Fat Steve's Blatherings

Saturday, October 29, 2005

The Libby Indictment


        It's somewhat weird.
    There's no charges under the Espionage Act, or the Intelligence Identities Protection Act.

  • There are charges of Obstruction of Justice, Making False Statements, and Perjury.

  • Those are somewhat ambiguous and flimsy.

  • In part, they depend on whom you believe, the reporters or Libby.

  • In part, they depend on what documents and other Administration officials say Libby knew.

  • In part it depends on whether, when he made certain statement, Libby was lying to the government, or informing the government of lies he told reporters. That makes the governments whole case shaky.

  • Nonetheless, it looks bad for Scooter.

At Length:

        Well, I've been through the indictment, which is available here in the evil PDF format, or at Fat Steve's Archives in html.  Things don't look good for Scooter Libby.

        The first thing worth noting is that there's various references to classification, possible harm to the national security, etc., but none of that forms part of the charges.  Scooter's charge with lying and obstructing, and national security really has nothing to do with the charges.

        Libby told the Grand Jury, and told the FBI, that reporters called him, and asked him certain questions, and that he gave certain answers.  The reporters dispute Libby's account.  If the petit jury believes the reporters version of the conversations, then Scooter goes down.

        Scooter told the Grand Jury, and told the FBI, that he said certain things to reporters.  Let's assume that these statements to the FBI and Grand Jury, concerning what he said to reporters, are true.  On the basis of various documents the Vice President's office had, and various conversations Libby had with White House and CIA officials, these statements to reporters were lies.  Since it's not against the law to lie to reporters, Libby committed no crime here (granting our assumption that he did make those statements to them).  The FBI and Grand Jury asked Libby what he said to reporters.  He answered.  Again, assuming he did tell the reporters what he said he did, he repeated those lies to the FBI and Grand Jury.  It is NOT completely clear that they asked him 'Were those statements you made to the reporters the truth?'  If they didn't ask Libby that, he may not have committed a crime here.  It all comes down to whether he told the FBI and Grand Jury 'This is what I knew, and when I knew it, and how I knew it,' vs. 'This is what I told the reporters I knew, and when I knew it, and how I knew it.'  Libby has some wiggle room here.

        The petit jury could still decide, though, that by not telling the FBI and Grand Jury that he was lying to the reporters, Libby ended up obstructing justice.  It depends very much on how you interpret certain statements.

        Should be an interesting trial, assuming it goes to trial.  Overall, Libby's statements look like he used such a pattern of obfuscation with everyone that if I had to bet, I'd bet he goes down.



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