Patrick Fitzgerald and Scooter Libby

It seems bizarre to come back to a story so flimsy and trivial as the the Plame kerfuffle. Joe Wilson has been definitively exposed as a liar - by his own accounts - both on the question of uranium from Niger and on his wife's nepotistic manipulations on his behalf. But, a man's liberty is at stake, so the issue remains of considerable import.

Scooter Libby has been accused of lying to investigators. We have yet to see the quality of their evidence, but we know two things: he has not been accused of perjury, lying on oath in a court case, as Bill Clinton was. He has not even been accused of lying during the investigation of a real crime, as Martha Stewart was, since the prosecutor had already established that no underlying crime had been committed.

As part of making his case, Patrick Fitzgerald issued a statement to the media - which is, after all, where he is trying this case - to say that Libby had been authorised to issue information by George W Bush. You would think this would end the case. Issuing information on the authorisation of the Commander-in-Chief is not leaking, it is perfectly ordinary disclosure under the Freedom of Information Act. But no, some in the media have tried to present this as the President in a crime, even though it was not a crime, and no-one has even been charged.

And now we know that when Fitzgerald issued his statement to the media, it wasn't even true. Carelessly or deliberately Fitzgerald issued a completely false statement about his case against Libby, for making false statements. These liars, huh? They are so tricky, you have to lie to get them convicted.

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