Water Man Spouts

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Scooter, We Hardly Knew Ye

Many people are disappointed that Team Libby put on such a shallow defense for Scooter Libby. They had begun the trial with trash talk that was worthy of the corner men working with a prime Mike Tyson. One almost expected Scooter to jump over the attorneys’ table and take a bite out of Patrick Fitzgerald’s ear.

But it didn’t happen.

Scooter has a story to tell, Teddy Wells announced in opening statements. He convinced many that the defense was going to tell the jury – and indeed the nation – what really happened in the White House in the summer of 2003. Scooter the Martyr was suffering the indignity of being "thrown under the bus" to save Karl Rove. Would Attorney Wells not reduce Karl to a quivering puddle of flesh on the witness stand? Had not the Vice President of the United States of America brought forth a stone tablet that read, "Thou shall not sacrifice the man who the president asked to stick his neck into a meat grinder?" Wouldn’t Attorney Wells put His Honesty Cheney on the witness stand, to make it crystal clear that Scooter is an Innocent Man?

But that didn’t happen, either.

Instead, there was a strangely disorganized defense. As MSNBC’s David Shuster said, it was as if Team Libby was saying, "Scooter didn’t rob THIS bank, and the proof is that there are OTHER banks that he isn’t even accused of robbing!"

But as David Corn pointed out in his 2-12-07 "Libby Trial: What Scooter Didn’t Do," leaks are often selective. "During his grand jury testimony – which was played for the trial jurors – Libby explained how he had been tasked by Cheney (with George W. Bush’s approval) to leak selectively to Miller excerpts from the classified National Intelligence Estimate on Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction (which the White House believed supported its case for war). Libby also told the grand jurors how he worked with then- Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz to leak portions of the NIE to The Wall Street Journal – not to every reporter with whom he would come into contact."

More, Mr. Fitzgerald exposed the fact that Libby, Cheney and Bush kept the declassification of parts of the NIE secret from other administration officials, including Rice, Hadley and Tenet. More, Libby kept this secret from these officials during meetings when they discussed the option of declassifying it.

In his 2-15-07 "Libby’s cynical defense," Sidney Blumenthal told of some fascinating inside information regarding Libby’s defense: "Throughout the anxious months before the trial of United States v. I. Lewis Libby, one of Scooter Libby’s old mentors, a prominent Washington attorney and Republican with experience going back to the Watergate scandal and with intimate ties to neoconservatives, implored him repeatedly to stop covering up for Vice President Cheney and to cut a deal with the special prosecutor. Yet another distinguished Washington lawyer and personal friend of Libby’s, privy to the mentor’s counsel, reinforced his urgent advice and offered to provide Libby with introductions to former prosecutors who might help guide him. But Libby rebuffed them. He refused to listen. He insisted on a trial."

Perhaps Scooter is beginning to listen closer to his friends and attorneys now. Team Libby refused to put Scooter on the witness stand. The decision was not made because they were in a position of strength. Dick Cheney was not called. There is speculation that the defense attorneys may have had a "focus group" that revealed this. Actually, their experience in selecting the jury for Libby’s trial was a clear indicator that Dick Cheney is held in utter contempt by most Americans.

Blumenthal also noted how easily Patrick Fitzgerald handled neoconservative John Hannah on the witness stand. "Hannah’s role was to be the first-person witness to buttress Libby’s memory defense. Yet, under cross-examination by Fitzgerald, Hannah was cracked apart in a matter of minutes. Fitzgerald asked him whether defending Cheney in the media was an important part of Libby’s job. ‘It would be important to push back on those issues, yes,’ Hannah said. Fitzgerald then got Hannah to acknowledge that getting Libby to give up an hour’s worth of his time, given his heavy work load, would be difficult. Fitzgerald zeroed in on Libby’s two long meetings" with Judith Miller. He also spoke of how "the demolition of Hannah was not done": a juror asked if Libby’s difficulties with memory led to concerns about his ability to do his job?

The neoconservative base that supports Scooter is left with less than Team Libby when it comes to trying to defend him. They continue say things like Plame wasn’t covert; that no one was charged with exposing her identity; that Libby didn’t tell Novak about Plame; that Wilson was a democrat; and, most pathetic of all, having shrills like Mary Matalin attempt to convince people that Chris Matthews was the real problem

Yet even on a site as conservative as Fox News’ "Fox Fan," Catherine Herridge wrote yesterday about "Why the Scooter Libby trial matters."

"It’s a complicated story and one that is exposing the questionable relationship between some journalists and their sources in the nation’s capital. While this aspect of the trial is getting a lot of attention, I believe some important principles are being missed.

"When we ask smart, driven, courageous recruits to join the intelligence community, and in many circumstances put their lives on the line in this post 9/11 world, there is an unspoken trust – that their missions and their identities will not be put at risk.

"I spend a great deal of time covering the intelligence community and intelligence related matters. Based on some of those conversations, it appears to me that the outing of Valerie Plame had an impact. No one really knows, with an absolute certainty, the role of Valerie Plame at the CIA. For now, she is most well known as the wife of former ambassador and war critic Joe Wilson.

"But one intelligence observer put it to me this way: When an agent’s name or cover is blown, their entire career can be jeopardized and more importantly, the contacts they have developed over the years can be lost. I don’t know if that’s the case with Valerie Plame … and many question how ‘undercover’ she really was. But it’s worth noting that if the key to preventing another terror attack is good intelligence, then the folks we expect to do the legwork must have complete faith that the system will protect them and their sources."

Scooter Libby belonged to a small but dangerous group of individuals who were willing to expose a covert agent, and destroy all of the work that she and the people she worked with were involved in, to protect the purposeful lies they told to lead our nation into war. And that’s why Team Libby put on such a weak case to defend him. There is no defending what he and his ilk did.people have expressed disappointment at the shallow defense put on by Team Libby in Scooter’s criminal trial. The defense attorneys had done some trash talking that was worthy of the corner men of a prime


Post a Comment

<< Home