Tuesday, July 22, 2003

Time for a Special Prosecutor?

There have been calls for criminal investigations into the growing WMD scandal but really this has been mostly wishful thinking because, until now, there hasn't actually been any credible allegations of criminal conduct that needed investigating. That has changed with the allegation that "senior administration officials" may have divulged national security information (the name of a CIA asset) in order to smear one of its critics. For the first time this scandal has broadened into a clear allegation of criminal conduct which should require a Justice department investigation. Of course, Ashcroft cannot be trusted with such an investigation. Since the Independent Counsel law has lapsed, that means that a Special Prosecutor(*) needs to be appointed to investigate this matter. You think Bush will go along with such an investigation? (*) The primary difference between an IC and an SP is that an IC was answerable to the special court on independent investigations (Sentelle et. al) while an SP is appointed by the Attorney General directly and can, theoretically, be fired by him (think Archibald Cox). An SP, however, has full authority to empanel grand juries, issue subpoenas and take people to court without having to first get the authorization of the AG. Update: Bush Wars has a good run down of the evolution of the latest scandal. Here's the Robert Novak column that started it all.

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