Bloch: Stop Making Sense

I am still catching up on events of the last week and so I don’t have a really good sense of WTF is going on with the FBI raid of Scott Bloch’s house and–according to NPR, via Sara–body cavities. But I wanted to point you to this analysis of a document drafted by a bunch of Office of Special Counsel investigators, listing their complaints about Bloch’s intervention into their investigations. I hoped that, by reading the analysis, I could figure out whether Bloch was in the bag for the Administration or opposed to the Administration. And, for the life of me, I can’t really discern any logic to Bloch’s action.

Go read the analysis. But here’s a scorecard of what the analysis seems to suggest:

Office of Political Affairs (Karl Rove’s shop at the White House)

Bloch consistently forced the task force conducting the omnibus investigation into whether the White House illegally used agency resources to help Republicans to expand its scope, even beyond the mandate of OSC.

Score: Anti-Bush

US Attorney Firing

Bloch refused repeated DOJ Inspector General demands that he drop his investigation into whether the Administration fired David Iglesias for political reasons, even while he insisted that the Iglesias firing was not a Hatch Act violation. Bloch seems to have insisted on keeping the case either because it was so high profile or to stymie DOJ IG’s investigation.

Score: Pro-Bush if done to stymie DOJ IG’s investigation

Monica Goodling’s Use of Political Tests in DOJ’s Hiring Practices

Bloch repeatedly refused to allow investigators to open an investigation into Goodling’s admitted Hatch Act violations. When he finally allowed investigators to open such an investigation, he allocated no resources to that investigation.

Score: Pro-Bush

Don Siegelman Prosecution

Bloch ordered investigators to close their investigation into the politicized prosecution of Don Siegelman.

Score: Pro-Bush

Politicized Prosecution of ACORN for Voting Fraud

Bloch refused to allow investigators to open an investigation into whether the timing of Missouri US Attorney Office indictments of ACORN voter registration employees was politically motivated.

Score: Pro-Bush

Lurita Doan

After completing an investigation into Lurita Doan which concluded that she had violated the Hatch Act, Bloch ordered investigators to open a second investigation into Doan, from a time before she worked in the Administration involving her husband. This second investigation sounds like a personal witch hunt against Doan.

Score: Anti-Bush

Karl Rove

After investigators determined that, since all of Rove’s travel was billed to the RNC (and therefore no White House resources–aside, presumably, from his salary–were devoted to Rove’s political events, his actions did not constitute a Hatch Act violation, Bloch ordered investigators to expand their investigation into Rove.

Score: Anti-Bush

See what I mean? I intend to come back and read the complete document. But from this summary, it appears there’s no consistent pattern, at least not on a typical partisan scale. You might argue that Bloch kept expanding the investigation into Rove and OPA to hide illegitimate activities behind the legitimate ones. But then why the second investigation into Doan, particularly when Bloch knew Bush wasn’t going to to fire her anyway–at least not until last week? Similarly, you might assume that Bloch was simply trying to expand his turf and potential glory for successful investigations. But then why spike a slam dunk investigation into Goodling’s political hiring practices?

I’m beginning to think that Bloch–with his thumb drives stuck in some bodily cavity–is simply crazy or dumb.

Update: OSP turned to OPA per WO

79 replies
  1. WilliamOckham says:

    Um… You really mean Office of Political Affairs, not Office of Special Plans (that was Doug Feith’s shop in the DOD)

  2. klynn says:

    Rice’s ethics probe? It seems to be central to the raid from leaks about the raid. The would be a Pro-Bush sense it is thought he covered for her.

    • emptywheel says:

      Dunno–McClatchy doesn’t seem to have a sense of whether that’s pro or anti:

      Officials with knowledge of the investigation also told McClatchy that the FBI has subpoenaed records about the decision to assign Rice’s case to an investigator. The officials asked to remain anonymous because they weren’t authorized to discuss the investigation.

      It’s unclear whether the FBI is looking into Bloch’s decision to clear Rice or whether agents are seeking evidence in separate obstruction and false-statements investigation.

      But if you buy the expansion of investigation into Rove served to hide illegitimate stuff, then it would make sense.

      Except for Doan (though I still believe that Bloch might have been forced to recommend firing Doan bc of a leak of the draft report).

  3. klynn says:

    The would be a Pro-Bush since it is thought he covered for her.

    Sorry about that…

  4. orionATL says:

    this is a very neat little technique for thinking about what is going on with the bloch raid, ew.

    for the life of me, i could not figure out who ordered the raid and toward what investigative end.

    in general, my view is that, with a few exceptions, any major official, past or present, in the bush doj should be considered mostlikley a scoundrel.

  5. sailmaker says:

    Bloch is anti-Rove, not anti-Bush IMO. Rove wanted to politicize the government, Bloch was not really against that, Bloch (theobot Catholic) just didn’t want/like Rove, the atheist/agnostic (depending upon one’s source). So Bloch goes against the OPA, Laurita Doan, and Rove.

    • emptywheel says:

      I was thinking that myself. Though is Bloch Catholic or Christian? If he’s hte latter, it’d explain why he gave Goodling a pass, not least because he was accused of similar activity.

      • klynn says:

        He is Catholic, very catholic and tied to some big theocratic movements in the country.

      • bobschacht says:

        “I was thinking that myself. Though is Bloch Catholic or Christian?”

        This is an odd question. Last I knew, Catholics were Christians. Did something happen while I slept?

