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By Brad Friedman on 1/22/2009 3:43pm PT  

Though the clemency granted by George W. Bush to the criminal I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby, for his part in illegally covering up the investigation into the unprecedented White House outing of a covert CIA asset, was reprehensible, Bush showed admirable restraint in his issuing of Presidential pardons on his way out the door.

There! Never let it be said we couldn't come up with something positive to say about his reign! Took us eight years, but there ya go. Even a broken clock is right at least once every eight years.

By way of underscoring his nearly once-in-a-lifetime apparently (accidentally?) good judgment, it's worth noting that many of Bush's supporters (such that there still are any) are pissed off that he hadn't issued a full pardon for Libby before leaving:

According to conservative columnist and Cheney biographer Stephen F. Hayes, writing in the Weekly Standard, "Bush's decision not to pardon Libby has angered many of the president's strongest defenders. One Libby sympathizer, a longtime defender of Bush, told friends she was 'disgusted' by the president. Another described Bush as 'dishonorable' and a third suggested that refusing to pardon Libby was akin to leaving a soldier on the battlefield."

Hayes quotes Cheney himself as saying, "...Obviously, I disagree with President Bush's decision."

Waytago, Decider! You finally did something right!

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By Jon Ponder on 6/18/2008 12:48pm PT  

Guest blogged by Jon Ponder, Pensito Review.

Chairman Henry Waxman (D-Calif.) and the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee have subpoenaed notes of an FBI interview with George Bush and Dick Cheney in the Oval Office on June 24, 2004, about their role in the unmasking of a CIA anti-WMD program administered by Valerie Plame:

The subpoena follows a June 3 letter from committee chairman Rep. Henry Waxman to Attorney General Mukasey, asking for the documents and a June 11 response from Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Keith B. Nelson [who declined the request due to "separation of powers" issues.

The instigation for the request is information in What Happened, the memoir by former White House Press Sec. Scott McClellan:

Waxman requested the transcripts of the FBI interviews earlier this month, after publication of Scott McClellan’s tell all memoir revealing Bush administration deception. A transcript of Cheney’s interview would be of particular interest because his former aide, I. Lewis “Scooter” Libby, was the only official convicted of a crime in relation to the Plame probe.

Libby told the FBI that it was “possible” Cheney instructed him to leak Plame’s name, Waxman wrote in his initial letter to Attorney General Michael Mukasey.

The question appears to be, if Bush and Cheney lied to McClellan, did they also lie to the FBI that June morning. Lying to the FBI is illegal, even if the subjects are not under oath.

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By Brad Friedman on 6/9/2008 12:28pm PT  

Scott McClellan has previously said he'd be "happy" to testify before the U.S. House Judiciary Committee. Looks like he's about to get his chance. On June 20th. Unlike Karl Rove, who said he'd similarly be happy to tell his story (on the Siegelman affair) to Congress, we suspect McClellan will actually keep his word.

This just in from Conyers' office...

For Immediate Release: June 9, 2008

Conyers Invites McClellan to Testify June 20th

(Washington, DC)- Today, House Judiciary Committee Chairman John Conyers, Jr. (D-MI) invited former White House Press Secretary Scott McClellan to testify before the Committee at a June 20th hearing about reported efforts to cover up the role of the White House in the Valerie Plame leak as described in his recent book, What Happened: Inside the Bush White House and Washington's Culture of Deception.

I have extended an invitation to Mr. McClellan to testify before the Judiciary Committee after discussions between Committee staff and his attorneys, said Conyers. In his book, Mr. McClellan suggests that senior WhiteHouse officials may have obstructed justice and engaged in a cover-up regarding the Valerie Plame leak. This alleged activity could well extend beyond the scope of the offenses for which Scooter Libby has been convicted and deserves further attention. A copy of Chairman Conyers' letter is attached.

##110-JUD-060908##

The letter referred to above is just a single paragraph invitation, and largely restates the above.

UPDATE: McClellan accepts invitation. Public Record has details...

