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« September 2005 | Main | November 2005 »

October 29, 2005

A Letter About Libby

In the midst of doing some fall cleanup and repair times (hanging previously mentioned storm door, etc), I've checked in on NRO to find out the latest on the Libby commentary. It's facinating, as usual, and I e-mailed Byron York some comments and a question about the issues raised by Andy McCarthy, Cliff May, Mark Levin and himself. As the e-mail is pretty reflective of my feeling so far, here's the text as part of my commentary on this, under subject line Libby Picked the Wrong Prosecutor to Lie To:

Hi Byron,

(This probably should have also gone to Mark, Andy, and Cliff - but they don't have their e-mail on.)

Although I admire and think highly of Andy, I disagree with his assertion that Fitzgerald was using prosecutorial discretion in not charging relevant to "outing" a covert agent - I think that if he could have, he would have. It's relatively simple. Was she or wasn't she. And did he or didn't he. Fitzgerald has his info on how and when Libby found out things about Plame - if he "outed" her the inditement should just say it. I think that making a big deal out of her 'classified' status in the inditement was done because she in fact wasn't covert and she wasn't outed, as was alleged by Wilson and the Left and has been accepted as conventional wisdom by the media.  And I think the investigation is mostly finished - unless something surprising comes out at trial this is the end of it.

And I agree with Mark in that I also think that Fitzgerald was way over the top in hinting at damage to national security, outing an agent, etc - when if fact that's not what the charges were and the inditement said. And it was interesting how he did it. He would say one thing that could be quoted at DailyKos as indicating that national security was damaged by Plame's "outing", and then minutes later push back so strongly at a question made suggesting that such a thing did occur that the quote could be used by me to defend Libby as not having "outed" Plame. And the baseball analogy was absurd. Overall the Press Conference was quite frustrating.

Having said that, it was very apparent that Fitzgerald is a very good prosecutor, and he hates when he is lied to during the course of a serious investigation. And that's what it boils down to - Libby chose the wrong prosecutor to lie to (if that is in fact what he did). And if Libby did lie, he should pay. I get so tired hearing people say that lying, even in an investigation, is OK (Martha Stewart, Clinton, etc.). And Fitzgerald was good at showing why it was so important not to lie, after he got away from the analogies and the insinuations.

I hope Libby doesn't plead down. I want to see Russert, Miller, Cooper, Wilson, and Plame get on the stand. I think that it could be shown that Libby was only trying to correct outright fabrications by Wilson. However, it might be problematic to introduce much of that into testimony based on the charges, which boil down to simple, although serious, lying.

Why did Libby do it? Perhaps he did just forget, although the stories are so detailed that it seems unlikely he did so. Perhaps he is innocent, and it is the others who are lying in a conspiracy against Bush (I'd be happy with this, but I'm doubtful). I think it probably just comes down to one thing - hubris. And that would be sad, but not surprising, for a lawyer.

I'd like to find out more about this "classified" status thing. If Plame was, then it seems that Wilson himself 'outed her' on more than one occasion simply by telling people that she worked for the CIA.  I heard Bob Baer on Fox yesterday say that he was in fact actually covert in 1998 when a Democrat staffer faxed his name and position to a newspaper, thus really outing him. When Baer reported this to his superiors and requested that the CIA take action, they refused - stating that it happens all the time. If that happens all the time with real-time covert agents, I imagine that it is even more frequent with "classified" employees. Perhaps you could look into exactly what "classified" in this instance is...

October 28, 2005

The Libby Inditement

Patrick Fitzgerald has handed down the first inditements in Plamaquiddick (pdf link). It is related to what I posted about the other day, lying to the Grand Jury and investigators, and not regarding the "outing" of a covert CIA officer. So, apparently, no original crime (we'll probably find out more from Fitzgerald's press conference), but a coverup in that Libby lied about how he found out about Plame. Very sad, and quite shocking. By all accounts, Scooter Libby is a very good lawyer and should have known better - perhaps hubris entered the equation.

The inditement is a pretty remarkable document, and I encourage you to read it all. Judge Napolitano just remarked on Fox News that he was aware that Joe Wilson frequented the cocktail circuit in Washington with his wife on his arm and introduced her as "my CIA agent wife" long before Robert Novak's original article. From the inditement we see that Plame's position was "classified", what ever that means. But even with that fact in the charges, Libby was not charged with anything regarding Plame or Wilson - just lying to the Grand Jury and the FBI about conversations he had with reporters.

