Patterico's Pontifications

7/2/2007

Bush Commutes Libby’s Prison Sentence

Filed under: 2008 Election,Crime,General,Politics — Patterico @ 6:39 pm

Well, this is just peachy:

President Bush spared former White House aide I. Lewis “Scooter” Libby from a 2 1/2-year prison term in the CIA leak case Monday, stepping into a criminal case with heavy political overtones on grounds that the sentence was just too harsh.

You do the crime, you do the time. The jury said Scooter Libby did the crime. He should do the time.

The Republican Party is going to pay a huge, huge price for this.

UPDATE: This is not surprising:

Clemency petitions are normally reviewed by the Justice Department, which investigates the case and seeks input from the federal prosecutor who brought the case before issuing a recommendation to the president. A government official told CNN that Bush did not consult with the Justice Department before rendering his decision.

Of course, he doesn’t have to consult with anyone — but a failure to work within the usual process fuels the perception, which I share, that this was an extraordinary and unjustifiable act. Just because you have the raw power to do something doesn’t make it right. This wasn’t right.

UPDATE x2: I agree with Orin Kerr, who provides a little perspective on just how special Libby’s commutation is:

I find Bush’s action very troubling because of the obvious special treatment Libby received. President Bush has set a remarkable record in the last 6+ years for essentially never exercising his powers to commute sentences or pardon those in jail. His handful of pardons have been almost all symbolic gestures involving cases decades old, sometimes for people who are long dead. Come to think of it, I don’t know if Bush has ever actually used his powers to get one single person out of jail even one day early. If there are such cases, they are certainly few and far between. So Libby’s treatment was very special indeed.

Yes it was. And now Republicans are going to get some special treatment at the hands of voters.

Don’t kid yourself: this sort of thing is very significant to swing voters. It’s like the Foley business in the last election. Yes, we were already going to get beaten in 2008 because of Iraq. But now, we’re going to get slaughtered.

This particular convicted felon wasn’t worth it.

217 Responses to “Bush Commutes Libby’s Prison Sentence”

  1. Not sure what price we’ll pay that we aren’t already paying.

    Dana (1f0f07)

  2. Will they pay as much as the Democrats paid when Clinton sold pardons?

    wwp (c8596a)

  3. [...] Frey, the Los Angeles County prosecutor who blogs as Patterico, disagrees with President Bush on commuting Mr Libby’s sentence. Posted in Politics, Crime and Punishment | Trackback | [...]

    Common Sense Political Thought » Archives » Obligatory Scooter Libby vent comment thread (819604)

  4. with all due respect, the sentence was way out of proportion, double what the Probation report recommended and the sentencing guidelines…and just what kind of flight risk was Libby he was refused to have the sentence stayed while his case is on appeal.

    I’ve been totally annoyed with the President on the amnesty bill but I think this is reasonable.

    of course YMMV

    Darleen (187edc)

  5. I don’t know whether it matters to you, but you
    just edged up my respect meter. You are gonna take
    a lot of crap for it.

    Semanticleo (10a7bd)

  6. Agreed. The Instapundit even speculated that this might win back estranged conservatives. Either he’s completely out-of-touch with mainstream conservatives or I am, because I think this is just another tone-deaf decision by President Bush. Conservatives don’t like it when criminals have their sentences commuted because of friends in high places.

    DRJ (31d948)

  7. Could Libby serve, say, the same amount of time as Paris Hilton, Darleen?

    alphie (015011)


  8. Could Libby serve, say, the same amount of time as Paris Hilton, Darleen?

    If he breaks the terms of his probation, yes.
    Like her, he has the chance to stay out of jail if he doesn’t violate the terms keeping him out.

    MayBee (eb1824)

  9. “Conservatives don’t like it when criminals have their sentences commuted because of friends in high places.”

    Maybe Goldwater conservatives DRJ. This is a new breed.

    Semanticleo (10a7bd)

  10. Aah, maybee,

    But the Sheriff commuted her sentence, too.

    What happened?

    alphie (015011)

  11. I would do away with all special prosecutors, so this ending pleases me.
    Sure, it’s a politically motivated commutation. Libby would never have been investigated if it weren’t for politics. Joe Wilson never would have told his tale if not for politics. It’s all a fitting ending to a sad political saga.

    If this is how the special prosecutors always end, maybe we’ll wise up and stop begging for them when the party we don’t like holds the Presidency.

    MayBee (eb1824)

  12. I’m asking you this honestly, alphie. Can a sheriff commute a sentence?

    MayBee (eb1824)

  13. The Republican Party is going to pay a huge, huge price for this

    ummmmmmmmmmmm ….. yeah. The Scooter Libby Communtation might be the straw that breaks the Elephant’s back.

    Iraq, Immigration, all that other stuff … nope, the Scooter Libby Commutation – that’s the deal.

    Jeez, Patrick, what have you been watching? Baretta ?

    ~/ Keep your eye…….. on the sparrow /~

    BumperStickerist (06b3c4)

  14. You do the crime, you do the time.

    Unless you are pardoned, or your sentence is commuted. Are you arguing that Presidents shouldn’t have these powers?

    The jury said Scooter Libby did the crime. He should do the time.

    The jury was full of crap, as was the federal government’s answer to Ronnie Earle for bringing this bogus case in the first place. These things happen every now and then.

    As to the Republicans paying a political price for this, I seriously doubt it. For one thing, they’re already in a crappy position where they only direction to go is up. For another,Insty is right: this sort of thing is more likely to win back disaffected conservatives (though a full pardon would have been better in that regard) than it is to inspire anyone who isn’t a bomb-throwing leftist to lose any sleep over the fact the stocking full of coal they got last Fitzmas has been mostly taken away from them. Even if there is a political price to be paid, so what? It was still the right thing to do.

    Xrlq (538859)

  15. Whether or not one thinks Bush should have commuted Libby’s jail sentence, I think it was cruel for Bush to have left Libby hanging. If a President thinks there is a miscarriage of justice, whether someone wrongfully accused, convicted or sentenced to too long a term, it is his responsibility to correct it immediately… and not to wait and hope and see if the jury or the judge or an appeals panel sometime in the future relieves him of the need to do what needs to be done. To do otherwise would be like the North Carolina authorities knowing the Duke 3 were innocent but waiting until after they were convicted at trial to clear them of the charges.

    If it was right to keep Libby out of jail, then the time to say so was the day the sentence was handed down. Bush tried to have it both ways, and in the process, subjected Libby and his family and friends to unneeded pain. That’s wrong.

    stevesturm (d3e296)

  16. Found on a democratic site:
    “The next time you hear a Republican bellow about the Rule of Law when it comes to illegal immigrants, think of their double standard when it comes to rich white Republicans.”

    AF (4a3fa6)

  17. Yeah, I’m sure that those concerned with the rule of law will flock in droves to vote for Hillary Rodham.

    This was a bad idea, but not for the reasons you suggest.

    Professor Chaos (679f3b)

  18. I agree with xrlq. Patterico, are you arguing that Presidents shouldn’t have these powers?

    Andrew (08ba2c)

  19. And a rader writes in to Josh Marshall
    “I havent seen this noted but i think the reason for the commutation is that a pardon would mean that Libby was no longer exposed to criminal sanctions and thus had no Fifth Amendment privilege. As it stands he has a fine and probation at stake during the pendency of the appeal which inulates him ( and Bush and Cheney) from havaing to answer questions before Congress.:

    AF (4a3fa6)

  20. . “Patterico, are you arguing that Presidents shouldn’t have these powers?”

    Not presuming to answer for Pat, but I believe
    he is questioning the use in this case, by this President.

    Semanticleo (10a7bd)

  21. Well, there’s nothing about that in the post.

    Andrew (08ba2c)

  22. Looks to me like they were rushing Libby to prison, and to hell with his appeal. The system is flawed when it can convict a person for lying about a non-crime or whatever it was that he was being questioned about. That’s getting close to having laws against being black or Jewish or laws against speeding with the punishment being a death sentence, etc.

    If laws (beyond Nature’s Law) are a necessity, then breaking any of them should require the same punishment, in my humble opinion.

    When the Judicial system becomes a media feeding frenzy and/or a political arena for two political parties of a Legislative system to ‘duke’ it out, then perhaps its best to let the whole System rot, because there is no fixing such a ‘carcass’.

    KarmiCommunist (1dffc5)

  23. The Republican Party is going to pay a huge, huge price for this.

    How so? We Republicans were already set to have our butts handed to us in 2008 (i.e., larger Democratic majorities in Congress and a Democrat in the White House). So I don’t know what price we could pay that we weren’t already going to pay anyway.

    I suppose you can tell a man in Hell that you’re going to put another log on the fire. But he may not find your threat persuasive.

    Paul (501161)

  24. Paul,

    21 Republican Senators are up for re-election in 2008, 12 Democrats.

    Be a shame if convicted felon Scooter Libby’s get out of jail free card was just enough to cost them the 40 votes they need in the Senate to play obstructionists…

    alphie (015011)

  25. It’s odd, is what it is. He didn’t pardon him, and he didn’t leave it alone. Maybe it’s please the pundits day? But it does point up the fact that the affluent can have a better chance at beating the rap/proving their innocence than the not so wealthy.
    Ask OJ if you don’t believe me.

    What the WH should have done is to follow Clinton’s example–dig up some cases of “regular folks” who received harsh sentences, and commute those as a batch with Libby. It would have made the pill go down with much more ease.

    kishnevi (242777)

  26. Considering how easily republicans can outmaneuver democrats on national security issues, it will be interesting if someone, a real maverick rather than a fake one [Fred Thompson's not doing to well these days] were to make a clean break with Bush and refocus the party around reform (and himself)
    It’s doable.

    Pat, what does the base think of Chuck Hagel?

    AF (4a3fa6)

  27. Herein lies Patterico’s attempt to join the editorial board of the NY Times. The above missive contains all the intelligence of a Maureen Dowd or a Frank Rich.

    The Libby prosecution was a travesty, an abuse of power by the CIA and Patrick “Nifong” Fitzgerald, and the pardon power exists precisely to stop injustices such as this one.

    President Bush’s action in finally putting an end to it will increase his standing among his base, and thereby increase his approval rating, but will have zero effect on Republicans more generally. Libby is a beltway issue; the majority of voters never heard of him.

    Brian (baaea0)

  28. This won’t win back conservatives but I think after last week’s defeat of the immigration bill and alienating so many, this might be Bush’s desperate attempt to try to reach out…and some will indeed buy it.

    Others conservatives will just continue on keeping out a wise and wary eye.

    Dana (647b54)

  29. All this talk seems to ignore the real factors behind this case. Was Valerie Plame covert? At best questionable! Did Joe Wilson lie through his teeth? Absolutely! Did Henry Waxman commit a horrendous re-enactment of the Stalinist trials of the late 1930′s? Absolutely!

    When will this country get wise and kick the brain-dead Democrats out of office???

    Mescalero (8174b2)

  30. Pat’s added an update to the post, indicating that Bush didn’t consult DOJ. This practice of consulting with DOJ really began in earnest during the 1990s, and coincided with a sharp drop in granting clemency petitions. What do you expect when you turn the matter over to prosecutors? (No offense, Patterico.)

    Margaret Love was the department’s pardon attorney from 1990 to 1997: “There was an almost perfect storm of changes in the department that allowed the prosecutors to take charge, basically, and kind of strangle the pardon power in the department….My department didn’t care….They trivialized the pardon power. It was not a high priority. It was no priority.

    Presidents Truman through Ford granted more than 25% of clemency petitions. That fell to 12% under Reagan, and then single digits under Presidents G.H.W. Bush, Clinton, and G.W. Bush.

    Prosecutors at DOJ are paid to be relentless. Courts are bound to go by the book. The Supreme Court cannot reach down and undo a single sentence without potentially overturning a whole branch of law. Thus the Founders ultimately wanted justice to be acceptable and accountable not to a system but to an actual human being, a solitary conscience. That conscience belongs, at the moment, to Bush, who doesn’t seem to overtax it.” It’s not clear to me that Bush wasn’t using his conscience in this case.

    Andrew (08ba2c)

  31. I agree with Brian (#28), except for the ad hominem against our esteemed host. Patterico’s response to this action is completely predictable, he is a prosecutor after all.

    I do agree with the Nifong comparison. Libby clearly obfuscated, but he also clearly did NOT interfere with the finding of the truth in the matter. Fitzgerald felt he had to prosecute someone, even though there was no crime in the event that led to his appointment, and Libby was the best he could do. Libby did not deserve the punishment, particularly compared to Berger, President Clinton, Mrs. Clinton, etc.

    As MayBee noted in #11, the whole sordid affair was about politics, so to complain about the politics of this is somewhat obtuse. As usual however, the Bush machine handled it stupidly, maximizing the mileage the Dems will get from it.

    tomjedrz (562284)

  32. Five times the penalty for Sandy Burger in just the direct monetary damages.

    Al (b624ac)

  33. Sandy Berger should have gone to prison.

    Bill Clinton should have gone to prison.

    Scooter Libby should have gone to prison.

    Patterico (2a65a5)

  34. I thought the Senate found Bill Clinton…not guilty.

    alphie (015011)

  35. Brian (in 28)–the odd thing is that this isn’t the end of it, for Libby. He still has to pay the fine, still faces disbarment, is still a convicted felon. The appeal process is still in the works.

    If Bush felt this was a travesty of justice, why didn’t he pardon him outright?

    kishnevi (202292)

  36. I have always thought that the thirty months was half trial penalty and half the machine eating one of its own cogs.

    But I have no sympathy for Libby. He was eaten by the same monster he was serving.

    nk (d0f918)

  37. I thought the Senate found Bill Clinton…not guilty.

    Sure, for disgusting political reasons, kind of like the disgusting political reasons behind this pardon commutation. [UPDATE: Yes, I know, it's a commutation.]

