Give the People What They Want

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The first poll on the Scooter Libby commutation pinpoints the source of those howls of outrage and despair piercing through your windows: the 60 percent of the country who disagree with the decision.

President Bush has commuted the portion of Scooter Libby's sentence that would have required Libby to serve 30 months in prison. Libby remains a convicted felon—he still must pay a 250 thousand dollar fine and serve 2 years of probation—but he will not go to prison. Based on what you now know, should the President have pardoned Scooter Libby completely? Should the president have taken no action, and left the prison sentence in place? … Or, do you agree with the president's decision to commute the prison portion of the Libby sentence?

17% Pardoned Scooter Libby Completely
60% Left The Prison Sentence In Place
21% Agree With The President's Decision

No surprises here. 62 percent of conservatives think the decision was just right or not quite Scooter-friendly enough, as do 58 percent of Republicans. But those are the only groups that support the decision. The third-highest bloc of support? A whopping 45 percent of Hispanics. So expect the immigration reform bill to ooze back into the Senate next week.

This might be the most boring story on the planet but it's a goldmine for cable news bookers. Here was American Spectator Editor-in-Chief R. Emmett Tyrrell Jr. on Hardball yesterday playing the role of a fattened goose for David Shuster's rusty meat-ax.

SHUSTER:  Bob, did The American Spectator take a position on President Clinton's impeachment for perjury and obstruction of justice?

TYRRELL:  Well, The Spectator aside, I did in my recent book…

SHUSTER:  You supported it, right?

TYRRELL:  I assume you're alluding to my recent book on Clinton and retirement which I…. 

SHUSTER:  And you supported the impeachment, right?

TYRRELL:  Yes.  Well—but I thought you were talking about…

(CROSSTALK)

SHUSTER:  My point is, what's the difference between supporting an impeachment of President Clinton for perjury and obstruction of justice and why not then support Scooter Libby going to prison when he is convicted by a jury with a Republican judge, and he is two-and-a-half years?

TYRRELL:  Well, I have an entirely different take on it.

NEXT: No Crowding + No Sprawl = No Growth

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  1. “point is, what’s the difference between supporting an impeachment of President Clinton for perjury and obstruction of justice and why not then support Scooter Libby going to prison when he is convicted by a jury with a Republican judge, and he is two-and-a-half years?”

    Did I miss the part in the Constitution where being impeached as a President results in going to prison? Maybe Libby should go to prison, I frankly don’t care, but that is a stupid argument by Shuster. Even the whackjobs over at the Spectator didn’t argue that Clinton should have gone to prison. Impeachment is basically being fired from your job. It is at heart a political question and a completely different standard than sending someone to prison. Perhaps, if the issue were whether Libby should get his old job back at the Whitehouse, Shuster would have a point. That is not the issue and Shuster’s analogy and alleged hypocrisy on the part of the Spectator is dead ass wrong.

    Further, since when does a poll have any bearing on the objective merit of a decision? I am sure I could find a million polls that say a vast majority of the American people support the drug war, yet I doubt Reason is going to consider that fact in anyway relevant in determining the rightness or wrongness of the drug war. I would also imagine a large majority would object if the President commuted the sentences of petty drug offenders in federal prison. If he did that, would Reason care what the polls said? No. I guess polls are only probative if you agree with the results.

  2. So how’s that “I’m gonna bring back honor and dignity to the Whitehouse” working out for you Mr. Bush?

  3. Tyrell’s answer should have been easy. Libby has been impeached (essentially). No jail time for impeachment. By any standard you want to choose, Libby is much worse off than Clinton. So, those comparisons aren’t helpful. For me, the whole Plame thing was BS, so I’m not concerned about jail time for a guy who it turned out was not the guy who blabbed about her CIA position, while the guy who did, is sitting back on his couch and having a beer. That is just a little weird.
    On the other hand, a guy who got a BJ from his 15 year old girlfriend when he was 17 is doing 10 years. I know that has nothing to do with it, but I still can’t believe it.

  4. scooter libby=martha stewart=bill clinton. the perjury/obstruction trap is just a tool (like the conspiracy charge) to ensure conviction when the state knows it can’t convict on the underlying charges. i’m more worried about this entrenched prosecutorial abuse than about a few executive branch excesses.

  5. Impeachment is basically being fired from your job.

    That’s just wrong. Clinton was impeached, he didn’t even get a ten day rip, much less fired. Impeachment is an extra procedure required before you can send a sitting president to prison. The Republicans were determine to impeach Clinton and slogged ahead despite the lack of public support. However, once impeached there was no more will to continue to prosecute the President.

