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    07 March 2007

    Not getting it, and doing it well

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    Agricola had his It's OK if you are a Republican hat on a little to tightly today. So tight that this came out onto his blog. A post calling for the exoneration of convicted felon I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby at the very most and a 'we feel so sorry for you Scooter' letter writing campaign at the very least. In this task he quotes a news article (oh wait a minute!!! This is an...) editorial for his 'factual' response. ThinkProgress.org provides a thorough fact-checking of WaPo's claims some of the right wings more popular talking points:
    CLAIM: Libby’s guilty verdict was “propelled not by actual wrongdoing.”
    FACT: The Post Editorial Board Highlighted The ‘Seriousness’ Of Perjury Charges Against Clinton. In a Jan. 22, 1998 editorial, the Washington Post write, “The allegations against President Clinton are allegations of extremely serious crimes. … Subornation of perjury is a federal crime punishable by up to five years in prison.” On Feb. 2, 1998, the Post wrote that the “seriousness” of the charges against Clinton had “to do much more with possible perjury than with sex.” And on Dec. 13, 1998, the Post wrote: “There is no question that President Clinton committed grave offenses and aggravated them by refusing to acknowledge either the offenses themselves or their seriousness.”

    CLAIM: Calling it a “sensational charge,” the Post writes that there was “no evidence that [Plame] was, in fact, covert.”
    FACT: CIA, Former Colleagues, And Special Prosecutor All Report That Plame Was Covert. The CIA filed a “crime report” with the Department of Justice shortly after Novak’s column, stating that an undercover agent’s identity had been blown. Larry Johnson, a former CIA officer, said “Valerie Plame was a classmate of mine from the day she started with the CIA. … All of my classmates were undercover.” Special prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald found that Plame had indeed done “covert work overseas” on counterproliferation matters in the past five years, and the CIA “was making specific efforts to conceal” her identity.

    CLAIM: The Post claims that senior White House officials had not “orchestrated the leak” and that the trial “provided convincing evidence that there was no conspiracy to punish Mr. Wilson by leaking Ms. Plame’s identity.”
    FACT: Cheney’s Point-man — Libby — Carefully Leaked Plame’s Identity To Reporters, White House Staff. In an article published on Jan. 26, 2007, Post writers reported “Vice President Cheney personally orchestrated his office’s 2003 efforts to rebut allegations that the administration used flawed intelligence to justify the war in Iraq.” As of that effort, handwritten notes prove that Cheney assigned Libby to be the point man for disseminating the information about Plame’s identity, which he revealed to reporters Judith Miller and Matt Cooper. Libby also enrolled Ari Fleischer and Karl Rove in his effort to disseminate Plame’s identity.

    CLAIM: “It would have been sensible for Mr. Fitzgerald to end his investigation after learning about Mr. Armitage. Instead, like many Washington special prosecutors before him, he pressed on, pursuing every tangent in the case.”
    FACT: Armitage told the truth; Libby refused to. Indeed, it was “sensible” for Fitzgerald to pursue Libby and question why the Vice President’s chief of staff could not tell him the truth, while Armitage could.

    A few more things: First, he perjured himself. Had I or any one of you done that, we would be held accountable, at least I would hope. This idea -- that you approach judicial proceedings with honesty and transparency -- provides the foundation of our judicial system, which is the only branch of this great government that seems to functioning appropriately these days. Clinton was guilty and the system failed. That's too bad. Wilson's assertions may be questionable, but they are not on trial and they were not criminal. But let me get this straight... According to some conservatives, lying about a blow job is an impeachable offense, but lying about outing a CIA agent focused on issues of national security is much ado about nothing? Not to mention that she had nothing to do with the '16 words' or the war in Iraq, but she was a 'soft target' that allowed the administration to get at Mr. Wilson. It becoming clear... Party before country, got it.

    Second, this was an issue of national security. No matter how operational Plame was, she was at some time serving our country, doing our nations dirty work. Her identity is was a state secret. Her life and the lives of other around her depended on that secrecy. There are names of dead agents, some from as long as 50 years ago, that the government continues to conceal for that very purpose. It is that important. If one wants to sacrifice that in order to protect themselves or the policies and people they support, so be it. But know that that point of view, that action, is not in the national interest.

    Third, it is beyond ignorant to suggest that someone who lied regarding a matter of war, a war that was not necessary and that has squandered uncountable national treasure, should be given a note of leniency. Again, I suspect this goes back to the party before country mind-set.

    And finally, ambassador Joseph C. Wilson IV May have his flaws but he was no "junior diplomat." To suggest this is a tacit admission that you have no idea what you are talking about. Ask George H.W. Bush if he was a "junior diplomat." This suggestion -- all of them -- is/are astonishing, and it comes from the man who earlier this week wrote that "the superficiality of [insulting those that have a different opinion]... reveals the lack of serious thought and the weakness of the argument." Well put.

    Posted by Geoff

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