Sunday, October 15, 2006

When was Brewster Jennings' cover blown?

* dr elsewhere (from cannon's place) in the comments from the " When was Brewster Jennings' cover blown?" post at KTM:
sorry to come in so late on this discussion, but the question of why fitz would pursue the underlying crime of outing an agent who had already been outed may not be that hard to answer.

the fact that she HAD been outed - regardless of when - gave the agency the opportunity to pursue the original crime. any crimes uncovered while investigating a case are within a special prosector's purview, in fact are his responsibility to investigate.

it would seem simple logic to assume that the same forces, if not the same person, might be involved in both revelations of plame's role.

and it appears he may have been. marc grossman appears to have exposed plame's company, and he appears to have penned the memo - upon libby's orders (upon cheney's orders) - that prompted armitage to contact novak in the summer of 03.

fitz hopefully has been made aware long ago just how deep this case goes. and he is not afraid to take his time to get all the way to the bottom of such cases, as his chicago performance tells us. it is tantalizing to think how much safer he'll feel in pursuing it once the republicans lose the house.

one more thing. it strikes me as particularly interesting that cheney knew plame's role when he read wilson's op-ed (hence his spontaneous notation). no one seems to make much of that fact, but there it is. how odd, the veep knows the manager of a task force within the belly of the agency. perhaps because he was so unhappy with the info she was giving him?

talk about killing two birds with one stone.
that's a very interesting idea that the CIA might have taken the new opportunity to investigate the original leak - although I can't quite see how it might happen in practice. That is, we know that the FBI tried to open an investigation in 1999 into Hastert et al, but that it was quashed (eventually) by Ashcroft. FTR - that timeline, as recounted by Sibel, seems a bit dodgy to me:
“…what happened was, FBI had this information since 1997. In 1999, the Clinton Administration actually asked the Department of Justice to appoint a Special Prosecutor to investigate Hastert, and certain other elected officials that were not named in this (VF) article, to be investigated formally. And the Department of Justice actually went about appointing this prosecutor, but after the Administration changed they quashed that investigation and they closed it despite the fact they had all sorts of evidence, again I’m talking about wiretaps, documents- paper documents- that was highly explosive and could have been easily used to indict the Speaker of the House Dennis Hastert. That investigation was closed in 2001, and this was around the time I started reporting my cases to the Congress.”
It's not clear how far down the process they were when Sibel says they 'went about appointing this prosecutor.' Did they actually appoint an SP? Is it possible to appoint a Special Prosecutor in secret? Elsewhere Sibel has said that the whole impeachment thing kinda got in the way, as well. I'm not sure how long it would take to get an SP appointed and all that. It's possible that they tried to kickstart the SP process in late 99, but it didn't really get any traction because of the impeachment nonsense. Or, if it's possible to appoint an SP 'in secret', then maybe they really were some way down the path of investigation before Ashcroft called off the dogs at the end of 2001 - although it seems kind of unlikely that this had been going on for at least 2 years without any leaks or anything. I dunno.

Of course, it's very easy to imagine a scenario where this investigation into Hastert is directly tied into Clinton's impeachment, and the odd shenanigans with Bob Livingston (who turned into a key player in the Sibel story) - and Hastert's ascension to Speaker - not to mention the involvement of Abramoff & cronies, and Rove/Ashcroft cronies like Mark Corallo etc (documented in part here)

Back to Dr Elsewhere's comment, assuming that there are some sinister connections between Hastert's original case, and the Ashcroft dismissal of that case, and the CIA's purported attempt to use the prosecute the original outing of BJ via the 2003 outing of Plame, there's a problem (at face value) that the referral was to Ashcroft's own DoJ. If we are assuming that all these crimes/stories are overlapping, then it's difficult to imagine how the CIA thought they'd get a reasonable outcome by referring it to Ashcroft, the same guy who had covered up some of the original crimes.

I'm not particularly familiar with the specifics of that time period - but AFAIK, there weren't loud, immediate calls for Ashcroft to recuse himself, nor for a SP. Again, I'm only working off bad memory and I might very well be wrong - Ashcroft certainly tried to hold on to the investigation for as long as possible (Dec), and it was his rel'ship with Rove that eventually got him. My only point is, if we take Dr E's scenario (and my lousy memory), the CIA seemed to be playing against a stacked deck. Having said that, there might be something in Dr E's scenario that makes some sense if we can perhaps re -arrange some of the elements - I'm not sure how.

regarding the Veep and his marching orders, and his awareness of plame, yeah, emptywheel has been on top of this, and there was an article in Prospect today along similar lines.

and the most interesting question of all is Dr E's:
how odd, the veep knows the manager (plame) of a task force within the belly of the agency. perhaps because he was so unhappy with the info she was giving him?
AFAIC there are two main possibilities here - either a) Cheney outed her in retribution for what Plame refused to 'cough up' prior to the invasion (unlikely) - or b) she was outed for tactical, real-time, post-invasion reasons in July 03. If it was the latter, then it raises some very serious questions - the scenario that makes the most (only?) sense to me is that the egadministration was hoping to plant some wmd in iraq and the JTFI somehow got in the way.

can anyone add anything useful to that?

update - ew from the comments:
"There were questions about recusal almost immediately, from the first days. BushCo tried to hold it off by claiming civil servants would conduct the investigation, but certainly reporters were asking how Ashcroft could investigate Rove within the first several days. And the Dems had formally asked by mid-October."
thanks ew. so the question then is, still following Dr E's hypothesis, whether the CIA was within it's rights to ask for an SP from the outset, and if they were within their rights, and (assuming) that they didn't, then it seems a bit unlikely that they would place the case into Ashcroft's hands, given his dodgy history with the previous Hastert case (which we believe (but don't know (?)) to be related to Brewster Jennings.

2 comments:

emptywheel said...

There were questions about recusal almost immediately, from the first days. BushCo tried to hold it off by claiming civil servants would conduct the investigation, but certainly reporters were asking how Ashcroft could investigate Rove within the first several days. And the Dems had formally asked by mid-October.

lukery said...

thnx ew - post updated.

so - as far as i understand it, the agency could have immediately asked for an SP - but they didn't - which doesn't seem to fit in with DrE's hypothesis.

Perhaps we are missing a piece.