Larry C. Johnson
What do you call a thousand lawyers chained together at the bottom of the ocean? A good start! That old joke is apropos in light of today's indictment of Lewis "Scooter" Libby for perjury and obstruction of justice. The indictment makes clear, with no shadow of a doubt, that Valerie Wilson was an undercover officer until exposed by Robert Novak's column. According to the indictment,
Prior to July 14, 2003, Valerie Wilson’s affiliation with the CIA was not common knowledge outside the intelligence community.
As the prosecutor said at today's press conference, this ain't over.
Some interesting tidbits that will need to be clarified:
On page 4 we read:
On or about May 29, 2003, in the White House, LIBBY asked an Under Secretary of State (“Under Secretary”) for information concerning the unnamed ambassador’s travel to Niger to investigate claims about Iraqi efforts to acquire uranium yellowcake. The Under Secretary thereafter directed the State Department’s Bureau of Intelligence and Research to prepare a report concerning the ambassador and his trip. The Under Secretary provided LIBBY with interim oral reports in late May and early June 2003, and advised LIBBY that Wilson was the former ambassador who took the trip.
If you're looking to guess who this is your likely choices are Marc Grossman and John Bolton. My money is on Bolton.
Also on page 4:
On or about June 9, 2003, a number of classified documents from the CIA were faxed to the Office of the Vice President to the personal attention of LIBBY and another person in the Office of the Vice President. The faxed documents, which were marked as classified, discussed, among other things, Wilson and his trip to Niger, but did not mention Wilson by name.
Somebody asked for these documents. Who? Probably Libby but not necessarily. Clearly the CIA person who sent the fax is cooperating.
From paragraph 7 on page 4:
On or about June 11, 2003, LIBBY spoke with a senior officer of the CIA to ask about the origin and circumstances of Wilson’s trip, and was advised by the CIA officer that Wilson’s wife worked at the CIA and was believed to be responsible for sending Wilson on the trip.
Now it gets interesting. Who is the senior CIA officer? There are several possibilities. For example, John Bolton's Chief of Staff, Fred Fleitz is a CIA officer (no longer undercover) who was in a position to get information about Valerie. At the NSC there were several CIA personnel, including David Shedd, who is now on the staff of John Negroponte. It could also be someone from CIA Headquarters. We will probably have to wait for the trial to get some insight on this front.
A careful reading of the indictment shows beyond a reasonable doubt that there was an organized effort in the White House to go after Joe and Valerie Wilson. At a minimum, Vice President Cheney was witting of this effort. Too bad these guys did not work as feverishly in tracking down Osama Bin Laden. They only had time to attack two American citizens who were serving their country.
Finally, Patrick Fitzgerald, what a class act!