Zachary Roth has a nice compare and contrast on the views about perjury from certain GOP hacks. My favorite was this:
GOP Rep. Lindsey Graham (now Senator) on Clinton, 1998: “I believe it is a crime – it’s a high crime that should subject any president for removal.” Graham also served as one of the GOP’s managers of the impeachment case. And on Libby, 2006: “When it came to the grand jury, he gave false testimony allegedly about his interaction. But the underlying charge that started this investigation never materialized.
Clinton’s “crime” was adultery. Lindsey is now saying that even if a crime were committed, the failure of a prosecutor to bring an indictment forward excuses all perjury and obstruction of justice efforts. In other words if the obstruction works – no harm, no foul.
On Dec. 30, 2003, the day Fitzgerald was appointed special counsel, he should have known (all he had to do was ask the CIA) that Plame was not covert, knowledge that should have stopped the investigation right there. The law prohibiting disclosure of a covert agent’s identity requires that the person have a foreign assignment at the time or have had one within five years of the disclosure, that the government be taking affirmative steps to conceal the government relationship, and for the discloser to have actual knowledge of the covert status.
Aha Victoria screams – Ms. Plame was not a covert agent so there could be no underlying crime. But let’s recall who kept demanding that this outing be investigated. It was none other than George Tenet – the Director of the CIA. He knew Valerie Plame was a covert agent. So we should all thank the lying piece of partisan garbage known as Victoria Toensing for pointing out that there was an underlying crime. I guess Lindsey Graham for all of his huffing and puffing really doesn’t understand what perjury and obstruction of justice is all about.
Update: It would seem there have been more recent examples of White House perjury. But since this one was over the firing of prosecutors, why would anyone in the White House fear that they’ll have to face charges for this one?