On Those Letters

My mother is in town, so I’ll be visiting rather than writing. I’ll start catching up to my blogging on Saturday. But I did want to make an initial comment on the letters written in favor of leniency for Scooter. Sidney Blumenthal has a superb column at Salon on the letters in general:

One after another, the letter writers declare that Libby’s "character"is "inconsistent" with the jury’s verdict. These same words –"character" and "inconsistent" — appear dozens of times.

[snip]

The act of procuring these letters is further evidence of Libby’sstove-piping of disinformation. Libby could not reasonably haveexpected to sway the judge, but there is a higher authority to which heis appealing. These letters constitute the beginnings of the LibbyLobby’s pardon campaign.

Blumenthal is right. The letters weren’t going to win Libby the Probation that his supporters were seeking. And judging from the look on Judge Walton’s face as Ted Wells read the Wolfowitz letter (which, incidentally, was submitted after it became clear that these letters would be released publicly), the letters were too saccharine to do the job.

But I’d like to poach from my Guardian column of today, addressing much of the same ground Blumenthal did, to point out the glaring conflicts some of these letter-writers had.

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  1. Albert Fall says:

    Scooter has been hanging his hat at the Hudson Institute. I hear that writing letters for Scooter was a â€homework assignment†for the think tankers there.

  2. Anonymous says:

    â€. . .Libby’s statement was the latest event in a long series of events in which a man now convicted of impeding justice was celebrated in glowing terms. After the indictment, the conviction, and even the sentencing, the president and vice president have consistently extolled Libby’s service. On Tuesday, Cheney repeated such praise: â€Speaking as friends, we hope that our system will return a final result consistent with what we know of this fine man. . .â€

    simply jaw-slacking.

    unless you’ve watched
    cheney for a while. . .

    as i’ve said before, he
    is the sitting vice president,
    and libby’s lies are the fire-
    wall between him and the business
    end of a fitzgerlad-drawn-criminal
    indictment. allegedly.

    bush? incompetent — doesn’t
    fully appreciate the stakes involved.
    knows only loyalty — and only as a
    one way street. fits him well.

    cheney? can you say. . .

    m o n s t e r ?

    the latest? — of lawyer protecting the citizens’
    fourth amendment rights from FISA-
    violative wiretapping
    . . .

    [ital. quote above, from the EW guardian piece.]

    excellent work, EW. . .

  3. hauksdottir says:

    Marcy,

    Would you send me your email address, since that link doesn’t work?

    OT… Goodling

    You might want to cogitate upon this with regards to dot-connection:

    Malek’s responsiveness program was extensively investigated by the Senate Watergate committee. The panel found that the program was aimed at influencing decisions concerning government â€grants, contracts, loans, subsidies, procurement and construction projects,†decisions regarding â€legal and regulatory actions,†and even personnel decisions that affected protected â€career positions†— all to advance Nixon’s reelection [WPost]

    (my bold)

    †No written communications from the White House to the Departments — all information about the program would be transmitted verbally . . . documents prepared would not indicate White House involvement in any way.â€
    – March 17, 1972, Malek memo to Haldeman. [WPost]

    http://www.dailykos.com/storyo…..82434/8934

    The latest DoJ document dump has a few Goodling pretties in it.

    the only thing in dump 2, on page 4, Monica tells Paul Corts to send the (secret) delegation (of hiring/firing authority) to her OUTSIDE THE SYSTEM
    Posted by: Steve5117
    Date: June 6, 2007 07:36 PM

    snip

    2:7
    Paul Corts is the Assistant Attorney General for Administration, Chief Financial Officer, and Chief Acquisition Officer for the DOJ.

    Mike Allen is a procurement person for DOJ. PMA is the President’s Management Agenda. It is designed to improve management in the agencies. Getting to Green means meeting the objectives. Human Capital and Faith Based are two of the criteria.

    Linda M. Springer is the eighth Director of the United States Office of Personnel Management. Clay Johnson is the Deputy Director for Management at the Office of Management and Budget. I cannot identify â€Mari†or Robert L. Marshall.

    Why are Corts, Allen and Marshall involved in the delegation of power to Goodling?
    Posted by: masaccio
    Date: June 6, 2007 11:14 PM

    http://www.tpmmuckraker.com/ar…..p#comments
    **************************

    Still no hint of what Robert L Marshall does, but it is quite possibly directing the flow of money (contracts, etc.) to â€approved†people, likewise with Corts and Allen… and little Miss Goodling kept the book on approved people.

