The sentencing of Scooter Libby was the last in a series of acts that has resulted in a shocking injustice – one created by and enabled by federal officials. As I’ve been saying for many months, this is a “he said-she said” case about political infighting that would have never been brought in any other prosecutor’s office in America.
The CIA started the ball rolling by sending the Democratic partisan husband of one of its employees to Niger on a sensitive mission. Knowing an opportunity when he saw one, he returned and blasted the Bush Administration (the fact that he blatantly falsified a few important things along the way is another story). It should not have been a shock to CIA officials when people then asked, “Who is this guy and why was he sent to Niger?” The only mystery in Washington is why the CIA employee-wife’s name, Valerie Plame, took as long as it did to leak.
Nevertheless, the CIA demanded that the Department of Justice investigate the leak of her name (not surprisingly, the fact that the CIA was making such a request was leaked). This put pressure on the DOJ. The DOJ, in turn, promptly caved to the media and Congressional pressure to appoint a Special Counsel to investigate the Plame leak. However, there were two glaring problems for anyone with a sense of justice, or who may have gone to law school for one semester.
The Justice Department and the new Special Counsel knew that: 1.) The leaking of Valerie Plame’s name did not constitute a crime because she was not a “covered person” under the relative criminal statue and, 2.) They already knew the name of the leaker: State Department official Richard Armitage.
Yet small matters such as these do not matter much to Justice Department officials trying to cover their own fanny, or to a newly minted Special Prosecutor with a reputation to make and members of the media to satisfy.
Special Prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald proceeded to make public statements and employ tactics that would have brought condemnation in any other setting. He moved heaven and earth for a year and a half in order to come up with some sort of “process” crime against a high-level Administration official -- so that he could try them in one of the most anti-Bush Administration places in America, Washington DC.
Fred Thompson has been a lawyer, actor and United States Senator. He writes exclusive analysis and commentary for Townhall Magazine.