Oct. 28, 2005: 'Scooter' Libby indicted on multiple charges

Vice President Dick Cheney's chief of staff, Lewis "Scooter" Libby, has been indicted on two charges, including false statements and perjury, also obstruction of justice.
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Transcript for Oct. 28, 2005: 'Scooter' Libby indicted on multiple charges
This is an ABC news special report. I'm Bob Woodruff ABC world headquarters in New York we interrupt your regular programming because we have just received word that indictments in relation to that. Leak of a CIA officer's name had just been handed up at a federal district court in Washington that indictment is now being handed out to reporters who are now pouring through it. The initial word is that. That Lewis Libby that's as his vice president Dick cheneys chief of staff has been indicted. On two charges false statements and perjury relating to his statements made. To a grand jury also obstruction. Of justice. This is in connection with a CIA leak case that has been going on for more than two years Patrick FitzGerald the special prosecutor. Who is also the US attorney for the northern district of Illinois has kept this investigation very close to his vast. It is the culmination of a nearly two year grand jury investigation into that leak. Of CIA officer Valerie Plame whose name in those two year's investigators have questioned more than a dozen people including the highest members of government. The president the vice president. White House chief political advisor Karl Rove. And Vice President Cheney chief of staff Lewis Scooter Libby who has now been indicted we have correspondents at the White House the courthouse. The Justice Department in Washington. And George Stephanopoulos is here in New York Georgia wanted to talk about the significance. Of Lewis Libby but I also now want to talk about Karl Rove the name that is missing from this that many expected that he also might beans. That's right in his lawyer put out a statement this morning saying that he would not be indicted today but he was still under investigation. That his status is not change so he is not out of legal jeopardy. Yet but today the news is that Lewis Libby the vice president's chief of staff and national security advisor a key player. In the White House also an assistant to president George W. Bush has been indicted from this first dreamed of obstruction of justice perjury and false statements. And hobby this will have major political significance but for someone and talk more about what this paper says. That are Jonathan Karl who's at the US district court reading a wedge out I would imagine much of this information. Is on the front page views read to us what it sets. The front based tells us there are five in their five counts here Bob. We see obstruction of justice we see two counts of false statements and we see two counts of perjury. These are serious charges that carry penalties that could include time in jail perjury and obstruction of justice. Five years and him which follows Bob is a narrative of exactly what was happening in from the beginning you simply have. Background on Scooter Libby. As you know Scooter Libby is not only the vice president's chief of staff. He is also his national security advisor and is most important and trusted aide in the White House. Gives you background of the CIA and of course on Joseph Wilson and on. Valerie be playing these actions on a fellow have a run yes go ahead Bob one attorney Terry Moran just very briefly because Terry one of the charges that is also missing. From this document is the charge relating to the intelligence identities protection act which is the the law that. Tries to protect the names of CIA operatives any Covert intelligence operate operative from being leaked that is how this case began but no charge. On that. If they're cover up not the crime the old rule of Washington scandal seems to apply here as well. Although we hear from Karl Rove lawyer that the investigation does continue but you're right Bob. That original trigger for this whole investigation. Was the name of a Covert CIA operative. Illegally leaked to the public in violation of that law that seems to have gone away and instead what you have is for what seems to be a prosecutor. Really perturbed at what he is charging Scooter Libby with it sounds like here a pattern a deliberate not one. Misstatement but a deliberate series of efforts to obstruct justice. To deceive the grand jury and it seems as if that is really where his focus is there. Attorney George Stephanopoulos this is this is significant as these are all crimes happened after the investigation actually began. Why and what but what what we're learning from this indictment is that the special prosecutors look at conversations that Lewis Libby had with journalist Tim Russert of NBC news Judith Miller. The New York Times and Matt Cooper of time magazine and whether he told the truth. About those conversations we've seen reports from the other. Reporters he said for example there were some reports in the grand jury coming