In an effort to protect itself from attacks by American conservatives, the media website WikiLeaks announced Friday that I. Lewis “Scooter” Libby has been hired as a consultant and spokesman for the organization.
Julian Assange, WikiLeaks editor, said via Skype from an unknown location that Libby would primarily serve as a communications consultant and spokesman in the U.S., which he hoped would placate those on the American right.
“Scooter Libby revealed classified information and put a covert CIA operative at risk as part of a political attack, yet Republicans rallied to his cause. He even got a ‘get out of jail free card’ from President Bush,” Assange said. “I can’t think of anyone better suited to represent our organization, which also reveals classified information. Since American conservatives don’t have a problem with one of their own breaking the law, perhaps Mr. Libby can help shield us from some of these attacks.”
Assange noted that Libby, as Chief of Staff to Vice President Dick Cheney, exposed covert CIA agent Valerie Plame as part of an attack against her husband, Joe Wilson, after Wilson exposed a Bush administration lie about Iraq seeking nuclear fuel from Africa. Libby was convicted of lying to the FBI and making false statements. His 30-month sentence was commuted by President George W. Bush.
The WikiLeaks website has a history of revealing classified information, most recently a flood of embarrassing U.S. diplomatic cables regarding the Middle East and relations with several allies. While both Republicans and Democrats have criticized the website, Republicans have been the most vehement.
“The very same conservatives who thought it was just fine for Scooter Libby to reveal classified information have attacked us for revealing classified information. What’s the difference? Maybe the difference is Libby did it as part of a political attack and in support of a Republican administration,” Assange said. “Some of those on the American right have called me a terrorist, said my organization is a terrorist group, said I should be locked up or even killed. With Mr. Libby on our side, I expect the Republicans will back off.”
In an email response Libby confirmed that he will be working for WikiLeaks but defended the move by asserting that it comes with a large salary, which he would not disclose.
“The only place a convicted felon like me could get a job is probably Wall Street, but I’m tainted goods as far as that goes. No one will have me,” Libby wrote. “I’ve always said the most important thing about national security is using it for political gain. If that fails, then go for the money.”
Assange said he also hoped having an American conservative on his team would help also him beat sexual harassment charges in Sweden. Assange said he’s been carrying a Bible with him lately, which he hoped would also insulate him from any additional attacks from the right.
“Whether it’s revealing classified information or any sexual dalliances, Republicans can be awfully forgiving as long as it’s one of their own being accused,” Assange said.