I haven’t forgotten about this — but I’m not digging in the dirt about it either. Judith Miller revealed that her source was Scooter Libby — no surprise there. But the real speculation is on what special prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald is cooking up. I’ll let Kevin Drum speak:
In the Washington Post today, Jim VandeHei and Walter Pincus provide some additional speculation. They suggest that prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald may be trying to put together a conspiracy case, not an espionage case:
Under this legal tactic, Fitzgerald would attempt to establish that at least two or more officials agreed to take affirmative steps to discredit and retaliate against Wilson 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.
….One source briefed on Miller’s account of conversations with Libby said it is doubtful her testimony would on its own lead to charges against any government officials. But, the source said, her account could establish a piece of a web of actions taken by officials that had an underlying criminal purpose.
Conspiracy cases are viewed by criminal prosecutors as simpler to bring than more straightforward criminal charges, but also trickier to sell to juries. "That would arguably be a close call for a prosecutor, but it could be tried," a veteran Washington criminal attorney with longtime experience in national security cases said yesterday.
Conspiracy. Hmmm. Lot of that going around in Republican circles these days. And George Stephanopoulos said this morning that "a source close to this told me this week, that President Bush and Vice President Cheney were actually involved in some of these discussions."
Bush and Cheney indicted for conspiracy? Don’t count on it. But it is nice to dream.