    If so, her influence wasn’t limited to just hiring practices, but also financial practices. I suspect that more than the purchase of paperclips is involved.

  4. Woodhall Hollow says:

    Ah mockery from the blogoshere!

    Blumenthal points out a curious thing about the Wolfowitz letter–in that he includes an antidote in which Libby actively works to prevent a reporter from disclosing the name of a CIA operative (working, once again, late into the night, far from family and friends). Which is a strange admission that Libby had to know exactly what he was doing when he outed Plame to reporters.

    I wonder if Fitz will find some way to highlight this in he response to Wells appeals, all in good snark, of course.

  5. masaccio says:

    I put up a comment on the prior thread about my reading of the letters. I understand the focus on the powerful, but to me, the interesting thing is the range of letters from drivers, secretaries, very junior lawyers at firms where he practiced, and social friends, which also include language similar to that described by Blumenthal and EW. For me, this consistency argues for accuracy. It suggests strongly that Libby acted intentionally to serve some purpose which he thought was greater than his honor and, indirectly, his family.

    I cannot understand why his wife puts up with it.

  6. *xyz says:

    Marcy, great to see you in the Guardian!

    I just have two quick questions:

    1. If the letters constitute the beginning of a pardon campaign, then why did Libby’s legal team take the apparently inconsistent step of attempting to prevent the letters from being publicly released?

    2. It is my understanding that Libby’s legal team received all of the letters requesting clemency, then reviewed the letters and delivered them in a single bundle to Judge Walton (ostensibly to streamline the process – but in reality to vet the letters). If this is the case, I am curious why the legal team did not catch the problems in Wolfowitz’s letter and either exclude the letter from the bundle or send it back to Wolfowitz for revision.

    Keep up the great work.

  7. P J Evans says:

    Woodhall Hollow:

    Nitpicking…. in
    he includes an antidote in which Libby actively works to prevent

    antidote is way the wrong word. You want anecdote (a story) rather than antidote (something that counteracts poison).
    Although I have to admit, I’d like to see antidotes available for these people.

  8. Anonymous says:

    masaccio – Greetings. I thought you raised an excellent question regarding spousal privilege applicability to congressional testimony. I don’t specifically know the answer, and a quick look around predicably did not yield a definitive answer (doesn’t come up very much I wouldn’t think). My best guess is that the privilege still holds. Other privileges (executive, self incrimination etc.) are honored for congressional testimony. Granted, those have a different and more compelling basis than the spousal privilege. But if you read the language of the discussions in the legislative history from congresses consideration of the privilege for courts, it is pretty passionate; I would certainly argue they would have to honor it if it were my client.

  9. Anonymous says:

    I have been accused of being slanted befor; now even my text has that characteristic. Crikey.

  10. Neil says:

    Leniency letters, Libby’s noteworthy lack of remorse, Harriet Grant

    Assuming Libby was a man of “characterâ€, a man who respected the rule of law and wanted to have an honorable career in it, it is completely understandable that so many letters would make the claim about his character. “Inconsistent†follows when one grants credibility to the conviction that Libby lied and obstructed justice. The leniency letters say it is inconsistent with the Libby I know that he would do this, therefore don’t give him jail time. Libby’s conspicuous lack of remorse is worth considering in this context. Let’s assume;
    – he is usually a man of character,
    – he is not easily confused
    – he understands and respects the law
    – he is guilty of lying under oath to obstruct justice
    – he knows he is guilty and finally
    – (what seems entirely inconsistent with other premises)
    he is not remorseful.

    1. One explanation is his lack of remorse as a tactical maneuver. Libby will maintain the innocent pose to facilitate the pardon, and therefore he has no remorse. The leniency letters facilitate this. The problem with this analysis is that Libby’s is not a TV actor. He is a person going through a hellish experience. His lack of remorse was evident early in the process and has remained so throughout. While there may be some merit in this explanation it is not thorough and therefore not compelling.

    2. Another explanation is that Libby’s thinking regarding his own perjury and obstruction transcend his traditional values. Like others who came before him, Libby came to believe (with practice as chief of staff OVP) the law does not apply to senior White House officials who are responsible for pulling the levers of power – more specifically that a lie and obstruction of justice in the service of a greater purpose is justified. If this is Libby’s thinking, it is not clear, as one would expect Libby’s thinking to be. This explanation is inconsistent with Libby as a clear thinker (“not easily confusedâ€).

