Apologists for Lewis “Scooter” Libby, the former chief of staff for Vice President Dick Cheney who was convicted in March of perjury and obstruction of justice, are relying on two lines of argument: that Libby was the Bush administration’s “fall guy,” and that Libby’s problem was his faulty memory—the “busy-man defense.”
It is true that Libby was only one of several administration officials who “leaked” CIA officer Valerie Plame Wilson’s identity to the news media. The White House and the Office of the Vice President (OVP) leaked—actually, planted—her name and CIA affiliation well before former ambassador Joseph Wilson published his July 6, 2003, op-ed article, “What I Didn’t Find in Africa.”
Hiding behind the manufactured excuse that Wilson was insisting that “Cheney sent him” to Niger, White House staffers “corrected” several media figures, rapid-fire, by insisting that Wilson had been “sent” to Niger by his CIA wife to check out the purported Iraq-uranium deal.
Testimony and trial documents corroborate that, from June 13 to July 12, 2003, then-Deputy Secretary of State Richard L. Armitage passed this information to Washington Post assistant managing editor Bob Woodward and to columnist Robert Novak; Libby gave it to departing White House press secretary Ari...