The Fitzgerald probe reminds us: Whatever happened to Pat Roberts' Phase II intelligence report?
A second problem for Rockefeller: An internal staff memo urging him to call for an independent investigation of the administration's use of Iraq intelligence was leaked to FOX News' Sean Hannity in November 2003. The resulting mini-furor that erupted in the right-wing media has contributed to Rockefeller's reluctance to act.
But the main reason he has been inhibited is that previous public comments he made apparently caused the Pentagon to abruptly stop cooperating with the investigation. At the July 2004 press conference occasioned by the release of the Phase I report, Rockefeller asserted that certain activities of members of the office of then-Undersecretary of Defense Douglas Feith, including a secret Rome meeting with the Iranian arms dealer Manucher Ghorbanifar, might have been "unlawful." At that point, Feith's office simply stopped cooperating with the investigation, and Roberts hasn't compelled Feith or his staff to comply. "[The Defense Department] got very skittish about volunteering as they had been up to that point," an SSCI staffer told the Prospect. "They got all lawyered up. Roberts' position, and [the Defense Department's], has been either 'show us what you're talking about' or 'withdraw the statement and we'll continue our cooperation with you.' Rockefeller wouldn't do either."
Accountability may yet arrive. With press-time reports that special prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald was homing in on a group of top White House aides for playing a role in outing CIA agent Valerie Plame to the media (in an effort to retaliate against her husband for exposing the White House's hyping of dubious Iraq intelligence) perhaps the courts will take up where Congress has failed.
And when the courts are done with that, maybe they should look at Republican Senators and Representatives under the RICO act for conspiring to ruin our country.