Friday, April 07, 2006

Libby As Enemy Combatant Unlikely, But Treason Charges Could be Leveled

White House Quiet But Signs Indicate May Mount Offensive Against Libby

Sources Say ‘Everything Is On The Table”, Including Enemy Combatant Status; Rove Working On “Special Smears”

“Well, he can, most likely, kiss his Presidential Pardon away,” offered David Aaronson, editor of 'What Color Is My Coat Today?', the Capital Hill Newsletter that tracks politicians who turn on their own party.

Aaronson is referring to I. Lewis ‘Scooter” Libby and the bombshell news yesterday, released in court documents, that President Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney authorized Libby to leak classified information to New York Times reporter Judith Miller.

The sensitive intelligence information, contained in the classified National Intelligence Estimate, was used to build-up the case for war against Sadam Hussein, that Iraq sought nuclear material in Niger and rebut former ambassador Joseph C. Wilson IV, who challenged the Administration’s position in an Op-Ed article in the New York Times.

Subsequently, Libby, as well as possibly Special White House Counsel Karl Rove, and others in the Bush Administration, leaked information to Miller, Chicago Sun-Times Syndicated Columnist Robert Novak, and Time Magazine reporter Matthew Cooper, that Wilson’s wife, Valerie Plame was a covert CIA Agent.

President Bush has consistently and steadfastly, criticized leaks of classified information, most notably, over his NSA Wiretapping, or what that White House calls Terrorist Surveillance Program, and the disclosure of CIA “Black Hole” prisons.

With the release of the court papers, detailing Libby’s testimony to the Grand Jury, regarding his charges of lying and obstruction of justice, placing the President and Vice President directly involved in the political and public relations campaign against a critic of the Administration, there has been an explosion of media, across television and blogs, hurling charges of “hypocrite” and “Leaker-in-Chief” at the President.

White House At Full Throttle; Bush On Libby: “He’s Clearly Against Us”

The White House has said little, citing their policy of not commenting on on-going court cases.

However, sources have told The Garlic, that, behind the scene, it’s been “all-hands-on-deck’, to deal with the Libby charges.

“The West Wing is in fourth gear, full-throttle on damage control,” said a Capital Hill veteran.

There has been an unconfirmed report, of President Bush arguing with Communication Director Dan Bartlett, with the President being heard saying “but he is clearly not with us ... He’s against us and we need to deal with that.”

Also unconfirmed is that the White House has known for months about Libby’s testimony, having conducted surveillance on Libby, and his lawyers.

“It was rather curious timing yesterday,” said Sonny Earl, editor of a Supreme Court newsletter that monitors the court's activities, 'OMIB" ('The Original Men In Black'), “of Attorney General Alberto Gonzales telling the House Judiciary Committee, on the question of wiretapping communications between Americans, that happens in the United States, without a warrant, that "I'm not going to rule it out."

Cheney “Livid” and Rove Working On Special Smears

One White House staffer, with the need to speak anonymously, indicated that Vice President Dick Cheney was “livid” when the news broke yesterday.

“He erupted,” said the source. “He started rampaging around the office, breaking furniture, smashing things against the wall, cursing Libby ... It took Addington and three Secret Service guys to wrestle him to the floor and calm him down.”

Cheney, according to the source, shouted at one point about getting his shotgun and “shooting Libby’s balls off.”

Numerous sources have told The Garlic that Karl Rove, possibly from direct order of the President, is to work up a batch of “special smears’, aimed directly at Scooter Libby, and his lawyers.

“If they let Rove loose on him,” said one person, inside the White House, “man, it’s going to go to Defcon 5 on the nastiness scale. There’s not much love lost between the West Wing and the VP’s office.”

Libby As Enemy Combatant Unlikely, But Treason Charges Could be Leveled

The activity in the White House appears to be completely focused on how to handle the Libby allegations. The White House Iraq Group is meeting to sift through their records and notes, to find anything that can damage Libby’s credibility.

WHIG could provide some good dirt for them to use against Libby,” said Aaronson. “You’d have a whole batch of unfiltered comments and notes that could be massaged to read that everything is Libby’s fault.”

They’re looking at everything, according to Aaronson. “Brainstorming, looking through files, you name it, they’re considering it.”

Aaronson indicated that Justice Department lawyers were seen entering the West Wing, and not leaving until nearly three-hours later.

“Our reporters are telling us, from their sources in Justice, “ offered Aaronson, “that the President asked to examine charging Libby with being an “enemy combatant” and taking him completely out-of-play. Gonzales, reportedly, would back the President on such a move, but the long-time staffers, the career lawyers there, are casting serious doubts making the case for such a designation.”

“They may,” added Aaronson, “just tweak some things to throw treason charges at him.”

“Hell, they did just about everything except slip a few nuclear warheads into Saddam’s coat pocket”

“Look,” said Aaronson, “It’s obvious to just about everybody, except the Administration and their supporters, that the pre-war intel was manipulated to boost their script for taking Iraq ... Hell, they did just about everything except slip a few nuclear warheads into Saddam’s coat pocket ... And now you have Scooter Libby, seemingly, giving credence to that.”

Aaronson says this could all be “another smoke and mirrors” maneuver by the White House.

“With this Administration, and their history for, shall we say, distorting the facts, is Libby talking out of school? Or, is this part of a calculated defense - with the participation of the White House?”

Hypocrite or Leaker-in-Chief? President Bush is said to be in favor of designating Scooter Libby as an "enemy combatant" in an effort to prevent further disclosures of the White House's campaign to silence war critics

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