DEC. 30, 2003
Ashcroft Removes Himself From Inquiry Into Plame C.I.A. Leak, Comey Appoints Special Prosecutor Fitzgerald - The New York Times
December 30, 2003 was a very dark and infamous day for the US law enforcement and criminal justice systems - and above all for the American people. It was when lying, deceiving, corrupt, politicized Deputy Attorney General James Comey after an FBI investigation led by a lying, deceiving, corrupt politicized Director Robert Mueller appointed a lying, deceiving corrupt, politicized US Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald as special prosecutor to investigate the Valerie Plame- CIA covert agent leak case. Indeed, Fitzgerald was appointed to his position after Attorney General John Ashcroft (a good, honest, decent man) was lied to, deceived and manipulated by Comey and Mueller into recusing himself from the probe. In the history of criminal DOJ investigations nothing this crooked, deceitful and shameful had ever been done.
THE UNWARRANTED SPECIAL COUNCIL PROBE
Comey laughably compared Patrick Fitzgerald to the incorruptible, untouchable Elliot Ness.
Now the purpose of the special counsel probe in Plamegate was to find the source within the Bush administration that apparently "leaked" to conservative journalist Robert Novak the identity of covert CIA agent Valerie Plame - a possible crime under the Intelligence Identities Protection Act (IIPA see). But outrageous as it was Fitzgerald's appointment by Comey (with Mueller's backing and blessing) was completely, totally, absolutely unwarranted - a waste of $3 million in tax payer's money spent over a 30 month period to find what was already known to both men and criminally hid from Ashcroft.
RICHARD ARMITAGE CONFESSES TO NONCRIMINAL PLAME LEAK
Armitage and boss Colin Powell
Indeed, on October 2, 2003, early in the investigation (90 days before Comey hired Fitzgerald) Richard Armitage (Undersecretary of State to Colin Powell) confessed to FBI investigators that he was the culprit: Novak's primary source for the Plame "leak" - which he (as he and Novak later said) let innocently slip out in idle, casual, shooting the breeze state department gossip (see). As Novak said and Armitage confirmed, "I didn't do any digging to get Plame's name; it was given to me by Armitage."
KARL ROVE AND BILL HARLOW CONFIRM LEAK
Moreover, shortly afterwards, Mueller's investigators learned from interviewing Karl Rove (Bush's Deputy Chief of Staff), and CIA spokesman Bill Harlow, that they were Novak's secondary sources for confirming Armitage's "leak." What Mueller and Comey also knew was that these three men committed no crimes under the IIPA; that the primary leak and two confirmations weren't nefarious attempts to expose Plame's covert status and hurt her in any way. In other words, what Novak received from Armitage about Plame (and then from Rove and Harlow) wasn't a real criminal leak of classified CIA information.
Consequently, because Armitage, Rove and Harlow were innocent of wrongdoing (there was no underlying criminal intent in the leak and confirmations) Fitzgerald never prosecuted them. And because Valerie Plame wasn't the victim of a crime her 2007 civil suit against Armitage, Cheney, Libby and Rove for damages done to her person and career was dismissed as no better than a frivolous nuisance suit (see). In the final analysis, Plame was the victim of her husband's lying, slanderous, malicious op-ed attack on the Bush administration.
FAKE NEWS BUSH CRIMINAL CONSPIRACY STORY
The narrative that the Plame disclosure was a serious IIPA crime was a fake news media story designed to smear the Bush administration because of the Iraq War. Nation's David Corn, the Washington Post, New York Times and hate Bush derangement conspiracy nuts accused the administration of criminally planting the story of Plame's secret identity with Novak to discredit her husband, Ambassador Joe Wilson, a critic of a so-called "illegal war;" and then (like Nixon with Watergate) trying to criminally cover it up.
