Reidblog [The Reid Report blog]

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Thursday, October 27, 2005
Rampant rumors, wild speculation...
The Washington Note has retracted its scoop about Fitzgerald leasing new office space, but has come up with new speculation on the CIA leakfront. More on that in a second.

First, Raw Story has gone on ahead and announced the indictments: namely, two inside the White House (Rove and Libby) and "two people outside the administration..." hmm... Says Raw:

The prosecutor investigating the outing of covert CIA operative Valerie Plame Wilson has secured at least one indictment in the case from a majority of the 23 grand jurors, lawyers and intelligence officials close to the case said Wednesday.

The final outcome of Special Prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald's 22-month federal probe is expected to end Friday with indictments of White House officials. The situation remains fluid, however, and several new scenarios have developed over the past 48 hours that could delay an announcement, lawyers close to the probe said late Wednesday.

Rumors swirled Wednesday afternoon that Fitzgerald was going to seek an extension of the grand jury, which expires Friday. That scenario now seems highly unlikely, sources close to the case said.

However, intelligence officials and those familiar with the case have indicated that Fitzgerald could convene a new grand jury to investigate forged documents used by the Bush Administration that purported to show Iraq was seeking to buy uranium from Niger.

The Chicago-based prosecutor has obtained new information from officials targeted in the leak probe, who are now interested in entering into plea discussions, they added.

Fitzgerald intended to announce that he had secured indictments against I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby, Vice President Dick Cheney's chief of staff, and Karl Rove, President Bush's deputy chief of staff, Wednesday afternoon as well as two people who work outside of the administration, those close to the case said.

But his office was contacted late Tuesday by attorneys representing figures outside the White House, lawyers said, who expressed interest in entering into plea talks with the prosecutor. Several have agreed to enter into last-minute plea negotiations with Fitzgerald in exchange for providing testimony that could result in criminal charges being brought against additional officials inside the White House, they added.
... Rove was offered a deal when his lawyer met with Fitzgerald Tuesday, but did not accept, the sources said. Fitzgerald has sought indictments to charge Rove with perjury and obstruction of justice, they asserted.

An eleventh-hour deal could help Fitzgerald "build a strong case against some very senior officials in the office of the vice president," one attorney said.
So who could those outside fishies be? Cue the Note, and what they have said about a gentleman named Fred Fleitz.

Who is Fred Fleitz, you ask? Short version: he's a former CIA hand who worked for our old friend John Bolton at State -- and he just might have had access to the now infamous memo to Collin Powell which contained the "secret - no foreign" name drop on Valerie Plame Wilson... More on Fleitz here and here. Fleitz surfaced briefly during the battle over John Bolton's nomination as U.N. ambassador. He and Bolton were hip deep in reputed attempts to "shape" CIA intelligence, not just on Iraq, but also on Cuba, China and maybe even North Korea... When he was with the CIA, he worked on counter-proliferation, just like Valerie Plame.

Could Fleitz be one of the "outside the administration" indictees scurrying for last minute deals? Hell, could John Bolton...?

And if a second grand jury is empaneled on the forged documents -- which I would contend is almost as big a scandal as the Plame outing, if not worse, since it carries with it the implication of blatant lies to Congress in order to start a war that has killed more than 2,000 Americans plus countless Iraqis, and maimed tens of thousands of people -- look for the focus to shift straight to Stephen Hadley, and possibly to his former boss, Condoleezza Rice.

Oh, and the Saddam-Zarqawi/al-Qaida link prior to the war looks bogus, too. Says Newsweek:
The allegation that Zarqawi had visited Baghdad in May 2002 with Saddam's sanction—purportedly for medical treatment—was once a centerpiece of the administration's arguments about Iraq. Secretary of State Colin Powell cited Zarqawi's alleged visit in his speech to the United Nations Security Council. Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld referred obliquely to Zarqawi's purported trip as an example of "bulletproof" evidence that the administration had assembled linking Saddam's regime with Al Qaeda.

But like the uranium yellowcake claims—since determined to be fraudulent—that are at the heart of the CIA leak case, the administration's original allegations about Zarqawi's trip also seem to be melting away. An updated CIA re-examination of the issue recently concluded that Saddam's regime may not have given Zarqawi "safe haven" after all.

The CIA declined to comment on the draft report. But officials tell NEWSWEEK that Zarqawi probably did travel to the Iraqi capital in the spring of 2002 for medical treatment. And, of course, there is no question that he is in Iraq now—orchestrating many of the deadly suicide bombings and attacks on American soldiers.

But before the American-led invasion, Saddam's government may never have known he was there. The reason: he used an alias and was there under what one U.S. intelligence official calls a "false cover." No evidence has been found showing senior Iraqi officials were even aware of his presence, according to two counterterrorism analysts familiar with the classified CIA study who asked not to be identified because of the sensitivity of the matter.
Why does so much of the bogus reporting seem to revolve around that Powell speech -- whose rejected first draft was apparently written by Scooter Libby? Powell's shop also figures in the Plame memo, and in the person of John Bolton and his deputy -- key salesmen for an invasion of Iraq. That Powell speech -- perhaps even more than Bush's bogus SOTU and those infamous 16 words -- may soon come back to haunt the vice president and his merry band of neocons. (Newsweek has more on that, too.)

Irrelevant, yet irresistible, flashback:
Observer UK, October 2004: Has Bush lost his reason?

Tags; , , , , Karl Rove, , White House, PlameGate, , Middle East, War, Terrorism, Foreign Policy,
posted by JReid @ 7:55 PM  
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