I’m feeling some self-generated pressure these days to stop just making shit up and check out my facts before I start banging on the keyboard. There actually is an up side to having a blog you figure nobody is ever going to read. It’s a whole lot less work.
Which brings us to poor Mark Kleiman. I’ve already pestered him repeatedly this week with emails on a post I’m working up about meth, and then I read that James Comey has gone and appointed David Margolis to assume the task of supervising Patrick J. Fitzgerald within the Justice Department on the Plame investigation. I google around and I come across this post by Mark where he says he knows Margolis. So I figure, with the fate of the free world riding on the back of this investigation, what’s one more email when democracy hangs in the balance, eh?
So I send him an email, saying “you are gonna be really sorry you ever met me,” but asking him what he thinks of the Margolis appointment. ‘Cos enquiring minds want to know. This is his reply:
I’m already sorry I ever met you.
My hatred of the Bush Administration and everyone in it is my most prized possession.Â I’d ratherÂ have a root canal than admitÂ that any Bush appointee would ever do anything honest, especially in a politicallyÂ touchy situation.Â But you’re forcing me to do just that.
Margolis isn’t just a good choice, he’s the perfect choice.Â As the head of the Organized Crime program, he spent most of a career supervising complicated conspiratorial cases, some of which used rather extreme investigative methods and many of which involved getting lower-level hoods to flip on their superiors.
He’s tough as nails, and can’t be pushed around by anybody.
And now that you’ve told me about it, I have to say so publicly.Â
I hate you.
I think I’m in love. I may have to have that tattooed on my ass.
Anyway, Dr. Kleiman is much too decent a guy to leave hanging in the lurch like that. You know, worried that the Bush Administration might actually have done something ethical. Which brings us to an email from my friend, former prosecutor and fellow Wiggles fan ReddHead, who thinks the appointment of Margolis may have been Comey’s decision alone:
Comey has a reputation as a very straight shooter, and as someone whoÂ doesn’t tolerate manipulative politics as a rationale for stupidity or malice, so that gives me quite a bit of hope that he has been able to select his replacement in monitoring Fitzgerald.Â This sort of selection process is how things often work in the regular legal world, btw, when a supervisor has been “chinese walled” fromÂ a particular matter and theÂ attorney in charge of the matter has to be replaced for whatever reason (maternity leave being a common reason as well as illness and family issues or getting a better offer from another firm and leaving, as examples).Â The attorney in charge of the matter essentially selects the successor onceÂ those higher up on the chain have been walled off precisely because that attorneyÂ does not share the ethical quandries and conflicts of interest that attorneys further up the chain would have to deal with in selecting a successor.Â
(emphasis not mine)
Fitzgerald is the godfather to one of Comey’s children. When Comey empowered Fitzgerald he gave him a great deal of independence, assuring that he did not have to report to a supervisior and that the only power the supervisor had over him was to fire him. Comey left the Justice Department in large part because he got passed over for the AG job in favor of Abu Gonzalez. His appointment of Margolis, in addition to being the right thing to do, may also have been his parting gift to the Bush Administration. As in the “how many fingers am I holding up?” kind.
Based on comments I’ve read and Mark Kleiman’s rage meter, Margolis does indeed seem like a decent guy, unlike either Timothy Flanigan or David McCallum who appeared to be quite loyal to the Bush junta.
And speaking of David McCallum, how about that Michael Isikoff article in Newsweek last week where he claimed that McCallum would now oversee Fitzgerald, huh? Even though anyone who was only paying remedial attention knew that the story was ungodly bullshit.
I can see ‘em now. “We’ll tell Mikey — he’ll buy anything! Hey Mikey, all’s forgiven over that Koran piss business, we’re gonna pay you back for your righteous Lewinsky coverage — you can have the exclusive, man.” One week later, after Isikoff runs around screaming “Oooh! Skull and Bones!” he looks like a chump. Dan Froomkin, who got it right when no one was looking, must still be rolling his eyeballs.
Catch up with you tomorrow after Kobepalooza.
Update: Dr. Kleiman would like it known that he “managed to escape from the situation without having to acknowledge good behavior by the Bushies.” As he is the future author of my ass I feel I must honor his request.