Comey Is Why Scooter Libby Was Pardoned Now

 

It’s not widely recognized that this is the second time James Comey has launched a special counsel at a Republican administration. The first was during the GW Bush administration. When Joe Wilson first published his “16 Words” op-ed in the New York Times, and then his wife, Valerie Plame (that’s in Joe Wilson & Valerie Plame, the “we’re not anti-semites, we just don’t want Jews running everything” couple), was outed to Bob Novak by an administration source as a CIA agent, and AG Ashcroft recused himself (sound familiar?), his deputy Comey saw an opportunity to get his arch-nemesis Dick Cheney.

Comey and Cheney were at crosshairs because of their differing views on the War on Terror and the role of the CIA/FBI and surveillance. Comey was convinced the source of the leak about Plame was Cheney or one of his staff, so Comey appointed his friend Patrick Fitzgerald (who was also godfather to Comey’s daughter) as special counsel and set him loose.

Unfortunately within a couple of weeks, Fitzgerald knew the source of the leak was Richard Armitage (as @CTlaw pointed out in his post). The problem was Armitage worked for Colin Powell, not Cheney. Moreover, Armitage and Powell were also opponents of Cheney (and by the way, it appears no law was broken by the Armitage disclosure). So instead of winding up his investigation, Fitzgerald asked Armitage not to disclose his role and proceeded to spend the next year setting perjury traps for Cheney and his staff. I would be shocked if Fitzgerald acted on his own without consulting his supervisor, James Comey.

[UPDATE: @philo comment below prompted me to look for more material at Tom Maguire’s website which covered the trial extensively and this post provides his take on the Comey/Cheney angle. He describes Fitzgerald as a torpedo dropped in the water by Comey “towards the USS Cheney”.]

I think it is also objectively an open question whether Libby committed perjury. Of course, it didn’t make much difference for Libby since even a mediocre prosecutor can convict a Republican with a DC jury. Also sound familiar?

That’s why Trump is pardoning Libby. It’s a direct rebuke of Comey’s sleazy machinations.


The Wilson/Plame matter also has some similarities to the Russian collusion story in the lack of mainstream media interest in anything that would interfere with the preferred narrative.

[UPDATE: On the substance of Wilson’s claims, here is the Washington Post reporting in July 2004 on a bipartisan Senate Intelligence Committee report on the matter (this is before the WaPo publicly announced its aspiration to smother democracy in darkness). From the article:

Wilson’s assertions — both about what he found in Niger and what the Bush administration did with the information — were undermined yesterday in a bipartisan Senate intelligence committee report.]

For instance, I was always struck that no one in the Democratic controlled media ever asked why Joe Wilson made his revelation at the particular time, in July 2003, after the initial phase of the war was over and Saddam Hussein deposed, since he’d made his Africa trip more than a year earlier.

Let’s look at the timeline:

Joe Wilson is sent by the CIA to West Africa in February 2002 to investigate allegations that Saddam is trying to buy yellowcake uranium from Niger. Oddly, it appears the CIA never asked him to sign a nondisclosure agreement.

On October 11, 2002, the Senate voted to authorize the President to use force in Iraq. Half of the Senate Democrats, including Biden, Kerry, and Clinton, supported the authorization.

On January 28, 2003, President Bush gave the speech that later became known as the “16 Words” speech because of his reference to Saddam’s efforts to obtain yellowcake in Africa.

The Iraq War began on March 20, 2003.

Joe Wilson’s op-ed in the NY Times appeared on July 6, 2003.

Why, if Wilson thought Bush had a “lack of candor” in his January 28 speech did he not raise his concerns before the start of the invasion in March? My belief is related to Wilson’s own views about Saddam’s capabilities, and internal Democratic party politics.

Specifically, in a talk Wilson gave in the fall of 2002 to an audience in DC (I listened to a recording of it years ago, and am trying to find it on the internet once again), he believed Saddam had significant chemical and biological warfare capabilities. In fact, he opposed the invasion for two reasons. First, he thought the US would suffer significant casualties because of Saddam’s WMD capabilities, and second, he didn’t want American “boys and girls” dying on behalf of Israel (btw, I don’t think he was referring to Israeli Arabs when he was making that statement).

