Tuesday, March 06, 2007
This should never have happened... but not for the reasons his apologists cite. Yes, it was an abuse of prosecutorial discretion on Fitzgerald's part to go continue his investigation past the point at which he learned that Novak's source was Armitage and that Plame's identity wasn't protected under any of the various secrecy laws.
But pursue it he did and Libby gave him all he needed to indict and convict him. Libby should never have played games with the FBI and the grand jury. By the time Libby spoke with investigators, he had to have known that Plame's identity was no big deal... and certainly not something he would go to jail for having revealed. There was absolutely nothing to be gained by Libby doing anything but being completely forthright and telling the investigators and the grand jury that he had learned of Plame from a variety of Administration sources and that he had discussed her involvement with a number of journalists.
Libby also screwed up at trial. He never introduced evidence to demonstrate to the jury that he had no reason to lie to investigators. He needed to do more than argue 'he said - she said'. He needed to tell the jury there was nothing to be gained from lying, that he had no motivation to do what he was alleged to have done.
He also needed to testify on his own behalf. It (obviously) wasn't enough for him to try and poke holes in the prosecution's case. While the rules (technically) are that he doesn't have to prove his innocence, he only has to prove that the prosecution didn't prove his guilt, in reality I believe jurors look for the defendent to present an alternative to the prosecution's case. Libby didn't do so and, as a result, the jurors were left with only the prosecution's story line.
While I haven't bothered looking, I'd bet dollars to donuts that the cry has already started for Bush to pardon Libby. I hope he doesn't do so. Libby didn't lie because he was doing the right thing. Libby didn't sacrifice himself for the good of the Administration, he didn't sacrifice himself for the good of the country. Libby was looking out for himself (and doing a terrible job of doing so) and should pay the price for his own stupidity.