Defense Attorney Paints Libby as Scapegoat
I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby was "put through the meat grinder" by the White House shortly after the Iraq war began, scapegoated to cloak the leak of a CIA officer's identity to the media by presidential adviser Karl Rove, Libby's lawyer contended today as Libby's perjury trial began.Now even if there are no legal implications this has to be a big PR negative for an administration that has more than enough negatives already. They have apparently made it clear to Libby that there is no pardon in the cards. And it's not just Rove that's getting fingered.
During an opening statement that lasted more than two hours, Theodore V. Wells Jr., one of Libby's attorneys, attempted to refute allegations that the vice president's former chief of staff had lied to FBI agents and a grand jury about his role in disclosing the identity of Valerie Plame, the undercover CIA officer.
Wells said that Libby was directed by Vice President Cheney to talk to reporters about flawed pre-war intelligence but that the White House failed to defend him, as it did Rove, when the matter became public.Now this is not the kind of publicity a very lame lame duck administration needs. And digby points out that Republican shill Norah O'Donnell is asking this:
Wells said Libby complained to Cheney during the fall of 2003 that he was being made a "sacrificial lamb" as the White House tried to protect Rove, who was also then facing allegations that he had leaked Plame's identity.
"They're trying to set me up. They want me to be the sacrificial lamb," Wells said, recalling the conversation between Libby and Cheney. "I will not be sacrificed so Karl Rove can be protected."
Norah O'Donnell is asking Andy Card and Leon Panetta if the president is going to have to ask Dick Cheney to resign as a result of what's being alleged at the Libby Trial. (They both punted.)Yes, but why did they put themselves in a position where the attack dogs were necessary. Is it hubris, is it incompetence, is it......?
If that's the beltway chatter, look for the Republican noise machine to go into high gear. I'll be expecting to hear rumors of Patrick Fitzgerald's affinity for bestiality starting tomorrow --- mostly from Mary Matalin, Dick Cheney's most vicious attack dog, who will be snarling like a caged beast over this (and thus will show herself an expert on the subject.)