Former federal prosecutor and Bush 41 lawyer William Otis suggests a third way on Scooter Libby—between pardon and prison. The rule of law demands some penalty for leaking Valerie Plame's identity, says Otis, but "a sense of proportionality" rules out sending Libby to the hoosegow. The court's $250K fine will send the message by itself.
Sandy Berger never went to jail for pilfering from the National Archives, Otis points out, adding that Libby didn't lie to investigators "out of greed or personal malice," and poses no threat to the public. "This was an unusually harsh sentence for a first offender convicted of a nonviolent and non-drug-related crime," he says.