    3. Finally, Libby’s lack of remorse could come from believing someone else was responsible for his conduct, perhaps his boss who put him in that position and kept him there. Furthermore, Libby’s own sense of duty has further tied his hands, the question of his criminal behavior notwithstanding.

    While there is merit to 1 and 2, they are not thorough in explaining Libby’s lack of remorse. To me #3 explains it more fully. I’m not ready to bestow victim status on Libby. He chose to break the law by leaking classified information to the press about WMD and a CIA NOC on his bosses’ authorization. He chose to lie and obstruct justice. It’s just may be telling to consider that his lack of remorse is based in real human emotions about the position he finds himself in and who had a hand in putting him there.

    Harriet Grant’s reaction to the verdict, a sense that Libby’s colleagues have abandoned him and left him holding the bag despite commitments to the contrary, seems to fit.

    I may just be talking out my arse but I thought I’d put it out there.

  11. Anonymous says:

    Neil – Wouldn’t the hypothetical Scooter you construct above, assuming he has the upright portion of character for right and wrong those people described, at this point be lashing back at the people who put him in this position? I would if I were him. Would have a long time ago. I can’t disagree with any of your points individually, but they don’t mesh into a logical whole for this Scooter’s actions to date.

  12. Woodhall Hollow says:

    P J Evans–you are right of course. It must have been some kind of Freudian slip on my part, since the anecdote antidotes the party line!

    thanks for the head’s up!

  13. Katie Jensen says:

    Yes, you’d think he’d be getting a tad antsy but he is hoping for appeal, it’s not over yet. Certainly Cheney’s big advertisement in support of Libby after the verdict was a â€there, there sweetheart, don’t worry your pretty head, we will protect you, don’t forget, who’s your daddy??â€

    Libby will certainly hold out for the appeal or for the pardon, but I love that Walton is working to close the bargain and force him to serve some jail time as he waits word of appeal and/or pardon. That has got to increase the pressure.

    But I would guess that not only does feel certain they will take care of him, he also must have fear of crossing this neo con group. They have considerable power and they outted a spy. He knows first hand that they will make him pay if he opens his mouth. Honestly this whole â€vast right wing conspiracy†works just like the mob. (which has a very direct sort of power and an indirect sort of power based on fear). If I were Libby I would fear crossing them.

  14. Neil says:

    I can’t disagree with any of your points individually, but they don’t mesh into a logical whole for this Scooter’s actions to date.
    Posted by: bmaz | June 07, 2007 at 11:24

    I’m trying to find the match, the scenario that explains all the facts in evidence. Libby’s lack of remorse is a fact that is key to unlocking the problem.

  15. earlofhuntingdon says:

    Re Cheney blocking Patrick Philbin’s promotion, since when does the constitutional nullity called the Vice President have authority to block the Attorney General from making senior appointments to his legal staff?

    Philbin was part of Comey’s team and had apparently been at the bedside during the Ashcroft hospital visit. It’s not clear what role he played in martialing the readied resignations at DOJ or in supporting Comey during his heated WH visits afterwards. I believe he had also worked closely with Goldsmith, for whom Addington developed contempt when he tossed out as flat wrong the tortured work of John Yoo.

    Philbin had been recommended to be the principal deputy to the Solicitor General, who is the USG’s top litigator at the Supreme Court. Presumably, that was after Ashcroft, Comey and Goldsmith had left, because it was ’Fredo who agreed with the recommendation. ’Fredo then did a 180 and meekly stood down when Cheney (presumably via Addington, whom I would expect more closely followed such things) shouted â€Noâ€.

    What’s the Spanish word for â€geldingâ€?

  16. Anonymous says:

    Neil – You know, from a strictly personal view, my guess is that Scooter is not a bad guy (compare with Cheney). And it is true that many Dems had a respect for him and were able to work with him. I think this was all prior to 2000; but still. It is my understanding that wife Harriet is quite a bit more liberal and enlightened than (may even be a Dem) Libby and his current crowd. But there has been plenty of opportunity for him to do the right thing, and he has budged not one bit. I don’t know haow this will all play out, but Libby isn’t going to take a turn toward the light now; he is to far down the dark road.

