Seriously though, is anyone surprised?
US President George W Bush has intervened to prevent Lewis Libby, a convicted former vice-presidential aide, from serving a prison term.
President Bush described as “excessive” the 30-month prison sentence Libby was facing for having obstructed an inquiry into the leaking of a CIA agent’s name.
Excessive? If anything the sentence was moderate. But that’s beside the point.
Mr Libby, who was Mr Cheney’s chief of staff, was found guilty of obstructing a federal investigation into the outing of the covert CIA operative, Valerie Plame. The suspicion at the time, though never confirmed, was that the Bush administration exposed her to take revenge on her husband, Joe Wilson, a former ambassador. Mr Wilson had publicly dismissed as rubbish the president’s claim that Iraq had been seeking uranium from Niger to build a nuclear weapon.
Libby “was found guilty of obstructing a federal investigation” and was sentenced accordingly. By obstructing justice, Bush has demonstrated his contempt for the rule of law.
He was under pressure from the US his vice-president, Dick Cheney, and from many other conservatives to commute the two-and-a-half year jail sentence imposed last month. When Mr Libby was sentenced, television and radio talk shows were inundated with calls of support for the former White House aide from Republicans.
Why did he do it? Was it out of loyalty for one of his own?
The decision yesterday caused widespread anger among Democrats and even dismayed some Republicans. But in keeping Libby out of jail the President may have saved himself from revelations by an embittered former aide. He was also bowing to political pressure from conservative bloggers, talk-radio hosts, and senior Republicans.
Or was it to secure the silence of a convicted criminal?
Charles Schumer, a Democratic senator, echoed this: “As Independence Day nears, we’re reminded that one of the principles our forefathers fought for was equal justice under the law. This commutation completely tramples on that principle.”
America be proud.
Screaming and crying, Irve “Scooter” Libby was escorted out of a courtroom and back to jail Friday after a judge ruled that he must serve out his entire 30-month sentence behind bars rather than in his home.“It’s not right!” shouted the weeping Libby, who was convicted of four felonies in a reckless spy-outing case. “Mom!” he called out to Dick Cheney in the audience.
Libby, who was brought to court in handcuffs in a sheriff’s car, came into the courtroom disheveled and weeping, hair askew, sans makeup, wearing a gray fuzzy sweat shirt over slacks.
More genius from Wonkette.
President George W Bush feels “terrible for the family, especially for his wife and kids,” said White House spokeswoman Dana Perino.
Less so for his maiden aunt.
Eh, George W Bush doesn’t feel terrible at all, for that would require the ability to empathise with others, and we all know he suffers from antisocial personality disorder. He feels empathy for no one. But I’m sure he feels gratitude and relief, as does Mr. Cheney, that their man has remained tight-lipped, and is going to take a fall for them.
Vice-President Cheney said his former aide’s prison sentence was a tragedy. “Scooter is also a friend, and on a personal level [my wife] Lynne and I remain deeply saddened by this tragedy,” he said in statement.
More lies. See above. Tragedy, eh? Iraq is a tragedy. Sentencing Libby to 30 months is comedy. I’m laughing because I know he won’t actually spend a day in prison. Now that’s funny, wouldn’t you agree?
In a statement issued by the White House, Mr Cheney stood by his former employee as “a man of the highest intellect, judgment and personal integrity“.
Cheney is a man of the lowest intellect, judgement and personal integrity. Did I mention he is also a coward?
Yesterday 160 letters to the judge were made public, many of them from members of the Republican establishment arguing that Libby’s record of public service entitled him to the lesser punishment of probation. Among the letter writers were Donald Rumsfeld, the former defence secretary; General Peter Pace, the chairman of the joint chiefs of staff; the former United Nations ambassador and Iraq hawk John Bolton, as well as the former secretary of state Henry Kissinger.
Also included were letters from Darth Vader, Pol Pot, John Bolton, Torquemada, Josef Stalin, Adolf Hitler, Henry Kissinger, Donald Rumsfeld…
Calling for leniency – probation rather than prison – his lawyer, Theodore Wells, called him an exceptional public servant. He read out excerpts from letters by more than 100 figures, including Paul Wolfowitz, another neoconservative, who was forced out of the World Bank presidency last month.
