Infinite Loop of Leak Investigations?:
The Associated Press is reporting an interesting development in the Plame investigation:
  Presidential confidant Karl Rove testified to a grand jury that he learned the identity of a CIA operative originally from journalists, then informally discussed the information with a Time magazine reporter days before the story broke, according to a person briefed on the testimony.
  The person, who works in the legal profession and spoke only on condition of anonymity because of the secrecy of grand jury proceedings, told The Associated Press that Rove testified last year that he remembers specifically being told by columnist Robert Novak that Valerie Plame, the wife of a harsh Iraq war critic, worked for the CIA.
  I wonder if the Plame story will now play out in an infinite loop of leak investigations. The Plame investigation is looking into the leak of Plame's identity; Rove testified about the leak; and now someone is leaking Rove's testimony, perhaps in violation of the grand jury secrecy rules. This clearly calls for a new investigation of who is leaking Rove's grand jury testimony. The prosecutor can them empanel a grand jury and call in witnesses to see who leaked the Rove testimony, which presumably will lead to more grand jury testimony, and then someone will leak some goodies from that new testimony. Then a new prosecutor can investigate the new leaks, opening an investigation to see who leaked about the leak about the leak about the leak. Could be a long summer.
Proud Generation Y Slacker:
Solution: everyone in the executive branch resigns, leaving Congress and the judges to run this place. After a week of that, the military will take over.

Eh, at least that would be real news.
7.15.2005 2:40am
42USC1983 (mail):
Very funny. What are some other law-related infinite loops? Are there enough for a separate post? One comes to mind:
Who will watch the watchers [watching those wathers]?
7.15.2005 3:15am
Second One (mail):
But it might just be the "infinite loop" that is needed to end the the cycle of leaks when eventually the leaker's name is leaked.
7.15.2005 3:54am
SamAm (mail):
No doubt we'll soon be hearing from certain spheres (again) how it's all too complicated to understand.
7.15.2005 5:05am
Stephen M (Ethesis) (mail) (www):
The fact that what Rove would say duplicates the Grand Jury testimony would explain why the "ongoing investigation" is raised as a bar to talking about it.

I'm wondering if this is true or just disinformation? NPR and a lot of other "talking heads" approaches seems to have become nothing but two people sticking to their talking points and it gets tiring.
7.15.2005 8:53am
It's more of a recursive loop, since the story builds as each cycle is revealed....
7.15.2005 9:02am
Sounds like a prosecuter full employment act. And I think the investigation into Henry Cisnero's lying to the FBI re: how much he paid off his mistress is still ongoing (um, aren't there more important things to investigate these days?)
7.15.2005 9:34am
Stephen M (Ethesis) (mail) (www):

BLITZER: But the other argument that's been made against you is that you've sought to capitalize on this extravaganza, having that photo shoot with your wife, who was a clandestine officer of the CIA, and that you've tried to enrich yourself writing this book and all of that.

What do you make of those accusations, which are serious accusations, as you know, that have been leveled against you.

WILSON: My wife was not a clandestine officer the day that Bob Novak blew her identity.

Which seems to cover all sorts of things, including the lurking issue of whether or not Wilson was prosecutable for the number of times he referred to his wife before Novak.

If she was not clandestine, perhaps that resolves things, and explains why the CIA told Novak it was ok to use her name.

If is reporting accurately.
7.15.2005 9:48am
Henry Woodbury (mail):
Reminds me of the Robert Heinlein story "By His Bootstraps."

I almost expect Fitzgerald to report that Novak told Rove who told Cooper who told Miller who told Rove who told Novak.
7.15.2005 10:04am
AppSocRes (mail):
Has anyone noted that every reference to the femme in this situation was to "Valerie Plame" until the leak that Karl Rove referred to the woman only as Wilson's wife? Since then, every reference I've seen has been to "Valerie Wilson" or "Valerie Plame Wilson". Most amusingly Mr. Wilson just started referring to his "little woman" as "Mrs. Wilson" on a tv interview that occurred just days after the leak of Rove's terstimony.

I'm guessing the MSM assumed that Rove used her maiden/working name, making it easy to suggest that naming Valerie Plame (wife)is equivalent to leaking Valerie Plame (covert CIA agent). But Rove didn't use Plame's name and it's a hard sell to suggest that mentioning Mrs. Wilson (wife) is equivalent to leaking Valerie Plame (covert CIA agent). Or at least it appears a hard sell to the MSM who tend to regard us all as stupid -- and hopefully gullible -- sheep. Hence the herd-like shift from Valerie Plame to Valerie Wilson, nee Plame.
7.15.2005 10:05am
Henry Woodbury:

No, no, no! Fitzgerald will discover that Novak, Rove, Cooper, Miller, and Fitzgerald himself are all the same person.

7.15.2005 10:08am
It shouldn't matter politically or morally (if not legally) whether she was currently working as an undercover officer. Since her cover was blown, jobs she has worked and her contacts have now been exposed. According to some press reports, other agents had to be pulled from the field and CIA business fronts had to be shut down. Keep that in mind every time someone writes or says that Plame "needed" to be outed.
7.15.2005 10:17am
Richard Bellamy (mail):
No, no, no. You've got the "Loop" all wrong.

We've already got "Cooper learned from Rove" and "Rove learned from Novak."

All we need is a Novak leak saying "I learned from Cooper."