  17. Woodhall Hollow says:

    Neil–there was an interesting article in Salon a month or so ago, about young Scooter written by someone who knew him (or interviewed those who did?) when he was at prep school and college. It was a portrait of a young sycophant–a guy who was not as wealthy and privileged as the WASPS in that world, and who was desperate to do whatever it took to be a part of the in-crowd. In other words, he became, very early on, very good at playing a role. Nice (always nice), honorable, loyal, etc. I’m thinking of the Mary Matalin story of Mr Scooter being such a great guy with the poor Cheney grandkids.

  18. thevineyard says:

    I am an avid reader of this site and admire the work you are all doing greatly. I rarely comment but have been thinking about this issue. I think Neil is on it with points 2 and 3. Probably Libby does not believe the laws as we know them apply to the Senior White House staff. After all, he was Cheney’s Cheney. He feels a great duty to those ideas and the people he has worked to promote all these years. The Neo-Con idea of â€the greater good†is obtuse in the extreme, but there it is. And if he buckles and gives evidence he will be thrown out of the circle he enjoys and might also be in danger as Katie Jenson suggests. He got â€pinched†but he â€done good.†And he has the pardon in his pocket. A year in jail might not bother him as much as the other narcissistic losses. Unfortunately for our democracy, that bodes ill for Fitzgerald getting new evidence.

  19. Dismayed says:

    I’ve been waiting for someone to say it and finally Katie J did. You have to think of these guys definition of Honor, in the same way one thinks of the mob. They are crooks that work on a whole other level. Like the mob they think (know) that they are above the law so long as they hold to the code. You get big rewards, you take big risks, those these guys are all hughe cowards they have mouse balls compared to any half assed mobster. But you don’t talk. Loyalty is too the family.

    Libby probably isn’t that bad a guy. He’s just a guy who is willing to do what is necessary to ’make things happen’ to serve the ’correct’ adgenda that the ’average person’ can’t understand. Libby is a loyal foot soldier. In 41 he would have been goosestepping. As would what is it now 29-32 percent of the electorate.

    You can’t really blame Libby for holding the line. He’s always going to be a villan to people who love democracy and the rule of law. Holding the line makes him a hero with the goosestep crowd. If he turns on his bosses – he’ll just be nothing. Better to be loyal and ’loved’ than to be nothing.

  20. QuickSilver says:

    I hope you continue your gig with The Grauniad. It bodes well for the British press breaking key aspects of the attorney-firing scandal.

    EW, what do you make of Wolfowitz’s not-so-casual mention of Libby’s pro bono work for Armitage? Was that news to you, and do you have any more detail on that? Surely that was a dig against the players whose alibi didn’t cover or protect Libby, right? What was your take on it?

  21. Dismayed says:

    I’ve really got to start reading my stuff before I hit ’Post’ One more time – readable.

    I’ve been waiting for someone to say it, and finally Katie J did. You have to think of these guys definition of honor in the same way one thinks of the mob. They are crooks that work on a whole other level. Like the mob, they think (know) that they are above the law so long as they hold to the code. You get big rewards, you take big risks. (though these guys are all huge cowards, they have mouse balls compared to any half-assed mobster) But you don’t talk. Loyalty is to the family.

    Libby probably isn’t that bad a guy. He’s just a guy who is willing to do what is necessary to ’make things happen’ to serve the ’correct’ adgenda that the ’average person’ can’t understand. Libby is a loyal foot soldier. In ’41 he would have been goosestepping. As would, what is it now, 29-32 percent of the electorate.

    You can’t really blame Libby for holding the line. He’s always going to be a villian to people who love democracy and the rule of law. Holding the line makes him a hero with the goosestep crowd. If he turns on his bosses – he’ll just be nothing. Better to be loyal and ’loved’ than to be nothing.

  22. Jodi says:

    I will entertain for a minute.

    Let us assume just for a minute that Mr Libby is protecting someone from a perjury charge since the IIPA thing seems only to be a figment of the imagination. (Mr Libby could have been charged with it, if it existed.)

    So say Libby comes forth now or later and says yes, Cheney told me about Plame, and told me to spread the word.

    So what!? A convicted felon trying to reduce his sentence changes his story.

    He would lose his credibility with everyone trying to weasel his way out of jail time.

    Mr Libby is stuck doing the â€right thing†whether it is the truth or not.

  23. Woodhall Hollow says:

    Here’s the Salon Article.

    Scooter’s tragic innocence.

