TREASONGATE - FITZ IS DA MAN!!!
TREASONGATEFitz asked America to trust him yesterday. And he's earned our trust.
The country and even the criminals are lucky to have this man at this moment in time. Turns out that Patrick "the bulldog" Fitzgerald is nothing more than a doe eyed fawn caught in the headlights...but they haven't blinded him.
The headlights of the world are focused right into the eyes a genuine pure soul. How many of that species are left on this filthy planet? Fitz took all the steam out of me. The venom is gone. I'm slightly ashamed of myself after listening to Fitzgerald and digesting his vibrations.
Make no doubt about it, Citizen Spook would have thrown the book at the Bush crime family (and even the reporters involved) for violating 18 USC 794 of The Espionage Act which has life in prison or the death penalty as the ultimate sentence.
And I could make a case. Indeed, I have made the case to many people.
If Fitz wanted to he could make a case as well. And this is why the Bush cabal are lucky to have Fitzgerald as the "umpire".
Fitz isn't out to "get" anybody. He wants the country to trust him to do the right thing. He is not an over zealous prosecutor. He's an honest working stiff who's trying to operate within the very letter of the law. He will not go one step beyond what he believes is fair to all the parties involved.
Fitz has ethics, and he's not afraid to use them.
I feel somewhat vindicated (are you listening Democratic Underground?) because it's obvious -- after going over the Fitz press conference -- and the indictment -- that the controlling law as far as Fitz is concerned is the Espionage Act.
Page 2 of the indictment lists 18 USC 793 as one of the laws relevant to the investigation, but page 2 doesn't mention the IIPA:
As a person with such clearances, LIBBY was obligated by applicable laws and regulations, including Title 18, United States Code, Section 793, and Executive Order 12958 (as modified by Executive Order 13292), not to disclose classified information to persons not authorized to receive such information, and otherwise to exercise proper care to safeguard classified information against unauthorized disclosure.
Later in the indictment, on page 9, he lists five laws as being relevant to his investigation, the IIPA, 18 USC 793 (improper disclosure of national defense information), 18 USC 1001 (false statements), 18 USC 1503 (obstruction of justice) and 18 USC 1623 (perjury).
And in the press conference he also mentions "793" specifically while not mentioning the IIPA by name although he certainly referred to it.
The "18 USC 1001" reference is very interesting because it also deals with fraud and this is relative to possible state court prosecutions under the felony murder rule. Please see my report on that topic.
What is conspicuously absent from the indictment and the press conference is 18 USC 794. This is the law I would have thrown at them, but I'm not Fitz. And this is why the Bush criminals are lucky to have Fitz as prosecutor. He's not going to prosecute a law just because he can.
I was really upset for a little while yesterday. I couldn't understand how a prosecutor -- and this goes for the AIPAC indictments as well -- could prosecute under 18 USC 793 but not also use 18 USC 794 when the country is in "time of war". The only real difference between 793 and 794 is that 794 -- which allows the maximum sentence of life in prison or death -- is available when the country is at war.
It sure seems like we're at war, doesn't it? 2000 soldiers are dead, we're occupying a foreign land and we're fighting "the enemy". So why no mention of 18 USC 794, Fitz?
I think I know why. Because this war isn't "legal". Congress did not "declare war" and Fitzgerald believes in the law. So he's not going to bastardize the law by sanctioning the war. If Fitz brought indictments under 18 USC 794, essentially he would be making a quasi-political decision. In order to prosecute under 18 USC 794, a prosecutor must establish -- as one of the elements of the statute -- that the illegal release of national defense information happened "in time of war."
But Fitzgerald knows that this Iraq conflict is not a legally declared "war". It was not declared by Congress which is required by the Constitution, and it does not rise to the level necessary under the statute.
The statute was written in 1917. And at that time the Constitution was still in use (sarcasm laced with truth). The framers of the Espionage Act understood that "war" could not happen without an official "declaration of war" as was intended by the framers of the Constitution.
And this is why we are lucky to have Fitz as the captain of this ship right now. Nobody can say that Fitzgerald hasn't exercised prosecutorial restraint. Citizen Spook would have charged the bastards with 18 USC 794 and hung them on their own words, "We are at war." "I'm a war president."
You understand what I'm getting at?
Our man Fitz doesn't think like the rest of us. His vision of the law is pure. He knows, in his heart and mind, that without a Constitutional declaration of war, there is no way he can -- in good conscience -- prosecute under 18 USC 794.
A headline grabbing irrational prosecutor would have ignored this technicality and hung them on their own words and actions. And this is why Bush, the neocons, and the media better show this young man some respect. Could you imagine the prospect of those indicted attempting to convince the court that we were not "in time of war" after all they've said and done to convince the American people that we are at war as the body bags come home on a daily basis.
THE PROSECUTOR'S OPENING STATEMENT TO THE NATION
Fitzgerald's press conference yesterday was more than just an announcement about the Libby indictment. Although Fitz plays his cards close to the vest, if you read between the lines there is a ton of information available.
Yesterday, Fitz took the chance to basically make his opening statements for the coming prosecution of certain individuals under the Espionage Act (18 USC 793). The press conference was Fitzgerald's only chance to speak directly to the people about where he is taking this case.
