Today's indictment of Vice President Cheney's Chief Aide Scooter Libby is an important first step in holding this Administration responsible for its efforts to deceive the American people and their elected representatives to bolster the case for going to with Iraq. But it is only the beginning.
In many ways, it raises more questions than it answers. On page 4 of the indictment, who is the unnamed "Undersecretary of State" who was asked by Libby about Wilson's trip and then responded that Wilson's wife worked at the CIA? On page 7, Libby is said to advise "the then White House Press Secretary" that "Wilson's wife worked at the CIA." What did the Press Secretary do with that information? Who is "Official A" on page 8, who discussed Wilson's wife's occupation with Robert Novak?
Most importantly, the indictment reveals -- as was previously reported -- that Vice President Cheney first told Libby that "Wilson's wife worked at the Central Intelligence Agency in the Counterproliferation Division." (p.8) What other instructions, if any, did the Vice President give Libby at that time?
The indictment details a flurry of activity in the Administration to discredit Wilson and, within the Administration, the wildfire-like spread of information about his wife's occupation. The Administration's defenders would have us believe that this all transpired without the awareness or assent of the President or the Vice President.
Scooter Libby was apparently lying and obstructing justice. What was he trying to hide?
The truisms of Watergate are the same: it is not the crime, it is the cover up and, when there is a cover up, there is a crime.
And the questions are the same: What did the President and Vice President know and when did they know it?
So today's indictments represent the beginning, but not the end of the process of finally holding the Bush Administration accountable for its conduct in foisting a preemptive war on this country.
The prosecutor has performed his job in pursuing this case vigorously and fairly. I believe it is imperative that Congress pursue these questions and determine how these charges fit into the entire web of deception, manipulation and obfuscation laid bare by the Downing Street Minutes and Treasongate. As a result, I have directed my staff to conduct a comprehensive investigation and review of the facts concerning not only alleged efforts to misuse the White House to out a CIA operative, but misinformation concerning the run up to the Iraq War, and all legal violations and breaches of trust by the Administration concerning the War.