    Until yesterday, the riddle that preoccupied the press was the apparent â€paradox†of Scooter Libby. Some pundits wondered how a first-rate legal mind could have forgotten such crucial details of his professional life or told such clumsy lies. Others wondered how a â€buttoned-down lawyer†could wear a cowboy hat and drink tequila. And still others wondered how such a canny operator could be persuaded to fall on his sword to protect his superiors.

    […]

    At Eaglebrook and then at Andover, Scooter was always a model citizen. He got excellent grades, and he participated enthusiastically in all aspects of school life. He cared whether the school teams won or lost, and he developed close, even sycophantic relationships with the teachers we had — including teachers who had about half his IQ. I remember being especially puzzled by Scooter’s high regard for one â€master†(that’s what prep-school teachers were called back then) — a classic football-coach type who drilled us in marching and taught us how to salute the flag smartly. Most of the other boys in our little clique called him â€Dumbo,†but not Scooter. Scooter flattered him, and joked with him, and seemed genuinely to respect him.

    It would be an understatement to say that there was not the faintest trace of Holden Caulfield in Scooter’s makeup. Nor the slightest speck of Huckleberry Finn. At our first school, Scooter casually courted the older â€prefects†— boys designated school â€leaders†but really just cogs in the school’s machinery of discipline — and eventually became a prefect himself. In our senior year he comfortably took his place on the prestigious Church Committee, where his duties consisted of passing the collection plate every Sunday morning at the Congregational church in the nearby village.

    As Scooter’s friend, I was always puzzled by how he managed to reconcile his exceptional intelligence with an unquestioning allegiance to these schools’ absurd values and hypocritical institutions. Perhaps as a Jewish boy, Scooter simply felt more pressure than I did to submit to the system in which we were placed. This system has been well described by Robert D. Dean in â€Imperial Brotherhood: Gender and the Making of Cold War Foreign Policyâ€:

  24. William Ockham says:

    I’m not sure what has everybody confused here. Here’s what (probably) happened (I’m not a lawyer, I can’t prove this in court, etc.):

    Cheney, outraged by the Kristof column, ordered Libby and Rove to â€get Wilsonâ€. The administration has done this to its opponents too many times to count (Richard Clarke, Paul O’Neill, Scott Ritter, etc.). Libby dug up everything he could on Wilson. Cheney decided what the talking points were going to be. There’s a common theme to the character assassination that the cabal practices: emasculation. With Clarke, it was hints that he’s gay; O’Neill was targeted for a trumped up security investigation (because they had no other leverage); and Ritter was slimed as a child molester.

    With Wilson, the fact that his wife played a role in arranging the trip and the fact that he didn’t get paid for it were what Cheney fixated on. Cheney told Libby to leak these details despite the fact that they both knew that Valerie Plame Wilson worked for the covert side of the CIA (and probably knew she worked with the JTFI). Cheney told Libby that Bush approved the leak (and I suspect Bush did because Rove was leaking too). In any event, Bush has obviously been in on the plan since July 30, 2003. Cheney and Libby coordinated their cover story as soon as the investigation started. Libby is going to jail to protect his bosses from impeachment. It’s that simple.

  25. orionATL says:

    with respect to neil’s and others comments about libby’s lack of remorse, regret, contrition –

    â€never let’em hear you say you’re wrongâ€

    is a central tenet in the political activities of the bush gang of political operatives.

    has anyone heard george bush say he made a mistake,

    ever?

    rumsfeld, cheney , wolfowitz, abu gonzales, et al. ?

    the members of this particular gang NEVER acknowledge error publicly.

    i have presumed this is to avoid ever having to answer lots of â€follow up†questions by the media about why, about motives, about plans gone awry.

    it also hs the benefit of allowing the true-believers among the public who support the gang with extraordinary loyalty to keep saying to each other,

    â€He/she (libby, in this case) didn’t do anything wrong.â€

    so part of libby’s lack of public remorse is just part of the way the bush gang practices politics.

    but there is another side of this that i worry about.

    call it the martyr/entitlement approach to politics.

    i am not sure but that libby, bush, cheney, rumsfeld, et al. are convinced that they are doing â€divinely†sanctioned things in american politics

    and thus

    the rules that we impose on each other in american society do not apply to them.

    this is the â€i’m lying for a higher purpose†way of rationalizing one’s improper behavior.

    and of course, this rationalization is not limited to lying under oath, it extends to stealing elections, smearing opponents, wiretapping, instigating wars, terrorism, and assassination, theft of property for the good of the cause, and lots of others of the â€ills of civilizationâ€.

    for much of the bush presidency, i have assumed that the bush gang were hard-eyed, calculating realists.

    but my faith has been shaken.

    i’m thinking now that they may be just bumbling political fanatics,

    who have more in common with al quaeda, the tamil tigers, the ira, soviet communists, or the confederate conspirators of the 1850’s

    than with american representative government.

