March 7, 2007

"The time for a pardon is now."

The Wall Street Journal editorializes that Bush should pardon Libby:
In hindsight, the defense seems to have blundered by portraying Mr. Libby as the "fall guy" for others in the White House. That didn't do enough to rebut Mr. Fitzgerald's theory of the case, and so the jury seems to have decided that Mr. Libby must have been lying to protect something. The defense might have been better off taking on Mr. Fitzgerald for criminalizing political differences.
Since the defense made this decision, it's hard to see why Bush would be motivated to pardon him.
We believe [Bush] some personal responsibility for this conviction, especially for not policing the disputes and insubordination in his Administration that made this travesty possible.
I really don't understand how these asserted shortcomings connect to lying to a grand jury. He was convicted of perjury. Whatever you think of the Plame affair and the whole investigation, why should Bush condone that?

115 comments:

Yachira said...

It remains a travesty that Libby was ever prosecuted to begin with.

This was a political show trial, and partisans of Joe Wilson will use the guilty verdict to declare vindication. But along the way we learned that virtually all the claims Wilson and his supporters made were false:

* On his trip to Niger, Wilson found no evidence that contradicted the famous "16 words" in President Bush's 2003 State of the Union Address, contrary to his New York Times op-ed claim.

* Plame, his wife, who worked for the CIA, did recommend him for the Niger junket, contrary to Wilson's denials.

* Plame was not a covert agent under the definition of the Intelligence Identities Protection Act, contrary to Wilson's insinuations, which many of his backers, including in the press, presented as fact.

* No one from the White House "leaked" Plame's identity as a CIA functionary to Robert Novak, who received the information from Richard Armitage at the State Department.

Libby stands convicted of lying in the course of Patrick Fitzgerald's investigation of the Valerie Plame kerfuffle--but that investigation was undertaken on the basis of a tissue of lies. When Fitzgerald began the case, in 2003, no one had committed any crime in connection with the kerfuffle, and that was fairly easy to ascertain, given that Plame was not a covert agent and Armitage had already owned up to the so-called leak. Fitzgerald looks like an overzealous prosecutor, one who was more interested in getting a scalp than in getting to the truth of the matter.

Of course, Libby could have avoided indictment and conviction if he had simply said "I don't remember" a lot more during the course of the investigation. Therein lies a lesson for witnesses in future such investigations--which may make it harder for prosecutors to do their jobs when pursuing actual crimes.

From: http://www.opinionjournal.com/best/?id=110009752

RogerA said...

I apologize to all for my use of profanity on an earlier thread.

Wickedpinto said...

Not a Lawyer, but the libby trial was a flogging excercise in "I can't find something, but it's my job to find something" sort of professional aspiration.

Personaly, on a political level? LET the courts draw this FARCE out as long as possible, and then on day 2922, pardon him, just so that the pres can show how ridiculous this system is.

Sorry, Ann, you teach law, but "The Law" is a friggen joke.

Wickedpinto said...

And it was the LAWYERS and JUDGES and PROFESSORS who made it so.

MadisonMan said...

Fitzgerald looks like an overzealous prosecutor, one who was more interested in getting a scalp than in getting to the truth of the matter.

I think he did a great job of revealing the truth in this particular matter. There was an effort to discredit Wilson, that effort appears to have been spearheaded by the (office of the) Vice President, and Libby was willing to lie to a Grand Jury about it.

I don't see why the Wall St. Journal thinks the pardon should be now (I note a local columnist -- Wineke -- here in Madison says the same thing) unless the WSJ thinks the President would benefit from even lower approval ratings.

RogerA said...

One of the most interesting things about this whole affair is the mechanism that the administration chose to use to refute Wilson's claims. Why didnt the Vice President, or the press secretary, or the President or some other official simply call a press conference and take on Wilson's claims directly and openly?

This case does reveal the seamy underside of leaks, bureaucratic infighting, and the inability of this administration to control its bureaucracy. It also reveals the just how shoddy the Washington Press Corps is and how it is a willing participant in these bureaucratic battles.

DCWilly said...

For those of you complaining about the outcome, it is really this simple: you condone lying to the FBI and a grand jury. The purpose of the investigation is irrelevant. Even if the investigation is not legitimate, when the FBI asks you a question in the course of that investigation, or you are in front of a grand jury, you must tell the truth. End of story. The words Plame, Niger, Wilson are red-herrings. If you think they are even slightly relevant, or provide some excuse, again, you condone lying to FBI and a grand jury.

DCWilly said...

One more thought: for those who believe that the alleged illegitmacy of the underlying investigation provides some sort of excuse for Libby, what you are saying is that people have the unilateral right to condition their telling of the truth to the FBI and a federal rand jury based on their subjective perceprions of the legitimacy of what the FBI and grand jury are investigating. If you've ever professed any faith for the "rule of law" you will understand that that is not a workable system. The only workable system is a flat rule: when the FBI or a grand jury asks you a question, you answer truthfully. End of story.

AllenS said...

Unfortunately, the proof about lying in front of the FBI and Grand Jury, was the testimony of reporters, who, when cross-examined, couldn't remember exactly what was said.

Fen said...

you condone lying to the FBI and a grand jury

No. I'm not convinced Libby lied to FBI or Grand Jury. I really would like to see a transcript - Libby & FBI & Fitz - before I make up my mind.

I think Libby's defenders are more concerned this was a "gotcha". By your own standards, if you testify you ate steak with Rove on Thursday, and then a year later claim it was on Wednesday - BAMM! - your are guilty of lying to the FBI and a grand jury.

Is there any testimony/cross on the net yet?

Fen said...

forgot to add:

Lesson learned - If I'm ever called to testify, I will answer every question with I don't recall.

Sloanasaurus said...

Libby is the classic case for a pardon. His crime is minor, and his crime largly occurred because of an investigation motivated by politics and the media's interest in politics.

That the chief witnesses were members of the media whose main purpose was to find political dirt on Libby in the first place and to damage Bush politically is telling and worthy of a pardon.

Just as we should not let people get away with lying, you can't let people get away with politically motivated trials.

Personally I thought the whole Clinton investigation was a bad idea at the time. But now after the Libby stuff the partisan divide deepens.

Hoosier Daddy said...

I really don't understand how these asserted shortcomings connect to lying to a grand jury. He was convicted of perjury. Whatever you think of the Plame affair and the whole investigation, why should Bush condone that?

You are right they don’t and Bush shouldn’t. In my view, the argument for a pardon is that this was a non-issue (leaking an agent’s name) yet it was manufactured to be a travesty by Bush opponents. To a certain extent they have a point when you look at all the classified things that have been leaked in this administration, the ‘outing’ of an obscure CIA analyst’s name was the only one to have been investigated and prosecuted.

