Commutation is Bittersweet

I am grateful President Bush decided to spare my mentor and friend Lewis “Scooter” Libby from serving one day in jail. As I have said repeatedly, the Justice Department bowed to political pressure from Capitol Hill to empanel a special counsel to investigate whether Valerie Plame’s name was improperly disclosed as being a former CIA operative.

Never mind that the Justice Department knew that the individual who disclosed Ms. Plame’s name to columnist Robert Novak was Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage. Never mind that Ms. Plame did not meet the criteria for being an undercover operative in the first place — special counsel Patrick Fitzgerald pursued his quest to ascertain whether there was a White House conspiracy to disclose the identity of a woman when the counsel knew no crime had been committed. 

After several years and several millions spent, the best that Mr. Fitzgerald could return was a pair of indictments for perjury and obstruction of justice — not for the underlying crime or purpose of the investigation, mind you, but for lying about conversations Mr. Libby held with "Meet the Press" moderator Tim Russert and the FBI. After all that time and wasting the taxpayers' dollars for an investigation he knew the answer to from the start, I am disgusted by Fitzgerald’s conduct throughout.

The tragedy in this whole matter is that the life of a dedicated public servant has been forever ruined; Mr. Libby is still under probation, facing a $250,000 fine and, as a convicted felon, will never practice law again. Meanwhile, former National Security Adviser Sandy Berger skips about town without serving a day in prison for stealing classified documents from the National Archives and then lying to the FBI about his actions. The silence from “outraged” politicians on Capitol Hill and much of the media regarding Berger’s case is deafening.

I am again grateful that Mr. Libby will not have to serve an excessive prison sentence imposed by the judge in the case before him — it is just a travesty of justice that we have reached this point in the first place.

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