Wednesday :: Oct 19, 2005

Wurmser Is Now Cooperating With Fitz As Well


by Steve

Raw Story is reporting this morning that a second Cheney staffer, David Wurmser, is also cooperating now with Patrick Fitzgerald. Wurmser, who is one of the PNAC true believers that encircle Cheney, Bolton, and Rummy, has according to Raw Story flipped along with Cheney and Bolton staffer John Hannah after they were threatened for their actions in attacking Joe Wilson's credibility. The Raw Story piece makes it clear that both Hannah and Wurmser revealed Valerie Plame's identity and role at the Agency at the direction of senior staffers in Cheney's office (read: Scooter Libby).

Late Monday, several sources familiar with Special Prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald’s probe said John Hannah, a key aide to Vice President Dick Cheney and one of the architects of the Iraq war, was cooperating with Fitzgerald after being told that he was identified by witnesses as a co-conspirator in the leak. Sources said Hannah was not given immunity, but was likely offered a “deal” in exchange for information that could result in indictments of key White House officials.
Now, those close to the investigation say that a second Cheney aide, David Wurmser, has agreed to provide the prosecution with evidence that the leak was a coordinated effort by Cheney’s office to discredit the agent's husband. Her husband, former ambassador Joseph Wilson, was one of the most vocal critics of the Iraq war.
Wurmser, Cheney’s Middle East advisor and an assistant to then-Under Secretary of State for Arms Control and International Security Affairs John Bolton, likely cooperated because he faced criminal charges for his role in leaking Wilson's name on the orders of higher-ups, the sources said.
According to those familiar with the case, Wurmser was in attendance at several meetings of the White House Iraq Group (WHIG), a little-known cabal of administration hawks that formed in August 2002 to publicize the threat posed by Saddam Hussein. Those who say they have reviewed documents obtained in the probe assert that the Vice President was also present at some of the group’s meetings.
The sources say that Hannah and Wurmser were given orders by senior officials in Cheney’s office in June 2003 to leak Plame’s covert status and identity in an attempt to muzzle Wilson. The former ambassador had been a thorn in administration’s side since May 2003, when he began questioning claims that Iraq was an imminent threat to the U.S. and its neighbors in the Middle East.

We'll have no way of knowing how solid Raw Story's reporting here really is, until we see what Fitzgerald comes out with. On the surface, it sounds like he is using the two staffers to roll onto Libby, in the hope probably that Libby will then come clean about Cheney's role in all of this, something I don't think will ever happen unless Fitzgerald really can threaten Libby with a violation of the Espionage Act for directing the leaking a covert operative's name, among the other perjury and obstruction charges. But if you are to believe the account by Raw Story, it shows that there was knowledge aforethought about Plame's status, and that takes this into a very serious realm far beyond simple perjury and obstruction charges.

Even the Democrats are now asking what did Bush know, and when did he lie about it?

Even Tweety said this morning that this is evolving into a serious problem for Cheney, although Matthews spins this travesty as something Bush is detached from, and as a wholly-owned Cheney operation. Does anyone believe that?

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