Sunday, June 03, 2007
Pondering the Mysteries of the Libby Case! (Part 2)
In Part 1, I described four unexplained mysteries that remain from the Libby trial. While we don’t know the answers to these questions, here‘s my speculation:
I’ve suggested several times in the past that Libby set himself up as a lightning rod. Fitzgerald showed during the trial how Libby’s cover story about learning of Valerie Plame from Tim Russert would serve to break the chain of information from an official source (Cheney) to Libby and others, thus taking it out of the realm of an IIPA violation.
My view is that Libby was chosen, or volunteered, because someone had to be the one to lie in order to break the chain. At the time, I suspect there was little concern that the reporters, particularly Russert, would end up talking about their sources and conversations, so it seemed like a safe and effective cover story that would protect Cheney, Rove and everyone else involved.
Once Fitzgerald’s investigation had picked apart the cover story, and as he was preparing to indict Libby - and probably Rove - I suspect that Rove went to Fitzgerald and offered an explanation that left Libby as the only person to be indicted.
If Rove had claimed that he learned of Valerie Plame from Libby, and that Libby had said (to Rove) that he learned it from Russert, this would effectively make Libby the bottleneck for the flow of information, and cut off Rove from culpability. The only person who could refute Rove’s story was Libby himself, and Libby had to stick to his story in order to save himself. This would also make Rove a meaningless witness for the prosecution while remaining a dangerous one for the defense, and thus leave him out of the trial entirely.
It would also have left Libby all alone on an island. Since he was the one who was selected (or volunteered) to lie to the Grand Jury, he was effectively sacrificed to protect Rove and others. Now he was facing five felony counts, and he wanted everyone to know that the big guns would turn out to support him, or else!
This would explain why his attorneys telegraphed an argument based on revealing how Libby was made into the “fall guy” and with authoritative testimony from the Vice President to back him up.
However, with all of the ammunition Fitzgerald had at his disposal – beyond just what he needed to make the perjury and obstruction cases against Libby – there was no way that Cheney could actually testify without having to lie himself. That’s likely why he made himself scarce, planning a trip out of the country during the period when he would supposedly have to testify. Clearly, Cheney wasn’t interested in taking a personal risk to support his former Chief of Staff.
More to come in Part 3.