Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Cohen lies about Libby case, says convicted perjuror shouldn't do time.

In his June 19 column on the Washington Post's web site, Richard Cohen lied about the prosecution and conviction of I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby on charges of perjury and obstruction of justice. Downplaying the investigation into who leaked the identity of a covert CIA operative, Cohen attacked Fitzgerald's case.
With the sentencing of I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby, Fitzgerald has apparently finished his work, which was, not to put too fine a point on it, to make a mountain out of a molehill.
Cohen obviously doesn't think blowing the cover of a NOC is a big deal. But the CIA did, and still does, which is why the intelligence agency requested that the leaking of Valerie Plame Wilson's status as an undercover operative for the agency be investigated. The Intelligence Identities Protection Act of 1982 makes it a felony to knowingly disclose the identity of a covert agent. This law was passed in response to a number of instances in which the identities of CIA operatives were disclosed to the public by CounterSpy, a publication that was dedicated to revealing covert operations and operatives. In 1975 the magazine's activities outing CIA personnel culminated in the assassination of Athens, Greece station chief Richard Welch.

The outing of a covert CIA operative, which Valerie Plame Wilson was at the time her cover was blown, is in fact a very big deal. The very government charged with protecting the identities of its personnel instead compromised them. But Cohen, in making excuses for Libby, tried to erase the crime. Cohen surely knew that there was indeed an "underlying crime", namely the outing of a covert operative. If there wasn't, there would have been no investigation. And why, if no crime had been committed, did Libby commit perjury and obstruct justice to try and cover it up? Cohen deliberately ignores these facts in presenting his false argument. He finishes his liefest with the following:
I have come to hate the war and I cannot approve of lying under oath -- not by Scooter, not by Bill Clinton, not by anybody. But the underlying crime is absent, the sentence is excessive and the investigation should not have been conducted in the first place. This is a mess. Should Libby be pardoned? Maybe. Should his sentence be commuted? Definitely.
If Cohen cannot approve of lying under oath, then why is he bemoaning the prosecution and conviction of Lewis Libby for doing it? This is another lie told by Cohen, an attempt to explain to potentially incredulous readers that he isn't the dishonest scumbag he has just revealed himself to be. As was stated, the underlying crime was (and remains) the illegal disclosure of a covert CIA operative's identity. And again, if there was no crime then why did Libby perjure himself before the Grand Jury? Cohen's dishonesty here is twofold; denying that a crime was committed, and making excuses for a convicted criminal who committed crimes to cover up the very one Cohen insists was never committed.

The sheer contradiction in logic is astounding. Worse, it is an affront to the truth, an effort to hide it from the public. You may e-mail Richard Cohen and voice your displeasure at cohenr@washpost.com.

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