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The 'Diebold Whistleblower' Sees His Charges Reduced to a Misdemeanor, But Unlike Republicans Who Have Committed Far More Serious Crimes, Heller Continues to Pay
Reflections on Selective Criminal Punishment in Bush's America...
By Steve Heller on 12/2/2007 5:57pm PT  

Guest Blogged by Stephen Heller

I am no longer a felon.

In brief, I became known to some as the "Diebold Whistleblower" when, in January of 2004, I stole and exposed legal documents [PDF] proving that Diebold Election Systems, Inc. was using and planned to continue using illegal, uncertified software in their California voting machines. (By the way, Diebold recently changed its name to Premier Election Solutions, but don't let that fool you; it's still the same bunch of idiots.) Details about my case can be found here and here [PDF].

The documents I stole were covered under attorney-client privilege, so my theft was a serious crime. In February of 2006 I was charged with three felonies. On November 20, 2006, I plead guilty to one felony count of unauthorized access to a computer, and in exchange for my guilty plea and a restitution payment of $10,000 to the law firm from which I stole the documents, the law firm promised they wouldn't bring a civil suit against me, and I was put on felony probation instead of being sent to jail. The term of probation was to be at least one year, and as much as three years.

Now, one year after my guilty plea, because I've stayed out of trouble and because I'm a first offender, the judge has reduced my felony to a misdemeanor. Sometime in 2008, my lawyers will petition the court to have my misdemeanor expunged.

The bad part is that the most troublesome aspect of my probation is still in force. Before I can accept a job at which I would use a computer networked to one or more other computers (basically any job for which I'd be qualified), any potential employer must write to the judge in my case, tell him that they know about my conviction and that they still want to hire me, and then we have to wait until the judge responds with a "yes" or a "no" before I can accept the job and start work (and then only if the judge says "yes"). So as you can see, employers will be falling all over themselves to hire me.

Yeah, right.

Meanwhile, my wife (an actor, filmmaker and writer) certainly hasn't lost her sense of humor. She had been calling me Felonious Punk, but now that I'm no longer a felon, she's switched to Mister Meanor. Ain't it great being married to a comedy writer?

To be clear, breaking attorney-client privilege is a very serious crime, and I accept responsibility for what I did. I'm still being punished for it, and so far the punishment has cost my wife and me over $210,000 - and counting. $210,000 is an enormous amount of money to us. My wife and I have paid and are continuing to pay a very high price for my crime.

But, as we're not Republicans, we might have expected that.

Which got me thinking about other crimes in America that have recently been committed or alleged, and what's happened to those involved. Among the first of many, Lewis "Scooter" Libby comes to mind...

--- Click here for REST OF STORY!... ---

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Says Bush Didn't Know He Was Lying When He Told Scotty Rove Was Not Involved
By Jon Ponder on 11/21/2007 2:16pm PT  

Guest blogged by Jon Ponder, Pensito Review.

Yesterday we reported that in an excerpt from his upcoming book on his years as Bush's press spokesman, Scott McClellan wrote that, in 2003, when he exonerated Scooter Libby and Karl Rove of any involvement in the leak of the secret identity of CIA agent Valerie Plame Wilson, he had unknowingly lied. "And five of the highest ranking officials in the administration were involved in my doing so: Rove, Libby, the vice president, the President's chief of staff, and the president himself."

Today, predictably, McClellan's publisher is trying neuturalize McClellan's claim that Bush was in on the conspiracy to deceive:

Peter Osnos of PublicAffairs, told MSNBC that Mr. McClellan "did not intend to suggest Bush lied to him" about two senior aides’ roles in leaking the identity of Valerie Plame Wilson, a C.I.A. operative, to the conservative columnist Robert Novak and others in 2003.

Right. Except that is precisely what he wrote in the excerpt. Here's how Osnos squares the circle:

"[Bush] told him something that wasn’t true," Osnos told Bloomberg News, "but the president didn’t know it wasn’t true," And: "The president told him what he thought to be the case."

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In New Book, Former White House Spokeshole Blames Lies about Plame Leakers on Bush, Cheney, Rove, Libby and Card...
By Jon Ponder on 11/20/2007 9:44am PT  

Guest blogged by Jon Ponder, Pensito Review.

The title of former Bush flak Scott McClellan's new book, "What Happened" brings to mind the title of O.J. Simpson's recent allegedly fictional memoir, "If I Did It."

