Friday, October 28, 2005

In which I copy-edit the Times (Can't get past the headline edition)

Libby Faces 5 Charges, but Not for Disclosing Classified Data.

Stop. The charges involve his obstruction and lies regarding his disclosure of classified information.

As I noted earlier, the indictment makes it clear that Plame's identity as a CIA agent was classified, and Libby is the one who leaked it to reporters. That is to say, his lies were about whether and how he disclosed classified information.

The better headline would be "Libby indicted for perjury, obstruction of justice, making false statements," or "VP's Chief of Staff resigns after 5 charge indictment"

The story is clearly that Libby was indicted, not what he wasn't indicted for. And Fitzgerald made clear that he decided not to press for an indictment under the Espionage Act (disclosing classified data) not for lack of evidence, but because he wanted to avoid a dangerous precedent.