But if the commutation (and possible pardon) hasn't got you steamed up, perhaps going back to the original story will.
In the propaganda run up to the Iraqi war, George Bush uttered the famous sixteen words:
"The British government has learned that Saddam Hussein recently sought significant quantities of uranium from Africa."
Joseph Wilson was sent by the CIA to investigate these claims earlier and reported them back to the CIA as false. When Bush gave his infamous speech, Wilson was mortified that what he reported was being twisted to use as the springboard to war. So he wrote an Op-Ed in the New York Times:
Given the structure of the consortiums that operated the mines, it would be exceedingly difficult for Niger to transfer uranium to Iraq. Niger's uranium business consists of two mines, Somair and Cominak, which are run by French, Spanish, Japanese, German and Nigerian interests. If the government wanted to remove uranium from a mine, it would have to notify the consortium, which in turn is strictly monitored by the International Atomic Energy Agency. Moreover, because the two mines are closely regulated, quasi-governmental entities, selling uranium would require the approval of the minister of mines, the prime minister and probably the president. In short, there's simply too much oversight over too small an industry for a sale to have transpired.
(As for the actual memorandum, I never saw it. But news accounts have pointed out that the documents had glaring errors — they were signed, for example, by officials who were no longer in government — and were probably forged. And then there's the fact that Niger formally denied the charges.)
There you have it. Bush was using forged documents as it's cassus belli for war, and when it was pointed out to the American people by Joseph Wilson, someone from the Vice-president's branch of government leaked his wife's name to Robert Novak (as well as other journalists)in retaliation. Outing a covert CIA operative (especially during a time of war) is a crime, and as I have pointed out earlier, Plame was a covert operative. James Comey, a Bush appointee, had Patrick Fitzgerald investigate this, and in the course of the investigation, Lewis Libby gave contradictory testimony, in fact perjuring himself, which is another crime.
The Bush crime family, like any good crime family in America, looks out after those who won't roll over on them. So instead of having Libby do his time like Susan McDougal did for the Clintons, Bush commuted his sentence, which Bush (who has detainees in Guantanamo indefinitely without the luxury of a trial) thought was rather harsh.But the lie still lives on, even as more and more people die because of it.