Some comedy classics from Too-Special Counsel Fitzgerald. From the Times:
“It’s inconceivable that any responsible prosecutor would walk away from the facts that we saw in December 2003 and say, ‘There’s nothing here, move on,’ ” Mr. Fitzgerald said.
“We cannot tolerate perjury,” he said, adding: “The truth is what drives our judicial system. If people don’t come forward and tell the truth, we have no hope of making the judicial system work.”
Let's see - Richard Armitage read about Ms. Plame in a document marked "Top Secret" and leaked it to Bob Woodward and Robert Novak. After the Novak column came out, Armitage confesssed to that but "forgot" to mention the Woodward leak, and kept on forgetting until the term of the grand jury had expired and Libby had been indicted. At Woodward's urging he then came forward, secretly.
Not indicted. Not even investigated - the AP filed a Freedom of Information Act request and found the Woodward appointment right there on Armitage's calendar for June, but Fitzgerald apparently never did. Walk on by.
When FBI investigators came calling former Presidential press spokesman Ari Fleischer took the Fifth and held out for a "use immunity" grant, which he got in Jan 2004 from Fitzgerald. He then confessed to leaking to John Dickerson and David Gregory but denied leaking to Walter Pincus; he also claimed to have learned about Ms. Plame during a lunch with Libby, as well as on Air Force One a few days later while paging though some classified documents.
Pincus contradicted Flesicher's claim, as did Libby; Dickerson contradicted it in print, but was never asked to testify; Gregory has not been asked to testify and has been silent on his role (until today?).
Not indicted. Walk on by.
And this, from his press conference today, is a howler:
I would say this. It's not the verdict that justifies the investigation. It's the facts. And if people would step back and look at what happened here. When the investigation began in the fall of 2003, and then we got appointed to the special counsel at the end of December 2003. What is now clear is what we knew at that time. By that point in time we knew Mr. Libby had told a story. That what he had told reporters has come not from other government officials, but from reporter Tim Russert.
It's also now public that by that point in time the FBI had learned that in fact Tim Russert did not tell Mr. Libby that information. In fact, Tim Russert didn't know it, and Tim Russert could not have told him.
In Jan 2004 Fitzgerald learned from Ari Fleischer that David Gregory had received a leak on the morning of July 11, which certainly gave Russert time to chat with Gregory and then with Libby.
Did Fitzgerald call Gregory to verify Fleischer's testimony? No. Why not? Ask Fitzgerald. But my guess is that he figured that Gregory would only undermine the case he was constructing against Libby, and building that case was more important than learning the truth.
Fitzgerald abused his office and his public trust.