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« Misleading Concerns | Main | Prescience »

Will There Be A Double Standard?

Given the potential jail time and fines for the charges, I'll be very interested to see if Libby (assuming that he's convicted or cops a plea) gets a harsher sentence than Sandy Berger, someone accused of not only lying to investigators, but destroying archived government documents that may have shed light on the anti-terrorism activities of the Clinton administration (or lack thereof)--crimes to which he has confessed. It would certainly shock my personal judicial conscience if he does.

Posted by Rand Simberg at October 30, 2005 12:42 PM
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John Ashcroft approved a no jail deal with berger.
This stank, this stank to high heaven.
Probably ashcroft sold out.
It would be nice if congress investigated this deal.

Posted by john doe at October 30, 2005 01:10 PM

I would like to see him get probation if he is convicted just to see Harry Reid's head explode. Why are these former Clintonites like Berger, coated with teflon? Reid now wants Rove to resign even though he has not been accused of anything by the SP. Larry King had an 'A' list of far lefties on his show to talk about Libby. I almost hurled.

Posted by Bill Maron at October 30, 2005 02:43 PM

The post title is a rhetorical question, right?

(You might also ask, if Libby cops a plea with no jail time, will we hear the same lengthy outcries of indignation from the national press that we did over Berger's deal?)

Posted by jaed at October 30, 2005 06:31 PM

Jaed, I didn't see any outcry at all about Berger's deal, except from a few blogs. (I was born without the irony gene, so maybe I don't get it.)

Posted by Richard R at October 30, 2005 06:35 PM

Jaed, I didn't see any outcry at all about Berger's deal, except from a few blogs. (I was born without the irony gene, so maybe I don't get it.)

Posted by Richard R at October 30, 2005 06:55 PM

That would be an example, I hope, of a rhetorical question, but certainly not irony, so no fear there.

Posted by John Jenkins at October 30, 2005 07:12 PM

Even Clinton himself committed perjury to evade prosecution for a real crime, the sexual assault of Paula Jones. If Libby committed perjury it was pursuant to proceedings that had no underlying crime. I think the law needs to establish some sort of doctrine to distinguish violations of this type, e.g., Libby and Stewart, from violations in which an initial crime is shown to have been committed, e.g., Clinton and Berger. Clearly both types of perjury merit punishment but it seems to me there should be a limit on the punishment that is based on the punishment merited by the crime itself.

Posted by marty at October 31, 2005 06:01 AM

Even Clinton himself committed perjury to evade prosecution for a real crime, the sexual assault of Paula Jones. If Libby committed perjury it was pursuant to proceedings that had no underlying crime. I think the law needs to establish some sort of doctrine to distinguish violations of this type, e.g., Libby and Stewart, from violations in which an initial crime is shown to have been committed, e.g., Clinton and Berger. Clearly both types of perjury merit punishment but it seems to me there should be a limit on the punishment that is based on the punishment merited by the crime itself.

That wouldn't apply in this case since there is a crime in question, the outing of a CIA agent.

Posted by Karl Hallowell at October 31, 2005 09:32 AM

That law only applies if the agent had been covert within the last 5 years before his/her identity was blown. That isn't the case with Plame.

Posted by Larry J at October 31, 2005 11:29 AM

(Sorry, Richard, I should have put <heavy sarcasm> tags around that second paragraph.)

Posted by jaed at October 31, 2005 12:58 PM

That law only applies if the agent had been covert within the last 5 years before his/her identity was blown. That isn't the case with Plame.

Glancing through old stuff on the Internet, it appears that the CIA initiated the investigation of the Plame leak as an outing of a covert agent. Hence, it looks like your characterization is somewhat incorrect. Apparently, the CIA felt she was still a "covert agent" with respect to that particular law.

Other aspects appear more problematic. Apparently, it has to be demonstrated that the leaker knew they were disclosing a "covert agent" and that they were aware that the US government was taking measures to conceal the "intelligence relationship to the US" of said "covert agent".

Posted by Karl Hallowell at October 31, 2005 01:10 PM

Karl,

I think you are wrong on this. A newspaper wrote an editorial claiming that a potential crime had been committed by Novak in outing a CIA operative. The CIA simply refered that story to the DOJ and asked that they investigate if the allegations were true. I don't believe the CIA ever stated that a crime had actually occurred.

Posted by Leland at October 31, 2005 01:45 PM

I was very angry that Mr. Burger got off easy. However, I am a realist when it comes to these types of issues. I would suggest two reasons why Mr. Burger did not have the book thrown at him. All should remember that Bush has gone out of his way to not drag Clinton into any controversy. He has been protecting the office of the president since the savaging of the White House the day before he assumed the office. Second, the information that Mr. Burger took had a clearance higher than top secret. That would have become a big issue if the defense had chosen to subpoena it. There was information that may have caused harm to our governmentís foreign policies across administrations and again it would have dragged Clinton into the trial. Even if this is all true, I still donít like the deal Mr. Burger got.

Posted by AMR at October 31, 2005 05:10 PM

Karl. If a crime were committed regarding outing Plame, surely Fitzgerald would have noticed.
Possibly even indicted someone for it.

BTW, I'd be interested to see the relative outrage about this outing and the original case, by Phillip Agee--now resident in Cuba--where at least one agent actually got killed because of it.
My recollection is that there weren't many folks too upset. The honorable whistleblower Agee taking desperate steps when all else failed and so forth. Or the CIA eating its own.

Posted by Richard Aubrey at November 13, 2005 05:47 PM


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