Aug 29 2006

The Lies Of Fitzgerald

Published by at 4:19 pm under All General Discussions,Plame Game

I am still fuming that a prosecutor can so abuse his position that he lets two innocent people become smeared by innuendo while he (and Armitage and Powell and Taft) knew the truth and hid it from the public. So now it is time to investigate Fitzgerald based on his lying at the press conference for his Libby indictment. I am going to really enjoy this Fisking (or is it a Fritzing?). In Fitzgerald’s own words:

The grand jury’s indictment charges that Mr. Libby committed five crimes. The indictment charges one count of obstruction of justice of the federal grand jury, two counts of perjury and two counts of false statements.

Before I talk about those charges and what the indictment alleges, I’d like to put the investigation into a little context.

Valerie Wilson was a CIA officer. In July 2003, the fact that Valerie Wilson was a CIA officer was classified.

The fact that she was a CIA officer was not well- known, for her protection or for the benefit of all us. It’s important that a CIA officer’s identity be protected, that it be protected not just for the officer, but for the nation’s security.

Valerie Wilson’s cover was blown in July 2003. The first sign of that cover being blown was when Mr. Novak published a column on July 14th, 2003.

But Mr. Novak was not the first reporter to be told that Wilson’s wife, Valerie Wilson, Ambassador Wilson’s wife Valerie, worked at the CIA. Several other reporters were told.

In fact, Mr. Libby was the first official known to have told a reporter when he talked to Judith Miller in June of 2003 about Valerie Wilson.

We know that Miller has testified that Libby did NOT pass the name Valerie Wilson or Valerie Plame to Miller in June (or possibly in July) but that she recalls getting that name from someone else (whom she cannot recall, conveniently). So we know Fitzgerald is lying, because Miller testified that the name was not coming from Libby. But what is criminal – and deliberately misleading – is to jump from all this concern about a CIA’s agents identity to Libby and Miller, when Fitz KNOWS it was Armitage.

So let me tell you a little bit about how an investigation works.

Investigators do not set out to investigate the statute, they set out to gather the facts.

It’s critical that when an investigation is conducted by prosecutors, agents and a grand jury they learn who, what, when, where and why. And then they decide, based upon accurate facts, whether a crime has been committed, who has committed the crime, whether you can prove the crime and whether the crime should be charged.

That’s the way this investigation was conducted. It was known that a CIA officer’s identity was blown, it was known that there was a leak. We needed to figure out how that happened, who did it, why, whether a crime was committed, whether we could prove it, whether we should prove it.

Who is this clown kidding? He knew how it happened, who did it, why and whether there was a crime within weeks (if not days) of taking on the job and being briefed! In fact, he knew it was NOT Libby or Rove. Here he is again conflating the act of Armitage leaking with his witch hunt on Libby.

But as important as it is for the grand jury to follow the rules and follow the safeguards to make sure information doesn’t get out, it’s equally important that the witnesses who come before a grand jury, especially the witnesses who come before a grand jury who may be under investigation, tell the complete truth.

It’s especially important in the national security area. The laws involving disclosure of classified information in some places are very clear, in some places they’re not so clear.

Why is Fitzgerald prattling on about the exposure of classified information – a CIA agent’s identity – when he knows Libby was not the leaker? Why is Fitzgerald talking about this at the Libby indictment when he knows it was Armitage who exposed the agent? The only conclusion is he is deliberately misleading the public. He is LYING. If he were in front of his vaulted grand jury he would be open to real perjury and obstruction of justice charges. Trying to tie this back to the leak was bad enough, but knowing the leak that launched the inquiry was from Armitage, yet implying it was Libby, is tantamount to lying.

And, in fact, we now know that Mr. Libby discussed this information about Valerie Wilson at least four times prior to July 14th, 2003: on three occasions with Judith Miller of the New York Times and on one occasion with Matthew Cooper of Time magazine.

FITZGERALD: The first occasion in which Mr. Libby discussed it with Judith Miller was back in June 23rd of 2003, just days after an article appeared online in the New Republic which quoted some critical commentary from Mr. Wilson.

And all these times the mention of Valerie was instigated BY THE REPORTER! Note he says ‘discusses’ not Libby passed it on. He is being too clever by half here. If the reporter brings it up, then Libby “discussed it”. Except the first time with Miller, where Fitzgerald has admitted there is no evidence of talking about Wilson by name – let alone his wife. But so what? Is Fitz investigating a leak or testing the accuracy of memory? All I can say is he is being deliberately dishonest.

At the end of the day what appears is that Mr. Libby’s story that he was at the tail end of a chain of phone calls, passing on from one reporter what he heard from another, was not true.

