Vice presidential adviser I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby Jr. was indicted Friday on charges of obstruction of justice, making a false statement and perjury in the CIA leak case. The indictments stem from a two-year investigation by special counsel Patrick Fitzgerald into whether presidential adviser Karl Rove, Libby or any other administration officials knowingly revealed the identity of CIA agent Valerie Plame or lied about their involvement to investigators.
Libby resigned from the White House soon after the indictments were announced. Comments on the news:
Patrick Fitzgerald, Special Counsel: "When a vice president's chief of staff is charged with perjury and obstruction of justice, it does show the world that this is a country that takes its law seriously; that all citizens are bound by the law."
Following is a statement from Vice President Dick Cheney about the resignation of his chief of staff, I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby, following the aide's indictment on five counts in the CIA leak case. Source: White House
Mr. Libby has informed me that he is resigning to fight the charges brought against him. I have accepted his decision with deep regret.
Scooter Libby is one of the most capable and talented individuals I have ever known. He has given many years of his life to public service and has served our nation tirelessly and with great distinction.
In our system of government an accused person is presumed innocent until a contrary finding is made by a jury after an opportunity to answer the charges and a full airing of the facts. Mr. Libby is entitled to that opportunity.
Because this is a pending legal proceeding, in fairness to all those involved, it would be inappropriate for me to comment on the charges or on any facts relating to the proceeding.
President George W. Bush: "Today I accepted the resignation of Scooter Libby. Scooter has worked tirelessly on behalf of the American people and sacrificed much in the service to this country. He served the vice president and me through extraordinary times in our nation's history.
"Special Counsel Fitzgerald's investigation and ongoing legal proceedings are serious, and now the proceedings — the process moves into a new phase. In our system, each individual is presumed innocent and entitled to due process and a fair trial.
"While we're all saddened by today's news, we remain wholly focused on the many issues and opportunities facing this country. I got a job to do, and so do the people who work in the White House. We got a job to protect the American people, and that's what we'll continue working hard to do."
Vice President Dick Cheney: "Scooter Libby is one of the most capable and talented individuals I have ever known. He has given many years of his life to public service and has served our nation tirelessly and with great distinction.
"In our system of government an accused person is presumed innocent until a contrary finding is made by a jury after an opportunity to answer the charges and a full airing of the facts. Mr. Libby is entitled to that opportunity."
I. Lewis Libby, in a statement issued through his attorney: "I've spent much of my career working on behalf of the American people and for the safety of our citizens. I have conducted my responsibilities honorably and truthfully, including with respect to this investigation.
"It is with regret that I step aside from that service today. I am confident that at the end of this process I will be completely and totally exonerated."
Ambassador Joseph Wilson, husband of Valerie Plame (Statement read by Wilson's attorney, Christopher Wolf): "There will be many opportunities in the future to comment on the events that led to today's indictment. And, it appears that there will be further developments before the grand jury. Whatever the final outcome of the investigation and the prosecution, I continue to believe that revealing my wife Valerie's secret CIA identity was very wrong and harmful to our nation, and I feel that my family was attacked for my speaking the truth about the events that led our country to war. I look forward to exercising my rights as a citizen to speak about these matters in the future.
"Today, however, is not the time to analyze or to debate. And it is certainly not a day to celebrate. Today is a sad day for America. When an indictment is delivered at the front door of the White House, the Office of the President is defiled. No citizen can take pleasure from that."
Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid (NV): "It is about how the Bush White House manufactured and manipulated intelligence in order to bolster its case for the war in Iraq and to discredit anyone who dared to challenge the president."
Robert Luskin, Karl Rove's lawyer: "Mr. Rove will continue to cooperate fully with the special counsel's efforts to complete the investigation. We are confident that when the special counsel finishes his work, he will conclude that Mr. Rove has done nothing wrong."
Sen. Edward Kennedy (D-MA): The indictments marked "a new low since Watergate in terms of openness and honesty in our government."
Rep. Jim Ramstad (R-MN): "It's time to stop the leaks and spin and turn Washington into one big recovery meeting where people say what they mean and mean what they say."
Sen. John Kerry (D-MA): "(The indictments are) evidence of White House corruption at the very highest levels, far from the 'honor and dignity' the president pledged to restore to Washington just five years ago."
Rep. John Conyers (MI), ranking Democrat on the House Judiciary Committee: "Today's indictments represent the beginning, but not the end, of the process of finally holding the Bush administration accountable for its conduct in foisting a pre-emptive war on this country."
Rep. Jack Kingston (R-GA): "It's significant that the indictment does not mention the outing of Valerie Plame. It appears that after two years of investigation, Mr. Fitzgerald does not agree with the administration's critics that her situation is what this is all about."
Sen. Conrad Burns (R-MT): "These are very serious charges against Mr. Libby. I believe in the rule of law and the strength and integrity of our justice system and it shall prevail."
Erwin Chemerinsky, Duke Law School professor: "What brought down the Nixon administration wasn't the burglary itself, but the cover-up of it. What caused Clinton's indictment wasn't that he had an affair with Monica Lewinsky but he lied about it. It's consistent with what we've seen in scandals for a long time."
The Associated Press contributed to this report.