        Bob in HI

        • jacqrat says:

          Hmmm… actually I wonder if some of these Catholics/Christians even know what CHRISTIAN means, sometimes.

          (waving enthusiastically at Margaret – welcome home!)

        • emptywheel says:

          No, Catholics are Christians (though some Christians consider Catholics Papists). But Bloch, as a Catholic, might not necessarily be predisposed to Goodling, as a (as folks called it last week in Ireland) “Proddy.”

          Or maybe I’m just still too fresh back from Ireland.

            • bobschacht says:

              ” If he’s connected to Richard John Neuhaus and his First Things crowd, the association could be quite close.”

              Good point. Neuhaus and the First Things crowd are actually capable of coherent thought. I read First Things for about its first year of publication, until I had a forehead slapping moment and finally figured out their drift. Maybe they were Bill Buckley Christians.

              Bob in HI

        • earlofhuntingdon says:

          The papal whore is not considered Christian by many fundamentalists. But then, much of the world thinks that of fundamentalists who want to bomb their enemies in order to accelerate the end of the world and the rapture of their meeting with the lord.

          I go back to my favorite Rumpole episode, the Age of Miracles. An Anglican canon, a big shot relative of She Who Must be Obeyed, laments that Rumpole’s head of chambers is in danger of confusing the Christian church with Christianity.

          • bobschacht says:

            “The papal whore is not considered Christian by many fundamentalists. “

            …or by the Pilgrim Fathers. Of course, the favor is returned in many cases by those Catholic churches that spurn non-Catholics at communion. But to say that one is Christian and not the other is to choose sides in their fight.

            Episcopalians (i.e., the Anglican Church in America) are mostly unchoosy, honoring anyone baptized in the name of F,S & HS as Christian– Except that the followers of Anglican Bishop Peter Akinole of Nigeria (whose followers include many Episcopal congregations in the USA) regard the ordination of women and gays as Anathema. Thus we find Conservative redneck Whitefolk and Black African Bishops in a perhaps tenuous embrace. I think God finds that very funny. They deserve each other.

            Bob in HI

      • sailmaker says:

        Catholic. When he was former deputy director and counsel to the Department of Justice’s Task Force for Faith-based and Community Initiatives before he was OSC, he hired only from Ave Maria Law School (anti gay, nearly fundi, anti anti secular humanism Catholic soon to be University). He probably gave Goodling a pass because she was straight, blond, naive, ‘Christian’, and maybe because Gonzales and all used her like a paper towel, to cover their crimes (politicizing the DoJ, purging gays, firing the USAs for political/Rovian reasons).

        • bmaz says:

          …he was former deputy director and counsel to the Department of Justice’s Task Force for Faith-based and Community Initiatives before he was OSC

          And just exactly WTF is the purpose of an office with this title in the DOJ may I ask??? I admit to being a thoroughly silly man, but this little nugget probably bugged me as much, if not more, as anything I have encountered in my walkabout through the Bloch/OSC mess.

          • earlofhuntingdon says:

            That office was essential in preventing federal and state governments from illegally discriminating against fundamentalist christians.

          • WilliamOckham says:

            It’s still around:

            The Task Force provides assistance to faith- and community-based organizations in identifying funding opportunities within the Federal government for which they are eligible to apply. The DOJ administers programs to provide assistance to victims of crime, prisoners and ex-offenders, and women who suffer domestic violence. In addition, the DOJ has initiatives to target gang violence and at-risk youth.

            • bmaz says:

              I’m sorry, I don’t like that stuff in the main government structure to start with; but it has no place whatsoever in the DOJ, even as innocuously attempted to be described there. Just none.

          • sailmaker says:

            This will get you, warning for your computer’s protection no drinking, eating or smoking while clicking through. Money quote:

            With assistance from the White House Office, these federal agencies have proposed or
            finalized a host of new regulations that together mark a major shift in the constitutional
            separation of church and state. Examples of these regulatory changes include:

            • The federal government now allows federally-funded faith-based groups to consider
            religion when employing staff.

            • The Department of Justice now permits religious organizations to convert
            government-forfeited property to religious purposes after five years, replacing the
            previous policy prohibiting such conversions.

            • The federal government now allows federally-funded faith-based groups to build and
            renovate structures used for both social services and religious worship.

            • The Veterans Administration no longer requires faith-based social service providers
            to certify that they exert “no religious influence.”

            • The Department of Labor now allows students to use federal job-training vouchers to
            receive religious training leading to employment at a church, synagogue, or other
            faith-based organization.

            Separation of church and state was out the door in JANUARY 2001. This report was written in August 2004.

            Before 9/11 this type of thing would have applied to all faiths – remember how Grover Norquist bragged that he had brought in 5 million Muslim voters for Bush?

            We laugh now at how the Bush folk used the religious right of all types to get into office, we laugh at how those promises were just hot air, but looking at how they got party and religion into the DoJ, the courts, the executive branch, the military, … have they been that unsuccessful? Frightening.

            • bmaz says:

              The Department of Justice now permits religious organizations to convert government-forfeited property to religious purposes after five years, replacing the previous policy prohibiting such conversions.

              Oh goody. So, among other who knows what activities, we have an official office in the DOJ, staffed with multiple attorneys and staff, that preferentially helps religious groups, and undoubtedly only select ones at that, scam forfeiture proceeds from the government like bargain hunters at a freaking police auction. Beautiful. I renew my original question/statement.

            • pdaly says:


              I wonder if this explains why Chris Matthews’ hair is on fire.
              Well, actually his hair is merely red now. As Digby says, “Really.”

