Sunday, October 02, 2005

Rove-a-Palooza's Roaring Back

After focusing on the tragedy of the Hurricane Katrina aftermath and our government's incompetence in handling it, events are coming together to bring the PlameGate affair back to the front burner. NYTimes reporter/self-created martyr Judith Miller got her Get Out of Jail permission slip from Scooter Libby this week, and went straight to the PlameGate grand jury, and special prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald is coming up on an end-of-October deadline to prepare charges. Here are some tidbits from the WaPo from an article where they summarize where everything's at with the investigation (at least as far as what is known):

What remains a central mystery in the case is whether special prosecutor Patrick J. Fitzgerald has accumulated evidence during his two-year investigation that any crime was committed. His investigation has White House aides and congressional Republicans on edge as they await Fitzgerald's announcement of an indictment or the conclusion of the probe with no charges. The grand jury is scheduled to expire Oct. 28, and lawyers in the case expect Fitzgerald to signal his intentions as early as this week.
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.

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.

Lawyers involved in the case interviewed for this report agreed to talk only if their names were not used, citing Fitzgerald's request for secrecy.

One source briefed on Miller's account of conversations with Libby said it is doubtful her testimony would on its own lead to charges against any government officials. But, the source said, her account could establish a piece of a web of actions taken by officials that had an underlying criminal purpose.

And then there's this bit of Deep Throat-esque leaking from Think Progress, reporting on a comment made by George Stephanopoulous on ABC's This Week news program:

Near the end of a round table discussion on ABC’s This Week, George Stephanopoulos dropped this bomb:
Definitely 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.

To paraphrase Ted Nugent, speculation's high and so am I, it's in the air tonight, it's a free for all!


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