Wednesday, October 12, 2005

WSJ: Plame Probe Widening

Afraid I don’t have a link for this one, as it’s registration (and pay) only, but there’s a new piece in the Wall Street Journal this morning that covers the latest movements in the Valerie Plame investigation and seems to suggest that Fitzgerald is pursuing a broader scope for the investigation:

There are signs that prosecutors now are looking into contacts between administration officials and journalists that took place much earlier than previously thought. Earlier conversations are potentially significant, because that suggests the special prosecutor leading the investigation is exploring whether there was an effort within the administration at an early stage to develop and disseminate confidential information to the press that could undercut former Ambassador Joseph Wilson and his wife, Central Intelligence Agency official Valerie Plame.

There’s more information on just what Judith Miller has been telling Fitzgerald, and it seems to suggest that the effort to discredit Wilson began earlier than is commonly believed:

Ms. Miller, the Times reporter, was interviewed again yesterday to discuss conversations she had with I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby, the vice president's chief of staff. She testified on Sept. 30 before a grand jury about conversations she had with Mr. Libby in July 2003.

Since then, her lawyers have told Patrick Fitzgerald, the special prosecutor investigating the leak of the CIA agent's identity, that Ms. Miller's notes show that she also spoke with Mr. Libby in late June, information that was not previously given to the grand jury.

Mr. Fitzgerald's pursuit now suggests he might be investigating not a narrow case on the leaking of the agent's name, but perhaps a broader conspiracy.

Rove also doesn’t seem to be finished with this latest round of testimony, a possible last-ditch effort to avoid indictment:

Mr. Rove, who has already testified three times before the grand jury and was identified by a Time magazine reporter as a source for his story on Mr. Wilson, is expected to go back to the grand jury, potentially as early as today, to clarify earlier answers.

And here it is, in plain English for those who have missed it: there was an “Iraq Group”, a sort of advertising subset, within the White House, whose job it was to sell the Iraq War to the American people, and they are most likely the ones responsible for what has happened here. How long can people continue to bury their heads in the sand on this one?

Lawyers familiar with the investigation believe that at least part of the outcome likely hangs on the inner workings of what has been dubbed the White House Iraq Group. Formed in August 2002, the group, which included Messrs. Rove and Libby, worked on setting strategy for selling the war in Iraq to the public in the months leading up to the March 2003 invasion. The group likely would have played a significant role in responding to Mr. Wilson's claims.

Finally, looks like we may see some movement on indictments either today or Friday, as the clock is running:

Given that the grand jury is set to expire on Oct. 28, it is possible charges in this case could come as early as next week. Former federal prosecutors say it is traditional not to wait for the last minute and run the risk of not having enough jurors to reach a quorum. There are 23 members of a grand jury, and 16 are needed for a quorum before any indictments could be voted on. This grand jury has traditionally met on Wednesdays and Fridays.

Posted by crimnos @ 8:24 AM

Read or Post a Comment

Thanks for throwing up substantial text from the WSJ piece. As it's behind subscription wall, I don't have access, so I lifted some of it from you. I didn't link to you because I didn't know the legality of printing this subscription WSJ piece, but if you want me to link to you as a source, I'd be more than happy to.

Also, for a little more interesting background on the White House Iraq Group, take a look at this WaPo piece from way back in Aug 2003.

It talks about the WHIG and it's dissemination of the "mushroom cloud" language and aluminum tubes story. Also names several of the main participants and dates it's creation.

Figure that's a fair trade for the WSJ lift. If not, let me know and I'll take it down.

Posted by Blogger mikevotes @ 9:42 AM #

Oh, if the wapo link doesn't work, I've got a working one up on my blog.

Posted by Blogger mikevotes @ 9:43 AM #

Grand Jury testimony of Karl Rove leaked by Rove-ing reporter (humor). Please keep my identity a secret. Double super Secret. I could call in and have my voice disguised and/or my face blocked out. Please send me an email if you plan to use this. Thanks.

Middle-aged, Middle-of-the-road, Mid-Westerner

Testimony of Karl Rove, the White House Deputy Chief of Staff (of the United States) [COSTUS]. How much will COSTUS cost us?

