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Law, Justice, and Libby

Last night, President Bush partially commuted Lewis "Scooter" Libby's sentence for perjury and obstruction of justice, dispensing with the prison term but leaving intact the fine, probation, and other sanctions that go with being a convicted felon. He did so mere hours after Libby's request to remain free on bail while his appeal was being prepared was rejected, and the former vice-presidential aide was getting ready to go behind bars.

There was a LOT of heat in the piece I posted last night announcing it, and at the time I refrained from expressing an opinion. I wanted to sleep on it, to let my subconscious toss it around and work at it and come up with tangible reasons to justify my gut reaction.

And that reaction was agreement.

I didn't follow the Libby case as closely as many did, but I did come away with a few impressions from the whole hullabaloo.

First up, I think that Special Prosecutor Fitzgerald's investigation went on far, far longer than necessary. The two key elements that needed uncovering were: 1) who first revealed Valerie Plame's identity as a CIA operative, and 2) was that a crime. Once those two facts were established ("Richard Armitage" and "apparently not" were the two answers), the investigation should have folded. After all, prosecutors exist to prosecute crimes and criminals, and here there apparently wasn't a crime at the root of the matter.

Libby's crime, as I understand it, was that his accounts of conversations he had conflicted with those of other witnesses, and those other witnesses' accounts were deemed more credible. Further, several of those witnesses had contradictions in their own accounts that Libby's lawyers were not allowed to explore.

Libby's career is pretty much over. A convicted felon, he still has to serve his probation, pay his fine, and live the rest of his life unable to cast a vote or do so many other things that we all take for granted.

Under the law, Libby's sentence was valid. It was within the established legal guidelines, and there were no gross errors in his trial. (There were many lesser details that are prime fodder for his appeals, but nothing flagrantly, indisputably wrong.)

But "legal" and "just" are not always synonymous. In our legal system, I believe, they come closer than any other system in the world today or ever, but they are not perfect. And I don't believe that Libby's deeds merit prison time.

When the law crosses paths with those in high office, things get very muddy. There are many conflicting principles.

The first is that the law must be enforced equally, to all people.

The second is that those who hold high office must be held to much higher standards than ordinary citizens. They are entrusted with great power, and the temptations to abuse that trust are commensurately greater. Therefore, the penalties for violating them should be that much greater.

The third is that the law is considerably more complex and convoluted when it comes to those who hold high office. Whether or not something is legal or not is often very difficult to determine; it depends on fine details such as "intent" and just who is doing the deed. For example, if a person gives a reporter a highly-classified report, that is a crime -- unless that person has been told to do so by the president, who has the authority to declassify anything at his whim.

And then there is the issue of precedent. The courts put tremendous stock in what has gone before, and use those prior cases as guidelines in dealing with current matters. And the legal sanction of politicians has a very, very erratic history.

Just in the last 40 years, a lot of politicians have run astray of the law -- and some who probably should have didn't.

Some of what Lyndon Johnson did probably merited some criminal penalty -- but instead he retired in disgrace, seen by many as the most reviled president in history (at that point).

Richard Nixon was most likely guilty of crimes that should have put him behind bars, but Gerald Ford believed (and rightly, in my opinion) that the nation was best served by his resignation in disgrace and ending the matter there. Quite a few of his top aides did go to prison, though, and I think that they deserved it.

In the last days of his presidency, Ronald Reagan issued pre-emptive pardons to many figures in the arms for hostages scandal. In that case, I agreed. Unlike in Watergate, their deeds were aimed at freeing Americans held prisoner, unlike the Watergate figures, whose motives were purely venial.

And let's not forget Bill Clinton's lying under oath in a civil disposition, a lie designed solely to protect his own ass and prevent Paula Jones from receiving the justice she was due. He was not convicted by the Senate after the House impeached him, but the facts are indisputable -- he DID lie under oath, he has admitted as such, and was disbarred for doing so.

In more recent times, former congressman Randy "Duke" Cunningham was convicted and sent to prison for 8 1/3 years for gross corruption. I disagree with that sentence; it should have been longer.

Representative Mark Foley was forced to resign in disgrace, but escaped prosecution because he was careful enough to keep his predations just barely within the letter of the law. Had he been put behind bars, I would have cheered.

Representative William Jefferson Clinton has yet to be convicted, but the evidence I've seen is damning -- considerably more damning than that against Foley, but Jefferson's crime is far less morally offensive than Foley's deeds. Should he be convicted, he needs to spend as much time as possible as a guest of the government -- preferably, turning big rocks into small ones.

And if any political figure deserved to spend some time behind bars in recent years, it has to be former National Security Advisor Sandy Berger, who stole documents from the National Archives related to the Clinton Administration's handling of terrorism. I still believe Berger committed espionage during a time of war, and got off with a slap on the wrist. And he's never given any explanation for his deeds, silently accepting sanctions and penalties instead of speaking in his own defense. I would dearly love to see him brought forward under a grant of immunity, compelled to speak or face jail time under a threat of contempt, to explain just what he did, what he took, and why -- but that, alas, will never happen.

Another factor in the Libby case is the sheer hysteria that has surrounded the Bush administration since the 2000 election. There have been cries for the arrest, impeachment, and even lynching of pretty much the entire administration. The criminalization of politics has been a horrifically corrosive element, and a logical consequence of decades of those who can not win their way at the ballots turning to the courts for relief. (Another effect of this was gay marriage advocates in Massachusetts first bypassing the people and getting the state's supreme court, by a 4-3 vote, to institute gay marriage, and subsequently using every means and mechanism to prevent a popular vote on the issue -- so far, successfully.) At some point, the "boy who cried wolf" factor comes into play, and the public will grow tired of they shrill cries of "indict Karl Rove!" and "impeach Bush!" and "impeach Cheney!" -- lord knows I did a long time ago.

The cynic in me wonders if one factor driving the hysteria is the need to draw attention from the misdeeds of the administration's political foes. For example, Dianne Feinstein had to resign from a very influential committee after it was revealed that she had voted literally billions of dollars to companies controlled by her husband -- but you never hear about that these days. And while everyone is talking about Fred Thompson's son being a lobbyist, it's not discussed that Harry Reid's son is in the same business -- and was involved in a few questionable deals that involved his father, and could stand some scrutiny as well.

Anyway, Bush did not pardon Libby. He only set aside a portion of his sentence. The sole real consequence of his deed is that Libby will remain free while he seeks his appeal. He is still a convicted felon today.

And I think that is just.

(Update: Sandy Berger paragraph added half an hour after first publication)

(Update 2: and somehow I did manage to overlook Bill Clinton's perjury -- thanks, jmr, for calling attention to my flagrant oversight.)


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Comments (101)

What about Bill Cllinton an... (Below threshold)
jmr:

What about Bill Cllinton and his lying under oath to a federal judge and the sweet deal he got w/o any jail time?

Anxiously waiting for the J... (Below threshold)
CZ:

Anxiously waiting for the Joe & Val photo caption of the week on Friday.

I read a great deal of the ... (Below threshold)

I read a great deal of the previous thread on this and was quite amused at some of the commentary, particularly the comments from "jim" as he ran in circles.

And I have always been amused/dismayed at any liberal's extreme avoidance of the name Armitage. This entire episode began to be a miscarriage of justice the very moment it was discovered that Armitage was the first name dropper and that at that point it was not determined that a crime had been committed at all.

How these liberals can reconcile such hypocrisy in their stalwart defense of Berger and their having acted themselves as judge, jury and executioner since before a trial ever began over Libby is beyond me.

Sometimes I think they're just mad because those wet dreams of imagining Libby picking up soap won't be forthcoming.

It might have been the corr... (Below threshold)
Allen:

It might have been the correct thing to do, commuting his jail time. However, this may come back to hurt the Republican Party next year.

Remember the Republican Party stands for law and order. How do you think this will play out across this country? Both parties will SPIN it for all it's worth, but the swing voters just might decide that the so call law and order is only for the political connected. A recent case comes to mind, Paris Hilton had to do her 23 days, her money didn't mean s$$t, but she wasn't political connected.

I guess time will tell, won't it?

It's best to look at the wh... (Below threshold)
BC:

It's best to look at the whole Libby - Joe Wilson - Valerie Plame thing as another example of the sorry state of the press in this country, and how blogs and such are absolutely no substitute. I guarantee that everyone commenting on the Libby thing in the other thread is completely misinformed on key issues surrounding the Plame - Wilson situation: Wilson did not lie; that Senate Intelligence report did not discredit him; Plame was still an active agent; Plame didn't assign Wilson to Niger; even Plame's neighbors didn't know she was a spook; the leak resulted from an over the top smear campaign by the White House and key Republicans and their supporters to discredit Wilson over this piece he wrote for the NY Times; and Armitage was sent a memo about Plame and Wilson's trip that he didn't know contained classified info, and that memo had been written at the request of Libby.

Before you huff and puff about my being wrong, sorry I'm not, regardless of whatever "source" you may try to quote, including the Washington Post, which has been strangely hostile towards Wilson throughout all this, and has been the worse of the mainstream media in getting even the most basic facts all screwed up.

I've seen and dissected all of the evidence and claims, both real and wishful thinking, enough times over the past the few years to be really tired of it. A couple of my latter info-laden posts about them are here and here.

At this stage, it's probably too late to change people's minds, but it's really REALLY disturbing how a not-that-complicated a story can be so easily botched up by the news media and so politicized and to such an extent that, regardless of how nonsensical, it has become as engraved along personal beliefs in people's psyche as much as the "forged" Killian memos meme if not more so.

-BC

BC:Right - pure cr... (Below threshold)
Robert the Original:

BC:

Right - pure crazy, all the way through.

Allen:

I see your point but, try as I might, I cannot imagine Hillary bringing up pardons.