  26. Anonymous says:

    Cheer up orionAtl, both views are correct! Ok, I admit that wasn’t very heartening. This too will pass; it is simply a question of what slimy, gooey, viral residue is left to excise and repair.

  27. ab initio says:

    Katie Jensen, IMO, has hit the nail on the head regarding Scooter’s behavior and the whole cabal’s response to the conviction and sentence. They are convinced they are above the law since that’s been their experience. They are certain of the inordinate power they wield as they have been successful in always trashing their feeble opponents. They have no doubts they can â€fix†the system.

    Scooter has no choice. He cannot double cross them. Hence, no remorse and being steadfast as the firewall. The only thing he has is hope that his masters will bail him out. If that means a few months in jail – so what? He will be taken care of and like Abrams and Poindexter will rise from the ashes in their world. He is never going to flip.

    This is just a small speed bump in the cabals methodical pursuit of untrammeled power. They operate with a code reminiscent of the mob. Loyalty above all. The letters seeking leniency provide a window into the membership of the cabal. The speed bump in this case were a few men with integrity that could not be bought or threatened. The problem for our country is there is no concerted effort to root them out. They have only been emboldened by what they have been able to get away with. Just like Cheney and Rumsfeld learned from the Nixon era, the next generation of this cabal is learning now.

  28. orionATL says:

    thanks bmaz,

    yeah,

    the bush bumblers been exposed and will not succeed during this presidency.

    and yes there will be a viral residue to excise.

    but

    for my money, the read of the day, maybe the month,

    appeared at dkos

    (via think progress)

    author:Deep Harm

    title: â€found: rove’s playbookâ€.

    published 6/6/7 at 3.24

    it’s a reminder of the role and plans of fred malek to republicanize the federal government during the nixon admin.

    didn’t happen,

    but wouldn’t you know,

    these republican sons-of-bitches tried it again

    30 + years later.

    one of my concerns about the â€legacy†(â€droppings†might be more appropriate) of the bush administration is that bush has shown just how easy it is for an american president to ignore custom, tradition, and law.

    our national political system turns out not to be a strong steel structure, but rather a fragile piece of antique china.

    e’wheel has mentioned here many times in the past the legacy of iran-contra, including some of the same players in this gov as were in that one.

    these guys just never quit.

    i have previously recommended we construct a quarantine list to include, e.g., any politicos from the bush admin, all federalist society members, any congressman who facilitated the bush admin’s improper actions, etc.

    and that those on this list be banned from holding any public office.

    but now i’m thinking more needs to be done.

    i’m thinking maybe we could ship these folk to the equivalent of st helena or easter island,

    actually, now that i think of it,

    an island that will be submerged by global warming within the next ten years would be a perfect choice.

    in any event, it’s going to take more than excising viruses.

    there’s an authoritarian, theocratic mindset that needs to be dealt with, too.

  29. desertwind says:

    My theory, because it’s my theory…

    I’d argue that no one wants a pardon except Libby’s kids, who don’t care how their dad stays out of prison.

    The Neo-cons don’t want to owe Bush anything.They blame him for failures of their own making. They realize the next administration won’t be Republican (Hey! good luck, Fred Thompson!) and they’re already setting themselves to go back underground.

    Libby doesn’t want a pardon because he likes being the great man who holds the keys to the kingdom. He’ll be well taken care of no matter what happens. That is, if he keeps his mouth shut. Schtum.

    Bush doesn’t want to grant a pardon ’cause he’s Mr. Tough Guy. He may commute the sentence, though, or grant pardon after Libby’s done some time because he is also Mr. Compassion.

    (I have no idea what The Wife wants. I imagine she doesn’t want him in jail, but knows he’s got to do it My Way. I also imagine she knows these people are not true friends to her or her kids, but what can she do?)

  30. Dismayed says:

    I’m going to go ahead and make my prediction. Early on I would have said pardon before serving a day. While I still wouldn’t be terribly surprised to see that happen, I think a more likely scenario is a pardon not TOO long after Libby reports. I’m thinking just a few months. Enough to let the heat get off this thing. My guess is that it will be used to take attention from something they REALLY don’t want in the press, or will be done right before the holidays. So my official prediction. A pardon for Libby right before Thanksgiving weekend. Earlier if something just huge is about to hit the news.

