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Fred Thompson: A Friend to Felons

John Nichols writing at The Nation has more fun with Phony Fred, titled Meet Fred Thompson: Friend of Felons.

fred_thompson.jpgThe Thompson-Libby relationship, particularly Thompson's recent statements regarding it, tells Americans everything they need to know about the man who seeks to replace George W. Bush in the Oval Office.

Thompson is either a longtime acquaintance of Libby or someone who rushed to the side of Vice President Dick Cheney's former chief of staff when he determined that an injustice was being done.

According to a February 23 report by Associated Press, "Trust spokeswoman Barbara Comstock says Thompson knew Libby from serving on the Senate Intelligence Committee and dealing with top White House staff."

According to Thompson, in a speech delivered May 12 to the Council for National Policy, "I didn't know Scooter Libby, but I did know something about this intersection of law, politics, special counsels and intelligence. And it was obvious to me that what was happening was not right. So I called him to see what I could do to help, and along the way we became friends. You know the rest of the story: a D.C. jury convicted him."

Whatever the facts of their relationship, however, there is no debating Thompson's loyalty to Libby. He is the leading proponent of a presidential pardon for the convicted felon. And he regularly uses his prominence as a TV lawyer to accuse the man who brought Libby to justice, special prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald, of "perverting the rule of law."

In the faux-conservative circles that define the modern Republican Party, Thompson is more closely associated with the defense of the disgraced White House aide than with any particular stand on the issues facing the nation. That's one of the reasons why so many of the true believers in the Bush presidency are so very enthusiastic about Thompson's now likely candidacy to replace Bush.

Since Libby was convicted in March on four counts of obstruction of justice, perjury and making false statements about how he learned the identity of CIA officer Valerie Plame -- the wife of former Ambassador Joe Wilson, who was targeted for attack by Cheney's office after he exposed the administration's manipulation of intelligence when it was lobbying for war with Iraq -- Thompson has maintained that special counsel Fitzgerald, the federal judges associated with the case and the federal grand jury that decided it were all part of "the Beltway machinery" that railroaded an innocent man because "he worked for Dick Cheney."

"The Justice Department, bowing to political and media pressure, appointed a Special Counsel to investigate the leak and promised that the Justice Department would exercise no supervision over him whatsoever -- a status even the Attorney General does not have," Thompson explained in his May 12 speech. "The only problem with this little scenario was that there was no violation of the law, by anyone, and everybody -- the CIA, the Justice Department and the Special Counsel knew it. Ms. Plame was not a 'covered person' under the statute and it was obvious from the outset."

fred_thompson.jpgThompson was, of course, speaking as an experienced player in courtroom dramas on ABC.

Here is what an actual prosecutor, Patrick Fitzgerald, said in the 18-page Libby sentencing memorandum released two weeks after Thompson asserted that "everybody knew" Plame-Wilson was "not a covered person" under the rules that protect covert agents: "[It] was clear from very early in the investigation that Ms. Wilson qualified under the relevant statute (Title 50, United States Code, Section 421) as a covert agent."

Fitzgerald also detailed how Libby had blown Plame-Wilson's cover in conversations with reporters and White House aides, and explained that, "Mr. Libby kept the Vice President apprised of his shifting accounts of how he claimed to have learned about Ms. Wilson's CIA employment."

To all of this, Thompson says, "In no other prosecutor's office in the country would a case like this one have been brought."

Fitzgerald says: "To accept the argument that Mr. Libby's prosecution is the inappropriate product of an investigation that should have been closed at an early stage, one must accept the proposition that the investigation should have been closed after at least three high-ranking government officials were identified as having disclosed to reporters classified information about covert agent Valerie Wilson, where the account of one of them was directly contradicted by other witnesses, where there was reason to believe that some of the relevant activity may have been coordinated, and where there was an indication from Mr. Libby himself that his disclosures to the press may have been personally sanctioned by the Vice President. To state this claim is to refute it. Peremptorily closing this investigation in the face of the information available at its early stages would have been a dereliction of duty, and would have afforded Mr. Libby and others preferential treatment not accorded to ordinary persons implicated in criminal investigations."

This is, frankly, a better debate than any that will broadcast during the course of the presidential race.

Thompson, a career politician who plays a prosecutor on TV, says that it is wrong to prosecute someone who knowingly used a position in the White House to punish critics of the Bush administration and then lied about his abuses of authority and the public trust.

Fitzgerald, a career prosecutor who tends to avoid the cameras, disagrees.

Thompson is preparing to seek the presidency as the standard bearer of the wing of the Republican Party that turns a blind eye to official misconduct.

Fitzgerald is preparing to return to his work as one of the nation's most trusted enforcers of the rule of law.

Here is a real contest for Americans to decide. They can choose between two tickets: Thompson/Libby versus Fitzgerald/Rule of Law.


Catch that? Deep-thinking Fred says "In no other prosecutor's office in the country would a case like this one have been brought."


Phony Fred is an actor, and Phony Fred is saying the words that his audience wants to hear, but the words are fiction.

We don't need pretenders and bullshit artists in the White House. Let's not hire another swaggering poseur to represent our country.

Note: Wizbang Blue is now closed and our authors have moved on. Paul Hooson can now be found at Wizbang Pop!. Please come see him there!

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Comments (7)

superdestroyer[TypeKey Profile Page]:

For a left of center blog, you guys sure spend much more time discussing Republican primary candidates istead of focusing on the Democratic candidates. Are Clinton, Edwards, and Obama all so uninteresting that you really need three posts about Fred Thompson?

And you apparently find both the Republican and Democrats so uninteresting that you feel the need to talk about us instead?

It's rare to find a conservative willing to discuss Thompson's lack of qualifications and depth -- for some odd reason you mention Fred Thompson, and they quickly change the subject. I wonder why...?

superdestroyer[TypeKey Profile Page]:

I have yet to find any of the candidates demonstrate any level of leadership. So, yes I am bored with all of them. Most of them seem incapable of runnin a staff meeting, let alone acting as the president However, with the Democratic debates tonight, shouldn't a "blue" website be discussing what kidn of question should be ask and what kind of answer are not acceptable.

As an example, I doubt that the Democratic candidates tonight will be asked about immigration tonight because the Democrats would love to keep that as a Republican issue only. Of course, all of the Democratic candidates support opne borders and unlimited immigration and are going against the beliefs of most Americans.

Still can't think of reason to support Thompson, eh? Neither can I. He's nothing more than a posing fake.

superdestroyer[TypeKey Profile Page]:

I guess that that being articule only work for black Democrats?

"I guess that that being articule only work for black Democrats?"

This post doesn't make mention of any black Democrats, SD, unless Phony Fred is planning to channel Barack Obama -- which he could try, I guess,

The few conservatives who aren't afraid to speak to the issues of the day (and not just repeatedly try to change the subject) suggest that what Phony Fred is planning is to invoke the same "coyboy'sims" that got George Bush and Ronald Reagan elected.

Come on, SD - give it a try -- it's easy.

"Shucks, folks, I'm just a hard workin' actor tired of playing an attorney, so I'll try my hand at this here 'president' thing and see if it works out. I shore appreciate your vote!"

It's not hard, it really doesn't take any brains to be an actor like Fred Thompson -- just the simple ability to memorize lines, and then look straight into the camera and lie.


Pretty pathetic that you're desperately trying to dog up dirt on Thompson. "Even though Thompson left the Senate in 2003, Harry Reid still hasn't stopped wetting his pants." You guys are intimidated by Thompson and it shows. I love it.


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