NPR logo
Wilson: Commuting Libby's Sentence Is 'Corrupt'
  • Download
  • <iframe src="" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript
Wilson: Commuting Libby's Sentence Is 'Corrupt'


Wilson: Commuting Libby's Sentence Is 'Corrupt'
  • Download
  • <iframe src="" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript


Ambassador Joseph Wilson is a central figure in the Libby case. Wilson is a former diplomat, and it was his wife, Valerie Plame Wilson, whose employment at the Central Intelligence Agency was disclosed after he wrote, skeptically, about claims Iraq was shopping for enriched uranium in Africa.

Wilson says he's not surprised that President Bush commuted Lewis Libby's sentence.

Mr. JOSEPH WILSON (Retired Diplomat, United States Foreign Service): This administration is corrupt to the core. I would only hope that Americans now realize, with this subversion of our system of justice and the rule of law in this country, just exactly how corrupt they are.

SIEGEL: In 2002, Joseph Wilson traveled to Niger to investigate claims that Iraq had been trying to buy uranium yellowcake there. He found there was no truth to this story. But even so, the yellowcake claim was one piece of evidence the Bush administration cited of Iraq's nuclear ambitions.

Wilson went public in 2003 with his findings, undermining the administration justification for war in Iraq. White House aides told some reporters that Wilson's mission was his wife's idea; that she was at the CIA. She hasn't said much throughout the leak investigation and Ambassador Wilson had only this to say about her reaction to President Bush's decision today.

Mr. WILSON: Well, I think it's safe to say that she shares my views.

SIEGEL: Wilson says that President Bush has made himself an accessory to the obstruction of justice.

Mr. WILSON: What he has done in commuting the sentence, he has removed all incentive for Mr. Libby to address directly and fruitfully the whole question of the role of the president and the vice president in an act of treason, the compromise of the identity of a covert CI officer. People will quibble with the use of the term treason. But when a senior - if a senior U.S. government official were to take two hours out of his busy schedule to sit with a Russian military attache for the purpose of disclosing the name of a covert CI officer, what would you call it? We all know what we could call it. Why would we call it anything different just because the disclosure of that information came to an American journalist?

This was an act of betrayal of the national security of the country. It was a very serious crime and Americans know the difference between right and wrong.

SIEGEL: It's Ambassador Joseph Wilson, the husband of Valerie Plame Wilson. He spoke to us from Santa Fe, New Mexico.

Here are some other reactions, which seemed to break down along party lines. Former Senator Fred Thompson, a likely Republican presidential candidate, was a contributor to Libby's defense fund. And today, he said the president's decision will allow a good man, who has done a lot for his country to resume his life.

And House Republican Whip Roy Blunt said in a statement the prison sentence was overly harsh and the punishment did not fit the crime.

On the other side of the aisle, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid called the move disgraceful, and he said in a statement that history will judge the president harshly.

And Senator Joseph Biden, a Judiciary Committee member and presidential candidate called on Americans to flood the White House with phone calls to protest what he called a blatant disregard for the rule of law.

Copyright © 2007 NPR. All rights reserved. Visit our website terms of use and permissions pages at for further information.

NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by Verb8tm, Inc., an NPR contractor, and produced using a proprietary transcription process developed with NPR. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of NPR’s programming is the audio record.



Please keep your community civil. All comments must follow the Community rules and terms of use, and will be moderated prior to posting. NPR reserves the right to use the comments we receive, in whole or in part, and to use the commenter's name and location, in any medium. See also the Terms of Use, Privacy Policy and Community FAQ.