Rove/Plame roundup: what's Fitzgerald after?

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What is Plame-leak special prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald looking for? The question is picking up momentum in the major dailies and at blogs during this week's lull in the Supreme Court drama. As to Fitzgerald's end-game, here are a couple of money grafs concerning the grand jury proceedings that could send reporters Judith Miller of the NYT and Matthew Cooper of Time to jail as early as today.

The first is the concluding passage of Andrew Zajac's June 30 Chicago Tribune story on the investigation:

Fitzgerald's initial investigative tack was finding out whether there was a violation of a law that makes it a crime to deliberately reveal an undercover agent's identity.... The breadth of Fitzgerald's inquiry has led to speculation that it has evolved into an investigation of a conspiracy to leak Plame's identity, or of an attempt to cover up White House involvement in the leak. [Read the story.]


The second is from Carol Leonnig's piece in today's Washington Post:

Sources close to the investigation say there is evidence in some instances that some reporters may have told government officials -- not the other way around -- that Wilson was married to Plame, a CIA employee. [Read the story.]


The latter has the whiff of plausible deniability about it. It's bound to be true that at some point, reporters began calling their White House sources and dropping Plame's name--the question is who brought it up first.

It's conceivable that a reporter first mentioned her connection to Karl Rove's bete noire, Joe Wilson, but just barely. That would require us to believe that someone in the press corps had better intelligence on an enemy of the White House than Karl Rove and Dick Cheney themselves. Highly dubious. Will the grand jury proceedings wind up blaming it on the press? Also dubious. Special prosecutor Fitzgerald clearly has no great respect for the traditions of the Fourth Estate, but he shows every sign of being a non-partisan national security zealot. More to the point he is not the kind of prosecutor who's inclined to settle for scapegoats or consolation prizes, as the Gambino family and the former Republican governor of Illinois, George Ryan, can attest. (Here's a WashPost profile of Fitzgerald.) It appears that he's trying to establish a conspiracy inside the White House, either to leak Plame's identity or, more likely, to cover up having done so.

More Rove/Plame notes:

The Raw Story has the text of a letter that Michigan Rep. and House Judiciary Committee member John Conyers has sent to other House Democrats for their signature, demanding that Rove either explain his role in the Plame matter or step down as deputy White House chief of staff.

More signs of the apocalypse: The blog at the official Democratic party site actually has a tough item about Rove's dissembling on Plame.


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