Saturday, March 10, 2007

More on Scooter Libby

The wingers are so worked up these days that I almost thought that Bill Clinton must still be in the White House. And all the fuss is over the Scooter Libby verdict. Now the wingers are all saying that since there never was an underlying case for outing Valerie Plame Libby never should have been prosecuted, that Fitzgerald abused his authority because he knew that disclosing Plame's identity was not a crime, that this was nothing more than a political witch hunt, and lots more abject whining.

To all you wingers: eat a big steaming bowl of "shut the hell up."

[NOTE: In the following paragraph, I use the terms "agent" and "operative" as synonymous. However, I think these terms have distinct meanings in the CIA context, but I do not know those distinctions.]

Let's assume for a moment that there never was a criminal act committed by the disclosure of Valerie Plame Wilson's status as a covert CIA operative. Does that mean it was--or ever is--all right to destroy the cover of an undercover agent who is working to prevent nuclear proliferation? Is it ever all right to reveal the covert status of someone who is working on matters that could help prevent a terrorist attack on our country? Is it ever all right to simply throw away years and years of work on such matters? Is it ever all right to put the life of a covert agent at grave risk? Is it ever all right to put at risk the lives of everyone who ever worked with that agent? All of those things happened because of the disclosure of Valerie Plame Wilson's identity and job. And until you wingers answer the foregoing questions, you have no damn business claiming that you are all about fighting terrorism and making sure that we don't suffer a nook-u-lur attack.

And have you forgotten what good ol' George his ownself initially said about an investigation into the leaking of Plame's identity?
And if there is a leak out of my administration, I want to know who it is. And if the person has violated law, the person will be taken care of.

And so I welcome the investigation. I -- I'm absolutely confident that the Justice Department will do a very good job. There's a special division of career Justice Department officials who are tasked with doing this kind of work; they have done this kind of work before in Washington this year. I have told our administration, people in my administration to be fully cooperative.

I want to know the truth. If anybody has got any information inside our administration or outside our administration, it would be helpful if they came forward with the information so we can find out whether or not these allegations are true and get on about the business.
And then Attorney General Ashcroft recused himself, which led to the appointment of Fitzgerald as special prosecutor on December 30, 2003, by Deputy Attorney General James Comey. Comey had just recently been appointed by Bush to be Deputy Attorney General. Bush spokesman Trent Duffy had this to say on December 30, 2003, about Ashcroft's recusal and the appointment of Fitzgerald:
MR. DUFFY: The President was informed of the decision by staff near noon today. His reaction is the same today as it was yesterday, that he wants to get to the bottom of this. He said in September that he welcomes this investigation and has absolute confidence in the ability of the Justice Department to do a good job. He has directed the people of his administration, as he said on September 30th, to cooperate fully with the investigation. And no one more than the President of the United States wants to get to the bottom of this.

Q: Do you know whether he asked Ashcroft to do this, or whether he pre-approved it?

MR. DUFFY: The Justice Department made its decision independently, which is exactly the way it should be. As the Deputy Attorney General mentioned, the Justice Department, as a courtesy, informed the White House this morning. The White House was not consulted on the decision, which, again, is exactly the way it should be.
Scotty McClellan followed that with similar statements on January 5, 2004:
I would remind you that the President has directed the White House to cooperate fully with the career officials who are leading this investigation. And that's exactly what he expects the White House to continue doing. We have been and we will continue to do so. I think also in the spirit of cooperating fully with the career officials who are investigating this matter, it's important that we do everything we can to preserve the integrity of the investigation and not compromise it.
The President has made it very clear that the White House should cooperate fully in this investigation. The President said -- has always said that leaking classified information is a serious matter, and certainly no one wants to get to the bottom of this more than he does, so that we can find out the truth. And the President has said from early on that if anybody has information, they should come forward and share it with those who are leading this investigation.
On February 6, 2004, Comey sent Fitzgerald a letter which clarified that Fitzgerald's appointment always included the authority to
to investigate and prosecute violations of any federal criminal laws related to the underlying alleged unauthorized disclosure, as well as federal crimes committed in the course of, and with intent to interfere with, your investigation, such as perjury, obstruction of justice, destruction of evidence, and intimidation of witnesses[.]
(emphasis added). So, Bush wanted the investigation, wanted to find out the truth as soon as possible, AND wanted everyone to cooperate fully and not compromise the investigation. Fitzgerald was appointed by someone whom Bush had just appointed--meaning that no one can claim that Comey was some anti-Bush political operative. And Fitzgerald had authority to prosecute anyone for obstruction of justice and perjury. Libby, through his lies, did not cooperate and did compromise the investigation, and he was prosecuted for his lies. So why are you wingers whining?

Here's another way of putting the matter: 1) lying to the FBI is a crime; 2) lying to a grand jury is also a crime; 3) lying to the FBI and the grand jury are criminal acts even if they are done in the course of an investigation that does not reveal any other crimes; 4) Scooter Libby lied to the FBI and he lied to the grand jury; 5) Scooter Libby committed criminal acts subject to prosecution.

And why did he lie in the first place? If truly no other crime had been committed, there would have been no need to lie. Had he not lied, perhaps the investigation of the possible underlying crime would have been finished sooner.

And if you wingers still want to keep pitching a hissy fit, then maybe you should look at what one of your very own said recently about high officials committing perjury. Ol' Newtie Gingrich just explained why he decided to try to impeach Clinton for lying under oath about Monica Lewinsky by saying
even though at a purely personal level I am not rendering judgment on another human being, as a leader of the government trying to uphold the rule of law, I have no choice except to move forward and say that you cannot accept ... perjury in your highest officials.
(emphasis added). Scooter Libby was a high government official, particularly in the context of the Bush (or is that Cheney?) administration. He committed perjury. Newt says "you cannot accept perjury" from someone like Scooter Libby. So until you wingers explain why one of your own is wrong, have another heapin' helpin' of "shut the hell up."


Blogger Vigilante said...

Impeach Cheney First!

3/10/2007 7:20 PM  
Blogger WCharles said...

I'll second that emotion. However, as a practical matter, I am not hopeful it will happen. I'm not sure there is enough time left to get it done, and I'm not sure there are enough Dems with the sufficient backbone and stomach to get it it done anyway.

That's quite an interesting discussion going on in the link you provided. I don't know if I have time to really join it. Between my day job, my selfish desire to rant about my own views, and a very involved discussion on religion and faith on another blog, I'm not sure I have enough energy to really contribute to your discussion. However, I will keep checking it, and I encourage others to do the same.

3/11/2007 12:01 AM  

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