Thursday, November 03, 2005

The CIA leak investigation: Bigger fish, deeper water

Special Prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald isn't finished with the Bush White House yet


The extension of special prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald's investigation is bad news for the Bush White House

Image: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

by Steve Perry
November 2, 2005

Winston Churchill once said that "There is nothing more exhilarating than to be shot at and missed," and last Friday afternoon a lot of Bush partisans were buoyed by the same sentiment. Writing at Power Line, John Hinderaker mused, "Having now read 15 or 20 news stories about what a devastating blow the Lewis Libby indictment was to the administration...I couldn't help wondering: does anyone remember who Al Gore's chief of staff was when he was vice-president? My guess is that the large majority of people who read these stories are asking themselves, 'Scooter who?'"

He's right. On its own, the public fallout from Libby's indictment on five counts of perjury, false statements, and obstruction of justice will be minimal. One could even add that the indictment of Karl Rove would make less difference in the court of popular opinion than most followers of the case think. Poll after poll has shown that only about half of Americans have ever heard of Rove. The gravity of his loss would be strategic: Without him, the great orchestra of White House staffers, congressional GOP foot soldiers, and the Washington press corps would be without a conductor. Meantime, only a very few pundits of the right made mention of the shoe that has not yet dropped. Proving again that crazy is not the same as stupid, Ann Coulter told CNN that the extension of special prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald's investigation "is, like, the worst possible outcome." She is right, too.



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