I'm a Pundit Too

Thursday, July 5, 2007

Libby Prison Sentence Commutation Exposes More Hypocrisy

Late Sunday evening, President Bush commuted the 30 month prison sentence for Scooter Libby. Libby, as you may recall, was convicted of obstructing the investigation of the CIA leak case and of making false statements during the investigation. Bush’s commutation does not pardon Libby, but rather allows him to remain a free man.

I would like to take a moment to review why Libby was even in his current predicament. Patrick Fitzgerald was appointed as a Special Prosecutor to investigate who had leaked the identity of Valerie Plame, a CIA operative. The crux of the case was that Plame was a covert CIA operative and the White House blew her cover as a smear attempt against her husband, former ambassador Joe Wilson. Wilson had written an op-ed in the New York Times condemning the administration’s claim that Iraq had attempted to obtain “yellow cake” uranium for weapons of mass destruction. The covert status of Plame has been debated time and time again and will continue to be. After all of the investigation one simple fact remains, Richard Armitage, then Deputy Secretary of State, was the original leak of Plame’s identity.

Special Prosecutor Fitzgerald knew within days of opening the investigation that
Armitage was the leak, but yet Armitage was never charged and Fitzgerald continued his investigation. During his investigation he brought Libby before the Grand Jury multiple times. While on the stand, Libby made contradicting statements that led to charges being filed against him.

I may be a conservative in the minority by saying this but, Libby made false statements while under oath, and so he was correctly convicted of that charge. Even though he may have had a momentary lapse of memory, he still made false statements while under oath. I cannot in good conscience condemn former President Clinton for lying under oath, if I do not hold members of my own party to the same standard. I believe that Libby would never have been charged if Fitzpatrick had ended his investigation when Armitage came forward. After all, when Armitage admitted to being the source of the leak, the sole purpose of the investigation had been fulfilled. Fitzpatrick, on the other hand, saw an opportunity to make a name for himself, and continued the investigation in hoped of finding someone to charge with a crime.

As I stated above, Libby broke the law and was correctly convicted of his crimes. We could debate over the severity of Libby’s sentence of 30 months in prison, but that is a mute point now that his sentence has been commuted. President Bush has the constitutional right to commute the sentence or pardon anyone he deems worthy. Just as every President before him had the very same constitutional right. The political outcry was immediate and intense. Former President Clinton slammed the Bush administration for the decision to commute the prison sentence of Libby. Clinton seems to have forgotten his own presidential history of
pardons, particularly the politically tied pardons of former congressman Dan Rostenkowski and Clinton loyalist Marc Rich. I say again, every President has the constitutional right to pardon anyone they want to, but it smacks of hypocrisy to hear a former President deride a current President’s choice of whose prison sentence to commute.

I personally support the President’s right to commute the sentence of Libby, but I am tired of the politically elite from both parties walking away from charges for which the average citizen would be punished to the fullest extent of the law. Would you or I be given the commutation? Would you or I be able to walk away as a free man if we had stolen classified documents from the National Archives as Sandy Berger did? For all of the yelling and screaming over the commutation, both sides need to check their partisanship at the door and look closely at historical precedence of pardons and of lying under oath.

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1 Comments:

  • I've been having difficulty posting on this. I'm so damn disgusted with this scumbags.

    Had a quick question, is your carnival still posting today?

    By Blogger Kilroy_60, At July 8, 2007 at 6:50 PM  

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