Scooterpalooza! Ten Libby News Nuggets

Good morning. I've said all I have to say about the sentence handed down yesterday to I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby following his perjury and obstruction of justice conviction earlier this year. So this morning I thought I would trawl through the papers, online and otherwise, and offer you the best of the rest of the spin on L'Affaire Libby.

Dana Milbank in the Washington Post: "You knew Scooter Libby was in trouble at yesterday's sentencing hearing when his lawyer decided to read the judge a character reference -- from Paul Wolfowitz."

Neil A. Lewis in The New York Times: "If Mr. Libby goes to prison, he will be the first senior White House official to do so since the days of Watergate, when several of President Richard M. Nixon's top aides, including H. R. Haldeman and John D. Erlichman, served prison terms. In the second setback to Mr. Libby, Judge Walton refused a request by defense lawyers to delay the sentence until Mr. Libby's appeals are exhausted. Unless the judge reverses his position, as Mr. Libby's lawyers will press for in arguments next week, or unless Mr. Bush grants a pardon, the Bureau of Prisons is expected to order Mr. Libby to report to a federal prison in the next 45 to 60 days."

Richard B. Schmitt in the Los Angeles Times: "The prospect of Libby landing in prison soon could change the politics of the case. Many observers have believed from the beginning of the prosecution that if Libby were convicted, Bush would grant him a presidential pardon to ensure that he never served a day in prison. But this scenario assumes Libby's attorneys would be able to keep him free during his appeal, and that Bush would not have to consider a pardon until the final days of his administration -- when the political costs would be minimal. Now, Walton may effectively be forcing Bush's hand."

Peter Baker in the Washington Post: "The prospect of a pardon has become so sensitive inside the West Wing that top aides have been kept out of the loop, and even Bush friends have been told not to bring it up with the president. In any debate, officials expect Vice President Cheney to favor a pardon, while other aides worry about the political consequences of stepping into a case that stems from the origins of the Iraq war and renewing questions about the truthfulness of the Bush administration."

Peter Grier in the Christian Science Monitor: "Given the opportunity to speak at his sentencing, Libby thanked Walton for his consideration throughout the trial and asked only to be judged on his whole life. He expressed no remorse about his actions -- indeed, he did not refer to the actual case at all. While the expression of remorse can lessen a sentence, Libby has also insisted that he is innocent, and he undoubtedly will appeal his conviction."

From CNN: "When it comes to the debate over whether former White House aide Lewis 'Scooter' Libby should be pardoned, the Republican presidential field is split between 'yes,' 'no,' 'maybe' and 'I'd have to study the transcript.' GOP contenders were asked about the pardon during a CNN-sponsored debate Tuesday night in New Hampshire -- just hours after Libby was sentenced to 30 months in prison for lying to federal officials investigating who leaked the identity of a CIA operative. Only two candidates said outright that they would offer a pardon to Vice President Dick Cheney's former chief of staff -- Sen. Sam Brownback of Kansas and Rep. Tom Tancredo of Colorado. The discouraging news for Libby, as he tries to avoid prison, is that those two White House hopefuls combined, have a scant 3 percent support in the latest average of national polls."

Matt Apuzzo and Pete Yost of the Associated Press (via the Boston Globe): "'Mr. Libby was the poster child for all that has gone wrong in this terrible war,' defense attorney Theodore Wells said. 'He has fallen from public grace. It is a tragic fall, a tragic fall.' [Vice President Dick] Cheney, looking to Libby's appeal, said, 'Speaking as friends, we hope that our system will return a final result consistent with what we know of this fine man.'"

Jerry Seper in the Washington Times: "By comparison, Libby's sentence of 30 months and a $250,000 fine was much stiffer than the 100 hours of community service and $50,000 fine handed to Samuel R. Berger, the Clinton White House national security adviser caught taking highly classified documents from the National Archives. Mr. Berger, national security adviser from 1997 to 2001, was convicted of removing documents from the Archives in 2005 while preparing to testify before the September 11 commission. He also was ordered to undergo a polygraph test if asked, although the Justice Department has declined to administer the test."

