Did We Really Expect a Man Named Scooter To Be a Tough Nut To Crack?

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I never expected indicted former Dick Cheney capo I. Lewis Libby to be a holdout with federal investigators–I figured any guy his age called "Scooter" would do anything to stay out of the pokey. But the ease with which Libby has turned state's evidence is pretty stunning. Ultra-short recap: Libby is the only guy indicted so far in the Valerie Plame case, in which a CIA agent's name was leaked to the press. He's charged with lying to a grand jury and federal investigators.

His cooperation seems like it might spell trouble for the Bush admin. Not necessarily legal trouble–as the Christian Science Monitor reports, the "leaks are probably legal but 'amount to using sensitive intelligence data for political gain.'"

No, the trouble may worse than legal–it may be political for an embattled White House that's sporting a sub-40 percent approval rating while sliding into midterm elections. The spells tough toenails for the GOP.

But who cares about them: It's nothing short of fucked-up (even if it is politics as usual) if Libby's version of events re: Plame, etc. is true. Not just libertarians but virtually all sentient Americans have gotten so used to government at all levels lying most of the time and engaging in constant scumbaggery and hypocrisy that we may well have lost that sense of moral outrage former drug czar Bill Bennett used to talk about all the time until his gambling habits became public knowledge.

More on Libby's testimony here.

NEXT: Won't Somebody Please Think of the Puppies?!?!

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  1. The only way to control a government under a capitalist economic system is to deny it revenues. The US has an introverted individualist culture, thus demand for good public government isn’t high; politicians know this. The political marketplace dictates more scumbaggery and hypocrisy by default…

  2. The only way to control a government under a capitalist economic system is to deny it revenues. The US has an introverted individualist culture, thus demand for good public government isn’t high; politicians know this. The political marketplace dictates more scumbaggery and hypocrisy by default…

  3. Well, Nick, you are sounding particularly bleak and optimism-free today. Inspire us to libertarian-anarchic revolution, man, don’t bring us down!

  4. I’m still burn with a sense of moral outrage, I just douse the flames with booze till the burning stops.

  5. I’m still burn with a sense of moral outrage, I just douse the flames with booze till the burning stops.

  6. the “leaks are probably legal but ‘amount to using sensitive intelligence data for political gain.’

    So based on some of the analysis of have seen, the president can declassify anything he wants, on the fly? Isn’t there a process for declassification? Some kind of status that is more official than being declassified in the mind of the president alone?

    It seems to me, if we accept that, by a president merlwy telling an aide to leak info to the media for political purposes, he also inherently declassified whatever was being leaked, then any president can leak whatever he wants for whatever reason and anyone in his admin will automatically be immune because “the president said so”.

    Shouldn’t classfied / not classified status be a little more official than that?

  7. Oh, I don’t know. I should think most sentient Americans would also be pretty jaded about private corporations–from tobacco companies to Haliburton–lying and scamming. What’s so special about government? Thank G-d you’re not in Italy where the government is in danger of becoming Berlusconi’s private property. The Talmud says, “Pray for the welfare of the government. If it weren’t for the government, men would swallow each other alive.”

  8. But we’re at war!!! Oh, er, uh… wait a minute – no we’re not…

    What we need in this “government under a capitalist economic system” is a balance of estates. It’s time the “liberal” judiciary (that is 2/3rds GOP appointed) step up to it’s responsibilities.

    JMJ

  9. The report yesterday on NPR’s All Things Considered regarding the testimony of Lewis Libby was reported by a young lady named Libby Lewis. Pretty weird, huh?

  10. Who really cares?
    If I understand the facts- the revealing of Plame broke no laws, Scooter is charged with lying to the Grand Jury, and Joe Wilson did in fact, lie about his report from Niger. Is this correct? I am pretty sure all the above have been shown to be the case, so what does it matter now?

  11. No, you don’t understand the facts.

  12. Wisconsin, you’r eclueless.

    JMJ

  13. Wisconsinite basically explained the facts as I understand them.

  14. Jack Bauer would have gotten Scooter to break in less than a minute.

  15. Chuck Norris would have actually broken Scooter in less than a second.

  16. Joe and JMJ,
    Please explain to me the facts. It seemed reasonable to me for the President or his staff to point out that Wilson’s editorial was a blatant lie. No law was broke revealing her identity. All that has been uncovered is that Scooter may have lied and that no one seems to care that Joe Wilson lied about his trip.
    Clueless in Wisconsin

  17. BUSH LIED, PEOPLE became slightly concerned and then shrugged it off.

  18. …and Joe Wilson did in fact, lie about his report from Niger.

