Preet Bharara, the United States attorney in Manhattan, said his office should never be “a rubber stamp for the White House.”
Back on July 9th The Dog did a post on what he thought went down in the background of the illegals spy case….
My main point was not the case itself….
That was straight forward….
The FBI caught a batch of people that were ‘moles’ for the Russian’s…
They were living the good life..
Enjoying their American perks and sending very little back to their Russian spy masters….
At the time I thought the case wasn’t really a big deal…
It was actually something that could have been handled by US Customs and Immigration Enforcement since none of the people involved were charged with SPYING…..
The thing that the Dog found interesting was that while the media was getting hype up on the case..The rug was being pulled out from under the Justice Departement, US Attorney’s Offices and the FBI…..
In my scnerio post I thought outloud that the politcial arm of the United Staes Governmnet was caught by surprise and embarsassed by the moves by FBI, Justice and the US Attorney’s offices….
Turns out I was right…
In a piece in the New York Times today it is revealed that the US Attorney’s Office was shut of the process once the trade talks began it began….as the White House had been when the FBI began rolling up the network….
The US Attorney in Mahattan sits down and discusses if the it’s the right thing to have the swap?
Is he kidding me?
Later in the piece its revealed that the some of Russian’s defense attorney ‘s learn of the swap from the Russian’s!…
Obviously the US Prosecutor is not happy with being locked out of his case and does this New York Times piece to get HIS story out….
But one must remember the US Attorney Preet Bharara has been at his job for less than a year and owes he job to those same political winds that took his case away…
He’ll not be happy …but he serves at the pleasure of the President…just like the Attorney General does…..
In the end a lesson was served up here…
I pointed it out from the jump……
Like in the Bush years….
Even the Justice Departement has to learn to not spring surprises on it’s bosses…
They can bite back….
Quietly and quickly…
Serving up emabrrassment in public……
It really is who has the ‘juice’…
It always is…..
Mr. Bharara’s office was assigned last year to prosecute another high-profile case, the trial ofKhalid Shaikh Mohammed and four others accused of plotting the Sept. 11 attacks, but before the defendants ever arrived in New York, the plans were derailed by strong opposition from local politicians.
In the Russia case, though, the circumstances were different. A deal was being struck by political leaders of two nations that would close a decade-long investigation even before an indictment was brought.
In the end, Mr. Bharara said he concluded the deal being brokered by the politicians was acceptable and just, and was being pursued for the right reason, and his prosecutors scrambled to secure guilty pleas from the 10 jailed suspects in different cities as the case sped to a conclusion.
Now, with the deal done and the Russian agents back in Moscow, it turns out that prosecutors were not the only ones questioning their role in one of the odder, more fascinating spy cases in years.
Donna R. Newman, the lawyer for one man accused of being a member of what was known as Russia’s illegals program, said a prosecutor had made clear to her that the terms of the eventual plea deal were being handed down from the highest levels of government. She said it was usually the United States attorney’s office that dictated the terms of plea bargains, and she joked with the prosecutor, “I’m used to being window dressing, but in this case you’re window dressing, too.”
Robert M. Baum, the lawyer who represented another of the agents, Anna Chapman, said, “People congratulated me on the result of the case, but I had nothing to do with the result.”
The case moved so swiftly that Peter B. Krupp, the lawyer for one of the Russian agents detained in Massachusetts, said he first learned the outlines of what later became the plea deal not from prosecutors but from a Russian official in a jailhouse meeting in Plymouth, Mass.
Mr. Krupp said he called a prosecutor, asking for confirmation of the terms of the deal, and was left with the impression that the prosecutor himself was unaware of the details.
“It is my feeling,” Mr. Krupp said, “that the defense teams, the prosecutors and the court were all pawns in this negotiation.”
To Mr. Bharara, the 41-year-old United States attorney for the Southern District of New York, who has served 11 months in the post, the prosecutors were not pawns, and he said they worked hard to guard against that.
“We took seriously our responsibility to be independent thinkers and responsible enforcers of justice,” he said. “It’s very easy for me to say that, because we agreed with what was going on, but it’s important for people to know that we thought about that.”
“If something would have violated our principles,” he added, “we would have objected.”
Mr. Bharara agreed to discuss limited aspects of the case at the request of The New York Times. Further details were obtained from others who were briefed on the process.
Note…Nowhere in this piece does the Government lawyers indicate that they were asked anything…it appears they weren’t……they just did the deal…..