Fitzerald to Congress: Nothing to Say About Plame

So much for those who hoped Patrick Fitzgerald would talk to a Congressional Committee about the Valerie Plame leak investigation. He says he'd rather not. Grand jury secrecy still protects those who weren't indicted and evidence beyond what came out at the Scooter Libby trial.

Rep. Henry Waxman, D-Calif., asked Fitzgerald last week to meet with members of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, which will hold hearings on the Bush administration's handling of CIA operative Valerie Plame's classified employment status.

In a letter to Waxman, Fitzgerald did not refuse to cooperate with the congressional probe but made it clear he had little to say. "I do not believe it would be appropriate for me to offer opinions, as your letter suggests the committee may seek, about the ultimate responsibility of senior White House officials for the disclosure of Ms. Wilson's identity," Fitzgerald wrote.

< FL Settles Boot Camp Death Claim | Sununu: Fire Gonzales >
  • The Online Magazine with Liberal coverage of crime-related political and injustice news

  • Contribute To TalkLeft

  • Display: Sort:
    Maybe...not yet (4.00 / 1) (#4)
    by wethepeople on Thu Mar 15, 2007 at 12:04:02 AM EST
    Armitage was not the only leaker. Libby had already lied to the FBI before Fitzgerald came on board, And, my guess is the game goes on until Libby either flips, goes to prison, or is pardoned.

    Three months (none / 0) (#7)
    by jimakaPPJ on Thu Mar 15, 2007 at 06:55:22 AM EST
    Armitage admitted to DOJ three months before Fitzgerald came on board.

    That would be mid September 03.

    Anybody know why the FBI kept interviewing?


    Maybe... (1.00 / 1) (#3)
    by jarober on Wed Mar 14, 2007 at 10:43:01 PM EST
    Maybe that's because he knows who leaked the name (Armitage), he knows that the crime he was supposed to investigate didn't happen, and he also knows that he simply kept interviewing people until he caught someone (Libby) fibbing about something.

    The Left was furious when (insert any of the special prosecutors that ran wild during the Clinton Administration here) went after scalps; now the Left is furious that the scalp gotten this time around is so small.  

    Maybe - just maybe - this is a game that all and sundry should just stop playing.

    You need to read more widely. (none / 0) (#5)
    by walt on Thu Mar 15, 2007 at 12:37:49 AM EST
    Here is what Patrick Fitzgerald had to say in his press conference:

    "Before I talk about those charges [against Libby] 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. Not only was it classified, but it was not widely known outside the intelligence community. Valerie Wilson's friends, neighbors, college classmates had no idea she had another life. 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."

    The reason no person was charged with treason is that the leaker, Armitage, knew he was in extreme jeopardy so he cut a deal.  At the Libby trial, the prosecution made absolutely clear that they granted blanket immunity to Armitage without knowing what he was going to reveal.  There is some evidence & testimony that Armitage did not actually know Valerie Plame Wilson was a covert agent.  Also at the Libby trial, it came out that when he became aware that she was undercover, he went to the FBI immediately.

    If you had read any of the Libby trial materials you would be aware that the prosecution was not allowed to indicate Plame's covert status because the defense insisted it would prejudice the jury.  I'm not going to link this stuff because it is & was widely available.  The defense stipulated that Plame's status would prejudice the jury against Libby.

    So . . . Plame was undercover (NOC); Fitzgerald stated this, Judge Walton affirmed it in his orders to the reporters to compel their testimony, & the defense agreed to it.  Armitage did reveal her status to Novak (but as the leaker he obtained advance immunity from prosecution for his testimony); the prosecution could not prove that Armitage, Rove, or (perhaps) Hannah actually knew for a fact that she was a classified agent because Libby's perjury, plus obstruction, kept the prosecutors & the grand jury from acquiring the facts necessary to indict the bad guys.

    Basically, Armitage is free because Libby kept the prosecutors from uncovering the facts in the case.


    walt (1.00 / 1) (#8)
    by jimakaPPJ on Thu Mar 15, 2007 at 08:22:46 AM EST
    You need to understand that being a covert agent is defined. Plame did not meet those quals. If she had, Fitzgerald would have charged. After all, that was the purpose of the invstigation.

    BTW - There is a difference between classified and covert. If I remember correctly Fitzgerald specifically excluded covert during his press conferemce.


    reading (5.00 / 1) (#15)
    by walt on Fri Mar 16, 2007 at 12:59:01 AM EST
    First, either you didn't read what I wrote or you don't understand it.  Fitzgerald stated Plame was a "classified" agent--her identity was a secret.