Fitzgerald's office also has a press release in conjunction with this inditement (pdf link).

Let's see what happens at trial. More to come shortly (I'm hanging a new storm door before it rains).

Democrats - The Gift That Keeps on Giving

LittleGreenFootballs has a great blurb via RealClearPolitics Blog of a Boston Globe report  (got that!) on a National Security Plan given to top Democrat leaders by former Secretary of State Madeline Albright that includes this remarkable statement:

"Separately, Clinton administration secretary of state Madeleine K. Albright delivered a report to top Democratic congressional leaders calling for a 50 percent increase in federal spending on homeland security, the creation of a domestic intelligence agency, and a Cabinet-level ranking for the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

“We are all looking at the Iraq issue, how to make America safe and not leave the situation in complete chaos,” Albright added, echoing many of Kerry’s themes. “The Democrats are basically supportive of the troops.”"

That just about says it all for me - the Dems are basically supportive of the troops. Sheesh...

Bush War on Terror Remarks at Reagan Ranch

I just read the speech that President Bush gave at the dedication of the Air Force One Pavilion at the Reagan Ranch earlier this week. Most of it was pertinent to the event itself, but at the end Bush made some very clear and concise comments about the issues that faced Ronald Reagan during his Presidency and the current War on Terror:

"Ronald Reagan's principles started with an abiding belief in the power and in the appeal of liberty. He believed that freedom is the right of every man, woman, and child on Earth. (Applause.) He recognized that freedom was opposed by dangerous enemies, and he understood that America has always prevailed by standing firmly on principles and never backing down in the face of evil.

At the beginning of his presidency, Ronald Reagan declared that the years ahead would be great ones "for the cause of freedom and the spread of civilization." He dismissed communism as "a bizarre chapter in human history whose last pages were being written." For eight years he acted on that conviction, and shortly after he left office, the Berlin Wall came down, the "Evil Empire" collapsed, and the cause of liberty prevailed in the Cold War.

The pavilion that we open today includes a Cold War gallery where a new generation will learn about the great victory for freedom that President Reagan's leadership helped secure. They'll see how President Reagan rallied the world's democracies to defend liberty against the totalitarian aspirations of Soviet communism. They'll see how his strategy and vision secured a free and peaceful Europe. They will learn that the key to victory lay in our resolve to stay in the fight until the fight was won.

As President Reagan put it in his Westminister address, "While our military strength is a prerequisite to peace, the ultimate determinant in the struggle will be not bombs and rockets, but a test of will and ideas, a trial of spiritual resolve, the values we hold, the beliefs we cherish, to which we are dedicated."

Because of Ronald Reagan's leadership, America prevailed in the 20th century's great struggle of wills. And now in this new century, our freedom is once again being tested by determined enemies. The terrorists who attacked us on September the 11th, 2001, are followers of a radical and violent ideology. They exploit the religion of Islam to serve a violent political vision, the establishment of a totalitarian empire that denies all political and religious freedom. These extremists distort the idea of jihad into a call for terrorist murder against Christians and Jews and Hindus, and against Muslims from other traditions who they regard as heretics.

Like the ideology of communism, our new enemy is elitist, led by a self-appointed vanguard of Islamic militants that presume to speak for the Muslim masses. Like the ideology of communism, our new enemy teaches that the innocent can be murdered to serve a political vision. Like the ideology of communism, our new enemy pursues totalitarian aims. Like the ideology of communism, our new enemy is dismissive of free peoples, claiming that men and women who live in liberty are weak and decadent. And like the ideology of communism, Islamic radicalism is doomed to fail.

It will fail because it undermines the freedom and creativity that makes human progress possible and human societies successful. The only thing modern about our enemy's vision is the weapons they want to use against us. The rest of their grim vision is defined by a warped image of the past, a declaration of war on the idea of progress, itself. And whatever lies ahead in the war against this ideology, the outcome is not in doubt: Those who despise freedom and progress have condemned themselves to isolation, decline, and collapse. Because free peoples believe in the future, free peoples will own the future.

