The Carpetbagger does a good job of tying together several recent items (by Murray Waas, in the Villlage Voice and on his ‘whatever already!’ weblog, and by Richard B. Schmitt in the LA Times) that speculate on what’s happening behind the scenes in the Plame-outing investigation. I’d intended to link to all of them, but now I can just link to the Carpetbagger: Rove and Ashcroft and Fitzgerald… oh my.
One thing he didn’t quote from Waas’ Village Voice piece is this part, near the end, which discusses the current status of James B. Comey, the deputy attorney general who has been in charge of Fitzgerald since John Ashcroft recused himself:
Comey, then only recently named deputy attorney general, called a press conference and dramatically announced: “Effective today, the attorney general has recused himself . . . from further involvement in these matters.”
He also said he was naming Patrick J. Fitzgerald, who also serves as U.S. attorney in Chicago, as special prosecutor to take over the case. To further assure his independence, Comey also announced that he personally would serve as “acting Attorney General for purposes of this matter.”
Last week, however, Comey announced he was leaving the Justice Department to become the general counsel of the defense contractor Lockheed Martin. In his absence, Associate Attorney General Robert McCallum is the most likely choice to be named as the acting deputy attorney general, and thus the man overseeing Fitzgerald’s work. But McCallum has been a close personal friend of President Bush. Justice Department officials are once more grappling as to how to best assure independence for investigators. And Democrats on Capitol Hill are unlikely not to question any role in the leak probe by McCallum.
This sends a bit of a chill down my spine. It would be just like the Bush/Rove political juggernaut — or at least just like my paranoid nightmares of their Machiavellian omnipotence — for them to have manipulated things behind the scenes to put their own man in charge of the investigation just as Fitzgerald is nearing the point of announcing indictments, and to have the whole thing then just go poof! and disappear.
I guess I’ll just have to wait and see.