Whatever the jury decides, Fitzgerald has amply demonstrated that Cheney directed Libby to destroy Wilson's credibility, partly by leaking that his wife, Valerie Plame Wilson, was a CIA operative who had suggested Wilson was well qualified to investigate the claims in Niger. For Libby, Fitzgerald said in closing his case, Valerie Wilson "wasn't a person. She was an argument, a fact to use against Joe Wilson.''
Libby-Cheney apologists have argued over and over that Cheney had a right to be angry because Wilson said that Cheney had sent him to Niger. But Wilson said no such thing. In his New York Times piece, Wilson wrote only that he had been "informed by officials at the Central Intelligence Agency that Vice President Dick Cheney's office had questions about a particular intelligence report.'' That was true.
The attack apparatus has now turned on Fitzgerald, whose record is that of a thoroughly nonpartisan prosecutor. Fitzgerald's perjury rap against Libby, Cheney allies say, is a cheap attempt to criminalize politics.
Really? Here's what Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-Fla.) had to say about perjury: "Lying under oath is an ancient crime of great weight because it shields other offenses, because it blocks the light of truth in human affairs. It is a dagger in the heart of our legal system, and indeed in our democracy. It cannot, it should not, it must not be tolerated.''
Ros-Lehtinen made that statement not about Libby, but to justify the impeachment of Bill Clinton back in 1998. I have no idea where she stands on the Plame-Wilson case. But it's certainly amusing that so many who were eager to throw Clinton out of office for perjury and obstruction of justice when he lied about sex are now livid at Fitzgerald for bringing comparable charges in a controversy over the rationale for war. Do they think sex is more important than war?
Whatever price Scooter Libby pays, the country is already paying for the divisive practices of a crowd that wanted to go to war in Iraq in the very worst way -- and did exactly that. As a result, we confront the mess in Baghdad and the continued threat of terrorism as an angry, polarized nation.
This would really bother a Victoria Toensing if she had a conscience.
A common trait for most of Cheney's sycophants. Pity for all of us.