"Those who cannot learn from history are doomed to repeat it" – George SantayanaIt is amazing how many Politicians can’t seem to grasp this simple concept. Time and time again when trouble looms, the first reaction is to hide it in the hope it will simply go away. The problem probably isn’t illegal, but only embarrassing, It’s the cover up which gets people in legal trouble.
One of the best examples is the Watergate scandal that brought down President Nixon. While the administration committed many crimes, Nixon may have saved his presidency by coming clean early and admitting he had committed errors in judgment. Others still would have been convicted of their crimes, but Nixon’s apparent honesty may have saved the president. Instead he participated in the cover-up that resulted in his impeachment and resignation.
Numerous officials have gotten into trouble when they hide incompetence to cover their posterior. When investigated they dodge, weave and prevaricate in an effort to keep their reputation. If they do this when questioned by Law Enforcement, they become open to charges of Obstruction of Justice. Saving Face has landed more than one official in court, and "Club Fed"
Kenneth Star could not prove the Clintons broke the law during the "White Water" investigation, but when the President lied under oath about his marital infidelities, he faced impeachment. Again it was not the president’s philandering that got him in trouble. It was his lying about it.
Now we are being treated to Scooter Libby’s trial. No law was broken, and it seems everybody who was anybody in Washington knew about Valery Plame and her husband Joe Wilson. Although it is now known, the leak was an innocent comment by Richard Armitage, Libby’s testimony before the grand jury has him in the dock, facing perjury charges.
It seems Washington is unable to learn from these mistakes, so we will continue to see legal action against individuals who did not break the Law, but lied about what they were doing to avoid embarrassment.