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Scooter Libby gets a timeout

It’s really amazing to see how much media outrage there has been on the whole Paris Hilton going to jail saga. Although, paris hilton’s attempt to leave prison after just a day there was a pretty bold attempt at obstructing justice, the scrutiny that paris hilton has to deal with seems ridiculous when compared to how little outrage there has been to Lewis “Scooter” Libby’s recent presidential commutation. Although some people may consider American politics to be a bit boring, there is nothing but drama when following the saga of scooter libby. A political lifer that has taken breaks from the political scene to periodically focus on his thriving private law practice, scooter libby was heavily entrenched in the current George W. Bush presidential team.
He had served as an Assistant to the President, the Chief of Staff to Vice President Dick Cheney, and assistant to the Cheney in National Security Affairs. His successful career path and his entrenchment in the American political conservative elite made it seem like everything was going great with scooter libby’s life. Drenched in power, it’s hard to not imagine somebody like Scooter Libby when you watch 1970s blacksploitation movies and hearing people complain about the man. As recent news in libby’s life will show, Lewis “Scooter” Libby was truly the man. It would be an understatement to say that the last few years have been topsy-turvy when it comes to American foreign policy. With the war on terrorism going full steam, the Bush administration was fighting two wars: against international terrorists and against domestic critics that dared to question the government’s justification for entering such a widespread war. One of these critics was a former UN Ambassador named Joseph Wilson that had written an op-ed article for the New York Times that questioned the Bush administration’s claims that Iraqi officials had gone to Africa to purchase uranium to build weapons of mass destruction. The fallout of Wilson’s articles must have been surprising to him.
Later articles about Wilson’s claims casually mentioned the fact that his wife, Valerie Plame, was working as a covert CIA agent. Considering how important it is to maintain a fluid identity when working as a CIA agent, it isn’t surprising to learn that the proverbial shit hit the fan. As reporters like Judith Miller were jailed for refusing to release their sources, eventually news came out that Lewis “Scooter” Libby was the man that had leaked the classified information about Valerie Plame’s status. Although scooter libby had tried to claim that he had learned about Valerie Plame’s status as a covert CIA agent from Meet the Press host Tim Russert, a claim that Russert strongly denied. Eventually, news came out that scooter libby had learned the information from Dick Cheney and it was he that had leaked the news of Valerie Plume’s career to news reporters, as a way to discredit Plume’s husband, Joseph Wilson. Indicted on two counts of perjury for lying to the grand jury, one count of obstruction of justice, and two counts of making false statements to FBI agents, scooter libby’s political career seemed to have ended. The scooter libby perjury trial would commence on March 6, 2007 when the jury found him guilty on four of the five counts he was charged with. With the news of libby found guilty, it seemed like a victory for critics of Bush’s government tactics. The sight of libby prison for 30 months, combined with a $250,000 fine, 400 hours of community service, and two years of supervised release made many people feel justice was served. And then, on July 2, 2007, President George W Bush did the unthinkable.
While Republicans and Democrats were battling it out over the issue of giving scooter libby a pardon, Bush managed to find a middle ground that would upset everyone. He would commute scooter libby’s 30 month prison sentence while retaining the rest of Scooter Libby’s punishments. Bush claimed that the prison sentence was excessive and the destruction of scooter libby’s reputation in the private law world was enough punishment. Although I’m sure that Scooter Libby will not enjoy the 400 hours of community service he would have to do, doesn’t it seem strange that a person who had released classified government information and violated the strict boundaries of government protocol has managed to serve less jail time than a 15 year old kid with a joint in their hand? As the outcry continues to be drowned out by paris hilton news (update: paris Hilton – still breathing), scooter libby manages to slip past stealthily and avoid doing hard time for the serious crimes that he committed (which is the reason why jails exist). Truly scooter libby is the man that Undercover Brother and his Brotherhood were talking about.