Josh Gerstein in the New York Sun: "The vast majority of those who contacted Judge Walton urged leniency for Libby, but a dozen or more letters asked the judge to mete out severe punishment. 'Mr. Libby's crimes are no less egregious than the very similar crimes of traitors Robert Hansen or Aldrich Ames. It is only through sheer luck that no one was killed in this matter (that we know of),' J. Raymond Niblock wrote. 'I believe there is too much corruption at top levels in this country,' a Libby critic, Charles Pluckhahn, wrote. 'This sort of decadence and dry rot sets a bad example, and if left unchecked it will take us in the direction of Rome's decline.' Those who wrote on Libby's behalf included former Defense Department officials, such as Douglas Feith and Richard Perle; a former ambassador to the United Nations, John Bolton; a former senator, Alan Simpson of Wyoming, and a State Department counselor, Eliot Cohen."

Reynolds Holding in Time magazine: "When I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby was sentenced Tuesday to a surprisingly long term of 30 months in prison for perjury and obstruction of justice, he became a victim of one of the most troubling aspects of federal sentencing laws -- allowing harsher sentences for a crime that was never actually proven."

By Andrew Cohen |  June 6, 2007; 7:40 AM ET
Previous: Truth and Consequences for Libby | Next: Lost in Libbyland: More Scandalous Justice News

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Interesting some say "no crime occurred". A crime did occur - Libby lied and obstructed justice.

Posted by: Felicity | June 6, 2007 12:19 PM

Further to Patrick Fitzgeralds THE TRUTH MATTERS.....


I think Chuck Rosenberg of the USAO, EDVA has been taking lessons from Paul McNulty, Main DOJ, and his own prosecutors on how to misrepresent and conceal information from the public, as well as doing the same before federal judges.

Not to mention viciously slandering everyone who tries to shed light on the subject.

Of course, DOJ prosecutors, particularly those in the EDVA, are such experts at misleading, misrepresenting, and playing fast and loose with the truth, that it is like second nature to them, they wouldn't know any other way. Certain magistrate judges are aware of this problem, but nothing seems to be done about it.

You could say it's astonishing that career prosecutors in Virginia get away with as much as they've been allowed to get away with, while Main DOJ continues to keep its vow of "omerta" -but who's going to do anything about it-Alice Fisher? Paul McNulty? Alberto Gonzales? OPR-who answers to Paul McNulty? Don't THINK SO!

There is absolutely no one minding the store at the Department of Justice-really, no one; everyone is afraid to say or do anything, because it might cause further adverse publicity for the Department, and adverse publicity is always worse than doing the right thing.

And that's another problem: DOJ lawyers no longer recognize or understand what the word "integrity" or the term "doing justice" really mean.

Posted by: arrabbiato | June 6, 2007 02:32 AM

Fully agreed arra.. (and have some pasta while you're at it)

Posted by: Verdura | June 6, 2007 11:40 AM

Posted by: arrabbiato | June 6, 2007 12:31 PM

Stunning. The GOP politicians are actually considering a pardon for a man legally proven to have lied and obstructed justice? They've lost touch with the real world.

Posted by: Craig | June 6, 2007 12:33 PM

What's your evidence that they've BEEN in touch with the real world?

Posted by: Georg | June 6, 2007 12:52 PM

"...renewing questions about the truthfulness of the Bush administration."

Are there still questions? Now that would truly be news. Bush will pardon him and darn the torpedoes. Suffering the slings and arrows of his own (and his advisors') amorality is Bush's MO. 'sides, Saint Libby may cut a deal in exchange for spilling the goods and Cheney won't allow that threat to appear on the horizon.

Posted by: Judge C. Crater | June 6, 2007 12:53 PM

HE IS A LWYER WHO INTENTIONALLY OBSTRUCTED JUSTICE.

HE IS A LAWYER WHO INTENTIONALLY OUTED A COVERT CIA AGENT

HE IS A LAWYER PROTECTING THE VICE PRESIDENT WHO DIRECTED THE OUTING OF THE COVERT CIA AGENT.

HE BELONGS IN PRISON SO THAT OTHER LAWYERS WILL SEE THAT CRIMES AGAINST THE CONSTITUTION AND TREASON AGAINST AMERICA IS ILLEGAL REGARDLESS OF YOUR POLITICAL PARTY OR POSITION IN LIFE.

GUILTY! SEND HIM TO PRISON NOW! DO NOT PASS GO!

