Eric Schmitt offers some interesting details about Scooter Libby in a profile published on Oct. 29, the day after Vice President Dick Cheney's chief of staff resigned after being indicted on five felony counts.  --  Among them:  1) Libby is a sycophant who has defined himself by extreme obeisance to Cheney ("When I find a time when I disagree with Dick Cheney, I say to myself, 'Why am I wrong?'" he said in 2001).  --  2) Libby's wife is Harriet Grant, a Democratic lawyer who interviewed Anita Hill during the Clarence Thomas hearings in 1991.  --  3) "Mr. Libby's nickname derives from the day his father watched him crawling in his crib and joked, 'He's a scooter!'"  --  4) Libby's real job in Cheney's office was not that of "aide"; rather, he ran "a powerful staff that includes a mini-National Security Council and domestic policy team, to support Mr. Cheney's formidable role in shaping the Bush agenda and brokering it on Capitol Hill."  --  5) Libby's social milieu is very much that of the Bush family:  "A son of an investment banker, Mr. Libby attended prep school at Andover, then Yale University and Columbia Law School."  --  6) "Matters concerning Asia" have been "a lifelong interest."  --  7) Libby began as "a protégé of Leonard Garment," who was acting special counsel to Richard Nixon in the early 1970s.  --  8) When Libby left private practice as a corporate lawyer, he was billing $535 an hour.  --  But the most important observation in Eric Schmitt's article is that Libby "was not just any aide" but rather "a principal architect of the war with Iraq."  --  Bob Woodward has described an intimate dinner at the Cheney residence on Sunday evening, Apr. 13, 2003, at which the only guests present were the Cheneys, Paul Wolfowitz, Ken Adelman, and Scooter Libby, the account of which now bears rereading (Plan of Attack [New York: Simon & Schuster, 2004], pp. 409-12).  --  Scooter Libby is thus a key player in what Kevin Phillips has called "the revitalized national security state that resurged in the 1980s, and then again after 2001, transcend[ing] Eisenhower's definition of the military-industrial complex, which had not mentioned the intelligence agencies.  What took shape in later years was not just his feared 'integration of military and business interests' but a new complex of technology, arms exports, internal security, and clandestine operations, with its particular concentration in the crossroads of world oil production and religious prophecy" (American Dynasty: Aristocracy, Fortune, and the Politics of Deceit in the House of Bush (New York: Viking, 2004], p. 276).  --  The trial of I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby is certain to open up many interesting avenues of investigation....

Washington

The Chief of Staff

AN INFLUENTIAL BUSH INSIDER USED TO CHALLENGES
By Eric Schmitt

New York Times
October 29, 2005

http://www.nytimes.com/2005/10/29/politics/29libby.html

WASHINGTON -- Among the capital's power elite, I. Lewis Libby Jr. has studiously avoided the limelight in adopting the low-keyed, tight-lipped demeanor of his boss, Vice President Dick Cheney.

So cautious is Mr. Libby, a lawyer trained at Columbia University, that he counseled other staff members not to take notes or speak to reporters, two former aides said Friday. But he met periodically with journalists and regularly jotted notes that he kept in a three-ring binder, giving himself the option of tearing out stuff he did not want to keep.

These exceptions to his own meticulous rules of discretion may ultimately come back to haunt Mr. Libby, who resigned Friday after being formally accused of repeatedly lying and obstructing justice during an inquiry into the unmasking of a Central Intelligence Agency officer.

In the White House constellation of advisers, Mr. Libby, 55, was not just any aide. Known by the nickname Scooter, he had the exalted position of being a full member of President Bush's inner circle. In fact, he exercised more influence than senior vice-presidential aides in previous administrations, holding three pivotal jobs at once: assistant to the president, chief of staff to the vice president and Mr. Cheney's national security adviser.

"Scooter is Dick Cheney's Dick Cheney," said Cesar V. Conda, Mr. Cheney's former top economic policy aide.

