23 Jan 2007

Lewis Libby’s Rights

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Victor Davis Hanson comments on Patrick Fitzgerald’s prosecutorial overreach in the Libby case.

I doubt the average American is in much danger from some out-of-control government sleuth sending him to the Gulag, or putting her in a camp, or even reading his email.

But there are things to be afraid of—out-of-control prosecutors who can trample all over jurisprudence if their cause is considered to be progressive and politically-correct. The prosecution of Scooter Libby is a travesty. If the federal prosecutor knew he had to select a jury in Omaha rather than Washington DC, he would never bring this non-case to trial.

There are at least four considerations that are troubling about Mr. Fitzgerald’s case: (1) We know that Ms. Plame was not, as originally alleged, a covert, or undercover CIA agent at the time in question, and thus had no secret identity to be exposed; (2) we know the source that leaked the nature of her employment—and it was not Mr. Libby, at least initially and most prominently, but Mr. Armitage who apparently is not to be charged with anything (why not?); (3) we know that Mr. Wilson, as Christopher Hitchens has pointed out, lied about a great deal in connection with his trip to Niger and so far has escaped most accountability and probably will thereby seek to avoid testifying at the trial he once so eagerly demanded; (4) Mr. Libby is therefore being charged with obstruction of justice and perjury—not the original mandate of the prosecutor. Why not shut down the inquiry since it has not fulfilled its mission; then turn over the transcripts and testimony to local prosecutors to see if any feel there is a perjury case to be made? From my limited experience with trials (my late mother was a California Superior and Appellate Court Judge), perjury seems a rare charge, and most DAs do not peruse the testimony of witnesses to find contradictions to establish grounds for such indictments.

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