Things We Do Not Know about the Patrick Fitzgerald Investigation

The level of chatter about the upcoming indictments (maybe) from Patrick Fitzgerald’s Plame-outing investigation has doubled yet again. Good lord; what did we do for fun before we had a global computer network to use for obsessive speculation?

I’m consciously taking a step back, myself. Yes, like many people, I desperately want for a tough-minded, principled, take-no-prisoners federal prosecutor to expose the lies that lay behind the Bush administration’s headlong rush to war in Iraq. But I’m also aware that no desire on my part for such an event, no matter how fervent that desire is, actually increases the chances that the event will come to pass.

I think a certain percentage of the Bush-hater predictions currently making the rounds probably owe more to fervent desire than they do to actual tea-leaf reading. An example of what I mean is this item from James Moore, as previously posted at the Arianablog, pointed to here at Fitzgerald’s historic opportunity.

As much as I would personally enjoy Fitzgerald’s exposing Bush administration complicity in the original forging of the documents alleging an Iraqi effort to obtain yellowcake from Niger, I don’t expect that to actually happen.

The chatter pretty much has convinced me that we’ll be seeing an indictment of Scooter Libby, at least, in the next few days. Maybe Karl Rove. And maybe (pleaseohpleaseohplease) Dick Cheney. But probably not on the Cheney part.

But really, in all honesty, I don’t know. I only know that a lot of people in whose opinions I place a certain amount of faith think something big is going to happen. (And a lot of other people in whose opinions I don’t have much faith think something absolutely spectacular is going to happen.)

Whatever. In a few days we’ll all know. Until then, I’m going to put on my headphones and listen to loud music. Talk to you after.

21 Responses to “Things We Do Not Know about the Patrick Fitzgerald Investigation”

  1. trg34221 Says:

    I’ll take a bite before the anoucement…….

    Here is proof positive that tomorrow Lewis Libby and Karl Rove will not be indicted…. every prosecutor in the history of prosecution informs the defendant or target before the announcement.

    Therefore Rove and Libby would know they have been indicted and predictably they would resign immediately both to fight the charges and provide some distance from the White House and the explosive anouncement!

    The bottom line Karl Rove is a history buff and as a reporter on Hardball pointed out tonight the last time a sitting White House staffer remained in office until they were offically indicted was during the civil war. Who really thinks if Karl Rove knows he is going to be indicted would he really hang out until the indictment was announced!

    Whatever, I guess by mid afternoon the world will know.

  2. jbc Says:

    Hm. That’s interesting, in that it amounts to a definite prediction that can be tested.

    So, if, come tomorrow, Libby and/or Rove _are_ indicted, you would acknowledge that your assertions of “proof positive” in other cases would have to be viewed as suspect, right?

    My own sense is that actual indictments tomorrow are not definite by any means. But I haven’t seen anyone else claim that the fact that Rove and Libby have not yet resigned constitutes “proof positive” that they have not received notification of an upcoming indictment.

    Note, though, that if they aren’t indicted tomorrow, it doesn’t necessarily support your interpretation (though if they subsequently resign in advance of an indictment, I’d have to count that in your favor).

    Anyway, I look forward to seeing what happens tomorrow. Thanks for being willling to put yourself out there, in terms of making a falsifiable prediction.

  3. jbc Says:

    Hm. I guess history-buff Karl not being indicted today provides you an out, technically speaking, even though Scooter was indeed indicted. Because you said events of yesterday offered “proof positive that tomorrow Lewis Libby and Karl Rove will not be indicted.” As a programmer, I have to acknowledge that “A and B” is false if B is false.

  4. trg34221 Says:

    Nice try but as the NYT reported “Mr. Libby resigned just before the indictment was handed up.”

    So A and B were true…. Its nice to read the tea leaves before anyone else.

    PS: In my judgement just finished watching this guy Fitzgerald’s… I agree Libby is going down and should if the facts are proven lying is a crime….. the only one that should be extremely happy is Bill Clinton and Hillary Clinton beacuse if this guy was after them they both would be in jail today…..

  5. jbc Says:

    Um, no, technically, that’s not what you said. You asserted _yesterday_ that if Rove and Libby were going to be indicted today, they would _already_ have resigned as of yesterday. Ergo, you said that constituted “proof positive” that Rove and Libby were not going to be indicted today.

    You may have actually intended to say that “it _will be_ proof positive if, as of the moment the indictments are announced, Libby and Rove have not already resigned, that Libby and Rove will not be indicted,” but the predictive power of knowing that only in the split second before the indictments are announced seems pretty minimal. And anyway, that isn’t what you said.