Further, Wilson was a Democrat and interested in the party’s success in the 2004 elections. If Wilson went public with his concerns prior to the invasion, it would have put a lot of public pressure on Clinton, Kerry, and Biden to declare whether they would change their authorization vote and demand another vote. Since none of them knew how the war would turn out and whether WMD would be found that would have put them in an untenable position with a lot of political risk and none of them would have wanted it.

It was only politically safe for Wilson to make his accusations after the invasion when little WMD, and no nuclear material, was found.

The other important element in the specific timing of publications by the New York Times was that it created a media frenzy right in the middle of George Bush’s trip to sub-Saharan Africa. Since the media narrative was that Bush was a racist, there was a need to divert attention from his obvious concern about, and commitment to, improving conditions in Africa. The Wilson story also helped to overshadow President Bush’s speech at Goree Island in Senegal, the most remarkable speech by an American president on race and slavery since Lincoln’s Second Inaugural.


Joe Wilson wasn’t the only one in his family concerned about Jews. In 2017, Valerie Plame’s long-standing history of similar views finally became public over her endorsing tweet of an article entitled “America’s Jews are driving America’s wars” published on a website that also carried articles like “It’s time to rethink David Duke”.

There are two interesting aspects of the 2017 tweet, which, once again, was not an aberration by Plame. First, it caused her to have to resign from the Board of the Ploughshares Foundation. Ploughshares is the leftist foundation that helped create what Ben Rhoades, President Obama’s right hand man on the Iran Nuclear Deal, called the “echo chamber” to work with the administration in a coordinated effort to help sway public opinion, an effort that included accusations of dual loyalty by American Jews.

Secondly, the Wilson/Plame worldview also obscured differences between American neo-cons and Israel on foreign policy. During the run up to the Iraq War the Sharon government in Israel told the Bush Administration that it thought Saddam was successfully contained and that Iran was a much bigger threat. Once it was clear that Bush was set on prioritizing Iraq, Sharon directed his officials to stand down on the basis that as an American ally, Israel needed to support the United States. In other words, causation was the opposite of Wilson/Plame’s accusations. 

There are 36 comments.

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  1. Member

    And … Valerie Plame was not an undercover agent at all.

    She and husband Joe were a jet-setting, reality-TV like power couple splashed across magazine covers.

    Lyin’ Comey has an entire career of this.

    • #1
    • April 13, 2018 at 1:19 pm
    • 12 likes
  2. Member

    Comey and the Plame investigation, Mueller and the anthrax investigation, there is a lot of history of persecution of innocent people by these guys, yet we hear over and over what unimpeachable reputations they have…

     

    • #2
    • April 13, 2018 at 1:19 pm
    • 25 likes
  3. Member

    It is a much simpler explanation. Trump is sending the message to those in his administration…. lie, obstruct, refuse to cooperate with the Mueller investigation, I’ll have your back if you do. Heck of a way to drain a swamp…

    • #3
    • April 13, 2018 at 1:21 pm
    • 1 like
  4. Member

    Herbert defender of the Realm,… (View Comment):

    It is a much simpler explanation. Trump is sending the message to those in his administration…. lie, obstruct, refuse to cooperate with the Mueller investigation, I’ll have your back if you do. Heck of a way to drain a swamp…

    Yeah, it can’t be that a great injustice was done to Mr. Libby and its long past time it was undone. Nor that it is long past time we no longer allow such abuse of power to continue. 

    Gotta be Trump is back obstructing justice! All roads lead to impeachment.

    • #4
    • April 13, 2018 at 1:33 pm
    • 27 likes
  5. Member

    At the recommendation of someone here on Ricochet I am reading Licensed to Lie: Exposing Corruption in the Department of Justice.

    I didn’t know it was possible for me to be more cynical or worried.

    I was wrong.

    Good for President Trump pardoning Libby. Long overdue.

    • #5
    • April 13, 2018 at 1:43 pm
    • 22 likes
  6. Member

    Annefy (View Comment):

    At the recommendation of someone here on Ricochet I am reading Licensed to Lie: Exposing Corruption in the Department of Justice.

    I didn’t know it was possible for me to be more cynical or worried.

    I was wrong.

    Good for President Trump pardoning Libby. Long overdue.

