Libby's Attorneys Delve Into Iraq War Justification

WASHINGTON - Lawyers for Vice President Dick Cheney’s former top aide are signaling they may delve deeply at his criminal trial into infighting among the White House, the CIA and the State Department over pre-Iraq war intelligence failures.

In a prelude to a possible defense, the lawyers for I. Lewis “Scooter” Libby also are suggesting that the State Department — not Libby — may be to blame for leaking the identity of covert CIA officer Valerie Plame to the media.

Court papers filed late Friday raise the possibility a trial could become politically embarrassing for the Bush administration by focusing on the debate about whether the White House manipulated intelligence to justify the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq in March 2003.

The defense team stated that in June and July 2003, Plame’s CIA status was at most a peripheral issue to “the finger-pointing that went on within the executive branch about who was to blame” for the failure to find weapons of mass destruction in Iraq.

“If the jury learns this background information” about finger-pointing “and also understands Mr. Libby’s additional focus on urgent national security matters, the jury will more easily appreciate how Mr. Libby may have forgotten or misremembered … snippets of conversation” about Plame’s CIA status, the lawyers said.

Oh, that’s right. Now where are all the “This case has nothing to do with the justifications for the Iraq War” people?

Brian, you do know that defense lawyers talk smack before the trial in order to influence potential jurors or swing a better plea bargain? You may want to save your outrage untill we hear some actual testimony.

Don’t confuse jaded schadenfreude with outrage.

You may want to save that too.