Apr 20 2006

Fitzgerald Knows No Crime Committed

Published by at 10:18 am under All General Discussions,Plame Game

Robert Novak made what should be a stunning statement to the press, and those in the country not following the Plame Game closely: Fitzgerald knows that no crime was committed in providing Valerie Plame’s name to reporters and he has known this for years:

Robert Novak said Wednesday that special counsel Patrick Fitzgerald knows who outed a CIA agent to the Chicago Sun-Times columnist but hasn’t acted on the information because Novak’s source committed no crime.

“The question is, does Mr. Fitzgerald know who the source was?” Novak asked. “Of course. He’s known for years who the first source is. If he knows the source, why didn’t he indict him? Because no crime was committed.”

This should be disturbing to the entire country and the Federal Judiciary especially. Fitzgerald was charged to determine who leaked Valerie Plame’s name to the press and to determine if that constituted a crime. Apparently he achieved both of these mandates early on, but then used his power and office to go off on a witch hunt. A personal crusade.

Before we speculate on the possible implications of Novak’s claim, I do want to note the not so subtle slam made against Fitz-Magoo:

Still, he did say, “If I had gone before a grand jury and taken the Fifth Amendment, Mr. Fitzgerald would have that on the street in about two minutes.

Clearly this implicates Fitzgerald’s office in continuous leaking of material to the press. Novak would be one to know if there was an under the radar propaganda campaign out of Fitzgerald’s team being a very senior journalist covering politics.

So, what could are the possible realities behind the claim that Fitzgerald knew the original leaker(s), and determined no crime was committed at that juncture? Well, what we do know is the original leaker was not Libby. That is established six ways to Sunday. So, we have two options:

(1) The leaker is a Federal Government Employee who Fitzgerald has deemed did not commit a crime because Plame’s status was not covered under any statute, and he is using the leaker to fabricate cases against Libby and Rove

(2) The leaker is none other than Valerie Plame, who is the one person who cannot be charged with simply divulging her cover to the media (though other scenarios involving spying and treason do exist, they obviously are not applicable here).

High on the list under number one is Richard Armitage, supposed source to Bob Woodward and Bob Novak. But I am wondering, in light of the recent INR memo if this still makes sense. The INR memo mentions “Valerie Wilson”, never Valerie Plame. IIRC, Valerie Plame was the cover name at Brewster a Jennings. But most importantly, Valerie Plame is the name in the Novak article and is a key factor in Tim Russert’s dodge about what he knew and when:

RUSSERT: Well, that’s exactly right. “Meet”–Joe Wilson had been on “Meet the Press” on Sunday, which you moderated because I was on vacation.

RUSSERT: I came back after that interview, after The New York Times piece, and there was a discussion about Joe Wilson and I didn’t know very much. And then when I read Novak’s column the following Monday, I said, `Oh, my God, that’s it. Now I see. It’s his wife, Valerie Plame, CIA, sent him on the trip. Now I understand what everybody was trying to figure out.‘

I have speculated for a long time that Valerie was Joe Wilson’s confirmation. In the first Kristof and Pincus pieces on the matter, before Joe came out of the closet, both journalists specifically call out witnesses to Joe’s debreifing to the CIA upon his return from Niger. Kristof:

I’m told by a person involved in the Niger caper that more than a year ago the vice president’s office asked for an investigation of the uranium deal, so a former U.S. ambassador to Africa was dispatched to Niger. In February 2002, according to someone present at the meetings, that envoy reported to the C.I.A. and State Department that the information was unequivocally wrong and that the documents had been forged.

Now I could be misinterpreting this, but there were only 4 people present at the debreifing because, according to the Senate Report on the matter, the debreifing was held at the Wilson’s home and it Joe, Val and two DO officers in attendance. Apparently Val was simply serving tea. Pincus makes a similar statement:

After returning to the United States, the envoy reported to the CIA that the uranium-purchase story was false, the sources said.

according to the senior U.S. officials and the former government official, who is familiar with the event.

