In a substance-less diatribe, the Washington Post editorial board this morning tried its best to downplay the significance of the Scooter Libby verdict. Here’s a fact-check on some of the Post’s most absurd claims:
CLAIM: Libby’s guilty verdict was “propelled not by actual wrongdoing.”
FACT: The Post Editorial Board Highlighted The ‘Seriousness’ Of Perjury Charges Against Clinton. In a Jan. 22, 1998 editorial, the Washington Post write, “The allegations against President Clinton are allegations of extremely serious crimes. … Subornation of perjury is a federal crime punishable by up to five years in prison.” On Feb. 2, 1998, the Post wrote that the “seriousness” of the charges against Clinton had “to do much more with possible perjury than with sex.” And on Dec. 13, 1998, the Post wrote: “There is no question that President Clinton committed grave offenses and aggravated them by refusing to acknowledge either the offenses themselves or their seriousness.”
CLAIM: Calling it a “sensational charge,” the Post writes that there was “no evidence that [Plame] was, in fact, covert.”
FACT: CIA, Former Colleagues, And Special Prosecutor All Report That Plame Was Covert. The CIA filed a “crime report” with the Department of Justice shortly after Novak’s column, stating that an undercover agent’s identity had been blown. Larry Johnson, a former CIA officer, said “Valerie Plame was a classmate of mine from the day she started with the CIA. … All of my classmates were undercover.” Special prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald found that Plame had indeed done “covert work overseas” on counterproliferation matters in the past five years, and the CIA “was making specific efforts to conceal” her identity.
CLAIM: The Post claims that senior White House officials had not “orchestrated the leak” and that the trial “provided convincing evidence that there was no conspiracy to punish Mr. Wilson by leaking Ms. Plame’s identity.”
FACT: Cheney’s Point-man — Libby — Carefully Leaked Plame’s Identity To Reporters, White House Staff. In an article published on Jan. 26, 2007, Post writers reported “Vice President Cheney personally orchestrated his office’s 2003 efforts to rebut allegations that the administration used flawed intelligence to justify the war in Iraq.” As of that effort, handwritten notes prove that Cheney assigned Libby to be the point man for disseminating the information about Plame’s identity, which he revealed to reporters Judith Miller and Matt Cooper. Libby also enrolled Ari Fleischer and Karl Rove in his effort to disseminate Plame’s identity.
CLAIM: “It would have been sensible for Mr. Fitzgerald to end his investigation after learning about Mr. Armitage. Instead, like many Washington special prosecutors before him, he pressed on, pursuing every tangent in the case.”
FACT: Armitage told the truth; Libby refused to. Indeed, it was “sensible” for Fitzgerald to pursue Libby and question why the Vice President’s chief of staff could not tell him the truth, while Armitage could.
The Post editorial concludes: “The Wilson-Plame case, and Mr. Libby’s conviction, tell us nothing about the war in Iraq.” This na¯ve comment is hardly surprising, coming from a publication that bought the false Iraq intelligence that Cheney, Libby, and company were trying so hard to sell prior to the war. More distressing, however, is that the Post has been an accomplice in the White House’s effort to cover up what it knew.
Contact the Washington Post ombudsman HERE to inform them of the factual inaccuracies in their editorial.