Saturday, October 29

A DRAWN SWORD MUST TASTE BLOOD

I linked yesterday to this post of Frank Laughter's in which, true to form, he pulled no punches in the context of the Libby indictment in writing in its aftermath:

Fitzgerald held a press conference today and proved a point I’ve made in the past. There’s a serious problem with the ’special prosecutor’ concept. As far as I can tell, there are three groups of people that think the rationale exist to justify an investigation of this nature that runs for two years or more. 1st) Lawyers love it because it pumps money into their profession. 2nd) Democrats love it when Republicans are in office and Republicans love it when Democrats are in office. 3rd) Then, we have the freaking idiots and morons mentioned above.


Seems Frank's spot-on criticism of the "special prosecutor concept" anticipated this hard-hitting piece by David B. Rivkin, Jr. and Lee A. Casey, published in today's edition of the Washington Post:

It is clear that, at least by sometime in January 2004 -- and probably much earlier -- Fitzgerald knew this law had not been violated. Plame was not a "covert" agent but a bureaucrat working at CIA headquarters. Instead of closing shop, however, Fitzgerald sought an expansion of his mandate and has now charged offenses that grew entirely out of the investigation itself. In other words, there was no crime when the investigation started, only, allegedly, after it finished. Unfortunately, for special counsels, as under the code of the samurai, once the sword is drawn it must taste blood.

The age of special prosecutors, of course, began with Watergate. Since that time, a series of "independent counsels" and "special counsels" has left a trail of ruined lives but very few well-founded convictions for serious federal crimes. Republicans were thoroughly disillusioned with the system by the close of Ronald Reagan's second term, and many Democrats came to agree by the time President Bill Clinton left office. The independent counsel statute was not renewed and is no longer in effect. But the attorney general may still appoint special counsels as an administrative act, and this is how Fitzgerald took office. He should be the last.

Nice job, Frank. Good follow-up, WaPo!


FOLLOW-UP: Jay Tea at Wizbang! offers his thoughts on Libby's situation and I think he's being very judicious and reasonable.