Despite the absence of any underlying crime, Fitzgerald filed charges against Libby for denying to the FBI and the grand jury that he had discussed the Wilson case with reporters. Libby was convicted on the testimony of reporters from NBC, the New York Times and Time magazine -- a further provocation to conservatives.I think they have a point. This whole controversy is a sideshow -- engineered partly by the publicity-seeking former ambassador Joseph Wilson and his wife and heightened by the hunger in parts of Washington to "get" Rove for something or other.You see, this whole unfortunate business was not the fault of the Bush Administration. Instead, Broder blames Wilson and some unnamed evildoers who were out to get Karl Rove. Scooter Libby and the Bush Administration are the victims here. Yet in the very next paragraph, Mr. Broder is forced to admit that Libby broke the law:
Like other special prosecutors before him, Fitzgerald got caught up in the excitement of the case and pursued Libby relentlessly, well beyond the time that was reasonable.
Nonetheless, on the fundamental point, Walton and Fitzgerald have it right. Libby let his loyalty to his boss and to the administration cloud his judgment -- and perhaps his memory -- in denying that he was part of the effort to discredit the Wilson pair. Lying to a grand jury is serious business, especially when it is done by a person occupying a high government position where the public trust is at stake.Contrast his reaction on this matter, to what he had to say with the Clinton impeachment (from Atrios):
One of my favorite columns by Broder was when he got in a high snit when a bunch of history professors signed a letter condemning the Clinton impeachment. The beginning and ending:So in the warped mind of David Broder- the Clinton witch hunt, which never resulted in criminal prosecution and wasted millions of tax dollars, was the right thing to do. The investigation into the Bush Administration's actions, which led to the outing of an undercover agent who worked as a specialist in non-conventional weapons, not that big of a deal. God help me.
- When academics decide to become activists, they sometimes bring badly needed wisdom and perspective to raging political debates. But when they plunge in heedlessly, they risk looking ridiculous.
Both sides were on display last week at a hotel ballroom where three noted American historians -- speaking for more than 400 of their profession -- unloaded a broadside condemnation of the impeachment proceedings the House has voted to begin against President Clinton.
The rhetoric of their statement, read by Arthur M. Schlesinger Jr. of City University of New York, began on a relatively calm note and built to a tantrum.
This tenured trashing of Congress for meeting its responsibility says more about the state of the history profession than about the law of the land.