Richard Ben-Veniste, the former Watergate prosecutor, and Joseph diGenova, who was an independent counsel investigating the George H.W. Bush administration, were questioned yesterday about a special prosecutor's investigation into who leaked a CIA agent's name to reporters.
An excerpt from their interview with George Stephanopoulos on ABC's "This Week":
Q: Assume there is no violation of an underlying statute of releasing classified information or revealing the identity of a CIA agent. In this case, is it enough for a prosecutor -- is it responsible for a prosecutor like Patrick Fitzgerald -- to bring charges simply on something that happened over the course of the investigation: false statements, perjury, obstruction?
BEN-VENISTE: This happens every day, George. It's a big thing to testify under oath in a grand jury. And if you make the decision to waive your constitutional right not to testify on grounds of self- incrimination, then you better get it right.
SU People are indicted all the time for making false statements . . . under oath before a grand jury. If that happened, there's reason to believe that Karl Rove knew that his testimony was inaccurate when he gave it; then an indictment will follow.
DiGENOVA: Well, provided there is sufficient evidence that would lead a jury to convict beyond a reasonable doubt, a prosecutor almost has a duty to return such an indictment.
. . . If he decides not to bring indictments, should Patrick Fitzgerald issue a public report?
DiGENOVA: He's not legally entitled to do so. He cannot issue a public report.
Well, if the court says he can . . .
DiGENOVA: Well, he'll have to get a very special court order which is rarely granted.
BEN-VENISTE: I agree. It's not appropriate. I think the likelihood is he will indict.