Spitzer Resigns

Not a big surprise. Here’s the bit I hope gets the most traction:

Over the course of my public life, I have insisted, I believe correctly, that people, regardless of their position or power, take responsibility for their conduct. I can and will ask no less of myself. For this reason, I am resigning from the office of governor.

I think it likely we’ll find, over time, that those investigating Spitzer felt obliged to pursue what otherwise would not have merited a continued investigation. I suspect we’ll learn that public people, like Spitzer, are going to be exposed to a lot more scrutiny–and otherwise unusual investigations–because of these new post-9/11 money laundering laws.

Still. Spitzer was a crusader about law and order. And, according to his own standards, that requires taking responsibility for his conduct. And that, at least, is how he’s pitching his resignation.

Update:  Via David Kurtz.

In response to press speculation, MICHAEL J. GARCIA, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, said: "There is no agreement between this Office and Governor Eliot Spitzer, relating to his resignation or any other matter."

Does it sound to you like they still want to charge him? 

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136 replies
  1. Hans says:

    It is a great shame, I was also impressed with the bit you quoted. If only our leaders, particularly in the White House, chose that road – even occasionally.

  2. PetePierce says:

    These articles may be helfpul in detailing how the DOJ and Tresasury Departments allege Spitzer was targeted. I still believe the SWIFT data base is being illegally adopted by the CIA, and illegally used by DOJ, that it is illegal as applied to US citizens operated in Belgium, that there are no safeguards for US citizens now vis a vis SWIFT as Mary pointed out in the thread before this. If SWIFT was used to get the data initially on Spitzer, then it was illegally done. However the hastily contrived cover story for US Attorney Garcia goes along the lines of these links. What they did worked because the airhead media is following Spitzer’s limo to his resignation the way they followed OJ, Martha Stewart, and Britney.

    The government would defend any attempt at discovering how they actually got the information in the first place with a State Secrets argument or just plain lie if Spitzer’s attorney Michele Hirsman were to try to find out. She used to be his first Deputy Attorney General in NY and was chief of the Public Corruption Unity in the S.D.N.Y. for eleven years.

    This is the way the government will allege they got the information on Spitzer. I believe it is a a front story that is extremely shaky along the lines of a standard IT interception as outlined below if in fact the SWIFT data base from Brussels, Belgium, now deployed by the CIA was the source of the information. DOJ will say they did this with Treasury along the lines of the links below.

    Mary did an excellent job of pointing out insights on SWIFT in her analysis Mary’s analysis on SWIFT here.

    The government would defend any attempt at discovering how they actually got the information in the first place with a State Secrets argument. They have a front story that is extremely shaky along the lines of a standard IT interception as outlined below:

    Eliot Spitzer’s Software Nightmare

    How an information system helped nail Eliot Spitzer and a prostitution ring


    Financial Crimes Enforcement Network

    SAR Activity Review By the Numbers

    • sailmaker says:

      i hope they nail the person who revealed Spitzer’s name the press.

      The unauthorized disclosure of suspicious activity reports (SARs), as detailed in recent press reports, is a violation of federal criminal law and is being reviewed by the appropriate law enforcement authorities.

      The release of this information by those to whom it was entrusted threatens everything that we all have worked so hard to build — a program to protect the integrity of our financial system through the prevention, detection and prosecution of financial crimes and terrorist financing. The SAR system has yielded, and will continue to yield, extremely valuable information for law enforcement. FinCEN is acutely aware of the privacy interests implicated in this reporting. The success of this reporting system depends upon the financial sector’s confidence that these reports will not be inappropriately disclosed by those to whom FinCEN disseminates the information.

      FinCEN requires those with access to this sensitive information to preserve its confidentiality. FinCEN will continue to safeguard the information it collects and any incidents undermining the integrity of the system will be thoroughly investigated.”

      That quote was from 2004 but same goes, I’d think.

      Yes Spitzer should have obeyed the laws he broke, but due process should also have been followed.

      • PetePierce says:

        Well as far as due process, DOJ will say not only was it followed in spades, but every nanomolecule of it was catalogued and archived by the anchors and talking heads on cable networks like MSNBC and the Ho No He Diunnnnt! headlines of the NY Post.

        It’s not due process to me that’s at issue here. It’s the way that this information was mined and used.

  3. LS says:

    Spitzer, February 14, 2008:

    “Not only did the Bush administration do nothing to protect consumers, it embarked on an aggressive and unprecedented campaign to prevent states from protecting their residents from the very problems to which the federal government was turning a blind eye.

    Let me explain: The administration accomplished this feat through an obscure federal agency called the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC). The OCC has been in existence since the Civil War. Its mission is to ensure the fiscal soundness of national banks. For 140 years, the OCC examined the books of national banks to make sure they were balanced, an important but uncontroversial function. But a few years ago, for the first time in its history, the OCC was used as a tool against consumers.

    In 2003, during the height of the predatory lending crisis, the OCC invoked a clause from the 1863 National Bank Act to issue formal opinions preempting all state predatory lending laws, thereby rendering them inoperative. The OCC also promulgated new rules that prevented states from enforcing any of their own consumer protection laws against national banks. The federal government’s actions were so egregious and so unprecedented that all 50 state attorneys general, and all 50 state banking superintendents, actively fought the new rules.

    But the unanimous opposition of the 50 states did not deter, or even slow, the Bush administration in its goal of protecting the banks. In fact, when my office opened an investigation of possible discrimination in mortgage lending by a number of banks, the OCC filed a federal lawsuit to stop the investigation.”

    http://www.truthout.org/docs_2006/031208J.shtml

    • PetePierce says:

      That’s the story Michael Garcia will advance. I outlined how DOJ will allege they took Spitzer down in the links here.

      I suspect they used SWIFT illegally to get the data originally.

      • bobschacht says:

        In response to LS @ 3

        That’s the story Michael Garcia will advance. I outlined how DOJ will allege they took Spitzer down in the links here.

        I suspect they used SWIFT illegally to get the data originally.

        Downthread I noted Adam Davidson on NPR’s “All Things Considered” explanation of the reason that Eliot Spitzer was targeted because he was a “Politically Exposed Person” (PEP). If there is a legal basis for enhanced scrutiny of PEPs, that might have provided the legal cover that Karl Rove and his many minions in the DOJ needed to put Democrats under a microscope, as a form of legalized Opp research. It might also explain why Republican party discipline in Congress persists in the face of a very unpopular administration– because of PEP scrutiny, the WH political apparatus may have the goods on many Republicans as well, and may be using that leverage to keep them in line.

        So, what legal basis does PEP scrutiny have?

        Bob in HI

  4. Ishmael says:

    “…I think it likely we’ll find, over time, that those investigating Spitzer felt obliged to pursue what otherwise would not have merited a continued investigation….”

    I suspect that is true – once prosecutors and investigators, especially ones with any integrity, were presented with the evidence of potentially bundled transactions, it would seem that if they did not proceed, they were giving Spitzer a pass because of his political office – of course, the problem is the flip side of such “selective prosecutions” – David Boies on Charlie Rose said last night that this was certainly a “selective prosecution”, but on the grounds that the Governor of New York was involved, and not Joe Blowjob (not his words!) What about selective prosecutions of Democrats who happen to be governors? I suspect “karl’s girls” felt “obliged to pursue what otherwise would not have merited an investigation”, but for totally different reasons. It seems that any kind of public integrity prosecution should now be carried out by quasi-judicial prosecutors, with lifetime tenure, just like federal judges, so as to assure the public that there are no political witchhunts.

    • emptywheel says:

      IMO the analogy should be that this new approach to money transfers with public people makes every line AUSA an Independent Prosecutor–at least in the sense that the Prosecutor feels obliged to come up with a crime (which may or may not have been true, but is the slam against them).

      • Ishmael says:

        I’m not sure that prosecution guidelines by themselves will do any good – for their to be both public confidence and an effective deterrent against fraud by public officials, I believe you need an armslength, separate agency where the prosecutors report to Congress or the Legislature alone, and have 5 year budgets, and monitoring by retired judges.

      • bmaz says:

        Bingo. See, thats the problem. It is maybe sometimes a fine line, but it is still a distinct line. Even if it is true that the genesis was a SAR/CTR, once they see that there is no reason to believe the subject is not reputable (and being the independently wealthy governor of NY is not a sign of disrepute), and there is no obvious improper purpose (i.e. the transfers were not to the AQ Martyr’s Charity or something), you should be done. Because going further is investigating a person in search of a crime. That is no good.

    • PetePierce says:

      Michael J. Garcia is one of Karl’s (now Gillespie’s) girls. There are a lot of Karl’s Girls who are in the ranks of DOJ as USAs, AUSAs, the DAG, and the DAA at DOJ. Mike Mukasey is one of “Karl’s girls” as well who is currently functioning as the Sylvio Dante in the DOJ crime family.

  5. Ishmael says:

    What really killed Spitzer was that unlike Clinton, the party did not stand behind him – he didn’t have the votes, either in the party or support from the public, to fight it out. Other than the Joe Lieberman scolds, Clinton kept the caucus and the public with him, especially the Congressional Black Caucus, and there were never 66 votes in the Senate. If Spitzer could have avoided impeachment, perhaps he could have fought it out on the legal merits, although this path was risky too – he is really rich, but so was Martha Stewart, and she did time. Spitzer faced disbarment too if convicted on indictment.

    • PetePierce says:

      That’s a big component of his demise, and was one of the themes last night on Charlie Rose. I detest the way this was done, despite the fact that Spitzer was not extremely popular, certainly feared and hated by much of Wall Street. He did impose some much needed change on the financial community, and much needs to be done to regulate and reign in the atrocious perks and exemptions Hedge Fund managers get now compared with a lot of the rest of the financial industry.

      This was done to do maximal damage to Spitzer–period.

      As Alan Dershowitz said last night, and a thought that struck me early on. Hookers advertise extensively in the pages of New York Magazine in the back and in a lot of New york papers like the Village Voice.

      They advertise in a lot of magazines on NY you can buy at your local Borders or Barnes and Noble.

      My point being, and Alan Dershowitz’s point was on Charley Rose, that if DOJ wanted to take down high income hooker companies, aka escort services, they have a road map but that isn’t how they usually allocate their resources.

      This totally reeks, and it is typical of the systemic, irreversible chronic disease that will plague this DOJ for several generations.

      John Stewart’s metaphor with a knife, fork, and a bib with Spitzer’s picture on it was appropriate. There is a pandemic of schadenfreude driven orgasm in the media and Republican party over this. Fortunately for the media, the New York Assembly and Senate, and the US House and Senate, their widespread use of hookers still remains secret.

      The fact that this was done via a direct complaint instead of indictment was to use the opportunity to bypass FRCrP Rule 6(e) or Grand Jury Secrecy Rules and showcase this for maximal publicity as Bmaz pointed out here.

  6. emptywheel says:

    Folks

    I’ve had my fill of birds chirping and pleasant weather, so I’m going to go catch a plane home. Will probably check in at the airport, but then will see you later in the day. Hope to read some PDFs on the flight.

    • freepatriot says:

      I’ve had my fill of birds chirping and pleasant weather

      wassa matter, can’t handle a little sunshine ???

      (wink)

      btw, if you’re ever thinking about visiting San Francisco, I’d recommend that you come in September or October. that isn’t related to any political calander or anything. Those are the only two months of the year when the San Francisco weather is survivable

  7. JohnLopresti says:

    Avoiding the prurience of the material theme of the resignation, and needing to read the extended thread two articles ago especially for the SWIFT wiretapping-auditing aspect, I would proffer that the uninhibited ramparts of the PatriotAct-like laws are the electronic communications era equivalent of machine politics, effectively giving insiders targeting means to preserve the exclusivity of the secondHandSmoke-filled cloakroom. I see, too, a Seligman retributive parallel, as NY governorship has served as a career path to one party or the other’s presidential ticket leading post, as has CA’s governorship, though in the latter respect the Republicans are at a disadvantage, having wished for a script reading figurehead candidacy from a CA ‘favorite son’ but dreading the effectiveness NY’s governor demonstrated as state AG, an inequality obliterated with the current scandal and the resignation. I appreciated, as well, the mention of the comptroller of the currency; there is a tidy margin of profit some banks aggregated under the atmosphere of policies as excrcised by the CotC especially in Bush2’s 1st-term. Another feature of the scandal that peers thru the journalistic prose has been the ‘politically exposed persons’ euphemism as applied to leaders in surveillance societies; unfortunately, UK cannot take a defense of privacy lead on the continent in this regard, as it has progressed farther along the road to surveillance abrogation of traditional privacy than US has yet, but the infrastructure congress and the US executive have emplaced in the past seven years continue to make it evident US is still engaged in the sprint to outpace UK to become most surveilled first.

