08 February 2007

Scooter Libby

There is a lot that I want to say about the perjury trial of I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby. Most of it, I'm sure, is available from a myriad of other sources, but my opinion about the whole mess may not be.

First of all, I know what side of this whole debacle I ought to be on. The liberal side, which wants to string him up for outing a CIA agent. Yes, I agree, that was bad. Bad Scooter! And indicative, really, of the Idiot Administration's way of handling a problem. Ooohh, someone says that there's no WMDs in Iraq? Well, obviously, ob-vi-ous-ly, the way to deal with that is to discredit the critic's wife. Personal attacks on credibility being sooo much easier than actually talking about the facts, right?

And in many respects, I feel that if in fact Scooter outed Valerie Plame, maliciously, and then he lied about outing her, then yes, he ought to be strung up by his toenails, or whatever we're doing to punish the naughty this week. But on the other hand....this trial, at taxpayer expense, is essentially a he said-she said thing, with no real way to definitively prove anything one way or the other. So much high school style drama. There isn't forensic evidence that Scooter lied....how could there be? Sure, polygraph tests might show the truth, but in reality, there is no way show for certain what he knew, when he knew it, and who he told it to. There's also the fact that he's been charged with obstruction of justice and perjury when there's no underlying criminal case....usually obstruction of justice charges involve someone trying to cover up a homicide, for example. So the prosecutor has his work cut out for him in proving this case.

I'll admit that it is pretty darn damaging that a whole host of people have testified to the fact that he did, he did, he did it. I heard Nina Totenburg on NPR's Morning Edition this morning talking about how, in the tapes of the grand jury testimony, the prosecutor tiptoes around coming straight out and asking Libby if his boss (that would be Vice President Dick Cheney) told him to leak Plame's info, but the prosecutor never does come out and ask him directly, and nothing that Libby says through more than eight hours of testimony would indicate that Cheney did, in fact, tell him to release Plame's name.

Of course Libby never indicates that Cheney ordered him to out Plame; they're both reasonably intelligent people, and I would assume, being the conspiracy theorist that I am, that they'd be smart enough to have had these conversations about what to do, should either of them be in trouble, long before they ever got into trouble. Duh! Didn't you ever plan to do something you probably shouldn't have done, as a kid, and have the conversation with your friends, "Well, you just tell your mom xxx, and I'll tell my mom xxx, and we'll be fine." I know you did!! Guess what, those in political power are at least as smart as eight year olds, and they did the same thing.

At the heart of this whole trial for me is the issue of privacy. Yes, privacy. Valerie Plame had the right to privacy, the right to pursue a career that she was, by all accounts, good at and excited about, the right to live her life without such intense scrutiny, and that right was taken away from her. Whether Scooter Libby did it because his boss told him to, or not, the fact remains that Ms. Plame is no longer able to pursue her first choice of career, being a CIA spook, because she is now well known and recognizable. At the risk of sounding like I'm in high school, that's not fair. Not at all. Added to the fact that she is (as far as I know) no longer working for the CIA is the fact that her life could be in danger from this outing. Which is really unfair.

Privacy is, to me, one of those sacred rights. Yes, I know that I'm a big hypocrite for saying that, as I obsessively follow celebrity gossip. But! If you choose to be a celebrity, you know going into it that you're not going to have much of a chance at a private life. There are some trade offs...fabulously rich, the whole world on a string, screaming fangirls, et cetera. In general, I don't feel sorry for stars who whine about not being able to have a private life; I do feel sorry for them when the stalkeratzzi try to take pics of their kids or generally hound them. But I digress. Those of us who choose to go into less glamorous careers, who have ordinary lives, should be able to expect that our bidness isn't going to be splashed all over the six o'clock news. I dunno that being a CIA spook is an ordinary life, but for Valerie Plame, it was. The trial of Scooter Libby will resume on Monday. I'll be watching/listening.

Also: Wow. Wish I could write like this. Thanks to Mother Me for the link.

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