Monday, August 01, 2005

Frogmarch Watch: Immunity for Treason 

I always wondered exactly what Senator Pat Roberts (R-Wingnut) was up to when he scheduled hearings on Treasongate. Cox News (not AP, not WaPo, not the Times, not even Knight-Ridder) has more

WASHINGTON — As Congress tip-toes into the controversy over the leak of CIA agent Valerie Plame's identity, some lawmakers and analysts worry that the criminal investigation of the matter could be undermined by any congressional grant of immunity from prosecution, as has happened in the past in politically charged investigations.

The cases of key Iran-contra figures Oliver North and John Poindexter underscore their worries: both were prosecuted and convicted by independent counsel Lawrence Walsh, but their convictions were overturned because Congress had granted them immunity in order to compel them to testify in the congressional investigation of the Reagan administration's arms-for-hostages deals.

Walsh, in his final report on the White House brokering arms deals with Iranian terrorists to free American hostages and diverting arms sales profits to anti-government guerrillas in Nicaragua, complained that Congress had "infinitely complicated" his efforts to prosecute North and Poindexter or to force them to testify about the activities of higher-ups in the Reagan administration.

"Immunity is ordinarily given by a prosecutor to a witness who will incriminate someone more important than himself," Walsh wrote. "Congress gave immunity to North and Poindexter, who incriminated only themselves and who largely exculpated those responsible for the initiation, supervision and support of their activities."

Walsh concluded with a word of caution to future lawmakers: "Congress should be aware of the fact that future immunity grants, at least in such highly publicized cases, will likely rule out criminal prosecution."

Consequently, because recent disclosures that senior White House aides Karl Rove and Lewis "Scooter" Libby were sources for Time magazine reports about Plame, some lawmakers and analysts are reprising the warnings of Walsh to the congressional intelligence committee chairmen as they plan hearings on the leak.

Sen. Frank Lautenberg, D-N.J., for example, is drafting letters of caution to the chairmen, Republican Sen. Pat Roberts of Kansas and Republican Rep. Pete Hoekstra of Michigan.

"The (congressional) hearings should not be used as a ruse to provide White House officials with immunity," Lautenberg said in a statement late Friday.

[Senator Roberts] spokeswoman, Sarah Little, said the Senate hearings would look into the two-year probe by Fitzgerald, her comments coming after editorial columns in the Wall Street Journal labeled Fitzgerald a "loose cannon" and an "unguided missile."
(via Daily Sentinel)

The past isn't dead—it isn't even past. But maybe it just seems that way because the Republicans really do have a playbook. And they keep running the same plays over and over again.

corrente SBL - New Location
~ Since April 2010 ~

~ Since 2003 ~

The Washington Chestnut
~ current ~

Subscribe to
Posts [Atom]


copyright 2003-2010

    This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?