It's all about the secrets
Big Daddy Karl coming from the
Briefly put, why do I think an indictment is coming down?
I'm not a lawyer and it's been years since I've read the US Code, so gauge accordingly.
The most telling sign is the silence from the WH. You can bet that if Libby and Rove were going to skate, their lawyers would be all over the media. The Kristol meme "the criminalization of politics" wouldn't be whipped out if this was going to go away. Stephen Hadley wouldn't be telling people he expected to be indicted if this was going to disappear.
Also, you'd start reading stories about Fitzgerald's people leaving his DC staff for new jobs. After all, if there is only clean up, why stick around?
Let me deal with Bob Somersby, who for some odd reason, seems to think this isn't much of a big deal.
THE SEARCH FOR A SEARCH: Did Rove and Libby (and others) commit crimes? Soon, we’ll get Fitzgerald’s (and/or the grand jury’s) judgment. Meanwhile, will 22 people really get indicted? If so, someone could shoot The Longest Yard 3 without having any prison guards play! Or could this mean that prison teams have now gone to the two-platoon system? No wonder it costs nine bucks to see a top film when Hollywood goes so crazy with costs.
Meanwhile, with all the local comedy excitement, we’ll postpone till tomorrow our troubling treatment of a basic question about the Plame matter: Since Wilson’s op-ed didn’t really contradict what Bush had said about Niger, why did the press corps act like it did? (To this day, they shave basic facts to keep this perception alive.)
In the meantime, Matt Yglesias quotes the Duelfer Report about a central question: Was Iraq ever seeking uranium? Key quote from the report: “[The Iraq Survey Group] has not found evidence to show that Iraq sought uranium from abroad after 1991.” In his State of the Union, Bush said that British intelligence had learned that Iraq sought uranium from Africa. The Iraq Survey Group has “not found evidence” of any such pursuit.
That’s significant information, but Matt is almost surely wrong when he says “we can now rely upon the Duelfer Report for everything we need to know about Iraq’s nuclear program.” That would treat the Duelfer as scripture—not the wisest procedure. But then, we’re all inclined to go a bit scriptural at super-charged partisan moments like this. For example, try to believe that someone as smart as Matt could make a statement like this:
YGLESIAS: We also know that the CIA made a criminal referral in this case long ago, so there whole notion that Plame somehow wasn't "really" covert is a nonstarter.
Incredible! If the CIA says it, it has to be true! That someone so smart could say something so odd helps define the strange state we’re now in.
First, Bob, Iraq had no nuclear program. Task Force 20 found a rusted centrifuge, MET Alpha didn't even find that much. The scientists said development stopped in the mid-1990's. US troops couldn't even find stocks of chemical weapons. So, if they couldn't store mustard gas, they had a nuclear program? I think not.
Yes Bob, if the CIA's General Counsel goes to the director of the CIA, a man employed by the president, to tell him we have to send a referral to the DOJ for possible prosecution of the President's top aides. If this wasn't backed by the Directorate of Operations, with evidence, he would have quashed it and that lawyer would probably be looking for a new job. Non-Offical Cover is the most secret data the CIA has. Access to it is limited and few people, all of whom could fit in a small room, have access to the entire list. A slightly larger room can see the raw data they turn up linked to them. For the most part, their information is usually disguised when it is analyzed, as in the analysts may only know that there is a reliable source, not a NOC. In most circumstances, even the President would not know the specific idenity of a NOC unless vital to national security. Because it is very expensive to remove a NOC, and usually impossible to replace seemlessly.
If the CIA says Valerie Plame is a NOC, they have years of history to prove just that, evidence which could convince lawyers. Sure, maybe they made it all up, and maybe all the people she served with are lying. But why? If she was an analyst, this would have been a two day story.
Please apply common sense here. The CIA is challenging the most powerful men on the planet. Who would go to their boss with this info without proof? Then, you have to believe that the Ashcroft Department of Justice took one look and then decided to pass it on like a hot potato for no reason? Pat Fitzgerald would have had a very short stay in DC if Plame's position and work didn't fit the statue. Or is he also a tool of CIA revenge?
And those judges who jailed Judy Miller for three months. Part of the conspiracy as well? They took one look at his case and gave him whatever he wanted.
At some point, the CIA couldn't be lying. It's not documents here, but people, real people talking to the FBI. They had to have something to go on. The CIA had to reveal sources and methods, something they are loathe to do, to prosecute this. It is easy to make the CIA the handy villian, but realistically, the damage had to be so bad, Tenet signed off on this, knowing the potential consequences and Comey hired someone who will get answers, not run for office, knowing the consequences.
I think it's pretty clear from the target letters Libby and Rove recieved that someone thinks they've committed a crime. DC is buzzing about indictments as well. But no, the CIA is lying. They're doing this for revenge. Look, even the CIA has to present evidence of a potential crime before it is prosecuted. And US Attorneys question evidence so they don't look like morons in open court. So the CIA had to lay out their case long before it got to DOJ's hands. And they had to defend that case to Comey and Ashcroft.
There's a manual called the Rules of Federal Procedure. Since Fitzgerald is acting in stead of DOJ, he has to follow them to the letter. Which means if target letters are going out, forget everything else, Fitzgerald has a case. It may not win in the end, but he has enough to go to trial.
But it's really quite simple in the end. If Valerie Plame wasn't a NOC, DOJ couldn't have proceeded on the case and a judge would have ordered Fitzpatrick to produce proof and shut him down if it didn't exist.
posted by Steve @ 2:11:00 AM