The Blogs On Libby

The blogosphere (at least the part of it intrigued by media and politics) was holding its collective breath today waiting for Special Counsel Patrick Fitzgerald's announcement on possible indictments related to the CIA leak case. Some were wary of the early media reports of the news that vice presidential adviser I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby was expected to be indicted and Karl Rove was not, but would remain "under investigation" by the special counsel.

Once the official news broke that Libby was indicted on charges of obstruction of justice, making a false statement and perjury, and had submitted his resignation, TVNewser kept track of the networks' coverage and other blogs began to weigh in before, during and after Fitzgerald's news conference.

Mark Levin at The Corner had a bone to pick with Fitzgerald:
What I resent about this press conference is the effort by Fitzgerald to paint Lewis Libby as outing a cover CIA operative, jeopardize national security, and harm CIA recruitment. As many times as I have now read this indictment, I see obstruction, perjury and false statements. I see no charges relating to any of this rhetoric. And so we now have some news reports claiming that Libby outed a CIA agent when, in fact, as a matter of law, he's not even charged with that.
Steven Clemons at the Washington Note was among the many bloggers who began to speculate about who Libby's sources might have been:
My hunch -- given the other options at the Under Secretary level -- is that John Bolton was one of Libby's four sources on Valerie Plame Wilson. It would be nice to have confirmation.
Instapundit had some thoughts following the release of the indictment, following his initial trepidation about early reports:
Lying to a grand jury is serious, if true. The rest is Martha Stewart stuff. But this isn't the Libby-Rove-Cheney takedown that the lefties have been hoping for -- there's not even a charge of "outing" a covert agent -- and the very extravagance of their hopes will make this seem much less significant. If there's no more, this will probably do Bush little harm.
Volokh Conspiracy had some more:
All things considered, the Libby indictment handed down today was narrower than I expected. As I read it, all five of the counts come down to Libby's lying to investigators and the grand jury about his contacts with the press. The counts seem pretty clearly valid and tight on the law, although none go to the substantive offense for which Libby was investigated.
Matthew Yglesias at American Prospect's Tapped takes issue with talking points underplaying the indictment:
One of the big talking points out there recently has been that though someone might go down for perjury or obstruction of justice, there was no underlying crime here. That theory is based on the idea that (a) there was no violation of the Intelligence Identities Protection Act because the culpable parties didn't know Valerie Plame was covert, and (b) the Espionage Act isn't a real law. Point (b) has never made any sense. Point (a) looks very weak in light of this from the indictment.
Bull Moose saw an opening for new talking points for Democrats:
While others may spin these indictments as being about the war, the Moose views these charges about integrity and honor in government. Five years ago this President pledged to bring honor and dignity to the office. Today, we witnessed yet another example of how this President and this Administration violated that commitment. That is the message that Democrats should convey.
Congressman Jack Kingston posted his press release as he was aboard Air Force II with Vice President Cheney at Red State:
Mr. Libby's resignation is appropriate. The court can now decide the facts of the case. An indictment is not a statement of guilt, but simply outlines the case for the prosecutor. Keep in mind that we have not heard Mr. Libby's side of this story.

Furthermore, the Vice President and the White House can now move forward. The Vice President has a capable staff of professionals that will step up to the plate.
Humor was not entirely absent from blog reaction. The New Republic's recently-christened blog The Plank, which featured a continuing flow of information from Ryan Lizza, the magazine's reporter on the scene at DOJ, and commentary from other staffers, could barely contain itself:
If The Plank had money for a siren graphic, you know we'd be using it.
John J. Miller at National Review's The Corner made a funny:
Let me just go on the record right now and say I think it would be a big mistake for President Bush to nominate Scooter Libby to the Supreme Court.
However, Hotline On Call tried and, apparently, failed at cracking a joke:
Wonder Who Official "A" Is...

From the indictment: "On or about July 10 or July 11, 2003, LIBBY spoke to a senior official in the White House ("Official A") who advised LIBBY of a conversation Official A had earlier that week with columnist Robert Novak in which Wilson's wife was discussed as a CIA employee involved in Wilson's trip. LIBBY was advised by Official A that Novak would be writing a story about Wilson's wife."

UPDATE: We are being facetious. Thanks to those of you who wrote in to suggest "Karl Rove."

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