Perhaps it's because both books seek to exonerate their authors from much deserved guilty verdicts --- both in the court of public opinion and in courts of law, certainly in O.J.'s case, and maybe even for Scotty too.

Here's an excerpt from Scotty's book:

The most powerful leader in the world had called upon me to speak on his behalf and help restore credibility he lost amid the failure to find weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. So I stood at the White house briefing room podium in front of the glare of the klieg lights for the better part of two weeks and publicly exonerated two of the senior-most aides in the White House: Karl Rove and Scooter Libby.

There was one problem. It was not true.

I had unknowingly passed along false information. And five of the highest ranking officials in the administration were involved in my doing so: Rove, Libby, the vice President, the President's chief of staff, and the president himself.

And this was not just run of the mill political spin. Rove, Libby, Ari Fleischer and others, including Colin Powell's righthand man Richard Armitage, leaked the secret identity of a CIA agent whose specialty was tracking WMD. And they did it at the behest of the vice president who eagerly jeopardized state secrets for the tawdriest of purposes: to do political damage to the agent's husband, Joe Wilson, because he had dared to expose a lie told by the president in his 2003 State of the Union speech about Iraq seeking uranium from Niger.

The CIA, of course, can't reveal how many illegal weapons were successfully transported into the Middle East or how many foreigners acting as U.S. agents were permanently sidelined --- or captured or killed --- as a result the treasonous act of outing Agent Plame by George Bush, Dick Cheney and their henchmen.

Only Armitage has expressed regret about the leak.

Scott McClellan shredded his credibility for Bush, Cheney and the rest. Surely he can't expect anyone to believe he is telling the truth now when he claims he was misled by these same people. He is either the most gullible person to walk the planet, or he thinks the rest of us are fools.

Cross-posted at Pensito Review.

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Outed, Covert CIA Spy - Who Had Been Working on WMD in Iraq and Iran - in Her First Broadcast Network Interview
PLUS: A Former Colleague Says She Was Held Hostage and Tortured, And When Threatened by Al Qaeda, the White House Refused to Take Action...
By Brad Friedman on 10/21/2007 8:27pm PT  

Yes, she was covert until being outed by the White House.

Yes, she was monitoring nuclear weapons and other WMD going into and coming out of Iraq and Iran, as RAW STORY's Larisa Alexandrovna correctly and originally and exclusively reported in February of 2006.

Yes, her outing led to a still-classified CIA damage assessment and "serious" consequences" to other members of her CIA intelligence network.

No, despite Bush's promise, no one has ever been held accountable for leaking her identity in the first such outing of a covert CIA operative by agents of the U.S. Government itself.

No, Bush "is not a man of his word," as Valerie Plame Wilson told 60 Minutes tonight in her first broadcast network interview. Here's the video in two parts...

Some of what Plame is still not allowed to say, including details about "being taken hostage and subjected to torture for two days," is covered by her former CIA colleague, Larry Johnson, right here...

And in another posting today, Johnson gives us some details from Plame's new book, Fair Game: My Life as a Spy, My Betrayal by the White House, in which it's disclosed that "In 2004 the FBI received intelligence that Al Qaeda hit teams were en route to the United States to kill Dick Cheney, Karl Rove, and Valerie Plame."

So what did the White House do about it? Johnson tells us...

When the White House learned of these threats they sprung into action. They beefed up Secret Service protection for Vice President Cheney and provided security protection to Karl Rove. But they declined to do anything for Valerie. That was a CIA problem.

Valerie contacted the office of Security at CIA and requested assistance. They told her too fucking bad and to go pound sand. They did not use those exact words, but they told her she was on her own.

Amazing.

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WaPo Joins Ted Olson in Supporting the Bill, Opposes Special Prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald for Criticizing It
As GOP-Introduced Bill Heads to Full Senate...
By Margie Burns on 10/5/2007 6:35am PT  

Guest Blogged by BRAD BLOG's D.C. Correspondent, Margie Burns

It was a big day on Thursday in the national capital, with several flaming surges hitting the news at once – the Washington Post hooking up with the MSM campaign to put “Hillary” over the top before the magic deadline of October 15 (more on that later, elsewhere); Rep. Henry Waxman and the House Government Reform and Oversight Committee holding a powerful hearing on Iraqi corruption; the blocking of Hans von Spakovsky's nomination to the FEC; and discussion of a proposed federal shield law for journalists (full text of bill here), which was reported out of the Senate Judiciary Committee today to the full Senate.

