Coincidence or pattern?

A friend notes that The New York Sun article today about the dropping of FBI investigations into intelligence leaks (mentioned in an earlier blog) contains lots of interesting news. (emphasis supplied) 
A CIA spokeswoman, Michele Neff, flatly denied that her agency has resisted the FBI's efforts to hunt down leakers. "That's simply not the case," she said yesterday. "Why would we not want to get to the bottom of the leaks? The Office of General Counsel works closely with the Department of Justice on investigations regarding unauthorized disclosures."
He and I agree that In normal parlance that means: OGC and DOJ get together and agree that there will be no consequences for stonewalling, so the FBI is hamstrung in proceeding further.  Unless of course the target is attractive for DOJ.Sometimes the target is. Sometimes it isn't. And the seriousness of the inquiry and the cooperation of other agencies also is remarkably variable.

My friend and I, both with experience in the government, had the same interpretation of this part of the article:
Mr. Dion, the Justice Department official who received the memos detailing the difficulties, and the current head of the CIA's Office of General Counsel, John Rizzo, declined requests to be interviewed for this article.
It is hardly surprising that Dion remains mum. Dion handled the Sandy Berger case and as the report just released  reveals he   showed a singular lack of curiosity.  And then finally, there is this:
When the Justice Department launched its investigation in the fall of 2003 to learn who leaked Plame's identity, it was John Dion, head of the department's counterespionage section, who led the charge until Fitzgerald -- the U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois -- came on board as special counsel in December 2003. Fitzgerald was chosen by former Deputy Attorney General James Comey, who has since left the department. Plame's identity and covert status were revealed in a piece by syndicated columnist Robert Novak on July 14, 2003. The column cited two senior administration officials as sources, which sparked an uproar and an investigation into whether the White House released Plame's name as retaliation for her husband Joseph Wilson's criticism of the administration. Dion, a career prosecutor with the Justice Department since 1973, worked closely with FBI Special Agent John Eckenrode and other agents in the months following the leak. "I think of him as someone very wise and careful. Very well-respected by the intelligence community. That's his bread and butter," the former DOJ official says of Dion. Topping a long list of past career successes is Dion's involvement in the prosecutions of infamous spies Robert Hanssen of the FBI and Aldrich Ames of the CIA. Nathan Muyskens, a partner with Troutman Sanders, says the counterespionage section is known for having career prosecutors such as Dion with great reputations. "He's not someone who would ever be driven by any kind of political ambition," says Muyskens, who served as an associate independent counsel in the case of former Secretary of Agriculture Michael Espy. When Fitzgerald took over the reins of the investigation, Dion remained on the team, as did Ron Roos, Dion's deputy, and Bruce Swartz, deputy assistant attorney general of the Criminal Division at Main Justice.
Dion seems in sum to have been incurious about the Berger case, the multiple CIA and DoS leaks, but showed significant interest in the non-leak case of non-classified information  Plame case. .And--miracolo!--the DoS and CIA who were unwilling to be forthcoming in the real leak cases seemed to be more than willing to cooperate on Plame.

So, my friend and I agree that Dion can do the job when he's motivated.  It's just a matter of figuring out what motivates him.  For example, he  was  very  motivated to go after Rove/Libby. There is no indication that the CIA and DoS ,which were unavailing to assist in the actual leak cases documented by the NY Sun, cooperated fully  with the DoJ  in the Plame case . In fact, in the case of the State Department we know they cooperated so fully  with Dion that they kept from the President the  very important news that the Deputy Secretary Armitage was the Novak source. That news would have ended the move to appoint a special prosecutor and it most certainly have ended years of  harassment to White House officials and staffers and feverish  coverage which implied the President and his men were willing to jeopardize national security and the lives of undercover intelligence agents for political gain,

We are to believe, I suppose, that it is mere coincidence that when leaks are harmful to the Administration there is no inter agency cooperation and no DoJ motivation to pursue the matters and when it is harmful to the Administration to pursue non-leaks and to sit on information helpful to the Administration, everyone in the bureaucracy goes out full bore.


At what point does repeated coincidence become a pattern? my friend asks.