              Something that keeps worrying me. Let’s suppose the Republicans are flung out of goverment positions in the next two elections. Rove and others may have come up with back up systems to continue their spying and stealing.
              Do we have a democratic task force to sweep for cable splitters on the internet backbone, for black ops fundraising ventures, and for compromised phone connections?

      • Anna says:

        body cavities “Bloch..ed” yikes

        When anyone hides behind crosses or other religious symbols while breaking the law in very serious ways. This makes my skin crawl.

        ot have you read John Dean’s latest

        Contrary to His Claims, Senator John McCain Is Not a Goldwater Conservative
        By JOHN W. DEAN
        Friday, May. 02, 2008

  6. klynn says:

    Something else that is curious (may be related, may not be) When Conyers invited Siegelman to come to DC, he did not notify Davis that he was going to issue the invite. And then Davis writes his letter to Conyers stating Siegelman should not testify.…..davis.html

    Yet, Siegelman will be coming to DC…

    sailmaker, listened to a YouTube which made the same suggestion. The angle is interesting.

    • emptywheel says:


      Thanks for linking that–I hadn’t seen it (probably missed it the LAST time I was desperately trying to catch up from a week away).

      Davis seems to have good reason to say what he says–plus he’s speaking as a former Prosecutor.

      I always fear (especially with Addington testimony) that the typically disorganized Dems on HJC will get utterly rolled by the GOP. I think Davis might think that’ll be the case here.

      • klynn says:

        When you juxtapose the letter against Davis’ cries for a Bloch investigation, it has an added level of interest.

  7. BoxTurtle says:

    I think he’s a Loyal Bushie but in return for being a Loyal Bushie he expected to be able to persecute personal vendettas and build an empire. The OPA makes sense if he’s trying to further his own power by getting the goods on some ranking republicans.

    Boxturtle (I’m thinking he’s dog chow now)

  8. oldtree says:

    One starts to realize whey the documents that these “people” have created must remain secret until they can no longer control that, or they are destroyed. The opinions and actions they have put in writing have very often been beyond legal limits, and poor fool that Bloch must be, he turned on someone to please another. But they could surprise us with a document dump showing how they were doing anything within the law.

  9. WilliamOckham says:

    I think Bloch was an integral part of the Bush loyalist faction. He consistently stopped or gummed up investigations into blatant Republican wrongdoing, with the exception of the Doan investigation. But, if you look closely at the Doan investigation, you’ll note that he made sure the only person called to account was a Cabinet-level appointee (whom he could only “recommend” firing, sure that Bush would ignore the recommendation). I think a lot of people here have misinterpreted the Condi Rice connection to. People has said he’s being investigated for covering up for her, but I think he’s actually being investigated for opening an improper investigation. That’s the one time he strayed off the reservation and I think it was because he didn’t like Rice’s perceived sexual orientation.

  10. maryo2 says:

    I don’t think he is a loyal Bushie, I think he sailed under their radar because he passed their willingness-to-hire/fire-for-illegal-reasons test. They thought he was down with their program, but really he had his own program called hire Catholics and demote gay people.

    BushCo would allow a person to do an illegal act just to use that act to later control the person. They thought they had enough on him to control him, but he really believes (sort of like Goodling) that his actions served a higher purpose. And apparently it irritated him that Rove would use peoples’ righteousness as his own political tool when he didn’t believe in the higher purpose himself.

  11. earlofhuntingdon says:

    Yep. I’ve had multiple incorrect pages pop up, including repeated blogs of February ‘08. DNS attack? Or the equivalent of that hushed, “click” on the phone line.

    After investigators determined that, since all of Rove’s travel was billed to the RNC (and therefore no White House resources–aside, presumably, from his salary–were devoted to Rove’s political events, his actions did not constitute a Hatch Act violation, Bloch ordered investigators to expand their investigation into Rove.

    Score: Anti-Bush

    I’ve always wondered about that. Rove is not one to have the RNC’s donors pay for something when he can get taxpayers to do it for free. Having the RNC pay for it is an admission that his actions were political, but doesn’t prevent them from being White House business.

    Meetings to not coordinate the political prosecution of Don Siegelman are obviously RNC political; they are also the corruption of White House and DOJ business and inherently of interest to taxpayers and an uncorrupted prosecutor’s office.

    Moreover, hiding public records of his travels by having the RNC pay for them hides where he goes, for how long, where he stays, with whom he meets. That’s worth keeping permanently outside the reach of a Patrick Fitzgerald and the permanent archives of the White House.

  12. wavpeac says:

    My catholic/christian discernment has to do with the book of revelations, and also a difference in opinion about the use of violence as a result of that revelations focus.

    Revelations is interpreted by some evangelical christians as a complete switcheroo on violence per the new “testament turn the other cheek Jesus”.

    Many catholics are anti war, anti torture and “pro” terminating a baby is murder.

    Many evangelicals are heavy on corporal punishment in their homes, heavy on violence as a means to end, and believe that Jesus comes back as a warrior carrying a sword. (which means that violence is okay).

    Now this is just info gathered from walking with an evangelical friend who was raised catholic but “saw the light”.

  13. bmaz says:

    And first off, he will need to immediately review all their upskirt and loose nip shots. From the LA Times:

    Malibu turns to Ken Starr to help get paparazzi under control

    Can Ken Starr tame Malibu’s rabid paparazzi?

