okay, I do care…

Posted on Tuesday 27 February 2007

Testimony from the Libby Trial by David Addington, Libby’s replacement as Vice President Cheney’s Chief of Staff and the legal guru [along with John Yoo] of their Unitary Executive mythology:

Patrick Fitzgerald: Conversation about paperwork related to CIA employee spouse trip. Did you ever have a later occasion to discuss this?
David Addington: Yes, right before investigation started.
Patrick Fitzgerald: Describe what you recall.
David Addington: Larger office in OEOB, I knew it would have to do with the case. I reminded them that I was employee for the govt, our conversation wouldn’t be privileged.  He said, "I just want to tell you I didn’t do it."
Patrick Fitzgerald: What else was said?
David Addington: He asked me how you would know if you met someone from CIA if they were undercover. I responded when I worked out there, you’d ask if someone if they were undercover. He asked if they introduced themselves how you’d know. I told him you wouldn’t know unless you asked or saw a piece of paper that said it was classified. I volunteered to him I could get him a copy of IIPA that makes it a crime to reveal identity of covert agent. I took it to his office and gave it to him.
Patrick Fitzgerald: Any further conversation with him about that?
David Addington: No.
Things stick in the mind, like this exchange. It was early in the trial. I’ll admit that when I first read it, I was annoyed. My fully admitted bias had me listening for any hint that Libby had knowingly outed an undercover C.I.A. Agent, thereby falling under the IIPA Law. And I heard Addington’s testimony as refuting that idea.

But today, some reference to Addington brought it back into my mind and set me thinking. I don’t really care too much about the outcome of this trial in and of itself. What I care about is that Libby blocked the American People knowing that the Office of the Vice President revealed the identity of Valerie Plame, on purpose, and why. It’s the why that matters most. I want the world to know in a way that cannot be denied that what Joseph Wilson said was the gospel truth – this Administration jury-rigged the Intelligence about Iraq to get us to accept invading Iraq, something we would never otherwise have done. Libby himself was a willing pawn, but only a pawn. I want the King checkmated. If this trial gets us a move closer to checkmate, that’s where its importance lies. And by the way, he did perjure himself, in more ways than this trial charges. And he did obstruct justice.

But back to Addington’s testimony. Two things: First, Addington knew exactly what was going on. He essentially gave Libby a Miranda warning. Libby was Cheney’s waterboy, but Addington is his soul-mate. He was saying, "Watch what you say to me, because you’re in some potential big trouble and I may end up on a stand someday repeating this conversation."

But the second thing, the thing that actually stuck with me, was Libby’s response. First, "I didn’t do it" [just in case anyone asks]. But then he asks, "how you would know if you met someone from CIA if they were undercover?" I can hear that in one of two ways:
  • "As long as you’re going to be testifying, I’m asking this question so you can testify that I didn’t know she was undercover."
  • "It never occurred to me that she was an undercover C.I.A. Agent."
As much as the OVP plans things, I can see the first thing as a real possibility – a trick in their endless bag of tricks. But the second thing is also damning, maybe more damning than anything else. They [Libby and Cheney] are so divorced from the workings of our government that they neither thought of the possibility that a C.I.A. Agent was an undercover spy, nor cared if she were an undercover spy, nor even knew who she was, nor even knew the intuitively obvious law about keeping the identity of spies secret. 

So, I take back what I said above, "I don’t really care too much about the outcome of this trial in and of itself." I do care. These men shouldn’t have be in a government positions. It’s an ethics thing…

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