Essentially this is the Right’s version of the Lewinski scandal, a non-issue that gets blown (pardon the pun) all out of proportion to the actual ‘crime’.

MadisonMan said...

I will answer every question with I don't recall.

I don't think you have to go that far. In your lunch-with-Rove example: To the best of my recollection, it was Wednesday. That is a true statement.

Crimso said...

"I think he did a great job of revealing the truth in this particular matter."


Now if we could just get him to look into the whole Berger thing...

And I'm glad that dcwilly at least believes perjury and obstruction of justice to be serious charges. For years now I've been hearing that they aren't.

Henry said...

I pretty much agree with Best of the Web (as posted by Yachira, above), but the pettiness of this case hardly absolves Libby. Whatever the justification for the investigation, Libby played fast and loose with the investigators.

So that was a dumb move on his part and a pardon is not warranted. If anything, GWB should be pissed off -- he asked his staff to cooperate with investigators and Libby chose not to.

At least this should close the book on the whole idiotic affair -- well at least until Libby's appeal is decided and it makes the evening newscasts again. Then everyone on the left can unbucket their outrage one last time.

* * *

I wonder if Libby's defense team, in attempting to portray Libby as a scapegoat for higher-ups, was consciously using the Oliver North trial as a model. If anyone remembers, North used the "poor underling" defense to get off 13 of 16 felony counts.

Maybe juries are more sophisticated these days.

Cat said...

Madison Man - of course there was an effort to discredit Wilson - he was LYING! I remember when I first heard about the Wilson editorial and he was on the news shows saying he was in Niger at the request of Cheney. I remember this because I thought why on earth would Cheney send a left wing blowhard like Joe Wilson of all people? Well, he didn't send him. So the effort to "discredit" started with Cheney's office saying, "We didn't send him!" So it all started with Wilson's lie.

Zeb Quinn said...

Even if the investigation is not legitimate, when the FBI asks you a question in the course of that investigation, or you are in front of a grand jury, you must tell the truth. End of story.

Yeah I agree with that.

Except for the "end of story" part. Because there's another angle to at least think about.

Fitzpatrick aleady knew before he even called Libby to testify before the Grand Jury that it was Armitage who had leaked to Novak and other reporters the fact that Plame worked for the CIA. Armitage had already gone to DOJ and confessed to it. Armitage was handed to Fitzpatrick on a silver platter. And, Fitzpatrick aleady knew before he called Libby to testify before the Grand Jury that Plame was not a covert agent within the meaning of the Intelligence Identities Protection Act of 1982. Because if she were, Fitzpatrick would've bang-->zoom gone after and prosecuted Armitage, who he would've had dead to rights. But she wasn't, so he didn't.

So, in other words, when Libby walked into the Grand Jury room the very first time, and in each and every subsequent appearance, Fitzpatrick was no longer investigating possible crime(s), he was in the mode of creating crimes. And with Libby he did. That's why this case stinks.

No, Libby never should've lied. And it was a crime that he did. But the case still stinks.

Cat said...

Rogera - good point. They should have held a press conference and said, "No we didn't send him and here's where he's wrong" Of course, thanks to more to the Intel committee and 9/11 commission, we now know Wilson lied about what he found on that trip, but again, if Wilson hadn't lied in the first place all of the time wasted on investigations and this trial of Libby wouldn't have happened.

Libby? If he lied to the Grand Jury and it was proven, then yes he deserves the guilty verdict as much as Clinton did (and was disbarred) for lying under oath about Monica. A lie under oath, is a lie under oath. And Libby knows better of course. Really, really dumb.

But what rankles me is, again, this could all be avoided. I wish Wilson could be prosecuted for lying publicly, but that's not against the law - only if he lied to the 9/11 commission and Sen Intel committee and that was where he fessed up to lying about Why he was sent, what he found, and who sent him.

Will this hurt Bush? No.

TMink said...

Fitzgerald and Libby have a past together. Didn't Libby defend a Roger someone who left the country for Switzerland in the early or mid eighties while Fitzgerald was a prosecutor? Then Libby got the Roger someone a Clinton pardon?

Trey

AllenS said...

For me, the most questionable thing to emerge about this trial, was Fitzpatrick allowing Russert to have a lawyer with him when testifying in front of the Grand Jury. I've never heard of this happening before. Professor, I need a ruling.

RogerA said...

Trey--close; the Roger in question was Roger Rodham, HRCs brother who it appears was trying to market pardons. Libby was Marc Rich's pardon atty but I dont think Rich had to use Roger Rodham's services.
All of this, of course, is to the "best of my recollection."

Hoosier Daddy said...

The only workable system is a flat rule: when the FBI or a grand jury asks you a question, you answer truthfully. End of story.

I agree, however, I think people do go on the assumption that there is a legitimate reason behind the questioning. Like the Blue Dress Drama, there was no ‘there there”. A ‘crime’ is manufactured for the sole person of trying to catch someone in a lie and then get them for perjury, not the crime. Did Clinton lie about getting a hummer? Of course he did. I probably would too but why it was a grand jury case is beyond me as is the Plame issue.

What I see evolving now is investigations starting solely for the purpose of political assassinations. If you know your opponent is shagging his wife’s sister, is it better to expose that and publicly humiliate him or expose it as a lie in the course of a grand jury investigation and have him frog marched down the steps of the Justice Department? I guess it depends on how deep you want to drive the stake.

Flexo said...

"The time for a pardon is now."

If you pardon him now, you brand him for all-time as a criminal and you deny him the ability to vindicate himself. Pardon now, rather than allowing the appellate process to continue, and you cut off all further discussion of the facts.

Pardon now, and all you get is a bunch of politicians, journalists, and blog commenters yelling at each other. Allow the appellate process to continue, then the defense team can craft arguments and write briefs slamming Fitzgerald and Walton for some egregious errors at trial. And not only does the defense get to file briefs, but almost certainly amicus briefs with well-crafted arguments will be filed by various groups. Then, and only then, do we get a full and robust discussion and exploration of this matter.

The Drill SGT said...

MadisonMan said...
I think he did a great job of revealing the truth in this particular matter. There was an effort to discredit Wilson, that effort appears to have been spearheaded by the (office of the) Vice President, and Libby was willing to lie to a Grand Jury about it.


Libby Lied and should have been found guilty and eventually pardoned. Fitzgerald, however isn't a hero. He knew that there was no underlying crime and knew who did the original leak. If He wants to end this on a high note, he should make a public statement that:

1. Armitage was the leaker
2. There was no underlying crime since, Valerie was not covert
3. Libby didn't know she was covert
4. Wilson lied
5. It's not in the public interest to have officials lie to Grand Juries.


