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May 13, 2006


Fitz only goes after politicians and seems to avoid federal employee unions like Plame's CIA.

what's your prediction on the charge against cheney? from what you're laying out it doesn't sound like obstruction but something higher and criminal, even a misdemeanor (in the old fashioned sense).


Well, the first question is, Can Fitz charge Cheney? I don't think so. That may be one of the reasons he's playing the slow leak. Because I think he needs to be indicted before he gets charged. But I also think the dying GOP might see taking Cheney out as a useful cleansing process.

But the charges? I guess it depends on Rove. I think there are two conspiracy charges here, one from before and one after the leak. That's the most likely. I also think you can't charge Dick with the IIPA violation, particularly not after the March 2003 Dick can declassify anything E.O.

I think he needs to be indicted before he gets charged

what's the difference? (shows how little I know.)

conspiracy (x2) but not IIPA, thanks. I was wondering which one you were headed towards.

Sorry. Impeached before charged. Fitz may need to name him as an unindicted co-conpirator in some else's indictment to get to him.

And look at it this way. If you were Bush, and you had a last ditch chance to save yourself by sacrificing either your brain or your wayward Dick, wouldn't you sacrifice the one that had caused you so much trouble in the first place?

Anyone familiar with male psychology could tell you that faced with this choice, the brain gets sacrificed 99 times out of 100.

By the way, I'm also very skeptical that Rove has flipped in any way, but if you're looking for motive, consider this -- as you note, on July 14th, Libby was warned of the danger of outing Plame.

And yet the Novak column started a full-tilt PR campaign about "the real story is Wilson and his wife" ... not from Libby, though. From Rove. Who kept making calls until Joe Wilson himself made clear the potential damage on TV a week later.

Get the feeling that Libby didn't tell Karl what the CIA had told him? That Libby basically hung Karl out to dry?

emptywheel, gotcha. I had indictment-impeachment chicken-and-egg the other way around. I like your version better.

Why can't cheney be indicted?

Agnew was indicted as a sitting vice president. what is different about cheney? at the very least, it is my belief that this is an open question that i don't think would stop an indictment. or am i overlooking some precedent?

My questions are (which i have asked before, but did not stick around long enough in a previous comment thread to see if there was an answer): given cheney's ability to declassify, does that mean that nobody can be charged with the iipa violation? next question, if nobody can be charged with the iipa violation, can they still be charged with conspiracy to commit an iipa violation?

Nice post, as usual. I, too, agree that it was probably Cheney who asked the CIA officer about the Novak article.

But I have a slightly different take than you when you write: "Patrick Fitzgerald has laid a few more of his cards on the table, making it increasingly clear that he is closing in on Cheney."

I don't think he's closing in on Cheney. That is, I think Fitz's evidence against Cheney is there, but that he's not inclined to act against Cheney and that Cheney's status is static. The investigation is over (Rove excepted). Something would have to change first. In other words, Cheney remains safe unless someone flips. So maybe Fitz is dangling carrots in front of various witnesses--Libby especially--to let them know that anti-Cheney testimony can be cooberated by other witnesses and documents and that their flippage could make the difference, and be very valuable in terms of their incentive of cooperation. But aside from that, I don't think Fitz is closing in on Cheney.

But with a pardon likely, I happen to think it is crystal clear that Libby ain't gonna flip. I have serious doubts about Rove, too. Plus, I tend to wonder about the constitutional issues of Fitz even being able to indict a sitting VP who never testified under oath. Sure, I suppose false statements and even conspiracy are possible offenses, but I wonder if Fitz is prevented from acting against Cheney even if he had the goods. I would think Congress would be the only body that could act. (Oh, I see that a similar comment has been made on that.)

I don't believe Agnew was indicted. I think he resigned as part of a deal prior to being indicted. But you may be correct in it being possible to indict a sitting VP.

I don't think he's closing in on Cheney. That is, I think Fitz's evidence against Cheney is there, but that he's not inclined to act against Cheney and that Cheney's status is static.

I'll take a middle option -- Fitzgerald moves at a very deliberate pace. He's known that Cheney is at the heart of this from the very beginning when he saw Libby's notes, but he doesn't proceed until he has nailed down everything he can ... and obviously, if he can get Libby and/or Rove to flip, that will help any case against Cheney immensely.

Is there a downside for Fitz in waiting? He's in no hurry to indict Cheney; in fact, he might be delighted to wait until after Big Dick leaves office in 2008 to minimize the political angle.

Posting from an undisclosed location {a beach in south Texas}
I haven't kept up with this today, but I have to say I am not surprised. Folks need to go reread the IIPA. I think even Cheney can be charged under that statute. I think Libby's truthful testimony is needed to make it stick, but with a Libby conviction in his pocket, Fizgerald might give it a try.

"Is there a downside for Fitz in waiting?"

Absolutely! Frankly, if Fitz is convinced that Rove, Cheney and others are criminals, then he needs to move a tad faster. I'm thrilled that Fitz is fighting the good fight, and he seems like a very honorable dude, but it would be nuts for him to allow them to walk the halls of power any longer than necessary. Aside from Libby (thank you, Fitz!), the same folks are still running the show. Fitz has got to act sooner, and not later. If he were to purposefully wait until after 2008, that would mean he's taking into account real-world consequences in exactly the wrong way.

So while it's good for him to dot every "i" and cross every "t," Fitz's deliberative manner is pretty frustrating at this point. But if he's done investigating, and if he's got no other indictments on the burner, I guess there's nothing to be frustrated about. He spending his time on just Libby.

Fitz has to know that in order for Bush to be removed, Cheney has to go first (the Nixon scenario). There are many ways to get him, among them getting others to testify and making it publicly clear that he is a leaking SOB. Rove wouldn't be above ratting out Cheney if it would protect Bush and his ability to pardon Rove. Especially if Libby did forget to tell Karl about Valerie's civert status. (My money is on Tenet as the one who delivered the warning.) Maybe Libby too, if the threat got strong enough.

For a guy who dozes in public, Cheney has a lot to fear--the Wilkes-Foggo investigation that is going to end up at the Pentagon and all the black ops, which Addington and Cheney pushed; Plame and any future war profiteering investigations of Halliburton and others. Maybe he's on beta blockers or something to calm him down.

The annotated "What I Didn't Find in Africa