Plame Scandal Widens
July 25, 2005
The Valerie Plame scandal is engulfing the White House.
With the grand jury empaneled until October, we may yet see indictments come down on Karl Rove and on Cheney’s chief of staff, Scooter Libby.
But they aren’t the only ones implicated in the scandal.
As Frank Rich noted in Sunday’s New York Times, our old friend Alberto Gonzales also has left his fingerprints sloppily around.
At the time this scandal broke, Gonzales was White House Counsel. The Justice Department kindly notified him that it was investigating this leak, and Gonzales passed word on to White House Chief of Staff Andy Card.
This was around 8:00 p.m. on September 29, 2003, and Gonzales asked the Justice Department for permission not to notify the rest of the White House staff until the next morning, permission which he got.
This could have allowed Rove or Libby or anyone else involved the time to destroy incriminating documents or get their stories coordinated.
On Face the Nation Sunday, Gonzales tried to make light of what Rich calls the 12-hour gap. “Most of the staff had gone home,” Gonzales said. “No one knew about the investigation.”
But what if Andy Card gave them a heads-up?
It’s increasingly difficult and embarrassing for the Bush White House to deal with this scandal.
Bush’s top aide and Cheney’s top aide are directly implicated.
Gonzales himself looks bad, at the very least.
Card may have been a player.
Press Secretary Scott McClellan either lied to the press or was lied to by Rove and Libby.
And what role Bush himself had in the whole thing, as his aides were apparently discussing the Plame matter on Air Force one, has yet to be revealed, though Special Prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald has interviewed the President.
The water is getting neck high in the White House.