A few quick thoughts on President Bush's commutation of the prison sentence for convicted felon, I. "Scooter" Libby:
- Libby was convicted of deliberately, criminally thwarting the federal investigation of the leak of a covert CIA agent's identity during a time of war. We should always keep that basic fact in mind.
- For years, when asked about the leak, the White House has said that it would not comment on an ongoing criminal proceeding. Now that President Bush has effectively destroyed that criminal proceeding with his virtual pardon of Libby, the press should resume asking the Bush Administration who leaked the agent's name, who ordered the leak of the agent's name and why.
- Patrick Fitzgerald's rebuttal of Bush's excessive sentence claim is a subtle masterpiece:
The sentence in this case was imposed pursuant to the laws governing sentencings which occur every day throughout this country. In this case, an experienced federal judge considered extensive argument from the parties and then imposed a sentence consistent with the applicable laws. It is fundamental to the rule of law that all citizens stand before the bar of justice as equals. That principle guided the judge during both the trial and the sentencing.And that principle is the latest victim of the Bush Administration.
- By waiving the prison sentence and insuring that Libby will never serve a moment in jail, President Bush has stripped Fitzgerald of any leverage that he might have had to coerce the felon Libby to cooperate with the investigation of the war-time leak of a covert CIA agent's identity. Bush's virtual pardon is a deliberate obstruction of justice. Although Bush's obstruction of the administration and due process of law via his presidential pardon power is legal, never the less, it is obstruction of justice.
- Save some outrage for after the 2008 elections -- Anyone who thinks that President Bush won't fully pardon Libby on his way out of the White House should think again.