I'm proud of the president ... (Below threshold)
Jeff Blogworthy:

I'm proud of the president for doing this. It was absolutely the right thing to do. The Libby persecution is slimy and stinks from top to bottom.

Now about those two border agents...

Good post JT. Your first po... (Below threshold)
WildWillie:

Good post JT. Your first point and last point are the most telling and the genisus for it all.

The 2000 election caused the left to lose all reason for honest debate. That was the beginning of the "say a lie long enough, then it becomes truth" philosophy. The left has a hatred that is almost psychopathis in nature. I really believe they cannot control it. It has consumed them.

And your first point on Armitage is spot on. Over, done, close shop and go home. I believe at that point Fitzy knew to make a name for himself, he had to go on. It kinda worked. ww

Good post Jay.... (Below threshold)
Jeff Blogworthy:

Good post Jay.

Bush should have pardoned h... (Below threshold)
Gringo:

Bush should have pardoned him last Friday, so we could be howling that the terrorist attacks in England were setup to distract us.

I QUESTION THE TIMING!!!

If Marc Rich's friend and l... (Below threshold)
bryanD:

If Marc Rich's friend and long-time lawyer, Scooter Libby, was not guilty of outing V Plame, why did he let Judith Miller sit in jail for 3 months before "releasing" her to I.D. him?

The Federal Appeals Court o... (Below threshold)
WildWillie:

The Federal Appeals Court on Monday said that Libby would have to go to prison why he waits for his appeals on the merits of the case. That is why GW did what he did Monday.

I hope the lefties, especially Jim, praise this same justice system when the verdict is over turned. It will be. But I do not expect the lefties to praise the justice system. In reality, they only like it when it helps them win elections. I think the judge in this case made two mistakes: 1. He wouldn't allow the defense to bring up the outing offense, but allowed Fitzy to use it in his summation. 2. Andrea Mitchell was not allowed to testify to rebut Russerts testimony. Another point by not reversable is the jurist who is a journalist and a friend of Russerts. Bad Karma there. Anyway, there will be a reversal, and the lefties will attach the justice system. ww

bryanD,BDS aside, ... (Below threshold)
Jeff Blogworthy:

bryanD,

BDS aside, the facts have been determined fool.

To Robert the Original:... (Below threshold)
BC:

To Robert the Original:

Cognitive dissonance is a bitch, ain't it? Next time try pointing out one thing, anything, where I'm wrong and how. It's a bit harder than you might think.

Enjoy your meme.

-BC

No one was charged with out... (Below threshold)
Mac Lorry:

No one was charged with outing Valerie Plame because there was no law broken. End of story, or at least it should have been. This case was a perfect opportunity for jury nullification. Something to remember if you ever sit on a jury where the defendant is not being charged with anything other than having a bad memory. As a juror you have the constitutional right, as verified by Supreme Court decisions, to judge not only the facts of the case, but the law itself and the use of the law.

The professionals in the court system don't like lay people coming in and exercising such power, so they worked out a means to circumvent the Constitution. It's simple, they just tell jurors they must follow the Judge's instructions and judge only the facts of the case. Any potential juror who makes it known they know their right to also judge the law and the application of the law is quickly dismissed.

If you want to avoid serving on a jury and don't want to lie to get out of it, just study up on jury nullification and let the prosecutor or judge know you have done so. You likely be escorted out of the building before you can contaminate other potential jurors.

You are forgetting the Clin... (Below threshold)
Judy T.:

You are forgetting the Clinton pardon of Susan McDougal who spent 18 months in prison and 7 weeks in solitary confinement for contempt of court,

Susan refused to answer a very simple question, did Bill Clinton testify truthfully to the grand jury regarding his involvement in the Whitewater fraud?

The multiple choices answers were

A) Yes,
B) No, or

C) I'll go sit in a prison cell for months and months because I think I look wonderful in orange jumpsuits.

Susan also was convicted of fraud related to loans that involved government guaranteed taxpayer dollars.

Wilson situation: ... (Below threshold)
Mac Lorry:
Wilson situation: Wilson did not lie

Neither did Bush.

Plame was still an active agent

No one was charged with outing Valerie Plame because no law was broken.

Jeff, you AIN'T blogworthy.... (Below threshold)
bryanD:

Jeff, you AIN'T blogworthy.

Libby was Marc Rich's lawyer for around 20 years; including the time period M Rich was neck-deep in what would become known as the Oil For Food Scandal.
Libby's resume' would read something like this:
2006-2007: unemployed
2000-2006: OVP, The White House
1985-2000: On retainer; Marc Rich, Israeli mafia

http://isteve.blogspot.com/2005/10/scooter-libby-marc-rich-connection.html

My understanding of it was ... (Below threshold)
Jay:

My understanding of it was that Libby got Martha Stewarted, which means it was silly for him to be tried or convicted.

bryanD,You are not... (Below threshold)
Jeff Blogworthy:

bryanD,

You are nothing but a modern-day gnostic who believes he has the "inside scoop" on just about any subject. Those little gems of knowledge that no one else but you is privy to. You should seek psychological help to see what drives this need for "secret" knowledge.

The strawberrys, the strawberrys. They're all against me see....

opps. "strawberries"... (Below threshold)
Jeff Blogworthy:

opps. "strawberries"

"You are nothing but a mode... (Below threshold)
bryanD:

"You are nothing but a modern-day gnostic who believes he has the "inside scoop" on just about any subject._jeff unblogworthy"

I like to win.

Armitage was sent ... (Below threshold)
Mac Lorry:
Armitage was sent a memo about Plame and Wilson's trip that he didn't know contained classified info

Wrong, the entire memo was classified.

Armitage acknowledged that he had passed along to Novak information contained in a classified State Department memo: that Wilson's wife worked on weapons-of-mass-destruction issues at the CIA.

As it turned out, Novak wasn't the only person Armitage talked to about Plame. Washington Post reporter Bob Woodward has also said he was told of Plame's identity in June 2003. -- The Man Who Said Too Much

"You should seek psychologi... (Below threshold)
bryanD:

"You should seek psychological help to see what drives this need for "secret" knowledge_j Unb"

Drop "secret" and proofread yourself. (Because if I know it via WWW, it AIN'T A SECRET.) Unadulterated Bushbotism is fatal to our Republic.

Hail your future king: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p0JH_vz1BdI

Mac Lorry randomly posted:<... (Below threshold)
BC:

Mac Lorry randomly posted:

Wilson situation: Wilson did not lie

Neither did Bush.

Plame was still an active agent

No one was charged with outing Valerie Plame because no law was broken.

Ummm, you might want to click on those links in my original post -- you don't seem to have much of an about what's going on.

-BC

bryanD:1985-2000:... (Below threshold)
_Mike_:

bryanD:
1985-2000: On retainer; Marc Rich, Israeli mafia

Aha... I knew bryanD would know that the Jews were involved somehow!

BD,You would reall... (Below threshold)
Jeff Blogworthy:

BD,

You would really be more at home here or here.

A follow-up: regarding Armi... (Below threshold)
BC:

A follow-up: regarding Armitage and that memo -- the memo was indeed marked classified, but he apparently was not aware that the bit regarding Plame was also classified, because agent names are never revealed, even in internal White House memos. From this:

Armitage adds that while the document was classified, "it doesn't mean that every sentence in the document is classified.

"I had never seen a covered agent's name in any memo in, I think, 28 years of government," he says.

He adds that he thinks he referred to Wilson's wife as such, or possibly as "Mrs. Wilson." He never referred to her as Valerie Plame, he adds.

"I didn't know the woman's name was Plame. I didn't know she was an operative," he says.

While that bit about the memo being classified but maybe not all of it sounds confusing, that's likely because they, the White House, routinely mark internal memos as "classified" even if there is nothing particularly "secret" about the topics mentioned.

-BC

"I like to win". To bad you... (Below threshold)
jhow66:

"I like to win". To bad you have't yet. snicker snort. Whups! I am wrong. You have won- the idiot of the year award. (Area 51 calling) P.S. How's the class going?

"Before you huff and puff a... (Below threshold)
Olaf Anderson:

"Before you huff and puff about my being wrong, sorry I'm not, regardless of whatever "source" you may try to quote...I've seen and dissected all of the evidence and claims, both real and wishful thinking, enough times over the past the few years to be really tired of it...At this stage, it's probably too late to change people's minds...regardless of how nonsensical, it has become as engraved along personal beliefs in people's psyche as much as the "forged" Killian memos meme if not more."

I believe you BC-You know and understand more than anyone in the world how everything went down. I don't need to look at, or believe, evidence from other sources-You're the MAN.

Andrea Mitchell was not ... (Below threshold)

Andrea Mitchell was not allowed to testify to rebut Russerts testimony.

I don't think that's quite right. The judge ruled that the defense couldn't ask Russert about a statement Mitchell made on TV which she later disavowed. Since she had already retracted the statement publicly, calling her wouldn't have helped the defense much. They needed to use her statement without calling her. That was the whole point.

As I've pointed out before, what do the Libby prosecution and the Berger non-prosecution have in common? They were both handled, investigated, and their fates determined by the Bush administration Justice department. The US Attorneys handling both cases (Hillman and Fitzgerald) were Republicans appointed by George Bush. Hillman has since been rewarded with a federal judgeship. Isn't the lack of action on Berger just another instance of how pathetic the justice department has become under this administration?

BC,Ummm, ... (Below threshold)
Mac Lorry:

BC,

Ummm, you might want to click on those links in my original post -- you don't seem to have much of an about what's going on.

I don't need to click your links as what I posted is factually correct and more relevant than your spin on the subject. Bush didn't lie about yellow cake in his state of the union speech and no crime was committed in outing Plame. Prove me wrong. You might find that harder than you think.

Oops, I was wrong. They did... (Below threshold)

Oops, I was wrong. They did rule that they couldn't use Mitchell's statement on Russert, but they also ruled that they couldn't call Mitchell and ask her about the statement since they would have to impeach their own witness to impeach Russert, a rather strange situation. Naturally Mitchell's lawyers were in agreement.