  8. FrankProbst says:

    I continue to doubt that there will ever be an indictment here. Any indictment will lead to discovery, and discovery means that we’re going to find out that the “We we’re just following the money” story was all bullshit. That’s not going to happen.

    • PetePierce says:

      I’m inclined to agree with you. Right now I think Garcia is stringing this out for maximum publicity. He already has what he wants–Spitzer’s not going to be the governor after St. Patrick’s Day.

      But if there were an indictment, and Spitzer and his lawyer Michele Hirshman were to try to use discovery to get at what I believe is the real source of this information SWIFT, Garcia would simply allege this was the routine activity of these below and if they had to they’d still claim State Secrets.

      I don’t believe the proposed FISA law that many people and ACLU say they can “live with” is worth the paper it’s written on. It has a cascade of loopholes in its sloppy crafting. It does not cover the illegal wiretapping we know took place as early as 2000 from Day One when Bush took office. He didn’t have any experience at all, but he had the drive for power that has decked the Constitution.

      How DOJ is alleging this was done:

      Eliot Spitzer’s Software Nightmare

      How an information system helped nail Eliot Spitzer and a prostitution ring


      Financial Crimes Enforcement Network

      SAR Activity Review By the Numbers

      • bmaz says:

        There was no need to address any issues prior to 9/11 in the new FISA law. None of the existing suits, almost all consolidated in NDCA, pertain to the time period prior to 9/11 and the statute of limitations has now run; therefore, no need to even mention anything prior to 9/11.

          • PetePierce says:

            Sorry I meant a reference to TIA the Total Information Awareness program, later renamed Terrorism Information Awareness program. The TSA is another abusive program where you might be stopped from flying with no warning–that has a list that has swelled well above a million people now, and a murky redress process after your trip/plans/business meeting have been totally fucked by DOJ.

  9. FormerFed says:

    I am sad to see what I felt was a good (on balance) public official end up this way. However, as I always told my employees: “If you don’t want to see it on the front page of the WaPo, don’t do it.” Mr. Spitzer had wealth and power – but he also had the arrogance that often accompanies them.

  10. maryo2 says:

    It would be nice to know more about the woman who was given immunity from prosecution for some crime (what crime??) and then later claimed she had worked for QAT Consulting in 2006.

    She reeks of the guy who squealed on Siegelman.

    • PetePierce says:

      There are almost always flipped snitches that are the bread and butter tools of a DOJ prosecution. I don’t believe for a moment that QAT or Emperor’s escort service was taken down to make a more wholesome New York City or to impact the other cities where they made huge profits.

      Again, the current issue of NY Magazine has a couple of hundred escort services in the back, and many of them are as profitable as QAT/Emperor’s.

      This was done to take down Spitzer, and to do it in the most publicity driven way possible. That’s why a grand jury was discarded here.

      • Ishmael says:

        Just a question on local prostitution laws – in Canada, prostitution (ie, paying someone to engage in sexual activity), is legal. Communicating for the purposes, or solicitation, in a public place is not. Living on the avails of prostitution (ie pimping) is illegal. Running a whorehouse is illegal. Is is illegal in New York (or DC) to offer to pay someone for sex, whether in a public place or not?

        • bmaz says:

          Yep, that is the crime of solicitation of prostitution, which is a middle of the road state and/or municipal misdemeanor in every jurisdiction I have practiced in. That is the only particularly viable offense i have seen yet for the Spitz I might add.

          • Ishmael says:

            …and in my jurisdiction, both the hooker and the customer can essentially can get a pass for the first time they get caught by going to John School/sex worker support, and doing some community service. You might not even get your name in the paper.

        • PetePierce says:

          Just a question on local prostitution laws – in Canada, prostitution (ie, paying someone to engage in sexual activity), is legal. Communicating for the purposes, or solicitation, in a public place is not. Living on the avails of prostitution (ie pimping) is illegal. Running a whorehouse is illegal. Is is illegal in New York (or DC) to offer to pay someone for sex, whether in a public place or not?

          Yes to all Ishmael. But how these laws are usually enforced is a much differrent question.

          Yes, it’s illegal to offer to pay someone for sex or more realistically to be caught and prosecuted moves it into a criminal arena. In the US paying a prostitute is illegal. Pimping is illegal and when it involves many under aged girls, or girls forced into a type of slavery or transported and treated cruelly, it’s a major initiative of DOJ with the help of local law enforcement to prosecute, and should be Turning a trick for money is illegal. That this may happen in social situations or marriages depending on the people involved is a whole other discussion.

          You also would probably enjoy reading Glenn Greenwald’s articles (frequently linked here and at FDL)who is a former federal prosecutor, that touch on this if you do not read him regularly over at Salon’s site. Glenn’s two recent articles are here:

          Misadventures in logical reasoning — and lessons learned from the Spitzer scandal

          Who cares if Eliot Spitzer hires prostitutes?

          Escort services thrive in the United States on thousands of web sites, and are advertised in many local newspapers that are the community recreation type. One of my favorite magazines, is New York Magazine partly because I love NY.

          New York Mag advertises hundreds of Escort services similar to the one where Eliot Spitzer found his $4300 for a couple hours Kristen.

          The prices at most of these services are not as high as they seemed to be at QAT/Emperor’s. Spitzer got a lot of his money from his dad who is a multimillionaire, and it became a campaign issue of sorts.

          I don’t know detail of NYC and DC local laws, state or city in the case of NY, but I do know that law enforcement on the federal level or state level, or municiple level is not very consistent. In all big cities in this country, there are busts to be sure–cops with nothing better to do go onto the thousands of boards where escorts advertise and exchange comments much in the way as is done here, and sometimes will bust someone or some people. That is if the cops aren’t on the websites to get their own hookers.

          They almost never go after the johns from what I’ve read about. In big cities where I’ve lived if the working girls are on the street and nearby neighbors complain about the nuisance, or allege concommitant drug use, etc. then you’ll have a vice setup sometimes where cops will decoy as the girls “workin’ hard for the money” as the Donna Summer song goes.

          This prosecution was unusual because it was staged for maximum publicity to take down a governor and there was not an indictment–there was a direct complaint and BMaz made an awfully important point when he said here that this was an investigation of a person in search of a crime. I don’t believe that it followed SAR/CTR and I have to be clear and say I have no evidence whatsoever that it didn’t and I don’t know how I would get it. That’s the awful platform that now may be operative that John Lopresti alludes to. and EW made well when she said

          IMO the analogy should be that this new approach to money transfers with public people makes every line AUSA an Independent Prosecutor–at least in the sense that the Prosecutor feels obliged to come up with a crime (which may or may not have been true, but is the slam against them).

          The feds don’t usually deploy resources to go after escort services involving women of legal age who operate in hotels, motels, or their own or other residences. I’d like to ask Michael Garcia, the US Attorney for the S.D.N.Y. if he has a reading diability when he opens NY Magazine, or the Village Voice.

  11. dipper says:

    On behalf of all the birds and the pleasant weather, we Californians bid you a safe trip home and many happy returns to our state.

  12. maryo2 says:

    source –
    http://www.cnn.com/2008/POLITI…..index.html
    “The investigation into the Emperor’s Club, which began in October 2007, included evidence from a confidential source identified in court papers as a prostitute who worked at the club in 2006 and was given immunity.”

    PetePierce – what steps were involved in moving the case away from a grand jury?

    I am already suspicious of how fast the case proceeded after the Governor was snared after having moved slowly for months, and at how unnecessarily detailed this “Lewis” person was on the phone. Lewis must have flipped before they got Spitzer. If so, did the prostitution ring leader get immunity for giving up a john? If yes, then is that unusual?

    Notice how all the questions that lead to the word sex or dollar amounts come from Lewis. The prostitute text messages “package” but “Lewis” asks if he wanted to do something leading to Kristen saying “Dude, do you want the sex.”
    http://www.joblo.com/forums/sh…..did=118900

    • PetePierce says:

      PetePierce – what steps were involved in moving the case away from a grand jury?

      Maryo2 sorry. I had to leave and just saw your question. If bmaz or someone else hasn’t answered, my interpretation of why this happened is this.

      Your question as to steps involved in moving the case away from a grand jury is an easy one.

      Remember, there was an indictment in fact, Mary. The indictment was of the individuals who ran the service, QAT/Emperor’s Club.

      They could have an indictment of Spitzer under seal, but I doubt it. I think they’re quite content to demolish Spitzer via the media. As John Stewart said, the media has a knife and fork out and a bib with his name/picture on it.

      The media doesn’t understand much about the law, but they do understand sex. Garcia understands enough about sex to know that the media who likes sex, and knows its ratings value is going to keep this wall to wall for a few days.

      The primary purpose of this indictment of the escort service was to destroy Spitzer as governor. That’s why there was so much detail in the affidavit, and some people here have noticed that the obsessive, repetitive detail in the phone calls that were recorded and transcribed.

      People like Heidi Fleiss are happy because they feel there has been a double standard in that the johns are usually not prosecuted or held up to shame.

      Governor Spitzer hasn’t been indicted, and I don’t think he will be.

      Spitzer was mentioned in the Indictment and the Affidavit as Client #9. So what Michael Garcia and hs superiors at DOJ have been doing(I like to think of them all fondly as Karl’s Girls because there is a pandemic now at DOJ where a number of USAs and AUSAs are being morphed into Karl’s Girls or clones of the insipid Leura Canary and Alice Martin who whored themselves out for the Siegelman prosecution. I call that Lerua and Alice’s Emperor’s Club @ Casa DOJ.

      There was no grand jury convened for Governor Spitzer. The reasons are obvious. This chronically sick DOJ often prefers to character assasinate Democratic office holders or candidates by prosecuting them via news leak.

      If they convene a grand jury (which is in essence a chickenshit operation on the part of an Assistant US Attorney because the defense is not present neither the target nor his or her attorney–and a board certified moron can indict a ham sandwhich) they purportedly have to conform to Federal Rule of Criminal Procedure (FRCrP) Rule 6(e). This mandates grand jury secrecy. Nowadays, however since the Grand Jury is controlled by a corrupt DOJ, there are frequently leaks from the grand jury. Michael Garcia and DOJ didn’t want to be bound by presumed Grand Jury secrecy in the situation with Spitzer so they did not convene a Grand Jury that we know about. They could have done so, and secured an indictment and it could be under seal right now.

      I know they are currently hauling the women who were alledgedly working as prostitutes in this business in via subpoena and getting affidavits from them. As far as I know they aren’t ignoring the subpoenas the way Hillary Clinton ignored hers for 18 months.

      I do remember something about Governor Spitzer that stuck in my memory. It has to do with the Larry Thompson memo at DOJ and the MO of the US Attorney rebuked by several federal judges to force companies not to pay for their employees legal fees. Spitzer was one of the few state Attorney Generals I can remember who tried to stop companies from paying legal fees for their employees when criminally charged:

      New York AG Presses Companies to Stop Paying Indicted Employees’ Legal Bills

  13. drational says:

    There’s nothing like a good resignation to kill an inane sex scandal. Now let’s talk about the FISA problem.

  14. BooRadley says:

    Are we really sure there was “spurious activity?”

    I know the government is putting that out, but I’d sure like to see that confirmed. Is there “spurious activity” on anyone else’s accounts in the US?” Judging by the time they spent on Spitzer, it doesn’t look like it.

    I like all the SWIFT speculation, but I wanna offer another possibility, Ken Langone.

    A blacklist burning for Bush” “The more you look the more disbarred and ‘disappeared’ Gore voters you find. You’d almost think it was deliberate”

    […] I was curious about this company that appears – although never say never in this game – to have chosen the next President for America’s voters. Its board dazzles with Republican stars, including billionaire Ken Langone and Home Depot tycoon Bernard Marcus, big Republican funders.