    Don’t hold up Bill Clinton as some kind of example of a lawabiding fellow. He should have been prosecuted and imprisoned.

    Patterico (2a65a5)

  38. But I thought Richard Scaife paid Paula Jones to accuse ol’ Bill of happy hands.

    Shouldn’t that be considered disgusting political reasons?

    Imagine if the randy band of Repub hopefuls had to answer question about their many affairs…under oath.

    alphie (015011)

  39. Scooter Libby is the least of the Republicans concerns for 08. They are lining up to get spanked hard and the idea of “vote for us so we can obstruct” is laughable.
    The tent has gotten noticeably smaller and voters are going where they are welcome.

    voiceofreason63 (36badf)

  40. “On January 19, the day before leaving office, Clinton admitted giving false, evasive statements about his relationship with former White House intern Monica Lewinsky.” This was part of a deal to avoid prosecution, and he instead accepted a 5-year disbarment in Arkansas. I think he’s still forbidden to practice law before the U.S. Supreme Court. I think that was an acceptable resolution in his (slimy) case. And Libby’s resolution sounds okay too.

    Andrew (08ba2c)

  41. Patterico (#34) ..

    I agree, provided they are consistent. Consistency is necessary. Given that high profile perjury has been ignored (repeatedly), to all of a sudden go after Libby for a meaningless perjury is contradictory and ultimately useless.

    This case was meaningless, pursued for political purposes, with no meaning outside of the Beltway. Libby did not interfere with anything, all he did was prevaricate and equivocate. Fitzgerald on the other hand INTERFERED with the discovery of the truth Plame leak matter, for no other reason than justifying his position.

    Fitzgerald is as good a candidate for dismissal from the bar as Nifong. What he should have done was close down the investigation once he determined that no crime was committed in the Plame leak. Instead he trumped up the Libby prosecution, for personal reasons and well beyond reason.

    Disgraceful.

    tomjedrz (562284)

  42. Don’t kid yourself: this sort of thing is very significant to swing voters. It’s like the Foley business in the last election. Yes, we were already going to get beaten in 2008 because of Iraq. But now, we’re going to get slaughtered.

    i went as far to the left as i’m going, when voting for “Republicans” in 2002, 2004, and 2006, after having never voted before. If the “Republicans” want to move even further left, which they appear to want to, then they should simply merge with the Democrats.

    If the majority of Americans want socialism and no more war then let them have it…

    KarmiCommunist (1dffc5)

  43. Patterico:

    I think your conclusion (the Republicans are going to get slaughtered) is wrong, because the first sentence out of their nominee’s mouth at every campaign stop will be: I was the guy who prosecuted Richard Nixon, and I know what the meaning of the word “is” is.

    gahrie (de5a83)

  44. But war is socialism, karmi.

    It’s not like Americans would spend their own money on the Iraq War if they had the choice…not even the 23% of Americans who still support it.

    alphie (015011)

  45. I don’t think this outcome will make anyone particularly happy. The liberals won’t settle for anything less than Cheney and Rove frog-marched out in handcuffs, and I doubt any of us who thought this was a malicious politically motivated prosecution are happy without a full pardon.

    What Bush should have done was either granted the full pardon, or granted a respite to keep him out of jail until his appeals were over. He did neither.

    It’s unquestionable that juries occasionally get things wrong, and that’s part of why the executive has clemency powers.

    The real legacy of this is that, if you find yourself testifying before a grand jury on anything, the only answer you should have for any question is ‘I do not remember the events in question well enough to risk a malicious perjury prosecution from an out-of-control prosecutor who might drum up a witness to contradict whatever I say’. Doesn’t matter if you’re guilty or not – it’s not worth the risk.

    Skip (e63117)

  46. alphie,

    Life on Earth is a *LOT* like Life in a Prison…

    Karmi

    KarmiCommunist (1dffc5)

  47. Sure, for disgusting political reasons, kind of like the disgusting political reasons behind this pardon.

    Err… except for the fact that the disgusting political reasons were for the original prosecution, not for the “pardon” that followed. That, plus the fact that the “pardon” in question was not a pardon. Other than that, your analysis is 100% correct.

    Xrlq (538859)

  48. “I thought the Senate found Bill Clinton…not guilty.”

    - Well, not guilty in a 55 for conviction, 45 for acquittal sense (most of those damning him verbally).

    The 45 who voted for acquittal, coincidentally, all Democrats.

    Christoph (8741c8)

  49. Err… except for the fact that the disgusting political reasons were for the original prosecution, not for the “pardon” that followed. That, plus the fact that the “pardon” in question was not a pardon. Other than that, your analysis is 100% correct.

    Yes, yes, I know, it was a commutation. I understand. Sorry I misspoke. Obviously that invalidates my whole position.

    So what were the “disgusting political reasons” for Fitz to prosecute crimes some of which occurred before his appointment?

    I guess I didn’t realize what a wild-eyed partisan Democrat Pat Fitzgerald, an AUSA appointed by Bush, really is.

    Patterico (2a65a5)

  50. 34/Pat:

    Maybe Bill should just have gone to jail. But I agree that Berger and Libby should be sharing a cell.

    Side note: The comparison of Fitzgerald to Nifong is severely misguided and shows a total misunderstanding of at least one of the cases. There are legitimate criticisms of the Libby prosecution – which prosecution I view as justified, but there are legitimate criticisms – but the idea that Fitzgerald was a crazed lying rogue isn’t one of them.

    –JRM

    JRM (355c21)

  51. I’m glad he did it.

    sam (9c279a)

  52. Yes, yes, I know, it was a commutation. I understand. Sorry I misspoke. Obviously that invalidates my whole position.

    It may not be “obvious,” but yes, there is a huge difference between pardoning Libby outright (as I think Bush should have done) and merely commuting his sentence (which requires little more than the observation that his sentence was disproportionally high).

    So what were the “disgusting political reasons” for Fitz to prosecute crimes some of which occurred before his appointment?

    Fitz was appointed to prosecute the non-crime of leaking the identity of non-covert (in the legal sense of the word, that is – not to be confused with the opportunistic sense that Fitz himself employed when trying to smuggle the concept back in at the sentencing phase after previously challenging it successfully as irrelevant) agent. Once he figured out the five-year time-line, the only responsible thing to have done was to drop the case then and there.

    Xrlq (538859)

  53. those saying libby is still being punished by the fine, etc., so the commutation isn’t so bad have overlooked (best interpretation) the power of a president to extend clemency more than once: nothing’s stopping him from pardoning libby on january 19, 2009.

    patterico and the rest of you republicans, are you sure you want to remain in this party? you’ve supported bush and the republican members of congress steadfastly, unflinchingly, and look what you’re getting for your trouble. at every turn, your team has performed like a gang of clueless morons. sooner or later it will reflect adversely on your wisdom and judgment that you backed these fools all the way down. how much more abuse do you have to take before you see the light? yeah, the democrats do a lot of funny things, but you don’t have to be liberal to be a democrat. come on over and join the smart people!

    assistant devil's advocate (61fdf5)

  54. X,

    It’s not that I don’t know the difference. See the post title. I just misspoke in one comment.

    Still not seeing Fitz’s partisan motivation here . . .

    Patterico (5090c0)

  55. This particular convicted felon wasn’t worth it.

    Bad strategery, yes. But go on! Keep talkin’ dirty to me. Don’t let me interrupt.

    I guess I didn’t realize what a wild-eyed partisan Democrat Pat Fitzgerald, an AUSA appointed by Bush, really is.

    Yes, that! Just like that. Ooh.

    You know (7a2bae)

  56. “Clueless morons” are the best kind. It’s those smart morons you’ve got to watch out for.

    Andrew (ff81ae)

  57. The Libby case is interesting but honestly a jury found him guilty and a judge sentenced him within the guidelines. Perjury and Obstruction are serious crimes and I don’t care how many people you throw up and say well they lied and didn’t get thrown in jail, it doesn’t matter since we’re not supposed to be the moral relativists but we are supposed to be “law and order” party. So, if someone wants to show me where Libby didn’t commit perjury or obstruct justice I’m all ears but if we’re going to go with the concept that he’s no worse than Clinton it is a losing argument.

    Buzzy (9d4680)

  58. Beldar on the blogosphere’s reactions to the Libby commutation…

    My own extended remarks now posted, I’ll comment on just a few other posts with reactions to the Libby commutation that catch my eye….

    BeldarBlog (72c8fd)

  59. Will this have any effect on other perjury prosecutions?

    mt (887a58)

  60. Sorry, disagree. Small crime, big time. The judge tossed the book at Libby for no good reason.

    Bush was right to commute. As for paying, what does Hillary think she’s doing complaining about cronyism and pardons. Does she forget her brother pocketing $400K to free a couple drug dealers? Or *cough* her husband committing perjury on national television *cough* ?

    Kevin Murphy (0b2493)

  61. Patrick–

    Could you please explain just how you think Hillary will score points on this one, against, say, Giuliani? After all her husband pardoned the guy (Marc Rich) who Rudy convicted. Then again Rich had Scooter Libby for a lawyer, so God only knows.

    Hillary attacking on the subject of pardons seems quite the “own goal.”

    Kevin Murphy (0b2493)

  62. Did Bush have the ability to commute Libby’s jail sentence to what the hard core right-wingers would consider a reasonable length?

    Or is it an all or nothing thing?

    alphie (015011)

  63. Bush Libby Commute Solidfies Bush’s Status As Polarizer In Chief…

    Hasn’t it come time to say it?
    In the history of the American republic, it’s difficult to find a President who has proven to be as consistently polarizing and seemingly dismissive of the feelings of Americans who do not belong to his party…

    The Moderate Voice (200a38)

  64. Alphi (#64): Yes, a President can commute part of a sentence. But could, had he so chosen, have commuted 29 months of the 30-month sentence and stayed that last month until after all appeals had been exhausted. He could have commuted $132,325.98 off the fine, had he so chosen. He could have commuted the “supervised release” (a/k/a parole) and/or the felony disabilities (like inability to vote in many states).

    The only thing I’m not sure about is what effect a presidential pardon has on disbarment. I should probably look that up. Were I to guess, I’d guess that a pardon could prevent automatic disbarment of the sort most states impose for convictions on felonies (or, in some states, felonies involving moral turpitude, which this is). But it might not be able to prevent discretionary disbarments based on more subjective and general “fitness to practice” bases.

    Beldar (a498cf)

  65. “Alphi” –> “Alphie”
    “But could” –> “Bush could”

    Beldar (a498cf)

  66. Mmm-kay, that didn’t take long. My guess was right. From the DoJ website, so I’ll presume it’s reasonably authoritative (without having checked the cites myself):

    an attorney charged with a criminal offense for which he or she is later pardoned by the President would be relieved of all consequences that attached solely by reason of his commission of the offense. However, the pardon would not necessarily prevent a local or state bar from disciplining the attorney, if it independently determined that the underlying conduct, or some portion of it, violated one of its canons of ethics. In those instances, the bar would not have based its decision to disbar or sanction the attorney on the fact that the attorney had violated the criminal laws of the United States, but rather would have conducted an inquiry into the conduct and determined that an ethical violation had occurred. Several state courts have taken this approach when considering the effect of a gubernatorial pardon on state disbarment proceedings. See e.g., In re Bozarth, 63 P.2d 726 (Okla. 1936); In re Lavine, 41 P.2d. 161 (Cal. 1935); Nelson v. Commonwealth, 109 S.W. 337 (Ky. 1908).

    In contrast to bail pending appeal, the norm is to leave law licenses in place while appeals are pending — not that Scooter’s likely to be in high demand at any of his former law firms right now. If his appeal isn’t successful, he’s going to end up losing his D.C. bar membership, and probably any other home-state (Pennsylvania?) bar memberships too.

    Beldar (a498cf)

  67. If W had pardoned him, the appeals process would not continue. Hence the commutation.

    If the appeals process fails Libby, the I’d expect W will pardon him.

    If the judge had allowed Libby to stay out of jail PENDING his appeals process, there wouldn’t have been a commutation handed down today either.

    Lord Nazh© (899dce)

  68. [...] –Patterico’s Pontifications: You do the crime, you do the time. The jury said Scooter Libby did the crime. He should do the time. The Republican Party is going to pay a huge, huge price for this….Don’t kid yourself: this sort of thing is very significant to swing voters. It’s like the Foley business in the last election. Yes, we were already going to get beaten in 2008 because of Iraq. But now, we’re going to get slaughtered. This particular convicted felon wasn’t worth it. [...]

    Articles (9ad07e)

  69. Agree with #68. If the judge had allowed Libby to remain free pending appeal, Bush likely would never have gotten involved.

    I doubt seriously voters are still going to care about this seventeen months from now. Iraq is far more important to them, and Dem corruption cases like William Jefferson’s will certainly rob the donkeys of their supposed moral high ground.

    DubiousD (3de473)

  70. I have to come down on the side of Dubious D and Lord Nazh. I’m just surprised to see it take so long for the point to be made. The judge had no reason other than rancor to force Libby to prison while his appeal was pending. Martha Stewart chose to serve her term before waiting for her appeal to be heard. Her case was another example of prosecutorial over reach Fitzgerald was frustrated by his inability to nail anyone in the administration. Judge Lawrence Walsh was also nominally a Republican and he was also out of control. Fitzgerald knew who the leaker was before he began his investigation of Libby. His only disappointment was that it was not someone in the White House. This was a travesty and another blow at the ability of Republicans to recruit good people in government. That, of course, was the intent. Bush fell into the trap as he has fallen into so many.