Conservatives have lost all... (Below threshold)
BarneyG2000:

Conservatives have lost all their privileges to the use of 'rule of law'.

It gets rather tiring going... (Below threshold)
ChrisO:

It gets rather tiring going over old ground again and again, but the simple fact remains. If knowing Armitage's involvement was truly "end of story," then are you saying that any time a piece of classified information is revealed at any time, to any one, it automatically becomes declassified? Is that really how you think national security should work? Once Armitage said Plame's name to a reporter, anyone in the White House is free to publish it on the front page? Whatever Armitage did, Plame's identity did not become declassified by his actions, and anyone subsequently revealing it was guilty of revealing classified material. You keep crying "Armitage" as if it's the Holy Grail, while willfully ignoring the facts of the matter. And there are plenty of reasons why a prosecutor indicts one individual and not another, often having to do with the likelihood of getting a conviction. Armitage not being indicted does not automatically mean no crime was committed, and all of your wishing won't make it so.

Libby lying to investigators was not excusable. "No underlying crime" is not a legal principle. If Libby was so iinnocent, he might have tried telling the truth. And despite the best efforts of the apologists on this board, Libby did not simply have a different recollection than some reporters. His statements were contradicted by many people, including people he worked with in the White House who were on his side.

I might remind evryone that Bush didn't pardon Libby. By commuting his sentence, Bush is accepting the fact of Libby's guilt. So you can argue all you want that trials don't really couhnt in this country, but even Bush sin't buying it, and he has no shame.

The fact remains, the Appeals Court just ruled on his appeal for a stay of sentence, and did it in such a way that it's clear they don't think he has a strong case for appeal. Funny how the entire legal system is so wrong, but you experts are all so right. You see, trials are based on the law, not on overheated blogosphere opinions.

I've also never seen anyone answer one of the fundamental underlying questions raised by this whole thing. Armitage knew Plame's identity because it was being widely circulated in a memo to a lot of people who had no need to know that information (Ari Fleischer? Come on.)Even now, Cheney's office is fighting tooth and nail to prevent any oversight of the way it handles classified documents, despite allegations that staffers routinely leave classified material laying around, even in hotel rooms. Can any of you really defend this administration's callous disregard for our national security?

BC, the m... (Below threshold)
Mac Lorry:

BC,

the memo was indeed marked classified, but he apparently was not aware that the bit regarding Plame was also classified, because agent names are never revealed, even in internal White House memos.

That's not what your own source says.

Armitage said "I had never seen a covered agent's name in any memo in, I think, 28 years of government,"

That means one of two things either Armitage didn't know that covered agent's names can be included in classified State Department memos, as the existence of the memo proves, or Plame was in fact not a covered agent at the time.

Then there's this nonsense.

Armitage adds that while the document was classified, "it doesn't mean that every sentence in the document is classified."

I have held a Secret level clearance, no big deal, but everyone who holds any level of security clearance is made to understand that it's not up to them to decide what content in a classified document is or is not classified. There are people who do that and that was not Armitage's job. Armitage was either incompetent or was just making excuses. Nonetheless, it was Armitage who leaked the information to the press.

A convicted felon,... (Below threshold)
A convicted felon, he still has to serve his probation, pay his fine, and live the rest of his life unable to cast a vote or do so many other things that we all take for granted.

Isn't all this contingent upon the appeals court upholding Libby's conviction, or am I missing someting?

I am of the group that thin... (Below threshold)
Michael Seifert:

I am of the group that think Bush did not do this right. He should have issued a complete pardon and then resigned from the Presidency, giving his opponents exactly what they would get from a Bush impeachment: President Cheney!

Chris O, you couldn't be mo... (Below threshold)
WildWillie:

Chris O, you couldn't be more wrong. The appeals court did not rule on the merits of the case. They only ruled if he can be free on bond until the appeals is heard.

Some democratic hacks leaked: Terrorist financial spying to the NYT's, Overseas wiretapping to NYT's, Abu Grahib leaked, Haditha leaked, Sandy Berger, the list goes on and on. I have to admit, your comments about GW's administration callous disregard for classified info is priceless. What planet are you on? Oh, I know. If the administration wants to know who the bozo is who is going around town telling people Cheney sent him to Niger, that is wrong. If the press want to verify the Valerie Plame sent her husband and not how the liar Wilson said, will that is fine. All these rules you have for different people is telling. What are your rules on blacks, jews, woman, etc.? Get a clue dude. This is all politics. Nothing to do with the law. ww

I said it last nite, and I ... (Below threshold)

I said it last nite, and I will say it again:

The main reason the left is in such a tizzy about this is because there's not a single thing they can do about this, and they know it.

President Bush, like President Clinton before him, has the legal authority under the Constitution to issue pardons and commute sentences. That law did not change in 2001, though many on the left apparently believe it should have--and then they think it should change back the moment another Democrat takes over the Oval Office.

So, they can't impeach Bush over this. And, what's worse, they can't even vote against the guy, since he can't run for President again.

So what are they left to do about their spoiled Fitzmas? They can either take it like adults, and move on (heh... there's an irony for ya), or they can throw temper tantrums like 3-year-olds.

Guess which they've chosen.

If knowing Armitag... (Below threshold)
Mac Lorry:
If knowing Armitage's involvement was truly "end of story," then are you saying that any time a piece of classified information is revealed at any time, to any one, it automatically becomes declassified?

If classified information is revealed in the press then it becomes public knowledge. You notice that once Plame was outed in the press none of the subsequent news reports and endless commentary was considered a violation of law.

Whatever Armitage did, Plame's identity did not become declassified by his actions, and anyone subsequently revealing it was guilty of revealing classified material.

Juries decided the fact of guilt and certainly no jury would convict a person for revealing classified information AFTER it was revealed in the press.

Armitage not being indicted does not automatically mean no crime was committed, and all of your wishing won't make it so.

Well if there was a crime committed it would have been by Armitage as he is the one who first leaked classified information. You can't place that crime on another person, and all of your wishing won't make it so.

Libby lying to investigators was not excusable. "No underlying crime" is not a legal principle.

It was a fishing expedition and wouldn't be allowed in open court. Many other's who testified in this matter also committed the same kind of offense, and few people in busy jobs could avoid such a trap given a determined prosecutor. The prosecution was politically motivated as was the action by Bush.

Ultimatly I expect Libby's conviction to be overturned. We now know that Libby had no reason to lie because he did not out Plame to the press. Had Libby's defense known what the prosecutor knew, that Armitage was in fact the leak, they could have made that argument to the jury. Who knows if that would have changed the verdict, but motivation is one of the major elements of proving a crime. The prosecutor had exculpatory evidence that he withheld from the defense, and as we have seen with another prosecutor recently, withholding such evidence is prosecutorial misconduct and grounds for a new trial.

ianne Feinstein ha... (Below threshold)
ianne Feinstein had to resign from a very influential committee after it was revealed that she had voted literally billions of dollars to companies controlled by her husband -- but you never hear about that these days.

That's because she has a 'D' after her name. If this were a Republican senator, the MSM would be throwing a continual hissy fit. There would be wall-to-wall coverage. Many editorials demanding the senator's resignation, not only from the committee, but from the senate itself, would be written, led by the NY Times, who would also recommend criminal charges be brought. The phrase "constitutional crisis" would be thrown about. Quite simply, we would never hear the end of it.

That's how it would be if Feinstein were a Republican. But she's a Democrat, show she gets what basically amounts to a pass.

I have noticed that when it come to Democratic malfeasance, the MSM tends to be, what's the word, "incurious."

I am neither surprised, nor... (Below threshold)
Publicus:

I am neither surprised, nor particularly upset by the commutation of Libby's sentence. I disagree with it...but that's all.

I think people on both sides of the political spectrum know that there are bigger fish to fry.

The Bushites believe that we are in an epic struggle against a global movement of terrorists to destroy our country. And that we must pull out all the stops...including, I believe, our unalienable rights, to defeat the enemy.

The Reality-based community is concerned with the ongoing occupation of Iraq, and the senseless carnage and other costs of that action. They are also concerned about the erosion and possible destruction of our unalienable rights.

Libby, in either case, is small potatoes.

"Overseas wiretapping to NY... (Below threshold)
Publicus:

"Overseas wiretapping to NYT's, Abu Grahib leaked, Haditha leaked, Sandy Berger, the list goes on and on."

Leaking crimes against the Constitution and against the unalienable rights of WE THE PEOPLE is, in my opinion, no crime. Covering up such things IS a crime.

Other points:

1. To accurately portray the disagreement, substitute "warrantless wiretaping" for "overseas wiretapping". It is the lack of warrants and judicial oversight that patriots find objectionable.

2. Abu Ghraib, a story broken by the ulta-liberal WSJ, was another secret the government had no right to conceal. What excuse can you give for keeping it quiet? That people might get upset if they found out we were torturing prisoners, denying them proper access to lawyers and the law?

3. Similarly, what's wrong with telling the people about Haditha? Isn't the only purpose of hiding these things to keep from WE THE PEOPLE things we have the right to know?

Publicus,Your so-c... (Below threshold)
Mac Lorry:

Publicus,

Your so-called reality-based community is in for a rude awakening. Here's what a former terrorist says.

By blaming the Government for our actions, those who pushed this "Blair's bombs" line did our propaganda work for us. More important, they also helped to draw away any critical examination from the real engine of our violence: Islamic theology. -- former radical Islamist

Read the whole article. It confirms what many commenter's on Wizbang have been saying all along.

O'MuseA convic... (Below threshold)

O'Muse
A convicted felon, he still has to serve his probation, pay his fine, and live the rest of his life unable to cast a vote or do so many other things that we all take for granted.

