Patrick J. Fitzgerald has zeroed in on the role of Vice President Cheney's office, according to lawyers familiar with the case and government officials....Fitzgerald has pressed witnesses on what Cheney may have known about the effort to push back against ex-diplomat and Iraq war critic Joseph C. Wilson IV...it is increasingly clear that Cheney and his aides have been deeply enmeshed in events surrounding the Plame affair from the outset....One former CIA official told prosecutors early in the probe about efforts by Cheney's office and his allies at the National Security Council to obtain information about Wilson's trip as long as two months before Plame was unmasked in July 2003, according to a person familiar with the account. [WaPo, Jim VandeHei and Walter Pincus]
John Hannah was told that he could face imminent indictment for his role in leaking Plame-Wilson’s name to reporters unless he cooperated with the investigation. So he's cooperating. [Raw Story]
Cheney and Libby spend hours together in the course of a day, which causes sources who know both men very well to assert that any attempts to discredit Wilson would almost certainly have been known to the vice president....."Scooter wouldn't be freelancing on this without Cheney's knowledge," a source told the Daily News. "It was probably some off-the-cuff thing: 'This guy [Wilson] could be a problem.'"...The News reported in July that Libby was "totally obsessed with Wilson." ...Whether that obsession amounts to criminal misconduct will be decided by Fitzgerald - but if Libby is indicted or implicated in wrongdoing, Cheney's reputation will suffer as well.
EJ Dionne says the Republicans can dish it out, but they can't take it.
An editorial in the latest issue of the conservative Weekly Standard is a sign of arguments to come. The editorial complains about the various accusations being leveled against DeLay, Libby, Rove and Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, and it says that "a comprehensive strategy of criminalization had been implemented to inflict defeat on conservatives who seek to govern as conservatives.".....I have great respect for my friends at the Weekly Standard, so I think they'll understand my surprise and wonder over this new conservative concern for the criminalization of politics. A process that was about "the rule of law" when Democrats were in power is suddenly an outrage now that it's Republicans who are being held accountable. [WaPo]
Josh Marshall wonders why on earth NYT editor Bill Keller would have given or allowed Judith Miller to take on Iraq-related assignments (post-WMD fiasco) that would have called into question her credibility and/or damage the public's trust in the major news daily.