"The legal and political stakes are of the highest order, but the investigation into the disclosure of a covert C.I.A. officer's identity is also just one skirmish in the continuing battle over the Bush administration's justification for the war in Iraq.
That fight has preoccupied the White House for more than three years, repeatedly threatening President Bush's credibility and political standing, and has again put the spotlight on Vice President Dick Cheney, who assumed a critical role in assembling and analyzing the evidence about Iraq's weapons programs.
The dispute over the rationale for the war has led to upheaval in the intelligence agencies, left Democrats divided about how aggressively to break with the White House and exposed deep rifts in the administration and among Republicans." [ New York Times | October 23, 3005]
"With a decision expected this week on possible indictments in the C.I.A. leak case, allies of the White House suggested Sunday that they intended to pursue a strategy of attacking any criminal charges as a disagreement over legal technicalities or the product of an overzealous prosecutor." [New York Times | October 24, 2005]
"I certainly hope that if there is going to be an indictment that says something happened, that it is an indictment on a crime and not some perjury technicality where they couldn’t indict on the crime so they go to something just to show that their two years of investigation were not a waste of time and dollars."
"Scooter Libby or Karl Rove are going to be judged criminals for perhaps acknowledging her name, perhaps knowing, though there’s no evidence they did, that she was a covert operative…That’s a crime?
"Sen. Frist: "There is no serious question that perjury and obstruction of justice are high crimes and misdemeanors...Indeed, our own Senate precedent establishes that perjury is a high crime and misdemeanor...The crimes of perjury and obstruction of justice are public crimes threatening the administration of justice." [Congressional Record, 2/12/99]
Sen. Kyl: "...there can be no doubt that perjurious, false, and misleading statements made under oath in federal court proceedings are indeed impeachable offenses...John Jay, the first Chief Justice of the United States, said `there is no crime more extensively pernicious to society' than perjury, precisely because it discolors and poisons the streams of justice.'" [Congressional Record, 2/12/99]
"After a Cabinet meeting, Bush was asked whether he agreed with Republican suggestions that Fitzgerald may be overzealous and that possible perjury charges would be little more than legal technicalities.
'This is a very serious investigation,' Bush said. Rove sat behind the president in the Cabinet room; across the room sat Libby.
...Over the weekend, Republicans launched a preemptive strike against possible charges for perjury.
Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison of Texas derided any potential perjury charge as a 'technicality,' and suggested Fitzgerald may be trying to show that 'two years' of investigation was not a waste of time and dollars.'
Other Republicans with close ties to the White House suggested that Fitzgerald was looking at perjury and obstruction charges because he was having trouble proving that officials knowingly leaked the identity of a covert operative.
In contrast, Bush has publicly praised Fitzgerald's investigation, saying earlier this month that 'he's doing it in a very dignified way.' [Reuters | October 24, 2005]
"As the White House and Republicans brace for possible indictments in the CIA leak probe, defenders have launched a not-so-subtle campaign against the prosecutor handling the case.
'He's a vile, detestable, moralistic person with no heart and no conscience who believes he's been tapped by God to do very important things,' one White House ally said, referring to special counsel Patrick Fitzgerald." [New York Daily News | October 24, 2005]
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