Good news? – Investigator of CIA leak seen as relentless


Richard Moore

If he's really relentless, then it seems likely Bush & Cheney 
will be indicted. Oct 28 is the big day, when the Grand Jury
finishes its work.

Will Bush attack Iran before that, in order to avoid indictment?

interesting times,


Investigator of CIA leak seen as relentless 
By Judy Keen, USA TODAY 
Posted 10/10/2005 10:06 PM 

WASHINGTON - When defense attorney Ron Safer heard that
Patrick Fitzgerald would lead an inquiry into the leak of a
CIA operative's name, his first thought was that, from the
Bush administration's perspective, "they could not have picked
a worse person."

"He ... goes where the facts lead him": CIA leak investigator
Patrick Fitzgerald.

By Charles Rex Arbogast, AP

Safer, a Chicago lawyer who has watched Fitzgerald since he
was named U.S. attorney there in 2001, says the prosecutor
"will bring to this the same energy and aggression that he
does to every other project he undertakes."

Fitzgerald's official biography says he was named special
counsel in December 2003 to investigate "the alleged
disclosure of the identity of a purported employee of the
Central Intelligence Agency."

That bland description understates the drama and stakes of the
investigation. New York Times reporter Judith Miller was
jailed for refusing to testify. The inquiry led to interviews
of President Bush and Vice President Cheney and to grand jury
subpoenas for White House deputy chief of staff Karl Rove,
Cheney's chief of staff I. Lewis Libby and at least a dozen
other officials.

Fitzgerald is to meet with Miller today to discuss newly
discovered notes on her conversations with Libby. Rove will
testify this week before the grand jury for a fourth time.

Fitzgerald wants to know who leaked the identity of Valerie
Plame to reporters. Her husband, former diplomat Joseph
Wilson, says her cover was blown in retaliation for an op-ed
article he wrote in 2003 that accused Bush of "twisting"
intelligence to justify the Iraq war.


The inquiry has roiled Washington for months, and tensions are
rising because Fitzgerald's grand jury expires Oct. 28. But
the man in charge is not a Beltway celebrity. He doesn't hold
news conferences in Washington or appear on TV. Friends say
he's brilliant and apolitical. Defense lawyers say he can be
cold and sometimes surprises them by boldly challenging

Friends and critics agree that his integrity is unassailable
and that he is relentless. The list of people he has
prosecuted - including al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden, former
Illinois governor George Ryan and New York mobsters - shows he
has no qualms about going after the powerful.

Fitzgerald's politics, motivations and style have prompted

"He has no agenda," says David Kelley, former U.S. attorney in
New York and a longtime friend. "He looks at the facts,
uncovers the facts and goes where the facts lead him."

Mary Jo White, who was Fitzgerald's boss when she was U.S.
attorney in Manhattan, says she knows nothing about his
political views - "if he has any, and he may not."

Fitzgerald, who declined interview requests, is registered to
vote with no party affiliation.

Defense lawyers have a different perspective. Scott Mendeloff,
a Chicago lawyer who specializes in corporate fraud cases and
formerly tried and supervised public corruption prosecutions
in the U.S. attorney's office, says Fitzgerald demonstrates "a
more black-and-white view of the world" that is "reductionist
in disregarding nuances beyond what it will take to prevail."
Some defense lawyers, he says, believe Fitzgerald is "not
prone to consider what some would term humane factors in
charging and sentencing decisions."

"To say that he is extremely aggressive is, I think, a gross
understatement," Safer says. When he's arguing a motion, Safer
says, Fitzgerald is "not disrespectful, but he's a lot less
deferential than I bet most judges are accustomed to."


Fitzgerald, 44, was born in Brooklyn. His Irish immigrant
father, Patrick Sr., worked as a doorman at a building in
Manhattan's Upper East Side. Fitzgerald went to Regis High
School, a Jesuit preparatory school, then worked on its
maintenance crew to pay his way through Amherst College. He
majored in math and economics, then went to Harvard Law

He worked in a New York law firm before joining the U.S.
attorney's office in Manhattan in 1988. He stayed for 13
years, convicting Sheik Omar Abdel Rahman in the 1993 World
Trade Center bombing and indicting bin Laden in a conspiracy
that included the bombings of two U.S. embassies in Africa.

In Chicago, Fitzgerald has indicted two aides to Mayor Richard
Daley on mail-fraud charges after an investigation into
bribery and hiring abuses. Ryan is on trial on charges of
racketeering conspiracy, mail and tax fraud and false
statements during his terms as governor and Illinois secretary
of State.

Dick Simpson, a former Chicago alderman who teaches political
science at the University of Illinois-Chicago, says Fitzgerald
is "almost universally admired ... for telling the truth and
prosecuting these cases." He isn't suspected of political
motives, Simpson says, because he came to Chicago with no ties
to its top politicians and keeps a low profile. "He's doesn't
do lunches at the important clubs or make rah-rah speeches,"
Simpson says.

Even lawyers who question Fitzgerald's tactics say they don't
doubt his character. "Pat is driven by iron-tight integrity
and a tireless work ethic," Mendeloff says.

Safer, who also once worked in the U.S. attorney's office,
faults Fitzgerald for "trying to expand the reach of the mail
fraud statutes in ways that are unprecedented" in his
government corruption cases. Some errors by politicians, Safer
says, "are punishable at the ballot box and not in criminal
court." He says Fitzgerald "is impervious to political
pressure. ... I've seen no evidence that he has anything but
the purest motives."

White says it's unfair to suggest that Fitzgerald is too
aggressive. "He's going to pursue matters ... with dedication
and thoroughness," she says, "but overzealous? Certainly not."

Miguel Estrada, who worked with Fitzgerald in New York and
represents Time reporter Matthew Cooper in the leak inquiry,
says Fitzgerald, who is single and a workaholic, is "the
picture of what the public would think is an earnest
prosecutor. He's a boy scout."

Chuck Rosenberg, a Fitzgerald friend who is U.S. attorney in
Houston, was asked recently why Fitzgerald is going after
reporters. "I said to them, 'Pat isn't going after
journalists, he is after the truth,' " Rosenberg says. "He's
exactly the kind of person you'd want doing something like

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