The special prosecutor probing the outing of a CIA spy is looking beyond who leaked Valerie Plame's identity, seeking whether White House aides tried to cover their tracks after her name went public, sources told the Daily News.At this point, this whole thing is degenerating quickly into a circus...Fitzgerald might want to think about clamping down on the leaks (meanwhile, Bush and McClellan look smarter by the day for wisely staying mum for the moment)...
Along with Bush political guru Karl Rove, the grand jury is investigating what role, if any, ex-White House mouthpiece Ari Fleischer may have played in the revelation that the former covert operative Plame was married to former Ambassador Joe Wilson.
"Ari's name keeps popping up," said one source familiar with special prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald's probe.
Another source close to the probe added there is renewed interest in Fleischer, "based on Fitzgerald's questions."
A State Department memo that included background on Wilson - and who in the White House had access to it - appears to be a key to revealing who gave conservative columnist Robert Novak Plame's name, both sources said.
Another person of interest in the case is Vice President Cheney's chief of staff Lewis (Scooter) Libby, who was described as "totally obsessed with Wilson," the sources said.
Wilson traveled to Africa at the CIA's behest to assess Bush administration suspicions - later debunked - that deposed Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein tried to buy nuclear weapons-grade uranium from Niger. The outing of his wife was payback for his later criticism of Iraq policy, Wilson asserts.
A grinning Bush, meanwhile, tried to show support for Rove by walking with him yesterday at the White House while TV cameras rolled.
Friday, July 15, 2005
Investigation Leaking So Much It May Just Sink
After the pro-Rove leak in yesterday's NY Times (that the Times hilariously tried to spin as bad news for Rove) comes yet another leak, apparently from the Wilson camp or the prosecutors, that, as I predicted (though I admittedly was far from the first), appears to suggest Ari Fleischer may have been the mysterious first source: