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The Worst Person for the Job

10.12.2005 13:12 | DISPATCHES

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

She then cites descriptions of Fitzgerald as a "relentless," "extremely aggressive," but "apolitical," prosecutor, whose "integrity is unassailable." Characterized by "iron-tight integrity and a tireless work ethic" and nothing but the "purest motives," he has "no agenda."

In appointing judges, the administration has sampled the whole spectrum of juris-imprudence from legal lightweights to corporate shills, in part to protect it from future indictments. But when it comes to fighting for its political life, the administration picks the one man most likely to inflict a mortal wound?

How was Fitzgerald chosen to lead the inquiry into who outed Valerie Plame? After John Ashcroft was forced to recuse himself from making the appointment, the task fell to his then-Deputy Attorney General, James B. Comey.

At the time, The Nation's David Corn quoted a former US Attorney: "Jim Comey and Pat Fitzgerald are close friends. . . I highly respect them both. But [this] is different from having the investigation led by somebody not beholden to the department."

It's starting to look, though, like the administration's "worst person for the job" is anything but a worst-case scenario for the nation.


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