    Florida is the only state to hire an outside firm to suggest who should lose citizenship rights. That may change. ‘Given a new President, and what we accomplished in Florida, we expect to roll across the nation,’ ChoicePoint told me ominously.

    Langhone is on Choicepoint’s board. Choicepoint sells Equifax’s data. Langone is tight with Dick Grasso and hates Spitzer’s guts. Langone could have persuaded someone at Equifax to give him Spitzer’s banking records. That enormous FCRA (Fair Credit Reporting Act) violation would have led them to the cash withdrawals/wire transfers. That could have been what put them on to the hookers.

    • prostratedragon says:

      Now this here reminds me of the answer to all the “why in the world” questioning of the last couple of days: It does proffer a possibly acceptable Plan B.

  15. maryo2 says:

    When a flight instructor notified the FBI about a foreigner wanting to fly but not land jets, the FBI shoved the report up their collective asses, but now we are to believe that this same FBI noticed a connection between a QAT prostitute in some previous case and Spitzer’s bank’s SAR.

    No way. There is a dot missing: SWIFT and PEP profiling.

  16. Mary says:

    13 …going further is investigating a person in search of a crime

    I also can’t help but think of pdaly’s question about the content of the intercepts from the hooker on the Feb surveillance effort that was successful (yes, I thought it sounded almost scripted) and some early report I thought I saw, but can’t find now, about one of the prostitutes deciding to work with the FBI and the lengthy failed Jan surveillance, lapsed wiretap orders, etc. after that debacle, then the miraculous resurrection all right in time for the successful surveillance. [I also got a little weirded out over the fact that Spitzer’s security detail never figured out either the vehicle surveillance or even the “peaking out from the room across the hall” surveillance.

    Still, Spitzer was a moron. However, on the bright side, shouldn’t there be a big and LOUD renewal of calls for Vitter and Craig to resign? Time to wake the sleeping dogs.

  17. bobschacht says:

    More on the background for PEP profiling–
    From p. 23 of Appendix A of the 2007 National Money Laundering Strategy:

    In 2003, ICE established a Politically Exposed Person
    (PEP) Task Force in Miami to address the vulnerability
    of relationships between private banks and corrupt foreign
    officials. The PEP Task Force works with ICE field
    offices and foreign governments in the identification of
    public corruption-related proceeds laundered through
    U.S. financial institutions. Increasingly, Central American,
    South American, and Caribbean governments are
    seeking the assistance of the United States in developing
    evidence against, and locating the assets of, corrupt government
    officials and prominent citizens involved in the
    theft or embezzlement of public and private funds. ICE
    agents are currently investigating several cases that involve
    illicit funds channeled into the United States from
    Caribbean, Central American, South American, and Pacific
    Rim countries that were used to purchase assets domestically
    and abroad.

    ICE = Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

    Spitzer allegedly adapted this system to his own needs when he was New York’s AG (sorry, no references), and hence the NPR report essentially claims that Spitzer is hoist on his own petard.

    Nevertheless, the PEP scrutiny looks made to order for Rove.

    Bob in HI

    • skdadl says:

      Hey, Ishmael, look! From Bob’s post:

      Increasingly, Central American,
      South American, and Caribbean governments are
      seeking the assistance of the United States in developing
      evidence against, and locating the assets of, corrupt government
      officials and prominent citizens involved in the
      theft or embezzlement of public and private funds. ICE
      agents are currently investigating several cases that involve
      illicit funds channeled into the United States from
      Caribbean, Central American, South American, and Pacific
      Rim countries that were used to purchase assets domestically
      and abroad.

      Notice one missing country? At least one prominent citizen of which has wandered about NYC with lots of money acquired at a meeting in a hotel room? (Was the money stowed in brown paper bags? I forget.)

      • Ishmael says:

        Large envelopes, $1000 bills, which Mulroney claims he then put in a NYC safe deposit box. BTW, did you notice that McCain has his own Airbus problems?

      • bobschacht says:

        In response to bobschacht @ 43

        Hey, Ishmael, look! From Bob’s post:

        Increasingly, Central American,
        South American, and Caribbean governments are
        seeking the assistance of the United States in developing
        evidence against, and locating the assets of, corrupt government
        officials and prominent citizens involved in the
        theft or embezzlement of public and private funds. ICE
        agents are currently investigating several cases that involve
        illicit funds channeled into the United States from
        Caribbean, Central American, South American, and Pacific
        Rim countries that were used to purchase assets domestically
        and abroad.

        Notice one missing country? At least one prominent citizen of which has wandered about NYC with lots of money acquired at a meeting in a hotel room? (Was the money stowed in brown paper bags? I forget.)

        My point is this: the PEP scrutiny may have begun “innocently” enough as a program to identify drug lords– but sometime ca. 2003 someone brought it to Rove’s/Cheney’s attention and said, “Lookee here! Looks like a great oppo research tool! Might work to keep wayward Republicans in line, too!”

        Cynical alternative: PEP scrutiny was a design feature from the start, with the war on drugs as a mere cover story to hide the true purposes of the tool.

        Bob in HI

      • bobschacht says:

        In response to bobschacht @ 43

        He Bob, Guess what USA SDNY did right before he became USA?

        Yep, head of ICE.

        Hey, what a coinkydink! Thanks for the info!

        What is needed to prevent the use of datamining PEP scrutiny from merely becoming an Oppo research tool of whomever is in power to use against whomever isn’t? Is new legislation needed? Or is this a Constitutional issue awaiting a proper hearing in the Courts?

        Bob in HI

      • PetePierce says:

        Head of ICE Under Chertoff or anywhere in Chertoff’s domain is not something I’d brag to any of my friends about much less admit. I don’t know which trait wins out more in Mike Chertoff–dishonesty or incompetency. I’ll call it a draw there.

        I think Garcia’s provinence is a compelling reason as to how he might have coopted SWIFT from the CIA to go after Spitzer–probably peforming at the original direction of Karl Rove.

        This was was not a routine “SOP” exercise of 18 USC § 1956 MLCA/SARS/FinCen/CTRs, and we have been pointing this out on the last 3 threads here. This was not “tin foil.” This was Mike Garcia becoming a full fledged member of Karl’s girls–he’s Leura Canary and Alice Martin in full drag.

        From reading your headline at FDL you seem to be proferring that it was.

        So, was Eliot Spitzer targeted because he was the governor? Or because he pissed off impotant rich people and Wall Street types? Was this investigation opened without the usual underpinnings?

        Both LHP. This isn’t the DOJ you lavish praise on, where you hark back to working in SDNY in the Public Corruption Section seven or so years ago. This is a whole other animal.

        You said:

        I gotta tell you, NY especially the NY legal community is a really small town. Everybody gossips (as you know from all the gossip I pass on here).

        Coincidentally I have been at several (long since scheduled) meetings with truck loads of well connected lawyers and a raft of judges all of whom are understandably facinated by this case.

        Problem is, the only facts out so far are the ones favorable to the prosecution and devestating to SPitzer. Until Michelle Hirshman gets some discovery out of the prosecution (whhich she is not entitled to unless Spitzer is charged) there isn’t the kind of publicly reported information that would make someone comfortable going on the record with a quote.

        That’s the idea here. This was designed so that no one would know whether facts or favorable to any DOJ prosecution of Spitzer. If he isn’t charged, there’s not any discovery. That was the basic idea. Maybe this truckload of gossips should be fascinated with the abusive nature of how this “case” was choreographed to destroy Spitzer without unsealing an indictment against him. Maybe you’d be shocked and surprised at their ancillary extracurricular sex lives and ectopic sex.

        As Bmaz and EW have pointed out, this was an investigation of Spitzer in search of a crime.

        I don’t see any evidence yet, that suggests Spitzer’s money transactions should have triggered any criminal investigation of him based on SARS/FinCen.

        I would think you would be questioning this.

        From Bmaz here

        They still were NOT investigating a crime, nor evidence of a crime, because there was no indicia whatsoever at the outset that there were illegal proceeds, nor illegal purpose, involved. If this statute was the basis of their full bore criminal investigation of Spitzer, they have a problem.

        here:

        Yeah, but the consistent story out of all those “law enforcement sources” has been that the whole thing, including the club, originated with the Spitzer bank report itself, not the deposit into a target account.

        You said

        The problem here is that they did find something –they have him on the Mann Act–so would make it that much harder to show bad faith in the investigation.

        You seem sure they have him on the Mann act. Let’s scrutinzie this. I’m not. I don’t see any evidence in those ridiculously choreographed affidavits and insanely and uniquely detailed affidavits and wiretaps that Spitzer intentionally stipulated that a lady be transported over state lines from NYC to DC for the purposes of sex.

        Spitzer contacted QAT aka Emperors to hire a woman obstensibly for sex. But no where did he stipulate that I can find that she be transported accross state lines. The agency selected Ashley Duprey

        They surprised him that it would be “Kristen.” They made arrangements for her to purchase a train ticket to D.C. and from D.C. He did not know who they would select. This was an international agency. He had no reason to believe that whomever they selected to spend time with him would not be located in D.C. when he got there. He hasn’t violated the legislative intent of the Mann Act. Can you show me precisely where you find language in the transcript that he in fact has?

        I don’t see anywhere at all where Spitzer stipulated that he wanted a lady from outside of D.C. and only a lady from outside D.C.

        He had no reason for the expectation that he was specifically selecting someone outside where he would be located. And this certainly is not the use of the Mann Act for transporting someone underage accross state lines in the sordid scenarios you described. This is not the context of situations where your former collegue Stu Grabois was trying to rescue underaged kids by applying the Mann Act to prosecute a predator.

        You say

        This started as an IRS investigtaion

        It may well have started as a Rovian initative in fact using SWIFT monitoring of the CIA. I don’t know that yet, but you also certainly do not know how this started. You know what Garcia is feeding to the press that his DAA, and DAG are telling him to feed. Mukasey circulated a memo not too long ago trying to brief “Karl’s girls” on sensitive political investigations, probably this one included as Mary points out.

        That’s hard to tell because DOJ is targeting so many Democratic candidates and office holders at once ala Siegleman ala Christie’s timed investigation of Bob Menendez.

        I’d just like to say respectfully that the tradition that you may have enjoyed seven or however many years ago working in the public corruption unit in SDNY in the “sovereign” district with Independence from Main Justice no longer exists.

        SDNY former Judge Mike Mukasey is the new sheriff. This started under the watch of an old sheriff called Gonzales, who allowed a metastatic cancer to entrench itself with a short doubling time at DOJ. There were multiple primary tumors. And I’d like to suggest that the metastases are now all over SDNY’s US Attorney’s office.

        Surely you don’t think the “gratuitous stuff” you say shocks you in the filings were accidental or because Mike Garcia and his AUSAs are an amatuer soft porn writer do you?

        I am betting you that Michelle Hirshman is very aware of SWIFT, and will be sending a lot of questions Garcia’s way if they dare to indict Spitzer, and I’m also betting that Garcia’s superiors and his puppeteers in the West Wing will tell their main puppett Mike Mukasey that they don’t want them.

        Also you haven’t addressed and I’d be interested why you think that although a grand jury was used, there was a complaint instead of an indictment. That’s very wierd. It’s not typical at all. I don’t know what other conclusion you and your law partner or friends would draw except that Garcia and others wanted to avoid the constraints of FRCrP Rule 6(e) or “grand jury secrecy.”

        Fern asked and you answered:

        How often does it happen that information like this is released when no charges have been laid?

        I don’t know that it never has, but I can’t think of another instance. ANybody else got another example ? I’m drawing blank trying to think of one.

        I can quickly think of a situation where information was leaked for 4-5 years before an indictment and I’m sure there are others. When Mayor Bill Campbell was finally indicted and prosecuted, the US Attorney leaked information for years as they hauled in and flipped his business associates, friends, and mistress as snitches to use as witnesses.