  6. the perjury/obstruction trap is just a tool (like the conspiracy charge) to ensure conviction when the state knows it can’t convict on the underlying charges.

    Yes, it’s very hard to get a conviction when people are obstructing justice and lying to investigators and under oath and preventing the truth from seeing the light of day. Although to many people that isn’t a “trap”. To many of us it is called consequences of improper actions.

    Here’s that part that I never understood. If there was no underlying crime and the Plame incident was such a non-incident, why did Scooter lie about it then? You don’t lie when nothing has been done wrong.

  7. @RAC
    Yeah, Robert Novak is a dunce. In the 1970s, he couldn’t get enough of attacking those who named CIA agents. Yet 30 odd years later he does so himself. Bunch of hypocrites, all of them.

  8. scooter libby=martha stewart=bill clinton. the perjury/obstruction trap is just a tool (like the conspiracy charge) to ensure conviction when the state knows it can’t convict on the underlying charges.

    It is not a trap. Lying to investigators is wrong and criminal and people should go to jail for it, just like Martha did.

    We have the 5th amendment for people who want to take it. That is enough protection. If you don’t want to take the Fifth, then tell the truth and you won’t get caught in any “traps.”

    Simple, really.

  9. There is the possibility that Libby really did forget or misremember something. It happens to me all time, and I’m not busy trying to win a war. The fact that Libby’s memory experts weren’t allowed to testify was enough to convince me it was a sham trial.

  10. Warren,

    There is nothing to stop people from prosecuting a President once he leaves office. Go ask Nixon who had to have a pardon from Ford to avoid it. Impeachment says nothing one way or another about criminal liability. Congress could call wearing a bad suit or having a bad haircut a “high crime and misdemeanor” and impeach the President for that if it had the will to do so.

    Both Stewart and Libby got jail time because they wouldn’t play ball and plead guilty to lying to investigators. Had they done that, they would have both received a slap on the wrist. Reason had a post a few days ago on the evils of prosecutors getting people to plead to a lesser crime in order to avoid the risk of being tried for a more serious crime, even if when they are innocent of all charges.

    If the Libby case really were the result of a political vendetta, it wouldn’t be that big of a deal. Political vendettas are part of the landscape of any democracy. But Fitzgerald wasn’t on a vendetta; he was just being a typical sleazy federal prosecutor looking to get a conviction on someone for anything regardless of the facts. Libby remembers the conversation one way, various reporters remember it another. To me that is a long way from being worth prosecuting. In a he said she said case like that it comes down to who the jury finds more believable. Unfortunately coming across to a jury as believable has more to do with the person talking than it does with the truth of what they are saying. The Libby case was a chickenshit prosecution done to cover Fitzgerald’s ass. He knew from like day 2 of the investigation who leaked Plame’s identity but never told anyone and continued the charade for months throwing innocent reporters in jail in the process. At the end of all that, he had to thrown someone in jail and Libby was that someone. It is typical DOJ bullshit and Reason ought to realize that instead of just celebrating the fact that someone they don’t like was going to go to jail.

  11. “memory experts”?!?!? hahahaha. How about his veracity experts or countenance experts or his scientician?

    To put it more srsly: that is what a judicial fact-finder is: amemory and truth-telling expert. There is no degree in that art, nor should there be. Judicial fact-finders are not perfect (just look at the Ivory Webb verdict upthd), but junk science is not the answer here.

  12. Scooter Libby — bad memory.
    Alberto Gonzales — bad memory.
    Lorita Doan — bad memory.

    The list can go on and on with tons of Bush appointees.

    You know what? After a point the “i don’t remember defense” is only believable by people who are either retarded or partisans.

    No one fucking remembers anything when it comes to investigating wrongdoing. Maybe administration policy should require everyone to take notes about everything since they are all a bunch of morons with faulty memory

  13. I don’t think anyone has a problem with Scooter gettting fired, or even banned from government employment.

    I also don’t recall people demanding that Clinton go to prison.

  14. Chicago Tom,

    I guess you were pretty upset then when Hillary found those brigadoon billing records in the Whithouse that time or when she didn’t remember working as a lawyer for that failed S&L that cost the tax payers several hundred million. I sure you were real outraged about that.

    Moreover, I don’t remember may be a shitty political defense, but this is not politics, this is criminal law. You don’t throw out people’s rights and prosecute them on bullshit charges just because you don’t like them.

  15. Poor Scooter! How on Earth will he manage to raise a quarter of a million dollars to pay that fine?

    And now he’ll never be eligible for a job as a federal prosecutor.

  16. oth Stewart and Libby got jail time because they wouldn’t play ball and plead guilty to lying to investigators. Had they done that, they would have both received a slap on the wrist.

