Oct 28, 2005

What should we expect next in Plamegate?

The following excerpts(in blue) appear in an article written by Elizabeth de la Vega. Ms. de la Vega has recently retired after serving more than 20 years as a federal prosecutor in Minneapolis and San Jose. During her tenure, she was a member of the Organized Crime Strike Force and Chief of the San Jose Branch of the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Northern District of California. This article appeared originally on TomDispatch.com also..for a copy of the NY Times OpEd piece by Joe Wilson, you can go here.

We should expect the Bush regime to start attacking Joe Wilson and Fitz..with great vigor I believe. They have no other way to discredit the main players in this drama other than to call Wilson a liar and Fitz's motives political. I am in agreement with Ms. de la Vegas' article: We should expect more attacks on Joseph Wilson, even though they represent a very large red herring (more the size of a mackerel). These will be meant only for the court of public opinion. Since the White House has already admitted, repeatedly, that it had insufficient evidence to mention that Saddam Hussein was seeking Niger "yellowcake" uranium in thepPresident's State of the Union address in 2003, claims that Wilson went to Niger on a boondoggle or that he is merely a partisan critic (both of which appear to be untrue) have never been the least bit relevant. If you don't dispute the essence of the testimony of a witness, then undermining his credibility is pointless in a court of law. Regarding Fitz's motives the right will attack them as political and that he is exceeding his authority. Regarding his authority Ms. de la Vega states this: Out of an apparent abundance of caution, Fitzgerald requested clarification of the term "all" and was advised, again by Comey, that it included both underlying crimes and crimes that stemmed from the investigation of the underlying crimes. At no time did Fitzgerald seek, or receive, an expansion of his authority: It was there all along, as it would be in any investigation of federal crimes.

I feel this will not end any time soon, maybe not even within the next 12 months. Fitz is known to be a meticulous man and according to Ms. de la Vega: This mirrors his approach to previous cases. In December 2003, for example, Fitzgerald announced the indictment of former Illinois Gov. George Ryan on corruption charges in Operation Safe Road, which began in 1998. In that year, the investigation of a fatal accident revealed that truckers were purchasing commercial licenses from state officials. Indictments were announced in stages, culminating in the indictment of Ryan, who was the 66th defendant in the case. In the Libby case, the allegations suggest he was merely one of many officials—including an unnamed undersecretary of state and "Official A," a senior White House official—who were involved in revealing classified information about Joseph Wilson's wife Valerie Plame. No other individuals are named as defendants, and they should not be considered so at this point, but the complexity of the indictment suggests that the investigation may follow a pattern similar to that used by Fitzgerald in the Illinois corruption case.

We should expect the right wing to downplay the indictments against Scooter. Again I refer to, Ms. de la Vega's article: We should expect another red herring, one that should have been thrown back in the river long ago: that perjury, obstruction of justice and false statements charges are not "substantive," and so somehow less serious. "Substantive" is a legal term, referring to a crime that can be proved without reference to the elements of another crime. For example, bank robbery is a "substantive crime" and conspiracy to commit bank robbery is not. (But they're both crimes.) Perjury, obstruction of justice and false statements may arise out of the investigation of other crimes, but they stand on their own. So they too are "substantive" crimes. More to the point, as Patrick Fitzgerald eloquently explained in his press conference, lying in an investigation is extraordinarily serious, because it undermines the integrity of the process. Fitz stated numerous times in his press conference that these actions undermined the security of our country and the safety of CIA employees, even though he did not elaborate or charge anyone with the crime of outing Plame.

The right will also state that there is nothing more to indict anyone on, that nothing can be proven or Fitz would of indicted someone for outing Plame. We can only hope this is not true and we will see additional indictments of some or all of the following individuals: Cheney, Rove and the most recent addition to the lineup...Grossman.

Today's Photo..er..Graphic..ok, Picture.

It's moving day!!!!!!!!!!!!

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