Richard Armitage, Leaker: A Still-Hidden Identity In Replays of the Plame Drama

Tom Blumer's Plame post is essential reading to understand how the liberal media tries to maintain an impression favored by the left wing, even when the facts are otherwise. Take the still tendentious "correction" by the Los Angeles Times of its original story this week falsely identifying Lewis "Scooter" Libby as the man who leaked the name of former CIA employee Valerie Plame. I would add just a few points.

First, it is worth noting that the media's obsession with covering up the identity of real leaker Richard Armitage (one of their favorites) extended this week to The Guardian as well, which could only bring itself to note that "someone inside the George W. Bush administration" leaked the name

Second, it is worth noting that the L.A. Times piece also went out of its way to make it sound as if Libby got off scot-free for his (supposed) obstruction of justice and perjury, while making it sound as if Bush covered for him. Here is the last sentence of the Times story: "Libby was convicted of perjury and obstruction of justice, but his sentence was commuted by President Bush."

Instead, as I noted in a column at the Washington Times -- the first time Libby ever went "on the record" about the case, post-conviction -- Libby "paid a quarter-million-dollar fine, served 400 hours of community service and had his law license taken away."  Why the L.A. Times even felt it necessary to mention the commutation is a conundrum, because the far bigger story, amply reported elsewhere, was the Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney had a major falling out specifically because Bush would not pardon Libby.

Libby had no mens rea, no "guilty mind," no reasonable incentive to lie in the first place, because, since he did not leak the name, he had nothing to hide. It is quite arguable, as indeed I argued, that his account was and remains right all along.

I am not saying that a purportedly "straight news" story in the L.A. Times should have noted these alternative conclusions. I'm just saying that as long as the subject comes up, in the context of the Times getting their own facts wrong not once but twice, it is worth noting here, for the record, that Libby, at worst, was guilty of absolutely no worse than the L.A.Times reporter was -- namely, of misstating some facts based on a faulty memory. Why he should have paid huge restitution while the reporter got away with a still-incorrect "correction" is beyond me.

About the Author
NewsBusters contributor Quin Hillyer is a Contributing Editor for National Review. He has won significant mainstream awards for journalistic excellence at the local, state, regional, and national levels.

Quin Hillyer
Quin Hillyer
Quin Hillyer is a contributing writer for NewsBusters.