Reynolds Holding of Time Magazine describes how Patrick Fitzgerald fought to keep the issue of Plame's covert status out of the trial but fought to include it in deciding Libby's sentence. "He became a victim of one of the most troubling aspects of federal sentencing laws — allowing harsher sentences for a crime that was never actually proven."
The leak was the key issue for most Americans, the crux of an apparent White House campaign to discredit Plame's husband, Joseph Wilson, who wrote a 2003 op-ed piece debunking WMD justifications for the Iraq war. But while outing a CIA agent can be illegal, neither Libby nor anyone else was actually charged with doing that to Plame. In fact, pre-trial maneuvering found the prosecutor, Patrick Fitzgerald, insisting that this was not a case about a leak and fighting defense requests for documents about whether Plame was ever a covert agent, a status that could have made intentionally leaking her identity a crime.
But when the issue of sentencing came around, Fitzgerald changed his tune, arguing that the underlying (and uncharged) crime was so serious as to warrant a sentence twice as long as what the federal probation office recommended; notably, his brief included the revelation that the CIA did consider Plame's identity classified, at least for 18 months. And Tuesday, Walton apparently bought it, declaring before he announced the sentence that Libby could be considered an accessory to the underlying crime because, at least in part, his obstruction of justice made it all but impossible for the government to make the case for that crime.
"The Clinton Campaign today announced that Florida Reps. Debbie Wasserman Schultz and Congressman Alcee Hastings have been named national Campaign Co-Chairs." Ruth Marcus at the Washington Post recalls Hastings. "Hastings was stripped of his position as a federal judge -- impeached by the House in which he now serves and convicted by the Senate -- for conspiring to extort a $150,000 bribe in a case before him, repeatedly lying about it under oath and manufacturing evidence at his trial."
"I returned, and saw under the sun, that the race is not to the swift, nor the battle to the strong, neither yet bread to the wise, nor yet riches to men of understanding, nor yet favour to men of skill; but time and chance happeneth to them all."(Ecclesiates 9:11)
There's a moral in there somewhere.