Jason Leopold continues his excellent reporting on l’affaire Plame. Leopold spent the weekend interviewing “sources [that] work or worked at the State Department, the CIA and the National Security Council. Some of these sources are attorneys close to the case.” And it looks like Fitzgerald is getting ready to indict at least one more high ranking White House official. National Security Advisor Steven Hadley and/or Karl Rove are firmly in his crosshairs.

Although the situation remains fluid, it’s possible, these sources said, that Fitzgerald may seek to indict both Rove and Hadley, charging them with perjury, obstruction of justice, and conspiracy related to their roles in the leak of Plame Wilson’s identity and their effort to cover up their involvement following a Justice Department investigation.

The sources said late Monday that it may take more than a month before Fitzgerald presents the paperwork outlining the government’s case against one or both of the officials and asks the grand jury to return an indictment, because he is currently juggling quite a few high-profile criminal cases and will need to carve out time to write up the indictment and prepare the evidence.

This is interesting because Rove has been telling people that he is increasingly confident that he will not be indicted, and Larisa Alexandrovna of Raw Story reported yesterday that Rove has helped Fitzgerald uncover “250 pages of missing email from the office of Vice President Dick Cheney.” Yet, according to Leopold, Rove is still in deep shit.

In December, [Rove’s Laywer] Luskin made a desperate attempt to keep his client out of Fitzgerald’s crosshairs.

Luskin had revealed to Fitzgerald that Viveca Novak – a reporter working for Time magazine who wrote several stories about the Plame Wilson case – inadvertently tipped him off in early 2004 that her colleague at the magazine, Matt Cooper, would be forced to testify that Rove was his source who told him about Plame Wilson’s CIA status.

Novak – who bears no relation to syndicated columnist Robert Novak, the journalist who first published Plame Wilson’s name and CIA status in a July 14, 2003, column – met Luskin in Washington DC in the summer of 2004, and over drinks, the two discussed Fitzgerald’s investigation into the Plame Wilson leak.

Luskin had assured Novak that Rove learned Plame Wilson’s name and CIA status after it was published in news accounts and that only then did he phone other journalists to draw their attention to it. But Novak told Luskin that everyone in the Time newsroom knew Rove was Cooper’s source and that he would testify to that in an upcoming grand jury appearance, these sources said.

According to Luskin’s account, after he met with Viveca Novak he contacted Rove and told him about his conversation with her. The two of them then began an exhaustive search through White House phone logs and emails for any evidence that proved that Rove had spoken with Cooper. Luskin said that during this search an email was found that Rove had sent to then-Deputy National Security Adviser Stephen Hadley immediately after Rove’s conversation with Cooper, and it was subsequently turned over to Fitzgerald…

…The email Rove sent to Hadley, which Luskin said he found, helped Rove recall his conversation with Cooper a year earlier. Rove then returned to the grand jury to clarify his previous testimonies in which he did not disclose that he spoke with journalists…

…It is unclear whether Rove was misleading Hadley about his conversation with Cooper, perhaps, because White House officials told their staff not to engage reporters in any questions posed about Wilson’s Niger claims.

But Fitzgerald’s investigation has turned up additional evidence over the past few months that convinced him that Luskin’s eleventh-hour revelation about the chain of events that led to the discovery of the email is not credible. Fitzgerald believes that Rove changed his story once it became clear that Cooper would be compelled to testify about the source – Rove – who revealed Plame Wilson’s CIA status to him, sources close to the case said.

I don’t know how Leopold’s story works together with Larisa Alexandrovna’s story. According to Leopold, Fitzgerald is certain to charge at least one person: Hadley or Rove. All that is still uncertain is whether he will charge both of them. Several months ago, Larry Johnson reported that he had had lunch with a close associate of Hadley and was told that Hadley fully expected to get indicted. It looks like Rove may be trying to wriggle out of the noose by pinning the blame on the Office of the Vice President. But it is too hard to tell from these fragmentary leaks.

In any case, it looks like sometime within the next month we may have some more frog-marching. And that is enough to warm my spirits.

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