That is Libby's present legal status. ONLY IF he wins on appeal will any of the above change.

HughS:You said "That... (Below threshold)
Rance:

HughS:
You said "That is Libby's present legal status. ONLY IF he wins on appeal will any of the above change."

You should add, "or when, at the end of his term, GWB issues him a pardon."

Publicus, I do believe you ... (Below threshold)
WildWillie:

Publicus, I do believe you when you say you see nothing wrong with devulging what our government is doing. You do not support the troops. If you did, you would know what harm would come to our troops and ourselves by publicly announcing to the world what we are doing. There are systems set up within the government that should have been used. But, individuals like you, have the information and instead of using the system that is set up for reporting, they go the the media for their minute of fame only because they have a political axe to grind. All of the above so called infractions of our constitution could have been submitted through oversight committees confidentially and/or up the chain of command. I know you don't understand these things. ww

Mac Lorry --You do... (Below threshold)
Publicus:

Mac Lorry --

You don't get it. The reality-based community recognizes that there are terrorists ready to attack us. We always have.

But we don't see it as comparable to, say, 50,000 Soviet warheads pointed at us, able to destroy our planet at any time. And the enemies of the US are not a united front. There are lots of groups, many of which hate each other. This nonsense that we are against one powerful united group is nonsense; and this simplification of the threat weakens our ability to battle it.

We also don't believe that terrorism is a sufficient reason for giving up our unalienable rights. That's like destroying the village to save it.

In my opinion, the big danger has nothing to do with Iraq or Iran. Pakistan is a country FILLED with fanatics, and ruled by a not-very-popular dictator. It's also the likely hiding place of Osama bin Laden. What happens when the fanatics take over? Who's even thinking about this? And will it be addressed by someone who's competent and sensible? Bush, and the neocons are essentially Maoists: they believe that political power comes out of the barrel of a gun.

If this administration actually believed in the unalienable rights of WE THE PEOPLE, we wouldn't have an attorney general sitting in front of Congress denigrating habeas corpus. This administration talks about freedom while eviscerating it.

I believe in power of actual freedom. People don't come to America because we've got lots of weapons and can kill everyone. They come because we have rights. We don't want to lose that.

We believe in fighting terrorism aggressively, but we demand warrants and judges as part of the process. We know, from hard experience, that unregulated government operating in secret will not limit its actions to fighting terrorists. We don't believe that America's strength lies in creating secret prisons, unregulated spying, torture and other devices like that.


This entire episode bega... (Below threshold)
Brian:

This entire episode began to be a miscarriage of justice the very moment it was discovered that Armitage was the first name dropper and that at that point it was not determined that a crime had been committed at all.

...

No one was charged with outing Valerie Plame because there was no law broken. End of story, or at least it should have been.

So you guys believe that no charges of obstruction of justice or lying to federal investigators should be brought if the investigation itself leads to no charges?

You do realize, I hope, that that's the entire point of having obstruction be a crime in the first place, don't you?

Publicus, I do bel... (Below threshold)
Publicus:
Publicus, I do believe you when you say you see nothing wrong with devulging what our government is doing. You do not support the troops.

If you think the government should be operating in a way that conceals their actions from WE THE PEOPLE, that conceals secret prisons and torture and warrantless wiretaps, you do not support the sovereignty of the people of the United States.

As far as "you do not support the troops", I don't even know that that bullshit means. I'm trying to keep them alive by taking them away from the senseless carnage of the occupation of Iraq. YOU are happy to leave them there as targets, and have them come home missing limbs...or not come home at all. You are confusing THIS STUPID OCCUPATION with the well-being of the troops.

As a juror you have the ... (Below threshold)
Brian:

As a juror you have the constitutional right, as verified by Supreme Court decisions, to judge not only the facts of the case, but the law itself and the use of the law.

While the courts have upheld that juries have this "power" (not a "right"), they have also found:

...by clearly stating to the jury that they may disregard the law, telling them that they may decide according to their prejudices or consciences (for there is no check to insure that the judgment is based upon conscience rather than prejudice), we would indeed be negating the rule of law in favor of the rule of lawlessness. This should not be allowed.

More...

Judicial acceptance of nullification began to wane, however, in the late 1800s. In 1895, in United States v Sparf, the U. S. Supreme Court voted 7 to 2 to uphold the conviction in a case in which the trial judge refused the defense attorney's request to let the jury know of their nullification power.


Courts recently have been reluctant to encourage jury nullification, and in fact have taken several steps to prevent it. In most jurisdictions, judges instruct jurors that it is their duty to apply the law as it is given to them, whether they agree with the law or not. Only in a handful of states are jurors told that they have the power to judge both the facts and the law of the case. Most judges also will prohibit attorneys from using their closing arguments to directly appeal to jurors to nullify the law.

"You keep crying "Armita... (Below threshold)

"You keep crying "Armitage" as if it's the Holy Grail, while willfully ignoring the facts of the matter."

Talk about willfully ignoring things - you're way off on that one. The question is that if Plame's identity was indeed "leaked" illegally by anyone, anyone at all, then why wasn't anyone charged with that crime? The constant harping of lefties that Libby leaked the name of a covert agent while taking special pains to avoid accusing Armitage of the same thing is hypocrisy. And THAT is what is at issue when Armitage's name is brought up by those on the right. The fact the Armitage brought her up first is likely what piqued Novak's interest which prompted him to find out more.

To put it in a nut shell, the left is happy with Libby's excessive sentence because they feel it's more fitting for the crime he was not charged with, but the left contends he committed anyway.

I've heard so many lame excuses for Armitage's actions that were no different from what they say Libby did. For Armitage I've heard "He was known as a gossip," as if he couldn't help himself. "He was a Bush lackey," when in fact he was no friend of the administration and was a holdover from the previous. Now I've heard that "...the White House, routinely mark[s] internal memos as "classified" even if there is nothing particularly "secret" about the topics mentioned." Am I to understand now that if a memo is marked classifed it's at the discretion of the reader whether or not it is sort of classified or really, really classified?

Publicus, you again missed ... (Below threshold)
WildWillie:

Publicus, you again missed it. We have elected officials that have oversight. We entrusted them to find this stuff out and correct it. YOu seem to think we all should do this at all times. You are demented. I also believe you when you say you don't know what supporting the troops is. ww

Oyster,Noone on the ... (Below threshold)
LoveAmerica Immigrant:

Oyster,
Noone on the left has answererd the fundamental question. If the prosecutor has already known the identity of the leaker (eg. Armitage), why proceed with the trial?

Another lie routinely put out by the progressive left is Libby outed Plame. Armitage did, not Libby.

We have elected of... (Below threshold)
Publicus:
We have elected officials that have oversight.

LOL!

So what are they left to... (Below threshold)
Brian:

So what are they left to do about their spoiled Fitzmas? They can either take it like adults, and move on (heh... there's an irony for ya), or they can throw temper tantrums like 3-year-olds. Guess which they've chosen.

Yeah, they should follow the example of the righties on here with regard to Sandy Berger and Marc Rich, eh?

If the prosecutor has al... (Below threshold)
Brian:

If the prosecutor has already known the identity of the leaker (eg. Armitage), why proceed with the trial?

The trial was for obstruction of justice and other felonies, not for leaking. Try to keep up.

Publicus, I'll take your <b... (Below threshold)

Publicus, I'll take your "LOL" and raise you a "they never even gave oversight a chance".

Your turn.

I'm not a poker player so I... (Below threshold)

I'm not a poker player so I guess it might be, "I'll match your "LOL"..."

Publicus,... (Below threshold)
Mac Lorry:

Publicus,

This nonsense that we are against one powerful united group is nonsense

So who is making the claim that we are against one powerful united group? Certainly not the Bush administration. They label it only as terror as in the war on terror and they are fighting it on many fronts and in many places. If there were just one powerful united group it would be a much easier fight.

We also don't believe that terrorism is a sufficient reason for giving up our unalienable rights.

So what's the "sufficient reason" for liberals going after the right to keep and bear arms? You can't pick an choose, if you want to protect your constitutional rights then you have to protect them all. Until liberals change their gun control position they have no standing in complaining about infringement of other rights.

Pakistan is a country FILLED with fanatics, and ruled by a not-very-popular dictator. It's also the likely hiding place of Osama bin Laden. What happens when the fanatics take over?

We can always try to start a war between Pakistan and India, or we could invade Pakistan, or just nuke them into a field of green glass. Of course if there's a liberal in the White house at the time we'll just surrender to the fanatics.

Bush, and the neocons are essentially Maoists: they believe that political power comes out of the barrel of a gun.

You didn't say it right. It should be "Bush, and the neocons believe that ultimate power comes from the ability to project more force than your opponent." Ultimately that's true, but it also creates a situation where that force doesn't need to be used. What, you think weakness is a good negotiating position?

If this administration actually believed in the unalienable rights of WE THE PEOPLE, we wouldn't have an attorney general sitting in front of Congress denigrating habeas corpus.

Habeas corpus has been suspended by other Presidents when the nation was threatened. Internment without charge has also been ordered by prior Presidents when the nation was threatened. It comes down to how much of a threat you see facing this nation. If the nation falls we lose all of our rights. If a terrorist kills you then you have lost all of your rights. Only fools think it's a black and white issue.

I believe in power of actual freedom. People don't come to America because we've got lots of weapons and can kill everyone. They come because we have rights. We don't want to lose that.

They come to this nation for both freedom and prosperity. They exist in America because we learned long ago that to defend both you have to be strong.

We believe in fighting terrorism aggressively, but we demand warrants and judges as part of the process.

Just lip service.

We know, from hard experience, that unregulated government operating in secret will not limit its actions to fighting terrorists.

We also know form hard experience that the only guarantee that a government will follow any regulations is an armed populace. The only thing that puts iron in the constitution is the 2nd amendment.