    That’s what Malibu officials are hoping as they turn to the independent counsel who investigated President Bill Clinton’s involvement with White House intern Monica Lewinsky to help them craft restrictions on “pap packs” that descend on the celebrity-rich coastal town.

    Malibu officials say their town has been overrun by the celebrity press, who invade the city’s few shopping centers and follow some celebrities down Pacific Coast Highway. In the last few years, merchants have complained about photographers blocking store entrances and staking out certain restaurants as well as Malibu’s multiplex movie theater.

    Crikey, I don’t even know what else to say…

    • emptywheel says:

      That’s it. I’m not going on vacation anymore, because I can’t believe I missed that very astute question.

      Jeebus. How pathetic would it be if a smarm like Bloch brought down the Bushies.

    • sailmaker says:

      Fisher’s exit is just as mystifying as Bloch’s in my opinion. There she was doing criminal investigations (even though she had no trial experience)

      A) Investigated’ Abramoff without recusing herself because she has ties to Delay’s defense team

      B) she used to be a registered lobbyist for HCA, the Bill Frist family pile, and was mentored by Chertoff

      C) she made the torture tour with Jack Goldsmith in September 2002, approved interrogation techniques, and rued the day the precious Patriot Act might sunset.

      D) she supervised the prosecution of John Walker Linde – Jessica Radack probably has a few things to say about Alice

      E) for only historical reasons, I mention that she was one of the people who helped Chertoff investigate Bill Clinton’s financial investments.

      Why is she gone? I don’t really know, it may be as simple as ’she was being a distraction’, or as complex as ‘Conyers is getting set to have torture hearings so the little fish are leaving’. Bonus question: will Addington talk? No. Scratch that. Will Addington show up?

      • readerOfTeaLeaves says:

        sailmaker and Rayne – Fisher must fit in here somewhere. Here are links to some of Scott Horton’s posts. Hope these links don’t overlap with what you have, but they may be useful:

        April 2008: Alice Martin Perjury Update (She contacted Harpers to say she was cleared of perjury charges in a wrongful dismissal case brought by a fellow employee. However, Horton’s post raises a few more questions.…..c-90002866

        April 9, 2008Justice Tackles the Corporate Offenders, Or Perhaps Not…..c-90002822

        October 2007: The Secrecy Game…..c-90001527

        Sept 2007: Team Chertoff and the Art of Political Prosecution…..c-90001117

        Sept 2007: The Alice Martin Perjury Inquiry…..c-90001140

        Wm O @55… “…shortage of time and resources…” If this were a novel or a movie, no one would believe it.

        • sailmaker says:

          Ga. I can’t keep my scandals straight, I need some dots and apparently hand holding while connecting them. How does Alice Martin relate to Alice Fisher? Well, besides being ‘Publican and a fan of torturing the idea of justice?

          • readerOfTeaLeaves says:

            Oh, geez… I’ll have to go look later.
            Shorter: I really needed to catch up on my sleep, rather than posting that late in the evening.

          • readerOfTeaLeaves says:

            Yep, it’s confusing.
            Here are a few notes (and I think they’re accurate):

            Two Alices:
            Alice #1 – FISHER — DC, DoJ Criminal Division
            Alice Fisher became DoJ Head of Criminal Division after Chertoff left to go to Homeland Security; see more below on several issues, including her priority on prosecuting former [Dem] Gov Siegelman in AL. His prosecution was driven via a subgroup within DoJ Criminal Div called the Office of Public Integrity. This agency also prosecuted other Dem elected officials, as well as some key Dem campaign donors.
            Think of a map of USA and draw an arrow heading south –> from FISHER in DC down to –> Alabama, where we find Alice #2.
            Alice #2 MARTIN – Alabama
            Alice Martin is a USAG for Norhern Alabama, a driver in the Siegelman case(s). On that map of the USA, draw an arrow from Alabama < — north to Alice Fisher in DC whenever Martin <– reported updates on her progress prosecuting Siegelman</p>

            Fisher = supervisor of politicized prosecutions
            Martin = willing worker bee implementing politicized prosecutions.

            Under Ashcroft, Michael Chertoff was head of DoJ Criminal Division.
            Alice Fisher reported to Chertoff in Criminal Division.
            Within Criminal Division, Chertoff named Noel Hillman, whom he was grooming, to oversee Dept Public Integrity (dealing with elected officials).

            Chertoff, Fisher, and Hillman were all in communication with the WH regarding Siegelman prosecutions. There were probably at least two motives:
            1. Get rid of Siegelman (Dem) while installing Riley as Gov.
            2. Use Siegelman prosecution as a means to divert attention and investigative resources from all the Chocktaw casino money being funneled (via Abramoff) to Rove, GOP, and Riley.
            It was a double-hitter for the GOP: by putting prosecution resources into Siegelman, they took attention away from Abramoff/casino money laundering and GOP fundraising. (For more see: Rove, k-k-k-karl.)

            Chertoff, Fisher, and Hillman also prosecuted several key Dem campaign donors, but that’s another entire thread.
            The point is that they wouldn’t investigate Abramoff’s casino revenue, KStreet operation, and money laundering but they could prosecute Hillary Clinton’s donors? And prosecute John Edwards’ donors?
            That’s a whole other rat’s nest, but EW has also covered this topic in the past.

            After several years, Chertoff went to Homeland Security.
            Alice Fisher replaced Chertoff as head of Criminal Division, which included overseeing Office of Public Integrity (where Alice Martin would have reported her progress on prosecuting Gov Don Siegelman.)

