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October 18, 2005
CIA spooked about indictments?
There are two very odd stories in the news today. The Associated Press and Reuters are both reporting that all their previous stories on Scooter Libby and Karl Rove could be wrong.
Well, if you really believe that Ms. Plame has been undercover in the last several years, you also have to believe that the CIA allows their spooks to pose for full—page cover photos for Vanity Fair, wearing dark glasses and a head scarf, and sitting in an ancient sports car next to their publicity—hungry, Bush—hating husbands. That magazine spread was right out of a bad spy movie from the Fifties.
The idea that Plame has been doing undercover work in recent years is a joke. Spooks just don't out themselves in national magazines. Much more likely, the long—out—of—date "undercover" claim was resurrected to attack the White House. It also protected the high—ranking CIA officers who splashed leak after leak to destroy George W. Bush in the last election. Unfortunately for them, Bush won.
Now follow this like a bloodhound. Why are we suddenly hearing from the AP and Reuters that Karl Rove could be innocent? For months we've been expecting to see him on TV in handcuffs. Could this new leak—to—deny—all—the—prior—leaks have anything to do with the fact that Special Prosecutor Fitzgerald may be issuing indictments tomorrow?
According to several sources, the upper ranks of the CIA have been waging a ferocious war on the Administration, much deadlier than their half—hearted efforts to catch bin Laden. The Plame—Wilson fiasco looks like a long partisan battle in that war. If Rove could be nailed as a leaker, he'd be dead and gone. Bush and Cheney might be next in line. The Democrats would have a party all night, and the CIA brass would heave a sigh of relief. Their jobs would be safe.
On the other hand, if Rove is cleared, his accusers could be in trouble all of a sudden. As long as the Special Prosecutor is investigating, Rove's accusers are protected by whisteblower laws. But if Fitzgerald closes up shop, they face three grave dangers.
First, if they have lied about Plame's undercover status, they could be prosecuted for setting up Karl Rove. Patrick Fitzgerald could make a referral to the Justice Department.
Second, if Rove and Libby do come out on top free and clear, their accusers might find themselves with career—breaking assignments to Outer Mongolia.
Finally, since this crowd has been leaking national security secrets for years, in violation of the law, they could be fired.
Those are the possibilities they are facing today.
The double story from AP and Reuters could be one of those famous CYA moves. Honest, these good folks were just outraged ——— outraged ——— that the White House would leak a real secret agent's name. Well, OK, maybe they just made a mistake about that. Nobody's perfect.
Everything now depends on the Grand Jury. If Rove is indicted, whether guilty or not, his accusers will be protected as whistleblowers. But if he and Libby are cleared, it could be guillotine time at Langley.
Somebody must be getting nervous out there.
James Lewis 10 18 05