May 11, 2006


Plame leak probe descends into absurdity (Byron York, 5/11/06, The Hill)

Perhaps the key moment in the descent happened last February in the courtroom of U.S. District Judge Reggie Walton. Fitzgerald was there, along with the Libby defense team.

Libby’s lawyers had asked Fitzgerald to produce evidence that Valerie Plame Wilson was a covert agent at the CIA. They had also asked for an assessment of the damage, if any, caused by the exposure of her identity.

In papers filed with the court, Fitzgerald refused both requests. Now, in the courtroom, Judge Walton wanted to hear Fitzgerald’s reasons.

“Does the government intend to introduce any evidence that would relate to either damage or potential damage that the alleged revelations by Mr. Libby caused, or do you intend to introduce any evidence related to Ms. Wilson’s status and whether it was classified or she was in a covert status or anything of that nature?” Walton asked.

“We don’t intend to offer any proof of actual damage,” Fitzgerald said. “We’re not going to get into whether that would occur or not. It’s not part of the perjury statute.”

It was an astonishing statement, in the context of what Fitzgerald has said in the past.

It must be conceded that the leak helped destroy the CIA by exposing that it is loyal to itself not the elected representatives of the people. That seems unlikely to be the crux of Mr. Fitzgerald's case though....

Posted by Orrin Judd at May 11, 2006 12:38 PM

Blind guides! You strain your water so you won't accidentally swallow a gnat; then you swallow a camel. - Matt 23:24 (NLT)

Posted by: Gideon at May 11, 2006 1:52 PM

It's hard for us to judge, what he said to the Grand Jury. One would ordinarily assume that he could just say he forgot about leaking the information.

Whether the underlying information was damaging is not relevant, but only whether he lied intentionally.


In this case the camel is the expectation of truthful testimony to the Grand Jury, not the trivial issue of whether the original leak was damaging (not even important whether it was a crime).

Posted by: h-man at May 11, 2006 2:56 PM

There are lots of possibilities for the Libby trial. One, Fitzgerald could be forced to name the 'original' leaker in open court; two, the press people called to testify will take the Fifth or will spin such a web of who told whom that Libby will walk away; three, Joe Wilson will thoroughly discredit himself and his wife, and Libby will walk away; four, a number of CIA personnel will be called who will reveal the anti-Bush, anti-Rumsfeld sentiment at the agency; five, the process of how Libby was charged (and no one else) will come under intense scrutiny; and six, the NYT will have to editorialize that the whole thing is a big mistake.

Posted by: jim hamlen at May 11, 2006 3:12 PM

Jim -- None of those things are, of course, mutually exclusive.

Posted by: Lisa at May 11, 2006 4:56 PM
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