Wilson: My Wife Wept When She Heard The Verdict

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"Wilson: My Wife Wept When She Heard The Verdict"

Ambassador Joseph Wilson conducted his first post-verdict interview tonight with MSNBC’s Keith Olbermann.

Wilson described the reactions of he and his wife to the news, detailed how the CIA is currently holding up the publication of his wife’s book, and explained why the Bush administration should recuse itself from pardon proceedings and leave those decisions to a subsequent administration. Watch it:

[flv http://video.thinkprogress.org/2007/03/wilsonolb.320.240.flv]

Some key highlights:

On his reaction:

I take no satisfaction in this. I think that the idea of a senior White House official being convicted of obstruction of justice and perjury is something that ought to sadden everybody who believes in public service. … I think we can take some satisfaction that the Constitution has been defended by the prosecution, by the system of justice and by the jury of peers that decided Mr. Libby’s guilt today.

On his wife Valerie Plame’s reaction:

Well, I think she wept when she heard the news. I was actually at a restaurant in Washington D.C. and she called me up and she just said, “Four out of five, guilty,” and she was very relieved. I think she will sleep well tonight knowing again that this part of this ordeal is behind us. But I would just say that whatever the last four or five years have been like for us, it has been mere inconvenience compared to what this administration has done to our service people and their families, in the prosecution of a war that was justified on misinformation and lies.

On the CIA holding up Plame’s book:

The CIA is taking a look at it and they have no particular objections to the contents. They are trying to claim that she did not work for them before 2002, or cannot acknowledge she worked for them before 2002, which is sort of an Alice in Wonderland, Through the Looking Glass. We may have to litigate that. This is not the USSR. This is America and she has a right to tell her story.

On the possibility of President Bush pardoning Libby:

I think there’s a lot of ethical questions involved. After all, Mr. Libby was an assistant to the president, and so I think there is an implicit — an explicit conflict of interest in the president exercising his pardon authority on behalf of someone who worked for him. I think it would be appropriate for the president and indeed the entire administration to recuse itself, allow the wheels of justice to turn as they must, and if there is going to be a pardon discussed it should be by a subsequent administration.

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Full transcript:

OLBERMANN: It has been 5 years this month since your trip to Niger. Is there any sense of personal vindication after all you have been through, after today’s conviction of Scooter Libby?

WILSON: Well, I think Valerie and I will both sleep easier tonight knowing that at least one part of this is behind us. I take no satisfaction in this. I think that the idea of a senior White House official being convicted of obstruction of justice and perjury is something that ought to sadden everybody who believes in public service. The responsibility of a public servant to uphold and defend the Constitution is besmirched when they are convicted of crimes like this. On the other hand, of course, I think it reconfirms that this is, in fact, a nation of laws and that no man is above the law, and I think we can take some satisfaction that the Constitution has been defended by the prosecution, by the system of justice and by the jury of peers that decided Mr. Libby’s guilt today.

OLBERMANN: Your wife clearly has believed in public service all this time. Share with me what you can of Valerie’s reaction today.

WILSON: Well, I think she wept when she heard the news. I was actually at a restaurant in Washington D.C. and she called me up and she just said, “Four out of five, guilty,” and she was very relieved. I think she will sleep well tonight knowing again that this part of this ordeal is behind us. But I would just say that whatever the last four or five years have been like for us, it has been mere inconvenience compared to what this administration has done to our service people and their families, in the prosecution of a war that was justified on misinformation and lies, and was undertaken not for the national security of the United States, but to prove an academic theory which wasn’t a very good academic theory at that.

WILSON: Well, I can’t really talk about what Valerie was doing. In fact, we are hopeful that she will be able to get her book out. The CIA is taking a look at it and they have no particular objections to the contents. They are trying to claim that she did not work for them before 2002, or cannot acknowledge she worked for them before 2002, which is sort of an Alice in Wonderland, Through the Looking Glass. We may have to litigate that. This is not the USSR. This is America and she has a right to tell her story, particularly when everybody and their uncle has already tried to tell it on her behalf. So we’re going to litigate that. But neither I nor she would ever talk about what specifically she was doing, a lot of which I don’t know frankly.

OLBERMANN: I guess the ultimate Alice in Wonderland quality to this entire event would be if the end result of Mr. Libby’s conviction were not a sentence or a fine or it being overturned in court, but if he were pardoned by President Bush. Are you anticipating that as a possibility? Have you steeled yourself for that? Do you have a reaction to the prospect even of it?

WILSON: Well, the president obviously has the absolute right under the Constitution to pardon. But I think there’s a lot of ethical questions involved. After all, Mr. Libby was an assistant to the president, and so I think there is an implicit — an explicit conflict of interest in the president exercising his pardon authority on behalf of someone who worked for him. I think it would be appropriate for the president and indeed the entire administration to recuse itself, allow the wheels of justice to turn as they must, and if there is going to be a pardon discussed it should be by a subsequent administration. And there should be an appeal process as is normal. And Mr. Libby knows a lot about this because he was instrumental in fighting for the pardon of Marc Rich, one of the most notorious fugitive of justice in the 1980′s, for whom Libby was an attorney.

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