Again, this is not clearly specific to the debreifing, but it is clear the ‘former government official’ is Joe Wilson, and the ‘senior US officials’ are his collaboration. Very few would collaberate that Wilson reported on the Niger forgeries, as Pincus claims, since Wilson did no such thing. My speculation is one person would – Valerie.

What is interesting is lots of people knew of this Valerie Plame in the media (Russert notes the NBC discussions, Judith Miller as ‘valerie flame’ in her notes). My guess is Valerie was out there telling people she worked for the part of the CIA which sent dear Joe to Niger. Possibly she neglected to tell people she was Joe’s wife which would explain the confusion Russert was describing with Andrea Mitchell, who was also there.

Who knows how it unraveled in each instance (it was different in each reporters case it seems). But if the source of the leak was Valerie that is why there is, without any doubt or complexity, no crime. If the Wilson’s were tipping her CIA job (which is the only aspect that is considered classified) the case is closed and Fitzgerald should have boarded up his SP office years ago. Her marriage to Joe is NOT classified – at all.

Update: Tom Maguire jumps on the news with a yawn.  Well, I agree it is not news to us Plamely Obsessive People (the POPs), but it should wake up the general population.  ‘Should’ does not equal ‘will’, unfortunately.

12 responses so far

12 Responses to “Fitzgerald Knows No Crime Committed”

  1. Jane W says:

    So what is Fitzgerald’s motive? Fame? Limelight? Bringing down the administration? Did he get inside the matter and just not want to let go when he found out it was going nowhere?

  2. AJStrata says:

    Jane W,

    Fame would be my first guess. Maybe frustration that he realized so quickly he had nothing to prosecute. If he wanted to retire to a big name law firm with a big fat salary he would need to make a national name. He was not going to do it closing shop with no crime in a few months.

  3. Jane W says:

    First of all, sorry for the double posting.

    It’s an odd kind of fame when you think about it. Particularly if he gets brought down by it. I’ve never been a prosecutor and although I can imagine that sort of zealousness, it doesn’t ring true to me in this case. As I recall Fitzgerald has had other prosections gone sour.

    The word on him when he was appointed was that he was a zealous guardian of the law and very unpolitical. This entire prosecution feels very political to me at this point particularly with the leads he has failed to follow up with.

    I also don’t think he is the fat lawfirm type. Being a federal prosecutor is adequate credentials to get you into a fat lawfirm.

    I can’t help but think something else is going on. Maybe he just has a problem letting go.

    Great blog, btw.

  4. AJStrata says:

    Jane W,

    Thanks for the compliment. No problemo on the double posting – I monitor the comments here, so I get them all the time when the comment is not posted immediately. Since that was your first it had to be authorized. The rest should go immediately through, unless you put a lot of links in.

    I am not sure what motivated him. Yes, being a prosecutor can get you a job, but salary levels are based on notoriety. Maybe he is the weak willed type and some maverick on his staff is pushing. Or maybe he is a dupe buying into the Plame/Wilson view. In the end, the reason is irrelevant. He is breaking the ‘rule of law’ at its source: the intent of our legal system. It is not intended to be used in this manner – ever.

  5. HaroldHutchison says:

    Patrick Fitzgerald is as out of control as Lawrence Walsh was.

  6. Dennis says:

    I have always wondered: What is Plame’s angle in all of this?—or is she acting totally at the behest of Joe? If she’s that malleable, what the heck is she doing at CIA. If she’s that political—what the heck is she doing at CIA and why isn’t someone going after her for malfeasance (or worse). Or, is Joe acting totally at her behest?—in which case, what the heck is she up to?

  7. sbd says:

    Maybe he is being blackmailed for his role while in New York. He should be worried about the recent indictment of former FBI agent Devecchio. The New York DA’s office did not want this information to go public because it would put all of their mafia prosecutions in jeopardy. Fitgerarld seems to be involved in the FBI cover up and there is proof that he met with Scarpa Jr. who warned the FBI about his father’s involvement with Devecchio as well as provide information the attack on TWA Flight 800, among other things.

