Addict (drugaddict) wrote,

In building a case for why I. Lewis Libby Jr.’s sentence should be commuted, Michael Kinsley (“The L

In building a case for why I. Lewis Libby Jr.’s sentence should be commuted, Michael Kinsley (“The Lying Game,” Op-Ed, July 5) asks, “How is a perjury trap fair when it forces a leaker to choose between going to prison for the leak and going to prison for lying?”

The answer is in our Fifth Amendment. You need not answer the question, but you certainly may not commit perjury.

Michael Rosenthal
Oakland Gardens, Queens, July 5, 2007

To the Editor:

Bill Clinton was snared in a perjury trap trying to deflect an embarrassing personal question that should have never been asked by investigators. But I. Lewis Libby Jr. lied to investigators in response to questions that were the very subject of their investigation. He did so to protect his bosses. The scripts are just not that similar.

Charles Rothberg
Centerport, N.Y., July 5, 2007

To the Editor:

Michael Kinsley’s reflections on the commutation of I. Lewis Libby Jr.’s prison sentence are typically insightful, but his final conclusion is off the mark. If only, he writes, journalists to whom Mr. Libby provided information in confidence about Valerie Wilson’s C.I.A. connections had behaved more “reasonably” by not publishing the information.

But the New York Times reporter Judith Miller published nothing at all based upon Mr. Libby’s statements to her about Ms. Wilson. And the Time magazine journalist Matt Cooper published nothing until after Robert Novak had recklessly revealed Ms. Wilson’s C.I.A. employment and then denounced in his Time article the leaking itself.

Yet Ms. Miller was jailed for 85 days for refusing to reveal Mr. Libby as her confidential source (85 days more, as it turned out, than Mr. Libby will serve for his perjury and obstruction of justice), and Mr. Cooper escaped a jail sentence only because his source gave him permission to speak.

The lesson of it all vis-à-vis journalists is that while Mr. Novak may justly be criticized for publishing his article in the first place, even when journalists act just as responsibly as Mr. Kinsley advocates, they still remain at grave personal risk in the absence of the passage by Congress of a federal shield law.

Floyd Abrams
New York, July 5, 2007

The writer represented Ms. Miller and Mr. Cooper in their efforts to protect their confidential sources.

To the Editor:

Re “Bush Rationale on Libby Stirs Legal Debate” (front page, July 4):

President Bush’s commutation of I. Lewis Libby Jr.’s sentence is less puzzling than it first appears. The rationale for commuting the sentence may contradict the administration’s tough stance on federal sentencing, but it’s fully consistent with its longstanding attitude that the law (whether domestic or international) applies only to others.

Daniel C. Thomas
Dublin, July 4, 2007

To the Editor:

“Bush Rationale on Libby Stirs Legal Debate” largely conflates the distinction between judicial and executive exercises of clemency. President Bush’s commutation of I. Lewis Libby Jr.’s sentence was an exercise of mercy in acknowledgment of public service, but it was only through the use of executive privilege.

Mr. Bush’s commutation does not advocate for judges to take into account “the defendant’s positive contributions” in sentencing, merely that it is acceptable for an executive power to do so as rationale for clemency. The commutation provides no precedent for leniency by the judiciary.

Daniel Amzallag
New York, July 4, 2007

To the Editor:

It doesn’t take a political scientist to figure out President Bush’s rationale for commuting Scooter Libby’s sentence (front page, July 4). This action “left experts in sentencing law scratching their heads.” Waste of time, this scratching. Nothing complex here because there is no rationale. It’s cronyism plain and simple. And in-your-face cronyism at that!

Steve Linke
Salem, Ore., July 4, 2007

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