The more I think about this Fitzgerald investigation, the more astonished I become. Richard Armitage was Bob Novak's "source" — i.e., he identified Valerie Plame — which, incidentally, is clearly not a crime and Armitage has not been charged with any offense. And prosecutors knew Armitage was the "source" almost immediately after beginning their investigation because Armitage confessed. Indeed, when he thought he may have done something wrong, he appears to have cried on many shoulders. Armitage told his boss, Colin Powell, that he was the source, as well as other State Department and Justice Department officials. He told the Special Counsel's people. And not one of them — Armitage, Powell, Patrick Fitzgerald, et al. — had the guts or integrity to tell the public that the original source was Armitage. Why were they protecting him from public scrutiny? By their silence, Armitage and Powell allowed two innocent men, Lewis Libby and Karl Rove, to be smeared as speculation about them being Novak's original source ran rampant. Liberal commentators and politicians had a blast. The truth be damned.
I also believe two things are very apparent. First, the media like Armitage and Powell. They've been great anti-Bush sources over the years. They run in the same social circles in Washington. So, many in the media protected Armitage and Powell. Not until later, when Bob Woodward had to come forward and admit that Armitage had also fingered Plame to him, did it become more difficult for the media to continue to cover-up for their favorite Bush administration officials.
Second, Fitzgerald's investigation is a sham. That's right, a sham. He knew several things early on: 1. Armitage was the original source; 2. disclosing Plame's identity was not a crime; and 3. the investigation was launched due to political pressure from Capitol Hill, especially Chuck Schumer (who was working with Joe Wilson, and who is also the head of the Democrat Senatorial Campaign Committee). Rather than put an end to this, Fitzgerald appears to have enjoyed the spotlight and adulation from the president's opponents, pursuing "the case" as if he were chasing mobsters or terrorists. He sought and received from his long-time friend, James Comey, extraordinary authority which Fitzgerald used to put pressure on reporters and news organizations as he widened his investigation in pursuit of anyone who might have revealed Plame's name. But to what end? That's not a crime in itself. To catch officials in memory lapses or — to be charitable to prosecutors — false statements or perjury? You don't conduct investigations to catch people in lies. You conduct investigations to uncover or expose crimes and punish those who are responsible. Meanwhile, the president's top advisor sat in the dock, waiting for word whether he'd be indicted, during a good portion of the administration. Only a few months ago did Fitzgerald finally inform Rove that he was in the clear.
The fact is that there was never an underlying crime, period. Yet, as I wrote at the time, many of Fitzgerald's comments at his press conference, at which he announced the Libby indictment, were wildly deceiving. The indictment had nothing to do with any underlying crime. This entire enterprise is disgraceful, from beginning to end.
Monday, August 28, 2006
The Shameful End Of A Ludicrous Diversion
Mark Levin succinctly sums up Plamegate: