A federal judge appointed by George W. Bush tossed out the lawsuit by former CIA covert operative Valerie Plame Wilson and her husband, former ambassador Joe Wilson, against the men who compromised her identity. The two had filed a civil suit against Dick Cheney, I. Lewis Libby and other Bush regime officials for outing Plame as CIA in 2003. The judge, John Bates, accepted false arguments from the defense claiming that Cheney and other regime officials are protected by federal law from being sued.
Outing Plame as CIA was a federal crime under the Intelligence Identities Protection Act (see links 1 and 2). When her husband went public calling the regime on one of its bigger lies justifying the invasion of Iraq, officials retaliated by leaking her identity to members of the press. Right-wing columnist Bob Novak wrote the op-ed revealing that Wilson's wife was CIA.
The leak triggered an investigation, which was requested by the CIA. A special prosecutor was appointed, Patrick Fitzgerald, and he proceeded to question regime officials and reporters. During the course of the investigation, it became known that Karl Rove, Libby, and others had talked to reporters disclosing Plame's status. Libby was caught lying to investigators and the Grand Jury, so he was charged with, tried for and earlier this year convicted of perjury and obstruction of justice -- and sentenced. Bush later commuted Libby's two and a half year prison sentence, which was pretty light given sentencing guidelines, after a three-judge panel turned down his request to remain free while his lawyers appealed the conviction.
Libby's supporters railed against the trial, conviction and sentencing and petitioned the Shrub to pardon him. They lied on the talk show circuit, saying that no "underlying crime" had been committed and that Libby was the victim of a partisan witch hunt. This would have been laughable considering that many of these same critics supported special prosecutor Ken Starr's truly partisan witch hunt against then-president Bill Clinton, if not for the fact that Libby's crimes involved breaches of national security and possibly treason.
What the Libby-Liar Brigade purposely left out were key facts regarding the case, the most recent being Bush's admission that someone in his regime did in fact leak Plame's CIA status to the press. Other facts include Novak's testimony confirming that Karl Rove was indeed one of his sources for the 2003 column that outed Plame; both Plame and CIA director Michael Hayden testified under oath before Congress this past Spring, confirming beyond all reasonable doubt that her status was in fact classified--no one but a select few individuals even knew she was CIA. Meaning that yes, her status was covert and outing her was a federal crime under the IIPA.
Now, with Libby's commutation serving to keep him quiet and Bush's cronies on the federal bench preventing a civil suit, the wheels of justice have been effectively stopped. They turn, not on the rule of law, but at the whim and convenience of dictators whose complicity in the leak of a covert operative's identity is now no longer in any reasonable doubt whatsoever.
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