Plame on

by Ted on December 30, 2003

John Ashcroft has recused himself from the Valerie Plame investigation. Patrick Fitzgerald, the current U.S. Attorney in the Nothern District of Illinois, will be in charge of the investigation

Here’s a press release with a brief bio of Patrick Fitzgerald. He’s been involved in the prosecutions of heroin smugglers, organized crime leaders, and a number of terrorists. More recently, his office prepared the indictment of former Illinois governor George Ryan. We’ll surely learn a lot more about him in the days to come, but at first glance, he seems like the real deal.

Mr. Fitzgerald, if by some unlikely chance you ever read this: I’d like to apologize in advance for what the blogosphere and much of the media are about to attempt to do to you. If you try to do your job, you will learn the meaning of “slime and defend.” Good luck.

UPDATE: Here’s a story gallery about Patrick Fitzgerald from the Chicago Tribune. He sounds like a genuinely vigorous prosecutor:

Patrick J. Fitzgerald, Chicago’s new U.S. attorney, who delivered the biggest message to corrupt Chicago politicians, insiders, grafters and boodlers this town may have ever seen. Fitzgerald’s first big indictment was of insurance executive Michael Segal for alleged insurance and mail fraud. Fitzgerald wasted no time in going after the biggest fish in town, to the shock and astonishment of just about everyone. Segal is not just a pal, but the pal, the top of the heap. His indictment makes the prosecution of Chicago aldermen look like the issuance of parking tickets. This is a hugely symbolic act; its effect will be like watching the bugs scurrying for cover after the rock has been lifted.

This sounds good, too.

UPDATE II: Josh Marshall’s first look tells him that Fitzgerald is neither a Republican nor a Democrat.

For what it’s worth, I looked Fitzgerald up on OpenSecrets to see if he has donated to a political candidate. I don’t think that he has.

There’s a $1000 contribution to Republican representative John E. Sweeney in 2000 from Patrick J. Fitzgerald Jr., who lives outside of Albany. But I doubt that it’s the same guy. In 2000, Fitzgerald (the prosecutor) was the co-chief of the Organized Crime and Terrorism Section for the Southern District of New York, so it would be unusual if he lived upstate.



Anna 12.30.03 at 8:15 pm

Brad was right. “I’m more optimistic than Paul: I think that there are grownups in the Republican Party, and that they will take control over Republican policymaking over the next two years. ” – at

Also Andrew Tobias.
” “I doubt you realize it,” writes one well-known conservative political figure (yes! I have conservative friends!), “but – aside from the fanatic neocons and perhaps a few of the most ultra-extreme tax-cutters – virtually every prominent conservative I know is utterly appalled at the whole range of Bush’s policies, so much so that many have told me privately they’re really hoping for a Democratic victory. But it’s hard for them to do or say anything, lest the Republican apparatchiks stir up the gullible conservative base voters (who still overwhelmingly back Bush) against them. Even some of the highest ranking conservatives most closely tied to the Bush Administration and most willing to defend him in the media quietly feel this way.” ” – at


Ray 12.30.03 at 10:16 pm

An editing point: Mr. Fitzgerald is a US Attorney (a federal position), not the Illinois attorney general (a state position)


Ted Barlow 12.30.03 at 10:22 pm

Excellent point; I’ll correct it.

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