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November 21, 2007

Former White House press secretary says Bush had role in Plame coverup

Former White House press secretary says Bush had role in Plame coverup

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Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Scott McClellan gives a White House briefing on July 15, 2003.

Scott McClellan, a former White House Press Secretary, says in a new book that George W. Bush, Dick Cheney, and Karl Rove, misled McClellan about the , leading him to publicly exonerate Rove and Lewis “Scooter” Libby.

“There was one problem. It was not true. I had unknowingly passed along false information. And five of the highest ranking officials in the administration were involved in my doing so: Rove, Libby, the vice president, the president’s chief of staff, and the president himself,” says McClellan in a excerpt of the book that was released to the public.

McClellan shakes hands with President Bush after announcing his resignation on April 19, 2006.

In an interview with CNN, earlier this year, McClellan said his statements were what he “believed to be true at the time based on assurances that we were both given.” At that time he gave no indication that Bush was involved with or even knew that Rove or Libby were involved with the leak.

The current White House Press Secretary, Dana Perino, said, when asked about it today, that it is not clear what McClellan means in the excerpt. “The President has not and would not ask his spokespeople to pass on false information,” she said.

“Just when you think the credibility of this White House can’t get any lower, another shoe drops,” said Senator Chuck Schumer, of New York. “If the Bush administration won’t even tell the truth to its official spokesman, how can the American people expect to be told the truth either?”



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July 3, 2007

Biden questions Bush\’s \”special treatment\” of \”Scooter\” Libby

Biden questions Bush’s “special treatment” of “Scooter” Libby

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Tuesday, July 3, 2007

Joe Biden, Senior Senator from Delaware and Democratic Party Presidential candidate hopeful.

Yesterday Wikinews reported that the prison sentence of I. Lewis ‘Scooter’ Libby was commuted by US President George W. Bush. Today Senator Joe Biden of Delaware, a Democratic Party hopeful for the 2008 Presidential election, has issued a statement on his blog critical of the President’s actions.

Cquote1.svg Today, Tony Snow said that President Bush decided to commute Scooter Libby’s 30 month prison sentence for perjury and obstruction of justice because it was ‘excessive.’

Yet, last year, the Bush administration filed a friend-of-the-court brief with the Supreme Court in an attempt to uphold a lower court’s ruling that a 33 month prison sentence for Victor Rita, who was convicted of perjury and obstruction of justice, was ‘reasonable.’

The questions we should all be asking ourselves today are: Why is the President flip-flopping? Why does Scooter Libby get special treatment?

Cquote2.svg

Lewis ‘Scooter’ Libby, former chief of staff for Dick Cheney.

Libby is the former chief of staff for U.S. Vice President Dick Cheney, and was at the center of the CIA leak scandal, where the identity of former CIA agent Valerie Plame was allegedly leaked to the media by White House officials. Bush’s intervention ensures that Libby will not serve jail time, however Libby must still pay a US$250,000 fine and undergo two years of probation.

Biden goes on to suggest that “George Bush’s disregard for the rule of law is truly unbecoming a President. In 2000, when you ran for president, you promised to ‘uphold the honor and dignity’ of the office of President of the United States—we’re still waiting.”

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June 5, 2007

Scooter Libby gets 30 months in Plame case

Scooter Libby gets 30 months in Plame case

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Tuesday, June 5, 2007

Scooter Libby.jpg

Today, Tuesday, United States District Judge Reggie B. Walton, presiding at the E. Barrett Prettyman Federal Courthouse in Washington, D.C., sentenced I. Lewis “Scooter” Libby to 30 months in prison. He also fined Libby US$250,000.

Judge Walton chose not to delay the sentencing of Libby until an appeal sought by the defendant has a chance to be heard. Libby was convicted in March of perjury, obstruction of justice, and making false statements to federal investigators after he was found guilty by a jury of lying in the Plame affair investigation in which Valerie Plame’s identity as a CIA operative was leaked to the press. The Libby defense team is preparing an appeal to that conviction that may be ready by December this year.

Both defendant Libby and U.S. prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald left the court with no comments to reporters. Libby was not remanded to prison immediately. Judge Walton indicated that the court would receive briefs from both plaintiffs and defendant before ruling on when jail time would commence.