I don't have an answer to that.
A friend notes that The New York Sun article today about the dropping of FBI investigations into intelligence leaks (mentioned in an earlier blog) contains lots of interesting news. (emphasis supplied) 
A CIA spokeswoman, Michele Neff, flatly denied that her agency has resisted the FBI's efforts to hunt down leakers. "That's simply not the case," she said yesterday. "Why would we not want to get to the bottom of the leaks? The Office of General Counsel works closely with the Department of Justice on investigations regarding unauthorized disclosures."
He and I agree that In normal parlance that means: OGC and DOJ get together and agree that there will be no consequences for stonewalling, so the FBI is hamstrung in proceeding further.  Unless of course the target is attractive for DOJ.Sometimes the target is. Sometimes it isn't. And the seriousness of the inquiry and the cooperation of other agencies also is remarkably variable.

My friend and I, both with experience in the government, had the same interpretation of this part of the article:
Mr. Dion, the Justice Department official who received the memos detailing the difficulties, and the current head of the CIA's Office of General Counsel, John Rizzo, declined requests to be interviewed for this article.
It is hardly surprising that Dion remains mum. Dion handled the Sandy Berger case and as the report just released  reveals he   showed a singular lack of curiosity.  And then finally, there is this:
When the Justice Department launched its investigation in the fall of 2003 to learn who leaked Plame's identity, it was John Dion, head of the department's counterespionage section, who led the charge until Fitzgerald -- the U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois -- came on board as special counsel in December 2003. Fitzgerald was chosen by former Deputy Attorney General James Comey, who has since left the department. Plame's identity and covert status were revealed in a piece by syndicated columnist Robert Novak on July 14, 2003. The column cited two senior administration officials as sources, which sparked an uproar and an investigation into whether the White House released Plame's name as retaliation for her husband Joseph Wilson's criticism of the administration. Dion, a career prosecutor with the Justice Department since 1973, worked closely with FBI Special Agent John Eckenrode and other agents in the months following the leak. "I think of him as someone very wise and careful. Very well-respected by the intelligence community. That's his bread and butter," the former DOJ official says of Dion. Topping a long list of past career successes is Dion's involvement in the prosecutions of infamous spies Robert Hanssen of the FBI and Aldrich Ames of the CIA. Nathan Muyskens, a partner with Troutman Sanders, says the counterespionage section is known for having career prosecutors such as Dion with great reputations. "He's not someone who would ever be driven by any kind of political ambition," says Muyskens, who served as an associate independent counsel in the case of former Secretary of Agriculture Michael Espy. When Fitzgerald took over the reins of the investigation, Dion remained on the team, as did Ron Roos, Dion's deputy, and Bruce Swartz, deputy assistant attorney general of the Criminal Division at Main Justice.
Dion seems in sum to have been incurious about the Berger case, the multiple CIA and DoS leaks, but showed significant interest in the non-leak case of non-classified information  Plame case. .And--miracolo!--the DoS and CIA who were unwilling to be forthcoming in the real leak cases seemed to be more than willing to cooperate on Plame.

So, my friend and I agree that Dion can do the job when he's motivated.  It's just a matter of figuring out what motivates him.  For example, he  was  very  motivated to go after Rove/Libby. There is no indication that the CIA and DoS ,which were unavailing to assist in the actual leak cases documented by the NY Sun, cooperated fully  with the DoJ  in the Plame case . In fact, in the case of the State Department we know they cooperated so fully  with Dion that they kept from the President the  very important news that the Deputy Secretary Armitage was the Novak source. That news would have ended the move to appoint a special prosecutor and it most certainly have ended years of  harassment to White House officials and staffers and feverish  coverage which implied the President and his men were willing to jeopardize national security and the lives of undercover intelligence agents for political gain,

We are to believe, I suppose, that it is mere coincidence that when leaks are harmful to the Administration there is no inter agency cooperation and no DoJ motivation to pursue the matters and when it is harmful to the Administration to pursue non-leaks and to sit on information helpful to the Administration, everyone in the bureaucracy goes out full bore.


At what point does repeated coincidence become a pattern? my friend asks.

I don't have an answer to that.