Plame Affair Gets Interesting

According to today’s Newsday:

WASHINGTON — The federal grand jury probing the leak of a covert CIA officer’s identity has subpoenaed records of Air Force One telephone calls in the week before the officer’s name was published in a column in July, according to documents obtained by Newsday.

Also sought in the wide-ranging document requests contained in three grand jury subpoenas to the Executive Office of President George W. Bush are records created in July by the White House Iraq Group, a little-known internal task force established in August 2002 to create a strategy to publicize the threat posed by Saddam Hussein.

And the subpoenas asked for a transcript of a White House spokesman’s press briefing in Nigeria, a list of those attending a birthday reception for a former president, and, casting a much wider net than previously reported, records of White House contacts with more than two dozen journalists and news media outlets.

What juicy clues! What questions this raises!

Who was in the "White House Iraq Group" (Josh Marshall found out: Karen Hughes, Mary Matalin and James R. Wilkinson; legislative liaison Nicholas E. Calio; and policy advisers led by Rice and her deputy, Stephen J. Hadley, along with I. Lewis Libby, Cheney’s chief of staff.

Who was the "former president" and why are his birthday party attendees relevant?

What’s the common thread between those events and the press secretary’s statement in Nigeria??

I’ll go out on a limb — it was Mary Matalin. She was part of the Iraqi Group, it’s quite likely she attended Bush 41’s birthday party, she has many media contacts (including, undoubtedly, Novak), and she left the White House shortly after the Plame thing happened.

What do you think?