First, there is the USA PATRIOT Act, which twisted and shredded the First, Fourth, Fifth, Sixth, Eighth, and Fourteenth amendments to the Constitution. Those amendments once guaranteed the rights of freedom of speech, press, assembly, and religion, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances; freedom from unreasonable searches; due process and the right against self-incrimination; the right to counsel, a speedy trial, and the right to a fair and public trial by an impartial jury; reasonable bail and freedom from cruel and unusual punishment; and an equal protection guarantee for both citizens and non-citizens.
There are the No Fly lists, databases that track what meals you ate, and innumerable spy-upon-your-brother programs.
There are the mass designations of enemy combatants that allow the Administration to hold anyone in secret, with no legal recourse, for as long as it wants. Of course, that pesky Supreme Court said otherwise, but whats a Courts opinion worth when the President believes he has a mandate from the people.
Mixed into all of this were the secret meetings with the oil industry to determine the nations environmental policies, and myriad Vice-Presidential and Presidential appearances where only those who affirm their loyalty to the BushCheney agenda are allowed to attend.
But, Vice-President Cheney has now seen the lighthallelujah!and believes in the Constitution and civil rights. Praise the Bush!
According to the indictment, an unidentified Official A, widely believed to be Karl Rove, the Presidents deputy chief of staff and chief political strategist, revealed Plames identity to syndicated conservative columnist Robert Novak who dutifully published it in a July 14, 2003 column. Rove faced the Grand Jury four times, but wasnt indicted.
About the same time Rove was leaking, Libby also leaked the news to New York Times reporter Judith Miller, whose primary responsibilities the past couple of years were to channel just about anything the BushCheney Administration said. Millers story didnt get published, but she went to jail for 85 days for disregarding a federal subpoena requiring she divulge her source.
Libby also leaked the information to Matthew Cooper of TIME magazine, which did publish it. It wasnt long before most of the nations media jumped onto the storynot of the leak, but of Plames marriage and job. No one in the We-protect-America-at-all-costs Administration or the media seemed to care that revealing the name of a CIA covert operative violated federal law and the nations security.
In an official statement, the Vice-President praised his friend and strongly reminded the American people that In our system of government an accused person is presumed innocent until a contrary finding is made by a jury after an opportunity to answer the charges and a full airing of the facts. Mr. Libby is entitled to that opportunity. A remarkable statement from a man who believes enemy combatants should rot in cages, and Americans captured by the PATRIOT Act are guilty.
Libby wasnt charged with violating the Espionage Act for releasing confidential information or disclosing the identity of an undercover agent, but with lying to federal prosecutors, the FBI, and the Grand Jury. In all of his appearances before the FBI and the Grand Jury, Libby was flanked by his lawyers, a right not granted to those detained under the PATRIOT Act or who are given the appellation, enemy combatant.
Of course, all of this is just conjecture. As the Vice-President said, a person is presumed innocent until proven guilty.