After thinking about the bombshell Plame revelation this morning, that Bush authorized the release of classified NIE material to further the war propaganda
, I've come to a couple of preliminary conclusions.
First, no one can claim that Dick Cheney was in any way distant from the Joe Wilson pushback. There's still no concrete public
evidence directly linking him to the leak of Valerie Plame's identity, but there can be no question that he was certainly present in several other deliberations and discussions about all this.
Second, I'm assuming that the manner in which this came up was not voluntary by Libby. I would guess that Fitzgerald in the course of grand jury testimony asked Libby the general question, "did you tell journalists classified information?" When he answered yes, Fitz then followed with, "who authorized you to do so?"
My point is that all this coming public is not necessarily something Libby wanted. Libby's defense has tried to make this case much broader than simple perjury and obstruction, trying to pull in the classified info angle to confuse the case.
As this filing was from the Fitzgerald side, I have a hunch this was Fitzgerald's way of either warning Libby off of his current defense strategy by threatening further revelations or it's intended to force action from somebody else.
Because, even though today's revelation doesn't significantly impact Libby's defense, Fitzgerald included it in his filings, and I find it impossible to believe that he was unaware of its potential political impact.
Maybe it was designed to put pressure on Libby by showing that Fitzgerald knows more about Cheney's actions than anyone suspected, emphasizing that there's no point in Libby going to prison to protect Cheney if he's already cooked. Maybe this disclosure is designed to elicit a response from someone beyond Scooter Libby.
Or maybe this is a threat to the administration that Fitzgerald can sink them if they don't cooperate. I just don't know for sure.
So, mixing metaphors, I think Fitzgerald just played one of his big cards and fired a warning shot across the administration's bow. I think the hunt for Dick Cheney is back on, and some buckshot in the face may seem minor compared to what's coming down the pipe.
The play is now to you Bush administration. You know that Fitzgerald has a threatened Rove indictment in his hand
and who knows what else. How do you want to respond to this?UPDATE:
The Pete Yost AP story now includes this. "But it(the Fitzgerald filing) points to Cheney as one of the originators of the idea that Plame could be used to discredit her husband, Bush administration critic Joseph Wilson."
Fitzgerald points to Cheney, eh?
Also, what's the Republican talking point going to be? "Fitzgerald released this irresponsibly?" "For political motives?" Or maybe, "there is still no evidence that the president or vice president did anything wrong?"
Or maybe the ultimate reverse, "how can you believe Scooter Libby's testimony? He's currently under indictment for perjury?"
And, remember in all of this, that Libby is not on trial for anything to do with classified information. Libby is on trial for perjury and obstruction of justice because he lied to the grand jury about who told him about Plame's identity.