LYING ABOUT NUKES….Sullivan on the Libby verdict:

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….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?

Nobody else lied to the FBI and the grand jury. Only Libby. And that makes it pretty obvious that he was trying to hide the one thing he knew that no one else did: the fact that he learned Valerie Plame Wilson’s identity from Dick Cheney.

For some reason, in May 2003 Cheney went ballistic over a couple of anonymous statements Joe Wilson made to Nick Kristof and Walter Pincus, statements that weren’t especially damaging to Cheney and could have been challenged pretty easily. It’s hard to say why (my longtime guess is here), but the end result was that Cheney ferreted out Plame’s identity, passed it along to Libby, and told him to put a full-court press on Wilson. Libby thought it was worth lying about this because it threatened to provide a clue to just how involved Cheney had been in spinning the prewar intelligence on Iraqi nukes. That was the one thing serious enough to make them wildly overreact to a couple of otherwise toothless allegations.

Libby deserves his convictions. The only unfair thing about the whole trial is that his boss, the guy who was behind the whole thing, wasn’t in the dock with him.

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