Friday, July 22, 2005

Plame developments

This Bloomberg piece suggests that Libby and Rove might have committed perjury during their testimony about the Plame case:

Two top White House aides have given accounts to a special prosecutor about how reporters first told them the identity of a CIA agent that are at odds with what the reporters have said, according to people familiar with the case.

Lewis "Scooter" Libby, Vice President Dick Cheney's chief of staff, told special prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald that he first learned from NBC News reporter Tim Russert of the identity of Central Intelligence Agency operative Valerie Plame, the wife of former ambassador and Bush administration critic Joseph Wilson, one person said. Russert has testified before a federal grand jury that he didn't tell Libby of Plame's identity, the person said.
The NY Times is also reporting today that Rove and Libby were in the midst of a major coordinated effort to beat back the 16 words/Bush lied in the SOTU controversy when Wilson popped up on the radar.

The other major Plamegate-related news of late comes from the American Prospect and the Washington Post. In the Prospect, Murray Waas claims, in accord with the Bloomberg story, that Rove might have been sloppy or dishonest in his FBI testimony. In the Post, Walter Pincus and Jim VandeHei essentially regurgitate the WSJ story earlier in the week about the sensitivity of the 2003 State Department memo that mentioned Plame's CIA affiliation, adding more specific details to the mix.

What this all means is unclear at the moment, but it doesn't look good for either of the two Bush officials at the heart of the scandal. I think it's reasonable to speculate that, after watching Rove's attorney try to play the press like a fiddle last week, people affiliated with Fitzgerald's investigation have decided to push back with their own leaks.

This might make for an interesting few days and weeks ahead. For the latest developments, check in with the usual suspects.