Wednesday, October 19, 2005

NY Times frothing on Fitzgerald

The Grey Lady can hardly hide its glee in a front page article today which notes:

WASHINGTON, Oct. 18 - The special counsel in the C.I.A. leak case has told associates he has no plans to issue a final report about the results of the investigation, heightening the expectation that he intends to bring indictments, lawyers in the case and law enforcement officials said yesterday.

Byron York at NRO notes though that it's not clear at all for what Rove and/or I. Lewis Libby, Dick Cheney's chief of staff, could be indicted.

While defense lawyers involved in the case have carefully studied the two statutes most frequently mentioned as possible grounds for charges — the 1982 Intelligence Identities Protection Act and the 1917 Espionage Act — some informed sources who follow the investigation find it difficult to believe that either could become the basis for prosecution.
One former intelligence official suggests that most of the speculation that charges might be brought under the Intelligence Identities Protection Act was the result of a misunderstanding in the press. "The Identities Protection thing, I don't think, was ever a likely act to be cited," the official told National Review Online Tuesday.
"The Espionage Act would strike me as a huge leap," says the former intelligence official. "I don't think this amounts to espionage by any stretch of the imagination."

However, York notes, that it's possible to have a Martha Stewart type indictment (I'm no fan of hers but I think she was totally railroaded) where:

Given the difficulties with prosecutions under both the Espionage Act and the Intelligence Identities Protection Act, it appears that if Fitzgerald is indeed moving toward indicting anyone, he might well choose to base the charges on allegations of obstruction of justice or the making of false statements, either to Fitzgerald's investigators or to the grand jury. "At the end of the day," says the former intelligence official, "this could end up being a situation where there wasn't a crime until there was an investigation."

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