Ann picked the WSJ which is a bit over the top on this case. Please look at the WaPo below for a balanced piece from hardly a right wing editorial page.
The serious consequences of a pointless Washington scandal

hdhouse said...

what part of "lying under oath" don't you understand?

did you apply the same "standard" to clinton?

i doubt that many have read the indictment (http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2005/10/28/AR2005102801086.html) and you should.

Would it not be appropriate for Libby to pay back the government for the time and costs that came about because he lied rather than tell the truth?

frankly i hope that now, when staring at prison, his legal eagles go to fitzgerald and cut a deal and let him tell the truth but as long as he has hope that president woowoo will give him a pardon, there is no incentive.

Fritz said...

Mad Man,
You Wrote: I think he did a great job of revealing the truth in this particular matter. There was an effort to discredit Wilson, that effort appears to have been spearheaded by the (office of the) Vice President, and Libby was willing to lie to a Grand Jury about it.

Would you please provide us with that indictment. I didn't see an indictment that reads "Libby lied to the FBI, Grand Jury about his effort to discredit Joe Wilson. He did testify that Joe Wilson is a fraud and made false statements in his op-ed.

Fellow Conservatives & WSJ:

Have you lost your minds? I thought the "rule of law" was our solid principle? Libby screwed himself and deserves no pardon. If anything I am furious with his conduct. He like Clinton tried to obstruct justice. It doesn't matter why Fitzgerald existed, he was given a serious referral that he was obliged to investigate. The testimony clearly reveals that there were plenty of people in the White House that were talking to the press about this CIA employee. Her true status is irrelevant, that was for the law to decide and appears that Fitzgerald did not believe the referral he investigated rose to such charges. Libby should beg for mercy from the court and apologize to the Administration.

Flexo said...

The only workable system is a flat rule: when the FBI or a grand jury asks you a question, you answer truthfully. End of story.

Of course the police and prosecution would never dream of twisting and manipulating the answers that are given. Of course, police and prosecution questioning are always a "search for the truth" and are never an exercise in manufacturing evidence ("gotcha") against the person being questioned.

If you question anyone for hours on end, asking about multiple things that happened months and years before, you are certain to get a few contradictions and inaccuracies.

You think that errors are not inevitable in that kind of atmosphere? Ha! How many cases have there been of innocent people "confessing" to crimes like murder and rape? Are they lying when the police manipulate them into a confession? Or are statements made during eight hours of questioning bound to contain some inaccuracies? Such errors do not necessarily add up to lying, especially when you can find only two instances in all of those eight hours.

MadisonMan said...

DrillSgt: I would put your #5 first.

DCWilly said...

Flexo:

But then your problem is with the jury system. That's what juries do -- filter through that information. Juries decide, among other things, matters of intent, and that's what this jury did. If the jury bought your argument, based on the evidence, that there was no intent to lie, he would have been acquitted. They determined that based on the evidence presented, he intentionally lied. If you don't like that, then you don't like the jury system. Fair enough, but it's the one we have.

The Drill SGT said...

MM,

I listed them in more or less time sequence, not importance.

one could add that classic:

6. "It's the cover-up that gets you, not the crime"

Fen said...

Fellow Conservatives & WSJ: Have you lost your minds? I thought the "rule of law" was our solid principle?

I'm just not convinced - I really need to see the evidence against him, I hope it will be posted to the net. For now, I'm nodding in agreement with Flexo's 9:37 comment above:

If you question anyone for hours on end, asking about multiple things that happened months and years before, you are certain to get a few contradictions and inaccuracies....are statements made during eight hours of questioning bound to contain some inaccuracies? Such errors do not necessarily add up to lying, especially when you can find only two instances in all of those eight hours.

Brian said...

Miss Althouse, what if a prosecutor was investigating a murder, and continues fishing around AFTER he sees the supposed victim waving hello at him outside his window.

Then, in that investigation, he catches someone actually lying to the FBI and/or to a grand jury, and convicts for perjury and/or obstruction. (I don't know if Libby lied or not, but this is just for purposes of the hypothetical.)

Would the person thereby convicted deserve a pardon?

Flexo said...

But then your problem is with the jury system. . . . If you don't like that, then you don't like the jury system. Fair enough, but it's the one we have.

I see that police and prosecutors are not the only ones that can twist and distort what someone has said. The only question is whether such distortion was made in good faith, or was dishonestly made in order to prove some political point?

The Exalted said...

you guys are right, the republican prosecutor appointed by the republican attorney general to investigate allegations made by the republican-led CIA created a wholly political investigation and trial against...a republican deputy of the republican vice president.

yea, makes perfect sense. good job guys.

dave in boca said...

The fact is that Wilson lied in his NY OpEd piece concerning Niger. He also lied saying that Cheney sent him. He is a familiar DC phenomenon, a flasher looking to draw attention to himself by streaking bare-assed across the landscape. An over-the-hill opportunist wanting back into the limelight.

Fitzgerald also saw the brass ring when offered an opportunity to prostitute himself for high office in an upcoming Democrat administration.

Lick-spittles like Matthews and Russert gladly lied to TV audiences [usually by omission and half-truths] and in Russert's case, probably to the judge. They pass Go, get thousands of chits for Dem causes and possible senior jobs in a Dem administration.

Ms. Toensing, who actually helped draft the legislation originally, has the best take on this. Just another process crime.

Bill Clinton lied under oath on TV, but beat the rap. Now the MSM are calling for Cheney's scalp for defending his own reputation, sullied by whoremonger Wilson and his slutty wife.

A travesty of justice. Wilson is the one who should go to jail for lying about state secrets.

B said...

I understand the principal behind perjury.

I believe that lying in an investigation - even an investigation for something where it turns out that no crime was committed - should be heavily discouraged through perjury laws.

I am hugely angry with the obviously indiscriminate and politically charged use of perjury laws.

I want to see them applied to every member of Congress brought before the ethics committee.

I want to see them reapplied (c'mon New York Times)to Hillary Clinton in what everyone knew was her lying under oath regarding Whitewater (and I could care less about Monica)

Joe said...

You ask: "Whatever you think of the Plame affair and the whole investigation, why should Bush condone that?"

That is not the point. Libby's offense and conviction were manufactured. They would not have happened had this silly investigation never happened, or had Fitzgerald used better judgement in pursuing it. Imagine driving down the highway and suddenly finding yourself surrounded by police cars that are all going ten miles faster than the speed limit. You speed up to drive safely with them, and they stop you and give you a ticket! That's essentially what happened to Libby.

Bush should pardon Libby because the government should not be able to manufacture such convictions.

Tully said...

Drill Sgt, I'm pretty sure that we can take #2 and #5 as already publicly stated by Fitzgerald, if not so succinctly. #2 by lack of indictment, #5 by indictment and prosecution. :-)

#6 is the one the parties involved always seem to forget.

