Loyal scrubs overboard

  • Follow Editorials

Lewis "Scooter" Libby may not serve prison time. But President Bush's commutation of his 30-month sentence won't relieve him of his scapegoat status.

When the Bush administration foolishly and pettily tried to strike back at Iraq War critic Joe Wilson and his CIA-employee wife Valerie Plame by revealing her identity, it was Scooter Libby who fell on the sword.

All the president's commutation has done is move the sword away from a major organ.

Libby, the former chief of staff to Vice President Dick Cheney, should never have committed perjury or obstructed justice or lied to investigators in the probe over the leak of Plame's name. But the Bush administration should never have put him in that position and left him to twist in the wind.

If the administration wanted to combat Wilson's claim that Saddam Hussein wasn't attempting to purchase uranium, it could have done so in a forthright manner. Instead, it chose an underhanded partisan shot that ricocheted and hit Libby.

The thing is, the revealing of Plame's name - which no one has ever been charged with doing - wasn't the national security issue Democrats tried to make it out to be. There's no evidence it compromised anything or anyone of national security significance.

So the Bush administration - and Libby most of all - is suffering the stigma of scandal not so much over what they did but how they did it.

Future administrations should learn from this overblown episode: Be up front about the public's business.

And when you aren't, don't throw loyal crewmen overboard and think you can just pluck them out of the sea later.

Comments (40) Add comment
ADVISORY: Users are solely responsible for opinions they post here and for following agreed-upon rules of civility. Posts and comments do not reflect the views of this site. Posts and comments are automatically checked for inappropriate language, but readers might find some comments offensive or inaccurate. If you believe a comment violates our rules, click the "Flag as offensive" link below the comment.
bone
23
Points
bone 07/05/07 - 12:06 am
0
0
i liked keith better on espn,

i liked keith better on espn, graci. he's just a blowhard political hack now. the fact that bush is doing the same thing as every other president before him (i.e. pardoning a political pawn) is nothing strange. i was as disgusted by this ridiculous partisan powerplay as i was when clinton was persecuted & impeached over the lewinski scandal. rich and many other villains were pardoned by clinton - any takers on explaining some of his pardons?http://www.usdoj.gov/opa/pardonchartlst.htm

jade
12
Points
jade 07/05/07 - 01:14 am
0
0
Is the Chronicle really

Is the Chronicle really portraying Libby as the victim in this mess? Simply amazing. Also, i didn't realize the Chronicle was privy to the inner workings of the CIA. Of course there's no evidence it compromised national security - it's the CIA! Last i checked, they don't discuss such matters with the media. As for that list of Clinton pardons, it was very impressive i must admit. I especially liked the pardon for "altering an automobile odometer". But seriously, most of Clinton's pardons were for offenses such as fraud and drug possession. I'm not condoning his pardons, but crimes such as these did not pose a potential threat to the entire country. And then there's the fact that most of the people Clinton pardoned had served their sentence already. He was essentially just clearing them in name. Bush, though, decided that it was he, The Decider, who was going to decide on the appropriate punishment for Libby. When a president thinks he is more qualified than the judicial branch to make that decision, that is scary indeed.

JohnRandolphHardisonCain
576
Points
JohnRandolphHardisonCain 07/05/07 - 05:11 am
0
0
The Chronicle implicitly

The Chronicle implicitly admits there was a conspiracy inside the
White House to out Valerie Plame & eviscerate Joe Wilson's critique
of Bush & Cheney's bogus "fixed" intelligence claim that Iraq
possessed WMD as casus belli. That "fixed" intelligence was noted in
the Downing Street Memo in summer of 2002. Cheney & Rumsfeld set up
the Office of Special Plans in the Pentagon headed by neocon Douglas
Feith to provide accusatory intelligence that the CIA was reluctant to
provide. Bush & Cheney's whole false pretext for war was rapidly
becoming exposed by Joe Wilson & investigative journalists. The
conspiracy in the White House was that Bush issued an Executive Order
in March 2003 right before he ordered the invasion of Iraq that gave VP
Cheney the power to declassify intelligence at will. Cheney used that
power to declassify intelligence, expose Plame, & undermine Wilson.
Scooter Libby "fell on his sword" to cover up for Karl Rove & VP
Cheney, his boss. Scooter Libby's lawyer, Ted Wells, made it clear that
Libby was not going to prison & take the rap for higher ups.
Therefore Bush commuted Libby's prison term & will pardon him
later. Bush is guilty of obstruction of justice. Impeach!

