I know what you're thinking about John Dean. He is forever writing about how the scandal de jour is worse than Watergate.
But this article is worth a read because he tells us what happened to leaker Jonathan Randel, and thus why Karl Rove might be in serious trouble.
First, Dean does a very good job of explaining why an indictment under the Intelligence Identities And Protection Act is not very likely. Suffice it to say, the burden of proof Fitzgerald would face is a bitch.
But then Dean gives us all real hope,
Facing 500 years if convicted on all counts, Randel coped a plea. The US attorney prosecuting Randel boasted that he had set an example as to how the Bush Administration would treat leakers.
Randel was a Drug Enforcement Agency analyst, a PhD in history, working in the Atlanta office of the DEA. Randel was convinced that British Lord Michael Ashcroft (a major contributor to Britain's Conservative Party, as well as American conservative causes) was being ignored by DEA, and its investigation of money laundering. (Lord Ashcroft is based in South Florida and the off-shore tax haven of Belize.)
Randel leaked the fact that Lord Ashcroft's name was in the DEA files, and this fact soon surfaced in the London news media. Ashcroft sued, and learned the source of the information was Randel. Using his clout, soon Ashcroft had the U.S. Attorney in pursuit of Randel for his leak.
By late February 2002, the Department of Justice indicted Randel for his leaking of Lord Ashcroft's name. It was an eighteen count "kitchen sink" indictment; they threw everything they could think of at Randel. Most relevant for Karl Rove's situation, Court One of Randel's indictment alleged a violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 641. This is a law that prohibits theft (or conversion for one's own use) of government records and information for non-governmental purposes. But its broad language covers leaks, and it has now been used to cover just such actions.
Dean goes on the explain how Sec 641 and the Randel precedent could be used by Fitzgerald as a much easier -- from a prosecutorial perspective -- method to indict and convict the Plame leakers. Think of it as the path of least resistance.
Fitzgerald, by all accounts is nobody's fool and a very serious professional. He's not indicting any top WH official -- Rove, Libby or whoever -- unless he knows he can nail them. His career and professional reputation would be destroyed by an acquittal.
This is why I'm not holding my breath. But, the Randel story suggests that Fitzgerald might have some options available to him that make convictions much more likely.
What do you think?