July 02, 2007
Since we last addressed the topic, Irving “Scooter” Libby was assigned a federal prison number. It certainly looked like he was headed for a Federal correctional facility, all because he refused to tell the truth about what was happening inside the Cheney Regency in the aftermath of “Operation Iraqi Freedom”. But now—surprise! surprise!—Scooter has just been handed a stay-out-of-jail card by the White House. Surely none of Taki’s Top Drawer readership will be amused or amazed. The free pass is perfectly reasonable in view of the close relationship among the co-conspirators involved.
In response to certain readers’ comments to my Bush & Cheney: It’s Time to Resign article of June 26th, I wrote, “Libby’s conviction convicts Cheney directly and Bush indirectly of malfeasance—unless we assume that Bush is totally out of the loop. I see no choice for Bush but to pardon Libby. I do not see how Cheney can allow his chief henchman to sit in jail. Libby might talk to prosecutors or, almost as bad, write a tell-almost-all book.” In short, this “commutation” of Scooter’s jail time was to be expected, for the simple reason that those handing out the free pass may well have been complicit in the crimes for which Scooter was convicted. Under these circumstances, sending “Scooter” to the Big House would have been unseemly.
I suggested, instead, that Cheney and G.W. resign. They have chosen to issue a commutation, with a full pardon probably coming later. This commutation is in contrast to “Bubba” Clinton’s pardon on January 20th, 2001 of “Scooter” Libby’s long-time client, the New York/Israeli fraudster Marc Rich. That outrage came as a bolt out of the blue to most innocent bystanders. What both pardons do have in common, of course, is corruption and brazenness. They stink to high heaven, and for good reason. We are witnessing rot at the very top of the American political Establishment. The good news is that it might wake up and shake up whatever honest individuals might be left in Washington and in the country at large.
The kickoff to the current “Scooter” affair was the outing of CIA undercover agent Valerie Plame Wilson. The CIA requested in the summer of 2003 that the Justice Department look into the matter. It could normally be assumed that high-level White House officials would not be involved in blowing the cover of a CIA operative who has been working across town, specializing in global non-proliferation of WMD. Most especially, it might be expected for this Administration, because G.W. and Cheney had loudly proclaimed the necessity of going to war to protect the country from WMD, albeit nonexistent ones. Certainly few could conceive that such mischief directed against the CIA might happen at the direction of, or in connivance with, the Vice President of the United States—and for purely inside-the-beltway political reasons. All such assumptions, expectations and imaginings would be a mistake.
“Scooter’s” supporters like to argue that it was the rough-and-tumble, voluble Deputy Secretary of State, Richard Armitage, who was in fact the guy who off-handedly spilled the beans to reporter Robert Novak when he informed Novak that Valerie Plame was married to Ambassador Joseph Wilson and that she was a CIA agent—so what’s the big deal? Something like that did happen, granted, but it is almost beside the point when viewed in context. The Justice Department investigation quickly turned upon the larger issue of just what kind of nefarious campaign of disinformation and character assassination was being conducted behind the scenes at the White House in the wake of Wilson’s revelations in the New York Times with respect to the bogus connection between Niger “yellowcake” uranium and the regime of Saddam Hussein. The White House, meaning the Regent Cheney, went into attack mode just as soon as that article hit the newsstands and the talk shows. What Wilson asserted instantly deflated the WMD threat of Saddam Hussein almost to zero. “Scooter” was the Regent’s chief-of-staff as well as an assistant to the cut-out occupying the Oval Office. It is reasonable to assume that “Scooter” was engrossed in the vindictive campaign to discredit Wilson and his wife, and that he was doing it at the direction of Cheney.
Thanks to god-awful bad luck for Cheney and his “neocon” network in control of the Executive Branch, Federal prosecutor Patrick “Bulldog” Fitzgerald ended up in charge of the investigation. Last Friday, June 29th, the Associated Press reported that Fitzgerald soon realized there was something peculiar going on. There was more to the case than just the outing of Valerie Plame. The “Bulldog” was confronted with the fact that he, his staff and the FBI were being routinely snookered by “Scooter”, who was arguably the third or maybe even the second most powerful individual inside the White House. Fitzgerald no doubt wondered why “Scooter” would want to deceive the grand jury and the FBI, especially since he (Fitzgerald) already knew about Armitage’s gossipy conversation with Novak. To quote the AP:
Midway through his CIA leak investigation, Special Prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald was pretty sure of two things: First, he wasn’t going to charge White House aide I. Lewis “Scooter” Libby with revealing a covert operative. And second, he thought Libby’s testimony was a bunch of lies.
Documents unsealed in the case Friday revealed that when Fitzgerald subpoenaed New York Times reporter Judith Miller in 2005, he was already building a perjury and obstruction case against Libby, the former chief of staff to Vice President Dick Cheney. ‘Libby’s account of conversations has been largely inconsistent with every other material witness to date,’ Fitzgerald wrote in court documents.
As noted in passing on June 26th, the only conceivable reason for “Scooter” not to tell the truth, to deliberately commit perjury, would be that he was attempting to cover something up for his boss, the Regent Cheney. We now know that Regent Cheney occupies a separate universe within the Executive Branch of the Federal Government, answerable to no one, including the FBI, the Congress and the U.S. Constitution. This is not speculation. We know it to be true because “the Office of the Vice President” has stated as much, only in different words. This being the case, why should Cheney’s chief of staff be expected to be straightforward with any outside inquiry? Like his boss, “Scooter” would feel the same entitlement to stonewall, conceal and obfuscate. It would only be natural. In fact, it would be a badge of honor in service to the cause.
And what was there to conceal that was so important that it required perjury and obstruction of justice, both of which deliberately stymied Fitzgerald from getting to the bottom of the affair, which prevented him from connecting the dots linking Karl “Valerie Plame is fair game” Rove with the talking figurehead in the Oval Office with Armitage over at the State Department and back to “Scooter” Libby and to the all-powerful but completely unaccountable Regent himself, Dick Cheney? Perhaps what these characters needed to hide at all cost was the fraudulent nature of the war itself, in all its “neocon” ramifications, the very subject about which Ambassador Wilson had just barely touched upon. Perhaps “Scooter” and Regent Cheney and Cheney’s Cabal were terrified that “Bulldog” Fitzgerald might stumble upon a can of worms, and inadvertently open it. About which, more anon.