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Good News and Bad News at White House

   There's good news and bad news this afternoon at the White House.

   Good News: No one has been charged with a war crime.

    Bad News: One of the most powerful staffers in the Bush Administration has been charged with five felonies, as part of a "corrupt endeavor" that included lying to FBI agents and making "materially false and intentionally misleading statements and representations to the grand jury."

    Good News: The man who is probably the single most powerful staffer is doing backflips and scheduling a celebratory feast tonight at The Palm, complete with the ritual sacrifice of a goat.

    Bad News: Upcoming trial will almost certainly require testimony from just about everyone in the White House, including the Vice President and possibly the President.

    Good News: Ace witness for the prosecution is Judy Miller.

    Bad News: The indictment of Libby suggests that he knew that information about Joseph and Valerie Plame Wilson was of a highly sensitive nature -- to the point that he told his own deputy that he couldn't discuss the issue on a non-secure phone line. But shortly thereafter, on June 23, 2003, he met with Judy Miller and "informed her that Wilson's wife might work at a bureau of the CIA." In another meeting with Miller on July 8, he discussed Mrs. Wilson again and asked that his quotes be attributed to a "former Hill staffer" rather than to a "senior administration official." The indictment thus builds the case that Libby knew he had loose lips and that ships might sink. So to speak.

   Good News: Um...

   Bad News: The indictment refers to a conversation between Libby and "a senior official in the White House ('Official A')..." This mysterious "Official A," who is apparently columnist Robert Novak's source, will inspire news stories and blogosphere conspiracy theories for days on end.

   Good News: Half-price burger day at the White House Mess!

   Bad News: Libby charged with perjury for telling the grand jury what appears to be something of a whopper: That when he spoke to Matt Cooper on July 12 (many weeks after learning about Amb. Wilson and about Mrs. Wilson's employment at the CIA), "I still didn't know it as a fact. I thought I was -- all I had was this information that was coming in from the reporters....I think I said, I don't know if he has a wife, but this is what we're hearing." Hello? I don't know if he has a wife???

   Good News: It's Friday! Hell Week is Over!!!

By Joel Achenbach  |  October 28, 2005; 1:07 PM ET
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