Thomas Barton, Investigative Reporter
U.S. Attorney James B. Comey was appointed Deputy Attorney General for the purpose of appointing U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald as "Special Counsel" to lead the investigation into who "leaked" Valerie Plame's identity as a C.I.A. employee to the press. It was all choreographed.
It was known that Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage leaked Plame's identity as a CIA employee to the press - even before Patrick Fitzgerald was appointed "Special Counsel". Go figure.
And, it was known that Armitage was the "Leaker" before Comey was chosen for his job, and before he appointed Patrick Fitzgerald as "Special Counsel," and before Fitzgerald was tasked to find out what the government already knew.
Seriously, you can't make this stuff up! Here's a sequence of key dates:
Oct 1, 2003: Bob Novak published an article that causes Richard Armitage to go immediately to the FBI and confess to being the "Leaker" in the Valerie Plame case.
Oct. 3, 2003: George W. Bush nominates Patrick Fitzgerald's peer and close friend, U.S Attorney James B. Comey, to be Deputy Attorney General.
Oct. 29, 2003: During Comey's senate confirmation hearing, Senator Chuck Schumer (D-NY) questions Comey about the possibility of Attorney General John Ashcroft recusing himself in the Plame case and Comey appointing a Special Counsel to that case.
So, what happened next?
Comey was confirmed Deputy Attorney General.
Ashcroft recused himself, putting Comey in charge of the Plame case.
Comey appointed his close friend, Patrick Fitzgerald as Special Counsel in charge of finding the "Leaker".
And, this was all done after Armitage confessed to being the "Leaker," said he wouldn't seek legal representation, and claimed to be prepared to accept the consequences of his actions.
Fitzgerald asked Armitage to keep his guilt to himself.
Judith Miller went to jail, and Scooter Libby was prosecuted and found guilty...of something other than leaking.
Shortly after appointing Fitzgerald to the Plame case, Comey left the Attorney General's office to become lead counsel at Lockheed Martin. We'll explain the significance of that move later.
And where's Comey today? Why he's a partner at Attorney General Eric Holder's former law firm, Covington & Burling.
Hugo Floriani, Investigative Reporter
We're going into the final year of a decade since the Valerie Plame case burst into the national news, and still the truth remains untold by key persons involved. Why is that?
Is Richard Armitage telling the truth when he says he didn't tell President Bush that he was the leaker in the Valerie Plame case because of U.S Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald?
In an interview with CBS News national security correspondent David Martin, former Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage said he didn't come forward as the source of the leak because "the special counsel, once he was appointed, asked me not to discuss this and I honored his request".
Patrick Fitzgerald was appointed special counsel on December 30, 2003.
Let's examine Armitage's claims.
Armitage has stated that reporter Bob Novak's column, published October 1,2003, caused him to (1) immediately meet with the FBI and confess to being the leaker, and (2) then call Secretary of State Colin Powell and tell him he was Novak's source and, therefore, responsible for leaking the identity of Valerie Plame as a CIA employee.
According to court records Richard Armitage went to Marc Grossman, the Undersecretary of State, on the evening of October 16, 2003 and told Grossman that he, Armitage, was the leaker. Armitage did this knowing that Grossman was scheduled to be questioned by the FBI the next day.
Undersecretary Marc Grossman is the author of the memo that started it all by identifying who Valerie Plame was to his superiors at the State Department - Armitage and Powell.
So, what do we know?
(1) We know that as of Oct. 16, 2003 the top three officials at the State Department and the FBI knew that Richard Armitage was the person who divulged Valerie Plame's identity to the press.
(2) We know that, between Oct. 16 - Dec. 30, it was not Patrick Fitzgerald who was keeping the three top officials in the U.S. State Department from divulging that Armitage was the leaker.
And (3) we know, that, if in the time between Oct. 16 - Dec 30, any one of the State Departments top three officials (Powell, Armitage or Grossman) or the FBI would have gone public with what they knew, Patrick Fitzgerald would have never been appointed Special Counsel.
Consequently, New York Times reporter Judith Miller would not have spent nearly three months in jail, and Vice President Dick Cheney's Chief of Staff, Scooter Libby, would not have been prosecuted.
