Thursday, June 07, 2007
Andy McCarthy is, I think, exactly right that conservatives who think they are helping Scooter Libby actually hurt him.
He was found guilty, by a jury, of obstruction of justice. Will we respect our Rule of Law and the jury's verdict, or will we say, "It's o.k. if you're a Republican."?
Scooter'll get his pardon in about 17 months. Those of you railing against the judiciary and against the legal process need to remember that obstruction of justice is a crime.
Even Screwy should admit that the US Justice System on occasion convicts an innocent man of a crime they did not commit.
That being said, Scooter was nailed for one of the most dangerous and common questions that exist in Washington. “What did you tell the reporter?” There is not a single politician who cannot tell a half-dozen stories about being misquoted, i.e. what the reporter wrote is not what the politician remembers saying. Two and a half years in prison and a couple mil legal bill is high price indeed to pay for memory.
And the results of this prosecution have already begun to show, with the Monica Goodling taking the Fifth on Senate testimony. If I, as a Fed, am called forth to testify in a political issue such as this against reporters I have spoken with before, you can bet dollars to donuts my memory will be as bad as Mrs. Clinton, and nothing short of complete and total immunity will change that.
And that is not a good thing for a country that depends on free and open government.
There is no question that the case was very bad news for both open government and a free press, at least as the mainsteam media considers it. None of that, however, excuses Libby. More importantly, when convicted he should have apologized, hung his head, made a speech about the importance of guarding the country's secrets, etc. I think Andy has it right when he argues that conservatives have given Scooter a reason not to be sorry, and that has cost him in the sentencing.
We cannot have one law for ordinary civil servants, common citizens, etc., and another for presidential staffers.
I feel badly for the guy, but we can't have people lying to prosecutors. Throw the book at him -- and at all the others who leak so badly that our "secret" intelligence is an international joke, and our "secret" plans can be read off any three websites.
Ray, unfortunately, few, if any, others will get the retribution they deserve for leaking "secrets" and classified information to the press; things that "they" were forsworn to keep with their agencies. Can you say Joe Wilson?
If Wilson would have kept his yap shut, as he was probably required to do by any CIA directive he was given to do his "investigation" in Niger, none of this ugliness would have happened.
TH and Andy McCarthy are pretty much on target about Libby, but when will the rest of "them" be tried, or even investigated by a Grand Jury? Do not hold your breath.
I don't disagree with McCarthy's piece, though it seems to me that at the center of his reasoning is the belief that Libby has little chance on appeal.
I don't think I followed the trial as closely as others may have -- what did the jury say after the verdict regarding Libby's motivation for lying to investigators and/or grand juries (obstruction)? That he did so to avoid embarrassment? Did the jury think that it was material to the overall investigation of the original leak (which turned out to be from Armitage)?
If the judge permits Libby to be free on bail pending appeal, that makes life easy for Bush -- he can pardon Libby on the way out the door in January 2009. If Libby starts serving his sentence this year, that makes it more of a political problem for Republicans.
Question -- what effect does this have on the presidential elections, especially the Republican primaries, especially for Fred Thompson (assuming he enters officially), who has been involoved with the Libby defense fund?