From Watergate to Plamegate in One Easy Step
Will the circle be unbroken?
We're less than 24 hours away from what many of us hope will be a very Merry Fitzmas, as indictments are handed down in the Valerie Plame CIA leak case. Speculation ranges from at least one to as many as five indictments. I'm betting on the high end. Here's my bingo card:
I've got Rove down for perjury, while Libby gets the trifecta - perjury, obstruction of justice, and conspiracy.
I've got Cheney lieutenants John Hannah and David Wurmser for conspiracy and violating the Intelligence Identities Protection Act. Since that's only four, let's toss National Security Advisor Stephen Hadley in there for conspiracy as well.
Just for fun, I've got Cheney as an unindicted co-conspirator, and Fitzgerald asking the judge to impanel a new grand jury to investigate the phony Niger Yellowcake memo and the activities of the White House Iraq Group.
(Also: Colonel Mustard in the library with the candlestick.)
Trolling Wikipedia last night, I was stunned to discover that Karl Rove was a student of Donald Segretti, one of the many Watergate conspirators. To wit:
On August 10, 1973, as a protege of Donald Segretti, Rove was the subject of a Washington Post article titled "Republican Party Probes Official as Teacher of Tricks." The article, which was sourced to tape-recorded conversations, reported that the 22-year-old Rove and a colleague had been touring the country giving young Republicans "dirty tricks" training.... Former White House counsel John Dean said in 2004, "Based on my review of the files, it appears the Watergate prosecutors were interested in Rove's activities in 1972, but because they had bigger fish to fry they did not aggressively investigate him."
That sound you hear is chickens coming home to roost.
I also thought it would be fun to see which Watergate conspirators ultimately did time. Here's just a partial list:
G. Gordon Liddy - Sentenced to 20 years for burglary, illegal wiretapping, and conspiracy; served 4.5 years until sentence was commuted by President Jimmy Carter. Currently a best-selling author, speaker, actor, and a popular radio talk show host. Famous for dining on rats and self-immolation at cocktail parties.
E. Howard Hunt - Served 33 months for burglary, illegal wiretapping, and conspiracy. Ex-CIA agent and spy novelist, thought to have been involved in the Bay of Pigs invasion and the assassination of JFK.
Fred LaRue - Served 4.5 months for obstruction of justice. Known as the 'bagman' who carried sacks of hush money for potential Watergate witnesses.
Charles Colson - Served 7 months for obstruction of justice. Once nicknamed "the evil genius," Colson is now a leading Christian author and talk show pundit.
H.R. "Bob" Haldeman - Served 18 months for conspiracy and obstruction of justice. Now dead, though his trademark flat-top haircut lives on.
John Mitchell - Served 19 months for conspiracy, obstruction of justice, and perjury. The first US Attorney General to be convicted of any crime, Mitchell was so evil he makes John Ashcroft look like the Tooth Fairy.
John Erlichman - Served 18 months for conspiracy, obstruction of justice, perjury, and assorted other offenses. Apparently he was always bitter that Nixon never pardoned him, despite the fact he was sentenced in 1975, well after Nixon had boarded Marine One for the last time.
It's instructive to note how many of these guys went to jail for perjury, obstruction, and conspiracy - charges currently being pooh-poohed by GOP spinmeisters as tangential to the "real" investigation and the work of an "overzealous" prosecutor. Also interesting to note that while many Watergaters were sentenced for 20 to 30 years, most served just a fraction of that time.
Oh yeah: Rove's Jedi Master Segretti ended up serving 4 months for distributing illegal campaign literature, including forged letters and phony press releases. Let's hope his student enjoys a similar fate.