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The politicalization of adjudications

By Frank Salvato
web posted March 12, 2007

The debate over the verdict in the Lewis "Scooter" Libby obstruction of justice and perjury trial will go on for years. The fact that the catalyst for the investigation -- whether Valerie Plame was classified as a covert agent at the time of the so-called "leak" -- is but one of the contentious issues. But if we allow this adjudication to become politicized, if we allow revisionists like Harry Reid to rewrite the actualities of the case, we are not only doing a disservice to our country we would be complicit in its degradation.

Scooter Libby
Libby

Harry Reid and the politically opportune of the Progressive-Left wing of the Democrat Party are no strangers to rewriting history to suit their agenda. You need only to look back to the most recent election to find evidence to that effect.

The common misinformation, repeated anytime there is a live microphone in front of anyone with a "D" after their name, is that the 2006 mid-term election was a vote on the Iraq War. While the election may have been a vote on the war for the anti-war crowd -- which recent opinion polls indicate is a minority of our populace -- it certainly wasn't a vote on the war for those of the Conservative stripe.

The reasons the GOP lost last November have more to do with gross over-spending, an almost obscene expansion of government and a lack of will to confront an obstructionist minority than approval or disapproval of the Iraq War. In fact, if the paleoconservatives and one-issue, litmus test voters would have weighed the consequences of exercising their "protest votes" before staying home from the polls the Democrats would still be in the minority.

But the paleoconservatives and one-issue voters did exercise their protest vote and now we are saddled with a Congress that sees Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid seated in the golden chairs of leadership. With that leadership comes the bully pulpit of the majority. When that bully pulpit is coupled with the Progressive-Left's unyielding bullhorn mentality it makes for a propaganda machine that even Goebbels would be proud of, one that thinks nothing of rewriting history right before your very eyes.

Such is the case with the "Scooter" Libby decision.

Senator Harry Reid said in response to the Libby verdict:

"It's about time someone in the Bush administration has been held accountable for the campaign to manipulate intelligence and discredit war critics."

Reid added:

"[The trial] revealed deeper truths about Vice President Cheney's role in this sordid affair. Now President Bush must pledge not to pardon Libby for his criminal conduct."

Nancy Pelosi remarked:

"[that testimony by former White House officials at the trial] unmistakably revealed a callous disregard in handling sensitive national security information and a disposition to smear critics of the war in Iraq."

And Chuck Schumer, once he found a camera, said:

"The evidence in the trial made clear that there were many others involved in manipulating intelligence and leaking classified information to intimidate those who were telling the truth. Yet those others remain unpunished, many staying in their current jobs -- that is the real tragedy of this."

"Iraq, Iraq, Iraq -- Intelligence, intelligence, intelligence." It's as if those are the only two subjects in their political repertoire. Alas, such is the limited intellect of the game of mental manipulation in which they are engaged.

For the record -- and this is indisputable -- the Lewis "Scooter" Libby trial had absolutely nothing to do with Iraq, anti-war advocates or the intelligence that led up to the decision to engage in the Iraqi conflict. Attempts to paint it as such by Reid, Pelosi, Schumer and the rest of the opportunistic dregs of the Progressive-Left are a testimony to just how stupid they think the American people are.

The charges against Mr. Libby revolved exclusively around the dissemination of information about Valerie Plame, a Langley-based CIA analyst at the time of the so-called "leak." The questions the jury deliberated on were:

  • Whether Libby lied to the grand jury about being told by journalist Tim Russert that Plame worked at the CIA.
  • Whether he made false statements to the FBI about his alleged conversation with Russert.
  • Whether he perjured himself before the grand jury by saying he was "taken aback" to learn from Russert that Plame worked at the CIA.
  • And whether he perjured himself before the grand jury about his conversation with Time Magazine reporter Matt Cooper, in which he supposedly said he had heard from other reporters that Plame worked for the CIA.

Nothing about Iraq. Nothing about anti-war critics. Nothing about intelligence. Nothing about national security. The charges revolved around Libby's recollection of conversations with journalists on a topic that afforded the opportunity for a passive mention of a CIA analyst whose actively covert days as a NOC were long past. The issue of Plame's covert status is so contentious that the court proceedings didn't even allow for any evidence addressing the issue to be entered into the record.

Important to note is that Special Counsel Patrick Fitzgerald made it painfully clear that his investigation found no criminal activity to have taken place within the Bush White House, which includes any actions by Karl Rove, Vice President Cheney and the president.

Probably the most interesting aspect to this trial is that when the truth is told, it was Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage who first informed the media of Valerie Plame's identity. Armitage has never been charged with anything, although he has been added to the amended civil lawsuit that Plame and her husband, Joseph Wilson have leveled against members of the Bush Administration including Karl Rove, whom Wilson said he would like to see, "frog marched across the White House lawn."

Plame and Wilson filed the civil suit claiming the defendants ruined Plame's career as a covert CIA agent by vindictively releasing her identity in a campaign to punish her for sending Wilson to investigate the British claim that Hussein had attempted to buy yellowcake uranium from the government of Niger. Wilson's report was deemed by the CIA as "not definitive" and British intelligence stands by its claim to this day.

It is worth mentioning that in 1998 Armitage signed "The Project for the New American Century" letter sent to then President Bill Clinton urging him to target the removal of Saddam Hussein's regime from power due to erosion of the Gulf War Coalition's containment policy and the resulting possibility that Iraq might develop weapons of mass destruction.

It is also noteworthy to mention that in 1997 Plame officially returned to an assignment at CIA headquarters in Langley, Virginia that saw her joining the Counter-Proliferation Division, an assignment that eventually morphed into heading-up the Joint Task Force on Iraq.

Lastly, it needs to be stated that a plethora of Washingtonians -- both in and out of government -- including Victoria Toensing who helped author the Intelligence Identities Protection Act of 1982, knew Plame to be employed by the Central Intelligence Agency prior to the existence of the George W. Bush Administration.

So, here we have a man facing a total of 25 years behind bars for not being able to remember who told him the identity of a CIA operative of questionable status and a political party (along with a complicit mainstream media) that wants to make the issue about something that it's not.

Meanwhile, Sandy Berger admits to removing and destroying original documents related to the worst terrorist attack on American soil in the history of the United States, attacks that took over 3000 American lives, and he gets probation and a monetary fine so inappropriate to the crime that he could pay it out of change he keeps in his car's ashtray.

Let's all try to remember this gross inequity the next time someone says there is no liberal bias in the media or political opportunism on the Progressive-Left. ESR

Frank Salvato is the managing editor for The New Media Journal. He serves at the Executive Director of the Basics Project, a non-profit, non-partisan, 501(C)(3) research and education initiative. His pieces are regularly featured in over 100 publications both nationally and internationally. He has appeared on The O’Reilly Factor, and is a regular guest on The Right Balance with Greg Allen on the Accent Radio Network, as well as an occasional guest on numerous radio shows coast to coast. His organization, Basics Project, is partnered in producing the first-ever national symposium series on the threat of radical Islamist terrorism. His pieces have been recognized by the House International Relations Committee and the Japan Center for Conflict. Mr. Salvato is available for public speaking engagements. He can be contacted at oped@newmediajournal.us.

 

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