Thursday, March 08, 2007

For the love of incoherence

The Libby trial verdict (guilty 4 of 5) is drawing the regular and distasteful partisan spin, primarily from the GOP side, but a wee bit from the Dems as well (not that i blame them after the dirty ass dog tactics of the Bush admin). The TV, from what I´ve read and seen, is alive with the sort of spittle you expect from Fox News, except this time the corruption is spreading to most of the news channels.

"There was no underlying crime."
"He shouldn´t have been prosecuted."
"What was his offense?"

They´re all saying it and they all deserve to be taken behind the woodshed and treated to a nice, resounding, five minutes of paddling fun. If you´re going to act like a lying child, you deserve to be treated like one.

Heading up this Maelstrom of Mediocrity is Robert Novak, the backwash "conservative" columnist who lost any sense of objectivity somewhere around 1914 and sparked this whole Plamegate with his original non-news article outing Valerie Plame as a CIA officer and implying that she had used her influence to send her husband to Niger on a fact finding mission (yet never indicting the credibility of his findings).

I never understood why this was a story in the first place. It essentially had the same factual relevance as the "John Edwards sold his house" story in that there was nothing scandalous about Valerie Plame nominating her husband for the mission at hand. What was newsworthy was that Wilson went to Niger and found NOTHING. No nuclear materials, no evidence of Iraqi interests, no evidence of WMD. This would become a continuing theme with the Bush administration "evidence" supporting the war as it became increasingly clear that the neo-cons had fabricated a story out of shreds of highly questionable "facts" that ran counter to State and CIA findings. The bastards.

Nevertheless, outing Plame, a covert CIA officer with a cover in a dummy company, was debatedly criminal (hinged on knowledge of her covert status, see Armitage, Richard), but either way, the White House scrambled to cover it up and hide any evidence that they had been involved. In the process, former Vice Presidential Aide and now convicted felon I. Scooter Libby lied to the FBI and a grand jury about his involvement and knowledge of the leak.

Why lie?

A lot of people have asked why would Libby lie. And while I´m not convinced that we´ll ever get an answer to that, I theorize that there are two factors. First, it´s very likely that the White House was planning on outing Plame and that Armitage essentially got there first. That´s there MO and it´s also why 50% of America immediately assumed they were guilty. It would have been a brazen violation of common sense, but that´s obviously not a problem for this administration. But it looks like they never had to do the risky lifting in this case. In other words, they lucked out.

The second factor is something I have not seen discussed and I´m very confused by it. Journalistic standards always call for confirmation of pertinent information. When GOP hachetman Novak wrote his article outing Plame, didn´t he need confirmation? Wouldn´t there have to have been someone else who outed Plame at the same time? And wouldn´t that person have to have been in the White House? Either Novak is the least ethical and worst "reporter" around (probably true on its merits) or he got confirmation from someone inside the White House and they didn´t want anyone to know about it.

Update: As my memory is a bit slow this morning, yes, there was a second source and his name is Karl Rove. I´m still not sure why he wasn´t prosecuted or at least hasn´t had his security clearance revoked. I mean, he confirmed classified information which directly lead to the compromising of CIA top secret assets abroad. Seems like fair grounds to remove his clearance.

It´s very possible that Libby lied to cover up the simple fact that the White House (or VPs office) was involved in destroying Valerie Plame´s career and they didn´t want it to publicize just how vindictive they were or how dirty their hands were (legal or not).

At any rate, you pretty much don´t lie to a grand jury unless you´re hiding something big. So whatever Libby´s motives (orders?), it´s a mistake he´ll be paying for for quite some time.

No underlying crime

"Did IQs just drop sharply while I was away?"

- Ripley, Aliens

The Rightwing-Hack-o-Sphere is all over this argument that since there was no underlying crime, there shouldn´t have been an investigation or prosecution. Hack-o-Sphere, meet woodshed.

I don´t seem to remember anyone making this argument when President Clinton was drawn and quartered over receiving a BJ in the Oval Office, something that is clearly less illegal than what we´ve seen in the Plame case. In fact, some of the current Naughty Boys and Girls that are trumpeting this line were adament that Clinton be impeached because he lied to a grand jury and they repeated those claims just when Clinton released his memoirs. The sanctity of the legal process, etc.

In the immortal words of Seargant Al Powell, "Why don't you wake up and smell what you're shoveling?" Please, spare me the bullshit this time around.

Not only that, however, the whole point of lying to a grand jury and the FBI is to ensure that no one can find an underlying crime. We may never know if there was an underlying crime because Libby lied about it and helped cover up any White House or Darth Cheney role.

Last, who gives a damn about an underlying crime. That dude lied repeatedly to the FBI and Grand Jury. That´s a crime. He should be Nixonized for it. Enough said.


The scandals continue and for anyone interested I strongly recommend looking at Talking Points Memo. They´re all over the fired US Attorney scandal that is only going to get bigger. Just to catch everyone up on this one, basically, the Justice Department fired 8 US Attorneys on the same day in December. It was highly unusual (and flagrantly stupid) and there appears to be clear evidence that it was politically motivated and probably illegal. This is only going to get bigger and could lead to the impeachment of US Attorney General and Torture Justifier Alberto Gonzalez.

Anyway, this is going to be an interesting story to watch. Already two Congresspeople from New Mexico are implicated and one from Washington State. Plus, the Justice department has clearly lied about the motivations for firing and that includes Gonzalez. He was under oath when he lied to Congress as well. So, we shall see how this goes.


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