out of the grand jury that loosely might of said he first learned the name. And the identity of Valerie Plame from reporters who know that have been denied by Tim Russert of NBC news we also know. They've Judith Miller of the New York Times testified that she first learned. The identity of our reclaimed from Lewis Libby in a meeting in June June 23 I believe 2003 in the old executive office building. And apparently the special prosecutor said that. Lewis Libby either before the grand jury which would be perjury or to other government investigators should be false students could not tell the truth about those conversations. Event is in. It's not suggest that these visa rose and after the initial case was brought. But in fact may have obstructed them from conducting this case. And a methodical way exactly one of the other questions that have been raised after the testimony of Judith Miller of the New York Times reporter was a letter. That Lewis Libby wrote. To Judith Miller. Just in September of this year where he said I do want you to testify before the grand jury. But some some observers some legal analysts believe that when he saw that letter. And the the wording that Lewis Libby had where he said. All the other reporters at testified that night that I did not tell them that name that that might have been coaching Judith Miller in some fashion. I want to make this point and then we'll make it again later which is that it does not appear that this investigation but is by any means over. Terry touchdown that mentioning that Carl rose attorney said that this morning. This grand jury. We'll have to. Have to end now under the law but a new one could possibly be empaneled and when I students investigate that's exactly right and when I spoke with Carl rose attorney. Earlier this morning he did say it's very possible. That's in the evidence that mr. FitzGerald had developed could be presented to a different. Grand jury. Jonathan Wells can you tell us about what it says. Well listen to this line which Bob he says. Did Scooter Libby knowingly and corruptly endeavored to influence obstruct and impede. The due administration of justice namely proceedings under this grand jury by misleading and deceiving the grand jury as to when and the manner and means by which Libya acquired. And subsequently disclosed to the media information. Concerning the employment Valerie Wilson to the CIA. And it goes on with a timeline about exactly how Scooter Libby learned about all of this. Heap we we've learned here that honor about June 12 2003. This was by the way the death there was a front page story in the Washington Post. About an ambassador retired ambassador's trip to me here that we later learn was Joseph Wilson but says on that day. Libby learned from the underside front undersecretary of state he's not name we know that person to be Marc Grossman. It Wilson's wife worked for the CIA two days later on June 14. Libby discussed a Joseph Wilson and Valerie Wilson with a CIA briefer in the context of this trip to Africa. And on June 23. We know that Libby informed reporter Judith Miller that Wilson's wife might work at a bureau of the CI and on July 7 Libby advised the White House that the press secretaries and provides a white house Press Secretary Ari Fleischer. That Wilson's wife worked for the CIA. And in any says in about June or July 2003. And he no case. Later than June July 8 Libby was advised by the assistant to the vice president for public affairs. It Wilson's wife worked for the CIA so he had multiple sources within the government giving him this information did this woman worked at the CIA. And then it goes on and says did on July 8 Libby advised Judith Miller again the reporter for the New York Times who spent 85 days in jail. Before she testified. Did his belief was that Wilson's wife worked at the CIA. Finally on about July 8 2003 Libby had a discussion. With the counsel to the office of the vice president concerning the paperwork that would exist if a person who was sent an overseas trip by the CIA had a spouse who worked at the CIA. Now what we had known previously. Is did. Scooter Libby had told this prosecutor in this grand jury. That he first learned about the fact that Wilson's wife worked at the CIA from reporters. But here you have an extensive timeline that Scooter Libby knew well. It's Valerie Wilson Valerie Plame worked at the CIA from official sources this of course I was highly sensitive information just so people are. Clear from a legal standpoint what has to be proven under the intelligence identities protection act. Is that eight that someone intentionally reveal the name of an undercover agent. And that they that agent had operated undercover. Sometime within the past five years so it seems that what that narrative is getting at is that there was a very. Active. Well not I wouldn't say campaign but there was certainly a lot of activity George about. How much Lawrence Lewis Libby knew about this and and how much how many other people were brought in to to talk about. That is exactly right although the indictment does