So you guys believ... (Below threshold)
Mac Lorry:
So you guys believe that no charges of obstruction of justice or lying to federal investigators should be brought if the investigation itself leads to no charges?

What I believe is that if a investigation determines that no crime has been committed, or that it can't be proven then the investigation should end. To do otherwise is to allow prosecutors to go on fishing trips. Liberals worry about warrantless wiretaps, but don't realize that a prosecutor determined to find something to charge a person with is probably one of the worst abuses of government power that there is. How many could stand up to such questioning without contradicting themselves? How many posting here could consistently remember what they wrote or didn't write over the last year?

Mac Lorry -Well, a... (Below threshold)
Publicus:

Mac Lorry -

Well, at least we I understand your position. Unfortunately, you seem resistant to understanding mine. I'm not sure whether this is actually the case or whether it's willful distortion, but I'll give you the benefit of the doubt.

I'll assume that you are incapable of understanding people who don't agree with you. That's certainly no crime, but it doesn't make for constructive discussion.

Happy independence day!

So what are the... (Below threshold)
So what are they left to do about their spoiled Fitzmas? They can either take it like adults, and move on (heh... there's an irony for ya), or they can throw temper tantrums like 3-year-olds. Guess which they've chosen.

Yeah, they should follow the example of the righties on here with regard to Sandy Berger and Marc Rich, eh?

Posted by: Brian at July 3, 2007 12:12 PM

Another response worthy of a 3-year-old. "But they did it tooooooo!"

We also know form ... (Below threshold)
Publicus:
We also know form hard experience that the only guarantee that a government will follow any regulations is an armed populace. The only thing that puts iron in the constitution is the 2nd amendment.

Do we? Unarmed Czechs and unarmed Indians did a pretty good job of kicking out thugs dominating their countries.

Habeas corpus has been s... (Below threshold)
Brian:

Habeas corpus has been suspended by other Presidents when the nation was threatened. Internment without charge has also been ordered by prior Presidents when the nation was threatened.

And history now views both of those decisions harshly, with disgust and embarrassment. Except for Malkin.

What I believe is that i... (Below threshold)
Brian:

What I believe is that if a investigation determines that no crime has been committed, or that it can't be proven then the investigation should end.

Congratulations. You just created an incentive for obstruction of an investigation. That's exactly what obstruction laws are designed to prevent.

To do otherwise is to allow prosecutors to go on fishing trips. ... How many could stand up to such questioning without contradicting themselves? How many posting here could consistently remember what they wrote or didn't write over the last year?

That's what defense attornies are for. And juries. And judges. In fact, that's the basis of our whole judicial system. It's unfortunate you disapprove of it.

Liberals worry about warrantless wiretaps...

Wait, I thought you were against "fishing trips".

...but don't realize that a prosecutor determined to find something to charge a person with is probably one of the worst abuses of government power that there is.

Really? Worse than locking someone up, indefinitely, without charges, without access to an attorney, judge, or jury?

Mac Lorry WroteA) ... (Below threshold)
BC:

Mac Lorry Wrote

A)
I don't need to click your links as what I posted is factually correct and more relevant than your spin on the subject. Bush didn't lie about yellow cake in his state of the union speech and no crime was committed in outing Plame. Prove me wrong. You might find that harder than you think.

Since you didn't click on those links, you have no clue as to what my "spin" -- or actually lack thereof -- was. But Plame was indeed still covert in some capacity (gee, for some reason the CIA doesn't want to talk a whole lot about what she was doing....oh wait --- she was a spy doing spy stuff, that's why!) at the time of the leak, thereby indeed making it a crime.

As far as Bush lying or not lying about the yellow cake thing, as far as Joe Wilson was concerned, Bush's statement regarding Iraq attempting to buy uranium yellow cake in the 2003 SOTU address was not supported by best evidence. Prior to Wilson's trip to Africa, there was a sketchy report of Iraq trying to do this, but as the Senate Intelligence report later described it, "At the time, all IC ("U.S. Intelligence Community") analysts interviewed by Committee staff considered this initial report to be very limited and lacking needed detail. CIA, Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) and Department of Energy analysts considered the reporting to be "possible" while the Department of State's Bureau of Intelligence and Research (INR) regarded the report as "highly suspect." Primarily because INR analysts did not believe that Niger would be likely to engage in such a transaction and did not believe Niger would be able to transfer uranium to Iraq because of a French consortium maintained control of the Nigerian uranium industry."

So there was some doubts among the intel people, which led to Wilson being sent over because he had useful connections in Niger and could ask around, plus he had made an apparently similar, still-classified trip for the CIA before (a little item of note that was hardly if ever actually noted in all the stupid fuss over how and why he was sent.) Wilson returned with the strong impression that there was nothing to the yellow cake rumor. So when Bush still mentioned the rumor in the SUTO address, that helped provoke Wilson to write that NY Times piece that started up the GOP smear machine which led to, however accidentally, the outing of his wife.

Whether Bush knowingly lied -- well, if you have two piles of contradictory evidence on your desk, with the one on your left being a foot high, and the one on the right being just a couple of sheets, and you decide to still choose the evidence on the right because it suits what you want to do for a course of action, does that make you a liar when you only mention that right "pile" as the evidence for that action?

Hmmm..., wordy, but I don't think it was that hard to prove you wrong.

B)
That's not what your own source says.

Armitage said "I had never seen a covered agent's name in any memo in, I think, 28 years of government,"

That means one of two things either Armitage didn't know that covered agent's names can be included in classified State Department memos, as the existence of the memo proves, or Plame was in fact not a covered agent at the time.

There's actually third and much more likely option -- in their efforts to discredit/smear Wilson, the White House played way too fast and loose with info they had no business playing fast and loose with, specifically Plame's CIA job. It wasn't just Armitage who was talking in background to reporters, Rove was doing so as well, including discussing Plame. It was Armitage's bad luck that he didn't know Plame's true status and that his contact, Novak, broke the story first.

Then there's this nonsense.

Armitage adds that while the document was classified, "it doesn't mean that every sentence in the document is classified."

I have held a Secret level clearance, no big deal, but everyone who holds any level of security clearance is made to understand that it's not up to them to decide what content in a classified document is or is not classified. There are people who do that and that was not Armitage's job. Armitage was either incompetent or was just making excuses. Nonetheless, it was Armitage who leaked the information to the press.

Armitage was not some low level lackey -- he was the Deputy Secretary of State under Colin Powell -- plus his resume indicates some familiarity with handling classified info. While it was his info that Novak used, Rove was also talking, and it was all part of a malicious attempt to smear Wilson. Armitage was merely following orders like a good soldier -- it was not something he originated. Another notable point not exactly well-noted.

-BC

Brian -You are mak... (Below threshold)
Publicus:

Brian -

You are making a valiant effort, but with the point-by-point evasion and distortion of my post by Mac Lorry, you can see that it is hopeless. They either don't understand and don't want to understand.

You and I can continue to fight for our unalienable rights, but the neocons only undestand raw power. I think we should let them talk amongst themselves for awhile...

Another response worthy ... (Below threshold)
Brian:

Another response worthy of a 3-year-old. "But they did it tooooooo!"

Ha! And doing something for two years and then whining when someone else starts to do it too... that's supposedly a mature act on your part? Actually, that pretty much defines the Republican party these days.

Brian, you are right. I her... (Below threshold)

Brian, you are right. I hereby apologize for any and all times that I acted the way you frothing-at-the-mouth lefties are acting now.

See, unlike a lefty, I believe in apologizing when I do wrong... lefties like apologizing for what others do wrong.

While the courts h... (Below threshold)
Mac Lorry:
While the courts have upheld that juries have this "power" (not a "right"), they have also found:

The word power and right are basically interchangeable in that they is no practical difference. Jury nullification is absolute and not reviewable regardless of any instructions to the contrary a juror is given.

The founders were well familiar with jury nullification and the jury is the final check and balance on the power of the government. If the government deputizes flies, attaches nano-cameras to them and sends them into your house you could be charged with felony assault on a law officer if you swat one of them. The check on that abuse is the jury and that check can only operate when the jury judges both the facts of the case, the law itself, and how the law is applied.

The other quotes you posted support my statement that the professionals in the legal system don't like the idea of lay people exercising such power and have attempted keep ignorant jurors ignorant.

What I find surprising is that so many liberals support unchecked prosecutorial power and then worry about warrantless wiretaps. The former is far more dangerous to freedom than the latter.

"and here there appar... (Below threshold)
notaWizbangPharisee:

"and here there apparently wasn't a crime at the root of the matter."

That's why you aren't a lawyer, but rather a blogger posting legal drivel.


"Libby's career is pretty much over...pay his fine...unable to cast a vote or do so many other things that we all take for granted"

Absolutely ludicrous. His defense fund likely will pay the piddly $250K or, w/ a speech or 2, he'll earn that in no time. Republicans like you who just Looovvve & respect Law will flock to his speeches to fork over cash to listen to & cheer a convicted felon who helped to fabricate a lying war w/ phoney tales of mushroom clouds and man-in-the moon WMD's. Libby will become one more of your convicted felon heroes in your Pantheon of Great American Public Servants like Liddy & Oliver (shred the evidence) North, Elliot Abrams and Cap Weinbooger, along w/ unindicted co-conspirators like Nixon. Your Pantheon will be a bi-century collection of all the Republicans who have shined brightly as they broke the Law they love to cram down someone else's throat.

"But "legal" and "just" are not always synonymous. In our legal system"

"I'm confident that every person that has been put to death in Texas, under my watch, has been guilty of the crime charged, and has had full access to the courts," Mr. Bush said on the NBC News program "Meet the Press"

Yes, Jay, you're certain that this blood-letting former TX governor knows just how to make legal & justicew synonomous. Bush the BloodSpiller as TX governor signed more death warrants in TX than any governor in history, never commuting a single solitary sentence because George the Bloody understand legality & justice, even in the case of the almost certainly wrongfully convicted David Wayne Spence,

Bloody George has absolutely NO CONCEPT OF FAIR & LEGAL. He shoveled people into the TX fryer w/ total abandon, racking up an all-time record of fried flesh in the pursuit of his quality of Mercy.

