Andrew Sullivan On The Libby VerdictMarch 6, 2007
Something is rotten in the heart of Washington; and it lies in the vice-president’s office. The salience of this case is obvious. What it is really about – what it has always been about – is whether this administration deliberately misled the American people about WMD intelligence before the war. The risks Cheney took to attack Wilson, the insane over-reaction that otherwise very smart men in this administration engaged in to rebut a relatively trivial issue: all this strongly implies the fact they were terrified that the full details of their pre-war WMD knowledge would come out. Fitzgerald could smell this. He was right to pursue it, and to prove that a brilliant, intelligent, sane man like Libby would risk jail to protect his bosses. What was he really trying to hide? We now need a Congressional investigation to find out more, to subpoena Cheney and, if he won’t cooperate, consider impeaching him.
It was the “insane over-reaction” to what was merely an op-ed in a newspaper that presents the occam’s razor moment (for me anyway). I am a little disappointed that Sullivan left out the fact that there were a lot of people who could “smell it”, but stood idly by while this administration dealt us nothing but spin for 4 years. As far as anyone going after Cheney goes, well, I’m not holding my breath. There seems to have been a notably high level of timidity in Washington towards Cheney. I suppose things like outing a CIA agent ( not to mention talk of a ‘dunk in the water’ ) might have that effect. I shudder to think of what he’s liable to do when he’s really in a corner.
Update: For more on Dick Cheney’s battle for control of intelligence from 9/11 to the Iraq invasion, along with lots of background on Cheney’s ‘network’, check out PBS’s FRONTLINE doc The Dark Side :
Libby has worked closely with Cheney for almost 20 years, starting when he was an under secretary at the Pentagon when Cheney was secretary of defense. As Cheney’s chief of staff during the run-up to war with Iraq, Libby helped push the vice president’s agenda at the CIA, the State Department and in the press. CIA officials claim Libby accompanied Cheney on many trips to CIA headquarters, where the pair questioned analysts about Iraq’s weapons capabilities.
In other words, he’s just the type of guy who would take the fall to protect the boss.