     

    • #6
    • April 13, 2018 at 1:49 pm
    • 3 likes
  7. Member

    PHenry (View Comment):

    Herbert defender of the Realm,… (View Comment):

    It is a much simpler explanation. Trump is sending the message to those in his administration…. lie, obstruct, refuse to cooperate with the Mueller investigation, I’ll have your back if you do. Heck of a way to drain a swamp…

    Yeah, it can’t be that a great injustice was done to Mr. Libby and its long past time it was undone. Nor that it is long past time we no longer allow such abuse of power to continue.

    Gotta be Trump is back obstructing justice! All roads lead to impeachment.

    You think it’s coincidence that on the same day he complains about Comey’s lies and leaks, (James Comey is a proven LEAKER & LIAR. Virtually everyone in Washington thought he should be fired for the terrible job he did-until he was, in fact, fired. He leaked CLASSIFIED information, for which he should be prosecuted. He lied to Congress under OATH. He is a weak and…..). he pardons a convicted liar and leaker? Can he really be this tone deaf? No… he is using it to send a message. Lie for me and I’ll have your back.

    • #7
    • April 13, 2018 at 2:04 pm
    • Like
  8. Thatcher
    Gumby Mark Post author

    Herbert defender of the Realm,… (View Comment):

    PHenry (View Comment):

    Herbert defender of the Realm,… (View Comment):

    It is a much simpler explanation. Trump is sending the message to those in his administration…. lie, obstruct, refuse to cooperate with the Mueller investigation, I’ll have your back if you do. Heck of a way to drain a swamp…

    Yeah, it can’t be that a great injustice was done to Mr. Libby and its long past time it was undone. Nor that it is long past time we no longer allow such abuse of power to continue.

    Gotta be Trump is back obstructing justice! All roads lead to impeachment.

    You think it’s coincidence that on the same day he complains about Comey’s lies and leaks, (James Comey is a proven LEAKER & LIAR. Virtually everyone in Washington thought he should be fired for the terrible job he did-until he was, in fact, fired. He leaked CLASSIFIED information, for which he should be prosecuted. He lied to Congress under OATH. He is a weak and…..). he pardons a convicted liar and leaker? Can he really be this tone deaf? No… he is using it to send a message. Lie for me and I’ll have your back.

    Libby was not the leaker. Richard Armitage, who was not prosecuted since he was aligned with Comey, was the leaker.

    • #8
    • April 13, 2018 at 2:10 pm
    • 19 likes
  9. Member

    There was evidence presented that Libby leaked too

    • #9
    • April 13, 2018 at 2:12 pm
    • Like
  10. Member

    Herbert defender of the Realm,… (View Comment):

    It is a much simpler explanation. Trump is sending the message to those in his administration…. lie, obstruct, refuse to cooperate with the Mueller investigation, I’ll have your back if you do. Heck of a way to drain a swamp…

    Pathetic

    • #10
    • April 13, 2018 at 2:17 pm
    • 10 likes
  11. Thatcher
    Gumby Mark Post author

    Herbert defender of the Realm,… (View Comment):

    There was evidence presented that Libby leaked too

    It is undisputed that the source of the leak to Novak that triggered the investigation was Richard Armitage. In effect, Comey, through his proxy Fitzgerald, sent the message that we won’t prosecute leakers if you are on our side.

    • #11
    • April 13, 2018 at 2:17 pm
    • 21 likes
  12. Member

    Herbert defender of the Realm,… (View Comment):

    There was evidence presented that Libby leaked too

    What did he leak? The identity of the real leaker? Everyone already knew.

    • #12
    • April 13, 2018 at 2:17 pm
    • 2 likes
  13. Member

    The Scooter Libby trial & conviction was a miscarriage of justice. President Trump’s pardon of Mr Libby is simply a righting of that wrong. I recall seeing interviews with several of the jurors shortly after the verdict was announced in which the jurors stated that Dick Cheney should be the one going to jail. It was mob justice.

    • #13
    • April 13, 2018 at 2:19 pm
    • 13 likes
  14. Member

    Remember that the Libby “perjury” was based on differing recollections by Libby and Tim Russert- it entirely depended on Russert’s version being totally correct rather than at all mushy.

    • #14
    • April 13, 2018 at 2:23 pm
    • 13 likes
  15. Member

    tigerlily (View Comment):

    The Scooter Libby trial & conviction was a miscarriage of justice. President Trump’s pardon of Mr Libby is simply a righting of that wrong. I recall seeing interviews with several of the jurors shortly after the verdict was announced in which the jurors stated that Dick Cheney should be the one going to jail. It was mob justice.

