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Thursday, March 8, 2007
ConWeb Spins Libby Verdict
Topic: NewsBusters

With the arrival of the verdict in the Scooter Libby case, Media Matters conveniently posted a guide to myths and falsehoods about the case to look out for in news coverage. And right on cue, the ConWeb seemed determined to touch on as many of them as it could.


A March 6 post by Mark Finkelstein made a big deal out of there not being an underlying crime (irrelevant since Libby was charged with obstructing the investigation into whether there was an underlying crime) and that Richard Armitage, not Libby leaked Valerie Plame's name to Robert Novak (also irrelevant -- Libby and Armitage, along with Karl Rove, did leak the name to journalists prior to Novak's printing of it). Finkelstein added that for CBS' Bob Schieffer "[t]o claim, without citing a single damning fact, not only that this is going to hurt the Vice-President 'very badly,' but that the harm will extend to the Bush administration at large, smacks of a smear" ignores a particular "damning fact" or two: that Libby was the chief of staff for the vice president, and he was convicted on charges of perjury and obstruction of justice.

A March 6 post (and March 7 CyberAlert item) by Brent Baker also irrelevantly brought up Armitage.

A March 7 post by Finkelstein claimed that "neither Cheney nor Libby could have 'leaked' Plame's identity since it was, thanks to Richard Armitage, already out there." Again, since Libby has been documented chatting up Plame's identity with at least two journalists prior to the publication of Novak's column, he did, in fact, "leak" Plame's identity.

A March 7 post by Scott Whitlock also irrelevantly noted that Plame "had her identity revealed to reporter Bob Novak by an administration critic, former Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage." 

A March 7 post by Tim Graham also mentions Armitage, as well as suggesting that Plame and her husband, Joe Wilson, aren "far from victims" because the "have made two book deals and a movie deal." Graham also asked: "But if campaigns to discredit critics were illegal, how many Clinton administration officials would have gone to jail?" But, of course, Libby wasn't convicted of trying to discredit a critic; he was convicted of perjury and obstruction of justice.

A March 7 post by Dave Pierre -- you guessed it -- makes a big deal out of Armitage.


In a March 7 column, Phil Brennan stated that "Mr. Fitzgerald was appointed to determine if a specific law concerning the exposure of the identity of members of the intelligence community, in this case the CIA, was violated in the case of one Valerie Plame Wilson." In fact, Fitzgerald was not limited to investigate only possible violations of the Intelligence Identities Protection Act; the Department of Justice granted Fitzgerald broad "plenary" authority to investigate the "alleged unauthorized disclosure" of Plame's identity.


A March 6 article makes an even more irrelevant reference to Armitage: recounting a conversation between Armitage and the Washington Post's Bob Woodward. Like the others, WND doesn't mention that Libby was also disclosing Plame's identity to reporters before Novak revealed it in his column.

Posted by Terry K. at 12:16 AM EST

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