        Here’s my bottom line analysis LHP. I wouldn’t begin to say I have evidence yet. If Garcia is dumb enough to seek an indictment of Spitzer, I think I’ll get help from Michelle Hirshman. I believe that SWIFT not SARS/CTRswas used to trigger a fishing expedition. They chelated Spitzer, to use an analogy from organic chemistry, to find a crime to attach to his binding sites and precipitate his fall. The questionable use of SWIFT, IMO an illegal CIA program that Mary has analyzed very well.

        I think as Bmaz pointed out, Garcia’s mind set from ICE was like Chertoff’s that they can do whatever they want–courts and law are simply in the way.

      • PetePierce says:

        Head of ICE Under Chertoff or anywhere in Chertoff’s domain is not something I’d brag to any of my friends about much less admit. I don’t know which trait wins out more in Mike Chertoff–dishonesty or incompetency. I’ll call it a draw there.

        I think Garcia’s provinence is a compelling reason as to how he might have coopted SWIFT from the CIA to go after Spitzer–probably peforming at the original direction of Karl Rove.

        This was was not a routine “SOP” exercise of 18 USC § 1956 MLCA/SARS/FinCen/CTRs, and we have been pointing this out on the last 3 threads here. This was not “tin foil.” This was Mike Garcia becoming a full fledged member of Karl’s girls–he’s Leura Canary and Alice Martin in full drag.

        From reading your headline at FDL you seem to be proferring that it was.

        So, was Eliot Spitzer targeted because he was the governor? Or because he pissed off impotant rich people and Wall Street types? Was this investigation opened without the usual underpinnings?

        Both LHP. This isn’t the DOJ you lavish praise on where you hark back to working in SDNY in the Public Corruption Section 7 or so years ago. This is a whole other animal.

        I gotta tell you, NY especially the NY legal community is a really small town. Everybody gossips (as you know from all the gossip I pass on here).

        Coincidentally I have been at several (long since scheduled) meetings with truck loads of well connected lawyers and a raft of judges all of whom are understandably facinated by this case.

        Problem is, the only facts out so far are the ones favorable to the prosecution and devestating to SPitzer. Until Michelle Hirshman gets some discovery out of the prosecution (whhich she is not entitled to unless Spitzer is charged) there isn’t the kind of publicly reported information that would make someone comfortable going on the record with a quote.

        That’s the idea here. This was designed so that no one would know whether facts or favorable to any DOJ prosecution of Spitzer. If he isn’t charged, there’s not any discovery. That was the basic idea. Maybe this truckload of gossips should be fascinated with the abusive nature of how this “case” was choreographed to destroy Spitzer without unsealing an indictment against him. Maybe you’d be shocked and surprised at their ancillary extracurricular sex lives and ectopic sex.

        As Bmaz and EW have pointed out, this was an investigation of Spitzer in search of a crime.

        I don’t see any evidence yet, that suggests Spitzer’s money transactions should have triggered any criminal investigation of him based on SARS/FinCen.

        I would think you would be questioning this.

        From Bmaz here

        They still were NOT investigating a crime, nor evidence of a crime, because there was no indicia whatsoever at the outset that there were illegal proceeds, nor illegal purpose, involved. If this statute was the basis of their full bore criminal investigation of Spitzer, they have a problem.

      • PetePierce says:

        Reply II:

        here:

        Yeah, but the consistent story out of all those “law enforcement sources” has been that the whole thing, including the club, originated with the Spitzer bank report itself, not the deposit into a target account.

        You said

        The problem here is that they did find something –they have him on the Mann Act–so would make it that much harder to show bad faith in the investigation.

        You seem sure they have him on the Mann act. Let’s scrutinzie this. I’m not. I don’t see any evidence in those ridiculously choreographed affidavits and insanely and uniquely detailed affidavits and wiretaps that Spitzer intentionally stipulated that a lady be transported over state lines from NYC to DC for the purposes of sex.

        Spitzer contacted QAT aka Emperors to hire a woman obstensibly for sex. But no where did he stipulate that I can find that she be transported accross state lines.
        The agency selected Ashley Duprey

        They surprised him that it would be “Kristen.” They made arrangements for her to purchase a train ticket to D.C. and from D.C. He did not know who they would select. This was an international agency. He had no reason to believe that whomever they selected to spend time with him would not be located in D.C. when he got there. He hasn’t violated the legislative intent of the Mann Act. Can you show me precisely where you find language in the transcript that he in fact has?

        I don’t see anywhere at all where Spitzer stipulated that he wanted a lady from outside of D.C. and only a lady from outside D.C.

        He had no reason for the expectation that he was specifically selecting someone outside where he would be located. And this certainly is not the use of the Mann Act for transporting someone underage accross state lines in the sordid scenarios you described. This is not the context of situations where your former collegue Stu Grabois was trying to rescue underaged kids by applying the Mann Act to prosecute a predator.

        You say

        This started as an IRS investigtaion

        It may well have started as a Rovian initative in fact using SWIFT monitoring of the CIA. I don’t know that yet, but you also certainly do not know how this started. You know what Garcia is feeding to the press that his DAA, and DAG are telling him to feed. Mukasey circulated a memo not too long ago trying to brief “Karl’s girls” on sensitive political investigations, probably this one included as Mary points out.

        That’s hard to tell because DOJ is targeting so many Democratic candidates and office holders at once ala Siegleman ala Christie’s timed investigation of Bob Menendez.

        I’d just like to say respectfully that the tradition that you may have enjoyed seven or however many years ago working in the public corruption unit in SDNY in the “sovereign” district with Independence from Main Justice no longer exists.

        SDNY former Judge Mike Mukasey is the new sheriff. This started under the watch of an old sheriff called Gonzales, who allowed a metastatic cancer to entrench itself with a short doubling time at DOJ. There were multiple primary tumors. And I’d like to suggest that the metastases are now all over SDNY’s US Attorney’s office.

        Surely you don’t think the “gratuitous stuff” you say shocks you in the filings were accidental or because Mike Garcia and his AUSAs are an amatuer soft porn writer do you?

        I am betting you that Michelle Hirshman is very aware of SWIFT, and will be sending a lot of questions Garcia’s way if they dare to indict Spitzer, and I’m also betting that Garcia’s superiors and his puppeteers in the West Wing will tell their main puppet Mike Mukasey that they don’t want them.

      • PetePierce says:

        Reply III:

        Also you haven’t addressed and I’d be interested why you think that although a grand jury was used, there was a complaint instead of an indictment. That’s very wierd. It’s not typical at all. I don’t know what other conclusion you and your law partner or friends would draw except that Garcia and others wanted to avoid the constraints of FRCrP Rule 6(e) or “grand jury secrecy.”

        Fern asked and you answered:

        How often does it happen that information like this is released when no charges have been laid?

        I don’t know that it never has, but I can’t think of another instance. ANybody else got another example ? I’m drawing blank trying to think of one.

        I can quickly think of a situation where information was leaked for 4-5 years before an indictment and I’m sure there are others. When Mayor Bill Campbell was finally indicted and prosecuted, the US Attorney leaked information for years as they hauled in and flipped his business associates, friends, and mistress as snitches to use as witnesses.

        Here’s my bottom line analysis LHP. I wouldn’t begin to say I have evidence yet. If Garcia is dumb enough to seek an indictment of Spitzer, I think I’ll get help from Michelle Hirshman. I believe that SWIFT not SARS/CTRswas used to trigger a fishing expedition. They chelated Spitzer, to use an analogy from organic chemistry, to find a crime to attach to his binding sites and precipitate his fall. The questionable use of SWIFT, IMO an illegal CIA program that Mary has analyzed very well.

        I think as Bmaz pointed out, Garcia’s mind set from ICE was like Chertoff’s that they can do whatever they want–courts and law are simply in the way.

  18. earlofhuntingdon says:

    Spitzer admitted wrongdoing and hypocrisy and stepped down. A courage in defeat unknown to the Bush administration and the New York Times, which shamelessly threw stones at Spitzer while giving the Bush administration a free pass, even labeling Bush’s most recent advocacy of torture as “fighting for a strong presidency”. (Had they said, “strong man presidency”, they would have been accurate.)

    Spitzer’s self-inflicted fall from grace is a sad event for progressives; but one man is not a movement. Progressives should be more alarmed at the process that exposed Spitzer’s wrongs. It has the earmarks of the Siegelman strategy: staking out a target until he does something stupid, or just inventing it, then prosecuting him for it. (Note, that the Spitzer events all took place in the marketplace, without an indictment.) Were that practiced on the White House and top administrators in federal agencies and Congress, resignations would be an hourly event.

    The Rovemeister cynically knows that Democrats aren’t ruthless or lawless enough – or as tolerant of hypocrisy – as his followers. So from Rove’s perspective, corrupting the federal prosecutorial system is a win-win strategy.

    What are Dems to do? Legitimately investigate the lawlessness, graft and corruption that defines the Bush presidency. Prosecute and punish convicted wrongdoers. Clean house among the staff and regulations Bush will leave in his wake. And pay for Bush’s debts.

    Politically, that’s dynamite, but not nearly as sexy as high-end prostitutes or war, war, war. So they’ll need to poach a few writers from the Daily Show and make clear to Joe and Jill America why doing that is important. To them, their jobs, their healthcare and their children’s educations. The PR battles will make or break the next Democratic administration and, quite possibly, democracy in America. Another legacy of Bush’s Amerika.

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      The PR battles will make or break the next Democratic administration and, quite possibly, democracy in America.

      Only, of course, if the Dems have an optimistic, inclusive, public-spirited, and reality-based, program to sell.

  19. Mary says:

    Speaking of the un-neutered, apparently Vitter isn’t as sleepy as I had hoped.

    He is busily working hard to reinsert abstinence only provisions in the African Aids aid package.

    Isn’t it time for him to do the right thing and resign? Then whip off the diaper and go have unprotected sex with some drugged up prostitutes.

  20. maryo2 says:

    TPMMuckraker has a timeline but it does not include how busy February 11 was – wiretap renewed and “too much information” text message sent.

    Fall, 2007: Another bank (possibly HSBC) sends Suspicious Activity Reports to the Treasury Department. “They showed that Mr. Spitzer and others, including people overseas, collectively deposited hundreds of thousands of dollars into an account of a company called QAT International Inc., whose business involved foreign accounts and shell companies and appeared to be vaguely related to pornography Web sites.”

    10/07: The FBI and the IRS-Criminal Investigative Division launch an investigation “focusing on an organization suspected of conducting prostitution and money-laundering crimes in the United States and Europe” — i.e. the Emperor’s Club VIP.

    1/8/08: Investigators begin wiretaps of Emperor’s Club managers.

    1/26/08: The FBI stakes out the Mayflower hotel in Washington, D.C. “after concluding from a wiretapped conversation that Spitzer might try to meet with a prostitute when he traveled to Washington to attend a black-tie dinner.”

    2/7/08: Authorization for wiretaps expire.

    2/11/08: Investigators renew wiretaps of Emperor’s Club phones. On this same day, Lewis texts “”pls let me know if (Client-9’s) ‘package’ arrives 2mrw. Appt wd be on Wed.”

    2/12/08: Wiretaps pick up Spitzer (reportedly “Client 9″) discussing payments with Emperor’s Club managers and setting up a rendezvous for D.C. the next evening.

    2/13/08: Spitzer has his rendezvous with “Kristen.”

    3/5/08: Prosecutors arrest four managers of the prostitution ring. Investigator filings in support of the arrests detail the activities of “Client 9.”

    The TPM timeline also does not mention the first hooker (or “confidential source”) who worked with the FBI:
    “The investigation into the Emperor’s Club, which began in October 2007, included evidence from a confidential source identified in court papers as a prostitute who worked at the club in 2006 and was given immunity.”

  21. skdadl says:

    Ishmael @ 49:

    BTW, did you notice that McCain has his own Airbus problems?

    I hadn’t, but I’m reading about it now. What a lively corporation.

    Bob @ 41:

    Cynical alternative: PEP scrutiny was a design feature from the start, with the war on drugs as a mere cover story to hide the true purposes of the tool.

    Sometimes I think that your legislators and investigators have ended up confusing themselves about what they’re doing. Was the idea of PEP scrutiny ever run past anyone who’s thought seriously about the constitution and civil liberties? And the funny laws about money transfers — I am a person of very modest means, but that a rich guy should be moving around $40,000 of his own money — that should attract the attention of the FBI? Surely anyone who was going to try to bribe or blackmail a public official would be after more than that.

