Tuesday, July 10, 2007

I Beg Your Pardon - Could You Please Tell the Truth?

I sent a letter to the Editor of the San Francisco Chronicle in response to a reader's letter. I include the reader's letter in full below my response.


Carole Simon Mills of San Rafael, in lamenting “Tony Snow’s dirty job” (Chronicle Letters to the Editor, June 9, 2007), compared President Bush’s commutation of Scooter Libby’s sentence with Clinton’s pardons, and wrote that none of the people pardoned by him was even remotely connected to his administration.

That would be news to Henry Cisneros, former Secretary of Housing and Urban Development, appointed to that position by Clinton. A Cabinet Officer is far above a mere employee in the Office of the Vice President, don’t you think?

The office of the independent counsel for the Cisneros investigation noted as it was being wrapped up that his report should be titled: “What We Were Prevented From Investigating,” and concluded there was a substantial and coordinated coverup at high government levels.

Clinton also pardoned former CIA Director John Deutch for mishandling hundreds of highly classified documents on unsecured home computers linked to the internet.

Ms. Mills also wrote that Clinton pardoned people for various crimes they had been convicted of committing. However, Clinton pardoned Marc Rich for various crimes that Rich never gave our legal system a chance to bring to trial. He was a fugitive from justice, living expensively and expansively in Europe, until he funneled over a million dollars in campaign contributions through his ex-wife Denise and gained forgiveness.

Concerning Ms. Mills’ statement that Susan McDougall “was never convicted of anything, and Clinton never pardoned her,” she was convicted of four felonies related to a fraudulent $300,000 federally backed loan that she and her husband, James McDougal, never repaid, and Clinton pardoned her on his last day in office.

Then there was Roger Clinton.

Other than that, Ms. Mills got it about as correct as the average AP news release.

This is Ms. Mills' letter:

Tony Snow's dirty job

Editor -- Poor Tony Snow has the worst job in America. He has to go out each morning and with a straight face try to convince the White House press corp that the administration has strong, reasoned, legal and moral reasons for the bonehead acts it commits.

Imagine how mortified he must be to have to defend President Bush's commutation of Scooter Libby's sentence by comparing it to President Bill Clinton's last-act pardoning of people serving time for various crimes they had been convicted of committing. Of course, none of the people Clinton pardoned was even remotely connected to him or his administration.

A more fitting comparison would have been between Bush's commutation of Libby's sentence and Clinton's pardoning of Susan McDougal, both of whom were convicted of crimes directly relating to obstructing justice and lying to investigators in order to protect the presidents they served. Oh, wait a minute, although McDougal served considerable time in prison, she was never convicted of anything, and Clinton never pardoned her.

Ah well, poor Tony Snow, it's a dirty job, but someone's got to do it.

San Rafael

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