Did Bush know?

Capitol Hill Blue — not a reliable source, says Atrios — reports that a grand jury witness testified that GWB knew that his guys were going to unmask Valerie Plame before they did so, and did nothing to stop it. File under “rumor” or “pipe dream.”

Atrios says Capitol Hill Blue isn’t a reliable source, and no one else has this yet as far as I can see, but Capitol Hill Blue reports that a witness told the grand jury in the Plame case that GWB knew in advance about the disclosure of her identity and did nothing to stop it. That would explain why the President suddenly decided he needed a lawyer.

It’s not impossible that Capitol Hill Blue just scored a major newsbeat, but for now file this under “rumor.” (Or, if you’re a Democrat, under “pipe dream.”) What’s horrible is that we don’t know anything about Bush’s character that makes the story unlikely on its face. None of us would have believed any such thing about his father, for example.

[The New York Daily News reports that questions to grand jury witnesses (yeah, the questions that are supposed by law to remain secret)* have focused on Karl Rove and Scooter Libby.]

*Update Readers point out that the rule of grand jury secrecy applies to grand jurors, prosecutors, and investigators, but not to witnesses or to anyone the witnesses might tell, including their own lawyers. So if the Daily News’s sources are witnesses or their lawyers, the story reflects no impropriety. My bad.

Author: Mark Kleiman

Professor of Public Policy at the NYU Marron Institute for Urban Management and editor of the Journal of Drug Policy Analysis. Teaches about the methods of policy analysis about drug abuse control and crime control policy, working out the implications of two principles: that swift and certain sanctions don't have to be severe to be effective, and that well-designed threats usually don't have to be carried out. Books: Drugs and Drug Policy: What Everyone Needs to Know (with Jonathan Caulkins and Angela Hawken) When Brute Force Fails: How to Have Less Crime and Less Punishment (Princeton, 2009; named one of the "books of the year" by The Economist Against Excess: Drug Policy for Results (Basic, 1993) Marijuana: Costs of Abuse, Costs of Control (Greenwood, 1989) UCLA Homepage Curriculum Vitae Contact: Markarkleiman-at-gmail.com