It was false. He was at the beginning of the chain of phone calls, the first official to disclose this information outside the government to a reporter. And then he lied about it afterwards, under oath and repeatedly.

Again, the testimony is clear. There was no phone call to Russert (supposedly). Cooper admits bringing up Wilson’s wife and Miller admits using Libby to confirm her leads. libby is at the ‘end of events’. As someone pointed out, we cannot eliminate the possibility that Miller ALSO learned of Valerie “Flame” from her good buddy Armitage. If Miller met with anyone at the State Department during this time, then Libby can make the case Miller may have learned all about Valerie (and Joe’s phone number) from Grossman and/or Armitage. This is why Libby wanted Miller’s calendar and notes – to see if she was meeting with Armitage. My guess is there may be another shoe to drop here. And recall that Fitzgerald has seen the calendar and notes. Someone should ask him point blank did Miller have contact with State Dept officials during this time period. Her notes seem to indicate it was possible.

At this point in the press conference Fitzgerald gets bizzare

Well, why is this a leak investigation that doesn’t result in a charge? I’ve been trying to think about how to explain this, so let me try. I know baseball analogies are the fad these days. Let me try something.

If you saw a baseball game and you saw a pitcher wind up and throw a fastball and hit a batter right smack in the head, and it really, really hurt them, you’d want to know why the pitcher did that. And you’d wonder whether or not the person just reared back and decided, “I’ve got bad blood with this batter. He hit two home runs off me. I’m just going to hit him in the head as hard as I can.”

OK, the batter is Valerie Wilson and the pitcher is Armitage – as we all now know.

You also might wonder whether or not the pitcher just let go of the ball or his foot slipped, and he had no idea to throw the ball anywhere near the batter’s head. And there’s lots of shades of gray in between.

You might learn that you wanted to hit the batter in the back and it hit him in the head because he moved. You might want to throw it under his chin, but it ended up hitting him on the head.

The first line implies and accidental leak. The contains various nefarious excuses to mame, not kill. What this has to do with Libby is not clear. It is all about Armitage’s motives. Is he hinting Armitage did expose Valerie for less than honorable reasons? Like protecting State and himself? Isn’t that exactly what the left has been saying – someone exposed Plame to protect themselves?

And what you’d want to do is have as much information as you could. You’d want to know: What happened in the dugout? Was this guy complaining about the person he threw at? Did he talk to anyone else? What was he thinking? How does he react? All those things you’d want to know.

Well, no Fitz didn’t want to know. If he had he would have learned about Armitage’s talk with Woodward! But Fitzgerald is implying Libby did the leaking when he knows damn well it was Armitage (and had known for years).

And then you’d make a decision as to whether this person should be banned from baseball, whether they should be suspended, whether you should do nothing at all and just say, “Hey, the person threw a bad pitch. Get over it.”

In this case, it’s a lot more serious than baseball. And the damage wasn’t to one person. It wasn’t just Valerie Wilson. It was done to all of us.

Yes indeed, the damage was done to Valerie and all of us – by Armitage! This is where Fitzgerald got out ahead of himself and was discussing Armitage in reality but implying it had all to do with Libby. No wonder Fitz-Magoo looked so uncomfortable during his presser – he was knowingly misleading everyone.

Why was this information going out? Why were people taking this information about Valerie Wilson and giving it to reporters? Why did Mr. Libby say what he did? Why did he tell Judith Miller three times? Why did he tell the press secretary on Monday? Why did he tell Mr. Cooper? And was this something where he intended to cause whatever damage was caused?

Here Fitzgerald knowingly ties all this to Libby when he KNOWS Armitage was the source for the actual news story. He is not being honest at all here. Fitzgerald is applying a double standard when he should be weighing all participants equally:

And what we have when someone charges obstruction of justice, the umpire gets sand thrown in his eyes. He’s trying to figure what happened and somebody blocked their view.

The only one who threw sand, who hid what was happening was Armitage. He hid the Woodward talk that was prior to the Novak talk. And clearly Miller had a contact prior to Libby, but that sand did not bother Fitz-Magoo. It did not matter that Miller had to correct her accounts per her notes, as did Libby, Rove and Armitage and Woodward. All of them had to correct the record. But only Libby’s correction was nefarious? The original leaker did not mention the original leak! Libby claimed he TALKED to reporters. Not that he DIDN’T talk to them!

As you sit here now, if you’re asking me what his motives were, I can’t tell you; we haven’t charged it.

So what you were saying is the harm in an obstruction investigation is it prevents us from making the fine judgments we want to make.

I also want to take away from the notion that somehow we should take an obstruction charge less seriously than a leak charge.

