Former Ambassador Joseph Wilson, husband of outed CIA operative Valerie Plame, ripped President Bush's decision to commute the prison sentence of Lewis "Scooter" Libby in the CIA leak case. (See the video at the end of this blog)
Appearing on MSNBC's "Countdown," Wilson called the move the latest evidence that the administration is "corrupt to the core." He accused the president of participating in the "obstruction of justice."
Wilson called on both the president and Libby's former boss, Vice President Cheney, to "come clean" on their roles in the leaking of his wife's name, now that Libby has been spared prison. He called the leaking of the name "treasonous."
Asked by host Keith Olbermann if there was a "quid pro quo" - Libby would remain silent about crucial details of Cheney's role in the case in exchange for a pardon or commutation - Wilson answered, "absolutely."
Libby was convicted of several counts of perjury and obstruction of justice. President Bush commuted his 2 1/2 year sentence, calling it too severe, after a Federal Appeals Court ruled that Libby must begin serving the sentence immediately.
Wilson warned that the message of the commutation might lead to fewer people being willing to risk their lives as covert CIA operatives.
He vowed to continue the civil suit with the aim of getting Cheney and Libby on the stand. And he called on Americans to protest the move by contacting members of Congress. Democratic leaders quickly condemned the Bush act.
Libby, a convicted felon, is now free. At the same time, there are thousands of young black men serving time for less severe offenses. The Innocence Project has demonstrated that many are entirely innocent. Their only crime is that they were black. poor and in the wrong place at the wrong time. President Bush has not suggested that their sentences were too severe. As a result,the United States is the world's leader in incarceration with 2.1 million people currently in the nation's prisons or jails -- a 500% increase over the past thirty years.
When President Bush was the Governor of Texas he presided over 150 executions. All asked that their sentences be commuted. Not once did he rule the death penalty too severe!
Milwaukee Alderman, Michael Mcgee, who has been charged but not been convicted, remains in jail. Former Alderman Paul Henningsen served time for a victimless crime.
Libby's outing of an undercover CIA agent destroyed her career and threatened her life and the safety of those she worked with. This commutation coming two days before we celebrate the Declaration of Independence with its revolutionary proclamation that "...all men are created equal..." makes a mockery of this nation's commitment to equal justice.