Mar 28 2006
** Update: Clarice Feldman thought I gave this story more credit than it was due, so if she was confused on my feelings it is clear I need to clarify.Â The story seems to be all propaganda.Â The only thing that gives it any credibility is the fact is this would be the kind of really dumb move I am afraid Fitzgerald is capable of!Â End update
Jason Leopold seems to possibly have some news – maybe. Fitzgerald is in deep trouble right now with a rapidly collapsing case against Scooter Libby, a very strong and well founded challenge to his authority, and the nagging realization the man is not prosecuting anyone on the charge he was supposed to be investigating. So does anyone think new indictments are the answer to a bungling prosecutor?
It may seem as though it’s been moving along at a snail’s pace, but the second part of the federal investigation into the leak of covert CIA agent Valerie Plame Wilson is nearly complete, with attorneys and government officials who have remained close to the probe saying that a grand jury will likely return an indictment against one or two senior Bush administration officials.
It seems Fitz-Magoo has discovered more ham sandwiches to charge with crimes. Of course, one has to pause and look at Leopold’s sources for the story, sources who are now in the cross hairs of Libby’s defense team!
These sources work or worked at the State Department, the CIA and the National Security Council. Some of these sources are attorneys close to the case. They requested anonymity because they were not permitted to speak publicly about the details of the investigation.
Coincidence? I think not. In fact, what may be breaking out is a very dangerous game of DC chicken. It may be open revolt by the bureaucrats against the elected leaders. Well, bureaucrats need to be careful. The leaks of this story are against the law. The leaks about Valerie Plame are now known to originate outside the White House, most likely at the State Department. Two leaks will NOT set you free. In fact, this looks more to me like we are seeing the very edges of a major power play going on in DC that could include the NSA leak investigation. So who are the targets?
In lengthy interviews over the weekend and on Monday, they said that Special Prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald has started to prepare the paperwork to present to the grand jury seeking an indictment against White House Deputy Chief of Staff Karl Rove or National Security Adviser Stephen Hadley.
At this point liberals must be all besides themselves, when Leopold starts pouring on the cold water in a classic charge/step back dance reporters famously play to smear people.
Although the situation remains fluid, it’s possible, these sources said, that Fitzgerald may seek to indict both Rove and Hadley, charging them with perjury, obstruction of justice, and conspiracy….
Emphasis mine. You see, it is possible…, maybe… sources say. In fact, it looks like someone has felt that retirement from the FBI makes them immune from privacy laws and due process:
Details about the latest stage of the investigation began to take shape a few weeks ago when the lead FBI investigator on the leak case, John C. Eckenrode, retired from the agency and indicated to several colleagues that the investigation is about to wrap up with indictments handed up by the grand jury against Rove or Hadley or both officials, the sources said.
Mr. Exkenrode must be so pleased with Leopold right now!
The Philadelphia-based Eckenrode is finished with his work on the case; however, he is expected to testify as a witness for the prosecution next year against I. Lewis “Scooter” Libby, Vice President Dick Cheney’s former chief of staff who was indicted in October on five counts of perjury, obstruction of justice, and lying to investigators regarding his role in the leak.
Well, let’s just say he WAS going to testify. Not sure how good a witness he will make now that it is news he leaked to the press regarding grand jury proceedings. But there is an interesting item on Matt Cooper’s email to his editors which shows Cooper knew more about the subject COOPER brought up to Rove, the supposed smoking gun email:
Still, Rove’s account of his conversation with Cooper went nothing like he had described in his email to Hadley, according to an email Cooper sent to his editor at Time magazine following his conversation with Rove in July 2003.
“It was, KR said, [former Ambassador Joseph] Wilson’s wife, who apparently works at the agency on wmdissues who authorized [weapons of mass destruction] [Wilson's] trip,” Cooper’s July 11, 2003, email to his editor said. “Wilson’s wife is Plame, then an undercover agent working as an analyst in the CIA’s Directorate of Operations counterproliferation division. (Cooper later included the essence of what Rove told him in an online story.) The email characterizing the conversation continues: “not only the genesis of the trip is flawed an[d] suspect but so is the report. he [Rove] implied strongly there’s still plenty to implicate iraqi interest in acquiring uranium fro[m] Niger… “
I have highlighted what appears to be Rove’s comments, making them distinct from Cooper’s background added in to give context to Rove’s statements. The segment “Wilson’s wife is Plame” is clearly Matt Cooper relating the connection to of the name ‘Valerie Plame’ to his editors. It seems clear ‘Valerie Plame’ was known to a lot of reporters, just not the connection to Wilson being his wife.
Russert announced on TV how Novak’s column finally allows him to understand the discussions in the NBC conference room from the weekend before:
RUSSERT: Well, thatâ€™s exactly right. â€œMeetâ€â€“Joe Wilson had been on â€œMeet the Pressâ€ on Sunday, which you moderated because I was on vacation.
RUSSERT: I came back after that interview, after The New York Times piece, and there was a discussion about Joe Wilson and I didnâ€™t know very much. And then when I read Novakâ€™s column the following Monday, I said, `Oh, my God, thatâ€™s it. Now I see. Itâ€™s his wife, Valerie Plame, CIA, sent him on the trip. Now I understand what everybody was trying to figure out.â€˜
Judith Miller had her name incorrectly written down in her notes when meeting with Libby, as if a note to remind her to check on the name (since she is clear Libby never mentioned her name). Now Matt Cooper points out to his editor that Wilson’s wife is Plame which he seemed to know ahead of time, with a lot of background on Plame:
Cooper’s July 11, 2003, email to his editor said. “Wilson’s wife is Plame, then an undercover agent working as an analyst in the CIA’s Directorate of Operations counterproliferation division.
It seems clear to anyone not on a witch hunt and interested in the facts that the media had connected Valerie Plame to Wilson, possibly because she was a back up source to Joe on the early Kristof articles, at least. They seemed to know she was CIA (the ‘leak’ Fitz-Magoo was supposed to have been investigating). They did not know her full role in Joe’s Niger escapade, nor the fact she was his wife.
It seems the silence of the press is all about covering up their incompetence, not their sources!