When the grand jury hands up indictments in the Valerie Plame leak investigation -- only the most partisan Republican would insist on clinging to "if" -- the immediate reaction will be as divisive as the O.J. verdict. Republicans will be outraged at the "criminalization of politics." Democrats will be glad that someone finally stuck it to The Man.
That Lewis "Scooter" Libby and Karl Rove will be indicted is no longer debatable. The two most powerful aides in the Bush White House are about to be charged. Maybe conspiracy, maybe perjury, maybe obstruction of justice. Maybe all three.
Libby, especially, seems screwed to the wall, placed there by his friend/sycophant Judith Miller, the disgraced New York Times reporter. According to a piece by Murray Waas in National Journal, both Libby and Miller were very unsure about any meeting in June 2003 -- until the special prosecutor showed Miller the Secret Service logs into the Eisenhower Executive Office building. You know, the logs that proved she had been to see Libby on June 23.
Miller is safe from prosecution. That's what happens to good squealers.
But Rove and Libby? Hosed. Screwed. That's what happens when smart men try to outsmart a special prosecutor who's smarter. Rove and Libby thought they could play cute, remember to forget things and get away with everything by blaming reporters -- the damned liberal media -- for all the leaks.
Near as we can untangle it, Libby claims he and Rove sat around and discussed what they learned about Plame from reporters. Libby claims Tim Russert was his source, while Rove claims he learned all about it from Bob Novak, columnist better known as Novakula, prince of the living dead.
The real sources appear to be John Hannah and David Wurmser. Both worked in Dick Cheney's office. Both have apparently turned on their worm boss and are doing their best Ned Beatty imitations.
Others who have testified before the grand jury, or been interviewed by the prosecutor, include former White House flack Ari Fleischer, and current National Security Adviser Stephen Hadley. Both seem to be especially deep in the Plame muck (the complete list of squealers, yakkers and stonewallers can be found here).
After reading too many stories and watching too much analysis, we're betting that Hadley, Fleischer, Mary Matalin and the two chief leakers (Rove & Libby) will be indicted. We're also pretty certain that Dick Cheney and his evil cabal are the ultimate bad guys in this, but the special prosecutor probably can't prove it.
Indictments by this time next week, at the latest. The "Wurmser Turns" headline has already been used.