Constant's pations

If it's more than 30 minutes old, it's not news. It's a blog.

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Fitzgerald Grand Jury Extension

This late in the game, and FBI agents are still doing interviews.

I don't see things getting wrapped up this quickly.

Warning: The following is just a guess and not based on anything.

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Other links:

Grand Jury Discovery: Exploiting weaknesses in Joint Staff.

Grand Jury Discovery: Expoliting fissures in White House.

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It appears as though there is something that is sparking a new line of questions.

I don't see the new information getting vetted this quickly.

Fitzgerald has outlined the work for the court; made a capable showing that they were working quickly; and that they've run across a new set of issues that warrant further probing and review.

Given the revelations in 2003 which appear to be contradicted by events in 2005, I suspect that there are a number of things which Fitzgerald has presented to the court that warrant an appropriate extension of the Grand Jury.

This isn't to say that the deadline has changed. Rather, that the still unresolved issues are far wider than originally outlined.

Also, I am not convinced that the initial letters issued is the end of the matter. There appear to be some questions and issues above and beyond what was originally raised when the grand jury was empaneled.

Fitzgerald believes there is additional information warranting the House Judiciary Committee to review, however this information is still be developed as we speak.

The scope of the WMD ruses in 2003 are getting explored. If someone has stated to the grand jury certain assumptions about "who knew what about Plame" [for purposes of suggesting that everyone knew about her identify], but this week FBI agents are asking questions about "who knew," it appears as though the line of questioning is related to what was the scope of the plan, if any, to downplay the concerns that her identity was new.

What is striking is that "what everyone knew" would seem to have been something that would have already been looked at 2 years ago, and not something that they would just happen to think about in the last hours of a grand jury.

There's another issue getting explored related to what public statements were organized to discredit concerns that Plame's name was or wasn't used; and how was the testimony before the Grand Jury tipping one way or the other based on these apparent misstatements about who knew of Plame's cover status.

Because of the timing of these interviews, the issue Fitzgerald is looking at is what effort, if any, was organized to protect the President, and downplay the seriousness of the issues; to what extent, if any, the President was part of these mitigation efforts and plans.

I do not think that the latest FBI interviews are related to some new findings about the original leaking; but they are part of what Fitzgerald would need to present to justify a specific decision.

The issue becomes: What decision, absent these FBI interviews, would not be possible by this Friday?

The decisions is whether to expand the discovery into a wider effort to not only insulate the President from the ruses about Iraq; but his knowledge of those plans, and allegations that his public statements were contrary to the actual plans in place he may have known to exist.

Fitzgerald has developed a line of evidence that is above and beyond the original scope of the inquiry, indictments will be returned, but the fact finding will broaden into allegations which the House Judiciary Committee will eventually have to wrestle with.

There are lines of evidence indicating that there was a wider effort underway to sell the war; that the inconsistencies between the witnesses have given the prosecutor sufficient grounds to broaden the inquiry; and that the conduct is not isolated to the State Department, DoD, or White House.

Local law enforcement, DoJ personnel, and NSA personnel in the intelligence community will have a role in providing additional information; and that the existing information Fitzgerald has is that the efforts to intimidate government officials like Wilson and Plame is very wide and warrants a better understanding.

Fitzgerald has reviewed the existing security standards not just within the White House, State, CIA, and DoD, but is aware of a broader pattern of conduct that moved without regard to these standards when it came to issues of fact finding, information gathering, decision making in issues related to leadership, oversight, follow-up, and corrections.

In short, it appears as though the systemic flaws which appear to have failed in re 9-11 are known to be a pervasive pattern of conduct that is not simply bad government, but is a consistent pattern of malfeasance. These problems were not addressed within the political process, but their entrenched existence appears to have blossomed into criminal conduct.

Bluntly, where Congress fails in its checks and balances, Fitzgerald shows us there are capable prosecutors to impose discipline. One is through the nudging of policy, the second is the far shaper edge of the law.

What is clear is that DoD and the Grand Jury have had access to information showing that public statements about what was or was not done both prior to engaging in combat operations, and when holding prisoners is contrary to what was actually in the record.

  • Possible allegations of perjury by Senior Military Personnel [GITMO official records do not match what DoD and the Joint Chiefs have asserted before Congress].

    There will be a additional, if not more, rounds of indictments after this week.

    Fitzgerald discussed with the court issues related to the bounds of the inquiry, and what would be an acceptable timeframe to gather additional information related to this wider pattern of conduct.

    Fitzgerald wants to have confidence that the court is going to back his decision to continue to probe into these patterns of conduct; and that he has a specific line of inquiry in mind, and has presented to the court sufficient evidence to warrant the courts support for the extension.