noctur55
1
Points
noctur55 07/05/07 - 06:13 am
0
0
Is Olberman any more of a

Is Olberman any more of a hack than Sean Hannity, Rush, or O'reilly? They are all the same, just different audiences.

patriciathomas
42
Points
patriciathomas 07/05/07 - 06:32 am
0
0
Once again, this whole

Once again, this whole Plame/Wilson fiasco is just another example of the Republicans not being to hold their own in the game of politics. In the greater scheme of things, I doubt anyone will change teams over this "drop in the bucket" non-issue.

noctur55
1
Points
noctur55 07/05/07 - 06:39 am
0
0
This issue obviously hasn't

This issue obviously hasn't blown up like I had expected it to. Somebody is doing a good job of damage control.
Plame was definately covert, but the prosecution couldnt get the conviction they wanted, so they went with lesser charges, and the sentence seemed to reflect the desire to charge Libby with the more serious charges.
If Dems were smart, which I wont accuse them of being, but if they were, they would use the Republican tactic here. Just like when somebody criticizes the war, or the president or the handling of anything to do with the administration, they are called a traitor, or anti American. They should turn this into," If you are supportive of this treasonous act, of outing a CIA agent and compromising operational security, then you are a traitor, anti- American" But they never seem to want to go that far.

PFLY775
2
Points
PFLY775 07/05/07 - 07:01 am
0
0
Bush thinks he's a king not a

Bush thinks he's a king not a president. He ignores the Constitution and does what he wants and we let him.

Little Lamb
49001
Points
Little Lamb 07/05/07 - 08:01 am
0
0
To me the Scooter Libby issue

To me the Scooter Libby issue seems to be the same as that of Martha Stewart. Both cases teach us an important lesson – do not, under any circumstances, co-operate with the police, because they will find a way to indict you with perjury.

Brad Owens
4906
Points
Brad Owens 07/05/07 - 08:07 am
0
0
Who wrote this? Very

Who wrote this? Very surprising to see the Reichish writers admitting that Bush did anything wrong.

concernednative
28
Points
concernednative 07/05/07 - 08:16 am
0
0
Bush is reversing a decision

Bush is reversing a decision that the courts have made only for political reasons. Any unbiased person can't think that is a good precedent.

Little Lamb
49001
Points
Little Lamb 07/05/07 - 08:40 am
0
0
Dear Concerned – your post

Dear Concerned – your post says the courts made a decision only for political reasons. Therefore, Bush's commutation makes sense.

NotyourDadsBuick
1
Points
NotyourDadsBuick 07/05/07 - 08:42 am
0
0
Just like everything else in

Just like everything else in our political system, the ability of the President to grant pardons and commutatons has been compromised. Bush and Clinton. They seem like opposites but they are cut from the same cloth. This is all the result of electing persons as President from the most morally-challenged and value-less generation in the history of our nation.

intheknow
16
Points
intheknow 07/05/07 - 09:05 am
0
0
I think you read Concerned

I think you read Concerned post wrong, Little Lamb. I believe it meant BUSH did it for political reasons. IMO

ecoyle
0
Points
ecoyle 07/05/07 - 10:28 am
0
0
The bottom line for me is

The bottom line for me is that every conservative blogger and editorial page that backs this decision should also back a deeper investigation to determine who the real culprit was.

t of i
25
Points
t of i 07/05/07 - 10:30 am
0
0
"Bush, for political reasons

"Bush, for political reasons only, is reversing a decision that the courts have made." Darn those misplaced modifiers. And some people think knowledge of punctuation and grammar isn't important. Here's to Engish teachers!

t of i
25
Points
t of i 07/05/07 - 10:37 am
0
0
Concernednative, Clinton

Concernednative, Clinton pardoned for political reasons as well, just to keep this fair and balanced. They all do it. Myrtle Beach is right, but not all of us of that generation are morally-challenged. Politics and power have way of corrupting people.

