On June 9, 2003, just one day after his national security advisor, Condoleezza Rice, got beaten up on the Sunday shows for claiming no one in the administration knew that the Niger intelligence was bunk, George Bush expressed concern about the allegations. Scooter Libby passed on that concern to vice president Cheney. Bush’s concern set off a chain of events that ended up in the outing of a CIA spy, Valerie Plame, and the indictment and conviction of Scooter Libby.
Yesterday, George Bush attempted to prevent that chain of events from continuing any further. He commuted Scooter Libby’s 30-month sentence. Rather than serving time in jail, Libby will remain free, with a fine and probation as the only remaining punishments for lying and obstructing a criminal investigation. But the real effect of Bush’s actions is to prevent Libby from revealing the truth about Bush’s – and vice president Cheney’s – own actions in the leak. By commuting Libby’s sentence, Bush protected himself and his vice president from potential criminal exposure for their actions in the CIA Leak. As such, Libby’s commutation is nothing short of another obstruction of justice.
Cheney’s involvement in the CIA leak case is central. He personally undertook research on Joe Wilson and his trip; while doing that research, Cheney learned that Wilson’s wife worked in the counter-proliferation division of the CIA, the part of the clandestine services that fights the spread of weapons of mass destruction. Cheney then passed on the news of Plame’s CIA identity to Libby….
Shortly thereafter, Scooter Libby leaked to Miller Valerie Plame’s identity and the contents of the CIA report on Wilson’s trip to Niger. Libby would later say that Cheney had declassified the NIE, and not Plame’s identity or the trip report. But there’s no paperwork to support this claim, just the word of a convicted perjurer. Furthermore, Libby testified that Cheney had ordered him to leak this material exclusively – and Libby had already leaked the NIE to two other reporters. The two pieces of information that Libby leaked to Miller exclusively, after Cheney ordered Libby to leak information to her, were Plame’s identity and the CIA report on Wilson’s trip….
There is more, a lot more. The bottom line: continued obstruction of justice to protect all those lies, to protect George Bush and Dick Cheney. And Republicans are cheering them on — disgraceful. Go and read the whole thing.
The Grand Ole Imperial Party — where enforcement of the criminal laws only happens when you aren’t covering for the President and the Vice President. Can you say obstruction of justice? I knew you could.
PS — For those who had trouble with the YouTube of Marcy’s Hardball appearance, Crooks and Liars has the clip up now as well.