Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Beyond Miller: Rove And Cheney

The Times is getting rightfully bludgeoned for its unwillingness to cover a major story involving one of its own. PressThink's Jay Rosen quotes Michael Isikoff of Newsweek magazine on CNN’s Reliable Sources as saying: “I find the Times’ conduct at this point inexplicable.” The Times' journalistic abdication on this story deserves all the attention it's getting. But where the blogosphere is really delivering is in speculation over Karl Rove and Dick Cheney as major players in this investigation.

Syndicated columnist Roger Simon says today "when this story is over, Judy Miller is going to be one of the smaller fish to be fried." Simon offers his hypothetical Q&A between the prosecutor and Rove:

This week, Karl Rove, the president's closest adviser, was called back before the grand jury for a fourth time. Getting called before a grand jury four times officially falls into the category of "not a good sign."
One possible scenario for such a repeat appearance goes like this:
Prosecutor: "Sir, in March you said (fill in the blank.) But we have testimony that the truth is to the contrary. Would you care to change your testimony?"
At which point the witness can:
A: Change his story and open himself up to a perjury charge.
B: Refuse to change his story and open himself up to a perjury charge.
C: Take the Fifth Amendment.
Rove may be innocent of any wrongdoing and may not even be a target of the probe. But it is hard to believe after all this time that the White House is going to skate on this.
If you are a young, ambitious prosecutor, you don't spend two years and millions of tax dollars, and come up empty.

And over at The Next Hurrah, emptywheel keeps his (her? who is emptywheel exactly?) eye on the ball and reminds us that the big story behind Plamegate is the White House's manipulation of intelligence designed to trick the nation into war. Emptywheel argues that it was the outing of Ambassador Joe Wilson, not his wife, that might now be a matter of interest, especially with the speculation that Cheney could be Fitzgerald's true target in the investigation:

 We've been thinking for over two years that the Plame Affair is about the outing of a CIA NOC, Valerie Plame Wilson. With Judy Miller's acknowledgement that she met with Libby in June 2003 to talk about Wilson, the most important details become how and when the White House learned of Joe Wilson's identity and what they did with it. The outing of Wilson, not Plame. If this thing will be traced back to Cheney, as rumors suggest, it will be through the way he outed Joe Wilson.

[SNIP]

[Nicholas] Kristof has at least one source who attests to people in Cheney's office and the NSC learning of Wilson's trip. And why wouldn't they have? Cheney specifically asked about Niger. After he asked a second time, WINPAC sent analysis indicating they were debriefing Wilson (named only as a source) that very same day. (SSCI 43) After Wilson was debriefed, DO alerted WINPAC analysts of the report, because they knew the "high priority of the issue." Clearly, there is a lot of evidence to suggest Cheney did know of Wilson's trip when it happened.

Which would mean Cheney's office either buried evidence they had been briefed on the trip in February 2002. Or they buried that evidence by the time they testified to the SSCI. [emphasis added]

This is what I think Fitzgerald may be closing in on. True, he might just have Cheney going after Wilson in response to his Meet the Press statements, and stumbling on the INR memo. That would already require enough of a conspiracy to communicate to John Bolton (or whoever discovered the information on the trip from the INR memo) that they were looking for information on Wilson.

But as news reports indicate Fitzgerald is closing in on Cheney and as more news of Cheney's apparent estrangement from this Administration appears, I think it's bigger than that. I think Fitzgerald may be piecing together evidence that Cheney deliberately ignored the results of Wilson's trip ... and then buried evidence he had done so.

I have no idea whether that means he's also getting close to solving the Niger forgery mystery. But if Cheney knew of Wilson and ignored his intelligence--then lashed out precisely because Wilson could prove that he deliberately ignored intelligence that proved the case for war was fraudulent, it would be damning enough.

To stay on top of these developments, I'll point you to the blogs Arianna at HuffingtonPost hails for their stellar coverage of Miller and Plamegate: Jay Rosen, kausfiles, Murray Waas, David Corn, Jane Hamsher, emptywheel, Tom Maguire and Larry Johnson.

--Alexandra Walker | Wednesday 11:23 AM
 
 

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