*Shame on the Washington Post, Again*
By Robert Parry
Monday 19 February 2007
Just days before the perjury/obstruction trial of former White House
aide I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby goes to the jury, the Washington Post's
Outlook section published a bizarre front-page article by right-wing
legal expert Victoria Toensing suggesting that the prosecutor and one of
the chief victims in the case should be put on trial.
Beyond the absurdity - and dishonesty - of Toensing's arguments, the
Post illustrated the article with fabricated "mug shots" of U.S.
Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald and former Ambassador Joseph Wilson, an Iraq
War critic whose undercover CIA wife, Valerie Plame, was outed by the
In this lead opinion article for Washington's biggest-circulation
newspaper, Toensing, a deputy assistant attorney general in the Reagan
administration, cites Fitzgerald, Wilson and several other targets in
proposed "indictments," each of which begins: "This Grand Jury Charges ..."
Given the Post's prominence in the nation's capital and Toensing's
former position in the Justice Department, the article has the look and
feel of an attempt to influence the jury that will be judging whether
Libby committed perjury and obstruction of justice.
Though the Post's Outlook editors are sure to argue that the "mug
shots" were tongue in cheek, the Post has editorially supported the Iraq
War and disparaged American critics, especially Wilson who stepped
forward in summer 2003 as one of the first establishment figures to
accuse the Bush administration of "twisting" intelligence.
The Post also has bashed Fitzgerald for prosecuting Libby. So, there
is a pattern and a motive to the Post's behavior.
Toensing's article hinges largely on her false claim that Plame was
not a covert CIA officer involved with sensitive counter-proliferation
operations - and that therefore no real crime was committed when the
Bush administration leaked her identity.
To bolster that central lie in the article, Toensing argues that
Fitzgerald and the CIA may have described Plame's status as
"classified," but that the prosecutor "never introduced one piece of
evidence to support such status."
Toensing leaves out, however, that it has been Libby's defense
lawyers who have fought to exclude evidence of Plame's covert CIA status
because they regard the fact as likely to prejudice the jury against
their client. Plus, Plame's covert status has been judged mostly
irrelevant to a trial about whether Libby lied to investigators and the