    If by playing ball you mean “be honest” then I agree completely. If you don’t come clean with investigators they can and SHOULD throw the fucking book at you.

    he was just being a typical sleazy federal prosecutor looking to get a conviction on someone for anything regardless of the facts

    John, your partisan schtick is getting real old fast.

    Patrick Fitzgerald is one of the better prosecutors you could hope for. He doesn’t grandstand or call for excessive attention. Before the Libby trial he already was a very well regarded and esteemed prosecutor. He didn’t need this trial and I would argue that it is doing him more harm than good with all the smears coming from the right — the same people who appointed him when the.

    Altrhough, I suppose that in the GOP mind it is sleazy to obey the law and hold other GOPers to account violate it. To normal people that is called doing your job.

    The only thing sleazy is your rhetoric.

  17. I sure you were real outraged about that.

    This is becoming the standard John argument now = ‘the democrats are/were worse’

    no one disagrees with that.

    But that doesnt make this any better. Give it up. There are no tears to be shed over this

  18. “There is the possibility that Libby really did forget or misremember something. It happens to me all time, and I’m not busy trying to win a war. The fact that Libby’s memory experts weren’t allowed to testify was enough to convince me it was a sham trial.”

    You know that it was a Republican (and Republican appointed) judge who ruled on this? Typically people who don’t remember clearly admit that’s the case; Scooter claimed that he remembered these details and only brought up the “lousy memory” defense when several other people rebutted his version of events (read: lies). The jury got to hear his (extremely high-priced and I’m assuming competent, non Regent U.-attending) lawyer’s version of events and didn’t buy it at all. Read the foreman’s after-trial comments about Scooter’s story and see if you still can buy his “faulty memory” line of shite.

  19. Libby: I’ve done… questionable things.
    Tyrell: Also extraordinary things. Revel in your time.
    Libby: Nothing the god of administration apologists wouldn’t let you in AEI for.

  20. Doesn’t bother me that Libby won’t go to prison. Nonviolent crime, roughly zero chance of repeat offense — other penalties are more appropriate than prison.

    But Libby, Cheney, Armitage and Rove should all have lost their jobs and security clearances. Ditto anyone else involved in burning Plame.

  21. republicans will always seem clean because their scandals are so freaking boring

  22. I guess the one good thing about a Republican administration is that people hold them to a (higher) standard.

  23. Moreover, I don’t remember may be a shitty political defense, but this is not politics, this is criminal law. You don’t throw out people’s rights and prosecute them on bullshit charges just because you don’t like them.

    John, you also don’t take the accused word at face value. Common sense comes into play. It’s not that I (or the jury) didn’t “like” them. It’s that they weren’t credible claims. You don’t have the “right” to lie about stuff or to pretend like you don’t remember things you said and did once you get caught. If he didn’t want to talk, then he should have clammed up. But he didn’t he decided to lie.

    The charges are only bullshit if they were untrue. That doesn’t seem to be the case here.
    Now you may choose to believe that everyone in the Bush admin is honest like Jesus but cursed with a bad memory. But people who aren’t blinded by ideology are gonna disagree.

    It seems like people are pissed that he was held accountable for what he did. If you think lying to investigators and a grand jury shouldn’t be a crime, then maybe you should petition your reps to change that

  24. “If you don’t come clean with investigators they can and SHOULD throw the fucking book at you”

    That doesn’t even pass the laugh test. If this were a Democratic operative or anyone other than a Republican you would be screaming your head off Tom. Further, you certainly didn’t want the book thrown at Hillary who lied to investigators over her involvement with a failed S&L did you? Hillary denied under oath doing any work for the S&L only to have the Rose Law firm billing records that showed that she did do significant work for the S&L magically appear in the Whitehouse.

    My partisan shtick. Shut the fuck up Tom and stop insulting people’s intelligence by pretending to be some law and order guy. We know who you are and know your alleged “outrage” over this has to do with one thing, the fact that you don’t like Bush. That is your right, but the next time you get on here expressing outrage about some prosecutorial abuse, spare us. The fact is abusive prosecutors are A Okay with you as long as they are throwing the right guy in jail.

  25. And while we are talking about throwing the book at people, what about Sandy Berger stuffing classified documents relating to 9-11 in his pants at the national archives? That is a hell of lot more serious than this. So serious that Berger surrendered his law license rather than answer questions about it. I don’t hear anyone on here expressing any outrage over him walking.

  26. Did you notice under Clinton’s many pardons…some of them are kinda interesting

    e.g.