Posted by: JBE | June 6, 2007 01:05 PM

HE IS A LWYER WHO INTENTIONALLY OBSTRUCTED JUSTICE.

HE IS A LAWYER WHO INTENTIONALLY OUTED A COVERT CIA AGENT

HE IS A LAWYER PROTECTING THE VICE PRESIDENT WHO DIRECTED THE OUTING OF THE COVERT CIA AGENT.

HE BELONGS IN PRISON SO THAT OTHER LAWYERS WILL SEE THAT CRIMES AGAINST THE CONSTITUTION AND TREASON AGAINST AMERICA IS ILLEGAL REGARDLESS OF YOUR POLITICAL PARTY OR POSITION IN LIFE.

GUILTY! SEND HIM TO PRISON NOW! DO NOT PASS GO!

Posted by: JBE | June 6, 2007 01:05 PM

The Administration (with Cheney as the poster boy) has created a pernicious culture of secrecy and deceit. Consequently, they do not view perjury and obstruction of justice as crimes. They view it as business as usual. So why should Libby be punished for that?

Posted by: Jeff | June 6, 2007 01:05 PM

Bill Clinton lied to a grand jury about a non-crime also.

Posted by: PJ | June 6, 2007 01:08 PM

Refresh my memory--how long did Judith Miller sit in a jail cell?

Posted by: | June 6, 2007 01:13 PM

Refresh my memory--how long did Judith Miller sit in a jail cell?

Posted by: | June 6, 2007 01:13 PM

Anyone involved in approving the shredding of White House visitor´s records including Leaky Dick himself and Jack Abramoff´s secret crony, George W. Bush, should face, at a minimum, the same jail time.

Posted by: Justice Sunday | June 6, 2007 01:15 PM

Excuse me, when exactly did Bill Clinton out a covert CIA agent's identity? And when did he lie 4 times in front of a grand jury?

My recollection is one count of lying in a civil suit; whereas in the Libby case we are talking about a criminal prosecution. The fact that the special prosecutor was unable to resolve the CIA agent's status one way or another demonstrates that the obstruction was successful (as stated by both the prosecutor and the judge in this case).

It doesn't demonstrate that Libby's situation parallels Clinton's. Perjury is wrong; but the context of the perjury also matters.

Posted by: JP2 | June 6, 2007 01:15 PM

And when was Clinton convicted of perjury by a jury?

Posted by: Arby | June 6, 2007 01:23 PM

"Interesting some say "no crime occurred". A crime did occur - Libby lied and obstructed justice."

If there was no crime, what justice was obstructed? You all claim he outed a CIA agent, but the truth is that she was already outed to Bob Woodword.

This was a political lynching. The only thing Libby was guilty of was being a Republican in a Republican administration. If he was a Democrat and Valerie Plame was a fat, ugly Republican, this case would never have been in the public realm.

Posted by: thuff7 | June 6, 2007 01:38 PM

Ding ding ding ding!

A New Republican't Talking Point: She was already outed to BOB WOODWARD!

Of course, he didn't publish it. Novakulla published it, and he published it only after Karl Rove confirmed it.

What "Scooter" obstructed was finding out WHO declassified her status, and WHEN, and WHY. All possible elements of a crime.

Posted by: theRealCalGal | June 6, 2007 01:45 PM

thuff: nice try, but we don't live in bizarro world. stick to the facts.

Posted by: Loudoun Voter | June 6, 2007 01:47 PM

There you go again thuff, the old, world is unfair double standards argument.

Has a pseudo-conservative ever argued a point from a defensive position without resorting to a double-standard, and phony hypothetical argument? (e.g. If a DEMOCRAT did it . . .)

Fitzgerald, a Republican nominated and confirmed Federal Prosecutor was selected by a Republican Deputy Attorney General, who was also nominated and confirmed by Republicans, who tried a case in front of a Judge who got his first posting thanks to Reagan, and a promotion later to George H.W., who if memory serves right was at least in theory a Republican. The trial was run in front of a jury in which members who stated a bias against Bush and Cheney were struck from the rolls, and the defendant was represented by one of the better defense attorneys around with a legal defense fund that was amply funded.

And yet the system was so unfair and politically biased towards Scooter?

Gimme a friggen break.