    Note too that the strict programmer’s construction of your remarks, under which you were technically correct because Rove and Libby were not _both_ indicted, kind of goes against the normal, everyday interpretation of a remark like the one you made. I think most people hearing the statement, “Here is proof positive that tomorrow Lewis Libby and Karl Rove will not be indicted” would interpret it to be a prediction that _neither_ of them was going to be indicted. At least, that’s how I took it when I first read it. And under that interpretation, the prediction failed.

  6. TeacherVet Says:

    The prediction failed; therefore, trg “lied” (using the modern, political definition).

    Libby also “lied” – about a crime he apparently did not commit. He hurt Fitzgerald’s little feelings, and he’ll pay the price. Joe Wilson, hero of the left, exposed liar, was the first to expose his wife as an agent – even before the Novac article – walks free….apparently, not a big enough fish.

    A man has been ruined, accused (but not indicted) of a crime that never occurred, since, as Fitzgerald was forced to confirm repeatedly, Valerie Plame was classified, but not covert – and covert status was necessary for a crime to have been committed. That fact was obviously ascertained early in the process, and honestly should have dictated that the “investigation” end at that point of discovery.

    My age-old question…..who’s next?

  7. stefcambon Says:

    Whether or not a legal crime was committed in the technical sense of the term, I think it’s important to keep in mind two things here:

    1. the ethic of blowing a spy’s cover, regardless of his/her official status, as an act of retribution

    2. the fact that even if Plame was not officially “covert”, what about any of her associates at the front company called “Brewster Jennings Associates”? Surely there could have been coverts there, and their security and cover were jeopardized.

    These two points show at least that the leaker was unethical, and at the very worst committed a treasonous crime. Personally, I would like to believe the former, because to think that someone staffed so high up could stoop to such lows…….oh I forgot about Nixon again. Rats!

  8. trg34221 Says:

    First of all I was just trying to read the tea leaves and got it right Rove was in the clears and Libby waitied until the last minute to resign.

    On another not lets review what the special-counsel said today….

    Patrick Fitzgerald, special counsel in the leak probe, “I can tell you, the substantial bulk of the work in this investigation is concluded.” Translation I am not touching Karl Rove with a 10-foot pole!

    Patrick Fitzgerald, special counsel in the leak probe, “We make no allegation that the vice president committed any criminal act. We make no allegation that any other people who provided or discussed with Mr. Libby committed any criminal act.” Translation all you get is Scooter Libby!

    Patrick Fitzgerald, special counsel in the leak probe, “Let me say two things. Number one, I am not speaking to whether or not Valerie Wilson was covert. And anything I say is not intended to say anything beyond this: that she was a CIA officer from January 1st, 2002, forward.” Translation she worked at the CIA but she didn’t clean the bathrooms!

    Patrick Fitzgerald, special counsel in the leak probe, ” I will confirm that her association with the CIA was classified…. and all I’ll say is that, look, we have not made any allegation that Mr. Libby knowingly, intentionally outed a covert agent.” Translation nobody at the White House outed the name of a covert agent.

    LETS REPEAT that one again…. Patrick Fitzgerald, special counsel in the leak probe, “‘And all I’ll say is that, look, we have not made any allegation that Mr. Libby knowingly, intentionally outed a covert agent.” Translation even though Scooter Libby lied he didn’t commit an underlining crime.

    Finally this one is important for all left wing extremists to take note!

    Patrick Fitzgerald, special counsel in the leak probe, “This indictment is not about the war. This indictment’s not about the propriety of the war. And people who believe fervently in the war effort, people who oppose it, people who have mixed feelings about it should not look to this indictment for any resolution of how they feel or any vindication of how they feel.” Translation I do not work for Michael Moore and Cindy Sheehan.

    Lastly the only thing I can say about Scooter Libby is with the evidence that Patrick Fitzgerald presented it looks like poor Scooter inadvertently thought he was working for Bill Clinton and didn’t get GW Bush memo tell the truth!

  9. enkidu Says:

    She has been working as a spy (covert, secret, whatever – our agent) in the area of WMDs, for what 18 years? Hmmm that sounds like we should keep our eye on the ball and know what these central African nations are doing in the areas of WMDs, nuclear material proliferation, bioweapons etc. Her career as a covert operative is over. Scooter/Rove/Cheney/etc outed her as payback for Wilson calling their BS on the yellowcake/Iraq connection. If GHWBush said outing a CIA spook is treason, how in the world can the right wing folks brush this off as no big deal? Situational ethics? Cognitive dissonance? Lies?

    Sorry to reduce this to a slogan, but… They lied, people died.

    Did you hear the SNL Bush joke?
    In a recent poll 66% of Americans think President Bush is doing a poor job of handling the war in Iraq, and the remaining 34% think that Adam and Eve rode dinosaurs to church

    *sfx rimshot*

    I suggest googling white house iraq group and the office of special plans (don’t these folks read Orwell? who names these things?)

