It sounds crazy, but think about it:
- The President's father is a former DCI. He knows what the CIA bureacracy can do.
- The late DCI, George Tenet, insead of becoming the "fall guy" for 9/11, was allowed to retire and even received a Presidential Medal of Freedom. Despite the fact that he was appointed by the previous president, and had Democratic political connections.
- The notion that "outing Valerie" was the major issue depends on increasingly narrow, peculiar interpretations of various laws, not the least of them being the "Agee law" --- the "identities protection" provisions of the Intelligence Act of 1980. Syl and I have had a running discussion on this elsewhere, but I persist in thinking that Plame was not "covert" under the terms of the Act. Mark Kleiman seems to feel that the Espionage Act applies, but …
- the example of Daniel Ellsberg and a thousand leaks by a hundred legislators seem to suggest that applying the Espionage Act to a leak to a member of the press would be nearly impossible. (Judges, whatever else they may be, are still men. The political pressure would be intense, bipartisan, and bicameral.)
- However, the possibility that indictments might be made against CIA members under the Espionage Act seems rather better. Cliff Kincaid at the National Ledger makes a similar argument.
A pseudo-scandal initially arising from a CIA request to the Justice Department.
A "covert operative" who turns out to be an analyst in WMD areas --- and her husband, who lied about the way he got the assignment, lied in print about his findings, and who was apparently a source for many poeple at the New York Times.
In a novel, the denouement of this story would be when the Marshalls and FBI arrive, arresting the rogue diplomat, his beautiful co-conspirator wife, and one or a few more people higher up in CIA, along with some powerful political operatives of the opposing party --- on testimony of the ex-DCI, a journalist who was burned by her sources, and with circumstantial evidence provided by disinformation injected into information flow and nicely tagged to reveal who learned it and from whom.
It's neat. Almost too neat. Unlike fiction, real life is often neither dramatic, nor believable.
But the rumors persist that the indictments won't be what's expected.
Update: Chris Matthews, who's as connected as anyone in Washington I'll bet, is making the Ellsberg connection. He does so in the context of what Nixon's people did to discredit Ellsberg, but ... why Ellsberg and not McGovern?
Further Update:JustOneMinute has more interesting ideas and speculation.