Posted by: JP2 | June 6, 2007 02:03 PM

It's really very simple.
If "no crime had been committed" as some defenders keep harping about, then what did Libby have to lie about?
No lies, no perjury, no indictment, no conviction.
However, he DID lie;he DID obstruct justice. He's an attorney for goodness sake, that makes him an officer of the court. He did these things to a sufficeint level to warrant a grand jury indictment, a federal trial and a conviction by a jury of his fellow citizens. Now he has been sentenced and while it is sad to see his many years of service tarnished by this situation, too bad. He DID it. He lied and obstructed justice. He violated his professional code of conduct and the oath he swore both before the grand jury and when he accepted his job working for the Admistration. Now he has to suffer the consequences for his actions, something too few people in this Administration have been forced to do.
Finally, I have every reason to believe that he will be pardoned precisely because so much of what this Admisitration has done reflects their belief that they ARE above the law. And they don't care what that does to the country, how it undermines not just the rule of law , but also citizens' belief and trust in their government. Bush, Cheney et al have done far greater damage to the US for decades to come than any foreign agressors or enemies.It is too bad that , at least until this point , the only one among them to pay any price for this is Libby.

Posted by: jmsbh | June 6, 2007 02:05 PM

The GOP talking point thatno one was convicted of the outing, so be kind to poor lil Scooter sounds a lot like the saw about the guy who kills his parents and then asks for mercy because he's an orphan.

Posted by: lmb02 | June 6, 2007 02:27 PM

With friends like John Bolton tactfully trying to influence his sentencing, it's a wonder he didn't get life. Bolton, who was suspected of complicity in the outing of Valerie Plame, couldn't have carried much weight as a character witness:
http://ajliebling.blogspot.com/

Posted by: Robert Stein | June 6, 2007 02:29 PM

And if it had been Al Gore's Chief of Staff, these same GOP apologists would be screaming for blood. Don't you love GOP hypocracy?

Posted by: lmb02 | June 6, 2007 02:29 PM

> The fact that the special prosecutor was unable to resolve the CIA agent's status one way or another demonstrates that the obstruction was successful (as stated by both the prosecutor and the judge in this case).

No, Plame's status (covered by the IIPA) was established by DOJ a few months before Fitzgerald was appointed special counsel. Otherwise the DOJ would not have continued the investigation to the point it needed to appoint a special counsel.

But a successful IIPA prosecution involves not only the cover status of the intelligence officer involved but also the state of knowledge and the intent of the leaker, and that's what Fitzgerald wasn't able to establish. Due, in part, to Libby's successful obstruction of justice.

Posted by: TexLex | June 6, 2007 02:50 PM

So many conspricy theories here. It's hard to know where to start.

"A New Republican't Talking Point: She was already outed to BOB WOODWARD!"

Ding Dung.

Try this: "Woodward told Special Counsel Patrick J. Fitzgerald that the official casually told him in mid-June 2003 that Plame worked as a CIA analyst on weapons of mass destruction" per the Wash Post, Nov 15, 2005. Yes 2005. Yet still 18 more months of this lynching.

Ahem, analyst, not a covert operative. She never left the country for the CIA and by definition, not a covert operative. Facts do get in your way, don't they?

"He's an attorney for goodness sake, that makes him an officer of the court. . . He violated his professional code of conduct and the oath he swore"

Could say the same thing about Bill Clinton. No?

"Stick to the Facts" you say?

Try this: "In fact, the prosecutor concluded that there was no crime; hence, no indictment. And we now know that the original "leak," in casual conversations with reporters Novak and Bob Woodward, came not from the conspiracy theorists' target in the White House but from the deputy secretary of state at the time, Richard Armitage, an esteemed member of the Washington establishment and no pal of Rove or President Bush." - David Broder, no "pseudo-conservative" who says ya'll owe apologies.

Posted by: thuff7 | June 6, 2007 03:02 PM

A good clarification TexLex. I stand corrected on that point.

Posted by: JP2 | June 6, 2007 03:04 PM

To JP:

Get your facts straight. Clinton lied in a deposition in a civil lawsuit. His lie was immaterial to the issue in the case, i.e. whether he sexually harrassed Paula Jones when he was Governor of Arkansas. Clinton did not commit perjury because the lie he told (and yes, he did lie under oath) had no bearing on the proof of the elements of the tort he allegedly committed.

