Conservatives Label Fitzgerald A Failure, Ignoring His Record Of Successful Terrorism Prosecutions

Since U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald investigated the Bush administration’s leaking of Valerie Plame’s identity — and successfully prosecuted Scooter Libby for perjury — conservatives have sought to discredit the prosecutor. Last month, Michelle Malkin insisted that Democrats would “turn on a dime” against Fitzgerald for going after a Democratic governor — despite the fact that President-elect Obama and top congressional Democrats have called for Fitzgerald to be reappointed as U.S. Attorney.

Continuing their assault on Fitzgerald, conservatives like to argue that Fitzgerald’s prosecution record is weak. Yesterday, Fox News’s Brit Hume decried Fitzgerald’s so-called “propensity” to make accusations “in news conferences” that he “is unable to prove in court.” This morning, MSNBC’s Joe Scarborough slammed the prosecutor for bringing cases with “a lot of smoke” but “no fire,” and wondered, “Is Fitzgerald going to go 0 for 2 here in national investigations?” Watch it:

To say Fitzgerald might go “0 for 2” in national investigations not only ignores the fact that he won a conviction of a Bush aide in the Plame case but, more importantly, completely ignores Fitzgerald’s successful prosecution of the terrorists — including “the blind Shiek” Omar Abdul Rahman — who bombed the World Trade Center in 1993. During the trial, Fitzgerald provided a passionate and forceful voice against what he called “a war of urban terrorism,” years before “the War on Terror” began:

— “Terrorism is real. It is here. It is in this courtroom,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald told the jury. [AP, 10/2/95]

— Assistant United States Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald concluded more than two days of the Government’s closing argument by telling the jurors, “The defendants in this room conspired to steal from Americans their freedom from fear.” [NY Times, 9/8/95]

Fitzgerald also indicted Osama bin Laden for terrorism years before he was on the national radar, after the 9/11 attacks. In addition, he secured the fraud conviction of Conrad Black, who had ties to the Bush White House. After successfully prosecuting terrorists, mobsters, governors, and White House officials, Fitzgerald is hardly in danger of going “0 for 2.”