With Special Prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald concluding his investigation of the outing of CIA operative Valerie Plame, there is growing speculation that as many as 22 Bush Administration officials are being investigated, apparently including Vice President Cheney.
Indictments are expected to be handed down in the next few days.
Larry Johnson, a former CIA agent who trained with Plame and has aggressively criticized the Bush Administration via his blog, posted yesterday that a source with ties to someone facing indictment, Fitzgerald is investigating 22 people, including Cheney, his senior advisor Lewis “Scooter” Libby, Seniior Bush Advisor Karl Rove, and National Secuirty Advisor Stephen Hadley.
“Hadley has told friends he expects to be indicted. No wonder folks are nervous at the White House,” he wrote.
Johnson’s words agree with a story in yesterday’s New York Daily News, that said Cheney’s name has come up amid indications Fitzgerald may be edging closer to a blockbuster conspiracy charge — with help from “a secret snitch.”
“They have got a senior cooperating witness — someone who is giving them all of that,” a source who has been questioned in the leak probe told the Daily News.
Cheney and Libby spend hours together in the course of a day, which causes sources who know both men “to assert that any attempts to discredit Wilson would almost certainly have been known to the vice president.”
“Scooter wouldn’t be freelancing on this without Cheney’s knowledge,” a source told the Daily News. “It was probably some off-the-cuff thing: ‘This guy [Wilson] could be a problem.'”
(U.S. News & World Report offered yesterday a rumor making the rounds that the Plame-gate investigation may lead to a Cheney resignation, although it quoted a “Bush insider” as saying such a scenario was “highly doubtful.”)
With 22 people being investigated, will Fitzgerald claim that a “vast right-wing conspiracy” helped reveal Plame’s identity?
Earlier this month, the Washington Post wrote that Fitzgerald was mulling charges of a criminal conspiracy. Under this legal tactic, Fitzgerald would attempt to establish that at least two officials agreed to take affirmative steps to discredit and retaliate against Plame’s husband, former ambassador Joseph C. Wilson IV, and leak sensitive government information about his wife. To prove a criminal conspiracy, the actions need not have been criminal, but conspirators must have had a criminal purpose.
This item first appeared at Journalists Against Bush’s B.S.Powered by Sidelines