One thing puzzles me about the White House’s handling of the whole Wilson imbroglio: Why did they choose to fight such a sneaky, shadow war against Wilson when they could have presented a powerful rebuttal in public?
Why were Rove, Fleischer, and Libby leaking and gossiping with Judith Miller, Matt Cooper, et. al. when they could have gone on the record and said:
The sixteen words were and remain accurate. British intelligence stands by their report and the Butler Commission supports their position.Had they taken the high road, we could have had an honest public debate on pre-war intelligence. Instead, we have had this distraction of an investigation clouding the issue for over three years.
VP Cheney did not send Joe Wilson to Niger nor did he receive a report from Mr. Wilson on his investigation.
From outside the Beltway, it appears that Rove and Libby helped their enemies because they were too clever by half. I cannot work up a lot of outrage on their behalf because their cleverness hurt the country.
The jury found that Libby lied to investigators and grand jurors. How can anyone excuse that and then support Bill Clinton’s impeachment? Since I believe that Clinton deserved to be impeached and that Martha Stewart deserved her jail sentence, I have to accept that Libby deserves punishment as well.
Beldar has several good posts on the subject that I find persuasive.
Joseph Bottum has a poignant portrait of Libby before he went into the White House.
As hard as Bottum tries, I still find it hard to like or respect Libby. Beyond his missteps with Wilson, there is also the fact that he pocketed huge fees working for Marc Rich during the 1990s and called to congratulate the traitor when Clinton pardoned him.