    I’m sure there’s room for some cynicism, but I also think that a lot of well-intentioned people have to be told to get a grip and restore some sense of proportion.

  22. maryo2 says:

    http://www.talkingpointsmemo.c…..ultpage=5&

    FBI Special Agent Kenneth Hosey affidavit, bottom of page 4 and top of page 5 for discussion of the Confidential Source:

    9. “I have spoken with another law enforcement officer who has been involved in the investigation of a number of prostitution businesses in the New York City area. The law enforcement officer informed me that in the end of 2006 he spoke with a confidential source (the “CS”) who had worked as a prostitute in New York City. The CS was immunized from prosecution as a result of her cooperation with law enforcement. In addition, the law enforcement officer with whom I spoke confirmed that the CS had provided information that was reliable and corroborated by independent evidence. The CS told the law enforcement officer that during 2006 she worked for the Emporers Club as a prostitute.

    10. In an effort to further corroborate the information provided by the CS, I have reviewed bank records for a [redacted] bank account in the name of QAT Consulting Group, Inc. (the First QAT Account). According to the bank records, in 2006, the CS in fact received a check for more than $1,000 from the First QAT Account. …”

    • skdadl says:

      Very odd thing. The Telegraph have taken their report down (it was there, is still on the Google list for Duke of Westminster). You can’t find it with a site search. You can find a story about the duke’s adventures on the Daily Mail site, but it doesn’t make an explicit connection to the Emperor’s Club investigation.

      That man inherited large tracts of central London, Belgravia and Mayfair, and owns much else besides. I see that some of his tenants in Paris are revolting. Heh.

  23. kspena says:

    OT- Garth Porter said in an audio conversation that he thinks this article by Philip Zelikow, “For the Long Haul”, is a revealing statement of bush’s current plan for the permanent occupation of Iraq. Seems Zelikow has written a lot of plans implemented by the bush administration over these nearly eight long years.

    http://www.the-american-intere…..038;MId=18

  24. maryo2 says:

    Why did the investigation of QAT not begun in “the end of 2006″ when a prostitute told law enforcement that she worked as a prostitute for QAT and provided evidence that she was paid by them? Why did theinvestigation not begin until October 2007 (at least 11 months after QAT was recognized to be a prostitution ring)?

    Also, will this unidentified law enforcement official testify at Spitzer’s trial? What happens if this official turns out to be related in any shape form or fashion to Bernie Kerik?

    • bmaz says:

      The “investigation” did begin back then; the Feds just don’t admit it. US Attorney’s Offices, and their various law enforcement agents, have this annoying habit of doing a whole lot of investigation before they “formally open” an investigation. This meme is BS. Frankly, I don’t think there will be a Spitzer trial, nor maybe even charges filed. I initially thought they already had a charging document filed and under seal against Spitzer, and that may still be the case, but I am beginning to think not. Even if there are charges, no the “unidentified law enforcement official” you refer to would not likely testify at any trial; he might, however, very well be called to a pre-trial evidentiary hearing assuming the defense filed a motion challenging the Constitutionality and legality of the search/arrest warrants, which any attorney worth his salt would do immediately. Lastly, Pete is fairly spot on with what he related to you, but I would make one technical correction. There were indeed charges filed against the four Emperor’s Club people; however, that was by a charging document known as a “direct complaint” rather than an “indictment”. An indictment is a charging document that is handed up by a grand jury. There may well have been a grand jury involved for investigative purposes in this case but, to date, there have been no charges out of any grand jury. To be honest, I tend to think they did not use a grand jury at all here because they did not want to be constrained by the secrecy requirements, or have the knowledge that they were after Spitzer out there in the hands of that many people.

      • PetePierce says:

        Thanks for correcting me. Sorry if I used the concept of an indictment twice reflexly without remembering. You made the point a few threads back and I forgot the direct complaint, and reflexly called it an indictment. Obviously they didn’t want Grand Jury 6(e) contstraints although it seems now a days there is a lot of stretching as to what is really federal grand jury secrecy by the gov.

        I think you made the major point in this whole situation along with EW, that this was an investigation of a person in search of a crime.

        • bmaz says:

          I think it important that we now know there was indeed a grand jury, because that adds significant depth to the shocking volume of “law enforcement source” leaks that have been littering the airwaves and print media on this. I wasn’t kidding when I intimated that these guys are making Nifong look like a piker.

          • PetePierce says:

            Thanks for updating us on the grand jury. I’m way behind in even reading papers or the web today. No, you sure as hell were not kidding–this out Nifongs Nifong by many a mile. I wonder how much we will ever learn about the real genisis of the information–how it was initially picked up, whether something like SWIFT was actually involved, and how DOJ pin ball machined this around like an off-Broadway play that tours the other states and then finally makes it back to Broadway.

    • PetePierce says:

      Mary02–

      It’s hard to know exactly when and how this investigation began and investigations take time. In this situation, a lot of the time was spent figuring out how to take Spitzer down, and showcase affidavits that would hurt him the most. Maybe the indictment of the escort service was held for a while so they could take him down via publicity as a sitting governor. He has only been governor for a brief time.

      I don’t think there will be any trial of Spitzer Mary nor an indictment of him by Garcia or a criminal complaint by anyone else. This was carefully choreographed to crush Spitzer via publicity.

      I don’t think at this point that Garcia, unless he’s really dumb and the rest of DOJ see any point at spending the time and efforts necessary to prosecute him except proscution via media. If they did indict him, there wouldn’t be a trial in all probability. They have him on audio and video tape but there aren’t a lot of things they can charge him with IMO. 95-96% of federal indictments don’t go to trial anyway. The FRE (Federal Rules of Evidence) and the FRCrP Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure are heavily stacked against defendants. DOJ has your money (unlimited resources) to piss away as they want. The vast majority of the federal judiciary were federal prosecutors, some were state prosecutors, and many of the rest never litigated a second in a federal court room including a surprising number of federal appellate judges. I know of several judges in several appellate circuits in that particular category, and they aren’t happy when someone calls attention to their lack of experience.

      I know federal appellate judges who never litigated a case in state or federal court. It’s hard to believe, but true. I do not know many people who want to be treated by a physician who has had next to know experience diagnosing and treating patients however, and there the professions are different. Monica Goodling who never litigated anywhere and went to a 19th tier rated law school actually hired Immigration Judges for the DOJ–several of them. They’re on the bench and they don’t know what they’re doing.

      Now who claiming to have experience she does not have, does that make me think of hmmmmmmm? Someone whos press secretary couldn’t answer the question about where she got her experience I do believe.

      BTW, I hadn’t heard of Gerry Ferrarro in years. I’m glad she’s apparently alive and well. even if she’s saying stupid things and damaging her candidate. I hope she continues to be on camera with mouth open.

      Bernie Kerik–he slept with the right wing book publisher in an apartment overlooking the WTC site didn’t he?

      Lots of politicians in New York get laid by people other than their wives don’t they?

      Jimmy Walker, Nelson Rockerfeller, Rudy 911?

      Spitzer Scandal: A New York Story

    • bmaz says:

      Oh, and by the way, Kristen/Ashley’s attorney confirms there was indeed a grand jury involved in the investigation.

    • PetePierce says:

      Yes– I have heard that the mean age at these services is in the low 20’s.

      I haven’t read that many stories today but I understand one of the clients is “the richest guy” in the UK or something similar.

      Thank s to whoever invented the mute button. I just can’t take Susan Molinari yapping away about ectopic fucking when Republicans invented it.

      I love NY Magazine–mainly because it has so many stories about places in NY and I love to explore NY. I guess they have cover stories for issues to come.

  25. maryo2 says:

    NYT, aka Judy’s writing club, formerly a respected US newspaper, held onto the McCain flying around with a lobbyist story for 3 months. But they printed the story on the QAT indictment on March 7 and then published a story about Spitzer on March 10 saying that “The person briefed on the case and the law enforcement official identified Mr. Spitzer as Client 9.”

    Is it legal for law enforcement officers to identify a person who has not had an indictment filed against them? And, what is a “person briefed on the case”? Who gets briefed but is not required to keep information confidential?

    • PetePierce says:

      Hey hey Mary02. Judy Miller and other problems aside, NYT will always be my favorite American newspaper far and away. If you took their articles on music, art, cooking alone. I collect books on NY and The Times.

      Besides, it’s a New York paper.

      And as to National Security, they still have broken some of the major stories of this Administration and this decade including SWIFT, Wiretapping, ect.

      They have one of the few Supreme Court reporters, Linda Greenhouse who truly understands appellate law and cites the cases.

      I love the Times. They don’t always get things perfectly right, but overall the quality when compared with any big city paper I know is tops.

    • PetePierce says:

      Mary you might want to ask the employees of DOJ and FBI who destroyed Dr. Hatfill about IDing persons of interest whom they have no intention of indicting and no significant evidence.

      Currently the only thing stopping Reggie Walton from forcing the USA Today reporter from paying $500 a day is a stay to appeal in the D.C. Circuit and she’s going to lose–how much USA Today will slip her on the side violating Walton’s order I dunno.

      The DOJ/FBI schmucks and schmukesses who leaked to the media didn’t violate any statute, but schmucks they were. And they will soon be revealed. And the US Attorney’s Manual and the EOUSA Resource Manual and their guidelines aren’t worth the paper they’re written on.

      And I understand doggies and alerting. If you own a basset hound, you’ll learn how stupid the FBI was about their so-called blood hound alert in the Hatfill fuckup. Every time I remember that I remember the hallarious case in the Eleventh Circuit involving the dog’s alerting where the panel pointed out that the winning defense lawyer also forgot he hadn’t had the 6th Amendment chance to confront his “witness.”

  26. SparklestheIguana says:

    Remember when Fitzgerald explained why he and his entire office could not leak details of the Plame investigation to the press or anyone else? He said they could go to jail if they did. So why does everyone look the other way when all these law enforcement officers and other people “in the know” leak till the cows come home?

  27. SparklestheIguana says:

    Wasn’t Michael Garcia the same guy PJF lent $20 to way back when they were AUSAs in a bar and Garcia needed to buy his lady friend a drink, or get her a cab or something?

  28. maryo2 says:

    Re NYT – I was just comparing their claims about how they vet a story and wait to hear back from the person being accused before going to print, to what they did in this case.

    Bill Keller:
    “On the substance, we think the story speaks for itself. In all the uproar, no one has challenged what we actually reported. On the timing, our policy is, we publish stories when they are ready.

    ‘Ready’ means the facts have been nailed down to our satisfaction, the subjects have all been given a full and fair chance to respond, and the reporting has been written up with all the proper context and caveats. “

    • PetePierce says:

      Mary02–

      Also the NYT has a few hundred subspecialty blog sites that few people know about.

      I’m not sure who you mean as to a chance to respond. Either there is an unsealed Spitzer indictment, or much more likely they aren’t indicting him. Mike Garcia has done his ‘Muaksey due diligence.’ He’s functioned exactly like a “Karl’s girls” club member should. He choreographed what we now know is an indictment to smear Spitzer.

      The girls Vitter banged often traveled accross state lines to get to Vitter to schtup him. No one was indicted in the serial Vitter hookering.

      Oh wait, Vitter is a Republican whose wife wears dresses that must be advertising Apple OS X Leopard 5.2

      DOJ doesn’t go after Republicans for sex crimes–even when they covet under aged pages. I forgot.

    • bmaz says:

      I am not sure of your point here. What evidence is there that this story was not “ready”? You have not heard one single peep out of Spitzer, or anybody else, that he was not contacted and given a chance to respond. You won’t either. He knew. There are a lot of valid complaints to make with the press, I sure don’t see one here. It was a huge story, they had solid facts as well as meaty and multiple sources. What is the problem with the Times? I have all kinds of gripes about the government’s conduct, but the Times is clean as far as I can see.

  29. PetePierce says:

    Had Governor Spitzer wanted to talk to The Times or anyone else, he would have had every chance. There will be books, many more interviews by Kristen, Eliott, Silda possibly just not right now. Kristen will do Oprah and every other possible morning and late night show.

