Scooter pardoned

George W. Bush has used his executive power to pardon "Scooter" Libby.

In summary, the issue is this.

1. Just after the Gulf War, a guy writes an article in the New York Times. The guy is a chemical and nuclear weapons expert who, in the article, states that the US government's claim that Iraq was sourcing uranium in the country of Niger was spurious. In fact, he essentially stated that the evidence provided by the US government was false. The writer's name was Joseph Wilson, and he had been sent by the US government to Niger to investigate this claim.

2. After this was released, the media then began to report some bad things about Joseph Wilson. It was revealed that he was, in actuality, sent to Niger on a "boondoggle" by his wife who worked for the CIA. The reports suggested that Wilson did not know what he was talking about and that his wife had arranged the trip for him as a corrupt use of CIA funds.

3. But then it was revealed that Wilson's wife, Valerie Plame, was "under cover" with the CIA - in other words, her employment with the CIA was secret. Whoever had told the media about Wilson and Plame revealed the identity of a CIA agent - a federal crime.

4. Investigations into Wilson's trip to Niger showed that it was not a "boondoggle" (who would want to travel to Niger for a holiday?) but a legitimate mission created by the US government to investigate potential WMD links with Iraq.

5. With the "outing" of Valerie Plame, an investigation was set up by Patrick Fitzgerald, a US Attorney, to look into this offense.

6. Fitzgerald began with interviewing two major journalists who were discovered to be responsible for Plame's outing. One was Judith Miller, a New York Times journalist, who refused to name her source. The other was Robert Novak, a conservative columnist. Miller spent time in jail for not revealing her source, arguing that it was journalistic privilege to protect confidential sources.

7. Eventually Miller testified and, with Novak's testimony also, Fitzgerald was able to determine that the leak came from the office of the Vice President, Dick Cheney.

8. Fitzgerald interviewed a number of staff from the office, including the Vice President himself. One of them, Lewis "Scooter" Libby, was found to have lied under oath. He had deliberately lied to the investigators in order to protect someone "higher up".

9. Libby was eventually tried and convicted of perjury.

10. Just now his jail time (though not his conviction) has been pardoned by the President.

11. The investigation never found out who the source of the leak was.

So, basically, the White House lied about Iraq's WMDs, and then attempted to defame a critic by outing his wife as an undercover CIA agent. So not only did the White house lie about the war, the White house also broke the law by revealing an undercover CIA agent. In its attempt to cover it up, it provided a "fall guy" in Libby who was convicted and then conveniently pardoned when the investigation could go no further.

US politics is broke. Who has the guts to fix it?

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