    “February 19, 1999
    NAME = Henry Ossian Flipper
    SENTENCED = 1891 U.S. Army general court-martial
    OFFENSE = Conduct unbecoming an officer”

    http://www.army.mil/cmh-pg/topics/afam/flipper.htm

    He was the first black man to graduate from west point.

    Most others are more banal. Roger Clinton, coke possession 🙂 2 cases of “Odometer rollback”. Or this one… ?

    Elwood Dwight Hopkins
    New Jersey -1962
    1. Theft of government property, 18 U.S.C. ? 641
    2. Mutilation of coins, 18 U.S.C. ? 331

    “Mutilation of coins”?

    There are just too many laws

  27. what about Sandy Berger stuffing classified documents relating to 9-11 in his pants at the national archives?

    …And what about X, Y, Z~~!!! We should be outraged about something other than this! Look the other way! over there!

  28. I cop to being not upset at all at Bush’s commutation of Libby’s prison sentence. Yeah, I think he lied under oath trying to shield his boss and, yeah, I think Fitzgerald pursued Libby as opposed to the others hoping to flip him to get to Cheney. I don’t think Fitzgerald, himself, was politically motivated, but when you consider the context in which he was appointed as a special prosecutor, the years he spent and the indictments (or lack thereof) he finally sought, I continue to believe that the heart of the matter was partisan politics. YMMV.

    Subtract the political context and what are you left with? Misleading investigators and twice making false statements under oath to a grand jury. Serious, but not 2.5 years incarceration serious when you consider the rest of the consequences that have befallen Libby.

    (Here, BTW, is the indictment against Libby for anyone wishing to sort out the facts as alleged and apparently accepted as true by the jury.]

    Okay, so life is unfair and lots of other people get screwed in the criminal justice system and blah, blah, blah. All true. But the better analogy here is not to Clinton but to Sandy Berger. Better, not perfect.

    Berger took five copies of the same classified document with him and cut up three of those documents. (Apparently he only needed one extra copy to check to see if the first one was correct. The others went to, what, classified ransom notes?) So we have an underlying case of a breach of national security, a statutory offense. Berger eventually copped to a misdemeanor, an option probably not offered Libby but which (yes, for purely partisan political reasons) Libby was not in a position to accept anyway since the price would have been to roll on Cheney.

    Anyway, Berger was fined $50k, got two years probation, did 100 hours of community service and relinquished his law license. (This sentence was, btw, more severe than the recommended sentence.)

    Again, I’m saying these are only roughly analogous and if you want to argue Berger should have served time, too, okay. Bearing in mind, however, the original purpose of the special prosecutor and the end results of his investigation, I’d say sending Libby to prison because Fitzgerald couldn’t make his case against Cheney or Rove, etc. is unreasonable.

  29. Dear John…

    you said ” …this is not politics, this is criminal law. You don’t throw out peoples rights and prosecute them on bullshit charges just because you don’t like them.”

    Nope, in order to do that, you need to deem them a terrorist first. Are you f’n kidding me – John? This administration had no qualms about suspending Habeus Corpus. Scooter should have gone to jail just like Susan McDougal did.

  30. John sure lova him some Republican! to impeach a sitting President there has to be a “high crime or misdemeanor”, right? So if the GOP thought Clinton’s perjury qualified, then why is Libby’s “high crime” not warrantable of serving time? They get confused, well, impeaching doesn’t mean time does it? No, but it means removing, uhhm, the PRESIDENT, which means it is probably very serious. And when we come across, I dunno, a SERIOUS crime we tend to give time as a sentence, eh?
    John:Can’t compute: Must love GOP: GOP says perjury serious: GOP says only “technical crime”: can’t compute: going to explode in partisan cognitive dissonance…

  31. We’re not talking about Sandy Berger or Hillary Clinton, John, no matter how much you would like to change the subject. And regarding Libby’s memory problems here’s a snippet from the AP timeline of events:

    _June 23: Libby meets with Times reporter Judith Miller. During the meeting, Miller says, Libby tells her that Wilson’s wife might work at a bureau of the CIA. Libby denies saying that.

    _July 6: The New York Times publishes an opinion piece by Wilson under the headline “What I Didn’t Find in Africa” and he appears on NBC’s “Meet the Press.” Wilson said he doubted Iraq had recently obtained uranium from Niger and thought Cheney’s office was told of the results of his trip.

    _July 7: Libby meets with then-White House Press Secretary Ari Fleischer. Fleischer says Libby tells him that Wilson’s wife works at the CIA and that the information is “hush hush.” Libby denies that.

    _July 8: Libby meets with Miller again. She recalls Libby saying he believes Wilson’s wife works for the CIA. Libby denies telling her that.

