Thursday, June 02, 2005

A New Chapter In The Valerie Plame Case

A New Chapter In The Valerie Plame Case:
Insights Gained From The New Edition of The Book by Former Ambassador Joseph Wilson
Friday, May. 20, 2005

The grand jury investigation into the illegal leak of Valerie Plame's covert CIA identity still has not led to the public revelation of any suspect who might be responsible for the leak. Yet according to columnist Robert Novak, who published the leaked information, the suspects are two "senior" Bush Administration sources - who may be high-profile.

A number of reporters have already voluntarily testified before the grand jury. But New York Times reporter Judith Miller and Time magazine reporter Mathew Cooper are not among them. In a recent column, I explained why the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia did not protect Miller and Cooper's ability to hide their sources - and why I believe the U.S. Supreme Court is very unlikely to step in. Someday soon, then, the grand jury is very likely to hear from Miller and Cooper - or else Miller and Cooper will opt for jail.

But beneath these legal issues, lies a mystery: Why has the investigation's focus fallen on them, in particular? Miller never wrote about the leak of Plame's identity; Cooper wrote about it well after Novak had included the leaked information in his column.

So these two would seem peripheral - but plainly, they are central. Why?

U.S. District Court Judge Thomas Hogan's opinion in the case gives one clue. In discussing the sealed affidavit filed by Special Counsel Patrick Fitzgerald, Judge Hogan noted that "the government's focus has shifted as it has acquired additional information during the course of the investigation" and "now needs to pursue different avenues in order to complete its investigation." Though vague, these references are also significant.

The newly released paperback edition of the book by Plame's husband - former Ambassador Joseph Wilson - entitled The Politics of Truth: Inside the Lies that Put the White House on Trial and Betrayed My Wife's CIA Identity, helps explain what Judge Hogan may have been getting at, and what that sealed affidavit may say...