Monday, October 17, 2005

Is Someone Singing To The Prosecutor?

Rawstory is reporting that Tuesday’s edition of the New York Daily News will report that a senior White House official has flipped in the Valerie Plame/CIA leak case and is now aiding U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald in his investigation. Attention is said to be focused on members of the White House Iraq Group, the White House’s marketing arm for the invasion of Iraq in 2003, and Vice President Dick Cheney.

If a senior official in the Bush White House is singing to the prosecutor, it would most likely be a member of this group, which includes the following persons:

You can immediately rule out Karl Rove and Scooter Libby, both of whom have provided inconsistent statements of their participation in the outing of Valerie Plame, and who are reported to be prime targets for indictment. However, there have been reports of a rift between Libby and Rove, and even between Bush and Cheney, if you can believe that. Could it be that one is laying all the blame on the other? If that is the case, it is likely Rove blaming it all on Libby and Vice President Cheney.

Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice is extremely loyal to President Bush and strong advocate for the Iraq invasion unlike her predecessor, Colin Powell. She has said she has cooperated with the investigation, but she has declined to say whether she testified before the grand jury. She seems a very unlikely person to turn on anyone in the administration.

Karen Hughes, another close Bush loyalist, recently rejoined the administration as an under-Secretary of State for Rice and is similarly not inclined to turn on a Bush insider, at least not Karl Rove with whom she worked very closely during the first Bush campaign and first term and certainly not Bush, for whom she has a deep admiration.

Mary Matalin, who is married to Democrat political guru James Carville, is very close to Vice President Dick Cheney. Some reports have it that the prosecutor is looking closely at Cheney’s possible role in the leak. It is unlikely Matalin would turn on her boss. Matalin was axed by George H.W. Bush as a campaign consultant during his re-election bid because of her relationship to Carville. Cheney took a lot of flack from Republicans for bringing Matalin back into the fold. It seems unlikely she would turn on him. However, she has reportedly testified to the grand jury, even though she left the administration a few months prior to the leak.

If you eliminate the high profile members of the White House Iraq Group, it leaves just three individuals, Stephen Hadley, Nicholas Calio and James Wilkinson. Stephen Hadley, a national security assistant to the President, has been heavily criticized for his role in trumping up charges that Iraq possessed weapons of mass destruction prior to the invasion. At one point he offered his resignation to Bush, which Bush refused. As a staunch defender of the Iraqi invasion with strong backing from Bush, he too would seem an unlikely person to aid the prosecutor, at least against Bush.

Calio, the only outsider, is a powerful Washington lobbyist who currently is a senior vice president for Citigroup. Because he is the only real outsider in the group, he might be more inclined to assist the prosecutor.

Wilkinson has been a senior national security advisor to Bush since 2003. Prior to that he worked for General Tommy Franks, was a spokesman for Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld and a worked as a Capitol Hill staffer for former House Majority Leader Dick Armey. He probably has the least loyalty to Libby or Rove of any of the other members.

Take your pick. It will be interesting to see who turned on whom. Stay tuned.

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