            Meanwhile, Noel Hillman was appt to US Court in NJ.
            He was up for a ‘promotion’ to the US Third Circuit around the time the USAG firings hit the news; the WH pulled his nomination.
            Not likely a coincidence; one of the few silver linings so far.

            Alice FISHER and the Torture Memos at DoJ

            Before Chertoff left DoJ, both he and Fisher worked in the DoJ group (with Yoo) on developing torture memos. Glenn Fine was not allowed to investigate that — see more from klynn @ 63. Or Horton at Harper’s. Or NYT/Lictblau.


            Many more linkages; this thing is a veritable Gordion’s Knot of ideology, deception, double-talk, and hubris, but that’s all I have time for right now.

            Sorry to confuse earlier.

            Fisher supervised and coordinated on the Siegelman prosecution with Rove/WH in DC, and (via Hillman) with Martin in Alabama.

            I’m 90% confident that I have the linkages correct; would be so much easier if EW had a White Board on this blog. But I can’t complain; I’m just glad it’s here at all.

            • sailmaker says:

              Wow. Thanks. Those are big enough dots that even I can connect ‘em. Is there an archive that your post could be placed in? I have a few printouts of EWs timelines, but I haven’t figured out how to cross reference them, and this info could be useful to lots of people.

              The white board is a great idea, although for this crew maybe we need some sort of 3d animation with audio to keep track of the players and scandals.

              • readerOfTeaLeaves says:

                I think you may just have to use this as the archive.
                I’m totally with you on the 3D w/ audio w/ tracking interfaces.

                What most deeply bothers me is that there *are* evil people in this world.
                Ethically challenged fools are the least qualified to protect anyone from genuinely dangerous people.
                Very distressing.

  14. jnardo says:

    Shucks. I read those Bloch documents four times and actually thought, “When emptywheel gets back, she’ll figure out WTF they mean.” No such luck, it seems. For what it’s worth, I decided that Bloch must be an incompetent person trying to pretend that he’s a grown-up. I couldn’t think of any other explanation except for identical twins raised apart in politically diametrically opposed families, now reunited to secretly job share in the OSC…

  15. watercarrier4diogenes says:

    Posted in the previous thread, not OT here:

    Here’s something I found on the POGO blog by Beverley Lumpkin, reporting that Ari Shapiro’s radio show was the source of Sara’s info, with transcript.

    • phred says:

      Thanks for mentioning that here. Just to recap from the earlier thread…

      The man handling the OSC inquiry has an unusual background for a federal prosecutor: NPR has learned that James Mitzelfeld is the man who signed off on the subpoenas.

      In 1994, Mitzelfeld won a Pulitzer Prize as a reporter for The Detroit News, where he uncovered spending abuses at Michigan’s House Fiscal agency. Mitzelfeld went on to work in Detroit’s U.S. attorney’s office; he is now at the U.S. attorney’s office in Washington, D.C.

      Mitzelfeld also subpoenaed information about a woman at OSC named Rebecca McGinley. According to sources, the subpoena refers to a problem with compensatory time that McGinley logged during a special assignment a year and a half ago.

      I listened to the full clip, and as noted here Mitzelfeld appears to have made his name by ferreting out malfeasance in the past. I find this reassuring. Doesn’t sound like a loyal Bushie to me. Perhaps the FBI is on the side of the good in this case afterall.

      • watercarrier4diogenes says:

        Yer too quick for me, phred. Beat me to the repost of that tidbit by 7 min. 8^)

        • phred says:

          Thanks for posting it to begin with! I’ve been wondering who was behind the raid at FBI and there you had it at the bottom of the last thread : ) Thanks! Now I’m hoping someone around these parts knows more about Mitzelfeld and his degree of autonomy from Main Justice’s chain of command…

      • watercarrier4diogenes says:

        Anyone have any thoughts on which Washington, DC, grand jury Mitzelfeld’s working with? Might Fitz’s GJ be a part of this??

        • bmaz says:

          Fitz’s GJ expired years ago. Each case does not have it’s own GJ; they have several running at any one time, and once you go to one, you keep returning to that one as long as it is in session. But for purposes of your question I think, a GJ is a GJ as a general rule; long as they use a properly empaneled one.

  16. Sara says:

    With all the problems the FBI encountered with investigations after 9/11, Coleen Rowley, and with the waste of money their efforts to buy a computer system that does E-Mail and Internet as well as case files, and with the hang over from Louis Freeh’s campaign against Bill Clinton — and the fact that Leahy is in change in the Senate and Conyers in the house, …they simply can’t afford to be perceived as pro-bushie. I think once they are given a case to investigate these days, they do it by the book as if their lives depend on it. I think they may also be a bit pissed having been put in the neighborhood of torture.

    For those who want to examine a contemporary American Theocracy, nothing better these days than reading the Mormon Blogs on the FLDS and the “Raid” in Eldorado Texas. Better than a bodice ripping novel in many ways. You have to read the commentary over time — initially every excuse in the book was tested, all the arguments about when you marry off your daughters and throw your sons out on the street, justified by scripture, justified as allowable under the first amendment, justified by the rate of teen pregnancy in some public high schools, literally every excuse in the book for not looking at reality. Then the tear-jerkers, Then the Evil Judge, (Any Judge who can manage a case with 500 plus lawyers in a courtroom plus an annex is not an “evil” Judge) then you argue the state has to have finished the investigation before you have a warrant, and of course every mistake the Family Service agency has ever made thrown into the mix. Eventually some real evidence emerged — the age distribution of males and females in underage catagories indicates equal numbers of boys and girls up to about puberty, and then 2/3rds of the boys disappear. 60% of the girls under 17 have children or are pregnant, one has four children, and she is sixteen. drip drip drip, and now we will use DNA to see who you are really related to — who is your mother, who are your full brothers and sisters, and half siblings. Who is daddy? Thus far we have one guy with over 40 wives, one half in Texas with about 35 children, and another (harem)in Arizona with another perhaps 40 children. Anyhow bit by bit the theological arguments fall away, and the Mormon bloggers start looking for new arguments.

