Right Wing Nut House



Filed under: Politics — Rick Moran @ 5:59 am

News that will surely disappoint the Kos Kids, DU denizens, and others on the unhinged left; they are going to have to wait a while to celebrate any indictments in L’Affaire d’Plame:

The special counsel in the C.I.A. leak case has told associates he has no plans to issue a final report about the results of the investigation, heightening the expectation that he intends to bring indictments, lawyers in the case and law enforcement officials said yesterday.

The prosecutor, Patrick J. Fitzgerald, is not expected to take any action in the case this week, government officials said. A spokesman for Mr. Fitzgerald, Randall Samborn, declined to comment.

A final report had long been considered an option for Mr. Fitzgerald if he decided not to accuse anyone of wrongdoing, although Justice Department officials have been dubious about his legal authority to issue such a report.

By signaling that he had no plans to issue the grand jury’s findings in such detail, Mr. Fitzgerald appeared to narrow his options either to indictments or closing his investigation with no public disclosure of his findings, a choice that would set off a political firestorm.

With the term of the grand jury expiring Oct. 28, lawyers in the case said they assumed Mr. Fitzgerald was in the final stages of his inquiry.

The focus of Mr. Fitzgerald’s inquiry has remained fixed on two senior White House aides, Karl Rove, who is President Bush’s senior adviser and deputy chief of staff, and I. Lewis Libby Jr., who is Vice President Dick Cheney’s chief of staff. Both had conversations with reporters about a C.I.A. officer whose name was later publicly disclosed.

It is not clear whether Mr. Fitzgerald has learned who first identified the C.I.A. officer, Valerie Wilson, to the syndicated columnist Robert D. Novak in July 2003.

Some of the lawyers in the case say Mr. Fitzgerald seems to be wrestling with decisions about how to proceed, leaning toward indictments but continuing to weigh thousands of pages of documents and testimony he has compiled during the nearly two-year inquiry.

So not only will there be no final report - at least in the formal sense - there will be no indictments this week. This may in fact be damaging to the mental health of our leftist friends who are so beside themselves with anticipation over possible indictments in the case that they have wet their pants, their beds, and the high chairs they sit in to eat their granola and nuts.

Their incontinence notwithstanding, according to this Murray Waas piece in the National Journal, Fitzgerald has narrowed the scope of his inquiry to the following:

1. The substance of the June 23, 2003 meeting between Times reporter Miller and Scooter Libby where, according to Miller’s notes, Libby mentioned Wilson’s wife Valerie Plame and her employment at WINPAC - the CIA’s arms control and WMD monitoring group - and was apparently a pre-emptive strike by the Veep’s office to counter leaks by Ambassador Wilson who had spent months shopping his charges of White House malfeasance on WMD intel to any and every reporter who would listen to him.

The problem for Libby? Either he didn’t mention the meeting in his grand jury testimony or didn’t say that it was the first time he had mentioned Plame’s name.

Possible Charge: Perjury

2. Substance of a July 8th breakfast meeting between Libby and Miller:

Libby and Miller’s two-hour breakfast at the St. Regis Hotel in Washington, D.C., on July 8. Libby has told federal investigators, according to legal sources familiar with his testimony, that he told Miller at the meeting that he had heard that Wilson’s wife had played a role in Wilson’s being selected for the Niger assignment. But Libby also testified that he never named Plame nor told Miller that she worked for the CIA, because either he did not know that at the time, or, if he had heard that Plame was a CIA employee, he did not know whether it was true.

Miller’s grand jury testimony as well her notes on the July 8 meeting contradict Libby’s version. Miller’s notes indicate that Libby did indeed tell her that Plame worked for the CIA. Her notes said, according to Miller: “Wife works at Winpac.” Asked for an explanation by the grand jury, Miller has said she testified she knew that Winpac meant Weapons Intelligence, Non-Proliferation, and Arms Control. That was a CIA unit tracking chemical, biological, and nuclear weapons proliferation.

The problem for Fitzgerald here is that Miller has testified she is certain that while Plame’s name came up, she is unclear in what context (did she herself bring up Plame’s name?)

Possible Charge: Perjury

3. A third area of interest to Fitzgerald is the series of communications between Libby’s attorney Joseph Tate and Miller’s attorney Floyd Abrams. Was the waiver given by Libby to Miller so that she could testify last year coerced? Was Tate, on behalf of his client, trying to influence Miller’s testimony? Did Tate leak the grand jury testimony of Libby in hopes that Miller would corroborate his story?

