The Libby Verdict: An Indictment of the Iraq War?

As far as the pundit class is concerned, the trial of I. Lewis “Scooter” Libby was never about lying under oath. It is and always has been about putting the Iraq War on trial. The first item I read covering Libby’s guilty verdict was from NBC news. Directly following the lead are these lines:

The conviction focused renewed attention on the Bush administration’s much-criticized handling of weapons of mass destruction intelligence in the run-up to the Iraq war.

The verdict culminated an almost four-year investigation into how CIA operative Valerie Plame’s name was leaked to reporters in 2003. The trial revealed how top members of the Bush administration were eager to discredit Plame’s husband, former Ambassador Joseph Wilson, who accused the administration of doctoring prewar intelligence on Iraq.

The sub-text of these lines is clear. The Libby conviction equals and indictment of the entire Bush administration and the case that it made for war against Iraq. You can expect to see the mainstream press spinning this story along these lines in the coming months and years, but this spin is misleading to say the very least.

I have already written extensively about this topic on this blog, so I’m not going to rehash all that material now (click here to see previous posts). For the present, it’s sufficient to say that it’s a non-sequitor to make judgments about the run-up to the Iraq war based on the Libby conviction. The war was not on trial. Libby was.

For a good summary of how this case relates to the Iraq War, see James Taranto’s “The Libby Travesty.”

Stories about the verdict:

“Libby Guilty of Lying in CIA Leak Case” – New York Times

“Libby Convicted in Leak Case” – Time

“Libby Found Guilty in CIA Leak Case” – Washington Post

“Juror Explains Libby Verdict: They Felt He Was ‘Fall Guy'” – Editor and Publisher


  • Paul

    I for one never saw this as an indictment of the Iraq war. That’s its own mess. I see this as an indictment on the Bush administration’s handling of dissenters.

    I just feel bad for Libby, because he was the patsy for Cheney, Rove and possibly Bush. But, then again, that’s politics for ya, right?

  • Matt

    Unfair. Unjust. Immoral.

    How hard is it for the left to understand that Valerie Plame was not an undercover agent, therefore the leak wasn’t illegal? And on top of it, Libby didn’t conduct the leak in the first place?

  • Matt

    It was never established that Libby lied. Legally that’s not the same thing as giving incorrect information, as it is entirely possible that the VP’s Chief of Staff might get his dates confused.

    On the other hand, most men tend to remember oral sex, particularly when it involves a 21 yr old staffer and the Oval Office.

  • D. Taylor Benton

    One quick note of clarification for you two (matt, paul). Libby was not convicted for revealing Valerie Plame. He was convicted for Purgery and Obstructing Justice. nothing more. I lied to a Grand Jury and witheld information from the FBI (so they say). ok, now that everyone knows what he was convicted of, game on…

  • D. Taylor Benton

    ***note on previous post**** I didn’t lie to a grand jury….Libby did….haha…sorry for the typo…

  • Don

    It was known for the start that Armitage leaked the name. He was no friend of the admin. The case to me was trash. The case was filled with witness after witness that had told the grand jury they could not remember things and then came to remember everything come trial. That juror Collins was a neighbor of forgetful russart, and had worked at the W. post with woodward. The defense had no more strikes left to get rid of this guy. The case was held in DC where the jury pool is 5 out of 6 dems who dislike the admin. Libby testified for 8 hours to the G-jury. Think about that. Sure he is a lawyer and he helped marc rich get his pardon but this whole thing is BS. He is facing like 20-30 years, and sandy the thief burger got a fine and lost his security clearence for 3 whole years for STEALING secret documents. Futhermore when katie couric and rosie o’donnell say it was a great day in America you have to know it stinks……. DP-

  • Don

    added: Dissenters? Think about this. The Pres. VP and staff sit around and say How can we fix this guy {wilson}? Let’s out his wife. That does not make sense. One thing I find fault with is: This fact finding mission was so important how does a zero like wilson get the detail. I think the admin was lazy or asleep not to know ahead of time who in fact was going. Whoever sent or let this lightweight {wilson}go on the detail should have been dismissed from his position. Never forget that there are people at the state dept. and CIA and FBI that are lifelong dems and are not in agreement with this admin. Washington is a rough place with many backstabers.