    In the meantime, Harry Reid went to visit his neighboring states, Arizona and Utah, and unloaded on their Attorney Generals. The Arizona guy seems passable, but Utah clearly needs to reconsider their guy who thinks his job is to make friends with the Utah Polygamists so that they trust him not to raid them. Harry Reid talked about the RICO laws, said he would go back to DC and ask for a Joint Taskforce with help from DOJ with extra investigators to deal with all the potential federal issues. Then he did go back to DC and ask for that. Turns out all the FBI in Utah and all the US Attorney’s Assistants are fairly senior members of the Morman establishment in Salt Lake City. (Reid it turns out is a convert to Mormonism, and has not so much love for Salt Lake City’s establishment.) Not a peep yet out of Orin Hatch or Robert Bennett.

    In essence what has happened is that this FLDS “Utopia” built in Baptist Texas, suddenly found it was in a location where a complaint about an abusive sexual relationship by law required an investigation, and local and state law enforcement followed the book. The result — Texas now has better than 460 new wards of the state.

    Interesting Bush Note on this. All his “Faith Based” notions about religiously sponsored foster group homes with no state inspection apparently have resulted in pretty poor foster group homes that they can’t inspect. The homes all seem to be Catholic, Baptist, Presbyterian and Methodist — no Mormon staff, and the children all believe dark skinned people are the Devil. They are trying to accomodate this odd belief, it seems. Likewise they slapped paint on everything that was red — that is reserved for Christ at Judgment Day. Anyhow this is what happens when theocracy is allowed in some places (such as Utah and Arizona) and addressed to the law book in Texas. The shock of the defensive bloggers to this reality is fascinating. By the way it is a totally election free zone.

  17. readerOfTeaLeaves says:

    Well, EW, looks like I really ought to have taken time to read **all** the details in that document before posting a quick take. I’ll trust yours over mine, but second Rayne’s comment that this must be related to Alice Fisher in some fashion or other.

    IIRC, Fisher was Criminal Div DoJ. Presumably, that would have put her working with FBI’s Criminal Div Head — who Doan throughly pissed off.

  18. BayStateLibrul says:

    How big is Bloch’s staff? It seems like a “for show” workload
    to pretend he is “working hard”
    Doan was fired because she was a distraction, claims she never had any
    conversions with WH staff…
    Our MBA Prez really knows how to manage his departments.
    What a fuck-up, not only in foreign affairs but domestically as well.
    Sad, sad, sad…

  19. WilliamOckham says:

    The Montgomery Advertiser has an article about the Siegelman angle to all this.

    The funniest part is this:

    An attorney for Bloch, who himself is under a federal investigation, declined comment. But a person familiar with the origins of the POGO draft document said the decision to not pursue Siegelman or other cases stemmed mostly from a shortage of time and resources. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because of the ongoing investigation.

  20. bmaz says:

    Thats interesting. I do remember seeing something some time back about either Bloch and/or Fine complaining of insufficient funding, maybe even having had funding cut right as was supposed to be gearing up for these investigations, or needing additional and not getting it. Or something like that. Not saying I think that is a valid defense for Bloch, the office has some jurisdiction and some sharp enough statutory process power. With a couple of lawyers, 3 or 4 paralegal types and some decent computer equipment, there is no reason he could not make a decent run at all the investigations I saw on that “Summary”. Maybe not the ultimate optimal job, but good enough.

  21. klynn says:

    Can’t we tie Fisher and Doan to Abramoff through Coughlin perhaps?

    EW you quoted Lopresti:

    Reportedly, Robert Coughlin, who is former DoJ criminal division deputy chief of staff for Alice Fisher, last week filed and Judge Ellen Huvelle accepted, a guilty plea to conflict of interest charges for his work gifting and fundraising with Abramoff. As both DOJ’s public integrity section and the WA-DC US atty have recused, Baltimore Deputy US atty Stuart Goldberg is managing the case against Coughlin. The linked article says DoJ is mum about the process it used to select the Baltimore USAtty’s office to sub for the recused DC USAtty and the Public Integrity section, but sugggests associates involved in the matter may be at DoJ yet.

    Which then takes us to Bandar:

    The Justice Department is investigating allegations that U.K.-based British Aerospace Systems (BAE) paid millions of dollars in bribes to Bandar and other Saudi officials—in possible violation of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act. Bandar, whose close ties to the Bush family earned him the nickname “Bandar Bush,” has retained former FBI Director Louis Freeh to represent him in connection with the Justice Department probe. A spokesman said Freeh was traveling overseas and could not be reached for comment.

    Then, I been trying to put the Texas office raid into this. As far as the Abramoff case, I think the Texas office was involved in research because of this:

    On May 9, 2001, Bush met with 21 state legislators, Abramoff, and several of his tribal clients (including the Coushattas and the Kickapoos). Abramoff charged his clients $25,000 for arranging the meeting.