We didn't ask for this global struggle, but we are answering history's call with confidence and a comprehensive strategy. We're working to prevent the attacks of terrorist networks before they occur. We're determined to deny weapons of mass destruction to outlaw regimes and to their terrorist allies who would use them without hesitation. We're depriving radical groups of support and sanctuary from outlaw regimes. We're stopping the militants from gaining control of any nation which they would use as a home base and a launching pad for terror. And we're draining the militants of future recruits by replacing hatred and resentment with democracy and hope and freedom across the broader Middle East.

We will prevail in the war on terror, because this generation is determined to meet the threats of our time. We understand our duty; we understand our responsibility to the American people. There will be tough moments ahead on this path to victory. Yet, we have confidence in our cause because we have seen America face down brutal enemies before. We have confidence in our cause because we have seen the power of freedom to overcome the dark ideologies of tyranny and terror. And we have confidence in our cause because we believe, as President Ronald Reagan did, that freedom is "one of the deepest and noblest aspirations of the human spirit.""

Pretty remarkable stuff that got none of the attention that it deserved in the media.

Believe Iran...

I read "Impromptus", the column by National Review's Managing Editor Jay Nordlinger, every time a new one is posted. It's comprised of a few interesting snippets from politics, culture, society, and even sports sometimes and is always interesting and sometimes even inspiring. This week Nordlinger is a little uncomfortable, as I am, about the Miers thing. He feels that we might have been a little too tough - that neither Bush nor Miers deserved the onslaught from the right. I agree, but also feel that we will all be better off with a new nominee. Perhaps that's one of the differences between the Right and the Left. On the Right we have conciences...

More importantly in this week's column is the following from Nordlinger regarding the Iranian President's prediction/vow to erase Israel from the face of the earth:

"Every time I hear some Middle Eastern leader call for the destruction of Israel — as Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad did on Wednesday — I think of those famous words of a Holocaust survivor. Asked what lesson he had drawn from the experience, he answered, "When someone tells you he wants to kill you, believe him."

Israel must take very seriously such threats as Ahmadinejad's. The Israeli Left doesn't — but the Left is like that everywhere, and, besides, Israel's Left is much smaller than it used to be. Arafat & Co. accomplished that.

Similarly, the United States should take seriously the constant threats directed our way. Al-Qaeda and the rest are very clear about their intentions and desires. (If you're interested in Islamist clarity, go to MEMRI.org.) A corresponding will to survive must be equally clear."

That's how we got into trouble in the first place. The Islamofacists have been very clear in what they want to do to us - we just didn't take them seriously until 9/11, even though we had been directly attacked and murdered since 1983 (remember the Beirut barracks bombing?). We did not begin this fight, and we must not let the media or the Left stop us from finishing it. Or many more, and perhaps all of us, will die. For that is what our enemy's ultimate goal is. And they will not be appeased until either it is accomplished or they are dead. I'd much prefer them dead.

October 27, 2005

Iran Calls for Israel's Extinction

Somewhat lost in the cacophony of events going on in the last few days was the statement by Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad that Israel will soon be "erased from the Islamic world". Now to Ahmadinejad, and to all Islamofacists, the Islamic world is the entire world including the United States - the foundation of our enemy's 'religious' views (which is not true Islam) include either the conversion or the eradication of all non-believers and apostates. This brilliant statement was made immediately before the latest suicide bombing by the Palestinians at a market in Israel. As reported in the Washington Times, along with other media outlets:

"The attack, which wounded about 30, also made a mockery of a major speech by Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, who appealed in Ramallah yesterday for an end to attacks that he said were undermining attempts to establish a Palestinian state.
   
Iran's firebrand president called for Israel's destruction at a conference in Tehran titled "The World Without Zionism."
   
"There is no doubt that the new wave in Palestine will soon wipe off this disgraceful blot from the face of the Islamic world," state-run television quoted Mr. Ahmadinejad as telling a group of students. "Anybody who recognizes Israel will burn in the fire of the Islamic nation's fury, [while] any [Islamic leader] who recognizes the Zionist regime means he is acknowledging the surrender and defeat of the Islamic world."
   
The appeal by Mr. Abbas for an end to Palestinian violence was brushed off by West Bank militants interviewed by The Washington Times. They said they consider Mr. Abbas too weak a political figure to end the attacks."

