As we move inexorably to June 5, the date that Scooter Libby is scheduled to be sentenced for four counts of perjury and obstruction of justice, his supporters are stepping up their clamor for the President to do the right thing, as former Ambassador Richard Carlson (Tucker’s father) recently said (which by
the way is code for “Presidential pardon”). I expect that others will jump on the bandwagon in the days to come, much as Victoria Toensing and others did
in trying to sway the jury during the trial with their articles in the Washington Post.
But, the right thing for partisan Republicans is not the right thing that serves the cause of justice in America and safeguards our nation’s security. Prosecutor Pat Fitzgerald knows what is right and lays out the government’s case for three years imprisonment in his pre-sentencing memorandum released yesterday. But beyond what Fitz says in considering that “right thing” we should ask ourselves the following questions:
- If a senior government official were to take two hours of his busy day to meet with the Russian military attaché at an expensive Washington hotel for
the purpose of disclosing the identity of a covert CIA officer, what would you call that?
- And if a senior government official were to either convoke the Chinese political officer to a meeting in his office, or call him on the phone to out a CIA officer, what would you call it?
Treason is treason, even when it refers to the actions of U.S. Government officials, who freely discussed the name of a covert CIA officer–Valerie
Plame–as part of an organized campaign to smear her husband–Ambassador Joseph Wilson, who became the scapegoat for having the courage to speak the
The Encarta World English Dictionary defines treason as: “betrayal of country, violation of the allegiance owed by a person to his or her own country e.g. by aiding an enemy.” I believe that Scooter Libby, as well as Karl Novak, Rich Armitage, and Richard Cheney (as the director of this operation) are traitors and should be viewed as such.
I know that nobody was convicted or even charged with the “underlying crime”, but just because Scooter Libby was only convicted of perjury and obstructing justice, this does not exonerate him from the charge of treason. Al Capone was convicted of tax evasion, but does that mean he was not a mobster?
Alger Hiss was convicted on two counts of perjury, but does that mean he was not a spy. Scooter Libby was convicted on four counts of perjury and obstruction of justice, but he also is a traitor, along with the others who betrayed Valerie Wilson’s identity.
Some, such as Congressman Tom Davis, have argued that the CIA is at fault for Valerie Wilson’s exposure because the CIA didn’t do enough to protect her covert
status. That is a red herring. The failings of the CIA under George Tenet does not absolve those who held top secret security clearances and disclosed her identity from responsibility. Anybody who has ever worked in the national security community and held a clearance knows that when CIA is mentioned one assumes the information is classified, until told differently. It is after all the “clandestine” service.
The betrayal of Valerie’s covert identity by Libby, Rove and Armitage, and the involvement of Cheney was an act of treason, make no mistake about it, and should be seen as such. There are no mitigating factors that justify their actions. Quite apart from the fact that the President and the Vice President were direct supervisors of Libby and, by any commonly accepted ethical standard, should recuse themselves from the pardon process because of an inherent conflict
of interest, a Presidential pardon of a convicted perjurer would condone his act of treason.
Libby’s backers are asking the President to act in an unethical fashion and pardon a traitor. Given the President’s demonstrated tolerance for the lies of
Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, we should not be surprised if he decides to look the other way and give traitors a pass. By the way, when Fred Thompson
announces he is running for President, somebody should ask him how it feels to be representing the treason faction of the Republican Party.