Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Feeding Scooter to the Sleen ("Scooter"? What kind of name is that for a grown man?)

Couldn't happen to a nicer guy.


WASHINGTON - Two top CIA officials will bolster prosecutors' charge that Vice President Cheney's chief aide lied to them, court papers show.

Prosecutors say disgraced Cheney chief of staff Lewis (Scooter) Libby learned CIA spy Valerie Plame's identity from, among others, agency officials who will be called to testify at his trial for perjury, false statements and obstruction of justice.

The U.S. alleges he learned about Plame from one of the CIA officials when he went after dirt on her husband, former Ambassador Joseph Wilson. Wilson shattered a pillar of President Bush's rationale for war - that Iraq was seeking to build a nuclear weapon.

Both CIA officials - including a top architect of the 2003 Iraq invasion - discussed Plame with Libby a month before columnist Robert Novak blew her cover in July 2003, prosecutors charge.

Libby has said journalists told him about Plame - not Cheney or the six witnesses named so far by prosecutors.

Until recently, the CIA officials' identities were kept secret by special counsel Patrick Fitzgerald, who did not name them in Libby's October indictment.

But subsequent documents allege Libby asked top CIA official Robert Grenier on June 11 why the agency sent Wilson to Niger to see if Iraq tried to buy uranium. Grenier replied that Plame was an agent and "believed responsible" for arranging her husband's trip.

The other official was Craig Schmall, a CIA briefer whom Libby complained to about the Wilson trip on June 14, court files allege.

Grenier, the CIA's station chief in Islamabad, Pakistan, helped stage the successful U.S. attack on the Taliban and Al Qaeda in Afghanistan after the Sept. 11 attacks. . . This year, as CIA Counterterrorist Center chief, Grenier oversaw the failed missile strike aimed at Al Qaeda No. 2 Ayman Al-Zawahiri. Shortly afterward, Grenier was demoted.

But Vince Cannistraro, a former CIA counterterrorism chief, said Grenier lost his job over his "concerns about aggressive interrogations [of terrorist detainees] at secret sites."

Full story here.

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