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The Blame for Plame (More of the Same?)

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  • David Mosley
    Eternal Administrator
    • Jul 2004
    • 11823

    Bush spares Libby from jail term

    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 sentence Libby was facing for obstructing an inquiry into the leaking of a CIA agent's name.

    Though no longer required to go to jail, Libby is still due to serve a period of probation and pay a fine.

    A leading Democratic politician said Mr Bush's decision was "disgraceful".

    History will judge the president "harshly" for using his power to benefit his vice-president's former chief of staff, Harry Reid, the leading Democrat in the US Senate, said.

    The BBC's James Westhead in Washington said the president's decision was a compromise between pardoning Libby outright and allowing his sentence to stand.

    'Criminal conduct'

    Lewis Libby, also known by his nickname, "Scooter" Libby, was found guilty in March of perjury and obstructing justice in a case connected to Washington's decision to invade Iraq.

    His trial stemmed from the accusation that the White House had illegally made public the identity of a serving CIA agent, Valerie Plame, in an apparent effort to embarrass her husband.

    Ms Plame's husband, a former US diplomat, had publicly criticised the basis for the invasion of Iraq.

    Libby was found to have lied to investigators about conversations where he mentioned Ms Plame but he was not convicted of having directly leaked her name.

    He was sentenced to two-and-a-half years in prison, two years of probation and a fine of $250,000 (£125,000).

    Democratic leader Harry Reid said the conviction was "the one faint glimmer of accountability for White House efforts to manipulate intelligence and silence critics of the Iraq war".

    Responding to President Bush's decision to commute Libby's sentence, he said: "Now, even that small bit of justice has been undone."

    Nancy Pelosi, the Democratic Speaker in the House of Representatives, said Mr Bush's decision showed he "condones criminal conduct".

    The prosecutor who led the case against Libby, Patrick Fitzgerald, challenged Mr Bush's statement that the sentence was "excessive", saying "all citizens stand before the bar of justice as equals".

    'Forever damaged'

    Hours before President Bush's announcement, an appeals court had told Libby he could no longer delay going to jail.

    The judge ruled that Libby could not remain free on bail while his lawyer appealed against the sentence.

    President Bush said he had until now refrained from intervening in the case, waiting instead for the appeals process to take its course.

    "But with the denial of bail being upheld and incarceration imminent, I believe it is now important to react to that decision," he said.

    "I respect the jury's verdict," President Bush said. "But I have concluded that the prison sentence given to Mr Libby is excessive," Mr Bush said.

    However, he said, Libby's remaining punishments - the probation period and fine - were "harsh" and would leave his reputation "forever damaged".
    Why am I not surprised in the slightest?
    _"For an eternity Allard was alone in an icy limbo where all the colours were bright and sharp and comfortless.
    _For another eternity Allard swam through seas without end, all green and cool and deep, where distorted creatures drifted, sometimes attacking him.
    _And then, at last, he had reached the real world – the world he had created, where he was God and could create or destroy whatever he wished.
    _He was supremely powerful. He told planets to destroy themselves, and they did. He created suns. Beautiful women flocked to be his. Of all men, he was the mightiest. Of all gods, he was the greatest."


    • johneffay
      Born Again Nihilist
      • Sep 2005
      • 3394

      I'm not surprised either, but I am absolutely gutted. One law for them and one law for the little people who it is perfectly acceptable to lie to for the greater good.

      Scooter's reputation 'forever damaged'? Spare me: in the Neo-Con circles where he hangs out, the whole affair will have done nothing but enhance his reputation.


      • johneffay
        Born Again Nihilist
        • Sep 2005
        • 3394

        Incidentally, here is Libby's response:

        “Mr. Libby and his family wish to express their gratitude for the President’s decision today. We continue to believe in Mr. Libby’s innocence. Scooter and his family appreciate the many Americans who have supported them over the last two years.” (
        As David said,


        • Morgan Kane
          Lost in the multiverse
          • Jun 2006
          • 1428

          that' s the inconvenience of having a to independant justice !

          to prevent reprtition of these facts, the best is to lock the judiciairy system with friends at key posts.

          The french right has done so for some years and i have reead that there were controversies about some nomination of federal judges int the U.S.A. .