    MIke K (163fd6)

  71. I gotta disagree with you, Pat. Maybe we’ll get slaughtered, maybe we won’t. But I’m happy with the decision.

    sharon (dfeb10)

  72. # 55.
    What the hell are you doing repeating lies invented by some right-wing wackos.
    I’d rather be a liberal then democrat.
    learn you philosophy and definitions.
    Liberalism is the best thing humanity ever come with- freedom and rights.

    sashal (4d68c7)

  73. When Valerie Plame is put in jail for lying before congress about sending her husband to Africa (oh my gosh, I forgot — it was a guy passing by my desk!!) then she can share a jail cell with Scooter. The Wilson’s are the most despicable human beings alive — remember secret Valerie held a DNC fundraiser at the CIA and announced herself as Joe’s wife months before Novak’s article. I have no problem with Scooter going to jail, but I want to see the Wilson’s exposed as the lying scum they are.

    Karen (db8841)

  74. “The system is flawed when it can convict a person for lying about a non-crime or whatever it was that he was being questioned about.”

    Like lying about getting a hummer?

    Gus (636bc4)

  75. [...] blogging: Blue Crab Boulevard, Captain’s Quarters, Patterico’s Pontifications and just to see heads explode visit [...]

    justbarkingmad.com » Blog Archive » Scooter Libby (bcb8b9)

  76. Not that I disagree with your analysis of Libby’s case and sentence, but I think that you’re overstating the impact that this commutation will have on the 2008 elections. The GOP has been consistently out of touch with its voters these last couple of years. However, I believe that the illegal immigration bill debacle will be the final straw. Truthfully, I believe that the Libby impact on the upcoming elections will be negligible. The GOP was already going to get creamed, so the commutation will be like throwing a cup of water into flood. Sure, it’s more water, but no one’s really going to notice.

    physics geek (6669a4)

  77. Patterico, just wanted to add to semanticleo that this increases my respect for you. (If that’s something you want from a drive-by leftie.) Stevesturm, ditto.

    BTW, #50, not that it matters but you’re wrong about the vote for conviction; one count was 50-50, one was 55-45 against.

    Matt Weiner (92e7b1)

  78. Libby Commutation Reactions…

    As one would expect, last evening’s news that President Bush has commuted Scooter Libby’s jail sentence has spawned a huge amount of controversy in the blogosphere, with some decrying it as the greatest outrage since Waterga
    From the Left:

    Outside The Beltway | OTB (30d6b6)

  79. I am with others who do not think the Libby commutation will have any real political effect. Recent behavior of Dems (Sandy Berger, Clinton’s “is” and pardons, etc.) makes this commutation (not pardon) essentially a mote versus beam in eye situation. I’d guess the Dems will be shrill with gleeful moral outrage for a news cycle or so but quickly subside after that. To do any more would invite “throwing stones -glass house” comparisons, and they would not want that.

    The Libby outcome was so outrageous as to give Bush plenty of cover. Also, Libby remains a convicted felon, still has the fine, is likely bankrupt, and was a first-time offender.

    jim (6482d8)

  80. The Libby affair is a classic example of “Inside baseball”. America cares about immigration, rogue congressmen, and gasoline prices. However, it’s hard to care about a man who was pursued for a manufactured crime by lawyer whose reputation is less than stellar and a judge whose politics trumped reason and sentenced Libby for a crime he wasn’t charged.

    If there was justice, Fitz would be behind bars for excessive prosecutor zeal.

    jkstewart2 (36d48b)

  81. The only people who have/had their knickers in a twist about this (in either direction) are exactly the type to make mountains out of every political molehill. The chance this will have any appreciable effect on the 2008 election is basically nil. So much is going to happen between now and election day in 16 months(!) there is no way this will carry the currency it does today.

    Besides, whenever I see the lists of issues voters care about most, the fate of Scooter isn’t one of them.

    Rich Horton (8018ee)

  82. Ah the latest turn in the saga that is the political equivalent to the ongoing frenzy over the manicure status of one Paris Hilton.

    For Patterico – I’d chalk up your failure to discern Fitzgerald’s bias or motivations for continuing to the fact that, in a sense, you walk in his shoes – which is symptomatically demonstrated with the “throw ‘em all in jail” approach to the subject at large.

    Fitz was given extraordinary latitude and power, with the “mission” to nail someone’s ass for, despite, as it turns out, the lack of an underlying crime that common knowledge/groupthink wisdom/the story the facts could not dissuade MUST have occurred…so, I submit, and yes this impugns and/or questions Mr. Fitzgeralds integrity, he grabbed on to Scooter since Scooter presented him with the only opportunity to “nail someone’s ass” in this instance.

    This is solely my opinion, of course, but it appears, if the events are reviewed in context, that Scooter’s only crime was failing to presciently appreciate the actual import of what could easily be missed by someone dealing with several hundred more important moving parts, pieces and issues – that being the probably easily dismissable concept that the bltantly lying, self aggrandizing pair known to us as Plame/Wilson were persons of actual substance. Although, of course, that substance was completely phony, and enabled by a combination of agenda driven sensationalistic journalism, and a mid level beauracracy that could not admit to how truly petty and unimportant Valerie actually was in the grand scheme of things, without tacitly acknowledging their own basic irrelevance…

    Parse this down to the specifics of Scooter Libby, and it’s easy to get up and huff and puff about justice – but is justice truly being rendered? Not really. Scooter getting raked over the coals and being made an example of by Walton and Fitzgerald (whose apparent conduct does appear closer to that of a Mike Nifong than a totally unbiased officer of the court), while the person who actually did reveal Plame’s position/occupation (was that or was it not a crime) is not pursued, the various journalists who started tap dancing faster and with less rythm than an 8 year old tap student at her first recital to obfuscate their involvement in the sordid muck manage to invoke the public memory hole “who, us?” approach, and at the very least not to mention the husband and wife tag team of provarication and dissemblation who stirred this mess up in the first place, as they move off to sun belt retirement with finances padded by book deals, speaking fees, and little to no accountability for the havoc they created for the privilege of having people be willing to pay to kiss their derriers – well, that’s a discussion, all right. Just not one about a concept called “justice”.

    However – I’m actually glad that Bush commuted, versus pardoned – not that I think Scooter (and the rest of us) doesn’t deserve to be granted relief from this nightmare – but that in this way, it leaves the door open for the very slim chance that some sort of sanity may actually break out in the midst of the official procedings in this case.

    Not that I’m holding my breath.

    Wind Rider (5ec8fe)

  83. [...] Needlenose, All Spin Zone, TalkLeft, The Moderate Voice, New York Times, Sentencing Law and Policy, Patterico’s Pontifications, The Daily Whim, Captain’s Quarters, Political Radar, Taylor Marsh, The American Mind, [...]

    The Heretik : Law and Order (694660)

  84. Patterico, I respectfully disagree with you, but I can definitely see where you’re coming from.

    Semanticleo, some crap he’s taking, eh?

    Mr. Boo (3594e3)

  85. Christoph:

    “I thought the Senate found Bill Clinton…not guilty.”

    Well, not guilty in a 55 for conviction, 45 for acquittal sense (most of those damning him verbally). The 45 who voted for acquittal, coincidentally, all Democrats.

    You got the facts exactly backwards.

    For obstruction of justice, 55 voted “not guilty” including all Democrats and 5 Republicans. On perjury, 60 voted “not guilty” including all Democrats and 10 Republicans (e.g. one Fred Thompson you may have heard of, though he voted “guilty” on perjury).

    Crust (399898)

  86. CNN International (in Paris) disgraced itself once again by interviewing Wilson (bearded for some reason. Maybe his Saudi employers insisted ?) and then going on a rant about how this proves Bush is blah, blah, blah.

    The Clintonista above who complained about Clinton being impeached for a hummer forgot to mention Clinton mobilizing the government to cover up his sexual harrassment (his definition, not mine) of an intern while the world moved into the era of jihad. If the “hummer” was so insignificant (and I agree that it was), why not ‘fess up and move on (as Soros suggests) ? The coverup is always worse than the crime.

    Libby was caught in a clear perjury trap that had nothing to do with any actual crime. I expect that government officials will go to school on this case and refuse to cooperate with any subsequent investigation. The inexplicable decision of the Bush DOJ to let Berger off with a wrist tap is an example of just how clueless this bunch is in the world of take-no-prisoners politics at which Democrats excel.

    MIke K (163fd6)

  87. The Libby affair is a classic example of “Inside baseball”.

    Uh, no. According to polling data, 55% of Americans are familiar with the case. Of these, 21% agree with the commutation, 17% think Libby should have been pardoned and 60% stand with Patterico (including 40% of Republicans). By way of comparison, those numbers are worse than for Bush’s handling of the Iraq War (23% of Americans approve, including 59% of Republicans).

    Crust (399898)

  88. [...] agree more with Patterico’s assessment, You do the crime, you do the time. The jury said Scooter Libby did the crime. He should do the [...]

    Pundit Review » Blog Archive » On Scooter Libby (f6fd94)

  89. Correction to my #85:

    Thompson voted “not guilty” on perjury and “guilty” on obstruction of justice. (If there is anyone who may be said to have voted “guilty” and “not guilty” on the same count that would — characteristically — be Specter, but his Scottish utterance was ruled to be a “not guilty” vote.)

    Crust (399898)

  90. As to the Libby issue being “inside baseball” or a beltway issue” –

    Maybe it was, at one point. Now it’s main stream. Commutation of a sentence is something people can understand. Doing it for one’s own political family stinks by default, and in this case will ressurect the entire Plame debacle for a wider audience, with the entire GOP on trial subject only to the low standard of proof of the public sniff test.

    biwah (2dcf66)

  91. It occurs to me that Mr Libby needs to start serving his two year probation immediately, even if that means dropping all appeals.

    Why? President Bush leaves office in 18½ months, which leaves Mr Libby 5½ months of probation to serve after January 20, 2009. If he just jaywalks after that, Judge Walton could order him to serve the remainder of his probation in prison — and not only is Judge Walton probably POed, but our friends on the left would be cheering him on.

    Dana (3e4784)

  92. Now if he would do the same for those two border patrol agents who were only doing their jobs defending this country from forgein crinimals

    krazy kagu (557722)

  93. Patrick – I disagree with you as well. The commutation appears to be a good interim step.

    Fitzgerald was out of control. He did not pursue exculpatory evidence from reporters when he had them under oath, an opportunity not necessarily available to the defense. His inflammatory statements about the Vice President’s office being under a cloud were very Nifong like given the limited charges brought. His reintroduction of topics excluded during the trial during his summation was shameful.

    daleyrocks (906622)

  94. Crust @ 85, you’re right that all Democrats and 5 Republicans voted “not guilty” on one count and all Democrats and 10 Republicans voted “not guilty” on the other, but there were only 45 Democrats in the Senate at the time, so that makes one count 50-50 and the other 55-45.

    Matt Weiner (92e7b1)

  95. I don’t understand the confusion here. When the whole issue arose, Bush said

    “If there’s a leak out of my administration, I want to know who it is,” Bush told reporters at an impromptu news conference during a fund-raising stop in Chicago, Illinois. “If the person has violated law, that person will be taken care of.”

    Did you really not understand the emphasized part? Bush values loyalty (fealty, really). Libby is taking a bullet to protect the Vice President, who was in all likelihood foaming at the mouth ordering that Plame/Wilson be destroyed. (When the Wisdom of the Twice-Born Leader is substituted for the Rule of Law, no signs of imperfection can be tolerated.)

    [aside to Karen: You can see here and in the surrounding comment thread how the “Wilsons lied” story revolves around dishonest misquotation.]

    Also worth considering

    But for the case to have been purely political, doesn’t that require the involvement of someone who was not a Bush political appointee? Who are the political opponents who brought the case? Is the idea that Fitzgerald is secretly a Democratic party operative? That Judge Walton is a double agent?

    Like Patterico, the posters at Volokh are still wrapping their brains around the fact that the enemy is the Rule of Law in America and the Democratic Party. Anything done to Al Qaeda is only collateral damage. (Don’t believe me? For which battle did they deploy Karl Rove?)

    Andrew J. Lazarus (610ca3)

  96. How can the Clintons argue against a commutation, or a pardon for that matter, relative to Scooter Libby?

    Scooter Libby is the the Bush White House figure that argued the new President Bush should drop the investigation into the Marc Rich pardon. Libby was Rich’s defense counsel in the 80′s securities fraud cases.

    Libby also lobbied the Clinton White House to pardon Rich.

    Libby is the Clinton’s best friend when it comes to Pardongate.

    I disagree with President Bush’s decision, but I understand the motivation. Tim Russert’s memory is what created the gotcha moment for Libby. How depressing it must be to be sent to prision by a Bills fan. Disgraceful!

    Gabriel Sutherland (90b3a1)

  97. Matt Weiner:

    [All] Democrats and 5 Republicans voted “not guilty” on one count and all Democrats and 10 Republicans voted “not guilty” on the other, but there were only 45 Democrats in the Senate at the time, so that makes one count 50-50 and the other 55-45.

    You’re absolutely right. I need another coffee. (As an aside, conviction in the Senate requires a two thirds majority, so a 50-50 vote was actually not close.)

    Crust (399898)

  98. Hi! Please consider posting the best Mohammad’s cartoon ever. See it here http://samsonblinded.org/blog/a-cartoon-for-a-cartoon.htm

    Alex (a0afd0)

  99. Perhaps Bush should have pardoned Bill Clinton when commuting Scooter.

    Tom (ad8087)

  100. Andrew – You nailed it. Scooter was not charged with vith violating the IIPA or leaking.

    “If the person has violated law, that person will be taken care of.”

