Carol Platt Liebau: More on Libby

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

More on Libby

Not surprisingly, the Wall Street Journal takes exception to the verdict.

It is too rarely mentioned in all the coverage that, in fact, the one proven liar in the entire Plamegate affair was Joe Wilson. The case against Scooter Libby was basically built on a battle of recollections -- and in such a case, it's never 100% clear whose recollection is at fault. In contrast, Wilson's accounts of his trip to Niger and much more are in clear conflict with facts that he knew at the time.

It's also ironic to hear the condemnation of the Bush White House for attempting to discredit a critic whose criticisms were, in fact, based on lies. Many of the same people piously denouncing the tactic are those who remained strategically silent when Jim Carville and the rest of the Clinton gang smeared Ken Starr, whose only crime had been unwillingly to accept the charge from Janet Reno to expand his mandate to examine the Lewinsky matter. (And there, again, it's worth pointing out that, in contrast to Libby, Clinton's "recollections" were at odds not just with others' memories, but with facts -- including a splotch of DNA on a blue Gap dress.)

If Lewis Libby knowingly and wilfully lied to a grand jury or to the FBI, that was a crime -- and it was wrong (a concession that one rarely hears from Clinton boosters). The problem is that I've so far read nor heard anything that clearly suggests to me that the flaws in Libby's accounts were substantively different than the faulty recollections of others (including Tim Russert, whose testimony the defense was prevented from impeaching).


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