“Fitzgerald is putting together a big case”

… and gunning for Dick Cheney, according to Bloomberg.

… or so says Robert Bennett, Judith Miller’s lawyer. And the focus of that case may have shifted from Rove and Libby to Dick Cheney.

Couldn’t happen to a nicer guy.

But note that Bloomberg’s Richard Kiel, who seems to have good sources, doesn’t mention the Espionage Act, at least not directly:

The charges could range from a broad conspiracy case to more narrowly drawn indictments for obstruction of justice or perjury, according to lawyers involved in the case. Charges are considered less likely on the law that initially triggered Fitzgerald’s probe, which makes it illegal to deliberately unmask an undercover intelligence agent, because of the difficulty in meeting that statute’s exacting standards for prosecution.

The idea that the Intelligence Identities Protection Act is “the law that initially triggered Fitzgerald’s probe” is now well established as journalistic convention, but as far as I can tell it has no basis in fact.

The CIA referred to DoJ the question of whether any laws were broken in connection with the Novak column, and Fitzgerald was put in charge of the investigation after Ashcroft recused himself. At the time, it seemed to many of us that the IIPA might apply, but there’s no reason to think that officials weren’t faster than the rest of us in figuring out that, even if IIPA didn’t apply, the Espionage Act still might.

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