Scott Ritter mug shot (courtesy WNYT-TV)
Scott Ritter, the former weapons inspector who says President Bush should be impeached for his Iraq policy, was secretly arrested and prosecuted in New York a year and a half ago after allegedly being caught in an Internet sex sting, say law enforcement sources in published reports.
The Schenectady Daily Gazette and New York Daily News report Ritter was arrested in June 2001 for allegedly having an online sexual discussion with someone he thought was an underage girl. It turns out that “girl” was really an undercover police investigator, according to the Daily News whose sources spoke on condition of anonymity.
Ritter lives in the Albany suburb of Delmar, and was reportedly arrested by police in Colonie, N.Y.
The case was apparently kept so secret, the head local prosecutor did not even know it existed.
The Daily Gazette reports Albany District Attorney Paul Clyne fired veteran Assistant District Attorney Cynthia Preiser last week when he finally learned of the matter.
“I was shocked and angered to learn that the case had been disposed of by one of my assistant district attorneys without consulting me,” Clyne told the paper. “Any arguably sensitive case should be brought to my attention.”
Sources told the Gazette that Ritter’s attorney and a town court judge agreed to adjourn the matter in contemplation of a dismissal.
That generally means the case is on hold for six months, and if the defendant doesn’t get into trouble, the case is usually dismissed and the record sealed. The adjournment means neither an admission of guilt or innocence. The charge was reportedly a class B misdemeanor.
For his part, Ritter claims he knows nothing of the arrest.
“Sorry, you must have the wrong person,” said Ritter when contacted at his home by the Daily Gazette.
Ritter’s legal name is William Scott Ritter, and the town attorney’s office in Colonie reportedly confirmed that an arrest record for Ritter did exist, though it declined any further disclosure, saying it was exempt.
As WorldNetDaily reported yesterday, Ritter is calling for the ouster of President Bush for what he feels are unnecessary and murderous actions in the conflict with Iraq.
“I would be in favor of the impeachment of President Bush for high crimes and misdemeanors,” the 41-year old former Marine told WND. “Murder is a high crime and misdemeanor, and I can’t think of any better definition than murder when he talks about American service members and putting them in a war which is not only illegal but is based on a foundation of lies.”
“When you go to war you open up a Pandora’s box, the results of which cannot be predicted,” he said. “Therefore, there better be a darned good reason to go to war. It’s got to be worth the sacrifice that you’re asking others to make.”
WorldNetDaily recently interviewed Ritter via telephone as he drove from his New York home to appear on Fox News. Throughout the interview, he contended that media have consistently missed his primary concern regarding the proposed military strike against Iraq.
Ritter said the issue is the abrogation of the rule of law, which he views as setting the U.S. up for a particularly nasty potential scenario – U.S. troops cornered in Iraq, subject to chemical attack, which then prompts the use of nuclear weapons by the U.S.
“The Bush administration has put forward a nuclear policy planning document which clearly states a scenario in which nuclear weapons can be used pre-emptively and that scenario is tens of thousands of troops in a hostile land, threatened by the potential of chemical and biological weapons,” he said. “And clearly, Iraq could evolve into such a situation.
“What’s wrong with diplomacy, what’s wrong with inspectors, what’s wrong with the rule of law?” he asked.
WorldNetDaily asked Ritter whether he agreed with the contention that Bush’s foreign policy constituted a violation of the United Nations and Nuremberg charters.
Ritter reiterated that the U.S. is a signatory to the U.N. Charter, which “stipulates that war is rejected as a means to resolve disputes and conflicts,” although he allowed that there are exceptions, as “when the collective, the U.N. Security Council, finds a situation exists that threatens international peace. Then under chapter seven of the charter, it can be resolved by use of force.”
Still, Ritter does not find the current situation in Iraq to meet this criteria, and therefore views the idea of a pre-emptive strike as unconstitutional and a violation of American law.
“It has no grounds in legality,” he said.
“This is a constitutional issue,” he continued. “I think there can be no doubt his policy is a violation of the Constitution, except that constitutional lawyers will say that judicial system will not get involved in matters of national security … There are interpretation issues – what are the limits of executive authority? … I think that it’s not so much the legality of his actions. I view it as being unconstitutional … I’m sure many will say the president has these authorities regarding national security.”
Ritter also said that impeachment and indictment were legitimate issues.
“What I would find to be grounds of impeachment is the president lying to the American people,” he said. “I believe the president has lied to the American people. I believe the vice president has lied to the American people.
“And if we go to war where American service members are killed, I think the president should be held accountable for this judicially,” Ritter stated.
“I would be in favor of the impeachment of President Bush for high crimes and misdemeanors,” said Ritter. “Murder is a high crime and misdemeanor, and I can’t think of any better definition than murder when he talks about American service members and putting them in a war which is not only illegal but is based on a foundation of lies.”
WND also asked Ritter about comments he made in an interview with William Pitt, appearing in the book “War on Iraq: What Team Bush doesn’t want you to know.”
In that interview, Ritter said that “Donald Rumsfeld was politically dead. No one thought of Donald Rumsfeld as having any potential. Paul Wolfowitz was seen as a raving lunatic of the far right. Richard Perle is not called ‘The Prince of Darkness’ without cause.”
Ritter characterized the leaders as “sniping from the fringes,” and said “suddenly they’re running the show,” adding that for this reason, these are “extremely dangerous times.”
WND asked Ritter whether he viewed these people as having taken this turn since taking office, or always having been that way.
“Well, they were always this way,” he said. “Wolfowitz was always a very dangerous man. He is a walking affront to the Constitution of the U.S. He is a walking affront to international law. The same with Richard Perle . He was openly boastful how President Bush has no other choice but go to war because he’s committed too much political capital.”
Ritter concluded, “If Richard Perle thinks [that’s] a reason to go to war then he might as well remove the American flag from outside his building and put on a swastika and call himself what he is, which is a Nazi. This is the rule of law, not about going to war for political convenience of any single individual.”
WorldNetDaily then asked Ritter why, if these political figures were always this way, he voted them into power by voting for President Bush. The former U.N. inspector argued that he didn’t vote for them, just for Bush, adding that Gore was a “known commodity – a liar,” and that he had actually initially supported Sen. John McCain.