JOE WILSON, NIGER AND YELLOW CAKE URANIUM
This is what happened: President Bush in his January 2003 State of the Union claimed (rightly as it turned out see) that Saddam Hussein sent agents to the African country of Niger to purchase yellow cake uranium to build a nuclear bomb. (Saddam later admitted to FBI interrogators that he had every intention of reconstituting his nuclear weapon's program see). This and other charges against Saddam were used to justify going to war against him.
In February 2002 the CIA sent Joe Wilson (former Ambassador to Gabon who did some work in Niger) to investigate Bush's claim. Wilson was chosen for the mission on the recommendation of his wife Valerie Plame (a covert agent who worked in the WMD and nuclear proliferation division of the agency). On July 6, 2003 (Bush's 57th birthday) Wilson published an article in the NY Times (see) accusing Bush of lying about the Saddam-Uranium-Niger connection; actually, as was later discovered, it was Wilson who was lying as the connection was real, but a deal was never consummated (see).
ROBERT NOVAK'S BOMBSHELL COLUMN
Enter conservative columnist Robert Novak. Several days after the Times published Wilson's slanderous anti-Bush hit piece Novak contacted Richard Armitage to discuss the matter (and whatever high level State Department gossip he could offer). Novak puzzled about Wilson's CIA appointment asked Armitage the following:
"Why would the CIA send Joseph Wilson, not an expert in nuclear proliferation and with no intelligence experience, on the mission to Niger?"
Then Armitage who had learned from a State Department memo that Valerie Plame a CIA employee (he didn't know she was covert) was Wilson's wife, inadvertently drops what later becomes a bombshell:
"Well you know his wife works [as an analyst*] at the CIA in counterproliferation, and she suggested that he be sent to Niger."
Then Novak learns from Rove and Harlow that Plame indeed worked at the agency. Then on July 14th Novak publishes the Wilson-Plame-Niger story in The Washington Post (see), and sets in motion the Plamegate fiasco.
*Armitage uses the word "analyst" in describing Plame when talking to Bob Woodward a month before Novak's article (see). This proves that Armitage had no idea Plame was covert and that his disclosures to Woodward and Novak were inadvertent, not criminal leaks
WILSON'S NBC INTERVIEW AND NATION'S DAVID CORN
Seven days later (July 21st) Wilson in an interview with NBC's Andrea Mitchell verifies his wife's CIA status (see). But days before, starting with Nation's David Corn (July 16th), the Bush derangement press launched a baseless smear campaign against the administration accusing it of planting the Plame story with Novak to discredit Wilson for his anti-war article. Corn also raised the possibility that the leak could be in violation of the Intelligence Identities Protection Act which carries penalties of up to ten years in prison and $50k in fines.
PLAMEGATE IS BUSH'S WATERGATE - OR WORSE?
Then all hell broke lose. The press blew up the Plame leak (now called "Plamegate") into a scandal of Watergate proportions predicting that it could bring down the Bush administration like Watergate ruined Nixon's. At the end of September (2003) with the media, Democrats and CIA Director George Tennet calling for an investigation to find the leaker Bush ordered Attorney General John Ashcroft to begin a probe. That's when a very worried Richard Armitage told boss Colin Powell that he was Novak's source for the so called leak. Powell (who'd keep this hidden from Bush because he was embarrassed) advised Armitage to tell the FBI the truth. Several days later (October 2nd) he did just that.
COMEY AND MUELLER KEEP ASHCROFT IN THE DARK ABOUT ARMITAGE
Mueller, Ashcroft and Comey
Right then and there with Mueller having found Plame's unwitting leaker the investigation should have ended, with Comey telling Ashcroft about Armitage. But he said nothing. Instead, Mueller continued the probe and learned from Harlow and Rove* that they were the sources who confirmed to Novak Armitage's noncriminal, perfectly legal, innocent leak. But Comey and Mueller continued to keep Ashcroft in the dark - except on one point, and this in my view was criminal.
*Rove met with the FBI on October 24th. Harlow's meeting is unknown.