Here is another conundrum for Fitzgerald as all of the lawyering back and forth smacks of both parties hearing what they wanted to hear. Miller’s situation was complicated by the fact that Abrams was an attorney representing the Times. Later, she acquired the services of a personal attorney, Democratic mouthpiece Robert Bennett who has since given the most one-sided renderings of these conversations to date. Tate has all but called Bennett a liar and even Abrams has contradicted some of Bennett’s spin. Read the Waas piece for all the ins and outs of this confusing muddle but in summary, it would seem there is a huge gray area that Fitzgerald is trying to sort through to determine if any lawbreaking occurred.

Possible Charges: Perjury, Obstruction of Justice, Witness Tampering

4. The fourth area of Fitzgerald’s inquiry has to do with the circumstances surrounding the release of Judith Miller from jail. It involves a letter sent by Abrams to Tate in which Abrams (apparently looking to make a record) accuses Tate of warning Miller not to testify last year because the waiver he gave at the time was coerced. Tate has hotly denied both the substance and the inference of Abrams letter to the prosecutor.

Possible Charge: Witness tampering

5. Another letter, this time the personal one sent by Libby to Miller telling her it was okay to testify. Just to show that when you are enmeshed in the wheels of justice that it is best to keep both your mouth and pen shut, Libby’s personal reminisces about their conversations are being construed as a possible tipoff to Miller about what he said before the grand jury. Even Bob Bennett thinks that Libby wasn’t trying to tip Miller off but rather was just being chatty.

Possible Charge for being Chatty: Witness Tampering

6. Finally, the night before Miller was set to testify before the grand jury, a source “sympathetic” to Libby sought out three separate news organizations and spilled the beans about what Libby told the grand jury. Fitzgerald may want to know if Libby was behind the leaked testimony and whether he hoped to influence Miller’s testimony.

Possible Charge: Obstruction of Justice. Witness Tampering

Do you notice anything strange about the focus of Fitzgerald’s inquiry? Most of what Fitzgerald is looking at occurred in the context of getting Judith Miller out of jail!

Um…correct me if I’m wrong, but wasn’t this an inquiry into the outing of a covert operative? That aspect of the case seems to have fallen by the wayside due to the fact that it is now almost certain that no laws were broken in outing Valerie Plame - although a despicable act in and of itself for which the perpetrators should be fired forthwith. But it appears at least in Mr. Libby’s case that much of his exposure is a result of trying to clarify his waiver to Miller so that she could testify before the grand jury.

It would be ironic indeed if Libby was indicted because of the goings on surrounding Judith Miller who was ostensibly trying to protect him in the first place and whose stay in the hoosegow was probably unnecessary from the outset.

Another thing you might have noticed about the focus of Fitzgerald’s investigation is the absence of any scrutiny of the man the left has apoplectic fits over, Karl Rove. Is Rove in the clear? It would seem so although anything is possible.

Finally, I find it hugely ironic that once again, government officials have shown that they never, ever, learn anything from past probes of this nature. How much easier for Libby if he had been 100% truthful from the outset? And Rove himself wouldn’t have had to sweat bullets about being indicted if he had come clean to both his boss the President and been more specific about his conversations with Time Magazine reporter Matt Cooper.

And Fitzgerald? He’s decided that in order to justify 22 months of investigation into what was apparently a non-criminal act, he must indict people who can be charged for faulty memory or the actions of their attorneys and surrogates. In the Special Prosecutor’s case, better to shoot the horse after the barn door has already been closed rather than let the animal go.


Tom McGuire has much more insight into the Waas piece. His take is that Libby is all but being measured for a prison jump suit. Given that Mr. Libby apparently perjured himself regarding the June 23 meeting, it still begs the question as to how Fitzgerald views any kind of conspiracy charges - something Waas never mentions in his article. Was it conspiracy or just a general Administration wide push back against the CIA for their partisan antics? Since no crime was committed in the first place in outing Plame, conspiracy in that regard may be off the table although conspiracy to obstruct justice may still be in the offing if the reports we hear about Cheney aid John Hannah and his cooperation with Fitzgerald are true.

Kevin at Wizbang is advocating a constitutional change that would limit a President to one six-year term:

Perhaps it’s time to look seriously at changing the Presidency to a single 6 year term. You have to go all the way back to the Eisenhower administration to find a two term Presidency that didn’t go to hell (in the form of investigations, impeachment, or resignation) in the final years of their second term. Sure we’d have to live with future Jimmy Carter’s for a couple extra years, but it might be a gamble worth taking…

By the same token, such a move would deprive us of a Reagan for two extra years. Besides, somehow the idea of not having a President to stand for re-election diminishes democracy in my mind. Maybe not substantively, but perceptions are important also and a one term President almost smacks of an elected monarch to me.


