Friday, April 07, 2006

''Not above the law''

Let's take a step back in time, to Monday, October 31, 2005.
"There is a cancer on the presidency, and it cannot be exorcised by the resignation of I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby.

Libby, assistant to the president and Vice President Dick Cheney's chief of staff, has been indicted on five federal counts, including obstruction of justice, making false statement and perjury. The charges stem from the investigation into a leak disclosing that Valerie Plame, wife of former ambassador Joseph Wilson, was a covert CIA operative.

Based on the allegations special prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald laid out in the indictments Friday, it's increasingly evident that officials within the Bush administration disclosed Plame's identity as part of an effort to discredit Wilson's criticism of one of the pretexts for war against Iraq.

Fitzgerald said that the investigation remained open, and the indictments make intriguing reference to the conversation another senior White House official, identified only as "Official A," had with columnist Robert Novak in which Wilson's wife was "discussed as a CIA employee."

No matter where the investigation goes from here, the question is why President Bush didn't fire Libby long ago if his role in outing Plame was as clear as the indictments indicate. It raises the uncomfortable and inevitable question: What did the president know and when did he know it?

The larger, more important context goes beyond palace intrigue: the lengths to which the Bush administration was willing to go to protect its trumped-up justifications for an unjustifiable war."

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