Breaking: Plame out Update: Did the AP misreport the story?

posted at 3:19 pm on July 19, 2007 by Bryan

I can’t stop laughing.

A federal judge on Thursday dismissed former CIA operative Valerie Plame’s lawsuit against members of the Bush administration in the CIA leak scandal.

U.S. District Judge John D. Bates dismissed the case on jurisdictional grounds and said he would not express an opinion on the constitutional arguments. Bates dismissed the case against all defendants: Cheney, White House political adviser Karl Rove and former White House aide I. Lewis “Scooter” Libby.

It’s Fitzmas in July!

Update (AP): It’s almost a year to the day since they filed it. One of the claims these two media whores sought damages for? Invasion of privacy.

The movie’s finally got a name, by the way. You won’t believe it.

Update (Bryan): Clearly, Plame is going to have to shop around for a more movie-friendly judge because this fizzle of an ending just won’t do. Crockumentarian Jim Schermbeck found his huckleberry in Travis County DA Ronnie Earle and got Tom DeLay indicted for a crime that didn’t exist when he was supposed to have committed it (a violation of ex post facto, if you’re keeping score at home). That made a swell ending for his crap film noir, The Big Buy, though DeLay did a fine job of messing even that up with his grinning mug shot. Maybe Val can find a reason to get a change of venue to Austin?

Update (Bryan):
Hoo-boy, the Kossacks and firedoglakebottomfeeders aren’t going to like this one little bit.

Judge Bates was on detail as Deputy Independent Counsel for the Whitewater investigation from 1995 to mid-1997.

In 2005, he was appointed by Chief Justice Rehnquist to serve on the U.S. Judicial Conference Committee on Court Administration and Case Management. In February 2006, he was appointed by Chief Justice Roberts to serve as a judge of the United States Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court.

Nope. They’re not going to like that at all.

Update: Down in comments, Karl makes this point about the AP’s reporting on the case’s dismissal:

You will be shocked — shocked! — to learn that the AP manages to get the story mostly wrong. If you check the opinion, it clearly concludes:

For the reasons given above, plaintiffs have failed to state a claim upon which relief can be granted with respect to their four causes of action asserted directly under the Constitution. Furthermore, this Court lacks subject-matter jurisdiction over plaintiffs’ claim for public disclosure of private facts.

As you can see in the quote above, the AP’s Matt Apuzzo makes out as though the case got tossed purely on jurisdictional grounds without addressing the underlying legal claims. That ain’t the case. The last four pages of the 41-page opinion attack Plame’s legal claims directly en route to destroying them. Start at the end of page 38 with the disposition of the CAIR case cited.

[D]efendants chose to rebut Mr. Wilson’s comments and attack his credibility may have been highly unsavory. But there can be no serious dispute that the act of rebutting public criticism, such as that levied by Mr. Wilson against the Bush Administration’s handling of prewar foreign intelligence, by speaking with members of the press is within the scope of defendants’ duties as high-level Executive Branch officials.

Interestingly, the Plame arguments specifically leave Richard Armitage — you know, the actual leaker — out of legal harm’s way. See page 40 for that.

So the AP has evidently mischaracterized the ruling, and this case is dead, dead, dead.


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