A few tidbits as we admire his new website and await announcements from Special Counsel Fitzgerald in the Plame investigation:
(1) The WaPo provides a Cast of Characters. Moved up from the understudy card to star billing is John Hannah.
(2) The Anon Lib continues the Cryptic Hint Watch of the NY Times, noting a seemingly gratuitous reference to the folks in Cheney's office.
The recurring theme is that the major media probably has some very well-informed guesses as to who did what; over at the WaPo, for instance, Walter Pincus certainly knows who leaked to him.
So, for example, when the WaPo does *not* include McLaughlin or Tenet on the list of characters, that may be a hint that these CIA bigs were incidental to the leak.
(3) Will Fitzgerald clear the air, or muddy the water?
If Fitzgerald accepts plea deals from a few of Cheney's aides and wraps this up, conspiracists on the left will be mumbling about the Plame cover-up through the Barack Obama - Chelsea Clinton Presidential campaign of 2024.
And plenty of folks on the right want some disclosure of the CIA lies and media complicity in this scandal.
So if there are to be indictments (probable), we are hoping they are sufficiently detailed that the public can understand what this case was about. Quiet plea deals - no. Detailed indictments and gory trials - yes! Assuming, that is, that Fitzgerald won't simply provide the Administration with a detailed clean bill of health.
(4) What are the charges?
The Commentariat will be astonished if Fitzgerald relies on the Intelligence Identities Protection Act, a very strictly structured statute with several requirements that do not seem to apply to this leak.
On the other hand, charges under the much broader Espionage Act could greatly impede the normal flow of information between the government and its contractors, and between the government and the press. Jacob Weisberg of Slate looked at this, but not before Dale Franks did.
And if Fitzgerald settles for perjury, obstruction of justice, and conspiracy to do same? One might argue that he is criminalizing the investigation, rather than the crime; one might then have to answer to Michelle Malkin, who is not buying it - proper Reps are supposed to respect the legal process.
(5) Where are the scalps?
I will remind my friends on the left - if Fitzgerald settles on John Hannah, David Wurmser, and Fred Fleitz, most of America will think they have been asked to play "Dead or Canadian?". Adding Libby to the mix does not add much impact outside the Beltway (Quick - who was Al Gore's chief of staff in 1999? I'm sure he had one!)
However, that is subject to two caveats - most of the leaks have been from lawyers sympathetic to the Administration, who may be hiding some gruesome news.
And Fitzgerald may decide to get Karl on a conspiracy to obstruct, which could be easier to prove.
[OK, Stephen Hadley, now National Security Advisor, would be a big fish (and in a post I should re-file under "Comedy", I picked Hadley as a source of the leak when he was a mere minnow). John Bolton, UN Ambassador, would merit a headline, and leave us all wondering how an insane White House used a recess appointment to put Bolton there despite a legal cloud.]
MORE: A point to ponder - it is awfully late in the game for idle speculation, but Glenn Kessler of the WaPo was apparently Libby as having had a relevant conversation about Wilson. Could it be that Mr. Kessler, flying under the radar, had a similar experience to Tim Russert? Tim Russert, you recall, may have been cited by Libby as alibi witness.
That remains relevant because, like Russert, Libby spoke with Kessler in July. If Libby's alibi to Fitzgerald was that Kessler and Russert told him about Wilson's wife, the story about Judy on June 23 looks less like an oversight and more like an attempted cover-up.
NO WORRIES: Libby, at least, is up to speed on controversial pardons:
Vice President Dick Cheney's chief of staff testified Thursday he believes prosecutors of billionaire financier Marc Rich "misconstrued the facts and the law" when they went after Rich on tax evasion charges.
The testimony from Lewis "Scooter" Libby, who represented Rich dating back to 1985 but stopped working for him in the spring of 2000, came during a contentious, hours-long House committee hearing into former President Bill Clinton's eleventh-hour pardons.
BACK AT THE HEADWATERS: Will we ever get the original source for the information that Valerie, Joe's wife, was at the CIA?
A partial list of candidates would include the Washington cocktail party circuit (which I would trace back to Joe himself, since I doubt Valerie was promoting herself), the INR memo, and personal contact (Fred Fleitz and, IIRC, others, worked at the CIA and later the NSC or elsewhere in the Admin).