Libby’s defense team submitted a sentencing memo to Judge Walton on Thursday last week. The memo asked for leniency and a “downward departure” in the court’s ruling that could impose jail time on Libby. The memo urged the court to consider “the more than 160 heartfelt letters” submitted on Libby’s behalf. It also urged the court to consider Libby’s extraordinary commitment to public service. “The fundamental command that the sentence be sufficient, but not greater than necessary to serve the purposes of punishment, makes clear that a sentence of probation is warranted here,” according to the memo.

Cquote1.svg The Probation Office calculated the applicable [sentencing] Guidelines at 15 – 21 months and identified several grounds for downward departure from that range. Cquote2.svg

—Lawyers for Libby’s defense

Special Prosecutor Fitzgerald called Libby unrepentant and unremorseful at the trial’s sentencing hearing on May 25. Fitzgerald asked the federal judge to sentence Libby to 30 – 37 months in jail.

Norman Pearlstine, former editor in chief of TIME magazine, wrote in the week before the sentencing that: “Fitzgerald convinced the jury that Libby lied when he denied telling Cooper and Miller about Plame and when he said he had first learned of Plame’s identity from Russert, instead of from Cheney.” Pearlstine referred to journalists Matt Cooper, Judith Miller, and Tim Russert. Dick Cheney is the vice-president of the United States. Libby resigned as the vice-president’s chief of staff after he was indicted in the ensuing investigation over the exposure of a CIA operative’s identity.

Earlier there was speculation that President Bush might pardon Libby. Deputy White House Press Secretary Dana Perino told the press aboard Air Force One on the way to the G8 summit in Rostock, Germany, that Bush “…does feel terrible for them [Libby and his family], he thinks they’re going through a lot right now, they’ve been through a lot. But given the fact that the judge has set up a process for appeal and given the way that the President has handled this for the past year or so, he’s not going to intervene.”

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March 6, 2007

Jury convicts former aide to Dick Cheney in Plame case

Jury convicts former aide to Dick Cheney in Plame case

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Tuesday, March 6, 2007

A U.S. jury has found Lewis ‘Scooter’ Libby guilty of four counts of obstructing justice, lying and perjury during the investigation into the disclosure of former CIA operative Valerie Plame’s identity. Libby faces up to 30 years in prison with the conviction announced at the E. Barrett Prettyman Federal Courthouse in Washington, D.C. on Tuesday. Sentencing for the guilty verdicts are expected to be handed down on June 5. The defense lawyer for Libby says he will ask for a new trial or an appeal.

Once the chief of staff to Vice President Dick Cheney, Libby resigned in October 2005 after charges were brought against him by Patrick Fitzgerald over the Plame affair. The conviction is vindication for the role played by special prosecutor Fitzgerald, who some believed went too far by bringing charges against Libby when no indictments were made stemming from the original offense investigated.

“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.” said Fitzgerald according to MSNBC. What effect the verdict will have on the United States Congress and the credibility of the Bush administration’s run-up to the war in Iraq is unclear.

The conviction came after what Fitzgerald originally alleged, by way of a baseball analogy, was the equivalent of Libby “throwing sand in the face of an umpire.”

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September 1, 2006

Sources: State Department official source of Plame leak

Sources: State Department official source of Plame leak

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Friday, September 1, 2006

Former Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage has been revealed as the original source of the information about Valerie Plame that made its way into Robert Novak’s column about the Niger affair. According to sources, Armitage discussed it casually and it is not clear whether he had knowledge of her classified status.

Plame and her husband Joseph Wilson have filed a civil lawsuit alleging that the administration intentionally used the leak to retaliate against him for his criticism of the war on Iraq.

According to ABC News, when Armitage realized he was the source of the leak early on in the affair, he informed the FBI of it.

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May 14, 2006

Fitzgerald to announce new evidence against Libby

Fitzgerald to announce new evidence against Libby

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Sunday, May 14, 2006

Federal prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald announced on Friday that he would introduce new evidence in the perjury and obstruction of justice case against former Vice Presidential chief of staff Lewis “Scooter” Libby.

Wikipedia Learn more about Plame affair on Wikipedia.