This is a very serious matter and compromising national security information is a very serious matter. But the need to get to the bottom of what happened and whether national security was compromised by inadvertence, by recklessness, by maliciousness is extremely important. We need to know the truth. And anyone who would go into a grand jury and lie, obstruct and impede the investigation has committed a serious crime.

I believe that includes prosecutors misrepresenting the facts. National security is serious and it may have been compromised, but it had nothing to do with Libby and everything to do with Armitage. But Fitzgerald is clearly sending the message that the national security breach was related to Libby – even though he was only used to confirm Armitage’s exposure of Val’s identity. Fitzgerald is truly shading the truth here.

QUESTION: For all the sand thrown in your eyes, it sounds like you do know the identity of the leaker. There’s a reference to a senior official at the White House, Official A, who had a discussion with Robert Novak about Joe Wilson’s wife.

QUESTION: Can you explain why that official was not charged?

FITZGERALD: I’ll explain this: I know that people want to know whatever it is that we know, and they’re probably sitting at home with the TV thinking, “I’m want to jump through the TV, grab him by his collar and tell him to tell us everything they figured out over the last two years.”

We just can’t do that. It’s not because we enjoy holding back information from you; that’s the law.

And one of the things we do with a grand jury is we gather information. And the explicit requirement is if we’re not going to charge someone with a crime; if we decide that a person did not commit a crime, we cannot prove a crime, doesn’t merit prosecution, we do not stand up and say, “We gathered all this information on the commitment that we’re going to follow the rules of grand jury secrecy, which say we don’t talk about people not charged with a crime, and then at the end say, well, it’s a little inconvenient not to give answers out, so I’ll give it out anyway.”

This is the biggest bunch of BS I have ever seen. Special prosecutors were required to generate a report on all aspects of their investigation. There is NOTHING against Fitzgerald saying “the original source for Novak’s column was Armitage, Rove provided a weak confirmation and the CIA provided a strong confirmation, but in the end no crime was deemed to be committed”. Fitzgerald is lying or misrepresenting again. First he implies Libby is the root of the leak and then he claims he cannot discuss the root of the leak per grand jury rules? Which mail order college did he get his law degree from?

I can tell you that no one wants this thing to be over as quickly as I do, as quickly as Mr. Eckenrode does. I’d like to wake up in my bed in Chicago, he’d like to wake up in his bed in Philadelphia, and we recognize that we want to get this thing done.

Lie number three. If he wanted it over he could have closed this within a few months of being assigned. How many lies before a prosecutor is called on basic ethics? Is this how the legal profession wants to be seen?

I can say that for the people who work at the CIA and work at other places, they have to expect that when they do their jobs that classified information will be protected. And they have to expect that when they do their jobs, that information about whether or not they are affiliated with the CIA will be protected.

And they run a risk when they work for the CIA that something bad could happen to them, but they have to make sure that they don’t run the risk that something bad is going to happen to them from something done by their own fellow government employees.

See how it is so important to protect the CIA but not expose Armitage – the known source of the leak? This is why Fitzgerald is being dishonest. If leaking was the underlying imperative then Armitage would be up on serious charges for not relaying his leak to Woodward, by misleading the Grand Jury by implying his only leak was to Novak. The BS-ometer is pegged with this guy.

QUESTION: Mr. Fitzgerald, you said that it was OK for government officials to be discussing among themselves Mrs. Wilson’s identity. Were you troubled, though, that at least a half dozen people outside the CIA seemed to be talking about this in the weeks before her name was disclosed?

FITZGERALD: My job is to investigate whether or not a crime is committed, can be proved and should be charged. I’m not going to comment on what to make beyond that. You know, it’s not my jurisdiction, not my job, not my judgment.

More misleading (or ignorance of his job). His charter was to determine who leaked and whether it broke the law. He had total authority to explain WHY leaks were not breaking the law. My final point is Fitzgerald himself KNOWS he should have closed up shop early on – he admits it himself:

QUESTION: Can you give us any sense of how you think you might and how long it might take you now to determine if there was this underlying crime that occurred dealing with alleged unauthorized disclosure?

FITZGERALD: I can’t and I wouldn’t. And if I predicted two years ago when it started when it would be done, I would have been done a year ago.

Emphasis mine obviously. Fitzgerald knew all the parameters he needed related to the leaks. He knew who did it, their motives and their legal liability. Towards the leaks there was NOTHING. He knew it and he allowed himself to run amok setting perjury traps. The man should be brought up on charges for his actions. If we EVER want a legal system we trust and respect, Fitzgerald needs to be the one explaining how he let all of this get out of control. And he should explain the jailing of Judith Miller too, because he admits he had nothing related to the leaks prior to him putting her in legal jeopardy:

QUESTION: In the end, was it worth keeping Judy Miller in jail for 85 days in this case? And can you say how important her testimony was in producing this indictment?

