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Saturday, October 29, 2005

Beyond Libby?

To me, this is the key paragraph in the Libby indictment. This pertains to Count 1, obstruction of justice:
21. On or about July 10 or July 11, 2003, LIBBY spoke to a senior official in the White House (“Official A”) who advised LIBBY of a conversation Official A had earlier that week with columnist Robert Novak in which Wilson’s wife was discussed as a CIA employee involved in Wilson’s trip. LIBBY was advised by Official A that Novak would be writing a story about Wilson’s wife.
Who is Official A, other than one of Robert Novak's apparent sources?

If one reads the entire document, it is clear that Libby was not one of Robert Novak's sources. If he was, that would have been mentioned because the document discusses quite a number of people who Libby told, including journalists, that Valerie Plame Wilson worked for the CIA.

By the way, it also mentions that Libby had four different sources within the government confirming this fact for him.

I suppose it is possible that Libby admitted telling Novak, and therefore did not lie about it. However, the prosecutor then could have gotten to Libby's "state of mind" and considered an Espionage Act prosecution. As Fitzgerald said when using the "baseball analogy" in the press conference, the Prosecutor couldn't make such a charge because Libby was not telling the whole story and often lied.

So, who were Novak's sources? The paragraph I just quoted implies strongly that it is official A. Who is Official A? Multiple reports say Official A is Karl Rove. Rove's own attorney acknowledges that Rove remains in legal jeopardy.

Who is Novak's original second source? Most likely, it is one of the unindicted people who apparently testified against Libby -- but who are not mentioned by name in the indictment. Good guesses are John Hannah, David Wurmser or perhaps Fred Fleitz. If one or all of these men cut a deal with the Prosecutor, then they probably aren't going to be indicted. They may nonetheless lose their jobs in the administration once their testimony is required at trial.

Suffice to say that there are many unanswered questions.

As some bloggers and even The New York Times are noting, there's also good reason to believe that Fitzgerald is using Libby to pressure Vice President Cheney. The indictment mentions that Libby learned of Plame's status from the Veep, that persons in the Veep's office collectively discussed how to address media inquiries about the Wilson Niger trip, etc. I'll defer to Andrew Sullivan on this one.

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