    In June, the AP reported that White House spokeswoman Erin Healy denied Abramoff’s attendance at the meeting:

    The White House has no record of the Coushattas or Abramoff at the May 9, 2001, meeting, spokeswoman Erin Healy said. Records show representatives from the Kickapoo Traditional Tribe of Texas and the Chitimacha Tribe of Louisiana met with Bush, along with 21 state legislators, Healy said.

    But TIME now has a photo from the May 9 meeting, in which “Bush appears with Abramoff, several unidentified people and Raul Garza Sr., a Texan Abramoff represented who was then chairman of the Kickapoo Indians.”

    “Three attendees who spoke to TIME recall that Abramoff was present, and three of them say that’s where the picture of Bush, Abramoff and the former Kickapoo chairman was taken.”

    Of course then there are the Tom DeLay Abramoff files in the Texas office…What else would be there?

    Do we know which Grand Jury yet?

    But then there is that nagging article by Scott Horton, “The Gathering Storm At Justice.”(From March 15, 2008)

    The Administration attempted to sell the event as a routine personnel turn-over. But Congress and the public weren’t buying. After a series of hearings at which senior members of the Administration committed acts of perjury, there was a public uproar. In its wake the entire senior echelon of political appointees at the Justice Department were forced to leave office under a cloud and subject to an investigation into potentially criminal misconduct, as were a number of senior White House figures, most prominently including Bush’s senior political advisor, Karl Rove.

    The storm has died down a bit now as the Justice Department completes its own internal investigation of what happened. This has been led by Inspector General Glenn Fine and by the Office of Professional Responsibility. I understand that this investigation is approaching its conclusion now, and that a report is likely in the course of the spring. The report will almost certainly be explosive.

    (my bold)

    Abramoff? Rove? Siegelman?

    Goodness how can we keep track? We do know Fisher and Doan have ties to Rove, Abramoff and Siegelman…

    My head hurts…I’ll stick with Horton for now, it’s the OPR investigation. Talk about your corruption floodgate…

  22. LabDancer says:

    bmaz at 56: ”I do remember seeing something some time back about either Bloch and/or Fine complaining of insufficient funding”.

    Is it possible the White House of a certain putatively presidential personality was been driven to such paroxysms of neo-Nixonian paranoia that it would not even feel safe in leaving Bloch’s colon unturned, from this?:

    ”Late addition of funds boosts Special Counsel probe of White House briefings By Dan Friedman CongressDaily January 7, 2008:

    The Office of Special Counsel will get some financial help for its investigation into charges of illegal politicking by White House officials after Congress added $1.1 million for the probe in the omnibus spending bill signed in December by President Bush [snip] The bill says the added funding will ”assist OSC with computer forensics in connection with its special task force investigations.Along with more manpower, computer forensics is one of the areas for which the agency requested financial help for its inquiry. OSC has said it is reviewing whether White House staff used campaign e-mail accounts to mask improper political activity. Many of the e-mails were deleted, according to the White House.”…..8cdpm1.htm

    I’m not saying a mere million could suffice to convert a pumpkin-head like Bloch into even Hamilton Burger leave aside Patrick Fitzgerald; but I am saying Bush might not be able to tell the difference.

    Alternatively, I should think that the vice-president, that consummate Machiavelli of the politicized bureacracy of Washington DC, might feel bound by his own peculiar sense of honor to deliver an array of week old dead fish to Congress for its audacity of haplessness in presuming to fund an executive branch agency in faint hope it might demonstrate something like the efficacy of a loose cannon below decks, particularly one operated by an ass-clown of such spectacular proportions, one who has been able to maintain an unbroken record of futility over almost 5 years, something even the second-worst POTUS ever James ”Do Nothing” Buchanan would envy.

    I would expect Cheney’s Code would have an entry to this effect:

    Nothing says ”fuck you” like a legally-authorized robust cavity probe.

    Ms E Wheel: Didja an’ the mister git west to the kissin’ town, Ennistymon? 14 pubs set cheek-by-jowl between the Church of England an’ da Church of God, thats whattit is. Didja no git down ta da sou’west corner to set yer gaze on the McGillicuddy Reeks?

    So welcome back; poor bmaz was near ta losing his sanity tryin’ ta keep this bunch amused.

  23. klynn says:

    I had forgotten this from TPM a month ago:

    Confirmed: DoJ Investigators Probing Whether Goodling Fired Lawyer Due to Gay Rumors
    By Paul Kiel – April 16, 2008, 3:39PM

    Earlier this month, NPR reported that the Justice Department inspector general’s sprawling investigation into politicization at the Department included a probe of whether Monica Goodling had fired an attorney because she’d heard a rumor that the lawyer might be gay.

    In a letter to the Senate Judiciary Committee Chair Patrick Leahy (D-VT) and ranking member Arlen Specter (R-PA) earlier this week, the inspector general Glenn Fine confirmed that his office was digging into such accusations.

    It’s still anybody’s guess when that investigation, which Fine is conducting along with the Office of Professional Responsibility, will conclude. It launched more than a year ago, during the heat of the U.S. attorney scandal.

