Sunday, July 08, 2007

Good Post Re Libby Sentence

Jeff Gardner writes a regular column for the Albuquerque Tribune. He has written a pretty good one on the Libby commutation. It is reproduced below here for your review:

Jeffry Gardner: No big deal
Commuting Libby's sentence is no miscarriage of justice
By Jeffry GardnerFriday, July 6, 2007

The paint had hardly dried on my "Free Scooter Now!" protest sign when President Bush commuted the sentence of the former aide to the Vice President Dick Cheney, I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby.

Libby was found guilty on dubious charges of obstructing justice and lying to a grand jury, born of his outing of Central Intelligence Agency agent Valerie Plame, now of Santa Fe. [But of course, Richard Armitage, not Libby actually did the "outing." And she wasn't covert, damnit! Ed.] Apparently riding a desk in Langley, Va., is so undercover that only gossip columnists and Vanity Fair photographers were allowed access to her double-naught spy status.

It matters little that Special Prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald was Republican-appointed. In Washington, working against this administration is a rite of passage for many, and Fitzgerald proved to have an affinity for the media. That makes for sparkling jurisprudence, doesn't it?
From the get-go there's been an air of scam to this ordeal, led first and foremost by Valerie Plame's shamelessly self-promoting husband, former Ambassador Joseph Wilson, who labored overtime to spin their side of this yarn.

Wilson went to great lengths to portray his bride as a valued, deep-cover agent. This has been debated throughout the course of this entire goat rodeo. The president's decision to commute Libby's prison sentence has put Wilson back where he likes to be - hanging out with friends like Matt Lauer on "The Today Show" and such, crying about the injustice of it all.

We do have experience, of course, with high-level government officials outing real operatives. In the mid-1980s, Sen. Patrick Leahy, a Vermont Democrat, leaked information he had access to as vice chairman of Senate Intelligence Committee - an act his critics said ultimately led to the killing of a CIA asset in Egypt. That Leahy today sits as ranking member of the Senate Judiciary Committee speaks to how well justice was served in that case. Few, if anyone, on the left is concerned with this hypocrisy.

Then there are the Clintons. As first lady, Hillary Clinton, among other things, ransacked hundreds of FBI files. Oddly, only Republican files were reviewed. Today she's the leading Democratic candidate for president.

And the impeachment charges brought against that dynamo of integrity, William Jefferson Clinton, stemmed from his lying to a grand jury and obstructing justice - sound familiar? - not with whom or how he smoked or didn't smoke cigars.

Today one imagines Bill licking his chops at the chance to return to his old hunting grounds, this time as first gentleman.

The litany of justice failed throughout the Clinton years was staggering. He added a little assault on the federal judiciary and our national reverence for the law and the American sense of justice of his own, pardoning and commuting more than 140 felons his final night in office. To have a look at how justice was served, go to and search for "Clinton pardons."

Commuting Libby's 30-month prison term was hardly an outrage. Frankly, justice in such cases is a lot like beauty: Whether it is served is truly in the eye of the beholder.