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Wednesday, the jury finally returned a verdict in the trial of “Scooter” Libby (former Chief of staff to Dick Cheney). What is important here that must not be forgotten is that the question as to “why” Libby felt it necessary to lie and for “whom“, are still big unanswered questions. The answer to both is quite obviously “Vice President Dick Cheney”, and every indication is that Libby did what he did to protect his boss.

The Right-Wing is going nuts over Libby’s conviction, insisting that (despite the verdict), Libby committed no crime because “we now know that Libby was not the [first] leaker”. But they seem determined not to comprehend that Libby was NOT on trial for “leaking”, he was on trial “for lying to a Grand Jury in a deliberate attempt to mislead them and redirect the investigation”.

For those “Libby-apologists” still insisting that no crime was committed, not even in the original offense of leaking the true identity of Valery Plame, they need only respond to several indisputable facts:

1. The Bush Administration has been adamant that no crime was committed, yet it was the CIA that filed charges upon learning one of their covert agents’ identity was exposed.

2. Cheney has been telling everyone he has “the authority to declassify information” (which is only marginally true. The VP can ONLY unilaterally declassify information that HE himself classified in the first place.) Why would Cheney need to assert that he has such power if Plame’s identity was not classified to begin with? And if he DIDN’T declassify her identity, why bring up the subject of having such authority at all?

3. If no one in the White House did anything wrong, WHY did Libby find it necessary to lie under oath and give false testimony to the Grand Jury (the crimes for which he was convicted) in an attempt to mislead the prosecution? Who was he protecting, and why protect *anyone* if no crime was committed?

4. The argument that “Libby committed no crime in lying to the Grand Jury” falls flat in the face of the fact that that is EXACTLY what Bill Clinton was impeached for and had Republicans screaming for his head.

5. Any argument that “Libby wasn’t the first leaker, Armitage was” is irrelevant. Armitage told the truth and didn’t lie to the Grand Jury. Libby did. Libby wasn’t prosecuted for leaking, he was prosecuted for lying.

6. The crime of “the actual leak” is a separate issue that will require a separate trial. Libby, Rove, Armitage, Wilkerson… all of these people are lackies, not principle players. They did not instigate the leak.

7. At the time Cheney scribbled his famous notes in the margins of Joe Wilson’s Op/Ed, it is apparent *he already knew* the true identity of Wilson’s wife when he asked if “his wife sent him on a junket”. Since when does the CIA keep the Vice President’s office apprised of the true identities of its covert agents?

Does ANY of this make any sense if Libby is “innocent” and if “no crime was committed in revealing the true occupation of Ambassador Wilson’s wife?” Often it is mentioned how the revelation of her identity may have gotten anyone that she had contact with in the past *killed*, or that any other agent that worked for the same front-organization… Brewster/Jennings… also had their cover blown at the same time and put lives in jeopardy. But consider another rarely mentioned potential repercussion this will have, henceforth placing a “cloud of suspicion” around ANY ambassadors’ spouse, and rendering those in the same situation incapable of doing their job.

A Neo-Con friend of mine (I live in a Red State, so by law I must have at least two) made the observation that “had Libby of just said, ‘I can’t remember’, there never would have been a trial to begin with”, suggesting that Libby’s only crime was “actually trying to be helpful by providing an answer” (stop laughing, you KNOW these people aren’t paying attention!), for which I responded, “Good question. Why DIDN’T he just say, ‘I don’t remember’ rather than deliberately try and mislead the Grand Jury?”

If they answer these questions, maybe THEN they can start suggesting that no one in the White House did anything wrong. Till then, they’re just drinking Kool Aid.

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