Monday, October 31, 2005

The Plame Affair

Well, from all indications it looks like this long investigation is concluding.
First, let me say I believe this a trivial issue and that no crime was committed. This is a big story only because the media is involved and due to a disdain for the current occupant of the White House.

Anyway, we are at a fever pitch of speculation. See, Tom Maguire , John McIntyre, and speculation on top of speculation!.

I agree with Tom Maguire that Rove is in the clear and I think that Libby beats any case.
But to think about Libby for a moment, is it really plausable that he would commit perjury or obstruct given he is himself an attorney? If your first thought is "so was Clinton" the difference I see is that Clinton pretty much knew the witness list and himself tried to suborn perjury. Libby couldn't have possibly have known who would be testifying as part of the investigation, therefore making him more cautious.
At least one would think.

Either way, Patrick Fitzgerald has a very tough case on the leak issue. The potential witness list would include Russert, Judy Miller, Cooper, who knows? Are these people credible?

In the end I agree with Victoria Toensing (who helped write the statute) that the IIPA was not violated, and that may preclude Mr. Fitzgerald from taking any dramatic action here.

On the no crime was committed angle, I agree with the media's lawyers (again Toensing) who argued in court that Plame's identity was already disclosed, and the agency wasn't taking affirmative measures to conceal her identity.
Media brief here (warning PDF)

Maybe that's why Plame posed for Vanity Fair?

We're left with one question, why has this investigation go on for two years?

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Update, the sole indictment has been issued and as noted above no Rove.

I'm still a bit perplexed by Libby's actions given he is an attorney. However, this is the Fitzmas that wasn't obviously as there is no charge regarding the IIPA and as Pat Fitzgerald said at his 10/28 Press conference: "We have not made any allegation that Mr. Libby knowingly and intentionally outed a covert agent."