    I don’t see NY magazine pulling all the hooker shops off their site or the Village Voice either. I don’t see Garcia doing anything to any of the other several hundred hooker services in Manhatten and the burroughs, except possibly using them.

  30. BlueStateRedHead says:

    Anyone able to liveblog KO’s special comment for those of us who are tv-less or cableless? Or will it be streamed on MSNBC as it is said?

    • bobschacht says:

      “Anyone able to liveblog KO’s special comment for those of us who are tv-less or cableless? Or will it be streamed on MSNBC as it is said?”

      You can read it over on dKos

      Bob in HI

    • PetePierce says:

      If you don’t have it by now–this is late–the 8 minute statement is here.

      When I see you again I’ll make sure you get it.

  31. Dismayed says:

    There once was a Gov named Eliot
    Who still like to screw for the hell of it.

    So he hired a high whore,
    to tend to the chore,

    and he had to resign from the smell of it.

  32. MadDog says:

    OT (thank doG it ain’t about Spitzer) – Via TPMMuckraker– A nice wee statement by some of the folks on the House Judiciary Committee: The Statement of Undersigned Members of the House Judiciary Concerning the Administration’s Terrorist Surveillance Program and the Issue of Retroactive Immunity

    As a result of our review of classified as well as unclassified materials concerning the Administration’s Terrorist Surveillance Program, we have concluded that blanket retroactive immunity for phone companies is not justified…

    1. Variable Actions by Carriers

    The case for blanket retroactive immunity would be stronger if the various carriers had taken consistent actions in response to requests from the Administration. That is not what we found. Without revealing any specific details, we found a variety of actions at various times with differing justifications in response to Administration requests. It is not our place to judge carriers’ actions, as we certainly understand the very sensitive and compelling factual context in which these actions took place. Instead, we believe that such determinations are far more properly within the purview of the courts under our system of government.

    2. Variable Legal Rules

    If there were one simple, straightforward legal rule that applied to the conduct in question, it could perhaps be argued that it is a straightforward matter for the legislature to assess the lawfulness of the conduct in question. Without revealing any specific details, that is not what we found. It appears that a variety of legal rules and regimes may apply to the conduct of the carriers. We would note that one carrier has publicly stated that there are “numerous defenses and immunities reflected in existing statutory and case law” for companies that cooperate with legally authorized government surveillance requests. We would again note that it is not our place to specify, on an after-the-fact basis, which legal rules apply to which facts. Instead, such analysis is typically the role of the courts, particularly in instances as complex as this.

      • MadDog says:

        And from Secrecy News:

        The FBI as a Foreign Intelligence Organization

        Since 2006, the Federal Bureau of Investigation has assumed growing responsibilities as a collector of foreign intelligence, FBI budget documents (pdf) indicate.

        …Among other notable details, the FBI budget request states that in FY2007 there were over 21,000 “positive encounters” with known or suspected terrorists (page 4-29). “A positive encounter is one in which an encountered individual is positively matched with an identity in the Terrorist Screening Data Base.”

        The budget document also reports on threats to government and private information systems, stating that “more than 20 terabytes of sensitive information has been stolen to date, disrupting military operations and significantly impacting the confidence in the integrity of our national information infrastructure” (page 6-20)…

  33. Mary says:

    95 – WOOT! I like.

    lhp – my reference would be the same TPM link bmaz supplied.

    I also got this link from a friend and it has some interesting questions and spec:

    http://www.theseminal.com/2008…..e-question—the-right-question/

    On thing it mentions is that if all they had was structuring, and prostitution isn’t normally prosecuted as a Fed Offense absen the Mann Act violations, and if they didn’t have the evidence of Mann Act violations by the time the first warrant expired, then how did they get a second shot to just keep going after the sex crimes aspect?

    • bmaz says:

      I don’t think structuring cuts the mustard at all. They are going to have to come up with a new story. Structuring requires as an essential element either illegal proceeds being used or an illegal purpose. They had neither on Spitzer before they were neck deep in this, and even then only potential illegal purpose; but the money was clean. This ain’t gonna cut it if this was the genesis. As to the second warrant, I give 50:50 odds they misled the court and intimated the renewal was all about the Emperor’s Club and left out the Spitzer bit. The Fed’s and the precious SDNY have a first rate clusterfuck on their hands if a good defense lawyer starts picking this apart. If I were them, I would drop Spitzer like a hot coal and leave him be without any further talk of charges (maybe send the file to the local city prosecutors) and cut nice quiet deal with the Emperor’s Club people and get the fuck out of this scene as fast as possible.

  34. Mary says:

    99 – Seeing as how they seem to be able to popluate taht data base with Quakers and members of PETA and middle aged women thrown off of flights for having anti-Bush t-shirts, color me surprised that it was only 21,000.

    Back on Garcia. One thing the Judiciary and other committees seems to have left completely alone is the House of Death case. And if they choose to pick up that baton, which they should, they have the issues of ICE using an informant who they knew (had on tape even, listened in real time to his killings even) was killing people, including a pretty unfortunate man named Padilla who was just a mistake, and a Mexican lawyer who was making it tougher for some of the druglords.

    He also helped torture some people (can’t remember if the loyal Bushies who are so loveydovey and googoo eeyed over torture burned CDs of the screams for their friends and pals or not) who gave up the name of a DEA agent in Mexico and that man and his family barely escaped murder. The whistleblower for the whole mess had his career ended and Texas pal-USA Sutton was tied in with that. And a part of the killings and a lot of the coverup comes during the time when Garcia was in the Assist. slot at ICE (Bush appointed him as Asst Sec of ICE in March of 2003 and he was confirmed Nov 2003).

    I’m thinking that now would be a good time for someone in Congress to open up this mess and pull in some of the guys who should have known what was happening – Sutton, Garcia, the DOJ torture crew, etc. Apparently the informant/murder is tied up in immigration litigation now:

    The informant, Guillermo Eduardo Ramirez Peyro, was on the payroll of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) when he assisted in carrying out about a dozen murders between August 2003 and mid-January 2004 at the House of Death in Ciudad Juarez

    Innocent people lost their lives, a DEA agent and family barely escaped murder, and a whistleblower faced retaliation and no one in Congress has taken a hard look. Yet. Now might be a good time.

    Certainly ICE seemed to be involved in things a lot more egregious than the finagling that Garcia sent Oscar Wyatt to jail over (Wyatt, a Bush antagonist), especially given that Garcia thought a much bigger fish, Chevron, should only have to pay a fine with no one doing jail time.

    OTOH, it could be that Wyatt just got Garcia on a bad day (maybe the day after the prosecution indicated it wanted to try to introduce, as evidence of Wyatt’s criminal ties with Hussein, some mysterious document from Iraq that came through Chalabi hands and indicated that Wyatt was going to pay off Ted Kennedy so Kennedy would make a speech against the war). After all, when it came to pursuing charges against Sidley Austin Garcia seemed like such a sweet, forgiving guy.

    MICHAEL J. GARCIA, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, announced the decision not to seek criminal charges against the law firm Sidley Austin LLP(”Sidley”), the investigation of which arose out of the fraudulent tax shelter and other activities of former Sidley Austin Brown & Wood (”SABW”) tax partner RAYMOND J. RUBLE.

    Hell, I don’t know about the guy, but the ICE case has had a horrible bye from everyone and someone should do something, and if it just so happens that an investigation brings Mr. Garcia into a warm seat and Julie Meyer and BushTX pal Sutton into a hotter one – well, I’ll work hard on holding back the tears. And since ICE is DHS, maybe Chertoff can show up and while he’s at it, explain all that unfiltered illegally acquired info and how his dept ships it on to local law enforcement, and maybe give a little insight on Chiquita providing material support to terrorists in Latin America with his thumbs up.

    justgrousing

    • PetePierce says:

      Sidley Austin just happens to be the firm where Mike Mukasey hung his hat before he was a district court judge in SDNY and after.

      Mukasey distinguished himself on the bench by ordering the jailing of scores of innocent material witnesses, and in one notable hearing, Mukasey who has no medical experience whatsoever, with his fat ass on the bench, proceeded to violate New York State law by making a diagnosis from the bench on a prisoner who was beaten severely by DOJ employees at BOP and could have suffered abdominal bleeding from blunt abdominal trauma. Mukasey, whose medical knowledge consists of moving his bowels and urinating, pronouned that the prisoner “looked fine to him.” He didn’t bother to stop by a med school first, not that he could have passed gross anatomy or gotten admitted in the first place.

  35. masaccio says:

    Bmaz is right, that structuring stuff is just ludicrous. Structuring starts with cash. If you pay bmaz for his services with $14k in cash, he has to file a Currency Transfer Report. If you pay him $7k today and 7K tomorrow, he has to file a CTR. You are guilty of structuring if you have the 14K today, and pay it in pieces to avoid the requirement. Nothing like that happened, at least in any of the reports we have seen. It is ludicrous to think that he would have violated money-related laws.

    Spitzer’s use of money is perfectly legal, and doesn’t require any kind of reports. He got caught because the QAT got caught, and for some reason, the worthless, non-terrorist catching, spawn of rove, USA in NY decided to follow up on a high end hooker ring. When they started watching the QAT accounts, they caught Spitzer. Bad luck for him. The office of SDNY USA, held for decades by the best and the brightest, has been handed over to a loyal Bushie.

  36. Mary says:

    100 – I’ve seen some spec too about whether or not one judge turned them down on the renewal and that was a part of the gap.

    This NYT Story indicates:

    But before long, the investigators learned that the money was being moved to pay for sex and that the transactions were being manipulated to conceal Mr. Spitzer’s connection to payments for meetings with prostitutes, the official said.

    Then, with the assistance of a confidential informant, a young woman who had worked previously as a prostitute for the Emperor’s Club V.I.P., the escort service that Mr. Spitzer was believed to be using, the investigators were able to get a judge to approve wiretaps on the cellphones of some of those suspected of involvement in the escort service.

    So somehow they have this “informant” and get warrants pretty strictly for the purpose of seeing if they could catch the Governor calling hookers – that’s how it reads. No real Fed Crime aspect there at all at that point. And by the time the first wiretap expires, still no evidence of a Fed crime – so the probable cause for the renewal after the lag was … what? That they were going to be able to successfully bait a Mann trap?

    I dunno – but it does sound off, even if Spitzer is a pig (I couldn’t believe dragging his wife, who looked so worn, out twice to be his stage dressing).

    • bmaz says:

      Yeah, I think they have some potential major problems with the warrant affidavits. You would have to attack the affidavits on their face, but they are not looking all that good to me. For one, they didn’t sufficiently establish the requisite prongs of knowledge basis and reliability/veracity of the CI (they call a “CS”; same difference to me) and, as you indicate, under the current story, the CI is key. Two, I think they were extremely disingenuous with the court as to the true nature and purpose of what they were investigating, both on the affidavit for the Jan. 8 order and,as i said above, I suspect the Feb. 11 order. Three, thats before the defense has even joined the fray; there will be a whole lot more if a defense pro starts dissecting the thing. Judges are flaky these days, but cognizable arguments are already there, they would appear to be only going to get stronger.

  37. Mary says:

    Scott Horton has a piece up at The New Republic, Spitz Out that starts with this:

    On Monday a friend gave me a copy of a memorandum (pdf) that Attorney General Michael Mukasey had circulated inside the Justice Department admonishing staff about how to deal with politically sensitive cases. “They must be about to bag another big-time Democrat,” my friend said, jokingly. Perhaps it wasn’t a joke.

    • bmaz says:

      So did Mukasey’s memo tell the troops to go forth and run their yaps like fucking teenage schoolgirls? Because if not, there ought to be some terminations, and maybe some GJ secrecy investigations coming immediately and publicly; lest they not ask for more from Spitzer than they do themselves….

  38. kspena says:

    OT-on Fallon’s firing: Patraeus may have insisted on using troops for the surge as a way, in part, of striking at Fallon…

    “Fallon also antagonized administration officials by pushing for a faster exit from Iraq than the White House and Gen. Petraeus wanted. Fallon had a highly publicized personal and policy clash with Petraeus, for whom he reportedly expressed a visceral dislike. Sources familiar with reports of his meetings with Petraeus in Baghdad last March told IPS last spring that he called him an “ass-kissing little chickens**t” in their first meeting.”

