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Pardon Libby

Posted by Richard on June 6, 2007

The so-called "CIA leak" case was completely bogus from the beginning. Even before Attorney General Gonzales appointed Patrick Fitzgerald as special prosecutor, the Justice Department knew that it was Deputy Secretary of State (and administration critic) Richard Armitage who told Bob Novak (and Bob Woodward) that Joe Wilson's wife, Valerie Plame, worked for the CIA. 

Fitzgerald either concluded that "outing" Plame wasn't a crime — that is, Plame wasn't covert, and thus her identity wasn't protected by the statute — or that he'd give Armitage a pass on that major felony, and instead try to trip up someone else on picayune perjury charges.

Fitzgerald apparently glommed onto the left's (and media's) baseless contention that there was a Cheney-Rove-Libby conspiracy to persecute Wilson, and decided to get to the bottom of it. Or maybe he just liked the idea of having an all-powerful, high-profile, cushy government job with an unlimited expense account.

In any case, Fitzgerald "caught" Libby claiming that a conversation took place on a Friday, when it really took place on a Tuesday. Or maybe it was a Monday, not a Thursday. Was it perjury or forgetfulness? Fitzgerald persuaded the jury it was the former (with the help of a hostile judge). But consider this: no two witnesses who testified in that case had the same recollection of whom they talked to when.

Joe Wilson has demonstrably lied about his Niger trip and his wife every step of the way. The source of the Plame "leak" has been known from the beginning. The appointment of a special prosecutor was a stupid, foolish attempt to assuage unassuageable critics, and it should never have happened. Fitzgerald's dogged pursuit of something, anything, to charge someone connected to Cheney with was unconscionable. The conviction of Lewis Libby was a gross miscarriage of justice.

Pardon him now, Mr. President. And apologize for the suffering your administration's incompetence and disunity have caused this man.  

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9 Responses to “Pardon Libby”

  1. Jan said


  2. mothanskin said

    Can we “agree to disagree”? If you get a chance please read my latest post “SEMPER FIDELIS”. I don’t think the “CIA leak” case was bogus but is directly linked with the misleading information given Congress and the American public in President Bush’s State Of The Union Address prior to the invasion and occupation of Iraq. Even though we have a difference of opinion in this matter, I feel you have a very informative and worthwhile blog, and I am adding you to my blog-city neighborhood. Peace out!

  3. Hathor said

    This story was really convoluted and I was never sure who did what. What I don’t like that is that no one was prosecuted for the leak and the trivialization of Ms. Plame’s role. Some saying it didn’t matter, because she was no more than a secretary. Releasing classified material is not a crime contingent on if the content is a common knowledge. I am always uneasy when I have heard of other instances, how do the higher ups get a free pass. Do they not get the talk when they get a security clearance? If it had been I (I did get the talk when I was in the Army) or some other peon we would be serving thirty year sentences. All I would have had to have done was to know about it and not report it.

  4. rgcombs said

    Thanks, all, for dropping by! Mo, I appreciate the kind words, but we will have to agree to disagree. The evidence that Iraq tried to obtain yellowcake in Niger (and elsewhere) is compelling, and Wilson’s “report” (which he never put into writing) was demonstrably false according even to the bipartisan 9/11 Commission. To dispute those two facts, I think you either have to be ignorant of the evidence supporting them or simply unreasonable.

    But even if you do believe the yellowcake story was false, it does ”not” paint the President as a liar. Those famous sixteen words were, “The British government has learned that Saddam Hussein recently sought significant quantities of uranium from Africa.” He was ”reporting what he was told by the British.”

    British intelligence not only ”did” tell us that Saddam was trying to buy yellowcake, they ”still” maintain today that their intelligence was accurate.

    No fair-minded person would call you a liar for accurately reporting what I said to you.

    Hathor, there was no leak of classified material. Wilson, Plame, and their friends claimed someone violated the statute prohibiting disclosure of the identity of a covert agent. Fitzgerald had two questions to answer: (1) Was the statute violated when someone told Bob Novak that Joe Wilson’s wife worked for the CIA (that is, was Plame covert)?; (2) If so, who did it?

    Question (2) was quickly answered. Richard Armitage, a critic of the administration, admitted that he was the source of the story, and both Novak and Woodward confirmed that they learned of Plame’s job from Armitage. Since Fitzgerald never indicted Armitage (or even seriously questioned him), it seems reasonable to conclude that the answer to question (1) was “No,” at least in Fitzgerald’s mind.

    The entire remainder of the investigation was pointless after those two questions had been answered. Going after Libby because he said a meeting took place at 10AM on Thursday, while other witnesses said it happened earlier in the week (but disagreed about when) strikes me as just a mean-spirited, unfair effort to prosecute somebody — anybody — for something — anything — so you can chalk up a victory.

  5. Hathor said

    We are still left with question mo 1.

  6. mothanskin said

    Are we forgetting George Tenet? Mr. Tenet himself excised those infamous “sixteen words” in a speech President Bush gave prior to his State Of The Union Address. President Bush was informed by Mr. Tenet and the CIA that the British intelligence was bad “intell”. (Let’s not play “semantics”. Those “sixteen words” was just bad intelligence period.) President Bush despite the objections of the CIA Director used that “bad Intelligence” to justify the invasion and occupation of Iraq! The Valery Plume “leak” I feel was a ploy by the Bush Administration to divert attention form those impeachable “sixteen words” that President Bush should never have included in his State Of The Union Address. I agree that the “CIA leak” was a bogus case that the Bush Adminstration set up! Another word to descibe this whole scenario is “doublethink” (check out Your Turn!

  7. Hathor said

    I seem to remember that Ms. Plame’s name was obtained from a classified document. That is why I thought it was a security violation. It didn’t really matter if any of the information was trivial in the document.

  8. rgcombs said

    As for Tenet: He argued in December 2003 that the infamous 16 words shouldn’t have been included, but offered no evidence of their falsity — he simply said the CIA hadn’t investigated the claim thoroughly enough. What he said to Bush at the time is open to conjecture. I have a rather low opinion of the man and am not inclined to take his word — he has a history of dissembling for the purpose of self-aggrandizement and CYA.

    Regarding Niger and yellowcake, Britain’s Butler Review, which was critical of much of the intelligence leading up to the Iraq war, conceded that British intelligence about Iraqi efforts to obtain more yellowcake was well-founded. See, not exactly a neo-con source.

    For a broader background and a look at Joe Wilson’s role, see this fine article by Clifford May.

    American Thinker has an excellent article about Iraq and yellowcake, which also links to the Senate Select Committee’s report pointing to other evidence of Saddam’s efforts to acquire uranium.

    As for Ms. Plame’s name, I don’t know whether it came from a classified document or from a ouija board. But I do know who first told members of the press she was a CIA agent — Richard Armitage. That’s been confirmed by Bob Novak (author of the original press report), Bob Woodward, and Armitage himself. If it was a crime he should have been indicted. He wasn’t. Why not? And what the hell does what he did have to do with Scooter Libby?

    But, hey, I appreciate all the comments — thanks!

  9. Hathor said

    Perhaps I was off topic, but the whole incident was just taken too casually for me. I have no ax to grind other than what I said.

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