In the swirling tornado, some things are starting to coalesce. And that's bad for Rove, Novak, Miller, the New York Times.
The New York Times refuses to inquire too deeply into what exactly Judith Miller was doing the summer of 2003. No one will answer how hard she and her legal team have tried to get "clearer" waivers from her sources. [Ed. Note: Some players, such as Libby Scooter, have issued waivers, but Miller contends they were coerced. Who does Miller think could coerce Cheney's chief of staff?]
Another piece of flying debris is reports of the CIA operations MOCKINGBIRD. See here for more information on Operation MOCKINGBIRD.
That these pieces are starting to achieve some cohesion is due to strange aspects of the Plame/Novak/Miller affair and clumsy GOP attempts to spin it. Miller says she was only thinking about doing a story on Plame, and the NY Times backs that up by saying they don't have any reporter or editor notes.
She started thinking about it pretty quickly. On 8 July 2003 she met with Scooter Libby, two days after Joe Wilson's op-ed piece. Scooter has told the Fitzgerald's grand jury that he discussed Valerie Plame with Miller.
Miller seems to get all the phone calls from Washington insiders. The previous year she coughed up story after story about Iraq's menacing WMD program - which nicely dovetailed with the Adminstration's "smoking gun" fairy tales. Turns out Miller's sole source was Chalabi. That's the kind of reporting you do if you are a CIA asset. You get hooked up with certain personnel to put out a story line, and skip that verification process.
The GOP and their satellites (ie. mainstream news) have relentlessly pushed the line that Karl Rove did not break that 1982 intelligence law, that Fitzgerald can't possibly convict Rove on that, and that it's a crying shame to jail a reporter because she's protecting her sources.
EXCEPT - no one has said Fitzgerald has that 1982 law in mind. Why, he probably has lined up whole slew of federal statutes that have been violated. Try RICO on for size.
And speaking of that, why take Miller's word for it that she's been jailed for protecting sources? Material witnesses get jailed too, for contempt of court. And sometimes, they get indicted as co-conspirators. An occupational hazard for Agency reporters.