As this unfolds, ponder this:
Did our current FBI director Robert Mueller keep the identity of the "leaker" Richard Armitage from his boss, Attorney General John Ashcroft?
And, if not, did John Ashcroft neglect to tell President George W. Bush?
To be continued....
Hugo Floriani, Investigative Reporter
Why would James B. Comey appoint Patrick Fitzgerald as Special Counsel on a case that was already solved?
Why would he even appoint a Special Counsel at all when Richard Armitage, the man responsible for exposing the identity of CIA employee Valerie Plame to the media, had already confessed and had not even hired an attorney to represent him?
Who is James B. Comey?
James B. Comey, Jr. (born December 14, 1960) was U.S.Deputy Attorney General in the George W. Bush's administration. As Deputy A.G., Comey was the second-highest ranking official in the Department of Justice (DOJ). He ran the day-to-day operations of the DoJ, serving in that office from December 2003-August 2005.
Comey had been U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York before becoming Deputy A.G.
In December 2003, he appointed his close friend and former colleague, U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald, to be the Special Counsel leading the investigation into the Valerie Plame leak after Attorney General John Ashcroft recused himself.
In August 2005, Comey left the DOJ and became General Counsel and Senior Vice President at Lockheed Martin. From there he went on to Bridgewater Associates in June 2010.
In 2009, Comey’s total compensation package at Lockheed Martin was 6,113,797. Apparently, no one in the media cared that Lockheed worked closely with the Cohen Group where Marc Grossman was Vice Chairman.
Grossman was a key figure in Patrick Fitzgerald's quest to find out who leaked that Valarie Plame worked for the CIA.
Before Fitzgerald’s investigation team even bought their office supplies, Comey and Fitz knew that Armitage had, innocently he claimed, leaked the knowledge about Valarie Plame to, now deceased, columnist Bob Novak.
Comey left Lockheed to work at Bridgewater Associates and then, after a short stay at Bridgewater, he became a partner with Attorney General Eric Holder's former law firm, Covington & Burling.
What do Lockheed Martin and the Cohen Group have in common? Did they have any vested interests in Iraq or Afghanistan while Fitzgerald was chasing down the phantom leaker? Did the old media ever explore that possibility?
Has any reporter ever asked Fitzgerald or Comey why a phantom leaker was sought after the real leaker had already confessed? Did any Tribune or Sun Times reporter ever pose that question to Fitz?
Has anyone asked former New York Times writer Judith Miller how she feels about having spent nearly three months in jail after Fitz already knew that Armitage was the leaker? Does that make her a victim of wrongful imprisonment?
What does Scooter Libby say about all this?
And, lastly, did Fitzgerald or Comey violate any laws during this Kabuki dance?
Many questions – no media interest – hence, no answers. Nothing to see here folks, move along. It’s the Chicago Way.
Next..... Where did Dick Armitage eventually land?
Patrick Fitzgerald: Intrepid Crime Fighter? Or, Politically-Driven Leaker? The Untouchable Myth Is Born (Part 2)
Hugo Floriani, Investigative Reporter
“[Joseph C.] Wilson never worked for the CIA, but his wife, Valerie Plame, is an agency operative on weapons of mass destruction.” Robert D. Novak, “Mission to Niger,” The Washington Post, July 14, 2003
This sentence, written by the late columnist Robert Novak, catapulted Patrick Fitzgerald into national notoriety where he assumed the mythological stature of a relentless Special Counsel.
The key word used, or perhaps misused, by Novak was “operative.”
Once “operative” appeared, Plame assumed the image of the clandestine secret agent whose identify had been casually, and carelessly, revealed by a leaker with potentially nefarious motives. The revealing was seen as a violation of 50 U.S.C. § 421 : US Code - Section 421: Protection of identities of certain United States undercover intelligence officers, agents, informants, and sources. Plame quickly became a pop culture Jane Bond.
The word “operative” triggered the appointment of a Special Counsel to investigate the leak – an investigation that stayed active in the news media, on-and-off, from September 2003 to March 2007.
