It seems that we’ve moved into a new phase of the Plame-leak scandal. The Rove-a-dope isn’t seeming to wash with the special prosecutor. The LA Times headline:

CIA Probe Moves from Leak Source to Perjury, Obstruction


The special prosecutor in the CIA leak investigation has shifted his focus from whether White House officials violated a law against exposing undercover agents to determining whether evidence exists to bring perjury or obstruction of justice charges, according to people briefed in recent days on the inquiry’s status.

Patrick J. Fitzgerald, the special prosecutor, and his team have made no decision on whether to seek indictments, and there could be benign explanations for differences that have arisen in witnesses’ statements to federal agents and a grand jury about how the name of Valerie Plame, a CIA agent who had worked undercover, was leaked to the media two years ago.

The investigation focused initially on whether administration officials illegally leaked the identity of Plame, the wife of former Ambassador Joseph C. Wilson IV, in a campaign to discredit Wilson after he wrote an op-ed article in The New York Times criticizing the Bush administration’s grounds for going to war in Iraq.

According to lawyers familiar with the case, investigators are comparing statements to federal authorities by two top White House aides, Karl Rove and I. Lewis Libby, with testimony from reporters who have acknowledged talking to the officials.

It’s pretty clear: someone is lying. And while that may be no big deal in Washington, and perhaps a character requirement for Bush politicos, prosecutors don’t like it when people lie to them, lie under oath, lie to grand juries.

The Washington Post is more subdued:

Testimony By Rove And Libby Examined

Lawyers involved in the case said there are now indications that Fitzgerald did not initially know or suspect that Rove was Cooper’s primary source for the reporter’s information about Plame. That raises questions about how much Rove disclosed when first questioned in the inquiry or how closely he was initially queried about his contacts with reporters. Rove has testified before a grand jury and been questioned by FBI agents on at least five occasions over the past two years.

It seems that the more they struggle and squirm, the tighter the noose gets. (Via RawStory)

Meanwhile the Supreme Court gets coddling coverage. I believe it’s as Amanda says:

I started reading Start Making Sense this morning and one of the things that shot out at me while reading a lament on the last election was how much bigger a percentage of women’s vote Bush managed to get this election over last election.  Basically, he went from a one point spread with white women to an 11 point spread. Mulling that over, I was pleasantly surprised to find this cute ad from NARAL in my email box.  Check it out.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. The fight against appointing John Roberts should be treated like a campaign commercial for the Democrats. If they want women’s votes back, they need to start showboating their concern for women’s rights during all this. The problem, of course, it that “women’s rights” is so narrowly focused on abortion. Abortion is a critical right and I want to continue talking about it, but in a snap and dash enviroment, it’s easy for a lot of women to lie to themselves and say it’s not important. Everyone, including myself, slips into thinking that it’s “other women” who get abortions. (I’ve never had one and I like to think I never will need to, but you never know.)

How we can advance a criminal investigation, I don’t know. But we can sure make some noise about the kinds of values we hold — not as special interests, but as citizens.

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