Former Bush White House official Scooter Libby has emerged from the self-imposed silence which followed his conviction in 2007 for lying about the outing of CIA officer Valerie Plame. On Tuesday, he faced a sympathetic Fox News interviewer in what the blog Firedoglake described as “an unmitigated blowjob.”
Fox’s Monica Crowley began by suggesting to Libby, “I know that you had been working on the Iraq surge before this ridiculous politically motivated case against you derailed your effort, and actually set back the Iraq surge program for years, and probably cost us a lot of lives and time in Iraq.”
In 2007, Crowley objected to speculation on television news shows that Libby must have lied to cover up for Cheney or to protect Rove, calling it “the politicization of journalism” — but it appears she has no objection to politicizing her own journalism when it furthers her goals.
Libby did quickly correct her misrepresentation of the Iraq surge, noting that it came a year after he left the White House, but he didn’t object to her description of the case against him as “politically motivated.”
Mother Jones Washington bureau chief David Corn, however, took the opportunity of an appearance with MSNBC’s Keith Olbermann on Wednesday to emphasize that “This wasn’t a political thing. The FBI guys were damned ticked off because he had lied to them when they were given the job of dealing with a very sensitive security leak. … So this whole political thing is really not true.”
Crowley then went on to ask Libby whether “the Bush administration made a mistake by not dealing more aggressively with Iran when it had the chance.”
“I would say that back in 2003 or so, there was more that might have been done with the Iranian opposition,” Libby replied.. “At that point, they were seven years away from a nuclear weapon.”
Olbermann seized on that response, noting sarcastically, “If only our government had had a covert operative working on nuclear nonproliferation in Iran back then.”
He pointed out that there was just such an operative, “Valerie Plame, the CIA agent whose cover was blown by four Bush White House officials, including Scooter Libby, in 2003. The website Raw Story and CBS News confirming in 2007 that one of Plame’s missions was to prevent Iran from building nuclear weapons.”
In February 2006, Raw Story’s Larisa Alexandrovna was the first to reveal that Plame “was part of an operation tracking distribution and acquisition of weapons of mass destruction technology to and from Iran.” That scoop was confirmed by CBS almost two years later, in October 2007.
Later in the interview, Crowley referred again to “that absurd political witch hunt that you were subjected to during the Valerie Plame case” and noted, “your sentence was commuted, but you never did in fact get a pardon.”
“You’re a class act, Scooter Libby,” she concluded. “And had Monica Crowley been president of the United States, you would have gotten that pardon.”
As Greg Mitchell of Editor & Publisher suggested on Twitter, Crowley “knows about snakes who want pardons, having worked for Nixon.”
“You think about people like G. Gordon Liddy and Oliver North, who committed crimes under Republican administrations and become folk heroes,” Olbermann remarked to Corn. “Is Scooter Libby now another one of these martyred Republican heroes?”
Corn was dismissive of the idea, insisting that “Scooter Libby is not a good poster child for the Iraq war. … The difference is, I think, Oliver North and G. Gordon Liddy were men of action. Illegal action — but they were out there in the field. … Scooter Libby was an armchair warrior.”
“Neoconservatives tend not to make good folk heroes,” Corn observed. “I don’t think he’s going to have … millions of people buying his book or listening to a Scooter Libby talk show. … I don’t see a big role for him ahead.”
This video is from MSNBC Countdown, broadcast Sept. 8, 2010.