Let’s Have a Look at Scooter Libby’s ‘Exceptional Public Service’

When Pres. George Bush commuted Scooter Libby’s prison sentence on Monday, he cited Libby’s “years of exceptional public service.” A casual observer might be surprised to learn Libby has been an “exceptional” public servant, since what is generally known about him is that he was a necon bureaucrat whose claim to fame prior to his crimes was his role in assisting Pres. Bush and Vice Pres. Dick Cheney in taking the country to war under false pretexts.

Having been found guilty of lying to a federal grand jury and FBI investigators and obstructing an investigation into an alleged White House conspiracy to reveal the identity of a covert CIA specialist in WMD, Libby has secured his place in history as the first sitting White House official to be indicted since the administration of U.S. Grant, a Republican, in the 1870s. He is also the highest-ranking White House official convicted in a government scandal since National Security Adviser John Poindexter, also a Republican, in the Iran-Contra affair in 1990.

Libby met Paul Wolfowitz at Yale. Wolfowitz became his mentor, and the two have worked together off and on over the years. Ironically, their separate roles in the Bush administration have led both men to fall from grace on parallel tracks. While Libby was under investigation, Wolfowitz resigned from the Pentagon, reportedly because of his role in botching the war. Around the time of Libby’s trial, Wolfowitz was forced out of the World Bank amid corruption charges.

At the White House, as the vice president’s chief of staff, Libby was Cheney’s closest confidante. Libby rode to work with Cheney every morning and was by his side throughout the day. He once told CNN’s Larry King, “I’m a great fan of the vice president. I think he’s one of the smartest, most honorable people I’ve ever met.”

Here are a few highlights from Scooter Libby’s bio:

  • Chief of staff to Vice President Dick Cheney, assistant to the vice president for national security affairs, and an assistant to President George W. Bush from 2001 to 2005.
  • Served in various mid-level bureaucratic positions in Republican administrations at the Pentagon and at the State Dept., often working for Wolfowitz.
  • Was part of a network of neo-cons called the “Vulcans” that included Wolfowitz, Condoleeza Rice, and Donald Rumsfeld.
  • In June 1997, he was a signatory on the “Statement of Principles” of the Project for the New American Century (PNAC).
  • Libby was active in the Defense Policy Board Advisory Committee of the Pentagon when it was chaired by Richard Perle during the early years of the George W. Bush administration.
  • Worked as a consultant for the defense contractor Northrop Grumman.
  • Served as a legal adviser to the United States House of Representatives.
  • Served on the advisory board of the RAND Corporation’s Center for Russia and Eurasia.
  • Worked for the American Bar Association.

In private practice, Libby represented the fugitive billionaire Marc Rich, who was indicted by then-U.S. Attorney Rudolph Giuliani 1983 on charges of tax evasion and illegal trading with Iran. Libby was apparently not representing Rich in January 2001 when Rich was pardoned by Pres. Bill Clinton. Later that year, however, Libby testified before a GOP congressional committee investigating the Rich pardon that the prosecutor, presumably Giuliani had “misconstrued the facts and the law” when he indicted Rich.

While it can’t be considered “public service” or “exceptional,” Libby was also author of “The Apprentice,” a novel that included plot lines about bestiality, pedophilia and rape.

Conclusion

“Exceptional public service” can be defined many ways. Serving in the military and holding elective office come to mind. But there’s nothing like that in Libby’s bio.

The fact is, Scooter Libby may be a nice guy. Judging by the reaction from his friends in the capitol, he is popular on the cocktail circuit. But he is not “exceptional.” He has been up to his elbows in some of the worst policy disasters in our history, including a treasonous scheme to deceive the American people about the reasons the government invaded Iraq.

The only thing truly exceptional about Scooter Libby is his intimate knowledge of questionable activities the president and vice president are desperate to keep secret. If this is true, then Pres. Bush pardoned Libby to buy his silence — and that is unquestionably an illegal act.

19 Comments

  • July 4, 2007 - 9:17 am | Permalink

    Why do we only find this angle in the blogoshpere? It seems so obvious: “If this is true, then Pres. Bush pardoned him to keep him quiet about these questionable activities — and that is unquestionably an illegal act.”
    The same crime that Libby commited: Obstruction of Justice, cubed.
    Dig a little deeper on Libby and you’ll find him in the shadows of Iran/Contra/Coca also. He’s the legman. The one they send out to find things out and get things done. He’s been called: “Cheney’s Legs”. Libby’s distinguished service has been Thuggery. Of course, Bush gave Tenet, Bremer and Franks pResidential Medals of Freedom for the distinguished jobs they all did.
    So many of the really evil members of this misAdministration were present and active in previous GOP administrations and are surfacing in this putsch, it shows that we should never have let Nixon off the hook. Had we put a stake through the heart of that nacent cabal, we wouldn’t have had the Reagan years and Poppy Bush and that in turn would have spared US the Bush/Cheney Reign of (T)error.

  • Lee Prellwitz
    July 4, 2007 - 12:50 pm | Permalink

    I seriously doubt if Clinton issued the pardon in 2004, given that he left office January 20, 2001.it is a shame to see the credibility of an article get diminished because the author messes up some simple fact.

  • George Silva
    July 4, 2007 - 1:05 pm | Permalink

    What Lee said.

    A blight on an otherwise good article.

