The Bottom Line

THE BOTTOM LINE….There are lots of interesting tidbits in the indictment. Who is the “Under Secretary of State” who helped Libby track down information about Joe Wilson’s Niger trip? [UPDATE: It’s Marc Grossman.] Who is “Official A”? What was Dick Cheney’s role? I’m sure all of that is going to get hashed over in detail in the coming days.

But for now, here’s the bottom line: Fitzgerald didn’t charge Scooter Libby with mistakenly making a few unimportant false statements to the grand jury. He charged him with deliberately constructing a false story about how he learned about Valerie Plame, and then repeatedly telling this story to both FBI agents and the grand jury. That story was a lie, and it was a premeditated lie designed to cover up the fact that he had engaged in a long and persistent effort to uncover information about Joe Wilson’s wife and disseminate it to reporters.

Libby could have told the truth, but then he would have had to admit his role in outing a CIA agent in order to score political points against a critic of the administration. He didn’t want that campaign to become public, so he invented a cover story, repeated it under oath, and stuck to it on multiple occasions.

It’s serious stuff, and that’s what this is all about.