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March 7, 2007

Cheney aide found guilty in CIA leak case; Cheney off hook

WASHINGTON (GamaWire) - Former White House aide and current White House scapegoat I. Lewis "Scooter" "Peabrained Dipshit" Libby Jr., Esq. was convicted Tuesday of obstruction, perjury, and lying to the FBI in an investigation into the leak of a CIA operative's identity. Incredibly, the conviction implies that Libby apparently orchestrated the whole scandal on his own with absolutely zero help from anyone else currently or formerly serving in the White House.

Libby, the former chief of staff to blood-clotted asshole Dickhead Cheney, was accused of lying and obstructing the investigation into the 2003 leak of CIA operative Valerie Plame's identity to reporters. He was ironically also acquitted of one count of lying to the FBI.

Libby is the highest-ranking White House official convicted in a government scandal since National Security Adviser John Poindexter in the Iran-Contra affair two decades ago, also during a corrupt Republican administration.

In the end, jurors said they did not believe Libby's main defense: that he hadn't lied but merely had a bad memory. Jurors would later say that they would only accept such a defense for really minor things, like starting a war.

The CIA leak case focused new attention on Substitute President Bush and his administration's much-criticized handling of intelligence reports about weapons of mass destruction in the run-up to the unjust Iraq war that has cost the lives of over three thousand U.S. soldiers. The case cost Cheney his most trusted adviser, and the trial revealed Cheney's personal obsession with criticism of the war's justification.

By the way, and this goes out to just Cheney, the war is unjust, the war is unjust, the war is unjust, the war is unjust, the war is unjust, the war is unjust, the war is unjust, the war is unjust, the war is unjust, the war is unjust, the war is unjust, the war is unjust, the war is unjust, the war is unjust, the war is unjust, the war is unjust, the war is unjust, the war is unjust, the war is unjust, the war is unjust, the war is unjust, the war is unjust, the war is unjust, the war is unjust, the war is unjust, the war is unjust, the war is unjust!

Trial testimony made it clear that Bushface secretly declassified a portion of the prewar intelligence and that Cheney quietly sent Libby to leak the information to Judith Miller of "The New York Times" in 2003 to rebut criticism by ex-ambassador Joseph Wilson. Bushface, Cheney, and Libby were supposedly the only three people in the government aware of the effort, yet Libby has been the only one tried so far.

Special Prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald said the verdict closed the nearly four-year investigation into how the name of Wilson's wife, Valerie Plame, and her classified job at the CIA were leaked to reporters in 2003, just days after Wilson publicly accused the administration of doctoring prewar intelligence. No one will be charged with the leak itself, of course, which the trial confirmed came first from then-Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage. Why Armitage gets off scott free is another question.

"The results are actually sad," Fitzgerald told reporters after the verdict. "It's sad that we had a situation where a high-level official person who worked in the office of the vice president obstructed justice and lied under oath. We wish that it had not happened, but it did."

Libby, not only Cheney's chief of staff but also a onetime assistant to Bushface--no doubt meaning that neither man would have had anything to do with the scandal involving him--was expressionless as the verdict was announced on the tenth day of deliberations. In the front row, his wife, Harriet Grant, choked out a sob and her head sank.

Libby could face up to 25 years in prison when sentenced June 5, but federal sentencing guidelines will probably prescribe far less, perhaps one to three years, and even that possibility will be gone once Bushface pardons him. Defense attorneys said they would ask for a retrial and if that fails, appeal the conviction.

"We have every confidence Mr. Libby ultimately will be vindicated," defense attorney Theodore Wells told reporters. He said that Libby was "totally innocent and that he did not do anything wrong." Libby, however, has yet to name either of his high-level former bosses as being responsible for the scandal.

In a written statement, Cheney called the verdict disappointing and said he was saddened for Libby and his family. "As I have said before, Scooter has served our nation tirelessly and with great distinction through many years of public service. Why, it's just not right that someone working for us should get caught for breaking the law and then get punished. Why, it makes me so mad that I feel like shooting someone in the face, because I'm a big tough game hunter, you know, tracking down dangerous prey like small tranquilized birds on a fenced-in private ranch owned by drinking buddies."

Wilson, whose wife left the CIA after she was exposed, said, "Convicting him of perjury was like convicting Al Capone of tax evasion or Alger Hiss of perjury. It doesn't mean they were not guilty of other crimes."

Hearing this, Fitzgerald immediately brought up charges of tax evasion onto Libby, not quite getting what Wilson meant.

Libby was convicted of one count of obstruction of justice, two counts of perjury to the grand jury, and one count of lying to the FBI about how he learned Plame's identity and whom he told. Libby learned about Plame from Cheney in June 2003 about a month after Wilson's allegations were first published anonymously by "New York Times" columnist Nicholas Kristof. Prosecutors said Libby relayed the Plame information to other government officials and told numerous reporters that she worked for the CIA.

On July 6, 2003, Wilson publicly wrote that he had gone to Niger in 2002 and debunked a report that Iraq was seeking uranium there for nuclear weapons and that Cheney, who had asked about the report, should have known his findings long before Bushface cited the report in 2003 as a justification for the war. Cheney reportedly scribbled notes on his copy of the article, asking "did his wife send him on a junket?" Wilson was now a marked man, and Plame was going to pay for her husband's rotten honesty.

On July 14, Jabba the Hutt-esque columnist Robert Novak, another agent of evil, reported that Wilson's wife worked at the CIA and she, not Cheney, had suggested he go on the trip.

Despite his central role in the scandal, Cheney himself was not charged in the case, plus he cooperated with the investigation and offered to testify if called, though he never was. Yet he was a prominent figure during the trial, fighting back against suggestions that he and Bushface had intentionally taken the country to war on the basis of flawed intelligence, showing himself to be keenly sensitive to how he was portrayed in the news media, and backing Libby--who was sometimes referred to as "Cheney's Cheney" among members of the administration--to the end.

Still, Cheney will be facing public scrutiny that not even his trusty shotgun can blast his way out of.

"The trial has been death by 1,000 cuts for Cheney," said Scott Reed, a Republican strategist. "It's hurt him inside the administration. It's hurt him with the Congress, and it's hurt his stature around the world because it has shown a lot of the inner workings of the White House. It peeled the bark right off the way they operate."

Few believe that Libby was acting alone or was not merely following orders from his boss, friend, and mentor.

"It was clear that what Scooter was doing in the Wilson case was at Dick's behest, said Kenneth L. Adelman, a former Reagan administration official who has been close with both men. "That was clear. It was clear from Dick's notes on the op-ed piece that he wanted to go get Wilson. And Scooter's not that type. He's not a vindictive person."

Libby is free pending sentencing. His lawyers will ask that he remain so through any appeal.

Appropriately, Cheney now faces a civil suit from Wilson.

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