More on Scooter

Over at the Powe Line blog, a reader offered the following observations on Victoria Toensing’s Washington Post column on the Scooter Libbey witch hunt trial. This prosecution is possibly one of the more pointless, politically motivated exercises to find its way into a court room in quite some time. Read on for the substances of the Power Line post:

My first reservation is that VT didn’t focus more attention on Fitzgerald’s abuse of the Grand Jury process. Rove and Libby were required to testify before the grand jury FIVE TIMES, thanks to their boss’s requirement that his employees renounce their constitutional rights. Ordinary Department of Justice procedure bans the use of the grand jury to set perjury traps for targets of investigations, and calling anyone before a grand jury five times is almost unheard of. Yes, I know that Fitzgerald sent their lawyers a letter stating that they weren’t targets, but who’s kidding whom?My second reservation addresses one aspect of what Power Line and others have termed the Bureaucracy’s War against the Administration.
Like most writers on this subject (Byron York is another example) VT stops just short of calling a spade a spade: she just won’t come right out and say, this is a politically motivated and knowing abuse of the grand jury system and of the criminal justice system in general.

This hesitancy manifests itself in several places. The most obvious is this:

THIS GRAND JURY CHARGES THE CIA for making a boilerplate criminal referral to cover its derrière.The CIA is well aware of the requirements of the law protecting the identity of covert officers and agents. I know, because in 1982, as chief counsel to the Senate intelligence committee, I negotiated the terms of that legislation between the media and the intelligence community. Even if Plame’s status were “classified”–Fitzgerald never introduced one piece of evidence to support such status — no law would be violated.

There is no better evidence that the CIA was only covering its rear by requesting a Justice Department criminal investigation than the fact that it sent a boiler-plate referral regarding a classified leak and not one addressing the elements of a covert officer’s disclosure.

Only covering its rear? I think not. A CYA referral would only have required a perfunctory one-time effort. Instead, the referral was twice rejected at DoJ before Tenet personally demanded an investigation. That’s not CYA and it’s not perfunctory–that’s an aggressive move to cause maximum political damage to the administration.Moreover, a true CYA referral would have specifically cited the elements required for a violation of the IIPA. It would not have been couched in general terms about a purported disclosure of classified information. Why is that so? Because by specifically citing the elements for a violation of the IIPA the referral would have invited rejection because Plame’s past clearly did not qualify her under the IIPA. That type of referral would have been a slam dunk for rejection, while effectively providing cover for the CIA. By couching the referral in general terms while accompanying it with a strongly worded letter from the Director of Central Intelligence, the referral implicitly invited–nay, demanded–a wide ranging witch hunt designed precisely to identify some farfetched violation of law that no one had ever dreamed of. Or to invite the manufacture of a process violation (perjury, obstruction, etc.) in the course of the investigation.

That was no innocent decision or CYA maneuver on Tenet’s part–it was a well thought out political op designed to cause maximum political damage.


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