    ? July 8: Columnist Robert Novak interviews Armitage, who tells him that Wilson’s wife works for the CIA. Novak says this was confirmed the next day by White House political adviser Karl Rove.

    _July 10: Libby calls NBC newsman Tim Russert to complain about a colleague’s news coverage. At the end of the conversation, Libby says, Russert tells him that “all the reporters know” that Wilson’s wife works at the CIA. Libby says he was surprised to hear that. Russert denies saying it.

    _July 11: Fleischer, on a presidential trip to Africa, tells two reporters that Wilson’s wife works for the CIA. Rove tells Time Magazine’s Matthew Cooper that Wilson’s wife works for the CIA.

    _July 12: Libby speaks to Cooper and confirms to him that he has heard that Wilson’s wife was involved in sending Wilson on the trip. Libby also speaks to Miller and discusses Wilson’s wife and says that she works at the CIA. Libby claims he told Cooper and Miller he only knew about Plame from talking to other reporters.

    So Libby’s has “faulty memory” but is still adamant that Russert, Miller, AND Ari Fleischer are wrong. And it just so happens that his faulty memory only kicks in on the points where he might be facing criminal charges. And if you do happen to buy their version of events it means that, in this time of a “clash of civilizations” and a “war on terror”, the White House is entrusting classified CIA information to a guy with memory problems who talks to reporters.

  32. To all the wingnuts who keep bringing up the Berger case:
    Both Berger and Libby had quality defense teams that assuredly brought up every defense you mention, and did it in a MUCH BETTER FASHION than you could probably do (after all, that is why they are high priced lawyers and you are not, the market has spoken libertarian, so BOW DOWN AND OBEY). A jury of their peers and a judge who has about 8 years of intense educational training and probably a decade or more on the job experience both thought that the conclusions that were reached were reasonable, but you, oh wise googlers, have seen the flaws in their efforts. Yeah, right.

  33. whatever. Fuck scooter. Did anyone ever learn anything about the niger forgeries? It seems like the whole story got lost at some point, and has devolved into something to do with he said/she said.

  34. Ken | July 3, 2007, 12:26pm | #

    John sure lova him some Republican! to impeach a sitting President there has to be a “high crime or misdemeanor”, right? So if the GOP thought Clinton’s perjury qualified, then why is Libby’s “high crime” not warrantable of serving time? They get confused, well, impeaching doesn’t mean time does it? No, but it means removing, uhhm, the PRESIDENT, which means it is probably very serious. And when we come across, I dunno, a SERIOUS crime we tend to give time as a sentence, eh?
    John:Can’t compute: Must love GOP: GOP says perjury serious: GOP says only “technical crime”: can’t compute: going to explode in partisan cognitive dissonance…

    That was hilarious!! Thanks for the laugh, Ken!!

    All I keep hearing from John is “if it were the Democrats, nobody would care…blah, blah, blah.”

    Disclosure: I don’t really affiliate myself with any party and find petty partisan arguments childish and quite annoying.

  35. That doesn’t even pass the laugh test. If this were a Democratic operative or anyone other than a Republican you would be screaming your head off Tom. Further, you certainly didn’t want the book thrown at Hillary who lied to investigators over her involvement with a failed S&L did you? Hillary denied under oath doing any work for the S&L only to have the Rose Law firm billing records that showed that she did do significant work for the S&L magically appear in the Whitehouse.

    John, personally I could have cared less if Hillary would have the book thrown at her. She lied — they should have gone after her in the same way. I wouldn’t have shed a fucking tear. And I would be even happier today because her Whitehouse ambitions would be scuttled

    Shut the fuck up Tom and stop insulting people’s intelligence by pretending to be some law and order guy

    John, Go Cheney yourself, big boy. I’m not pretending anything. I want justice to be served to the well connected as well as the not connected. If any politico gets convicted of crimes they should go to jail (regardless of party). I would rather see exceptions made for Joe Blow rather than for the Scooter Libby’s of the world.

    We know who you are and know your alleged “outrage” over this has to do with one thing, the fact that you don’t like Bush…but the next time you get on here expressing outrage about some prosecutorial abuse, spare us. The fact is abusive prosecutors are A Okay with you as long as they are throwing the right guy in jail.

    Projection John. Just because you can find no flaw in the GOP doesn’t mean that everyone else is partisan like you. Aggressive prosecutors are fucking great, as long as they are throwing in jail the corrupt rich and powerful who abuse their connections and status and pretend that the laws don’t apply to them.

  36. What John said. Thanks John, saved me some keystrokes.

    This move by GWB was entirely expected and predictable. The surprise is that GWB didn’t completely pardon Libby altogether.

