Friday, July 6, 2007

Moral gymnastics

Bush Rationale on Libby Stirs Legal Debate - New York Times: "In commuting I. Lewis Libby Jr.’s 30-month prison sentence on Monday, President Bush drew on the same array of arguments about the federal sentencing system often made by defense lawyers — and routinely and strenuously opposed by his own Justice Department."

I'm personally upset about two facets of this case. The first is the failure to indict Carl Rove. I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby was actually convicted of interfering with the leak investigation. Mr. Libby was not the source of the leak. There is credible evidence that Carl Rove was the source of the leak. Somehow, Carl Rove hasn't been indicted.

The second upsetting facet is the government's schizophrenia on sentencing guidelines. Victor A. Rita, a veteran of two wars, obstructed a federal investigation into the possible violation of gun registration laws. Mr. Rita was sentenced under the same guidelines as Mr. Libby. While Mr. Rita did commit a crime, his crime pales in comparison to ending the career of a CIA officer who hunted weapons of mass destruction. Mr. Rita appealed his sentence all the way to the Supreme Court saying it was unnecessarily harsh. The Justice Department filed a friend of the court brief defending the federal sentencing guidelines. Those would be the guidelines that president Bush said were excessive in the case of Mr. Libby.

For those of you who have lost track of the Valerie Plame case, I recommend going to the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform. The one statement that isn't there is the president's press secretary, Scott McClellan's statement that: "... if someone commits a crime, they're not going to be working any longer in this administration." Those are good words. That's an appropriate standard for government service at the highest levels. Sadly, I think they're just words. I think Carl Rove endangered Valerie Plame, her sources and our country for political ends and I think he's gotten away with it.

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