MadisonMan said...

#6 is the one the parties involved always seem to forget.

#6 should be embroidered on pillows that are in every office in DC.

Should Bush also pardon Martha Stewart? As I recall, the only crime there was also lying to investigators.

The Exalted said...

Imagine driving down the highway and suddenly finding yourself surrounded by police cars that are all going ten miles faster than the speed limit. You speed up to drive safely with them, and they stop you and give you a ticket! That's essentially what happened to Libby.

colorful. too bad it makes no sense as applied here. the police forced libby to lie?

rastajenk said...

If outing CIA agents is a serious offense, (and I guess it is), when will the LA Times trial begin, regarding its recent story about CIA pilots living lives in the Southland?

La Mano said...

Madison wrote, "There was an effort to discredit Wilson".

Nope, Wilson did that himself. He is a pathological liar.

I'm still waiting for the prosecution of Sandy Bergler. He actually DID something wrong.

Why isn't Armitage being prosecuted. He ADMITTED he provided the information to Bob Novak! Novak said that too.

La Mano said...

BTW, Russert lied to the grand jury, too. When is he going to be prosecuted and jailed?

If you don't know the details, he said, for instance, he did not know people are not accompanied by legal counsel at grand juries. He did know and said it before.

Charlie said...

To Madison Man:

Discredit Wilson!!?? It was Wilson who was attempting to do the discrediting of the Bush Administration. Responding to mendacious attack is no attempt to discredit but a rightful attempt to expose.

Had the Bush administration acted with more boldness and the Ashcroft JD not been so feckless in acceding to a show trial, we'd have been spared much of the incessant Press fleabiting.

A pardon is the least Bush can do, and it would raise his appeal for me.

Joe Baby said...

1. The always-ready comparison to the last time this/something similar happened is beyond lame. Can we not argue the merits of anything?

2. I'd like to convict that reporter/jury foreman, while we're at it.

3. Find it funny that jury felt Libby was a fall guy, but had no problem giving him a shove.

4. Let Harry Reid and any other nitwit demand the Prez vow not to pardon Libby. And then let the Prez come forth and say, "it's the privilege of the office of the President, and so long as I'm in the office, I'll use it as I see fit."

Dust Bunny Queen said...

If Bush pardons Libby before he pardons these guys http://www.worldnetdaily.com/news/article.asp?ARTICLE_ID=52545 get ready for the outrage. The conservative base, which is already very much disenchanted with Bush will be looking for the feathers and the tar.

JBlog said...

Now, now, you don't grant pardons to loyal public servants who have been unfairly prosecuted by a politically motivated special prosecutor.

You SELL pardons to politically connected drug dealers and tax cheats.

Doesn't anyone know how this works?

Will said...

The outcome of this case presents opportunities for hypocrisy all around. The most ardent defenders of Bill Clinton in 1998 are the most likely to believe today that lying to a grand jury is a Very Big Deal, no matter the context. And, vice versa, the same people who thought that sex and politics were wholly irrelevant to the Clinton imbroglio are now the most likely to discover a new-found love for context in defense of poor old Scooter Libby. Fact is, they both should have gone to jail. But, as long as trials are held in the District of Columbia, it remains a sad truth that the Scooter Libbys of the world are much more likely to face jail time than the Bill Clinton's. That's just reality.

cam said...

What part of no underlying crime don't you understand? This whole travesty of justice is a he said he/she said with reporters none of whom have their stories straight, all of whom could have been charged for the same crime of perjury. Bush should hold a press conference telling it like it is and say he is not going to let this miscarriage of justice and political show trail go on any longer.

Joe said...

While I believe the entire Wilson/Fitzgerald thing was a fiasco, it is obvious to me that Libby just plain lied and should pay the piper. Ironically, by lying he embarrassed the president even more (yes, that is possible) and gave the president's enemies more ammunition. Why should Bush reward this act of betrayal with a pardon?

(By the way, the entire pardon list at the end of a presidency is shameful. If a president doesn't have the guts to pardon someone in the light of day, that person doesn't deserve a pardon.)

EDH said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
JBlog said...

"the same people who thought that sex and politics were wholly irrelevant to the Clinton imbroglio are now the most likely to discover a new-found love for context in defense of poor old Scooter Libby."

There is a fundamental difference.

Libby said he forgot when he had specific conversations with reporters about something ostensibly everyone in Washington was talking about -- not that he never had those conversations.

Clinton said he forgot he had sex with a public employee.

Which seems more plausible to you?

MadisonMan said...

Libby said he forgot when he had specific conversations with reporters about something ostensibly everyone in Washington was talking about -- not that he never had those conversations.

If he had said that he couldn't recall when the conversations took place when he was first at the Grand Jury, it's not likely he would not have been charged with perjury, is it?

I wonder why he didn't plead bad memory back then.

EDH said...

"The only workable system is a flat rule: when the FBI or a grand jury asks you a question, you answer truthfully. End of story."

Okay, but show me where Libby was asked the question directly. For example: how did you first learn of Plame's identity? I thought most of the "false testimony" in the indictment was in wide-ranging answers about the of the timing, content and contexts of various conversations Libby had with different reporters, etc.

Seems to me on a simple material fact question like this, it behooves investigators to ask the witness a direct question, not tease a perjury charge out of a much broader discussion.

The Drill SGT said...

MM,

I'm going to change the topic on you a bit. While I agree with you that Libby likely lied to the GJ, and that that is a no no and we should punish people that lie to GJ's, I am struck by the difference in both Washington and from the Left on the topic of Libby and Berger.

It seems to me that Berger stole original Top Secret code word materials from the National Archives with the intent of covering up in front of the 911 commission, when caught, lied to investigators, and the public. The result, a small fine and suspended security clearance for 3 years (during which he wasn't going to get a job anyway from 43)

Which was the greater crime?

Comments?

Simon said...

I join DCWilly's 8:10 comment in full. I think the same now as I did when the indictment came down: I see this situation as being precisely analogous to the Clinton impeachment. The only issue is whether Libby lied under oath; what he lied about and why he was asked about it ceased to be relevant issues when he failed to plead the fifth.

Should Bush pardon him? I don't know. It does seem right, because guilty or no, Libby's obviously been made a patsy.

JBlog said...

If he had said that he couldn't recall when the conversations took place when he was first at the Grand Jury, it's not likely he would not have been charged with perjury, is it?

I wonder why he didn't plead bad memory back then.

How do you know you forgot something until someone or something reminds you?

He said to the grand jury that he recalled having the conversations at a certain time. His notes indicated he had the conversations at a different.

That's what the charges were based on.

Again, he didn't deny that the conversations ocurred or that he had them.

