Tuesday, September 30, 2003

Two more journalists named?

Josh has a copy of the latest Gonzales letter to White House staff regarding the Plame investigation. It contains some specific descriptions of items that should be preserved including the following intriguing item:

3. Contacts with reporters Knut Royce, Timothy M. Phelps, or Robert D. Novak, or any individual(s) acting directly or indirectly, on behalf of these reporters."

Are Royce and Phelps two of the six journalists this information was leaked to? If not, why are their names specifically mentioned?

The Gonzales letter also includes a preservation order for the following:

1. Former U.S. Ambassador Joseph C. Wilson, his trip to Niger in February 2002, and/or his wife's purported relationship with the Central Intelligence Agency;

This investigation could easily move beyond the question of who leaked Plame's covert CIA status to a more thorough investigation of who instigated Wilson's trip to Niger. Dick Cheney went out of his way to deny that he had anything to do with it. This investigation could prove that to be a lie.

Update: The more I think about it the more I think that the call to preserve all material related to the Niger trip is more important than the inclusion of Royce and Phelps' names. If that material becomes subject of an FBI investigation we might not only find out who instigated the trip but what happened to Wilson's report after he came back. Imagine, if you will, finding a document that proves that Cheney and/or Rice read and signed off on that report.


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