Wednesday, July 04, 2007

The 'ist' prosecution

My friend Trish over at Liberal Chicks would certainly scan a policy for being sexist, elitist, militarist etc. The idea of an 'ist' policy is that it assumes an undemocratic characterization of a group of people. The statement 'Black people are lazy' is a racist statement insofar as it characterizes each individual of a group as having a negative characteristic and doesn't allow them to be presumed as not 'lazy.'

Fitzgerald's charge in investigating the 'outing' of Valerie Plame was to see if anyone at the White House illegally revealed her name. As a commenter at the Volokh conspiracy recently noted, Armitage was the source of the leak to Novak and obstructed the investigation by not revealing for over a year that he had revealed this name to 2 other reporters, but he was not charged. As surely as there may be a fault with racial profiling, there is a fault that the investigation of the possible crime did not go that way because Armitage, in the State Department, did not fit the assigned profile. Similarly, the possibility that reporters were obscuring what they knew about Plame was not pursued apparently because they did not fit the profile. This 'ist' assumption of blame in an assigned group has more insidious effects however. Fleischer, the former press secretary, was an essential witness against Libby. He basically restated the charge against Libby in having the charge come out of Libby's mouth in a statement to Fleischer as to what needed to be done. Now Fleischer had talked to others about Plame; one reporter says that Fleischer talked to him and another, who denied having heard from Fleischer, Fleischer claimed to have told. Unlike Armitage, Fleischer being a member of the group selected for prosecution had more to fear. Thus there was a special incentive for him to turn and lay the blame on a higher up and thus have a target more suitable for a 'success' in the profiled prosecution.

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