Re: Malcolm Cross column on Scooter Libby
Malcolm, let’s consider the facts regarding Scooter Libby and Valerie Plame.
Valerie Plame was an ‘under cover’ agent of the CIA.
It is illegal to disclose the name of a CIA covert agent.
She may have been working at a desk at the time her name was made public that she was a CIA agent. But the CIA brought forward that the law had been violated by the disclosure of her name. The CIA stated that she WAS a covert agent for the CIA. That is not ‘past tense’. The CIA asked for the investigation, not the ‘administration critics’.
Malcolm, you may say that she was an ‘analyst,’ but I’m of the opinion that the CIA is a little more informed as to the status of those who work in the CIA than you and I.
It is immaterial that ‘Scooter’ did or did not release her name. The special prosecutor was investigating that there was possibly illegal action of ‘outing’ a covert CIA operative. During that investigation, it was suspected that Libby lied under oath. Charges were brought on him for that possible illegal action, plus that by doing so; he was obstructing the investigation.
Yes, that special prosecutor convinced the jury that Libby lied under oath. I thought convincing juries of the guilt or innocence of a person is why we have a judicial system with juries.
As to your statement as to the President having the right to ‘pardon’ people. The constitution does read quite like what you said. Article II, Section 2 says “he shall have power to grant reprieves and pardons for offenses against the United States, except in cases of impeachment.” Doesn’t say anything about ‘defendants were unfairly convicted or otherwise mistreated by the criminal justice system.’
I’m not a lawyer. Don’t know how this action for Libby or most of the other recent presidential pardons fit under that “offenses against the United States,” but it seems to me that the recent presidents have very liberally applied it to most of the pardons.
Is it all politics? Let’s look at that. The special prosecutor is a known Republican, appointed by a Republican administration. The trial judge is a known Republican. The sentence was reviewed and approved by four other judges, known to be Republicans. I think that pretty well lets the political claim out of the running.
No underlying crime? At that point, the outing of Plame was immaterial. Lying under oath is no crime? Then why do they have you swear to “tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth” and keep reminding you that you are under oath?
Fine, if President Bush elects to pardon Libby, I guess that is his choice. Other presidents have certainly applied that kind of interpretation to Article II, Section 2.
But don’t try to give me this bull hockey about Libby being a poor old mistreated good old boy and deserves to get a full pardon.
John C Darby, Jr.