FITZGERALD: I would have wished nothing better that, when the subpoenas were issued in August 2004, witnesses testified then, and we would have been here in October 2004 instead of October 2005. No one would have went to jail.

I didn’t have a vested interest in litigating it. I was not looking for a First Amendment showdown. I also have to say my job was to find out what happened here, make reasoned judgments about what testimony was necessary, and then pursue it.

And we couldn’t walk away from that. I could have not have told you a year ago that we think that there may be evidence that a crime is being committed here of obstruction, that there may be a crime behind it and we’re just going to walk away from it.

He had no idea of a crime before he went with the forced testimony? He knew Armitage was the leaker and had determined he would not charge him and he admits there was no hint of any other crime? The Judge in this case should be furious. The DoJ should be embarrassed. And the American people should be worried that their judicial process was abused in this manner. People’s lives were ruined because of all this. This is not a joke. Where do these people go to get their lives and reputations back from this out of control prosecutor, and those who knew the truth and never came forward?

11 responses so far

11 Responses to “The Lies Of Fitzgerald”

  1. az redneck says:

    Lenthy discussion of “what Next” at JOM. You might want to give Clarice your 2 cents!

  2. clarice says:

    Clean this up a bit, AJ–You have some typos in it (i.e. “We know that Miller has testified that Libby did NOT pass the name Valerie Wilson or Valerie Plame to Libby “) and send it to Gonzales demanding the Office of Professional responsibility investigate the handling of this matter and the revocation of Fitzgerald’s appointment.)

  3. Joe Wilson: Liar liar, pants on fire – VIDEO (UPDATE III)…

    How does it feel now, Joe, to know that you’ve clearly and irrefutably been proven to be a grandstanding, cocktail party circuit liar on the issue of the alleged ‘deliberate’ outing of your wife? Money quote from Wilson is a minute 4…

  4. AJStrata says:

    Geez Clarice – you know how many typos I weeded out already! Sadly, I had the referenced section right and ‘fixed’ it to wrong.


  5. patch says:

    What is really disgusting is that not only did Armitage, Powell, and Fitzgerald know the Plame/Wilson leak was BS, but so did members of the media.

    I’ll bet that Miller, Cooper, Russert, Mitchell and a whole bunch of other reporters knew that Rove and Libby had nothing to do with the Plame/Wilson leak, yet stood by and watched this whole thing unfold. All the time laughing their asses off as Rove and Libby were caught in this Kafkaesque affair.

    All of these people are like rubber necking drivers at a bad accident scene. They are also scum.

  6. patch says:

    One more comment:

    I sense that Bush, Rove and Libby are the type of guys that dont’t get mad, but do get even.

    I would hate to be any of the people I mentioned in the post above.

    By the way, if Joe Wilson was worried about the White House seeking revenge before, I would suggest to the rest of the world that there be a lot of distance between you and the former Ambassador.

    Hurt these people and make it painful to watch.

  7. clarice says:

    Would that were true. At the moment I’m told Libby is stuck with enormous bills and no one has done a thing to the scum. Send him a check to show your disgust with this charade. If you can’t afford that, a word of encouragement.

  8. Plame Game – Over, but the story isn’t finished…

    Well with the biggest “no secret” that Armitage is the so-called leaker. Christopher Hitchens calls “Game, over”, and for the part we have been forced to witness so far it is. But there are still so many other questions that …

  9. BIGDOG says:

    LOL…I think AJ already had alot of assumptions, wich are now verifed and im sure many others here knew somethng was rotten goings on.

    Hey AJ. Have you heard about the Wilsons seeking civil damage against Rove and others?

  10. MerlinOS2 says:

    Christopher Hitchens does a major slamdown over at Slate

    William Howard Taft, the State Department’s lawyer who had been told about Armitage (and who had passed on the name to the Justice Department)

    also felt obligated to inform White House counsel Alberto Gonzales. But Powell and his aides feared the White House would then leak that Armitage had been Novak’s source—possibly to embarrass State Department officials who had been unenthusiastic about Bush’s Iraq policy. So Taft told Gonzales the bare minimum: that the State Department had passed some information about the case to Justice. He didn’t mention Armitage. Taft asked if Gonzales wanted to know the details. The president’s lawyer, playing the case by the book, said no, and Taft told him nothing more.

    Read it all..well worth it

  11. Decision '08 says:

    PlameGate Still On? Keep Dreaming…

    Jeff Greenfield has a particularly weak story up on PlameGate with the thesis that the revelation of Armitage as the original Plame source doesn’t mean the investigation is over.  After reciting the historical backdrop in a cursory fashion, here…