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So let me get this straight: Scooter Libby is going to jail for not remembering who he told what. He didn't lie, evidently. He didn't remember right, and that is a federal crime, of course, if you happen to be speaking to a FBI agent when your memory fails.

But at the same time, the same Justice Department has taken the case of a high government official who lied, who stole classified documents, who destroyed those documents, and he's walking around free as a bird. They won't even ask him to take a lie detector test to determine if he lied more than they already know.

People are saying the Libby trial is the key to the kingdom, that it stands for the trial of the entire administration and the war in Iraq.

Here's what it was about: Does the vice president have the right to say, see that guy named Joe Wilson who is going around saying I sent him to Africa to investigate Saddam's nuke bombs? I didn't send him. His wife did.

Seems pretty simple to me.

Joe Wilson wrote a piece for The New York Times implying the vice president sent him on a mission to Africa and then ignored his advice. In the vice president's office the question was: Who is this guy? Why is he saying we sent him, and as a matter of fact who did?

Let me quote from an Associated Press report from the trial, dated January 24, 2007, when former CIA Iraq mission manager Robert L. Grenier appeared as a government witness in the trial of Libby. The report reads: Grenier testified he told Libby that the idea of sending ex-Ambassador Joseph Wilson to Niger was the brainchild of Wilson's wife, Valerie Plame, who worked in the CIA office that sent him in 2002.

Now, Libby was informed who sent Wilson to Africa. He certainly knew the vice president's office didn't because, well, because he would know. He was the V.P.'s chief of staff.

So the vice president and Libby wanted the press to know because they were getting pointed questions about why did you send this guy if you weren't going to pay attention to his report. And they found out that his wife had sent him. They wanted people to know. Problem was, she was a covert spook, at least technically.

So if you are the vice president or his assistant, can you out the spook if the spook is pulling strings behind your back to make you look bad? Evidently not.

Personally, I'm glad they did. There was a cabal inside the CIA working against the president's policy and they wanted to hide behind their secret status while they did what was essentially an anti-war political hitjob.

This is bad. It is the bad thing at the bottom of this whole episode. Valerie Plame knew what she was doing when she sent her husband. She knew he would never come back with an endorsement for the war. He says in his own book he didn't even believe in deposing Saddam back in the '91 war.

So why would Cheney send an anti-war activist to investigate a key fact in the decision to go to war? Answer: He wouldn't. And the person who did was trying to sabotage the president.

That is the real story behind this entire saga.

That's My Word.

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