Buy a clue and spin the wheel again, JP.

Posted by: Nellie | June 6, 2007 03:10 PM

"And if it had been Al Gore's Chief of Staff, these same GOP apologists would be screaming for blood. Don't you love GOP hypocracy?"

But that didn't actually happen though did it. So your point is that in your own hypothetical mind, the GOP are the bad guys and therefore, they are the bad guys in relaity and hence, they are guilty of things? Hardly surprsing.

BTW, it's spelled "hypocrisy"--although you may be tempted to think it is a form of government. But don't talk about Al Gore and hypocrisy, it could be a whole new blog on the internet he invented.

Posted by: thuff7 | June 6, 2007 03:15 PM

Problem is thuff7, David Broder lost whatever credibility he had circa 1973 or thereabouts--except perhaps among some Washington journalists--who aren't in much better shape these days.

Broder simply misrepresents the facts. That's part of the problem. The fact that Fitzgerald did not bring an indictment on the outing, does not mean that a violation of law did not occur. It just means that Fitzgerald was not able to demonstrate intent--in part perhaps, because one of the key players repeatedly lied about his involvement under oath.

TexLex lays out the fact that Plame WAS covert.

Even the CIA director recently clarrified this point; as did Plame herself under oath about a month or two ago in front of Congress. The issue is whether the disclosure was made by Libby et al in full awareness of Plame's covert status; not whether she was in fact covert.

As far as it relates to the publication of the information, this has nothing to do with Libby's decision to lie under oath. The others told the truth about their understanding of the Plame matter, Libby did not. Perhaps if he did, he and the others might be facing additional charges relating to having knowingly outed a CIA agent, rather than having lied under oath about what he did know.

Posted by: JP2 | June 6, 2007 03:23 PM

LOL Nellie.

The correction on the point of fact, does not alter the substantive point that I was making.

i.e. Clinton's perjury does not equal Libby's perjury.

The two cases are only rough equivalents, but Libby's perjury is considerably more serious. And it's because he's a Republican. Context matters.

Posted by: JP2 | June 6, 2007 03:28 PM

Correction: "It's NOT because he's a Republican." LOL again.

Posted by: JP2 | June 6, 2007 03:30 PM

"could say the same thing about Clinton..."

ROTFLMFAO! but we are NOT talking about Clinton - the subject here is named Libby - get with the program, moron.

"Facts do get in your way, don't they?"

Maybe you best go back and check them thar inconvenient facts then. It was recently established that Plame was indeed covert and did indeed travel out of country under covert status. But if you get your "facts" from rush et al it really is too easy to become confused like you obviously are. can you say delusional?

"bob woodward said; bob novak said; david broder said, ..." blah, blah blah...he said she said you said...that line is dead.

Posted by: non-thuff | June 6, 2007 03:34 PM

LOL! grammar from the peenutt galuhrie - it's spelled any way I by-god-frigging want to spell it! can you spell whooooooocaresanywaybeeotch? spelling? we don't need no stinkin' spellin' lessin frum the laikes of ewe! by the way, howe duz one corectuhly spel "petty beeeotch?"

Posted by: non-thuft | June 6, 2007 03:47 PM

LOL! grammar from the peenutt galuhrie - it's spelled any way I by-god-frigging want to spell it! can you spell whooooooocaresanywaybeeot'c'h? spelling? we don't need no stinkin' spellin' lessin frum the laikes of ewe! by the way, howe duz one corectuhly spel "petty beeeot'c'h?"

Posted by: non-thuft | June 6, 2007 03:49 PM

What most people don't know is that Al Gore not only never said he invented the Internet, when he was a Senator he was the the person who wrote and pushed through the law changing the ARPANET (which was for government and university access only) into the public Internet we all use today.

The amazing thing about Albert Gore is that the more you dig into his background the more impressive he is.

Posted by: sveader | June 6, 2007 03:51 PM

I don't agree with thuff7's conclusion, but I will at least give him credit for responding to criticisms with a little bit of research. He went to the trouble to back to some source material, and apparently did some independent thinking.

I'll give him a lot more credit than the commentator who threw out the "Show Trials" idea yesterday, and then didn't even bother to back up his claim with an acknowledgment of error, correction, or counter-argument.

