The Conspiracy Patrick Fitzgerald Couldn’t Crack
Here's a little spare Plameology as we wait to learn if there's a possible Libby trial verdict, or whether the jury simply asked for a flip chart, masking tape, and Post-It notes to
track Britney's trips in and out of rehab put together an Oscars pool on the government's dime.
First, something that seems obvious in retrospect, but I'm not sure if anyone's specifically pointed it out yet. One of the pieces of new information that has come out in the trial is that columnist/ghoul Robert Novak gave a advance draft of his piece outing Valerie Plame Wilson to buddy/GOP lobbyist Richard Hohlt on Friday, July 11th, 2003, and Holht immediately forwarded it on to Karl Rove. What else happened with Rove on July 11th? That's right, he blurted out to Time magazine's Matt Cooper that Joe Wilson's wife had been responsible for his now-famous trip to Niger. So, I guess we know now what prompted Rove to "say too much" to Cooper — his excitement at learning the cat was finally coming out of the bag, courtesy of Novakula.
I've long speculated that Rove made an unauthorized leak to Cooper, which in turn led to the conspiracy I believe special counsel Patrick Fitzgerald still has his eye on — VP Dick Cheney's possible authorization of additional, still-unacknowledged Plame leaks on July 12th (including Ari Fleischer's now-confirmed call to the Washington Post's Walter Pincus). But one still-missing piece of the puzzle is whether and how Rove communicated to Scooter Libby that he had leaked to Cooper. In fact, I don't believe Libby was called back to testify after it turned out Rove was Cooper's original source, so Scooter's probably never been directly asked about it.
We also learned (in a major vindication of emptywheel's hunch) that Novak did indeed speak to Libby during that contentious week, on July 9th. According to Novakula, though, Libby didn't say anything of import to him about Joe Wilson's wife — even though Libby had given the name "Valerie Plame" to Ari Fleischer on July 7th, had coffee with Judith Miller on July 8th (in a meeting for which her notes include the words "Valerie Flame"), and Novak just coincidentally went on to write a column two days later outing "Valerie Plame" (the maiden name she no longer used). Does anybody here believe that?
There's also the curious miracle by which Karl Rove mysteriously forgot to tell FBI investigators and the grand jury about his conversation with Matt Cooper until Cooper himself was forced to testify, while Libby just coincidentally made up a story that he had been the first to tell Cooper where Joe Wilson's wife worked. Odd that those two lies fit together so well, isn't it?
Murray Waas has long reported that FBI investigators as far back as the fall of 2003 believed that Libby, Rove, and Novak had cooked up joint alibis to minimize their wrongdoing — but as he pointed out, it's a truism of criminal probes that if all parties to a private conversation lie about it, there's almost no way to convict them for obstruction of justice. If Libby is convicted of the current charges, however, and he wants to cut a deal without sacrificing his boss Big Dick… maybe he could start by coming clean about his collaborations with Turdblossom and Novakula?