The coverup is always bigger than the crime. No matter what your political leanings, the Scooter Libby obstruction of justice trial has something for everyone, including testimony by memory experts, an all-star witness lineup, including the Vice President of the United States and the Secretary of State, phone calls to the press from the bowels of Air Force Two, the first high-profile Federal court proceeding where bloggers have been given press credentials, some interesting Voir Dire questioning of potential jurors [pdf ] - and the interesting responses thereof, a book largely culled from research done by the Citizen Press, an unpopular war, an unpopular president, and an even more unpopular Vice-President, full-frontal assaults on the credibility of the press, scrubbed newspaper archives, at least one witness (a former White House Official?) who has been granted immunity, an earlier leak of the National Intelligence Estimate on Iraq regarding WMD, and quite possibly substantial insight into the who, what, when, and where of the selling of the Invasion of Iraq.
Why Did Attorney General Ashcroft Remove Himself From The Valerie Plame Wilson Leak Investigation? If there is a witness willing to testify against one -- or both -- of the leakers in exchange for immunity, what then? It seems likely that Fitzgerald will move very quickly to find out if there is indeed a case to be made against the leakers. To bolster his case, he may call Novak and others to the grand jury or, as noted above, subpoena Novak's (and others') phone records over the relevant period. Even Ashcroft himself could in theory be called to the grand jury. If this case does not make headlines in 90 to 120 days, it will be quite surprising. There has been too much high level action and Comey, a presidential appointee, knows that politically it would be better for Bush & Company to have the matter flushed out within the next few months, than to have it arise just before the November election. Needless to say, this could be an interesting year for the White House, with more than reelection to worry about.
The 5pm Deadline is approaching, but the White House doesn't care. The White House--expected to turn in all documents relevant to the Justice Department investigation of the Plame affair--has instead decided that a team of lawyers ought to spend two weeks determining which evidence can be used against their clients. Meanwhile, President Bush continues his two-month initiative to get to the bottom of the matter himself.
Payback? How did Bush officials get back at Ambassador Joseph Wilson for talking publicly two weeks ago about his trip to Niger to investigate claims of an Iraqi uranium deal? By outing his wife as an undercover CIA operative. As David Corn of The Nation says, "...the Bush administration has screwed one of its own top-secret operatives in order to punish Wilson or to send a message to others who might challenge it..... a pair of top Bush officials told a reporter the name of a CIA operative who apparently has worked under what's known as 'nonofficial cover' and who has had the dicey and difficult mission of tracking parties trying to buy or sell weapons of mass destruction or WMD material. If Wilson's wife is such a person--and the CIA is unlikely to have many employees like her--her career has been destroyed by the Bush administration." The exposure of an undercover CIA agent is in fact a federal crime.