Yesterday’s conviction of I. Lewis Libby, former chief of staff to Vice President Cheney, on charges of perjury, making false statements, and obstruction of justice was grounded in strong evidence and what appeared to be careful deliberation by a jury, editorializes the Washington Post. The case should send a message to this and future administrations about the dangers of attempting to block official investigations, says the newspaper. The Post also says that the “pointless” scandal is “remarkable for its lack of substance.”
The Post says special prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald should have that ended the case after learning that columnist Robert Novak’s source of a disputed leak was not Libby but rather former deputy secretary of state Richard Armitage. Instead, Fitzgerald pressed forward, unecessarily subjecting many journalists to the ordeal of having to disclose confidential sources or face imprisonment. The affair “has shown again why handing a Washington political case to a federal special prosecutor is a prescription for excess,” says the Post.