Posted by: JP2 | June 6, 2007 03:56 PM

Refresh my memory--how long did Judith Miller sit in a jail cell?

Not long enough!

Posted by: | June 6, 2007 03:57 PM

TexLex's reference to IIPA ignores the definition of "covert" in the act. See section SEC. 606. (4) [50 U.S.C. 426]. The leak to Woodward and Novak by Armitage was that Plame was an analyst. If subsequently, she or the CIA chief then comes out and says she was covert, they were the ones who made it public.

Furthermore, if Fitzgerald could not prove a violation of the law occured, then the benefit of the doubt goes to the defendent and by definition, no violation of the law occured.


Posted by: thuff7 | June 6, 2007 03:58 PM

Surprised to see that there wasn't a letter to the Judge from convicted Deputy Assistant to the President, Elliott Abrams commending Libby for his obstruction.

Posted by: | June 6, 2007 04:04 PM

geezus - from grammar critic to amateure lawyerer. I bet you staid at a holiday innn last nite two.

Posted by: non-tuff | June 6, 2007 04:04 PM

ROTFLMFAO! but we are NOT talking about Clinton - the subject here is named Libby - get with the program, moron.

Well, uh, you sure make a great point. Well, uh, except for all the previous posts that, uh, refer to Clinton.

Posted by: | June 6, 2007 04:05 PM

"Furthermore, if Fitzgerald could not prove a violation of the law occured, then the benefit of the doubt goes to the defendent and by definition, no violation of the law occured."

This is exactly why the perjury DOES matter. If Libby did not lie, and Fitzgerald determined that there was no violation of the law, then there would be no case brought forward even on the grounds of perjury.

We can never really know with certainty whether the disclosures were done knowingly and in violation of the law, because Libby lied. That strikes me as exactly the point of Libby's conviction.

Posted by: JP2 | June 6, 2007 04:08 PM

I'm going to try this again since I couldn't get any of you conservative guys to answer this question, yesterday.

THuff, you'd have to agree, that the vice presidents involvement in this case was not able to be explored because of Libby's lies. Fitzgerald had no alternative agenda and he only pressed charges for which he felt he could get a conviction. He obviously was right, because he got his conviction. He also was not a partisan hack looking to hang someone from the other side. None of this is in doubt.

Now, I personally believe that Rep. Jefferson is guilty and that he should be put UNDER the jail. Why can't republicans do the same??? What is more important country or party??? YOU PEOPLE CONTINUE TO ATTEMPT TO DISTORT THE FACTS AT THE EXPENSE OF OUR GREAT NATION. YOUR HATE OF THE OTHER SIDE WILL NOT ALLOW YOU TO DO WHAT'S RIGHT FOR OUR COUNTRY.

Posted by: Terrence | June 6, 2007 04:09 PM

May it please the Court, we petition that the charge under which Defendant Libby was convicted be amended to read, "Obstruction of an Investigation"

That way thuff7 may finally understand the crime of which Defendant Libby was convicted.

Thank you, Your Honor.

Posted by: | June 6, 2007 04:14 PM

"Now, I personally believe that Rep. Jefferson is guilty and that he should be put UNDER the jail."

No, no no. He was indicted. Not convicted. Innocent until proven guilty. We don't have all the facts yet.

Fitzgerald needed something to justify his expense account and Libby was his justification. Did Libby protect his boss? We'll never know. Was Cheney guilty? Not until proven.

BTW, I love how everyone assumes I'm "pseudoconservative", "a GOP apologist", a "conservative guy", a "YOU PEOPLE", and a Holiday Inn patron, yet I voted for Tim Kaine and Jim Webb. Uh, both Democrats.

I just happen to recognize a political lynching when I see one and still to this day am ashamed I voted for Bill Clinton who lied under oath and looked at the camera and lied to the whole nation. That hypocrisy is what is destroying our system "AT THE EXPENSE OF THIS GREAT NATION."