    Simply incredible that that has to be defended on a right of center website.

    • #15
    • April 13, 2018 at 2:25 pm
    • 16 likes
  16. Member

    “Gold star” for Trump on this one. I thought the “W” commutation was weak. Rewarding witch hunts is not upholding the rule of law — it simply emboldens the hunters.

    • #16
    • April 13, 2018 at 2:28 pm
    • 19 likes
  17. Member

    You get the impression that for the last 20 years or more, the FBI has only had about 6 employees – Comey, McCabe, Strzok, Page, Rosenstein and a few lesser known actors. They seem to be involved in everything.

    • #17
    • April 13, 2018 at 2:36 pm
    • 6 likes
  18. Member

    blood thirsty neocon (View Comment):

    Herbert defender of the Realm,… (View Comment):

    It is a much simpler explanation. Trump is sending the message to those in his administration…. lie, obstruct, refuse to cooperate with the Mueller investigation, I’ll have your back if you do. Heck of a way to drain a swamp…

    Pathetic

    Pardon?

    • #18
    • April 13, 2018 at 2:38 pm
    • Like
  19. Thatcher
    Gumby Mark Post author

    Duane Oyen (View Comment):

    Remember that the Libby “perjury” was based on differing recollections by Libby and Tim Russert- it entirely depended on Russert’s version being totally correct rather than at all mushy.

    This is to my recollection an accurate summary. At this remove I can’t remember enough of the specifics to state definitively whether the jury was wrong. My point is that the Fitzgerald investigation should have terminated before it ever got to that point, once Armitage was identified as the source of the Novak column. But that would not have served Comey’s purpose.

    For what it is worth, I also think Ken Starr’s Whitewater investigation should have been terminated before the Lewinsky matter was uncovered.

    • #19
    • April 13, 2018 at 2:39 pm
    • 3 likes
  20. Member

    Herbert defender of the Realm,… (View Comment):

    blood thirsty neocon (View Comment):

    Herbert defender of the Realm,… (View Comment):

    It is a much simpler explanation. Trump is sending the message to those in his administration…. lie, obstruct, refuse to cooperate with the Mueller investigation, I’ll have your back if you do. Heck of a way to drain a swamp…

    Pathetic

    Pardon?

    I thought you thought pardons are immoral? Now you want one?

    • #20
    • April 13, 2018 at 2:55 pm
    • 11 likes
  21. Member

    Herbert defender of the Realm,… (View Comment): There was evidence presented that Libby leaked too

    Care to provide a link with that?

    • #21
    • April 13, 2018 at 3:08 pm
    • 6 likes
  22. Member

    Herbert defender of the Realm,… (View Comment):

    blood thirsty neocon (View Comment):

    Herbert defender of the Realm,… (View Comment):

    It is a much simpler explanation. Trump is sending the message to those in his administration…. lie, obstruct, refuse to cooperate with the Mueller investigation, I’ll have your back if you do. Heck of a way to drain a swamp…

    Pathetic

    Pardon?

    I didn’t stutter.

    • #22
    • April 13, 2018 at 3:14 pm
    • 3 likes
  23. Thatcher
    Gumby Mark Post author

    philo (View Comment):

    Herbert defender of the Realm,… (View Comment): There was evidence presented that Libby leaked too

    Care to provide a link with that?

    This link takes you to Tom Maguire at Just One Minute who wrote extensively on the trial at the time. You can follow links there but the gist is that (as I can best remember) is that Libby was contacted by Tim Russert and Judith Miller among others to confirm Plame’s status after story broke. The legal issue was whether Russert’s version of their conversation or Libby’s was more accurate. Part of the evidence presented was that Libby did confirm Plame’s CIA status to Russert but his testimony when questioned as part of Fitzgerald’s investigation was more evasive. At trial Miller’s testimony was damaging to Libby, but after the trial when she claims she was shown how Fitzgerald’s time told her things that were not true which led to her making incorrect assumptions about Libby so she has publicly repudiated her trial testimony.

    Bottom line – it’s complicated.

    • #23
    • April 13, 2018 at 3:25 pm
    • 5 likes
  24. Thatcher
    Gumby Mark Post author

    For those of you who read the post earlier, I’ve just added an update with further information on the Comey v Cheney angle. And for those interested in further details on the Plame/Wilson story I’ve added more material since I did the original post.