18 USC 793 is a statute of the United States Code, federal law of the land. The statute has various elements which the prosecution must prove. Fitzgerald hit on each of those elements yesterday. This is what a prosecutor does in an opening statement. He discusses the elements of the statute and applies each element to the facts.
Fitz told us that there was a breach of national security when Plame's cover was blown. The indictment establishes that she worked in the CIA's counter proliferation division, the covert operations part of the CIA. (Josh Marshall first pointed that out.)
Fitz established that the country was put in danger by the release of her name and that the release of her name was done intentionally.
He also established that her identity as a CIA officer was not known outside of the intelligence community.
Fitzgerald laid out each element of the statute and made the case to the USA that certain laws had been broken. I'd say he made the case for both 18 USC 793 and the IIPA, but it's obvious that 18 USC 793 has a much easier bar to clear.
18 USC 793 does not require that the leakers intended to hurt the country. This is a talking point I was hearing within minutes of the press conference having ended. On more than one program I heard the right wingnuts like Hannity and even some ill informed guest on Randi Rhodes' show playing the card that the IIPA and the Espionage Act are equally difficult to prosecute because of "the intent requirement". They were alleging that the Espionage Act requires the prosecutor prove that the leaker "intended to harm the country".
This is a lie. Please see the first Citizen Spook report, TREASONGATE: The Controlling Law - Big Trouble For The White House Staff for an in depth study of 18 USC 793. The short version goes like this:
18 USC 793 of The Espionage Act --
The statute only requires that the information leaked be related to the national defense and that the individual responsible for disclosing that information have a reasonable belief that the information could be used to the detriment of the USA.
This legal test is much easier to meet than the test put forth in the Intelligence Identities Protection Act.
Requirements for prosecution under 18 USC 793:
- information was intentionally leaked
- the information was related to the national defense
- the leaker had a reasonable belief the info "could" be used to harm the USA
"Could be used" is a much easier bar to clear than "would be used".
Now review Fitzgerald's press conference. He tells us that all of the elements of this statute were met regarding the leak of Plame's identity. I believe he's going to prosecute somebody under the Espionage Act.
He even defended the use of this law against critics. He made his case for prosecuting under 18 USC 793. He mentions it by name and was most candid while discussing the arguments people have raised against the use of this law. It's Fitzgerald's opinion that the law is fair when fairly applied.
As for the IIPA, he may bring indictments under that law as well, but he doesn't mention that law on page 2 of the indictment where he has drawn some conclusions. The indictment itself only mentions the IIPA on page 9 where he lists statutes his investigation was looking at. I don't know what Fitz will do with the IIPA, but the talking point you must be aware of goes like this:
"Fitzgerald was charged with investigating whether the Intelligence Identities Protection Act was violated."
That's a lie. Comey's letters delegating authority to Fitzgerald empower him to investigate and prosecute "any federal criminal laws related to"...the outing of Valerie (Plame) Wilson. Fitzgerald's authority is not exclusive to any statute. In fact, it's ridiculous for people to even argue such a proposition. Prosecutors investigate behavior to see if "any crimes" have been broken. They do no investigate a statute. They investigate behavior.
Patrick Fitzgerald has shown a ton of restraint by not prosecuting under 18 USC 794. The Bush administration and the leakers are very fortunate that the man investigating them has great morals and more of an appreciation for America -- and its laws -- than they themselves possess.
Looking into Fitzgerald's eyes, you can't help but see the truth. Those who disparage his investigation, from the left or the right, are doing the man and the country wrong.
Fitzgerald ought to be nominated for the Supreme Court. If Bush has any sense of legacy or a "come to Jesus" moment in his soul... he would nominate Patrick Fitzgerald for SCOTUS.
Fitz has proven to the country that he is a man of principle, understanding and law.
Those responsible for the leak ought to come forward and plead guilty, take their punishment and thank heaven that Fitzgerald doesn't believe he can legally go after them under 18 USC 794.
THIS BLOG HAS BEEN DEBUGGED
I have no venom left. Fitzgerald kicked my ass yesterday. He made me believe in chivalry, honesty, love of country. I haven't felt so proud to be an American since I was a small child saying the Pledge of Allegiance in grammar school. I've been a jaded son of a bitch for many years, through Iran Contra, the Clinton crimes (and there were many) to the Bush neocon murderous agenda...it's been very hard to feel proud of this country.
Fitzgerald is a national treasure.
18 USC 793 was violated and Fitz is coming after those who are guilty. The talk shows, newspapers and blogs will not change his mind at all. He is more ethical than the rest of us, has no political axe to grind, and is fully capable of handling whatever pressure comes his way.
Thank you, James Comey. And thank you President Bush for installing Fitz as US Attorney.
Like Fitzgerald said, "Let's all take a deep breathe." The prosecutor deserves our faith. Let him do his job.
If you're guilty, plead guilty. It's your best bet and what's best for the country.
Fitzgerald for SCOTUS. That would be one hell of an ending to this. It's Bush's only chance for a true legacy.
Citizenspook is now the unofficial FITZ FOR SCOTUS web blog.
God blessed America.
by Citizen Spook
I apologize to the Firedoglake girls for my attitude over the last few days. I haven't acted like a gentleman. I believe in my analysis just the same, but my behavior in communicating it was less than pure.
Fitzgerald made me feel dirty so I took a shower.