'A Scapegoat' for the Iraq War: Judith Miller Says Pardon of Scooter Libby 'Long Overdue'
President Trump issued a pardon Friday to Scooter Libby, a former Bush administration official who was convicted in 2007 in connection with the leak of a CIA agent's identity to the media.
Libby, who served as Vice President Dick Cheney's chief of staff, was convicted for perjury, obstruction of justice and making false statements, though his prison sentence was commuted in July 2007 by President George W. Bush.
It later turned out that the 2003 leak of Valerie Plame's identity to conservative columnist Robert Novak came from then-Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage.
Supporters of Libby, including Cheney, have long pushed for a pardon. The effort intensified after former New York Times reporter Judith Miller’s 2015 book where she doubted the accuracy of her testimony that prosecutors used to convict Libby.
Miller testified in 2007 that Libby told her Plame was a CIA agent. Prosecutors used that testimony to say Libby lied.
But Miller wrote in her 2015 book, “The Story: A Reporter’s Journey” that she’s worried her memory “may have failed me” during the trial, and now doubts Libby ever told her that Plame worked for the CIA.
Miller had spent 85 days in jail for refusing to name her source, Libby, to federal investigators looking into the leak.
The special counsel in the case, Patrick Fitzgerald, was appointed by then-Deputy Attorney General James Comey, Miller noted on "America's Newsroom" Friday.
Good for President Trump. He’s going to pardon Scooter Libby, which George W. Bush, for whom he worked, refused to do. The prosecutor, Fitzgerald, was appointed by Comey and he's friends with Comey.
— Mark R. Levin (@marklevinshow) April 13, 2018
Miller told Bill Hemmer that she believes the pardon is "long overdue" and that she was motivated to "correct the record" about her testimony regarding Libby.
"He in fact had done nothing wrong. ... When Scooter Libby was given his law license back a year and a half ago, the judge specifically cited the recantation of my testimony as one of the factors in his decision," said Miller, who has said she believes Fitzgerald withheld relevant information before she testified.
The Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist said she sees the case as "the beginning of the criminalization of our politics and our political difference over the war in Iraq" and Libby became a "scapegoat" during the bitter partisan feuds over the origins of the war.
"He was a convenient target of opportunity," she said, emphasizing that the CIA later concluded that the leak of Plame's name did not harm national security, our assets overseas or Plame herself.
Asked why Trump would pardon Libby now, Miller speculated that Victoria Toensing, Libby's attorney, may have raised the issue with the president.
Toensing and her husband, Joe diGenova, were considered recently for a spot on Trump's legal team.
"I hope [Trump's] intention is to right a historical wrong, but I don't know what's going on inside that head of his," she said, expressing the hope that the pardon is not timed to sway public opinion on Special Counsel Robert Mueller.
In the pardon statement, the White House said:
Before his conviction, Mr. Libby had rendered more than a decade of honorable service to the Nation as a public servant at the Department of State, the Department of Defense, and the White House. His record since his conviction is similarly unblemished, and he continues to be held in high regard by his colleagues and peers.
In light of these facts, the President believes Mr. Libby is fully worthy of this pardon. “I don’t know Mr. Libby,” said President Trump, “but for years I have heard that he has been treated unfairly. Hopefully, this full pardon will help rectify a very sad portion of his life.”