    Moderator:

    Please fix that.

    Thanks

  • July 4, 2007 - 1:07 pm | Permalink

    Thanks for catching the typo.

  • rage
    July 4, 2007 - 1:20 pm | Permalink

    Come, come! Dumya called Cooter exceptional. That there alone is quite telling.

  • clarence swinney
    July 4, 2007 - 1:39 pm | Permalink

    Like Father-Like Son

    Libby-cover for Cheney

    Cap Weinberger cover for Bush I.

  • John Harper
    July 4, 2007 - 2:19 pm | Permalink

    They paid him off because he didn’t rat. It’s a pure Mob story. But with enough of us pushing, researching, and contacting our Senators maybe we’ll get a conviction. [Must have 60 Senators to convict.]

  • carolyn
    July 4, 2007 - 4:13 pm | Permalink

    “The Vulcans” is an allusion to the TV science fiction show Star Trek. A humanoid race, the Vulcans have developed a culture dedicated to the complete mastery of logic, learning to supress their emotions in nearly every aspect of their existence. They are secretive and compulsive liars”. That is a quote from the book The Canary in the Coalmine by Jesselyn Radack who tried to represent the American Taliban as his lawyer. Anyone remember that travesty?

  • Anonymous
    July 5, 2007 - 5:42 am | Permalink

    Wasn’t Henry Cisneros convicted of making false statements during the Clinton Administration? Was eventually pardoned by Clinton, but he’s a more contemporary reference than Iran-Contra.

  • Joe Guckert
    July 5, 2007 - 6:48 am | Permalink

    Scooter is even better at public service than Jeff Gannon

  • And this
    July 5, 2007 - 8:26 am | Permalink

    Cisneros was investigated for making false statements too, but that’s where the similarity ends.
    In March 1995, U.S. Attorney General Janet Reno secured the appointment of an Independent Counsel, David Barrett to investigate allegations that Cisneros had lied to FBI investigators during background checks prior to being named Secretary of HUD. He had been asked about payments that he had made to former mistress Linda Medlar, also known as Linda Jones. The affair had been ‘public knowledge’ for a number of years – during the 1992 presidential campaign. However, he lied about the amount of hush money he gave Linda Jones. It was more than he testified to. As we all know, the republicans searched for dirty laundry on any democrat during those years. They seemed to get all happy about any illicit affairs of democrats. Yes, Cisneros and Libby both lied, but under what were the circumstances? Cisneros lied about payoff for an affair. Libby lied in connection with the outing of a CIA operative who was investigating WMD/terrorism around the globe which could effect the US. Quite a difference, I’d say. And I’ve often wondered how many of her undercover informents were rubbed out as a result.

  • Henry
    July 5, 2007 - 8:49 am | Permalink

    It should not be A surprise to any one. On the Libby’s sentence commute by the decider and chief. Pres. G.W.B. It is obvious that Libby has the goods on the decider and vice Pres. Cheney.Jail is for other people of poorer means. Judge’s decision means nothing in this case.The World is watching us,saying? what has happened to America and there once great rule of law? God healp us all.

  • July 5, 2007 - 10:12 am | Permalink

    Oy…

  • tice-o
    July 5, 2007 - 11:01 am | Permalink

    Clinton’s 2001 pardon is CORRECT. He issued the pardon in January 2001 as one of his final acts in office.

  • Anonymous
    July 5, 2007 - 11:53 am | Permalink

    Ruined a good article because of a typo? Give me a break! You people trying to justify this travesty by what a 5-year old would say about filching a cookie – “he did it too” doesn’t mean a damn thing. The thug covered his bosses’ behinds knowing full well they would not make him take the fall. Mob justice, yes. Exceptional service to his warlords. This gang-who-couldn’t shoot straight have caused the deaths of thousands and bankrupted this country for years to come, made us vulnerable to any and everyone and turned the whole world against us. When we get in trouble, who we gonna call? Cisneros lying about payments to a girl friend is comparison to wrecking the career of a real public servant and who knows what her fellow agents suffered, plus losing our ability to monitor WMD in Iran and that is comparable?????

  • Peter Solinski
    July 6, 2007 - 8:44 am | Permalink

    Actually, Vulcans is not a reference to Star Trek. “During the campaign Bush’s foreign policy advisers came up with a nickname to describe themselves. They dubbed their team the Vulcans, in honor of the Roman god of fire, the forge and metalwork.” From “Rise of the Vulcans” by James Mann. Condoleeza Rice was raised in Birmingham, Alabama and a mammoth 56 foot statue of Vulcan overlooks downtown. No wonder she’s a lesbian.

  • Pingback: Political Waves » [almost] Federal Inmate No. 28301-016 — the reads

  • July 6, 2007 - 6:41 pm | Permalink

    To Anonymous: Thanks!

  • July 16, 2007 - 4:19 pm | Permalink

    Does it bother anyone that “after a life of exceptional service” the Scooter could whip out his checkbook and write a $250,000 as easy as I can write one for $20.00? I’d like to be serviced that way.
    ***********
    All of sudden “amnesty” is popular with the conservatives. They damn sure didn’t want it for immigrants but…., for the Scooter, well, that’s different. After all, he’s white, moneyed and a Republican.

    Maybe the amnesty was a good thing. As one comedian observed, “what chance would a little guy named Scooter have in prison?”

    Dave Anderson

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