… Paul Wolfowitz, Richard Perle, The Boston Strangler, The Hooded Claw, Michael Ledeen, El Diablo, Joseph McCarthy, The Grand Wizard of the Ku Klux Klan, a letter of praise from Caesar…
The key uncertainty now is whether Libby will be sent to jail at once, or allowed to remain free pending the outcome of the appeal, which was filed immediately. Judge Walton will rule on that issue next week. His decision could leave Mr Bush facing yet another very awkward decision.
Never a bad thing to leave the decider with an awkward decision. “What would happen if I burst the balloon…”
The verdict could further damage the already-diminished reputation of the Bush administration, especially if president George Bush opts to pardon him rather than see him go to jail.
Can the Bush administration be damaged any further? Can it possibly sink any lower? And do you think if it were possible that Dubya would even notice, what with him in Europe busy recreating the Cold War?
“People who occupy these types of positions, where they have the welfare and security of [the] nation in their hands, have a special obligation to not do anything that might create a problem,” Judge Walton said in delivering the sentence.
Judge Walton addressing Cheney through Libby. Cheney outing Plame through Libby. Libby is a conduit.
“It is respectfully my hope that the court will consider, along with the jury verdict, my whole life,” Mr Libby said in a brief final appeal to the judge.
Pride of the Yankees. Be careful what you hope for, Mr. Libby.
A member of your underboss’s outfit got pinched and is sentenced to 30 months as a guest of the government for refusing to rat you out. Do you have the stugots to pardon him for not breaking his omertá even though the media will go oobatz?
Word to Jon Swift. Word to everyone!
I haven’t got a brain… only straw.
How can you talk if you haven’t got a brain?
I don’t know… But some people without brains do an awful lot of talking… don’t they?
Yes, I guess you’re right.
America == Rogue States == Liars
we decided to pardon you, effective immediately, and give you a little something as a token of our appreciation…
Oh, and Brownie says howdy…
4 out of 5 ain’t bad I suppose;
In a massive new blow to the credibility of the White House…
Vice-President Dick Cheney’s former chief of staff Lewis Libby has been convicted of obstruction of justice, perjury and lying to the FBI, during the investigation into the leaking of the identity of a CIA agent.
I wonder what the mood at the White House is like;
In a statement, Mr Cheney said he was “very disappointed with the verdict“. At the White House the mood was equally grim. George Bush respected the result of the trial, but was “saddened for Scooter Libby and his family”, a spokesman said.
Apparently Libby’s family are falling all over themselves to apologize to Cheney. It’s a difficult time for everyone involved I’m sure. So what now for Libby?
Defence lawyers immediately said they would seek a fresh trial, and if that failed, lodge an appeal. In theory Libby faces up to 25 years in jail, though federal sentencing guidelines mean he is likely to receive a far shorter term… Libby’s appeal could run for many months through the courts, possibly as far as the Supreme Court. If the case is not settled by the time a new president is elected in November 2008, Mr Bush could pardon Libby.
Indeed. Or maybe even award him the Presidential Medal of Freedom. Business as usual. So what’s the upshot of all this?
The trial, in which neither Libby nor his former boss testified, threw no new light on the handling of the WMD intelligence used to justify the 2003 invasion of Iraq. But it revealed the obsessive sensitivity of the Vice-President’s office to any attack on its pre-war use of intelligence, and its determination to discredit critics.
Right, but did we learn anything new?
With all the current coverage of the Libby Trial, it’s important, though, not to loose sight of the what it all means;
Lost amid the flurry over just who initiated the outing of Valerie Plame is the ‘why’. And the why is that the White House needed to discredit the results of Joe Wilson’s trip to Niger.
Joe Wilson had found that the documents cited as proof that Iraq was purchasing uranium from Niger were false. Later the IAEA would denounce the documents as clumsy forgeries.
But President Bush had referred to those very documents in his 2003 State of the Union Speech in which he uttered the infamous 16 words, “The British Government has learned that Saddam Hussein recently sought significant quantities of uranium from Africa .”
In order to preserve that claim in the run-up to war, the White House needed to discredit Joe Wilson’s trip to Niger, which they tried to do by claiming that his trip had not been an official investigation, but merely a “perq” arranged by his wife, who was a CIA agent.
Therefore, looking closely at the actions taken by the White House in response to Joe Wilson’s revelations, it is obvious that the administration KNEW they were lying at the time and moved to protect that lie.
The lengths these people will go to protect and preserve a lie…