Sunday, January 21, 2007

That's One Way to Get Off

Scooter Libby, Satan Dick Cheney's former chief of staff, is supposed to go on trial this month.

They started last week by picking a jury. Libby's lawyers asked a lot of questions about how people felt about the Bush administration.

All they needed to do was to find twelve people who could say they weren't absolutely disgusted with the administration. They needed a pool of thirty-six to choose from.
WASHINGTON - A federal judge is putting more potential jurors on standby in the CIA leak trial because so many people have been dismissed, mostly because of strong feelings against the Bush administration and the Iraq war.

U.S. District Judge Reggie B. Walton had hoped to have a 12-person jury picked Thursday so opening statements could be held Monday. After three days of hearings, however, Walton did not even have a pool of 36 impartial people from which to choose the final jury. He pushed opening statements back to Tuesday.

Attorneys for former White House aide I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby have been asking pointed questions about each juror's political views. Several have been dismissed because they said they could not set aside their opinions on President Bush, Vice President Dick Cheney or the war in Iraq. More jurors on standby in CIA leak trial

A question in my mind would be, what kind of jury will they end up with? It seems they are likely to end up with twelve of the most ignorant people in the city. Is that the best way to administer justice?


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Former Press Secretary Says Libby Told Him of Plame
Fleischer's Testimony On Timing Supports Prosecution's Case

By Amy Goldstein and Carol D. Leonnig
Washington Post Staff Writers
Tuesday, January 30, 2007; A03

Former White House press secretary Ari Fleischer testified yesterday that I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby divulged Valerie Plame's identity to him in July 2003, three days earlier than Libby has told investigators he first learned of the undercover CIA officer.

Fleischer's narrative of Libby's "hush-hush" disclosures over a lunch table in a White House dining room made President Bush's former spokesman the most important prosecution witness to date in the week-old perjury trial of Vice President Cheney's onetime chief of staff.

Though a series of government officials have told the jury that Libby eagerly sought information about a prominent critic of the Iraq war, former ambassador Joseph C. Wilson IV, Fleischer was the first witness to say Libby then passed on what he learned: that Wilson's wife was a CIA officer who had sent him on a trip to Africa. Wilson's mission there was to explore reports, ultimately proved false, that Iraq had tried to buy nuclear material in Niger.

Fleischer, testifying under an immunity agreement with the prosecution, also made it clear that Libby had told him Wilson's wife held a position in the CIA's counterproliferation division, where most employees work in a covert capacity...

Libby has pleaded not guilty to all five felony counts. He told investigators he learned about Plame's identity during a telephone call on July 10, 2003, with NBC's Washington bureau chief, Tim Russert. He and his attorneys contend he did not remember the conversations he had with reporters about Plame amid the crush of his national security work.

Fleischer's testimony buttressed Special Counsel Patrick J. Fitzgerald's case in at least two ways. Fleischer testified that his lunch with Libby -- the first he ever had with Cheney's top aide, a week before the press secretary was to leave his White House job -- took place on July 7, 2003, before Libby spoke with Russert.

Fleischer also reinforced the prosecution's central argument: that Libby had been so determined to learn and spread information about Wilson and Plame that he could not have forgotten his efforts.

Both sides have portrayed Libby and Cheney as especially eager to knock down news accounts that Cheney had asked for Wilson's trip.

Under cross-examination by defense attorney William Jeffress Jr., Fleischer said that his conversation with Libby about Wilson's wife had been short and that Fleischer had not relayed that information to reporters until he heard a similar account from another White House aide.

Fleischer testified that, later on the day of his lunch with Libby, he and other top aides left with President Bush on a five-day trip to several African nations. He said that while he was on Air Force One between South Africa and Uganda, he overheard Dan Bartlett, at the time Bush's communications director and now counselor to the president, "vent" about news accounts that Cheney had requested Wilson's mission.

Fleischer said that he decided to tell two reporters, NBC's David Gregory and Time magazine's John Dickerson, as they were walking along a road in Uganda: "If you want to know who sent the ambassador to Niger, it was his wife; she works there" -- a reference to the CIA.

In an interview yesterday, Dickerson, who has left Time and is writing about the trial for Slate, an online magazine, said he recalls that Fleischer had merely urged Gregory and him to "check and see who sent Wilson" on the trip. Dickerson said he first learned about Plame's CIA role from then-colleague Matthew Cooper by telephone several hours after he spoke with Fleischer.

Fleischer testified that neither Libby nor Bartlett invoked a White House protocol under which colleagues warned him when they were providing classified information that could not be discussed with reporters. He said he "never in my wildest dreams thought this information would be classified."

In September 2003, about 2 1/2 months after his conversations with reporters about Plame, Fleischer testified that he saw a news account that the CIA had asked the Justice Department to investigate a possible illegal leak of a covert CIA officer's identity.

"I thought, 'Oh, my God. Did I play a role in somehow outing a CIA officer? . . . Did I just do something that I could be in big trouble for?' "

He said that, although he believed he had passed on classified information unwittingly, he hired lawyers who negotiated his immunity from prosecution, except for the possibility of perjury.

Late yesterday afternoon, Cheney's current chief of staff, David S. Addington, took the witness stand, testifying that Libby had, early in the summer of 2003, asked him whether the president had authority to declassify government secrets and whether the CIA kept paperwork documenting its work. Addington said he replied yes to both.

He testified that Libby did not tell him why he was asking. But Addington said he surmised that the reason might have been Wilson's criticism of the president and the war.

U.S. District Judge Reggie B. Walton said that former New York Times reporter Judith Miller, the first of several prominent journalists who figure in the case, probably would testify today.

January 30, 2007 9:19 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Nice design of blog.

August 13, 2007 3:38 PM  

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