George Bush Should Pardon Scooter Libby

Libby was a dedicated and hypercompetent public servant.

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By Michael Barone, Thomas Jefferson Street blog

I wholeheartedly endorse the position taken by this lead editorial in the Wall Street Journal urging George W. Bush to pardon Scooter Libby. Libby was a dedicated and hypercompetent public servant who was brought down by a prosecutor investigating a scandal that wasn't a scandal. The investigation purportedly was an attempt to discover who had told Robert Novak that Valerie Plame was a CIA "operative" (Novak's word). But prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald knew before the investigation began that the leaker was Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage. It is astonishing that Armitage and his friend and boss Secretary of State Colin Powell didn't inform Bush of this and allowed two of his top aides, Libby and Karl Rove, to be harassed by Fitzgerald for months and years.

A Libby pardon will of course be assailed by many in the press, just as many in the press treated the Plame disclosure as the most serious breach of intelligence in years. But these are the same people who gleefully hailed the New York Times 's disclosure of NSA surveillance of suspected terrorists outside the United States and of the Swift bank system—two breaches of intelligence that, unlike the Plame disclosure, materially damaged the government's efforts to prevent terrorist attacks. It will be interesting to see if the press chooses to willfully damage U.S. intelligence operations in the Obama administration. In the meantime, please, Mr. President, pardon Scooter Libby.

  • Read more by Michael Barone.
  • Read more from the Thomas Jefferson Street blog.
  • Read more about Lewis "Scooter" Libby.
  • Read more about Valerie Plame.