On Plame, the pre-response begins

Would charges be "technicalities" or an indictment of the way Bush went to war?


Tim Grieve
October 24, 2005 5:01PM (UTC)

Special prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald could "give notice" as early as today to any Bush administration officials he plans to indict and then convene his grand jury tomorrow in order to hand down indictments, Reuters is reporting.

That's the news. Here's everything else.

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The Republicans' spin: Appearing on NBC's "Meet the Press" Sunday, Texas Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison previewed the way in which the GOP will respond to any indictments: They're technicalities and the handiwork of an overzealous prosecutor. Hutchison said that she hopes any indictments that are coming will be indictments "on a crime and not some perjury technicality where they couldn't indict on the crime and so they go to something just to show that their two years of investigation was not a waste of time and taxpayer dollars." Asked the obvious question -- wasn't the case against Bill Clinton all about "perjury technicalities"? -- Hutchison dodged and equated the investigation of Valerie Plame's outing to the prosecution of Martha Stewart. Of course, nobody died when Martha made pies.

The Democrats' spin: Appearing on ABC's "This Week," DNC chairman Howard Dean argued that the Plame case involves more than just the actions of a couple of White House aides. "This is not so much about Scooter Libby and Karl Rove," Dean said. "This is about the fact that the president didn't tell us the truth when we went to Iraq, and all these guys involved in it, it's a huge cover-up. That's what they're in trouble for. The deed that led to it is an attack on the president's dishonesty over the Iraq question ... What got Rove and Libby in trouble was because they were attacking -- which the Republicans always do -- attacking somebody who criticized them and disagreed with them ... That is what they are investigating. A fundamental flaw in the Bush Administration is that they make personal attacks on people for meritorious arguments."

The candidates' spin: Two potential Republican candidates for 2008 did their best over the weekend to distance themselves from whatever's coming. Virginia Sen. George Allen called on Karl Rove and Scooter Libby to step down if they're indicted. And Kansas Sen. Sam Brownback said he and his Republican colleagues should keep themselves busy with "knitting on the topics and the subjects the American people care about."

The New York Times' spin: By explaining his regrets about Judy Miller Friday, Times editor Bill Keller scooped the critics who would have their say over the weekend. Coincidence? You decide. But by the time public editor Byrone Calame and columnist Maureen Dowd weighed in, we'd heard it all before. Still, there was some punch to Dowd's final word on Miller. Noting that Miller has said she hopes to continue covering national security issues for the Times, Dowd wrote: "If that were to happen, the institution most in danger would be the newspaper in your hands."

Judy Miller's spin: Meanwhile, Miller herself offers this hero's lament to the New York Post: "I'm not mad, I'm sad ... Isn't it sad that, after going to jail for 85 days for a principle, it's come to this?"


Tim Grieve

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

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Karl Rove Sam Brownback, R-kan. War Room

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