It is posted at:

Posted by Blogger MnMnM @ 10:35 AM #

"...if anyone in this administration was responsible for the leaking of classified information, they would no longer work in this administration."--Scott McClellan, October 6, 2003
More Bush double speak. 1 - violated the law beyond preponderance of evidence or beyond a reasonable doubt, or perhaps some higher standard?
2 - be taken care off. Does that mean a consulting job for the Carlyle Group or Halliburton; perhaps a cushy government pension or a platinum parachute, administrative leave without pay, perhaps selling some property at 10 time its market value? We may never know. Casper Weinberger and Oliver North and Kathryn Harris were all taken care of weren’t they.
Like OJ, they will not be able to convict Rove at the criminal level but what about a civil level. Perhaps Common Cause, the Taxpayer’s Union, and other groups should file a taxpayer lawsuit alleging abuse, misuse, and malfeasance in office of government paid for information. Mr. And Mrs. Wilson should also join a suit to get a conviction under the Hatch Act (engaging in political activities) or Federal Privacy Act laws. It is a crime to violate any citizen’s Privacy by divulging information to groups or individuals without a need to know or without the appropriate clearances. Whenever any agency . . . fails to comply with any other provision of this section, or any rule promulgated thereunder, in such a way as to have an adverse effect on an individual [the individual may bring a civil action]." 5 U.S.C. § 552a(g)(1)(D).
I do not believe that Mr. Rove was a Federal Government employee at the time he talked to Matt Cooper. He was a political consultant. I assume he did not have the need to know in his official capacity and he did not have the clearance to know about Mr. Wilson’s wife. Whoever provided this information to Mr. Rove should also be investigated. This might be a clue about why Rove was made Deputy Chief of Staff of the United States (COSTUS). It appears that he and others working with him and perhaps the RNC had access to information protected by the Privacy Act and National Security regulations while Rove was still a political operative. And were his staff, office, and travel expenses paid for by government funds before he became COSTUS. Now that he is COStUS, it might be easy for his lawyer to confuse whether the actions were taken before or after he was appointed. Can NBC get a copy of the oath of Office of COSTUS and post it to their web site? Since he is now Deputy Chief of Staff, does the Hatch Act allow him to be involved in political activities? No matter what the final outcome Rove, the COSTUS, will COST US in the long run. Costs including deaths in Iraq, high gas prices, expenses for lawsuits, and the slow weakening of Freedom of the Press. Which is already on life support. Don’t let them pull the plug on you.
As Daniel Schorr explained in his comments on NPR’s ALL Things Considered on 7/13/05:
...the real issue in the Karl Rove controversy is not a leak, but a war, and how America was misled into that war.
Moreover, the real question is not whether Mr. Rove or anyone at the White House has violated any specific laws; they have betrayed our trust by not answering truthfully when the question of Roves’ involvement was originally posed to them. They could have explained then that Rove made a reference to Mr. Wilson’s wife but did not violate any laws. If it walks like a cover-up, talks like a cover-up, and smells like a cover-up, the American public will assume it is a cover-up.
Finally, a similar civil suit might be in line for the Vice-President. What does his oath of office say? It appears that he may also have violated provisions of the Hatch Act and Privacy Act laws. He has assumed powers well beyond his official duties as VP and had access to information protected by the above laws without the official need to know. Please post his Oath and Position Description.

Posted by Blogger MnMnM @ 10:37 AM #

Thanks for the tip, Mike. I'll give you credit. As for the subscription information, I think it's legal as long as you don't post the whole thing...I think. I guess I'll find out.

Posted by Blogger crimnos @ 2:40 PM #

MnMnM: looking into this now...

Posted by Blogger crimnos @ 2:45 PM #

God, I am SO salivating over this thing. I can't WAIT for Fitz to wrap things up and fill us all in on what the hell is going on. :)

Posted by Blogger james @ 6:55 PM #

Okay, that Rove leak is hilarious. Great stuff!!

James: Yeah, I know. I'm rubbing my hands together...

Posted by Blogger crimnos @ 7:58 PM #
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