And its humanly possible that he forgot who he told what when and who told him what when on a topic that everyone was talking about.

Much easier than, say, forgetting you had sex with someone you weren't supposed to -- presumably, only two people were involved in that exchange.

Freder Frederson said...

Discredit Wilson!!?? It was Wilson who was attempting to do the discrediting of the Bush Administration. Responding to mendacious attack is no attempt to discredit but a rightful attempt to expose.

First off, what is this nonsense about Wilson being discredited? Saddam did not attempt to buy Uranium from Niger. The 16 words in the SOTU address were wrong. The Brits were wrong (even though they have not retracted it to this day).

Secondly, stop trying to divert attention from the issue by arguing about whether or not Plame was a covert operative. It doesn't matter. Her position and employment was classified. Releasing that information was a crime whether she was a covert agent or not.

As for Armitage being the first one to tell Novak, so what? Novak had at least two sources and other reporters were told of Plame's identity from other sources, including Libby. From the trial, it looks as though Cheney and Rove were orchestrating and pushing hard to get the information out there for no other reason to get back at Wilson for the NYT editorial.

Whether or not you agree with this verdict, what does that say about the VP?

MadisonMan said...

Also 2 years' probation and 100 hours community service.

Which is the greater crime? I personally don't find much to laud about either character. I don't think the whole story of Berger's theft, or of Libby's lying, is known, so it's hard to rank them.

hdhouse said...

again, it would solve a lot of your problems if you read the indictment.

you can hypothetical this to death but the indictment doesn't support your premises. That was what the government had to prove and it did.

Please stop listening to Sean Hannity "put it into perspective for you so you'll understand it".

The saddest thing here is that Libby's life is ruined for Cheney and Bush and just watch how much loyalty they show him.

Revenant said...

Bush certainly isn't going to pardon Libby while there's still a chance of him being found not guilty by the courts. Once Libby's exhausted possibilities for appeals, new trials, etc, then Bush might pardon him, but even then I think he'll wait until the end of his term.

Revenant said...

I wonder why he didn't plead bad memory back then.

Probably because he didn't know at the time that his memory was faulty.

I remember something happening Saturday the weekend before last. My friend remembers it happening that Sunday. One of us is obviously wrong, but neither of us would preemptively plead to a bad memory because neither of us THINKS we're wrong.

Invisible Man said...

Repeating a lie doesn't make it the truth cat, dave in boca and others. Joe Wilson has never stated that Cheney sent him to Niger. The only thing that he stated was that he had been informed that the Vice President's office had questions about an intelligence report and that the CIA wanted him to use his contacts and do some investigation. This red herring about his lying about Cheney is just used to confuse the issue.

Fen said...

First off, what is this nonsense about Wilson being discredited? Saddam did not attempt to buy Uranium from Niger

According to 9-11 Commission, CIA and Euro Intel agencies, Saddam did make the attempt.:

Illicit sales of uranium from Niger were being negotiated with five states including Iraq at least three years before the US-led invasion, senior European intelligence officials have told the Financial Times. Intelligence officers learned between 1999 and 2001 that uranium smugglers planned to sell illicitly mined Nigerien uranium ore, or refined ore called yellow cake, to Iran, Libya, China, North Korea and Iraq.
These claims support the assertion made in the British government dossier on Iraq's weapons of mass destruction programme in September 2002 that Iraq had sought to buy uranium from an African country, confirmed later as Niger. George W. Bush, US president, referred to the issue in his State of the Union address in January 2003.

The claim that the illicit export of uranium was under discussion was widely dismissed when letters referring to the sales - apparently sent by a Nigerien official to a senior official in Saddam Hussein's regime - were proved by the International Atomic Energy Agency to be forgeries. This embarrassed the US and led the administration to reverse its earlier claim.

But European intelligence officials have for the first time confirmed that information provided by human intelligence sources during an operation mounted in Europe and Africa produced sufficient evidence for them to believe that Niger was the centre of a clandestine international trade in uranium.

Auto Report World Editors said...

I think the lesson to be learned is that if you are ever asked a question in a criminal investigation that may be possibly be targeting you or your associates there are only two appropriate answers:

1) My memory is faulty. I don't recall exactly what happened.

2) I refuse to answer on 5th Amendment grounds.

#1 is a truthful answer to any question. None of us has a perfect memory.

Freder Frederson said...

Intelligence officers learned between 1999 and 2001 that uranium smugglers planned to sell illicitly mined Nigerien uranium ore, or refined ore called yellow cake, to Iran, Libya, China, North Korea and Iraq.

Smugglers planning to sell and government to government contacts to buy (which was the original accusation) are two entirely different things, the 9/11 report's attempt to save Bush from further embarrassment notwithstanding. There were some contacts between government officials from Iraq and Niger in the late '90s that may have been preliminary steps towards renewing uranium shipments. But there is no evidence that any shipments or terms were discussed. Saddam had plenty of yellowcake on hand anyway. If he had managed to reconstitute his nuclear program, he could have processed what he had for a couple years before he needed to worry about new supplies.

Fen said...

Joe Wilson has never stated that Cheney sent him to Niger.

WILSON: "Well, I went in, actually in February of 2002 was my most recent trip there — at the request, I was told, of the office of the vice president, which had seen a report in intelligence channels about this purported memorandum of agreement on uranium sales from Niger to Iraq."

[CNN’s American Morning 7/7/03]

The MinuteMan said...

For those of you complaining about the outcome, it is really this simple: you condone lying to the FBI and a grand jury. The purpose of the investigation is irrelevant. Even if the investigation is not legitimate, when the FBI asks you a question in the course of that investigation, or you are in front of a grand jury, you must tell the truth. End of story.

Well - having Libby jailed and his law license lifted condones overzealous fishing expeditions by ambitious prosecutors.

I don't like overzealous prosecutors *or* lying to a grand jury, but what is the lesser of two evils? What should I root for here?

I don't see why the Wall St. Journal thinks the pardon should be now (I note a local columnist -- Wineke -- here in Madison says the same thing) unless the WSJ thinks the President would benefit from even lower approval ratings.

At current levels, the only ones left for Bush to lose are folks who will be annoyed if he abandons Libby (my computer monitor is providing a nice reflection as I type this.)

Pardoning Libby will annoy the folks who have already given up on Bush.

Folks who want to see Libby's grand jury transcripts - your wish, our command.

Freder Frederson said...

It seems to me that Berger stole original Top Secret code word materials from the National Archives with the intent of covering up in front of the 911 commission, when caught, lied to investigators, and the public. The result, a small fine and suspended security clearance for 3 years (during which he wasn't going to get a job anyway)

Well, considering that lying to the public may be reprehensible, but it is most certainly not a crime, all we have left is mishandling classified information. If you look at other people who have committed similar offenses over the last few years (e.g., John Deutch), the punishment is pretty much in line with what other people have gotten.

