Saturday, July 02, 2005

Oops! The Plame Game: Round Four

It has turned exciting. For those of you visiting from some alien planet, this refers to the CIA agent Valerie Plame, married to former Ambassador Joseph Wilson. Wilson was sent to Niger to find out if Iraq had tried to purchase uranium there. He found no evidence of this, but Bush cited the allegation anyway in his 2003 State of the Union address. Wilson then criticized the Bush administration for going to war on false grounds...

At the next round, perhaps in revenge of Wilson's criticisms, someone in the Bush administration outed Valerie Plame who was at the time a covert agent by contacting possibly as many as six Washington journalists. Robert Novak took the bait and wrote about Valerie Plame. This outing probably cost lives somewhere in the network and certainly destroyed whatever she was working on at the time. Outing of a CIA covert agent is also illegal.

Now to the round three, the one that just ended. The investigation on the Plame affair has focused on two journalists, Judith Miller and Matthew Cooper. Miller has refused to name her source but Time magazine has agreed to cooperate with the investigation by opening up their files. What is interesting is that the Special Prosecutor in the case is said to already know the identity of the leaker(s) in the government. Why then the effort to get Miller and Cooper reveal their sources?

TalkLeft suggests that this is because of the evidence needed for perjury conviction. Two witnesses are required for a perjurious statement. So who is the intended target of all this?

And here is the beginning of round four, the current one. Lawrence O'Donnel, a SNBC analyst said this on last night's McLaughlin Group:

"And I know I'm going to get pulled into the grand jury for saying this but the source of...for Matt Cooper was Karl Rove, and that will be revealed in this document dump that Time magazine's going to do with the grand jury."...

Could this possibly be true? Note that Rove has told the FBI in the past that he was not the source of the leak

It is hard to believe that Rove would have been careless enough not to send an underling to do the leaking but perhaps he has grown accustomed to his untouchability. On the other hand, his untouchability might protect him even if O'Donnel's statement is true.

This will be most interesting to follow.