Wednesday, March 7, 2007
Personal Aside: Bush Should Pardon Scooter Libby.
Lets get this straight at the outset. It is perfectly logical for people to ask why Lewis (Scooter) Libby ever was put on trial. Sixteen points.
It started out as a question: (1) who leaked Valerie Plame Wilsons CIA covert agent status to Bob Novak? The Left, angered because it believed Bush and his top staffers, Karl Rove and Libby wanted to punish Wilson because she recommended her husband to be sent to Niger in 2002 to determine if Saddam Hussein had tried to buy 500 tons of yellow-cake uranium with which to purportedly build nuclear weapons. Former ambassador Joseph Wilson was an opponent of the war and when he came back to the U. S. wrote an Op Ed for The New York Times entitled What I Didnt Find in Niger.
Novaks story of July 14, 2003 called her a CIA operativea term that could embrace covert. Thus the Left propounded the theory that high up people in the Bush administration leaked her identity to punish the Wilsons who doubted the justification for the war the rationale being that the Bush cut-throats endangered the life of a covert agent in retribution. All hell broke loose as the critics of the war demanded recompense.
But (2) the institutional CIA, deeply offended that it had blundered over Iraq in the past and had given sanction to Bushs invasion (the former CIA director called the plan a slam dunk) felt that Cheney and his people were trying to force-feed the agency with their own views: thus they wanted to get even. Immediately after the who leaked Plames covert status scandal broke, (3) there was the acknowledgement that Plame was not a covert CIAer; hell, she was listed in the Washington bluebook and Washingtonian magazine as an employee of the CIA which meant she was not covertand indeed she was not covert.
Notwithstanding this, there was a (4) show of weakness in the administration. Attorney General John Ashcroft, regarded as a tough guy rightist, recused himself because he knew the political figures involved including Rove. He turned the matter over to his deputy. The deputy (5) yielded weakly to the demand by Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) that a special prosecutor be appointed. The special prosecutor appointed was Patrick Fitzgerald.
Fitzgerald didnt have enough to do, conducting probes of Chicago Daley and Springfield Blagojevich corruption: now (6) he would have to lead an investigation that could go beyond the doorway of the office of the vice president and possibly ensnarl Dick Cheney. Have I got it all right up to this point? God, I hope so; I think so.
Now comes the curlicue, boys and girls. This is really tricky. It deserves to be in bold print. Before the Justice Department appointed Fitzgerald, (7) it had conclusive evidence as to who leaked the story to Novak! Under-secretary of State Richard Armitage, a bullet-headed guy who looks like Kojak, a savvy bureaucratic infighter, volunteered to Justice that he was the one who talked to Novak (but he didnt tell anybody that he also leaked the news to Bob Woodward of the Washington Post.). But Fitzgerald (8) told Armitage to keep quiet about it. Reason: he felt other high up officials may have committed perjury on the issue and he wanted to get them dead to rights which would ingratiate him with the Left which wanted to see Rove and others frog-marched out of their offices to the pokey.
Fitzgerald (9) concentrated three years of investigations on Cheney, Libby and Rove: not on others. This smacks of (10) a concentrated effort to strike down the heart of the political and national security apparatus of the Bush administration in a search for those who lied notwithstanding that the one who leaked was already known. Interestingly enough, the probe (11) did not involve Armitage or a logical possibility, Ari Fleischer, Bushs press secretary who, in fact, was granted immunity despite the fact that (12) he admitted telling two reporters about Plames employment.
Intriguingly enough, (13) no charges arose from Fleischers allegedly faulty memory although Washington Post reporter Walter Pincus testified that Fleischer had told him about Plame in contradiction to what Fleischer had testified to under oath. This leads to the conclusion by me that Fitzgeralds probe was a (14) witch-hunt by a zealous prosecutor, for whatever reason he may tell us in his memoirs (but since hes only 47 with a lengthened career, including possibly U. S. Attorney General and who knows what after that, ahead of him, Im likely not going to be around to hear about it).
The Left is not through yet. As he left the courtroom with his lawyers, Libby heard this shout from MSNBCs David Shuster (15): Mr. Libby, are you willing to go to jail to protect Vice President Cheney? Thus the real goal of this game was to get Cheneyand to prompt Libby to reveal goods on Cheney that can impeach him and send him to jail. The Left doesnt play beanbag.
And this leads to (16): President Bush should, by all means, atone for the lamentable weaknesses of his administration on this matter the shying away of Ashcroft, the buckling under to Schumer Ill put this in bold print as well by granting a full and unconditional pardon to Scooter Libby rather than see him denied a retrial, lose an appeal and spend 25 years in prison.
Twenty five years in prison for which could well be a faulty memorytwenty five years because of the Lefts outrage at those who, it feels, planned the Iraq War, twenty-five years because of the CIAs miffed hurt feelings because Cheney went over to its HQ and shook up the troops.
The only comparison I can make with the who leaked on Valerie Plame? probe is the Who promoted Peress? voodoo search for a villain that dominated the year 1952 in the Joe McCarthy era. McCarthy was investigating the U. S. Army for allowing security risks to float freely throughout the system. His widely publicized probe centered on Fort Monmouth, N. J. where an army dentist, Irving Peress, had refused to take the oath of loyalty to the country due to his membership in the U. S. Labor party which was a Communist front. In the weeks that followed, McCarthy called Peress a security risk and sought to find out who had given him a promotion from captain to major shortly before he was granted an honorary discharge. The secretary of the army had once agreed to give McCarthy the files of medical people like Peress who were promoted but then was ordered not to by the Eisenhower administration.
As the controversy rolled on, many Americans repeated the slogan that McCarthy coinedwho promoted Peress?but forgot what it was that Peress had been promoted to, where he was and what was the significance. Later it was discovered that nobody promoted Peress but he was promoted anyhow: legislation required that after a certain time, medical doctors and dentists who performed their work efficiently were to be promoted up to the level of major as an automatic factlegislation that McCarthy himself had voted for. But the controversy so tied up the army that Eisenhower himself was outraged so, consummate military planner that he was with D-Day and all, he mobilized a counter attack.
One of McCarthys aides, Roy Cohn, a gay (who died ultimately of AIDS), was sweet on another lawyer (although it was never proved they had anything going aside from Cohns non-consummated crush) who co-teamed with him working for McCarthy (G. David Schine, the scion of a wealthy hotel and theatre chain family). Young Schine was drafted and Cohn put the screws on the Army to get him (a) a commission, (b) relieved of a lot of work and (c) special privileges.
Cohn took the fight to the Army chief of staff and the secretary of the army. When the army didnt come through, he threatened to wreck the army. The Cohn lobbying for his buddy was used by Eisenhower to trigger a Senate investigation which went on and on. McCarthy was found innocent of trying to force the Army to give privileges to Schine but Cohn wasnt. McCarthys insulting behavior led to his receiving the equivalent of censure and his power was broken. All the while Eisenhower hovered in the background but he got his man, McCarthy. Eisenhower didnt play beanbag either. Thus the games in Washington are not just political poker but devastatingly seriousfor the country as well as the players.