Indeed, working for Mr. Cheney on and off over the past 15 years, Mr. Libby knows his boss's views and intentions well enough to start pursuing priorities before being asked. Mr. Libby quietly submitted his letter of resignation on Friday before the special counsel, Patrick J. Fitzgerald, held a news conference to announce the indictments that put Mr. Libby at the center of the leak investigation.

In a statement, Mr. Cheney expressed "deep regret" at Mr. Libby's resignation, and paid tribute to his longtime adviser and confidant: "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."

Mr. Libby said he believed he would be found innocent of the charges against him. "I am confident that at the end of this process I will be completely and totally exonerated," he said in a statement issued by his lawyer, Joseph A. Tate.

Mary Matalin, a longtime political adviser to Mr. Cheney who spoke to Mr. Libby on Friday, said: "He is relentlessly even-keeled and is going to do what he's going to do. He's the furthest thing from a whiner."

Finding a successor to Mr. Libby will not be easy for Mr. Cheney, who has relied on his aide's behind-the-scenes advice on issues including the budget, the Iraqi insurgency and Mr. Bush's choice to be new chairman of the Federal Reserve. But Mr. Libby's main passions have been national security issues -- he was a principal architect of the war with Iraq -- and counseling and protecting his boss.

"When I find a time when I disagree with Dick Cheney, I say to myself, 'Why am I wrong?' " Mr. Libby said in an interview in 2001.

On Friday, Republican aides said the leading candidate to succeed Mr. Libby was David S. Addington, Mr. Cheney's counsel. Others include Neil Patel, a longtime Libby deputy; Eric Edelman, a former Cheney aide who is a senior Pentagon official.

"They have been in recent weeks delegating lots of responsibility to other members of the senior staff," Mr. Conda said. "They've been preparing for it."

Mr. Libby's departure virtually ensures that more power will end up in the hands of Mr. Cheney's closest advisers, his wife, Lynne, and his daughter Elizabeth, aides said.

Despite his pedigree as one of the administration's most hawkish advisers on national security issues, Mr. Libby is hard to pigeonhole among Washington insiders. He is married to Harriet Grant, one of the senior Democratic lawyers to interview Anita F. Hill in the Senate hearings on the Supreme Court nomination of Judge Clarence Thomas.

He is an avid mountain-biker and played in a regular weekend touch-football game until he broke his foot recently and ended up on crutches.

Mr. Libby's nickname derives from the day his father watched him crawling in his crib and joked, "He's a scooter!" The moniker stuck, and Mr. Libby has joked that it ensured that people he had just met would never forget his name and would not take him too seriously.

A consummate backroom player in Washington, Mr. Libby has for five years overseen a powerful staff that includes a mini-National Security Council and domestic policy team, to support Mr. Cheney's formidable role in shaping the Bush agenda and brokering it on Capitol Hill. It was a job that culminated more than two decades in and out of government.

A son of an investment banker, Mr. Libby attended prep school at Andover, then Yale University and Columbia Law School. Eventually, his former political science professor at Yale offered him a job at the State Department. That professor was Paul D. Wolfowitz, formerly deputy defense secretary and now president of the World Bank.

At the State Department, Mr. Libby worked on matters concerning Asia, a lifelong interest. After leaving government, he rejoined Mr. Wolfowitz at the Pentagon in 1989 when Mr. Cheney was secretary of defense. In 1998, Mr. Libby was legal adviser to the bipartisan House panel on Chinese espionage.

Mr. Libby, a protégé of Leonard Garment, President Richard M. Nixon's lawyer, is no stranger to legal and diplomatic challenges. While in private practice between stints in government, he represented clients including Fiat, NBC and United Parcel Service. When he left private practice, he was billing $535 an hour.

But his most celebrated client was Marc Rich, the billionaire fugitive commodities trader and tax evader to whom President Bill Clinton later granted a pardon. Mr. Libby represented Mr. Rich on and off for 15 years, earning $2 million in fees, but he was not involved in the pardon.

--Richard W. Stevenson contributed reporting for this article.