Ari Fleischer Guilty in Leak Case? Did He Testify Against Bush?
Don't be surprised if former WH PRess Secretary Ari Fleischer is indicted soon by the Plame Grand Jury. Although in his testimony, Fleischer denied reading the INR memo on AF One, "Comical Ari" was said to have been seen reading it. This could mean a perjury charge.
And Ari's log shows a call from Novakula the day after the July 6 Wilson article came out! Rove said Novak told him the name. Did Ari tell Robert who then told Karl? Or is that just more Karl CYA?
And did Ari "flip" for Fitz and testify against Bush?!?!
Links on the Ari Flip!
Among those asked if he had seen the memo was Ari Fleischer, then the White House press secretary, who was on Air Force One with Mr. Bush and Mr. Powell during the Africa trip. Mr. Fleischer told the grand jury that he never saw the document, a person familiar with the testimony said, speaking on the condition of anonymity because of the prosecutor's admonitions about not disclosing what is said to the grand jury.
Mr. Fleischer's role has been scrutinized by investigators, in part because his telephone log showed a call on the day after Mr. Wilson's article appeared from Mr. Novak, the columnist who, on July 14, 2003, was the first to report Ms. Wilson's identity.
In his column, Mr. Novak referred to her by her maiden name, Valerie Plame, which she had used when first employed by the C.I.A. Mr. Fleischer has told the grand jury that he did not return Mr. Novak's call, a person familiar with the testimony said.
On the same day the memo was prepared, White House phone logs show Novak placed a call to White House Press Secretary Ari Fleischer, according to lawyers familiar with the case and a witness who has testified before the grand jury. Those people say it is not clear whether Fleischer returned the call, and Fleischer has refused to comment.
The Novak call may loom large in the investigation because Fleischer was among a group of administration officials who left Washington later that day on a presidential trip to Africa. On the flight to Africa, Fleischer was seen perusing the State Department memo on Wilson and his wife, according to a former administration official who was also on the trip.
Technically, Rove was in charge of politics, not "communications." But, as he saw it, the two were one and the same—and he used his heavyweight status to push the message machine run by his Texas protegé and friend, Dan Bartlett. Press Secretary Ari Fleischer was sent out to trash the Wilson op-ed. "Zero, nada, nothing new here," he said. Then, on a long Bush trip to Africa, Fleischer and Bartlett prompted clusters of reporters to look into the bureaucratic origins of the Wilson trip. How did the spin doctors know to cast that lure? One possible explanation: some aides may have read the State Department intel memo, which Powell had brought with him aboard Air Force One.
Near the end of a round table discussion on ABC’s This Week, George Stephanopoulos dropped this bomb:
Definitely a political problem but I wonder, George Will, do you think it’s a manageable one for the White House especially if we don’t know whether Fitzgerald is going to write a report or have indictments but if he is able to show as a source close to this told me this week, that President Bush and Vice President Cheney were actually involved in some of these discussions.
This would explain why Bush spent more than an hour answering questions from special prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald. It would also fundamentally change the dynamics of the scandal. President Bush could no longer claim he was merely a bystander who wants to “get to the bottom of it.” As Stephanopoulos notes, if Bush played a direct role it could make this scandal completely unmanageable.
The only former administration official on the trip was Colin Powell. Colin dropped the dime on Ari, who could have called Novak back from AF One, as the AF One records do not show WHO places the call! Plus they are encrypted and Fitz fought to get the AF One logs to see what they did show and it took quite a long time to get them. We also do not know who Novak fingered.
I think we've all missed Comical Ari's role in all this.
Even if Novak did learn from Ari, we know Libby told Judy and Rove told Cooper.
And then they all lied about it.
Fitz sure has a lot of people to flip. I wouldn't be surprised if Ari and Colin told Fitz that Bush was in on the July 7 discussions about the memo and Wilson. Did Ari testify against Bush?