I have hardly begun to read your piece and it is already abundantly clear that this is one more of your typical twists in, as PM Blair once said, " standing reality on its head."

His defense fund l... (Below threshold)
His defense fund likely will pay the piddly $250K or, w/ a speech or 2, he'll earn that in no time.

Kinda like Warren Berger's $50K fine, hmmm?

The word power and... (Below threshold)
Publicus:
The word power and right are basically interchangeable in that they is no practical difference.

This is especially true if you believe might makes right.

Hey, all you lefties better... (Below threshold)

Hey, all you lefties better get over to Slate and tell them how wrong they are in this article which says, in part:

The voluminous pleas for leniency from Libby's A-list friends seem to have annoyed Walton, who erred on the side of severity not in spite of Libby's high position in government but because of it. Walton wanted to make an example of him.

What's the matter with that? Two words: Bill Clinton. No fair-minded person can deny that the previous president committed perjury about Monica Lewinsky while serving in the Oval Office. The country knew it, and it let him get away with it. Does that mean no government official should ever again be prosecuted for perjury? Of course not. But it does mean Walton should have wondered whether he was imposing a double standard in treating Libby more harshly because Libby worked in the White House. Is it really fair to treat White House aides more harshly than ordinary citizens when presidents get off scot-free?

Jim, Publicus, Mixti, and the rest of the frothing-at-the-mouth gang better correct Slate... they're bringing up Clinton, after all.

It's interesting to note that this comes from a company (Slate is part of MSN) which isn't known for its support of the GOP.

BC,she wa... (Below threshold)
Mac Lorry:

BC,

she was a spy doing spy stuff, that's why!) at the time of the leak, thereby indeed making it a crime.

What law was broken? Look it up and you'll see that it has several conditions that must be met besides the agent being undercover. It's very specific and those conditions were not met, so that law was not broken. If it had been then Armitage would have been charged.

As far as Bush lying or not lying about the yellow cake thing, as far as Joe Wilson was concerned, Bush's statement regarding Iraq attempting to buy uranium yellow cake in the 2003 SOTU address was not supported by best evidence.

So who cares what Wilson thought? Someone is always going to disagree with any President. The fact is that Bush cited British intelligence, which the British confirmed said what Bush said it said. Wilson asking around does not prove the British wrong and even if it did it does not make what Bush stated wrong. The fact remains that Bush did not lie about yellow cake in his state of the union speech.

Hmmm..., wordy, but I don't think it was that hard to prove you wrong.

Wordy yes and you haven't proven a thing. My statements stand unscathed.

It wasn't just Armitage who was talking in background to reporters

Armitage revealed contents from a classified document "on the record" with Novak and it is that action that lead to the outing of Plame. The rest is unproven or irrelevant because it was after the fact or off the record.

Armitage was not some low level lackey -- he was the Deputy Secretary of State under Colin Powell -- plus his resume indicates some familiarity with handling classified info.

The rules are simple and absolute. Apart from the President or those duly appointed NO ONE has the authority to declassify any part of a classified document. Armitage knew he had no authority to leak any part of a classified document, but did so anyway.

Armitage was merely following orders like a good soldier -- it was not something he originated. Another notable point not exactly well-noted.

Utter nonsense. Stop lying. No one ordered Armitage to release classified information. Armitage doesn't even offer that excuse himself.

Jim, Publicus, Mix... (Below threshold)
Publicus:
Jim, Publicus, Mixti, and the rest of the frothing-at-the-mouth gang better correct Slate... they're bringing up Clinton, after all.

How'd I get mixed up in this?! I didn't say much about Libby and this case other than it's not that big a deal compared to other things going on.

;-)

My apologies, Publicus. You... (Below threshold)

My apologies, Publicus. You don't have to go. (But ya might want to anyway, it's an interesting article.)

This is especially... (Below threshold)
Mac Lorry:
This is especially true if you believe might makes right.

What moron doesn't know the difference between legal power and physical might? Ok, you identified yourself.

C-C-G -Thanks for ... (Below threshold)
Publicus:

C-C-G -

Thanks for sharing. Since you asked so nicely, I did read it!

It's interesting. The author suggested that the judge gave a higher sentence (2x what was recommended) because of irritating defenses from high-powered people. And, in his irritation, he imposed a bigger sentence. Also, to show that a bigshot isn't above the law.

The author says this was a mistake, by making the jail sentence twice as high as it should have been. Instead of halving it to bring it in line, Bush commuted the sentence.

Doesn't matter much to me either way, but it is interesting. Thanks!

WildWillie:You sai... (Below threshold)
ChrisO:

WildWillie:

You said "Chris O, you couldn't be more wrong. The appeals court did not rule on the merits of the case. They only ruled if he can be free on bond until the appeals is heard."

If you read what I said closely, I never said they ruled on the merits. But court watchers all agreed that the way in which they wrote the decision (basically one paragraph) is a strong indicator that they found no merit to the appeal. Which is why I said "the Appeals Court just ruled on his appeal for a stay of sentence, and did it in such a way that it's clear they don't think he has a strong case for appeal."

And Oyster, you're barely keeping up here. You said "The question is that if Plame's identity was indeed "leaked" illegally by anyone, anyone at all, then why wasn't anyone charged with that crime?" This has been answered in plain language so many times that I hope you're just willfully ignoring it. A prosecutor launches an investigation into a crime. A central figure in the crime continually lies and obstructs justice, in an effort to thwart the investigation. The prosecutor brings charges against the official, and makes it plain that his obstruction is hampering the investigation. A jury finds the official guilty as charged.

Are you saying the whole thing should be dropped because the official was successful in obstructing the investigation? Is that really what you think? Justice should go to the best liars?

I guess it doesn't matter what you think, because you're clearly in over your head. This one's particularly hilarious: "(Armitage)was no friend of the administration and was a holdover from the previous." Are you shitting me? You think Bush made a Clinton guy Number Two at State? The only time Armitage wasn't in the Federal government was during the Clinton administration. He was brought back in to State by Bush. He's also one of the signers of the PNAC letter, along with Libby, Rumsfeld, Perle, Wolfowitz and Kristol. It's the right that's trying to rewrite history, painting Armitage as some kind of lone wolf outsider. Jesus, get your facts straight.

Referring to Armitage as "the leaker" doesn't make him the only one involved. Between the time Armitage spoke to Novak on July 8, and Novak's column appeared on July 14, several people, including Libby, gave the information about Plame to reporters. Libby didn't spill the beans "after it appeared in the press." As a matter of fact, Libby gave the info to Judy Miller before Novak and Armitage even spoke. But the right wing uses the pretzel logic that as soon as one unqualified individual receives classified information, it's instantly unclassified and everyone else is free to spill their guts. How stupid.

Congratulations. Y... (Below threshold)
Mac Lorry:
Congratulations. You just created an incentive for obstruction of an investigation. That's exactly what obstruction laws are designed to prevent.

You need to look at what I wrote. I said "if a investigation determines that no crime has been committed, or that it can't be proven..." That's not obstruction of justice, it's the prosecutor making a determination that no crime has been committed or that there's insufficient evidence to prove who commuted it. What, you want to give prosecutors unlimted authority to fish around to see what they can come up with AFTER they have concluded there was no crime committed?

That's what defense attornies are for. And juries. And judges. In fact, that's the basis of our whole judicial system. It's unfortunate you disapprove of it.

It's not our system at all. Show me where prosecutors have the power to continue an investigation endlessly after they discover no crime has been committed.

Wait, I thought you were against "fishing trips".

That was my point. Why worry about one and not the other?

Really? Worse than locking someone up, indefinitely, without charges, without access to an attorney, judge, or jury?

Yes really. Prosecutors determined to find something to charge a person with can trap them with obstruction of justice charges, invent evidence (jailhouse witness) against them, and lock them up in spite of an attorney, judge, or jury. If you think being charged with a crime is no big deal even if you can prove you innocence you haven't been watching the news lately.

Chris, if Libby was obstruc... (Below threshold)

Chris, if Libby was obstructing, he did the worst job of it ever. Everyone knows it was Armitage that leaked the name.

But you lefties wanna continue to ignore that, I guess, cause you want so desperately to see some member of Bush's administration go to jail.

'Tain't gonna happen, suh, and I could have told you that from the beginning.

Referring to Armit... (Below threshold)
Mac Lorry:
Referring to Armitage as "the leaker" doesn't make him the only one involved. Between the time Armitage spoke to Novak on July 8, and Novak's column appeared on July 14, several people, including Libby, gave the information about Plame to reporters. Libby didn't spill the beans "after it appeared in the press." As a matter of fact, Libby gave the info to Judy Miller before Novak and Armitage even spoke. But the right wing uses the pretzel logic that as soon as one unqualified individual receives classified information, it's instantly unclassified and everyone else is free to spill their guts. How stupid.

What's stupid is thinking the only element that need to be met was the unauthorized release of classified information. That's not how the law is written. The prosecutor knew that and found that no person could be charged with breaking that law or he would have done so.

"At the time, all IC ("U... (Below threshold)

"At the time, all IC ("U.S. Intelligence Community") analysts interviewed by Committee staff considered this initial report to be very limited and lacking needed detail. CIA, Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) and Department of Energy analysts considered the reporting to be "possible" while the Department of State's Bureau of Intelligence and Research (INR) regarded the report as "highly suspect." Primarily because INR analysts did not believe that Niger would be likely to engage in such a transaction and did not believe Niger would be able to transfer uranium to Iraq because of a French consortium maintained control of the Nigerian uranium industry."
--posted by BC

The bold part is what interests me. I've read this before and wondered just exactly does Niger's willingness (or unwillingness) to cooperate with another country's request to procure uranium illegally have to do with whether that other country would try to get them to do it?