    As for Fine, he seems to be hanging tough…

    May 5, 2008 TPM writes

    Senate GOP Blocks DOJ IG From Investigating Torture
    By Paul Kiel – May 5, 2008, 4:17PM

    From The National Law Journal:

    Congress is close to enacting the most significant boost in three decades in the independence of the cadre of government watchdogs — federal inspectors general — but the lawmakers have retreated from a key change involving the U.S. Department of Justice.

    but here’s the gem:

    The Senate on April 23 approved, by unanimous consent, S. 2324, the Inspector General Reform Act of 2008. But the bill passed only after the lawmakers agreed to an amendment by Senator Jon Kyl, R-Ariz., which, among other items, deleted a provision giving the Justice Department’s Office of Inspector General (OIG) jurisdiction to investigate misconduct allegations against department attorneys, including its most senior officials.

    OPR, which reports to the attorney general, is currently conducting a variety of very sensitive investigations for the administration. The office is probing the Department’s approval of the administration’s warrantless wiretapping program. And recently it announced that it is investigating the Department’s legal memos authorizing the use of waterboarding and other forms of torture by CIA and military interrogators.

    It is conducting those probes because Inspector General Glenn Fine cannot. The bill which passed the House would have changed that, as Fine himself pointed out in a letter (pdf) to Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) and Dick Durbin (D-IL) back in February, when he told them that he could not investigate the Department’s authorization of torture because “under current law, the OIG does not have jurisdiction to review the actions of DOJ attorneys acting in their capacity to provide legal advice.” Fine added: “Legislation that would remove this limitation has passed the House and is pending in the Senate, but at this point the OIG does not have jurisdiction to undertake the review you request.”


    If you missed the post on May 5, it’s worth reading…


    • emptywheel says:

      Actually, I covered that IG thing–and covered it last fall, when it became clear it was affecting Fine’s investigation of the USA purge.

      • klynn says:

        Unfortunately, I had also linked to you but when I went to submit comment, my window closed and I lost my work. I still had my second window open with the links to TPM and just quickly posted again. My regrets. I had quoted your 7/18/07 article and your 4/27/08 post.



        I had missed the Senate passage of the IG Reform Act on April 23 and in coming across it here and at TPM, found the timing of the vote, in light of the Bloch raid and Horton article on the DOJ storm coming, interesting. Especially the efforts by Repugs…

        My regrets… Trust me EW, you are an amazing source…


        Was reading your book at the library the other day. Had someone come up to me who is a “lurker” and asked if I visit here. Said yes. We spent a great deal of time talking about the depth of your research. We both agreed we also greatly appreciated the comments and expertise offered by many and that the teamwork in the blogesphere is amazing — especially during document dumps. Hope the lurker, de-lurks some day. BTW, we were both quite appreciative of a number of regular commentors and both agreed bmaz does a great job watching the shop. Commentors, just a heads up, lurkers really appreciate your efforts and questions too. The symbiotic relationship between “poster and comments” is profound…the new journalism…

        O/T Have there been updates to the site going on the last few days? Your site and FDL have been slow and lots of tube crashes and oddities on my end…

        • bmaz says:

          The site has been buggy off and on for a couple of days. Pretty complex stuff with getting the various blog teams synchronized smoothly. As you will surely recall (heh heh i know you do) things were like that at first when this was put together. It will work out shortly; hang tough.

          • klynn says:

            Oh my, YES I do..! Thanks bmaz. I appreciate the “heads up”. Otherwise, I almost called in a “nasty gram” to my internet provider but figured it had to be updates on the site!

            Hanging tough is no problem.

  24. SaltinWound says:

    Greenwald’s latest at salon has something about the rent-a-generals actually watching interrogations. They’re careful about describing the technology, but, if it existed, I have little doubt our President used it to watch as well. It’s impossible for me to imagine him containing himself.

  25. BayStateLibrul says:


    While we are contemplating the $126 per oil barrel, this article gives a
    different perspective on old Reggie (not October)….
    Personally, I feel reporters should be protected, yet we had Judy.
    As a Libra, I’m torn, but thought Walton’s directive was well, punitive……..d_freedom/

  26. klynn says:

    bmaz did you see this from AP?

    A judge has refused to make public some sworn statements by former grand jurors alleging that prosecutors committed misconduct during an investigation into possible environmental crimes at the old Rocky Flats nuclear weapons plant.

    U.S. District Judge Richard Matsch released several documents and motions from the 1989 case Monday but not the sworn statements or a list of alleged misconduct.

    Some former members of the grand jury have alleged the Justice Department broke the law during the probe and cut a deal with plant’s operator, Rockwell International, for an $18.5 million fine. Prosecutors have denied misconduct.

    Matsch allowed the jurors in 1997 to create a list of alleged misconduct by prosecutors and to make sworn statements before their attorney, Jonathan Turley, now a law professor at George Washington University. Turley said compiling the list and making the sworn statements were unprecedented actions for a grand jury.

    • klynn says:

      This quote from that article was good:

      Turley called Matsch’s ruling “a small victory” because some documents were released. But he said his clients are considering another court appeal for the transcripts and list of allegations. He said the group plans to ask Colorado’s congressional delegation to subpoena the documents.

      “Then they can see what motivated the grand jurors and they can make them public,” Turley said.

  27. garyg says:

    Given Bloch’s right wing religious status & secret hiding place:
    I wonder where he found an 8″ long, onyx black vibrating “thumb drive”?

    Surely there’s a GOoPer tech shop to satisfy that niche market.

  28. Ishmael says:

    Good morning all,

    Seems EW and I were both away at the same time – I just got back to the Great White North from a trip to the People’s Republic of Vermont – which I have discovered is more Canadian than Canada in some respects! – and many posts to read…..

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