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Born at the Crest of the Empire

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

PLAME GOSSIP

Big news in the Plame case. Plame Gossip has been quiet for awhile. With no public Fitzgerald actions in the last couple of days, I was beginning to wonder if the story had gone quiet through Christmas.

But, no. Our friend Jason at Rawstory is reporting, (oh, man, there's alot here.)
Special Prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald is not expected to shut down his investigation into the leak of covert CIA officer Valerie Plame Wilson when he finishes his inquiry of White House Deputy Chief of Staff Karl Rove's role in the leak, lawyers close to the probe said. ....

Individuals close to the probe say Fitzgerald is still investigating other unnamed White House officials. This part of the investigation, like that of Rove, is focusing on whether these officials committed perjury, obstruction of justice or lied to federal investigators during the early days of the investigation....

The investigation is expected to shift back to top officials in the Office of the Vice President, the State Department and the National Security Council, and may even shed some light on the genesis of the Niger forgeries, lawyers close to the case say......

Separately, these people said, the FBI's renewed interest in probing the Niger forgeries grew out of Fitzgerald's probe....

Some of those people, who sources close to the case would only say were "senior level," have cooperated with the prosecutor in exchange for immunity related to their role in the case. No plea deals have been entered into with any official, they added.

"Mr. Fitzgerald has secured the cooperation of certain individuals who faced the possibility of being prosecuted," one attorney close to the case said. "That's all I'm going to say."....

Sources close to the probe said the State Department official referenced in both stories is the same, and has been providing the special counsel with crucial evidence against certain White House officials for the past two years.


Hoooo boy, there's alot here. First, more prospective indictees apparently around the Vice President's office. The guessing game begins again. (Cheney? I don't think so at this point, or that, I think, would have been the lead, but Fitzgerald may be getting the riff raff in line before turning on the Don.)

Second a couple tantalizing mentions of the Niger forgeries, that this investigation "may even shed some light on the genesis of the Niger forgeries," and that it was Fitzgerald's investigation that prompted the FBI to reopen the forgeries case which the LATimes was reporting as now looking at "US citizens who advocated an invasion of Iraq."

If the Niger forgeries case is making headway, and overlapping with Fitzgerald's investigations into senior US government officials, this could be HUGE.

Lastly, further mentions of cooperating witnesses, a seemingly plural reference to cooperating "senior officials," and also a reference to a State Department official who "has been providing the special counsel with crucial evidence against certain White House officials for the past two years."

So, first impression is that the immunity bargainers are indeed singing, Fitzgerald appears to be working on more than just Karl Rove's testimony, and those significant mentions that Fitzgerald has had some involvement in the Niger forgeries.

Gonna go eat lunch and think about this a little. More later, certainly, but for now, I'll leave you with a question: If Fitzgerald does round up several more of these guys, and the seperate Niger forgeries investigation ties in a couple of them as well, what does this mean for this president? Just how much ignorance can he claim?

And, as a personal note, Thanks, Jason. You're breaking more stories than anybody else. Keep up the great work.

Update: I realized I left out that Rawstory has previously reported that John Hannah and David Wurmser are cooperating witnesses. Talk left is theorizing that Fleitz is the State Dept. leaker. Bolton's dirtywork guy, had his hands on the state dept memo identifying Plame, that's not a bad guess. (According to the WaPo's list, Fleitz was not a regular member of the WHIG, but did maintain his active CIA credentials, wearing two hats, while working for Bolton at State. Not essential, just unusual and interesting.)

(Also, keep your eyes open for news of Fitzgerald going back to the grand jury. My gut tells me that this is coming soon allowing for the holidays. If anybody sees it out there, even a rumor, post a comment and let me know. I'm getting that feeling again.)

10 Comments:

  • I am starting to wonder who much this saga will be absorbed into the wider issues of massaging the truth to justify the unjustifiable war. Yesterday I came across a reference to Cheney's 'war on decency.' It was a good attempt I guess, but I think 'war on democracy' might be closer to the truth.

    By Blogger Cartledge, at 11:46 AM  

  • Sorry, too much esspresso with my oatmeal. I am starting to wonder HOW much...

    By Blogger Cartledge, at 11:47 AM  

  • A note from the host.

    Cartledge's comments were from a previous post announcing that this story was coming. It was more or less just a headline at that time.

    Mike

    By Blogger mikevotes, at 12:33 PM  

  • Break! Break! Why wont it just break? This has got me on the edge of my seat.

    By Blogger justin barker, at 1:00 PM  

  • All I can say is Wow. I know we have all thought that this could be this big - but this really might be bigger than we all imagined.

    Keep up the good work Mikevotes.

    By Blogger left-over, at 2:35 PM  

  • You're right. There's a lot there. But to me, the most interesting part is: Who rolled over, and how important was their role?

    This scandal is taking on dimensions akin to the Abramhoff scandal and its effect on Congress.

    By Blogger Kvatch, at 2:44 PM  

  • This is gonna be different from Abramoff in that it is, to some degree, a national security case, and it looks as though the prosecutor isn't going to leak bunches of little juicy details over time. This is huge in that it is one leg of how we got into(were lied into, deceived into) war, so it is very historically significant.

    Abramoff, on the other hand, promises to be a far juicier story in that there will be far more interests involved, lots of potential suspects all with their own motives to leak. Big money, lavish trips, and if they manage to hook in Wilkes and MZM, bribery and hookers. Much more made for TV, you know?

    But from the beginning, it was my sense that, short of a "pentagon papers" type release, or a real congressional investigation, this Plame investigation is about as close as we're gonna get to seeing inside the lead up to the war.

    Only thing that might make Plame juicier is the civil suit that the Wilson's have filed. There will be alot of interesting tidbits coming out of that if it's allowed to go forward.

    Mike

    By Blogger mikevotes, at 2:57 PM  

  • This is so much bigger than Watergate. This is bringing in International intelligence agencies and deals with a possible multi-national conspiracy that was used to start a war. I just hope that something comes of it and it doesn't get flushed down the Chomskian 'memory hole'.

    By Blogger Tele, at 3:18 PM  

  • DOJ and Pentagon now report to the director of CIA. So, the interest in the Niger forgeries is okay because Fitz will not find that they were used by Plame and CIA to set up Bush and Rice over WMD covert policies at CIA before the war and during the Bush speech.

    FBI is acting unethically and possibly illegally.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 9:52 PM  

  • No, Anonymous, that's wrong.

    DoD NOW reports to Negroponte.

    At the time of the Niger forgeries, you are somewhat right, officially Tenet was the chief intel person, however on many matters the Pentagon worked on it's own. Certain groups like Feith's OSP reported their findings directly to Cheney with no report to Tenet.

    And I do accept the premise of a CIA/Bush rift in some of this, we've seen little bits of evidence from here, outside, but below Tenet, alot of the CIA personnel were trying to keep us out of Iraq.

    My gut tells me that if anyone was involved in the Niger forgeries, it was probably that "neocon" segment of the DoD.

    Take a look at my previous post on a meeting involving Ledeen, Rhode, and Franklin(yes the AIPAC Franklin) and all the other players involved in the Niger forgeries scam as reported in the il Reppublica series.

    Also, take a look over at the Leftcoaster. They have by far the best exploration of the Niger forgeries. Look for posts by eriposte.

    By Blogger mikevotes, at 10:05 PM  

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