    Ken, John said:

    Maybe Libby should go to prison, I frankly don’t care, but that is a stupid argument by Shuster

    That is not the same as saying it’s okay for Republicans and not for Democrats.

    And John made a splendid argument about polls and ideology and asked why an intellectual stalwart like Reason would use poll results to bolster an argument only when the poll went our way.

    Personally, Libby should go to prison for calling himself Scooter.

  37. GILMORE,

    Per La Repubblica and other sources it was sponsored / shepherded by Michael Ledeen and Ahmad Chalabi with SISMI as the cut-out. Plus a whole bunch of other monkey business.

    The alternative floated is that it was produced by CIA elements pissed at the OVP “alternate analysis” stove-piping efforts in order to discredit that process when they bit on an obvious forgery (seems like a pretty strained explanation to me).

    Wiki link

  38. John made a splendid argument about polls and ideology and asked why an intellectual stalwart like Reason would use poll results to bolster an argument only when the poll went our way.

    Splendid?…

    (cue)
    “When the moon hits your eye like a big pizza pie…thats… Amoraaaaaaay”

    To your actual point = it’s a Dave Weigel post. “intellectual stalwart”?? come on. Stop acting so indignant… 🙂

  39. I am not a fan of Libby (it’s sad how you have to preface your comments so), but I still don’t get all the extreme animosity towards him. The guy got convicted of a minor point of perjury during a minor investigation that never resulted in a conviction. And that perjury was browbeaten out of him to start with.

    And we’re supposed to be able to hang the impeachments of the entire Bush administration on this? Give me a break! Half of those 60% wouldn’t be able to even tell you what he’s in prison for!

  40. IT IS NOT GOOD THAT LIBBY WAS PARDONED. NOW ZEUS IS FORCED TO METE OUT ETERNAL PUNISHMENT, AND WE ALL KNOW HOW THAT GOES. SCOOTER WILL BE CHAINED TO A BOULDER FOR ALL OF ETERNITY AND HIS LIVER WILL BE PECKED OUT…BY ME! AND I HATE LIVER, DAMN YOU! I WILL EAT IT, BY ZEUS I WILL, BUT I AM NOT EVEN PROVIDED WITH AMARONE OR CHIANTI OR FAVA BEANS! EVEN RAW IT DOESN’T TASTE SO BAD, BUT YOU EAT THE SAME THING EVERY MORNING FOR THOUSANDS OF YEARS AND SEE H0W YOU LIKE IT! BY ZEUS I WILL HAVE MY REVENGE ON YOU FOR THIS, BUSH, YOUR LIVER IS NOT SAFE!

  41. Count me as a Libertarian for Libby. With all the serious issues we can fault the administraion for, I’ve never understood why such a big deal has been made over this non-crime. This was the kind of case only a retarded partisan could get worked up over. Basically, some dude wrote an op-ed bashing the administration, and the administration responded by questioning his credibility. Boo-fucking-hoo. Welcome to Washington. Wilson came up with this absurdly implausible theory that the WH was pushing the “his wife got him the job” not to discredit him, but a roundabout way to take vengence on his wife. Despite the idiocy of that theory, the press ran with it, and the administration, rather than laughing it off, responded with their usual bunker like mentality of secrecy and denial. So maybe Libby was less than forthcomming? So what? He didn’t do anything wrong. NOBODY did anything wrong, and the final indignity is that the guy who was responsible for “leaking” the story was the guy in the administration most hostile to the Cheney Cabal. But at the end of the day, this is the kind of nonsense the two parties need to focus on, because neither party wants to confront the real problem, which is the war in Iraq itself. And their reluctance to take on the issue stems from the fact that both parties believe in interventionsim and imperialism. Pull the plug on Iraq, and the people might start questioning the entire rotten game.

  42. Thankfully, FatDrunkAndStupid has chosen a name that helpfully alleviates our need to explain what’s wrong with his “reasoning.”

  43. John, you are such a partisan hack.

    How’s that “Valerie Plame was a soccer mom who wasn’t undercover and didn’t do any work overseas” thing working out for you?

    You spent four years dumping parroting that line at us. You should probably just STFU at this point.

  44. Brandybuck,

    The guy got convicted of a minor point of perjury during a minor investigation that never resulted in a conviction.

    Fitzgerald has stated that it was Libby’s obstruction that prevented him from being able to bring charges.

    This line about “no charges for the underlying crime” is the equivalent of the guy who kills his parents and then asks for mercy because he’s an orphan.

  45. Bottom line: He was convicted of a crime and sentenced according to the guidelines, and the president shot him a “get out of jail free card.” And that stinks.