  • Paul


    so how tightly does that tinfoil hat fit on your head, anyway?

    Wilson was a big player, an ambassador and someone with some credentials behind him.

    And you’re thinking, “this doesn’t make sense” from the view of a Christian guy who probably loves his family and wants people to live by Christian values. But we’re not talking about those types. We’re talking about ruthless, evil, destructive people who love themselves and not God.

    Or, to put it this way Don, which would get your attention more…me slugging you, or me slugging your wife or kid?

    That’s right. And that’s what Rove, Armitage, Libby and Cheney did to Wilson and Plame.

  • Don

    Wilson had outed his wife to ret. Major General Valley according to the ret. Gen. at Fox news green room. Before his interview wilson had told Valley that his wife worked at the CIA during a casual conversation. Again Armitage was not on board with Rove the VP the Pres. on the pending move to war. I just think that if they wanted to get this guy there were many ways to do it other then outing her. Hey they did them a favor. Look at this guy he is all over TV and radio. There’s talk of a movie. Maybe wilson and wife cooked up this plan all along.. You never know.. Talk about ruthless.

  • Paul

    According to Fox News? That’s like saying “according to Michael Moore!”

    If CNN had said it, then maybe there’d be some truth to it. But what’s next, quoting Rush Limbaugh and Ann Coulter?

    Gimme a break…

  • Don

    Paul cnn AKA clinton news network.. I didn’t say I got that info from Fox News. I said the meeting between wilson and the ret. Gen. was at Fox News. If that story was from cnn AKA clinton news network I would not repeat it even if it helped my side. By the way I do listen to Rush, not much of a fan of Coulter… She is very smart maybe too smart. Her remarks are made to light a fire for her next book.Like most people she is out for herself.

  • Paul

    This is how I know that CNN is probably spot on…

    The lefties call it the conservative news network, and the righties call it the Communist/Clinton News Network.

    Personally, I’m an NPR guy, and you’re probably not. Which says an awful lot.

    Fox is awful, and the only thing Rush is good for is learning how to tie a tie (when he had his TV show, he did a segment on how to tie a perfect box knot). Tie tying skills notwithstanding, he is nothing short of a republican propagandist. I could hang with him if he was a full blown right winger (a la George Will, and to a lesser extent, G. Gordon Liddy), but instead, whatever the GOP says, he parrots, save for immigration reform.

  • Don

    Paul, I have to say for a while I was sick of Rush. I thought he was carrying the water for the rep. party and mostly, the admin. After the Nov. elections he just about admitted it. Since then he has given up that stance. Your right I am not a fan of npr. I listen to the othet side once in a while.Not often. Mark Levin is great. The greatest of all time is the Great Bob Grant {retired}. Most of these radio guys are out for themselves and ratings. It’s their job. But could a npr make without support? I don’t think so.

  • Paul

    Well, I think that the major market NPR stations could make it on underwriting alone, but in the sticks, it could be another matter entirely. If NPR weren’t to make it, however, it’d be because they spend more than 30 seconds on a story, and they give you ALL of the meat, which means that in the Clinton years, all of the libs all complained that NPR leaned too far to the right. But, it’s the same deal with CNN…cut it straight down the middle, and nobody likes you, except for those of us who WANT to hear the whole story. And sadly, that’s far too small a chunk of the population. People either want their news leaning to the right (Fox) or to the left (MSNBC), but not down the center where everyone gets burned.

    And that’s just one more reason why our country is a nation of morons.

    (by the way, I work in public radio in a very conservative pocket of the chicago metro, so I know of what I speak)

Comment here. Please use FIRST and LAST name.