jmercier
0
Points
jmercier 07/05/07 - 10:39 am
0
0
The "Scooter" witch hunt

The "Scooter" witch hunt began under a false premise--this woman was never a covert CIA agent--no law was broken--a nothing no law broken case to framing an innocent man--

Mr. President what took you sooo long to spare Mr. Libby???

jack
10
Points
jack 07/05/07 - 11:06 am
0
0
Jade, are you forgetting

Jade, are you forgetting Cliton's pardon or an international crook who fled the country when convicted named Mark Rich and the fact that his wife donated megamillions to the Cliton bordello (er library), not to mention the theft of classified documents by his former chief of staff Sandy Burglar who stole classified documents, thus compromised natioal security to cover Cliton's incompetence in handling OBL and the terrorist threat? Burglar did not even get indicted or taken before a grand jury. Plame was NOT an under cover CIA agent and had not been for several years.

JohnRandolphHardisonCain
576
Points
JohnRandolphHardisonCain 07/05/07 - 11:12 am
0
0
jmercier, you are wrong about

jmercier, you are wrong about the FACTS of this case. If you bothered to check the public record, Valerie Plame Wilson, was a covert CIA agent at the time her identify was exposed. That FACT is ESTABLISHED by Patrick Fitzgerald and the courts. Crimes WERE committed. Scooter Libby was convicted of TWO crimes: perjury (lying under oath to a federal grand jury) and obstruction of justice. I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby is NOT innocent. President Bush let the jury's conviction stand although he will undoubtedly pardon Scooter Libby later if Bush himself is not impeached before he does it.

jack
10
Points
jack 07/05/07 - 11:13 am
0
0
Once more, a Cain diatribe

Once more, a Cain diatribe where he states his OPINIONs and Theories as fact. His totally irrational hatred of GW Bush is the only thing driving him. Don't know what he will do when Bush is gone and Cheney with him.

jack
10
Points
jack 07/05/07 - 11:24 am
0
0
Noctur55, your ignorance (or

Noctur55, your ignorance (or is it bias) is showing. Keith Olberman is a journalist. Rush, Hannity, et al are entertainers, as world of difference though they do tell the truth and expose both DIMs and Repubs when needed. The woman that wrote the federal that allows prosecuting anyone knowingly "outing" (identifying) an under cover agent has said that it was a fact that Plame/Wilson had not been an under cover agent for several years, but a desk jockey called and "analyst" at Langley. Thus the law did not apply. Secondly, Richard Armitage admitted the "leak" which Fitzgerald knew but wnet ahead with his witch hunt anyhow, never indicting Armitage because he had committed not crime or "outing of an agent".

Brad Owens, iyou continue to compare Republicans with Nazis, but have yet to tell us when the last time a Repub was kicked out of a meeting and threatened with calling the cops for disagreeing on an issue. Tell us about the time you were kicked out of a DIMocRAT Party meeting and threatened with the cops by your Reichfuhrer Herr Greenbum because at leat you were smart enough to know Charles Walker would likely land in jail and you were silence, expelled and threatened..

sjgraci
2
Points
sjgraci 07/05/07 - 11:46 am
0
0
This case was not needlessly

This case was not needlessly exagerated as the Chronicle tries to suggest in order to lighten its seriousness. It was about outing an undercover CIA agent as political retribution for exposing the lies that led to the Iraq war. The Bush administration compromised national security and "Scooter" comitted perjury and obstructed justice to protect Cheney and Rove. That is why he was convicted. Bush, in commuting "Scooter's" sentance, now is an accessory to that obstruction.Those that say otherwise to those points are either ignorant or liars. Most Americans will have no desire to find out the details of this case. What they do understand is an official in the Bush administration blew the cover of a CIA agent, covered up for his bosses, and then saw less jail time than Paris Hilton because the Decider used his "get out of jail free" card. They understand that this administration thinks it is above the law and places loyalty, politics, and party above Country. They know it is wrong and they know there will be no recovering from 25% land for this worthless President even if a few of the rats that abandoned ship over immigration swim back to the wreckage.