Then, you've got your infinite loop. Everyone is outed, but you can never get back to the "Prime Leaker."
7.15.2005 10:21am
AppSocRes, I've seen her referred to as "Plame" more often than "Wilson." Regardless, it's laughable to claim that Rove didn't leak her name because he literally didn't use her name. If that were Rove's lone legal defense, he wouldn't get anywhere. Everyone knows that Plame was married to Wilson; that was not kept secret. Consequently, identifying "Wilson's wife" is equivalent to identifying Plame. Otherwise, Rove could out every single undercover agent in the CIA by sending pictures of people along with their addresses, but not breaking the law because he never used their names.
7.15.2005 10:24am
R C Dean (mail):
PF, you're missing the point. Rove did not leak Plame's identity, because Novak already knew it when he called. All Rove said was that he had heard the same thing that Novak had heard. That's not a leak. That's not even gossip. That's just saying that you've both heard the same gossip.

Wilson is a tool. He was the one who went public, with the high-profile NYT column attacking the administration and talking about pre-war intelligence. If he thought he could be a public player in a debate about the CIA, and keep his wife's identity as a "covert operative" secret, he is dumber than a bucket of mud.

Now he's backing and filling the fact that he set this whole thing in motion all by himself, claiming that she was never a covert operative. Of course, he's been saying nothing but the opposite for a couple of years now, but if we can't expect self-serving, mendacious lies from Joe Wilson, who can we expect them from?

No, by the time Rove piped up, the press corps knew all about Plame and Wilson. Even Judy Woodruff admitted as much.

All your leaks are belong to us.
7.15.2005 10:47am
Baronger (mail) (www):
Why would a special investigator who suddenly has fame and a source of income, shut down early? From my understanding the "special investigator", was supposed to answer the question of, "who will watch the watchers." Looks like what we are more likely to get is an infinte loop of watcher watchers.

Maybe we need a "special investigator" to investigate the "special investigator". Now that would be a fun infintiy loop to start. *grin*
7.15.2005 10:56am
James968 (mail):
Couldn't this special prosecutor simply expand the scope of this investigation?
7.15.2005 11:10am
Geoff (mail):
Two comments... first, as to Wilson's comment that "My wife was not a clandestine officer the day that Bob Novak blew her identity," a common-sense context check makes it pretty clear that Wilson meant that she ceased to be a clandestine officer because Bob Novak blew her identity that day, not that Novak was clear to publish because she somehow wasn't undercover. This is a dead letter; let's not be silly.

As for the grand jury leak itself, it seems like an open secret is that Luskin would be the "lawyer" involved. Assuming that the consensus is right, given that Rove presumably gave him permission to share his testimony (which is rather helpful to him in the public debate), I suspect there isn't much for a special prosecutor to investigate.
7.15.2005 12:33pm
Anderson (mail) (www):
What Geoff said--the leaker is very likely Luskin, who's doubtless still smarting from his blunders thus far. Special to Luskin: "Stop digging."

I've been sadly impressed by the assumption that "Rove said X, therefore, X." Give me a break.

Even the AP headline treats it as simple truth. "Rove Learned CIA Agent's Name From Novak." Not: "Source: Rove Learned, etc."
7.15.2005 12:47pm
Tumbling Dice (mail):
Silly is the best way to describe all of this. This is a story because Rove is involved since it is increasingly obvious that he was neither out there trying to actively discredit Wilson (both reporters who we know talked to him placed the calls) nor did he think that she was a covert agent.

It was well known that Wilson's wife worked for the CIA before this. If someone says to you "Mr. X's wife works for the CIA" and it's something everyone in their circle knows (she told people for crying out loud), I don't think your instinct is to think this is a secret agent.

Again, I think this will shake out in a manner that shows that it was a reporter who learned from Wilson that she was an agent who arguably fell under the protection of the relevant statute. Wilson is a hack and a liar who loves the limelight. Don't underestimate his complicity in all of this.
7.15.2005 1:44pm
Shelby (mail):
If the leak-investigations turn into a recursive (regressive?) loop, I guess the natural question is, what does that all amount to?

In other words, what's the solution for the total set? This seems to be elementary calculus; the solution is left as an exercise for the reader.
7.15.2005 2:06pm
chsw (mail):

Plame Name Blame Game

Limbaugh and others are alleging that it is Joe Wilson himself who is the originating source of Plame's name and employment, and possibly Ms. Miller's source. However, I think that the MSM would not go to the wall like this for Joe Wilson. The leaker, then, must be someone who meets one of these descriptions:

a. Someone who is not presently in the administration (and I mean appointment level), but has left the administration since this so-called scandal began;

b. Someone who was a member of a previous administration, who knew of Plame's assignments and status;

c. Some bureaucrat with clearance who is disgruntled or who opposes the present administration's policies (e.g., Scheuer);

d. Member of Congress with security clearances;

e. And lastly, someone who is a member of a foreign intel service who knew about Plame, and who has close contact with the media.

Option A may be viable only for Colin Powell, but I think that it is unlikely that the media would have shielded him during an election season. This is because several media people still think of him as a potential Presidential candidate despite his denials.

All of the remaining alternatives would be embarassing for both the media and the Democrats. The last one would be the most embarassing of all for the media, but Democrats would then turn on the media to get themselves off the hook.

District of Chicanery entertainment at its finest.

chsw, former Washingtonian.
7.15.2005 6:52pm
Justin Gardner (mail) (www):
All I want to know is what kind of deal did Novak strike? Is another leaker going to be revealed soon? Because somebody had to tell Novak and if he's the "source", there's another source somewhere that should be outed.

Anyway, I agree that this is all getting tiring. But so was Whitewater...and Lewinsky. That's the effect of political scandals. We get tired enough until we find the real truth.
7.18.2005 4:04am