In yesterday’s sentencing hearing for Roger Stone, a friend and former advisor to President Trump, federal Judge Amy Berman Jackson misspoke. According to the New York Times, prior to sentencing Stone to serve 3 years in jail for various offenses, including lying under oath to Congress, Jackson stated:
In government inquiries, “the truth still exists. The truth still matters.” Otherwise, she said, “everyone loses.”
What she should have said is that it is only in some government inquiries that the truth still exists and still matters.
Given that Jackson served in the U.S. Attorney’s office in Washington, D.C., for six years, surely she is familiar with the case of James R. Clapper, Jr., the former director of national intelligence.
What Clapper did to Congress was no different from what Stone did to Congress: Clapper knowingly, intentionally, and deliberately lied to Congress when he falsely denied that U.S. national-security state officials were conducting secret mass surveillance on the American people.
What happened to Clapper? Nothing. No indictment. No criminal prosecution. No conviction. No sentencing.
Why the difference between Stone and Clapper? Stone is mere citizen, just like Martha Stewart, who was convicted of lying to a federal official and also sentenced to serve time in jail.
By contrast, Clapper was a member of the U.S. national-security establishment, which has exalted status within the federal governmental structure. Nobody is going to jack with a part of the government that wields the omnipotent, non-reviewable powers to assassinate, kidnap, torture, indefinitely detain, and conduct secret surveillance on people.
Don’t forget, after all, the case of another prominent member of the U.S. national-security establishment, CIA Director Richard Helms. He knowingly, intentionally, and deliberately lied to Congress about the U.S. role in getting rid of Salvador Allende, the democratically elected president of Chile, and replacing him with the unelected brutal military dictatorship of strongman Augusto Pinochet.
Helm’s “punishment”? He was permitted to plead to a misdemeanor and received a two-year suspended sentence and a $2,000 fine.
Two different systems: one for private citizens and one for the national-security elites. Too bad federal Judge Amy Berman Jackson can’t just be forthright about that.