much longer are we expected to pay for an investigation into a non-existent crime?

I ask you.

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  1. 17 Responses to “Fitz Lied and Scooter Fried?”

  2. By ascap_scab on Aug 31, 2006 | Reply

    It has always been my contention that third-stringer Fitzgerald (R-IL) would never bring charges in the Plame matter.  Remember the charges against Libby are lying to the Grand Jury and investigators (obstruction of justice) multiple times, not for outing Plame.  If Libby had told the truth behind closed doors, he would never have been indicted and the whole Plame outing thing would have been called off by now.  The indictment against Libby will eventually be be dropped or pled out for a small fine after the mid-terms.

    And what of the ongoing investigation? How much longer are we expected to pay for an investigation into a non-existent crime?

    Compared to the $80 million Ken Starr/Robert Ray prosecution-in-search-of-a-case fiasco??

     

  3. By Craig R. Harmon on Aug 31, 2006 | Reply

    So we’re forced to pay for this fiasco because we had to pay for a prior fiasco?

    A first stringer (and how third string can a prosecutor who brought down a mob boss be?) would have come out up front and declare that the leaker was Armitage, that he didn’t know that Plame was undercover and had no malicious intent and therefore no laws were broken and therefore there’s no use to waste time and money on an investigation into a non-crime.

     

  4. By tos on Aug 31, 2006 | Reply

    Craig-The whole point is they wanted revenge for what happened to Clinton. Don’t get me wrong because I supported Clinton during that time and I thought what an embarrasment these people are to our country to do this to our president.

    I really think this game of politics has gotten so out of proportion that nobody relly represents the American people all they are doing is fighting amongst themselves for power. It’s shameful.

  5. By Paul Merda on Aug 31, 2006 | Reply

    As far as Libby is concerned, the old adage rings true; it’s not the crime that’ll get ya, it’s the cover-up.

    TOS,

    No, I don’t think this was totally about revenge, I’m sure in some cases it was, but it was about doing the right thing.  If someone had outed Plame for partisan politics, that would be shameful…  If you really think politics in America is about representing the people any longer then you are just deluding yourself…  It’s all about power and money, nothing more, nothing less.  I don’t think it was ever any different at any time in our history…

  6. By Paul Merda on Aug 31, 2006 | Reply

    TOS,

    Sorry, forget about my opening line to you, I do think it was about revenge more than anything else.  After reflecting on my closing lines, I now realize this…

  7. By tos on Aug 31, 2006 | Reply

    Well Paul,

    Maybe it is only partly about revenge although I think this would be happening whether or not this happened to Clinton.

  8. By ken grandlund on Aug 31, 2006 | Reply

    Craig- whether Armitage knew that Plame was undercover, or whether he knew that outing an undercover CIA agent was illegal is irrelevant. You’ve heard the saying, “Ignorance of the law is no excuse.” That said, if Armitage is the admitted leaker of this info, he probably should be charged. But as noted in the first comment, Libby is indicted for perjury, not outing Plame.

    As for the contention that the investigation is purely revenge in action, I submit that it is not. Bush himself said that if someone from his administration leaked the name of plame they would be fired. He said he wanted to know who did it. Thus the investigation. (Of course, I don’t think Bush really wanted to know, but you should be careful what you ask for.)

  9. By Craig R. Harmon on Aug 31, 2006 | Reply

    Ken,

    “whether Armitage knew that Plame was undercover, or whether he knew that outing an undercover CIA agent was illegal is irrelevant.”

    The question is whether he knew that she was undercover. I don’t have the statute at hand but I’ve read it. As I recall, it is necessary that one know that the person is undercover and that it is done knowing (or that one ought to know) that doing so would do harm to the nation’s security. Apparently Armitage did not know (and there is no evidence that he did know) that she was undercover. Since he did not know that there was anything secret about her place of employment, it is not possible that he could know that sharing the information would be of any harm. This is the problem with such a prosecution: proving that the law was broken depends in part on knowing what the person knew and what his intent was. Thus, no prosecution for the crime; the crime was not committed. No one could be proven to have revealed the information with the knowledge or intent required for the crime to be committed.

    This is how I understand it, anyway. As for Libby, if he was not the one who leaked the information, and he wasn’t, he couldn’t be tried for the crime that began this whole rigamarole.

  10. By ken grandlund on Aug 31, 2006 | Reply

    Well I don’t know the exact statute either, but I would think that if Armitage revealed that she was part of the CIA, and that information was heretofore unknown to anyone outside the CIA, AND he was fairly sure that noone knew she was CIA, it’s hard to argue that he was unknowingly outing a CIA operative.

    and again, Libby was indicted for perjury, which is a crime regardless of what he was perjuring about.

  11. By Craig R. Harmon on Aug 31, 2006 | Reply

    Ken,

    Libby is toast if he lied. I agree. I’m not trying to get him out of purjury charges if he perjured himself. My point is, if no crime was committed and it was known from the beginning of the investigation that no crime was committed, why’s the investigation going long enough to catch Libby, or anyone else in a lie?

    You make a point but, not being perfectly clear about the requrements of what constitutes the crime, I can’t say for sure. I don’t think it’s a crime to tell someone that someone works at the CIA if that person is not undercover. I’m pretty sure that the crime involved requires knowingly revealing the identity of an undercover agent. If that’s true, and if Armitage did not know that she was an undercover agent, he could not have committed the crime.

  12. By Craig R. Harmon on Aug 31, 2006 | Reply

    I’ve found the text of The Intelligence Identities Protection Act (consisting of sections 421-426 so you may have to click through to the following five sections). You can find the Wiki article on it here.