Posted by: the thuff7 | June 6, 2007 04:19 PM

"Put the Blame on Mame boys, put the blame on mame" - 1946 song, Dinah Shore

"Put The Blame on Plame boys, put the blame on Plame" - 2007 remake, RNC Choir

Posted by: | June 6, 2007 04:23 PM

thuff7, Fitzgerald wasn't getting a bonus for bringing this case. His reputation as a prosecutor is secure enough as it is. He also had to convince a jury, and to run up against a defensive challenge from a skilled defense attorney and a client with a bottomless defense fund.

Fitzgerald gave Libby several occassions to revise his statements on this matter--and Libby, unlike Rove, never bothered to correct the record. He stuck by his cover story even though it was demonstrably false.

Did Libby lie? Absolutely. Did he lie for a good reason, or to protect his boss? Well, thanks to his obstruction, people will be able to speculate about this matter for years to come.

I'm also not sure how this equals a "political lynching". Once again we come back to the question that the D.A.G. who appointed Fitzgerald was a Republican appointee (confirmed by a Republican controlled Senate); Fitzgerald himself was a Republican nominee; and the judge was also a Republican nominee and appointee.

The term political "lynching" also strikes me as a lazy analogy. It's a little bit like "Show Trials". A lot of hyperbole, not much substance. 30 months is not even remotely the same as getting strung up from a tree. Ending a political career is not the equivalent of ending another person's life.

Posted by: JP2 | June 6, 2007 04:41 PM

We don't know alot thanks to Libby and his lies.

Fitzgerald was appointed by a Republican AG to investigate whether or not a crime had been committed. That crime was the disclosure of Valerie Plame as a covert CIA operative.

It doesn't matter if the media identified her as an analyst, she was publicly associated with the CIA. We will never know (because the CIA doesn't tell) what damage that public identification did to the national security of this country. Valerie Plame worked in the Nuclear Proliferation area. Did a terrorist get their hands on a nuke because she was outed? I hope not.

Fitzgerald investigated. Everyone in the investigation eventually talked and all but Libby told the truth (as far as we and Fitzgerald know). Fitzgerald thinks that Libby's lies obstructed the investigation to such an extent that he (Fitzgerald) could not get to the bottom of things.

What would have happened if Libby had not lied? Would someone have been indicted for outing Valerie Plame?

We don't know and we don't know because Libby lied. His lies obstructed the investigation. It's hard to get to the truth of the matter when some people lie.

People how whine about there was no underlying crime forget that lots of people (Haldeman, Erlichmann, Dean) went to jail for the coverup not the crime itself. That's how the system works. Don't like it, don't obstruct and official investigation or lie to a grand jury.

Tell the truth and shame the devil.

Posted by: Sue | June 6, 2007 04:50 PM

At the risk of being once again referred to as a grammar critic, I did use the words "political lynching" as a single noun, meaning his political life was killed. He was forced to resign under indictment, and nobody stepped forward to say that he had the presumption of innocence. In that sense, he was already punished for a crime not yet proven.

Finally, although you cite the truths we will never know, I think Robert D. Blackwill summed up an equally tragic "what if" when he wrote that "Sadly I believe that Mr. Libby's premature departure from the Administration has been a major reason for the downward spiral of the situation in Iraq and the consuming mess in which we find ourselves today regarding that country."

Who knows, indeed. Good day.

Posted by: thuff7 | June 6, 2007 04:55 PM

And I thought it was the Liberals who were supposed to be "Bleeding Hearts.

thuff7 How should we punish ourselves for Mr. Libby having ruined his political future?

Woe is me! Woe is me!

Posted by: | June 6, 2007 05:00 PM

Libby resigned two years after the Plame story came to the national headlines; and my recollection is that quite a few people did step up in his defense. They didn't just argue "innocent until proven guilty" they attacked the prosecutor as being some partisan hack and semi-professional who had no business setting foot in a court room. Quite a few of those people are still blathering away to this day.

As far as the downward spiral in Iraq goes, that was set in motion by the invasion itself, and by the fact that there wasn't ever any post-invasion plan worth speaking of. Libby was gone by the summer of 2005 almost two years after the invasion. Things didn't just start going sour in the Fall of 2005. They've been going south since the summer and fall of 2003.

I still don't know what prompted Libby to lie, but I do know that the Scooter Libby indictment in the summer of 2005 had no impact on the decision to invade Iraq in the Spring of 2003.