  31. Neil says:

    Ok Dismayed I’ll join you.

    Bush does not risk a pardon before the election in November ’08.

    Furthermore, Bush knows a pardon puts Libby in the untenable position of losing his 5th amendment right of silence which is important to defend himself (and his co-conspiritors) from civil liability (unless they can get the Ms. VP Wilson’s suit dismissed.)

    Of course, IANAL so take what I say as potential bunk.

  32. Relprof says:

    Now for something completely different…from the writings of Dietrich Bonhoeffer who knew something of horrific political leaders–â€Still more pathetic is the total collapse of moral fanaticism. The fanatic thinks that his single-minded principles qualify him to do battle with the powers of evil; but like a bull he rushes at the red cloak instead of the person who is holding it; he exhausts himself and is beaten. He gets entangled in non-essentials and falls into the trap set by cleverer people.â€
    We can only hope we survive the ideologues.

  33. Dismayed says:

    Hey Neil, Prediction noted. There has been some discussion of loss of rights with a pardon. I’m not sure that applies in the way you are indicating. Perhaps one of our lawyers will chime in again. But a pardon is powerful mojo. He won’t need a fifth amendment right because he’s been pardoned for the crime. As to another crime, is legal status would be the same as if regarless of the pardon. He could testify or plead the fifth. The pardon would not apply to other crimes or further obstruction, however, I don’t think he could be convicted of obstruction on the same matter as that would be double jeopardy. Anyway, I’m not a lawyer, for sure, but I’m not sure the lack of fifth amendment right is correct, or at least I think your threory on consequence is askew.

    Someone, help us out on this.

    Anyway, moving on. I have a hard time seeing them let Libby sit for a year and a half. However. I do not think it will happen in ’08 before November. The election will cause a blackout period Jan ’08 until after the election.

    I’m sticking with my just before Thanksgiving forecast.

  34. Anonymous says:

    It would depend on many intricacies, but as a general rule, you would lose the 5th amendment protection for all areas central to and included in the original charges pardoned on; in this case, arguably, that would include any specific facts Libby was questioned on in the interviews and grand jury sessions, with the possible exception of something that directly implicated him in an underlying and pre-existing crime. This is an EXTREMELY simplified and generic response that is not necessarily applicable to any specific issue you might be contemplating.

  35. Dismayed says:

    But was Libby protecting himself? Partially, probably. I mean, that seems irrelevant to me. Libby didn’t plead the fifth the fist time around. I suppose they could question him again and try him for obstruction again, but would the public support such a daisy chain? What really would be the point, they’d just pardon him again right before leaving office.

    I do see the point, but I don’t see it weighing too heavily into what will happen here. He didn’t use the fifth the first time around.

    Just to be a pain, the sum total of possiblites seeem to be.

    No pardon at all
    pardon before serving any time
    pardon after just a few months <6
    Pardon after the election

    I don’t think a pre-november 08 pardon is at all likely.

    After election does seem like the only other likely option. It’s a close call for me between option 3 and 4.

    I guess if we are going to issue guesses, month and year is the way to go. November ’07 for me.

    I guess Neil has December ’08

    Oh well, intresting to speculate.

  36. Jon says:

    EW,

    I am rather surprised that some of the people who were involved in the Plame outting, indirectly or tangentially, would risk the attention of the prosecutor. For those involved in the Plame outting and coverup, aren’t they running a huge risk of possible conspiracy or obstruction charges to be filed later in exchange for their pleading for leniency for the man convicted while lauding the convicted man’s loyalty? Isn’t this shades of the â€aspens turning†again? With a beneficial personal stake in the sentencing outcome, I hope that these â€aspens turning†cohorts are potentially exposing themselves to a risk they come to regret later.

  37. xcgrtxdrt says:

    Scooter Libby’s children,–Hal Libby and Ricki Libby, as revealed by court documents–are each likely to grow up to be the same kind of smug, sleazy slimeball that their father is. They’ll smirk all the way to high-paying jobs that they get not because of merit but because of connections. Irve Lewis Libby’s children, Libby’s wife, and Libby himself–what a family of cheap, disgusting whores, lower than a toothless crack whore living in a cardboard box and selling blow jobs for a living.