  46. John | July 27, 2005, 6:40pm | #

    Xboy,

    Valerie Plame was a soccer mom. She hadn’t been in the field for over five years. She was not a “covert agent” under the meaning of the law. Just because you work for the CIA doesn’t mean that your identity is necessarily secret.

  47. John | July 27, 2005, 6:59pm | #

    Xboy,

    Call her what you want, but she was not a working agent and it was highly unlikely to ever be one again. Just because you work for the CIA, doesn’t mean you are some secret squirel. The CIA needs bureaucrats too.

    John | February 2, 2007, 11:09am | #

    Scooter lied to conceal the fact that he had revealed the identity of a covert CIA agent (a felony)

    That is just bullshit. She wasn’t a covert agent, she was a soccer mom in Virginia who once was a covert agent.

    John | February 2, 2007, 1:43pm | #

    “Outing a CIA desk jockey is really sort of like outing my son as an elementary school student.”

    That pretty much sums it up. She was a mom with young twins. She wasn’t going to go out and play James Bond anymore if she ever did.

    John | July 12, 2005, 12:25pm | #

    The fact is that the law in question might as well have been called the Stop Phillip Agee Act. As pointed out by several poster’s above the standard of proof for it makes it virtually impossible to prove in court, unless you have a defendent like Phillip Agee who openly admits that his intent is to out as many covert agents as possible. Even if you could prove it, Pflame was a mother of two or three young children and hadn’t been in out in the field in years and was unlikely ever to go in the field again. The media makes it sound like she was living undercover in Upper Bannanastan and had to flee by mule train to avoid being shot. Nothing could be further from the truth. She was a soccer mom and CIA bureaucrat at Langly who had good enough political connections in the organization to get her hack husband a quick assignment.

  48. Wow, John was really hammering home the whole “soccer mom” theme.

  49. FatDrunkandStupid,

    Pretty much echoes my understanding of what happened.

    How are we mistaken?

  50. The only good thing to come out of this fiasco is that the American people should finally realize how corrupt their president is. Check out this pictorial depicting what should happen to Bush’s ratings.

    http://dancingthemantaray.blogspot.com/2007/07/hangman_7376.html

  51. Funny piece of trivia.

    According to NPR’s All Things Considered tonight, Scooter Libby Marc Rich’s lawyer.

    No real point. Just found that funny.

  52. Anyone know why the investigation continued after Fitzgerald learned about Armitage? At that point it became a “gotcha game” and a waste of taxpayer dollars, assuming that the “outing” of a Langley newspaper clipper was ever much of a issue.

  53. According to NPR’s All Things Considered tonight, Scooter Libby Marc Rich’s lawyer.

    No real point. Just found that funny.

    What?… Really? OK,.. my bad,… you are right then Chicago Tom, go ahead and lynch the guy.

  54. “””whatever. Fuck scooter. Did anyone ever learn anything about the niger forgeries?”””

    Good one Gilmore.

    It amazes me how many people will defend the ability to lie to the FBI, or a grand jury if they think the investigation is bullshit.

    Maybe I’m old fashion but lying to law enforcement is not excuseable. It never matters who did what in the past. If that’s your defense then you are FOR lying! When you point back to a past event, that was not punished, you are saying their side got away with it, my side should to. Therefore you are FOR getting away with it.

    It’s amazing how politics can poison the mind.

  55. Poor John, he knows not what he does…Good job Joe feeding him the crow.

  56. John wrote:”Both Stewart and Libby got jail time because they wouldn’t play ball and plead guilty to lying to investigators.”

    No, Libby got time because he kept lying.

    He could have easily avoided conviction by telling the truth. Just like how Karl Rove narrowly avoided indictment by finally fessing up what he knew. And Armitage avoided indictment or investigation by coming forward immediately.

  57. “Anyone know why the investigation continued after Fitzgerald learned about Armitage? ”

    Because there wasn’t necessarily only one leak.

    Armitage talked to Novak, yes. But Scooter was talking to Judy Miller, among others. Armitage wasn’t the only one talking to reporters, and the FBI must have had information to that effect.

    Armitage wasn’t indicted because he came forward immediately, without a lawyer, and fessed up.

    Libby was lying all along, even before Fitzgerald came on board. That suggested he was obstructing and hiding something, so the investigation continued.

  58. No one wants to refute the statement given by FatDrunkAndStupid?

  59. FatDrunkAndStupid wrote: “Basically, some dude wrote an op-ed bashing the administration, and the administration responded by questioning his credibility.”

    No, they responded by recklessly outing a CIA agent working on WMD, supposedly a matter of some importance while we’re at war. In doing so, they also identified her employer of public record as a CIA front, potentially exposing anyone else using the same front company.

