Libby was the Small Fish
Bush really Commuted the Sentences of Rove and Cheney
George H. W. Bush called those who leak the names of CIA operatives “the most insidious of traitors.”
In his son’s administration, CIA covert operative Valerie Plame’s name was leaked to the press to punish her husband, Ambassador Joseph Wilson IV, for having blown the whistle on how the White House depended on fraudulent information about Iraq buying yellowcake uranium from Niger.
In the wake of the leak, this is how Bush responded:
On Sept. 29, 2003, the White House, through spokesman
Scott McClellan, said:
“If anyone in this administration was involved in it, they would no longer be in this administration.”
We now know that Vice President Richard Bruce Cheney was highly “involved” in the effort to out Plame, as was Bush’s political adviser, Karl Rove. By the lights of the 2003 statement, both should have been fired when this came out.
Cheney and Rove were running a vigorous campaign from inside the White House with that aim. Libby was acting at their behest.
So why hasn’t Bush fired Cheney and Rove?
He flip-flopped and changed the grounds for firing someone in his administration to their having “committed a crime.”
After the revelations of the identities of CIA operativeS by Philip Agee, Congress made outing agents a crime. But the law was vaguely worded, so you had to know the individual was a covert operative to be punished under the statute.
Some analysts have attempted to defend them on the grounds that they did not know that Plame was undercover, or that their repeated attempts to get journalists to out Plame were largely unsuccessful and she was actually inadvertently outed by then undersecretary of state Richard Armitage.
But they were trying to out her. Isn’t trying to commit a crime a crime in itself? And, Rove did talk to Bob Novak, who was the reporter willing to leak.
As for claiming they didn’t know she was undercover. I don’t think that is an excuse, since they were in a position to ask the CIA that question and solve it. Wouldn’t a prudent person have double-checked that item before dialing Judy Miller’s number?
So Rove and Cheney claim not to have “broken the law.” But that doesn’t change how heinous their action was. They are, in George H.W. Bush’s words, “the most insidious of traitors.”
This flip-flopping on the grounds for which high White House officials would be fired allowed Bush to keep Rove and Cheney around even though they were clearly “involved” in the leak. In essence, his flip-flop was itself a way of commuting their own sentences of unemployment.
As for Libby’s pardon, he was convicted of lying to a grand jury and obstructing the special counsel’s investigation. Since Fitzpatrick could never have gotten to the bottom of whether crimes had been committed as long as key figures like Libby lied to him, Libby’s crime was grave. The commutation of his sentence is a great injustice. It is not the first a Bush has committed.
Iran-Contra criminal Elliott Abrams, now a deputy National Security Agency adviser to Bush, essentially committed the same crime as Libby, though he only pled guilty to withholding information from Congress.
Abrams was pardoned by George H. W. Bush, and then his son hired him. Congress, which should have been permanently outraged by having been misled by Abrams, gave him a pass. A far rightwing Likudnik, he has been handling Palestine issues for Bush!
So, like father like son.
Except for that vision thing about the insidious traitors.
Basically, in Bushworld, high government officials are above the law, including all international law and most domestic. America is not nearly as much fun if you aren’t rich.