Friday, October 28, 2005

Libby to be charged later today

The special prosecutor in the CIA leak case will later today announce a federal grand jury indictment against I. Lewis (Scooter) Libby, the chief of staff, and national security advisor to Vice President Dick Cheney, according to attorneys involved in the case.

The indictment will focus on charges that Libby mislead federal investigators and the grand jury hearing evidence in the case for the past 22 months, according to the same sources.

Contrary to many news reports that with today's indictment, special prosecutor Patrick J. Fitzgerald has wrapped up his investigation, his inquiry will continue as an ongoing matter.

The prosecutor will still want to hear Libby's later testimony regarding the role of others in the Bush administration in the outing of CIA officer Valerie Plame, if at some point Libby were to plead guilty, or be found guilty by a jury, and then further co-operate with his inquiry.

Federal prosecutors have long believed that Libby not only mislead the grand jury to protect himself, but perhaps others in the White House who might have played a role in the outing of Plame, the legal sources said further.

Lost in the more significant news of the moment, the vice-chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, Sen. Jay Rockefeller, Democrat of West Virginia, last night renewed demands on
the White House to turn over materials regarding Libby's role in allegedly distorting intelligence information to make the administration case to go to war with Iraq.

Rockefeller was reacting to a report that was posted online yesterday in the National Journal, and which I wrote, disclosing that Vice President Cheney and Libby personally overruled the advice of some political staff and administration attorneys that they cooperate with the committee probe. (see post below for more details.)

Here below is Rockefeller's statement:

"In February 2003 the White House provided input to the CIA during the preparation of Secretary Powell's United Nations speech. During the Senate Intelligence Committee investigation into prewar intelligence on Iraq, I believed it was important for the committee to obtain and review the White House drafts.

"On October 31, 2003, I wrote to CIA Director George Tenet requesting this and other White House documents. I repeated that request in writing on two subsequent occasions.

"Despite these and other efforts, the Committee never received the White House documents.

"The fact is that throughout the Iraq investigation any line of questioning that brought us too close to the White House was thwarted.

"For several years, I've called on the Committee and the Congress to get to the bottom of whether this administration misused intelligence in making the case for going to war.

"That question is no less relevant today than it was then."

Both Republicans and Democrats on the committee have supported the requests for the Libby papers, and say that their investigation ha been hampered by the non-cooperation.

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