    Second, you are wrong in your use of terms.  Plame was covert, as in non-official cover, & that is "classified" information.  At the Libby trial it became clear that paragraphs in classified documents that referred to her were labled "top secret," the highest civilian security classification for infomation.  I don't quite fathom what it is that you don't comprehend about this--you, along with all of the wingnutz on planet Earth.

    Larry Johnson (CIA, retired, & a classmate of Plame's at spook school) fabricated this version of her testimony for tomorrow.

    "Isn't it true that you were seated behind a desk in CIA headquarters in Langley, Va., for a period of time that disqualifies you for protection as a covert agent under the 1982 Intelligence Identities Protection Act?

    "That is a lie.  I served as an operations officer in the Directorate of Operations from 1985 until I resigned from the CIA in 2006.  I was undercover until exposed in Robert Novak's op-ed of July 2003.  I had served overseas, as required in the Intelligence Identities Protection Act (IIPA), during the five years that preceded July 2003.  At present the CIA does not allow me to acknowledge that I worked for the CIA prior to 2002.  If I had been an overt employee there wouldn't have been a problem.  But I wasn't."

    Whether you understand it or believe it or can even read it, Libby's defense, at trial, in open court, stipulated that Plame was a "classified" employee & that the prosecution could not tell this to the grand jury because it would prejudice them against Libby.  Whether you like it or not, Armitage broke the law but cannot be prosecuted because he got Fitzgerald to accept a blanket immunity deal (the prosecution stated to the judge, in court, that they bought a pig in a poke) so the perpetrator walked.

    You folks with the blinders on are surely amazing.

    You can read former agent Johnson's "NOC for Dummies," primer here: Link


    Not So Much (1.00 / 2) (#6)
    by jarober on Thu Mar 15, 2007 at 06:46:45 AM EST

    Armitage admitted that he was the leaker early on - so Libby didn't obstruct anything.  Libby was caught lying, so he got prosecuted.  But his lie was a side effect of the investigation, and had nothing to do with the original issue.  Had Armitage committed any actual crime, Fitzgerald could have brought charges against him within the first few weeks.  

    The fact that he didn't should tell you something - specifically, that this investigation was of a piece with all the ones that happened to Clinton, Bush the elder, and Reagan.  If we want to play "have the opposition party hunt for scalps" into the future, then this was a fine thing.

    Otherwise - not so much.

    Hey, Einstein (none / 0) (#9)
    by Dadler on Thu Mar 15, 2007 at 12:39:27 PM EST
    Just because Armitage was the original leaker, and CUT A DEAL EARLY ON with Fitzgerald, doesn't mean all the people who threw Plame's name around after that weren't also culpable.

    Also, ponder for a second how it would go trying to prosecute publicly someone for outing a CIA agent.  The CIA would, as usual, neither confirm nor deny.  The more I think about it, the more I think Fitz, though not as strong to me as he could have been, realized it simply wouldn't be possible to get the information from CIA that would allow him to prosecute effectively.

    Which is why he made sure to MAKE CLEAR that a huge black cloud hangs over Cheney.  What, you don't think that speaks volumes?

    Be happy, this thing seems to have faded with little fanfare, until a pardon does or does not occur.  Your boys got off light, go have a cream soda and relish it.


    Not to forger (none / 0) (#10)
    by squeaky on Thu Mar 15, 2007 at 01:22:50 PM EST
    Armitage allegedly did not know Plame was covert. No crime.

    Not to forger... (5.00 / 1) (#11)
    by desertswine on Thu Mar 15, 2007 at 04:10:41 PM EST
    Exactly...  it is the forgeries that get to the heart of the matter.

    haahha (none / 0) (#12)
    by squeaky on Thu Mar 15, 2007 at 04:23:44 PM EST
    That was a freudian typo, I guess.

    Someone... (none / 0) (#13)
    by desertswine on Thu Mar 15, 2007 at 04:37:48 PM EST
    was channeling you to reference the Michael Ledeen yellowcake forgeries that started it all.

    That's better (none / 0) (#14)
    by squeaky on Thu Mar 15, 2007 at 04:46:55 PM EST
    My guess it that it was Malaki. He is ready to talk. Or now that curveball is unleashed it could have been him. Cross signals? .....Something coming in........Is that you Fitz?

    So they weren't indicted (none / 0) (#1)
    by Dadler on Wed Mar 14, 2007 at 09:41:00 PM EST
    How does that impact his ability to offer his two cents to a congressional committee that can't criminally indict anyone?  

    This seems a personal aversion, not a professional one.

    OT: Jeralyn! (none / 0) (#2)
    by Noor on Wed Mar 14, 2007 at 10:02:50 PM EST
    I found it!  Will post in the appropriate thread shortly!