This is why we should be prepared to take whatever action is necessary to end Iran's nuclear weapons program. This is why the recent Nobel Prize awarded to ElBaradi was such a sad joke. But it must please Cindy Sheehan.

The Miers Withdrawal

Harriet Miers withdrew her name from consideration for the Associate Justice position on the Supreme Court earlier today. A copy of her letter can be found here (warning, pdf file). Here withdrawal was inevitable, and she handled it in a dignified manner. Miers had reached the top of her profession in many ways, and she must have looked forward to answering her critics during the hearing. With her lack of experience as a judge, and her lack of a significant money trail, it was inevitable that her work as White House counsel be requested. I believe that this should not have been handed over, and it also served as an easy way out for the nominee. Still, it must have been tough for Miers to stay quiet during this. One of the problems with being a nominee (in any position) is that your opponents can say the most vile, untrue, slanderous, and libelous things about you and you cannot respond while you are a nominee. And if you respond too forcefully during the hearings, it will be held against you.

I wish Harriet Miers well. She is a fine person, and it's unfortunate that it didn't work out. Rich Lowery said it well this morning on NRO's The Corner:

"Many things we learned about Harriet Miers that didn't directly have to do with her suitability for the court tell us she's an extraordinary lady--loyal, discreet, careful, generous to her church and those around her. She has proven again this morning her selflessness. It's a shame that the president put her in the untenable position he did, but this whole business will soon be forgotten and she will continue to serve the president loyally as WH counsel."


 

October 26, 2005

Plamaquiddick Feeding Frenzy

I've been following Plamaquiddick very closely from the beginning. I think that this whole thing was orchestrated by anti-Bush bureaucrats in the CIA and the State Department in order to help Kerry win the Presidency. Joe Wilson is a lying hack and has been proven such over and over again for going on two years now. His wife is no better. Wilson's story plays right into the hands of those in the media who wish to re-live the glory days of the media - Watergate, where the media showed it could singlehandedly bring down a Presidency.

But even I am amazed at the gleeful anticipation that the media is showing in the "inevitable" indictments of major Bush Administration officials. And they continue to put forth the canards that Plame was "covert", that Wilson was sent to Niger by request of the Vice-President, that Wilson discredited the Niger yellow-cake story, etc. Now the truth is out there in published reports by the Senate Intelligence Committee, among others, but the media continues to promote the lies. Perhaps because the media is complicit in Plamaquiddick they have a more than usual vested interest in keeping certain things out there, but it still is odd that everyone (including Fox News) is doing it.

The recent stories in the New York Times and the Washington Post are a joke. Other than from Robert Bennett (Judith Miller's attorney), there have been no real leaks in this case, remarkably. And Bennett has reason to put his own spin on events. Reporters who have previously written fact-barren and erronious 'news' pieces on the story are now writing new stories that are being repeated as gospel in other media outlets.

For what it's worth, if a source (and especially if the source was someone like Joe Wilson) repeatedly lied to me and used me to put false information in news stories, I would go out of my way to set the record straight, repair my reputation, destroy his, and bring the truth to light.

Perhaps, however, Wilson and the reporters have the same objective in this case, and let facts be damned. That raises other issues - hence the push for a reporter's shield law. Then what would stop reporters from making up sources and news - they do enough of that already!

There is alot of fine reporting being done on this story. Stephen F. Hayes of The Weekly Standard has many (there are links to his past stories at the end of this particular article), and Tom Maguire of JustOneMinute has been incredible on this. Maguire is particularly good because he strikes me as being very fair and not 'right-wing' at all. He has done his posts based on the published reports, with references to analysis done by other bloggers. He is betting on some indictments of Administration officials. He has come to the conclusion based upon a huge news item paper trail - if his conclusions are wrong it will be because the information that he based it on in "news" reports by respected reporters were false. And if that happens, watch out! Maguire and others in the blogosphere will leave no stone unturned in finding out why those stories were false. And what we find out about the Mainstream Media won't be pretty, and won't be covered up.

