Bush Pardons Thanksgiving Turkey "Scooter"
On Tuesday, November 20th, President Bush will reveal the identity of the National Thanksgiving Turkey, which in keeping with the annual White House tradition, will receive a presidential pardon. But according to well placed White House sources, the jailbird this year was selected months ago and is known internally by his code-name "Scooter."
"Scooter" was convicted on four counts of perjury and obstruction of justice for his part in covering up the effort to reveal the identity of covert CIA operative Valerie Plame. Ironically, Scooter had previously defended Marc Rich, a turkey pardoned by Bill Clinton. Calling him "fair game," President Bush concluded that Scooter's sentence to be stuffed in jail for 30 months was "excessive."
An alternate bird, called "Fredo" according to the anonymous White House sources, will also be pardoned on Tuesday. The prospective pardon prevents Fredo's future prosecution for lying under oath to Congress and for conflict of interest charges arising from his squelching a Justice Department investigation into his role in the illegal NSA domestic surveillance program.
"Scooter" and "Fredo" are the seventh pair of turkeys to receive Thanksgiving clemency from President Bush. In 2006, "Flyer and Fryer" were pardoned for their roles in destroying secret service records of the White House visits of K Street lobbyist Jack Abramoff'. The year before, "Marshmellow and Yam" were spared execution for masterminding bid rigging, contract fraud and other acts of war profiteering for Halliburton. In 2004, "Biscuits" was pardoned for his election fraud conviction stemming from the Swift Boating of John Kerry. His alternate, "Gravy," received clemency for his role in authorizing waterboarding and other measures he deemed "quaint" later employed by CIA interrogators.
Earlier recipients of President Bush's Thanksgiving Day pardons included "Stars" and "Stripes" in 2003. The two fundraising Pioneers from President Bush's 2000 election campaign had been found guilty on multiple charges of fraud and securities violations stemming from their tenures as Enron CEO and CFO, respectively. ("Stars," whom Bush denied was a close friend, later died of a heart attack while awaiting the outcome of his appeal.) In 2002, President Bush spared "Katie" from the oven, offering her forgiveness for lying to investigators about the membership of Dick Cheney's energy task force. And in 2001, the new President pardoned "Liberty" and "Freedom." The two had been convicted in 1991 for insider trading while on the management team with Bush at Harken Energy. (The SEC ultimately decided not to pursue action against Bush himself, who pocketed $848,000 in the scheme.)
For the history of President Bush's Thanksgiving Day pardons, visit here.
UPDATE: President Bush has officially granted his 2007 Thanksgiving pardons. "Scooter" and "Fredo" have been freed under news aliases, "May" and "Flower."