The New York Times today calls on Fitzgerald to make public what he's found or fold.
The Armitage story is mainly a reminder that this investigation has gone on too long.
While this page opposed calls for reviving the special prosecutor law for this case, we did say that someone outside the White House orbit should be in charge, rather than Attorney General John Ashcroft. Like most others, we saw Mr. Fitzgerald as a good choice. Now we fear he has succumbed to the prosecutor's foot—dragging disease. He kept the case open after I. Lewis Libby, Mr. Cheney's chief of staff, was indicted. At the time he hinted that he would have more to say on the original crime he was investigating. That was last October.
It's time for Mr. Fitzgerald to provide answers or admit that this investigation has run its course. Otherwise, he risks being lumped in with the special prosecutor who spent a decade investigating the former Clinton cabinet member Henry Cisneros, and wound up with nothing more than his conviction that he had yet to get to the bottom of things.
Captain Ed gets the last, best word on this proposal:
Well, it's a start, as is the Gray Lady's avoidance of Joe Wilson's lies in this latest editorial. For the first time in memory, it states that Plame did get Wilson his assignment, which they have not admitted until now, and they also stop themselves from claiming that Wilson found no evidence of an Iraqi attempt to buy uranium. Presumably, someone at the Times finally read the SSCI report from two years ago.
Armitage's role in providing the information to Novak has sucked the life out of the Times' jeremiad against Dick Cheney and Karl Rove. It has begun to dawn on the editors that the failure to indict either man on any charges, let alone anything related to the actual revelation of Plame's identity, strongly suggests that their assumptions about vendettas and conspiracies have been exposed as baseless. It also may occur to them that their lack of support for Judith Miller may reflect badly on them. Small wonder that they want Fitzgerald to come clean and get this story buried as quickly as possible.
The Times scolds Fitzgerald for his lack of response, but they still have not taken responsibility for their own role in this witch hunt. These men and women led the public charge for the investigation to be wrested from the DoJ and assigned to a special prosecutor accountable to no one except a panel of judges, also accountable to no one but themselves. They reversed their own stand on special prosecutors taken during the Clinton administration and demanded this appointment, and they made sure enough Democratic politicians spoke up to get it. Now that the case has utterly collapsed, the Gray Lady acts like a prim schoolmarm, wagging her finger at little Patrick for mischief she thoroughly endorsed.
As I said, it's a start for the New York Times. Let's hope.
The Captain is right to be critical of the NYT, but he is in error on one point. Fitzgerald is not, because of the special nature of Comey's appointment, accountable to "a panel of judges" as were independent prosecutors in the past. Nor is he accountable to the Department of Justice under the ordinary regulations applicable to special prosecutors under the present regulations. He is, in fact, accountable to no one. Supervised by no one.
Frankly, it shows.
Clarice Feldman 9 06 06