Tuesday, October 25, 2005

''How Did Patrick Fitzgerald Become the U.S. Attorney in Charge of the TreasonGate Investigation?''

"It may appear odd, but actually a maverick - although largely forgettable and ineffective - former Illinois Republican Senator, Peter Fitzgerald (unrelated to Patrick), is responsible for Fitzgerald's appointment in Illinois. The former senator (who we will call Peter G. to avoid confusion) was at odds not only with Democrats but with the Republican Party in Illinois. He particularly squared off against then Republican Governor George Ryan (who is, ironically, now being tried for various felonies by Patrick Fitzgerald).

When it came time for the Bush White House to sign off on a new U.S. Attorney for Chicago, they, as is the custom, deferred to the senior Republican senator from Illinois. Since Dick Durbin (the current Democratic Assistant Minority Leader) was the other senator, it fell to Peter G. to make a recommendation.

Being a bit of a rebel, Peter G. decided he wanted someone who would be professional, non-partisan and in no way connected to politics in Illinois. In order to achieve that, he looked out of state and found Patrick Fitzgerald, who had established a reputation as a tenacious, brilliant prosecutor in New York, with a lot of experience in convicting mobsters. (To this day Patrick Fitzgerald won't disclose where he lives in the Windy City, because he is concerned that there are some gangland figures who might want to seek vengeance.)

The Republicans in Illinois - and some Democrats - weren't happy that Peter G. was going out of state to bring in a new U.S. Attorney. Usually, the position went to someone local - and it was thought that the U.S. Attorney in Chicago, in general, stayed out of investigations of politicians in either party, unless the crimes were so flagrant and public that they had no choice but to pursue prosecution.

So, Peter G. met with a bit of resistance, but ultimately prevailed. The White House apparently didn't see any red flags and probably thought that they had a good mob prosecutor on their hands - little did they know that they were going to be one of the mobs that he was going to end up investigating. So, ultimately, Patrick Fitzgerald was appointed to his current Department of Justice post in Illinois by Bush. It is worth noting that whatever autonomy he has been granted, he still does ultimately report to the U.S. Attorney General: Bushevik crony Alberto Gonzales.

Now, here is where it gets a little murky. When Corn and then BuzzFlash first started calling for an investigation of Novak's outing of Valerie Plame, the White House did nothing. It was only after the CIA requested the Department of Justice to pursue an investigation under a formal process that exists when the CIA believes that one of its operatives has been compromised that John Ashcroft, then Attorney General, formally announced an investigation would be launched and that he would be responsible for it.

For many weeks, it appeared that the TreasonGate investigation would be just another Bushevik whitewash - and most certainly that is what Ashcroft had planned. But, for reasons that are still not publicly clear, it appears that some brave career attorneys in the DOJ confronted Ashcroft and told him that he had a conflict of interest in the investigation, in part because Karl Rove had helped him in his political campaigns in Missouri."-from BuzzFlash.

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