  10. Craig Says:

    Unless Fitzgerald is awaiting further information, it seems to me that the lack of charges regarding the actual leaking of a CIA agent’s ID indicates that this assumed-to-be-true connection that Enkidu and others want to insist upon between the Bush Administration and the blown cover of Plame just isn’t there. Otherwise, it wouldn’t be just this perjury charge of statement discrepancies between a reporter and Libby, but also some flat-out official charges of someone committing the crime of disclosing Plame’s cover publicly.

  11. jbc Says:

    Why would you say that, Craig? If Fitzgerald has Libby cold on 30 years’ worth of perjury and false statements and obstruction of justice charges, and can convict him under those without needing to get into the tricky stuff about showing state of mind that some of the other charges would require, he might well choose to go that route, even if he believes the evidence does, in fact, show that the outing itself was criminal.

    Granted, Fitzgerald made a point of not saying that that was the case in his press conference on Friday. But he just as clearly avoided making the point you’re making: that no actual crime beyond the perjury/false statements/obstruction had been committed. He just made the point, quite clearly, that these are the charges he was indicting under, and that he wasn’t going to say anything, period, about alleged crimes other than those.

    It doesn’t mean he couldn’t come back with indictments for those other crimes next week. He might. Or he might not. But even if he doesn’t, I don’t think it lets you conclusively state what the Bush apologists have been trying to say it does: That there was no actual crime here, aside from the lying.

  12. Craig Says:

    No, I probably can’t say categorically that there was no direct outing of Plame by Bush’s Administration, based on no specificlly-related indictment, although I still think these results would cause someone to lean toward that conclusion. However, my main point was that you also can’t assert that it DID happen, as Enkidu is plainly stating, either. The way some people state this as such as “given”, you would think the indictable evidence would be there.

    Besides, if the case was borderline enough, why wouldn’t Fitzgerald at least create an indictment, and let the sysytem determine if its enough for conviction?

    Then again, as I said, maybe he is awaiting some additional information.

  13. enkidu Says:

    Lets see… connect the dots… Joe Wilson blows the bush regime’s lies about Niger nuke deal to hell and back… so suddenly there is a wave of leaks that out his wife (ending her career and possibly her life)… no connection of course! *wink!* and these leaks stem from white house officials who lie and ask the reporters they are feeding this drivel to lie (the whole I’m going to pretend to be a FORMER W.H. official to obscure my trail thing that Scooter set up)… no connection… *wink!*

    I guess that makes you a 34%er Craig

    When will you folks PLEASE take your head from the sand (or Cheney’s butt) and acknowledge that this regime has been a DISASTER for the USofA. Unless of course you are heavily invested in oil and defense stocks.

    Errrr, uhm how much were Cheney’s Halliburton options up? 3800%
    He’ll ‘donate’ the profits to some poor deserving indicted Republican’s legal defense fund I am sure. There should be quite a few of those.

    Yeah, I think Rove came within a whisker of being indicted on Friday. But the investigation is ongoing. Let the rats start to talk as they flee and we shall see…

  14. Craig Says:

    The “connect the dots” approach is great for a children’s puzzle book, but not so great when you want to prove what is fact or assumption. To talk like this criminal outing is plainly factual is just as misleading as any right-winger spinning that you would rail against. It may yet transform from credible argument to proven fact, but it hasn’t yet.

    I just never cease to be amazed how a conversation about a very specific aspect of a very specific issue, quickly gets blown up, out of nowhere into slogans and rants (“mindless conservatives, blood for oil, Halliburton, profiteering, etc.). It’s hard to maintain a focused conversation with such thinking.

  15. jbc Says:

    Well, at this point I think it’s pretty clear that Libby outed Valerie Wilson to several reporters, and lied about it afterwards, and that a number of very high-ranking people in the White House were aware of what he’d done at a time when they were publicly claiming ignorance.

    Maybe it was a crime under the IIPA, maybe it was a crime under the Espionage Act. Maybe it wasn’t either. But it’s not a kid’s game to look at what we know today and infer the facts of what took place as being very likely to be true.

    This isn’t a conviction. It’s just an indictment. But to believe that Libby is innocent of the charges in the indictment requires a very, very large dose of faith in the essential goodness of the Bush administration, and a correspondingly large amount of faith in the incompetence and/or malicious dishonesty of Patrick Fitzgerald.

  16. Craig Says:

    Maybe I’m missing this factoid, but I just don’t see where it is “pretty clear” that Plame was actually outed by one of these principals. The type of charges don’t suggest that, as far as I can tell. I certainly don’t automatically give Libby any assumed innocence for making some contradictory, misleading, or outright false statements regarding his recollection of events. But if this outing was “pretty clear” it would have prompted a much different set of charges. Therefore, to me, that issue is still very much in the “plausible scenario” stage. Not the assumed fact that many want to refer to it as.

