I. Lewis “Scooter” Libby was found guilty on four of the five counts of perjury and obstruction for which he was standing trial. Media Matters anticipates the misinformation talking points likely to circulate in the mainstream media.
WASHINGTON—Former White House aide I. Lewis “Scooter” Libby was convicted Tuesday of obstruction, perjury and lying to the FBI in an investigation into the leak of a CIA operative’s identity.
Libby, the former chief of staff to Vice President Dick Cheney, was accused of lying and obstructing the investigation into the 2003 leak of CIA operative Valerie Plame’s identity to reporters.
He was acquitted of one count of lying to the FBI.
On March 6, a federal jury found former vice presidential chief of staff I. Lewis “Scooter” Libby guilty on charges of perjury, obstruction of justice, and lying to federal investigators. In the wake of this decision, conservatives and other media figures can be expected to revive and advance numerous myths and falsehoods regarding the CIA leak case that have circulated throughout the media since Libby’s indictment in October 2005.
In anticipation of this misinformation, Media Matters for America has listed those baseless and false claims likely to surface in the coming days and weeks:
* No underlying crime was committed. Since a federal grand jury indicted Libby in October 2005, numerous media figures have stated that the nature of the charges against him prove that special counsel Patrick J. Fitzgerald’s investigation of the CIA leak case found that no underlying crime had been committed. But this assertion ignores Fitzgerald’s explanation that Libby’s obstructions prevented him—and the grand jury—from determining whether the alleged leak violated federal law.
* There was no concerted White House effort to smear Wilson. In his October 2005 press conference announcing Libby’s indictment, Fitzgerald alleged that, in 2003, “multiple people in the White House” engaged in a “concerted action” to “discredit, punish, or seek revenge against” former ambassador Joseph C. Wilson IV. In August 2006, it came to light that then-deputy secretary of State Richard Armitage was the original source for syndicated columnist Robert D. Novak’s July 14, 2003, column exposing CIA operative Valerie Plame’s identity. Numerous conservative media figures subsequently claimed that this revelation disproved the notion of a “concerted” White House effort to smear Wilson. But to the contrary, David Corn—Washington editor of The Nation and co-author of Hubris (Crown, 2006) the book that revealed Armitage’s role in the leak—noted on his Nation weblog that Armitage “abetted a White House campaign under way to undermine Wilson” and that whether he deliberately leaked Plame’s identity, “the public role is without question: senior White House aides wanted to use Valerie Wilson’s CIA employment against her husband.”