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Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Wednesday Evening News Round-Up

News tidbits, leaks and think-pieces are hitting the wires and the internets faster than...well, I can't think of anything pithy, but they are plentiful, let me tell you. It's been a long day of waiting for indictments, and reading through the news of lots of little bits of things that could add up to something big. Or nothing at all.

Dan Froomkin, at the Washington Post, does his usual fantastic job at summarizing the major bits of the day in his White House Briefing. Froomkin quotes an article from the Chicago Tribune, in which a senior administration official says:

Inside the White House, one senior administration official said, reports of the prosecutor homing in on Rove and Libby have had an effect "like Novocain." The official said: "Everyone's trying to act like normal, but it's not."

Sure seems like a whole lot of senior administration officials are talking these days, doesn't it?

At Newsday, Nedra Pickler gives a whole lotta details on the excuses Rove has been making to a whole lotta Republican events that he keeps cancelling this week.

At the NY Times, David Johnston and Richard Stevenson (reporters who actually do their jobs well for the Times) report that Fitzgerald is not planning to issue a report at the close of the grand jury. My interpretation of this is that he plans to file charges -- knowing that there would be severe public ramifications without some explanation of no charges were brought -- but it's tough to second guess these things from the outside or to prejudge evidence that you don't intimately know, so I'm trying to keep my powder dry and wait with everyone else. My favorite nugget dropped into the middle of the piece:

Given the political ramifications attached to Mr. Fitzgerald's decisions, officials at the White House have begun discussing what would happen if Mr. Rove was indicted.

Among the names being discussed to take some of Mr. Rove's responsibilities should he have to step aside, an outside adviser to the White House said, are Dan Bartlett, currently Mr. Bush's counselor; Ken Mehlman, the chairman of the Republican National Committee; and Robert M. Kimmitt, the deputy Treasury secretary.
Well, now isn't that interesting? Andy, is that you again?

David Corn also has a review of a couple of issues bedevilling us Traitorgate addicts. He addresses the NY Times piece and its implications and also the NY Daily News report that the Preznit knew that Rove planted Plame stories sometime in 2003. It's a good review of the stakes in both articles, and worth a read.

Newsweek has a couple of pieces on how the spin machine went into overdrive in its vengeance against an Administration critic -- and how they are now reaping that crop in spades.
Howard Fineman's piece addresses the issue of Poetic Justice, in terms of living and dying by the means the Administration used to rise to power. And Richard Wolffe and Holly Bailey, in Crossing the Cabal, detail the scorched earth policy that some members of the Administration -- the VP, members of WHIG, primarily -- used to silence critics or dissent within the walls of the WH, notably Colin Powell and the State Department staffers, and outside them.

As the president said in his 2003 State of the Union address, “Sending Americans into battle is the most profound decision a president can make.” The Plame game gets to the heart of how that decision was made—and whether anyone could offer an alternative view and survive with their reputation intact.
For more from the State Department's perspective on this, take a peek at this article in the Financial Times.

Finally, and this is strictly a Rumor Mill posting because I am not at all familiar with this particular source, but the detail was extraordinary and I thought it might make for some interesting reading and reading between the lines and speculating and...well, something to do while we all wait for indictments. Take a peek at
this post on One Good Move blog, and see if it doesn't make the hairs stand up on your neck just a little. Like I said, no personal knowledge of this sourcing, but it does make for a good read in the wee hours. (Hat tip to Crooks and Liars for this link.) UPDATE: Looks like the One Good Move post is total bunk. That's what I get for posting a quickie link when I'm tired. Ignore it entirely.

And one matter out of the Traitorgate universe, but tangentially related via Halliburton to Cheney (it's just like that Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon these days in Washington, isn't it?). If you don't know the name Bunnatine Greenhouse, you should. Read about her in
this great Washington Post piece and think about how hard it would be to try and act as a whistleblower in the current environment in Washington. It would be bad enough most times, but this woman has some serious moxy.

UPDATE: The Washington Post has also put up a story on the "Libby Told Me" storyline from Rove. Some good background information here on the players we've been discussing the last few weeks, and a little more detail on some of the folks who have testified or been interviewed by investigators.