News and events revolving around the ousting of CIA agent Valerie Plame.

Friday, October 21, 2005

Fitzgerald Launches Web Site

By Dan Froomkin
Special to
Friday, October 21, 2005; 1:00 PM

Special prosecutor Patrick J. Fitzgerald has just launched his own brand-new Web site.

Could it be that he's getting ready to release some new legal documents? Like, maybe, some indictments? It's certainly not the action of an office about to fold up its tents and go home.

Fitzgerald spokesman Randall Samborn minimized the significance of the Web launch in an interview this morning.

"I would strongly caution, Dan, against reading anything into it substantive, one way or the other," he said. "It's really a long overdue effort to get something on the Internet to answer a lot of questions that we get . . . and to put up some of the documents that we have had ongoing and continued interest in having the public be able to access."

OK, OK. But will the Web site be used for future documents as well?

"The possibility exists," Samborn said.

Among the documents currently available on the site:

* The December 30, 2003, memo from then-acting attorney general James B. Comey establishing Fitzgerald as an independent special counsel with "all the authority of the Attorney General with respect to the Department's investigation into the alleged unauthorized disclosure of a CIA employee's identity."

* A Feb. 6, 2004, follow-up confirming that his mandate "includes the authority to investigate and prosecute violations of any federal laws related to the underlying alleged unauthorized disclosure, as well as federal crimes committed in the course of, and with intent to interfere with, your investigation."

The Web site is "bare bones" and is "still a work in progress," Samborn said. "We have some document formatting issues that we're still resolving." As a result, the site has not yet been officially announced -- although there is a link from Fitzgerald's home page as the U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois.

Up until now, the only official repository for documents related to the special counsel's investigation had been a page on the U.S. District Court's Web site. But it only included court motions and rulings.

Incidentally, if you call the number the new Web site lists for Fitzgerald's D.C. office, the phone is somewhat mysteriously answered "counterespionage section."

But as Samborn explained to me, that's because the special prosecutor is borrowing space in the Justice Department's Bond Building from the counterespionage section. "The office of special counsel doesn't really have its own dedicated space," he said.


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