    Could someone provide a link to support this? Thanks in advance.

    And while I wouldn’t be surprised if it was legal to leak Plame’s name or for the President to hypocritically authorize leaks of classified material, it doesn’t mean the people involved aren’t assholes.

  19. Jack Bauer and Chuck Norris got into a wrestling match. The bet was that the winner would get to star on 24.

  20. It seemed reasonable to me for the President or his staff to point out that Wilson’s editorial was a blatant lie.

    But weren’t they merely saying that their intelligence sources had come to a different conclusion than Wilson had?

    I mean if Wilson was blatently lying, saying things he knew weren’t true (like Dick “no doubt that Saddam Hussein now has weapons of mass destruction” Cheney and Condoleeza “only really suited for nuclear weapons programs” Rice did), I’m willing to believe it if there’s evidence to suggest it. I don’t trust anyone in that town.

  21. “nattering nabobs of negativism”, “the liberal intellectuals…masochistic compulsion to destroy their country’s strength”…

    I’ve often wondered if Cheney was consciously channeling Spiro Agnew. …but who knew he wanted to play Deapthroat?

    I understand why he might want to debunk a false claim–but why not do it in public? …rather than as a double secret source? This is the way the White Hourse is supposed to communicate with the American people?

  22. And if the President was merely (or honestly) defending his reasons for going to war (instead of playing political games), why wouldn’t he just declassify the materials and show them to the press? Why tell Scooter to inform only the uncritical shill Judith Miller?

    I’m sorry, but it’s a typically petty, sneaky way of dealing with dissent from a petty, sneaky administration (not that this administration is different from most others).

  23. Wisconsin,

    Wilson lied about what?

    JMJ

  24. Is it just me, or are there a lot of duplicate comments today? It looks like every few replies go up twice.

  25. Ken, you and I are on the same wavelength, dude. I mean, it’s like…wow…

  26. First, contrary to what he wrote in the New York Times, Saddam was trying to acquire uranium from Niger. In support of that proposition are a Senate report in Washington, Lord Butler’s report in London, MI6, French intelligence, other European agencies ? and, as we now know, the CIA report, based on Mr. Wilson’s original briefing on it. Against that proposition is Mr. Wilson’s revised version for the Times.
    This isn’t difficult. In 1999, a senior Iraqi “trade” delegation went to Niger. Uranium accounts for 75 percent of Niger’s exports. The rest is goats, cowpeas and onions. So who sends senior trade missions to Niger? Maybe Saddam dispatched his Ba’athist bigshots all the way to the dusty capital of Niamy because he had a sudden yen for goat and onion stew with a side order of black-eyed peas, and Maj. Daouda Mallam Wanke, then president, had offered him a great three-for-one deal.
    But that’s not what Joe Wilson found. Maj. Wanke’s prime minister, among others, told Ambassador Wilson he believed Iraq wanted yellowcake. And Mr. Wilson told the CIA. And the CIA’s report agreed with the British and the Europeans that “Iraq was attempting to procure uranium from Africa.”
    In his ludicrously vain memoir “The Politics of Truth,” Mr. Wilson plays up his knowledge of the country. He makes much of his intimacy with Maj. Wanke and gives himself the credit for ridding Niger of the Wanke regime. The question then is why a man who knew so much about what was going on chose deliberately to misrepresent it to all his media/Democrat buddies, not to mention the American people.
    For a book called “The Politics of Truth,” it’s remarkably short of it. On Page 2, Mr. Wilson says of his trip to Niger: “I had found nothing to substantiate the rumors.” But he had.
    That’s what lying is, by the way: intentional deceit, not unreliable intelligence. And I’m not usually the sort to bandy the liar-liar-pants-on-fire charge beloved by so many in our politics today, but I’ll make an exception in the case of Mr. Wilson, who has never been shy about the term.
    He called Mr. Bush a “liar” and he called Vice President Dick Cheney a “lying sonofabitch” on stage at an Iowa Kerry rally.
    Saddam wanted yellowcake for one reason ? to strike at his neighbors in the region, and beyond that at Britain, America and his other enemies. In other words, he wanted the uranium in order to kill you.