    Bush is respecting the jury’s verdict and the judicial system on the obstruction and perjury charges and letting the process play out by not issuing a pardon. He did not vacate any sentence, he merely reduced it. Simple.

    daleyrocks (906622)

  101. Spoken like a true prosecutor.

    If he hadn’t had friends in high places he never would have been prosecuted in the first place. He has not been pardoned for crying out loud, although I hope he will be eventually if he loses his appeal.

    You do the crime, you do the time.

    Unless, of course, your sentence is commuted!

    As for any ‘irregularities’ they are surely matched by the ‘irregularities’ commited by the prosecutor and the judge. The guy is not a flight risk.

    As a conservative, I feel that Bush had a moral obligation to do this.

    Peter Wilson (d63e2b)

  102. daleyrocks;

    Why didn’t he reduce it to 15,10,6 mos or even 30 days?

    Semanticleo (10a7bd)

  103. Didn’t Bush claim the pardon process had to run its course before he could do anything? That was his excuse for not pardoning Ramos and Campeon.

    But Scooter Libby is apparently pardoned with a stroke of a pen…

    DJM (caacad)

  104. Patrick – You almost sound like a bureaucrat who has his nose out of joint about this because his advice was ignored by a politically appoionted boss. Of course that phenomenon is the source of a great number of attacks on the Bush Administration. He ignores the establishment and they don’t like to be ignored.

    daleyrocks (906622)

  105. DJM -

    The jail time part HAD “run its course” – hence commutation.

    jim (6482d8)

  106. Seman – Stupid to ask me, I didn’t issue the order. Probation, however was within the sentencing guidelines, or didn’t you read that and Bush’s statement.

    daleyrocks (906622)

  107. With all this going on, I guess we’re never going to get that Yagman story. Sigh.

    Ms. Judged (becd1d)

  108. Patterico, the fact that Semanticloe is firmly in your corner here should perhaps suggest you might have gotten this one wrong…

    Scott Jacobs (e3904e)

  109. [...] hates, hates President Bush commuting Scooter Libby’s prison sentence: You do the crime, you do the time. [...]

    Libby Damage to Republicans » The American Mind (93c2f1)

  110. Daleyrocks:
    Probation [alone], however was within the sentencing guidelines, or didn’t you read that and Bush’s statement.

    Huh? I thought the sentencing guidelines were 30 to 36 months. And Bush’s statement doesn’t even mention sentencing guidelines.

    Maybe you are thinking of the recommendations of the probation office. But they too recommended jail time, just somewhat less.

    Crust (399898)

  111. Sandy Berger should have gone to prison.

    Bill Clinton should have gone to prison.

    Scooter Libby should have gone to prison.

    Hmmm, no. Only Berger should have. The case against Libby was a fraud, the entire investigation was a fraud, the entire issue was a fraud.

    Armitage was the one who leaked. After they found that out, they should have shut down the investigation immediately. They didn’t. They went hunting for perjury instead. Fitzgerald couldn’t just close down his investigation without something to show for it. He had been given super duper powers from Comey, he had to use them for something.

    I’m sorry, but when the key witness against Libby, Russert, lied on the stand, to the grand jury judge, and changed his story only to complement the prosecutor’s case – that’s BS.

    Not to mention that one of the jurors was a neighbor of Russert! Hello?? What kind of kangaroo court was this? It’s ridiculous.

    Seixon (baa852)

  112. Crust – From Bush:

    Mr. Libby was sentenced to thirty months of prison, two years of probation, and a $250,000 fine. In making the sentencing decision, the district court rejected the advice of the probation office, which recommended a lesser sentence and the consideration of factors that could have led to a sentence of home confinement or probation.

    daleyrocks (906622)

  113. Crust – Don’t believe everything you read on those lefty sites.

    daleyrocks (906622)

  114. this morning’s yahoo headline “white house doesn’t rule out libby pardon”. ever get the sense that you’re being toyed with, that your intelligence is being disrespected, that you’re being treated like a rube? all you neocons on here supporting this clemency, does your benevolent attitude extend to any plain old joe in this country who lies to a federal agent, or just to members of an administration which you have somehow internalized as part of your identities, to the point where your allegiance to it is conflating with your allegiance to our country?

    assistant devil's advocate (ca745b)

  115. Are you ramping up that victim meme again ADA? You guys love to sing that song.

    daleyrocks (906622)

  116. #110 You are correct!

    Fitzgerald KNEW THE ANSWERS to questions that he was asking. He knew who the “leaker” was. He knew no crime was committed. He created a crime where none existed. For that matter, Libby did not “lie” about and ILLEGAL act.

    Any way you slice this, it is not justice.

    Libby should continue his appeal and be exonerated.

    Ken (fcd61d)

  117. The Republican Party is going to pay a huge, huge price for this.

    Obviously Patterico has forgotten that Bush isn’t running in ’08. When the question gets asked of Fred Thompson when he debates Hillary Clinton next summer it gives Thompson the opportunity to commment on the very light sentences John Hueng, Charlie Trie and others got for making illegal contributions to Clinton, Inc. To remind everyone that Bubba lied under oath all he got was disbarred. That Sandy Burglar stole secret documents and will most likely be Hillary’s nest Intelligence Czar….

    Fair is fair. It isn’t unreasonable to expect equal treatment under the law.

    Quilly Mammoth (202128)

  118. Patterico assumes Republicans will suffer for this. They won’t-at all. What every American should take away from this sorry spectacle is when investigators come to talk to say nothing, or better still use the Ickes defense: “I don’t recall”.

    Kent schmidt (d382e5)

  119. Let me get this straight, convicted Border Agents Ramos & Compean have to go through the “DOJ process” according to Bush, but his buddies get preferential treatment for clemency. This really smells bad. Time for Jorge to head lower in his already abysmal approval rating.

    Allan Bartlett (18f8d0)

  120. “Law and Order conservatives demand pardon for convicted administration felon.” Too bad Bush won’t give the same consideration to the 2 Border Patrol agents who were sent to prison for shooting a drug dealer who was resisting arrest.

    Ed (f12c50)

  121. Karmic Analysis:

    Is this another ‘unseen move’ by Karl Rove? Perhaps a ‘September Surprise’ is in store for the Democrats and their MSM, humble me now suspects.

    Perfect timing…Clemency for Libby, immediately after a Judge rejects his plea of staying out of prison until his appeals have been heard. Focus shifts from Iraq’s September timetable, from the Surge, to a new ‘Bush Bashing’ media ‘feeding frenzy’ focused intently on the Clemency.

    Karl Rove…what a guy, huh!

    KarmiCommunist (1dffc5)

  122. Responding all the way back to #33/#34.

    I basically agree with you. But the first two things didn’t happen.

    Perjury (IMNSHO) should be applied a _LOT_ more often. Starting immediately after virtually every trial in fact. “He couldn’t have committed ___XXYY___, he spent the night with me!”

    But there’s no particular reason for _this_ case to be judged more harshly than the other two. Even after the commutation, Libby clearly comes out the worst of the three.

    This is a he said/she said case. Not an overwhelming physical evidence case. Or a confession.

    Al (b624ac)

  123. Patrick – We understand, you are a prosecutor. Sympathy for the other Patrick is perfectly natural. (Do you believe that there is ever a good reason for clemency?) However, the idea of this somehow hurting the GOP blows my mind. People are going to vote Republican mostly because the Democrats are utterly useless on national security. The Republicans haven’t been truly inspiring in any area except actually wanting to win the Long War.

    Oh yeah, and this is part of the rule of law. Bush violating the rule of law would be him helping Libby break out of prison or jump his bail.

    OmegaPaladin (107015)

  124. Orin Kerr:

    “Politics” and the Libby Prosecution: The Scooter Libby case has triggered some very weird commentary around the blogosphere; perhaps the weirdest claim is that the case against Libby was “purely political.”

    I find this argument seriously bizarre. As I understand it, Bush political appointee James Comey named Bush political appointee and career prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald to investigate the Plame leak. Bush political appointee and career prosecutor Fitzgerald filed an indictment and went to trial before Bush political appointee Reggie Walton. A jury convicted Libby, and Bush political appointee Walton sentenced him. At sentencing, Bush political appointee Judge Walton described the evidence against Libby as “overwhelming” and concluded that a 30-month sentence was appropriate. And yet the claim, as I understand it, is that the Libby prosecution was the work of political enemies who were just trying to hurt the Bush Administration.

    I find this claim bizarre. I’m open to arguments that parts of the case against Libby were unfair. But for the case to have been purely political, doesn’t that require the involvement of someone who was not a Bush political appointee? Who are the political opponents who brought the case? Is the idea that Fitzgerald is secretly a Democratic party operative? That Judge Walton is a double agent? Or is the idea that Fitzgerald and Walton were hypnotized by “the Mainstream Media” like Raymond Shaw in the Manchurian Candidate? Seriously, I don’t get it.

    AF (4a3fa6)

  125. the u.s. public supports this pardon. you got this one wrong.

    tim (4f2403)

  126. Omega,

    You are assuming you know why people leave a political party?

    Nobody knows how many Republicans will decide to jump ship over this issue.

    But it’s a fair bet that it’s more than the number that decide to start voting Republican next year because of it.

    alphie (015011)

  127. “the u.s. public supports this pardon. you got this one wrong.”

    ?????

    AF (4a3fa6)

  128. Tim, this snap poll suggests that the public does not support this pardon.

    aphrael (e0cdc9)

  129. Power Line

    Standardless though the matter of issuing pardons and commuting sentences may be, we should expect presidents to exercise these powers in an even-handed way. While a president cannot review every conviction and sentence, it would be disappointing to see him treat similar cases differently. Orin Kerr thinks Bush fails this test because he hasn’t commuted other sentences. But this argument is not persuasive because, so far as appears, there is no one in jail under anything like the circumstances (as described in the paragraph above) that obtain here.

    Stu707 (5b299c)

  130. Beldar:

    The only thing I’m not sure about is what effect a presidential pardon has on disbarment. I should probably look that up. Were I to guess, I’d guess that a pardon could prevent automatic disbarment of the sort most states impose for convictions on felonies (or, in some states, felonies involving moral turpitude, which this is). But it might not be able to prevent discretionary disbarments based on more subjective and general “fitness to practice” bases.

    I’m pretty sure that’s right. Nixon’s pardon did nothing to save his law licenses.

    Xrlq (9aea6d)

  131. If Libby is ultimately pardoned, then I agree with Beldar and XRLQ regarding the impact on Libby’s law license. Apparently the DOJ (in dicta) agrees, too:

    “For example, an attorney charged with a criminal offense for which he or she is later pardoned by the President would be relieved of all consequences that attached solely by reason of his commission of the offense. However, the pardon would not necessarily prevent a local or state bar from disciplining the attorney, if it independently determined that the underlying conduct, or some portion of it, violated one of its canons of ethics. In those instances, the bar would not have based its decision to disbar or sanction the attorney on the fact that the attorney had violated the criminal laws of the United States, but rather would have conducted an inquiry into the conduct and determined that an ethical violation had occurred. Several state courts have taken this approach when considering the effect of a gubernatorial pardon on state disbarment proceedings. See e.g., In re Bozarth, 63 P.2d 726 (Okla. 1936); In re Lavine, 41 P.2d. 161 (Cal. 1935); Nelson v. Commonwealth, 109 S.W. 337 (Ky. 1908).”

    DRJ (31d948)

  132. The powers to commute exist for a reason. Its because Justice is not a perfect machine and needs a check.

    You can argue this was an inappropriate use, I would like to know what standard does a conviction and sentence have to meet in order for the President to use the powers he was given (and given for a reason).

    Imho, Bush should have delayed his sentence until after his appeal. But I doubt he had that option available to him. I say this because Libby should have been given the same shot at not wearing the orange jumpsuit others are given. From what I can glean, the judge went out of his way to ensure Bush would be the only thing to prevent Libby from wearing the orange jumpsuit. I believe the Judge railroaded Libby to get the Picture of the Week or force a Bush intervention. A win-win.

    Imho, the Judge played politics. Where’s the outrage for that.

    jpm100 (44e950)

  133. 16 months until the national elections. Plenty of time for people to screw up in. In a couple of months there’ll be a scandal that takes up journalists’ attention.

    Alan Kellogg (42df35)

  134. alphie,

    I have spent my own money on the war. You can, too! You can buy rifles, scopes and other equipment for snipers, for example.

    Yours,
    Wince

    Wince and Nod (931cf0)

  135. There’s one huge difference between the Clinton impeachment and the Libby trial. The jurors for Mr Libby were (supposedly) carefully selected for a non-biased attitude, and rendered a unanimous verdict. The jurors in the Clinton impeachment trial were senators, none of whom were unbiased, and many of whom owed something to President Clinton for campaigning for them; a very much split verdict was reached.

    The two aren’t even as close as an apples and oranges comparison; at least apples and oranges are both fruits!

    Dana (3e4784)

  136. The jurors in the Clinton impeachment trial were senators, none of whom were unbiased, and many of whom owed something to President Clinton for campaigning for them; a very much split verdict was reached.

    There were also, ahem, a number of senator/jurors who owed Clinton something for campaigning against them.

    Andrew J. Lazarus (7d46f9)

  137. George Bush, who, as Governor of Texas, said: “I don’t believe my role is to replace the verdict of a jury with my own, unless there are new facts or evidence of which a jury was unaware, or evidence that the trial was somehow..”

    Liberty (12a2a5)

  138. George Bush, who, as Governor of Texas, said: “I don’t believe my role is to replace the verdict of a jury with my own, unless there are new facts or evidence of which a jury was unaware, or evidence that the trial was somehow unfair.”

