Arbitrary Justice, Hidden Truth

Purely by chance, I was in the middle of reading Katharine Graham’s autobiography when President Bush commuted I. Lewis “Scooter” Libby’s sentence.

I had just reached the part where Graham, the publisher of The Washington Post during the Watergate era, was despairing as the trail grew cold. The Post had published a connection between the Watergate burglary and the Nixon re-election campaign, but crucial connections continued to elude them. Graham worried whether her paper could conclusively prove all of the claims.

The conviction of the Watergate burglars changed everything. James McCord had been sentenced to prison, but before the gates clanged shut he offered to trade information for leniency. The case broke open. “What a relief,” Graham wrote 20 years later.

Today the American people may be denied that relief.


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