Skip to comments.Not A Good Thing (If stealing and destroying secret documents isn't a crime worthy of jail time...)
Posted on 11/02/2005 7:42:22 PM PST by Libloather
Not A Good Thing
Wed Nov 2, 7:00 PM ET
Politics: If stealing and destroying secret documents, stuffing them into your pants and then lying about it isn't a crime worthy of jail time, why is having a different recollection of events than Tim Russert?
If the charges swirling around Scooter Libby -- that he deceived those investigating a crime for which he was not charged -- seem familiar, they should. Not long ago Martha Stewart was indicted and convicted, not of insider trading in a suspiciously timed stock sale, but of deceiving investigators into a crime for which she was not charged.
In both cases, is justice being served? Or are the prosecutors just trying to justify the time and money spent failing to prove that those charged committed the alleged crime?
In the Libby case, we now have a new Kafkaesque standard of justice: Merely ask someone who gets hundreds of calls a day to remember conversations with reporters years prior. Then, if they disagree with the reporter's notes -- voila! -- perjury and obstruction.
Lost in the reporting of Special Counsel Patrick Fitzgerald's Oct. 28 press conference was this telling admission: "We have not made any allegation that Mr. Libby knowingly, intentionally outed a covert agent." Nor could he.
"Knowingly" is the operative word. The 1982 Intelligence Identities Protection Act requires the offender to knowingly reveal the name of a covert agent. The law was written after a former CIA employee named Philip Agee revealed the name of Richard Welch, CIA station chief in Greece, and others. Welch was subsequently murdered on Dec. 23, 1975, by a Greek terrorist organization.
There was no outrage or demand for a special prosecutor in 1995, when then-Rep. Robert Torricelli exposed a paid CIA informant, Guatemalan Col. Julio Roberto Alpirez, in a letter to President Clinton, a copy of which Torricelli gave to The New York Times.
A real undercover agent, Fulton Armstrong, was outed by Sen. John Kerry in this year's confirmation hearings of U.N. Ambassador John Bolton. Kerry mentioned Armstrong's name during questioning even after the CIA asked that his identity be kept secret.
Depends on whose ox is being gored, we guess.
Just as Caspar Weinberger's bogus indictment five days before the 1992 election was an attempt to criminalize political differences over the Reagan administration's anti-communist policies in Central America, it's reasonable to suggest the Libby indictment is a similar attempt to criminalize differences over Iraq.
Just how is national security jeopardized by having a different recollection of events than NBC Washington Bureau Chief Tim Russert? Like witnesses to a traffic accident, people see things from different perspectives. Memories fade. What you learned, where you learned it and whom you told tend to blur.
One charge against Libby stems from his testimony under oath that Russert asked him if he knew Joe Wilson's wife worked at the CIA. In fact, the indictment alleges, Russert never asked him that, and Libby already knew that. Maybe somebody else asked him. Maybe he already knew. Who cares? This is worth 30 years in jail?
Contrast the Libby charges with the slap on the wrist given Sandy Berger. He engaged in a real cover-up when he took classified documents useful to the 9-11 commission, destroyed some of them and then lied to the National Archives about it. No jail time, just a small fine. What was he hiding? Whom was he protecting?
Libby now joins Weinberger, Newt Gingrich, Tom DeLay and others who are guilty of nothing more than being loyal and effective servants of their party and president. Like the "Borking" of judicial nominees, the ongoing criminalization of political differences will only make it harder to attract good public servants if they can go to jail for merely talking to a reporter.
In the end, Libby may be able to echo the immortal words of Ray Donovan, Ronald Reagan's labor secretary. After being acquitted in 1987 of corruption charges in a similar trial by media, he wondered: "Where do I go to get my reputation back?"
I suggest taking the fight to them, the best defense is an offense, very simple. We do it on an individual basis all the time. I've challenged GOP fundraisers (that are always calling for money), the callers agree! But alas, they are just fundraisers, not the "chosen few".
That's why we elect "representatives" who are supposed to do just that: represent us. Why aren't they? Answer that for me. Why do they snatch defeat from the jaws of victory? Oh yes, I do my part as well, I write real letters, email, call and if I run into the "lower echelon" locally, I engage them and have discovered much to my outrage, local party members willing to sell out to Demos' demands, the appeasers are alive and well, and this in conservative small-town Texas here!
You will recall San Francico's barring of our BB (Iowa?), now we have Sacremento city council voting AGAINST our military's effort in the war on terror, that must sit well with my son and his buddies fighting in Iraq. Looks like what I said continues to unfold before your very eyes, doesn't it? I would love to be proven wrong but looks like 63 years of experience, serving my country then public service in LE was good training ground for reading people, some of us didn't spend any time in donut shops, we did our duty, abided by our Constitutional limitations while being insulted and slammed almost daily.
The faithful Freepers get out there and take a stand but few others, now, back to you--bucko.
Its been obvious for at least 30 years that the democrat party is/are really socialists.. So to have been a democrat in the last thirty years for any lengh of time, "they" are basically a socialist.. changin partys only obscures that.. i.e. BIG government republican..
It appears that Dubya is merely Bill Clinton with family values and a classy wife.. and hides his Marxism better..
Now, I don't have any love for the Bush administration. In fact, it was the Bush Justice Department that let Berger walk. I don't know Scooter Libby wouldn't know him if I tripped over him. I never heard of him until the Valerie Plame case.
But 30 years for lying under oath?
Does anyone remember another high official who lied under oath?
I seem to remember a former president.
And what was his sentence?
Zip. Zilch. Nada.
His defenders say he was only lying about sex in the White House with an intern.
Well, heck, Libby was only lying about what he told reporters.
Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.