BOY GENIUS AND BUSH’S BRAIN KARL ROVE seemed dumbstruck in late August and early September as political storms pounded the White House to rubbles of its former self pronounced glory. Did the wrap up of Patrick Fitzgerald’s job on the Plame Out have Rove in full panic mode? [story]
Many lawyers in the case have been skeptical that Fitzgerald has the evidence to prove a violation of the Intelligence Identities Protection Act, which is the complicated crime he first set out to investigate, and which requires showing that government officials knew an operative had covert status and intentionally leaked the operative's identity.
KING MAKER AND KING RAT Rove suspiciously was nowhere to be seen when the floods swamped the White House. Is it possible Fitzgerald will be serving up some Rove Rat Stew soon, a gumbo of White House goodfellas?
But a new theory about Fitzgerald's aim has emerged in recent weeks from two lawyers who have had extensive conversations with the prosecutor while representing witnesses in the case. They surmise that Fitzgerald is considering whether he can bring charges of a criminal conspiracy perpetrated by a group of senior Bush administration officials. Under this legal tactic, Fitzgerald would attempt to establish that at least two or more officials agreed to take affirmative steps to discredit and retaliate against Wilson and leak sensitive government information about his wife. To prove a criminal conspiracy, the actions need not have been criminal, but conspirators must have had a criminal purpose.
AND THERE IS PLENTY OF EVIDENCE pointing to a Watergate style lying about the original offense, obstruction of justice conspiracy charge. Anybody who doesn’t believe the once White House is worried about this should just review former White House Stenography Professor Scott McClellan’s hilarious explanation of what could be talked about assertively at the start, but then was off limits because of an ongoing investigation. No comment. Move along. No story here.
RECOMMENDED READING [Firedog Lake] Odd paragraph in the NYT today that jumped out at me. Not quite sure how to read the tea leaves on this one:
A lawyer who knows Mr. Libby's account said the administration efforts to limit the damage from Mr. Wilson's criticism extended as high as Mr. Cheney. This lawyer and others who spoke about the case asked that they not be identified because of grand jury secrecy rules.
Okay, "a lawyer who knows Mr. Libby's account" -- well, you mean Libby's lawyer, no? WTF is he doing implicating Cheney in all this on the front page of the New York Times?
THE HERETIK SUSPECTS some of the rats will be jumping ship early. If Cheney goes down, no doubt all the rats will drown. That would make for a very water diluted rat stew.
THE MILLER LIBBY CORRESPONDENCE [Just One Minute] The NY Times has posted the correspondence between Libby and Miller that eventually led to her jail break (via Glenn, we see that Powerline has found these letters as well).
We are most intrigued by this passage, in the letter from Libby to
Miller, in which he proclaims that her testimony will aid his case:
As noted above, my lawyer confirmed my waiver to other reporters in
just the way he did with your lawyer. Why? Because, as I am sure will
not be news to you, the public report of every other reporter's
testimony makes clear that they did not discuss Ms. Plame's name or
identity with me, or knew about her before our call.
Since he is referring to their public statements, this is not really news - for example, Cooper told Libby about Plame on July 12 after he talked to Rove; with Kessler of the WaPo, Libby did not mention Ms. Plame (but did Kessler?); Tim Russert's evasion has been noted; and we are letting Walter Pincus slide for the moment.
THE HERETIK IS CERTAIN some of the rats in the press will be revealed as well. Many a mensch has done the minuet to dance away from getting tagged by Fitzgerald publicly, but when all the secret testimony is revealed and the prosecutions heat up, others besides the indicted still may get burned
OTHER PIECES IN THE PUZZLE [Anonymous Liberal] Finally, as others have noted, there is an important piece of the puzzle that is still missing. The Times
has reported that Libby was not a source for Bob Novak, and we already
know that Rove was only a confirming source for Novak. Therefore, there
must be a third leaker. This mysterious administration official may
well have been Walter Pincus' source as well. I think the most likely suspects are John Bolton's former chief of staff Fred Fleitz, former Deputy CIA Director John McLaughlin, and former White House press secretary Ari Fleischer. Any other suggestions?
THE HERETIK CAN ONLY SAY Ari, Ari, Ari. You should have listened to what you said so threateningly to everyone else so seeming long ago. Watch what you say, watch what you do. My money is on Fleischer.
THE SO WHAT QUESTION [Wizbang] The criminal conspiracy theory seems like a tough sell for any
prosecutor. If there are any charges filled, one or more charges of
obstruction of justice (or possibly perjury) would seem like the more
THE HERETIK AGREES and disagrees. Libby and Rove could get charged with perjury and obstruction. Obstruction would be the charge that a greater, broader conspiracy indictment would be based on. So perhaps the stewpot will be filled with more than few rats from bottom to top. And when you think of what's involved here--Niger yellowcake, the run up to the war, Judith Miller, all those visits by Libby and his dark master to the CIA at Langley--the biggest rat in the stew would be Cheney.
AND IN CASE YOU FORGOT [Liberal Oasis] But let us not forget, regardless of the criminal investigation, top White House officials who leaked Plame’s identity -- be it proactively or by merely confirming what a reporter said to them -- have violated their SF-312 national security clearance agreements.
And Bush is required to investigate any such security breach and punish anyone involved.
It is indisputable that both Karl Rove and Scooter Libby have violated their national security clearance agreements. They have yet to be punished by their boss. [Via Maha]
AND THE HERETIK NOTES George W. Bush has not been held accountable for holding his subordinates accountable. Perhaps Cheny ordered him not to.
AND IT JUST GETS BETTER (OR WORSE) [Joe Gandelman/The Moderate Voice] Think Progress
has a tidbit that, if true, could completely change the dynamics of the
last three years of President George Bush's term — and note that we
said "if" true:
Near the end of a round table discussion on ABC’s This Week, George Stephanopoulos dropped this bomb:
a political problem but I wonder, George Will, do you think it’s a
manageable one for the White House especially if we don’t know whether
Fitzgerald is going to write a report or have indictments but if he is
able to show as a source close to this told me this week, that
President Bush and Vice President Cheney were actually involved in some
of these discussions.
Of course, as we
read this today on Oct. 2, 2005 with no indication that this is indeed
a fact, you have to wonder "what source?" But it's also hard to believe
Stephanopoulos would risk his credibility by just tossing something
like this out there (or would he?).
THE HERETIK THINKS Stephanopoulos may have less credibility problems on this than Bush.
BOMBS AWAY [Steve Soto/The Left Coaster] . . . this would explain why Bush himself had some quality time with
Fitzgerald, and totally debunk the spin that Bush was merely a
bystander who wants to get to the bottom of this. It would also explain
why the three judge panel, comprised of at least two judges normally
solidly right wingers, would have been convinced by Fitzgerald that the
gravity of what he was on to required the threat of jail time for
reporters who withheld crucial evidence.
THE HERETIK REMEMBERS we forget much about Bush and this bit about Bush testifying qualifies. At least in this one, Bush didn't testify sitting on Cheney's lap.