Is Vice President Dick Cheney under investigation?

The reports that Vice President Dick Cheney’s chief of staff was the second possible source in the leaking of the identity of a CIA agent to Time magazine elevates the scandal to a whole new level. It is bad enough for Karl Rove to be accused of being a leaker, since he is President Bush’s chief political strategist. But if Time’s story holds, I. Lewis Libby’s involvement represents an even more insidious abuse of power. The Bush administration is being accused by democrats of leaking the name of Valerie Plame in retribution for a New York Times op-ed article written by her husband, diplomat Joseph Wilson.

So much smoke is being blown over White House v. Wilson/Plame that it is becoming almost impossible to see the forest for the trees. Bewildered houseguests from outside the Beltway throw up their hands: "It's all just politics...and character assassination." And that may well be precisely the impression the media wish to leave with us.

Rumors are spinning that Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald, who is handling the investigation, most likely has enough information to indict Rove on already, as well as Cheney's Chief of Staff, Scooter Libby, and even Joe Wilson, but will likely wait until all the investigation is rounded up before letting us all in on what he's going to charge anybody with. But who really knows? As the media wrestles over the ins-and-outs of Bush's latest Supreme Court pick, the real wrangling that is going on will not be on the front pages of The Washington Post, as Fitzgerald has kept a rather tight seal on his investigation.


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