Friday, October 28, 2005

My two bits worth on the possibility of a Libby indictment

It is likely that some conservative activists/pundits will try to make hay out of the fact that no one was indicted for exposing Valerie (Plame) Wilson as a CIA agent…that the indictment was only for lying to a grand jury.

As a former criminal prosecutor (albeit only for 10 months in 1999-2000) who presented dozens of cases to grand jury, I support the prosecution of individuals who are caught lying under oath to a grand jury. Let’s keep in mind that it is possible that the underlying criminal violation MAY have taken place and that Fitzgerald was unable to indict because of a lack of evidence. You end up in the situation that you know the underlying crime took place, but you just don’t have the evidence to prove it. But you DO have evidence that somebody lied to the grand jury.

I don’t know what evidence was presented to the grand jury. If Libby is indicted, we will eventually see the evidence in the prosecutor’s possession…then we can all judge for ourselves.

Everything I have read indicates to me that Fitzgerald is honest, professional and deserving of the benefit of the doubt. Based on the press reports (always dangerous to rely on), I don’t think that any crimes have been committed. But, it is possible that facts that demonstrate actual innocence may still give the appearance of probable cause that a crime was committed. It will be up to a fact finder in a criminal trial to make the ultimate determination of guilt or innocence.

But I still seethe at the fact that this is a criminal investigation of a political act. Where was the investigation when then-Senator Torricelli (D. NJ) leaked the name of a CIA agent in 1996?

The NY Times applauded that disclosure. I believe that the CIA was acting against the Bush Administration and that most of the lying in this matter was done out of offices in Langley, Virginia.

We will find out at Fitzgerald's 2:00 PM press conference one way or another.


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