Tuesday, February 10, 2004

Plame Affair: The quiet storm (1) 

What we all hope is the unravelling of the Bush regime has produced such a target rich environment, such an embarrassment de riches, that I almost missed the latest developments in The Plame Afffair. Of course, the news is buried in the back pages of Izvestia on the Hudson, since, after all, it's about a potential felony in the WhiteWash House, committed for revenge, not anything of national importance, like a blow-job.... But I digress (or do I?). Some actual reporting by David Johnston here:

In addition to the grand jury appearances, which are believed to include other Bush administration officials [besides Scott "Sucker MC" McClellan and press aide Adam Levine], prosecutors have conducted meetings with presidential aides that lawyers in the case described as tense and sometimes combative.

Armed with handwritten White House notes, detailed cellphone logs and copies of e-mail messages between White House aides and reporters, prosecutors have demanded explanations of conversations between aides and reporters for some of the country's largest news organizations that under ordinary circumstances would never be publicly discussed. So far, no reporter has been questioned or subpoenaed.

One set of documents that prosecutors repeatedly referred to in their meetings with White House aides are extensive notes compiled by I. Lewis Libby, Vice President Dick Cheney's chief of staff and national security adviser. Prosecutors have described the notes as "copious," the lawyers said. In addition, the prosecutors have asked about cellphone calls made last July to and from Catherine J. Martin, a press secretary for Mr. Cheney.

According to AP here, others interviewed include:

Mary Matalin, a Republican consultant who headed Vice President Dick Cheney's communications office until December, confirmed that she testified on Jan. 21.

A number of other current or former officials have been interviewed by the FBI, including President Bush's top political adviser, Karl Rove; communications chief Dan Bartlett; former spokesman Ari Fleischer; Cheney chief of staff Lewis "Scooter" Libby; and Cheney spokeswoman Cathie Martin, said two sources who spoke on condition of anonymity.

And from the Independent here:

It is believed that the FBI officers have also interviewed John Hannah, another aide to Mr Cheney, and may be offering an incentive to him to reveal what he knows about other officials. Some reports have suggested that Mr Libby could be charged.

Larry Johnson, a former CIA operative and a long-time friend of Ms Plame, said he had been told that a number of other advisers to the White House were also at the centre of the FBI inquiry. "This is really beginning to heat up," he said.

I couldn't imagine a nicer bunch of people to get together to play Prisoner's Dilemma...

Drip, drip, drip... That's the sound of butter dripping from my popcorn!

UPDATE For those who came in late, CNN reviews the bidding in The Plame Affair.

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