A Rough Road For 'Scooter'?
An inside player takes center stage
But Libby is no cardboard cutout of a single-minded right-wing zealot. His wife, Harriet Grant, is a former lawyer on the Democratic staff of the Senate Judiciary Committee. Libby dotes on his two preadolescent children, attends their soccer games, and sometimes practices with them. One of his fans is Dennis Ross, a former U.S. envoy to the Middle East, who worked with Libby at the State Department in the early 1980s. Ross praised Libby's decency and sense of humor and added: "He's cared much more about trying to do a job than trying to get visibility for himself. He's approached his job with the sense that his role is to basically support others." Ross told U.S. News that Libby didn't strike him as an "ideologue." Asked his reaction to Libby's possible indictment, Ross said, "Disbelief. . . . I view him as someone who . . . would be very mindful of the thresholds not to cross."
Protection. Among Libby's preoccupations are secrecy and message control. On a vice presidential trip to Asia, it was Libby who kept a tight lid on all information. He allowed Cheney to speak to reporters, but the comments were initially kept off the record to avoid gaffes, despite protests from the journalists. Libby finally relented but allowed reporters to use only a few benign quotes from the vice president. Through it all, there was no doubt that it was Scooter Libby's job to protect his patron.
Yet Libby clearly has a fun-loving side. He enjoys the outdoors and a variety of sports, especially skiing. At a Colorado conference in 2001, he took a break to go mountain biking and broke his collarbone. After a quick trip to the doctor, he returned to the conference. He also occasionally goes hunting with friends, including Deputy Chief of Staff Karl Rove. In 1996, he published a mystery novel, The Apprentice, set in 1903 at a rural Japanese mountain inn, where "a raging blizzard has brought together wayfarers who share only fear, distrust, and suspicion of one another," says the book jacket.
His father gave him his nickname after noting that Lewis frequently darted around his crib as a 1-year-old. "I love it," Libby once said of the moniker. "There is a tendency in Washington for people to take themselves a little too seriously, and it's pretty hard to take yourself seriously when your name is Scooter." Yet today, as he is swept up in the CIA leak case, Scooter Libby's fate is being taken very seriously indeed.
With Bret Schulte and Silla Brush