Having just watched the dissembling, smirking Kate O'Beirn on Hardball left no new impressions on me regarding Republicans. They smirk a lot; you can put 2+2 right in front of them and they'll tell you "well it was 4 in 1998, but today it's actually 5". They won't even blink when they allege this. The only thing to be gleaned from O'Beirn's presence on the panel was Matthew's remarkable restraint as he read her the court's finding, the legal definition of a Pardon, and repeatedly pointed out that virtually everyone convicted of a felony, maintains their innocence. I'd have been hard pressed not to simply reach across and choke the life out of her to see if the smirk went away.
Likewise, right-wing ideologue Victoria Toensing went on the air immediately following the verdict to denounce it on the grounds that the case should never have been pursued. She had some claim to credibility being a co-author of the 1985 intelligence act presumably violated by multiple people in the case, but not prosecuted. Her use of overt strawmen to make her case, however, only showed her to be a fundamentally dishonest person, who happened to have co-written a piece of legislation which has now bitten her beloved wing-nuts in the ass. But let us take a look at these strawmen and unsustainable claims and then burn them to ashes right here:
1. Plame was not "covert"; she was only "classified".
Fact (a). You can never truthfully claim someone who worked at the CIA was not covert if they were classified. The CIA will not acknowledge the covert or NOC status of their agents. The claim is therefor not legitimate.
2. The fact that Richard Armitage was not prosecuted proves that the intelligence act was not violated.
Fact (a) It proves absolutely nothing. To violate the letter of the act, the revelation of the identity must be done WHILE KNOWING it's in violation of the law. The way the law is written therefor, "ignorance of the law" actually IS an excuse, which can preclude one being prosecuted. Armitage was not prosecuted because the prosecutor could not prove INTENT with knowledge of status in light of the law.
3. That BECAUSE no charge was filed for violation of the intelligence act, prosecution for perjury was "political" and baseless.
Fact (a) The prosecutor was a Republican appointed prosecutor.
Fact (b) The perjury occurred DURING an investigation the purpose of which was to ascertain WHO violated the intelligence act, and is therefor relevant to the crime suspected, even if the crime itself is not proven (or even prosecuted). This is no different than perjury committed during the investigation of any other crime, be it murder or arson. You lie to an investigator, you go to jail, and whether or not he's ever able to successfully bring charges on the matter central to the investigation is absolutely irrelevant. Shut up Ms. Toensing, your contempt for equal justice under the law is entirely evident.
Now let's deal with the known facts of this case:
We KNOW Dick Cheney was a source for Scooter Libby's knowing Plame was a classified CIA agent.
We presume he is the FIRST, because:
(a) He has direct access to the information.
(b) His directive to Scooter was IN WRITING.
(c) Said directive in writing pre-dates any other source.
I do not know WHY Dick Cheney has not been indicted, but on the face of it, it appears that he absolutely should have been. Fitzgerald –presumably- went after Libby for perjury in hopes that he could squeeze additional information out of him regarding Cheney. It didn't work, and frankly, I doubt that it will: Anyone with a lick of sense can read between the lines and understand that when Libby refused to take the stand, and Cheney's promised appearance evaporated, an understanding was in place that if Libby just "hung in there", he'd get a pardon from Bush. I believe he will. On account of the potential for "damage" should Libby become "disgruntled", I believe the pardon will come sonner rather than later; Libby will never see a day in Federal prison.
There appears to me to be a highly questionable reticence on the part of Fitzgerald to do the obvious in this case: Subpoena Dick Cheney. He has probable cause based on what was revealed in the trial –Cheney's hand written notes in the margin of a newspaper-. While the foaming, lying, spinning, corrupt GOP loyalists shriek that Fitzgerald is somehow a partisan "plant" run amuck to destroy the Bush administration, I am coming to an opposite conclusion, and this one is actually based on LOGIC.