    Oops

    Liberty (12a2a5)

  139. Cycles, man. So the Repubs loose on ’08, and the Donks take over the store.

    They then crap on the floor and steal the light fixtures. Four years later, guess what? Repubs again.

    C’est la vie.

    mojo (8096f2)

  140. “…wild-eyed partisan Democrat Pat Fitzgerald, an AUSA appointed by Bush…”

    Patterico – Bush might have appointed Fitz as the USAtty in Chi-town, but during the 90′s, he was an Asst USAtty in Manhattan (IIRC) handling the Marc Rich case. One of Mr. Rich’s atty’s on his appeal (while he was a fugitive hiding in Paris BTW) was one Scooter Libby. Do you think there might be some friction between the two?

    As everyone should know by now, Mr. Rich received a pardon on 20 Jan 01, after his wife donated a VERY LARGE sum to the Clinton Prisidential Library Fund.

    In the Paula Jones case, President William Jefferson Clinton admitted to a Federal District Court Judge, on 19 Jan 2001, that he had committed perjury in front of a Grand Jury, had obstructed justice in that matter by having his attorney submit a false affadavit, and had suborned perjury by other Grand Jury witnesses in the matter. TOTAL JAIL TIME: Nada!

    I really don’t think the two cases are comparable.

    There is a thing about carrying institutional loyalty too far.

    But, we are still too close to the events, and probably will not have the complete picture for some time. At that point, we can really go after each other with the “long knives”.

    As to the ’08 election: It is 16-months away. The conventional wisdom is that a month is a lifetime – this is an eon. Events have a nasty habit of overtaking politics.

    Another Drew (33c3dc)

  141. Oh, and BTW, since I left the GOP earlier this year, I feel particularly liberated. I don’t feel I have to defend anyone; and, I get to attack Right, Left, and Center, as I please. And, as a Decline To State, I get to vote in any Primary that I choose to involve myself in – either positively, or negatively.
    Free at last, Free at last! (Thank you, MLK)

    Another Drew (33c3dc)

  142. Yeah Drew, leaving was a liberating experience for me. It allowed me to refocus my personal energies on rooting out government corruption by both parties.

    What good is loyalty to a party that ignores you? While I don’t have a problem defending Bush if he does the right thing, doing the right thing has become a very rare occurance as of late. Personally I don’t mind the Libby thing, since I still fail to understand how someone can get more time in jail than most rapists and child molestors do for lying about a non-crime.

    Gabriel (4ced83)

  143. The jury said Scooter Libby did the crime. He should do the time.

    Jury said the same thing about the Scottsboro Boys…three times, I believe.

    –furious

    patrick (716933)

  144. Patrick (whom I admire) said this:

    Sandy Berger should have gone to prison.

    Bill Clinton should have gone to prison.

    Scooter Libby should have gone to prison.

    Should ALL those who Clinton and prior Presidents pardoned and commuted have gone to prison as well.?

    rab (2fd43f)

  145. Mojo,

    You notice how the corruption cycles are tightening? It only took the Republicans about six years to get as corrupt as the Democrats were after twenty. And this current crop of Democrats started right in with the corruption before they even took power, working K Street as soon as it was clear they would pick up seats.

    But it’ll take a while for it to percolate in the public mind. It will be 2010 or 2012 for the Republicans to sweep back into power.

    Eric (605286)

  146. The blowback may depend on who tries to exploit it, and how hard the GOP pushes back. Unlike with the Foley debacle, I tend to doubt so called mainstream Republicans will walk away from the party in ’08. Another thing that may affect the GOP “disaffection” is what an appeals court does (if anything) prior to the election. If Libby’s appeal is successful in any meaningful way, the commutation may look prescient and appropriate.
    Let’s not forget that if the Democratic nominee is HRC, it’ll be hard for her to use the commutation to much advantage. I can only hope if she tries, the GOP runs an ad listing all of Pres. Clinton’s pardons–see this link for a list of who and what they did or were accused of: http://jurist.law.pitt.edu/pardons6a.htm It’s rather eye-opening. I understand Patterico’s disdain for the commutation, though–I want a prosecutor who gets pissed when a felon gets a break, and I applaud his sentiments in that respect.

    kyle (9d9e73)

  147. Liberty (136/137)–perhaps that’s why GWB commuted the sentence (leaving the conviction, the probation and the 250K fine in place). He didn’t toss out the jury’s findings on the crime by a pardon(at least at this point). He took issue with the sentencing, which as you know, is imposed by the Court, not the jury.

    kyle (9d9e73)

  148. You still have to laugh at the irony of Judith Miller serving more time in jail for a related issue (ie, not wanting to talk about it) than Scooter did for lying about it.

    Lictor (cbfbbf)

  149. Patterico, and many others here, have shown me what people of real conviction and concern for this country are as opposed to the corrupt and crooked Rudis G’s and Freddie T’s of the world and blind loyal Bush supporters who have no trouble defending a man who was convicted of obstructing an investigating into who leaked the identity of a woman who had served her country undercover in the CIA for over 20 years. God Almighty dont you realize she was working on a project aimed at blocking rogue elements from gaining WMDs.. the very reason that we supposedly want to war! And the obstruction still goes on since Scooter will not talk and has no reason and you find no problem with that!!!!! And some of you tell us as Conservatives you approve of this!! Fascists is more what you are.. You want a rule of men.. the ones you like.and not of laws. If Hillery did exactly this you would be outraged and you damn well know it..

    I have never questioned the patriotism of anyone who disagreed with me before but in this case when the facts and the verdict so clear, I will openly tell you that if you think Bush did the right thing then you must really have a deep contempt for the rule of law and for this country. Bush is not the State and he does not have a right to my allegiance as opposed to my country. My country comes first and anyone who thinks Bush did anything other than continue the obstruction and block the investigation had better put down their crack pipe!
    I think that we should take a hint from the Muslims who always add PBUH Peace Be Unto Him after the name of Mohammad. I suggest whenever we refer to Bush from now on we add JLTS.. Just Like Soprano!

    Charlie (04c679)

  150. Bush (JTLS) Just Like Tony Soprano

    Charlie (04c679)

  151. Charlie blurted …
    “… if you think Bush did the right thing then you must really have a deep contempt for the rule of law and for this country.”

    This is a remarkably arrogant statement. How dare you question my patriotism. Do you have some special power to divine what I think or believe? No. Rather you refuse to consider that the conclusion which your clearly superior mind has generated might in fact be incorrect.

    My respect for the rule of law is one reason that I support the decision. In fact, I would suggest that this kind of situation was exactly what the pardon/clemency/commutation power was intended to remedy.

    The persecution (oops, prosecution) of Libby was much more of an insult to the rule of law than the sentence commutation. Fitzgerald pursued the investigation long beyond the time he had legal reason to, for reasons known only to him. I raised the Nifong analogy in an earlier thread, and I still think it is appropriate.

    tomjedrz (562284)

  152. Charlie, you’re disgusting.

    The fact that the Court of Appeals wasn’t going to allow Libby to be free on bail until his appeals were up was political. It’s not like Libby was going to flee the country or something to escape prosecution.

    No, the courts wanted to ensure that Libby went to jail–regardless of whether his conviction held up on appeal. That’s why President Bush commuted the jailtime portion of the sentence.

    Look, I think perjury is serious and should be punished severely. But after watching 8 years of Bill Clinton’s legal maneuverings, I’m hard pressed to get upset because Libby is free.

    sharon (dfeb10)

  153. Charlie, your comments are incoherent. Fitzgerald knew who had leaked Plame’s identity to Novak within days of starting his investigation. Since it wasn’t Libby, Libby couldn’t and didn’t actually impede Fitzgerald’s attempt to learn the identity of the leaker. And Libby can’t be continuing to block any investigation for the same reason.

    Robin Roberts (6c18fd)

  154. Hey, Crust — I wouldn’t trust those poll numbers. The results are likely largely based on the news from the antiwar MSM, which has been very, very careful to avoid putting the Libby trial and the crimes he committed in the proper context.

    A fair review of the media coverage of the trial and conviction of Libby can only lead to the conclusion that the majority of news outlets wanted the general public to have the false impression that Libby himself was the leaker, since a bare minimum of reports name war opponent Richard Armitage — not Libby — as the true leaker.

    (Patterico — why do you think Fitzgerald has rarely — if ever — allowed Armitage’s name to emerge from his lips or documents in the case?)

    The MSM also neglect to clarify the untruths that regularly flow from Joe Wilson’s trap, the latest being the sly false labeling of Libby as a “traitor.” Think Wilson isn’t aware that most reporters wouldn’t bother contradicting him?

    L.N. Smithee (53c1e6)

  155. LN Smithee, granted that snap poll numbers are often dubious, but in the absence of other data, they are all we have to go on.

    Pardon me for being somewhat brusque, but the rest of your comment on poll numbers appears to suggest that what you are saying boils down to “if only everyone knew what I know, the poll numbers would be different”. That’s hardly useful; and noting that if the media had reported events differently, poll numbers would be different, doesn’t change the fact that the numbers are what they are.

    aphrael (e0cdc9)

  156. Mr Smithee, we’ll let Orin Kerr handle this one too:

    Why Didn’t FItzgerald Close Up Shop After Learning That Armitage Was the Leaker?: A popular argument for why Scooter Libby should never have been prosecuted is that Patrick Fitzgerald knew early on in the investigation that Richard Armitage at the State Department was the leaker. If Fitzgerald knew Armitage was the leaker, why didn’t he stop the investigation right away? Why did he continue? For some people, Fitzgerald’s decision not to close up shop after learning Armitage was the leaker proves that he was an overzealous prosecutor run amok. He must have had some irrational desire to go after Libby, the argument runs, making the entire Libby prosecution unfair from the get-go.

    I don’t find this argument persuasive. To see why, imagine yourself in Fitzgerald’s shoes. Here are the relevant facts as you know them (reconstructed as best I can — please let me know if these facts are misleading or wrong and I’ll correct them). You’ve been appointed a special prosecutor to investigate intentional leaks to the media of the covert identity of a CIA agent. Early on in the investigation, you learn that one high-level political official has admitted that he leaked Plame’s identity to one reporter; he claims that it was an accident, as he didn’t realize the agent’s status was covert. You also know that a lot of other reporters were leaked the same information, but you don’t know who was behind those other leaks. The reporters won’t talk: They insist on going to jail rather than revealing their sources.

    If you were Fitzgerald, would you close up shop at that point? Would you conclude without even speaking to other potential witnesses that the one high-level official was in fact responsible for all the leaks, and that he acted accidentally and entirely on his own? Or would you at least want to dig deeper to see if the story checks out?

    In that setting, I don’t understand what was so overzealous about wanting to talk to Libby. An experienced prosecutor is going to wonder if the guy who rushes forward and claims the leaks were an accident is telling the truth. Maybe he is. But you don’t want to close up shop and then read in someone’s memoirs ten years from now that the official (Armitage) was the fall guy who came up with the “accident” story to cover up something — and that he got away with it because the naive prosecutor bought the story and closed the investigation without even verifying the facts. Or maybe someone was using Armitage as an unknowing intermediary, making his story accurate from his perspective but only part of the picture. Or maybe there were other leakers — either more leakers to the one reporter (Novak) who reported to the public about Plame, or other leakers to the other reporters. None of these are certainties, of course. But it is really so unreasonable to look into them?

    To repeat myself from yesterday, I’m certainly open to argument that Libby’s punishment was too high, or that there were parts of the case that were unfair. But I don’t understand why Fitzgerald’s wanting to speak to Libby is proof that he was an overzealous prosecutor run amok. What am I missing?

    AF (4a3fa6)

  157. Wow. Quite a rant there, Charlie.

    I have never questioned the patriotism of anyone who disagreed with me before but in this case when the facts and the verdict so clear, I will openly tell you that if you think Bush did the right thing then you must really have a deep contempt for the rule of law and for this country.

    So, let me ask you this:

    How am I displaying “…deep contempt for the rule of law…” by agreeing with GWB’s decision? He is operating entirely within the realm of law to commute Mr. Libby’s sentence. You simply disagree with his decision. And, as a result, you’ve decided to harshly judge anyone who believed the Libby trial itself to be a sham.

    Libby was found guilty of two counts of perjury in testimony before a federal grand jury, one count of obstruction of justice in a federal grand jury investigation, and one of two counts of making false statements to federal investigators during an investigation into a non-crime.

    We know who revealed the [non-secret] connection between Joe Wilson and Valerie Plame: Richard Armitage. We also know that Valerie Plame lied to the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee by declaring that she played no role in sending her husband to Niger. This lie is exposed in a 2004 Senate Intelligence Committee report on pre-war intelligence about Iraq. To be specific, a Counter-proliferation Division reports-officer told the Senate committee “that the former ambassador’s wife ‘offered up his name’” in this report. And, finally, we are also aware of the dubious approach Fitzgerald took with regards to involving Plame’s covert status in the Libby trial.

    To clarify, on October 28, 2005 Fitzgerald said, “Let me say two things. Number one, I am not speaking to whether or not Valerie Wilson was covert. And anything I say is not intended to say anything beyond this: that she was a CIA officer from January 1st, 2002, forward. I will confirm that her association with the CIA was classified at that time through July 2003.”

    So what’s the conclusion you come to? That those who agree with George W. Bush’s decision to use his entirely legal authority to commute a sentence are holding the law in “deep contempt!”

    Awesome. You’re my hero.

    I refuse to refrain from calling Valerie Plame out for her idiotic behavior. For someone so concerned about her status with the CIA — I’m still not convinced that revealing her status falls under the 1982 IIPA — she was certainly cavalier with her identity. She displayed nepotism and deceit throughout this entire affair and for that she deserves no sympathy whatsoever.

