Cutting Libby a break an outrageous move
Article Last Updated: 07/04/2007 08:10:21 AM PDT
PRESIDENT BUSH spared former White House aide I. Lewis “Scooter” Libby of a 2 1/2-year prison sentence in the CIA leak investigation, and while the initial gesture wasn’t a total pardon, it really makes us think:
What more injustice can come from the White House?
Bush only had a few hours to act — an appeals court panel ruled Libby could not delay his prison term; in fact, Libby already had been designated as inmate No. 28301-016 by the U.S. Bureau of Prisons. With prison all but certain, Bush made his call merely five hours after the panel’s decision. Bush said he respected the jury’s decision and he did leave intact a $250,000 fine and two years probation — for the moment. Yet our president says, just because Libby was found guilty of lying and obstructing justice, that 30 months was simply too harsh. As a matter of fact, the president says any jail time is too harsh. Would he do that for just anybody? Hardly.
Then the next day, the president had the audacity to leave open the possibility of a full pardon. “I rule nothing in and nothing out,” Bush said. Wouldn’t that be a kick in the teeth for justice?
While nobody ever was charged with leaking the fact that Valerie Plame was a CIA agent to a newspaper columnist, Libby did lie to federal prosecutors about how he learned about Plame and whom he told. Going after Libby, however, was a mere consolation prize for prosecutors because it was Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage and White
House political adviser Karl Rove who provided the information for the original article, and they got away scot free.
Is Bush bailing out the fall guy in this affair, considering the Plame incident was done to discredit her husband, who was a harsh critic of Bush’s Iraq policy? Consider Libby was Cheney’s chief of staff — during the trial, testimony revealed extraordinary steps Bush and Cheney took to discredit a critic of the Iraq war.
This also shows the ongoing pattern the Bush administration has taken in attempting to manipulate events in its behalf, be it the Iraq war, Supreme Court appointees, stem cell research or global warming, just to name a few. And what’s Bush’s reasoning for sparing Libby while others are wasting away in Guantanamo Bay without any due process of justice?
While we understand the fine and probation do carry a degree of penalty, we also believe had Libby served his prison sentence, at least that would’ve been a mere shred of justice completed in this episode of coverup at the highest level, a coverup that rivals the Iran-Contra affair and is barely a step behind Watergate. Instead, Bush waved the magic presidential wand and made good on one of his good soldier’s dirty deeds — and we may see a full pardon, stay tuned. This administration continues to act like it’s above the law — what message is that sending to the American public?
The irony of this saga can date back to 1999 when another man named George Bush, the father of our current president, made a statement that those who expose names of intelligence sources are “the most insidious of traitors.” We wonder what he thinks about that today.