not charge any violation of that underlying statute for illegally revealing that. The identity of a Covert agent but it is significant go back where Jonathan Karl. Was saying the timeline showing how Lewis Libby got this information from the undersecretary of state Marc Grossman. From the CIA and then subsequent to talking to this to the State Department and the CIA. He gave that information to a reporter Judith Miller he did not first get the information from reporter. We know from other reporting. That the State Department also wrote a memo on or about June 12 2003. Which also mentioned. That Valerie Wilson worked at those at the CIA in the bureau of weapons of mass destruction and that that memo. Mark that information secret but we don't have in this indictment is any charge they Lewis Libby will fully revealed the name of the CIA agent. I think he knew that she was a CIA agent and did not get a from a reporter that much is clear from the there any any did not tell the truth about that. Either tune government investigators or the grand jury a false statement charge and a perjury charge. Jonathan Karl's reading away wheat by the way we do not have this document yet here in New York it is it is down at the courthouse. And at the Department of Justice Jonathan Karl you that someone August. Yet that this is really interesting this is it did tell us do exactly what Scooter Libby told the grand jury. About how he learned that Valerie Wilson Valerie Plame worked at the CIA he said this is according. What's Scooter Libby told the grand jury during a conversation with Tim Russert of NBC news on July 10 or eleventh. Russert this this is again Libby story Russert asked Libby if that he was aware that Wilson's wife worked the CIA from Libya responded to Russert that he did not know that. And that Russert. Replied that all reporters knew that. Liddy was surprised by the statement because while speaking to Russert Libby did not recall that he had previously learned about Wilson's wife's employment. From the vice president itself in other words Bob. What he is telling the grand jury. Is that he had this conversation. With Tim Russert in July. Neither the of the tenth or eleventh of July and it is on that day that Russert and tells him tells him. Its other Wilson's wife works at the CIA but we know from the previous narrative that he had known about it a month before this conversation with Tim Russert and Russert testifies that he never said this Scooter Libby so what essentially is happening here. Is Patrick FitzGerald is accusing Scooter Libby of lying in a very detailed an elaborate lives. About when he learned and how he learned. Did mrs. Wilson. Valerie Plame worked the CIN. I want to talk about the political consequences to this if there was not that there's not a charge yet and and and again it's is ongoing it is not a charge yet. That someone violated the intelligence acted intentionally reveal the name of of a CIA operative which of course could lead to the death of sources and even that operative themselves in that case. If it is simply lying to federal prosecutors the political fallout for the white house on this. It's it's hard to know exactly yet until the investigation is completed that but first we'll I would say that. False statements and perjury and obstruction of justice are federal crimes punishable by many years in prison I think he faces up to thirty years in prison if convicted. On all counts number one. Number two. We know for if even though an indictment is not a conviction innocent until proven guilty in court of law we know that White House aides have said I think anyone who's indicted from the White House. We'll have to resign. Immediately and then what this narrative begins may begin to show is who else at the White House knew. About these conversations for example we learned from Jonathan Karl just a few moments ago. That scooter liberate Libby had spoken with Ari Fleischer the former white house Press Secretary and with the council in the vice president's office. And remember we had been told in the past that White House officials were not involved in this in any way shape or form. So we we expect to see at some point today a statement from the vice president on this matter. In a statement from President Bush on this matter and that's when we'll start to see the political fallout develop and how the White House is gonna handle it. But these are very serious charges so far limited only to Lewis Libby. Our rights are just to recap real quickly Lewis Libby the chief of staff the vice president. Dick Cheney has been indicted on charges of about destruction of justice perjury and and false charges. We do expect to hear from Patrick FitzGerald the special prosecutor in about an hour we will be back with that but all of those reports I'm Bob Woodruff. India. For continuing coverage of the story's staying with ABC news abcnews.com. And ABC news radio. This has been a special report. From ABC news. This is a beast.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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