Christy said...

Thing is, I've actually been interrogated by the FBI at length and I'm not sure I was as forthcoming as I could have been. I was arrogant in the way that the young can be (or the very powerful, I guess.) I was also very angry that they were investigating a non-issue, and I knew neither I nor anyone else had done anything wrong. I never lied about the facts, but nor did I explain things as fully as I could have. In my case I was dealing with highly technical info that I wasn't confident that I could explain clearly to investigators. I chose to note that it wasn't my area of expertise and direct them elsewhere. Was my claim of not knowing a lie? Someone out to get me could have made that claim. (The case went away with the investigation. I had documented the entire problem and what had been done to correct it, including regulatory buy-in, and all of it had been docketed months before the investigation.)

Just saying, sometimes it is harder than it looks to be completely truthful.

Freder Frederson said...

"Well, I went in, actually in February of 2002 was my most recent trip there — at the request, I was told, of the office of the vice president, which had seen a report in intelligence channels about this purported memorandum of agreement on uranium sales from Niger to Iraq."

Since when are the "office of the Vice President" and "Cheney" the same thing. Think of it this way, If I say I got a Christmas Card from the President, would you think I was claiming I regularly hang out at the ranch in Crawford and clear brush with W?

The Exalted said...

fen, i think you have reading problems.

here:

at the request, I was told, of the office of the vice president

some key words in there are "i was told" and "the office of."

good luck.

The Exalted said...

fen, your excerpt from the 9/11 report does not say what you think it does.

here, lets try this: "sources confirm that i,a new york resident, plan on selling eggs to Denmark."

does that "confirm" that denmark "sought to buy eggs from the state of new york?"

now lets try this:

"sources confirm that new york is major egg distribution center."

does that "confirm" that denmark intended to buy eggs from the state of new york?

what, it doesn't?

Fen said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Fen said...

Think of it this way, If I say I got a Christmas Card from the President would you think I was claiming I regularly hang out at the ranch in Crawford and clear brush with W?

I would think the President directed you be sent a Christmas card.

Since when are the "office of the Vice President" and "Cheney" the same thing.

Sure you want to go down that path? If it was the "office of the Vice President" [and not Cheney] who directed Wilson be sent, then [according to the Left] it was also the "office of the Vice President" [and not Cheney] who directed Libby obstruct justice... and I don't think you can indict an "office".

Exalted: here, lets try this: "sources confirm that i,a new york resident, plan on selling eggs to Denmark." ...does that "confirm" that denmark "sought to buy eggs from the state of new york?"

Please read the lead again:

Illicit sales of uranium from Niger were being negotiated with five states including Iraq

"sales being negotiated" means that your Denmark was seeking eggs from New York. You don't "negotiate" a sale with yourself.

Fritz said...

I have a question for the Wilson apologists, more importantly Democrat Presidential & Congressional candidates: Would you exclusively rely upon Joe Wilson’s trip as the only information required to develop US security policy? As absurd as that is, that IS what the Wilson apologists are doing to discredit the Administration.

hdhouse said...

Like you guys. Love your posts.

SCOOTER LIBBY LIED.

A jury of his peers found him a liar and he obstructed justice and committed perjury.

If you are watching "Hardball" right now you see Matthews the blowhard and Kate O'Biern wrangling while a juror from the Libby Trial is the best, clearest, and most articulate person on the show. she said, in essence, Libby lied. We didn't believe him and believed the evidence.

END of STORY.

Revenant said...

For those of you complaining about the outcome, it is really this simple: you condone lying to the FBI and a grand jury.

That's one possible explanation. Another rather obvious alternate reason for complaining about the outcome is believing that Libby was wrongly convicted of a crime he didn't actually commit.

It is also reasonable to believe both that that Libby IS guilty of lying to investigators and that those investigators had no legitimate reason to be investigating him in the first place, as they knew he had not committed the crime they were charged with investigating.

Personally, I think perjury is always wrong, but I can respect the viewpoint that it is fine to lie to people who have no business asking you questions in the first place.

Revenant said...

Let me elaborate a bit on that last point.

The investigators knew that even IF Libby had mentioned Plame to the press, it wouldn't have been illegal to do so. They decided to grill him about it anyway. In other words, they asked him about whether he did something that wasn't illegal to do, but which would be personally damaging (due to the witch-hunt atmosphere of the Plame "scandal") to admit to.

A good parallel would be being asked by FBI agents if he was a homosexual. What business is it of theirs to even ask that question?

Revenant said...

Since when are the "office of the Vice President" and "Cheney" the same thing.

Maybe they mean the same thing and maybe they don't. I'll let you and other people have that fun argument.

In either case, as neither Cheney NOR anyone in his office had anything to do with sending Wilson to Niger, Wilson still either (a) lied or (b) was lied to by his own wife (since she's the one who got him to go) about why he was sent to Niger.

IAAL said...

This is worth repeating. The LESSON of the Martha Stewart and Scooter Libby cases are [i]don't even try to cooperate[/i].

[quote]Of course, Libby could have avoided indictment and conviction if he had simply said "I don't remember" a lot more during the course of the investigation. Therein lies a lesson for witnesses in future such iinvestigations -- which may make it harder for prosecutors to do their jobs when pursuing actual crimes.[/quote]

Naked Lunch said...

Personally, I think perjury is always wrong, but I can respect the viewpoint that it is fine to lie to people who have no business asking you questions in the first place.

So you're going to admit the charges brought on Clinton with Lewinsky were a non-issue? I think we were just discussing this as a matter of fact...

Bob said...

Ms. Althouse,

Methinks you suffer from an occupational hazard of the law - you're in love with the "process".

There are all the aspects mentioned above that I won't repeat.

A defendant ordered to waive his fifth amendment rights or resign who chose to stay and cooperate?

A juror who was writing a diary and published it on a lefty blog the day after the verdict?

This process was a political hit, intended for Cheney but failed, that should never have been started.

Mr. Libby should receive a pardon *now*, not in early 2009, in order that it not be tarred as a Clintonesque out-the-door political exercise.

Revenant said...

"Personally, I think perjury is always wrong, but I can respect the viewpoint that it is fine to lie to people who have no business asking you questions in the first place."

So you're going to admit the charges brought on Clinton with Lewinsky were a non-issue? I think we were just discussing this as a matter of fact...

Are you implying that Clinton thought attorneys had no business asking such questions? If so, how do you reconcile that with the fact that Clinton is the one who explicitly *gave* them the right to ask such questions?

francis said...

The mentality that drove the movement to impeach Bill Clinton--sustained at its core by an overreactive call for harsh condemnation of, and punishment for, lying under oath, irrespective of the context--is a creepy, dangerous crud. We live in overly-prosecutorial times. I would've thought Libby was smart enough to not stick his feet in that stuff.

