Tuesday, April 25, 2006


Regis: Fitzgerald gives school paper exclusive interview

Exclusive with Patrick J. Fitzgerald -- by Joseph Santo, '06, The Owl Student Newspaper

Patrick Fitzgerald, left, Regis High School class of ‘78, a well-respected and diligent federal prosecutor, was appointed by George W. Bush as Special Counsel for the ongoing “CIA Leak Case” of October 30, 2003.

Traditionally, the title of Special Counsel is granted to a prosecutor from outside the Justice Department to investigate matters of controversy. The Code of Federal Regulations stipulates that the Attorney General “may request that the Special Counsel provide an explanation for an investigative or prosecutorial step, and may, after review, conclude that the action is so inappropriate or unwarranted under established Departmental practices that it should not be pursued.”

From that code, the Attorney General holds veto power over any outside Special Counsel. Fitzgerald, a Special Counsel from inside the Department of Justice, could not comment on this delegation of authority.

This CIA Leak Investigation has continued for nearly 26 months. One may wonder what takes so long. To this Fitzgerald replied, “I cannot comment on that even for The Owl while this case is still pending trial.”

“The law is often unclear, and where it is unclear, you must make a reasoned judgment about what the law should be,” Fitzgerald commented. In order to make that reasoned judgment, “you must find out the facts as accurately as possible.”

Fitzgerald later explained that all federal prosecutors should have a “sense of what motivates people” since they are “dealing with a lot of very human situations.”

Fitzgerald’s boundless dedication and focus on justice becomes clear in his philosophy of work in the public sector: “If you are going to be working for the federal government, you should be doing what you think is right, as best as you can determine. That does involve working hard and analyzing problems, just as students do at Regis.”

As a “federal prosecutor, my job every day is to do the right thing,” emphasized Fitzgerald. Working in the federal government is a learning experience and I feel like I am always on the side to pursue justice.” Fitzgerald warns, “In the private sector, you make a lot more money [than in the public sector], but it is a lot less interesting and you do not have the luxury of making your own decisions.”

Fitzgerald believes, “We need to make trials as public as possible. But in limited circumstances, there are cases where there is specific information that you feel might compromise national security that you proceed to conduct under seal. And prosecutors do not do that lightly, but we have done that.”

This exclusive interview was obtained through the good graces of Patrick Fitzgerald and the intercession of the Regis Alumni Office. The Owl graciously thanks all parties involved.

Full story, Owl Student Newspaper, Regis High School, NYC.

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