The prosecution has finished their summation in the Libby case and the defense is up. Meanwhile, the press is beginning to tackle the implications of the trial evidence for understanding the performance of the Vice-President. Jim Rutenberg of the New York Times puts it this way:
The evidence in the trial shows Vice President Dick Cheney and Mr. Libby, his former chief of staff, countermanding and even occasionally misleading colleagues at the highest levels of Mr. Bush’s inner circle as the two pursued their own goal of clearing the vice president’s name in connection with flawed intelligence used in the case for war.
Meanwhile, Michael Abramowitz of the Washington Post focuses on Cheney’s loss of influence.
There is no evidence that Cheney’s close relationship with Bush has been lessened. But there is also little doubt that the causes he has championed — a tough skepticism of negotiations with dictatorships such as North Korea and the forceful exercise of presidential authority — are being rethought within the Bush administration, according to officials inside the government and experts outside it.
The Libby trial has exposed the Vice-President as the person responsible for outing Joe Wilson’s wife. We can see this clearly by looking at something the prosecution pointed out this morning. Taken from Marcy Wheeler’s paraphrased transcript and cleaned up and explained by me:
Zeidenberg (one of the prosecutors): What else do we know [that Libby] knows.
[Takes newspaper article from his files].
[reading and commenting from article] FBI Agents have begin by investigating events the month before the leak. Asking about events going back to early June. Investigators investigating how Plame’s name got linked to Wilson and how it made way around govt. Govt officials had been trying for more than a month [to argue] that Wilson’s mission not as important [as it was being portrayed]. Time magazine, some govt officials have noted that Wilson’s wife [Valerie Plame, is a CIA official who monitors the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction].
That article would tell any intelligent person, no question [Libby] is intelligent, that the FBI was looking for him. They were trying to find out who was scurrying around to find out about Wilson. That was Libby.
We have to remember that George W. Bush said on September 30th, 2003:
“Listen, I know of nobody — I don’t know of anybody in my administration who leaked classified information. If somebody did leak classified information, I’d like to know it, and we’ll take the appropriate action. And this investigation is a good thing.”
And yet, the Libby trial has revealed that Bush authorized the leaking of classified information to Judith Miller, that only he, the Vice-President, and Scooter Libby knew about it, that Cheney specifically told Libby to contact Miller, and that Libby leaked Valerie Plame’s name at the meeting with Miller (he had previously leaked to Miller that Wilson’s wife worked at the CIA).
It is now clear that the Vice-President wanted to burn Valerie Plame and that he was fully aware that she worked at the covert counterproliferation division and not in the analytical branch. There is a strong circumstantial case that George W. Bush also knew this and authorized the leak. But the case against Cheney is now proven. He told Libby about Wilson’s wife. When Libby went to talk to the FBI he not only knew the FBI was looking for him, he knew the FBI was looking for his boss…Dick Cheney.
Cheney should also be on trial. And he should resign.