    March 6, 1996 302
    At the request of GREGORY SCARPA, JR., Date of Birth: August 3, 1951, he was interviewed at the Office of the United States Attorney, Eastern District of New York, Brooklyn, New York. Present at this interview was SCARPA’s Attorney, Lawrence Silverman, Assistant United States Attorneys (AUSA) DEITRICH SNELL and PATRICK FITZGERALD, Southern District of New York and EVELYN CORCELLA, and VALERIE CAPRONI, Chief of the Criminal Division, Eastern District of New York, and Special Agents PAMELA M. McDAID and HOWARD LEADBETTER II (FBI); and RICHARD CORAGGIO (INS).


  8. Carol_Herman says:

    Wow. Sherlock Holmes couldn’t have done it better! Valerie, herself. And, “no crime.” Except perhaps the one that will fall on fitzgerald. Where, at least he loses his license to practice law.

    No, I never guessed it. But, without the Internet, we’d have been stuck in “waterloo.” Just as the “man of genius,” Napoleon, himself, went down. (The term belongs to Victor Hugo. He was no fan of Napoleon’s. But to describe the meeting of Wellington to this battle; he wrote that the “man of calculus” won. Wellington wasn’t as flamboyant as Napoleon. But he measured everything he did. While Napoleon used the seat of his pants.)

    While we’re being told Bush’s poll numbers are falling, I don’t believe so. And, I think this story keeps getting “hits” from viewers who are alert to all the ramifications, here. Thanks for letting me post. Yes, your site is among the one’s I go to often. Word of mouth, and “save this bookmark,” coexist.

  9. Seixon says:

    I also think it is strange that anyone other than Plame would corroborate Wilson’s claims that he debunked the forgeries to the Times and the Post. Of course, if Plame and some chums at the CIA all got together to pull off this stunt, then I can see that those other 2 people at the debriefing might as well have been in on it.

    Let’s not forget that Plame had been a source for the Times or the Post on several occasions before all of this, for other stories. Thus, there is no doubt that they already knew Plame by her name, and that she worked at the CIA.

    However, it isn’t clear that Novak got any of this info from the Times or the Post. However, Armitage could have just told Novak about Wilson’s wife being CIA. Novak could have then tried to look up Mrs. Wilson to get some more information, and found out her name was Valerie Plame.

    Either way, it would be nice to see Novak’s testimony to Fitzgerald, because he should have talked about how he came to know all of this, which will pretty much put most of this to rest.

    This is why it is irritating that Novak hasn’t written about what he knows publicly. Perhaps he is waiting to let Fitzgerald walk right into a trap, which Novak will spring. Maybe Novak’s newest comments are the beginning of a push-back by Novak to expose Fitzgerald’s investigation as a fraud.

  10. AJStrata says:


    You got links collaborating Plame as a source for journalists?


  11. Seixon says:

    No, not handy. It’s either Kristof or Pincus who described in an article fall 2003 where they said that they had used Plame as a source for other articles previously. You should be able to dig it up from Tom Maguire. Whichever journalist it was of those two, they make some kind of comments about not knowing anything about her “career”, something Maguire has snarked at quite a few times.

  12. Seixon says:

    Here it is: http://www.helenair.com/articles/2003/10/14/opinions/a04101403_02.txt

    Nicholas Kristof, October 14, 2003:

    “I know Mrs. Wilson, but I knew nothing about her CIA career and hadn’t realized she’s “a hell of a shot with an AK-47,” as a classmates at the CIA training “farm,” Jim Marcinkowski, recalls. I’ll be more careful around her, for she also turns out to be skilled in throwing hand grenades and to have lived abroad and run covert operations in some of the world’s messier spots. (Mrs. Wilson was not a source for this column or any other that I’ve written about the intelligence community.)”

    As Maguire noted, why the qualifier “about the intelligence community”? Obviously Kristof has used Mrs. Wilson as a source for columns before, but not about the intelligence community. He says he knows Mrs. Wilson. Cute.