I wasn’t going to blog on the Lewis Libby indictment because it is so difficult to have a sane conversation about it. However when I read hysterical nonsense in the NZ Herald headlined “Plamegate scandal could put Watergate in the shade” one can’t stay silent. The article actually comes from The Independent, which explains a lot.
So let’s deal with some myths and facts:
1) Contrary to popular belief, no-one at all has or is going to be charged with revealing the identity of a covert CIA operative. The original focus of the investigation has found no crime.
2) The prosecutor has made clear that in the main there has been full co-operation with his investigation from the White House. None of the Nixon cover-ups or the Clinton documents suddenly turning up months later.
3) However Libby himself is facing serious charges. This is not a case of merely forgetting a conversation or two, but a very deliberate pattern of misleading. Powerline says the indictment is devastating.
4) Libby is a senior WH official, but he is far from a household name like Rove was. As someone had commented, can anyone name Al Gore’s Chief of Staff?
Overall the indictment is obviously bad news for the Bush Administration. Having senior staff charged with perjury is never a good look. However it is a bit like the Whitewater investigation – Clinton was never charged with anything related to the original investigation, he was charged for lying. But in this case it is not the President but a staffer in the dock. And hence any comparisons with Watergate are fevered delusions of the anti Bush press.Tags: United States