Cheney tried very lamely to protect his chief of staff, according to Libby's attorney, Theodore Wells.
In his opening statement, Wells displayed a note written by Cheney that said he was "not going to protect one staffer [Rove] (and) sacrifice the guy that was asked to stick his neck in the meat grinder [Libby] because of the incompetence of others."This development is ironic, given that Newsweek's Michael Isikoff and The Nation's David Corn already covered this in their book last year. Hubris: the Inside Story of Spin, Scandal, And the Selling of the Iraq War went into great detail about the role played by Bush's Brain.
Libby "was an important staffer, but Karl Rove was the lifeblood of the Republican Party," Wells said.
Special prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald said in his opening argument that Libby lied to the FBI and a grand jury to cover for his and Cheney's involvement in leaking Plame's identity as a CIA operative to the press in an attempt to discredit her husband.
Joe Wilson, a former U.S. ambassador, was sent in 2002 to investigate claims that Iraq had tried to procure "yellowcake" uranium from the African nation of Niger. When he came back saying the alleged documents "proving" the attempted transactions were forgeries, the Bush regime used the bogus information anyway in making its case for war against Iraq.
After in July 2003, months after the war was launched, Wilson wrote an op-ed arguing the Iraq/Niger lie was just that--a lie. The regime was furious, and quickly moved to discredit the former ambassador as well as intimidate future whistleblowers by outing his wife as a CIA agent working on WMD counter-proliferation.
Plame was NOC, which stands for Non-Official Cover. If you're not familiar with the television and film series Mission: Impossible, this means she had to deny working for the federal government; CIA agents operating under Official Cover pass themselves off as working for some other government entity, such as the State Department.
The Bush regime has tried every effort to stall investigation of the leak, knowing it would be traced back to the inner circle of the Oval Office. But last year, when Corn and Isikoff published their book detailing Libby's role in it, the conservative media jumped all over it falsely claiming the revelations cleared Rove.
But the truth has a funny way of worming its way back to the forefront. And when the dust settles, there may be no stopping impeachment for Dick Cheney if he is implicated in the leak.
Only time will tell if Democrats will be able to use this as ammunition with which to impeach Bush and Cheney.