    “Fallon’s quarrel with Petraeus was also related to the latter’s insistence on keeping U.S. troops in Iraq, even while the NATO position in Afghanistan was growing more tenuous. Fallon was strongly committed to a strategy that gave priority to Afghanistan and Pakistan as the central security challenges to the United States in the Middle East and Asia.”

    http://www.antiwar.com/porter/?articleid=12505

  39. selise says:

    update on fisa. hopefully you-all won’t mind a long comment at the bottom is the this long thread.

    the daily leader (house floor schedule) is posted:

    FISA Amendments Act of 2008 – (Reps. Conyers / Reyes – Judiciary / Intelligence) (Subject to a Rule)

    the rules committee met today:

    Wednesday, March 12, 2008 at 4:00 p.m. in H-313 the Capitol – Emergency Meeting

    H.Res. ___ – Providing for consideration of the Senate amendment to the bill (H.R. 3773) to amend the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978 to establish a procedure for authorizing certain acquisitions of foreign intelligence, and for other purposes.

    here is the text of the rule they reported out:

    H.RES. 1041
    [Report No. 110-549]

    Providing for consideration of the Senate amendment to the bill (H.R. 3773) to amend the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978 to establish a procedure for authorizing certain acquisitions of foreign intelligence, and for other purposes

     

    1. Provides for consideration of the Senate amendment to H.R. 3773.
    1. Makes in order a motion by the chairman of the Committee on the Judiciary to concur in the Senate amendment with the amendment printed in the report of the Rules Committee accompanying the resolution.
    1. Waives all points of order against the motion except those arising under clause 10 of rule XXI.
    1. Provides that the Senate amendment and the motion shall be considered as read.
    1. Provides one hour of debate on the motion, with 40 minutes equally divided and controlled by the chairman and ranking minority member of the Committee on the Judiciary and 20 minutes equally divided and controlled by the chairman and ranking minority member of the Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence.
    1. Provides that, notwithstanding the operation of the previous question, the Chair may postpone further consideration of the motion to a time designated by the Speaker.
    —————
     
    RESOLUTION
                Resolved, That upon adoption of this resolution it shall be in order to take from the Speaker’s table the bill (H.R. 3773) to amend the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978 to establish a procedure for authorizing certain acquisitions of foreign intelligence, and for other purposes, with the Senate amendment thereto, and to consider in the House, without intervention of any point of order except those arising under clause 10 of rule XXI, a motion offered by the chairman of the Committee on the Judiciary or his designee that the House concur in the Senate amendment with the amendment printed in the report of the Committee on Rules accompanying this resolution.  The Senate amendment and the motion shall be considered as read.  The motion shall be debatable for one hour, with 40 minutes equally divided and controlled by the chairman and ranking minority member of the Committee on the Judiciary and 20 minutes equally divided and controlled by the chairman and ranking minority member of the Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence.  The previous question shall be considered as ordered on the motion to its adoption without intervening motion.
     
                Sec. 2. During consideration of the motion to concur pursuant to this resolution, notwithstanding the operation of the previous question, the Chair may postpone further consideration of the motion to such time as may be designated by the Speaker.

     
    Summary of the House Amendment to the Senate Amendment to H.R. 3773
     
                The Amendment provides for flexible surveillance of terrorists and other targets overseas who may be communicating with Americans.  Under the Amendment, surveillance programs can begin following court approval of procedures to ensure that Americans are not targeted and that intercepted communications are handled properly.  It requires a court order based on probable cause in order to conduct surveillance against Americans at home and overseas.   The Amendment provides for oversight by the Court, the Congress, and the independent Inspectors General, and confirms that the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act remains the exclusive means of conducting foreign intelligence surveillance.  
     
                The Amendment provides prospective liability protection for telecommunications companies that provide lawful assistance to the government.  It addresses past activities under the President’s Terrorist Surveillance Program by freeing telephone companies to argue existing defenses before the court in pending lawsuits, notwithstanding the Government’s assertion of the state secrets doctrine.  
     
                Finally, the Amendment establishes a bipartisan commission – with subpoena power – to investigate and report to the American people on the Administration’s warrantless surveillance activities.

    here is the pdf of the amendment (in case it is different than the version glenn obtained).

  40. Rayne says:

    Have been stewing on this mess — and Mary’s comment (98) is in line with my thoughts, something still doesn’t make sense. TPM’s timeline provided to day simply seems too pat, missing something(s).

    Could this have been not only an excessive prosecution as seen in other cases (Fieger also comes to mind with the excessive use of resources), but a concrete message sent to members of Congress not to f*ck with the administration or they’d use other wiretaps they have on them before Congress well and truly went off the reservation? Food for thought.

  41. Sedgequill says:

    I haven’t read much on Spitzer since Tuesday, but what sticks with me is this question: Was the leak to the press authorized at a high level, much as “official leaks” from the White House are?

    I don’t suggest that Spitzer should have gotten away with what he did, but in due time, as the legal process proceeded, there would have been no hiding place. The secrecy of his outing appears inappropriate, and sparks curiosity as to what lay behind it.

    • Sedgequill says:

      Perhaps DoJ’s Public Integrity Section of the Criminal Division will issue a statement to assure us of DoJ’s integrity in their treatment of the matter.

      • PetePierce says:

        Not to be picky, and it’s confusing because they sound alike, but the section that is handling this (well at the local level because I believe their initial puppet master was Rove or West Wing personnel who now run DOJ) but it’s an operation whose day to day handling is the Public Corruption Section in the SDNY, LHP’s old alma mater. PIN or the Public Integrity Section is a different platform, and it runs out of D.C. at Main Justice.

    • PetePierce says:

      It appears that the multiple leaks were carefully choriographed. As Bmaz pointed out at FDL and several other people have noticed, this was an indictment used to make a criminal complaint against the escort service that curiously eliminated a Grand Jury to prosecute them.

      If in fact they have used a grand jury to secure an indictment of Spitzer, which I doubt, it has not been unsealed (made public) as yet.

      I believe that they did this kabuki dance/funky methodology/unique leak with what LHP called a shocking amount of gratuitous detail to go after Spitzer without indicting him–death by a thousand leaks. Sure they might have an indictment that’s sealed as yet unsealed. They wanted to avoid the grand jury secrecy rules, so they used a unique complaint instead. This way they avoided the more stringent constraints of Federal Rule of Criminal Procedure 6(e) that I linked above.

      LHP has alluded to a “gratuitous amount of detail” in the filings. I’ll say. I believe that was done to maximally damage Spitzer without having to indict him–but we don’t know yet. We also really don’t know if Garcia who came from ICE at Homeland Security, very familiar with the illegal coopting of SWIFT by CIA and DOJ, may have gotten his information from the SWIFT program that Mary has done a bang up analysis of and I linked to (in the earlier thread @ 142 that Bmaz started yesterday.

      We do know for a fact that Garcia’s people at the public corruption section in the SDNY are hauling in women who worked at the service right now and pressuring them into affidavits. I don’t know what they plan to do with those. Maybe they were using them as leverage to get Spitzer to resign. They have that resignation now.

      The thing is though, in reference to Spitzer, this was an awfully unusual use of time, money, and DOJ resources of the public corruption section in the SDNY just to go after one john.

      And even if, as LHP has suggested and I markedly disagree with her on this, they have Spitzer in a Mann Act violation, DOJ uses Mann Act violations primarily in two major agendas that I’ve seen frequently:

      1) You have a defendant who has gotten minor children across a state line in a predatory scenario.

      2) You have situations where many women have been coerced into a “slavery prostitution” setup and they want to put away the person or people who did that.

      That application of the Mann act as LHP has pointed out over at FDL is not unusual at all. And it is very justified as she illustrated.

      But I cannot remember where the federal or state government used the Mann Act on an escort service prosecution where the women were adults, and the johns were customers in this type setup against the johns. They put away the guy who ran New York Confidential who was on Anderson Cooper but I don’t remember what they charged him with–probably money laudering not the Mann Act. He wasn’t a john–he ran the service.

      The bigger issues to me are whether something like a data mining operation of financial transactions were used from CIA like the SWIFT operation given this US Attorney heading the prosecution of the service, Mike Garcia’s Background at ICE a division of DHS (Homeland Security).

      LHP says at the Lake they have Spitzer on the Mann Act. I respectfully disagree. I don’t think so. In crude terms, Spitzer wanted the lady. He didn’t specify he wanted the lady to be transported accorss state lines AFIK although I haven’t read every last affidavit they have because they aren’t all public. It might be a techinical fine point, but it’s one I sure would pursue if they tried to use the Mann Act as part of an indictment or charging document.

      I don’t think that Spitzer knew specifically or cared whether the woman they were sending him was based in D.C. or was coming from NY until they told him. That’s different from the language of the Mann Act. In my perception, he didn’t intentionally transport a woman from NYC down to DC for sex–he wanted a woman for sex. This was an international operation. A lot of hookers work out of DC. For all he knew, until they told him Christen would be taking the train, they were getting him a woman who was in D.C. The service set up her transportation logistics. I don’t know what’s going to happen, and I don’t know what Spitzer’s attorney will do if and when (and I doubt it) they decide to charge Spitzer, but we will see.

      I’m most concerned with the way this was drug out to destroy a governor without his crime really being a financial crime whatsoever, or other than being a john in violation of a DC ordinance or local law, I’m just not sure what crime that Spitzer has otherwise committed here.

      I think that’s Bmaz’s position, and maybe others will tell me.

      Can anyone show me a specific Mann Act violation from a tap or affidavit on Spitzer? LHP says there is one, but I haven’t seen it yet.

      • PetePierce says:

        I meant to say this was use of a grand jury to investigate, but to deliver a criminal complaint against the service, by passing the use of a grand jury to deliver a true bill or indictment as I understand it–expressly to bypass the constraints of FRCrP Rule 6 (e) grand jury secrecy if I understand this now correctly as Bmaz pointed out from a NYT article. I haven’t caught up with the print media from yesterday but maybe I’ll skip it and catch up in the next couple.

      • Sedgequill says:

        Thanks, Pete.

        The “according to law enforcement officers” attribution used so much in media news reports has made it sound like a couple of rogue or antsy agents or policemen couldn’t control their impulse to save New York and the integrity of public office. I sensed that couldn’t be right. I hope there’s no expection among the feds that the rightly curious will pipe down as the sensationalism fades.

        • Sedgequill says:

          Oops, I think the common attributive phrase was “according to law enforcement officials”. That sounds even worse.

          • Sedgequill says:

            According to Google a short while ago:

            “spitzer” + “according to law enforcement officials”: about 18,200 results
            “spitzer” + “according to law enforcement officers”: 3 results

        • PetePierce says:

          I think that you will see some pretty competent scrutiny of this situation in the next few weeks although it will take a long time for the media to extrapolate questions you’re seeing raised here. Mary, Bmaz, Masaccio, and others have been making some very astute observations and crutinizing this closely and spending time looking closely at some of the filings/affidavits, etc. We don’t have access to all the affidavits, and I honestly can’t figure out where Garcia thinks he’s going with this now or before. Mary just pointed out significant background on Garcia while he was at ICE in DHS and it’s strikingly gruesome.

          From Bmaz:

          So did Mukasey’s memo tell the troops to go forth and run their yaps like fucking teenage schoolgirls? Because if not, there ought to be some terminations, and maybe some GJ secrecy investigations coming immediately and publicly; lest they not ask for more from Spitzer than they do themselves….

          Yeah, I think they have some potential major problems with the warrant affidavits. You would have to attack the affidavits on their face, but they are not looking all that good to me. For one, they didn’t sufficiently establish the requisite prongs of knowledge basis and reliability/veracity of the CI (they call a “CS”; same difference to me) and, as you indicate, under the current story, the CI is key. Two, I think they were extremely disingenuous with the court as to the true nature and purpose of what they were investigating, both on the affidavit for the Jan. 8 order and,as i said above, I suspect the Feb. 11 order. Three, thats before the defense has even joined the fray; there will be a whole lot more if a defense pro starts dissecting the thing. Judges are flaky these days, but cognizable arguments are already there, they would appear to be only going to get stronger.