  1. Rove makes fourth appearance before grand jury

    WASHINGTON — Amid rising anxiety in Republican circles, presidential adviser Karl Rove made a fourt

    Trackback by Unpartisan.com Political News and Blog Aggregator — 10/19/2005 @ 8:32 am

  2. I think Kevin at Wizbang is attacking the wrong end of this problem. The length of the term is not the problem. I think the limiting of presidents to two terms creates the lame duck status and increases the likelyhood of second term problems. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t want 3 and 4 term presidents but rather believe that choice should be left to voters.

    Comment by LargeBill — 10/19/2005 @ 11:45 am

  3. “it is now almost certain that no laws were broken in outing Valerie Plame – although a despicable act in and of itself for which the perpetrators should be fired forthwith.”

    Doesn’t follow. What was despicable about the Plame “outing”? It in no way increased her threat level (she had been “compromised” for years and non-operative for nearly as long). She and her hubby were conspiring to sell a lie they had _apparently_ set up from the gitgo. That was certainly hunky dory, eh?


    Yeh, now I see it. The “outing” of Plame didn’t include an intro to Dr. Tarr and Mr. Fether, along with “rail transport” outa town, for Val and Joe. Now that I’d agree was despicable.


    As to the presidential term. *sigh* There’s no answer. I tend to agree with LargeBill’s comment, but then… voters can be such asses, sometimes, and imagine being stuck with a Carter for three terms.

    Where are you when we need you, Ronald Reagan?

    Heck. I’d settle for Herbert Hoover.

    Comment by David — 10/19/2005 @ 1:29 pm

  4. Great summary, Rick. But I have to ask the question - if the ‘outing’ of Ms. Plame was not a crime, since she was not an undercover operative then or in the recent past in any conventional sense of the word, would it be appropriate to bring charges against anyone? Shouldn’t there actually be some, you know, wrongdoing before crimes are charged? Perjury and obstruction charges are only available because of the investigation into a non-crime.

    Comment by Giacomo — 10/19/2005 @ 2:15 pm

  5. Funny how everyone likes to forget that this “outing” screwed up a CIA front company (Brewster Jennings and Associates) that kept track of nuclear development in rogue countries. Ms. Plame was an “analyst” for said company.


    Comment by Melanie Haddon — 10/19/2005 @ 2:38 pm

  6. David & Giacomo:

    I see your point about no crime being committed regarding the Plame outing but what was despicable about it was that, as Melanie points out, she was working for a CIA front company. The reason no crime was committed because it is pretty obvious that neither Libby or Rove knew she was covert.

    Plus, picking on the wife of your target is bad form - even though it appears she may or may not have been part of the CIA cabal that was trying to influence the election.

    Melanie - the fact that the left has been trying to destroy the CIA for 50 years allows me the luxury of ignoring anything you or any other lefty says in this matter. I have nothing but contempt for the crocodile tears being shed by liberals in this matter.

    If you hadn’t cheered on Philip Agee when his outing of agents in the 1970’s cost several people their lives - not their careers - you might have a leg to stand on. Otherwise, I can say with total conviction…

    SHUT UP!

    Comment by Rick Moran — 10/19/2005 @ 4:10 pm

  7. ROTF….spewed the coffee…

    “Their incontinence notwithstanding,”

    Now that made me spill my coffee Rick…you know, the freshly grounded beans, the careful measurement of just the right temp waters….so much effort into this pot of brew…now it’s all over me. I love it.

    Comment by Raven — 10/19/2005 @ 8:43 pm

  8. Rick,

    How ancient do you think I am? I was to busy finishing up elementary school by 1981 to cheer CIA outings in the ’70’s.

    Love how you personally attack me every time I leave a comment!!

    Comment by Melanie Haddon — 10/20/2005 @ 8:24 am

  9. “…it still begs the question as to how Fitzgerald views any kind of conspiracy charges – something Waas never mentions in his article. Was it conspiracy or just a general Administration wide push back against the CIA for their partisan antics?”

    Do you think, maybe, that the conspiracy might be far larger than a conspiracy to obstruct the inquiry? It has been suggested that Fitzgerald is actually looking at a far larger conspiracy: that of the White House Iraq Group tasked with “marketing” the Iraq war to the public in the first place. The question then becomes, “Was there a conspiracy to deceive the American public into the war in Iraq?” That might be the larger question uncovered by Fitzgerald’s dogged investigation. In which case, the purported jumpiness at the WH these days might be warranted, indeed.

    Comment by Lee — 10/20/2005 @ 4:39 pm

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