I don't want to go Woodward and Bernstein all over you, but last week, just after Air Force 1 lifted off towards a meeting with Iraq's Prime Minister al-Maliki, someone in the administration who had enough of the President's insistence that he knows what he's doing, sent a message that everyone seems to have missed: an administration mutiny is in the offing.
The coup d'tat warning came in the form of a leaked memorandum that national security adviser, Stephen Hadley, had sent Bush three weeks ago describing, as the New York Times editorial put it, "how Iraq was being pulled apart by sectarian hatreds and warning that Mr. Maliki was either 'ignorant of what is going on' or unwilling or unable to stop it."
The Times, leak forum du jour, says it was just proof that the President is being told what's going on in Iraq.
Some say the President may actually heed the memo and his public pronouncements of Rumsfeldian praise ("Maliki is the right man for the job") prior to dismissal is just the Bush M.O. at work. That Maliki's Medal of Freedom is already in the smelter.
And there will be those who will say the leak was only to serve as warning to Maliki to Shiite or get off the pot. Save my need for cutesy phrasing, it's actually "Sunni or get off the pot" as it seems Maliki-led government has eliminated all real Sunni participation in Iraqi's governance. But let's be honest, no matter the phrasing, Malki knows that if he doesn't Sunni soon his own countrymen will supply the fatal laxative.
However, if the leaker intended it to be a shot over the bow to Maliki, it would have been delivered privately, not with his morning paper so that he would have the opportunity to publicly embarrass the President by postponing the long-planned meeting. No matter how Tony Snow attempted to spin it, it was internationally humiliating.
Which gives further indication the warning shot was not aimed towards Maliki, but just above the President himself; a notice to POTUS that if he continues to ignore the reality of his failed strategy in Iraq that the whistleblower(s) just might keep leaking to the American public that what Bush maintains as a victory or nothing policy, is far worse than nothing, That it is, in fact, so disastrous, an administration intimate is willing to jeopardize his position to out the boss.
My guess is that the favorite Washington cocktail party game over the next couple weeks will be "Guess 2006's Deep Throat."
Condi suffering an attack of conscience? Hadley pissed that his memo was not being taken seriously? Snow tired of losing all that credibility he had built over at Fox? Of course there's always Laura.
I'm going with the bitter Donald Rumsfeld. Yesterday's leak disclosing that, before he was fired, Rummy had told the President that the Iraq blueprint was becoming more black and blue.
Unfortunately, the game is deadly serious with more deadly consequences.
Still, it could be fun.
Who do you think it is?
Steve Young is author of "Great Failure of the Extremely Successful" and waxes satirically on the L.A. Daily News Sunday Opinion page just to the left of O'Reilly's column