Below are some key points from Fitzgerald's comments (my initial thoughts in red):
- Libby indicted on 5 charges
- At time of her outing - Plame's role in CIA was CLASSIFIED - unknown to friends and family - revealing the identity of classified agent is a crime (Will we see classified info indictments later?)
- Libby originally told FBI that he learned about Plame from Russert and then passed it on to reporters without knowing if it was true -- repeated this story under oath at first testimony -- later testimony and evidence shows that Libby discussed Plame's role/identity as many as a dozen times before talking to Russert and before Novak's column. (Scooter changed his story significantly.)
- He learned in June 2003 of her identity from an undersecretary, Cheney and two other government officials.
- Evidence shows that Libby was not at the "end of a chain of phone calls" but at the beginning.
- Privacy has been important so far because it was related to a private grand jury hearing - it will now move to public trial. (The thought of this going to a PUBLIC TRIAL is scaring the White House to death. A LOT comes out in trials that people don't want heard.)
- Investigation is NOT over - Obstruction of justice committed by Libby has prevented discovering motive behind leak of Plame's identity and hurts ability to charge in leak. New grand jury can be impaneled if the need is warranted by continued investigation.
- Obstruction is VERY serious crime because it keeps us from finding out truth about leak.
- Will NOT speak to who has been revealed as the leak - if the evidence is not there to indict or convict then a responsible prosecutor cannot come out publically and name someone as the leak. (This is an important distinction - Republicans will have a hard time smearing Fitzgerald as unprofessional, etc. with this kind of statement on public record.)
- No report - This is a grand jury investigation not an independent council investigation - the authority to issue a report is not there.
- Evidence exists that Libby did reveal agent's identity and classified information - but that knowledge is not enough to indict under the laws. Must be able to prove that when information was divulged, defendent KNEW that the information was classified. This is where the true seriousness of obstruction is evident - because of obstruction the situation at time of leak is not entirely clear - can't prove Libby knowingly or conspiritorally leaked classified information. (Further shows professionalism - if this were a partisan witch hunt, this kind of nuance wouldn't matter.)
- Will not comment as to whether others might be indicted later. (Reading between the lines this says he is not ruling that - if he were ruling the possibility out he seems straight shooting enough to say so.)
- Maximum sentence for counts range up to 10 years - cumulative that could lead to sentence on all counts of up to 50 years.
The questions are starting to turn circular at this point so I will go ahead and post this much. I am still listening and will add any "developments" as needed. My over-arching reflection at this point is that Fitzgerald is SHARP - he is handling himself amazingly well. His demeanor and professionalism is shooting holes through all of the Republcan lines so far (partisan, etc.). His extreme professionalism further makes me feel that Libby (and possibly others, time will tell) committed serious offenses and he has the goods!