Carol Platt Liebau: Libby Indictment

Friday, October 28, 2005

Libby Indictment

The indictment is a solid one. And make no mistake, perjury, obstruction of justice and lying to federal investigators is wrong and it's a serious crime -- no two ways about it. The indictment does seem to make a prima facie case that Mr. Libby was not truthful in some instances with the special prosecutor and the grand jury; bewildering, if true, given that he himself is a lawyer and a very smart man (but then again, so is President Clinton -- and he did the same thing). A sad day for Mr. Libby personally.

But that's the point -- it's sad personally. Here's the thing: The indictment does nothing to suggest that the Bush administration itself has engaged in any kind of wrongdoing. It would have been terrible, ethically and politically, for an indictment to have come down suggesting violation of the Intelligence Identities Protection Act of 1982. Here, the indictment is focused on the personal activities that all occurred after the supposed wrongdoing that triggered the investigation in the first place.

All those who have insisted that Valerie Plame was wrongly "outed" are going to have to go scalp-hunting elsewhere.

Even the NY Times gets it in this headline: "Libby Faces 5 Charges, but Not for Disclosing Classified Data."

Oh -- and one more thing. Neither Libby, Rove nor anyone in The White House "outed" Valerie Plame. Her husband did -- by lying in an op/ed in The New York Times. Anyone who had any real concern about the secrecy of his wife's identity would never have behaved that way. But by the logic of White House critics, Wilson's lies should have been exempt from rebuttal simply because he was married to a CIA agent, and not even (apparently) a covert one, at that.

3 Comments:

Blogger Draino said...

You just don't get it Carol.

You have to go back to Orville Babcock in December 1875 to find another indictment of a sitting senior white house staff member.

This is not a sad day personally, This is a sad day nationally.

I hope you read Fitzgerald's transcript as to why the outing of a CIA agent (covert or not) is a very serious crime and the charges related to it which are also very serious. It is very, very sobering.

Just because Fitzgerald chose not to indict on more difficult to prove allegations doesn't mean Libby was guilty of them - it means the burden of proof (especially in a very closed, cloistered and secretive administration) was very high and Fitzgerald is able to level numerous easier to prove felony charges instead. Libby faces up to 30 years in prison if convicted.

In addition, very few analysts I've heard believe Libby was a rogue operator in the whitehouse. This is a lingering question that will haunt the Bush administration for the rest of his term. It may well be his Watergate.

Today is a sad day for America.

But again, Libby's indictment is about a bigger lie.

It is about taking the country to war under false pretenses.

It is about taking the country to war under false pretenses.

It is about taking the country to war under false pretenses.

Is it sinking in yet?

2:24 PM  
Blogger Mr. Twister said...

Here's the thing: The indictment does nothing to suggest that the Bush administration itself has engaged in any kind of wrongdoing.

According to the indictment the Bush Administration had a dozen or so people who all have access to the name and position of an classified CIA operative. These dozen or so people are all chatting back and forth about Valerie Plame, and at least two of them leak it to the public.

You are right, Carol, the BUsh Administration may have done nothing wrong. This could all just be an example of reckless disregard and incomptence when it comes to handling classified information.

I'm not sure incomptence in this area is a virtue, however.

2:17 AM  
Blogger Mr. Twister said...

Wilson's lies should have been exempt from rebuttal simply because he was married to a CIA agent, and not even (apparently) a covert one, at that.

Rebutting Wilson's "lies", however, shouldn't require disclosing classified information to pver a half dozen reporters by at least two administration officials.

To be honest, nothing Joe Wilson could have said or done would provide an excuse for multiple disclosures of classified information.

2:22 AM  

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