Thursday, October 27, 2005

Slow News Day on the Fitzmas Front
Speculation's High, and So Am I--It's a Free For All!

So slow, that Fitz pulled a Condi, according to Salon's War Room:

This just in: As Washington searches for clues of indictments in the Valerie Plame case, Reuters is reporting that special prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald took a break from a meeting with his legal team today to get his shoes shined at a Washington barber shop.

And in other shopping news, seems that Steve Clemons is issuing a retraction regarding his report of Fitz expanding his office rental:

Part of the process of reporting is doing the best one can do to source information, and seek double confirmation regarding stuff we post.

The source of mine in the real estate brokerage arena has called to retract information shared with me that the Office of the Special Counsel was expanding into 1401 New York Avenue. He states that "he just got it wrong."

In addition, the second source -- in the building -- says that he had a miscommunication with someone about this.
[...]
I am still a bit confused by the on-off information on the office space -- but I have to step back from this retracted information. If, however, Fitzgerald was expanding office space in Washington (he has office space at 1400 New York Avenue), that expansion could serve either an extension of the investigation -- or prosecution.

But for the time being, that is a dead end. Not fun.

So, where we are at? Let's take a swing round the Web. First, back at the War Room:
No announcement today: A spokesman for Patrick Fitzgerald says, on the record, that he's not expecting any announcements in the Valerie Plame investigation today. The Associated Press says that Fitzgerald is "huddled" with his legal team today, and the Los Angeles Times sees signs that the grand jury will meet again Friday.
But Raw Story is reporting that one indictment has been secured:
The prosecutor investigating the outing of covert CIA operative Valerie Plame Wilson has secured at least one indictment in the case from a majority of the 23 grand jurors, lawyers and intelligence officials close to the case said Wednesday.
[...]
Rumors swirled Wednesday afternoon that Fitzgerald was going to seek an extension of the grand jury, which expires Friday. That scenario now seems highly unlikely, sources close to the case said.

However, intelligence officials and those familiar with the case have indicated that Fitzgerald could convene a new grand jury to investigate forged documents used by the Bush Administration that purported to show Iraq was seeking to buy uranium from Niger.
[...]

Rove was offered a deal when his lawyer met with Fitzgerald Tuesday, but did not accept, the sources said. Fitzgerald has sought indictments to charge Rove with perjury and obstruction of justice, they asserted.

An eleventh-hour deal could help Fitzgerald "build a strong case against some very senior officials in the office of the vice president," one attorney said.

To fuel the fires of the blogosphere/blogverse/blogger ship (what ever you want to call it), attention is turning more and more to where the forged Niger yellowcake documents came from and how they came into the possession of officials within the administration. This is something I need to delve into a bit more, but that'll have to wait for later in the day as I finish off a freelance assignment. But here's a tidbit from the War Room again to tide you over:
Niger: The mainstream American press hasn't done much yet with an Italian newspaper's three-part report on how the information from forged documents about a supposed Irag-Niger deal on uranium -- the information that led to Joseph Wilson's trip to Niger in the first place -- made its way to the White House. Bloggers are continuing to dig in, however, suggesting that the infamous "16 words" about a Niger connection in Bush's 2003 State of the Union speech were based on some very old intelligence. Meanwhile, the office of Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi has denied that his government had any "direct or indirect involvement in the packaging and delivery of the 'false dossier' on Niger's uranium."
Speaking of which, Silvio's scheduled to come to DC on Monday. Josh Marshall at Talking Points Memo pontificates:
President Bush is engulfed in a firestorm originally ignited by the administration's use of the phony Niger uranium documents. A flurry of press reports in Italy have just implicated Berlusconi's government in being behind the forgeries themselves.

Can I come to lunch too?

Joint press conference? Press questions before the meeting?


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