One of the new pieces of evidence consists of handwritten notes that Vice President Dick Cheney left on the margins of ambassador Joseph Wilson’s OpEd column questioning the administration’s handling of evidence regarding weapons of mass destruction (WMD) in the run-up to the Iraq war. Fitzgerald charged that “those annotations support the proposition that publication of the Wilson Op Ed acutely focused the attention of the Vice President and the defendant – his chief of staff – on Mr. Wilson, on the assertions made in his article, and on responding to those assertions.” Fitzgerald describes the notes as reflecting “the contemporaneous reaction of the Vice President to Mr. Wilson’s Op Ed article” and views the relevance of these notes as “establishing some of the facts that were viewed as important by the defendant’s immediate superior.”

In the margins of Wilson’s article Cheney wrote a series of questions about the legitimacy of Wilson’s CIA-sponsored trip to Niger: “Have they done this sort of thing before? Send an Amb. [sic] to answer a question? Do we ordinarily send people out pro bono to work for us? Or did his wife send him on a junket?”

Lea Ann McBride, spokesperson for the Vice President, declined to comment on the publishing of the notes, but stressed that the Office of the Vice President continues to cooperate with the investigation.

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February 11, 2006

Lewis \”Scooter\” Libby testified that leak was authorized

Lewis “Scooter” Libby testified that leak was authorized

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Saturday, February 11, 2006

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According to federal prosecutors, Lewis “Scooter” Libby Jr., the former chief of staff to Vice President Dick Cheney, told a grand jury that his superiors authorized him to disclose to reporters information from the U.S. National Intelligence Estimate. Portions of the report included still-classified information on Iraqi weapons capability leaked in June and July 2003.

Libby’s claim of authorization was revealed in a letter by special prosecutor Patrick J. Fitzgerald, written January 23 and included in papers filed in court by Libby’s defense team on Monday. Although this letter did not say which “superiors” Libby referred to, the National Journal reported on Thursday that their sources said this included his immediate boss, V.P. Cheney. If this is confirmed, it could broaden the scandal.

Mr. Libby was obliged to step down after he was indicted on charges that he lied about his role in exposing the identity of Valerie Plame Wilson, a C.I.A. operative, to the journalist Robert Novak in July 2003.

Federal prosecutors plan to use the confession to establish that Mr. Libby was part of the Bush administration’s public relations campaign to rebut Mr. Wilson’s op-ed column in The New York Times. The column stated that there was little evidence to support the administration’s claims that Saddam Hussein was pursuing weapons of mass destruction.


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November 3, 2005

Libby, former Cheney aide, pleads not guilty

Libby, former Cheney aide, pleads not guilty

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Thursday, November 3, 2005

I. Lewis “Scooter” Libby, former chief of staff to U.S. Vice President Dick Cheney, pleaded not guilty before the U.S. district judge, Reggie Walton, in Washington’s E. Barrett Prettyman Federal Courthouse on Thursday, in response to his indictment regarding the CIA leak scandal.

“With respect your honor, I plead not guilty,” Libby said.

Libby’s lawyers addressed reporters following the arraignment. “In pleading not guilty he has declared to the world that he is innocent. He has declared that intends to fight the charges in the indictment, and he has declared that he wants to clear his good name,” said attorney Ted Wells. “He wants to clear his good name, and he wants a jury trial,” Wells added.

The former vice presidential aide was indicted by Special Prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald last week on two counts of perjury, one count of obstruction of justice, and two counts of making false statements. The indictments focus on whether he attempted to cover up his actions during the investigation instead of whether he illegally leaked the identity of undercover CIA agent Valerie Plame. After being charged, Libby immediately resigned his position.

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  • “Lewis “Scooter” Libby indicted on five charges” — Wikinews, October 28, 2005

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October 28, 2005

Lewis \”Scooter\” Libby indicted on five charges

Lewis “Scooter” Libby indicted on five charges

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Friday, October 28, 2005

I. Lewis “Scooter” Libby, Jr., chief of staff to U.S. Vice President Dick Cheney, resigned Friday following indictment on five federal felony charges.

Mr. Libby is charged with obstruction of justice, two counts of perjury to a Grand Jury, and two counts of making false statements to the FBI in the Justice Department’s investigation into the Plame leak. Mr. Libby’s resignation was accepted by Vice President Cheney. President Bush also accepted Mr. Libby’s resignation as Assistant to the President.