Now Mr. Bush must choose between the sacrosanctness of law and order, and the merciful (albeit politically motivated) dispensing of a presidential pardon.

Slim Tyranny said...

Glad to see people grasping onto Clinton as a means of avoiding the actual subject at hand: Libby's clear and proven guilt.

Sadly, a pardon is as inevitable as it is unconscionable.

Revenant said...

Sadly, a pardon is as inevitable as it is unconscionable.

Strangely, though, a majority of Americans (and basically all Democrats) considered it similarly unconscionable that Clinton even be removed from office for perjury, let alone jailed for it.

Apparently letting people get away with perjury is only unconscionable on those occasions when it isn't a moral imperative. :)

Naked Lunch said...

Are you implying that Clinton thought attorneys had no business asking such questions? If so, how do you reconcile that with the fact that Clinton is the one who explicitly *gave* them the right to ask such questions?

Respectfully, I thought I asked you first.

Slim Tyranny said...

Revenant said...

"Sadly, a pardon is as inevitable as it is unconscionable."

Strangely, though, a majority of Americans (and basically all Democrats) considered it similarly unconscionable that Clinton even be removed from office for perjury, let alone jailed for it.

Apparently letting people get away with perjury is only unconscionable on those occasions when it isn't a moral imperative. :)


--------

Once again, grasping for Clinton. I admire your stamina.

Brian said...

An important issue that many commenters have touched upon in various ways are that Perjury and Obstruction are "process" crimes, i.e., they are crimes only relative to a logically antecedent investigation (or, in a civil suit, a good faith claim or defense by a plaintiff or defendant.)

The injustice in the Libby case is NOT that Libby was indicted on process crimes, and then LATER it was discovered that there was no underlying crime. The injustice is that AT THE TIMES Fitzgerald was sending the FBI out to interview Libby, hauling him before a grand jury, and then indicting him HE COULD HAVE HAD NO GOOD FAITH BELIEF THAT THERE WAS AN UNDERLYING CRIME. Thus, there was no actual justice process that Libby could have obstructed.

I always thought that the federal "1001" false statement offense should not exist as a crime, precisely because that statute has no requirement that the false statement actually obstruct an investigation, and if such a false statement DOES obstruct a bone fide investigation, then a charge could be brought under the "catch-all" 1503 federal obstruction statute.

But now it also looks like the courts are not doing what I thought they were doing: imputing or enforcing a materiality requirement in perjury and obstruction statutes. Perjury does have an explicit materiality requirement (in 1623: "knowingly makes any false material declaration..."); so it's damn curious that Libby could be convicted on that charge. Materiality is relative to the elements of some alleged crime, and at the time Libby allegedly lied, Fitzgerald did not have a good faith belief at that there was an underlying crime.

Apparently - I claim no expertise in this - the federal obstruction statutes do not have materiality as an explicit element, but some courts impute it, and some don't. (I can't find it in 1503, the obstruction charge Libby was convicted of, but it might be lurking in the phrase "due administration of justice.")

Maybe one thing that can come out of this injustice is the need to make the materiality element explicit and enforced in all process crimes.

And that's all.

But here's a law review article on the subject, called, strangely enough: "Should materiality be an Element of Obstruction of Justice?"

Below is a PDF link, and also a HTML link to the same article, for those who don't want to open Acrobat:

http://washburnlaw.edu/wlj/44-3/articles/podgor-ellen.pdf

http://72.14.205.104/search?q=cache:fB2o5odaF-wJ:washburnlaw.edu/wlj/44-3/articles/podgor-ellen.pdf+%22should+materiality+be+an+element+of+obstruction+of+justice%22&hl=en&ct=clnk&cd=5&gl=us

James Williams said...

Some interesting things from the Libby trial that don't give me much confidence in the FBI; they lost notes (possibly exculpatory)from a critical interview, and they essentially lied to the Grand Jury.

Clyde said...

In a world where Sandy Berger is walking around free after being convicted of stealing classified documents from the National Archives and destroying them, there is no way that Scooter Libby belongs in prison.

Slim Tyranny said...

Clyde said...

In a world where Sandy Berger is walking around free after being convicted of stealing classified documents from the National Archives and destroying them, there is no way that Scooter Libby belongs in prison.

---------
Looks like someone now wants to try grasping at Sandy Berger as a way to avoid talking about Libby's proven criminal behavior.

Got to love the moral relativism, where criminality is measured solely against the actions of Bill Clinton and Sandy Berger. Perhaps Clyde should wail "What is the greater crime?!?" like others desperate to avoid acknowledging Libby's actual criminal conduct.

DCWilly said...

You can boil down the arguments made by those outraged by the Libby verdict as follows: If I, in my subjective belief that the underlying investigation is unfair, unwise, politically motivated, or otherwise not proper, I can lie with impunity to the FBI and to a federal grand jury and it doesn't matter, because I have reached the conclusion that they have no right to ask me those questions.

The Exalted said...

The investigators knew that even IF Libby had mentioned Plame to the press, it wouldn't have been illegal to do so.

this is flat-out false. you guys like repeating this over and over as if that makes it so. it doesn't.

The Exalted said...

Clyde said...
In a world where Sandy Berger is walking around free after being convicted of stealing classified documents from the National Archives and destroying them, there is no way that Scooter Libby belongs in prison.


even though berger was not found guilty of perjury, i agree. there should be a "berger defense" that anyone accused of perjury should have at their disposal. upon its invocation, their innocense is immediately established and they are given a pony.

Revenant said...

Respectfully, I thought I asked you first

Fair enough. You asked:

So you're going to admit the charges brought on Clinton with Lewinsky were a non-issue?

The two standards I used for judging perjury were my own ("it is always wrong") and another that I do not agree with but can still respect ("it is ok if the person has no business asking you").

It is obvious that, under either standard, what Clinton did was wrong. It is wrong under my standard because he lied under oath, and wrong under the other standard because he lied under oath in response to a question he himself had decided attorneys had every right to ask.

Revenant said...

"The investigators knew that even IF Libby had mentioned Plame to the press, it wouldn't have been illegal to do so."

this is flat-out false. you guys like repeating this over and over as if that makes it so. it doesn't.

So let's see if I've got your story straight: despite the fact that mentioning Plame's CIA status and identity is, according to you, illegal, and despite the fact that Libby, Armitage, and a few other people all admitted to having done it, and despite the fact that finding out if anyone had illegally mentioned Plame to the press was Fitzgerald's ACTUAL JOB... Fitzgerald didn't bother prosecuting anybody for it.

Well, it's certainly an *interesting* story, I'll give you that.

