According to the White House, President Bush has commuted the prison portion of Lewis “Scooter” Libby’s Prison sentence. This means that Libby will not serve any jail time for “lying.”
The President did leave all other parts of the sentence in place, such as the probation and $250,000. This also leaves the felony conviction on the books, making it impossible for Libby to work at a high level job requiring clearance, handle a gun, or be around known felons.
Why did President Bush have to commute the sentence?
1. Libby knows where the bodies are buried. He has been with the Administration from the beginning. He knows why America wanted to attack Iraq, probably knows about the firings of the Federal prosecutors, and what went on behind the scene with 9/11, Katrina, etc.
2. Libby may have been the scapegoat for Vice President Dick Cheney. No one really believes that Cheney was not the original source, but like a good soldier, Libby fell on his sword for his boss.
3. Karl Rove has been the Teflon king, and though involved has never been called to account. His office has changed, but clearly he is the person behind far too many of the choices of the Bush White House.
4. Libby would/will probably write a book implicating a lot of the higher ups. With the climate toward Bush grows more hostile, if Libby wrote a book naming names, it would fetch in the millions for advance fees.
5. The punishment was excessive, meant to send a message to President Bush. You know the message sentences by the length of time that the judge gives. Martha Stewart lied and only got a month behind bars, so why should Libby get more?
In reality, Valerie Plame has not really lost anything. She is suing everyone, has book deals, a movie deal, and all the paid speeches any person could ask for.
This ordeal started when former CIA operative Valerie Plame was leaked in a Robert Novak column in July 2003. She contends it was because of her husband’s views against the Bush Administration reasons for invading Iraq.
Since she was supposedly working undercover, she was forced to retire. She has now filed suit against Dick Cheney, Karl Rove, Lewis Libby, and others in connection with the leak.
Libby was convicted of lying and obstructing justice in March 2007. He had lost a stay on his sentence of 30 months, and would have been forced to surrender had Bush not commuted the prison part of his sentence.
An investigation into the leak was started in December 2003. The special prosecutor failed to make a case against Karl Rove, though he kept leaking threats of pending charges.
Lewis Libby resigned from the White House in October 2005 when he was indicted.
Democrats did not want Bush to pardon Libby, so the commuted sentence may have been a compromise that Bush hopes will not further alienate the American Public.