Monday, June 19, 2006

Will The Turkey Be Pardoned Early This Year?

Now that Karl Rove seems to be off the hot seat regarding criminal indictment in the CIA leak investigation, rumblings have started about the possibility of a quick pardon for Scooter Libby, possibly even before his trial. An early Rove pardon wouldn’t have been possible, politically, because of his high profile and controversial reputation. But with the lesser-known Libby as the sole administration member in line to take the fall, the possibility of heading off potentially damaging testimony with a pre-trial pardon must seem quite tempting to George W. Bush.

And to that, I say to the President, “Bring it on!

Pardoning Libby before he is even brought to trial would essentially be the President’s admission that he knows Libby is guilty! After all, why would you need to pardon a guy who still has a chance to completely clear his name by having his day in court?

With Rove seemingly off the hook, a Libby pardon would send the statement that, in the eyes of this administration, Valerie Plame’s CIA career was worth nothing – a challenge that begs for a civil lawsuit, if only to establish some semblance of justice! In the court of public opinion, a civil suit would likely be seen as more principled and less financially motivated if Libby doesn’t even have to defend his actions in a criminal trial!

As I see it, from a political standpoint a Libby pardon opens the door to significant public support for more than just civil damages for the loss of Valerie Plame’s career at the CIA. How about a class action lawsuit on behalf of every single American for the loss of security associated with the rollup of Brewster-Jennings, the front company that was cover for Plame’s CIA activities? Or a series of wrongful death lawsuits on behalf of the more than 2500 troops who were sent to their demise in a war based on the lies that the Plame leak was intended to protect?

I’m not a lawyer, so I’m just brainstorming here. My point is that President Bush has all along claimed the desire to “let the investigation run its course.” Pardoning Libby before the criminal charges have had a chance to run their course will be one more glaring example of self-serving hypocrisy that will become an anchor around Bush’s neck as he tries to keep his sinking approval ratings above water.

And again I say, “Bring it on!”

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