Posted by: JP2 | June 6, 2007 05:15 PM

> TexLex's reference to IIPA ignores the definition of "covert" in the act. See section SEC. 606. (4) [50 U.S.C. 426].

No, TexLex's reference to IIPA means that DOJ had, for about three months before Fitzgerald was brought in, believed that Plame's status did in fact meet the IIPA definition of covert.

From 50 USC 426

(4) The term "covert agent" means--

(A) a present or retired officer or employee of an intelligence agency or a present or retired member of the Armed Forces assigned to duty with an intelligence agency--

(i) whose identity as such an officer, employee, or member is classified information, and

(ii) who is serving outside the United States or has within the last five years served outside the United States; or

She was under cover, which meets (i). She had recently served outside the US under cover, if only on TDYs, so (ii) is satisfied. This was likely documented in the CIA's original crimes report to DOJ at the first of September 2003. If DOJ had any questions about it, a trip out to Langley to review her file and discuss the matter with the CIA General Counsel would have resolved the matter.

But the point is that DOJ, from the first of October through the end of December 2003, did pursue the investigation and, on 30 December, appoint Fitzgerald to continue it. Why did they do that if they hadn't determined that the most easily resolved part of the IIPA, Plame's status, didn't support those actions?

Posted by: TexLex | June 6, 2007 05:52 PM

The notion that the loss of Libby from the White House is somehow to blame for increased sectarian fighting in Iraq is one of the most original and creative leaps of logic I've yet seen from Republicans - and they've grown impressively creative over the past 7 years (the list is long but includes such brilliant inventions as battles over creationism, Saddam's WMD and how tax cuts reduce the deficit).

All you on the right who take the "Libby's loss is hurting Iraq" line seriously, kudos. I thought Republicans were button-down types; that one's straight out of Monty Python.

Further, the CIA and DOJ have both repeatedly certified that Plame was a covert operative working on WMD.

Now, of course there's a chance that they're lying, or that the area was grey, or whathaveyou. But we don't have other government agencies that are tasked with certifying such things, so I'm going to go with the experts rather than the self-appointed Republican judges on the internets.

So the fact is that there's a greater chance that deteriorating conditions in Iraq and the broader mideast are more due, in fact, to the loss of Plame as an intelligence asset than the loss of Libby as a partisan gunslinger in the White House. My reasoning goes like this: Plame's contacts were in the middle east. Libby's contacts were in the West Wing. Call me silly, but I'd bet Plame knew/knows more about tribal loyalties in the fertile crescent than does Libby.

What's most disappointing to me about this whole case is the total loss of Republicans as viable or rational players in political debates. As someone who also was disappointed in Clinton and am generally centrist/libertarian/fiscal conservative/social freethinker, I used to truly value the tussle of ideas afforded by meaningful debate.

But the GOP has flipped its lid and seems to be all-whackos, all the time these days. It's all of our loss; now we have to rely on the Democrats to save the Republic ... oy.

Posted by: mateosf | June 6, 2007 05:55 PM

Scooter Who???

Posted by: Bill MacLeod | June 6, 2007 10:59 PM

To THuff:

If you believe the Libby case was a "political lynching", yet the Clinton case was not, it is probably best that you bid us a "good day", because the basis for you're argument is destroyed in that one statement. Had you said BOTH were, then we could talk. Please do everyone a favor and have a shade of coherency the next time you decide to discuss matters of right and wrong.

If your married, your wife must really love you or you're a billionaire.

Posted by: Terrence | June 7, 2007 02:58 PM

The view I have is that the Liberals being on a jihad to destroy this Presidency has attacked anyone possible for anything to hurt the republican party. Unfortunately Libby was their best chance. Fitsgerald knew he had no case against Libby on outing Plame, so he switched to getting him on lieing. I don't believe a lie was proven for a conviction. I believe Libby will be exonerated on an appeal. Unfortunately this has hurt him even then. The jihadist liberals will again come out to attack the next republican somehow....its a destroy the republican party mission with the liberals and its as ohvious as the nose on your face. They could care less who they destroy as long as it sways the public against the republicans and gives them the votes in 08. These type people will not get my vote.!!!!! They eat their own.They are also after Libermans job because he went outside the Democrats thinking mode on issues.....What a bunch of horrid people.

Posted by: Emily Cinicola | June 14, 2007 07:55 PM

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