Time to replace Fitzgerald?

Mark Levin , citing the WSJ article, says it is. Count me in. Writing at at The Corner referring to the WSJ editorial, he says:

At the risk of offending my dear friend Andy McCarthy, I think it's time to replace Patrick Fitzgerald. This is just the latest mind—boggling twist in the Libby case.

I was among Fitzgerald's first and most vociferous critics. I was appalled at allegations he made at the press conference in which he announced the indictments. I said then and I repeat now—it was way over the top to accuse Libby of blowing Valerie Plame's cover when, in fact, Libby was not even charged with that crime. And Fitzgerald has since told the court that Plame's classified status is not relevant to the case. Of course, Plame's alleged classified status, and the revelation of that status, was the catalyst for the investigation in the first place.

I also take exception to Judge Reggie Walton's ruling that Fitzgerald's appointment doesn't violate the appointments clause. An inferior Justice Department official does not have the authority to delegate the powers and duties of the attorney general on another inferior Justice Department official. And Fitzgerald has used that authority to take the Justice Department in a direction it has never pursued in the past, i.e., to compel testimony from a significant number of reporters about their sources and confidential discussions. This is a policy that should be set by the executive branch after much deliberation, not by a single special prosecutor. It's particularly troublesome in this case because, by Fitzgerald's own admission, this is a straightforward perjury matter. Moreover, I am aware of no national security considerations that might warrant such an exceptional pursuit of media sources.

And as my friend and former boss, Ed Meese, has said, once Fitzgerald determined that Libby was not Bob Novak's source—as it was Novak's column that apparently first disclosed Plame's identity—that should have been the end of the investigation. After all, Libby wasn't Novak's source, and Fitzgerald has concluded that Plame's classified status (if she had one) is of no consequence. What's left?

Somebody needs to bring some common sense and rationality to this case, and that somebody is Attorney General Alberto Gonzales. Gonzales needs to clean up where former Attorney General John Ashcroft messed up, i.e., Ashcroft should not have recused himself under pressure from the likes of Chuck Schumer, which set the stage for the appointment of a special prosecutor. It's not my intention to demean Fitzgerald, who by all accounts has enormous integrity. It's too bad that it's politically untenable to move this investigation back within the Justice Department, where it belonged from the start. Still, it's time to bring another perspective to the government's case and consider the appointment of a widely regarded individual who has experience beyond that of a career prosecutor—perhaps a former jurist. My guess is that this is political dynamite as well. But we ought to start talking about it.

Clarice Feldman   6 6 06

Mark Levin , citing the WSJ article, says it is. Count me in. Writing at at The Corner referring to the WSJ editorial, he says:

At the risk of offending my dear friend Andy McCarthy, I think it's time to replace Patrick Fitzgerald. This is just the latest mind—boggling twist in the Libby case.

I was among Fitzgerald's first and most vociferous critics. I was appalled at allegations he made at the press conference in which he announced the indictments. I said then and I repeat now—it was way over the top to accuse Libby of blowing Valerie Plame's cover when, in fact, Libby was not even charged with that crime. And Fitzgerald has since told the court that Plame's classified status is not relevant to the case. Of course, Plame's alleged classified status, and the revelation of that status, was the catalyst for the investigation in the first place.

I also take exception to Judge Reggie Walton's ruling that Fitzgerald's appointment doesn't violate the appointments clause. An inferior Justice Department official does not have the authority to delegate the powers and duties of the attorney general on another inferior Justice Department official. And Fitzgerald has used that authority to take the Justice Department in a direction it has never pursued in the past, i.e., to compel testimony from a significant number of reporters about their sources and confidential discussions. This is a policy that should be set by the executive branch after much deliberation, not by a single special prosecutor. It's particularly troublesome in this case because, by Fitzgerald's own admission, this is a straightforward perjury matter. Moreover, I am aware of no national security considerations that might warrant such an exceptional pursuit of media sources.

And as my friend and former boss, Ed Meese, has said, once Fitzgerald determined that Libby was not Bob Novak's source—as it was Novak's column that apparently first disclosed Plame's identity—that should have been the end of the investigation. After all, Libby wasn't Novak's source, and Fitzgerald has concluded that Plame's classified status (if she had one) is of no consequence. What's left?

Somebody needs to bring some common sense and rationality to this case, and that somebody is Attorney General Alberto Gonzales. Gonzales needs to clean up where former Attorney General John Ashcroft messed up, i.e., Ashcroft should not have recused himself under pressure from the likes of Chuck Schumer, which set the stage for the appointment of a special prosecutor. It's not my intention to demean Fitzgerald, who by all accounts has enormous integrity. It's too bad that it's politically untenable to move this investigation back within the Justice Department, where it belonged from the start. Still, it's time to bring another perspective to the government's case and consider the appointment of a widely regarded individual who has experience beyond that of a career prosecutor—perhaps a former jurist. My guess is that this is political dynamite as well. But we ought to start talking about it.

Clarice Feldman   6 6 06