Friday, March 9, 2007

Fact and Fiction about the Libby Verdict

I welcome the jury's verdict. It's about time someone in the Bush Administration has been held accountable for the campaign to manipulate intelligence and discredit war critics. Lewis Libby has been convicted of perjury, but his trial revealed deeper truths about Vice President Cheney's role in this sordid affair. " Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid

This trial provided a troubling picture of the inner workings of the Bush Administration. The testimony unmistakably revealed – at the highest levels of the Bush Administration – a callous disregard in handling sensitive national security information and a disposition to smear critics of the war in Iraq. Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi

Hence like most people who have substituted the habit of delusion for reality, they became hysterical whenever the root of their delusion was touched, and reacted with a violence that completely belied the openness of mind which they prescribed for others. Whitaker Chambers

The statements by the two Democratic leaders in Congress reflect their own political fantasies and those of the Left in general, not the actuality of the verdict.

Libby was convicted on four counts of perjury and obstruction of justice. This conviction had nothing to do with manipulation of intelligence or mishandling of sensitive national security information nor did it reveal anything sinister about the inner workings of the Bush Administration. Whether Libby actually lied to the grand jury or Fitzgerald is of no consequence to the Left. They only care about so called "higher truths" the verdict supposedly reveals about their accusations that Bush lied the country into war.

Patrick Fitzgerald himself said that his investigation was not about the Iraq War.

Leave aside the argument over whether Libby really lied and perjured himself or had a faulty memory, like many of the reporters who testified for the prosecution.

Let us take a look at the truths we do know and how Reid and Pelosi's fantastical statements hold up.

Joseph Wilson, the man who started this whole sordid affair took the pages of the New York Times opinion page, and accused the administration of twisting intelligence to exaggerate the Iraqi threat. In his book The Politics of Truth, Wilson claims that he was sent to Niger at the behest of the office of Vice President Dick Cheney. Further, Wilson claims that his report on his trip to Niger debunked the so-called "16 words" in Bush's 2003 State of the Union Address that Iraq had sought enriched Uranium from Niger. Wilson also claims that his wife Valerie Plame Wilson an employee of the CIA’s counter proliferation division had no role in sending him the Niger.

Two separate reports The Senate Intelligence Report and Lord Butler's report prove beyond all doubt that the real liar in this case is Wilson. Both the Senate Intelligence Report and Butler report show that the "16 words" in Bush's 2003 State of the Union Address were in fact "well founded." The Senate report also states, “the report on the former ambassador’s trip to Niger, disseminated in March 2002, did not change any of the analysts’ assessments of the Iraq-Niger uranium deal. For most analysts, the information in the report lent more credibility to the original CIA reports on the uranium deal.”

The report further states, “The Central Intelligence Agency should have told the Vice President and other senior policy makers that it had sent some one to Niger to look into the alleged Iraq-Niger uranium deal and should have briefed the Vice President on the former ambassador’s findings.”

Here we have two independent reports that prove Joseph Wilson lied in both his New York Times op-ed and his book.

In response to Wilson, the administration declassified and released portions of national security documents to refute a war critic who lied to the public.
Wilson, with the help of David Corn from The Nation stoked the fire even more when he claimed that the Bush administration orchestrated the “outing” of his wife, who he claimed was a covert CIA agent.

Here again the truths we do know show that Wilson and the Left’s fantastical claims do not pass the smell test.

We know that the source of Robert Novak’s column, which identified Valerie Plame was not anyone in the administration but anti-war State Department official Richard Armitage.

We know that the Justice Department knew Armitage was Novak’s source before it handed the case to Special Prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald. We know that Fitzgerald knew this same fact as well.

So given the facts of this whole affair, how do Reid, Pelosi and the Left square their fantastical statements, which they believe are the truth with what we know to be truth

Reid, Pelosi, and the Left are entitled to their own opinions, but they are not entitled to their own facts.