Political commentary brain kickstart go!

Jul 03, 2007

I haven't been following the Scooter Libby case for a couple of weeks because everything else has been keeping me busy, but I did find out in passing that he was found guilty of perjury and sentenced to two and one-half years in federal prison and a fine of one-quarter of a million US dollars because he lied on the stand about the outing of Valerie Plame as a CIA operative. Then something interesting happened: George W. Bush commuted the imprisonment portion of Libby's sentence, leaving him only with the fine to deal with. Given his position inside the beltway he can probably handle it with a little work but it's probably going to haunt him for... well, not until he dies, like the article suggests, but definitely for a year or so. The way things like this tend to happen, he'll probably drop out of sight for a while, write a book, and then become a consultant.

The article makes an interesting point, though: It sends a message to everybody who's up to no good in the nation's capital: If you're playing for the right team and know the right people, you just might get off with a slap on the wrist depending on how much good your shenanagins did for someone else. Perjury is nothing to sneeze at; lying to a jury in any capacity can get you dry cleaned by the judicial system, no two ways about it, because you're wasting the time and money of the taxpayers who are covering the court proceedings. Libby got away with his skin and freedom intact, just a little short in the pocketbook, which is a hell of a lot more than Joe or Jane Average would have left if it was discovered that they were lying on the stand.

On top of this, there's something interesting that the news media isn't mentioning: We still don't know who actually leaked Plame's identity to the press. Chances are, we'll probably never find out because everybody and their backup was paying attention to Libby's indictment, trial, and sentencing. This would have been a perfect opportunity for the culprit or culprits to finish covering their tracks and sneak away.