While I was able to sit in for hearings on two of the items above, space and time regrettably being constraints, I'll cover only the proposed shield law for the moment. Right up top, I have to say that I have qualms about it. A real leak, by a whistleblower exposing a crime or some danger to the public, is one thing. But protecting journalists from exposing a politically motivated ‘source’ trying to plant misinformation is another. This bill, as it was debated in committee and written about in papers yesterday, might equally protect both, if it protects either...

--- Click here for REST OF STORY!... ---

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Despite Promise to Investigate, Fire Leaker, Admits He 'Didn't Ask Then, Hasn't Asked Since'
Says Commutation Was 'Fair and Balanced' Before Turning to Fox 'News' Reporter for Next Question...
By Brad Friedman on 7/12/2007 11:40am PT  

RAW STORY has the shameful report and video of Bush's press conference and latest failure of the mainstream corporate media...

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Fred Fielding, Counsel to Richard M. Nixon and George W. Bush, Greenlights Probation
By Margie Burns on 7/11/2007 8:45am PT  

Guest blogged from DC by Margie Burns

These are interesting times. A short update on the most recent legal motions in the Libby case:

As we know, in a Grant of Executive Clemency on July 2, George W. Bush commuted all prison terms for I. Lewis ‘Scooter’ Libby. The grant states that it leaves “intact and in effect the two-year term of supervised release, with all its conditions, and all other components of the sentence.”

What with Libby not having served any time, Judge Walton, the trial judge in the Libby case, ordered input from prosecution and defense on the question of whether there could be any “release” – and consequently any “supervised release,” i.e. probation.

First response came from Fred Fielding, Esq., now Counsel to the President. Fielding was the man who helped Nixon negotiate the shoals of the Watergate investigation --- speaking of no jail time --- concluding with Nixon’s resignation followed in short order by a presidential pardon even without a conviction – and, according to Nixon and then-President Gerald Ford, without even a request for a pardon. One sees why Fielding would be welcome aboard the current White House.

--- Click here for REST OF STORY!... ---

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Who Benefited the Most? Did Cheney Facilitate Libby? And Whatever Came of the 'Outrage'?...
By Margie Burns on 7/9/2007 12:05pm PT  

Guest Blogged by BRAD BLOG D.C. Correspondent Margie Burns

Looking into the combination high-level and shadowy backstory of Marc Rich, pardoned unpardonably by former President Clinton on the latter’s last day of office, will throw further light on the longterm Libby-Cheney relationship.

While this little item below went rapidly down the memory hole, back in early 2001 (very early) the incoming Bush administration made little noise (very little, very quickly ceased) about revoking Rich’s pardon. No public emphasis by the administration that Libby, the new chief of staff for Cheney and Special Assistant to Bush, had recently been Marc Rich's attorney for twelve years.

The following short 2001 article was published in Globes Publisher Itonut, ‘Israel’s Business Arena’ [online]...

--- Click here for REST OF STORY!... ---

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But Who in the Anchor Chair Will Bother to Point That Out?...
By Brad Friedman on 7/7/2007 10:13am PT  

Blogged by Brad from St. Louis...

Golly, there sure are a lot of Right Wingers out there using Bill Clinton's pardons as reason to say that it's okay that Bush has commuted four felony convictions of the lying covert CIA-operative outer Scooter Libby.

"Clinton did the same thing when he pardoned Marc Rich and so many others," proclaim the Neo-Apologists.

"Where were you when Clinton committed perjury?" they ask (failing to note that he was never actually convicted of a crime, and, in either case, was said to have lied about a sexual matter in a civil case, versus a matter of national security in a criminal case).

In either case, we wonder when one of our brave media anchors will ask the obvious follow-up to one of these clowns. Namely, "Does this mean you now support Bill Clinton's use of pardons? Do you now believe that it was okay for Clinton to lie during a deposition?"