sjgraci
2
Points
sjgraci 07/05/07 - 12:05 pm
0
0
One more thing about pardons

One more thing about pardons and commutaions now that the wingnuts love to bring up the "Clinton did it too" excuse. Bill Clinton went out of office with a higher approval rating than Ronald Reagan when he foolishly pardoned Mark Rich. Most Americans, along with many Democrats and liberals including myself, were outraged over this. Clinton paid the price through non-stop bashing in the media and it, along with the false claims that the Clintons "trashed the place", was reflected with a drop in the polls and subsequently and irrationally gave W a boost. Did Clinton deserve some of the hit he received in the polls? Some of it, yes. The differance, right or wrong, is that Clinton was a very popular President and issued the pardon at the end of his presidency. W is a very UNpopular President and will take even a bigger hit. There will be no recovering from this. Couldn't happen to a nicer or more deserving guy. One last thing that the wingnuts love to leave out about the Rich case: Who was Rich's attorney and pushed for the pardon? I. "Scooter" Libby.

Michael Ryan
808
Points
Michael Ryan 07/05/07 - 01:16 pm
0
0
Was Valerie Plame covert?

Was Valerie Plame covert? Consider this:
"In a story published in The New York Sun on July 6, 2005, staff reporter Josh Gerstein states that former Time magazine White House correspondent Hugh Sidey claimed in an interview that Plame's identity was widely known well before Mr. Cooper talked to his sources."
- Billy's Mouthpiece

markwardlaw
0
Points
markwardlaw 07/05/07 - 01:31 pm
0
0
I am amused by those who try

I am amused by those who try to minimize the damage this affair caused to our intelligence infrastructure. Libby might have been a fall guy, but he's not innocent. It irks me no end that Cheney - clearly the most evil of the bunch, because he's the smartest among them - most likely will not be held accountable for his role in all of this.

intheknow
16
Points
intheknow 07/05/07 - 02:05 pm
0
0
JACK, and those like like,

JACK, and those like like, don't know JACK. They are so far up Bush behind, until they are blind to the simple facts. Whether she was covert at the time or not, does not make a difference. Fact is that she had been at one time or another. By exposing her, they placed at risk, ANYONE that she had prior contact with, in addition to her family and friends. When going to work for the Agency, regardless of your position, you sign a NONE DISCLOSURE clause. ANYTHING remotely related to the Agency, that you even think about going to the media or anyone out side,MUST BE CLEARED BY THE MEDIA BRANCH OF THE AGENCY. So JACK, you know the rest of your name, know what you are talking about, before you let everyone know that you really do not know JACK.

WorriedAboutOurFuture
16
Points
WorriedAboutOurFuture 07/05/07 - 02:18 pm
0
0
Good heavenly days, Mark. Do

Good heavenly days, Mark. Do you really, honestly believe this little farce did ANY damage at all to our intelligence infrastructure compared the absolute gutting that the Clinton adminstration dealt it during the 1990s? Gimme a break, and get real, for once!

fd1962
26
Points
fd1962 07/05/07 - 03:19 pm
0
0
sjgraci, thanx for the
Unpublished

sjgraci, thanx for the fascinating piece of historical trivia: Who was Rich's attorney and pushed for the pardon? I. "Scooter" Libby.

lowellbrown
4
Points
lowellbrown 07/05/07 - 03:53 pm
0
0
Actually the administration's

Actually the administration's reasoning seems to run like this: “Yeah, that’s it, the whole Plame case has been exaggerated. Sure, we outed an undercover intelligence officer in order to exact revenge on her husband for casting doubt on what we told the American people. He was disloyal for doing that, right? And disloyal means unpatriotic. Sure, some disloyal Americans would say what we did was criminal, but, hey, it was in the interest of national security, not to mention ours, so what’s the harm? As for Scooter Libby, well, the President has every right to keep him out of jail. Besides, if anybody else questions Scooter about this case or anything else, he can say all the right, loyal, patriotic things that we want him to say, because he’s not going to jail; the President just won’t let that happen, and everybody knows it. So stop saying we left Scooter twisting in the wind. Stigma of scandal? Nonsense, he’s a hero to us, a real member of the pack. Besides, the man knows the value of a dollar. (After all, didn’t he help get Marc Rich off, which we can use to claim how corrupt Clinton was?) A $250,000 fine? He's already paid it. Chicken feed for a friend of ours."

Back to Top

Top headlines

Kettle donations rise in 2014

After a disappointing showing last year, donations to the Salvation Army's local Red Kettle Campaign have risen nearly 20 percent in 2014.
Search Augusta jobs