Monday, January 29, 2007

Ari Skewers Scooter

The Washington Post carried a story today by Carol Leonnig and Amy Goldstein about Ari Fleischer’s testimony at Scooter Libby’s perjury and obstruction of justice trial. Ari Fleischer, former Bush press secretary, who secured immunity for himself in exchange for ratting out his former colleague, tipped over the first wall in Scooter Libby’s house of cards.

Fleischer testified that he had lunch with Scooter Libby on July 7th in the White House mess. At that lunch he was told that “that former ambassador Wilson was sent to Niger to investigate reports Iraq had tried to buy nuclear material there by Wilson's wife, not by the vice president, as some news accounts were saying.”
"He added that this was something hush-hush or on the QT, that not many people knew this information," Fleisher said. ‘My impression was Mr. Libby was telling me this was kind of newsy.’"
“Added Fleischer: ‘My thought was that what I was hearing was about nepotism.’"
Why is this significant you ask? Well first of all it shows that Scooter Libby was perfectly willing to talk to people about a covert CIA agent’s identity. But more telling is this: Libby claims that he first heard the news that Valerie Plame was a CIA agent from NBC reporter Tim Russert . . . on July 10th. It’s déja vue all over again. As in Watergate trials: “What did you know and when did you know it?” Try as they might, Libby’s defense lawyers could not shake, rattle, or roll Fleischer, who stuck to his story.

Optimism is not my strong suit. I can see how this is as far as it's going to go. But it happened before. As people who were in the know saw peripheral players get roasted, the Watergate dominoes fell as one story after another came out. Dare I hope? Naaaah.

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