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Saturday, November 19, 2005

The Lessons of Teapot Domegate 

Courtesy of Zemblan patriot J.D.: John Dean, White House counsel under Nixon, has written an open letter to special prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald, asking why he hasn't made better use of his plenary powers:
As I am sure you are aware, President Calvin Coolidge appointed Owen J. Roberts, a Philadelphia attorney at the time, and former U.S. Senator Atlee Pomerene, then practicing law in Ohio, as special counsels to investigate and prosecute on behalf of the government any wrongdoing related to the so-called Teapot Dome inquiry. That investigation related to the improper dissipation of government assets -- dubious oil leases to Edward L. Doheny and Harry F. Sinclair . . . .

What you will find is that Roberts and Pomerene, before figuring out exactly who was to blame and going after them, first sought to protect the interest of the United States by ending the further dissipation of the nation's oil reserves to Doheny and Sinclair, and seek restitution.

In brief, they started by taking protective civil measures. Only with that accomplished did they move on to criminal prosecutions. Why have you not done the same?

Your investigation also relates to the dissipation -- if not the irreparable destruction -- of a government asset: Valerie Plame Wilson. As you no doubt know, the U.S. Government invested a great deal of money in her special education and training, as well as other aspects of her covert status. Then, either intentionally, or with gross negligence, senior Bush administration officials blew Valerie Wilson's cover. (Prior to the disclosure, her status was not, as some have claimed, an "open secret": Rather, as you yourself have said, the fact that she was a CIA asset was not previously well-known outside the intelligence community.)

Yet there is no evidence that you have made any effort whatsoever to undertake any civil remedies dealing with this either intentional or grossly careless destruction of a government asset. As acting Attorney General for this matter, you have even more authority than did Special Counsels Roberts and Pomerene.

Those who leaked the information about Valerie Wilson breached signed contracts they had made with the government. These contracts, moreover, were not to be taken lightly: They enforced profoundly important obligations to national security, on the part of the very people who were supposed to be serving that end.

Why are you not enforcing those contracts? Why have you not urged the president to sanction those who have released national security information? The president has said he would fire those who committed crimes -- but breach of such profoundly important contracts, even if it does not rise to the level of a crime, is surely cause for dismissal, as well.

You should so urge the President. And if he is not willing to take appropriate action with those who have dishonored their offices, and broken their contracts, you ought to go to court and get an injunction to remove their security clearances.


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