    From that article (emphasis is mine):

    “The Intelligence Identities Protection Act of 1982 (Pub.L. 97-200, 50 U.S.C. §§ 421-426) is a United States federal law that makes it a federal crime to intentionally reveal the identity of an agent who one knows to be in or recently in certain covert roles with a U.S. intelligence agency.”

    In the case of this particular law, if Armitage didn’t know that Plame was in one of those protected roles, he could not break this law by revealing that Plame worked at the CIA.

    In this case, ignorance is an excuse. 

  13. By Craig R. Harmon on Aug 31, 2006 | Reply

    This from the text (emphasis is mine): 

    “Whoever, having or having had authorized access to classified information that identifies a covert agent, intentionally discloses any information identifying such covert agent to any individual not authorized to receive classified information, knowing that the information disclosed so identifies such covert agent and that the United States is taking affirmative measures to conceal such covert agent’s intelligence relationship to the United States, shall be fined under title 18 or imprisoned not more than ten years, or both.”

    If Armitage did not know that the government was actively keeping her id secret, he did not break this law. My understanding is that the other laws that are being investigated in the Plame affair have similar language.

  14. By ken grandlund on Aug 31, 2006 | Reply

    Thanks for digging that up Craig. It certainly clears up the questions about the statute.

    But this article does show that there were machinations among White House staff to capitalize on Armitage’s ‘gossipping” and encouraged the Novak article to further their efforts to discredit Plame’s husband, Joe Wilson. It further goes on to state that even when th eadministration learned about Rove and Libby’s roles in extending the situation became known, that Bush made efforts to refuse to acknowledge that information.

    So while Armitage may have initially ’spilled the beans’ to Bob Woodward (who kept the secret secret- thus not furthering the revelation of her identity), it was Rove and Libby who kept the ball rolling.

    As all the principal actors are government officials, they should have (a) known about the legal ramifications of their name-dropping and (b) kept their mouths shut to avoid breaking any laws. As it is, Armitage the gossip didn’t take thing further, but Rove and Libby surely did.

  15. By Craig R. Harmon on Sep 1, 2006 | Reply

    Ken,

    That was some plot to take down Wilson. It depended upon a journalist calling the WH and actually raising the question of whether Valerie Plame, Wilson’s wife, was a CIA employee, information that wasn’t a part of the plot to take down Wilson and leaked completely independently.

    This is why that scenario has never made sense. If this were a plot as described by Corn, wouldn’t the WH be calling the press, on deep background, passing along the info rather than waiting for the press to call them and raise the issue first? Doesn’t make sense to me.

    I also notice that Corn avoids mention of the various questionable things that Wilson was saying about his trip to Africa, things such as that his findings suggested that the WH had been twisting intelligence about Iraq’s alleged attempts to obtain yellow-cake from Niger. This, of course, is questionable since the investigations into the run up to the Iraq war suggest just the opposite, that the information obtained by Wilson and reported to the CIA made actually strengthened the conclusion that Iraq had done just that. He had also been saying things like the State of the Union address had made use of forged documents that he himself had debunked. Just one problem with that, he, himself had not seen and therefore could not have debunked those documents…primarily because the documents in question had not shown up until many months later. There were also statements suggesting that the Vice-President had sent him to Niger (not true) and that his wife had nothing to do with his getting the nod for the trip (she did, in fact, have a fair bit to do with it) as well as saying that the White House knew of his findings from the trip to Africa (they didn’t; his report, oral only, was made to the CIA and the CIA had not informed the WH about the findings of his report.

    In short, there was a lot of, from the White House’s point of view, misinformation about the trip Wilson made and what he had found and about the validity of the intelligence that the WH was using that just screamed out for correction, misinformation that was not just damaging to the White House but to the support for the Iraq war.

    I agree that the leak by Armitage of Plame’s id and employment at the CIA was dumb and wrong but was not, apparently, illegal. I also agree that the subsequent confirmation of information that had already been leaked was dumb and should not have been done but the whole Wilson affair was dumb and wrong. Wilson, whose trip was classified should never have been given permission to make public his version of what he found out on his trip and not just because his version was shakey on many of the facts.

  16. By Craig R. Harmon on Sep 1, 2006 | Reply

    But what’s still unaddressed is why do you suppose Fitz said that the first official known to have revealed Plame’s name and employment at the CIA was Libby, two years after it was known that the person who leaked that info was none other than Armitage.

    1. Does anyone here honestly believe that Fitz didn’t know or didn’t believe that Armitage and not Libby had been the first to leak that information? 

    2. If he knew that wasn’t true, what does that say about the credibility of the prosecutor and of his investigation? If Fitz lied, doesn’t that call into question the entire investigation, including his indictment of Libby? My thinking is this: if Fitz is lying about Libby in public, why not in his indictment?

    3. How does one justify the continuation of this investigation by this prosecutor if he has publically lied about the basic underlying facts of the case? 

  17. By REB 84 on Sep 2, 2006 | Reply

    This is all I have to say on the topic:

    http://www.teambio.org/2006/08/found-missing-intelligence-on-iran/ 

  18. By REB 84 on Sep 2, 2006 | Reply

    OK, let’s try this.

    Found: Missing Intelligence on Iran

     http://questionitnow.com/iraqb/2006/02/evidence-evidence-we-dont-need-no.html

    http://questionitnow.com/iraqb/2005/11/neo-con-iraq-regime-change-plans-from.html

    Lies, Damn Lies, and Misinformation

    http://questionitnow.com/iraqb/2005/10/criminalization-of-politics-weapons-of.html 

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