Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Libby-Gate

Sometimes these just write themselves. That is to say - Jay is usually so predictably behind the curve that sharper pens than mine have already rebutted his points in advance. Since his blog is mostly days-old GOP talking points, I guess that's not so surprising.

Media Matters for America, the day of the verdict, ran an article on "Media myths and falsehoods to watch for", where they hit the following myths surrounding the Scooter Libby trial:

No underlying crime was committed.

There was no concerted White House effort to smear Wilson.

Libby was not responsible for the leak of Plame's identity.

Libby merely "left out some facts."

Libby's leak was an effort to set the record straight.

There is no evidence that the Plame leak compromised national security.

Fitzgerald is a partisan prosecutor.

Plame's employment with the CIA was widely known.


Hilariously, Jay hits nearly every single one in his post on the subject. As an exercise, let's cut his post into the prescient responses Media Matters offers in their article:

"Of course, Wilson’s claims were thoroughly debunked. No solid evidence has emerged that Bush “iied” in the 2003 State of the Union, there was no organized campaign to discredit Wilson or “leak” Plame’s name, the real leaker was Richard Armitage all along (a fact which Mr. Fitzgerald knew from the beginning)..."

In his October 2005 press conference announcing Libby's indictment, Fitzgerald alleged that, in 2003, "multiple people in the White House" engaged in a "concerted action" to "discredit, punish, or seek revenge against" former ambassador Joseph C. Wilson IV. In August 2006, it came to light that then-deputy secretary of State Richard Armitage was the original source for syndicated columnist Robert D. Novak's July 14, 2003, column exposing CIA operative Valerie Plame's identity. Numerous conservative media figures subsequently claimed that this revelation disproved the notion of a "concerted" White House effort to smear Wilson. But to the contrary, David Corn -- Washington editor of The Nation and co-author of Hubris (Crown, 2006) the book that revealed Armitage's role in the leak -- noted on his Nation weblog that Armitage "abetted a White House campaign under way to undermine Wilson" and that whether he deliberately leaked Plame's identity, "the public role is without question: senior White House aides wanted to use Valerie Wilson's CIA employment against her husband."
"...and there’s no evidence that Plame was actually working as a covert agent."

This falsehood has taken at least two forms -- that Plame's employment with the CIA was known in the Washington cocktail party circuit and that her neighbors knew that she worked for the CIA. In fact, Fitzgerald stated in the indictment of Libby that Plame's employment was classified and "was not common knowledge outside the intelligence community," a finding he reiterated at a post-verdict press conference. Moreover, as Media Matters noted, contrary to The Washington Times' assertion that "numerous neighbors were aware that she worked for the agency," none of the neighbors cited in The Times' own news reports or in other reports said that they knew before reading the Novak column that Plame worked at the CIA. Her acquaintances told reporters that they believed she worked as a private "consultant."
"Nothing excuses perjury or obstruction of justice, but Fitzgerald’s case was weak and his prosecutorial indiscretion will have significant impacts in the future."

Since a federal grand jury indicted Libby in October 2005, numerous media figures have stated that the nature of the charges against him prove that special counsel Patrick J. Fitzgerald's investigation of the CIA leak case found that no underlying crime had been committed. But this assertion ignores Fitzgerald's explanation that Libby's obstructions prevented him -- and the grand jury -- from determining whether the alleged leak violated federal law.

"This was a politically motivated prosecution by a prosecutor whose blatant partisanship was made clear in his closing."

Over the course of the CIA leak investigation and the Libby trial, conservative media figures have attempted to cast Fitzgerald as a "prosecutor run amok" who is engaging in "the criminalization of politics." But Fitzgerald's background and prosecutorial record undermine the suggestion that his pursuit of Libby was politically motivated. Indeed, Fitzgerald is a Bush administration political appointee who, as U.S. attorney, has investigated high-level public officials from both parties, including former Illinois Gov. George Ryan (R), Chicago Mayor Richard M. Daley (D), and Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich (D).


As I said it's like these blog posts write themselves - it's that easy, most of the time, to cut through Jay's ridiculous distortions.

2 Comments:

At 11:52 AM, Blogger shyestviolet said...

...wait a minute, you totally know who I am! my internet anonymity is out the window!

 
At 11:31 AM, Blogger Chet said...

Lol! It's not my fault you've been using the same internet screen name since "Carousel."

 

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