For outed ex-CIA operative Valerie Plame, the pardon of Scooter Libby by President Donald Trump last Friday was personal.
“The pardon of Scooter Libby, the most senior aide to the vice president, who received a fair trial before an exacting trial judge and jury and was found guilty of the crimes of which he was accused, matters deeply,” she wrote in a new Washington Post op-ed, arguing that the move “hurts all of” Americans.
Libby, the former chief of staff to then-Vice President Dick Cheney, was convicted of perjury and obstruction of justice in 2007 in the investigation into who leaked Plame’s identity. He was not accused of the leak itself.
Plame suggested that Libby’s pardon broadened the disconnect between the President and the intelligence community, which in turn endangered the country.
“Our national security is at serious risk when there is daylight and distrust between the President and the CIA,” she said.
Plame noted that “‘outing’ a covert operative imperils many” and the “unintended consequences can extend for years.” She theorized that people with “critical intelligence” may choose to take that information to “a service that can keep its secrets.”
“In the leak of my name, so much political chaff has been thrown up by partisans of the convicted Libby that the understanding and appreciation for why some things must remain secret has been lost,” Plame wrote.
Plame also questioned whether Trump had given due deliberation to granting a pardon to Libby, to whom former President George W. Bush gave a commutation. In a statement, Trump said he had no personal relationship with Libby, but he had “heard that he has been treated unfairly.”
“I doubt it had much to do with Libby. Or me, a central figure in the case. Or justice,” she said.