You are herecontent / Former CIA Agent Larry Johnson: Bush Should Ask for Karl Rove's Resignation Over CIA Leak
Former CIA Agent Larry Johnson: Bush Should Ask for Karl Rove's Resignation Over CIA Leak
Lewis "Scooter" Libby resigned on Friday after being indicted on five counts of obstruction of justice, perjury to a grand jury and making false statements to FBI agents during the CIA leak investigation. President Bush's chief advisor Karl Rove has so far escaped indictment for his role in the outing of CIA operative Valerie Plame. We speak with former CIA agent, Larry Johnson. [includes rush transcript]
For the first time in 130 years, a White House staff member has been indicted for crimes committed in the office. On Friday, Lewis "Scooter" Libby was indicted on five counts of obstruction of justice, perjury to a grand jury and making false statements to FBI agents during the CIA leak investigation. He resigned following the indictments.
If convicted, he faces up to 30 years in prison and $1.25 million in fines. According to the indictment, Libby lied to the grand jury when he claimed that he learned of the identity of CIA operative Valerie Plame from NBC News Tim Russert in early July. In fact, investigators determined Libby learned of Plame from Cheney, State Department officials and a CIA briefer more than a month earlier. President Bush's chief advisor Karl Rove has so far escaped indictment for his role in the outing of CIA operative Valerie Plame, the wife of Ambassador Joseph Wilson.
Until Friday Libby was a central figure in the Bush White House holding three top positions: chief of staff to Vice President Cheney, national security adviser to the vice president and assistant to the president. Special Prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald announced the indictment on Friday.
According to the Washington Post, Karl Rove narrowly escaped indictment after providing new information during eleventh-hour negotiations with Fitzgerald. But sources told the paper that he could still be charged in the case. On Sunday Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid called on Rove to resign. Reid pointed out that President Bush had previously said anyone involved in the leak should resign.
In a few minutes we will speak with former CIA analyst Larry Johnson but first we will hear part of special prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald's press conference on Friday when he laid out the case against Libby.
Patrick Fitzgerald, U.S. special prosecutor, October 28, 2005.
Larry Johnson, former CIA agent and former deputy director in the US State Department's office of counter-terrorism.
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AMY GOODMAN: We're going to turn now to Special Prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald and play an excerpt of his news conference.
PATRICK FITZGERALD: As important as it is for the grand jury to follow the rules and follow the safeguards to make sure information doesn't get out, it's equally important that the witnesses who come before a grand jury, especially the witnesses who come before a grand jury who may be under investigation, tell the complete truth. It's especially important in the national security area. The laws involving disclosure of classified information in some places are very clear, and some places they're not so clear. And grand jurors and prosecutors making decisions about who should be charged, whether anyone should be charged, what should be charged, need to make fine distinctions about what people knew, why they knew it, what they exactly said, why they said it, what they were trying to do, what appreciation they had for the information and whether it was classified at the time. Those fine distinctions are important in determining what to do. That's why it's essential when a witness comes forward and gives their account of how they came across classified information and what they did with it, that it be accurate.
Now, that brings us to the fall of 2003. When it was clear that Valerie Wilson's cover had been blown, investigation began. In October 2003, the F.B.I. interviewed Mr. Libby. Mr. Libby is the Vice President's Chief of Staff. He is also an assistant to the President and an assistant to the Vice President for national security affairs. The focus of the interview was what was it that he had known about Wilson's wife, Valerie Wilson, what he knew about Ms. Wilson, what he said to people, why he said it, and how he learned it.
And to be frank, Mr. Libby gave the F.B.I. a compelling story. What he told the F.B.I. is that essentially he was at the end of a long chain of phone calls. He spoke to a reporter, Tim Russert, and during the conversation, Mr. Russert told him that, “Hey, do you know that all of the reporters know that Mr. Wilson's wife works at the C.I.A?