Fitzgerald: Libby Started Plame Ousting, Then Lied About It
Please forgive any misquotes as I am doing this from shorthanded notes done during the press conference.
5 counts: 2 perjuries, 2 making false statements, 1 obstruction of justice. The explanation for these, per Fitzgerald: “Witnesses must tell the complete truth, especially when the investigation involves national security."
Apparently, as Fitzgerald describes it, these are the events that transpired.
Libby told the FBI investigators, and later, the grand jury, that he was “at the end of a chain of phone calls”. He said that while Valerie’s identity was discussed as early as a month before the article by Robert Novak came out, yet he had "forgotten” the information then, and only re-learned of it after talking to Tim Russert. He then, after the long chain of phone calls, told Joe Cooper and Judith Miller.
What apparently really happened, is that Libby never heard about Valerie’s identity from Russert, but in fact heard of it from an Undersecretary of State in June 2003.
At the same time, around June 14th 2003, Libby apparently complained to CIA officials about information being released and leaked from the CIA (about the Niger uranium) and specifically brought up Valerie and Joe Wilson’s names. This was a month before Novak’s column, and approximately a week before he told FBI investigators he heard about it from Russert.
Libby was the beginning of where the Washington media circle first found out about Valerie Plame working for the CIA. Libby was the one person that took the inner-circle Washington Officials discussion about Mrs. Plame into the public sector (the media).
While the Special Prosecutor cannot (at this time) verify if Libby willingly exposed a covert agent of the CIA, he obviously was the beginning of this fiasco, and will now face those charges.
Before the Left takes this to spin it against the Iraq war, and the Right spins it to say “he was never indicted of a treasonous act” or “it’s nothing different than what Clinton was indicted for”, let me go on record first:
Party Lines aside, Lewis Libby, Chief of Staff to the Vice President of the United States, knowingly lied to investigators, and the Special Prosecutor in a case that directly involved national security. That is a crime per the law, and a crime per basic ethics of office.