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Ear to the Ground

Libby’s Defense: The Dog Ate My Memory

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Posted on Mar 1, 2006

MSNBC: Scooter Libby, Vice President Dick Cheney’s former chief of staff, has hired a renowned memory-loss expert to assist him with his legal defense. Harvard psychology professor Daniel L. Schacter tells NBC News he has been retained by Libby as a consultant. An official familiar with the Libby defense team confirms the news.

Schacter, who has been at Harvard since 1991 and who has a 29-page resume, is the author of “The Seven Sins of Memory” and “Searching for Memory: The Brain, the Mind and the Past.” His books offer explanations for the “vulnerability of memory.” Schacter writes that if we are distracted as an event unfolds, “we may later have great difficulty remembering the details of what happened.” Time, of course, often weakens our memory. And, he writes, it is easy to “unwittingly create mistaken—though strongly held—beliefs about the past.”

Libby’s lawyers hinted in court filings last week that memory loss will be “central themes” of Libby’s defense. Libby’s lawyers write: “...any misstatements he made during his FBI interviews or grand jury testimony were not intentional, but rather the result of confusion, mistake or faulty memory.”

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The National Review has a great follow-up on this.

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