Revenant said...

Once again, grasping for Clinton. I admire your stamina.

I was simply making amused note of the fact that if wanting someone to escape punishment for perjury is "unconscionable" then almost no liberals, and not too many conservatives, can legitimately claim to have a conscience. You'd be on much stronger ground if you admitted to wanting Libby punished not for perjury, but for being a member of the Bush Administration.

I'm "grasping for Clinton" only in the sense that I note that he committed perjury too, which is a simple matter of public record.

The Exalted said...

Revenant said...
Since when are the "office of the Vice President" and "Cheney" the same thing.

Maybe they mean the same thing and maybe they don't. I'll let you and other people have that fun argument.

In either case, as neither Cheney NOR anyone in his office had anything to do with sending Wilson to Niger, Wilson still either (a) lied or (b) was lied to by his own wife (since she's the one who got him to go) about why he was sent to Niger.


this is the kind of willful obtuseness that can only be classified as intellectual dishonesty.

wilson said he was told that the request came from the office of the vice president. where that request ultimately came from has no bearing as to the truth of his statement. unless you can provide evidence that wilson was not told this than anything you write in this regard is just obfuscation.

Slim Tyranny said...

Revenant said...
I'm "grasping for Clinton" only in the sense that I note that he committed perjury too, which is a simple matter of public record.


------
Heh. "simple matter of public record." I love it.

You bring him up, of course, to distract from Libby. Let's try to get you focused --- Libby was convicted of a crime. There. Discuss.

The Exalted said...

So let's see if I've got your story straight: despite the fact that mentioning Plame's CIA status and identity is, according to you, illegal, and despite the fact that Libby, Armitage, and a few other people all admitted to having done it, and despite the fact that finding out if anyone had illegally mentioned Plame to the press was Fitzgerald's ACTUAL JOB... Fitzgerald didn't bother prosecuting anybody for it.

Well, it's certainly an *interesting* story, I'll give you that.


nice strawman.

i dont know whether revealing plame's classified status to reporters is a crime, though it certainly, on my speculative and nonresearched judgment, seems like it would be.

however, you said the prosecutors "knew" that there was no underlying crime when they questioned libby. that is false. the purpose of the investigation was to uncover what happened, libby's lies "threw sand in the air" and made it very tough for fitzgerald et al to discover just what had happened and if anything illegal had transpired.

the fact that fitzgerald did not prosecute anyone for the underlying crime means nothing. there is a multitude factors that underlie any decision to bring charges, actual guilt is only one of them.

Naked Lunch said...

Slim
In fairness, I asked Revenant. We were discussing the Clenis a day or so ago. So I'm the one that first mentioned Clinton.

The Exalted said...

Naked Lunch said...
Slim
In fairness, I asked Revenant. We were discussing the Clenis a day or so ago. So I'm the one that first mentioned Clinton.


this is a no-fact zone. please refrain from any future posts to this end.

Slim Tyranny said...

Naked Lunch said...

Slim
In fairness, I asked Revenant. We were discussing the Clenis a day or so ago. So I'm the one that first mentioned Clinton.


------

No worries NL - Revenant brought up Clinton to me in a post unrelated to your Clintonian discussion. I pointed out that a pardon was inevitable and unconscionable. The (also inevitable) response was "CLINTON!"

Clinton is irrelevant here. What is relevant is that Libby committed a crime, was duly convicted, and should not be pardoned. Also relevant is the amazing capacity of Althouse commenters to repeat, over and over again, the already-debunked lies of the right. Fact-free zone, indeed.

Revenant said...

where that request ultimately came from has no bearing as to the truth of his statement.

The obvious point, which I already made and which you missed, is that Wilson's wife KNEW the VP's office wasn't behind his being sent to Niger. Which means, as I noted, that if Wilson isn't lying, his wife must have lied to *him*.

On a side note, it is amusing how the "that's what the CIA told me" defense works for Wilson but not for Bush, despite the fact that Bush was told, by the CIA, that Iraq definitely had WMDs. Funny.

unless you can provide evidence that wilson was not told this than anything you write in this regard is just obfuscation.

I would, perhaps, be inclined to give Wilson the benefit of the doubt about the unconfirmable parts of his story if it hadn't turned out that he'd lied about so many of the confirmable parts. Besides, what reason would the CIA have for lying about why they were sending him to Niger?

Revenant said...

Slim,

Heh. "simple matter of public record." I love it.

The courts have found both (a) Clinton said under oath that he did not have a sexual relationship with Lewinsky and (b) that he had a sexual relationship with Lewinsky. So, yes, it is a matter of public record that he lied under oath. That's why he got disbarred, among other things.

You bring him up, of course, to distract from Libby.

What a fascinating conspiracy theory.

Let's try to get you focused --- Libby was convicted of a crime. There. Discuss.

Er, ok... he was convicted. He'll either be pardoned, have the conviction overturned, or pay fines and/or do jail time. Does that about sum it up? Maybe he can use some of that Marc Rich money to pay the fine.

A much more interesting question, to me, is why so many people base their opinions on whether or not perjury is (a) a heinous crime or (b) nothing of consequence solely on the political affiliation of the liar in question. :)

Seven Machos said...

I have a question: can a person be pardoned before conviction?

Wade_Garrett said...

Nixon was pardoned before he was convicted.

Revenant said...

I have a question: can a person be pardoned before conviction?

Yes. You are pardoned for a crime, not for a conviction (which is why pardons don't give you the right to turn around and sue for wrongful conviction).

hdhouse said...

revenent....would that be issuing a get out of jail free card?

lets just say that this is pre-trial or in the midst or for a magic wand, the appeal process, when accepted puts the guilty verdict off to the side..takes it out of play...

the president now pardons libby..if he is found not guilty could he then go commit the crime with this pass from the president waiting in the wings?

i think of ollie north admitting to everything but stealing money from girlscouts so that when he got to trial he could claim the immunity (ultimately successful) to anything that he testified to in front of congress.

clearly not in the league with a presidential pardon but perhaps a difference without effect.

hdhouse said...

besides, john fund of the wall street journal was just on msnbc and after that explanation of why this was so "unfair", i think libby deserves the noose.

The Exalted said...

hdhouse, not sure if you're being serious...he's pardoned for a particular crime, not for any commission of that crime

hdhouse said...

The Exalted:

Now, THEREFORE, I, GERALD R. FORD, President of the United States, pursuant to the pardon power conferred upon me by Article II, Section 2, of the Constitution, have granted and by these presents do grant a full, free, and absolute pardon unto Richard Nixon for all offenses against the United States which he, Richard Nixon, has committed or may have committed or taken part in during the period from January 20, 1969 through August 9,1974.

I think thats pretty general as to "what he could have done" but specific as to time period.