We obviously cannot know whether the feckless Clinton would have acted more vigorously abroad had he not gone to sleep every night that year thinking about how to escape from the legal consequences of his own tawdry conduct and lies, and been thinking instead about how to protect the country from its enemies. But all of us have paid a price for having a President distracted from his duties by an unbounded investigation of his private life in a year that his Secretary of State came to call “all Monica, all the time,” but should have been all counterterrorism, all the time. The bill for Clinton’s fun and frolic, and for our own, was only to come due on September 11, 2001.
Now, unlike in the 1990’s, we are at war. We do not yet know what the price tag will be for the Libby distraction, just as we do not know if his conviction will be tossed out on appeal or result in a presidential pardon. But in its broadest ramifications, the case, which arose out of an internecine dispute about the quality of foreign intelligence, augurs ill for any President’s ability to gather and evaluate the intelligence provided by subordinate agencies like the CIA, to formulate foreign policy, to defend what it has formulated from bureaucratic warfare waged by such subordinate agencies, and to keep our country secure.
So the results could very well be long-reaching outside the legal circles, if, indeed, this undermines the intelligence capabilities of the WH.
It still bothers me, too, that we have had a non-Constitutional witch-hunt going on during two consecutive president's stays in office, neither of which hunt did any genuine good for the nation or for the truth.
Libby lied. So did Clinton. So, it seems, did Patrick Fitzgerald -- who is not, so far, being prosecuted for obstruction of justice, for his part in concealing the truth that Armitage was the leak, and for concealing that he knew this long before he first questioned Libby.
I hope to all that is Holy and Constitutional that we will never see another special prosecutor again.