Saturday, October 29, 2005

Investigator has restored credibility to role of special counsel

In directing the investigation, Fitzgerald has meticulously avoided the politically motivated leaks and scattershot probing that characterized Independent Counsel Ken Starr's relentless pursuit of President Bill Clinton. Starr was appointed to investigate the Whitewater land deal but eventually turned to Clinton's relationship with intern Monica Lewinsky.

By contrast, Fitzgerald has remained focused on getting to the bottom of the Plame leak. Although named to his position by Bush Justice Department officials, the prosecutor has maintained a scrupulously nonpartisan operation. As Fitzgerald repeatedly stressed to reporters Friday, Libby and anyone else who may be indicted in the continuing investigation deserve the benefit of the doubt as to whether they have committed a crime.

However, it is clear from the recitation of the evidence supporting the indictments that Libby performed an unethical breach of national trust in repeatedly discussing Plame's CIA role with reporters. President George Bush's advisor Karl Rove has also been identified by reporters as a source for information about Plame but has not been indicted.

Although not a crime, both Libby and Rove falsely gave their personal assurance to President Bush and the public that they had nothing to do with the affair. It is now clear that the two had everything to do with the blowing of Plame's cover.

And what does it say about the character of officials who would attempt to secretly punish an opponent's spouse rather than openly defending their policy, in this case their stated reasons for going to war in Iraq?

Plame probe special counsel's exemplary conduct has restored credibility to a position tainted in recent years by partisan politics


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