The indictment centers on Mr. Libby’s grand jury testimony that he learned from media sources that Joseph Wilson’s wife, Valerie Plame, worked under cover for the CIA. The Justice Department says that Mr. Libby knew of Plame’s covert status from at least four government officials, including Vice President Cheney, in the month prior to his talks with the press, but that he sought to hide that knowledge from the investigation.

No charges were filed against White House advisor Karl Rove, but he remains under scrutiny in the on-going two year investigation led by Special Counselor Patrick Fitzgerald. The Seattle Post Intelligencer reported that late Friday, three people close to the investigation stated that the individual referred to in Fitzgerald’s record as “Official A” was actually Karl Rove, the so called “senior official in the White House” who allegedly informed Libby on July 10 or 11 of 2003 that Plame was a CIA operative. The Washington Post is reporting that Rove’s “fate” will be known soon.

All five charges stem from three conversations Mr. Libby had with reporters about Valerie Plame in 2003 between July 10 and 12:

  • On or about July 10, Libby spoke with Tim Russert of NBC. Mr. Libby testified that Mr. Russert asked him if he knew Mr. Wilson’s wife worked at the CIA, and that Mr. Russert told him all reporters knew about Mr. Wilson’s wife.
The indictment alleges that Mr. Russert did not ask Mr. Libby what he knew about Wilson’s wife, nor did Mr. Russert tell him that all the reporters knew it. The indictment says that Libby knew through governmental sources that Mr. Wilson’s wife worked for the CIA.
  • On or about July 12, Mr. Libby spoke with Matthew Cooper of TIME magazine. Mr. Libby testified he told Mr. Cooper that he heard from other reporters that Mr. Wilson’s wife worked for the CIA, but he didn’t know for sure whether or not she did.
The indictment alleges that Mr. Libby did not talk about other reporters, but simply confirmed for Mr. Cooper that Mr. Wilson’s wife worked for the CIA.
  • Mr. Libby spoke with Judith Miller of The New York Times. Mr. Libby again testified that the conversation was about other reporters, and he told Ms. Miller he was unsure Mr. Wilson’s wife worked at the CIA.
The indictment claims that Libby did not talk about other reporters, and did not advise Ms. Miller he was unsure about Mr. Wilson’s wife.

In a nationally televised press conference announcing the indictment, Special Prosecutor Fitzgerald likened the alleged falsehoods of Mr. Libby’s testimony to sand being thrown in the face of a baseball umpire. The obstruction of justice count alleges that Mr. Libby made false statements while testifying before the grand jury, and attempted to mislead and deceive the grand jury by doing so.

The two false statement charges relate to FBI interviews conducted in October and November 2003. There is one charge for the July 10, 2003 interview with Mr. Russert, and another for the July 12, 2003 interview with Cooper. One perjury charges alleges Mr. Libby lied to the grand jury about his conversation with Mr .Russert. The second alleges he was lying when he testified to the grand jury that he had told reporters “I hear from other reporters Wilson’s wife works for the CIA.”

If convicted on all counts, Mr. Libby faces up to 30 years in prison and a $1.25 million fine. In a written statement delivered by his lawyer, Mr. Libby said “today is a sad day for me and my family” but is confident that he will be “completely and totally exonerated.”

Vice President Dick Cheney called Mr. Libby in a written statement one “of the most capable and talented individuals I have ever known” and stressed that he is presumed innocent until proven otherwise.

President George W. Bush called the investigation “serious” and said that Mr. Libby “worked tirelessly on behalf of the American people and sacrificed much in the service to this country.”

Background

In September 2003, CIA Director George Tenet requested a Justice Department probe of the possibility that high officials of the Bush administration leaked to journalists the secret CIA identity of Plame. In December 2003, Patrick J. Fitzgerald was appointed Special Counsel in charge of investigating the leak of the identity of covert CIA officer Valerie Plame. A grand jury was convened to hear testimony from reporters and members of the Bush administration. The federal indictment suggests that Libby lied about what he told reporters Tim Russert, Matt Cooper, and Judith Miller. “When citizens testify before grand juries they are required to tell the truth,” Mr. Fitzgerald said.

