Sunday, October 23, 2005

B Before The Fact -- Valerie Plame Edition

Before Fitzgerald indicts everybody or nobody --

1. Leaking Valerie Plame's identity as a CIA employee, directly or indirectly, using the name "Flame" or "Mrs. Joseph Wilson" or whatever, is not politics as usual, and is not the criminalization of the political process.

It is more on the continuum towards treason.

There is no record of the White House, or the Vice President, or any of their top advisors, either acting on behalf of their boss or free-lancing, ever outing anyone at the CIA, intentionally or accidentally, for any reason --- ever.

Not the top covert spy, not anyone like Valerie Plame, who may or may not have been truly under cover, not the person running the CIA candy store. No record. None. Nada. It is not politics as usual.

It is completely unique.

Bill Kristol, who runs the Weekly Standard, and who either knows better or knows something he shouldn't know, has now run his mouth off about the criminalization of politics for two weeks in a row.

We're way through the Looking Glass with this "criminalization of politics". Kafka would be pleased, too.

This is not the criminalization of politics. This is politics stops at the waters edge. This is no Democrat sitting on the defense committee or the intelligence committee, no matter how liberal, breaching security during this administraiton. This is no Republican on the defense committee or the intelligence committee, no matter how conservative, breaching security during the Clinton administration.

This is not the criminalization of politics. This isn't politics. This isn't even defending your padrone. If you are defending the person who pays you, you better be defending the taxpayers, who have the right to think that the money they spend to set up covert operations isn't being used on some sorority-level freeze-out.

This isn't some Red vs Blue color war. This is the genuine, people are dying article.

2. I read the Weekly Standard on the criminalization of politics, I read Sullivan and Rush on the turf war between State and Defense. I read, again in the Weekly Standard, about how the CIA actions may have assisted the special prosecutor in his work.

Don't be fooled by the smoke -- especially the bile coming out of Rush's mouth.

Only Tom DeLay has any right to kick about partisanship. And his problems are based in state politics -- not goings on in D.C.

The people at State are conservative Republicans, the people at the CIA are conservative Republicans, the Special Prosecutor is a conservative Republican, the people going after Bill Frist at the SEC are Republicans. The people going after Abramoff are Republicans.

Brent Scowcroft apparently will go after W- tomorrow in the New Yorker. For those of you who don't go back that far, it's been at least 25 years since Brent Scowcroft has done anything without Bush 41's permission. Now Brent is going to go after Bush 43 in the New Yorker. Maybe Bush 43 can talk to his other Father about that one too.

This is not like Clinton where Republicans are going after Democrats.

These are real conservative Republicans who believe in the rule of law going after so-called conservative Republicans who only believe in themselves.

Rush and the Foxies and the Bushies want you to believe that this is just like Clinton. It isn't.

This is where old friends start to eat each other alive. It carries much more moral weight.

3. According to Judith Miller's had-to-be-fictional account of her testimony in front of the grand jury, she told the special prosecutor that she could not remember who gave her the name "Valerie Flame". Either she didn't really say that to the special prosecutor or the special prosecutor already had the information and didn't need it from Judy Miller as well.

I don't want to hear anyone at Fox or at the New York Post tell me that I am reading a liberal newspaper anymore. Judy Miller sat in jail for 80 days so that she could give Scooter Libby the last possible word in front of the grand jury. To be sure that all of Scooter Libby's stories were in order. Let's see Brit Hume skip a night in bed to help anyone in this Administration. Let's see Rush skip a snack.

Today, the Week in Review of the so-called-most-liberal paper in the history of the world said that, well, you know, there is classified information that's really classified, and there is classified information that isn't really classified, and we should be, hey, you know, um, like sensitive to the needs of politicians and newspapermen, yadda yadda yadda.

I think we should be sensitive to the needs of those who think that the words in statutes might have real meanings, and the special prosecutors who are working under those assumptions as well.

4. I believe that this special prosecutor has the guts to close up shop and go home without issuing a report. That he has the guts to leave us all with our mouths agape if he truly feels that he does not have a set of facts that can lead to a conviction.

I agree with those who believe that it is wrong for a special prosecutor (like both Walsh and Starr) to publish a set of facts, without bringing charges, just to make people look bad. This isn't France.

On the other hand, if the special prosecutor believes that his only conviction is perjury or obstruction of justice, I believe he has the obligation to go forward with the lesser, less sexy "on a technicality" charges.

When the special prosecutor is dealing with perjury and obstruction, he is also saying that he is still not sure if, after burning through millions of dollars of taxpayer money, he is getting the straight story.

That ought to be worth jail time to somebody.

5. Balkinization reminds us that the pardon power can be exercised at any time, at any point, in the criminal process. Even at the end of this week. Balkinization's focus is that Poppy pardoned Weinberger, et. al., in Iran-Contra crisis. According to Professor Balkin, Poppy was most interested in -- surprise --protecting the Bush -- to avoid having to testify.

Professor Balkin did not say this, but I will -- if Karl Rove is indicted, he will not be fired. If Karl Rove is convicted, he will not be fired. The President will pardon Rove as soon as he can feel he can take the political heat.

And if Rowe is convicted, and the President feels he can never pardon Rove, then Rove will continue to function as chief political advisor, in fact, if not in name --- as if nothing had happened, is happening, will ever happen, to impede this President -- this man who would be king -- from doing whatever he feels like doing.