Wednesday, July 06, 2005


TreasonGate: Some Might Dare Call It Perjury

All signs indicate that Patrick Fitzgerald is looking to nail someone big on a perjury charge. And he's going out of his way to hint that Matt Cooper and Judy Miller (aka Mrs. Ahmad Chalabi) are keeping schtum not because of any pretensions to higher journalistic values, but because they're trying to protect someone big:

It is a felony to knowingly identify a covert CIA operative. But lawyers for some media say they believe Fitzgerald has no evidence that a government official committed that crime. Time Inc. argued last week to Hogan that Fitzgerald may have evidence that an official perjured himself during the investigation, but contended that the effort to prove that does not justify jailing reporters. In his filings yesterday, Fitzgerald used strong language to complain about the reporters' professed goal of protecting their sources. It would be "pointless" for Cooper to go to jail, he said, because Time effectively identified the source whom Fitzgerald is interested in when it turned over Cooper's notes and e-mails. Cooper's source has also waived Cooper's promise of confidentiality. Likewise, Fitzgerald has repeatedly said he already knows the identity of Miller's source and that person has relieved Miller of her duty to protect the source's anonymity. Yesterday, he suggested Miller will likely spend time in jail thinking about "whether the interests of journalism at large, and even more broadly, the proper conduct of government, are truly served" by her continued refusal to discuss her sources. "Miller's views may change over time," he said, if her "irresponsible martyrdom" is later viewed by her industry colleagues as hurting, rather than helping, reporters' efforts to protect their sources, he wrote.
Now, Rove's lawyer says that Fitzgerald has assured him that Rove is not a target of the investigation. But I'm sure that if Rove just happens to fall into Fitzgerald's net -- perhaps through the actions of a subordinate who Rove had do the dirty work in the expectation that the minion would shield Turd Blossom from the consequences -- Ol' Fitz ain't gonna throw him back. Fitz wouldn't be doing all of this if he was planning on letting anyone skate. And Atrios draws our attention to this paragraph in the WP piece:
Fitzgerald may learn more details from Cooper's notes. Sources close to the investigation say there is evidence in some instances that some reporters may have told government officials -- not the other way around -- that Wilson was married to Plame, a CIA employee.
Atrios translates "some reporters" to mean Judy Miller. UPDATE: Lawrence O'Donnell has three questions for Rove's lawyer. And there is also this little ditty from E&P:
Rove once described himself as a die-hard Nixonite; he is, like the former president, both student and master of plausible deniability. (This past weekend, in confirming that Rove was indeed a source for Matthew Cooper, Rove's lawyer said his client "never knowingly disclosed classified information.") That is precisely why prosecutor Fitzgerald in this case must document the pattern of Rove’s behavior, whether journalists published, or not.
There you go. If Fitz can document a pattern and practice, it blows the "never knowingly" defense out of the water, AND sets up Rove for perjury as well as treason charges.

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