Cap'n Ed (no relation to Cap'n Trade) seems to buy this as an intriguing look behind the scenes. Consider me somewhat unsold.
No question the Time writers got them some amazing comments, quips, quotes from somebody privy to the players. The article covers the supposed last minute battle between Cheney and Bush over a Libby pardon in which Darth almost crossed the line (and punched Dubya?). Such inside goop is usually only reserved for the New York Times or the higher prestige journalists at National Enquirer so it's almost certain somebody from Texas passed this along for effect as per this Fire Dog, although we disagree on why. It's fun to watch her implore her readers not to believe an MSM rag because BushCo are still Nazis.
And she wasn't very appreciative of the litterings of liberal boilerplate throughout the article, including a Bush Chimpy picture on the sidebar and random links to unflattering 'top tens', or the dime store historical summary of how Joe Wilson came to write his "Bush Lied" story that began this whole charade and the downfall of Bush's presidency (and the rise of the Pelosi-Reid jiggernaut).
To hear these writers tell it, or not tell it, Wilson flew down from heaven on new angel wings riding a unicorn with the Goddess Plamura to save the world. Maybe one day we'll see a behind-the-scenes expose on the lefty players in Plamegate and their play by play, like how NY Times reporter Nic Kristoff met up with Val and Joe to get the ball rolling or what Woodward was up to.
Or perhaps we'll see some sinister innuendo come out about how Time's own former reporter Matt Cooper was compromised due to his marriage to former Hillary strategist Mandy Grunwald, or why Andrea Mitchell of NBC News told CNBC 'everybody' in Washington covering national security knew about Plame's CIA position yet for some reason nobody ever told Russert, even though they told him everything else.
Ah well, Cheney's seminal defense comes on page four:
The Vice President argued the case in that Oval Office session, which was attended by the President and his top aides. He made his points in a calm, lawyerly style, saying Libby was a fall guy for critics of the Iraq war, a loyal team player caught up in a political dispute that never should have turned into a legal matter. They went after Scooter, Cheney would say, because they couldn't get his boss. But Bush pushed past the political dimension. "Did the jury get it right or wrong?" he asked.It's clear--if we can believe even one morsel of this tale--that Cheney was using a greater good argument with the Decider, ie, Libby's value as a terror warrior outweighed any kind of silly process crime committed to stop a political stunt that featured the use of national security to score cheap and desperate political points. At least it is to me.
Cheney replied that the conviction for obstruction of justice was based on what amounted to a case of "he said, he said," a disagreement between his longtime aide and a journalist. Libby had told the grand jury he remembered first hearing Plame's name from NBC's Tim Russert. But notes obtained by prosecutors indicated that Cheney had been the first to identify her to Libby. And Russert denied at Libby's trial that he had mentioned Plame to the defendant. The jury sided with Russert. Cheney, however, considered it an open question. "Who do you believe, Scooter or Russert?" he asked Bush.
And Cheney went further. Even if Russert was right, Libby may have honestly forgotten what was said during a single conversation in a typically busy day. Memories are fallible. Only an overzealous prosecutor and a liberal Washington jury would criminalize a bad one, he argued.
To lefties it might come off as Cheney trying to remind Bush that Libby was a crucial neocon worker bee in their quest of lies and deceit to get Iraq's oil or take over the world for PNAC, or something. Not sure how moderates might describe it other than with a yawn. In truth there's probably some truth here along with some misunderstimation.
Anyway, it might be interesting to know who leaked all this. As the article mentions (paraphrasing) the Dems have Eric Holder on call over at Justice stirring a big smoking pot of torture trial while a judge might grant CREW a FOIA request of Cheney's conservation with Fitzgerald, so the threat is out there looming although it's more directed at the Emperor than Darth (using the chart from Time's competition).
And since this is presumably the kind of access only a Bush person would have--even the Dems wouldn't be bold enough to invent this stuff out of whole cloth or even partial cloth--that suggests a pre-emptive strike from Texas to position the former president in a principled and out of the loop light while Cheney gets positioned as Cheney.
But if Libby did fib to save the bosses the story lays out some of his potential reasons through Cheney, which might be useful at some point, I suppose. Whomever leaked it also had to know that Time would never point out Scooter's service in support of our country after the worst terror attack in history, so I just did.