I'm not a huge Brendan Sullivan fan, but in today's Washington Post he has a poignant Op-Ed on how the miscreant prosecutors who
*botched the prosecution of Sen. Ted Stevens
*were held in contempt for failing to produce exculpatory evidence
*were found by judicially-appointed independent investigator Henry Schuelke's 500-page report to have engaged in "the systematic concealment of significant exculpatory evidence"
*were never really held accountable.
But the Justice Department's own investigation (672-page report buried by strategic release on the eve of Memorial Day weekend) found that some prosecutors engaged in "reckless professional misconduct" (a newly-invented DOJ term) that fell short of the "intentional" misconduct required to report them to the Bar.
Not only did the prosecutors escape punishment (except Ali Marsh, whose suicide was attributed by his wife, in part, to the fact that he was scapegoated by Welch and the other senior attorney), William Welch II was rewarded with the high-profile portfolio of leak cases, where his rogue conduct continued, specifically in the collapsed Espionage Act prosecution of whistleblower Thomas Drake.
On March 15, 2012, Schuelke's long-awaited Stevens report was released in unredacted, unabridged form, after several government prosecutors were unsuccessful in keeping it under seal with the Court.
It is now no surprise why the Department of Justice wanted to keep this report away from the public.
Just a cursory read of the report reveals a devastating pattern of persistent prosecutorial misconduct - and a rogue team led by William Welch, hell bent on destroying the life of a sitting Senator.
Reading this report brought back the nightmare of Thomas Drake's case--also led by William Welch--one of six under the Espionage Act against whistleblowers for allegedly mishandling classified information.
This report details the deliberate and pervasive misconduct by Welch's team in the failed corruption case against the late Alaska Senator Ted Stevens. According to the Stevens report written by Henry Schuelke,
The investigation and prosecution of U.S. Senator Ted Stevens were
permeated by the systematic concealment of significant exculpatory evidence, which would have independently corroborated Senator Stevens' defense and his testimony, and seriously damaged the testimony and credibility of the government’s key witness.This is precisely what happened in Drake's case, where under the leadership of Welch significant exculpatory evidence was withheld and concealed for many months during the pendancy of his trial. Welch even claimed that key exculpatory whistleblower evidence Drake had provided to the DoD IG as a material witness was supposedly destroyed.
Instead of being a career-killer, Welch returned quietly to Springfield, Massachusetts (where he kept his government job), before his career was magically resurrected by his patron, Lanny Breuer, who handed him the serious portfolio of "leak cases." NSA whistleblwoerTom Drake's collapsed after ("years of hell" in the words of Judge Bennett) and CIA whistleblower Jeffrey Sterling's case is on a similar path. Welch has since left the Justice Departnment, but has left many ruined lives in his wake.
Why do people like William Welch and John Yoo still have their licenses to practice law--and were not even referred to their state bar associations by the Justice Department--while my bar license remains in suspended animation at the D.C. Bar after nearly 10 years because, as a Justice Department ethics attorney, I blew the whistle on government misconduct in the case of so-called "American Taliban" John Walker Lindh, America's first terrorism prosecution after 9/11.
Oh, silly me. I get it. If you cheat and perpetrate illegalities like torture and warrantless wiretapping, you suffer no repercussions, but if you blow the whistle on it, you face prison.