    The entire Plame Affair is a farce of epic proportion, and I challenge anyone to argue otherwise. If her identity was illegally exposed, why was Richard Armitage not brought up on charges for violating the IIPA? If politics were used as the motivation behind Libby’s actions, why wasn’t the same standard applied to Wilson and Plame? If it’s a crime to deceive the authorities during an investigation, why has Plame not been crucified for her lying to the House of Representatives?

    Such absurdity!

    So I must thank you, Charlie, for posting such a fact-free rant to this blog. Without you I would have never bothered chiming in. You truly are a hero. And, as an aside, if anyone requires links/sources for my claims I’d be glad to provide them. Unlike Charlie, I like to have facts to back up my assertions.

    H2U (81b7bd)

  158. Not to mention that Libby still has to pay a $250,000 fine. Clinton lackey Henry Cisneros pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI and was only forced to pay a $10,000 fine. No probation. No jail time.

    DubiousD (f78551)

  159. It is reasonable to believe that Bush reasonably sees the prosecution of Libby as “political.” Not political in the partisan sense that the prosecutor was motivated by animus toward Bush or Republicans, but political in the sense that the prosecution of Libby would not have happened under ordinary nonpolitical circumstances where a prosecutor has discretion as to what merits prosecution and no need to justify his assignment by taking on an unmerited or marginal prosecution in a given matter.

    Like the rest of us, Bush, most likely, does not know whether Libby was lying, or had a bad memory and the bad judgment not to say “I don’t recall” more often.

    But he does know that it is only because Libby worked for the Bush Administration (i.e., OVP) that he was pursued by a specially and specifically assigned prosecutor. And that it is only because of Bush’s public demand for cooperation that Libby had to answer any questions put to him by the FBI and that prosecutor (and probably believed that 100 “I don’t recall” answers would not be acceptable, even when accurate, and despite such answers’ utility in other cases). And it is only under the microscope of such a focused investigation that such inconsistencies in memory and testimony would be prosecuted, with the inconsistencies of journalists and other Administration outsiders overlooked.

    Thus it should not surprise us that Bush would see that commuting Libby’s sentence is proper, and indeed morally obligatory for Bush. And assuming Bush does not believe himself an omniscient observer of an innocent being railroaded, it is also not surprising that Bush might have properly preferred to let the judiciary handle this, until Libby faced prison before his appeals were heard.

    Of course, Bush’s opponents do not know, and cannot be expected to believe, that Bush’s motives are pure. For those who believe that Cheney, Libby and Bush were engaging in a sinister outing conspiracy, this commutation is the latest chapter in their nefarious project.

    Without knowing what is in Bush’s conscience, we cannot know if his act today was morally upright — required even — or condemnable, and it is absurd for us to pretend otherwise, on either side, when we are all grasping at shadows.

    DWPittelli (2e1b8e)

  160. And then Clinton pardoned him.

    DubiousD (f78551)

  161. I mostly agree, Patterico, though I don’t know about the election part. The Republicans were probably screwed anyway, and this doesn’t resonate like the Foley thing did–time will tell, though.

    As for you other folks: partisan political witch-hunt!? WTF are you talking about? Republican-appointed and selected prosecutor, Republican-appointed judge. I guess the jury must have been seeded with the MoveOn mafia.

    As for the Armitage canard, I quote Orin Kerr:

    If Fitzgerald knew Armitage was the leaker, why didn’t he stop the investigation right away? Why did he continue? For some people, Fitzgerald’s decision not to close up shop after learning Armitage was the leaker proves that he was an overzealous prosecutor run amok. He must have had some irrational desire to go after Libby, the argument runs, making the entire Libby prosecution unfair from the get-go.

    I don’t find this argument persuasive. To see why, imagine yourself in Fitzgerald’s shoes. Here are the relevant facts as you know them (reconstructed as best I can — please let me know if these facts are misleading or wrong and I’ll correct them). You’ve been appointed a special prosecutor to investigate intentional leaks to the media of the covert identity of a CIA agent. Early on in the investigation, you learn that one high-level political official has admitted that he leaked Plame’s identity to one reporter; he claims that it was an accident, as he didn’t realize the agent’s status was covert. You also know that a lot of other reporters were leaked the same information, but you don’t know who was behind those other leaks. The reporters won’t talk: They insist on going to jail rather than revealing their sources.

    If you were Fitzgerald, would you close up shop at that point? Would you conclude without even speaking to other potential witnesses that the one high-level official was in fact responsible for all the leaks, and that he acted accidentally and entirely on his own? Or would you at least want to dig deeper to see if the story checks out?

    In that setting, I don’t understand what was so overzealous about wanting to talk to Libby. An experienced prosecutor is going to wonder if the guy who rushes forward and claims the leaks were an accident is telling the truth. Maybe he is. But you don’t want to close up shop and then read in someone’s memoirs ten years from now that the official (Armitage) was the fall guy who came up with the “accident” story to cover up something — and that he got away with it because the naive prosecutor bought the story and closed the investigation without even verifying the facts. Or maybe someone was using Armitage as an unknowing intermediary, making his story accurate from his perspective but only part of the picture. Or maybe there were other leakers — either more leakers to the one reporter (Novak) who reported to the public about Plame, or other leakers to the other reporters. None of these are certainties, of course. But it is really so unreasonable to look into them?

    I also don’t see how you law and order types can call up Clinton’s admittedly disgraceful use of the pardon as some sort of excuse. Two wrongs don’t make a right.

    It reminds me of when someone discovered an al-Qaeda torture manual and conservatives were all up in arms that the media wasn’t reporting it as much as Abu Ghraib, as if the fact that the terrorists do it too makes it okay.

    Russell (a32796)

  162. Damn AF, you beat me to it.

    Russell (a32796)

  163. Charlie: Pop quiz, hot shot.

    1. Was leaking Plame’s identity a crime?
    2. Who leaked Plame’s identity?
    3. If you had read competing accounts of identical events, one which came from testimony under oath, and another which came from media interviews to promote a book, which account would you be inclined to believe more?

    L.N. Smithee (53c1e6)

  164. Oddly, Team Lefty (including the media) has nothing to say about Sandy Burglar stuffing documents into his socks and destroying them. When they start talking about that, I’ll start paying attention to Scooter Libby.

    Gabriel (4ced83)

  165. I also don’t see how you law and order types can call up Clinton’s admittedly disgraceful use of the pardon as some sort of excuse. Two wrongs don’t make a right.

    I don’t think Bush’s commutation of Libby’s sentence equates to Clinton’s disgraceful use of the pardon in the Marc Rich case. I don’t know enough about Clinton’s other pardons to comment on them.

    Bush stated his reason for the commutation–the sentence of imprisonment was excessive. You and others, including our host, may not believe that reason justifies the commutation.

    However, a Federal prosecutor who posts here suggested some time ago that a commutation was appropriate as did liberal Washington Post columnist Richard Cohen among others.

    Stu707 (5b299c)

  166. Pardon me for being somewhat brusque, but the rest of your comment on poll numbers appears to suggest that what you are saying boils down to “if only everyone knew what I know, the poll numbers would be different”. That’s hardly useful; and noting that if the media had reported events differently, poll numbers would be different, doesn’t change the fact that the numbers are what they are.

    That’s true, but the idea that Bush and the GOP will pay a heavy political price for this is predicated on the idea that the general public is fully informed about this case. The potential is there for damage control in the form of an aggressive recitation of the true facts of the case with the same vigor with which the half-truths and whole lies have been spread by enemies of the Bush Administration.

    Oops… I forgot. Karl “The Brain” Rove is still in charge of political policy in the White House, and Mel Martinez is heading up the RNC.

    OK, you’re right. The GOP is cooked.

    L.N. Smithee (53c1e6)

  167. “The fact that the Court of Appeals wasn’t going to allow Libby to be free on bail until his appeals were up was political”

    Do you know who judge sentelle is? you telling me this was political, for him?

    whitd (41fec7)

  168. whitd, one theory is that Sentelle et al decided to force Bush to act now rather than later.

    Robin Roberts (6c18fd)

  169. For the thousandth time:

    Marc Rich’s lawyer was…
    SCOOTER LIBBY!

    And Please direct me to Sandy Berger’s multi-million dallar defense fund. In fact, direct me to anyone who has defended him: anyone AT ALL.

    AF (4a3fa6)

  170. AF, the point of that comment ?

    Robin Roberts (6c18fd)

  171. Most of those who are against this Libby Clemency are probably for the International Court of Justice (ICJ), and I am not including Patterico in my usage of the word “Most”.

    The ICJ is what the Democrat Party is trying to put the USA under (see Bill Clinton’s take on the UN and ICJ). I wonder if Libby would’ve received Clemency under the jurisdiction of the ICJ. Probably not, and the remains of his hanged body would’ve ended up being buried next to Slobodan Milošević.

    Seaberry (1dffc5)

  172. AF,

    Your non-point is useless to the discussion on it’s own, so let me hijack it to highlight the most interesting part of this farce.

    WSJ Editorial on Rich-Fitzgerald-Libby Connection

    Two of the prosecutors who worked on the Rich case over the years were none other than Mr. Fitzgerald and James Comey, who while Deputy Attorney General appointed Mr. Fitzgerald to investigate the Plame leak. Mr. Fitzgerald worked in the Southern District for five years starting in 1988, at the same time that Mr. Libby was developing a legal theory of Mr. Rich’s innocence in a bid to get the charges dropped. The prosecutors never did accept the argument, but Leonard Garment, who brought Mr. Libby onto the case in 1985, says that he believes Mr. Libby’s legal work helped set the stage for Mr. Rich’s eventual pardon.

    Believe what you will, but it is my sincere belief that Fitzgerald had the motive and means to ruin Mr. Libby’s career. There is no doubt in my mind that a Special Investigator is capable of succumbing to a petty grudge, and that is the only explanation that makes any sense to me. This trial was a joke. There was no crime committed re: Plame. If there was, why would Richard Armitage be walking free?

    The only reason this joke-of-a-trial got as far as it did was because Fitzgerald needed to find someone to crucify. And isn’t it convenient that the guy being crucified — Libby — just happened to have contributed to an argument used to get Rich pardoned. A case Fitzgerald was directly involved with.

    I call shenanigans. Polka-dotted, foul-smelling shenanigans.

    H2U (338ff2)

  173. And Please direct me to Sandy Berger’s multi-million dallar defense fund. In fact, direct me to anyone who has defended him: anyone AT ALL.

    He was under the protection of Bill Clinton’s Democrat Party…no need for a defense.

    Seaberry (1dffc5)

  174. “whitd, one theory is that Sentelle et al decided to force Bush to act now rather than later.”

    Why would sentelle do that ?

    whitd (41fec7)

  175. I’m late to the game today, but I did post here several weeks ago that a commutation would the most logical outcome.

    And, I agree that it was appropriate because it was a “political” response to what was clearly a “political” prosecution at its core. I only with the Commutation message had made that point — as other conservatives have pointed out.

    The prosecution was “political” because it was birthed by a political firestorm, and it was fanned by a political decision to avoid doing something politically incorrect — shutting down the case when it was learned that Armitage was the original leaker, and the Intelligence Identities Protection Act hadn’t been violated. Instead of making the hard call — which was the correct call — Ashcroft recused himself because Rove was target and Rove had previously served as his campaign strategist in Missouri, and he tossed the handgrenade to Comey.

    The justice system places with the jury the obligation to decide the facts.

    It places with the trial judge the obligation to impose an appropriate sentence.

    It places with the appellate court the obligation to insure the trial was fair and the sentence was authorized.

    But it places with the President the power to correct an error at any of the prior three steps — as he defines the error to be.

    He found an error in the Judge’s judgment.

    Second guessing that decision is the equivalent of second guessing the system.

    wls (077d0d)

  176. Responding to the Kerr cut and paste job since AF seems to have no thoughts of his own. If Firzgerald had indeed intended to do a thorough investigation, it seems he would have investigated Armitage more intensely discovering his conversation with Woodward sooner rather than later. Not enough was made of Armitage’s comments about Joe telling everyone in that conversation clip. Fitzgerald, again, had he been pursuing an actual investigation, should have tried to find others Joe had been talking with. The possibilities were endless with the plenary powers Fitzgerald was illegally granted.

    daleyrocks (906622)

  177. berger should have gone to jail. libby should go to jail. elliot abrams should have gone to jail. marc rich should have gone to jail. susan mcdougall was screwed.

    bill clinton is another fish kettle. impeachment is by nature a political process, patterico. jail was not an option. no comparison there.

    eyeball (bc3377)

  178. ….Pat, what does the base think of Chuck Hagel.

    One of two things..either they think he’s an imbecile who won’t be reelected in kansas. Or they don’t think of him at all.

    (don’t get excited about my misidentifying his state… that was to make a point)

    As for Libby, could someone explain to me again how being the second or third person to discuss a washed up CIA desk jockey (or possibly among hundreds who discussed Plame if you listened to Andrea Mitchell:
    http://imusblog.com/imus-russert-gregory-mitchell-going-to-jail/
    http://justoneminute.typepad.com/main/2005/11/andrea_mitchell.html
    http://theanchoressonline.com/2005/11/07/everyone-knew-val/)

    is more serious than stealing documents of the highest classification from the National Archives?

    I’d also like to know why, when a second rate ambasador to guana says he was personally sent to Africa by the Vice President, it is not reasonable for the Vice President to ask ‘Who is that guy’ and ‘who really sent him’? Joe Wilson really punched up didn’t he?

    Its been a magnificent farce. Meanwhile, I’d volunteer for the firing squad to execute those who revealed real secrets like the NSA international surveillance program and the Swift fund tracing in Europe.