THE GREAT COMEY-MUELLER PLAMEGATE
If Comey and/or Mueller had told AG Ashcroft the truth about Armitage that would have been the end of the Plame-CIA-leak scandal. Ashcroft would have notified George Bush (to his relief) that the source of Novak's leak had been found, and that an investigation was underway to determine if a crime had been committed - or that the probe was completed and no crime found (which was the case). But Comey and Mueller did no such thing. Instead, as I said above, they launched the greatest federal criminal investigation hoax in US history - which virtually defrauded taxpayers out of millions to fund it.
COMEY FALSELY USES KARL ROVE TO MANIPULATE ASHCROFT INTO RECUSING HIMSELF
Indeed, concealing Armitage Comey lying to Ashcroft told him that the MAIN TARGET of Mueller's probe (the possible criminal source of the leak) was Karl Rove. Rove, a good friend of Ashcroft's was his advisor when he ran for governor of Missouri and US Senator. In fact, it was Rove that urged Bush to hire Ashcroft as his AG.
Ashcroft (center) Fitzgerald (right)
On December 30, 2003 Ashcroft, because of the conflict of interest mainly with Rove, recused himself from the investigation thus giving Deputy AG Comey the authority to hire a special prosecutor. Comey picked good friend and college buddy Patrick Fitzgerald a US Attorney*. In other words, Comey (with Mueller's backing and blessing) picked Fitzgerald to start a completely unnecessary criminal investigation into finding Plame's leaker and bring him to justice when Mueller and Comey knew the leaker's identity and that he was innocent of any crime. Indeed, hiding Armitage from Ashcroft and Fitzgerald's unwarranted and costly investigation became the real crime; and no sooner was Fitzgerald chosen by Comey and clued in on the details of Mueller's probe than he befouled and denigrated himself and became an accomplice in covering up the truth.
FITZGERALD INFORMS NOVAK HE KNOWS WHO HIS SOURCES WERE FOR PLAME LEAK
Indeed, Fitzgerald after reading through Mueller's file on the Plame case, and learning about Armitage's, Rove's and Harlow's roles in the "leak" wasted no time in setting his phony special council investigation in motion. As we learned from Novak who met with Fitzgerald on January 14, 2004 (15 days after he was appointed) he knew everything (see). In fact, prior to meeting with Novak Fitzgerald obtained waivers from Armitage, Rove and Harlow freeing Novak from his journalistic obligation to protect his sources and testify telling all. What Fitzgerald learned from Armitage, Rove and Harlow was confirmed by Novak. He Novak contacted them, not the other way around, about Valerie Plame; in other words, there was no conspiracy by the Bush administration to out Plame and use her to discredit her husband - like Plame and Wilson allege it did to this day.
THOUGH PLAMEGATE IS SOLVED FITZGERALD CRIMINALLY EXPANDS INVESTIGATION
With Plamegate solved (not once but twice) and nothing more to investigate Fitzgerald should have ended the probe after his meeting with Novak. But like Mueller and Comey in the three months leading up to his unneeded appointment Fitzgerald caring nothing for the law, justice or truth continued his probe and expanded it (turning it into a witch hunt) - as Mueller and Comey cheered. Power corrupts; and Fitzgerald was so corrupted by the unfettered power conferred on him by Comey that he was hell-bent on keeping and using it (and abusing it when necessary) until hopefully he'd strike gold and win a glorious place in history for himself; until hopefully, possibly, with fortune's blessing he could take down perhaps Donald Rumsfeld, or Condi Rice, or Dick Cheney for perjury, obstruction or other process crimes; or maybe he could bag the biggest prize of all: George W. Bush and get him impeached. But that was not to be.
