If the report that Karl Rove was secretly indicted on Friday is true, we have a bit of advice for The Architect: throw Momser from the train. Give up Dick Cheney.
As we noted earlier, Cheney’s role in the outing of CIA couter-proliferation operative Valerie Plame was made more clear in a Friday night filing on the case against Scooter Libby from special counsel Patrick Fitzgerald. In Friday’s, Fitzgerald referenced handwritten notes from Cheney providing further evidence that the vice president was intimately involved in the effort to discredit Plame’s husband, Joe Wilson, after he wrote a New York Times op-ed column accusing the administration of lying about Iraqi attempts to buy uranium ore from Niger.
The notes were written on a copy of the column, and, according to Fitzgerald, “support the proposition that the publication of the Wilson Op Ed acutely focused the attention of the Vice President and the defendant — his chief of staff — on the assertions made in the article, and on responding to those assertions.” Among the notes was a question from Cheney asking whether Wilson’s wife “had sent him on a junket.”
Fitzgerald’s filing also reiterates some of the back story on the eventual outing of Plame, including that Libby was aware of Plame’s CIA role by early June, a month before Wilson’s broadside was published in the Times.
The rest of the filing is devoted mostly to describing other newspaper stories which, taken in tandem with conversations between Libby and other Bush administration officials who knew Wilson’s wife worked at the CIA, make it extremely unlikely that Libby had forgotten when and how he learned about Plame, and that he had mentioned her in conversations with reporters.
We don’t know what Cheney told Fitzgerald about the leak when Fitzgerald interviewed him early on the investigation; Cheney wasn’t under oath and if he lied, any charges against him would be much less serious than those laid against Libby and, if the Rove indictment is a reality, against him.
But the mother of all charges is still on the table, however close to the edge: did anyone involved in the leaks know that Plame was a covert operative? If Fitzgerald can show that someone did, whoever it is could be charged with the original crime that prompted the investigation: violation of the Intelligence Identities Protection Act.
And if Rove can help him do that with respect to Libby or Cheney, Fitzgerald might offer the good citizen a pass on jail time.
To everything there is a season. Turn, Karl, turn.
Back to reality for a moment: we don’t know yet if Rove has actually been indicted or if Jason Leopold, who broke the story, got played. And even if it is true, Rove may, with some justification, think he has a get out of jail free card in his pocket. But if the news is accurate, Fitzgerald now has two guys on the hook, and that’s a prosecutor’s dream.