A Brief Reminder about the Color of Whitewash
As of the date of publication of this article, January 7, 2006, it has been 908 days since Robert Novak in an op-ed column revealed that Valerie Plame was a non-official cover spy involved in tracking international trafficking in weapons of mass destruction.
It has now been 739 days since then-Attorney General John Ashcroft announced at a news conference that he was recusing himself from the investigation of who leaked Ms. Plame's identity to Mr. Novak and possibly other journalists. At that news conference, held on December 30, 2003, Mr. Ashcroft announced that political appointee and Assistant Attorney General James Comey would be put in charge of oversight for the investigation. Mr. Comey announced at that news conference that he was putting career federal prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald in charge of the investigation.
Six hundred sixty-eight days after the announcement of the appointment of Patrick Fitzgerald, he announced that a grand jury in the nation's capitol had returned a five-count indictment against I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby, who was at the time a top adviser to Vice President Dick Cheney.
Mr. Fitzpatrick hinted that his investigation would continue, even though he said explicitly that, for the most part, "...the work of this investigation is concluded." For a time after that news conference, hopes were high that Mr. Fitzgerald would take evidence before a new grand jury, and there were even reports that he was preparing to do so. Nothing more than that has occurred, however: no official announcements, no further indictments, no more surrenders of top administration officials.
As an additional, perhaps revealing, piece of information, the General Accounting Office finally took the opportunity to release a cost figure for Mr. Fitzgerald's investigation as of September 2005. Contrary to the speculation in Part III of "The Valerie Plame Scandal" here at The Dark Wraith Forums that "possibly millions and millions of dollars" had been spent by Mr. Fitzgerald, it turns out, according to the Government Accounting Office in a September 2005 report, that Mr. Fitzgerald's investigation had cost only $723,000, for a daily average of less than $1,100. This can be considered in comparison to, say, the investigations of Independent Counsel Kenneth Starr, who racked up a whopping $70 million in costs to investigate President William Jefferson Clinton: for example, in the six-month period surrounding the impeachment of the former President, Mr. Starr spent $7.2 million, for an average daily expenditure of $40,000.
As of today, then, with statutes of limitations beginning to loom for prosecuting crimes committed in the outing of a non-official cover American spy, Mr. Fitzgerald has secured the indictment of a man whose nickname is "Scooter."
That's what Mr. Fitzgerald has accomplished.
The Dark Wraith has offered readers reason to feel good about the rule of law in this land.