Libby Is (In)Famous For Something Else

Friday, October 21, 2005

Libby Is (In)Famous For Something Else

All of Washington seems to be both awaiting and speculating about possible indictments in the Valerie Plame affair. According to rumors floating around town, Lewis "Scooter" Libby is highly likely to be indicted.

Libby is Dick Cheney's chief of staff, although Libby's name is not one that has appeared much (until just recently) in the news. Still, I couldn't help but think earlier this week that I had read something notorious about Libby over the past year. Turns out I wasn't dreaming.

Remember this article written by Sidney Blumenthal last year?
The truth is that much of the intelligence community did not fail (in its WMD assessments), but presented correct assessments and warnings, that were overridden and suppressed.

On virtually every single important claim made by the Bush administration in its case for war, there was serious dissension. Discordant views -- not from individual analysts but from several intelligence agencies as a whole -- were kept from the public as momentum was built for a congressional vote on the war resolution.

... Never before had any senior White House official physically intruded into CIA's Langley headquarters to argue with mid-level managers and analysts about unfinished work. But twice Vice President Cheney and Lewis Libby, his chief of staff, came to offer their opinions.

According to Patrick Lang: "They looked disapproving, questioned the reports and left an impression of what you're supposed to do. They would say: 'you haven't looked at the evidence'. The answer would be, those reports [from Iraqi exiles] aren't valid. The analysts would be told, you should look at this again'. Finally, people gave up. You learn not to contradict them."
Given the fact that Libby pressured intelligence analysts to reach the wrong conclusion (thereby helping to justify a war that remains a bloody quagmire), should he be indicted in the Plame affair, I can only say: it couldn't happen to a nicer guy.

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