          I think Bmaz raised a very significant question on the warrant timing, and if I remember correctly LHP was probably mulling that as well when she wanted links for the warrant timing.

          If I were running some aspects of the media, and obviously I’m not, I’d like to put Bmaz and Mary on KO for the next few nights and make listening compulsory for indifferent America. The story is still early in the news cycle, but it is frustrating to see the media so obtuse on the signficant legal questions and red flags as to really a cascade of serious errors in judgement in this whole case by DOJ.

          This wasn’t an exercise of prosecutorial discretion in my perception; it was instead a medical grand rounds as to what happens when someone performs a lobotomy on people at Main Justice and Mike Gracia.

          I don’t expect people like Larry King and the “local detective” to pick up on any of these nuances, and although she may know about them don’t expect Linda Fairstein to focus on these issues either.

  42. PetePierce says:

    Head of ICE Under Chertoff or anywhere in Chertoff’s domain is not something I’d brag to any of my friends about much less admit. I don’t know which trait wins out more in Mike Chertoff–dishonesty or incompetency. I’ll call it a draw there.

    I think Garcia’s provinence is a compelling reason as to how he might have coopted SWIFT from the CIA to go after Spitzer–probably peforming at the original direction of Karl Rove.

    This was was not a routine “SOP” exercise of 18 USC § 1956 MLCA/SARS/FinCen/CTRs, and we have been pointing this out on the last 3 threads here. This was not “tin foil.” This was Mike Garcia becoming a full fledged member of Karl’s girls–he’s Leura Canary and Alice Martin in full drag.

    From reading your headline at FDL you seem to be proferring that it was.

    So, was Eliot Spitzer targeted because he was the governor? Or because he pissed off impotant rich people and Wall Street types? Was this investigation opened without the usual underpinnings?

    Both LHP. This isn’t the DOJ you lavish praise on where you hark back to working in SDNY in the Public Corruption Section 7 or so years ago. This is a whole other animal.

    I gotta tell you, NY especially the NY legal community is a really small town. Everybody gossips (as you know from all the gossip I pass on here).

    Coincidentally I have been at several (long since scheduled) meetings with truck loads of well connected lawyers and a raft of judges all of whom are understandably facinated by this case.

    Problem is, the only facts out so far are the ones favorable to the prosecution and devestating to SPitzer. Until Michelle Hirshman gets some discovery out of the prosecution (whhich she is not entitled to unless Spitzer is charged) there isn’t the kind of publicly reported information that would make someone comfortable going on the record with a quote.

    That’s the idea here. This was designed so that no one would know whether facts or favorable to any DOJ prosecution of Spitzer. If he isn’t charged, there’s not any discovery. That was the basic idea. Maybe this truckload of gossips should be fascinated with the abusive nature of how this “case” was choreographed to destroy Spitzer without unsealing an indictment against him. Maybe you’d be shocked and surprised at their ancillary extracurricular sex lives and ectopic sex.

    As Bmaz and EW have pointed out, this was an investigation of Spitzer in search of a crime.

    I don’t see any evidence yet, that suggests Spitzer’s money transactions should have triggered any criminal investigation of him based on SARS/FinCen.

    I would think you would be questioning this.

    From Bmaz here

    They still were NOT investigating a crime, nor evidence of a crime, because there was no indicia whatsoever at the outset that there were illegal proceeds, nor illegal purpose, involved. If this statute was the basis of their full bore criminal investigation of Spitzer, they have a problem.

    here:

    Yeah, but the consistent story out of all those “law enforcement sources” has been that the whole thing, including the club, originated with the Spitzer bank report itself, not the deposit into a target account.

    You said

    The problem here is that they did find something –they have him on the Mann Act–so would make it that much harder to show bad faith in the investigation.

    You seem sure they have him on the Mann act. Let’s scrutinzie this. I’m not. I don’t see any evidence in those ridiculously choreographed affidavits and insanely and uniquely detailed affidavits and wiretaps that Spitzer intentionally stipulated that a lady be transported over state lines from NYC to DC for the purposes of sex.

    Spitzer contacted QAT aka Emperors to hire a woman obstensibly for sex. But no where did he stipulate that I can find that she be transported accross state lines. The agency selected Ashley Duprey

    They surprised him that it would be “Kristen.” They made arrangements for her to purchase a train ticket to D.C. and from D.C. He did not know who they would select. This was an international agency. He had no reason to believe that whomever they selected to spend time with him would not be located in D.C. when he got there. He hasn’t violated the legislative intent of the Mann Act. Can you show me precisely where you find language in the transcript that he in fact has?

    I don’t see anywhere at all where Spitzer stipulated that he wanted a lady from outside of D.C. and only a lady from outside D.C.

    He had no reason for the expectation that he was specifically selecting someone outside where he would be located. And this certainly is not the use of the Mann Act for transporting someone underage accross state lines in the sordid scenarios you described. This is not the context of situations where your former collegue Stu Grabois was trying to rescue underaged kids by applying the Mann Act to prosecute a predator.

    You say

    This started as an IRS investigtaion

    It may well have started as a Rovian initative in fact using SWIFT monitoring of the CIA. I don’t know that yet, but you also certainly do not know how this started. You know what Garcia is feeding to the press that his DAA, and DAG are telling him to feed. Mukasey circulated a memo not too long ago trying to brief “Karl’s girls” on sensitive political investigations, probably this one included as Mary points out.

    That’s hard to tell because DOJ is targeting so many Democratic candidates and office holders at once ala Siegleman ala Christie’s timed investigation of Bob Menendez.

    I’d just like to say respectfully that the tradition that you may have enjoyed seven or however many years ago working in the public corruption unit in SDNY in the “sovereign” district with Independence from Main Justice no longer exists.

    SDNY former Judge Mike Mukasey is the new sheriff. This started under the watch of an old sheriff called Gonzales, who allowed a metastatic cancer to entrench itself with a short doubling time at DOJ. There were multiple primary tumors. And I’d like to suggest that the metastases are now all over SDNY’s US Attorney’s office.

    Surely you don’t think the “gratuitous stuff” you say shocks you in the filings were accidental or because Mike Garcia and his AUSAs are an amatuer soft porn writer do you?

    I am betting you that Michelle Hirshman is very aware of SWIFT, and will be sending a lot of questions Garcia’s way if they dare to indict Spitzer, and I’m also betting that Garcia’s superiors and his puppeteers in the West Wing will tell their main puppett Mike Mukasey that they don’t want them.

    Also you haven’t addressed and I’d be interested why you think that although a grand jury was used, there was a complaint instead of an indictment. That’s very wierd. It’s not typical at all. I don’t know what other conclusion you and your law partner or friends would draw except that Garcia and others wanted to avoid the constraints of FRCrP Rule 6(e) or “grand jury secrecy.”

    Fern asked and you answered:

    How often does it happen that information like this is released when no charges have been laid?

    I don’t know that it never has, but I can’t think of another instance. ANybody else got another example ? I’m drawing blank trying to think of one.

    I can quickly think of a situation where information was leaked for 4-5 years before an indictment and I’m sure there are others. When Mayor Bill Campbell was finally indicted and prosecuted, the US Attorney leaked information for years as they hauled in and flipped his business associates, friends, and mistress as snitches to use as witnesses.

    Here’s my bottom line analysis LHP. I wouldn’t begin to say I have evidence yet. If Garcia is dumb enough to seek an indictment of Spitzer, I think I’ll get help from Michelle Hirshman. I believe that SWIFT not SARS/CTRswas used to trigger a fishing expedition. They chelated Spitzer, to use an analogy from organic chemistry, to find a crime to attach to his binding sites and precipitate his fall. The questionable use of SWIFT, IMO an illegal CIA program that Mary has analyzed very well.

    I think as Bmaz pointed out, Garcia’s mind set from ICE was like Chertoff’s that they can do whatever they want–courts and law are simply in the way.

  43. BooRadley says:

    Areas I think the GOP is exposed on national security.

    The FBI and DOJ are supposed to use their resources in the GWOT. Why did it take them two-years to figure out this was about sex and not Islamofacsists?

    Based on the evidence so far, it looks like FBI/DOJ preferred to use my tax dollars chase high priced hookers than al-queda and the Taliban.

    If FBI/DOJ are going to claim that the original SAR came from the Emperor’s club, why aren’t the FBI/DOJ investigating/prosecuting more hookers? What was unique about the Emperor Club’s “suspicious activity” relative to other whore houses?

    • PetePierce says:

      If FBI/DOJ are going to claim that the original SAR came from the Emperor’s club, why aren’t the FBI/DOJ investigating/prosecuting more hookers? What was unique about the Emperor Club’s “suspicious activity” relative to other whore houses?

      The answer to this is because DOJ is a tool of the Rove legacy and it has laregely been converted with unlimited resources into a machine to go after democrats. It was interested in hookers in this situation because Spitzer was involved. He fit their profile. He was a Democrat in high office.

      This is hardly a routine SARS pickup as LHP tried to explain over at the Lake in little golden book terms. If you believe it was, then you must believe Telcom immunity is for your protection.

      This was distortion of the financial transaction laws for pure political purposes period. Nothing else. Had Spitzer not been one of the individuals involved there would have been no goofy kabuki dance with a grand jury used to investigate, followed by a complaint laced with wiretap transcripts and affidavits carefully leaked. If you want to talk structuring, the structuring was done by Mike Garcia and his superiors at DOJ and their superiors in the West Wing for maximum publicity to bring Spitzer down.

      At this point, I would love to see Garcia dumb enough to indict Spitzer. My message to Garcia would be “Bring it punk. We’ll flay your illegal use of SWIFT open for the world to see.”

      • earlofhuntingdon says:

        Well said. The money transfers may have exceeded the reporting threshold, but this money wasn’t paid to Spitzer, a necessary element of bribery or other corruption; it was already his money and there is no suggestion, much less evidence, that the money was ill-gotten.

        Ultimately, the DOJ found evidence of a crime. But that’s an after the fact justification, used to obfuscate whether there was an adequate basis to launch an investigation in the first place. From what’s been disclosed to so far, Scott Horton doesn’t think there was.

        Moreover, the judgment that allocated such substantial federal resources to investigate what is normally a state beef is appalling. Especially given that that same “judgment” ignores hundreds of crimes of violence and fraud in Iraq, which are uniquely under the jurisdiction of the DOJ, and ignores most sexual (and other) prostitution in its own back yard. “Selective prosecution” is the kindest description I can think of.

  44. earlofhuntingdon says:

    The Times hypocritically can’t get enough of the Spitzer self-immolation. Neither, presumably, can the GOP. The Times is reporting that Spitzer’s law license may be under review. Last I read, there’s been no criminal conviction. He has admitted to having sex with prostitutes, which is nonsensically a crime in most states.

    As with the prosecution itself, it would be appropriate were it not so uniquely discriminatory and so hypocritical, observations the Times’ extensive reporting somehow fails to make.

    • PetePierce says:

      I don’t know how politics works and there is some, in the NY Bar, but Spitzer is not going to lose his law license, and right now it would be very premature for the Bar to act. They don’t know if Spitzer will be charged with a crime.

      I’m hoping he will. It’s long overdue to beat up Garcia, and I’m looking forward to it.

  45. bmaz says:

    I don’t really know, but i would not be surprised if the meme that the media, both print and broadcast, have bought off on from Garcia’s statement that there was “no deal in return for Spitzer’s resignation” is actually true. There is a very convenient and common dodge that US Attorneys use in these situations where the term “deal” is interpreted to mean a “written and binding deal”. It does NOT mean that there isn’t a solid “understanding”. As an example, it happens every day in trial courtrooms so that, when questioned by the defense lawyer, the government’s witness can say “no, I don’t have a deal, I am just here to tell the truth”, when, in fact, there is an understanding that after he has cooperated fully an the case is over, he will be given assistance by the government on his sentencing or whatever. So, “no deal” does not necessarily mean “no understanding”. I have no idea if this is the case here, but I sure wouldn’t be surprised because the government would not want to have a formal record of such and agreement and Spitzer’s lawyers want the thing over with; so it is a relevant possibility.

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