Mona Charen on the Libby case--Amnesiac-at-large?

Friday, February 02, 2007 at 06:01 PM

Mona Charen finds the Libby case "a farce and an outrage."

If you have the stomach to read the right wing propaganda sites, you already know why: Libby didn't out Plame, and the outing of Plame wasn't (they say) a crime, so what in the world is poor Scooter being prosecuted for?

As Charen puts it:

We are in the midst of a criminal trial concerning the leaking of CIA covert operative Valerie Plame's name to the press.

The man on trial did not do the leaking. The man who did the leaking is not on trial. The woman who is the subject of the fictional leak was probably not covert. The person who leaked her name did so in the course of gossip and almost certainly did not, as the law requires, "know that the government had taken affirmative measures to conceal" her identity (because if she wasn't covert, the government would have taken no such steps).

Accordingly, there was no crime. And yet, a prosecutor presents evidence, a jury lobs questions, and "Scooter" Libby may go to jail for 30 years.

This charade competes with the Duke "rape" case for prosecutorial misconduct, brazen defiance of common sense, and unbelievable jeopardy to the innocent.

Passionate.  Maybe even eloquent to some tastes.  And certainly it would be a lot more believable if Charen always thought that charges of perjury and obstruction of justice were unwarranted if the subject of the perjury was not itself a crime.

Alas, poor Mona, we still have archives of your vitriol on the Clinton perjury and obstruction of justice.  And surely the underlying acts of sex with Monica were not crimes.

Here's Mona when the perjury was on the other fork of the tongue:

1. Mona in Sept. of 1998:

We are told that is it now clear that the Supreme Court erred in ruling that the Jones case could go forward. "It certainly did disrupt the presidency," it is intoned. No, the civil case required only a deposition from the president. If he hadn't lied, nothing more would have followed. But this is a criminal matter now.

It concerns perjury, suborning perjury, misuse of government resources (like using federal employees to cover up his sordid sexual conduct), and obstruction of justice.

2. Mona in Nov. of 1998:

He was the defendant in a civil suit, who, when commanded to answer questions truthfully by a federal judge, chose to lie.

Oh, we are told, that's nothing. People lie all the time about sex. A gentleman should do no less. OK, then let's move to the next logical step: All sexual harassment laws should be stricken from the books, since all such cases pose embarrassing questions to witnesses.

For that matter, we should probably go ahead and remove perjury from the criminal code as well. After all, people lie all the time out of embarrassment about money, drugs, their HIV status and a million other things. There are as many rationalizations about lies as there are liars.

So, apparently, Mona Charen thinks that perjury and obstruction concerning acts that are not themselves criminal are: (a) okay when they involve the disclosure of the name of a CIA operative, and are made to attack the credibility of a political opponent, but (b) really NOT OKAY when they concern consensual sexual activity between two sleazy adults.

Makes sense to me.  I guess.  Sorta.  Gotta go now.  Earth beckons.