In February 2002, Joseph Wilson was asked to travel to Niger by the Central Intelligence Agency in order to investigate claims that Niger had sold yellowcake uranium to Iraq, a substance that – after a lengthy purification process – can be used to make a nuclear weapon.

On the 28th of January, 2003, President George Bush stated in his State of the Union address that, “The British government has learned that Saddam Hussein recently sought significant quantities of uranium from Africa.” Much of the President’s address was focused on building support for the War in Iraq, on the grounds that Iraq had been developing Weapons of Mass Destruction, and this statement was a key part of the rationale to justify going to war.

On July 6, 2003, Wilson wrote an opinion piece in the New York Times attacking the validity of Bush’s assertion by describing how his experiences in Africa had led him to believe no such sale had taken place. He went on to accuse the Bush Administration of manipulating intelligence data in order to exaggerate the threat posed by Iraq. Ultimately, the White House was forced to retract the statement regarding Niger in the State of the Union address.

On July 14th 2003, journalist Robert Novak published a news article that disclosed the identity of Valerie Plame as a CIA operative. Novak attributed the information about Plame’s identity to “senior administration officials.” After Novak’s article was published, other news reporters speculated that Plame’s identity as a CIA operative was leaked by the Bush administration in an effort to punish Mr. Wilson for his public criticism of the administration. Valerie Plame and Joseph Wilson are married, although Valerie had been using her maiden name “Plame” in her role as a covert operative rather than using her married name.

In June 2004, President George W. Bush was questioned about the leak by the Justice Department, but not in front of the Grand Jury. Bush first promised to fire anyone in his administration who leaked the CIA identity of Plame, then later qualified this as meaning that he would only act if it could be shown that a crime was committed.

With the Grand Jury scheduled to conclude its term in October 2005, reporter Judith Miller was jailed in July 2005 for refusing to reveal the source of the Plame leak. After 85 days in jail, Miller finally testified before the Grand Jury. Several reporters, including Miller and Matthew Cooper, identified Deputy White House Chief of Staff Karl Rove and Dick Cheney’s chief of staff Lewis Libby as Bush administration sources who revealed Valerie Plame’s identity as a CIA operative.

The indictment comes at the same time as allegations mount that Vice President Cheney and his chief of staff Libby withheld crucial documents from the Senate Intelligence Committee as it was investigating the intelligence failure in the run-up to the Iraq war in 2004. Rep. Jerrold Nadler has requested to expand Fitzgerald’s investigation to clear up if the actions in the CIA leak were just a part in a larger scheme to deceive Congress into authorizing war, who was involved and whether their actions were criminal.

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October 24, 2005

Grand Jury investigation of Plame leak nears end

Grand Jury investigation of Plame leak nears end

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Monday, October 24, 2005

Karl Rove

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The two year investigation involving the leak of CIA operative Valerie Plame’s secret identity seems to be coming to an end.

Special Counsel Patrick Fitzgerald’s grand jury, which has been investigating the “outing” of Plame’s secret status to columnist Robert Novak and other reporters, concludes its work on October 29. The U.S. Department of Justice has established a web site for the purpose of making any communication public. However, Fitzgerald’s office will not comment on the timing of any indictments which may be filed.

Many individuals inside and outside the White House have apparently been interogated. Two high level White House Chiefs of Staff, Karl Rove to President George W. Bush, and I. Lewis “Scooter” Libby to Vice-President Dick Cheney, are part of the focus of the investigation. Both Rove and Libby testified before the grand jury; Rove 4 times, and Libby at least twice. Rove and Libby have been informed that they may be in serious legal trouble.

According to legal sources, Fitzgerald will give final notice to officials facing charges as early as Monday and could convene the grand jury Tuesday, one day earlier than usual, to summarize the case and request approval for possible indictments. The grand jury is scheduled to expire Friday.

Bush administration critics suggest the outing of the CIA operative Plame was an effort by the administration to prop up the credibility of pre-war claims that Iraq possessed WMD. The Bush administration has responded that the charge lacks any credibility.

Valerie Plame’s husband, Joseph Wilson, was a former diplomat to Niger who went public in July 2003 with an Op-Ed column that called evidence linking Niger uranium to Iraq bogus. The Wilson column was written after the President Bush 2003 state of the union address alleging that Iraq sought to purchase uranium from Niger.

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