A former top State Department official suspected of being the first person to discuss the identity of a CIA official with reporters is expected to testify in the perjury trial of ex-vice presidential aide Lewis “Scooter” Libby, a court motion says.
The filing by Libby’s defense team late on Friday asks Judge Reggie Walton to force prosecutors to turn over material they have about likely witnesses including former Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage.
Others who are expected to testify include White House deputy chief of staff Karl Rove, former CIA director George Tenet and former Secretary of State Colin Powell, the document says.
Armitage would be a nice one to have on the hot seat but I love the rest of the line up they are talking about. Tenet and Rove are wishy washy on how they will testify but I got a sneaking suspicion that the fear of perjury will be just what Powell needs to come clean. It also looks like Libby’s attorneys want to see Armitage take the fall for the leak:
Libby’s lawyers noted that there has been speculation that Armitage might also have told syndicated columnist Robert Novak, who was the first to make Plame’s identity public in a July 14, 2003, column.
“If the facts ultimately show that Mr. Armitage or someone else from the State Department was also Mr. Novak’s primary source, then the State Department (and certainly not Mr. Libby) bears responsibility for the ‘leak’ that led to the public disclosure of Ms. Wilson’s CIA identity,” Libby’s defense team wrote, referring to Plame by her married name.
Libby’s lawyers hope to demonstrate that he was too preoccupied with national security matters to accurately remember his conversations with reporters about Plame, and have sought access to reporters’ notes and top-secret security briefings to bolster their case.
I’m not sure what the statue of limitations is on leaking a CIA agents name or disclosing classified information but this trial start less than four years after the crime, so chances are good the trial could also net more indictments. Of course to make this all perfect we need the Democrats to take control of one or both houses and provoke their role of oversight with this administration. A congressional hearing would be the icing on the cake.