How far will Fitzgerald go?

UPI says the Plame prosecutor has shown an interest in forged documents that purported to show Saddam Hussein was buying uranium from Niger.

Published October 24, 2005 4:46PM (EDT)

Just as the right gets its talking points set on the Valerie Plame investigation -- the Wall Street Journal argues today that Patrick Fitzgerald is investigating "a policy dispute" and risks making politics itself illegal -- a report from UPI suggests that the case that Fitzgerald might bring could be broader and deeper than previously expected.

Citing "NATO sources," UPI's Martin Walker says that Fitzgerald has asked for and received the unpublished report of the Italian parliament's investigation into documents that purported to show that Saddam Hussein was buying uranium from Niger. The documents were obvious forgeries, but the Bush administration used them to bolster its case for the war on Iraq.

Why is Fitzgerald interested in the forged documents? Maybe he's just a careful prosecutor running down every lead and loose end. But as Walker writes, Fitzgerald's interest in the forgeries also raises the specter of "what has always been the most serious implication of the CIA leak case, that the Bush administration could face a brutally damaging and public inquiry into the case for war against Iraq being false or artificially exaggerated."

By Tim Grieve

Tim Grieve is a senior writer and the author of Salon's War Room blog.

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