No More Than He Already Is...
Act of "loyalty" will carry considerable risks
WASHINGTON: One witness has dominated the trial of I. Lewis Libby Jr. without even showing up in the courtroom. Day after day, the jury has heard accounts of the actions of Vice President Dick Cheney, watched as his handwritten notes were displayed on a giant screen, heard how he directed leaks to the press and ordered the White House to publicly defend Libby, his top aide and close confidante.
Now, as the defense phase of the perjury trial begins, Cheney is expected to make a historic appearance on the witness stand. It is an act of loyalty that carries considerable risk for Cheney.
If he testifies, Cheney will bring to the jurors the awesome authority of his office and could attest to Libby's character as policy adviser and family man, to his crushing workload and dedication to keeping the country safe. That could give extra heft to Libby's defense against the charge that he lied to the FBI and grand jury: that he was so occupied with important matters of state, he did not accurately remember conversations from July 2003.
But the first 10 days of testimony has already exposed some of the long-hidden workings of Cheney's extraordinary vice presidency, revealing how deeply the vice president himself was engaged during 2003 in managing public relations as the administration's case for war came under attack. <more>
Libby trial shines revealing light on White House attempts to sell American public on Iraq war
What has emerged, instead, is:
a vice president fixated on finding ways to debunk a former diplomat's claims that Bush misled the U.S. people in going to war and his suggestion Cheney might have played a role in suppressing contrary intelligence.
a presidential press secretary kept in the dark on Iraq policy.
top White House officials meeting daily to discuss the diplomat, former ambassador Joseph Wilson, and sometimes even his CIA-officer wife Valerie Plame.