Did you have one of those moms who hung you out to dry on your own excesses? You know, as in "No, Mom, I didn’t feed the broccoli to the dog. I’d never do that, you know how much I love broccoli." And suddenly you find yourself stuck at the table until you finish a whole plate of it.
I’m betting Patrick Fitzgerald did, because that’s exactly what he’s doing to Scooter Libby. The most enjoyable part about reading his new filing is watching him stick it to Scooter with the mountain of lies offered up by BushCo. as they attempted to distance themselves from toxic Plame fallout.
Scooter’s main defense, as we all know, is that he was much too important and much too busy to remember something as insignificant as his conversations about Valerie Plame, and that he had no reason to lie about what he did. Fitzgerald is having none of it:
Defendant’s request for discovery to show an absence of motive to lie or conceal his conduct overlooks the fact that even the materials defendant appended to his motion show that in early October 2003 (when defendant first gave his story) there would be great embarrassment to the administration if it became publicly known that defendant had participated in disseminating information about Ms. Wilson’s CIA employment, and defendant would have had every reason to assume he would be fired if his true actions became known. The National Security Advisor Dr. Condoleezza Rice publicly stated that she knew "nothing of any such White House effort to reveal any of this, and it would certainly not be the way the president would expect his White House to operate."
Also on September 29, 2003, White House Press Secretary McClellan stated that:
There are anonymous reports all the time in the media. The President has set high standards, the highest of standards, for people in his administration. He’s made it very clear to people in his administration that he expects them to adhere to the highest standards of conduct. If anyone in this administration was involved in it, they would no longer be in this administration…
Oh stop, Patrick, I can’t take it….yer killin’ me…
Thus, as defendant approached his first FBI interview he knew that the White House had publicly staked its credibility on there being no White House involvement in the leaking of information about Ms. Wilson and that, at defendant’s specific request through the Vice President, the White House had publicly proclaimed that defendant was "not involved in this." The President had vowed to fire anyone involved in leaking classified information. In that context, defendant proceeded to tell the FBI that he had merely passed information from one reporter (Russert) to other reporters while disclaiming any knowledge of whether the information he passed was true, and certainly unaware that he knew this classified information from government channels. Once that die was cast, defendant repeated the story in a subsequent interview and during two grand jury appearances.
He also subjects Libby to the most profound humiliation possible — his own tortured prose. It borders on the cruel and inhuman.
I remember what an exercise in frustration it was to read this White House bunkum repeated without skepticism by a compliant press over and over and wonder when the hell someone was going to call bullshit.
PF has a second career in stand-up comedy if he ever wants it. Scooter is stuck at the table with a big, steaming pile of BushCo. balderdash sitting in front of him as he tries to defend himself. Dig in, fella.
And Fitzgerald is also slowly, methodically, inexorably driving a wedge between Bush and the OVP. Even as Bush depends on Cheney and Libby to keep quiet and protect him, he is forced to publicly repudiate and distance himself from them:
President Bush declassified sensitive intelligence in 2003 and authorized its public disclosure to rebut Iraq war critics, but he did not specifically direct that Vice President Dick Cheney’s former chief of staff, I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby, be the one to disseminate the information, an attorney knowledgeable about the case said Saturday.
Bush merely instructed Cheney to "get it out" and left the details to him, said the lawyer, who spoke on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the case for the White House. The vice president chose Libby and communicated the president’s wishes to his then-top aide, the lawyer said.
Meanwhile, inquiring minds want to know: why is nobody in the press asking who the big donors are to Scooter’s defense fund? We want names and dollar amounts, people.
Come on, Comstock. Cough ’em up.
(graphic by NeoJoe)