    D’ya suppose those were more damaging to our security than Joe and Valery’s farcical show?

    Red (f7470d)

  179. And Please direct me to Sandy Berger’s multi-million dallar defense fund. In fact, direct me to anyone who has defended him: anyone AT ALL.

    Oh AF, you are so easy….Bill Clinton defended him…

    http://www.davidstuff.com/incorrect/goldberg6.htm

    In an interview with the Denver Post, Clinton stuck to the most “innocent explanation,” that Berger’s just a slob. “We were all laughing about it on the way over here,” he told the paper. “People who don’t know him might find it hard to believe. But … all of us who’ve been in his office have always found him buried beneath papers.”

    as he should have because obviously Sandy (documents in my pants) Berger was covering up a very serious breach of national security by Bill. Hey, concealing documents from the 911 commission. What a joke… heh that old Sandy….

    But that Scooter Libby, he really screwed the country. He needs to go to jail right now.

    Red (f7470d)

  180. I get annoyed once in a while, but it is rare for me to get really mad, in-a-rage mad, but that’s what happened on January 20, 2001. That’s the day that President Bill Clinton pardoned a very wealthy man in Switzerland named Marc Rich.

    Rich was a groundbreaking financier, particularly in the area of commodity trading. He also developed a business relationship with Ayatollah Khomeini of Iran, and used those contacts to buy crude oil from Iran during an embargo. In 1983 the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York, Rudolph Giuliani (yes, that one) indicted Rich for tax evasion and illegal trading with the enemy. Rich didn’t stick around– he fled to Switzerland rather than appear on the charges. For 15 years Marc Rich was represented by Lewis “Scooter” Libby (yes, that one) in trying to get rid of the arrest warrant. During this time, Rich’s wife donated money to both the Democratic Party and the Clinton library.

    Clinton pardoned Rich hours before leaving office, and it was one of the most cowardly and unprincipled things a president has done. Why did it make me mad, though? Why take that personally? Because I had spent years in federal court as a prosecutor under Clinton, arguing that justice should apply equally, and fending off arguments for leniency on the grounds of uniform punishment. On January 20, 2001, that all seemed like a sham.

    And now we come around again to the same kind of hypocrisy. President Bush commuted the imprisonment portion of Libby’s sentence rather than pardon him, but that may only heighten the hypocrisy this time. You see, just two weeks ago the Supreme Court ruled for Bush’s DOJ in the case of Rita v. United States, holding that a properly calculated guideline range is presumtively reasonable. Rita and Libby were both sentenced within the guideline range, both were convicted of lying to a grand jury, and both had significant public service (Rita was a Marine for 24 years).

    In the Rita case, Bush’s government argued that the sentencing guidelines are rational, and that viewing them as presumptively reasonable meant that people committing similar crimes would be treated the same way regardless of race and class. That’s a pretty good statement of principle (though it is tension with the Christian principle of mercy). The Libby commutation, which undoes adherence to the Guidelines rather than the conviction, is an afront to that very principle. To simultaneously stick it to a veteran like Rita while letting off a fat cat like Libby or Rich undermines the principle that from the beginning has animated our sense of justice when we are at our best: “We hold these truths to be self-evident; that all men are created equal….”

    Tomorrow I will not be at a parade or a picnic or the beach. I’m going to be in my office, wearing my thinking hat and pacing around and knocking down words that tie together a challenge to all this. With the help of my amigos Michael O’Hear of Marquette Law School, Dustin Benham of Carrington Coleman, and Matt Acosta of, uh, the student lounge at BLS, I’m writing a U.S. Supreme Court brief for the National Association of Federal Defenders in the case of Kimbrough v. United States. The point is simple: A sentencing judge should be able to vary from the guidelines if she thinks they are too harsh in a given case, even if the defendant isn’t very, very rich.

    There are a lot of colors of patriotism, and right now I’m seeing red.”

    AF (4a3fa6)

  181. In Rita vs U.S. Justice Breyer delivered the opinion of the Court. “The basic crime in this case concerns two false statements which Victor Rita, the petitioner, made under oath to a federal grand jury. The jury was investigating a gun company called InterOrdnance. Prosecutors believed that buyers of an InterOrdnance kit, called a “PPSH 41 machinegun ‘parts kit,’ ” could assemble a machinegun from the kit, that those kits consequently amounted to machineguns, and that InterOrdnance had not secured proper registrations for the importation of the guns. App.7, 16–19, 21–22. . . .”

    I think you would agree, AF, that the facts of the Rita case are rather different to those of the Libby case.

    I don’t see the relevance of Libby being Rich’s attorney to the appropriateness of Libby’s sentence or Bush’s commutation.

    Which do you think was most instrumental in Clinton’s pardoning of Rich: Libby’s skilled legal representation or the buxom Ms. Rich’s numerous visits to Clinton at the White House and the money she raised for his presidential library?

    Stu707 (5b299c)

  182. Alan Dershowitz

    “This was entirely a political case from beginning to end. Libby’s actions were political. The decision to appoint a special prosecutor was political. The trial judges’ rulings were political. The appellate court judges’ decision to deny bail was political. And the president’s decision to commute the sentence was political. But only the president acted within his authority by acting politically in commuting the politically motivated sentence.”

    Stu707 (5b299c)

  183. Libby May Yet Be Pardoned…

    A eventual pardon for former VP aide I. Lewis Scooter Libby has not been ruled out by President Bush. As to the future, I rule nothing in and nothing out, the president told reporters after visiting wounded soldiers at Walter…

    Cop The Truth (72c8fd)

  184. I noticed that none of the commentators here that are sobbing that “Scooter’s conviction was politically arranged by the Democrats/liberals” have any response any of AF’s comments (125, 157,181) which basically explain why those commentators are wrong.
    If any arranging was done then it would be more logical for it to have been done by the Bush admin. as they threw a scrap of meat (poor Scooter) to their enemies….but apparently it was a piece of meat on a string….
    That’s why, regardless of the rightness/wrongness of the case, a lot of people think Scooter is a fall guy being rescued by his BIG FRIENDS, unlike that decorated Marine…what was his name?… who also go nailed for lying to the feds.
    Also regardless of whether Scooter was guilty of this or that, he was convicted by a jury and thus is a criminal and needs to go where criminals belong. Lots of people commenting here would cackle with glee if anybody from the “other side” were convicted on the SAME evidence but since it is from “thier side” they moan and whine and make up excuses about how its ok for special treatment to be given to the guy from “their side”. That’s why we have to have to rule of law. Because people want to let off the guys from “thier side”.
    So Scooters lawyers couldn’t get him off (YET).. Tough bananas! Thats the reality for lots of other “innocent” people all over the country who (unlike Scooter) DON’T have powerful friends to contribute to a legal defense fund and buy them stellar legal eagles. Scooter got his fair trial, he lost, now he should sit in prison till his appeal like everybody else.

    Ed Wood (6c95fb)

  185. [...] they’d have to do is click on this post from conservative blogger Patterico, who said “You do the crime, you do the time… This [...]

    Memo to the Media: Libby Outrage is Not Confined to “the Left” - CommonDreams.org (61a631)

  186. [...] they’d have to do is click on this post from conservative blogger Patterico, who said “You do the crime, you do the time… This [...]

    MediaChannel.org (fb6fde)

  187. Ed, no matter how often AF repeats the same argument, or Patterico or Kerr for that matter, it remains the opinion of many that there was no underlying crime to be investigated and that this was known at the beginning of the investigation. Yet, this faux investigation wasted an enormous amount of time and dominated headlines with a fake controversy. And a controversy that all knew was fake, Fitzgerald knew who leaked and so did the media outlets who pretended to be reporting on the investigation even as they themselves were trying to hide the information they knew.

    Robin Roberts (6c18fd)

  188. 4. ‘with all due respect, the sentence was way out of proportion, double what the Probation report recommended and the sentencing guideliness”

    I haven’t heard this before. Everything I read was this was well within the sentencing guidelines, would you point to the link that says otherwise? Even if it was double, Bush could have pointed to those and commuted 1/2 his sentence. and IF it was double the standard time, I doubt there would be much more than a grumble across the isle for a 1/2 commutation.

    My personal opinion is that this was the dumbest decision this president has ever made. He says he agrees and respects the jury’s decision, but then decided he doesn’t like the penalty. Even the dumbest voter can translate this into, “I think he’s guilty but my friends don’t do hard time”. Then they will remember (right or wrong) that Martha Steward and even Paris Hilton served jail time.

    Fitzgerald responded that this was well within the same sentencing guidelines used across the country all the time. So unless Bush is going to commute every sentence of people convicted of similar crimes, Libby got VERY special treatment. A pardon would have been the right and smart move. He could simply have said the truth, that he felt this was a politically motivated prosecution and didn’t believe any crime was committed so he is issuing a full pardon. The Dems would have still whined and moaned but they wouldn’t have a case. Now, unless Bush pushes for retroactive revisions of the sentencing guidelines for perjury and obstruction of justice, he needlessly and stupidly gave bone fide ammunition to his enemies.

    I don’t know about the lefties, but this with the immigration bill IS the last straw. I’ll be finding a real conservative (probably 3rd party), not some 1/2 assed Republican to vote for in 2008.

    Jake (616800)

  189. It’s a shame that President Bush has such a tin ear for politics, especially since the recent immigration debate actually attracted people to the GOP.

    DRJ (31d948)

  190. Also regardless of whether Scooter was guilty of this or that, he was convicted by a jury and thus is a criminal and needs to go where criminals belong

    Ed Wood,

    Are you seriously trying to imply that every person who is convicted of a crime — regardless of the seriousness of said crime or the political motivation of the prosecutor — deserves to go to jail? Because that is the only way I can see your statement being read…

    What about the countless number of people who avoid jail through house arrest or probation? Are they being given preferential treatment simply because they did not serve time in our overcrowded prisons? What a bunch of baloney.

    Libby is being crucified over an investigation into a non-crime. Bush did the right thing no matter how much anyone else may gripe about it. This Plame Affair was just one giant waste of time and money and Fitzgerald is just as much to blame for it as Joe Wilson or Valerie Plame. And let us not forget Richard Armitage’s role in all this either.

    H2U (338ff2)

  191. All I can say is Wow… What a bunch of misguided individuals. Haven’t you people realized yet that the republican party of today isn’t a true conservative party? They’re fascists now. They don’t care about any of you… unless you’re a white male millionaire, you’re just cannon fodder.

    Regardless of what you think about Libby’s trial and conviction, he WAS found guilty by a jury of his “peers”… and as such, should have to do his sentence just like any other citizen.

    Bush took care of the jail time for Libby because that removes any leverage Fitzgerald has over him to talk about Bush and Cheney’s other crimes. That’s what it’s about.

    elmysterio (055f09)

  192. H2U: How can you say it was a non-crime??? It is a felony to knowingly reveal the identity of a CIA asset. It’s pretty much cut and dry. Somebody leaked that info… it came from the vice-president’s office… I personally don’t believe it was Libby either… or if it was Libby, he was acting on orders from Cheney. The don’t come any meaner or evil than Cheney.

    elmysterio (055f09)

  193. It’s so painfully obvious that people are looking at this as an “our side”, “their side” issue instead of a “subversion of the rule of law” issue.
    When slick Willie was being prosecuted for lying about his sex life one “side” acted like he was selling atomic weapons secrets while the other “side” (and apparently the majority of US taxpayers) thought it was the stupidest waste of taxpayer money EVER. The same “side” that wanted to get Willie no matter what NOW thinks that we are wasting the taxpayers money, while the other “side” thinks Scooters bosses were compromising our National Security, with the IRANIANS no less, just to score a cheap political shot.
    THAT is why we have to have the rule of law, which is what my above post was saying. Because everybody thinks thier buddies, or the politicos they admire or whatever is a good guy and got railroaded or “politically crucified” or punk’d by the “vast right wing conspiracy”. And therefore wants the law to forgive and forget.
    Lots of people in this country get railroaded who aren’t Scooter Libby, everybody knows that. Look at all the people being freed by DNA evidence now that went down 20 or 30 years ago for crimes they didnt commit. That REALLY stinks! That is incredible injustice. Where is the “Heritage Foundation Defense Fund” or “American Enteprise Institute Justice-For-All Society” for those people?
    Scooty had his day in court, with some of the best lawyers all of his priveledge and money could get him, and he LOST. Now, like everybody else who loses, he needs to go to jail. If he was wrongly convicted he will be freed on appeal. That’s working within the rule of law.

    Letting him out of jail because all his buddies who like him “know” (they don’t do they, they just like him) that he is “innocent” subverts the rule of law which is why so many people,( even if it is a stupid political show trial…or whatever your “side” believes..) have no respect for the President’s decision.

    Ed Wood (6c95fb)

  194. Absolutely. Why, everyone knows that Clinton’s record of sleazy pardons is why Bush beat Gore in a stunning, 49-state electoral wipeout.

    Charlie (Colorado) (19fced)

  195. So it’s okay to lie if it’s about a non-crime? Is that it? That doesn’t make sense. He lied. He could have told the truth. He didn’t. It doesn’t matter whether there was a crime underneath or not. He was questioned under oath and he lied. Then he was convicted. What part of that don’t (some of) you get?

    David (0cef49)

  196. I would point you all to the congressional hearing held on March 13 2007 in which a statement, which had been cleared by CIA director Hayden, was read by Chairman Waxman. It stated

    *During her employment at the CIA, Ms. Wilson was under cover.
    *Her employment status with the CIA was classified information prohibited from disclosure under Executive Order 12958

    This confirmed once and for all that Plame was covert. I hope you will refrain from stating this misinformation from now on!

