Scooter Libby, Politics, and the Rule of Law

I’ve written too much about Scooter Libby over the last two years to let today’s big news go by without comment (see previous posts). Today, President Bush commuted Scooter Libby’s two and half year prison sentence. Bush didn’t pardon Libby, he merely said that Libby would not have to go to jail. Libby will still have to serve probation, pay a $250,000 fine, and identify himself as a convicted felon.

I have always held that if someone commits a crime, then they should pay their debt to society. But the sound and fury that you are hearing from the left side of the talking head class is disingenuous outrage. They are not really concerned about the rule of law. What they are really concerned about is politics and how Libby’s commuted sentence might vindicate the anti-Bush, anti-war cause. We know that this is the case by the myths that are being propagated by the mainstream media as we speak.

Myth #1: Scooter Libby leaked the identity of undercover CIA operative, Valerie Plame. Actually, it was Richard Armitage who leaked Plame’s name to Robert Novak. This is widely known, it was even reported last year in the New York Times. Someone needs to remind the opinion editors at the Times about this because they seem to have forgotten (see their response to Libby’s commutation).

Myth #2: Karl Rove leaked the identity of undercover CIA operative, Valerie Plame. I heard this one again tonight on “Anderson Cooper 360.” Anderson needs to get a clue. Robert Novak says that he got Plame’s name from Joe Wilson’s entry in “Who’s Who in America,” not from Karl Rove (source). Could someone please fax this report to Anderson Cooper.

Myth #3: Someone committed a crime in leaking the identity of undercover CIA operative, Valerie Plame. Special Prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald did not charge anyone with this crime. As a matter of fact, Libby’s conviction had nothing to do with this alleged crime because he was never charged with leaking her name.

I have said it before, and I will say it again. Here is what we know today. Richard Armitage leaked Valerie Plame’s identity to Robert Novak. Karl Rove, Scooter Libby, Dick Cheney, and George W. Bush did not.

I know this will be a shocker to Joe Wilson who was hoping to see Karl Rove “frog-marched” off the White House premises and whose star has risen with every false accusation he makes against Rove and the Bush administration. But perhaps this will teach partisan hacks from both sides of the aisle not to jump on the band wagon of spurious allegations in the future. What remains to be seen is whether Joe Wilson’s star will continue to rise now that everyone knows that he and his wife are not the martyrs they were once thought to be.

In any case, this truly has been a Seinfeldian scandal–that is, the scandal about nothing.

7 Responses to Scooter Libby, Politics, and the Rule of Law

  1. Bryan L July 3, 2007 at 7:24 am #

    So what’d he go to jail or get sentenced to 30 months? What crime did he break?

    Blessings,
    Bryan L

  2. Bryan L July 3, 2007 at 6:45 pm #

    I’m still wondering. I really don’t know since I thought it was for the things you said are myths.

    BTW you said “Bush didn’t pardon Libby, he merely said that Libby would not have to go to jail. Libby will still have to serve probation, pay a $250,000 fine, and identify himself as a convicted felon.”

    What will you say then if Bush does eventually pardon him which could likely happen?

    Blessings,
    Bryan L

  3. dennyrburk July 3, 2007 at 7:42 pm #

    Bryan,

    If Libby did the crime, he should do the time (although I have my doubts about the conviction, it seems like it came down to Libby’s word versus Russert’).

    The point of my post and previous ones was to address how “Plamegate” has been used as political tool to oppose President Bush and the War. Even if Libby is guilty and does the time, his conviction has nothing to do with evaluating Bush’s presidency or the war.

    Thanks,
    Denny

  4. Bryan L July 3, 2007 at 9:46 pm #

    But what did he get convicted of? Seriously I don’t know. I thought it was for leaking a CIA name.

    Are you saying he is or isn’t guilty? I’m not talking about war or political tools, I’m talking about whether this guy is guilty of something or not. You seem to express doubts. Bush doesn’t seem to be doubting the conviction, just the extent of the punishment. If he was guilty is it right for Bush to keep him from doing any time or saying that it is excessive. If he is guilty is it right for Bush to later pardon Libby?

    Bryan L

  5. Bryan L July 3, 2007 at 10:26 pm #

    Ok so since I wasn’t be told what he got convicted for I thought I’d go do some research. I happened to watch this video on MSNBC between someone named Tucker and someone named David Shuster (I don’t know the reputation of these guys or their political agendas).

    Anyway, Shuster said something related to your comment about in Myth 3 “Special Prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald did not charge anyone with this crime. As a matter of fact, Libby’s conviction had nothing to do with this alleged crime because he was never charged with leaking her name.”

    He said that Fitzgerald said that the reason he never made a charge was because Libby in a sense through sand in his eyes. The prosecuter was never able to get enough evidence to charge someone because Libby “Through sand in the eyes of the umpire and Fitzgerald could not make a call.” He was prevented or mislead because of Libby’s testimony. So according to him it doesn’t sound like whether he was charged with leaking makes a difference or not since it’s Libby’s fault that Fitzgerald wasn’t able to come to a conclusion about who should be charged since he lied on behalf of Cheney.

    Shuster also said something in regard to your 1st Myth “Scooter Libby leaked the identity of undercover CIA operative, Valerie Plame. Actually, it was Richard Armitage who leaked Plame’s name to Robert Novak. ”
    Shuster said there was more than one leaker. He says just because Armitage gave the name to Novak it has no bearing on whether Libby “talked to Matt Cooper, as he did, talked to Judy Miller, as he did, got instructions from Vice President Cheney as Scooter Libby did.” So according to Shuster it sounds like Libby might have (or did) leak Plame’s name.

    Anyway I thought those were interesting (again I don’t know the reputation of those guys) and so I was wondering if you could comment on those things and let me know if he is right or not or maybe give another viewpoint. Thanks.

    Blessings,
    Bryan L

  6. Bryan L July 4, 2007 at 9:52 am #

    BTW “through” should be “threw”. Sorry about that.

  7. Bryan L July 6, 2007 at 12:02 pm #

    You know I would really like to hear your thoughts on these questions Denny. If you would like to respond offline that would be fine.

    Blessings,
    Bryan L

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