It's especially ironic because for two days now I have wanted to post an important follow-up on the United Nations Security Council's momentous decision on peace keeping troops in Darfur. And that post is coming shortly, but it lacks the urgency of the unfolding Plamegate story.
Here is a small section of a blistering report in today's New York Times (Saturday, of course, when readership is at it's absolute lowest): New Questions About Inquiry in CIA Leak
- "WASHINGTON, Sept. 1, 2006 An enduring mystery of the C.I.A. leak case has been solved in recent days, but with a new twist: Patrick J. Fitzgerald, the prosecutor, knew the identity of the leaker from his very first day in the special counsel's chair, but kept the inquiry open for nearly two more years before indicting I. Lewis Libby Jr., Vice President Dick Cheney's former chief of staff, on obstruction charges."
"Now, the question of whether Mr. Fitzgerald properly exercised his prosecutorial discretion in continuing to pursue possible wrongdoing in the case has become the subject of rich debate on editorial pages and in legal and political circles."
"Richard L. Armitage, the former deputy secretary of state, first told the authorities in October 2003 that he had been the primary source for the July 14, 2003, column by Robert D. Novak that identified Valerie Wilson as a C.I.A. operative and set off the leak investigation."
"Mr. Fitzgerald's decision to prolong the inquiry once he took over as special prosecutor in December 2003 had significant political and legal consequences. The inquiry seriously embarrassed and distracted the Bush White House for nearly two years and resulted in five felony charges against Mr. Libby, even as Mr. Fitzgerald decided not to charge Mr. Armitage or anyone else with crimes related to the leak itself."
After the terrific abuses of prosecutorial power during the long and painful Clinton investigations, Congress wisely let the Special Prosecutor Act expire and fade into the sunset. It was a bad law and a bad system for investigation of wrong doing.
But politicians can't resist the prospect of their opponent's ox being gored. So when Joe Wilson fanned the flames of his wife Valerie Plame's CIA status being revealed (which would have absolutely never happened if Wilson hadn't lied over and often about both the nature and results of his Niger investigation), demands for a "special prosecutor" grew to a roar and the Bush White House had no choice but to appoint one in hopes of putting out the fire.
That sentence was entirely too long and complex.
But the bottom line is that power corrupts. And Patrick Fitzgerald's gross mismanagement and prosecutorial misconduct proved once again just how bad a law the "Special Prosecutor" law actually was.
I'm no right wing nut case and I've called over and often for Karl Rove's resignation or for Bush to fire Rove. A great deal of what is wrong with the Bush presidency can be laid at Rove's feet.
But I believe Bush should and must pardon "Scooter" Libby, sooner rather than later. The political fallout will be tremendous, my friends on the left will howl, but this miscarriage of justice needs to end and it needs to end now.
TECHNORATI TAGS: VALERIE PLAME JOE WILSON KARL ROVE NEW YORK TIMES PLAMEGATE GEORGE BUSH SCOOTER LIBBY
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