Strengthening Constitutional Self-Government

No Left Turns

Defending Scooter Libby

Here is TNR’s Martin Peretz on the (now) Valeria Plame non-case:

"No one is interested in the case of the ’outed spook’ and her ’outer’ any longer. And that is because we now know who exposed the lady to Robert Novak, and he isn’t and never was part of the Cheney White House. He was part of the anti-Cheney State Department, liberal heroes, sort of. That man is Richard Armitage, latterly deputy secretary of state and multi-lateralist par excellence. He has now expressed his soulful contrition for the leak. One thing everybody in Washington knows about Armitage is that he doesn’t take another kind of a leak without asking Colin Powell first. So there is now added to this weird case the question of what were Armitage’s--and Powell’s--motives in this exposure. And they should also be asking about Lawrence B. Wilkerson, Powell’s chief of staff at State, and his possible role in this affair. None of these men were especially taken with the Bush administration’s war in Iraq. So they are, so to speak, off the hook with the anti-war folk with regard to the leak. The fact is that neither Armitage nor his associates ever told the president who was responsible for the leak. If I were George W. Bush, I’d be ripshit. And, since Armitage two weeks ago unambiguously admitted to being the culprit, should he not now face charges? Now, there is one person who has been indicted--not for violating the Intelligence Identification Protection Act, the law which Armitage has actually confessed to breaking--but for obstructing Special Prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald’s investigation. (Read Jeffrey Rosen’s TNR article "Overcharged," November 14, 2005, here.) The indicted man is Lewis "Scooter" Libby, and he has become MoveOn’s designated scapegoat for the entire war. Folk who wouldn’t have thought Alger Hiss or the Rosenbergs or Philip Agee guilty of treason have been calling him a traitor. This is laughable."

"Let me concede: I am a friend of Scooter Libby. But I do not like his boss. And I do not like his boss’s wife. I know this gets me no credit with the all-or-nothing crowd. Still, I like Scooter, who is quite brilliant, very honest, and brave. Also funny. I’ve contributed to The Libby Legal Defense Fund and have joined the fund’s advisory committee, which is not large because in Washington old pals dessert when even their college roommate gets into trouble. In a time when self-styled civil libertarians are giving money to defend Muslim terrorists, I am happy to help defend an American patriot, some of whose politics I do not share and some of whose politics I do, from a cynical onslaught of the special prosecutor who put journalists into jail for not telling him what he already knew.

The campaign of wrath and virtue against Libby was mostly fueled by simulated outrage. Now that everybody knows who committed the offense, such as it was, the charges against Libby should go into the trash."

Here is the Libby Legal Defense Trust

Discussions - 3 Comments

That’s Marty - still a man of the "left" in my lexicon. Don’t miss the grief he’s getting for this, on site.

TITLE 18 UNITED STATES CODE SECTION Sec. 1621.

- Perjury generally

Whoever -

(1) having taken an oath before a competent tribunal, officer, or person, in any case in which a law of the United States authorizes an oath to be administered, that he will testify, declare, depose, or certify truly, or that any written testimony, declaration, deposition, or certificate by him subscribed, is true, willfully and contrary to such oath states or subscribes any MATERIAL matter which he does not believe to be true; or

2) in any declaration, certificate, verification, or statement under penalty of perjury as permitted under section 1746 of title 28, United States Code, willfully subscribes as true any MATERIAL matter which he does not believe to be true; (emphasis added)

is guilty of perjury....

Even assuming, for the sake of argument, that Libby’s statements were intentionally false, because Plame was not covert, Fitzgerald would have had a virtually impossible task of proving the materiality of Libby’s statements. Now that the rock has been lifted, under which Armitage the snake has been found, delete the word "virtually." If she was not covert, it was immaterial who "outed" her. If Libby didn’t "out" her, his testimony as to what he said to reporters is even more immaterial and, again, if it’s immaterial, you don’t have perjury.

P.S. I don’t know whether Libby is charged with a violation of section 1623, 1621 or 1001, but the analysis is the same for all. All require proof of materiality.

On another matter, people might be interested in Peretz’ reflections today on the flap surrounding the film (which I did not watch: no TV in the household). He says it is in keeping with the "spirit" of the Commission report, and he includes some chapters and verses.

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