Sunday, April 09, 2006

John Dean on the Libby Revelations

John Dean discusses The Meaning of Libby’s Revelations - and Their Possible Consequences, noting, as I did recently, that they have abused power to retaliate against a critic of their policies:

From a political perspective, separate from the illegality, there is the hypocrisy: The Bush Administration has prosecuted and sent to jail officials who leaked far less serious information - as I discussed in detail in a prior column. It is actively, and currently, threatening to prosecute others who have leaked information about the president’s illegal electronic surveillance of Americans.

Beyond the hypocrisy, however, is what the President, Vice President, Libby and no doubt others did to destroy the career of Valerie Plame. Maybe the administration has quietly settled with the Wilsons, who seem to have dropped out of the public eye. This would have been wise, because as the facts unravel, it increasingly appears that administration officials did indeed attack Mr. Wilson for his speaking out; the leak of his wife’s identity does indeed seem to have been done in harsh retribution. Such a violation of civil rights is a crime.

Finally, even if Bush and Cheney both get away clean of criminal charges, or even the suggestion of criminal conduct, this is still devastating for the Administration. Illegal or not, the President and Vice-President’s actions, as recounted by Libby, are ugly in the extreme.

After all, Fitzgerald’s filings indicate that, at a bare minimum, these highest of officials played fast and loose with declassification rules as part of a scheme to take an uncalled-for revenge against a critic who dared to question an Iraqi war justification. Even more damning, is that the critic turned out to be right: Weapons of mass destruction have never surfaced, no uranium was sold by Niger to Iraq, and the Administration’s call to arms was bogus.

There will be more devastating revelations from the Libby case, I am certain. I have written of this matter in the past, and anticipate writing more in the future. The Commander-in-Chief-can-do-no-wrong veneer is wearing off, thankfully. For a nation that cannot hold its commander-in-chief responsible is something other than a democracy.


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