Nearly two years after his meeting with Novak this lying, corrupt, out of control Chicagoland prosecutor indicted Scooter Libby (Dick Cheney's Chief of Staff) on perjury and obstruction of justice. Shamelessly Fitzgerald told the press that Libby was "the first official known to have told a reporter ... about Valerie Wilson" as if Libby was somehow tied to the alleged criminal leak; indeed, and laughably, Fitzgerald charged Libby with obstructing his investigation into finding Plame's leaker when he knew who it was all the time.
What a farce! From Mueller finding Richard "the leaker" Armitage, to he and Comey hiding Armitage from Ashcroft (and ultimately from Bush) this conspiracy of silence, deceit and defrauding the public of millions unspectacularly ended with Fitzgerald indicting and convicting Libby (an innocent man*) for impeding his efforts to find the found leaker. You can't make this stuff up.
*Because of his conviction Libby was disbarred losing his license to practice law. But a DC court of appeals restored his license because he convinced it of his innocence and that his trial was corrupted by false testimony (see) .
THE SUDDEN RESURFACING OF VALERIE PLAME
Why wasn't Mueller and Comey indicted for obstruction of justice? Why wasn't Fitzgerald who knowingly sent an innocent man to jail? They were the real criminals in the Plamegate hoax not Scooter Libby, Cheney or anyone else. And now we have Russiagate, an analogous media created scandal and investigation, which like Plamegate lacks a real, underlying crime - and with Mueller, this time, in the role of special prosecutor. And how did his appointment come about? It was triggered by a memo LEAKED by Comey to the press. The irony is mind boggling.
In truth, Russiagate is Plamegate II with Flynn, Manafort, Papadopoulos and Gates being Mueller's Scooter Libbys. And as a sign that Russiagate is a Plamegate type fiasco none other than Valerie Plame four months into Mueller's probe shockingly resurfaced in the news as if to remind us about Mueller and Comey: how devious, dishonest and dirty they are; and how they colluded with Fitzgerald to create (with help from a hyperpartisan press) the greatest criminal investigation hoax in U.S. history.
WAS MUELLER'S AND COMEY'S OPPOSITION TO BUSH'S "TORTURE" PROGRAM THE UNDERLYING REASON FOR WANTING AN UNFETTERED SPECIAL PROSECUTOR TO INVESTIGATE THE ADMINISTRATION?
FBI Director Robert Mueller on Wednesday recalled warning the Justice Department and the Pentagon that some U.S. interrogation methods used against terrorists might be inappropriate, if not illegal.
Mueller's comments came under pointed questioning by House Democrats demanding to know if the Federal Bureau of Investigation tried to stop interrogations in 2002 that critics define as torture.
Mueller said the FBI does not use coercive techniques when questioning suspects or witnesses, and he reportedly pulled his agents out of CIA or military interrogations several years ago to protect them from legal consequences.....
Mueller said some of the FBI's concerns dated back to 2002, when top al Qaeda detainees were waterboarded by CIA interrogators. Waterboarding involves strapping a person down and pouring water over his or her cloth-covered face to create the sensation of drowning. Critics call it a form of torture.
In 2005, the Justice Department was compiling a legal memo on "enhanced interrogation" (which some would call torture). And Comey wasn't happy with it — at all. In e-mails with his then-Chief of Staff Chuck Rosenberg, he voiced strongly worded dissent that the administration would come to regret its push to allow these techniques to continue.
It is clear from the above CBS report that Mueller was opposed to Bush's enhanced interrogation program in its entirety. Comey, however, while being opposed to it in principle, and pushed back as hard as he could against it (see), signed off on it in the end - holding his nose. Why? Because, most probably (as we know from his corrupt handling of Hillary's email investigation) he wanted to survive.
It would appear that Mueller's and Comey's opposition to Bush's approach to counterterrorism (and Iraq war?) was the underlying reason for manipulating John Ashcroft (Bush's "weak" AG) into recusing himself in the Plamegate investigation. Indeed, it appears that in wanting a totally unnecessary special prosecutor with virtually unfettered powers Mueller and Comey were plotting to bring down the administration they lost their faith and trust in.