Tom Maguire, Glenn Reynolds, and Mark Levin are fairly slavering at the prospect of defense discovery in the Valerie Plame Wilson/Joseph Wilson civil suit against Rove and Libby. It doesn’t seem to have occurred to them yet that their fantasy version of the events surrounding the outing of Ms. Wilson might be false, and that the act of bringing the suit shows that the Wilsons are confident that their reputations will survive whatever might come out. (Maguire acknowledges that his firm prediction that no such suit would ever be filed was wrong, but doesn’t consider the natural inference that some of the premises leading to that conclusion must also be false.)
Of course, if the Maguire/Reynolds/Levin thesis were correct, the Administration would welcome the opportunity to clear itself in court. That would mean not trying to quash the suit under the “state secrets” doctrine. Would you care to bet on that question, Tom? (I’m hoping to win back some of what I lost betting on a Rove indictment.)
Our Wilson-bashing friends also don’t seem to have thought through what’s likely to happen in plaintiffs’ discovery. Libby and Rove are going to have to answer the same questions in deposition they answered in front of the grand jury. Only this time it will be on the public record. And of course their ability to prevaricate is limited by the threat of perjury charges if the two stories don’t match. In addition, Robert Novak is going to have to come clean, again in public, or face contempt charges.
But that’s not the best of it. Rove will be asked whether it’s true, as Murry Waas reported, that GWB personally ordered him to reveal classified information in order to discredit Joseph Wilson. And when he says “yes,” as he presumably will, plaintiffs will then have a strong basis for deposing Mr. Bush himself. [Yes, I’d rather “depose” him in the other sense of that term, but you take what you can get.]
Or they might just amend the complaint to name GWB as a defendant. (The Republicans may yet come to regret the Paula Jones precedent.) Either way, that deposition should be lots and lots of fun.
Footnote: The Waas story provides a possible explanation for the lack of any “substantive” indictment in the Plame case: Rove and Libby could have claimed that they were acting under orders, and that the Presidential instruction gave them reason to believe that any information released pursuant to it would not damage the national security, thus refuting the scienter required by the Espionage Act. Fitzgerald might well have concluded that he couldn’t disprove that claim beyond reasonable doubt.