Welcome to 2010, where all crimes and sins can be made equal, given the right set of logical acrobatics. Welcome to 2010, where if a prosecutor isn’t able to prove an actual crime has taken place, he will just charge someone, anyone, with a process crime. What is a process crime, you might ask. Simply put, it is a crime committed during an investigation of another crime. Three examples come to mind, each of them equally wrong.
- President Bill Clinton was charged with lying to a Grand Jury about whether or not he had sex with the help. This occurred while he was being investigated for the White Water Land Scandal. There was insufficient evidence to charge him or Hillary with any crime related to that, so a frustrated Ken Starr charged him with perjury, which occurred in the process of the crime which didn’t occur, (at least it wasn’t committed by the Clintons.)
- Martha Stewart was investigated for insider trading. The prosecutor was unable to gain enough evidence to prove that the crime of insider trading even occurred. Martha was charged and convicted on a charge of Obstruction of Justice, for not answering the Federal Prosecutors requests for information in a timely manner. In Stewart’s case, she was charged and convinced in a process crime where the underlying investigation revealed that no crime had actually taken place.
- Scooter Libby, was charged in a process crime of Lying to a Federal Investigator for leaking the name of a non-covert intelligence operative, where once again, that investigation showed that no actual crime had occurred.
All three of these process crimes were wrong to prosecute.
This conversation is not solely about process crimes. It is also about moral equivalence. Moral equivalence is the thing which upsets me about the political left more than any other. Moral equivalence occurs when we allow ourselves to suspend discriminating thought. Here is an extreme example of moral equivalence. When somebody notices that a group of religious zealots hijacks and flies airplanes into buildings killing everyone of the airplane and a whole bunch of people in the building. When they further notice that those religious zealots are indeed Muslims chanting, “Allahu Akbar.” They might be inclined to say, we need to protect ourselves against Muslim Zealots, there will always be a group of people who will bleat on about those annoying Family Planning Picketers being just the same, and that we need to be just as wary of them as well. After all, one religious zealot is the same as another. Well, not quite. While the picketers are supremely annoying, they are actively attempting and succeeding at killing 3000 random people. It is true that the picketing zealots will occasionally commit acts of violence, which I do not condone by the way, typically their violence occurs at night and is exacted on buildings they believe will be empty, or targeted against individuals. Don’t misunderstand me, they deserve to be punished for their crimes. I’m just trying to point out that the depravity is not equal, or even close. There are degrees of wickedness.
Which brings me to this:
The WikiLeaks scandal, and the prosecution of Scooter Libby are not the same, not by a long shot. first off, Scooter Libby did not leak the name of Valerie Plame. Richard Armitage leaked the name of Valerie Plame. The prosecutor knew that Armitage was the name leaker prior to his even interviewing Libby, which by the way makes this process crime even worse to prosecute than the others. Richard Armitage was a Clinton appointee who was kept in his role by Bush 43 at the recommendation of Secretary Powell. He leaked Plame’s name because he was simply a gossip. He did not have some raging axe to grind. He didn’t have some nefarious scheme to hurt the country or strike a blow against the current administration. He just had a big mouth, and liked being the guy who knew everything. In retrospect, he probably wasn’t a good fit for the State Department. WikiLeaks occurred because an Army Intelligence Officer hated his country, and the Army in which he served. He had a nefarious scheme to do damage to his country and to do damage to the Army. His accomplice had a nefarious desire to damage any government he could damage, and has vowed to find ways to similarly damage other governments at his first opportunity. That Alan Colmes, and by proxy, people on the political left are trying to equate these two events is intellectually dishonest. By printing these leaked documents, the NYT is damaging the country. By printing the name of Valerie Plame, the NYT damaged only Valerie Plame, and the political left. Valerie Plame by the way called attention to herself, by printing an Op Ed in the same NYT attacking the Bush Administration during a Presidential Campaign. Had she and her husband not posted an Op Ed, her name would still be a super secret today.
Originally posted over at Musings of a Mad Conservative.