Rove/Plame: You can't tell the players, with or without a scorecard

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The longer Patrick Fitzgerald's investigation drags on, and the more frenzied the theorizing about the case becomes, the less sure I feel of where it all ends. The big buzz today concerns the development noted here last Thursday--Patrick Fitzgerald's apparent pursuit of Dick Cheney's role in the Plame/CIA leak. The WashPost's Jim Vandenhei and Walter Pincus--the denizens of this White House will rue forever the day they got on the wrong side of Pincus's friends at the CIA--started the ball rolling this morning:


As the investigation into the leak of a CIA agent's name hurtles to an apparent conclusion, special prosecutor Patrick J. Fitzgerald has zeroed in on the role of Vice President Cheney's office, according to lawyers familiar with the case and government officials. The prosecutor has assembled evidence that suggests Cheney's long-standing tensions with the CIA contributed to the unmasking of operative Valerie Plame. [Read the story.]


By mid-morning, per US News and World Report, the Beltway was awash in rumors that Cheney would resign. Jason Leopold, who has turned into one of the most valuable reporters on this beat, writes at Raw Story (with Larisa Alexandrovna) that senior Cheney aide John Hannah has rolled over on the White House and is cooperating with Fitzgerald.

But the must-read of the week so far is the Bloomberg wire story that Richard Keil filed yesterday. It notes, in part:

One lawyer intimately involved in the case, who like the others demanded anonymity, said one reason Fitzgerald was willing to send [Judith] Miller to jail to compel testimony was because he was pursuing evidence the vice president may have been aware of the specifics of the anti-Wilson strategy.


So now we are told that Fitzgerald not only is pursuing Cheney, but has been for months. This only underscores the folly of pretending to know where or on whom Fitzgerald's investigation will land in the end: As recently as two weeks ago, 95 percent-plus of blog and media speculation on the case concerned an endgame that was all about Scooter Libby and Karl Rove.

I think it will be exceedingly hard to fit Cheney with a noose. I'm also a little dubious as to what Fitzgerald's got, ultimately, on Karl Rove. But it sure looks like Scooter Libby is as good as indicted. I'll elaborate on all three in a morning post tomorrow.



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