Seems to us they can't have it both ways. If it was wrong for Clinton to lie during a civil suit investigation, and wrong for him to let convicted criminals off the hook with pardons, then it is wrong for Libby to lie (to a grand jury) during an criminal investigation and for Bush to let him off the hook for it.

The Scooter Libby Wingnut Talking Points, however, don't seem to go that many levels deep. Perhaps that's because the Neo-Apologists know that a well thought-out response to the Libby Debacle is not really necessary, seeing as how nobody on the teevee will likely ever bother to ask them such a seemingly obvious follow-up question to their lock-step, sound-bite-crafted response to Bush's commutation.

The 4th Estate fails again.

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Bush Admin More Involved in Case Than Earlier Accounts Indicated...
By Jon Ponder on 7/6/2007 3:00pm PT  

Guest Blogged by Jon Ponder of Pensito Review.

It's hard to imagine a counterpoint to Scooter Libby's criminal case more apt and revealing than the case of Victor Rita, a North Carolina veteran who was convicted by the feds of lying under oath about buying an illegal machine gun.

Both Rita and Libby were convicted of perjury and obstruction of justice in federal cases. Both were sentenced to around 30 months in jail. Both sentences were appealed, and Bush officials at the highest levels were involved in the appeals as they played themselves out in the past few months.

In their appeals, both Rita and Libby sought leniency based on their records of public service and current circumstances. Victor Rita served in the Marine Corps for 25 years, including tours of duty in Vietnam and Gulf War I. He is now advanced in age and in failing health. As a result of his crimes, he has reportedly been wiped out financially.

George W. Bush described Scooter Libby's career in public service as "exceptional," but a review of Libby's bio reveals him to be a neocon bureaucrat who held a series of political positions in Republican administrations before moving up to the White House with Cheney and Bush --- where he was either a witness to or a participant in skullduggery and shenanigans the half of which we don't yet know. Libby is in his late 50s, appears to be in good health, and was able to pay his $250,000 fine out of his checking account, probably with the help of a defense fund set up by powerful Republicans friends like Fred Thompson and Mary Matalan.

Earlier this year the appeals by Rita and Libby both took dramatic turns, at which point the similarities between the two cases came to an abrupt end.

Rita's moment came when his appeal was heard before the Supreme Court...

--- Click here for REST OF STORY!... ---

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Bush's Commuting Prison His Terms May Mean Not Even Probation for Libby
Will the Libby Defense Fund Pay the $250,000 Fine for Millionaire Libby?
By Margie Burns on 7/4/2007 6:22am PT  

Guest blogged by Margie Burns.

President Bush's "Statement by the President on Executive Clemency for Lewis Libby" says that

My decision to commute his prison sentence leaves in place a harsh punishment for Mr. Libby.

Bush goes on to mention specifically the only remaining elements of legal punishment, probation and a fine of $250,000.

Now it looks as though even these two residual sanctions on Libby may turn out to be nonexistent.

On July 3 (yesterday), Judge Reggie B. Walton, the trial judge, issued a new order in the Libby case. Noting that probation appears to be defined by law as "supervised release after imprisonment" and that the president had commuted all of Libby's imprisonment, the judge said that the law,

does not appear to contemplate a situation in which a defendant may be placed under supervised release without first completing a term of incarceration.

--- Click here for REST OF STORY!... ---

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By Alan Breslauer on 7/4/2007 1:07am PT  

Guest Blogged by Alan Breslauer

It was fitting that George W. Bush commuted Scooter Libby's prison sentence while visiting with Daddy Bush since it was 41 who likely taught him about such dirty tricks. In fact, Bush the Elder took a similar route by pardoning Caspar Weinberger who was indicted for lying to the special prosecutor investigating the Iran/Contra affair. As Marcy Wheeler stated on Democracy Now (seen in the video), Senior Bush's pardon similarly prevented investigators from discovering his role in the Iran/Contra scandal. For kicks, you'll also see Fox "News" pundit, Fred Barnes, mentioning the older Bush's pardon of Weinberger in defense of 43's actions, which might be the reason he is fuzzy with the details.

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