No Plame indictment before November

The schedule just doesn’t work.

Back in April, I would have bet heavily on indictments in the Valerie Plame case before Election day. Now, I’d bet heavily against it. By the time Fitzgerald gets around to subpoenaing Novak, and Novak fights it in court, we’ll be into next year.

Even if Fitzgerald has, or soon gets, plenty of evidence to back up an indictment, he won’t file it until he’s talked to all the witnesses. That’s just elementary prudence. That’s why Congressional investigations should not be held up pending criminal trials: the systems don’t work to the same calendar.

The opportunity the American people have to pass judgment on the Bush Administration’s performance is ten weeks from now, and they’re entitled to do so with as much information as they can get. Shame on the tame Republicans on Capitol Hill, who have allowed partisan loyalty to overwhelm institutional responsibility.

Footnote: Has Fitzgerald subpoenaed Clifford May, the former RNC flack who has said in print that he was told of Plame’s CIA affiliation before Novak made it public?

Author: Mark Kleiman

Professor of Public Policy at the NYU Marron Institute for Urban Management and editor of the Journal of Drug Policy Analysis. Teaches about the methods of policy analysis about drug abuse control and crime control policy, working out the implications of two principles: that swift and certain sanctions don't have to be severe to be effective, and that well-designed threats usually don't have to be carried out. Books: Drugs and Drug Policy: What Everyone Needs to Know (with Jonathan Caulkins and Angela Hawken) When Brute Force Fails: How to Have Less Crime and Less Punishment (Princeton, 2009; named one of the "books of the year" by The Economist Against Excess: Drug Policy for Results (Basic, 1993) Marijuana: Costs of Abuse, Costs of Control (Greenwood, 1989) UCLA Homepage Curriculum Vitae Contact: Markarkleiman-at-gmail.com

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