At the end, when Scooter Libby, Vice President Cheney’s Chief of Staff, was convicted on four counts of making false statements on March 6, Libby was the big loser. The Special Counsel, Patrick Fitzgerald, was the big winner. His image as Untouchable had been cast in bronze by the mainstream media. Today, The Washington Post describes Fitzgerald with these words:
“The dogged Fitzgerald has been compared to Eliot Ness, the former head of the liquor-busting “Untouchables” in Prohibition-era Chicago… [T]he workaholic prosecutor’s most famous investigation was into the leaking of CIA agent Valerie Plame’s identity, a probe that led all the way to the Bush White House and resulted in the conviction of former vice presidential chief of staff I. Lewis ‘Scooter’ Libby (President George W. Bush later commuted his sentence.)”
Information concerning the Plame Case is well-documented and easily accessible on the internet. No need to rehash it further here.
Future historians who review the saga will encounter a very curious fact. It’s found in this 2006 interview between CBS News national security correspondent David Martin and Richard Armitage, who was Secretary of State Colin Powell’s Deputy at the State Department.
Click here to view video:
So, before Fitzgerald was appointed Special Council, Armitage told the FBI that he was the leaker. When asked why he didn’t go public as the investigation to find the leaker grew, Armitage says, “The Special Counsel, once he was appointed, asked me not to discuss this, and I honored his request.” Now that’s interesting stuff. And puzzling, too.
(Why did Armitage speak up publically in 2006, long after the media spotlight had turned on Libby, and, also, Karl Rove? After all, Bush said,in July 2005, he wanted to know who leaked the information, and that he’d fire whoever committed the crime. In any regard, Armitage’s allegiance was not to his President but to a Prosecutor who went on the hunt for the leaker he already knew. Now, really, isn’t all this bizarre, or what?)
The CBS interview wasn’t the only time Armitage confessed to the crime.
Armitage agrees it was “foolish” for him to mention Plame’s CIA employment to Novak.
That begs this question: If “foolishness” is his excuse, what was Patrick Fitzgerald’s excuse for engaging in a long and costly investigation when, even before it started, the culprit, Armitage, had confessed to the crime? (Has the media ever asked Fitzgerald that question? Or, were they so delightedly breathless to see the evil Cheney embarrassed through Libby that they dared not ask?)
What was the Fitzgerald investigation really about? If Armitage was guilty, why was he never prosecuted for the alleged crime? Does confessing get you a pass?
We get a hint to the back story from recent comments made by former Vice President Cheney while speaking at Union League Club Authors Group in Chicago on September 19. According to the Chicago Sun-Times,
A block away from the office of the man who prosecuted his chief of staff, former Vice President Dick Cheney and his daughter had harsh words Monday for U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald.
“My friend Scooter Libby is a very good man,” Cheney said. “He gave up a very successful private life in order to serve the nation. … For his trouble, he ended up as part of a particular prosecution. I will always think that he did not deserve what happened.”
Cheney was in Chicago to discuss his new book "In My Time: A Personal and Political Memoir." In his book, Cheney wrote, “It was as though he [Colin Powell] thought the proper way to express his views was by criticizing administration policy to people outside the government.”
Armitage was the Deputy Secretary of State under Powell. Libby was Cheney’s Chief of Staff. It’s clear now that Powell and Cheney were not blood brothers. But there may have been occasional blood spilled between them.
In the now obvious power struggle that was going on between the two top Lieutenants in the Bush administration, what was Fitzgerald’s role? Was he the Untouchable, intrepid prosecutor in search of the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth of who committed the alleged crime of exposing Plame’s employment to Novak? Or, was Fitzgerald a political operative touched by persons within the Bush administration to embarrass and undercut Cheney.
If Judith Miller went to jail for failing to reveal her source for what she later wrote about Plame, why did Novak get a pass? Looks like Bob Novak was the real “Untouchable” throughout the entire saga. Nobody touched him.
Turning now to more recent events, since John Chase of the Chicago Tribune is obviously getting a pass for notifying Blagojevich that his phone conversations were being tapped, how’d he earn that pass? Was it by leaking the information to Blago?
One last question:
In the events that constituted the sudden arrest of Blago, for who might Fitzgerald have been playing the political operative, dressed, again, in the dark suit of the Untouchable Eliot Ness?