    Further, they caused this damage to national security in a fit of personal pique, not because there was some good reason for it. They’d already gotten their war. Wilson’s article wasn’t going to change anything. It would just make Dick Cheney look bad. So what was the big need to burn Plame?

    Do you honestly think it’s okay to recklessly burn a CIA agent working on WMD because you don’t like what her husband wrote? The bar is that low?

    Cheney can’t even sue for it in our rabidly litigious society, but he can trash a valuable intelligence asset because he can’t defend himself on the merits?

    (And really, Cheney and the GOP are the last people who should be accusing anyone of nepotism, given how inbred the Bush administration’s org charts are.)

    How about if a deployed soldier’s wife published an editorial against Bush. Would it be okay for Cheney to reveal her husband’s unit’s location and movements in Iraq, putting them at risk, just to get back at her?

  60. Bush said great things about Judge Walton when he nominated him for the job. Now Bush thinks he’s too tough on crime.

  61. If Bush had a brain he’d commute Rita’s sentence too. Given that his case involved automatic weapons, it’d be a huge win with the gun lobby.

    Hell, Bush should have let Libby hang and just pardoned Rita.

  62. Did joe just call someone else “a partisan hack?”

    Bahahahhaha

  63. joe sez Fitzgerald has stated that it was Libby’s obstruction that prevented him from being able to bring charges.

    Doesn’t speak for much for Fitz then does it? This must have been Rove’s plan all along – get a semi-competent prosecutor appointed who will be easily distracted by a plump sitting duck.

    Funny how Fitz never has prosecuted anyone for outing a covert agent.

  64. jon h sez Armitage wasn’t indicted because he came forward immediately, without a lawyer, and fessed up.

    What-the-fuck do you think this is? The Inquisition? Confess and repent and we won’t burn you at the stake?

    You BDSer’s all go on about how Libby and the WH cabal conspired to out a covert agent, but the FIRST guy to actually do so wasn’t part of the team and has never been indicted (confession only making that all the easier) let alone convicted.

    You’re a short step away from the ranks of the 9/11 truthers.

  65. oops, sorry for the bad formatting on the preceding post. I was only quoting joe in italics in the first sentence, the rest being my response.

  66. If the investigation reveals no crime was committed, why would Fitz charge Armitage?

    It seems common sense to me that if the investigation reveals no crime, the only people that could be prosecuted are those who broke laws while being investigated, such as making false statements, obstructing, and perjury. Why do some people pretend this is not proper law and order?

    The investigation was lawful. Peoples opinions of the investigation are irrellevent. Why would anyone who believes in law and order think differently?

    Libby could have prevented this by telling the truth. Those who told the truth did not get prosecuted. Is this really that tough to graps?

  67. Why would anyone who believes in law and order think differently?

    That seems a valid complaint against a Republican law-and-order type. Let me know when you find one. I have less trust of prosecutors, special or regular, then those kind of folk.

    Libby could have prevented this by telling the truth.

    The truth according to Tim Russert right? Isn’t this the primary point of contradiction in this version of he-said, he-said?

    Two years from now, an attorney corners you and demands that you recount EXACTLY what was said in this conversation. Remember, any deviation in your multiple re-tellings will be construed as lying. Now, I suppose you could just refuse to say anything – and we all know what we would conclude from that.

    Those who told the truth did not get prosecuted.

    Not relevant to outing a covert agent. It should have made prosecuting that person(s) a [I just have to say it in this context] slam-dunk.

    Oh, what’s that you say – no one has ever been charged in this case with outing a covert agent? Imagine that.

  68. “The truth according to Tim Russert right? Isn’t this the primary point of contradiction in this version of he-said, he-said?”

    No. He also contradicted a scad of people like David Addington.

  69. “What-the-fuck do you think this is? The Inquisition? Confess and repent and we won’t burn you at the stake?”

    We don’t have an official secrets act. The circumstances in which an agent’s identity is divulged are significant as to whether it is a violation of law. Armitage clearly didn’t fit the requirements for it to be indictable.

    This isn’t rocket science. The relevant law isn’t simply “THOU SHALT NOT REVEAL AN AGENT’S IDENTITY”.

  70. I didn’t think there were still people naive enough to take politicians at their word when they offer up the “I don’t remember” defense.

    Libby outed Plame to one source on Tuesday and to another source on Thursday, but claimed that he couldn’t have outed her to Russert on Wednesday because he didn’t know her identity.

    That’s what we call an “obvious lie.”

  71. Uh joe, Libby didn’t “out Plame”. Unless you mean something entirely different from blowing a covert operative’s cover.

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