    • #24
    • April 13, 2018 at 3:45 pm
    • 4 likes
  25. Member

    Gumby Mark (View Comment):

    philo (View Comment):

    Herbert defender of the Realm,… (View Comment): There was evidence presented that Libby leaked too

    Care to provide a link with that?

    This link takes you to Tom Maguire at Just One Minute who wrote extensively on the trial at the time. You can follow links there but the gist is that (as I can best remember) is that Libby was contacted by Tim Russert and Judith Miller among others to confirm Plame’s status after story broke. The legal issue was whether Russert’s version of their conversation or Libby’s was more accurate. Part of the evidence presented was that Libby did confirm Plame’s CIA status to Russert but his testimony when questioned as part of Fitzgerald’s investigation was more evasive. At trial Miller’s testimony was damaging to Libby, but after the trial when she claims she was shown how Fitzgerald’s time told her things that were not true which led to her making incorrect assumptions about Libby so she has publicly repudiated her trial testimony.

    Bottom line – it’s complicated.

    Thank you.

    • #25
    • April 13, 2018 at 4:27 pm
    • 2 likes
  26. Member

    PHenry (View Comment):

    Comey and the Plame investigation, Mueller and the anthrax investigation, there is a lot of history of persecution of innocent people by these guys, yet we hear over and over what unimpeachable reputations they have…

    I’ll take your comment as an opportunity to make a related point. We have been assured by top men that the DoJ and the FBI have a well earned reputation for being able to seize, separate and sort actual privileged documents without compromising anyone’s rights.

    I suspect these are the same folks who follow a set of rigorous protocols designed to protect the rights of Americans not to have their communications arbitrarily read by the government.

    • #26
    • April 13, 2018 at 5:08 pm
    • 7 likes
  27. Thatcher
    Gumby Mark Post author

    Steve C. (View Comment):

    PHenry (View Comment):

    Comey and the Plame investigation, Mueller and the anthrax investigation, there is a lot of history of persecution of innocent people by these guys, yet we hear over and over what unimpeachable reputations they have…

    I’ll take your comment as an opportunity to make a related point. We have been assured by top men that the DoJ and the FBI have a well earned reputation for being able to seize, separate and sort actual privileged documents without compromising anyone’s rights.

    I suspect these are the same folks who follow a set of rigorous protocols designed to protect the rights of Americans not to have their communications arbitrarily read by the government.

    I think these were the top men they were referring to:

    • #27
    • April 13, 2018 at 5:13 pm
    • 2 likes
  28. Member

    Gumby Mark (View Comment):

    For those of you who read the post earlier, I’ve just added an update with further information on the Comey v Cheney angle. And for those interested in further details on the Plame/Wilson story I’ve added more material since I did the original post.

    It was certainly such a serious crime that a reporter had to go to jail for refusing to testify. Because, this is America, and that’s something we do as a matter of course.

    • #28
    • April 13, 2018 at 5:14 pm
    • 1 like
  29. Thatcher
    Gumby Mark Post author

    Gumby Mark (View Comment):

    philo (View Comment):

    Herbert defender of the Realm,… (View Comment): There was evidence presented that Libby leaked too

    Care to provide a link with that?

    This link takes you to Tom Maguire at Just One Minute who wrote extensively on the trial at the time. You can follow links there but the gist is that (as I can best remember) is that Libby was contacted by Tim Russert and Judith Miller among others to confirm Plame’s status after story broke. The legal issue was whether Russert’s version of their conversation or Libby’s was more accurate. Part of the evidence presented was that Libby did confirm Plame’s CIA status to Russert but his testimony when questioned as part of Fitzgerald’s investigation was more evasive. At trial Miller’s testimony was damaging to Libby, but after the trial when she claims she was shown how Fitzgerald’s time told her things that were not true which led to her making incorrect assumptions about Libby so she has publicly repudiated her trial testimony.

    Bottom line – it’s complicated.

    And here is Judith Miller’s just released statement saying the Libby pardon was long overdue.

    • #29
    • April 13, 2018 at 5:19 pm
    • 8 likes
  30. Member

    All these wastes of human flesh need to get what’s coming to them.

    • #30
    • April 13, 2018 at 9:23 pm
    • 4 likes
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