Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Scooter Libby redux

Robert Novak, in his new memoir, belatedly cleared the air about the Valerie Plame affair which resulted in Scooter Libby’s jail sentence for fibbing to the special prosecutor.

From Novak’s interview with Richard Armitage, then deputy secretary of state:

I then asked Armitage a question that had been puzzling me but, for the sake of my future peace of mind, would better have been left unasked.

Why would the CIA send Joseph Wilson, not an expert in nuclear proliferation and with no intelligence experience, on the mission to Niger?

"Well," Armitage replied, "you know his wife works at CIA, and she suggested that he be sent to Niger." "His wife works at CIA?" I asked. "Yeah, in counterproliferation."
After Patrick Fitzgerald, the U.S. attorney in Chicago named as a special prosecutor in the case, indicated to me he knew Armitage was my source, I cooperated fully with him.

So, even though the prosecutor knew who committed the ‘crime’ he was supposedly investigating, he harassed Libby, put him on trial for obstruction and had him jailed. Meanwhile the known ‘culprit’, Armitage, was let completely off the hook.

All of this suggests the prosecutor knew there was no crime to investigate and pushed the case for the sake of politics and press notoriety.

President Bush was right to spring Libby from jail. A full pardon would have been better.

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