Fitzgerald's New Filing: Who is He Protecting

In responding (pdf) to a media motion to unseal 8 pages of the Court of Appeals decision (pdf) upholding Judith Miller and Matthew Cooper's PlameGate supboenas, Special Counsel Patrick Fitzgerald advises the court that he has no objection to unsealing the portions about Libby, but objects to releasing portions about others who have not been indicted and who have not disclosed the substance of their grand jury testimony or cooperation to the public.

The New York Times has this report on Fitz's filing. Armando at Daily Kos provides his perspective.

My take on who Fitzgerald is protecting with this filing:

  • Reporter Bob Novak and his source
  • Walter Pincus' source
  • Bob Woodward's source
  • Those who have flipped in exchange for immunity (Ari Fleischer may be one of these) or for lesser charges or a lesser sentence (e.g., perhaps David Wurmser and/or John Hannah.)
  • Stephen Hadley, Richard Armitage and Colin Powell (Assuming they are not already included as a source for Novak, Pincus or Woodward.)

Here are the most salient portions of Fitz' filing:

....the Special Counsel has concluded that secrecy continues to be necessary with respect to the remainder of the redacted pages, in order to protect from public embarrassment or ridicule individuals whose status as grand jury witnesses or subjects has not been publicly disclosed, as well as to protect the integrity of the ongoing investigation. (page 8)

....all but one of the witnesses discussed in this portion of the redacted pages have publicly disclosed the substance of their own testimony before the grand jury. Finally, the part of the investigation that specifically focused on Mr. Libby’s conduct has largely been concluded.(page 9)

...Given that the information contained in the portion of the redacted pages that relates directly to Mr. Libby (and not to the conduct of other persons) has become publicly known through the indictment, and also through the public statements of grand jury witnesses, and that the investigation concerning the conduct of Mr. Libby is largely concluded, the principles underlying Rule 6(e) do not require maintaining this portion of the redacted pages under seal.(page 10)

...The remainder of the redacted pages discuss grand jury testimony related to persons who have not been, and may never be, charged with a criminal offense, and persons who have not been publicly identified as witnesses or subjects of the investigation. Continued secrecy with respect to these portions of the redacted pages is vital “‘to protect [an] innocent accused who is exonerated from disclosure of the fact that he has been under investigation.’” (page 11)

Jane at Firedoglake has justly skeptical analysis of additional revelations by CNN today in RoveGate concerning Viveca Novak, Luskin and Karl Rove. CNN said there will be a two-fer in front of the grand jury next week -- both Luskin and Viveca will be testifying to correct a misimpression Fitzgerald has that Rove told Viveca something when it was really Luskin who said it.

Stay tuned for the next installment of As the Worms Turn.

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    Re: Fitzgerald's New Filing: Who is He Protecting (none / 0) (#1)
    by Tom Maguire on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:06:37 PM EST
    I thought the most important part of the filing was the news (to me, anyway) tyhat the eight redacted pages do not contain any classifed info: "After being served with the instant motion,the Special Counsel arranged for the classification review of the redacted portions of this Court ís February 15, 2005 opinion by the relevant agency. Based on that review, it has been determined that the redacted pages contain no references to information that is classified as of November 30, 2005. Thus, the presence of classified information no longer provides a reason for maintaining the secrecy of the redacted pages." I'll let Lawrence O'Donnell explain why that matters: Judge Tatelís opinion has eight blank pages in the middle of it where he discusses the secret information the prosecutor has supplied only to the judges to convince them that the testimony he is demanding is worth sending reporters to jail to get. The gravity of the suspected crime is presumably very well developed in those redacted pages. Later, Tatel refers to ď[h]aving carefully scrutinized [the prosecutorís] voluminous classified filings.Ē ...Tatelís colleagues are at least as impressed with the prosecutorís secret filings as he is. One simply said ďSpecial Counselís showing decides the case.Ē All the judges who have seen the prosecutorís secret evidence firmly believe he is pursuing a very serious crime, and they have done everything they can to help him get an indictment. O'Donnell was writing in the contxt of a serious crime being the outing of a covert agent, not obstruction or perjury.

    Re: Fitzgerald's New Filing: Who is He Protecting (none / 0) (#2)
    by Molly Bloom on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:06:37 PM EST
    I don't think Luskin can be an advocate and a witness, at least not in a trial. Is it different for a grand jury?

    Tom - How do you reconcile all of this? -- Has information classified at the time been declassified? -- Is the part which the judges apparently considered evidence of an "underlying" crime the part Fitzgerald want to keep secret? -- What could have been so impressive to the judges at the time which would not be a bombshell now?

    Thought you might be interested in this new WAPO that states that the Viveca/Luskin conversation occured in early 2004. This article goes on to say that Rove's first Grand Jury testimony was after the Viveca/Luskin conversation and Rove did not disclose the fact that he spoke with Cooper during that testimony.
    One person familiar with the case said the Novak-Luskin conversation is not what prompted Rove to change his testimony in the case. In fact, this person said, Novak told Luskin about the Rove-Cooper connection before Rove's first appearance before the grand jury in February 2004. In that appearance, Rove testified that he did not recall talking to Cooper about Plame. WAPO 12/03/05

    Jeralyn I am dying out of curiosity. I found a link to a blog that says it is by Patrick Fitzgerald. Does he really blog or is it a ghost? The URL is patrickjfitzgerald.blogspot.com. If you do find out and it turns out to be from the "real" Fitzgerald, please do a one liner topic item for me. Please, please.