The conviction today of Lewis "Scooter" Libby, a former top aide to Vice President Dick Cheney, on four counts of obstructing justice, lying and perjury brings to a close one chapter in this saga.
Libby faces up to 30 years in prison and a fine of up to $1.25 million after the convictions, although he still has options of pressing for a new trial and appealing the decision of the current jury.
It appears that Prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald will close the CIA leak investigation, which he described as "inactive." Unfortunately, the American public will be denied a chance to find out whether or not Karl Rove, the Vice President, or even President Bush knew of the circumstances surrounding the outing of Valerie Plame and the efforts to prevent this information from going public.
Can you say "fix?" If this case indeed has merit, Fitgerald should call another grand jury and subpoena every member of the White House. Instead, we are left with this half-hearted effort, one that fails to definitively answer whether there was a real coverup, or whether the special prosecutor simply engaged in the age-old tradition of political witch-hunting.
And I cannot help but agree with the widespread assessment that Libby is a fall guy for the entire sordid affair, but I must confess that my post-Watergate cynicism clouds my ability to remain completely objective.
This case, moreover, is another execrable episode marking the depths to which our faith in the American political system has sunk. Most of us - irrespective of political affiliation - believe the worst in our representatives, and today's conviction of Scooter Libby merely reinforces the widely-held notion that Washington is a city filled with thieves, scoundrels, and back-stabbing opportunists.