"What Part of “Obstruction of Justice” Don’t You Understand?"
In Today’s Los Angeles Times, Max Boot tries to minimize the impact of the indictment of Scooter Libby for false statements, perjury and obstruction of justice.
But with his investigation all but over, prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald has found no criminal conspiracy and no violations of the Intelligence Identities Protection Act, which makes it a crime in some circumstances to disclose the names of undercover CIA operatives.
First, Fitzgerald’s investigation is drawing to a close but senior administration officials, including Karl Rove, remain in serious legal jeopardy. Moreover, in his press conference, Patrick Fitzgerald stressed repeatedly that’s Libby’s obstruction is complicating efforts to issue indictments for other crimes:
And grand jurors and prosecutors making decisions about who should be charged, whether anyone should be charged, what should be charged, need to make fine distinctions about what people knew, why they knew it, what they exactly said, why they said it, what they were trying to do, what appreciation they had for the information and whether it was classified at the time.
Those fine distinctions are important in determining what to do. That’s why it’s essential when a witness comes forward and gives their account of how they came across classified information and what they did with it that it be accurate.
And what we have when someone charges obstruction of justice, the umpire gets sand thrown in his eyes. He’s trying to figure what happened and somebody blocked their view.
As you sit here now, if you’re asking me what his motives were, I can’t tell you; we haven’t charged it.
So what you were saying is the harm in an obstruction investigation is it prevents us from making the fine judgments we want to make.
You need to know at the time that he transmitted the information, he appreciated that it was classified information, that he knew it or acted, in certain statutes, with recklessness.
And that is sort of what gets back to my point. In trying to figure that out, you need to know what the truth is.
So our allegation is in trying to drill down and find out exactly what we got here, if we received false information, that process is frustrated.
What part of “obstruction of justice” doesn’t Max Boot understand?