  17. enkidu Says:

    I am with jbc here: the right wing of our country has to go to increasingly implausible leaps of faith to assume only the best for their hero and his merry crew. I do think it is pretty clear if you follow the timeline, follow the principals (perps?), follow the trail of evidence (yes connect the dots would seem appropriate for Craig and the true believers). Rove and his cabal of dirty tricksters learned one thing from Watergate: don’t get caught.

    I think Fitzgerald is a pretty tough fair guy. Ashcroft called him America’s toughest prosecutor (prolly not exact quote). He took the lead in putting a bunch of WTC bombing 1 perps behind bars. Osama bin Forgotten is still a rallying point for the whackos we are manufacturing every minute we don’t admit this whole Iraq thing was a boondoogle and refocus on crushing Islamic Extremism (while you are at it lets have a go at the Christian and right wing nutjob version right here in the USA).

    Craig, I don’t see anywhere in these comments the term “mindless” except where you use it. No one used the slogan “blood for oil” except you. I identified the Lied/Died meme as a slogan that seems very sadly to be quite true.

    And the profiteering stuff is fact. Can’t dispute that these guys are making money hand over fist – both legitimately via the stock market and illegitimately via the astounding amounts of graft/waste/cronyism that these no-bid and black box contracts for Iraq ‘reconstruction’. Try the GAO (general accounting office) for a non-partisan source of information. Of course, I acknowledge that Craig (mb not so much), cowbot (I made a typo, but if the boot fits) and trg will find any facts that discount their increasingly out of touch worldview to be Demon-crat lies.

    I got some news for you lads and lassies way out n the right wing: the Dems aren’t the enemy, Islamic extremism is. Right now you folks are looking more and more extreme to me. I implore you to come back to the center of the bell curve. The sky is blue. Grass is green. Politicians lie and scheme.

    There! A nice nursery rhyme to wrap up.

  18. Craig Says:

    You obviously missed my secondary point about how we were having a discussion on a very specific issue, and you went off onto this tangent about oil and Halliburton, and stocks/options and “you folks” with your heads buried somewhere (or in someone).


    Okay, so let’s discuss semantics now. I freely admit I paraphrased the rants that you went off on. You referred to people with their heads buried, I worded that as meaning “mindless”, you referred to the war being a disaster unless you’re invested in oil, I quite reasonably summarized that as a version of the “no blood for oil” slogan.

    I don’t have any particular beef against Fitzgerald and I certainly don’t believe that the group of people being investigated by him are innocent bearers of truth and light. I certainly don’t believe that Republicans can do no wrong and Democrats only want to ruin the Country. I certainly don’t think Bush has done a particularly great job across the course of the presidency, and have disagreed with a number of his actions. All this, which I have stated on this website previously, seems to get lost here unless I join the incessent Monty Python-like chorus of “HE’S A WITCH!!! A WITCH!!”.

    To get back to my original point, I just think there is enough counter-points out there on this whole Plame-outing business that it really isn’t the obvious fact that many people want to think of it as. But one can always rationalize those contrary sources as right-wing biased, and therefore automatically discount the information. I think the way the indictments were handed out are indicative of just how non-factual the criminal outing is right now. Could this change with access to more information? Possibly, but not as of now.

    If others want to make the leap of equating reasoned assertions with stone-cold facts, they can do so in their world. But don’t berate those who prefer their facts to actually BE factual.

  19. enkidu Says:

    You spin to the right and perhaps from your view, I spin to the left.

    Fact remains that that the vice president’s office has been ground zero for the iraq war. From day 1 the pusch regime has focused on the incredible oil wealth and the potential for the obviously evil and bad Saddam to use that wealth to some day create something that might possibly be used against us. Not everyone agreed with the reasons for going to war and one of the big kicks to the shins for this whole grab Iraq’s oil (ooops I meant bring them Freedom!) boondoggle was this uppity Joe Wilson guy.

    Outing his wife is obvious payback and while the actual outing is a bit grey legally (perhaps the left might spin things this way, the right that way), but the cover up is not. Lying to a grand jury is impeachable, right?

    Sometimes it seems that pusch has given nearly everyone in America polarized filter eyewear. The Rs see everything… well… off to the right of center, and the Left has their lens looking off to the left of center. Cast off your partisan filter entirely and it is easy to see w has been a nearly unmitigated disaster.

    Please google the GAO’s report on Iraq spending.
    Bet those commies spin a web of leftee lies!

  20. Craig Says:

    I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. It’s much easier to talk past each other than it seems to be to talk to each other.

  21. ethan-p Says:

    While I share some of Craig’s skepticism, the Plume “outing” is not really what’s in question anymore. It’s whether or not Libby lied to the grand jury about it.

    It’s interesting how it has become common that the cover-up is a more serious act than the one being covered up. Nixon, Clinton, and now members of the Bush administration.

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