    Mark Steyn’s pretty good explanation of the famous Joe Wilson in implosion in 2004. Yes he did lie and yes the President can declasify any information he wants for whatever reason he wants even to discredit a incompetant hack like Wilson.

  27. No law was broke revealing her identity.

    Neither did Clinton’s sexual relationship with Monica. How did you come down on the impeachment question in that case?

  28. Ghost,

    Clinton lied under oath about the relationship.

  29. “Saddam wanted yellowcake for one reason ? to strike at his neighbors in the region, and beyond that at Britain, America and his other enemies. In other words, he wanted the uranium in order to kill you.”

    …and that’s why the Vice-President went deep undercover?

  30. Chuck Norris and Jack Bauer got into a battle of wits. The loser had to star in the movie “Renegades”.

  31. It’s all par for the course with this administration..and I was stupid enough to vote them in..twice. Of course I didn’t care for the alternative either.

    But realistically, we’re 6 years into this administration and we have “energy bills” that only serve energy conglomerates..”environmental bills” that only serve to destroy the environment…hastily planned “war declarations” that are leading to an even bigger civil war..”budgets cuts” that ultimately decimate the budget..I could go on and on..

    I hope to never again see a majority party in control of both administrative and legislative branches. But pulling a straight Democrat ticket won’t work either since they will simply stick it to the taxpayers even more for their own special interest groups.

    Next election I’ll be voting 1 Republican..1 Democrat..etc…few if any incumbents and just pray for gridlock across the board.

  32. Clinton lied under oath about the relationship.

    Then maybe it is time we put Bush under oath. then we either get the truth or else grounds for impeachment that even you can get behind.

    If the essential difference between Bush and Clinton is that one avoided being put under oath and the other did not, then I have a hard time getting fired up about the leaks-are-legal defense.

  33. Scooter discussed portions of the NIE with Miller.

    Fitzgerald’s paperwork does NOT claim that Scooter discussed classified portions of the NIE with Miller.

    Stolen from NRO: “But it also should be noted that whatever ?secrets? Libby revealed to NY Times reporter Judy Miller were not considered by Miller to be newsworthy enough even to write a story about.”

    Meanwhile Fitzgerald refuses to disclose whether or not Plame was a covert agent, and who actually disclosed her status to Bob Novak.

  34. Then maybe it is time we put Bush under oath. then we either get the truth or else grounds for impeachment that even you can get behind.

    I absolutely agree, Ghost. But Bush and his handlers won’t let that happen. The man has been an intellectual and moral coward since college. I don’t expect him do the honorable thing any time soon.

    And I agree that what Clinton was dishonest about (and he didn’t have a choice about testifying under oath since he was being sued for sexual harassment) is not nearly as important as what the Bush administration has been dishonest about.

  35. Let me clarify my own opinions on this.

    Wilson/Plame/whatever is entirely Beltway politics. It’s an example of a common strategy of the losing side in a political debate trying to obstruct by sniping. Call it Political Disobedience.

    I have no patience for the Bush Lied! arguments. I also have no sympathy for the GOP’s inability to overcome the sniping. They, after all, were the architects of the Clinton Impeachment when they couldn’t get enough traction with the Lewinsky “affair.”

    Why am I not surprised that the GOP congress has not made it illegal for elected officials to sleep with their staff members?

    No, I don’t think Martha should have gone to jail, either.

  36. The anti-Bush line seems to be “Bush lied and manipulated the intelligence, but was covering up by releasing said intelligence that he was supposed to be lying about.” The Bush haters are really reaching on this one.

  37. Chuck Norris wears Jack Bauer pajamas.

  38. I have no patience for the Bush Lied! arguments.

    Certainly, there is no evidence that Bush himself said anything he knew to be untrue during the run-up to the war. He just said what he was told to say.

    That is demonstrably not the fact in regards to his closest advisors who did say things they knew were not true.

    However, at his last press conference, when Bush said that Hussein had chosen “to deny inspectors” (a falsehood he also stated in July, of 2003: “And we gave him a chance to allow the inspectors in, and he wouldn’t let them in.” And in January of 2004: “It was his choice to make, and he did not let us in.”), was he lying?

    Would you describe this quote, from April 20, 2004, a lie?

