Durham’s Previous Run-In with Tribalism

There are two more themes emerging on the coverage of John Durham, the guy Mukasey picked to investigate the torture tape destruction. First, there’s this piece from the WaPo that describes how Durham managed to take down the governor of CT.

Pickerstein said Durham relied on a "good versus evil" vision of the world while overseeing the probe of former governor John G. Rowland.

Rowland was sentenced to a year and a day in federal prison and four months of home confinement for accepting $107,000 in gifts from people doing business with the state and for not paying taxes on them. "It wasn’t an easy case, but John was single-minded in his pursuit of the truth," Pickerstein said.

Gotta say I appreciate the emphasis on his willingness to go after Republicans. But folks? Let’s stop with the "Second coming of Fitz" claims, particularly ones that suggest Fitz doesn’t have a sense of humor.

He’s Fitzgerald with a sense of humor

I just think the whole "second-coming" thing is unnecessary. Perhaps, shocker, there is more than one model for honest prosecutor.

My favorite new detail to come out about Durham today is this one:

Durham’s role in the Boston investigation has been judged a success, but before it concluded, he found himself at the center of brutal warfare between Boston’s competing and almost tribal political and law enforcement interests — interests that had become increasingly mistrustful over the years because of what later was proven to have been leaks of law enforcement secrets to murderous gangsters.

Friends said Durham, who until then had been largely trustful of law enforcement colleagues, quickly concluded that no one could be trusted. And in the murky world of Boston law enforcement, friends said the publicity-averse Durham became almost maniacal about leaks.

In Connecticut, Durham’s distaste for the press has become something of a standing joke among law enforcement agents. He appears in public only when forced by superiors and, then, usually issues terse "no comments." 

That detail I particularly like. If my admittedly WAGGY reading of the factionalism behind the torture tape destruction is even close, Durham will need to wander Washington trusting no one, negotiating some really Byzantine rules of tribalism.

Now if we can only get him special counsel status. 

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13 replies
  1. MadDog says:

    In Connecticut, Durham’s distaste for the press has become something of a standing joke among law enforcement agents. He appears in public only when forced by superiors and, then, usually issues terse “no comments.”

    And this is a telling (or not *g*) quote too. It means that it is unlikely we’ll see or hear any real info about this case as it moves forward (or not).

    Perhaps one of the main criteria in Mukasey’s selection of Durham, is that Durham keeps his mouth shut.

    If this is a significant factor as I’m assuming, then the apparent motivation of Mukasey and the Administration is to:

    1. Make this sucker fly under the radar.
    2. Make this sucker go away…bery, bery quietly.

    All snooze and no news could be Fred Fielding’s marching orders.

  2. brendanscalling says:

    Durham did a good job in Boston. If you’ve read a href=”http://www.amazon.com/Black-Mass-Unholy-Alliance-Between/dp/0060959258”>”Black Mass”, you know that ”tribalism” is putting it mildly.

    Durham needs independence/ special counsel status, I agree. i think the guy will be a pit bull if he’s given freedom.

    • bmaz says:

      But he is most certainly not going to be given the “freedom”, nor the mandate to do what really needs to be done. And Durham’s aversion to the press and having any part of the investigation made public plays right into the Administration’s hands. The whole PR spin will be “Tough minded Bull Durham is on the case” and the public will once again believe the right thing is occurring; but, because of Durham’s secrecy, will never know it is a narrowly focused sham.

  3. cbl2 says:

    Empty! cant believe wordpress is letting me pass been trying for a month mad progressive love to all pups!

  4. looseheadprop says:

    If Durham accepts the assignment with it current limitations on his autonomy, he has failed his first integrity test.

    Now, I’ going to withhold judgement for a couple weeks to give him time to bring Mukasey around, but the reality is, without meanigful independance from Mukasey and without the authority to follow the facts wherever they may lead, and not merely dealing with who destroyed the tapes, the investigation is pre-ordained and it’s conclusions tainted from the outset.

    If he cannot stand up and speak truth to power to Mukasey at the outset, he is defeated before he starts.

    Oh, and who ever said PatFitz did not have a sense of humor? The guy is famous for playing pranks–stupid pranks, but still, he works at them. NAd what about “Madness! Madness!” tell me that was not worth a chuckle.

  5. JimWhite says:

    People are saying it would take too long, but I disagree. We need a new Special Prosecutor law and we need it now. Sending one to Bush now will make him a part of a cover-up if he vetoes it.

  6. BayStateLibrul says:

    Yeah. Tribalism, the lowest level of human development (fits in with the
    Bush motif of blood and magical thinking…)

    What will be Durham’s scope?
    and can he deviate?

  7. Neil says:

    The next Michael Jordan, the next Patrick Fitzgerald, the next blaa blaa. Journalists match three data points and call it twins (prosecutor, enormously competent, leak less aka principled). Theirs is a failure to investigate, and a penchant to characterize by taking the most obvious shortcut. Journalists even get their distinguishing characteristic wrong, sense of humor.

    But back to the substantive issue, will Durham be allowed to pursue the facts beyond the boundries if the facts take him there?

  8. Ann in AZ says:

    Well, I have some questions:

    Yesterday Jonathon Turley (whom I respect) was on KO and he said that this prosecutor will not have independence. He said that it would be more like saying, “Oh, there’s something wrong in this law firm. We’ll call in one of our affiliates from our offices in another city to investigate.” But he said, ultimately, it comes down to the prosecutor works for Mukasey, and Mukasey works for the President, who we believe ordered whatever interrogation methods were shown on those destroyed tapes.

    My question is, how does this prosecutor differ from Fitz’ position (Fitz ultimately worked for Gonzo who worked for Bush. Libby was Bush’s assistant) or from Archibald Cox or Leon Jaworski for that matter. After all, Nixon tried (and succeeded in the end) to fire Cox, but there was such a public uproar that Cox got replaced with Jaworski who pursued the same basic line that Cox did. Didn’t he? Isn’t that always the way with Special or Independent Prosecutors? Ultimately, they work for the Executive Branch and it makes it tough when the Executive branch is being investigated?

  9. billinturkey says:

    And this is a telling (or not *g*) quote too. It means that it is unlikely we’ll see or hear any real info about this case as it moves forward (or not).

    Perhaps one of the main criteria in Mukasey’s selection of Durham, is that Durham keeps his mouth shut.

    I appreciate the need for caution on comparisons to PJF – but didn’t Marcy once joke that his press spokesman had the world’s easiest job?

    Also – there’s the Reyes committee’s investigation, which han’t been called off

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