    Xavier (58bbfd)

  197. Xavier-

    Your information is correct.* But it is also correct that Toensig basically said, “I don’t care what Hayden said, she was not ‘covert’ and was not protected under the relevant statute”.

    Waxman about had a fit.

    There is more discussion of this by wls and others (near the end) on the thread about why Fitgerald pursued the case.

    I’ll believe Toensig until I see her convicted of perjury.

    *I don’t know if your details are correct concerning which Executive Order it was, etc., but I certainly agree with your basic point. My quote of Toensig was definitely a paraphrase.

    MD in Philly (3d3f72)

  198. When Valerie Plame is put in jail for lying before congress about sending her husband to Africa (oh my gosh, I forgot — it was a guy passing by my desk!!) then she can share a jail cell with Scooter. The Wilson’s are the most despicable human beings alive — remember secret Valerie held a DNC fundraiser at the CIA and announced herself as Joe’s wife months before Novak’s article. I have no problem with Scooter going to jail, but I want to see the Wilson’s exposed as the lying scum they are.

    Comment by Karen — 7/3/2007 @ 3:57 am

    Karen, are you and other neocons that ignorant? You need to step away from the republic talking points and Faux News, Rush, et al. and do some research. Valerie Plame did not have the power or authority to send her husband on any mission. Sure, she suggested her husband, a former Iraq Embassador, so what? And you claim that the Wilsons lie. About what? Show me what they lied about.

    And I think it’s digusting that Bush let the criminal off the hook. On the other hand, I do believe it won’t bode well for the republics in ’08. We can only hope.

    Litabell (5ad06d)

  199. Litabell-

    The senate investigation into 911 judged that Wilson lied. Our host patterico, even though he does not like the President’s action, has repeatedly agreed with the idea that Wilson is a liar, not to be trusted, and no good.

    Plame has had different stories whenever she has testified. One claimed she had “No role”.

    MD in Philly (3d3f72)

  200. The senate investigation into 911 judged that Wilson lied.

    Rubbish. The anti-Wilson material is confined to an appendix that only the more rabidly partisan Republicans (and no Democrats) signed onto.

    Don’t agree with me? Try a primary source link, a beautiful option of the Internet.

    Andrew J. Lazarus (f1ef7b)

  201. MD,
    Thanks for responding.

    Toensing has been filling up the public discourse with misinformation. She’s been doing this for quite a while. She’s outright misrepresented the statute.

    Her argument is that Plame does not qualify under covert agent status because “she was not stationed overseas for the CIA the past five years”

    Unfortunately for Ms. Toensing, she is incorrect on what the Intelligence Identities Protection Act statute actually says. Here it is:

    (4) The term “covert agent” means—
    (A) a present or retired officer or employee of an intelligence agency or a present or retired member of the Armed Forces assigned to duty with an intelligence agency—
    (i) whose identity as such an officer, employee, or member is classified information, and
    (ii) who is serving outside the United States or has within the last five years served outside the United States; or

    (B) a United States citizen whose intelligence relationship to the United States is classified information, and—
    (i) who resides and acts outside the United States as an agent of, or informant or source of operational assistance to, an intelligence agency, or
    (ii) who is at the time of the disclosure acting as an agent of, or informant to, the foreign counterintelligence or foreign counterterrorism components of the Federal Bureau of Investigation; or
    (C) an individual, other than a United States citizen, whose past or present intelligence relationship to the United States is classified information and who is a present or former agent of, or a present or former informant or source of operational assistance to, an intelligence agency.

    The Statute does not say STATIONED the statute repeatedly uses the word SERVED or other tenses of it. Ms. Plame has run cover operations over seas within the last 5 years.

    Why will you believe Toensing until she is convicted of perjury? Most people in this world will never be convicted of perjury yet I’m sure you’ve judged people as incredible sources of information in your lifetime.

    Xavier (58bbfd)

  202. No crime at the core? How exactly do we know that? To this day the issue of whether Plame was a cover agent within the meaning of IIPA is, at the most generous to Libby, “murky”.

    Humor me. Suppose the day Wilson’s no-yellowcake op-ed appeared, Cheney stormed out of his office and said “We must destroy Wilson to teach people not to contradict the Twice-Born Leader, Emperor of America, Lord of Guantanamo, the Witch-King of Austin. Wilson’s wife is a [covert] CIA agent. Burn her.” If Libby lied to cover-up this up, was it a crime? How about if covert is not mentioned. Is it permissible to lie to the Grand Jury to cover up a politically suicidal act that the Grand Jury may (or may not) believe is a crime?

    Meanwhile, it’s worth pointing out that when you guys started investigating the Madison Guaranty non-crime on which Clinton lost money, Monica Lewinsky was probably still a virgin. So much for your whole theory.

    Andrew J. Lazarus (f1ef7b)

  203. Xavier,

    It’s a criminal statute, prohibiting a First Amendment right under pain of prison. Double whammy. It’s going to be construed as narrowly as possible (as to what it punishes). Toensing’s interpretation of “serving” is the most correct one.

    nk (d0f918)

  204. P.S. In any case, any human being not losing his freedom except when strictly necessary for the protection of other human beings is a good thing. Libby was serving a chimera born of partisan political agenda and governmental power but there is no call for glee in his predicament or outrage that he avoided some of the consequences.

    nk (d0f918)

  205. Xavier wrote: I would point you all to the congressional hearing held on March 13 2007 in which a statement, which had been cleared by CIA director Hayden, was read by Chairman Waxman. It stated

    *During her employment at the CIA, Ms. Wilson was under cover.
    *Her employment status with the CIA was classified information prohibited from disclosure under Executive Order 12958

    This confirmed once and for all that Plame was covert. I hope you will refrain from stating this misinformation from now on!

    MD in Philly wrote: I’ll believe Toensi[n]g until I see her convicted of perjury.

    After Victoria Toensing decimated the Democrats’ intentional misinterpretations of the statute she co-authored, that weasel-pig hybrid Waxman, after he asked questions but cut off her attempts to add context to her answers, all but accused Toensing of perjury as he concluded the hearings.

    As for Executive Order 12958: It’s a 9,700 word document that’s as clear as the Mississippi River. What’s CIA Secretary Hayden’s legal opinion worth? He has two history degrees and ZERO law degrees.

    L.N. Smithee (53c1e6)

  206. Xavier,

    Toensig was behind creating/writing the bill, she was counsel to the senate intelligence committee when they wrote the bill.

    nk and wls (on other thread) both have much more law knowledge than I do and state the same thing. They also seem to put intellectual integrity before politics and/or winning arguments.

    If Libby was convicted of perjury because of conflicts in his story at different times in this mess, do you think Toensig will get away with perjury/contempt when she defies Congress under oath and calls the CIA chief a liar, all on live video feeds for all of us “right-wing nut job neocons” to watch?

    I am sure many dedicated and courageous people work in the CIA and other agencies. But until they show more concern for protecting the interests of the United States and the Administration (any administration) running the country than furthering their own views they are suspect until proven reliable. If they think the President is wrong they should go to the Committees in Congress responsible for oversight, not provide anonymous leaks.

    I still say Plame’s testimony before the Waxman Committee was either a poor cover for things that can’t be said, or down right amateurish. There was no reason to fear her cover being blown while working at Langley because “we’re taught to know when people are following us, and things like that”. (My paraphrase, but I think accurate). I would think they would also be taught to know when people don’t need to follow you when they can write down your license plate going in and out of the driveway.

    AJL- thanks for the info and challenge. don’t know if I’ll take time.

    MD in Philly (3d3f72)

  207. I probably should have just ignored everything Litabell wrote beyond the telltale reference to “faux news,” but this was too good to resist:

    Sure, she suggested her husband, a former Iraq Embassador [sic], so what? And you claim that the Wilsons lie. About what? Show me what they lied about.

    Oh, I don’t know, could it be … um … when she flatly denied having recommended her husband?

    Xrlq (58820f)

  208. Oh, I don’t know, could it be … um … when she flatly denied having recommended her husband?

    It’s worth pointing out that this claim largely rests on a misquotation.

    Andrew J. Lazarus (dc4070)

  209. It’s worth pointing out that this claim largely rests on a misquotation.

    Your Wikipedia link says that ” . . . they disputed the claim that Plame was involved in the final decision to send Wilson . . .” [Emphasis added] This in no way refutes the claim that Plame suggested her husband, Wilson.

    Then there is her written memorandum dated 2-12-02 and the report that she had suggested her husband for a mission to Niger in 1999. According to the Washington Post Wilson does not deny her authorship of the memo but said, “I don’t see it as a recommendation to send me.”

    Stu707 (5b299c)

  210. How people continue to say that Valerie was not covert blow me away.

    “Plame was ‘covert’ agent at time of name leak
    Newly released unclassified document details CIA employment”
    is the headline of the article with the attached pdf from MSNBC – it’s real news with primary sources which is a statement of fact. http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/18924679/ and here – This PDF filed as an exhibit on May 25 puts it in no uncertain terms – http://msnbcmedia.msn.com/i/msnbc/sections/news/070529_Unclassified_Plame_employement.pdf

    Get past that idea that she wasn’t a covert agent and give it up already!

    “The employment history indicates that while she was assigned to CPD, Plame, “engaged in temporary duty travel overseas on official business.” The report says, “she traveled at least seven times to more than ten times.” When overseas Plame traveled undercover, “sometimes in true name and sometimes in alias — but always using cover — whether official or non-official (NOC) — with no ostensible relationship to the CIA.”

    Mark (0c6c76)

  211. In case you missed it, Taranto had this delicious little bit of irony a couple days ago (under the heading “The Hobgoblin of Little Minds”):

    Nonviolent offenders should not be serving hard time in our prisons. They need to be diverted from our prison system.
    –Sen. Hillary Clinton, Democratic debate, June 28

    Today’s decision is yet another example that this Administration simply considers itself above the law. . . . This commutation sends the clear signal that in this Administration, cronyism and ideology trump competence and justice.
    –Sen. Hillary Clinton, press release, July 2

    LagunaDave (69e495)

  212. I don’t care how involved Ms. Toensing was. She misquoted the statute repeatedly when claiming Plame wasn’t covert.

    I mean, really people. How much more do you need to see and hear to believe she was covert. How naive is it to think because Hayden doesn’t have a law degree he cleared Waxman’s statement willy nilly. Are you kidding me? Nothing. Absolutely nothing is done these days without lawyers looking at the issue first.

    Except Libby’s commutation.

    Xavier (58bbfd)

  213. Mark-

    I understand and sympathize with your post, but I disagree with your final conclusion. My conclusion is it needs to be a full-time job to read all of the points and counterpoints to know and understand current events .

    For reasons I and others state above, I stand by the claim that Plame was not “covert” in any real sense as we generally understand the term. Furthermore, wls points out how the CIA statement is inadequate and misleading, and referring to it in the sentencing phase by Fitzgerald was inappropriate, in the thread:

    http://patterico.com/2007/07/04/why-fitzgerald-didnt-stop-in-his-tracks-upon-learning-armitage-leaked/#comments
    starting at post #14

    Furthermore, the statement reveals what she was doing in the CIA as of “Jan 1, 2002″, the date they later give as the date to which “they rolled back her cover”. We apparently know that she had been with the CIA many years before that, which has not been challenged or questioned. The CIA statement mentions she had gone overseas under cover multiple times while at that position. The Statement does NOT say she began that position on Jan.1, 2002 or that she did those trips after 2002. I believe she could have been in the position for 25 years and not travelled out of the country for the last 10 yrs if the wording is critically scrutinized.

    I think this is the kind of thing wls refers to when he says the CIA statement is “general” and means nothing in reference to the statute under which the original grand jury began their investigation (which is probably why no charges were filed against Armitage, and is consistent with Toensing’s claims).

    Also, as mentioned by wls, Fitzgerald released this document at the sentencing phase, at which point it was not subject to scrutiny/cross-examination.

    If my above reasoning is wrong I would like to understand how so.

    [Editorializing Warning]
    Not only is our legal system based on using an adversarial struggle in the quest of “justice”, but so is our media system in the quest for “truth”. It seems few are interested in making facts plain in an attempt to come to an understanding of the truth. While people are paid royally to craft and tear apart statements such as these, it really is simply a developed form of a child trying to “pull one over” on his/her parents.

    I suggest the slogan for practioners of this art (the creating part, not the taking apart) was coined by the political thinker Pontius Pilate years ago, “What is truth?”

    MD in Philly (3d3f72)

  214. Xavier-

    I don’t see you posting on the thread: “why-fitzgerald-didnt-stop-in-his-tracks-upon-learning-armitage-leaked”. Maybe you have followed it, but simply not commented, and don’t find the discussion there any more compelling. If you haven’t read it I would ask you to and add to it if you want. There are things there that are only alluded to on this thread.

    MD in Philly (3d3f72)

  215. AJL-

    I looked at your link this morning. What I found was an appendix that explained that there were at least two conclusions that were not included in the report because of a lack of unanimous agreement. The actual comments of fact relating to Wilson are in the body of the report, which appear to warrant the conclusions that were not included. The appendix you refer me to actually gives material support to this view in addition to what is in the body of the report. (This topic is pursued in the other threads on Libby as mentioned in post #216 above).

    I have not, nor do I plan to read the entire Senate Report nor even 1/10th of all of the reporting and commentary that is available.

    “The sword cuts both ways” – Dostoyevsky in Brothers Karamazov (one translation)- In context- at times the facts can be interpreted in one of two ways, you make your choice which you believe.

    “A man hears what he wants to hear and disregards the rest” – Paul Simon, The Boxer

    MD in Philly (3d3f72)


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