    “Now, by the way, any time you hear the United States government talking about wiretap, it requires – a wiretap requires a court order. Nothing has changed, by the way. When we’re talking about chasing down terrorists, we’re talking about getting a court order before we do so.

    That was something he knew wasn’t true (if he’s the guy signing the orders, that is). Doesn’t that count as a lie?

  39. Attacking the supposed personal biases of the people that disagree with you is a sign of weakness, John.

  40. Wow, alot went on while I was away.
    I think it has been shown that Joe Wilson lied, so I won’t rehash that. Someone brought up Bill Clinton… THE COMMON THREAD is a runnaway special prosecuter. Ken Starr went beyond his original investigation to get Monicagate, and Fitzgerald’s investigation went beyond his scope. He (Fitzgerald) found no crime so he brings a purgery charge? How much money do we waste with this stuff?

    I am still trying to find out what I don’t “get”?
    Still Clueless in Wisconsin

  41. “Still Clueless in Wisconsin”

    yup. what part?

    greetings from Chicago

  42. VM,
    Ordinarily, one may say what they want about my politics, but when one begins to attack my religion…. (maybe next year). GO PACK!

  43. think it has been shown that Joe Wilson lied, so I won’t rehash that.

    No, please, hash! John’s the only one who’s posted any detailed opinion on the matter, but he’s a demonstrable liar, so I’d like another opinion.

    All I can find is that he reported that one Nigerian regime had been solicited by Iraq to provide uranium and he talked them out of it. Then he went to investigate rumors that the newer regime in Nigeria had received similar solicitations and found no substance to them. What am I missing? Again, I’m not anxious to prove he’s not lying, I’d just like to understand the situation.

  44. Scumbaggery! You can’t used that word in the NY Times … unless it’s in the Crossword Puzzlen … http://www.slate.com/id/2139453/

  45. Why hasn’t Hillary already put a sharp point on this that the hoi polloi can grok?
    (Because she has yet to lure Karl Rove away from the dark side.)

  46. “I’m still burn with a sense of moral outrage, I just douse the flames with booze till the burning stops.”

    Beyond a certain proof, you could be emoliating your goofy self.

    Don’t do that.
    We love your Baked Alaska.

    On the day we have to intervene on Warren’s behalf, I will be having a root canal.

  47. So based on some of the analysis of have seen, the president can declassify anything he wants, on the fly? Isn’t there a process for declassification?

    I’m not sure about this either; but on one of the Sunday shows a while back they were interviewing the 4 congressmembers that were briefed on the domestic wiretapping deal and the only female (I don’t remember her – or their – name(s)) said something to the effect that until President Bush talked about the program, she couldn’t say anything because it was highly classified. And that simply by Bush talking about it, it became declassified.

    I agree this sucks as a way to declassify things; much the same way it sucks the way we classify things.

  48. classify versus clarify.

    SixSigma,
    You’re no help.

  49. I find the idea that the President can declassify something just by talking about it a little troubling, I suppose… I’d find it silly and spooky if the President declassified something just so the White House could be a secret source for a story.

  50. I find the idea that the President can declassify something just by talking about it a little troubling, I suppose… I’d find it silly and spooky if the President declassified something just so the White House could be a secret source for a story.

    I don’t think it’s quite that simple. The rules explicitly disallow people with access to classified information from disclosing it simply because it was also published in a newspaper, for example.

    I would imagine that for everyone with the possible exception of the President and a handful of Senators and Congressmen, the briefing is pretty much the same, and says just that.

    I think it might get a little weird for the case of the President, because I believe the PDB is published for his personal use. It’s not obvious to what degree even he gets a free pass to burn sources or methods.

    P.S.: F the man – may I make a bumper sticker out of the first sentence of the first post? Pithy.

  51. Wow, John certainly can cut and paste the talking points he copies from outlets that transcribe media releases.

    I think John does a real service, by modeling just how sycophantic and intellectually dishonest the supporters of this administration can be. Ready to apologize for calling me “longtime supporter and enabler of Saddam Hussein” yet, asswipe?

  52. Wisconsinite, I can’t seem to find any evidence that Joe Wilson lied. There are people loyal to the Bush administration who disagree with his report, but no evidence that he lied in it. As Joe pointed out, John is merely pasting the opinions of a reflexive Bush loyalist (you can always tell when John is pasting because the spelling and grammar are good enough to pass a G.E.D. test).

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