David Ignatius speculates in the Washington Post that Patrick Fitzgerald’s pursuit of journalists’ testimony might indicate that he has shifted attention from the revelation of an undercover intelligence officer’s identity to the cover-up, and in particular to possible perjury before the Plame grand jury.
That could well be so. But I question the premise of Ignatius’s column: that the revelation itself is next-to-impossible to prosecute because the Intelligence Identities Protection Act has such a tough-to-prove set of elements. I continue to think that a prosecution under the Espionage Act would be a slam-dunk, given proof of the mention of “Valerie Plame” and “CIA operative” in the same breath to anyone without the very high security clearance required to know the identity of an intelligence officer acting under non-official cover.
The least likely scenario, to my mind, is that Fitzgerald is just going through the motions and doesn’t intend to indict anybody. But my belief that the culprits will be caught may be as much a product of wishful thinking as the right-wing belief that they will get off scot-free.