Mark Kleiman notes that the Wall Street Journal's news and editorial divisions often head in different directions.
Yesterday's WSJ has an excellent summary of the Wilson affair, and a fascinating explanation of what we may expect on the legal front. They eventually quote an official who seems to imply that motive matters. Since the investigation has been virtually leak-free, we wonder whether this "law-enforcement official" is connected to the investigation, or just answering a call from a friendly reporter. We also love seeing Larry Johnson quoted - many, including some at the Journal, remember him as not fully reliable.
Something like excerpts are available here.
UPDATE: Ah, yes, a point! Perhaps I never quite got to one, or perhaps the highlighting below was a subconscious cry for help, but Juan Non-Volokh delivers.
More excerpts below:
...Yet the sparring about Mr. Wilson's veracity could give the Justice Department an excuse to back away from indictments, at least until after the November presidential election. Even if charges are brought, the details in the Senate report about Mr. Wilson give the White House more ammunition to use against him, blunting the blow if someone in the administration is accused of being behind the leak.
...But whether it damages him or not, the report, in strictly legal terms, shouldn't have any effect on Special Prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald's investigation into whether the White House violated a law that makes it a crime to disclose the name of a clandestine intelligence officer. At the same time, Mr. Fitzgerald must weigh whether to push his case all the way to its potentially messy end -- namely, indicting administration officials before the election.
...Disclosure of Ms. Plame's identity prompted former CIA Director George Tenet to ask for a Justice Department investigation. Federal law makes it a crime to knowingly disclose the identity of a covert intelligence officer with the intention of damaging national security. It is also a felony for any U.S. official with a security clearance to disclose an intelligence officer's identity to anyone not authorized to receive such information.
Prosecutors are still trying to determine who leaked Ms. Plame's identity and why. The question, says a law-enforcement official, is whether the individual had a security clearance that gave him or her access to Ms. Plame's identity -- and also leaked her name to damage national security. "We still have to prove that, and it's not easy to do," the official says. "That's why nothing ever happens with these cases."
Dozens of White House employees, including the president and vice president, have been interviewed. Most recently, several reporters have been subpoenaed to appear before a grand jury. Mr. Novak has repeatedly declined to say whether he has been subpoenaed.
Under Justice Department guidelines, prosecutors must show they have pursued nearly all other means of obtaining information before calling a reporter before a grand jury, a Justice Department official says. Because it is considered a last resort, sending subpoenas to journalists may indicate the investigation is winding down, Justice Department and FBI lawyers say.