The verdict is in and Scooter Libby has been convicted of four of the five counts brought before the court. This is our first taste of justice and the first, but hopefully not the last, case of neo-conservatism being judged criminal. Why do I say that? After all, this case was nominally about the narrow issue of Scooter Libby’s truthfulness and obstruction of a criminal investigation. At least ostensibly, it wasn’t about neo-conservatism at all. But if you pull back and look at the big picture, it is ALL about the criminality of neo-conservatism. It was precisely that criminality that so disturbed Ambassador Joseph Wilson and led him to speak out. And it was the seriousness of his charge that led to the outing of his wife.

Moving a step forward, as Fitzgerald explained when he brought the charges against Scooter Libby, when a crime is committed, sometimes justice can be vindicated without charging the original crime:

But at the end of the day, I think I want to say one more thing, which is: When you do a criminal case, if you find a violation, it doesn’t really, in the end, matter what statute you use if you vindicate the interest.

If Mr. Libby is proven to have done what we’ve alleged — convicting him of obstruction of justice, perjury and false statements — very serious felonies — will vindicate the interest of the public in making sure he’s held accountable.

It’s not as if you say, “Well, this person was convicted but under the wrong statute.”

If you turn on FOX News you’ll quickly discover that they disagree. They are saying that Libby was convicted under the wrong statute and therefore there was no underlying crime. But that’s bull. Here’s how Fitz put it.

That talking point won’t fly. If you’re doing a national security investigation, if you’re trying to find out who compromised the identity of a CIA officer and you go before a grand jury and if the charges are proven — because remember there’s a presumption of innocence — but if it is proven that the chief of staff to the vice president went before a federal grand jury and lied under oath repeatedly and fabricated a story about how he learned this information, how he passed it on, and we prove obstruction of justice, perjury and false statements to the FBI, that is a very, very serious matter.

Now, one of the jurors came out after the verdict and held a lengthy press conference. Here is part of what he said:

“There was a lot of sympathy on the jury for Libby. What are we doing with him? Where’s Rove, where’s these other guys? It seemed like as [Libby’s attorney] Wells said, he was the fall guy. The jury believed he was tasked by the Vice President to talk to reporters. We never discussed what Cheney would have told him to say.”

In many ways, Scooter Libby has been the fall guy. Even Dick Cheney said so in a note he wrote.

Not going to protect one staffer plus sacrifice the guy the Pres that was asked to stick his neck in the meat grinder because of the incompetence of others.

We’ll probably never know exactly what Dick Cheney meant by the ‘incompetence of others’, but we do know that ‘the Pres’ asked Scooter Libby to ‘stick his neck in the meat grinder’. And Scooter Libby did just that by leaking classified intelligence from the National Intelligence Estimate and by revealing Valerie Plame Flame’s identity to Judith Miller. And why did the President want Scooter Libby to stick his neck out?

It’s probably because Scooter Libby was the person pushing so hard to put all that bad intelligence into the National Intelligence Estimate, so hard to put bad intelligence into Colin Powell’s United Nations presentation. When we went into Iraq and found no weapons of mass destruction, the President had every right to say to the Vice-President and to Scooter Libby: “You were wrong, now go clean this up.”

From the very beginning this case was about the flawed, forged, and cherry-picked intelligence that the neo-conservatives used to justify a naked war of aggression that was not justified by any honest threat assessment and was ultimately judged illegal under international law.

That is what the Scooter Libby trial was really about. As Fitzgerald said:

If Mr. Libby is proven to have done what we’ve alleged — convicting him of obstruction of justice, perjury and false statements — very serious felonies — will vindicate the interest of the public in making sure he’s held accountable.

This conviction was about vindicating the public interest and making sure Scooter Libby is held accountable. This is specifically about holding him accountable for the leaking of Valerie Wilson’s occupation. But, in the broader sense, this is about holding him accountable for the crimes that Joe Wilson originally charged him with: twisting intelligence to hype the threat to our nation from Saddam Hussein’s Iraq.

And, while this is justice, it is a small piece of justice. Real justice will come when the President and the Vice-President, and not just their fall guy, are convicted of the crimes against our nation that they have committed.

0 0 votes
Article Rating