Wow - humdinger of an opening to the Libby trial today as both the prosecution and the defense agree on one thing: That Vice-President Dick Cheney was involved.
Special Prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald said in his opening statement that Cheney had told his chief of staff, Lewis "Scooter" Libby, that Joseph Wilson's wife worked for the CIA and that Libby had deliberately passed that on to reporters. Note that Libby is not on trial for that — he's on trial for lying about it under oath, which Fitzgerald also alleged he did (and also obstruction of justice). Fitz also said that Scooter "wiped out:" a note from Cheney before his first FBI interview, where he instead claimed to have learned of Valerie Plame Wilson's CIA connection from NBC's Tim Russert. The note has been found and is now evidence in the trial.
Meanwhile, defence attorney Theodore Wells claimed that Libby was the fall guy for the White House in the attempt to cover up the leaks from Karl Rove. From MSNBC:
"Wells said Libby went to Cheney in 2003 and complained that the White House was subtly blaming him for leaking Plame's identity to columnist Robert Novak.
"They're trying to set me up. They want me to be the sacrificial lamb," Wells said, recalling the alleged conversation between Libby and Cheney. "I will not be sacrificed so Karl Rove can be protected."
This is, of course, the point where oaths of loyalty and silence are broken in favor of covering one's ass — anyone who's ever watched "Survivor" knows that. It's just amazing to see it play out so starkly, and so soon, in this case. But all that stuff about how impartial jurors have been hard to come by because they all hate the Bush administraton? Check it out: The Libby defense has turned around and made that work for them.
Either way, the Bush Administration is not going to be characterized too kindly — and at some point, Cheneys' going to have to answer some pretty uncomfortable questions. Should be interesting.