Friday, October 21, 2005

Waiting For The Valerie Plame Wilson Grand Jury: The Big Question Is Whether Dick Cheney Was a Target

Waiting For The Valerie Plame Wilson Grand Jury: The Big Question Is Whether Dick Cheney Was a Target
Friday, Oct. 21, 2005

Washington is truly abuzz with rumors about what Special Counsel Patrick Fitzgerald may, or may not do, as his grand jury comes to the close of its almost two-year investigation of the leak of Valerie Plame Wilson's covert status at the CIA. As I write, it appears that Fitzgerald will act within the next few days.

Unidentified government officials, The New York Times reports, say that Fitzgerald "will not make up his mind about any charges until next week." With his grand jury expiring on October 28, 2005, he is down to only a few options:

First, he could close down his Washington office; return to his work in Chicago, where he serves as the U.S. Attorney; and simply issue a statement that his investigation has ended. (He has no authority to write a report, for the information he has obtained is subject to Rule 6(e) of the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure, and thus is secret).

Second, he could extend the grand jury for whatever time he needs to complete his investigation. And third, he could issue one or more indictments.

Fitzgerald, and those who work for him, have acted throughout the investigation just as prosecutors should. Lips are zipped. Fitzgerald has held his information so close to his chest that, as one wag put it, he's got it in his underpants. Accordingly, Washington is filled with rumors.

The Best Information Available

While I have not begun to search all the available sources, so I can only speak to a limited universe, I can tell you who has consistently provided information and steady reports.

Unfortunately, The New York Times, which should own the story, does not. Rather, in the recent, crucial weeks, some of the best information has been coming from a very unlikely source, The National Journal. The National Journal, as readers may know, is a pricey Washington-insider weekly subscription report, with daily web updates; given the importance of the story, it has been making available the exclusive reporting of Murray Waas, who appears to be one the few reporters with meaningful access.

Editor & Publisher, which focuses on the newspaper industry, has been on top of the story from the outset, keeping an eye on who is doing the more credible reporting. And the national news magazines, Time and Newsweek have been hanging in....