It goes something like this:

** Oyster asked Kevin for complete access to all managerial functions on Wizbang.

** That's bull! Kevin would never give her complete access!

Apply the same reasoning of that bold-face portion of that report and it implies she never even asked. It doesn't address the initial statement at all.

Please, tell us why the Iraqis were in Niger then, because it has been established that they were there. Niger's main export by leaps and bounds over anything else is uranium. The lesser exports are cow peas and cattle. Which do you think the Iraqis were interested in? I mean since we have a few people here coming to all manner of other conclusions, I don't think it's unreasonable to ask that question.

"Are you saying the whol... (Below threshold)

"Are you saying the whole thing should be dropped because the official was successful in obstructing the investigation? Is that really what you think? Justice should go to the best liars?"

ChrisO - Wow, you're doing an awful lot of assuming there based on something I didn't say. No, I never said any such thing. You're barely keeping up though. I was responding to the constant charges of Libby's "deliberate outing of a secret agent" without regard to Armitage's actions. You snipped that text from my comment but not the following statement which puts it in context:

"The constant harping of lefties that Libby leaked the name of a covert agent while taking special pains to avoid accusing Armitage of the same thing is hypocrisy."

So somehow I'm in over my head because you can't read what I said?

No, Oyster, Chris is in ove... (Below threshold)

No, Oyster, Chris is in over his head and needs to go back to DU where the conversation is at his intellectual level.

To Mac Lorry: ... (Below threshold)
BC:

To Mac Lorry:

        she was a spy doing spy stuff, that's why!) at the time of the leak, thereby indeed making it a crime.

What law was broken? Look it up and you'll see that it has several conditions that must be met besides the agent being undercover. It's very specific and those conditions were not met, so that law was not broken. If it had been then Armitage would have been charged.

You don't click on links, do you? It would make for shorter posts, you know. That Newsweek link had this: But special prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald found that Plame had indeed done "covert work overseas" on counterproliferation matters in the past five years, and the CIA "was making specific efforts to conceal" her identity, according to newly released portions of a judge's opinion. (A CIA spokesman at the time is quoted as saying Plame was "unlikely" to take further trips overseas, though.) Fitzgerald concluded he could not charge Libby for violating a 1982 law banning the outing of a covert CIA agent; apparently he lacked proof Libby was aware of her covert status when he talked about her three times with New York Times reporter Judith Miller. Fitzgerald did consider charging Libby with violating the so-called Espionage Act, which prohibits the disclosure of "national defense information," the papers show; he ended up indicting Libby for lying about when and from whom he learned about Plame.

Apparently you have to know that you are blowing a cover to be prosecuted, which is also why Armitage wasn't charged.

        As far as Bush lying or not lying about the yellow cake thing, as far as Joe Wilson was concerned, Bush's statement regarding Iraq attempting to buy uranium yellow cake in the 2003 SOTU address was not supported by best evidence.

So who cares what Wilson thought? Someone is always going to disagree with any President. The fact is that Bush cited British intelligence, which the British confirmed said what Bush said it said. Wilson asking around does not prove the British wrong and even if it
did it does not make what Bush stated wrong. The fact remains that Bush did not lie about yellow cake in his state of the union speech.

Wilson himself cared about what he thought, hence his writing that piece for the Times. And as far as whether Bush lied or not, you evaded answering my question: "If you have two piles of contradictory evidence on your desk, with the one on your left being a foot high, and the one on the right being just a couple of sheets, and you decide to still choose the evidence on the right because it suits what you want to do for a course of action, does that make you a liar when you only mention that right "pile" as the evidence for that action?"

        Hmmm..., wordy, but I don't think it was that hard to prove you wrong.

Wordy yes and you haven't proven a thing. My statements stand unscathed.

Ya think?

        It wasn't just Armitage who was talking in background to reporters

Armitage revealed contents from a classified document "on the record" with Novak and it is that action that lead to the outing of Plame. The rest is unproven or irrelevant because it was after the fact or off the record.

Armitage did nothing that was really different from Rove -- if Matt Copper, the reporter Rove had chatted to about Plame, had run a column mentioning Plame's job before Novak did, it would have been Rove's leak.

        Armitage was not some low level lackey -- he was the Deputy Secretary of State under Colin Powell -- plus his resume indicates some familiarity with handling classified info.

The rules are simple and absolute. Apart from the President or those duly appointed NO ONE has the authority to declassify any part of a classified document. Armitage knew he had no authority to leak any part of a classified document, but did so anyway.

The point was that Armitage, as a long time military/government insider, very likely knows the nature of classified documents better than you or I, and it is very, VERY unlikely that he was doing anything unusual. He just didn't know what the true deal was with Plame.

        Armitage was merely following orders like a good soldier -- it was not something he originated. Another notable point not exactly well-noted.

Utter nonsense. Stop lying. No one ordered Armitage to release classified information. Armitage doesn't even offer that excuse himself.

Hardly -- you think Armitage would have been talking to Novak about Plame if the White House hadn't started the campaign to smear Wilson a few days earlier? See both this and this (go on, the links won't bite.)

While Armitage apparently wasn't intending to be deliberately vindictive, his casual complacency in relaying info meant to discredit Wilson doesn't exactly absolve him.

Anyway, this thread is taking up too much of my time (I can see why so many people hate to fact-check -- it's so annoyingly tedious). Everyone have a happy and safe 4th.

-BC

I would just like to go on ... (Below threshold)

I would just like to go on the record stating that I do have "complete access to all managerial functions on Wizbang," and Oyster could wrangle that out of me for a wink and a smile.

J.

Brian, you are right. I ... (Below threshold)
Brian:

Brian, you are right. I hereby apologize for any and all times that I acted the way you frothing-at-the-mouth lefties are acting now.

Great. So you will now accept the outcome of the Berger, Rich, and Clinton matters, and consider them closed and not up for further discussion. I shall look forward to you upholding your new realization.

The word power and right... (Below threshold)
Brian:

The word power and right are basically interchangeable in that they is no practical difference.

Then please explain why the SCOTUS upheld that it is reasonable for attorneys and judges to be prohibited from informing jurors about this "right". Are there any other "rights" that it is forbidden by federal law from federal officials telling you about?

The founders were well familiar with jury nullification and the jury is the final check and balance on the power of the government.... The check on that abuse is the jury and that check can only operate when the jury judges both the facts of the case, the law itself, and how the law is applied.

Great. A jury convicted Scooter, after judging the facts of the case, the law itself, and how the law was applied. So you must be in favor of adhering to this "final check and balance", yes?

The other quotes you posted support my statement that the professionals in the legal system don't like the idea of lay people exercising such power and have attempted keep ignorant jurors ignorant.

There's a difference between not liking people doing something and making it illegal to tell them they have the "right" to do it.

What I find surprising is that so many liberals support unchecked prosecutorial power and then worry about warrantless wiretaps. The former is far more dangerous to freedom than the latter.

As I said previously when you offered this inaccurate observation... are defense attorneys, juries, and judges not checks on prosecutorial power? Please show where in the US court system unchecked prosecutorial power exists. The only place seems to be in Bush's secret courts.

And if you think warrantless wiretaps are just fine for preserving freedom, then you must be OK with giving up the right to bear arms. After all, you're not planning an armed revolt anytime soon, are you?

You need to look at what... (Below threshold)
Brian:

You need to look at what I wrote. I said "if a investigation determines that no crime has been committed, or that it can't be proven..." That's not obstruction of justice,

If that's not obstruction of justice, then what the hell is? It's only obstruction if the prosecutor can make the case? And if I'm successful at obstructing his ability to make the case, then that's not obstruction? Are you even reading what you're writing?

it's the prosecutor making a determination that no crime has been committed or that there's insufficient evidence to prove who commuted it.

You are still offering an incentive for obstruction justice. Having the prosecutor conclude that "no crime has been committed or that there's insufficient evidence to prove who committed it" is exactly the incentive that I was referring to. You seem to need an example. My friend commits a crime. I know it. I witnessed it. I have the evidence. I destroy the evidence. I lie to prosecutors. The prosecutor is unable to make a case. Therefore, I am guilty of nothing in your mind?

What, you want to give prosecutors unlimted authority to fish around to see what they can come up with AFTER they have concluded there was no crime committed?

You're misrepresenting reality. The "obstruction" refers to the investigation, not the final outcome. With the investigation closed, Fitz is not "fishing around" for anything.

It's not our system at a... (Below threshold)
Brian:

It's not our system at all. Show me where prosecutors have the power to continue an investigation endlessly after they discover no crime has been committed.

That would be "the United States". And Fitz did discover a crime was committed. Multiple. And Libby was convicted for them. Or are you saying that during the course of an investigation into one crime, if another crime is discovered, that second crime cannot be prosecuted because it wasn't the focus of the investigation?

Need I remind you that Clinton was charged with perjury resulting from an investigation that continued even after they discovered no crime had been committed? I'm guessing you think there was nothing wrong with that.

No, Brian, Clinton was char... (Below threshold)

No, Brian, Clinton was charged with obstruction of justice after being sanctioned by a Federal judge in a civil action - not a criminal investigation.

BC, you don't understand th... (Below threshold)

BC, you don't understand the alliances at issue. Armitage is not known as a Bush loyalist, but more of a Powell man. His discussions with the press were more likely to attempt to make Powell look good than Bush.

BC,Appare... (Below threshold)
Mac Lorry:

BC,

Apparently you have to know that you are blowing a cover to be prosecuted, which is also why Armitage wasn't charged.

Glad to see you found out there are several parts to the 1982 law banning the outing of a covert CIA agents
and all must be fulfilled for that law at be broken. That law was not broken by anyone and that's why Fitzgerald never charged anyone for breaking it.

