John Dean Takes The Plame

From Holden:

John Dean pores over the latest edition of Joe Wilson’s book, The Politics of Truth: Inside the Lies that Put the White House on Trial and Betrayed My Wife’s CIA Identity to clear away the fog surrounding Pat Fitzgerald’s investigation.

Reading Joe Wilson’s book, in combination with the Senate Intelligence Committee’s report on pre-Iraq-war failures of the American intelligence community helps clear away some of the fog. In part, that’s because Wilson’s publisher, Carroll & Graf, retained Russ Hoyle — an investigative reporter who has been a senior editor at the New York Daily News, Time magazine, and the New Republic – to do what it might be inappropriate for Wilson himself to do: look into the government’s investigation of the leak of his wife’s identity.

Hoyle’s report – included in the paperback edition of the book – notes that “There is little question that the investigation of the White House leaks is now hostage to Fitzgerald’s campaign to force Cooper and Miller to testify.” But, again, why?

Other information provided in Hoyle’s report provides insight. Hoyle writes that Washington Post reporter Walter “Pincus, for example, reportedly confirmed the time, date, and length of his conversation with a source…, but Pincus would not reveal his or her identity.”

Hoyle continues, “That lent credence to reports that Fitzgerald had subpoenaed records of every contact that White House personnel had had with reporters during the period in question and was engaged in a meticulous search to match such times and dates with records of meetings and telephone calls between reporters and Bush officials gleaned from calendars and telephone logs.”

So let’s suppose this kind of matching is indeed going on. Plainly, Special Counsel Fitzgerald must have matched Cooper and Miller’s numbers to calls to or from the phone lines of White House personnel – just as he did with Pincus. But just as plainly, Fitzgerald cares very much about the content of the conversations with Cooper and Miller – which may or may not have been the case with Pincus. He may also care about the identity of the source to whom they spoke – which was not the case with Pincus.

More evidence for this theory comes from the fact that Cooper reportedly provided Pincus-style cooperation (times, dates, but no names) – yet Fitzgerald is still going after Cooper, to force him to testify.

[emphasis in the original]

Dean also sends a none-to-subtle message to Miller and Cooper.

So Cooper and Miller will very probably have to decide whether to defy the law – and go to jail – or testify before the grand jury. They should testify: What a shame it would be if they were to go to jail to protect law-breakers in the White House.

Indeed, if they do not testify, they are arguably complicit in the crimes that the Special Counsel believes have occurred. There must be a line: At some point, in protecting sources committing crimes, newspersons themselves become complicit in those crimes. Protecting a source whom a reporter learns has lied (or obstructed justice) strikes me as being across that line. If Miller and Cooper have not crossed the line, they certainly have their toes on it.