One last thing - a possibility exists that no law was originally broken, but perjury or obstruction of justice charges might be filed because of things that were said or happened after the investigation began. There are some on the right who believe that this isn't a big deal, if it happens. I'm not one of them. While it will put truth to the lie that is Joe Wilson and his wife, one never ever lies to the feds, or any investigating entity, ever! One thing that has galled me from Clinton to Martha Stewart is the opinion that lying during investigations or under oath is OK. It isn't, ever.

Now if only we can figure out what to do with reporters who lie...

A Word on Harriet Miers...

I've been silent on Harriet Miers, President Bush's latest choice for the Supreme Court. It's not that the issue doesn't interest me, it's just that the web is swamped with the opinions of much more qualified people on this. I think that the thrust of the opposition to Miers is rooted in the fact that there are many more people whose conservative credentials are unassailable. I myself had three favorites - Janice Rogers Brown, Robert Bork, or Miguel Estrada. So obviously I was rooting for a fight with the Left on this. I think that now is the time to end these battles on judicial nominees once and for all. Especially the abuse of the filibuster.

Having said that, it has been apparent to me from the first days of the Bush 43 Administration, the President has been acutely aware of the problems and mis-steps of his father's Administration. One of Bush 41's biggest mistakes was his Supreme Court pick David Souter. So it follows that his son, seeing the disastrous consequences of his father's pick, would be extra vigilant on his picks. President Bush hit a home run with his first pick John Roberts. There is no reason to doubt that he hasn't done well picking Miers. The problem is, however, that there are better qualified, credentialed, and less mysterious (as to judicial philosophy) potential nominees out there.

What we are seeing now is the mainstream conservative reaction to O'Connor, Kennedy, and Souter. All came with assurances about their conservative credentials, all became major disappointments on the bench.

I can't help but feel, however, that the some of the Right are doing what the some on the Left have become experts at - defaming a good person without cause other than they did not get their way (or their pick). And that makes me uneasy. Although I must say that overall the opponents of Miers (notably National Review Online) have not gotten into the politics of personal destruction that the Left has perfected. Their arguments have been fact-based and mostly reasonable. Perhaps Miers steps away and we get another pick more palatable to the Right. Again, I'd love to see Janice Rodgers Brown face off against Schumer, Kennedy, and Leahy during hearings - she's eat them for breakfast. But if that happens it could be at the cost of the reputation of a fine woman - Harriet Miers. I hope we don't look back some day and say "I really wish we had her on the bench...".

A Word on Harriet Miers...

I've been silent on Harriet Miers, President Bush's latest choice for the Supreme Court. It's not that the issue doesn't interest me, it's just that the web is swamped with the opinions of much more qualified people on this. I think that the thrust of the opposition to Miers is rooted in the fact that there are many more people whose conservative credentials are unassailable. I myself had three favorites - Janice Rogers Brown, Robert Bork, or Miguel Estrada. So obviously I was rooting for a fight with the Left on this. I think that now is the time to end these battles on judicial nominees once and for all. Especially the abuse of the filibuster.

Having said that, it has been apparent to me from the first days of the Bush 43 Administration, the President has been acutely aware of the problems and mis-steps of his father's Administration. One of Bush 41's biggest mistakes was his Supreme Court pick David Souter. So it follows that his son, seeing the disastrous consequences of his father's pick, would be extra vigilant on his picks. President Bush hit a home run with his first pick John Roberts. There is no reason to doubt that he hasn't done well picking Miers. The problem is, however, that there are better qualified, credentialed, and less mysterious (as to judicial philosophy) potential nominees out there.

What we are seeing now is the mainstream conservative reaction to O'Connor, Kennedy, and Souter. All came with assurances about their conservative credentials, all became major disappointments on the bench.

I can't help but feel, however, that the some of the Right are doing what the some on the Left have become experts at - defaming a good person without cause other than they did not get their way (or their pick). And that makes me uneasy. Although I must say that overall the opponents of Miers (notably National Review Online) have not gotten into the politics of personal destruction that the Left has perfected. Their arguments have been fact-based and mostly reasonable. Perhaps Miers steps away and we get another pick more palatable to the Right. Again, I'd love to see Janice Rodgers Brown face off against Schumer, Kennedy, and Leahy during hearings - she's eat them for breakfast. But if that happens it could be at the cost of the reputation of a fine woman - Harriet Miers. I hope we don't look back some day and say "I really wish we had her on the bench...".

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