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Monday, October 17, 2005

Dr. Yes?

Seems like our boy Fitz is asking an awful lot of questions about Dick Cheney lately. From an awful lot of staffers who might be in the know on an awful lot of things.

This morning's Bloomberg contains an intriguing story that details questions being asked by Special Prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald of a series of witnesses who have either cooperated with FBI investigators and the prosecutor and given statements or who have been called before the Grand Jury to testify under oath.

Fitzgerald has questioned Cheney's communications adviser Catherine Martin and former spokeswoman Jennifer Millerwise and ex-White House aide Jim Wilkinson about the vice president's knowledge of the anti-Wilson campaign and his dealings on it with Libby, his chief of staff, the people said. The information came from multiple sources, who requested anonymity because of the secrecy and political sensitivity of the investigation.
This, coming on the heels of the Judy Miller expose series in the NY Times and the WSJ, cannot be good news for an Administration already reeling from sagging poll numbers and Karl Rove and Scooter Libby feeling substantial heat.

Traitorgate officianados will no doubt remember that Ms. Miller was also asked about the role of VP Cheney and his connection with his Chief of Staff Scooter Libby in disseminating the fact that Valerie Plame Wilson worked for the CIA in its WINPAC division. (WINPAC consists of a group of undercover analysts and covert agents, some of whom are NOC status, who work on issues of non-conventional weapons, including those used by terrorists as weapons of mass destruction.)

It certainly doesn't help when you have Miller's attorney saying something like this on yesterday's This Week on ABC:

``Fitzgerald is putting together a big case,'' Washington attorney Robert Bennett, who represents Miller, said on the ABC-TV program ``This Week'' yesterday.

Well, that doesn't lend itself to good sleep going into a Monday, now does it?

There is a possibility that it may not stop at Number 2, either, although most reports have said that is a more remote possibility based on leaks that have come from witnesses in the case thus far.

Fitzgerald, 45, has also questioned administration officials about any knowledge Bush may have had of the campaign against Wilson. Yet most administration observers have noted that on Iraq, as with most matters, it's Cheney who has played the more hands-on role.

One lawyer intimately involved in the case, who like the others demanded anonymity, said one reason Fitzgerald was willing to send Miller to jail to compel testimony was because he was pursuing evidence the vice president may have been aware of the specifics of the anti-Wilson strategy.
Judge Tatel's opinion was very stern in its issuance of a contempt citation for Miller, suggesting that those eight redacted pages contained a whole heck of a lot of smackdown for those involved in the outing of Valerie Wilson Plame.

My guess? If there are any charges in the offing for the VP, look for him being attached to a broader conspiracy. That new house in Maryland is taking on a whole new meaning -- sure hope it has nice views. Home confinement can get tedious looking at the same rooms all day long.

UPDATE: NBC News has corroborated part of the Bloomberg report. Both Catherine Martin and Judith Millerwise were interviewed by Fitz, and may have testified. Jim Wilkinson was not, at least so far as MSNBC is reporting this evening at 8pm ET.