Career prosecutor to supervise Plame probe

Relax. The new guy supervising Fitzgerald is the best possible choice from the perspective of those of us who want to see the bad guys sent away.

On his way out the door, Deputy Attorney General James Comey, who chose junkyard dog Patrick Fitzgerald to run the Plame scandal investigation, has chosen senior junkyard dog David Margolis to supervise Fitzgerald once Comey leaves.

This is truly bad news — for the bad guys.

Margolis made his prosecutorial bones doing organized crime cases, eventually rising to Chief of the Organized Crime and Racketeering Section of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division, from which position he supervised the seventeen Organized Crime Strike Forces which more or less won the war on the Mafia. (That’s when I got to know him.) Margolis has a stratospheric IQ, has been known to wear Willie Nelson t-shirts to work, is used to long investigations using somewhat edgy investigative techniques, and can’t be intimidated by anybody.

So the risk that Bush would put in a Skull-and-Bones budddy to put a lid on Fitzgerald turns out to have been chimerical.

Last paragraph above edited to eliminate a confusion between Associate Attorney General Robert McCallum, the Skull-and-Bones classmate of GWB who was earlier rumored to be in line to replace Comey as Fitzgerald’s supervisor, and Deputy Attorney General nominee Timothy Flanigan. Flanigan will be Margolis’s boss, if he ever gets confirmed, which now seems quite unlikely given Flanigan’s having hired Jack Abramoff as a lobbyist.

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: