03/13/2007 10:11 pm ET | Updated May 25, 2011

Naming Names: What The Hell Does The "I" In "I. Lewis (Scooter) Libby" Stand For?

libby dimple.jpgI. Lewis (Scooter) Libby not only has one of the most punctuated names in Washington, he also has one of the most mysterious — not even the White House knows his real name. Or if they do, they're not telling. Or at least, they're not telling me. Allow me to backtrack.

It all started with this item in today's Washington Examiner. FishbowlDC's Patrick Gavin asked me to answer this question for the "Yeas & Nays" column: "What will Scooter Libby's nickname be in prison?" My immediate response was "Irwin!" because what better nickname for a guy named Scooter than the given name he never, ever uses? And so I submitted something along those lines, telling Patrick that I was going to double-check and make sure it was Irwin.

What followed was a pretty ridiculous wild goose chase, considering we're talking about the most famous convicted felon in America. First I went to Patrick Fitzgerald's DOJ page, wherein all the court filings are contained. Doc after doc — the indictment, the government response — listed the defendant as only "I. Lewis Libby (also known as 'Scooter Libby')." I even checked his sworn Grand Jury testimony from March 5, 2004, thinking he would have had to have given his full name then, but no such luck:

Q. And Mr. Libby, if you could state your name for the record and spell your name?
A. I. Lewis, L-e-w-i-s; Libby, L-i-b-b-y.
Q. And do you have a nickname?
Q. Okay. And that is —
A. Scooter.

Not so thorough after all, that Patrick Fitzgerald. Next I tried the New York Times. The Paper of Record! They'd have it for sure! Various searches for "Irwin" "Irvin" and "Irving" turned up nothing; ditto "What The #%$@# Is Scooter Libby's Name?" (by this point I was frustrated).

Then I had a brainwave. Wikipedia! There was no way that the meticulous, compulsive info-zealots of the web wouldn't have the answer. Libby's entry told me right off the bat that "This article is about a person who has recently been convicted in a criminal case" — thanks, Wikipedia — but the best it could do on his name was "Various sources report that he has been rather secretive about his actual first name, and that the initial "I." stands for Irving (or, alternatively, for the abbreviations 'Irve' or 'Irv')." This was getting silly. I figured I'd just ask at the place where I was most likely to get a straight answer: The White House.

Continued at Eat The Press...