Then there's this: Fitzgerald did consider charging Libby with violating the so-called Espionage Act, which prohibits the disclosure of "national defense information,"

The reason Fitzgerald couldn't charge Libby with violating the Espionage Act is that he would have also had to charge Armitage with the same thing. In fact Armitage admitted to leaking information from a classified State Department memo. That begs the question "why didn't Fitzgerald charge both Libby and Armitage for leaking classified information?"

And as far as whether Bush lied or not, you evaded answering my question:

I don't need to answer questions that have no basis in fact.

Ya think?

Apparently more than you do.

Armitage did nothing that was really different from Rove -- if Matt Copper, the reporter Rove had chatted to about Plame, had run a column mentioning Plame's job before Novak did, it would have been Rove's leak.

Glad you now understand that Rove did nothing wrong. If you turn your sentence around you get "Rove did nothing that was really different from Armitage". Fitzgerald never charged Armitage with a crime, so Rove did nothing wrong per Fitzgerald.

The point was that Armitage, as a long time military/government insider, very likely knows the nature of classified documents better than you or I, and it is very, VERY unlikely that he was doing anything unusual..

No amount of counter clockwise spin changes the simple fact that Armitage leaked information from a classified State Department memo. It's not unusual for drivers to speed, but that doesn't make it legal.

He just didn't know what the true deal was with Plame

And that's exactly why no one other than the President or those properly appointed gets to decide what part of a classified document is classified and want is not. Armitage knew this, yet leaked information from a classified document.

Hardly -- you think Armitage would have been talking to Novak about Plame if the White House hadn't started the campaign to smear Wilson a few days earlier? See both this and this (go on, the links won't bite.)

I check both your links and the first is a lefty blog that contained no factual information that hasn't already come up in this thread. The second is an article that I linked to before, but now you have linked to it as one of your sources. There's nothing on either link to support your wild ass statement that Armitage was merely following orders like a good soldier -- it was not something he originated. Another notable point not exactly well-noted. I know it's hard for lefties to separate fact from fiction, but your statement is just pure fantasy. Even your own source states that Armitage was "a well-known gossip who loves to dish and receive juicy tidbits about Washington characters" The man is a well-known gossip, so yes, I think Armitage would have been talking to Novak about Plame, because it was Novak who was leading Armitage in that direction.

Anyway, this thread is taking up too much of my time (I can see why so many people hate to fact-check -- it's so annoyingly tedious).

Yes, but I took the time to do it and you apparently learned a few things.

To Mac Lorry:Actua... (Below threshold)
BC:

To Mac Lorry:

Actually I have a little spare time at the moment and I don't need to do much more research to further shoot down your "points". Here, let me simplify things so that even a right winger might understand:

1) Was Plame still covert at the time of the leak? Yes -- this isn't arguable.

2) Was the leak a consequence of efforts by the White House, the GOP leadership, and their supporters (like Novak) to discredit Joe Wilson and the piece he wrote for the NY Times? Yes -- this again isn't arguable.

3) Which Bush people were very inappropriately memoing and blabbing to reporters about Plame? At least Armitage (to at least Novak and Bob Woodward)) Rove (to at least Matt Cooper and Novak), Libby (to at least Judith Miller and Matt Cooper), Ari Fleisher (to at least Walter Pincus , David Gregory, and John Dickerson ), and maybe Dan Bartlett to some degree (he was overheard by Fleisher and maybe others talking about Plame).

4) Who originated the memo that Armitage read that discussed Plame? Libby.

5) Why was Libby the fall guy and not Armitage, or Rove or the others for that matter? When Armitage discovered that he was the one who leaked, however inadvertently, the identity of a convert CIA agent, he immediately came clean and owed up to it. Libby, however, who originated all of this when he learned of Plame's ID from Cheney (who in turn supposedly got it from George Tenet) lied outright about his role in the matter. While evidently Fitzgerald wasn't sure he could convict Libby under the Intelligence Identities Protection Act, he decided could certainly nail Libby for lying and obstruction of justice. Rove and the others got because their wasn't really enough evidence to nail them for either knowingly violating the Intelligence Identities Protection Act or for obstruction ot justice.

6) As far as whether Amitage was just a blabbermouth or actually a willing participant in the smear campaign against Wilson, besides the obvious fact that Armitage was talking up a conservative reporter about Plame using info from a memo created by Libby, there is Novak's opinion, which paints a different picture of Amitage's behavior.

Also don't be so quick to dismiss a source link, like that one to David Corn's article, just because you consider him a lefty -- Corn was an insider for all of this, and co-wrote the book, "Hubris: The Inside Story of Spin, Scandal, and the Selling of the Iraq War", which also more than just touched upon the Valerie Plame situation.

Happy fireworks.

-BC

Then please explai... (Below threshold)
Mac Lorry:
Then please explain why the SCOTUS upheld that it is reasonable for attorneys and judges to be prohibited from informing jurors about this "right".

Here's a link to a page with some reasonably balanced information. There's lots more on the internet including the relevant SCOTUS decisions.

Are there any other "rights" that it is forbidden by federal law from federal officials telling you about?

First it's not just federal law and federal courts. Juries have the power or right of nullification in all courts in the U.S. where a jury is impaneled. There's lots of obscure information about the workings of law enforcement and court proceedings. Beyond that, judges often restrict what evidence can be given to a jury.

Great. A jury convicted Scooter, after judging the facts of the case, the law itself, and how the law was applied. So you must be in favor of adhering to this "final check and balance", yes?

Convicted by a jury who judged the facts of the case that were allowed by the judge. Judges do make mistakes and that's why there's an appeal process. We have no way of knowing if any of the jurors knew of their power to judge the law or the application of the law.

There's a difference between not liking people doing something and making it illegal to tell them they have the "right" to do it.

The SCOTUS never made it illegal to tell jurors of their right to judge the law itself. They have only upheld the decision by some judges to not allow that information to be presented to the jury.

As I said previously when you offered this inaccurate observation... are defense attorneys, juries, and judges not checks on prosecutorial power?

They can be, but they are insufficient if jurors are not informed of their full powers.

Please show where in the US court system unchecked prosecutorial power exists. The only place seems to be in Bush's secret courts.

Have you ever heard of the innocence project? They have demonstrated that in hundreds of cases the "system" of defense attorneys, uninformed juries, and judges have failed. There was a case in the news recently where some young man was sentenced to prison of 16 years for having oral sex with a 15 year-old girl. That wouldn't necessarily be unjust, but the law had been changed so that intercourse between the young man and the 15 year-old girl would have only been a misdemeanor because they were within 3 years age of each other. The problem was that the old law about oral sex was still on the books, so the kid was given a 16 year sentence. Recently the legislators stepped in and updated the law and got the kid a shorter sentence, but such intervention is extraordinary. Had jurors been fully informed they could have intervened early and simply nullified the law in this specific case.

From the sight I linked to above: Jurors sometimes use nullification to send messages to prosecutors about misplaced enforcement priorities or what they see as harassing or abusive prosecutions. Jury nullification prevents our criminal justice system from becoming too rigid--it provides some play in the joints for justice, if jurors use their power wisely.

And if you think warrantless wiretaps are just fine for preserving freedom, then you must be OK with giving up the right to bear arms. After all, you're not planning an armed revolt anytime soon, are you?

Sorry, it was liberals who failed to protect the right to bear arms a long time ago. They now have no standing to complain about warrantless wiretaps. Restore the right to bear arms first, then you'll have some standing to talk about other infringements.

BC,1) Was... (Below threshold)
Mac Lorry:

BC,

1) Was Plame still covert at the time of the leak? Yes -- this isn't arguable.

Irrelevant. The specific law was not broken.

2) Was the leak a consequence of efforts by the White House, the GOP leadership, and their supporters (like Novak) to discredit Joe Wilson and the piece he wrote for the NY Times? Yes -- this again isn't arguable.

Only Novak knows what his motive was. He likely wanted to discredit Wilson for his own reasons apart form any input by the White house.

3) Which Bush people were very inappropriately memoing and blabbing to reporters about Plame? At least Armitage (to at least Novak and Bob Woodward)) Rove (to at least Matt Cooper and Novak), Libby (to at least Judith Miller and Matt Cooper), Ari Fleisher (to at least Walter Pincus , David Gregory, and John Dickerson ), and maybe Dan Bartlett to some degree (he was overheard by Fleisher and maybe others talking about Plame).

After a lengthy investigation no one was ever charged with outing Plame. You have to figure the prosecutor was in the best position to figure that out. If he couldn't show the law against outing a covet agent was broken you sure are not going to do it.

4) Who originated the memo that Armitage read that discussed Plame? Libby.

Irrelevant. It was classified and should have stayed that way.

5) [mostly a long winded opinion]

I agree Libby was convicted for lying and obstruction of justice. Whether or not that conviction stands is not yet known.

6) As far as whether Amitage was just a blabbermouth or actually a willing participant in the smear campaign against Wilson, besides the obvious fact that Armitage was talking up a conservative reporter about Plame using info from a memo created by Libby, there is Novak's opinion, which paints a different picture of Amitage's behavior.

If you believe Novak then Amitage did not come clean with Fitzgerald, lied, obstructed justice, and likely violated the Intelligence Identities Protection Act. Your most persuasive argument so far is that Fitzgerald got the wrong guy. All Fitzgerald would have needed to do was confront Novak with Amitage's story and ask him if that's how he remembered the conversation. It looks like Amitage put one over on Fitzgerald.

Also don't be so quick to dismiss a source link, like that one to David Corn's article

I don't dismiss facts that are in fact facts regardless of the source. I do tend to dismiss leftist opinion.

"I don't need to do much ... (Below threshold)
RobLACal.:

"I don't need to do much more research"

No democrat is willing to do any research , it might lead to the facts they rather not acknowledge.

"this isn't arguable."




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